Sadie's Birthday Party

I feel terrible because I have only one photo from Sadie's birthday party. I was trying to clear out some pictures from my iPhone and I went a little too far before I realized I hadn't downloaded photos in awhile. There was only one photo left when I realized my mistake.

Sadie had a Paris party which suited me fine, since I had everything all ready to go from Ellie's birthday party the year before.

My girlfriend, Sara, made cute Eiffel Tower cupcakes for me, Luke dressed up like a mime and let the girls throw pie in his face (best brother ever??) and Ellie and her friend gave the girls makeovers.

I was going to do meats, cheeses and croissants for the food when I realized that no small girls would be impressed with my spread, so Dustin talked me into pizza. It was the easiest party ever, with the cutest girls ever.


Baby Bitsy

Truthfully, my sister hates that nick name, but I find it so fitting. She really is the tiniest little peanut and also the most adorable baby too.
We quit skiing a little early so we could make it out to my sister's before heading to the airport. Everyone fell in love at first sight.
It was a short, but sweet trip and we can't wait to see that cute girl again. If she ever gets off oxygen!!
 Our flight was late at night and I managed to get Luke and Sadie to take a little nap on me, which backfired because I could not get Luke to wake up.
I ended up carrying all 45 pounds of him off the plane, through the airport and to the car.
I cannot even explain how much my biceps hurt the next day. And poor Dustin, after getting home at midnight, had to wake up at 4 to be to the airport for a 6 am flight to Austin. Still worth getting to see the baby!!!


Ski Breck!

Due to everyone's schedules this year we planned our ski trip for January -- with Sadie and Olivia's birthdays right smack in the middle of the fun. Everyone was slated to come, including our very favorite Aunt Kristine, and we were counting down the days to all the fun.
And then Kathleen's baby ended up on oxygen and wasn't allowed to join us up in the mountains. We were all so sad, especially since we were dying to meet Elizabeth. Somehow we still managed to enjoy ourselves.

Actually, truth be told, the beginning was not fun. We flew into Denver and then drove over to Breckenridge. By the time we got there everyone was dehydrated, sick of traveling and starving. But first we had to get all our ski rentals. There are no words to describe the awful-ness of getting ski rentals for 6 people and then carrying it all to the car. Especially when they're hungry, cold and tired.
And to top it off, poor Nate came down with altitude sickness and threw up all night.

But we got food and finally were reunited with our family and all was well.
Knowing that we had to be up early the next day for a full day of skiing, Kristine did a great job of playing games and keeping all of the kids up all night.
 Everyone was excited to get out on the slopes and the little kids were especially excited to see Ms. Sarah, their ski instructor, again. She is not only the master of getting the skiing, but also an angel.
The kids went straight up to the top of the mountain and had some great runs. When we met up with them for lunch they were having the best time. About an hour before the lift shuts down for the end of the day, Sarah texted me this picture.
Now if you know Luke, you know he *never* sleeps. Never. Luckily we were near the lodge, so we popped in to check on him. Just a few minutes after I took him off of her lap, Luke puked all over the floor and table in front of us. He, too, fell victim to altitude sickness. I was actually amazed at how calmly everyone reacted to his throw up. The instructors must see a lot because no one even moved away from us. Luke and Dustin took a ride back down the mountain in the chair lift and went home for the day.

After that it was smooth sailing for the rest of the trip. Everyone was happy and healthy and we spent every second skiing that we could.

The little girls had an extra good time because it was also their BIRTHDAYS!! Olivia's was first and we celebrated with cake!
 The very next day was Sadie's birthday and we had. . . more cake!
She asked for scriptures for her birthday and has faithfully been reading them every night since. She started with Genesis.
 The best part of having your birthday on ski week is that every time they scan your lift ticket, it sings you a happy birthday song!

The kids also loved the sledding hill right by the house.

Making snow angels was not as successful.
And then when they were done in the snow, they headed straight for the hot tub.

The very last day we let the big kids be our ski instructors and take us down some of their favorite runs. It was definitely an adventure, complete with moguls and tree runs. We survived!!
 I never want to leave a vacation, much less a ski vacation, but luckily my parents decided to officially retire to Breckenridge, so I know we will have many more years of fun!


Sadie at 8!

