RSS Feed

Category Archives: Jackson

{what a weekend!}

Posted on

I love three day weekends.

So much TIME, you know? I feel like there is never enough of it, and then a 3 day weekend comes with perfect weather and family activities, and everything seems just right.

Saturday was gorgeous in Phoenix! A “cold front” had moved in, and brought our temperatures down into the low 80’s, which is unheard of at the end of May. We took advantage and worked on our deprived, forgotten backyard. We played in the pool and had a picnic lunch on our patio. We soaked up the sun, enjoyed the cool breeze, and took delight in the time we had.


For Memorial Day, we went down to Tucson to spend the day at Nana and Jerry’s house! We went swimming, spent time playing with cousins and family, enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner, and had such a wonderful time. London at one point declared that it was, “her best day ever.”


We had such a great time, and now we are in countdown mode for our much anticipated, week-long vacation in San Diego! Less than 3 weeks…


A Perfect Day

Posted on


I have two types of perfect days.

There are perfect days that are perfect because I have no responsibilities (read: for some reason, my children aren’t with me). Don’t get me wrong; I adore my children. I do. But, in order to keep adoring them, I have to have a few perfect days without them. Usually they are with my husband, and they involve things like sleeping, reading, talking, walking, eating without cutting up food, eating hot food, eating my own food, not sharing my food, shopping for things that I need, not having a diaper in my purse, getting in and out of the car in 3 seconds flat, actually going inside a Starbucks rather than the drive-thru…you get the point.

Then there are the perfect days that are full of responsibility and cut up food and diapers and drive-thrus…the perfect days that are about our family. Friday was that kind of perfect day. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, and we decided to go to the pool. Yep. It’s the beginning of April. It’s 95 outside. The days of constant wet swimsuits and towels in the dryer have started. I could not be happier about it.


It was perfect. The water is still heated from the winter, the temperatures aren’t scorching yet, and school isn’t out, so the pool isn’t busy. No lines, no crowds…just warm water, warm weather, the sweet smell of coconut sunscreen in the air and happy squeals from my children.


After the pool, we drove with the windows down to the nearest Rubios and sat outside, munching on food that reminded us of the beach and sea breezes. We went home, laid the kids down for naps, and took a nap ourselves.

I got a pedicure. I’ll spare you the picture, but a perfect day almost always includes a pedicure.

Then, we dyed Easter eggs.

I went with something new this year. I had seen a blogger do a post on dying your eggs with Kool-Aid instead of vinegar. I liked the idea of not stinking up my house (on a perfect day, stink house is not allowed), so I gave it a whirl. My house smelled of sugar, and the colors were vibrant and pretty. The only thing I noticed is that you have to wait until the eggs dry before you really handle them, or the color will wipe off. Other than that, it was fantastic, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back to vinegar based dye!

Another tip I had seen (I can’t find my original pin to post for you) was to use whisks to hold your eggs while they are being colored. GENIUS! I mean, it was absolutely fantastic. Using whisks means that even your little ones can get in on the fun…Brooklyn loved dipping it in and out, in and out, in and out, in and out…you get the point. Aren’t the colors fabulous? Kool-Aid, ya’ll. It’s wicked awesome.

While I wouldn’t always put such an intense, time-consuming, possible tantrum-causing activity on a perfect day schedule…this made it the kid’s perfect day.

And when everyone around you, from 1-35, feels just as perfectly perfect as you do…then you know it’s a perfect day.

Milestone Pictures – Downtown Gilbert Railroads

Posted on

About a month ago, I was all geared up to take London’s 3 year and Brooklyn’s 18 month pictures together.

Then the Great Plague of 2012 hit, and everyone was sick for a month.

It ended up working out pretty well, because during that time Jackson turned 6. So, I decided to just get all three of them done at one time. Whilst doing it I realized that probably wasn’t the smartest idea on my part; the kids weren’t focused and if I had done it one-on-one, I probably would have ended up with more shots. However, doing it this way gave me great rewards…such as the picture above.

