Friday, July 14, 2017

Our 18 Month Baby

I know, I know...he should be a toddler by now. But I'm in denial about it. Almost daily I am telling his brother and sister that he's "just a baby!". And they don't argue with me, therefore it must be true.

  • Austin has become verrry opinionated in the last 6 months. I know I should be happy about this but I often look back on the times of his "go with the flo" attitude and wonder where it went. 
  • Although he knows what he wants he doesn't know how to say what he wants. The boy is still not talking. He says hi...we think. It sounds more like haaaa, but he does say it when he is waving. He makes all kinds of sounds and finds his own way to communicate what he wants. Sometimes when he gets really desperate he'll resort to sign language. He came up with his own sign for a treat: while sucking on his finger he pulls it out to make a popping noise. Pretty cute...but I'd still prefer he talked. 
  • He finally will sit through little board books and he would have me read to him all day if it were up to him. 
  • If anyone else starts laughing Austin has this cute fake laugh. 
  • He now gives kisses and blows kisses, sometimes with a fist instead of an open hand. 
  • Anything Mariah or Chet can do, Austin can too. It can be a little scary. 
  • Austin has just recently started pretending that he is a puppy. For some reason his favorite time to do it is when he hears Tanner coming up the stairs from work. 
  • He has mastered the art of the fake cry. Sometimes when he gets scolded he drops his head and with a perfect pout cries in the most pitiful way. The boy is good...

I guess we'll keep him

Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Things They Say

Children can be real hard sometimes...a lot harder than I ever thought it would be before children. But children can also be so sweet, funny, wise, loving, the list could go on and on. And that is what I want to remember about my children, not the hard times. So here's some cute things they have been doing lately. And just maybe documenting these times will help me to forget the not so cute ones.

Our friends Serge and Jeanella sent these outfits all the way from Gabon. 
One day when we were planning to eat out Mariah said, "What I really want is something fancy like chicken nuggets." I don't know how we're ever going to afford that girl...

Mariah is fascinated by the human/animal body. The other day there was a bird in our yard that had been gutted by some predator, probably a cat. Mariah wanted to study every little bit of it and was so fascinated by the intestines and other organs. One day while snuggling with Tanner she said, "Dad I like touching your blood streams". 

Whenever I am fixing her hair Mariah talks my ear off. One day she said, "I like all things that are beautiful with wings." She paused and then said, "Not mothses (moths)". Apparently they don't fit her beauty standards. 

One day we were listening to the song Mother Knows Best from Tangled. Mariah started asking me all sorts of questions about why Rapunzel's mother was so mean to her so then I told her the whole back story and that she wasn't her real mother. Mariah then said, "she's just a dumb witch" in the sassiest voice. I just agreed with her.  

After spending the day at a place where there were a lot of Asian children, Mariah was looking at herself in the mirror. She stretched her eyes out and said, "I wish my eyes looked like this". I asked her if that was because of the little girls she had played with the day before. She said, "yeah, their eyes were beautiful". I agreed and then told her that her eyes were beautiful too and wasn't it wonderful that Heavenly Father made so many different eyes. I hope she never becomes prejudiced towards certain looks because someone else tells her it isn't beautiful. 

Chet is at that wonderful age where he is constantly saying hilarious things. I wish everyone could hear all these in the adorable way that he talks. I don't write down half of them but here are a few: 
Chet loves pickos (pickles). 
One day I was talking to the kids about the second coming and what would happen. I then told them how wonderful it would be to have the Savior on the earth with us. I told them how all the animals would be nice and we imagined what it would be like to play with a big lion and not be afraid. A few days later Chet came to me and said, "The earth is done burning so they can pet crocodiles and alligators now." So I guess he got part of it...

While painting he told me, "I'm painting blossom dogs. They shoot out parkles (sparkles) and kill people." The name is really misleading.

One day Tanner's parents met us at our church. When we drove into the parking lot we saw their car already there. While walking into the church Chet said, "Grandma and Grandpa don't have kids so they can be fast. I wish you didn't have kids so we could be faster." Uh...ok.

One day at WalMart talking to the cashier:
Mariah: I'm just a girl with two brothers (saying it in such a sad, mistreated way)
Cashier: Oh really?
Chet: Yeah and only one dad
The cashier laughed pretty hard at that. Poor kids.

After asking, "Chet what do you like to do?" Chet said, "Cut ham". Tanner and I don't really like ham so he has probably only had it once in his life. It was so funny and random.

