Sunday, July 28, 2013

The CAR RIDE (dun, Dun, DUNNN!)

   I know it usually takes some personal experience to create empathy for others, so I am so happy to report that I don't have much empathy when people tell me how brave I am for taking my kids alone on road trips.  I don't think that they are especially well behaved, or I have a magical ability to tune things out, I just know that one day they will be looking back on all the fun things we did and I want them to have fun with it.  Plus travelling is exciting! 
   We left bright and early at 4:45am after Mommy did something!?! to my car and we had to give the battery a jump.  Thankfully we didn't have any other car excitement on the drive!  For the first couple hours everybody slept while I listened to my Old Time Radio shows. (The ones from the 1930's, and yes, I know I was born a too late!) 
   When we were almost to Flagstaff all the girls were awake and ready for breakfast.  Of course, our trip had been so smooth up until that point that something had to happen.  That something came in the form of an idiot driver on the I-17!  The speed limit is 75mph.  I was driving along and this truck (pulling a trailer) goes to pass a semi and pulls out right in front of me.  I had to slam on brakes and get down below 40mph.  It was soo scary!  Thankfully the Lord was watching out for us and I was alert and able to slow down in time to keep from rear ending him. 
   After a stop for gas, bathroom break, quick stretch and breakfast (cold cereal, milk to drink and blueberries) handed out we were back on our way. 
   The road was closed because of a sinkhole near Page, Az. So we had to detour through a Nat'l forest.  It was gorgeous and only added about 30 minutes to our trip.  We were even able to stop for a bathroom break, nurse Ella and playtime at a trailhead. 
   The girls were great.  We listened to music and stories, taking turns picking.  Rora chose Curious George book on CD, Standing Tall and primary songs.  Kira chose Christmas music, Standing Tall and a CD of stories my Mom made before she passed.  Mommy chose Village People, Les Miserable, The Shadow OTR and Suspense OTR. 
    We stopped for a quick picture at the state line.  (We have never done this before now, so it was a must for the girls!)  And continued on until we hit Beaver, Ut. For lunch.  Lunch was AWFUL!  We went into a Wendy's and first used the bathroom.  By the time we got into the line it was HUGE and moved at a snails pace.  30 minutes later we were finally back in the car, having just gotten our food. (We ate on the drive.)  After a couple more quick stops we made it to Dad's house at 5:45. (Utah is an hour ahead of Arizona so it took almost exactly 12 hours.) 
     Ella had her share of fussiness and tears on our drive, but overall did quite well being confined for so long.  Her favorite toy was a fresh wet wipe which she cleaned herself and her toys with.  Oh, and stickers.  She loved the stickers! 
    Rora did better than I expected.  She only cried/screamed once or twice and calmed pretty quickly.  She loved the new magna doodle she had and her books.  Once we hit the Utah state line she was really confused why we weren't at grandpa's house yet.  "But we are in Utah...And Grandpa lives in Utah...So why aren't we there yet!?!"
   Kira of course was as well behaved as always.  Her time was spent drawing and writing in the new princess notebook she got on her special date with Daddy. (They went to Dave and Busters and she and Rora each got one with their tickets.)
    Mommy also survived our trip.  I had a bit of headache starting out, but it cleared pretty quickly.  I did have an upset tummy the last half of our drive that was miserable.  Thankfully it was gone when I woke up the next morning!  I am very proud to report that I threw no tantrums, didn't have/want any Mtn. Dew, and enjoyed my kids.  I got a rootbeer with my lunch, but that was when my tummy was ready for bed so I only had a sip or two of it. 
   I am ever so grateful that my kids love adventure and don't mind the car ride to get there.  I am amazed that they don't seem to be the norm for car rides.  Maybe it's because they don't know any different, but there isn't stress associated with driving for 12 hours by myself with the kids.  Only excitement to reach our destination.  And that is exactly the way I like it!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wickert-Babb Mini Reunion

Last weekend we had a blast with Daddy's family in Bison Ranch.  It was a great weekend full of fun, laughter and memories.  A few highlights of our 3 day weekend include:

Rora taking the lead on our short hike.  She stayed in front the entire time and laughed and smiled about it.  This is a huge leap for her since our trip to Arches and the Grand Canyon all she wanted was to be carried.  I am so proud of her! 

The kids eyes getting wide on our brownie hike.

A great walkversation (walk + conversation) I had with Melinda.  It was so relaxing!

Throwing out bedtime and taking the girls swimming after dark. 

How much my kids love and enjoy their cousins.  All those girls play wonderfully together!

Uncle Jeff (and Zhen) spoiling my kids.  They are growing to think that everyone without kids always buys them treats...and of course, they love it! 

Everyone had fun and made some great memories! 

Stopping to pose on the trail

I sure love my little family!

Just being her usual awesome self!



Thursday, July 18, 2013

Let He Who Is Without Sin...

