I Bet My Spider is Bigger Than Yours

If burning hot temperatures, scorpions, giant sun spiders, and snakes weren't enough to make you think this was the gates to hell, how about a tarantula.  This morning as Max went out to go to work he found a tarantula.  A freaking, hairy, scary, huge tarantula sitting in the driveway.  My driveway! 

Over the weekend Max decided to take on the scorpions himself.  We have had a bug spraying service since we moved in, but are still averaging 5 scorpions a week inside.  Not livable.  So Max bought all of the chemicals for warfare and attacked.  He battled for over 3 hours on Sunday.  I think this tarantula was one of his first battle victories.  It appeared mortally wounded or already dead since it didn't move as Max backed out and ran over it.  I can only hope the slaughter continues.  Evil, satanic bugs beware.  We are after you...

Kaitlin Missing Daisy

Daisy is in heaven with the bright light shining on her.  Her belly is all big and we are on the sides of Kaitlin crying.  She writes I love U Soooooo.  Sums up the mood here. :(

Good Bye Dear Daisy

 Last night we lost our dear old Daisy Dog.  After eating her dinner she got twisted gut and we had to put her down.  It leaves a hole in our heart.  We will miss her greatly.

She was my first baby.

She taught Max and I so much about parenting.  One of the best words of advice I got was from Max's uncle who said something along the lines of, "Don't have any kids until you have raised a dog. If you have a well behaved dog then you are ready for kids."  
She destroyed a love seat couch as a puppy because she was mad we left her.  She taught us responsibility, discipline and the rewards of love.
She has been a fixture in all of the events of our life.
She was in our wedding.
She survived our rowdy college days.
She has out lasted Boomer, Chopper and Maggie.

She lived through the births of Hailey, Karlie, Kaitlin and Hank where she was bumped a little further down the totem pole each time.  However, she never once snarled or growled as the intruders crawled on her, poked her eyes, or pulled her ears.  She just kept on being good old Daisy Dog.
Someone to snuggle.
Someone to play in the snow with.
Someone to eat the dropped food and lick their face clean.
Someone to play dress-up with.
She was such a major part our of our lives.  She endured 7 moves, 4 kids and three states.  We will not think back on these times without thoughts of her intertwined throughout them.  She was always there to love on and snuggle in good times and bad.  Daisy and our baby years will always be bonded in time.  
She had a really good last two months.  Forever the faithful and loving best friend.  Despite her arthritis she hobbled back to our bedroom each night to sleep near her master.  She use to sleep under the sheets at Max's feet as a puppy.  Then the babies came and she got booted to the floor but she always waited for us to go to bed and followed us out in the morning.  She eagerly greeted Max and the kids when they came home.  She loved us the way only a dog can, unconditionally.  Our grey ghost is running again with her three amigos and waiting for the day her master comes home for good.  We love you old girl.

First Day of Fall Arizona Style

 Yesterday was the first day of fall.  I wanted to make it a special day because fall doesn't exist here.  It was a high of 106 degrees.  :( Doesn't exactly conjure up images of fall leaves, pumpkins and warm, fat filled dinners.  I decided to force us to think of those things.
 We started the morning with a little present of warm socks that I know they will need one day and some Halloween pencils.
 When they got home the house smelled of fresh pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.
 We made fall leaves croutons for our salad.
 We ate enchiladas in our bathing suits.  So not really fall but still really fun.
 We put the fire app on the computer and roasted marshmallows over the gas stove.  It is still way to hot to consider a real fire outside.
 I found these gigantic, campfire marshmallows!
 Too much of a good thing.  The kids could hardly get them in their mouth.
 But, kids are persistent.
 They ate every last drop of sticky marshmallow goo!
 Our bedtime story was There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves.
We tried hard to convince ourselves that it is now officially fall.  Now if we can get the weather man on board...

The Dating Game

It has been a long time since I have dated.  Well, I don't suppose I ever really dated.  Middle school doesn't count.  Since moving to Arizona I find myself in the dating scene.  With women.  Now don't get up in arms, I feel like I am dating moms.  In the past I have had friends through school, work or classes that the kids took, or friends that were friends of family.  We became friends by our common pursuit, stage of life or location.  Here I am starting without those systems in place.  Max has an instant connection and group of guys through work but I have been dating.  This is how it goes...

First you scope each other out as you drop off the kids at school.  You notice each other and then one morning someone actually says, "hi."  Then it may be a few more passes before one of you decide to introduce yourself.  Then you say "hi" with each others name a few days in a row.  Then after the kids are in their room you strike up a conversation that eventually leads to a, "We should get together sometime."  You go home and examine your calendars and find a day you can both meet.  If they also have a younger child then we meet at the park to chat while the kids play.  If not you meet at some other neutral location like a coffee shop while Hank is in preschool.  If that date goes well then you are ready to move to the next level in the relationship and have them over to your house.

They come over and your house is spectacularly clean and you pretend like it is always that way.  You make sweet treats for the kids and have lots of fruits and vegetables available too.  You slowly start to find out how they ended up in the God forsaken desert, a little about their husbands, what they do when they are not volunteering at the school or doing mom chores.  If all goes well, she invites you to her house and you get to know them a little better.  At some point in the relationship you decide if it is worth investing yourself and to keep dating or cut her loose and vice versa.  This is far more difficult than breaking up with some dude that you are never going to see.  You will still see her every morning.

When the dating is going well you decide that since you are friends and your kids are friends maybe your husbands could be friends.  This is a rare occurrence.  We have made it this far in the dating game twice since we have been here.  At this point you realize they are either going to be mom only friends or maybe just maybe you could be family friends.  Months and months of dating ahead to find out.  It is so much work!!

