Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Too much fun

The countdown is on. In 44 hours, we'll be in the air on our way to Park City for the July 4th weekend. We are all super excited.

As we wound up dinner last night, all six of us were sitting around the kitchen table and we started talking about our plans for the weekend. I laid out the general itinerary for the fam. I was only interrupted sixty or seventy times. It was twenty questions and beyond. Everyone was talking over each other. The volume was too loud for normal dinner conversation. Clearly, excitement was in the air. I fielded all the queries from the crew as best I could and we discussed all the options (there's so much to do) in hopes that we could build some consensus on which fun to have first. Really, everyone pretty much just wants to do it all. And how can I blame them?

We talked about going out for breakfast Friday morning after we land (I love eating breakfast out because I rarely ever do it and it's such treat), then shopping at the Gateway in Salt Lake for a bit. I love that place. Barrett is dying to get a few new delights for her wardrobe and I wouldn't mind doing the same. We're considering visiting temple square and checking out what movies are playing at the visitor center. Actually, I suggested the temple square thing and movie, but kind of got nixed. I think I presented too many tempting options up at the Club in Promontory and at the PC Resort that their little eyes are buggin' and the wheels are spinning. They'd rather go play. We'll see.

Easton came up with his version of the perfect first day of our vaca. "How bout we fly on an airplane, go to breakfast, don't go shopping, go to Promontory, go fishing, eat lunch, go on the waterslide and play at the pool."

Hmmm...not a bad plan from our four year old.

Rowan and Afton want to take the chair lift up the mountain at the Park City Ski Resort and have a picnic at the top on Saturday. We all want to do the alpine slide and maybe some of the other rides. We're excited about the big Promontory Foundation Beach Boys concert and dinner and private fireworks show at Promontory Saturday night (should be awesome), and of course for the parade and BBQ on the fourth. And then more fireworks on the golf course Sunday night.
Yep...there's much fun to be had by this Brown family. As Easton would say, "too much fun." It's been a few years since we've taken the crew up there for the Fourth of July, but we sure have some great memories of trips in prior years. I can hardly wait! Pictures to follow when we return...promise.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Just call me Aunt Kelli

Yep, I became an aunt again today. Two weeks ago, my SIL Lacey had sweet baby Eva (who I already love to pieces). Then this morning, my other sister-in-law, Jessie, had a baby boy at 3:53 am. They named him Daxton Tyler Brown. Cool name, huh? They didn't know what tey were having, so I'm sure it was extra exciting. Jessie was three weeks early, as usual, and she and Dax are doing well. He was 6 lbs 4 oz and 19 inches long (per Morgan's text to us at 5:30 this morning).

Yesterday we had my nieces, Lainey & Avery, over to play for the day, so I got to catch up with Jessie for a few minutes at the drop off. She said she was having contractions and hoping that these were the real ones. She'd been busy vacuuming, walking - all the usual tricks. When we were out to dinner on Saturday night with them, Jessie told us very matter of factly that she'd be having the baby this week. She knew. She was right and we are so happy that he's here. And soooooo happy that, just like us, Morgan & Jessie were finally blessed with a baby boy after three beautiful girls.

I won't steal all her thunder, but Jessie's water broke yesterday evening just as Morgan came to pick up the girls and take them to Grandma Cheri's for the evening (he was on his way to the D-backs game with Bob, but obviously, never made it.) I'm super excited to go check out my new nephew tonight at the hospital.

That brings the total count to 10 nephews and 5 nieces for Ryan and I. Lucky us!

D-Backs vs Yankees

It only would have been more fun last night if our D-backs would have pulled off back to back victories over the infamous Yankees. But they didn't. They held tight until the AZ coach decided to pinch hit for our pitcher, who, by the way, had gone 2 for 2 at bat and was maintaining the score at 3-2. But then it went all down hill in the 8th when our sorry relievers came in and the Yanks scored six runs. The Diamondbacks finally lost it 9-3. Tonight will be the rubber match of the series since the D-backs schooled the Yankees Monday 10-4. It was crazy how many Yankee fans were at Chase Field last night. It certainly wasn't half the crowd, but by the loudness of the cheers and the vastness of the Yankee apparel, I'd say probably at least a quarter or more of the place was filled with New York fans. If my Uncle Dale and any of his posse were there, certainly they were adding to the Yankee numbers. They've been NY fans their whole lives. Every one of them.

