5.14.2017

Mother's Day, 2017 (+ a video!)

Happy Mother's Day!

I feel so, so lucky to be a mom. It's funny how you think you have life figured out, and then you have kids. And you realize that you actually know nothing at all. Haha! But really, being a mom has taught me so much about myself, and about how much you can truly love. It is the best feeling in the world.

*****

So to my sweet boys-- Boston, Camden, Holland, and Brighton-- THANK YOU.

Thank you for being patient with me as I learn how to be the mother that you need. You guys are my everything, and I'm so grateful that I'm the one you call "Mom." I'm glad that I get to be the one to cheer you on at soccer and baseball games, and the one to wipe your tears when you get hurt. I'm glad that I get to make you chicken nuggets and sing in the car with you with the windows rolled down. I'm glad I get to chase you around the front yard as you giggle, and say prayers with you every night before bed. I'm so glad I have each of you.

You make my world spin around. I love you, my sweet boys!

 Love, Mom.

^Cam's Mother's Day card^
^Mommy on the left, and Camden (with a church tie) on the right^
^Front of Boston's card^
^Back of Boston's card^
Now to my mom and my cute mother-in-law, I LOVE YOU BOTH!! 

My gosh, I really lucked out with these two ladies. 

First up, my mom, aka Grandma Gillman! My mom is always happy, giving, and so fun to be around. She is an awesome mom, and an incredible grandma. We share a love for all things coconut, shopping, and onion rings. It's pretty much the best. Not to mention what an amazing grandma she is...and the kids just adore her! We love you, mom.
^Brighton's face!! So precious.^
^May 2016^
And secondly, Grandma Mac! She is the sweetest, most caring woman ever. She gobbles my kiddos up every time we visit, and they could not love her more. We share a love for diet coke, make-up, and the beach, and I am SO lucky to have her as my mother-in-law. She's the best!!
^Little bowl-cut Holland!! September, 2016^
LOVE those two amazing ladies!!

And now, time to share my favorite Mother's Day gift that Jordan makes me every year...a video!! Seriously, I could not love this tradition more. He is the best husband ever. (Links to the past years' videos, below)

Enjoy!!



Past Mother's Day videos:
2016
2015
2014

5.06.2017

Happy 50th birthday, Mom!

While we we were in Utah for my sister's wedding, my mom turned the big 5-0!! We were so glad we could be there to party with her. 

She is the spunkiest, happiest, craziest 50 year old I know, and my kiddos are lucky to have her as a grandma! (All of their grandparents really are just GOLD. Such good ones!!) 

We kept asking my mom what she wanted for her birthday, and she would say "Are you crazy?? I have everything right here!" as she squished the kiddos into a big hug. It was pretty cute.


We surprised her on her birthday morning with a giant donut cake, and I think the kids probably ate ten times more than she did. Haha! But hey, who can blame them for wanting cake for breakfast?? 

It's kind of the best. And so are grandmas!
 

That afternoon, we went to the park and had a big family party with my mom's parents, sisters, brother, and all of their kiddos. It was crazy, and it was so fun.

Everybody lined up with silly string, and my mom ran through the tunnel of arms-- and she came out totally covered in silly string. We were cracking up!
^Noise makers!!^
^My crazy uncle Travis, always killing everyone with his crazy antics! haha^
^Silly String line-up!^
^THE BEST^
Later on, we surprised her at her favorite restaurant for a fun dinner with just our immediate family. We had such a good time hanging out and chatting, and the kids did so good for being kept up waaaaaaay past their bedtime. (The two hour time change traveling to Utah is BRUTAL with little guys!)

We all ate too much food, laughed a lot, and had a great night celebrating a great lady.
^The fam! (Minus my baby sister Whit who was at college)^
^The cute almost newlyweds^
^Crazies.^

Happy birthday, Mom! 

We're so glad we were in Utah to celebrate with you. 

We love you!! 

5.05.2017

Brighton's blessing day!

A few weeks ago, we hopped on a plane and headed to Utah for my sister's wedding! 

(And when I say "hopped," I mean we wrangled our four little children onto the plane and strapped them down for several hours, barely survived the delay on the layover, and arrived in Utah in an overwhelming pile of suitcases, snack baggies, and sweat...but more on that later. Haha! #flyingwithkids #puremadness)

We crammed about three months of activities into ONE WEEK of pure chaos and family fun, and it was awesome. And exhausting. But mostly awesome! Events included wedding prep for my sister's wedding, the bachelor and bachelorette party, wedding luncheon, the actual wedding, the reception, my mom's 50th birthday, a retirement luncheon for my grandma, Brighton's LDS baby blessing, a baby shower for me and Brighton, Easter and all of its festivities.....yeah. IT WAS CRAZY. Haha! But it was time spent well, and we will never forget the fun memories we made with our families. 

I'll blog about all of the fun things we did as quick as I can, because man, did I take a lot of pictures!! 

First up, Brighton's baby blessing!

