Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Oh my goodness, I just scrolled through this post and almost threw up at how. freaking. many. pictures there are. It took me a day and a half just to load the pictures because blogger randomly kept doing all but four and I was too lazy to find those four... but I did finally this morning... and for a while I thought maybe it was a sign that I should break this into two shorter posts, but that sounded also like a lot of work sooo let's just do this thing:

Starting, as perhaps all posts should, with a picture of the cutest daddy/daughter duo this side of the little creek across the street from our house:
This was after church the first Sunday in March, which was actually an area conference broadcast from Meridian. Elder L. Tom Perry spoke to us and it was so wonderful.

 Later that week we availed ourselves of Grandma Pam's free time as she watched the kids so that Chuck and I could attend ward temple night, and then the next day so that I could attend a funeral and help at the luncheon afterwards. I got home in time for a walk and took this picture, which I love mostly because of the people in it and also because it looks like Jack and Clyde are skipping as part of some sort of Newsies song and dance number...

Favorite guy, favorite place, favorite level of pixelization...

That weekend the kiddos and I met up with my papa to go to a rock and gem show in Caldwell. This is the sort of thing that I always think sounds super cool but highly unmanageable by myself - but it was perfect with Grandpa along! My dad loves rocks and gemstones and the boys were quickly enthralled:
They had some fun hands-on activities for the kids; pretty sure we went through like twelve trays of sand as we sifted our way to some pretty cool finds.

Sometimes I take pictures of my kids facing the sun just because it makes me laugh. Thanks Dad for a fun day!!
After the rock show, we came home and played in the front yard until Chuck got home from work! There was some bike riding (Jack just recently made his debut as a legit bike rider) and some Harry Potter wand wielding, and some pretty attractive selfie taking ;).

Sister Corse (my Sunday School team teacher) turned 86 the first Saturday in March, so we celebrated the next day in class with decorations and treats and a group picture. She LOVED it and we love her, so it was perfect.
I don't remember why I took this other picture of Sunday School, but I just love those girls! And the bottom right is from when Chuck and I headed over to Skyview later that week and saw Bethany in the Crucible! Oh man, I hadn't read or seen that since high school; it was pretty intense. Bethany was fantastic.

Of all the things that Will has inherited from me, his least favorite might be teeth that don't wiggle and fall out on their own - sorry kiddo! His two front bottom teeth were holding strong, even while the adult teeth were coming in behind and it was causing enough discomfort that we decided to get them yanked out. Probably will happen again - I think all my baby teeth had to be pulled at the dentist. Will was a superstar though; he loves the dentist and the doctor and all of that - he was SO excited to get his name up on the 'lost tooth' poster in his classroom at school :). His note afterwards made me laugh though - "How will I eat?"
 Luckily after a milkshake with Daddy, he felt good enough to come home and join in on a family bike ride and fun in the backyard.

The new library had its big grand opening in March and we were sooo excited! Chuck had a prior obligation that morning (reffing church bball, hahaha) but the kids and I braved the chill to watch the ribbon-cutting ceremony. They were all possibly less than thrilled but we love Nampa and we love the library and I promised that someday they would think it was cool that they were there for this occasion.
We came back that afternoon with Chuck to explore the inside and hear a couple of his young men play with their respective orchestras as part of the opening day festivities. We also admired the new children's area, learned how to use the automated check-in system, and found Clyde's circle amongst the elementary school-provided artwork. The new library is amazing, and we love it!!

Random pictures after church the Sunday before St. Patrick's day. Have I mentioned how much the kids love the new playpen, aka truck?
That night Chuck and I got to don our Scouting finest for a Court of Honor! As the Scouting Advancement Chair I got to present the boys with their awards and merit badges and as the Young Men's president, Chuck got to explain all of the upcoming summer activities. Oh, and as the Bishop, Bishop Swenson got to explain the financial side to the upcoming summer activities. Basically I got the fun job ;).

St. Patrick's Day was merrily celebrated with Lucky Charms for breakfast and Will brought home this worksheet, prompting loads of laughter - the idea of finding legit gold coins never entered Will's head, but gold-wrapped chocolate or golden colored cookies?? He's there.

