Monday, February 01, 2016

January happenings

Winter break was full of the laziest of days, and I loved it. These boys made it a little tradition (per Maddox's request. of course.) to lay in bed in the mornings and talk about what they wanted to do that day. As much as they drive me crazy at times, I love these two. 

One cold morning they woke up before everyone else (which isn't too hard to do, considering the other half of the Young children sleep sleep until noon) so we went for a bike ride. It was a fun morning with these boys.

And we finally got a chance to go for our first family bike ride since the gifting of the Christmas bikes. I specialize in photos of riding bikes from behind. As you can tell.

We were gone for hours exploring, and breaking for Dunkin Donuts and model home tours. I loved this day. And I also realized how much I love this phase of life, having the kids older so that we can enjoy family time like this. I still feel like I'm going to lactate when I hear a newborn cry and my ovaries quiver whenever I hold one, but as sad as it is to close that chapter I am finding the good in this new one we're in.

That evening we had two of our favorite NZ/AZ missionaries over who have since come home. We had such a fun night reminiscing about our time over there together, it's still so weird to be on the flip side with them.

I had a coupon for roller skating. It was a fail. Nothing but tears and bruised butts. My back is still out of whack from getting pulled down on that concrete one too many times. Oh well, you win some you lose some. 

I stepped out of Little Caesar's with Ryder one evening and witnessed the most magnificent sunset.

And by the time we got to Redbox it was even more incredible. Every where I looked people had their phones pointed to the sky and were pulled over on the side of the streets to admire God's handiwork. My instagram feed was filled that night with shots of that sky, it was a beauty to behold.

By my fourth kid, I'm getting really good at disguising errands as fun outings. The pirate ship at the oil change place, lunch at Costco, the treasure box at the orthodontist, walking to Chic-fil-a while the tires are getting rotated, popcorn and slushees at Target.... But the weather is gorgeous right now and this is the last year I get my baby home all to myslef. so I've been trying to make a point to spend a day or two each week just doing things he loves, with no ulterior motives. This day was the train and skate park at Freestone with friends.

And this day was a picnic and riding bikes around the riparian preserve. He had to check out the saguaro cactus' (cacti?) in hopes of finding the elusive elf owl like the Kratt brothers promised. Another sure tell sign he's the fourth kid is that everything he knows he learned from the TV.

He loves his little friends. Every time one of them comes over he quickly runs to his cupboard and pulls out a special present to wrap in paper and send home with them. A cut up credit card, black tubing he found in a parking lot, a penny....all his prized possessions. Sweet boy.

We hit up another skate park. Ryder had no qualms chilling with these older boys. They were so sweet to let him tag along. I bought them a soda from the vending machine as a thank you.

Poor Jayden had to get two of his molars extracted to make room for his braces. It was a lot more brutal than I thought, but he handled it like a champ. It broke my heart and I felt so helpless seeing him laying there. But homemade milkshakes and sitting on the couch together all afternoon watching HGTV together (his favorite. mine too.) was just what the doctor ordered.

Ryder had a preschool field trip to the library. He was a little disappointed. Somehow he was confused and thought they were going to California instead. Half way through the reading of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" he turned to me and said, "this is actually fun!".  Such a funny kid. On the way over he also told me he was so happy that I would never turn into a grandma since I eat healthy. He is very concerned about me growing old. I love our conversations in the car. The other day he told me he doesn't believe wishes come true because he wished on a star that he wouldn't be chubby and he still is. He is so funny, he has this awareness of body types and is very self conscious of his cute little squishy tummy. I have no idea where it came from but I hope he knows he is absolutely perfect the way he is.

The kids had a celebration of learning night at their school. I loved Maddox's diagram he made, the details, creativity and heart that he put into it. I'm glad he's enjoying school now. He had a little bit of a hard time making friends at the beginning of the year and that was really hard for both of us. He would spend every recess just swinging all by himself. Thankfully he has made a really good friend and things are going so much better. He has such a big heart, willing to give away his birthday money and Halloween candy (yes he still has Halloween candy left) to anyone who wants it, and is always the first to jump in and help when Ryder can't find his blanket or Jayden is too lazy to throw away his wrappers. He makes me laugh the way he makes bucket lists for everything and how he loves to wear his hair in a pony tail. I love this boy and his big heart and am so glad he has found friends who can recognize and appreciate that too.

Of course we had to stop by and see Mrs. Moore, Kylie and Jayden's kindergarten teacher and one of our all time favorite teachers. We are so excited she has moved to the new school and are keeping our fingers crossed that Ryder gets her next year too.

