Summer time and the Livin' is Easy!!

June is almost over and I feel like we're just starting to get to my major summer goal: Don't overschedule. We had so much going on with getting out of school, camp, Father's Day, Dustin's parents coming that we haven't been able to just pick up and go. This week has been much more laid back and we've been loving it.

This week we:
* Spent too much time catching up on laundry & cleaning the house.
* Went to 10 tennis lessons where Sadie made a new friend.
* Shopped at Costco & Sprouts (twice) to refill my house with food.
* Saw a Junie B Jones play.
* Tried not to think about how much we ate out this week.
* Celebrated when Luke sat through an entire summer movie: How to Train Your Dragon.
* Slacked off & bought a cake to bring to a swim party.
* Admitted it was too hot to run outside & spent some time at the gym.
* Stayed up way too late watching movies (finally saw HP 7).
* Hosted Ellie's book club.
* Reunited with my UT Road trip buddies with lunch & temple date.
* Picked Ellie up early from a sleep over because she missed me.
* Enjoyed lots and lots of spontaneous play dates.
* Cooled off swimming for playgroup with 20 other kids.
* Gorged ourselves on lunch with friends.* Cut the boys hair and finally dragged my butt to the salon after 4 months of blah!
* Tried not to rant and rave as we cleaned out the kids' rooms.
* Partied it up at the SAP summer event at Dave and Busters.* Ate a lot of ice cream.
* Crafted over at Karen's.
* Caught up on my blog!!


Sadie Love

Sometime over the course of dinner, both these random quotes popped out of Sadie's mouth:

"I'm so disappointed we aren't going to the mall tonight. I'm really craving an Orange Julius."
and my personal favorite:
"I don't love Justin Bieber. I'm just his biggest fan."
What 4 year old talks like this???


Tennis Camp

Ellie and her girlfriends have been taking tennis for a year now and they're really quite cute. I can't wait until they can play matches against each other. This week we decided to put them all in tennis camp for the week.

Nate decided that maybe he would give tennis a try too. He was so nervous before camp this morning. You could tell because he couldn't eat breakfast and started freaking out when he couldn't get his socks on. Finally I asked him what he was so scared about. "I'm scared a ball is going to hit me in my face and I'll bleed."
Well good news: No balls hit him the face. Bad news: He did bleed. He tripped and skinned his knee. When I asked him how it was he said, "AWESOME!" At first I was a little nervous because he kept wanting to swing the racket like a baseball bat, but he settled in and started getting the ball over the net.

Nate's lesson started a little later than the girls and ended 15 minutes after it. I thought they were doing a lovely job entertaining Luke. And I guess they were. Sadie came over, sopping wet, and told me she wanted to change clothes. I informed her that I had no extra clothes. She then pulled out the backpack she had brought and guess what was in it? Extra clothes. I asked Sadie why she had a backpack full of extra clothes and she said, "You know. In case I wanted to get wet." She is always prepared.


Happy Father's Day

What do you say about the Dad so amazing that he made his own Father's Day Dinner because he knew I was exhausted from Girl's Camp??We are so lucky!!

I took the kids to Target a week ahead of time to pick out gifts. I really believe in letting them pick out their own stuff so he ended up with a water bottle, a pink tie, sticky note pads, new dry erase markers for the white board in his office at Church (the kids like to play on it), peanut butter oreos and gum. They all picked out singing cards except for poor Nate who really wanted a "My Dad Rocks" card, but in the mix up, I misunderstood him and bought another card. He was completely devastated on Saturday when the card was not in the bag. He did a great job making his very own My Dad Rocks card complete with a Superdad picture on the inside.

I did manage to make him a chocolate cake (I was missing just one ingredient from all his favorite desserts) and my kids made me proud by actually eating an entire cake in less than 24 hours. The are mine after all!!!


This is how we Wiggle-Oh

In case you have been living under a rock: I don't camp. So when I was called to be the Ward Camp Director, I think we were all a little skeptical of how everything would come off. I probably had the least faith in myself, but it worked out surpringly well.

The girls are AMAZING! We had no drama, we surpassed every goal we set for ourselves and all came back loving each other and the Gospel a little more.The theme for this year was: Values are always in Fashion at the Chandler Values Mall. We ended up being assigned the value Divine Nature and the Optical Store. I think the girls were kind of bummed about the optical store because it wasn't as exciting as some of the other (shoe store, jewelry store, clothes store. . .) But we made it work. I decided we should be a sunglass store, so we went with Aloha Optical and went tropical.This meant we spent our days lazing around by the palm trees in a hammock. OK, if only! I did have to laugh that poor Sadie fell out of the hammock *multiple* times a day.

It was also fun that my sister was my "assistant camp director." My poor sweet sister always gets dragged into all of my fun plans. I am grateful that she shares her talent so willingly with me. She made me gobs of cute tags to put on all of our scripture study gifts. Like this:and this:and this:And she spent hours on the phone with me trying to come up with clever sayings to go with each scripture. At first I was worried the girls wouldn't appreciate all the time and effort but they totally got it!!

Along with the tags, she also made me a tidy tent award that all the girls were dying to win.There was also lots of hair washing, braiding, games, laughing, hiking, screaming, cheering and general Girl's Camp-ness.

* The elbow song. If I never hear that again, I will be a happy girl.

* Too much candy. I am so sick.* Forgetting the foam pad for my cot. My sweet husband texted every Priesthood holder that he knew up there and they all jumped to my rescue. I slept amazingly well and stayed warm. All thanks to the Priesthood! Our Stake Presidency is really the best.

* Dustin lost my pillow on the drive home. After flying off the trailer, it is laying somewhere on the highway. I hope some desert animal gave it a good home.

And that's it. Even being dirty wasn't that bad. Although I did look at my leg at one point and I had dirt up to my knees.

* The Wiggle-O
I've brought it home and the kids love doing it too

* Dustin getting to come up for Bishop's NightYou should have seen me staring down the road when I expecting him to appear. He brought the girls ice cream cake which was delicious and we even won the "Name That Bishop" game.

* Spending time with the girls.We have the most amazing YW in our Ward. I know some of them from back when I was Primary President, but I was so grateful for the opportunity to really get to know all their quirks. They made me laugh and I really love them so much more now.

* Big Booty(this is actually my favorite picture of the entire week)
Kaycee taught it to us and had to leave for a family reunion right as we were getting good at it. We ran out of chairs, and I came back from a meeting to find sweet Brother Stewart sitting on top of the ladder.

Christy and I may have had a little rivalry going. I think it all started over her killing me off repeatedly during Mafia and involved some "alloy" lotion. I'm not even sure if we've called a truce yet since I woke up to a "We love the Utes" sign on my garage this morning.

* Solo Time
Isn't it gorgeous? It was so nice to get out of the heat and be in nature for a few days. You could really feel the love and power of our Heavenly Father out there. I hope the girls felt the peace the gospel brings.

* Testimony meeting. Our girls had such sweet & simple, yet powerful testimonies. I am in awe of the things they shared and the spirit they felt. I am so touched that I was able to be there and share in this experience.

After a week up there I totally get why people love going, although I don't know if I could ever go with anyone other than *my* girls!!!


Hooray for Grandma & Papa!!

While I was camp, Dustin's parents sweetly responded to all my begging and pleading and came and watched the kids for a week. Cheryl is Super Woman! If you don't know, Dustin's dad has Parkinson's, so she takes care of him all day (and takes him to the bathroom every few hours each night). Then to take on all 4 of my kids on top of it?? We are so lucky!!

