Help me!!

In one week this cute little thang will be turning 2! I have no clue what to do about it. Throw a party? Leave him with a sitter and go boating with friends? Hang out as a family?
And what about a gift? I usually don't get my kids a lot of gifts of big gifts for their birthdays, but I would like to get him *something*. Anyone have any ideas of things every 2 year old should have??

And now let me help you.
(Sadie is actually incredibly helpful in the kitchen and loves to pound out the meat for me)
Sadie has informed me that she does not like it when people call her Sadie Lady. "Because ladies are old and then I will be old." So if you want her to like you, please stick to the approved list: Sadie, Sadie Michelle, Sadie Loo Who, and Baby Doll. Sadie Baby is also frowned upon



Sadie and her friend Embrie always have the most entertaining conversations as I drive them to preschool. Today I hurried and wrote one of them down.
Sadie: Embrie, do you know why I'm wearing bandaids on my thumbs?
Embrie: Because you hurt your thumbs?
Sadie: No, because I need to stop sucking my thumbs so they won't fall off.
Embrie: Your thumbs won't fall off.
Sadie: Yes they will. If I keep sucking them, first they'll turn red, and then they turn orange and then green and when they turn blue they fall off.
Embrie: I used to suck my fingers and they didn't fall off.
Sadie: What do you suck now?
Embrie: My thumb. It tastes soooo good.
Sadie: Mine too! . . . . (silence). . . . But my mom doesn't even care.

Women's Conference

I don't even know what to say about my trip up to BYU for Women's Conference. It was a complete BLUR. Much like stopping to get this picture.As we approached the Utah sign, cruising along at about 90 mph, I lamented, "I wish I had noticed the sign earlier so we could have stopped and taken a picture." Followed by the screeching of tires and the jerk of a car. Not sure the brakes will ever be the same on that Aveo, but it was a rental car so who cares. And no. We did not actually all squeeze in an Aveo for our trip up there. That is a hilarious inside joke, that you will never get because you were not cool enough to commit to Women's Conference 2011. Not that I was an easy sell. I almost missed that hilarious joke myself. Typically I'm "the committed one," but I had poor Maggie hounding me for weeks trying to get me to agree to the trip. In the end she convinced me with her winning personality and incessant amount of texts. I'm so glad she did.

The whole thing was amazing. I loved the girls I went with and all the time we got spend together. I loved being back in Provo and all the great memories I have from going to school there. Even if we had to stay in a stinky boys dorm. It was completely and totally worth all the stress of leaving the kids and being freezing cold for 5 days.

Just a couple of random highlights:

* Driving : On the way up Maggie almost killed us 2 or 3 times before we were even out of Phoenix. We mocked her driving and then she paid us back by taking us on the curviest route ever (through Jacob's Lake) where Karen and I nearly barfed. Luckily she's a nurse and was loaded up with all sorts of goodies. On the way home, I took a turn driving, where I also maybe did a slightly poor job of driving and we almost ran out of gas because I forgot to check the gas before we turned onto UT-20. Let's just say after that experience only kind words were spoken about people's driving skills. And Heather even texted us later to thank us for preparing her to drive with her 16 year old on the freeway.

* The dorms. OK, totally scuzzy, but honestly, we weren't there much. We ate breakfast in the Cannon Center and I get how people gain the Freshman 15! I lived in Heritage when I was freshman where we had to cook for ourselves, so I pretty much lived off of toast and quesadillas. The first night we looked over the breakfast options and decided we would get omelets. So the next morning we paid out $5, got in line and were served the world's smallest omelet. $5 for that?? I asked the girl if maybe there was some fruit somewhere that I could purchase. She then informed me that EVERYTHING inside was free for the taking once you were inside. I guess we were all dinning hall newbies because our eyes were HUGE when we realized it was buffet. Oh butterscotch muffins. You were delicious.

* SNOW! We looked like total nerds when we walked out of class to a few flakes and screamed, "It's SNOWING!"Someone stopped and asked us if we wanted our picture taken because we were making *that* much of a scene. I think they must have been laughing because you can't even tell it's flaking in the picture. The good news is, the next morning we woke up to this:
So we finally got some REAL snow pictures! And then we wondered how we were going to scrape the car off. And Heather, the only good driver, told us that she doesn't drive in snow.

* The classes. They were really excellent. The general sessions were probably the best, but I may have cried a time or two in the other classes. The shocker for me, was how cut throat some people were trying to get into classes. People would walk out early, try and cut in line. . . All while trying o improve themselves spiritually. I found that slightly ironic.

