Sunday, December 6, 2009

Family Pictures

In November we went to Sears (thank you coupons that come in the mail!) and had our family pictures taken. As always it was quite an adventure. I had planned on the girls just wearing the purple shirt and some jeans. Then 30 minutes before we were supposed to leave Hallie's shirt was wet. 15 minutes later it didn't look any drier so I asked her if that was really water on her shirt or did she get something else on. Then she says, "It's makeup. I thought it would make my shirt prettier." She had put lip gloss all over the front of her shirt so that she would look extra pretty. So then we had to have the talk about how you need to tell the truth the first time and also about how makeup only goes on your face.

Tony and tried frantically to wash it in the sink and dry it with my blow drier, but it would not come out. So at the last minute I decided they could just wear the dresses the shirts came with and you wouldn't even be able to see the lip gloss. As luck would have it Hallie's dress lasted just long enough for the pictures to be taken. Then one of the straps broke as we left the mall.

I think they turned out pretty well for all the trouble we went through. They show each of the kids personalities (even Clara's since she was dry until we got into the room to take the picture, then she spit up every 2 minutes--that's my baby).

Next time we won't get the kids dressed until we are ready to say cheese.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


We had a wonderful Halloween this year. We went trick-or-treating with some friends from Will's school and some friends from the ward, in a neighborhood famous for it's trick-or-treating.

Here is everyone minutes before going trick-or-treating. Since we weren't going in our neighborhood and I didn't want to take candy from others without giving any, we left a bowl on the doorstep with a little note. My writer/husband came up with a little poem. It read "Please take only one, thank you. We'd hate to hunt you down and spank you."

William was a scary pirate. He wanted Captain Jack Sparrow, but that specific costume can be kind of pricey. So we went with a generic pirate who happened to be named Captain Jack Sparrow.

Hallie was a mermaid. She started out wanting to be Ariel. But then some friends had a mermaid costume of Nori from Barbie Mermaidia. But then Hallie didn't want to wear the blue wig so we ended up as a plain ole mermaid.

Gracie was the most beautiful Snow White ever. All three kids are in this picture (which was taken by our friends whose house we parked at). William is coming up to get some candy and Hallie is running back to the car to get her and Gracie's candy bags.

For Clara's first Halloween we used the costume I bought 5 years ago for Hallie's first Halloween. She was an ice cream cone with cherry on top! We took her out of the costume to put her in her car seat to drive to the other neighborhood. Then she fell asleep and we never put it back on her, so she wore the costume for a total of 5 minutes. But they were the cutest 5 minutes in history!

Fall Fun

It's a little late, but here are some pictures of our pumpkin carving experience 2 weeks ago.

First we went to a local church to pick our pumpkins. It was about to storm so we had to hurry!

Then we cleaned out and drew our design on each pumpkin. Will's was a lion.

Gracie chose a small pumpkin because "I'm small". She drew her inspiration from the "daddy jack-o-lantern" as seen below.

Hallie's was an original design, just like Hallie. Her's was the biggest pumpkin which gives a little hint into her personality.

We all had a great time. Unfortunately, southern living isn't designed for putting your pumpkins on the porch. After 1 week Hallie's pumpkin looked like Santa Claus because it was covered in fluffy, white mold. Next year we'll wait until just before Halloween.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Blessing Day

Clara Mae Ricks was blessed on September 6, 2009. Tony's parents flew in from Idaho for the weekend to be with us. My parents weren't able to be there, but my mom did contribute by making Clara's beautiful blessing dress. Here are a few pictures.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Story

Now that I'm home from the hospital I thought I'd tell you the whole story of Clara Mae Ricks. As with most stories, the best part is at the end so I'll try to move this along.

Saturday morning I woke up and was having contractions, but I had been having contractions all week so this was nothing new. We decided to go walking all day and see if that would get something done since my due date had come and gone. So we took the kids to Florida History Museum downtown and to Sam's Club. We walked and walked and still I was having contractions but the only thing hurting was my legs. But by Saturday evening the contractions were somewhat closer together and a little painful. So we got the kids stuff ready, made plans for Sunday in case we were gone, and put the kids to bed. By 10:30 my contractions were still really irregular, but averaged about 4 minutes apart so we called Jen Vanderhoof. I told her I wasn't sure if they would let me stay, but I didn't want to wait too long, so she came over and slept with the kids while we were gone.

