Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Santa Hats

Last night I was at the movies with some girlfriends and didn't get home until midnight. As promised, I went into the boys' room to give them a hug and kiss goodnight. I couldn't help but laugh out loud when I saw that they were asleep, wearing their Santa hats. Too cute!

We are getting excited about the holidays coming up, for sure. Presents are wrapped and under the tree. Elf on the Shelf has been moving all around the house, and now we just wait for Santa to come. We've all be sick the past few weeks (regular cold/flu and then the stomach flu hit everyone in the house a few days later). I thought we were getting better, but Calvin is home again today with a fever and horrible cough. The boys' teachers have said that a lot of flu sickness has been hitting everyone at the school this year. I hope we get rid of this yuckiness soon!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

 Once again we traveled up north for Thanksgiving this year. We had a great time!

This year we went to Flagstaff again and stayed at Little America Hotel. The kids loved the big areas to play outside, and the weather was perfect. 
 On Thanksgiving day, we took a train up north to see the Grand Canyon. When we booked this excursion, I was so excited to tell the boys. When I told them, they both were like "So what, we've been on a train before .... at the zoo." I had to explain to them that this was a REAL train and it was over 2 hours each way to the Grand Canyon. That got them excited, but they had no clue what the Grand Canyon was. Seriously? So I explained how it is a huge hole. Again, "So what's the big deal about a hole, mom?" Sigh. I gave up. I showed them pictures on the computer and they were so excited after that. They started counting down the days until Thanksgiving.

Alemitu was also super excited to ride a train; however, she kept calling it an airplane. It took me a few days to figure out why, but the day leading up to our trip and all during our trip she kept asking for my mom and dad. At dinner, she even removed her hot dog from the bun and used the bun as her telephone to called her grandma. I got out my real phone and let the two of them talk, and she was telling my mom that she was going on an airplane. All during our trip, she kept asking for her grandparents. It occurred to me a few days later that since she believed the train was an airplane, she thought we were vacationing to see grandma and grandpa like we usually do when we board a plane. Poor little girl. Fortunately, she was upbeat about it all and the kids are looking forward to my parents visiting in a few weeks. 
The second restaurant that she used her bun as a phone to call Grandma.
Speaking of my parents, my mom was pretty worried about us going to the Grand Canyon with three little kids. Several people fall in each year (normally adults). If you haven't been, the Grand Canyon doesn't have a lot of railing. We were definitely on high alert and taking a lot of precautions that day. At a safe spot that just looked like a dangerous spot (there was flat ground right underneath for viewing), Adam decided to snap a few pictures of the boys to scare my mom. It worked.

Our train ride was a little over 2 hours each way. We had so much fun, and Alemitu and I got a good nap on the way home (first class seats on our trip home). We stayed at the Grand Canyon for about 3 1/2 hours, and the time went by so fast. Adam even got a really good turkey dinner.

The rear of our train

I highly recommend the Grand Canyon Railway trip. We started the day off by seeing a little skit outside with a gun fight and robbery before boarding the train. At the end of the skit, we were able to take our picture with the cowboys. Later, on the way home from the Grand Canyon, those same cowboys robbed our train. All of a sudden the train stops, you see the cowboys riding along on horses and then they board the train and try to rob everyone (for tips). When one of them came on our car, we all pretended to be scared and screamed. Alemitu was actually very scared, and that nice cowboy (who is supposed to be bad) lowered his bandana and sweetly said, "Remember me honey? You took a picture with me and my horse this morning?" I thought that was so sweet. She calmed down, and then he raised his bandana and continued being bad. 
They told us to look out the window to see some wildlife,  but we saw the cowboys instead.  

 The only bad part of the day was that we didn't get a great family photo at the canyon. Alemitu had been sick and wasn't up to smiling for strangers. Unfortunately, this is what we ended up with:

The next day we went to the North Pole Experience. We boarded a bus and went through a magical portal to the north pole. We got to go through Santa's workship, and the kids helped build toys; attend Elf School; eat cookies and snowball soup (hot chocolate); and we even got to spend some one on one time with Santa. Our time was Santa was the best I have ever had. He really took his time to talk to the kids, not so much about their lists than just talk to them about being respectful. When we left, an elf called me back and Santa then told me that I had a really nice family. He also tried to encourage me to get Alemitu in some photo shoots because he couldn't believe how gorgeous she is. (Believe it or not, we hear this all of the time.) The North Pole Experience was a fun evening, even if the boys didn't believe everything they saw. 

We spent a total of 5 days in Flagstaff. We enjoyed sleeping in, Christmas shopping, going to the movies, and just hanging out as a family. I really missed my sister and her family this year (they normally go with us), but we still had an amazing time. Adam said that he looks forward to our Thanksgiving trip all year long, and I have to agree -- it's the best. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fall Fun

We've had a very busy and fun Fall! Here are some pictures:

Allie is adjusting to being at home during the day without her brothers. It was rough at first, but we've gotten into our own little groove. She loves singing and dancing, and so we have several dance parties during the day. She also loves to draw and color. We have to be careful not to leave papers lying around, or they will have Allie's artwork on them in no time. She normally draws pictures of Allie, Allie, or Allie.