******

We blessed our sweet boy on a warm Wednesday night with our closest family at the church, and it was such a special event. We had a simple program where Boston gave the sweetest opening prayer, we sang a couple of hymns, and then Jordan gave Brighton a beautiful blessing. I cried through the whole thing. Because hi, I'm a mom. And that's what we do.

Each time I listen to Jordan bless one of our babies, I'm reminded of what an incredible father he is, and what a privilege we have to be parents to our sweet kiddos. Each of them is so unique and precious, and we feel so lucky to be raising them. Babies are just such gifts from Heavenly Father.

^Hashtag, real life.^
^Smooshing Aunt Syd with loves!^
^This boy and his daddy!! Heart eye emojis all around^
^So handsome for his big day^
^The men in the circle^
^Brighton's Great Grandparents^
^Saddest baby! But still so adorable.^
^We have such great families!!^
^Tuckered out.^
We loved celebrating our Brighton boy with family! It was such a fun evening.

Another day, my sweet mother-in-law threw me a baby shower for Brighton! It was so darling, and I felt waaaaaay too spoiled the whole time! She was so nice to do that for us. Here are a few photos!
^Whit and my mom, loving on baby!^
^Such an angel boy.^

^My cute roommates from BYU! Love you, Ash and Rach!^

We love our Brighton James SO much. 
It was so fun celebrating him in Utah with family! 
Babies are just the best.


5.01.2017

TRAVELING WITH KIDS: The zip-loc baggie method!

Traveling with kiddos. Oh man. I start to get hives just thinking about it!! Haha. It is TOTALLY worth it, but it does take a lot of practice and patience to make sure things run smoothly. 

We've always traveled with our kids, so we're pretty used to the chaos. But as we keep adding babies, I've tried to find more and more ways to make our lives easier. 

ENTER: The Zip-Loc baggie packing method! 

Every time we go somewhere, I feel like I methodically organize the kids' suitcases and make sure everything is organized...and then by day two of our trip, it looks like a bomb went off. Undies everywhere, mis-matched socks in different suitcases, no pants to be found anywhere...etc. 

So for our last trip out west for my sister's wedding, I did things differently. I did the Zip-Loc Baggie method, and it was awesome. Basically I packed each child's outfits into individual baggies for each day of the trip, and our lives were changed. I thought I'd share what I did with you all, and hopefully it will ease some of your traveling stresses!

 

 First, make sure you have these things before you start:

-Sharpie marker
-Suitcases
-About one zillion large storage baggies (I like the ones with the zip handle, because they're easy to re-use again and again!)
-ALL the clothes you'll need for your trip--clean, folded, and in semi-organized piles. (Shirts, pants, socks, accessories, undies...everything! You don't want to be running in and out, stressing, and trying to find stuff as you pack.)
 

Start by bagging any special outfits FIRST. 

For our trip, I knew my kiddos would need specific outfits for the wedding, as well is for Easter Sunday. I made sure that each child had everything they would need with those outfits in individual baggies.

For example: Dress shirt, bow tie, suspenders, socks, underwear, pants (or for a girl: dress, tights, undies, bow)... all in the bag. Done! That way when things are crazy and you have something important to be ready for, you won't have to stress about finding that missing accessory or shirt you knew you packed.

Family pictures, holidays, weddings...I would bag any of those outfits together BEFORE you get to your destination--just to make things easier all around!

After I packed up the special outfits, I moved onto the baby's clothes. With the baby I did things differently then the older kids, since I knew he would be going through a lot more outfits (hashtag blowouts), and needing more pajamas and layers, etc. 

I did baggies for swaddling blankets, for burp clothes, for onesies, pajamas, baby socks, and pants.
 
^Make sure to push the air out as you close each bag to maximize space!^

As I got the baggies filled, labeled and sealed, I started to pack them into the suitcases so I could gauge how much room I had left in each one. 


Now, onto the older kids! 

For them, I put each outfit out that they would wear while we were gone, plus an extra or two. I made sure each one had a shirt, pants, and socks.  

Then I started bagging them up! After they were all sealed up and ready to go, I initialed each bag with first letter of their name. That way if the suitcase got mixed up, they would still be able to pull out a bag with their initial on it, and get dressed by themselves. Thumbs up emoji!


^Initialed and ready to roll!^
I used a separate baggie for underwear, a bag for pajama bottoms, and then one for pajama tops for each kiddo. Then I stuck all baggies in the suitcase upright, and called it a day!

It might seem like a lot, but honestly, the prep work makes ALL the difference with kids! The actual packing took me less than an hour, and our trip was a billion times easier because I wasn't battling the kids about clothes or searching for lost socks every five seconds. 

Plus, the kids got to be independent and pick their own outfit bag every day, and they LOVED it!

By the end of our trip, my suitcase was a total wreck, and I looked at my husband and said, "Man. I really should do the baggie method for myself!!" Haha. But really.

I hope this helps all you families with young kiddos out there. It really helped us this time around, and I can't wait to do it again and again on future trips.

Happy traveling!!  

(Tricks for FLYING with kiddos, coming up soon!)

***
For more traveling with kids tips from past blog posts, go here: