Monday, December 29, 2008

The Dudley Family Christmas Vacation (part 1)

Hello all. Long time, no post. I do this when I feel overwhelmed with anything. I've had so much that I want to blog about, so I feel overwhelmed, and then I never blog anything. Awesome. December is always the busiest month in the world for everyone, and we are no exception. I love being busy and I love all things Christmas. We're in Philly right now with the entire Dudley family, and life couldn't be sweeter. Some highlights from our trip include:

* Having 4 boys ages 3 and under opening presents (and presents and presents) together on Christmas morning.
* A day trip to Washington DC on my birthday (yikes, I'm 27!)
* Lots of games of Settlers and Scum and Euchre
* Sleeping in almost every morning (because my husband is AWESOME!)
* Nightly devotionals
* Only having to cook every three days -- wahoo!
* Shoe shopping, just mom and me.
* A game of HORSE on Christmas day, in which I took second place, beating all of the boys except for Daniel (this really is amazing considering that I stink at basketball...and all sports).
*Becoming acquainted with the new wii that Daniel and Mara received for Christmas (and that is now on Brad's wish list for next year).

What's even greater is that we still have a week left! Some future highlights include:

* A day trip to New York City
* A date DAY (10 whole hours) with just me and my Brad (I love free babysitters) 
* An appetizer party on New Years Eve
* A day for Katie and I to get projects done that we've been putting off all year
* Many more games and devotionals and yummy food and laughter and joy.

Christmas is so much better with FAMILY around to share it with! Hope all of you had the Merriest of Christmases and that you have a very happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I just got a call from this boy...
...telling me that he'll be at my house in 4 hours (I wasn't supposed to see him until Monday in Philly)!

Then on Thursday these lovely people...

and these crazy girls....

...are coming to my house until Sunday, at which point Brad, Nick, Chase and I leave to spend two glorious weeks with all of these people......

And, as if that were not enough to fill my heart with joy, I get to bring this boy home with me in January to stay for a few months...or forever (hopefully)!

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

I was rocking Chase at bedtime tonight (no, I am NOT nursing in this video) and singing him some lullabies, when Nick came in to join me. He has just recently started singing songs in their entirety, and Brad and I cannot get enough of it. Although it's not in tune (I'm still hoping that all the hours I've sung to him in his short life will eventually pay off), he's still cute!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

boring fest

I'm in a blogging funk. I've been all excited to blog about Thanksgiving, but I forgot to take my camera to Ohio (of course), so I'm saving that post until I get some pictures from my sister-in-law, Mindy. So I've decided to finally complete the tags I received from Mallory (another sister-in-law). So if you hate tags, just scroll to the pictures at the end of the post! :)

8 things I am passionate about:
1- Brad
2- Nick
3- Chase
4- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
5- My family (Dudley's and Goldie's)
6- health and nutrition
7- Having a clean and organized house(I'm not always great at it, but I love it!)

8 words and phrases I say often:
1- I love you
2- Use your words
3- Oh my word (this one is thanks to Melissa! :)!
4- Art time!
5- Quiet time!
6- Bed time!
7- Play time!
8- Time to go!

8 things I want to do before I die:
1- See my children grow into happy, healthy, and productive adults that have strong testimonies and know who they are.
2- Travel with my family
3- Serve a mission with my hubby
4- I want to stay active in music, serving others, being involved in the community, and continue to work on self-progression.
5- Is it so pathetic that I can't think of anything else?! I have ideas (write a book, become a music therapist, go to nursing school to become and labor-and-delivery nurse, learn to be a home-making goddess), but I honestly won't be that disappointed if these never happen.

8 things I want or need
1- a nice new camera
2- an automatic car starter
3- 72 hour kits for the four of us
4- a new Sams Club membership
5- winter shoes
6- picture frames for the wall collage I want to do on my dining room wall and up my staircase (not in our student budget at the moment)
7- decorations for Nick's room (it's the only room in my house with blank walls. I just can't decide what I want to do in there, nor do I have the money)
8- a new pair of jeans

8 "interesting" things about me (I'm not sure about this one. I think I'm pretty boring)
1- I always, ALWAYS have to know what time it is. There are clocks all over my house. But I don't wear a watch.
2- If I could have my way, we would own NO TV! I hate it!
3- I really really really wish I were a morning person and a person who required little sleep.
4- I love to read and research about health, nutrition, and exercise, but I hate having to watch what I eat and I hate exercising (but I do it anyway).
5- If we can afford it, we're going to put our kids in private school. I have issues with the public school system.
6- I love to decorate my house. I don't know what I'm doing, but I love it.
7- I am a very picky eater. I eat the same things every day and have for years (V8, string cheese, apples with cheese, fruit smoothies with protein powder, cereal, spinach salads, shredded chicken with black beans and salsa, cereal, ect). I don't necessarily like this about myself. It's just the way it is.
8- I am a member of the State College Choral Society (community choir), and am probably one of 20 people under the age of 50 that belong to it (there are about 140 people in the choir). Anyway, I just joined in September, and I love it! We're singing really hard stuff right now -- Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, ect., all in German -- but it's been the greatest thing for me.

