Happy 9th Birthday Hank!

Happy 9th Birthday Hank!
We are so lucky you are part of our family.  You have a happy and loving heart that fills those around you with joy.  Your comedic timing keeps us laughing.   If there is a ball nearby, you will be bouncing, throwing or shooting it.  You are very competitive and love to play all sports, especially if you are winning.  I am a little concerned with all the girls chasing after you already.  Don't they know you are mama's boy?  Your big smile and kind heart make you a friend to many.  We are so proud of the little man you are becoming and love you buddy.

Happy 11th Birthday Kaitlin!

Happy 11th Birthday Kaitlin!
You are such a blessing to have for a daughter.  A beautiful light shines from you and everyone who knows you is blessed by your love, generous heart, and kindness.  Your friends describe you as loyal and loving.  You put others before yourself and are always thoughtfully thinking of how to make those around you happy.  Your smile lights up a room.  You are also very hard working and organized.  So lucky to have smarts, beauty, and a warm heart.  We love you and just wish we could hit pause and keep you to ourselves forever even though we know great things are ahead for you sweet girl.

Happy 13th Birthday Karlie

Happy 13th Birthday Karlie!
We are so lucky to have you as our daughter!  I think this is your lucky 13th year!  Here are 13 words that  describe you:
1.  Smart
2.  Beautiful 
3.  Sparkles
4.  Volleyball Lover
5.  Caring
6.  Driven
7.  Leader
8.  Green
9.  Loving
10.  Excellent sister
11.  Future Notre Dame Grad :)
12.  Cool Camping Chick
13.  Lucky
You are growing into a beautiful young lady that makes us very proud.  We love watching you play volleyball and your zest for life!  You are the life of the party that sparkles everywhere you go.  Your siblings are blessed to have such a loving and caring sister that has taught them so much.  We know you can reach any goal you set your mind to with your drive and leadership.  Your green, sparkling eyes remind us how lucky we are that God chose us to be your mom and dad.  We can't believe you are a teenager when it seems just yesterday we were holding you in arms.  You have brought good luck from the day you were born and we can't wait to see what your future holds.  We sure love you Karks!

A Day of Surprises!

Max took the day off work for his birthday.  I had a day full of surprises in store for him!
First up was a pedicure.  I figured it was time for Max to have his first pedicure.  I imagined them getting the mini grinder out to go after his calloused feet.  To my shock they spent more time removing dead skin off my running callouses than on his feet!
After the pedicure I took him a spring training game.  It was so fun to play hookie while the kids were at school.  We sat in the warm sun and watched the Dbacks crush the dodgers 15-3!
When we got home the kids had set my room for Max to go outfit shopping.  I had bought multiple shirts and pants (Max hates to shop) to choose an outfit for his next surprise. The kids got dressed up like we were all going somewhere.  I told him we had an appointment and to be ready for a fun night.  Then our friends started showing up one by one.
After everyone arrived we sang Happy Birthday and went outside where the party bus awaited us.  I had stocked it for the evenings activities.  Another first for Max, being on a party bus!
Max is an active guy so I planned and Amazing Race themed night where we would race around Scottsdale performing challenges with the guys against the girls.  The price for loosing each challenge was drinks or physical activities.  Each person could choose.  :)
 Max received the yellow envelopes with the clues and had to figure out where to go.  Since he is over the hill now, I decided to have a night of returning to youth and acting like he was a kid or at least a college kid for one night!
The first challenge was to go to CrackerJax adventure park to race Go Karts.  It was guys against girls.  First person to cross the finish line won for the team.  I dusted Max!  The boys all took a shot of Fireball.  :)
 Back at the bus Max had to reveal the next clue.  It was time to whack some balls off the top deck of the driving range.  We grabbed the two clubs I brought and headed up after getting 40 balls for each team.  After each person took 5 swings they had to choose their best swinger to compete in a silly challenge.
1.  Furthest hit
2.  Best wind up like a pro golfer
3.  Best yelling FORty
4.  Hit the ball with your eyes closed
5.  Best swing while your team sings Happy Birthday to Max.
The guys were beating us until the final round where the ladies pulled out all the stops to win bonus points and win the match!  We can sing so much better than the boys.
The next clue led him to the playground by our house where each team had to act like kids again.  Everyone had to slide down the slide backward, face first and then all together.
 I went first and almost knocked myself out when I hit my head.  I had to laugh the next morning when I had a bump on the back of my head.  A sure sign of a fun night!
Then one player had to push a teammate on the swings and do and underdog!
Two people had to hang upside down on the monkey bars for 30 seconds. 
Finally everyone had to go 8 seconds on the spring horses!
I haven't laughed that hard in a really long time.  The girls completed the challenge first!
 The next clue led us to the grocery store where each team had to choose their best shopper.  I had two bags that had women's clothing including giant bras and granny panties from the goodwill and a $20 in it.  They had to get dressed with all the items and run in the store and buy 4 items that spelled MAX 40!  These two were such great sports they had us all rolling in laughter as they raced though the store gathering embarrassing items. Luckily it was later at night and the grocery attendant found us humorous and did not call the cops at the crazy lady and the drag queen.
Once again the ladies won!  It was looking like the boys might have a headache in the morning.
 The final clue took Max to a Coyote Ugly style saloon where girls dance on the bar in daisy dukes.  En route Max and a girl team member had to play chubby bunny, yet another throwback to our youth. Max crushed the competition, so it was time for the ladies to pay up.  At the bar the funnest part was watching the guys try to out punch each other for the top score on the punching bag game.  You would have thought their family name rested on getting the high score.  The clock struck midnight and it was time for me to round everyone up and have them dropped off safely at home.  We had one of the funnest nights of our lives and I was so grateful to all our friends, many who were leaving early the next morning for spring break vacations, that came out and were willing to act like silly children for a night.  If his first day of being 40 is any indication, I think 40 is going to be fabulous.

