Big Boy Things

I'm having such a hard time letting Luke grow up.  He's my baby and I want to keep him that way.  I would have left Luke in diapers forever if I hadn't run out of diapers one day last week and didn't want to run to the store because I was relaxing in my "Switchmajamas."  (Thank you Sadie for that clever new word).
Instead I opted to potty train because this gave me a great excuse to sit around my house all day, watching the Olympics and crying to myself because 3 of my children are now in school and no one needs me in anymore.

This also explains why Luke is the only 3 year old I know who still sleeps in a crib.  At least he's out of the my walk in closet, people.  Baby steps.

So tonight I put my kids to bed at 8 pm.  I couldn't wait to sit down to watch some Gymnastics in beautiful silence while I waited for Dustin to come home from whatever it is he does at the Church every Tuesday.  I also made myself a snack of wheat thins and Nutella if you want to know more uninteresting details about my evening.

About an hour later I hear crying.  I chose to ignore it because I know whoever it is will go back to sleep and Micheal Phelps is swimming, sweet children.  I don't love him or anything but I do feel kind of bad for the poor kid.  Spoiler -- Phelps gets a silver, dang it, so I mute the TV.  It's Luke.

I go in his room and there is Luke standing on a chair trying to get BACK into his crib.

I look around the room and he had obviously gotten out of his bed and played in the dark for an hour or so (how on earth did Nate sleep through all of this) and now he is standing on a purple play IKEA chair with his head resting on the crib bar crying, "I just want to go to bed."

It may be time for a real bed.


Sadie and School

Let's be honest.  We all knew Sadie was going to get in trouble at school.  I think we were all a little surprised that it was her

Maybe I should have been concerned that Sadie seemed a little *too* confident at the start of school.  Or maybe the warning bells should have gone off when I saw that her desk was right next to her very best friend, Ezra.  But Sadie came home positively unaffected by the fact that she had to pull a stick.

Words came out of her mouth like, "I was talking to practically everyone in my entire class."  "Mrs. Wilson didn't seem to mind."  "I only missed like 5 seconds of recess.  I still had 10 minutes."  She isn't even upset that she's missing Friday free time.  "Mrs. Wilson said I could bring some toys next week!"  We had a little chat and she hasn't lost a stick since, but I'm not holding my breath.

Nate also entertained us with some gems like, "I at least waited until Friday to lose my sticks."  It's like a new record in our house.  And one that she is very proud to hold at that.  Help me!!!

TOP 5 things I miss about having Sadie at home:
5.  I was making a salad for lunch and I had no one to eat the leftovers of the peppers and tomatoes.  I just had to put them away in the fridge.
4.  I had to put away all the laundry all by myself.
3. Luke asks, "Where's Sadie?" all day.  Then he grabs his backpack and says, "I go to school too?
2. Today I had to unload the dishwasher.
1. No snuggles or funny little comments all day.  Sadie heard that Luke and I went to the movies the other day and she got really sad.  "I'm missing out on all the fun Mommy time."

TOP 5 things that aren't so bad about having Sadie at school:
5. Her room stays clean and there is less laundry since she can't change her clothes ten times a day
4.  No one climbing the pantry shelves.  I went to grab some fruit for a snack and turns out it was actually there.  She'll usually pound an entire Cosstco container of berries as a snack.
3. Luke takes a nap since he's bored out of his mind with me and the house is so quiet.  Today we played every single game in the game closet.

2. She actually sleeps at night because she is so worn out.
1. Lots and lots of entertaining stories.  Plus she is learning so much and she is the most adorable learner in the world.


Back to School 2012

Twas the night before the first day of school
And Mama was crying, just like a fool
The lunches had all been packed with great care
Luckily pinterest had loads of ideas there

The children were nestled all snug in their bed
While Mama watched the Bachelorette finale instead
Earlier they had all laid out their next day's dressing
Then Daddy gave them each a Preisthood blessing

Sadie asked to be the Best Kindergartner Ever
No doubt her teacher will know that she's clever!
The boy couldn't care less if he wore a sack
As long as he had his Mario backpack
While one girl wore curls and a skirt
The other had PE so she got shorts and a shirt

That next morning they made such clatter
Mama made cinnamon rolls to help them get fatter

They took some picture and ran to the car in a dash
Mama wondered how the years went by in a flash

Now it was quiet with just two little feet
At least the house would be easier to keep neat

 To cheer up the Mama and make her spirit hearty
She threw a little Back to School Party
But soon all of her friends left her alone
And she counted the minutes until the kids came home. 


