Lovin' It

I have to hurry and get Valentine's Day in before February is over.

I am not one of those people who thinks Valentine's Day is a "made up holiday" and over-rated or over-celebrated in any way. I love a good excuse to show people how much I love them, especially on a day where lots of sugar and pink are involved.

Since we had just gotten back from an over-the-top vacation for just the two of us and I spent the weekend devoted to our Young Women's fundraiser, we decided to keep it small and really focus on the kids.

OK, *I* decided to keep it low key and focus on the kids. Dustin spoiled me as usual. I ended up with a new necklace and purse from everyone, plus the best lunch date ever.

Per tradition, we got the kids some chocolate and flowers in the morning and then sent them off to school all nice and sugared up. Dustin took the kids and me out to lunch at Brio to celebrate the day. I don't know if any boy can ever live up to the standard Dustin has set for spoiling his girls!Sadie and Luke were amazingly well behaved. Our lunch took an hour and a half and they sat the entire time. On their butts! And didn't yell or whine or drop food on the floor. Sadie used a napkin instead of her skirt. And Luke used a fork instead of his hands! And they ate all their food. Even dessert. Sadie thought the restaurant was very fancy and was pretty excited when they brought out the tray of desserts to pick from. Even more excited when they showed her the one with custard and fruit. Maybe it's just the older two that are heathens in public places??

So after my very favorite Valentine's Day date EVER, I got to go to the school parties. Nate was hilarious as always. He really wanted me to watch him play Bingo. At the end I wanted to hurry and take some pictures with his friends. Nate was in quite the goofy mood.
I'm pretty sure that's a monocle he is making. He had to go line up for recess when I happened to notice he was standing next to Allie. I told them to smile, when I notice Nate's hand. . . It's only cute for so long, but right now he's young, so it's still *so*stinkin*cute!

Then we rounded out the day with a homemade heart shaped pizza. I know, I know, everyone does that. I'll come up with something more exciting next year.


Someday My Prince will Come

But for now, my heart belongs to Daddy.I know what you're thinking -- my family is ridiculously good looking. Oh wait, that's just what I'm thinking.

Every year, Lifetime throws a Daddy Daughter Dance around Valentine's Day. Last year we were in Maui at the time and I was really sad we missed it. So were my girls as the gym advertises the heck out of it. So as soon as stuff started popping up this year, I signed the girls up for everything. The dance! The hair! Th make up! The nails!

Sadie talked about the dance non-stop for the two weeks leading up to it. She made up songs, told Dustin how he should spin her when they danced, talked about going to the salon and how she wanted her hair. All her funny little comments were worth the money right there, but seeing them getting ready was priceless.

Sorry there aren't as many pictures of Ellie as there are of Sadie. Sadie needed a little more supervision than Ellie, so I spent most of time with her.I love the look of concentration on her face. She was very serious about the whole thing
The salon was full of little girls getting ready for the dance and they all fed off of each other's excitement. Sadie was a bit of a novelty because she was the smallest girl there, so as usual she got more attention than she ever truly needs.
Sadie overheard a conversation between two moms worrying about how fast the time would go and since her little brain picks up EVERYTHING, all I heard for the next hour was, "Time is going to go by so fast when we're trying to get ready. We better hurry."

I let them pick out some of my jewelry and once they picked out their dresses and tried to get some pictures. Of course Sadie is always so cooperative.I believe she is dancing at this point in time. I keep forgetting to go in a photoshop that fake tattoo out. Also, I am insanely jealous of the hair. I want my dad to take ME to a Daddy Daughter Dance.

Sheryas and Anjini came along for the ride too.After this they were off for their carriage ride, to meet the princesses (which were all the childcare workers, so Sadie was thrilled that her favorite, Lauren, was Cinderella), dance, eat, craft, get goodie bags. . . and all that stuff that makes up happily ever after.

The End.


We were busy -- so I got fat

Alternate title: I have no self control.

January and February have been good to us! We certainly haven't been lacking for entertainment. Birthday parties, training for Ragnar, Church, school, kids. . . And of course being spoiled rotten.

