January is always my worst blogging month because I have to pick up all the stuff I neglected over the holidays. We're always super busy and this week is finally the first time I got around to deep cleaning.

The kids are healthy and back to school. Dustin is home. Multiple rooms are clean at the same time. The laundry is not only done, but folded and put away. . . It's like all the stars have finally aligned. Only after a minor meltdown to Janel, but my little universe has righted itself again. I hate feeling out of whack and like I can't catch up.

The pictures of Sadie really have nothing to do with the blog entry, just putting up pictures so the grandparents won't come whining. Plus I have to remind myself that she is really sweet ad cute at times. She has really been giving me a run for my money. She's got a bunch of teeth coming in so she's very needy. She's got these new things we like to call "Spazz Hands." She lifts her arms up and her fingers start twitching until I pick her up. This has made getting anything done really hard. Finally the other day I was deep cleaning the bathroom and I was so excited to be getting so much done because she was actually leaving me alone. 15 minutes later I realized why. She had taken a box of tissue and wandered around the house pulling them out and leaving a trail. Then she went back through and ripped them all apart. The floors were COVERED in tissue shreds.

My favorite part of January has got to be the clearance shopping. We were in DC until the 6th of January, so I was pretty bummed that I missed most of the after-Christmas decor sales. That was until I had to run into Pier 1 one day. They don't mark there stuff down until the middle of January!!! I hit the first day of the 75% off sale and I got some really cute stuff -- including this tree for $15, normally $6o.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and Kerry and I are out shopping for Beth's birthday gift when we decide to run into Pier 1 and see if they have anything left. It was about 15 minutes before close and they were marking all the stuff down for the 9o% off sale the next day. I loaded up!

Wrapping paper for 48-68 cents -- I now have 31 rolls, so I'm not baking next year, it's back to the wrapping paper gifts for me -- ornament packs for $1, the cute little beaded cherries for $1.18 -- now in my ornament domes since I think they look sort of Valentine-y -- and the best find were the sparkle trees. I got three of those for $3.48 each. We cleaned out that store. The next morning Molly and I went to two more and got all the good stuff. I'm so excited for Christmas and it's still 11 month away. How is that even fair?

So there you go -- I blogged.


When Daddy's away. . .

When Daddy's away, everything falls apart. Isn't that how the saying goes? While Dustin was braving the cold of Denver, we were hunkered down for the long haul.

Monday night the kids both came down with a fever. Ellie slept through the night at least, but Nate was up every half hour moaning. So Tuesday kind of just started off bad. Then I went to get on the internet to look up a number for school and my internet wasn't working. My "tech support" was out of town and wouldn't answer his phone and I also realize that our hallway toilet is broken. It was a great way to start the day.

We have an awesome neighbor who is a plumber, so I called him and he offered to come over and fix it the next morning if I just ran out to Home Depot to buy the new parts. So I start getting the kids dressed to go out and Sadie barfed all over me. I think it was at that moment I had a mental breakdown and realized that taking my 3 sick kids out to Home Depot was probably the world's worst idea.

Luckily for me my other sweet neighbor dropped her daughter off at my house after school to sit here while the kids napped and I ran to Home Depot. I don't know what I would do without my neighbors -- they can never move!

Wednesday started off much better. No one really got any sleep, but by 8 am we had a functioning toilet and my internet was suddenly working again, plus the kids had Doctor's appointments. I knew everything was going to get better.

We spent an hour trapped in a 1o x 1o room at the Doctor's office. Nate and Ellie were fighting over the spinning stool and Sadie was screaming because I wouldn't let her pull things out from the cabinets or climb on the counters. . . Seriously, you would think a Pediatrician's office would be child proof! The nurses actually came to check in on me at one point because it was so loud. Then the Doctor thought the best idea to entertain Sadie would be to give her a lollipop. Oh thank you wise Doctor. Now she's screaming and sticky.

Anyway, it turns out they have Strep. Yippee! Isn't it sad when you're excited for your kids to have Strep? But at least it means we have ANTIBIOTICS! So by tonight they will no longer be contagious and I can leave the house.

I think the kids are excited to feel better too. . .and get a break from each other!

Ellie has been watching more TV than usual since she has been home sick, so she's been coming up with a lot of random stuff like:
*"Mom, I am so sad. I saw the PERFECT thing on TV but you have to be 18 years or older to call and order."
* We were listening to a Mylie Cyrus song on the radio in the car, "The concert is even better than the radio because you can hear her better and she gives you high fives if you sit in the front row."
* "I want to see this movie with The Rock in it. Is that a kid movie?"

