Sunday, June 30, 2013


Two weeks ago I made a decision that I had been thinking about for a while, to drastically cut back on the kids TV watching. 

Audrey has never been a huge independent player of toys, but Phoenix had been since he was very young.  A month ago I started working on a lot of projects during the day (and preschool was out), so Phoenix got to watch TV for most of the day during the two week project period.  After that, he only wanted to watch TV, and he did not care about playing with his toys anymore.  I immediately realized that this was a problem.  So, after a week of deliberating, I knew what I had to do.

That night, I changed to TV settings to HDMI1 (or any other thing that didn't have a hookup), I hid the controllers, and I went to bed.  Audrey and Phoenix generally turned on the TV in the morning when they got up, but the next morning they couldn't.  I was anticipating a potential tantrum, or backlash of some sort, but after I told them that they couldn't watch TV they found something else to do. 

Since then I have set up a schedule of sorts for when they can watch TV; in the mornings after breakfast and after Audrey is completely ready for school, and at nights for half an hour before bedtime (if they have been good).  I will usually let Phoenix watch a show at some point during the day if he does certain things to earn it (clean up toys, play with his toys for a certain amount of time...).  We also usually have a "movie night" once a week.

Audrey has taken it in stride, and Phoenix is fine with it for the most part, but during the days when he is alone (without his sister) he asks to watch a show a lot (he will say "I'm tired, or "I feel sick", or "I'm grumpy" to try to persuade me).  But I immediately noticed that Phoenix and Audrey were fighting a lot less, and playing with each other WAY more.  The instant results were so miraculous that it has been easy to make this a daily thing.  Two weeks later, they don't even ask me the watch TV!

I have had several mothers of teenagers warn me about keeping my kids away from video games (excessive use), and TV went along with that.  I took their warnings seriously.  I had a full childhood, we did not have cable (or even the basic channels) for almost the entire time that I was growing up.  Me and my sisters played on our swing set, with our barbies, dollhouses, kitchen set, we played school, and doctor, and we all read books regularly.  I want my kids to have that too, and the only way to make it happen was to cut TV almost completely out of the picture.

I am glad that I could see such immediate results, and I am relieved that I could catch it while they are still young.  Kids are only little once, and I won't get a second chance with them. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Caught UP!!

According to my picture files, I am officially caught up!  After 35 posts in the last week!  Don't tell me that's not impressive!  Now I do have a few more updates that are non-picture related...

So far, the biggest event of the year has been my niece, Alexis, being born.  My older sister, Jessie, became a Mom!!!  Alexis is such a cutie!!  But I still haven't gotten to hold her in my arms...but that will change in the near future!

Another update is that my sister, Jo, is going on a mission!!  We don't know where to yet, but we will find out soon.  I am hoping that she goes to France, and then me and my sisters can fly out to pick her up, and she can be our translator (because although I do occasionally speak french, I am well aware that it is terrible!).

Phoenix has been talking so much since Christmas.  His words still are not perfect, but I can communicate with him really well now (not everyone can).  He loves riding his tricycle, looking at toys in stores, going swimming, playing with trains and cars, and cuddling with his Mommy.  Last year it took him almost the whole summer to let anyone touch him in the pool.  So far this summer, he has made a lot of progress!  He always wears a life jacket, but now he swims with it by himself.  Last week Audrey came over and said "Mom!  Phoenix is doing that thing in the water where he moves but he doesn't go anywhere" (treading water lol), but now he is actually making horizontal progress!  I am hoping to have him swimming on his own by the end of the summer...we will see how that goes.

Audrey has made a few good friends in school and at church.  She is very talkative in school, and she recently got a note sent home because she was making farting noises in the library.  Another proud mommy moment!  But I seriously was laughing when she told me that.  She has been helping me out a lot with chores around the house, making her bed, wiping the table down, drying some dishes, and just picking things up.  That has been a huge help!!  She really enjoyed dancing last year, and we will continue to do that next year.  She is such a good little swimmer!  She really does improve almost instantly on what I tell her to do!  She is definitely one of my best students ever!  She is catching up with reading, and she is doing so well with that!

