Friday, April 6, 2018


Tanner was able to take the day off for his Birthday and like a responsible adult spent most of the day running errands and working on paperwork. We had the Elders over for Quiche and Strawberry Shortcake. The kids were excited to give Tanner his gift. And Tanner tried really hard to show excitement when he opened it. I don't think he would have had to try so hard if we would have went with Chet's idea for a gift: a new mountain bike, way more exciting than dress shirts. Maybe next year...

Mariah was so excited for her Birthday. She decided that instead of a party with friends we would just do a party as a family and then she could go on a date with mom and dad.

 I had a bunch of her toys lined up on the couch to wish her a Happy Birthday in the morning.

 Mariah picked out this cake on Pinterest and she and Chet helped me from start to finish. It wasn't perfect, but it's the best cake I've ever made and Mariah was pretty tickled with it so I'm calling it a win. 

We went to the library in the afternoon because Mariah was desperate for some new reading material. 
Her new tutu from Grandma and Grandpa Young

Mariah picked homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, we had some cake and ice cream and then watched Tangled. Mariah got to Facetime with her Auntie Em, and her good friends Max, Jane, and Norah. She also talked on the phone with Grandma Young and told her all about how the characters in Tangled "kissed three times!" without being married. "But I closed my eyes each time." 

Later in the week we went on our date with Mariah. A friend watched Chet and Austin for us. Mariah picked bowling which she has never done before.  

 It was so fun watching her lob the ball down the alley and jump up and down the whole time it slowly rolled towards the pins. 
 Mariah was so pleased when she beat me, and that was the first thing she told Chet when they were reunited. 
She also got pizza. When I asked her if she had fun on her date she said, "Yeah, but it started to get a little boring without another kid there." Tanner and I are boring people, plus the girl really loves her brothers. 

It was so fun to make this little girl feel special. 

Easter Festivities

I tried to make Easter more like Christmas this year, with activities weeks before to help my children understand the importance of the day. We made resurrection rolls and celebrated Palm Sunday as well. We spent an FHE talking about Jesus clearing the temple and then discussing how we could make our home more like a temple.

Mariah reminded us that the kids needed to wear their Easter clothes on Palm Sunday because we wouldn't be at church on Easter Sunday.

Chet was so excited to coordinate his outfit with Austin and picked out the shirts himself. Tanner had to work that day so there were a few scary mommy moments that morning, but somehow I still got some good smiles out of them. Thank goodness kids are so forgiving. 

Laying down our "cloaks" and waving palm leaves to celebrate Christ's entry into Jerusalem. Austin saying "Hosannah!" was pretty adorable. 

We did some fun secular Easter things too. One day we had an Easter Egg hunt at our house. It was pouring rain so we had the younger kids collect eggs in the house and then sent the older kids outside for their hunt. I was surprised at how focussed Austin was on getting eggs. 

 Chet wasn't feeling very well that day, but he perked up long enough to get his eggs. After that he went to his room and fell asleep through all the noise of the party. 

I waited for a time when Tanner would be home to dye eggs, that way I could still be a fun mom. 

Easter morning I had a scavenger hunt where the kids found eggs containing different things that represented the last day of the Savior's life and his resurrection. I also bought chocolate rabbits for the kids and they were so excited about that. They nibbled on them all throughout the day and finished them before dinner. 

We were able to get our kids more involved with General Conference this year too. We made sure they were focussed for the Solemn Assembly and sustaining of our new Prophet President Nelson. It was such a special moment when we all raised our hands, even Austin. Even though we were thousands of miles away, the Spirit was still so strong. How grateful we are for a Prophet! 

I am so grateful for Easter and what it means. Sharing this time with our children makes it all the more special. 

Our Baby Girl

Another trip around the sun for our oldest. She has learned and grown so much this past year it has been so exciting to watch but at the same time a little heartbreaking. Time refuses to slow down! Here's her Birthday Interview: 

Mom: What is your favorite color?
Mariah: Blue 

Mom: What is your favorite food?
Mariah: Mac and Cheese (She loves hot dogs and pepperoni pizza too, very healthy palate) 

Mom: What is your favorite animal?
Mariah: Cheetah

Mom: What is your favorite book?
Mariah: My Fairytale Book (Hans Christian Anderson Fairytales, a birthday present)

Mom: What is your favorite movie?
Mariah: Tangled (also a birthday present)

Mom: What is your favorite song?
Mariah: Gethsemane 

Mom: What is your favorite dessert?
Mariah: Unicorn Cake

Mom: What do you like to do for fun?
Mariah: Play soccer and draw pictures

 What is your favorite thing to do with Mom?
Mariah: Sit and talk with her

Mom: What is your favorite thing to do with Dad?
Mariah: Play frisbee with him

Mom: What is your favorite thing to do with Chet?
Mariah: Pretend that I'm a mommy and he's the baby (She really loves being the boss)

 What is your favorite thing to do with Austin?
Mariah: Make him laugh (Her specialty is making him laugh so hard he gets hiccups)

Mom: Who is your best friend?
Mariah: Chet

Mom: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Mariah: Author and Illustrator 

Mariah truly is a joy to be around. She is always seeking out new friends wherever we go. A big way that she shows love is through giving gifts. She is always picking out toys and treasures to give to her friends and she gets so excited when they are excited with what she has given them. 

