Friday, January 23, 2015


Welcome to a long, rambling post about November! Jack will be your chauffeur today, so buckle up and enjoy the ride...
 One time at the beginning of November, Chuck raked all the leaves (aka the sucky part) and then Jack and I adorably put a few handfuls into bags and sang 'Shake it Off' complete with choreography whilst Chuck took pictures. Then Chuck put down the camera and finished bagging all the leaves. What a man!
 Okay, so this technically mostly happened in October, but we got a new dining room table! Get this - we now all fit at our dining room table! So fun. Love craigslist, love Chuck for sanding and staining and sealing the top of the table, love all three boys cutely sitting on the bench, love playing card games for the Family Home Evening activity.

I really don't (always) set out to dress up all the kids for random things like Election Day... this one started with Carma's skirt and then snowballed...
 Chuck and his buddy/boss Roderick had a training that morning, so we got some Rhianna time, which was so so fun. I managed to put her hair in a somewhat respectable bun, so I think all of our fears for my ability to do little girl hair and thus Carma's future hairstyles can be put to rest. (Nottttt.)

 Chuck and I headed to the polls together to exercise our right to vote and then sat in the car for ten minutes exercising our right to take awkward pictures. 
#USA #Merica #freedom

Will was selected as Student of Honor at the beginning of November, so Carma and I got to go eat lunch with him. A great time was had by all, especially as we shared a chocolate milkshake from McDonalds and then skipped our way out to recess, where a hilarious number of otherwise macho boys gathered around to admire baby Carma.
 Later that week I hung out in both boys' classrooms; in Will's I got to watch a handwashing/germ demonstration by nursing students from NNU which Will took Very Seriously and in Clyde's I got to dole out root beer floats, including one for myself. Winnin' all around.

 Chuck headed out on a bike ride with some Scouts and the newly installed Bishop Swenson. Chuck texted me this picture, and because I'm a nice loving wife I quickly responded something about did he need gloves and how much I love him. And THEN I noticed it was a group text with the aforementioned Bishop. Honestly, it could have been way worse (I use gushy emojis preeetty freely and sometimes inappropriately) so we're gonna roll with it and use it as a cautionary tale for the future!
 We facetimed with Chuck's mama for her birthday that night, and I couldn't help but take some picture of the 'behind the scenes' of the call. HAPPY birthday Terri!!

 Okay, I have to gush about my church calling for a little bit: I teach the 14-15 year old Sunday School class and I LOVE it. A while back sweet Janell Hyer put the word out that she was looking for sacrament meeting musical numbers and I signed my class up. What?? It was so fun; we sang 'I am a child of God' - after only having practiced it once, haha. Raquel helped us sound better than we should have by singing the first verse solo - in Japanese! - and the boys from the older class sang with us too. It really was such an incredible experience to contribute to the spirit in that meeting - and we ate brownies and ice cream in the kitchen afterwards, so obviously the kids want to know when we're singing again :).
At the end of November I got a team teacher - Manilla Corse, who is 85 and amazing. Seriously the sweetest person ever and such a great testimony and so fun to be around - did I mention she served a mission in England when she was 75?? I have the same deal with my Sunday School kids that Chuck has with his Young Men - if they tell us about school events in enough notice, we will do our best to be there. During November and December, I got to attend three different events: first was a choir concert of Naomi's where she looks SO elegant in her black dress and pearls (picture of us together in the top right). Next was a choir dinner/fundraiser of Raquel's (in the blue dress and fantastic red lipstick) that Manilla and I went to together; I checked her out of her nursing home and we went out on the town! And finally, Braenna danced in the Nutcracker at Idaho Arts, and Manilla and I went to that as well - it was so, so amazing. Braenna was the cutest rat/mouse soldier in a tutu I've ever seen!

 November girls' night:
 Epic, as always, and held at Kara's so that I could fall in love all over again with her cute house and all the cute decor I hadn't seen yet. Also, Carma in a slightly too big winter hat - kills me (to quote Kara, hahaha).

 Jack sits on the counter every time I make cheesy roll-ups (that's cheese quesedillas for those of you who don't speak Taco Bell) and he usually opts to make his own, slightly problematic version:
 In other eating news, Carma tried some oatmeal cereal a couple of times. She loved it. And by loved, I mean hated with a passion and threw up incessantly hours later to ensure that any bits that may have made it all the way to her tummy were expelled. It's cool, I don't mind nursing exclusively until she's five. WHO NEEDS SLEEP?

OH, it snowed! We randomly got a bit of a snowstorm mid November and Will and Clyde were thrilled. Carma and Jack and I were also thrilled... to stay inside and make hot chocolate and cider on demand, delivered to the door as needed.

