So, life got pretty crazy for a while this summer! What a whirlwind of activities we've had lately! But it's been good! I'd been feeling overwhelmed with all the kids so my wonderful family in California decided to help preserve my kids' lives and they took the three older ones out to their houses for a while. We sent them off without any plans for when they would return and the way thing turned out, they ended up being in Cali for a week and a half before I joined them out there.
One of my best, dear friends passed away and I headed out earlier than planned for Jesse's wedding so I could go to her funeral. Jalynn was one of the most amazing people I have ever known and I will miss her so much until I see her again one day. She saved me when I was royally messing up my life and she got me back to church and influenced me to turn my life around. If it wasn't for her, I don't know where I'd be now and I certainly wouldn't be married to Brice. That would be the greatest tragedy I can think of. I am eternally indebted to her and I love her and will always cherish the memories I have with her. I know that she is safe and loved and being very well taken care of and I know that I will see her again. She will be one of the people waiting for me when I die to welcome me to the next stage of my life. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have of eternal life and the love and mercy of God. It makes her passing so much easier to bear.
Jalynn's funeral was full of love and tenderness and stories and memories and laughter! She truly brought joy and happiness to everyone who knew her. She made you feel special when you were with her and it showed in all of the stories shared. She was also quite the mischief-maker and we all had some good laughs as stories of her adventures were shared. I love you Jay! Till we meet again!
We did a little celebration for Landon's second birthday while we were out in southern Cali. Brice missed both boys' birthdays this year, but we decided to celebrate their special days with all of our usual fanfare later when we were all together. But Mimi and Papa got Landon this little fire engine riding toy and he LOVES it!! Is that not a face of pure joy and exhilaration!? Watch out! He might eat you! If, that is, he can see you through all that hair!
The kids did some painting with Mimi. This is Alaina, not Landon. All my kids are in desperate need of a haircut in these pictures, but I loved how concentrated Ryker was as he painted. He took his job so seriously.
They all did get haircuts in preparation for Uncle Jesse's wedding and here's Landon's before pic:
And here's after. Look! He DOES have eyeballs!! Handsome ones too! I took him in to get it cut so that I could learn how to give him the cut I like on him. I think I've got it figured out so we'll see how many times I have to attempt it to perfect it! :) Ryker went through several botched haircuts when he was little before I got consistently good at it.
It was loads of fun hanging out with all the cousins, but it sure wore them out!! I found Ryker like this around dinner time one evening, all crammed in the little bed Alaina'd been using. Silly, tired guy!
I have a picture very similar to this in this exact same chair of Raelin and Ryker. I think R&R were a little younger, but I loved the similarity. If I find it, I'll scan it (yeah, it was pre-digital era for us!) and post them together. So cute!
After almost a week, Brice joined us in California and we set off to northern Cali for Jesse and Carmen's wedding! And what a fantastic event it was!! I find it rather difficult to stay on top of all my kids AND take pictures to document all of our activities. I wish I had more pictures of this event, but, alas, I only have a few. Landon loved hanging out with Uncle Jesse and Uncle Jesse was so sweet with him! I love these pictures of them together.
|"That's yucky! Here, you eat it!"|
|The beautiful bride and my new sister-in-law!! She was stunning!!|
I love all these pictures of the little dapper dudes!! They were SO cute in their little suits!! Oh, man, I loved it!
|Landon was SO excited to see everybody! Especially to see Granddad and Tia!|
|I think Landon was patting/slapping Tia's face here but I love their laughing faces!|
Somehow I missed getting pictures of my other kids at the wedding, which is a shame because Raelin's hair was amazing. I did a French braid crown/wreath thing that turned out so pretty! Alaina's hair was passable and her smiley little face made up for her lack of adorable bouncy curls that she chopped off last month. Ryker was the ring bearer and he took that job very seriously, looking so handsome in his suit and tie.
The wedding itself was loads of fun and was one of the most amazing ceremonies I've ever attended. Jesse and Carmen wrote their own vows and they were AMAZING!! Touching, funny, romantic, sentimental, passionate, and powerfully committed! I'm so excited to see their relationship grow and blossom over the years because they are already such a strong and exceptional couple! The toasts by all the parents were also pretty spectacular. It was a wonderful event. And I got to try oysters for the first time at their oyster bar.
For their wedding gift, Brice and I made them some special things on our wood lathe. Woodturning is such a great hobby to me. Woodturning projects and some of my sewing projects never cease to amaze me. I look at some of the things I've made and I think, "Nah! I didn't make that!!" It feels as though someone else's hands made them because they are way too unreal to have come out of me. I truly feel that sometimes these things come straight from God without ever passing through my fallible hands because there's no way I could ever make them without butchering them. This is a really hard thing to describe. It sounds all prideful or something, but I actually feel the total opposite. It's humbling. And hard to express.
|Don't look too close at these because they're a bit crooked. They used these for their champagne at the wedding and the rehearsal dinner. They are made from another South American wood and I can't pronounce or remember the name of it.|
We were also able to go to the beach and play. I don't know what's happened to me in my "old age" but I am just no fun anymore. I didn't even get my feet wet! Man, when I was a kid, you couldn't get me OUT of the water! Now, you'd be hard pressed to get me IN! So sad. But Brice and the kids had a great time in the waves and playing in the sand.
