Friday, May 30, 2014

Book Wars

The books will continue to battle and move through the rounds until we get to the top two that will then face off for the title of "best book of the summer."
It has been a blast!!  Over anything else we have been doing with the kids, they have asked about this the most.  We are only two weeks into it and already have read a couple really awesome books.  We are having so much fun with it and the kids are asking every day if we can do more book battles.  Once the final book is left standing we told the kids we would go and purchase the book and that each kid will get to pick their favorite book from the list of 64 that they would like to buy.  I am really intrigued to see which book holds out until the end, there are some really good ones.  This is another summertime activity that is around to stay from now on for sure!!

Summer bucket list 2014

We all enjoyed last years summer bucket list so much that we decided to make it a tradition.  We always stay busy all summer with activities regardless, but it is a fun way for the kids to pick some activities that they would like to do.  With school ending we sat down and made this summers bucket list. We left one spot blank on it and I have a couple ideas of what we might fill it with but we'll see :) :)

Being an auntie

I'm an auntie.  To Miss Berkley Shea, this ADORABLE ball of yummy chub.  She is so chunky and very verbal with a hilarious monotone sound she makes.  She has beautiful blue eyes and I still think she has the prettiest baby lips I have ever seen.  I mean just look at this picture of her sleeping, don't you just wanna smooch those lips :) :) 
This was our very first time getting to meet her and we all were smitten instantly....
I love this picture of her and Hudson.  He turned one in Nov and then she was born the end of December so they are pretty much a year apart.  I always wanted to have one of my sisters have a baby close to one of my kids.  I am so grateful that it actually happened.    

I loved watching the two of them get to know each other.  Hudson called her baby and kept trying to hug her and pat her.  Berkley looks like she is crying in this picture but actually she loved Hudson right back and kept wanting to grab his shirt, touch his face and talk to him.
The girls really wanted to hold her.  Emma was so excited that she would not stay out of her face because she wanted to keep kissing her and talking to her trying to make her smile.  Love the pic of Ave holding her.  Emma cracks me up because she wanted to hold her like a baby and Berkley doesn't like being held like a baby.
I am straight up jealous of the fact that she LOVED her uncle Deke right off the bat.  He kept tickling under her chin and she loved it.  He would say anything to her and she would get this flirty little grin.  It was so cute.
Hunter was great with her and she really liked his voice too when he would talk to her.  
First cousin pics.....
 The babies teething away together on some corn cobs after dinner...
 We got together one of the days as sisters at Cheesecake Factory.  It was nice to have some time without my own kids there to get to just watch her mannerisms and hold her.  I can't believe how normal it felt to see Brenn as a mom and its sort of weird but it felt totally normal to have Berkley with her.  I had never met her yet she already feels so familiar to me.
 It was so awesome to get to see all my sisters and even though it was fast, it is always fun when we are together.
 I miss that baby so much already.  Looking forward to all the fun things ahead with this sweet little niece of mine :):)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Homemade Olive Garden and nutmeg eggs

