Desert Dudes

Growing up Max, his brother, and his Dad would meet Max's uncles in Galway Dry Lake to do the thing dudes do.  They blow stuff up, ride motorcycles, camp, and have a good old time.

I wouldn't let Hank go last year.  He was just too little.  But Max and Hank worked on me for a year, and ultimately I gave in.
 Just as there is something special about a mother and daughter bond, there is something wonderful and special about a father and son bond.  This trip was all about Just Me And My Dad for Hank.  He couldn't wait to go!
So my little man headed out to be indoctrinated into the world of men and what dudes do in the desert.
 Their camp is very primitive with no running water or toilets.  But Max was sure to spruce up the place with the American flag and our pirate flag.  Only the essentials.  LOL
 Four grown men riding dirt bikes, shooting guns, starting camp fires, and never having to take a shower.  Hank had the time of his life!!
 Special time with Pops.
 Only the healthiest cuisine of hot dogs, Spaghetti O's, S'mores, Cheetos's and Fruit Loops.  Why would Hank ever want to leave?!
 While Hank blew up some stuff, his real love was the dune buggy.
Uncle Dave brought Louie's dune buggy.  I have a feeling I will be seeing one of these in our garage...
According to Max this was all Hank wanted to do!
He even got to drive!
Hank was exhausted and barely able to keep his eyes open at night, yet he begged Max to read him the story Just Me And My Dad.  This boy sure loves his daddy.
I was so relieved when the boys got home and the worst injury Hank had was a little sunburn. :)
 Both of the boys had such a grand time.  I am grateful they had this special time together and that Max has an opportunity to hang out with his family and do dude stuff. :)


 Yesterday Hailey got her braces off!!  
Here she is 23 months ago to the day, with the same shirt and by the same tree.  Quite a transformation!
 We celebrated with a bubble gum bubble blowing contest with gum that has sugar in it!
 Hailey killed me and was the champion.
 For dinner we ate foods that are braces worst enemy.  Corn on the the cob, bratwurst, and carmel dipped apples for dessert.
Hailey is still getting use to her "slimy teeth" and Max and I are still trying to get use to our stunning gal!
Max thinks it is time to install a gun rack in the entry way, while I am checking tuition at an all girls school.  Hailey is a real beauty from the inside out!

Millionaires Club

This week Karlie earned an award in the Millionaires Club at school.  Three months ago she earned her first million words read and on Monday she completed 2 million words read this year!!  Hailey made the million mark in her 5th grade year, so our determined Karlie had to beat that score.  She became a 2 millionaire in 4th grade!  Karlie and her best friend are in a competition to see who can read more words this year.  I am not sure they can reach 3 million by the end of the year, but don't count Karlie out.
We really stress the importance of reading and as a result we are rich with readers.  Some nights we have to make Karlie stop reading.  I will catch her with her reading lamp on reading way past bedtime.  :) I can't wait to see how many millions this girl earns next year!

Great Weekend With Grandparents

 The kids' spring break started with Gigi's celebration and having Nana and Pops here and then it ended with Grammy and Grandpu coming for the weekend.
They just love spending time with their grandparents.  We went to lunch and they played a serious game of Sorry.  Team Hank and Grampu were victorious!

 Max and I were lucky enough to go on a date to a spring training game.  It was battle of the birthplaces as we watched the LA Angels and Colorado Rockies battle it out.  They tied!
But lets, be honest.  The best part of the game is a cold beer and a hot dog!  We tired their Sonoran Dogs.  Pretty much the best hot dog ever.  We had such a wonderful time and are so grateful Grammy and Gandpu watched the kids and chauffeured us.  Grammy took Karlie and Kaitlin shopping while Hailey and Hank hung with Gramps by the pool.  It was a home run day for all of us.
That night one of the strangest things happened.  My cousin Derek, who lives in California, happened to be in town for a bachelor party.  He called up Snork to see if they could swing by.  Of course they could!  We couldn't wait to see Derek.  I imagined he and one or two guys would come over.  I didn't imagine a group of bachelors would want to come to a house with 4 kids and grandparents, but to my surprise 9 men showed up in two taxis.  Luckily we had stocked up on beer and food.  They were all very sweet and polite, but I just kept thinking it was strange to have 9 men in the house who are in Phoenix to have a good time.  While our house is a lot of fun, it is not your typical post spring training, bachelor party destination.  It's not every day you see grown men in a tree house, sliding down slides and riding scooters.  How they were convinced to come to our house, I will never know.  None the less, it made for a party and Max and I are always down for some fun!  It was 30 pack of Tecate kind of night and it was really great to see Derek.  The kids thought he was the coolest cousin! We all had really fun and nice weekend together.

