Three Years

Three years ago our¬†world was rocked in the best possible way. He has kept us on our toes since day one (turning purple because he wasn’t breathing and getting rushed out of our hospital room), but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Kenny’s birthday is today even though he is sick with the flu ūüĎé. That’s 2 out of 3 of his birthdays he has been sick… perks of having a winter birthday.

Even though he isn’t feeling 100%, he is loving the extra attention and has randomly been saying “wish me a Happy Birthday on Sunday!” (Ha because we have been telling him for weeks that “no his birthday wasn’t today but on a Sunday”.)

I made a birthday shirt for him and let him pick out the fabric at the fabric store. He went from cars, to dinosaurs, to pirates, but then he saw this M&M’s fabric, and he had to have it. Kid has got a sweet tooth, that’s for sure. I thought for sure he would change his mind once he saw the Mario fabric, but no. He wanted the “candy kind.”

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And here’s his birthday cake. He chose Legos as the theme and helped decorate it.

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Two days ago he told me he wanted to change his cake theme to a tree. I asked him what he meant thinking that I maybe misunderstood and he was saying “treat” rather than “tree”. But no. He wanted just a tree. After some probing (and maybe a little persuading) he went back to wanting a Lego cake. Phew.

And he specifically requested blue swirl cake, green frosting, blue writing, orange sprinkles, and pink candles. I just decided to go with it and not worry about the aesthetics.

And here Kenny is about to blow out the candles. He was quite concerned that we were going to be putting “real fire” on his cake instead of “special fire” like the fires we have in our backyard and in our fireplace. Not quite sure what he meant by that.

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The Happy Birthday sign hanging on the wall behind him was made by Ken’s mom. She’s legit.

Anyway, we think you are great Kenny! You are smart, kind, fun, caring, and loving. You are so sweet and helpful with your younger brother, and Reed is lucky to have such an adoring older brother. He looks up to you and wants to be just like you. You are such a good example and try hard every day to do good. I love that you enjoy saying prayers and going to church. You are learning well to sit still and be reverent, and we couldn’t be prouder. We love you more than you will ever know!

 

Welcome Reed James!

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So above is me when I was “supposed to” go into labor (Sunday, January 25). That’s when I told myself I was going to go into labor (2 days overdue), so this picture was taken before church and it was supposed to be the last picture of me pregnant.

‘Twas not the case.

It happened 4 days after that picture was taken (Thursday, January 29), so I was 6 days overdue.
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^^^This picture was taken at about 3:20 ish the day Reed came right before we headed out the door to the hospital.

So quick synopsis-

I had a regular doctor’s appointment earlier that day. For about a week, I was very far along and my doctor thought I would go any day (the same thing happened with Kenny but I was overdue with him as well). Basically I was walking around for a¬†week in what was considered “active labor” even though I wasn’t having consistent contractions. Anyway, so I went to my regular appointment, and my doctor said that I was so far progressed that he didn’t want to send me home because he thought I would have the baby in the car (even though I wasn’t having contractions . . . or at least I didn’t think I was). He sent me up to labor and delivery to be monitored for an hour to see if I was having contractions. Apparently I was having mild contractions, but I could feel them. He said that I could go home (which I was grateful for), but he told me once I started having consistent contractions or hard contractions to come back immediately and not wait.

So yeah, it came on quick. We got home from the appointment at 12:45ish, put Kenny down for a nap, chatted, went on a walk, came back to the house at 2:50, and Ken went to take a nap. At 3:00 I realized I was having a contraction, and then two minutes later I realized I was having another. This continued, so I got Ken up and off we went to the hospital!

We were admitted straight away at around 3:45 ish (no waiting around this time like with Kenny! glorious because that meant that I got the epidural pronto. not going to complain about that!) and then Reed came at 6:27 weighing 7 pounds 7 ounces and 20.25 inches long. It was a fairly easy labor and delivery, which I was extremely grateful for.

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^^^that’s my doctor on the right. love him! his name is Dr. Hearn.

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^^^My love for Kenny didn’t get split in half to include Reed. My love has honestly grown more than I thought possible to include Reed.

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^^^first family picture of four! :)

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^^^big brother making himself comfortable at the hospital.

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^^^It was a sunny (fairly warm) January day when we came home from the hospital.

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^^^Picture with Grandma!

We couldn’t be more in love with this little munchkin or ours!

Gatlinburg

Wow . . . two months since I did my last post? Whoops.

