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Kinsley 13.5 Months


Kinsley turned 13 months at a crazy time of life so I didn't get a chance to document anything.  Here it is a couple weeks late.  Some of the things she has learned in those 2 weeks so I guess it's not a completely accurate 13 months post. 

-Walking!!  Kinsley was taking steps here and there but just before she was 13 months it really started to explode and we definitely have a full blown toddler now.  It's cute and a little sad.
-Talking!!  She was saying a couple words but now she tries to repeat a lot of what we say.  She uses "ah da" for all done.  She tries to say thank you as "tik you".  She has "dada" down pat.  She uses "mama" when she is with other people but she doesn't use it in front of me very often.  She has tried saying her brothers names and her name but it doesn't sound like anything close.  She says "hi" or "bye" when she is having.  She also says "nigh nigh" for night night.  She says "uh-oh"  when she drops something.  She also gestures or whines when she wants something.  She usually gets what she wants.  
-She is a funny girl.  She will try and get us to laugh and then wait for us to laugh before she busts out in giggles.  Oh man, it is so cute! 
-I think I've said this before, but I'm amazed at how girly she is.  She has seemed to figure out what everything is for, shoes, purses, clothing, jewelery and tries to put them on herself and if she can't she will bring it over to one of us to do for her.  
-I stopped nursing her just before she turned 13 months.  I nursed her the longest of all my kids and she had the hardest time stopping of them all.  I probably had the hardest stopping with her as well.  I even still miss it and I didn't with the boys.  

Her schedule:

6:30am:  Wakes up 
7:00am: Breakfast
9:30am: Nap 1
11:45am:  Wakes up
12:00pm: Lunch
2:00pm: Nap 2
4:00pm:  Wake up
5:30pm:  Dinner
7:00pm:  Bath, stories, prayers
7:30pm:  Bed

We love our sweet Kinsley girl so much!  I don't think there has ever been a more loved child than her!


Our House: Moving

Packing and unpacking and all that comes along with moving is never fun.  My kids are at an age where there is really nothing they can do to seriously help and it's actually harder to pack with them around.  But despite that we were still able to get a lot done.

The daye we got the keys, after the kids woke up from their naps, we headed over to bring some stuff and get the kitchen unpacked.  The kids were excited to run around and check out the backyard.


Of course they needed to try our our new counter where we will probably eat a lot of meals.


Less than 24 hours after we got the keys we had the kitchen mostly all done.  Just a few dishes and refrigerator stuff to put away and probably a little more reorganizing as I start to actually use the kitchen.  I always like to get the kitchen done first so that we can start eating at home as soon as possible.  


Since we were having the carpets upstairs replaced nothing could really be moved up there except for in the closets. And while I was on our trip, Connor had his help getting most everything moved over.  I wasn't sure if I liked being away or not.  My controlling side wanted to be there to make sure things happened as I wanted, but the other part of me was glad that I didn't have to do much heavy lifting.  

I told Connor to make sure to take pictures of the moving truck because the boys were just so exctied about it.  I felt bad that they wouldn't get to see it in person but I hoped pictures would make it better.

Moving is one of those top stressful things in a person life so I've been worried about how the kids would react.  Overall, they have been really excited and have been sad when we've had to come back to our old place to sleep.  There was one moment where Corbin seemed upset and he said he wasn't sure why.  I assume it's with all these changes coming up for him in the next month.  But it was a nice moment he and I had where I told him he can always come talk to me and he told me he just wanted some snuggles.  My sweet little man!

Connor's parents came out to help us with the move and my mom has been spending a lot of time here as well.  We are pretty blessed to have this wonderful house and amazing family to help us get through excitng but stressful times.

I thought I would have gotten more pictures of the actual unpacking process but all of us were just focused on working and had little time to think of anything else.  I'm sure there will be a post with the "finished" product once we feel more settled.  ("Finished" because when you own a home is anything ever completely done?)


Utah Trip

I had planned a trip to be in Utah while Connor was at Scout camp way before we knew we were buying a house.  While it wasn't the best timing, I felt it was still important for us to go.  The kids love to be with their cousins and it would help get our mind off Connor not being around for a week.  Since we were gone, Connor did most of the actual moving and even a lot of the packing.  But of course, I had my fair share of "work" as well.  We felt appreciative of each other that's for sure!

