Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Open for the Season

The pool at our clubhouse opened Memorial Day, and you know we were there. The best news is it's heated this year! In the six years we've been here, it's usually like icy water until July. It was such a nice treat. The kids had a blast. Unfortunately, Noah has a cold and isn't feeling great, so he sat in the hot tub most the time. It's like a big family seeing all our neighbors again and how their kids have grown over the year. We will be spending many hours here over the next several months. What a great way to kick off the summer.
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Do you like Noah's mismatched floaties? It's whatever was leftover without a hole in it from last season.
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This year, I'm hoping Noah becomes a swimmer. He could swim across the width of the pool last year with some help from David, so we'll see where he can go this summer.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Zero

Today is a great day! We made our last payment on our van. She's all ours.
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She only has 42,000 miles (that's it in 5 years!) and David's has about the same mileage, again in 5 years. There's something to be said about a small town when your work is 7 miles from your house and since stores are not around the corner, I only make 1 trip into town a week. In any case, we paid cash for David's car 5 years ago, so we never had payments on his. We plan to keep these cars for at least another 5 years. I actually told Emiily she might get Daddy's red Honda Civic when she is 16, and she said she rather have my mini van! She'll obviously change her mind by then.

The best news is that we are 100% debt free now. We own our home and our 2 cars. Not a single payment to any bank every month. And I'm thrilled to not see $329.07 come out of my checking again. Not a penny of credit card debt either. We use our credit cards for convenience and the rewards, but pay them off in full every month. I think this is a huge accomplishment. I'm proud of David and I as it's really easy to live beyond our means and rack up debt. But, we both live modestly and only buy things when needed. Then, we can afford great vacations with our family.

It feels great!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Camping

Camping. Just saying the word makes me think of relaxing by a campfire. But, nothing about camping is relaxing. At least not for the parents. The kids don't have a care in the world. David and I came home exhausted.

It starts a week before with preparing the menu. My husband likes stellar food when camping. In fact, I nicknamed him Top Chef. Then, we have grocery shopping and making some food ahead of time, marinading steak for kabobs, making pumpking bread and pasta salad, etc. 24 hours before we leave, I'm packing everything up. Sleeping bags, blankets, gloves, thermals, coats, shorts, sunscreen. It doesn't end. The kids were super excited and sitting in the car waiting to go about 2 hours before we left.
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Then, we get to camp and it takes a few hours to set everything up. We got a new tent, and the kids couldn't wait to play in it.
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Then it was off to explore the woods with friends.
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David's nickname when we are camping is Top Chef. Hot dogs won't do. He makes steak kabobs. I'll take that any day!
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We had a group campsite and the kids drove around and around the paved loop on their bikes. I'm not even kidding when I say that Noah did about 100 laps a day.
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Ben who just got his training wheels off was still a little rusty on his bike and couldn't start pedaling on his own. After this trip, he's a pro!

David got a new camp lounger chair for an early Father's Day gift.
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Noah channeling his inner Hunger Games.
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The next day we took a little trip to Sunset Crater. It's a site where lava exploded about 900 years ago.
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The Peaks are in the background and still have some snow on them.
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Here's the one photo of me just to prove I was there.
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Ben and a really cool tree.
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Noah looking at a sign and looking confused.
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We made smores, but Noah likes plain marshmallows.
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The last morning the boys had a breakfast of a whole pack of bacon. They were in heaven!
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It was a great weekend spent with friends, but truly it's exhausting. It took 2 hours to break down camp and pack everything up. Then, it took another 2 hours to unpack the car when we got home. I'm still doing laundry 24 hours later. I ask myself why do we do this? And then I look at my photos and see these two of my girl...
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...and I realize I'll do anything for my kids. To see them happy and having fun is worth all the work. Don't get me wrong, we have fun too just in between all the work. And we are doing it again in a month!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

73 Days of Summer Vacation

Today was the last day of school. I officially have a 4th grader, 2nd grader and preschooler if we want to get technical. There will be a lot of changes this fall. Good ones. Like saving my sanity with 3 hours all to myself every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I have plans. Big plans.

But first, we have 73 days of summer vacation. I have plans for those too. Big plans.

I went to Emily's assembly today. I had my camera all ready to go and filmed the Honor Roll section the Principal did. Emily always gets Honor Roll. She always has one B. The first quarter it was Math. The next was Science. Third quarter was Social Studies. She got A's in all of those subjects, just not at the same time. I quickly realized that the Principal called the kids in Emily's class and she wasn't one of them. I sat stunned for a second. Did she not make Honor Roll? Maybe she got 2 B's this quarter? Maybe she got all A's? So, I filmed the Principal's List (all A's) and sure enough, her names gets called, mispronounced like always. She was the only kid in her class to get it, and less than 10 kids got it for all of third grade. I was so proud and so happy for her. Oh by the way, it was pajama day; hence, the silky pants.

She also got Perfect Attendance. I'm so glad that stomach bug got her on a Sunday!

