Christmas Morning

Ahh, nothing beats sleeping in until 7:30 and waking up to happy kids on Christmas morning. We seriously had the best Christmas. The kids were adorable and loved each and every gift. It took us well over an hour to get through them all, but I cherished every minute.

The kids looked adorable in the their PJs from Santa and as you can see, Santa did manage to bring Ellie both a Sleeping Beauty Barbie AND an Ariel barbie. Although, getting the Ariel barbie resulted in me going to every Target in the East Valley and being suckered into carrying $300 of tools through Home Depot and scanning them through the self check-out lane. But that's a story for another day. . .

Enjoy our SCADS of Christmas pictures! :)

Just like last year, we had to beg Ellie to open more presents. Both of the kids were perfectly happy with what was in their stockings. I think Nate would have sat there all day running his cars over the carpet making his little "vrrrooooooooom," noise. And Ellie would have been in heaven if all she had gotten was barbies.

Nate seriously would have been happy getting boxes for Christmas. He was so cute wandering all over the house carrying presents and laughing. He would go from box to box lifting them. Then he'd go back and play with one of his trucks for a minute or two. He kept himself pretty well occupied while Ellie did all of the unwrapping for him.

One of the "big" presents we got Ellie this year. We gave Santa credit for all of the toys we got them for the back yard, but we wanted credit for the kitchen. Little stinker keeps telling everyone that Santa got it for her though. I keep trying to explain that it's from mommy and daddy, but I'm pretty sure she thinks all of her toys were Santa.

I seriously could have eaten Nate on Christmas morning. He was laughing so hard. I'm not sure he understood what was going on, but he was high on a Christmas spirit. I couldn't believe how much fun he was. Great Grandma, Beaney and Dave sent the kids Book of Mormon Story board books. They are so cute. We took them to Church on Christmas day and Ellie loved them.

I'm glad I didn't open them on early even though Kristine was prodding me to. It was so nice to have a little present from my Grandma under the tree. Even though she passed away a few weeks ago, it was neat to have a little part of her there with us on Christmas.

Nate loves all of his toys. He got a lot of cute stuff and I think he's just happy to have things that are just his (try telling that to Ellie). He was seriously giddy anytime he got to open a present. Then he would just hold the box and walk around.

This particular bath toy is from his cousins in Tennessee. He loves it you guys!

Ellie got quite a few nightgowns for Christmas, but the one from Grandma and Papa Walkem is her favorite. It is "sooooooo beauitful" that I had a hard time convincing her that it was for sleeping in and not a dress up dress. As a compromise, it hangs on a hanger on the dress-up rack in her closet, but we still wear it to bed. I also had to convince her to take the robe off when she sleeps. The second she wakes up, she puts it back on.

Sweet Nate. Still perfectly content to just hold a present. Even if it is for his sister.

Our house is now over run with Barbies. Ellie got SIX barbies for Christmas -- Ariel and Sleeping Beauty (which you've heard about multiple times by now), a "n"ermaid barbie from Fairytopia, Cinderella and two "Highnesses" barbies from Barbie's Pegasus movie. To say she was thrilled would be an understatement.

She also got a matching Cinderella dress up dress as a hand-me down from a friend. But I still wrapped it and put it under the tree for Christmas. Moms can do whatever they want.

Ahhhhhhhh, Princess Alexa. A gift from Ellie's cousin Alex Anne. She's actually much cooler than you would guess from looking at her. She makes these really adorble noises, and you can even burp her. Ellie absolutely loves her, and Nate tries to steal her whenever possible. He has an obsession with babies (maybe because they are smaller than he is), so he thinks Princess Alexa is pretty neat.

However, on more than one of ocassion, we've gone in search of Nate only to find it is Princess Alexa making the noises.

We've played with every toy every day since Christmas. My one rule is that I will only do Bella Ballerina once a day though. It is far more work for me than it is for Ellie. She's so darn cute when she does it, though, so it's totally worth it.

I'm starting to think I'm going to be forced to add one more activity to our schedule and put her into dance.

Please not how graceful she looks though. You'd never know she was one of the clumsiest children on earth (I can only blame myself -- Dustin was never called Maddy Boom Boom as a child).

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was so much fun -- for most of us. Poor Tanner ate a glass prnament shortly before the festivities began, so he and Hans ended up in the ER until 7:30 at night. We had soup in bread bowls and the weather was warm enough (80 degrees) for the girls to eat outside. The only dowfall of them eating outside: we're not sure if they ate anything, leaving way too much room in their bellies for sugary treats.

Tasha prepared a little Nativity story and we put the nativity costumes I sewed to good use (well, I should probably give a lot of the credit to Joyce for helping me sew them). Ellie was Mary, Ashley was Joseph, Abby and Dustin were shepards, Tasha, Tony and Papa Rogers were the Wisemen and I made an appearance as the angel. It was pretty stinking cute.

