Murder at the Four Deuces

Last weekend I got so dressed up that my babysitter couldn't even look me straight in the face when I was talking. Our friend Sarah put together a 1920's themed murder mystery party.

Dustin played Don "Big Jim" Ravioli, who was unfortunately the murder victim. I played his bitter ex-wife Vicky who was apparently seeing half the men in the room. I had so much fun shopping and putting together our costumes and seeing all of our friends all decked out. Meredith was my master seamstress -- thanks for all the help. Fake cigarette and cigar people -- no worries!
As you can tell, it was very intense. Luckily for Dustin, after he died he came back as one of my love interests. I give you the Congressman: I won't spoil who the murderer was, but let's just say she was wearing the same dress as me. And she was major ally. The two of us were out back sharing information and the end of the party, and I looked at her and whispered, "I think you're the murderer!" Turns out she knew all along. Thanks for not killing me off.



Last night our friends threw a 1920's murder mystery party, so as you can imagine there were a lot of pictures taken. On the car ride home, I started looking through all the pictures when I stumbled across these gems that I had totally forgotten about and I literally started laughing out loud. Maybe it was just late, but I think these pictures are pure genius!!

I don't know if Dustin was out of town, or just at Church or a meeting, but my kids decided to entertain me with a magic show.They practiced and practiced in the back yard before they started the show. When Dustin saw the pictures he was most impressed that they found that many black clothes (Ninja costume, Witch costume and Sadie is in one of Ellie's dance leotards). I must agree that they were very resourceful!

It was quite the show -- Nate's leg disappeared, Sadie danced and Ellie put it all together.
Magic Hands

Gob Bleuth would be proud

Oh yeah, she is going to be trouble. Wait, she already is.

And then Sadie changed clothes and it morphed into some sort of dress up fashion show. The end.
I love this picture because Sadie is tickling her own belly. It's a cute little thing she does all the time.



Disclaimer one: So I'm really late in getting around to posting this, which is probably a bad idea because now I really want a vacation.

Disclaimer two: They had photographers everywhere, I did NOT force people to take this many pictures of the two of us. They also forced us to do the shaka a lot.

Now to the story . . . This year for the Service Excellence Awards, SAP sent all the winners to Maui for 5 days. I am so grateful my parents were sweet enough to fly out and stay with the kids so we could enjoy our time worry-free. Last year I was pregnant and tired for our trip and Dustin was bored with all the pool/reading/spa time, so we packed our itinerary this year.

Saturday we spent traveling, got checked in at the Fairmont where we received our jammed packed goodie bags. I won't bore you with what was in them. You will hate me. Because I'm insane, we skipped the pool and I forced Dustin to go running on the walkway in front of all the resorts. When we got back we headed to our room so we could get cleaned up for the welcome dinner. Too much good food, good company, and hula/fire dancers for entertainment kept me awake until about 10 (1 am in AZ which wouldn't seem bad but I usually go to bed at 9:30 these days). By this time we had been up for about 20 hours and I was *sure* I would sleep forever.

Sunday I woke up and looked at the clock: 3:30am. I hate changing time zones. Thank you for not doing daylight savings great state of Arizona. Dustin and I headed down to the gym and surprisingly found a few other people unable to sleep at 4am. We did our runs/weights, got cleaned up and still had time for a nice leisurely breakfast before our 8:30 excursion.

We went kayaking with 3 other couples and I am happy to report that I did not fall out nor did our kayak tip at any point.
Our guide really set our expectations low, so I while I didn't do much of the heavy paddling, I definitely felt successful. I seriously was freaking out before we took off. See my face?
Dustin on the other hand was adorable.This is probably before he knew how hard he would have to work to make up for my poor paddle skills.

We kayaked out to watch the whales and then back to a reef do some snorkeling with the giant sea turtles. This is probably the last time we were synchronized. I managed to squeeze a quick nap in before we headed out to get some souvenirs for the kids and then back to shower before our Valentine's Date.Picture courtesy of some girl who was either totally high or really feeling the Aloha spirit

For dinner we went to Spago where I ate every last drop of food put on every single plate they brought me. Some people love the trips for the excursions, some love it for the free stuff. . . but I love it because of all the good food. After dinner we headed out for BON JOVI! Yes, SAP actually had Bon Jovi come and do a private concert at the beach for all their winners followed by a fireworks show (and yes this picture is from the event). We walked home along the walkway and couldn't stop staring at the stars. I don't think Dustin will be able to top this Valentine's Day for a looong time.

Monday I managed to sleep in until 4:30 which worked out well since we had to be ready to go by 6:30 for our boat out to Molokini for snorkeling and scuba diving. On the boat ride out we saw quite a few whales doing their best to show off for us and when we were under the water we could hear them talking to each other. Some friends of ours saw a shark, but I settled for an octopus, eels and the fish.

By the time we got back to the resort I was beat so I plopped down in a lounge chair by the pool and stayed there chatting with friends, trying to read and attempting to nap until dinner time. We met up with some friends at Nick's Fishmarket but I was feeling really ill by this time. I was so tired and after 2 days on the ocean I was having land sickness. You know, when you close your eyes and everything rocks? I couldn't even see straight, but I thought I could get through an hour or two just fine. Well 3 hours in and I was done. I did manage to stick it out long enough to eat some of Dustin's dessert (sacrifice), but after that I took off and collapsed into bed. You know you're sick and tired when you don't even get excited about the Tiffany's bag on your bed (thank you Tiffany's and SAP -- I appreciated it much more in the morning). Dustin told me it was a good thing I went to bed when I did since they took another half hour just to get the check.

