Brynlies First Birthday!

Let's get all the clichè's out of the way first thing: 

"Oh my gosh,where did the time go?"

"I can't believe she's one!"

"She's growing up so fast!"

"I want my baby to stop growing!" 

Actually the last one isn't entirely true. While I like some things about babies, I get super excited and relieved once our kids make it to their first birthday. The hardest part is over (until the teenage years, anyway) and they just keep getting more fun and more awesome each day. 

I felt a little guilty not throwing some huge, themed party like the internet tells me I'm supposed to... 

Just kidding, I didn't. We definitely learned our lesson from Kennedy's first birthday fiasco. While it was fun for everyone else, Kennedy didn't care and I did nothing but run around like a crazy person and clean up after everyone. It sucked. 

So this time I kept it simple and work-free. We went to the dollar store and picked up a few party supplies like cups and plates, some balloons (Kennedy picked out the American one, what can I say? She's patriotic) 
And a banner, just in case anyone forgot why they were at our house 
We invited our families over for a small party. First she opened presents 

And the girl made a haul with new clothes. Yes!!! 

Next was cake. Isn't this the cutest little smash cake ever? Ignore the fact that it's clearly for a boy. I didn't want to wait for a girly one and B doesn't care. I especially love the fact I didn't have to bake a thing. 
And she handled her cake like a boss. 
At first she was a little confused and just kept playing in it, until Cory fed her some. Then the girl couldn't eat it fast enough. She probably ate at least half of it. 
She is one adorable little girl. She has the most perfect face and a smile that instantly kills any bad mood. She's so social and loves talking to and playing with other people. Her laugh KILLS ME each time because it's so funny!! She was worth every hard second of her journey into this life and has been such a perfect addition to our family. We love our baby girl!! 


First Year Of Preschool

Kennedy's first year of preschool is in the books! 

Today she had a program at each school where they sang songs and got scrapbooks from the year. She did great at her first performance. She didn't sing, which didn't at all surprise me, but she did the actions to the songs. 
This one is hard to explain...
Let it be known I got a little emotional at both programs just because she has come so far. I am so proud of her. And as a fellow educator, I know how much teachers fall in love with their kids and how hard the end of the year can be. Kennedy is really sad school is out.

At the second program she literally did nothing. Her face didn't even change expressions. But she looked pretty anyway. And there were cookies at the end. 

There is very little I've been able to get her to tell me about school. She never sings for me, I've never heard her sing the ABC's, and she won't sit and tell me what she learned. But it comes out throughout the day. She's said things I didn't teach her. She's learned manners and how to handle other kids and follow instructions. She counts, writes, and recognizes and writes her own name. I know there is a sea of things she's retained, we just have to be patient as it leaks out. Her speech journey has been incredibly difficult and frustrating but at the same time, a huge blessing in other ways. We love her so much!!! 

Way to go, Kennedy! 
(This is a side by side comparison of her first day of school and her last)


I Would Die For You

Sunday was a hard day for me. 

Church with little kids kind of sucks. Church at 1:00 with little kids really sucks. Church at 1:00 with little kids with sacrament meeting last is ridiculous. But church at 1:00 with little kids with sacrament last by myself is hell. 

Yeah, yeah, lots of women do it with even more kids and survive. I'm high-strung and impatient so back off. :) 

Anywho, I wasn't in the best of moods after church when we went up to my moms house for dinner. My kids were driving me crazy and my patience was nonexistent. 

While loading the kids in the car to go visit my dad at the rehab center (he had his knee replaced this past week) I was just barely keeping it together. 

I went to the opposite side of the car to buckle Kennedy in. As I was doing so she said, "Mommy, I don't want anyone to hurt you!" I looked at her and she had a look of deep concern on her face. I told her no one was going to hurt me. When I leaned over her to buckle the seatbelt, she grabbed me and hugged me around my neck and said, "I would die for you!" 

I choked back tears at the raw sweetness of this little girls love. She has the biggest heart. Most people don't get to see it because she is so painfully shy. But her love knows no bounds. 

I assume she learned about Jesus dying for us in primary and was coming up with her own interpretation in her head. That night while tucking her in we talked about the atonement and that Jesus died for us so we could all live together in heaven when we die. When I said "die" she got upset and I decided to drop the subject for now. 

Some days being a mom is ridiculously hard and then I get moments like that... 

I didn't want to forget it so I wrote it down. I'm so grateful I get to keep these little cuties forever. 