The fun didn't stop after the aquatic center.  I love Olive Garden but I never want to go out to eat on mother's day because I don't want to be in the crazy crowds so every year we do Olive Garden to go and order the whole spread and bring it home.  Its a tradition that I love.  This year we got home from swimming and the kids were doing a lot of giggling and whispering as they hurried and changed.  Avery and Emma brought me into my room where they had a pillow and blanket on my bed and the laptop all set up.  "Okay mom, you just relax here while we take care of dinner" they said as they pushed me towards the bed, urging me to lay down and rest.  Giggling they headed for the door, "you take a rest or go on Pinterest for awhile" Ave added and then closed the door.  I figured it was good advice.  I laid down and started my pinterest browsing in the quiet of my room, completely relaxed and found myself drifting off to the sounds of clanking dishes and pans in the kitchen.  Forty five minutes later the door opened and Em was shaking my arm and putting her face about an inch from mine.  "C'mon mom its time for dinner!!" she said excitedly.  I walked out to a sweet sight of these four standing around the table lit with candles and pink lemonade in fancy glasses....
Avery had an apron on and welcomed me to olive garden and took my order.  Within seconds my mozzarella stick appetizer had arrived and I was enjoying it with marinara when Hunter came over with a huge bowl of salad that was the closest salad to the actual olive garden with the large rings of onion, olives etc. etc. that I have ever had. They had bought the actual Olive Garden bottled salad dressing which is my favorite.  It was the best salad.  I had three helpings.  Only a few bites into my salad and soon arrived Emma with a basket of bread sticks and put one on my plate.  She grinned at me and then took a few steps to the side watching me.  I had only taken about three
bites of it when she suddenly was right next to me again.  "Ma'am would you like more bread? she asked and before I could reply with not quite yet she had already laid another out on my plate and resumed her watching spot.  Hahaha.  Deke brought over the main course of shrimp scampi and it was really good.  Then the kids all sat down and we ate together.  The kids had made me cute little notes to go around my placemat.  Hunter's made me giggle, it says, to mom: my never ending rainbow of inspiration.
Then deke and the kids went around and talked about their favorite food mom makes and their favorite thing to do with mom and what they love about mom.  Yep I cried.  For dessert we had made a new homemade monkey bread recipe.  So fattening, so worth it.  We spent the rest of the evening playing games as a family.
The next morning which actually was mother's day, Deke didn't have to be to work until ten and so we decided to sleep in again.  I was sleeping soundly when suddenly I heard knocking.  I sat up startled because #1 we always open our door right before we go to sleep and #2 the kids never knock they just come in, I was worried.  "Happy mother's day mom!!"  I heard them say as they walked in with a breakfast tray and an interesting smell hit my nose.  They had cooked something.  Deke sat up next to me.  Okay, they had cooked something on their own...for the first time....not in the microwave, with the oven.  Deke who by this time was wide awake got my look of, did you know this was happening?  "Try it mom, try it" they said waiting.  Hunter had cooked scrambled eggs for the first time on his own and didn't leave any shells in and didn't burn them.  I went to take a bite and the smell sent a wave of nausea through me.  What was that smell.  As I tried to determine Hunter started in, "I made you some scrambled eggs and cooked them at a number six just like you do mom.  I wanted to do something a little fancier so I added some spices in there for you" the eggs hit my tongue, what was that taste?  "I added some basil and nutmeg to them, I tried them and they are just delicious."  Nutmeg.  That's what I'm tasting.  Large wave of nausea.  Willing myself to keep them down and swallow Avery quickly urged me on to the toast she had made which again was not burnt just covered in giant glops of jelly.  I smiled and moved onto the fruit salad where I ate the apples and then stopped when I realized I hadn't bought a pineapple that week at the store.  "Where did you guys find the pineapple?" I asked, "Oh it was back in the very back of the fridge behind a whole bunch of stuff.  Yep.  That was missed when the fridge got cleaned out, it is definitely old.  Not touching it.  Bless their hearts they had done such a good job and were so proud of themselves.  Hunter lined them all up and they each had cards and presents for me.  It was really neat to see Hunter gather them all together like that even without deke to make sure and do those things to make my day special.  I will NEVER forget this breakfast in bed ever, it was so sweet.   But in all reality I did take the eggs to the bathroom and flush them down the toilet because throwing up is just not fun.
Deke had taken Avery and Emma to buy me a couple of pairs of really cute new flip flops since they are the only shoes I will wear for the next four months.  Hunter made me a recipe card holder and attached a cipher wheel with a page full of secret mother's day messages that I got to decode.  It was really cute.
He also made me a "bio bottle" with a little plant inside.  The plant lives and thrives inside the bottle.  I loved these both because they are so Hunter.
We went to church and Emma made this cute little flower can for me in Sunbeams.  The rest of the day the kids made me pictures and did performances for me.  We played all day.  I think I smiled for the entire two days.  I went to go to bed and just kept thinking about sitting at the table that night in candlelight with a delicious homemade dinner and my babies going around telling stories and talking about why they love me, coming over and sitting on my lap and giving me squeezes.  Hudson planting baby smooshy kisses on my cheeks.  Is there really anything better than that?  They know how to love so perfectly.  They are so amazing.  I love being their mom so much.  It brings me a joy and fulfillment that I have never felt anything else like in my life.  So much joy.