Provo Love

At Girls Camp I only wore BYU t-shirts.  At one point in time a girl commented, "I like your shirt."  One of the other leaders piped up, "You just found her favorite subject to talk about."  I corrected her that my favorite subject is my kids.  And the Gospel.  But BYU is seriously up there.  Maybe tied with dessert?

So of course we planned a whole day for Provo.  I have the best memories of Provo.  I met my husband there.  We were newlyweds there.  We made the best friends and had our first beautiful girl there.  I remember football games and dates, taking tests in the testing center, walking the campus, girls nights in while the boys were at the Nicklecade (we had no money), Mario Kart and mafia parties, church in the Wilk and I strengthening my testimony out on my own.  Dustin and I have 3 degrees from there.  Is it any wonder I love that place so much?

Friday morning we took the kids to hike the Y.  Dustin and Nate did it in October and we decided to take all the kids back to do it together.  At the beginning of the trail, Dustin told the kids that everyone who didn't whine would get to buy something at the bookstore.  The kids actually did well, but there were definitely some murmuring.  At one point in time Dustin reminded Sadie that she wouldn't be able to get anything at BYU and she told him, "I'm not whining.  I'm complaining!"
I decided the best plan of attack was to just head up the hill as fast as we could even if it meant dragging them.  And I literally dragged (and carried) Sadie a few times.  Dustin stuck in the back of the pack with the stragglers while I set the pace.  The kids alternated being in the back although if Nate was in the back he would end up sprinting to beat us all to the next switchback.  I was actually shocked that Luke climbed pretty much the entire thing by himself.  It's an 1,100' elevation gain in just under 2 miles.  Early on he did slip and fall and cried for a little bit but when we asked if he wanted to get in the hiking backpack he just said, "No!  I do it myself."
On the way down we would see families resting or kids whining and Sadie would call out, "My baby brother did it and he's only 3.  In his flip flops!"

We met up with Kathleen, Kyle and the girls for lunch at the Cougar Eat.  Ellie and Nate discovered that they love the repulsiveness that is Taco Bell.  Even worse -- they love that Dorito taco.  And then we went to spend some money.  I seriously cannot resist the BYU bookstore.  I won't go farther into my obsession because most people already know that.  Just know that I seriously seriously love that place.  Everyone found something they liked, although it did take us awhile to find something with the baby cougar logo in something close to Sadie's size for her.  Oh, and it had to be pink.  We also relented and got her the BYU Hello Kitty.  You might be thinking, "What are you ROCKEFELLERS?"  To which I would reply, no, but big thank you to Kyle for introducing us to that awesome tag line.

All in all it was our most expensive trip to the bookstore ever!  You're welcome college student whose tuition we just paid.  And can you please take Dustin's unpaid parking tickets from when he was in Grad school off of his record?
 Ellie wanted a mint brownie but everywhere in the dang Wilk was sold out, so we were FORCED to walk to the creamery for mint brownies and ice cream.

The kids all fell asleep driving to my sister so we went for a drive up the canyon.

My sister was sweet enough to babysit while we went out to dinner and even fed the kids pizza, although Luke only ate breadsticks.

We met up at Zupa's and then headed out for dessert with more college friends -- Holly and Damon and Dirk and Vanessa.
By the time we got home, sometime after 10, my sister had become somewhat irrational about us leaving for Arizona the next day and resorted to throwing all of our BYU swag all over her house in effort to make us stay.
We were sad to go home too.  If you move to Connecticut I will connecti--cut you.

