Academic Gold Medal

We are so proud of Hailey!  She is taking a heavy course load this year with dual enrollment in college Spanish and AP world history along with chemistry, geometry, art and honors English.
She is a smart gal that has had to learn how to study this year.  In years past she could attend class and study the night before a test and earn an A.  Spanish and world history were another level up and she realized more effort was going to be required.  She managed to keep a weighted 4.0 and earned the academic gold medal at school.  She is solid gold! :)

Date With Kaitlin

Kaitlin wanted a special date night with Max and me for her birthday present.
We went to Roadhouse Cinema to watch Beauty and The Beast.  At this theater you order dinner and the waiter brings it to you while your recline in style.  We ate dinner watching the movie.  It was a great movie and we had a lovely night with our birthday girl.

Tom's Thumb

 In preparation to hike the Grand Canyon from rim to rim we needed to put some miles on our feet and legs.  One morning we got up early to do Tom's Thumb.
I had twisted my ankle a little doing Camelback with Aimee on my birthday three days earlier.  Every step it gave me a little sting.  I was trailing behind Max and Aimee pretty far when I met up with a 77 year old man also training for rim to rim.  Harold had hiked from rim to rim four other times in his life but never in one day.  As we walked together and I tried my best to keep up with Harold, I was impressed with the human spirit.  He "got the hiking bug" in his 50's and now at age when many are taking it easy, he was busting his chops to do something few in their peak of life manage.  I got a second wind and managed to catch up with the line leaders.  If Harold can do it, so can I!
It was a slow hike and I couldn't imagine doing it all over again as I would have to make the 25 miles in the Grand Canyon.  I was going to have to be a stronger hiker.  With only a month more to practice, it was time to take a hike!!

My 40th Birthday

 I had a really nice 40th birthday.  Kaitlin made me a candy gram that said:
 Dear Mom, 
You are one Hot Lady.  But you can be a Nerd too.  Even though you can be Sour, you're still a Lifesaver.  You are a Star at being a mom.  You are Gold to me.  
Love, Kaitlin
After getting the kids off to school my friend Aimee and I hiked Camelback Mountain.  We had mimosas at the top!  Then 6 of my girlfriends and I went to the Camelback Inn Spa for a day of pampering.  I got my first ever facial!  We each got a facial and massage and ate lunch by the pool.
Max made my favorite Mexican dinner and then had a treasure hunt of gifts set up for me.  Along the way I got new bike shoes, shirt, shorts, helmet and a new mountain bike.  I have been using the same mountain bike that I bought as a sophomore in college.  To say I needed a new one was an understatement!  Max also gave me Nike.  I adored her when we went to the Louvre in Paris.  Max said I am his Nike.
Winged Victory of Samothrace
Nike.  The Greek goddess of victory.
Created about the 2nd century BC.
Since 1884, it has been displayed at the Louvre.
It is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world.
It was created not only to honor the goddess, Nike, but also to honor a sea battle.  It conveys a sense of action and triumph as well as portraying artful flowing drapery, as though the goddess were descending to alight upon the prow of a ship.
Despite is significant damage and incompleteness, the Victory is held to be one of the great surviving masterpieces of sculpture from the Hellenistic Period, and from the entire Greco-Roman era.
It is considered one of the Louvre's greatest treasures, and since the late 19th century it has been displayed in the most dramatic fashion, at the head of the sweeping Daru staircase.
The loss of the head, while regrettable, is held by many to enhance the statue's depictions of the supernatural.

Open House 2017

Toward the end of the year after all the state testing is completed the kids get to showcase all the work they have done over the year at the school's Open House.
 They are always so excited to show us what they have been working on.
 Mrs. Q will go down as one of the kid's all time favorite teachers.  I am just hoping she doesn't retire before Hank gets to her.  She truly inspires kids to learn to love reading.  Kaitlin read over a million words in her class this year!  Karlie comes with me regularly just so she can visit Mrs. Q.
 Third grade is a big development year for kids.  Hank really worked hard this year becoming an independent learner and learning how to organize his homework and time.
 You know they are enjoying school when they can't wait to show you all their work and explain it.
 Fourth and final year doing layers of the Earth project!  BOOM!
 One of the coolest things they do is dissect owl pellets and try to reconstruct the skeleton of the animal the owl ate.
 Hank had to do a presentation on Henry Box Brown.  He practiced his speech over and over.  He typed, cut out, and glued the project by himself.  He felt very proud of his poster presentation.  I felt proud looking at it as a mom who has gone from basically doing the entire project so it is done right to the mom that doesn't do anything so the kid learns to do it the best they can.  We have both learned a lot in third grade (I had 4 tries at it :).
 After visiting the classrooms each grade had a music performance.  I am always amazed by the patience of teachers in general but none more than a music teacher.  How they can do it all day over and over is amazing.  She orchestrated beautiful songs from each grade with many different instruments and abilities.
 Oh how grateful I am that we are done with recorders!!  I think someone invented those to punish parents.  But magically when they all came together it sounded pretty good, nothing like the hair raising practice at home.  LOL
Our kids have all loved school and I think that reflects on the school.  While Hank will say recess and lunch are his favorite parts of the day, I have never had a kid that hates going to school.  The love of learning is so important for their entire life, it makes me so happy to see a strong foundation being laid. 
 I can not believe that next year I am down to one elementary school age kid. :(