OK, better scoot and finish the pile of catch up work Ellie has!


My computer power cord had a meltdown -- a real meltdown. The cord melted and the wires were severed. So I was computer-less for a few days, but I got so much done. Here are the highlights for each member of the family (not including myself because I think I'm the only person who finds doing 7 loads of laundry, cleaning out the office, mopping the floor, running and all that jazz exciting:

Dustin has had his whole group in town for training last week and they voted on the "Rockstar Award." Dustin actually won the first ever "Rockstar Award", which came with a crystal statue, last quarter. He then told me he was going to be really mad if they next Rockstar Award recipient got something cooler than a crystal statue.

So fast forward to this quarter's award and he won it again! This time they up-ed the award and added on an iTouch. It is so much fun. I've already spent too many hours wasting away on that thing. He totally deserves the recognition for his hard work! I am so proud of him. I told him not to hold his breath for next quarter because there is no way he's going to win it three times in a row. And if he does, I'm seriously worried about the rest of his team.

I got to meet the whole group at a dinner party which was fun. I never get to be the trophy wife, but Thursday I was. Maybe because most of them had never met a Mormon housewife before. I think they were all expecting me to show up in sweats and cherrios in my hair, so the fact that I was dressed and had things to talk about made me quite the novelty.

Ellie got her first love note. His name is Lorenzo. I've actually met him a few times at Stake events and he and Ellie always run around together, but when she came home with a little love note from him I couldn't stop laughing. It was a note card with a heart drawn on one side. Then he wrote: Ellie this is a pitcher, on the back. The picture is of her wearing a fancy dress and a crown. Then he signed his name at the bottom. I asked her if she though he had a crush on her. She said, " I KNOW he has a crush on me. He said, 'Ellie, I have a crush on you.'" The she told me that she thought she was his girlie poo.

I told her that she was way too young to be anyone's girlie poo. Hopefully she'll grasp that!

Nate ended up with his first bad cough of the season. A little tribute to my AMAZING friend Kerry who brought me some albuterol since I was running low. I love that girl!

So a few sleepless nights and a little throw up and we're all over it. He sounds awful but the Doctor told me he isn't contagious so I've been taking him places. I feel like I have to tell everyone that I got the Doctor's OK.

We're still not caught up on sleep. How do I convince that kid that he can nap longer than an hour and that he doesn't need to wake up at 5 am anymore? I guess he loved his few mornings of laying in the living room and watching the DVR with me. Sorry bud -- you're not sick anymore!

Friday we celebrated Sadie's first birthday! It's really hard for me to believe it was a year ago that she was born. She is such a great addition to our family and I just love having her around so much, that I can't imagine my life without her. I'll have to do some sappy blog post about her this week.

After her trip to the doctor, 7 shots, and an anemia test, I was surprised she was even happy during her party, but she had a great time.

It was very last minute, so if you didn't get an invite and are offended -- don't be! I invited a few friends on Monday, but when Nate got sick, I stopped inviting people until I had the all clear from the doctor. By the time we got home, I was too lazy to call and invite more people.

So yes -- very low key party. Pizza and drinks from Costco, plain old paper plates, and Costco lemon cake and ice cream for dessert. The kids ran wild and I literally had toys -- and juice -- scattered from the bedrooms to the dinning room. I think they had a good time.

The adults ended up playing Guitar Hero in the living room -- which I was HORRIBLE at. The first time I played I had a good excuse -- Cade Lamb was trying to teach me. This time I had no excuses. I just sucked!

Sadie stayed up for the whole thing -- which ended around 1o at night. She LOVED guitar hero and just sat there and danced, when she wasn't following the other kids around. She also got lots of cute gifts even though I said no gifts. Heck, we didn't even get her anything.

Lots of books and clothes, and some baby Crocs from my parents, so they will all be put to good use. Her little crocs are the tiniest things I've ever seen, but so cute! She always steals my dads when we're in Virginia, so I guess they thought she should have some of her own.

Happy Birthday baby!


One hundred days!

