Monday, February 11, 2013

Fall 2012 Updates



Well as much as I would like to say that after coming home and getting settled, our lives slowed down, unfortunately that was not the case. If anything it became crazier.
The kids having fun around the house.
We knew that Misha had likely become pregnant over the summer, so we had been preparing ourselves for her to give birth sometime in late October/ early November. What we did not expect was her to go into labor the night of September 14th. While face timing with Dave in Texas, we welcomed 8 puppies into our family by midnight. Misha did a great job and instinctively knew what to do. The next morning the kids could hardly wait to see the new puppies, not that I blamed them because they were absolutely adorable.
A few weeks later Dave came home from Texas to be back with his family. We decided to cherish the time and knock some things off our fall bucket list. So the next weekend we got started with making a fire pit for marshmallow roasting and putting up the tent for a night under the stars. Dave and the older kids attempted to sleep outside. They made it to about six o'clock in the morning before they were too cold and fled to the warmth of the indoors.
With Misha's puppies growing up, we started introducing them to the outdoors. A few of them were a bit sceptical of the texture of the grass, but like dogs do, they all got used to it and before we knew it, they were running around the yard chasing their Mom and driving her crazy.
Jocelyn was picked as the star student of the week towards the end of September. She was instructed to fill out  and color a large poster all about herself. She presented her poster to her class and then brought a few items and pictures to show them also. My favorite part of this special day was when her classmates were asking her questions about the puppies. The best question was "where was the puppies daddy?", that was one of those questions that led to other questions which I was not prepared to answer and ended up changing the conversation.


Amazing picture of the four oldest kiddos actually watching conference.
Okay so every October and April I make it a point to try to find some way to get my kids to watch even one session of conference. We've tried coloring games, quiet activities in the same room as the TV, and even special surprises for watching with no luck. So this year I tried out the treat buckets, basically you print a picture with a gospel essential (i.e. faith, prayer, scriptures...) and place it on a stick in the middle of the bucket. Then you fill the bucket with a treat of some kind; I have learned the smaller treats are better. Then during conference the kids listen and when that word is said they get to get a treat from the corresponding bucket. It worked great and the kids were cracking up during Elder Andersen's talk on Faith because I had chosen smarties for the Faith jar and he said faith a lot. Needless to say my kids were completely wired on candy for the day but they listened.
October was a big month for our family as our sweet Jocelyn made the decision to be baptized as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. October 13th was such a special day. Lots of family and friends came to support her. We followed up by having a little get together at the house with lots of food and treats. We are so proud of her decision and of the amazing girl she is growing up to be.
With the puppies getting larger we decided they needed more space than the once toy room, so we moved them out to the garage. Although this was a good idea we also realized that 8 puppies in a closed space results in major stink, so we took every advantage of nice weather days.
The puppies got their very first collars.
Luckily as busy as the puppies kept us we did find some days to just relax. Although,  I have to admit having 3 little ones at home is not so much relaxing but more so entertaining. They come up with the funniest things to get into.
Random happenings around our house in the month of October
For the last several years my step-dad Todd has been apart of the band for the dinner show at Gardner Village's Witch's Night Out. This year we couldn't make the actual witch's night but we did a Saturday Witch's Day out instead. This was Jocelyn's second year going and we had so much fun. I made Tulle witches skirts for all of us and my mom made awesome witch hats. We were able to see the dinner show "Witchapalooza: The Taming of the Brew" and then do some fun shopping. I love getting to spend time with my mom and Jo.
With November approaching quickly we started to get the puppies ready for selling on ksl. We bathed them and did a photo shoot with each one for the ad. They were so cute!!
ksl ad pictures
Jocelyn and Ethan were doing great in school and this year the pta had the kids draw a self portrait for their school shirts fundraiser. It was so cute and clever as they did the shirts by class.
Jocelyn's self portrait is the last picture on the bottom left and Ethan's is the first picture on the top right
The weekend before Halloween we decided to buy a couple pumpkins to carve out for the front porch. We've learned power tools are the best way to carve pumpkins. The big kids were not thrilled to get their hands slimy but our little ones had a blast squishing pumpkin guts in their hands.
Every year I have the high hopes that we will be one of those cute families that dresses up in a family themed costume and each year I am shut down... oh, well. This year we had several dress up events, a Halloween party with friends, the elementary school's annual costume parade and then of course, trick or treating around the neighborhood. We all had a blast dressing up and having fun with friends.
Dave: Batman, Amber: Selena Kyle (aka Cat Woman), Jocelyn: Clawdeen Wolf, Ethan: Spiderman, Caitlyn: black kitty, Preston: Mario riding Yoshi, and Adalyn: Tiny Witch


