Fall 2022 Moments

Fall is likely my favorite season. We had a wonderful fall, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t take the time to jot down some of our fall moments from 2022.

Just as we do every fall, we cheered on the Iowa Hawkeyes in their football pursuits. To be honest, it wasn’t the most fun year to be a fan because their offense wasn’t the best, but their defense was incredible. Even though they lacked a solid offense, they almost won the West Division Title for the B1G Ten Conference. However, a disappointing loss to Nebraska (the final game of the season and a game we attended in person) killed that opportunity.

David started preschool, which he absolutely loves. It’s three mornings a week and he looks forward to it. It’s at a Methodist church near our home.

We went to Cox Farms Fall Festival. I remember doing this when I was younger, but it was much, much bigger than I remember. I was so grateful John took off work to go with us because I wasn’t sure I could handle four kids on my own at such a large and busy festival (after going there, I’m sure I couldn’t have managed – especially with a baby). There were so many big and fun slides. Our kids just wanted to keep going down the slides over and over again. It was awesome for kids. John was a trooper carrying Drew and waiting in line with our kids over and over and over. I mainly stayed with Amber and watched the other kids come down the slides.

Blake lived in the DC area during the fall. We were able to see him a number of times. It was fun to have him nearby for a few months.

John took the kids camping a couple of times. He also went on a three-day back packing trip with a few friends from church and my brother Trevor.

We had a fun Halloween. My older kids loved trunk-or-treat at church. For various reasons (weather, sickness, pandemic etc.) we have never attended our church’s trunk-or-treat. So it was fun to see David and Brooke experience it for the first time. On Halloween night, we trick-or-treated on main street in Luray. There are only seven houses in our neighborhood and they’re spread out, so it’s not the best neighborhood for trick-or-treating. For Halloween, David and Drew were ghosts (David wanted him and Drew to have matching costumes), Brooke was Isabella from Encanto, and Amber was an adorable pumpkin.

I took the kids to the Washington DC LDS Temple Visitor Center. Now that the DC Temple has reopened, I’m trying to go every other month to serve inside the temple. On the months I don’t go inside, I take the kids to the temple grounds and to the visitor center. The temple is just under two hours from our house, so it’s a bit of a trek, but I’m trying to be there monthly.

For Thanksgiving, we headed to Iowa to be with John’s family. Highlights of the trip include attending Festival of Trees, celebrating Grandma Lori’s birthday, going to the Nauvoo Temple with John (it’s a rare treat for us to be able to go to the temple together since asking someone to watch our kids while we go is asking a lot), and attending an Iowa Hawkeyes football game with John, his dad, uncles, and a couple of cousins.

That’s a wrap highlighting some of our fall moments. Hopefully soon I’ll post about our December and Christmas!

Baby Amber: Eight Months

Our sweet girl is 8 months old. Below are facts about 8-month-old Amber.

  • Bouncing is her favorite form of entertainment. She loves being in her bouncer.
  • She has one tooth peeking through on the bottom. It seems to be slowly breaking through.
  • She loves to chew on things. Thankfully now she has the coordination to be able to hold a chew toy in her hand and bring it to her mouth.
  • “Stranger Danger” is real for her. She often cries if she’s held by people other than John or I.
  • She continues to have the biggest smiles. When she smiles real big, she tilts her head way back.

Baby Amber: 6 & 7 Month Updates

I’m a little behind with Amber’s monthly updates. Life is keeping me busy (in the best way) with four kiddos ages five and under. Even so, I still want to make sure I capture these little moments of her life that go by so quickly.

  • Amber continues to be a champion eater and sleeper.
  • She tried her first “solid food” (not sure why it’s called that, when it’s really pureed food) about a week after she turned 6 months – it was pumpkin. She seemed unsure at first about how to get the food off the spoon but now she loves it. I feed her “solid food” each day at lunchtime, and I think she looks forward to that meal. So far she’s had pureed pumpkin, butternut squash, peas, carrots, apple, sweet potato and green beans. One of the greens she did not seem to like at first. It was so cute to watch her face go sour after she ate it. But she’s warmed up to all of it now.
  • She is fairly content most of the time.
  • She enjoys napping and laying on her activity mat.
  • Like David, she seems to really enjoy her bouncer (both Brooke and Drew weren’t that into it).
  • She loves to stick her tongue out.
  • She still isn’t into using a pacifier, and at this point, I definitely don’t mind. My other kids would wake up when their pacifiers fell out, and since she doesn’t use one, that doesn’t happen to her.

