Birthdays Abound

We started the birthday/Halloween week of parties off early last weekend.  First up -- Dustin took Ellie to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.
Then on Sunday night, I had a friend make Dustin his very favorite peanut butter chocolate bars.
The kids dressed Dustin up in Birthday Boy swag -- he does not actually wear blue glasses.

Someone got a little birthday envy, so we let him blow out some candles.

On his actual birthday we showered him with love and affection, along with a new phone case. Luke insisted that we take him out exercise clothes shopping as well. He actually cried when we were giving out gifts because I hadn't taken him to buy Dad his exercise clothes. In the end, I think the kids ended up with more new stuff than he did.

We celebrated BOTH boys with a dinner out at Zinburger and pizzookies for dessert.

Nate's birthday was just two days later. Luckily the party was already over so it was pretty low key.
Bosa donuts are a must for all birthdays around here. Then we opened gifts which included Pokemon caards, and a Harry Potter wand and I let him buy a few new books at the book fair.

I picked up burgers and a shake for lunch up at school and then we celebrated that evening with pancakes, buttermilk syrup and a Ward party.
Nate's best friend, Travis, and family came along with us, and he even got to dunk his own father in the Dunk Tank.
Pretty much the best birthday treat ever!!


Nate at TEN!

Favorite Color: black and blue

Favorite Number: 10

Favorite Drink: root beer

Favorite Food: chips and salsa

Favorite Dessert: brownies

Favorite Game: monopoly

Favorite Animal: cougar

Favorite TV Show: Teen Titans

I feel sad when: someone hurts my feelings

I feel mad when: someone punches me

I like it when my friends: make me laugh

I like it when I: hang out with friends

I wish I could: win a million dollars

Who is your best friend? Daven

Why? Because I've known him the longest

What makes you laugh?When someone acts like a maniac monkey

What is your favorite movie? Alexander and the Terrible Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

What are you most afraid of? Creeping murderer clowns

What is your favorite song? Demons

What is your favorite activity? spend time with my family

What do you want to be when you grow up? A dentist

What three things are you are good at? football, legos, and being kind

What is the best thing about being ten? Being double digits

What makes you special? Everything


Wanda Witch 2014

I look forward to Wanda Witch for an entire 11 months of the year (I like to take month off from the previous one before I start planning the next one). I've hosted it with different friends over the years, and this year Molly stepped in as the new witch.

The teams were amazing with all their pranks and bribes and this year was probably the best one yet. One girlfriend brought us by a treat every night!
 Or there was the epic battle of the bad photos between Rickie and Kristin that ended up with the police being called.
 And when the poor Ducloses couldn't figure out why everyone's Halloween decor and doormats kept showing up on their porch.

Finally the party was here and the team costumes and spirit did not disappoint.

The Walking Red

The Smashing Pump-Cons

Children of the Corn

The Valorous Verde Villians

The Blue Haired Banshees and Boogey Men

The Price is White

We started off with Minute-to-Win-It type games to stagger the teams leaving. Things like Candy Coroners where you took shots of candy corn until you found one with a star.
Fangs a Lot where you memorized a Halloween poem and recited it with fangs in your mouth.
Ding Dong the Witch is Dead where they had to stack Ding Dongs ten high.
Spell Checker where they corrected spelling and grammatical errors.
I Scream Sundae, which was basically mashed potatoes, chocolate syrup, crushed chips, whipped cream and sprinkles!
And finally Witch Came First where they put the Witch movies in order of their release year.

Once the teams were off they ran all over town solving riddles and completing tasks. One clue led to a pool where they had to dive down to find their clue. One team misinterpreted the clue and ended up swimming in some strangers pool!

One clue led to our house where our daughters played witches who gave nothing away (they had to set up a tent before they got their next clue).

They had to find one of my old babysitter's at the movie theaters and replicate a cake at my girlfriend Sara's.
The teams also had to grab a certain drink at Sonic and traipse along the canal to find a Gingerbread house in the forest. The last clue led them to Molly's where they had to complete a puzzle to get the ending location address.

In the end it was looking to be a footrace between the Red Team and the White Team.

WINNERS!! Of the most coveted gold spray painted barbie around.

Giving the 2nd place their prize for winning a little side game The Price is White had put together.

We then ate and chatted while we waited for the rest of the teams to arrive.

 Dustin is now the proud owner of some sweet Wanda Witch swag.


More Fall Break Fun

We didn't just go to Utah for break -- we had some fun back home too!

We have the best neighbors, so the kids spent most of the day running back and forth between houses. I  did manage to wrangle them into a game or two of Go Author! Complete with British accents!

We also went Halloween costume shopping for Luke. The rest of the kids are making theirs.
My sister's best friend from Colorado just moved to Arizona so we made some new friends!

Ellie dressed up as the Lollipop Fairy for a Candyland Themed mutual.

We hiked Picacho Peak with some friends.

It was only in the 80s, but it was stinking hot. We took shade whenever we could.

I lucked out and got the baby!

Picacho Peak is the site of the Western most battle in the Civil War. FACT! Well, I think they call it a skirmish because only 3 people died. Ellie had to choose a Social Studies project for over break and we made an epic poster.

And last but not least -- we had a birthday party for Nate at Xtreme Air. It was worth every penny I spent to just show up and read a book.
I'm so glad this wasn't in my house:
It was a great break. So great I wasn't even ready to send the kids back to school. I already can't wait for Christmas!


Utah 2014 -- Zion's

I wasn't thrilled at the idea of having to drive 12 straight hours home again, so Dustin and I threw around a few ideas of where we could go to split the trip up a little. We settled on Zion's National Park.
I have about a million pictures from Zion's. My kids thought it was so gorgeous they kept stopping and asking me to take a picture of them.

The weather was perfect. It started out a little chilly, so we were never hot when we were hiking.

Our first hike was along the Kayenta trail to all the Emerald Pools. 

I was pretty impressed Luke made it all the way up to the top since it's considered a moderate hike, but I was more surprised that he made it back down in one piece. He was sliding and jumping and I kept yelling, "Luke, slow down! Luke, come back!" In fact one time we passed a couple hiking up and as they approached they said, "You must be Luke! We could hear your mom calling for you as we climbed up the mountain."

 The best part was -- the kids all got along perfectly the whole trip. There's something about vacation that makes everyone a little nicer to be around.


We packed a picnic lunch to eat after our first hike and then focused on the Junior Ranger packets. My kids were relatively obsessed with the whole thing. They could barely enjoy the afternoon because they were so set on getting back for the Ranger presentation on types of rocks that would complete their packets.

I did manage to convince them to do one more hike to the Weeping Rock.

After a full day of hiking we treated ourselves to some Swig

 Please note that Luke is wearing his hard earned Junior Ranger badge.