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Alicia’s 30th Birthday

I don’t plan to belabor the point but I have to at least acknowledge it: I turned 30.  I never expected to be a person that cared about aging.  And it’s not that I’m disturbed by it - I’m just shocked by it.  I’m 30?  I’m 30.  I have to keep reminding myself.  Really?  I’m 30?  Yes, Alicia, you’re 30!  How did this happen?  I feel no older than 26 and no wiser than I was at 23.  Just the same, though, I’m 30.


Me at 30.

I guess I belabored the point.

The 20′s were great to me!  Here’s a brief recap of major events:

20 - Finished up school at BYU (right before turning 21)

21 – Married Ben in Orlando Temple (right after turning 21)

22 - Graduated from University of Tampa with Master’s degree in teaching & bought our first home

23 – Sadie was born & ‘retired’ from teaching

24 – Started doing photography with Sarah

25 – Jax was born

26 – A good but busy year, became pregnant with Mo when Jax was 4 months old

27 – McKay was born

28 - I miraculously survived a year with three very small, cute children.  Most tiring year of my life.

29 – Loved every minute of it!  Probably the best year of my life! The kids were so fun and small, yet fairly manageable.  We were blessed to go on fun trips.  We moved out of our home in New Port Richey into a home we like much more in Tampa.

Lots of happy memories and major events for one decade!!  I have some regrets in those years but I’ve tried to learn from mistakes and experiences.  I guess my 30′s will be called Take 2: Trying to Become the Me I Want to Be - a more patient, relaxed, go-with-the flow, and love and help everyone around you type of person.

Incidentally, most of the family was traveling internationally on my birthday so we decided to do a little beach getaway.  We found a hotel on the beach in Daytona (Perry’s Oceanfront Hotel) which looked wonderfully relaxing.  The last few months have been so busy and chaotic.  The slow pace and rays of sunshine were the perfect reprieve!




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July 25, 2014 - 8:08 pm

Shannon - Happy belated birthday Alicia! I’m sorry I wasn’t able to tell you the day of, but I was away from the computer at a family reunion. It sure does look like you had a wonderful time celebrating your jump into your 30′s. You are the best!

Kiddos Updates

Haven’t written about each child recently so I thought I’d jot down some details.



Sadie is perfect lately.

She transitioned so well to her new school. I was worried it would be too much, and we were thought about homeschooling for those few months. But, with all of life’s craziness I knew I wouldn’t have the time to devote to homeschooling during that time of transition so we enrolled her in Bauder.  She did great!  Several times while walking to school she would look up at me and say, “I really enjoy this school, Mommy.”  When I picked her up she seemed peppy and energized.  When she was attending her old school she often would protest about going and seemed so, so, so tired and irritable when we picked her up.  Maybe it was coincidence but she also seemed to make an academic leap while she was there.  It was a great thing for her!

Sadie loves maternal type activities – always playing with a doll or pretending one of her brothers is her baby horse.  She also likes to ask me to give her “homework” which are just simple worksheets I have.  She spends a good half hour or more in her room reading aloud to herself or Jax everyday.  It’s been so nice that I don’t have to push her to do school/educational type of things.  She seems to naturally like that type of thing.  She loves skirts and dresses and femine things.  I was a tomboy so this a little new for me but so fun.  She’s an interesting mix because she’s feminine but most of her friends are boys and she plays great with them.  She loves to play chase and run.  Her endurance is remarkable.  She is also really enjoying the pool and is doing great at swimming, although, she still prefers to have a pool noodle propped under her to make things easier.

We still have her on a gluten free diet.  We aren’t perfect, but we try hard.  Maybe once every week or two we’ll cheat.  It was more when we were at my parents but we’ve tightened up again.  I have started using dairy here and there in my cooking instead of almond milk and she seems to do fine.  I also put butter on her toast and whatnot.  It’s still not easy but at least we have found a solution to her eczema problem. So grateful!

She’s usually pretty easy and cooperative.  If she’s out of routine or exhausted she can get fussy but that’s rare.  I have enjoyed her so, so, so much the past year!  She’s just at such a great, sweet age and stage.



The little man.  Jax has been rough the past year.  He’s the hardest of the three lately which is shocking to me!  Sadie was difficult at this age, too.  She came out of it just after turning four so I’m hoping Jax will, too.  He’s a  really good kid but he was the easiest, most perfect baby and I expected that to continue.  He can be aggressive when wronged and has a short fuse with certain people and over certain issues.  Sadie and Moe are good at turning the other cheek after being wronged but Jax won’t walk away and won’t let it go.  We often sing him Frozen’s “Let It Go” song in such situations.  He is still sweet, lovable, cuddly, hilarious, and so clever.  Just stubborn, too.  He’s learning. I’m trying to be patient.

