Alicia & Ben » Blog

Jax turned 6.  Seems impossible, yet, here we are.

First let’s address why he’s wearing pink PJs in these present opening pictures.  The night before we were driving home from Karate and McKay fell asleep in the car and he stayed asleep when I carried him up to his bed when we arrived home.  So McKay was sleeping in the boys’ room and I let Jax have a sleepover in Sadie’s room since it was his birthday and I didn’t want Jax to wake McKay.  So, Jax wore Sadie’s PJs to bed instead of us risking waking McKay by getting Jax’s PJs out of his room.  Clear as mud?  I know I could re-write that but I’m feeling lazy.  Sorry.

Anyways, Ben arrived home from YMs and thankfully helped me decorate the house and finish wrapping presents.  When I say helped me….he did it all.  I was feeling sick so I sat and watched. Sadie had already done a lot of the wrapping.  She is so helpful with that! Just like her daddy.

This year he requested karate presents.  Karate presents????  Wasn’t sure what that meant and he didn’t either.  He kindof likes Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because of their fighting and combat scenes.  He doesn’t watch the shows often (I hate both those shows so I limit) but I bought him a few of those gifts.  He liked them lots.

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Later that morning my mom came over and we all went out to a toy store to let Jax pick out his presents from my parents.  He was so happy!  After some searching we finally found what he was looking for at Target.  He picked out a transformer, lego warrior guy, and a power ranger dinosaur toy of some type.  It brought him so much happiness!  I was feeling really, really sick that morning so my mom coming over was a helpful distraction for all of us.  :)

That afternoon we went to RE Olds park for his family party.  We were worried we’d need to cancel because I had a sore throat, but thankfully, the family  was still okay with meeting!  Seems like we’re always sick on Jax’s birthday.  So happy it didn’t interfere this year, though!

Jax loves, loves, loves his cousins.  They are his best friends and an afternoon running around the park with them and eating sweets is his all time favorite thing!  Unfortunately I forgot my camera but Ben snapped some with his phone.  Mostly we let the kids run free, but Joseph and Ben set up a little obstacle course (thanks for the inspiration Matt) and the kids thoroughly enjoyed that!  They also enjoyed destroying the boys’ homemade pinata.  Though, some unfair candy distribution led to a few disappointed kids, Jax included.  He was exhausted by the end of the party and practically cried himself to sleep that night from emotional exhaustion.  It’s his party and he’ll cry if he wants to, I guess.  Overall, my lovely little six year old had a super fun day!

A few questions I asked Jax:

What was the best part of your birthday?  When we did the obstacle course game and when we had to throw the ball to see who got it the furthest.

Who is your best friend?  Jamsie.

What was your favorite toy?  The Power Ranger dinosaur toy from Mimi.

What made you feel the most loved on your birthday?  Opening the presents at my birthday party.

What else did you like about your birthday?  The pinata and the cake that had my name on it.  Okay that’s enough, Mom.

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Note: I wrote this a few months ago but hesitated to share for fear it was too negative.  After some time, I decided to share because it’s the reality of parenthood – ups and downs, love and frustration, happiness and exhaustion.  I think it’s healthy to remember and share all of it so I can have empathy for young mothers when I’m an old woman:)


Sunday afternoon I was upstairs with Ben and Jax when McKay came running up with a big smile declaring he had a present for us.  He delivered a Love Note to us from Sadie.  I read it aloud to the group: “Dear Daddy, I love you.  I love you because you get me water.”

I laughed a painful, sad laugh.  Kids.  They’re so cute yet so cruel, ya know?

Ben was confused.  “It seems so sweet.  What’s wrong with it?” he asks.

Ugh….how can I explain.

Sunday morning I spent getting myself and three kids ready for church.  I always have.  I’m starting to think I always will.  Ben was at ward council.  So I fed, bathed, and dressed the kiddos myself.  No biggie; I’m used to it.  If Ben was home he’d be helping but he has obligations.

At church Ben sat on the stand because the whole ward council spoke.  No biggie.  I’ve sat by myself with the kids for 5 of the last 7 years.  It’s not easy but I’m used to it.

