An Evening in Paris

We bounced a few ideas around for Ellie's 12th birthday party before settling on Paris. I actually tried to get out of it, but it's not every day your daughter turns 12. So I said we'd do it up and then she's have to wait until 16 for the next big party.

Ellie planned a whole night out in the yard, with a big white tent, Christmas lights and eating under the stars. Then the weather blew in. After a few weeks of 90 degree weather, a storm caused the temperature to drop a good 30 degrees overnight. Add in wind gusts at 20 miles an hour and rain too. We ended up changing plans and moving it inside. It ended up being beautiful and wonderful, but definitely squishy and trashed my house.
Are you impressed with that tutu? You should be. It was made in about ten minutes flat. My sister tied it together as we drove to and from picking Luke up from a birthday party.

For dinner we had French fair. Baguettes with soft cheeses, thin meats, or jam. Croissants, fruit, french sparking lemonade, cream puffs, eclairs, meringues and macaroons for dessert. Probably not the best menu for tween girls, but they ate.

After dinner I let the girls go to town and play dress up. I had around 20 dresses, skirts and pairs of high heels for them to choose from, plus all of my jewelry, belts, scarves, makeup and nail polish. It was fun for the girls but slightly stressful for me. The worst part was the scuff marks all over my tile. I was chasing around after the girls with a Mr. Clean magic eraser the entire time. There were literally girls in every room of my house.
We had planned to have a runway walk off outside, but it got moved inside with the dinner. We moved all the furniture around in the living room and rolled out a red carpet complete with a photographer and music. I was worried the girls might think it a bit hokey, but they loved it so much we did it again, and again, and again.
Each time with wardrobe changes, new jewelry and more scuffs on the floor. I am so glad my sister was here because she ran the music, took all the pictures and made sure all the girls had fun despite my obsessive cleaning.  Happy Birthday baby girl!!


Ellie at 12

Favorite Color: pink

Favorite Number: 17

Favorite Drink: Sprite

Favorite Food: Pizza

Favorite Dessert: All of them

Favorite Game: Boo

Favorite Animal: Unibear

Favorite TV Show: n/a

I feel sad when: Luke yells

I feel mad when: I fight with Nate

I like it when my friends: come over

I like it when I: draw

I wish I could: win a million dollars

Who is your best friend? McKenzie

Why? Because she is funny

What makes you laugh? McKenzie

What is your favorite movie? Little Mermaid

What are you most afraid of? Being kidnapped

What is your favorite song? n/a

What is your favorite activity? Drawing and babysitting

What do you want to be when you grow up? An rich person

What three things are you are good at? Art, smiling and laughing

What is the best thing about being twelve? Young Womens

What makes you special? My family



We played it real laid back for Easter this year. Before anyone feels too sorry for us, we wanted it that way. Dustin has been traveling extensively this year and missing most holidays and special events. That coupled with his church schedule means we barely see him. We were more than excited to have a day free of meetings and commitments.

It was for the best anyway. The day before we had just gotten back from camping and then gone straight out for the night to celebrate a friend's birthday. I woke up to a pile of laundry, a mess the kids had made the night before and an upset stomach.
I got everyone dressed in their Easter finest and pulled on some clothes because I really wanted to hear the kids sing in Sacrament Meeting and Sadie wanted me to come for her talk. I keep thinking every year will be the last year the kids will let me make them match, and every year no one says a word.

At church, I made Dustin take Nate up front with him so I wouldn't have to wrestle all four kids.
Managed to make it through the first hour and Sadie's talk, but before the second hour was up, Sadie was fevery and had an upset stomach too. We headed home to put on some PJs and take a nap before a neighbor brought the rest of the kids home. They were full of sugar and energy!

Dustin got home around 2 and I got out of bed to put together Easter baskets (water bottles, flip flops, a few books and swimsuits -- I was so proud of how light I went this year) and hide eggs. We introduced the golden egg filled with dollar bills this year. Those were kind of fun. Please note that there are no pictures. I was that sick. In fact I'm still in bed as I type this.

