A Camping we will go..

Our annual family camping trip that had gotten rained out in May, was rescheduled for this week-the third week in June. Erika has been asking almost since we arrived home from camping last year when the next time we were going would be. To say that they were excited was an understatement. We had checked out several other camp sites at various state parks in the area, but all decided that out site from last year would still be the best. We packed up our van with our huge 10 man tent, sleeping bags, roasting sticks, and enough camping snacks to last us for a week.

The GPS took up the back scenic route, which I love. It has beautiful views of the lush green countryside, and as you approach FDR park it takes you up a bit in elevation. I always feel like I am in the mountains out west. The campsites at FDR are a first come, first serve, but being in the middle of the week we were confident that “our” campsite would be available. Our hopes were dashed a bit when we approached our site and found someone else already there. After driving around for a little while, we decided on the one right next to our favorite site. The site we had last year was so great because it was all flat (no slopey hills that makes you slide down your tent in the middle of the night) and had a lot of open area to put our tent and for the kids to run free. At the back of the site there was a 3ft creek bed that was all dried up. The kids had spent hours making bridges to walk across. Luckily the site we had chosen was still in close proximity to the creek bed.

As Aaron and I set up the tent, the kids busily collected fire wood for us, found their firesticks for the week, and tried to find some big sticks for their new bridge. By dinnertime we were all hot, covered in our first layer of dirt, and having a ball!

Family picture camping blog

Aaron took the girls to the playground up the hill nearby, and Austin eagerly assigned himself the task of preparing the wood for the fire. He had it all set out and ready to be lit when they returned. After hot dogs we had fun making smores and enjoying the fire. My favorite part of camping it staying up and sitting around the campfire. It tends to stir gentle conversation and quiet moments of pondering. With the vast sky above and millions of stars shining down, it helps to put in perspective our lives and the miracle of it all. I don’t consider my self a big tree-hugger kind of person-but I do love to have a chance to be reminded of this beautiful earth that was created just for us.

Austin burning marshmallow blog

Austin building a fire blog

As the campfire died down, and we attempted to settle down for the night, I remembered from last year the hardest part of camping. The sleeping. Basically we all just don’t sleep for three days. Every little sound seems to stir someone awake, and by morning all my little campers that were so nicely spread out among our big 10 person tent the night before, are now all practically laying on top of Aaron and I. Little bumps in the night always tend to be a little louder when you are in a tent. We could hear a raccoon (we think) scavenging through our trash, and other little animals chit chatting to each other all night long.

The morning was a welcome sight, and the kids were ready for a full day. After only being awake for a few minutes, urgent calls from Austin brought all the girls over to see a little tiny frog he had caught.

Frog in Erikas hand blog

Soon everyone had their own little pet frog to hold. The larger daddy frog that Austin had caught the night before was still in the butterfly net, and was happy to have some company. Our little frog family hopped happily around, while the kids had fun trying to capture them again. Abby lovinly held the daddy frog and watched over him. It seemed to be better that way, she was having a hard time understanding how to gently hold the little frogs. Unfortunately, some of the frog family didn’t seem to make it through the week. Circle of life, right?

Here is our attempt at our frog family picture.

Frogs on table 1 blogFrogs on table 2 blogFrogs on table 3 blog Frogs on table 4 blog

Abby and Erika babysitting the frogs.

Abby with frog blog

Erika with frog on leg blog

That afternoon we packed up our lunches and went on a hike around the lake. It was about 3.2 miles and the kids were amazing. They did so good! Some of our favorite memories were the “brain tree”, finding a horse-tree to ride, trying to catch squirrels, listening to woodpeckers, and finding a caterpillar to bring back to camp.

family hike blog

When we returned to the campsite Austin entertained us by building a rope ladder with his rope he brought from home, and some sticks. It was very cool. Even our camping neighbors came over to try it out. That night we made spaghetti over the campfire. It was a new experience, but luckily the kids were so hungry from the hike they were willing to eat anything. After the girls went to bed, Aaron, Austin, Brooke, and Brianna played capture the flag with our camping neighbors, and we all enjoyed some more smores.

Kids on rope ladder blogScott on ladder swing blog

The next day was pack up and leave day. After 2 nights sleeping in the heat, we were all ready to go home I think. We got in the car and blasted the AC until we pulled into the driveway. The kids were so funny-for the next couple of days they would walk around the house saying, “it’s so cold in here!”

