Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!
The great gift of Easter is hope - Christan hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which noting can shake.
~Basil Hume

Greek Festival!

On Thursday the 6th graders at Hailey's Middle School concluded their study on Greece with an all day Greek Festival!  Everyone donned Togas and celebrated.
Here is Hailey with her favorite teacher. Mrs. G., who unabashedly told me Hailey was her favorite student. :)  Hailey adores Mrs. G and she has been instrumental in Hailey's success in middle school.  I have a feeling she will be one of those teachers Hailey remembers as having impacted her life.  I am so grateful Mrs. G was Hailey's 1st period teacher.
 The first event in science was the Grecian boat contest.  The kids had specific dimensions their boats had to fit into but could construct them out of any material and any shape they wanted.  They added olives and saw what boats held the most.  Hailey won at her table but didn't make it to the class olive off.  She had 54 olives and the winner was 68.
In English it was wreath making and vocabulary challenge against the teacher.  At the end it was down to the teacher and Hailey for who could make the most words out of Athenians in Greece.  The class was all trying to help Hailey beat Mrs. B.  When the timer went off Hailey had 2 more words than the teacher!  As Hailey handed her the paper, Mrs. B said, "Show off!"  I guess she got the language gene.  Must have skipped a generation. LOL
Our Greek Goddess.
 They really went all out with Greek columns, chocolate fountains, catered Greek food that was delicious (sometimes it pays to be a volunteer!).  They even had roaming painted Greek statues!
 It was wonderful to be able to volunteer for the day and see Hailey in her element.  Once they are off to Middle School parents are pretty cut off.  You don't exactly go in to volunteer.  Seeing her with her peers made me so proud.  She is grounded and full of potential.  Such a delightful lady she is growing into, especially in contrast to some of the knucklehead boys in her class!

Toga!  Toga!!

A Firefly's Light Goes Out

Today my Grandma Helen passed away.  The kids associate her with Fireflies.  They were delighted when we went to visit her with these new bugs that lit up!  The kids chased them, they caught them and they marveled at their light!  Grampy told them he use to put there light up butts on his finger for rings.  We put some in jars for a night light.  The kids only got to see Grandma Helen a couple times but have very strong and fond memories of her and even today talked about going to see her and the fireflies.
She was like a firefly.  She was a bright light that lit up the room with her laughter and happiness.  She was full of energy and spunk.  When Max and I went to Omaha to visit Creighton for Max's medical school interview she nearly wore me out showing me all over Omaha.  She was a granny on the go!  When she came to watch Kerrie and me so Mom and Snork could go away for a week, she called both Max and I in "sick" from high school so we could hang out with her and swim all day!  She also taught Kerrie and me how to sneak into a second show at the movie theater.  It seemed pretty harmless watching a "double feature" with your grandma.  She always had a big smile, a jovial laugh, a warm hug, and was delighted to have family around.  She flittered in and lit up our lives every time we saw her.  She is the kind of grandma I hope to be one day.
 Betty Boop, singing fish, dancing Santas, Omaha Zoo, red lip stick, batteries expired 20 years ago, proud Republican, and "Snorkie" will always be things I remember her fondly with.  For such a tiny lady, she had a huge heart, and was a bright light in my life.
While her light has gone out here, I just know she is shining like a star in heaven.  Love you G'ma H.

Spring Fling

Spring is here!
This is the best time of year in the desert.  Everything is blooming and there is even a little green that covers the ground.  We had a pretty rainy winter so things are extra green this year.
The weather is perfect for bike rides.
And just right for playing in the hot tub.
 Cheers to spring!

Cathy Comes To Town

After my Mom left on Monday, our good friend Cathy came to town on Tuesday.  She was in town for genetic counselor meeting.  Unfortunately, she had to leave the kids at home because all the kids had school.  But it was a lot of fun for us to spend time together as adults and not just moms.
One night we went out for a girls night happy hour that turned into 3 hours of happy times.  With old friends you can pick up where you left off.  We never ran out of things to talk about.  It was a fun week but I am feeling my age and I think my liver is taking a pretty hard hit.  This staying up late and getting up early isn't is as easy as it use to be. :)  The dark circles and bags under my eyes are well worth all the good times and laughs.  It was so great to see you Cath!  Hopefully it work out to bring the whole bunch back this summer!

