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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pete's Girly Birthday

I wonder if Pete was wondering if I was going to post about his 32nd birthday. Well, wonder no more, Pete, because HERE IT IS IN ALL ITS GLORY! WOOOO!

The discussion about Pete's birthday went something like this:
Me: So, what do you want for your birthday?
Pete: I don't, I really have no idea.
Me: So, what do you want to do for your birthday?
Pete: I don't, I really have no idea.

Ah, the passion. The decisiveness. So much to work with.

We ended up going to "How to Train Your Dragon", in 3D (WOOOO!). It was really, really, really cute. Totally buying it when it comes out on DVD. But I don't think it was worth the extra $3 a ticket to see in 3D, especially since Troy wouldn't keep his glasses on. Live and learn.

Then Pete opened up his gifts.

Pete got some new dress shirts and a tie, and a work shirt. He also got some planes, courtesy of Jake...

...and a Bella Barbie doll and a Twilight Jacob shirt.

And, just FYI, the last two aren't "real" gifts. It was more of a "this is money spent, so take these back and get something that you actually want that costs this much" kind of gift. Besides, Pete's a Team Edward, anyway.

After gifts we had cake. Pete thought Brock's birthday cake was yummy (chocolate and white marble cake), so I ordered one for him. The inscription reads "Happy Birthday Princess". Yes, it was on purpose. I thought it would be funny to get my husband a little girl's cake. The lady that took my order was holding back laughter while I was ordering it. When I picked it up, the lady said, "Wait, this is the one for the husband, huh?" and started laughing. Most importantly, though, Pete laughed about it. For like, 5 minutes.

And oh, it was yummy.

Ivy loved the cake, too. When she saw it she went "oooOOOOooo!" Pete graciously gave her the crown and sceptre that came on the cake.

That look totally reads, "Ah, now I know that they know that I have the power!"

After the kids went to bed, Pete and I got some Texas Roadhouse (to go), and watched a movie. We did that for Valentine's day, and it rocked. And it was SOOO yummy! No kids begging for food, no crowds to fight...totally awesome.

Well, Pete, I hope you enjoyed your birthday, because I sure had fun. WOOOO!

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Wake-up call #1: Pete and I watched "The Bucket List" the other night. It was more philosophical than I would have guessed. Pretty much, though, two guys travel the world and have these experiences, things that they've always wanted to do but just have put off. In one moment of the movie, Morgan Freeman tells Jack Nicholson that the Egyptians believed that you must answer two questions correctly in order to get into heaven. Question one is "Have you found joy in your life?" And question two is "Have you brought joy to others?" I really liked that. But the whole time, I thought, what is on my bucket list?

Wake-up call #2: We have an awesome new Beehive advisor in Young Women's. And she introduced herself, and asked the girls to introduce themselves and say what they like to do, etc. When it got to me, I said, "Uh, well, I'm Natalie, and uh, I have four kids, and, um, I..." I think I mumbled out something about teaching piano, and later was all, "Oh yeah! I love chocolate! And Coke!" Seriously, I couldn't think of a single thing that I currently do in my life that is just for me, just for fun. And I felt lame that two things with which I defined myself were food items. Am I...just an absorber/calorie burner?

Wake-up call #3: Jake and I were talking one day. And he asked, "Mom, what do you like to do?" Again, I fumbled with an answer. "Well, I, um, I like to cross stitch." I thought about the last time I had cross stitched something. It was at least two years ago, a piece I had done for my mom. "I like to play piano." I play all the time, but when was the last time I just sat and played for myself, or learned a new piece just because I wanted to? "Um, I like playing racquetball." Again, the last time I played I think I was pregnant with Brock. 5+ years ago. "I like to scrapbook." Though I haven't done that in over two years, and besides, I'm moving to the digital world in that arena. I kept thinking, are my hobbies things of the past? Am I made up of things that I used to do? What are my hobbies now? Am I just so busy with the daily grind, and so mixed up in my children's lives that I don't have time to be me any more?