He adores Sadie.  Sadie often quickly makes new friends when we’re out and about and Jax gets insanely jealous.  He says Sadie is his best friend and he hates, hates, hates for her to attach to someone else.  We had to leave a mall play area a few weeks ago because he just couldn’t handle that Sadie was having so much fun with someone other than himself.  It’s cute but it can be a problem.  McKay and Jax are pretty great friends now, too.  They didn’t acknowledge each other a whole lot when they were younger, but since Sadie was away all day at Kindergarten this past year they’ve started playing together a lot.  They compete over things which gets annoying, “I’m the fastest” “I ate the most” “That’s my truck” but they also have long stretches throughout the day where they play together great.

I worry that I don’t give him all the attention he deserves.  The other two are better at requesting to be held or hugged.  Jax – not so much,  He still loves to be babied and I try to remember to hold him and give him hugs throughout the day.  He’s such a sweet, sensitive, deep soul when he’s calm. People, especially adults, and especially older adults, instantly like him.

Jax loves puzzles and books. He remembers everything and has a never ending stream of questions for me. He is a typical boy in that he loves the outdoors – not creepy crawly things but sports, parks, jumping, climbing type of things.  He seems musical in that he’s always humming, marching, dancing, making up lyrics, and singing songs from movies.  He has tremendous potential and I know he’ll do great things in life.



McKay’s personality has really come out over the last few months.  Before living at my parents house he was very shy and only talked around us.  Now he’ll carry on a conversation with anyone.  We can’t get enough of his cute little voice and all his funny thoughts.  He keeps us laughing all day! He’s such a tease and loves to do exactly the opposite of what we ask. I never know whether to laugh or cry in concern over McKay.

Would you believe me if I told you he still loves to be held and carried and babied?!?!  I’m just shocked he’ll be three in a month!  Just doesn’t seem possible.  He’s still such a baby to us.  He’s super affectionate and craves physical contact.  If we are on the sofa – he has to be right up against me and my arm absolutely MUST be around him.  If we are reading a book – he needs to be on my lap, no one else can be closer to me than he is.  If he comes in bed with us - my arms must be around him and my face must be facing him.  He’ll bring my cheek back around to his direction if ever I dare to face the other way.  He’s pretty demanding of our attention and I suppose I give in more than I should because he’s so cute and funny and since he’s the third I’ve always worried I wouldn’t be able to give to him what I did to Sadie and Jax. In actuality, I’m think I’ve spent more time holding and caring for McKay in his first three years of life than I did for the other two.  He’s just so demanding!

McKay doesn’t like to walk on his own but he loves to run!  His favorite activity lately is to run in a big field in just his socks.  He’ll go and go and go. Huge grin the whole time!  He’ll stop every 5 minutes and say, “I newd ah dwrink; I need moor en-wer-ge.” Love that little voice!

McKay’s behavior is generally good. For the record, all the kids are usually good for other people or for church teachers – it’s usually just us they misbehave for.  They like structure and we weren’t very structured when we were in Seminole.  Things are getting back to a new, wonderful normal now.

McKay is passionate and headstrong.  I do so worry about the teen years with him!  He loves to play with friends but isn’t overly concerned about being the center of their world.  He’s kindof cool in that he let’s people come to him and doesn’t seek out or seem desperate for his peers attention.  Total opposite of how he is with Ben and me!  His little smile, darling voice, bronze skin, and sly smile make me go weak in the knees.  I am totally wrapped around his finger!  Dangerously so.  I worried I wouldn’t have enough energy and love left when he was born but he’s had me captivated since day 1.  Oh, McKay.



Ben and I are doing great.  We’re both so busy with various things – house projects, work demands, girls camp planning, and children.  However, we are so happy about being back in our home and the work is all mostly enjoyable.  We just worry that we don’t have the ability to give each task the attention it deserves.  And progress is slow!  Especially the house stuff. But that’s a post for another day.


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July 3, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Raven - What a cute family! For the record, I don’t think you need to worry about giving your kids too much time and attention. I don’t think you’ll look back and say, “Gosh, I wish I had just ignored them more often!” ;) I always worry about the opposite. That I’m not giving them enough. Motherhood–it’s a tricky one, isn’t it? “The days are long, but the years are short…” These kids are so blessed to have you!

Hi Maddie!!