For Christmas our husbands sent 4 of us away for the weekend to stay in Tucson and see Wicked. We left our 14 kids (but took sweet Aly with us) and headed off for a relaxing girl's weekend. I can't believe I got to eat so many meals with both hands!! Actually I can because I gained plenty of weight from all the good eats. I literally ate dessert twice in one night. We also stayed up late talking and Rickie and I got in a good hill workout Saturday morning. With so few hills (or none, I should say) around here, it was a nice change of scenery. Wicked was amazing, but spending time with these girls was probably the best part. I always feel so much love when I am with them.

For Meredith's birthday I got to go out with some other of my very fun girlfriends -- the M's. We did breakfast at TC Eggintons (where I did really well until they bought Meredith a chocolate chip cookie birthday pie -- someone had to eat it!) and got the world's slowest pedicures. I felt rather guilty about indulging so much in the space of a week, especially knowing we were leaving a few days later for. . .

Grand Cayman!
Dustin and I headed off for the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman for 5 nights ad 6 days. Actually, the first night we stayed at the Marriott Resort there using points and then switched over to the Ritz for the rest of our stay. The Marriott was nice and we enjoyed it, but once we were at the Ritz we kept remarking on how the Ritz made the Marriott feel like a Super 8 (it's actually very nice, the Ritz is just that fantastic). The service was amazing. We went snuba diving by a ship wreck, saw sharks from a submarine, and held star fish and jelly fish while we kayaked in the mangroves. We also went to the most gorgeous beaches and sat around the pool enough for me to get 2 books read. The people who were there were so entertaining and intriguing. . .and the food. The food!

Eric Ripert made me fat. Dustin is a big time foodie and in the month of January he hit Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill in NYC and Graham Elliot's restaurant in Chicago. So when we saw Eric Ripert's Blue in the Ritz, we decided we had to eat there. I could not stop eating the cilantro sea salt rolls and the food just coming and coming. When we left I asked if I could get a roll in a to go bag since they were so amazing. They brought us our bill and this teeney tiny to go box and we were on our way. Or so I thought until our server came chasing us down with an enormous bag. I guess the little to go box was actually macaroons, and the giant bag contained a boat load of rolls. I couldn't NOT eat them. And we all know rolls are best fresh. . .

Fast forward a few days and we had a boat excursion from 5-8 pm. We ate an early dinner and decided to hit up Blue for their sticky toffee pudding for desert (seriously so good). Well if you go for *just* dessert and they remember you, they still bring you a basket of your favorite rolls. And then dessert. And then the tray of dessert samples. And then the macaroons. And if your waiter is from the Philippines and you force your husband to speak Tagalog with him, you get another ginormous bag of rolls to take back to the room with you. I probably ate 2,000 calories of rolls every day. And now you are probably bored out of your mind, but I really love food.

We also saw the Gin Blossoms
And also a HUGE thank you to my parents who watched the kids. My kids look forward to their week alone with Grandma and Papa every year.

When I came home I swore I would not eat out for a month. Except I had scheduled a GNO with all my old girlies for the very next night since Katherine and her ADORABLE baby were in town. I may have hogged Chase the entire night. I love these girls so much and I miss most of them since they have moved away. It's always fun to get back together.

And then I swore I wouldn't eat any more junk food, but the next night was our Ragnar team party. And there was the Girl's Camp Kick Off, and we fed the missionaries and you *have* to give them dessert. Followed by a bridal shower, and then I invited Karen over for lunch and it would be rude not to offer my guest dessert. The next day there was a birthday party and the Stake Valentine's Dance, which had tables and tables of candy and desserts. We were probably the youngest people there, but we really killed it on the dance floor. Maybe I burned off some of the candy I ate?? Please forgive the scary eyes. My phone did not do the greatest job ever, but we were laughing over how funny this picture would be.

On top of that we were doing out Girl's Camp fundraiser last weekend which included supervising the girls while they babysat 27 kids for a few hours, stuffing 200 candygrams and putting together 80 treat plates. And then the delivering. . . I *needed* to binge on those yummy treats. Besides, someone had to be quality control.

