Got Spunk?

Not everyone in this world is blessed to have great self esteem and confidence in abundance, and I am privy as to why that is.. Princess P stole it.  It makes sense really - there's only so much to go around!  This girl kills me with her do or die personality and is constantly keeping us on our toes! :)  She only turned 4 in April but sometimes it feels like she's closer to 14!  Happy birthday to our little fire cracker P!!
Daddy popped in for a surprise visit during our birthday lunch at Chik-fil-A :)
The only thing she was set on was the color of her cake..
Because what 4 year old girl doesn't want a turquoise cake with purple frosting that resembles Sully from Monsters Inc more than your typical pink princess loving girly girl?!  It's all about the shock value, and "pink" just wasn't going to cut it! ;)
Presents were selected with care from her excited siblings :)
Charming C was already in bed but still sent his love via Shirley Temple :)
The major theme?  All things Minnie!  This girl has gone through a huge (and slightly unexpected) Minnie theme.. especially since we don't have cable and she doesn't even watch the show!
Of course we also had to have a party with a few friends which included the classics.. like tug-of-war:
In which case my husband took on 8 kids, and did NOT let them win!  Silly man! ;)
and 3-legged races:
aka lots of fun picture-worthy moments of happy kids being well, kids!   Happy birthday to the biggest kid of them all!  We love you crazy girl!! :D


Man Up

One of the (many) reasons I experienced such immense joy on the day I married my sweet husband was the realization that he would be by my side for better or worse, in any and all times of need.  How naive was I?!  Little did I know that in my all-time-GREATEST moment of need, he would be gone.  Not down the street at the supermarket kind of gone either.  No, that would have been merciful!  He was long gone as in Out. Of. Town. :(  Why is it that all things crazy happen when he skips town?..  The irony. Truly.

I HATE being home alone.  Yes I realize having multiple kids at home doesn't really constitute as being alone, but when everyone is nicely tucked into bed and the house is eerily quiet with no one to talk to but yourself, you start to notice things that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.. take the squeaking and scuffling sounds coming from the laundry room for example.. First you think, no way!  I'm overreacting or hearing things because I'm a paranoid disaster of a pregnant female (mind you this happened in January when I was 6 months along - I am NOT pregnant again!).  But just to be safe you decide to put out a glue trap or two.  At this point, you can think it all away if your talented enough, that is until you hear the solidifying sounds of a distressed creature being caught just moments after you set the dumb thing out!  A call to the husband of course goes unanswered and you slowly pull the little trap out from behind the washer to toss the evidence when you find not one, not TWO, but THREE BABY mice!!!  Houston we have a problem.
In the next 24 hours I caught ELEVEN mice.  9 babies and 2 adults.  I choked back more vomit in one day than the remainder of my life combined.  Women and mice aren't meant to cross paths.  PREGNANT women and mice is just pure evil!  Thankfully for my sweet husband I had all creatures disposed of (with the occasional help of my ever eager 6yr old son, Handsome H), and their little home with all it's immense mess underneath the washing machine thoroughly bleached before he even stepped foot in the door.  If that's not cause for some intense chocolate therapy I don't know what is!  The moral of the story?  Don't ever let your husband leave town.  Work may be important, but the emotional stability of one's wife is a fragile commodity you don't want to live without!  And while I may have been able to man up for 24 hours, I much prefer to let certain jobs be his - it keeps a healthy relationship healthy.  And me still capable of eating dinner! ;P

Big Baby

I remember when Miss B turned one.. she seemed SO old!  Now, I realize one isn't any more than just a really big baby!  I am not in any race to have my kids grow up any faster after seeing how fast the past 10 years of my life has slipped away..  So when our little brasiliero turned 1 year old in January I celebrated and quietly mourned a bit too!  This sweet boy has brought so much life into our family!  He is so incredibly easy as far as babies go that it makes us worry what's in store.. surely it can't last right?!  I feel like I've won the baby jack pot so many times it doesn't seem fair!  He is ALWAYS happy, naps like a champ and is content just to be wherever he is (aka no drive to walk or talk but happy regardless!). :)  He has a special bond with his big sister (Miss B) who of course ADORES him, and he and Bella have the most priceless boy and his puppy relationship I've ever seen! :)  In short, this little roly-poly may be pint-sized, but he has blessed us in HUGE ways!

