Happy Halloween!!

This year we are Alice in Wonderland!
Hank as the none other than the Mad Hatter!
Sweet Kaitlin as Alice.
Karlie in charge is The Queen of Hearts!
 Our sassy little teen is the Cheshire Cat. :)
 Of course we are Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb...
Crazy Siri is the White Rabbit.
  We are ready to for some fun tonight!
Happy Halloween!!

Wild Ones at the Zoo

While the kids were on break we found a day it was going to be below 90 and headed to the Phoenix zoo.  It transported me back in time to when the kids were babies and toddlers and we would spend the day at the Denver zoo.  We haven't been to the zoo in over a year.  I sure miss those zoo days with  my little monkeys.
So we did everything the zoo had to offer since it was a rare treat.  We went with friends which made it all the more wild and fun.

 Hump Day!  The little ones squealed and loved the camel  ride.
 Hailey's only comment was that they have a terrible gait compared to a horse.
 How could we not do the carousel?
 Karlie was a little apprehensive after being injured by the eagle the last time, but she found a sturdy one. :)
 Doing what monkeys do best.

We saw many animals out but the favorite experience of the day was petting the Manta Rays.
 They are like water dogs.  They come to you to be petted.
 The kids couldn't get enough of it (me either).  We all decided we wanted to take one home.  Hank asked if we could put one in the pool?
 There were two babies that the handler was feeding.  It was so cute!
 I think the Manta Rays have a sense of humor.  After a while they came by and splashed the boys and then later came by and drenched the girls.
It was a perfect day at the zoo with our wild ones.


Flagstaff

For the first half of the kids' fall break we headed for the hills to find some relief from the heat.  Fall is the hardest season for us living in the desert.  There really is no fall.  We so miss the brisk, cool air and the turning leaves.  Luckily, 2 hours away, we can get our fall fix.
We found a lovely cabin to rent that sat on 5 acres and backed up to National Forrest.  Beautiful golden Aspen and Ponderosa pine surrounded us.  One night a herd of deer and oddly, tagging along a small female Elk roamed through the backyard.  We really enjoyed taking a break from technology and spending time together.  Clue is always a winner.
 We brought the bikes and the kids rode all over the property.  Kaitlin was tickled pink from her head to her toes!
 They found some friends to play with. :)
 One day Daddy had to get a little mud on his tires, so we went 4 wheeling.  The kids loved ridging in the back and driving.  I loved the beautiful views.  Reminded me of home.
Max took the big girls on a mountain biking ride while I ran along text to he two little ones a flat trail.
 Afterward we warmed up at the coffee  shop with coffee and coco.
Our last night we got slicked up and headed into town for dinner.
   We went to Lumberyard Brewing to sample some local food and drink.  Then surprise, surprise!  Karlie's best friend walked in the door! Karlie was thrilled. :)  Everyone tries to escape on fall break.
We all relished the opportunity to be cold!  We enjoyed wearing jeans, uggs and jackets.  It was refreshing for us to spend so much time outdoors and together.  We hope to return next year!

Grammy and Grampy Came To Town

At the beginning of the month Grammy and Grampy came to visit.  It had been too long.  Gramps missed the entire pool season.
 We surprised the kids and had lunch with all three of the younger kids.  They were thrilled to show Grammy and Grampy off to their friends.  It was fun for my parents to see the kids in their little worlds.
 Hailey wanted to do some shopping so we went to whack a couple balls while she and her friend shopped.  Gramps had to show us how it was done. :)  I have no hope but the kids are young enough, they might have a shot at it.
My Grandpa came for dinner where we celebrated National Taco Day in style!  I always love celebrating life with food.  Food and Family, it doesn't get much better.
 With Max being gone for all but 5 days over 3 weeks, the kids maximized their snuggle time with Gramps and Grammy.
Nothing like playing the game Life.  Life is just better with family.

