i like to sometimes make “life snapshot” posts that go through the little details of our day-to-day. this is for my own record-keeping (as is the vast majority of this little blog…) and i don’t expect anyone besides my future self to be interested in all these specifics, ha! i hope to start doing this each quarter of each year, because our kids change so much in a few months, and our daily routine and regular life changes right along with them!
i’ve had this drafted for about a month but life has been so crazy … i’ve missed my chance on q1 for 2022. so this will have to encompass the first trimester of the year. here’s what i remember and want to remember from our family life january-april 2022 – moses at five and a half, gabriel turning four, and the twins growing past eighteen months! all the pictures and out-of-the-totally-ordinary events in this post are from march.
our mornings start early – things have evened out a bit now towards 7am but we had months with the boys waking up around 5:30am. moses and gabriel have started playing together while the rest of the family sleeps in the wee hours – making crafts, playing games, getting themselves breakfast, building things, etc. i am always amazed by how little bickering there is between them in the early mornings (given that it sometimes seems constant during the day), but sometimes they do get up to mischief (mess making, sugar scavenging, etc). the risk of some clean up is worth it for ian and i to get a little more sleep, haha. the babies are pretty content in their cribs – when they wake up they often like to hang out and babble for a while until we come get them. most mornings ian is first to interact with the kids while i get ready for the day. i’ve been trying to do a 5 minute guided meditation and a 5 minute scripture study each morning and then i usually (not always – sometimes i get to afternoon still wearing what i slept in…) get dressed and put my hair in a bun and sometimes i even get to put on thirty seconds of makeup.
<< an example of something i’d find after moses and gabriel spent the morning together unsupervised: a card from big brother to little brother: “i want to be a ninja with you when we grow up.” >>
the chaos really ensues once every one is awake and there’s about a million things to do at once – feed several hungry mouths, change a diaper or two, clothe a kid or four, break up a fight, clean up a mess, help with a project, answer a question, nurse an owie, get a cup of milk, and on and on. somehow i usually sneak in eating breakfast myself. ian leaves for work around 8 and we really try to do a little scripture and prayer gathering before he goes – it happens probably a little more than half of the mornings. there’s almost always an argument over if the prayer wheel (created by moses using some cardboard, a marker, and a brad) was spun correctly and i usually get a hearty “good luck” from ian before he heads out the door to campus.
monday mornings we usually spend at home – i try to do housework with the kids or while they are swirling around me and/or we all play together. tuesday and thursday mornings gabriel has preschool, so we pack everyone up in the car to drop him off and then head home or out on some kind of outing. wednesday mornings we often go to the library to exchange books and to go to story time. friday mornings moses has music class and i go with him every other week so on those weeks the younger kids have a babysitter for a couple of hours. we pick up gabriel at noon on preschool days and quickly have some lunch before moses goes to kindergarten. we started carpooling with a couple of mo’s classmates in january and that has been a total game changer. it is soooo nice to have him picked up rather than buckling all the kids up and trying to keep the babies from falling asleep for their nap in the car.
<<a morning meditation i really liked, and for a couple weeks on the way to preschool we would see dozens (sometimes like one hundred!) of wild turkeys in gabriel’s teacher’s neighbourhood. it was so crazy!>>
<< gabes got to participate in world book day celebrations at preschool in march! we were thrilled that his teacher commemorated this day, which is a huge deal in the uk! gabriel dressed up as the gruffalo (from a beloved classic british children’s book). moses was very invested in helping his brother create a costume and did 99% of the work of transforming gabe into the gruffalo – it was so darling! >>
<< moses’s music class had a “spirit week” competition and moses was very excited about the prizes. he worked hard on a few things and he ended up winning the grand prize! he was sooooo excited and proud. he told everyone he came in contact with over the next several weeks all about it. the grand prize was an accordion and he is obsessed with it! >>
<< after a unit on art, gabriel had a “gallery stroll” event for parents at his incredible preschool. it was so fun to go see his self-portrait, paintings painted on the ceiling like michaelangelo, examples of pointillism, pop art and georgia-o’keefe-esque nature paintings, etc etc. gabe’s preschool is definitely one of our family’s greatest blessings in 2022. >>
<< a few photos from wednesday mornings at the library, where evie got some good walking practice while mo & gabes were in story time and auggie crawled around. after story time one week moses found himself in the archives of the friend magazine and the creation he made at lego crew the week before in the display case! >>
during much of march, our mornings were different because august did a physical therapy intensive. he went to therapy five days a week, four hours a day, for three weeks! it was … intense. but also really awesome. the therapists were incredibly caring and their evaluation and work was so valuable, and auggie made a lot of progress! it was a big mental load for me to figure out childcare for our other kids, to get august out the door and to therapy by 8am, and to try to follow and support him in all the therapy he was doing. but it was also a nice change of pace in some ways and a little bit of a break for me in some ways because i could focus on just one child and sometimes get some stuff done while the therapists were working with said child. i was able to catch up on this blog during the intensive! i’m so grateful to our amazing babysitter (my niece), my sisters and parents, and the families in our babysitting co-op who took care of the other kids while i focused on august and his therapy.
