We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

To finish off the year...

We wanted to take advantage of the 70+ degree weather, so we headed out to this cool train park in Scottsdale. It was a lot of fun, but I apparently didn't get any pictures of any trains...we did see some! But there were some really fun playgrounds as well and that's where we spent most of our time! I'm loving this Arizona winter so far! Can you believe that this was the day after Christmas and we were in shorts??

We were also lucky to have our good friends, The Widdisons, come visit us from UT. We headed over to the Natural History Museum...

And took a trip to the zoo on New Year's eve.

We love playing with the Widdisons and are glad they made time for us!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Low Down!

We had a surprise visit from Ol' St. Nick on Christmas Eve. It was so nice of him to make an appearance knowing how busy he is! Thanks, Santa!

The bounty

The unwrapping

We gave in this Christmas and got the kids a Wii. Well, we were the best parents ever and it was the best Christmas ever! This year will be hard to top! It was a lot of fun and they were completely surprised...which is the best fun for us parents. Grandparents, aunts and uncles were all so very generous as well. Thanks, everyone...a great Christmas was had by all.

And here's a picture just for Grandma Cindy!

 Thanks for the cute hat!
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9 Months

Milly turned 9 months a few days before Christmas and we took a few pictures of her while we were waiting for the Dr. at her check up...not the best lighting, but I thought these were pretty funny anyway. And you can see just how chunky she is! And, of course, James had to get in on the fun, too!
 9 Month stats
19 lbs, 13 oz (75%)
27 1/2" (50%)
Head 17 1/4 cm (50%)

She seems to be keeping more on track with Dylan's size (he's more on the normal scale instead of the smaller scale the other three are on!) It has been a busy month for our little Milly-moo! She began sitting up, crawling and cut her first 2 teeth (bottom ones). She loves to eat food and is especially interested in whatever her mom or dad are eating at the time! She is a still a happy-go-lucky kiddo and we are just getting used to having another kid on the move. She can usually be found with some paper or other small object in her mouth, she is very adept at finding things to suck on and it is hard to keep the floor free of debris with all these kids around! We find we are vacuuming more often, but the 5 kids are still winning on that front! Milly still loves blowing raspberries and is getting good at mocking us, much to the kids' delight. They all love taking turns shaking their heads, blowing raspberries, and growling at her so she will do it in return. She's not being a very good sleeper these days. She is getting up 2-3 times a night still and is very stubborn when we try to let her "cry it out" for a little while. It's getting really old and I don't know how to fix this...and I'm too tired to try! Besides that, she is just so much fun and we couldn't imagine life without her!

Here are a couple of other photo shoots for your viewing pleasure.

Tub Time

Growing tired of the paparazzi mom! She would hardly give me the time of day!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Once upon a December (thus far)

Someone learned a new trick!

Yep, she's sitting up! Ain't she cute?

We went and saw the Christmas lights at the Mesa temple.

Beautiful and inspiring...it also helped that we didn't have to bundle up and freeze our booties off! Did you know that the Mesa temple does not have an Angel Moroni statue on top? Apparently, it was modeled after the Temple of Solomon and the plans did not call for one...interesting tidbit. There are 2 other temples built about the same time that also do not have Moroni atop...what are they?
The sweet kindergarten teachers had a party for all the families in their classes. It was fun to go to Dylan's class and make crafts and eat cookies. Teachers are the best...I can really tell that these teachers love the kids and what they do. What a blessing to have such great teachers!

They were doing some work at the park at the end of our cul-de-sac and had this big pile of rocks delivered. James was in little boy heaven climbing, sliding and rolling down the mound. What more could a little boy want? It has me convinced that I need a big pile of dirt or sand in my backyard someday for the kids play on. It's the best!

And finally, (at least before all the Christmas festivities) Dylan got an award at school.


You can see him in the red shirt right in the middle of the picture. It was a "Celebrate Learning" award. According to his teacher, Mrs. Sears, he earned this award for "growing and improving in all areas of Kindergarten (socially and academically) And for always giving 100% effort."  We are so proud of him and how well he is doing in school. He's such a great kid!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Roundup

Grace had a Thanksgiving musical program at school. It was fun to do something a little different. They did such a great job and she looked beautiful. It was short and sweet...just the way we like it!


