Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Rex's Newborn Photoshoot

My sister-in-law Lesli was kind enough to let Rex poop all over her props so we could get some newborn photos. We had a pretty difficult time getting everyone to cooperate and I learned a lot for the next one of these I do...but we ended up with a few really great shots and that's all I need!

I wanted to get a shot of all three kids together, which didn't happen because Rex was floppy and irritable and the other two forgot how to follow directions all of a sudden. But we did get some great ones of Finn and Kate on their own:

And these of them together, the second of which I absolutely love:

Finn is a little out of focus and I think if he was making a more serious face like Kate it would have made this picture absolutely amazing, but of course I love his smile too. That picture just melts my heart. Thanks for capturing all these Lesli!

Rex is now 8 weeks old and has just started smiling a lot more often. He is also starting to coo and experiment with his voice which is pretty much the cutest thing ever. I am surviving as a mother of three...but my house is not! I am lucky if I shower before noon and usually have to choose if I want to look presentable or keep the house liveable...someday I might get to do both!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rex is Here!

Hmmm, well...yes. This post is extremely overdue. But what can I say? I'm the mother of three now! free time. I guess I do have free time but the majority of it is spent lying comatose on the couch before I stumble to bed. Today a miracle occurred and all three kids took a nap at the same time...hence this post is finally being written!
The day I went into labor, I was a BASKET CASE. I couldn't keep focused on one thing for longer than 5 minutes and I was cleaning parts of the house I have never touched before. I was seriously running around all day. I was having contractions but was just more annoyed by them than anything. Aaron told me he was pretty sure I was in labor and we both laughed it off.
Around midnight, the contractions started to get more intense. I'd already gone through a false labor situation and was still two weeks from my due date so I didn't want to jump to conclusions and decided to take a warm bath to try to make them stop...but they just got worse. I finally called Megan and she sent Neil over to sleep on the couch. (Have I mentioned how much I LOVE living two blocks from my sister...cuz it's pretty much the greatest thing ever.)
The next two hours were HELL as the contractions escalated to ca-razy mode but as usual I don't progress so it took them a while to admit me. When the nurse checked me and I still hadn't progressed yet, Aaron was ready with a trombone app on his phone that he recently downloaded that goes "wa wa wa waaaaahhhh". That's a man for ya. The nurse was totally on my side and shot him an evil look. I have to admit it was actually pretty funny. Luckily as soon as I was admitted, the anesthesiologist was right there and hooked me up with an epidural. Three hours later Rex was born!
The actual delivery was a total breeze. Zero stiches makes a happy mamma. And with this little cutie pie as the reward, how could I ever complain?
Rex Bennett Parks. 6 pounds, 14 oz. 18 1/2 inches long. Lots of dark hair, most of which has fallen out by now, but it doesn't matter because he just keeps getting cuter.
I had lots of wonderful visitors in the hospital, but I have to say my favorite ones were Finn and Kate.
Coolest Aunt Ever award goes to Megan for not only taking care of them for a couple days but painting their faces too!
Love this video of Aaron helping Kate hold Rex:
Both kids are very good with the baby. Finn is a good helper and is always getting baby items for me or giving Rex his binki and Kate just LOVES to hold him and look at him.
My mom and dad arrived two days after I got home from the hospital -- perfect timing! Dad got right to work fixing a gazillion things around my house (seriously, he never stopped working) and Mom kept the older kids entertained, bought lots of groceries and gave Rex lots of cuddles. We even managed to get a few card games in! I was so sad to see them leave...they were soooo much help and such great company. Here are a couple shots of them in action:Aaron and I are both so happy with our little family. Rex is 6 weeks old now and a really good baby...a WAY easier newborn than my other two were and we are just in love with him. I took these pictures a couple weeks ago...he changes so much every day and is already chubbier than these pics.
Welcome to the fam little Rex. I know I didn't imagine it -- you looked right into my eyes and smiled at me today! I promise I'll try my hardest to be the mom you deserve, I already love you more than words can say.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August was Jam-Packed!

We started August off with a Harker family reunion. Day one was at Lagoon and both the kids had a blast with all their cousins. I enjoyed being there with my dad and lots of other family, even though my preggo-ness kept me from going on any rides. I'm pretty sure I will never feel too old for amusement parks, they are just plain exciting. The next night we camped in Heber. Finn had so much fun "exploring" all the cabins and playing with cousins. Here is a picture of Aaron and the kids on a hike they went on:
Finn's oh-so-fun birthday was next (accompanied with the not-so-fun flooding of our basement) but his party was after that, which helped wipe away the bad memories of soggy carpet and sopping towels. A full post about his birthday is below.

Next came a long-awaited member to our family:

Not the picture you were expecting? Well before the baby came we knew we needed a bigger car and so we took the plunge into van-dom. Aaron and I both love to drive it because we feel like we're steering a spaceship. Seriously. It's awesome.

And then on August 30th, we welcomed the REAL newest member of our family, Rex Bennett Parks! His birth story post is coming soon, but just know that we are all in love with him. He was definitely the best part of our busy August month!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Finn's a Grown-up Now

That was then...
This is now!

Finn turned 4 years old on August 8th! My sister has told me once that she felt her oldest son was "all grown up" when he was 4...which she realizes is silly now that he is 8 and so much older...and has so much growing left to do. I must admit that I have caught myself thinking of Finn that way because he knows so much and is so much bigger than Kate (and Rex! post about him coming soon). Four seems SO OLD when I think of my first tiny little baby with his bald head and chubby cheeks. But I am dedicated to reminding myself how little Finn still is, and how much nurturing he needs, and how much learning and growing he still has to do.
Finn's actual birthday started great with his special breakfast choice of milk and toast with nutella. We got free tickets to a movie at the theater down the street so went to that with a few of his cousins in the morning. Great fun! Then, to make a long story short, the day took a turn for the worse when I decided to get some canning done that turned into a forever ordeal and basically ignored Finn for the rest of the day which resulted in the kids flooding our basement...oy.
But later that week we had a fun family party that made up for the birthday chaos!
Helping me make his birthday cake
I am not a 'birthday cake mom' so was pretty stoked when Finn asked me to decorate his cake with the new Lego guys he got from grandparents for his birthday. Nice.

