nine

so i know this pretty cool kid who is turning nine.
N.I.N.E.
you know, the number that looks like an upside-down six?
yeah.

and this kid,
well,
he’s pretty special to me.
he’s the kid who gave me a new name:

MOMMY.
MOM.
MAMA.

IMG_7459

this kid of MINE is turning NINE.
he was so wanted… so desperately wanted before we knew we were pregnant.
and then he was so very loved while i carried him.
even though we didn’t know if he was a he or a she.
his nickname was “Baby Seven”
(that’s a Seinfeld reference).

he was supposed to be born in mid-August.
the 18th, i think, was my due “date.”
but on Saturday, July 14th, 2007,
i was in PAIN.
and i couldn’t sit down.
so after hours and hours and hours,
i finally called the hospital.
with tears i explained my symptoms and they told me to come in.
that was around 3pm.

TWELVE HOURS LATER,
my son was born.
i was ill-prepared for the actual event.
and for all that goes along with being a selfish adult to becoming a mommy.
but i was in love.
and i had prayed for him for so long.

IMG_9688              IMG_8662 IMG_9540 IMG_4494 IMG_4169   IMG_7219

this kid of mine,
he’s pretty amazing.
he’s ridiculously intelligent.
he’s funny,
fun-loving,
thoughtful,
caring,
genuine,
tender,
has a memory like an elephant
(remember, an elephant “never forgets!”),
loves jokes,
is a bit of a dare-devil,
and is totally his OWN PERSON.

he wants what he wants.
he likes what he likes.
he is who he is.
for the most part, these are all good things currently.

this kid of mine,
he loves rollercoasters.
and zip lines.
and trying adventurous things.

 IMG_2447 IMG_8762

IMG_9159

IMG_0394 IMG_0445

IMG_1963 IMG_1962

IMG_2059 IMG_5580

he has fun just about anywhere we go.
if there’s nothing fun to do, he invents something.
or he reads.

IMG_2474

IMG_0216 IMG_9043

IMG_9100

IMG_0884 IMG_9975
IMG_7545

seriously.
this kid reads like you wouldn’t believe.
he’ll read a 1000-page book in a day.
he is voracious.
his thirst for knowledge is unquenchable.

 IMG_9902

he loves school.
he loves his teacher(s).

IMG_0569
he loves math.

IMG_9724

he loves technology.

IMG_8354

he really likes to play video games.
until a month ago, his favorite game would’ve been Madden on an old school X-Box.
about three months ago, his favorite would’ve been something on Wii.
but now he loves daddy’s X-Box One.
Minecraft, Halo (only with daddy), Plants v. Zombies (Garden Warfare) are his current favorites.

IMG_1182

along with video games,
ANYTHING involving “screen time” is a huge plus for this kid.
he loves movies,
he loves to play on the chrome book (favorite sites are Friv4school, khanacademy, and lego.com).
he likes playing Minecraft on the iPad, too.
if the TV is on, he’ll watch it. no matter what it is. seriously. he’ll watch alex’s “baby” shows (like Super Why and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) b/c it appears to be programmed in his brain that if the tv is on, he is required to watch it.
for his own TV time, he’s been choosing Scooby Doo, Phineas & Ferb, Animaniacs, though he’d rather watch any kind of movie (but Avenger movies or TMNT are even better)!

this kid of mine,
he is creative.
IMG_1104
he took an art class after school this year.
he’s pretty adept at looking at an image and re-creating it.
this is a fox that was on our friend’s shirt:

IMG_1721

and these are projects from school.
mostly Art Masterpiece projects.
you should ask him all about that rock sometime.

IMG_8876 IMG_8875

he still loves to play games.
and to be silly.
and to tell jokes.
lots and LOTS of jokes.
when he smiles, he melts my heart.
his grin is infectious.

IMG_2146

IMG_0832 IMG_0156
IMG_0790-2

this kid of mine,
he has a HUGE heart.
he has a very tender heart.
and he’s a very sensitive soul.
one day, this will serve him well.
right now, we’re working to “harness” the emotions.

IMG_0683 IMG_0210

he’s had to say “good bye” to TWO of his BEST FRIENDS in the last 14 months.
on the flip side,
he’ll still hold our hands out in public.
and he’ll initiate it.
he also still loves it when i help in his class.
and when i show up to eat lunch with him.
he thinks it’s cool that his mom is at the school so much.

IMG_9615 IMG_0978

i plan to continue to ride that wave for as long as it lasts.

IMG_8229

(he still LOVES his uncle tom and can’t get enough of him.
i wish we didn’t live so far away from family).

he’s gentle.
and loving.
and patient.

 IMG_4604 IMG_4640
IMG_7928

this kid of mine,
he loves to be active.
he’ll try just about anything.
but he doesn’t truly love anything.
except basketball.

IMG_4803 IMG_4838

maybe.
but he has fun trying new things.
he doesn’t mind if he’s not great at it right away.
he works hard.
he concentrates.
he listens.
he studies.
he tries his best.
all the time.

IMG_9994 IMG_1069 IMG_0381 IMG_0095

IMG_1450

IMG_7809 IMG_7287
IMG_1418 IMG_1828
IMG_7696 IMG_7797  IMG_6106 IMG_6359

this kid of mine,
he knows that some things are important.
and some things aren’t.
there were kids in his grade this past year who deemed themselves “too old” to dress up for halloween.
and they hated having to sing in the musical for their grade.
but my kid EMBRACES being a kid.
he seems to sense what’s coming…. and he’s trying to enjoy all that he can for as long as he can.

 IMG_0504 IMG_0764

IMG_9415 IMG_9479 IMG_9466 IMG_9414

this kid of mine,
he has a sweet tooth.
dessert is always very near and dear to his taste buds.
he loves ice cream (especially Rocky Road and Mint Chocolate Chip).
he loves chocolate candy (especially snickers bars),
but he won’t turn down a gummy worm or smarties if they’re offered to him!  IMG_0272

this kid of mine isn’t afraid to TRY HARD THINGS.
he signed up for an oratorical contest this past year.
and then some stuff happened (just family visiting that he wasn’t aware of) so he didn’t memorize his speech. and we had to talk him into sticking with the contest, even.
but in the end,
he delivered his speech.
and he did a great job!

IMG_1013 IMG_1018he also ran at these hurdles on field day as though they weren’t taller than he is!

