Monday, June 26, 2017

Tucson Temple Open House

Somehow a couple weeks have passed since I last posted anything here.  I've been struggling with finding a good rhythm and getting enough sleep, but for the most part it's been a wonderful summer.  This week we have a break from Avery's swim lessons and Elliot's summer band ended.  He still has swim team all summer but we've kept this week open for a reason.  We're flying to Missouri Thursday night!  Lizette is getting baptized this Saturday and we are so excited to be there!

In the mean time, here are a couple pictures from the Tucson Temple Open House we went to a couple weekends ago.  We met the Mannings there, although not pictured, and ate at In-N-Out before heading back.  The temple isn't very big but it already had a special spirit there, even though it hasn't been dedicated yet.  Such a beautiful building.
^ ^ yum! ^ ^

Saturday, June 10, 2017

swimming and date nights

 I'm playing catch up a bit from the last couple days.  Thursday was Avery's last day of swim for the first set of lessons.  Next week she'll likely have a new swim coach and they also recommended her to bump up to level 5.  She'll miss Miss Sabrina.
Zara keeps insisting she doesn't want to take swim lessons but she's already such a great swimmer!
 Rupert does this thing I call lip snuggling.  He's not a thumb or finger sucker like my other kids but when he's tired he does purse his lips and do a sucking motion on his pillow or, preferably, by neck.  It's kinda my favorite thing.  We have a special bond.
I took the kids to get Thrifty's ice cream cones for the first time.  Overall we decided we prefer Zoyos because frozen yogurt is better for you than ice cream and mostly they love picking their own toppings but they all loved Thrifty's.  Their flavors starting with Avery are rainbow sherbet, circus animal, chocolate. chip cookie dough, and cotton candy.
Yesterday we swam at Sara's parents for the first time this year!  I think this is our 3rd or 4th summer of memories here.
Tonight Andrew and I went on a double date with our good friends Brooke and Dan McKay.  We looked around Floor and Decor so they could make some tiling decisions.  They're in the process of remodeling both bathrooms, doing the kitchen  and installing flooring in their whole house this year.  This is something we hope to do in a couple years so it's nice learning from them.  Afterwards we had dinner at Fudruckers, an old favorite burger place of ours.  So good!
After dinner we watched Wonder Woman since Andrew and I have heard good reviews and we liked it!  I loved the beginning part that sets up the movie and think the premise is really creative.  I guess it's a lot like the comic but I went into this movie fresh, never having seen the original movie or even seeing the trailers so it was all a surprise.  It is now midnight and I'm biking and swimming in the morning so I better get some sleep!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

summer slumber

I am fortunate to have good nappers.  Zara and Rupert both take naps most days which is great for being a 5 year old and 2 1/2 year old.  Elliot and Avery napped until kindergarten and even occasionally afterwards.  I loved seeing Avery zonk out on my bed this afternoon.  Later she asked me why she fell asleep and I told her sometimes our bodies just need to catch up!  Swim lessons, cousins over, and bedtime being more loose all lead to a little nap every now and again.  Love my sleeping babies.  Watching them sleep never gets old.

One of our goals this year is to improve our curb appeal.  Several weeks ago we had our big dying tree in the front yard chopped down.  We finally got all the wood cleared and I started watering the grass like crazy because it was yellow and brown and so sad looking.  Next is getting a gate on the side of our house.  Bro.  Lopez is helping us make that happen.
We can't wait to have a gate so the younger kids can play in the backyard and jump on the trampoline without me worrying about them going out in front or on the street.

Our next curb appeal plans include removing our boulders, taking down the older planter and putting two new ones made of brick, repairing the sprinklers, and finally planting some greenery!  It's time. :)

Monday, June 5, 2017


 We pretty much plan to pool hop all summer so this is the norm.  Today we chose Mesa High pool and took cousins!  Josie and Jason came as well as Mo Childers (Elliot's primary friend and the son of a good friend of mine) and his brother Danny joined us at the end.  It might have just been me with 8 kids but it went remarkably well.
^ ^ Avery and Zara's matching swimsuits from here. ^ ^
 ^ ^ headed to the lazy river ^ ^
 ^ ^ The line-up, before Danny joined us. ^ ^
^ ^ Rupert is always my little buddy.  I'm really enjoying my pedicure too! ^ ^
Half the time all Rupert wanted to do was snuggle under the towel and eat snacks.  I don't blame him! :)  Since we had a swim pass last summer I plan to bring more friends with us this summer so the kids don't get bored so fast.  