Karlie's Harry Potter Party

Karlie decided for her 10th birthday that she wanted a Harry Potter themed birthday.  After seeing Hailey grow up so much in a year's span, I know this could be the last big theme birthday party for Karlie.  Once tweenhood hits, the home birthday parties start to lose their appeal. :(
So we gave it our all for this one!  The invitations were letters to Hogwarts.

Hogwarts School
of  Witchcraft  And  Wizardry

Headmaster: Albus Dumbledore
(Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorc., Chf. Warlock,
Supreme Mugwump, International Confed. of Wizards)

Dear Miss *********,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to a special preview session of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in honor of  Karlie’s 10th birthday. The session will be held on Sunday, March 16th, from 2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.  You will have a chance to sample a few classes and have a quidditch match!

If you accept the invitation, you are to report to platform 9¾ at 2:00 p.m. (Muggle address: ***********.)  You will be transported to Diagon Alley to purchase school supplies, and then to Hogwarts, where sorting will commence promptly at 2:30.

Please R.S.V.P.  to Katie by owl no later than March 15th to reserve your place.  (Or use your Muggle computer and email.)

Yours sincerely,
Minerva McGonall
Minerva McGonagall,
Deputy Headmistress
Then we sealed them with wax and hand delivered them by owl.
I think I have created a party planning monster.  Karlie was the head party planner.  I can only imagine what planning her wedding will be like.  :)  She had a definite vision of what she wanted and there was no convincing her of any other option.  I am not use to having to negotiate ideas and explain there is a limit to my abilities.  LOL
She was thrilled to create all the parts of the party.  I think she had as much fun prepping for the party as she did the actual party.
She and Kaitlin put together Harry Potter candy bags that we then put in the Piñata.  The Bertie Bott's Beans were the crowd pleaser.  The girls loved trying the vomit, dirt, booger and other gross flavored jelly beans.  They couldn't wait to give them to their siblings.

I made robes for each of the kids using this really easy no sew tutorial and then glued on the house patches.
Karlie also wanted a potions class.  She found three potions to make from this website.  We went to the dollar store and collected various jars.  She then labeled them and filled them with the necessary ingredients.
 Exploding Ginger Eyelash: Pop-rocks
Stardew: honey with a little bit of added water 

Bat Spleen: Gushers
Dragon Blood: Cranberry Juice
Horklump Juice: Lemonade
Infusion of Wormwood: Strawberry soda
Unicorn Blood: Cream soda
Mermaid Tears: Sprite
Pond Slime: partially mashed kiwi
Baneberry: blackberries
Puffer-fish Eyes: popping bob as (we bought from the frozen yogurt store)
Octopus Powder: Tang Powder
Ground Mandrake Root: Kool-aid powder
Nightshade: Crystal Light powder

 A little dragon came to get some love from Mommy during all the hustle and bustle.  I can always slay a dragon with a kiss.
Everyone was dressed in character.  Hailey was Albus Dumbledore.  I was professor McGonagall and Max was professor Snape.
While we were waiting for all the girls to arrive, they played find the golden snitch.  Whoever found it first earned a golden dollar. 
 Hank and Kiki found it!
Karlie planned every detail of the girls going shopping in Diagon Alley.  She used the left over Mardi Gras coins as money for each of them to shop with to buy their supplies for Hogwarts.

 We made each of them a Potions Book that color corresponded with the house they would be placed in.
 We made chocolate frogs and acid pops for them to but from HoneyDukes.
 They each needed a cauldron and glasses.
 We found brooms at the dollar store, so they each got a Nimbus 2000 broom that was also color coordinated with their house.
Karlie's most important detail was the wand.  I put a light under it and as the kids grabbed a wand, if the wand chose them, the light lit up the vase.  If it was not the wand for them, it didn't glow and they had to choose again.
After shopping at Diagon Alley, the kids jumped through Platform 9 3/4 to take the train to Hogwarts.

In the great hall they were sorted into their houses and given their robes (we forgot to get pictures.)  We had the sorting hat and she yelled out their house.  Karlie presorted the girls based on their personalities.  I had to memorize who went where!
 After the sorting ceremony, they were off to potions class with professor Snape.
 I loved listening to the giggling girls as they tried their potions and tried to determine what the ingredients were.  They even got Snape to crack up.
This was so fun but SO messy!  A must do outside. 
 Karlie really wanted a Quidditch match.  Max covered hula hoops with duct tape and hung them from the trees on both ends of the yard.
 The teams were divided up.  The rules were that you had to stay on your broom.
 They had a blast!
 It was much harder than they thought it would be.
Max threw the Golden Snitch in and team Slytherin and Hufflepuff captured it and won the match!
The final activity was blast the piñata.  Karlie cracked it open and they each got their goody bags of Harry Potter themed candy.
Karlie designed her cake and we did our best to make it a reality.  The sorting hat turned out so cute.
We tired to make it the most magical party for our spirited, bright, and determined Sparkle.  Happy double digits my sweet girl!