* The food. We ate and ate and ate some more. I was really nervous taking the girls to The Chocolate since I had kind of talked it up a lot. Is there anyone who doesn't know my obsession with that place?What if they thought it was mediocre? Like my sister. Well I can say that they all are as obsessed with the Kitty Katrina as much as I am. Two trips including cake to bring home to family. Along with BYU mint brownies.

* My favorite peeps! I love visiting Utah because I feel like I'm reuniting with all my best friends. My sister braved the BYU bookstore (that place was CRAZY with 16,000 women in town) to meet up with me, took me on a trip down memory lane by driving to all the places I lived in Utah and let me snuggle Olivia. She even came to hang out with us and play games at the dorm one night.
I also got to meet up with our friends from when we were first married up in American Fork and see Vanessa's new baby. And Tasha met up with us so we could check out Tai Pan Trading (why does Utah have all the coolest stores??)

* The Temple. I have never done a live session so that in itself was amazing. Then add in not having to worry about getting home to a babysitter and the four hours we were there flew by. It made the whole thing one of my most profound temple experiences ever. I think every girl's trip should include a trip to the Temple because you really feel a connection as sisters when you share time talking in the Celestial Room. I seriously felt like I was at a tourist attraction when I was staring at all the art and details in the Salt Lake Temple. You can feel the Pioneer Spirit.

* BYU. I love that place more and more each time I go. It was so much fun to run around the campus and see all the new buildings (OK, I only made it running once because it snowed. Hello -- who is going to run in the SNOW?? I might slip. And it was freakishly dark at 5 in the morning and I didn't want to get mugged. PLUS Maggie gave me ambien so I actually slept). I made three trips to the BYU bookstore and spent a small fortune on stuff to take home to Dustin and the kids. And maybe a *few* things for myself. I think my biggest excitement was the Jimmer jersey for Nate. I about died when Maggie asked who Jimmer was. And I literally started to choke when she didn't know who Lavell Edwards was. Hopefully all the girls left BYU feeling like true blue Cougars!!And then I got to come home totally renewed to a clean house and these cute kids!!!

So who's in for next year???


It started with stinky, smelly shoes

Every few days the kids will come home, take off their shoes, get up to the table and start on their homework. I then banish them to the bathroom and scrub their feet until I can focus on helping them instead of feeling waves of nausea from the odor steaming off of their feet. I don't know how they missed me chanting, "You have to wear socks with your shoes,", but it has gotten bad. Especially the B.O.Y. The repulsive smelling PE shoes and canvas slips ons were affecting my quality of life. On top of that, Nate's feet grew two sizes this year and he was squeezing into them as it was.

It was time to go shoe shopping. Like months ago. But with everyone's activities, play dates, meetings, parties, business travel and general life, we never had the time. The only night that things seem to be calm are Mondays and we generally reserve those for Family Home Evening. I asked Dustin how we could relate shoe shopping to Gospel Principles and being the genius he is, he came up with the Armor of God. We made up a fun little lesson based on Ephesians 6:10-18.
The kids did a great job dressing Sadie in her armor! Which was kind of necessary since she was wearing a bathing suit from a party 6 hours earlier. We'd hate to see her go off to battle in that. And with that we set off to make sure Nate and Ellie's feet were shod with the Gospel of Peace (and odor eaters). And while we were there Sadie and Luke each deserved a pair of shoes. And maybe Mommy needed some new running shoes. Now no more new shoes until July!! However, we will buying new socks.


Sleepy Sunday

Our Ward meets at 11:30 which is kind of a miserable time. Lunch time, nap time, play time. Poor Luke. We've finally got Sacrament down to a science. We all scrunch up on the left side of our pew. This works out well since my oldest three want to lounge all over me so the closer to me, the better. The Jandas sit on the other side of the pew as far over as they can. Luke then runs his train back and forth across the middle of the bench. Do not touch his train. Do not LOOK at him. Just throw some Apple Jacks in the tinder of the train every once in awhile and he's good to go.

Occasionally he'll hop up on the bench find Dustin and shout, "MOM!" Or take a train book to Kyle and make him flip the pages. Then he goes to Nursery where I'm sure he bullies the other kids.

After all that hard work he comes home and it's too late for a nap, so I try and keep him up through dinner and put him to bed early. He never makes it. This was right before dinner last week.Sundays are rough if you don't get a nap.


