First Day of Summer!

The first day of summer in Phoenix broke a heat record for the day.  We have been having "summer" for a while and will continue to have "summer" into October.  Heat is just part of the living in the desert.
We have become accustom to the heat but over 110 it is just hard to do much of anything.  Even walking from air conditioned car to air conditioned store takes it out of you.  It is as if your body is fighting a fever.  I thought the best way to ring in the heat wave was to go visit my Grandpa and take him to an ice cream treat.  We had a nice afternoon chatting with him.  The kids want to go see him every week!  I think we might try different ice cream shops around him.  Sweet sweet summer time!

It's good To Be Alive

Over the weekend Kaitlin had her dance recital.  She has been in a Hip Hop class all year and she got to show us her moves!
Every Tuesday she would go to dance class with 3 of her best friends.  We changed dance companies and were so happy with the change.  This is was a recreational, non slutty kids dancing class.  Their outfits were appropriate for their age and the hip gyrations were at a minimum.  Max use to joke that the other company was preparing girls to be the future strippers of Phoenix.  Kaitlin and her friends had so much fun learning to dance.  In the same way that Hailey didn't get her artistic abilities from Max or me, Kaitlin certainly didn't get her rhythm from us.  Girl can bust a move!

Happy 16th Birthday Hailey!!

 Happy 16th Birthday Hailey!!
We were so worried about you when I was pregnant.  You were not growing and the doctors had a list of reasons why you might not be growing.  Many of the reasons were various birth defects with the leading one being Down Syndrome.  When you were born premature we were again worried about all the things that can go wrong with a premie.  But look how wonderfully you have grown.  You are a creative soul that is beautiful from the inside out.  A few people are lucky enough to be artistic and smart!  Most of us just get one strong side of the the brain, but you were blessed with both.  You are an old soul that swims in the deep waters of contemplating the meaning of life and His word.  You are a horse loving, desert mountain biking chick that plays in the church band, is a student leader, creates art, finds beauty in the ordinary, and still manages to get a 4.0 in school while taking college Spanish and AP world history.  I guess it is clear there are no lingering effects of your rough pregnancy and early delivery.  But I am not sure we will ever stop worrying about our kids. :)
We love you so very much and are very proud of the young woman you have become.  We know your future is bright and can't wait to see what you accomplish but oh, how I wish for just one night I could hold you tight like you were my 5 pound peanut again.  Love you HJ!

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the 3 greatest fathers!  
You each bring so much joy and love to my life.  Thank you for being strong, hard working, trustworthy, loving, supportive, able to fix anything, and putting your family above all else.  You are true examples of what it means to be a father.  I am blessed to be your daughter Snork and grateful everyday you chose to be my dad.  Most dads just get stuck with the kids that come out but you chose to raise four girls that you didn't have to.  Your humor and steadfast love are some of the things I treasure most about you.  I flew because you gave me wings and confidence to fly.

Monty, I thank God everyday he put Max in my path.  The man he is speaks volumes to the father you were to him.  I feel so lucky that our relationship goes back to when I was still a new teenager and you managed to still find a way to love me like a daughter of your own.  You have influenced my relationship with Christ and for that I am eternally grateful.  You both have guided me and loved me into the woman I am today.
Max, thank you for loving our babies with everything you have.  You give a hundred percent all the time and always put us before yourself.  Hank will have massive shoes to fill and I am so grateful the girls are growing up with such an wonderful example of what to find in their future husbands and father for their children.  I love you.

Happy 9th Birthday Hank!

Happy 9th Birthday Hank!
We are so lucky you are part of our family.  You have a happy and loving heart that fills those around you with joy.  Your comedic timing keeps us laughing.   If there is a ball nearby, you will be bouncing, throwing or shooting it.  You are very competitive and love to play all sports, especially if you are winning.  I am a little concerned with all the girls chasing after you already.  Don't they know you are mama's boy?  Your big smile and kind heart make you a friend to many.  We are so proud of the little man you are becoming and love you buddy.