Michelle brought sugar cookies and sprinkles and Cheryl made frosting so the girls could decorate cookies to leave for Santa. Although, I think Santa wasn't quite sure if he should eat them or not, seeing how often the girls licked their knoves and stuck them back in the frosting.

After that, they went back into Ellie's room and played. The doorbell rang and there was a loud HO HO HO so the girls ran to the front door to find pajamas from Santa. They all changed into them and looked so darn adorable. Dustin looked incredibly cool in his blue moose pajamas. I'll have to wait for Tony to get back from Utah to get pictures of all that. :)

I seriously thought Ellie would just crash after everyone left. Grandma and Papa Rogers had been in town for a few days, she hadn't had a nap since Tuesday, and she had quite the exciting evening. However, by the time everyone left it was well after 8 and the exhaustion had turned into a sugar rush. That girl stayed up until well after 9 pm singing Jingle Bells at the top of her lungs.

We still managed to drag out all the presents and climb into bed ourselves by 10 pm. Plus the kids didn't even wake up after 7:30 the next morning. I plan on cherishing one of the last years we'll be so lucky.

In other news!

Nate is FINALLY wearing shoes. After months of struggling with the little turd to get him to wear his shoes, he has finally shown an interest. The other night we hear him grunting down the hall. Turns out he is trying to put on Ellie's dress up shoes. So after laughing at cute it is, I finally remember that this is the kid who cries anytime he sees me nearing him with shoes. I ran and got his shoes out of the closet and sure enough, he wore them around the house all night.

Of course the next day we were out in the backyard with them on and he tripped and face planted into the cement pavers. OUCH! Obviously he needs some more practice. It also explains the lovely red scab on his nose in all of the Christmas photos.


Santa Claus

The whole Santa coming to pre-school thing went well, thankfully. I'd been telling Ellie that not every Santa she sees is the real thing and that Santa doesn't give into commericalism for the last few weeks. I think the abundance of Santas really takes away the magic of Christmas. It also gets me out waiting in line at the mall or any of those other hokey Christmas traditions we force upon our children.

Then last week I get a letter from Ellie's Pre-school teacher saying that Santa would be coming to visit. Immediately the panic set in. Would Ellie announce that it wasn't the real Santa? Would she tell him that Santa doesn't give in to commercialism? I was nervous! So this morning, I started prepping her for what would happen.

Me: Ellie, I heard there might be a special visitor today at school.
Ellie: Who is it?
Me: Maybe Santa Claus will come.
Ellie: No, Santa only comes on Christmas.
Me: But he might make a special appearance today.
Ellie: No, he's coming in two weeks.
Me: Actually, it's only one week now.
Ellie: Nooooooooo, it's two weeks.
And then I decided just to drop it because she was getting upset with me and I hadn't finished her hair.

Luckily, the whole thing went perfectly! WHEW! Santa came in and Ellie was the first kid to run up and sit in his lap. She smiled and told him what she wanted for Christmas: 2 barbies -- a Sleeping Beauty barbie (check) and an Ariel barbie (uhhhh, not checked, I hope Target isn't out of them). Then he gave her a little bell and told her to ring it every time she did soemthing good. Isn't that too cute? I think I'm going to force her to wear the bell forever, because I've already gotten a few good deeds out of her.

After the visit with Santa, she did come and ask me if it was the real Santa or the fake Santa. I told her it was the real one. What other choice did I have?? It made her so stinking happy. Totally worth the hoopla. Nate also got a chance to sit on his lap. I was surprised he wasn't scared.

I am getting so excited for Christmas. Ellie has Girl School tomorrow, so I have to run and do last minute shopping and then we'll be ready to go!



And so it begins. . . the holiday season. Thanksgiving was pretty bad, but no where near as bad as Christmas is going to be. For friend gifts this year, I gave out rolls of wrapping paper with an ornament tied on. Mainly because I didn't want to contribute to the never ending supply of treats that seem to appear around Christmas -- although I fully appreciate the sweets.

It started off fine. A cute decorative snowman that now sits on the piano and a bundle of candles with an ornament and a cute scripture, but slowly the food started pouring in. Some homemade fudge, peanut brittle, then came the loaves of poppy seed bread. I left town in time to miss the dessert bars (they must have been good because Dustin and the kids didn't leave any for me), but came back just in time to hit the mother load.

Starting at about 6 last night, our door bell rang all night long. Homemade salsa, sugar cookies, fudge, caramel, some sort of marshmallow concotion, an assortment of dip mixes, a tin of chocolate covered cookies, hot cocoa and marshmallows, and cups full of chocolate covered pretzels. All part of what I like to call, "Holiday Gluttony."

They are now sitting on my kitchen counter, beckoning to me everytime I walk in there -- reminding me of how little I have worked out this month. They also remind me of how blessed I am. Here I am, thousands of miles away from family, and I have so many people who love and care about me and my family. We are so blessed.