So far we have filled our summer with swim lessons, swim team, and swim pass, as well as Elliot's summer band, and friend time.  Something I want to make more time for is reading.  This is something we have started but not been consistent yet.  The library summer reading program should help.  I also want to us our pogo pass at least once a week and maybe do a craft or science project once a week. Am I being to ambitious? :)  We'll see!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

an English dinner

^ ^ we watched DJ and Sara's kids tonight ^ ^
Tonight we had the elders over for dinner.  We have had the elders over a lot more the last 9 months and have loved it.  Earlier this year they came over weekly to teach us lessons. Once for us, and once for a girl in senior primary who isn't baptized yet.  We even had the elders over Christmas Day last year!  Very memorable and special.

 Elder Harlow, next to Sterling, is from Leeds England so it's been nice having another Yorkshire man around.  We had sherperd's pie and trifle tonight per his request.  Elder Stumpf, on the far right, has been here longer and we think he's fun.  We feel so blessed to have the missionaries in our home. :)
These strawberries from Costco were divine!  I had to share a photo because they made me happy.  When you're off sugar you turn to nature's candy!  Back to the shepherd's pie, I actually made two recipes tonight.  The traditional one everyone at and loved, and the paleo one for me that I love.  Also, here's the trifle recipe I used today.  I've used this recipe before and it has a good balance of flavor and is similar to an English trifle, which is what I was shooting for.
This morning I treated myself to my fourth(?) ever pedicure today!  My first two were with Claire here in AZ, the third time for my mom's birthday last year, and today.  As an under buyer it always seemed like a lot of money for getting your nails painted.  I mean, nail polish only costs a couple bucks, right?!  Well I've decided it's worth the pampering and my feet kinda needs it in this desert heat. *cough* cracked heals *cough* :/  I don't remember the name of this color but it is OPI and looks like a deep watermelon color in person.  It said summer all over it so I grabbed it.  Somehow I think having cute nails will make me more confident in my bathing suit this summer! ;)

Lot's of rambling today.  I don't journal this stuff but wanted to remember these little things so there you go! :)

Friday, June 2, 2017

date night

Have you ever been to Last Chance before?  It's a Nordstrum outlet.  Andrew has never been there before so we went on our date tonight hoping to find him some shoes.  He was unimpressed.  It was very crowded and picked over, and a lot of the clothing looked worn.  It's one of those places you have to really dig for the good stuff, but Andrew isn't much of a digger. :)

We had Cafe Zuppas for dinner.  Chick food, but that salad was seriously so good!  I loved just spending time with this handsome guy.  We even watched a little bit of The Office before bed.  I know everyone has seen it by now but I just started season 1.  It's ok.  Funny, but the humor is a little off color.  Andrew promises it gets better.  We'll see!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

a chocolate fast

 One of my absolute favorite podcasts is Happier with Gretchen Rubin.  She is a happiness expert and studies human behavior.  One thing I learned from her are there are two kinds of people; Moderators and Obstainers.  Moderators can have one bite of a nice chocolate bar every day and be satisfied.  Obstainers can't stop at one bite and has to eat it all or not have any to begin with.  Read more about it here.  Andrew and I are obtainers with most things.  This brought about Andrew's chocolate fast.  For a whole year he went without chocolate, because it was easier than trying to modify his intake.  He also went without potato chips and soda for the remaining of that year and today was the first day he could have chocolate again!  Of course his first bite was of his beloved candy bar, a Mars bar.  This one was saved since our family visited from England last summer.  I'm so proud of Andrew for sticking to his goal!
Elliot started swim team today!  Kino ended up being full so we went with Carson.  He's also training with a younger age category since his age is full, but he'll be able to compete with his age.  This is all new to us so I look forward to seeing what swim team is all about.  Elliot was especially excited after we purchased the team uniform jammers and competition goggles.  I can't wait to see how he grows through this experience as a swimmer and a person.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

another tooth fairy visit

Today was the first day we used the family pass to go to a school pool.  Today it was Stapley Aquatic Center.  Half the time Rupert ran off needing freedom, and the other half he stayed close to me or insisted I hold him.  That's how he is at home too! :)