i was amazed at august’s stamina through four hours of physical therapy every morning. he quickly got used to the routine of an hour of play (work in disguise!), an hour in the “monkey suit,” a half an hour snack break in the “stander,” time in the “spider cage” and then another room with a set of stairs and other pt tools, and finally time to go home and nap.
<< one day at therapy august fell asleep mid-exercise. we got to have some snuggles for 15 minutes and then we woke him up and he went right back to work – what a champ! he slept hard in his crib (if we could make it home before he fell asleep in the car!) every day for those three weeks! >>
normally, besides when he was in this intensive program, august has both physical and occupational therapy twice a month. the provo early intervention program is amazing and the therapists come out to our home. moses and gabriel love it when auggie’s therapists come because it means they can have some screen time, haha. eve constantly gets in the way but somehow the therapists and i make some progress with august each time they come. after each session i have a little list of things to work on with auggie, and i try to stay on top of them. this can be really, really hard with three other small children around and just the crazy stage of life our family is in. but i do my best to find times that i can work with august on things like pulling up to stand, using utensils, coloring with crayons, climbing stairs, and doing baby squats 🙂
once mo heads to school after lunch, the babies start their nap and gabriel has a bit of quiet time. gabes is pretty good at playing independently so that i can get a few things done and have a tiny break from the constant chaos of my life, ha! he likes to build with magnatiles, train tracks or marble run pieces, play outside on the trampoline, and to do crafts and puzzles. sometimes we get to have gabriel’s aunt and cousins over to play while moses is at school – ian’s sister lives about thirty minutes south of us, and sometimes we have other friends over in the early afternoon.
kindergarten gets out at 3:30. on mondays and wednesdays we head straight for the provo rec center, where the boys have swimming lessons. the twins go to child watch (the childcare place at the rec center) and i do a quick workout while the boys swim. most rec center days moses and gabriel join august and eve at child watch after swimming lessons and i continue my workout. sometimes daddy meets us at the rec center to help get everyone home and i love those days because by 6pm i am soooo tired and just really grateful to have another set of adult hands around.
<< one swimming lesson day in march it was super warm and so we met daddy at the outdoor playground at the rec center and he brought pizza for dinner. we feasted after the twins very thoroughly enjoyed swinging together 🙂 that playground is our favourite one in provo! >>
on tuesdays and thursdays moses has karate after school. we carpool with a friend to karate and when it’s our turn to drive gabriel usually falls asleep in the car. so i drive up and down state street in orem, trying to keep the babies happy and gabe asleep, for half an hour until karate is over. ha! very occasionally i can leave the babies with ian and go watch mo at karate and that is one of my favourite things ever to do – he is so into it and so so cute doing all the moves and especially doing the meditation at the end.
tuesday is early out for kindergarten, so moses finishes an hour earlier. before we started karate we would spend most tuesday afternoons at the museums at thanksgiving point (about a thirty minute drive north). we love the museum of natural curiosity (which we call “kid door” because it has a little mini door for kids at the entrance, haha it just stuck!), the butterfly biosphere (which also has fun exhibits and a play place) and the museum of ancient life (which we call the “dino museum”).
