Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Jumping pictures are not our forte

So, if you didn't know, 14 years ago on November 14 JB and I got married.  Let's jump for joy for the beginning of this family!

That wasn't working so well, and Millie-girl and Momma-girl couldn't quite handle the jumping. So, we tried just the boys.

Please, for ultimate enjoyment, just zoom in and look at each face, pose, and even hair flapping.  It's too much.  When we got them the first time, we laughed and laughed. I had tears running down my cheeks.  Yeay for us!!!

Monday, November 13, 2017

More family pictures

Gosh, I love all of the pictures we got. How to pick one for the Christmas card or for the wall?

These boys are getting so tall and handsome! I just think they are the best-looking bunch.

She LOVED being high in the sky.  When we took the Lagoon pictures two years ago, JB tossed James up in the air to cheer him up and keep him going for the rest of the photo shoot. This time it was just for fun.

Stop it. Our last baby is the sweetest thing.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Family pictures 2017

Valeri Anderson came to visit her parents in late summer, and offered to take our family pictures at Sugarhouse Park. I am in love with these.

Like last year, it went so smoothly.  Valeri is quick and calm, she had her daughter Chloe, the best helper with her. The outfits all came together, the boys all were patient and in good spirits, and the baby cooperated. And I loved my hair. I didn't look at any picture later and say "Ugh" about myself, or say "If only such and such boy had smiled there," or whatever -- you know how it can go.

Millie was just learning to stand on her own.

Millie Grace, age 1

James Byron, age 4

Andrew Rockwell, age 6

Benjamin John, age 9

Maxwell David, age 12

Valeri got into the stream and looked up at us

And then we went under as well.

We took our engagement photos at Garden Park, but who knew this spot so close to our house had so many great backdrops?

I just love this baby, and she is getting to be so big, so fast.

She is so cute next to her dad. And he is so handsome. Nothing looks better on a guy than a baby.

I have a few more posts coming soon, especially the jumping pictures. We just couldn't get it all together and it's hilarious.
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Halloween extras

Kids are so much fun. Andrew and James really got into Halloween this year (as did Ben -- wanting me to make the house scarier). 

12 year old Max was a great sport about the pumpkins. We had four, but one turned rotten early, and he didn't mind not carving one. He is a kind soul.  Ben cut his finger while carving, but it healed quickly.

Oh, and I could only find small candles in our house that were Christmas-scented. So our jack-o-lanterns were pretty confused.

4 year old James asked me if he could be a dragon when he grew up. He wore the costume a lot, and asked me to take pictures of his tail. But he never held still, so they are all blurry.

9 year old Ben wore his costume a lot, despite me asking him not to wear it too much -- I was really worried about him getting the jersey dirty, because it is a real BYU jersey that we borrowed from JB's sister. He just LOVED the pads and wanted to show everyone, and wanted to play football with his friends or brothers in the whole getup. 

And any time Ben wore his football outfit, Andrew did too.  He is really learning how to push buttons with rival smack-talk and he is only 6. I keep emphasizing kindness...

Max threw together his nerd costume the Sunday afternoon before Halloween within 5 minutes, and thought the picture I took of him pushing up his glasses with his finger looked obscene. So took a selfie. Ok, several selfies.

We had monster cookies to decorate from our sweet neighbor Ann...

...and yard decorations to admire. They just loved this house and wanted to pose here.

One week later, Max still had a pretty full pillowcase of candy; Ben and Andrew's stashes are depleting fast (if not already gone). James's is long gone. We had leftover candy that I can't find! I think it's in the Bishop's office at church.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Post bath

Sleep training is on hold. We both just got tired of hearing her cry and it never got better. So it's back to survival mode. I still try to put her in her crib, but she still sleeps better in the car seat.

Here's a funny moment I wanted to document. One evening after I got Millie out of the tub and got her dressed, she toddled back in to see that her brothers were still in the tub. When they got out, she insisted on having her towel back on just like them.

Look at Millie's nice clear forehead. This was a week before her stroller tipped upside down with her inside, and she got a huge bonk on her head.

Now look at how James is looking at her. It's always that way (the suppressed rage I have seen on his face and Ben's face before). 

Sometimes he just comes up and grabs her and takes her to the ground under the pretense of a hug. Or he won't stop pestering her with big smacking kisses as she squeals.  Andrew and James are fighting more it seems, too, over the smallest things. 

But other times they are really cute together. James will give a nice gentle kiss on Millie's cheek, or offer Andrew something he knows he wants. 

These three I desperately want to be friends. I want them to look out for each other in school, and serve each other and find ways to make sure the others are happy. I talk to them about it and pray with them about it at night.  We will keep working on it.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Bad bonk

Last Monday was pretty sad. The double stroller slipped down a little hill and tipped upside down into the street, with Millie and James inside.

I was on our usual walk around the neighborhood. James lately has taken to wanting to be pushed instead of ride his bike (and I did not want a tantrum) so I had the double stroller -- but one wheel is flat, so I borrowed a wheel from the single-jogger. I did not know it meant I could not set the brake.

I let go of the stroller and turned to help Andrew with his bike, had a thought to check the stroller but dismissed it, then I heard a crash and screaming. My poor baby was hanging upside down by her straps, and James had tumbled out and both were bleeding.

It looked worse than what it eventually turned out to be. James was bleeding from one knee and elbow and sobbing like he had broken a bone. Millie had a huge spot on her head that looked bloody -- and she was screaming so loud I thought for sure she had cracked her skull or had a concussion.

Two neighbors came right over -- one is a nurse and she checked Millie over and said she would be just fine, it was scratches and road rash and a big scare. The other, a sweet 17 year old, comforted James and washed him up and gave him bandaids. They also gave me big hugs because I was crying. I felt so bad for my children getting hurt because of my negligence.

