Alicia & Ben » Blog

Born at 5:19am October 27th
20.5 inches long,  9lbs 3oz
Sunday night Sarah was at our house for dinner and she looked like this:
Twelve hours later she looked like this:
Life is such a miracle!
My dad, McKay, and I took Ethan and Charlie to the hospital  to meet their little sister.  Ethan was SO excited!  Charlie was nervous and standoffish.
When we arrived at the door Michael had us wait outside until Sarah was situated.  When we walked in the Emma was nursing so they couldn’t see her too well.  Charlie stayed in mine or Michael’s arms and after the first peek wasn’t too interested.  Ethan gave her a thorough inspection announced she was “adorable and soft and was like a sea sponge” and then proceeded to draw a picture of his little sister.  The nurse practitioner came in to examine Emma and that’s when we all got a good look at her.
They spent a few hours visiting while McKay and I left to pick up Sadie and Jax from school.  We also grabbed Ben and went back to the hospital for a short visit.



Attempting a family picture


Welcome to the world and the family, Emma!

Send Usa message ShareOn Facebook Tweetto twitter Pin topinterest EmailSubscribe

Sadie and I had some great girl bonding time during a weekend trip to Texas to visit the Cricchios in San Antonio.  Katie Tickner, who now lives in Oregon, flew out as well.  Cricchio and Katie did an overnight group race the night before we flew in.  Sadie and I flew in on Saturday, just after their race.  It was fantastic to see our old friends!  Sadie and Andrew played together beautifully!  It was like we had never been apart.

Cricchio, Katie, and I have interesting relationships. Honestly, we’re each quite different from one another – Cricchio is crafty and laid back, Katie is driven and liberal, I’m…….conservative and traditional?  Interestingly, we three opposites were thrown together (Divine planning, I truly believe) into a small, crazy church ward during some of the most intense years of our lives.  In a 4 year span the three of us we had 7 babies. Intense! They didn’t have family in the area; I had family yet still felt far from them and isolated. I think we all felt drained and tested during those years.  It was a pretty raw relationship because we often saw each other at our worst – impatient with fussy kids, exhausted from sleepless nights, discouraged about postpartum body changes, and overwhelmed with the demands of motherhood.  We had totally joyful days, too – Katie teaching me how to wear makeup, Cricchio climbing through my car window 7 months pregnant to jump my car, our hilarious bookclub meetings, weekly playdates at the park, girls nights out, night runs, laughs about odd occurrences in Pasco, and calling each other in the middle of the night to babysit when we went into labor.  I really loved and needed those good laughs, their listening ears, and lightening experiences! So, I think I’ll always feel close to them in a unique way.  Together we shared a challenging and exciting season of our lives and I think we know a part of each other’s histories that not many others understand.

I learned so much from them!  Mostly I learned how to be a friend. It’s been quite lovely to be given a new beginning in Tampa. As I build new friendships I’m discovering just how much I learned from my interaction with Katie and Cricchio. There are mistakes I’m determined not to repeat, and an openness and generosity and helpfulness I’m trying to possess.

So, Cricchio, Tickner, and I – we’ll always be friends.  They’ve been some fabulous teachers and amazingly patient, fun friends!  It was great to catch up with them in a relaxed atmosphere and laugh about times gone by. Contrary to what I thought at the time, how quickly those times did go by!

















Send Usa message ShareOn Facebook Tweetto twitter Pin topinterest EmailSubscribe

One of McKay’s birthday presents this year was an annual family pass to Lowry Park Zoo. It’s nice when we remember to gift experiences rather than just materialistic possessions. So, my parents chipped in and we bought the pass just in time to take advantage of Swaptember. In the month of September all zoo pass holders can also have free admission to MOSI, a children’s museum, and the Florida Aquarium.

LOWRY PARK ZOO – 8/29/14 (Friday afternoon when Ben got off early)


Laughing about the monkeys.




First roller coaster. A bit of a shocker for him. He didn’t cry but he didn’t really like it either.




Cautiously brushing the goats. He reminded us of the time he was so scared of them he crawled up Auntie Natalie.

MOSI – 9/6/14 (Ben was sick so I took the kids one Saturday)







FLORIDA AQUARIUM – 9/30/14 (Went with new friends – Ashley and Nathan)


Trying, to no avail, to pet the string rays.


Walking through the fog.


Black light area.



LOWRY PARK ZOO – 10/6/14 (Sadie gets out of school early every Monday which gives us time to do interesting things in the afternoon)


Carousel rides are always a hit!


Loved to see them hold hands during the Wallaby Walk-a-bout.






They have a splash pad area which we’ve never explored, much to the kids’ disappointment. This day the kids insisted I bring their bathing suits. I was so impressed with how adventurous Jax was. Usually he won’t get his face or head wet. For the record, Jax packed his bathing suit and it was a 6-12 month size. It fit him just barely.




