Fun Run

This is our 6th year doing the fun run at the kids' school.  I started running it with a preschooler in tow.  One year when I had three of them there I ran 6 miles.  Last year Hank wanted to hold my hand the entire run.  This year both Hank and Kaitlin were off and running.  Next year I will be down to 1 runner!  I wish time would stop running by so fast.
It was fun treat having Pops at Hank's run before he flew back to California.  They have to run the 36 laps in order for me to buy them a snow cone.  They each ran two miles to raise money for their school!  Worth a sweet treat for sure.  

Karlie's 13th Birthday Party

Middle school is a rough age.  Kids transitioning from children to teens seems to bring out the worst in people.  Prior to Karlie's birthday a friend of hers had a party and she was treated so horrible for not inviting certain people to her party.  You have to have a limit and this girl invited 20 people.  Teen girls feelings are easily hurt which turns into rage and her friend felt it for a long time.  After seeing how hurtful people in her class were she did not even want to have a party to avoid all the drama.  We convinced her to do a little something.
She decided to have just her two closest friends for a secret party.  No social media allowed!  We went to an escape room.  Unfortunately they had messed up one of the key unlocks and we were not able to complete the challenge.  They said we could come back and try another room for free but that did little for our experience that day.
After the failed escape room we headed to In and Out for dinner.  It is always a good time.  We giggled as the teens sat at their own table being silly.
 Karlie set up a spa themed evening where the girls swam and pampered themselves.
 She deserved to be pampered after working all day on her own cake.  She loves to bake and wanted to make a fancy cake all on her own.  Aside from a little help making the fondant, she did the entire cake herself!
 While it was not the big bash for 13 that I would have liked to throw her, I am impressed with her maturity and saddened the kids are so mean at this age.  Karlie has always been a no drama girl.  She has left friend groups and decided it was better to be alone than to be involved in drama.  She is a strong and determined young lady and is capable and confident in who she is.  I don't think I was as secure in myself until my 30s!  :)

How Karlie Spent Her 13th Birthday

Karlie's birthday is always especially fun to celebrate since it lands on St. Patrick's Day.  Everyone is in the mood to celebrate.
 Her breakfast request was green pancakes.  Max made a special clover cake with berries for her.
 The kids set up the Leprechaun photo booth.
 She woke up to 13 green balloons!
Kona coffee is all the rage at high school and middle school so I took to her to get the coveted Tsunami drink.  We call it the cancer drink and don't let her get them except special occasions.  It is an energy drink with tea and flavored syrup.  She was thrilled that since it was her birthday it was free.
 As if to leave no doubt that Karlie is growing up and a full fledged teenager, it was accentuated on our annual trip to the Fountain Hills Fountain.  Every year at lunch time they turn the fountain a brilliant green.  This year Karlie wanted to stay at school to be celebrate with her friends.  We have lost another one to the peer group. :(
 But we had a jolly good time ditching school and work like naughty leprechauns.  It seemed the fountain was extra green this year.  It is such a fun tradition.  I wonder if in 5 years if it will be just Max and me having lunch at the fountain.

 That evening Max and I had a few special drinks of our own to celebrate.
 I guess I was Mexican-Irish for a day.
Every year the 3rd graders at the kids' school are given a tiny cabbage plant and encouraged to see if they can grow the biggest one.  Hank tended lovingly to his cabbage for two months.  He really wanted to win the scholarship.  I think he did a great job!  He definitely didn't get my black thumb.
 We decided it was the perfect night to harvest it for our traditional corn beef and cabbage dinner.
 It was so huge we needed a second pot!
 Add some shamrock mac-n-cheese, green milk (only kids can think that is yummy!), and a Guinness and we were feeling pretty lucky.
 Nana sent us some tattoos so we had fun getting temporary tattoos.
 The luck of the Irish was all around!
 Finally it was presents time!
Karlie's big present was new violin.  She had outgrown her beginner one.
 She played us a little Irish jig.
She wanted brownies and ice cream instead of cake.
Her birthday is a reflection of who she is: lucky, green, happy, sparkling, celebratory.  We are so proud of her and know she will be successful where ever she is determined to go.  May all your dreams and wishes come true Sparkle.

Happy 13th Birthday Karlie

Happy 13th Birthday Karlie!
We are so lucky to have you as our daughter!  I think this is your lucky 13th year!  Here are 13 words that  describe you:
1.  Smart
2.  Beautiful 
3.  Sparkles
4.  Volleyball Lover
5.  Caring
6.  Driven
7.  Leader
8.  Green
9.  Loving
10.  Excellent sister
11.  Future Notre Dame Grad :)
12.  Cool Camping Chick
13.  Lucky
You are growing into a beautiful young lady that makes us very proud.  We love watching you play volleyball and your zest for life!  You are the life of the party that sparkles everywhere you go.  Your siblings are blessed to have such a loving and caring sister that has taught them so much.  We know you can reach any goal you set your mind to with your drive and leadership.  Your green, sparkling eyes remind us how lucky we are that God chose us to be your mom and dad.  We can't believe you are a teenager when it seems just yesterday we were holding you in arms.  You have brought good luck from the day you were born and we can't wait to see what your future holds.  We sure love you Karks!

Sweet As Pi

I will use any excuse to make a pie!  Every year we celebrate Pi day with a blackberry pie.
 Hank had a baseball game and apparently pi day is a lucky day because he hit his first homer of the season and was given the game ball for helping win the game!
 We got to have our pie and eat it!

Spring Break!

