Kaitlin's Two Wheels!

It is true the kids grow up faster with older siblings. I remember trying to teach Hailey how to ride a bike and having to try over and over and over. There were tears and some crashes before success. However, Karlie's came quicker and with less crashes and no tears. Kaitlin's was even faster with not a crash yet.

When I took Kaitlin for her 5 year old check up her pediatrician was checking her motor skills and she said, "That is abnormal." My heart sunk. How could I have missed a delay in her motor abilities. My mind began to race and then the doctor said, "She has the motor coordination of an average 8 year old!" Oh, of course. It was abnormal in a good way! Just what I was thinking. I knew she was doing great keeping up with her older sisters, I just didn't know it was that good!

One day while I was at an appointment my mom helped Kaitlin try to ride a bike in the grass in our backyard. Five minutes later she was riding without training wheels! Maybe it's the teacher! I wasn't home to catch her first go but got this one soon after. She has been riding two wheels for a week and is doing great. She even takes Bitty Baby for a spin!

Daddy couldn't be happier with all his future mountain bike buddies.

Field Day and Last Day of School 2011

This week the girls had field day!
Long jump.
Sack races.
Water balloon toss.
Hank wanted to hit the wiffle ball too. :)
Balloon toss.
Water gun station. The kids had to try and reach the blind water gun shooter before they got hit. Hailey made it and became the shooter!
Today was the last day of school! Kaitlin had her end of the year picnic and her teachers gave me a page about Kaitlin. I laugh so hard at these.

My favorite color is "pink."
My favorite song is "Five Monkeys Swinging in a Tree."
My favorite food to eat is "shells and white cheddar."
My mom "takes a shower" all day.
My dad "works" all day.
My favorite thing to do at school is "dramatic play."
When I grow up, I want to be "a mom who works at a doctor's office."

Last year Kaitlin said I shopped all day and Max played on his phone all day. Going to have to work on my image a little. LOL

My little lady is going to be a kindergartner next year! They do all day Kinder in AZ. Gasp! I am going to miss my sweet girl. It will just be me and the little man. Hailey will be in her last year of elementary school too. :( They are growing up so fast it hurts. I love this precious time. Hopefully we can try to make it a happy summer.

Hailey's First 5K!

On Saturday Hailey did her first 5K race! Her school competes in the elementary running club division for the city's Cottonwood Classic 5K. Hailey's school took first place last year and they were determined to do it again this year. They managed to defend their championship by a faster team time of 2 minutes!!!
Hailey and Max at the race start. Go Hailey!!!!
The cheerleaders. Hank was especially happy to be strapped in the stroller at 7 am.
Crossing the finish line!!! They finished in just over 40 minutes. We are so proud of Hailey for joining the running club and working so hard to finish the race. If she is doing 5Ks at 9, who knows what road lies ahead!

On My Honor....

The Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try:

To serve God and my country,

To help people at all times,

And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be: honest and fair,

friendly and helpful,

considerate and caring,

courageous and strong, and

responsible for what I say and do,

and to respect myself and others,

respect authority,

use resources wisely,

make the world a better place, and

be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Hailey has really enjoyed being involved with Girl Scouts and Karlie couldn't wait until she could join. Last year I dropped the ball and wasn't able to find a troop for her to join. She was so distraught that I promised her if I couldn't find her a troop next year, I would become a leader and start a troop for her and her friends. Sometimes I hate my big mouth. Kids never let you forget those promises. I learned as a child just how important those promises are and how devastating it can be when the promise is not kept. I have made a vow to do everything possible to keep my word with the kids.

Last fall I missed the parent meeting and when I called the troop leader the next day she said the troop was full! I offered to be the cookie mom, the co-leader, to pay her! She already had too many girls. Gulp. That meant I had to be the Leader, as I promised. I reluctantly took all the classes, filled out all the paper work and started a Daisy troop. On my honor alone I became a Girl Scout leader.

Some people are natural leaders. Some people are groupies. I have always tried to fit in both categories but just seem to march to the beat of my own drum and fall short. I knew I was going to have a hard time when I went to the leader meeting and the unit director held up three fingers to get everyone's attention. We are adults right?

I tried really hard to go all in because I really believe in the organization. It provides some great opportunities to girls that otherwise might not have had. One troop in our unit has saved their cookie money since they were brownies and are going to Europe for a week after high school graduation- completely on the money the troop has earned! Girl Scouts has strong values and instills a sense of service, which I fully support. However, some of it was just too corny. I thought the journey guide was lame and the girls could care less about the flower story I was to read to them each meeting. They want hands on crafts and activities not stories and deep thoughts. So I ditched the book and tried to find creative ways for the girls to earn their petals. There goes my drum again. They had to do an activity related to each of the parts of the Girl Scout Law to earn each petal. We managed to get through all of them. It really stretched me on my craftiness and organization! Here are a few of the activities we did over the year.