IMG_5865

he’s NOT fearless.
but he’s brave.

this kid,
he LOVES his family.
his immediate family.
AND his extended family.
he has a special bond with his grandpa and his uncle tom.
but he loves every grandparent/nana, every aunt, uncle, cousin, second cousin and all the rest.
he truly delights in his family.

IMG_7563  IMG_8800

this kid of mine doesn’t wear pants.
well, maybe a couple of times a year.
i think he wore pants one day in january this year.
here’s the proof:

IMG_0790

(ok, so he wore pants for his school immigration project, as you saw above. but he only wore those for an hour or two. and they were actually pajama pants. these are REAL pants. meant for daytime wear!)

this kid of mine,
he’s pretty amazing.
and special.
he’s one of the coolest kid i know, no matter his age.
if you don’t know him, you should.
he loves making new friends.
he’s shy and quiet at first.
but then he just gets crazy, goofy, and silly, the more you get to know him.
he truly finds joy in life.
it’s a skill i wish more of us had.

IMG_9704 IMG_9249

 IMG_9614   IMG_9041

 IMG_2125

i think EIGHT has been pretty great for this kid of mine.
i’m so excited to see what NINE will bring!

    IMG_0276

IMG_1466    IMG_0713

Davey,
God created you and gifted you to this family.
You have been such a tremendous blessing to your dad and I.
And to your sisters.
You have eased us into this “parenting” role and I am so thankful for your easy-going nature.
You are so very precious to us!
(I hope you know that in your head AND in your heart.)
Daddy and I are so excited to see what this next year brings to your life!
Keep dreaming big.
Keep reaching for the stars.
Keep trying hard.
We love you so much!
Always,
Mommy (for Daddy, Samantha, and Alexandra, too)

IMG_0863

*Davey is EIGHT blog post is HERE
*Davey is SEVEN blog post here.
*Davey is FIVE blog post HERE!
*Davey is THREE blog post can be read here
*Davey at age ONE blog post is HERE.

ALEX IS SIX

Alex is SIX?!

IMG_0032 IMG_0037

This sweet girl is SIX today (July 13, 2016).
She is full of energy,
personality,
enthusiasm,
silliness,
zaniness,
love,
snuggles,
cuddles,
hugs,
tears,
joy,
delight,
and so much more.

IMG_0245

she is a tiny thing.
she wears a size 8.5 shoe.
she wears a size 4 bottom.
she wears a size 5 top.
she doesn’t even weigh 30# yet.
she’s about 41″ tall.

IMG_0260 IMG_0284

she is adventurous (when she wants to be).
she is courageous (when she wants to be).
she is stubborn.
she is determined.
she is persistent.

IMG_0539 IMG_0592 IMG_0622 IMG_0673 IMG_0702 IMG_0707

she still LOVES to watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (why, oh WHY did Netflix have to stop carrying this show?!?!?!).
her favorite characters in the movies are the various Minions.
she’s been drawing RAINBOWS a lot lately.

IMG_0708IMG_1097 IMG_0710

IMG_0743

she can make her own peanut butter and jelly sandwich. she makes a huge mess and she “contaminates” the peanut butter (with bread crumbs which means Dave can’t eat/use that peanut butter) but i’m happy to know she can fend for herself when necessary.

IMG_0756

she LOVES music.
sometimes you’ll even catch her dancing to it.
or singing (favorite songs are “Let It Go!,” songs from this year’s VBS CD, and various praise songs from church).

IMG_0786 IMG_2119 IMG_0806

IMG_0964

this girl, my friends, is READING.
yep.
R-E-A-D-I-N-G!
she love to TRACE and likes to write.
she struggles with writing - like, PHYSICALLY writing letters, but she’s such a hard worker.
she knows all the sounds of the letters.
and she can tell you what ALL of them are.
but writing them is a big struggle for her.
her penmanship is A.W.F.U.L.
but she LOVES school.
her cutting skill has improved DRAMATICALLY.
she can follow multi-step directions better.
she’s adding single digit numbers. subtracting is still extra difficult.
she’s struggling to draw shapes but she can recognize them all.
she can spell quite a few colors (red, blue, orange, yellow, green, purple, black, brown, white, pink).
she knows a good number of sight words.
she’s working hard to write her numbers…. and she’s doing really well.
she can count up to 100.

IMG_9867 IMG_9874

IMG_9673

this girl worked SO HARD in school this year that she’s moving on to FIRST grade in three short weeks (school begins on August 3rd)!

IMG_1103

even though she can read (words that are easy-to-sound-out),
she still LOVES to be read to.
it’s probably her favorite activity.
it’s not abnormal for her to climb in bed with Daddy & Mommy in the morning and to ask for either of us (who aren’t awake yet) to read at least one of the multiple books she has brought to bed!

IMG_0844

IMG_0849

(that white board reads: “Alex, Davey,
Sam,
Momey, Dadey”)

IMG_0858 IMG_0963
IMG_1346

she still LOVES anything sweet.
and cold.
ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen custard, or Rita’s Italian Ice are definitely favorites.
she’s been working REALLY hard this summer to learn how to swim.
she has ZERO fear of the water – which is good AND bad.

    IMG_1128 IMG_1182

she readily admits that she’s the BABY of this family.
she can often be heard making baby noises and sounds (to the point that it’s a problem and we have to remind her that she KNOWS HOW to use words).
she knows she’s adorable.
and cute.
but she also wants to be like the big kids.
she can frequently be found with a controller in hand so she can “play” whatever game big brother (or daddy) is playing.

IMG_1188

she still crashes hard and fast.
she’ll be talking your ear off one minute.
and she’ll be sound asleep 2 seconds later.

IMG_1379

IMG_1498

the girl has no fear of strangers.
in fact, she’s never met a stranger.
they’re all her dear friends.
when she disappeared at the beach one day two weeks ago, I freaked out.
why, oh WHY didn’t i immediately think to look at the group next to us.
she made a friend (his name was Quinn).
sweet, sweet girl.

IMG_1709 IMG_1809

she LOVES to swing (favorite playground/park activity).
when we go hiking, she can still be found in an ergo carrier on my back.
i guess her belief that she’s ACTUALLY a baby is somewhat true. ;)

IMG_1946 IMG_1996

her curls are so adorable.
i’m eager to see what her hair will be like as she grows older.
many people say she has my hair.
but those are the people who don’t know that i didn’t have curly hair before i had kids.
for real.
i’m pretty sure she has her daddy’s hair.

