Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tiny Reed

[Another throwback. ]

These pictures were taken by my sister-in-law Grace when Reed was one month old, and I apparently thought I posted them here, but didn't. So here is our tiny Reed!

Sunday, December 29, 2013


We spent our Christmas in California this year, so my sweet mom and dad came down a few weeks early to celebrate with us! It was a quick trip for them but we are so glad they came.

When they arrived, the boys immediately talked them into playing board games and hide and seek (and by "talked them into" I mean they asked once and my mom and dad immediately agreed to play! They are such good sports). Once dinner got in the oven, we got to open presents! Can I just say that opening a portion of Christmas presents early might be the best idea, ever. When the boys open presents from both sets of grandparents and us and Santa all one day it is a little overwhelming. But they had so much fun playing with the presents from Grandma and Grandpa.

Reed has had one thing at the very top of his list since he discovered it existed a few weeks ago: a marble run. He hasn't been able to stop thinking about marble runs. If you ask him what he wants, marble run is the only thing he can think of. I was already finished toy shopping when he decided he wanted a marble run, but luckily my mom wasn't. She fulfilled his wishes and dreams when he opened the box from her and it was a MARBLE RUN. Yes!

Ashie B got a cool imaginext Monsters University house and Thomas puzzles, which he was super pumped on. And Lila Jae opened her first ever present--she was super excited about ripping the paper because she LOVES paper--and got her very first doll stroller! So cute. My mom is making Ryan and I new bed quilt for Christmas, if I ever decide on colors, which I am super excited for.

After presents, we ate a wonderful birthday dinner Ryan made for me (lasagna, my favorite), then did our advent activity for the night: drove around to look at Christmas lights. We ended the night with Frozen Yogurt at Menchie's.

Thanks for coming down, Mom and Dad!
Lila could not stay away from Asher's present--she kept climbing on top of it. She was making him crazy!

Grandma saved the day when it was time for Ashie to finally open his present.
Reeder opening THE present
Can you tell how happy he is?

SO pumped!
Testing out the track.
A huge track, courtesy of Daddy.
Stone face  Jae with her stroller. Don't let her look fool you, she really did love it.

Friday, December 27, 2013


My friend Ashley had a giveaway on her blog for an advent calendar. I had been vacillating between buying an advent calendar and making an advent calendar--not to mention deciding what kind of advent calendar I actually wanted. Anyway, when I saw Ashley's giveaway, I decided to go for it and enter. I used to enter giveaways all the time, but haven't recently because I never win and honestly, it seems like a waste of effort. But guess what? I WON.

Yes, I won. 

I got the advent calendar just in time to start. Something I love about this calendar is that there are some activities that are super simple--like telling the legend of the candy cane or the nativity story--so they can be quick for the days that get crazy. They can also get more involved. And there are blank cards, so I could add in our Christmas party at church or other activities we wanted to do. We haven't done an activity every single day--but we've done one almost every single day, which counts in my book!

The night before we left for California, we had the Sister Missionaries over for dinner and decided to involve them in our activity for the night: making nativity scenes out of play-dough! Ryan teamed up with Reed, I teamed up with Asher, and each Sister made her own nativity. Teams Hambly went more for quantity, while the sisters focused on quality (as you will see below!). We had a great time and our grateful for our sister missionaries!

Ryan and Reed's nativity. Reed was adamant they include the stable. I love his angel on top that is doing forward bends! And the lamb in front of the manger is classic!

I got to team up with this goofball!

Sister Hungary's nativity scene.

Sister Dewey's nativity.

Team Mommy and Asher. Beautiful, right?

Monday, December 23, 2013

Graham Cracker Houses

We've made gingerbread houses with my parents for the past few years. My wonderful mother makes ALL the gingerbread for us, which is amazing, because I've never made gingerbread and know I would somehow make the pieces uneven so I wouldn't actually be able to make a house. Anyway, since we aren't in St. George this year, and I still wanted to make gingerbread houses because I thought the boys would really, really enjoy decorating the houses this year, I decided to take the easy route: graham cracker houses.

Graham crackers were the best thing that ever happened to gingerbread houses. Seriously. Because they are so lightweight, you don't have to spend a lot of time holding the pieces together, waiting for the icing to dry. They just stay up. Amazement. We waited until Lila was asleep (she misses ALL the good stuff!), then teamed up: Ryan with Reed and Asher with me. We had a great time. My favorite features of team Reed's house were the bears sleeping inside, the santa bear on the roof, and the bridge. My favorite parts of team Asher's house were the bears sitting down to Christmas dinner and the teeter-totter in the back yard. We had so much fun!

The house Asher and I created--front view.

The house Asher and I created--back view.

The house Asher and I created--inside view.

