Thursday, June 18, 2015

Easter

The kids and I got back from our trip to Texas on Good Friday evening so we were there just in time to celebrate Easter with our Montana fam.  

There's nothing quite like early morning Easter hunt pictures. 

Juney girl liked the hunt, but she wasn't moving very fast so early in the morning.    



Q loved the hunt and eventually had to slow down so the other 2 could have some eggs.  




kip got a few eggs, but pretty much could've cared less about hunting eggs.  



SCORE!!! A PURPLE EGG! 


This was how kip spent most of the hunt.  







An attempt at our fancy Easter selves. 


Jaylie and Q with the head tilt.



The Easter Bunny brought Jaylie June this soft little bunny.  


She was quite proud of her new bunny. 


We had lunch with Kory's whole family at his grandparents house.  It was a rainy day, so there wasn't much egg hunting. But June, Quinn, and cousin Ainsley got in a quick hunt before lunch. 


Happy Easter! 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Kanyon's 8th Birthday Party!

Kanyon doesn't usually have an opinion about things like presents or birthday parties.  He has plenty of opinions about other things like car seats, where he sits, which car he rides in, and who sits beside him, but as far as having an idea or a vision about some big event, he just goes with the flow.  I'll admit I was running really low on birthday party motivation this year.  Once we got to Paris I decided I'd ask Kan what he wanted. Much to the surprise of NO ONE, Kanyon said, "Peter Pan, John, and Wendy!"  I was happy he had an opinion and knew he would get pretty excited about his Peter Pan party. His birthday was in a couple of days so we didn't do much planning really, but somewhere in the discussions, we realized we could probably come up with "costumes" for the whole cousin crew.  With most things in the Spencer family we go "all out" in a very thrown together, white trash, ragged sort of way.  So that's exactly what we did.  Misfit, incomplete, and such,  we managed to get the whole cast of Peter Pan!  Thanks to lots of leftovers Halloween costumes and a thrown together crocodile head we did just fine! The costumes were also a fun way to go from normal cousin time at Paw Paw and Gay Gay's to PARTY TIME! 

Left to right: 

Jaylie June as Nana the dog (the suit was made for a one year old.  Ha! and we used a coffee filter for her hat.), Roselyn as Wendy (she wore this dress for halloween like 4 years ago, so it was a little short, but it was without a doubt the highlight of Kanyon's day.  He still talks about Ro being Wendy!), Nolan as Captain Hook.  We called a truce for all Neverland enemies for the party. Avery as Mr. Smee, Ellie as Tinkerbell, Quinn as Peter Pan, Marion as a mermaid from Mermaid Lagoon, Mallory as Tigerlilly, Kanyon as John (of course), Baby Colbie as Michael (complete with teddy bear), and Landry as Tick Tock Croc ( I would've never thought to include that character but she had the idea and it was great!). 



Wendy and Nana. 


If birthdays are for favorite things, we had to include the Mule in Kanyon's birthday so we did a treasure hunt on the Mule.  They have certain places around mom and dad's house that they've named so most of the clues led them to those "famous" spots on their Mule trail.  Those spots include, Muddy Pig Water, The Christmas Tree, The Pokey Forest, and other stops along the way! Here they are loaded up and ready for the first clue.  


I still can't get over the fact that these kids can READ!??! When did they turn to adults?






Paw Paw and Peter Pan followed on the 4 wheeler.  



We hung a happy birthday sign by the clue on "The Christmas Tree". 







The final clue led them to the treasure on the front porch.  





But before they could open presents, they had one more game to play.  Uncle Clay is telling them that Peter Pan's shadow has escaped again and they have to find it and catch it.  


Uncle Clint dressed up (In true scrappy Spencer fashion) as Peter Pan's shadow and ran around until they caught him.  Only a few kids were scared of him and I almost died laughing watching him running around.  As you can see in the picture, he wore panty hose over his face and the other leg of the panty hose was just dangling around like an elephants trunk.  Ha! 






