Monday, October 16, 2017

Two Cute Boys

Michael:
went to the Zoo with us on Saturday and it was such nice weather. We had fun being there all together, and hearing Bennett call all of the animals "Kitty!" That little boy loves animals. Michael has also been taking good care of the ducks and chickens that are still living in the backyard. He's not even afraid of picking them up... I don't pick up chickens. But one of them (Peaches, if you want to get personal) seems to think it's a puppy. She can tell Michael's a softy.

Maddie:
took Westin to toddler time at the Zoo on Tuesday, and to a pumpkin patch playgroup on Friday. We had so much fun meeting up with friends, and the pumpkin patch was really cute. There were different centers for the kids including a mini corn maze, corn pit, story time, "spooky" walk, pumpkin picking, tractor wheel climbing... they loved it! Westin was so happy to see his friend Sam. Westin and I made cookies with duck eggs this week because they're supposed to be great to bake with. They were delicious! But I haven't made cookies in so long, so that's probably a factor here. 

Westin:
really loved his pumpkin patch playgroup and it made me excited for when Bennett drops his morning nap and we can make it to more of those things. He is so funny with these ducks and chickens and loves when we put them in their kennels at night. He just runs around acting like a duck and laughing. He had his worst public meltdown to date yet at a park this week. He had suddenly mastered slides the week before then did some majorly dramatic regression that was decided when at the top of a tall playground, and it turned into a big ordeal. Wouldn't slide. Wouldn't go back down the stairs. Wouldn't come with me when I'd try to go get him. So much screaming.... the worst. Learning and responding correctly to your kids strengths and weaknesses and needs and love language and triggers and responses and thought processes and just all the things is such a job. 

Favorite Westinisms right now:
"I need a hug and two kisses. Maybe two hugs and two kisses."
Picking up on ANY labeled words I use on the phone... "What's sad? What's funny? What's crazy??"
Calling the pumpkin patch a "pumpkin park".
"Maybe so, I mean, if you want to" to the majority of questions he's asked.
Anytime Michael holds him at the same time as Bennett: "Be careful with Mama's two cute boys."

Bennett:
has "mama" and "kitty" down but no other words yet. Michael's working hard to get "dada" in there, and I'm trying to teach him lots of signs before the screaming phase hits. I just shuddered thinking about the screaming phase... please (rubbing stomach) don't come, all done (turns palms) with that already. Worst phase. Bennett's crawl is the cutest thing to me, he's my first kid to really crawl. Westin took a while to get there, did it for a tiny bit, then walked. Crawling has also brought on an opinionated side of Bennett though, so we're getting used to that. Opinionated is a positive spin on fussy and whiny, because I don't want to just call him out like that since he's such a sweetie. But I guess I just did. He's over the baby toys and into bigger and better things these days (looking at you, Westin's dump truck) and Westin is getting bugged that his "trades" aren't always easily accepted anymore. Even though I'm not looking forward to adding referee to my list of mom duties, I do like getting to know Bennett more and more as he grows.
Hay ride with my guys.

Still in his "magnetic monkey" stage.

Chicken watching.



This pacing cheetah made me seriously miss the Indianapolis Zoo and the tiger who would always do that.

Story time at the pumpkin patch.





Bennett was an angel during our 90 minute pumpkin patch experience -- happy in the stroller the whole time,
never needed a thing. He's so happy to go with the flow.






Pancake morning! Westin likes being in charge of the chocolate chips.
Many are sampled before added to the pancakes.




Found them in the same position. Michael falls asleep so fast at nights. He's works so hard and plays so hard.

Tired morning faces out to take care of the chickens. Bennett still LOVES the Ergo.
I used wraps and carriers so much more with him than I did with Westin.

Little stinker woke up early enough to see daddy getting ready before work and got excited when he figured that out.

Kangaroo day at the Zoo's toddler time.
When we saw them I asked Westin what they were called to see if he'd been paying attention (we've never really covered kangaroos much in all of our animal time) and he said "a marsupial!" 

This kid loves pom poms. Sometimes he just wants to do this instead of a new school activity so we just go with the flow.
I love that we can stretch out our curriculum like that, it's so flexible.

New haircut! He looked in the mirror after and said, "Wow! I look like Bishop!"
Our bishop's hair doesn't look like this but he seemed pretty pleased about it so I went with it.

