All Done

It is unbelievably the end of November. That has flown by so quickly. Our vacation is all done. We head home early tomorrow morning. I am already tired and cold thinking of going back to North Dakota. It better not be anything like the drive here.

Lots of crazy kids have been having a blast together. The boys have been wiped out and taking great naps. Today I overheard Sam and Alex talking...
Sam: Are you sure you aren't sleepy?
Alex: I'm rubbing my eyes because I don't want to go to bed.

We gave Michelle a foot massage tonight as a hostess gift. She was amazing. She held everything together so well. It made me laugh when she said, "If I have to do the dishes one more time, you are all going to be uninvited." There have been an awful lot of dishes and messes. We won't all be together again for at least two years.

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We went to the Utah Jazz vs. Phoenix Suns game tonight. It was Declan's first professional sporting event. I am pretty sure he contracted the Black Death.

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I am grateful for...

I am grateful for too many things to name. Today, my family wins out. I love these four boys. I feel so blessed.

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Happy Thanksgiving!



There are no problems with our car! I took it into the dealership this morning and now it is clean and pretty! The boys were happy to spend the morning (starting at 5:30am) playing.

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There are no other pictures of our trip to Hogle Zoo because I am too tired to take them off of my big camera.

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We used to go to the Houston Zoo each month and Alex would ask each time to go on the carousel. I always told him no until one day I said, "Next time." Then we found out we were moving and we never went back again. I am glad he finally got his carousel ride!

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 There was no throw up from Edison all day until he ate too much dinner.
I have nothing bad to say about Flannel's girlfriend, Shelbey. She is a total sweetheart!
I have no good pictures of Sam, Matthew, Flannel, Jared, David, and Adam playing hockey in Michelle's basement.

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I have no more energy.


It is almost 2am in North Dakota. I am so completely exhausted from today. It started out so magical. Alex explained that it was a special day because daddy doesn't have to go to work and we get to go see Keaton. Thirty minutes later Edison threw up. He threw up nine more times in the next 15 hours before we arrived at my sister's house in South Jordan. And Sam got a speeding ticket. I feel like I've been on a boat all day and I am kind of rocking side to side. The pictures will have to be added tomorrow when I'm not on my phone. Today kind of stinks. North Dakota is reminding me to not go outside November-April. I get the message, North Dakota! You don't have to be such a brat about it. Ughhhh.


We wrapped some toys and snacks for the boys to open on the drive. They were thrilled about it.

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Sleep seemed to bring relief.

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Edison stabilized for a few hours and then decided to give throwing up another try as we pulled into Sam's parents' driveway for a minute. It was nasty.

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We are full of quirks. For example, we are leaving town in a few hours and yet I am making three loaves of banana bread and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Why?!

Alex has a few quirks of his own. One is that he calls clothes "Dressed." I guess he always hears me say that it is time to "get dressed" and then we get clothes. He says, "I need to get my dressed on." Every day. I am not planning to correct him.

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I tried to take cupcakes to the ladies I visit teach. (Has my whole life become about baking? That is weird considering I prefer cooking over baking.) I tried to find the back way to one lady's house. It was a disaster. I drove in a huge loop around the perimeter of town for over an hour. It was a horrible use of Alex's preschool time. Williston is a quirky place. I need to remember that sometimes dirt roads are the right way.

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My hips are quirky. I went to the chiropractor today and learned that my right leg is more than an inch shorter than my left leg because my hip is out of alignment. I feel like a car. He adjusted my back and it is amazing. No more headaches and my back doesn't ache at all! I guess I had gotten used to chronic upper back pain and didn't realize that a person's back is not supposed to always hurt. I need to go to the chiropractor more often.

Declan learned how to get back in a sitting position from his belly. I have been looking forward to this day. Now he won't get stuck on the ground.

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My phone. Oh boy. Siri is definitely quirky. I guess this is what she thought I was saying but I promise I didn't. I said, "Garbage bag." I didn't notice until hours later. Whoops.

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Hopefully the roads will be clear and we will make it safely to Utah tomorrow. I am so excited to meet my niece (Makenna) and Flannel's girlfriend (Shelbey) for the first time!


