Happy 19th Anniversary!

"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same."
~ Emily Bronte
Nineteen years ago I said, "I do" to my soulmate.  Never could I have dreamed there was a man so perfect for me.  The everyday ordinary feels like paradise when you are holding my hand.  Our hearts need each other like our lungs need air, our stomachs need food, and our bodies need water.  We are greater as a sum than apart.  I am so very grateful I found you my love.

Sweet 16!

 We have been to a few over the top Sweet 16 parties this year.  Some of them certainly must have cost more than our wedding!  Scottsdale is a strange little bubble with kids driving BMWs, Mercedes G63s, and many getting brand new cars for their 16th birthday.
 Hailey had a pool party with all of her friends for her Sweet 16 but she wanted it to be very low key.  No theme was allowed and she was unusually concerned about being embarrassed.  She didn't even want a cake.  She more wanted just a party without her being the center of attention.  She didn't want a DJ or anything fancy.  She made the play list, we made burgers and dogs, and they all just hung out.
I told her if she was having a birthday party she had to have a cake and let us sing Happy Birthday to her!
 She agreed but asked if it had to have candles.  Of course!  I am so embarrassing. I told her you only have a few really special birthdays left and 16 is one of the big ones.
 Her friends were cute as they sang to her.
 I think she will forgive me one day. :)
 After cake I brought out a new driver basket gift.  It had all the things you need in your car.  An emergency roadside assistance kit with jumper cables, flashlight, flares, and a first aid kit.  It also had sunshades, a cold and hot travel mug, a gift card to Starbucks, Kleenex, chapstick, an Arizona map just in case the phone is lost or broken.  I added a  Tree car freshener, hand sanitizer, and a new keyring with a cross on it that also had a new key on it but she didn't notice.  I also put a phone jack cable in the basket.
 We had been planning on having her drive the truck.  That is what we have taught her to drive in and was what she was expecting.  However, the truck has taken a few hits like the AC going out, the stereo is blown, and now the drivers window doesn't work.  The one thing she really wanted, even over AC was a stereo that she could access the music from her phone.  Well, the 2000 Chevy stereo certainly did not have that capability.  We had planed to get her a new sound system before the truck started falling apart.  Then I started to feel bad she would have to drive such huge car.  Driving the bus is hard for me and I have been driving a long time and the truck has an even worse turning radius.  We began to look at cars....
 When she grabbed the AUX cord I told her we needed to go check out her new system!  The younger kids were waiting with confetti blasters to blast her as she walked out to her new car!
 All the pieces fell into order for us to buy her a 2006 Toyota 4Runner.  It has a nice stereo and a sunroof!  Mama will feel safe with her in a bigger car and our mechanic says these cars can easily go for 300K miles and are inexpensive to repair.  All three important for her as she goes off to college in two years where money and reliability are very important.
  She was so surprised!
 The one thing Hailey really did want at her party was photo booth set up.  
Max constructed the backdrop she wanted and we ordered a bunch of props.  They had so much fun taking pics.
 Our artistic gal really enjoyed making beautiful pictures.
 One of the coolest thing about Hailey is that she is friends with many different types of kids.
 She had her alternative friends, her church friends, and school friends.
 Everyone all mingled together.  I was worried there might be awkward and isolated groups but they all just hung out together.
 Hailey said it was the best birthday party she has ever had.  :)
That is the way it is suppose to be my sweet 16.
Happy Birthday!!

First Day of Summer!

The first day of summer in Phoenix broke a heat record for the day.  We have been having "summer" for a while and will continue to have "summer" into October.  Heat is just part of the living in the desert.
We have become accustom to the heat but over 110 it is just hard to do much of anything.  Even walking from air conditioned car to air conditioned store takes it out of you.  It is as if your body is fighting a fever.  I thought the best way to ring in the heat wave was to go visit my Grandpa and take him to an ice cream treat.  We had a nice afternoon chatting with him.  The kids want to go see him every week!  I think we might try different ice cream shops around him.  Sweet sweet summer time!

How Hailey Spent Her Birthday

Hailey's Sweet 16th Birthday was smoking hot!  It tied the record for the day!
She slept in like any good 16 year old on summer break would.  :)
But we got to have lunch with her at her favorite fast food stop, Subway.  She had a meatball sub and chips.
Hailey has had the same birthday dinner for many years.  She loves King crab legs, artichokes and pasta with loads of butter!
We had a chocolate ganache cake topped with strawberries.  I still can't believe my little baby girl is sweet 16!  I can only pray the next 16 are as sweet as the first 16 my girl.