Alemitu dancing to the Wiggles
Alemitu drawing with her new crayons from Grandpa
Adam has traveled quite a few places this fall. I know I am missing a few, but he went to Africa, New Mexico, California, Vegas, and Florida. He is getting ready to go to Mexico in a few weeks. Below are some pictures from his recent shoots.
This is a full rainbow in New Mexico

Swaziland, Africa - Adam wants to move there

More Swaziland - did I mention Adam wants to live there?

At a shoot with Ben Henderson (current belt holder in UFC)

The boys are just as crazy as ever. They are so busy right now. Between school, jiu jitsu, football, and art class -- they have something 6 days a week! They have recently started playing a lot with the girl across the street from us. She is in their grade at Palm Valley. The weather is so nice that they play outside a lot. Yesterday they were outside from 10:30 - 5:30, playing with their friend the entire time. In October my dad came to visit for a week. I don't have any pictures to share, but they had a blast with him. They had some big wrestling matches, and my dad was a little scared of Wes. He kept saying "He's solid!" Wrestling is probably their favorite thing to do so they really enjoy going to Jiu Jitsu.

Their winter coats . . . we live in the desert
The boys in their Gis.

Wes showing off while running

Calvin working on his somersaults

Lunch with friends. They all stayed at our house overnight. Adam was in charge.

And now back to Allie. Oh my goodness, the sass in her attitude is just shocking. I am in so much trouble when she gets older. For instance, yesterday she was mad at me because I threw her disgusting donut piece to the dog. It had been in her mouth for a while, and she took it out and set it on the table. I tried to explain that it was yucky, and she can get another one. That was not good enough. Instead, she started walking quickly away and yelled "I call my dad!" Adam was in the next room, and Allie didn't hesitate to tell on her mean mom.

We've also been working with her on the way she asks for things. Just like we did with the boys, we ask her to say a "full sentence" or ask "nicely". And just like the boys, she responds by saying "full sentence" or "nicely". She is finally understanding what those phrases mean, and this past weekend she started asking for things in full sentences. Of course we praise her when she does this, and her response is "I win! I win!" She is incredibly smart and doesn't miss a beat.


She fell asleep just like this

She got her stuff ready to take the boys to school.

During the fall, Alemitu and I also flew back to Indiana to surprise my parents. My sisters were in on the surprise with me, and my parents were super shocked. My dad left Phoenix the day before I flew out secretly. He was so sad leaving the kids, it was killing me not to say "I'll see you tomorrow Dad!" Anyway, I flew in around 1:00 a.m. and Christina picked me up and I spent the night at her house. The next morning when mom and dad were at the airport to pick up Jenna and her family, we surprised them at the baggage claim. It was a really fun weekend. With me and my sisters living in 3 different states, it is always nice to get our family all together.

They aren't too fond of sharing their grandma
Kissing cousins

I waited all weekend to see Chloe's signature look at Allie. I love it!

Wes and Calvin's football season just ended. Once again, they were West Valley Champions. They did lose the game for the state title against the East Valley, but they had a good season. Both of them got some flags, and both of them were able to run with the ball a couple of times. We have been with these same kids and coach for about 4 years now. We have all become one big family, and I am going to miss it. The boys are wanting to play basketball this winter and other families are moving on to different sports as well. The nice thing is that we all do things together (outside of sports) just about every week, and so they will still get to see their friends a lot. I have a few pictures below as well as their final, farewell dance. Coach Justin loves to bring the generator and speakers and let the kids dance before the games. Hey, we're the Raiders -- aren't we supposed to be ghetto?

This week we are traveling for Thanksgiving. I can't wait!! This will be our 5th year to go away for the holiday, and it is one of my favorite times each year. Just getting away, relaxing, exploring, and shopping for Christmas makes me super happy. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving too!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Strawberry Rangers

Happy Halloween!

The boys wanted to go trick or treating with their friends this year. So on Halloween we met with three of our closest family friends and had a great night of trick or treating and eating dinner. It was crazy as always with 9 crazy kids and 8 even crazier adults, but the boys are the best of friends; the girls are the best of friends; and the parents are the best of friends. We are so blessed to have these people in our lives.

The boys had been counting down to Halloween. They were so high strung after school, and the 2 hour wait until we could go to our friends' house was killing them. They decided to dress up as Power Rangers this year. Alemitu dressed up as Strawberry Shortcake because everything is about Strawberry Shortcake these days. She thought the wig was funny at first, but was screaming bloody murder when I put it on her. I was dancing and making silly noises just to get her to take a picture. As always, her brothers came through for her. We got the pictures, and then took the wig off for the rest of the evening. 

Freak out over wig

Silly brother to the rescue

At the first house, Alemitu got really scared when she saw a skeleton. She has been getting scared a lot recently, and so this didn't surprise me. Allie was so scared that she was shaking. She was carried to the first few houses. Then we held her hand for a few houses. Then we walked with her to a few houses. And then she was done with us, and would run up to the houses with her girlfriends. She had no problem saying "Trick or Treat" and "thank you".

After trick or treating, we had dinner. The kids were eating candy, and the adults were trying to steal it. Allie learned her lesson early on when my friend Bridget asked Allie if she could "check her candy" while we were trick or treating. After Bridget stole that piece, Allie wouldn't give up her bucket for anything. The bucket was getting heavy, but she carried it the entire time. Alemitu is serious about her candy!

What a great night. This picture below with the 9 crazy kids makes me smile. We are so blessed to be a part of this family of friends.