Monthly Archives: March 2015

“spe-shul dinnew at the pawk”

i’m a planner.

i always have been.

i’ve always loved notebooks and paper and pens.

and lists.

i LOVE lists.

(who doesn’t?)

every sunday or monday i sit down and make a list of our dinner plans for the week…. and what items i need to buy to make them happen.

but i do NOT plan meals for the weekends.

not at all. (but that could be a whole ‘nother post.)

so lunches and dinners on saturdays and sundays are usually a “fly by the seat of your pants” situation. today’s dinner, while not a culinary delight, was so perfect. and it was a suggestion from dave. he suggested the following:

camp stove + hot dogs + chips + veteran’s oasis park = dinner

we packed up a few things from home and made a quick stop at the store before all this amazingness happened:

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(look for all the bunnies:)

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we love this park.

we love picnics.

we love family time.

we love sunsets – tonight’s was beautiful.

time for another i.d.e.a.

during spring break, the kids and i kept pretty busy.

the best part?

we spent lots and LOTS of time with good friends.

especially the Woods!

on wednesday, we ventured to the i.d.e.a. museum. it’s a favorite of ours and they had recently changed the main exhibit from BUGS to BUILDING and we wanted to check it out.

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the boys spent the WHOLE VISIT in this ONE section of the museum.


the built. and built. and re-built.

whatever their creations were, they were pretty amazing.

but it was very, VERY difficult to pull them away.

not even FOOD was a temptation!IMG_2285

even grown ups like to build stuff.IMG_2289 IMG_2287

there was a bit of drawing, writing, coloring and “paper creating” done, too.


(this says “A L E X” in the black ink…. can you see it?

she wrote it all by herself!)


(alex the beaver)IMG_2294 IMG_2296 IMG_2298

(samantha the beaver)


(see? more building!)IMG_2301

(when it was time to go to lunch, caleb insisted on making a sign.)

after lunch, we wandered to the other side of the museum (for smaller kids) where we enjoyed some performances:

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we also enjoyed some fun building time:

and the trip would not be complete without an “usie” in front of the museum (though samantha’s head is in front of the sign and grace hid from the camera but you can see her jaguar-clad pant leg just behind my ear!)

and though the Woods couldn’t join us for a special treat, we didn’t want to miss out…. Rita’s Italian Ice for the win! bonus? i let them get a gelati (italian ice plus frozen custard)!IMG_2309 IMG_2310

small and crowded…. just like mom….

i’m going to fess up now that my Munchkins are 7, 6, and 4 and have never been to the dentist.



and i’m serious.

it’s been about insurance (the kids and i don’t have dental coverage) and a little bit of fear on my part (fear that they’ll have MY mouth and need a LOT of EXPENSIVE dental work).

but with our 2014 Flex Spending account not maxed out and with having until March 15 to use up last year’s monies, it was time.

i asked around for a good pediatric dentist recommendation and then called and BEGGED for them to get us in before March 15th.

alex was the first winner, with an appointment in late february.

i was horribly nervous about her ability to sit still and her sensory issues with noise…

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while not perfect, she did an AMAZING job. well, for most of the appointment. she let them look in her mouth and clean and brush her teeth but then her cooperation ended. i think they were able to floss between two teeth before she called it quits for the day.

and then they asked me to BRING. HER. BACK. for another appointment. they said they’d give her some gas and take x-rays and try to clean up some dark spots (aka: cavities?!).

so a week later, back we went.

she was NOT excited. for a week she talked about the dentist and how she didn’t like it there and didn’t want to go back.


that gas made her rather goofy, though.

we were able to get x-rays (which surprised me, because holding those things in your mouth for a good photo is really difficult and usually makes ME gag a billion times over).

we were not, however, able to get her to sit still long enough to clean the dark spots.

i wasn’t surprised.

when she gets goofy, she gets even MORE wiggly.

as if two weeks in a row at the new dentist’s office wasn’t enough, i had to return for a THIRD week to take the other two in for their first visits:

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davey and samantha rallied like champs and tolerated the counting, the labeling, the cleaning, the flossing, the fluoride, and the x-rays (davey even got a panoramic x-ray).

