Saddle Mountain and SSBTR

The Last Saturday in February Max and I decided to get up early and hike to the top of Saddle Mountain before our day with kid activities got rolling.
 It does not have a trail, so we just picked our own path over the lava rocks.  The views along the ridge were gorgeous and we watched a helicopter rescue on nearby Sunrise Mountain.  It was a rare chilly day with rain threatening the whole morning.  Five summits down!
Hailey is in the National Junior Honors Society and the primary charity they support is Students Supporting Brain Tumor Research.   According to their website, brain tumors are the number one cause of solid tumor cancer deaths in children through high school.  Hailey's school has had a higher than average amount of students develop brain cancers.  Every year SSBTR holds a walk-a-thon to raise money for research.  It is really a grass roots organization that was started by a Studetn Council Advisor at one of the local high schools.  SSBTR was founded in 2002 and with 250 walkers they raised $7,500 dollars.  Since then, they have raised over $1.75 million dollars for research with 93% of it going to fund brain tumor research at local hospitals in the valley.  It was really touching to be part of such an great charity.  We hope to continue to support them and were grateful Hailey chose to get involved.

How Karlie Spent Her 11th Birthday

Karlie's Birthday is always especially fun to celebrate because many people are in the mood to party.
 To start off her day she wanted pancakes with green sprinkles for breakfast.
Everyone in the house and many people at school were dressed up in her favorite color, green.
 I always sneak the kids out of school for a trip to Fountain Hills to watch the giant fountain turn green.  We ate lunch by the lake and watched it turn emerald green.  It was so lovely.  I feel like the luckiest mom in the world.  After school we swung by McDonalds for a Shamrock Shake!
 Dinner is always corned beef and cabbage, but she also gets to choose her specific dinner the next night.  So tonight we are having steak, cheesy rice and artichokes at her request.
 Karlie wants to redecorate her room.  It is the same as it was since we moved here and she and Kaitlin shared a room.  Most of her presents revolved around her room.  She was thrilled to get a disco ball!  I may or may not have played Staying Alive and got my groove on.
 This year Karlie wanted to adopt Max's family's tradition of making two pies for her birthday.  One for the family and one she gets to eat entirely on her own!
I made a blackberry pie for the family and Karlie wanted a lemon cream pie died green for her special pie, which makes it looks more like a key lime pie.  She really enjoyed her trick candles and the candle that screeched the Happy Birthday song.
But what she really loved was getting to smash her face in her pie!  As she hovered about the top of it, I couldn't help but push her face in the pie!  She laughed and laughed!  Crazy Karlie!  Well with a disco ball, a pie in her face, and new room decor, I think 11 is looking like Karlie is going to SPARKLE!

Happy 11th Birthday Karlie!!

Happy 11th Birthday Karlie!
You are the sparkle in our family, you have the fight and determination of the Irish, you have a heart of gold and you we are lucky to have you in our lives!  I know this will be a great year for you as you go on to middle school and spread your wings.  Love you Karks!

Pi Day 3.14.15

Yesterday, 3.14.15, was the most exact pi day we will have in 100 years.  Every Wednesday Karlie goes to math club with her girlfriends.   She runs with some smart girls and many of the moms felt they could use a little more challenge than what the school was providing.  Ellen stepped up and formed the Math Club where they are going through the 6th grade math book.  I tried to convince Karlie to go to trampoline class with Kaitlin and Hank but she really wanted to do Math Club.  She is our go getter!
One of their challenges before spring break was to see who could memorize the most digits of pi.  Karlie was relentless as she studied.  She found an App to challenge herself with.  She worked so hard every night for 2 weeks.  She memorized 108 digits!  However, at the contest she inverts digits 77 and 78, so she ended up in 3rd place behind girls that had memorized 87 and 86 digits.  She was so bummed.  :(
But she made up for it eating pie.  We made a chocolate silk pie for their celebration.  The girls then had to test the ratio of pi with my pie and a store bought pie.  They then had to calculate the cost of each piece of pie.  What a delicious way to learn math!
Since the Math Club did their Pi Day celebration last week, we had a chance to celebrate it for real yesterday!  No other way than with a blackberry pie.

Here are a few fun facts about Pi that we learned from TechHive and 9 News:

1.   No one knows for sure when Pi was discovered but the Great Pyramid of Giza has a perimeter of 1760 cubits and a height of 280 cubits, which is twice pi.  

2.  Archimedes ,around 250 BC, is the first known person to calculate pi.

3.  There is also a ratio of pi in the Bible.  Kings 7:23 says, "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it about."

4. Super computers have calculated more than a trillion digits of pi and are still going.

5. The Guinness World Record for memorizing digits of pi is 67,890.

6.  This website can tell you where the string of your birthday is within pi.  Mine is at position 51533. :)

7.  3.14 backwards looks like PIE.  Therefor the best part about pi is eating pie!

This Chocolate Silk Pie from Taste of Home was a crowd pleaser!

