Other Stuff

Of course on top of the big things (race, Thanksgiving, baptism) there were lots of small things.  But  the small things are what make big memories so great.

I had a birthday!! 

 I'm officially 33.  My mom PROMISED me a birthday cake.  She even made me pick one out and send her the recipe.  And then she never made me one.  But never fear my Uncle Dave ran to the grocery store and bought me the prettiest birthday cake you've ever seen.  With pink sparkles and my name and everything.
(meet Uncle Dave)

We ate and ate. . . and ate and ate

And so we went on a 5 mile bike ride with the kids.

We laughed and danced and swindled money out of Aunt Beaney for stories, art work and hair accessories.

We set up the tree and decorated for Christmas

We had sleepovers and watched movies

We cuddled with grandparents

We read stories and ate popsicles (courtesy of Papa Rogers)

We said sad goodbyes

We shopped and discovered the world's best grilled cheese sandwich (Paradise Bakery -- and yes, my sister's face is actually frozen in this position)

We adored Nora and bragged about our dimples

We cousin crushed and BYU loved

We had fun!  Thanks everyone -- come again soon!

Nate's Baptism

I am really behind (but I'm just going to back date this little sucker and in a few years no one will be the wiser).  The main reason I am behind: Blurb.  I finally started converting my blog into a book.  I decided to start with 2007 since it's the year I stopped scrapbooking and my computer crashed, so I lost all of those pictures and memories.  It also happens to be the year I blogged the most.  So at first I stopped blogging the present because all my spare time was spent formatting the past.  And then I stopped blogging because I freaking HATE myself 5 years ago.  I was so anal and organized.  I guess it's a good thing I had 4 kids so reality could hit me.  And finally I stopped blogging because I realized that I would one day end up in blurb and I'd have to format everything I'm typing at the moment.

And yet -- great things have happened. A few weeks before Nate's birthday he told me that he wanted a quad.  I told him no.  He kept asking me how much it would cost to get one and insisted it was the only thing he wanted.  Finally I told him they were hundreds and hundreds of dollars and not really something I was going to splurge on because we would never even take him quadding.  So then he asks me why Ellie has *her* own quad.  And I'm totally confused.  Until I realize he's talking about SCRIPTURES!  We call a combination of the Bible, Book of Mormon, D&C and Pearl of Great Price a quadruple combination or a "quad."  Nate was definitely ready to be baptized!

Dustin took him out to get his suit one busy Saturday morning.  I was so excited when these adorable pictures were texted to me.
 (changing room -- not my bathroom)

I stole this idea from Megan, but I loved having him write the program in his own handwriting.  I loved watching his tongue and facial expressions as he painstakingly wrote everything; even when the lines slanted into each other and he crossed out misspelled words.

We were so lucky to have so much family come into town.  We filled the program with people who had traveled from so far away to be here for him. Including my Aunt Kristine who brought Nate . . .
his very own quad!  He was so excited.  Too bad his lame mom left it at the Stake Center and he thought he had lost it for 2 weeks.

It was an even better day because it was MY BIRTHDAY!  So I will forever share a very special day with Nate.  It was the very best birthday present anyone has ever given me.

My sister and Kristine gave talks.  My mom lead the music.  Sadie and her friends sang a musical number.
When we were at Parker's baptism, Avery and her cousin sang a song and Sadie got it in her head that that was just what she would like to do for Nate's.  The five girls even squished onto 3 chairs just so they could sit together.  They sang Jesus Once was a Little Child and it made my heart melt.

When Nate was being confirmed, I peeked for a minute and I could see Nate sitting in the middle of the circle through a crack.  I looked at all the amazing men with their hands and his head and I got goosebumps.  He is so blessed to have these great Priesthood examples. These men, from Grandpas and Uncles to his dad and family friends are so loving and caring and I hope he will follow in their footsteps.  I am so grateful he is surrounded by so much love.

After the baptism we headed back to our house for lunch.  The weather was fantastic and we still had everything set up from Thanksgiving, so we managed to squeeze everyone in as always.  There were children everywhere, including the playhouse.  Just the way I like it.

