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.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Made to be a Maid

When my sister went to China, she left me the successor of cleaning my Dad's office. I take out garbages every night, clean bathrooms, and vacuum. It's really not too bad of a gig.

Here are my cleaning supplies:
P.S. - You can learn a lot about a person by looking at the contents of their garbage.  And also by the state of cleanliness of their office.

I wear these handy dandy gloves, which helps my toilet psychosis.  I have a hard time with toilets normally, but with gloves on I manage a lot better.  I need to get some for my own toilets.

I think my hands might permanently smell like latex after a while, but I'm okay with that.  I also think that cleaning many bathrooms as often as I do has also helped me psychologically.  You know how people do exposure therapy, where they have to face their fears?  It's kind of like that for me.

Also, doing this job is like getting paid to exercise.  I clean, and end up a hot sweaty mess after I'm done.  I've noticed that I hold with my left hand and do with my right hand.  So my left arm gets the heavier loads that I sustain, so it's going to get buff from that.  But my right arm does the repetitious movements, and I vacuum right-handed, so it's going to get buff a different way.  I tried switching arms one day, and it really didn't work.

This is just a little doo-dad that my dad has had in his office since I can remember.  I actually think it's an incense burner he got on his mission in South Korea, but I could be totally making that up.  I've always loved it, though.

I've also been helping my mom clean at her house as well, about once a week.  Lately it's been more like once a month, because we've been out of town playing.  But once school resumes it will probably be more periodic.

The other job I took over was scanning at my dad's office.  I've done this job on and off for years. Back in the day when I was applying for jobs, I would call it "document imaging".  Sounds fancy, huh?  I just scan old tax documents into the computer.  Here is my little office:

And there's the computer and scanner.  That machine is crazy fast.  This job is also pretty nice.  I set my own hours, and can do as much or as little as I want.  I usually do it right after I do the cleaning.

Right now my cleaning and scanning money is going towards my laser eye fund. Well, right right now, it's going to replace what I used of my fund to get my new fridge. But you know what I mean.  I've noticed that I'm kind of a money hoarder, so part of me wants to scan and scan and scan, so I can get MORE MONEY! 

But then I realize I need to be reasonable in my money-getting endeavors.  There are only so many hours in the day.

Besides, somewhere along the way I need to clean my own house, you know?

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's Great to be 8!

My Jakob turned 8 earlier this month. He's gotten so big!

It was kind of like a rerun of Troy's birthday: we went to the park, and we ate yellow cake with chocolate frosting that night.  However, when we went to the park, I decided to get my kids up early and go.  PERFECT plan!  No one was there, and it was nice and cool.  This time we got to go on the super big playing area.

We've had a poster hanging up in Jakob's room.  We made it when he was in first grade, when they did a spotlight on him.  I wanted to compare some of his favorites from then to what his favorites are now.  So his favorites from first grade will be listed in green, and his favorites now listed in red.

Favorite holiday:              all of them!                              Halloween
Favorite song:                  DuHast, Billie Jean                 Until Forever
Favorite food:                  ranch chicken taco and pizza   pizza
Favorite color:                 red                                            white
Favorite movie:               Up                                            Transformers
Favorite toy:                    Bakugan                                   Wii and Bakugan
Favorite TV show:          Mythbusters                              Mythbusters
Favorite animal:              cheetah                                      cheetah
Favorite Superhero:        Gooie Man                                Deathacus
Favorite book:                 Junie B. Jones, Horrible Harry Harry Potter series
Favorite person:              my sister Ivy                             Ivy
Favorite school subject:  science                                      gym
Favorite cartoon:            Avatar, The Last Airbender      MAD
A couple of side notes: the superheroes are ones that he has made up.  Clever little guy.  And I have no idea what MAD is, seeing as how we don't have TV.  Also, it's nice to know that he's growing up, but that some things stay the same (favorite animals, food, toys, TV show, person).  Also, both times (in 1st grade and now), I secretly wished that Jakob would say that I'm his favorite person.  But I'll settle for it being one of his siblings.

We went to Arby's for dinner-his choice.  It was yummy.

Then my parents came over, but they couldn't come until a little bit later.  So we had the kids take baths and get ready for bed before they came.  Hence the jammies.

Jakob got new scriptures, a scouting outfit, a Wii game...

...and clothes.  Notice his excitement about the clothes below:

He was also not very excited about starting scouts at first, either.  I told him that he could try it for a couple of months, and if he didn't like it he didn't have to do it.  But then my mom took him to buy his shirt and badges and all that on his birthday, and then he got way excited.

