This is my simple photo journal. I like to take pictures and once a month or more, I load them onto this blog so that we can remember some of our family highlights.


We got to have Tom's dad over for dinner tonite. His mom is out of town, so we got the chance to take care of him a little. Isaac took great care in setting Papa's place at the table, with extra napkins "because he's old." Unfortunately, Isaac reminded Papa that "you are really old", several times. We'll have to have a little talk about manners later.
We brought out our "table topic" cube and enjoyed having Papa answer a couple questions: What is one of your scariest experiences? How did your family decide to settle in your hometown? He had great stories to share for both. Ross has an amazing ability to recall such detail from his youth. We actually have a lot of them recorded in a big book that sits in our family room. It motivates me to keep on top of journaling.
And as the picture depicts, Papa had to have a little visit from the parakeets. He was a great sport to put up with all the "really old" comments, my cooking, and parakeets perching on his shoulder. We hope he'll come again(:


Summer's Footsie Fixin'

Thanks Summer, for another Footsie Fixin' day. She put up a sign-up sheet on Saturday night. We all signed up for our pedicures. I'm sure her little hands were tired out after all the TLC she gave our feet.


Sun Splash

Today we spent the day at the annual company Sunsplash party. Plenty of sun, sliding, friends & family. I hardly saw the three older kids, they were off running with the pack. I did get to enjoy Isaac. He started out slow and cautious, but by the end was fearless. He wanted to try everything and I loved watching it unfold.
By the end of the day, he's was up for anything and everything.


With no school today (April Break) we thought it would be a good time to get Cole's braces put on. He went in at 7 a.m. and came out 3 hours later with these beauties. This is his second set. Just before Kindergarten, he had a bad bike accident and it messed up his gum line and teeth from properly growing in, so we put braces on and it corrected it.
After braces were done, he went straight to Ukulele class. Their great instructor, Adam, is leaving for a mission this summer. This was a jam session to get them comfortable and ready for their upcoming recital. Thanks to Adam, Ben, and Uai for running such a great ukulele course for these boys. Thanks to Aunt Janet for being the best hostess, Uke tuner, and jamba juice provider. They'll always remember this fun class!


I got to go to the AZ Science Center with Cole's sixth grade class today. The bus ride was interesting, watching some girls try to sneak taking a picture of Cole. He wasn't amused. His friend, Rex (on the bus) is perfectly normal, despite the faces he gave my camera. He has the best sense of humor and cracked me up all day.

We got to see the Titanic exhibit. It is really worth seeing. They give you a boarding pass as you enter with the name of a real passenger, their reason for traveling on the Titanic, age, class, etc. They have some really interesting artifacts that were salvaged. At the end of the exhibit there is this huge replica of an iceberg and you can feel how cold it was for those in the water. There is also the list of survivors and deceased. We all looked to see whether we survived or not. The kids loved it and the group I was in charge of, walked through the exhibits as if we were really those people. The kids loved it. It gave the whole thing more meaning.

La La La ..... I 'm Lame

Last night was our school's "Spring Sing." And here's the part I am not proud to admit- I try to talk my kids out of going every year. I know ---I'm lame. I try to reason that it is only "suggested" and not required to attend. I tell them it is for kids that don't get chances to sing or perform. It is crowded, never enough seats left. Summer suggested that I could just drop them off or they could walk to it. O.K., I am really lame. They were just excited to go and see their friends all dressed up and outside the walls of school. I would of felt the same way and here I am dragging my feet to go watch my kids sing some really cute songs---they even do parts. We went, minus Cole because he was doing a merit badge in scouts. I was so glad that I went. They both did their best to show Mom how happy they were to be there and they were darling. I will do better to not be so lame again.


My Helper Today

I was getting ready for a YW Board meeting/luncheon at my house this afternoon. As I was running around cleaning, finishing the salad, cutting the dessert..... Ike tugged on my shirt and asked what he could do to help me get ready for my party. I gave him a rag and told him to do what he thought needed to be done for a party. This is what he came up with: shiny walls, clean floors, and something to read. He asked me how many would be at my party, ran up to his room, then came down from his room with a stack of books for each person to read. He stuck with cleaning the whole time I did. He actually really was a help and did a good job on the floor. I had to post this before I went to bed tonite, so I would always remember how he melted my heart today.


