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 30, 2011

And "Thank" YOU, Brock (Plus a Recipe, Because I Don't Know the Next Time I'll Have a Second to Make a Separate Post)

As you may already know, Brock loves to draw.  I got each of the kids a notebook some time ago, with the intent of them taking it to church to keep themselves entertained.  None of them usually remember to take it, until last Sunday.  And then Brock and Jakob decided to make paper airplanes, and then proceeded to fly one through the chapel during Sacrament meeting.  Pete and I were none too happy about that.

After punishments were given (and carried out) at home, Brock wanted to draw some more.  (Which I learned my lesson as well: only scriptures will be brought to church from now on.)  But his notebook was all used up.  So I got him a new one.  On the first page, he wrote me the following note and handed it to me:
"Fac yoo to get me a not book so I am hape."

Yeah.  That's what I thought at first glance, too.  And if you don't see it, then you are a really good person with a really clean mind.

The translation: Thank you for getting me a notebook.  It makes me happy.  (Then the picture is of the notebook, pencil stuck in the spiral part, with a smiley face, as in "I am happy".)  Which really is sweet.

Brock's next note shown was written about a week ago.  In the last few weeks, Brock has been waking up just scared out of his wits.  One night it was a scary monster in his closet that had one red eye and pointy teeth.  Poor kid.  Then there was another night.  We went and got him and had him sit with us (me and Pete), and I kept asking him what was wrong.  He wouldn't answer me.  We gave him a couple of snacks and a drink, and then sent him back to bed.  He came back a few minutes later, with the following:
"Mom becuz I wuz krien I wuz hugry ok Brock?"

I think you get the gist, but just in case, the translation: Mom, I was crying because I was hungry.  Is that okay? -Brock

He's just a never-ending pit.  I call him my Hungry Bug all the time.  That kid could eat all day long, I think.

And speaking of food, I found another fantastic crock pot meal!  YUMMO!!!  I hope it's readable-I decided to scan it in.

I had my doubts about this one.  First of all, Pete bought a stir-fry mix from Walmart called Sugar Snap Stir Fry, or something like that.  It has peas, carrots, squash, red and green peppers, broccoli, green beans, and water chestnuts.  And I'm not a huge squash or water chestnut fan, so I didn't know how it would be.  Second, usually I can smell the dinner cooking, and I couldn't smell it at all, so I thought it was going to be bland or something. 

I was so, SO wrong.  This is one of my favorites that I've come across.  I didn't really measure out the sauce stuff-I used a whole can of the chicken broth, and 3 big heaping spoonfuls of the orange marmalade. The other ingredients I just poured in until I thought it was about right.  And then I made 3 cups of minute rice.  (Which was great, because I dumped the leftovers on top of the rice, which soaked in the sauce.  It ended up being really proportional.)  I had done big chunks of chicken, but shredded it before serving.  Oh, mamma.  So good.

So, yeah.  You should try the meal.  Also, I really need to scan more stuff into my computer.  Maybe I'll do that this weekend as I listen to General Conference, eh?

And by the way, "thank" you for reading my post!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Memory Monday: Part-Time Model

My freshman year of college was oh-so-fun!  We would stay up till all hours, and do some of the craziest things.

During that year, I started to wonder where I would get the funds to keep going to college.  My freshman year I had a one-year scholarship to get me in-state tuition.  But I had no idea if I was going to stay and apply for residency (the rules were a lot less strict then than they are now), or...what.

At one point, I had a note up on my cork board.  It looked a little like this:

How to Pay for College 
sell a kidney on the black market
get another scholarship
take a year off and work
marry a Utah resident
convince my parents to move to Utah so I can get residency
rob a bank

Our school's joke of a newspaper would run help wanted ads, but sometimes I wondered if they were jokes.  There was always one for posing nude for an art class.  There was another for milking cows on someone's farm.  And the one that my roommate, floormate, and I decided that we'd actually go and check out.

The ad said, "Models needed!  All shapes, all sizes!"  Something like that.  We decided to call, just because.  We knew it would never turn into anything, but we were curious.

Between the three of us, we had the "all sizes" part of the ad down. My roommate, Stacy, was super tall and very athletic. She was from Las Vegas. The floormate, Becky, was teeny tiny-maybe about 4'10".  A lot of people thought she was, like, 12, because she looked really young.  She was from Fargo, North Dakota.  And then there was me-somewhere in between the tall and the short.