Utah -- The way home

Were you beginning to think we would never leave Idaho?  Well all good things must come to an end.  Tuesday we headed South and hit up Utah on our way back home.  Our good friends from BYU days, the Stohl's, were sweet enough to offer up their basement for a few nights.  My kids actually cried for the entire 24 hours before we left Idaho because they were so sad at the thought of having to leave.  But if anyone was going to make them excited to be in Provo, it was the Stohl girls!
Libby and Ellie are both 10, Ella and Nate are 6 months apart (and she loves LEGOs and Star Wars), and Sadie and Lucy are 5.  It was perfect.

Nate was kind of worried because there were only girls and he was going to be the odd man out until Ella commented on his awesome Sta Wars shirt.  After that they were the best of friends.  Nate actually said his favorite memory of the trip was meeting Ella.

We went to Ella's baseball game, got a sitter and went out to dinner in SLC, went running and swimming, Ellie and Libby went to Activity Days, The Chocolate, BBQed, stayed up late having a dance party and playing the Name Game and Ticket to Ride, the kids would go down to the creek and entertain themselves, watched old home movies from the boys intramural football days, utube videos, ate Sean's birthday breakfast. . . It was really really fun to just hang out with them and do nothing for a few days.
Every time we go to Utah we have the best time.  The houses and grass are so gorgeous and I miss BYU so much that I swear we are going to move to Utah.  And then I realize that it wouldn't be the same amount of fun if I we weren't on vacation and I can't live in our friends basements all the time.  I am just grateful that my friends all pretend like they love having us come visit them with all the chaos we bring.
Thursday we met up with my sister and our other friend, Holly, at the Thanksgiving Point dinosaur museum.  Luke had actually seen the building on the way up to Idaho and FREAKED out because he was so excited.  You know what freak out I forgot first??  Sadie and her hair.  I was putting Sadie's hair into braids and she was really really mad at me.  Something along the lines of, "You made me look like a boy and I didn't want to look like a boy!"  Lucy went upstairs to Megan who was wondering why Sadie was so upset.  Lucy informed her it was because Sadie's mom had done her hair and Sadie did NOT like it.  She then told Megan that she could do her hair however she wanted.  Megan put braids into Lucy's hair thinking if they had the same hairstyle Sadie might be happier.  The next thing I know, Sadie AND Lucy are sobbing.  Lucy said, "I didn't mean like THAT!"  Whatever.  They both ended up looking like this:
I swear they are loved!  And their hair looked really spectacular at one point.

The dinosaur museum was fun, even with 14 children, and then we went to JCW's for lunch where we sat in the BYU section of course.

We also went to Temple Square one afternoon and met up for dinner with our friends, the Brooks, who just moved back to Utah from down here.
His family owns and runs Settebello Pizzaeria, so we met at the downtown location.  I love Italian pizza and after going to High School in Austria, that style of pizza is actually more of what I consider pizza than Little Ceasar, but I was worried about what my kids would think.
Luke had been craving pizza the whole trip, but he's pretty picky.  He ended up eating the entire pizza.  It is seriously delicious.  And authentic.  Plus there was a gelato place attached.  Seeing their girls made me so sad though because they have grown up so fast in just the 4 months since we last saw them.  Why must they grow up??

Idaho -- Monday

Monday morning we took the kids back to school shopping.  My mom took Ellie, my dad took Nate and I took Sadie.  We all went to the mall and split up.

Sadie and I went to the one store, bought everything we needed and  BOOM!  We were done.  It's very similar to my personal life.  I just want to get everything done as quickly as possible with as little effort as possible.  We did do some window shopping to make sure the back pack she ended up with was what she wanted but the most we bought after the start was one water bottle.  Since we go to uniform school we couldn't go crazy with colors of patterns, but Sadie managed to make navy blue look fancy.

My dad has one true love in this world and that is nice shoes.  So of course Nate ended up with a few pairs of really really nice shoes.  He was slightly concerned because one pair of shoes has red on it and what if people think he is Ute fan?  Add in a Super Mario backpack and lunchbox and the boys were officially sick of shopping.  (You can see him in his new Friday shirt and one pair of new shoes in the background below).

I think we were both done within about 30 minutes, so we headed over to the play center to hang out.

