Real life…

Here’s to keeping it real…

We were supposed to go to a family function on Sunday night. We had my mom visiting and dropped her off to visit her brother. Bennett wasn’t feeling well and threw up while in the car. Luckily, every ounce made it in the ziplock bag. We ended up not seeing family that night.

Yesterday, Briggs and Cannon weren’t feeling well but nothing really came of it. By last night, I was in pain and spent the entire night snuggled up to the toilet. Steve was supposed to fly out this morning for a work trip and this morning, seeing my condition, he debated whether he should cancel his flight. I assured him my mom could help me out.

Hunter enters our room at 6:30. He had been up for a few hours sick. Even then, I assured Steve my mom could help me. Steve continued to get kids ready for school, learning my mom was sick as well. He promptly cancelled his ticket, just 15 minutes before he was to walk out the door.

How awful, all three of us sick, at the same time.

Hours later, I could hear Cannon crying and shortly later, Steve entered the room and declared another one down. I was thinking it was something we had eaten. Cannon ruined that theory – he didn’t eat the same dinner as us the night before. Must be the bug that so many kids at the school have come down with.

Steve had his hands full a good portion of the morning, juggling Briggs and helping Cannon. He got his mom to take Briggs out of the contaminated home and focused on moving from room to room taking care of us.

Shortly before school was out, the school nurse called and Hallie wasn’t feeling well. She got home just in time…another one down. 5 of us under the weather – and Steve handled it like a champ, without any complaints. Being sick is not fun at all – but I think my position today was much better than Steve’s position. I can’t imagine what we would’ve done if he’d gone on his work trip.

My mom was supposed to fly out tomorrow, but seeing her condition tonight we changed her ticket. I’m praying all the kids get the rest they need tonight to make a full recovery and even more so, praying that Steve dodges this nasty bullet.

Never a dull moment.

 

Favorite Games…

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We play a lot of games. When we were first married, we would gather with other newlyweds and play Settlers of Catan – the first game we owned.

Over the years, our collection of games has expanded considerably. Friends and family have introduced games to us and many have become favorites.

Here are some current favorite games that are pulled out to play more than the others.

Favorite Games

Coloretto – This is a quick card game even the kids can play with us. You can play with up to 5 people – although we’ve never played with more than 4. We’ve also played this with friends in teams as couples, it’s fun to listen to couples strategize together. You work to collect colored chameleon cards – your three largest piles add to your score – the rest of the cards deduct from your score. This is a game that you can talk and discuss and have a good time while still playing the game.

Reverse Charades – This is a great party game. Kids or no kids – you can’t help but laugh and have a good time. As the name of the game suggests – this is just like charades, except you have one person sitting in a chair with a card on the forehead and the rest of the team is acting it out trying to get the person in the chair to guess. Every age enjoys this game.

Machi Koro – I purchased this game off of some good reviews and then never opened it. My brother was so excited to teach us a new game over spring break and it happened to be Machi Koro. This game is for 2-4 players where each player works to develop their city on their own terms in order to complete the construction of certain landmarks faster than everyone else. This game takes some time to generate a strategy that works, but every game you could have a new strategy. We learned to play this game with the expansion harbor pack which I hear is a must.

Ticket to Ride – We were first introduced to this game back in college. Again in Milwaukee we had friends who loved it and we often played with them. It wasn’t until recently that this game made it’s way into our game closet and Hallie and Hunter have picked it up and enjoy playing it with us. In this game you work to complete railway routes with train cars – sometimes your routes are complete, other times your opponents block your attempt. There are different versions – we chose the original United States board which helps when kids are learning because they’re a little more familiar with basic US geography.

Wits and Wagers – A great party game for all sizes. A question is read – all teams write their best answer (you in now way need to know the actual answer to the completely random question). You then place bidding chips on the answer you believe to be the most correct answer. You win points accordingly. We’ve played this game for couples game night with 6 people, we’ve played it on New Years Eve with the Pothiers with over 40 people playing. Kids can play along as well because they can be part of the discussion as to what the correct answer should be.

Favorite Games

Acquire – This game is a little bit more time consuming and less social of a game. It originally came out in 1962 and has floated around to different game companies since then. There are many versions of this game, but they vary a little. You work as a real estate tycoon developing hotel chains – buying, trading and selling stock in each hotel. You work to be the majority share holder and then hope to have your hotel chain acquired. This is not a game I like to start late in the night – too much thinking and strategy – at other times I love it – it’s a challenge.

Favorite Games

Splendor – We learned this last summer and it became and instant favorite. It is a game of chip-collecting and card development – working to buy gems and earn points. It was a fast learning game – and we can play it there times in a row and still enjoy it. A couple months back, Steve taught Hallie and Hunter to play and I was surprised how quickly they were able to pick it up and even more impressed how quickly they learned strategies enabling them to win the game. We’ve taught many friends the joy of Splendor.

Tic Stac Toe – Our friend from Milwaukee was over toy purchases for Kohls and he brought this game for us during one of his visits. It is a 3d version of tic tac toe or even connect four in either a 3×3 or 4×4 game. Kids can play this without any adult supervision and the pieces are large so they’re not easily lost.

Monkey baby…

He didn’t look so little when I glanced over at him chillin’ on the office chair drinking his milk without his clothes on, with one foot resting on his bottle. The only time he’s still these days is when he’s got a full bottle in his hands. It keeps him busy for approximately 2 minutes – not much I can get done in two minutes. The rest of the day he’s tearing the house apart.