Below are a few of the pictures Ellie took while I was gone.
Sadie was of course wonderful at buttering up her Papa. He is a very good cuddler and we all know that is Sadie's specialty. The kids were also really lucky to have their cousins, Jake and Cody, come out and spend the night for a few days.While I was gone, Luke started pulling the kitchen chairs around so he could climb up to get any food or games/crafts/things put out of his reach for a reason that he wanted. I am so sorry Cheryl. He also turned the garage into his playroom, which resulted in beautiful feet:The kids made sun catchers, painted shirts, paper airplanes, bead crafts, played games (Ellie got a double Yahtzee!), took a few trips to Dairy Queen for ice cream (one opened up a quarter mile from our house -- come visit and we'll take you for blizzards every night!!), had a water fight and made pie.
Cheryl remembered how much my kids love making pies with her and brought them all their own mini-rolling pins and pie tins. Sadie and I were really excellent at eating the pies.I know my kids had a wonderful time and I'm so grateful to Cheryl for giving up a week of her life to come spend time with all of us. It was so nice to be at camp and not worry about my kids because I knew they were being spoiled rotten by Grandma and Papa. I just hope we didn't wear them out so much they won't come back! WE LOVE YOU!!!



I am a wimp. I'm pretty sure this is a well known fact, but I am surprisingly unadventerous. I am perfectly content to watch my husband jump off the waterfall or send my sister parasailing right after the rope snapped while I stay warm and dry taking pictures. I am also scared of a ridiculous amount of things -- rubber bands, popping balloons, being cold, being the only one not doing it and letting go.

Once when Dustin and I were newly married we went with a bunch of friends to Seven Peaks Waterpark in Provo (whoop whoop). They had one of those Tarzan ropes that you could swing out to the middle of a pool and then when you let go, you would drop into the middle of the pool. Everyone was doing it, so I climbed up, grabbed on, swung out and then realized that while I may not be afraid of heights, I am afraid of dropping from high places. And so I didn't let go. Do you know what happens when you don't let go of the rope? Eventually you swing BACK into the faux rock wall you jumped off, slam your head and cut up the back side of your body. Most embarrassing moment of my life.

OK, so back to the story. My girlfriend, Karen, has been obsessed with this trapeze place that is about a mile from my house. Earlier in the year, there was a groupon for half off Trapeze lessons. I called her and told her that she and her husband should go do it for her birthday. Fast forward half and hour and somehow she has talked 2 other of our really good friends into doing it and won't I be buying a groupon too?? Well we all know I buckle under peer pressure so I signed up.I may look happy in this picture but I was crying before I had to go up the first time and literally shaking each time I was done with my turn. The place was amazing and they really did a fantastic job -- I am just a scaredy cat. We had to climb up, jump off, grab the the bar, hook our legs, hang upside down, let go and reach back, then grab back on, pull our legs down, swing 3 times and then do a back flip and land. All in about a minute. Believe it or not, they got even me to do it and not hate it.

The hardest part for me was letting go while flying through the air.But I did. I wouldn't say I conquered a fear, but I definitely confronted it. Of course now I'm trying to figure out what horrible thing I should make all of them do for my birthday.


The Terrible Twos

Luke turned 2! And trust me, the terrible twos have hit. Will he survive this year? Will *I* survive this year? We are in full force tantrum mode and he's climbing onto and breaking everything in the house. Despite that, we all still love him to pieces! He still loves trains, balls, saying prayers, talking on the phone and making animal sounds. He still hates eating, sitting in Church and going to time out.

I will have to grab a picture of him pouting because it's hilarious. He will stick his ginormous bottom lip, shrug his shoulders and make this sad puppy dog whimpering noise. SO pathetic.

To celebrate his birthday we. . . went to the lake. Adults only. Am I terrible mother? We did celebrate it with his favorite non-Mac & Cheese dinner (spaghetti) and a cake he didn't eat (anyone surprised??). I knew he wouldn't eat it, so rather than spend hours making something I sent Dustin and Sadie out to pick up a cake. I was hoping they'd picked up something yummy, but Sadie had an idea in her head of what kind of cake she wanted and she wasn't stopping until she found it. She even told me, "I worked really hard on picking out that cake Mom." She loved the present and party hat decorations and I think the pink and purple frosting probably won her over too.

He loved his presents that the kids picked out: a giant Chuggington coloring book, the Little People Airport. My parents enrolled him in the Train of the Month Club. Did you ever think one even existed? So Luke is officially the first person in our house to be in a Month Club. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUKE!!


Schools out for SUMMER!