I was reminded this weekend that there are only two things you get to take with you when you leave this world -- your testimony, and the relationships you have with others. As Christmas approaches, I am so lucky to have both. A wonderful testimony of Christ that has only grown as I've followed the prophets challenge to finish the Book of Mormon, and an incredible amount of people who I love and rely on. I am so blessed with an amazing family and thoughtful friends. I truly hope that everyone will be able to feel the same joy this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!


Catch up

I did it! I figures out how to get the pictures from my camera to my computer all by myself. And it was actually really easy. I'm brilliant!!!!!!!

Anyway, here is a little recap of what has been going on here over the last month. Sort of a random collection of pictures I downloaded today. Well, a random collection from the ones I didn't delete. Went I was looking through them on the computer, I noticed a large chunk of pictures (say 10-15) that Ellie had taken of the TV set while she was watching Mulan the other day. How did kids get so smart? It took me forever to figure out how to use a digital camera, yet now my daughter can get a stool, get mommy's camera down from it's hiding place, open it, take some pictures, close it back up and put it back where she found it?? That's clever.

It's a good thing we live in AZ

That is the face of trouble. Little girls can be so devious when left to their own devices. Today Ellie had a little buddy over for the afternoon. They played so sweetly inside until they asked in their most polite way if they could go outside and swing. So we all headed outside for awhile until the phone rang. I ran inside to get it and left the door open so I could hear the girls play. The enitre phone conversation, I can hear little squeals and giggles, so I figure all is well. Yeah, not so much. When I got off the phone, I see two dripping wet girls running around in the sprinklers out back! (They used to go off at 1 pm, I guess no one told me they had been switched to 3)

All I can say is, it's a good thing they are so stinking cute and it's a really good thing we live where it's nice enough outside in December to get a little wet. But I did make them strip and come inside and get some dry clothes on. After I made them pose for pictures.

We put our tree up. . .

and more proof that Nate is a cuddle ho. Seriously, that kid will cuddle anything. I'm not even kidding. He's cuddled water bottles before. When he's tired, anything will do -- a napkin, paper, a cell phone and now we can add out tree skirt to the list.

Nate's new face

I know every child goes through this stage, but it's just so much funnier and cuter when it is your own child. Nate has finally decided to "pose" for pictures. Niiiiiiiiiiice! For the next 5 months, every picture I take of him will have that horrible pained expression. Good thing he's so stinking cute!!!

Have I ever mentioned that I love to use exclamaton points?

Ellie's Thanksgiving Party

I remember teaching school and loving this time of year (and of course being totally overwhelmed at the same time). It is just party after party. So of course, Ellie is having a ball. All November they practiced songs and the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, we got to hear them. Welllllll, we got to hear Ms. Becky sing them and the kids kind of mumble along. Of course I video taped the whole thing. One day the kids will watch the video and wonder why thei rmom taped that jumk, but I loooooooove it!

They had a Thanksgiving Feast before hand. The Thursday before the feast, Ellie came home with a slip of paper that read, "Ellie has volunteered to bring apple juice and cups." Volunteered?? I can just see the planning meeting now. "Ellie, what would you like to bring?" I'm surprised she didn't say candy if she was "volunteering." So then I ask my girlfriend who brought Ellie home what her little girl had volunteered to bring. Apparently Ashely volunteered to bring mashed potatoes. Ha ha ha!!!!!! I got apple juice and cups and poor Tasha was up the night before making mashed potatoes. I also feel badly for the moms whose children "volunteered" to bring stuffing and pies. :)

Nate and I got haircuts

Just a cute picture of sweet Nate after we buzzed his hair off. It makes him look so much older. And you notice his sweet brown eyes so much better. I'm not sure if you can see any difference in my hair. I just got a few inches chopped off. And according to a certain person who reads this blog. . .Ellie and I have the exact same hairstyle. I think she would be pleased to hear that today we both have pig tails in.

OK, Ellie will obly ever do chores for someone else. Or maybe she thinks hanging out on the hood of a car is cool. My sister hates touching paper towels and of course that was all I had to offer her when she needed to clean of her windshield. So tricky girl that she is talks Ellie into doing it. I'm sure her little plan back fired though since there was no way a 3 year was going to be able to clean all of those bug guts off of her windows.

The yard

We finally got our backyard done! I looooooove it. It of course no longer looks like this. We now have a swing and children's toys littered all over. But it doesn't matter. As you can see from an earlier picture, the kids are already putting it to good use. And my house is staying so much cleaner.



I was reading the Ensign this morning and I loved reading, "The Real Christmas" which is from a devotional given by President Howard W. Hunter in 1972. I thought I'd come on and share some of the quotes I loved the most.

"The real Christmas comes to him who has taken Christ into his life as a moving, dynamic, vitalizing force. The real spirit of Christmas lies in the life and mission of the Master.

. . .

'It consits of a willingness to forget what you have done for others and to remember what others have done for you; to ignore what the world owes you to think of your duties in the middle distance and your chance to do good and aid your fellow-men in the foreground -- to see that your fellow-men are just as good as you, and try to look behind their faces to their hearts -- to close your book of grievances against the universe, and look about you for a place to sow a few seeds of happiness and go your way unobserved.'

