Monday, October 3, 2011

still alive

Hi all! 
Just wanted you to all know we are still alive and kicking!  I have soo much to blog about and one day when I can sit down and really focus just on it I will.  But we have done so much in the past months that I am feeling guilty, we had a trip to Sea World, Disneyland, Ezra turned 4, he started school again, and we have been having so much playing these days that I have a ton of blogging to do.  So please stay tuned and don't give up on my blog..i haven't :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Lovin'

I love all the fresh produce during the summer. This year I felt quite domestic as I canned my first jars of strawberry jam and froze tons of fruits and veggies. I didn't get pictures but I also had tons of Zucchini and from that I made 15 loaves of zucchini bread and i don't know how many muffins. Lovely!

I have gotten into crafting quite a bit and was able to attend Girls Night out hosted by Somewhat Simple, Lil' Luna, and My insanity. It was a blast! I didn't take many pictures-dang it! I did get a picture with Lil' t hat blog! its hard to take a good picture when you are at least 6 inches taller than the other people taking pictures with you, but i still wanted to share the love. I also hosted a craft night at my house an we made the Flags on breadboard, so much fun and I can't wait to do another!

This summer the kids have been playing hard, learning lots, and growing butterflies. I love to see my kids do learning activities and love it.

Ezra has been doing a summer camp all summer which left Rylie and I time to ourselves 3 days a week for 3 hours. We had a lot of fun. Mostly we went to the YMCA but we did do some outing too. Here we met up with my good friend Amelia from Casa Grande and played at Toy Town in Ahwatukee. Totally fun. Its a small space but has a bunch of different rooms and spaces. Rylie loved the costume room, kitchen, and grocery store areas. I can't wait to go back, and hopefully see Amelia again! :) (hint hint)

One day while Ezra was at camp we took Rylie to the Temple. She loved all the pretty flowers and walking on Temple grounds. She also like going into the visitors center and looking at the statue of Jesus. I love to see my kids eyes light up when they see things of Jesus. Taking her there reminded me that we need to do it much more, at least once a month walk the kids on the Temple grounds. I want it to be a familiar place and a place that they are anxious to be able to go inside one day.
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Family outings!

The summers in AZ are HOTT! We have tried to keep ourselves busy so we don't think too much of the heat. To start of our fun family outings we went to Rawhide in Chadler. This is an old western setup and totally fun! The kids really enjoyed dressing up in their sheriff's outfits, panning for gold, the petting zoo, and riding the old train.

This summer my mom did a great job organizing a family reunion that was long overdue for the McGee family. Some stats from the reunion. Empy and Mamie have 360 direct decedents-with spouses we have 502! 76 missions served and 16 members of the military. Just a little family tree, right?!

During the summer we are able to attend certain museums for free because of the military, what a blessing! We loved the AZ science museum and I can't wait to go back. The pipes on magnets is something Ezra created all by himself to roll a marble down and go through the maze to get to the end... pretty smart kid if you ask me!

Love me some peaches! We drove all the way to Willcox to pick peaches with Aunt Anita. It was a lot of fun and very very hot! It was a lot of fun to see her, but next time we will chose an indoor activity in the middle of July!

After picking peaches we went to the air and space museum in Tucson. So fun to see all the huge airplanes up close. I'm glad we went, I have been wanting to go for awhile now. I love the big NASA airplane, also the Air Force one that flew president Kennedy is the top middle picture. Pretty cool stuff.
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Thursday, June 2, 2011