I rarely post without pictures, so here you go.
I hate this picture of me, but love it of Brad. I just had to give him a shout-out today, as he has a huge presentation on a paper he's been working on for almost a year. Good luck, Babe! I know you'll do awesome!

Better late-than-never, here's a Halloween picture of my boys. Chase was Elmo, Nick was a firefighter (with a dumb hat. We couldn't get him to wear the real one). We had an excellent Halloween. We went trick-or-treating with our dearest friends, then went to a fun Halloween party. Nick was excited about his candy but was even more excited when he woke up the next morning to see that the switch-witch swapped it for a stick horse and a book! He never even asked about his candy after that. Here's hoping we have such luck in future years.

Brad put Nick to bed the other night and heard some noise in his room about 20 minutes later. When he walked in, this is what he found. This has been one of Nick's favorite activities lately. He props his books up like this, puts his little GI Joe men in them, and parks a car out front. He calls these creations tree houses for some reason, and makes little neighborhoods all over our house. Silly kid!


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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Loving my C H A S E

My baby turned 10 months old today. (Katie took this picture back in August when he was just over 6 months old). A very tired Nick went to bed at 5:30 this evening and Brad is gone watching the BYU-UTAH game with some fellow Y fans, so I got 2 hours to myself with my little Chase. We read books, watched Signing Time, played with toys, and crawled around together. Words cannot describe how blessed I feel and how much I love these boys of mine. I can't believe this baby is almost one...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nick's 3 year old pictures

I'm in Philly this weekend and Katie worked her magic again today with Nick. Check out my little 3-yr-old!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

4th picture TAG

So I've,read...some people complain about TAGS on blogs, but I like them! I've been tagged twice recently, and thought I should finally catch up on at least one of them (no time to do both right now).

#1: Go to the 4th folder in your picture file and blog about the 4th picture. Then tag 4 people:
This is me with my favorite Nicky Bocker in my absolute favorite city. Rockerfeller Plaza, NYC, NY, Christmas 2006. Nick was 14months old. I had gone to visit Tim and Katie in Philly before meeting Brad in Ohio to spend Christmas with his family. A newly pregnant (with Cal) and sick Katie was kind enough to take me to NYC for the day because I've always wanted to see it at Christmas time. The two of us with our two boys stuck out like sore thumbs there! And the subway system is not very child-friendly. But I loved every second of it anyway!

I TAG (unless you hate tags): Katie, Mindy, Mistie, and Seriously So Blessed...
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Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Switch-Witch

What comes to your mind when you hear the following words?


I'll tell you mine:

Halloween? Candy
Thanksgiving? Feast and pie!
Christmas? licorice caramels, fudge, gingerbread men, yummy breakfast...FOOD!

This is what I WISH would come into my mind:

Halloween: Carving pumpkins, dressing up, doing crafts
Thanksgiving: A day with family, turkey bowl, watching a movie
Christmas: The birth of Christ, thinking of thoughtful gifts to give, time with family, parties, music, Christmas movies, service

I've been worrying lately about the fat genes that Brad and I are passing on to our kids (my brother-in-law calls this fat potential). Brad and I changed our diets shortly after we were married to Whole Wheat everything (bread, pasta, brown rice, ect). We go all natural on what we can and have mostly eliminated any type of corn syrup and hydrogenated oils. We're usually pretty good about getting in our 5 or more fruits and veggies, and we exercise -- but we own up to these two facts:
1- We can throw down the "occasional" unhealthy meal (Brad) and a dessert (me) with the best of them, and
2- We are not naturally skinny, petite, or small boned people.

I do not want special occasions, especially the Holidays, to be focused on food, so this year we are instigating the switch witch. I read about this last year on my cousin, Angela's, blog, and thought it was brilliant. We'll go trick-or-treating, as usual, with our friends, tomorrow night. But after Nick goes to bed the Switch Witch is going to come and switch out his candy for a small toy and a book. In my head, this is going to work out splendidly. In reality, I think Nick is going to wake up the next morning, ask for his candy, and throw a fit when I explain who the Switch Witch is and what she did. I'll keep you posted...