The temperature dropped below 70 degrees, so of course, we need some hot chocolate!

James had fun dumping a whole bottle of paint on the floor in the playroom.  He has become quite adept at making messes and causing problems as of late. It is keeping me busier than I would like to be in the crisis management department! Luckily, I was able to get all the paint up with a quick dash to the store to rent a carpet cleaner. Maybe it would be a good time to get one of those for myself...I'm sure this is not the last time something like this will happen, much to my chagrin!

I have no picture, but we spent Thanksgiving day with the Gilyeats, a nice family in our ward that took pity on us! We had a yummy dinner with all the fixin's then went to see the new Muppet movie. It was a great, relaxing day.
And, of course, as is tradition in the Thatcher house, we decorated for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving (actually it was the day after the day after Thanksgiving because we decided to go for a hike the day after, the weather was so nice!)

And that finished off November!  We have so much to be thankful for.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

An hour in the life...

...of a 7 and 1/2 month old!

A yummy helping of carrots and oatmeal!

She doesn't usually get this messy... she was just really gettin' into it!  And don't mind the floor littered with dinosaurs!

A bath in the sink to remove the yummy carrots!

All clean and feelin' good!

A most uncooperative photo shoot!

But darn cute anyway...James stepped in to try and assist with a transformer toy...it was unsuccessful!

Sacked out!

It's hard work being such a cute chunky monkey!

*At 7 1/2 months old, this little cutie loves eating, smiling, laughing, yelling, growling, blowing raspberries, being held, drooling and grabbing and chewing on anything and everything that gets too close!
She is not sitting up on her own or crawling yet, but she rolls like a champ and can usually get to whatever she wants.  She seems to be following Jesse's slow approach to the physical milestones...and I am OK with that!  She is still the love of our lives and the apple of our eyes!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another tooth lost

Dylan's first lost tooth!

And it's the tiniest tooth you ever saw!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

You belong in the Zoo!

We took advantage of the lovely, cooler weather and decided to explore the Phoenix Zoo...and these are all the pictures I have to show for it!

I have not been very good at picture taking lately...I am having trouble balancing wanting to be in the moment and trying to preserve the moment.  Plus it's just hard to be the mom of 5 kids and the photographer...it just is!

Anyway, it was a beautiful day to go to the zoo.  We enjoyed being out and exploring our new zoo.  It was an OK zoo.  We miss our ABQ zoo and gardens.  Maybe this one will be better when they are done with all the construction.  It was just really big and we felt like we did a lot of walking and not so much of seeing animals.  ABQ's zoo was smaller, but more intimate.  We were there for about 3 hours and only made it to about half of the zoo.  We did buy a yearly pass, so maybe the other half is better!  All in all, it was a fun family day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Halloween Festivities

Pumpkin carving.  Always a kid-favorite!

We also went to a Fall Festival at our local park.  A fun time was had by all.

I even got in on the fun.  I rode a mechanical bull and did the bungee trampolines.  I've always wanted to try them both, they look so fun...well, I think they would've been more fun about 15 years ago!  It hurt my body!  The bungee harnesses left me a little bruised and battered.  This getting older thing ain't always fun!  Oh well, now I know and can be content to watch the kid have fun!
And of course, there was Halloween night and trick or treating.

This is the only picture I got!  In case you can't tell, Jesse is a zombie, Grace is a zombie cheerleader, Dyl is a skeleton, James picked out his own costume.  He didn't want to wear the ninja costume that we got for him and instead came out with his swim trunks and shirt, so we made him a surfer dude and Milly is a hula girl.  Costume courtesy of the talented Aunt Rose!
It was about 70 degrees out while we went trick or treating.  It was a lot of fun.  Most people just sat out in their front yards to pass out the candy.  Many houses had parties set up in their driveways complete with fire pits and such.  I like trick or treating that way!  After we canvassed our little neighborhood, we headed over to the Bishop's house and crashed their party.  