Teacher

Karlie is a really wonderful big sister.  There is nothing the kids love more than to play school with her.  She is a devoted teacher and I wouldn't be surprised if she ends up teaching in some way as an adult.
Over a recent weekend she spent the entire weekend getting Hank and Kaitlin ready for open house.  She posted signs through out the house to alert us that Sunday we should arrive at 7 pm.
 We walked into her classroom excited to see what they had been working so diligently on.  We hardly saw them all weekend.  Karlie was dressed up and had an entire speech for us about the evening's rotations and our children's work.  You can see she is talking into her microphone.  It was a big crowd. :)
 Kaitlin had an presentation on monkeys.  She did a poster and an a learning mobile.  She had a flier with facts and jokes about monkeys.   She also did a map and colored the regions where monkeys can be found in nature. 
After her presentation, we watched Hank do his.
 He chose snakes and needed a little help from the teacher.
 He was most excited about his mobile.
 Then while we had conference time with the teacher, the kids worked on a team building exercise of putting the states map puzzle back together as fast as they could.
Karlie keeps folders for each of the kids that tracks their attendance, behavior and progress.  She makes copies of dittos from school for them and even has PE and music time.  For presents she asks for teaching supplies.  :)  It fills me with so much joy to see them using their imagination and playing together.  Being able to keep their attention and enthusiasm for so long is a testament to Karlie's planning, leadership and talent as a teacher.

Hank's First Lost Tooth

 Well, it happened.  My last baby lost his first tooth.  He has been wiggling them and eager to lose one like most of the kids in his class have.  Max got home from a business trip and it was time to pull out the floss and yank it out!
Hank didn't even know it came out!
 In the morning he didn't want to look under his pillow and see if the Tooth Fairy came.  I think he was worried she wouldn't.  When we convinced him to look, he exclaimed, "It worked!"  Little man is one tooth short but 3 bucks richer.
Hank is already working hard on the next one. :)

September's National Days...

Over the month of September we continued to celebrate the National Day of whatever.  I think it is really a campaign to make you get fat because it usually revolves around food and it is almost always delicious and bad for you.  But that is not going to stop us from celebrating!
 Who can turn down National Cheese Pizza day with a house full of kids?
 I really enjoyed an excuse to get the kids a book for National Read a Book Day.  The older two were on the wait list at the library for the last two months for these books, so it was fun to surprise them with them.  Kaitlin has just gotten hooked on the Magic Tree House series and Hank adores Little Critter.
 It was so good it put both the boys to sleep. :)
 The kids came home to some new Play-Doh for National Play-Doh Day. 
 I was buying it in line at Target and a guy remarked how his wife never wanted to let the kids play with Play-Doh because it is too messy.  I confessed that it was for National Play-Doh day and that I think most mom's are not in love with the clean up.  He told me that his kids would have liked that but they were 14 and 16 now.  I told him he should get some anyway and play with them because I bet they would play with it.  At first he laughed it off but then as I was putting my groceries in the car he drove up and told me he texted his wife and she was going to get some!  You are never too old to play.
 None other than In and Out Burger would do for National Cheeseburger Day!
 Between all the daily celebrations Max and I got to go to Florida Georgia Line and Jason Aldean concert one night.  It was quite the cowboy throw down.  Max and I still like to play like we are college kids.
 For the First Day of Fall we had chili and home made apple pie.  Sure wasn't very chilly.
 With our Batboy and love of Batman we had to celebrate National Comic Book Day.  The kids had the day off from school so we went out to lunch and had their favorite frappe treat.
 We did a taste test for National Chocolate Milk Day and the homemade with Hershey's won by a land slide.  Some unnamed people would like to say that Ovaltine should be in the running, but that is not even real chocolate milk. ;)
 National Coffee Day.  I am not sure if chocolate chip frap with no coffee in it counts but its the thought that counts.
We had a bubble off on National Chewing Gum Day.  I couldn't fine Hubba Bubba so we were stuck with Extra.  It is terrible for blowing bubbles but good for teeth I guess.  In a blink September came and went.  I am excited for the fun and festivities of the holiday season that begins in October.  Treats, Turkey and the best day of the year, oh my!!