Patriotic Productions

February was a busy month for school programs and productions.
 Kaitlin's class did a patriotic play that walked the audience through America declaring it's independence and writing the Constitution.  It was full of facts and comical relief.  The finally was a slide show with Kenny Rogers singing I am Proud To Be an American.  It was very cute and well done.  Kaitlin loved being a part of it.
 Karlie's class had a living history report where each student became an important American historical figure for the presentation.  Karlie was Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.
 Her best friend was Anne Sullivan, Helen Keller's teacher.  There were many Abraham Lincoln's and  Steve Jobs.  My favorite was Neil Armstrong who cam in a full astronaut suit!
 I was so impressed with all these kids getting up in front of the entire 4th and 5th grade classes and all the parents to present a short bio of their historical figure.
 Kaitlin also had her end of the 2nd trimester Accelerated Reading ceremony.  Her teacher sets specific goals for each student on how many points they must earn and how many nonfiction books they must read.  Kaitlin is a very organized and driven little lady.  She set out her plan of how many books she would have to read each week and followed it religiously until she smashed her goal.  She was one of only 10 kids to reach her goal.  They were rewarded with a reading trophy.  This system has turned her from a struggling reader to a fluent reader that now enjoys reading.  Hank is biting at the bit to start AR after spring break.
Programs and productions are pretty much over by middle school, but they do have spirit days.  Hailey rocked the 80's day at her school!  She is an 80's girl at heart.  She loves the music and movies of the time.  She has made many of her teachers laugh quoting lines out of Ferris Bueller and Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.  For the shortest month of the year, it was one of the busiest at school!

Squeeze Every Minute Out

Our friends like to joke that our family has a form of ADD.  We have a hard time sitting still and admittedly I start to get a little anxious if we are not doing something.
A few Sundays ago I realized just how out of hand we can be as I was compiling pics of the day for an Instagram post.  We started the morning with a family 4 mile bike ride.  
Then Hailey took Kaitlin horseback riding for her first time!  Kaitlin loved it.  We may have another horse lover on our hands. 
While we were doing that, Max decided he wanted to take the top off the Jeep and got his motorcycle tuned up for spring. 
 Karlie then went to a birthday party and we decided to take cupcakes to the firehouse where the firefighters invited the kids in for a tour!
 They got to put on fire fighter jackets, sit at the wheel of the fire truck, and learn about fire safety.
  Then we played at the park before heading out to ice-cream.  We rounded the evening out with sleepovers since they had Presidents day off!  We squeezed every minute out of our day, just the way we like it.


 This last year Hailey has become a fan of three TV series.  The first and foremost being Supernatural.  She and her best friend Jess are HUGE fans.  For Christmas Hailey got Sam and Dean (main characters) cardboard cutouts.  This is the only boyfriend she is allowed to have.  I am fine with them watching a movie on the couch in the dark and under the blankets! :)
 Supernatural has been going on for 10 years!  I had never even heard of it.  But it has quite the cult following.  It is a show about two brothers that hunt and destroy evil supernatural demons.  They have Supernatural conventions around the nation.  Part of Hailey's Christmas, birthday and every other present of the year was tickets to the convention that came to Phoenix in February.
 She drew portraits of Sam and Dean to give them when they had their photo shoot.  This is strictly prohibited, but she wanted to try and sneak it to them anyway!
 The brothers drive a black Impala.  This is now Hailey's dream car.
 Hailey is normally pretty level and steady, however the whole day she was so excited and giggly.  Both of the girls were beside themselves!  It was like a Beatles concert.  There were girls crying and hyperventilating all over the place.  I love to tease Hailey that she is crushing on middle age men her Dad's age that are married with children.  But she quickly reminds me she is in love with he characters not the actors.
While it was all very exciting an all, Jess's mom and I decided to excuse ourselves for a little orange juice mid day.
 I could not believe how many people were packing the hotel ballroom to just see the actors answer questions from the audience.  I was even more surprised how much money people were willing to spend.  The Gold level with the best seats were $1000 for the day!  This is Supernatural people not Superbowl!  I encouraged Hailey and Jess to go sit up their until someone told them couldn't.  They were so cute.  They managed to be GOLD level for the first 20 minutes before someone noticed they didn't have the GOLD badge.
Double trouble.
The highlight of the day was when they had their 2 second photo shoot with the boys!  You can see Hailey's folder in her hand with the illegal portraits.  She handed it to him as she left and he opened it and he had quite the look of surprise to see a portrait of himself.  Hailey is overjoyed knowing her celebrity crush has some of her artwork!
It was a fun day with girls and watching my girl be such a teen.  It was almost supernatural.

Happy Birthday Max!

Happy Birthday Max!
Wishing you a year full of reaching new heights!
We are so lucky to call you husband and father.
You fill our lives with joy and love.
You are our provider, protector, supporter, motivator and the rock of our family.
I pray this next year of 38 is great.
Love you.

Drop Everything And Read

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!
 Dr. Seuss has been such a big part of our kids reading journey, I love celebrating this day.  We always start out with Green Eggs and Ham.  This year Max made green creamed eggs so we could pull some cream out for Hank and he could have green cream and ham!
 Amazon delivered a little something for my Thing 1, Thing 2, Thing 3 and Thing 4.
At school the kids participated in DEAR, drop everything and read, for Read Across America Day.  We decided to have DEAR tonight and all snuggled as we read our new books.  Oh The Places You Will Go!

Whoomp There It Is

Hank participated in the school talent show this year.  The mom of the twins on the team put together the cutest Harlem Globetrotters impersonation by 6 year olds.  Hank had so much fun playing ball this season with his buddies and loved hoopin it up for the talent show!
 The twins' big brother was the star and made it all happen!
After the big show we celebrated National Fondue Day.
Pretty sweet night.