Meet The Nat Pack!

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The Nat Pack: The super fashionable, super mod, super hip family consisting of Nat, Pete, Jakob, Brock, Troy, and Ivy. Like The Rat Pack, only younger, cuter, and not as rich or famous.

Monday, August 31, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance?

Jakob does. But wait, he really can dance. He loves watching a guy named Phillip Chbeeb; Jake mimics his moves, but does his own as well:
video
And here's the video of Phillip Chbeeb, who tried out for "So You Think You Can Dance":


*sigh* I love my little break dancer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Too Cool for School. Wait-Just Too Cool for Mom.


My cute Jakob started school on Monday. When I woke him up in the morning he had a big old grin on his face. He was so excited! He had picked out his clothes the night before in his head. But instead of wearing his new Transformers shirt like he said he wanted to, he changed his mind and wore an old ragged shirt that is stained and too small for him. Good times. But hey, he was happy, so whatever. (Incidentally, he hasn't worn a new shirt all week. *sigh*)
He also wore a jacket that's too small for him. But he wore his new shoes, of which he was so proud.

Arin and I took our now traditional first day of school picture by my really happy healthy dogwood bush:

They caught the bus, and off he went! When he got home he didn't seem very happy. I asked how his day went, and he said, "BAD. I couldn't find the right bus to come home on." (But hey, he found the right bus eventually, unlike last year.)

But I think other than that it went well, with as little information as I can get out of him. Our typical conversation: Me: Jake, how was school? Jakob: Good. Me: What did you learn about today? Jakob: Nothing. Me: Really? So you just sat there and didn't talk about anything? Jakob: (eye roll) Mo-om, I just went to school, ok-ay?


Then on Tuesday I asked him if he wanted me to wait outside with him for the bus, and he said yes. But while we were waiting, and talking, I said, "Jakob, I want a hug." And he goes, "Mom, not right now. There's a car coming, and they'll see." WELL, then.

I guess I kind of hoped that we wouldn't hit this phase yet-you know, the "my parents are such nerds, and don't touch me because it will be so embarrassing" phase. I knew it was coming, I just wanted it to come when he's 15-ish, not 6. I guess it's part of him growing up, and I have to let him. I just know I'll miss cuddling with him in the morning when he would come in to wake me up. And I'll miss being able to hold him and kiss him and hug him any time, or pull him onto my lap. But even though he's getting bigger and older and smarter and becoming too cool for me, I hope that deep inside he'll always know that I love him. And I hope that our relationship can change from the cuddly little boy phase to the kindred spirits/friends phase. Oh, how I hope.

Because I want this kid to be one of my friends forever.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes

My poor, ragamuffin, white trash children. I've been making them wear their too small, holes in the toes, soles worn off shoes all summer. Thus (Troy's):

And thus (Brock's):

And thus (Jakob's):

And poor Ivy didn't wear any shoes all summer. (Not that I didn't try with her, but she can't, or won't, keep them on to save her life. Though she is a girl, and so she is born with a shoe fetish, and tries on everyone else's shoes.)

With school starting, the boys all got new socks, new pants, shirts, undies, and...

NEW SHOES!

Oh, how I love new shoes. And my boys are so excited to start wearing their new shoes as well. Jakob even learned to tie his by himself.

The dread/nervousness of starting a new school year is turning into excitement. And what a better way to start off on a new road not yet traveled, but in shoes not yet traveled in?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Food for Thought

Okay, wonderful moms out there. I need some help. School starts in three days (and my insides do a little lurch at the thought). After looking at the menu from the school, I spotted a few meals that I think Jakob might try, but as picky as he is I'll most likely be packing his lunch every day.

On the few days last year that Jakob had to take a lunch (they do this flip-floppy thing with the kindergartners-don't ask), I would normally do a pb&j sandwich, string cheese, fruit snacks, a drink, and some kind of dessert/chocolate, if we had it. Something like that. But having that day after day? Bo-ring! I could go out on a limb with something as crazy as a pb&honey sandwich, or even -gasp!- a ham and cheese sandwich (whoa, there! the mind numbs at the possibilities!), but other than that...

So, what do you pack in your kids' lunches, so it's not the same thing every day?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Long and the Short of It

My kids hate wearing shorts. I have no idea why. Today, Jakob asked if he could wear pants, and I said yes, but his pants are being cleaned as I type. So, instead of wearing shorts, of which he has ample amounts in his drawer, he opted to wait for his jeans to be cleaned, and is now sitting on the couch in his undies. Whatever, dude.

Although, I have never really been a shorts wearer, either. But I have some really good reasons:
-I don't shave my legs as often as I should during shorts weather (I'm usually in a hurry or I forget until I'm drying off after my shower).
-I'm cold, like, all the time
-My shorts, until this year, have been baggy and weirdly-shaped, so that I look frumpy(er) and short(er). (I bought some new ones this year, thank goodness.)
-My legs are so white they make snow look gray

But my kids? They don't need to shave their legs (in fact, that would be weird). They're little furnaces. They have these skinny little cute bodies. And they tan easily (I have no idea where they got that from). So, what's the problem? Not a clue. They get really hot outside in their pants, too, yet they refuse the shorts.

