***I'm determined to catch up on cataloging our family's events this year. Be ready for outdated posts galore!


Our Baby Boy

meet jacob daniel skinner
born may 25th at 3:45 pm
7 lbs and 19 in

yesterday was quite eventful but we'll save that story for another time.  

for now...
madison is in heaven and "can't believe he is ours forever and ever!"
grace has interest in 30 sec intervals and really wants to help me nurse him.
dan can't help but walk around with a proud look on his face and its adorable when he says, "hey buddy"
and i think little jake has the cutest nose that i've ever seen.

we're all in love with this new little boy over here and
can't wait to head home in the morning - all five of us!



{i have a lot to be thankful for!}

we are busy.  i am tired.  and the girls are as cute as ever.  that about sums things up.  but for the sake of posterity, a blog book, and family and friends that still occasionally check in on us, i'll elaborate a little more.

-we finished stocking up on water and feel better prepared having a solid two week supply for the four of us.   our three month supply of food is almost replenished (from moving last summer) and i just need to get organized with specific meals and rotating lists.  a huge thank you to dan's parents for contributing to our emergency preparedness supplies for christmas - we're finally putting it to good use!

-we got a new hot water heater for christmas, from my mom and mark, and finally listed our old one on craigslist and got rid of it. yay!

-we've spent hours and hours doing yard work in the back including raking up 26 huge garbage bags worth of leaves.  next fall we'll stay more on top of things and have much less to do in the spring!  we bought, put together, and filled raised garden beds with top soil and hope to have everything planted by this weekend.  i also have 90+ little vincas and marigolds to plant in various places around the yard.  being 38 weeks pregnant is hindering my excitement to bend over that many times. :)

-dan is still serving as the executive secretary while adjusting to the demands of being elders quorum president.  we're all hoping that sooner rather than later he'll be down to just one calling.

-madison finished her first year of preschool and loved every minute of it.  this spring she was evaluated by an early childhood educator and qualified to be a peer mentor for title 1 preschool next school year.  she scored 97% and 95% for her behavior/skills and will help kids with special needs.  i am so excited for her and think she will do awesome!

-on mother's day, madison sang with all the primary kids up on the stand. for her first time.  i don't think she even noticed there was a chorister because she looked at us the whole time, grinning, in between singing all the words.

-grace wants to do everything madison does.  she can't wait to be in primary and preschool.  last week she was invited to stay at school with madison and all the big kids and i don't know if i've ever seen her so happy (except for maybe here).

-grace is loving the nice weather and i often find her outside, barefoot in the grass with sadie.  we quickly learned that our side gates needed locks after she ventured into the front yard and let sadie out a few times.  she is our mischief maker and adventurer!  she comes inside sweaty, with rosy cheeks, telling me all about the things she saw and did and has quite a talent for finding lady bugs.

-we have really enjoyed spring with all the flowers and blossoms.  we were pleasantly when daffodils popped up in our back yard and tulips in the front.  our hibiscuses are getting bigger everyday and will hopefully bloom soon.  this last week i bought gerber daisies, and a dahlia to plant in pots and planters along with the vincas and marigolds.

-dan enjoys watching the show "shark tank" and recently saw a new product he was interested in called the citi kitty.  he purchased it and it should get here any day now.  i told him i get to tease about it as much as i want and then if he can successfully toilet train our two cats, i'll take it all back. 

-a pair of sparrows built a nest in our garage this winter and a couple weeks ago i heard a bit of commotion out there and found two little birds trying to learn how to fly.  i figured between our dog and two cats they'd have a hard time surviving the day so we spent hours scooping the babies up off the ground and putting them back up high on the shelf.  at the end of the day, one flew away with the parents and the other was left behind with a broken leg.  we nursed it for three days, feeding it with an eye dropper, before it finally died. madison and i cried.  grace said, "thanks for showing me the dead bird, mom." and rolled over to take a nap, unphased by it all.  madison was devastated when i threw it away (we didn't want to bury it and have our dog dig it up) and said, while sobbing, "can't we just put it back in the next and let its parents deal with it?"  we had a nice conversation about heaven and animals. :)   

-we hosted a bbq with most of the residents and their families at our house (20+ people).  i was nervous but everything turned out well and everyone loved the chicken dan grilled.  we played some golf toss, watched the kentucky derby, and enjoyed eating and visiting outside in the gorgeous weather.  they were sweet to spoil us with some cute baby clothes and accessories as well.

