Over Christmas break Stephen was talking to Jon Wayne about some projects we needed done in our yard. Because Jon is good at everything they were all projects that he could do himself and said he would be happy to help us out. Stephen said we would trade his free (professional) labor for my (mediocre at best) babysitting- and a deal was struck! Jon surprised Kacey with a week long trip to Belize as her Christmas present and that meant I got to take over Kacey's mom gig for the week.
Rory and I got to Vegas on Monday so that we had time to figure out Kacey's routine before she left Tuesday night. Kacey's friend from church watched Ridley for the week so that I would only have one baby, which was so so awesome of her even though it meant I did not get enough Ridley time. Luckily coming early meant we had the chance to get these two together for a bit.
Ridley is a little more blessed in the rolls department than Rory is, but for some reason the angle I took this picture from makes her look GIANT and it's a little bit hilarious.
|Rory: I love your hair. Can I touch it?|
|Ridley: Don't even think about it, kid.|
|Ridley's a lot better at playing than Rory is|
|I'll tell you this now Rory because there is no use trying to fight it: Ridley will always be the boss of you.|
|Burrowing once again|
|"Don't worry baby, this napkins will protect your sweet head from the drippy hot grease." Mamas gotta do what a mamas got to do.|
|This will be fun, rights guys? RIGHT??!|
|Also we dressed the babies in coordinating outfits for the day because of course we did.|
|Rory became quite adept at taking car naps|
|hanging out while all the other kids are at school|
|Jude playing with Rory while I heat up Taquitos probably|
|More car naps. Turns out she's as good at being the youngest as she is being the oldest.|
|We toured the chocolate factory while the older kids were at school and got lots of free samples because those kiddos were so cute.|
|Family movie night watching Storks. Check out Asher's jammies.|
On Sunday Kendall took McKenna to a homecoming of a friend that lived in the area so I got these crazies ready for church by myself.
And we only had ONE major Jude meltdown, so that was pretty good.
McKenna and Kendall left Monday morning and we were all pretty sad to see them go. Mostly because it meant I would have to pretend to be the fun aunt again to make up for Kendall's absence.
|Scarlet and Rory enthralled by a Barbie movie. This was a very big moment for me.|
|Movie night time!|
|I told the kids if they cleaned everything I asked them to on Monday I would take them to Sonic and they could get whatever they wanted. Bribery works.|
|This was Rory right after one of her naps. She would just stare at the kids and it was like you could see her thinking, "What is going on and why are you all so LOUD?"|
|Sonic! They definitely earned those treats and they were even awesome at sharing the flavors with each other. These kids are pretty darn impressive.|
|We went to Chick-fil-a because I love it there. The boys played in the play place while I ate my delicious food and workers brought me napkins and refills. It was amazing. Scarlet is not a fan apparently, but she suffered in silence.|
And then before we knew it, Jon and Kacey came home! Seriously, it was that easy. Kacey is a superstar mom. I had a few more days to hang out with the Nielsens before heading home. We had John and Ashleigh over for Dinner on Wednesday night. (Kacey is such a supermom she can get back from a week long vacation at midnight and have a delicious meatloaf ready for a dinner party the very next day. Amazing.)
|Rory and Uncle John John|
On Thursday, Kacey took us all to the aquarium. I love doing things with Rory at this age and documenting them so that when she is older and wants to do fun things I can say, "Oh bummer, we already did that and you slept through the entire thing." hahaha.
|like touching manta rays|
|See Rory? I already took you to the aquarium.|
|Rory got to check out Ridley's jumparoo. Sooooo cute.|
|doing a little geocaching at the park before heading to the airport|
|such good cousin friends :)|
It was an awesome time hanging out with my nieces and nephews in Vegas. I'm so lucky to live close enough to see them as often as I do and watch them grow up. Scarlet is an amazing helper and she already has a knack for making ordinary things more beautiful or fancy. Rhode is smart as a whip and sweet as can be, even though his brothers sometimes test his patience. Asher is still hilarious and a pretty impressive negotiator for a 5 year old. Jude is full of emotions, the biggest one being love. He just wants to be right by your side and tell you how much he loves you all day long. And Ridley is a perfect little cherub baby, Heavenly Father's way of saying "Nice work, mom. This one's on me."
As for Rory, this girl was pretty happy to see her best friend again after too long a separation.
Seriously though, she just stared at him like this all night.
Jon Wayne decided that it was time to get the work done at our house before the weather got too hot, so all 7 Nielsens piled in their car and drove to Gilbert on Friday night. They got here around midnight and went straight to bed. We all got to work the next morning, Stephen and Jon doing all the big projects while Kacey and I weeded in the back. Our backyard is a jungle of weeds, and between all the kids that needed our attention we barely made a dent in it, but at least we tried! But the kids really did a lot of helping, too! Asher, realizing the injustice of being forced to drive almost 6 hours just to work all day kept saying, "This is the worst trip in the world. I wish we had never come here!" Stephen and Jon decided it was time to lay the grass in the front that Stephen and I had been thinking about. They made a couple of trips to Home Depot and got right to work.
items to take note of:
-Stephen was able to meet the neighbors down the street who are in our ward, but we hadn't had the chance to meet yet. I wonder how they ever guessed he was LDS?
-Jude does his best work in his underwear apparently.
-Everyone helped except for me. And Rory and Ridley. And I guess Asher had his moments, but for the most part he was pretty useless too.
-They seriously worked SO hard all day long! I have the best family.
I'm feeling a little dramatic so let's do a good old fixer upper comparison pic. This is when our house was listed. Now imagine, the aloe even more dead and overgrown, tarp and weeds popping up in the middle of the rocks, and an all around grosser look.
And suddenly it became THIS!
It is unbelievably satisfying to drive up to your house and not think, "Man I hate that yard." Every single time. So in case I wasn't obsessed with this house enough before, look at it now! I will never shut up about it.
I'd say it was a pretty sweet trade.