Back To The Future Day

We are big Back To The Future Fans and were excited to celebrate National Back to The Future Day. This is a once in a lifetime day that could not be missed because October 21st, 2015 was the day Doc and Marty went to in the future from 1985!
 The kids are rather disappointed the future hasn't turned out the way Steven Spielberg imagined, especially no hoverboards.
 While there was no Pepsi Perfect either, we substituted Pepsi and a movie night.
We didn't have a hydrater that would turn a hand sized pizza into a large pizza but we did order the half bell pepper and half pepperoni special pizza.
I can only wonder what the future will look like for these kids.  Praying more good than bad.
The future is near...

Big Sky Buddies

For half of fall break we took off for the cool Montana air!
It was our first time flying Allegiant and we really enjoyed the smaller airports.  So much less hassle and time wasted.
Although there were some monkeys on board it was a nice and easy flight.
I was so excited to see my best friend from college.  The beauty of life long friends is you can pick up like you never left.  We live over a thousand miles apart and rarely get to chat but you would never know it. Courtney is one of the kindest and strongest people I know.  I just love hanging with her.  We stayed up way too late every night catching up!
Even cooler than getting see my best buddy is how much our kids like each other too.  There was not a single argument or fight the entire time we were there.
Cate and Bodi generously shared their rooms and toys.
Kaitlin and Cate were two peas in a pod for sure.  Sisters from a different mother,  and well father too!
 
Our first day we hiked the M.  It was 800ft of elevation in half a mile!  There was a little complaining from the kids to say the least.  We took the long way down that was easy and gradual.
Such beautiful views!
That afternoon we went to a corn maze.  We had never done one before.  It was hard!  Turns out Hank is allergic to the hay or corn and he started having a bit of an asthma attack so we had to cut the trip short to get home to his inhaler.
We grabbed some pumpkins from the store and the kids got to carve them.  All of our favorite fall fun.
October wouldn't be complete without Max's morgue!  Max added a few Montana skeletons to his morgue this year.  The little ones loved dancing around in their glow in the dark PJs while Hailey is a cool cat.
The next morning we took a beautiful hike up to Pine Creek Falls.
The cool mountain air was so refreshing.  It was awesome to feel cold!
It was just over a mile to the falls.
So much bang for your buck!
We took a fun break at the falls.  Of course Hank fell in and got his bottom and feet soaked.
Snickers has quite the campaing going.  I bought into it.  It was a fun way to motivate the kids to the top.
We had the complainer 2 pack for Cate and Kaitlin, the Sleepy 2 Karlie and Hailey, and the Cranky 2 Hank and Bodi.  While they all enjoyed a Snickers break, I broke out a Kit Kat for Hank since he can't partake in the Snickers fun.
After our fun hike we went the Chico Hot Springs.  The hot water was just what we needed.  Might have been a photo bomber in the pool. :)
I love this family.  My family loves this family.  They were so generous to share their beautiful Montana home with us.  We only wish we could get together more than once a year.
Can't wait to see you in the spring!

Salt River Prickly Peaks

With the temperatures cooling to below 100 we figured it was time to pick up our hiking.  We still have 4 more peaks to conquer to make our goal for 2015.
Near our house is a beautiful and rocky mountain that was begging to be climbed.  Last Saturday we decided to climb it.
 It was one of the most difficult hikes we have done even thought it only gained 500 ft of elevation.  The rock was very unsteady and would give way easily.  As an extra bonus it was covered with Cholla cacti.  
I was trying to go around the Cholla cactus on the right when the rock I was holding broke off causing me to fall chest forward on the cactus!  OUCH!!  While Max was trying to bat it off me with a stick he batted into my hand.  It would have been a perfect tape for America's Funniest Home Videos.  After we gently deplucked me, we continued our quest for the top.  It was quite the climb to get to the top.
 But we made it!  We were rewarded with beautiful Sonoran desert views and an entire field of Cholla  cacti just waiting for us on our descent.
Going up is always easier than going down.  We had a few missteps but made it home safely.  Nine down and three to go!  Hopefully the next three won't be so prickly.

Ready, Set, Hike!

