A Blessed Weekend

I love how the schools here give the day off on Good Friday.  It makes for such a nice family weekend heading into Easter.  We made sure to have a good Friday! The kids rode their bikes while I tried to run with them.  They lapped me more than few times but we had a nice morning together enjoying the lovely weather.  Then we met Max at the park for a picnic lunch.  It is a huge blessing that his work is so close.  I was reminded how hard it was in Colorado when he would leave before the kids would wake up and sometimes not get home until they were going to bed.  Now he makes breakfast with us, is almost always home for dinner, and even sneaks in a few special lunch dates.
Friday night Max took Hailey and her buddy to the Fall Out Boy concert! It is fun to see your kids enjoying doing what you used to do as a kid.  We loved going to concerts and still do.  Hailey feels blessed she will get to see three of her favorite bands this year and has a cool dad that happily takes her.

 On Saturday we went Jeeping.  I am a Jeep girl for sure.  I love off roading and seeing where the Jeep will take us.
 We found water!  In the desert!!  
 We hung out by this little creek while the kids played in it.  As we ate our lunch on the big, warm rock we watched other Jeeps and ATVs splash away through the creek.
 Hailey decided she would rather stay home.  I guess I am going to have to start getting use to just the trio as she starts to spread her wings. :(  If you are doing it right your kid is going to want to leave and lead their own path but no one tells you how hard it is to let them go.
I am blessed to have this man in my life for sure.

He lets me drive!
In typical MKHKKH fashion we were burning the midnight oil trying to fit in dyeing Easter Eggs.  The weather was so mild we were able to do it outside.  Eggselent end to our Saturday.
 The Easter Bunny showed up with sweet treats and many eggs for hunting.
 Hailey found the two Golden Eggs!  Lucky lady.
 We turned those Easter Eggs into creamed eggs.
Since Hank can't have the eggs, Max pulled out a huge bowl of the cream sauce before adding the eggs.  We never thought Hank would be able to finish it.
Wrong!  He licked it clean!!  That's a growing boy of you.
Then we got cleaned up and ready for church.  I felt so blessed being surround by my loves.
 My little man is a mama's boy and I love it!
Hailey is already being asked to create works of art.  Our church's Student Minster asked her to paint five canvases of what ever came to her mind about the five points he would be making on Easter. They were symbols of the resurrection through Mary Magdalene's eyes.  He had 5 symbols for her to incorporate to remind the students of each point.  These were the symbols he gave her to work with:
Unaware, Broken, Awaken, Change and Mission.

 This is what she created!
He asked her to leave the centers blank so she could paint them in as he preached.  I am so proud of Hailey.  Each painting took around 4 hours and he only gave her a week's notice.  She diligently worked on the paintings and her school work each night.  God has blessed her with an amazing talent that she puts much practice and dedication to.  I know He has plans for her.  As a result of her work two people have offered to pay to have her paint for them. 
 After church we prepared a feast fit for a king.  Luckily my Grandpa was coming to help us chip away at all of it.
 Again I was struck by the blessing of still having a grandparent around.  Many of our friends are facing the deaths of their parents and my Grandpa is still strong as a horse.  He told of us his childhood, raising my mom, his time in the war, farming and moving to Colorado.  It was a special afternoon.  Too often the TV distracts us from the reality in front of us.  Hearing of the harrowing times my Grandfather persevered through and his content outlook despite the very hard life he led left me feeling proud and grateful to call him my Grandpa.  He has every right to be bitter and sad about many of the things he has lived through, yet, he said he wouldn't do anything differently.
It was the first time the kids had heard many of his stories and I was attune to new details that have taken on a different light as a I have grown.  I really enjoyed hearing about his life and some of my family history.  Max is always surprised when he is reminded I am 3/4's German.  Had he know that in advance he might not have married me and all of my stubbornness.
We have all been blessed with such an easy life compared to what he struggled through.
My Grandma on my Dad's side always made an Easter lamb cake.  I vividly remember helping her make one when I was around 6 years old.  Nana and Pops got us an official cast iron lamb cake mold for Christmas!  We made our very first lamb cake this Easter.  Karlie is quite the baker and nearly made the entire cake by herself.  He turned out so adorable it was hard to eat him.  However, he did taste delicious!
I have so much to be thankful for.  Over Easter weekend I felt a deep sense of gratitude and the multitude of blessings in my life.  Celebrating the resurrection always fills me with hope and peace but this year I felt a heavy blanket of gratitude.  The bond of my family, venturing into the past rows that had been sown to lead to where I am today, an exploding good present, the hope of my children's future, and the mind grappling fact of the resurrection all wound into a ball of gratefulness.
Peace.  Joy.  Hope. Love. 

