3 Years of Kalea

 This is Kalea showing off her birthday ensemble... oh what, you wanted to see her face? Pssshhh!

I cannot believe my baby is 3?! The time most definitely flies with this kid.
Kalea has done a great job of filling the last 3yrs with all sorts of excitement, laughter and joy along with a few moments of complete chaos and bewilderment- c'mon I'm not gonna sugar coat it!
Sometimes I look at her and wonder how in the world we wound up together, I'm grateful we did,
but really, whose funny idea was this?
It's good to have a sense of humor about parenting her that is for sure, if I didn't we'd have major problems. She's taught me more patience in 3yrs than I had learned in the 24yrs before I had her.
She's also helped me learn to throw caution to the wind a little more, be more carefree, watch way more Disney movies/cartoons than I ever intended to, laugh louder, cry really hard to get my way... She's also taught me to be in the moment, let go of a lot of my pretenses and just be me.
Kalea has funny little ways that she let's me know we're doing good, like when I put her in the car
the other day and she said "Thanks Mom, you're my best friend!"
Nothing feels better than hearing that, even though she's 3 and can't fully comprehend it.
I know there will be times when she's a teenager that I will need to hear that and it won't come out of her mouth, so I'm clinging to it every time she says it now!
We are pretty good friends though, and as hectic and crazy as our life together gets sometimes, it is definitely a riot being her mom.
I love that I have so many hilarious memories to look back on, and the pictures to go with them. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but with her a thousand would never be enough to fully explain.
Kalea's birthday this year also fell on the weekend of our nephew's baptism, so it was her first time having all her cousins around for a party. She really had a lot of fun with them, I don't even know if she actually ate any of her food besides the sugar laden stuff that day!
We had so much fun visiting and eating and trying to keep the kids from scarfing all of the yummy cookies.You could tell they all had way too much sugar, but it was so worth it, they were so happy!
I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised with myself for this birthday. I am usually such a procrastinator, but this year I had a timeline leading up to the day and for the most part I followed it,
and, big shocker here, the day went so much smoother! Thanks to my Mom, MIL and SIL for helping with some of the food too, it was nice to be able to delegate a few things out into very capable hands.
Haha, except for the fact that I forgot icing for the cupcakes- but we had tons of other food so that was a minor oops... although now I feel like I really should light a candle for Kalea to blow out- better late than never...

While we were tidying up inside I found 3 little rascals that had wandered out. I think they may have wanted to jump some more, but we were done with that activity, so they grabbed a book and hung out for a bit. Too funny. In these pictures they were all saying "CHEESE!" in unison, in one of the highest pitches you can imagine.

Kalea and Rex are probably 2 of the strongest 3yr olds you will ever encounter.
This is them battling a bit for the bike, earlier in the day they had a tug of war with a skipping rope and I thought Rex was going to fly off the top of the slide.
They were dead even in strength, which was pretty fun to watch.
I'm glad Kalea has so many cousins so close to her age,
it makes watching them grow up so much fun!

I love how neither of them would look straight into the camera for me.
All in all we had a really great celebration of the life of a very awesome, spunky, spirited, curious, energetic, fun, sweet, smart, sassy 3 YEAR OLD KALEA!

Brynlee telling me what's up, or showing me that she's "One!" hopefully she'll have "Two!" figured out by November... only a few more months until the next party!


Layton, SLC & Early Departures

After the reunion we headed to Layton to stay at Ted and Bette's place. We anticipated our kids would probably be a little crazy. I really should have anticipated that they would be insane, not listen to a word anyone said and go to bed entirely too late. On the bright side, by this point they were used to awkward sleeping arrangements and when they finally did wind down, had no problem sharing a bed on the floor. By the way, it was the comfiest floor-bed ever, thanks to my SuperMom skills.
 For whatever reason, Kalea had absolutely no intention of taking advantage of the pool, and Brynlee appeared interested for about 2 minutes, until she actually got in the water and started freaking out. Steve, on the other hand, was more than enthused to spend some time swimming, diving, splashing and floating. I joined him for a bit and we had our 15mins of peace before dinner.
 I got video of our 4th of July firecracker/sparkler extravaganza, but never thought to take a picture. It was really fun and I might post a video someday, but don't get your hopes up for that.
 On Tuesday we decided we should take the kids to Salt Lake City and do Temple Square. Of course, in the beginning Kalea was excited and very interested to "Go see Jesus" aka The Christus statue in the visitor's center. Once we got there she would barely hold still, but she was very interested in the statue, specifically the feet. She expressed a lot of concern for Jesus' "owies" and tried to kiss them, then she noticed the toes and holy smokes did she get excited about those. I guess Thorvaldsen got those right because she was enamored with them, which lead to some slightly irreverent behavior and a prompt/noisy exit. I'm sure everyone was glad when we got her distracted enough with other things to quiet her down. Once we got outside again, it was back to crazy kid mode and after a few attempts at family pictures Steve and I were DONE. Which really is an understatement, because at this point we were quite willing to just leave them in their strollers and go for lunch, in hopes that some more capable people would take them in or send them to military school. It was basically at that point that we decided to start the long drive home. At first I felt bad that we were leaving having not really said goodbye to anyone, but at the same time, the HUGE amount of relief that my sanity would soon be restored was much more appealing to me than a few more days of insane toddler behavior.
I think some people may not fully appreciate this because they were blessed with perfectly angelic children who never ever misbehave and listen to everything adults say, but for those of you with children like mine, thanks for understanding.
Thus began our long drive home, which really wouldn't have been all that long if it weren't for the awesome detour I took us on to find COSTCO. The detour was worth it in the end, especially when we got home and saw that the crappy bright orange toddler PFDs were going for $40 each and we spent $40 for 2 great quality toddler ones in the States, I felt vindicated. Steve was a trouper and drove all over Montana to get those things, and without too much complaint that his wife was obviously not in top navigating form. Hooray! We also saw a sign welcoming the Beiber Family and later found out that the child of singing notoriety was indeed breathing the same mountain air as we were when we passed through Whitefish, MT. At this point I think it's good to note that our kids were FANTASTIC in the car. Like, really really great travellers. Didn't whine or cry. Only watched 1 movie on the laptop the entire trip- shocking I know. Slept and ate and entertained themselves. It was great and made us look forward to our next road trips- probably much shorter ones.