Some Jake-isms for ya:
Jake: (coughs) Me: Jake, cover your mouth. Jake: Oh, sorry. It's just my asthma. (He totally does NOT have asthma.)

Beej to Jake: Do you have a girlfriend? Jake: Yeah, it's Ila. Beej: Is she pretty? Jake: Yeah, she's pretty....pretty HOT! (Yeah, Ila's not his girlfriend.  Just a friend.)

I love my Jakob.  He's turning into a little man, where he has actual conversations with us.  He's so concerned that he's doing everything right.  He loves anything science, and is a super good reader.  He's a great older brother.  He's really amazing at the different Wii games that we have. Jakob is super creative and really funny.

I love my boy.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Moon Walking

A couple of Fridays ago, Pete had to work overtime (he normally does 10-hour days, 4 days a week).  His work is about an hour's drive from our home.  Out past his work, about 20 minutes or so, is an area called Craters of the Moon.

That morning, Pete texted me and said, "Hey, since I'm already out here, let's go to Craters."  I was game.

I hadn't been there since I was a kid, maybe in 5th grade.  So the kids and I drove out, and met Pete at his work.
(The sign behind Jake's head says something like, "Warning: Watch your kids and make sure they stay on the path so they don't FALL and DIE.")

They have a visitor's center, which is pretty cool.  But they also have a bunch of hiking trails to go and see the sites up close and personal.  We ended up going on the perfect day-it was kind of overcast and was sprinkling on and off, so it wasn't hot at all to walk amongst the mountains of black rocks everywhere.
We walked on one of the trails that takes you to a cave.  I should say "cave", because it had somewhat of a ceiling, but it was mostly an open hole in the ground.  But it was still way cool.  We even saw some bats flying around in there.
I drew all sorts of parallels while we were walking to the cave and back.  Jakob kept walking on the very very edge of the pretty narrow path.  I was like, "Jake, you've gotta walk in the middle of the path."  And he didn't get it.  I pointed out to him that we don't know how strong the rock is on either side of the path, and if we were to walk there and it gave way it could be dangerous.  Also, I showed him that there were large drop-offs on either side of the path.  I told him, "Jakob, if you were to be on the very edge, and slip even just a little, you will hurt yourself."  I thought about our path in life, how we need to be constantly vigilant, and we shouldn't even flirt with dangerous edges; the middle is the safest way to go.
It was a really fun excursion.  It also made me very grateful for the hard-working husband that I have.  There's no way I would drive (or ride a bus) for an hour to get to work, especially so early in the morning like Pete does.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Alive and Five!

My Troy Boy turned 5 at the beginning of August.  Look how cute he is!
By the time we reach the summer birthdays, we (ahem, I) are in total relax mode.  That means we just...hang out.  Troy's birthday this year was no different.  Although I did do a friend party for Jake when he turned

Troy decided he wanted to go to the park for his birthday.  We drove to a really popular park, and it was super crowded.  We saw two busloads of kids arriving there as well, so we opted for a quieter area of the park.

Then we commenced to bake in the sun.  It was so HOT!

We (ahem, the kids) were playing all good, and then, like, 10 kids suddenly showed up.  So my kids decided to go to a different toy area.  They played, and drew in the sand with sticks.  And then the same 10 kids showed up there!  It was like our own paparazzi squad or something.

Then two of my kids magically had to use the bathroom.  We found those, then I promised Popsicles at home.  The kids were in the car in two seconds flat.  We went home and ate Popsicles galore.

That night we went to Chili's.  Troy originally picked McDonald's, but blech.  So we convinced him to eat somewhere else instead.

Here's Ivy and Pete doing Spiderman poses:
My parents came over, and we had cake (yellow cake with chocolate frosting-one of my favorites, though I have lots of favorites) and ice cream.
Troy got a Joker cave (to go with his Batcave), some dinosaurs, a robot dinosaur, a couple of movies, and some Batman toys.  What a lucky little punk!
My Troy is so dang sweet.  He cannot WAIT to go to kindergarten next week.  He thinks he is just so old and so big.  He'll still cuddle with me, even though he's kind of pulling out of that phase, which makes me sad.  Troy loves his grandmas.  He's always talking about what he'll be doing when he gets older.  He's been trying to ride his two-wheeler bike sans training wheels, and petals twice, then freaks out, steers all crazy, and falls over. 