Spring Break

We had a wonderful week of rest and relaxation.  Nana and Pops came out for part of the kids' spring break.
 As usual we feasted and made merry every night.
 We stayed up way past our bedtime.  Kaitlin tried to hang in and ended up falling asleep on two chairs she pulled together.  I put the wine bottle by her joking this would be spring break in 11 years.  :)
 We enjoyed a lovely day at the Diamondbacks spring training game.  Thank goodness for cloud cover. We would have been burning up otherwise.  The kids were able to get a few signatures before the game and during the game it was nonstop junk food eating.  Hot dogs just taste better at a ballgame!
 I love when we have time to just hang out.  The kids play so well together.  Karlie did make up on Hank.  Apparently he got into a terrible fight.  At least he is not getting eyeshadow and lipstick make-up like he use to.
 Then they were warriors with homemade shields and rifles.
 Thanks to grandparent patience the kids got to play Set, Labyrinth, Fairy Queen, and Monopoly.  Karlie was on cloud nine that she beat Pops at Monopoly!  I may or may not have taken a nap while Nana played with the kids.
We had a chance to take my Grandpa out to our favorite breakfast spot one morning.  He is 90 years old and still going strong.
 Time for a little toast by the pool.
Our final night before heading back to school Kaitlin and Hank set up a dinner for us under the tree house while the big girls were at church.  They had candles and bougainvillea petals on the floor.  It was so fun eating at their house.  Sometimes with all the rushing here and rushing there, it was the best break to just stay home and do nothing.  However, it did give me summer fever.  Only 45 school days left until they are all mine!

Can't Help Falling In Love

 Hailey asked for a ukulele for Christmas and began teaching herself to play it.  She managed to learn to play it and learn to sing while playing Elvis' Can't Help Falling In Love.
She blows me away with her talents and gumption.  She auditioned and got into the high school talent show where she sang in front of a large crowd while playing her song.  I was so nervous I thought I would throw up.  Then she began to sing and I began to cry.  I could never get up there and do what she did.  I am so proud of the woman she is becoming.
Can't Help Falling In Love

How Karlie Spent Her 12th Birthday

Karlie must have the funnest day to be born on.  Everyone is in the mood to celebrate and is wearing her favorite color.  She started her morning off with green pancakes and a Daddy special circle cake.
Then we hit Starbucks for a chocolate chip frappuccino.

 A bunch of naughty leprechauns skipped out of school and work to watch the World Famous Fountain turn green.  One good school girl was responsible and stayed at school to give an English presentation.  High school is such a drag.
 It is so nice they do this for Karlie each year. ;)
 It was pretty grand to see it sparkle emerald green while we ate lunch.  Of course we had to get a Shamrock Shake on the way home.
You can't let St. Patrick's Day go by without eating corned beef and cabbage and drinking a Guinness or a green beer.  It would be unlucky.
Since we eat a lot of cake over the 7 weeks that 5 of our birthdays are in, Karlie requested a surprise.  I made brownie sundaes with green M&Ms and green chocolate sauce. Wishing you a year full of luck my sweet Karlie.

Happy 12th Birthday Karlie!!

Happy 12th Birthday Karlie!
We are so very lucky that God blessed our family with you!  You are a smart and beautiful young lady with a big heart.  You are a loving big sister that is always leading your siblings in some camp, class, activity or game.  You are a natural leader and extremely determined.  You can figure almost anything out and are not afraid to try anything.  You add sparkle to every room you walk into and are always up for a good time.  We love you and know you don't need luck, but it seems you have it.  Have a great day sparkle.

Girls Day Out vs Boys Day Out

Karlie's good friend was in the youth theater's production of Into The Woods.  We had a girls day out at the play and then sushi dinner.  The play was fantastic.  I was amazed by the talent of these teens and kids.  I have no doubt many of them will go on to professional careers in acting and singing.
 While we were out having a girls day the boys were at the Phoenix Suns game with Hank's basketball team.  One of the dad's was the former team physician for the Suns and was able to get the team a pretty neat experience.  They got to watch the warm-up, go in the locker room, get signatures, and high five the players as they came out.
They also got to high five the cheerleaders as they came out.  We were dying laughing looking at Hank.  His eyes make it pretty clear that he was a fan of the cheerleaders!  We are in so much trouble with this guy!  He loved the game and came home hoarse from cheering so much.  He got Tim Duncan's signature and is a big basketball fan now.  It was great getting to spend a girls day and boys day.  Max would have been tortured to got to the theater and I was much happier at the theater than the basketball game.

Soul Sisters

Karlie's lifelong best friend, Marley, came to visit in February while in town for her soccer tournament.
It was the highlight of Karlie's year.
 We plotted a surprise and told Karlie they were coming in a day later and I we showed up at school to check her out.  She was confused why I was checking her out and then she saw Marley!
We spent the next day and a half playing hookie.
 We visited the Quarter for lunch and to make necklaces and candles.  The next day we went to Crackerjacks for mini golf, race cars and bumper boats.
 It is so fun to see these girls back together.  You would never know they live 1000 miles apart or that they hadn't seen each other in two years.  I guess that is how true friends are.  You can pick up any time like it was yesterday.
The girls were already planning out their college campus trip and how they would start in Colorado and take a road trip through Arizona onto California schools.  Anything is possible with a friendship like theirs.  We will be visiting Colorado this summer and Karlie can hardly wait until she gets to see Marley again!