A Camping We Will Go

Every year I swear it is the last year I am going to throw my kids a birthday party -- but how can you not when it's the big 1-0??

Ellie is actually the only member of our family who has not been camping (ie slept in a tent).  When we started coming up with a theme for her birthday party I had some really fun suggestions, but Ellie had her heart set on a camping party.  Thankfully my sister and Pinterest helped me with some ideas because I was stuck on what to do.

 Ellie's one desire was to have a tent set up in the backyard so they could go hang out in there.  It was their official make over hut.  For dinner she wanted to roast hot dogs and eat hamburgers.

I was under the impression that hot dogs, which I thought were the universal kid food, are no longer acceptable because no kids I know ever eat them when they come over for a BBQ.  But for some reason if you get to cook the hot dogs over a fire pit, they are the most delicious creation on the planet.  Luckily I didn't have much planned for the party because cooking dinner took an hour and half in itself.  They were seriously happy just to sit around and chat.
After dinner we had a s'more bar and went to play hide and go see in the dark at the park.  They probably would have played that for hours too, had I not had to rush everyone back to eat cake and open presents with 30 minutes to spare.
I was probably most proud of Ellie's birthday cake.  That is not my specialty and usually my cakes turn out pretty ugly.  My sister found this on the internet and Ellie HAD to have it.  It was really fun to make the flames (they're just smashed up hard candies melted in the oven and the I broke the sheets into pieces of fame).

It was such a low-key fun night and I'm so glad we got to celebrate Ellie!!!


Double Digits

Embarrassingly enough, Ellie turned 10 almost a month ago and I'm just getting around to writing about it.  Thank heavens for post dating!

She started the day off with pancakes and bacon, Dustin took Chipotle up for lunch and I picked her up from school in this beauty of a car:
 We got Dairy Queen for an afternoon snack and then went out to Chili's for dinner.
Yes, birthdays around here involve consuming massive quantities of calories. I was distraught that Ellie did not want a cake for her birthday dessert.  I offered to make anythings she wanted.  Nope.  Then at Chili's we told she could order anything from the dessert menu.  In the end she only wanted frozen yogurt.  Which worked out OK, because they have a new sea salt caramel that I can't get enough of.  Ellie always gets cake batter yogurt with cookie dough chunks.

Her big birthday gift was a beach cruiser.  It's so cute I want to steal it for myself.
 She also got a gift card to Justice (her newest favorite store) from my parents and a brand new BYU shirt from Aunt Kristine.  Basically all of her favorites all rolled into one.

Ellie is a great first child.  She has eased me into each new stage of parenting with relatively little trouble.  There are definitely moments, but for the most part Ellie is a happy, easy to please child.  She is rarely bored and usually willing to help me out with whatever I ask.  We are so lucky to have Ellie!!

Ellie at TEN!

Favorite Color: Gold

Favorite Number: 101

Favorite Drink: Root Beer (float)

Favorite Food: Dessert

Favorite Game: Mafia

Favorite Animal: Koala

Favorite TV Show: Anything on Disney Channel

I feel sad when: somebody dies

I feel mad when: I make a wrong decision

I like it when my friends: laugh

I like it when I: get a good grade on a test

I wish I could: Have a Genie

Who is your best friend? Lindsay and Chloe

Why? Because they are *good* friends and I've know them for a long time

What makes you laugh? Luke

What is your favorite movie? Monte Carlo

What are you most afraid of? Height

What is your favorite song? Anything by Adele

What is your favorite activity? Art

What do you want to be when you grow up? A lot of things.  A teacher, an artist, an illustrator, a fashion designer, a hair dresser, an architect.

What three things are you are good at? Drawing, hair and helping out

What is the best thing about being ten? Double digits

What makes you special? Everything 


Father's and Sons

Dustin took Luke on his first ever Fathers and Sons Camping Trip.  I think he was a little nervous, but Luke did great and laid in the dirt the entire time playing with his dinosaurs.  The only other detail I got was that he stood by Dustin as he served breakfast and stole 10 or 12 pieces of bacon to eat.

The girls and I had a fun night out with my girl friends Karen and Jill and their daughters.  We went out to dinner and then stayed up chatting so late even Sadie fell asleep on my lap.  Cleaned the church, got donuts for breakfast, went to see a movie and before we knew it the boys were back in town.

Luke returned wearing the exact same clothes that he left in.  Apparently Dustin didn't want get more than one pair of clothes dirty.


Barbara Park!