Well here is a little life update (aka picture overload that probably should have been broken up into 2 posts) of the Alford Crew-

We went to Gatlinburg as a family a few weeks ago! It was a blast. My sister Tracey and her family drove down and met us there, so we were able to spend a few days with them in Gatlinburg.

We had a lot of fun exploring Gatlinburg with the Dorseys and Kenny sure loved spending time with his cousin Marli (and baby Averi when she was awake).

Kenny and Marli are so funny when they get together. Peer pressure is a real thing, and when the two of them got giggling and laughing with each other, things would escalate quickly (and we learned to go check on them to figure out what mischief they were getting in to.) More on this in a blog post to follow.

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Here Marli and Kenny are playing train around the hotel suite, which consisted of them saying “choo choo” over and over while banging into everything and laughing themselves silly.

We also went around Gatlinburg and explored all of the neat shops and sites. They had a lot of Ripley’s Believe It or Not attractions, so we were able to go check out a couple.

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34 week pregnancy update! ;) Really, I need to do a belly picture update, though.

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The Dorseys were only able to spend a few days with us down in Gatlinburg, and then they had to go back to Cincinnati. Kenny was super bummed that Marli had to leave and was stuck with us boring old folk, but he took solace in the fact that he would see her in a week when we did Christmas in Cincinnati.

Since we went to Gatlinburg in the off season (which I’m glad we did. Also, it really was a great time to go! The decorated the city beautifully with Christmas lights.) we won 5 different free tickets to different shows, museums, and game centers (5!!!!). It was great.

The first place we went to was called Wonder Works.011

It was a children’s museum + an amusement park + an arcade center. It was a lot of fun. Some of it was a bit too advanced for Kenny, but the other Ken had no problem doing the kid activities instead. :)

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The first room we went into was very loud and visually overwhelming, so Kenny wasn’t too big of a fan at first. He just wanted to cuddle and kept saying “go” because he wanted to leave. He warmed up quickly, though.

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We also won tickets to a dinner show called Lumberjack Feud.

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The show was awesome! They had real world champion lumberjacks (who knew that was still a real thing?) who were actually competed in events while still making it a fun show.

Kenny loved watching the show and paid attention the whole time. He especially liked when the horse came out to pull the big logs around and when the dogs would compete.

We also went to a place called MagiQuest which had a few different attractions. We just ended up doing the pirate glow-in-the-dark golf, and then Ken and Kenny did the mirror maze and laser room together.

Overall, it was a HUGE success. We loved Gatlinburg and the fun time we had with the Dorseys as well as a family. Thanks Mom and Dad Alford! (It was a Christmas present from last year.)

Utah . . . Part II

As promised, here is my Utah Part II post. (Also, for the record, I am sitting on the couch this time, and it’s a lot more comfortable. I recommend it.)

While we were in Utah, Kenny got some good cousin time, and he loved it. But somehow I didn’t manage to take one picture of him playing with any of his cousins. Memory capturing fail. It was really fun to see him interact and enjoy playing with them, though!

We went to a fall festival with Suzanne’s family, and it was a lot of fun! Kenny had fun playing with his cousin Clara in the “duck pond”.

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^^^Oh look! I did get one picture with a cousin. Too bad Clara wasn’t looking at the camera. I say this all the time, but I need to be better at taking pictures.

Kenny then wanted to go see the puppies, so we waited in line for the chance to pet the puppies. We waited in line¬†forever¬†(30 minutes), but it was definitely worth it. He¬†loved¬†it. A little black dog seemed to be Kenny’s favorite.

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^^^Don’t let the sour face fool you. I think he was just upset that I made him stop and take a picture.

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They also had a “photo booth” aka a background where you could dress up and take your own pictures if you had your camera. Both Kenny and I had masks on, but Kenny was looking at the mask and then ripped it right when the picture was taken. Oops. (Or as Kenny likes to say now “opps”.)

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^^^At the duck pond with Grandpa.

Kenny loved to see and feed the ducks. We were feeding the ducks some food, but then Kenny got hungry, so I got a granola bar out for him. He was eating it, and then all of a sudden Kenny started yelling “bar” and running towards me. I looked up and saw a duck booking it the other direction with Kenny’s granola bar in its mouth. Apparently the duck stole the granola bar out of Kenny’s hand.

At the very end, we were getting ready to leave, and Kenny got really excited because he saw some “wa wa” or water. He splashed his hand down into it. Yeah, not water. Nasty duck poop. So fun to try to clean up.

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^^^At the Bean Museum with Grandma. Kenny loved this. He loved looking at all the animals.