Still, we had a great time at the game. Thanks to my folks for sponsoring the tickets and inviting us to go. We had great seats on the suite level (Sec 217), sat with my folks and my Uncle Jim and Aunt Diane, and really enjoyed our night out at the ball park. I even ate a Diamondback Dog - my first hot dog in probably a couple of years. But it was so dang good. And I had fries, which were also delicious. And low fat, I’m sure.

Unfortunately, I think my hot dog and delectable fries were still sitting in my gut this morning as I left the house early for my run. I was a little slower than normal today - maybe due to the gut bomb, maybe due to not enough sleep, maybe just because - but I still ran a little over five miles and made decent time. I was inspired last night talking to my Uncle Jim at the game. He's getting ready for a marathon in late August in Park City and then the St. George marathon in October. Crazy stuff. 26.2 miles. I'm still not feeling the inner drive to train for a full marathon. I keep thinking that the itch might eventually hit, but I don't know. That's just so stinkin far. I'm kinda thinking the half marathon might just be my limit. Still, I wonder...will I ever do it? Deep down, I know that if I set that as a goal, I could do it. I'm sure of it. It would be hard. It might do me in. I just have to want it. But until that desires burns stronger, I'm just gonna keep at the usual training and start adding in my stadiums and hill training to get ready for our Grand Canyon Rim to Rim trip in September and my fall races that will be here before I know it.

As Nacho would say, "My life is goooood. It's fantastic! I love it."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

What We've Been Up To

She’s spending this whole week at her Time to Blossom young women’s conference. They’re staying at the Mesa Hilton and she’s bunking up with her cousin, Sydney, and a couple of other girls they just met at the conference. Four girls to a room, one counselor for 8 girls. Her other cousin, Kiersten, is also there with a friend and they are all having a ball. It’s kind of like EFY, but without the boys, and it’s for girls turning 12 this year up to 16. They’re having speakers/classes/activities on etiquette, body image, goal setting, self esteem, spirituality, friendships/peers, reaching their potential, and so much more. They have had a dress up party, multi-course meals, fashion show, pajama party, devotionals… What a great experience for her! I’ve been talking to her each night and she says she’s having lots of fun, but is so tired by the end of each day. They’re pretty much going non-stop from 7:00 am – 11:00pm every day. We miss her tons and are looking forward to her end-of-conference program tomorrow that we get to attend.

She’s still taking electric guitar lessons. She’s still so dang cute and obedient and good to the core. She has also stepped up this week to help even more since Barrett’s been gone. She even babysat for me for an hour while I went visiting teaching down the street. That’s a new one for her but she did great. She’s been hanging out with Grandma Cindy on the days I’m working, being a great helper there too. Grandma and Grandpa have been doing tons of work in their backyard, uprooting and replanting trees, re-staining their deck, and basically giving the whole yard a make-over. It’s looking fabulous (but then again, I thought it looked fabulous before). Tomorrow night we’re having our ward daddy daughter swim party over there. My mom says there’s nothing like a party to get you motivated to work on the projects that have been on your to-do list for too long. I’m so thankful that they agreed to let us party there tomorrow. Anyway, Afty is looking forward to that tomorrow night too – spending time with her dad and all the other girls in the ward.

She’s been swimming a lot this summer – pretty much every day – and also busy working on crafts. Yesterday she and the kids took a field trip out to Hobby Lobby with Grandma and stocked up on some cool projects. Our Afty is always so crafty and inventive. I think she has a little me in her, kicked up a notch. To her dismay, she hasn’t been having much luck arranging play dates with friends (everyone’s schedules are so different), but she’s still been enjoying the time off and enjoying the flexibility of summer. She’s looking forward to our upcoming family summer vacations to the cabin, Park City for the 4th, and of course, the annual beach camping trip in July! Hooray for summer!

She’s been our little shadow lately. Every time either Ryan or I need to go somewhere, she asks to come. I think she enjoys the one-on-one time a lot. She went with Ryan to the Eagle Court of Honor on Sunday night, helped with me my visiting teaching on Tuesday, and has run all my errands with me. Grandma Cindy says she’s been a real helper around her place, too. She’s also been lovin’ her library finds and her Polly Pockets lately. Rowan loved having all the Brown cousins over on Monday night for a Father’s Day FHE pizza/swim party. We ate and swam and visited and watched the little movie I made in honor of the men in our lives. We got to meet our new little niece/cousin, Eva (Lacey’s new baby) on Monday night too. I held her for a long time and loved every minute of it!

