It's not a book club

Right now my house smells delicious. I'm baking vanilla bars for my "literary society" tonight, also affectionately known as MELS (Meeting of the Elite Literary Society). I've belonged to a few book clubs over the years. In the end it ends up as more of a social hour. People don't read the book or only get half way through. Then they show up and they don't want to discuss or you can't because no one wants any "spoilers." So I decided no to book clubs and YES to a literary society.
I love MELS. It's a really great mix of people -- girls in their 20s, 30s, 40s. Working moms, stay at home moms, animal moms, single moms. Moms with babies, teenagers and even a Grandma. We rotate houses and whoever hosts gets to pick the book for the month. Every month is a different turnout, but no matter how often you come, everyone is glad to see you. If you're reading this and thinking -- I LOVE to read (or even, "I want to pretend I like to read") just let me know. Anyone is welcome!

There are two things you know for sure about MELS:

1) We WILL discuss the book. It will be long and in depth and if you hated the book you'll probably leave the meeting want to reread it because suddenly you loved it.

And 2) There will be LOTS of food. Since the majority of us don't drink we splurge on the food instead. Sometimes we bring food to go with the theme (like chocolate pie for The Help, Indian food for Life of Pi and chocolate bars for The Glass Castle) and sometimes it's like an overload of everything you've ever pinned on Pinterest. And yet, if you show up empty handed because it's been a crazy week everyone understands.
Tonight's meeting wraps up the 2nd year full of great books (there have been a few stinkers mixed in) and even better conversations. I thought I'd add a list of books we've read:
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory
  • These is My Words by Nancy Turner
  • Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • A Long Way Gone by Ishmeal Beah
  • The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  • The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn
  • Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
  • The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas
  • Enchantment by Orson Scott Card
  • The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
  • Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman
  • The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
  • The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
  • The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  • All The Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn
  • What Men Live By by Leo Tolstoy
  • Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project
  • Escape by Carolyn Jessop
Any suggestions for year 3??



Besides all the boring regular day in the life of the Rogers' family. . .we've had a few exciting moments over the weekend. And since I've heard that people really hate you if everything you blog about is wonderful and fabulous -- I promise that once you make it past all the fun things, there will be lots of real life junk too!

* We booked our tickets for Belize!
We are traveling with 4 really fun friends which will make the whole thing so much more fun. We're currently deciding where to stay.
Where we will not be staying: Francis Ford Copolla's Resort
Possibilities: Hamanasi, Ka'ana, Kanantik
Places I want to see: Mayan Ruins, the coral reefs

* Nate grew up over night. Sunday we went to his baptism preview. They were talking about Cub Scouts and my brain was just reeling. It's probably because we still have 10 months before the big event. Also, I think he has his first babysitter crush. We tried a new babysitter on Saturday and Nate kept trying to track her down at church on Sunday. She is really cute.

* My kids attended the Stake Articles of Faith Ice Cream Sundae Reception. Please excuse the poor phone photo I stole from someone's facebook. Ellie and Nate both worked really hard and memorized all 13 this year. I was the Articles of Faith Specialist last year and I loved working with these kids. They are all spectacular. I *LOVE* our Ward.

* We started our trial "Meal Swap" with out neighbors. Basically Monday and Thursday I make double my dinner and Tuesday and Wednesday she makes double her dinner and we just drop the extra one off at their house. I'm excited and nervous. . . Tonight we made a chicken stir fry, but usually when you make people a meal you bring more than one pot. But, chicken stir fry is an entire meal for us -- chicken, brown rice and veggies. So that counts right? If we're going to do this every week I shouldn't be making some fancy huge dinner all the time. Realism from the start. Thursday I'm planning on a salad, breadsticks and baked pasta to make up for today's simplicity. Plus I'm running a half on Saturday and I need the carbs. I'm really REALLY excited because I do not have to cook for the next two days!!

* OK, so here we go. The bummers of the week: Ellie had a Science Fair. I totally spaced it and we missed it. Ellie went on a field trip to the State Capital. I didn't volunteer to go. And I am currently making her stay up late to three digit multiplication problems.

* And in case you aren't on Facebook, this will also entertain you. My kid was *that* kid at Church on Sunday.

