All Heart

I typically like to celebrate any opportunity I can.  This Valentine's was a little hectic as we were having company coming in the morning.  I wasn't as prepared as prior years and Kaitlin wasn't about to let me off the hook.  She requested pink, heart pancakes like last year.  When I told her I was busy cleaning and getting ready, she replied, "you were much more into it last year."
 Well, I just can't stand to disappoint, so pink heart and chocolate chip pancakes it was. :)
 Luckily Max was willing to jump in as the breakfast chef for me!  He always makes sure his ladies smile.
 I did remember to get a few sweet treats for my Valentines.  They were very excited to open their Valentine's from Nana and Pops too.  Hank wondered how Nana knew he needed a dry eraser marker.  I still don't think he understands there were Valentine's from Mommy and Daddy and Nana and Pops.
 Even Siri had some sweet treats.
With this being my last baby, we had to go all out and do the play dough Valentine's.  Hank loved rolling out the play dough and making the hearts.  He worked so hard to write his name nicely for his classmates and wanted to save the nicest one for his teacher.  It hurts my heart that this will be the last Kindergarten Valentine's Day.  They are so pure and sweet at this age.
 As I was rushing about the house, I forgot to get a pic of Hailey before she left for school.  But I did get 3 of my 5 Valentines.  I love them all to the moon and back... 5 times!
 Max took Hailey while I took this trio for a special coco and doughnut treat on the way to school.
 Hank's class had a Valentine's Day Fashion show where the kids dressed up in their parent's clothes.
 Hank was thrilled to dress up as Daddy.
 Each of the kids wrote a book about their parents.  His teacher read an entry as each of them walked the catwalk.  Hank had some funny things to share.
 "My dad's name is Max.  He is 89 years old.  My mom's name is Katie and she's 86.  They met in college.  My mom's favorite color is purple and my dad lies the color black.  My mom and dad like to eat cookies (chocolate chip is their favorite).  They both like to teach me math.  They are happy when I clean my room.  They are mad when I break a glass.  I like to play Legos with my Mom and basketball with my Dad.  I love my mom and dad because the y are nice to me!"
 His teacher is so wonderful.  This is my 4th rodeo through Kindergarten and I can't say enough about her gift for teaching.  We are so blessed to have her introduce the love of learning to Hank.  She has connected with him when we couldn't.  She has a heart the size of Texas and we love her almost as much as Hank does.
 The classic Hank cake was a unanimous request.  Our guest seemed equally pleased as our kids to enjoy it!
 One of the best treats of the day was that my sister Chrysti and her family came to visit us for the long weekend.  The kids just love spending time with their cousins.  I had to laugh at the mine craft explosion.  Listening to them build and interact was funny.  Strange how kids today play.
 What is better than a giant slumber party and mush pot?  Siri found her way into the middle of it all.  She wasn't about to be left out of the pack.  I read the story of Cupid to the kids because in the morning Kaitlin had asked me about him and why he was naked.  So I thought I had better learn a little more about him.  The kids teach me so much each day.  But on this day I hope to teach them a little about love and how they own my heart.  Max and my love created little people that have filled my heart so full of love that I give all my heart to attempt to show them how dear they are to me.  Valentine's Day is one of my favorite days!

Soul Sisters Part II

 As luck would have it, the weekend Patti, Marley and Lucy were in town, the Parada del Sol was going on.  It is the world's largest horse drawn parade. 
 Arizona likes their horses!
 They kicked off the parade with a cattle drive. :)
 Along with all the gorgeous horses, Scottsdale schools, Girl Scouts, charity groups and rodeo queens were featured.
 A few cars with its horse power under the hood rolled by.  Even General Lee made an appearance.
 Hank has the most amazing teacher.  She was honored for her excellence for gaining her national certification.  They think she is the youngest teacher in the district to earn her national credentials.  She was so excited to see Hank cheering her on!  We love her to death.
Right along the parade route is one of Scottsdale's icons, the Sugar Bowl.  It's 1950s diner feel and sweet menu makes for smiles all around. 
It was just what we needed to start a weekend of fun!
 Of course there was much hot tubing.  The girls were a little disappointed that the pool was only 58 degrees.
 One afternoon we tie dyed shirts.  I got the girls matching leggings and socks for a a PJ set.  No pink pants for Hank but he did have a shirt.
 The girls put on a play about two princesses and two servant girls.  I am sure you can guess who was cast as the princesses and who was the servants.  Karlie is quite the director and Marley is quite the actress.
 Can't have a visit without cake!
 These two wanted to frost it.  I think they got as much frosting on themselves as on the cake.
 Hank was such a sweet boy.  He did are really good job handling being the odd man out... literally.
 But the ladies were also really good about including him as much as possible.  The manicure and pedicure portion was a little rough, but he pulled through. With all these girls around all the time, he sure is going to know how to treat a lady.
One night we went out to a classic wild west steak house.  The saloon had live country music, live rattle snakes, and claims to have the world's largest necktie collection.  No ties allowed means they have cut off over 2 million ties and hung them from the ceiling.
It was so wonderful to see these two back together.   They are already planning on where they will go to college together. :)  We loved having Marley, Lucy and Patti visit us.  We can't wait to see them again this summer!