Troy: I love flying on a plane! Me: Um, have you ever flown on a plane? Troy: Yeah, I did in my dream.

Troy: When I grow up, I want a house that's a green rocket ship, and 26 kids.

Troy: (while eating, but not wanting to eat what I made for him) My sandwich doesn't want to be picked up.

He loves his Batman stuff, but also loves his stuffed animals.  He has a little turtle his grandma made for him.  It has a purple shell and light green limbs.  He named it Sea Mist.  No idea how he came up with that one.  Troy is a great brother.  He does a shy little smile that reminds me a lot of mine when I was his age-he tucks his lower lip under his upper teeth.  It's just so cute.

I love my little guy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


During the school year, Brock brought home a paper.  He had to draw an activity of something that he and his family do during the summer.  I thought he'd draw he and his siblings playing on the swing set, or riding bikes, or swimming. 

Nope.  He drew a picture of him and me playing tennis.

Have we ever played tennis?  No.  Does he even know what tennis is?  Apparently, because he had drawn us with rackets and a net and everything.

And can I find this work of art?  No.  I've looked through my stacks (and stacks and stacks) of drawings, and I can't find it for the life of me.  I'm way bummed, because Brock is a super artist.

So, I took the kids out in the morning before it got too hot, and we played tennis.  We don't have tennis rackets, but we have two racquetball rackets.  And I bought some tennis balls.

We took turns "hitting" the ball, a.k.a. swinging our rackets in the air as the ball flies by.

And we played chase.  I was trying to get Troy on one side of the net, and Ivy on the other.  They just ran around and around the net, giggling with glee.

We also did a lot of running after the ball.  I would hit the ball over the net, and my kids would miss, and then chase the ball down.

Then I would stand on one side while my kids attempted to hit the ball to me.  After 10 or so tries of them hitting the ball into the net, and by the net, and around the net, I would take my turn and hit it back.

At one point I had Jakob take pictures with the camera.  I think they were having more fun taking pictures than they were playing tennis.

Another time I served the ball to Brock.  The ball bounced on the ground, then came up and hit him square in the eye.  I started laughing, even though it really wasn't that funny.  Okay, it was funny, and I'll be the first to admit I'm a bad mom for laughing at my kid's pain.

We didn't play for very long.  And even though it wasn't productive in a rally, keep score kind of way, it was still fun.  I'm glad Brock suggested it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Out Cold

Well, it's done.  My old fridge kicked the bucket, if you will.

It had been coming for a long time.  I first mentioned The Leak in this post.  That was almost three years ago.

Then I wrote a letter to my fridge here.  Apparently it couldn't read.

Really, my fridge should have been ashamed a bit, having to use a bed pan to catch its leaks.

This fine tupperware sat in the back of my fridge and caught all the water coming down from my freezer.
I must say, I won't miss hacking out the layers of ice that would build up on the inside of my freezer, either.  Sure, it was a great way to get out aggression, but having ice fly around by my eyes as I chop away at it may not be the best hobby out there.
So, out with the old, in with the new!  Thus:
It's...just so pretty! *sniff*

My mom and my sister both have the freezer-on-the-bottom fridges, and I'm a fan.  Plus, I don't have to bend clear over when I want to get cheese or veggies out any more.

It's bigger than my old one.  And the door holds a full gallon of milk.  It's awesome.

The only downside: buying the fridge has cut significantly into my laser eye surgery fund.  I blame my old fridge for being selfish.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bir-Cay-Ding, Part 3

Here is the third and final installment of the fabulous Bir-Cay-Ding. YAY!

(I would have gotten to this sooner, but we've continued to be busy.  I really will post about those things, too.  Remember: good things come to those who wait.)

So, the wedding.  First of all, I just want to mention that I'm so glad that Chris and Lexi got married, because Chris is a super awesome guy.  I can tell they fit each other really well.

July 30: pre-wedding
While we were getting ready after our horse ride and ski lift ride, Lex and her cute/awesome/amazing bridesmaids and Chris and his groomsmen were out gallivanting through the woods getting their pictures taken.

Then we got to join in the picture fun.  Lexi's wedding colors were a true orange and royal purple.  I was out with my mom shopping the week before, and we found these awesome orange ties, so we got them for my three boys and Pete to wear.  And Ivy was a flower girl for Lexi's wedding, so she had a way cute orange dress that my mom had made.  I completed the orange ensemble with a sweater and a white flowery skirt.  Which, I just realized, I don't have any pictures of myself.  I really need to hand the camera over to Pete every once in a while.