When I was growing up, we never took our car to a car-wash. My family always washed the family car and occasionally washed my dad's beat up work truck. When we were older, the kids took over the responsibility at least twice a month. I remember the big bucket of soapy water, old frayed wash clothes and towels, tons of paper towels, blue windex and the almighty industrial wet/dry vac. All this while the car's FM stereo would be blasting KZZP 80s tunes.
These memories came flooding back as I watched my kids wash the car. Summer came up with the idea because it sounded like something fun to do. Every one of the kids, jumped at the idea with Meg happily stating, "Why pay to have your car washed, when you have kids to do the work for you." OK, true! I guess the opportunity cost has always made going to the car wash the logical choice. I never thought of the fun it could be for my kids.
After gathering the essentials, un-kinking the hose, positioning the car, and pumping everyone up with good music...they began. They all got to experience the POWER OF THE HOSE, how slippery the hood of the car can be, how slippery concrete can be when your running away from the one with the hose, and how hard it is to get windows streak-free.
I loved watching them work together, iron out disagreements about their plan of attack, delegate the hose, and just have fun. I don't think I'll be giving up the car wash, but it's a fun thing to do once in a while.


We celebrated our tie and ice cream tradition tonite. Our nephew Mike is leaving this week to serve a mission in NYC. It's a great way to say goodbye. We all bring him a tie, have a short program, and then top it off with ice cream. Tonite's program included a few thoughts from the cousins he grew up with, a history of the mission he is serving in, a story read by Adam, and then we heard from Mikey. He shared with us some reasons why he would stay and the more powerful reasons why he choose to serve a full-time mission. It was so well put and I loved the thought he has put into his decision. A few tears were shed, as Cole put it, by "the crying mom's club."


Cole plays flag football in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring. His flag football and basketball teams have been undefeated and won championships this year. Those seasons are so fun, but not a lot of growth can take place when its all easy and you win every game.
This isn't the case with baseball. There is a lot of learning going on. Cole's on a good team with a great coach, but they don't win every game. And sometimes the team will win, but Cole won't be happy with his own performance. If you know Cole, you know he is very hard on himself. Tom told him, after a disappointing game, that baseball is 75% no action or disappointment----25%reward. You just have to get over your errors, so you can be there for the team.
A few years ago, Cole had a rough first year in majors. He was the youngest and smallest on the team and I wanted to protect him from the disappointments that came with his mistakes. Tom and I were in knots every time he got up to bat. When the next year rolled around, I assumed baseball wasn't our sport. Tom talked Cole into giving it another shot. He wanted him to know the game of baseball and to learn from the game. Now we are in our final season of majors. We enjoy the rewards and work through the disappointments.
Last night, Cole came in to relieve the pitcher in a tough situation, with no outs and a runner on base. Tom and I looked at eachother, oh no. After he walked 2 batters, I watched him battle the nerves, with big deep breaths and the shake of his head. And then a thought popped into my head....these are the exact situations I want him to face. As hard as these are to watch, I want him to do hard. It will help him handle bigger and harder situations down the line. Even though he was alone on the mound, he still had his team, coaches, and parents giving him encouragement. Isn't that how life is?
He got out of the inning by striking out 2 big hitters. He held their lead and they won 9-4. Wheew! Tom, Cole and I were all relieved.
There are going to be many more of these "growing" experiences for all of us.


Neighborly Love

Tom's birthday had to include a warm butter cake delivered from our neighbor, Melody. A few months ago, she heard that one of our favorite desserts, ever, was the warm butter cake at Mastro's. It is unreal. So Melody went there one night, tried it, and was determined to copy it. Over the next few months, she would make us butter cake prototypes. They were all good, but not quite like Mastro's cake with a caramelized crunch on the top and a soft gooey inside. There was no mistaking the original.