-our families have a lot going on as well: my sister hannah is currently spending 6 weeks in belize with a service organization, my brother, chris, has four weeks of boot camp for the air force coming up, my mom and mark have started building their new house out in new harmony, and dan's brother, brett, is returning home in june from his mission in brazil.  we also have kamber and shane's new baby boy joining the family in july and stephanie and robert are due with a little girl in oct.  a lot of exciting things happening! 

-as far as this pregnancy goes, we are at the tail end of things, thank goodness!  i'm officially 38 weeks and counting down.  we found out this week baby boy is breech and that was a huge bummer.  after a lot of talking, praying, and second opinions we decided to schedule an external version on may 25th (after giving me an epidural, they'll try to manipulate the baby so he'll turn head down).  immediately after i will either be induced or have a c-section, depending on whether or not the version is successful.  my doctor said our chances are 50/50.  we have our fingers crossed! 

this random list of things hardly covers everything we've been up to but it gives you an idea.  like i said, we're busy and i'm tired. but life is good and i wouldn't change anything (except this baby boy being flipped back the right way!!).  i'm trying to soak up the small and simple moments before life changes with a new baby next week.  but we're very excited for everything about to happen and can't wait till this little guy makes his big debut!


Our House Decorated: The Girl's Room

{original picture from previous owners}

the end of next month marks one year spent in columbia for our family.  wow, it has flown by!  i figure i'd better post pictures of our house all moved in and redecorated before baby boy skinner joins us in a couple weeks.  this is what the girls' bedroom looked like back in feb 2010 when the house was first listed and i flew out to look at it.  super cute but a little too dark and bold for me, plus nothing we owned went with red.

{last november}

thank goodness for killz because that room needed some serious primer.  

{my "helpers"}
i painted once the girls went to bed and late into the night.  between two little busy bodies, wet paint, and original hardwood floors, i wasn't willing to take any chances.  the girls were excited to see the new color when they woke up.

{all painted with the beds and dresser moved back in}
 next on my list was figuring out how to finish the room with things on the wall and empty space in the corner. 
i finally finished everything in march. 

here are the results .......................

{in between the closet (left) and bedroom door (right)}

the girls' art wall.
the pictures are hanging haphazardly right now but the beautiful thing about it is the door on the right is usually open and hides a lot of the wall so it doesn't matter.  i hung eye hooks on each side and crossed fishing line back and forth between them.  the girls hang pictures they paint/color or bring home from nursery/primary/preschool with clothespins.  at some point i'll get some glitter and pom poms so they can fancy them up.  i really wanted to have a space for them to display their creativity besides the fridge and i think this was the perfect solution.

{pic taken from madison's bed}

i love this corner of the room.  i found the rug on sale at target and it gave me a starting point and color scheme.  the bookcase was a thank you present from dan's sister stephanie, the lamp came from a model home sale in az last summer, and the picture is of madison on the beach in rocky point, mexico, painted by my grandma farnsworth.

here's a closeup.
the snap shot she painted from is attached on the back - it's from our last trip with my family before chris's mission and the crash. 
it's priceless and i love it.

{the view from the corner by the bookcase}

{standing in the doorway}
for journaling purposes and to remind myself in the future i can do something like this again: the ikea dresser was found in the "as is" section, the shelves and plant are from marshall's, the letters above the beds are from stephanie, i mod podged them and the temple blocks, added ribbon and gave them to the girls for christmas, i had extra frames on hand, printed enlargements at sam's club, found the accesories at hobby lobby for 50% off with lindsay's help, the print of Christ was free from the lds distribution center, the piggy banks were birthday presents, and both bedding sets were on clearance from jc pennys and target (they don't match but do coordinate). 

{standing in front of the window}
i found madison's head board and box spring on craigslist for $20 and the guy threw in two free shelves (they are hanging in the hallway and nursery).  the headboard needed some love so i primed it and spray painted it.

this project really taught me to be patient.  i searched and searched for just the right things, pulled from what i had, and emailed family a million times for opinions and advice.  i really wanted a space that was bright, happy, and functional (and not all pink!). a space geared towards the girls that would reflect them and what we hold dear.  a place they would enjoy living, playing, and sleeping.  while its not perfect, i think it came together nicely and i'm glad its done!

