Alicia & Ben » Blog



We had a lovely Easter! The kids didn’t pull an all nighter like last year, thankfully.  Well, the newbie was up a few times but that’s nothing out of the ordinary so I won’t count it:)

We had a few celebrations: neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt, Ward Easter Egg Hunt, our family’s Easter Egg coloring, Easter Morning with an Easter Egg Hunt, and Easter afternoon with the family and….you guessed it….another Easter Egg Hunt.

I had what I think is a brilliant idea – in an effort to reduce candy consumption (so many hunts!) we got each of the kids a Lego set and put the lego pieces in the Easter eggs instead of candy. We put an initial on each of the eggs and the kids were only allowed to gather the eggs with their name’s initial. It was a hit!


Ward Easter Egg fun:

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Dying eggs at home:

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Easter Morning:  DSC_7484 DSC_7488 DSC_7495 DSC_7498 DSC_7517 DSC_7525 DSC_7533 DSC_7564 DSC_7580 DSC_7587 DSC_7601 DSC_7605 DSC_7837



Afternoon Easter Fun with the family: DSC_7866 DSC_7880 DSC_7886

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Baby Andi got blessed April 9th, 2017. She wore the same dress given to us by Bonnie Cox when Sadie was born.  I love that dress!  She looked so cute!

Ben did a wonderful job! Very calm and sweet. He’s a great dad.

Andi was crying pretty hard during the blessing but about half way through she stopped and looked up at Joseph and silently starred at him intently for the rest of the blessing time.

In the circle: Michael, Joseph, Ben, my dad, David Barnhill, and Bishop Hodges.

This is the audio:

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My mom sent me this sweet email after the blessing and I remember having similar feelings and thoughts so I thought I would share:

“Thank you for this wonderful day of blessing our precious little Andi. As they called Ben up to bless her and I watched Ben holding her and dad and Michael and Joseph and David walking up to the front, it was so hard for me to keep it together. I was so grateful for our little family that is now not so little. I was so grateful for the power of the priesthood and the men in our family who hold that priesthood worthily and honor it. I was reminded of a time sitting in Sacrament Meeting many years ago when all of you were little and watching other families who, when they had a special occasion like today, would have family members travel from far away to be there to show love and support to that child, and I remember sitting there thinking, someday that will be our family! Someday it won’t be just dad and I there to show the love and support we feel for each child on their special day, whether it be a baby’s blessing, a baptism, a mission farewell or homecoming, a first time attending the temple, or a temple marriage. That day has come. When I saw how many rows we filled up in the chapel today, all to show our love and support for our precious little Andi and for you and Ben and your sweet, wonderful, amazing family, my heart overflowed with joy and it came out my eyes, even as it is now as I type this. And for Cliffie and Natalie to come all the way from Utah to show their love and support meant so, so much to me personally. I love you and Ben and Sadie and Jax and McKay and Andi with every fiber of my being, to the very depths of my soul and not one single day goes by that I don’t thank my Heavenly Father for each of you.”

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  • July 8, 2017 - 4:01 am

    Desiree - Way to go Joseph distracting Andi with that Uncle face!! Very sweet to get to hear the blessing. I’m so very very glad so many family members got to be there with you to support. What a tender celebrationReplyCancel


Sweet little Sadie celebrated her birthday at Mimi and Grampie’s house since we were still in the hospital with her new baby sister.  She mentioned she loved getting to sleep in Mimi’s room on her little sofa…..


She woke up at the morning and opened presents from Mimi and Grampie, ate Hootenanny pancakes, and worked on crafts.


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Around lunchtime they visited us in the hospital.

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Then they picked up her birthday cake from Publix which they had chosen the day before. It was an Ariel cake and Sadie loved it so much!

We were lucky enough to get the news we’d be discharged around 5pm.  So, the original plan was to have her birthday party at the hospital but we were able to do it at the Homestead instead.

Ben left the hospital late afternoon to pick up her wrapped presents from our house and decorate so it would be festive when we arrived home that evening.  That child loves decorations!