I love spending the warm AZ winter outdoors on our bikes. I took the kids on a bike ride to Taco Bell for dinner one evening when Jason was gone. We just so happened to see quite a few people from Kylie's school and she was convinced riding your bike to Taco Bell with your family on a Friday night was social suicide. We had a better biking experience when we spent another beautiful Saturday biking the Queen Creek bike trail. It was such a fun find and I can't wait to do it again. We stopped to say hi to some friends then found our way to the dollar store to fuel up on snacks half way through. Potato skins, animal crackers and tootsie pops on a park bench as the sun sank into the horizon. A pretty stellar evening.

A good day.

I realize this is a ridiculous amount of pictures of kids on bikes. But today was a good day, a really good day. Some days I feel like a failure and wonder if I should even be allowed to be mom, but then days like these come along and it makes me ever so grateful that I am. The weather this Saturday was too good to waste, so after Jayden's basketball game we headed up to the Desert Trails bike park, something I've had on my list for a while. It started off on a bad foot, everyone had taken a spill or two within the first half hour. Jayden bit it hard going down one of the tracks for the first time and ended up with a whopping goose egg on his head (BECAUSE HE DIDN'T BRING HIS HELMET), a big bruise on his thigh and scrapes all up and down his legs and arms. With tears in his eyes he just wanted to go home. He decided to stay and just stick with the small track. After a while he squared his jaw and said he wanted to face his fears and attempt that same track again. I was so proud of him, that's not an easy thing to over come your fears. After some pointers from Jason he went again, and again, and again. And he loved it so much that Maddox and Ryder wanted to go to. I was a little nervous, considering how hard Jayden ate it, but I love giving them experiences to push themselves, step out of their comfort zones and prove they can do hard things. Plus, they had helmets. They took it slow (at first) and were so proud of themselves and kept at it until sun set. It was such a great confidence builder and life lesson for Jayden. Plus it made for some great material as an object lesson for Jason's spiritual thought in bishopric meeting the next day. And for FHE. We definitely got some good mileage out of this one. And I have to say, that Ryder is a beast on his bike. I have never seen a 4 year old this fearless. Most of his friends still use training wheels and here he is going on hills, ramps, teeter totters and down hill courses like a boss.  We ended the night with drinks at Circle K, pizza and hot showers. I love going to bed feeling happy and satisfied with life. 

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Off to a good start

I have to admit, I was really sad to see 2015 come to an end. It has been a year filled with so many incredible memories and one I don't think we could ever top. I have a feeling this may go down in the Young family history as one of our best years yet. But as one chapter closes, another begins and I am excited about what lies ahead. We are feeling settled, happy and optimistic and that's a good place to be. I'm not really one who is religious about New Year's resolutions, but I love the chance to reflect. Each year as I finish compiling our family photo book I love looking back and reliving the moments from the past year and it always gets me excited to think of what will fill the pages of our new book. If this New Years is any indication of what the rest of the year will be like, I think we will be just fine.  It was nothing like last year where we rung in the new year at our picturesque beach house on the very tip of New Zealand, but it was it's own kind of memorable. Jason and Kylie drove 7 hrs round trip to look at a boat (as a side note, Jason googled "conversation starters for teenagers" before they left, and that just makes me fall in love with him all over again), then we ate pizza around the dining room table (reserved only for special occasions) where we took an official family vote on which boat we should get (as another side note, they both fell through and we're back to square one). We played some board games, then the boys watched football while we cranked spotify and Kylie recorded me dropping it low in slow motion. If you ever want to be completely humiliated, just watch yourself dance in slow motion. We interrupted their football game with some booty shakes and I tried teaching Kylie all of my winning dance moves. Now she thinks I'm even less cool than she did before, but it was worth it just to laugh that hard. We lasted until midnight when we lit sparklers, toasted our sparkling cider and watched the neighbors light off their illegal fireworks. 

The next day the kids were thrilled (insert sarcasm) to go hiking. The thing is, they always complain but they always have fun. When will they ever learn to just skip the complaining and go straight to the fun. The weather was spot on. It's been colder these last few weeks, like 50's so don't feel too bad for us, but if we have to endure the brutal summers here I at least want 70's the rest of the year. But today was just perfect and we showed up, along with the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, to hike the San Tan mountains. The hike seemed so much longer the last time we did it, but of course I had a baby strapped to my back and Jason had a toddler on his shoulders. It's definitely not as picturesque as the hikes we've done the last two years, but the desert has a unique beauty all of her own. I'm learning to appreciate that.

Jayden sat up their whittling the perfect hiking stick. It was cute.

Of course these boys had to join him. They look up to Jayden so much and think he's pretty much the coolest kid ever.

On our way home we spotted some hot air balloons getting ready to lift off. The kids were fascinated to see how they work. See, I knew they would have loved the New Mexico hot air balloon festival (winky face). A beautiful day, a beautiful start to a new year!