Hi Maddie,

Your favorite Auntie misses you!  How’s potty training going?  Don’t let your silly mommy tell you you’re too young!  You’ll show her!

Your mommy tells me that you love to look at the pictures on our blog and you need new pictures to look at so I’m posting some pictures for you.  I wish there was a unifying theme to this post and lots of pretty words describing our activities and my love for the little people in my life but I lack time and creativity so I’m just posting some pictures for you to look at. I’ll try to give a brief explanation so you’ll understand some of them.



One Sunday I came downstairs to find the kids playing FHE with their dolls:







McKay had his 8th crayon infraction.  Will he ever learn?



Sadie’s last day of Kindergarten.  This is the same place that your mommy and I got dropped off for Kindergarten.  I remember waiting on that blue line for Uncle Joey and Uncle Mikey to come and pick me up.DSC_4628DSC_4636


This is Sadie’s first Kindergarten teacher.  We went back to say hello, pick up a few things, and play with her friends.





I loved Sadie’s outfit this day.  What do you think of it?  It will be yours soon enough:)



This is my friend, Kat.  She has a little girl named Sadie, too.  They have the same dress and Kat and I have similar skirts so we took a picture.  This was on Mother’s Day.  I think my hair looks funny.



Mimi, Sadie, Jax, Mo, and I went to a tomato farm to pick tomatoes last month.  The farm had lots of animals and the kids had a lot of fun.  Wish you could have come, too.  We made salsa with most of the tomatoes.  I think we have 50 jars of salsa.  It’s yummy.



This was me and my father on Father’s Day:



This is Lake Seminole Park.  All of our family parties were held at this park when I was growing up.  We should go next time you are in Florida, okay?



Little Mo is so smitten with his daddy.  He won’t let me play with him when Uncle Ben is around.  I have to make Uncle Ben go to work so I can play with McKay. He is so silly!



We bought a new sofa for our new house.  Will you come stay with us when you’re in Florida.  It’s not fair that you always stay at Mimi’s house.  I’m going to bring you to my house for a sleepover when you’re here next, okay?  It will be so fun!



Maddie, you may not know what a big deal this is but Uncle Ben has started installing baseboards!!!  We also have two working toilets now!  I think this weekend we are going to move in.  Auntie Alicia is very, very overwhelmed lately and I really need to get organized.  Getting baseboards is one really big step closer to getting organized!



Jess left to go back to Virginia. We really miss her! The pictures below were at her farewell party at Gramma Meyers’ house. Silly me!  I forgot to take a picture of Jess this night. Oops. Gramma’s been really sick lately.  She had to go to the hospital because she had pneumonia.  She also had surgery on her hand a few weeks ago because she got a big thorn stuck in her hand while doing yardwork and it got infected.  We are hoping she will get back to normal soon.



This J is for our new house.  Poor Grandpie has bronchitis but he still came over to our house to work.  Do you see him in the lower left corner?



Maddie, this is a picture of an avocado.  This is evidence that God knows me and answers my prayers.  I prayed for a home with a mango tree, avocado tree, and orange tree. When we bought our house we didn’t think it had any of the three.  Well, imagine Auntie Alicia in the yard jumping for joy when I discovered two mango trees and an orange tree a few weeks back!  I was overwhelmed with happiness and shock.  Well, this week we discovered this one avocado on our supposed second mango tree!  There is only one, single, perfect avocado.  It’s like heaven put it there just so I would know my prayers for my three trees was answered. Some angel in heaven had a hand in us getting this house.  I’m sure of it!  And so, so grateful for it.



This little boy and his smile melt my heart.  He’s demanding and mischievous but absolute perfection!  I hope you two will be good friends.  He does so adore you, you know.



McKay is really into running lately so we’ve been going to a park with a huge field a lot.  There are a lot of tall light polls there with big birds nests at the tops.  The birds fly out to the ocean and bring fish back to their nests.  They eat the fish for dinner and then throw the leftovers out of their nests – way, way down to the field.  The kids love to watch the process.  I think it’s a little sad for the fish but Jax tells me that the fish are happy because they’re in heaven now.


I hope you liked the pictures.  Tell your mommy that she needs to do a long blog post with lots of pictures for me now!  Also, tell her that one of the two quilts she made for the boys are on a made bed in their room and it looks so cute!  Can’t wait to get that room finished so I can send her pictures.

We are so excited to see you next month!  Sadie and Jax and Mo really want to see the horses by your house.  Will you take us there?

Love you so, so, so much!


Your Favorite Auntie!

