Sunday, November 22, 2015

june: church stuff

Someday when my great great great grandchildren are forced by my great great grandchildren to dust off my old blog books (that I will print! someday...) in an effort to "connect" with their "ancestors", those poor great great great grandchildren are going to be like, "Seriously? Did this lady's life revolve around trips to Utah and 'church stuff'? Did she ever write about anything else?" and my ghost whisper response will be "Nooooooo. Sorrrry. I threw away all my angst-filled diaries from junior high, so you're stuck with my boring adult life that did, indeed, revolve around family and the good Lord. Also I'm haunting yoooouuuuu." I would be lying if I said I wasn't excited for that day.

But in the meantime, here are cute Sunday evening Jack and Carma to kick off this post about all the church-related activities the Izatts hit up during the month of June!
OH man, the orchard. I actually don't blame my descendants for skimming over this - but I can't not include a cute picture of Carma so here it is. AND here's a photo illustration of what thinning looks like, before and after! #educational And thus ends the pictures from the orchard... until like August. Then we went back five times to pick the fruit!!

Ward Temple Night was early in the month. The amazingly sweet Kiki watched our kids and I knew Carma would be a handful and our ward succeeded in getting a lot of members to the temple that night so Chuck and I opted to do initiatory. I ended up having about fifteen minutes afterwards to sit in the main corridor of the temple waiting for Chuck, which I loved. Sitting in a beautiful, peaceful environment is always so soothing, and I took the opportunity to look around and ponder how to better replicate that same feeling in our home. I jotted down some of my ideas later that night and it's something I think about a lot, but I haven't focused on as much as I want to...
That weekend was the Youth Carnival Fundraiser, aka the culmination of months of hard work from both the youth aaaand their leaders.They had a bajillion different booths/activities and then some entertainment and a spaghetti feed and a dessert/service auction and the whole thing was so well done. (For the record, aka in case we do this again sometime, here were some of the booths: four way tug of war, 'kissing booth' aka guess how many Hershey's kisses are in a container, fishing, family photos, Jedi training academy, bean bag toss, washer toss, dunk tank, I Spy... I might be missing some...)

Chuck volunteered to head up an 'I Spy' activity so we put together this board and then had a paper with 15? 20? items to find. I'm not going to lie; I was ex.treme.ly. proud of this. In my head, it was the most popular activity there.
 Okay, the actual favorite one was probably the dunk tank, generously lent to us by Brother Walker Sr. The Bishopric + Chuck were recruited as the dunkees and my jump in the lower left is when I knocked Chuck into the tank hahaha. Good times!!
The ridiculously darling Brooklyn and I (and Carma!) sneaked out for an adventure one night. We admired the cool jewelry at Savers before hitting up the books and CDs and cookies at Target. Brooklyn is very up on all the cool bands and youtube stars and so I shamelessly grilled her so that I can fake my way through future conversations with teenagers. And even though she declined to try my orange milanos, I still love her so so so much and I'm glad she fit me in between driver's ed and Supernatural netflix marathons ;).
As previously mentioned, we headed back to town quickly from Utah for a temple sealing - my grandpa's! Grandpa passed away two and a half years ago and still hadn't been sealed to his parents, so we were able to see that ordinance completed on their behalf. My aunt and uncle had all of their kids + spouses in town for the weekend and Chuck and I loved being able to be there as well, especially since it fell the day after our anniversary and we were in the same room (well, pre-remodel) that we were sealed in all those many (eleven, hahaha) years ago ;). Hearing those beautiful promises about eternity is always special. And it was so fun to see so many cousins - although we joked that with facebook, it seems like we all see each other pretty often!

 Chuck was back at the temple the following Saturday for a youth trip - these kids were able to go and be baptized for family members and others who have passed away, and now have the opportunity to accept that baptism. Good looking group of leaders and youth!
 That night the Elder's Quorum hosted a Father's Day BBQ/party at the church so the ambitious Izatts biked there! You can't go wrong with hot dogs, ping pong, icees, and water balloon volleyball in the sand pit.

Towards the end of the month Clyde got attend his very first Cub Scout day camp! As a veteran of such camps (I went three years in a row back in my Cub Scout days. Feeling a bit nostalgic now...), I was thrilled to pack his lunch and send him out the door, haha. He was thrilled to shoot a bb gun and do archery and hang out with Brenden and Andrew! (pictures courtesy of Sister Eckert, thank you!!)
 And June concluded with this ridiculously handsome fellow spending a week up at Scout camp! That'll be its own post because I'm tired and there's a bajillion pictures associated with that week. But definitely keep an eye out for that one, maybe even some day soon... ;).