Here's the shadow up close.  Hahah!!!  






And a shadow action shot! haha! We. were. dying.  




They managed to catch the shadow and return him to Peter Pan.  
2 children weren't brave enough to have their picture made with the shadow without Paw Paw.  Fair enough.  It  was a little freaky.  (notice Peter Pan and his shadow are back together posing)


No shortage of help for the present opener. 




The kids drew the BEST Peter Pan cards! 


Ready for supper.  The map on the table was a map of their Mule treasure hunt.  



Call me crazy, but after 8 years, I'm sort of losing motivation for cool cakes for a kid that hates cake.  When I saw this idea for Peter Pan cakes I ran with it.  Character inspired cupcakes.  Captain Hook, Peter Pan, Wendy, and Tinkerbell.  By far my easiest birthday treats ever! Yay! 


Chalk another birthday cake success up for Mom! 


Kan wanted his birthday candles in a  "Wendy cupcake" but made sure I knew that he didn't want to eat it! 

Here's the sweet little birthday boy with his 8 candles! 






Now THIS is the treat he wanted for his birthday! CHIPS!!!!  

These 2 little rug rats enjoying their cupcakes.  At least the tops of them. 


We ended the night with some of the Peter Pan movie.  It was the perfect day for Kanyon Luke.  He is still talking about it. All the cousins were so sweet to dress up as whatever Kanyon wanted them to be and do things his way that night.  It was absolutely one of his best days ever! 







All good things must come to an end. Everyone was leaving (just for the night...we'd see them all day the next day! ha!)  and tears were falling.  Ro came over to try to make him feel better.  Sweet Ro Ro.  He still randomly tells people "I'm 8 and Ro Ro BE WENDYYYYYYY!!!!!" 



By the time I'm writing this, Kanyon's birthday has come and gone, but thinking about another year with him always gives me LOTS of feelings.  8 years in and I'm still learning and messing up and figuring it out and guessing at the next thing to do.  But 8 years in I have a hilarious, fun loving, hard working, party animal, go getter, that makes my world go 'round.  In some ways each year gets harder and harder, but watching him grow and mature is a thrill.  I worry way less about the future than I used to. Somewhere along the way I think I learned it doesn't even matter.  We'll do what we'll do no matter what.  We are thankful for a God who provides us with every thing we need day to day and even minute to minute.

Kanyon is sooooo close to walking with his forearm crutch and even takes a few steps across the room with no assistance.  He loves swimming and can hold his breath forever.  He gets to do swim therapy twice a week and it is so good for him.  He still totally owns the rocking chair in our house, loves to ride in other peoples' cars, and asks Kory every day, "Dad, do you need a partner to work?" hint hint.  Ha!  Any mention of sneezing, skunks, or hiccups will get a belly laugh from Kan every time.  He talks way too loud and gets pretty bossy when he asserts his role of biggest brother.  He had a great school year with the greatest aide ever.  A girl in his class named Carmen was his biggest buddy and the sweetest little friend in the world.  Every kid in town knows him, but he recognizes (much less knows names) of very few.  He knows all his letters, counted to 60 something at the end of the school year, knows a few sounds, and still does lots of drawing.  His favorite questions are "what does (name a color) and (name another color) make?" and "What does (name a number) + (name another number) make?" He asks more questions in a day than I could possibly count.  We work pretty hard with sensory input, but he is still an emotional wreck a lot of the time (you can imagine what this does to me. ha!).  He loves to bounce on the trampoline and can bounce on his bottom amazingly high.  He likes for me to "tell a story in my mouth" which means tell him a story instead of reading a book.  He is my easiest kid to feed.  If you've known us his whole life you know the irony of that statement.  He eats lots of vegetables but is pickier about his fruit. He will eat almost anything if he can dip it in something.  Anything really. I've seen some pretty gross combinations.  His favorite drink is "apple juiced mixed up with orange juice mixed up with water".  He loves to build with any sort of blocks and has a very active (and loud) imagination.  He is still a thrill seeker, but seems to be developing some natural and healthy fear.  Thank goodness!  He loves anything fast, bouncy, wild, and unexpected.  He still talks about skiing and is looking forward to skiing again this year.  He is signed up for Tball with his brother so we'll see how that goes.  He's pumped to be playing.  As you can guess, he refuses to be left out of anything.  He is quite impossible to reason with/motivate/threaten, so that makes things pretty hard on everyone.  He and Quinn are the biggest buddies and get along amazingly well.  Thanks in large part to Kanyon's willingness to cooperate with pretty much whatever Quinn says. We have named Kanyon the King of the Marble Run in our house because the marble run he got for Christmas from my parents is played with every single day multiple times a day.  His laugh should be bottled and sold because it has got to be one of the best sounds in the whole world.