Oh, and by the time I got in the drivers seat to leave, she was telling me:

"Did you know daddy has hit me before?" (He hasn't and never would) 

I hope she's saying the sweet things at preschool and not the fib that Cory Has a domestic violence problem haha. 

Ogden Half Marathon

Oh boy. What a race! 

First of all, I don't have any pictures of myself at this race. It was raining way too hard for me to dare to pull out my phone and take a photo. I was also freezing. I just thought, "Eh, I'll just buy the best professional photo and call it good." Um... No. They're $25 a piece! What a freaking rip off!! So just picture a runner as drenched as possible and that'll be it. Ok, moving on...

I have always had interest in this race. I signed up 2 years ago and ended up dropping out due to illness and being undertrained. Instead I went that year and watched my friends husband run his first half in the pouring rain. I think that was an omen for things to come. 

I was so jazzed about how well Salt Lake went while being sick that I was super hopeful this race would be even better. But the weather had other plans. From the moment the gun went off until the finish it poured!!! It never stopped. And when we came out of the canyon the wind was blowing which was even more fun... Not! I kind of felt hard core at first -- running a half marathon in the pouring rain. But after about mile 8, the cold set in, my body froze up, and I gave up trying to do well and just focused on finishing without getting hypothermia. I was DRENCHED!!! My legs locked up, my hips gave me trouble, and I just wanted to be done and dry. 

But, the positives of the race:

I got to carpool with some friends from the gym. We left at 3 am (setting my alarm for 2:50 in the morning is not something I ever want to do again) and had a total blast hanging out together and laughing at stupid things because we were so tired. 

Everyone was so positive and excited to be running. 

There was a gorgeous rainbow before the start that I didn't get a picture of. 

The volunteers were AMAZING! Not only were they out in the rain but their energy and time dedicated to making the race a positive experience blew me away. They were so fun! Each aid station was a party. No joke. And our bibs had our names on them so I had many volunteers call me by name and tell me "great job!" Or other encouraging words. Loved it! 

It really was an incredibly beautiful course. We ran around the western side of Pineview reservoir and down Ogden Canyon and through the streets of Ogden. So, so gorgeous!! It was raining so hard there were waterfalls coming off the rocks and it was so green. It felt like a fantasy movie. 

The medals are freaking rad. I always love me a good race medal. 

Although I didn't do as well as I had planned, I still had a great experience. And I didn't let it get me down. Not every race can go well and sometimes life just throws you a curve ball; like a monsoon. The second I stopped running though I instantly started shivering uncontrollably. I was barely able to walk to my moms car, my body was spasming so hard. I kind of zombie-crawled into her car and immediately started stripping my saturated clothes off to get warm. I'm pretty sure a couple people saw things they didn't plan on. All part of the race experience, right? Haha 

This is a race I would like to do again and again. Hopefully next time the weather won't be so mean. But if it is, I have learned to buy an actual poncho instead of a garbage bag and to not ditch it halfway through the race, no matter how hot I feel in it. 


Random Acts of Camera Roll; Part 3

Black beans are a hit amongst my children. I know I didn't crave all that Mexican food while pregnant for nothin'! 
The messes afterward are not so cute. And if you've ever changed a black bean diaper, you know what I mean. 

We caught another illness and in the process finally switched to a new pediatrician. It was long overdue and so far we love her. 

Brynlie has been standing and walking with objects that roll. She took 1 step, once. But no activity has been spotted since. 

There was that one time Kennedy bit Brynlie... 

After much pressure from me, Cory finally consented to get Kennedy a climbing harness. She and I CANNOT wait to go!!! 

Kennedy made me a temple! I was so proud of her! Brynlie however, was useless... 

We've been giving thumbs (and toes) up for all this rain. Our state really needs it. 

We have our lazy days like any normal family 
And the days the kids are so cute I think they might melt my face off

Kennedy has been a little anti-social lately and I finally got her to tell me it's because she's afraid to talk to other kids because she says she can't talk well. I cried a lot, it broke my heart, and we've been praying about how to help her, because a 3 year old should never have self-esteem issues. However, one day after preschool her teacher showed me the number books they made and said Kennedy wrote all the numbers by herself except for a little help with 2 and 5. They are AMAZING! I was so proud! And so was she, because she carried the book around everywhere and showed our family. It was a win we really needed. 

We've been out enjoying the weather a bit. 
And I've been enjoying watching these two love on each other. 