Ellie is all ready for the 1ooth day of school on Wednesday-- can believe it's already here? I guess the 1ooth day collection is a big deal around here and you have to be super creative and "display" your collection in some way. Ellie goes to over-achiever school or something. . . Anyway, I didn't want to be the slacker, so I asked all my friends for creative ideas or what they had seen before and loved. Some of the ideas were 1oo gold fish in a gold fish bowl, 1oo chocolate chips in some cookies, anything glued in the shape of 1oo. Turns out Ellie didn't like any of the ideas so I asked her what she wanted to do. In the end she came up with 1oo beads made into a necklace and bracelet.

This morning I spent an hour at Micheal's trying to find beads "fancy" and "pretty" enough for her, without breaking the bank for a silly project. An hour of waffling back and forth and coming up with $9 of stuff, I head out to the cash register. On the way I run by the $1 section and guess what they have? $1 bead kits. I kid you not. Why did I just waste an hour? I got 3 so Ellie would have some variety and she loved them. We had so much fun!!! I thought the little beads would be hard for her to thread, but now I know why they make little Chinese children work in sweat shops. She did it all by herself. All I had to do was put the fastenings on the end.

And below you'll find Sadie"pretending" to like her crib. We tried to move her into it and she protested by screaming all night until we put her back in the port-a-crib. She's better sleep in that because I just bought that bedding! Maybe we'll try again this summer.


Slacker checking in

<--- Sunday afternoon at our house.

Sorry I haven't been around much -- not that any of you were dying for an update. I'm quite sure your lives are perfectly fine without my mundane day to day routine.

I've just been settling back after vacation and it stinks. I miss all the fun activities and not being tied to any routines. Plus, we were so busy everyday that I never got the actual "break" part of vacation, so I'm worn out from trying to get everything done that I put off for "after vacation." I did have a ton of fun at my friend Shanna's shower that we threw for her -- 1st boy out of 5 girls, balloon-ing Lisa for her birthday, and the Primary Activity on Saturday went really well. So the weekend still held some fun!

Driving home from school the other day, a car tried to come over into my lane, so I swerved a little bit and said, "GEEEEEZ!" Ellie then asked what happened, so I told her someone wasn't watching and tried to run us over. "Oh! You should definitely get over then, mom. And then make sure you honk really loud." I don't know where she got that from, I never honk ;p

Also, this was Nate's first week as a Sunbeam. He kept falling off the chair during the end of Sharing Time and laying right in the middle of the floor. Finally I took him to the back of the room and told him that if he wanted to sit with his class, he needed to sit and fold his arms. His response: "But my butt hurts." Maybe by the end of the year he'll be able to sit still!


How I Spent My Winter Vacation

We're home! Yea and Boo all at the same time. I will never leave town the day after Christmas again. We opened presents, hurried off to brunch at Molly's -- which was so fun and yummy -- played with their present for the next 3 hours, hurried home and put the kids down for a nap so we could try to clean up and spent the rest of the day doing laundry, cleaning and packing. And trying to put batteries into toys. Bright and early the next morning we were off to Virginia.

The kids were great on the plane, and Sadie refused to nap as she usually does on the 5 hour plane ride, took forever to get the rental car. . . but hey, we were on AZ time, so eating at 9pm at night was all good.

Thursday was filled with all the good stuff -- a trip to the book store, dress fitting, playing with cousins, shoe shopping, meeting my sister's future in-laws. . .very loud and very crazy.

Friday my sister took her endowments out in the DC Temple. It was such a cool day! My dad joined the church as a teen ager and for years has been the only LDS member in his family. A few years ago, his younger sister had the missionaries over and started taking the discussions without even telling my family. Long story short, she was baptized a little over a year ago and decided to get her endowments taken out the same day as my sister. My mom was my sister's escort and I got to be my Aunt's. It was such a neat experience to get to do that with her, made only better by my whole family being there as well. I can't even explain how neat it was to get to do the whole thing with all 4 of us. My Aunt Ruthie is possibly the world's sweetest person and it was so amazing to see her reaction to everything. At one point she whispered, "I never want to leave." It can't explain what a wonderful time we all had.

5 hours later, hurried and picked the kids up and headed out for the rehearsal dinner. Nate's dinner: chips

Saturday was the wedding. We all know how that went, but I had to sneak a picture of Nate in since the booger went on camera strike during this vacation. You will notice there are pretty much no pictures of nate from here on out. He actually started running away when he saw the camera. And as you can see from this picture -- he didn't really want to take this one either. The only thing keeping him put -- sheer exhaustion.

Nate's meal plan: cheeseburger for lunch and I have no idea if he ate dinner because I was running around so much. Maybe cake? I know he had punch!