Oh, I love technology

What did we do with our kids when they were sick in bed before iPads?And what did we do when we were at the Doctor's office and sitting in a cramped room for an hour waiting and there was no app for that?

And what about when we were in the car trying to find the nearest frozen yogurt store because when you're sick you really need a treat and there were no iPhones?

And how would my parents know how cute Sadie was when she was sick if there weren't blogs??

I should add that when Sadie is sick she is really really emotional. My favorite from this round of fevers was her grabbing me and crying, "You'll never not be here for me mama. You'll never leave us. You could never let me down mama."


Mother's Day

I love being a mom!! Don't think there aren't days where I want to run into my bathroom, lock the doors and let them fend for themselves, but for the most part I really love my life. I love my kids and I enjoy making our home a fun place to be. I love making treats, reading books, playing games, coming up with projects, fixing dinner, snuggling, talking about important things, teaching them the Gospel and even cleaning and organizing. I don't think there is anything else in the world that could fulfill me like trying to make this house a safe haven. I consider it a commandment to find JOY and I hope I help my kids feel it everyday.

I look forward to the cute programs, sweet hand picked cards and hand made crafts that come with Mother's Day every year. The bad news is -- my kids are only getting bigger. Nate can read and no longer picks out the Buzz Lightyear Birthday card to give me for Mother's Day. And Ellie's gifts are actually stylish. Case in point:She MADE that! And I love it.

And lucky me got to go to TWO programs this year. Miss Becky's preschool program is always adorable. This is my fourth year and yet, Sadie was surprised that I knew some of the songs she was going to sing.She sang her little heart out. And then gave me this really cute plaque.
Nate made the same thing last year and I had it up on a plate stand. One night I came home to find Nate's on the floor and Sadie's replaced on the plate stand.

Nate's Kindergarten had Muffins with Mom.I was actually a little irritated about the whole thing. When Ellie was in Kindergarten it was in the afternoon in the classroom and a big production. This year it was at 7:30 in the morning (have you ever tried to find someone to watch your kids at 7:30 AM??? Thank you facebook!) in the cafeteria and with another class which made it really impersonal. Plus there was NO FOOD. Nate was so excited about the whole thing, so he didn't eat breakfast because we were going to eat breakfast at school. The whole way he told me we could only take *one* muffin. Well peeps, they were MINI muffins. I think even Luke, the food hater, would need more than a mini muffin and two strawberries for breakfast.

I forced my mini muffin on Nate and filled him up on strawberries. I hope they had a hearty snack! By the time all the moms and kids made it through the line, they had 5 minutes to sing.

The upside was Nate's enthusiasm. I love that boy! He is so fun to be around when he's excited about something. His whole face glows and you can't help but have fun.

Mother's Day morning all my kids came into bed with me and cuddled. I have been *waiting* for the day when my kids were old enough to just sit in bed and not demand to watch TV or roll all over me. It was PERFECT! Unfortunately, the whole sitting still thing didn't last through Sacrament and while Luke meandered up and down the row, Sadie fell asleep on me. I should have suspected that by the end of the night, we would have this:
Dustin made me a lovely dinner of stir fry shrimp and chocolate souffle, but poor Sadie was so sick she couldn't even eat hers. I decided that as a mother I should sacrifice and eats her dinner and dessert for her. See how great it is to be a mom???


BIG news

Nate stopped sucking his thumb!!

You know what you should never do -- promise Nate something. He will never.ever.forget.

About a year ago I was trying to get Nate to stop sucking his thumb so I promised him that when he did we would go to the Lego store and buy him ANY set he wanted. Well, he didn't stop and I stopped promising things. . . And then a month ago Nate announced that he had stopped sucking his thumb and he was ready for me to take him to the Lego store.

At first I didn't believe him. I told him that first I would need to check on him every night for two weeks to see if he had really stopped. That boy kept a countdown! "11 more nights mom until we go to the Lego store." And wouldn't you know, every time I went to check on him there he was sound asleep without a thumb in his mouth. I started popping in right after I sent him to bed to see if he was cheating. I would feel his thumb to make sure it wasn't wet. Sure enough, he had stopped sucking it.

HOORAY for Nate. And so luckily for me, I had bought a LEGO set at the Target after Christmas 75% off sale for a smoking deal and I talked him into accepting that as his reward. I think his face shows his feeling of triumph perfectly! I should add that he put the whole thing together by himself too. ANNNNNND. . . He lost two teeth the same weekend. Sniff sniff. He's getting so big!