Our spring was so crazy it will take me all summer to catch up!
We kicked off spring break by going to a spring training game.  This time we thought it would be fun to ride our bikes the 8.5 miles to the park.  The ride there was a piece of cake because is it slightly down hill.
 It was a lovely overcast day.  We lounged on the grass and ate our share of ballpark treats while watching the Dbacks win!
However, the ride home was a little long.  But we were so proud of the kids for pushing on for a 17 mile roundtrip ride with only a little complaining. :)
Karlie and Hank were very disappointed they were not going to get to go on the annual desert camping trip this year so we decided to take the whole family up camping.
The kids were shocked to see water flowing in the desert.  We found a beautiful spot next to a stream.  We followed the stream as far as we could go.  Kids love water!  When we got back to camp Max bet the kids $20 they couldn't set up the tent alone.  We kicked backed and laughed so hard it hurt as we watched them learn to work together and the joys of setting up a tent.  Max said it was the best $20 he  has spent as he didn't have to touch the tent and instead got to laugh while watching the kids learn to work together.
It was the perfect weather for chilling. 
Everyone got to do a little target practice with BB gun or hand gun.
 Our camping pup loved being out with us, but one time she loved the freedom a little too much and for a few scary minutes we thought she was lost forever.  Then finally we saw her running toward camp!  After that we kept her on a leash.
She is such a princess, the cab of the truck was the only place she would lie down.
 We learned that night that we might have been a bit premature in our camping adventure as the temperature neared freezing and everyone was miserably cold all night.  It didn't help that Siri was too afraid or cold to go out of the tent and peed all over the floor of the tent.  In the morning the kids thought they were stepping in condensation from the night, when it became clear errr yellow that it was indeed pee!  ACK!  Luckily part of the $20 was packing up the tent too!
Overall it was a great camping trip and we are looking forward to trying it in the fall.
Karlie had another volleyball tournament where they placed first in their division!  It was extra special because Grammy got to watch her win.
 On the last day of spring break Kaitlin was invited to a Mom and Me Make-up date.  We learned all about make up and the ladies showed us how to put on make-up.  The girls said I looked like Barbie and none of them liked me with all that make-up.  As I took off the layers of make-up Sunday night and fell into bed, I thought we shouldn't call it Spring Break, but Spring GO!

A Day of Surprises!

Max took the day off work for his birthday.  I had a day full of surprises in store for him!
First up was a pedicure.  I figured it was time for Max to have his first pedicure.  I imagined them getting the mini grinder out to go after his calloused feet.  To my shock they spent more time removing dead skin off my running callouses than on his feet!
After the pedicure I took him a spring training game.  It was so fun to play hookie while the kids were at school.  We sat in the warm sun and watched the Dbacks crush the dodgers 15-3!
When we got home the kids had set my room for Max to go outfit shopping.  I had bought multiple shirts and pants (Max hates to shop) to choose an outfit for his next surprise. The kids got dressed up like we were all going somewhere.  I told him we had an appointment and to be ready for a fun night.  Then our friends started showing up one by one.
After everyone arrived we sang Happy Birthday and went outside where the party bus awaited us.  I had stocked it for the evenings activities.  Another first for Max, being on a party bus!
Max is an active guy so I planned and Amazing Race themed night where we would race around Scottsdale performing challenges with the guys against the girls.  The price for loosing each challenge was drinks or physical activities.  Each person could choose.  :)
 Max received the yellow envelopes with the clues and had to figure out where to go.  Since he is over the hill now, I decided to have a night of returning to youth and acting like he was a kid or at least a college kid for one night!
The first challenge was to go to CrackerJax adventure park to race Go Karts.  It was guys against girls.  First person to cross the finish line won for the team.  I dusted Max!  The boys all took a shot of Fireball.  :)
 Back at the bus Max had to reveal the next clue.  It was time to whack some balls off the top deck of the driving range.  We grabbed the two clubs I brought and headed up after getting 40 balls for each team.  After each person took 5 swings they had to choose their best swinger to compete in a silly challenge.
1.  Furthest hit
2.  Best wind up like a pro golfer
3.  Best yelling FORty
4.  Hit the ball with your eyes closed
5.  Best swing while your team sings Happy Birthday to Max.
The guys were beating us until the final round where the ladies pulled out all the stops to win bonus points and win the match!  We can sing so much better than the boys.
The next clue led him to the playground by our house where each team had to act like kids again.  Everyone had to slide down the slide backward, face first and then all together.
 I went first and almost knocked myself out when I hit my head.  I had to laugh the next morning when I had a bump on the back of my head.  A sure sign of a fun night!
Then one player had to push a teammate on the swings and do and underdog!
Two people had to hang upside down on the monkey bars for 30 seconds. 
Finally everyone had to go 8 seconds on the spring horses!
I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time.  The girls completed the challenge first!
 The next clue led us to the grocery store where each team had to choose their best shopper.  I had two bags that had women's clothing including giant bras and granny panties from the goodwill and a $20 in it.  They had to get dressed with all the items and run in the store and buy 4 items that spelled MAX 40!  These two were such great sports they had us all rolling in laughter as they raced though the store gathering embarrassing items. Luckily it was later at night and the grocery attendant found us humorous and did not call the cops at the crazy lady and the drag queen.
Once again the ladies won!  It was looking like the boys might have a headache in the morning.
 The final clue took Max to a Coyote Ugly style saloon where girls dance on the bar in daisy dukes.  En route Max and a girl team member had to play chubby bunny, yet another throwback to our youth. Max crushed the competition, so it was time for the ladies to pay up.  At the bar the funnest part was watching the guys try to out punch each other for the top score on the punching bag game.  You would have thought their family name rested on getting the high score.  The clock struck midnight and it was time for me to round everyone up and have them dropped off safely at home.  We had one of the funnest nights of our lives and I was so grateful to all our friends, many who were leaving early the next morning for spring break vacations, that came out and were willing to act like silly children for a night.  If his first day of being 40 is any indication, I think 40 is going to be fabulous.