Making the world a better place and being responsible by planting flowers and a garden. The girls had to take turns keeping the garden alive until it bloomed and we then gave it to the art teacher who allowed us to use her room for our meetings
To be considerate and caring the girls decorated Meals on Wheels bags at Christmas time.
Cookies of course were the highlight for the girls.

Rock wall climbing.

Courageous and Strong!
Go Karlie!!! Most of the girls made it to the top and the one girl that was afraid of heights made it higher each time she tried.
Respect authority. We took a tour of the fire house and the girls learned fire safety and how important firemen are.
I don't know if the girls or the moms had more fun. :)
Sweet Snacks.

Be a sister to every Girl Scout. We made Happy Birthday bracelets for another Girl Scout Troop.
Celebrating Girl Scouts' 99th year!
Use resources wisely. We made kites out of paper bags. Fortunately it was a windy day. The girls said this was the best craft they ever made. Paper bag, yarn, markers, plastic bags for the tail, and a whole punch. Who knew?!
The girls wanted to go to California Pizza Kitchen for a personal tour and make their own pizza and then to Build-A-Bear with their hard earned cookie money!

My little troop. While being a leader isn't my calling, I am hopeful I helped make some life long memories and instilled a few of the Girl Scout values in my Daisies.
But above all, I kept my word to Karlie and that is all that counts.

Pops and Nana's Birthday Trip

Pops and Nana flew out for a quick weekend warriors trip to visit us one last time in Colorado.
We celebrated Nana's birthday. Luckily we didn't have to break out the fire extinguisher!
Nana made some saguaro rice crispy treats to try and brighten us up. The weather was very cold and rainy so we didn't get to play outside much.
As soon as the rain broke, we took a chilly stroll. The kids threw rose petals down the waterfall.
Beautiful Columbines. Thanks for the visit! I can promise the next time you visit, we won't be rained out or cold. :)

Finding Our Place in the Sun...

MKHKKH will be moving to Arizona. A friend of mine told me, When God opens a door, no man can close it and where He shuts a door, He opens a window. I have been clinging to this sentiment the last few months. These huge life decisions are so incredibly hard and it seems you will never know if it was the right choice until all the cards are played and even then you will never know the full ramification if you had stayed. If only we had a crystal ball. God has given us an incredible opportunity but it requires giving up all we know and love and living in faith.

We currently live in suburban paradise. I have often joked that I keep waiting for the glass slipper to break. I think the clock has officially struck twelve. Our home is teaming with neighborhood friends and the kids are all happy and thriving. We adore their school and their teachers. We have developed close relationships with friends down the street and friends that we have been with since medical school. All of my family is here allowing the kids a special bond with my parents, their cousins, and aunts and uncles. We are a very tight knit family. We are surrounded by a loving network of friends and family. To top it off, we have the house of our dreams. It really is a happy place at this point in our lives. However, things at Max’s work have not been so cheerie. For as magical and storybook as life is at home he has more of a Star Wars scene going with daily battles against evil. So when the Mayo Clinic called him out of the blue and asked him to apply for a job, it seemed we should at least walk through the door. That is when the divine wheels began turning and the tidal wave of change began to ensue.

I knew the day the Department Chair called that we would be moving and Max would get the job. Two interviews and 3 months later, it was as I knew it would be. The job is practically tailor made for Max. It is everything he has been trying to achieve here all wrapped up on a platter. It was remarkable how much the job fit Max’s skills and talents and how Max has subscribed to the Mayo philosophy without ever knowing it existed. I have teased him that he will have to drink the Mayo kool-aid. He is ready for an IV injection! :) While the offer seemed a slam-dunk, it required an excruciating choice and many stars to align.

We had four major issues with moving. We would have to leave my family. We would have to change the kids’ school, after all we chose this house in part because of the great school, and the kids finally have settled in after moving just 2 years ago. We would have to sell our 2 houses in the worse market since the depression without putting us into financial ruin.

Shortly after Max’s first interview, we got a letter in the mail notifying us that the district was changing the boundary lines and the kids would have to go to a different school next fall. While some of Hailey’s best friends are our neighbors, Karlie’s is not in our neighborhood and they would be separated. The kids would have to move to a school not quite as good and we would not have the same beloved teachers. This was a tally mark in the Mayo column. If the kids were going to have to change schools anyway, starting over in Scottsdale wouldn’t be that much harder. Plus the schools in Scottsdale are excellent so we know they would get a great education.

Two weeks later our renter that we are very fond of sent us letter asking if she could get out of the lease in April instead of August because she needed to move back to Texas to be with her sick daughter. Again it seemed another sign that we should sell the baby house. We put it on the market and it is due to close in two weeks. In a time when many houses sit for months it is really remarkable that it sold so fast. Another tally for Mayo.