On the not-so-exciting front, our little Miss Rowan has been complaining every day for the past two weeks about her vision. She says things are blurry, that her eyes are bugging her, and that “something is broken in my head” because I can’t see things clear. I asked her if she noticed this at all during school, but she said no, it just started this summer. So I made an appointment with the eye doctor and she’s going in to be checked in two weeks. She is frustrated that she has to wait so long. Me too, actually. But it’s better than the six week lead time with the first doctor I booked. Holy cow. I hope it’s just a growth spurt or something and that she doesn’t need glasses. We’ll see. Maybe she does. My SIL’s speculated that maybe she just “wants” glasses. Really? Would a kid make that up every day because they want glasses? I guess it’s possible, but seems crazy to me.

Easton is growing up too fast. He’s already counting down to his fifth birthday. Every day he makes me smile and surprises me with some new word or phrase added to his ever-growing vocabulary. I had him tested for early entrance into kindergarten last week (he misses the cut-off by 19 days with a Sept 19th birthday). We got the letter on Friday letting us know that he passed and is recommended for early entrance. Yahoo!!! I was so bummed that Mesa Schools had to cancel their early learner kindergarten program with the budget cuts (all three of my girls went to that since they all have fall birthdays). So I went down to the registration office in early May to sign him up for the paid equivalent of early learner kindergarten (called KinderPrep). But much to my dismay, the gal told me that I was the only one in the whole dang school district who had signed up and that they would likely be cancelling that program too. What?? So I was facing another year of preschool and not excited about that. Easton’s ready for more. He’s catching onto everything so quick and I know he’s super smart already.

So I decided to have him tested for kindergarten. I have no idea what the test was all about since they don’t let parents come in, but there was a seven page application/ questionnaire I had to fill out ahead of time and then he spent about 20-30 minutes in with the teacher. I’m glad that he passed. He came out of the room all smiles. I was worried he’d be a little shy with the new face. I was wrong. Maybe he charmed her to death with his gorgeous blue eyes and irresistible smile. Either way, he passed. But… since I really don’t want him to be the youngest kid in his class for the rest of his school years (socially, educationally, athletically), and because I don’t want him to feel some sort of stigma about being held back if I send him to all-day kindergarten at Hale two years in a row (when all his buddies would be moving up), we decided to sign him up for half day kindergarten at Hermosa Vista (which is just about as close as our home school, Hale) and treat it as “Early Learner Kindergarten” just like all three of his sisters. I think half day will be good for our little man. Then, next year, he’ll start the normal routine of all day kindergarten at Hale. My girls are kinda bummed that he won’t be going to Hale with them this year, though. They adore our little guy and would love having him at their school. One more year, girls.

He survived scout camp last week and is back to the grind at RMB Properties. I’m sure this week has been crazy busy trying to catch up with all the voice mails and emails and jumping back into the deals. I tried to keep things afloat on the work front while he was gone. He had no cell reception unless he hiked up to the top of Inspiration Point on the mountain and stood next to the huge metal cross, which he did once every day to check in with me. I love him for that. So needless to say, the voice mails piled up. We’re in the middle of rehab on our latest fixer upper and getting ready to close on another one, hopefully tomorrow.

One deal blew up while he was gone, but may still close in a week or so. We’re waiting on some new POA from the seller’s wife who flew the coup and went to Mexico and swears she’s leaving her husband and doesn’t care what happens to the house and yada yada yada…Such a soap opera. Everyone was claiming that there was no way to reach her and the deal was going to tank until we offered $500 to her in exchange for the POA. Miraculously, they found her and she was happy to oblige for $500, but needed the money upfront in order to catch a bus to go to a place to pick up a package to sign and send back. Hmmm… I don’t think so. We’ll do an even exchange. Anyway, it’s still in limbo. We were all ready to close on the house (Ryan has been working on this deal since last October – it’s a short sale so it takes forever), we’d already signed with title, funded, bound the insurance, ordered the utilities – all the day before Ryan left. Then when I called title last Monday to confirm it recorded, she laid the bomb on me. Super fun stuff.