IMG_2022

she LOVES to build with blocks.
and put things in order.
she’ll say she’s making a pattern, but it’s pretty obvious she doesn’t fully have that concept down yet.

IMG_2031
she still LOVES animals.
she was IN HEAVEN on our recent vacation with friends.
sweet Phoebe was SUPER tolerant of this crazy little Munchkin.
i looked for a German Shepard stuffed animal as a birthday present (the closest we’ll get to having a pet) but couldn’t find one I liked.
she would be ELATED to have a pet at home.
especially a dog.
even though she’s TERRIFIED of them.
she’s also SUPER CURIOUS.
and she really does LOVE them.
dogs, that is.
she has SO MANY stuffed animals that are dogs.
she LOVES Beanie Boos.
probably because they’re all animals AND they have HUGE eyes like she does.

she’d actually be SUPER happy if we had a baby in the house.
(not happening, unless we’re babysitting for friends).
she can most often be found carrying a baby doll around the house.
usually baby (princess) belle or baby maddie.
she dresses them.
she reads to them.
she puts them to bed.
she changes their diaper.
she spanks them.
she feeds them.
she really does love them.

IMG_2095   IMG_2166 IMG_2254 IMG_2270 IMG_2277 IMG_2401 IMG_9393

this amazing little girl,
who has overcome so much already in her life,
is GOING PLACES.
she continues to amaze us with what she can do.
what she can accomplish.
what she can learn.
what she can master.
what she can tolerate.
what she can overcome.

IMG_9555  IMG_9861

IMG_9967

the sky’s the limit for this Littlest Munchkin.

Dear Alex,
We love you SO MUCH.
We are SO PROUD of you and
we are SO THANKFUL you are in our family.
You bring us all so much JOY… thank you for your infectious smile,
your constant hugs, your empathy, your energy, your enthusiasm,
your forgiving nature, your kindness, your love, your sweet spirit….
you are a blessing and we are so grateful you are in our family!

    IMG_2147

P.S. as much as we love you, i hate to tell you that now that you are SIX, you are STILL not yet old enough to DRIVE…. you have to be sixTEEN to enjoy that privilege. it’s not our rule. it’s the law.

IMG_1094

p.s. if you want to go back in time, here’s the post about alex turning FIVE.
p.p.s.  and here’s the post of alex turning FOUR.
Where’s the post of her turning THREE? i honestly don’t know?!
p.p.p.s. and here’s the post about alex turning TWO.
p.p.p.p.s. and here’s the post of alex turning ONE!
p.p.p.p.p.s. and a post of her BIRTH!

the Dunkins in the Desert: Day 6 (hiking)

well, friends, the PLAN was HIKING on Friday.
but much like the Monday plan for hiking,
the plan got de-railed.
i woke up early in the morning with a killer headache and feeling really nauseous.
like so nauseated that i had to hug the toilet for awhile.
a few times.
it was not pleasant.
i needed headache meds but was afraid they wouldn’t stay down.
i had two sips of peppermint tea and felt worse.
i finally fell asleep for a nap around 12:00ish.
i woke up at 3 and felt like a new person.
in retrospect,
we’re guessing it was a migraine.
my second ever.
what a fantastic time to get one, right?!

but, apparently, i wasn’t the only one who didn’t sleep well.
so the hike was put on the back burner.
and in the end,
three of the guys (Dave, Tom, and S) went for a hike in the early afternoon.
they went hiking to the Wind Cave: a hike I’ve never done.
IMG_1461 IMG_1462 IMG_1464
(hiking photos courtesy of Dave).

everyone else relaxed around the house.
naps.
swimming.
tv/movie time.
games.
laundry.
you get the idea.

IMG_1455

IMG_8948 IMG_8949 IMG_8951

this is me with a pouty face b/c i had to stay in the shade and drinks lots of water.
i wanted to be IN the water.

IMG_8962
IMG_8953 IMG_8957 IMG_8960

ultimately, this week was about being TOGETHER.
not about DOING everything on THE LIST.

and we definitely spent a lot of time together.
it was a huge blessing to be able to use this company retreat house
for a personal family reunion.
there aren’t many people who can do that.
we feel extremely blessed and extremely lucky that we got this opportunity.

we headed out around 5 to have a spoil-your-appetite
treat at Rita’s Italian Ice.
several family members had never experienced it before.
we were happy to introduce them!

IMG_8967 IMG_8969 IMG_8973 IMG_8975

and once back at the house,
it was time to do stuff “one last time” before parting and going our separate ways.
there was some putt putt golf happening….

IMG_8332 IMG_8333

a phone call with great grandpa and great grandma in Ohio.
he let us know that great Aunt Ibby made it through her hip replacement surgery
and was already hoping to go home!
take it easy, Ib!
 IMG_8335 IMG_8340

pretty much, just hanging out and relaxing at the house:

 IMG_8338  IMG_8341

the cousins enjoyed running and jumping and riding….

 IMG_8344 IMG_8345 IMG_8347 IMG_8348 IMG_8351 IMG_8353

IMG_8363 IMG_8364

davey found my blog (on grandpa’s phone) and read through DITD days 4 & 5:

IMG_8354  IMG_8359

and while he was reading,
cousin A (who wants to marry davey),
came up and started giving him a shoulder rub.
don’t worry.
her parents have already talked with her to tell her she can’t marry her cousin.
we’re not that kind of family.

Samantha enjoyed final moments playing with cousin W.

  IMG_8365 IMG_8366

(they were pretending to scale/climb the wall).

then the girls climbed into the hammock:

 IMG_8367 IMG_8376

while Uncle S enjoyed a little frisbee golf:

IMG_8357 IMG_8377

as usual,
this child was found inside,
watching something on the iPad:

 IMG_8378 IMG_8380

but then she got distracted with Uncle Tom.
and his audio recorder.
she gave him some good animal noises before too many people started watching!

  IMG_8977 IMG_8980

dinner was a do-it-yourself buffet of left overs.
and uncle tom provided some candy from Chinatown in Chicago!

IMG_8382

and while the grown ups packed
(their flights were EARLY this morning),
we had a few movies going….
one downstairs for the littles:

IMG_8383

and Men In Black upstairs in the theater for the
big kids.
(which includes the adults).

