Sunday, June 22, 2014

A birthday party for Hazel

Avery came in the other night and said, "Mom, I really need your help, Hazel's birthday is coming and she wants to have a camping party" she smiled at me.  "Can we pleeeeease do a birthday party for her with little tents and real s'mores and a pretend fire, please mom?"  I couldn't help it.  Those big brown eyes and that cute grin I gave in quickly.  So of course the next day the construction paper was out and a scene was being set.  
 Avery did a great job making a fire and taping up some trees for a backdrop.
I made some little makeshift tents and banners and got stuff set up for doll sized Smores.  The girls were beside themselves getting more and more excited the more we arranged everything.    
Soon the girls had all the party guests in their places and the party was underway.  I started to help pull the baby dolls out to set around the fire and Ave said, "Mom the baby dolls aren't invited.  This is a six year old birthday party."  Oh,....sorry.  Apparently though Hello Kitty and some random Valentine puppy have connections because they made the cut :)
Avery went around and had everyone introduce themselves (making sure to use a slightly different voice for each person)  then demonstrated to the group how to make a s'more.  Avery was explaining and making one for Hazel and Emma kept looking across the circle at Ariel every few seconds as if she was checking on her.  Finally she got up and walked over to her.  "Do you need me to help you?" she asked her.  She took Ariel's stick and step by step showed her what to do then placed the stick back in her arm.  "Okay there you go sweetie and if you need anymore help then just let me know" she said smoothing Ariel's hair and then going back to sit by Ave.  "Sometimes she just gets a little frustrated" she told me and then looked over to check on her again grinning at her.  I was dying.  The rest of the party continued to be full of these adorable moments.  Hunter and Hudson played cars in their room while I sat there as an observer watching my girls in girly bliss.  I sat and watched them play for well over an hour and just listened to them.  Moments like this I remember being a little girl and spending countless hours playing with my own sisters.  Can't I keep my girls little?
Eventually it was time for me to start dinner and as I went to leave Ave said, "Wait Mom can you take a picture of me and Emma with our daughters?"  "It is cool because me and Emma are sisters and we both have girls and they are cousins and we want a picture together."
Later at bedtime all the dolls were tucked into pillowcases for the night....
The girls had eaten way more marshmallows and chocolate chips than was probably healthy but they had camped out all afternoon.  As I went to kiss the girls goodnight they both told me how much fun they had had and thanked me for helping them.  Right as I reached their door Ave rolled over and said, "Yeah we better start thinking what we want to do for Ariel, Emma said her birthday is coming up in September."  Oh boy, what have we started :) :)

Summer things

I love the little everyday things that make up the summertime.  Summer movie nights in the backyard with friends...
Dollar flip flop runs at children's place....(you can never have enough flip flops :) )
Free smoothies on National Flip Flop day....
Sneaking kids away one at a time on "date nights" with mom and dad....
Weekly trips to the library with the kiddos.....
Hanging out at the Y in the mornings with their friends...
We have been super busy this summer, can't believe it is almost over.  Trying to keep packing fun stuff in :) :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014


