Showing posts with label mothering. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mothering. Show all posts


Gardiner Chalk Art Festival 2014


A few weeks ago as a cool enough morning presented itself on a free day we decided it was time to do our own little chalk art festival on our driveway. 


Each girl got a square of her own and we started just after breakfast. Little Rosie didn't waste much time busting out her abstract piece.


Roo made a colorful pinwheel design recruiting others to help her fill in the sections as her little arms tired out. 


I created a fishbowl (#chacotan)


Ava did a fabulous job on her exotic bird with only a little help from me here and there. 


And GM went for size and made a giant flower in a vase (that you can dive into).

We battled the rain all day and chatted with neighbors as they went by walking their dogs or pushing their babies in strollers. 


And we got really dirty. 


REALLY dirty. 


As everyone was finishing up I commissioned the older girls to help with a treasure box for my fish.


They have already been talking about what they want to do next year and how they want to invite friends - honestly I'm just as excited. 




At the beginning of June I turned 32.

I decided that my birthday, hands down, falls at the absolute best time of year. It's warm out all day with cool mornings and evenings. The sun shines and the birds sing. Everything is blooming and alive. People are out and about, happy and donning their summer skin. See? It's the best.

I'm honestly such a fan of being in my 30's. I feel more confident, brave, and secure. I feel more love toward others and I am better at managing my relationships. It's a good place. At the same time I feel like I'm learning so much. Many of my dearest friends, close family members, and we ourselves are experiencing real life trials and challenges. I have learned to be a little kinder to everyone. I know that even the "happiest" of families are facing real life dragons every. single. day.


My life at 32?

I am staying home with my girls still, but have gotten an itch to go back to work part-time. I'm excited about it, but also nervous as I know there will be a lot of adjusting.

I am serving in the women's organization at church where I lead a committee that plans activities for the women. I love this responsibility - it suits me well. I have a firm belief in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know I am loved by an almighty God and that I am his daughter. I am grateful everyday that I have the opportunity to be with my family for eternity. I can be rebellious and stubborn, but I am trying to soften my heart.

I still struggle to keep a tidy house and I admit that it bother's me. I have a hard time feeling successful as a homemaker and mother when things are constantly out-of-order even though I know that it isn't really important if things are neat. My bathroom and the playroom are constant battles.

My projects. Quilts for each of the girls this year are coming along, I just planted a few more shrubs and flowers in the back yard (keeping the damn bunnies out of my garden is a constant project). We just got the house repainted and are getting a window fixed after all the storm damage from last year.

I am running, running, and running. I feel so strong and healthy lately - like I'm in the best shape of my life. My first half-marathon is in a week in Portland, OR. My right hip bother's me a bit as does the plantar fasciitis in my right foot, but I have found ways to manage them. During the week I get up at 6am and run to get home by the time the girls are rising and Easy is off to work. On Saturday mornings I run longer enjoying perfect Colorado sunrises, the clean air, and seeing my little part of the world wake up.

I am reading a lot now that my Stats class is over. I'm currently reading Unbroken which I'm totally absorbed in. I just finished Peace Like a River and I still think about it daily - it is probably one of my all-time favorites. I have a few more checked out from the library that I can't way to dive into: The Night Circus, Free-Range Kids, and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

My favorite movie of the last year was The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Favorite song lately is Fineshrine by Purity Ring

I love the relationships I have with my daughter's. We are officially out of the baby-stage. No more diapers. No more crib. I have a small purse and we go and do as we please without naps to worry about or packing around baby necessities. We are almost stroller free! I enjoy the conversations and the creativity had with my older girls and I love nothing more than to chase and tickle and play with the little ones. They are so good at entertaining themselves with dramatic role-playing adventures and they are big helps to me around the house.

I just moved up to Level 3A in piano and I enjoy it so much. I love mine and Ava's teacher and sometimes feel like lessons are more like girl-time then work.  Piano has pushed my brain to it's limits and I just love having that quiet time to myself when I practice and struggle through new technique and theory. I am actually playing real songs!

My marriage. E and I have had more stress and struggle in the past few years than ever before. We can drive each other crazy, but my love for him has honestly has never been stronger. Struggle brings that. We are so aware of each other's flaws and we have learned and are continuing to learn how to work together. In the end I know that he has my back first and loves me to the moon. I want nothing more than his happiness. When I feel vulnerable or afraid he is my rock.

