An Eventful Week

The kids went back to school on Tuesday. I wish there were a more ominous way to start this story, but it all started out so innocent. I was totally dreading school starting up, but at the same time there was a promise of the happiness and security that only being in a routine can bring.  After 2 weeks of relaxing, eating ridiculously unhealthy foods, and staying up late/sleeping in, I think we were all craving it. The morning was rough, but I managed to get everyone out the door by 7:40 am. Dustin was, as always, out of town.

Tuesday afternoon was rougher. The kids got home freakishly late, which had me in a panic, Nate had lost his report card and wanted me to drive back to school to search for it, and all three were grumbling about doing homework. I sat down to help everyone out, but the phone was ringing, mouths were demanding to be filled, wood chips were all over my floor, papers were flying everywhere,  and Luke was whining about being hungry. I'm confident this is what everyone's afternoon looks like on a regular basis and if it doesn't, I kind of hate you right now.

Luke ended up making himself some oatmeal in the middle of the chaos.  I was checking over math facts when we all heard him tumble from the counter onto the tile floor. He started crying uncontrollably so I went to sit down with him and got some ice on his head. Somewhere in there all the neighborhood children appeared, and a dust storm alert went out, meanwhile Luke would not get out of my lap. I needed to take Ellie to Activity Days, so I left Luke screaming on the couch and ran Ellie around the block. When I got back Luke was dead asleep.

Long story short, I tried to wake him up, but he wouldn't wake up, so I decided to let him sleep it off. An hour later, I still couldn't him to wake up.  When I finally did, he couldn't answer any of my questions (ie: how do you spell your name, who are your friends, what color is your shirt. . .) and his speech was slurred. I was suppose to take Ellie and her friend to camp kick off at this point, but decided to run Luke by my girlfriend's house, who happens to be a nurse.
On the way there he started vomiting and I ended up taking my poor, half naked child to the Pediatric urgent care. In about a ten minute time period, my neighbors took in my children and locked up my house, another girlfriend drove my carpool for me, and an amazing friend who heard what was going on from a 3rd party immediately dashed out to Target and drove 20 minutes just to bring me some food and some pants for Luke. She even stayed for the diagnosis: concussion. Our first, which the doctor assured me was a great track record for 4 kids. While I was celebrating this fact, he pointed out that there were some crusties behind Luke's ear. You can take away my trophy now.

We rolled into our neighborhood around 9, where my two neighbors were waiting to give Luke a blessing. He promptly threw up just to make sure everyone knew he was legit sick and to send me into one more fit of panic. I spent the entire night checking on him, keeping a vigil like only a mother knows how. I think that all mothers are united by the simple fact that when disaster strikes, we attack it head on. Thankfully, Luke slept right through the night, even with his mother rubbing his face every 30 minutes to make sure he wasn't suffocating in a pool of his own vomit. At 7 am he jumped out of bed and informed me that he a playdate that afternoon and was hungry.

With his miraculous recovery, I was really looking forward to spending the day catching up on some sleep, but we were out of food. While I was standing in the check out line at Sprouts, the dreaded call came in from the school: Sadie had a headache and couldn't swallow the pill form of Tylenol, so could I please bring up some liquid Tylenol? When I got there she was so sad and pathetic looking that I took her home. I figured she was just exhausted from all the crying and worrying about Luke from the night before and a nap would do her some good.
As it always goes, the second you take a child home, they suddenly have LOTS of energy. Sadie laid down for about ten minutes and then was bouncing off the walls. By bedtime, though, I noticed she had a developed a fever. She then spent the entire night waking me up needing medicine or wondering if she could sleep in my bed.

In the end, she ended up staying home for 2 more days with a fever. By Friday, I was thinking that 3 weeks of spring break was too much and that I should probably never home school.

Luckily by Friday afternoon Sadie was perking up and she hadn't had a fever since the middle of the night. We had to reschedule a family get together with friends, but Dustin and I were able to make a 30th birthday party for a friend.

