Saturday, December 27, 2008

Sisters Only Slumber Party

I am so thankful to have sisters. They have been my best friends throught my life. They are always there for me. They know me as only a sister can know me.

Last night, I had the pleasure of hosting our first and hopefully annual sisters slumber party. What a great time! Sam and Charlie spent the night at my Mom's and I got to entertain them here at my house. We went out for dinner at Fez in downtown Phoenix then headed over to a little neighborhood bar called Shady's.

After we got back to my house, we tried to figure out who was sleeping where and no one wanted to sleep alone. Finally we decided that the only way to have a slumber party would be to make Carl sleep in the guest room and all 4 of us gals would sleep in my bed! We sat up in bed, drinking wine and watched What About Bob. It was a fun time, but we all eventually got uncomfortable and one by one moved out of the big bed into other beds in the house. Turns out that Tiffany slept alone in my huge king size bed.

This morning after we all got up, we headed to Last Chance for some bargains then over to Scottsdale Fashion Square where we shopped until we dropped. Had a yummy lunch at Sauce.

What a fun time! It was so nice to spend this quality time with my sisters. Usually when they are in town, its a whirlwind of activity, and there isnt a lot of catching up. This time we got to talk and talk and talk....what sisters LOVE to do. The only regret about the whole night was that our brother Jason's wife, Kristal was not able to come.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dude will be missed

I am sad to say that we lost a loved member of our family this week. Our crazy beloved dog, Dude. He was a character for sure. When I met Carl and started dating him, he had only had Dude for 3 months. He rescued him through Pointer Rescue. Dude was a 9 month old hunting dog that his original owner couldnt handle. He was high energy! Carl took him and gave him a loving home and good life. Dude was a bit crazy sometimes. To say that he was lively and rambunctious would be an understatement. He was extremely jealous when I came on the scene and would get up on the couch next to me and lean his whole body on me. If I called Carl on the phone and he talked to me, Dude would bark in the background. Sometimes when I was over, Dude would stand in front of me and just bark at me and Carl would have to put him outside, then he would throw himself against the windows and doors until we let him back in and he went into his kennel in the kitchen. Then he would try to dig his way out of the kennel, and the kennel would be bouncing across the room, until it was facing a wall and then he was really unhappy...barking and making a ton of noise...we had a difficult time watching a movie . I laugh when I remember that now. Dude was not going to accept me easily.

Poor Dude had Carl alone for 3 months, then Carl met me and got married and then 2 kids came along....he was never first place again. He didnt like to be left alone and was known to demolish an entire leather couch one vacation that Carl left him home. He also loved to steal food off the counters any chance he could.
With all of Dude's challenges to us, he was a really great dog. I dont think there was a mean streak in him at all. This dog took a lot of abuse from the kids and never once snapped at them and in time he also came to love and depend on me. Charlie is going to miss Dude a lot because one of his favorite things to do is to drape his blankie over him, then hang on him and suck his thumb. Im really feeling the void that his loss has left here. Every time I walk into my closet, I expect to see him there, laying on the floor like he always did. Its strange around here without him. He definitely had a place in our home and now he will be missed. RIP Dude. 2000-2008.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Colors of Christmas

Last weekend, Sam's school did a Christmas program called Colors of Christmas. It was sooooo cute! The kids all wore their matching school shirts, with little sashes with a Christmas sprig on it. They all sang and did hand motions the entire time. Sam sang all the songs and participated so well! I was really really proud watching him up there on stage with all the other kiddos in his school.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I cant believe Sam will already be 4 next month! The time is going by too fast. As much as I enjoy my kids growing and thriving and doing new things, I want them to stay little forever!

The other night when I was putting Sam to bed, I said, "I love you, your my little boy." And he replied with, "I love you too mom, your my little girl." I melted. I was trying to be serious and get him to go to sleep, but I had the biggest smile on my face. I love when he tells me he loves me.

Right now Sam is really into art projects. He begs to paint, glue, cut, glitter, make cards, make anything...all the time. He has a box of colored pencils and his favorite thing to do is sharpen them. He sat at the table for over an hour the other night sharpening his pencils! LOL. Then he accidentally threw the sharpener in the trash when he was trying to empty the shavings, and I wouldnt let him get it out cause there was lots of nasty stuff in there, so the next morning we got up and made a special trip to the store for another pencil sharpener.