Overall I feel content, blessed, and able. I am sure I will look back on this time in my life with a grateful heart.


2014: Year of the Quilts

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A few months ago I made a little quilt for our sweet new nephew.

Through every stage the girl's oooo-ed and awed over how cute it was and how excited they were to meet the new little guy. They would sit and admire the woodland scene chosen for the backing while I stitched away. All the while they would be saying things like, "Can you make me a quilt? Oh mom I want my own quilt so bad!"

And everytime I thought about making them each one I got overwhelmed and would groan internally - Easy had mentioned me making them quilts before. No was my response. Not going to happen. They have blankets.  Plus, I'm not really a quilter and even worse is that I would have to make 4!


I finally recognized that if I did make them each a quilt they would probably snuggle up to it at night, cherish it forever, and hand it down to their babies. There is so much love that goes into quilting. I should pour some of that into my own daughters, right? Right.

So this is when I gave in and started getting inspired.

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If you follow me on Pinterest maybe you have seen this coming. Eeek! 

I went to look at fabric the other day and after becoming overwhelmed (again) I decided to just take it one at a time. If I don't get them done by this Christmas then I will shoot for 2015. 

Or 2016. 

Or 2017. 

And so on. 

One thing for sure is that little Luke Skywalker is definitely enjoying his. 

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little moments

we do a lot in our little family. we get out a lot and explore a lot. we have fun together and are building so many wonderful memories. and i love that about us. i love that my girls love to hike and see the world and that my husband is up for anything. 

you know what though - day to day the grind of the week has been a struggle for me lately.

getting kids up.
off to school.
running errands.
more cleaning.
school pickup.
bedtime routine.

during all this time spent running around stressed and crazy i have found myself without feeling. i am like a robotic taskmaster - slashing to do lists and spewing out orders.

i have found myself neglecting to recognize the little moments that make being a mother the best job in the world - the moments that i missed and craved when i was a working mom.

i have been forgetting that my children just want me. they want to spend time with me.

they want me to hold them and read to them. they want me to dress their dolls and color and paint with them. they want my presense - my happy presence - not my stressed out, tired, ugly, cranky presence.

and i have been forgetting that the thing that brings me the most joy is being with them! talking to them, laughing with them, teaching them, seeing them interact with each other. i have been missing those moments lately and i miss them bad.


over christmas break i treasured our down days where we had nowhere to go and nothing to do. we stayed in our jammies all day and baked and played and just enjoyed the time. i know it's a little cheesy, but i recorded a few moments from those days and posted some pics on instagram with the hashtag #scenestotreasure.


they were moments that were quiet and raw where all i did was sneak a little picture to catch that place and feeling in time. little snippets of the joy i felt watching and listening to my dear daughters.

the crazy thing is that i know these sweet scenes with my children are happening everyday - i'm just not seeing them lately. i'm neglecting to look and i have been neglecting to be more a part of them.

i have been hesitant to set any lofty goals this year, but this is something that has been on my mind a lot the past couple of weeks.

so for the foreseeable future (with some good reminders) i am going to make an active effort to set aside my distractions, to do lists, and focus on those little moments that really do make being a mom the (super cheeeeeesy!) best job in the world.

want to join me?

i'd love to see these snippets from you too!




It's a full on miracle. 

After our physical therapy evaluation a few weeks ago the therapist looked at me and said, "I wish I had more of a diagnosis for you, but it seems like she is just unmotivated."

The therapist did give us a few things to work on though. We started off playing with Rosie while she was standing - having her play with stacking toys in the middle of the room while on her feet with nothing to lean on. I sat cross legged and held her toy up high for her to play. She also colored this way on firm notebooks while I sat across from her holding it up. We also started having her hold one finger while we walked together instead of two, and lastly we walked with her holding one end of an object like a jumprope handle or a toy while I held the other end. 

She started taking tiny little steps (with a lot of persuasion) about a week ago - but still needed more motivation to get her to want to walk. I'm telling you, this girl is a speedy crawler! 

About 5 days ago Ava bribed her with marshmallows and chocolate chips to get her little feet moving and IT WORKED! That was enough motivation.

 I think I need to make her a T-shirt.