We had a wonderful time in Utah and were busy but it was a good busy.  I would say this was the theme of the trip:


I found it on a pillow at Connor's parents house and thought it was fitting.  

Day 1:

We arrived in Utah on Friday evening at my aunt's house.  She had a playroom and the kids spent most of their time there.


On Saturday we had my mom's side family reunion!  It was HOT!  


After the reunion, the kids and I headed up to Connor's parents house.  We hung out with cousins and had a relaxing evening!


The next morning while waiting for afternoon church the kids colored.  The boys were made Angry Birds books by Nana!


Family dinner after church!


Two three year olds took off their shorts and were jumping off the couch.


Monday we headed up to Ogden to visit the Treehouse Childrens Museum.  Right across the street they were building the Ogden temple.  It was fun to see.


Then we had lunch at a pizza place!


The next day we went to the Dinosaur Park.


After some down time


we went to a splash park.  Kinsley and Corbin enjoyed it the most.


That evening we went to the 24th of July celebration and those kids had a blast!


That night we even all stayed up for the fireworks.  Here was the view while we waited.


My boys have loved fireworks since the 4th of July and were really looking forward to it.  A couple things about these ones.  The boys were really confused that they didn't need to get on warm clothes and jackets like they do in California for the fireworks.  And the show lasted WAY longer than they do where we are so they lost a little bit of interest.  But it was fun anyway!

The next day was Pioneer Day and so we went to This is the Place park and monument.  My kids had never been there and I was in high school the last time I was there.  Fun times!


The next day we headed back home so that we could start on making our new house our home!  It was sad to leave all the cousins and all the fun we had but we will be back again!

Our House: The Story

Every few months, pretty much since the time we moved here from after Connor finished school, we would get the bug to buy a house.  We would check out the market and see things are way more than we could afford and it not even be something we like all that much.  So, we never really did anything about it.  

Then when I was pregnant with Cason, we saw a house go on the market that was close to something we would like and so we decided to just check it out for fun.  There we met the listing agent, Mike.  It was clear that we were not going to buy that house but he said he wanted to meet with us to see if there was something he could do for us.  We did go to that meeting but we came away realizing that we would not be buying a house any time soon.  Life went on and Mike kept in contact with emails and occasional phone calls.  A few months after Kinsley was born he called and I talked to him and I said we had just had a baby and were not interested in buying anything for a while.  

Then one evening, Connor and I got the "want to buy a house" bug and we started looking.  We saw a house that looked pretty good and a decent price.  We went checked it out that week and started seriously considering putting in an offer.  We ended up calling Mike and a found a loan person and started the process of possibliy putting in an offer.  We started to learn a lot more about the process and after getting the disclosures on the house, we knew it wasn't the right one for us.  But this started us on the hunt for a house we would want to buy.  

We put in about 5 offers to houses that were all outbid by sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars.  It was furstrating to say the least.  Then we found a house that we both LOVED.  Is it perfect?  No.  But we both could see ourselves living there.  We both couldn't find much wrong with it.  It was the first house that we both felt GOOD about.  So we worked with our agent and put in an offer.  One that was competitive but wouldn't be completely unrealistic.  Then came the waiting.  This was the first time after an offer that we were anxious.  I felt SO good about the house and thought we had a really good chance of getting it.  In fact, I really did think we were going to get it.  The night we knew they were going to make the decision was brutal.  We were anxious and antsy.  Our realator told us to just be patient.  But then we got the news.  We didn't get it.  There was another offer $25,000 more than ours plus they had 50% down payment.  We were devastated and sad.  I really tried to focus on the fact that it must not be our right house if we didn't get it.  I KNOW with all my heart that Heavenly Father is taking care of us.  But I still couldn't shake the feeling that I felt we were supposed to be in that house.  Our relator told us he convinced the agent to accept our offer if the first fell through.  But we were told that is very rare.  Almost never happens.  So, we were trying to move on.  I was extremely sad and disappointed for a good full week before I finally came to terms with it.  I told my mom about it and she said wait a month and then see but at that point it seemed hopelesss.

