Growing Up {with Brothers}

I got my girl ready for church last week and was struck at how big she is. She is growing up {fast}!
She isn't walking yet, but she "walks" around furniture. And her favorite way to get around (when I can't carry her or she isn't in the mood to crawl on her own): holding onto my legs so I have to take S.L.O.W. tiny steps while she toddles around with me - she does this mostly when the boys are crazy and I am hurridly trying to get dinner cooked and on the table. Usually, I can get a brother to come rescue me, but she always comes back to hold onto me and whine to be picked up. It's like she thinks, mom is busy and every kid needs something, I guess I should be needy too.
But, thankfully, her brothers are always their to play with her during this time, at least for a while, so if I'm super quick with dinner I can get it done without my second pair of legs dragging behind me.

sometimes she's good at entertaining herself on her own - especially if it involves sticking her hands in the toilet, unrolling toilet paper, ripping up magazines (like she was trying to do in this pic), or unloading a drawer, cupboard or recycling bin all over the kitchen Luckily, her brothers are mostly always there to clean up her mess for me. I am blessed for that and so is she.

She is MOST happy after a nap if one of the boys get her out of her bed. If I get her, she gives me big smiles. The boys, though, get squeals and giggles. They all have their own after nap routines, depending on which one is in the mood to see her when she says, "I'm awake! come get me." Isaac can't actually get her out but he loves to go in her room and hand her toys. The two of them get along really well. Austin climbs in the crib with her and plays peek a boo with her blankets, then he pulls her out and plays with her toys or reads her a story until they both come crawling to find me. When Landon gets her, it's short and sweet, "Hey Ella!" and he picks her up and brings her to me.

And another great thing about brothers: their toys.

I keep this little truck in her closet. It saves the day when I need quick entertainment for a diaper change. And I always tell her, "here's the truck." Well, I guess she loves it because just the other day she saw it across the room, pointed and said, "TUK!" Her FIRST real word! (she says mom, and dad but we're not always sure is she means us. This was for certain.) Only a girl with three older brothers says "truck" as their first word. And that's not all.

We read books daily. Maisy Drives is her favorite. I know that because she crawls behind the rocking chair, finds it in the stack, and brings it to me. We practice words when we read. I say things like, "the kitty says meow. the sheep say baa." etc. Maisy Drives has vehicles in it so I say, "the car says vroom, the helecopter says whir." You're wondering if she repeats the words or sounds? The only sounds she repeats are the vehicle ones. "vroom vroom" she says, on every picture - even the kitty ones!

We still say the real sounds and laugh at the bunny saying "vroom". And we keep reading. This girl is growing up so fast, I'm so grateful she's got a house full of brothers to teach her the important things every girl should know. I'm sure some day a guy will be thankful to her brothers too, for teaching her that cars and trucks come before everything else!


Basketball highlights

We must first recognize the {SHOES}... I'm not sure that they made him jump higher, run faster, or dribble farther, BUT... they made it impossible to miss him on the court! a special shout-out goes to Cameron for taking the boys shoe shopping and buying Landon ANY pair he wanted!
The months of January and February have been filled with practices and games. And it has been FUN. Fun, because Landon's skills have increased SO SO much. I'm really proud of him. He had a couple games that were rough to say the least. But after a bad game, he rallied, got out his drill sheet, practiced a little more, and by the last game he was taking every shot he could. He made 5 baskets that day (just cuz I'm his mom and I can brag: the score was 15-10, 10 of the points Landon's!). It was so awesome to see him shoot, make it, and look over at us B.E.A.M.I.N.G. If I've said it once... I just love sports because they really can boost a kid's confidence. I'm especially proud of Landon for just getting in there, taking as many shots as he could, and realizing that being good at something takes practice, it's not enough to want to do it. You have to stick with it and do the drill over and over again, until you play the way you want to.
Despite my highest ISO setting and my flash, I had a hard time getting great shots of Landon... so you'll have to forgive the photography. I thought this picture was cool anyway:
sweet baby, girl!
Michael Jordan sticks his tongue out; Landon just opens his mouth