Schmother's Day


Hi friends. I hope you had a nice Mother's Day.

I almost feel the same way about it as I do Valentines. I adored the little cards and sweet gifts made by my girls and I spoke with my mom whom I also love and adore. Saturday I took Ava and Roo with my to Costco and spontaneously I let Ava pick out some flowers for me.

This year I told Easy to just not worry about it - and I was serious. I really didn't care for a lavish gift and I definitely didn't want him to feel pressured to make some fabulous dinner, deliver breakfast in bed to me, and wait on me hand-and-foot.

Sunday morning Ava, Mae, and I dipped 24+ strawberries in dark chocolate and dressed them with chopped nuts and sprinkles. The hour that we spent getting the consistency of the chocolate just right, casting sprinkles all over the kitchen,  and licking our chocolate fingers together was perfect. More than anything I love creating things with them and spending time talking and laughing together.

I made ribs in the crockpot and cornbread on the grill for dinner along with a big fat salad - remember how we don't have any appliances?

Then we all stuffed our faces with strawberries and played a game of Uno together.

It was perfect.


Just before bed as Easy was doing the dishes I sat on the couch for a quick rest. My little Rose Bud crawled over to me (still not walking) and motioned with her hands for me to pick her up. She put her head down and gave me the best snuggles.  For about 5 minutes I was in heaven with her squeezing my neck and puckering up to give me the tiniest little kisses. 

I have learned to take note of these tender moments amongst the chaos that ensues our home.  Along with a deep breath I try to remember how I blessed I am to be their mother and that how no matter how many times I forget an important event, loose my cool, or neglect something  - they in their kindest of hearts think I am the greatest.


Like a Little Lizard

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A. Rose Gardiner 
April 2013

Our little Rosie.

She gives the best squeezes and kisses, she loves books and toys she can manipulate, she adores her bunny and blankie, and she is an expert crawler. Like, I wish there was some sort of contest we could enter her in for it.

So, it hasn't really bothered me that she isn't walking. She is so tiny that I don't mind packing her around and as we all know babies grow entirely too fast so her still crawling has in a way stunted her in the baby phase for me.

But seriously's kinda getting ridiculous. She is ripping holes in all her leggings and she has bloodied the tops of her feet on the driveway more than once.

I have got to get this baby to walk!!!

She is 17 months.
She is capable.
She is strong.


She is STUBBORN and scared.

She does great holding on to anything with both her hands, but when I try to let go she digs her little nails in, cries, lowers her self to the ground, and shoots off crawling like a little lizard.

I even bought her squeaky shoes. She just sits on the floor with them banging her heels on the ground to get them to squeak then she squeals with delight about it.

I can't help but laugh when I think about her going to nursery at church in a few weeks and crawling after all the kids when they go down the hall for drink of water. They will have to tie the rope they hold onto around her little waist and she'll be the caboose.



In the Last 48 Hours

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We have one busy baby on our hands.

*Two days ago she woke up with pink eye.

*Later that day she threw my phone on the concrete pool deck during the older girls' swimming lessons shattering the screen. It still works, but looks something horrendous.

*Yesterday she skinned the tops of her feet crawling all over the concrete driveway. I didn't even notice until bath time that night when I saw the dried blood on them.

*This morning she colored on the wall with dry-erase marker. Anyone know how to get that off??

*This afternoon she fell off the couch, cut open her lip, and got a purple shiner on her forehead.

*And finally tonight she dove head first into Ava's bath with all her clothes on - luckily Ava caught her.

She still isn't walking (16 months!) but at this rate I'm in no hurry for her to.


Feb 14th, 2013

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This morning Ava and Mae woke up giggling. They are sooooo excited about Valentines Day! And instead of having to wear their uniforms they got to dress up for school. 

Mae picked her white eyelet dress, hot pink footless tights, and her new grey flats. Ava wore her red and white striped/polka dot dress, white leggings and her brown flats. 

After they dressed Ava handed me a small gift. Two papers glued together with string that they had made days ago. It was all dazzled up with hearts and proclamations of love for Easy and I. I think I will treasure it forever. 

They eagerly ate their breakfast, drank their green smoothies, and secretely talked about the Valentines they will be bringing home from school .