We arrived to the Homestead that evening for the party.  My parents were great to throw this together last minute!  The food was the kids’ favorites – Chick Fil A and pizza.

It was a bit of an odd birthday, but Sadie, selfless child that she is, didn’t mind sharing the spotlight one bit!



A few interesting things about Sadie at 9…

She loves mermaids, princesses, Legos, Shopkins, Barbies, swimming, and dolls.

She’s very maternal and loves babies and toddlers – especially girls!

She has become quite social, friendly, and talkative.  Quite the change from when she was younger.  Lately she strikes up a conversation wherever we go – in the check out line, with a waitress, friends of parents, etc.  Everyone at school knows and loves her – kids of all ages, genders, ethnicity, and personalities.  She’s gets along with everyone and never discriminates.

There’s not an angry bone in her body.  Usually she’ll ignore something if it bothers her and if it really bothers her she’ll break down crying. She never gets angry.

She’s a girly girl but gets along great with boys, too.

She has a high tolerance for pain and rarely complains.  I’ve watched her endure some rough things – illnesses, orthodontic procedures that I knew were hurting her, injuries – but she bears all things in quiet patience.  I’m always amazed by her strength.  Unfortunately, the one thing she can’t handle is having her hair brushed?!?!

She has the sweetest little singing voice.  She sounds like a sweet little angel from heaven.

She’s selfless, patient, and forgiving.  I’m in awe of her goodness and kindness.

She’s so brave!  The boys often tell her that, too.  “Wow, you’re so brave Sadie!”

She’s very confident in who she is and doesn’t compare herself to others.  I’m so thankful and I sure hope that continues into the teen years and beyond.  I don’t think she understand jealousy.  She’s blissfully unaware of a lot of negative things like that.

We know she’s so special and we feel so blessed that God gave us such a sweet, adorable little girl!!!

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  • March 28, 2017 - 7:32 pm

    Shannon Johnson - Sadie is darling. I love these pictures of her. She and Derek have the same brace face smile. He just got braces on this top teeth a couple weeks ago.ReplyCancel

  • July 8, 2017 - 4:05 am

    desiree - This is so sweet to read about Sadie. I didn’t know she was turning more social. So fun to see how they continue to grow and develop. Looks like she had a fabulous birthday!ReplyCancel

A few random life updates….

1. Today is the last day of Ben’s busy season. I’m so excited to have a husband during normal non-business hours instead of just between 11PM and 8AM!

2. My baby is colicky. BUT, if I wear her all day and avoid dairy, soy, chocolate and spicy food she’s sometimes happy :) We love and adore her despite her fussiness. Interestingly, despite my restricted diet I’ve GAINED 3 lbs since last week. I’m choosing not to care or do anything about it until I’m 6 weeks postpartum.

3. Jax has lost his two front teeth in the last two weeks. I’m sill adjusting to his new cheesy grin!

4. I’ve been working hard on creating family yearbooks. So far I have 2015 and 2016 done. Lots of work but I love them.

5. I photographed 3 weddings last week and loved every moment. Andi did amazing while I was gone! Such a relief. Come to find out, “Aunt Jenny”, from my wedding on Saturday, happens to have the maiden name of Steinbrenner and owns the Yankees. I genuinely liked her so much I just may start to cheer for them as long as they aren’t playing against the Rays.

6. 4 kids is a lot more than 3 kids. Just in case anyone was wondering.

7. Kids start baseball/softball tomorrow and they’re thrilled!

8. We’ve been visiting a lot of parks lately and our favorite has been the new Baybride Park in the Westchase community. We met Morgan Clune and Chrissy there on Monday.  We also enjoyed the Safety Park North City park and met Shelby there last Monday.  The fresh air and exercise is good for all of us.

9. I signed up for a grocery deliver service and it is amazing! I realized tonight at 7PM that we were almost out of milk. Within 5 minutes (and while nursing) I had a full shopping list ordered and on it’s way. It was delivered 45 minutes later. Fantastic!

10. The big kids have been late to school 3 times in the last 3 weeks. Opps. Please re-read #1, #2, and #6 from above and you’ll understand why.

And, a few random photos from the last week to go with this random post….


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