I love love my family.  I love the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I'm so grateful that Nate feels the same way.
Best birthday ever.


Thanksgiving chez Rogers

If you follow along, you know that we spend Thanksgiving with the Bryner family each year.  It's one of our very favorite traditions that we lucked into.
 Have you met the Bryners??

This year, however, Rickie was less than a week away from giving birth and I had a whole flock of family flying in, so we offered to host everyone here.  Now, it was nowhere near as amazing as anything Rickie puts together, but it was wonderful nonetheless.

So we've got 10 extra family members coming into town, a race, hosting Thanksgiving, baptizing my son the next day, hosting another food fest and celebrating a birthday all in about a 36 hour time span.  Plus I'm a horrible cook, so we played it safe and ordered Thanksgiving dinner.  Which was a fantastic idea because our dinner numbers kept growing every day that last week.

My mom and I picked up Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday and stuck it in the fridge at my girlfriend Brenda's house because there was not an empty spot in my kitchen and our fridge in the garage died just in time to become the hiding place for all of my Christmas gifts.

All we had to do was borrow a spare oven, reheat everything and serve!

Well we did make some things from scratch.  Dustin made some extra mashed potatoes with our fresh from Idaho potatoes, my mom made jello salad and green bean casserole and I put together a salad, lemon bars and pumpkin bars.  Mike and Rickie brought a spread for appetizers andLion House rolls with honey butter.  I was so worried there wouldn't be enough food, but as always there was plenty.  We actually had 2 turkeys.  And I'm not talking about Mike and Dustin.  We really had 2 turkeys.

We ate outside because the weather has been gorgeous here.  Ellie and Kristine had a wonderful time decorating everything. Please see their work below on the children's pavilion:

 I wish I had a picture of the adult tables, because they were actually really pretty.  And now I have all these Fall place settings and napkins.  I'll have to host something again soon.

Some more friends came over for dessert -- pumpkin pie, cherry pie, banana cream pie, chocolate mousse pie, pecan pie, ice cream, lemon bars and pumpkin bars.  I'm sick just typing it all out. I have decided that I am only making lemon bars for Thanksgiving dinner from now on since they were the only thing that were completely gone when the night was over.
Too bad none of us like ASU, that would have made a great picture in our gold and maroon (are those even the colors??  I seriously need to start liking them in case my kids go there -- shiver).

After dessert the kids put on a talent show for us.
They started off using the "littlest kiddie table" as a stage, but as more and more performers and helpers appeared, they moved to standing behind the firepit and telling spooky stories.

I think this is Luke telling us about the monsters that ate Nate and Sadie.  Obviously they kept the audience's attention. 
I am so grateful for everyone we ended up having around our tables -- my sister and family, Dustin's brother and family, both sets of parents, a fabulous aunt and uncle and friends who feel like family.  A house full of people is always such a blessing.  We are so lucky to have so many people to love.

I can't believe I almost forgot the best part of the night -- BLACK FRIDAY!  I have never gone Black Friday shopping so I was a little stressed out with Kathleen and Kyle offered to take Ellie and her friend to Wal-Mart with them Thursday night for the toy sale.  I believe Kathleen's exact words were, "What do *you people* think happens on Black Friday?  I'm taking my BABY!  All it is, is a lot of waiting in line." 

Ellie loved it and now I'm worried that she is hooked and I am going to be stuck taking her for the rest of her life (also super proud that she didn't give into the thrill and waster her money on stuff just because it was cheap).


Third Time's a Charm

It was our 3rd year of Wobbling and Plodding at the Turkey Trot I host with a few very fun friends.
The great things about year three -- it pretty much runs itself.  We have a pretty good idea of what we need and what to do and it was a lot less work than the previous 3 years.

The night before I put my children to work, because let's face it, after years of fetching the remote for my own father and wondering why he was so lazy, I had 4 children just so I could have my own army of worker bees.  Strange how I feel like I still do most of the work. . .