Wake-up call #4: A couple of Sundays ago, a cute little girl played the violin in church. She did a fabulous job. I've always loved hearing the violin, and I was totally crying. Jakob was sitting next to me, and after she was done, he said, "Mom, that was so beautiful. I sat like a statue to listen. I could be a statue all day long." I agreed with him. I could listen all day long, too. I kind of had a twinge of regret, that I haven't tried to learn something new.


So, let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

Basically, I'm wondering where I am. Where did I go? Did I get lost in my "job", so much so that I no longer have interests outside of my kids? Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, I love what I do. But lately, I've felt like all that I do are the things I should do (which is still fun and rewarding and fabulous), rather than something that I want to do, that is totally just for me. I almost feel like I've let time slip by.

When I was younger, my parents enrolled me in different classes-gymnastics for a year, jazz dancing for a year, singing lessons for a year...But the only thing that stuck long-term was piano. I also did other things for several years, like water skiing and snow skiing. At first I hated both, for years and years. Then I eventually liked them. Now...I'm kind of at a point where I could take them or leave them. I'm just saying that I'm not going to buy a season pass to a ski resort, or go out and buy a boat. Here and there, sure, but they aren't something that I absolutely love.

I think there were other things that I could have tried, that I should have tried. I took swim lessons, and I remember in one of my classes the teacher told my mom that I was a really good swimmer. She suggested that I join the swim team. (A city team? A school team? I really don't remember.) I was flattered. But it never came to be. I don't know if it's because I was shy and lacked confidence, and so I didn't try, or if I left it in my mom's hands to pursue the option, and she just never followed through, or what. But, thinking back, what if I had done that? Missed opportunity.

When I was a freshman in college, I decided to take a racquetball class. Just because. My roommate told me I'd hate it. But I LOVED it, from day one. And almost every semester, I signed up for a racquetball class. It was twice a week, but I'd go once or twice a week extra with friends. I'm glad I got to try it. And I would love to go again. Though right now I'd have to find a babysitter if I wanted to go. But that's kind of beside the point. The point is, I tried something, just for fun, and if I would have hated it, then oh well, at least I tried, kind of like I did when I was younger with dance class, etc.

I want to try stuff again. New stuff. I want to pick up on the old stuff that I love, too. And not put it off because I have something that I have to do. Because I always will have stuff that I have to do. That list just never ends. I always think, oh, someday I'd like to... or, maybe such-and-such would be fun... or, if I have time tonight, maybe I'll...


That was a lot more 'splainin', a lot less summing up. Let me try again.

I need to stop "some day"-ing my life.

So, what's on my Bucket List? What do I want to do/learn/try/pick up again?

-I want to learn a new instrument. I love the harp, the cello, the violin, the guitar. Apparently, I'm drawn to string instruments. My mom said there are community classes offered where I could learn guitar or something. I really want to check into that, hopefully this summer.
-There's a piano piece that I've always wanted to learn. I even have the music. "Rhapsody in Blue", by Gershwin.
-I have a beautiful cross stitch, just sitting in my closet, ready to pull out.
-I want to go to Austria again.
-I want to go to Grand Cayman again. (Pete and I are planning to do this for our 10-year anniversary.)
-I would love to take a photography class.
-I wish I was artistic. Some kind of pottery class or something would be fun.
-Gotta do the digital scrapbooking. I've been thinking about this a lot lately.
-I've always wanted to be able to do back handsprings. But I think the window has closed on that one for me. (And I get all twisted around when I go upside down-I can't tell up from down. I know I'd fall flat on my face.)
-I love dancing. I took a ballroom class in college, and loved every minute of it. Dancing like that again would be so fun.
-I love to read. I feel the need...for read(ing). (You can tell I watch a lot of movies, though. Sheesh.)
-A cake decorating class would be awesome. I tried doing fondant, and it was fun, and it was terrible-looking because it was the first time I had done it. But making cool cakes would be so fun.
-I graduated in finance. I want to actually do something with my degree.

