Sweet Summertime!!!!

 This morning I packed lunches for the last time for the 2013-2014 school year!
 Some sure signs of summer!
As the year goes by I know the kids are growing and changing but when I look at their first day of school to their last day, it is really apparent just how much!
Hailey had braces and was still more a girl than a lady.
Nothing little girl about her now.
 Karlie had a major growth spurt this year!
And ended up with braces.  It has changed the shape of her face already.
Kaitlin grew so much emotionally.  Last year she use to cry often at school because she missed me.
Not a single tear this year!  It might help that she adores her teacher and would move in with her if she would let her. :)
Hank the Tank lost any remnant of toddler hood this year.
He is sports crazed and we affectionately call him frat boy for his antics that are always making us laugh.
 Such a great gang!  I think I am more excited about summer than they are.  The girls are all a little sad, even teary about the year being over.  Meanwhile they had to tolerate me blaring Roar and We Are The Champions during breakfast.  I am sure they are thinking its going to be a LONG summer with crazy mom.  But I am like a kid on Christmas Eve.  I get to play with my presents for 10 Weeks!  Whoot-Whoot!!
Hair gets lighter, Skin gets darker, Music gets louder, Nights get longer, Life gets better. This Summer. 
Here is a little Roar to get you in the mood for sweet summertime!!

Our Little Star

Our little star isn't so little anymore.
 Hank's kindergarten class had their Star Performance, which is like their graduation.  They sang  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and songs about growing up. :(  There may have been a few tears.
 They shouted out about moving up to first grade!
 Hank has grown SO much this year.  He is all boy but learned to be a good student and how to behave.  He sure loved going to school and his teacher.  In his binder we could see the progress from the beginning of the year to where he could barely write his name to writing sentences and sounding out words.
Just like that my last baby is done with kindergarten and I am now a mom of big kids.  Growing pains for sure, but Hank is a shooting star and will go far.  I just wish I could keep him all his brightness for myself.

Go Getter

 Karlie is a go getter!  If there is a club, she wants in it.  If there is extra credit, she does it.  If there is a more challenging class she can be in, she wants in.  If there is a group, she is leading it.
  Karlie really wanted to be teacher for the day.  Her school has a fundraiser each year and you can bid on being teacher for a day at the silent auction.  Luckily for Karlie the bid didn't get too high and she won it!  But she wasn't content just showing up for work.  She spent the weekend creating a lesson plan and all the activities she would have her classmates do. :)  Karlie also does math olympiad.  The kids had to design a math board game.  She begged to bring it home so she could work on it to make it better.  She spent hours creating her game so it could be the best.
 This year Karlie participated in the school robotics team where she learned to code.  During robotics they built their robots and had challenges that required the kids to program the robots to perform the specific activities.  For their final meeting they competed to see who could program the robot the fastest.  She LOVED it!  This week she was selected for the competition team next year!  Over the summer she is planning on creating a multiplication App for the App store with her new coding skills.  It is a little awkward when your 4th grader is smarter than you in an area.  I wouldn't have a clue how to code, much less build an App.  I have a feeling with her it won't be long until she is smarter than me several areas!
The school strings concert was last week and our go getter was the only one to have a solo.  She is fearless and determined!
To finish her year with a bang, she tried out for the media club.  Each classroom is equipped with a TV and the 5th grade media club mans the camera, does the weather, and has anchors deliver the morning announcements.  Karlie was thrilled to find out she made it into the media club!  As the 5th graders transitioned the positions to current 4th graders, they have gotten to try out the various roles.  This is Karlie as an anchor.  She led the pledge of allegiance, reported the cafeteria menu for the day and did birthday announcements!  
I must say she has a very confident and clear voice.  Who knows, maybe news anchor is in her future.  The only thing I do know is with her her determination, Sparkle's future is bright!  Go Get'em Girl!

Nation Junior Honor Society

Last week Hailey was inducted into the Nation Junior Honor Society.
She is one of 27 students in her school chapter to be invited to participate.  
 Membership is based on scholarship, leadership, service, character, and citizenship.  She will have to perform at least 15 hours of community service outside of school.  She also is required to write an extensive paper on leadership and legacy that is submitted to the state and national chapters.  Last year her school had the Arizona state winner!
We are so proud of you Hailey!  You work so hard to maintain a 4.0.   Your nomination into the honor society is a reflection of your character, determination, leadership, and how highly your teachers regard you.  We know this is just the beginning of the many accomplishments you will achieve in your academic career!

One of Those Nights...

Friday was one of those nights.  You all know how much I love Tim McGraw.  He came to Phoenix and of course we had to go!  We have made friends with a great couple that just might have been to more Tim concerts than we have.  So we decide to get a group of us and roll in style this time!
 We got a limo!!!  I have only been in a limo on my wedding so this was quite the treat!  I guess I could get use to doing it every 20 years or so!
 It was such a fun and special night!
 Our friend Dave got us front stage spots!!!  Our tickets were in the 200s section but he said follow me and walked us up to the front!  EEEEKKKK!! (teenage fan girl scream!)
 That's the stage I am holding on to!!
 I got to touch his hand twice and boot once!!
 I was telling Max that I am not sure I want to go to another one of his concerts.  It just doesn't get any better than this!
It was really one of those nights that I will always remember.

