Monthly Archives: April 2015

Art Walk 2015

Our school has a TALENTED and LARGE group of parent volunteers who work hard EVERY year to teach our children about specific pieces of art (once a month) and how to create their own version of them. While this is definitely NOT my area of expertise, I do contribute  my time by taking photos of the students while working on their art projects – it’s been such a fun experience for me to use MY art (photography) to help the kiddos capture THEIR art (watercolors, markers, pencil sketches, self portraits, mixed media, and more)!

Davey’s version of Apples and Oranges by Paul Cezanne:


Water Lilies by Claude Monet:
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(they used salt to add texture to the project!)

Andy Warhol’s Campbell Soup Series:


Davey with his AMAZING teacher, Mrs. Hagemeister, who has become a good friend to me over the course of this school year. Bonus? She lives down the street from us!


Here’s Samantha’s version of The Water Lily Pond by Claude Monet:

Samantha with her self portrait (patterned after George Washington by Gilbert Stuart) and her AMAZING teacher, Mrs. Goodall, who has also become a good friend to me through the course of this school year.



Sonoran Sunset:


Young Hare by Albrecht Durer:


Dancing Class by Edgar Degas:


Head of a Man by Paul Klee:


Not to be outdone by her big siblings, Alex had plenty of her own art adorning the school walls, as well! We also found her teachers AND some of her friends as we were checking out her special projects.

This is her AMAZING MAGIC teacher, Mrs. Katie, whom we love and adore. She’s another teacher who has become a very dear friend this year. (I am fully aware that my children and I are incredibly blessed!)

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(Seriously, any teacher who will borrow your child’s Wonder Woman headband and pose for a photo is a total WINNER in my book!)!

And THIS is Alex’s other teacher this year, Mrs. Andrea…. and yes, you guessed it, she is also AMAZING and a new friend of mine. (who knew parents would gain so many new friends once their kiddos started school?!)


Check out this art…. Alex wrote her own name (this is HUGE, people) and glued down the letters to form her train:


Alex told me about making a hot air balloon last week…. turns out here it is:


I’m thinking there was a unit on transportation…. because here’s another train:

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(after telling me it was a train, Alex said “choo choo!”)

A specially painted butterfly:


This sweetness is a lazy girl (who didn’t want to get out of her stroller) with two of her classmates that we saw in the hallway!


We also found this special lady in the halls…. Ms. Kim, Alex’s Speech Pathologist: 

It was a fun evening at the school that WOULD have been more fun if Dave had been able to attend, but I think I took enough photos to help him feel like he was there – you, too, right?!

have you ever….

have you ever enjoyed an easter egg hunt?

have you ever had to hunt for ONLY ONE color?

have you ever enjoyed an egg hunt in the east valley of ARIZONA?

your easter egg hunts probably involved girls in easter dresses and shiny, patent leather shoes, boys in nice button down shirts and new pants…. and, let’s face it…. there are probably sweaters and/or coats involved.

each year we’ve enjoyed an egg hunt has involved a very a-typical clothing item for our children:



check it out:


that’s samantha running around in a bathing suit.

she had to find blue eggs – ONLY blue eggs (or blue chicks).

we had 10 children and 6 adults at our place for easter lunch/dinner. but we only had 7 categories of eggs. thankfully, three of the children were 10, 12 and 14 (gasp!) so they were willing to HELP some of the younger kiddos find their eggs. the older girls also got to help HIDE the eggs!

we had blue, green, purple, yellow, orange, pink, and white + mixed color eggs.

there were 174 eggs in my yard.


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the kiddos had a blast.

i love this tradition.

and after the fun of the egg hunt and the yummy food, the adults enjoyed hanging out and talking outside in the hot sun (the other two families are friends of ours from washington state). and while we did do some “shade hunting,” we ate outside. we talked outside. we sat around for hours just enjoying one-another’s company.

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many thanks to jessica for our appetizers to “tide us over” until we enjoyed our big meal

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and if it wasn’t fun enough to have these families join us for easter, THIS girl turned NINE on easter day. so our dessert was really her birthday celebration!

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three of my dear friends from washington…. two on vacation and one who lives here now. (jenn stopped by for a few minutes before her big meal of the day). i am so thankful for these women and for our time together!


that’s a pretty good looking group of “kids,” huh?!


and these “men” (it kinda kills me to say that b/c the one on the far right is 15….. he wasn’t born yet when i started working with the youth ministry with his parents back in washington) are pretty amazing, too! (the guy second from the right was in high school when i worked in the youth ministry – and now he’s the youth pastor at that church…. CRAZY)!


and that, my friends, is what a laid-back, relaxed, warm, sunny easter looks like at our home. wanna join us next year?!

a birthday at the zoo?!

as you well know by now, my birthday was on a monday.

martin luther king day.

a school holiday.

not a work holiday for everyone.

so every mother who was desperate to entertain and exhaust her child/ren without assistance from her husband showed up at the zoo that day.

it may also have something to do with the perfect weather.

sunny but not too hot.

but since our zoo passes were set to expire at the end of the month, we needed to take this “last chance” opportunity to enjoy the animals.

and some family time.