74 degrees never felt so good.


Happy Birthday Brianna

Brianna birthday picture

I have a hard time coming to terms with the fact that my first born in already 11 years old! She seems to have grown up so fast. Here are some special things about Brianna at 11 years old.

  • She still has the most beautiful curls I have seen-and she still doesn’t always love them!
  • She is a great other mom to Scott. She will be a natural mother someday.
  • She loves to read books.
  • She knows how to make chicken and dumplings (her favorite meal).
  • She is more of an inside person. If she had a choice she would find something to do inside. In the hot Georgia heat some days I can’t blame her.
  • She knows how to play the piano.
  • She can do funny tricks with her tongue like fold in in half and twist it around.
  • She loves going to Activity Days.
  • She is so self-motivated when it comes to school. She is a great example to me about not procrastinating and completing a task way before schedule. Such a great quality to have!
  • She loves treats!
  • She plays soccer.
  • She loves to be wherever the adults are. It makes us feel good that she thinks we are so cool she always wants to hang around us.
  • She likes to be organized.
  • She read the whole Book of Mormon this last year.
  • She LOVES to eat at Subway.
  • She is diligent at writing in her journal.
  • She eats her Oreos in the most unusual way.
  • She worked hard to save up for a digital camera and got one for her birthday.


Major Dad

On Thursday afternoon Aaron pinned on the rank of Major. We were explaining all the details to the kids  in preparation for us all going to the hospital for the ceremony-how in the military there are various ranks and people show respect by saluting others of a different and higher rank. Erika and Abby took this to heart and with the utmost seriousness practiced their own show of respect. On Wednesday evening during Activity Days Erika led Abby around the gym, both standing tall as could be with their right hand in the saluting position on their heads. They would march for awhile and then stop, turn forward, and say, “Yes sir, Major Dad” It was quite cute. A couple weeks after the ceremony we were at the hospital with Brianna for an  appointment and upon exiting the building a gentlemen passed by Aaron and saluted him while saying, “Sir”. Brianna burst out in giggles, wide eyed in amazement, “Dad, did you hear that? (more giggles) He just saluted you!” Who knew your dear old dad got so much respect. We are very proud of you Aaron. You definitely have the respect of all our hearts. We love you!Aaron promotion blog


Scott at 6 months old

 Scott 6 months


6 Months has already come and gone, and our little Scotty is getting so big. Here are some things that he is up to at .5 years old.