The house Ryan and Reed created--front view.

The house Ryan and Reed created--side view. I tried to take a picture of the sleeping bears inside but the opening wasn't big enough for my camera lens!

School at {our} house!

There are five little boys in Asher's preschool (Asher included) and the moms take turns teaching. We were the last in the rotation, so when time finally rolled around to have school at our house, Asher was SO excited. We had the letter "E." Most of the other moms had done a snack that started with the letter they were teaching, but I could not think of an E snack to save my life (except elephant ears, but I wasn't in the mood for frying dough, ha). Instead, I asked Asher what we should have for a snack. He immediately responded, "SMOOTHIES!!!! And toast. Smoothies and toast!" So smoothies and toast it was!

I planned a few activities: making elephant ears, having an egg hunt, using our ears to listen to sounds, making foam eggs"magically" change colors, and decorating and stamping envelopes an "E" pictures inside. Can I just say that it was a little bit crazy? But lots of fun, too. Asher really likes to color and make crafts--I think he's used to sitting for long-ish periods of time to do so because thats what Bubba does and Asher wants to be like Bubba. The other little boys--not so much! My timeline was a little off because I had planned too much time for crafts. They did love the egg hunt, though, and had a terrific time making noises to listen to with our ears. At the end of school, I let them play together while we waited for moms. Our race track was a big hit.

Overall, we had a great time--and next time I'll plan more games and less coloring :)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Monthly Lila: 11

Insert obligatory "I can't believe she's growing up so fast!" statement here. It really is true, though.

Lila will often hold her hand up and just stare at it, which is kind of funny to watch. I'm not sure exactly what her endgame is but she does it repeatedly!

Ryan has finally succeeded in teaching Lila to give high fives. She gets pretty exuberant about it and will usually hit your hand repeatedly if you ask for a high five.

Lila won't leave a headband in her hair anymore, and her hair is just long enough to be scraggly--so we've introduced the micro-ponytail an micro-pigtails. They kill me.

Another hand trick: over the past few days, Lila has started showing me what she finds. She will pick something up, then hold her hand up in the air toward me until I acknowledge the coolness of whatever it is she is showing me.

Using mom's legs to stand

Another new thing: Lila has started sharing bites. This sharins started as just showing me what she was holding while she ate. Then one day, I held out a bite for her to grab. She grabbed the food, ate it, then held out a bite for me to grab and eat. So cute :)

Standing by the lamb is way cooler than sitting by it!
We've been trying to teach Lila to give kisses. Currently, if you say, "Give me a kiss!" she immediately leans her head over to your face for you to kiss her. This can be dangerous, though, as when she's excited her head leans turn into head butts.

Lila is getting so fast at "cruising"! And yesterday (12/19/13), she let go of something on accident while standing and balanced for a few seconds before dropping to her bum!

Chillin' with Dad. Yes, that is drool. Ryan commented that Lila really must be feeling yucky because she was actually okay with sitting down with him for more than twenty seconds!
She has added a very occassional "da" and "guh" to her babbles, but mostly sticks with "muh" and "buh." She still has the two words, "mama" and "bubba"

At church, we sit behind a family who has a baby just a month or two younger than Lila. The two babies are really funny to watch together. They try to poke each other's faces, steal each other's toys, and generally have a good (?) time on the floor. We've taken to calling Lila the bully jokingly because she is often the stealer of the majority of the toys.

Occupational hazard of having two brothers.
I think two top teeth are working their way in. Between the teeth and a bout with the flu, Lila has been grumpier than normal and not sleeping quite as well. She has also been weird about eating--going from eating everything in front of her to being pretty picky. Over the past two ish days, though, her eating has improved and her grumpiness has decreased, so I'm hoping we're on the downward swing.

We love our big girl!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Monthly Asher: 38

There are two things Asher says to me almost every day. The first--most times Dolly says "buh, buh," Asher says, "Mommy, isn't it funny how Dolly has two bubbas and I only have one?" The other--almost every time we get in the car, Asher says, "Mommy, isn't it funny how I am big enough for Bubba's chair but he is not big enough for my chair?" (The second stems from the handful of times Asher has ridden the the big booster in Ryan's car. Asher thinks he is SO cool when he gets to ride in the big chair! 
Listening to songs on his "Ashie Tag"--he always holds it right next to his ear.

I am happy to report that Asher is doing so much better at night. We still say his nightly special prayer, but I don't usually have to remind him of what to do if he gets scared and he doesn't really even mention being nervous or worried. Hooray!

Ho, ho, ho.
I wore a new pair of patterned tights to church. While we were in sacrament meeting, Asher leaned over and asked, "Mom why are those things on your legs?"

