Night Out with the Orem Owlz

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

We recently had a family date at the ballpark, and had a wonderful time cheering on the Orem Owlz! It was our first time catching a baseball game this summer, and Oscar's very first baseball game! I couldn't tell if he was more excited about the game, or all the snacks! Haha. Nachos and some Cracker Jack-- this kid was in heaven! And he kept stealing fries from the random guy sitting next to us!

In between innings, we got up to stretch our legs and take in some different views of the field. 

Pato is a huge sports fan, and kept asking all sorts of questions about baseball throughout the game. It's a good thing Chris was there to answer them all!

The kids and Rowly! So, interesting thing about this picture is that Pato actually loves mascots, and Sof is absolutely terrified of them. When she saw her brother taking about to take a picture with Rowly, she decided at the last second to hop in! 

Thanks so much for the fun evening, Orem Owlz!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

I was just going through my camera roll when I came across a set of pictures that had me thinking, "Wow, these totally show their personalities."

Pato: silly, goofy, unpredictable.

Oscar: wants to be right in the middle of things and doing just what the big kids are doing.

Sofia: the ultimate example of the big sis. The good things, and maybe the not so great things that come with it!

Each so different.
Each teaching me things I need to know.
Each keeping me on my toes.
Each a part of my heart.

Warm Weather Tips and a Little Help from Aquaphor Baby

Thursday, June 28, 2018

This post is sponsored by Aquaphor Baby. However all opinions are my own.

As a mom of three, I like to think that I know a bit more now than my first time around. After having my first baby, I remember feeling inundated with all the different baby products on the market. What things were absolutely necessary? Would I ever leave my house again without carrying a million things in my bag? Was there a robot out there that could get my baby to sleep the whole night? While I was able to find answers to most of my questions, I never did figure out the robot thing, however—the search continues!

One thing I have always been concerned about protecting was my babies’ skin. My second child, in particular, has always had dry skin, and he gets dry spots if we don’t keep it moisturized. And little Oscar seems to be following suit. Whether it be the cold brisk days of winter, or the heat from summer, caring for baby’s skin is a year-round job. 

In comes Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment. We have been using Aquaphor Baby for years, and it was one of the first products we used for our babies because it was already highly trusted by other moms and pediatricians. If you're anything like me, I am always more comfortable trying a product that others already speak highly of. Plus, I like knowing that it is hypoallergenic, fragrance free, and paraben free. 

Aquaphor Baby is also something that fits the needs of each of my kids, not just Oscar! While we initially used it to help aid dry and irritated skin, it can also be used for little scratches and scrapes. And we for sure have our fair share of those at our house. 

That’s why I carry a small tube of Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment in my bag with me because it does the job of several products, without the hassle of trying to toss in a bunch of things in my bag as I’m rushing to head out the door. It helps with diaper rash, drool rash (you mama’s of teething babies know what I’m talking about!) chafed skin, and soothing those inevitable toddler “owies.” Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment is really helpful if you can't change the diaper often while you’re out and about’

And speaking of things I carry in my bag… 
I feel like with each change of season, I’m always having to change what I carry around! Now that the warmer weather has finally decided to stay, I can start taking out the extra pair of gloves and baby sweaters that I’m so used to carrying around. Instead, here is a list of some things I’ve learned to always keep on hand in my bag once spring and summer hit!
Water. With the rising temperatures and more time spent outside, I try to stay in the habit of carrying around a bottle of water with me. It’s so crucial to help them stay hydrated so you don’t end up with really unhappy kids who aren’t feeling well! 
Bandages. It’s almost inevitable that at some point, whether at the playground or on the beach or running to get ice cream, your little one will get hurt. Bandages are not always something I think to keep in my bag, but they come so in handy! 

Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment. As I mentioned before, I love carrying this around to help soothe any scratches or scrapes that might happen along the way while they’re having fun outdoors. 
Extra shirt. I try to carry an extra t-shirt with me for my little guy for several reasons! At his age, he’s all about getting his hands in his food. Which leaves him so sticky! So, I bring an extra clean shirt for him to change into. Plus, I like to have an option for him to change into in case he decides on having an impromptu jaunt through the sprinkler’s with his little buddies. 
Sunscreen and hand sanitizer spray. 

With all this talk about the warm weather finally arriving, I do have to make a small confession: I’m a total fall and winter girl! I love the cold. So when it came to figuring out things to do with a baby and a toddler, at first I was totally stumped! My idea of a perfect summer day is staying in someplace with an amazing air conditioning system and being far far away from the heat. 