I got this swimsuit on sale and I love it.  Downeast swimsuits surprised me with their cute styles and quality this year.  I believe in investing in swimsuits you feel good in.  That way you don't mind about showing so much skin.
In other news Avery lost another tooth!  This time Elliot knocked a fort over and some piled up books knocked it out.  It was painful and bloody, and if it were left to Avery that tooth would have held on a few more weeks.  On the bright side she'll have another tooth fairy visit!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

summer goals

Today felt like the first real day of summer break, what with camping and Memorial Day celebrations.  Elliot started summer band, which he wasn't looking forward to.  That is until he had a lesson with my sister Julie on the new hard song he got today.  Avery started level 4 swim lessons at Kino which she was really scared about, but when I picked her up she was so excited to tell me about her new friend Julie. Now she can't wait to go tomorrow!

I also met with the kids individually to plan out their little summer chore charts.  Normal daily things like brushing their teeth, reading their scriptures, practice piano and then some fun new ones.  Zara wants to jump on the trampoline every day! :) We recently started having them earn computer time now.  For every minute they read they get a minute on the computer up to 30 minutes each day.  Right now I only let them on websites their school recommended here and here.  I like these because they aren't just fun, they learn things and do math along the way.

I have my own goals this summer.
1. blog every day
2. take more pictures with my DSLR camera
3. work on Andrew's family's pedigree charts/geneology

What are your summer goals?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Happy Memorial Day

 Memorial Day is the best because it's one of the few holidays Andrew doesn't work.  He choose to spend the majority of his day installing a ceiling fan in the girl's bedroom.  He installed one in the boy's room on Saturday and it took him 4 hours.  Today wasn't much different.  While he worked I went shopping and prepared for the family BBQ tonight.  Oh, and took the kids to this amazing water slide!
My running buddy, Rachel Willis, invited us over to her parent's house where they rented this amazing water slide.  It's their annual tradition.  They have an amazing back yard!  After the slide the girls were going down their zip line.  It was a great way to spend the afternoon.  Tonight our family BBQ was at Falcon Field.  It was a smaller group this time; my parents, Pete and his boys, Sara and kids (sans DJ), and us.
^ ^  COUSINS!!!  ^ ^
 ^ ^ Natalie wanted to be the photo bomber. ^ ^
 ^ ^ notice those Rupert fingerprints in the frosting :) ^ ^

I brought both of these desserts: one bowl chocolate cake and mini fruit pizzas.  Normally I love me some chocolate anything with nuts, but the fruit pizzas were a little more popular tonight.
^ ^ The big kids played Four Square. ^ ^
^ ^  that cheeky grin ;) ^ ^
^ ^ Zara is a pro at sliding down this. ^ ^
I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Airplane Flats

We had such a great time camping this weekend.  Some of us adults even talked about it being a new tradition to camp over Memorial Day weekend.  It was such a great way to start our summer break.  The kids were in heaven.  Playing with cousins, getting dirty, all the freedom.  This was my second time camping at Airplane Flats.  We like it because even with the high fire risk we were able to have camp fires in the metal rings provided.  There are also a couple tree swings and the creek in walking distance.  Last time we also hiked to the fish hatchery not far away.  We lucked out and had perfect weather.  A little chilly at night but perfect around the campfire. 
The girls picked all these yellow wild flowers.  Color really stands out in this state, whether you're in the desert or the mountains.
 Sara with her bunch.  She was also going solo because DJ is studying for the bar.
 Julie and James planned it right and got there a day before us.  It takes so much work to load the car, set up camp and take it down so it's nice they got to stay another day before packing up.  You can tell the kids were really happy to play with cousins when we got there though.
 We all planned meals for our own families but ended up sharing which turned out great.  Here's what I planned for the weekend:
Friday dinner - Macaroni and Cheese, taco salad (with normal chips), and smores (my parents shared hotdogs with the kids too)
Saturday breakfast - yogurt parfaits, farmer's breakfast
Saturday lunch - breakfast burrito leftovers
snacks - watermelon, banana peanut butter muffins, pretzels, cornnuts. . .
 ^ ^ Sara was smart to bring this for Katherine. ^ ^
Have you ever had a smore with a reeses candy?  Try it!  Even without Andrew it was so fun.  I think I'll take the kids camping again in July.  But only if there are cousins there to play with. :)