So, that's the tip of the iceberg, bucket list-wise. There are so many things I want to do and try and be. And not that I want to push aside my responsibilities and be completely selfish, but I want to experience. And I don't want to wait to experience until my kids are out of the house. So, maybe a little here, a little there. So that, when someone asks me about me, I can say what my current hobbies are, and what I'm actually doing, instead of what I used to do, or what I'd like to do someday.

I saw this quote on Mormon Mommy Blogs the other day. So, for a sum up (for real this time):
"If we as mothers do something we absolutely love alongside raising children we absolutely love, we will almost guarantee that our children will be raised in an atmosphere steeped in joy." -Debra Sansing Woods, It's Okay To Take A Nap

Saturday, March 20, 2010

A Smattering

There are about 4 million things that I haven't blogged about. Because I'm a winner like that. But now I wanna, so I'm gonna.

-I love my calling. And the ladies I work with are A-MAZ-ING. End of story.

-Jakob had a dance competition last Saturday. He was awesome. I seriously had tears in my eyes that I had to choke back while watching.

-My parents, who are The Awesomest Parents of All Time, have taken me and some of my sisters to a couple of different plays. One was "Forever Plaid", which is one of my favorites, and the other was a Shakespearean improv by a group called iO Theater. Seriously, so funny.

-I suck at improvising.

-My parents also paid for a hotel room in our town, and we swam at the really warm pool and ate pizza and watched a movie. Did I mention that my parents are the awesomest of all time?

-My cute sister Brianna, who I call Beej, came to visit from New York where she lives. We watched the Olympics, and we went skiing, and it was so very very fun.

-I'm in love with the men's skating now, more so than the women's.

-Pete and I are going to go out to New York beginning of June to visit Beej and her hubby Spencer. We're going to see the Sacred Grove and Niagara Falls. Cool huh?

-We paid off our minivan with our tax return. YAY!

-Pete and I went skiing for an afternoon a while back. It was the first time for both of us in years and years. It was really fun, and a beautiful day.

-I've had an awesome cough/cold/sinus thing for the last week and a half. It's been oh-so-awesome. But I finally went to see the doctor, and he gave me some stuff, and it's finally going away.

-I hate waking up during the night, but I especially hate waking up coughing.

-Ivy has been talking more and more, which is wonderful.

-I was totally going to potty train Ivy this month. I'm thinking it's not going to happen. I should. But she's so little.

-Sweet moment #1: Troy was trying to teach Ivy how to pray the other day. "...say 'thank you for this day'..." And Ivy says, "...dis dahey..."

-Sweet moment #2: Jakob realized that this fall, Brock will be going to the same school as he is. He just got so excited. Jakob: "And we can eat lunch together, and go to recess together, and I'll help you on the bus!"

-I love that my little boys are all buddies. Sure, they'll fight, but it's not very often.

-Funny moment: In the car, on the way to Brock's preschool, Troy was singing "Twinkle twinkle little dragon", instead of "star". For whatever reason. And Brock says, "Troy, sing it NER-MAL!"

-I have zero drive to digital scrapbook right now. I know that once I start, it'll be great and it will go super fast. But it's just getting started on it.

-I have a ton of other more pressing "projects" that I always have to get done before even thinking about the digital scrapbooking. So not only do I not have the drive, but it's also really far down on the priority list.

-Other projects that I want to do but am clearly not finding the time to do: spring cleaning, repainting my walls, and practicing some new piano songs.

-I can't wait for it to get warmer outside.

-My tulips are starting to poke out of the ground. Just barely.

-Tulips make me happy.

-I love teaching piano.

-Lately I've been taking a little afternoon nap, before Jakob gets home from school. Ivy's down for her nap, and the boys generally let me sleep. It's awesome.