But, trying to keep a toddler from wanting to go outside in the summer is not easy! So I had to get a little creative. 

Oscar, who is now two, loves going outside to “paint.” Even in the dead of winter, I had to remind him that it was still too cold to go out and do that outside! So, what I do is get different sized plastic containers (I use mixing bowls) and fill them with water. Then, I get four or five paint brushes that are different sizes, and let him paint with water outside to his heart’s content. He loves painting the cement, and when he’s through with that, he usually moves on to trying to “paint” his body. It’s so fun watch. 

Another water activity he loves is playing with a regular spray bottle. I will sometimes hand him a spray bottle and tell him to go outside to spray the grass. He is happy as a clam doing that for a good while, and then likes to chase his older siblings with it, too. 
One last thing that I’ve found to be a fun activity for little ones is drawing outside with sidewalk chalk. I’ve actually learned to love this more and more recently because it’s an activity that Oscar can do with the big kids. He loves to be included in everything his siblings do, so this is one things activity that can be enjoyed at any age.

So excited to see what fun this spring and summer season brings! 

Hall of Breakfast!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

What do you get when you mix up a really really really cool pop-up exhibit with the most important meal of the day? The Hall of Breakfast!!! Last week, we were invited to visit the Hall of Breakfast right in downtown Salt Lake, and we had THE best time!!! If you are anywhere near and can snag tickets before they're gone and they pack up, I'd recommend it in a heartbeat!

Pretty much this letter board is Pato's life motto. NO one loves breakfast as much as Pato! He would eat it for every meal and waffles make his world go round.

There are different rooms that each have a special theme. Right away, we were sold on this room. I mean, who doesn't love bacon? 

Did someone say bacon slide? I was laughing because Oscar kept running around the room yelling, "Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!"

Fact: out of all my kids, this girl reigns as bacon queen. She's always stealing daddy's extra bacon.

One of the biggest and most important breakfast questions: waffles or pancakes? I'll admit that I'm a total flip flopper in this department! Chris was on team pancakes, and the kids were on team waffles. Well, actually, Oscar was on team "run everywhere." 

One of my favorite rooms was the cereal one! Any excuse to throw around confetti :)

"Hey! Anyone want a cookie?" Um, you should have seen how fast my kids came running!

Did you know Chris could stick an egg on anything and eat it? Well, maybe not ANYTHING, but he's taught me that adding a good fried egg to a lot of stuff just takes things to a whole other level!

Jones boys.

And these doughnut swings? Trying to figure out how to get one of these installed in my house. 

Seriously, that smile? Killing me! 

The kids could have spent the next thirty seven hours playing in there!! Kid (and adult) heaven for sure. 

Hoping we can sneak in one more time before it heads out of town! Thanks for having us, Hall of Breakfast! Get your tickets HERE.

when you mom's a turd

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Sometimes your mom is a turd.

And she sends you to your room because you have a lot of feelings, and sometimes those feelings are hard to put into words. So you get upset about what's for breakfast or stomp your feet or cry or you say you don't like something even though you do. And sometimes mom is counting to ten a million times over in her head and taking deep breath after deep breath because the only thing bigger than the pile of laundry in the house is the pile of feelings. And mom wants everyone to feel all the feelings because she knows that's best. But sometimes, she makes you take your pile to your room.

And then mom puts the baby down for a nap and sits in silence because she wishes she could do it all. So she goes to your room to apologize and ask for a hug. She thinks you're in your room reading, but then finds you asleep in your bed.

And she remembers that you woke up early, and it's hard to talk about how you feel when you're tired.

And she remembers that sometimes it's hard to get a word in when you have a baby brother that likes to yell and a big sister that has her own big feelings.

And she remembers that you're only five years old.

And she remembers that you're doing the best you can.

And she remembers that she's doing the best she can, too. Which means she'll act like a turd, but then she'll say sorry and try again.

a simple birth day gift

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

"Happy birthday!! Are you two?!"

By about the fifth time we had said, "Happy Birthday" I think he knew something special was going on.  "Bir-day!"

But, if we asked, "Is it your birthday?" He would respond with, "No!" "Are you two??" "Two? No...."

A few days before, I ordered a vanilla cake with buttercream frosting. That morning I picked up red and white balloons. And my mom took the older two kids out to pick up a gift for him while I got the chance to have a few hours with just the birthday boy.

