Zoo Day

I used to hate the zoo and then I had Luke. Luke loves animals like I love anything with sugar and finding an excuse to make events pajama friendly. Since this year is his last year before Kindergarten, I splurged and bought a membership to the zoo.
On Monday, my friend Tia came along with us and we took 4 of the cutest little boys ever to the zoo.

It was just our luck with the primates that day. At the monkey village Tia got peed on and the monkeys jumped all around us.

And Bess, the momma orangutan, came up to visit with the boys.

We also managed to play at every park and ride the Merry Go Round before we got home just in time for the kids to get home from school.
It was a perfect day.


Monster Trucks

Our friends put together a fun family date night to. . . Monster Trucks.
In preparation for the event all of the husbands grew beards. Except for mine. He had some good excuses -- he was traveling to meet with clients that week, church meetings -- but mainly because he cannot grow facial hair. Since we were such a let down, we thought we'd at least dress the part.
Monster Trucks was surprisingly fun. The kids loved it and the company was great -- when we could hear each other. Luckily we had super awesome ear plugs.
We entertained ourselves with icees, cotton candy, nachos and taking pictures.
Sadie was there too, I just don't have any pictures of her. Ellie, however, passed on the event and spent the night with her girlfriends.


Sadie at SEVEN!

Favorite Color: green

Favorite Number: 7 because I'm 7

Favorite Drink: Pink lemonade

Favorite Food: Watermelon

Favorite Dessert: Ice Cream

Favorite Game: Line Up

Favorite Animal: Giraffe

Favorite TV Show: I Didn't Do It

I feel sad when: somebody is mean to me

I feel mad when: someone says mean things about me

I like it when my friends: play with me

I like it when I: jump on the trampline

I wish I could: have wings

Who is your best friend? Brynley and Avery

Why? Because they are awesome

What makes you laugh? Jokes

What is your favorite movie? Frozen

What are you most afraid of? monsters and the dark

What is your favorite song? Space Unicorns

What is your favorite activity? Reading

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

What three things are you are good at? Art, singing, and dancing

What is the best thing about being seven? I'm the one of the oldest in my class

What makes you special? Everything. I can't name all of them.


The Year There Was No Snow

We decided to head up to a cabin with out friends again this year for some time in the snow. Only there was no snow. It has been crazy warm here for awhile now and I think we've set some record for most consecutive days without snow this year. Nevertheless, we went. And we still had fun.
Friday night most of us pulled into Greer pretty early thinking we would find some place to eat. Turns out there's pretty much nowhere open up there in the winter. We had to drive into Eager for dinner. By the time we got 17 people into cars, drove the 20 minutes, ordered food and were served, Luke was asleep. Miraculously by the time we got back to the other 2 families at the cabin, he was all rested and ready to party.
In fact, my kids were SO excited about being at the cabin that none of them slept. At one point in time I heard Nate whisper, "Happy Birthday Sadie!!" After being woken up 3 or 4 times I looked at my phone to see if it was almost morning. It was 1:30 am. By 6 we were up and getting ready for two big things -- Sadie's birthday and skiing.

Since we were in charge of breakfast and we had to have all of us out the door by 7:15, we brought donuts up for breakfast.
 It looked a little bit like the scene from Home Alone at one point that morning, but we managed to get everyone there, signed up for ski school and ski gear rented in plenty of time. Dustin insisted that we sign the kids up for all day ski school and I am so glad he did. While I was trying to get Luke off to the day care, Nate decided to go up the bunny hill chair lift by himself and then went straight down the bunny hill, crashing at the end. By the time I got him back on his skis I was ready for someone else to take over his instruction.

I was petrified to go skiing again. While once upon a time I was an OK skier, it had been 15 years and I am not the most coordinated person. Luckily it all (well, most of it) came back to me and I went off to ski with Mike and Rickie while Dustin got in some test runs on the bunny hill.

I forgot how much fun skiing is! The kids, however, did not enjoy their morning of ski lessons.  Luke went back to the toddler area relatively quickly, which was fine since he told me, "I love the Fun Zone, Mommy," when he saw me.
And the big kids all said they were "sick." At lunch time we went to check on them and I bribed them all with $10 if they managed to get up the ski lift and ski down the bunny hill.  They all earned their money and loved skiing by the end.  Phew. We actually ended up staying until the lifts closed.

I also forgot how exhausting skiing is. Especially when you've got 4 kids to outfit and lug stuff for and you didn't sleep the night before. By the time we got back to the cabin around 5 pm I wanted to crash, but the big girls were dying for me to make Sadie's birthday cake. I had promised them they could decorate it. Sadie requested a snowman cake and the girls made Olaf from Frozen. I think they did sort of an amazing job for the little supplies they had.
Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Sadie, she blew out some candles and said it was the best birthday ever.
I think everyone wanted to stay up late and play games but we were all so so tired. At one point in time I said, "Whoever is my favorite child will go to bed right now." Luke jumped up, ran up stairs and started putting on his pajamas. Everyone, including me, was a little shocked that that worked.

Sunday was an amazing relaxing day. Without snow we never had to get up to put on snow clothes so the kids just ran around playing whatever. Everyone had a friend.

There was football, iPods, hotel, something where kids were dogs, football watching, Saboteur, Rickie's pointing game, an unofficial game of celebrities (which the girls won -- probably why the boys called it unofficial). Actually the game got a little heated, prompting my daughter to say it was like watching one of those Real Housewives shows.

That night we sort of let the kids do whatever they wanted. Luke fell asleep in the middle of the dinning room walkway.
He was literally walking one minute, then laid down and went straight to sleep. Since some of the kids were sleeping in the living room, they just curled up in the middle of our festivities to go to bed.
We had a sing-along starting with a song written by our very own Rickie and then all the good feelings were gone as we played one last game of cut throat Celebrities. It actually came down to a very close tie-breaker (1 point), but there champions held on to their title.

I love all of these kids and I am so happy that they can grow up together like a family. I love that they have inside jokes and that the big kids are still so nice to the little kids.
I can't imagine how I'm going to afford gifts when they all get married. And more than those kids, I love my girlfriends.

Rickie's Cabin Campfire Song -- 2014
sung to the tune of Louie Louie
(I hope since there's a year on it, there will be many more years of songs)
(which is probably only hilarious if you were there and get what any of these jokes mean)

Way up here in this snow cold, mountain land
Out here in the middle of nowhere, but we're away from the sand
We like to play games of Celebrity
The Cougar and the Ute in complete harmony

Way out here in this mountainous place
29  people all sharin' one space.

If you want the Master bedroom, you'll need a baby
Or put this place on your card, it's worth it you'll see.
If you're thinking you wanna have a birthday party
We've got the cutest little girl and her name is Sadie!


If you want to do some skiing on a black diamond hill
Just hop on the chairlift with Mike and he'll give you a thrill.
And if you want your cozy chair to fully recline
Just tip it all the way back, and it works every time.


If you want to take some lessons from our own Sweedish Chef,
Don't sit next to Maddy cuz she might make you deaf.


Our spirited game turned into a brew, ha ha
Better sleep with your night light one and beware of SHA SHA!
Though many of our friends have taken quite ill
Perhaps it's from watching Dustin's chairlift spill.



Birthday Girls!!

It seems like some of my very favorite people have January birthdays -- including my AH-MAZING sister, my funniest friend Kristin, and of course my most adorable blonde child, SADIE!!  I didn't get to celebrate with my sister this year, but I did get to par-tay with the other two.

 Last year we were up at the cabin for Sadie's birthday and I thought that would totally count as a really cool birthday party. Apparently she expected more. So this year I outsmarted her and threw her a PRE-birthday surprise party over Christmas break. I had read something about Come As You Are parties that were popular in the 60s and 70s and thought it would be so funny to kidnap some of Sadie's friends for her very own party.
One Monday morning she woke up to signs and balloons and a giant donut cake.
 I threw her in the car and went to kidnap 5 of her friends (because I had no more room in my car -- although one ended up being sick). This literally meant stealing them from their beds (I did warn their mothers).

Once we got back home we had a pancake bar and hot chocolate for breakfast. Then the girls watched a movie before they ran off to play in Sadie's room. 
We did play a few games before they had to go home.
 It was the easiest birthday party I have ever thrown. I spent about zero hours planning and Sadie LOVED it.

The next week was time to celebrate Kristin's 30th birthday. When you're over the age of 30, you can't wait for everyone else to join the club. We went out for breakfast, which she insisted could not be about her birthday. I just needed an excuse to go to Kneaders.

 And that weekend I got to help be part of a surprise party that included everyone having one of these for when we walked in.
We took her out for a pedicure while everyone else got ready for a Costa Vida catered dinner, squeezing into Kristin's bed, How Well does Darcy know Kristin, Heavy Heavy Hangover and lots of dessert. So glad this girl is my friend!
 Having so much fun is exhausting.


The End of Break

Sending the kids back to school was hard. My parents left the day after Christmas, but Dustin took the next week and a half off. We played, ate out a lot, slept in, read books, watched too many movies to count and did about zero chores. It was exactly how I remembered Christmas vacation growing up and FINALLY my kids are old enough to let it happen.

We did find a few reasons to get out of the house. Like when we finally made it to the movies to see Catching Fire.

One night we took our kids ice skating for the first time ever.
It was not our most successful outing, but the boys ended up loving it.

Afterwards we went out for my favorite burgers ever -- Five Guys

I cheated and threw Sadie a birthday party 3 weeks early (more on that later)

Nate and Dustin took his best friend Travis out for the day to celebrate his birthday with football, Pei Wei's and bowling.

Ellie got highlights in her hair (Christmas present)

Our typical New Year's Eve with at the Christensen's with a rousing game of headbandz. This game is surprisingly hard!!!

And Ellie started her first regular babysitting job. I cannot believe she is getting to be this old.
 Things we didn't do -- laundry, yard work, housecleaning, cooking, piano practicing, school work. . . it's was perfect.