Sunday we all slept until past 1o, which is bad because we missed church, but I don't think anyone thought we would sleep that long. To make up for it, we stayed in our PJs all day and went up to the Temple that night to look at the lights, the Christmas Tress and Nativities. I love the Temple -- enough to go 3 days in a row.

Monday we visited the Udwar Hazi Air and Space Museum by Dulles. That place is HUGE! The kids loved it, even if Ellie did get "high sick" when we were on the highest cat-walk. They also have flight simulators there that I got to go on with the kids. It was so much fun to hear and see their excitement. I let the kids sit in the front and I sat in the back row, so Nate kept turning around to check on me and tell me to "hold on tight."

Ellie insisted that she take a picture while we there holding her cool space shuttle toy. It lights up and spins and all that fun stuff. Only Grandparents can get away with buying that kind of stuff. She also saw the American flag and asked me why they had the same flag we have in Arizona. Ellie doesn't quite grasp the concept of the United States I guess, since she also kept asking me at the airport how people talked in Virgina. "Do they talk normal?" Why yes they do!

Nate's lunch: McDonald's nuggets and fries

Tuesday was Zoo day! My mom has a friend who volunteers at the Reptile House at the National Zoo, so she gave us a special tour and then took the kids back so they could touch some of the reptiles. I was little worried since my kids are pretty wimpy, but Ellie loved touching all those gross little things. Nate sat in the corner with his thumb in his mouth and pouted the whole time.

My Aunt Kristine has been dying to see some reptile pictures so you get to see the 4 that I took. I don't even remember what they were all called.

After the reptiles we still managed to see the elephants, the apes and the pandas among others before we headed home for the day.

We also ate lunch at the zoo. Nate's meal: Half a burger, french fries and chips.

Wednesday we drove up to the National Aquarium in Baltimore. It is really amazing! If you're in DC, it's worth the drive. We started off with the 4-D movie. They played the Polar Express. 4-D means not only is the screen 3-D, but they also use your other senses. So the chairs moved, it snowed on us, you could smell the hot chocolate, they blew cold air at your face. . . Sadie was not a fan. She especially hated it when the water would squirt out from the chair in front of us. So we got up about half way and stood the rest of the show.

We also saw the dolphin show, which was incredible. Ellie leaned over and told me that she wanted to be a dolphin trainer when she grew up and I was trying to figure out how many years of college I would have to go back to do in order to become a dolphin trainer. Even Sadie was enthralled. She would clap and try to do the hand signals along with the crowd.

After that we headed to the "Ray Trays" and the Shark tanks. Nate loved the sharks, but was scared of the Rays. Ellie is taking a picture of puffins in the picture to the left. Below is Nate refusing to take a picture.They also have a Rain forest exhibit where the birds and monkeys are just climbing all around you in the wide open. Sadie couldn't stay awake by this time and fell asleep in the carrier for the rest of the aquarium exhibits.Nate's lunch at the Aquarium: chips

Thursday I wanted to stay close to home so my mom and I decided to go shopping with the girls -- Ellie really wanted some boots -- and my dad decided to take Nate on a train adventure. They rode the metro into DC to Union Station where they grabbed a train to ride into Baltimore. When they got there they turned right back around and rode home. Nate loved it. I called after not hearing for them for a few hours to figure out where they were. Nate answers the phone: "I'm on a train!" When he got home he showed me his ticket stubs with his name on them and told me all about eating in the snack car and pushing the doors open to get in between cars and how he had to jump over the little gaps.

He also had some of those free pamphlets with train pictures on the front which he insisted on carrying around. I'll get a picture up as soon as my parents send me one since it's on their camera.

Nate's train meal on the snack car: chips, chips and skittles.

Friday Sadie and I decided that maybe she needed a nap today, so my parents took the kids into DC on the metro where they went to the Natural History Museum and saw the Dinosaur bones. Nate told me he was scared before they left. I asked him why he was scared. "The Dinosaurs will eat me." "Dinosaurs will eat my butt. And my poop. And then they'll spit me." Turns out they didn't, but the kids came home with more great souvenirs for me to haul home. No pictures since they're on my parent's camera to.

Nate's lunch: chips! Are you shocked? He did eat healthy the rest of the time, but when we were out I couldn't get him to get anything remotely decent.

Saturday we did laundry and packed and cried and Nate proved how tired my kids were by throwing the world's longest hissy fit over nothing.