Becky from Fargo, ND
Me and Stacy from Las Vegas

We went down to where the "try-outs" were at.  They wanted us to bring a picture of ourselves.  Of course, not knowing how it all works at the time, we just brought little wallet-sized pictures, instead of big 8x10 head shots in a portfolio.  The "studio" was in the basement of some random building.  We walked through a hallway, and into the first room.  In there was a catwalk.  There was a really tall guy, walking back and forth on it.  He was practicing his turns.  It reminded me of Zoolander.  Then we went into the next room, which was an office.

The lady had us fill out all this paperwork.  And then she asked us for our pictures.  The whole time I had to hold back my laughter.  But I'm sure when she saw our "head shots" she had to hold her laughter back as well.  After we were done with paperwork, she began her interviews.  If you can call it that.

She started with Stacy.  She basically called her fat (which she wasn't) and told her that she might be a good plus-size model.  Ouch, right?  Then she moved to Becky, who she told could maybe model little kids' clothes.  Ouch again.  And then it was my turn.  She told me I was too short to model, but I should try acting.  Yee-haw.

What. A. Joke.

"All shapes, all sizes"?  They should have said, "All shapes and sizes if you want us to insult you".  Or "All shapes and sizes if you are between 5'9" and 6'2" and weigh 80 pounds".

We left, and just...started laughing hysterically.  We thought the whole thing was so funny.  Becky was all, "How about I chop my hair extra short and model 10-year-old boys' pants for JCPenney?!?!?"  And I was all, "Yes, I'm going to win the next Oscar!"

Good times, my friends.

I did end up getting a summer job at Zuka Juice in Logan, which helped take care of my financial woes for schooling (earning money in a legitimate way, and getting Utah residency at the same time).  I'm glad I didn't have to be a part-time model.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


My Brock Ba-gock turned six - SIX! - a week-and-a-half ago.  Where does the time go?  I swear he was just born.
such a spaz!

I wish I had oodles and gobs of news of the great adventures in which we partook for his birthday, but alas.  We hung out in the morning, had a run-of-the-mill lunch, and then did roadshow practice.  Yee-haw.
My cuties

Although, we did go to Chili's for an early dinner.  On each person's birthday, he or she gets to choose where they want our family to eat for dinner.  At first he chose McDonald's, but with a suggestion of Chili's Brock quickly changed his mind.
Spazzing - again

Normally I really love Chili's, but for some reason that day my food was pretty blah.  Oh well.

After our dinner, we had some family come over for cake and ice cream. 
The cute engaged couple

The cute married couple

Such an internal struggle of "love my aunt" and "girls have cooties"
(I didn't get any pics of my niece and nephews.  Or any of the other kids that night, for that matter.  Or of Mom and Dad.  I suck.)

Like, two months ago, Brock decided that he wanted a strawberry cake.  With a Spiderman on top.  He even drew a picture of it for me:

Brock's drawing, labeled "birthday" by him
So we had the party mix cake on the inside (it's the kind with the little colored dots) and strawberry frosting on the outside.  Then Brock helped me with the sprinkles on top, so there were ample amounts of those.  Then I cut and arranged the strawberries.  I thought I had bought a "6" candle, but apparently not, and I only had 5 of the regular candles, so we added a fancy "1" to make it six.  I'm sure he didn't care.
The really yummy, really specific cake

Brock got a Lotso Huggin' Bear to complete his Toy Story collection, some "boring" clothes, the movie Hook, a Generator Rex toy, and a Toy Story coloring book.  He loves all of his presents-except the clothes (because he's a boy), but I love the clothes for him.
LOVE this shirt-thanks, Mom!

Can you see the joy and love on his face?
Here are some factoids about my Ba-gock:

Brock loves to do his homework right off.  Our kindergarten classes give a packet of homework on Monday for them to work on all week.  He sits and gets it all done the first day.  He's starting to read, and is doing pretty well with it, but sometimes wants to guess at the words and is totally wrong.  His voice gets softer and a little higher when he reads-it's funny.

He is the coloring and drawing machine!  He draws better than I do, and I'm not even joking.  For a while he'd sound out the words to write, which was really cute.  I need to scan some pictures in that he's drawn for us.
I adore this picture of my boys
Brock loves toast with peanut butter on it.  I have never, ever, eaten this, but he asks for it all the time now.

He is a hoarder, with a capital H.  I'll go through his school papers that he brings home, and toss the ones that are no big deal.  He'll dig through the garbage and pull them out to keep.  The other day I asked him to clean up his room, and take his toys downstairs and put them with all the other toys.  Instead, he shoved his toys under his bed, then arranged the garbage can and his blankets in front of his bed so I couldn't see his toys underneath.