I just can't believe how proud I am of him and how much we love him.  I don't think I ever knew something that was so hard and so draining could simultaneously be the best thing in the world.  This child has and is refining me every single day. He changes the way our family has to function, and sometimes that is easier than others, but we are proud of who we are.  I said it on Instagram, and I'll say it again here.  Kanyon Luke is everything good in the world.  He is so worth it.  So worth everything it takes to be his mom.  Happy Birthday to our Kan Man!!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bonus Trip to Texas!

Once spring hits and the calving gets in full swing, things get pretty crazy around here.  Last year during this time I realized just how much Kory was going to be working and made a mental note to GET OUTTA HERE at some point next year.  So, we followed through on that plan and Me and the kids escaped the craziness for a couple of weeks.  Its not that we don't like it....we do.  Its just that Kory is working SO MUCH and he worries about not seeing us much and we are all dealing with the "Daddy's not around blues" so we figured if Kory didn't have to worry about us for a little bit he could work his long hours guilt free and sleep good when he got the chance. Whether that was during the day or at night. And clearly we would benefit from some good ol family time!  So, I made sure he had some food for the 2 weeks and we headed south.  I have to say that Kory was very generous with his time because 2 weeks was way longer than he wanted us to be gone, but the reality of traveling that far makes it hard to do a super quick trip.  So 2 weeks it was!

I also have to say that my parents are the best. Again.  My Dad left his hotel room in Dallas at 4:30 am to catch a flight to Billings.  Me and the kids left Lewistown and drove to Billings and picked Dad up at the airport around 9:30am. We literally drove through, picked him up on the sidewalk and kept driving.  We did the trip it 2 long days. 13 the first day and 12 the next.  The kids traveled like total CHAMPS. Jaylie spent a solid 2 hours putting stickers in a notebook.  She went through a 10 year stash of my stickers! Score one for my years of hoarding stickers!

Here is a shot of our set up...



Home girl wasn't going to just sit there and let that sun shine in her eyes. 


This is jjp asleep with an ice cream cone.  Not ideal.  


We covered Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado on Day 1.  We got a hotel on the Kansas/Colorado border and slept a few hours and were up and out bright and early! Just in time to watch the sun come up! 

Day 2...2/3 were asleep! I don't think we ever got all 3 asleep at the same time driving there or driving back.  


Quite possibly the thing Jaylie June was the most excited about was meeting her newest cousin Colbie Marie Spencer (or as she calls her Colbie AREE!).  The arrival of Colbie Aree has put Aunt Mo in major celebrity status.  Here is a picture she drew of Colbie and Aunt Mo.  (she must think they resemble spiders!)


The inevitable meltdown finally happened about an hour from Paris.  Fair enough. They'd made it 23 hours in the car with little protest.  They deserved this protest.  And it was only 2/3 crying.  I'll take it.  


Everyone eventually gathered their emotions and we finished strong! 
And they were all in the Mule in no time! So happy to be with Paw Paw AND Gay Gay!!! 