Other fun things we did in DC:

Made S'mores -- for some reason this has been on Ellie's to-do list for years and we've never done it

Sadie learned to crawl up and DOWN stairs

Made sugar cookies. Nate dumped the enitre bottle of red sprinkles on one cookie shortly after this picture was taken.

My parents never slept. The kids were both in their room and they made them sing songs and tell jokes and goof off all night long.

Sadie pulled everything out of every nook and cranny at my parent's house.

Sunday we returned home to find our Christmas tree still up -- I thought maybe some magic elves would come and put Christmas away for me. It's all put away now, the clothes are unpacked and the laundry done. I think I'm ready for life to start again.

Now admit it -- did you actually read that whole novel, or did you give up half way through and just look at the pictures?


The Wedding

As most of you know, my baby sister got married last weekend. I'm going to force you all to look at pictures and then you'll probably have to look at them again in a few weeks when the photographer gets his professional ones up. But for now. . .

A really cold day at the DC Temple. Of course it only got colder, so I guess it could be considered a nice day for the dead of Winter. Ellie was so brave to take her jacket off. I'm so proud of her because I kept mine on!!! Sadie is eating my necklace.

It was a fun wedding, but I am so glad it's OVER! I woke up at 5 am (that's VA time, so 3 am my time) the day of the wedding and finally got into bed around midnight. The next morning we all slept until around 10 and stayed in our PJs all day. OK, back to the pictures:

You know you're a good sister when you agree to be a bridesmaid after 8 years of marriage and 3 kids when all the other bridesmaids are still in college. I liked going to the dress fitting because the seamstress thought I was the bride. Ha ha!
After the wedding and pictures, we went back to my brother's In-law's where they graciously fed us and let the kids run around until they collapsed. Poor Nate was not ready to get dressed again after his nap.
Aww, aren't they cute? Her dress was gorgeous. I kind of want to get married again.

My awesome gag gift. A few years ago we were all over at our Uncle Floyd's house and he asked her to grate some cheese. She had no idea what a cheese grater was, so Dustin bought her one as a joke. . . which we never sent. Pays off though, because 2 years later we had a HILARIOUS wedding present. Don't worry we got them something nice to go along with it!

My brother has two little boys who sandwich Ellie. Zach -- the one on the left -- is 6 months older and Matt is a whole year younger than Ellie. Believe it or not he is bigger than both of them. I have a hard time remembering he's only 4.

Sadie and Ali. Sadie is 6 weeks older. Can you see that they're holding hands? So sweet!
Sadie really loved the cheese and bacon wrapped breadsticks.
The "hurry up and have children" picture. I'm just kidding! WAIT!

I have some more, but I'm sure the photographer did better justice to the cake and couple than I did, so I'll leave it at that.


Quick Christmas Pictures -- not too many details

I didn't have time to crop or edit any of these so forgive the fact that the subjects may be farther away than necessary.
Christmas Eve with friends per tradition. Ellie was Mary and Nate was Joseph.

Opening the PJs that Santa left. Even Sadie got in on the action.

The PJs. If you didn't hear the PJ debacle of 2007, count yourself lucky. I loved the ones I ended up with, so I guess it was worth it.

Sadie's favortie toy -- the bouncing Zebra

Nate when he would still pose for pictures. He eventually got so fed up with us yelling at him to smile for the camera that he started protesting and shouting, "CHEESE" with a really hideous face.

See how perky I am in the morning ;p

Santa's theme for Ellie was High School Musical -- HSM underwear, barbies, books, jewelry. . . even a Gabriella and Troy pillow for her bed. We got her an easel which she LOVES, but I gave up taking pictures by the end of the TWO HOURS it took us to open presents.

Nate's theme from Santa was Cars and we got him Better Batter Baseball. Thrilling, I know. Other than that he got a LOT of trains.

My faves: A memo board I've been wanting for years and a super cute new purse.
I have one more HILARIOUS story to share. Christmas Eve, about 5 minutes before we were leaving, someone knocks at our door. I was trying to figure out who would be out that late when I opened my door to see the one and only CHELSEA PACE. In her hands -- a Christmas card. I just about died laughing. It was so stinking funny. She also had a little gift for us -- 41 cents. So I had to take a picture and update my Christmas card photo below to make sure the Pace boys got their moment of fame. Thanks Chelsea. I love the card and I love your sense of humor even more.