Sunday, October 6, 2013

Welcome Fall

I am so excited for Fall this year! Baking everything pumpkin, wearing boots, scarves, and comfy sweaters, watching General conference, fall photo shoots with all the beautiful color changes, Harper's 4th birthday, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. It's going to be a fun, busy season. 

We kicked Fall off in the Matthews household making some delicious chocolate chip pumpkin oatmeal cookies. We actually made them for our Young Women personal progress planning night. I was recently called as YW's president in my ward. I'm still in shock, but it's been really fun. 

Harper and I went to Elk Grove's Fall Festival yesterday with some good friends. It was so nice to have some one on one time with Harper and he had so much fun. Harper is the biggest animal lover I know, so he was in Heaven at the petting zoo. I just love this sweet, gentle boy so much.

 There was a really interesting performance by a San Francisco based theater group. Harper was fascinated. We got to mingle with the performers afterwards and overall, it was a pretty fun day. I already had a very good impression of Elk Grove. It's super family oriented, which is way different from Stockton. We have thought about possibly moving there at some point.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


Oh, instagram. You make me so lazy. I really feel like my kids should have pictures that are larger and better quality than 8 megapixels. And I call myself a photographer. Pshhh. My goal is to whip out my nikon more with the boys. I put so much work into client photos, not just taking them, but hours and hours of editing because I want them to have something clear and beautiful that they can display, in any size, on their walls. I love that our little cellphones can take pictures and with apps like instagram, afterglow, and VSCO cam, you have tons of different editing options, but it's time for me to get my act together and put in the time to take more pictures of the kids with my actual camera.

Yesterday, I had the most amazing session with my friend's parents. They've been married over 40 years, and I honestly have never seen a couple more in love. I laughed so much with the two of them during our session and teared up at several of the photos after. Love is so beautiful, especially after 40 years, 7 kids, and 14 grandkids. You can see more of their sweet session on my photography blog.
In the mean time, before I cut back, here's our life lately, according to instagram:

Harper pushing his girl, Makayla, through the aisles of Trader Joe's while she snacks on mango gummies. What a life :)

The cutest babes I know hanging out on the asparagus tunnel.

Ms. Sophie and me! Love this pretty girl and she actually loved me that day. Win!

Last week, I photographed the wedding of a very dear friend, Camille. Such a beautiful bride, and I could not be more happy for her and Edzekiel. After 9 years, it's about time they were hitched.

Hoodlums in the women's locker room at the gym.

Found a picture of me as a kid at my aunt's a few weeks ago and realized that I have a mini-me too! I mean, we already knew how much Harper looks like Anthony.

And here's Landon doing his weekend shopping and looking fabulous. I just love these boys.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Food Docs

I've been kind of obsessed with food documentaries lately. Just in the last few weeks, I've watched King Corn, Vegecated, Food Matters, and Forks over Knives. I studied nutrition in college and have always been really fascinated with it, despite my lack of self control when it comes to sugar. But I am way more motivated to eat better after watching these documentaries! The boys even tuned in and learned a thing or two.

Landon is pretty fascinated with the human body in general and is always asking about how different foods affect it. We were at a birthday party recently and someone gave him a fruit punch. He ran up to me and said, "Mommy, does this have red food dye in it?" I told him it did, but to go ahead and drink it anyway. Later we had the talk about sometime foods and anytime foods.

I can't tell you how much better I feel though by cutting certain foods out and eating a mostly plant based diet. My energy levels have been steady throughout the day and I just feel lighter and cleaner. If you have the time to just watch one documentary, watch Forks Over Knives. It is fascinating and could change your life.

Funny story//
I cut out meat recently and hadn't had it in weeks. Yesterday I went to Togo's and asked what their vegetarian options were. The manager literally spent about 10 minutes with me explaining all the different options I had. Very gracious of him considering there were like 40 people in line. After learning about all my choices, I went with a vegetarian salad, then asked for the baked potato soup. The manager gave me a kind of funny look, but went ahead and processed my order. I sat down, ate my salad (it was good), then took a bite of the baked potato soup. It was basically the most delicious thing I had ever tasted. I quickly took another bite, then another, then another, then I looked up at Anthony and said, "This has bacon". He was like, "Oh, shoot. Well, take it back". I felt reeeally bad, but I didn't take it back. It tasted too good freaking amazing.

So, I guess I'm not a vegetarian, but I will be making every effort to "eat meat sparingly". On a serious note, I think if we all ate less meat, there wouldn't be these factory farms that abuse animals so horrifically. :(

We've been eating pretty well around here though. More time spent in the kitchen, yes, but it's been fun.

We spent a few hours with my neighbors the other day. They have so many fruits and veggies planted in their backyard garden and I can't wait to start mine!