"If you desire to find the true spirit of Christmas and partake of the sweetness of it, let me make this suggestion to you. During the hurry of the festive occasion of this Christmas season, find time to turn your heart to God. Perhaps in the quiet hours, and in a quiet place, and on your knees -- alone or with loved ones -- give thanks for the good things that have come to you, and ask that his Spirit might dwell in you as you earnestly strive to serve him and keep his commandments. He will take you by the hand and his promises will be kept."


Getting my Christmas Cards done

If you know me at all, then you know that I've had my christmas cards done since October. We're talking envelopes addressed and everything (but not stamped in case they raise the price of stamps). I've just been sitting around waiting to take a picture to put in them. So FINALLY, my sweet and awesome friend Shanna agreed to take some photos of us. The poor girl did not know what she was getting in for.

I don't think anyone should have to take pictures of my children. Ellie has this new thing where she refuses to look at the camera. And Nate was getting a little tired, so I was shoving candy corn into his mouth just to keep him sitting. Awwwww, such sweet children.

Anyway, so here are what we have left in the bunch that are useable. I'm trying to decide which one to go with (let me know if you have opinions). If only we had waited a week or two. I buzzed Nate's head and he now makes the most ridiculous face when he sees the camera. I have some on my camera, but alas. . . I still haven't bought a CF card reader or bothered to try to figur eout how the cords work.


Boo hoo

My CF card reader isn't working. You know, the little thing that hooks up to your computer and transfers the pictures from your CF card to your computer. Anyway, it appears to be kaput. I am majorly bummed. How will I get my pictures onto my computer??? I am sure there is some way to do it with all those cords they give you, but I prefer the ease of my CF card reader. So I'll be running out to buy one this weekend!

However, until I get my car reader, I cannot blog. Without photos, I'd have to rely on words to entertain you all and that just isn't going to happen. I need PICTURES so you can see what I'm talking about.

Let me tell you what you are missing out on here.

Pictures of the girls at girl school. At one point every single one of them had on dress up shoes and they were click clacking down the hall. I made the mistake of asking the "girls" if they wanted to read a story. I was then informed that they were not girls, but princesses. And then I had to hear which princess each of them was (heck if I can remember any of them). It's a good thing there are a zillion Disney Princesses, that way you can still have 10 girls over and you don't have to double up. Although, I'd hate to be the girl who was stuck being Pocahontas. There really are "lesser" princesses. You know, the ones that don't get played very much. The top 3 are Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Snow White. The next tier is Ariel, Jasmin and Belle. After that you get left with Mulan, Pochohontas and Meg. None of them are really Princesses, but Disney will play them up that way just to squeeze some more money out of you. But the girls are smart. They know who the "real" princesses are.

Maybe I should write my thesis on Disney princesses??? You can tell I've put a lot of thought into the whole thing.

The other picture I wish you could see is of my back yard. As we speak, the landscapers are putting on the finishing touches. It is so green and beautiful. I am beyond excited. And the kids are pumped up too. Every night this week, Ellie takes us out back to show us her "beautiful" yard. The grass just came last night, so the grass area has been just dirt and Ellie will race around the dirt yelling, "Go me!"

And so there you have it. Everything you're missing out on!


Is it over yet?

That was it? I feel a little let down after all the excitement leading up to Halloween. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but an hour of trick-or-treating in the Church parking lot, was not all the grandeur it's made out to be. I think the barbecue before was more fun than the actual event itself.

But it's done! Over! I seriously could be a happy woman if I never saw that Sleeping beauty costume again. Although, it was worth every penny for the amount of times Ellie wore it. Do you think she could let me get a good picture of her in it? No. The girl refuses to smile at me. She'll smile at her friends, smile at the ground, but actually *looking* at the camera and smiling is not something Ellie is into right now. Thank heavens I can still strap Nate into something and force him to pose for me.

Nate actually wore his costume without freaking out. I guess slowly breaking him into it by making him wear it every single day for a week before hand actually did the trick. Is he not adorable? Look at him holding his little tin. Like he's going to be able to eat any of the candy people gave him. He was just happy to have something to keep his hands busy.

He was happy as could be just getting strolled around, looking at all of the costumes and all of the different people. I would have let him walk, but the silly boy refuses to wear shoes *and* walk. If I put shoes on him, he sort of stares, sits down and won't move. Even if I try to stand him up. He won't budge if there are things on his feet.

After 30 minutes, Ellie decided that she was done trick-or-treating (fine by me). She also decided that she wanted out of her costume and wanted to go home despite the fact that there were still kids coming around. Dustin was off visiting people with Nate and there was no way I was backing out of a parking spot with that many kids swarming around, so I did as all good moms do -- I threw her in the back of the car with one of her buddies (who was also done trick-or-treating) and let them eat M&Ms until the whinning died down.

After it was all over we went over to some friends to let the kids watch a movie and wind down. I was *shocked* that they didn't want to dig into their candy stash right away, but I'm guessing Ellie might have been full from her chocolate binge earlier. And that was Halloween. Must be my Jewish blood that can stretch a holiday out for an entire week.