40 minutes later, we catch a glimpse of my mom and Ellie.  They just needed to hit a few more stores.  The two of them are the shoppers of the group. What were we were thinking pairing the two of them up?  Ellie ended up with 3 or 4 pairs of shoes, 3-4 pairs of shorts, a bunch of tank tops, layering shirts, a cardigan . . . who knows what else. . . and a Vera Bradley back pack.  Oh well, the two of them had fun and if anyone can appreciate all the fun it's Ellie.  The two of them have always been tight.

We headed over to the hospital because Kristine was back at work.  Luckily it's 5 minutes from the mall.  The best part was that they had soft pretzels there!  I guess one night the crazies spent all night trying to track down soft pretzels for a midnight run snack to no avail.

I also got a FB from a girlfriend that it was National Sugar Cookie Day.  So of course we had to get some sugar cookies.  They were amazing.  And my kids thought that since the hospital had a gift shop they should probably do some shopping there too.

For Family Home Evening we went back to the Matsuura's for the Dusty vs. Meg showdown.  Dustin did pretty well for only playing tennis every 2 years and Meg just coming off the State tennis finals.  But I think we all know how that went down.  At least he had his Yuki victory.  And he came away with an invite to the 2013 Yuki Invitational. 

Idaho -- The Weekend

You know what I hated more than the bell on Sadie's bike?  The horses across the street.

Saturday morning the kids were over across the street at my parent's house feeding the neighbor horses apples from my parent's apple trees (seriously, Idaho is so perfect).  I walked over and my kids were begging me to feed the horse apples.  I had to inform them that I was allergic to horses.  My parents scoffed and insisted that I was not.  And probably in their heads I'm not.  My grandparents had horses growing up and I went riding pretty much every day of the summer with my grandpa.  I love those memories.  However a few years ago I was up at my girlfriend's parents' farm and went bare back riding.  Let me just tell you the itch that experienced in unmentionable places was agonizing.  So I must have developed this allergy as an adult.
Well because I am stubborn, I loved all over that horse just to prove that I was allergic.  And not 5 seconds afterwards, my eyes started itching.  And very stupidly, I itched my eyes with the hands that hadn't been washed yet.  My eyes itched more.  And then I rubbed them so more.

Meanwhile we are suppose to be over at our friend Yuki's to play tennis.  So we all hop in the car and drive over to our favorite Japanese-Idahoan family.  Raymond is a potato farmer who happens to have a tennis court in his backyard.  No joke.  Well actually, they built it for their daughter, Meg, who was the Idaho State tennis champion in girls doubles a few years back.  GO MEGGIE MULAN!  Sidenote -- I have known Meg practically her entire life and I am so proud of how amazing she is.
Every time we go to Idaho Yuki always wants "Dusty" (that's the cute name she calls him) to come over and play tennis with her and Meg.  Now that the kids have taken lessons they all get to come over and play too.  Yuki even gave Sadie some lessons. She is the best instructor ever and all my kids only love tennis more after a morning at her house.
You're probably wondering what on earth they are building in the background.  It is a "bonus room."  At least that was how it was described to me, but the first time I ran by their house I thought in my head, "That looks like a second house!"  And honestly it is.  It's bigger than my house.  It's going to have a small in-law suite, a focus room for Josh, food and RV storage and the upstairs is going to be a huge rec room and movie theater.  I told them to put in a pool and sign us up for the Groveland Country Club.  Luckily since we're family I get free membership.

Did you forget that I scratched my eyes after petting that horse?  Everyone is off playing tennis, having fun and my eyes are swelling shut, I have huge welts and thick goop is coming out of my eyes.  Kristine took one look at my eyes and told me to go home and get some benadryl.  I am torn between feeling horrible and vindicated that I can now prove without a doubt that I am in fact allergic to horses.
I drove home, washed my face and hands and took some benadryl.  I don't usually take a lot of medicine (except for the occasional Belizean ambien when I'm on vacation) because it hits me pretty hard.  I can take a quarter of the prescribed amount of Nyquil and be out for 12 hours.  So I probably shouldn't have been so aggressive in my benadryl dosage, but I was miserable and I felt like crap.

