Happy Birthday Natalie… And Gwen!

gwenGwen was born today. Gwen is Natalie’s newest great niece! Maren and Dustin are the happy, proud parents and C will be the funniest big brother, I’m sure!

Today is also Natalie’s birthday. She would have been 56 years old.

Nathan and I took Dom to Olive Garden for dinner tonight because soup seemed appropriate on a chilly night. While there, Grandma DeeDee called to ask about any updates on Maren and her baby. I appreciated having the time to talk to her and ask her how her day was. As she always is, she was honest and told me that she was sad today. It was her daughter’s birthday and she thought about that all day as she washed her hair, went to the credit union and then tried to buy stationary at Walgreen’s but apparently they didn’t have any.

After Olive Garden, we dropped off some food for Dustin at the hospital. Maren was just barely on the epidural and it was just before 8:00 pm. Then we took Dom home to bed.

Shortly before 9:00 pm, we were watching Modern Family and searching for rental homes online when the text came in from Dad that Gwen was born!

We stopped in to visit a short time later after Dad came over to sit at the house while Dom slept.

She’s so tiny. It’s amazing how quickly you forget the small size of newborns. And yet, she has these big lips! I can’t even imagine what her personality will be like, but I think perhaps she might be like her great Aunt Natalie as they share birthdays. That would make her incredibly thoughtful, silly, stylish, hard-working, and full of smiles. People will love being around her!

Happy birthday to you Gwen. And to you, Natalie. You will always be missed.

The Babies In The Pool Go Kick, Kick, Kick

Taanya reminded me that it had been a while since I posted anything. I am TERRIBLY sorry. Please forgive me. Here is a video in an attempt to appease you. This is from Good Friday when Nathan had time off for spring break and Dustin had the day off as well so the dads took the cousins swimming while Maren and I sat on the sidelines. Do you want to come swimming with us?

Conference Weekend Cabin Contentment

We have officially taken our first trip with Dominic. At the wise age of 4 and a half months, he has now slept somewhere other than the hospital or his home. We spent a night at my parent’s cabin in Midway with some family. That night was a bit of a disaster.

Little man went to sleep at 8:00 pm.

I left the bedroom door open (Dom’s pack ‘n play was set up in the walk-in closet), and went to sit in the family room with Maren and Laina. The husbands were not home yet from the Priesthood session of General Conference.

After about an hour, a baby was crying. All three moms looked at each other with bated breath. Who’s kid was crying? “It’s mine,” I said. Dom had woken up. It was 9:00 pm. After popping a binkie in his mouth, he seemed to settle down and go back to sleep. Phew, I thought. I joined the women on the couch.

The boys got home with food (more on that below) and we started eating until there was more crying. It was Dom again. It was around 10:00 pm now. Nathan went in and got him back to sleep. Eventually, we went into the bedroom, collapsed on the king size bed that was the creakiest thing I have ever encountered, and went to sleep.

There it was again: Dom crying. It was around 1:00 am. I got up and nursed him. He had a hard time, though, due to his stuffy nose. I thought I had him back to sleep and put him back into the closet. I was wrong. For the next three hours, Nathan and I made attempts to get him back to sleep. I started to cry in frustration so Nathan took him out to the living room so that I could sleep for a bit. Then Dom finally fell asleep. Sleeping on his side, he could actually breath through his stuffy nose. Nathan put him in the pack ‘n play and we went back to sleep.

Dom woke up at 5:30 crying. I nursed him again and he went back to sleep.

He woke up for the day around 7:00 am. I felt INVIGORATED.

Okay, so the night was a disaster, but the other part of the weekend was pretty fabulous. We drove up Saturday morning and Dom slept the entire 40-minute drive. We met up with Thane, Laina, Hobbes and Alice who had come up the night before and now had the TVs on, watching General Conference. We joined them sitting on the squeaky king-size bed, attempting to listen to the speakers, but paying more attention to the children. Eventually, Maren, Dustin and Campbell joined us as well.


Mick, Tracy, Annie, Emma, Abe, Jane and Kate came up late Saturday afternoon, but not to the cabin. They were staying in a little suite (courtesy of Opa) at Zermatt Resort. We took advantage of this by going to the pool. In case you can’t tell, it was steamy by the hot tub and fogged up my camera’s lens. All of the kids enjoyed their swim. Cousins like swimming. And clearly, Maren and Campbell couldn’t care less about the “wait 30 minutes after eating to swim” rule. I bet Michael Phelps doesn’t wait to get in the pool after eating. Just saying.