So after that loss, we were losing steam.  We looked at a few other houses but they just weren't cutting it.  We always compared it to the other house.  Our relator told us they had never put someone in a home that they wish they didn't have.  They never wanted the house they lost.  We had faith what they said was true, but we just weren't seeing another house that we liked better.  I even kept the original flier we had gotten and I would drive past the house and look to see if the "Sale Pending" sign was replaced with the "Sold" sign because then I would know for sure it wasn't ours.  So one evening, our relator called and asked us if we wanted to go take a look at an off market house.  We decided we would.  It was close to the house that we lost and it has been a little difficult driving by it.  So we meet there after Connor gets out of work and we are waiting for the relator.  He gets there and says we are waiting for the keys and it will be about 15 minutes but there is a house around the corner that also just opened up that we could check out too.  So we are walking over and we are going to have to walk by the house we lost.  I was in front walking and I hear Connor telling Mike that it's been hard driving by the house.  Wll we start geting closer and I see Bree, Mike's wife, at the front door of the house, with balloons.  I'm confused and then she says "Welcome Home" and holds up the balloon that says that same thing.  We are extremely confused of course.  And they told us our offer was accepted and we were now home owners.  Can you say CRAZY?!  

Of course, we were curious to know what had happened and what had changed.  They explained that the offer that was originally accepted had a contingency that they had to sell their current house first.  When that didn't happen, they were considering their options.  Our relator must have gotten some word about this and timed a text to the seller's relator during a meeting with them to let them know we would extend our offer but that it would expire in a day and lucky for us, they decided not to put the house back on the market and just go with our offer.  Once that was explained, we got to meet the sellers and look around again for a bit.  I was in so much shock I could barely think straight.  I'm sure I just looked dazed.  After a few minutes there we left to go sign the offical papers.

Connor and I could barely stand our excitement and had a hard time sleeping that night.  We tried talking to the kids about it and Corbin was the one with the most questions and concerns.  He said he didn't want to move because the other house didn't have any toys.  We told him we would bring the toys.  He said, "But they don't have any cabinets." We told him we would bring the cabinets.  "But they didn't have any kids DVD's."  We assured him that we would bring ALL our stuff.  You could see his mind working and trying to figure it all out.  "But we can't bring the bathroom."  We tried to explain the best we could what all this would mean.  It was definitely a cute conversation.

One of the points we used to get sellers to choose us (which never worked since it's usually just about money) was that we could close really fast.  From the time we found out that our offer was accepted until we got the keys in hand was 2 weeks and 1 1/2 days.  And that's even with the 4th of July being in the middle of one of those weeks.  

We are excited for this new stage of our lives.  It's kind of scary but also feels so good!  We know we are being watched over and helped and we feel that this is the house we are supposed to be in!

Here are the pictures from the listing.  (Sorry there are no front of the house.  Feeling kinda paranoid about showing what the front of our house looks like for all of the internet to see.)


A couple things I want to remember about this time of our lives:

There were several disappointments along the way to getting this house.  One of course, our original offer not being accepted.  But also we were disappointed to find out that some people make choices that may be in the interest of themselves but are either dishonest or greedy.  Connor and I try hard not to be that way.  We want to be and try to be honest and generous.  I think we expect people we associate with to be the same.  When they're not, it makes us sad.  Even though sometimes we have to pay consequences for the choices other people make, it gives me a renewed resolution to continue to be as generous and honest as I can.  (This is how my dad was which actually reminds me of a story about him.  So just a week or so before he passed away, my dad was rear ended on the freeway.  This accident caused the airbag to deploy.  Well, the guy who hit my dad was young and felt really bad and was so worried about telling his parents.  My dad saw that there wasn't really any damage to the car, just that his airbag had deployed.  My dad said it was fine and that he wouldn't contact his insurance.  The cost of putting an airbag back in the car is pretty high but my dad was willing to pay for that himself so this boy could possibly get in less trouble with his parents.  I don't know of many people that would do that and it is just even more testament to me how amazing my dad was.)

It seemed more than coincidence that we started the process of getting this house the very week that was the 1 year since the passing of my dad.  It felt like my dad was looking out for us.

When Connor called his mom, she told him that she had been praying every day even after our offer was accepted that we would get the house.  It felt like an asnwer to her prayers and felt so good that we also had his mom with enough faith to keep praying for it for us.  

