It happened.  We sold our house in Oklahoma.

What a project it was.  I think when we bought the house we were a little naive about what it would take to totally renovate it.  I'm glad that Katie went along with another of my crazy projects.

I can't believe all that we were able to learn during this process.  What a blessing this house has been for us.  I'm sad to see it go, and can only hope that someday we will have a house as nice as this one.

That being said, now it's time to show the fruits of our labors (and to be honest, brag a little bit about what we did).

Below are the before and after shots of the house.  Enjoy.

Colorado Springs

We made it to Colorado Springs in one piece.  During our 14 hour car ride I wasn't quite sure it was going to happen.  We did well the first 5 hours....but then Cole decided to rebel.  He wouldn't nurse well and was fussy the rest of the way.  We got stuck in major traffic at Vail, CO.  The roads were super icy and we were stopped/inching along for about an hour along a 1/2 mile stretch.  I will not admit to nursing a baby or changing an extremely poopy diaper of a certain toddler while stopped on the freeway... Finally pulling into the hotel parking lot was bittersweet.  We were so glad to be there, but then we remembered we weren't actually inside with our luggage and in our beds! Anyway, the boys were pretty amazing--I think we've forced them into becoming pretty good little travelers--and I Ryan and I were still friends at the end of the road trip, so I call that a success!

We've been in our hotel now for a couple of days, and tomorrow we'll meet the movers at our new house.  I really like our new place minus the fact that the owners left crumbs in their cupboards for us and forgot to clean their carpets and mop their floors and clean their oven....hah!  There's a little park across the street and it seems to be quite the place to be.  I'm excited for that, but I'm afraid that one of my kiddos is going to end up getting hit by a car after sneaking out of the house to go play.  The back yard is fenced except for where the patio is, and the patio leads to the front porch...We have been working really hard on having the kids stop and look both ways before crossing the street.

The kids are doing so much better with their dad around.  Josh has always been pretty much fine, but Carter really struggled with being sad or grumpy about nearly everything the past few weeks.  Now he's much more pleasant and willing to do what he's asked!  Landon has been much less aggressive as well.  I'm sure part of that has to do with Carter being more pleasant and Ryan being around to help me prevent injuries.  And Cole hasn't really changed much, he's still calm and content.  (I guess if he's not riding in a car for 14 hrs).   He is starting to coo though.   I'm pretty sure that has to do with him getting older and not with daddy being home, although Ryan would beg to differ.  :)

I'm excited and nervous to get settled.  That means Ryan goes back to work and I'm on my own during the day.  I'm sure we'll survive, I'm just hoping that I can remain somewhat sane.  We shall see.  We shall see.

We're All Together Again...

So for the past few months life has been interesting for the Allen family.  The boys and I left Oklahoma in July to live with Ryan's parents until baby Cole was born.  A week and a half after Cole's birth, we came down to southern Utah to stay with my parents. (Ryan came up with this plan, since he didn't want me to worry about taking care of our home and trying to sell it while taking care of a newborn).  Anyway, we've been with out a dad for 3 months, not counting the few wonderful quick visits he was able to make.

On the one hand, I feel like I've been on vacation for 3 months:  Living out of suitcases, only making a few meals here and there, not having to clean the whole house, not having a church calling, etc.  I'm so grateful for my in-laws and my parents for putting up with us for so long.  Especially during the emotional-breakdown times!  And especially now that I have Cole.  I spend a lot of time feeding him and taking care of him, and my parents have really helped out.  My dad's retired, so he takes the "older" boys out when I need a break.  I know that once we move to Colorado later this week, I'm going to be in for quite a surprise.  Life will be harder.  My dad won't be there to clean my kitchen, do my dishes, and entertain my boys.  My mom won't be there to hold Cole for me, to help out with the kids in the morning, and to take Josh to school.  I mean, seriously!  

