Sunday, July 29, 2012

Aunt Angie

Don't think I forgot you, Angie! 
Meet Angela Braxton, Justin's aunt, the only relative on his side living close, and one of the most wonderful women I know. 
It was recently this woman's' birthday, and I just HAVE to let her know how much we all love and appreciate her. 
She is a kind, loving, nurturing, patient, understanding woman who is such an example to me in so many ways. There is a saying that God takes care of us through the people around us, that they are our angels...
I feel that Aunt Angie is one of our dearest angels. 
She is always watching out for us, loving us, helping us, and most of all... (And this is a big deal)...she is one of the only people who really GETS Justin! (Even more than I do sometimes, I think....)
My children adore her. Justin would do just about anything for her (again, a big deal :) ). And I, well, she eases my burdens. And I could never thank her enough for that. 
So Happy Birthday, Angela, and know that you are loved... 
far more than you know!

Beauty, Eh??

Thursday, July 26, 2012

"It's Raining, Its POURING..."

What does YOUR family do during a crazy Arizona monsoon????


Sunday, July 22, 2012

To Elder Speakman

Hello Elder! 

I know, I know, I am like the WORST sister ever. I am so sorry it has been so long since I have written you. :( Please know though that I look forward to reading your letters every week, and I think about you every day and keep you in my thoughts and heart and prayers. The children always remember to "bless uncle Johno!" when we say family prayers. :) They love and miss you, as we all do. 

Ok, so lets see. Whats been going on that is worth telling you? We went to Cali in June and it was DIVINE!!! Spent the whole week just chillin' on the beach, enjoying the beautiful weather and enjoying spending time together. Seriously, one of the best vacations I have ever had. I miss it all the time and already can't wait for next year! 

Well...Bella had her third birthday, as you know! She is the cutest little princess ever. She is a feisty little handful, but boy do I love that girl! I can't wait to be her best friend as she gets older. She is a smart little thing, too. Almost every week her nursery leaders tell me how impressed they are with her knowledge and abilities. SHe will be starting preschool this Fall with Sis. Rogers. It will be so weird, having both Bella and Brax going to school and just Conrad home alone with me for those few hours. My babies are growing up! I just wish she would catch onto potty training as quickly as she would everything else. Thats the one area she just doesn't seem that interested in!! Ggrrrrr....we are working on that one. Her favorite phrase right now is "Mommy, (or Daddy,) Do you love me?" :) Anytime she gets in trouble or is giving us loves or just randomly walking by she will ask us "do you love me?" And when we answer "yes" or "of course!" she rewards us with the biggest, most beautiful smiles. I tell ya, we are in trouble with this one! 

Conrad is walking all over the place,  or running is more accurate! First thing out of bed in the morning he goes into the kitchen, grabs his shoes, holds them up to me and says "shoos" and then "down" and sits for me to put them on. YUP! He is saying words now! His first one was "down", and he can say "ball" and "shoes" and "crackers" and "balloon" and "drink" and "ma" and "da!" My favorite is "down" and "da"...Anytime Justin is home he runs around the house yelling "DA!" for Justin. Its so stinkin' cute. All my kids are snugglers, which i love, but Conrad is my best. He would stay in my arms all day if I let him, just hugging me and kissing me and loving me. I am so sad that he is growing so fast...especially since we are unsure if he will be our last or not. I am not ready for my baby to be a boy!! 

