We met Daddy out on the farm one day and had a picnic. He was really pleased to see us and the kids had tons of fun.
At the beginning of March we went to Big Bear. Brayden is the only one of our kids that even remembers snow so they were pretty excited. Ethan was probably the most excited. I was a little worried that his excitement would die down as soon as he got cold but it didn't. It's been a month and a half and every few days he'll randomly tell me "Mommy I love snow. It is soooo much fun!"
Brayden's preferred way to exit the sled.
Daddy and Ethan. You can't see him, but he's in front of Greg.
He wasn't too happy about the snow in his face.
But he got over it pretty quick.
Ethan LOVED to sled. He was out there for hours. The other kids would rotate but he stayed out there the entire time.
They also got to play in the hot tub. We went up with the John's and the Mora's, two other families in the area that homeschool. We try to do group activities every other week and this was one of those.
I always tells myself I won't get behind and then it's April and I haven't posted January events. So this will mostly be pictures and commentary.
We walk to school almost every morning and Maddie really loves it.
Maddie and Tawny at the John's house. We had an awesome night playing Lego Rock Band.
Greg had been baling every night for 4-5 days straight and was exhausted and came home to sleep about 6am. Unfortunately my kids are super loud and he's a light sleeper. So I got everyone ready early and we went to Denny's before school. The kids thought it was so much fun! It doesn't take very much to make their day.
Tawny was Student of the Month in January. We're all so proud of her!
Maddie in all her cuteness.
Tawny ready for soccer practice. For some reason she looks so big and grown up in the picture. Where did my little girl go? (On a sidenote, notice the coordinating flowers in her hair for practice. She was insistent that she needed to wear them. She also came home covered from head to toe in mud that day.)
Tawny at a game. Somehow I didn't get a single picture of Brayden the entire season. In my defense, Greg worked during most of the games, so I was wrangling both little ones. My hands were kinda full.
Tawny with her two besties, Jade and Ava.
Ethan sleeping and looking so innocent. He loves that little monkey.
Brayden got dressed one morning and told me his pants were a little too short. Those are Ethan's!
Look at that belly!
Looking cute for school!
I made this apron for a friend and was seeing if I had the sizing right. Ethan actually really loved it.
Relaxing with Papa. Again, the belly.
Playing miniature golf out in Palo Verde. The kids had so much fun!
What to say about Ethan? We definitely gave him an appropriate nickname: E Rex. He destructive and wild, full of energy and mischievous ideas. He's rough and rowdy and has yet to go a day without hurting himself or someone else (usually Maddie). But he is also loving, and thoughtful. He loves to cuddle. My two favorite times of day are when he wakes up and right before bedtime. As soon as we wakes up he find me and crawls into my lap. At the end of the day he again crawls into my lap usually with a book or two for me to read. Many nights he puts his hands on both sides of my faces and says "I love you because you are MY mommy. And you love me because I am YOUR Ethan." In those moments all the craziness of the day melts away.
While he is rough he very rarely means to hurt someone. He loves his little sister and tries so hard to help her be happy. He constantly is sharing his food with her, food she shouldn't have. It's a wonder she hasn't choked yet. If she cries he'll bring her toys, many many toys. So many toys that you can't see Maddie because she is completely covered.
He loves to be outside. Trampolines, parks, tractor rides, sporting events, swimming, bikes, he loves it all. He loves to cheer for Brayden and Tawny at their games. When I yell something he'll repeat that some phrase until I yell something else. Obviously I make sure to keep everything I say very positive. His favorite toys right now are our plasma cars. He's worn holes in the toe of nearly every pair of shoes he has from dragging his feet to slow himself down.
He loves nursery. Finally. It was quite a struggle for the first little bit, but now he has so much fun. He comes home every Sunday and tells me what he learned, what he had for snack, and who he played with. A month or so ago he was telling me about playing with the other kids and this is the conversation we had:
Mommy: Did you play with Savannah? Is she your friend
Ethan: Umm..Yeah! I love Savannah. (he really does)
Mommy: Did you play with Katie?
Mommy: Did you play with Quinn.
Ethan: Ummm...Nope. We don't play. We just fight. I hit Quinn and Quinn hits me.
He's a pretty funny kid. There are a few more stories I just have to include.
Last night Ethan told Greg "Come here and sit on my lap!" So Greg pretended to sit on his lap. Ethan's response was "Daddy get off! You are too fat!"
The other day Ethan came in crying saying Brayden had peed on his head. When I questioned Brayden he said "But Mom, Ethan stuck his head in the toilet while I was peeing."
One day Ethan told me,"Mommy I love you so much if you poop on the ground I will clean it up." That's a lot of love.
After valentine's day he got into Daddy chocolate and ate almost an entire pound. When he saw me coming he frantically shoved the last few pieces into his mouth so I couldn't take it away.
After a particularly trying day I jokingly told Ethan that he was driving me crazy. He response was "No I not Mommy. I can't drive. I just walking."
After hitting his head a few times in one morning he went out to the garage, got a bicycle helmet and wore it the rest of the day. He said "it keeps my noggin safe."
