Sunday Cuddles

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I've come to the conclusion that when it comes to church, once in a while, it's okay to be late because you spent a little too much time cuddling in bed while talking about trains.

And because of waffles. I'm okay walking in a bit late because of waffles. 
Because the day will come when we won't be cuddling in bed talking trains anymore, and I won't have hungry little ones coming to the table begging for waffles. Someday I'll be cooking waffles for two, and we will have a lot more leftovers. (Okay, so I suppose there is a silver lining to it.)

Family Pictures Made Easy with JCPenney's Peyton & Parker

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

 With the holiday season, comes the tradition of taking family pictures! Cute pictures where everyone looks like a million bucks and everyone is perfectly happy, right? When you think of taking family pictures, does the thought make you excited, or does it make you cringe a little? Does picking out outfits make you want to run for the hills screaming and make you seriously consider hiring someone to just photoshop your family's faces on other "perfectly" pictured families? Let me tell you, I've seriously considered the latter. 

But, having had quite a good number of family shoots under our belts, I feel like we have found a few ways to make things run more smoothly, and be something we look forward to instead of dread! (Yes, it's possible!)

- Set the scene. Have an idea of where you want to take pictures before you actually do so! If you will be taking pictures outdoors, visit the location so you know what sorts of things you will have to deal with. Whether it be the weather, or the foliage, etc.-- just know what you're going into. If you're taking pictures indoors, feel free to tidy up a bit. The focus should be on your family, not the socks on the floor! (Or*cough cough* the basket of laundry that's been waiting to be folded in the corner!)

- Take some test shots to make sure that's where you want to shoot. Here, I snapped a picture of Sofia to make sure the lighting was okay and the colors looked good on camera. And speaking of light...

- Light is everything when it comes to taking pictures! Shoot in nice natural light that isn't too bright. I happen to know that our room gets great soft light in the morning, so this was one reason we chose to shoot our family pictures right in our home. Plus, I loved the idea of taking pictures of our family in the places where we are most comfortable and most ourselves.

- Set your expectations low if you have young kids! One of the most important lessons I've learned about photographing kids, and especially taking family pictures, is that children aren't robots--they usually might do what you want (if you're lucky) but be ready for some giggles, silly faces, and lots of wiggles. Go with it!

- Don't think you'll get the perfect picture on the first try! Or second. Or third. Or maybe tenth! When finally getting "the" shot we loved best, we actually had already taken about a dozen self timer photos. And you know what was the best part? Oscar decided to hug me at the last minute. So that moment felt very real and very genuine. And very cute!

For our pictures, we got some help from JCPenney and their new lifestyle line, Peyton & Parker. This affordable collection offers perfect pieces that coodinate so well, and there's something for each member of the family. While coordinating pieces can't force your kids to cooperate, they do make it easier for getting picture ready. 

Shop our outfits and home items!

This post was sponsored by JCPenney. All opinions and tips, however, are my own. 

Ten Things I am Loving of My Almost Seven Year Old

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

1. I love her gap toothed smile. That one tooth is taking longer than the others to come in, and that you can see her tongue poke through!

2. I love that I have a partner to watch Full House with. There's just something that feels so full circle about it. Watching a show that I loved at her age with her and laughing at the same parts. And getting a silly smile on our faces whenever Steeeeeve comes into the picture. 

3. I love watching her when she doesn't know I'm watching. 

4. I love that she loves to sit quietly playing with her dollhouse or reading a book. When she reads, she keeps her place, line by line, with a red bookmark. 

5. I love how she tries to test out new words. Her most recent one was "transfixed." And I love how proud of herself she gets when she knows she's used it correctly. 

6. I love that she still thinks its fun to match with her mama.

7. I love her laugh. So much.

8. I love that she's still silly. And laughs at her own jokes.

9. I love that she has a mind of her own.

10. And most of all. I love how much she thinks of others. Before bed, she picks out stuffed animals for Chris and I to sleep with and it's kinda just the sweetest thing. 

Back to School with Rack Room Shoes

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The other day we were sitting in line at the amusement park, and Chris and I were talking about how much the kids have grown since the previous summer. They were now big enough for all the rides, which they certainly were not the year before! And their feet? Forget it. Those seem to grow even faster! But, somehow I still couldn't convince any of them to ride the mousetrap ride with me.

With the trip to the amusement parked crossed off our summer wish list, we finally felt like we had squeezed all the fun out of the season, and were finally ready to head into the next.

Now, I know that not all of us are exactly heading back to school, but the back to school season has always felt like a fresh start, a reset button. Back to school season always brings back memories of fresh pencils, new binders, and a new pair of shoes to wear on the first day. Even though I haven't been in school in a few years, it's still a fun time to get something new!

Rack Room Shoes is a one stop shop for families during this Back to School Season, and was the perfect place to go to grab shoes for our whole family. Not only do they have a huge variety of shoes, but they also carry backpacks and lunch boxes.

Sof and I grabbed matching shoes (please bless that she will always think it's cool to match mom!), Chris got a new pair of Nike men's Tanjun sneakers, Joaquin was excited to finally get some Converse, and Oscar was just happy to get something new! Seeing as how my older two are growing more and more particular about what they wear, I decided to snag some cute new Converse shoes for Oscar in red.

(True story: the first time I ever laid eyes on Chris, he was wearing a pair of red Converse high tops, and apparently they made an impression on me!)

Here's to hoping that even though they might have those first day jitters, they will walk in with a little more confidence with their new shoes from Rack Room Shoes :)

And here are the links for all our shoes!

Backpack: Adidas Toplocal Backpack  

On Oscar: Boys Infant Converse 

On Sofia: Adidas Boys Baseline 

On Joaquin: Boys Converse All Star 

On me: Adidas Cloudfoam

On Chris: Nike Men's Tanjun

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

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