Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Hallie, Gracie and Clara were outside last night just after dark "exploring".  They said they were taking notes on what they saw and being "creative".  This is what they brought for me to read. Spelling and punctuation has been updated so you can actally read it.

Dear Hallie and Gracie,
It's too cold, I could die.
Your friend, Ladybug

Dear Hallie and Gracie,
We worked hard today.
Your friends, Ants.

Dear Hallie and Gracie,
I'm getting ready for bed.
Your friend, Beetle.

Dear Hallie and Gracie,
I climbed a lot before bed so our energy is gone.
Your friend, Cricket

Dear Hallie and Gracie,
My kids are in the eggs, but they're quiet for bed.
Your friend, Spider

Dear Hallie and Gracie,
I was asleep the whole day!
Your friend, Rock

Dear Hallie and Gracie,
I'm smashed so much.  Help!
Your friend, Pinecone

Dear Hallie and Gracie,
Almost all the stars are out.
Your Friend, Star

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's been a while...

So, a lot has happened since I last posted.  So to make things easier for me, I'll just list them and throw in a few pictures to go along. (These are not necessarily in chronological order).

  • At the end of April we made a trip back down to Tallahassee so Tony could walk in his graduation!  He could have walked in December but we were a little busy having a baby that weekend. Tony's parents flew in to Tallahassee and celebrated with us.  Then they drove up to Athens to spend even more time with us.   We loved having them here and are so blessed to have such great support all around us!    

It was a long night for Elizabeth but doesn't Tony look handsome in his robes?!  We're so proud of him!

  • School pictures--I thought they turned out so great!

Hallie--2nd grade
William--3rd grade

  • William spent a week at cub scout day camp.  The theme was "Knights of the Round Table" and they did all kinds of fun knight stuff.  At the end they watch some guys dressed as knights sword fight then got knighted themselves!
Can you see Will in the middle?
  • Swimming lessons
  • A trip to the Lion's club fair in Athens.  
  • Lot's of playing on our porch swing.
William, Hallie, Gracie, Clara, Elizabeth--we miss that swing!
  • We moved in the middle of July to a bigger house more out in the country.  It has stairs, which was a priority for Gracie.  It also has a basement for storage with a storm shelter in it, which we actually had to use this weekend when the tornado siren went off.  Luckily, nothing happened, but it added a little excitement to our Sunday afternoon.
  • We took a trip to Idaho and Utah!  We drove for 2 days to get to Logan Canyon where we camped with Tony's family for his family reunion.  Then drove to Newdale to spend a few more days with Tony's family.  We did so much fun stuff with them, like going to a Piano Guys concert!  Our whole family loves them, so it worked out so great that they were in Rexburg the week we were.  We bought their CD and listened to it tons on the drive home.  Whenever it comes on Clara yells, "piano guys, Mom!"
  • After spending a few days with Tony's family we drove to UT to spend some time with my family.  My brother's kids were their the whole time so we got lots of cousin time!  
  • While in UT, Hallie turned 8!  So she got baptized in UT so our family could come.  Beverly had this beautiful dress for Hallie due to a little mix up with my nieces dress, which worked out beautifully for us!   

We took a few pictures of Hallie wearing her baptism dress while holding her blessing dress to display at her baptism.  She looks so beautiful and we are so proud of her decision and the wonderful girl she is!
Right before the baptism.  I'm one lucky lady to have such a great family!

  • We took 3 days to drive home so we could stop in Colorado Springs to see Tony's sister's family, then in Kansas to see our good friends.  Hopefully next time we'll be able to spend more than a few hours with each of them!
  • A few weeks after getting home we settled into our new house and celebrated Clara's 3rd birthday.  We just had a few friends over to play and had cake and ice cream.

Everyone wanted to help.  And yes, we used Christmas wrapping paper..don't judge !)

  • Now we've started at a new school.  So far things are going well and the kids are making friends.  Gracie is also playing soccer and William is playing football which means our nights are pretty full.  Gracie's first game is tonight and she cannot wait!

First day of school--William, Hallie and Gracie.  Clara was all ready  to go with her backpack too.  

  • This weekend we took the kids to this little tiny splash park in Ardmore.  It only had 3 fountains shooting up, but the kids thought it was great.  Clara loved sitting on the fountains and Elizabeth loved trying to drink from them.  