The Sunday after we found out about getting the house, we went to church and the first song was "Because I Have Been Given Much".  I couldn't help but be emotional and feel so extremely blessed.

Becasue I have been given much, I too must give.

Because of thy great bounty, Lord each day I live.

I shall divide my gifts from thee with every brother that I see,

who has the need of help from me.

Because I have been sheltered, fed by thy good care…

I cannot see another's lack and I not share-

my glowing fire, my loaf of bread-my roof's safe sheter over head,

that he too may be comforted.

Because I have been blessed by thy great love dear Lord,

I'll share thy love again according to thy word.

I shall give love to those in need.  I'll show that love by word and deed,

thus shall my thanks be thanks indeed.

I did have a freak out about halfway through escrow.  I think every first time home buyer does.  I was wondering if I would love it as much as our current place.  There are things that can't be changed that I don't like about it.  There are some things that can be changed but won't for a while that could make it better, but I still can't shake the feeling that we are supposed to be in that house, for whatever reason.  I'm excited to find out what that reason is!

We Bought a House!

It's official!  Keys in hand!


Stay tuned for the story!

4th of July

Since we talked more about 4th of July this year and did some crafts to get ready for it, the boys were so excited to celebrate.  They kept calling the 4th of July the day we would have our firework party.  We got up and had a nice lazy morning.  Rare around here these days.  Then we got ready for the day and took a few pictures of the kids in their cute patriotic clothes.


Then we went to a friends house for a lunch BBQ!


After the BBQ, we came home to let the kids take naps since we would be up so late watching fireworks.  Corbin hasn't taken a nap in almost a year so I knew it would be pushing it.  When I went up to check on him and I asked him why he wasn't taking a nap, he said "Mom, I just keep thinking about fireworks because I'm so excited."  

We had my family over for an evening BBQ!  The boys helped Grandma make a flag cake!


Then came the part the boys had been looking forward to the most.  FIREWORKS!!!!!!! * ** ** * ** *  

We went to our normal spot and set up with our chairs, blankets and treats.  


Kinsley fell asleep in Connor's arms just before the fireworks started.   Corbin sat in my lap and talked about how beautiful they were.  Cason was so cute sitting with Grandma.  As soon as the fireworks started he got off my mom's lap and needed his flag.  I got him his flag and he just waved it in the air while the fireworks went off.  So cute.  We didn't even teach him anything like that.  He must just have a patriotic spirit by nautre.  It melted my heart.

Every year, I get so excited, just like the kids, for the fireworks!  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this country, for the people who have fought to keep us free, for my family, and especially for the Savior and my Heavenly Father. There is nothing quite like getting to sit with loved ones, watching the sky get lit up, feeling the boom in my chest and be contemplative of the blessings I have.  This year, like last, I thought a lot about my dad.  About his love of the 4th of July and know that he was there with us as he has been in the past!  

Happy 4th of July!

July 3


Today marks 1 year since my dad's passing.  In honor of this, I decied to list some qualities that he had that I want to be better at.  

1) Generous - Not only would he give anything anyone asked for, he also gave more than was needed!  
2) Thoughtful - He would give things that were really meaningful to the person.
3) Kind - He never spoke badly of anyone.  
4) Selfless - He wasn't selfish.  He didn't need to do things for himself.  He did things that would make others happy.
5) Loving - He always told me he loved me!
6) Positive - He never seemed sad or upset.  He was always happy and smiled and laughed.  He was fun to be around because of this.
7)  Forgiving - I don't think he associated with people who were hurtful or unkind to him but he didn't hold grudges against them.

Sometimes it's easier to do these things with the people we love and who also do these things for us.  It's much harder to do them with people who may have wronged us or hurt us in any way.  I know it would make him happy and also in turn make ME happy if I were to emmulate these qualities.  

Besides trying to be better at these qualities, I also have a couple other goals.  I would like to finish the video of pictures of my dad's life by next year.  I would also like to have started writing my memories of my dad along with stories that I remember of his life.  He never wrote a personal history (as far as I can tell) and I'd love for my posterity to have some thing to read about him.  

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I just miss my dad so much!  I hope he knows how much I love him because I definitely know how much he loves me.  I have especially felt his prescence this week and some of us in our family has gotten so much good news that I KNOW he is helping us!  I love you, Dad!  

© The Duke Fam 2014