Friday, March 30, 2012

Miles 6 weeks

Miles is already 6 weeks old! It seems like yesterday when he joined our family. He melts my heart every time I look at him. He is so sweet (most of the time), and I probably hold him way too much so he'll get spoiled. If only all our kids would stay as sweet as him ;)

Winter loves to pretend Miles is her own baby
Miles helps me play board games
He loves to snuggle with dad
And he's got this crazy like/need to arch his back. Seriously, he strains to get into this position!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Miles is blessed

In our church new babies receive a blessing from their dad (or other priesthood holder). Today was the big day for Miles.

What is the etiquette on posting blessings? Is that considered acceptable? If so, I'll post it here.
Friends and family joined us for this wonderful occasion. Joe's sister Angela and family attended, as well as my mom and Roger.
The Simmons have been present for all our kids' blessings except Winter (because we didn't know them yet).
Thanks everyone for making the long drive up here! We really appreciate your support.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grandpa AC

We've been blessed with the opportunity to have our grandparents around for a long time. My first grandparent passed away when I was in college, and now at age 31 I still have 2 left (starting at 6). Of course marrying Joe gave me additional grandparents, all of whom I have come to love as my own. While we lived in Texas, grandma Helen Benac lived in Plano. I got to spend the most time with her, as her caretaker a few times every week. While we lived in Holland, we made it our mission to visit my grandpa Valk at least every 2 months. Now that we live in Utah, we get the chance to visit with Joe's grandpa AC frequently. Grandpa AC lives in Fillmore, about a 2 hour drive from our house. Grandpa recently got remarried to a sweet lady Marge. They are really cute together, and make each other very happy.

Today we made the drive down to Fillmore, and introduced AC's 52nd great grandson to him
We spent the day chatting and making hamburgers for lunch. The kids had fun riding around on grandpa's lawn tractor and feeding the neighboring horse.
And no, I don't like to look at pictures of myself right now, but it's good to document anyways.
It's truly a blessing to be able to spend time with our grandparents!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Slowly but surely I'm getting to know more people. Through our ward, and also at the kids' school. It's so fun to live by so many women that are similar to me. Several kids, early thirties, and active lifestyle. The people we are surrounded by really make a big difference in quality of life. It does take me coming out of my comfort zone to actually get to know new people. The little things like walking inside the school when dropping off Ginger, make a big difference.

In June there's a fun race called the "Dirty Dash". It's a run through mud, under and over obstacles. A few ladies from church are running it with me, so I'm excited to get in shape for it, and also getting to know them better.

We are also looking for houses. We get the new listings, but the pickings are slim. Most newly listed homes are either really small, don't have enough land for Joe's workshop, or are way too expensive. The more I way the options, the more I lean towards building instead. We love living in new houses, and that way we can pick exactly which floorplan works best for our family. And living in Utah, you have the advantage of unfinished basements. Plus, having a month-to-month on our basement would make it an easy option. No time restraints or hurries.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Delicate Arch

There's a reason Delicate Arch is Utah's symbol. It's grandiose and takes your breath away. Even after Saturday's hike it was worth it to make another hike to see this landmark. The trail up to the arch has no shade, and I was thankful for the temperate weather and slight breeze. Especially since I was also carrying little Miles.

On these kind of outings the kids get most excited about catching lizards
climbing on rocks
and pushing themselves to the limit
Bringing a 3-week old baby on this type of outing is really quite simple. Miles is light enough to carry, slept 95% of the time, and I don't even have to pack any food for him. (well, technically I am carrying his food) The only worry I had was the heat. My wrap isn't too hot, but with the constant sun beating down, I regularly checked to make sure he wasn't sweaty.
All the tourist took turns taking photos under the arch. Almost as if we're the only ones there...
This is Sterling's "serious" face. In front of petroglyphs.
Photography is a big hobby of mine. I've seen some photographs of Delicate Arch at nighttime, and it is my goal next time we're down there to get a similar shot.