Not that I haven't tried to get them into shorts for the two-ish months of "summer" that we experience in Idaho. I've tried many forms of coercion:

1. Concealment. Hiding the pants, so their only choice is shorts or the one pair of pants that has massive holes in the knees. Obviously, today that hasn't worked.

2. Reasoning. "There's only two months of summer. And you'll overheat if you wear pants outside."

3. Persuasion. "You want to wear shorts. You need to wear shorts. Listen to the sound of my voice..." (Hey, maybe I should try hypnotism.)

4. Threats. "You'd better wear shorts today, or I'll cut off all your pants at the knee and you'll have to wear shorts year round!"

5. Bribery. "If you wear shorts today, I'll give you some chocolate."

6. Reverse psychology (with some sarcasm). "Wear pants. It will probably get cold today, like 85 degrees out."

7. Peer pressure. "All the other kids are wearing shorts today."

8. Passive aggressiveness. "Fine. See if I care. I'm only the one who birthed you. My opinion as your mother shouldn't carry any weight."

All to no avail. But, the battle will be over soon, as school starts in 5 days, and then it will get very cold very soon. And maybe next year, I'll come up with some new tactics that will work. After all, I'll have 10 or so months to come up with something.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Anticipation

School starts soon; it has come sooner than I thought it would. The school supplies are bought, new clothes are waiting to fill the void of the very worn out, very getting-too-small old clothes and shoes that have been or will be shortly discarded; the weather is even cooling down, signaling that our short short summer is over.

I feel like it's me that's going to be starting school instead of my children; I've had this gut-wrenching, nervous, excited, anticipatory feeling for the last week or so. Because it's not just school that's starting, but about 50 thousand other things, too. We're going to be busy.

Busy is good, but man, if I put one foot out of line, just shirk my responsibilities for one day, I'm going to be screwed. I made a little schedule, complete with color-coded blocks of time (I'm totally not OCD, I promise), so everything fits into place, and hopefully I have the energy to carry it out week after week. Right now, we get up, and get ready for a day of leisure and play. In a week, well... Besides school and homework for Jakob, we have preschool for Brock twice a week, pre-preschool for Troy twice a week, karate lessons for Jakob twice a week; I will be teaching piano lessons three days a week, exercising twice a week, and having Jakob help me with a few chores for an allowance. Instead of getting up at 8 or 8:30, we'll be getting up at 7:00. Instead of the leisure, we'll be running around, constantly doing. I dread it, but I also look forward to it.

I hope that, because we (ahem, I) will be "ceasing to be idle", that we (ahem, I) will be able to accomplish great things. That I'll be able to cherish the down time (because, thankfully, there still is a small bit of that). That I will find joy in the busyness and thrive in the chaos (which has happened to me in the past, so I hope it is still true of my character now).


But, oh. Heaven help me. (Because seriously? Look at this thing.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Transforming Into a Little Man

My little Jakob turned six (six!) on Sunday. And, as is custom with him, he has a new current love: Transformers.

On Saturday, Pete took him and the other boys to the G.I. Joe movie, then we ate at his restaurant of choice, McDonald's (yum, yum-blech-but hey, birthday person gets to choose, so there it is).

Then on Sunday morning, we had him open one gift before church-the Book of Mormon he had been asking for, complete with a bookmark. He was so excited. (It made me so glad that when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, the first thing out of his mouth was "scriptures".)

I made his cake, and surprise!-it has the Autobot logo on it. I did the red part with fondant, which is like a smooth frosting. It's consistency is kind of like dough, so I rolled it out, and cut out the pieces following a picture I found on the lovely internet. It was my first time trying my hand at fondant, and it turned out fairly well. Although up close it looks all wrinkly. Like a grandpa sans dentures transformer. But can I get a "what what" for at least trying?

Besides scriptures, Jakob got clothes (which, like Troy, he immediately dismissed), a CTR ring, a transformer and the Transformer movie (yay for good parenting and giving our child a PG-13 movie!), a watch (which he also had asked for), a little bank because he's going to start earning an allowance and helping me with some chores (which Brock snatched up and tried taking the money out for himself), and some coloring/ painting/ drawing stuff.

I love my Jakob. I love his little faces and expressions that he makes. I love that he's trying to learn and asks a million questions, and how good of a reader he is becoming. I love that he loves this, and totally tries all the moves himself. He's a wonderful older brother and a terrific helper to his mom and dad.

My six-year-old, soon to be 1st grader, soon to be a karate man:


And what would this birthday post be without a slide show?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Flea!