(these photos are a mix of my DSLR, my iPhone, dave’s iPhone, and dad’s point-and-shoot):

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it really was a great day and we got to see so many animals – here are the new cheetahs:



and some flamingoes:


i love these mandrills (“cheeky monkey”) – i think it’s their colorful faces:

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though alex really prefers the baboons:

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hanging out with some OTHER flamingoes (did you know there are two different kinds of flamingoes at the Phoenix Zoo? and they’re in two different areas? well, now you do!): 
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“that’s mine!”

“no, it’s mine!”

“back off, Beaky!”

“no way, YOU give that back!”

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the lemurs were out and being a bit playful:


who doesn’t love the zebras?

then again, we all know i have an obsession with stripes… especially black and white!

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a little ride on the komodo dragon is fun, yeah?


though i know i don’t want to encounter this one outside of his habitat:

we had a great time at the orangutan habitat. one of them had just had a new baby (meaning it was DAYS old), and the others were already “jealous” of all the attention the baby was attracting, so a few of them decided to become the main attraction:


(this one ^^^^ made faces for a solid 15 minutes. kissy-faces. pouty faces. funny faces. huge smiles. he swung from the ropes. he hung upside-down. he was a general clown in a “look-at-me” way – and it worked!)

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check out the baby: can you see him (or her?):


the squirrel monkeys, while SUPER CUTE are also SUPER DIRTY. you can go into their enclosure to see them up closer(r). but you also get warned that you may encounter some pee or poo. ON YOU. thus far, we’ve avoided that with every visit. this visit was no different. WHEW!




giant anteater:


(seriously?! what sized ants is this guy eating?!?)

this is the obligatory “frog” photo. EVERY time we get to this part of the zoo, my munchkins climb on the frog.



i should do a time-lapse video of them on this thing!


i love the bright colors of the macaw:


alex really wanted to go fishing… with her hands:


a giant, bearded iguana:


i love the tortoises at the zoo. they have some REALLY BIG ones:


and since my daughter’s name is Sam and we like to eat Fruit Loops, we can’t skip out on a photo of a Toucan:


as part of our annual zoo pass renewal LAST year, we got 5 tickets for the carousel…. which we FINALLY used! while we were waiting in line, we happened to find the best Kindergarten teacher in the world: Ms. Flanagan (you may recall her as Samantha’s teacher last year):


alex wasn’t so sure about this ride. she was super excited for it. then she freaked out a bit. in the end, i think it just went around too many times for her.


and THAT, my friends, is what a 40th birthday at the zoo looks like!

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don’t you wish you could celebrate your 40th at the zoo, too?!



a hiking we will go… a hiking we will go… high ho the derry-o, a hiking we will go

there’s never enough hiking in our world.

we really do enjoy it.

even when the kiddos complain.

even when it’s too cold or too hot.

but guess what?

we definitely don’t do it enough.

in fact, i’m not sure we’ve gone hiking since this venture with dave’s parents back in january.

there was nothing that traumatized us.

i think we’ve just become ridiculously busy.

especially on weekends with sports.

early games.

mid-day games.

it all messes with our schedule and our ability to “pull it together” to enjoy a family hike.

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these two still have an incredible bond:



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i love that dave’s parents and my mom enjoy hiking with us.

i love being active with my family.

i love exploring nature and rocks and mountains and trees.

i love seeing cactus.

i love the sunshine.

and the sunset.

and, surprisingly enough, i do love the desert.

it has it’s own beauty that i’ve come to love.


over two months ago….

i’m not usually a fan of “going backwards” here on the blog, but sometimes it’s necessary (especially when i’ve taken a long hiatus on posting/sharing). so as we try to stay current here, we’ll also move backwards in no particular order.

so back in january, i hit a major milestone that i don’t really like admitting but i face everyday i go to the gym (i enter my age AND weight on the machine i’m using to get a more accurate “count” on calories burned)… i turned 40.


over the hill.

the big 4-0.

the “my-life-is-over-because-i’m-so-old” birthday.

my family and friends were kind.

there was NOTHING black anywhere.

no cards.

no toilet paper.

no paper plates.

no snarky napkins.


but that doesn’t change the reality that i AM 40!


but i digress.

my ACTUAL birthday was spent with my immediate family and dave’s parents who were in town for a visit.

we went to the zoo (along with every other person in the east valley because it was also a Monday holiday – martin luther king day). we had already enjoyed my “requested” birthday meal a few days earlier b/c i wanted dave to smoke some meat so for my birthday meal we enjoyed thai food (made by dave) and a cake (made by betty crocker and me) and some freddy’s frozen custard.


my son spent his allowance for the rest of his life to get me a $5,000 gift card to Walmart:


my in-laws gave me some money (which i spent on new shirts for spring/summer before they even left town!) and my mom sent me a two-toned garnet (my birthstone) necklace that she picked up in Burma (yes, the country) last spring/summer.