I just want to take some notes on the kids because honestly I am terrible at keeping a journal, and our family blog is the closest thing we have to it. So this post is dedicated to our Sissy, Ms. Rylie Jane. Actually her middle name is Dianne but for whatever reason we all like to call her Rylie Jane. :) Rylie is a now 2 and 5 months and she likes to keep me busy. She is a climber and loves to be messy. She also loves to copy everything her big brother does. Yesterday Ezra was pretending to be Super Why and had his Why Reader in his belt so Rylie had to find something to stick in her belt, the only problem was she didn't have a belt so she was sticking everything down her diaper...little did i know! I have said recently that I always thought Ezra was a hard 2 year old, but really Rylie keeps me on my toes just as much if not more because of her love of messes. Haha, silly Sissy. I can't express enough how much she LOVES animals. She likes to pretend she is an animal too and eats like one, and eats the cat's food too. She would spend all day with playing with animals if she could. She also did a preschool but unfortunately I don't have any pictures of it... bummer! She loved it because she got to color and sing songs. She loves girly shoes, the girlier (is that even a word or right spelling?) they are the better. When we go to play areas where shoes have to go off the first thing she will run to is the shoe cubbie and not the slides! She has been receiving speech therapy for almost 7 months now. She still isn't talking a ton, but we are noticing that it is starting to click. Just in the last 2 months she has started talking a lot more. She says "dank you" very sweet and also "where did go"-these are her current 2 big phrases. She uses baby sign for drink and please still and will imitate almost everything I prompt her to say. I think I would be a little more discouraged with her speech, but having already gone through this with Ezra I know that its just a matter of time before she really takes off with her words. Rylie is a lover and and loves to play. She loves to be tickled, get "dizzy" and dance. She loves to be chased and play peek a boo games. She is our Sissy, sugar and spice and everything nice! (most days)
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Preschool Graduation

Ezra has completed his first year of preschool!!! I remember the first day he went I couldn't believe I was sending him off to a school for 3 days a week, he seemed soo little and he was still my little baby. He started just a few days after his 3rd birthday. I have to say that I was so impressed with his teachers and everyone in the classroom. He had a wonderful class made up of 10 boys and 1 girl. The little girl loved it too! When he started school he knew all his letters and was starting to write some (he loves letters) and he also recognized numbers 1-10. He did not recognize colors nor could he tell you the names of shapes. But now he knows how to write all his letters upper case and lower case, he can spell several words, knows all his colors, shapes, and numbers up to 30. ( they had calendar time every day so he only went up to 30 :) ) Ezra has a great imagination and is so smart. He taught himself how to write his name, he could do this before he went to preschool, when I realized he could do that I encouraged more spelling and reading for him and now he is spelling and writing words that represent the things he loves most; like Baby Einstein. If I sat down and counted I'm pretty sure he can do 20-30 words independently. He is making amazing progress with ABA therapy and his therapist will even comment on what a hard worker he is and the progress he is making amazes them too. Now that I have said all that I just want to add that I am super excited that the preschool will increase from 3 days a week to 4! :)
A little side note and story about Ezra. He will sometimes wake up with really bad foot pains at night and he is very upset. Ezra really does not cry, so for him to cry and not be easily distracted by something says a lot about his pain. The other night while he was upset he wanted me to sing but I thought he wanted me to sing our typical ABC song like always. So when I started to sing the ABC's he said "No, Mommy" and then said something I just couldn't understand. So I started to name all the other songs we sing, but he kept saying the other name. When he said the song again I told him I didn't know what song he wanted, luckily Devin walked by because he told me he was telling me to sing I am a Child of God. So I started to sing I am a child of God and sure enough it was the song he wanted and it calmed him right down. It was such a sweet moment for me because I remember singing it to him when he was just a baby and around 2 he stopped wanting that song and preferred more of the nursery rhyme songs. So for him to recall that song and for it to calm him so much was a very tender moment for me.

One more story I want to keep for the records.  Ezra has been pretending a lot lately. Sometimes I don't know who I am talking to because he is pretending to be so many different characters. The other day he was a kitty. I asked Ezra if he wanted a peanut butter and jell sandwich, he said "NO!" so then I decided to ask kitty if he wanted a sandwich. The response, "me-yes".  So I have figured out if Ezra isn't hungry then maybe one of his characters is, and 9 times out of 10  I am right and he will eat.  I have even gotten kitty and Handy Many to eat a vegetable!
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Friday, April 22, 2011