We had a Relief Society activity that night (that I spoke for a couple minutes at! fun) and as part of the theme, we could dress up. I obviously opted to.

The older boys started piano lessons in mid-March. We had talked about it a while ago, but Will randomly announced at the beginning of the month that he was getting piano lessons for his birthday. Super matter of fact. The next day I read that a friend in our ward was offering a ten-week beginning piano course. Perfect timing!
Both boys have jumped right in and love it; we've since switched teachers (Sister Rodriguez moved) but we were able to make a pretty seamless transition to Sister Christensen and the boys are doing great!

Chuck had just been waiting for the weather to warm up a bit to get Will on his bike sans training wheels. As an overprotective mom, I was chill to have Will stay artificially balanced for years to come, but it turns out Chuck was right and Will took right to it (with a couple requisite spills along the way, of course):
And if Chuck took the opportunity to commandeer a bike every now and then, so be it ;).

The Friday before Spring Break was music program day for the boys and it was hi-larious to see the different levels of enthusiasm between the two boys. Clyde begrudgingly sang along... Will jumped right into his role as a farmer and merrily danced the afternoon away!
At the same time, Sam's med school 'match day' could be live-streamed! I got to watch part of it before I left the house (including briefly seeing Miko and Terri in their seats!) but then mostly missed Sam announcing his match and overseeing the other announcements as president of his class - my internet connection at the music program was pretty sketchy, but I got a couple screenshots of him. Sam is such a superstar and I have loads of admiration for how smart and hard-working he is and I'm grateful for all the free medical advice he willingly dispenses!

Also that day was the state competition for high school dance teams and I got to go watch Braenna in action! (Heather was on a school trip to Europe. #priorities). I got there early enough to watch a few of the different schools' performances and HOLY MOLY these kids are dedicated and talented!
The kids and I got to help with an Eagle project one Saturday! It consisted of hanging out with Andy and Adam at the Stake Center and collecting books for a book drive and possibly fitting seven people into the truck, whoops ;). Good times!

My dad sweetly volunteered to accompany me to Stake Conference so that I wouldn't have to wrangle the four kids alone (Chuck was at work). One hilarious story: Carma was wandering around our row and the aisle way and then I got caught up in the talk for a few minutes and wasn't paying a lot of attention. I randomly turned to the side a bit and saw a family holding a little girl that looked like Carma - OH WAIT IT WAS CARMA. My stranger-anxiety child had wandered over to some random family in the stake and allowed them to pick her up, hahaha. She stayed there for a bit and then came back over to me and I heartily rolled my eyes at my stellar parenting.
Some random shots of the kids + Ashtyn during spring break. We loved that the weather was warm enough to hang out in the front yard!!

Speaking of front yards, here's my mom's!! She closed on her new house in March and after new floors and carpet and paint, she moved in at the end of the month. It's beautiful and nearby and perfect for her, and Jack and Carma swear by the rocks and rock-y sidewalk ;).
Random pictures of the four sweetest kids ever. Whenever I can't get Carma to sleep and Chuck is home, he rocks her on the front porch while they listen to church music until she falls asleep - and then he sends me a picture ;). And when Jack isn't defending our family with his Star Wars blaster, he's putting a monkey and a baby doll in Carma's high chair, hahaha. And the picture on the middle left is Clyde and Will singing primary songs together on a Sunday morning - a pretty frequent occurrence that KILLS me every time.

Okay, one thing that Clyde inherited from me is possibly his sass - I found these notes (on the left) on his homework, one saying Hi to Miss Wiltrout and one helpfully explaining that he didn't like the assignment at all, hahahaha. I seriously used to write notes to my teachers on tests and assignments all the time - legitimately really similar in tone and sentiment. The other picture is a page of notes that Clyde took for me at the area broadcast with Elder Perry. I was out in the hall with Jack and Carma, so Clyde grabbed the notebook I'd been using and took over. SO sweet.
Oh, the day after Will's birthday we may have started a new tradition: eating the leftover birthday cake... off one plate like savages... whilst sitting on the trampoline.

