Thursday, December 28, 2017

September 2017

September was a fun month in the Mower household. We kicked it off with a trip up to Payson to see Kett and Cam and their family. We enjoyed playing at the park, swimming in the river, and a visit to the Tonto Natural Bridge. Of course, I forgot to take pictures of anything though. Oh well. The kids sure had fun playing together!
I may have taken almost no pictures, but Marquette didn't disappoint. She took a few picture of our family, and it's really fun to have an up to date set of family pictures. Click here for more pictures. 

We returned home and, other than enjoying some yummy birthday cake in Ethan's honor, things went back to life as usual. Erik went back to school and the girls love to help me with the housework, especially jobs like laundry...
 ...and dishes.
 They go with me to my weekly chiropractor visits and are normally pretty patient during all the sitting and waiting they end up having to do.
 September brought a bit of slightly cooler weather (at that point anything less than 100 degrees was considered pleasant), so we got to spend a bit more time outside doing things like picnicking in the park.
 Somewhere or other we heard about the Smithsonian's "Museum Day Live" event, which enabled a person to get two free tickets into a variety of affiliated museums. We headed out first thing in the morning to visit the Pueblo Grande Museum. They had a nice little visitor's center with some fun activities for the kids. They got to do things like build their own pueblo...
 ...and try their hand at making petroglyphs.

 After we'd seen all the was to see inside we headed out to explore the rest of the park. Maren was excited to get out and move, although she was decidedly less excited about having to stay on the trails.

 One fun thing about this museum is that it's located right by the city's major airport. This meant we got to watch planes take-off and land the whole time we were there.
 We really enjoyed learning about the ancient Hohokam people and the history of the area. The kids mostly just enjoyed running around like wild hooligans.

 As the temperature started rising we decided it was time to go get some lunch. We went to Portillo's for some gourmet hot dogs. The atmosphere of the place was really fun, but the hot dogs weren't anything too terribly special. 
 After lunch we headed over to the AZ Museum of Natural History to meet up with Aunt Kate and some cousins. The kids got to see dinosaurs, pan for gold, check out some old-timey jail cells, and just generally have a marvelous time.

We sure love finding affordable options to explore all the fun things around here! 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

August 2017

Erik started first grade this month! We found a great charter school that seemed like a much better fit for him than where he was at last year and so far he loves it. It's crazy to see how big he is!
Having Erik in back in school made me realize how much easier life is with only two kids around most of the day. Just having one less kid to wrangle in the grocery store makes such a big difference! (And it means I can use the cute fire truck shopping carts because there's enough seats for everyone. This also makes shopping much easier.)
 It's been fun to see Sharli and Maren becoming buddies now that Sharli doesn't have Erik around to play with all morning. They still have normal sibling squabbles, but they're also learning to enjoy each other too. It gives me hope that someday they might actually be friends!
 It's a good thing Maren lets Sharli distract her most of the time, because she's learning to create her own ways to entertain herself, and most of them are NOT Mom approved. Like this day when she learned the value of a step stool and helped herself to the kitchen drawers.
Maren's not the only one coming up with creative ways to entertain herself. Sharli got bored and invented "nose coloring". Oh well, it kept her busy for a very long time. 
 As cute and fun (and crazy and frustrating) as they all are when they're awake, I still love to watch them sleep. They're so peaceful and sweet. Plus they tend to provide some entertainment for us while lying there unconscious, so it's a win for everyone!
He had to have the headband that matched his PJ's...
She fell asleep sitting up. Good thing her tiger was there to catch her when she fell over.
Nap time on top of the bookshelf. Makes perfect sense.
 While this month was pretty low key, we did have some fun visitors! Grandma and Grandpa Richins came with Uncle Heber and hung out for a few days. We really enjoyed having them around! We took them to try out a new ice cream place, and we all loved it!
 Grandma Kathleen came to visit a week or two later, and it was so much fun to get to spend some time with her! We met up with cousins and enjoyed the AZ Science Center. It was a fun day and a great chance for the kiddos to enjoy being with their extended family.

Friday, August 4, 2017

July 2017

 Wow, looking through all the pictures from this month made me realize what a busy but super fun month this was. We got to see and do so many great things!