Hank's 9th Birthday

It is never as much fun when your birthday falls on a school day as it is when it falls on the weekend.  For breakfast Hank had Daddy oatmeal.  He got to open his present from Grammy and Grandpa.  As a huge Steph Curry fan he was thrilled to get more gear!
With Hank's allergies he can only buy hot lunch on Tuesdays when it is pizza.  It is his favorite lunch to have and as luck would have it, his birthday was on Tuesday!
After school I took him for a special ice cream treat.
 We were suppose to have piano lessons and a baseball game that night but canceled everything to celebrate with our boy.  He wanted seared honey ham, Kraft Mac-N-Cheese, and artichokes.
 He helped design his cake.  He was all about the sprinkles.
Hank is such a joy to have in our family.  He brings a boisterous, loving, sweet, and funny element to our family.  He tries very hard to please people and has a big old spot in his heart for his mama.  :)  I treasure these years because they are the golden age of parenting.  Love you to the moon a millions time little buddy.

Easter Weekend

It is always fun to have family around to celebrate Easter!
The kids dyed eggs the night before.
The Easter Bunny had his work cut out for him this year with 7 kids!
Everyone got a new pair of flip flops and lots of candy!
Even the oldest ones raced around hiding eggs.  Max and Titus found the golden eggs much to the little one's disappointment.
Mel made us a delicious chorizo eggs Benedict.
Then everyone got dressed for church.
Part of visiting at our house is suffering through pictures!
These three are always a good time.  I am so grateful for brother-in-laws that I can love like brothers.
 Mel, Colin, and Corrin.
 Chrysti and Scott's boys were not having the picture session.  Titus was especially upset about having to take pictures.  He would die in my house.
 My kids have learned the only way out of the picture suffering is to try your hardest to smile and not blink so we get "one good one!"
The whole gang!
Cousin line up.  Titus is really enjoying this. :)
 We spent the rest of the day playing by the pool.
The kids had a massive water balloon fight.
 My Grandpa,  Aunt Anne, and Uncle Larry came for dinner.
Karlie made the lamb cake this year 100% by herself.  He turned out so cute!
It was a really special Easter all being together.

BRO's Weekend

I knew our spring was going to be busy but it was really busy!  One week after Max's family left my sister Chrysti and her family came to visit for their spring break.  My other sister Melanie and her family decided since they had Good Friday off they would come for the weekend too!
 When Max knew two of my sisters would be in town he decided to throw me a surprise party!  He was at work on Friday and we were all hanging out waiting for him to get home so we could go to In and Out.  Or so I thought.  He texted me around 4pm to start getting ready for an active birthday night out!
 We got in the car and headed south.  It took me a while to realize we were going to go to the Scottsdale Party Bike.  I had seen one when we were downtown before and told him how fun I thought it would be.
 I was even more shocked to see many of our friends waiting for us!  Such a sneaky guy.  One of my girlfriends bought a Birthday Girl sash and crown.
 Took me back to my Miss Teen Northern California days.  LOL
 Max even ordered 40th birthday cold can koozies.  On the party bike everyone sits at a bar and they pedal to make the party bus go.  You are allowed to bring your own beer and wine.  The bike takes you to three bars downtown.
 As the birthday girl I got to sit in the back like a queen as everyone peddled us to our destination.  I could get use to this princess status.

 I had a wonderful night celebrating with my friends and family.
After the party bike, Max had uber waiting to take us to Top Golf.
That is where I really got to embarrass myself.  I can hardly hit the ball stone cold sober, add a few drinks and I decided it was a dancing venue rather than a golf swing.  Luckily the VIP took over for me.
We had so much fun!  Between Max and my birthday we definitely got to pretend like we were not 40 for a night or two.  However, the following mornings taught us otherwise.
 We named it BRO's weekend.  It was for sure a Big Rowdy Outing!  40 is looking pretty good!!