Since Disneyland was not in the budget this year we decided a close second would be to take the four big kids to see Disney on Ice. It was such a fun evening. We went out to dinner at Rumbi before and then went to watch the show. The kids had so much fun seeing all their favorite characters and listening to their favorite songs. By the time we drove home they were completely asleep.
At the first of the month we listed the puppies for sale as they were now 8 weeks old. Fortunately for us they sold very quickly and we were only down to one sweet puppy by the time we needed to leave to go to Washington for Thanksgiving. Our good friends Thomas and Sharlie took the pup from us and helped us sell her while we were out of town.
The puppies all grown ready to go to new homes.

We drove out to Washington for a week to visit for Thanksgiving this year and to visit my amazing Grandma Battson.  The kids always have so much fun when we travel out to Washington. They totally get spoiled by their grandma and grandpa Battson. Dave and I had a blast too because we got to do some fun after Thanksgiving Day shopping with Miriam while my Dad watched the kiddos. He did an awesome job at that too because we found out a day later that both Preston and Adalyn had ear infections.
Kids busy decorating Gingerbread Houses with Grandma Battson and Great Grandma Anderson.

Our last visit too Great Grandma Battson before heading home to Utah.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Summer 2012 Updates

  After a few weeks getting situated in our new surroundings and stocking up the fridge from the mess that was left by the guys, we were finally ready to get out and see what fun things we could do in Houston.


 Naturally the first place we head in any new city is the local zoo. Although Houston is ridiculously hot and humid, having lived in Texas before we knew to get started early and call it a day by noon. It was so fun to load up all the kids and see what the Houston Zoo had to offer.
Houston Zoo trip with friends
The other thing we do constantly in the hot summer heat of Texas is head to the pool daily (or try to go daily). This year was kind of tricky as Adalyn was still so small and couldn't handle to heat for too long, so we ended up hitting the pool either early morning or later in the evening. The kids were very fortunate this year as one of the Summer reps Lauren offered to give the kids swimming lessons each morning for a few weeks. The kids loved it and did great. Jocelyn has a natural talent for swimming and I think given a few more lessons on technique she could be on a swim team. By the end of the summer Ethan was able to swim the length o the pool back and forth without his life vest. Caitlyn has also become more comfortable with putting her face in the water and blowing bubbles.

Swimming at the pool.
This year Pinnacle did a new app on their website that allowed the reps to team up and compete against each other for whatever they wanted (ie. dinner, movie, lunch, tank of gas...). One of those competitions was for tickets to a Houston Astros Game, and Dave won. We decided it would be really fun for our older kids but that Caitlyn and Preston would get bored, so they stayed behind with a baby sitter. It was so exciting to see how thrilled the kids were to see professional baseball players on a real field. Towards the end of the game the excitement had worn off and they started to get stir crazy. We topped off the evening with grabbing a few souvenirs and headed home.

Houston Astros Game
Our next stop in the list of fun things to do this summer in Houston was hit the beach. Only an hour or so drive and we were in Galveston where they have tons of family friendly beaches. Other than tons and tons of sand everywhere we had a blast playing in the warm water of the Gulf.

Galveston Beach
One of my favorite parts of traveling out with Dave for the summer is that we are never out there without great friends close by. The kids build great friendships and I do too!! Have to admit I miss the Mom's mornings out during the school year.

Having fun with friends.
Now with 5 kids it's hard to go do something everyday so there are plenty of days where we just hang out and have fun in our apartment.

Love having siblings.

Being silly around the apartment.


We started off the month of Celebrations with Independence day. After Dave got off the doors for the day we went down to the pool and chatted with friends. As it started to get darker we got creative and put the babies in the back of the Suburban and lit off fireworks in the parking lot. Other than being eaten alive by mosquitoes, we had a blast. Dave and I taught the older kids firework safety and then Dave had them each light some.

Happy Independence Day!!
The next celebration was on July 11th .... Preston turned 2 years old. We kept it a small family celebration. We started the morning off with some birthday pancakes and then a little lunchtime brownie cake. We did the big presents and cake the following Sunday when Dave was home so that we could all celebrate as a complete family. Preston had a great 2nd birthday and received some very fun toys to keep him busy in the apartment. Preston is a hilarious little boy, he is very sweet but at the same time all boy. His smile is infectious and can make your heart melt with a single hug. I am so lucky to be his mom and so glad he joined our crazy little family.

Happy 2nd Birthday Preston!!
Then it was time for Miss Jocelyn to have some birthday fun. Seeing how she was turning the big 8 we decided to splurge a little bit and ordered her a fancy custom birthday cake from a local bakery. She had decided that she wanted a Monster High birthday, so that's what we did. We started off the morning by giving her a very special present, her very own Bible/Book of Mormon set with her name engraved on it in a special scripture case my best friend Brandy made. Then we took the family out to IHOP to celebrate before Dave had to leave for work. That following weekend she invited her two best buddies Lily and Ali over for her sleepover birthday party. They played monster dancing, silly face making, Simon says, and freeze dance. Followed by the usual cake, ice cream, and presents.

Happy 8th Birthday Jocelyn!!
part 1
The next morning we took all the big kids to go see the new movie Brave in the local theater. They each had their own popcorn and goodies and enjoyed the fun movie. It was definitely a memorable birthday for this amazing young lady. Jocelyn is an amazing kid, she is so caring and nurturing of everyone around her. She is smart, fun and always willing to try new thing. She is an amazing friend and an amazing daughter. I feel so blessed she chose us to be her parents.

Happy 8th Birthday Jocelyn!
part 2
As part of the celebrations we were having this month my mom decided to fly in for the week and help us make it an even more exciting time. In between the parties and pool days we took a day trip to the beach so meme could enjoy the Texas sun and surf. We went to a different beach this time and were fortunate enough to have the beach pretty much to ourselves. It was so fun!! On our way home we ran through some crazy weather and I saw my very first funnel cloud. It began to develop right above us as we sat in traffic on the highway headed home. It was a little unnerving at first but when we realized it wasn't going to do much than tease us we enjoyed the view.

Meme came to visit so we had some fun in the sun.
Monsoon season nap time
Towards the end of July we hit Monsoon season in Houston. That pretty much guaranteed huge rain storms every afternoon, which resulted in a lot of cuddles and naps. Being stuck in the house also makes for some pretty entertaining kids when they get creative with the limited toys we brought with us.

Being silly around the apartment part 2.
After several weeks in Houston, we packed up and headed further south to McAllen, Texas. This was an interesting experience for us because we went from an apartment to a hotel room. The first hotel we went to was great but we discovered quickly it wasn't going to work for our family as we could not fit enough beds in the room and it only had a mini fridge that could not fit a gallon of milk. Fortunately for us we work for some great guys and they found a larger hotel up the street that would accommodate us and our kitchen needs. I am not going to lie and say it was perfect, because cooking dinner on a two burner stove and having a half size dishwasher was an adjustment. However, daily maid service was pretty awesome and the hotel did BBQ dinners 3 times a week for free.

Move down to McAllen Texas.... Boy, is it Hot!!


The beginning of August was a bit crazy because we had just moved and we were trying to figure out when the best time to pack up for home would be in relation to Dave's work and the kids school starting. However, we did find time to play at the pool and have friends over.

Hotel living is a bit of an adjustment.

Having fun in small spaces.
It is always a bitter sweet moment when we pack up to head home, we are sad because we are going to be without Dave for awhile again and sad to be further away from friend; but we are happy to be home and happy to go back to normal life. Our road trip home from McAllen was a huge adventure as not only did we plan an extra stop in St. George to visit family and say goodbye to Payden before he left on his mission, but I came down with the flu and was horribly sick the last two days of driving and then for two weeks at home.

Road Trip back HOME
I had originally scheduled to have family pictures done a couple days after we got home and before Dave flew back to Texas, but being sick made me second guess it. However, I sucked it up, took some meds, put a smile on my face and made it happen. My amazing friend Mikki Vierig of Mary Kay Photography captured some amazing pictures of our little family.
Family Picture 2012

Family Pictures 2012
The next day it was time for the kids to start school. Dave gave them a father's blessing the night before and then saw them off the next morning before heading back to Texas. They love their new classes, new teachers and are excited for the new school year.

Back to School.
As a surprise, that weekend Grandpa and Grandma Battson came into town to visit after dropping Chance off at College. We had so much fun having them in town. We were even lucky enough to go swimming over at their hotel. Grandpa Battson is always so fun when it comes to playing at the pool.