And we even made it to a Bee's game and I didn't watch a single minute of baseball. We walked around, rolled down the hill, rode the train, played in the bounce house... You know, the usual things you do at a baseball game. We had a great time though until the rain came and we bailed early. Also, Bill Engvall was at the same game. I flipped a lid that I didn't see him!! 
Brynlie pointing at everything was super cute 
Not cute you say? Let's try another 
Ok, ok, her face is cuter. 
So is this one 
And more pics of crap we did 

Here comes the rain... 

And last but not least, Kennedy and I got a date together today. Hillary took Brynlie for a few hours and Kennedy and I went shopping and out for pizza. It was so nice to spend some alone time together. Maybe too nice because she's been out of her bed 3 times now asking for me... The girl is a little clingy for a first date. 

Until next time, camera roll! 


The Not So Secret, Secret

As I've mentioned before we are finishing our basement. Seems a little weird when we were just renting our house to cure financial woes, no? 

Well, here's the thing about that... 

We learned many things renting our house. One of which was the vast importance of being debt-free. We also got used to paying off debt super, duper fast without a house payment to worry about and really, really liked it. 

We learned that "home" is anywhere a family can be together. 

We learned that we actually are missing things in our current home that are pretty darn important to us, we just didn't realize it until we moved somewhere else that had them. 

And... We learned that watching HGTV all day, everyday, does dangerous things... 

So we decided to sell our house. 

Yep, we are moving. Again. 

It all started a short time after we moved back home. I was so ready to be back in our house but I just kept having this weird feeling we wouldn't be staying long. I didn't want to put up any pictures or start on any projects I had been anticipating. It was weird. 

A couple of months after we moved home a house in my parents neighborhood went up for sale for cheap. Like, DIRT cheap. While it needed a lot of work, I kept entertaining the thought of having a house payment that low and fixing up a house exactly to our liking that had what we really want: a mature, shaded yard that doesn't give our kids heat stroke and isn't visible by every neighbor, a closer drive to grocery stores, a wide variety of people in a ward, anything east of the tracks, not industrial, etc. Thanks a lot, HGTV, for making home reno's look fun! I finally got up the nerve to talk to Cory about that idea. Turns out I wasn't the only one thinking it. 

To make a super long story slightly less long, we prayed and discussed the possibility of selling or house. We got a killer deal on our house when we bought it. The market has increased immensely so we had my cousin who is a realtor come give us some info and help gauge what our house is worth now. With a finished basement, it's worth a heck of a lot more than we paid for it. We didn't realize we were sitting on quite this much equity. If we sold, we would have enough equity to pay off ALL our debt, pay cash for a new family car, and still have enough to buy a fixer upper with a kick-butt yard and ideal location and renovate it to our liking. The amount of work overwhelmed us, but we couldn't get over the idea of being debt-free. That was too good to pass up. We want our student loans outta here!! We weighed the pros and cons and finally decided to take the steps to get our house listed. 

Trust me, it was not an easy decision. I love our house. The market was crazy high when we got married and I never thought we would get a house much less one this nice. I will miss our master bathroom so, so much and all the space. But it's time for a change. 

Since we are such outdoorsy people, a big, shady yard is super important to us, as I've mentioned before. I also HATE living in our area. I didn't realize how much until we were back up in normal land at my parents house. I hate the industrial area, I hate that there's no trees or shade, I hate the semis, I hate the trains, I hate the mosquitoes and voles. If you measure by mileage stores and such aren't too far away but in reality they are. It takes me 20 minutes to get to Kennedy's preschool. So... We are looking for something older and cheaper, which will mean downsizing I'm sure, that we can gut and renovate. Oh, and we are staying in the same city, or one or two cities over, depending on what we find. So we won't be far. We just won't be in BFE anymore. 

I'm actually really excited and ready to just start this adventure. After our house sells we will move back in with my parents (and pay them rent since we're putting them out) and take our time scouting for the perfect house. But we can't list it until the basement is finished which still has a little ways to go. I'm not going to give any projected timelines because if there's one thing we've learned, we suck at estimating our project times. It's usually double or triple the time we guess it'll take. Although in this case, waiting a little longer has been a blessing because the market just keeps creeping up and up. Hopefully we can sell our house for top dollar and move on to the next phase of our life. 

There are some days I get really sad. I've been working on our landscaping this week and as each new thing looks better and better, and each hopeful future idea for our house is passed up, it makes me feel like we are losing so much. But I just have to remind myself that we aren't "losing" it, we are choosing to leave it and it will all be worth it in the end. 

So, wish us luck! And if anyone has any free time, come on by and help Cory finish the basement ha ha.