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.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

In One Month From Today... vision will no longer look like this without contacts/glasses:
(This picture was titled "blurry mess".  I find that to be a very apt title, for both the picture and my current eyesight.)

Yes, that's right.  After much saving, and whining, and setbacks, and extra work to get the money, I have finally succeeded in accumulating enough money to get my beloved laser eye surgery.

Say it with me: WOOOOOO HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

Because I have astigmatism, and have to wear toric lenses (which kind of help the shape of your eyeball), I have to abstain from wearing contacts for three weeks so my eyes...unshape.  Or something.

Today is day 1 of wearing my glasses again.  Since I got contacts in...8th grade, I've pretty much worn them and NOT glasses.  Here and there, sure, but not constantly.  So after all day of glasses-wearing my ears hurt, because they're not used to having large thingies hanging out behind them.

Also, putting on my makeup this morning was really...exciting, since I couldn't really see what I was doing.

But what is for reals exciting is the fact that I'll be able to see my alarm clock in the morning, and not have to have it 6 inches from my face and I'm still squinting to read the numbers.  It will be exciting to not have to stick my finger in my eye twice a day and blinkety-blink a little clear disk around.  It will be exciting to actually be able to see the big "E" on the eye chart, instead of just knowing that it's down at the end of the room, and only see a big gray blur.
Speaking of "E": my brain, after setting the appointment today, went "EEEEEEEEE!" with giddiness.  (That doesn't sound right.  With "gid"?  Hmmm.  Happiness?  I mean, I would say "excitement", but now that's just overused in this post.  But you know what I mean.)

Let the countdown begin!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Jake's Baptism

Jakob got baptized over Labor Day weekend.  It was so awesome!

We had many family members come for the event: 3 of Pete's brothers (Mike, Mark, and Richard) and their families, Pete's parents, my parents, and my sister Lexi and her hubby Chris.

The only baptisms that I have attended were where just one person was getting baptized.  In our stake, because there are so many young families, they baptize all the kids that turned 8 that month in one big session.  There were 6 kids that were baptized the same day as Jakob.

Because of that, our stake assigns each ward one month to be in charge of the talks and musical numbers.  So...we just had to show up, and that's it.  Easy peasy.

There was a great talk given, and a musical number: "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus".  Then, it was time for the baptism.

It kind of felt like we were riding a train.  First stop: the chapel for the talk, etc.  Second stop: the font for the baptism.  Third stop: a different room for the confirmation.  Pete preformed both the baptism and confirmation, and he did great.  He was really quiet as he was giving the blessing to Jakob - it's because he was trying not to let his voice crack from emotion.  *sniff* So cute!  What a great dad.

Jakob was so cute.  When walking into the chapel, he had a big old grin on his face.  He was just so very handsome when he came out after being baptized and was in his vest and church pants.
After the baptism was over, we had a lunch at our house - sandwiches, and brownies, and salad, and cool caramel dessert (which I need to get that recipe from my mom-it's DELICIOUS), and jello, and chips.... SOOO yummy.

Then we went to the fair.  When we got there, it was almost dinner time.  So we walked around a little bit and saw a few of the animals.  Then we got dinner.  And then Pete's two brothers and their families had to head back down to Utah, so they left.  I felt bad that we didn't get to spend more time at the fair seeing the different things, but oh well.

And this is the one picture I got from the fair.  It's not even very good-it's of everyone's torsos.  Sheesh.  The nice lady on the left let us pet her sheep.  It was a weird species-it has hair instead of wool.  Weird.  So they don't clip it - it sheds in the spring instead.
(Also part of the crappy picture-taking by Nat - the pic of Pete and Jake is all that I got from the baptism.  Had I been thinking 4th-dimensionally, I would have gotten pictures of everyone there, and of our family all dressed up...Doh!)

One thing I did do, however, was ask family members to write a little note to Jakob for his baptism.  My request rendered a few responses.  My plan is to put the letters into a little booklet about his baptism that he can have to help him remember his baptism day.

I hope people don't mind, but I want to share snippets from each of the letters.

From Lex: Your silly dances, faces, and poses can always make me smile.  And you are also a sweetheart!

