March Madness

March Madness started at our house, but not the basketball playoffs.  Hailey and Karlie started volleyball!  With practices and games along with all the other activities, it has been sheer madness.  I really believe in the sentiment that it takes a village to raise a child, or at least let your kid participate in after school activities.  If it wasn't for the moms that I carpool with, I don't know how we would get by.
Monday right after the kids get off the bus, I take Kaitlin and the two neighbor girls to gymnastics.  Another friend of mine takes Karlie home with her and then to dance.  As soon as the girls start gymnastics, we are off to drop Hailey at volleyball practice.  After Max gets off work he picks up Karlie from dance and then Hailey from volleyball.  Meanwhile my neighbor brings her girls and Kaitlin home from gymnastics.  Poor Hank is already in the car for an hour and a half.
Tuesday morning Hank has swimming lessons and after homework and a quick dinner we are off to piano lessons.
Every other Wednesday Karlie has Brownies.
Thursdays Kaitlin and Hailey have Daisies and Girl Scouts.
Friday Hailey has volleyball practice.
Saturday Hailey has horses and then volleyball games for Hailey and Karlie.  Unfortunately they play at opposite ends of town, so it is over two hours of driving between to the two.
Sunday is church and puppy school.
Somewhere in between we have homework, piano practice, dinner, baths, and bedtime stories.

Yesterday I was feeling rather worn out and down on the whole spirit of trying to let the kids partake in activities that they enjoy.  Hailey sat down to do her piano practice and it brought tears to my eyes.  She has come so far and it sounds so lovely.  It is such a gift to create beautiful music.  It was in that moment that I reaped my reward.  If they can each discover their talent or passion, then it makes my exhausting and sometimes grueling evenings worth it in the end.

How Karlie Spent Her 8th Birthday

Karlie started her morning with green doughnuts.
Then we were off to the world famous fountain to watch it turn green and partake in the St. Patrick's Day festival.  We couldn't pass up green cotton candy for lunch!  All the girls got feathers in their hair too.
Unfortunately it was a pretty blustery day, but they were still able to shoot one of the fountains up for the emerald display.  It was an impressive 15 minutes of really green water!
 How much food coloring do you think they needed?
Almost as much in the Shamrock Shakes at McDonald's we picked up on our way home!
When Karlie got home from her volleyball game, she got her present!
 Our little biker babe was in need of a new bike in a big way!  Now she can rock the desert with daddy.  He is happy it's made of aluminum and has good shifters and shocks.  I am happy the rims are green and it has a green plaid pattern. :)
 She was thrilled with how easy it was to shift gears and can't wait to hit the trail.  As luck would have it we are getting our first rain since November and won't be able to try it out until next weekend.
 The night before Karlie chose steak, artichokes and her favorite cheesy rice for her special dinner.  On her birthday we had the traditional corned beef and cabbage with red potatoes and green ramen noodles.  A shamrock cake finished off her menu for the day.
It was a wonderfully, busy day celebrating all things green and Karlie.
Even Siri was feeling a little green by the end of the day.

Happy 8th Birthday Karlie!!

 Happy Birthday Karlie!  We are so lucky to have you in our family.  You bring a special sparkle to all of our lives.  You are caring, kind, energetic, enthusiastic, determined, smart, beautiful, and always the life of the party!  We love you our little leprechaun!
We hope you have a sparkling, green day with lots of the things you love!

Identity Crisis

Our little super hero has days where he is Spider-man, days when he feels more like Batman, and some days he is "Bad Spidey" or Venom.  On this day he had a bit of a identity crisis.  Hopefully his split personality won't require medication.