Saturday was crazy. I was up early to run with my girlfriends, then there was football practice, football game (they won!), trip to the mall and Kneaders with Ellie to buy birthday goodies for a friend, finishing Nate's pinewood derby car. . . (more on that later). . .
. . . pinewood derby races, a birthday party, preparing my lesson for the next day, and the general women's meeting.
Sunday we had a surprise visit from some of our Idaho family when the Matsuura's stopped by on their way home from Texas. My kids were all so excited to have visitors at church and were devastated that they weren't staying all week.
That night, Ellie had New Beginnings. I was officially welcomed to the world of being a mother of Young Woman when she went to sit by friends instead of Dustin and me.
 Someone made a joke that next year they should have the girls wear aprons and their mothers can literally cut the apron strings. I'm so excited for her to grow up and learn to spread her wings, but it's still bittersweet and a little bit scary.

And so today when I sent the kids off to school it was with relief. I had 5 loads of laundry to fold and put away, rooms to clean, floors to sweep, bathrooms to scrub, food to be purchased, jam to make and a nap to take.


Fire Station Field Trip

I actually didn't have to go on this field trip. When I pulled up, a few extra moms had shown up and wanted to go, so Miss Becky told me I could go home and take two hours off. Only I had 3 kids at home and they were suppose to be doing chores and Luke is my baby. . . so I stuck around. I actually feel lucky that I got to go.
The boys in my group were *so* excited and the firemen were so sweet to them. Plus the comments 4 years olds come up with are priceless.  Things like, "Your carpet is cool." Or "My name is Kate and he's Luke. We both have a "k" in our name."
Luke got to be the line leader AND the demonstrator for the "Stop, Drop, Cover Your Face and Roll," portion. That's right, they added a part. If I hadn't gone on this field trip, I would have never known.

During the tour they showed the kids everything -- from the bathroom to the kitchen. The kids were amazed by They oohed and ahhed over the laundry room even. It did have a giant ice machine. I about died when one of the kids (NOT LUKE!!!) crawled onto one of the beds and started jumping. Of course the firemen were unphased and as kind as you can be.
I think I had almost as many questions as the kids did. I am so grateful for their sacrifices and service.
And they saved the best part for last -- the firetruck and fire equipment. Now all Luke wants to be when he grows up is a firefighter.


Ski Breck

While most people go somewhere warm for spring break, we escaped the heat and met up with my parents and sister's family for a ski-cation in Breckenridge, Colorado.
 Everyone keeps asking me how it was and I can only describe it in one word -- AMAZING! It was seriously perfect. So perfect that I've decided that Dustin and I are becoming ski instructors (you only have to be a level 5 skier, I checked!!) and our kids are going to grow up as ski bums. There was nothing cooler than being at the top of the mountain with my whole family.

After we drove up in a storm that caused the interstate to get shut down, we headed over to get all of our rentals for the week. 11 people getting skis, poles, boots and helmets. 5 of them under 12 and a baby running around in all of this. It was a crazy house. So much so that I lost Sadie at one point and in my search for her left my purse without realizing it until 9 pm that night (luckily it was all there the next morning -- thank you for that tender mercy).

It took two trips to get it all back to the check-in place at the condos, but we ordered pizzas, got unpacked and all was well in the world.

The Marriott condos are right at the base of the slope, so we could ski in and ski out. It was the cushiest set up ever. Plus there was always a hot chocolate bar, popcorn, fresh baked cookies, movie and ice cream nights for the kids, games and DVDs galore. Everyone who worked there was so sweet and kind to all the kids and our families. They even offered to go pick up our dinner for us.
The next morning we were up bright and early to get everyone suited up and all the kids into ski lessons bright and early. My parents spoiled us all by putting the kids in with private instructors. The kids learned to ski and the parents got time to go ski by themselves. It was perfect. Ellie, Nate and Sadie had Abe for two full days and Luke and Livy went with Miss Sarah for 4 days.
Words cannot describe how much we loved our ski instructors. They told jokes, ate lunch with us, sent pictures throughout the day, taught the kids to ski so well that we don't even have to worry about them, but more importantly -- made the kids love skiing. Luke keeps asking if Miss Sarah can come and visit him in Arizona.
The great thing about Breck is that there really is no bunny hill (unless you're Luke and Livy size), so the kids went straight up the mountain. Dustin and I got to tag along with them after lunch (and cut in all the lines). I couldn't believe how well they were skiing after just a few hours.