Sam is my wonderful helper. He loves to help me with anything I could possibly get help with. Carrying groceries into the house from the car, emptying the trash, washing windows, sweeping, vacuuming, folding small towels and washcloths, washing the car. Its fun to have my little shadow helping me with everything around the house. Plus, he LOVES to get the door, and hold it for anyone that is passing through. What a little gentleman already.

He is my sweet, soft spoken boy. I love his gentle nature and good spirit. I love when he comes into my room at night and climbs into bed with me. He doesnt do it as often as he used to. I was worried it would become a bad habit, now I find myself missing him when he isnt there. Im so glad I had him. What a great person to be my first born!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Charlie is wonderful

My baby Charlie is 19 months old. He is becoming more of a little boy than a baby these days. I love that little boy. I really did bond to him in a wonderful way with breastfeeding him for 14 months. It was the best experience ever. I wish I would have stuck it out with Sam, but you know, its the one thing I had with Charlie that was just with him. Our own little thing. He doesn't even take a bottle anymore, but he is still so much my little baby when I'm putting him to bed at night. I sing a couple songs, usually the alphabet song and the I See You song I learned at Gymboree when I used to take Sam. Charlie tries to sing both songs. He can sing up to J in the alphabet song. This kid has my heart.

Charlie is starting to say things. He loves putting on his shoes and always says Shoo whenever I mention that we are going anywhere or its time to get ready. I say, lets get ready and he runs to his room and opens up the sock drawer grabs a pair, then says shoo over and over and gets his shoes, then heads to the rocking chair where I always sit with him and dress him.

This kid LOVES to brush his teeth. We brush teeth anywhere from 1-4 times a day. He says, bra tee for brush teeth. He insists on it all the time. I put toothpaste on the brush and I brush his teeth first, then hand it to him to finish off the job. He is such a cutie.

Charlie loves to pretend. He loves the phone and if he doesn't have a real phone, he will use a baby monitor, or remote or any other small electronic item he can get his hands onto. Then he cradles it between his cheek and shoulders and walks around, pretending to talk on the phone, complete with whole sentences of baby talk babbling.

He is also a climber. Sam was not a climber at all, so I had no idea what tiny kids were capable of. Many times I will be cooking, or on the computer or just walking in from another room and find him standing on the kitchen table. Or up on my desk, playing with the phone. He pulls a chair around from the other side of the table to his high chair, then uses it to climb up into his highchair. He grabs the tray off the counter and slams it down on his high chair table, then bangs on it when he is hungry and wants a meal or snack. He has already mastered the ladders on the swing set. Ive also recently found him on top of the washer and dryer, playing with the buttons. I am also humiliated to admit that twice now, Ive found him on our view deck, up on the roof! We try to keep that staircase fenced off, outside, but sometimes Carl and I go up there and night to enjoy the view and its been left open and he always finds it. I thought I was going to have a mini heart attack when I found him up there, all bright eyed and smiley. WOW

This next pic is one of Charlie with his little blankie that he LOVES, draping it over Dude (one of our dogs), the good sport of a dog. Any time he sees it, he immediately sticks his thumb in his mouth and runs toward it. He loves to lay on his back and cross his legs, then whip the blankie back and forth over his head and back over his feet. He loves to drape the blankie over anything, including Dude then just hang there and suck his thumb. Poor Dude just takes it and stands there, never snapping or getting annoyed. Our other dog Scottie, would be a different story.

I love my little Charlie. I thought Sam was a handful, but Charlie REALLY keeps me on my toes. I love his happy personality and how feisty he is. He is loud and he lets you know exactly what he wants. My mom tells me lots of crazy stories of things I did when I was little and she says that Charlie is a lot like me. I'm getting my payback now, that's for sure ;)

After all the feistyness and spunk that keeps us on our toes constantly...he sleeps so good for me. He goes to bed at 7:30 every night without a fuss. He usually lays in there playing and talking before falling asleep. I don't have to go into his room to get him most mornings until 7am. If Sam wakes up, he just comes into our room and climbs into the bed with us. This momma gets to stay in bed all night most nights! That is so great after several years of having to get out of bed more than once in a night.