Friday, November 13, 2015

june: UTAH for Grandma's bday!

In mid-June we found ourselves traveling to Utah for a momentous occasion: Grandma Thomas' 81st and a half birthday party! Granted, not the usual milestone age for a big celebration but that's how we roll and it was so, so fun!
The beautiful honoree, Patricia Thomas.
(Photo definitely stolen from fb, thanks Brei!)

We piled the kids into the van that morning and headed south. It was actually Chuck's and my 11th anniversary that day and I kid you not, a road trip was the perfect date: we just got to sit and talk for five hours straight. Minus, you know, the road and the four children behind us, we had the beautiful gift of undivided attention ;).
We met up with other assorted family members at Melissa's house and headed to a nearby splash park for some fun. Carma was NOT a fan, possibly because she straight up looked like a boy. The (actual) boys had a blast running around between the water and the playground and having fun with their cousins.

At this point, Grandma was thrilled to see so many grandchildren in town but was still unaware of the birthday celebration to come. We took a brief recess to change clothes and gather food and then reconvened at a different park to party :). Because Grandma lives in Pennsylvania, we aren't able to celebrate with her in late January for her actual birthday, but she comes out west to visit every summer - hence the '1/2' aspect. It was so fun to watch her walk up to the picnic area and see all of us and put it together!
The party came together in large part due to the amazing efforts of Sue, Terri, Melissa, and Amanda. Miss Amanda in particular spearheaded a beautiful birthday book project - she gathered pictures and memories and birthday wishes from the entire extended family (requiring lots of reminders and follow-up!!) and spent hours creating an amazing keepsake for Grandma. So, so special.

We spent the evening eating and playing and relaxing and taking pictures, of course! We had to do some 'second cousin' pictures: here are some of Carma and Maverick, just six weeks apart in age (Mav's older) and James and Hudson, just about two months apart (James is older).
Some sporting events transpired, including ultimate frisbee during which there may have been some mid-game fraternizing between opponents Steve and Amanda ;).

Cousin pictures! George and Clyde are the cutest.
Ahh, the babies of '08 - Lily, Will, and Bri. Sweetest trio around!!

These pictures just melt me - Anna is five months older than Jackers and it's obviously now my goal to take a picture of them hugging like this annually until they refuse to cooperate (18 maybe? Sooner?)
 Mallory and Courtney and I forced Carma into some group selfies with us. Carma was... difficult this trip. She was tired and fussy and just had a rough time overall... which translated to a bit of a rough time for me... but we caught her smiling a couple times at least!!

 At one point we all gathered for some more 'official' pictures, starting with Grandma and all the great-grandkids in attendance: 
Bri, Lily, Will, Jack, Clyde, Carma, Eli, Hudson, George, Anna, Courtney, James, Mallory, Maverick. Not pictured: Pennsylvania residents Raelyn and Xavier.

Next we added in the grandkids and spouses - I'll include three here since they all make me laugh.
 In no particular order: Lehi, Brei, Rachel, Taylor, Melissa, Kevin, Chuck, Jana, Lee, Aleesha, Amanda, Steve, Rebekah, Nickie. Not pictured (man I hope I get everyone...): Jesse, Kit, Brian, Chris, Liz, Jared, Amanda, Matt, Sam.

And then finally we got Grandma's kids in the picture! Dave, Terri, and Sue were in attendance with East Coasters Bill, Gina, Bob, and Melissa not pictured.
Grandma with her two daughters!

And while we had these four Izatt kids together, we stuck them together for a couple quick pictures:
 Lee, Melissa, Amanda, Chuck. I'm such a sucker for sibling pictures ;).

And a couple more to commemorate our anniversary:
I'm not saying we're the best at family pictures... but everyone else is free to say it, haha.

This was yet another suuuper quick trip for us; we crashed that night at Amanda's and then availed ourselves of delicious breakfast at Melissa's and then hit the road to be back in Boise for a temple sealing that afternoon. We are so glad we could make it for the party and for the company. I've long been a proponent of celebrating half-birthdays and this cemented my dedication to the cause! Thanks to everyone who put in so much time and effort and to Terri and Melissa for all the pictures I stole from fb and HAPPY birthday again Grandma!!

Monday, October 26, 2015


Carma is seventeen months old and straight up hilarious. Girlfriend is nuts; she watches her brothers run and jump and climb and proceeds to follow. Her newest favorite thing is scurrying and leaping from couch to couch to chair in the living room without touching the floor - unless you count the times when she miscalculates the distance and plummets to the ground (luckily not that far away).