Launching Into His 40's With A Splash

On Sunday we climbed to the top of Baby Mountain with the cousin crew.
It was quite the different terrain for them.  Sam tried to pick up a biting rock and learned everything in the desert is covered with thorns!  That wouldn't be his last tango with the desert's hostile ways.
It was a fun and quick hike.
The thermometer was rising so it was time to play in the pool.
Life is better by the pool. :)
Lots of splashing, launching and playing!
With kids all you have to do is add water.
Well, maybe a few inner tubes help.
Spencer piled them all up and jumped in!  Not as easy as it looks.  :)
 The kids played Speak Out, the silly game that has you wear a dental spreader and try to say difficult phrases and see if your teammate can guess what you are trying to say.
 They looked so funny.  I couldn't convince any of the adults to try it.  Can't imagine why.
 I guess they didn't have enough fun shoving stuff in their mouth so that night after dinner they played chubby bunny and challenged each other to see who could fit the most marshmallows in their mouth.
 The top amount was 12 marshmallows!  I knew my kids had big mouths.  :)
 After a super Sunday fun day, Max went to work on Monday while the Michigan gang set off for the Grand Canyon. Max was able to sneak away for a lunch date with Anna, Nana, Pops and me.  Monday gave me a day to prepare for the next two days of celebrating!


40 Is going To Be A Home Run

 Sometimes the best laid plans just don't work out.  When I learned Max's entire family was going to make it out to celebrate his 40th, I knew we had to take everyone to a spring training game.  They were going to arrive very early on Saturday morning, just in time to watch the last Spring Training Game of the season!  I prayed for good weather.  Sometimes it can be brutally hot.  I just wanted some clouds so everyone could kick back on the grass and catch up.
Hailey had been up late with her girlfriends and was all about relaxing, so much she fell asleep!  It was indeed a most perfect afternoon on the grass with clouds and cool temperatures.  If only the airlines had cooperated.  Sam and his family's plane was delayed and would not arrive until after the game.  Nana, Pops and Anna made it though!
 After the game we headed home to greet Sam and family.
It was so great having everyone in the same room.  Their family has not all been together in over 10 years!
 You would never know.  The cousins picked up like they were old friends and AJ was more than happy to snuggle with Uncle Max. :)
We had a nice evening celebrating Max and reconnecting.
We had a bubble gum blowing contest with the gum.
 I don't think 40 is going to blow after all!


Happy 11th Birthday Kaitlin!

Happy 11th Birthday Kaitlin!
You are such a blessing to have for a daughter.  A beautiful light shines from you and everyone who knows you is blessed by your love, generous heart, and kindness.  Your friends describe you as loyal and loving.  You put others before yourself and are always thoughtfully thinking of how to make those around you happy.  Your smile lights up a room.  You are also very hard working and organized.  So lucky to have smarts, beauty, and a warm heart.  We love you and just wish we could hit pause and keep you to ourselves forever even though we know great things are ahead for you sweet girl.

Budding Professional Artist

Hailey's passion for creating art is leading to commissioned projects and works for the church.
 Our pastor asked her to create the pamphlet art for the Luke trough lent series leading up to Easter and the Student Life pastor asked her to create art for their series Of Dust & Rib!
 She continues to teach her self in Procreate on the iPad so that her digital art is really getting great.
 However, I think her colored pencil drawing of Twenty One Pilots is her best to date.
She has done art for promotional gear for a restaurant in town, done a pregnancy cartoon book for an expecting couple, and a portrait of grandchildren for a friend of ours.  Every time she gets paid she sends Pops a text showing him "there is no money in art"!  LOL
 She was show cased in the district art show for the fourth year in a row in both painting and color pencil.

It is clear she has the passion and talent to create beautiful works of art.  We can't wait to see where she takes it.