Tonight we plan to have heart-shaped homemade pizza for dinner (girls request) and a skillet pizookie with homemade vanilla ice cream for dessert + warm chocolate sauce. Mmmmm! And I will give each of them their small boxes of chocolate and little love notes. 

Like I said the other day I'm not too big on this silly holiday, but I do adore my sweet children and my dear husband of (almost!) 10 years. I don't care to go to a fancy restaurant and I don't demand a dozen red roses. It is pretty nice to just sit back, enjoy each other, and celebrate all the love in our little family... so we will do just that.


Our Evening Bird

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I imagine most families have a nightly routine after dinner to help things move along a little more smoothly.

Since moving to CO ours has changed a little with Easy having a 25 min commute. We no longer are able to have dinner at 5 and the girls in bed by 7:30. 

When he walks in the door after dinner they want to wrestle, read, talk, talk, talk about the day, and snuggle. 

Roo has always been a little of an evening bird, but lately she has turned into a night owl. 

She consistently stays up well after her sisters have drifted off into dream land and chatters away for hours. She gather's toys and books in the dark and brings them into bed with her - hiding them in the sheets or tucking them in  next to her so perfectly. She also makes 2-3 trips to the bathroom. 

A few weeks ago I walked in to check on her and she had passed out with oversized sunglasses balanced on top of her head. We have found her with books on her face, pennies in her hands, and often times she is wrapped up in her blankets (head completely covered) sweating in a little self-made cocoon. 

It's one of those things I'm sure Easy and I will talk about when she is older. If we are lucky maybe we can catch it all on video for her. 



sledding in the back yard

Back in December, on the first day of winter break, the girls and I were all loaded up in the car headed home from Target.


I looked in my rear view mirror at the 2 blonde headed girls in the very back. Their faces were bright. They were whispering to each other and at random, bursts of laughter would escape their mouths. Their hands would cover their faces and wave through the air sporadically as they spoke. I can't remember what they were talking about. I just remember those faces and that laughter.


I said to them, "Aren't you two so excited that school is out and you get to spend all day together?"

They shouted, and giggled, "YES!"


I said, "Are you guys like best sisters?" 


Ava looked at her Sissy Bear, then to me and replied, "We are like best friends!" 


Morning Do-Over

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This morning I woke with a headache.

I think I need a do-over. 

I attribute it to little Rosie waking at 2:30am.

(my cuddling her,
laying her back down,
her screaming,
me trying to ignore her ,
me worrying about her waking everyone else up,
me going back to cuddle her more,
finding her stinking the whole room up with her toxic poop,
changing her diaper,
holding her again,
finally laying her back down then ignoring her cries until we all fall back asleep)

I hit snooze three times after 7am.
In retrospect I should have just kept hitting it.
When I finally got up Roo was on the toilet crying for me to wipe her bottom.

I went in to wake the big girls. Mae was so excited that the tooth fairy came last night and gave her a dollar for her very first tooth! 

Ava was crying because she didn't want to wear the new pants I got her for school. 
I hurried them to get dressed when suddenly MaeMae pouts off about her shirt "feeling funny."

They all get breakfast.

(i get Rosie up, 
put the dog out, 
feed the dog, 
make Ava's lunch, 
get Mae's snack, 
put folder's in backpacks, 
feed the baby, 
put the dog back out)

Then it's off to school and over to the Rec center to see if Mae's coat was in the lost and found. 
...And it wasn't. 

Back home. 
Rosie is down for a much needed early nap. 
Roo is eating applesauce and watching Dora.

I finally have a moment to eat something myself. 
I'm thinking a huge green smoothie with all sorts of energy boosting goodness, antioxidants, and lots of protein.

Then I think I'll have a nap.


Christmas in CA

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Utah covered in snow

We loaded up in the wee hours of the morning a few days before Christmas and headed to Southern CA to be with Easy's family. This will be his parents last Christmas living there so we planned all sorts of fun California-y things to do.

The trek across the Utah, Nevada, and California deserts was long but so worth it as we were greeted by our loved ones. Unfortunately the next day GM was hit by a stomach bug that eventually took down one family member at a time.


Christmas Eve we headed out El Matador State Beach in Malibu for family pictures. I was glad we got there before the rest of the family because it was so beautiful and it gave the girls some time to play.


I wish that we had discovered this beach before now.