I’m just going to say it: my children are adorable. 😉

Brooklyn: 19 months. Adorable, squishy ball of fun. She is a very tall girl, sitting at 34 inches (just 2 inches shy of her big sister…trust me, I get the “are they twins?” a lot!) and 24 pounds. She is wicked smart and very expressive. She loves to sing and dance, color, and can be frequently found with a baby doll or stuffed animal under her arm. This child is addicted to her blankie and her binky, much to her mother’s chagrin (but, hey! she’s the baby! who cares, right?). You never would know now that she had a developmental delay, as she gets exactly where she needs to be in record time. She is the life of our party.

London: 3 years. Holy moly, this girl is SPUNKY! As I’m writing this, I’m reminded of how we used to call her “spicy pepper.” A girly-girl sparkly princess to her core, she glitters and glows. She still has her charming fairy voice, and is my super polite, always compassionate, tender-hearted little soul. She knows all her letters and the sounds they make, can count to 20, and is learning how to make and follow patterns. She will start preschool (at home) in the fall, and she is VERY excited! She loves to dance, color, and can usually be found near her kitchen set in the playroom, preparing delicious treats for her family!

Jackson: 6 years. No longer are his updates about traditional milestones; we’ve reached the “boy zone” where, well…he’s made it all. His milestones are now focused on bigger things, like learning to ride a bike on his own and mastering multiplication. His current interests are weather, human anatomy, and volcanoes. He is currently planning on writing the National Hurricane Center to request that his name be used to name a hurricane in the future (there has never been a Jackson).  He is finishing up second grade (six weeks left!) and is looking forward to our week long vacation to San Diego this summer. He plans to rock it at Legoland. 🙂

1,3, and 6. All such great ages, really. Each one of them bring their own jazz and spark to our family, and I really couldn’t imagine life without any of them. I love my precious babes!


Posted on

I know I say it every year…but, man! Six! Another year flew by, and I have a boy who is *this* much closer to…well, young man-dom. Which my brain just can’t fathom. In six more years he will be 12 (that math lesson was free!), and with how fast these six flew by…well, yep. Crazy.

We started the day with birthday breakfast, which is homemade pancakes with sprinkles, fresh whipped cream, and raspberries. Such a simple addition to pancake batter just makes everything so much special for birthday kids! I love being able to make things *that* much more special, at least to them. He then opened his presents from us, with the big one being a keyboard (he also got books, walkie talkies, and a new Nerf gun)! He was THRILLED, and the kids are really getting a lot of use out of it!

In case you didn’t know, Jackson is REALLY into volcanoes. What he wants to be when he grows up usually includes a variation of a ‘ninja chef’, meteorologist, or vulcanologist. Every Wednesday he goes to a class with other 5+ aged kids for 3 hours while I’m in attending a Bible study. He wanted volcano cakes to take to his class, and this is what I came up with! Basically, they were mini bundt cakes (I found the pan at Target), topped with chocolate ganache, and then drizzled with red sparkle frosting. I think they turned out great! Sadly, London fell ill (AGAIN) so we couldn’t go, but I popped them in the freezer, so hopefully they will be okay to take this week. Jackson LOVED them!

Since his birthday fell on a Tuesday, we waited until Saturday to go out to dinner. He, of course, chose Joe’s Farm Grill. Nana and Jerry met us there to celebrate with us, and we all had a great time! Next door to Joe’s is their coffee shop, where they have the most amazing cupcakes (they’ve been featured on the Food Network show ‘Cupcake Wars’), so Jackson and I walked over and picked out his birthday cupcakes. They, of course, devoured them. It may have been a world record for fastest cupcake consumption ever.

There were lots of other families and kids there, and the children all started a huge game of Duck, Duck, Goose which, of course, my children can’t resist! I didn’t post any of the photos because other children were in them, but they had a blast! I love the picture of Brooklyn above…it looks like she is about to take off, lol! Ready, set, go! We all had such a good time!