IMG_8388 IMG_8391

and as everyone (minus the littles) said good bye,
uncle tom shared surprises for each of the kiddos.
samantha is ELATED with her lightbulb.
dave scored Men In Black sunglasses (in a case).
and alex got a princess peach (mario brothers character) toy.

IMG_8981

despite the hiccups of R’s inner ear problems,
A’s seriously sunburned arm,
my migraine,
some bad dreams,
some poor nights of sleep for several….
despite all that,
this week was a HUGE success.
for the first time in…. ever?! we spent multiple nights under the same roof.
we enjoyed sunshine together
(a big deal for those from Washington),
swimming,
games,
a zoo adventure,
movies in the in-house theater,
eating great food,
good conversation,
the guys enjoyed top golf,
the ladies enjoyed shopping…
it was an incredible week’s vacation and
we’re already looking forward to trying it again someday.
i think the beach would be a fun location next time?!

 

 

 

the Dunkins in the Desert: Day Five (shopping)

 

 

 

 

 

it was another beautiful, sunny day here in AZ.

this is what i looked like in the pool yesterday (day 4):
IMG_8920

there’s no reason i’m sharing it with you other than i like it and it’s from dave’s phone and i just saw it today for the first time.

see,
i can be random.

the oldest Munchkin caught some “solo time” this morning.
i found him in alex’s bed,
reading a book.
apparently, he’d been reading a book to her earlier.
but she wasn’t there when i saw him.

IMG_8910

i think the cousins built a “ship” here.
they INSISTED i take a picture:

IMG_8275

shortly after the above photo was taken,
alex wanted to re-locate Mr Pickles
(sorry, Bob, but the kids named the House Bear “Mr. Pickles”)
from downstairs to upstairs.
thank goodness grandma was able to help!

IMG_8912

while the boys and littles stayed home,
the grown up girls went shopping in Scottsdale.

IMG_8914 IMG_8915 IMG_8916 IMG_8917

i hate to tell you this,
but the bodysuits from the 80s are BACK:

IMG_8918

(no, i did NOT buy it.
or anything remotely similar to it.
but i DID own a few back in the 80s.)

i did, however, enjoy this for lunch:
IMG_8919

yum!
Pita Jungle for my yummy lunch win!

while we shopped and enjoyed and relaxed,
there was plenty more swimming back at the house:

  IMG_8282 IMG_8292 IMG_8304

and then when they were all done with the sun,
it was time for video games.
only the house game system is X-Box 360.
but all the games at the house are X-Box.
so there wasn’t much “gaming” happening.

IMG_8310 IMG_8313

while we were gone,
my amazing husband also spent the day SMOKING a pork.
so dinner tonight was a much-anticipated event:

 IMG_8923 IMG_8924 IMG_8926

RIGHT before dinner,
I remembered that I was supposed to make jalapeño poppers for dinner.
Mom to the rescue for cutting the jalapeños while I mixed the “popper” part and filled the jalapeño shells.

IMG_8325 IMG_8921 IMG_8922 IMG_8947

it was all sooooo good.

IMG_8930

even the cousins ate well tonight!

IMG_8928 IMG_8931 IMG_8933

and then there was a bedtime story from grandpa

IMG_8934

while some of us enjoyed a FASHION SHOW
IMG_8944
(my swap.com order arrived yesterday and i picked it up from home today!

)

IMG_8939

this is a tank that i said “NO” to as soon as i pulled it out of the box.
a very emphatic “NO.
IMG_8941
but the moment i put it on, my opinion changed.
as did the opinion of my SIL.
and even my friend Julie (who enjoyed some photos via text) agreed!

IMG_8942 IMG_8943

these two are my favorite:

 IMG_8945

it’s that button back detail on the black & white one
and it’s this little detail on the gray & white one):

IMG_8946

i ordered 14 tank tops, hoping to keep about 5 of them.
swap.com is something i JUST found.
it’s a website, not an app.
it’s all used clothing.
the prices are great.
you can get free shipping for ordering a certain amount of product (price-wise).
and they have free returns.
for any reason.
and you get your money back….
not store credit.
so far, I’m impressed.
out of the 14 tops I received,
i’m keeping 6.
and it was a unanimous decision:

IMG_8940

yes.
i know.
i have a problem.
black. white. gray. and stripes.
i’m addicted.
but at least i know what i like.
and i didn’t keep ALL the striped tank tops i received.
did you know,
when i ordered,
the inventory for small & medium sized tank tops was over 17,000?!
seriously.
the 6 tanks I’m keeping come to $37.10 (i think that was the amount).
not too shabby!

but enough about that fashion show…..
after our fashion show was finished,
we found the boys like this:

IMG_8328 IMG_8327 IMG_8330

so again,
we ate well,
we played well,
and it was another successful Family Reunion day.
up tomorrow:
HIKING IN THE DESERT.
WOO HOO!

the Dunkins in the Desert: Day Four (Zoo)

when you’re on vacation with littles in this area,
the zoo is always a winner!
but when you have to transport 11 people,
you take two vehicles.
and you kind of caravan….
this was my crew:
IMG_8893

IMG_8252 IMG_8900

but we had a special hook-up….
my neighbor is the event coordinator for the zoo.
and she was able to get us ALL in for free with her annual pass and some free passes she found on her desk.
AND she was able to get us into STING RAY BAY (again, for free)
so we could pet AND feed the sting rays!
i’m pretty sure a restaurant gift card is headed her way
(she doesn’t cook)!

but before your grand adventure of animal fun begins,
you ask your husband to adjust the camera settings.
and you pray you don’t mess them up throughout the day!

IMG_7862

Samantha and i have fed and pet the sting rays once before
(on a class field trip to the zoo when, again, our wonderful neighbor got our group into this  area for free).
she had no desire to feed them again.
petting them was fine.
i’ll admit,
feeding the sting rays is a freaky feeling.
you put a piece of a fish or shrimp into your hand and hold it sticking up
(imagine you’re holding an ice cream cone – that’s how you hold the sting ray food).
then you put your hand as far down into the water as you can
(with the food sticking up, not out),
and you wait for a sting ray to glide OVER your hand.
it pulls the food out and continues to swim in a circle around the water tank.
sometimes you can feel them “nibbling.”
or some of them come so fast you really think they’re going to attack!