Happy 40th Birthday Max!

40!
When I look at you I still see the 14 year old I fell in love with.  It is hard for me to believe we are celebrating your 40th birthday!  I would be undeservedly blessed if I got to be by your side for another 40 years.  You are like a fine wine and certainly get better with age.  I think with you, 40 is the new 30, and it's certain you are way more fun than 2 20 year olds!  :)  Here are 40 thoughts that come to mind when I see you.
1.  Family Man
2.  Believer
3.  Wonderful Dad
4.  Handy
5.  Doctor
6.  Humble
7.  Generous
8.  Loving
9.  Country Concertgoer
10. BBQ Master
11.  Poached Egg King
12.  Coffee Bearer
13.  Provider
14.  Mountain Biker
15.  Jeeper
16.  Desert Lover
17.  Macallan's Man
18.  Coach
19.  Running Buddy
20.  Homework Helper
21.  Pool Partier
22.  Can Fix Anything
23.  High School Sweetheart
24.  Serves Others
25.  Leader
26.  Strong
27.  Tall
28.  Dark
29.  Handsome
30.  Mine :)
31.  Role Model
32.  Smart
33.  Hard Working
34.  Margarita Maker
35.  Travel Companion
36.  Dedicated
37.  Loyal
38.  Makes Everything More Fun
39.  Wild West Gun Shootin Cowboy
40.  Makes All My Dreams Come True

Hoping to make your 40th a home run of a year!

Finishing Off February

Over the long Martin Luther King weekend Hailey went to the mountains for our Church's winter youth camp retreat.  She had been excited and anticipating it for months.  What is better than going to camp with all your best friends and no parents?
 She had a great time and came home completely physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted.  She is already looking forward to the summer beach camp.
 In honor of President's Day Hank's class did a patriotic play where they had to memorize and recite lines about America's beginning.
They sang You're A Grand Old Flag and God Bless America.  Hank was so funny.  He came home and told me how upset he was that he was in the very back for the dancing to You're A Grand Old Flag.  Trying to sooth him I said, "well maybe your teacher put the taller kids in the back."  He refuted, "No! Sage is the tallest person in the class and she is in the very front."  He then said, "I am a good dancer, I should be in the front."  Apparently Hank got my dancing jeans... Where just because we like to dance, does not mean we are good at it!

It is one of my favorite plays they do.  I just love their school.
 After a couple weeks of rest, relaxation and physical therapy Pops and his excellent nurse were flight worthy and ready to head home.  A celebration indeed of a successful new knee for Pops!
 Apparently all of our good behavior flew home with them because the next night a food fight ensued.
For the final day in February we had to really go wild for Fat Tuesday!  We had Jambo, King Cake soda, a modified eggless King Cake, and of course lots of beads and dancing.  I feel like our Mardi Gras celebration is always the kick off for our wild and fun spring of birthdays to come.  The kids love the cake and hoping to be the one that gets the baby.
 This year again no one got it the first night, so it was with the last piece of cake served to Max that the coveted baby was found!  I guess he is making the cake next year.
February was a crazy month, however I think it was just the warm up for spring!