We got to the hospital about midnight and luckily they let me stay. By 1:30 we were in our room and by 3:00 I had my epidural. We were both exhausted (and the hardest part was still to come) so we tried to get some sleep. The midwife came and broke my water at 4:00 and soon after I started to feel the contractions again. At little after 5:00 the nurse checked me and said, "well, your gonna have a baby!" So she got the midwife and by 5:30 I was pushing.

Now, here's where our story takes an interesting turn. I'll let Tony tell this part!

Nicole is apparently getting better and better at these things, but I'm getting worse and worse. Right before the baby was actually born I passed out in a nearby chair. I woke up to the baby crying, with two nurses taking care of me, while the midwife and other nurses were taking care of Nicole and Clara. I had a cold wash cloth on my neck and forehead and they wouldn't let me get up. I could hear Clara, but couldn't see her. Finally after I had some food and drink in my system I could get up and see Clara. I may not have seen the birth, but I was right by Nicole's side the whole time. However if by some strange sequence of events they switched Clara at birth, I would never know.

Alright, Nicole's back. Wasn't that fun! Poor Tony had been up for 20 straight hours and had nothing to eat since for almost 12. If we hadn't been surrounded by nurses I probably would have been worried, but I had a lot of other things on my mind and knew he was taken care of.

So other than that, everything went wonderfully. She was actually born at 5:39am on August 16, 2009 and was 8 lbs. 12 oz. and 20 1/4 inches long. She was been a great baby so far. I just hope she keeps it up!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Clara Mae Ricks

Clara Mae Ricks was born today at around 5:20 a.m. She has been quite calm and peaceful. She weighs 8 pounds, 12 ounces. I (Tony) brought Will, Hallie, and Gracie to the hospital in the morning and again in the evening to see and hold Clara. They all love their new baby sister. Hallie even drew a picture of her today while she stayed at the Vanderhoof's house. Here are some more pictures that we shot with our digital camera today. Unfortunately, we haven't got a picture of her with her eyes open yet, although she has had them open quite a bit. By the way, notice how Hallie carefully posed herself in the background of the picture with William, Nicole, and the baby! Totally Hallie!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Even the tooth fairy makes mistakes

The tooth fairy did remembered to takes Will's note/tooth last night. But what she didn't remember was that there was a $5 bill inside the folded up $1 bill she left him. So imagine Will's surprise when he woke up in the morning and found she had left him $6! Now I have to explain that I don't think the tooth fairy meant to leave that much and he should not expect $6 each time he looses a tooth. Since he has 3 other loose teeth it shouldn't be too long before he learns that the tooth fairy usually only leaves $1.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Has anyone seen this tooth?

Will has had 4 loose teeth for quite a while now. His top front teeth are just barely loose and the the bottom 2 teeth next to his middle teeth (does that make sense) have also been loose. He lost his bottom front teeth last summer and not much has happened since...until today! The tooth on the left has been getting more loose every day. This morning it was there at breakfast; then he went to wash his hands a few hours later and it noticed it was gone! We haven't been able to find it so he wrote a letter to the tooth fairy saying he lost a tooth and he drew a picture of it so the tooth fairy knows that he really did lose a tooth. Hopefully she remembers tonight to leave him a little present under his pillow. She had a hard time remembering last summer!

Anyway, I think he looks pretty cute with the missing tooth. But you can judge for yourself!
P.S. As a side note for those who are wondering--I have 9 days left to D-day. Other than feeling humongous and hot all the time, I feel fine. There's not really anything to report. But once there is, believe me, you'll know!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Happy Birthday, Hallie!

Well, it's official. Hallie has been counting down to this for a few weeks now! And it has finally arrived. Yesterday was Hallie's 5th birthday. That morning she was sitting on the couch watching cartoons when she looked up and said, "I'm 5 now!"--like she had just realized it at that moment. Super cute!

We had a birthday party for her Saturday afternoon. She invited only girls because it was a princess party. We had Emma Thomas, Sarah Brock, Hannah and Laura Porter, Lana Smith, Jessica Gomillion, Catherine Tew, and Jessica Price (plus William, Hallie, and Gracie). Total that's 11 kids, which was a few more than I had planned on even though I was the one to hand out all the invitations. Can I use the excuse that I'm 2 weeks away from having a baby for my lack of proper planning?

The girls started out coloring princess pictures and putting glitter all over them. Then the girls all danced to princess music while Tony and I got pizza ready. After eating pizza the girls danced a little more while we cleaned up, then we opened presents. Hallie could not wait! She got a lot of fun princess stuff from all of her friends. After we opened presents we sang "Happy Birthday" and blew out the candles. As she blew out the candles, Hallie wished that she could have fun if she got a pony. I'm sure if she ever does get a pony it would be a ton of fun, but I told her not to count on ever actually getting one.

