We had some great opportunities for some snow fun this January.
The snow has been awesome!

I was able to go with Tucker on the Bear Hollow sledding field trip.
It was fun... kind of.  Ha ha.

The snow was almost as deep as Tucker.
His gloves sucked.
He was happiest with hot chocolate.

He's 3.

Enough said.

But, one-on-one time is always a win, so....

We're also super lucky on field trips, because we get Annie and Sam as our playmates!

(Tucker's face in this picture kills me!)

We also got to go down to Woodland Hills to see Tiffany and Todd's new lot.
It was a beautiful snowy afternoon, and Russell even got to participate in the wintery hike!
He slept the whole time... such a freaking stud!

Jack had some of his best snow times sledding this day.  The snow was perfection!

The whole crew.


Russell *months one and two*

The holidays made the life of blogging a little rough.
But, I'm determined to document this little angel if it kills me!

I just may have to combine the first couple of months in this post and do my best to touch on his milestones.

First of all, I must say, Russell has been nothing but pleasant surprises.
Everything about Russ is easy, and I'm telling you... it's impossible not to love him.
He has not rocked our boat like I thought 3 kids would.
He's only rocked mine in how smitten I am by him.
We got into a rhythm with him fast...and even my boys didn't go through many growing pains with a new brother.

It is really not an exaggeration to say that the first month of Russell's life he slept the ENTIRE time, and only woke up to eat... and even then...he was only partially awake.

I swear people did not believe me that he even had eyes.

At 2 weeks, he passed his doctor's appointment with flying colors. Phew!
After repeated billirubin tests at the hospital, we were in the clear there!
Hearing finally passed!
The bump on his head that we had worried about in the hospital was almost all the way gone as well, and he had gained 8 oz since leaving the hospital!

Weight: 7.8 oz (29%)

His belly button finally fell off after the doctor's visit, so it was finally bath time!  Man, were his brother's excited!
Russell has loved his bath since day 1, and has never shed one single tear about it...except to get out!

Russell attended all of Jack's basketball games, saw all the boys' holiday programs, weathered the family party scene through Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, has helped in Jack and Tucker's classes, has been my dinner date with friends, been to several movies, slept at the cabin, and has been on endless shopping excursions.  This boy knows how to GO!

He's also been passed around to his sweet cousins a fair amount of times :)

Jack has really stepped up in the big brother role.  He loves helping bathe Russell, and loves holding him-- especially up on his shoulder like this.

Not only is Russell lucky to have 4 incredible grandparents in his life, he also has 2 incredible great-grandparents.  One special night, we were able to visit Grandpa Sherm and Grandma Yvonna and he loved basking in their saintliness.

Finally, as the weeks passed on...we started seeing his eyes a little more and more!
And man are they blue!

At about 5 weeks, Russell started smiling.
It felt so early... maybe because he smiled SO MUCH.
And these weren't just gassy smiles, he was responding!
From very early, Russell seemed to connect with his eyes and react.

And, I have just about 999 other smiling photos to prove it.

Now, shall we talk about this kid and his nighttime sleep?

There has literally never been a night when we have been up with a crying baby.
He wakes up to eat...falls right back to sleep.

He has never woken up more than 3 times in a 12 hour period, and that was in his first week of life.

After 2-3 weeks, Russ man was able to sleep 6 hours without eating, and often only wakes up only one time in 12 hours.

He sleeps looooooong in the morning while I'm running around, and still snoozes a decent amount through the day.  There's been no need for a rigid schedule, because hes so happy and content, and sleeping so much on his own... he's got it figured out!

Told you.  Golden child.

Just taking a quick catnap in Tuck's bed while mom cleans up.

The sleeping pics are endless, too...because he does it A LOT!

Russ man is thriving.
At his 2 month appointment all was just great.
He even started a little cold before Christmas and fought it off all on his own.
That scared me...but, I'm so glad to know he can fight these germs his sweet older brothers bring home!

