A Full Thanksgiving

This is the first Thanksgiving we have celebrated with just our crew.  It seemed quiet and not as stressful because after all it was just us.  No time deadlines or relatives to impress.  But having it be just our family allowed us to join some traditions that our friends invited us to be a part of.
 After making a 3rd pie, preparing the stuffing, and prepping the birds we headed to the park for a giant flag football game.  It must have been 30 plus kids against 20 adults.  Bloody Marys were flowing and the game got increasingly competitive as the morning wore on.
 Hank sustained two injuries, one caused by Max as he tried to leap over him and knocked him to the ground.  As the game progressed it got serious.  Put aging men who are trying to prove they still got it against high school football players who are young, athletic and fearless, it gets dicey.  When teenage boys cry because they are in pain in front of so many, you know it's rough.  One dad sustained a rib injury after a dog pile and many dads had to take a few downs out to catch their breath and work on their Bloody Marys.  We finally pulled the kids out of the game for fear we would be visiting the ER again.  Not surprisingly the kids whipped the adults.  It was a really fun way to start the day.  We were very thankful no one was severely hurt.  :)
Then it was time to get cleaned up and start the real cooking!
 It's a long tradition that Max and I have a turkey throw down.  We weren't about to stop just because it would only be 6 people eating 30 pounds of turkey!  I am proud to say I held onto my reigning championship as the best bird.  But I sure love my opponent.
 Karlie is quite the cook!  She was my right hand gal for everything.  She made the sweet potatoes, the cranberry relish, the pumpkin pie and did the lion's share of the dishes.  I am very grateful for this beauty.
 I have so much to be thankful for.
 After dinner the kids surprised us with a musical performance.  Each of them played two pieces for us.  It was delightful after dinner entertainment.
Our friends that are like family invited us to their family celebration at the Princess.  Every Christmas the Princess turns into a magical wonderland with an ice skating rink and even fake snow.  Santa, a petting zoo, a Christmas train, and a light show make for a spectacular evening.  We ice-skated and sat around the fire pit enjoying the 2.6 million lights!  We tuckered Hank out and he fell fast asleep under a pile of blankets and coats by the fire pit.
We ended up fitting in pie at 10 o'clock!  Karlie made the pumpkin and Kaitlin helped me make the blackberry.  A sweet end to a very full Thanksgiving.

Sneak Away to Sedona

With the cooling temperatures we decided to sneak off to Sedona for the weekend.  The weather was glorious.
The first thing we did once we got their was to hike to Devil's Bridge.  It was a gorgeous and quick hike! So much bang for your buck.
Hailey brought her buddy so it wouldn't so boring and it was an added bonus to have two built in babysitters.  :)
This is Hank and his buddy Ben out on the bridge. 
My loves out on the edge!
Hailey and Jess were a little more risky than the rest of us.
After the hike we went for a bike ride to Bell Rock.  It was a bit crazy trying to get 11 bikes up and running.  Our good family friends spent the weekend with us.  We managed to complete the loop with only 3 injuries and numerous complaints.  Awe but the sights were so worth it!
We ditched out on our team responsibilities.  Both Max and I coach teams and the kids all missed an activity, but the sneaking out was worth it.  Sedona is a crazy beautiful place that we can't wait to sneak off to again.

Pinnacle Peak

On Halloween morning we decided to hike up Pinnacle Peak, which is "the most popular hiking destination in the valley because of the expansive, spectacular views and accessibility."  A gentle rise of 600 feet over 1.75 miles makes it an easy hike.  While there are some nice views the crowds make it a bust of a hike for me. I prefer the hikes less traveled where it is quiet and you don't have to wait in line to get up the mountain.
But we had to conquer the most popular peak in the valley.  Pinnacle Peak gave us 10 of 12 for 2015.  We will see if we can get in the last 2 hikes over the next 7 weeks!

October 100 Mile Challenge

 Last year I decided to try and run, walk, or elliptical 100 miles in the month of October.  I did it again this October!  I suppose that makes it an annual goal for me now.
I was very happy to have Siri run my last 3.7 miles in the desert with me.  I don't normally run in the desert alone but felt like it was calling me for my last run of the month.  It was a glorious day and great run.
It was also Siri's birthday!  We got to celebrate the end of a long month of working hard and our girls 4th birthday!

Happy Halloween Matey!

May your anchor be tight,
your cork be loose,
your rum be spiced,
and your compass be true.
Its a MKHKKH pirate crew!
Me thinks the family Halloween costume is on its last leg.  Getting everyone to agree is like a pirate battle.
 The two big one's agreed if they could be dead pirates.
Blimey!  They each did their own make-up!
 Shiver me timbers!
It's easy to be his wench.  :)
They aaarg my most sought after treasure!
 We had fun at the costume party and the kids each looted 4.5 pounds of candy!  That is quite the booty for this crew.  Hopefully we can stay the course for one more family Halloween theme, but it might be time to walk the plank...

