Happy 15th Anniversary!

My beloved,

You are my sun, my compass, and my love.  You make all my dreams come true.  As the years march on I realize how special our relationship is.  Fifteen years ago we had no house, no kids and no job.  Yet here we are in paradise today.  But as long as you are by my side, I could be happy anywhere.  I love you with all my soul.  Thank you for loving me.  I can only hope to have you by my side for the next 15 years!

Summer Music Recital 2013

 Last Saturday the girls had their music recital. It was fun to have Auntie Anna be able to watch the kids perform.
 This was Kaitlin's first year of piano.  It amazes me how much their little brains can soak up.  I love watching them improve each year.  To think in September she couldn't read any music or play a note to hear what she can do now!

 We want the kids to have a strong music foundation and have been told starting with the piano allows them to gain a foundation in reading music which then allows them to learn other instruments easier.  Therefore, they have to play piano for 2 years before they can take lessons with another instrument.

Karlie has always wanted to play the violin.  As soon as her two years in piano were up she started playing the violin.  She has been practicing the violin since January and we have learned that it is much harder to sound good at the violin than the piano.  A missed key on the piano can go unnoticed but any slight miss on the violin is very noticeable!  It takes a lot of practice to sound good. :)
 Hailey has been taking piano for 5 years and is Ms. Lisa's most advanced student.  She has Fur Elise mastered but had a little hiccup on her performance.  Ms. Lisa wants them to memorize their piece and I think it would have helped if Hailey had her music.  More reason to practice.
I often request Hailey does her practice while I make dinner.  She is quite the musician and has composed two pieces.  It thrills me that the kids can make beautiful music.
Every Tuesday the girls and I head to Ms. Lisa's.  Ms. Lisa teaches them theory and composition.  They have flash cards to learn about the great composers and she will play various pieces and quiz them on who the composer is.  They are learning so much from her.  The girls adore Ms. Lisa and always say lessons are the best part of their day.  That alone makes music in my heart.

How Hailey Spent Her 12th Birthday

Hailey was lucky this year to have Auntie Anna visiting on her birthday!  It is the first birthday Anna has been at our house to celebrate.  Anna soon learned that celebration = food in our house!
  The birthday person gets to pick the menu for the day and I must say Hailey has excellent taste.
For breakfast it was creamed eggs over toast.
 Hailey loves Sushi, so it was California rolls of all varieties for everyone but Hank.  He had the rare turkey and American cheese sushi roll with a side of gold fish crackers.
We did lots of crafts while Anna was here and for her birthday craft, Hailey wanted to paint.
Anna got her a book on painting flowers.  I guess she is a fast learner.
The birthday girl's favorite dinner of king crab, artichokes and pasta with daddy's homemade cheese sauce.
 No cake!  Gasp!  Brownie sundaes instead.  Oh, they were so good.  Too bad we all gained 12 pounds in one day!

Presents!  Hank got Hailey a Monsters Inc tank top, Kaitlin got her a 4 pack of horse movies, Karlie got her two sketch pads and then she had to go on a scavenger hunt for her present from Max and me.  Karlie had made up the hunt and had Hailey searching all over the house.  She finally found the big box holding her new bedset.  Hailey wanted to redo her room.  Goodbye horses and hello cool blue.  You know when the horse decor goes out that your little girl is really growing up. :(
Then we had our first inaugural nighttime swim.  We threw in 30 glow sticks and let the kids go wild.  They had a blast with Max.
It was a fun day celebrating Hailey!

Happy 12th Birthday Hailey!

Happy Birthday HJ!
I just can't believe my eyes when I see how much you have grown in a year.  You are no longer my little girl but a beautiful young woman.  We brought you home from the hospital as a little 5 pound peanut and now you can share shoes and shirts with me!  Pretty soon I will be getting hand-me downs from you. :)
You are such a pleasure to have as a daughter.  You are kind, loving, mature, easy going and have a heart for God.  Almost as astonishing as your growth is your artistic abilities.  Everyday you improve on your drawings and never cease to amaze us with your artistic abilities.  Your passion for horses has made you the most advanced rider at your barn and your hard work paid off with completing 6th grade with straight A's.  Brains, beauty, and heart, you have it all.  We hope you have a very happy day! I Love you my sweet Jo.