Here's Brock:

And Troy:

And Jakob:

Here's Ivy, holding Lexi's wedding bouquet.  Ivy was being shy at first about pictures, but then later on warmed up about it.

And here are my handsome boys.  I love how they all match, even Pete.

Here are Lex and Chris, ready to do the Toyota jump.  (Or is it Ford?  I really can't remember.)  Lex looks like she's getting ready to jump into some cold water or something.

The ceremony
I think I already mentioned that Lex and Chris chose Grand Targhee as their wedding site.  Lex really wanted an outdoor wedding.  Even though it was bright and sunny and warm earlier in the day, at about 3-ish it started getting cloudy and started sprinkling.  Then it started raining pretty hard for about 20 minutes or so, right before the ceremony was about to start.  There was a tiny little room just inside, and we asked if she wanted to set up in there, but Lex, being the weather girl she is (or something), said to wait just about 15 minutes.

And about 15 minutes later, it stopped raining.  Perfect!  It was a little cool out, so my kids were cold, but it was the perfect temperature for the adults.  It stayed rain-free the whole ceremony (it started getting windy near the end, but not too bad), and as soon as it was over, it started raining again.

Then the aisle walking began.  My parents led out, because my dad officiated!  Cool, huh?  He had been a bishop a while back at Ricks (which is now BYU-Idaho), and they checked the laws for Wyoming about marrying people, and it was totally okay.  Which, by the way, my dad ROCKED it.  I've always admired his teaching/speaking/officiating skills.

Lexi's friend Mark Doubleday, who is an EXTREMELY talented musician and composer, played his cello for the ceremony.  He's the one that helped Lex help me and Pete when we rapped at our ward talent show.  Let me find the link....okay, it's here.  And that's my cute uncle Kurt holding the umbrella for him.  Kurt also helped wipe down chairs after the rain for people to sit on.  He's such a great guy.
After the bridesmaids and groomsmen walked down the aisle, it was the flower girls' turn.  I really didn't know if Ivy was going to do her part.  In these kind of performance situations, she will either ham it up, or freak out and cry and scream or run away.  I really had no idea.  Chris' cousins, Maria and Julianna, were the other two flower girls.  The older girl, Maria, who is 8-ish, started to explain to Ivy what to do.  And Ivy got all excited about it.  So I sat down, but was at the end, in case I had to jump up and rescue Ivy.

But man.  She started throwing the flower petals on the ground.  And when she decided to do it, she was going to THROW the CRAP out of the FLOWER PETALS, DANGIT!  Maria had to kind of drag her down the aisle (they were both holding one of the baskets), and Ivy threw and threw and threw.  She had a blast.  And they were all just so stinking cute.
(That's a better shot of the dresses my mom made.  Cute, huh?)

And there's the beautiful bride, with Gramps.  My grandpa rocks, end of story.  His jacket was super sweet that day, too.  It was blue, and made of...suede?  It was really soft.  I asked him about it, and he said it was really really old.  But it was beautiful and in great shape for how old it was.  He's such a cute guy.

The flower girls stood there during the ceremony most of the time.  Ivy ran to my mom after a while, and I think Julianna jumped ship, too.  It's hard to see in this picture, but Ivy gets this confused look on her face.  She had it on during the whole ceremony.

There was a part during the ceremony where Lex and Chris read their individual vows to each other.  I got all teary when Chris read his to Lex.  (Um, and I just realized that blogger erased a bunch of what I had written right here.  Stupid blogger.  But let me sum up: Chris talked about how they met and how he knew they would be together.  Lex talked about how excited she is to start their life together.)

(Yeah, I probably just totally botched that up.  Lex, I hope you and Chris have your real vows somewhere.  I KNOW they are more eloquent than the craptastic summary I just wrote above.)
Like I said before, my dad did an amazing job.  Near the end, he read an Apache blessing of sorts.  I really liked it, so I found it on the internet.  For your reading pleasure:

Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.
It was just a beautiful ceremony. I cried, and laughed, and got was just so wonderful.  I'm so glad I got to go and see it.

Oh, and after Chris kissed the bride, he dipped her, and kissed her again.  Lexi's face right before the dip was so funny-her eyes got really big, and had a look of "don't drop me!"  It was funny.

Party time
Like I said, I was warm enough, but it was a bit chilly for my kids.  After the ceremony, everyone headed over to the tent they had set up, where we would eat dinner.  I ran and got jackets for my kids (because even though we were mostly encased, the cold air was still coming in).