From Howard: The very first person in my line was named Andrew; he was my great-grandfather.  He joined the Church in Denmark in 1861....There are many generations on both sides of the veil that are there to help you as you progress in your life.

From Marianne: Jakob, we love you and are grateful that you have made the decision to be baptized.

From Kar: You are such a great kid.  One of the things I love best about you is your desire to make good choices.  You always strive to be a good boy.

From Jim and Jennifer: We're proud of the good choice that you have made and the good example that you are to your cousins.

From my mom: I am still learning things about the baptismal covenant and about receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, just like you are.  We have to keep learning so that when we make mistakes we will know how and why we repent.

From my dad: Jakob, you are a good boy and a great brother to your brothers and sister.  Always watch out for them...I want you to know that I love you very much and I am so proud to have you as a grandson.

From me: We can hear the Holy Ghost the best when we are doing things like reading our scriptures, saying our prayers, and attending church.  Remember: he uses a still, small voice, like a whisper or a thought or a feeling.  When we have peace inside of ourselves, and take the time to listen, that's when we hear what we need to do.

I asked Jakob how he felt about getting baptized, and he said he was really glad.  I'm glad, too.  What a cutie pie.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ramble, Ramble, Back to School, Ramble, Ramble

Well, now that school is back in session, I'm almost back into the swing of things...almost.  Here's the rundown on how things have gone thus far:

On back to school night, we took Jakob’s school supplies to his class and got a chance to meet his teacher.  She seems really nice.  There’s a girl in his class that he’s buddies with.  She is just a little doll and a half.  She came up to him and said, “Hey, Jakob! Are we going to play at recess?"  Jakob, with a shy little smile, replied, "Yes." She said, "What are we going to play? ....Zombies?!?!?"  And Jake got a huge grin on his face and said, "You KNOW it!"  It was just so cute.  I'm glad he has some friends in his class.

I think he’s doing...okay so far.  He wants to be able to do everything right the very first time he tries something, and if he can’t then he gets frustrated.  We talked about it, and I told him that if he already knew everything, there would be no reason for him to go to school at all.  He really is a smartie pants, though.  He hasn’t had homework so far, which has been nice (for me).

I got to meet Brock’s teacher the week before school started.  She called parents and had them come in individually with the student and school supplies.  She’s a thinker, that one.  She is also very much on top of things-she didn’t miss a beat in asking me if I could come in to help in the classroom.  I told her I would try-my only hiccup is how Ivy is doing when she is with me.  Sometimes, when I’ve gone to help at the school, Ivy has been great-she just sits there quietly and plays.  Other times, she’s wanting to run up and down the halls.  So we’ll see how this year goes.

The first day of school, Brock lost his lunch box.  I swear it went to the Phantom Zone for a while, and this is why: he forgot to put his lunch box in his room’s basket.  At the end of the day he realized that, and so they went to the lunchroom and found his box, and sent him on his way with it on the bus.  But then his box was exactly like a girl’s box that rides the same bus, only she’s in 3rd grade, and somehow he had her box.  So he came home and was in tears because he lost the box.  We went to the school, to his classroom, to the lunchroom, and called the bus, all to no avail.  The next day, voila!-the lunch box appeared…in Jakob’s class’s basket.  Hm.  Very random.  But we got it back.
Brock loves school.  His homework has taken the most time so far, because he wants to color everything meticulously.  Grr.  I’m like, just scribble, child!  But he is a SUPER artist, and wants everything to look right, so I have to hold my tongue.  He’s getting better and better at reading, but still wants to guess at words.  If I stop him, though, and point at the word that he guessed, he’ll read it the right way.  I think he’s just trying to go fast or something.

Troy is just so cute.  He’s a dawdler, so I worried about him being on time in the morning to catch the bus.  But he’s done great so far.  The first day of school we were walking in to the front doors with a bunch of bigger kids.  Troy’s eyes got wider and wider.  But once we got to the classroom I think he was okay.  There are a few kids in his class that he knows from church, so I think that helps.  And he plays with his neighbor friend at recess that’s in the other kindergarten class.