We doubled up on Easter dinner and Ellie's birthday dinner since Dustin will be out of town for that. She requested square steak (a Mangum family specialty) and potatoes. One of the books I bought the kids was Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake so Dustin even made a spur of the moment chocolate cake for dessert. It was actually a beautiful day, I just wish I hadn't been  so darn sick.


Camping -- FOR REAL!

My eleven year old has never been camping. Other than Girl's Camp, I don't think *I've* gone camping. When Dustin went to buy a tent, he asked me how big of a tent he should buy. I said, "Big enough of 3 because that's the largest number of people that will ever be sleeping in there." And yet, we went camping. I think people were in shock. My own mother could not believe it. And what's even more surprising -- everyone liked it.

A group of friends were at a park one lovely spring day, where they planned an Good Friday camping trip. Even though I was off skiing in snowy Colorado at the time, I lucked out with an invite. I've always told people we would go if anyone put a trip together so it was time to make good on my promise.

Important facts: Dustin actually knows how to camp. It's not like I was alone with no supplies or clue on how to proceed. And I've been to Girl's Camp -- tent camping.
Also important facts: Susan has a luxury trailer so I only had to pee in the woods twice (because she was asleep). It also was great entertainment for the little boys who spent most of their time in there since they were freezing. It was like camping with the Rockefellers.

More important facts: Jill and Noah have a cooking trailer with griddles and grills so no one had to bring up any pots, pans or cooking utensils. When divided up meals, we were with the Tylers Saturday morning. Jill said she'd just buy everything, so basically my assignment was donuts and muffins. It was a pretty cushy camping set up.

We got to camp around 1 and all the menfolk came over to help Dustin set up our two tents (kid tent and adult tent). I realized that it was actually freezing cold outside also. This is after everyone assured me that it would be perfect camping weather. And then it started raining. Not a great start.

The kids did not seem to mind. They all ran off only coming back to camp when the Munroes pulled out the quad and dirt bikes.

Tia and I decided to earn our keep (since I had done basically nothing for this trip) and set off to collect firewood. We were rather proud of ourselves for bringing back a piece off wood about the size of an adult.

Eventually it got so cold that we all gathered around the fire for a few rounds of the Name Game. Playing the Name Game with 40 people is hard.

We all fought over baby Remi.

The Sherwoods are hardcore Colorado campers, so of course Mike had all sort of good stuff. He set up a giant tree swing which the kids loved.

The kids took turns going on firewood runs since the fire was going non-stop.
 I'm pretty sure Sadie looked ridiculous in every picture I took. She loved chopping wood.

After dinner we roasted marshmallows and the kids started dropping like flies. This was actually my favorite part of the night as one by one a little one would fall asleep in someone's arms. In the end it was just the older kids and adults.
The older kids told us some of the funniest jokes, Mike told us the horror story of Alma and the Steel Toed Boots, we invented a passive aggressive tense and sang about Dustin's sleep pants.

Mike and Tia broke out the most delicious root beer, so it looked like a real bon fire.

The night was cold. My toes could not get warm so ended up begging Dustin for clothes to wrap around them. Eventually one of the times I woke up the sun was up and I was so grateful for morning. Except that it was only 5:23 when I looked at the time. Luckily, Ethan Munroe was up and got a fire going for all of us.

There was some awesome bed head going on as we all wandered out of our tents.
Compared to most everyone's night, mine was tame. I didn't end up with a kid in my sleeping bag or having to take the baby into the car because she was up all night. Nate did choose to sleep in the car.

While we all struck camp, the big kids hid easter eggs for the little ones. In case you were wondering how many kids there were, there were a lot.
After camp was all picked up, we let the kids ride on the Munroe's toys for a few more hours before we headed home. The first thing Ellie said when we got in the car was, "Are we going camping again? Because I loved it."