The big project of 4th grade is their Famous Arizonan report.  It takes a few months and at the end the kids memorize a short summary and put on a wax museum.  Ellie was Barbara Park.  What?  You don't know who Barbara Park is?  And why is Ellie in pajamas and eating M&Ms?  It's your lucky day because I've included Ellie's presentation for you!
When you grow up, would you want a job where you can stay at home and work in your pajamas? Well, that’s what Barbara Park does! She is a children’s literature author who lives and writes in Phoenix, Arizona. Most well known for her Junie B. Jones series, her humorous fiction entertains children around the world.
Barbara Tidswell was born on April 21, 1947 in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. When her parents decided to give her the middle name “Lynne,” they didn’t realize how much she would dislike her initials: B.L.T., like the sandwich. Her mother, the secretary at the High School library, made all of her clothes and embroidered her initials onto each one. Barbara said she felt like a walking sandwich board. Park’s father was a banker and also owned a local home remodeling store. As a young child, she played hide and go seek with her older brother Brooke, usually hiding in the hamper. Every summer, her family spent two weeks at Long Beach and in the winter she would skate on the frozen lake at the end of her street. Although she never considered herself a bookworm, in elementary school she enjoyed reading Nancy Drew novels and especially loved Archie comics. Years later, while attending Rancocas Valley Regional High School, where she was voted “Wittiest” in her class, Barbara developed a love of books after reading Catcher in the Rye.
After graduating from High School in 1965, Barbara Park spent her first two years of college studying Politics and Education at nearby Rider University and finally graduated from the University of Alabama. Before graduating, she was sent to student teach Geography at a small Junior High, but after a loud and disastrous attempt at a Geography Bee, Barbara realized that teaching was not for her. Shortly after graduation, Barbara married Richard Park, who she met during her Senior Year. Richard joined the United States Air Force, while Barbara split her time between their two families until he was more settled.  She gave birth to their first son, Steven, in Alabama before joining Richard in Arizona. They also lived in California and Missouri, where her second son, David, was born. In 1974, her husband retired from the Air Force and the Park family moved back to Arizona for good. With both of her sons in Elementary School Barbara felt she needed an occupation other than wife and mother. She listed “Writer” as her profession on her driver’s license and started submitting to newspapers and magazines. When her son, David, recommended the book Tales of a Fourth Nothing, Park knew that she too wanted to write books that were both funny and realistic for young readers.
Although Barbara Park has received over 40 awards for her books, three publishers rejected her first book, Operation Dump the Chump, before Alfred A Knopf Inc. agreed to publish it. Her two sons inspired the main characters and plot about two bothers who come up with interesting and funny ways to drive each other crazy. In 1991, she had published ten books when Random House asked her to contribute to a series of books aimed at first to third grader readers. The loud and opinionated 5 year-old Junie B. Jones was created and with 29 books, it is her most well known series. Additionally, Barbara has written fourteen middle years books about topics such as divorce, feeling insecure about appearances, and not fitting in at school.  Her favorite book that she has written, Mick Harte Was Here, deals with the death of a sibling, and was written after she saw a tragic bike accident in her neighborhood. Today, Barbara keeps a paper and pencil by her bed just in case she gets a good idea in the middle of the night and every morning she gets to work writing in her pajamas.  When it’s time to relax she enjoys watching television with her husband, eating frozen M&Ms, practicing yoga and hiking in the Arizona desert.
Barbara Park’s ideal childhood turned into an ideal life. She is surrounded by a loving family and loves her work. This celebrated author has written 43 children’s books from her home in Arizona. Despite not liking to write as child, she now has won over 40 awards for her books. Additionally, 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of her most loved character: Junie B. Jones. What will this famous Arizonan write next?


That a cow?

Not so long ago, Luke was obsessed with Thomas the Train.  Now, words cannot even begin to describe his passion for dinosaurs.  Currently he is hiding behind our piano bench playing with his new-to-him dinosaur stash that I picked up at Savers for $1.99 (people might have been frightened by my enthusiasm for finding those treasures).  He will run over to me and ask me what kind of dinosaur he has.  I will throw out some random name I heard in a movie (T-rex? Velcoraptur?).  He will then inform me that it is a Compsognathus.  I cannot pronounce this word, but my 2 year old can.  Thank you Netflix documentaries and Dino Dan.

And none of this has anything to do with cows.  Except for the fact that Luke has loved cows for years and unlike his love for trains and dinosaurs, his love for cows has never wavered.  