Enough work update…sorry, I digress.

We’re excited to celebrate Father’s Day this weekend with Ryan and our dads. We’ve got dinner out with the Browns (adults only) Saturday night, then my cousin, Matt’s missionary farewell and dinner with the Goodman/Teeples crew after on Sunday. Lots of family time for sure.

I did the single mom thing last week with Ryan gone. I had high hopes of accomplishing all kinds of projects and such while he was gone. I don’t know why I thought I’d have more free time with two less hands in the pot, but clearly I was delusional. Really, I just worked through the week and juggled the business and took care of our precious kiddos and the house and the errands and went to Park City for a long day and the week flew by. Oh ya – and I thought I’d finish my book while Ry was gone, too. I’m reading The Host by Stephenie Meier. But it stood neglected all week long. Just like my projects. I picked it up again yesterday at lunch and now I can’t wait to finish it. Oh, and I totally spaced it and forgot to pick up our Ward Emergency Preparedness Books that I ordered up from Staples to be ready for our Sunday combined lesson with the men and women. I felt sick when Brother Pulver called me on Sunday morning an hour before church to make sure I had them. Seriously, sick. That is soooooo not like me. I can’t believe I forgot to pick them up! Thankfully, in the end, it all turned out OK (except for the notch off the responsibility block that kills me). After apologizing profusely, I scrambled and got the summary pages printed for handouts for the lesson (which is all we needed) and told Bro. Pulver that the full books with the specific exhibits for each type of emergency would have to get handed out next Sunday. Still, I felt so bad. Am I losing my marbles?????

Other than that, this week has been filled with the usual: kids, house, running, work, work, work, church calling stuff, etc. After work yesterday, I trekked all through Costco wearing my high heels that I’d worn all day (so stupid of me – I should have planned ahead and brought flip flops with me), then proceeded to unload the car full of supplies at RMB, then unloaded the rest of the groceries at our house. I was ready to toss those stupid shoes into oblivion. I was smoking hot, starving, and totally wiped out. And a little crabby. Yes, maybe just a little crabby…Yesterday morning’s too dang hot run combined with not enough sleep and 12 hours in heels took a bite out of me. Thankfully, I recovered last night, though, and feel 100% better today. I even bought donuts this morning at Bosa on my way home from the temple. I love donuts. And the kids loved me.

So that’s us this week in a more than a nutshell. Maybe a bucket full of nutshells. I’m sure that someday when I go back and read my hard bound published blog (if I ever print it into a book), I’ll be glad I documented the day to day of our lives. I think.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wax On, Wax Off

I still remember the original Karate Kid movie. I loved that movie. Even though the acting in the original wasn't stellar by any stretch, the morals of the story were impactful. And I'm always a sucker for the good vs. evil sagas where the good guy pulls it out in the end.

Today, the kids and I went to my nephew, Tallin's, baptism and then over to Mike & Shari's for brunch. Everything about the morning was wonderful - the baptism, the smile on Tallin's face, the commaraderie of family, the delicious food afterwards. It was a perfect way to kick off our weekend.

About thirty minutes after we got home, our long lost husband and father returned from his Camp Geronimo week. Everything went great, he said, and all the boys really enjoyed themselves. Ryan had fun, too, but he would have loved it more had they ordered up some 70 degree weather. Instead, they had a lot of heat. Still, it was all good. He ran into so many friends and acquaintances up there. The camp is huge - capacity for 600 and it was almost full.

Anyway, the kids and I decided Friday night that we wanted to go see The Karate Kid this weekend. We debated on going Friday, but then decided that Ryan would probably like to go too. We're glad that we waited for Dad. It was a great show with powerful messages for our kids (and us) and such a fun afternoon spending it all together - just the six of us. Even though the flick was long - two hours and twenty minutes - it didn't seem too long and all the kids did so great. I kept peeking down the row and they were totally engrossed in the film and the bags of popcorn. I sat by Rowan, so I had to do a little translating in those parts when the dialogue was all Chinese with subtitles. I wanted to make sure she understood what the evil Kung Fu coach was wrongly trying to instill in his students so she could comprehend the full drama.

"No weakness. No pain. No mercy!"

"I don't want him beat. I want him broken."

"We show no mercy when our enemy is down. Finish the job!"

She already knew the black dressed master was bad just by his actions.