A Word

Alex is growing up so fast. He has started telling us jokes. They are only funny because they are so terrible. Most of them involve dinosaurs, start with "Guess what!" and end with Alex laughing hysterically at himself. He sounds words out, tells us what words start with certain letters, and is always spotting the number four and announcing that he is four! He loves writing letters and numbers. Tonight, he wrote "Noi" and the asked Sam what it said. Sam said, "Noy." So Alex added a "U" before the word and said, "Now does it say, 'Annoy?'" Then he proceeded to write "Pot" over and over on a piece of paper and was very excited about it. Not sure where that word came from. Each O became a wheel. So random and funny!

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I have been bad with Edison. I never worked with him on letters. But, surprise! He knows almost all of them. No idea how that happened. He is picking up on Alex's interest and has also developed an obsession with announcing every letter he sees. That includes the Exit sign which he spotted in the middle of church and did not whisper, "E-X-what's that letter?-T."

Declan is practicing for a "Firefighter: Baby Edition" calendar.

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North Dakota winters are cold. We have sworn off shaving.

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Declan is all about putting small objects in his mouth. This morning it was a bouncy ball. I have been putting them all away but then the boys took them out of the closet! Agh! My kids are unbaby-proofing my house!

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Tonight, Declan found a pumpkin candy Alex brought home from church. He was silently sucking on it and when we took it away he was trying to dive after it. First candy!

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 Choo choo train of crawlers. 

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Alex was pretty excited tonight when I pointed out to him that I have four boys just like he is four years old. Four is a pretty good number.



"Simple" isn't really something I do. In general, I tend to complicate things. Some things I don't really care about but if I care, I fixate, and then I overdo. I tweaked my back doing laundry; I am the valedictorian of laundry.

In today's edition of over-the-top, I woke up barely able to move. Declan crawled into the corner of our dresser and I sat there staring at him and calling for Sam. I couldn't bend over and pick him up. After slowly moving around, I got started on the cupcakes. It took five hours. I am glad Kim (RS President) came over to help me package them or it would have taken all day!

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The boys have been asking to play outside so Sam took them out today since it was in the 20s.

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They loved it and kept telling him that they weren't cold. But they came in and their little cheeks were so red!

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I bought 20 pounds of chicken tonight and, in combination with the freezer meals, our freezer was exploding. I had to use some frozen fruit so I made the biggest smoothie our blender could handle. Edison tipped his cup down his shirt. Better than throw up!

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Alex usually wants Sam to give him a ride downstairs at bedtime. Edison would rather crawl down headfirst. Tonight, they had a headfirst race while Alex was riding on Sam's back. Declan and I observed the crazy from afar. Silly boys.

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It is pretty common for me to refuse someone's offer to take a picture for me by saying, "I know I was here. I don't need to be in the picture." But I want the boys to know that I was here, that I played with them, and that I looked crazy. I don't always want to be the one behind the camera. Today I made an effort to turn the camera around each time I took a picture.

We went to Williston Toddler Days' Fall craft activity this morning.

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I didn't want to take selfies all day so I handed my camera to Alex. It didn't really work out.

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Edison and I giggled with Declan.

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Alex brought home a crazy picture from preschool today.

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Alex and I had this conversation on the drive home from school...
Alex: The snack at preschool today was all sorts of colored Cheerios!
Emily: Were they Froot Loops?
Alex: Yes! But they didn't have any fruit in them!

Declan has discovered how to pull himself up on the side of his bed and he is trying to do it other places. Time to drop down his mattress.

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Nothing is an obstacle to Declan anymore. Including a person lying on the floor. Declan has also learned how to bear crawl on the hard floor so it doesn't hurt his knees. Quick little boy.

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I am going to have to try really hard to not tear into other people for complaining that it is "freezing cold! Brrr." Except they are in Arizona and it is in the 60s and I kind of want to kill them.

I was supposed to make 50 cupcakes tonight but I threw out my back while leaning into the washing machine to get out the clothes. Laundry is dangerous! My back isn't getting any better and I can hardly move. Sam will be gone all morning helping skirt someone's trailer and the cupcakes have to be baked, cooled, and frosted by noon. I hope I feel better in the morning or this is going to be bad.