-I got my hair cut a little while ago. And I love it. I can just blow-dry it, and it looks fine for the most part (well, to me, anyway). I used to hate how fine my hair was, but now I'm at peace with it.

-I'm also at peace with my super duper white skin. Porcelain. Or reflection. Either or.

-I need some new books to read. Not that I have time to read, but still.

-The Sherlock Holmes short stories were really fun to read. Maybe I should do one of the Sherlock Holmes novels.

-I have a massage/pedicure gift that Pete gave me for Christmas. I used it today, and it felt AWESOME. And now I have 5,000 gallons of energy. It's amazing what a little relaxation and some painted toenails can do for a girl.

-I helped in Jakob's class on Monday, and the kids had to make up a math problem about cookies. After listening to 18 stories about cookies, that's all I could think about. So my boys and I made chocolate chip cookies after dinner that night.

-Cookies are one of my vices.

-Coke is another one.

-Last time I went to the store they were completely out of Coke. Inexcusable, Walmart, to keep a girl from her Coke.

-All of my boys' pants have holes in the knees. And of the pants whose holes I patched, new holes have appeared below the patch, because my boys have grown.

-I'm thinking I'll just leave the holes in the pants. Because white trash can be a statement, too.

-There are also holes in my couch.

-I want new couches. I'm trying to convince Pete that that's what he wants for his birthday.

-I'm in a purging mood. There is SO much that I want to toss out the window!

-I teach my last week of Troy's preschool next week. Hallelujah! (Don't get me wrong; they're cute kids. But the six of them plus two more of my own plus me equals pure chaos.)

-My boys have all drawn pictures for me in the last few days. I love it.

-Life is good.

The end.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It was not a good week for cakes in our house. This is what happened to Brock's cake (thankfully, the day after his birthday). The same culprits that got the last cake, Butch Cassidy (Ivy) and the Sundance Kid (Troy), were responsible for this cake's untimely end.

And why is Ivy Butch Cassidy, you may ask? Well, before/after/during the Great Cake Mash-up, the two partners in crime also got ahold of our hair clippers.

Um, and there's three of those bald spots on Ivy, and one on Troy. (See it? A few inches above her ear? Right where hair is supposed to be growing?) Troy insists that Ivy did it all herself. And yes, I believe him. If he's willing to just stand there while Ivy puts mascara all over him, then why wouldn't he just let her shave his head?

We're lucky enough to have bought some clippers that charge, so you don't have to plug them in. Convenient, huh? And they just happened to be in a drawer that Ivy never opens. Oh, and she also used the scissors to do a few choice chops, like right on top of her head.

Even though she's been our only child to style her own hair with cutting equipment, I'm glad she didn't, like, shave her eyeball or something. And I've been able to do an old man comb-over to cover the spots enough. And eventually it will grow in, and because I've learned my lesson the clippers are oh-so very high, on an unclimbable shelf. So we're safe from any other hair mishaps. I hope.

I cringe to think of the day that Ivy can open doors, though. Not that her fellow outlaw wouldn't help her out with that. Grr.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Birthday Ba-gock

My cute little Brock turned 5 on Friday. I seriously can't even believe it. I feel like he's still just a little kid. Which, you know, he is, considering he's only 5. But I registered him for kindergarten on Monday, and it just doesn't even seem possible.

Anyway, his birthday was wonderful. He wanted to go out to eat, and he picked McDonald's. Yummy! After eating the boys went and played in the little toy area, which they loved. And the toy in their happy meals was an R2-D2, and each came with a temporary tattoo. An R2-D2 Ta-Too, if you will. (I was trying to get them to show off their tattoos. It kind of worked.)