Happy Birthday Baby

SO here he is on his FIRST birthday. I can't believe my baby is one. I have to admit, his birthday wasn't all that Ellie's first birthday was. I think it's just the curse of being the second child --alas, I am also a second child and I can't even begin to explain what a horrific childhood I had ;). I didn't even wrap his presents. There were also no balloons, no huge special party just for him. . . I only got him two toys.

Part of me feels horrible mommy guilt, and then the practical side of me reminds myself that it doesn't matter! He's only one. He'll never remember and he doesn't need anything. Plus he's happy as can be with just two toys.

So happy birthday baby! You're just as adorable and sweet as ever. WE LOVE YOU!

Yup, doughnuts for breakfast. I think Nate got his sugar fill for a year this weekend. Doughnuts for breakfast was followed by corn bread and brownies for dinner (and maybe some chili), some leftover doughnut for lunch on Sunday (after green beans of course) and two kinds of cake for his birthday meal on Sunday.

We made the mistake of buying a cake for him. With all the leftover sugar in this house, he would have been fine with just that, but Dustin and Ellie really wanted him to have his own special cake. Then of course the HOA President brought over a cake as a thank you for putting together the block party. So now we had two cakes. Luckily we had invited over some friends who had a birthday last week as well (I swear I can name 10 people who had birthdays last week) so they helped eat down some of the cake and the rest I sent to work with Dustin today.


The Block Party

Our block party was a HUUUGE success. At first we were a little nervous that it would only be our little group of friends and a few other LDS couples in our neighborhood, but we actually had an AWESOME turn out. Tons of food and it was so much fun. Everyone chatted and got to know eachother and the kids had the best time playing all the games (see Ellie swinging at the pinata? She swings like a girl).

Everyone was thrilled with how well it turned out. We all stayed until it was too dark to talk any longer. It was a good mix too. About half our neighborhood is young families and the other half are older retired couples who loooooved spoiling our kids. I don't think Dustin or I held Nate the entire evening and all the kids entertained themselves too, so we were child free.

We're doing it again in December too. Although, I hope someone else gets put in charge of it, because I am party-planning-ed out.

I'm also glad Ellie is getting such good use out of her Halloween costume. definitely worth the money if she's going to have a zillion parties to wear it too. Tonight is the last one, and I'm sure I'll have pictures tomorrow. We're doing a big potluck with 7 other families and then taking the kids Trunk-or-Treating. HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Jill found these stinking cute potato sack bags. The kids were so darn adorable. Do you see how all the other mothers are helping their small children get into their potato sack? Notice that a neighbor is helping Ellie into hers? Oh well. Some one has to take the pictures.

A *fabulous* action shot for your viewing pleasure

Please note that as Ellie struggles, I continue to take pictures. Bad mom!


Halloween Party #3

This is possibly the world's worst picture, but I can't stop laughing when I look at it. Today was the playgroup Halloween party and I'm not sure what I was thinking. I had it all planned out in my mind and it was going to be so cute and organized. But I soon realized that 20+ kids under the age of 4 and the word "organized" don't really jive. The games quickly went out the window and we did what we do best -- let the kids run wild while we chatted. Overall, a huge success.

The picture is of all the kids old enough to sit up minus 3 little buddies who showed up late and Hayden and Abby who are out of town. But this is our usual friday group (it has gotten HUUUUUGE since 5 of us started it last year). I love how only Ethan is smiling and everyone else is either distracted or staring blankly. And the two in the corner crawling off screaming crack me up. Hopefully someone else has a better picture!


Picture update

I'm back from out of town and have realized that I've been neglecting this thing. So I thought I'd upload a few photos from our week so far.

Today's Dustin's birthday, so Ellie and I are off to make a cake. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

The Pumpkin Patch

This has got to be my least favorite activity of all time. It was dirty, crazy, crowded and Ellie was intent on driving me crazy. But we went, we did, we survived. Of course every one else we went with had a fabulous time, so I know there must be something fun about it. Nate eating the hay? Nope. Ellie crying the entire tractor ride? Nope. The smelly petting zoo? Nope. Getting paint all over while trying to paint pumpkins? Nope. The Bouce thingy packed with waaaaaay too many kids? OK, that was kind of nice because Ellie did enjoy it and I got to relax for a second.

I make it sound way worse than it was. I am sure it's actually really fun and lots of people I know love it, but it was just not the place I wanted to be Tuesday morning. Anyway, enjoy a picture from the place. There really aren't many to choose from since they refused to sit still for any of them. I could always find a few of Ellie throwing her tantrum on the hay ride that lasted foreeeeeever. I don't get how you can stuff 75 people on something so small.

Where'd he get that from?

So last night we get a call from an old friend. Dustin and he are talking on the phone catching up and comparing what the boys are going to be for Halloween. All of a sudden, I hear Dustin inform him that Nate is going to be a cheetah.