Of course we kicked the month off with Independence Day, and what better way to celebrate America than to watch a baseball game and some fire works?! The Phoenix valley is where all the major league baseball teams come for Spring Training, so there are nice ball fields all over the place. We went over to Surprise and watched the Rookie league match-up between the Kansas City Royals vs. The Texas Rangers.
Not being huge baseball fans we weren't really into the game (which moved SO SLOW!), but the atmosphere was fun and the kids really enjoyed wandering the stadium and taking it all in.
Erik had no idea what was going on, but he was sure excited to be there! Later in the evening someone even gave him a ball that had flown into the stands during the game. He was tickled pink! He named it "Bally Bally".
I love this picture!
 Maren's favorite part of the evening was when she scored a Dum Dum sucker. Best night ever!

 After the awesome fireworks show we spent ages fighting the traffic to get home and get our tired kids in bed. It was a really nice day! We were a little sad to not be with the Payne clan in Lordsburg. This was the first time in 6 years we had to miss out on that party, but there's always next year!

The next big event of the month was Sharli's ear surgery. She had been dealing with hearing loss and ear aches since March, and we finally managed to get her in to get tubes put in her ears and her adenoids removed. She was sleepy the day of the surgery, and then after that you'd never know anything had happened to her. She was able to hear better almost instantly, and felt SO much better than she had for months!
A few days later we got to go to a fun Family Art Day at ASU, you can read all about that here.

Ethan got to spend a couple of days over in Thatcher wandering through our old stomping grounds and being a "fish superhero", as the kids called him. He was with a team that hiked up Mt. Graham to rescue endangered Gila Trout after the Frye forest fire. It was hard work, but he got to see some pretty country. You can read about it here.
While he was gone, the kids and I joined in on Cow Appreciation Day at Chik-Fil-A. The kids were so proud of the hats they had made.

 We have been really enjoying the library system here. They have just about anything you could want to watch or read. They also put on lots of great events, like the Balloon Show we went to.
Erik got to be a monster. Sharli didn't get picked to come up and help with the show, but she was lucky enough to score the princess' castle afterwards. They were pretty excited!
 Maren is growing like a weed. She's practicing really hard for the "terrible twos", and oh boy is she getting good at it! ;) She has her good moments too. She learned to say "cheese" and smile for the camera. It's fun to be able to get some nice pictures of her cute smile now!
She found this little foam ball that she carried around for days. When it started to get a little shabby I cut a slit in it to make it work as a clown nose. She LOVES it! 
 One of the other big events that we can count on every July is Erik's birthday. He turned 6 this year! His birthday was a lot of fun. There was a water activity at the church that day (just a coincidence that it happened on his b-day), so he got his dream party without me having to do any of the work. He got water balloons, friends, slip-n-slides, popsicles, and fun, which is exactly what he most wanted. We had a coupon for a free cake from the grocery store, so we went to pick that up and they announced his birthday over the intercom so everyone knew it was his day. That night we had cake and ice cream, and discovered I had accidentally bought trick candles. He was totally confused at first when they kept relighting, then just frustrated. Oops. :)
 We ended the month with a bang by going on a tour of our local fire station with some of our friends. It was really fun, and the kids loved getting to see it all. Read more about that here.

ASU Family Art Day

Since moving to the Phoenix valley we've been really enjoying the opportunities to experience some fun new things that weren't available to us before. There's always something going on around here, and if you look hard enough you can typically even find things that are not only fun and family-friendly, but also FREE! Those things are our favorites!
A few weeks ago we heard about the Family Art Day at the ASU modern art museum. It sounded like fun, so we piled in the car and headed that direction. There were fun, kid friendly crafts set up in each of the art galleries and even in the lobby. We spent a couple of hours working our way through them all and watching the kids have fun creating their own art. They got to try their hands at things like coil pottery and screen printing, as well as less sophisticated things like coloring refrigerator magnets and making superhero masks. They ate it all up!
Coloring refrigerator magnets.
Creating their own modern art.
We're not real big into modern art, but there were a few of the pieces that the kids enjoyed. 
After the art museum, we headed over to McDonald's to grab a quick lunch and a treat. Oh boy do we love cheap ice cream!

These super hero masks were probably the favorite of all the crafts we'd done that morning. 
Maren decided today was the day to master the art of drinking through a straw. She even put aside the ice cream in favor of her cup of ice water and a straw. It took some work, but she got it figured out. :)

After lunch we realized we were right down the street from the Bass Pro Shop, and there was no way we'd pass up the chance to go check that out! We haven't been to one of those since our trip to Mobile, AL when Erik was a baby. Of course we spent the most time in front of the big fish tank...
...but the camping section was a close second.
We had to try out ALL the tents, chairs, and sleeping bags.

This was such a fun day! I can't wait for the next Family Art Day in a few months!