Birthday Cupcake

Brynn Kathryn had her first birthday on June 4th.June1020June1013

Happy birthday, sweet baby girl! God gifted you to Mommy & Daddy. Mommy was longing for another baby, and we were so happy when we discovered you were a little girl baby. We thank God for you and all the gentleness you’ve brought to our family. These brothers of yours love you fiercely. You blossom in both the tender and the rough brotherly affection they shower on you.

Brynn’s party was the last we’ll have in our desert casa. It was meaningful to host an intimate brunch with our “Phoenix Family” in honor of Brynn and her big day. June1002June1001The Horkavys, Goodmans, and Floreses have a special place in our hearts, and we will miss them in our new Oregon adventure. They’ve adopted us like family. Friends like this are hard to come by, so we treasure them.June1005June1006

Each family brought such thoughtful gifts: a 4th of July outfit (Independence Day will be our first holiday celebration in Portland), water shoes perfect for puddle-jumping, and a raincoat with lots of long-sleeved clothes for Brynn. June1007June1008June1010June1012The Floreses bought Brynn’s birthday presents under protest. They were definitely upset that they had to buy rain gear since they hate to see us move away and take our babies with us. Such a special time celebrating friendship.June1019June1017June1018

Brynn has turned out to be a lover of cupcakes. She made a royal mess, and Daddy even gave her a second cupcake!June1014

June1015You’ve stolen our hearts, Brynn Kathryn Moody. xoxoJune1009

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We Have A Walker

Brynn took her first solo steps on May 16th, but it’s taken me this long to catch a good video of her showing off her new skill. This week she’s been especially persistent about staying on her feet. Though she didn’t begin walking as early as her brothers (Silas at 9 months & Cooper at 10 months), it’s still surprising to see the small human on her feet, walking into a room.

YouTube Preview Image

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“Fee an’ a Ha’f”

Today is Coop’s special day. Today he turns three and a half. We tend to make a big deal out of half birthdays around here. Tonight we took the kids to McDonald’s for Happy Meals and some Play Place action.May5002

Cooper is our big-hearted teddy bear. Our gentle giant. He loves his close friends and family, and is a big fan of his little sister. While Silas is our home-body, Cooper {surprisingly} runs to put on his shark flip-flops so he can accompany Mommy or Daddy on an errand.

However, coaxing the Coop to leave Mommy’s side can be a chore sometimes. He’s made great strides in the bravery department by attending children’s church, taking swimming lessons, trying new foods, and talking to new friends at the park.

Cooper is processing life more—especially with the help of big brother. It’s cute to overhear Silas instructing Cooper on the finer points of life. Coop seems to be absorbing truth about God, and loves to sing The Gospel Song. He adores Dusty Crophopper from the Planes movie, and shares his Grandma’s love for flashlights.May5001

Everybody needs a Coop.

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Winslow For Sale

Our house is on the market! This move to Portland got real in a hurry. The “For Sale” sign was posted in our front yard on a Tuesday, and the listing for our home went live that Thursday—now just 11 days ago. May4001

It’s been a lot of work, a lot of cleaning, a lot of herding little people out of the house for showings for potential buyers, and a lot of anticipation. You can view the beautifully done pictures of our home here.

Oregon, here we come!

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That’s how I felt on Mother’s Day this year. And I’m thankful. The happiness of it caught me by surprise.May3004

While I always send my mom a Mother’s Day card, I especially enjoyed writing hers this year. I know she’s been a mom of little people, just like I am right now. I’m so thankful for her sacrifice of personal space, of personal time. By her selflessness, she has laid down her very life for me over and over again, and that’s grace. Grace she could only get from God.pic08pic13pic07

God has graced my life with three lovely little babies, and I don’t deserve such gifts. May3005Silas made me my very own coloring book, but he couldn’t wait until Mother’s day to present it to me. He’s discovered the stapler, so the coloring book was a natural outgrowth of his new craft medium.May3006Stephen and Cooper made a video for me of all the things Cooper loves about me as his mom. Here’s his masterpiece:YouTube Preview Image

In case you couldn’t catch Cooper’s words, he’s thankful we didn’t die this morning, that robbers never come to our house, that no bad guys are fighting us yet, that our house didn’t get fire in it before, that we didn’t smash our TV in hot lava, and that we have candy. I didn’t realize my motherhood was being rated by how many violent disasters our family could avoid. (I also love that when Stephen tries to re-direct Cooper’s train of thought, Cooper immediately shuts him down. “Thanks, but no thanks, Dad!”)