Ohhh Jack and Carma. Always together. Always on my lap:
We sold our station wagon in March! So sad; we loved that vehicle a lot. We bought it back in the spring of 2005 and for ten years it was a crucial part of our family - I found a few pictures of it from back in the day, little Clyde and little Will playing in it, me in labor on the way to have Will, adding loads and loads of miles to it - I think it was just under 200,000 at the end there. The Saturn will always cheesily have a place in our hearts.

We wrapped up March with a fun visit from Chuck's parents!! They got here just in time for Pops to help Chuck fix the moving van that lit'rally fell apart as I was driving it, grrr. Then they spent the day having fun and adventures (while I was at my girls' day) that carried over all weekend! Chuck and his dad switched out the seats in the truck, Terri helped the kids make super cool sugar Easter eggs, the boys got the special Star Wars pancakes that only seem to get made when Grammy's in town, and more:
On Monday while Chuck was at work and the older boys were at school, we divided and conquered: Pops and Jack went on a special manly day (pawn shops, gun stores, etc) and Carma and I took Terri around to the new library and to Target. Carma was drawn to the witchcraft shelf at the library bookstore, soooooo...

We concluded their visit with dinner from Freddy's, eaten picnic style at the park where all four Izatt children (and one Izatt daddy) adorable swung their little hearts out:
Thanks again for coming Grammy and Pops! 

And there's March! Blogged about only two months after February. If I continue at this rate, I will be all caught up never, haha...

Friday, August 7, 2015

Girls' Retreat 2015

The last Saturday in March marked the Official EmNiKaPaMeNyJa Girls' Retreat 2015 and it was fantastic.

Oh man, I love the girls in this picture so much that I'm not even going to let the breakdown of the no sunglasses/sunglasses pattern get me down - next time I'll double check and hie my way over to the other side of Emily and all will be well.
Emily, Nicole, Kara, Paulina, Melinda, Nycole, Jana
I'll tell you why I probably didn't think to do it at the time - I was too completely embarrassed. We had wandered out of the candy shoppe and before we went any further, I wanted a picture of the whole gang and so I gestured about and said something like, "Let's just grab someone to take our picture, like that kid in the Hawaiian shirt over there."  We stood there (I feel like we were all sampling someone's candy? Emily's gummy creatures?) for a minute without any real aim or direction when suddenly the aforementioned kid AND HIS MOM came up and asked if we wanted a picture. Say what? Oh that's right, I never learned to whisper so they definitely heard me. Why people let me out in public, I'll never know. Buuuut we got a super cute picture out of it, so there ya go!

You may remember that last year, we ventured out to the wilds of McCall, Idaho for our retreat and it was, in fact, a weekend trip. This year various forces conspired to keep us closer to home buuuuut we managed to still make it feel like we traveled to a foreign place: The Village.
Okay, maybe it just felt foreign to me because I rarely leave my living room and had never been to this magical conglomerate of shoppes and restaurants and fountains. 

FIRST, we met at Zupas for lunch and I was late but awesomely managed to walk in at the same time as Emily so that we could brave the line together - is it just me or is that place kind of intense? Luckily Em had my back and we made it to our table where I launched into my exciting moving van story and then graciously allowed other people to share some "exciting" "news" that they had. It's hard to trump a story where pieces of the moving van you are driving fall out of the back onto the road and you have to scurry across traffic to retrieve them (intrigued, eh? More in a future post...) but Em and Kara did their best.

NEXT, we headed over to the aforementioned Village and found Nycole and also maybe a small hotel in the middle of the place? All I know is the bathrooms were the most luxurious I've seen and there was a concierge. We ambled through the streets (which I feel like were cobblestone? I should have taken a picture) and in and out of a few establishments.
We also indulged in some fun that shopping with children rarely allows - like trying on hats! And jewel-encrusted butterfly masks! Who knows, future girls' retreats may include formal teas in England or masquerade balls or something - super important to be prepared. We also got to browse with purpose - Melinda was a good enough sport to have a tropical vacation lined up a couple of weeks later and recruited all of us to help find cute accessories. In fact, our next destination was Ross (outside the Village gates!) and I don't want to take alll the credit for finding the perfect white beach-y, semi-formal dress that she needed.... but I will, since I am the one that found it ;).