WAHHHHHH? Where did he get that from? Nate's going to be a dog (a shout out to my girl Kerry who handed it down to us). We (as DUSTIN and I) have put Nate in his dog costume before and I've mentioned to several people IN FRONT OF DUSTIN that Nate was going to be a dog. I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!

We actually do own a cheetah costume, but it's 18-24 months and seeing as Nate isn't one until Saturday, I thikn it would drown him. Maybe next year.

So of course after Dustin and I start discussing the cheetah costume, Ellie had to go get it out of her closet and dress up too. I can't believe she can still fit in that thing. It's from two Halloween's ago.

School Halloween party

Today was Ellie's pre-school Halloween party. She decided to wear her BYU cheerleading outfit instead of her Sleeping Beauty costume after she heard all the rules I had if she chose to wear her SleepingBeauty dress(like no eating, no playing in the dirt. . .). I thought she looked stinking cute in it!! And it worked out better anyway because it had to have been 90 degrees out today.

At the end of class the kids came out and did a little parade for us. The little boy with the Darth Vader costume has a little brother Nate's age who is giong as Yoda for Halloween -- so darn adorable. And his older brother is Ankin, his mom is Leah and his dad is being Han Solo. I am going on the record as saying that as much as I love my kids, I'm not sure we'll ever have a family costume for Halloween. But if we did, Star Wars would be the coolest.

PS Big shout out to Uncle Casey and Aunt Sarah who were so sweet and bought Ellie her cheerleading outfit as a gift. Ellie has the best Aunts and Uncles!!!

Cute cute Ellie and Ashley are such good little buddies. They are in Pre-School, Girl School and play group together. Although, no longer in the same ward. Believe it or not, Ashley's mom and I have known each other since I was a baby. It's so strange that I have so many friends down here who I knew in Oregon. And pretty cool too.


My Arizona Baby

This morning my girlfriend and were going walking at 8 am. It's been a little chilly in the mornings, so I checked the weather and sure enough it was only 68 degrees out (which is COLD if you live in Arizona). I decided to dress Ellie and Nate in pants and long sleeves to make sure they were plenty warm. Poor Nate hasn't worn pants or long sleeves since January, so the kid had no idea what was getting putting on him.

Poor little Arizona baby -- he doesn't even know what a long sleeve shirt is. He kept pulling on his sleeves and looking at them with wonder. Then the pants got on and he was even more confused. He'd pull on the bottoms and look at me quizically. I wonder what will happen the first time he wears a coat.


Why I am so tired

Let me recreate my night for you

8 pm Cuddle up with Dustin to watch Desparate Houswives. The house is clean, the kids are asleep, and we've got candy to munch on

10 pm Crawl into bed and fall asleep almost immediately (after a short conversation, but we'd been up late every night this weekend and we were beat).

Midnight What is that noise?? Wake up to hear Nate SCREAMING. Go into hold him and comfort him. Cralw back into bed at 12:30

2:30 More screaming. Nate is burning up, give him tylenol, hold him, put him back in bed and try to go back to sleep at 2:45

3:30 Once again, screaming. Close eyes hoping Dustin will hear baby and get up with him. Dustin continues snoring. Kick Dustin hoping that will wake him up. Dustin is startled, but falls back asleep quickly. Kick Dustin again and BEG him to get up with screaming son. Dustin who is still haldf asleep has no idea what is going on and needs step by step explanation of what he is awake for. Finally Dustin goes and gets Nate. He then sits in the squeaky rocking chair and rockes Nate. Yeah, that's going to put him to sleep. Fall back asleep at 3:50.

Meanwhile, Dustin decides that he doesn't want his alarm to wake me up and goes to sleep in the guest room as not to disturb me.

4:15 More crying. No one next to me to kick. Get out of bed and hold Nate. Get back to sleep almost within seconds of hitting the pillow.

5:15 Yes, he's up again. I'm soooooooo tired. Will he go back to sleep if I ignore him? No, go cuddle him, give him tylenol, kiss him and put him back down. I'm not even sure I made it back into bed before I fell asleep

6 am I decide to just ignore this time. My eyes are unable to open due to lack of sleep.

6:50 Ellie is up. Get her out of bedm give her a glass of orange juice and tell her to watch tv. Crawl back into bed.

6:55 Ellie is in my face. "Mom, I want some more juice."

7:00 Nate is awake. Time to get him up for the day.

8:00 Dustin is home from the gym, cralw back into bed and fall asleep for a power nap.

8:22 Stinking phone rings and wakes me up. I decide that Dustin should actually make an appearance at the office today and tell him I've got it under control.

Let's just say that today has been looooooooooong and very little is under control, but it's almost over.