I honestly could have stayed there all day.


That night we ate a big feast and stayed up to wrap presents and play Santa.


The girls came bounding down the stairs the next morning in their new Scottish nightgowns provided by Grandma and one by one opened their gifts. Upon opening the (play) computer Roo had asked for she scowled and let out a, "I do not want this! I wanted a dolly!!" We all had a good laugh and gave her the package she was wanting. 


The archery set Ava got was a hit! Not quite as much for her, but for all the adults. With some more practice I'm sure she'll be just as enthusiastic. 


Since Grandpa has taught archery Easy and I turned the instructing over to him. She has perfect form.


The last thing we all wanted to to Christmas afternoon was sit around so we took off to explore Vasquez Rocks. We should have left Roo. She was very grumpy and Easy carried her much of the time.

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The older girls were all about it finding every nook and cranny to hide in. 


They love having so much attention from adoring aunts and uncles. 

At the end of the day I felt blessed beyond measure for having such an amazing family and being married into one. Each one of my daughters is a gift. My husband is a gift. I am blessed to be a mother and a daughter. I am grateful for a Savior and for a life full of joy. That is what my Christmas in California was all about. 

...more to come. 


Her Birthday (?)


This week our baby will be one. 

She really really will.

We are in the process of weaning and taking it slowly. I don't feel like I'm holding on to it, but I know that the second we are done I will miss it. 

Her birthday is Nov 15. It's funny because every time I say her birthday I feel like it's wrong. I actually looked at her birth certificate again a few weeks ago just to make sure we celebrated on the right day.

Oh man, now I'm remembering how back last January I was making her 6 week doctor's appointment. The lady on the phone actually asked me to verify her birthday. I had just gone back to work, was juggling a new baby, + three other little ones and of course, was lacking a lot of sleep as well.

I was silent at first. It was pretty hilarious and quite awkward. Then I decided to just go for it.

"Ummmm, Novemberrrrrr 17??? No, wait...the's somewhere around there, right??? Don't you have it written down there at the office?"

"Well," she said "Yes ma'm, but we need YOU to verify it."

"Um, to tell you the truth, she is my fourth baby and I really don't know when it is. I supposed I could find it, but it might take a minute."

Silence. This is where I feel like the biggest postpartum idiot and that I should in no way be caring for a new infant child.

"Okay," she says (I imagine her rolling her eyes) "It's November 15. You might want to write it don't since you know we will ask you for it again when you come in, right?"

No! Really? I didn't even consider that day! The 15th?

So weird, but that is when it is. We aren't planning anything big just a small celebration with cake, presents, balloons, and our little family on the 15th. 

The 15th!

Don't forget.


Looky Who's 3!

Our little Roo is 3 today!!!


She is a beautiful bright light in our home and we are so blessed to have her. 

We have big plans today (at her request) to make a spider cake. We will see if what I have in my head for it can come to life. Going right along with that theme she helped me make her crown this morning and keeps telling my how beautiful it is. Maybe because the spiders sparkle?? Hahaha!

We love her with all our hearts!  

Happy Birthday Baby!


That's a lot of weddings!


Whenever meeting new people there are the usual get-to-know-ya's.

Most often mine go a little like this:

Hey, so where did you move from?
What does your husband do? 
How many kids do you have? 

4 kids? 
4 girls? Wow! 
I could not do that!  
How old are they? Oh! Whoa, that is close
That's a lot of weddings!

and finally
So, are you done??? or Are you going to try for a boy??

Although typical, this type of conversation throws me off every time. And every time I react a little differently. Sometimes I just ignore it, shrug it off, and with a smile on my face say, "Yeah, it's hard."

Regrettably there are times that I admit, I have shrank away. I explain that Rosie wasn't completely planned and that I would have maybe done it a little differently if I had to do it over. I am ashamed that I, at times, don't stick up for my choices and my daughters because I fear that I won't be understood or frankly just because it is a little unconventional (or crazy) to have 4 kids in 6 years.

A few months back Ava said to me, "Mom, why do people always talk about how your hands are full?"

It was then that I decided that I was never going to make my children feel like an item in my constantly full arms, especially when approached by a stranger that is trying to make awkward small talk with me. So I started casually saying, "Yeah, but we wouldn't have it any other way." Or, "Yeah, but we love it."

