All Hallow's Eve

For Halloween we thought we'd try and go with a theme this year.  What started out as Super Heroes, slowly morphed into a Batman theme for 4 of us and Avengers for the other 2.  Dustin and I dressed up as Batman and Cat Woman while Sadie was Bat Girl and Ellie was Poison Ivy.

 You can't actually buy a Poison Ivy costume, so we took a Tinkerbell (adult size to keep it un-skankalicious) and gussied it up a little bit.  I thought she did a great job.

Nate was Hawk Eye (I feel so guilty because I didn't have time to take a picture of Nate all alone -- but he kind of monopolized the blog this month by having a birthday so it works out anyway) and Luke was Iron Man. Or was he.  About half an hour before the party started he decided he wanted to be a Cowboy.  Technically he was only in his underwear, so the kids were teasing that he was the Naked Cowboy (ran into him in NYC with my parents 3 years ago).  The kicker was, he was suppose to be a cowboy LAST year, but refused to wear it and ended up being a football player at the last minute.

Nate was distraught that he was going to be the only Avenger, but wait! Good News!  Luke ended up changing his mind after we took his pictures. The pictures which started off so promising

But quickly morphed into craziness

Halloween Night we had a little potluck party for our street. I love our street even if there aren't very many kids.  The older couples are so amazing to them and spoil them rotten.  And since the Mormons supply a majority of the kids on our street, we get away with looking like a crowd since 3 of us supply 12.

My kids are officially old enough and our neighborhood small enough that I went trick-or-treating with just Luke and the rest of the toddlers.  I should be sad but it was actually really fun because they were all so cute and excited about every door.  "More Trick-or-Treat!!"

Dustin and the Tylers took the kids into the Martin's Haunted House and all of them came out crying except for Ellie and Brody.  Awesome!!  We were all home by 8 which is probably way too early for the normal world, but we had been partying since noon, so it was a great time for us. 

 We watched a Halloween movie and sorted candy (Ellie's stash above).  And then we went to bed because Greatest Mom in the World made her kids go to school like normal people the next day.  Except I didn't make Ellie wash out her red hair because she loved it so much.

This is Halloween

The entire time Kathleen was here, she kept BEGGING me to take the kids out of school to play with her.  One night we were hanging out with my girlfriend, Sara, at the park and she came up with the brilliant idea to take the kids out of school early on Halloween and have a Caramel Apple dipping party.  Random Maddy fact: I cave to peer pressure.  This also explains my recent stupidity in signing up for a marathon.

We planned to surprise the kids but the night before Sara found out her boss wouldn't give her the time off.  BOO!  Random Maddy fact #2: Once I have a plan, I *have* to stick with it.  So I decided to indeed take my kids out of school early on Halloween.  I told the all that they had appointments and they got into the car thinking they were headed to get shots. 

When I finally broke the news to them, they could hardly believe it.  15 minutes later when we were eating our lunch, Nate still had to ask me, "Tell me the truth Mom.  Are we really just staying home and having a fun Halloween day?"  Random fact #3: I never take my kids out of school!  I am a firm believer in following rules.  Ellie is 5th grade and this is the first time I've ever done something like this.  Thanks Scuttlebutt for making me an uber-cool mom.

I had made a Halloween picnic lunch, but we ended up eating it at the house because Nate really wanted leftover chili for lunch.
 We still had cheese "eye"balls, mummy juice boxes, ghost string cheese (only eaten by Olivia since my kids hate cheese),   and pumpkin fruit cups.  Pinterest is my lover.

Sadly, I wasn't cool enough to attempt caramel apple dipping by myself so we ended up putting on some witch gear and heading to Dairy Queen for dessert.  Spiderman approved.

After lunch, we headed back to carve pumpkins.  Yes, on Halloween.  The birthdays kept us too busy to do much for Halloween before then.  Sadie was super hilarious during the carving:

 We ended up with a witch, a spider and an E surrounded by stars.

I don't know if I can keep this up every year, my kids are now officially going to expect it.  I have to admit it was fun hagning out with them when they should have been in school.  As Sadie put it, "MOM!  You neeeeeeever do stuff like this."


An Interview with Nate

  Nate at EIGHT! 

Favorite Color: blue

Favorite Number: 255

Favorite Drink: Root Beer

Favorite Food: Meatball Soup

Favorite Dessert: Chocolate Cake

Favorite Game: Imaginiff

Favorite Animal: Komodo Dragon

Favorite TV Show: Ninjago

I feel sad when: somebody dies

I feel mad when: I get in trouble

I like it when my friends: play with me

I like it when I: eat ice cream

I wish I could: be a vampire

Who is your best friend? Travis and Daven

Why? Because they are awesome and funny

What makes you laugh? Travis

What is your favorite movie? The Little Vampire

What are you most afraid of? monsters

What is your favorite song? Dyno-mite

What is your favorite activity? Recess

What do you want to be when you grow up? An artist

What three things are you are good at? Building Legos, making friends and being loving

What is the best thing about being eight? Getting Baptized

What makes you special? My family

8 is Great!