This was taken later that week when his cousins came to play. The Woody and Buzz dress-ups are birthday gifts. I know the picture is crazy out of focus, but it still makes me really, really happy.

Some things about Finn at this age:
He loves dress-ups, Lego, all pretend play and Star Wars. Wild Kratts is by far his favorite kids show and he is always spouting off animal facts. Learning how to read took a back seat during the summer, but he is still very interested in it and can sound out most reasonably-sized words. He is becoming less innocent (wah!) now that Kate is old enough to be a competitor and he has learned what makes her tic, but generally they get along really well. He has been nothing but sweet with his new baby brother. He is easy-going and pleasant to be around 90% of the time, with a short fuse (that probably comes from Mom) that results in the occasional screaming fit. We are working on that ;) He LOVES sunbeams and is always willing to participate in Primary. He loves to sing and be sung to, read and be read to. He loves to snuggle me in the morning. He is always surprising us with the clever/goofy things he says. He is our little grown-up! And we love watching him grow up more with each passing year. Happy Birthday Finn!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Canada Day and the 4th

We were thrilled to show our Canadian pride this year by participating in a local Canada Day parade! Finn's cousins decorated their power wheels and Finn had a blast riding in the back and throwing candy to the spectators. Here is the only picture I got (yes, Finn is completely hidden from view by the giant polka dot balloon). The power wheels ran out of battery half way through the route, so the kids had to be rescued, but a great time was had by all...including Kate. I love her smile at the end of this video:

The weekend of the 4th we took the kids to the park to see a patriotic musical and visit the colonial village. Here they are at "school" as it would have been in the olden days:
That night I took my sister Megan to Stadium of Fire for her birthday. (Brad Paisley was the main act and she really loves him.) I have never been and it did not dissapoint! Plus, we got hooked up with an extra ticket at the last minute so Tom could join us too!This is David Archuletta who was actually pretty great. I'm not zoomed in at all...we were so close to the stage!
Megan got so excited when Brad came out. He was great live!

And the fireworks after?! Total sensory overload, it was amazing. This video makes me so happy:

I didn't get any pictures of the 'actual' 4th of July but it was pretty great. As per tradition we went to Megan's for a BBQ and the men put on their extreme family fireworks show...which was extra crazy this year. It started to rain at the end of the night which put a damper on things, but it was still a fantastic day. Summer holidays are the best!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Kate is Two!

Kate had so much fun on her birthday this year. She still talks about her party saying, "cake, ice keem, outside, sing happy bid-day, pesents!"
We invited all our nearby family for pizza, cake and icecream, and Kate had a great time playing with her cousins and aunts and uncles. The weather was perfect!
Very much a girly girl, Kate loves putting on pretty dress-ups. She was very excited about this Princess Rapunzel dress with matching shoes
I love the following video because it was so cute how happy she got when we started singing "happy birthday". And we were all very impressed that she legitimately blew out her own candles!
. Here she is post-cake:

A few things about Kate at this age: Her vocabulary has exploded and she loves to have 'conversations' with us. She is very calculated when she speaks and will take her time to form sentences and express herself. She loves to say prayers, especially when Finn helps her. She is very good at saying please and thank you. She is excited about her baby brother on the way and frequently points to my belly and says, "baby, pop out, two monts, mom?" and I say "yes, soon you'll have a baby brother" and she replies, "oh, cool mom." She worships Finn and copies EVERYTHING he does. She especially loves the 'snuggle time' she gets with him at night before I make her get in her own bed and go to sleep. She is potty training (totally her own idea) and actually tells me when she needs to go...still working on staying dry all day though. Her tantrums are no longer cute, but she is very good at accepting consequences and often says sorry without being prompted. She is such a fun little girl and we are constantly amazed at her cuteness and sweet personality. Happy Birthday Kate!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Lagoon Trip

Since Aaron got the offer for his new job so quickly, we ended up having some extra cash from our severence and knew we had to celebrate. So we took the kids to Layton for the weekend, stayed in a hotel and went to Lagoon!
This was the first ride we went on. They were both so good while they waited in line.
We had such a great time. Since there were no other adults with us, Aaron and I didn't get to go on any big roller coasters but we didn't care; it was so much fun watching the kids experience all the rides and soak up the wonder of it all. I have so many fond memories of Lagoon as a kid and re-living it with my own kids was just a total blast.
On the train -- it was actually pretty cool! I forgot how many animals they have to see.
It was so cute watching them sit side-by-side on the rides together. Click on this one to see just how much Kate is enjoying it.

Kate got her nap in while the rest of us enjoyed a nice break on the ferris wheel. After that we got some dinner, watched one of the musical shows and hit a couple more rides before packing it in.
We got back to our hotel just in time for free cookies and milk in the lobby -- such a great end to the day! The kids were so excited about the hotel but calmed down quickly after a bath because they were so exhausted. At this point, Kate was still in a crib so we brought our playpen for her but she really wanted to lay by Finn so we let her. We thought it was so cute that she just snuggled next to him and went to sleep when she'd never even slept in a regular bed before.
The next day, we enjoyed the yummy breakfast at our hotel, went swimming in the pool and visited the Hill AFB Aerospace Museum before heading back to Orem. It was so wonderful to do something fun with our little family that we normally wouldn't have the means to do.