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June 16, 2014 - 5:04 am

Christy Haggard - Dear Alicia,

It is late here. Madeleine needs me to lay down with her in order to fall asleep and consequently I fall asleep, then wake up a little dazed and groggy, ready to sleep in my own bed. I came out to tell Matt I woke up and am going to bed and he showed me your post. It is perfect. And I can’t wait to show Madeleine tomorrow!

Matt says he thinks you need a bigger J. He also likes your floors; everything is looking great!

And I think you should have shot dad to put him out of his misery. :) Just kidding. I like him too much and he’s got to stick around for a few more years before we put that horse down, as he jokingly says from time to time.

I love you! I love you! I love you!


June 16, 2014 - 3:19 pm

Shannon - Your new house is looking beautiful Alicia! Can’t wait to see more pictures. Best of luck with your move.

Jax’s Broken Arm

It was a busy Wednesday morning.  I had just dropped Sadie off at school.  Ethan was at the counter drawing; Charlie and McKay were playing with toys just around the corner from me.  I was chatting with my dad while loading the breakfast dishes. Jax was over by the sofa playing with an exercise ball.  My dad and I finished our conversation and he walked off into his room.  I turned to put a dish into the dishwasher and that’s when I heard the scream.  It was one of those awful screams when you know something is really, really wrong.  As I ran to Jax I was praying, “Please let it only be his arm and not his neck.”  As I scooped his distraught, sobbing little body off the ground he immediately grabbed his lower arm/wrist.  I knew.  I knew, alright.  I  knew I had prayed for the wrong thing!  I should have prayed, “Please don’t have any broken bones or serious injuries.”  Oh well.  You live and learn.  It was terrible timing (week with five kids) and another big bill (paying to get out of our old house; paying to get into a new one) we really didn’t need.  But at least it wasn’t his neck!

My dad came running out of his room and called for my mom who was in the computer room.  Jax’s sobs lessened and he started to turn white like he might pass out.  My mom suggested I lay him on the sofa.  After a long minute his cries picked up again.  He cried on and off for another half hour.  My dad left for a client appointment; my mom left for a doctor’s appointment.  They offered to stay but I pretty well knew the routine since we’d been through it the year before with McKay’s broken leg.  My parents were on the fence as to whether it was broken or not but I felt pretty sure it was.  I called Dr. Beck and they had availability for that afternoon.

My mom was kind enough to keep the other four kids so Ben and I could focus on Jax at the appointment.  They confirmed he had broken both the bones in his lower arm.  They asked him how he hurt himself.  He said, “I jumped from the sofa onto the exercise ball.”  I don’t expect he’ll be repeating that stunt any time soon.

His cast color selection was BYU blue.  He was thrilled with the idea of wearing a cast.  Although, his enthusiasm waxed cold shortly after we left the office.  “Mommy get this thing off me,” he said on the drive home.  “Sorry buddy – you’re stuck with it for three weeks.”  Resigned to his fate a heard a defeated, “Oooh” from the back seat.

The time passed quickly and before we knew it the day had come for the Tickle Machine to cut that cast off.  It’s quite possible I was more excited about the removal than he was.  The cast could get wet but we were strictly forbidden from going near sand or dirt.  Interpretation: beach or park.  That was a pretty big challenge.  Our five minute commute to the beach was a temptation for me the whole three weeks.  Three whole, long weeks I stayed away though.  That’s true love.

Back to the story.

We’d prepped Jax for three weeks about how the loud (but not painful) Tickle Machine would cut his cast off.  So, they called us back and Ben and Jax were ahead of McKay and I and I heard the tech say, “Is it on pretty tight?”  I was about to say, “Oh ya, that thing hasn’t budged an inch.” But before I could, I walked into the room and he had already slid the cast off of Jax’s arm.  That’s all there was to it.  Jax slid it on and off a few times and decided he preferred it on.  Hmmm.  Now why couldn’t I have gone to the beach and just slid it off and cleaned it afterwards and then replaced it?!?!?

We chatted with our dear friend, Dr. Beck, for a few minutes and then we headed out.

Jax kept sliding his cast on and off for a few hours afterwards, but finally by night time he decided he liked to go without.

We really, really like Dr. Beck but we’re hoping to only see him at church from now on!




Day of Removal:


Doing his happy dance in the waiting room.

Doing his happy dance in the waiting room.


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June 8, 2014 - 6:31 pm

Shannon - What fun pictures! Jax is such a cutie. Love the picture of him with the guy who took off his cast. What a character. You were troopers for staying away from the beach for 3 weeks. That would be hard, especially since you live so close to the ocean. I hope you are done with broken bones now. You sure have had your fill.