Things I Don’t Want to Forget (and 2022 Family Photos)

– David loves to tell me that I’m his “sweet baboo” and John is his “best pal.”

– When Drew gets sad, Brooke looks at him and says , “It’s okay, buddy. You gonna be okay, buddy.”

– Drew loves dancing. Every night before bedtime our family dances to “Better When I’m Dancing” by Meghan Trainor. Drew bounces to the song and says “Yeah Yeah” on cue when it’s said in the song.

– After attending a Christian sports camp, we were at the lake, and David was having a hard time getting on his float, but he kept trying and said “legends don’t give up” because he had spent the week learning about “legends” (disciples) from the Bible.

– Brooke says “me three” instead of “me too.” If I say something like, “I want ice cream.” Brooke will respond with, “Me three.”

– Drew loves Amber. Whenever we bring her into a room he’s in, he says, “Amba.”

– David likes to look at the Wayfair catalog and find things to make his room warm and cozy. He’s all about things being “warm and cozy.”

– Brooke likes to lay out tomorrow’s clothes on the edge of her bed before she goes to sleep.

– When one of his younger siblings gets in trouble for something, David will stick up for them and say “he/she is learning.”

– Brooke often says “I’m having a hard time” and “it’s okay to feel disappointed.” She’s very in tune with her feelings 🙂

– When Brooke forgets an item, she says she “forleft it.” She combines the words forgot and left.

Last fall, we had family photos taken. It’s quite an adventure to try and get four kids ages five and under to smile and look at the camera, but it was important to me that we capture this stage in our family’s life. The photographer we used was great. She has grandkids around the ages of our kids, so she knew how to engage them well and was very patient with our family. Below are some of my favorites.

David is 5!

I’m playing catch up on my blog posts. In the fall, David turned five years old. The Sunday before his birthday we had a fun family celebration with aunts and uncles. His actual birthday was filled with the stuff of five-year-old dreams – new toys, endless movie watching, picking out a toy at Cracker Barrel, and dinner/ice cream at Spelunkers. Brooke was sick on David’s birthday, which probably ended up being nice for David because there wasn’t anyone else wanting to play with his new toys. His actual birthday dinner was a bit sad because it was just me, him, and Drew at Spelunkers, but he didn’t seem to mind because he got ice cream haha.

Facts about five-year-old David:

  • Favorite hobbies are coloring and building wooden train tracks.
  • Likes to wake up early and play with toys in his room.
  • Falls asleep super fast and is a very deep sleeper.
  • Likes to copy phrases he hears other adults say.
  • Loves looking at all catalogs, especially the toy catalog we get each fall from Amazon.
  • He is a people person. When we go to the park he always asks if “friends” will be there. And “friends”could be people we know or people we don’t.
  • Enjoys doing crafts.
  • Favorite show is Curious George.
  • Favorite movies are Frozen, Frozen 2, and Cars 3.

Summertime with Grandparents

It’s nearly Christmas, but I wanted to make sure I took some time to write down thoughts about this past summer.

We were fortunate to have both sets of grandparents visit us this summer. John’s parents arrived the weekend before Amber was born. John’s dad was here for a little over a week. And since Amber was born via a c-section, John’s mom graciously stayed for three weeks after Amber’s birth so she could take care of our kids while I recovered. This was especially helpful since I wasn’t permitted to lift anything heavier than Amber, which meant I couldn’t do simple but necessary tasks like lift Drew into his high chair or get him in and out of the bath. Drew also didn’t know how to go up or down stairs at that point and always had to be carried, something I could not have done.

After his mom left, our whole family (except for Amber) came down with a virus that we think Drew picked up from another child at the nursery at our church. So we asked my parents to delay their trip so they didn’t get sick as well. Once we were all better, my parents drove out from Utah and stayed with us for three weeks.

