Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello & Goodbye

New Year's was pretty fun this year for us. Dan's little brother, Cory and his family, are visiting from out of town (the Air Force has them stationed in Italy) so it was a real treat to be able to spend time with their little family. PLUS!! Fireworks are legal in Arizona this year!! So of course all the men were so excited to put on a little show for the kids. They couldn't wait until midnight to light them off, they ended up doing it at about 10pm (they said it was because they didn't want to disrupt the neighbors at midnight! I think they just couldn't wait any longer. The kids loved the show. Except - it was FREEZING. It was 26 degrees outside when we were doing this.

Olivia LOVED the sparklers! She probably went through 20 all by herself! I am super disappointed in them though because when I was a kid they were bigger and the lasted ten times longer! These ones are not even big enough to write your whole name in the air with. Lame.

So 2010 was tough. I don't know many people that had a particularly profitable 2010. Most of our family and friends are working hard and doing the best they can to stay afloat and we are right there with them.

        Dan worked hard all year long to get good grades so that he can graduate in 2011 with his Nursing degree.  He really enjoys the field and really is thriving. I am so proud of him. In December he became eligible to take his LPN exam and start working as a LPN while he is finishing school if he wants too. The jury is still out on if he wants to do that or not. I might be better to just keep pushing forward on school. School is taking so much of his life, I have a hard time imagining him trying to fit a job in there too. 
         I graduated in June (at the top of my class) from PMI with a certificate to be a Medical Assistant. I enjoy the field immensely, I was frustrated with the work and disgusted by the pay. After all that school and hard work we discovered it would end up costing us money for me to work as an MA (as long as Olivia was needing Daycare) Unfortunately, MA's are a dime a dozen these days and so they are often paid very little. So in August, I started back to school at Chandler-Gilbert. I decided to bite the bullet and go for it. I have always wanted to be a Certified Nurse Midwife. Why do I keep waiting and putting it off? No more. I could be done already if I would have just done it long ago.
         Ryleigh, of course, had an amazing year. She started Junior High in 2010 and turned 12 and joined Young Women's, and managed to pull off all A's and B's in school. She consistently chooses amazing friends and is a constant light in our life. In the Fall she made the Girls Softball team for her Junior High and we are currently enjoying those games.
        Spencer, started 4th grade and turned 10 this year. He is hilarious and has such a great attitude. He continued to amaze us with his baseball abilities and how smart he is.... that sounded bad - because I know that he is smart but he is really really really smart. One day this year he started talking to me about the different layers of the Earth and I was blow away that he can retain that kind of information.
         Ethan started 3rd grade this year and it was tough. We actually had a meeting with his teacher about possibly sending him back down to 2nd grade. He is very very young for his grade and so we thought that it was just too much for him right now but after our little meeting with his teacher and a discussion with him about what it expected in third grade he turned it right around. He has been a phenomenal student ever since, with all A's and one B at the end of the semester. He also turned 8 in August and Dan was able to baptize him. It was a special day.
      Olivia turned 3 right at the end of the year.  She is absolutely hysterical. She says the most random and off the wall things and has us rolling on the floor at least twice a day. She has a little "potty" mouth (she says sentences like "What the crap?" and "what the freaking heck?". Its funny how it doesn't seem so bad coming out of an adult mouth but them it sounds terrible coming from a toddlers mouth.

Hopefully 2011 will bring new beginnings! Daniel will graduate in August and hopefully be able to be find a job with the VA (thank you for being a disabled Vet!) and in June we are hoping to move into a bigger house! I will be able to apply for the Maricopa Nursing program in May (there is a 2 year wait list! :( ) and the kids will continue on their little happy lives!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

 I love Christmas Eve. It is full of traditions - one of my favorites is new jammies! My kids were all pretty excited for them this year, I love how they have all caught on that they  will be getting PJ's on Christmas Eve so they are are pumped for it! No let down that it is just clothes....

We went with a Monkey theme this year, and it all started because of Ryleigh. She requested feetie Pajamas, and we found these awesome red ones that have sock moneys on the feet and then we found the same theme in all the other kids sizes. I love that they all match - it is so cute! 

 Merry Christmas from our little Monkeys!

...oh, and I couldn't help putting this one in here, she is waiting for me to get the camera ready.