We also got to visit Ken’s grandpa, which was really nice. He passed away yesterday, so¬†I’m glad we were able to visit him while we were in Utah.

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And then to close out the post, here is a video of Kenny and Grandpa playing “boo”, which then turned into a game of “where’s Kenny”. It was close to Kenny’s bedtime, so Kenny was not as excited/silly as he was at times, but you’ll get the gist.

At the very end, Kenny ran over and started pointing to Grandma to have her play, too. He sure loves his grandparents.

“Utah . . .”

“People working together . . . Utah! What a great place to be.” (Flashbacks to sophomore year in college when my roommates would sing the Utah state song at random times throughout the day. Miss it.)

Anyway, I promised a post about our trip to Utah.

To sum it up in one sentence- We had a great time! Despite Kenny never really changing over to Mountain Time (waking up at 5:00 am every day), we were able to get in some good extended family time.

We stayed with Ken’s parents, and Kenny¬†loved¬†spending time with his Grandma and Grandpa. He would ask them over and over (and over and over) to play “boo” with him (aka hide-and-go-seek where Kenny will hide but then come out after like 3 seconds of waiting), and they were patient enough to play with him. I will post some videos/photos of that in my Utah Part II post. (I really just don’t want to get up to go get the camera and my cell phone where the photos are so I’ll postpone that to another post.) (Yes, I am being lazy right now, but I’m also claiming the pregnancy card. I am big enough that it has gotten harder for me to get up and off the ground and that’s where I am sitting right now. On the ground.)

Anyway, onto pictures that already happen to be on the computer!

We went up to Ogden so that the boys could take their 4 Kens pictures. I think they turned out pretty well especially since we ended up waiting an hour past our appointment time to start taking pictures. Lots of candy and secret snacks were brought out to bribe Kenny to maintain a happy, good attitude.

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^^^He posed his hands like this on his own. What a goofball.

We also took some family pictures since we were there.

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^^^I really like how this picture turned out.

And here’s a couple of pictures of the whole gang-

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And towards the end, Kenny was getting a bit wiggly. He saw a truck up on a shelf that was a photo prop. He kept on wanting to get down and play with it. (No surprise there. That kid and trucks/cars/trains. This last week he chased a kid all the way out of the library because the kid had two trains¬†that he wanted to play with. Yes, the trains were the kid’s. He brought them from his own home. And yes, I bet it was a sight to see me waddle/run after my toddler who was screaming/crying while ripping through the library after the other innocent kid.)

Anyway, we kept on promising Kenny that he could play with the truck after we finished taking pictures. We got the truck down for him, and the photographer decided to snap a few pictures of him with the truck.

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And the last photo of the day captured (my absolute favorite)-

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^^^An unprompted smile of joy because he got to play with a truck.

Watch Your [Dub] Step

For family night on Monday, we decided to go on a walk downtown.

We parked the car, got out of the car, and saw this-

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And that’s when we knew it was going to be a good walk.

But really, it was fun to go exploring and see parts of town that you can’t see when you whiz past in your car. Like this gem-

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^^^Doesn’t it just feel like there should be a dirt road and two cowboys¬†that are about to have a shoot-off?

And such inspirational quotes are around town-

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^^^And no, this wasn’t found in front of a shoe store, although that would have been fitting.

But really though, it was a lot of fun! We found the splash-pad downtown that someone told us about-

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It has been in the mid-eighties this past week, so if it continues to be this hot, we will be making appearances there soon.

And Ken was in heaven when we found this on the side of the road-

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Yes, it is a “Free Fruit” bucket where people “rich, poor, young, and old” are free to “help yourself and leave some for others.” There were two bananas in the bucket, and Ken, not being afraid to eat anything, ate one. He still hasn’t died yet, but I’ll let you know if that changes. Kind of a cool idea. (The fruit bucket, not Ken dying.)

And around town they had all of these squares spray painted on the ground with the words “to me, art is . . . ” and school kids put their thoughts in the box. There were quite a few funny ones, but we really thought this one was good-

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Remember that restaurant,¬†Sullivan’s,¬†that we love?

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Well apparently we’re not the only ones that have a soft spot for their cake. When Ken’s parents were in town, we went to Sullivan’s and we all had the hardest time deciding which dessert to get. Ken’s dad nearly decided carrot cake multiple times, so we thought he would get a kick out of that picture. (Did you ever end up getting the carrot cake, Dad?)

And to close the post here are some pics of Kenny “smiling on request”-

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P.S. I couldn’t think of a casual way to work you into this one, Stacy. Better luck next time. :)