Our house was another MAJOR issue. The entire neighborhood is having problems with expansive soils and the builder has elected to repair the homes one by one. We were not scheduled to even have our engineer assessment until this June. Once I told the builder of our situation, they immediately moved us up to November. Many of the homes have needed a complete underpinning with repairs taking months as they dig up the foundation under the home and re-drill the monopost support. It would be impossible to sell a home in this state and very difficult to sell it even after the work was completed. The builder determined our soil was done moving and that it was a finishing issue in the basement more than an actual structural defect. The repair was scheduled for the end of March and only 4 days of work were needed instead of months as many of our neighbors had. We were planning on putting the house on the market at the beginning of April. Once again it seemed we were being pushed to go.

Then the most amazing thing happened. A guy called Max and said, “I am the guy that wants to buy your house!” My Dad travels for his job and works with a man that lives in West Virginia. He and his family wanted to move back to Colorado and had been looking at homes on the internet one block east of our house the day before my Dad talked to him. My Dad jokingly said, “You should buy my daughter’s house.” We sent pictures and they were hooked. They even offered to put an offer in before they saw it. As fate would have it, they were already scheduled to come to Colorado for a wedding the first weekend in April. The builder literally finished and cleaned up the repair one hour before the buyers arrived to see the house. They loved it and we were under contract. They are a wonderful, Christian family with four kids. Letting go of our house has been painful, but we are consoled that such a great family will be taking over. We close tomorrow. The buyers were kind enough to allow us to rent back for a month so the kids could finish school. We were just swept away by all the things that continued to fall in place for Max to take the job at the Mayo.

The only thing He hasn’t fixed is leaving my family. Family is everything to us. I can’t even imagine life without them. I have never lived more than an hour away from my parents. My Mom and sisters are my best friends. I am heartbroken that the kids won’t have at least one set of grandparents in their daily lives and that they won’t grow up with their cousins. Things happened so fast we didn’t really have time to realize all we are sacrificing here. We are so happy; can it be as good or better there? We are trusting in His plan and taking a leap of faith. Had we had even one snag, I think we would have stayed put. But everything fell into place so effortlessly that it was almost like we didn’t have a choice. We couldn’t stop the wheels. I can’t put on the happy face and say I am happy or excited to go or even look forward to the adventure. Who would want to move to the death desert where it is going to be 100 plus degrees all summer? I am struggling to understand why the real estate is so expensive there. Coming from the beautiful Rocky Mountains, it is a hard pill to swallow. All I can do is trust that He has great things in store. Things I can’t possibly imagine. Like a climate change that will bring rain and life to the dessert. LOL

Please pray for us as this will be a most difficult time. We have yet to find a home in AZ. In 30 days we are homeless. We will be leaving a extensive network of family and friends and will be all alone in the barren, burning hot dessert (can you sense my joy?). As the nester and CEO of the family this is pretty hard for me and will be a very hard transition for each of us. Max will be starting a new job at one of the most renowned hospitals in the world (no pressure) and will be feeling the burden of uprooting his family. The kids will be navigating a summer without friends or family and I will be trying to keep everyone safe while we have pool in the backyard with three kids that can’t swim! We know our love with carry us through this time and we hope you will stick with us through the ups and the downs as we learn to become Arizonans and find our place in the sun.

Mother's Day 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

We had brunch at our house with two of my sisters and their families, my Mom and Great Grandpa! Lots of good eats, but it wasn't the same without all my sisters and Dad.
Some of the best moms I know! Love you all.

Millennium Falcon Cake

Sorry I am so behind on posting this. I really am not a sore loser, just a little more busy than usual. Without further ado.... Max's Millennium Falcon Cake.
The key is in the details.
Start with a 9 inch round cake and a 13 X 9 cake of your choice. Ours was eggless chocolate.
Using the 13 X 9 cut the triangular shapes and top supports.
Frost the top to hold it in place.Frost the entire cake.
Prepare marshmallow fondant. One batch was enough to cover it.
Cover with light grey fondant and use a pizza cutter to cut around the edges.
Here is where the real art work begins. We use a combination of Wilton's food coloring gel mixed with powder sugar and water to create a paint. Using a clean, fine tip paint brush, paint the fondant pieces for detail. After they dry a little you can apply with a touch of water on the back of it. Use a toothpick to draw lines and dots.
The cake boss at work. :)
We added toy figurines of Han Solo and Chewie.
Little Buddy was quite pleased. He tried to take a huge mouthful out of it before we even got the candles on it. My nephew Maximus begged me to make him this cake for his birthday in December. He will have to talk Max into it, as it is out of my league.