Mesquite aquatic center

Deke had to work on Mother's day so we decided to celebrate on saturday instead.  We slept in and relaxed all morning and then did a little shopping.  After lunch we headed to the mesquite grove aquatic center for the first time and ended up spending the entire afternoon there.  That place is awesome.  It is only a buck per kid to get in and there was plenty for the kids to do.  They started off playing on the playground, loving that the slides go down into the water.  They also had one of those giant buckets that dump out a gazillon gallons of water every few minutes.  Emma insisted on steering very clear of the radius of its splash zone.
Hudson loves swimming at the Y as a family but he was not so sure about all the splashing and getting splashed constantly....
Emma and Avery slid over and over again, they loved it.
Dad and the older kiddos.....
Mom and the little man who decided he wanted out of the pool fairly quickly.
They only have two water slides but the great part is that unlike a water park the line takes two to five minutes and so you can go down over and over again.
A new thing to all of us was this vortex pool.  You get in line and then a life guard lets five to six people in at one time and it is almost like a big whirlpool where a current pulls you around and around the pool in a circular motion.  The kids wanted to do it over and over again.  
They also had a splash pad area for little guys, a lazy river, a large pool and high dives.  We played the entire day it was seriously so much fun.  I know where we will be all summer trying to beat the az heat.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shooting on the Suns court

Once the basketball season had ended for Hunter, the coaches informed us that the boys would be getting a neat opportunity to attend a shooting skills clinic at US Airways center.  I got a babysitter for the little three and just Hunter and I loaded up and headed down there.  I was expecting tons of kids and was surprised when there was only about 35 kids all third and fourth graders that attended.  It was really crazy to walk through the dark halls that are usually bustling with people getting food and head into the completely empty auditorium that had only a handful of staff members in it.  It seemed so big and I have never been there when it was so quiet as the boys all looked around taking it in.     
 They first took them down to the Suns practice court which was really cool to see.  They had the boys do a couple of timed shooting drills.
They set the clock and the boys had to use all the balls from each rack to shoot three pointers from the sides and straight at the basket.  All of us parents were shouting and cheering and making a big deal over them.  Here's Hunter taking a few of his shots....
Next they took the boys out onto the actual court and demonstrated for them a skills course with shooting and dribbling elements that they would each complete while they were timed to see how fast they could finish the required tasks.  The best part though was that they each got the court to themselves while they did it.  
 When it was Hunter's turn he ran out there grinning from ear to ear.  He dribbled over to one of the instructors and as the guy reviewed the course Hunter just kept looking up and all around.  He took his turn and it was so cool to watch him out there playing on the Suns court by himself getting to shoot in this huge auditorium.
 Once the buzzer sounded he ran off the court to where I was waiting with the giant smile still on his face.  "That. was. awesome!!!" he said.  "It was so cool mom, it just felt like I was really playing in the NBA."
 We sat for awhile and watched some of the other boys and just talked.  Then we headed out to get something to eat together. Lately it seems like whenever I get alone time with Hunter I am constantly amazed at how much he is growing up.  Our conversations feel more like I am already talking to a teenager and it is really neat.  I love how we can just talk and Hunter will share with me whats going on at school or stuff about a girl he likes then the next second be more of a kid and be carrying on about a new LEGO creation.  He is still somewhere in between and watching the transition is neat but also hard.  It was such a great day with him, we both had a ton of fun.  As we headed to the car I noticed he wasn't behind me and saw him looking out at the city.  He looked big and my heart kind of winced like it does sometimes when I wish I could go back and hold him as a little guy again.  So much life ahead of you Hunter, it is going to have a lot of ups and downs but it will be good.  Really good :) :)