How I long for those easy friendships that just happened.  It was a unique time of sharing the struggles of school, being broke, getting pregnant and starting to emerge as true adults.  Sharing the growing pains allowed us to bond in a strong way that transcended all the other stuff that gets in the way of just being who you are.  It forged bonds that have lasted a decade.

Maybe I am looking for a rebound?  I have been on three dates this week alone and got invited to two second dates.  Does that mean I am cheating??? :)  So much to learn in the dating game.

Birthday Boys!

Over the weekend we celebrated RJ's 7th birthday and Snork's 60th birthday! 
 For Snork's present I had the kids do Canvas with Katie!  Similar to the Canvas and Cocktails session I went to with my sisters, I got the kids all set up with their own canvas, a palate of paint, a set of brushes, and a theme (no cocktails for them, just for Katie).  The theme was "Power to the People."  Our last visit with Papa the kids had so much fun jumping from the fountains and singing Power to the People, I thought it should be memorialized.
Hank's (he is into abstract art)

While the girls were at school on Friday, we took the boys for a train ride.
 Early Saturday morning before it got too hot we went for a walk in the desert down at the end of our street.  We can drive just a few houses and be in the middle of the dessert.
 So weird.  I keep thinking Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner are going to race by any moment.
 Then we went to see Lion King 3D.  For fun Kerrie brought hair paint and the kids got all dolled up.
 Hank sporting the green Mohawk.
 They are SO cool.
 Party on dudes!  It was so fun to see Lion King again.  Max and I went to it opening night with a bunch of my family, so it was neat to repeat it but with our own cubs.  It was a nostalgic moment for sure.  How could it be 17 years already!?!?  The kids loved it too.
 After eating as much popcorn and licorice as they could, we headed home to swim and quench our thirst.
Kerrie had a powerful craving for cookie dough, so she whipped up her first batch of eggless cookie dough.  It never became cookies...
RJ requested an Aunt KK cake.  He is a major football fan so he wanted both the Denver Broncos and the CU Barfalos Buffalo's on his cake (it is a deep seeded undergraduate issue.  Rams Rule!).
 As usual Max is the artist and did an awesome job on the design.
 RJ helped make the cake and I think he was surprised it actually turned into a football.
Happy Birthday Boys!  It was a wonderful and special weekend.  Thank you for coming to play with us at the Oasis and we hope all your wishes come true.

Where Were You?

On this sad anniversary of 9/11 I hope each of us will find time to pause and remember where we were the day America changed.  There are few times in our lives where we will vividly remember where we were, what we were doing and how we felt.  I was working as a nursing student on an orthopedic floor.  I went to ambulate a patient and she was sobbing.  I went to her thinking she was in pain from her knee surgery.  She grabbed my hand and said, "Oh honey, America has been attacked."  She pointed to the TV and together we watched in horror as the twin towers burned.  When I got to go home to Hailey who was just 3 months old, I held her and worried about the world she would grow up in.  I will always remember the way our country united in those days following.  The way God was once again our foundation.  The way patriotism erupted.  The way we vowed to not let this stop the greatest nation on earth from promising freedom to her citizens.  The heroes that gave us hope.

It has been a very hard decade for our country.  Bin Laden is finally dead but over six thousand of our soldiers have died in the war on terror.  I can only hope that in the next decade we can heal our nation from all of the wounds that have followed 9/11.  That we can end the war and bring our soldiers home. That we can heal our economy.  That we can  remain united, patriotic, and thankful to God without the threat of evil.  That the land of the free will still be the greatest place on earth for my children.  Today remember the countless people who lost their loved ones.  Remember the hole in our hearts that will never be filled.  Remember how great American's are.  Remember how great God is.  Remember we have faith, hope, and love, but the greatest is love.

99 Degree Fall

 Yesterday was a turning point.  Yesterday morning when I went to get the paper I could feel just the faintest hint of cool.  Instead of the dry, hot, make your contacts shrivel up and die breeze blowing in my face, it was a fresh, slightly refreshing breeze.  It was the first time since we moved here that it felt nice to be outside fully clothed and not in the swimming pool.  The clouds blocked out the sun and we actually had a few moments of precious rain.  It was so exciting that Hank came running and screaming as though he had just seen a steam locomotive roll through our backyard.  He screamed, "MOM, it's RAINING!!"  We all immediately ran outside to see if it was true!  It was!!  A rain dance of jubilee ensued!
Today's forecast is only 99 degrees!  It will be the first time in 45 days that the thermometer has not been triple digits.  It would have been 89 days if not for one beautiful cloudy day in July.  Yesterday was SO cool that I ventured to jog outside with Hank.  I actually enjoyed our run.  This morning Hailey and Max went mountain biking.  Really, 1 degree makes a difference?!  The real difference is in the overnight lows.  During the sweltering summer we had nights when the overnight low was in the 90s.  Disgusting.  Now we are dropping into the upper 70's.  This morning it was cooler outside than in our house!  JOY!

While I couldn't smell a crisp fall in the air, we all can feel a distinct change.  Even if it is only a degree.  It is a blessed degree that brings hopes of jeans, maybe even a long sleeve shirt, and the end of the continually running air conditioner.  A 99 degree fall.  Clearly we have heat exhaustion.  No one in their right mind could put 99 degrees and fall in the same sentence.  Such is your state of mind in the desert...

Kid of Character

We are so proud of our Karlie girl!  She was the August Kid of Character in her class.  Karlie got to be on the morning announcements that are televised into each classroom, to eat lunch with all the 2nd grade teachers, and she got to have a special ice cream desert.  Way to go Karlie!!!  She was beaming all day.  So was Mommy. :)