Sunday, January 26, 2014

Saying Goodbye to the Monkeys

By Thursday I was getting preeeeeeeetty good at this whole having a girl thing. I was a hair braiding, outfit coordinating, headband applying pro.
The kids had suggested Monkey Bread as a dinner idea for one of the nights. Apparently they had never had Monkey Bread before, so Jeff and I tried to convince them they would all turn into monkeys the morning after eating the Monkey Bread. Emma and Luke were eager to help make the new treat.
It had been years since I had had Monkey Bread! It was a favorite for everyone!
By Thursday, the kids were starting to get tired of me nagging them to clean the house every evening. So after several failed attempts of me trying to motivate the kids to clean, Natalie and Emma came up with the fun idea to do bucket races! The kids had to pick up 10 toys to get a ticket to ride in the bucket. It was a very successful idea!
Eli's at the cute age where he does things like this when I say smile:
After bucket races, Natalie orchestrated a bedtime story corner.
I loved that Pillow Pets were a mandatory part of the activity.
On Friday, I was trying to snap a picture of Claire's cute outfit when Carson decided to become a part of the photo op. Claire wasn't too keen on Carson stealing her thunder.
I think this is my favorite outfit I put her in. Little girl clothes are to die for!
I went up to take a shower, and when I came back down, Jeff whispered to me, "Look at Logan and Eli. They've been planning out some race all the cars are going to have for the last half hour." They had all the cars lined up, and they were discussing the order the cars would race in, and which of the cars would crash, and where they would all go. It was so funny.

Claire spent the week by my side helping me edit the music video.
When the kids got home from school on Friday, there were more bucket races to be had. I love this picture.
Claire and Carson snacked on the counter so I could keep them both contained while I cooked dinner.
Luke loved showing me his doll -- Sarah.
On Friday night, the kids were begging to do something fun. Luke had mentioned the idea to do snow cones. I've never been one to turn down a snow cone, so we had a winter snow cone party!
You can probably guess what word I said right before I snapped this picture...
And I'm not sure what word I said to get this reaction out of Logan:
Emma and Natalie were our snow cone baristas.

Even Claire got a taste of the flavored ice.
We had a few last shots to get of the music video before we watched a movie.
Saturday morning, we got a text from Jacob first thing, so we sent this text to Jacob to welcome him back to solid ground:
And then it was time to clean up! First up, the kids! Turns out a five-person bath is as fun as you would expect it to be.
Then came the bribery. Jeff had taken candy orders from the kids that morning, and he had bought two candy bars for each kid. Each of the candy bars "cost" them $2. So they had to do $4 worth of chores to get both of their candy bars.
It worked pretty well...once I started threatening to eat their candy if they didn't clean. I'm happy to say everyone earned both their candies!
Jacob and Laurie were delayed a little bit, so we filled the extra time that evening making a second batch of chocolate covered strawberries, and then we rented a movie.
Then the boys went to bed while Emma and Natalie stayed up to make their parents a welcome home banner.
They were so cute to write down all the fun things we did while their parents were gone. They couldn't wait for their parents to get home so they could show them our music video surprise!
While we were taking pictures, a little rascal emerged from the basement. Carson learned how to climb out of the pack 'n play while we were there, and he was practically impossible to put to bed.

Jacob and Laurie arrived safely home, and we had a fun time exchanging stories. Then on Sunday morning, Logan insisted on sitting between Eli and Carson for their goodbye breakfast.
We got a quick group picture before heading off to the airport with tears welling up in our eyes to have to say goodbye to our "fake children."
We were much less nervous about our plane ride home since we only had a one-hour layover this time. On the second flight, all of Carson's refusing to sleep in Nebraska finally caught up with him and he fell asleep in my arms within 10 minutes of takeoff. It was so pleasant.
Then Eli fell asleep as we were landing, so we decided to be the last ones off the plane to let him have at least 10 minutes of shut-eye.
There we were, peacefully staring at our two, darling, perfect, adorable sleeping children -- taking a moment to exhale as we let the responsibilities of five extra kids float off our shoulders -- when I felt something snag my hair. I ran my hand over the top of my head to get all my hairs smoothly in place and unhooked from whatever they were snagged on, when I felt something fall behind my back.

My first thought was that it was a cell phone, until I looked back and saw the girl standing behind me looking completely horrified. Then with a gasp she whispered, "I am SO. Sorry."

Why are you so sorry about a cell phone? I wondered. And then I felt moisture on my back. And then I heard her say, "It's all over your back. Do you have wipes or anything so I can help you wipe that off?"