This week for homework we had the Mom Scrapbook Project, as I like to call it.  Each of my kids has had this: it’s a packet that asks questions about your child, like their favorite color, a cool trip they have been on, what they are scared of, etc.  (Incidentally, Troy said his favorite trip was “when we went to Wyoming”.  He doesn’t say when we went to Lexi’s wedding, but that’s the only time we’ve been in Wyoming.  So random.)  So you answer the questions, and then you have to find things to show the answers, like pictures, and stickers, and dye cuts, and on and on.  When I did it with Jakob, I think I put a lot more time and effort into doing lots of different…mediums?  Like, stickers, and yarn, and I had him color a whole bunch.  This year, I did almost all pictures, because it’s just that much easier.  We got a few stickers, too, but that’s about it.  Oh, and I had Troy draw a couple of pictures.

Troy is just so eager to learn - he wants to know everything, and how things work.  He’s constantly asking about what words start with what letters, that kind of thing.  The other day he asked Pete to explain how waterfalls work, and ate up every word.
I thought about trying to do a little group school thing for Ivy this year.  And then I remembered how much I hated doing the neighborhood preschool for Troy when he was three, so I quickly changed my mind.  So far, she mostly just wants to play with toys while “da brudders” (translation: “the brothers”, which is what she collectively calls Jakob, Brock, and Troy) are at school.  Sometimes she wants to be with me, so she’s at my mercy-she helped me do laundry, and put away dishes, that kind of thing.

Twice a week my mom and I are walking - outside right now while it’s still nice, and then we’ll start mall walking when it gets cold.  So Ivy rides in a stroller with a blanket over her.  She thinks it’s the best thing ever.  Which takes us to…
Have I been productive? Yes.  Am I busy? YES.  But do I have down time?  Yes. 
During the summer we slept in, and kind of took our time doing things during the day.  It’s amazing how much more one can get done when one gets up and gets moving.  After I get the boys out the door, I’ve been exercising for the first time in YEARS, either walking with my mom like I mentioned, or doing yoga.  I bought this DVD of 20 minute yoga, and so far I really like it.  The dude on it talks about how people go to bed too late, and then get up with a huge to-do list and rush through the day.  His philosophy is to go to bed earlier, and then start the day right with down time, to set the mood for your whole day and get you in a peaceful mindset.
My other morning routine is reading my scriptures.  This has been a wonderful way to start my day.  We read together as a family at night, but it’s just one page.  Reading on my own has been hit and miss, but now it’s part of what I do, and it’s been great.  It does the same thing as the yoga - it gets me in a peaceful mindset to start off my day.
Another great thing about school is the lunches.  I came up with a rotation of sorts for school lunches that I send with the kids.  It’s not fancy, but it helps break up the monotony of a PB&J every day.  I’ve been trying to include healthier sides, like carrots and celery, or little fruit cups.  So, when Troy gets home, I make the same lunch for him, me, and Ivy that I did for the other two.  So I’ve been eating a little better as well.  The other day I was like, Ooooh, celery!  I don’t normally chop up celery for my own eating, but since I had already cut a bunch of sticks it was easy to grab and eat.
After school, I teach piano.  I have 14 students this year.  Every year, before I start teaching, I get really nervous - about if I’m teaching well, if I’ll have enough time to get everything done, that kind of thing.  Last week was my first week, and it went really great.  Well, at least it went great for me – I hope it’s the same story when my students get home.  I really love teaching, and all my students are awesome.
And then at night, of course, I clean at my dad’s office.  Luckily, I’ve been doing that for a couple of months, so that’s really second nature now.  I’m glad things have been adding on little by little or week by week so I didn’t get inundated all at once.
So, weekdays, doing okay.  Weekends, however, are a different ball game, especially Saturdays.  On Saturday, I just want to sleep in, and relax.  But what I NEED to do is grocery shopping, and cleaning at my dad’s, and cleaning my own house with my kids.  I wish my kids were old enough that I could just set them to it, but I know we’d end up at the hospital with bleach in a kid’s eye or something.  So I help them out, which takes longer than if I were to just do it, but they need to learn at some point. 
This last Saturday we were cleaning after dinner and clear up till bedtime, but at least it got done.  So that’s something I need to think about.  I could try fitting one chore into every day of the week (like Monday is dusting day, Tuesday is windexing day, something like that), but I don’t know if that would be better or worse than what I have going on now.  My other thought, and I REALLY need to do this, is go grocery shopping on a different day other than Saturday.  It would be less crowded on a different day, that’s for sure.
Well, I think this post is long enough now, so I’ll be off.  But don’t worry-I’ll be back to ramble another day!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The End of (Summer) Days

My sister Brianna came out to visit in August.  It was so fun!  We ended up doing a few little outings.