Dave and the Munchkins gave me Wonder Woman earrings and a long board:


(yes, there were many, MANY visions of broken arms and legs for a few weeks…. so Dave agreed that I could return the thoughtful present since he had forgotten that my actual “gift” was a weekend away with some of my arizona-besties!)

speaking of “besties,” my best friend went out of her way to spoil me:


that’s a card for a “good read” at amazon, a card for a “good feed” at chipotle, a card for a “fun feat” at michaels and a card for a “styling’ treat” at H&M.

THAT, ladies and gentleman (i know for sure that my husband and my father-in-law read my blog on an infrequent basis, which would be the “gentleman” to whom i’m referring), is a friend who knows me well. VERY well.

and the best gift of all?


she and her family (husband + four kiddos) are COMING TO VISIT US IN ARIZONA.


this will be the FIRST time since we moved here (over 3 years ago) that they get to come and visit. her husband and my husband were friends before carrilee and i were friends (the guys are actually the reason we’re friends). the boys had (have) a side business together. they used to work for the same employer – TWICE (meaning they worked for two different employers together). and our kiddos are are very close/similar in age.


i honestly didn’t even need the gift cards.

and then if you fast forward 3 weeks…. THIS HAPPENED:


these two AMAZING friends went to california with me.

casey even agreed to drive.

because she’s an amazing rock star friend.


when we’re all together, nothing sounds better than mexican (including margaritas):
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(i couldn’t help it – single servings of boxed wine for sale at target?!)

this was our hotel room view (thanks, Jenni!):IMG_1979 IMG_1981 IMG_1982


the Rose Bowl in Pasadena?


well, more accurately, the ROSE BOWL FLEA MARKET!


THIS was the ENTIRE purpose of the trip.

a flea market.

that’s how i wanted to celebrate my 40th with my friends.

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(see that?! ^^^^   JULIE joined us, too!

she didn’t drive.

she flew.

then again, it’s a long drive from washington state!)

we had a fantastic weekend of shopping in the sunshine at the flea market (where i bought the least amount of stuff!!!), eating yummy food, finding a fun and cheap clothing store (i may have made 3 separate purchases there – jenni may have made two!), talking with friends without being interrupted by adorable children….

we even drove by my brother’s alma mater:

(yeah, he’s ridiculously smart.)

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julie wasn’t with us the whole trip, but she was able to spend a little bit of time with family before she met up with us and after she left us, so it was a winner of a trip for her, too.

in an attempt to make the most of our experience at the hotel, we hit the hot tub one night:


the hotel bar for drinks and my birthday dessert:

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and even the gym:

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i couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with some of my best friends in the world.

THANK YOU for celebrating with me!

(and thanks, to everyone, for keeping their snarky “you’re 40!!!!” exclamations to yourself…. i might revert to being 27 again)!

misc Munchkin moments

just a glance at some randomness….

alex is doing an amazing job facing her “fears” and obsessions with dogs:


hindsight it always 20/20.

we think davey and alex had fifths disease over spring break:IMG_2382

she’s totally stylish? IMG_2373

this girl LOVES shoes.

especially boots.

and high heels.

with her dark jeans, it’s hard to tell, but these come up to her bum!
(because they’re adult boots)IMG_2350

my two guys working outside for a bit….

dave on actual work stuff and davey on a scrapbook of photos from uncle tom:IMG_2328

trampoline hair:IMG_2216

a new angle to show how big she is… or maybe how little she is!IMG_2140

little miss laura in galls wilder…..

she’s got LONG braids (that have since been seriously “trimmed”)!IMG_2168

we love hand-me-downs… like this sweater:


this girl is growing up TOO fast:


moments like these make me melt:IMG_2312

more scrapbook work!IMG_2315

this girl is working on a scrapbook, too - IMG_2316

even on spring break, school pops up in our lives!
(samantha’s in class 207):


how in the world do kids sleep in weird positions?!IMG_2211

fun pre school hats!

i’m pretty sure these are puppy dog ears!IMG_2201

hand-me-down boots are pretty awesome, too!


waiting to go into pre school…. she’s growing up so fast (i know i already said that on this blog post, but it’s worth repeating):


being the unofficial class photographer (x3!) is FUN…. i love taking photos of my munchkins and their classmates:


and there you have it…. march randomness with the dunking!