After the cake and ice cream (Kathy made her the cutest princess cake) the girls all played while they waited their turn for me to paint their fingernails. Once everyone's nails were either pink or red, it was time to go home. But somewhere in the middle of all that Hallie said, "This has been the best day ever!" That's all I wanted to hear!

After all the friends were gone we cleaned up and rested for a while before taking her to the mall so she could get some jewelry from Claire's. Of course, I had to let Gracie get something too so there wouldn't be constant fighting. This is one of the times I have had to realize that Hallie and I have very different taste. She didn't like anything I pointed to. It made me very afraid for the next 13 years. I hope I'm up for it! I also have to say sorry to my mom because I know she and I were the same way. I hope I didn't make your life too miserable, Mom!

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Hallie! I love you so much! I couldn't imagine my life without you!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rain, rain go away...

On Saturday we wanted to go swimming at the YMCA. So we all put our suits on, drove down to the Apalachee YMCA, got in, went potty, took off our flip flops, went to get in the pool and right as the kids put their feet in the lifeguard blows the whistle. He heard lightening from some clouds like 10 miles south of us, but because of it we all had to stay out of the pool for 1/2 hour. Bummer! The kids were so disappointed. I was too. It's been hot lately and the pool sounded so good.

So we took the kids home and set up the spinkler in the backyard. After a while it made a big mud puddle. Tony hooked the spinkler up in the tree and set a couple of slides under it to make a water slide. While Will and Hallie went down the slide Gracie played in the mud and got mud up to her elbows and almost to her knees, but she couldn't be happier. By the way, it did rain eventually, 3 hours later and only for 5 minutes.

(Here's a little glimpse into Will's personality. In the last picture it looks like Will was running away, but he wasn't. He posed like that.)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

If only mini golfing was so easy...

We were watching our family movies on Sunday and I fell in love with this one. My kids are so cute I can hardly stand it!

We recorded the kids mini golfing last March. Even though it was just 3 months ago I feel like they've all grown so much, especially Gracie. They just don't stay little for long (sniff, sniff).

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Practice makes perfect

We went back to Disney World this weekend (before the blackout dates started). But the day before we left, the kids were practicing waiting in line and going on rides. Here's a little clip!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Just Pictures

I thought I'd add just some pictures for more Ricks' family fun!
This is Hallie and Will at Animal Kingdom outside the River Rapids ride. Obviously they didn't mind getting soaked.
Will loves dinosaurs, so naturally he loved the Dino town in Animal Kingdom. Here he is in front of a T-Rex, or as he would say, "the king of the dinosaurs."
Again at Animal Kingdom. They had a petting zoo which they all loved. But if you look behind Will, Hallie especially loves the goats. She even tried to kiss the goat, but I was able to stop her before too many germs were passed. Has anyone heard of "goat flu?" I hope not.
Gracie and Hallie in their sunglasses on the carousel in the Magic Kingdom. We bought all three kids a pair of sunglasses on Monday as a souvenir. Gracie lost hers on Wednesday while I was rushing to get to the Lion King show on time. The whole way there she was saying, "Mom....Mom!" I thought she wanted a drink or something so I told her to wait until we got there. Then as I got her out of the stroller she said,"Are we going back for my glasses now?" She had dropped them and I wouldn't listen to her to stop and pick them up. I was so mad at myself, but I learned my lesson. So I went to put her prescription glasses on and I couldn't find them either. My nephew had thrown them out of the stroller on our way to Lion King. So we lost both her glasses in 15 minutes. I was pretty bummed. But miraculously they both turned up at the lost and found the next morning! The prescription glasses had been stepped on but they were fixable. So at the end of the week we had all three pairs of sunglasses and 1 of 2 pairs of Gracie's glasses (we did lose the other pair in the house somewhere on Sunday morning right before we left, but it could have been worse).

It's all so magical...

Well, it's been a week now since we've been back, but I have computer issues. But while my computer is acting semi-normal I better get this posted. We spent 8 days in Orlando starting May 2. Tony's brother, Matt, and his family flew out to Orlando and we all stayed in this great house for 8 days.
We checked in on Saturday afternoon and went swimming in our own private pool. Then Sunday we tried to go to church, but had some direction issues and never found the church. But it's the thought that counts, right? But then Monday we headed off to Disney World where we spent the next 6 days.