Our family, and about 4 million other Arizonians, went to Zoolights last night. This was a first for me and my kids, but the rest of our family were seasoned pros.
I was surprised at how neat it was. I loved it!
Apparently Christmas Eve Eve was the night to go to Zoolights. We had to walk almost a whole mile ( said it was .89 miles from where we parked to the Zoo front gates) just to get inside - plus we had to wait in line to buy our tickets for over an hour... then we perused the zoo
  for the next hour and then we walked the mile back to our cars! We left my Grandparents home at 6:30 (and grandpa was hoping to be home to get to watch the Suns game at 8:30) and we didn't get back to their place for Hot Chocolate and Doughnuts until 10:30!!
Overall I think it was totally awesome and my kids had a great time, and I am totally in awe of what they can do with Christmas Lights. It is beautiful!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Three Years Old Already!

I can't believe that our little Lula ( I don't quite remember how she came about that nick-name) is
 3 years old
 today. It seems like just yesterday but yet so long ago that she was born on a dreary Corvallis, Oregon day, back when the Beavers had a good Baseball & Football team!
There was a time that we thought we would only have three children and we were quite content with them but now I could not even imagine a life without her. She is a light in our family and I love her to pieces. Plus, she is absolutely hilarious.
I love you Lou Lou!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

This year was a fantastic Thanksgiving year! I LOVE Thanksgiving! It has always been one of my favorite holidays and this year did not disappoint me. All the men in Dan's family went Elk hunting over Thanksgiving day so we had to have our big dinner the Saturday before (which was great because then I got to have another Thanksgiving with my family on Thursday) and we celebrated over at Adam and Aubrey's. I made the turkey this year and it was AWESOME! If I don't say so myself. 
I was really good at taking a bunch of pictures with Dan's family but I totally forgot to take them at my family's party. It was equally fun and delicious though and can I just say - I LOVED that I didn't have to worry about rushing to someone else's Thanksgiving. I was able to Eat, Sleep and be Merry on both days!

So here are some pictures from the first Thanksgiving:

Gramma Kaye: Our family matriarch.
She loves her children and grandchildren so much and we can all feel her love and compassion for us. I am thankful for her.
I am also thankful for Thanksgiving football games in the backyard. I am grateful that the grown-ups come out to play with the kids - what great examples they are. 

 Dan has 3 sisters but only 2 of them live here in Arizona and sadly we don't get to see them as often as we should, they are phenomenal ladies though, and my kids really love both of their aunties. Nicole (left) is Dan's oldest sister and the kids all call her Coco - Olivia LOVES her! She is the best at spoiling and loving unconditionally. Kaela (middle) is a great aunt too. We see her even less than Nicole, mainly because she lives more than a 2 minute drive from us and she works a funky schedule, but that doesn't stop her from being amazing to the kids too and they know that she is awesome.

Miss Olivia

Ryleigh (with her Chocolate Silk Pie)


 I have some pretty fantastic nieces too. I get the privilege of knowing Ashley and Jayda on a different level since we are neighbors. Thankfully, Daniella (who is painfully shy) actually came up to me and gave me a hug on Thanksgiving - and she looked me in the face! yeah!!!  

We tried our best to stack the kids up and get a fun picture but it was just not happening. Someone might have gotten a better picture than this, but this was the best one off my camera. We are missing Maddox and Kingsley (Cory & Hayley's boys) because they live out of town but I did hear they are coming for a visit soon, so we will have to recreate this then!
My nephews are pretty great too! They are all the same age practically so they can play with each other FOREVER! Sometimes they do argue a little about the activity they are going to do (usually because Spencer always wants to have his way... or no way)
This was the clearest picture I had of Joel - he is a wild child!

And of course Dan has a little brother that is a year older than Ryleigh, so even though he is technically their uncle we always group him together with the nieces and nephews. He doesn't seem to mind - yet.


Funny thing: I let Ammon take my camera around a take some picture with it (I think he is really into photography) and when I uploaded my pictures I had about 20 shots of Ironman on the trampoline in different positions - so I decided to post a few...

Friday, November 19, 2010


Ryleigh had softball tryouts this week and she found out today that she


We couldn't be more proud right now.  We are so excited for her and can't wait to watch some competitive softball!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Halloween - oops!