It really is!  Unless you don't want your kids to keep growing up anymore and then it kind of stinks because you realize your child is turning into a giant and will shortly be taller than you.

Nate woke up on his birthday dying to open his birthday presents.  Sad ofr him that he couldn't because Aunt Lola had spent the night at the hotel and we were waiting for her to open them.  He consoled himself with donuts and went off to school.

When my sister finally arrived we decided to surprise Nate by painting the stripes on his wall that I had been meaning to paint for over a month.

This was probably not our finest undertaking seeing as we ran out of painter's tape and didn't have the sticky stuff to make the laser level stick to the wall.  I also insisted on not removing any furniture from the room, so we just pushed it around the room.  All the while trying to take turns pacifying Nora who was not in the mood for a nap.  Dustin at one point made some snarky comment calling me, "Smart Lady," which Kathleen and I have now coined as out favorite term.  But not more than, "What are we?  Rockafellers?"

Somewhere in there I also managed to run to the library to pick up the book club book that I had to read in less than 3 days, take lunch to Nate at school, wrap, write and hide clues for a birthday present Scavenger hunt and we STILL managed to have all the painting done by the time he got home from school. We are magical.
I did not say we managed to get the tape off the wall before he showed up, because we didn't.

We sent Nate through the house and neighborhood looking for gifts and clues until he arrived at his very best gift -- 

a BMX bike courtesy of Grandma and Grandpa!  Please excuse the disheveled hair.  We made him work for that thing!

Nate's favorite food is a hamburger, so the 10 of us headed out to Red Robin for dinner.
Nate was most excited to have the birthday song sung to him.  He was so jealous every time they sang to another table (and apparently Red Robin is the place to go for your birthday because they sang to at least 4 other tables that night).  I tried to explain that a table of 10 takes a long time to feed and they don't sing to you until dessert.  And then we went home and passed out from paint fumes.


More birthday

Dustin's actual birthday was on a Saturday -- lucky duck!  No work, so church, no waking up early. . . Only he did wake up early because he's Dustin.  He was out of the house before I got back from my long run to help with an Eagle Scout project and got home just in time to pick me up to go help some new members of the Ward move in.

Finally we had time to take the kids out to Cafe Rio for lunch and open some presents before the kids disappeared off to Primary Program Practice and birthday parties.

Luckily we had taken Dustin out to dinner the night before so he could have a birthday dinner:

After we got all the kids home for the night and said Good Night to Kathleen and Kyle, we headed out to Jill and Noah's annual Halloween party.
Dustin is a very good sport!  Happy Halloween!!  And Happy Birthday!!


Nate's Party

Alternately titled: Why I Will Never Throw a Home Party Again

A few months ago we won a Laser Tag party package as a charity event.  We might have won solely based on the fact that Nate checked the auction sheet every 5 minutes begging to win it for his birthday party.  Well we won!!  And I can honestly say it was the best birthday party ever.  Usually I have them at home and I love decorating and coming up with fun theme related games.  Now that I've experienced one outside of the house I don't know if I can ever go back!!

With a little help from our amazing friend Mike, we got all 10 boys (plus Ellie) to Stratum in one piece. 

For a few minutes I thought we were going to get kicked out.  They were bouncing off the walls and started chanting, "LA.SER.TAG.LA.SER.TAG," at one point.  But finally the game started and off they went.  I sat down with not a care in the world and texted/FBed/Instagramed. . . basically lazied my butt off for 20 minutes.  They came out all excited and pumped and then I sent them off for another 20 minutes of silence.  And by silence, I mean I could the pounding of feet overhead, the obnoxious music they play at laser tag joints, and the boys all flirting with the only girl who worked there.  Seriously girls -- need a job?  Apply at a laser tag place.

And guess who the big winner was for the last game. . . my husband! 
In their defense I made them play.  Everyone had so much fun -- even Ellie is begging for a laser tag birthday party now.

After an hour we headed home for presents, cake and ice cream at the park.  Nate has some really great friends, but a few of them are near and dear to my heart.

Daven has been Nate's best friend as long as I can remember and they're still great friends despite not seeing each other as much anymore and the Bryners being Utes fans.

Brody has been our neighbor since we moved into our house and gets mad props for being one of Nate's only friends who is taller than him.  I am so glad Nate always has someone to play with.  On the way to laser tag all the boys were talking about who had known Nate longer and Brody said, "I've known Nate since we were babies.  We're growing up together."

Travis is Nate's best friend from school and I couldn't ask for a sweeter, nicer kid.  They are both such tender hearts and kind boys.  I always tell my kids they don't need a million friends, they only need one if it's a good one.  He is lucky to be surrounded by so many.


Birthday Buddies!

Dustin's birthday happens to be 2 days after his buddy Mike's birthday and one day after my fabulous friend Brenna's birthday. 

Every year we get together to celebrate this momentous occasion and we even invite the Haymonds along.  I don't think they've caught onthat they're suppose to treat everyone since they've got no birthdays even near the month of October.