We started with the Magic Kingdom. I know it sounds corny, but it really is magic. I remember going to Disneyland with all my girlfriends as our senior trip in high school. We all walked into the gates and said, "This really is the happiest place on earth!" That's exactly how I felt 10 years later (wow, has it really been 10 years!). Everything about each Disney park is impressive and magical.
Anyway, we did all we could at the Magic Kingdom on Monday, then spent Tuesday in Epoct. We met Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Donald, and Goofy but our camera had run out of battery and we weren't able to get pictures. Wednesday we went to Animal Kindgom. Being 26 weeks pregnant I couldn't do 90% of the rides there, and Gracie was too small so I took her and my 2-year-old nephew to the Lion King show. It was amazing. We also saw "Finding Nemo: The Musical" which as equally impressive. Thursday we went to Hollywood Studios. That day was especially hot so we didn't end up staying for too long.

Friday was my nephew's birthday so he got to choose which park to go back to. With hardly any help from us he picked Magic Kingdom. So we went back and did all we weren't able to do the first day and a few of the things we wanted to do again. Hallie, Graice and their cousin Jaxine even got to meet Princess Aurora (Sleeping Beauty for those fathers who should know, but don't), Cinderella, and Belle. Will and Hallie both LOVED Splash Mountain. I didn't think my kids were quite old enough to like roller coasters, but I was dead wrong. Gracie, on the other hand, didn't really like the kiddie coaster she went on in Toon Town. At least one of my kids is like me.
Saturday we went back to Hollywood Studios since we didn't spend much time there on Thursday. Hollywood Studios has Will's favorite thing of all: Lights, Motors, Action. It's a stunt show with cars that chase each other, spin, and fly off jumps. There's also a big explosion at the end. Will said it was his favorite thing from the whole week. Hallie's was Splash Mountain. Tony's favorite was doing Splash Mountain with Will and Hallie, because of how much they enjoyed getting soaked. Gracie didn't really have a favorite, but her and I had a great time going on all the small rides together.

We planned on going to the temple one morning but found out it was closed after my brother and sister-in-law drove out there and couldn't get in. So now we have to go back to Orlando in June so I can go to the temple one more time before the baby's born. And while we're there we might as well go to Disney World again. We now have seasons passes, so we have a year to go back as much as we want.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


On Saturday Tony ran the "Engineers without Borders 5K" with Jonathan and Mary Ann Carr. It started at 9:00 so Jonathan and Mary Ann brought me Riley and picked up Tony so they could go early. The kids and I got there about 9:10 so we missed the start, but we were there to cheer for them at the finish. After expecting them around 30 minutes, imagine my surprise to see Tony coming in to the finish with a time of 26:23 minutes. Mary Ann came in a few minutes later and Jonathan a few minutes after her. I planned to have all the kids waiting at the finish line but they were having a great time playing with a bunch of sticks that had fallen off some trees from the storm last week.

Everyone had a great time. Tony, Mary Ann, and Jonathan all did great and were feeling pretty good afterward. The free Krispy Kreme doughnuts and fruit made the race even better! All the running got Hallie in the mood to exercise which she was doing until we went home and even more later that night. Will and Hallie both want to race with daddy next time. So we did some practice races at the finish line once everyone had come in. Hallie knows what it takes to win.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

A night out

Since Tony had a school thing Monday night we decided to have family home evening on Tuesday. And since Movies 8 is 75 cents on Tuesdays we took the kids to the movies (which we never do). But first we went to Pizza Hut. They had some games at each table that we played while we waited. I decided we need to take a game with us every time we eat out. The kids actually stayed in their seats and we all had a good time. Then we headed off to see "Bolt." Will and Hallie were great during the whole thing. Gracie was a different story. At least she stayed in our row and we only had to take her potty twice. But I loved watching Will watch the movie. I love when he gets the jokes and laughs real loud. He and Hallie both really enjoyed the movie. It was almost 9:00 when we got home and pouring rain but since it's spring break we didn't mind going to bed late. But right as we pulled in the driveway Will asked if anyone picked up his Jacksonville Zoo hat from the movie theater. I forgot he even took it in, so Tony helped us all inside and went back to the theater to find it. He looked where we were sitting and it wasn't there. So he walked to the back of row and stood there for a minute before seeing that someone had picked it up and put it down on the first chair of the back row. Luckily he found it or Will would have driven me nuts until we went back to Jacksonville to get another one.