I had decided that, starting at age 5, my kids could have a friend party, and do one every other year. I asked Brock who he wanted to invite to his friend party, and he said, "Dylan, and Sadie (two of his cousins), and Grandma and Grampa, and Jakob and Troy and Ivy, and Mom and Dad." So...a family party. I don't know if I should be flattered that he considers his family members to be his friends, or sad because he doesn't really have many kids that he plays with outside of his brothers. For now, I'm choosing to be flattered. (And hey, less work for me, so a win-win.)

He got some clothes, and went, "Aw, man!" when he opened them. But his other presents made up for the disappointment of clothes: a Wall-E, a huge kangaroo (that Ivy has been trying to steal ever since), a "Credi-huck" (translation: Incredible Hulk), Rex from the Toy Story movies, an Iron Man potato head ("Tony Starch"-get it?), a paper airplane that Jakob made for him (seriously, how sweet is that?), and the movie "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs".

My Brocky-foo-foo is the cutest kid. He's a total night owl. He loves to squirrel toys away-into his bed, a backpack, whatever container he can find. He's very obedient. He's really good at hiding. He's getting really good at coloring in the lines. He sticks up for his brothers-if he thinks that his dad is wrestling with someone too hard or too much, he tries to get him to stop. He's an observer, and very content. But when you get him alone, watch out, because he'll chat your ear off.

*sigh* Love my Brock Ba-gock.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

I didn't know which blessed event I wanted to post under "most recent mess":

The mangled cake?

The permanent marker on the back door? (Which I did remove with rubbing alcohol. Oh, it took off the marker, but it also took off some paint as well. Neat.)

Or maybe the broken Spider-man 3 DVD?

Yep. I just could not decide.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Mask of Mascara

Troy came downstairs on Tuesday. "Um, Mom? Um, Ivy, um..."

WHAT was all over his face? I quickly figured it out.

My mascara.

I asked, "Troy, why did you get into my makeup?"
Troy's reply: "But, it wasn't me, it was Ivy!"

This is what I found:

(Forgive my lousy picture; I didn't realize that there was a fingerprint on my lens. Though I should know better by now-there's always a fingerprint on my lens.)

Ivy would make a good warrior. She's even the one that decorated Troy. Oh, and my toilet lid.

And I immediately went out and bought new mascara. Because eewww.

Monday, March 1, 2010

New to Me

I got some new Sunday clothes for my kids. Some of their stuff was really craptastic. Now they look so very dapper!

I earned my Young Women medallion. And it has a new design, FYI. Cool, huh?

Saturday I accidentally washed Pete's wallet. Good times with that. Hey, at least it wasn't his phone, too. So he's going to need a new one of those.

I tried a new recipe last night for dinner. I think it turned out pretty good. And it's super easy. Here it is:


½ cup Miracle Whip
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
2 cups water
1 16-oz. package frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained
½ pound Velveeta cheese spread, cubed
2 cups Minute rice, uncooked

Cook chicken in Miracle Whip in skillet, about 8 minutes, until done. Add water, broccoli, and Velveeta. Bring to a boil. Stir in rice; cover. Remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.

I am in love with this new song, by The Script, called Breakeven. It's one of those songs that I could listen to over and over and over right now. Truth be told, I think it came out a long time ago, but I've just barely heard it on the radio this last week.

And finally, a new site, that I think is so awesome, and I wish I'd thought of it first. But I could never write the commentary like she does. Sadly, I think my uterus was the body organ that held my sense of humor, and when that got taken out my amazing wit left with it. I used to be so funny. (Well, to me, anyway. But I am my own best audience.) The site is called Promtacular! ; I've been a long-time blog stalker of the personal blog of the chick that put it together. Hi-larious. I think we all have doozies of prom/dance pictures; she has endless material to work with.

Also, I decided I need to re-new my zeal for projects. I keep looking at all these things that I'd like to do "someday", and go "eh" about 'em. I'd like to do them, but right now I keep not having time. I don't think my life is going to settle down any time soon, though, so I need to integrate them (somehow) into my life. Now.

So, since I've been gone a while, what's new with you?