Is there any more glorious day of the year than the last day of the school year? No more homework, no waking kids up, no projects. . . I love it with a passion that cannot be described unless you are also a mother of school aged kids and then you know what I mean. Luckily, mother all over the internet understand the need to celebrate this holiday and helped me throw some stuff together the weekend before, which we all know is "last minute" in Maddy-land.

I had to drag the kids out of bed, but they perked up a little when they remembered it was FREE DRESS DAY! Possibly the second most glorious day of the year to all children in uniform schools. Excuse my pride for a moment while I gush over how handsome/gorgeous my children are!! I used to teach 4th grade, how could I ever *have* a 4th grader?? Those moms were so OLD! And Nate is going into 1st grade? He can READ!

I put together a bunch of Minute-to-Win-It party games for Nate's class which they all played adorably well. Nothing could be cuter than kids shaking cotton balls off their noses, cheering while they stack a giant cup tower or screaming over the idea of trying to keep balloons in the air with chopsticks. Luckily I share their enthusiasm for the small things in life, so I was just as entertained. I have loved working with Nate's class this year. There is something so sweet and loving about those Kindergarteners. They try SO hard to be good and do the right thing.

After the party I hopped over to Ellie's class party which was board games and ice cream sundaes. They handed out some awards and Ellie won "Most Likely to Be a Famous Athlete" and "Most Caring." Awww, make a mom proud (and possibly confused at the athlete one). It was such a fun party and the girls were so cute. . . until they handed out the report cards. The report cards that had their teachers for next year listed. Suddenly there was lots of crying. Ellie and her best friends are all in 4 different classes next year. Curse you report cards for ruining my third favorite day of the year (#1 Christmas, #2 the day after Thanksgiving). After that the kids came home and cried (I can't even remember why Nate was crying), but I tried to cheer them up with some Cafe Rio for dinner.

And now our summer plans look like this:



It's not just the wrinkles and grey hairs reminding me that I'm getting older anymore. Now it's my kids too. This year I had TWO graduations to attend. OK, they were only for Preschool and Kindergarten, but they definitely reminded me that my kids aren't getting any younger and one more blink and they'll all be gone. But enough sappy sobby stuff. . .

Sadie graduated from Miss Becky's preschool into. . . Miss Becky's preschool. Hooray!! But now she's in the older class. Where they get to eat lunch at school. She can't wait! OK, maybe it's me that can't wait.

Sadie sang some cute songs, got her certificate and then we watched a video of picture throughout the year. I always get teary eyed watching those montages (and it's my secret wish to have my life flash before my eyes with sappy music one day) but when "Let Them Be Little Came On," I started crying. I had been dancing with Sadie up until this point and I told her that now she had to snuggle me because I was getting sad. Sadie said, "Yeah, because I'm growing up and then I'll go get married and you'll miss me." Cue sobbing mess of a mommy now.

Nate's Kindergarten graduation was that same night. When Ellie was in Kindergarten, we went on a fun family stay-cation and skipped graduation all together, so this was my first experience. Nate informed me that he could wear whatever he wanted and I didn't remember seeing a dress code on any of the flyers that came home so I let him go change into his Superman shirt. However, being the rule follower that I am, I called my girlfriend (maybe after this story I should amend that to frenemy) to check. "Yes, they can wear whatever they want," she informed me (omission is still a sin, dear "friend"!!*). And it only made sense to me, the graduation was on the basketball court! And no chairs, you had to bring blankets to sit on. I even encouraged Nate to put on some flip flops and we headed out.
* We are actually still friends, I say this all in jest. I love her and all her guts.

When we arrived, I look around and all the boys are in collared shirts. And most are in ties! And slacks! And people are carrying bouquets!! And balloons!! This was obviously a bigger deal than "blankets on the basketball courts" would lead one to believe. Luckily for me, I have lots of REAL friends, not just frenemies, and I found one that was running a little behind who was sweet enough to grab me an extra shirt for Nate. She even helped him change in the middle of the cafeteria. He said no to the tie, but I totally think he pulled off "faux graduation semi-formal" very handsomely.
I can't believe he's on to first grade already!!