My kids winced when the star, Dre Parker, was taking his bullying from the school kids trained by this bad dude. And so did we. Man, that was hard to watch. You just wanted to jump into the screen and give the poor kid a hand. But he was tough and he wasn't a quitter.

Even though this remake had some marked differences from the 1980's original that I remember so well, the theme and lessons and morals were still the same.

There was no "wax on, wax off" analogy, but another equally good one with the pupil's jacket. I smiled wide when his instructor made the connection for the frustrated boy and helped him see that all his practice and repetition in obedience had taught him far more than he'd imagined. I loved that the boy worked and trained hard. I loved that his coach taught humility and peace. I loved that he didn't give up. I loved that his enemies saw "the light" in the end.

And I loved that after the movie when Ryan and Easton came out of the restroom, Easton was in full Kung Fu mode doing his punching and kicking as he walked down the hall. So funny. As we finished off our evening eating Rubios together, Rowan also made us all laugh as she stood up near the end of dinner and started into her newly learned Kung Fu moves right there by the table. We all laughed when she accidently "kung fu'd" the table.

Good flick. Go see it. Take the kids.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Deadly Handbag

This day started at the crack of dawn. Actually, dawn hadn't even cracked yet. I almost said the butt-crack of dawn (that's what I was really thinking to be honest), but that would have sounded very juvenile for a 38-year mother of four, right? So I won't say that. We don't even use the "B" word in our house. It's either bum or patootie. No, I have no idea where I got patootie, but it has really stuck.

Anyhow, the 4:00 am alarm was painful. I'm an early riser by nature, but any wake up time with a 4 in front of it is just not right. Unless you're my cousin, Beth.

But since I'm not Beth, it seemed too early. Unfortunately, I had no snooze bar option today. My flight to Utah was leaving Sky Harbor at 6:10 am. Ryan's still up north doing the guy thing at Camp Geronimo, so I left my peeps home alone sleeping with Barrett in charge and instructions to call Grandma as soon as they were all awake. She was coming over to get them for the day.

Surprisingly, the airport was packed when I arrived just after 5:00 am. Apparently there were a lot of unhappy risers in the 4:00 am hour today. In my rush to get through the crazy long security line, I forgot to de-terrorize my purse. I was carrying some lethal Jergen's hand lotion, a toxic 3oz tube of Crest, and a mean tube of lip gloss. All unprotected in the confines of my weaponized handbag.

Of course, security pinned me for the attempted breach. After what seemed like an eternity, the team of specially trained security scanners finally detached themselves from scrutinizing my deadly purse through the x-ray machine screen. The unhappy man in the royal blue uniform then shamefully lifted my unstable Coach bag high in the air and demanded at full volume, "WHOSE BAG IS THIS?"

I proudly proclaimed that it was mine (it's an awesome purse if I do say so myself - Thanks, Ry. You picked out a beauty!) After he said, "Come with me. You and I are going to become real good friends," I started to panic that maybe one of my peeps had inadvertently stashed some dollar store weapon in my bag.

He looked serious.

After grabbing all my various components coming through the scanner, and after replacing my deadly black sandals that I had to remove, I was escorted to the troublemaker's table where I got read the riot act. Did I know about the Nation's Security Policy requiring all liquids to go through security in their own separate quart-sized zip lock bag? Did I have such a spare bag?
Did I know that this was a serious offense?

Um...Sorry. I truly just forgot.

I couldn't come up with anything better. Not at 5:30 am.

Yes, sir, of course I know the rules.

No I don't have a quart-sized plastic bag on me.

I would have used it if I had.

Yes, I travel often.

Yes, I realize that this is serious.

I just forgot.

No, my hand lotion isn't going to spontaneously combust on the plane and I'm not planning to rush the pilot.

At the risk of sounding oh so snooty and completely spoiled, I'm just gonna lay it out there like it is. I hate flying commercial.

I admit, I am completely spoiled. But I'm OK with that when it comes to air travel. I've been working for Pivotal for almost nine years now, and 90% of the time I get to fly on my super rich boss' private jet. It's an incredible perk and one that I become increasingly grateful for every time I have to fly commerical. It's days like today when I have to wake before normal human waking hours and after terrorist lotion searches and cramped coach seats that I'm reminded how good I have it.

Not that I ever forget, really.

