Wednesday, September 17, 2014

4th o' July

It just so happens that today is 'Constitution Day' - a fact I learned from Will and his excellent first grade education - so I figure it's entirely appropriate to post this throwback recap of our Independence Day weekend events this year :).

First things first: I'm semi-dreadful at traditions (I always think they sound great, start them off strong, and fail to keep them going after the first few rounds) BUT this is officially the fourth year that Clyde and Will have worn these shirts on the fourth of July:
I know; it's a little sketchy to call this tradition... more like kind of a weird coincidence-turned compulsion... but it makes me laugh, and I rarely require more reason than that to do things!

The day started off, as always, at our ward pancake breakfast. I had enthusiastically volunteered Chuck to help cook, so he arrived real bright and early :).
It was a good, good time; Carma got passed around lots (including a sweet moment with one of her future boyfriends, Abram) and Clyde adorably took to writing the title of his favorite primary song in the sand. (spoiler alert: it's He Sent His Son)

Right after breakfast, we celebrated our freedom by cramming all seven of us + luggage into the minivan for five hours!
Happily, the destination was well worth it: Elko! Chuck and I haven't been to Elko for the 4th of July since Will was a baby, so it was definitely time. Fun fact: this trip marked 11 years since I accompanied my then-new boyfriend Chuck to Nevada to meet his family. We've come kind of a long ways since then, haha. 

We hit the park as quickly as possible and found everyone already in the midst of enjoying the day - food and friends and flags, what more could you want? Will found a good buddy in family friend Ben Neff; I'm hard pressed to say which of them enjoyed their time together (mostly with Will on Ben's shoulders!!) more :).

Carma was a doll and snuggled up to lots of new people - she got to meet (top left to right) cousins Courtney and Lily and Aunt Amanda...
and good family friends Vonda and Ronda (bottom corner, left to right). And I absolutely promise I'm not making up that their names rhyme, haha! And of course Grandma got lots of time with Carma :).

Jack and Anna were SO cute together!

Once it started getting dark, Chuck's mom passed around the glowsticks and the kids... and adults :) ... had loads of fun while we waited for the fireworks to start.
And as always, they were worth the wait!

The next day we met up at Grandma and Grandpa's for a day of fun, starting with water guns and sprinklers on the trampoline since we missed the big water fight at the park the day before:
The porch was a designated 'dry zone', which made it a perfect spot to swing and talk! Bri really wanted to hold Carma, and she did a great job - we kept asking if she was all done, but she kept her for at least 15 minutes :). I love that Carma will grow up with so many fun girl cousins to spend time with.

Pops got his customary baby nap in, and Chuck managed to catch a smile from Pops (bottom right) which is a rarity!! Well, I should say that getting a picture of it is rare; Pops smiles a lot :).
 For an afternoon adventure, we decided on bowling and had a great time.

 I'm pretty sure Chuck and I should join a bowling league in a few years. We obviously have the moves.
 And my dad's diligent instruction from childhood FHE bowling nights paid off again; I won on the grown-up lane.

After bowling, we had just enough time to test out Grandma's homemade ice cream ... churn? maker? device?... primarily operated by Courtney, Bri, and Jack :). They did an awesome job - it was delicious!

Aaaand then it was time to pile back in the van (with a different Blue - we traded George for Courtney!) and head home. It was a quick trip, but so much fun!!
 Happy Constitution Day! Happy late fourth of July! Love America!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Clyde is EIGHT!

Clyde Monster turned eight this week, a milestone that we've all been eagerly awaiting. I don't know if it's because the oldest child, or if it's because he's the youngest in his grade at school, but to me it always seems anticlimactic when his birthday rolls around because he already seems that age - ya know? But now it's good and official: We have an eight year old, hooray!
Clyde is such a good kid; he's bright and active and protective and imaginative - sooo imaginative. Coming home from school the other day, he explained that during class he had come up with new things to imagine but since he couldn't get up right then and run around, he was saving them for when he got home, haha. He's forever bouncing around the living room, battling invisible foes, usually from whatever book he's reading right then.

His birthday fell on Labor Day this year so Grandma Pam was off work and since Chuck's Wood Badge beading had been held the night before, Grandma and Grandpa Izatt were still in town and able to celebrate with us. Chuck made us a delicious blueberry pancake lunch extravaganza and Clyde was thrilled with all of us presents, notably the rest of the Percy Jackson books that he didn't have yet, Greek mythology books, legos!, long-sleeved football shirts, and more legos. It was all perfect!
 8 brings lots of fun new adventures, such as Cub Scouts! (ohhhh, and baptism! Which will be at the end of this month, Saturday September 27th at 1pm at our stake center here in Nampa on Greenhurst. Love to see ya there....) Clyde has already been to Scouts twice (we may have sneaked him in a week early) and he loves it. There's three little boys who have turned 8 in the last month, so they're all starting together.

