Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

Just a few pictures from Thanksgiving.

We slept in, did some things around the house, and then we went over to Scott & Stephanie's (Rob's little sister) house in Mesa. We had a very yummy dinner and spent a lot of time visiting. We even managed to take a picture with all four of us:

Stephanie's back yard is perfect for the kids to play in, and great for everyone to sit around the fire pit after it got dark. Here are few pictures of the kids:


The girls - Briana, Erin & Ayla
Robbie hijacked someone's Nintendo DS. I like this picture.
More DS action. I like how well the cousins like each other and play together.
(not sure why I can't fix the line spacing below - sorry)
Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of the adults, and somehow I missed getting one of Sydnie (Stephanie's daughter). Robbie really likes Sydnie. When the three older girls play together, he's happy to play with Sydnie and have all the fun a 4 & 2 year old can have together! They sure keep busy.
That weekend, we got all our Christmas stuff up (I say we, but Rob does most of it) and now I can't believe it's only three weeks til Christmas! I think it will be lots of fun this year.
I didn't write a big mushy Thankgsiving post about all the things I'm thankful for, but I'm sure I should. (Maybe next year!) Let's just that say we have a lot to be thankful for and we try not to take our blessings for granted. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Arizona State Fair

We went to the state fair a few weeks ago. We don't do much there since it's a wallet drain, but it's always fun to go. We went too late to see all the animals, so that was too bad because the kids always like the animals. We got to smell them - that's almost as fun, right?

The kids are big enough to ride just about everything by themselves now. It's a lot of fun to watch them! Robbie was a little nervous at first, but quickly caught on...

Exhibit A. Before:

Exhibit B. After:

On the bus ride over from the state capitol:

Erin finishing her ride on the zip line:

On the "crazy coaster":

The lay-down-and-fly-like-superman ride:

On the tugboat:

We finished off the night with some funnel cake and another bus ride back to our car. See you next year, state fair!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

Happy Halloween!

This year, Erin was a hippie and Robbie was Superman. At the last minute, I got a costume and dressed up as a hippie, too. Rob was the grim reaper, but his makeup was off by the time we took a picture. These might be the coolest pants I've ever worn.

We went to our ward's Trunk-or-Treat, which is always fun. This year, Rob's parents and his sister Brigette & her family came, too! Erin had a lot of fun hanging out with her cousins. Of course we all decorated our cars and got to visit a little amidst the Halloween madness!
Dan, Sandy, and Rett in Rett's truck:
Rob with our car:
Steven with his car - Brigette snuck away before I could snap the picture!

For reasons unknown, our kids only went around trunk-or-treating through all the cars once. Whatever got into them, we were glad to have that much less candy coming home with us!

On Halloween, we went out for Round 2 while Rob stayed home to pass out candy. He always does a good job decorating the front door for the trick-or-treaters. Of course, it looks better than this in the dark, when the black light makes everything glow and the strobes are going.
The kids had a good time, and there were only a couple of "scary" houses that made them nervous. Erin made me proud at one house. There was a "Deaf Christian Center" van parked in the driveway, so I told Erin that the people at the house might not hear her. I told her to say trick or treat anyway, and if she could tell they were deaf, she should sign "thank you" to them afterward. So she did! She learned the sign in church a while back, and just that morning our music leader in Primary was teaching a song about all the different ways to say thank you. Yay for church! Anyway, when she signed "thank you", the guy got all excited and signed it back to her & gave her a thumbs-up. It made me happy.

At home, the kids admired all their candy and put a pretty good dent in it.

The end! Let's move on to November.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wild Kingdom, Part 2

Some of you may be familiar with our cat's hunting abilities. They consist mostly of staring and refusing to leave an area if she thinks something may be hiding there.

The cat really doesn't do much, and she eludes all visitors. OK she hides from them. Except for my parents - she comes out when they come over. She allows my mom to pet her and she bites my dad. He's the only person she bites. Maybe he should feel honored? Sorry Dad.

I digress. Living in Phoenix, we get the occasional lizard inside the house (like here and here). Several weeks ago, we found a semi-bloody lizard tail in the bathroom. Then we noticed the cat was obsessing over the cedar chest in our bedroom. She'd sit there for hours and just stare. Finally one night her hunting prowess kicked in and she shoved her head underneath for several minutes. Enough time for me to get my camera.

I love our kitty, but I was secretly hoping she would get stuck. Because THAT would be funny! No such luck. But she did come out with her fur all backward and dissheveled. Rob and I teamed up to corner the lizard, planning for one of us to scare it out an the other to catch it. It ran between my feet quick as lightning and under the bed!