So Valentine's morning I woke up and swore that Monday would be the day that I did not eat sugar. I'm guessing you know what happened -- Dustin wanted to take me and the kids out to lunch. They were so well behaved we had to get dessert. Look! Luke ATE! With a utensil! And Sadie sat still!! Definitely dessert worthy.

My Visiting Teachers showered me with oreo balls, PB krispy balls, chocolate covered popcorn. . . and my sweet friend brought me homemade sugar cookies. I decided the best thing to do would be to eat them all in one night so I wouldn't be tempted. And Tuesday Ellie made sugar cookies at Activity Days and made one for each of us. How could I NOT eat the cookie she made for me?

But. . . TODAY! Today is the day that I don't eat dessert. Because tomorrow I'm making orange rolls for a brunch.


How to Win Friends and Influence People

AKA My Kids Really Know How to Freak Out and it's All My Fault

I tend to have anxiety a lot and really exaggerate the effects of things in my mind. My children have unfortunately also inherited this trait. Last month Dustin was out of town 3 out of the 4 weeks and then add in all his make up work and church duties and it was pretty much me flying solo for the month. I should also mention that Dustin is use the voice of reason and the only sane person in this family. Without him around to keep us all firmly rooted on the ground it got slightly emotional some nights.

1. About 30 minutes before bed time, Nate looks at me and asks, "What's a kidnapper?" I then launched into a spiel about how kidnappers want to steal children and lock them in rooms and not feed them and so you should never ever leave your mom or dad when you're in public or open the door to a stranger. See how I feed this kind of behavior??

The next thing I know the kids are FREAKING out. What if a robber comes to our house? So I show them our alarm system. What if they break in the window -- will the alarm still go off? Yes. Then they insist that I turn on the alarm and show them where all the lasers are. Nate is the worst. He wants to know where he should go if the alarm goes off. What if he's asleep and doesn't hear it go off? What if the bad guy steal all of his Legos? So finally I've come up with some sufficiently good plans and I get them all settled down and into bed.

Half an hour later, I'm ready to crawl into bed when I remember that Nate is assigned to bring snack for the class the next day. And I literally have no food in the house. And the kids are all in bed, so I can't run to the grocery store. I'm digging through my pantry when I remember that my neighbor, Gina, is a major stockpiler, so I'm sure she has something. I call over and while she's running low, but she does have saltines (which I should mention were a BIG hit with the Kinders). Gina offers to run them over to me since I'm all ready in my PJs so I go over to open the door and WAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIILLLLL! The alarm goes off, waking every single kid -- except for Nate. How he sleeps through the hysteria is beyond me, but it takes me another hour to get the girls settled down again.

2. My kids really like me. And I find it flattering. Really I do. But sometimes I need a little room. On Sundays all sorts of sweet people sit near us so they can help out with the kids, but my kids all fight over who gets to sit closest to me. I try to bribe them to go sit with someone else so I can have some personal space and it *still* doesn't work.

So one particular Sunday the kids were feeling really attached to me. Daddy had been out of town and then I had gone away Friday and Saturday with my girlfriends for a much needed break, and then Dustin flew out 12 hours later. Right around bed time, Nate (who is usually the catalyst for these sorts of things) starts crying, "I don't want to grow up." Then everyone starts sobbing. They are never leaving me. They won't go to college. They don't want to be moms and dads. They want to live in my house forever. Some gems include, "If I grow up, you will get old and when you get old you will DIE! And even if you die, I'll still need my mom," and "What if my kids don't like the BYUs?" I gently try to explain that one day they will actually want to leave, believe it or not. To which Nate replies, "You don't even know what I want. Right now I want to spend time with my dad."

Oh my gosh, I wanted to cry!!! The killer was knowing Dustin was only going to be home for a day before we left on our trip. But they were spoiled by parents (who reports know moments of mass hysteria), and we're home now with NO travel plans for the month. . . yet.

And hopefully one of these days I'll download my pictures from my girls trip and our week in Grand Cayman.