Autism awareness month

April is Autism awareness month. As many of you know Ezra was diagnosed with autism and because of that it is a huge part of our family. Day in and out we have therapist in our home. Between his preschool and therapist he does a total of 30 hours a week of therapy. We have an amazing team of people working with him, and I fee so blessed. He is a hard worker! I haven't talked much about this on my blog, it honestly wasn't something I wanted to do because it was so personal, but really I want people to know now. I want people to understand what autism is and what its not. To learn more about autism I suggest going to this website, Autism Speaks is a great website and tool for everyone that is interested in learning more about autism. Ezra amazes me constantly with his progress. A year ago he could barley say 20 words total, but now is speaking sentences. For example he is banging on the door right now saying "open door mommy, watch baby Einsteins" This is huge, for him to combine so many words together is huge progress. A year ago they said he was talking a one year old level and his receptive language was even more behind, this made him almost 2 years behind his age, now he is 3 1/2 and is talking at a 3 year old level and his receptive language is at 2 years and 9 months! he is catching up so quickly and I love it! He LOVES his ABC's and can read and write many things, for his age he amazes his therapist on this level. He also is a smart little boy with numbers. I honestly thought he could only recognize numbers 1-13 but just the other day he went all the way up to 30, not just saying the numbers but actually recognizing the written number and now he is even writing numbers 1-10!

April is autism awareness month and to kick it off on April 2 they had a huge walk in Tucson. We went and had the support of my brother and his wife along with my grandma and grandpa. The walk was 3 miles, and I'm pretty sure Ezra walked at least 2 1/2 on his own. The kid enjoyed the bounce houses, train rides, and animals. One lady that does horse therapy brought horses for the kids to paint on and walk. Rylie was seriously in heaven! Her and I must have stayed with the horses for at least an hour. I think she is a cowgirl at heart. I also make matching shirts for our little group to wear. On the back we did "Team Ezra" with the kids hand prints. On the front we had the autism puzzle and our names that Ezra calls us by. For Ezra's front he wrote his name and it said "team captain"

If you have any questions you would like to ask me, feel free to ask. Like I said, I like to help educate people and I don't mind sharing our story.

yes ezra is dancing around with no shoes, he refused to put them on, and i figured it was his day so why not let him keep them off for the moment!

Some updates Feb-march

So even though I have blogged in two months we have actually done quite a bit. February we finished celebrating Rylie's birthday by FINALLY having birthday cake with her, and you can see she really enjoyed it! Then of course we had valentines day. Both of the kids are in a preschool program so between their friends, teachers, and therapist I think I almost went crazy making homemade valentines. I make a total of 22 crayon hearts with a starburst candy and wrote on their card "hope your day is bursting with love and color" . Then for the teachers and therapist I made cake balls. (soo yummy) The note for them read "you are as sweet as cake". Valentines was fun, and I actually really did enjoy making all homemade treats, however 22 kids and 9 teachers/therapist adds up pretty quickly so next time I will simplify! Also in the Feb. collage is a wreath that I made. I like it a lot, I just need to spray paint the hook to a more neutral color. And that folks is the month of February Highlights :)

The month of march proved to be a fun month for us too. We went to the zoo early on in the month then to Vegas to play with Grandpa Baker. Rylie loves animals, and loved the zoo. Unfortunately its too hot here already to go back, zoo months in Arizona are really in the fall and winter. We also had fun playing in shaving cream and getting all messy! In Vegas we went to Coke world and tried soda from all over the world, honestly I think I only like 3 flavors!

In march my mom, or Sweetie like Ezra likes to call her, came to visit for a couple days. It was a lot of fun because we had her here for 4 days with no agenda. Seriously she just came and played with us and we didn't have to rush anywhere or do anything on any time frame, it was really nice. The kids enjoyed the sprinkler under the trampoline (and still do), planting flowers with sweetie, getting messy with sidewalk paint and chalk, and just playing all day! We love when Sweetie comes to visit and look forward to seeing more of her this summer!

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

5 year anniversary and birthday fun!