We have plenty of stuff under the bed, so finding the lizard would not be easy. I like lizards, but I don't need one in my bedroom. And I really didn't need the cat to maim it and have it die/rot in there. So I dragged all the junk out from under the bed and began the search. (What kind of stuff do we keep under the bed, you wonder? A hammock chair, two giant cases of 90's cassette tapes that I refuse to get rid of, Rob's BB gun, picture frames that we'll never use and always forget to donate because they're under the bed, and dust bunnies...)

I digress again. Got all that junk out from under the bed and found the stupid lizard just out of reach under the center of the bed. When I turned to get a broom to scare it out, it disappeared! now the room was trashed and we were back at square one. With the cat pacing all around the bed and dusty junk.

Then it was bedtime and I needed to move all the junk from the middle of the room, so back under the bed it went. Yes, the picture frames, too.

The next day, the cat was stalking a different piece of furniture in the bedroom. This time, I was able to catch the poor dehydrated, tail-less lizard and put him outside.

FREEDOM! And either that lizard is fat or we narrowly escaped having several baby lizards living with us too.

The cat was TICKED that I took her lizard away. I know because she sulked into where I was sitting, turned around, and sat down for several minutes with her back to me and her ears flat, until she decided I had been sufficiently ignored. That'll show me!

Stupid cat.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Third Grade

School started three weeks ago! Erin is in 3rd grade this year.

The first-day-of-school pictures:

I'm not too excited about being much busier now that school started, but it's nice to be back on a schedule.

And can I just say that I absolutely love school supplies? A lot. I may have a little problem. Some of my favorite stores are places like Staples and Office Max. So you can imagine my joy this time of year when ALL the stores are selling my favorite things, and for CHEAP. Yay! And then in a few weeks, it will all be on CLEARANCE! Be still my heart.

Happy Back-to-School, everyone!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Erin's Baptism Day

About 2 1/2 weeks ago, Erin was baptized. In our church, kids aren't baptized until they're eight. For several reasons - but in general because they're more accountable and understand what it's all about. It's still hard for me to believe Erin is eight!

It was a rainy day, which is a big deal here in Phoenix. And boy are there a lot of people who care about Erin! My entire family came to see her, most of them from several hours away, and Rob's entire family except three cousins. We were so happy to have everyone visit. I hope Erin understands (or will someday) how neat it is to have family who loves her so much.

Here's Erin and Rob ready for the baptism. She was baptized by her dad, and it was very special. I probably take it for granted that Rob is a good guy understands the importance of doing things like that.

A few people from our ward (congregation) also came to see her on her big day. One couple used to be in our ward, but moved to another part of the valley a couple of years ago. When Erin was about 2 years old, she started mingling about and visiting with people before church started. She quite liked talking to the Halls. Sister Hall told me one day that Brother Hall started putting Tootsie Rolls or Starburst in his pocket so he would have something to give her when she would visit with them. Of course that kept the visits coming as long as they lived in our ward! But Erin loved them to death and was so excited when they showed up at her baptism! They even brought her a little gift and a couple of packages of Starburst. Very cute! Here they are:

The only drawback to having everyone come at once is that it's hard to spend very much time visiting with everyone - but I think everyone understood that & was just happy to be there. Another drawback is that our house is too small to hold so many people! So we used the church building to have pizza and a wonderful giant salad Sandy made and some cheesecake. This is just about everyone - unfortunately I didn't think to take a picture before Rob's sister Stephanie and her family left. What a group! I love these guys.

Thank you everyone for coming to support Erin! We're lucky to have such a great family on all sides. We love you! A couple of pictures of Erin before church the next day:

We're proud of this girl and love her very much!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Erin is 8!

Erin turned 8 last Tuesday! She's growing up fast. We didn't really do a party for her, because we're going to have the whole family get together next weekend for her baptism. She was cool with that. But lest you think we skipped over her birthday, just know that she partied all week!

I took that Monday off, the day before her birthday. She picked out a color and we painted over the stripes in her room. In the afternoon, I redecorated the rest of the room and wouldn't let her go in there until Rob got home. The pictures I took weren't spectacular, but she was happy with her new room & sweet new saucer chair.

The next day, her actual birthday, my parents kept the kids all day. They did all kinds of stuff! They went to see Despicable Me, which was a huge deal because we never go to theaters - seriously, the kids have only been a couple of times. Needless to say, they LOVED it! They also went out to lunch, went shopping, and swam. That night, we had dinner at Red Robin. When we were finishing up dinner, Erin was happy to get a phone call from her Nana Sandy in Illinois! She felt pretty important.

After dinner, she opened her presents and we had caramel cheesecake (her request).