I was slightly frenzied Sunday morning: We have 9 am Church. Dustin is in meetings all morning, so I have to feed and dress 4 kids, plus we needed some printing done on the envelopes for the Girls Camp Fundraiser and they hadn't gotten dropped off until I was in bed Saturday night. I was also teaching so I was gathering all my gear and Dustin was doing a combined lesson on our Ward Mission Goals, so he sent me some stuff to print off. . . Are you getting the state of my house Sunday morning? Because I could throw in there that Luke's nose was running like a faucet and he was hacking up a lung plus a million other things (we've all had those Sundays --right?? PLEASE say YES). Oh and we actually we're leaving for Church early because I needed to make photocopies and my kids apparently need a snack at 8:15 in the morning. BUT the main point is -- I told my kids four or five times to put their shoes on because we were leaving.

I finally get everything loaded up and get Luke all buckled in the car, drive to church and guess who has NO shoes on.Oh wait, that wasn't hard to guess at all. I enjoyed some of these great moments later on. Like when Sadie tells me, "Ellie laughed at me." Ellie said, "No. I laughed at Daddy's funny joke when he saw you." Sadie said, "Dad didn't make a joke. He said, 'Nice shoes.' But they weren't shoes. They were just feet." Or when someone asked her if she forgot her shoes and she said, "Yeah, and my feet are cold."


Happy Birthday Sadie

Today is Sadie's birthday and we are celebrating by . . . doing nothing! OK, we have said, "Happy Birthday" numerous times, but that's about it for the day. Since Dustin is out of town (this is not new, he has been out of town on her birthday every year for the last 3 years) we celebrated on Monday.

She got Bosa donuts for breakfast, pizza for lunch, a party in the afternoon and Cafe Rio for dinner. At dinner we each took turns saying something we liked about Sadie. After every compliment, Sadie would giggle and say, "It's true. I'm really good at that." Then she would proceed to do whatever we liked about her (tell a joke, smile to show her dimples, give everyone hugs. . .) one thing about Sadie is that she does not lack in the self esteem department.
For dessert we let her pick anything she wanted from Trader Joe's. She picked Orange-Mango popsicles. That girl loves her fruit. I always love reading people's tributes to their kids on their birthday, but I am not really good at all that mushy stuff. Words could never capture all of her spunk and personality and I can never tell her enough how much I love her and how lucky I am to be her mom. So instead you get a birthday interview I stole from another blogging friend.

Sadie at 5

Favorite Color: Pink

Favorite Number: 5

Favorite Drink: Orange juice

Favorite Food: Oranges

Favorite Game: Candyland

Favorite Animal: Unicorn

Favorite TV Show: My Little Pony

I feel sad when: When people say, "You're mean."

I feel mad when: When my mom yells at me

I like it when my friends: Play with me

I like it when I: Open presents on my birthday

I wish I could: I wish Unicorns were alive
Who is your best friend? Brynley

Why? Because she is nice to me

What makes you laugh? Jokes

What is your favorite movie? Megamind
(I love it when the big kids are fighting and quotes, "Girls girls girls. You're both pretty.")

What are you most afraid of? Skeletons

What is your favorite song? I Love to See the Temple

What is your favorite activity? Playing

What do you want to be when you grow up? A teacher

What three things are you are good at? Telling jokes, playing and being with my friends

What is the best thing about being five? You get to go to Kindergarten

What makes you special? My family

With Sadie you never know what you are going to get. One day she came out and begged me to take a picture of her. "I look SUPER cute, Mom." I told her that she always looks cute. "I know, but not *THIS* cute."
About a month ago we were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner and nobody knew were Sadie had disappeared to (she's really good at getting out of work). We were calling all over the house looking for her when finally Dustin spots her on the couch. I look over and find this:"Sadie! Why didn't you answer us when we were calling all over for you?" "I was trying to relax at the spa." Oh so sorry to interrupt.

We are so lucky to have someone so spunky and entertaining in our family. Life would be just a little too boring for my taste without her around.


Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Monday we had a very colorful birthday party for my very favorite *almost* 5 year old.
Since Sadie's birthday is right after the holidays my brain is a little fried and so there's really not much of a plan going in. The only thing you can bank on is that I will most likely have it on Martin Luther King Jr Day. All the kids are out of school and I get the best child labor in the universe.
However, usually around January 4th, I realize that I should probably get some birthday invites out to people. This year I called my sister in a panic and asked what themed invites she already had: Barbies and Rainbows. We went for rainbows. I also still have half the invitations. The invites went something like this, "Hey *insert name of friend I randomly see*, Sadie's party is Monday from 2-4. We hope you kid can make it." Then I might show them the picture of the invite on my phone. And that's if you were lucky. Karen asked me about it at Church on Sunday. But hey, kids came and it was fun.