Mariah loves babies and helping with little kids. Whenever friends are over she goes right to the youngest kids and tries to help as much as she can. I know that she is going to be such a big help when her baby sister is here. She even wipes Austin's nose, when he'll let her. 

"Taking" a picture. She got them all to sit there, hold still, and smile. I was impressed.

She has done so well with school. She really wants to do everything right so she can get frustrated at times but she doesn't give up. Her favorite thing to do is read. After a trip to the library she spends the whole afternoon reading to her brothers. Every day during quiet time she reads and also spends at least thirty minutes reading at night. She has written a few poems complete with pictures and loves to narrate stories to me. 

She is quite the girly girl; accessorizing her toys and drawing girls in beautiful dresses. She loves to pick out her dress on Sunday and only picks the most fluffy, flowery dresses. She loves reading about boys being gentleman and tries to drop hints to Chet about the right way to treat a lady. 

She loves makeup

Mariah has a strong desire to do what is right and is a great example to her brothers. We couldn't have asked for a better oldest child. We love our little Mariah Jeanne and are so grateful she is in our family. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Those Little Moments

It's been a while since I did a post on the fun things our kids say...

One day Mariah and Chet decided they would decorate the deck. They outlined the deck with leaves and rocks and at the end Mariah told me, "It's surprising to do it all in one day!". It must have felt like a pretty big job to her. Our Landlord came over to check on something and Mariah and Chet told him to look at their decorations. He was very sweet and told them how nice it looked.
Smashing rocks with a hammer. 

One day I was telling the story of Jacob and his twelve sons. I asked Mariah how she would feel if she had twelve brothers and she said, "I would be driving all over the place!". When asked why she said, "Because girls are more calm.". Her dad might disagree with that theory, and my driving skills would prove his point.

Mariah and Chet have been on a Star Wars kick lately so I have had to brush up on all the characters. One day Mariah started talking about one character and said, "You know, Dilly Dilly Jam Jar.". I was pretty confused until after telling me a little more I realized she was talking about Jar Jar Binks. Close enough.

Out of the blue Mariah said, "What if instead of the Olympics they had eating competitions? Like seeing who could eat the most chicken nuggets?". I didn't tell her that competitions like that do exist because I'm pretty sure she would be training for them if she knew. With how many chicken nuggets she can eat in one seating she might already be...

Mariah still loves all kinds of creatures. She has gotten pretty good at catching different bugs. One day I heard her say, "Two little flies for my two little hands!". Blech...I had to ruin the fun and put a stop to that.

Mariah still narrates while she plays and one day I overheard her say, "After six months she was doomed to have another baby.". Doomed might be a strong word choice, but I laughed pretty hard...

While talking with someone about ear aches Mariah told them how "my ear drum blasted". She meant burst but blasted sounds better.

I made Lasagna a while ago and Mariah said, "More Slovakia!". Yeah, obviously I don't make lasagna very often.

Chet is always talking and says so many funny things.

One day I told the kids, "I bet in Heaven you begged Heavenly Father, 'Please let Tanner and Ashley be our parents!'." Chet quickly replied, "We did not say that!". I tried to not let it hurt my feelings.

After explaining what a hobby was Chet said, "One of my hobbies is sleeping.". Me too, Chet, me too.

Mariah can get a little bossy while they play but Chet does a pretty good job not getting pushed around:
Mariah: Chet I'm going to be a huge Bobcat and you are going to chase me.
Chet: No, I'm going to be a bobdog.

Mom: I'm going to jump in the shower real quick.
Chet: Don't jump in, you could hurt yourself. Just step in.

When listing perks of being a grown up, "Being a grown up is fun too because then they can eat whatever they want. And wear whatever they want.". About the only perks there are...

The kids love to open the door whenever they see the mailman coming; it probably gives him a heart attack when they do it. One day Chet was already in his pajamas and the mailman commented on that. Chet quickly let him know that I was still in my pajamas from that morning. It was 3:45 in the afternoon...just one of those days.