At 2 Months:
Weight: 11.09 lb (27.6%)

Russell is strong, starting to hold his head up, and his hair is starting to grow back on the top of his head :)

He melts me every single day.

Oh, and did I mention...

He's a total mama's boy.



Christmas Break was a dream.
It was the first time since the baby was born that things settled down long enough to have some lazy days at home.  It was also the first time that Brett took significant time off since Russ came, and by significant I mean TWO WHOLE WEEKS OFF!
I told you... it was a dream.

The first week we did a whole lot of Christmas preparations and hopping from parties and such.

The next week was New Year's and we spent time playing with Christmas loot, recovering from the craziness, and then spending a few days with the Nelsons, Tolmans, Warnicks, and Tueller's up at the cabin.

Here are a few snaps from the blissful days of no school and all play.

(Full disclosure... these first two snaps aren't official Christmas break...but close to.)
We visited Principal Kate one day for lunch in the Principal's office, and man were my kids entertained.  She had a drawer of goodies that provided entertainment for all!

Tucker was able to go on a date with Brett to do some Christmas shopping and to experience Arby's for the first time.

Curly fries for the win!

Jack spent a significant time lurking around our house in a caped fashion.
*It should be known that many-a-tear was shed over the perfect tying of this cape.
Some tears were his, some mine.  I tell you what.  This creative little boy is kind of a monster if things don't go his way.

We had plenty of time and SNOW to play with our new 4 wheeler that we bought over the break!

This puppy + the new motorcycle are going to be a blast up at the cabin.
Still looking for one more so the whole fam will have wheels!

Jack started learning how to ride the beast!

Tucker kind of  learned...and gave me a heart attack.

Maybe the most significant event of our break was going to see the new Star Wars movie!
Oh snap. This was huge!

Jack...as dramatic as his little soul is...to the core...has such inner conflict.
He battles being easily embarrassed, so when it was time to go- you could tell he desperately wanted to go in full costume.  But, he couldn't bear the thought of all the attention.
Tucker, on the other hand, suited up head to toe in his stormtrooper gear and was ALL IN.
Jack comfortably settled for his black leather jacket (kind of a Hans Solo- Darth Vader on the Town vibe) + his new helmet.

Watching these two strut down the theater in their gear like it was no big was maybe the highlight of my entire year.

Jack kept taking his helmet on and off...but Tucker had fans dying over him from the second we got there.  People were posing with him for pictures... it was awesome!

Hank, Max, and Sam had a blast with their nut-ball cousins.

The movie was awesome, and my kids' audible gasps could only be rivaled by...MINE!
AH! What's happened to me?!?
I could not have told you the plot to one Star Wars movie five years ago.
Now... I am full blow nerd.
That force...it's strong I tell ya.

Anyway.. Christmas Break.

As I mentioned,
We headed up to the cabin for a few days.
12 adults and 18 grand kids.
Good thing the cabin is in tip top shape... man, that place is incredible!
Accommodated all of us unbelievably well and we had a blast!
Our kids had so much fun with all of their cousins, and Russ handled the whole thing like a boss.

Our kids get along better in the mountain air.

Now... let's discuss the real reason for limited picts this holiday season. (j/k)
Brett decided to let the beard go.
And by go...I mean go.
 No work meant no grooming, and damn.

Things got a little out of control.

Russell's reaction to the beard:

What else? What else?

Jack just sat and read his scriptures all of the break:

(uhhhh...he decided this day to sit on his bed until he finished turning every single page...it counts as reading it, right?)

We did start revving up on the eating improvement front with him, however...and fingers crossed... maybe (but probably not), we're seeing improvement.
Poor kid has got some mental hurdles to overcome.  We'll get there I'll suppose.

His homework (to write 2 goals for 2016):
1. I want to eat better.
2. I want to do what is right.

Aw...precious little head case.  We'll figure it out.

Looking ahead to 2016! The past year has been a good one for us, mostly because of Russell coming to us.  Can't think of a better capstone to a year!