Braxton starts kindergarten at the montessori school this year. He is constantly amazing me with how smart he is and how good his memory is. We will be talking and he will just randomly say" Do you remember when....?" and bring up something I said or did or something that happened forever ago that I even barely remember. Its crazy! I will never be able to get away with anything with that kid! Good I guess, but bad too. :) He loves to wrestle with Justin and can actually hold his own pretty well, considering Justin is NOT soft with him at all! THe poor kid. He is a swimming maniac and would spend all day in the water if let him. He has a sweet tooth that rivals my own (no one to blame but myself, right?), he loves playing video games (a little too much, I think... I am going to have to start rationing his alotted time, or making him do it) and is such a social butterfly. He loves playing with anyone and everyone, including children older than himself. He is a FLIRT with the older girls! He was like that even when you were home, though, so I know you know how much of a little flirt that kid can be. :) He is one of the most curious kids I have ever met, and he is a crazy good negotiator, too. WIth his stubborness and skills at negotiating, I think I give in way too much and he gets away with a lot more than he should. Again, teenage years...NOT looking forward to them. He is by all means definitely a first child - confident, stubborn, leader, always wants to be in charge... hard to believe this kid has only been in my life for 4 years. He tries my like none other but brings me so much joy. Its weird how that happens. The things than can bring you the most grief and stress can also bring you the most joy and love. The highest highs, and the lowest lows. They are my heart and soul, though, and I wouldn't have it any other way! 

Well i sure love you my brother. I love seeing you grow and learn and become the man the Lord intended you to be. You truly are a special man and I am so excited to see where this mission and life takes you. Hugs and kisses from me and the kids. 

Sure love ya! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Out of Africa

Lat weekend we took a spur of the moment family day trip to Out of Africa near Cottonwood, Az. The park itself was really cool and interesting, but we were greatly deceived by the weather forecast! Mid- 80s my foot! Our car thermometer read 110 when we finally dragged our red, swollen, tired, overheated bodies back to our car at the end of the day. Cool place, but NOT DURING THE SUMMER!!

I loved getting close up to all these awesome animals we don't get to see much at the regular zoo. The kids loved it, too, especially feeding the giraffe! (Which I didn't have my camera out for...gggrrr...)

The tiger show was definitely our favorite. We missed the giant snake cause we were burned crispy and ready to drop dead by that time. Next time...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bella Bella Marshmella

My Bella Rose turned three this week. (Pics of party to come.) THREE! I can't believe it. She is a spunky little fireball full of personality and spirit, and she is a handful, but boy do I adore this child! She is a girl is every aspect of the word... 
She loves shoes - She wears her play heels around the house all day every day
She loves makeup - After asking every morning relentlessly if she can put on my makeup she finally runs to her room to play with her own
She loves clothes - she goes through at least 3 or 4 outfits a day, just because she wants to
She LOVES LOVES LOVE to dance - She is the shining star of her little dance class, and it is the highlight of her week when its dance day. When not in class she blasts her favorite music (a fairytale dance camp CD Mrs. Jheri (her dace teacher) gave her) in her room and rocks out to "The Pokey Pokey" as she calls it (Hokey Pokey) and the "Fishy Song" all day long.
She loves jewelry and nail polish - She was given both for her birthday and was SO EXCITED - she puts at least 5 coats of nail polish on her toes a day. (no joke)
She thinks she knows everything - what three year old female doesn't? :) 
She is the best mommy - Never were dollies loved and played with more than hers, and poor Conrad feels the love a little too much as she thinks he is one of her dolls too! She is always trying to change his clothes or put shoes on him. 
She loves to snuggle - My heart melts like hot butter when she wraps her little arms and legs around me and just buries her head in my neck. I could hold her like that forever and never grow tired of it. 
She loves riding her princess bike - Every day she asks to ride it and every day she tells me how much she LOVES her "new" bike 
She loves to sing - It is a constant sound in our home, my Bella singing one of her favorite songs at the top of her lungs, or making up one of her own. She is actually really good at composing them herself... I can't wait to see where that talent takes her. :) 

Oh I love my Bella Rose, my Bella Bella Marshmella! (the nickname Gma Bebe gave her!!:) I hope (and secretly pray) we are blessed with another baby girl someday so this lovely little lady is given a sister to love and adore and mommy all her life. But if not, I will be perfectly happy being best buds with my girl, just me and her. We will have a grand time together! She is truly one of my greatest treasures. 

All decked out after her birthday party, sorting through her loot! 

New dollies! Yay! 

It was only like 6:30 at night on her  birthday, we were eating dinner, and I look over to see this... She was OUT!! Slumped right over her chair. Poor girl was all tuckered out from her big day!! Ha!