Finally, after a couple of months, she perfected it. The first time she brought over the final version, she told me to grab some ice cream out of my freezer to eat it with. When I carried in a big tub of generic vanilla ice cream, she was horrified and would not allow us to pair that with her cake. So, now she brings over the cake with a gallon of "quality" ice cream and fresh fruit to eat it with. Its our family's favorite. I don't even want the recipe, its too dangerous.


More April Birthday Shout Outs! Two of my favorite guys share a birthday on Saturday, Tom and my brother Clint. A request was made and not granted.....

Tom: "How 'bout for my birthday present you don't do a birthday post."

Me: "You want to deny me the opportunity to make another collage? I don't think so."

Tom will hate any PDA on this post, but I have to say, I hit the jackpot with him. My life is blessed with him in it.

This is a portion of a collage I made several years ago. The kids and I have fun adding to it over time. Its easy to come up with things we love about him. I thought it would be fun including it in our "blog journal" since it just sits in a filing cabinet right now.

Thanks to Carol for arranging a birthday lunch with everyone. I remembered to take a photo when there were only 5 out of the 9 sisters left. I mainly wanted to get a photo with Ross and Anita in it.

And.........the big 34 for Clint. Probably the thing I love the most about Clint is conversations. He is a superb listener, funny, and the time goes by way to fast with him. It is always hard to tear yourself away from a convo with Clint. Clint has always been gentle, kind, and just plain good. To know Clint is to love him. Most of my happiest childhood memories are with him. We look forward to a celebration dinner with Clint and Meghan tonite. Thanks to Mom and Jack for watching the kids.

Tom and Clint are business partners. Clint works at the Gilbert office and Tom is close at the Mesa one. They have a super staff. This picture is of almost everyone (3 missing).


Aryn is #5 in my family. The day she was born, my mom had the school announce her arrival over the PA system. I was in second grade and that was better than Christmas. I remember her crib bedding, Peter rabbit mobile and the song it played. She was the first baby I have a vivid memory of.
Aryn was a stunning child. People use to stop and comment at how beautiful she was. It is fun to see her in her little girls Ava and Sophie. We wish you a Happy Birthday on Thursday! I am so blessed to have you as my sister.

My aunt Jennifer taught me and my brothers and sisters to swim, and now she is teaching the second generation. This is her 33rd year teaching swimming. She has put up with a lot of wails, screams, pleadings, and run aways, and that was just from my kids. Poor things think they are going to their death. I would stand by and pry little fingers off the pool gate and help place them back in the pool. She just ignores it and calmly talks them through it. I don't know how she does that all day.
Luckily the past two years, Isaac is loving every minute of it. I can just sit and watch him splash and have fun.



We got to cheer on the Diamondbacks vs. Dodgers tonite. We had a ticket with Isaac's name on it, but he chose to stay with Aunt Janet. I think he would of gotten bored after about 20 minutes.
We got there at the end of the first inning (missed 4 runs) and left early (missing 4more runs). Basically we missed all the action and decided we must be bad luck for the D-backs. However, we did get to see Reynolds hit a homerun and watch the fireworks go off. I love watching about 4-6 innings of baseball and then the interest switch turns off. But being there at Chase Field is pretty amazing and the kids loved it. We won 9-3, so it was a great night out.

The Adoption

Last summer Cole bought Snicker the guinea pig. He has taken great care of Snicker, but the thrill is gone. So, he came up with a plan, to have one of the girls adopt Snicker. Summer offered to adopt. Cole printed off an adoption contract for her to sign. I had nothing to do with this.

Unexpectedly Meg, came in with her silver briefcase, and offered to be Summer's lawyer for the signing of the contract.

The ink has dried, it is now official. Summer is the proud new owner of Snicker.


Conference Weekend

Our primary made conference packets for all the kids and they were a hit. We pulled them out on the Sunday morning session and it kept them all occupied. Tom and I just had our kids sit down and listen to one session and then to the prophet speak at the end. They just can't come in and prevent Tom and I from watching the rest. If they do, they are invited to sit down and watch with us.
I just love conference more and more. I particularly loved Elder Oaks, Elder Holland, and Elder Bednar. And what mother didn't appreciate Elder Ballard's?