{self portrait by madison}
i think they've given it their stamp of approval too.


Number Four

today is dallin and kamber's fourth wedding anniversary.

it was a whirlwind day with pictures, a beautiful sealing in the mesa temple (by dan's grandpa lebaron), a luncheon at the landmark, two hour drive to tucson, a reception in the platt's backyard and a two hour drive back home.  in honor of cinco de mayo, mexican food was served and we fiesta'd the night away.

its pretty crazy to think of all that's happened since that night four years ago.  nobody ever would have guessed that my dad and brother would die in a plane crash just 15 short months later and that kamber would be left 8 months pregnant.  thankfully, their son porter came into the world happy, healthy and roaring to go.

kamber said this as we were texting back and forth today, "I celebrated one anniversary with Dallin and then the second, third, and now fourth are with him gone.  I just feel so lucky to have a little piece of him with Porter.  He is such a blessing!"  we are all grateful for porter and the pieces of dallin we see in him.  he definitely has his dad's zest for life!

not only are we grateful for the addition of porter to our family but also kamber's new-ish husband shane.  he has been sweet and understanding and takes great care of kamber and porter.  have i mentioned they're expecting a little baby boy in july?   i don't think i have.  i'm SOOO happy for them and i know dallin is too.  go here to see recent pictures on kamber's blog.  my favorites - porter and shane playing baseball. 

**cinco de mayo 2007, D & K's wedding day, and the funeral program picture**

the wonderful thing about all of this is the happy ending and ever after.  the peace that the truthfulness of the gospel brings.  the power of the priesthood and the everlasting ordinances of the temple.  the reassurance in knowing that even though we don't have all the answers for sometimes really tough questions, it will all work out in the end.  that our goal here on earth is to be happy and even though it can be hard, it's achievable.  we can be happy despite the trials and circumstances we have to endure.

i'm grateful for this special day during the year when i can reflect about what anniversary's represent, even when they're not spent together with those we love. 

happy fourth anniversary dallin and kamber - i love you both!!


Getting There

**madison snuggling with 'baby brother' on a park bench, in forest park - st. louis.**

i'm officially 35 weeks pregnant and don't find it necessary to provide any more visual documentation than the above picture. :) just think large and uncomfortable with awhile still to go.  we're really hoping this little boy joins us in a few short weeks, as long as he's good and healthy of coarse. 

for some reason i thought things would start to wind down the closer it got to his due date but the opposite keeps happening.  a brief summary of the last week?  sure, why not: a haircut, Easter dinner hosted at our house, a week of teaching preschool, missionaries plus investigator over for dinner, mutual, the temple, 36 hour family vacation to st. louis, stake youth dance (yours truly in charge), visiting teachee over for dinner, presidency meeting, carpet cleaning, dr appt, new calling for dan (EQ president, though he's still acting as executive secretary till someone else is called), and this weekend i'm helping with a class for our stake relief society conference and we're hosting a BBQ for all the derm residents and their families.  this doesn't include daily household and familial responsibilities, which take plenty of time themselves.

i'm exhausted...to put it lightly.

the neat thing amidst all this craziness is that it seems like we're finally figuring things out.  living life going full speed ahead has taught us to prioritize better than we ever have before.  we're finally, maybe, starting to get this parenting thing down and our girls on a routine that works (just in time to throw a new baby in the mix!).  we are more consistent than ever before when it comes to the important but simple things like reading scriptures and saying prayers, as a family and a couple.  we're communicating more about our schedules and wants and needs as we're figuring out how to balance all of our responsibilities.  and we're learning how to really love and serve and be more diligent in our callings.

it's almost like the crazier life gets, the better we're getting at fitting all the pieces together.  hopefully adding all the changes a new baby brings will just be one more piece to our puzzle.  either way, they're getting closer - baby brother's arrival and where we want to be as a family.  both have us smiling.

outside the st. louis temple, on the way home from our mini vacation. 

pictures and details of our trip in the near future!