I did have fun coming up with the table decorations. Maybe I should have spent less time making rainbow cupcakes and more time mailing out invites? But I hate mailing things and I LOVE themes. Rainbow parties are actually really easy to throw because EVERYTHING works. I did make these really labor intensive cupcakes, but I figured they might be easier than the mondo layered cake that's floating around. Luckily the kids pretended to be impressed.

We did some rainbow bowling, went on a scavenger hunt, freeze danced, and played some musical felt (like musical chairs, but you know, rainbow themed). The kids were all really good at interacting with each other and having fun, even if they got out.My activity had to be when they were coloring. It was meant to be a gathering activity for the kids to do while we waited for everyone to arrive. Instead I ended up chatting with the moms while my beautiful helpers played Duck Duck Goose and Animal Farm. So in the middle of the party I set them out on the patio (the weather has been freakishly gorgeous here) to color. While I was inside I could hear them all singing Jingle Bells. It was the cutest moment of the party. I love their sweet little hearts and how they find even the smallest thing SUPER fun.

I'm sad I didn't take a picture of the whole group because I absolutely could squish Sadie's friends. Their moms are my most favorite friends and I love all of those kids like they are my own. They were all so polite and appreciative. And CALM!

Finally it was time to open presents. I love how little kids always fight over who gets to give the first gift. As usual, Sadie was spoiled (it helps to have a birthday right after the Target gift sale), and she loved every single one. Living with Sadie is never boring. She thinks everything is the most amazing thing she has ever seen. I enjoy her enthusiasm and love for life. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!


2011 Hits List

I feel pretty lucky because I never have a shortage of dates for New Year's Eve. This year the Christensens invited us over for our annual date. We made it a pajama party and had breakfast for dinner. We played some dancing games on the Kinect, Imaginiff and celebrated the New Years with all our East Coast family. That's my nice way of saying we celebrated at 10 pm so we could get the kids in bed at a decent hour because we had 9 am church the next morning. I will say that church on New Years Day is *very* reverent. If you can call an entire congregation of kids and teenagers sleeping on the benches reverent.
The kids were far more into the fireworks this year than in the past. It could have been that it was a few hours earlier so they hadn't hit the wall yet. Or maybe it was the crazy warm weather. But most likely because they're all growing up. Sniff sniff. Even Luke got to stay awake this year instead of being put to bed in a pack-n-play. The older kids decorated him, but I'm sure he deserved it!

2011 was good to us, except that it went too fast and my kids grew a few too many inches. My girlfriend does a little Hit List each year, so I hope she doesn't mind me copying her idea.

Favorite Book
Dustin: Book of Mormon (only book he finished)
Maddy: The Kitchen House
Ellie: Harry Potter 4
Nate: Big Nate
Sadie: Lily's Purple Plastic Purse
Luke: Anything with a train in it

Favorite Movie
Dustin: Sherlock Holmes
Maddy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Ellie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Nate: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Sadie: Arthur Christmas
Luke: Cars 2

Most Memorable Event
Dustin: Taking the kids to the BYU football game
Maddy: Diving in Grand Cayman
Ellie: Going to the Beach House
Nate: Building the biggest LEGO ship with Daven
Sadie: Going to Aunt Lola's house
Luke: Playing with Olivia

Favorite Christmas Present
Dustin: Massage
Maddy: My new cookie sheets
Ellie: My own room
Nate: LEGO Fire Temple
Sadie: Squinkie House

Something You Look Forward to in 2012
Dustin: Belize
Maddy: School ending
Ellie: Nate getting Baptized
Nate: Article of Faith Ice Cream Party
Sadie: Going to Aunt Beaney's House
Luke: Birthday Party with Asa


Change -- or the lack there of

Have you ever noticed that right before bed, everything seems like a really big deal? The other night I realized that Young Women in Excellence was on Sadie's birthday and I literally could not sleep because I was so upset. My final solution is to tell my brain that I have a good hour long run the next morning where I can hash it all out and I fall asleep. And as usual, I'm not even out of my neighborhood before I wonder what on earth I was freaking out about.

Last night my freak out was spurred on by a conversation with a good friend. I doubt she knew her compliment would keep me up all night. She was feeling a little overwhelmed with a few changes in her life and wondering how I managed to get everything done. I pointed out that I've been doing this for a lot of years, so I should probably be relatively good at it. And then I realized -- my life has been the exact same for years. Nothing has changed.