The first one was going to a new water park in Rexburg.  It's really awesome!  There's a really shallow end that has little spray things that come up.  There's another area, also shallow, that has a few little slides for little kids.  At the top of those slides is a HUGE bucket that fills with water, then tips over and dumps all the water out on the kids waiting below.  There's a climbing wall, and a lazy river, and two big slides.
We had so much fun!  I enjoyed the lazy river the most.  Jake and I went on the big slide.  While we were waiting in line, my dad looked up at me and said, "Do you have Brock?" Uh, NO.  Brock had told my parents that he was going on a green slide.  They kept waiting for him to come out of the tube, and he never showed up.  I was like, great - either my child has drowned or has been kidnapped.

Turns out he had gone to the lazy river section by himself.  Luckily we found him.  I asked him about it, and I think he originally said he was going to the green slide but then got distracted or thought differently or something.  And luckily he could touch the bottom of the lazy river.  But we talked again about always having an adult with him.

Ivy and Brianna were buddies the whole time.  Ivy loved watching Beej's long hair float around in the water.  Even though the wind made it a little cold to be there, it was still way fun.

About a week later, we got to go to Lagoon in Utah.  It was so awesome - and hot!  We took zero time in heading to the water rides like Cliffhanger and Rattlesnake Rapids to keep cool, and then the heat was no big deal.  Look how soaked Jake is in this picture:
I know I went to Lagoon as a kid, but I don't remember much about it.  And then I went a few times as a teenager.  So going back was a whole new experience, because I've never gone with little kids before.  I was surprised at how many rides they had for just kids.  Plus, they get new rides every couple of years, so there were some that I had never gone on before.
Ivy hated waiting in line.  I think she didn't get the concept.  Right before this boat ride she was pitching a fit because it wasn't her turn.  The little girl in the boat was by her in line, and kept trying to comfort Ivy.

Brock was, of course, a little freaked out by some of the rides.  We took him on one at the beginning of the day that goes around in a circle really fast.  I kept looking back at him and his face was sheer terror.  Pete took him on a big boat ride that swings back and forth, and he said Brock was gripping the rail for dear life and shaking with fright.  Yeah, we're kind of mean parents.  Not a lot has changed.
But Brock loved the swings ride, and he insisted on riding the train, which takes you to this hidden zoo part, which is way cool.  I had forgotten about that.

Jakob was tall enough to go on some of the big rides.  I think he was a little scared, but wasn't about to show it.

After losing Brock at the water park, I warned in earnest about always being with a grown-up at Lagoon.  Troy chose my dad to be his buddy-he hardly let go of his hand the whole time.  One of the times we went on Rattlesnake Rapids, Troy got ABSOLUTELY drenched.  I watched his face, and thought for a minute that he was going to start crying, but instead his look of incredulousness turned into a huge smile and he said, "That was AWESOME!"
I'm more of a chicken now than I used to be.  We went on Colossus, and I totally closed my eyes at the top.  There was another ride that's new (to me), called Wicked, and during the corkscrew part I kept saying "Oh mama!  Oh mama!" and closed my eyes a few times on that one too.  One girl in front of me put her hands in the air and I started yelling, "Get your hands down!  Your hands are going to get chopped off!  The ride says keep your hands inside!  Put them down!"  I'm sure she didn't hear me.

Despite the slight fear on some of the rides, it was a way fun day.

Then the next day we went to the planetarium in Salt Lake City.  It was pretty cool.  The kids loved seeing all the different science-y things, and seeing models of the planets.

We watched a movie while we were there.  The seats were so comfy, and it was dark...yeah, I barely stayed awake.  I think the same was true for my parents as well.  The movie was called "Space Pirates Attack!" or something like that.  I was thinking that it would be all action-packed.  Not so much.  Oh well-my kids still liked it.

My little Martians:

And here are my science boys.  Jakob is Pete incarnate.

I think we'll have to do a repeat trip next summer.