 Luckily, the snow wasn't enough to cancel a quick girls' trip to Utah that Carma and I embarked upon two days later:
 Carma was suuuuch a good little traveler. Shout out to Maverick for providing such a good deal on road trip snacks, although I couldn't quite make the commitment to Thin Mint milk - I mean, I love Thin Mints and I love milk, but the combination sounded... rich. Any firsthand experience out there??

 Our destination for the next two days: Kaysville! (with some Provo in the mix as well...). Carma and I settled in at the Smith home and were taken such good care of by my amazing BFSC Courtney and her sweet Chase (who gave Carma crawling lessons, as pictured) and Hudson (who preferred to stay right next to Carma at most times, finding her a suitable short-term substitute for his beloved cousin Nora).
 Courtney and I sat around and ate delicious food she cooked (waffles and crepes, people, WAFFLES AND CREPES) and she made me go for long walks, have I mentioned they live on a hill/mountain?, and I gaped at the houses aka mansions round about, and we talked and talked and talked some more. Fabulous.

On Monday afternoon, Carma and I headed south and discovered that holy moly, my baby brother is a grown up and a school district trusts him with a classroom of children:
 Okay, this is awkward but I seriously get so emotional looking at these pictures! Quinn is such a superstar and he is seriously killing it as an elementary school teacher. The front office lady gushed about him when I checked in, and he's well-respected by his administration and fellow teachers and students and parents. Love him.

Aaaand then I got to go home with him and see Eden and Isaac and Leila too! Isaac was the cutest little redheaded, better-behaved version of Jack and it was hilarious. Leila was sooo darling and plucky and just walked around like it was NBD, yo.
  And as always, Eden was the picture of adorableness (even when we made her keep crossing her eyes, sorry, she is just really good at it!!) and was so sweet to let us crash their family time together. 

Tuesday we got to see more family, hooray! The Blues are all settled into their beautiful new home in Kays, and we were so happy to come for a tour and some cousin time:
 The timing of our trip coincided... not coindentally... with my niece Mallory's high school production of West Side Story! Alas, I had yet to make the connection between feeding Carma baby food and unleashing projectile vomit sooo I had definitely fed her oatmeal that afternoon and thus had a very sick, grumpy baby that evening :(. Courtney and her cute friend tried their best, but I ended up only seeing part of the play.
 BUT while I was there I definitely sneaked a couple pictures (in my defense, I read the fine print about no photography afterwards) and what I did see was seriously stellar. I'm so, so excited to see Mallory in more productions there in the next couple years!!

Yet another fun aspect of the trip was meeting our newest nephew! Baby James was born in October and was so sweet and tiny and looks startlingly like his older sister Anna, which is perfect because she's darling.
Pictures on the left courtesy of Wings of Blue photography. Picture on the right courtesy of my phone in the middle of Chik-fil-A.

It was such a fun, fun trip and I'm so grateful to everyone who hosted us or fed us and took time to let us visit. The absolute cherry on top was a stop Carma and I made as we headed home:
to my great-aunt and great-uncle's home in Ogden. Alan is my maternal grandma's baby brother, and he and his wife Kay are the two sweetest people you will ever meet. Carma was named after my maternal grandmother, who passed away when I was 13 but was an incredible presence in my life up to that point - and since. Introducing baby Carma to my grandma Carma's youngest brother and his wife was a beautiful, sacred experience and I am so grateful.

The rest of our drive was uneventful, unless you count where I was pulled over (but not ticketed) by THE nicest state trooper ever - I think he was honestly concerned for my safety, you know? Although he did ask like three different times if I had drugs in the car, haha. And when we walked into the house, Jack immediately bypassed me for a reunion with his baby:
As always, mad props to my incredible husband for holding down the fort in my absence. The boys all did great and we came home to a new TV stand (so pretty! happy birthday Chuck! Merry Christmas Jana and Chuck! Happy New Year everyone! Thank you craigslist!) and a new insulation tactic for the front window: clear packing tape! OVER A HOLE CAUSED BY A SNOWBALL. I don't want to talk about it. Neither does Clyde! The window has since been fixed (so pretty! Merry Christmas Clyde! for several years!) so that's happy.

The rest of November was a whirlwind of momentous occasions, starting with Chuck's 34th birthday:
Jack and Carma accompanied us on our Tucano's date and dressed for the occasion. That night, we headed out to see Jared as an awesome Tibult in Romeo and Juliet:
(sidenote: lingering food coma from our earlier lunch + dark theater + Shakespeare + the only actor you know dying before intermission = a serious struggle to stay awake the last half of the play, haha....)