I am surrounded by friends who are moving, having babies, going back to school, going back to work, running their first race. . . and I'm just me, trucking along. Dustin's had his job for 5 years now and loves it. We've lived in this house for 7.5 years and although it's small-ish for our family of 6, I feel no real need or desire to move. We're done having kids. I've been running/school mom/Camp Director long enough that it doesn't phase me. Even on the Church front, we've all adjusted to Dustin being Bishop. This is all very new for someone who went to 6 different schools and lived in 4 different states and 2 different countries for Kindergarten-7th grade.

So then I start freaking out. The only change that could happen would be BAD changes. Was this some prompting to try and prepare me for something terrible?

Or. . . am I being a completely ingrate by longing for some change? I love my life. I am so lucky. There is nothing in the world that I want more than to live this life that I have been given. We are happy. We are blessed. Our lives are busy and full and fun. What change do I even WANT??

Or (yes, there's more, my head is insane) am I missing something? Is this a prompting to step out of my comfort zone and do something new? WHAT IS IT??

OR!! Am I just allowing one little thought to fester and interrupt my happiness. Is this even making me unhappy?

Does this happen to anyone else? What do you think? Give me some free therapy!


Just the Facts, Ma'am

Happy Birthday to my amazing sister! I wish I could write something as witty and clever as her birthday tribute to me, but that is impossible, so I will not even attempt such a feat. Instead I will bore you with lists and facts.

FACT (Do you watch kid history? How many of you read that as "FaaaaaaaaaacccT?") #1: Kathleen is actually 7 years younger than me, and yet she still got her driver's license BEFORE me. This also means I was a self-absorbed teen ager for most of our years at home together. I am grateful that she has forgiven me for this and only remembers the good times, like our bouncy ball collection. I do not remember this, so Fact #2: She has an amazing memory.
Fact #3: She was born in the middle of the worst snowstorm Chicago had seen in over a decade. I had the date circled on my calendar because I just knew she would be born that day. I was so excited to have a sister and to share a room with her and I would wake up in the middle of the night and change her diaper. I just knew having a sister was going to be special.

Fact #3: I *adore* my sister, but my kids may love her more. Here's some "facts" according to my kids:

  • "I love everything about Aunt Lola. She's tells us funny stories, like when Nate was shouting 'Teetee,' in the middle of the night."
  • How old is she turning: 24
  • What makes her a good Aunt: She plays game with us
  • What is her favorite thing to do: Read
  • What is her favorite book: Harry Potter
  • What does she say the most: "Want to hear a joke?"
  • Memory: When I went to see her in her apartment at ASU and I was in ballerina costume. It was fun to have her living so close.
  • "She is funny. She tells jokes that aren't real. Like, 'There's cheesey worms in the apple.'"
  • How old is she turning: 26
  • What is her favorite TV show: Football
  • Favorite food: Spaghetti and meatballs
  • Favorite thing to do with me: Tell jokes and tickle me
  • Memory: When she painted a rock of my underwear with my butt crack showing.
  • "I like when she comes to visit us and we get to play with her."
  • How old is she turning: 25
  • What's her favorite color: pink and purple
  • What's her favorite tv show: basketball
  • What's her favorite food: I don't know that one, but I know the one Olivia likes to eat: oranges
  • Memory: When we were in Idaho and we built a doll house

Random facts you may not know about my sister:
  • She hates tomatoes and touching paper towels.
  • She's is lactose intolerant.
  • She wore boxers under her dresses from the age of 5 to 11 and my mother braided her hair in two braids because she has the world's most sensitive head.
  • She was also obsessed with horses and dolphins.
  • She get supremely carsick.
  • She was on the swim team and the rugby team in Thailand.
  • She was on the newspaper staff in Virginia where she perfected the skill of making signs. My sister is literally the world's best sign maker.
  • She has given birth to the world's cutest little curly-haired girl. I am already giddy at the prospect that she might be mine one day if Kathleen and Kyle kick the bucket.
  • She did study abroad in Italy.
  • She almost accepted a handicapped parking sign from William and Mary when she was pregnant with Olivia. Apparently at W&M pregnant women were a novelty.
  • She loves ABBA so much she begged Dustin and I to join her in an ABBA cover band
  • My sister kicks your sister's TRASH!!
Some sappy facts:
  • She makes me laugh every single day. I was going to write some of our inside jokes, but most of them sound horrific unless you know the story. And if I explained, then you would be in our club and you don't GET to be in our club. I'm keeping her all to myself.
  • She is my best friend. My mom and Aunt Kristine say this same thing but then they swear that they never fought. Kathleen and I have agreed that we will always be realistic and admit that we fought/fight with all the passion and intensity our crazy genetics have blessed/cursed us with.
  • She willingly gets sucked into all my "good ideas." I used to repay her with baked goods, but now that she's mastered my chocolate chip cookie recipe, I will have to come up with something to offer her. This is am impossible task because:
  • She is the most amazingly talented woman I know! She writes, she designs, she has an incredibly artistic eye. Everything she creates is perfect. Just look at Olivia.
  • She makes everything more fun and brings life to the room. You will never be bored with Kathleen around.
  • She loves with her whole heart and gives you her whole soul.
I am so lucky to have you as a sister! Happy Birthday Scuttlebutt!!