And then I saw that it was a cup that fell on me. Full of a milkshake. And it was all over my hair and back, and I was sitting in a puddle of milkshake slush.

She picked the right person to milkshake though. Because I did have wipes. And I have had many things much worse than milkshake spewed all over me between the two little rascals that were so deceivingly peaceful in that very moment. So no harm done. But it does make a good story. So thank you clumsy milkshake passenger. I do appreciate a good story for the sake of finishing off my adventurous trip to Nebraska.

So there you have it. We had an awesome week. I would do it again. The conditions were perfect, and I couldn't have imagined it to have turned out better than it did. Thanks for the fun opportunity, Jacob and Laurie! We'll be your go-to cruise babysitters for life! Or at least until we have another kid. :)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Surviving Sunday

While preparing for our trip to Omaha, I was trying to envision all the difficulties I would face, so that I could prepare for them well in advance. We had planned and prepared for our airplane ride. Check. The next big hurdle? Church. With seven kids. At 9:00 in the morning. Which was basically 8:00 church for us because we were still on Utah time.

How did it go? These cute faces say it all:
Church. Was. Awesome! Well. Besides being 10 minutes late due to a few children who shall remain nameless who tried to fake sick and refused to get their clothes on. But once we were at church, the kids were angels! We did not even have to go out in the hall once for Sacrament Meeting. Oh! I was amazed.

We came home and had naps and dinner, and then we popped popcorn for a movie!
Here's the sitch. Maybe the kids were so good at church because we might have bribed them with a somewhat illegal reward contingent upon their good behavior. Jeff had asked the kids if they had seen Frozen on Saturday. That's all he said. "Hey kids. Have you seen Frozen?" And the kids misunderstood this questions. They interpreted it as, "Hey kids! Do you want to go see Frozen this week in the movie theaters?!?"

So the majority of Saturday we had a kid questioning us every hour to schedule in a Frozen movie theater date. Which we knew was never going to happen. So we told them that, but they had their hearts set on Frozen.

Well by some miracle, I happened to see on Facebook Sunday morning before church about 500 of my friends post that there was a sketchy website where you could watch Frozen online for free! So when one of the first two kids started faking sick on Sunday morning, I may have blurted out, "We can watch Frozen after church if you hurry and get ready."

And that's how we ended up illegally watching Frozen from the comfort of Jacob and Laurie's home on Sunday night. And here's me hoping the police don't come knocking on my door because I have now confessed my sins to the world wide web.
On Sunday night, well after we put Eli to bed, I looked over to the door that goes down to the basement (where my kids were sleeping), and saw this in the crack under the door:

Totally freaked me out. But turns out it was Eli. With a little car that had headlights that lit up.

Monday we sent the kids off to school. The kids were so good at home. Eli and Logan ran off and played all day long. We hardly saw them.

After dinner, we had a fabulous Family Home Evening! Logan was eager to conduct the meeting.
Emma read a scripture.
And Natalie gave a lesson she had just prepared in Activity Days about The First Vision.
She was so cute to get the little boys involved.

Then we made chocolate covered strawberries for our treat/activity. The kids were so cute! Logan would pass the strawberries to Eli who handed them to Emma, Natalie or Luke who were our diligent dippers. They made a great team!

The strawberries were quite man-handled, but that didn't stop me from enjoying one or eight of them.
Emma reserved the biggest strawberry for Jeff. Jeff had won the kids' hearts by waiting over an hour to pick them up from school every day in an effort to be the first car in the pickup line.

The funnest part about watching seven kids, you ask? Dressing up an adorable little baby girl. Emma tried to tell me multiple times that her mom only puts bows on Claire for church, but I insisted on dolling her up all through the week because she was just too cute!

This is the look Claire gave me any time I looked at her for the first five days. It cracked me up every time.
But every once in a while I could get a smile out of her.
Carson loved taking care of Claire. Any time she would start crying, he would (as carefully as he could) try to put her binky in her mouth.
Logan and Eli. I made the mistake of telling them to smile, which got me a series of unnatural faces.

On Tuesday, Emma lost a tooth! That was a big surprise.
Logan and Eli in their own little car world. They were seriously adorable together.
The boys -- all of them -- LOVE the iPad. This was a common scene in the evenings while me and the girls ran off to make the music video.
Jeff was the favorite "fake parent" to everybody but one. Claire was all mine! It was fun to have a baby who actually liked to snuggle because my kids have never been very snuggly.
To be continued...