40 Gifts for 40 Years!

40 is one of the few big birthdays left.  I love giving presents and throwing parties.  I invited all of Max's family to come out and celebrate his big birthday.  With school schedules it worked best for Max's brother and his family to come out the first of April.  When Max came home from work on the Friday before everyone was due to arrive he found out about his 40 gifts for 40 years!  I had been slowly stockpiling gifts he would like, need, and would be fun for the celebration week.  It was so hard to keep all these secrets and balance the budget behind his back!  LOL
1. Cheers To 40 Years With  40 Beers!  I collected 40 different beers for him to try.
2. 40 Sucks with 40 suckers.
3.  40 And Still Hot was 4 hot sauces and a large cayenne pepper.
4.  Staying Cool In Your 40's was a Yeti hopper 40 cooler.
5.  It's All Downhill had a Telluride, Colorado topography bike jersey, a book of mountain bike trails in Telluride, and new bike shorts for our trip to Telluride in the summer.
6.  UB40 CD and bottle of his favorite Malbec 1.
7.  Midlife Crisis For A Day was a Hot Wheels Stingray Corvette the told him he would get to drive one for a day.
8.  Turning 40 Is Nothing To Wine About was a wine fridge.
9.  You Still Have A Lotto To Look Forward To was 40 scratch off tickets that kids all got to scratch.  We only won 5 bucks!
10.  40 Is A Beach was a new bathing suit.
11.  It's Par For The Course That You Are Fore-Tee was golfballs, tees and a date with his buddies on the golf course.
12.  May The 40th Be With You was the movie Rogue One, popcorn, candy, and I borrowed a friend's outdoor projector to have a movie night outside while everyone was visiting.
13.  For The 100% Genuine Real Deal Max has wanted a 100% leather belt.
14.  Still Smoking At 40 was 4 cigars.
15.  Make A Splash In Your 40's was a giant raft for the pool.
16.  Staying Fit In Your 40's was a new work out outfit.
17.  Your Not Old, You are Vintage was a T-shirt with 1977 Vintage on it.
18.  40 Fabulous Minutes was a full body massage.
19.  Some Reading Since Your Youth Is Down The Toilet was 1977 Almanac. 
20.  40 Isn't Old If You Are a Tree was a wooden serving platter.
21.  You Are Old Enough To Speak Your Mind was the game Speak Out for everyone to play and feel young and silly.
22.  The Future's So Bright You Gotta Wear Shades were a new pair of sunglasses.
23.  It's Hard To Beat 40 was a pair of wireless headphones for when he is working out.
24.  Launch Into Your 40's was a huge pack of water ballons for a family water balloon fight.
25.  My Love For You Is Timeless was a leather watch ban for his Apple Watch.
26.  Look Who Is 40!!  I put a picture book from his childhood to now with things like all the houses we have lived in, the cars he has had, our pets and major milestones.  I then printed all those pictures and made a collage on the wall.
27.  40 Rocks was a Les Paul electric guitar.  He has always wanted to learn to play, so I figured now was the time!
28.  Rubies Are the Gift of 40 Years so he got a beautiful ruby tie.
29.  Enjoy The Many Flavors of 40 was a box of his favorite candy Jelly Belly.
30.  Lets Go 40 New Places in 40 Years was a passport holder and map pins for our world map.
31.  40 Things We Love About You.  Each of the kids painted a canvas and wrote 10 things they love about their dad.  Hailey's: Hilarious, Positive, Biker, Driving Teacher, Encourager, Strength, Concert Co-er, Tech-man, Best Doctor Ever, Coffee Maker.  Karlie's:  Can Fix Anything, Math Helper, Steak Maker, Loving, Pool Player, Camper, Smarty Pants, Desert Goer, Gun Shooter, My Buckaroo.
Kaitlin's: Handyman, Good at Goodnights, Egg Maker, Provider, Cayenne Lover, States Trip Driver, Jeeper, Cooker, Ready Aim Fire Launcher, Humble.  Hank's: Protector, Joke Maker, Master Griller, Wrestler, Star Wars Lover, Coach, Bruce Wayne, Off Roader, Motorcyclist, Route Thrower.
32.  Say Hello To 40 was a solar powered phone charger for all our our upcoming hikes in the Grand Canyon.
33.  I Can't Believe You're Flipping 40 was a new pair of Flip Flops.
34.  Kiss Your 30's Goodbye was a jar full of kisses.
35.  Tell 40 To Take a Grand Hike was all the supplies he would need to hike Rim2Rim: Map of the Grand Canyon, hiking poles, bandana, electrolyte chews, hiking pants and socks.
36.  40 Is Going To Be a Home Run was tickets for the entire family to watch a spring training game.
37.  Age Is A State Of Mind was hats from the 3 states he has lived in, California, Colorado and Arizona.
38. 40 Blows was 40 pieces of bubble gum.
39.   So Your 40's Will Never Be Dull was a membership to the Dollar Shave Club.
40.  Aged To Perfection were 3 bottles of scotch that added up to 40 years.  The first was a Lagavulin 16 year that had the caption, at 16 we were high school sweethearts learning to drive.  Then a 12 Year Glenfiditch that read by 28 we were married with 2 kids, you had completed medical school and we were living in the baby house.  Then a 12 year Macallen that read, by 40 we had 4 kids had moved to AZ, you are a Mayo doc, and we are teaching our 15 year old how to drive.
Max was totally surprised and we had a lot of fun opening the gifts over the course of the week while his family was in town visiting.  He made me promise I wouldn't do 50 gifts for 50 years!