tradition: a little 3 on 1 with Dad after the game

I like this picture. Just after Landon shoots, both teams are just staring at the ball waiting for it to go in. Yes! He made it!
another shot he made. camera zoomed in too close to see the basket. ISO up too high to capture the shot. so you gotta take my word for it. He made it.
Getting to the games on time was a little crazy. Saturday mornings are usually slow-paced around here, so getting the kids to get dressed right when they wake up is always a challenge. This day, I looked at Isaac walking out to get a drink and, yes his pants are on backwards. Whose kid is that?!


Happy {HEART} Day: Love Notes

This past month has been, how you say?... CRAY-Z. No really. I've had to dedicate almost ALL of my time to keeping family happy and healthy - which isn't really that different than normal except, usually I have time to at least breathe... but the last few weeks, well they've just been TWICE or maybe THRICE as busy as normal.
So, this morning, I wanted to take some time out. Make the day a little more special, and "valantinesy". So I got up a little earlier to make red smoothies and heart-shaped waffles. When Landon came downstairs dressed in his Valentines-Best, I smiled. He looked adorable and was oozing excitement for the day; I just wanted to give him a hug. So I did...and then I took a picture. And then I decided, today is the day I'm going to make time to put up a little blog post to tell all the people that keep me so busy, just why it's so worth it.

Land-O: I love you cuz you are so determined to "get it right". You have a great imagination. You take good care of your brothers, especially when you get to spend time with them one on one. You work hard to do things that you want to do, even if those things don't come naturally. You know what you like: I always know what to get you for birthdays and holidays. You love when we do something "special". You make me smile with your long-winded stories that have so so many details. You have such compassion. You have the ability to set the tone in our house. I couldn't ask for a better first-born. Some of my VERY favorite things to do in the whole world are to listen to you play the piano and to watch you play sports. You are wonderful, I love you. Thank you for being you. love, Mom

Austin: I love you! You make me laugh every.single.day. Your enthusiasm for life makes me excited to live it with you. You have this amazing ability to sense what will make someone happy and do it. You are a big big helper. I know if I need someone to do something for me, you will be the first in line..and you always do it right away. I've loved watching you learn to read. I am amazed when you read verse after verse in the scriptures and only missread a few words. You are strong, so strong. When I take you to school the other kids are always excited to show you what they brought, or get you to come play with them. You know how to make people feel special; what a gift. I love you and I am so happy you are my Austin-Boy. love, Mom

My Zacky-boy: I love you so much, little dude. You make every day an adventure. I think your preschool teacher said it best, "he makes my day everytime he comes in the door!" You have so much passion that your feelings just leap off you. I {almost always!} love that you sing all.the.time. You are so determined to never be left behind, not for a second. I know you will go far in life, because you will not take no for an answer. When you give me a hug and then run away laughing, I can't help but feel happier. I love you. love, Mom

And you, Little Miss: I love you, Ella-girl. How far you've come in a year. My world was completed the day you were born. Your easy going baby ways make me feel peaceful and content. You smile all the time. And I always feel happy when I see it. You are just starting to stand up for seconds at a time - you smile and clap for yourself. It is so fun watching you. I love that you follow me around like a little puppy. I try so hard not to miss any minute of you. I love you, baby-girl. love, Mom

And yes, even you, Cameron, get a little love note today: this is the most recent picture I have of you and I love it because it shows some of your best qualities. I love how you (as much as possible) include the kids in your daily doings. You can make the boys think ANYTHING is fun. And you know how to have fun. You also know how to work. Hard. I appreciate you, my other half. We give each other balance. Together we have a life and a family. I am so lucky to have you. love, Kendra
Wishing you all a very happy Valentines Day with the people that keep you busy, and keep you going.