One of Ethan's prayers by himself. It went something like this "dear heavenly father, thank you for mommy, thank you for green suckers and purple popsicles and ring pops and ice cream. thank you for papa. help us sleep good and please give Ethan lots of ice cream with chocolate and sprinkles. In the name of Jesus Christ Amen." No lie. I was nearly crying by the end of the prayer from trying to hold in my laughter.
Tawny girl is my little princess. She is a prefect mix of girly and tomboy. She'll get all dressed up just to go work on the farm with daddy. She loves pink, nail polish, hair bows and anything that glitters.
She played soccer this year and did really really well. She scored at least two goals every game except one and had a lot of fun. She is definitely aggressive and competitive like her mommy. She was constantly focused on the ball and scoring. I love her determination and focus. I also really love the enthusiasm she brings to everything she does. Now she is playing Tball and is having so much fun. She rotates with a few others playing on first and is doing really well.
Tawny is doing really well at school. We just got her second trimester report card and it was perfect across the board. She was also the Student of the Month in January. She is reading really well and loves reading books with me. Not only is she excelling academically but I am constantly being told by her teacher, office staff, aides, playground supervisors, etc... that is so kind and aware of those around her. She helps cheer up those who are sad, shares treats I send her for lunch, makes a point to play with those playing alone, always listens and obeys the rules.
She also loves her dance class that she takes from Grandma Terri. She recently competed in the studio's dance competition and did really well. She won overall for her age division as well as overall for all the tap routines. She'll get to perform her dance at the fair and at recital. She also will get two trophies, which she is pretty excited about. She loves to perform and is really excited to perform a solo. I'll admit, me and Grandma are pretty excited that she loves to dance as much as we do.
Tawny is also an amazing big sister and helper. If she sees I need help with something she usually will help without me even asking. She loves helping with Maddie, sometimes a little too much. She does dishes, vacuums, sorts laundry, and pretty much anything else I ask and she almost always does it without whining. She loves to cuddle and spend as much time with me as she can, which of course I love. I pretty much love everything about her.
I wanted to do a separate post on each child. Be prepared for a little bit of bragging. :)
Brayden is really enjoying homeschool and is doing really well (no surprise there). He was doing so well that we decided to test him out of 2nd grade and move him onto 3rd for math and literature. I was a little hesitant at first, but now I am so glad that we did. He finally seems to be at a level where he is being introduced to new material and having to think a little bit. Science seems to be his favorite subject, followed closely by math. He loves to read, but doesn't love the analysis that comes along with his literature assignment. I can't say I blame him. It's definitely more fun to read for pleasure.
He just finished his soccer season and did really well. He mentally understood the game this year, which I loved to see. He was able to read plays, and get in front of the ball. He scored 5 goals this year, which was great since they only played 6 games. He gave a 100% at all the games and left the field breathless. He was first string and played at least 3 quarters so he was pretty tired but wouldn't quit. Again, something I loved to see. Somehow I didn't get any pictures of him playing, probably because Greg worked most mornings and I had all the kids at the game by myself and didn't have a chance to snap a pic. Sad.
His health has been a lot better this year. I know a big factor in that is his being home schooled. I'm able to control his exposures and catch his asthma before it becomes a problem. But I also think he may be growing out of his asthma and some of his allergies. He tolerates eggs in smaller amounts and is doing the same with soy. His asthma doesn't seem to bother him as much either. In fact, he played the entire soccer season without a single incident. It's made life so much more pleasant to have that worry lessened. Brayden seems much happier and so am I!
Brayden is doing a lot of other activities as well. He takes tumbling ever week from my mom, and enjoys that. He is also taking piano lessons and is doing really well. He has a natural ear and rhythm. I love hearing someone else playing songs on my piano. I take lessons as well, so it's a fun thing we get to do together. It's nice to have a chance to spend time one-on-one with Brayden. Baseball is just starting and if it's anything like last year he'll love it. He's playing coach pitch this year, which is a nice transition between t-ball and traditional baseball.
Brayden will be 8 in May and has started preparing to be baptized. One goal he set for himself is to have all the Articles of Faith memorized. He's been reading his scriptures every morning. He has such a strong desire to do what is right. He has a very strong knowledge of the gospel for his age and is able to to answer most questions I ask him. He knows what is right and isn't afraid to stand up for his beliefs. His soccer coach was planning a team party on Sunday. This is about what Brayden said to me after he found out,"Mom, our party is on Sunday. I told the coach I wouldn't be there because it is the Sabbath Day, the day I go to church and think about Jesus." No anger or disappointment. Just an attitude of "oh-well. That's just how it is". The coach came up to me a few minutes later and told me what happened. He was so impressed with Brayden and said he would take work off and move the party to Saturday. Another time at soccer some of the boys were ridiculing a less popular girl on the team. As I was looking to make sure Brayden hadn't joined in, he walked over and told them they needed to stop and to be kind. Unfortunately they didn't and instead began to tease Brayden until the coach saw what was going on and put a stop to it. When I asked him about it later all he did was shrug his shoulders and say "I'd rather them tease me than her. She's sad a lot". Wow. I couldn't have been more proud of him then I was at that moment.