Charlie my little cuddle bunny. I love you so much.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The zoo

This turned into a really great weekend. My sister Leslie came into town from Seattle since she was homesick. Randy got back from Hawaii on Friday night after being gone several weeks. Saturday night, we planned to bbq here at our place with mom, Randy and Leslie. Then Jason called and said he was coming down from Prescott with his wife and kids and I invited them for dinner Sat. Well, that turned into them staying with us overnight, and it was so much fun. Sam and Charlie had a blast playing with Evan and baby Brielle is not far behind! They all stayed up late playing outside until 9pm. Up and down the swing set, constantly! It was good times! The kids were WORN OUT and you would hope they would sleep in, but that is never the case. We were all up and going at again at 6am.

Once we all at our breakfasts and got ready, we headed to the zoo and Dad and Fran met us there. We had a really nice time walking all over the zoo. The weather was perfect and all the animals were out. There are times I go to the zoo and almost NO animals are out. Too hot. But not today, it was great. We enjoyed all the shade from all the mature trees. The kids saw Giraffes, Zebra, Elephants, Bears, Piccary's, tunnels, bamboo forests, monkeys and how can we forget the wonderful petting zoo? Lots of happy kids and tons of adults holding their noses! Its a stinky place and its nasty to see your kids trapsing all over the goats pee. Yucky! I held Charlie the entire time and never let him out my arms. I remember all too well taking Sam there when he was a new walker at 13 months old and he was falling all over the place, covered in goat pp! EEEEw!

It was so fun having Jason and Kristal, Evan and Brielle here. It was great seeing Leslie. She looks so happy and seems like she loves her new job. Its the right mix of stress and fun. Its good to see her looking carefree. I love my baby sister. I cant wait till Thanksgiving when I get to see everyone again!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Sicky Pumpkin

Here are some pics of our pumpkin carving last night with the kids. Sam was very much into the little saw and getting to cut the pumpkin himself. We did a funny one this year, it looks like the pumpkin is sick and puking! Hey, it wasnt my idea and I do live in a house full of boys.
For halloween, Sam was Batman and Charlie was Robin. We went to a party at our friends, The Crist's and it was a great time with lots of good friends. They kids got to trick or treat and everyone had a blast.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Field Trip: The Pumpkin Patch

Sam had a field trip with his preschool class today. We all got to go to Mother Nature's Farm for some fall festivities! They boys got to pick out a pumpkin and decorate it. Then there was a hay ride and a bounce house and lots of animals to see. Sam's favorite part is the baby chicks they have in the store. He even remembered them from last year!

Here are a few of the pics from today.

Sam being silly like always:

Picking out pumpkins can be so stressful!:

Decorating their pumpkins:

Going through a maze:

Playing on an old tractor:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Big Shopping Carts now

Do any other moms deal with the battle of the grocery carts each time they are in the store? I sure do. My kids beg for the big carts that are like cars for them to drive. These things are huge! Its not easy to maneuver them around the store, down the aisles. Its funny though, because even though its harder, I still give in. I love my boys and want even a trip to the grocery store to be fun.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sam's first soccer game

We had Sam's first Soccer game on Oct 18 and it was so fun! The kids were so cute in their uniforms and they loved getting cheered on by everyone. I think Im gonna like whatever sports my kids want to do. I just love watching them run around and be apart of a team. Here are some pics from the game:

Sam with some of his team mates, Aidan, Grant, Sam and Jace:

Kicking the ball to Coach Drew:

Some fast action:

Sam and his good friend, Grant:

Charlie enjoying every minute of it:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

a reunion with old friends

This weekend I got to hang out with some old friends that I havent seen in years. Beth flew in from MN and Annie drove in from L.A. My mom had my boys for the whole weekend and I got to entertain my friends here at my house. It was so fun. We lazed around, ate out for every meal and just talked till we were blue in the face. We went to bed way too late and got to sleep in. It was wonderful. I havent had a girlie bonding weekend like that in a long time.

Beth and Annie are 2 of my friends from Kansas City. We all went to Dominion Christian School together when I was there for my senior year of highschool. We recently got back in touch on facebook. It had been 7 years since Id seen Beth and 13 years since Id seen Annie. We picked up right where we left off. We got out pics and yearbooks and laughed at them and talked about our memories. We all had different memories, so it was fun to catch up. I do believe we caught up on 13 years in only 3 days.