We played (even though he asked for Sheh-sheh and Paw-po the whole time) and watched his favorite favorite show-- The Wiggles. And he let me hold him as watched. The best part was when he started falling asleep in my arms, and I remember thinking, "This is the best birth day present and its not even my birthday." So, I quickly grabbed my phone to take this shot before I took him down to bed. It ended up being the best part of the day because it reminded me of those early days when he needed me for so much and spent so many hours in my arms. It reminded me that no matter how old he is, I will always be a place for him to land.

teaching my daughter and sons to celebrate women

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Last week, the kids sat down and painted these pictures of women they look up to. Sof chose Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt, and Pato chose Wilma Rudolph. A while ago, we purchased these We Brave Women flashcards, created by the talented Ashmae Hoiland, and they have been an amazing tool to teach the kids about some truly remarkable women-- many I didn't even know of myself. The women on these cards come from such a wide background-- there are activists, world leaders, athletes, writers, artists, scientists--women that have paved a path for my own daughter. 

If you told Sof that there was something she couldn't do because she's a girl, she'd look at you like you were crazy. Really and truly, I think that she thinks that there is nothing she can't do.  And just as amazing, her brother feels the same way. That both my daughter and sons know that girls can do anything is incredibly important to me.

Now, I know some people say, "Well, what about the boys?" And listen, I am on that team, too! I worry just as much about my sons. I hate that society will try to tell them what a "real man" is supposed to look or act like. What strong is supposed to look like. What feelings they're allowed to show or not show. But, I'm willing to wager that a boy or a man who supports girls and women and sees them as equals and knows they're capable and strong and smart as them are going to do just fine.

I feel like sometimes I get looks like "Oh,'ve talked to your kids about that?" Those looks are never mean, never negative. Just more of shock I think? We are pretty open with our kids about wide variety of topics, and it works for us. I'm not saying everyone should take the same approach as us-- I'm all for parents just doing what's best for their own children. And, we've approached this topic the same simple way. 

Hey, kids. Guess what? Did you know that not too long ago, in our country, women couldn't do a lot of things? 

What do you mean?

Important things! Like vote. Or own land. Or have certain jobs. Even today-- sometimes they have harder times getting jobs. Or getting paid the same amount. They sometimes get treated differently. Not always in nice ways. And did you know in some places, girls can't go to school? 

And then we talk about kindness, and respect, and go back and talk about women and their contributions. 

Want to know how many times my son has turned things around and felt sad or left out when we highlight women?

Zero. Not one time.

Because celebrating women and their achievements is not about putting down men. He's five years old, and he can recognize that already. Instead, he celebrates them right along with us. And this is one reason out of many that I look forward to seeing the man he grows up to be.

**We Brave Women flashcards can be purchased HERE.**

almost two

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

I simply cannot believe that this little guy will be two next month. I feel like he gets into so much trouble, I'm constantly cleaning up after his messes, and the only time the house is normal-level loud is when he's asleep.

By the time Oscar came around, I used to think I knew pretty much everything I needed to know about raising toddlers. I mean, I had two kids twelve months apart! How hard could one toddler be?! I got this!

It's funny that people who have known our older kids for a while and now know Oscar often will comment on how different he is than my big kids. He is certainly louder, more active, and way more crazy than the other two. I feel like I've thrown so many "rules" out the window! But, I do know he was exactly what our family needed. He was exactly what I needed. 

I mean, I don't need so much all the food on the floor he always leaves behind...but you win some you lose some. 

ten things I love about you: pato

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Last weekend, I took Pato out for a special valentines date. He had decided he wanted to go on a dessert date, which pretty means show you that my kid knows me very well-- I'm all about the desserts.

"We can go anywhere you want!" I said. I named a bunch of places that I (selfishly) thought we (I) would want to go to, and he responded with, "I know! DUNKIN DONUTS!"


I did my best to do that "I'm smiling real big but I hate that" face and was like, "YOU GOT IT BUDDY!" So, we went to Dunkin Donuts. After seeing that I wasn't going to eat a donut, he took mercy on my soul and we went out for the SECOND part of our date for some dessert pizza. Phew. Crisis averted.

But, even though my boy has a love for doughnuts that I can't quite match, I would do anything or go anywhere for my Pato. I have been falling in love with him over and over since the day he was born. And since I know one day he will be totally grossed out by my outward proclamations of love, I am squeezing in as much as I can before that day comes.

So, here you go.

Ten things I am loving about my pato today. Right now.

He is a cuddler extraordinaire. He is always down to cuddle and gosh I love it so much. Especially when he says, "Mama, can I cuddle with you??

He is so bright and loves to learn! I love catching him reading to himself.

I love this Star Wars phase that we're in. You could ask about  *any* character, major or minor, and he can probably name it for you.