We are so ready for Summer! These are some "valentime" flowers the boys picked for me on our walk home the other day. So in love with these fellas :)

And here they are watering the lawn yesterday. It was gorgeous out!

On Saturday night, they fell asleep on the way to dinner. We woke them up, brought them into the restaurant, and they fell right back asleep on me! It was barely 7. They ended up sleeping all through dinner and stayed asleep until 9:00 the next day. Haha. I couldn't believe it! We got some crazy looks. People probably thought they were drugged.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Star Student

Landon is Star of the Week in preschool this week, which means we get to bring snacks, toys from home, and create a poster of pictures and all the things he loves. His teachers gave us a survey to fill out that will be shared with the class. I asked Landon each of the questions tonight as he colored pixar cars for his poster. Here are his word for word responses:

I love: to play my preschool learning games on the computer, Jason, my family. I love when I'm the star student, Grandma Ruth, and Lightening McQueen.
My birthday is: April 10th.
I am special because: I'm good to Daddy and Mommy and Harper.
My favorite book is: The Human Body book, especially the bones
My favorite food is: cheeseburgers
When I grow up I want to be: a police officer knight
My favorite color is: green, orange, and blue
My favorite thing to do is: drink water because I want to be strong and super fast to be a police officer
Tell us about your family: Mommy takes pictures. Daddy goes to work. Harper goes potty, and I go to preschool.

He asked why I was laughing as I wrote out that last one. Landon gets straight to the point. I love him so much. Last night, I kept him up for about an hour after Harper fell asleep, for some one on one time. We looked at pictures of him as a baby, watched his ultrasound video, and talked a LOT. He's like mommy... he can talk foreverrrr. He asked why we wanted a boy baby after he was born when they already had a boy baby. I told him Heavenly Father chooses that and wanted him to have a brother. I said if he wants a sister, he'll have to talk to Heavenly Father about that. Right away, he folded his arms and prayed, "Heavenly Father, help us to be good and can I please have a sister and a sister and a sister and a sister? In the name of Jesus Christ, amen".

I told him he just asked for four sisters. He said, "No, I didn't. I asked four times because I weally, weally, weally want a sister.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekend Report

This weekend was really good. Saturday we spent the day with friends, one of which is writing about me for a journalism class, so she had to shadow me for three hours. Literally half the time she was with me, I was cleaning. I planned to be interesting on Saturday, but I don't know what happened.
We did go to lunch at Kinder's. Landon and Harper started slapping each other around as usual. That's when Laura told them the police were going to come and arrest them for assault and battery. To our lovely surprise, not 3 minutes later, a pair of police officers walked in. And if you don't know, Landon is obsessed with police officers. That is currently his career of choice, so he can "punch bad guys in the face". Anyway, he would not stop staring at the officers, so I asked him if he would like to go say hi. He enthusiastically shook his head up and down and asked if I would come with him. He and the officers chit chatted for a few minutes about how he can become a police officer. They told him he has a lot of energy, so he'd be good for the job, but he needs to work really hard in school. Then they noticed Harper standing beside Landon. They commented on how he must be the quiet one (true) and asked him what he wants to be when he grows up. Easy, "Hulk Smash". They laughed. I hope these boys are always friendly with police officers, but... not too friendly.
I just realized we have had Leila for 9 months now and she hasn't even made an appearance on the blog. This is my third child. She is a boxer we rescued in April. I am in love with her. She understands me better than anyone else. I have a lot to say about this girl... I'll save it for her own post.

We had a family date at Elephant Bar on Saturday night. We each got our own desserts for the first time ever, which I realize is totally unnecessary, but oh, so good.

Harper gave the prayer in primary today. He seemed super excited to get up there, but a few seconds after standing at the pulpit, he got really nervous. I whispered a few short lines of prayer into his ear, and he whispered into the microphone, totally jumbling his words. I think the only thing anyone could understand was, "Jesus Christ, Amen!" He was glad to get that over with. I'm proud of him though. Sunbeam today, General Authority tomorrow. I have high ambitions for these kids.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Harper Survey 3.3

I took this picture to test the light before a session on Tuesday morning and I could not stop staring at it. Harper's my "baby" and I like to think of him as just that, a baby. But he's not. Sigh. He is so big. What I love most about Harper right now is how sweet and sensitive he is. He has such a kind soul. He is quick to say sorry, quick to obey, and the best snuggler in the whole entire world! He is still so squishy, I love it.