Soul Sisters Part One

 Earlier this month Karlie's best friend came to visit her!  Karlie and Marley met on back to school night of their Kindergarten year.  The stars aligned and these two soul sisters were united.  They are the perfect compliment to each other. Where one is daring, the other is cautious.  Where one is shy, the other encourages her to be outgoing.  They are so happy together.  Since we moved each of them have struggled to find a friend that is as true as each other.  Without knowing it, they had virtually the same outfits.
When we moved at the end of Karlie's first grade year, I figured in time their friendship would wane.  I mean, they were only 7 and distance has a way of weakening adult friendships that had been built for years.  But Karlie and Marley have a unique bond.  They have only seen each other once in nearly 3 years but they were instantly on the same page.  They text and often I will find Karlie doing her homework while Face Timing Marley.  They sit in silence each doing their work but just wanting to be in each other's presence.  They have the type of friendship that is comforting and without trying they make each other very happy.
Marley's little sister Lucy is also a dear friend to Kaitlin.  They had a blast being buddies for the weekend!
 The first day we went to the Musical Instrument Museum.  It is a wonderful museum and honestly something I would expect to see in much bigger cities like San Francisco or New York.  You could spend the entire day listening to music from around the world.  I highly recommend it if you are ever visiting Scottsdale.
 They have numerous stations throughout where you can try the instruments too.  Karlie busted out Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which got the attention of the volunteer.   He was probably happy to hear someone play rather than screech.
 The kids loved this!
 It was really loud, especially while the school group was in there.
 The song Happy Together comes to mind. :)
So happy together 
So happy together 
How is the weather 
So happy together 
We're happy together 
So happy together 
Happy together 
So happy together 
So happy together
 The green piano created by Dale Chihuly was Karlie's favorite piece. :)
 Hank and Hailey went to school but I let the K buddies play hookie to hang out with their buddies.  We had such a nice girls day out at the museum.
The day could only get sweeter with a little ice cream treat for our sweeties.
Lots of giggles and joy filled the house.  Next up was a day seeing Scottsdale and the crazy wild west desert.

Spartan Stud

On February 9th, Max raced in the Arizona Spartan Sprint Race.  We were going to do it together but a sinus infection and cold left me on the sidelines as the photographer.  I have to say I wasn't overly disappointed at not being able to race.  :)  It was very cool to watch Max be able to go full throttle instead of holding back to race with me.  He killed it!
The race was 4.2 miles in the McDowell Mountains with 20 obstacles.  If you are unable to complete an obstacle you have to do 30 burpees.
 I was able to about half of the obstacles.
 I made friends with some people in the stands and since I couldn't yell, the man cheered on Max for me!  After the race, Max was wondering who was yelling his name.
 The spear throw near the end of the race was the only obstacle Max didn't complete.  The spears are weighted strangely and have a hard time sticking in the bale.  His aim was true, but it just didn't stick.
 A second barbwire crawl toward the finish.
 He jumped off the end into a mud pool.  Yuck!  I was really liking my sinus infection at this point!
 Max said this obstacle was one of the hardest because it was a mental challenge.  After running 4 miles you are exhausted and gasping for breath, the last thing your body wants to do is hold its breath while you go under a wall in muddy water.
 He did it!
Now he had to climb a wet, muddy wall.  There were more than a few major wipe outs.

 But Max scaled it like nothing.
Over the flames to the finish line!!!
 Stud is pretty much the only word that comes to my mind...
Max has been lifting weights but has not done cardio since he was sick with Valley Fever.  So after no running training he complete the course in 1 hour and 3 minutes.  He took 85th out of 3373 racers, 11th in his age group out of 315.  He was in the top 3% of racers!  Can you imagine if he actually worked on his running?   I am so proud of my Spartan!  Way to go Max!

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