When I pick him up from school, he runs right into my arms. It's one of the highlights of my day.

I love his sensitive heart.

He's a great big brother to Oscar, and when they're not fighting, a wonderful younger brother to Sof.

His dance moves. He just goes with it!

I love the way he checks out his hair in the mornings. He will always remind us to brush it before we go anywhere, and he likes it done just right.

That wonky-tooth smile is giving me a million heart-eyes over here.

Lastly, one thing I love about Pato is that he is so easy to love. He makes me feel like I'm doing okay at this mothering job. He truly doesn't ask for much more than just to be loved.

To the moon and back, P. xoxo

10 Reasons Every Parent Should Go to Disneyland Without Kids (Even Once!)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to go to Disneyland with some of my fellow mama friends, and truth be told, I wasn't so sure what to expect! The weeks before the trip, I kept debating whether I would even tell my kids where I was heading (I could just say "California," right??) but keeping it from them just didn't sit well with me because I knew they'd find out eventually. So, I sat them down and told them, expecting some wailing and maybe a few tears. To my utter surprise, my big kids were both champs, and the promise of souvenirs helped soften the blow :) 

Disneyland is a place that I've loved ever since I was little. I always remembered my dad would enjoy taking my family here, and I think it was because he could see how happy it made me and my brothers. There is something really magical about seeing things through your kids' eyes. Being a parent, I totally get that now. With that said, I've never been to Disneyland with just a group of friends, and before we left, I thought, "Will it really be as much fun as when I was a kid?" And the answer is yes! A million times yes. 

So, I've compiled a list of ten reasons why every parent should try Disneyland without kids!

1. How cute are those balloons? How cute are the collectable pins? How cute is every dang thing there?! Well, when you don't have the kids with you, let's just say it's a whole lot easier to walk past the gift shops!

2. (Most of the time) your friends won't be (too) embarrassed to take pictures with you ;) After the second picture with my kids, it's basically like standing next to a group of monkeys hopped up on candy. 

3. You can choose which characters you really want to see, and don't have to worry about hunting anyone down. I actually was pleasantly surprised at how sweet the characters were with both kids and adults alike. I'll also add that one of my children is super afraid of "characters" so it was also really nice not having to be constantly vigilant and ducking every time one came into sight! 

4. THE FOOD! I could eat anything I wanted and didn't have to worry about someone grabbing it out of my hand or licking it and basically claiming it for themselves.

5. There was something super liberating about not having to carry around a bunch of stuff around for my kids. I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I turn into a human garbage can slash "dumping ground" for stuff when we're out with our kids. I just had my small back pack of things and hopped in and out of the rides easily. And better yet, no worries about pushing around a stroller!

6. Waiting in line was a breeze! We were pretty lucky because we didn't have to wait in a ton of lines,  (thank you fast passes!) and none that were super long. But, any time we did it didn't feel long because we would just chat that time away. I'll admit that the waiting in lines with my kids part of Disney is what makes me most anxious. 

7. You can go on any ride you want! Last time we went to Disney, I don't know that we even made it onto Space Mountain because we were too busy going on all the little kid rides (not saying those aren't fun--I love It's a Small World about as much as I love any other ride).

8. Two words: bathroom breaks. No getting out of the line two minutes before you're about to hop on a ride because someone can't hold it another minute and is doing the potty dance in front of you and everyone else in line!

9. You can go as early as you'd like and stay as late you'd like, too!

10. Because YOU can take a turn being the kid! I seriously had so much fun at each and every turn. Main Street looked and smelled magical. The Matterhorn left me a little spooked! And those first couple of drops on Pirates of the Caribbean made my stomach drop a little even though I knew they were coming. 

So, if you're thinking you're too old to still enjoy Disney like a kid, I'd say think again :)

when sometimes love doesn't feel like enough

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

So...I've had a few experiences this last week where I've seen other moms struggling, daring to be open about their situations and share what's on their heart. I would sit there thinking, "Wow. I've felt those feelings, too." And I know how lonely it can feel when you think you're the only one going through it. I feel like I often write about the good things, the easy things. Because there really is a whole lot of it. But, the truth is, this mothering gig is the most rewarding thing I've ever done, but also the hardest and soul-crushing thing, too. There are certainly moments where I just sit on the crumb-covered floor and just sit. I shut my eyes and take a second to  For a second, I have to let myself just be me and separate myself from the mom I am the other 86399 other seconds of the day.

So, here's what I'm going to be open about.