davey’s panoramic x-ray revealed that his mouth is a lot like mine – small and crowded.

the dentist actually recommended that he get a bunch of teeth pulled this summer to make room for the new teeth that need to grow in. (we’ll get a second opinion before we consider that as a realistic option.) but aside from that, he had ZERO cavities and didn’t mind the visit at all!

everything was FINE with BOTH munchkins until the fluoride. that’s when samantha “lost it” (thankfully, NOT on the dentist or hygienist) and has declared that she HATES the dentist and will never return.

i haven’t told her that she goes back in 6 months!

she does know, however, that the dentist also said SHE has a small and crowded mouth and that she’ll also need to get teeth pulled in a year or two to make room in her mouth.

apparently my kiddos ALL inherited my small mouth (no wisecracks, please!) and are prone to over-crowding. i think it’s time we start foregoing certain “fun things” to save for braces…. times THREE!

if you love something, let it go…. if it comes back to you, it shall eat the bugs?!

setting ladybugs “free” (or “releasing” them) isn’t quite as fun as it sounds.

but we didn’t know that until we tried our HOA’s recent “lady bug release” event.

you don’t hold ladybugs in captivity in your hands and then watch them fly away into the big sky…. you simply open the $8 container from the store and watch as 1500 ladybugs start crawling all over the lid and your arms and the grass…


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and then you kinda freak out because there are way too many ladybugs crawling on you and you just want the experience to be over….

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and then you find a few stragglers and decide they aren’t quite so bad.

and then you eat a donut and drink some milk (thanks, HOA!)

and get back on your bike to ride home with your family.

so while not the most exciting event, it was good for some free, short-lived entertainment!

tacos + fish = what?!

i think everyone has an opinion on fish tacos.

(if you don’t, go ahead and make one right now. i’ll wait.)

my guess is that a vast majority of the people i know (especially those on the east coast and perhaps those up north?!) would say tacos + fish = GROSS!

and that’s what i said for a long, LONG time.


about 37 of them.


i used to mock my husband for ordering those gross, weird things at restaurants.

and then we moved to arizona.

and something inside me clicked.

and i ordered one.

grilled fish.

and it was goooooooood.

like amazingly good.

like so good i wanted more.


more than the brisket taco.

more than the carnitas taco.

more than the steak taco.

(no, i didn’t eat 4 kinds of tacos in one sitting).

more than any other kind of taco i’ve ever eaten.



and that craving hasn’t stopped for the last 3 years we’ve lived here.

our hands-down-all time, favorite place to get a grilled fish taco (Canteen on Mill Ave) closed, without any warning, about 2 year ago. we’ve been on the hunt ever since. i found a baja fish taco (aka: grilled) that i love at one of my favorite date night (whether that’s a date with my husband or a date with my girlfriends doesn’t matter!) places: Joyride Taco on Gilbert Road. but that’s not the most child-friendly restaurant, so we’re still on the hunt.

recently we tried a place called So Cal Fish Taco (also on Gilbert Rd – just down the street from Joyride Taco) and it’s okay. not great. but not bad. decent prices. decent food. fun atmosphere with outdoor only seating (there are only about 4 tables inside their ridiculously small establishment – and that’s not an exaggeration!). while not “the best” and not worth any kind of amazing gushing from me, it is decent and sometimes, with kiddos in tow, that’s got to be enough.  :)

the best part about So Cal Fish Taco is the relaxed vibe that really, for some reason, helps me to chill out. even with the munchkins along. it seems to work for dave, too. and then this kind of silliness is what ensues:

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(all photos taken on two iPhones – mine and dave’s!)

apparently he’s a sports fanatic

before there was baseball, there was WHAM basketball….

the season was about two months long with games every saturday.

two of his best neighborhood buddies, luke and drew, were on his team.

coach paul was extremely patient and calm with the boys. he did an amazing job teaching them the basics of dribbling, shooting, boxing out, rebounding, passing and more. he taught them two plays (“thunder!” was the name of the first one) and he congratulated them on their hard work.

davey improved his dribbling skills by leaps and bounds and he still LOVES to shoot the ball. he’s not really a fan of “organized” basketball but he loves to play “around the world” and it’s not uncommon to find him outside shooting around even though the season is over.

his team (the cardinals) celebrated the end of their season with frozen yogurt and a mini “medal” ceremony!