Friday night, Beth and I ate at Grand Lux Cafe, then Annie rolled into town right as we finished up. We all headed to Kazmires wine bar and met Annie's husband and his friends for some vino. We didnt stay too long, then came back home and talked into the early morning. Saturday we had breakfast at Maria Maria Cantina. I had Juevos Rancheros for the first time and it was the best breakfast ever. We shopped then went back home and lounged around the house for the rest of the day. We went to AZ88 for dinner and had a blast there. Then we came back home for more talking...till 2am! I cant remember the last time I stayed up talking until 2am. Years!!

Today we went to Crackers for Breakfast and Carl tagged along. Afterwards, we picked up S and C at my mom's and my friends got to spend the day with my family. We hung out in the backyard and watched S and C play on the swing set. They showed off for us all afternoon and kept us entertained. The weather was perfect.

What a perfect weekend. Im sad to see my friends leave. Im excited to rekindle such old friendships and I look forward to more visits someday. This weekend has been so uplifting and it was just what I needed. :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

Im a Soccer mom now..

Today Sam started his soccer season. He was so excited to wear his cleats and meet his team and coach. Sam's coach is a really nice guy named Drew Parada. He is a parent of one of Sam's teammate named Jace, and he's been coaching Soccer for 15 years and has 5 kids. He did a great job of keeping all the kids with the program. I really was expecting much more chaos, not lines and kids actually kicking the balls into the goal.

It was fun being there and meeting the other parents. Im excited about getting involved in stuff like this with Sam and Charlie. Check out the kids in Sam's team standing in line together...arent they just so darn cute???

Buying local benefits everyone

For the last 2 weeks, Ive been to the farmer's market here in down town Mesa. At first when I drove up I was disappointed because I only saw 3 tents and figured they wouldn't have much, but I was wrong about that. They had sooo many veggies! Just what I wanted. Check out the white eggplants and the yellow tomatoes! I love getting veggies that are different colors than what we usually see. A reminder that there are lots of species of fruits and veggies that we don't get to see so much in the boring grocery stores anymore. Id like it if these things made a comeback.

Recently I read a great book that has really changed how I feel about the food that I feed to my family. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver is about her and her family's commitment to give up conventionally grown foods, and for 1 year, only eat what they grow for themselves, or can get locally...or learn to do without until the next season rolls around. Seasons, remember those? It used to be that we could only get certain produce at certain times of the year. But now that we can ship things from across the Ocean and have it in our grocery store within 5 days of picking is pretty amazing. Except that it uses a lot of fuel for our food to jet set around the world like that, and its not good for our environment, or our dependency on oil. It also doesn't help to support our local economy when we don't buy food from our local farmers.

Since I cant really grow much myself...I decided to do what I can. I am making an effort to feed my family with as much local organic food as I can find. I also want to try to use produce when its in season, because it tastes better when its in season, and it has up to 60% more antioxidants and vitamins when its in season. Well, I was happy when my friend Elisabeth told me about this farmer's market. All of the food is organic, and its all from Arizona and they have a huge variety! Since we live in such a warm climate, its open all year long!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I have to laugh..

After a long day of just the kids and myself, Im always happy to sit and relax after everyone is finally in bed. House all to myself. I like that, since I lived alone for 5 years, I really enjoy the silence. Tonight, I just had to laugh, when I went to use the guest bathroom and came across this typical mess that anyone with a toddler knows all too well:

Right now C is into EVERYTHING! Oh my gosh. I thought S was bad. Nope, C is much MUCH worse. This kid has already figured out how to use the door knobs. How to pull out a drawer to stand in it so he can reach whatever is on the counter. He knows how to pull a chair over to wherever he wants to climb.

His favorite place in the house right now is the bathroom. He especially loves the pool bathroom, because it has a fan switch low enough for him to reach. He's all over that any chance he gets. Of course, he loves toilet paper and all the fun a mile long roll of paper can afford. Many times, Ive found all the toilet paper in a huge wad on the floor. I have to be quick and pick that up because if Im lazy and take too long, S will find it and "help" mom out by sticking the entire wad into the toilet and flushing it..because that is where toilet paper goes, afterall.

Ive become very familiar with a plunger...the joys of being a mommy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Grandpa McGuire's 100th Birthday

Last weekend, we flew to MI to celebrate a huge event, Grandpa McGuire's 100th Birthday. It was a really great time for all of us. I really am amazed at the size of our family, and how everyone keeps in such close touch!

