Last week was Makayla's second birthday. I seriously cannot believe that she is already two, and yet, I feel like she has been in my life and in our family forever. She is such a ray of sunshine in my life. She is one of the sweetest and well-mannered two year olds ever! But, watch out if she is around kids her own age or younger, because she turns into a little bully. I guess she just feels the need to let the other kids know that all though she is TINY, she can hold her own. She speaks WAY more than any of my other girls did at her age. She can even count to five. My very favorite thing is to hear her pray. She has the most beautiful little features and she is often told that she looks just like a little baby doll. But, she definitely knows how to be mischevious. One of her favorite past times is to lather her hair, clothes, and body down with soap, shampoo, vasoline, or lotion. I guess she just likes to have clean and smooth skin. Together, her and Hailey are TROUBLE!!!
Hailey is three now. She is super active and still climbing into and onto everything. The greatest thing we've ever bought for our kids is a trampoline. Whenever she can she is outside jumping like crazy. She is also quite the little gymnast. She puts on "shows" all the time where she dances, does handstand, and "somersaults". It is basically a flip. People go crazy when they watch her do it. It is really quite impressive. She also does the splits (which are also very impressive). She loves to play on "her phone" (aka MY phone), play pretend, dress up, anything outside and active, and she is quite the comedian. She loves to make people laugh. My very favorite thing she does is when we are reading books. At the end of the book she always says, "Amen". There is no way that I'm going to tell her that what you actually say is "the end". She keeps things exciting in our home and is constantly amazing me with her skills. She can count almost to 20 and she points out letters all the time (her favorite one being H of course).
Cloey turned eight in April. She was baptized in the exact same baptismal font that I was. We were so blessed to have so much family there, especially since it was the same weekend as my cousin, Ciera's wedding. The family that attended was Grandma and Grandpa Black, Grandma Mann, Aunt Andrea, Abby, Ethan, Great Grandma Black, Aunt Katie, Uncle Jason, Callie, Madison, Aunt Brittney, Landon, Kylin, my Aunt Amy and Uncle Steve, my Aunt Nancy and Uncle Mike, Kayla, Alyssa, Jenna and family, and Shanna and family. It was pretty awesome to go from the temple the day before to watch Ciera and Adam receiving the sealing ordinance and then to be part of Cloey receiving her baptismal ordinance the next day. Two of the most special days in a girls' life. Cloey was SO excited to be baptized. Her and Katelund sang like angels, just like they did at Katelund's baptism, as they sang the song "When I am Baptized". Grandpa Black spoke on baptism and Grandma Mann spoke on the Holy Ghost. After the baptism, we had all of our family and friends go to the park and we had lunch made for everyone. It was such a beautiful day, one that I know I will never forget. At the luncheon, when we had gathered everyone around for the prayer, Cory said, "Well now that Katelund and Cloey are baptized we only have three more to go." It took everyone a minute to catch on, but pretty soon they realized that we were indeed making an announcement.
Katelund is the best big sister ever. Her ability to love and care for her younger sisters just amazes me. She is growing and learning so quickly, it is so crazy to think that she will be ten in less than a month. In September, she will be attending an Intermediate school for 5th grade where she will be wearing a uniform. I am scared to death to see her leaving the safety and comfort of elementary school. She just received a letter in the mail last week telling us that because of her test scores she has qualified to be in the advanced reading and english class this year. She was SO excited!! She told me that this year she just wants to do good in school and be a nerd. I really hope she sticks to that plan. :) Unlike Cloey, who has a million friends, Katelund is a lot more selective and has had a harder time making close friends. Really, her sisters are her best friends, which makes me SO SO happy!
I am in my 17th week of pregnancy. I kept telling myself that I was just going to enjoy this final pregnancy, but it is really hard to do when I feel so yucky most of the time. Some days are better than others, but I'm definitely anxious for this sick stuff to go away. I am definitely showing now, which is way better than just looking fat. Despite the sickness and tiredness, the first trimester actually went by pretty quickly since I spent it in Mexico on a cruise with my sisters and mom, at girls camp with 30 fun and adorable young women, and Sea World for our summer family vacation. I would get sick each night, but for the most part I was extremely blessed with a lot of good days. Although I am done traveling for the summer, entertaining four children plus my calling as YW president keeps me very busy. I am also taking a Family History class right now which I am loving. I have really been getting into doing family history work. I have a lot to learn but I am enjoying the process and definitely feeling the power and blessings of doing such an important and vital work. I am still running every morning but it takes me about an hour and a half to do six miles because of the intermitent gagging and walking. It is definitely getting harder as my belly grows bigger, but I'm going to do it for as long as I can. I have found some really great running buddies, three young women who graduated this last year and are all leaving me in the fall for BYU. We meet at 6 am each morning. There is nothing better than starting your day with good company, a beautiful sunrise, and a good run.
Cory is loving his job. He has done such a great job as a general manager for the mall here. It keeps him really busy but he still finds the time to play. He has coached the girls' soccer team for the last two seasons and he has signed up to do it once again this fall. He also regularly plays basketball with a group of guys here, and of course he has continued his passion for mountain biking. He usually runs or bikes during his lunch break and then many nights he comes home and gets another run or bike ride in. He has lost tons of weight over the last year and is healthier than he has been for a long time. I'm so proud of him and all of his hard work and self-discipline. He is very inspiring to me, not just physically but in every other area as well. He always reminds me to love life, enjoy our children, and be happy and content. I seriously don't know what I would do without him in my life. He is my rock. In June, he competed in an adventure race. It was a 4 mile run, 8 or 9 mile bike ride and a couple miles kayaking. He did so wonderful!!! The girls and I went and watched him race. He ended up getting 5th place in the male division. I was actually going to do the race with him but backed out once I found out I was pregnant and would most definitely be too sick to race. In September, he is going on his second annual Moab trip with his cousin and good friend from Chattanooga to mountain bike and camp for 4 days. To say he is excited would be a huge understatement.
Life is great. Although we still miss all the many good friends we have made in all the places we've lived over the last thirteen years of marriage, we are loving Texas. We love living near family and getting together with our siblings and their kids pretty regularly. There is nothing better than to see our kids making so many wonderful memories with their cousins, aunts, and uncles. We don't know how long we'll be in Texas, but we are enjoying the time we have. We are also all super excited to add one more final addition to our family the week before Christmas. Everyone, except Hailey, is hoping for a boy. But, either way, we will be so grateful for another little Mann.
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