As long as he has a bottle, clean diaper and something to eat, there will be no complaints.  So when it was time for his own personal cake smash, he was ALL game! :)
What do you get a 5th child who already has all the hand-me-down toys and clothes any kid could ever hope for?  The answer is a hard one to come by but even after all the parental and sibling brainstorming I don't think he cared.. regardless his older counterparts were excited about it! ;)
We love you little man!  Looking forward to many more squishy years to come! :D 


Bailey's Baptism

Parenthood, when done the right way, is HARD work.  We teach, we discipline, we support, we laugh, we cry, we nourish, chauffeur, expect, anticipate, love and plead, all on behalf of our little ones.  It is exhausting, rewarding and unparalleled to all else.  There are days we want to rip our hair out and scream, throw in the towel and say "good riddance"!  But those days are always triumphed by those rewarding days when you see just how much all those "little things" can add up to.  THIS was one of those rewarding days.  My sweet daughter reached the age of eight, the age of accountability in our church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and decided to be baptized as one of the newest members into it.  My heart could not be more full!
I wish I had thought to get a picture of her and her dad dressed all in white prior to entering the baptismal font - it was such a tender sight, one that I will never forget.  When she emerged from the water her face shown with such a sweet light, so full of innocence and truth that it literally took my breath away.
While she was changing into dry clothes, we played this video that I put together for her:
After the baptism, we had a luncheon for family and friends (Copycat "Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Salad") at our home to come and celebrate her sweet decision.
I am so incredibly grateful to have such amazing friends and family who are willing and eager to support her in her decision and help guide her along the path to becoming the woman her Father in Heaven desires of her to be.  It truly takes a village to raise a child, and we have a pretty great one!
Everyone present left their "print" for her to always remember that she has been built on a strong foundation and has such great support on all sides.
I love this sweet girl more than words can express.  I am so incredibly proud of her and all she is striving to become, and all that she already is!  (Her dress is actually white, but for some strange reason it keeps uploading purple..)
"CTR" means "Choose the Right".  Something she always strives to do, and I am so thankful for that :)
We are so proud of you Bailey girl.  We love you and are so thankful to have you in our family!

Great to be EIGHT!

Birthdays and childhood memories.  Too many have been lost from memory, but there are some that I can remember so vividly from those early years, starting around the ripe old age of eight - the same age Miss B turned this year (back in January I admit, but hey, at least it's still 2014!).  Sigh.. I guess that means I need to be extra careful now since she'll most likely remember all of my parenting failures from here on out.  No pressure! :P
For her 8th birthday she chose some of her closest girlfriends to go out to eat and see the Disney movie "Frozen" in theaters.  I kind of felt like I was cheating since it was the lowest maintenance party to date!  And SO much fun!!  I think I enjoyed the movie as much as the girls!  FABULOUS.  Truly.

Of course her actual birthday started out the same as usual with breakfast in bed,
followed by lunch out with mom, 
and of course presents after dinner :)
Sometimes I think I enjoy reliving my childhood through my kids too much.. why can't adults have these kinds of reactions over paper crafts??
The looks of sheer suspense.. or is that concentration?  Her brothers did use a lot of tape..
This is what I like to refer to as trust.  LOTS of trust.
Probably the 4th piggy bank she's owned to date.. why thy can't make cute ones out of plastic I'll never understand.  They are for kids after all!
The classic group shot - I must say they are one fun bunch!
Another perk of being close to family now is cousins coming over for birthday cake! :)  One of my kids FINALLY requested an ice cream cake and I was MORE than happy to accommodate!
Happy birthday B!  These past 8 years have gone by so ridiculously fast since you joined our family.  We love you so much and can't wait to see you continue to develop into an amazing woman some day - you are certainly on the right track and paving the way for all your crazy little siblings to follow! :D