We had lots of fun while grandparents were here and it was helpful to have extra grown-ups around. Highlights of the summer include:

– A day swimming and kayaking at the lake with Melissa, Trevor, Morgan, and Will in addition to Grandpa Adrian and Grandma Kathy (this day also happened to be my birthday.)

– Date nights for John and I (with free babysitting from the best babysitters in the world). Two favorite dates of mine were (1) dinner at Pavemint followed by a Memorial Day concert in the town square by the American Legion band and (2) dinner at an authentic Italian restaurant by our house (that we always talked about wanting to try) followed by eating “formations” (thick milkshakes) from Spelunkers while watching the sunset up in the Shenandoah mountains.

– 4th of July fireworks at the 4H center.

– Attending the Washington DC Temple Open House with our older three children and work colleagues/friends of John.

– Front Royal splash pad.

– Launching (and losing) rockets.

– Attending another town square concert.

– Splash Pad and MOD pizza in Gainesville.

– The kids first time riding on the metro and a visit to the National Zoo.

– Dinner with the entire Morgan family at Maggiano’s, one of our favorite restaurants.

– Lots of kid/grandparent dates (which meant quiet time for me!) to the Lego store, train store, Fireman’s Carnival, Chick-fil-A and more.

Below is a photo dump from all the fun family time.

Baby Amber: Five Months

Our sweet Amber is five months old. She really is a sweet, sweet baby. Here are facts about five-month-old Amber.

– She loves to suck on things. Surprisingly though, she still hasn’t mastered using a pacifier. She is my first child who hasn’t been able to figure that out. She stopped taking one when she was only a few weeks old. The nice thing about that is she never wakes up because her pacifier fell out. When Drew was this age, I’d still be getting up a couple times at night to stick his pacifier back in.

– She likes to grab at things. She especially likes her activity mat since she can lay on her back and grab at the toys that hang down above her.

– She’s starting to actually bounce when in the bouncer.

– She has the sweetest smiles, and she is either really smiley or has a total blank stare.

Baby Amber: 3 & 4 Month Updates

Tuesday morning is movie morning at our house. Each week the kids get to pick a movie to watch. Today David picked Tangled. Amber fell asleep in my arms, so I decided to pull out my phone and catch up on my blog while the older kids watch and she sleeps.

Amber recently hit the 4-month mark. She is a joy and a fairly low-key baby, which is a blessing since my days are busy keeping up with two toddlers and a pre-schooler. So, without further ado, here are Amber’s monthly updates.

Facts about Amber at 3 months:

– She sleeps solidly all night long. She goes to bed at 7 p.m. and gets up between 6 and 7 a.m. She’ll eat 3 ounces and then sleep until 10 a.m. She has been my sleepiest baby.

– She is a smiley baby, especially in the mornings.

– She’s pretty quiet overall. She only cries when she’s tired or hungry.

Facts about Amber at 4 months:

– Her first tooth is just barely poking through and can be seen from certain angles when she opens her mouth wide.

– She is a squealer, and her squeals can be quite loud. She tends to squeal the most when she gets tired.

– She loves to look you in the eye and then break out a big smile.

Amber’s Baby Blessing

Amber was given her special baby blessing at church by John on July 3 while my parents were in town. She was blessed in the same dress as my sister Melissa. Afterwards, we gathered at our house for lunch with family and friends who had come for the blessing.

The 4th of July marked seven years since John and I got engaged. I’m in love with the life we’ve created together. My family truly is my greatest joy.

Baby Amber: Two Months

Sweet Miss Amber is two months old. We adore her! Below are facts about two-month-old Amber.

– Loves to be held.

– Enjoys laying on her stomach.

– Just beginning to smile.

– Wakes up once a night to eat.

– Has strong legs and can briefly stand when you’re holding her waist.

– Takes very long naps (which I appreciate!).

I never created a one-month-old blog post for Amber like I did with my first three kids. There’s one word that best describes one-month-old Amber: asleep. She is my sleepiest baby. She slept pretty much the first eight weeks of life. We had grandparents visiting for six of those weeks so she got lots of snuggles, and when she’s snuggled, she falls asleep. She’s not even ten weeks old yet, so we’re just barely starting to see her more awake and alert for short periods of time throughout the day. The stickers I use for her monthly milestone pictures got lost in the mail so she’s actually more like six weeks old in the “one-month” picture below.