Thursday, June 14, 2018

February 2018

February was a pretty great month! The first half of it was consumed by prepping for and celebrating Sharli's 4th birthday. She decided she wanted a rainbow birthday this year, and we went all out. Rainbow playdough, rainbow snacks, rainbow decorations, rainbow cake, rainbow coloring pages, and 40 pound of rainbow rice. SO much rainbow! I tried to have everything set up so that the moms could turn the kids loose to play, then sit and enjoy some mom chatter while the kids played. It mostly worked. :)
40 lbs of rainbow dyed rice? Why yes, I have lost my mind. 
But look how much fun!!!
Clearly I've lost my mind, because I also made a billion rainbow sugar cookies. Which the kids decided they didn't like. BUT I liked them, and may have eaten way too many... so still a win? 
 The kids ran around like crazy people, both inside and outside. They had a marvelous time!

 And of course the birthday cake was a great success. It was rainbow frosted and pink on the inside after all, so what could be wrong with that?

 And can we just say that whoever the psycho is who hung up all those streamers and piped all that frosting onto that cake is pretty amazing. Just saying...

Sharli's birthday isn't the only one in February. When it was my turn to go out for my birthday we did a babysitting swap with my dear friend (who also had a birthday this month) so that we could go out for dinner that night. Ethan and I found a great little Mexican food place and had a really nice evening just the two of us. Perfect birthday! 

Also in February was Chinese New Year, so we headed over to Phoenix to a big multi-day festival to celebrate that. It was fun, but might have been a bit more exciting if we'd picked a time other than first thing Sunday morning to attend. Oh well.
 The kids were pretty impressed with the lion dance and the karate demonstrations. It wasn't a complete waste of a drive.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

January 2018

Happy New Year! 
Our New Year started off on the right foot for sure! Erik got a book all about pranking from his sweet Aunt Marquette for Christmas, so he spent pretty much all of January pranking us all. He'd write "pranked" on a slip of paper and stuff it in your shoe, under the bathroom door, in a cupboard, and pretty much anywhere else he could find to stick them. His favorite though was drawing pictures of scary monsters and taping under the toilet lid so they'd scare you when you went to do your business. Made me laugh every time, but don't tell him that. :)
The other thing we did to kick off the year was to go for a hike at Skyline Park. It was a fun hike and a great chance to explore the world around us. 
Hiking with a two-year-old is always fun. You get to take lots of temper tantrum breaks. Oh well, at least she's cute, right?

Because the weather is so amazing this time of year in this valley we tried to get outside as much as we could. We spent a day down at Estrella Mountain Regional Park, and had a blast hiking around. This was definitely a place we could go back to again and again.
 Look, it was actually cool enough that we wore jackets!
 The play area at this park was really neat. There were so many great and unique play structures, including a giant tarantula the kids could climb all over. Maren was not a fan of that one.
 For me, the highlight of this month was going to visit my family in New Mexico. With Mom's health problems she couldn't come to visit us, so we went to her instead. It was so nice to spend a quiet couple of days with them! The kids just ate up all the Grandma/Grandpa time.
 It was so good to see Mom feeling well enough to get down on the floor and play for a while. The kids loved it so much!

 All the play time with the cousins (and Aunt Carolyn) was fun too. 

 And oh boy do we love our Grandpa!!!

 On our way home from Cotton City we stopped by the Coolidge Dam on our way home, and I was blown away by how beautiful it is! To have something like this tucked away in the desert is kind of mind blowing.
 All the art-deco details were really great!
 The kids though this place was super cool. It just about gave me a heart attack to have them all running around on something with such huge drop-offs on either side.

 Look at that eagle! So pretty.

 The railings were at just the wrong height for the kids to be able to see the view, but Erik figured out a work around, goofy kid.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

December 2017

 Ahhh, December. The days of frost nipping your nose, white Christmas, sleigh rides... Unless you live in the Phoenix valley. In that case it is the time to sleep with your windows open at night to enjoy the cool breeze, and eat the yummy tomatoes out of your garden in the back yard. I tell you what. Winter living in El Mirage is pretty darn nice!
The weather was so lovely we tried to get outside as much as we could. We spent one Saturday at the Historic Saguaro Ranch in Glendale. It was really fun to tour the old ranch house and wander the grounds. There were rabbits in the rose garden, and peacocks on the lawns. It was a really fun place to spend a day. 

 It is also right next to the local public library, and since we can't resist a library to save our lives we walked over to check it out and spend some time play over there.
Another fun family outing we went on this month was to meet up with Nate and his kids to see the Christmas lights at the Mesa temple. The kids loved it! It was even chilly enough to justify wearing light jackets (I think the only time all winter we needed them). 
 December is always full of lots of little (and big) things to do, so we stayed pretty busy this month. Some of the big events though are worth mentioning. Maren turned 2! I think of all our kids the term "terrible twos" applies best to this one.
For her birthday I made her a rainbow cake and we gobbled that up and opened presents. I think she liked it all!