We seriously plan this over a month ahead of time to make sure we all keep our schedules free for the same night. This year we went to San Tan Flat.  It's an outdoor bar and grill with fire pits for roasting s'mores and a live band playing.  Apparently I was the only one in our group who thought to dress the part of a Cowgirl.
 I'll tell you what -- I fit right in.

It was a really fantastic evening for everything but picture taking. The lighting was horrid.  Our iPhones sucked.  We secretly all have glowing eyes like the devil. .  . blame it on what you will but the pictures turned out really horrific.
Happy Birthday kids!


C is for Cookie

For Boy School this month, I picked the letter C -- as in cookie. I'm really stacking the deck to my strengths here.  The boys favorite part was watching Cookie Monster sing "C is for Cookie" and then making our very own cookies.  Little boy hand germs bake off in the oven right??
They were so eager for cookies they literally stood at the oven for 11 minutes watching them bake.
While we waited for them to cool, we made Cookie Monster heads -- do not look closely at the cutting job please.  He's not entirely circular.
Luke fed his cookie monster lots of C cookies.
And then we ate like Cookie Monsters.
And because making cookies was so much fun, we finished it off making lots and lots of fake cookies with paper eggs and paper flour.  This mess was much easier to clean up.



As much as I love BYU, I wasn't incredibly excited about out trek up for Homecoming this year.  We had just made the drive a few months earlier and my sister had moved away 5 days before we were going to get there.  Plus my Aunt had a bunch of different schedule changes so we weren't going to get to see her either.

Of course the second we saw the giant Y on the mountain and we drove by Lavell Edwards stadium all my enthusiasm came back.  As usual -- we had the best time EVER!  It's always "ever."  I think the older and more kids we get the more fun things become.  Next year will be epic!

We stayed with our very fun friends Holly and Damon in Cedar Hills.  We were good friends in college, but I think we're even better friends now.  They have 4 very funny kids and everyone had a friend.  They got ice cream, rode bikes, went to the park, made a haunted house, played games, tore the house apart and basically we did not see them very often.

We did take the big kids down to BYU one morning to pick up our Blackout t-shirts and to get some BYU stuff for the boy's bedroom.  Please note that Bria and Ellie dressed like twins.  Remember when you thought that was so cool?  Now if you end up wearing the same shirt as a friend you are horrified.
My kids seriously think eating at the Cougar Eat is the coolest thing in the world.  I don't think they realize that there are Taco Bells in Arizona.  Plus Bria and Micah had never had a mint brownie.  WHAT??

The Casabars also very conveniently live a block away from one of other favorite friends -- the Hortins.
I was so sad that only Sadie and Macey got a playdate this go around, but I'm sure we will be back soon.

We also got to meet up for lunch with Vanessa and see her beautiful little Temperance.
 Luke was all up in her poor face and she was so sweet and happy despite the invasion of her personal space.

Holly and I even sneaked out for some shopping and pedicures. And then an adult date night including The Chocolate after a very fun night of cheering on Hat-trick Holly at her soccer game.  The kids only called us 18 times.

Saturday I went for the most beautiful run down this nice little trail next to the river and then over to the Temple.  It was gorgeous until I had to run the most gigantic hill to get back home.  Utah hills kill me.

Dustin and Damon took all the kids down to meet up with the Stohls at the Homecoming parade while we stayed to wait for the babysitter.

Luke and Josiah didn't get to come to the game but they did get tattoos! We also picked up food for tailgating and hooked up before the game.

I seriously get goosebumps when I see all of our kids together.  Below has to be my favorite shot EVER!  I think BYU should use it as an advertising campaign.
We had 2 sets of friends from Arizona who had bought tickets with us too, so it was fun to have a big group all together and cheering.  I get a little intense during the game. I was so proud of my kids singing the fight song and stomping and screaming on 3rd downs.

 The Stohl's have season tickets, so at half time we swapped kids.  Sadie went to sit with them and we got the adorable big girls.  And because Lucy and Sadie are the cutest girls in all the land:

 On the way back from the drop off, I ran into one of my very favorite people in the world -- my mentor teacher from teaching 4th grade.  I love that Provo is always still a small world.

The game was good.  Really good.  Until the 4th quarter when we just gave the game away.  We ended up letting the kids go scavenger for black out towels leftover in the student section and they found enough for all of the kids.  By then it was late and we are all exhausted.  I had hoped to meet up with Tasha and her girls for dinner, but it was clear we weren't going to get out of there anytime soon, so we all just sat in the traffic texting back and forth to see where we should go for dinner since no one wanted to feed all of these children.

We ended up at the Blue Lemon where we took up a million tables between the 18 of us and just sat and talked.

 I feel so blessed that we lucked out with such a great group of friends after we were married.  I hope there are many more years with pictures like these.  Especially our oldest girls who are all BYU babies.

Maybe one day it will be a picture of the three of them starting their Freshman year at BYU.   And also, I'm trying to talk Dustin into getting season tickets for next year.  He keeps telling me no.  LAME!  Other things he keeps telling me "no" to: trampoline for Christmas, trip to Disneyland and more babies.