After the beach, we went to dollar night on the boardwalk! We had so much fun riding all the rides with Jesse, Carmen, and a bunch of my cousins and their kids! It was SO great to hang out with all of them! My family in Santa Cruz are some of my most favorite people ever!! I love them!!
Our last day there, we went to the tide pools by Jesse's house. The kids love seeing the sea anemones and crabs and the occasional starfish. Jesse's dog loves to chase balls and the kids love to throw them for her.
|SO pretty! I love it here!!! I could have stayed forever!|
I love how Uncle Jesse plays with my kids. He's such a great uncle! They loved being buried and they just sat there all content. Yes, a two year old and a three year old held still long enough to be buried in the sand and stayed that way long enough for pictures! That never happens.
On our drive back to SoCal, we stopped at a gas station and everyone got out to stretch their legs. On the grass all around the building were TONS of frogs!!! The kids caught SO many!!! The pictures all came out blurry because my camera is sub-par, but you get the idea. I had to put an end to Alaina catching them because she didn't really get the "gentle" part and there were a few casualties. Poor froggies. I also had to keep a vigilant eye on Landon who seemed to have difficulty telling the frogs apart from the dog poop. Ew.
|"Jump for your life!!!"|
After northern Cali, we went back to SoCal for a few days. Well, all of us but Brice. He had to head back for work, but another of my best, good friends was due to have a baby anytime and she was hoping I could stick around to be her doula. As usual, she guessed her date on the nose: July 7th. Ryker's birthday. So Ryker and Braydon share a birthday! How awesome is that!? It was a frustrating labor for Kari because she had days of prelabor that progressed and then backed off, playing mind games with her. But in the end, her birth was fast and amazing and she did a fantastic job. I wish I could say as much for the hospital staff.... Wow. That's all I can say about that. I suppose I should clear it with her before I talk too much trash about all that happened with the doctor and one of the nurses. To be continued. Maybe.
Braydon was born just before 1:00 in the morning, so I got home at about 4 in the morning or something and when everyone was up, we went to the Crestline 4th of July parade and the kids got all kinds of candy! Ryker LOVES having his birthday be so close to the 4th of July because there are always awesome festivities that I'm pretty sure he thinks are just for him. ;0)
We wandered around town for a while looking at booths then headed back to Mimi's house for a rest. I'd been developing a case of mastitis and was feeling a bit under the weather. I was pretty scared about it because I kept hearing horror stories about how it just knocks you out and is the worst thing ever. I'd never had it before. But I took doTERRA's melaleuca essential oil like my life depended on it and it didn't end up being too bad or lasting too long. Whew!
In the evening, we had pizza for dinner and cake and presents. This year was Ryker's golden birthday: he turned 7 on 7/7. He was totally jazzed about that. Angel's mom made him this awesome golden cape with a 7 in the logo for his special golden birthday. He loves it!!
|Had to get at least one picture of all the babies! The twins and Ailey are 6 months apart. What a cute bunch of girlies!|
|Ailey thinks Liam is hilarious! And Liam loves to make her laugh.|
|I LOVE this picture of Mimi and Ailey!!|
We headed home on Sunday and it was good to be home! The kids had been gone for right around a month! And I'd been gone for two and a half weeks. It was kind of an interesting series of events covering the circle of life: I went to a funeral, a wedding, and a birth in two weeks. Wow. Emotional, powerful, and amazing, all of them!
The chaos has not let up since we've been home. Full days with 5 kids when it's 110 degrees outside is kinda crazy!
Ailey is learning to sit up already. I'll prop her up and then she can balance and hold herself there for 30 seconds or so. But it only seems to work if she's getting tired. The rest of her waking hours are spent in constant motion. Those little legs are always kicking and she loves to rock her little body and wiggle all over. She's kind of hard to hold on to! But all that moving results in one STRONG baby! She's been rolling over for quite a while now and she started sitting up at 4.5 months! Now, at almost 5 months, she's scooting all over the living room!
|Falling!!!! One of the times she was tipping over, she reached her hand out and caught herself! Overachiever much?|
|First pony tail!!! Awwww! So cute! Makes her look chubby in these pictures for some reason... :0)|
I got this beautiful baby carrier from my cousin Hannah. Hannah went to Asia last year and she spent some time with some Hmong women in Vietnam where she learned some of their sewing techniques. She came back with a bunch of their baby carriers! The style is kind of like mei tais but there's no waist strap. Gorgeous, no?
|Thank you, thank you, Hannah!!! I LOVE IT!!!!|