IMG_7865 IMG_7867 IMG_7876 IMG_7881 IMG_7886 IMG_7888

this is me, showing you a fish head that the sting rays are going to eat.
my favorite thing about the photo, though,
is Uncle/BIL S’s face behind me:

IMG_7895

IMG_7898 IMG_7900 IMG_7911

alex was NOT interested in petting or feeding a sting ray.
the feeding part is kinda scary,
though no one at the zoo has been seriously harmed from feeding the sting rays.
but petting them is easy.
you put your flat hand in the top part of the water and they come and glide under it…
so you’re flat hand just glides over the top of their spine.
it’s pretty cool.
they feel smooth there.
you’re not allowed to touch them on their side, underneath, or their tail.

IMG_7915 IMG_7916 IMG_7923 IMG_7928

seriously,
he is SO GENTLE
with animals.
it ALMOST makes me wish we had a pet.
ALMOST.

IMG_7932 IMG_7934

davey won the award for getting the most wet in Sting Ray Bay!

next we visited the new Aviary and Reptile area
(despite all our trips to the zoo,
we hadn’t seen this space before!)
Lots of lizards and snakes….

IMG_7935 IMG_7939 IMG_7943 IMG_7946

(“Mommy, even though you hate snakes,
we really want you to take a picture of all these snakes in this giant box,”
- Samantha, age 7).

IMG_7947 IMG_7949IMG_7968 IMG_7970 IMG_7971

we found some prairie dogs
(they look cute but they’re not so cuddly).
that didn’t stop alex from trying to climb into their area to pet them.
seriously.

IMG_7956 IMG_7960

and creepy birds:

IMG_7966

there were more creepy birds,
but you don’t want to see them.
well, maybe it’s just ME who doesn’t want to see them.
vultures, turkeys, turkey vultures….
yuck.

and after spending an HOUR at the zoo,
we FINALLY meandered more than 100 feet from the entrance!
i love this photo of the guys watching the area that holds
giraffes and oryx and ostriches and emus and other wildlife:

 IMG_7985

IMG_8894  IMG_8896

as we walked up the hill,
we took a peek at the Fennec Fox.
which is ALWAYS in hiding.
the most i’ve ever seen before is a partial bit of his face.
but guess what?
today,
we saw THIS:

IMG_7990

the WHOLE thing!
he’s another cute, cuddly looking thing!

and despite all the cool animals at the zoo,
the sight of a chipmunk (?) running across the pathway
is what caused everyone to stop and look!

IMG_7995

alex has ALWAYS loved the mandrakes (mandrills?) and the baboons.
this time was no exception:

IMG_8012 IMG_8014

right after we took these photos,
this guy wandered away.
the BIG one was sitting on a log to our left.
we watched him stand up,
poop,
remove an un-digested long leaf from the poop,
wipe it “clean” with his hand,
and eat it.
yep.
for real.
MONKEYS ARE GROSS.

here’s a gerenuk:

IMG_8028

we saw these in africa.
they’re a type of deer
with a LOOOOOOONG neck,
it can stand on it’s hind legs
while it reaches up to the higher leaves in a tree
(like a giraffe, but not nearly as tall as a giraffe – maybe up to their legs?!)
to get it’s meal.
they look so dainty.

now,
you know that a day at the zoo with
7 adults and 5 kiddos who are ALL related
means there will be more than just animal photos…

let’s start with this one of papa and cousin A:

IMG_7998

while we ate a light lunch,
we watched the howling monkeys sleep (no photos),
the GIANT pelicans chill (again, no photos),
and some turtles sun themselves on a rock:

IMG_8032

(i know, i know,
FINALLY,
a photo)!

flamingoes are kinda weird.
and creepy.
it’s their eyes.
and the way their legs fold backwards….
IMG_8038 IMG_8040

IMG_8037

zebras are always a winner….

IMG_8046IMG_8050

(especially when you tell that cute little girl above that zebras have
purple and green stripes.
and she emphatically tells you they’re black and white.
a few times.
until she looks REALLY CLOSELY at the zebra
and sees the dirty areas underneath (on the belly)
where it was in the dirt.
IMG_8051
and she says “oh, yeah Auntie Tam,
I think you’re right!
There IS a little bit of green and purple on the white!”
seriously.
for real.
5 year olds are the best!
(don’t worry.
I did tell her i was just kidding and the zebra’s stripes
are black and white
AND i told her the dirty spot from the dirt was brown).

   IMG_8053_2

IMG_8049 IMG_8054

there was more papa and cousin A love:

IMG_8055

this girl got a kick out of reading the new map all day:

IMG_8059

we stopped for a giant bag of kettle corn
(i’m not a fan of that stuff,
but for some reason,
at the zoo,
it always tastes good to me!)

and as we were working our way to our final loop,
some of the howling monkeys were awake and moving
but not howling:

IMG_8064 IMG_8066 IMG_8068

we found the new tiger exhibit,
which is really cool.
and it means there are now TWO tigers at the zoo instead of one:

IMG_8072 IMG_8073

and the komodo dragon is always a hit with the Munchkins:

IMG_8077 IMG_8097

we even got to see him on the move!

the orangutan habitat has always been fun.
when grandpa & grandma were here just over a year ago,
there was a brand new baby (like a day old).
and now,
that baby is still cute
but is a little bit bigger….

IMG_8108 IMG_8116 IMG_8123

Monkey Village is a winner for those who choose to enter
(grandma/nama, auntie Tam, Davey, Cousin A, and Uncle/BIL Tom).

IMG_8144 IMG_8150 IMG_8175

the spider monkeys are pretty fun to watch.

the Forest of Uco
was disappointing
since the Andean bears were off exhibit.
but i did get to capture this photo of Uncle Tom and Alex getting some good bonding time:

IMG_8179

it cracks me up that the kiddos were all CLOSE
to the macaw but had ZERO interest in the beautiful bird:

IMG_8188 IMG_8186

an obligatory COUSIN photo (minus one):

IMG_8194

i love the barn owls.
niece/cousin A was SO EXCITED when she finally saw them!

IMG_8202

this is another favorite from the day:
they’re checking out tarantulas
and cockroaches
and scorpions
other creepy, crawly things:

IMG_8204

seriously.
these two.
five-year olds can be quite adorable.
they can be exasperating, too.
but THIS is adorable:

IMG_8214

my munchkins LOVE their uncle Tom.
with a fierce passion.
it’s hard to have him in chicago.
he’s just so far away.
and we don’t get to see him enough.
i think the last time we saw him was july 2014….
so almost two years ago.