Grace had a baby shower! The games/activities were fun and Carma made friends with a baby on the diapers box, so a good time was had by all:
(the boys ran around at a park and McDonalds play place with the Swenson boys in our absence).
The boys had an entire week off school for Thanksgiving, so we signed Clyde up for a basketball camp at the high school and he had such a good time. At the end of the three days, he was recognized for a special award that was possibly 'Best Teammate'... or something along those lines.... the main point is he got an extra t-shirt, so that's pretty sweet!

Thanksgiving! We continued our practice of staying home for this holiday, as we've found that allows for the most football watching.
Chuck and Clyde headed out for an early bike ride to obtain an encyclopedia, I mean a newspaper, for us - holy moly that thing was huge! Clyde wore a backpack to convey it home safely :). That evening we went out for a family bike ride/walk along the path.

Some shots from the day: Grandma Pam joined us for dinner, bringing jello and pies. Chuck made us delicious turkey and mashed potatoes and stuffing and everything else, and I put a solid fifteen minutes of work into candied yams. You're welcome everyone!

And here's our Izatt family Thanksgiving Tree 2014:
And some close-up shots.

That Sunday I spoke in sacrament meeting about Thanksgiving and gratitude. I won't bore you all with the entire text of my talk (well I might at some point but not right now) but the main epiphany I had while preparing it all week was the importance of showing our gratitude by taking care of the blessings we've been given.
(this sweet picture was taken by the wonderful Brother Murphy and texted to me during that day's combined third hour lesson)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

October. 2014. aka forever ago.

All right, well this post is a bajillion pictures long, so anyone who successfully reads the whole thing deserves a pat on the back and one of Jack's famous (maybe infamous...) kisses, seen here inflicted upon his baby sister:
Kid's got some moves, right?

And since today is Jack's birthday, we'll start off the October recap with another shot of the wee fellow. Ohhh he's cute!

The first weekend in October was General Conference. Chuck had to work, so the kids and I holed up in the living room for two days and watched. It was incredible. Carma cooperated fabulously on Saturday and I got to watch most of both sessions and there were a couple different talks that were just so, so soothing to my soul. A few favorites: Elder Andersen, Elder Robbins, Elder Klebingat, and Elder Ballard.

The older boys kept busy reading old issues of the Friend magazine, courtesy of Emily's garage sale a couple weekends before:
Jack stayed busy being almost naked and running around like a crazy man.

Grandpa came over on Sunday afternoon to watch the end of that session with us and then help the boys get out some energy with bubble guns and pop-its :).
Oh, Carma hit some milestones in October - most notably rolling from back to front! She'd been rolling front to back for a while, but this direction took some real concentration and at times we were a little freaked out that her neck was just going to continue to swivel...

For Family Home Evening one Monday early in the month we headed over to Linder Farms to use the leftover tickets and tokens from my dad. We had loads of fun:
Things we learned: A) Chuck is so smart in corn mazes. B) I am not. I would become lost and stranded and left to waste away if on my own - even with the map. It's cool though, because I still fit into a barrel for the barrel ride, so what more could I want in life? C) Will IS a cowboy. (Bill Engvall reference there...). Jack got on the little pony ride but turned his body sideways and clung to Chuck, who walked alongside him for the duration. Clyde fell somewhere in between - he liked the pony ride all right, but you could tell that he couldn't decide if it was 'cool' or 'not'. D) Swings = best smiles ever. So cute.

We followed the old rule of thumb that as soon as three-fourths of the kids have cried, it's time to go. So we called it a day, but not before asking a random stranger to take our picture. It turned out suuuper well:
Seriously, what are the children all looking at?? I'm still bummed out that Clyde and Will failed to coordinate properly - one of them clearly should have glanced upward so that all bases were covered.

Oh, these pictures just make me laugh. Jack calls that little Fisher Price barn his lunchbox, because it looks eerily similar to the lunchbox/cooler that Chuck takes to work everyday. Every morning Jack wakes up and asks where Chuck is, and if I say that he's at work, Jack very seriously inquires "He take his yunchbox?"
So naturally Jack feels the need to take his 'yunchbox' on most errands with us. Hilarious.

Clyde (and Deion) needed to go on a half hour bike ride for a Cub Scout belt loop, so we turned it into a family activity. Swell plan. Three crashes, two heart attacks/sprints by me (don't ask. I'll just tell you: at one point Will turned around on the path and rode for home - despite me yelling his name as I ran behind him... loud enough for people to come out of their houses... he maintains he thought I was telling him to keep going...), forty-five minutes, one little boy decided he wanted to walk (leaving me to carry his trike) and mayyyybe a mile later, we were back home. Ahhhh!
But Clyde got that bike loop at Pack Meeting, so all's well. Clyde and Deion also decorated their own cakes for that night, and Will won the cute Halloween game they played and was SO excited. Hilarious.