Another exciting aspect of turning eight was getting the go-ahead to finish reading the Harry Potter series! Clyde read 1-4 last fall, but Chuck and I stopped him there for a bit, partly because 5-7 are pretty intense, but mostly because they're SO SO good that I wanted him to be a little older and more appreciative of them.
Aaaand the little nut pretty much devoured book five. He started reading it Tuesday evening and finished it this afternoon. He may have stayed up a little too late last night reading, and today at school he had extra free time to read due to IRI testing... but even then. Insane.

I think another reason that Clyde seems older is how much responsibility we give him as the oldest of four kids.
 Clyde and Carma! Clyde is for sure just faking sleep there, but it's a darling picture nonetheless.

 Clyde and Jack:
 I'll tell you what, it takes some real bravery to sit that close to Jackers. He's back to being pretty mellow overall, but he remains a bit unpredictable and you never really know when he'll bare his teeth and go for a bite...

 Clyde and Will, aka the cutest brother duo in town:
 This is usually where Clyde really melts my heart - his relationship with Will. Chuck wisely reserved the Minecraft video game at the library so that the boys could have it during their adenoids-ectomy recovery (notice their hospital bracelets on their ankles in the bottom middle picture, haha). It was so sweet to watch them play together - Clyde was constantly aware of Will and helping him and building him armor and a house and letting him bunk overnight and such. They seriously got loads of extra screen time during that few days just because of how adorable their interactions were, haha! 

  We sure love our Clyde, happy birthday sweetheart!!

Cousin George's visit!

When I found out that Chuck's mom would be here the last weekend in June and that we would be in Elko for the 4th of July the following weekend, I realized it might be a perfect time to steal one of our older nieces or nephew for a few days. A couple phone calls and some finagling later, the plans were set for George to hang out with us - making this the third summer in a row! George is two years older than Clyde and fits in perfectly around here.
The weekend George came was spent around the house playing board games and running around like crazy kids in the front yard. Carma and I watched sedately from the porch glider.

We ventured out and about quite a bit during George's visit, which at first seemed unlikely since I had yet to really attempt just taking my four kids anywhere... but it turns out, a fifth kid that is almost 10 and very helpful and responsible makes outings much easier! George was so sweet to always help buckle or unbuckle Jack, hold hands with the boys, hold Carma when I needed two hands, etc. Such a great kid!
We hit up the dollar movie one morning; alas, Rio 2 was sold out but Mr. Peabody and Sherman wayyy exceeded my (very low) expectations. The three older boys all gave it a thumbs up, Carma slept through the whole thing, and Jack got real antsy about half way through and ran up and down the aisles.

The past two summers part of George's visits have been to attend a science day camp, so this year I just put all the boys in the playroom with a bunch of recyclable materials and scissors and tape and told them to go at it. They were as adorable and creative as I knew they would be!
 Chuck took the four boys to our favorite park in Nampa for a bit one day; I think Carma and I were visiting teaching...

And one afternoon we left Carma home with Grandma Pam so that Chuck and I could take the four boys swimming, wooo!
Love all these boys :).

There was also plenty of screen time: the boys played lots of video games and we initiated George into our mandated nightly viewings of Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune. George was also sooo sweet with Carma, always quick to respond when she fussed or needed anything. I'm so glad he was able to come; we love this summer tradition!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Baby fashion show

Well, Carma hit the three-month mark a couple of weeks ago and to make sure I reeeeally got the message that she has no intentions of staying little forever, she also embarked upon a serious growth spurt wherein the size of her thighs doubled and a third chin emerged. 
{Ahhh, to be young again and have those characteristics be so. dang. cute...}

The sad part of all this? All the darling clothes she's outgrown! So without further ado, here's a quick fashion recap of some of my favorite outfits and such from the last three months...
Dresses for church! SO cute, right?

I've taught Carma early the versatility of a good graphic tee (er, onesie...):
Why yes, I did make that 'C' onesie. Thanks for noticing!

A couple little pajama numbers from when I was a baby:
 My Little Pony is always in style, thank goodness. The other one... I was unsure about. The lacy collar and wrists seemed a bit formal/early 19th century men's wear for my taste.