The second day everyone was excited to get back on the slopes. We ran into the kids at the top of one of the lifts and got to grab some hot cocoa with them. We finally ran into my parents that morning and did some runs with them too. They were amazing. I hope I ski that well when I'm 60!

After lunch we skied with the kids again for awhile. They showed me all of the fun kid's parks with tunnels and bridges.

By the third day the kids were ready to ski with us, while Luke and Livy were ready to tackle the mountain. They were so excited to go up on the "flying couch." It took them an hour to get down the mountain, but they made it!
Dustin and I had so much skiing with our oldest 3. They never fell and got on and off the lifts like pros. We went on tree runs and through some steeper trails to get them ready for skiing blue runs.
Nate was dying to try so I begged Dustin to take Nate later that afternoon.  Ellie and Kathleen headed in, so it was just me and my Sadie girl for a little bit that afternoon.
 It was so much fun to listen to everything she had to say while we rode up the lift. Meanwhile, Nate was getting ready for his first of many blues. He did great, didn't fall once and became an addict. He was obsessed with riding the "Mercury Super Lift." He told me, "I just like the way it sounds. Mercury. . . SUPER. . .lift."

After 3 full days of skiing and a snow storm coming in, we decided to take Saturday off. We went sledding in the morning and to see a movie in the afternoon.
Sunday we were on babysitting duty for Kyle and Kathleen's girls, so we took all 6 kids swimming. It was all kinds of gorgeous to be swimming outside at the base of a mountain surrounded by snow. I actually stayed in the hot tub most of the time despite the pool being heated.
We spent the afternoon in the game room pulling out every possible game possible and getting out

As a thank you to my parents for all their planning and spoiling, we took everyone out for dessert and to the Ice Castle that night.
 We actually went when it was light out to explore and take picture and then came back after the sun went down to see it all lit up.

Monday was our last day skiing. It was slightly sad, but the best day of all. Luke and Livy made it down the mountain three times and even got to ski with Ripperoo!
We saw them a few times and I just about died at their cuteness. I am obsessed with the thought of putting Luke in non-stop school so he can be one of those 5 year olds skiing like an expert down the black runs.
My parents ended up taking the girls on a few runs, Dustin and Nate went off to do the blue and Kyle and I headed off to do our own skiing.
But in the end, it was Nate that outlasted all of us. He is officially the biggest ski fan of all of us. It was one of those trips that you never wanted to be over and everyone was sad when we had to drive home. Perhaps us most of all because we had a 14 hours drive ahead of us. I already cannot wait for next year.


Castle Rock

My darling scuttlebutt, aka my sister, moved to Castle Rock, Colorado a year and a half ago. She's been down here to visit a few times, but this was our first trek up North.
It was a 14 hour drive, but we had to split it into 2 days. Nate wanted to stay and cook breakfast for all the Scout families Saturday morning for the Blue and Gold camp out, so we didn't get out of the driveway until 11 am. The kids were actually wonderful and we made it to Santa Fe, New Mexico that night. As we hurried our freezing butts into the hotel, we all had the realization that we were going to be cold for the next week and a half. And were we ready for that?

Sunday we made it by the early afternoon and promptly melted to death. I think it was in the high 70s that day?
The 12 of us quickly overwhelmed my sister's apartment, so we headed to the park. Luke and Nate made new friends and had a snowball fight with all the leftover snow on the ground. Which was better than when Luke was eating the old snow.

