Friday, December 5, 2014

Everyday Miracles

We went to a wicked Halloween party.  I had nothing to wear, but I can throw scary together quite well.

Toasted marshmallow pumpkin pie with graham cracker crust.

The best things in life are free.... love, family, nature... & mall ring cleanings.

My giant, odd-ball pumpkin.

And what a date night it was // Moore wedding in Sedona.

We can't say no to bubbles.  We have four kids ...

My sister from another mister tied the knot yesterday in the most beautiful wedding. We were so happy to be a part of this amazing night and to witness this milestone in their love story.

A weekend with my love.

My happy place.

This is Arizona, folks. // Just one of it's many beautiful faces.

This was today.  Rolling creeks and colorful leaves in forests of towering trees // feeling grateful for this.

I'm not big on Halloween decor, but I love these painted pumpkins made by my kids and their cool aunties who watched them this weekend.

Bella's new baby // When we told her we think it's a moth and not a butterfly, she said calmly and lovingly "It doesn't matter.  I'll call her Buttercup.”  She already has a mama's heart.  We later found out that it was indeed a Giant Swallowtail Butterfly.

Thank goodness for ibuprofen or we might actually have to spend our sick days in bed.  Riding bikes is so much better.

Her excitement is contagious. // Carlson Elementary Boo Bash.

Picnic lunch and library movies. // Trying my best to make the most of a sick day. // On the upside, the kids noticed some spider webs in the pavilion rafters and got excited because "they're free Halloween decorations!" // Real life my friends.

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Everyday Miracles

I’m so behind on posting our everyday miracles that I contemplated retiring it for a while, but it matters so much to me that I’ll give it my best shot at catching up…

A bunch of married thirty-something year old moms head out on the town for Sheena's bachelorette party.  And yet, I think we held our own.

Glitterifying with Bella on one of her birthday crafts

The turtles liked Ari.

As did the goats.  Like a Disney princess, animals follow her wherever she goes.  They pushed her around the petting zoo, and she loved the ride.

Paddle boating with Grammy and Papa next to the pelicans.

Ocean princess and her loyal subject.  They play so well together… sometimes.

Cousins + grandparents + fall = joyous chaos.

Normal Arizona sunset.  The sky is on fire.

Now that's what I call a family dinner.  Big trees, little lights, long tables, & huge love.

The world is their stage.  Huge tree stumps are no exception.

Liam has been showing signs of his budding independent spirit.  A sky high slide and a knack for escaping are just two things in his bag of tricks.

Best friends on swings never gets old.

We are in second summer // one of my favorite Arizona seasons.

Pavers down!  I am officially changing it's name from "picnic area" to "party pavilion".

Fundraiser for GaitWay in hopes that we will be able to open up a year round facility for Ari's Conductive Ed. // If you'd like to donate to a good cause, I have one for you!

Pretty decent school pictures for 1st and 2nd grade. Apparently it's baby Jennifer Lawrence & Theo James.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Halloween Two Thousand Fourteen

Halloween isn’t my absolute favorite holiday.  I find costumes to be stressful, because they are cumbersome to put on, usually uncomfortable to keep on, and all those accessories wind up lost by the end of the night.  It’s a lot of rushing around at night, fast eating, sugar, and whining.  But that is not how my littles see it, and for that reason, I make the effort.  I baked with pumpkin at least three times in the month of October.  I volunteered at all of their school Halloween parties.  I put up Halloween decorations, and have promised them that I’d buy at least two new decorations each year… so by the time they graduate, I’ll have amassed a whole haunted house to pass down to them.  And we celebrated the heck out of this holiday… we went to four costumed events this year.  I try.  I really do.

For them, of course, it’s sheer amazingness.  They get to be something imaginary and awesome.  They begin planning it as soon as the Halloween costume catalogs start piling up on the kitchen counter.  For Bella and Ari, this involved glamour and makeup and hairspray and tulle and feathers and shimmeryness.  For Gabe and even Liam, it involved some pretend violence and fake weaponry.  For them it rocks, because they get to run around with their friends with a very scant amount of supervision, have twenty seven desserts in lieu of eating dinner, and beg for candy for like… hours. 

Of course by the time Halloween night rolls around, we’ve done this so many times that I feel like we’re old pros at it, and I could tie Gabe’s ninja mask on with my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back.  Practice makes progress!

Bella was a peacock.  Liam was a knight in shining armor.  Gabe was a stealth ninja.  Ari was a pretty witch (she boycotted the hat).

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We had way more fun in their classrooms than the picture below portrays.  Bella won’t give me a natural smile unless I make a fool of myself or talk bathroom humor. 

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We went trick-or-treating in the cousins’ neighborhood this year, because we wanted to be with the buddies and attend their awesome driveway party.  I didn’t see Gabe almost the whole night, because he took off with Vance and the other big kids from the neighborhood.  I can’t believe he’s already at that age.  First independent trick-or-treat.  It’s strange… and a little sad… but so cool for him. 

The younger ones stayed with us, and we somehow covered a lot of ground.  Even Liam and Lucas were totally into it.  Ari had, by this time, perfected her Halloween vocabulary on her talker and could basically do the whole trick-or-treating thing without us if only we had a van that would transport her power chair.  She said “trick-or-treat” and “thank you” right on time at every house, and picked just one piece of candy from the bowl to put in her candy bucket each time.  She loved telling people she was a “witch” and wishing them “Happy Halloween!” when they asked her/said Happy Halloween to her.  She would even try to scare us by saying “Boo” on her talker, which was amusing, because the tone of voice on the talker did not deliver the emphasis that I think she intended.  That said, she did a great job, and I was so proud of her.  Clearly, extreme repetition and high motivation pay off when it comes to language acquisition for Ari.

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It was a super fun night, everyone including me had a blast, and now I’m so glad we have a whole year before we have to do it all again ;).

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Everyday Miracles

Cool mornings and showering with the windows open.

Our yard after one growing season, nine months living here, eight trees, a large garden, and many baby vines planted.

A new mirror in my entryway // we’re getting there, little by little. 

Discovering a new spot to visit on the weekends // beautiful gardens, jarred raw honey, baby Paulownia Tomentosa trees, and crazy good mulch.

Part of my crew on our outing // one with his book in hand like always.

His highness // the youngest child.

Gabe wanted to dance with Ari in her Upsee // I love everything about this moment.

Celebrating Bella’s 6th birthday with a tiki island cake made with love by yours truly.

Slippery, wide eyed, long lashed, mischievous baby.

Relaxed conference Sunday // their favorite part is the commercials.

Butterfly hunting.

The butterfly huntress perched in her tree stand.

Post-lunch Old Maid.

Listening to Liam mumble out his sweet and nearly inaudible prayers with a triumphant Amen at the end.

Trying to have fun wherever we go… even to the doctor’s… downtown… to talk about hip/femur surgery.

Throwback to January when we planted our first tree at just under 5 feet tall… it now stands over 15 feet tall.

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