 I am not exactly sure when it happened, but we have become those parents.  The ones we use to make fun of.  The ones who spend their entire weekend running from one sport activity to the next.  The ones who no longer have an adult social life but now only have a children's sport social life.  The ones who fall into bed as soon as the kids are tucked in because they are exhausted too.
 We had a firm line that each of the kids could do one activity of their choice and music.  At its worst that would be 8 events.  If you are an organizational master planner then you could squeeze it down to 4 and we always fell in between.  Alas they grow and have different interest and then the horrible day comes that they don't want to do the activity that you love to watch them do so you raise the white flag and barter if you play this sport then you can also play the sport you want to play.  Deals of the devil for sure.
Last week Max was in Vancouver and as I felt myself pulled in so many directions at once I tried to think back to how this all unfolded.  I think it started with Karlie trying out for the middle school volleyball team.  We figured as a 6th grader she wouldn't make the team so it would be fine to sign her and Kaitlin up for the YMCA volleyball team.  I decided I would coach this year since the girls' prior coach retired.  Great!  Kill two birds with one stone.  I get to pick the practice and the girls have the same game time.  Score one for mom.  That was until Karlie made the middle school team where she had daily practice and two games all over town each week.  Some of the opposing schools were over a 40 minutes drive.  I died each Monday I had to miss Karlie's game as I coached the YMCA team.
Then we move to Tuesday where I thought I was really killing it.  I convinced the music teacher we have been with for four years to come to our house to teach lessons because Hank was ready to start and he is very allergic to cats and she has an adorable fluffy cat.  With her coming to our house, I was gaining 2 and a half hours every week.  It is music to my ears as I listen to Karlie play violin and the rest learn piano each week.
That was until Hank begged us to play soccer.  Soccer!  I don't mean to offend anyone but let's be honest, soccer is pretty boring.  Maybe a few goals on a good game and just a lot of running around.  Baseball is almost as exciting to watch.  We have never been into soccer but Hank loves it and is nearly ambidextrous which allows him to be pretty good with both feet.  We asked him if he would rather play soccer or football.  When he said soccer my heart fell.
  No!  I love watching him play flag football.  So I caved.  I made a deal with the devil and said if he played football he could play soccer too.  Selfish, I know.  As if karma couldn't wait to serve it up, soccer practice would be on Tuesdays, right when Hank's music lesson was suppose to happen.  Max agreed to be that assistant coach and is learning to love soccer or at least fake it until he makes it! :)  We squeeze Hank into the rotation when he gets home from soccer.  Needless to say at 7:30 after a day of school, homework, and soccer he is not the most studious piano player.
Wednesday night Hailey has high school youth group at the church which we always seem rushed to cram in dinner before she is off for the evening.  There is likely some cardinal sin if you don't support your kid wanting to go to a church activity, so Wednesday's are busy too but well worth it.
Thursday Hank has football practice and Karlie usually has a game.  Luckily one of Hank's friends also plays football allowing us to work out a carpool so that I only had to miss Karlie's game every other week.  Once in a while we have a volleyball game on Fridays but more often Friday's are open where we try to fit in dinner with grown ups or sleep overs for the kids.
Saturdays are the days I wonder how we became those parents.  At noon its soccer, at 3:30 its volleyball and at 5 its football.  In the 100 degree heat it becomes a grueling day of rooting for your kids, sweating profusely, and putting your best face forward.  I have learned there is a community and a rhythm that occurs among parents on the side lines.  Banding together in some crazy chorus of the modern day parents we form friendships and knowing glances that we would rather be enjoying a leisurely dinner with a glass of chardonnay than sweating on the sidelines watching some parents lose their mind over a bad call as though this was a college championship game instead of a bunch of 7 year olds playing flag football on an unforgiving hot afternoon in the desert.  But we will all be back at it the following Saturday playing the same cast of characters as we cheer and smile.
Sundays are church, the grocery store and football!  We were invited to a family Bible study with the worship pastor and had to pull out.  How wrong that we are so spent by the end of the week we want just one night for us, for MKHKKH.  One night to have a dinner that is not rushed, maybe a glass of wine and the time to just be together, unorganized, and relaxed.  It is indeed our day or at least evening of rest.
I am blessed to be a woman loved by a great man who does more than his fair share to make this family run.  While Max was gone I had to get my game face on. What is normally tackled by two of us and still often feels like we are getting pummeled was going to be a one woman show.  In addition to the normal level of crazy, I got few doses of extra crazy.  First, we were having the grass scalped because in this weird place you have to have winter and summer grass.  Every October they kill off the summer grass and over seed with the winter grass.  As they were scalping the grass a rock flew out of the mower and hit our large window causing it to shatter into thousands of pieces.  Rats!
Then one night while I was making dinner, giving Hank his spelling test, working with Karlie on her Social Studies questions, trying to help Kaitlin with her math, and quizzing Hailey on her Biology, Siri got bit by a scorpion.  I knew by the way she was rubbing her face in the ground she had been stung by something on her nose.  She was whimpering and huffing as she continually rubbed her face in the ground.  We searched everywhere for the offender and found nothing.  Then Hailey came running to my room after I got the little ones in bed that there was a scorpion in her room, right where Siri had been freaking out.  I gathered all my bravery and smashed him.  He jumped up and ran around, so I hit him again.  He would not go down, so I whacked him again and finally he stopped moving.  What a day!
 The only thing the kids like about Max being gone is that each night one of them get to sleep with me.  I am sad to report that Hailey has grown up enough that she no longer is excited to sleep with me and prefers the privacy of her own room.  :(
 Each night I had a wiggling, squirming, snuggling, little sweetie next to me.
 On Karlie's night I had to get my PowerPoint ready to teach Kaitlin's class Wordmaster's in the morning and she stayed up waiting for me until 10.  I felt so badly that she got a repeat the next night since Hailey didn't want her turn anyway.  We got to snuggle and talk.  :)
Karlie's final middle school game was on Thursday and we celebrated by going anywhere she wanted for dinner.  In and Out it was, but we splurged with shakes too!  We were all hating life as we had totally over eaten.  Some of us might have been eating our emotions...  I laughed when I looked back at my daily steps.  I have a Fitbit and try to get 10,000 steps a day.  While Max was gone I got close to 18,000 each day!  Clearly he does half the work and works all day.  We were all so happy when he got home.  While the big cat is away the little mice scatter and dream of sweet summertime.  Only 140 more days to go!