 Anyway, I've seen those kid surveys floating around Pinterest. They suggest doing one every six months or every year, but I know I won't remember, so I'm just going to do them when it's on my mind. Here's Harper's from today, age 3 years + 3 months:

Favorite food: Ice cream
Favorite sport: Bowling ball
Favorite show: Wild Kratts
Favorite thing to do at school: Play with the dinosaur animals (at Landon's preschool)
If you could go anywhere on an airplane, where would you go: Animal land
Favorite color: Green
When you grow up, what are you going to be: A grown up
Favorite song: Wild Kratts
Favorite book: Animals book
3 words that describe you: Candy, puppy, poop on the potty (um?)
Favorite snack: Chocolate covered blueberries
Yuckiest food: Salad
Best friend: Jeremiah
People you miss: Thomas
Favorite place to go: Chuck E. Cheese
Favorite pet: Leila

Sunday, January 20, 2013

highs and lows

I have to admit that this week kicked my tush. Big time. It's basketball season, and not only is Anthony  coaching full time, working full time, and in school full time (superman, I tell you), he is crazy and started picking up overtime to score keep for the boys' games after his own practices!

What does that make me? A single mom. I should be used to it. Actually, for the most part, I am, but the kids have been cuh-razy this week. Have you ever just had one of those weeks where the kids are crying and whining about everything?

To top things off, Leila snuck into a package of Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate muffins (the big ones) and ate every single one. Then she crapped on the floor.
I'm happy to report that the week did get better.  I think it started with these crepes. Thanks, Pinterest.
I had a few moments of childhood nostalgia. While folding laundry, I had to kick the kids off the couch, so I made a "birds nest" for them to snuggle in while they watched a movie.

Another high note, was finding these hilarious glasses. Thanks, Target.
For FHE, on Monday we went to Barnes and Noble and I let the boys pick out one book each. Landon picked out two Wreck it Ralph activity books, a Thomas the Train sticker book, and a science book about human anatomy.  I told him he had to pick just one out of the three. To my surprise, he chose the science book. They are both obsessed with it and have already had me read it several times this week. Future, doctors? ...Buy me house? ;)
The best news of the week came after we got the Bob book beginner reading sets. Landon's been trying really hard to sound out letters, then make out words. The first time he read the first book by himself, I couldn't help but tear up. Of course I'm proud of him, but what got me so emotional was how proud he was of himself and how hard he worked to get there. He's a determined kid (which can be a challenge for me), but I'm thankful he's channelling that into something positive.

If your child is identifying letters and sounds, I would highly recommend the Bob books. What I love about them, is that they make reading so simple. I wish I would've had them for Landon sooner. The first book has 6 letters, then the next book uses those same letters plus 2, and they slowly add more with each book, so they build up to the rest of the alphabet gradually getting more and more comfortable and confident. I sound like a paid sponsor. Haha, I wish. But really, these books are awesome.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

counting blessings

I felt pretty depressed yesterday. I've been unusually tired lately. Probably because I've slipped up and started eating gluten, but I found myself just feeling down about everything. After getting the kids to sleep, I looked around the house, feeling purely exhausted and overwhelmed. 

The boys made a "couch fort" with all the blankets and pillows piled high onto the sofa. There were children's books scattered from the living room all the way into the bathroom (yeah, bathroom!). Laundry was piled even higher than usual. Dinner dishes were still on the table and I know it sounds petty, but I went over my calorie goal for the day and felt really bad about it.

Then I felt selfish. 

We have the comforts of a sofa and warm blankets. My children have books to read and toys to play with. They have clothes to wear. We had a good dinner-- and better yet, got to eat it together, so rare during basketball season. 

I found myself getting teary-eyed as I began to count my blessings. I no longer felt the burdens of the day, but those negative feelings being swept away and replaced with gratitude and happiness. 

"Count your blessings, name them one by one, count your blessings, see what God hath done"

I hope I can remember this experience on other "bad" days as I complain about "first world problems". 
And queue pictures of my babies-- I mean big boys. 

^^ This was after I forgot to empty the bath water and Landon decided to sit on the edge of the tub. He slipped in. I died laughing and couldn't stop. He didn't think it was that funny.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

no more kids in nursery

This Sunday was Harper's second week in primary. Last week, we dropped him off in that big room full of big kids, Landon on the other side of it. He was quiet, but seemed fine. This week we dropped him off and he looked so sad. He said, "I want to go to my class", the class with the toys, the class with the snacks, the class without chairs, or high expectations. To be honest, nursery is where daddy and I preferred to be during second hour as well. Now we actually have to go to class. I guess we have some growing up to do, too...

Anyway, it's just becoming more and more real to me that these boys are no longer babies. They are growing up, and I'm not sure how to feel about it. Landon has always been so mature for his age, but it was easy for me to pretend Harper was a baby this long. He's still so snuggly and squishy! It's time for me to embrace these stages, encourage growth, and celebrate new achievements.
Love these crazies.