Update: We thought it would be fun to share Nick's sickness with his this week! Brad had his turn on Monday and Tuesday, and then it was my turn yesterday and today. Hopefully everything is now on the up and up and we will all NEVER THROW UP AGAIN! :) Hope everyone else is healthy!

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I thought I felt like a mom the first time they laid Nick in my arms...

This feeling intensified the first time I saw Chase...
But I must admit, I feel as though last night I was truly inaugurated into the world of parenting. I'll spare you the pictures, but Nick woke up at 1am, and when I rushed into his room, the poor vomit covered lad cried, pointing, "Mommy, I spit." Well, that "spitting" has continued about every two hours, and during the night it was my time to hold the bowl, rub the back, wipe his mouth, ect. And my thought at 3am was "Now, I am a mom." I reflected back on how even up through high school I would wake with horrible stomach cramps and would immediately go and sleep with my parents. Luckily, I was able to hold my own bowl by this point (or make it to the porcelin one in the bathroom), but my mom would comfort, hold my hair back, and wait on me all through the night. Isn't it ironic that you don't really appreciate your parents until you are one?! Just like how you don't really know how special the "before kids" years are with your spouse until you have a kid! Anyway, Nick is still throwing up every two hours, but seems to feel okay in between. This has become his permanant spot for the day. We're letting him watch movies, even though it's Sunday.

Onto happier, less disgusting topics, this is my beautiful niece, Ella. I have 2 sons (duh) and 4 nephews, so Ella, as the only girl, has a special place in my heart. She was 5 months old when I came into the family, and I love her to pieces. Incidentally, so does Nick.
Chase is crawling! I have been waiting patiently for this event, as I seem to remember with Nick how much mobility changes my life. He has 6 teeth, so as he was first learning and would sometimes face plant into the floor, he got a couple of good fat lips, poor baby.

Nick's imagination and pretend play has really taken off in the last few months, and I love to watch him develop. A couple weeks ago, Nick went up to Brad and said "Shhhh. All these peoples in our house are sleeping." Looking for clarity, Brad noticed that Nick had gathered all my Willow Tree figurines and had put them to bed. What a nice Daddy Nick is.

Here is a picture of my boys two weeks ago, on a happier, healthier Sunday.

And last but not least, I have to say, GO PENN STATE!!!! It's official. I'm a fan. Not that I wasn't a fan before, it's just that I don't recollect ever caring about sports before in my life. But I finally sat down and watched, yes watched, a game last night, and it was fun! I'm even excited for the next one. Super Bowl, here we come!!! Ha, ha, just kidding. National Championship, here we come!

Monday, October 20, 2008


I've been having the itch to blog all day today, I think because I know it's been over a week and I've been slacking. But because I don't have any pictures of our fun-filled weekend with Brad's sister Mindy, her husband Phil, and their kids Ella, Preston, and Brennen, I went through my photo files and found these pictures that I've been meaning to blog and just haven't yet. Lucky you. :)

This photo made me happy because it was taken on a day where I was sick of playing horse, trains, trucks, and roaring like a dinosaur and/or lion. I walked outside to see Nick not only playing with all girls, but playing with a doll. This has not happened before or since, but I'll take what I can get!

Seriously, the sweet nature of this baby boy kills me. His sleep schedule at night leaves something to be desired (despite mine and Babywise's best efforts), but other than that I could not ask for a more perfect baby.

I never blogged about our trip to Utah in August, so I thought I should add my favorite picture from it in case I never get around to it (which is likely). My dad is such a great Grandpa! My boys both adore him (and so do I!). We adore my mom also, but she won't let me take pictures of her!

The Clark Dudley family got a dog! And while Nick is going through a huge animal phase right now, he also happens to be terrified of them (which is perfectly fine with me -- as much as I might like to be, I am definitely not an animal person). Anyway, this is how he would "play" with Oly at my parents house. Oh, and looking at this picture reminded me that I forgot to announce that Nick is now (finally) potty-trained! We've had very few accidents and the whole thing went more smoothly than I was expecting. Thanks to the 14,186 people I asked for potty-training advice from!
Have a great week, everyone! Hurray for fall!
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Day At The Farm

My little boys and I spent Saturday morning at Way Fruit Farm, a local farm here that has a kids fest sort of day each October. We got to go on a tractor ride out to the pumpkin patch, pet bunnies, play in the pretend tractor, and sample fresh kettle corn, apple cider, and apple butter. There is nothing like the fall here in the rolling hills of central PA, and I really love all it has to offer our family. Thanks to great friends who make outings like this all the better while our husbands are busy with school, callings, and EQ football! :)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Look who's T H R E E!!!