Travis has been working hard (as always), and this summer we have the most employees that we have ever had.  He still loves to go out and surf, and he really enjoys taking the kiddos fishing.  He is a Sunday School teacher for the youth in our church, and he really enjoys that calling.  He is currently watching Revenge.

I have been working on projects on and off these last few months, I have read a few books, watched a few more TV series, and I feel like for the first time since having kids, I am starting to get a schedule down.  Let's face it.  Babies really put a wrench in a lot of plans, so I have really enjoyed just having Audrey and Phoenix, who are both able to enjoy everything that we do, and they can actually help me out sometimes!

Our ward had a dance for the adults.  Dream. Come.  True.  Me and Travis learned some swing dance lifts and tricks  (via youtube), and it was so fun!  I am so glad I married a guy that is OK with dancing, and was totally game to learn some cool moves!  I am still holding out hope that sometime in the future we will be able to take ballroom dance lessons together.

Our plans for this summer are pretty low-key so far, this is Trav's busy time of the year, so doing anything (other than on Saturdays and Sundays) is a strain.  

It's Kinda a Funny Story...

Phoenix was difficult to potty train.  I basically had to lie to get him into preschool last year, by pretending that he was potty trained but had an occasional accident, so I would put him in pull-ups to be "safe"...even though I knew full well that he was nowhere near being potty trained.  His potty training did improve throughout the year, he would go pee at school when the other kids did, but number 2 was a big issue.

When we went to Myrtle Beach I finally caught him in time to put him on the potty.  He went.  And it was green.  And from that point on he was so excited to go #2 so that he could see what color it would be.  Sometimes green, sometimes yellow, sometimes brown...SO exciting!  One time I heard him at chick-fil-a talking another little boy:

Phoenix:  You have brown poo poo.  I have green poo poo.  My poo poo is not brown.

Way to brag son!  You make your Momma so proud!

So, moral of the story, colored poo make potty time fun!  And now we will save about $50 a month on diapers!!


Sometimes I forget how much I miss my sisters until they come and visit, and I remember what it is like to be around people that are so much like me.  When Jo came to visit, it was no different.  There are so many things that I love that the rest of my family (Travis, Audrey and Phoenix) aren't into.  There are some things that I do that go unappreciated in my own home, but Joanna noticed.  Joanna (and all of my sisters) are so helpful with the kids, and I feel like the kids can innately sense that they are my sisters.  Like how Phoenix bonded so much with Jo, I truly believe it was because she is my sister and that he could see how alike we are in so many ways.

After my sisters leave, my heart literally aches for them.  I mourn for at least the next week.  It is hard to live so far away from my very best friends.  I am glad that I have 4 amazing sisters.  I am one lucky girl!  And I cannot wait to see my sisters again!!

Dog Sitters

For the week that Joanna was here, we got to watch 3 little dogs!  We watched Naughty (chihuahua) before , and we all loved her.  As soon as Phoenix laid eyes on little Delilah he fell in love!  and Chloe (Pomeranian) was loved because of her soft fur.  

Audrey would love to have a dog!  Naughty slept with her every night, and Naughty loved it!  Phoenix loved having a dog that was his size!  

Beach Trip!

Jo hadn't been to the beach since her last trip here (again...4 years ago!!), so of course we had to go!

The skies were blue, the sun was out, the water was amazingly beautiful.  It was a bit windy (kind of extremely), but otherwise it was great.  

This is how much I love my little sister:  we went out in the water (which I never go in unless I am so hot I can't not go in...I am permanently scarred from being cold and wet...5 years of teaching swim lessons for hours a day will do that to you), and I stayed out there with her until my leg muscles literally could not move, like they were locking in strange positions.  That is love, Joanna, that is love.

The girls went out for a seashell hunt, and the boys stayed behind.  When we came back, both of them were asleep!!

The beach was a blast!  I wish we could have stayed the whole weekend!

Jo's Trip Part One

We brought a little someone back with us when we left NY.  It had been 4 YEARS since Joanna's last visit!!!  I was in disbelief when she told me that!  We had a TON of fun!!!  Here are a few pictures of our festivities:

So we hit up the Zoo (we LOVE the zoo), and they brought the dinosaur exhibit back.  Phoenix held on so tightly to Joanna the whole time.  It was so cute.  These two have a special bond!  He chose Joanna over me many times!!  (which he has never done with anyone in his entire existence)! 

