Stepping on those milestones…

First day of Kindergarten…

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He was all too excited. And yet a little nervous. The whole family walked him in to say goodbye. Once seated, he was ready! Angry Birds Star Wars backpack and Star Wars lunch box loaded with all of his supplies.

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Natalie didn’t have too much time to miss him, since we spent most of the day at church in a YW presidency meeting, but she wanted to make sure we made him his cake. When the day was over, we celebrated with back to school cake, which looked like a big sprinkle donut, while he told us all about it.  They decorated it, of course.

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And candles, because every cake, cupcake, and muffin at our house needs candles!

He said they did a lot of “exploring.” He went to music class, which was only a little fun. His playground was wet on the slide and there was a boy who didn’t speak AT ALL.

It was all too cute. He also earned two bucks of Creek Cash (school rewards) which he claims you spend in the cafeteria to buy lunch, not so sure about that.

The night before Darin gave him a school blessing. He blessed him with confidence to be a leader at school. I hope he can be a good example to his classmates. I hope he can make some good friends and enjoy school. I also hope he can be challenged.

His next day went better. Although “school is long,” he had fun doing the Hokey Pokey and going to library was great. He got to be the line leader at the end of the day. I asked if Ms. Penny is a nice teacher or kinda tough… he responded, “Kinda tough. You have to remember to push in your chair and the girls have to walk one square away from the wall and the boys have to walk one square away from the girls (in the hall).’”  I think he is paying attention!

Time to play catch up!

As I watched my almost six month old sitting up playing and laughing away today, I realized I probably need to get blogging some memories! Let’s jump back to the beginning of May. We’ll start with a trip to the park. This baby is so good. He is pretty chill, and doesn’t seem to cry too much. He was happy to hang out while thing one and thing two went digging in the sand.

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Trying out Harrison’s motorcycle. Pretty sweet ride.

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Luke has quite a lot of crazy ideas these days, including turning the garage into a slip n slide. It was quite a mess, and I think Natalie slipped and got hurt. It cleaned up faster than I thought, thankfully. Its hard to keep up with that brain of his—always going. He likes things done in a certain way and get frustrated when a plan doesn’t come together. Darin thinks he has learned that from me… perhaps. I try to comply, but he wears me out some days!

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We watched Stake Conference at home since it was a webcast. Luke built a temple while we were watching. The O-bear was happily hanging out.

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A trip to the Discovery Center was warranted, seeing we hadn’t been in a little while. I had a little cuddle bunny with me and the littles ran around like crazy!

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Natalie is quite the little helper. She loves to hold Owen and take care of him. She loves to make him smile. She also says some of the cutest things. Definitely has some sass to her though!

Trying to catch some candid photos of the kids, all together… a little tough.

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Mother’s day started with a Saturday girls’ day. Natalie loved the girl time with mom, grandma, and aunts! Out to lunch and shopping!

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Mother’s Day I woke up to this happy baby, smiling eggs and biscuits, and adorable hand drawn pictures!

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Oh, and I got an upright freezer! So excited and I’ve been happily filling it up!

April Fun!

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April started with a birthday—a BIG birthday! Darin said good bye to the 20s.  But he is looking good…for 30. Smile

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We finally decorated eggs (never got around to it Easter week) and the kids had a blast!

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Nice weather kept us outdoors, just enough to fly our kites from Grandma and Grandpa!

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Someone found his fingers! Yum, yum, yum!

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Oh sweet baby!

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Ice skating party!

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Water balloon fights and slip-n-slides…

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Preschool ended, and even though I only took this picture, the kids had a blast at Family Day and miss it terribly.

Darin was able to come for a bit and Owen was good the whole time.  It was a carnival theme. The kids played every game, ate multiple shares of cotton candy and loved the bounce house. They released the butterflies they raised, and all the kids got to hold a butterfly.

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Owen has been growing like crazy and discovered his fingers. He is a pretty happy baby. He goes down for naps and bedtime pretty well. He loves Luke and lights up whenever Luke gives him attention.