After seeing his Aunt Brittany's snow boots, "Those boots are too cool for a girl.". He is a boots kind of guy.

Chet loves all things cowboy. The only thing he draws right now are pictures of him on a horse with a rope and cows. Sometimes he's roping the cows in the pictures. The other day while giving me a play by play of what he was pretending he said, "It's hard to rope cows on a bucking bronco.".
With his six-legged horse

My dad was in an accident and Chet was so worried about who would help at the ranch. He quickly volunteered to go and help. He is already planning the time when he will go live at Grandma and Grandpa's ranch. He said his wife would live there too but she wouldn't have to work hard like him because she will just stay at home and be a mom. Good to know he doesn't think I work too hard.

Chet loves assigning random numbers to things. One day he was pretending he was an Olympian Cross Country Skier. After I asked him if he was nervous about his race he said, "Twelve times he's done this and won (talking about himself in the third person). And he practiced 65, 82, 12. One day he came out of the bathroom and said, "Mom I just pooped 45!". I think that means a lot?

Austin is still mainly communicating in one word sentences but he has been saying a few cute things.
Getting filthy at the park

For the longest time everything had to be assigned a mama and da-ee(daddy). While reading books he picks who the momma and da-ee are and he has just recently started picking which character is Austin.

He loves to pretend to be a dog, cat, pig and monkey. He also pretends to be a daddy and a doctor at times. Lately he has become obsessed with Batman and never wants to change out of his Batman or Superman jammies. It's pretty cute.

Almost every mealtime after we have all sat down he looks at me with the sweetest expression and says, "Tanks, momma.". It melts my heart every time. Sometimes he decides to be silly and calls me by a different family member's name. He thinks he's so funny.

When I ask him if he has a stinky diaper he says, "no, toots".

Everything is the color pink to him and if there is a choice he always wants pink.

Austin always wants to be a part of school each day and as he scribbles he will say random letter sounds or say "hump" as he draws. (Chet is learning to write his letters and there are many with humps so Austin has fixated on that word.)

He loves to be just like Chet and it's neat to see how he looks up to his big brother.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

When Grandma and Grandpa Come

Our kids had been eagerly anticipating Grandpa and Grandma Young's visit months before they came. Mariah even told Chet one day, "You can ask Grandma for treats whenever you want and she never says no. Even before breakfast!". The girl speaks the truth.  My parents came the day before Tanner and I had to leave for our cruise so I was a little nervous that Austin would be scared but he adjusted so fast to Grandma and Grandpa. I'm sure all the treats had something to do with it.

After we got back from the cruise, I took my parents to DC so they could do some sight seeing there. The first day they did a bus tour to all the main monuments around DC while the kids and I stayed at the Wunderli's and played all day. They have such a fun set up in their backyard: tramp, roller coaster ramp, and zipline. A brand new puppy was the icing on the cake.

The next day the kids and I tagged along on another bus tour that was more of a drop off and jump on at your own leisure.

 We didn't let the rain affect us too much. We got to see most of the monuments from the bus which is the best way to do it with three small children. 
 The headphones and being on the top level of the bus were the best part for Mariah and Chet.
 Changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery. The kids really felt the Spirit there during that ceremony. They quieted right down. It really is a special thing to witness. 
 Doesn't get any cuter...

While my parents were at the Holocaust Museum I took the kids to the new African American museum. We went to the bottom levels to learn about slavery and segregation. It was sad, but I think it was important for my children to learn how wrong it is to judge someone and take away their freedom simply because of the color of one's skin. I was fighting back tears the whole time explaining things to them. Once you discuss those things with an innocent, prejudice-free child you really begin to feel the injustice of it all. 
The stairs at the museum were their favorite part. All of the employees at this museum were so kind. I was so impressed with that. 
 And Austin got a nice nap while we were there.

After that we walked down to the Holocaust Museum and went through Daniel's Story, which tells a little about what the Jewish people went through from the perspective of a child. So basically the museums we went to were depressing, but a good learning experience for Mariah and Chet.

Before heading home we ate at Union Station. Grandpa disappeared and came back with ice cream bars for everyone. He really knows the way to our hearts.  
 Grandpa looks a little grumpy in this picture, but he really was tickled to see how happy the kids were with the ice cream. 
Austin ate the whole bar all by himself. 

The kids were so good on this trip. They survived on just snacks most of the day and the only time we had a meltdown was when we got back to the car that night and I had the nerve to change Austin into his pajamas. There was lots of screaming and flailing limbs, but considering how good he had been the whole day I didn't mind too much. 

There was lots of rain on the drive home but we made it home before it started to snow. We were planning on going to Kirtland, Ohio the next morning but we woke up to snow and frigid temperatures and decided it might be better to stay home.