We also hit up the 4-D Ice Age movie (short), we literally got punched in the back (thanks to our chairs).  It still makes my back hurt thinking about it.  We will probably pass on the 4-D movies offered there in the future...

We also went strawberry picking!  I called the farm and they said there were next to no strawberries left, but we decided to go for fun.  It was a good decision because within 1/2 an hour we had two buckets full!  Both kids were a huge help this year!  They were arguably more picky than I was about what strawberries we kept.  We made strawberry jam the next night, Jo went back to NY and made some strawberry jam herself!  I am so proud of my baby sister!!

Baseball photo shoot and Martobak

I LOVE taking pictures in my parents backyard.  The trees, the green (and touchably soft) grass, the sun in the distance...

My Dad served his mission in Indonesia, and we have eaten many delicious dishes that he learned how to make when he lived there.  Martobak is our favorite (and only) dessert that he makes from Indonesia, it is like yeast pancakes, with chopped peanuts, melted chocolate chips, and sweetened condensed milk in the middle.  Can you say Yum dash O??


A few weeks ago we went up to NY for a long weekend.  Whenever we go to NY in the summer we have to visit Treman!  

I think this might be one of the only pictures that I have of Audrey and my Mom where my Mom is NOT covering her face.  Silly woman!

Right off the bat Travis caught 2 fish!  

We went on a hike, I think it was about 3 miles long.  Travis and my Dad kept stopping in the most inconvenient spots to fish (I will blame it on Travis though because he was always the one to pick them out). Eventually we ditched the guys (something about Phoenix wanting to jump off a cliff to get down with them was a little scary), and continued on the hike ourselves.  There was some sort of running thing and it was super muddy, so the conditions were not ideal.  But we made it!!

After the hike my Dad grilled up some burgers and dogs, and then we had s'mores.  Good times, with a lot of good memories!

Phoenix's Last Day of School

My lil bud had his last day of school about a month ago.  I have thoroughly enjoyed each year of preschool for both him and Audrey.  We have always had extremely loving and caring women for teachers, it makes me happy to have such a positive experience every year.  Now if only the public school system would catch on...

I helped out with the end of the year party, the kids ate lunch in their little cafeteria, and I got to see Phoenix interacting with all of his little buddies.  

I saw this idea on Pinterest to take a picture on the first day of school, and then on the last day of school, and you can see how much your kid has grown over the school year.

first day of school (not a great picture)
                                                              Last day of school.

So far, I have been happy and relieved every time Audrey ends school (post preschool years) (always hoping for a teacher that is a better fit), and I have always been sad to have Phoenix done with his preschool.  He has one more year left until Kindergarten.  I already know that I will be a wreck.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Audrey's Dance Recital

Audrey had her end of the year dance recital!  She is truly a beautiful dancer, already naturally talented.  I honestly get choked up when I watch her dance.  

I was secretly (or not so secretly) really looking forward to doing her make up.  She didn't want me to put mascara on, so I gave her to option to have fake eyelashes.  She chose the mascara ;-)

I made her not take a peek while I was doing her make up, so it was fun when she finally turned around and saw herself.  

I was really concerned about how to do her hair, but with the help of a some faux hair, it really came together quite well.

Her recital was on Mother's Day, and it was the BEST way to spend the day!  

Audrey's Birthday Party

In the last few years I have spent so much time planning and preparing for parties, this year I wanted to just focus on Audrey a few select friends.  It was easy, it was laid back, and it was honestly my favorite party yet.  

The girls came over and they made their own pizzas.

Then they colored on plates with permanent markers (thanks pinterest).  

Audrey drew the cutest tiger on her plate.

Then we went on a scavenger hunt.  Each of the girls took turns reading clues.  

For the last clue Phoenix grabbed the paper and started saying random words, like he was reading it.  It was truly adorable!

The prize was a box full of candy.  Think pinata, without the blindfold, and kids waving around a stick. 

And then we had a silly string fight.  

And then the girls made their own sundaes for dessert.  They had a ton of fun making them, but they did not have much interest in eating them.   

All of the girls (especially Audrey) had a blast!  After seeing how fun this party was, I am going to work more low key parties like this into our rotation.