Carma has a strong belief that sacrament meeting is social hour, and she's the star. I try to keep her somewhat contained, but if she's pretty quiet, I let her wander a bit and as a result she counts Brother Birrell and Brother and Sister Volkert amongst her best friends. Yesterday she spent a lot of time a pew ahead of us, coloring with Raquel, which was fabulous. Towards the end of the meeting she started worrying about young James Fleshman's possible hunger pains and dutifully took him veggie straws one at a time.
 Ohh Carma - I told her to stand by the tree for a picture, and she merrily stood there, looked to the side, and smiled... all with a little twinkle in her eye that clearly communicated, "I did what you asked, Mom! You never said I had to look at you, hahaha!" There's a chance we have our hands full with this one ;).

 How to describe Jackers in his current three and a half year old state? He is the very definition of a lover and a fighter. It is rare to find him without his little fingers in 'star wars blaster' position, ready to take down lurking storm troopers. He is also a self-proclaimed ninja. At the same time, he is by far THE most cuddly child I've ever had... and that's saying something. He climbs on me constantly, usually accompanied by his blanket and his monkey and once he's comfortably ensconced on my lap he announces, "I snuddle with you!" Snuddle either = cuddle + snuggle OR we need to step up our efforts to get him back into speech therapy. (spoiler alert, it's def the latter). He's also taken to sweetly declaring that I'm 'da best' every time he thanks me for something.

Jackers strongly values his space and alone time (somewhat ironic since he denies me those things on a regular basis, but whatev). When he gets hurt or embarrassed, he immediately withdraws, both emotionally and physically. He loves loves loves Clyde and Will but also merrily waves goodbye to them each morning, knowing that he has the run of the house (and the legos!) while they're at school. He mostly lives within the realm of Star Wars with frequent visits to reality and he is also the sweetest big brother to Carma that he can be - he continues to be the first one to run to her when she's crying, offering her 'favorite purple toy' and a kiss to make her happy again.

 Will's life currently revolves around animals and his plan to someday become an animal scientist. (note to self: figure out what an animal scientist is/does). We are (and forever will be) a pet-free household, so luckily Will gets his animal time in elsewhere - one day I kitten-sat for a girl I visit teach and Will was so, so happy that Titan was still here when he got home from school and helped me take him home when the time came. Will has also found a kindred spirit in Sister Sherman, a woman in our ward who we get to visit and eat dinner with every couple of weeks. Will comes with me and promptly fell in love with her two dogs, Einstein and Pretty Boy. He was very sad to find out at our last visit that Pretty Boy had passed away, and I think Sister Sherman appreciated his understanding of her loss. They really are a sweet pairing! 

Willy boy also continues to be the silliest, sweetest kid around: his new favorite game is Apples to Apples Jr. and all you have to do to make him giggle uncontrollably is read a random card like "hog dogs" or "ballerinas" and he dissolves in front of your eyes. Will is killin' it both at school (watching him in his element is one of my favorite parts of helping in his classroom, another being getting to use the copier) and on the social front (where many of his friends are girls. If he keeps this up, he'll be set come high school, haha).

 Last but not least, our fearless leader/oldest kid, Clyde! What a babe. He takes his role as older brother pretty seriously - he is the first to tease, poke, rile someone up (usually his brothers) and also the first one to snuggle, comfort, or help (usually Carma). Clyde just recently hit a real rough spot with his Hirschsprung's, so he's being put through the ol' wringer of dr appt/xray/meds switch-up. We feel good about where we're at now and going forward and we're continually impressed with Clyde's overall resilience and maturity. We talk a lot about it in spiritual terms - that Heavenly Father won't give us more than we can handle, and how he's been blessed with great doctors, stellar parents ;), a very understanding teacher/school, etc.

Clyde continues to read twelve books at time, ten of which are usually books he's re-reading. He just started the Beyonders series and is mixing it up by also reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. He's been spending a lot of time in the Harry Potter world lately too - it seems like that's just kind of a fall thing in general, am I right? What's fun for me to watch is Clyde's wit emerge and trace some of it back to his favorite authors (Rick Riordan, especially).

Okay, back to the back log. It's a chilly 54 degrees outside, so we might as well delve back into sunny June!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

may days: the conclusion

Might as well start with some pictures of a darling little Carma Junie (aka what Jack lovingly calls her). At this point (a couple of weeks before her birthday), Carma was craz.y. outside. She still wasn't walking full-time but alas, that did not curtail her climbing or wandering all around the front yard:
And of course there's always room in the cozy coupe for two! It just gets a little cozier ;).