It's good To Be Alive

Over the weekend Kaitlin had her dance recital.  She has been in a Hip Hop class all year and she got to show us her moves!
Every Tuesday she would go to dance class with 3 of her best friends.  We changed dance companies and were so happy with the change.  This is was a recreational, non slutty kids dancing class.  Their outfits were appropriate for their age and the hip gyrations were at a minimum.  Max use to joke that the other company was preparing girls to be the future strippers of Phoenix.  Kaitlin and her friends had so much fun learning to dance.  In the same way that Hailey didn't get her artistic abilities from Max or me, Kaitlin certainly didn't get her rhythm from us.  Girl can bust a move!

Happy 16th Birthday Hailey!!

 Happy 16th Birthday Hailey!!
We were so worried about you when I was pregnant.  You were not growing and the doctors had a list of reasons why you might not be growing.  Many of the reasons were various birth defects with the leading one being Down Syndrome.  When you were born premature we were again worried about all the things that can go wrong with a premie.  But look how wonderfully you have grown.  You are a creative soul that is beautiful from the inside out.  A few people are lucky enough to be artistic and smart!  Most of us just get one strong side of the the brain, but you were blessed with both.  You are an old soul that swims in the deep waters of contemplating the meaning of life and His word.  You are a horse loving, desert mountain biking chick that plays in the church band, is a student leader, creates art, finds beauty in the ordinary, and still manages to get a 4.0 in school while taking college Spanish and AP world history.  I guess it is clear there are no lingering effects of your rough pregnancy and early delivery.  But I am not sure we will ever stop worrying about our kids. :)
We love you so very much and are very proud of the young woman you have become.  We know your future is bright and can't wait to see what you accomplish but oh, how I wish for just one night I could hold you tight like you were my 5 pound peanut again.  Love you HJ!

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to the 3 greatest fathers!  
You each bring so much joy and love to my life.  Thank you for being strong, hard working, trustworthy, loving, supportive, able to fix anything, and putting your family above all else.  You are true examples of what it means to be a father.  I am blessed to be your daughter Snork and grateful everyday you chose to be my dad.  Most dads just get stuck with the kids that come out but you chose to raise four girls that you didn't have to.  Your humor and steadfast love are some of the things I treasure most about you.  I flew because you gave me wings and confidence to fly.

Monty, I thank God everyday he put Max in my path.  The man he is speaks volumes to the father you were to him.  I feel so lucky that our relationship goes back to when I was still a new teenager and you managed to still find a way to love me like a daughter of your own.  You have influenced my relationship with Christ and for that I am eternally grateful.  You both have guided me and loved me into the woman I am today.
Max, thank you for loving our babies with everything you have.  You give a hundred percent all the time and always put us before yourself.  Hank will have massive shoes to fill and I am so grateful the girls are growing up with such an wonderful example of what to find in their future husbands and father for their children.  I love you.

Te Amamos Mexico! (We Love Mexico)

 Our vacation to Mexico was a vacation of a lifetime. 
 It exceeded all my dreams and will be a treasured memory for the rest of my life.
 Not only were we in paradise but we were all together and disconnected from the real world, technology, and all other things that pull us in different directions.
 It reminded me of when the kids were small the way they all played with each other and hung out with us. :)
Time to run in the surf, snorkel, build sand castles, race along the beach, and take naps under the swaying palm trees.
 We had such an amazing time together.
Everyday we had lunch at our spot at Captain Morgan's.

After a day of sun and playing we always looked forward to a new themed dining experience.
 After the French restaurant, the hibachi Tokyo restaurant was our favorite.
 We were wowed with the Mayan coffee presentation at the Mexican restaurant.
Everything about the resort was beautiful and pleasing to the senses.

Except maybe the Italian restaurant.  We think Kaitlin's anxiety about Hank eating something he was allergic to caused her to get sick.  This was the only place that food was terrible and the service was even worse.  So we left and hit up the snacks in our room.
 If you could dream it, it was there.  Little buddy and I would snuggle in the hammock in the mornings.  Priceless.
 The girls even got to hold a monkey.
 The monkey is Kaitlin's favorite animal so she was delighted to get a chance to hold him.  He loved her beads.
 It was as if we had the whole beach to ourselves.
 The only reason any of us were ready to go home was to have some home cooked meals.
 We were all melancholy on our last day.  The soft ocean air, crashing of the surf, and wonders of a vacation in paradise were not things we were ready to say adios to.
 40 is definitely feeling fabulous!
I love these guys so much.  They are my world and make my life full of love and joy.  I am very grateful for the special vacation in paradise that was better than even my dreams could have imagined.
 MKHKKH 2017 Mexico