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, January 19, 2011

Like a Fiddler On a Roof!

So, now that Christmas is long gone, one would think that the busyness of my life would have gone along with it (hence the lack of posts as of late). Because I’m usually busy, but you take busy and add, like, 20 million more things to The Busy, and…well, you get the general idea of how the end of 2010 went for me. (And for some reason the fun hasn’t stopped. I need a remote, like Adam Sandler in the movie "Click".  But I think I’d perpetually have it in the pause mode, so maybe that wouldn’t be such a good idea.)

Anyway, Christmas was awesome. It always is. But you know how I was whining about how we don’t have any traditions? Well, after I thought about it, I realized that we really do. And we added a few more this year. Wanna hear about it? (YES, Nat! PLEASE fill us in on what happened 3 1/2 weeks ago! We’re on the edge of our seats with anticipation!!!!)

Tradition 1 (old, but tweaked to be new): For FHE after Thanksgiving, we set up the Christmas tree. Usually I decorate it by myself, and try to have the breakable ornaments at the top. I also try to get the ribbon just right, and have all the ornaments all spaced evenly. But by the time Christmas rolls around three weeks later, all the ornaments have been moved (thanks to my kids) and the ribbon has been pulled down (thanks to my cat). So this year I had the kids help me, but we ended up with about 42 ornaments on a single bough. Oh well. They had a blast decorating, and that’s what matters, right?

Tradition 2 (new tradition): In Pete’s family, I guess they drew names amongst the siblings when they were younger, and then exchanged those gifts on Christmas Eve. They still did the everyone open stuff all at once thing, though. So I told Pete that Christmas morning we can have the kids open things all at once, but on Christmas Eve the kids were going to take turns. This is the first year I’ve had the kids draw names and get gifts for each other. So they took turns, and it was really great because they got to see the gifts that they got for each other. They were all, “Thanks, Brock!”, or whoever gave the gift. I loved that part of opening gifts when I was younger-seeing the person’s reaction to what I got for them.
They all did a great job picking gifts out for each other-I only helped Ivy with the selection.  Jakob got a Bumblebee from Brock, Brock got an Ironman from Ivy, Troy got a Batwing from Jake, and Ivy got a Rapunzel barbie from Troy.

Tradition 3 (oldie but goodie): Early Christmas Eve evening, we did luminaires. Which, I guess they’re called “luminaries”, but I think that sounds weird. We also ended up doing them over at my parents’ house as well. I think it looks really cool when they’re all lit up. I didn’t get a picture of it, though, because it doesn’t show up very well in a picture. My whole neighborhood did luminaries growing up, and it looks SO cool.

Tradition 4 (another golden oldie): We went over to my parents’ house and ate a very yummy dinner. And then we had a little Christmas program, where we sing songs, and read stories, etc.
That night I took a video of Jake playing the piano, but I held it sideways, thinking that there was some button I could push to make it be upright, but apparently not. So sideways it is, and I know better for next time around. I’ve been teaching Jake piano this year, and he is doing so well at it.  (I tried to upload the video of Jake playing the piano 4 times, and for some reason it won't do it.  So tilt your head to the left and pretend you're watching Jake play "Jingle Bells" and "Silent Night".)

Tradition 5 (a yummy oldie): For Christmas morning, I made butterscotch rolls. They are called different things by different people-I’ve heard Sweet Rolls, and Monkey Bread, and Breakfast Rolls, but to me Butterscotch Rolls is the most descriptive. (My kids say “butter-squotch”. Super cute.) What was that? You say you want the recipe? Happy to oblige:


Place about 12-15 frozen Rhoades rolls in the bottom of a greased bundt pan. Melt ½ cup (one cube) butter and pour over the rolls. Sprinkle one 3.5-oz. package of Cook N’ Serve (NOT instant) butterscotch pudding on top, along with ½ cup packed brown sugar. Add nuts if desired. Let it sit overnight with greased Saran Wrap on top. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes with a piece of foil loosely on top.

Like I said before, we had a great Christmas. Jake got a Robot Cop:

Brock got a Megatron and a new Woody from Toy Story:

Troy got a Batcave:

Ivy got a “Tih-chin”, or a kitchen:

We all got movies, too:

And, the grand finale, from my parents-a Wii! We bought Dr. Mario for it, and I totally got my mad skills back. (Can we say Level 20 on Hi? That's right, baby.)

So, like I said, Christmas was great. Add to it the elementary school program, my piano students’ recital, and doing Brock’s school party (where we did the star thing like in Jake's kindergarten class), and you get why I was feeling a little overwhelmed.