<< one day at the dino museum the boys saw this super cool dino sword that lights up and they were soooo eager to go home and earn money to buy it. when they had saved up $10, we drove up to the museum to get it and they were sold out! ahhh! luckily we found a cool $10 dino bubble shooter as a replacement. >>
we love our backyard so much, and the kids spend time out there almost every day. in march and april there started being sporadic really warm days and it was so nice to be in the backyard without coats and for longer times. the trampoline is the perfect contained-space playpen for two increasingly-mobile toddlers! and for play with neighbour friends (the house next door to us sold at the beginning of 2022 to a family with four boys ages 0-5! we are so pumped about that).
and the babies love to swing on our basket swing. they let out hearty laughs every time they’re on there! gabriel and moses also love to be wound up super high and then let go to spin super fast. it has been fun to watch our back yard change with the change of seasons. we are looking forward to one day refinishing our deck and getting patio furniture. ian is excited to build a treehouse with the boys and i am excited to learn about gardening. life is so chaotic right now and we are still very much working on getting the inside of our house decorated and really settled into … but hopefully by summer 2023 we will have an awesome yard 🙂
on friday afternoons (and also most tuesday mornings), our beloved babysitter (who also happens to be my niece / the kids’ cousin), eliza, comes to be with the kids. supposedly this is a break for me but actually it is usually pretty exhausting because i am running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get to all my errands and appointments. still, it’s sooo nice to have some time away from the kids (i love them sooooo fiercely but it is really intense to be their full-time caretaker).
<< in march, our eliza got her mission call! the boys got to stay up late and go to her dorm common room to watch her open her call. she’s going to chile and we are so excited for her! it was so fun to spend an hour with her parents and siblings and my parents on the night she opened the call. >>
dinnertime these days is wild. usually i’m scrambling to think of something to feed the family, and then to make it … but sometimes i get things ready while moses is at school. i told ian the other day, “one day we will be able to all sit down at the dinner table and eat together.” for now, ian and i are pretty much constantly on our feet helping a child or two (filling cups of milk, stopping babies from wildly throwing food, getting refills on certain requested foods, etc) and sneaking in bites here and there. the babies are almost always a spectacular mess, feeding themselves with their hands and the boys are quite often complaining about what i’ve made (sigh). usually there’s some kind of game to get moses and gabriel to take bites: a bite to hear the next part of the story, an animal sound for each bite, five more bites and you can have some yogurt for dessert, etc. occasionally it feels like a battle but most of the time we try to make it fun and just roll with it. i feel like i am pretty lenient / cutting-corners on breakfast and lunch, so it’s pretty important for me to help my children have a nutritious dinner – it’s usually something really quick to make but there are always vegetables and protein 🙂
then it’s on to bedtime! ian usually puts the babies to bed while i start getting the boys ready. somehow we started giving the twins their bottles of milk while they laid on the ground in the kitchen and the milk drinking helped them to be still for a diaper change and getting pajamas on. they gradually got less interested in the milk and early in 2022 we cut out bottles at bedtime. this was kind of sad for me – felt like they were really transitioning from infant-hood! we replaced the milk drinking with teeth brushing … eve loves her toothbrush and auggie … not so much. they get put in their little wearable blanket “sleep suits” with their binkies clipped on, then we turn on the sound machine and off the light and let them settle. evie often takes a bit longer to calm into sleep but it’s usually just a few minutes and she’s out along with her twin brother.
the boys’ bedtime routine evolves from month to month. in 2021 there were more dance parties and craft times before the absolute necessities “brush teeth, potty, prayer” – in 2022 we’ve mostly gone straight to the necessities and how quickly the boys obey at getting those things done dictates how many books we can read together before getting into bed. most of the time ian takes one boy and i take the other and we switch the next day. it’s nice to have some one-on-one time with moses or gabriel. we try to put gabes to bed first most nights, hoping he will fall asleep before mo comes in the bedroom. sometimes moses will do some reading of his own (out loud to us) and sometimes ian will read a chapter book to him … or he’ll do some other calm activity for the little bit of extra time he gets to stay up. if gabriel is still awake when he climbs into the top bunk, a big party can get going pretty quick. sometimes we don’t break it up – the boys get laughing together and it’s bonding and sweet. but sometimes it gets a little wild and sometimes one of the boys has to fall asleep in mom and dad’s bed 🙂 more recently we’ve started letting mo and gabes listen to stories on their beloved yoto player at bedtime – for a while that was keeping moses up really late because his brain would get so engaged in the stories, but he’s been better about drifting off to sleep lately.