This post is a little hard for me because each one of my amazing, beautiful, talented, silly, brilliant daughters is so so so dear to me. I would not change a single thing about how they came to us and I would not change the fact that they each have three wonderful sisters to lean on, love, fight with, be brave with, learn from, and cherish.

As of right now. Today. If you and I were getting to know each other and talking about my kids I would tell you that I feel so incredibly blessed to be a mother, that I love how close my daughters are, that I'm so so so happy to be a vibrant young mom, and that yes I plan to have 15 more before I'm 40.



Life and Legacy

 RL Hyde
July 3, 1931 - September 22, 2012

In the midst of finding out we were moving to Colorado I received a phone call from my dear mother that my grandpa had been given only a few days maybe a couple of weeks to live. He was in the hospital in Reno, NV and his final request was that he go home to be with his family for his last days. 

I called my mom everyday and everyday his condition worsened. I wanted to go home so bad to see him and the nurse in me to help care for him, but our life in Arkansas was getting so complicated. I spoke on the phone with him on a Tuesday. He was tired and weak but still the same ol guy that I love so much. He asked about me and my girls. About Easy. I told him our big news for Colorado. He said that we had better not vote for Obama - and I assured him that we wouldn't. Near the end of our conversation he told me he loved me and I told him that I loved him. I could tell he was so tired so we said our goodbyes. 

That Friday we bought a plane ticket to Nevada for the next Friday and the very next morning he passed away. 

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We arrived in Colorado on Wednesday, unloaded the moving truck Thursday, and Friday morning I was on a plane with my little Rosebud to Reno wishing so desperately that Easy was by my side. 

As soon as we got there Mom and I hit up the floral wholesaler for the casket flowers. Red roses, Sunflowers, Spider Mums, Hypericum, Seeded Euc, Pussywillow, and wheat while my dad harvested Sagebrush straight from the desert for the final touches.

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When we arrived at the house my grandpa's worn and dirty saddle sat in the entryway. My heart ached seeing it there. Mom was the creative genius behind the casket piece and I executed it. Years ago she had build one on a saddle. I took a deep breaths as the scent of the flowers filled the house hoping I could pull it off. It has been years since I've been in a flower shop. She prepared the eulogy for the funeral as I cut and placed each stem. If there was a hole she would help me fill it if something was slightly off she would balance it. The whole time I thought about my cowboy grandpa as the Sagebrush wafted in and out of the room as people came and went...his rough hands, his scent, his tipped hat, his holler, and his scratchy kisses on my cheeks. 

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That evening as we brought the saddle into the viewing I fell apart as it was taken from my arms and placed on his beautiful pine casket. My grandma came and held me for a few moments and I was never so grateful for her love and touch. She was a beacon of light and hope telling me in that moment just what I needed to hear. She let me cry and held me tight filling my spirit with restored faith in God's plan and assuring me that my Grandpa was free from his sick body that could no longer hold him.

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The next morning proved to be equally difficult at the private family viewing and as the services were held. My mom and her siblings each gave beautiful talks. There wasn't a dry eye in the building as we missed RL's presence and as we delighted in stories from his marvelous life. 

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 22 Pallbearers and Mother Tossing Dirt

I love that each one of my cousins was there except 2 that are serving missions and my one brother that is serving in the military who wasn't able to make it. My grandparents legacy was so evident in the 22 pallbearers that took turns carrying his casket so reverently.

I love that at the burial site all who weren't family were asked to leave as my uncle explained Grandpa's  request to be buried by "his own." After special permission from the cemetery a tractor with dirt was brought over and each member that wished to was able to say something before placing dirt in the grave. My grandpa respectfully called it "Indian Style."

I love that my grandma wore a red dress. 

I love that my cousin paraphrased Elder Nelson's quote so eloquently, "Moreover, we can’t fully appreciate joyful reunions later without tearful separations now. The only way to take sorrow out of death is to take love out of life."

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My Handsome Brothers and I 

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My Closest Fallon Hyde Cousins

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My sweet Rosie was an absolute trooper through the whole thing. Love that she got to come along. Love that she has some of this strong, devoted, fighting Hyde blood in her. 

Love you Grandpa. 

Past posts with reference to my Hyde Family Heritage here, here, here, here and here

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