We also got to celebrate Grandpa Young's birthday while they were here. We went to a WVU basketball game.
The Mountaineers won the game and we all had fun singing Country Roads as we walked out. 
Austin was much better during this game than he had been the year before. I didn't even get a fat lip. Amazing the difference a year makes.

Our hometown celebrity! Mariah and Chet loved chanting, "Let's go Mountaineers!".

My mom got to go to my Ultrasound appointment and be the first to find out the gender of our baby. After seeing her face I just knew it had to be a boy. I didn't think she would be able to hide her excitement if it were a girl. There have been 8 grandsons in a row on the Young side of the family so we have all been itching for a girl. My mom got a balloon at the grocery store and wrapped it in a box for us to open that night when Tanner got home from work. Then we drove Grandma and Grandpa to the airport. 

And that night we opened up our box and out floated a pink balloon. So we will be welcoming another girl into the Crossley family at the beginning of June! I still am shocked at how well my mother hid her excitement. 

It was so wonderful to have them here for a little while. The kids had such a wonderful time with them and we all felt a little more loved when they left. 

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Little Vacay

For several years now Tanner and I have been talking about going on a cruise. So at the beginning of January we went down to Mexico on a Royal Caribbean cruise. 

We went with our dear friends Marshall and Lisa and had such a good time. 
 On the first day of the cruise we entered a spa raffle and Tanner's name was the first one drawn. We were so stoked. And then he got his prize...nail polish and fuzzy socks. It was pretty hilarious. We were even able to convince Tanner and Marshall to do a Zumba class with us. Surprisingly they were the only guys doing it. Sadly Tanner was behind me so I didn't get to see his wicked cool dance moves. But they were such good sports. 
 Shuffle board was a definite hit. Tanner's one regret was that he didn't play shuffleboard more. He really is an old man at heart. 

 Yes thats right, we each have two desserts in front of us...thats what you do on a cruise right?
 At our first port in Cozumel we got to see some cool ruins and learn about the Mayan people. We then went to a beach. The water was surprisingly cold though so I just dipped my toes. But the fajitas were good so I was happy. I'm just there for the food anyways.
This picture pretty much sums up how Tanner and I feel about getting our pictures taken. But thats our cruise ship behind us, so it needed to be documented. On the second day at port we didn't get the excursion we really wanted so we decided the all inclusive beach resort would be pretty cool. Turns out everyone else who picked that excursion did so based on the unlimited alcoholic drinks, not the kayaks...huh. But we still had a good time because if there's one thing we can do it is have fun without getting drunk. We went kayaking, played miniature golf, ate lots of authentic Mexican food and walked along the beach looking for shells. 

After this cruise I have learned that an all-inclusive vacation is the way to go, whether on land or ship. I loved being able to eat whenever I wanted and not having to worry about what to make or cleaning up after. It was glorious. Also, it is so great to be on vacation with people you love. Marshall and Lisa are so wonderful and we had so many great conversations, played lots of games and even made new friends. I also learned that after five days of being away from my children I start to get pretty anxious. 

My parents were awesome and came out to watch the kiddos, who didn't even miss us. I asked Mariah the other day if she did and she said, "No, I did wish I was with you sometimes, because I wanted to be on a boat in Mexico. But we had so much fun with Grandma and Grandpa! They spoiled us." Thats what Grandma and Grandpa do best. 

One day we were able to Facetime them and Mariah came onto the screen holding a huge soda. She just raised her eyebrows at us a couple times as if to say, "Yeah, they let us get this and there's nothing you can do about it." . They got to go to McDonalds, get ice cream and donuts and even went to the Children's Museum here. 
 One day Chet insisted on everyone going to the store dressed as cowboys, my dad already does that so it wasn't a sacrifice but Chet loved it.
 Chet loved learning all about being a cowboy.
 After we got home Grandma dressed Mariah all up and did her makeup. Mariah wanted to wear the dress we got for her in Mexico. She was so tickled with her dolled up look. 
Chet didn't want to be left out so I painted a dog face on him. This picture cracks me up. 

Our return flight wasn't going to get us home until one in the morning. There was an earlier flight that would get us home at bedtime and we decided to talk to an airline employee to see if we could get on that flight. At first it was looking like we would have to pay more and we were trying to decide if it was worth paying more for. Then the wonderful Southwest employee talked to her supervisor and switched us at no extra cost. It was one of those little things that meant a lot. 

The night we got home they were all "hiding" and we had to find them. It was such a wonderful reunion. I had missed my babies so much and they were so excited to see us. Austin kept kissing me over and over, giggling the whole time. It was pretty magical. 

It was wonderful to get away but even more wonderful to come home to those we love most.