after the kids are in bed we try to quickly debrief with each other about our days, but then there’s often urgent things to get done – ian and i always marvel at couples that watch a show together or do some reading or etc almost every night. i feel like most evenings we feel like we have to just pop into action with this kid-free time. because it’s been ian’s first semester teaching, he’s been working a lot in the post-bedtime evenings in 2022. when he’s not working he will travel plan, work on house projects, balance our budget spreadsheet and make needed payments, etc. meanwhile i meal plan, clean, organise pictures, work on house projects, get things ready for upcoming special days, etc. sometimes i have book club or a dinner with friends, or a zoom call with my sisters to work on the podcast we are trying to create. in january ian and i went to sleep together every night – this was a christmas gift that ian gave to me and it was the best. after that month-long commitment was fulfilled, i still tried to get to bed before 11 but ian would have to stay up working many nights. we always pray together before one of us goes to sleep though, and often we find ourselves on our knees (or cuddled up in the bed) a half an hour after we decided to say a prayer together, just talking. probably my favourite thing to do in the world is talk to ian. a lot of times at night we spend time talking about how awesome our kids are. ian always, without fail every night, goes in their bedrooms to check on them before he goes to sleep. sometimes i take a peek too and i am flooded with sweetness even if (or sometimes especially if) it’s been a hard day of mothering and they’ve been difficult.
most friday nights, ian and i have date night. about half of the time we stay at home and do something fun together and the other half of the time we get a babysitter (usually my cousin’s daughter that comes after the kids are in bed) and go out. we try to make date night a priority, and i always really look forward to it. sometimes it’s a different night than friday but we try to make sure it happens every week.
<< a couple pictures from march date nights – one evening we went up to the suuuuper lovely tree room restaurant at sundance because my parents had given us some money for a nice meal out for christmas, and one night we went to an event on campus that ian was speaking at and went to yogurtland afterwards 🙂 >>
we usually have some fun things planned on saturdays. we’ve been trying to make more room for saturdays without a lot of plans – that we can just play by ear and spend on house projects and tag team with the kids to get caught up on things. but both ian and i are planners and adventurers, and it’s sometimes hard for us to not fill our weekends!
<< one saturday in march i got to take moses on a mommy date to see disney on ice at the utah jazz arena in salt lake city. we had a blast! >>
<< afterwards i got to meet up with my sisters for a hike. we did the same hike we did in february and it was again so beautiful – this time we felt like we were in a snowglobe as it snowed on us for part of the way up … magical! we got in saydi’s hot tub after and sat and talked for ages, my parents joining us for a while. we went out to dinner and then i drove home to provo in a huge snow storm! love being able to be with my sisters and for the kids to have some good times with daddy. >>
<< another march saturday we spent at thanksgiving point with ian’s sister and her two daughters. it was so fun to be with them, and guess what was back in stock? the light up dino sword! we also got to do pony rides at the farm area – it was a really warm day! >>
sundays … even though we don’t have church until 10:30 i still feel like i have to pop out of bed and go straight to getting everyone and everything ready first thing! some of this is left over from having 9am church in 2021, but also it’s a just big undertaking. we try to be ready by 9:45 so that we can have our little come follow me “sunday lesson” before leaving for church and so that we can get a good pew in the back of the chapel (where there’s space for our double stroller next to the bench). every single time we make it through sacrament meeting i feel this huge rush of relief and want to give ian the biggest high five ever, haha. the kids usually do pretty well, but it is just a lot to juggle with all four of them in the pew. moses and gabriel have all kinds of activity books to keep them busy and the babies are increasingly mobile – a couple times snuck under the pews in front of us and popped up to say hello to fellow worshippers 🙂 ian and i catch about 50% of what is said in church, and it’s wonderful when there’s some moments to reflect and seek (and receive) inspiration. i like that our kids get practice at reverence and that we are all squeezed in the pew together, so imperfect and messy, but really earnestly trying to be good followers of jesus christ.
mo and gabes love going to primary in the second hour of church, and august and eve just started going to nursery! ian and i teach a youth sunday school class every other sunday. we try to be more discussion leaders than teachers, and have so much to learn from the 13-14 year olds that are in our class. on the weeks we don’t have sunday school, it is wonderful to go to relief society and elders quorum and have an hour to focus on our spirituality and ministering, childcare provided 🙂 it has taken what feels like a long time to get to know people in our congregation, but slowly and surely we are feeling a part of the ward family. there’s a lot of good people in our neighbourhood (the vast majority of which are members of our church, which still feels so wild to us) and we are happy our ward is a good mix of age, political leaning, life experience and interests/personalities. living in such a homogenous place, we appreciate every drop of diversity we can get!