Favorite Color: pink

Favorite Number: 8

Favorite Drink: Pink lemonade

Favorite Food: Chicken and rice

Favorite Dessert: Brownies

Favorite Game: Ghost

Favorite Animal: Pony

Favorite TV Show: Total Drama Island

I feel sad when: I did something wrong

I feel mad when: someone calls me stupid

I like it when my friends: tell me jokes

I like it when I: choose the right

I wish I could: fly

Who is your best friend? Alexa and Faiza

Why? Because they are nice and funny and sweet

What makes you laugh? When somebody tells me a funny joke

What is your favorite movie? Cinderella

What are you most afraid of? The dark

What is your favorite song? anything by Taylor Swift

What is your favorite activity? Play with my family

What do you want to be when you grow up? A singer or a dancer

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

What is the best thing about being eight? Having the Holy Ghost

What makes you special? My family


Back to School

Sad to say that the kids had to go back to school.
The moms celebrated with a very fun and delicious breakfast!! The restaurant put us in our room for good reason. We might have been a little loud and chatty.

Their first day back, everyone brought home report cards! A's for everyone! Honor Roll students deserve. . . free donuts from Krispie Kreme. If only we could say that we didn't eat them all in one sitting.

I was back to subbing the very first week, too. Every once in awhile I'll get a class whose schedule allows me to sneak in lunch with one of my kids.

In January, Luke also received his Principal's Award for his amazing academic improvements. He has definitely come a long way this year.

 And (WARNING: one more Luke picture, I swear I don't love him more than the others) we hit the 100th day of school! To celebrate, Luke watched me make a "100" out of 100 lego bricks. It was actually a lot harder than it would first appear.
Only 80 more days to go!!!


Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

With Ellie and Luke off in Iowa, we didn't sit around much. It felt like we were out and about or my house was filled with kids.
 For Family Home Evening, we went over to the Duclos home to rake leaves into piles and jump into them. Seeing as my kids are native Arizonans, this was a huuuge novelty to them.  Case in point: Ellie just looked over my shoulder and saw this picture and said, "Where *ARE* you?? Somewhere with Fall?"
 After that we sent off dream lanterns. The great idea was to send them off and then follow them to wherever they landed for dessert.
In the end, they floated back down about 3 minutes later in a large empty field right next to where we were and none of us had actually eaten dinner yet, so. . .
We went to Waffle Love. We literally took up the entire place with our brood of children.

 That night, Diane, Kristin and I switched kids around and everyone had a sleepover. I lucked out with the GIRLS!! Only nerd alert, when I sent them to bed, they started reading books??!??
 The next morning I took them all out for the breakfast of champions -- Bosa Donuts. They shared drinks and donuts and even made up a cheer.
When we got back home, they all disappeared and didn't ask for a thing for the rest of the day. At one point I popped out to make sure everyone was still having fun. I found them playing a pretend game where they were homeless.
 After we switched kids back, we quickly headed to the movies to meet Molly, her kids, and the Metcalfe kids for Annie (no picture). The movie was pretty cute, and I was impressed even the boys made it through. Once it was all over we picked up pizza and fed all the kids at my house before some more sleep over swapping. I ended up with all the girls for the night (once again, no pictures).

That night was New Year's Eve and we spent it at Molly's playing games, staying up late and eating yummy, fatty food. I was so grateful for good friends to keep me company and my kids entertained while everyone was off in Iowa.


A Trip to Iowa

Shortly after Christmas, Dustin headed home to Iowa to visit his parents. We didn't want to overwhelm them with all of our crazy crew, so he just took Ellie and Luke while I stayed home with the middles.

Everyone always asked how we determined who got to go and who stayed. It was mainly the fact that Dustin wanted to take Ellie and I told him if he was taking the easiest kid, he was taking the hardest one too.
Ellie and Luke had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa. Ellie and Grandma baked and crafted while Luke had a great time playing with Dustin's old toys.
Probably Luke's favorite part of the trip to Iowa, however, was learning how to play UNO! 
He is obsessed with it now. In fact, I just sent him to bed early because he was so mad that we couldn't play one more hand of UNO.

Ellie's favorite part was going with Grandma to do baptisms at the Nauvoo temple.
It was so cold that the end of her braid froze afterwards.  
Or maybe that happens to people all the time and it's not that cold. We are Arizonans now, we have no idea. It was definitely a novelty to Ellie!

On one of their field trips, they even visited the American Gothic house.
Just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about:
Everyone had a great time but I couldn't wait for them to come home! And now the middle kids can't wait for their turn.