After Sacrament meeting I go to my calling in Primary.  More kids.  I don’t mind, truly.  It’s fun to be down there and I like knowing what’s going on.

After church Ben had meetings so I took the kids home and changed them out of their nice clothes into their comfy clothes.   By then I had three hungry kids begging for lunch. I prepare a gluten-free favorite of chicken panang.  It’s not easy to be limited to gluten-free meals but we make it work for Sadie’s sake.

So I prepare the meal and we sit down to pray and eat.  Still no Ben but he’s doing great things so I’m happy about that.  I’d eaten about 3 bites of food when Sadie asked me to get her a cup of water.  The kids have ONE responsibility at meals: their water.  All they had to get was their water. That’s it.

Our conversation went like this:

Sadie: “Mommy, I’m thristy”

Me: “Sadie, you know you’re supposed to get your own water, Honey.  I just sat down and I want to eat. I haven’t sat down all day.  I asked you several times to get your own water.  I’m not going to. Can you please get it.”

Sadie: “Mommy, pleeeasssee will you get it for me? I’m really tired.”

Me:  “Sadie, I have done 29 things to prepare this meal.  I’ve measured the rice, rinsed the rice, cooked the rice.  I’ve cut up the chicken, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and celery.  I’ve opened cans of coconut milk and bamboo shoots.  I’ve cooked the meal, plated the food, gotten you silverware and napkins.  I asked you to do ONE thing – get yourself water.  I’m tired and I want to eat.  You can get yourself your own water.”

Sadie: Tears up and cries

Me: “Oh Sadie!  You’re not in trouble; I’m just tired. Come on, honey.  Let’s do it together, ok?”

Sadie and I get everyone waters.

So later when she delivered her note to Ben, “….I love you because you get me water” it felt like a slap in the face. It made me wonder if I’ll be remembered for the thousands of daily chores I do and the kind, encouraging words I express throughout the day,  or will I be remembered for the one moment when they felt disappointed because I was tired and choose to be selfish.  Are my kids going to look at their childhood and think of the handful of mistakes I made and overlook the thousands of things I did right?   I’m worried they will.  That’s sad.

I realize parenthood is not a popularity contest but sometimes I feel like the deck is a little unequally stacked against a mother.  It’s so easy to love the dad, especially Ben. He’s fun, extremely involved, and more patient (because he’s not as worn out).

But, ya know, I think I’m a pretty good parent, too.  Even if I don’t get them water!

I’ll just keep doing my best.  I’ll teach them responsibility and hardwork even if it means arguments and grumpiness.  I’ll keep trying to be patient and forgive myself even when I fall short.  Hopefully one day they’ll be parents and understand just how hard I worked and how deeply I loved them.  Because I do.  I love them like I never imagined I could love anything!


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The boys just finished up their spring soccer season.  Jax loved it; McKay liked it.  I think the heat was getting to McKay by the end.  The boys played great all season!  They each got quite a few goals.  Jax was the oldest on his team, so that may be a partial reason he was so successful!

Ben made a cute highlight video of their best moments.  Enjoy!  The audio is his favorite part:)

And, a few pictures…..

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I wanted to do a blog post tonight and share pictures of the kids lately.  Only problem???  Most of the pictures I take are of strangers.  When I’m home I want a break from photography. I’ve been taking more and more pictures, but less and less of them are of my kids.  So I’m going to blog about why I’m cutting back from photography.

Things have been busy lately.  I say that a lot.  I’ve been saying it for years. But lately, wow – new record for busyness, and I think I’m on the verge of burnout.   It feels like every moment of the week is scheduled – Monday, Thursday and Friday evenings are usually photoshoots, Tuesday afternoon we have Sadie’s Singer’s Company class, and Wednesday we have Karate.  So every weekday afternoon/evening is booked.  Saturdays are crazy – 9AM soccer for the boys, 11:30 karate for Sadie and Jax, I usually have at least two photography commitments, and seems like there’s always a birthday party, YMs activity, or obligation in the afternoon/evening. Then there’s Sundays…..Ben’s is currently the YMs president and I’m the primary president, so that keeps us fairly busy, too. There’s so little time for free play, parks, bike rides, or lounging at home.

