Due to some technical difficulties this blog was down for a while. Ben surprised me for Mother’s Day and got it back up and running. I was worried it was lost forever and I literally cried happy tears when he sent me an email telling me to go to aliciaben.com. To my great surprise and happiness everything was restored in perfect condition. It was one of the best gifts he’s given me.
It’s been almost a year since my last blog post. I thought I’d do a general recap of the last year and I also plan to add specific blog posts over the next month or two as I try to record the events of the past year.
The last year in three words: busy, happy, stressful. Andi is adorable (so completely adorable) but she’s really turned our life upside down. She just turned 18 months and she still wakes up at least twice a night and she is very active during the day. She requires constant attention and supervision. Considering I’m running a small business from home and have semi-demanding church responsibilties (primary president) and I’m on the PTA board and I have three other adorable children, well, we stay very busy. Busy is good. I’ve told Ben almost daily for the past year, “Better to have a life too full than too empty.” All of our activities bring us happiness and I can’t seem able to give any one thing up. I have tried to cut back on photography but I definitely need to cut back more. It’s hard to keep that from growing too big, for some reason. It’s so hard for me to turn down work when I know the money is always useful and the work is enjoyable. One of my goals for this fall is to set better boundaries though. I think I’m going to try to only schedule sessions for Fridays and Saturdays and keep one entire weekend each month free of photoshoots.
Sadie is beautiful, wonderful, helpful and sweet. She and Andi seem to be great friends despite the large age gap. Andi prefers Sadie over any other person other than me. Truthfully, I think she may even like Sadie more than Ben. (Sorry Ben) I’m sure that will change as she gets a little older but Andi doesn’t like men so Ben has that stacked against him, poor guy. Sadie also loves her brothers, though, there are times she likes to have alone time in her room.
Sadie is a pretty easy kid. She goes to bed when she’s asked, eats most any foods, doesn’t get nervous/anxious in new situations, loves to do new things and meet new people, and is usually pretty happy. Ben and I know how lucky we are!
Sadie has been doing horseback riding lessons for the last 6 months and she did a horse camp this summer. She loved it so much! It was part of her birthday gift, but I hope to continue it long term if we can swing it. She also started piano lessons this past summer and she’s doing super!
She’s just barely starting to enter the tween stage and it’s really a shock to me that she’s growing up. There are times when she’s emotional. Thankfully, she’s normally a pretty low drama, easy-going, reasonable child. Hopefully we’ll navigate these next few years of entering the teens without too much tumult. I’m bound and determined to enjoy my kids during their teens years. Let’s hope that will be the case. Thus far I seem to like my kids more and more the older they get!
Jax is doing well. He loves to play the piano, read, play with legos, and run around outside. I haven’t been able to convince him to play any organized sports recently but I’m hoping to sign him up for something this fall.
He’s obsessed with growing his hair out recently so we’re just going along with it!
We home-schooled him during the 2nd half of 2nd grade because his teacher wasn’t the greatest. He’s always disliked school and he feels a lot of sadness, nervousness, and anxiety when he’s there. He seemed so stressed and unhappy and anxious this past December that I finally decided we needed to take a break and hit the reset button. He loved being home-schooled and I loved it too! It was really nice having him home with Andi and me. He was both helpful and entertaining. We definitely didn’t do as much school work as we probably ought to. If I hadn’t of had a small baby I think we could have done a lot more but I was often occupied with Andi or catching up on work responsibilities so he spent a lot of time reading independently. He loves to read and the books were great so it wasn’t a waste of time but I could have done better and I think he’d probably get a more well rounded education in a traditional school setting so he’ll be starting 3rd grade back at his school in a week and I’m praying this year goes better for him!
McKay did great with Kindergarten and it’s sad for me to see him growing up. He still feels like my baby and I’m often surprised when I check on him at night and see how long he is in his bed. He doesn’t seem to mind that Andi has replaced him as the baby. He’s more cautious with helping to take care of her, but he loves to play with her and make her laugh. He calls himself her “fun connection” or something like that.
He is quiet and shy, yet, he makes friends easily and seems to be a leader in his class. I still can’t convince him to get up in primary to say a prayer or give a talk but he’s outgoing in other ways so I don’t push him. He’s so sweet and soft-spoken. I love to hear his little voice – so full of sweet happiness.
He has a great sense of humor and keeps the whole family laughing with his one-liners. We all thing he’s pretty hilarious!
He loves transformers, legos, remote control things, and outdoor play. He’s learning to swim this summer and it’s so great to see him finally overcoming his fear of getting his face wet!
Lastly, we have Baby Andi!
Most people remark that Andi is small, smart, and busy. That’s pretty accurate. She keeps life interesting and exciting! She’s quite verbal (just starting to put 3 and 4 words together) and it’s so fun to hear her thoughts. Her voice is so girly and cute and the whole family hangs on her every word. She especially loves playing hide and seek with things, “Where’d it go?” she’ll ask us. She loves being quizzed on locating her body parts. She loves turtles (and we love the way she says turtle!) and horses. We love the way she makes the horsie sound and if you ask her what sound any animals makes she always makes the horse sound (actually she’s now makes the dog and cow sounds and it’s a little sad that she’s no longer say ‘neigh’ for every animal she spots). She’s a little too impatient for books but she loves music. Her favorite songs are Let It Go and the songs from Moana and she tries her hardest to sing along. She’s always on the go and is busy, busy, busy. She’s very small weighing only 17 lbs. at 18 months. Many strangers still stop to say, “I can’t believe she’s walking! How old is she?” When I tell her she’s 18 months they are often taken back.
She reminds of us Gramma Meyers in alot of ways. She has Gramma’s active energy and matter-of-fact attitude. She also hated water for the first 14 months of her life, just like gramma. Her favorite place to be is outdoors, just like Gramma, and we often took several walks a day to calm her down during her first few colicky months of life. She is head strong and determined which are hard traits in a toddler but a blessing in the long run, probably.
Andi hates food and most of what we give her ends up thrown on the floor. Her favorite foods are sunflower seeds, hot dogs, popcorn, fruit snacks, and nutella. Sometimes I can get her to eat tortilla chips, strawberries, grapes, pasta, hamburger, veggie straws, cereal, and yogurt. She never liked eating food off a spoon but she’s enjoying using a fork to feed herself lately. She has a major sweet tooth and will eat most any sweet desserts you put in front of her. Not the healthiest of diets but we’re trying to be patient and encourage her to be more adventerous with food. It’s slow going. Despite the lack of fruits and vegetables she seems to be a super healthy child! She’s only had 4 colds in her 18 months of life. We’ve traveled to Alabama, Canada, Italy and Utah in the last two months and she hasn’t picked up a single illness. We’re so grateful!
I’m still figuring out her personality. She’s girly and yet seems like a tomboy to me?!?! I don’t know what she’ll like. She absolutely loves babies and lights up any time she sees a child under 6 years of age and calls them a “baby”. She also loves makeup and insists on putting some on if she sees me getting ready in the morning. “Makeup” was actually one of the first words she learned
Ben is doing great! He probably would like for us to have a slower pace in life but he keeps up with our active schedule and many activities. He has an interesting winter/early spring where he interviewed for a few jobs and accepted one. After he submitted his two weeks notice at his current position there was some negotiating and he ended up staying with his same company. It was a drawn out process and we both felt a lot of stress throughout but he seems happy with the results and I’m happy to see him happy. He’s a great, patient dad and the kids and I love him so much!