The rest of winter break was packed full of fun things. Before I get started though this is a picture of Maddie I missed from Christmas Day. That outfit is the outfit I wore on my first Christmas and I love it. I'm sl glad my mom saved it all of these years.
Because the weather was so nice, we played outside a lot. Brayden, Tawny and Ethan were too fast to get a picture of. They played in the sandbox, trampoline, football and soccer with their uncles, rode bikes, went on Jeep rides and walks with Grandma and Papa. Maddie was a lot more stationary so I got a few cute pics of her. She is the first of my kids that hasn't freaked out over grass.
This is what Ethan looked like pretty much everywhere after Christmas. Greg and I got him a dinosaur backpack. He loves it and wears it pretty much everywhere.
The weekend after Christmas I took the kids to Phoenix for a fun day. I was a little worried about having all four by myself but it turn out to be a really great day. Brayden and Tawny were awesome about helping with Ethan. He couldn't ask for a better big brother and sister. We went to the discovery museum again. I swear the kids could go there everyday and not get tired of it.
After that we went to Red Robin for dinner which was a little crazy. The older three were great, but Maddie had a little meltdown and I couldn't take her out because the other three were still eating and I wasn't going to leave them there alone. So I was that mom with the screaming kid that ruined everyone else's meal. Needless to stay we didn't hang around any extra.
From there we went to the Mesa Temple to see the Christmas lights. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but my hands were full with pushing the stroller and chasing Ethan from one display to the next. The lights were gorgeous and they also ha the most beautiful life size nativity scenes. Each scene showed a different part of the story and had a except from a general authority talk being played that pertained to that scene. Brayden really loved that part and was able to name most of the general authorities speaking by their voice. I was pretty impressed.
Ethan LOVED the lights. He ran from one display to the next, shouting at the top of his lungs how pretty it was and how much he loved it. I was pretty proud of myself for not losing him! He seemed to be a source of entertainment to everyone around us, especially the older couples. I had quite a few people tell me how cute he was. I have to agree.
We had an indoor picnic and watched a movie for New Year's. We celebrated on New York time, which was perfect for the kids.
On New Year's Day we went for a bike ride together. The church is only a block away and it's parking lot is perfect for the kids to ride around in without worrying about traffic. Ethan really loves the the bike trailer. I think it's the speed at which he gets to travel. It's definitely faster than he goes on his tricycle.
Towards the end of Winter Break the kids wanted to have a party, but we didn't really have a reason. It was raining that day, which doesn't happen here too often, so we decided that was definitely a reason to have a party. We went to the dollar store and bought hats, cups, plates and party favors. Then we went to the grocery store and I let the kids pick food for the party. Let's just say the menu was very interesting. Pudding, Cheese Whiz, Koolaid, watermelon, cupcakes. And Brayden couldn't figure out why his tummy hurt afterward.
Papa didn't really care for the pudding. Ha-ha!
We found these sticky mustaches at the dollar store and had so much fun being silly.
This is how Greg prefers to eat his dessert. I like his style.
Maddie also really loves her food.
Ethan had so much fun at the dentist. I was so proud with how well he did. He sat the whole time and did everything they asked. What a big boy!
We started Christmas Day upstairs in our room because that is where the fireplace is. We had to hang our stockings by it so Santa could come. Maddie was very confused with the entire day's proceedings. The other kids understood exactly what to do. Ethan was maybe a little too enthusiastic with the present opening. He kept opening other people's presents.
Daddy got a .223 from the family, as well as a scope, case and tons of ammo. He was pretty excited. He got another rifle from my dad and I got a shotgun from him. I guess it was the year of weaponry for us!
Ethan loved his sock monkey from Grandma Hebdon. He sleeps with it nearly every night and at nap time.
We all loved the hats from Grandma and Grandpa Hebdon, except maybe Maddie. I think I might love them the most of all.!
Maddie and her baby doll.
The sock monkeys have magnetic hands and feet so Brayden quickly discovered all the interesting places he could hang it.
After opening presents from Grandma and Grandpa Hebdon and our own presents at our house, we continued the festivities at my parents. Tawny got Grandma Terri a bracelet.
Clint brought everyone back a gift from Australia. Th boys got matching outfits and Tawny got a purse. I got a really cool boomerang.
Ethan loved his Chuck adventures toy from Grandma Sharlene. He even smiled for the picture which may have been the only time he did that day.
Brayden and Tawny with just some of their loot. Spoiled much?
We spent the rest of Christmas shooting, playing games and eating. Most of my brothers had to leave the next day so things got quiet really fast.
Greg and my anniversary was two days after Christmas. We had planned to have my mom watch the kids and go to dinner, but our plans were changed for us. I ended up with an abscessed tooth and had to go out of town to a specialist for a root canal and crown. What a way to spend our anniversary huh? It wasn't all bad. When the dentist found out it was our anniversary, he numbed me just enough to take the pain away and sent me and Greg out for dinner before he did the root canal. I thought that was very kind, especially since he stuck around and didn't even start my root canal until 6:30pm. It was great to spend some alone time with Greg, even considering the circumstances.