The week after Christmas was a lot more relaxed. Though, that’s when I started potty training Ivy. That story coming soon to a blog near you. Meaning this blog.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Memory Monday: Reuben (Knuckle) Sandwich

When I think of the worst dates that I've been on, this one is probably the worst one.  Well, maybe not the worst one, but definitely in the top 5.  I was a junior in college, so fall of 1999.

There was a guy in my ward in college named Reuben.  I called him Ruby, I think mostly to bug him.  Nice guy and all.  He lived with about 8 guys in a house that they had dubbed the "cinna-batch".  I have no idea why they called their house that, but whatever.

So Reuben asked me on a date for a Friday night, which I gladly accepted, because he was a really nice guy, right?  Um, yeah.  Right.  I mean, he is.  But just not on this date.

He picked me up, and when we got to the car, he said, "You can get your own door, right?"  1st wrong step of the night.  I was like, "Uh, yeah, I guess."  For dinner, he took me to a stake barbecue.  We got there late, so there were slim pickings on the food.  Come to think of it, I don't even think it was our stake-I think he just heard about it from who-knows-who, and decided, hey! free food!  2nd wrong step of the night-free food for a date?  Not that I expected a super fancy expensive meal for dinner, but dinner together would have been nice instead of with 100 other starving college students.

Going back to the car (and every time we got in or out of the car that night), Reuben again said, "You can get your own door, right?"  One of the times I replied, "Um, no, I can't.  Would you please get it for me?"  Which he grudgingly did that time, but dude.  It ticked me off.

We went back to his apartment, and we watched "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid".  And I totally kept falling asleep.  Reuben was in love with that movie, and so of course he owned it.  (Free movie.  Hm.)  And it was fine to sit and watch, but when he was reciting every line along with the movie, it got a little old.

Right before the movie, we went to the store and got some dessert/snacks to munch on during the movie.  I'm remembering ice cream, which I think I might have gotten one little scoop out of before he hoarded it away in his freezer.

Then we went to an Institute dance, where there was a band that was playing Beatles songs.  I thought maybe the date would improve at the dance, because I love the Beatles, but I was wrong.  So we were hanging out and dancing and stuff, and then he decided to start chatting up some random chick.  I went and called my roommates, and begged them to come to the dance and crash my date, essentially.  So my date with Reuben became a date with Reuben, Random Chick that he was flirting with, and my two roommates. 

Eventually, it was time to leave, so we left...and walked Random Chick home.  She didn't live that far away, but dude!  WE WERE ON A DATE!!!  We got back to the car, and he had the decency to walk me to my door after the date, which was the first gentlemanly thing he had done all night.  I might have given him a high five (no way was I going to hug him-I think I would have strangled him if I had gotten that close), because by then I had HAD it.

I walked in the door, and was like "WORST DATE EVER!!!" to my roommates.  They all agreed.

Reuben ended up asking Random Chick to Homecoming.  And we stayed friends, but there was no way I would have ever gone on a date with him again.  Though apparently, he felt the same about me, but before our date even started.

(I just looked to see if I had a picture of Reuben in my scrapbook.  That would be a big fat no.)

Thursday, January 6, 2011


Who's there?

Nat's blog!

Nat's blog who?



Yeah, I know that it's not a joke.  My kids like to tell knock-knock, um, "jokes".  And they sound a lot like the "joke" I just told.  For instance: Troy: Knock knock!  Me: Who's there?  Troy: Um, apple.  Me: Apple who?  Troy: Apple that is yummy.  Me: {fake laughter that's really not convincing}

I have GOT to go online and find some good knock-knock jokes.  The only ones I know are the boo/boo who/why are you crying, and the one where you say banana over and over, and then finally orange/orange who/orange you glad I didn't say banana again?

ANYWAY, I've been wanting to blog, really I have.  But I've been busy being busy, and busy with relaxing, and busy potty training.  And one of these days I'll write the adventures that we've been having around here.  But first thing, I want to write my New Year's resolutions.

Before I get to that, here is the post for my 2010 resolutions.  Let me reflect a little on how I did last year:

Learn to make freezer meals.  Um, not so much.  However, I've been doing a lot of crock pot meals, about once a week, and it ROCKS.  Throw everything in a big pot and let it cook itself?  Why can't every meal be that easy?  I'll write more on this later, in a future blog post.

Scan scrapbooks.  Nope, still haven't done that.  I keep thinking about it, and yes, it's one of my new resolutions.  I did get an external hard drive to store things that I will scan, though, so that's a step forward.

Potty train Ivy.  Yes!  I started not in March, like I had originally wanted, but she wasn't ready one bit at that time.  However, she was ready for it end of December.  Again, I'll write more on this in a future post.