Club Craziness

Karlie's club team had three tournaments and a team building event in February. That is a lot of volleyball and part of why I can't seem to catch up on the blog.
 Over the Martin Luther King weekend she had a 3 day festival at the Cardinal's stadium.  Every morning we had to be there at 7 am!
 Her team did excellent and finished 8th in the entire 13's division that had over 100 teams playing from all over the nation!
 She is improving so much and I think I am gaining some callouses on my rear from so many hours on the bleachers.
 I do enjoy the one on one time we get to spend together and watching her play.  They took first in their division in the last tournament and I find myself getting lightheaded on the close matches since I tend to hold my breath during the volleys.  Long term this might not be a healthy choice for me.  I am going to have to practice being a spectator.
 The tournaments can be anywhere from Tucson to Flagstaff which means we get in a fair amount of driving.  It was nice to be able to swing by and visit my Grandpa after one tournament in Glendale.
 Maybe if I got a laptop, I could keep up with blogging on the sidelines and practice my breath control!
I love Karlie's sparkle on and off the court!

Valentine's Day

Max had to travel to Colorado for a week in February.  It happened to be the same week that Monty was having knee replacement surgery here at Mayo Clinic.  It also fell over Valentine's Day.  We realized we had not spent a Valentine's Day apart since our freshman year in college!  He is still in hot water for not sending me flowers.  :)
 Luckily, I had plenty of love to go around with all my sweethearts.  We were very happy that Pops had been released from the hospital and his knee was on the mend.
It was definitely a day full of sweetness.  It started with pink heart shaped pancakes and some sweet nothings for my Valentines.  For dinner we celebrated with our usual crab legs, pasta, artichokes and salad.  The day would not be complete without chocolate cake and strawberries!
I certainly missed my Valentine but my heart runneth over with all the love of the day.

Fast and Furious February!

With less than a week of February left I realized I have not posted once in the entire month!  February has been a busy and fun month. I am not sure I can keep up with the Fast and Furious pace!
 To kick of the the month we started the 1st off going to The Waste Management Phoenix Open Bird's Nest for a country concert.  The TPC is known for its craziness more than for it's golf.  It is often referred to the wasted management open as so many spring breakers come and get smashed in the sun.  We did our best to hang with the college kids on a school night.  But I must report you just don't bounce back the way you use to.  Five am came very early after staying out until 1am!
 We are still having fun with National Days.  Hank was so thrilled to see the return of the carrot cake.
 One Friday we had Hank's buddy and a gaggle of girls over for pizza and playing.
 We really didn't care either way about the Super Bowl this year but we will always use and excuse to celebrate and eat food!  Karlie made this super cute football field for the center piece.
 Max made the standard grinder that is always super.
 Every year the 5th grade class does a Living History presentation where the students research an American that has impacted our country.  They research the person, dress up as them, and give a short biography to all the parents and 4th grade class.  Kaitlin was Betsy Ross.  I love this project and how into it the kids get.
Karlie's best friend since Kindergarten came out for a soccer tournament the following weekend.  These girls are so cute.  They get together and you would never know 6 and half years has passed since we moved.  They pick up right where they left off.
 They play different sports 1000 miles apart but ended up with the same team bags.  Karlie had fun playing hookie to hang out with sweet Marley.
 The same weekend Marley was here friends from Canada were here working and visiting.  We had a fun night at Top Golf.  Those Canadians killed us.  Pretty embarrassing that we can't beat Canadians at golf.  It would be like us beating them at hockey.  :)
 The same weekend as our Canadian and Colorado visitors it was our turn to host Karlie's Club team building event.  Every month the girls get together to do a team activity outside of practice and games.  We organized a pizza lunch and mall photo scavenger hunt.
They had an hour to find 13 things (they are 13s team) that related to their team such as their colors black and red, a volleyball, the number 13, something that started with each of the letters of their names, and so and so forth.  They had to take a picture but each girl from the team had to be in one of the pictures and then they had to get three team pictures.  With the less than half the month over I was feeling like we had packed in over two months of fun.