Thankfully, my return flight on the company jet was markedly different than my morning flight on Southwest. (BTW - Our meetings went well and we got a lot accomplished. And the weather was so cool and beautiful in Park City. I love it there!)

After a great day of meetings, and just as we were getting ready to taxi on the tarmack and head back to the valley, I remembered that I drove to Sky Harbor this morning and we were landing as always at the jet center in north Scottsdale. Again, my mind must have been somewhere else this morning because I didn't even think about the complicated logistics of that.

Hmmm...I'm landing in Scottsdale, my car is in Phoenix, and I live in Mesa.

But again, I am spoiled. I dial up my administrative assistant at the office just before we lift off, ask her to arrange for a car to pick me up at the jet center in one hour and deliver me to my car at Sky Harbor.

Sure, she says. No problem. I have 100% confidence that she will deliver. She always does. She's so good like that.

One hour, eight minutes later our private pilot is opening the door to Francis' plane in Scottsdale and I'm back in the heat. I'm greeted by the driver of the execu-car service, who opens the door into the air conditioned vehicle not ten feet from the plane. Everything is all arranged. She already knows where she's taking me. I sit in the back seat and read my book and get chaufferred to my car. Not to the drop off area at terminal four. Right to my car.

I made it home with my four amazing kiddos by 6:00, cooked dinner, ate together at our nicely set table, spent some family time with them, said prayers, and tucked all of my precious cargo into their beds by 9:15.

I am spoiled and so blessed in more ways than one. My kids are so awesome. So, so awesome. I am lucky to be their mom.
Tomorrow will be a great day. I can already tell. My regular 3-day weekend is here and I'm really looking forward to it. A few chores, a few to-do's, a little swimming and dinner out with my kids. Yep, it's gonna be great.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rocky Point

Finally, the Mexico pics. Did I mention that I love this beach?

We literally had only been down at the beach for about 3 minutes before Lupex (our regular hair braider girl) spotted us. Yes, I guess we are "regular" enough that we know the beach vendors by name and they recognize us every time we come back. Rowan was so excited to get her hair braided! She always looks forward to that. Of course I had to take a picture of that, cuz, you know...I just had to. The quick video clip I took was even better. These senioritas fly like nobody's business. They are so fast, it's awesome to watch.

We're glad that Grandma Cheri & Grandpa Bob came down to Rocky Point with us. They both enjoyed the peace and quiet and relaxation and got a ton of reading done.
This was Easton first thing in the morning on our second day there, standing outside on our balcony at the resort. Totally ready for the beach, jammies and all. The kid's got his bucket of shells, his diggers, his treasured piece of PVC pipe that he can't live without, his favorite red hat, and, of course, a football. What more could a four year old need at the beach (aside from a suit)?

Afty's partial sea shell collection. There's two more buckets full where these came from. Nice. Just what we need at our house, because we don't have enough sea shells. She's got them sorted by shape and size and high gloss factor, and of course by the ability to be used as a necklace charm.

I didn't even have to bribe them to hold hands. Seriously. Yes, I've got them photo-trained for sure. I asked them to scoot down the beach a bit so I could get rid of the slow poke couple in the background behind them. As they walked, I captured this cute shot. Man, I love these guys.

Our mini Bo Derek. I'd kill for those legs. Oh, to be six again! JK. I think 38 is great.

Who's havin' fun?

Just like most boys, Easton is totally in his element when he's outdoors. I love that he can keep himself so happy and occupied outside with just a shovel and bucket and a little water.

Rowan, Graci, Barrett & Afton: Our beach babes!

Me, Easton & Afty on the waterslide. We had such a good time! You're never too old to go down the slide, right?

Here we go again with all the peeps.

I think we'll do a few laps around the lazy river next. Again.

My beautiful Rowan and my daily mango. Isn't it just a work of art? Sculpted so beautifully by the "Mango Guy" that you hardly want to eat it. Not really. I sunk my teeth right in to this little piece of heaven sprinkled with lime, then spent the next several hours trying to get all the microscopic mango pulp out of my teeth. Just like every day. But it's worth it. You'd think I'd remember to bring floss down to the beach by now.

Ryan & Rowan on the balcony at Las Palomas after dinner.

One of our favorite traditions/indulgences: going out for Thrify Ice Cream after dinner. There are ice cream shops all over the place in Rocky Point, but our favorite one is down by the fish market near the water.