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We are lucky to have her. She is truly a gift.

First grade doesn't have an assembly, so I didn't have to break out the camcorder for Ben. He got all O's on his report card and he also got perfect attendance also. That's a huge thing for Ben because he has an eye appointment in Phoenix every 3 months, so he has to miss a half day for that. Luckily, his appointment is in May and instead of taking the beginning of May, I took the end so he wouldn't miss school. He's never had Perfect Attendance, so that was great. Luckily, the stomach bug got him on a Friday night!

Ben's teacher makes a memory book for the kids. It shows their work from the beginning of the year to the end. I was so impressed when I saw it this afternoon. Here is a fill in the blank writing assignment from their field trip in October.
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And here's an essay writing assignment from their last field trip in May.
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Translated in case you can't read it since it's light:  Me and my class went to the zoo.  We got to peted amazing reptiles like a spikey beared dragon.  It uses it's pointy spine for portektoin (protection).  I played on the gaint web.  I liked the little monkey.  The zoo smelled.  I'll go back to the zoo.

What a difference!!! He's come such a long way and has really learned a lot this year.

I loved this one about when he is a teenager. Oh boy!
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We truly are blessed with such great kids. They always do their best in school and are just all around great students. It seems to come fairly easy to both of them and for that I'm grateful.

Now on to the first day of summer vacation tomorrow. We are headed camping! Not wasting any time on getting this party started.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Career Day

Every year, the school has spirit week. The kids dress up in different themes every day. Crazy Hair. Wacky hats. Pajama Day. You get the idea.

The kids always have fun, but honestly, it's always a bit of a pain for me. It's time coming up with a costume. Extra time in the mornings getting them ready, and I have to take pictures. I know I'm being a Scrooge. When I hadn't heard a peep about spirit week this year, I was kind of excited. Then the teacher sent an e-mail on Sunday night. It appears spirit week is this week. The last week of school and combined with all the other craziness that is already going on. It feels like a total after thought. Pajama Day. Career Day. Opposite Day. And kids dress like your teacher and teachers dress like kids. Which is kind of lame because their teachers are cool and don't dress in anything that you can poke fun at.

In any case, career day was today and that was fun. Emily said she wants to be a pianist. Um, okay. How does a pianist dress? So, she wore one of her dresses. That's enough out of the norm for her that people will ask what she is. Ben, on the other hand, went with something a little crazier. Ben, The Sasquatch Hunter. He's totally into Big Foot lately.
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We made Ben a pin that said, "Ben: Sasquatch Hunger" and he drew a picture. Fun!
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And you know Noah had to get in on the action of looking for big foot.
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Noah totally needs a haircut, but we are trying to let it grow out as it makes him look a little older and less like Caillou. I'll have to trim it up soon and if I mess up, we have the clippers as back up.

Field day is tomorrow. The last day of school is Thursday. Emily has an assembly for perfect attendance and honor roll Thursday morning. Plus, we leave for camping Friday morning and I have 100 things to do. I'm glad they can put their shirt on backwards tomorrow and call it a day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

The First of Many

Emily's big project for the last month in class has been writing her first research paper. She had to gather facts and information about a sea animal. Her teacher had 22 sea animals for kids to pick from. Emily was third from last to pick and picked a spiny dogfish. What the heck is that? It's a small shark. Who knew?

All the writing was done in class, so luckily, my involvement was minimal. Her teacher taught them exactly what they were supposed to do. Then, they had to make a diorama at home and bring it to class. They had to read their report to the class and show everyone their diorama. Emily was really nervous about the presentation part. She's never done that before.

She had fun making the diorama. I only helped her make the shark. David helped blend yellow, red and blue to get a grayish brown color. I helped cut a few parts of the shark with a sharp knife. Other than that, she did all the rest. She did a great job and she liked how it turned out.
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I wish I could've been a fly on the wall when she read her report. I know she was a little quiet and shy and that's just how she is. She's perfect. I wanted to put the report here, so that one day she can look back on it and everything she learned about a spiny dogfish.
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Four more days of school left and my girl is moving on to fourth grade! How can that be???? I'm so proud of the smart, beautiful girl that she is.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Can't Stand the Cuteness

Noah is difficult. His moments of cuteness save him.

We had to drop off a project Emily did for school. We were waiting in the hallway as they weren't in there. Come to find out they were exploding soda bottles on the side of school as a Science project. I'm sure it involved mentos too. In any case, Noah discovered the water fountain.

"Ohhhhh, this is amazing. I think it's the best thing ever!"
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He didn't even understand that you put your mouth up there and get a drink of water. We'll leave that shocking revelation for another day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Superwolverman

A bunch of my friends go to a different school. They are having spirit week this week and they have to dress up. I kind of laughed when I got 3 requests to borrow various costumes from my kids. I guess we are known for dressing up. I'm not sure why? HA!

