We were so excited to get to go home for Thanksgiving.  We took the first flight out at 6:30 am, which meant getting up at 3:30 am!
We were too excited to be tired.  The flights were awesome.  We have reached that point.  No strollers and the kids are able to entertain themselves.  Both Max and I read our books! Gasp!  They were great little travelers.
 The definition of home is a place of residence or refuge.
 It is usually a place where a family can rest and store personal property.
 It can also be a place a person grew up or feels they belong.
 Some would say, "home is where your heart is."
 Going home was hard.  I love Colorado and I love all my family that is there.
 So while my place of refuge is in AZ, my heart is still in CO.
 It is hard to not be a part of all the family things we always did.  I was thrilled the kids still got to do the annual rake leaves and jump in them with the cousins.
 I was thankful we got to celebrate Thanksgiving with my extend family.  My Aunt Kathleen and Uncle Dan hosted nearly 40 people.  It was great to see everyone, but it didn't have the same lightness and joyfulness that it usually does because it was an isolated event for us rather than a regular tradition.  I felt the reality that you can't go home.
 We tried to see everyone.  This meant on some days we were on a two hour visiting schedule.  The girls spent the night at different house nearly every night.
 We soaked up our time with cousins, family and friends.

 I made blackberry pies with my grandmothers mixer that she received as a wedding present in the 40's!
 It was grand to have leaves to take fall pictures in.
 I had to laugh at this picture Max took.  Guess you couldn't tell we are sisters.
 Almost 1000 miles apart and we plan nearly identical outfits for Thanksgiving. :)
Grammy and Papa's full house!
This was the only picture we got at Thanksgiving.  Too busy eating.
Hailey and Papa had a deep chat under the stars.
We had a fun night with our friends.
 The kids also enjoyed a night or two with their friends.
Kissing Cousins.
The grand finale was Elsa with the family.  A tradition I miss greatly.  After a very busy and exhausting 5 days, I was happy to come home but it didn't feel like home.  It was nice to be in our own beds but it didn't have that comforting sensation of home.  Not yet anyway.

Happy Thanksgiving!

MKHKKH wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!


Tomorrow we head home sweet home for the holidays!  As I have been packing and making list after list hoping to not forget anything major, I had to laugh at my line up of shoes.  I have planned to pack 5 pairs of shoes for 5 days of travel.  I love shoes.  I am going somewhere cold and have to try to wear every pair of boots I have.  I guess you could say I have ish-shoes!

Funky Friday

 Today is Funky Friday at the girls' school!  They were all a twitter this morning as they got to go crazy with their outfits and hair.  The more mismatched, the better.
 Karlie went with a bounty of bows.  Aside from the bun I did for her, she did it all on her own.
 Kaitlin added a twist to hers.
 Hailey rocked the nerd look, broken glasses and all.
Well, he doesn't need it to be a Friday to be a freak.  It just comes naturally. :)

Expensive Day At The Zoo

 Over the weekend Hank was given Max the Monkey, the class pet, to take home.  He has a journal and you are suppose to take pictures and log what you did with Max the Monkey.  We decided it would be fun for Max the Monkey to visit the Phoenix zoo with us.
The Denver Zoo was an integral part of our lives.  Whenever we had nothing to do, we went to the zoo.  We could pack a lunch and with our membership have a "free day" of activities.  I loved going to the zoo with the kids, especially in the summer.
 Well, there was no way I was going to the zoo in July, or August, or September, or even October.  Finally the weather is perfect for the zoo.  We had high hopes since it ranked so highly for zoos in America.  We had been waiting all summer.  We read about the carousel and the train.  We hoped it would be as fun as the ones at the Denver Zoo.
 The entry was breath taking with the giraffe and other African animals roaming together.  Of course the lions were in their own area.  But our trip went steadily down hill after that.
 There is a large desert section that was a waste of time.  I can go out my backyard and see a bunch of cacti and snakes.  No thanks.
 For whatever reason there seemed to be very few animals.   We saw just and handful of animals.  No seals, no polar bears, no hippos, or tropical discoveries.  Only one elephant, one lion, and two rhinos.  We were surrounded by monkeys, but most of them belonged to me.
They did have a camel ride, but it was 4 bucks extra.  The train wasn't even a real train, it had wheels.  The carousel was so unexciting there wasn't even a line to ride it and no one protested when I said we were not riding it.  The most disappointing feature was everything in the zoo costs extra.  $2-$5 bucks per person for the train, the carousel, the slide, the sting ray bay, and the camel adds up very fast.  It seems they attempt to gouge you any way they can.  A bottle of water is $4!!  I could get the kids big ice creams at the Denver zoo for $2.  No more "free" trips to the zoo.
It was just one of those days.  First we realized we had forgotten Max the Monkey, one of the main reasons for going.  Next, we remembered Hailey's horse lessons that we missed.  Then the zoo was a disappointment, Hank was being a pill, the little kids were squabbling, and finally Max told Karlie to leave the stroller alone since she was constantly knocking jackets and snacks off.  Of course she touched the stroller and it tipped over throwing our good Nikon camera to the ground with a loud crash!  It's never good when your camera makes a rattling noise and won't focus.  Add a Nikon camera to the bill for the day. :(  No more pictures for awhile.  By that point I was ready to throw all the little ones in with the Baboons.  It all added up that we are not sure we want to attempt the zoo lights.  High expectations + high cost = disappointment. 