IMG_8221 IMG_8229

(i also want to note that i LOVE that my 8-year old will still GLADLY hold hands with his family members….. uncle tom, daddy, mommy…. i will treasure this for as long as it lasts)!

before our adventure was over,
we saw the galapagos turtles
and the elephants.
well,
one elephant.
but that’s another story for another day at the zoo….

IMG_8237

and then alex got some extra love from grandpa as we headed to the cars:

IMG_8901

back at home,
we just relaxed.
we swam.
IMG_8903 IMG_8904
we enjoyed.
we snacked.
we chilled.

grandma/nama visited the hair salon:
IMG_8256
she had the CUTEST entourage of hair stylists.
they may only be 5 now,
but one day,
they’ll be AMAZING at what they do!

it was the perfect ending to the day.
dinner was even easy -
frozen burgers on the grill
and peanut butter truffle cookies:

IMG_8906 IMG_8905
(i took the food photo AFTER we’d all eaten our fill of burgers
topped with cheese, bacon, onion, tomatoes….)

alex got some quality time in the big soaker bathtub in the master,
where grandpa&grandma are staying:

  IMG_8267

and then she and big brother fell asleep on the floor in the living room
while the grown ups talked….

     IMG_8907 IMG_8908

yep.
it was a long,
tiring,
hot,
sweaty,
sunny,
FUN,
adventure day.

the Dunkins in the Desert: Day Three

IMG_7553

vacations with extended family can be fun.
this one most certainly is.
everyone is in shock at the house we’re using.
it’s about 7000 sq ft of amazingness.
it’s truly a blessing that we get to use it this week.
we are all so very, very thankful.

when i walked downstairs this morning for my breakfast,
i found Uncle S at the table with all the cousins.

IMG_7551

and then i heard my son shout “GRANDPA!” and go racing across the room….
i just happened to be by my camera (for reals)
and was able to snap this photo of my littlest welcoming grandpa to our vacation:

IMG_7554
right after i took this photo,
she jumped up and down and said “i’m so glad you came here!”

the morning was relaxing as we all breakfasted on whatever, whenever.
and we enjoyed the sunshine.
and the cousins played and laughed and giggled and ran….

IMG_8850 IMG_8851 IMG_8855 IMG_8857

lunchtime with 5 kiddos and 7 adults can be a bit crazy.
this large kitchen makes it easier:

IMG_7558

and then the men (plus davey) were off on a grand adventure…..

IMG_7563 IMG_7565

TOP GOLF!
it was a first time visit for everyone.
well, maybe not Uncle S.
he may have gone to one in atlanta one time.
but it was a first time for all the rest.

IMG_1440 IMG_1450

(thanks for these photos, honey!)

while the men were off playing,
quite literally,
the girls (plus Cousin W who was too little to tag along) enjoyed some quiet time at the house before hitting the pool.
well,
kinda.
grandma & alex assembled all the puzzles that keep getting dumped out:

IMG_7566

i found piles of shoes and toys everywhere,
alerting me to the reality that EVERYONE is having FUN:

IMG_7567 IMG_7568

and then i spent the early afternoon reading a book by the pool.
IMG_8860
it might be a family reunion,
but it’s vacation time, too!

and then the guys returned.
and the littlest woke from his nap.
and the dads and uncles and grandpas all got in the pool.

IMG_7570 IMG_7573 IMG_7581 IMG_7584 IMG_7586

 IMG_8867 IMG_8871

IMG_8884

and there was LOTS of jumping from above the cave/waterfall.

IMG_7596 IMG_7802
IMG_7602 IMG_7609 IMG_7615 IMG_8879 IMG_7627 IMG_7633 IMG_7636 IMG_7643 IMG_7649

uncle S used to be on a diving team, i think.
(did i tell you this already?
i’m so old i’ve already forgotten.
and i’m too lazy to go back and look).
so he pulled out some old moves….

the handstand dive:

IMG_7675 IMG_7677

and the front pike flip
(yes, i’m making up the names):

IMG_7710 IMG_7711 IMG_7712 IMG_7713 IMG_7714

and a back flip:

IMG_7717 IMG_7718 IMG_7719 IMG_7720 IMG_7721

and another handstand dive:

IMG_7736 IMG_7737 IMG_7738

and a hand stand:

IMG_7813 IMG_7814 IMG_7815

he has other tricks….
i’m sure of it.
we may have even seen some of them today.
i can’t possibly photograph EVERYTHING.
can i?!

not to be outdone,
Cousin A wanted to jump in with her daddy:

IMG_7689 IMG_7776

and my davey wanted to jump:

IMG_7696  IMG_7797

uncle tom hit the slide:

IMG_7754 IMG_7756

while these two were oblivious to most of the events happening over the waterfall:

IMG_7774

this sweet little guy is Cousin W.
and he LOVES LOVEs LOVES his papa.
he pretty much wants nothing to do with anyone else when Papa is around.
(it melts my heart a bit).

and not to be outdone by his (younger) BIL,
my man got in on the fun jumping action.
dave did several jumps.
but he really surprised me when i went to take photos of him JUMPING and, instead, caught THIS:

 IMG_7790 IMG_7791 IMG_7792 IMG_7793

yep.
front flip.
full rotation.
niiiiiiiiiiiice!

uncle tom did an impressive spin jump:

    IMG_7846 IMG_7847 IMG_7848

IMG_7852

everyone kind of meandered their way out of the pool area and back into the house
as though we were all on the same schedule….
the cousins played and made messes (and cleaned some of them).
and then the cousins found themselves on the couch with grandpa & grandma,
enjoying some Faithlife TV
(until R and I discovered the show might be a little too realistic for the littles, at which point we caught the attention of the grandparents to change the show….. and it turns out the grandparents had been napping!)

IMG_8885

S&R made us a DELICIOUS thai meal (3 dishes!)
that was so tasty i have zero photos to share with you.
for reals.
none.
no photos.
but that food is all in my belly.
and it was goooooood!

tomorrow is the zoo.
and more swimming.
because when you have access to a heated pool,
you use it.
daily.

the Dunkins in the Desert: day TWO

monday was a low key day.
not all the guests had arrived.
my SIL is battling a gnarly head cold.
the plan was a very kid-friendly hike.
dave left his hiking shoes at home.
my SIL was finally ready to visit urgent care.

so the men and the kids stayed at home in the morning
while my SIL and i visited urgent care and walmart.
and we all spent the afternoon by the pool.
there’s not much better.