The next day the whole gang showed up and we managed to get a picture of all the grandkids with Mom and Dad (Where's Waldo for Dad...but he's there).  This is good stuff.  


I rode Jaylie June's coat tails of excitement about this little one.  I played it cool (sort of) but I was dying to get my hands on this girl!!!  Yay for niece #9!


Jaylie June finally getting to hold her! 


.......and this is what she does when I tell her to "Smile!". Oh dear.  


That sweet thing is just begging to be smothered in kisses.  


For Jaylie June and Ellie, the obvious thing to do was play babies non stop.  Either with baby dolls or, as you see here, letting each other be the baby. 


I really held this child all day long. Any time I was near her I hogged her completely.  My arms had been aching to hold her for 8 weeks and now that I was close enough to hold her I was going to do just that! 


Someone else was a baby hog too....


Paw Paw and Q snuck down to the pond one afternoon and did some fishing. I walked up just in time to see Q catch this one! 


This is one of their favorite things about Gay Gay's house.  While they eat breakfast, they get to sit in the high chair and watch cartoons.  Its a pretty good life.  Its also one of my favorite things because I'm upstairs asleep! 


After a week of being home, I was able to get away for the weekend and go to the CDR Women's Alumni Retreat.  I sneaked in a quick lunch in Longview with as many girls as I could round up.  It was SO GREAT to eat and catch up with them. Especially since I was an hour and a half late to lunch and they all waited for me!!! Best friends EVER.  It is never enough time with these irreplaceable friends but being with them does my soul good no matter how short the time is.  


Meanwhile, my kids were miserable, neglected, and unloved.  


The weekend at Camp was so wonderful.  Perfect weather, in the perfect place, and the perfect amount of hysterical laughter and spiritual refocusing.  I took zero pictures, but here is one Rach got of a few of us just before we left.  


And at the cookout!


And of course...flag devo!


I got back Sunday evening and we began the 2nd week of fun! 

Jaylie and Ellie Belly (that's all Jaylie calls her)


It's rare that this girl gets to bathe alone so when she does she basks in her ability to play with whatever toys she wants without having to share.  And not getting splashed, knocked over, or drenched in water.  


Sweet Quinny B


After lunch with the girlfriends in Longview I went and met my dear friend Rebekah's new baby (AND DID NOT TAKE A SINGLE PICTURE!!!) then me and my Aunt Mary Lynn drove out to Nanny Lou's house.  I loved getting to visit with them, but somewhere in the course of the conversation they decided they needed to see not just me, but my kids! Ha! So while I was at CDR for the retreat, they drove to Paris to see my kids.  They had a fun day and while I was sad I wasn't there, Mom got some great pictures! 
Jaylie June with her "Boozie"(my aunt....who my kids have that silly name for) and Nanny Lou


Kan Man caught a fish! 


And so did this girl! 


More fun for these two! They were absolutely adorable, precious, sweet, cute, hilarious, and fun playing together.  Maybe its because this is my first time to have a kid who has a cousin the exact same age and gender, but I'm getting such a thrill watching these two.  I feel like during this trip, some sort of eternal deal of companionship was sealed for these two. I sure hope so. 


Ro Ro and Q sharing the tree swing. 


These 2 crazies had a lot of fun together this time! They played so hard and so good together.  So much fun watching them! 


Of course the whole gang dyed Easter Eggs one day.  It was no small affair.  

I mean seriously? Those eyes!!!  Hers are as crystal clear blue as Juney's are brown.  


This little bundle of perfection chilled in Gay Gay's arms while the big kids dyed eggs.  I could just gobble her up. 




Guess what color Jaylie wanted???!!! Pink OF COURSE! 


Ellie Belly was more in to the yellow.  


This is Jaylie throwing a fit in the swing because all of her eggs were gone.  It is also a picture of her amazingly ratty hair.  