 The baby doll and stroller that she got from us were a HUGE hit! She has loved these so much, and sleeps with her baby every night.
 She does tend to use the stroller as a carry-all for anything and everything she can get her hands on. You wouldn't believe how much can fit in these little things!
 Next up is CHIRSTMAS! We had a nice quiet Christmas at home this year, just us. We did stream the kids opening their presents so Grandma Paralee and Grandpa Scott could see the fun. They'd hoped to visit around this time, but it just didn't work out.
 Because we were so busy with the presents I barely took any pictures. I didn't realize until later that I didn't have any of Erik. Oops.
 A day or two after Christmas I got hit with the flu and spent most of the week laying on the couch wishing I could just die already. Luckily the kids are pretty resourceful, and even Maren figured out how to feed herself on her own.
 We finished off the year with Erik's school program. It was Disney themed, so all the kids were invited to attend dressed as a Disney character. Erik went as Prince Eric, Sharli as Princess Sofia, and Maren just wanted to look pretty and wore her favorite Sunday dress.
 Erik's class did great with their version of "When you Wish Upon a Star", and then had a lot of fun at the party afterwards. He's sure loved this school!

What a great year 2017 was for our family! We made some great memories with our Glenwood friends, moved to a new home in El Mirage, and got to see and do so many neat things.

Monday, April 16, 2018

November 2017

 What a fun month this was!
I'll start off with some of the little day-to-day things that made me smile this month, then work up to some of the bigger events.

Maren has developed a real love for shoes. She wants to wear every shoe she the same time. If you want to make her happy just make a big pile of shoes right on top of her. Really. The more the better! If you want to make her cry then all you have to do is remind her that there is only room on each foot for one shoe at a time. She hates that little fact of life.
Because it's too hot to do a parade and make a big deal out of Independence Day around here, instead they make a big deal about Veterans' Day. We had a marvelous time at the parade, catching candy and watching all the floats go by. I think Sharli was just a *little* excited.
 It rained! Well, it spit at us a bit and we were just happy to get what we could get. I am blown away by how dry this place is, and this is coming from someone who has lived in the desert her whole life (except for the time in Mississippi).
 The kids continue to fall asleep in hilarious ways/places. These too just want to be close to each other all the time, even if it means one of them has to sleep on the floor.
Other reasons to sleep on the floor include taking a nap on the floor, just to prove that they weren't really tired and didn't actually need a nap. It's totally convincing, right?
Cooler weather mean kids get outside to play more often, which means that the ice cream truck has started making regular runs through the neighborhood. If only my kids' Mom wasn't too mean and stingy to buy anything for them. That doesn't stop them from running to watch it drive past, EVERY SINGLE TIME he goes by.
 Sharli is still a little fashion Diva. She just wants to look great no matter what the occasion. Where on earth did this Tom Boy mommy get such a girly girl?!
 Ethan and I decided our huge living room wall was just too big and empty. We bought a sheet of foam insulation and created this painting to fill up our wall.
 We bought a bottle of bubble bath! Hooray for trips to the dollar store! And for bathtubs full of bubbles!

 Erik is getting to be a really solid reader. I love that when I'm busy and Maren brings me a book to read to her I can tell her to take it to Erik. They were both a bit shocked the first time I suggested it, but they both warmed up to the idea pretty quickly.
Another favorite dollar store purchase is puzzles. These kids love putting together puzzles and are getting pretty darn good at it.

 We took advantage of the glorious weather to get outside as a family and go for a hike at White Tank Mountain Regional Park. We've been here before, but there are so many different trails to hike we decided to go back. It's always nice to get out of the city and enjoy being surrounded by nature.
 Even though it was November, it was still pretty warm, so we took lots of breaks for water, esepcially if there was a nice place to sit or a patch of shade.

 The kids love looking for interesting rocks and plants, and of course we're always on the look out for any lizards we can find.
 Erik LOVES to climb, if there is something to scale, he will attempt it.
 He is not quite so fond of walking though. At one point in our hike Erik told Ethan, "I don't know how much more of this walking stuff I can take." Ethan tried to encourage him by saying, "Come on, you can do it! We'll be desert explorers!" Without missing a beat, Erik replied, "More like death explorers."
 Sharli wanted to try her hand at photography, so we have a rare picture with both Ethan and I together. She did a pretty good job!
 For Thanksgiving, we went over to Gilbert to celebrate with the Arnett clan. We met at a nice park and had a picnic style lunch and then turned the kids loose to play with their cousins. We had a really nice afternoon together, then headed home. And good thing too, because we'd only been home a few minutes when a neighbor came knocking on our door looking for a fire extinguisher. There was a flaming turkey fryer a few houses away, and we were able to supply the extinguisher to take care of it.
As fun as all that was, Ethan was still really craving a more traditional sit-down dinner, so for the first time ever we  made the full Thanksgiving meal for our family at our home. Ethan brined the turkey and we worked together to cook that and prepare all the other sides and desserts to go along. It was pretty yummy, and even the kids enjoyed it. 
 Well, Erik and Sharli enjoyed it. Maren started throwing up just as we were dishing up the meal, so we took turns holding the puker while the other parent ate. Oh well.
 After Thanksgiving it is, of course, officially Christmas time, so we broke out the decorations and got them put up together as a family. The kids were SO excited to FINALLY be getting close to Christmas!