I usually don't just love Halloween, but we had a fun time this year...me included!  One thing that made a difference for me was that I told the kids that I wasn't going to stress over homemade costumes nor was I going to pay a lot of money for them, so we just headed over to the Goodwill and I let them design their own costumes with whatever they could find.  It worked out so well, I think that will be our new tradition.  

We ended up with quite the haul of candy.  I'd say it was a success!  And now onto the rest of the holiday season.  I'll need to figure out ways to make them as un-hectic as I did for Halloween!


Here is the rundown of our trip to California...better late than never!

The first thing we did was head for the beach.  We only got in one trip, but it was a great day at the beach (aren't they all!)  Besides family, it is the thing I miss most about CA!

I didn't get a picture of Dylan, he was there...It's hard to hold a baby, watch 4 other kids, try to enjoy the beach and be the photographer!

The main reason for the trip was for Grace's and her cousin, Haley's baptism.  It was so much fun to be surrounded by lots of family and friends for this special day.  My mom and Larry and my dad even flew in for the weekend.

 Again, I wish I had gotten more pictures, but it is difficult keeping up with everything!  Haley's Grandma Cheryal gave the talk on baptism and my mom gave the talk on the Holy Ghost then all the cousins sang "When I am Baptized" while my nephew played the guitar.  It was so special and so personal.  I think the girls really enjoyed their baptism.

The rest of the time was spent mostly hanging out with family.  We did get to go to a pumpkin festival with Danny's family that was loads of fun.

It's always a fun time spent with family.  I wish we all lived closer!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

We took a breather...

James "escaped" the house while I was switching out the laundry.  He thought he was getting away, but I heard him leave and soon followed.  He hopped on his trike and headed straight for the little park at the end of our cul-de-sac.  I was in pursuit with every intention of hauling him back to the house, kicking and screaming.  But as I caught up to him at the park, he had already taken off for the slide and the breeze felt nice, almost fall-like, and he looked so happy that I figured the loads of laundry and sink piled with dishes could wait a few more minutes.
He slid down the slide, rolled in the sand and scooped the sand into the "trunk" of his tricycle.  I enjoyed the cool breeze, bouncing Milly on my knee and listening to the birds sing and flit from tree to tree.  I was able to breathe.  It was very cleansing and calming.  I sat there thinking about how often that little almost 3 year old is told what to do, where to go, and how fast (hurry, hurry!)  I loved just watching him move at his own pace and make his own decisions-climb, slide, roll in the sand.
After about 15-20 minutes, James says "go home?"  So, I followed him home.  I put on a movie for him and am sitting here typing while nursing Milly to sleep.  Then it will be back to the laundry and such.  I could have spent the past half hour fighting a tantrum instead of enjoying a little break in the "great outdoors!"  Maybe it's good to follow a two year old every once in a while!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just so you know...

We survived the weekend.  I'm feeling much better today and my children's lives(and my sanity) are no longer in jeopardy!  Well, at least for the moment...that can quickly change.  Thanks for the words of encouragement and/or just understanding.  I feel much better knowing that I am not the only one with these feelings.  Let's just keep plugging away, doing the best we can.  Love to you all!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I don't know how to do this...

this whole Mother thing.  I've just been pretending for the past 9+ years.  Now, although I've made many mistakes, I don't think I've messed up my kids too much as of yet.  But, this whole pretending thing is coming back to bite me now...Life is getting a lot more complicated with the kids getting older and such that this charade is no longer working for me.  I'm struggling.  Insomuch that I really wanted to quit my job this last week and run away.  I'm frustrated, feeling guilty and inferior and just plain worn out!  I've been just trying to survive for the past 9 years, making it up as I go along.  I've been in survival mode for so long that I don't know how to live any other way.  It's time for me to start living more intentionally and with more purpose.  The problem is, I don't know where to start.  All these ideas swarm in my head.  There are so many of them that I get overwhelmed and just want to curl up in a ball and do nothing.  I read a quote today by a comedian, Jim Gaffigan, that said, "If you want to know what it's like to have a fourth kid, just imagine you're drowning and someone hands you a fourth kid!"  While hilarious, unfortunately, that is how I feel right now (except with a 5th kid!)
I'm just venting.  I'm not looking for any pats on the back or soliciting any compliments, they actually just pour salt into the wounds.  I just wish I knew where to start with how to get on track.  I would say back on track, except that I never was there!  How do I start at the beginning when the 5 kids are already here?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


We've had a bit of a busy month and I decided to put it all into one post instead of several separate ones.  Hope you can stick with me, we've had some fun!
First up was Danny's and my 11th wedding anniversary.  We celebrated by going to dinner at Islands and then walking around the mall for a bit...nothing fancy, but it's the best we could do while toting along a cute little girl!  Here's a picture of us 11 years later!