My handsome Jackson,

I remember the moment you were placed in my arms for the very first time. I was head over heels in love with you from that very first moment, and I would have never believed what you would be at six. You are truly so much more than your number; in fact, you are much more mature than that. Despite your smarts (have I mentioned how smart you are?), you are oddly quirky in a hysterical way. Today, you were in the playroom, and threw something down, making a huge crash. “Daddy, did you hear that Big Bang? Get it? Big Bang. It’s an astrophysical joke!”. My gosh, what six year old says that?! And you cracked yourself up over it!
You absolutely adore your sisters, and they couldn’t ask for a better big brother! You are quick to help, nurture, teach, and care for them. At the same time, you are quick to be like any other brother, getting frustrated and angry when they don’t do your will. What sets you apart is your ability to control your emotions and temper (most times), and you never lash out at them. Ever. When Brooklyn and London are doing their breathing treatments, you make sure that their favorite shows are on the TV, and you will stand by them, making sure they don’t need anything.
With age, comes responsibility. You now do chores around the house, including clearing off the table, wiping it down, and sweeping. Do you know how happy this makes me? You do it with such a cheerful heart, and I adore you for it. You pick out your own clothes, dress yourself, and put away your own laundry. Can you believe it? At some point this past year, you grew up.
Jackson, we are incredibly blessed to be your parents. We thank God for you everyday, and are constantly seeking wisdom and guidance when it comes to leading you to become what you will be. It is an honor and blessing to know you, to love you, and to lead you. We love you so much!!!


Bringing in the New Year, Picnic Style!

Posted on

New Years Day brought us beautiful weather. Phoenix was hit with our “winter” early this year, and it seems as though we’ve been hovering in the 50s/60s for quite awhile. Desert folk don’t do very well for very long at temperatures that low, so when the 80 degree day popped up in our forecast, we took full advantage! We picked up pizza, packed up drinks and a blanket, and headed to the park to enjoy the warm evening. It was such a gorgeous evening, and I didn’t have to do dishes!

Great fun was had by all, but we are ready for cooler weather for just a bit! We only get to wear our sweaters and coats for such a short period of time, so we like to get as much use out of them as we can. We’d like to take the kids up north for a snow day, so hopefully winter will find us again soon!

Christmas 2011

Posted on

Our children are 5.5, almost 3, and 16 months. While Brooklyn wasn’t super into it just yet, this was the first year that both Jackson and London were simply thrilled with everything the season is about! It was so much fun to countdown the “days until Jesus’ birthday”
with such gusto every morning. Jackson would change the days of our advent tree religiously and with the zeal of a child who has finally figured out that there is a day in the year where presents, food, family, and joy are
present in everything.
The festivities began for us the Friday before Christmas. Nana and Jerry came to our house for supper, and with them brought a huge box of gifts for the children. To say it was awesome would be an understatement; the gifts were fabulous and absolutely perfect for them! Jackson got a human anatomy set which he has named “Gray” after Gray’s Anatomy, London got a princess dress up box full of outfits and treasures, and Brooklyn got an elephant ball popper and musical instruments. The kids had a blast, and we all loved watching them enjoy everything so much!

On Christmas Eve, we headed to my parents house south of Tucson. We spent the day there with lots of my family, including my brother Bill and his wife Chasity. Bill had been deployed overseas and just came home a little before Thanksgiving, so it was good to see him! We had a traditional Swedish dinner, opened (more) gifts, and headed home.

Christmas morning!!!!! The kids were on cloud 9. Jackson, of course, woke up before the girls did. I anticipated this and had purchased new iPad games for him to play while he waited for his sisters to wake up. Once London woke up, they did stockings while I prepared our breakfast of pancakes and bacon (yum!). Brooklyn woke up and joined us for breakfast, and then to the tree we went!!! The children were just beside themselves with excitement, and we were blessed to be able to give them gifts that we knew they wanted. London got a singing Rapunzel doll and a doctor’s kit, which she has yet to put down. It is so fun to be able to do such wonderful things for them!
Greg and Jackson ended up with some sort of flu virus, so that put a bit of a damper on the day. 😦 Poor guys!
So, on to next year! Jackson started the countdown the day after Christmas! 🙂 We hope you enjoyed the holiday season with your family! Praise be to God for giving us cause to celebrate!

Family Pictures 2011

Greg and I have been married for 6 years. In that time, we’ve welcomed 3 children. Things moved very fast for us in those first few years; several job changes, two college degrees for Greg, buying a house, the babies…it’s a lot to shove in such a short amount of time. What we’ve never shoved in is family pictures.