Happy, Happy, Happy

Max had a happy, happy, happy Father's Day.
 Karlie cooked him a breakfast of eggs, sausage and pancakes.  She made a menu and took orders from everyone.  The choices were plain, blueberry, raspberry or chocolate chip pancakes.  She did an excellent job for her first breakfast.
 It was another hot Arizona day.  The Weber was 150 degrees before Max fired her up for ribs.
 Hot indeed!
Our signature dinner of ribs and grilled veggies.
The gift they were most excited to give Max was a duck call.  We have recently become fans of Duck Dynasty and while we were at Bass Pro they unanimously decided Daddy need a duck call.  I am not sure there are many ducks in the desert but maybe Max can call them to the pool. 
Max and I have not been camping since Hailey was 18 months old.  After Max's desert trip we started thinking  the kids were ready for family camping trips.  They all got really excited to go camping and decided they wanted to get Max some essentials like a camp stove, lantern, cooking spices and a giant carabiner.   I think that is a hint Dad!  Their cards were so sweet and thoughtful.
Hank was very excited to wrap the present in a Batman bag.  He gave him a Batman puzzle and a lantern.
I asked Hank what he wanted me to write on his card.  It was a bit like free association. :)
Dear Daddy,
Thanks for making the house nice, for fixing things, making my bat symbol.  Thanks for letting me have your balls and buying my golf club.  Happy Father's Day!  
Love, Hank.
Then he drew Max and himself. 
I think he sees them as having Spidey powers.
Kaitlin picked out a giant flashlight and wrote this in her card.
To my wonderFul daddy!  I can not see with out you.  I Love you when you fixs the light.  You make my life brighter.
Love, Kaitlin
 When Karlie saw the spice combo set she knew instantly that was what she wanted to get him.  Here is her card. 
The spices you like!  The food in the forest!  Hungry for the cyan (cayenne) pepper, pass the salt and pepper please.  How much do you want the paprika (paprika)?  Can I have the garlic bread with extra garlic?
Love, your gal, Karlie
Hailey saw a foot long carabiner and knew that was the gift for daddy.
She is such the poet.
Strong, dependable, faithful and true,
All these words describe you!
The one that we hang on, depend on, the one that holds up,
KHKKH know you'll never give up!
The guy to latch on
The guy that holds on long.
The one who loves with all his might
And protects us in the night.
Like a carabiner you hold us up,
Just like your.... Red Solo Cup!
Love you Daddy!

Sweet Summer Times

I love summertime with kids!  It is so fun to have time to do whatever we feel like.
Sometimes it's a lazy morning playing board games and staying in our PJ's until lunch.
 Other days we take field trips.  While Max was out of town we visited Bass Pro Shop.  The kids acted like it was Disneyland.
They were awing and oohing at all the animals so much when we walked in the greeter started laughing at them. 
 The asked if we could stay for hours, so we did.  They fed the trout, rode the free carousel, tried out all the ATVs, looked at all the rifles, camo clothes, and played in the tents.
They even got a mini archery lesson.  They loved visiting Bass Pro and can't wait to return. Raising us some fine redneck kids. :)
 There is time for painting.  Karlie is rather talented.  She did Hank's Bat and Kaitlin's sunset all by herself.  They just came out and surprised me!
 While the girls were at their music lesson one night Max and Hank got to hit some golf balls.
It is so fun to get to work out with Hailey in the mornings.  While it would be easier if she could come to the gym with me, our home gym improvising works pretty well with coffee table dips, light saber squat bar,  and sit ups with Siri.
 Cool afternoon treats for helping me shop at Costco, Walmart and the grocery store!
 What I love most is seeing them have time to play together.  Hailey and Hank played horses while Kaitlin and Karlie played Barbies.
 Sweet summer times for sure.

Happy Father's Day To The Three Best Dads

 Happy Father's Day Snork!
I am blessed to call you Dad.  I marvel at your selfless, loving heart that continues to touch and brighten the lives of those around you.  You are the dad that always has the right tool or knob in your garage, the dad that always knows how to fix something, and the dad you know you can count on your entire life.  I wish I could hug you today.  I love you so much!
Happy Father's Day Pops!

I am grateful Max had such a wonderful example as a father.  You have taught him well.  I am also grateful that you are my second dad and that you love me like a daughter.  I have a relationship with Christ because God put you in my life.  I love you!

