Puzzle time…

Someone has discovered a love for puzzles. He’s often sprawled out across the floor with as many as three puzzles at a time. Really, he only knows how to do one puzzle – a Learning Journey spelling puzzle where you you make little four piece puzzles that have a picture and spells the word. We’ve had it since the older kids were young and over the years we’ve lost several pieces but there’s still a lot of letters that form a complete puzzle.

I had no idea he even knew how to do puzzles until I saw him one morning working his magic. Of course he likes to pull out bigger puzzles too even though he can only do this one. It won’t be long until he’ll be able to do them all.

I love watching his little mind work.




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August 2 second video…

As I was collecting clips for this video I realized Hallie was not around a whole lot and we didn’t have many videos of her. After school started she was always doing homework up in her room. Luckily, the initial dive into the deep end of junior high is wearing off and we’re seeing her much more these days! Here is August in two seconds a day…


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The weekend….

Occasionally we have a weekend that hits us like a freight train – its not common because we tend to schedule activities that don’t conflict – but this weekend is was unavoidable.

We declined a weekend camping trip with friends because our Saturday was packed, but they did convince us to hang out at the campground for the evening and roast some hot dogs and marshmallows. As we drove home late Friday night we were happy to know we were sleeping in our own beds and not tearing down camp the next morning.

Bennett’s basketball season is almost complete and hasn’t had any weekend games – but he did want to participate in the 3v3 tournament Saturday morning. He was so excited to participate, we didn’t have the heart to tell him no. We divided and conquered – Steve with Bennett and kids and I took Hunter and kids to the first soccer game of the day. (Which is unusual because this is the first double header of his season) Steve got there just after the game started and saw Hunter’s goal.

We had enough time in between soccer games to get some lunch, fold some laundry and get Briggs a short nap and then back to the fields to play a game in 100 degree weather.

Hunter’s second game of the day was evenly matched and although Hunter scored a goal – they picked up their first loss of the season. Fortunately, there was no time to wallow in despair – and they were getting a little too confident so it was good for them to play a well matched team!

We rushed home from the soccer game to get Steve and the three oldest kids out the door to the ASU football game. I took the two younger kids to our friend’s grand opening celebration of their restaurant and ended up at another friend’s  house to pass the time while husbands and kids were still at the ASU game.

It was day like no other and hopefully/probably won’t happen again. I think I need a weekend to recover from the weekend!

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Birthday party…

I love throwing themed parties. My kids have parties on their even years and I start planning far in advance. But Hunter turned 10 and thanks to our little remodel – I didn’t have it in me to spend the time throwing a themed party. (which if I’m being honest was a little difficult to let go of!) I explained the situation to Hunter and he was more than understanding. We decided he would invite a couple friends to a trampoline/ninja warrior place and grab some dinner.

A few days later, he came to me and said he wanted to invite a lot more people. He’s a friend to everyone and he wanted everyone to come. So, we changed plans and had a swim party instead and it ended up being a huge success. They played king of the floaty for over an hour. They were exhausted by the time they were done and it was fun watching a pool full of kids screaming and laughing.

The kids could’ve stayed in the pool for the whole party but they were turning into prunes so we had cake and played Hunter’s favorite game – the candy bar game.

For those unfamiliar with the game, you purchase different candies for every person in your group (and we had a large group so it was tricky finding that many different candies when I was trying to avoid chocolate that I knew would melt). You put all the candies in the center and set a time limit – we did 10 minutes. The kids take turns rolling two dice. They roll once and if they get a 7 or 11 or doubles they can take a candy from the center (and hide it behind them) and pass the dice along. If they roll something other than that they just pass the dice along. The dice go round and round the circle, everyone taking their turn to roll the dice. You try and keep track of the candies you like so if you roll a 7, 11 or doubles you can ask someone specifically for their candy. But you have to be able to remember who has what candy in order to steal it from them. Candy gets passed around over and over again. You win some, you lose some. You do this for your specified time limit. We like to make sure everyone walks away with something so after the game is complete, the kids who had more than one candy, kept their favorite and returned the other ones to the center of the circle. Those who didn’t end up with a candy got to choose one from the center.

From the amount of laughing and squealing I can assume everyone had a great time – regardless that there was no “theme” or even balloons!

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Memory triggers…

Every once in a while something will trigger a memory with senses so real – it really feels like I’m reliving it. I had one of those moments tonight.

Long after the kids were in bed, Steve and I were working on removing our popcorn ceiling and tearing out carpet. I was tired and dirty. I went outside to wash off the ladder caked with damp popcorn. As I stood outside running the water I noticed how large and beautiful the moon was shining. The air was clear and it wasn’t hot and it wasn’t cool. I could hear crickets chirping. And as I stood there, for a brief moment, I was taken back to our home in Milwaukee. The home we completely renovated, where I often stood outside washing something off long after most people had retired for the night.

Its been a long time since we have delved this deep into a renovation, perhaps that’s what triggered the thought. But it was so real and the details were so vivid. I was transported and standing in the back yard with the garden in the back corner with the light shining from the windows of the home. The air and sounds were as if it was a beautiful midwest summer night. I caught myself smiling as I thought of those evenings we used to enjoy with our small family in the backyard with luscious grass that we never had to water!

My memories drifted from one Milwaukee thought to another and before long I realized I was recalling memories but not feeling the senses of that memory. I was back in our Arizona backyard washing off the ladder.

Our brains have amazing capacity and I was grateful for the memory where I could so closely feel that time in Milwaukee even if it was for just a few minutes.

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