The rest of the day is a blur.  I remember being really tired watching Dusty and Yuki play their game.  I remember telling everyone that I was very sorry I was so lifeless when we went out for mexican for lunch.  And also eating a boatload of refried and chips.  And then I remember going home and going straight to bed.  I napped for over 2 hours.  This never ever happens.  I would have slept longer if Dustin hadn't woken we up because my parents were babysitting so we could go on a date.

Our date was really nice once I had some time to wake up.  We went to the Snake Bite in Idaho Falls (really really good) and they had to most delicious chocolate cake and then to see The Avengers.  Not in 3D.  I loved the movie.  I loved Captain America.

Sunday we pretty much went to Church and went to visit my Grandma's sister, Aunt Evelyn in Idaho Falls.  I just about died because Dustin got to sit with us and hang out with us all day.  And he didn't have to wear a suit coat!!

Idaho -- Friday

Friday we drove down to the Union Pacific 150th anniversary celebration.  The very first thing we did was wait in line.  Until we found the freebie table. So instead the kids raided that table while Dustin waited in line.  They had conductor hats, pennants, coloring books, 3D books and glasses. . . I can't even remember what all else.  And since we had 7 children with us, they gave us 7 of everything.  But no one wanted to hold anything so they all ended up in my purse and I looked like the world's greediest hoarder with everything sticking out of there.
The line was for a train car turned into a museum and I'm not going to lie, my kids were really bored in there.  But we escaped and then it was time to wait in line again.  This time for a ride on a kiddie-sized train.  While my parents and Uncle waited in line, we tried to console the children (Luke) who wanted to be on the train RIGHT.NOW!  Did he want cupcakes?  No!  Did he want a doughnut? No, but Sadie did.  Did he want his face painted? Ellie and Hannah took us up on that one. 

Would he like ice cream?  Only if it came in a cone -- which it didn't.  Finally the shaved ice stand opened and all was saved.  In fact he probably wouldn't have cared if we ever got on that train.

But we did! 

 That afternoon my parents and Kristine took all of the grandkids into the beach at Jensen's Grove and I did something really glorious -- I napped.  Sharing a queen size bed with your giant of the husband when you are a poor sleeper makes for a very restless sleep.

And while I napped, what was the giant doing?  Making dinner for everyone.  Because Dustin is the hardest worker ever.  He worked full time on vacation, still helped cook dinner and tried to hang out with the kids as much as he could.

He made my Grandma's secret recipe -- Square Steak.  I would describe it to you, but it will sound bizarre and unappetizing.  In reality it is delicious (not "delish" because I abhor that word).   It's a meal we always always had every single summer.  And if we were lucky we'd have it 2 or 3 times a summer. So next time you come over to our house for dinner, request Square Steak!!

Once the square steak and cookies were consumed my sister decided  that there was nothing else Idaho had to offer, so she packed up her darling little girls and left.  Or maybe we all knew they were leaving Friday night because her husband had to take a test in Provo on Saturday morning.  You decide. 
It was very sad to say goodbye to Olivia and Nora.  We had to console ourselves with another Midnight Run.


Idaho -- Thursday

Thursday was panic day.  We woke up and realized that my sister was leaving the next day and we hadn't accomplished anything on our to do list other than lots of sleepovers and midnight runs.  We had to pacify ourselves with donuts for breakfast.

Unfortunately for us it was a nasty rainy day so we decided to head up to the Museum of Idaho and their King Tut exhibit.  To be honest, 4 kids in a museum, particularly MY 4 kids in a museum not geared towards kids did not sound like a lot of fun, but I figured the parent to kid ratio was pretty good (my mom and dad, Kristine and then me to just my 4 crazies) so we ran with it.

It was surprisingly fun.  My kids loved everything!  Thank you House of Anubis (really awful show on Nick that my kids watch religiously) for making ancient Egyptian artifacts so cool. 