Grandpa and Grandma Battson came to visit.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spring 2012 Updates

I decided that the easiest way to tackle this massive project of updating what has been going on with our busy little family over the last year is to do it by seasons. Hopefully I don't miss anything too important.


The month of march is a little bit of a blur since I had just had a baby. I spent my 29th birthday recouping from delivery and loving on my new sweet little bundle. My mom, Dave and the kiddos decorated the kitchen, made gifts and surprised me with a yummy cake.
We spent a lot of time those first few weeks trying to make sure all of the other kiddos felt important and special. The logistics of getting the older kids to school while taking care of the younger three was still quite a challenge but with Dave's help we were getting it figured out.

Ethan's first set of stitches.
Such a brave kiddo.
On March 16th, while my mom was up visiting and helping around the house, I received a call from the school that Ethan had fallen during recess and that he needed to be taken to the doctor. My mom took off to the school and picked him up to take him to the Pediatrician. He had been climbing up the slide ladder and was pushed which caused him to slip and hit his chin rather hard on the steps of the ladder. He ended up needing several stitches in his chin. He was such a trooper and stayed pretty calm while they stitched him up. Later we discovered that he had chipped two of his teeth and required two caps to be placed on them so they would not get food trapped in them and rot. He was pretty proud of those stitches the next day at school, such a boy.

We celebrated Adalyn's actual Due Date, March 17th St. Patrick's Day with some festive treats and snacks... Not to mention making sure everyone in the family was wearing their green as to avoid any pinchers and tricksters.
St. Patrick's Day March 2012
Next up was Our little Miss Cailtyn's 3rd birthday. She decided that she wanted to have a Rapunzel birthday, which seemed fitting since she was our little Rapunzel. We took her to go get her Rapunzel hair cut like a big girl. She absolutely loved being pampered and did a great job sitting still. We made a yummy dinner and then had our tower cupcakes and presents. She had a great birthday and loved celebrating  with her siblings.
Happy 3rd Birthday Caitlyn Marie


Lost another tooth.

We started the month of April off with a celebration of our 9th Wedding Anniversary followed by a few good-byes. We said good-bye to Dave as he left for the hard work of the summer in Texas and then we said good-bye to Jocelyn's tooth. She gets so excited to actually loose teeth because the first several baby teeth of hers have had to be pulled.

With Dave gone is was up to me to pull off  some Easter fun. So the kids and I decorated the house and prepared for a fun Sabbath day celebrating the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. April 8th the kids woke up to bright colorful baskets of goodies and activities. Even Miss Adalyn had received a special surprise from the Easter bunny. After a healthy breakfast of doughnuts and juice we got ready for church.
Easter Morning
Following Church we came home to do our annual Easter egg hunt. I am not going to lie, it was a pretty bummer of a day for me to do everything solo; however the kids had a great time searching for those treat filled eggs and it was gorgeous weather out. Each year we try to help the kids understand why we celebrate the Easter and that its true meaning isn't the Easter bunny or treats but is to celebrate the Resurrection of our Savior. I know as they get older it will gain greater meaning to them.

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Since it was just the kiddos and I we spent a lot of our time just being silly and having fun. We made a paper chain to count down the days until Dave would fly back home to pack us up to go to Texas. The kiddos tried on some of their new swim gear to make sure it was fitting before we packed it up to take with us. Jocelyn finished up her year with La Shar's dance and spent most of the month preparing for the dance review in May.
Having fun around the house while waiting to join Daddy for the summer.


The month of May was a busy one for our family. We started the month off with a Transformers birthday for our big little man Ethan. He had a fun lunch at McDonald's followed by a fun party with friends. They played search a rescue Transformers, Hot and Cold, and a treasure hunt for the cube. It was a great day and seriously can't believe how big my little preemie has grown over the years.

Happy 6th Birthday Ethan Douglas
 We spent the next few weeks of the month getting things ready for the summer, packing up clothes, cleaning the house, and finishing up the kids school year. Fortunately for us the kids school has been great in accommodating our crazy life and allowed the kids to withdraw early from school so that we could join Dave sooner. Dave flew home on the 19th to help us pack up. We arranged to have Adalyn blessed on the 20th  and had all of our wonderful family there to celebrate and welcome our last baby into the church. That night we packed up the car and took off to leave the next morning. We actually were able to celebrate Dave's 32nd birthday out on the road, with a yummy dinner and a bag of road trip goodies. After a very long 2 days on the road we arrived in Houston, Texas ready for a fun summer in the hot sun.
Our Adventure in Texas Begins