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(landon, davey, luke, ryu, brody, drew, carson)IMG_2165 IMG_2167

thanks, coach, for all your hard work this season!

the AQUAMEN have arrived….

the arizona diamondbacks are sponsoring many (most? all?) of the various little league teams in arizona this year. including the gilbert national little league – davey’s league. while it’s crazy cool and each kiddo receives a free ticket to any diamondback’s game, it’s also a little weird because it means that ALL of the teams in ALL of the leagues are named the diamondbacks.



coach pitch.

kid pitch.


every single opponent has the same name.

it’s definitely weird.

additionally, the diamondbacks recommended colors and styles for the shirts/logos this year. so MANY of the little league teams have the old school diamondback’s hats of purple and turquoise. and many other teams have the current dark red hats. but the purple hats are paired with all kinds of colors of shirts….. same with the red hats.

that said, i’ll go out on a limb to declare us “lucky” that we scored the “vintage” diamondback’s logo and color combo (purple and turquoise). we paired it with purple socks and grey pants and our boys are pretty stylish, i guess.

opening day ceremonies were LAST weekend (the 21st). we didn’t have a game but we were all there bright and early (7:30am on a saturday!) anyway.

davey’s on the same team as his friends luke and drew again this year.

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(davey is #3, drew is #5 and luke is #7)

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we celebrated opening day by skipping the crowded GNLL-organized festivities and enjoyed time as a family eating donuts instead! (dave had to bring his own gluten free donut from home)

fast forward to tuesday, the 24th and it was our first game of the season. though davey played hard, we (dave and i) were so bummed that he didn’t get a hit (he struck out during his two at-bats).

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thankfully, he’s easy-going and didn’t let it bother him too much, though we could tell he was disappointed.

after a mid-week practice (on Thursday), the boys named themselves THE AQUAMEN. now even though their shirts are technically turquoise (the “correct” color name per the diamondback’s website), who could resist calling a bunch of 6, 7 and 8 year olds “THE AQUAMEN?!”

we had another game today (saturday).

at noon.

in many parts of the country, that’s not such a big deal. but here,

it’s hot.

and sunny.

and it was well over 90*….

i can’t imagine how hot it was out on the field!

but despite the heat, TODAY was Davey’s day.

he had already put tuesday’s game out of his mind.

our rush to get to the game on time didn’t bother him. (this mommy lost track of time!)

there was something in him that CLICKED today.

 his first at bat:

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and he got a single!


(hooray for 1st base)!


he didn’t get a chance to run all the way to home (he made it to second when our team got it’s 5th run for the inning, which ended the inning). and he had to sit out during the top of the third inning (we have more players than we have positions!):


but in the bottom of the 3rd (and final) inning, he got a chance to bat again.

it took a few pitches.

well, maybe more than a few (each kid gets up to 8 pitches).

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but this kid…. when he finally connected,


for a DOUBLE!


(second base is even better than first!)

and then a teammate hit a single and davey ran….


and now he’s on third base (gotta focus on getting to home plate)!

and the next teammate hit a single and davey was able to run all the way home.

and he was so excited that he scored a run for his team!

i’m eager to see how he continues to improve as the season progresses!

it’s almost that time….

well, dear friends, i know that some of you still have black, slushy, dirty snow on the ground. some of you are enduring rain and hail and hurricanes. some of  you have your version of “nice weather” (aka: sunny and 60 – which is my winter, by the way)…. but here in arizona, we’re already feeling summer weather.

it’s regularly in the 80s and has hit the low 90s for a few days. today, in fact, when we got into our car after baseball, the car thermometer read 100* (to be fair, our car was in the direct sun and it was parked on a blacktop parking lot)…. so it’s pretty hot here.

and it’s only march.

i don’t swim until may.

LATE may.

i like my outdoor LOW temps to be in the 60s in the morning and i like my pool temp to be at least 80.

so this year, in an attempt to enjoy our pool earlier at the start of the season and later at the end of the season, we bought a solar cover.

and in a week, the pool has warmed up 5* which means it’s now at 78*

it’s still not warm enough for me, but for the Munchkins? well, they’re definitely braver than i am!