Baseball- A Sport For All Generations

While my Mom was visiting for Karlie's Birthday weekend, my Grandpa came to watch Hank's first T-ball game.  It is not every day that four generations get to sit and watch a baseball game together.  Max was stuck at the hospital, so it was nice Grammy and Great Grandpa could be there.
Grandpa has always been a coach.  Here he is giving some pointers before the game.  The coach gave Grandpa the bench spot!
It was so sweet as they called each player out to the field and said their pledge.  Hank is the 3rd from the coach.  Max is quite envious that Hank has a jersey with his name on it at 4 when he never, ever got a jersey with his name on it.
 Hey batter, batter...
He hit it!
Rounding third base with just a little help from the 3rd base coach.  :)
Half the time the kids don't know where they are running much less where they are suppose to throw the ball!
 All the way home!
  Hank was hilarious.  Offense is definitely his strong suit.  While at the pitches mound behind the coach who was pitching, Hank decided to sit down and play in the dirt.  He filled his hat with dirt.  He filled his glove with dirt.  He spun around in circles until he fell down.  His head was not in the game but he provided many laughs for the parents. He has lots of room for improvement. 
It was very special to me to have my family there.  With so many events it is just us.  It was really great to have an entire rooting section.  We had a fried chicken picnic dinner and just took in the warm sun as we watched Hank play ball.  It was a neat afternoon doing something generations before me have done.
Baseball is a great sport for all generations!  It allows people to connect in away that other sports don't seem to.  A wonderful American past time if I do say so myself.

Hailey's First Horse Show

Last Saturday Hailey competed in her first horse show!
 Our little cowgirl's first event was Pleasure for 13 and under.  In this event the horse is suppose to be a pleasure to ride, so the judge watches the horse change leads and how smoothly he follows commands. Hailey rides "Easy,"which is a misnomer.  He is the most difficult horse in the barn.  Easy is easily spooked and does not like other horses.  Great for a horse show!
 Easy missed his lead change right when the judge was watching Hailey.  So she ended up placing 4th in her class.  When I went to congratulate her after the judging, I could see the fire in her eyes.  She wanted to win and was not happy taking last.  She vowed to do better in the next event.
Her next event was Horsemanship for 13 and under.  In this event the judge looks at the skill of the rider.  They look at how well the competitor stays in the seat of the saddle,  the correct placement of their hands and feet, and the strength of their lines and angles in a series of maneuvers through a pattern.
 After getting her feet wet in the first event, Hailey was ready to ride!  She looked so great and in control.  I saw her instructor's eye s well up with pride and joy.  :)
Hailey claimed 3rd this time!  She was beaming afterward.
Two ribbons in her first show!  I think she has officially been bit by the show bug.  What could be better than spending 5 hours hanging out with her horse, her buddies from the barn, and getting a chance to show her stuff?
Way to go Jo!  We can't wait to see more ribbons and watch you ride.

