100 Days of School

We have reached the all important mark of a 100 days of school!  That means only 80 days of school left.  But who's counting?
 First grade is the last grade that makes a big celebration of the 100th day of school.  Each child makes a poster of 100 things.  Hank wanted to count out jelly beans again.  This year he colored the poster all by himself.
We had a good laugh at his 100 day book he made at school.
I would want 100 candes (candies).
I can make 100 bloks (blocks).
I can eat 100 snacs (snacks).
I could never eat 100 nuts!
Having 100 nuts could really be a problem.
If I had $100 I would buy a corvet (Corvette). :0)
Love our little nut!

Sunday Fun Day

With the holiday weekend we were able to spend all day Sunday playing!
I knew it was going to be a good day when it started with a family morning snuggle.  Each one slowly toddled into our bed until we had 5 monkeys in the bed.  Of course Hailey would sleep until lunch if we let her.  
We went to church and had a great message about living in the moment.  So we decided to climb the little mountain by our house that we have named Baby Mountain.  Four Peaks down!
We decided to let Siri come, which in hind sight was not the best idea.  But our loyal girl wouldn't let bouldering stop her from staying with the pack.  Even if she cut her foot. :(
 It is only a quarter of a mile but you gain 300 feet of elevation and there is no trail, just large lava rocks.  The kids love it and it provides an incredible view!
 We can see our house down at the base!
 Max leads and I follow to make sure all the little ducks get down the mountain.
Kaitlin found a nice chaise lounge to relax on.
 Kaitlin used her reward tickets at school to buy free ice cream coupons for the whole family.  Unfortunately when we showed up, the business had closed.  A stop at Dairy Queen did the trick however!  Its the thought that counts.
 Then it was time for play off football.  Nothing goes with football like a famous Pops grinder.  Well, maybe queso and chips...
 Everyone is a big fan!
 A perfect day that started with snuggles and ended with snuggles.
 I love three day weekends!!

Seize The Day!

With the weather already reaching the mid 70s in January, the heat is on to work on our goal to summit 12 peaks this year.  Even though we had a full day of basketball, birthday parties and and volleyball games, Max and I decided to seize the day and attempt to jog Sunrise Peak. 
The kids have already done it, so we didn't feel like they needed to go this time.  Plus it allowed us to practice for our Spartan Race.  It was almost a 4 mile round trip hike that we completed in an hour and 15 minutes.  The over 1000 ft of elevation gain proved to be very hard to jog up!
 The views are stunning.  The fountain was going in Fountain Hills!
I remember when we moved here how ugly I thought the desert was.  I called it death desert.  Now I find it so peaceful and beautiful.  Well at least in the winter and spring! :) Three peaks down, 9 to go!

Tom's Thumb

Last weekend while Hailey worked on a big school project the rest of us hiked Tom's Thumb.

It takes about a half hour from our house to reach the base and Max was dying to take the doors off the Jeep.
 We had a fun ride with music blaring and wind blowing!
 When I did my research on it, I read it was a 4 mile round trip hike that was moderately difficulty.  No problem, so I thought.
The trail was very steep and Tom's Thumb sure looked far away.  We took many breaks up the steep trail.  At times it felt like we were climbing stairs.
After about an hour we reached the first peak. 
 Tom's Thumb is in the back through the crack in the rock!

 While the kids are not huge fans of trail hiking, they LOVE to boulder.
 Max told Kaitlin to lead the way up the boulders.
 We ended up in some dead ends and some places that made me very frighted one of the fearless children might jump to their death!
But at last we made it!

Top of Tom's Thumb!  Just as we began our decent it began to sprinkle on us.  When I checked the weather app that morning there was no chance of rain, just clouds!  But the rain motivated the kids to jog down the trail.  It took us over 2 hours to make it to the top and about 30 minutes to get down!
After we conquered our 2nd of 12 peaks as we were driving home, I started looking over the trail map Kaitlin had grabbed at the beginning of our hike.  It lists all the trails in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.  I scanned down the list to Tom's Thumb where I saw its has a 1,363 ft elevation change, the length is 5 miles, and it has a double back diamond rating.  That puts it at the longest and most difficult hike in the preserve.  Oops!  I guess ignorance is bliss sometimes.  I will have to do a better job researching our future hikes. :)