When Karen's dad's cow gave birth, I knew we had to take Luke to see the baby cow.  I was sure he would be over the moon about it.  Well surprise, surprise, but Luke wanted nothing to do with the cow.  Typical Luke.  I think, "Luke will love this delicious food I have made for him"  Luke hates it.  I think, "Luke will be terrible at this public sporting event," Luke is delightful at Austen's volleyball game.

Luckily there were more attractions than just the cow.  He was much more fond of riding the horse around.  He would shout "Yee Haw" as Karen took him on laps around the pasture.

The other activity he really enjoyed was chasing the chickens.  He kept pretending like he wanted to hold them (and lick them?) but then he would try and squish them.
Those poor poor chickens.  Luckily for them, Sadie and Ezra each adopted one of them.  They sang to them.  They carried them everywhere.  They took them down the slide.
And then as payment for the fun morning out, my eyes itched and burned and my ears and throat reminded me that I am allergic to nature.  And that is why I don't camp.  Or mow the lawn.


Easter Sunday

I like to blog in chronological order.  The problem is that the next event should be Belize and there is way too much to blog.  So my blog has just been sitting here. . . neglected.  I decided to skip ahead and get on with the show.  Belize will show up one day.

 I went really low key on Easter this year and this post will probably reflect that.  The older the kids get, the less I want to do all the egg hunts and the more I want to focus on the Savior.  We didn't even dye eggs this year.  They all begged me to let them stuff the eggs, so of course I let them.  I was even trying to get them to hide them for each other, but they decided they LOOOOVE the funny places Daddy hides them.
 Every year I swear we are going to hunt eggs on Saturday and then Saturday turns out to be crazy.  Luckily Luke likes to wake up at 5 am, so we had LOOOOADS of time to hunt before church.  I even managed to get the girls hair curled in time for pictures and 9 am church!
We didn't have anywhere to go for Easter dinner, but our very fabulous friends, the Myers, invited us to join their family for the day.  It was a match made in heaven since neither Dustin nor I like the traditional Easter ham dinner and the Myers had pulled pork sandwiches. 
We are so grateful they made us feel like part of the family.  I think it's also important to note that this is the day we arranged the marriage of Luke and Lottie.  Luke and Lottie Rogers.  Doesn't that have a nice ring to it?



Here's some random pictures from the last 2 months. Nothing eventful, just fun snipits from our life.

While throwing a birthday party for the Young Women's President at my home, we played a rousing game of Hide and Go Seek in the dark. No one could find Rylie. Turns out Rylie found the BEST hiding place in my house: It is also the grossest place in my house. I have not dusted up there since we move in 7.5 years ago. I have not laughed that hard in so long. Luckily for Rylie, I has some super cute clothes she could borrow. Unluckily for the Young Women's President who is claustrophobic and was hiding in my front closet, in all the hub bub we forgot we hadn't found her yet, either.

Running club ended for the year. Ellie was a pod leader.The kids were ecstatic for Running Club to end since I *make* them participate in it every year. I am trying to turn them into little running buddies, but it's not really working. If I show up to run with them, I usually take turns dragging one of them around the course.

This car parked next to Couger (who is Cougar? Why it's the name of our navy blue car of course) at Costco:I caught them writing a little note on the back window, so we had to return the favor.

Then there was Spring Break full of a trip for us and lots of fun for the kids. When it was finally time for the kids to go back to school we headed out to celebrate! Complete with a bouncer and cotton candy. We finally had to let the air out of the bouncer so it could be picked up by the rental company and Luke was so distraught. For a week he kept begging Karen to let him go to her bouncey house.

General Conference has evolved into some really fun traditions in our family. Saturday night during Priesthood, all of my girlfriends get together at the park for pizza and lots of kids running around. I think we counted 47 as the grand total this year.Stripes vs. SolidsThen we switch kids with the McGuire sister for a fun sleepover. This year I got Nate and Hayden. After the Sunday morning session we get together to switch kids back and have brunch, which has evolved into an all day affair. Sometimes we craft, other times we just sit around and talk. This year, Sunday was on April Fool's Day so we put together a very delicious dinner.The drink is jell-o, the cupcakes are meatloaf and mashed potato frosting, the meatloaf is actually rice krispie treats, and bread and butter is pound cake with frosting on top. Nothing special for the broccoli. The big kids are soo smart, but cute little Zac kept dipping his rice krispie treat in the ketchup and Luke kept trying to drink the jell-o while shouting, "It not working!"