Snow Much Fun

Christmas Eve day we didn't have much to do so Dustin and Kyle dragged out the mondo-bin of Legos to "play with Nate." I think most of the project involved digging around looking for specific teeny tiny legos, which meant Nate got bored fast. The big boys, however, were not bored and they had taken over the entire family room.

My sister and I were trying to come up with a project for them that would not involve 1) having to go to a public place the day before Christmas and 2) wouldn't make a mess since I didn't want to clean before our party and 3) would not require the use of the TV or family room since anytime someone walked into the room we got yelled at.

We ended up breaking out these fake snow packets I had bought. They claimed to make a gallon of snow if you just mixed it with water. I was skeptical, but it worked!! I think the kids thought I was made of magic. PS Forgive me for looking horrific. I had just gotten back from a 10 mile run.
They really wanted to have a snowball fight, but I told them they had to settle for having it sprinkled all over them.
Sadie couldn't resist making a snow angel.

After all the craziness of Christmas was over, we (Dustin) decided to take the kids to the REAL snow. I am not a big fan of being cold and I was convinced Luke would hate every single second of it, so I may have been dragging my feet a little bit. Plus it is really hard to track down snow stuff for 6 people when you live in the desert. HIGE thanks to the 4 families I ended up piecing enough clothing together from. In the end two of our really good family friends wanted to tag along, so we sort of had to go. Peer pressure is the best way to get me to do anything.

The drive up to Flagstaff was actually really nice because we swapped kids so that we had the boys in our car. It was so nice not to listen to the sibling bickering that accompanies so many long car trips. The weather was actually gorgeous out and I think the high was going to be almost 60, so I was worried there wouldn't even be snow.

When we finally pulled into the sledding park, they did mention that sledding was limited, but seeing as our kids weren't expecting much, we were supremely happy with what we ended up with. It wasn't crowded, the weather was warm enough that no one was freezing cold and the hills were just the perfect size.

Luke was the surprise of the whole trip. He absolutely LOVED sledding. We would get to the bottom of the hill and the first word out of his mouth was: AGAIN!! Even after we went so fast and far down the hill that he ended up being catapulted into a lake of melting snow and soaking wet. AGAIN!! Sadie fell off of a run on a steeper hill with the big kids, so she came over to sled with Luke and me. She would only sit in the back because she was so scared and informed me, "Heavenly Father invented the backs of things so I could be safe." The two of them were stuck to me like glue. There is nothing as exhausting as hauling a 2 year old and 4 year old AND a sled up a steep, icy hill in a continual loop.

I finally tricked them into going down the hill with Dustin a few times. The kids made a snowman (Sadie was worried about what we do since we forgot to bring carrots), snow angel, and basically wore themselves out. It was the perfect amount of time.

The Christensens spent the night in Flag with us, so we took the kids swimming at the hotel in hopes of wearing them out for bed. Sledding and swimming all in one day. Nothing like two extremes. Please note the moms did not get in. We had no desire to get cold or wet.
Then we managed to find a sit down dinner place (OK, it was a BBQ joint with plastic chairs in the basement of a building) to seat 12 of us for a surprisingly uneventful and delicious dinner. Bed and then breakfast followed by a 5 hour long shopping trip at Anthem on the way home. I was surprised we only had two moments of panic with 8 kids and no strollers.

I'm so glad that Dustin dragged me along -- kicking and screaming -- or else I would have missed out on something really fun. At least I thought it was fun. Maybe it was only such a good time because I had invented such a nightmare in my head. It was a great way to end the year with great friends and my very funny family.