Remember how I told you that I would expound upon the food that the men brought home after the priesthood session? Good. This is where I am going to expound. The guys brought back Mexican food. It was A LOT of food. We needed to take a picture of it all, right? I climbed up on one of the recliners and told people to say cheese. Good job, Maren.

After we finished all of the food, we had to take “fat” pictures, right? RIGHT! I am surprised that Dom didn’t wake up from the laughing. Everything’s so much funnier when you’re sleep deprived and filled up on so-so Mexican food.


When we returned home from the cabin, the bag filled with Dom’s toys and books was left on the floor in our front room. I asked Pogi if he would please unpack it. He didn’t do a very good job of putting ANYTHING away. One day, perhaps, I will get that cat to do something USEFUL.

Thanksgiving Confession: I Ate Sugar

You knew, didn’t you? You knew that I couldn’t quit sugar during the holidays. But you didn’t say anything. You just waited… knowing.

I ate sugar on Thanksgiving. So kill me. And do you know that it tasted delicious? Deeeeee.lish.us.

It is NOT physically possible to turn down Grumma’s pumpkin pie.

And Maren made pear pie. That’s just fun to say. Try it. Pear pie. Great. Now, EAT IT. Yum!

This year, we celebrated at my parents’ home, even though Mom was dealing with some major jaw/tooth pain and swelling. We had no idea until we showed up at the house, though.

Nathan and I walked in, bearing food, the house smelled like a feast, we waltzed into the kitchen and surprise, Mom’s face is swollen.

And yet, the turkey’s nearly done, the table’s set, and the buffet of goodness is spread in bowls along the kitchen counters. This is where you look around, holding your measly one appetizer and one bowl of mashed potatoes and say, “oh, we could have helped if we’d known.” Thankfully Grumma helped them.

Here are a few pics of the tasty event:

Prosciutto-wrapped crudités as an appetizer. And it’s my fault the olive oil isn’t nicely drizzled, but looks like it leaked out of random stalks of broccoli.

Mern and Dustin eating very small amounts (don’t you think?) at their first of two Thanksgiving dinners.

Check out the purple plates—more appropriately they should be called platters. The larger the more food you can pile on. And so many pretty colors, Margie King would be proud!

Yay family! Me, Nathan, Grumma (hiding), Mom (hiding her swollen jaw), James, Grandma, Dustin and Mern. Dad took the pic and look, his plate’s already been licked clean, he was THAT hungry.

I Survived Labor Day Weekend

I was sure we were going to die.


My last ditch effort to live was going to be to grab my car keys and press the panic button.

But I didn’t dare to move.

So I lied there, warm in my sleeping bag, listening to Nathan breathing evenly as he slept and tried not to jump at every little sound outside of the tent.

SOMETHING was definitely out there.

And, of course, in the middle of the night, things always look scarier, sound louder, and have far worse consequences than they would in daylight.

Whatever that THING was, I was sure it was big and mean so I determined it would be one of the following wild animals:

  1. Cougar
  2. Bear
  3. Coyote

It couldn’t possibly be something smaller like a raccoon or owl. And for sure, I was more scared of it than it was of me.

Every now and then, I heard shuffling of sleeping bags from the other tent, and then somebody said something.

“WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?!” James yelled from the other tent.

Okay. Fine. If I wasn’t scared before. Now I’m sure. James must have peeked out and saw whatever SOMETHING is out there. And he didn’t like the looks of it.

Officially terrified.

And waiting for a shotgun to go off and save us.

But there’s no zipper sound telling me that anybody in the other tent (where two of them do have shotguns nearby) are getting out to save my life.

Back to my only option: if I move enough to get my arm out of my sleeping bag, reach up and grab my car keys, will that mean the BEAST just outside of our tent will pounce? Or will I have enough time to hit the panic button? The car’s not far away. It should be pretty loud.

Eventually, I fell asleep. And then would wake up at the slightest noise outside and get scared all over again.

When morning came and we crawled out of our tents, alive, we didn’t see a single animal track in our campsite. There wasn’t even the tiniest tear in our garbage bag hanging on the tree. Nothing.

Apparently, cougars/ bears/coyotes are really good at hiding their tracks.

Also, James was just talking (or yelling) in his sleep. He didn’t see ANYTHING.

Despite a no good very bad horrible night’s sleep, the rest of our little camping trip was a blast. Nathan and I drove for two hours to meet up with Maren, Dustin, James, Dustin’s brother and Dustin’s sister-in-law for an overnight camping trip.

Friday night: tin foil dinners and breadsticks wrapped around skewers.

Saturday morning: dutch oven breakfast of bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, eggs and cheese.