October girls' night!
Emily K skipped out (she was in Disneyland. Again. We think she goes there deliberately to avoid us...) which was sad but what was SO HAPPY is that we were also celebrating Nycole and Brandon's amazing news: he got new lungs!! Such a miracle. So emotional. Nycole is amazing and blogged a lot about the roller coaster of those few days; initially it was a pretty difficult recovery from the surgery, but blessedly things are going so well for him and their family now.

Oh, we had to say goodbye to one of our favorite missionaries, Elder Wilson, who was headed to... Caldwell. I think. Pretty sure. Super great guy, excellent teacher, loved the gospel, and one time hit Clyde in the head with a dodgeball hahahaha :).

Another great milestone this month: subjecting our kids to "The Mighty Ducks". It was somewhat like pulling teeth initially - they were notttt on board with this selection for family movie night, but Chuck and I pulled rank and stuck it in and the boys never looked back. Chants of 'QUACK! QUACK! QUACK!' were heard frequently over the next few days.

We spent a pretty good portion of October hanging out in the front yard. The weather was soooo perfect, so we'd just set up shop out there and play and play.
Grace and Clark are some of our favorite neighbors and we love when they stop by on walks to hang out. One morning they brought Gigi too, and a mini-think tank was established on the sidewalk:
Will engaged any willing adult to play his animal guessing game - he draws an animal feature by feature and you have to guess what it is. I LOVE his drawings (even though Chuck always beats me in the game. Whatev).

The two littlest children and I had fun dressing the part in October:
I've worn those orange and black tights to church the Sunday before Halloween every year since I got them, and just for Holly, here's a collage of that:
2011, 2012, 2103, 2014. 
Awkward: I for sure didn't remember that I had worn the black dress/orange belt combo last year when I put it on this year. I'll try to switch it up next year...

Random shots of me and Carma, contemplating our hilarity and mutual adoration:
And gettin' serious at the end. We've got a lot to contemplate, yo.

Aaaand finally, Halloween!! Carma and Jack and I took a field trip that morning to visit my dad at work and be treated to lunch :).
It was super fun, thanks again Dad!!

That night it was go-time for debuting our awesome costumes at the ward trunk-or-treat. We did a family theme this year:
I don't even want to talk about the ratio of hours that went into these dumb outfits to the hours that we actually spent wearing them. Ridiculous.

And for those of you who may not have yet experienced the Lego Movie and thus cannot truly appreciate our costumes, here's a play-by-play:
Benny the Astronaut // Will. I'm not gonna lie, probably the one I'm most proud of.

Wonder Woman // Carma. I took a decent amount of creative license with this one, but I think it's clear who she is, ya know?

Bad Cop // Clyde. Usually we don't really roll with bad guy costumes, but this was just too perfect. Thanks to D.I. for the hat!!

Oh, and Clyde's sweet schoolteacher invited all of her students to trick-or-treat at her house so she could see their costumes so we stopped there on our way home that night. So fun!

Wildstyle aka Lucy // Jana. Let's not focus on the fact that despite staring at the dumb picture for hours and hours, I still couldn't manage to get the jacket and hair lined up correctly... whatever. True story: this costume is almost exactly what I wore for Black Widow two years ago.

Emmet // Chuck. Can I just take this opportunity to express how patient and long-suffering my sweet husband is? Seriously, why would he go along with all of this? Love him, love this costume.

Batman // Jack. OH MY GOSH, THIS WAS INSANE. So originally Will was going to be Superman. Perfect, we already had the costume from last year. Jack was going to be Benny. BUT our favorite two-year-old freaked out and insisted that he be Superman... so Will very sweetly obliged and switched him. Buuuuut then an hour before the trunk-or-treat Jack freaks out again and will NOT put on his Superman costume and I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that I probably cried. Grammy Pammy and I tried everything to get the dang kid into the costume... or any costume... it was, looking back, hilarious. Finally he agreed to don a way too big Batman shirt and his pajama shorts and NO SHOES OR SOCKS but whatever, we rolled with it. Have I mentioned that I love Jack? I really do...

My mom really did save the day; Chuck met us straight at the trunk-or-treat from work, so Grandma Pam helped with all the last minute costume stuff and then helped wrangle the kids at the church. Love her. And her zombie red eyes. (Unintentional, but fitting for the holiday!)

Ahh, congrats if you made it through that, hopefully some of it was at least slightly entertaining. Alas, the prize has been downgraded from a heated kiss to a slightly mauling hug.
You're welcome!!