I believe in superheroes. In fact, I've surrounded myself with them. I know you're gagging right about now, but that's just because your friends are probably all great people, but since they're not as as amazing as mine, you just cannot comprehend my love and adoration for them. I have the funniest, wackiest, most supportive and talented group of girlfriends in the universe. Not a day goes by that I don't see at least one of them and I'm so grateful for that. The last few weeks have been perfect because I gotten to celebrate so many of them.

My mornings usually start with this girl:
 Kristin has been my work out buddy for over 2 years now and I hate working out on days when she's not there. No one is as funny and as peppy in the morning as she is. One day she showed up at the gym with these matching shirts for us. We were so excited to put them on except they were made out of ridiculously thick material so we were sweating up a storm. We also kept smelling a fish stench when we went into the gym. After smelling the floors and switching mats we realized it was our shirts!! They must have been fresh off the boats from Asia.

Diane had a birthday which we celebrated three times over! Once with a brunch at Liberty Market, and then the next week with a tea party at her house. Her back yard is so gorgeous and the weather was perfect. We went over at 9:30 and stayed until the kids came home from school. It was a perfect day.
 The next day, her actual birthday, we went out for Joe's where Luke about drove me insane. He wanted soda. And then he wanted milk instead. And he didn't want to wait in line. He wanted mac and cheese and then they ran out. . .  Luckily he and Charlotte disappeared under the table with our iPhones and we were still able to enjoy lunch.

The next week was Lindy's birthday. We had a wonderful lunch at Costa Vida, successful shopping at Anthropologie, some Sweet Tooth Fairy annnnnnnd Kristin got hit by a car.
We were dropping Lindy off at her car when a lady backed into Kristin's front bumper not once but TWICE! Like backed into her, went back into her parking space and then reversed and hit her car AGAIN. It was a memorable day for all!


Extracurricular Activities

Nate and Ellie have been keeping us busy these days.

Nate is back for another season of football. That means on top of crossfit twice a week and Scouts, he has football twice a week and games on Saturday. Thank heavens our piano teacher had a baby and is taking a few months off.
This season he is playing on the best team. It probably helps that his coach is our neighbor and he has some of his favorite friends on his team.

Meanwhile, Ellie has been trying to earn money for Girl's Camp this summer. She learned to make these adorable felt bows at my sister's so we thought she could sell them for fifty cents each.
I sent a text to a few friends and before we knew it she had made almost 200 bows in just a few short days. She worked so hard and I'm so proud of her. I kind of felt like I was running a sweat shop with child laborers. I did take pity and help her cut out some of the bows, but other than that, the work was all up to her.

Luke is still begging me for a baby. We got a baby fix when my girlfriend had us babysit one Sunday.
It's not going to happen buddy. Sorry.


Conference Weekend

Another favorite tradition around our house is General Conference weekend. I don't have anything specific I do for the kids, so that's always a toss up.  I've tried the candy jars, packets, puzzles, building forts, taking notes. . . I still haven't found anything I love. This year we just gave the kids candy for every talk they listened to.

Saturday night, however, we have a tradition of getting together with girlfriend's during the Priesthood Session. We have a potluck, pick up pizza for the kids and talk about what we loved from the Saturday sessions of conference. This year we had 37 kids running around.
 It always makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to see them together. Without any siblings or parents around, it's amazing to me that my kids can grow up around these kids like they're family. They have all been together for so long that there is never anyone left out and no teasing either. Everyone feels part of the group.

And of course my gorgeous girlfriends are all the best company I could ask for.
The boys all go out afterwards, so Molly, Meredith and I all switch kids for sleepovers. This year I got Brynley and Sadie and Luke and Zac. Luke and Zac insisted on sharing a bed, so I was surprised they actually fell asleep.

Our Ward had an assignment to serve at home for mentally handicapped adults, so I headed over for brunch at Meredith's with the kids while Dustin was off with the youth for the day. We ate a lot of food.
Too much food! We always go over for brunch and end up staying until bedtime, so we've started planning for dinner too. The kids make a movie and present it after dinner. There always seems to be some sort of dance scene which is probably my favorite part of the movie every year.
For the April session, we get to celebrate Amelia's birthday too. After gorging ourselves all day, we still managed to stuff our faces with cookies and cupcakes.