   My facebook feed has been erupting with comments and links to this story.  A little girl in Alabama was forgotten in the car and tragically died.  It's horrible.  I can't even imagine that.  And I certainly can't imagine forgetting my child in the car for 3 hours...BUT I do have a confession.  Something about the third child makes me more forgetful.  I'm torn another way and it's easier to get distracted.    
   When Ella was almost to the crawling stage I made a HUGE mistake.  We were getting into the car, (I can't remember where we were going.) I put Ella in her seat and then turned to Kira and Rora who were vying for my attention.  I don't remember why I didn't buckle Ella, but since I usually buckle her as soon as I put her in I didn't think about it.  I got in the car, asked Kira if Rora was buckled (Kira buckled Rora at the time.) and we drove off.  A minute or two later I heard a thunk and then Ella started screaming.  She had sat up and leaned over the side of her carseat and pulled herself out.  She landed on the floor.  I can't ever describe the terror I felt at that moment.  What did I do?  What a horrible Mom I was.  And then to make matters worse I wasn't in a position to stop for another 60 seconds which felt like an hour!  Kira unbuckled and sat on the floor holding Ella while I found a safe place to stop the car.  My heart is pounding right now at the memory. 
   Ella was ok, more scared than anything else.  But that moment taught me so much.  Now I always triple check Ella's seatbelt.  Going so far as to ask Kira to look after I am in my seat.  I know that it only takes a moment away from routine for something to go wrong.  So how can I judge another Mom?  I can't imagine the guilt she feels.  I can't imagine the sorrow, the despair, the anger. 
So instead of villainizing this Mom, I am praying for her.  I'm sure she cradled her baby through 9 months in the womb with love.  She poured her heart into making her home perfect to bring the baby home into, and she felt the joy that only a Mother knows when sticky hands give you hugs, chubby arms reach out as she says 'Mama.'  And stout toddler legs run from the other room for magical 'Mommy makes it better' boo boo kisses. 
   No one is perfect and unless you have been in her situation, please think about how hateful words can be. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Cuz I Want To Be AWESOME!

   Everyone in my house is asleep.  We leave for a family reunion of sorts tomorrow and I'm the only one up.  We're all packed, the house is clean and I've nothing left to do.  Except wait.  Wait for the oven to finish cooking brownies because I want my kids to have memories filled with brownie adventures.  Just like my Mom did for me!  So I wait until the girls are asleep before making brownies to keep the magic alive a little longer.  I know one of these days Kira will question whether or not the Brownie people are real, and when that day comes, I think I will let her in on my little secret.  Let her be my co-conspirator, use her creative energy to help make the memories even more fun for the other girls.  Now if only those brownies would bake a little faster!  Mamma needs her sleep!

Kenzie spotted the Brownies in Arches in 2012!

I don't want to forget...

   Yesterday Josh was holding Kira down and tickling her.  Ella was helping him.  Daddy pulled up Kira's shirt and told Ella to give her raspberries.  Ella stopped, looked thoughtful and walked the recycling bin where she pulled out the cheerios box.  She then brought the box to Daddy and pointed to the berries.  She is one smart girl!

   Ella has found her voice and uses it! She says no all the time and it can get a bit frustrating since it's a change from her usual personality.  She is also teething which makes matters worse.  The other day she wouldn't take a nap and was cranky.  I was pacing the house with her when she saw a piece of a butterfinger on the counter.  She pointed to it and said "bu-Tter!" It was so adorable I HAD to give her a piece.  I couldn't refuse.  But I didn't want her to get the chocolate all over so I held the treat and tried to give her a bite.  She screamed no and tried to take it.  I tried 3 more times and she wouldn't.  I then took a bite and put a bit in her mouth.  She stuck out her tongue and wiped it off 3 times to get every piece off.  Stubborn child!  To contrast, later that day I made noodles.  She was sitting on the counter inches away from the floured edge of the noodle sheet watching me.  When I had finished cutting the 1st half of the noodles I gave her one to eat.  As I was rolling out the second half she went to touch the noodle sheet.  I told her no, fold your arms.  She stopped and folded her arms while I finished rolling and cutting the noodles.  Not once did she try to touch it!  Of course when I was done I gave her another one.  I know most babies wouldn't have been able to do that, but that's my Ella!

Kira said, "Hi, Ella!"
Rora said, "Hi, Ella!"
Ella responded, "Hi, Ella!"
I love when babies first find their voice! 

   Ella still cosleeps with Josh and I.  She usually shares Daddy's pillow, but has to touch Mommy.  Some days I wake up and wonder where Daddy sleeps since she is completely sprawled sideways, with just her foot touching me, taking up all of his side of the bed! 

   Usually if you say, "Doctor" Ella will respond with, "Who!"  It's so adorable!  The other day Kira tried and tried to get her to say Who, but she was having none of it.  Finally Rora (I think) said THE DOCTOR to which Ella responded with an emphatic, "YEAH!" 
*Dr. Who reference.  If you don't get it you're not at our level of awesome!  ;p  

   Ella loves to harass Rora!  She grabs hold of her shirt and WILL NOT LET GO!  Most of the time Rora thinks it's the funniest thing and laughs and laughs 'trying' to get away from her.  It's so funny to watch!

Being sneaky and getting into the cheerios! 

Sunday, July 7, 2013


   I just wanted to share, Rora had a great day today!  Sure, there was a bit of whining, a few time outs and some moments of overly loving on Ella, BUT overall she did great.  Her smile just melts my heart, and her eyes, I get lost in the deep chocolate brown.  I am so grateful for days like today that are full of hugs, kisses, snuggles, laughter and love.  Today makes it all worth it!
LOVE this Girl!!