Happy Father's Day Max!
When I imagined a father for my children, he didn't come close to the father you are Max.  You inspire me to be a better mother watching you with our kids.  You are loving, playful and devoted.  If they leave the house only knowing one thing, it will be that they were treasured.  Thank you for being you and doing life with me and our rowdy bunch.  You make all our dreams come true.  Love you baby.

All About Dance

While my family was visiting the girls had their end of the year dance recital.  It was really great for Grandma to be there for the girls.  Hailey enjoyed a night hanging with the adults.  Karlie and Kaitlin's dance school puts on a pretty amazing show. 
 It is held at the Temp Center for the Arts over two nights and sells out completely.  It is a beautiful venue without a bad seat in the house.  We especially enjoy the bar.  Nearly three hours of dancing is far more enjoyable with a glass of vino. :)  
But the range of dancers from 3 years old to competitive teen dancers is thoroughly entertaining.  I loved watching my girls strut their stuff.

 No filming is allowed at the actual performance so here are their dances at the dress rehearsal.  Dress rehearsal is the first time parents get to see their kids' dances, so I didn't realize the dance wasn't over and stopped filming.  Kaitlin's dance is in Part I and II.  She is in the middle.

While Kaitlin thought it was fun to try dance, Karlie is passionate about it.  She aspires to be on the company team one day.  She is the second from the left in the front.

The girls were thrilled to have my sister do their make-up.  She did a great job, a little too good if you ask me!
Who are these beautiful ladies?  It has taken me two years of dance to accept the stage make-up look.  It is true the lights really wash them out but wow it makes them look so mature.  Makes this mama a little uncomfortable.  But they sure love to get all dolled up. :)
We are so proud of our dancing K buddy Queens.
Keep Calm and Dance On!

Oasis Harlem Shake

Can you do the Harlem Shake?  We can!

Family Fun

Grammy, Grampu, Aunt Bubbus, RJ, Rayah and Alanah came to visit us last week!
The kids have so much fun hanging out with their cousins.
We have perfected the art of eating while we have company.
Cherries poolside had us all reminiscing about P-town pool days.  Its only been 20 years but the music and cherries made it feel like yesterday.
Dessert is in order every night.
The grill master provides ribs, brawts and burgers while I provide the sides and dessert.
Poolside snacks for the kids.  You can get them to eat ANYTHING.  This is prime time for veggies and fruit.   :)  Might be the only healthy eating of the day.
They are like locust and need to be fed constantly so lots of kid snacks are needed. 
Bubbus is drumming up a new business idea of poolside haircuts at your home.  We sure liked it.  Brush off and jump in the pool.  Gramps and Karlie both got Great Clips by Kerrie.
After.  Karlie has been waiting until after her dance recital that requires a bun, to cut her hair short.  Ta-da!
Water is essential when it is over 100 degrees.  Therefore, we have become experts at pool play and water relaxation techniques.
Max created the beer flotilla.  Cooler and kid option is an upgrade from the standard drink cup holder model.
This way he could have Hank retrieve the beer out of the cooler and he didn't have to move for many beers.  Hank thought it was a pretty rough life as the beer boy.  My two redneck cowboys.
Alanah wasn't a huge fan of the water, but I bet after a few more visits she will be a convert like the rest of the clan.
Kerrie and I have identical white suits and ended up with similar black suits too.  1000 miles away and still looking like twins.  I still think blondes have more fun though. ;)
I went a little batty for my Bat boy and had to get the Batwoman suit when I saw it.  His face was priceless when I came out in it.
Max took Hailey, Hank and RJ on a hot ride.  Hailey died and became a sand angle.  I think the bike days are over until fall.
I am so happy the kids got a chance to spend so much time being cousins.  It is one of the things I miss most about moving away.  Karlie and Rayah loved playing all things girl, especially hair salon.
Kaitlin had a real life baby doll.  Could she be any cuter?!  Kaitlin will be following in my footsteps and have a herd of children.  She loves babies just like her mama.
Great Grandpa came for dinner one night.  He and Hank have a special connection.  It warmed my heart to see them snuggled up watching baseball and playing mindcraft.  At one point they were both dozing off together. 
We love to celebrate life, love and family.
Thank you for coming!  I know how difficult it is to travel with little kids and we appreciate your effort to visit us!  Love you and can't wait to see you in July!