After Sunday morning church (and some of the kindest Mother’s Day texts and a card that were the highlights of my day), Stephen and the kids treated me to lunch at Miracle Mile Deli. Though it might sound like a lame lunch destination, their pastrami sandwich is melt-in-your-mouth amazing! We’ll miss “The Straw” sandwich when we move to Portland.May3008May3007

By the Spirit’s strength, I can live out my motherhood as a mirror that reflects God’s character to those around me. Sadly, my reflection of Him is broken, at best, but God has grace and merciful care even for mommies. I take heart when I read this scripture.

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young.
Isaiah 40:11 ESV

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Almost There

Brynn Kathryn is getting close to turning one year old. She’s now 11 months, and it looks like we’ll still be here in Phoenix for her first birthday. May2001I’ll be glad to spend time with friends who know and love Brynn for the first of her birthday celebrations. She even received an early birthday present from “Aunt” Bekah. A Supergirl cape and bib set fits our family’s personality perfectly!May2006May2007

Brynn has mastered the cheesy “I-know-I’m-cute” grin. She squeezes her eyes shut and smiles wide. She can stand for several seconds all on her own, but it might be a while before we see a step.May2004

This past month Brynn survived her first bout with the stomach bug. It was truly miserable since all five of us came down with it in one week. Believe it or not, this was the first time any of my kids have had the stomach bug in over five years of mothering. I’m thankful we put it off that long, but our carpets and sectional had to be professionally cleaned as a result. Baby Girl also managed to bust her lip open, so she was sick and had a swollen lip all at once!May2005May2002

Brynn has been saying, “Silas” and waving. She and I even played our first game of catch at the park. It was more a game of you-hand-it-to-me-and-I-hand-it-to-you, but Brynn was elated. Of course she LOVES being entertained by her brothers, and continues to be the easiest baby in the world.May2003

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Legoland Discovery Center

May1001May1002It was the perfect surprise for the boys, and it was fabulous! The Legoland Discovery Center opened at the AZ Mills Mall in Tempe on a Friday, and we were through the doors Saturday morning.May1003May1004

I was just as wide-eyed and giddy as the boys since it was thrilling to be able to take them to such a cool place. They rode the first ride with Stephen while Brynn and I checked out the Lego Phoenix. It was impressive! May1005May1008We loved walking around spotting city landmarks, the Cardinals’ stadium, ASU, Chase Field, and destinations around Arizona—all carefully constructed out of Lego bricks. Some of the displays were even interactive.May1007May1012May1013

Then the discovery center opened up into a big play area with lots of Lego brick building “sandboxes” including Duplo blocks and large foam bricks. Brynn loved the Duplo farm animals. May1016There was a Lego themed play place, another ride where Silas and I got to “fly” together, a parent lounge, and a race track for Lego cars. Stephen and the boys talked to a Master Builder who was hard at work. For lunch, we ate at the cafe and bought the boys the kid lunches that came packed in Lego lunch boxes to take home.May1020May1021

The 4D movie was super cool, especially because the idea of 3D was new to Silas. He thought it was pretty awesome how the characters looked like they were reaching out to touch him. Cooper, on the other hand, refused to wear the 3D glasses, so he enjoyed a blurry movie with some extra water and wind effects.May1018

We played hard all day long and built lots of happy Lego memories.May1022

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Artsy Date Night {& 700th Post}

{This picture is in honor of reaching our 700th post here on The Moody Side of Life. What started out as Stephen’s blog, became both of ours, and now it’s my way of recording our family’s memories. Cooper chose this plastic rose from Walgreens to give me as a token of his love. This is one special dude.}April6001

Last Friday night, Stephen took me out on a date. I was so looking forward to it! We enjoyed some new flavors and dishes at Culinary Dropout. The restaurant was pretty hipster and had ping-pong tables, corn hole, and fire pits around which friends could gather.

