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!

October 2017

 We kicked off the month of October with a secret trip to Cotton City. Brigham made plans to fly down from Utah, and coordinated with Marquette, Carolyn, and I to get as many of the family home at one time as we could manage, without Mom or Dad knowing anything about it. The only person we were missing was Nina.
Ethan and I picked Brigham up from the airport in Phoenix and headed for NM. Instead of going straight to Mom and Dad's house, we went next door to Carolyn's house and sent Brigham over on foot from there. I would have loved to be there to see Mom's face as he came walking in the door. After stalling for a couple of minutes the rest of us headed over. We all came walking in the door and Mom melted into a puddle of tears. It has been a rough several months for her, health-wise, and it meant the world to her to have everyone gathered together. We spent a couple of days all together there, and it was so nice to be able to visit with everyone and to watch Mom's face as she watched us all together. At the end of the weekend we took Brigham back to the airport, and life went on as usual.
Thankfully, October brought in some consistently pleasant weather, so we were able to spend a lot more time outside. The day we surprised Erik by picking him up from school and taking him for a picnic in the park was a lot of fun. The kids loved the fall themed food, too.
 The girls were just super excited to have an excuse to use the lunchboxes Grandma gave them.

 The rest of the month was fairly quiet. A few highlights were:
-when we discovered the entertainment value behind a book of stickers. Keeping kids quiet in church was never so easy!
 -I started trying to get the kids helping in the kitchen more. They love to be doing whatever I'm doing!
-Using pudding to practice writing spelling words. All that sugar makes for some hyper kids!
 -We had a really fun Halloween. We enjoyed the church Halloween party, but the real fun was carving Jack-o-Lanterns (Erik and Daddy were a team, and Sharli and Mommy were a team) and going Trick-or-Treating. The kids had so much fun walking around the neighborhood collecting LOADS of candy.
 Princess Sofia the First, Captain America, and Queen Elsa.

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!