Right when we got back from Utah Devin and I got to celebrate our 5 year anniversary and my 28th birthday! It was a perfect weekend. Tannis and Clayton came up to watch the kids for us so that we could get a hotel one night. On Friday night we went to WICKED!!! It was awesome. Words can't describe how happy I was to finally see it, and to top it off we had awesome seats! Devin did a great job making the room look very romantic and he gave me a beautiful necklace for our anniversary. The next day was my birthday. We decided to do something that we have never done together and that we can't do with I figured since he went to a musical with me the night before I would agree to go shooting with him. I will admit that I was very hesitant that I would even enjoy doing this, but it was actually kinda fun. It was also fun because we haven't gone shooting before and it was something he really enjoys doing. After we we went shooting and shopping we went home to have cake and ice cream with the kids and Tannis and Clayton. I love Costco cakes...enough said :) Devin also got me Clinique Happy perfume for my birthday..or not happy but the pink one..basically i love the way it smells. It was a such a great weekend.
Like I said January was a busy month!

Utah Trip

So I was TERRIBLE taking pictures while in Utah. We went to Utah to celebrate Neva being married. Scott is a great man and we are very happy for them, they are very happy too! We did a lot of things and I honestly only took like 10 pictures..lame right?! We did have fun going bowling just the 4 of us, and I did take a quite a few pictures of that.

don't you just love her cheesy smile?

Devin bowled a 120, I had a 112, and the kids both got 80

Ezra loved it!!

This was the best pictures I had of when I got together with Ashby(Breanna), my first companion in the mission and Hill (emily), my last companion in the mission. In order from left to right we have Olivia (Ashby's), Ezra, Ashby's niece, Rylie, and Ander(Hill's). It was a lot of fun to get together and see each other's kids.

At Trolley Square they had this tornado simulator and as you can see Ezra loved it and Rylie not so much.

The girls getting our pedicures before the wedding! I think Neva was way too stressed to really enjoy it, but we still had fun. Sad story actually, they were waiting on me because the only had 2 workers and 3 of us so it took a lot longer than we wanted. So when it was time to dry my toes I thought I had waited long enough and went ahead and put my shoes on (after 10 minutes of drying) and my toes and my pretty design totally got ruined!! I was so bummed, so basically it took 2 1/2 hours an then my toes were ruined in the end!

Me and Christa representing! haha, i think my hand looks huge in this picture...
We had such a great time in Utah, we had a full week there so it was a nice little family vacation. In addition to the pictures I have here we also visited my good friend Brittney and her family, ate at cafe rio way too many times, I went out to dinner with good friends I used to work with at the bank, and had a great time seeing friends and family at the wedding.

Ezra aka El Guapo :)

So the potato head continues!!! Isn't he so funny?! I laughed pretty hard when I saw what he did while in the car and then insisted that we use real potatoes for a potato head. Although he has taken a break from Mr. Potato head we are going on 2 weeks he back to loving letters! I just love Ezra and he makes me laugh so much, and I know i'm biased but I just think he is so handsome! He is doing soo good these days, the extra hours of therapy are really paying off and he is making such great progress. We have an awesome team working with him, and we feel very lucky to be were we are right now to receive the services we are for him. I love when he tells me, "mommy, i love you" or "OK mommy" those two phrases just make me smile every time. He is so good at his letters. He spells his name, stop, open, red, mommy, and daddy. Those are what he spells out, but he can actually read quite a bit of words too..he amazes me the things he picks up at school and what he can memorize.

the many faces of rylie

Rylie is officially 2!! I will admit that we haven't really celebrated her birthday yet. January was such a busy month, then both Rylie and I got sick so it kinda just came and went. But I am planing a fun little "play date" for her and her friends, we will make sure to have cupcakes with her friends. (its just a couple weeks away still b/c of scheduling!) Luckily for me she doesn't really know the difference at this age :)
We really just can't get enough of Rylie and her beautiful smile. When she smiles it just kinda takes up her whole face, and then the dimple comes out and well it melts my heart every time.
She is a busy little girl. She loves playing outside, jumping on the trampoline, playing in the sand, COLORING!, playing with Guapo (the cat), wearing a purse and shiny shoes, eating peaches and bananas, being tickled, dancing, and spinning in circles. She is all about the fun but is still timid with new things. She isn't very vocal but she is using her baby sign better and better every day.
You hear it all the time that we need to cherish these moments with the kids because they grow so quickly, and honestly I can't believe that she is already 2 and not my little baby anymore. (although one of the words she does say is baby as I rock her in the glider) She really is our sunshine!