Even better -- some friends ended up over for the afternoon, so I made their kids work too.  They updates signs and colored in posters (and decorated for Thanksgiving, but that's another post) while I baked and packaged prizes.

I took the year off to help time and enjoy the race and since my parents were here, Dustin ran in the 10K.
Can you find Dustin?  I'm DYING at Mike Bryner!  Dustin came in fourth after not running for 6 months.

My parents each took a kid and ran the 5K with them.  I was a little nervous because my kids are not runners and they only picked the 3 mile course because all of their friends were doing it.

They both looked like they wanted to die at the end, but they did it and I'm so proud.  What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. . .
 Maybe I should train with them next year?  A practice run or two probably would have been good.

Sadie and Luke did the 1 mile course.  Well, Sadie did and then Luke *tried* to run it when he noticed I was missing.

This is my very favorite way to start out Thanksgiving Day and it was even better to have my family here to run it (last year we had Dustin's brother and family -- who's coming in next year??).  The best surprise was at the end when my Aunt Kristine and Uncle Dave rolled into town after driving all night from Idaho.
 And then we ran back the house to get Thanksgiving dinner ready for our 24 guests.


Grandma & Grandpa time

So my sister started me down the slippery slope of child truancy.  Once I let them skip half the day on Halloween it turned into a terrible habit.  My parents came out for the week before Thanksgiving and each of the kids got to choose their half day date with my parents.

However, I was so ashamed of my Ferris Bueller-ness that I only allowed really crappy phone photos to be taken.

Sadie (Queen Diva Extrordinaire) was up first and being the artist that she is, picked As You Wish pottery.  My mom and I went to pick her up from school.  As I was asking the front desk to call her down, we heard a little giggle and we turned around to find Sadie all ready to go.  She was so excited.

They went to Rubio's for lunch, painting (a new piggy bank since her little brother broke hers and was un-surprisingly taking a long time doing enough good deeds to earn money to buy her a new one) and finally to Cold Stone for dessert.  Luckily for my parents, all 3 stores were right next to each other.  Or maybe this was all the genius planning of a smarter-than-average mother.  Sadie also came home with her very own artist's kit.

Of course we also needed pedicures to make the day complete.
It was Sadie's first mani/pedi and she loved every second of it.

Somewhere in there Luke had an amazing school performance witnessed by my dad because my mom and I were stuck buying my beautiful new birthday present -- a strawberries and cream beach cruiser.

Ellie's date was Tuesday and she picked lunch at Brio and then shopping at the mall.

My dad strangely enough wasn't interested in the shopping portion (could have been me reminding him how much he hates shopping), so I weaseled my way onto the date.
We hit up 10 or 11 stores, Ellie got a make over at Sephora and managed to come home with 4 or 5 new outfits -- probably because we had to buy her more stuff than we bought for ourselves in order to consider the trip "Ellie's Day."

Nate lucked out and got to skip the entire day on Wednesday and headed up to the Zoo with my dad and Luke.
 My mom and I stayed home to pick up food, prizes, and decor for Thanksgiving, the Race, the Baptism. . . But somehow we ended up at DSW??  We thought we had ended up with the good end of the deal until these pictures started coming in:

My dad said it was the perfect day and they saw every single exhibit at the zoo.  About 6 hours later, they finally made their appearance -- tired, but happy.

Luke had so much fun at the zoo, that he got mad at me the other day because he thought we were heading there, but instead I took him to IKEA (he forgave me once he saw how much fun IKEA is).  "Oooh, it's my Grandpa's path to the Zoo!"  "We're going to the Zoo!!"  "Heeeeeeeey!  That not the Zoo."  "I so mad at you Mom.  I want to go to my Grandpa's Zoo."

We had so much fun having everyone come and stay over the next few days for all the Thanksgiving festivities and all the big events, but I think these individual dates were probably my kids favorite memories.

It reminds me of the talk by Elder Oakes: Good Better Best.  "Super family activities may be good for children, but they are not always better than one-on-one time with a loving parent."  I'm so glad with all the craziness that abounded, my children were still able to have some amazing memories of time spent with my parents.