I know I'm one heck of a mother. My kids couldn't go somewhere else and find more love than what I try to pour out to them every single day. I try to make them a hot breakfast as often as I can. I sit down and play round after round of games that I'd be happy to never look at for the rest of my life. I soak little clothes trying to get stains out. I volunteer at school because I know it makes my girl feel safe. I sit there and watch tricks repeated over and over again. "Mom! Did you see that?! Watch me!"

I know that I'm enough.

But, sometimes, love doesn't feel like its enough. 

I love all three of my children equally. I still don't know how it works mathematically, when I only have one heart and they each have 100% of it, but it's one of the magical things of life. Most times, I feel like I'm more than enough for Pato. He doesn't ask for much. Just let him tell you about Star Wars or basketball and you're gold. Oscar just wants hugs, attention, and food.

My Sof, though. She's trickier.

Sometimes being her mom makes me want to run away.

She always wants to be with the people she loves, and doesn't understand when I say mommy needs a little space. Whatever she's doing, she wants to do it with someone. And I hate saying no to her because I know this time with her at home is short, and next year she'll be in school all day and I know I'l have moments where I'll miss her. She's demanding of my time and my attention. And when I say no, I feel like she has no problem letting me know how I've let her down. 

She has so many feelings, and they're all big. It's truly one of the things that I love most about her, and has me convinced that this life of hers has a specific purpose and she will change lives. When she's happy, you can't help but feel it, too. When she's sad, her whole body is sad, and you want to move mountains to make her happy again. She's the same with all of her feelings, and I'm afraid she'd be a terrible poker player.  But, keeping up with all her feelings leaves me emotionally and physically drained.

She has strong opinions, and will already tell me when she thinks I'm wrong. Which feels like a lot. Sometimes, being her mother is like being on a treadmill. Just when I am able to keep a steady pace, she pushes me to the next level. And I'm running and running, begging my legs to keep up. "Don't fall. Don't fall." I tell myself. 

More often than not, I can scramble and find the pause button. Yet, once in a while, I stumble and fall so hard. It's then when I find myself going to a hard place, and I sit and cry and think, "She deserves so much better than me." For a brief a second, I consider how much happier she'd be with another mom. One who was more patient, more creative, could maybe actually draw more than a stick figure, and wouldn't care so much about shoes on the floor or an unmade bed.

But, Sof, you're outta luck, girl. Because you're stuck with me. So, everyday, I will keep choosing to hop on that treadmill. I will jump on there happily one day, and perhaps more tentatively the next. I will hit the pause button over and over again, and I will wipe out, too. But, I will never.stop.geting.back.on.

Because at the end of the day, love will always be enough after all.

hitting the re-start button at 4pm

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Because sometimes it's 4:00 PM, and everyone is a little cranky, and baby brother won't stop chasing you with a lightsaber, and you just need a chocolate brownie custard to re-start your day (even when its actually almost close to dinner.) 

Also- I can't even handle all these faces Oscar makes.

And yes, this totally ruined their dinner.

resolutions and a cup of tea

Late last year, I had a very good friend come visit us from out of state. During a late night talk, I had one of those "ah-ha" moments that quietly change your life. One of those moments you can look back on, and pinpoint a very real change in your being.

I walked away from the conversation with two new ideas. Ones that shouldn't be difficult to understand, but for me, things that are still very hard to put into practice.

1. It's not your job to make people happy. Tied to this is the simple fact that you're just not going to be everyone's cup of tea. As someone who in the past has felt like she needs to be everyone's cup of tea (and doing everything I could-- even changing what flavor I was to do so) this was a hard fact that I'm still trying to come to grips with. Furthermore, I'm learning to be okay with that. Because changing my flavor from person to person was leaving me exhausted.

2. The second thing I came away learning is that it's perfectly okay to say no. It's perfectly okay to follow my truth, and do what brings peace and joy into my life. (This doesn't mean trampling on other people along the way, of course.) I often find myself asking myself, "Does this bring me peace? Does it bring my family joy?" And if saying "no" is what does so, I'm trying to do that.

Which now leads me to two resolutions I've made for the new year. Last year my goal was to read a certain amount, and it felt so good when I surpassed my goal. This year, I'd like to have the same goal, but I'm doubling the number. Mind you, I was starting small! The second goal I have for myself is to strengthen the relationships that build me up. I'm an awful texter, and an even worse phone-person. I don't always follow up with a family member or a friend nearly as often as I'd like. But I want to do better this year. Reach out more. Listen more. See more. Stop more. Listen more. Ask more. Be available more.

And I guess the unofficial third goal is a whole lot more cuddles with my babies :)

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