Send Usa message ShareOn Facebook Tweetto twitter Pin topinterest EmailSubscribe
  • October 7, 2014 - 3:13 pm

    Joe - That face from Sadie in the last pictureReplyCancel

    • October 14, 2014 - 11:13 pm

      alicia - Priceless. They’re becoming more ‘hip’ in the poses they want to strike.ReplyCancel

  • October 13, 2014 - 4:20 pm

    Shannon - I love the new look on your blog Alicia! Did you do it or have some help? Either way, it looks great.

    I’ll have to remember your idea about gifting fun experiences instead of just material things. I’ve really struggled with what to buy as gifts recently for my kids. I really don’t want any more toys in my house. Doing something fun together is much more memorable and special I think :)ReplyCancel

    • October 14, 2014 - 11:11 pm

      alicia - Thanks Shannon! I customized a blog template. So, I had help but then also did some myself ;) I think it still needs a little jazzing up but I was bored with the old layout. :)

      I have found that it’s getting harder to find gifts for the kids, too! We really just like to have the passes for places (children’s museum, aquarium, zoo) and find that birthdays are a good excuse to buy them.

      Thanks for the comment!ReplyCancel


At first it was a little strange to have just one child at home. I kept looking around for another child or two. All morning I wondered and worried about where and how they were. I was anxious to see them and I wasn’t focused or productive. And, it was a little dull – it felt wrong to do anything fun or interesting without them.  So we sat home instead, being careful not to do anything too interesting.

McKay didn’t know how to occupy himself. He wanted to be held or watch TV – nothing else. Sweet little guy even shed tears a few mornings as Jax happily marched out the door.

But now….

Well, now we’re figuring things out and it’s a little wonderful. It’s wonderful to not break up fights. It’s wonderful to be able to work with two-thirds less interruptions. It’s wonderful to be able to focus on McKay and his funny thoughts and fascinating questions.

Lately we’ve been busy with playdates, errands, and projects. We’ve been busy making friends and going on outings with new people in the area.  In the past most of our playdates were spent with Sadie’s friends.  He’s so excited to have his own friends.  Each Thursday we’ve been going to open gymnastics.  He seemed a little lost the first week because he didn’t have Sadie and Jax to follow around, but now he’s catching on that he can choose where to go and what to do.  Some mornings we go for walks.  It’s been so long since I’ve gone on regular walks because Sadie went through a phase during which she had a passionate hatred for walks.  We haven’t had too many lazy-stay-at-home mornings. But I love it when we do!  The lazy mornings usually include a morning show, magnetic blocks, and puzzles.










Side note about McKay: He is very, very picking about the clothes he wears. He only wants “fastest shorts” which are lose gym shorts (he has three he’s loyal to; one pair were worn 5/7 days last week) and “fastest shirts” which are t-shirts. Sunday or special outings are the only days we fight with him about his clothes, and part of his conditions are that I put his fastest clothes in my bag and he gets to change as soon as we get out of church/special event.

Send Usa message ShareOn Facebook Tweetto twitter Pin topinterest EmailSubscribe
  • October 6, 2014 - 3:09 am

    Christy - His hair is so long! And beautiful. :) He reminds me a lot of Jax in some of these pictures, especially picture 6. Glad you are both enjoying your mornings just the two of you.ReplyCancel

    • October 7, 2014 - 12:11 pm

      alicia - Yes, I think I’ve decided to let it grow. I said I never would but I just love it longer. :)ReplyCancel

Twelve of our tall palm trees got a clipping last week and in the process we were presented with three homeless baby squirrels. The tree trimmer knocked on our door and handed each of the kids a squirrel before I could say a thing. Sadie was thrilled! Jax was cautiously curious. McKay was a speechless statue who seemed amused and concerned. I laughed and ran for my camera.  Funny how we each react differently to life events.




While we were talking the mother came back to the nest and was squeaking for her babies. The babies started squeaking back. I asked Jax to set his down by the tree to see if the mother would come for it. He was so gentle and sweet.


Sadie, on the other hand, wouldn’t give hers up. She ran upstairs and asked Ben if she could keep it. The tree trimmer gave her the idea. Apparently he raised a few when he was a boy. I heard Ben laugh and yell from the upstairs bathroom (he was doing baseboards), “What is THAT?” She asked him if she could keep it and he told her, “No Sadie, no more pets.” She cried and was quite upset with Ben. Happy I didn’t have to be the bad guy.:)



Jax’s kept crawling up inside his costume. He loved the warm, dark, soft hideaway. Jax sat frozen letting him hangout while I researched what to do and called around to a few places.


In the end, we made them a little nest and put them by the tree the mother had fled to. They slowly started disappearing after an hour and a half. We never actually saw the mother come for them but I hope it was her and not the neighbor’s cat.

They were cute!


Send Usa message ShareOn Facebook Tweetto twitter Pin topinterest EmailSubscribe
  • September 26, 2014 - 12:29 am

    Shannon - Each of the kids do have a different reaction to the squirrels. I especially love the one with the little squirrel clinging to Mckay’s shirt. He has such a cute reaction.ReplyCancel

  • September 27, 2014 - 2:54 am

    Desiree - Super cute. Ben is so mean some times. Hope the momma got her babies back in the nest.ReplyCancel