So, I’ve decided to cut back with photography.  A hard choice for many reasons.  Hard to walk away from income and clients when I’ve worked hard to build the business.  And, I like feeling successful and I feel like the busier I am the more successful I am, which I know is not true, but it feels that way.   I told three people no this week.  It was hard.

Then I look at the kids and realize how quickly they’re growing up and how much I want to be with them to play, explore, and create fun memories and the choice is clear.  Who needs money, success, or an early retirement?  I just want more time with these three:

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I LOVE photography and definitely want to continue.  I just want to rework things. I’m trying to figure out my 5 year plan.  I’m considering pursuing weddings more and family photography less.  I like weddings because they’re more profitable and I can get it all done on a Saturday when Ben’s home.  That would open up our weeks.  The only problem is I feel like I’m better with kids/families, and I don’t get many leads for big weddings.  I’m trying to work through those obstacles.

I have a two day photography conference this week in Orlando that I’m really looking forward to and hoping to get some answers to questions I’ve been having.  Hopefully it will be helpful!  And, hopefully, we can get headed down a path that will be a little more balanced.

Meanwhile, the kids are adorable and perfect!  Ben insists they get more love and attention than 95% of kids on this planet, despite my evenings away.  Ben is an extremely attentive parent, so, thankfully, I never worry when I’m away.  So grateful for their support!

A few fun pictures from lately….


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  • June 7, 2016 - 9:53 pm

    Jess - Cute cute pictures!! Love your sweet family :) It’s not easy to walk away from something like this, but it’s inspirational to see that you’re taking more time for family!! Love you, Alicia!ReplyCancel

The kids caught on to the fact that there’s a cool place called “Disney” that other kids get to go to. They’ve been wondering when they would get to visit this cool, unknown “Disney” destination.  And, truth be told, I’ve been feeling a bit of parental guilt that the boys are 4 and 5 and they’ve never been there.  It does seem like a necessary part of childhood.  And we only live 2 hours away.  And Ben and I have been to India, Maldives, Hawaii, and Thailand in the past 3 years. Seemed unfair to not take them even if the expense, crowds, heat, and rides are not my cup of tea.

Kimmy was in town last week and she wanted to go, so we finally went.  My dad came too.  It was nice to have extra adults to hold their hands and sit with them on rides.  Grampie was very much in demand.  All the kids wanted him all day. We bought 4 day passes so we’ll be going back 3 times in the next 6 months.  It was nice to know we’d be returning and we didn’t have to fit every last ride into this visit!  We were there most of the day – from opening until 11pm.  What a long day!  The next morning I had a sunrise session, boys had soccer, Sadie and Jax had karate, we had a party at a splash pad at 1, I had a sunset photoshoot, and then a family dinner in downtown St Pete since Kimmy was in town.  Tiring two days.

Anyways, we rode Buzz Lightyear first and that was their favorite of the day because of the built in laser guns.  It’s A Small World was good but not a huge hit.  They were scared of Pirates of the Caribbean.  Sadie’s favorite thing of the day was meeting the princesses.  Her face was bright red and she was so star struck she could barely speak.  It was darling!  We were all very entertained by the light parade and fireworks show, though, we had  a tree blocking our view.

The kids have been saving their money since Christmas so I think they were most excited to finally spend that money on the toys.  We told them they could each buy a toy during the day and one at the light parade.  Sadie chose Minnie ears, Jax choose a sword, and McKay choose a knife.  Those moments of toy obtainment were probably the happiest in their day.


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  • May 2, 2016 - 8:32 pm

    Jess - So darling! I’m glad you all had a good time! I can’t wait for a Disney trip! It seems its been forever, probably since we were all kids!ReplyCancel

  • June 5, 2016 - 2:59 am

    Desiree - I can’t believe y’all hadn’t been. I don’t think we’ll tackle that one for a few more years. For something that expensive they better remember it. :) Looks like a fabulous timeReplyCancel