Here's Lexi.  Doesn't she just look so beautiful and so happy?  Which, she had her makeup lady come up to the resort, and got her makeup airbrushed on.  Sweat free, smudge free, tear-proof...she's a thinker.
They had toasts, where the Best Man and the Maid of Honor gave little speeches, as did the parents.  Lexi's Maid of Honor was a girl named Kate.  Let me tell you, Kate ROCKS!  She told this awesome story about how Lex would talk about Chris when they first met, but they (Lex and Kate) had a nickname for him of Javier.  It was so funny!  Also, there was dancing later on, and when the DJ was doing a crappy job of picking out songs, Kate kicked him out of his chair and took over to find awesome boogie-down songs for us.

We had this amazingly yummy dinner.  There was a strawberry-spinach salad, and chicken (or fish, but I'm a chicken girl), it called twice baked potatoes where you bake the potato then pull out the insides and mash them up and put them back onto the skins?  Well, if it's not that, then that's what we had but I don't know what it's called.  I'll call them Prettily-Presented Potatoes.

And here's their cake.  Chris designed it.  I know that their colors had something to do with their school colors or something, but I know I'm going to get it all mixed up.  They met at BSU, so that's the Bronco thing on the top tier.  And something about a team that starts with a C, which is also Chris, and something with a team that starts with an A, which is also Alexis.

I'm SOOOO into sports, can you tell?

But what I CAN tell you about the cake is that it was deliciousness wrapped in amazingness.  Each layer was a different kind of chocolate.  One was German chocolate, one was Mexican chocolate, and the other was...I know I'm not remembering a double dark chocolate or something like that.  I had a slice of the Mexican chocolate layer.  It supposedly had cinnamon in it.  But all I tasted was super rich, moist, yummy chocolate.  Oh, mama.  It was so good!

Lex and Chris cutting the cake:
...And then Lex and Chris shoving the cake into each other's faces!  When Pete and I got married, I told him I would kill him if he got cake on my wedding dress, so he placed the cake nicely in my mouth.  Not Lexi and Chris.  Oh, no.  This picture below is Lexi, mid-fall.  Chris totally pushed his bride down!  It was funny.

The aftermath of the cake shove (you can't really see the cake smeared all over his face unless you enlarge the picture).  Chris:

And Lex:

But all was well.  They got cleaned up, and had their first dance together.  (I really don't remember if they danced before or after the cake shove.)

And here's the bride dancing with her dad.  I love this picture-such a sweet moment.  (My dad is so cute.  And Lexi's hair was to die for.)  Say it with me: AAAAAWWWWWWWWW!

At this point, my kids had had it.  They had gone to bed super late the night before, woke up super early that morning, and then had a really busy day.  Troy could barely keep his eyes open during the dinner. The DJ dude started playing music after the dinner, and normally my kids boogie on down, but they were not about to do it in public that night.  Ivy danced with me, but her tights kept falling down and pulling down her undies, so I'd have to keep fixing them.  She tried to get people to dance with us, like Pete or my dad or my mom, but no one was ready to boogie...yet.

Although, I danced with Ivy, and then I kept making faces at my kids.  Jakob was about to die from embarrassment at his dorky mom, but I didn't care.  Yep-I'm one of those parents, that thinks it's really funny to embarrass my kids.

We took the kids back to our room, told them to open the door under ZERO circumstances, and...then went back to boogie.

It was so fun to dance!  And, of course I don't have pictures of it, because I was too busy having a blast!  They played way fun music, some of which was old school (old school meaning when I was in high school, or even junior high).  Like, "Killing Me Softly" by the Fugees, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers (which I first heard when I attended my first EFY at 14 years old-YIKES!), "Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard, and "Cotton-Eyed Joe" by the Rednex. (Yes, quite the variety.)  They also had Beatles songs, and Black Eyed Peas, and Tao Cruz, and Beyonce's "Put a Ring on It".  Which, at that point, I wish I would have known all the dance moves to that song, because that would have been awesome.  I know, like two moves.

So, yeah.  WAY fun.  And Lexi's bridesmaids had some sweet, sweet dance moves!  After a while (a LONG while), we were worn out, so we went back to our room.  (Not to worry-we had checked on the kids periodically during the dancing.)  And, surprisingly, they were still awake for some reason.  I would have thought that they'd be out cold by then.  Oh well.

Well, that wraps up Part 3.  And I really did save the best for last, huh?