Saturday afternoon: shotgun shooting.

I am definitely NOT Annie Oakley, but I managed to shoot a few targets and tried out several different guns. Awesome. Totally worth nearly dying the night before to learn how to shoot.

A Loverly Mother’s Day Weekend

Earlier in the week, Nathan asked me when I would like to celebrate Mother’s Day. I was surprised. I wasn’t a Mom yet. I just figured that we’d have a busy weekend and then go over to my parents’ for dinner Sunday night and finish the evening with talking to James on the phone (missionary Mother’s Day call).

But lucky me, Nathan wanted to make me a fancy dinner to celebrate. And I’m serious about fancy. Here are pictures to prove it. Be jealous.

It was a pretty fabulous weekend, despite the rain clouds rolling in on Sunday. A few highlights:

  • We ended up on a spur-of-the-moment outing Friday night to the batting cages with the Childs (favorites) and Allyson. Most of us took a shot at trying to hit one of the fast-pitch softballs, but it was malfunctioning and would throw the ball at your ankles every 7th or 8th pitch. Stepping up to try and hit those, you were practically taking your life into your own hands. And that didn’t seem like such a good thing because your hands were occupied with gripping the bat. Dangerous stuff. We survived the batting cages.
  • After the Saturday-morning soccer game, Nathan, Maren, Dustin and I decided that we needed to try out one of the local breakfast joints in Kaysvill that boasted “scones the size of your head.” I ordered the “German toast” and they brought me French toast that was also dipped in pancake batter. Mmmmm. We all ate head-sized scones as well. Delicious and oh so healthy. Thankfully, nobody died of a clogged artery on the drive home.
  • Saturday afternoon we played an aggressive game of Frisbee golf. And by aggressive I mean really casual. I am no bueno at that game, but being outside at the park, enjoying the sun, searching for wherever I threw my Frisbee in the trees, and having a good time with Aaron and Ada was muy bueno. Treats at Arctic Circle after made for a good cherry on top of the afternoon.
  • Nathan’s dinner that night was 26 times more delicious than the noggin’-size scones. Mmmmm mmm mmm mmmmm mmm.
  • And of course Sunday we celebrated our Moms. Moms are the best. My favorite part of dinner at my parents was when Mom had a giggling fit while washing dishes when she started rambling on about opening the pantry and sending us home with food. I know, doesn’t seem so funny, right, but believe me… Nathan and I were laughing, mostly with her.
  • Nathan also got to call his Mom on the phone. There was chaos in the living room with siblings, nieces and nephews, so he escaped to one of the upstairs bedrooms where, once I found him, I curled up with him on the bed to listen to his side of their conversation.

All around, can’t complain about the weekend, despite the rain staying around for a couple of days. Yay for Moms.

Dustin’s Tower of Terror

Enter the caption contest now! It’s so exciting isn’t it? If you need the rules for this sometimes-weekly contest, click here: Caption Contest Rules Shmules.

Last Contest’s Winner: Lindsey! Hooray for high school buddies. I’ve kept in touch with a small group of girl friends from the ol’ days. We all became closer friends our senior year when we realized, oh yeah, THESE people are my favorites—these are the people who will be consistent friends. Linds is definitely one of those friends. I heart her.

Simply an Account of the Weekend

I need to make new headers for these entries. It’s not so much Larrie’s World anymore as it is The World O’ The Elkins, or something. Turns out, I am selfish with my blog headers. Honestly.

Having a sick husband is no fun. It’s no fun because, when it’s the flu, there’s really little I can do to help him feel better. Feeling helpless, I tell you, is not my favorite feeling.

When I’m sick, it’s all I can do to get out of bed. I have a high pain tolerance for things like sprained ankles or dislocations, but feeling sick really puts me down in the dumps. I would have had a hard time feeling well enough to still go out to the movies if I had the flu. But my husband is a trooper.

Quick update for you of our sick-with-the-flu weekend:

  • I’m a mean wife so I made Nathan go to the clinic to see the doc. The verdict: the flu. The treatment: rest, fluids, ibuprofen, time.
  • We watched The Social Network at home on Friday night—pretty good movie where somehow, you end up feeling bad at the end of it for one of the youngest billionaires.
  • Saturday: slept in. Ah.
  • That afternoon, I went to a bridal shower for a girlfriend and as she opened gifts, I kept thinking, “oh good luck figuring out what store they bought that from to try and return it.” Makes it sound like we returned tons of gifts, but really only a few. Those few just happened to be from unknown stores or, perhaps, something they’d kept in storage for perhaps a decade just waiting for a wedding to take it to. Maybe 🙂
  • Made a list of things to do on the little whiteboard on the fridge, but didn’t get around to it. Things to do in the evenings this week instead now.
  • Fell asleep watching the documentary, Kicking It. Did YOU know that there is a homeless world cup? I just kept thinking, how stinky would those players be after their games? Oh dear.
  • Met up with Maren, Dustin, Mom and Dad for a “high class” date that started with food court dinner, then watching the movie, Rango (my review: random, really random), followed by sharing McDonald’s fries back in the food court before going home to bed.
  • Sunday, sat in really uncomfortable chairs for Stake Conference, but Elder Keetch told some really interesting stories for his message. I stayed awake the entire time. It’s tough to do when the chairs get uncomfortable sometimes.
  • Made some Belgian waffles for lunch and did not like the batter recipe. Maybe it was foggy out and that messed up whatever I did to mix it all together. We ate them anyway and Nathan was an extra kind husband and cleaned up the dishes.
  • Sunday afternoon nap. Ah.
  • Birthday dinner for Emma! Mick and Tracy provided delicious barbacoa pork salads for dinner and we finished that off with homemade tollhouse pie, also delicious, and Maren’s creation.

Wow, we still did so much despite Nathan feeling so sick. See how nice he is? Still doing all of these things we have on our schedule because he wants to make his wife happy? I’m a lucky duck.

Happy Birthday Hubby!

We celebrated Nathan’s birthday on Friday. He started his day by getting up at the butt-crack-of-dawn (can somebody tell me the origin of that phrase?) to get ready for another fabulous day of teaching and I am pretty sure that I made him a lunch (it’s hard to remember anything before 7:00 am).

I spent much of his birthday at home with my laptop sending emails and doing other work-y things in order to earn my paycheck. For my lunch break, I went to the store to buy dinner.

Tangent here (surprise): it’s a bit of a daunting task cooking Nathan a birthday dinner. I couldn’t let him cook his own, though, and for some reason, I just didn’t think it would be as intimate if we went out to eat somewhere. I consider myself an able cook, but I know that my husband easily surpasses me in that skill. From what I can currently tell, though, I am still competitive with him in the baking category. Phew.

Tangent done.

Back to birthday celebrations.

After work ended for the both of us, we were at home while I finished up the cooking and, after being pressed, let Nathan help out some.

Then Jennie brought her fabulous little crazies over to wish Uncle Nate happy birthday and they brought drawings for him. Beautiful little creations. The drawings and the children. And my husband.

Shortly after they left we ate the birthday dinner. The menu consisted of grilled NY steaks, mashed potatoes, roasted cauliflower and green beans with pancetta. Mmm, pancetta. I cannot for the life of me recall what we had to drink. Pink Powerade? It’s possible.

I made a total mess in the kitchen, between all of the cake making, garlic chopping, pancetta dicing, cooking, frying and waltzing.

I had all sorts of good intentions to clean it all up before the cake and ice cream party, but I didn’t quite get around to it. Instead, we just ignored the full sink as family showed up: Dad, Mick, Tracy, Emma, Abe, Jane, Kate, Ryan, Locke, Maren and Dustin. It was a good sized gathering for our little condo.

Pogi hid most of the time.

Scaredy cat.

The cake turned out nice and moist (everyone’s favorite word) although according to Abe, it was “really rich.” Some of the kids washed down their cake and ice cream with popsicles.

Eventually, Kate went and found Pogi who surprisingly was happy to play with her and the feathered stick she waved about for him.

Little Locke made the most noise. He must have realized that it would take a lot of effort to be heard over the older children. You have to really fight for attention when there are Campbells around.

Eventually we said goodbye to family only to meet up with many of them again on Sunday night for dinner at Mom and Dad’s and more birthday cake. The family sang a rousing happy birthday (as always), we enjoyed red velvet cake, and then everybody took turns telling Nathan all of his amazing qualities.

At first, I thought it was a strange family tradition which we started only in the last few years. We go around the room and each person says something nice about the birthday person. Seemed like forced compliments, right? Turned out, though, everyone was actually sincere (with only a few random jokes tossed in for the sake of balancing out the cheesiness), and we’ve kept up the tradition since then.

I wonder if it surprises my parents ever that their kids actually like each other. Thinking back on all of the fights, punching, kicking sand in faces, broken bones, stitches, and banisters yanked out of the wall, it might seem a bit surprising.

Anyway, I loved hearing what everybody had to say about the birthday boy. Sometimes, my family really is quite nice.

Happy Birthday, Nathan! Lucky me to be married to such a young hottie.