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April was busy and full of fun. With three little ones, I’m lucky to get in a bit of housework, some exercise, and a show so the blog is slow going. Darin is YM president and I am a YW counselor so we also keep busy with Wednesday night activities, Sunday lessons, temple trips and other fun.  The kids usually get toted along when we both have to go somewhere.  They always love the refreshments though!

A quick march through March…

Movie party!

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Don’t even think about moving mister! We had some fun playdates at the Discovery Center.

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My little artists…

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Date Night to Predators game… they crushed the Oilers!

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Little Bear is growing and really filling out. Getting those cubby cheeks and thighs, love!

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Owen’s first trip to the zoo. He was an angel.  Alex came along for all the fun!

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Lots of snuggles, and cuddles, and smiles…

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Found his hands, loves to chew on them!

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Bedhead buddies! These two love to come hang out in bed with me and Owen.

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More trapped children…must get a velcro wall at home!

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Pillowcase Sleeping Bag!  I have to document Natalie’s cuteness. Sometimes she just can’t fall asleep right away. Sometimes she gets into a bit of trouble by drawing on herself… one Sunday morning she had to wear tights due to a nice full calf drawing that we just didn’t have enough time to clean off.  She also says some cute things that I know will soon be corrected. Right now, my favorite is “boison” instead of “poison.”  She is always asking me if a bug/snake/etc has boison. Smile

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We got another snow day. So we had to build a snowman! It was all melted by the afternoon, but it was fun for the morning.

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These two monkeys keep every day interesting!

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Fun with Grandpa and Grandma…

It’s been a while, so I have to catch up.  Shortly after our bundle of joy joined us, we had Grandpa and Grandma come!

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We had so much fun with them. The kids loved the extra attention. We took a day to explore the Chattanooga Aquarium.

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Natalie is such a ham! Owen was a perfect angel. We all had a blast exploring, and since we got a membership for the year we will be back!

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…down at the river one day and off to Falls Creek Falls another day…

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Photo Shoot with Luke and Natalie at One Month Old!

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Owen Growing

night he came home…

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love from brother and sister (4 days old)…

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a little bundle of joy in Daddy’s arms (5 days old)…

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6 days old…

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9 days old…

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all binky and red hair (11 days old)…

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happy to play (16 days old)…

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he has been showered with gifts (19 days old)…

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Natalie wanted to give him a mohawk (21 days old)…

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out to eat with the grandparents (22 days old)…

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Welcome Owen Bryce!

The night before I went into labor, Darin thought I should take a belly shot, not knowing this was his last night in the womb!  38 1/2 weeks!

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Well, I have to say, he must be a child with his own mind. He must have heard me brag to everyone that my kids come on their due dates (because the other two did) and he decided to change things up! Funny thing, my mom stopped by about an hour before my water broke, so when I called her a few hours later, we just had to laugh that she would be coming back!

Yep, my water broke (seems to be the trend to get me to the hospital). I had a check up that day and contractions were registering on the monitors but nothing painful or alarming. My back had been hurting all day, but no biggie (ummm, back labor Nada? …never crossed my mind!) I waited until almost 5:00 to call Darin (had to finish some laundry and dishes and give him time to hopefully finish up with his patient load). I tried to calmly have him head home, but I hear he just left everything and headed out the door. Silly guy!

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We got to the hospital about 6, got checked- water definitely broke. Settled into the birth room and started actually paying attention to contractions. They went ahead and gave me some Pitocin to get them closer together. And they got closer and more intense. The anesthesiologist came around 9 and gave me an epidural. Of course, like with the others, it worked really well with my right leg, but I could still REALLY feel the contractions. The good doctor figured I was progressing faster than the medicine was dosing.  A little before 10 pm, he came back and gave me an extra shot of something—something good. Everything numbed, and my right leg was as dead as could be.  So when Dr. Riley came in to check me Darin and I were laughing at how I couldn’t feel anything in my right leg (and he was pinching and poking) and she said, oh its time, he’s crowning!