  •  A quick update on Elizabeth.  She's now 8 months old and crawling all over the place.  She can even go up the stairs but not down.  She can stand for a minute or two and even took a step the other day, but it's a little early to expect her to walk.  It won't be long though.  She got her first tooth this weekend with the second coming any day (I hope!).  She has the funnest personality.  She smiles all the time and loves to be where the action is.  She's incredibly determined (which will hopefully be a good thing when she's older) and extremely active.  We love her so much!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

There's a reason I don't like them playing in the front yard

My kids always want to play in the front yard. We have this awesome porch swing that I let them play on, but usually I tell them to stay out of the yard. On Friday they were waiting for a friend to come over so I let them wait out in the yard. A few minutes later Hallie came in and said, "Mom, don't be mad. Gracie is stuck in the ditch." I usually get nervous when she starts something with "don't get mad", but the ditch in the yard is not that big. How could she get stuck in it. I came out to see Gracie's head sticking out of the drainage pipe! She had gone in feet first, but on coming out had wedged her leg perpendicular to the pipe. Here's a picture of the pipe for reference.
As Hallie stood on the side crying I tried to figure out how to unwedge Gracie's leg. Gracie started to get worried when I couldn't get her out right away so she cried, "Pray, Mama! Pray!" At least now she was making good decisions! Every time I tried to move her leg she said it hurt so I started wondering if I would have to call the police. Luckily, after just a few failed attempts, Gracie was able to bend her leg underneath her, go all the way inside until she was under the grate, then she had room to straighten out her leg and slide back out--straight this time.

Tony pulled up from work just as Gracie was climbing out. He had brought brownies home (leftover from a luncheon) so the kids quickly forgot the ordeal and enjoyed their brownies. I kept asking Gracie why on earth she climbed in there. At first she said she slipped. When I didn't buy that she finally admitted she wanted to see if she could fit. Apparently she can, just not sideways.

On a different note, here's some pictures of Elizabeth. She had her one month check up on Wednesday and is now 11lbs. 2 oz. and 22 1/2" long. That's 2 pounds heavier and 1" longer than when she was born. She's already in size 2 diapers since she has chubby little thighs. I've never had a baby grow this fast. All my others were born average (or maybe a little more) then they grew incredibly slow. Like a full 2 months to get to 10 pounds slow. But not Elizabeth! And at the risk of jinxing myself, she slept 6 straight hours last night! None of my other kids did that this early either. Hopefully it wasn't a fluke.

Elizabeth does smile when you can get her to look at you, but it takes a lot more work than it did with Clara. I tried for quite a while to get a picture of her smiling, but this is as close as we got.

Clara loves Elizabeth and always know what she wants. "Baby wants a pacifier." "Baby wants some milk." "Baby wants a bath." "Baby wants a sippy cup." (As she tries to feed Elizabeth her sippy cup) When Clara wants to hold Elizabeth she says, "I wanna hold it." Which makes us think she sees Elizabeth as one of her dolls.

Here's a nice picture of Clara holding Elizabeth.

Here's what it usually looks like. (Don't worry, she's not actually choking!)

Monday, December 19, 2011

She finally arrived!

She was 5 agonizing days late, but Elizabeth Mae Ricks has finally arrived! She was born December 16, 2011 at 2:45 am. She was 9 lbs 2 oz and 21" long. By far my biggest baby. I was afraid she'd be big since she was late, but it could have been worse!

Here's the quick story. I was expecting her to be born the weekend of December 11 (her due date), so when that weekend came and went I was getting pretty frustrated. The next Tuesday I was having contractions 2 separate times that were pretty regular, then they just stopped. So annoying! Thursday I had another appointment and was going to ask to be induced but since it's so close to Christmas I didn't think they'd be able to get me in until the next week. But to my surprise they said I could go into the hospital the next day (Friday, Dec. 16). Since I'm Group B positive they wanted me to go in that night to start the antibiotic, then they'd induce that morning and I'd probably have her by noon. Sounded great! We made arrangements for someone to watch the kids while Tony took me to the hospital, then he was going to come home, sleep with the kids, get them off to school the next day and get back to the hospital in time to start the induction.

So that's what we did. He took me to the hospital, got me all hooked up and went home to bed around 10:00. I tried to sleep but about 11:00 I was having contractions (on my own) but because of earlier in the week I tried to ignore them. This time, however, they were getting really painful and closer together. So around 1:00am I called Tony and told him I thought I was already in labor. He called our friend back and got back to the hospital by 1:30. The nurses checked me and I had gone from a 2 when I got there to a 6. So we called for an epidural. The guy took forever to get there, but once he did I felt so much better. Now that I wasn't in constant pain I actually started falling asleep when the doctor came in and said it was time to push. So I pushed twice through 1 contraction and Elizabeth was born at 2:45am! Tony and I slept for a few hours then Tony went home to get the kids ready for school. Then he came back to sleep with me and Elizabeth. My doctor's were great and let me come home Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday morning.

The funnest part of all this is Gracie's birthday is December 17. So now we have 2 birthdays 2 days in a row! Gracie had a great birthday visiting us in the hospital, getting "smoothies" with dad (they were really Icee's) and playing with friends all day. I think this works out better than having their birthdays on the same day. This way they each get their own special day!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

Tonight, we put the kids in bed a little early--like 10 minutes, which is 1 hour in kid time. A few minutes later Gracie came in to say Hallie was laying in the middle of the bed (they share a queen bed). Tony went in to resolve the issue. Hallie sleeps at one end, Gracie at the other. As he left he had a little exchange with the girls. It's pretty typical--for us anyway.