Sadie and Luke quickly found the kids area and made themselves at home.  Luke loved all the cool tunnels into the forest and Sadie took over the pioneer house.  She swept it, straightened up all the dishes, rearranged the furniture and had friends over for tea.  Too bad Nate showed up at one point and decided he was a robber who climbed in through her window and stole her only pot!  We made him scrub the clothes on the washboard and go live in the teepee as punishment.  Seriously, this place was cool.
 At the end of any museum you will find my children's favorite attraction -- the gift shop.  I think we probably spent more time there than in the actual museum.  They still had leftovers from the dinosaur exhibition so Luke was in heaven.  We ended up with 2 really awesome looking stuffed T-rexes (pictured below).

Sadie wanted these hideous flying fairies that cost $22 to which I said, "What am I?  A Rockefeller?"  (Are you getting sick of that joke because I am not!)  I actually just said no.  In the end she ended up picking a pack of water crystal beads.  She is seriously so random.  Basically you put these little beads into water and they expand.  Then you're suppose to use them as vase fillers for your cut flowers.  Sadie had so much fun growing them all.

When we got back that afternoon we put on a mad dash to get more things checked off the list.  Cookies -- check!  Cinnamon rolls -- check! (who cares that they weren't ready until 10 pm, we still needed a midnight snack) Painting rocks -- CHECK!!

Painting rocks is a tradition we started with my grandma.  Every year my sister paints one in honor of Nate.  There was the year of cheesey worms.  And the year with his butt crack.  I was just thinking that my Grandmother would probably horrified that we are using an event in her honor to make little children cry.  But it's good to learn to laugh at yourself.  This year Kathleen channeled Grandma and went safe (since her masterpieces usually result in a very teary Nate) and painted Nate playing Club Penguin. And seriously, I wish I had a picture of that because they played that every spare second they could find.
Luke and Livy wanted in this year so we got them some paint smocks.  Luke managed to get his so that his head and arm went through the head hole like a toga, but then his leg went through the arm hole like some sort of romper.

Oh wait, we're cold -- back in the hot tub.
And that was Thursday.  I think we did pedicures this day too.  See, we could eat all that junky food (I was just thinking that I didn't even mention all the times we roasted s'mores) because we played HARD!

Idaho -- 4th of July

You know what you never ever hear people say?  "I love the 4th of July in Arizona."  It's hot, just about nowhere does fireworks and yeah, it kind of stinks.  Actually one of our old High Councilmen always invites us over to his family party to watch fireworks from his farm each year and that is pretty awesome and incredibly generous, but nothing is as fun as a small town 4th of July.

Wednesday morning we decided to take a bike ride up to my grandparents grave.  And if you read my previous bike riding post, you will realize that anytime we wake up and decide to go on a bike ride we end up doing a hundred things first (like swinging on the swings and taking a trip to Wal-Mart) before we get anywhere.

Wal-Mart was quite the spectacle with all 14 of us.  We went to pick out flowers for the graves.  Even though grumpy old caretaker throws them all out, we still did it just to spite them and also because my grandparents loved the 4th of July.  We ended up with 7 or  bouquets (but no peach because Grandma hated peach, and Ellie got irises because they were her favorite) and just as many flags and pinwheels.  Take that cranky pants. 

The bike ride was comical to say the least.  Dave drove behind us with his blinkers on (it's about a mile from the house) and at one point Sadie got off her bike to fill her tire with pretend air because she could only go "99."

I don't cry easily but cemeteries always get to me.  There were so many headstones for small children and one family had line after line of babies who passed away a day or two after they were born.  Or a sweet inscription for a spouse who had passed in many years before the other.  I'm so grateful we had so many years with my grandparents and that they had so many years together.

We headed back home for more Idaho fun -- probably hot tubbing and jumping on the trampoline while Dave got ready for his 4th of July feast.  My grandparents always had all the family over for the 4th of July and Dave and Kristine have continued the tradition. We feasted on ribs and chicken, potatoes corn on the cob, rolls, pie, ice cream and szechuan chicken salad.
Dustin and the kids put on their own little show with fireowrks straight from the Res, so you know they were awesome.  We didn't set anything on fire (per tradition) but we did manage to end up with a lot of ash in our hair.  When it finally got dark (which was NEVER) we headed up to the Matsuura's to watch the firework shows from all the surrounding cities.