While saying his morning prayers: "thank thee that we can watch Mr. Rogers". Right when he said amen, "Can we watch Mr. Rogers?" Almost every prayer now he asks to watch that show. Every once in a while I let him just to grow his testimony of prayer. The boy is smart.

After spinning around, "Mom did you feel the dizziness that I made?"

Today during lunch: "It would be fun if us lived at the church and I was the Bishop." As he continued talking it was revealed that the reason why he thought it would be so fun is because of all the cool toys in Nursery that he doesn't get to play with anymore. I'm sure that is what the Bishop is doing...

This is what keeps me going as a mother...there are so many hard times and if I focus on that then my vision and my drive for motherhood isn't where it needs to be. So if anyone was wondering why I try to only post about the good in our life, this is why. Dwelling on the negative has never done anything good for me. So just know, we are far from perfect but we cherish the perfect moments we do have as a family.

When the days Warm Up

I'm playing a little bit of catch up after neglecting the blog for a while. We have been loving the warm weather and all the adventures that have come with it. 

One day for our co-op preschool the kids were able to see a firetruck and some firemen were there to answer their questions. But that wasn't the exciting part. The creek by the firetruck was so much better. I hadn't planned for water so I just took off the kids' pants and they had a blast. 
 I work with the Young Women at my church and each year they have a fundraiser to raise money for Girls' Camp. This year we decided to do a yard sale. I left to set up on Friday afternoon when Tanner got done early with work and was gone until late at night. Tanner took the kids grocery shopping, made them dinner, and put them to bed. And then on Saturday I left bright and early in the morning and didn't get back until dinnertime. Tanner took the kids to a health fair at the mall where they got all kinds of toys and prizes and their faces painted. When I got home Tanner had already made dinner and was getting the kids out of the bath. The man is a keeper.
 On another preschool day we went to WVU's farm days. The kids had so much fun, especially holding the chicks. They may be city slickers but at least they aren't afraid of the animals.
 We have loved living an hour from Grandpa and Grandma Crossley but we knew that eventually they would be moving. We "helped" with some of the moving. But truthfully when I say we I really mean Tanner because I wasn't much help with three kids. After Grandpa and Grandma were out of their house they came and stayed at our house for a week. It was so wonderful to spend some time with them before they left. One day they took the kids and I to the Aviary in Pittsburgh. The kids had so much fun with all the different birds. The penguins and a big blue Macaw were some of their favorites. They also got to see a sloth up close and watch it eat and see some big ol' bats. 
Mariah and Chet were each picked to try to feed birds from their hands but the birds weren't interested that day. Chet was so cute holding up his sardine. He was so serious about it all and when his arm started to get tired he used his other arm to hold it up. Austin even loved looking at all the birds and only cried for a little bit when a very territorial little bird pecked him. 

The night before Grandpa and Grandma left, Mariah came out of her bedroom and asked if she could snuggle with Grandma for a little while. Then she started to cry and grandma started to cry and I started to cry. It was a sad but special moment. Then we told Mariah about the family reunion and she has been counting down the days. We have missed them but are so grateful for the time we were able to spend with them. 

One day when Tanner got done at 3 we headed up to Coopers Rock for a little hike. 

We are our happiest when we are outside, so we spend a lot of time outside. 

On memorial day the kids and I headed out to Chestnut Ridge for a birthday party. While turning someone ended rear ending us. The back windshield was knocked out and our back bumper was pretty smashed. After trading insurance information we headed up to the party. The car could still drive and Tanner was working that day so I figured the show must go on. And I'm so glad I didn't head back home because it was such a fun day. 
Many salamanders were caught. At the end of the day when we were leaving Mariah insisted that all of the salamanders were set free. The other kids at the pond didn't dare debate with her. 
Austin's favorite part of the day was the chocolate cake. 
Tanner met up with us at the campground to check on the car and make sure we could make it home. I really wanted to do something for Memorial Day so after the party we went to a cemetery by our house and tried to find the graves with American flags by them. We talked about the meaning of the holiday and how grateful we were for the soldiers who have fought for our country. And then we found a gravestone of someone who fought in the American Revolution. It was so cool!

This last weekend we went to Pricketts Fort which is a living history place. We all learned a lot and afterwords we got some delicious ice cream. 

 Austin's first cone all to himself.
The big kids got to pick their flavors: Mariah got mint chocolate chip and Chet got Superman. 
And when did he decide he could grow up?! The nerve...