Halloween Happenings

October is such a fun month full of Halloween activities.
 I recruited some helpers for the two Halloween class parties I was in charge of.  I see some future room moms!  Halloween wouldn't be complete without Booing our friends, eating Halloween Mac-N-Cheese, and watching the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.
 I love this season of my life and desperately want to hit pause.  Anytime I am on campus and Hank sees me, he comes running full speed and leaps into my arms nearly tackling me.  He gives me a big old hug and then runs on his way.  Melts my heart every time.  Seven year old mama's boys are hard to beat.
 Everyone got in the spirit on the Friday before Halloween.  I got to run Kaitlin's party where they felt "body" parts that were actually food.  Freaked out fourth graders are the best!  Some of them were too afraid to feel it even though we told them it was just food.  :)
Many Halloween treats to chase down the candy.
Max liked this eggless pumpkin cheesecake so much he has requested we have it instead of pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving!  GASP!  SHOCK!  HORROR!  I love him, but I am not sure it is legal to have Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie.  Guess I will have to make a his and hers.
 Pool Pumpkin Patch!
This might have been the coolest day we have carved pumpkins in AZ.  Bathing suits were not required this time.  All the kids carve their own now.  Hank was a big fan of Grampy's way using the drill.  His pumpkin ended up looking like it had chicken pox.
We had fun visiting with my parents and making some caramel apple treats.  October flew by so fast I feel like we were just getting warmed up and its already over.  I will blink and it will be Christmas.  Please slow down Father Time...

Back To The Future Day

We are big Back To The Future Fans and were excited to celebrate National Back to The Future Day. This is a once in a lifetime day that could not be missed because October 21st, 2015 was the day Doc and Marty went to in the future from 1985!
 The kids are rather disappointed the future hasn't turned out the way Steven Spielberg imagined, especially no hoverboards.
 While there was no Pepsi Perfect either, we substituted Pepsi and a movie night.
We didn't have a hydrater that would turn a hand sized pizza into a large pizza but we did order the half bell pepper and half pepperoni special pizza.
I can only wonder what the future will look like for these kids.  Praying more good than bad.
The future is near...

Big Sky Buddies

For half of fall break we took off for the cool Montana air!
It was our first time flying Allegiant and we really enjoyed the smaller airports.  So much less hassle and time wasted.
Although there were some monkeys on board it was a nice and easy flight.
I was so excited to see my best friend from college.  The beauty of life long friends is you can pick up like you never left.  We live over a thousand miles apart and rarely get to chat but you would never know it. Courtney is one of the kindest and strongest people I know.  I just love hanging with her.  We stayed up way too late every night catching up!
Even cooler than getting see my best buddy is how much our kids like each other too.  There was not a single argument or fight the entire time we were there.
Cate and Bodi generously shared their rooms and toys.
Kaitlin and Cate were two peas in a pod for sure.  Sisters from a different mother,  and well father too!
Our first day we hiked the M.  It was 800ft of elevation in half a mile!  There was a little complaining from the kids to say the least.  We took the long way down that was easy and gradual.
Such beautiful views!
That afternoon we went to a corn maze.  We had never done one before.  It was hard!  Turns out Hank is allergic to the hay or corn and he started having a bit of an asthma attack so we had to cut the trip short to get home to his inhaler.
We grabbed some pumpkins from the store and the kids got to carve them.  All of our favorite fall fun.
October wouldn't be complete without Max's morgue!  Max added a few Montana skeletons to his morgue this year.  The little ones loved dancing around in their glow in the dark PJs while Hailey is a cool cat.
The next morning we took a beautiful hike up to Pine Creek Falls.
The cool mountain air was so refreshing.  It was awesome to feel cold!
It was just over a mile to the falls.
So much bang for your buck!
We took a fun break at the falls.  Of course Hank fell in and got his bottom and feet soaked.
Snickers has quite the campaing going.  I bought into it.  It was a fun way to motivate the kids to the top.
We had the complainer 2 pack for Cate and Kaitlin, the Sleepy 2 Karlie and Hailey, and the Cranky 2 Hank and Bodi.  While they all enjoyed a Snickers break, I broke out a Kit Kat for Hank since he can't partake in the Snickers fun.
After our fun hike we went the Chico Hot Springs.  The hot water was just what we needed.  Might have been a photo bomber in the pool. :)
I love this family.  My family loves this family.  They were so generous to share their beautiful Montana home with us.  We only wish we could get together more than once a year.
Can't wait to see you in the spring!