My b a b y b o y turned THREE YEARS OLD today! How did this happen? I simply can't believe it. As Brad said earlier, "We officially have a three year old. We are old."
We woke up early this morning (perhaps with a little coaxing from me...) to give Nick his present. He loves play kitchens and I couldn't wait to see his reaction!

This afternoon we went to his 3 year old well-child check up and he did great. His weight and height are still both in the 97% and he's developing in every way right on track.

Tonight we had Nick's 2 favorite friends, Morgan and Russ (and their wonderful families), over for dinner, FHE, and cake and ice cream. I asked Brad to take pictures of Nick blowing out his candles and this is what I ended up with: Remind me to delegate that job to someone else in the future

Wonderful Russ, birthday-boy Nick, and beautiful Morgan at the end of our party.

Every year (yes, all three of them) I go and hold a sleeping Nick at the exact moment he came into my life on October 6th, 2005. And every time, I cry. This boy turned our lives upside down and taught us not only what it really means to love, sacrifice, worry, and give; but also what it really means to be loved, be needed, and be filled with complete and utter J O Y. I can't imagine my life without this little man and his brother, but I know that I am extremely blessed. Happy Birthday, Nick!

Friday, October 3, 2008

The winds of change...

I've been in the mood for change lately. Nothing all that dramatic or anything, just small changes. Some changes have just happened, others have been by choice;

* I used to only like milk chocolate. I wouldn't even eat chocolate chip cookies if they were made with semi-sweet chips. But for the past few months, milk does nothing for me. I'm all about the dark.

* I used to ALWAYS wear socks to bed. If I didn't have any on when I went to bed because I had been wearing sandals, I would put some on. Now I can't stand wearing socks to bed. It drives me nuts.

* I get up AT 5AM now, Monday-Friday. Me. The night owl since birth. The girl who could easily sleep 10 hours at night and still take a nap. The girl who would sleep in until noon on weekends and in the summer. 5 A M. Early, I know. And last night I went to bed AT 10:15. I think I was in elementary school the last time I went to bed that early. What is going on here? I'll tell you. Baby weight, my friend Melissa, and the YMCA. This has been happening since June (except then it was 6:00am and my friend Kendra, who moved the beginning of August).

* I am sick of the color red. I have sold every red thing I own on craigslist, along with my couches, my elliptical, and a number of other things. I'm redecorating. Brown and blue, I think. I figure I'll get sick of that in another 3-4 years, and by then we'll be done with school and we'll be moving so I can sell it all and redecorate again! And I'm becoming a minimalist. No more useless stuff in the storage closet under the stairs. No more hanging on to clothes I don't wear, books I won't read, ect. It's all gotta go. Sort of cleansing, in a way --

All I can say is that change is good...

Monday, September 29, 2008

Is it really Monday already?

Words cannot describe how much I love it when Katie blogs pictures from time we spent together because it means I can steal them from her blog and not have to download my own! THANK YOU, KATE!

Tim, Katie, Jack, and Cal came to see us this weekend, and life couldn't have been sweeter. Granted that it rained the whole time, the Penn State home football game made going anywhere rather difficult, and my couch that was supposed to be delivered on Thursday never came (it's coming today!), but we Dudley's know how to make the best of things! We ate yummy, healthy food (minus the Halloween candy...which was completely yummy but not so healthy!), talked and talked, played with our 4 boys, and Katie and I even managed to get a shopping trip in -- with no kids! Here are my favorite pictures from the weekend:

Really, could this picture be any cuter?! Calahan is the sweetest 14 month old known to man!

Chase gets so mesmerized by Katie's camera, I can never get him to smile. I can't believe this boy just turned 8 months old. How did that happen? His newest trick is clapping his hands whenever he hears the words "patty-cake." I love this baby!

I love how Jack and Nick always have been and continue to be best buds. They had such a blast playing trains, dress up, cars, bikes, and in the sand box together!

Love this picture, love this boy, hate the hair cut! My latest venture has been learning to cut Nick and Brad's hair...I'll eventually do Chase's when he grows enough to cut. Anyway, this is saving us a lot of money each month, but their good looks are suffering as I'm learning! The sides and back actually turned out great on this one, but I cut it way too short on top! It's even too short to do the fo-hawk, my favorite Nicky-boy hairstyle! :(

So these funny girls are my neighbors and are originally from Russia. I wish you could have seen their faces when Tim started speaking Russian to them on Saturday morning! They lingered the entire day, even staring at us through the window as we ate dinner! Thanks for being so nice to them, Timothy! And thanks for a fantasic weekend, all of you!