Nikon d750 | 24-120 mm lens | 1/80 Shutter | f/ 4.0  |  ISO 1250

Spring Break 2017…part 2…

Round two of our Spring break adventures:

Steve grew up spending spring break on the slopes, it was the only time they skied. And yet, a couple days a year in the Utah mountain air created a family a phenomenal skiers. It had been years since Steve had skied with his siblings. He had one day of less than ideal snow to get two kids skiing (they’ve skied one day before) and enjoy some time himself. I tried getting him to take Bennett – but that was a deal breaker. Luckily he had his dad – the master ski instructor – to help him out. It was a fun, yet exhausting day for all involved!

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

We toured Mrs. Cavanaugh’s chocolate factory. My kids love tours where they see the process – this particular day we were watching a lady hand make chocolate covered nut clusters. Her precision and grace was mesmerizing. We also had a healthy share of samples!

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

We met up with some good friends, who live near my brother, for an afternoon – which is never long enough. I’m convinced we need more time in Utah just to visit all the friends who have relocated there. We need some of them to migrate to sunny Arizona!

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

 

We went to an Escape the Room which was a first for Steve and I. There were only four of us in a room made for twelve and we could’ve used a couple more people working on puzzles. We had a great time, but sadly  didn’t finish in time.

We played with cousins and watched their soccer and basketball games. We would tuck them in at night and party hard for several hours eating ice cream and playing games.

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

I pretty sure every time we got in the car and saw snow covered mountains, I gushed. They are majestic and beautiful and it took me by surprise each time I saw them.

Spring Break 2017

We visited Antelope Island State Park which seemed completely out of place. It seems so desolate and rural – but it’s two miles from the city.

Spring Break 2017

We saw the Great Salt Lake and took turns imagining what it would be like to swim in the salty water. We want to go back in the summer and try it out.

Spring Break 2017 Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Just around the corner from the Great Salt Lake was a herd of Bison. They were roaming on the side of the road and they were more than a little intimidating. It’s not like a zoo where the animals were caged. We were fully aware of the danger and kept a healthy distance.

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

The last day we were there – we gave the kids some options of activities and surprise, surprise – they wanted to go back to the snow. Such a novelty for the Arizona kids!

We knew where to find snow, we went back up Ogden Canyon to the area we rented snow mobiles. But instead, we just went sledding. Let me tell you – these were large steep hills and we were exhausted trekking up just to sled down. We were stripping coats and sweatshirts it was so warm. In fact, the snow had melted considerably in just the six days since we had been up there.

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

As exhausting as it was, we climbed up those hills time and time again and we’d take long breathers once we finally reached the top. We made trains. We had crashes, we had mishaps and we laughed as we cleaned snow out of our pants. Three days of snow for spring break was just what we were looking for.

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

In an attempt to break up our drive home we stopped in Vegas – the halfway mark. We were looking to make a long stop to get some dinner and let the wiggles out. Our genius idea consisted of taking the kids to M&M world on the strip. We’ve had better ideas.

The kids enjoyed M&M world – several floors of chocolate goodness and paraphernalia. But 5 kids in Vegas is crazy and we did not fit in. Not only that – the whole environment was a little hard for our kids to comprehend. Hallie asked why everyone was in their swimsuits when they weren’t swimming. Hunter wondered why so many people smoked, it made everything smell bad. And Bennett just wanted one of the cool drinks everyone seemed to be carrying. (The long glasses filled with alcohol that had a light at the bottom.) We got our dinner and quickly made it back to the car before it got dark and the real crazies came out. We wanted to avoid any further explanations of other’s behaviors!

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

The second half of the drive was quiet and uneventful. Just the way we prefer it, especially in contrast to our drive up.

The week with family was more than we had hoped for. My brother and his wife were amazing hosts and made it too comfortable – we might be back sooner than they had hoped! 😉

Spring Break 2017…part 1…

This is the first year we’ve ever gone anywhere for Spring break. Last year at this time, I was drowning with a newborn and kids home from school for spring break. This year, we’re in a much more manageable position. We went to Utah in search of snow and we found it…barely.

The 12 hour drive could easily go down as one of our most miserable drives. The forces of nature were against us. Traffic, miserable kids, more traffic, car sickness, throwing up, tired kids who wouldn’t sleep…not our best moments. But once we pulled into my brother’s driveway, we had a week of fun and adventure and we nearly forgot about the awful drive…until we were packing up back in the car to come home. Luckily the drive home was an average drive without any major hiccups.

The first day, we went in search of snow. Utah has had an unseasonably warm spring and most the snow had melted. We drove up Ogden canyon until the road closure for the winter and we found more than enough snow to suit our needs. We rented snowmobiles for the afternoon and shuttled kids to the top of rather large hills for them to sled down and then we’d shuttle them back to the top. Between sledding and building forts, the kids were entertained for hours.

Spring Break 2017

The nice thing about spring snow is it ends up being warm enough you don’t need heavy jackets. Cannon couldn’t figure out why he was so warm yet every time he took his gloves off and touched the snow, his hands were cold! He’s still trying to figure this stuff out.

Spring Break 2017

Hallie and her cousin won the award for most trips down the mountain. These mountains are for snowmobiles, so they’re not little hills. They were flying.

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Steve and I took a couple turns down the large mountain. It was ridiculously fun.

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Bennett did a few runs down the mountain – but he really just wanted to play in the snow or ride on the snowmobile.

Spring Break 2017

He was happy – until he tried taking his coat off without taking his gloves off. He’s got a short fuse sometimes!

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

 

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

Spring Break 2017

The first day of spring break was so great, we could’ve stopped right there. But we didn’t! 🙂

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