Karlie's Day at the Spa Birthday Party

Karlie's Birthday party has traditionally been the biggest party that would usher in our crazy birthday month.  It was not uncommon to have close to 50 people at her parties.  Something about spring on the way and St. Patrick's Day made everyone in the mood to party.  This year was a bit sad as we sat down to plan out her party.  With each theme she came up with, we soon realized the games or plans wouldn't work with just two friends.  We really felt the pain of not having all our family and a neighborhood of friends surrounding us as we tried to think up a fun party.  She finally came up with a day at the spa, the Oasis Spa. :)
We checked each girl into the resort and showed them to Room 8.  They changed into their suits and robes and headed out to the pool.  The girls soaked in the hot tub and drank fruit punch before they got their facials.
Hailey and Kaitlin joined Karlie and her buddies for the spa day too.
After facials, it was mani and pedi time!
Karlie got an Orbeez foot spa for her birthday.  They are these little gel like balls that float around.  It is all the rage with kids today.
Max has garnered quite the reputation as a manicurist!  Karlie only wanted the best to touch her nails.
He is proud of his years of doing the girls' nails on the nights and weekends that I worked. He is way better at it than I am.
 I was the buffing station.
Having only two guest allowed us to go all out on their "spa bags".  They got flip flops, manicure sets, facial scrubs, lotion, nail polish, washcloths and a shirt with their initial on it.
This was the perfect cake for our little diva.
The girls were so worn out from their rough day at the spa that they all crashed by 10!  Another first!
While it wasn't the biggest party Karlie has had, she really had a blast with her new friends and all the attention she got for an entire day!

Happy 100 Years of Girls Scouts!

Today marks 100 years of Girl Scouts helping grow girl leaders!  I am proud of my three little scouts and all they are learning and doing to help the world be a better place for girls. Go get em girls!

Batman and Girls Go to the Dentist

 We have spent spring break getting all of the regular scheduled maintenance for the kids.  Taking all four to the dentist really makes me miss my mom.  I used to be able to take one at a time.  We took up the entire waiting room and keeping Hank occupied for an hour while he waited for the big girls was frazzling.  Not to mention trying to fill out all four of their paper work while he terrorized the waiting room.
 It was Hank's first trip to the dentist!  He is in Batman mode right now and wanted to wear his costume for the check-up.  Why not?  He was quite the sensation with all the hygienist swooning over how cute he was.  Ladies from the adjacent office even came by to check out Batman.  
 He was cool as a cat throwing thumbs up to his fans.  When he has his costume off he likes to be called Bruce Wayne.  I am happy to report Bruce did excellent (I think his alter ego helped him) during the exam.  As we were leaving the hygienist said, "I have to tell you what great kids you have!"  We have a deal with the kids that if they get a compliment for their behavior when we are at a restaurant that they get desert.  So after the nice compliment and a good report on the teeth, we went for a treat!
Way to go my superheroes!

Wickedly Wonderful Wild West Weekend the Final Act

To get the sense of this post, you have to hit play and listen as you read.  Those country songs seem to always play in my mind. :)
For our final day of celebrating Max and all the things he loves, we went to Saguaro Lake and rented a boat.  It was our first time at the lake.  With it only 30 minutes away, it is a fantastic find.  As we cruised along, I kept humming Alan Jackson's song When Daddy Let Me Drive.
The kids all got a chance to drive, sometimes Mommy let them drive.
The lake was set in a canyon and provided us with a beautiful afternoon to have lunch.
Something about water just makes people happy.
The girls did their best Titanic rendition.  LOL
We tried to fish but were not very successful.  As in zip, nada, nothing.
Venom made a guest appearance.
The boat rocked Hank to sleep.
It was a lot of fun to explore the lake.  I will say this place has endless places to play.
The kids big and small all had so much fun, I am sure we will be back soon.
Keeping a tight schedule (read between the lines, no rest!), we packed in one final adventure.  We went on a little family bike ride after the lake.   Kaitlin had been waiting all weekend and I had promised her we would go for a ride.  I am not about to let my little lady down, so off we went!
We really went to the MAX to celebrate!  We managed to fit in a date with his lady, a bike ride with his Dad, a date with his Mom, a hike to the top of a mountain, all his favorite foods and drinks, blazing guns in the desert, got a little dirt on his tires, brewed a home brew, a little pool time, a little boating, a little fishing, and family bike ride.  All in all we had a wickedly wonderful weekend celebrating Max in the wild west.  Happy Birthday Baby.