Cheers To 39

 In this last year of my 30s, I am really feeling the need to live it up!  Nothing like the words cancer to make you feel like you have a numbered amount of days.  I had skin cancer removed a few days before my birthday.  It is the kind that once they cut it out, 99% of the time it never comes back.  In fact if there is ever a cancer to get, this is the one.  Max has told me not to worry.  He said after my Mohs surgery that all I need to do now is protect myself from the sun.  I have never been a hat girl, but I am definitely now a hat woman.  I ended up with a nice partial face lift, but now I am scheming of getting skin cancer in the same spot on the other side to get a matching lift or petitioning my insurance to cover Botox on the right side of my forehead to even out my eyebrows.
 Next I found out I need to have a giant filling replaced.  That makes you feel old when there is no new cavity, you just have worn out the SILVER in your mouth.  Not older than dirt, older than metal. :)
 My birthday started off very special.  Siri bought this bird to the door as a gift.  She was so proud of herself.  Was this a sign??  LOL
Max made me breakfast and I got lots of hugs and kisses before school.
 It continued to get better and better when my girlfriends took me to lunch!  One of my best buddies and I think alike and showed up as twins.  At pick up Hank often mistakes her for me and will go up and hug her leg only to look up to see Tracy instead of his mom!  
I am blessed to have these beautiful ladies in my life.  When you live somewhere without any family, friends become like family.  You have to help each other out.  I know I could count on each one of them anytime.  They went in together and got me a purse filled with my favorite things.
I had a good laugh at the Patron and Fireball.  They know me well.  I am always up for a good time and I can get just about anyone to do a shot with me.  Maybe its the Tequila that is wearing out my fillings.
 After school was a blur of busy activities.  Hank had a baseball game and the two little ones had their school Open House!  Max was on call so we had dinner at the snack bar and decided we would celebrate the next night.  It is a treat to have nachos, a giant soft pretzel, and a hot dog while watching my guy play ball.
 Kaitlin and Hank had a wonderful musical performance, dancing, art projects, and many pieces from class they had been working hard on.  

I can't believe the year is almost over.
 On Friday after a lovely dinner Max made me, we opened presents.  Lululemon is a fancy and expensive work out line of clothes that is the standard mom wear in Scottsdale.  I have scoffed at buying any because it is so expensive.  Karlie convinced Max that I needed a pair, so I am no longer Lululemonless.  I will say they are much thicker and tighter yoga pants than my Old Navy ones.  They are so tight I feel like a stuffed sausage but my girlfriend said it gives me the butt of 20 year old, so I guess I am fan :) Truly a present if I can stop doing squats and push that saddle bag back up wear it belongs.

For my birthday I ended up with a face lift on the left side of my head, some new hardware in my mouth, a butt lift thanks to super expensive pants, getting to live the dream as a mom watching her kids soar, and was showered with love and kindness from my friends and family.  I am feeling like it is going to be a great year full of up lifting and good times with family and friends.  Cheers to 39!

How Hank Spent His 8th Birthday

Our little man is growing up so fast.  He is 100% boy that keeps us on our toes.
 For breakfast he wanted Daddy Oatmeal.
 Then he really wanted to have lunch with Dad, so I snuck him out of school to go to lunch at the cafeteria with Daddy.  :)
 After school it was volleyball practice where he gets to be the ladies man.  Eight giggling girls with one 8 year old boy.
 Hank wanted a very fancy dinner of Kraft Mac-n-Cheese, artichokes, and honey ham.
 I got to make a new cake variation.  Hank is not a big fan of fruit, so instead of berries, I dipped his favorite Oreos in the gnache.  He was quite pleased.
Our sports crazed boy is a huge Steph Curry fan and is now outfitted from head to toe in Warriors gear.
But his dream present was  pair of SC Under Armour shoes.  He flipped out when he got them!
Hank is such a loving, easy going, sports enthusiast, and funny fella.  Eight is going to be great!  We love you buddy.

Happy 8th Birthday Hank!!

Happy 8th Birthday Hank!
You are such a fun and lovable guy.  You are a sports crazed boy that loves anything involving a ball. You almost always have a happy smile on your face and often make us laugh with your silly ways.  You just get bigger and stronger everyday.  While I long to rock you in my arms as a baby, watching grow into a fun loving, athletic, fearless, and kind boy is awesome.  If today is a sample of the way the rest of the year goes, EIGHT will be GREAT!  We love you Hank!