After 3 or 4 minutes of pushing, I had a beautiful, healthy, baby boy cradled in my arms. He cried of course, but calmed right down as I held him close and talked to him. I couldn’t believe he was finally here!

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Of course, everyone asked his name, but we just hadn’t decided yet. But that’s okay. Baby Boy Payne was born January 9th at 10:23 pm. He weighed in at 6 lbs 5 oz and about 19 inches long. He was adorable.

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This lighter hair with reddish tones surprised us! The others were dark, dark, dark-headed …once again telling me that this little guy will do things his way! The next few hours were crazy with all the excitement and joy keeping us going into the wee hours of the morning. I think we finally slept a bit, and of course on and off the next day. Every time I would wake up, Darin would ask “what are we going to name this baby?” 

Grandma brought the kids over before school and they were quite shy.

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But then they came by afterwards and were a little more animated!

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They also made special gifts for him. Luke made him an angel and Natalie made him glittery snow.

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By the time they returned, we decided his name would be Owen Bryce. Once we decided, it just seemed right!

Welcome Owen! We are so happy to have you in our eternal family!

Oh the holidays…

It was hard to believe Christmas was just around the corner with the sunny 60s weather a week beforehand.

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But we took advantage of the sunshine, because it was followed by cold rain, snow, and dropping temperatures! The kids’ Santa letters appeared in the paper, thanks Southern Standard.

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Of course, Luke wanted to write him again, because he realized he would rather have Star Wars guys (go figure, Daddy knew that all along) and luckily Santa got word before Christmas Eve.

Well, we talked it over and figured it would be fun to spend all weekend with the family, to try and maximize our time with those visiting from a far. So we loaded the van for our four night/day stay, and I can’t believe how much that entailed!

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I thought since we were bringing some stuff to give away, it would be better on the way home, but it was still tight!

Gratefully, Darin and I got to attend the youth baptism trip Saturday morning to start the weekend off on the right foot. Then the other guests began arriving at Hotel Whitaker, complete with mints on the pillows! It was great getting to be with so much family. Uncle Don came for a few days and Grandpa and Grandma Keck arrived Christmas Eve!

There were foot rubs and movies…

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relaxing, gaming, silliness…

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cuddling…

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(Doesn’t it look like Scott and Marissa watching a movie?! Christina is sandwiched in between!)

All smiles…

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Gingerbread houses, letter from Santa…

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and surprises from Santa…

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and Christmas Eve jammies and lightsaber flashlights!

Just a note to remember… Natalie had been struggling with bedtime and throwing fits for the past few weeks, so Christmas Eve was quite a struggle. We tried all tactics to get the girl to go to asleep but to no avail. Darin drove her around for almost an hour, only to have her wake up the moment he opened the door to get her out! The excitement, not sleeping in her own bed at her own house, and pure exhaustion that leads to a second wind are hard to counter. I’m sure everyone was amazed when the crying finally stopped.  (I am happy to report that we are finally seeing improvement last night and tonight.)

CHRISTMAS!

finding stockings, so excited (oh, there are the new jammies!)…

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Rudolph ring pops…

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surprises from Grandpa and Grandma Payne…

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new tents and sleeping bags!

So here’s a glimpse of the major big preggers belly…

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Santa and Santa’s little helpers…

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excitement and gifts all around…

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hanging out with Great Grandpa…

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a few just ran out of steam…

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treasure hunts led Luke to an AT-AT Walker and General Grievous, Natalie to a Dreamlite and this much candy (raise your hands above your head or let Uncle Nathan measure it by kids)…

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Darin found a tool chest, and Nada, the iphone audio plug in for the van.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

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There was also lots of eating, cooking, laughing, eating, cooking, laughing! We had a great time and really appreciate all that Mom and Dad and Marissa did for us to be there.  I know that what my kids will remember most will be the time with family, not the new toys, clothes or treats. I know because that’s what I remember of my childhood Christmases.