Friday, March 25, 2011

Road trip: Arizona

This post is very February (while Paul was doing his surgery rotation, waking up at 3:30 am and getting home at 8:30 pm) I drove 12 hours to Mesa, AZ to visit my oldest sister Sharee. Gratefully, my friend Whitney was willing to make the drive with me, otherwise it would have never happened. Her family is in Mesa, so we loaded her son and my two girls up in the van and left Lubbock during the coldest week in years. I drove the entire time...which is amazing considering that I usually make it about 3 hours before needing a break. Whitney sat in the back and took care of the kiddos, making it a rather stress-free drive for me. By the time we reached Mesa, the girls were certainly glad to be out of the car.

We were there about a week. I stopped to see a couple of old friends:The Nelson Family...I befriended Nicole during our first year in Lubbock, which was their last year in law school. She was an instant who I could share anything with. She would come over for a play date and stay for hours without us even noticing the passing of time. They now live in Tucson, so we met up at the Mesa Temple while they were in town.
Hattie and Danielle used to play together almost 2 years ago! I don't think they remembered each other, but they sure had fun running around and playing!
My mission president and his wife live in the Mesa area. It was so good to see them...I think I had only seen them once since I had been home, so it was nice to reminisce and catch up.
The Moulton Family...remember back 3 years ago when we lived at/managed storage units? Well, the Moultons lived upstairs and Robyn was my constant buddy for a year. Her daughter Rebekah is just 5 weeks younger than Hattie, so we went through that first year of parenthood together. Her husband is now in med school too :)
Sharee took us to the Children's Museum in downtown Phoenix. It was amazing. Everything is designed for creative play...and my girls were in heaven.
This is a magnetic wall where you can attach different tubes and such to roll balls down. It was fun to watch Hattie figure out how it worked and create something that actually worked.
They also had a play kitchen where she made her own pizza.
And Anna enjoyed playing house.
She could have stayed there forever looking at Sharee, figuring out how it worked.
The girls also put on smocks and painted a castle...apparently they pick a different color every day. Hattie was thrilled it was pink. You can see how the paint is thicker in some places than others.They also had an amazing indoor 3-story climber, which Hattie and Sophie loved. I tried to take a picture of the whole thing, but it doesn't do it justice. The girls could have played in there for hours.
And they loved the scarf vacuum. Hattie still talks about going to the children's museum.

Then of course there was just the time spent around Sharee's home with her family.
Travel and time zone changes apparently made her a little too tired!
These three girls became partners in crime. Hattie still talks about Sophie all the time. While they played, Sharee taught me to make hair bows :)

I love Sharee's kids, Paul, Sophie, Claire (the photographer), and Holly (not in photo). They are so well behaved and such good friends to my girls. Anna created a special attachment to Claire, who was like a big sister to her.
And the weather was SO nice, we played outside a lot. My mom even came to visit for a few days, but somehow I got no pictures with her!
Finally we had to make the grueling trip home. We stopped in Las Cruces, New Mexico for about 30 minutes to stretch our legs and let the kids run around.

All told, a marvelous vacation. I loved watching Sharee parent her children. I learned so much from her and have tried to implement some of what she does in my home, so far with good success.

Friday, March 18, 2011

No, still not Irish

You knew it couldn't be too long before I posted about our St. Patrick's Day this year. We decided to throw another trap building party, I suppose in an attempt to pass our strange love of this random holiday on to others. I spent the day cleaning the house and rearranging furniture so there would be room for 14 adults and 15 kids! The girls got into our bin of green decor and loved smiling for the camera. (And Anna likes to copy her big sister...notice the crossed ankles)Eventually they got tired of waiting for everyone to show up and needed a snack break under the chair-less table. I love that they are finally starting to play together well and really became friends and playmates...probably partners in crime one of these days.
Hattie apparently got really tired of waiting and fell asleep 30 minutes before party time. This from a girl who rarely naps.
Anna was so sweet to Hattie as she slept. Anna, our constant hair-puller, was full of love pats, snuggles, and kisses for her big sister.

We had everyone bring an Irish dish to eat...or simply something green. We had a great dinner of Irish beef stew, colcannon, champ, corned beef brisket, Irish soda bread, rainbow fruit tray, guacamole, and homemade green Oreo cookies. Sadly, I always remember to take the food picture after we've eaten it all.
We had a nice picnic on the floor (with Darby O'Gill and the Little People playing the in background).

And then the trap building began. It was fun that Hattie was actually into it this year, constantly asking what our trap would be and how we were going to catch the leprechauns.
And here are the traps from this year:
The Cox Family trap, luring the leprechauns with a pot of gold
The Gerwigs, with a disguised rock that is a hidden trap
Our rather lame trap...there is bear claw in there to catch them. We spent so much time getting ready for the party that we kind of forgot to plan anything fancy for our trap. Oh well.
The Lindsay Family trap...cuz everyone likes a disco party!
And my favorite trap, the Glazier Family trap. It was certainly the coolest...check out the video.

All in all, a fantastic St. Patrick's Day party. But the best part is St. Patrick's day morning, when the kids discover what the leprechauns did.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Training again

Flashback to June 2008...remember how I did that triathlon that was actually a biathlon? Well, the race bug has hit me again. I'm getting ready for a triathlon in Hillsboro, Texas on May 7th. Most people around here think I'm crazy for driving all the way to the Dallas area for a race, when Lubbock is hosting a tri about 2 weeks later. But of course, like most races in Texas, the one in Lubbock is on a Sunday. It makes me miss living in Utah where all events are on Saturdays. I'm just glad I found one (that isn't just for kids) on a Saturday. Gratefully I am starting off in better shape that I did last time, so I don't think training will be quite as hard this time. Yesterday I ran and swam and it felt pretty good. I love having something like this to get ready helps me work harder, eat better, and be more consistent since the last thing I want is to not be able to finish. It's pretty doable... 500 meter swim, 16.2 mile bike, and 3.2 mile run. Wish me luck!

I just hope they don't cancel the bike again...lame.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Proof that Paul is learning something in med school

Paul and his school buddies enjoyed giving each other a cast. It's Paul's first cast given or received...let's hope it's the last too!