Barrett & Graci gulping down their Oreo Milkshakes. Thanks, Grandpa Bob, for the ice cream treats!

The was the last picture we took before we left Wednesday. The kids wanted to take one last dunk in the pool after we came up from the beach. Man, we love this place and love our great friends, the Ellingsons, who always join us south of the border.

Until next time...Adios!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I was starting to get a little worried. I haven't heard a peep out of any of my kids for the last twenty minutes. Seriously, not a peep. And the house is dead quiet. No music. No TV. No sound of toys banging around. Nada. Surely, they must all be outside. But it's too hot and it's not swimming time right now.

Nope, they're not outside.

All four of them are sitting/laying/lounging in the family room across the couches and floor, totally engrossed in their new finds. We went to the library today and checked out a big bag full of books. They seem to be in book heaven. I love it!

It's only 3:00, which means the day is just a little more than half over, but I've been going non-stop since I woke up. Working out, breakfast for the peeps, tidying up, taking Easton to his kindergarten testing, a little catch up at the RMB office, two banks, post office. The kids and I then went to JoAnn to pick out some fabric for the next sewing project: the towel in a tote. Their activity day leaders found the idea on a cute blog, and tomorrow is the day. Of course, Easton and Rowan want to make one too, so they each hunted up and down the fabric aisles and selected their own yard of fabric for their project. They are very excited. We squeezed in a quick lunch at Wendy's before meeting the contractor at our flip house and then hitting the library. I'm done with the car for today. So done.

We're now getting ready to head out to guitar lessons. I wish we'd taken the whole summer off of lessons. Really, I do. Barrett has a hiatus from piano for the month of June, but then she's back in July. If I'd been planning ahead, I would have canceled Afty's guitar too. Hmmm...maybe I'll give her a hiatus for July. We'll see. I'm ready for no schedules and less structure and less shuttling in this heat. Right now I'd like nothing more than to veg upstairs in my recliner with the fan blowing on me full blast while I indulge in a book of my own.

OK, back to reality. Time to get back in the car and crank up the AC. Now the two youngers are at each other again and the twenty-four minutes of peace has ended. I thought it might be too good to be true...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Island Flower

My awesome 11-year old is becoming quite the crafty girl these days. Although we've been making flower clips together for a couple of years, lately she's had a renewed desire to create. She's been sewing Yo Yo's, making adorable headbands, and super cute flower clips. This weekend she made a couple of irresistible headbands for our little cousin, Sienna, who came and stayed with us the week before last. We can't wait to mail them back to Virginia!

I'm modeling one of today's creations. I love it. The pink is so me. Lately, I've been loving hot pink. This flower totally reminds me of Hawaii and makes me reminisce to exactly one year ago when Ryan and I were in Hawaii with our good friends, Jayson & Kara Ellingson. Yep, a year ago Ryan managed to get out of the last few days of Camp Geronimo Scout Camp (here's there again now but there's no prospect of a last minute Hawaii getaway this year) and we flew over to Kauai for a week of pure bliss. It was totally last minute - we got invited about two weeks before the trip due to Jayson's parents backing out (Jayson's bro and wife and her sister and hubby went too). It was supposed to be a family trip with the four couples, but we were thrilled when they asked us to join them. Man, that was an incredible trip to say the least. The condo we stayed in was brand new, absolutely gorgeous four bedroom, four bath on Poipu Beach in Kauai. We were swinging from the tarzan rope, snorkeling, hiking, boating, eating, tanning, kayaking, shopping, and spending amazing time with each other and with our friends.

Last week, we went to Rocky Point with the Ellingsons (and of course had another great trip). They are such terrific friends and so easy to be with. It's a bonus that our kids and their kids love hanging out together too and are all in the same grades (except for Easton). Their number four is due next month. Anyway, in the McDonald's parking lot in Gila Bend on the way home, Jayson & Ryan started talking about last year's killer Hawaii adventure and are already scheming another trip for all of us for 2011 or 2012. Jayson still has another week in that condo banked up for some business trade. I'll need to bank up some serious favors with the grandmas again so we can leave our kiddos. Someday, when the kids are old enough to appreciate it and old enough to participate in all the activities, Ryan and I would love to take them with us on a family trip to the Islands. What a great time that would be!