Cute sleeping ducks. They are BFFs.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Dogs and Ducks

The biggest news over here is that Bennett is ONE! I can't believe his birthday already caught up to us. This baby boy is such a sweet part of our family and lately I sometimes just sit and think about the fact that his first year is already over. These little people change so quickly. I am always surprised at how much I can feel simultaneously buried in this stage yet also feel it slip away. Days are so different than weeks, months, and years. Michael said, "Happy birthday, Benny -- you pretty much rocked that first year." Then looked at me and said, "I doubt we'll have another baby like Bennett." And that's just the truth. He's a special little spirit and his joyful soul has felt like a blessing and honor to be a part of!

Other big news was turning our house into a farm this weekend. We had a Golden Doodle come back over to stay the weekend, plus a couple needed someone to watch their 4 chickens and 2 ducks while they're closing on a house in Fresno. It's hilarious over here. We have to herd them into their kennels at night and the process just cracks me up. Westin likes looking for their eggs, and our neighbors were cracking up at us over the fence tonight. Their grandkids want to come over and hang out with the ducks tomorrow. It's hard to get to know your neighbors in suburban America, but chickens and ducks help.

We loved General Conference last weekend, and I'm looking forward to studying those words again. This world feels increasingly complicated and heartbreaking. It feels more necessary than ever to identify what brings you peace and to focus on that.

I reserved tickets this week for the Cedar City Temple Open House and I am really looking forward to that. My hometown has such a special place in my heart and I'm so happy a temple is being built there.

We also have a new nephew as of this week! Rachel had baby Eli and we are so thrilled he's here and healthy and that she is doing well too. We can't wait to meet him.

Pictures for the rest!

My boys. I love them so much!

Sammy and Westin on the run. Such cuties.

Breakfast! Can you tell which is the duck egg omelette and which is the chicken egg omelette?

Left is duck. And there was actually a notable difference in taste, especially eaten side by side like this. Inside are peppers, onions, mushrooms, and spinach, and those eggs are as fresh as you can get. It made me grossed out in a way, which revealed to me how disconnected from my food I am -- why would store bought eggs be any better in my mind? I'm crazy.

One of the chickens MAYBE almost escaped. She was on the hunt for a place to lay an egg. So Michael built her a little spot out of a diaper box, and we've had 4 eggs in there since then. He's so funny. He just does stuff that I would never think to do sometimes and I love it.
Like... have chickens and ducks over for a week.

These two stick together always, and when you get too close or do something they don't like, they quack at each other like they're talking about you. It's hilarious yet also makes me feel super judged.

All four chickens.

My view down the hall most nights. They read stories on Westin's big boy bed... then he always wants to sleep in his crib after. :) But I love listening to them laugh.


Slide success! This was the first time Westin went down slides by himself. It's kind of been a thing.

But he braved them when I asked him to show baby how to do it.


Bennett got some pots and pans to bang around for his birthday! He's been loving them.

He just poked his cupcake until I put a piece in his mouth, then he was super into it.




This face. This is Bennett.





Westin was so excited to get birthday hats for Bennett's birthday. But....don't buy birthday hats from the dollar store. Big mistake. They broke so quickly and we barely got one picture out of it, but hey. 


Balloons, on the other hand, you should definitely get at the dollar store. 

Brinkley. He was a large and lazy thing and we loved him.

Those thighs, right?

Westin got a pretzel for "prayer" and a goldfish for "Jesus" and by the fourth session those guidelines were reeaaalllly loosely followed.

Michael and his plastics crew. Less than a month left on this rotation.

Magic colors! I love the easy but fun preschool activities from our little curriculum. This took zero planning, super easy clean up, and Westin thought it was amazing. Just a few drops of food coloring underneath baking soda, then pour vinegar on each spot to reveal the magic colors.


Q-Tip name painting. He did way better with this than the dot sticker letters we've done.


His first time measuring things. His giraffe is five legos long, now we know.

I thought for sure he'd paint every color on this pumpkin but he wanted only orange, and only a green stem. His most realistic art project yet. The bottom left is him trying to make the same face as the pumpkin :)



I love that Bennett needs a good snuggle time when he wakes up.

Always playing in his crib in the mornings and after his nap. He goes to sleep with a specific line up of toys each night and has to have each one.


Kids. Plants. Kitty's water. Whoops. This is the result of me trying to do my new social media/marketing side job while Bennett was awake. Now I know we'll just stick with nap times for that. This may have happened a second time that same day. Sigh.

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