One morning while Mom and I ran errands, Jaylie June went over to play with Ellie Belly.  From what I hear they did a lot of this:

Juney and Marion waiting for their popsicle! 


Aunt Rachel on the Mule with these 3.  Rumor has it she's the fun driver because she lets the kids drive! 


This is so her.  Posted up in the back of the pick up.  Tiny stick in hand (she always has at least one tiny stick with her).


Marion, Jalyie, Mallory.  And Marions ribs.  SHEESH! 



This picture just melts me.  Major cousin love goin' on.  


The night before we left, everyone had to get extra big hugs to last until we see them again this summer.  I feel like this picture could look exactly the same in 15 years.  Except for the no pants part.  


Q and Lou Lou.  They are twins.  For real, they not only look alike but share so many of the same quirks and personality traits. 


Nolan making sure Ki Ki feels the love.  


Sillies. 


These 2 are attached at the heart, I tell ya.  They really are connected in an almost supernatural way.  Its a gift to watch.  


Gay Gay with my 3.  It was an IMPOSSIBLE photo op...this was the best we got.  


We left Paris early Thursday morning and hit the road north.  

If stickers were the money maker with June on the way down, Color Wonder coloring book/markers were it on the way back.  Particularly the pink marker.  I love how she purses her lips when she's concentrating.  


As you can see, the trip back to Montana wasn't quite as flawless as the trip down, but overall they did good.  We just had a little more of this sort of thing: 


We made our long leg the first day so that we could have a stellar place to stay that night.  We drove all the way to Greeley, Colorado and stayed with our friends Rand and Maggie Morgan.  Getting to their house was heavenly. It was beautiful, cozy, and full of people we love.  

We even had a welcome sign waiting for us!


In about 30 seconds my kids were down in the basement with Rand watching a movie.  Its fun for me to pick up where I left off with the Morgans, but its especially fun to see my kids do that!




These 2 sillies eating raspberries off their thumbs. 





Q and Maggie! 


Kan Man sending Rand off to work the next morning. 



Maggie took this picture as we were leaving and I'm so glad she did. Its the only shot I have of our traveling crew! 




As Maggie always does, she had lots of treats for the kiddos. Easter baskets full of fun entertainment for the car and yummy snacks.  Last time we stopped through with them she had made a BINGO/Blackout game for them and they loved it so she did it again.  Quinn really loves it.  Here he is studying the game board working hard to find all the things on there.  Thanks again Morgans for continuing to be the best pit stop ever!!!  




jjp dozed a little bit....the boys hard at work on the white boards.  


After eating raspberries off her thumb at breakfast, June thought it was hilarious putting this peanut shell on her thumb.  


Here is some of Kanyon's handiwork.  He was writing his numbers and he asked me how to write an 8.  I said "Its 2 circles on top of each other" when he finished it and handed it up to the front seat for me to see, this is what it was.  Look at that sweet little 8.  I think he must've thought "2 circles INSIDE of each other".  Why are kids' mistakes so cute?!  


We'd been wanting Dairy Queen treats since the trip down to Texas so finally after the whole trip down and back, we got DQ treats in Billings just before we dropped Dad off at his hotel.  Here we are headed to the hotel with our treats celebrating a great 2 weeks, safe travel, and the BEST Dad/Paw Paw in the world.  We got Dad to his hotel then me and the kids drove the last 2 hours home.  Dad caught a 6:30am flight the next morning and was back to Dallas in time for lunch.  


Quinn had almost "blacked out" his paper, but we were still needing to see a flower. I was worried since spring hasn't sprung up here yet. BUT thanks to a cemetery in the middle of no where outside Round Up, Montana, Q Blacked Out the page with about 45 minutes to spare! 


We had an AWESOME 2 weeks.  Being home with my people is always heavenly.  Leaving people we love is never easy. Its terrible actually, but we are very thankful to be coming back to other people we love and a place that is giving us a lot of great things. We are grateful and so FULL of people and places we love!