Tom and Cole attended their first priesthood session together.

Our Neighbor's Yard

Right next door, we have a reclusive grumpy single man. He will not answer his front door and does not venture out, except to complain about something. We, personally, have not had a run it with him, but he's had problems with others on our street.
I look at the nice big house, he occupys, and dream of the neighbors we could have living right next door. I would love for a big family to move in. We have had several great families ask about his house and mention they would be interested if it were for sale.
Another source of building frustration is the jungle yard, It is never mowed, trimmed, or clean. It looks like an abandoned house. Tom and I have been trying to figure out what we can do. We are not the type to call the city and complain. One reason we loved this neighborhood is that there are no HOAs- we hate them. He won't answer his front door, so we have thought about leaving a note. Our frustration led to Tom making a bold move. He grabbed Cole and told him they are just going over there to "get it done." Cole was a little scared about what our neighbor might do (we don't even know his first name). I told him he would be fine.... your with dad. As soon as I heard the mower, I cowardly watched from my front porch to see if he would emerge out of his house to investigate. They got about 1/2 way through, when grumpy neighbor came driving out of his driveway. I hid on my porch and watched Tom talk to him through his car window for a few minutes. He drove away a few minutes later and then I came scurrying over to see what was said. Tom said he was real nice and was grateful for the help. Tom just explained that he has a 12 year-old son that is a great lawn mower and yard worker, and we'd like to help you out. Joe (Tom found out his name and even got a cell phone number for him) offered to pay Cole, which Tom refused. Soon , Meg and Summer came out and started pulling weeds and Ike carried over our broom and gave a good effort of sweeping. Even the guys that we hired to remove some trees, at our house, jumped in and helped us finish. Instead of teaching our neighbor a lesson, we taught ourselves a better one. Our frustration in neighbor Joe melted away and we found ourselves just happy to help him out. Ideally, Joe will hire lawn maintenance, but if he doesn't Tom and Cole are willing to take it on.
I tried to take pictures without Tom and the kids seeing


T-ball Season Begins

(Ok, I know I am a little excited to use my new photo shop software. I have wasted way too much time and neglected things of actual importance in trying to figure it out.)
To say Isaac is excited to start t-ball is an understatement.
O b s e s s i v e non-stop commentary and analysis about every aspect of t-ball.We got his uniform today and he suggested I take some pictures.
With the start of competitive sports for him, I wondered what kind of player he would be. At this age, Cole was more interested in the lady bugs crawling on the clover in the field.

However, after our first T-ball game, with Isaac, it was obvious that he will never be looking for ladybugs. He'll be smashing them as he tackles his teammates for the ball. He even threw his hat to the ground and huffed and puffed in a circle when they didn't throw him the ball at first base. I looked at my other kids, giggling, and said "We can't let him think this is cute or funny, right?" They got the message. Tom took Ike aside after the game and gave him his first "good sportsman" talk. We love the competitiveness, not the attitude. For 90% of the game he was so fun to watch. He would flash us his cute smile and a thumbs up when he would make it to first base running. It was the best hour of entertainment for all of us.
On the way to his second game, he told me that he as going to cheer on his teammates and smile a lot. I am happy to say that he had a much happier game the second go around.


This is my neighbor and friend, Melody, and today was her birthday. We went to lunch to celebrate. She got 5 aprons as gifts! Apparently we were all on the same wave length.
Melody is so fun & talented. I love living by her and working with her in young womens. We all love her, especially Ike. He loves to go visit her. She spoils him and always celebrates his arrival at her door. He never comes home without a popsicle or treat in hand. Last week he begged to go pay her a visit. I told him not today (she had company staying with her and was doing a wedding the next day.) "But Mom, I promise I'll just go over there and ask her if she has some vegetables for me to eat and then leave." True love (if only I believed it for one second).