How Kaitlin Spent Her 10th Birthday

Kaitlin's Birthday was a very busy day!  She had her favorite creamed eggs for breakfast before we took off for our non-stop day.  It was so busy she had to open her presents throughout the day.  She started off with new hot pink Nikes!
Then we were off to Hank's baseball game.
 Then we headed to lunch at Subway.  Her request was turkey, cheese, tomatoes, lettuce and olives.  Since it was her birthday she got a foot long!  Can't forget Cool Ranch chips and chocolate milk.
After lunch we went to the mall for the big event of the day... Ear Piercing!  Kaitlin is a tender soul and very empathetic.  She was so concerned about Karlie three years ago she passed out watching Karlie get her ears pierced.  :)  She has been waiting until she felt confident she could go through with it.

She was very scared right before and started crying.  She really wanted to do it though.

 My nurse instincts kicked in and I had her hold my hand and look into my eyes.  I told her she was strong and could do it.
 Luckily there were two ladies available to pierce at the same time.  It was over!  She cried once she got to me.  Her ears were no longer hurting but it was as if her feelings were hurt that it hurt more than she anticipated.  Noting hugs from mom and dad can't wash away.
 We then did something I can't ever remember doing, a family shopping trip at the mall.  We went to a few stores for the girls.  Max found a hat store.  I found some work out clothes.  It was the strangest thing all shopping together.  It was nice but I am no sure if it will ever happen again!
 After the big ear piercing it was off to the girls' double header volleyball game.  They won both of them!  Our first and only wins thus far!  It must have the new shoes and the luck of our birthday girl.
 Kaitlin's best friend is born on the same day and they were born only 5 minutes apart.  These two are like twins from another mother and mister.  We are close friends with the entire family.  We all went out to dinner after the game to celebrate the girls.
 Their family owns the restaurant we went to and since Hank couldn't have the cupcakes Joey arranged for Hank to have his favorite dessert of chocolate ice cream and Oreos!  To say he was pleased is an understatement!
 We didn't get home until very late, so we promised Kaitlin the next night she could have her favorite home made dinner and dessert.
 She wanted Costco chicken, shells and white noodles, fruit salad, and artichokes.  We got to sing her Happy Birthday and she blew out her candles in brownie sundae.  We spent the evening playing in the hot tub.
Happy Birthday Kaitlin!  I know your big heart, determination, and strong work ethic will take you far.  We love you so much sweet girl!

Happy 10th Birthday Kaitlin!

Happy 10th Birthday Kaitlin!
I can't believe my baby girl is ten.  I remember your birth as clear as yesterday.  Holding you I knew you were special.  You are a loving, tender, caring, nurturing, smart and beautiful.  Your teachers tell me how special you are.  You are very organized and self motivated.  I can always count on you to keep up to speed.  Your big heart gives easily and loves deeply.  You are blessing to have as a daughter.  We love you so much Shuggie!

Karlie's 12th Birthday Party

Karlie is a very capable girl, much like her father.  If she puts her mind to it, she can usually do it.  This year she wanted to make her birthday cake!
 With a little guidance from me she made her cake.  I would give her hints and show her a thing or two, but by in large she did the entire thing!
 Capable Karlie!  Cake baking Karlie!  Cute Karlie!
   This year she had a mall scavenger hunt birthday party.  The Green Team was Karlie and her friends, while the Gold Team was Max and kids.  I was the chaperone for the Green Team.  I know seven 12 year old girls could never get out of hand at the mall, but I just had to be sure no one tried to kidnap them. :)
Each team had to find the same 12 items but got extra points if they found it in their team color.
Karlie's team racked it up at Claire's with a green hat, green boa, and green jewelry.  The week before St. Patrick's Day is a great time to search for green things at the mall.

 I think I found one thing Max is not good at!  Shopping.  The kids didn't stand a chance navigating the mall and finding their items quickly with Max.  He avoids malls like the plague.
It might constitute torture for him.  But he is a good man and did his best.  They had to take pictures of each of the items they found.  One of the times was to propose in front of a jewelry store.  They should get extra points for cuteness!
 The winners got a $5 dollar Starbucks card that they all promptly spent getting fancy drinks.  We had plenty of time to wait for the Gold Team.  The Green Team had completed everything 30 minutes before we were to meet at the movies.
 To round out the party we saw Zootopia.  It was such a cute movie and funny for all ages.
Back at our house it was pizza and cake!  This tween year kids leave childhood and transition in to teenagers. If the beginning of her 12th year is any indication of her future, it is sparkling!  Leader, life of the party, determined, lucky, capable, funny, and kind.  The sky is the limit my sweet Sparkle. We love you so much!