My Troy boy turned "flea" (or, three, for those of you who don't speak Troyese) last Monday. (Yes, I suck right now getting posts up in a timely manner. I hope to remedy that soon. Ish.)

For Troy's birthday, we went to McDonald's, and then to the park where it was stinking hot out. Then that night we had my family over for presents and cake.

This time around, I decided that instead of spending $20 on a cake that is generally pretty gross - cute, but not all that tasty - I would try my hand at putting something onto a cake by myself. It took me about 2 or 3 hours, but I decorated Mickey Mouse. I'm sure it's not the best piece of cakework out there, but at least it's not a cake wreck. Hopefully. I did, however, have to talk Troy down from Bumblebee to something slightly easier, but he was happy with it.

Troy got some clothes (which he was like, uh, what's up with this?), and a Mickey Mouse toy, that his sister and Brock and he have all been fighting over since, and a transformer that Jakob has kind of adopted, and a "walmart" (which is a lawnmower). He LOVES that lawnmower. He seriously pushed it around the yard for an hour straight. It blows bubbles and everything.

And for your enjoyment, some Troyisms:
flea = three
sprinkler = sparkler
sparkler = sprinkler
walmart = lawnmower
Rice Christmas trees = Rice Krispie Treats
I'm not naked = he really IS naked
I'm not poopy = he just pooped in his diaper

And for even more enjoyment, a slide show. And the angels started singing when they beheld its glory.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Gittin Mee Sum Edukaytid

My awesome mom took me and my sister to Education Week on Saturday up at Ricks (a.k.a. BYU-I). It was wonderful-to learn, to be touched by the spirit, and to be very very silly.

We walked by the different statues and took pictures of us imitating them. Then we saw a fountain in a really pretty garden area, and Kar and I posed doing "Three Coins in a Fountain", like the guys in the hilarious play Forever Plaid.
After the day was over, we ate at a little place called Chiz's, in St. Anthony. Very, um, small town. They serve Chinese there, as well as burgers. Who knew?

The first class was on marriage. The speaker talked about finding out your spouse's needs, and trying to meet those needs (and have your spouse meet your needs in reciprocation). Find, then meet, the needs of our spouse.

He also said always ask yourself, "What can I do to be a better spouse?", but you could fill in any word: a better parent, or better at my job, etc.

The second class was on the Proclamation to the World, and he focused on one section: Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities.
A quote by Russell M. Nelson: Marriage—especially temple marriage—and family ties involve covenant relationships. They cannot be regarded casually. With divorce rates escalating throughout the world today, it is apparent that many spouses are failing to endure to the end of their commitments to each other. And some temple marriages fail because a husband forgets that his highest and most important priesthood duty is to honor and sustain his wife. The best thing that a father can do for his children is to “love their mother.” (Here's a link to the talk.)

The third talk was on raising resilient kids, to teach them I am, I can, and I have. We need to teach children to face their problems, to rely on the Lord, and to let them solve problems themselves instead of us rescuing them. Kids look to us to see how we respond to a crisis or to stress; do they see fear or faith? We need to teach them that behavior=consequences. We need to ask them questions on how they are going to solve their problems, (what have you thought of? have you prayed about it?), not tell them what to do (fix it this way, stop doing that, you must, you can't).

The fourth class was on forgiveness, how we need to look past man's faults to eternity. Forgiveness is an act. The sin of refusing to forgive involves us in the sin of refusing to accept Christ's forgiveness. (Read The Hiding Place, by Corrie ten Boom, for the ultimate lesson in forgiveness.)

Our last class was on family time and traditions. She talked about how everything that leads to meaningful family beliefs and a transfer of values is worth keeping. From family home evening, to family scripture study and prayers, to the things we do on holidays like Easter and Christmas, to teaching children to clean and cook, any time spent with children and with family can become a tradition. We should just do our best; it doesn't have to be fancy or expensive-some of the best times and things are free.

It was a very fun, very fulfilling day. Thanks, Mom!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Swimming with Pikes

Jakob and Brock took swimming lessons the last two weeks. Their class was called "pike"; it's the very super beginners level, and as they haven't ever had lessons before, I figured that's where they should start.


They loved it, and they did great! Here's Brock with his teacher doing a back float:


Although, this is what Brock's lessons looked like most of the time (clinging onto the teacher for dear life):

He's just very unsure in the water, but by the end of the lessons he was doing a lot better.

And here's Jakob, my little fish:


Here's his back float:

His only problem was wanting to swim too much; when they were supposed to sit on the edge and wait their turn he would be wiggling around and splashing with the other kids. But near the end he got a lot better about that, too.

Well, Jakob passed onto the next level, but Brock didn't. I debated signing them up again this week, but another two weeks of sitting in the super hot, super humid upstairs room with my other two little wiggly kids didn't exactly appeal to me. Though I may sign them up this winter. Maybe the upstairs room won't be as hot or humid then. Because really, the swim lessons for my kids should be all about my comfort, right?