Karlie's 9th Birthday

Karlie has the best birth date in the year.  Everyone wants to celebrate and is in a good mood on St. Patrick's Day.  
We ended up celebrating all weekend!  On Friday we went for her 9 year old check up and then headed to Starbucks for a hot chocolate and cheesecake brownie treat and special time with Mommy.
Since she has to have corned beef and cabbage by default every year, we let her choose her favorite dinner the night before.  This year we were at the horse show the night before, so Friday was her dinner night!
Karlie's favorite dinner is steak, cheesy rice, and fruit salad.  She had a special green Izze too.
Karlie decided she would rather have the money we usually spend on throwing a party and use it instead to go shopping!  We are in so much trouble with this one.  When she got her green backs she just kept smelling them.  She loves the smell of money, the mall and new clothes.  YIKES!
We headed for the big, fancy mall.  Nine years old is when we allow the girls to get their ears pierced if they have demonstrated they can keep their room clean and be responsible for their things.  Hailey set the bar at 9 and Karlie has been desperately trying to lower the bar since she was 6.  But 9 finally came and she has indeed shown us she is responsible enough to take care of her ears and not lose her earrings.
Everyone came for the BIG event.  Grammy is here visiting for her spring break and was lucky enough to watch the show!  Karlie had just watched another girl get her ear pierced that cried and freaked out a little, so I was worried it would scare her.  But she jumped up in the chair and held Ellie and Daddy's hand.  
She barely winced on the first ear.  I thought for sure the second ear would make her cry.  Nope.  She is our tough little cookie.  She was all smiles!
 However, Kaitlin was very anxious about Karlie getting her ears pierced.  I assumed it was her way of expressing jealousy because she had said, "It's not fair I will be the only girl without ears pierced!"  She kept saying, "I don't want Karlie to do it."  But I think she was genuinely worried about Karlie being in pain. 
 She watched Karlie get her ears pierced and we went to check out.  Kaitlin came over to me and grabbed my waist and said, "Mommy..."  I took one look at her and knew she was about to faint and started lowering her to the ground.  Sure enough she was out.  Max came over and we lifted her legs up.  I know she was only out for 10 seconds but it seamed like an eternity.  I started to worry something else happened.  But she slowly came around.  What an adrenaline filled morning!
 Max took the rest of the crew home so Grammy and I could do some power shopping with Karlie.  After shopping in many stores, we went to the food court where Karile could pick anything she wanted for lunch.  She chose Sushi.  Sushi!  Most kids would head straight for McDonald's or pizza or Subway!  No, this girl doesn't have expensive taste.  I had to laugh when she popped the ginger in her mouth thinking it was crab.  Her face was priceless.  LOL  I was just happy she didn't mistake the wasabi for guacamole.
Karlie has always wanted to stop at the make-up counter in the department stores and have her make-up done.  I decided to ask if she would do just a little make-up on our diva.  The make-up artist did an excellent job and Karlie was ready to buy all the make-up.  Too bad for her it was a one day only deal.  She will have to wait a few years for make-up, but she was thrilled for the day.
After 4 hours of shopping she was broke and Grammy and I were tired.  It was time to get ready for Hailey's horse show.
 Sunday morning the celebrations continued.  Karlie wanted shamrock green pancakes, maple sausage and eggs for breakfast.
After church we were off to watch the world famous fountain in Fountain Hills.
 A giant geyser of green just for Karlie! :)
You can see the four kids down by the water.  It sprayed for 15 minutes and we were covered in a mist of green water.  The kids loved it.  I thought they looked like they had gangrene.
Four little leprechauns in a tree.  One fell down and bumped her knee.  The other three leprechauns stayed in the tree...
 After a picnic lunch by the fountain we went to McDonald's to try and get a Shamrock Shake but they were out!  The kids were fine with a frosty instead.
 We then headed for the ball park!  Never time to rest, too busy having fun.
 It was a gorgeous day to watch a spring training game.  A little more shade would have been nice.  Hank just took his shirt off!
 The kids got on the big screen!
 Happy Day!
After the 7th inning stretch we decided to head home to start the real celebrations!
 Karlie's present from Max and I was a Lunch Box RC car!  She loves to play with Max.  Now they can build her own and paint it green of course. :)  I am not sure who is more excited... Karlie or Max.
 Max is the most amazing husband and father.  While I was out shopping with Karlie, he made Karlie a berry pie AND a shamrock cake!  When Max was a kid he always got a berry pie all to himself for his birthday.  Karlie was all about continuing that tradition.  She did offer a piece to Max. :)
 My Karlie girl, we are blessed to call you our daughter.  You light up a room and make everyone smile.  You are the life of the party and have luck on your side.  
 We love you to the moon and back and hope all your wishes and dreams come true.