Kaitlin's Author's Tea

The end of the school year brings many ceremonies and activities at the school.  The second grade class had an Author's Tea.  Each child complied a notebook with writings about their family and themselves.  Then family members could come and read over the books while snacking on tea and cookies.
I think Kaitlin is emulating Hailey's art here. :)
Kind to people
Acottofbilale (accountable)
Incredobole (incredible) at reading
Terrific at tennis
Loves family
Is a good sister
I couldn't agree more!
I love her entry to Dad and that she says, "You are such a great fixer.  You can fix anything."
The sweetest part was a hardbound book she made titled When I grow old with you Hailey.
She illustrated and drew stories about growing up with Hailey.  They draw, they ride purple bikes, they play games, and they go to the beach.  Her last page is so fun.
When I grow old with you Hailey, we will go to the beach in the summer.  We will go to the beach and surf on a surfboard.  We will go to the beach in Mexico.  We will get a tan and have toecks.  I was momentarily panicked and thought she meant Tecates.  But no, it was tacos!  :)
Reading through her binder, it is easy to see that Kaitlin has such a big heart and kind soul.  She is always there to lend someone a helping hand.  She is very responsible and organized.  Her teacher has told me many times she can always count on Kaitlin to know the plan for the day and where something might be that is missing.  Seeing her writings makes me so proud of her.  When I think back to her speech delay and Mama was her only word, I can't believe she is almost done with second grade and has blossomed so much in her language abilities.

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!
Today is a special day.  It is not a day that I feel I should be pampered or given gifts and flowers for.  While those things are all nice and lovely, today is really a day about me.  It is about getting a chance to be what I have always wanted to be, a mom.  I revel in this day.  Not to hear how great I am or what a good mom I am, but because I GET to be a mom.  As a young woman I feared I would have trouble having children.  Luckily that was not the case and each time Max and I decided we wanted another baby we were granted one... immediately.  But I have known plenty of women that struggled through years of infertility and some who Mother's Day became a painful day because as hard as they tried, they would never become pregnant.  So, I do not take this day for granted.
I am grateful to be in the Mother's Day club and to be able to celebrate motherhood.  No other job on this earth completes me or fulfills me like motherhood.  Tonight I read each of the kids You Are My I Love You at bedtime, I cried.  I figured by the time I got to Hailey I would be able to suck it up.  No such luck.  Every time I read "I am your water wings, you are my deep", emotions rolled over me like the tide rolling in.  It is so huge to be a mom.  As I teared up Hailey assured me, "I know how to swim Mom, it's ok."  Ah, but my sweet, you have to learn to swim in life.  I am not ready to take off the water wings.  I love them so much and wish more than anything I could hit pause.  What if you are living your dream?  Motherhood is my dream and boy is it a good one.  One that I don't want to end anytime soon.

Proud To Be Americans

Ever since we started attending the kids' school three years ago, I always noticed how dilapidated their flags were. The flags are the first thing you see as you park and head toward the entrance.
  As the sun continued to beat down on them and the wind whipped them each school day, they became more and more deteriorated.
 As I picked up the kids every afternoon, it began to gnaw at me.  Recently, the flags had become so worn that a hole was visible in the Arizona flag.  I kept thinking any day now they will have to replace them.  The tattered flags made the school look run down and left you with a deflated sense of country and state.  They were old, worn, and wilted.
 I finally decided to ask if we could donate new flags to the school.  The principal was thrilled!  Apparently it was on her summer to do list to find money in a scarce budget for new flags.  I ordered them and delivered them with a little note saying that we were proud to be Americans, happy to now call Arizona our home state, and excited to be a part of the school's excellent achievement.  (They were recently awarded A+ School of Excellence by the Arizona Education Foundation.)
 The next day the same tattered flags were flown.  Hmm?  Then again the second day I came to school and still the old flags.  I wondered if there was some sort of bureaucratic rule barring a flag donation?  That day Karlie came home with a thank you note and reported that the principal did not want to fly the flags until we could be the first ones to raise them. :)
 The daily flag raising duty is rotated through the 5th grade class.  They are instructed on proper flag etiquette and raise and lower the flags each day.  It was quite a big deal for a kindergarten, second and fourth grader to raise the flags. :)
 The principal instructed the kids and explained the symbols of the flags as they learned to respectfully raise them.
 She then asked if Hank would be in Cub Scouts next year and if he would like to keep the old flags to properly dispose of them through the Cub Scout ceremony.  He eagerly accepted!
As I pick the kids up each day and see the bright, new flags flying high I feel my patriotism flowing.  I am so proud to live in America and all the freedoms my family enjoys.  We have grown to love our community and our school and were honored to get to donate such an important symbol to the school.

Party Like Its May

May has sprung and we welcomed it with a weekend full of celebration!

 My sister Mel, her husband Colin, and their daughter Corrin came to visit us for the first weekend in May.  Corrin came with me on Friday to pick up the little kids from school.  I couldn't help but treat them all to a kids Frappuccino while Starbucks was having happy hour. 
 They were here for our first triple digit temperature of the year!  Unfortunately, the first of many to come.
There is really only one thing to do when it is 100 degrees outside.  Slip-N-Slide and swim!
It has been a while since we had a Slip-N-Slide.  Even Hailey got in on it!
 We spent lots of time in the pool and playing cornhole.  Corrin got a dose of crazy kids in the pool.
 There are so many fun things to celebrate in May.  Of course we had our own version of a Derby Party.  Margaritas instead of Mint Juleps, bathing suits instead of business suits, and sun hats instead of Derby hats!  But I would argue we had just as much fun!
 Per Oasis standard, there were periods of over eating.  Max's ribs made an appearance along with many other opportunities to indulge.  Desserts were the kids' choice.  May means summer in Scottsdale, and nothing quite taste like summer but S'mores.
Sunday was May the Fourth, an important day for all Star Wars fans.  Max wore his Chewbacca shirt and blared Star Wars movies throughout the day.  :)  We had been watching our mama Quail and her nest all weekend.  To our surprise all of her little chicks hatched on May the Fourth!  With Siri already taking down two babies, the Force will need to be with these little ones. :(  They are so cute!  I hope they make it.
Thank you for coming and visiting us!  We had so much fun (maybe a little too much)!