Here's a random assortment of Carma sporting greys and pinks:
The pink shorts on the bottom left are some of my favorite, Holly found them so that Carma could fit in with our 'soft shorts' (aka athletic shorts) family, hahaha. And the picture on the bottom right isn't directly fashion-related, but rather a good reminder about the importance of beauty sleep :). 

It's always fun to dress up for a specific occasion, amIright? Here we have (clockwise starting in the top left) Father's Day, Fourth of July, the night before Father's Day, Grandma Pam's birthday, the Sunday before Grandma Pam's bday, and finally, Janell Hyer's birthday - she LOVES Mickey/Minnie Mouse. 
(PS my bfsc Courtney made that onesie. And that bow. And a bunch of other bows. She's amazing).
 Here are some more Sunday outfits! My niece Courtney made the braided fabric headband Carma's wearing in the middle picture. Is it a thing that all Courtneys are cute and crafty and awesome??

And a few more casual ensembles:
The cute monkey onesie (bottom left) was part of a huge assortment of clothes and accessories that a group of Chuck's co-workers gave us back in January, shortly after we found out we were having a girl. It was so fun to open the gift bag and see so much pink! And the fun, bright outfit in the middle was courtesy of another one of Chuck's co-workers, Sylvia.

Ahhh, this eases a bit of the pain I felt packing away all of these darling clothes, never to again adorn a wee Izatt baby. AND it also made me feel loads better about all the times that Carma wears the same onesie two days in a row or spends a majority of the day in just a diaper, haha. At least I have proof that she gets dressed up on a pretty regular basis!!

Grandma Thomas and Carma meet

Chuck's fabulous... and fun... and feisty... Grandma Thomas made her annual trip out west in June and as always packed in lots and lots of adventures during her trip. We were very lucky to have the lure of a new great-grandbaby that brought her to Nampa for a quick overnight stay!
Grandma with her newest great-grandchild! Carma is #13 for Grandma; right now there are seven girls and six boys, with two more great-grandsons due this fall/winter, courtesy of Amanda and Rachel :).

Carma was content to snuggle up and cuddle lots with Grandma:
 The boys were pretty happy to have cousin George to play with (more on that later), but Will broke away for a bit to show Grandma his special kindergarten keepsake book.

 More cuddling!
I'm so grateful that my kids are able to get to know their great-grandma - what a blessing!

 And although you wouldn't know it from the majority of the pictures, Grandma didn't come alone, Chuck's mom and aunt Sue were here too:
But they were very sweet and yielded Carma to Grandma most of the time :). I'm disappointed I didn't get a picture of Sue with Carma; they had some good bonding time out on our front porch glider when Carma was fussy in the evening. Sue's getting lots of good practice for when her kids start giving her some grandbabies! (I'm looking at you, Liz and Chris - the extended Thomas family needs more Democrats; I've contributed all I can!!)

Thanks again for coming Grandma - I know you probably spent more time in the car coming and going than you were here! We appreciate it so much!! Love you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

'She looks like a girl version of...'

I haven't blogged forever, promise I'll catch up, yada yada yada.

In the meantime, my friend Kara and I were sitting on a bench admiring Carma the other day (well, really, we were waiting to see how many of our friends stood us up but while we waited we did some admiring...) and in an effort to describe how Carma looks like Clyde as a baby but not completely, I came up with a brilliant comparison.

Disney characters that are animals and 
have a boy and a girl version.

(let's pretend that came out more eloquently...)

Exhibits A through F: 
(all images borrowed from google. please don't sue me)
 The girl version is always a little softer/pinker/usually has a bow/often a bit of blush/and pretty much always delicate eyelashes, usually off to the sides for maximum flirty batting power.

And let's face it - that's a pretty solid description of Carma! Especially the eyes - my mom once characterized Carma's eyes as 'coquette-ish' and I think that's perfect.

So just for fun, here's a side by side of Carma with each of her older brothers, all in the range of three months-ish, give or take a couple weeks.

 Clyde and Carma:
 Will and Carma:

and finally, Jack and Carma:

Ahhh, they're all just so sweet! 
 (I can say that right now because two of them are at school and two of them are asleep. Ask me again about their sweetness in an hour when they're all home and half of them are crying while they other half are hungry/whiny and then they swap  and then I'm crying too, haha).

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Anniversary pictures AKA the start of our modeling careers

Chuck and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary in mid-June and as part of the festivities, Chuck insisted we have some pictures taken of the two of us and I was a good sport and went along with it.

Or maybe it was the other way around - who can remember? 