For Father's day this year the kids and I came up with an idea to celebrate dad the entire weekend.  Deke had to work Friday through Sunday and since we only got a few hours each day with him we wanted to make sure he really enjoyed it and felt really special.  We decided to dub him the VID (very important dad :)    and that the kids would give him the "VID treatment" all weekend long.  They all talked about it and came up with ideas of things they could do for him.  Hunter got on the computer and made a printout for him of all the benefits that he was entitled to with his pass.  It honestly made me smile so big when he brought it to show me...
We went to Staples and printed out small signs I made that said "Reserved for VID."  We set them up in different areas of the house.  They picked a spot on the couch and placed a basket next to it with a couple of Deke's books, some lotion, a towel and a massager.  They decided that was the massage area where dad could go and sit if he wanted a back scratch, shoulder massage or foot rub.
We went and bought a whole bunch of his favorite snacks and set up a snack station on the counter and then stocked up some bottled root beer for the fridge....
They set up VID areas all around the house, even in the bathroom.  They folded a fresh towel and got his shower stuff all set up for him to come home and take a shower after work.  They decided that they would help him with everything.
I made them each nametags to wear :) 
I made Deke a VID pass since one of Hunter's stipulations was that dad had to show the pass in order to receive any of the benefits :)
We worked on everything all morning while Deke worked and as the time for him to come home got closer the kids were so excited they could hardly stand it.  They had everything all set up and when they heard the garage they all started yelling, "hurry, hurry, dad's home everyone get in their places!!!"  When Deke walked in, all four of them were standing in a line with their name tags on grinning and giggling.  Avery nudged Hudson forward since he was given the task of handing the lanyard to Deke.  He walked over and held it up as Hunter brought out the paper and started reading the benefits description.  Deke stood there looking at his new personal concierge staff with a huge smile on his face just listening to it all, looking around and taking it all in.  
I don't think he even made it to the bedroom to take his shoes off because the kids were hurrying him around to the different areas showing him everything.  Asking if he was thirsty, hungry, could they rub his feet and would he like a nice shower??  They were all so excited to get to do things for him.   The girls kept asking about every five seconds, "sir would you like a massage or your feet rubbed with some lotion?"  He soon agreed a back scratch would be nice and the girls were both anxious to help out.  Right as Avery started to massage his back, Emma said "sir can I please see your pass" and pulled up his card to check it.  At the same time Hudson plopped down next to Deke on the pillow for a cuddle.  That is a whole lot of attentiveness right there :) :) :)
 The kids gave him a shirt that they had made with an iron on transfer that said Best. Dad. Ever.
They had taken fabric marker and each one drew a picture of something they love to do with dad....
Emma drew a picture of her and dad at the park sharing a bag of popcorn because "me and dad always like to eat popcorn together."  Avery drew a picture of them at the grocery store together because she said she loves when dad takes her somewhere by herself just her and dad.  Hunter drew a picture of the two of them playing basketball together in the driveway.  He drew word bubbles and Deke is saying, "Hey do you want to go to QT?" Hunter said he loves that after they play basketball dad asks him to go to QT with him and they get a drink or a snack.  They all did great drawings and I loved the thought that they each put into it.  Deke loved it and he actually wore the shirt and the pass to work on Father's Day, the kids were elated.
All weekend long the kids did such a great job of taking care of dad and doting on him.  They made our bed in the morning for him and got new shower stuff set out.  They made him tons of cards and pictures.  It was so sweet to watch their excitement over doing acts of service for him.  Whenever he would ask them to get something for him they would all hurry over offering to get it.  He likes Big Macs and so I found a copycat recipe for them on Pinterest and made them for dinner.  The sauce was really good and very close to the real thing.  We did fondue for dessert one of the nights which was yummy.  It was a good weekend and it was a great way to celebrate Deke and the wonderful dad that he is.  I am so grateful for him, parenting together has been an amazing experience.  Deke is such an involved dad and knows them each so well.  He takes time with them individually and makes sure they each feel loved.  He teaches them to love each other and to be kind and loving to us.  He just really loves being a dad.  Happy Father's day babe, we love you!!!!!!!

****Dessert fondue night

For dessert on dad's day we decided to do some chocolate fondue.  The kids hadn't done fondue since they were really little so it was fun for them.  They loved getting to choose whatever goodies they wanted and then smothering them in chocolate...yum.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Harvesting the seeds

The heat went from warm to ridiculously hot as it always does in az in the summer.  Quickly our nice patch of green in the desert was turning yellow and dying.  We did a little researching and learned what to do to "harvest" our sunflower seeds.  We waited until they were all dried up, heads hanging down low.  Then we clipped them off and let them dry in the sun.
 Then Avery had the job of pulling out all the seeds....
 We couldn't believe how many seeds we are going to have.  These are the seeds from just one sunflower.  Now they just have to get a salt water wash and then get salted and roasted.  So awesome to watch their whole growing process and have something to enjoy at the end of it, can't wait to try them.
 The only other things left were some tomatoes that quickly all started turning red and had to be pulled.
 We pulled up the rest of the carrots and enjoyed them for snack with some ranch :)
 The garden is completely done for the season and I hate looking outside and seeing all the brown again.  We had so much fun with it this year and can't wait to see what we'll be able to grow next year!!