Next, I was able to go on a women's retreat with the Relief Society from my ward.  It was a lot of fun.  We went up to the mountains to Heber, AZ.  Beautiful...the 30 degree drop in temperature was a welcome reprieve as well.  Here are the lovely ladies of the Gilbert 2nd ward.


I've spent a lot of this month cleaning up after this guy...


I guess it's pretty tiring making all those messes!  One of James' new hobbies is pulling out all the movies...I really need to get a child lock on that drawer!  He has also given up "formal" naps (much to his mother's chagrin!) but will often pass out while watching a show or playing quietly in the playroom or wherever he may be at the moment.   I was doing laundry in my bedroom and came out to find him just like this, he had even pulled the blanket over himself...such a cutie even if he is sometimes naughty!  Speaking of naughty, he is almost unbearable to take anywhere these days.  He is acting every bit of his 2 1/2 years!  The tantrums are an ever present part of life.  I'm hoping this phase passes quickly!

I've also spent a lot of this month wishing this little girl would quit growing up so quickly!

Our little Milly-moo is 6 months old now.  So sad and so much fun all at the same time!  Ain't she sweet?

6 month stats
16 lbs 12 oz (70%) kinda big for one of my babies!
26" long (50%)
head 16 1/4 cm (25%) this confirmed our thoughts that she had a little head!

I can't find Dylan's 6 month stats, but she is definitely the biggest of the other 3.  We love all of her luscious chunkiness!
At 6 months, she is rolling all over, laughing, smiling, grabbing everything in sight.  She especially loves her brother, James, he can get her belly laughing like no one else, it's the cutest thing ever!  No teeth yet (which is fine for this nursing mama!) and she is just barely starting to be able to sit up with a little help.  We all still just adore our little Moo!

Grace had a birthday this month...#8 in fact and we are excited about her upcoming baptism.  In the meantime, we celebrated with...

*yummy cupcakes for her class at school (thanks Aunt Melissa for the idea!)

*A bedroom makeover (with the ulterior motive of hoping that it would encourage her to keep her room clean!)
And this was after she "cleaned up!"
I had so much fun planning this...it was a total surprise and she exclaimed that it was "the best birthday ever!"  
This was one of my favorite parts of the redo.  I started with an $8 chair from Goodwill...here is the result:

Before & After
Isn't it cute!

*and a little do-it-yourself cupcake decorating (I was a little tired from the classroom cupcakes and room redo!)


All told, it was a fun birthday and we enjoyed the festivities.  We are looking forward to going to CA where Grace and her cousin, Haley, will be baptized on the 14th.  So exciting!  Here's a picture of Grace with our sweet Bishop Farnsworth after her baptismal interview.

That takes us to the end of September.  Such a fun and busy month.  In parting, here are some pictures of my two little nakey babies...one chunky monkey and one not so much!

I love those little faces!  Don't you just wanna squish that little girlie-bug!?!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tonto Natural Bridge

For Labor Day we decided to take off to cooler temps.  We headed north to the mountains to explore the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park It is the largest naturally formed travertine bridge.  It was beautiful and about 20 degrees cooler than down here in the valley...Bonus!  We had a fun time climbing on the rocks and exploring the cave under the bridge.  The kids also enjoyed a little dip in one of the pools.  We enjoyed being out in nature and spending time together.
We actually are tolerating the heat quite well.  Better than expected...and it has been the hottest summer on record.  The past several weeks have been over 110 nearly every day.  We are getting a little tired of the heat, but it really hasn't been all that bad.  However, we would welcome a cool down soon!