Marriage tip #1: Don't remember. Don't keep track. Don't keep score.
So we got all dressed up... ish.. and grabbed some roses that reminded me of my wedding bouquet and headed to the most beautiful place in Boise:
 The temple! Coincidentally where we were married ten short/kindoflong years ago.
Marriage tip #2: go to the temple. Lots. If that's not applicable, find a place that brings you peace and purpose and joy as a couple and helps you recommit to one another and prioritize your life and provides service to others and go there. Lots.

And just for fun, here's a 'then and now' shot:
Fun fact: That beard is the product of ten years' growth - Chuck hasn't shaved since our wedding day

Well, that's a lie, but it would be funny! Other funny things: we were obviously attempting to recreate this shot, but Chuck wasn't wearing a jacket this time for me to nonchalantly/semi-shamelessly loop my fingers into. I was apparently a fairly brazen newlywed...

 Although I'm apparently a pretty brazen not-newlywed too:
 Marriage tips #3: Be brazen. Life's short. ;)

 and #4: Seize the day/moment/etc. I really wanted to do this little photoshoot, but I seriously considered postponing until a) Chuck was clean-shaven (or as clean-shaven as that manly man gets) and/or b) I wasn't four weeks postpartum and looking, you know, four weeks prepartum (is that a real word? do you get that I mean eight months pregnant?)

BUT then I realized that I wanted pictures of us ON our tenth anniversary; delaying might have meant that Chuck was a little less hairy and I was a little less, um, curvy, buuuut who's to say we would have ever actually gotten around to it? Life... and marriage... is crazy and busy and unpredictable and precious and the procrastinator within me is starting to realize that doing things today instead of tomorrow can be good too.

Oh, here we are just sitting on a bench. #romantically

 Ohh snap, this might be my favorite one of Chuck. Man, he's good-lookin'.

 Obviously we had to sneak some bow-chicka-bow-wow shots in there - it was our anniversary, okay?? (I feel like this is a good time for a shout-out to our very patient and long-suffering photographer, Holly. THANK YOU!)

 Okay, maybe this was a bad idea to stare at these pictures while Chuck is gone at Scout Camp - I suddenly miss him even more! I just love him.

 Well, a baby was definitely one accessory we didn't have in our original wedding pictures but she fits in nicely here! (and I promise we propped her head back up like thirty seconds later. As much as I love the newborn stage, I also really love the 'strong neck muscles' stage...)
Marriage tip #5: hold hands whilst strolling about on summer evenings.

We might have started getting pretty cheesy around this point. Or amp-ing it up to an even cheesier level, perhaps... P.S. I don't think we planned to have our legs the same way and we couldn't really see each other around the corner - CAN YOU SAY MEANT FOR EACH OTHER??

 Hahahaha, I still can't believe Chuck put up with some of this. 
Marriage tip #6: Put up with stuff. Go along with goofy ideas and hobbies. It won't kill you and you'll probably have fun and you might even take first place in the fantasy football league that you had to be talked into participating in :).

I feel like this should be the cover of our modeling portfolio....

Ooh, or maybe this one. A little sultry, am I right?

 Well this one is definitely in its own sultry category - look at Chuck narrowing his eyes a bit. He's a natural ;).

 And here we are, walking towards the future... decades more of marriage... dinner at Cafe Rio...


That's not all.

Here's a few more outtakes/funny ones/random ones that were too fantastic not to share:
Just a quick candid shot - look at us, ten years into marriage, still making each other laugh, not a care in the world, only eyes for each other, etc, etc.

I'm not entirely sure what was happening here; I think Chuck had just been blinded by the sun and I was taking some time to ponder my flower-arranging skills... or lack thereof. #flattering

Okay, these would obviously be placed prominently in my modeling portfolio. 
#smoldering #thoughtful #smellingflowers

Followed up quickly by this one, so they know I have a pretty amazing range. #happy

This might have been when I made Chuck lean forward so we could romantically peer at one another around the corner and then I was suddenly struck by the cheesiness of it all, hahahaha.

Cancel anything I've ever said, THIS is my favorite picture of Chuck. I like how poor Holly is on the receiving end of this look of hilarious betrayal - how could you do this to me?

Aaaaand this one, where he can't contain his laughter while I try to figure out the least awkward positioning for my arm (spoiler alert: they were all equally very, very awkward. As was this particular set-up... my face looks cute though!)
And finally, we got cocky and decided to disprove the notion that pictures from the back aren't flattering... sadly, it's a notion for a reason and we did nothing to change that, haha.. I think I leaned in for a kiss after this shot though, so things ended well :).

 OH, and one more shot of the temple. Love it. So glad that I have Chuck for eternity.