April Fool's

Children make holidays more magical. They also make them a lot more work. I very stupidly started being awesome with holidays about the same time Pinterest emerged and I had a million and one ideas to choose from. I now no longer even check Pinterest because I don't want to feel guilty for all the things I am *not* doing. So it's no surprise that I hadn't given a lot of thought to April Fool's this year. The kids, however, insisted that I put on the full show: morning pranks, funny lunches, and the Wacky Cafe for dinner.

I thought it would be so funny to move the kids around into each other's beds but I couldn't stay up long enough to make sure they were in a deep sleep, so I just moved their bedding around. Nate got a pink money and pink blanket.  Sadie got Ho Ho and a BYU pillow and we shoved all of the stuffed animals in the entire house into Ellie's bed with her. Only the joke was on us. Each of the kids woke up at least once during the night crying for a missing object.
While they ate breakfast I had them fill out their dinner orders so I could make sure I had all the ingredients. I went Disney themed this year and had them pick 2-3 items from 4 different Disney movies.

Once the children were off to school I proceeded to waste the entire morning with Kristin pulling a prank on our personal trainer. Actually, a morning with Kristin is never a waste. Anytime we complain during the workout, the trainers tell us that we can go do pink weights at . We thought it would be hysterical to go take some pictures outside of the gym with our pink weights and put it on their facebook page telling them not to charge us for the month. Our genius idea was very poorly thought through, especially since we only had Luke to take a picture of us:
 As there was no one at the front desk and no one going in and out of the gym, we had to wait forever until someone came out of the store next door. This gym also offers pizza once a month, so we thought it would be even funnier to do a SECOND picture of us eating pizza.  Except Little Cesar's wasn't opened that early in that morning, so while we were waiting around we got Kristin some new running shoes.
 Luke wanted me to take a picture of him too.
 After shoes and pizza, we talked Diane into coming over and taking a dumb picture for us.
 Two and a half hours later, we thought we were the funniest people on the planet.

Then it was time to come home and get ready for dinner.
Buzz's Rocket Fuel to drink, Mr. Potatohead Wouldn't Approve, Anna's Construction Materials, Ariel's Schoolmates, Tick Tock Clock's Doppleganger, and Sven's Delight
I probably should have checked people's orders better because Sadie ended up with a rather unhealthy dinner of snack food.  Luke's wasn't much better.
But the kids love the Wacky Cafe and it was great for me not to have to cook since Dustin was out of town. And with that the holidays are over.  PHEW!


Pineweood Derby

Almost two months ago, Nate received his pinewood derby at pack meeting. I always wonder if there is really a person in the universe who doesn't leave their car until the last minute. Certainly not in this house. The Monday before the races (already ahead of last year's schedule), Dustin took Nate over to cut his car into the "wedge" shape he had drawn out. Then he left town, leaving me confused over which was the car and which was the leftover piece of wood that Dustin wanted to use as a doorstop for his church office. Nate was suppose to sand the car while he was gone, but then there was the whole concussion, Sadie getting sick and the fact that I'm completely useless when it comes to anything "handy." So yeah, you know, it didn't get done. Friday afternoon all the neighborhood boys were over at our house and not one of them had spray painted their car, so I felt a little bit better.
Between birthday parties and football, it ended up getting one coat of black paint and exactly zero decorations. When they should have been out the door for the weigh-in, Nate was sitting in the kitchen trying to cut a lightening bolt to stick on the top. I quickly found a BYU face tattoo and we slapped that baby on there at the last second. Nate promptly named it, "Black Cougar." Fierce.

After throwing the car together so haphazardly I wasn't expecting great things, but in the end, Nate WON! The whole darn thing. I don't know who was more excited over the win -- Nate or Luke. We put the car and trophy up in a place of honor, but Luke kept climbing up to get it down.

I asked Nate what he remembered about his last race. He could only think of two things: "When we were racing, we were tied until the very last second. And that I yelled when I won, 'I WON!'"