A Blessed Weekend

I love how the schools here give the day off on Good Friday.  It makes for such a nice family weekend heading into Easter.  We made sure to have a good Friday! The kids rode their bikes while I tried to run with them.  They lapped me more than few times but we had a nice morning together enjoying the lovely weather.  Then we met Max at the park for a picnic lunch.  It is a huge blessing that his work is so close.  I was reminded how hard it was in Colorado when he would leave before the kids would wake up and sometimes not get home until they were going to bed.  Now he makes breakfast with us, is almost always home for dinner, and even sneaks in a few special lunch dates.
Friday night Max took Hailey and her buddy to the Fall Out Boy concert! It is fun to see your kids enjoying doing what you used to do as a kid.  We loved going to concerts and still do.  Hailey feels blessed she will get to see three of her favorite bands this year and has a cool dad that happily takes her.

 On Saturday we went Jeeping.  I am a Jeep girl for sure.  I love off roading and seeing where the Jeep will take us.
 We found water!  In the desert!!  
 We hung out by this little creek while the kids played in it.  As we ate our lunch on the big, warm rock we watched other Jeeps and ATVs splash away through the creek.
 Hailey decided she would rather stay home.  I guess I am going to have to start getting use to just the trio as she starts to spread her wings. :(  If you are doing it right your kid is going to want to leave and lead their own path but no one tells you how hard it is to let them go.
I am blessed to have this man in my life for sure.

He lets me drive!
In typical MKHKKH fashion we were burning the midnight oil trying to fit in dyeing Easter Eggs.  The weather was so mild we were able to do it outside.  Eggselent end to our Saturday.
 The Easter Bunny showed up with sweet treats and many eggs for hunting.
 Hailey found the two Golden Eggs!  Lucky lady.
 We turned those Easter Eggs into creamed eggs.
Since Hank can't have the eggs, Max pulled out a huge bowl of the cream sauce before adding the eggs.  We never thought Hank would be able to finish it.
Wrong!  He licked it clean!!  That's a growing boy of you.
Then we got cleaned up and ready for church.  I felt so blessed being surround by my loves.
 My little man is a mama's boy and I love it!
Hailey is already being asked to create works of art.  Our church's Student Minster asked her to paint five canvases of what ever came to her mind about the five points he would be making on Easter. They were symbols of the resurrection through Mary Magdalene's eyes.  He had 5 symbols for her to incorporate to remind the students of each point.  These were the symbols he gave her to work with:
Unaware, Broken, Awaken, Change and Mission.

 This is what she created!
He asked her to leave the centers blank so she could paint them in as he preached.  I am so proud of Hailey.  Each painting took around 4 hours and he only gave her a week's notice.  She diligently worked on the paintings and her school work each night.  God has blessed her with an amazing talent that she puts much practice and dedication to.  I know He has plans for her.  As a result of her work two people have offered to pay to have her paint for them. 
 After church we prepared a feast fit for a king.  Luckily my Grandpa was coming to help us chip away at all of it.
 Again I was struck by the blessing of still having a grandparent around.  Many of our friends are facing the deaths of their parents and my Grandpa is still strong as a horse.  He told of us his childhood, raising my mom, his time in the war, farming and moving to Colorado.  It was a special afternoon.  Too often the TV distracts us from the reality in front of us.  Hearing of the harrowing times my Grandfather persevered through and his content outlook despite the very hard life he led left me feeling proud and grateful to call him my Grandpa.  He has every right to be bitter and sad about many of the things he has lived through, yet, he said he wouldn't do anything differently.
It was the first time the kids had heard many of his stories and I was attune to new details that have taken on a different light as a I have grown.  I really enjoyed hearing about his life and some of my family history.  Max is always surprised when he is reminded I am 3/4's German.  Had he know that in advance he might not have married me and all of my stubbornness.
We have all been blessed with such an easy life compared to what he struggled through.
My Grandma on my Dad's side always made an Easter lamb cake.  I vividly remember helping her make one when I was around 6 years old.  Nana and Pops got us an official cast iron lamb cake mold for Christmas!  We made our very first lamb cake this Easter.  Karlie is quite the baker and nearly made the entire cake by herself.  He turned out so adorable it was hard to eat him.  However, he did taste delicious!
I have so much to be thankful for.  Over Easter weekend I felt a deep sense of gratitude and the multitude of blessings in my life.  Celebrating the resurrection always fills me with hope and peace but this year I felt a heavy blanket of gratitude.  The bond of my family, venturing into the past rows that had been sown to lead to where I am today, an exploding good present, the hope of my children's future, and the mind grappling fact of the resurrection all wound into a ball of gratefulness.
Peace.  Joy.  Hope. Love.