Tony: Now don't get out of bed again or you lose your Wii time for tomorrow.

Gracie: What if we're bleeding or on fire?

Tony: Then just yell, "I'm bleeding!" or "I'm on fire!"

Hallie: Well, you'll have to hurry!

Tony: I will, but neither of those things are going to happen...just go to sleep!

This is almost a nightly occurance for us. Usually they're worried about more dramatic things, like earthquakes. Please tell me we're not the only ones!

P.S. Hallie has already gotten out of bed twice since I started writing this. If I were a good parent I'd tell her she's lost her Wii time, but tonight I'm too tired!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I know, I know...

...it's been way too long since my last post. We made it here to Athens, AL in the beginning of August. My mom and brother, Todd, flew in to help us make the move and I am SO glad they did! We would not have been able to do it without them. We drove a U-haul from Tallahassee to Athens and what should have taken 7 hours took nearly 12 (it's a long story--maybe someday I'll go into it). Once we made it we got the kids registered for school. I found a doctor and made my first appointment for the week my mom was still here. I wasn't sure if they'd do an ultrasound at that first visit, but they did and you'll never guess. We're having a....nother girl! Yep, that makes 4 girls and 1 boy. They kids took it really well and now we are all excited for the new addition (who still won't be here for 10 more weeks).

Tony started his new job and is doing really well. Everyone he works with is really great and they all LOVE Clara. Every time I go to visit there are about 4-5 ladies all gathered around to watch Clara climb the giant staircase in the front of the library. In other big news, Tony finished up his dissertation last week. He defends next week and we could not be more excited. Ever since we got here he's been working 10 hour days, coming home for dinner then going back to work for another few hours after the kids go to bed. We haven't had much of a chance to explore the area, but now that he's done we have lots of plans! I'll let you know how the defense goes once he passes.

So here's a few pictures of things I should have shared a while ago.

Now that Tony isn't spending Saturdays working, he took the kids on a little hike yesterday before conference started. Here they are as wolves (I'm sure it was Will's idea).

I just love Hallie's poses!

Our new house has an awesome porch swing. Here's my mom with her grandkids. We're out there at least once a day.

While my mom and Todd were here we visited the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville.

Before we left Tallahassee, our awesome home teacher brought over some of his light saber collection so we could have a real light saber fight. Clara was a formidable opponent.

He even brought over a real Darth Vader mask. Combine it with the red light saber and you've got the real thing!

We also had a birthday party for Hallie before we left. It was a great way to see all our friends one last time.

We miss you all in Tallahassee! Everyone here has been great and we really like it, but it's just not the same. I guess it's just taking me longer to get used to this move than I thought, but looking at all these pictures makes me miss you all so much!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Clara's new look

A few months ago Tony and I noticed Clara crossing her eyes...a lot. At first I thought maybe she was doing it on purpose, but she's a little young for that. Since it was Gracie's eye crossing that lead me to an eye doctor with her (at age 16 months) I decided to take Clara in. And sure enough, she has the same thing Gracie does. It's called accommodative esotropia--which means she's far-sighted and crosses her eyes to see clearly. Now she has glasses and won't need to cross her eyes to see. Luckily I kept the only pair of Gracie's glasses that survived toddlerhood, so I got Clara's prescription put in them. I also got another pair through insurance so now we have the luxury of 2 pairs--something I never had with Gracie. It's taken her a few weeks, but now she'll keep them on for long stretches of time. She looks adorable and when she looks at books she looks like a little baby genius.

I also gave her her first official hair cut. Now it sits right at her shoulders and slightly curls under all on it's own. Pair the hair cut with the glasses and I think she looks doubly adorable.

Another new thing for Clara is to climb up as high as she can. We have a "mountain" of boxes in the front room and anytime we leave the door open she climbs up the boxes as high as she can get. She also discovered how to climb to the top of the computer desk. We usually have some paper and a few Books of Mormon up there, so of course, she has to clear those off before she climbs up. She also can climb up William's toy shelves in his room. So far she's never fallen off, but there's a first for everything.
See, she looks like she can actually read that book!
One last new thing for Clara is her love for our front room closet. I keep most of our food storage in there. But since I've packed most of it up Tony thought it would be fun to stick Clara in there--he thought she might like it. He set her in there and closed the door. It was pitch black so you might have expected an immediate cry, but Tony opened it to find her playing with a box of noodles and saying "bye, see ya later" over and over again. So he got her a light and left her for a minute. Still, she was fine. After a while he forced her out and she threw a huge fit. The next day she wanted in again and when I wouldn't let her she threw another fit. It's really cute, I just don't have time to sit by the closet door waiting her to to want out.