On the other hand, it will be so nice to have Ryan with us.  Even though I have great help, I'm the boys' mom, and when the boys are naughty or sad or tired, they only want me.  So I might go crazy during the day, but having Ryan home for dinner and bedtimes will help so much!  Having him there to help during the night when Cole won't sleep will be awesome!  We miss him so much.  Especially the boys. This whole experience has shown me the important role the father plays in the family.  The boys need a dad to play with and rough-house with.  They need a dad to be stern with them and tell them to listen to their mother.  :)  They need a dad to cuddle and read stories them.  They need a dad to run to when mom's had enough.  They need a dad to feel secure.  I truly admire women who are raising their kids with out a father because it is hard!

I will say this: I feel that I have grown quite a bit.  I tend to whine and feel sorry for myself if life isn't nice and easy--like the kids feed themselves and put themselves to bed and play well together.  :)  At first I prayed for life to ease up a bit, because I didn't want to deal with hard things.  I soon realized that that wasn't going to happen, so instead I started praying for strength.  I looked to my sister, my mom, my grandma, my great-grandma, and the pioneers for their examples of strength in being mothers.  Now I tell myself that I can't throw my hands in the air and give up when I have a bad day because my kids need their mom.  I think of the pioneer women who kept moving forward toward Zion, even when they faced so many hardships.  I know they did it for their children and their posterity.  Anyway, I'm so grateful that my boys have such a good dad.  I'm so glad to be getting him back this week--and so are my parents!

Introducing Cole

Katie has been asking that I blog about Cole's birth, so here you go:

I was going to end there, but I know Katie would be mad at me for taking the easy way out.  Let me add some details.

He was born at Ogden Regional Medical Center.  We got to the hospital early in the morning, checked in and settled down.  Katie got an IV, and the waiting began.  We didn't have to wait long, however, as Cole was born in the early afternoon.  True to form, after a few pushes, our little guy was here.  Much like Carter, he came super-fast.  Also like Carter, he came with a bruised face.

Everyone there couldn't believe his chubby cheeks, and shortly thereafter the pinching began.  Aunts, grandmas & cousins just couldn't help themselves.

He was blessed on the following Sunday at my parent's house, with lots of family present to watch & participate.  We were happy to have him there in Utah, with all of our loved ones close by to visit and support us.

We're excited to have this little guy with us.  He is a sweet little boy, who seems to be pretty content - except for when he's hungry... WATCH OUT!  His older brothers just adore him, and are doing there best to make sure he's loved and taken care of!

Recent Happenings

 Here is Carter with Bella.  We gave the dogs away, since we were planning on moving to Germany.  Now we aren't heading to Germany....the army rejected us -me- because of my diabetes.  We don't know if it's a new policy or what, but we're hoping to be heading to Colorado Springs instead.  Not too bad a trade off, I might add.  Anyway, whoops for getting rid of the dogs early!  Sorry Sarah and Bella....kind of sorry. 
 Josh and Sarah.  So cute!
 Carter turned 4 in April.  He had a Ninjago/Pirate party.  Here, all the boys are blowing out the candles with Carter.  He was too embarrassed to do it all by himself--he doesn't like being the center of everyone's attention--but he loved the idea of everyone blowing out the candles.  We had about 15 little boys over and it was complete chaos and fun! 
 Ryan has been spending nearly all of his free time working on the house, now that we're trying to sell it before our unknown move.  Here the boys had the chance to help him out a bit, putting rocks around the trees.  And let me tell you, they were great helpers.
 About a month ago, I took the boys to meet up with some friends at a really fun picnic area at the reserve (kind of like a natl' park, right?).  It had rest rooms, fire pits, a field of grass, a little hike, and fun picnic tables.  We loved it and have been back a few times since.
 Ryan got to go shooting grenades, or something manly, with some army friends.  I think he enjoyed himself.  Looks pretty GI Joe here if you ask me!
The other day our friend invited us to swim at her pool, and the boys were so excited.  Here Carter is giving me his best pirate impression.  Arrgh!