We love Moab

We have done more fun outdoor stuff in the past 2 months, than in the last 4.5 years combined. How did we ever live in Texas?! I think the only way we survived without going stir-crazy, is by having the farm which took a lot of work. I could tell when we were living in the suburbs for a few months, that's when I was really missing the adventure and excitement.

So when some old BYU friends, Stephen and Krista Sidwell with family, posted on Facebook that they would be going to Moab for their spring break, we jumped on the chance and decided to join them. Not knowing what the weather would be like and having such short notice, we chose to stay in a hotel. This is a new experience for us. But of course the last time either Joe or I were in Moab it was without 4 kids. It made us realize that in order to make these short trips affordable, what we really need is some type of trailer. I vote for a tent trailer, which is cheaper and can easily be towed behind the minivan, thus eliminating the need to get a different car. A tent trailer is a million times better than sleeping in a tent, with real beds, stove, and even a fridge.

Joe left work a little early on Friday, we packed up and left by 5pm. Having a nursing baby makes the trip a little longer, but we were checked in by 9.30pm. Saturday morning we hiked Negro Bill Canyon up to Morning Glory arch.
What we thought to be a 4 mile hike, actually turned out to be 6 miles. With 7 little kids, a stroller, dog and out-of-shape parents, this hike took us almost all day. But it's a fun hike, with many creek crossings, some shady spots, and of course beautiful views.
The first time I ever came to Negro Bill canyon, was on my second date with Joe. After our first date, he invited me to go camping with him in Moab the next weekend. I love camping, and had only been to Moab once before, so I jumped on the chance. One night we decided to go hiking at midnight (something I might never do again at this point of my life) under a full moon. We didn't hike all the way up, but stopped a this cool spot where there's a large shallow cave up above the hiking path.

Call us nuts, but we decided to bring the stroller on the hike. It's a jogging stroller with 3 large wheels. We were confident it would go over just about anything. It did, but there were also 5-feet drop offs, boulder climbs, and creek crossings where it simply had to be carried.
On the way back we carried Miles, and strapped the stroller to Joe's backpack...... much easier!

The hike pretty much wore us out, but we wanted to check out some "little" dirt jumps in town. It made me so happy to see the kids having fun doing something their dad loves so much.

Friday, March 2, 2012


I realize the only thing I've talked about on my blog is baby-related, which only makes sense since I live, breathe, and eat baby. After 2 weeks of having little Miles at home, routine has somewhat set in. Most nights go by in a blur, and I often fall asleep during feedings and barely remember what time the last feeding was. One advantage to such sleep deprivation, is that it becomes possible to sleep any time of day for as long as I want (well actually, only for as long as Miles lets me).
Miles in the beautiful cradle that Earl made him

Days are pretty uneventful. After Winter and Sterling are off to school, I try to keep Ginger occupied with reading, baths, movies, or playing until she heads to kindergarten. I keep busy holding Miles, feeding Miles, bathing Miles, and changing Miles' diapers.
Miles loves messing his diaper as soon as I change him, and pees on me every chance he gets. I try to squeeze in a load of laundry every now and then, do some dishes here and there, and do an occasional vacuum. I live in my pajamas. Partly because there's no good reason to get dressed, but mostly because I have virtually nothing else to wear. There's no way I can fit into any of my pre-pregnancy pants, and the last week of the pregnancy I busted out of 2 of my maternity jeans. I have to come to terms with the reality of having to buy some larger-sized jeans to get me through the upcoming months until the weight comes off.
More than with any of my other kids, I feel like a hermit. The desire to get out of the house hasn't set in much yet, as it seems like such a hassle. The other difference with my other kids' baby experiences is that fact that I relish each moment. I love the stage Miles is in right now. I don't want it to end, because I know that it will be over sooner than I can blink. With the other kids I was alway looking for the next milestone.
All these great photos were taken by my good friend Tiffani Judd, who came up last week and spent all day with me, capturing sweet little Miles.

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