IMG_8790

Nephew, say “CHEESE!”

IMG_8796 IMG_8797 IMG_8798

IMG_8800 IMG_8801 IMG_8803

sweet Niece LOVES the water.
and jumping off the rocks:

IMG_8806

i just like relaxing….

IMG_8811

IMG_8813 IMG_8814 IMG_8817 IMG_8819 IMG_8827

and then, to get the kids and men out of the house for a bit,
we drove to our home to show the family our place (they’ve never seen it before).
and then we headed out for dinner at one of our favorite downtown restaurants.
the service wasn’t the greatest.
in fact, it was downright S L O W.
but the food was still tasty.

IMG_8830 IMG_8838

and WHILE we were at the restaurant,
we kept getting texts from family members at various airports.
so while we enjoyed our meal,
family members were on airplanes.
hungry.
tee hee.
the irony is not lost on me!

once we were home (later than intended),
it was bedtime for the Munchkins:

IMG_8842 IMG_8843

and i may have fallen asleep on the couch waiting to make an airport run.
and then dave and i headed out to different airports to pick up family.
and he beat us home.
how did that happen?!
but shortly before midnight,
we were all under the same roof.
tom arrived from chicago.
dad & mom arrived from bellingham.
and our seattle family was already here.

now it is REALLY time for the Spring Break Wild Rumpus to begin!

IMG_8848

the Dunkins in the Desert: day one

as if the ostrich festival wasn’t enough fun to last us through our ENTIRE spring break,
we had to go ahead and plan a family reunion.
yep.
for reals.
only,
with the new baby
(not ours!),
one family had to bail.
but that’s okay.
the cousins have been SO EXCITED for this week.
the Washington state and Chicago family are looking forward to SUN and WARMTH.

we are SO THANKFUL to have this HUGE house (not ours) for us all to share this week.
it’s a huge blessing.
a perk, for sure.
it’s not far from our home.
in fact, we’re just in a neighboring town.
but it feels like we’re miles and miles away.
because we’re vacationing.
and there’s a heated pool.
and family is here….
oh my. let me stop there for today and get back to the story at hand…

Sunday was day one (full day) of the Dunkins in the Desert.
not everyone has arrived yet.
in fact,
it was just us and one other family.
but it was a fantastic day anyway.
lots of sun.
lots of pool time.
cousins playing and having a blast.
siblings and spouses talking and cooking and eating and parenting together…
probably the way life once was before trains and planes made traveling easier.
before people moved thousands of miles away from their family instead of just to the other side of town.

IMG_7223 IMG_7231 IMG_7232 IMG_7235 IMG_7239

pretty sure this guy was on a high school diving team:

IMG_7246 IMG_7268

he’s got some crazy acrobatic moves.
i should’ve taken video instead of stills!

IMG_7283 IMG_7288 IMG_7298 IMG_7302
(The Littlest Munchkin asked for her big brother to yell “cannonball” and then jump into the water. He acquiesced. She chapped.)

IMG_7310 IMG_7318 IMG_7347 IMG_7366 IMG_7373

along with his own acrobatic skills,
he’s a pretty great uncle and dad to help the kids realize their full acrobatic potential:
IMG_7428 IMG_7433 IMG_7494

this little series of photos makes me laugh…
probably because i can see their smiles.:
IMG_7434 IMG_7438 IMG_7447 IMG_7474  IMG_7513 IMG_7522

dave found a comfy place on the living room floor to take a nap
(while the kiddos watched some Jake and the Neverland Pirates):

IMG_7532

and while I whipped up 1/2 a batch of Monster Cookies.
and a batch of pico de gallo.
in my most amazing kitchen for the week:

IMG_7537

seriously.
isn’t it amazing?
it’s HUGE.
with TWO sinks.
and TWO dishwashers.
and THREE ovens.
and a pantry SO LARGE it holds it’s own fridge.
that’s just for beverages.
seriously.

here are the girls reading stories before dinner.
ironically enough,
after a day of swimming,
the book of the night was The Little Mermaid!

IMG_7542

with a morning at church,
a lunch of Rancho Market’s pollo asado,
an afternoon of swimming,
breakfast for dinner,
and a whole host of fun moments in-between,
i think Day One of the Dunkins in the Desert
was quite successful.
the silence in the house from FIVE sleeping children would probably support that thought!
we’re all quite excited to see what day two holds!

spring break shenanigans…. with ostriches!

Spring Break began on Friday at 12:01pm for D&S and at 12:31pm for A.
In an effort to make our week as crazy as we could,
we opted to repeat a fun activity from last year….

THE OSTRICH FESTIVAL!

and to make it as much fun as it was last year,
we went with the same people:
The Wood Family!

Since we were rookies last year,
we learned to get wrist bands for ALL the kiddos.
that was a HUGE HIT this year.
and to avoid buying tickets,
I got a wrist band again this year.
Dave didn’t want one.

Alex thoroughly enjoyed ALL the rides she tried.
and she tried a lot.
roller coasters.
swings.
crazy rides.
tame rides.
she LOVED them.

IMG_6864 IMG_6868

IMG_8738 IMG_8742 IMG_8744 IMG_8745 IMG_6875 IMG_6881 IMG_6884

IMG_6892IMG_6903 IMG_6897 IMG_6899

it was super fun for me this year to be RIDING with the kiddos.
especially alex.
i didn’t grow up going to carnivals or fairs or festivals.
and the few times i ever did attend one, there were LIMITED rides i could go on.
because my mom wasn’t into rides.
the carousel and ferris wheel were about the extent of it.
but amazingly, i LOVE rides.
not the the kind that spin and make you nauseated.
(well, not anymore.
when i was younger…)
but what i really loved about this year was dave being BEHIND the camera..
which put me IN a lot of the photos this year.

 IMG_6905 IMG_6906 IMG_6909 IMG_6910 IMG_6912IMG_8747 IMG_8749

IMG_8751
IMG_8753

IMG_6915

IMG_6918

IMG_6922

IMG_6924

and after lots and LOTS of kiddie rides,
we wandered over to the big people rides.
and got distracted by the reptile people on the way….

IMG_6928 IMG_6930 IMG_6934

IMG_6936 IMG_8762 IMG_8763 IMG_8764IMG_6945 IMG_6947 IMG_6949 IMG_6951

this ride….

IMG_6955 IMG_6963

i’m so thankful i talked samantha into riding with the boys instead of with me.
it would’ve made me sick.