Funeral flowers, my little "princess" and more

OK, I know people warned me about this "stage," but I'm about to pull my hair out. Ellie is trying to drive me to the point of insanity and she's not being shy about it. I am at my wit's end. Half of her toys are in the "garbage" right now (which means they're hidden in the garage). The other night after begging her to clean up her room (and even trying to help), I told her I was putting her toys in the trash. So what does she do??? Bends down to help me put them in the trash bag. AHHHH! So then the NEXt night, when her toys are all over the floor and I ask her to go pick them up, she says, "No mom, just put them in the trash." GRRRRRR! I'm doing it again tonight. Pretty soon she's not going to have any toys to play with.

Other than that, my stressful week is almost over. The funeral meal went perfectly (I loved how the center pieces turned out) and everyone was so helpful. My turn at Girl School is over for the month. PHEW! Ellie and Lexia had a great time playing together and tomorrow's activity will be over soon enough. I'm so excited for the weekend.


Another short update

OK, things are cray around here keeping me busy for updating this. I love September because it brings the promise of cool weather and the structure of school being back in session. Of course that also means the lazy days of summer are over. There are commitments to be filled, schedules to follow and too much to do before the end of the year.

Since I last updated this thing:
*We had Stake Conference -- Elder Perry came (so we made it to both the Adult Session Sat night and the Sunday morning one)
*We went to an Ice Cream Party
*Lola babysat a LOT that weekend
*Dayton and Wyatt came over to play
* We had FHE on the Sabbath Day
*Ellie went to Pre-school 4 times
* I went to a Shade Clothing Party
* Ellie had Gril School twice
* Dustin lost his fantasy football game one week
* Dustin won his fantasy football game the next week, and the weekly prize
* Ellie and I went to Pump It Up on a school field trip (veeeeeery educational)
*I had Activity Days at my house. One little girl's father left her here until 7 pm
*We had playgroup at our park
* Dustin's EQ Pinewood derby was re-scheduled -- and then re-scheduled again
* I went to the relief Society General Broadcast
* We went to a Diamondbacks game with friends
* I finished my Visiting Teaching for the month (and even reported it, too)
* I got all the meals arranged for Shirley next month and arranged for people to sit with Andrew this week
*Lola came for Sunday dinner
* Dustin made dinner for me to take to Shirley
* We finished up our 72 hour kits for FHE
* Ellie got to go to Build-A-Bear for a birthday party
* My Visting Teachers came
* Brody and Sadie came over to play
* Dustin finished his Home Teaching and did EQ's visits
* We went swimming once
* Dustin went to the gym 10 times. . . me: 0 (but I did lift weights at home)
* We returned some curtains to IKEA, put Ellie in the play center and ate dinner there
* I finished my cards for the card swap

And somewhere in there we managed to clean the house, run errands, do the laundry (one basket still eneds to be folded) and all that other good stuff.

Today's plans:
* Get Ellie to do her homework (check)
* Breakfast, hair, clothes, clean up (check)
* Get Ellie to pre-school (check)
* Take Nate to the park (check)
* Read Scriptures (check)
* Pick Ellie up from Pre-school (check)
* Morning nap for Nate (check)
* Update blog (check)
* Lunch
* Go to Brenda's at 2 to watch Andrew
* Afternoon naps
* Clean house
* Finish Girl School Lesson plan
* Dinner -- Dustin's friend from out of town is coming
* Book club meeting at 8

So I guess I should stop piddling and get busy.


Whirlwind Update

This week . . .

* We had 4 play dates
* I did 3 loads of laundry
* I actually folded some laundry too (thanks to sweet Dustin who folded the rest)
* Tommy turned 29
* Jim and Cheryl celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary
* Ellie learned about rectangles and diamonds at Pre-School
* Ellie learned about Times of the Day in Girl School
* Ellie got to go on a Teddy Bear Picnic
* Nate and I spent a lot of time shopping while Ellie was at School
* We went to the park 3 times
* It was cool enough to eat dinner outside, so we did
* Nate started taking a few steps by himself
* Ellie roder her bike, steering and pedaling all by herself
* We ditched play group (shhhhhhh!)
* I did my Visiting Teaching
* Dustin went to the gym 4 times. . . me: 0
* I got to lead the Singing Time in Primary -- best calling EVER
* We ate breakfast with Dad at the "Castle"
* I started on my cards for the car swap
* The bathrooms and floors got a thourough cleaning
* I didn't get anything in the mail that was suppossed to go out
* Ellie and Dustin had Cake flavored ice cream with sprinkles and gummy bears (Ellie picked of course)
. . .
* and I didnt' update my blog :)


Happy Birthday!

To my brother. . . the powers that be kept me from getting your card in the mail in time (ie vast government conspiracy). But Happy Birthday anyway! Hope it's a great one.


It's always Friday around here

So if you remember this blog entry, you won't be surprised that my daughter ended up naked AGAIN at play group today. Same exact park even.

She had sand all over her hair and down her swimming suit, so I told her to go over to the sprayers and wash it all off. Sure enough, I look over and the girl is stripping down. What am I going to do get her to keep her clothes on?

I think it's harder to NOT title these than to actually title them

Ellie comes up to me and says, "Mom, my heart hurts."