Tuesday we went out for a sunrise run, grabbed some breakfast and then went hiking to a bunch of different waterfalls up in a valley along Hanna Highway.
I was so happy to be off the water and our group was a lot of fun, so despite my hatred of cold water (I live in Arizona and I still don't go swimming until July), I jumped in and swam to a waterfall. BRRR! And don't be fooled -- there was a lot of shrieking before I got up the nerve to jump in. Dustin was actually brave enough to jump off the cliffs. I thinking everyone used the term "invigorating" to mean crazy and freezing cold at the same time.

I may have "rested my eyes" for a few minutes before the farewell dinner and quite possibly ate part of Dustin's desserts on top of my own 3, but we'll skip that part of the story.

Wednesday I finally got over jet lag just in time to leave. I packed while Dustin ran around picking out last minute gifts and long story short, we pulled into our driveway at 1 am -- just in time to get up with the kids at 7.


It's GREAT to be EIGHT!

This weekend was a whirlwind as we celebrated Ellie's baptism and Mother's Day.
And it is truly great to be eight -- at least if you ask Sadie. All weekend she kept whining about how everyone was talking to Ellie and getting Ellie things.
Poor neglected Sadie -- who has no idea what it means to be neglected.

Ellie was baptized this weekend and we were so lucky to have lots of family fly in and spend time with us. Dustin's parents were the first in on Wednesday and we filled the time by running errands, get pedicures, eating lots of food, visiting the grocery store a few too many times and making chocolate dipped strawberries.

Dustin's mom brought goodies for the kids with her -- including these really cute pioneer hats (which Luke was not a fan of) and Ellie's baptism dress. Cheryl made the entire thing by herself. It turned out exactly how Ellie pictured and she LOVED it!
She was also baptized in my dress, which my sister was baptized in too. What a lucky girl.

Friday we cooked, cleaned, shopped, made it to a Primary Activity and my parents and sister flew in from Virginia. Saturday morning we made our last trip to the airport to pick up Casey and Sarah before we headed to the Stake Center.
Dustin's oldest brother lives in Maricopa so we were so glad they could spend the weekend with us as well. Sadie was over the moon because she adores her cousins, Jake and Cody. She kept telling me to take pictures of them. They are the SWEETEST boys and give in to her constant begging to play barbies or puzzles with her.

Without fail the thing I always remember the most about baptisms is how loud and crazy they are, but for one brief moment everything calms down and you can feel the Spirit so strongly. I'm not a big crier, but I definitely got teary eyed when I saw Dustin and Ellie in the water.

I then rushed Ellie back for the fastest clothing change in Baptismal history (she was shaking from the cold and informed me that she had never been so wet in her whole life) and a little mommy-daughter moment.
I am so proud of you Ellie!!

After the baptism we had about 60 people over for pulled pork sandwiches, chips, grapes, homemade lemonade and cake. I was so worried there wasn't going to be enough food, but I think we had exactly enough. I'm so grateful to all of our friends who made time on their busy Saturdays to come and support Ellie (and me). We are so lucky to have so many friends who are like family when we live so far away from our own.

Luke enjoyed blocking traffic and eating whenever he could find someone to put something in his mouth.

We spent the rest of the afternoon hanging out with everyone and then my dad took Ellie and Nate swimming with the Ashtons while everyone else enjoyed some down time before we headed to the Stake Fair and then shipped the kids off for a sleep over with my parents and a long honored tradition of going on a midnight run.

Probably two decades ago we were at my Grandparent's for the summer and sometime around midnight we decided we all needed some snack food from McDonald's. It was repeated the next summer, and the next. . . and basically anytime we get the entire family together. If course now that we have young kids, we've moved the time up considerably, and I no longer order everything on the menu. . . but it's just a reminder of all the fun times we had with our Grandparents and how their memories are always with us.
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Sunday was Mother's Day and despite the fact that I meant to spoil our moms, it was really nice to not have to get the older kids ready for church and there were so many family members to entertain them at Church that I actually listened to all of Sacrament Meeting.

Dustin made a yummy brunch (his famous baked french toast and buttermilk syrup) for everyone and then my parents and sister had to take off. I think they were only here for 45 hours total.

We finished off the day with a turkey dinner with Dustin's parents, two brothers and wives and families and then drove Casey and Sarah to the airport after their 36 hour trip to AZ. It really meant a lot to all of us to have so many people fit Ellie's baptism into the schedule, even if it meant they spent their weekends on airplanes. My kids are so lucky to have the best Aunts and Uncles!!

Monday we made one last trip to the airport to get Dustin's parents on their way home and then I wanted to pass out but spent the rest of the day doing laundry and cleaning. It still feels kind of lonely with just the 6 of us.


My favorite activity of the entire school year has to be Mother's Day Tea! There is something so sweet about how hard they work on those little projects because it's for their moms. Nate has been so secretive because he didn't want me to see anything early, but every time I went to pick him up, he would yell intently, "Just a second. I'm not done yet." Well the card was well worth the wait. If you remember, last year he drew a picture of me with a GIANT belly (I was 8 months pregnant with Luke, so it was ginormous) so this years was MUCH better. It had flowers, Nate and me, butterflies annnnnnnd a Star Wars Starship. Thanks Nate!

When I came in Nate led me over to the table to pick out food for me. It was so sweet to watch him pour my water and ask me what fruit I wanted. As always the kids sang all the songs they practiced so hard for us. Nate had been singing one of them at home and when I commented on it he said, "Pretend you didn't remember that song, OK Mom?"So sweet to their moms, so crazy together.
Poor Luke wanted to picked up so badly while I was eating my food. Pleeeeeease Mom?

At the end they gave us our gift which was their cute hand prints and a saying: From small beginnings come great things. Cue tears from me -- a reenactment of when I was reading Mother's Day cards at Target.