Something I want to remember: Asher is prone to spill things--particularly cups of water. He and Ryan have been engaged in battle: table for about six months. Asher is doing his best to keep the table wet. Ryan is doing his best to keep the table dry. I've started giving him cups with lids to help prevent spills--and he STILL manages to spill them. It kind of makes us crazy and is kind of hilarious.

Asher requests a picture of his lunch almost daily, crazy kid!
From the backseat: Asher: "Taking your hat off is reverent for the prayer."Reed: "Why?"
Asher: "That's just how it is Bubba. That's just how it is." 

One day Reed was trying to get Asher to hand him something and Asher said, "Bubba you are being SO grumpy! You need to ask in a nice voice."

Mom!!!! This sam looks like a 7! Take a picture!
Asher is loving school! He doesn't even get nervous anymore when I leave. And--warm my heart moment--any time he sees one of his school friends outside of school (usually at church) he says, "Mommy! Look! It's ______!" I'm so happy that he has a group of kids he likes because historically he has disliked every kid but Bubba. I'm not even joking--he used to tell me all the time, "I don't like friends." or "I don't like kids." I am so glad he finally likes people!

We were driving at night and Asher yelled, "Mom are all those lights Las Vegas like where we live?!"

We took Lila's month picture and Asher decided he needed a picture with a stuffed animal, too.
A conversation:
Me: Where should we hang the stockings?
Asher: The chimney!!!!!
Me: We don't have one.
Asher: Oh so we just buy one?
Me: You can't buy one.
Asher: but we have to do the fire! Do we just make some fires?
Me: We just pretend.
Asher: But we have fire sticks!!
{He just wouldn't give up!}

Santa and Rudolph wearing their preschool crafts.

Asher often repeats himself over and over when he wants something, even if you respond and tell him no. One day he wouldn't leave Reed alone about wanting a toy. This conversation ensued:
Reed: Asher, we talked about this, you only have to say things one time

Asher: You are being so grumpyReed: No I'm notAsher: Yes, you are. You are being very grumpy!

Grandpa and Asher were hiding during hide and go seek. They were in a closet and the light turned off. Grandpa said, "Asher are you okay?" Asher responded."Yeah, Grandpa." Thirty seconds passed and Asher said, "Grandpa I'm not okay!"

Got scared at Grandma's house. Luckily Daddy was willing to cuddle.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

At the end of the day

[I found this post that never got published for whatever reason. It's from 1/22/12, and it's something I want to remember--so even though it's quite dated, here it is]

My favorite time of day is the very end--the very end of the boys' day at least. After I get halfway soaked while giving them a bath then wrangle the two of them into their jammies, the three of us go downstairs and find Ryan, who is usually cleaning up dinner. The four of us each find a stair to sit on. Well, Ryan and I each find a stair. The boys find a stair, then go up a few stairs, then down one, then up a few more, then down two, and so on. I don't think they ever actually stop moving. While the boys wear themselves out, we tell scripture stories. Then we pull them onto our laps for a few minutes so we can pray together. After the prayer, the boys pile on top of Ryan and give him hugs and kisses that look more like tackles and headbutts.

The boys and I then go upstairs, do vitamins and teeth, and make our way into Asher's room. Reed finds a book for Asher and two for himself while I get Asher's plug and blankie and we all cozy up in the big blue chair and read a story. If I start before Reed is ready he'll tell me, "Wait! I'm not situated yet." Then he'll ask me to start over, even if the only thing I've read is the title page. While we read, Asher leans his little head back and actually relaxes for the first time all day. After a book or two, Reed climbs on top of the train table, turns out the light, and goes to his room. When it's just Asher and me, I cuddle my baby and sing to him. And Asher? He actually cuddles back, for the first time all day. After we sing, I lay Asher into his crib then go out into the hallway to turn on the box-fan-turned-noisemaker we accidentally got Asher hooked on during the summer when we couldn't keep the upstairs rooms cool.

I make my way to Reed's room, where he is waiting to read his books. He has usually found a few extras in his room to add to the stack and, as long as they're not too long, we read them all. After our books, he goes potty--I have to remind him every night that we certainly don't want to wet the bed, because he doesn't think he really needs to go. Finally, we say his prayers, turn out the lights, turn on Reed's songs, and look at the glow-in-the-dark stars in his room. And he always, always tells me, "I want to muggiole" (His latest variation of "cuggle," which means "cuddle.") I scoot him over so there is room for me in his twin bed, and lay with him for a few minutes. If I try to go too quickly, he tells me he wants to cuddle for "a lot of whiles."  Sometimes we are just quiet. Sometimes we talk about what we did that day. And I can tell he's ready for bed when he rolls over.

Asher is almost always asleep by the time I leave Reed's room and go downstairs. It's 7:30, and Ryan and I have a few hours to have a conversation or two that isn't interrupted even once.