IMG_6967 IMG_6974

poor munchkin,
it DID make davey sick.
next year, we’ll give him 1/4 to 1/2 of a motion sickness pill.
and yes, he actually got SICK….
about 30 minutes AFTER riding it.
lesson learned.

he did bounce back.
but it took a little while.

IMG_6976 IMG_6982 IMG_6991 IMG_7001 IMG_7005
IMG_7008 IMG_7009

after the big kid rides (where alex was too little to enjoy anything),
we made our way back to the kiddie area for a few more rides….

IMG_7026  IMG_8754 IMG_8755 IMG_8758 IMG_8760

before making our way back to the Ostrich Races
(yes, for real),
we stopped by the reptile booth again to see and pet a different animal:
IMG_7028 IMG_7032 IMG_7033 IMG_7034

and then it was time for the OSTRICH RACES!!!
for real.
there was way too much talking this year between events.
but when the events were actually happening, it was pretty fun!

IMG_8767

ostrich races: 

IMG_7053 IMG_7055

kids chasing emus:

 IMG_7060

chariot races:

IMG_7070

kids racing ducks:

IMG_7079

zebra races:

IMG_7094

more ostrich racing…
that was CRAZY FUNNY when the ostriches decided to spin in circles in an attempt to knock off their jockey:

IMG_7102 IMG_7103 IMG_7104 IMG_7107 IMG_7108

dromidary camel races:

IMG_7115 IMG_7116

and some close ups of the animals….

IMG_7120 IMG_7131

and then we returned to the rides
(i told you,
it was ALL ABOUT the rides this year):

IMG_7135

IMG_7153 IMG_8769
(see alex in that photo with me?
the one above?
yeah… she’s crazy!
but she loved it!
she had one short moment of fear
but we pushed past it and she wanted to ride this MULTIPLE times!)

IMG_8768  IMG_8771 IMG_8772 IMG_8773

IMG_7155 IMG_7156 IMG_7167 IMG_7171 IMG_7176

yep. we did the kid swings more than once:

IMG_7186 IMG_7189 IMG_7196

like last year,
we took our own snacks to the venue.
but we didn’t miss out on the good stuff.
samantha enjoyed a corn dog for dinner.
the rest of us (dave included) shared a turkey leg for dinner.
we (minus dave) scarfed down a funnel cake.
and before we left,
we bought a large bag of COTTON CANDY to enjoy on the way home.
well, we enjoyed about half of the bag that day.
we’re still working our way through the rest of it.
IMG_7198

i think a wonderful tradition is well underway.
we look forward to this event next year…
with The Woods!

IMG_7200

deep roots….

so the older two Dunkins look a lot like dave.
and a lot like me.
they’re a pretty amazing blend of the two of us.
the way God designed genetics boggles my mind.

unfortunately for the older two Munchkins,
they take after ME in the dental department.
that means small mouths and big teeth.
a year ago,
on a regular trip to the dentist (our FIRST trip, mind you),
the dentist recommended that davey have SEVERAL teeth pulled no later than summer.
yes.
summer 2015.
as in – less than 3 months later.
really, really soon.
and then they recommended that Samantha would need the SAME THING
(aka: lots of teeth pulled) the following summer (2016).
and that didn’t sit well with me.

so it took several months,
but i finally remembered to get a 2nd opinion appointment
(from MY dentist, whom i really trust and respect).
and my dentist (who didn’t charge me for the consult!)
recommended the same thing as the pediatric dentist.
BUT
he also recommended an orthodontic consult.
so i finally got that last month.
and he recommended THE SAME THING.

ugh.

so i gave in.
and i scheduled the Munchkins to get some teeth pulled.
by taking a year to get those two other opinions,
davey ended up losing a few of his teeth.
so instead of needing to have SIX teeth pulled….
he only needed ONE!
this morning, his smile looked like THIS:

IMG_4169

but just a few hours later,
he looked like this in the dentist’s chair:

IMG_8199

 IMG_8200 IMG_8201

along with getting just ONE tooth pulled,
he also got SEALANTS on all four of his molars.
hopefully he’ll end up with far fewer cavities than his mama!
(this sweet boy didn’t even realize his tooth had been pulled.
he knew the sealants were on.
and he was waiting.
and waiting.
and waiting for his tooth to be pulled.
but they’d already done it.
after the sealants.
silly boy!)

this girl,
however,
didn’t get off so easily.
this morning, her smile looked like this:
IMG_4168

and just a few hours later,
it looked like this:
IMG_8223 IMG_8224

those are some LARGE gaps in there!
she had FOUR teeth pulled.
her four canines.
that means one tooth on the top left
and
one on the top right
and
one on the bottom left
and
one on the bottom right.
so combine those FOUR canines that were pulled with the 3 teeth she’s pulled out or lost on her own over the last few months and this girl is missing LOTS of teeth!

IMG_8193 IMG_8194 IMG_8197 IMG_8198

both munchkins were in good spirits this morning.
and when they discovered the movie ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS on the tv at the dentist’s office?!
yeah.
all was well at that point!
IMG_8192

but then they each took turns going back to see the dentist.
davey’s visit wasn’t too bad.
samantha’s was a little harder (though she actually went first).
her first two teeth came out easy.
the third one put up a tiny fight.
and the fourth one didn’t want to let go.
she may have shed some tears at the end of her visit.
the staff in the office were so kind and gracious and understanding.
and i would like to say that once her dose of Motrin kicked in….
she was FINE for the rest of the day
(until bedtime when she needed another dose of medicine).

on our way home from the dentist’s office,
we stopped at McDonalds for MILKSHAKES
(chocolate for D and strawberry for S)…
to be eaten with a SPOON and NOT a straw!

  IMG_8205

along with their milkshakes,
they watched HORTON HEARS A WHO
and about an hour of netflix cartoons.

they found some other things to do later this afternoon:

IMG_8214 IMG_8215

and they even joined us at the table for dinner!
samantha only ate the cheesy potatoes (wise choice!)
but davey was able to eat some salmon, too.
(note: samantha DID have a smoothie this afternoon – with a spoon, not a straw – and it included LOTS of spinach).

  IMG_8219

all-in-all,
these two tackled this day with grace and understanding.
they were brave and gracious.
they were polite and kind.
i love them with ever fiber of my being.

and i really, REALLY wish they had dave’s mouth instead of mine.