Jaunary Girls Club

After Dustin and I were married, our next door neighbor was a hairdresser. She was/is a really talented hairdresser. We had so much fun every single day. We talked Dustin into getting his eyebrows waxed. Anytime she had extra hair color, she'd call me over and we'd put a few foils in my hair. If she had a new product, she'd try it out on me. We had relay races in trash cans. I don't think I ever laughed as hard as when Katie was my neighbor.

When I was pregnant with Ellie, I decided I was sick of my long hair and I wanted a bob. Katie started cutting and she cut it short. Really short. I think we both started freaking out and she sort of finished as best she could without losing too much length anywhere else. I went home and cried. I called my best friend, Sam, who lived upstairs and wailed, "I look like a BOY!" Sam ran to the store to buy me hair magazines and cute clips (which was probably a HUGE sacrifice since we were all on student budgets at the time). It was then that I learned the important lesson: DO NOT MAKE DRASTIC CHANGES WHEN YOU ARE PREGNANT.

I have repeated this mantra to my sister many times. She did not listen. While she was back home in Virginia she went to see our family hairdresser, Sherri. Sherri is a part of the family. She is from Thailand and has cut my family's hair for almost 15 years. She makes us sticky rice and mangoes. She knows all of our kids However, Sherri does what Sherri wants. She's responsible for this haircut, after all:
In case you don't know the story, read here.

Anyway, all of this is a long introduction to say that Sherri cut my sweet pregnant sister's hair into a very short bob that she hates, so she refused to have any pictures taken of herself while she was here. And while I think it's a slight overreaction to not have ANY pictures of yourself at Christmas, I understand being a hormonal pregnant woman and you don't mess with them. EVER. And so there are no January Girl Club pictures. But the fact remains: The January Girl Club was together for Christmas.

PS When Sam saw my bad bob, she marched me back over to Katie's and announced, "She hates her hair." Katie had been crying because she knew I hated it and she was so upset. The only choice was to cut it even shorter, but she did a really cute haircut that I loved. Best neighbor ever.

You may be wondering what the January Girls Club is. It is a made up super secretive club that only girls born in January can belong to (ie Kathleen, Sadie and Olivia). They have badges and secret handshakes and eat lots of candy on shiny new table cloths. I know this because Sadie is a HORRIBLE secret keeper. Never tell her anything you do not want repeated. I'm sure I could know more of their secret rules if I cared to understand the insanity of the club. Actually, I'm pretty sure they have one rule: Anything you make up is just what we needed.
This is just one example of how fun my sister is. Even when she's sick as a dog and pregnant-ly tired she is fun and my children follow her around like little puppy dogs. I am so grateful to have her!! She had ONE goal while she was here: teach my children to ride a bike. It appears my children have inherited my fear of moving vehicles. One accident and we are DONE. In first grade Ellie broke her arm riding her brand-spanking-new-from-Christmas-bike (ironically, my SISTER was the one with her at the time) and that was the last time she ever got on that bike. So maybe it was my sister's guilty conscience that prompted this goal. Nate has been DYING to take the training wheels off of his bike but the weather was always too hot and I was too lazy and Dustin was so busy and we had scooters and and and.
So Friday morning, my sister said, "Today, I am teaching these kids to ride their bikes." I'll save you the long story, but wait, the story is really short. Dustin took Nate out there, he got on his bike and started riding. Literally that exact instant. I think he may have fallen once, but right from the get go he could get himself started, stop and turn. Whatever. All of that anxiety. I think it took Dustin longer to fill up the tires.
I ran next to Nate while he biked all over the neighborhood and then over to show his friend Brady. Then my evil eyes turned to Ellie. I was going to make her learn too. Her bike was in terrible shape since 1) It hadn't been ridden in 3 years and 2) it's the size a 7 year old needs. I thought she could just try on Nate's bike (which was also 3 years old, so already a size too small for him). She couldn't even pedal because her knees hit the handle bar, so we borrowed a neighbors bike while Dustin went to work on her. Needless to say, she got up and pedaled and she was done. Apparently learning to ride a bike is like potty training. You just let them wait until they're old enough and they do it themselves.
Unfortunately in moments of past insanity I promised them brand new bikes when they learned to ride without training wheels. They both looked and me and begged to go shopping right away. Two days before Christmas. Uh, no.