I replied, "You know what makes my heart better? A hug." Then I gave her a big hug, but she still looked sad. So I ask her, "What is the matter? Do you want me to kiss it better."

Ellie tells me, "No. I just need to say prayer. You want to say prayer with me?"

And so we sat kneeling in prayer. Our arms folded and heads bowed. Her little voice thanking God for all His goodness and listing her blessings. Then she whispers, "Please bless my heart not hurt."

It was powerful for me to watch that. Humbling.



Ellie did an EXCELLENT job tracing and coloring the triangles on her triangle worksheet. Unfortunately, she did it neon yellow so you can't see. BOO HOO! I just realized it when I looked at the blog. Oh well, you'll just have to take my word for it. It's EXCEPTIONAL!

. . .

Back by popular demand. . . more of Ellie's school work.

And so this blog will be all about school! Ellie now goes to "school" 3 times a week. Now "school" is actually a lo of fun I've determined. But that's the way it should be. Play is the work of children. I've watched Ellie do her homework and she has to put a lot of effort into making those lines. I also know it is hard work because she naps for about 3 hours on school days.

Today as I go to drop Ellie off at school, her teacher asks me if Ellie is always so quiet. I gave her a quizzical look. Ellie is rarely quiet. And I should know this because I taught Girl School yesterday and couldn't get the girl to quiet down. So I guess my daughet *is* capable of being quiet. For other people at least. From what Becky said, she works quietly and even raises her hand to answer questions!!!!! And this is why I will never home school. She doesn't do any of that for me.

So what is Girl School -- I'm sure you're wondering. Every Wednesday, my girl friends and I rotate doing a little pre-school type thing at our houses for 2 hours. Yesterday was my turn (as well as the first day) and it went splendidly, if I don't say so myself. Except that Abby didn't show up and none of us could figure out where she was. Turns out Michelle (her mom) had gone into labor at 3 am that morning. Welcome to the world little Lauren! Back on topic here. . . Those little girls are so stinking cute together. It is fun to watch them learn and interact. We were playing a game where they had to run to the shape that I said, and it was so funny to watch their little legs go all over the living room and to see their little minds switch gears so quickly. That being said, I'm glad my week isover for the month.

And what is Nate up to? He's my little buddy as I run him all over town and back. He is such a good shopping buddy. Today we went and picked up hand towels to make Hygeine kits for the Bishop's storehouses in the South. While we were there I also *HAD* to buy this cute little dress for Ellie, school supplies that were on clearance and about a billion other little things.

OK, I've piddled enough. I've got to get my lesson ready for Activity Days which is here today. And maybe feed my kids some lunch. I've heard they're happier if their bellies are full.


Don't forget that I'm boycotting this title box

Are we ever going to have a normal family picture again? These are some that we tried on Monday. We were all lounging around and I had wanted a picture of the 4 of us together for reasons that must remain unkown at this point. So I made my sister come out and take a few snapshots for us. AY YA YI! Getting Nate AND Ellie to look at the camera was a pain. And of course trying to get Ellie not to ham it up was impossible. And then when I looked at the pictures I realized that you couldn't see anything of Dustin's eyes because of the glare on his glasses. BLAH!!!!! Oh yes, and see that pink box in Nate's hand? That would be the Tic Tac container that he would play with when he wasn't pulling on my hair. It's not like I wanted anything formal. Just a casual family picture would have been fine. I offcially give up.

And along that vein, I wouldn't count on getting a picture with your Christmas cards this year either.


Why do I have to title these things? And other random thoughts.

I mean, really! The only titles I can come up with are so cheesey. So I think I'm going to protest titling my blog entries from now on.

And why is this Blog called "Dustin and Maddy?" Dustin never posts on here. I'd be highly entertained if he did. I'm not even sure if he *reads* the blog. I'll have to ask him. Dustin -- if you're reading this, give us something to read!

Are you a knocker or a ringer? I personally am a knocker. I always knock before I ring the doorbell. I just feel like it's more polite. The doorbell is so startling. If no one answers after I knock, then I'll ring.

I love holiday weekends. Saturdays are much more productive, because I know if I work hard, I'll have all Monday to play. And I actually went to the gym today and worked out HARD. I've been out of the habit for a few months now and slowly getting back into it. We've got Race for the Cure coming up, so I need to work hard.

We rented Sleeping Beauty the other night and let Ellie watch it last night. There is something magical about watching your child watch a movie you loved as a child. The way she wishpered when she said the characters names. . . the fact that she was completely absorbed in one thing for an hour and a half. . .it makes life fun. I love how happy my kids get by the simplest things.

My sister is here right now and that makes me happy too. My kids adore her and I love to watch them interact with her. Everyone should have an Aunt that is 100% goofy with them. Plus, she thinks everything they say and do is so cute and unique. It makes me laugh at them even more too. Love that.

Well, now that I think about it, I'm postively bursting with happiness. We're going over to a friend's house tonight. I am a really social person and any chance to chat is always a good thing. Should be fun.

So basic wrap of for this weekend -- good times, good times!