We flew in on Friday and that night we went to Rose's house for a cousin's party. There were a bunch of my cousins there, with their spouses and kids. It was great to catch up and see all the kids. We didn't stay out too late on Friday because we had a HUGE day coming up for Grandpa's bday.
Saturday morning, everyone met at the school that is next to Grandpa's house. We had to use their gymnasium to do a family photo. That is what it takes to get 150 people in a photo together. It was hilarious when it came time to do a photo of just the great grandchildren. Picture 20 toddlers being put down by their moms all at the same time, then the mom's running away to get out of the photo. Screaming and crying and fits ensued. I'm sure it will be a hilarious photo! The little ones were sprawled out on the floor, throwing fits and all the babies were screaming with their little terror faces babies have when they scream.

After the photo, we headed over to the church across the street and had a special Mass just for our family honoring Grandpa and his life. Its amazing that Grandpa's immediate family can fill a church! It was very special. Lots of people got up and talked about Grandpa and it was very evident what a remarkable life he has led.

Once the mass ended, it was back across the street to Grandpa's house where the celebrating and festivities began. There was good food, live music, open bar and of course, lots of ice cream and chocolate milk. Kids were everywhere! S was having a blast playing with all his little cousins. I was having a blast catching up with everyone, and running myself ragged trying to stay on C like a hawk. Between Carl, my dad and I, we were able to watch him pretty good. The alcohol was flowing all day, from noon to midnight. It brings out a whole different side of people! Like Carl singing, Alice's Restaurant with Uncle Tom Rice playing guitar. Or Luis belting out LaBamba! Then there were endless games of beer pong that I could not drag my cousins or husband away from.

It was such a great party! Just like a 100th Birthday party should be. Grandpa was out a lot of the day, being greeted by his friends and family. He was so happy to have all of us there. We were so happy we could be there. I loved getting to see all my siblings, and am so thankful for each of them. Carl had a really great time. It was his first trip to MI to meet that side of the family and he fit right in! Everyone loved him and thought he was great and he loved everyone too. I am looking forward to more trips to MI, much more often now.

We had a room at the Novi Sheraton, but was not impressed with the hotel room. When my cousin Greg and his wife offered their home to us, I could not pass it up. They have 3 kids, Mason, Myles and Michaela. Myles and Michaela are the same age as S and C, so it was perfect. A baby proofed house, with tons of toys... we could let the boys run wild and sit back and relax. It was so nice hanging with Greg and Kim. I hadn't hung with Greg since we were kids, so it was really nice to catch up with them. They cooked us a great steak dinner and we visited for 2 nights. It was fun. We cant wait for them to come to AZ for a visit, so we can return the hospitality!

Aside from the flight there, which was terrible, the entire trip was great. Its just not fun travelling on a long plane ride with a 16 month old. Its not easy to keep them entertained, especially when they scream for 80% of the flight. Once I pulled out all the tricks in my bag, I was reduced to sticking raisins between C's toes, for him to pick out and eat. I know its gross, but it was the only thing that brought out a giggle, and stopped the screaming. Whatever works!

Thanks to my entire family for making it such a great trip. We are sooo lucky to have so many cousins and aunts and uncles to have a blast with. I loved these pics of Leslie and Maria being great Aunties.

Monday, August 25, 2008

We have a swimmer!

Its been a great day. S had swimming lessons and today he graduated from beginners to immediate! I was so proud of him! He has been swimming really good the last couple weeks at home, since he got his new teacher, Miss Maybell. His old teacher was just so dull. Months went by with no progress. But he has had 2 lessons with this teacher and they were both private because no other kids are signed up for that class. And he has learned soooo much.

So today he had to jump into the pool, flip over onto his back and float for 10 seconds, then swim over to the side and grab the side and climb out. Anyways, he did it and the deck manager came over to me and said that Maybell just signaled to him that he is ready, so he is going to watch and make sure. And he was! After 5 months he finally did it all!

He got a metal and got to stand up on this little platform and they played Olympiad sounding music and announced that he graduated. It was so cute. All the other kids were coming up to him and giving him high 5 and saying way to go. Ive never seen him be so proud.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A few pictures from this week

S learning about dipping cookies in milk.

S with his nerdy glasses he won at Chuck E Cheese

C with his nerdy glasses given to him by his brother

And the lovely scorpian that stung me on the bottom of my foot the other night. He was promptly killed right after this picture was snapped.