Colonial Day

 Last Week the 5th graders celebrated Colonial Day.  While Hank was at school, I got to help.  The day is completely organized by the parents and the kids rotate through stations doing things people in the colonial times would have done.  Everyone wears a costume.
I had heard what a big deal it was, so as soon as the costumes went on clearance after Halloween, I grabbed them!

 They had a pillory and hay bales for pictures.  We were good girls and didn't get sent to the pillory.  I am thinking they should bring those back and put one in each classroom.  Maybe then the kids wouldn't be so disrespectful.
Cross stitching station.
 Dried flower photo frames.
 The bird feeder station was where I got sentenced to work.  One kid thought the lard was icing and took a big bite.  He won't make that mistake again!  By the end of the day, I had the softest hands.  Maybe I should try rubbing a little shortening around my eyes as an anti-aging cream.
They also made corn husk dolls, candles, tin art and played colonial games like walking on stilts.  It was a fun day and I treasured being able to spend the day with Hailey.  Soon my girl won't even want to be seen with me dropping her off at school, much less in a pioneer costume.

11 Things We Did on 11/11/11

11/11/11  only comes around every 100 years.  Since none of us are likely to see it again, I thought we should make it a special day.  The kids and Max had the day off, so it was a great day together being one unit.

1.  Hailey started her orthodontia treatment and got an expander and head-gear.  She is such a tough cookie.  She has hardy complained at all and just keeps smiling.

 2.  On 11:11 11/11/11 we made a wish.  Of course per the legend I can't tell you what they were.

3.  We hit 7-11 for a special treat!

 4.  We monkeyed around at the park for about an hour and 11 minutes. :)

 5.  While Hank napped the girls made 11 Happy Thanksgiving cards.

 6.  We made 11 pumpkin muffins.  I dropped the pan and one of them flipped out.  The recipe makes a dozen but as fate would have it, today we had 11.

 7.  We played Bunco to 11.  Kaitlin won!

 8.  We remember our Veterans and all the sacrifices they have made for our freedoms that we often take for granted.

 9.  We joined our church in packing 11,111 meals!  It was in partnership with Stop Hunger Now.  The kids really enjoyed helping and being a part of something that helps others.  Even Hank "helped."

10.  The kids each chose 11 items of clothes to donate to their sister school.

11.  We prayed 11 prayers.

We pray our friend Bill finds employment very soon.
We pray for our friends who are having a difficult time in their marriage and for their kids.
We pray my sister has a healthy pregnancy and delivery.  We can't wait to meet our latest blessing!
We pray for the 1 billion people suffering due to lack of clean water and enough food.
We pray for the soldiers who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and for those who continue to make sacrifices for our freedoms.
We pray for the families of our troops.  They too sacrifice much.
We pray Hailey doesn't have too much pain.
We pray that everyone gets healthy.
We give thanks for Max's job.
We give thanks for our neighbors who have welcomed us with open hearts and arms and that they will not be moving to New York!
We give thanks for our church.  It was very moving to share a meal and make meals as a church family.

11/11/11 was ONE heck of a day.