At this point, the day took a more spiritual turn and we all shimmied into skirts and hit up a stake center for the broadcast of the women's session of General Conference!
I mean, we didn't coordinate our outfits as well as the general presidency of the Relief Society, but I still feel like that thumbs up is directed at us.

It was a beautiful hour and a half and this nice woman on the Internet used her artistic talents to make cute printables of some of my favorite quotes from it:

There was definitely a recurring theme of strong homes and strong families and I loved the reminder of my crucial role in protecting my home and ensuring that it's a place where my children and husband feel loved and safe and valued and encouraged to grow and where the Spirit can reside.

This scripture really struck me today as I was going through pictures for this post - not to get tooo sappy, but I am so incredibly grateful for the friendships I have. There's such a stereotype of women being catty and competitive and putting each other down, and that's one reason why I love the Relief Society so much - a collection of women who love each other and learn and teach side by side and serve and work. 

I see so much of this manifested in our girls' group; a few months ago I sent a message asking if we had a plan (meaning a time/place for girls' night) and Kara jokingly responded "We plan on talking and laughing and supporting each other through the good times and the bad", which I just thought was so lovely and true.

After the broadcast, we hit up the Cheesecake Factory for a wonderful late dinner/deep doctrinal discussions and having only been there like one and a half times before, I just picked a salad kind of at random and ended up with a plate bigger than my head full of luau goodness:
 Oh man it was good.

 And that was our girls' retreat 2015! Can't wait for next year's - I feel like by then we'll have agreed on a design for our t-shirts ;).

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Will is 7! (and 1/3...)

Willy boy turned SEVEN at the end of March, wooo!

The celebrations kicked off the week earlier with cupcakes at school (his birthday falls during Spring Break each year). Meticulously decorated cupcakes - those W's and 7's didn't write themselves, yo. Miss Overcast is darling and Will happily passed out cupcakes to his classmates and then had a little "All About Will" Q&A session and mostly just delighted in being the center of attention :).
On his actual birthday, Will woke up to the traditional streamers in his doorway aaaand some balloons! Chuck was in charge, hence it being way more streamers than usual because dad = fun.

 Will was very clear in his birthday preferences this year: going to the library and having his friend Alexis over for a playdate. Very do-able. First up, the library:
We looove the new library!! At this point it had only been reopened for a couple weeks, but the novelty has yet to wear off now, four months later. On this day, Will found some friends and they worked to sort all of the baby board books and return them to their shelves.

Okay, this is random but as we were going in I noticed one of the librarians being interviewed so I took a picture because this sweet woman (whose name I need to find out) loves Chuck. A lot. For a long time, he was the main point man on all things library-related in our family - he took the boys in all the time, and if this woman was there she'd talk to him and say hi to the boys and such. Even in the general mayhem of opening day, she saw Chuck and made a point to seek him out to say hi. She's gotten more friendly to me since she's seen us together a few times, but for a while when I took the boys in to the old library, she looked at me somewhat appraisingly, haha. It's okay, I agree that Chuck's a better parent than I am ;).
After the library and lunch, Will and I walked over to retrieve Alexis and bring her home for a fun afternoon! The kids jumped on the trampoline and did an art project and were generally just adorable together.

The rest of the day included checking on Grammy Pam at her new house (and receiving seven special orange gifts from her!), and then home for dinner and cake and UNO once Daddy got home from work. We did music notes on his cake because this was his 'piano' birthday, having started lessons just the week before. Cute boy.
We love our Will.i.am so much. He's bright and logical and spiritual and sooo silly and loves helping with his siblings and loves schedules and school and fun nuggets and oatmeal and his enthusiasm for life is infectious - and we're so grateful to be along for the ride!