Resolving To Do More

After my initial post Christmas depression, the powerful urge to do more begins to stir within me every January.  I suppose the routine of ending the year with celebrations to a gluttonous measure and the coming down from the peak of Christmas and all the joy that surrounds it, leaves me ready to start fresh and motivated for the year ahead.  I firmly believe in making resolutions or goals each year.  Albert Einstein said, "If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things."  I think while pursuing those goals you will find happiness with those around you and the things you accomplish.
We only have so many minutes on this earth.  Why would I want to waste a single one watching about Kim Kardashian's pathetic life?  I certainly won't leave my name in the history books but I can choose to have a history of loving, serving, and living life to the fullest.
 This year's goals revolve around my zest for life, a heart of service, and attitude of love.  Anyone who hangs around MKHKKH knows we run a busy house.  If we are not scheduled to be somewhere, we usually schedule something to do.  Last weekend we had a free day and decided to kick of the New Year with working toward one of our goals.  We live in an area that has some of the nation's best urban hiking.  There are numerous peaks awaiting us.  I hope to conquer 12 peaks in the Phoenix area this year.  While some may be too strenuous for the kids, I would like them to hike as many as possible.  Our first summit of 2015 was a Papago Park.  A short 3 mile hike with stunning views and many caves to explore.  Initially the kids were not thrilled with the hiking goal.  However, after this hike, they are all excited to see how high we can go!
If there is one thing we received out of our 12 Days of Giving, it was that we can chose to have an impact.  We can continue to live our lives for ourselves and enjoy the numerous blessings bestoed to us, or we can use God's gifts to pay it forward.  We had a handful of friends and family that told us they were specifically inspired to give in someway because of our 12 Days of Giving.  Our giving didn't just effect those projects we gave to, it got others to give too.  I hope to instill in our kids the heart of service.  This year I resolve to do more by serving others.  Hopefully we can be a gift in small ways to others.
All of us but Max are enrolled in tennis lessons.  I hope we can learn enough to play a few family matches in 2015!
I have a few personal goals.  Even though I don't always complete them, I feel if I keep aiming for them, eventually I will make it.
I finally conquered my drinking water goal!  It has probably been a New Year's goal for me for over a decade.  Something changed and I could really taste the artificial sweeteners in my beloved Diet Squirt.  I still crave the refreshing bubbliness.  La Croix has been my secret weapon.  I can drink this stuff like it's white wine!! :)  So you win some and you lose some.  Check off the water goal, keep striving for that flossing goal. LOL
I also resolve to complete the Spartan Race with Max in February.  It is very challenging and it gives me something to work toward.
I aim to continue with our Family 50 and visit New England and New York this summer.  Some of our best memories have come from our goal to visit all 50 states.  We work on planning the trip and what we want to see all year.  It is really one of the best goals we have ever made.
Finally, I want to write more.  I have had a project on my brain for many years.  I would like to resolve to work on it this year and see if it is worthy of an all out effort.  I have 3 Bachelor degrees in science, not a one in writing or English language.  Sometimes you have to make a big goal to realize you have to set a few small goals in between that goal.  
Our Bible study this week, the kids wrote a letter to themselves for next year that we sealed in an envelope.  They were to write down what they would have done in the year and what they expected to be doing.  With that, I had them each think about their mind, body, and soul and how they could improve it over the year.  Not only did we make goals but talked about specific plans to reach each goal.
Hank's goals:
Mind - To increase his reading level so he can begin to take Accelerated Reader Quizes.
Body - Learn to tie his shoes (might be Mom's goal)!  Play on the basketball, football and baseball teams.
Soul - Be better to his sisters.
Kaitlin's goals:
Mind - Increase her AR level and master multiplications facts.
Body - More fruits and veggies, Spartan Race, get her serve over the net in volleyball, and join swim team this summer.
Soul - Be a better sibling.
Karlie's goals:
Mind - Read 4 Million Words, test into advanced math.
Body - Be more fit.
Soul- Read my Bible more.
Hailey's goals:
Mind - Get an A in Math class.
Body- Tone up by doing something active everyday.
Soul- Being the best sister I can be.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.  Proverbs 16:9
I am excited to see what we steps we take as a family in 2015!

Can He Stay 6 Forever?

 On Tuesday when I went to pick Hank up from school he came running up to me and began to rip open his backpack.  I pleaded with him to wait and get out his left over lunch to eat until we got to the car.  Juggling backpacks, water bottles, and excited kids in a busy parking lot can unravel me.  But Hank would not stop throwing out the contents of his bag all over the sidewalk.  Just as I started to get frustrated he whipped out his homework folder and opened it to his behavior log.  With a beaming smile he showed me what it said.  "Teacher's shirt!  higher than pink- Awesome Day!" :)
I knew that morning he was going to have an exceptional day.  He was everything wonderful and sweet that a child could be.  He wanted to snuggle with me in bed.  He was eager to help in all ways.  He made his bed and mine too!  He must have told me he loved me a dozen times before getting on the school bus.  When I asked him what he did to get to clip all the way up, he said, "I don't know, I was just holding Mrs. H's hand and she told me to go clip up!"
I know exactly how she felt.  One adoring look from this guy can make your heart melt.  Of course we had to celebrate with a Dairy Queen ice cream!  I am smitten with my little guy.  I would love to keep him this age forever.  Something about those Mama's boys. :)

2 Million And Counting!

Before Christmas break Karlie was awarded her certificate for reading 2 MILLION words this year!
Through the Accelerated Reader program, the kids read a book and then are given a test on comprehension.  If they pass the test, they log in the word count for that book.  Karlie has already matched her record from last year.  She has set a goal to read 4 million words this year.  She is pacing herself and aims to read a certain amount each week to keep herself on track. :)  She is currently holding the record for most words read in her entire school!  Updated:  She told me after I wrote this that one other girl has a higher word count.  So only the second highest words in the school.  Did someone say competitive?!  This girl is worth a million or two!

2015 New Year's Day of New

 New Year's Day was relaxing and mellow (read between the lines, too much wine and up too late!).
 For our new game, we played Apples to Apples.
 It was a fun and quick game that all ages could partake.
 Hailey was the first winner.
 We each wore something new.  For Hailey it was new musical PJ pants, for Kaitlin it was new jeggings, I had a new work out shirt, Hank wore a new T-shirt, and Karlie had an entirely new outfit and jacket that she adores. 
Max wore his new bike shorts and shirt on the ride he and Pops took New Year's Day morning.
 Our new movie was How To Train Your Dragon 2.  Seeing how half of the kids abandoned it and Hailey listened to her music during it, I don't think it will be a hit in our house.
We tried two new cheeses, a creamy Toscano soaked in Syrah and an English White Stilton with Cranberries.  The Blueberry Fayre and Manchego still manage to be the crowd favorites.  We will keep trying.
 Another new food was we tried was making a Chiplotle copycat Barbacoa burritos.  It was delicious, but you would be hard pressed to find a Mexican food we don't like.
The first day of the year was full of new flavors and new ways to have fun.  Hopefully it sets the tone for a year of new adventures to come!