All this fun is making us even more excited for the rest of the summer. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Easter Season

I love the Easter season. There is so much symbolism that can be found in nature: the baby animals being born, the new life bursting forth in green leaves and blossoms on the once brown trees, the earth coming alive again just as our Savior did. I always finish Easter feeling like I could have done more to help my children feel the true spirit of Easter but at least they are developing a love for the holiday and know what it is really all about. A couple weeks before Easter Tanner's mom did a palm Sunday celebration with us. The kids had a lot of fun waving their "cloaks" and palm leaves and shouting Hosanna. 

We dyed Easter eggs because I'm a fun mom...but really I kind of dread this each year with little kids. But they did really big messes. 
 Easter Sunday best.
 About a week before Easter Mariah saw this umbrella at a store. She immediately began telling me how badly she needed it and that I should buy it for her. I realized it might be a fun Easter gift and tried to distract her. We left the store without the umbrella and she was not too happy. I suggested we could go back to the store with her birthday money but she said she wanted me to buy it. Needless to say, I wasn't too happy and it took a lot of love for my daughter to go back and get that umbrella. But at only $4 a pop I couldn't pass up on the good deal. 
 All the while through Mariah's breakdown Chet was saying, "I'm not crying about the umbrella mom..." 

 The belt Chet has on was mine as a little girl. He really loves it and insisted on wearing it. 
 And then there's this sweet thang, who wrestled me all through Sacrament Meeting. We're at that stage...
This picture makes me giggle. We told Mariah she couldn't bring candy into Sacrament Meeting and this is the face we got for pictures. I promise she really is a happy girl most of the time. 

We had Tanner's parents, Serge, Isis and Rob over for Easter dinner. And I didn't take any pictures. But it was so nice to have family and friends here. 
This family picture was nothing short of a miracle. After naps I changed the kids back in their clothes and Tanner even got back in his dress clothes because he loves me. We put his phone so the kids could see themselves and they actually had real smiles. I am so grateful for my Savior and the knowledge I have that he lives and because of that we will live again too. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mini Vacay

Tanner gets a certain amount of days off each year so we decided to take off for a long weekend to DC. Our first stop was the temple. Tanner took the kids into the Visitors Center while I went in. The grounds were so beautiful! All the dogwoods, cherry trees, and a plethora of others that I didn't know the name of were in full bloom. I left the temple just in awe of Heavenly Father's beautiful creations. So I then insisted that we walk around the temple together as a family. Not sure if anyone else appreciated it as much as me but I just couldn't believe how vibrant all the colors were. 

 I have a new found love for Dogwoods...

 After taking this picture I remembered that we have a photo a lot like this one taken at the Salt Lake Temple...
Be still my heart! How have they grown so much?! We just love our temples and are so grateful for all the sacrifices that have been made for us to enjoy them. 

 That night we went to a hotel with a pool. We had high hopes of wearing the kids out so they would crash in our room. The kids were so excited to swim and that became their favorite part of the trip. After swimming we went to our room and tried to settle down for the night. This was the first time we have tried to get Austin to fall asleep with people in the room...and it didn't go too well. But we survived and Tanner was up bright and early to go to the temple. I had planned on taking the kids swimming while Tanner was at the temple but the pool didn't open until the So the kiddos got to watch shows in the room that they have never seen before and were just fine with that.

After Tanner got back we headed to the zoo. The kids were so great and loved seeing all the animals. We did trek all the way to the top of the zoo to see the beloved Pandas and they weren't out...but besides that it was really fun. Plus you can't beat free.

 Austin really liked the chimpanzees and gorillas. 

That night we headed to Tanner's cousin's home. They were celebrating their own holiday known as Interesting Day. They try to do fun and creative things the whole day. So we got to try dragon fruit and help them make Beef Wellington. And then we got much better sleep than the night before. 

The next morning we headed to downtown DC to see some museums. We were heading for the Museum of Natural History and Tanner was trusting my instincts...big mistake. We ended up at the Native American Museum and decided to start our morning out there. Which worked out well, Tanner and I needed to reconnect with our Cherokee and Mohican roots anyways. 
 Sidenote: this stroller saved our lives...there was very minimal complaining and I think a large part of that was due to this baby. 
 The kids with their Incan pendants they made. 
 After that we headed back the way we came from to the Natural History Museum. But first we took a few photos...

 Seriously, why are family photos so hard?
 The Natural History Museum was packed and the kids were starting to get tired so we did a quick walk through of the first floor and decided to call it a day. I really love going to free places because if it doesn't quite go the way you had planned it isn't a big deal. 
On the way home we stopped at some outlets and ran into the Easter bunny. Austin was so cute: he really loved the bunny and was smiling and waving in the shyest way. That was as close as he would get in the picture.