Funny how blogging works. It triggers all kinds of thoughts, just like writing in your journal. I never intended to write about Hawaii tonight, but the cute tropical flower clip set my wheels in motion. So in keeping with that thought, here are a few pics from last year's Hawaii trip. Ryan's only been gone since yesterday morning and I already miss him so much!

At the luau in Kauai

The Browns & The Ellingsons on our way to the beach for some snorkeling and picnicking.

Kissing by the 100 foot waterfall. We both got in (it was cold and felt like hail coming down), but so much fun!

Ryan and the guys posing under the falls.

We loved the underwater camera. It was awesome going snorkeling with that and taking some cool video of the sea life (and of our cute husbands).

Ryan, me, Kara & Jayson on our boat trip up the Na Pali coast. The one unfortunate part of our trip was that Kara got incredibly sea sick on the way back. Sooooo sea sick it was insane. Thankfully, she recovered that night and enjoyed the rest of the trip.

I can't wait to go back!

Friday, June 4, 2010

A zillion thoughts's been over a week since I last logged into Blogger to write or to blog hop on any of my favorite sites. Every day I keep thinking that today is the day, but it never is. Today almost wasn't the day either, but I still have an hour left before my lids shut for good so I'm making it the day.

I have a zillion thoughts running through my mind and at least ten posts I want to get written before all the thoughts in my jumbled brain lose their mark and get buried by something new. Out with the old, in with the new.

We had company in town and enjoyed a family reunion (a separate post in the making). I have all kinds of random end of school year pics I should post. We spent four fabulous days in Rocky Point over this past week (another post) and just got back late Weds night. Yes, definitely a separate post. Of course I took a memory stick full of photos in Mexico. Because the photos from our last nine trips down there just won't suffice, right? We had such a relaxing time and yes, I am really really tan. Really. It's actually kind of amazing since I don't tan much.

Oh, I digress.

My mind is spinning with this and that. Thoughts about summer and planning meaningful activities for the kids. Visions of organization projects around my house. Cleaning. Always cleaning. We have so much going on with our businesses right now and are closing on another fixer-upper tomorrow and work is super busy and Ryan is leaving for scout camp for 8 stinkin' days starting tomorrow morning and we have my nephew's swim birthday shindig going on at our place tomorrow and I got a call to substitute on Sunday and now have a lesson to prepare and my office paperwork is stacked a foot high (maybe a foot and a half, actually) and we're meeting with contractors and there's a couple hundred apricots that have fallen from our tree today that need to get raked up and both of my visiting teaching friends moved while I was gone (seriously, so sad) and I'm anxious about Easton's kindergarten testing next week and I am feeling guilty because I didn't find time to work out today but still kind of OK because I squeezed in the temple before work and didn't mess up that weekly goal, and my mind is stealing away for seconds here and there to ponder the new book I started on the drive back to AZ that's begging for me to pick it back up and keep reading, and I keep thinking that I need to go empty my mailbox outside because I haven't checked it for a week and who knows what's in there, and, and, and....

Yep, those are just a few of the zillion thoughts running wild inside this tired brain. I'm betting that most of my fellow mamas have a zillion of their own thoughts that need sorting out like mine.

But tonight is not the night for sorting. It's time for me to go spend a little time with my hubby (who's hopefully getting close to done with his scout packing now that it's 10:33 pm) before he leaves to Geronimo. I've never been away from him for 8 days. That's an incredibly long time. I'm not excited about it. I don't think I would have been a good military wife. I can't imagine having my husband gone for months or more at a time.

But before I sign off, I do have one piece of super joyous news. Remember that traffic ticket I got in mid-March when the bicyclist collided with my suburban as I turned out of Harris Park onto McKellips? I vented about it on my blog, of course, because I was super frustrated that I got a ticket for that (here is the link to that post back from 3/16/10

Anyway, I was so mad that I decided to fight it. I requested a hearing, prepared my case, presented it in traffic court yesterday (and did a mighty fine job if I do say so myself), and I WON!!!! Yep, I won. The judge even asked me if I had ever considered being an attorney after I presented my case. Seriously, how awesome is that? So I saved the $170 fine, avoided traffic school, and was victorious in my stand against stupid ticketing. My brother would be proud. He's one of those cops that doesn't give stupid tickets.

If the stars all align, I'll get some good vacation pics posted tomorrow. Or maybe just sometime soon.