After dinner we found ourselves in Old Town Scottsdale along the Art Walk. April6002It was a beautifully windy night to be outside looking in the lighted windows at paintings and sculptures. I discovered that Stephen has more of an artistic eye that I knew. His interpretation of color, texture and contrast helped me appreciate the art in a way I would have otherwise missed. We found the Art Walk provoking even though neither of us are “artsy.”April6003

For dessert, we happened across a vintage (& very pink) ice cream parlor called the Sugar Bowl. April6004I chose the 23 Skidoo parfait since it was made of one of my favorites—coffee ice cream. At the soda counter we saw the Norman Rockwellish sight of a Daddy—decked out in a suit—who was on a date with his daughter.April6005

Maybe one day Stephen can take Brynn on a date…and maybe I’ll document it on this blog.

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Back at the start of April, my Aunt Debby flew to Phoenix with her mom and three sisters to visit a cousin of theirs. She invited us to come spend an afternoon at the hotel pool with her and her sisters while they were in town. I have to tell you that it was such a special experience for me. 0405161507_HDRa

As soon as Aunt Debby greeted me with a hug, it was one smile after another that I was tucking away in my heart. Perhaps I’m emoting too much over one small visit (as I’m very often prone to over-emote), but I just hope to somehow capture what I was feeling by writing this blog post.0405161559_HDRa

I felt welcomed by open arms. Aunt Debby immediately began helping me and caring for the kids while connecting with them on their level. Even her sisters jumped in. I had only met one of them before, but since they are veteran grandmas/aunts, relating to my kids and relishing in their childish delights came as naturally as breathing. I could see grandmothering woven into the very fabric of who they all four are. It was gorgeous!

The pool was beautiful, and Silas took to it right away. 0405161558a_HDRCooper struggled at first, but ended up loving it and wanting to stay swimming long after Silas was done. April5006Brynn fussed and fussed, but she loved splashing her feet in the water and was finally won over. April5003

We soaked in the afternoon sun, and caught up on family news while snacking in the grass poolside. When it came time to clean up, I felt a sense of belonging I hadn’t felt in a while. It seems silly to feel so deeply about sharing toiletries in my aunt’s hotel room, but it meant someone was caring for me. In that moment, it was okay that I wasn’t self-sufficient. It was okay that someone else was feeding my baby so I could take a shower. It was okay to just be accepted.

Then we met Stephen at Pizzeria Bianco to introduce Aunt Debby to the best pizza we’ve had yet. I tried the Wise Guy pie with no sauce, fennel sausage, cheese, and onions. So good!

I drove Aunt Debby back to her hotel, and before we said our goodbyes, we spent some time praying for one another. A fitting ending for such a dear memory that I’ll treasure. IMG955357 (1)a

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Planes, Planes, and More Planes

Falcon Field airport in Mesa had an open house the last weekend in March. April4001We drove across the Valley for a family day. An Army Cobra helicopter was offering rides to paying customers, historical aircraft was on display, and food trucks and bouncy houses rounded out the family fun.April4002April4003

We especially enjoyed the historic restored B-17 that we were able to crawl/walk through. April4004April4005April4006First, Stephen took the boys inside, and then I was able to tour it while Stephen watched the kids. April4007We climbed up a ladder to view the bombardier’s and navigator’s positions in the nose of the plane, and then we viewed the cockpit.April4015April4016 Silas climbed up into the top turret, and he especially enjoyed walking through “the dangerous part” (i.e. the open bombay). April4009April4011Next came the radioman’s station and the waist gunner positions. April4017April4012We could see the ball turret and tail gunner position from the outside only, but it was super cool to be inside such a historic aircraft that still flies!April4013April4019

The very next Saturday, we invited some friends along to watch the Luke AFB air show with us. We learned from the last air show that it wasn’t worth it to try to get on base. Instead we set up our chairs and watched from Glendale Ave and Reems Road, giving us a great view of the aerial acrobatics. The Thunderbirds are always an amazing grand finale, but I especially enjoyed the “Tora! Tora! Tora!” re-enactment of Pearl Harbor.

Silas was smitten with the B-17 and even constructed his own out of Lego.April4020PicMonkey Collagea He made this video to show Grampy his very own version of the Flying Fortress.YouTube Preview Image

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