We spent a few days playing around Castle Rock before heading up to the mountain. I had a giant check list of things I wanted to do. Including eating the Luther at Crave Burger.
Yes, that is a burger, egg and bacon on glazed donuts. In my defense, I only ate a bite. I figured between 8 of us ordering different hamburgers, someone had to do it. I still can't decide if it was delicious or disgusting. I will say the donut bread pudding is delicious. And as I have now sampled most of the menu, I feel like I'm a crave expert. Get the truffle fries.

My sister once again claimed the Best Aunt in the World award in my girls' eyes when she had them stay over for a sleepover. The girls got to stay up late making bows.
Ellie had quite the Bow-Fro.

There was also a trip to the American Girl Doll store. I don't even like dolls and I got in that store and wanted to buy EVERYTHING. Sadie was so excited to finally get one. My favorite memory was actually from before our trip. She was agonizing on whether she should get a look alike doll or the girl of the year. In the end she came to me with this reasoning, "The girl of the year is special for just this year, but I'm special every year and so I'm going to get a look alike doll because I'm much more special than just a doll."
Our little personal shopper followed us around as we gave into every whim and fancy of the three girls. That's actually a lie. Nora did not get the double jogging doll stroller OR the VW bug she wanted so badly. Maybe that's why she was so indifferent to her bitty baby.

The girls ended up with a dress that came in every size so they could match. Did you know they even have a dressing room in that store?
We then took the girls out to lunch at the Cheesecake Factory where everyone oohed and ahhed over their adorableness. Sadie even got an entire plate full of extra pickles out of the deal. And somewhere in their Nora decided that she did in fact like her bitty baby, but only because she had a hat. And so now her name is Hat.

 The little boys, meanwhile, were hiking around the Garden of the Gods with my dad.

There was also a swimming party at the hotel. While my parents took the kids to the pool, I napped, Kyle and Dustin worked (after their man lunch-date), and Kathleen tried to decide between playing with the sand or American Girl dolls' hair.

Tuesday we had a girl-date before picking up Olivia from preschool and heading for Breckenridge. The wind started blowing and temperature started dropping. My mom, Kathleen and I browsed the Barn for over an hour. I wanted to buy everything in the store, but alas the two chairs would not fit in my car unless I ditched some kids.
After that we had macaroons, croissants, a lemon bar, a beignet, hot chocolate. . . basically one of everything at Dream Pastries while it started snowing. It felt all sorts of magical.

Until I realized we'd be driving into the mountains in the snow.


More March Madness

Between the temple being dedicated and leaving for spring break, we had exactly 5 days. Poor Dustin had to be out of town, but it was kind of a fun week for me as I got to:

* Have brunch with Sara, Lucy and Allie to finally celebrate her birthday (it was in January). Luke still begs me everyday if we can go to the store and buy a baby.

 * Volunteer at school and catch Ellie before she took off on a field trip to the Renaissance Festival.

* Eat more delicious food when I got together with all my amazingly busy workout friends. Blue Lemon for lunch and Sweet Tooth Fairy for dessert. It's almost like we live in Utah.

 * Attend a piano recital for 3 of my gorgeous and talented kids.

* Find clothes that fit AND matched for free dress day!

 * Teach Art Masterpiece for the 6th grade on Louise Nevelson -- with just 3 volunteers we got all 90 kids taught, glued, sprayed and displayed!

* Hang out at playgroup with all my girlfriends while the boys stuffer "sand babies" into their shirts. This resulted in a no clothes in the car policy being instated.

* Attend the Blue and Gold camp out (the whole family was finally back together for that) where Nate was awarded his Wolf from a few months back.
I was actually surprised he did it since he HATES whipped cream and he usually gags when he tries it, but he was super motivated to get his badge.

* AND still manage to shop and pack for 6 people to go on a 12 day vacation to the SNOW.
You might not be impressed at that thought, but seriously, we live in Arizona. We don't even own enough long sleeved shirts for even 5 days (especially this far after winter is over and all the jeans have holes and the shirts no longer fit), much less ski pants and coats, under layers, snow boots, gloves, goggles, etc.
But we made it and it was totally worth it!