This is Millie about an hour afterward.

This is Millie 5 days later, at our ward party Saturday night. You can see the bruises and cuts getting better.

Also, isn't she the cutest trying to eat an apple?

Just the week before, I covered a story about a group of kids in a little red wagon who had been hit by a car while trick-or-treating and spent several days in the hospital. The news business is pretty hard on this Momma. I keep picturing bad things happening to my kids. I am glad this wasn't worse.

Incidentally, when using Siri to voice-text my family about James's owies and Millie's "bad bonk," it autocorrected to "bed bunk." What kind of accent do I have?

Thursday, November 2, 2017


We had competing football players this year.  JB says when he went to take their picture outside before school, Andrew put up a number 1, and Ben did not like that, so he did the same. 

Apparently our 6 year old is becoming a master at smack-talk, because word is he told Ben to hold up a number two instead.

We've had the U outfit, but that's an authentic game-worn BYU jersey borrowed from Aunt Sarah and Uncle Joe, my Cougar support system within the Richards side of the family.  

The pads came from a co-worker, the same one who gave us some girl clothes with the following flower costume for Millie-girl:

Except JB put the hat upside down when he went to the school Halloween parade.

Still darling!

How thankful I am for a man who sends me pictures of our family when I am at work and can't be there. I avoid the crowds but still see the important stuff.

James had been talking about Batman again, but instead latched onto the Green Dragon costume we have had since Max's toddling treat-begging days and worn by Ben here Andrew here and here  and for a short time last year, too.  He wore it to his preschool, where they went trick-or-treating through the high school. He LOVED it.

That night, I took the 3 littles, and the two big boys went with friends but checked in often - or the other parents let me know how they were doing. JB handed out candy, and then we switched at the end.

Here's our Marigold as I called her, barely able to see through the hat. I should have put it the other way.

Ben and Brayden and Quinn, inseparable since the summer.

Max and his best friend Andy and their group

Max was a nerd. He taped some glasses and hiked his pants up.

We went back and forth on whether a 7th-grader should trick-or-treat, but it appeared like most of his friends were doing it for the last time this year. Many of them are 13 but he just turned 12. We settled on a 2 hour limit.  He made the most of it, hitting almost the entire neighborhood. He got 9 pounds of candy and says he'll eat two pieces a day.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sleep training

Because I had UEA/fall break off, I figured it was now or never to sleep train Millie, because I had more nights I could stay up later.

My 3:40 AM alarm has forced me to nurse-sleep with my babies over the years, just so I can get sleep. She got used to that. The other problem with this baby girl is that if she isn't sleeping by me, or on JB, she really likes sleeping in her car seat. I don't know if it's 5th baby problems (always out and about) or her own comfort, but that's where she just has slept longer and better. But she just can't do that forever.

I figured we had Wednesday night, Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night to work on it, and by Sunday night she would cheerfully say "Good night, dearest parents," wave night-night and lay down in her crib and drift off to slumber with a smile on her face.


Here's an example of what she does. She falls asleep crying while standing up.  JB snuck a picture through the door on Saturday morning during nap time.

Then he carefully opened the door and zoomed in a little.

It's the saddest thing.  Her standing-sleep nap didn't last long. I had some errands to run, so into the van went all the kids, and when we got there, she was fast asleep in her car seat.  She was probably thinking, "Finally."

On Sunday night she would scream, fall asleep and doze for a few minutes, wobble and wake up and scream again.  I couldn't sleep so I finally gave up  and went in and nursed and rocked her again until she was fully asleep then laid her down again.

The last few nights and naptimes have gone a little better. JB has been helping her so I can sleep and I really appreciate that.

Pauline sleep-trained then-baby James for us when we were on a trip so I guess I don't remember how hard it is. I just have to remind myself that this is for the best. We will all be happier with more solid sleep, and she is 15 months old, so it's time for her to know how to put herself to bed, right? Right?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

UEA/Fall break

Lots of people took trips for the fall school break (Utah Education Association weekend). We had thought about it, but ended up just doing a few things closer to home. I had time off and each day felt like a Saturday. 4 year old James kept asking what day it was, because Mom was home in the morning and the brothers never left for school.

We went to Lagoon on Thursday for Frightmares. It was a beautiful day, and all the Utahns who did not go to Southern Utah or to California were at Lagoon with us.

We took Max's best friend Andy with us for a birthday treat.

Millie watched the little boys ride rides.

We loved the trick-or-treating sections in the park set up just for this time of year. All day the next day, James and Andrew kept fighting over whose plastic toy harmonica was whose, so I pulled out a black Sharpie and labeled them.  Now they have been forgotten about and discarded under the couch.

On Friday, Andy's mom took Max and Ben with them for some fun activities for the day.  I took the three littles to the park and library.

(Methinks James is getting taller. Also, he wanted to wear shorts.)

On Saturday, I encouraged and wheedled and pleaded the boys into some deep cleaning of the house. Then I took them to split 2 large shakes as a reward. Pumpkin Oreo, and Cookie Dough.

Then we watched both our college football teams lose. Ugh.  Three in a row for Utah, 7 in a row for BYU.

On Sunday, church was tiny. Many people were still out of town. Ben had to go into Max's primary class.  But wow, it was a great Sunday, with amazing, uplifting talks and lessons from amazing women who bore strong witness and testimony of God's love and plan.  

We finished with dinner at JB's parents' house, for the first time since Nona broke her hip. We have been worried about her and praying for her, and she is such a rock star. Nothing can keep her down, she is such an example to me.

Oh, and the break stretched into Monday for our school district, and by then I think the boys needed some school again. Andrew and James both wanted to hold the same large plastic spider Halloween decoration at the same time, and we had to go over our family rules of conduct again (ie no hitting).