Digitally scrapbook 2008-2009.  I worked on this a little bit.  On the 2011 resolution list.  I just need to set aside some time every week to work on it.

Read Book of Mormon with my family every night.  Yep!  We don't do very many verses each night, but we're in Alma, and are reading about Ammon.  I know my kids aren't absorbing a ton right now, but eventually they will, and eventually we can read more, and they will be able to read along as well.  Someday.

Getting up before my kids.  On and off for this one.  Mostly off.  It's back on the new resolution list.  Getting up early is definitely one of my weaknesses.

Build up food storage.  I've been working on this.  It helps that I've been more aware of sales, and things like Case Lot.  The last couple of months I've been a little hit and miss with couponing, too.  Just...super busy.  I haven't had the time to research, and run around to five different stores.  Maybe this summer it will be a different story.  And I went Tuesday night, and got free Halls cough drops and free yogurt!  I went to Case Lot at Smiths in September and got a bunch of canned goods, and they're having Case Lot again this week-I'm planning to go tomorrow, actually.  So that's been good to help build up our food storage.

In summary, I did...fair on my resolutions last year.  Which is better than nothing, right?

This year, I decided that my motto is going to be "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul!"  From this.  And because of this

So without further ado, my 2011 resolutions:

Attend the temple every month.  This was one of my goals last year, too, and I think I went twice, which is pathetic.  I love going; the babysitting arranging is what's hard for me.  I just need to be more proactive, and get 'er done.

Earn my honor bee.  This is the next step in the Young Women's Personal Progress program.  You read the Book of Mormon again, and serve for 40 hours.  This will help pull me out of my comfort zone a little bit.  And yeah, I serve my children almost nonstop, but I need to reach outside of my own life and family, because I know I can help others.  Also, even though I'm great at reading scriptures with my family, my own scripture study is irregular.  So reading through again (and again and again) is a good thing for me to be doing.

Be more financially fit.  I'm embarrassed to say, we have more debt than I would like.  Ideally, I would love to be completely debt-free, but at this point in life it's not necessarily possible.  The debt I'm okay with having (for now) is our mortgage, our car payment, and our student loans.  And all three of those are at really low rates, so even though it sucks to have them at all, someday they'll get paid off, and they aren't the worst thing in the universe right now.  However, we had an expensive summer/fall, which we weren't financially ready for.  Which is so dumb, because hi-I graduated in finance, for crying out loud!  So a few days ago, I hid our credit cards, and today....drum roll please....I paid off Pete's hospital bills!  YAY!  We also should be getting a decent tax return, so that should help get rid of some debt.

In college, we did mock investing in one of my classes.  And I LOVED it.  It was so interesting to me.  And in my class of 40 students, I was the 2nd or 3rd highest earner (it changed back and forth, depending on the day/market).  Of course, when I was taking that class the stock market was bubbling, so it may not be as fun in today's market, or with real money.  Still, though, I think it would be fun to try for real.

Also, I want to get a bunch of money in the bank.  Paying off the debt will help with this goal, obviously.

Get my eyes lasered.  No, not getting burning eye beam things like Superman.  I'm talking about getting laser eye surgery.  Where I would be able to see first thing in the morning, instead of having my alarm clock 8 inches from my face in order for it to be clear enough for me to see the time.  It's an expensive procedure, but oh!-life without glasses or contacts!  I got glasses in 2nd grade, my friends.  I've been blind for way too long.  So I'll need to save for a long time to get this, but I'm hoping that I can get this done this year.

Exercise.  Pete and I have been sporadic with exercising this year.  We'll do really great for a while, then miss, and then fall out of habit.  Then get really good again...and the cycle continues.  We're back out of the habit.  So Tuesday night while at the store I got a jump rope, and a yoga tape that has 20-minute workouts.  Pete and I were doing P90X, which I love, but every session is an hour or so, except for ab ripper, which is still, like 30 minutes or something.  20 minutes in the morning, though?  I can handle that.  Or jump rope for 20 minutes.  Just...something.  I don't want to lose weight, but I care about having a healthy heart.

Lastly, I want to learn to play a new instrument.  I've always been drawn to the violin, the guitar, the harp, and the cello.  I might wait until the summer or fall to do this one.  And I'm not sure if it is even conceivable while I teach piano because of time constraints, but I don't want to quit teaching...hmmm.  So maybe the summer would be best, since I don't teach piano during the summer.  But that's if I can find a class or a teacher willing to do summer, and have me drag my kids along with me.  All good questions and/or challenges.

Oh, and the digital scrapbook thing and the getting up early thing that I continually try to accomplish.

So there you have it.

And I really will try to be better at regular blogging.  Just as soon as I learn some knock-knock jokes...