No matter how hard the day is, the night is always good. And I am always thankful for my boys at the end of the day.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Star


Once Ryan and I finally cut our tree to a decent size for the room (which, may I add, required a significant amount of effort), we were ready to decorate. Kind of. First, Ryan had to replace the alternator in the Tahoe. And by the time he was finished, it was pretty late--but the boys were SO excited about decorating we decided to string the lights, put the star on top, and let them hang an ornament or two each.

The boys were quite excited about the star.

And, of course, both boys wanted the honor of putting the star on the tree. Am I surprised? No. We did what we normally do: let one go first, then let the other do the job again. (If there are two jobs we just divide the jobs between the two boys. Unfortunately, we only have one star and one tree.) Asher was up first. He was super excited--until we asked him to let go of Ryan, hold the star, and put the star on the tree. Then he started crying.
Reed was up next. He made a valiant effort, but couldn't quite get the star to stay on.

So we outsourced the job to Ryan. Thanks, babe.

Star Success.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Chopping down Christmas


Cutting down our own Christmas tree has become a tradition for us (2012, 2011, 2010) that we had to skip on last year because I was, well, I was gigantically pregnant. Because I was not gigantically pregnant this year, we knew cutting down our own tree was a must. But then we hit a roadblock: we couldn't cut down a tree in the greater Vegas area.


(Or maybe we could, but we just couldn't find the place to do it).

Anyway, I (thankfully) realized that we would be driving past our traditional Christmas tree cutting area just a few days after Thanksgiving or, in other words, at the perfect time to cut down a Christmas tree. So on our jaunt home from Colorado (if you can call an eight-hour drive a jaunt), we stopped to chop. When we found a good spot to go look for a tree, Asher yelled, "Let's go chop down CHRISTMAS!"

Unfortunately, our "good spot" was not actually so good. We loaded everyone back in the car and drove further. No luck. We turned around and drove to a spot before the first place we'd stopped where we saw another car actually stopped. And with a tree on top. Bingo.

We wandered for a while until we found the perfect tree. Ryan did the hard work while I wrangled the boys. And, of course, the boys got to help with the last inch or so of cutting, per tradition. Ryan hauled the tree back to the car and we (okay, he) tied the tree to the top.

We stopped ten minutes later to re-tie the tree down.

Then we got on the freeway and stopped another five minutes later because the tree was getting too much wind under it and was lifting like crazy when we got up to speed. Finally, the tree situation was under control. I would look up through the sunroof at intervals to make sure nothing crazy was happening, but I thought we were finally going to be able to just drive home.

I was wrong.

About 45 miles away from home, the battery warning light came on in our car and the warning screen told us that the battery was not charging. A non-charging battery did not seem like an ideal situation, so we made a quick call to Ryan's dad to see if he had any insight. What I learned from Ryan's dad was definitely sobering: if the battery weren't charging, we were running solely on the power it had. So we might make it all the way, but there was no way to tell. And, when the battery ran out of power, the car would stop working. Which wouldn't exactly be ideal.

I hung up to conserve battery life--my phone was dead and Ryan's had 6% battery and we knew that we very well might be calling a tow truck in the near future. We immediately said a prayer during which I barely held it together. After the prayer, Reed, half crying, asked, "Are we going to be okay?" Talk about a broken heart. But it was a good opportunity to talk about Heavenly Father and how He would help protect us even if the car didn't make it all the way home. We then turned off the dash lights, the DVD player (much to Asher's dismay), the air, and anything we could think of that was pulling power (unfortunately, it was dark outside and we needed our headlights, or those would have been off, too!). Then we did what anyone would do: started singing Christmas songs, of course. Asher requested Jingle Bells approximately 8 times in a row. Reed wanted to sing Christmas Bells are Ringing and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. We played the ABC game. Anything to distract the boys and Lila, who cried whenever we weren't singing or playing.

And in the middle of the sing-a-long, Asher said, "MOMMY! I know! We should say a special prayer that our Christmas tree won't fall off the car!!!!!" We said a special prayer, even though I was long past worrying about the tree. And we made it all the way home. Ryan looked at the car the next day and found out the alternator needed to be replaced, which was something he was able to do (thankfully). I am so grateful that we were able to make it home safely and know that we were watched over.

And, on a lighter note, when we cutting down our tree we thought we had 10' ceilings. We came home and discovered we have 9' ceilings--which wouldn't have been a problem, but our tree was 9'4". Nothing a saw can't fix!

Happy doll during our outing.
Asher discovered that snow is a good medium for drawing pictures.
Asher helping cut the tree.
Reed helping cut the tree.
The part of the tree that didn't make the "cut" haha.