I can't believe that I have not posted Halloween. It seems like I can go for months struggling to come up with stuff to post to this blog and then all of the sudden I have 20 things that I need to post all at the same time! But I like everything to have their own days - so I try to space out the posts.
Anyways, so here is Halloween Finally.
 Spencer went as Harry Potter. He is really into Harry Potter right now, I think it is because he is finally at an age where he can read the books and really understand what is actually happening in the story and it is really a fascinating story - if you have not read the books then do it! The movies do it no justice - if you think they are good, then you are in for a real treat.
 Ryleigh was a Salsa Dancer. cha cha cha. A friend of mine makes herself a costume every year from scratch and then lets Ryleigh and my other nieces go through her box of old costumes each year. I am grateful for that because I don't know what is going on with costumes for older girls but they are horrible! They are so trashy.
 Olivia was Pebbles Flintstone. I actually made this costume myself. Thankfully it was pretty basic, thanks to prehistoric designs. I thought she looked great and she loved it. Olivia was very unsure about Halloween this year before Halloween, she did not like the scary stuff at all.... but then she learned the magic words "trick or treat" and you get candy and now she is all over it! She asks me if we can go trick or treating at least every other day.
 Ethan was a dementor from Harry Potter. He pretty much just likes to be the nemesis of whatever Spencer is going to be. As long as it is scary. Ethan likes creepy gross things and Spencer wants to be the happy fun things so it works out pretty well for them. The only bummer was everywhere we went he couldn't wear his mask - rrg. So he just looked like a weird-o in a black dress.
Since Halloween was on a Sunday this year it kinda messed with things a little. Thankfully our ward puts together a pretty fun Halloween party that we went to the week before Halloween and then on the Saturday before Halloween we went over to my grandparents house for a little Halloween party that they put on for the kids and then we went over to their stake trunk or treat, which turned out to be a blast.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Ryleigh is playing softball this season. It has been a tough season for their little team. The fall season is always a little tough for regular players because club teams are allowed to come in an play as a team and coaches that recruit teams before the season can then sign up as a team. Since we were not a part of either Ryleigh just got assigned to a team of girls. The girls on the team are great but they have never worked as a team together and it shows. Unfortunately they have lost every game so far (and Thursday is the last game) but it seems that they are all still having fun playing.
 This season Ryleigh has taken to catching. She says that she loves it, and that makes me happy. Originally their team had a girl that wanted to be the catcher, and she was excellent at it, but after they lost their first game she quit the team. So Ryleigh stepped up to the plate (literally) and has stepped in to be the catcher, and she does a great job. I am proud of her.

 But... I think her love is first base. She is great at first base and this season it has been a real workout because most of the throws that come her way are not a straight shot to her, and she is having to run, jump and dive for it.
 She is a great hitter! She loves to bat and she is pretty aggressive at it. In fact at her last game she hit a GRAND SLAM! yep! That's right. The bases were loaded and she smacked that ball all the way to the fence! I was a proud mama!
 The fun part of this season is that Ashley & Jayda (cousins) are playing too! We are 1/3 of the team! haha! The girls are so cute to watch play together.  This is their first year playing and both of them have really made such huge improvements. Jayda has actually started pitching and she is good! She is probably the best pitcher on our team. She really loves softball, I think, and will probably go on to play in the spring. Ashley is so fun to watch. She runs like Bambi (in fact that is our little nickname for her) and she is ALWAYS smiling. She is so cute. Ashley's first love is cheer leading, and it shows. I don't think she will be able to continue with softball because it will conflict with cheer, but it has been fun to watch her anyways.

Since Ashley has this amazing gift of height (she might be taller than me - if not , she is as tall as me) and so she can almost ALWAYS draw a walk. We can always count on her to be the base runner we need.
 At our last game Jayda was pitching and she got smacked in the face with the ball - and lets just say it was a bloody mess. She very calmly covered her face and walked off the field and her dad and the coach got her some ice and stopped the bleeding. We had to stop the game for about 5 minutes to help her out but since our team is missing a player we couldn't continue without her. So as soon as she stopped bleeding....
 She walked back out there and pitched the rest of the inning, and she did an amazing job! I think she struck the rest of the batters out!

So Ryleigh is going to try out for her Junior High Softball team next week, and I will keep you posted on how that goes.