Brock is a really chill kid.  Sometimes he can be a spaz, and every once in a while he'll get this little stubborn look on his face, but he's mostly just so, so good.  Pete will try to dupe him, and he never falls for it.  He doesn't really follow anyone else-he wants to just do his own thing, even if that means he'll be doing it by himself.  He calls chores "drawers".  He loves Toy Story, and Spiderman, but he wants to be a vampire for Halloween.  (Halloween costume discussions are a year-round occurrence in my home.)

Brock is a total lady killer.  One little girl kissed him on the cheek while riding the bus, and it was the talk of the neighborhood.  (I had, like, 4 moms ask me about it, because their kids told them about it.)  He sits by a girl at school, and I'm pretty sure she likes him, too.

He has a steel-trap mind, like his dad.  He remembers EVERYTHING.  He's also very patient.  He'll ask for something, and if I tell him I'll get it or do it later, then a while later he'll gently ask me about it again, and of course I had totally forgotten in the interim.  But he doesn't get upset with me.

Brock is still a super night owl.  I don't know what we're going to do with that kid when he has to get up at 7 a.m. for school next year.

The other day I took him to the store, and got him a big candy bar because he was having a rough day-Jake and Troy didn't want to play with him for some reason.  I thought he'd eat the whole thing by himself, and gloat over his brothers that he had this fabulous candy bar and they didn't.  Instead, he shared it with them.  How nice is that?

Love this boy of mine.
My 6-year-old

Monday, March 14, 2011

Memory Monday: Appliance Gratitude

This last week, our microwave decided to die on us.  (This isn't the "memory" part of my post.  This is just the setup of what brought back this particular memory, or memories, if you will.)  One minute it was working, the next minute there was absolutely no heat emitting from its...micro waves. 

The appliance fixer guy came out and said a piece wasn't working.  I keep wanting to call it the Megatron.  The...Magnavox?  The...MAGNATRON!  Yes!  I remembered!  (Seriously, my brain goes to Megatron first.  I must have boys in my house.)  Anyway, that's the thing that makes the microwave work.  We could either replace the part, or get a new one for the same exact cost.  I went with a new one, because why not?

While I was looking around the store, I saw some really fancy appliances.  It's only been 5-ish years since I've done some appliance shopping, though at the time we had Budget X to work with because that's what our home builders told us we had.  Of course we could have gone over Budget X to get fancier things, but we didn't have more money with which to spend on the fancy, so Plain Jane is what we ended up getting.

But now?  There are microwaves that have grills inside of them.  Crazy, huh?  And there are ovens that have a smaller oven door, which totally fits a 9x13 pan, but you only have to heat up the smaller one (and then there's a full-size oven underneath), so it's more energy efficient and all that jazz.  (Here's a picture of one.  Awesome, huh?)

And then there's the fancy, roomy dishwasher. *sigh*  Of all my appliances, I would want my dishwasher to break.  It's short, and small, and the utensil holder is in the bottom instead of on the door so it takes up a ton of room, and then it has that spindle thing in the middle of the bottom and top that shoots water up, so you have to work around it.  And because my dishwasher is short, if I use a normal-sized skillet, I have to lean it over, so it takes up more than half of the bottom of the dishwasher to clean it.

I was coveting, my friends.

However.  This experience brings me to my Memory Monday.  And because it's late, I'm sure I'll forget all sorts of descriptive details about it.  Though, I think for Memory Monday's sake, I'm going to just stick to the appliance section of this time in my life.

The year span was 2002-2005.  Pete and I got married in June of 2002, and we moved into married student housing on campus at Utah State.  I think these beauties were built in, like, the 1940s or something.  There were plenty of things wrong with the Aggie Village apartments, but for two really poor college students, they were just fine.  Here's a pic of one of the buildings:

Sweet, sweet cinder block walls with no air conditioning.  Very cold in the winter, warm like unto an oven in the summer.  (And then being SUPER pregnant during one of those summers!  Yikes.  Bikes.)  They were cheap, but a great deal because our water, cable, internet, phone, garbage, sewer, and electricity were all included in the price.  The downside: no appliances to be had.

Laundry machines?  We were lucky enough to have the laundry building right next door to our building.  Microwave?  Pete's siblings all pitched in to get us one for our wedding gift.  It sat on an old desk that Pete had had in his single days.  Dishwasher?  I called my dishwasher my hands, my sink, soap, and a towel.  We had a dinky little gas oven in which only one of my cookie sheets would fit all the way.

Our cabinets had sliding fake wood doors.  Our "pantry" was maybe a foot wide and maybe two feet deep (I'm being generous on the measurements).