Now, I love photography. I love how photos forever capture the moments your mind doesn’t have room to keep.  What I don’t like is how much it costs. So, I’ve been putting off professional pictures for years (and by professional, I mean a REAL photographer, not JCPenneys or the like) knowing that we would just be adding more kids. Looking back, I really should have done it. I should have done it every single year, because they bring me such joy to look at. I will forever have these moments frozen in time, with Brooklyn’s shining blue eyes and dimples hiding in her fluffy cheeks, London’s wide eyes and wild hair, and Jackson’s absolute rebellion in smiling for the camera. When I look at them, I’ll remember how sweet they all were, and maybe 15 years from now I’ll be able to recall the sweet smell of Brooklyn’s hair and the sword fights between Greg and Jackson. I’ll hear London’s fairy voice chiming in my ear…the sweet sounds of memories.

Worth every penny, don’t you think?

Disneyland Vacation

London loved Pluto!

In October, we took our much anticipated trip to Disneyland!!! This was our second time going with the children; London was 11 months old and Jackson was almost 4 the last time we went. Brooklyn actually stayed at home with Grandma; I’ve taken a baby who wasn’t walking to Disneyland before, and let me tell you, it isn’t fun for them or you. I knew she’d just sit in the car for a day, sit in the stroller for 2 days, and then sit in the car for another day. No. Thank. You. We will go again in a few years and she’ll come then; but she had a blast getting some one on one time with BOTH of her grandmothers while we were away.

I think her vacation was much more relaxing than ours.

Our awesome suite!


Bedtime stories!


We went back and forth over where to stay. While I really like the idea of staying on location in one of the Disney hotels, I simply could NOT wrap my brain around paying $3000 just for our hotel rooms. Could. Not. Do. It. When we travel and vacation, I like to do it comfortably, which means we get two rooms. We don’t share a family bed and pretend like that gets you well rested children. Plus, we took a nanny, which means we needed more room.

A nanny, you say? Yep. Note above where I mention the word “comfortable”. We wanted to be able to go back into the park at night and do adult rides, plus we wanted someone to stay with London while we took Jackson on some of the rides she was too small for,  so we packed up our beloved babysitter Taylor who agreed to come with us.
(Taylor and her sister Peyton are the BEST babysitters in the history of babysitters. But, I digress..)
Anyway, we ended up getting a 2 bedroom suite at the Howard Johnson Anaheim. Now, they aren’t paying me to say this, but this is the BEST hotel to stay in. It is right across the street from the main gates (about an 8 minute walk from your room) which gives you the convenience on being close without the price tag. Our suite had a kitchen, a living room, two balconies, two full bathrooms, and a separate bedroom with two queen beds. It also had a water park for the kids! We stayed there for 3 nights and paid $700. That left a lot more moo-la for churros!!! (For those of you who’ve had Disney churros, you KNOW what I’m talking about!)

If the normal suites aren’t up your alley, you can stay in their kid suites, which we will do next time since we won’t take a nanny. It is a suite with one room having bunk beds and a twin and full bathroom, and a second room with a king bed. Those suites go fast and need to be booked at least six months out, and most likely that is what we will do next time.

Isn’t she a DARLING princess?! She was so much fun to take! She hopped and skipped and twirled and danced at every oppurtunity…until she got sick.
Disney vacationers worst nightmare, right? Sure enough, at about 1 pm, she decided that a 102 fever was just what Mickey ordered. The staff at Disney is fantastic, though, and when we took her to the first aid station they cared for “the little princess” and gave her motrin with orders to go home and nap. Taylor was a gift from God at this point because she was able to stay with London while we took Jackson back to the park. Don’t worry, by the next morning she was just fine and ready to experience the magic once again!

Buzz Lightyear!


The Wishing Well

The Carousel

In front of the castle

 Two days was just enough for the pipsqueaks (and us). Lessons we learned from this trip:
1. Do not go in October. The Halloween stuff is ridiculous. Plus, on Fridays they close the park at 7. So, now we know not to go in October OR December. Check.
2. Always, always, always, bring Motrin for the kids. And Advil for you.
3. The Bengal BBQ outside the jungle cruise is fantastic.
4. Making reservations through Disney Dining ahead of time is the best idea ever.
5. Howard Anaheim=awesome.
6. Never plan your trip to fall on a Saturday. Like, ever.

We had a great time and can’t wait to go back!