(bonus: no swim diapers needed this year!)IMG_2011 IMG_2024 IMG_2030 IMG_2045 IMG_2063 IMG_2068 IMG_2073 IMG_2084

(for whatever reason, this photo of the girls melts my heart. i’m debating about printing it large for their bathroom.

and yes, the girls went in first (this one was on the computer)… but he did not want to be left out or left behind so he definitely took his turn, too:

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(i LOVE this guy!)

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i love my Munchkins.

i love our pool.

i love arizona.

i love our life.

it’s not all perfect rainbows and roses and sunshine, but it’s still a good life.

(and i’m STILL not getting in the pool until the water is warmer!)

PTSO Family Carnival Fun

what happens when

our school + our PTSO

pull together to create a fun, family-friendly event?

something amazing, that’s what!

here’s a very typical and ordinary school for our area:

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okay. so all those cafeteria tables/multi-purpose room benches aren’t usually outside (no, the kiddos don’t get to eat lunch outside even though we have beautiful weather)… they’re already outside to set up for the most time-consuming, volunteer-necessitated PTSO event of the year…..


it’s an event to be enjoyed, for sure! there are game booths (complete with prizes), rides, entertainment, concessions, vendors and more. and the best part? not only do families from the school come out en mass to enjoy the festivities, but people from the neighborhood come too. yes, you read that right! the carnival is well organized,  well run, and well planned that people from the community can’t help it – they WANT to attend! it’s too much fun to miss!


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my DRAGON girl: IMG_1832 IMG_1833 IMG_1834

and sweet MINNIE MOUSE: IMG_1835 IMG_1837

that’s samantha’s teacher manning the 1st grade game booth: Toilet Paper Toss.

(Yes. Yes, the players have to throw rolls of TP – that have been “sealed” with packing tape – into a toilet ring that sits on a 5-gallon bucket.)


lots of vendors:


Jill, our PTSO President is in the middle and Bobbi Jo, our VP is on the right. Jill “graduates” out of our school at the end of this year (aka: her “baby” is in 6th grade) so Bobbi Jo hopes to move up to President and two lovely ladies (including Carrah there on the left) hope to serve as co-VPs next year. Jill and Bobbi Jo have worked TIRELESSLY this year to make it an amazing year for our students, our families AND our teachers. We have been so lucky to have this powerful duo for a few years!


these Mom Squad kidlets/neighborhood friends are adorable….

especially with beautiful face paint!


i’m telling you, this carnival is amazing! we had a 4-person rock climbing wall, a spinning strawberry ride, a mega obstacle course/slide (a giant inflatable), human hamster balls, a bounce castle, trackless train, bumper cars, laser tag, petting zoo, pony rides….

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here’s davey inside one of the human hamster balls…. before they fully inflated it (he had to get out and wait at least 10 minutes while they fully inflated both balls and then moved the air vac out of the way – he has way more patience than i do!)…


alex REALLY wanted to ride the train… she kept running back to the line until we finally gave her 6 tickets for the ride!

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davey in the fully inflated hamster ball:

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alex and a dear friend from pre school last year – Miss Maya is the same age as alex (well, a few months older) but this shows you the vast difference between my petite child and a child who is ridiculously tall for her age):


alex also insisted on climbing into the bounce castle with her siblings and friends:


those are the human hamster balls… and that’s the giant, inflatable mega obstacle course/slide behind it. davey and samantha spent a LONG time on that bit of air-filled fun!


the Spinning Strawberry was a new ride for this year’s carnival…. and i think it was a pretty big success. when we left (8pm), no one had thrown up yet…. but there was another 90 minutes of the event so i’m not sure if there were any incidents or not!  :)


on the giant obstacle course/slide:

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samantha and a few of her classmates:


davey and a classmate:


bumper cars!

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all-in-all, i’d say the night was a HUGE success and it was WELL WORTH all the time and energy required to pull off such an amazing event. my Munchkins are already planning for next year’s fun evening…..