And here are some lego creations by Will:
The kids continue to be completely lego-obsessed, which is fine with me. They happily sit in there for an hour at a time and build and imagine and it's darling.

Speaking of Willy boy, the next night he sneaked out of bed and joined me on the front porch glider for a bit. He wanted to take a picture of himself and the moon, so I made it into a funny activity. When he brought home his journal a few weeks later at the end of the school year, I loved finding this entry about that night:

And here are the pictures, as he detailed - the first one only has part of his face, the second one he's blocking the moon, the third one has the moon and his face but he's not smiling...
 And finally here's the winning shot! If I teach my children nothing else, at least they'll be competent at taking selfies ;).

 The kids all donned Star Wars shirts for May the Fourth [be with you]. Honestly, we end up with all the boys wearing Star Wars shirts at least twice a week just by random rotation and the fact that Jack rarely wears anything else, but we dug out Carma's shirt just for the occasion:
 Oh man these kiddos make me happy!

Carma observed Mother's Day by being an absolute nut during Relief Society, so we hied ourselves out to the foyer to entertain Sister Corse. 
 Chuck had stuff after church, so I gathered the wee ones for a Mother's Day group selfie. Honestly, I'm not super into Mother's Day but I am super into being a kick-a mom.

We spent the evening at my mama's house for dinner and dessert (delicious cheesecake!) and played at the park and also celebrated Cody's birthday. #multitasking
 Have I mentioned how awesome it is that my mom's neighborhood park is riiight across the street from her house? So perfect.

I have no idea what game or activity the boys were engaging in here, but I feel like it's a good illustration of "It's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt":
I already chronicled the insane part of Holly's visit where she had to keep me from completely freaking out when Jack drove the ol' van, but here's some more chill pictures of the rest of our afternoon: lunch/visiting Cody at work, and a picture of the two of us before she left. Also, we are the same height (I recently verified this via text) so I have no idea why it looks like I'm her kid sister. I feel like it's something with the angle... and I think the grass slopes a little there.. and she's wearing shoes (albeit flats, but still...). LOVE you Holl!

 I sneaked out that weekend for more girl time, hooray! Maren and Kautri and I met up with some of Kautri's friends to watch the Bellas attempt world domination:
Random pictures from the month. Initially Carma wasn't super steady on the ladder/slide, so her long-suffering brothers were constantly recruited to 'stand behind her' as she climbed up. And for a while Jack refused to eat unless someone was reading aloud to him (That Kid, grrr) so Will sweetly took up that job on a regular basis. Also sometimes I let Carma have her second lunch on the floor - I mean, it had only been sitting there for the few minutes since she had unceremoniously thrown it down... (That Girl, grrr).  

And here are some random pictures from Chuck's phone. Will's well-being check-up came up while I was in Utah, so Chuck took him. Will LOVES the doctor... like, he's disappointed every time someone else gets to go and he doesn't. So obviously they had fun. Also pictured: Chuck and I riding new bikes (Clyde's and mine, respectively), turns out Carma loves red velvet cake balls, and Chuck sent me a picture of my day lilies blooming while I was gone! He's sweet.
 Carma loves the trampoline and Chuck, possibly in equal amounts.
 The end of May found us at yet another ENT appt for Jackers (we had to switch because the one we went to first made me SO mad) and this is what I texted Chuck that morning:
 Amazingly Jack went the 'good' route nonetheless, even though we were in the flipping exam room for AN HOUR AND A HALF waiting for the dr. Luckily I am pretty chill in those situations because obviously emergencies happen (in this case the ENT was called over to the hospital for a emergency surgery thing) and Jack and I had loads of fun and read books and rested and played. He's cute. 

So Chuck found a great deal on craigslist for a new bike for me and even though it's not "cute", it is "functional" so I'm opting to be grateful and biding my time until I convince him to let me spray paint it, haha. Here Chuck is testing it out and taking Jack and Nathan for a ride:
And here we all are taking a family bike ride one evening!

Saturday morning think tank:
We were thrilled to be a quick stop point for Sam and Terri and their girls on their way to Warshington. (am I the only one who says it that way? I can't be... right?) Hazel was the sweetest little protector of Carma ever on the trampoline.

This is the very last picture I have from May: Clyde Monster sneaking out of bed to sit outside with Mom and Dad for a few minutes. Sometimes I veer towards panic attacks when I think about how old he is and how soon he'll be traumatically pulled from my grasp and thrown unceremoniously into adulthood (hopefully not before we figure out where he gets his melodramatic streak from...) but in the meantime I will treasure the fact that he still fits under my arm and lets me snuggle with him sometimes.
All right, done with May!