  • He is such a happy boy. It doesn’t take much to made him smile.
  • He is ticklish almost anywhere, and the kids love to tickle him.
  • He just started really laughing and it is almost contagious. One giggle and we all are laughing.
  • When he gets really happy he smiles with his tongue sticking out
  • When we  start saying his name and laughing like we are going to tickle him, and he gets so excited and kicks his little legs, and holds his arms tight against his sides like he knows what’s coming.
  • He loves baby food! He will eat almost anything we feed him, but his favorites include: sweet potatoes, squash,  yogurt, pears, fruiti tuti desert, apples and blueberries, green beans, and baby cereal but only if it’s mixed with fruit, not formula
  • He will take a bottle if he has to. He usually has one every few days, and mommy’s milk the rest of the time.
  • Sometimes when he eats he likes to bite down on the spoon and clench his fists. It’s just like what Erika would do when she would eat ice cream and have a brain freeze.
  • He can sit up on his own. He doesn’t really need the bumbo anymore, and most times he just tries to climb out of it.
  • When he is in his bouncy seat he tries to do the flip around and climb out. Most times we forget to buckle him in, so we look over and he is squirming his way out.
  • He can roll over to get almost whatever he wants, but no signs of crawling yet.
  • He is very content to just lay on the blanket and play with a couple toys. I forgot how fun this age is. Happy, but not really mobile yet, though the kids were playing a game the other day and he found his way to a card and started chewing on it. When he figures out this crawling thing we will have to move all games up to the big table again.
  • He loves to stand up and play in his exersaucer, but especially if his feet touch so he can kick and make himself bounce up and down. I’m sure he would love a Johnny Jumper, but I have visions of him becoming a human slingshot with help from his bigger siblings- so sorry bud, no Johnny Jumper.
  • He love to do daddy flips and be upside down. Abby hated this, and still does, but he loves it. He folds his arms like he is saying his prayers and looks like a little opossum hanging there.
  • He loves bath time. He is finally big enough to sit in the big tub without his little bathtub seat, and he love it. He concentrates so hard to splash and loves to suck on the water on his hands.
  • He takes a binkie, but sucks on his one pointer finger just for fun. Sometimes he will suck on two fingers, and Brooke will proudly announce that she taught him that.
  • He still has his cranky time at night at 9:30pm. He only likes to be walked around (in the Baby Bjorn most of the time) . We will get him calm and go to sit down and he instantly gets sad again. He has to be carried or held by someone standing up. Aaron jokes he must be worried about being short when he grows up, so he always wants to be up tall. Doesn’t he know Austin always wanted a midget for a brother?
  • He still wakes up a lot in the night to eat and cuddle. Most nights he ends up in our bed.
  • We officially moved Abby out of the crib and him in it from the port a crib, so tonight is his first night in his new crib. Maybe we will get lucky and he will sleep through the night. I can only hope. I have been spoiled and haven’t had such a bad sleeper since Brianna. I am a little out of practice , and this every couple of hours thing is killing me. Hopefully being in the other room will help solve that.
  • He sleeps on his tummy- head faced planted in the bed. We lay him on his back, but he always rolls over and sleeps this way. We couldn’t figure out why he would want to sleep like this, face in the mattress, until it dawned on us one day that he spent a lot of his first few months being carried around in the Baby Bjorn and he would fall asleep against our chest faced planted. He would feel safe and cozy, and so now he just does it on his own in his bed. He woke up from his nap the other day with hands prints on his face. Poor little guy.
  • When he gets sad he says,”Dada dada” over and over. It’s so cute, but he only does it when he is hurt or sad, so it’s a bit bitter sweet when we hear it.
  • He still has a little bit of his red  angel kiss mark on his forehead between his eyes.
  • His fingernails grow so fast. I don’t think any of our other kids have had nails like his. I have to cut them every other day because he is learning to grab and boy do those things hurt!
  • He is in the drooling phase now, but no teeth in sight.
  • He has blue eyes.
  • He just got his first haircut-and he looks so handsome!

Scott haircut lookingScott haircut by windowScott haircut tongue out Scott haircut tilt

Scott’s First Haircut

Even as I am looking at these pictures I am having a hard time accepting the fact that my little baby is getting older.  Scott getting his first haircut has been a long time in coming. He was born with so much hair, that he almost needed a haircut the day he arrived. However, we were all too in love with his little curls to actually take any action and cut it.  The girls loved styling his hair for hours each day; dad loved having another boy in the house with curls like him.; and we all just loved that carefree baby wildness it had. It could be all messy and crazy and he still looked adorable. So, we kept putting it off and putting it off.

When Austin was born he had no hair, and didn’t need a haircut until well after his first birthday. At that time it seemed appropriate as he was getting to be a big boy. With Scott, now he just looks like a big boy, but he is ONLY 6 months old. And still at the same time he is ALREADY 6 months old. The time seems to be flying and I don’t think I am ready for that big boy stuff quite yet.

After looking at a home movie we had made of him from last week, and I saw how wild his hair looked, it was a lot easier to accept that this hairstyle is much more fitting for him.  The kids all think that he looks like a different little boy. They keep saying, “He looks like Austin!” I think his face looks more like Erika or Brooke when they were that age. We have noticed that Scott and Erika have similar hair. They were both born with dark black hair (Scott with a lot more than Erika), and then it started turning blond. Since we cut Scott’s hair it looks a lot lighter now that all the black curls are out of the way. I think it will take some getting used to, but I think overall it was a very memorable way to spend one’s half birthday. 

 Scott haircut 1 Scott haircut 2

  • Did he like getting his hair cut?, NO!
  • Did he sit still, NO!
  • Is it  perfectly straight where it should be, NO!
  • Did it help his cowlick to lay down in back, NO!
  • Am I having a little “haircutter’s remorse”, YES!
  • Does it make me sad that I only have a little baggie full of his curls to remember his soft baby fine hair,YES!
  • Are we going to miss the Faux hawk and Elvis hair dos, YES!
  • Are the girls all going to miss brushing his long curls, YES!
  • Does his hair look nicer, YES! YES! YES!

Scott haircut new hair