after church on sundays we sometimes go up rock canyon or provo canyon, or see family members, or go on bike/scooter rides around the neighbourhood. i feel like sundays lately are truly days of rest in a lot of ways (after the workout of sacrament meeting, that is, haha) and i’m grateful for that.
when we have time around the house, moses and gabriel often ask to take photos with our phones. we get a whole lot of photos of the ground but every once in a while there’s a diamond in the rough, haha. here’s some random kid-taken photos from march, a few from a sunday afternoon reading books, juggling babies, and laughing together:
and here’s just a few more photos from everyday life in march to add some details to this snapshot of our wright now:
moses has gotten really into climbing the rock wall that’s at the entrance of the provo rec center (which really is our happy place) // from a play date with a music class friend who showed up to music class randomly wearing a super hero costume the same week moses showed up wearing a super hero costume!
i love the things that moses brings home from kindergarten, like this “today i feel excited” worksheet. i love that boy’s mind. // we are part of a babysitting co-op that is so awesome. my cousin set it up and it’s so nice to be able to have playdates that swap babysitting. i host co-op every three weeks and most days there’s another mom hosting so i can drop my kids off when needed. it’s such a blessing!
of course the start of 2022 has been filled with emotional turmoil learning about what is happening in ukraine. it has been a sobering and building experience to share this news with my kids and think about ways that we can tiny-drop-in-the-bucket try to help. i resonated so much with these words that i came across on instagram. // and also with these words quoting brene brown that i came across on instagram. she talks about how we often want god/faith to be like an epidural, but actually god/faith work like a doula. i love that concept.
i often find moses’s creations around the house – cards, drawings, jewelry, books that he has made. this is one of my favourites yet.
“bird is going to byu kindergarden. bird is so excited.”
moses’s speech bubble: “bird can be my friend.”
bird’s speech bubble: “hello moses.”
another brother creation: “trophies” moses made for gabriel that say “i love you” and “best brother ever.” // gabriel’s st. patrick’s day craft brought home from preschool:
i love having a daughter so much. i feel like it is so hard to capture evie’s cuteness. i do sometime try though, especially when she’s wearing an outfit i think is particularly cute 🙂
i am kind of embarrassed by this, but i’ve totally fallen for utah’s soda shop craze. i try to not go through those drive-thurs very often, but i gotta say, it is so nice and refreshing to get a bubbly, yummy, cold drink on a hard mom-ing day. // every once in a while my brother noah, whose company is headquartered in provo, comes to town and stays at our house. it is sooo fun to have him around. moses and gabriel love him so much.
when august completed his intensive physical therapy program, we got a home exercise program to do at home, and he got to put his star on the wall with other kids that had worked hard for three weeks! after i helped him stick his picture up, the handful of therapist there with us started cheering for him and he looked around sooo wide-eyed and giggled with complete pure glee and pride.
another warm day on the trampoline … gabriel decided it was even warm enough to strip down to his undies, haha!
ian and i got to go to a benefit dinner for an organization that is doing incredible work helping to alleviate suffering in ukraine. it was really moving and inspiring and we left with hearts full of so much gratitude and motivation to do what we can to help. // there’s a portrait photographer i’d been wanting to take photos of my kids for literally years, and we had a session with her in march! i was so excited about it and then evie was not having it when we went for our time slot. i was kind of devastated about that! i have such a deep desire to capture my kids in photos because they are growing up so fast and i am pretty lost sometimes in the intensity of four kids five and under. we will try again with the same photographer in the fall!
i’ll end this post with some random photos of my sweet baby twins. i couldn’t narrow the ones of eve in that blue outfit any more, ha! the last ones are of a hair-do that babysitter/cousin eliza did one day 🙂
gosh, this chapter of life is sure intense. this is a little bit but not completely hyperbolic: i am glad at the end of each day to have survived. it is impossible to describe the experience of being the full-time caretaker of four children five and under including two babies, and it can feel lonely when almost no one can understand. but i am consistently amazed by how the small moments of joy hold so much weight through the chaos and how my capacity is stretched and strengthened. i am learning a lot, trying really hard, and loving fiercely. and most of the time that feels like enough.