The party didn't stop there! The next day, the kids spent the day with Nana. They had cupcakes and brownies, and Erin got to open more presents! They went shopping and played and had a great time
A little about Erin:
- She is super smart! That kid can figure out just about anything, and she's very insightful. She thinks things through and figures out the "whys" and "hows".
- She has always been pretty grown-up. She started talking pretty early, and was never difficult to understand. She's easy to reason with, and was never a big fit-thrower. She's a good-natured kid.
- She has an insane memory! Erin can remember obscure stuff in great detail from years ago. She can commit stuff to memory after reading it once or twice (very handy when she has to memorize stuff for school)
- She is an extremely nice big sister. She has loved her brother since Day 1, and was never jealous of him. She is very kind to him and always makes sure he's OK. She shares with him, comforts him, makes him laugh, and teaches him stuff.
- She's not shy. I really admire this because I was really shy when I was a kid. She loves to mingle and visit with people before church. She orders her own food in restaurants, and she likes to do things like run in and pick up a pizza we ordered or grab something from the store while I'm pumping gas.
- Erin is funny. A little sarcastic & a little weird and a lot of fun!
Rob and I realize how lucky we are to have been blessed with Erin. She's a great kid, and it's certainly not our doing... it's just who she is. We love you, Erin!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Camping, Chapter 2

We went camping at Knoll Lake again last week. It started raining just as we finished setting up, and it rained for a few hours, but it cleared up and stayed nice the rest of the time.

We stopped to look off the edge of the Mogollon Rim this time...

Erin found a swing to play on...

Rob taught the kids to shoot the BB gun...

We ate s'mores...

The kids hollered at each other through the pipes under the road...

We played cards & ate Swedish Fish...

One day we drove down to the store at Woods Canyon Lake & ate ice cream sandwiches...

The water in the lake was warmer this time, so we had a lot more fun swimming. Rob and I took turns swimming across the lake and jumping in off the rocks.

Now we're back in the Phoenix heat! I'm glad we both have today off so we could get everything cleaned up and relax after our vacation. It's always nice to ease back into the work week!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Robbie's 4th Birthday

Robbie turned 4 on Saturday!

We blew up some balloons...

Covered a good portion of the floor with bubble wrap (the checkerboard pattern are squares of bubble wrap)...
...and had a few friends over to pop balloons, stomp on bubble wrap, eat cake, and play games.
The friends brought presents, which are always lots of fun.
We found out that Robbie is really good at making stuff with Legos! He got the little instruction manual out & followed it until he made the picture on the box. He needed zero help from Mom.

That Robbie, he's a smart kid. We love him so much, and we're glad he had a fun birthday! A little about Robbie:
- He is very kind. He pays attention to how other people feel, and tries to make sure nobody feels bad.
- He loves to figure things out. Always wants to know how things work and what they do. He absolutely loves the show "How It's Made" and will pay close attention when it's on. He's been drawing a lot of factories lately.
- He has always loved animals and treated them well. Some of this he learned from his sister, but I think he's also just naturally drawn to them.
- He has a lot of faith. Often times if something is wrong or if someone is hurt, he will light up and say, "I know! We can ask Heavenly Father to help!" And then after the problem is resolved, he'll remember where the help came from.
- He is terribly funny! And he knows when to tease or turn on the charm.
- He adores his big sister. That probably comes easily because she's super nice to him. As parents, Rob and I love to see how he looks up to her.
We love you, Robbie!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


We went camping at Knoll Lake a couple of weeks ago. It was nice as usual! It never rained, never got too hot, and wasn't super-cold at night. Not much to talk about, so I'll just post pictures.

Kids on a log:

Wildlife... lady bugs:

A caterpillar... Robbie let it crawl on his tummy & all over the place for about a half hour before I finally had him put it in a tree. He laughed his head off when it would crawl around his neck! He was very gentle with it.
We even brougt swimsuits and got in the lake this time! It was COLD. We couldn't stay in very long, but when we go back in few weeks, it should be better. I'm noticing how nasty and green the water looks in the pictures, but it really wasn't disgusting, I promise.

See? That's not gross.

We got a good campsite. Near the bathrooms, but not TOO near, if you get my drift. (and drift is exactly what I'm talking about - no thanks!) The kids' tent is behind the screen room, and you can see part of our tent off to the right. We love our new tent - I have to take a picture from the inside next time because that thing's huge!

OK, so that's a terrible picture, with the shadows & everything. I didn't take too many this time. We had a great time! Nobody was sick with the Plague of the Public Pool like last year, and it was just the getaway we needed.
We're planning another trip in July, so stay tuned.