Homecoming

Watching your children grow up is a strange thing.  When the first one is born you look for every milestone and secretly want them to achieve it early.  We couldn't wait for her to crawl, then to walk, and talk and learn her ABC's and read and so on.  Then with the second child you have confidence on your side and are not quite as eager for each of those milestones.  By the fourth I was hoping he would be delayed within normal limits to hold on to the baby that grows so fast.  Even still we are pulling on the reins with each of them.
Our first baby has grown into a gorgeous woman who is lucky enough that the outside matches the inside.  I can so clearly remember my first Homecoming that it seems impossible time has flown by that I now have a daughter in high school going to Homecoming.  Hailey and I spent the day shopping and trying on dresses in all the stores.  We brought 2 back to show Max but neither seemed just right.  So we went back the next weekend and found the one!  I got a mini glimpse into wedding dress shopping.  It was so strange to be in my mother's shoes.  It was always a special day when we went dance dress shopping. I have very fond memories of spending the day together shopping and having lunch.  I guess I hope to pass that on with my girls.  We overheard two girls in the dressing room next to us trying to buy a dress and her mom had given her $50.00 to find something with her friend.  I felt so sad for her.  My mom always made it feel so special to find the perfect dress together.  The shopping was as much the occasion as the actual dance was.
 Of course after lunch we had to find shoes and jewelry and fit in a manicure!
 Max raced home from Hank's football game to see off his beauty.
I can say first hand the evolution of the Homecoming dance has not been all good.  Really feeling like an old timer, but back in my day...  A boy would ask a girl to the dance.  He would have to have the guts to come over and meet your parents.  There would be collaboration between the parents about how the night would go.  The couple would go to dinner, they usually exchanged a corsage and boutonnière.  Well, all that is history.
Now even if you have a boyfriend, everyone goes in big groups.  A boy did ask Hailey to the dance but she turned him down because she didn't want to give him the wrong idea.  So she went to dinner with her buddies and then onto the dance.  We were saddened to hear what the dance has become.  Many of the kids' parents rent party buses where alcohol mysteriously appears.  The parents think this is a way to prevent drinking and driving.  The thought is at least the kids will not be driving, so lets put them in a controlled environment and let them get drunk.  This has led to kids getting drunk on the way to the dance too.  Hailey said they had to close the girls bathroom because so many girls were throwing up.  One girl passed out and many were in tears.  With no boys to dance with, puking classmates and hysterical girlfriends, it wasn't a dance to remember.  :(  The girls had Max pick up early and they said the most fun they had was the drive home where they got to play music they liked and laugh.  I guess it can't get much worse, hopefully next year Homecoming with take a cue from the past.