I Wish I Had This

I am not a big shopper. Mostly I buy things I feel I need. It makes Christmas and birthdays difficult because if I need something then I buy it when I need it. I do have a list of things that I hope to have one day. I really think it would be awesome to have a bike trailer. But then I would also need a bike and now I just feel like I am getting greedy.

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I also wish that I were not a hardcore procrastinator. Maybe then I wouldn't have put off selling Alex's raffle tickets until the last day and had to go out in 8°F weather to sell them this afternoon.

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I wish I could sleep as well as Sam does.

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I wish my little boys would stay little forever.

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Being home with the kids sometimes makes me desperate for communication with adults. I got a lot of that today.

I went to the library with Alyssa this morning. She told me not to look out the window. But I did anyway. I was not happy with what I saw. It is currently -1° feels like -17°.

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Alyssa is a really thoughtful gift-giver. Last year she remembered that I had mentioned something about my cookie sheets and she got me amazing, nice ones that I use every day. I few months ago she asked me if I had an apple peeler/corer/slicer and I said that I wished I did. So she got me one for my birthday. I love these things!

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I hosted Make & Eat Nite tonight. I was having a hard time coming up with an idea of what we should do and then I came back to food, where I always end up. We had a freezer meal exchange. Quite a few people canceled last minute so there were only five of us but it was fun.

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I made zuppa toscana and breadsticks. We ate it for dinner last night and it was amazing. I hope everyone else likes it, too.

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There were some delicious dinners exchanged and I am excited to to try them all soon!

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Olivia, Larissa, Nikki, Maggie, & Emily

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Photo by Nikki

Sam took the boys out to dinner and then put them to bed downstairs. He did a great job of keeping them away from ME Nite to not break the "No kids allowed" rule.

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I got to communicate with my sister on the phone today. I am so excited to see her in six days! I did not communicate with Sam very much today so I should probably get back to that now.


Where I Ate Breakfast

I made banana bread this morning and planned to eat a lot of it so I didn't eat breakfast until during our Relief Society presidency meeting at 10am. I tried to get Alex to take a picture of us and he was aiming the camera all over the place. It was hilarious.

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Then Edison wanted a turn to take a picture. This one was a total surprise on my camera. I didn't see this happen. Alex has an extremely long tongue!

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I spent four hours making freezer meals tonight. The kitchen is a disaster. While making breadsticks, Alex and I had this conversation:
Alex: Can I help?
Emily: I'm just adding a little bit.
Alex: But I'm your sous chef. I help.

Dang. I hate when I teach him things and they come back to bite me.
You know those phrases that become somewhat repetitive in prayers? I have one. "Please help me stop being so crazy." No answer to that one yet. Speaking of prayers and things I teach Alex, he is now praying to "God" instead of "Heavenly Father." It is okay but it is sad to me that two months of preschool has undone four years at home.


Documenting Declan (7 Months)

Weight: 18 pounds, 10 ounces
Length: 27 inches

Declan is a total darling. It's as simple as that. He makes everyone happier just by being there. He doesn't have any sign of stranger anxiety. He is curious and vocal. We love Declan baby.

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He smiles in response to every smile.

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Where is the other half?!

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His brothers leave plenty of toys on the ground for him.

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Squinty eyes.

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He was quite perplexed by this.

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Declan loves "dancing phalanges."

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No toy is as cool as my phone. He wants to eat it.

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I don't know how he gets into these situations.

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Fat guy in little glasses.

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So handsome.

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Ever since there was an incident, Declan always gets to be the top piece of bread in the sandwich.

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Or maybe I lied. Squuuuuish.

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"I am judging you right now."

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Just chillin' with some toys.

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Bath time makes him sleepy.

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Too many crazy kids were running around. He was worried.

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Freedom! No swaddle!

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He has discovered doorstops. So much joy!

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The love handles. So much chunk.

A few more things Declan does for which I do not have a matching picture:
...flips onto his stomach if he isn't swaddled in bed.
...has mastered going from sitting to his tummy without faceplanting.
...loves paper. If he gets his hands on it, I know it is a lost cause. He will not release his grip and I have to pry the crinkled paper away.
...is a ridiculously slow crawler. It doesn't even seem like he has a desire to move most of the time.
...is terribly ticklish on his back and feet.
...has cankles.

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