One day in Sunday School during church (which was basically our whole ward, because there were, like, 5 kids old enough to be in nursery while the rest were all brand new babies, and that was the entirety of our primary), someone made a comment about our fake wood sliding cabinet doors, and our lack of counter space.  And I think every woman in the room started fantasizing about real wood cabinets, and appliances that were younger than she was.  And our teacher (I can't remember his name, but he had red hair, if I'm remembering right) made this comment:

If we can always remember our fake wood cabinets during this time in our lives, we will always be grateful for what we have.

That really hit me.  I think he was trying to say a few things-or, I interpreted it a few different ways.  One, that someday we'll look back and realize how poor we were in college, and that hopefully we'll be better off in the future, but we need to be grateful for how far we've come.  Two, that aren't we lucky to even be in college, and that we even have cabinets in which to house our food and dishes.  And three, all we need are the basics, and our happiness doesn't come from material goods.

So yes, I coveted a new dishwasher last week.  But then I remembered what life was like without one, and I realized how great I have it.  I am so blessed, and not just with appliances.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Lazy, According to Jakob

Jakob has a really skewed sense of what lazy is.  Well, maybe it's a skewed sense of what we as adults-that is, his parents, do.

He told his gym teacher one day that he was being lazy at his class, "just like my dad".  Yeah, I think that getting up at 5 a.m. four days a week to go to work, and getting home at 6:30 at night is being TOTALLY lazy. 

Then last night Jake wanted more dinner, so he asked me for some.  I was like, "You can get some more by yourself."  And he gave me this look like, what?  I have to serve myself?  As he was dishing up, he muttered, "I wish I could stay home and do nothing like Mom does."

That made me laugh.  I replied, "Jake, do you want to hear what I did today?  It definitely wasn't "nothing"."

He looked at me with "impress me" in his eyes.  I began.

"First, I got up, so I could get you up, made you a lunch, and got some breakfast for you.  I got you out the door so you could catch the bus and get to school on time.

"Then I got breakfast for the other three kids, and got myself ready for the day.  I started some laundry, and folded three other loads from yesterday's laundry, and put it all away.  Later in the day, I folded two more loads and put that away as well.

"I cleaned out the fridge, and dumped the old food.  I rinsed dishes, loaded the dishwasher, and after it was done running I put all the dishes away.

"I took out the garbage, which includes getting garbage from 6 cans, and also changing out the cat litter box.  After the garbage man came, I brought the garbage can back in.

"I finished writing down the music for one of our roadshow songs. (Meaning, I had to come up with accompaniment for one of the songs, so it's like I was composing a bit.  I did about 2/3s of it yesterday.  And this was not an easy task for me.) 

"I swept the kitchen floor so my students wouldn't get grossed out looking at it.  I also cleaned some pee off the bathroom floor.  (Totally gross, I know, but that's how it is with three little boys who don't have the greatest aim.)

"I got lunch for myself and three kids, and listened to a tantrum from Ivy (for about 30 seconds, then I sent her to her room) because she didn't want what I got for her for lunch.  I got Brock ready and out the door for his school. 

"I taught four piano lessons today.

"I did have a slight break, because usually on Tuesdays I go and help in Brock's kindergarten class, but today they were doing something special so his teacher told me not to come.  Instead, I finished the craft pages you kids had started earlier in the week.  (It's mosaics with little sticky foam squares.  Like paint-by-number but with squares.  It was fun, and because it's for 6-year-olds, about at my crafting level.  This owl one is one that Jakob did on Saturday; it's one of the small ones.  I did three big ones.)

"During piano lessons, Troy, Brock, and Ivy came in from playing outside, COVERED in mud.  I had to strip Ivy down, and then sent her downstairs to wait to get cleaned up until after I was done teaching.  That means another load of laundry, with three coats in it that I had cleaned only a week before, bringing my washed loads total for the day to three, and my folded loads for the day to six.  (And then she fell asleep, with mud on her face and in her hair.  I'm the best mom ever!)
"I also checked your homework, listened to you read, made four beds, including yours, and made dinner.  I also answered your questions you had while practicing piano.

"In a half hour, I get to go over to the church, and play a musical number for a lady that's singing at New Beginnings.  (I don't know if I mentioned on here that I got released from Young Women's.  Being at New Beginnings last night made me really miss my calling and those girls.)  I also get to come home and get everyone ready for bed, and do more dishes from dinner.

"So, if you want to switch me for the day, my "nothing" for your day of schoolwork, I'd be happy to, any day of the week."

Silence, with eyes very wide, from Jakob's side of the table.  Maybe he'll rethink his definition of lazy.