Let's see, Noah has been Spider-Man, Superman and Wolverine in the last hour. Being 3 years old is awesome!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Loved

I had a wonderful Mother's Day. I was completely spoiled. I told David it's nice to live a life of leisure. I woke up to nice cards, and Emily played me a song on the piano that she made up.
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She's so cute. It was very sweet and I loved it.

David made me breakfast of chocolate chip waffles, hashbrowns and bacon. Yum.

The kids and I relaxed. I played scrabble with Emily. Then, David made us lunch and red velvet cookies.

I went on a bike ride with 2/3 of my kids.
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Then, we came home and my husband was still in the kitchen making me filet mignon dinner.
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The poor guy didn't leave the kitchen all day. He's awesome. He got me some nice gifts too.

It was a very nice day filled with lots of love from my sweet little family. I fell loved and very blessed.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Chaise Lounge

Back in the day when I was in my 20's, I had money. Not a ton of money, but I was single and had my own home. I could pretty much buy what I wanted. I shopped at nice stores. I look at some of those stores online now and have heart palpitations. Who would pay $78 for a pair of jeans? Me. Well, 25 year old me. Now, I look for sales at Old Navy. They are having a $19 jean sale right now. That's how the 39 year old me rolls. And, I'm happy with that.

15 years ago, I bought the nicest buttercream chaise lounge from Restoration Hardware. It was a thing of beauty. Soft yet firm. Oversized but not gigantic. Yellow and happy. It made me happy. My chaise lounge came with me from my little 3 bedroom home, to my bigger 5 bedroom family home to our move up North to Prescott. I used to sit in that chair and read the Sunday paper alone. I used to lounge in that chair and nurse my babies. That chaise lounge has been around.

But one thing has always been true about this beautiful chaise lounge.

My dogs have always loved it.

We have big dogs. We don't let them on the sofa or bed. They don't even try. But darn it if they don't all love this chaise lounge.

It started with Forest. I tried to put up barricades like the laundry basket or stool. It didn't work. Then, Roxie feel in love with it. God rest her crazy soul. The chaise has been stored in my Mom's room for several years as we just didn't have the room. We shifted some things around and the chaise came back in the family room where it belongs.

We all love it.
Noah has his morning cup of coffee on it.
Ben reads his Spiderman books there.
Emily lounges with the tablet and watches youtube videos.

And Rocko has found the perfect place for an afternoon nap.
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Some things never change.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring Concerts

Emily and Ben had their Spring Concerts last week. They have an awesome music teacher who does such a great job and gets the kids jazzed about music. The theme this time was Rock. I like that. Ben had his one night and Emily's was the next. They both did a great job!

Here's Ben making faces at me before the performance.
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His first song was Peggy Sue. For the record, he did not like this song what so ever. I think it had to do with "pretty little Peggy Sue, I love you", etc. Not his cup of tea at 7 years old. He still did good.


Then he sang Scooby Doo. That's more his speed.


And Ooby Dooby.


Here's Emily before her performance.
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She sang Burning Love. Which started a whole new infatuation around this house with Lilo & Stitch because it has that song and other Elvis songs in it.


Then, they sang a medley from The Ramones.


They did so great. Music classes have been cut at so many schools. We feel fortunate that we not only have a music program but a great one!

Monday, May 6, 2013

3 Down

Emily came running in our bedroom around midnight Friday night. She got up to go to the restroom and could smell puke. Noah and Ben were sleeping in Ben's bed. I walk in and step in it. Projectile vomit about 8 feet. Even worse, Ben went right back to sleep.

Sunday morning. Emily wakes up not feeling good. A few hour later... Puke. The good thing is it seems to be a 12-15 hour thing.

Monday afternoon. Me. Oh no. Not when I have kids to pick up from school and work to get done. Emily was so sweet. She unpacked their backpacks and lunchboxes. She got me water and took care of the boys. She's such a sweetheart. Luckily (or unlucky for David) I held off puking until he walked in the door. I've been laying down in the bedroom for a few hours and we communicate by text.

You gotta love technology.
Here's praying the other 2 escape it.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spring Piano Recital

Emily had a spring piano concert. It's nice to have one when the set list isn't filled with Christmas carols. Although, that's nice too. A time for everything.

David and I grabbed this pretty spring dress at Costco for her. We both loved it and knew the colors would look perfect with her naturally dark skin. I put on a little lip gloss on her per her request. My girl looks so beautiful. She's growing up.
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Mrs. Stacy had a really cute piano in chalk at her entryway.
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Here are the 4 students.
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Emily was nervous before the show. With grandparents, there was about 30 people there. She did great!
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Mrs. Stacy gave them all a certificate and rose.
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It was a lovely evening. I'm so proud of he for sticking with this and learning the piano so well. I never have to tell her to practice, she just does so naturally. So, so proud. And for anybody wanting to watch my girl in all her glory. Here are the videos.
Introduction:

Minuet in G:

Patterns:

Music Land:

All The Pretty Little Horses:

Little Green Frog: