Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Pinetop Lakeside Vacation

My biological father lives in Lakeside along with pretty much all of his family. Saying 'biological' sounds so impersonal, like we don't know each other, but we do! In fact he was the only father I knew until I was 9. Then my parents got divorced, my mom got re-married and I saw him less and less. Somewhere along the years I started referring to him as Steve, (which is what he calls himself when I talk to him so maybe that is his preference...) and my step-dad adopted me and my two brothers and I started feeling like less a part of his family because I didn't see them anymore. 
It really had not occurred to me the effect this has had on me until I was 30! I always felt like it didn't bother me because my "new" dad loved me so much! (Which he does!!) But now that I am older and a little less concerned with being tough I can say that it has hurt me. It was hard to go from being a part of a family to all of the sudden NOT being a part of the family. I missed them. A lot. I don't think it was anyone's fault that this happened. Divorce was different then. I know everyone thought they were doing what they thought was the best things for us kids. You just never know until its all done. 
Anyways...I missed them! I missed my Aunt & Uncles and my grandparents and COUSINS! So over the past couple of years I have been trying to reach out and bridge that gap but it's hard. It is hard to have missed so much of someones life. 

So when Ethan's club team announced the tournament in Show Low I knew we would have to stop in and see my family up there! I had NO CLUE that they would be SO EXCITED to see us too! My grandparents have 4 spare beds (3 doubles & 1 twin) and so they asked us if we would stay with them and of course I accepted. Dan and the kids were a little anxious about it because they didn't know them, they were worried it would be weird - but it wasn't! They were awesome! It was wonderful. I felt so comfortable and loved. Dan even was amazed at how loving and comfortable it was. It was a little surreal being there because even though the house is a new one since I was little, all the stuff is the same. I had so many memories come rushing back to me just seeing some of the things in their home. Like this:

Yep, that's right. That is my name on that. When I saw this hanging on the wall in the bedroom I started to cry. They have had this in their home for 31 years! They never forgot about me, as a child I always just assumed that they had. There was also pictures of me and my family and little crafts that my mom had made in their home. It was very touching. 

On Saturday after our games we came back to my gramma's house for an early dinner. She had invited the whole (WHOLE!) family over for dinner. It was amazing to see everyone again! Most of these people I have not seen in 20 years at least! It was amazing to me that everyone knew who I was but even their little kids were not shy or curious as to who the heck I was either. 
Tyler, Linda (Cliff's wife), and her son.

Dan talked for EVER with my Uncle David and Cousin Kyle

My Aunt Diana & Me
Kylia - Kyle (my Cousin {David & Diana's son} & Coco's daughter

My cousin JD (The only cousin that is older than me!) and his 3 daughters. {I forget their names...:( } He was like 8 the last time I saw him so I was totally blow away that he is just as old as me! 

 My kids has such a fantastic time just being outside! What is that!??! You can be outside in July???

Olivia was having so much fun with lots of little girls her age!

 After the dinner we drove over to my Aunt Diana & Uncle David's house. They have goats and chickens so the kids thought it was pretty neat to get to milk them and collect eggs (by "kids" I mean Olivia & Ryleigh... the boys ran like little sissies!)
Olivia and Uncle David milking the goat

In their boots to keep their feet clean while milking the goats!

Olivia got to collect eggs!

Feeding the baby goats

 On Sunday morning we met up with Steve and Jennifer (his wife) and my brother Tyler at this place called Darbi's. It was super yummy. I'm not gonna lie. It was some good breakfast. yummm... Steve's claim to fame is the "Stevie boy Potatoes" on the menu. Apparently they are named after him, and if you eat them like he does you will die before you turn 35 years old of a coronary. I had them - a little less "smothered" and they were delicious!
Tyler is constantly laughing at Olivia. Apparently she is funny.

Tyler, Spencer & Ryleigh
My kids with Steve. I guess I should have gotten in there too. oops. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

General's Tournament

Ethan's club ball team decided to play a tournament in Show Low last weekend. It was a blast! Obviously, with it being 115* in the valley it just isn't realistic to play baseball in that heat but the coaches and players wanted to play - so we head North! The weather was awesome! The boys on the Generals all played All-Stars for Chandler National so USSSA let them wear their uniforms for the tournament. Some of the boys were from the North (Grey jersey's) and some were from the South (Maroon jersey's). 

 Ethan played his typicals... second, shortstop, center field, pitcher and Catcher. I guess the list of where he didn't play would be smaller...

After having a rough go at bat during All-Stars I was a little nervous for the tournament! But he was back to himself in no time! 
Ethan on third with Head Coach Chris DeRosa

 ...and then the MAGIC happened.....

My brother, Tyler, came to the game and he asked me when Ethan got up to bat: "So has Ethan hit any home runs?" My reply "uh, no. Not over the fence. That is pretty rare at this age. Usually the only kids in 10U that can put it over the fence are the tubby kids."
No joke - the next pitch - Ethan swings and OVER THE FENCE IT GOES!!!!
I was in shock! I was so in shock that I didn't think to take a picture until he was crossing home plate! I sat with my mouth wide open just watching it sail over the fence! 
 The boys on the team were just as excited as me! They met Ethan at the plate and were so happy for him!
I think Ethan was a little in shock...

After the first game with his home run ball! We got to keep it! :) 

After the first day of games we were all pretty pumped up! Not only did they win both games but they played SO WELL!! I was proud of them and I know they were all proud of themselves! The nice thing about winning was you get to sleep in the next day! 

We came out aggressive on the bracket day! It's single elimination so it was important to win! 
Ethan STOLE home!
 (not a wild pitch or passed ball!) 

Ethan catching
 oh.. and then 
 YEP! That's right! He parked another one over the fence!!! 

 This time I remembered to take pictures... but not until he was rounding 3rd base! 

In the end we WON! We won the whole tournament! We were the champions! It was so fun!!

The Champions!

Ethan with his trophy & his 2 home run balls!!!

Top Left to right: Coach Paul, Tyler, Alec, Keith, Ethan (the other one), Noah, Coach Dixon
Bottom Left to right: Coach Ed, Coach Will, Billy, Marc, Coach Chris, Carter, Ethan, Hayden

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

We had a baby!

Okay... maybe I didn't have a baby... but my little brother did!! This is my first actual blood sibling having a baby so it was a fun moment for me! This baby could potentially look similar to my kids!

Congratulations Devin & Nicole!

After getting kicked out of the room 3 hours ago we were all pretty excited when we saw Devin come out of the doors!!

Devin & Mom - we have a baby!

 Welcome Jason!!

What is not to love about newborn feet prints! 

Devin & Jason
Nicole & Jason
The new Gramma, The new Dad and the Newborn! 3 generations. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

First Day of School

That's right folks! Don't be jealous! Chandler starts school in JULY!!!! I love it! I get mixed reactions from a lot of people about it. But I don't care whatcha'll think! I think it is wonderful. This last week I was just starting to get to the point where I was thinking school was needing to start (fighting, whining, boredom, STARVING children!!) and sure enough it is starting! ALL the kids are in school this year but they are at 3 different schools, and they all start at different times so I couldn't get a picture of them all together! Thank goodness for the digital age - I can create a group shot!

 Ryleigh leaves for school first - at like 6:40am! yeeesh! She is taking her English class online this year so that she can take Seminary without needing a zero hour class, which is awesome for me! No carpool!!! She is a Sophomore. I can't believe it. She is about to get her Driver's permit in about a month and she can hardly stand it. I think I might have a panic attack!
She is a fantastic student! She works hard and she is good at school. Her teachers usually like her, which is a good thing. School is easier when they like you.
She LOVES baseball! Mainly the Diamondbacks and she is near obsessive about Paul Goldschmidtt. The funny thing about that is she has been in love with him since his MLB debut 3 summers ago but this year he seems to be the HOT one! She gets so annoyed when other people like him! She LIKED HIM FIRST! hahaha! She's just awesome! What else can I say!
 The Elementary kids (Ethan & Olivia) leave next, at like 7:50am. This is Ethan's first year of school without Spencer. He is taking like a champ! Who needs a big brother when you are as awesome as this kid?? Ethan is in 5th grade this year and has Mrs. Wood, who also has Spencer as a student (fortunately for Ethan she liked Spencer!). Ethan's best friend isn't in his class but he makes friends easily so I don't see that as being a problem.

Ethan is pretty much a little athlete. He loves all sports. Right now he is about to start up tackle football (next week!). Plus he has a baseball tournament this weekend in Show Low with his club baseball team. His teacher last year would always refer to him as "just a cool kid". I think she's right! He is a cool kid!

 Olivia is beside herself with excitement! She is finally going to kindergarten! She has been waiting for 5 1/2 years already! Her teacher looks like she will be perfect for a little red headed personality in her class. Olivia was so cute picking out her new school clothes and backpack. She even let me do her hair for the first day! (Those of you that know Olivia understand how rare this is!)

Olivia is 5 going on 25! She is so fabulous! One of these days I am going to have an entire blog post of just her selfies/videos/voice memos that I find on her iPod! She is a crack up! I will be interested to see how she does with the structure of school. She is not a conformist! hahaha! That poor school... they have no idea what is coming.....

Spencer is off to Junior High this year! Yep! That is right he's in 7th grade! Can you believe it!!!!??? Ya.. I can't..... but I can. His Junior High seems like it will be a nice transition between elementary and high school. When I was in Jr. High my classes could be on one end of the school and then my next class would be on the opposite side and downstairs! Not here at his school! He gets placed in a "group" and it is a group of 4 core teachers (English, Science, Math & Social Studies) and every kid in his same group have those same core teachers and their classrooms are all within the same vicinity of each other. Then he only has to worry about his elective classes. Doesn't that sound so nice! Where were these people when I was this age!

Jr High has sports so I am really hopeful he will try to go out for some athletics! He is about to start up tackle football in a week too and we are currently looking for a new baseball team for him. He is so awesome! I just love his tender heart and sweet personality! I hope he can be successful in this new stage of life!

Thursday, July 11, 2013


We were SO proud of Ethan this year! He made the Chandler National North All-Star team (10U). The talent of the boys of this team is tremendous! Unfortunately they all seemed to suffer from the same problem... clarity. It seemed like they were all so stressed out about needing to make the play that they would forget simple fundamentals like ball first! The team didn't do very well but I am hopeful that as they grow they will calm down and they will be great by the time they are 12 - and that is when it matters!  (I made a video of the season, scroll to the bottom to watch it!)

Ethan got to play everywhere! He played Shortstop, Second, Catcher, Pitcher and outfield. He really is good at all positions (and that is not just the mom in me!) but his favorite is Catcher! I don't know if it was nerves or what, but Ethan did struggle a bit during this season. His batting was not as strong as it normally is but he also admitted to me that he was trying to hit ground balls instead of balls in the air because that is what the coach told him. Personally, I think that would be a great thing to work on in the regular season but when you are in All-Stars you need to go with what works, and changing stuff up doesn't work. Ethan hits for power, and that means its usually off the ground and into the outfield. He will pop-up occasionally but it's worth it when he gets a double at his next at bat! (end rant!)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Swimming with Ammon

Ammon is house sitting for his neighbor's right now and they have a pretty fun pool! Ammon was so sweet to think of our family last Saturday and called and invited us over to swim! The kids had a blast (and you know what... So did I!!) Olivia learned how to swim this summer over at Mikaela's house and so she was a little fish! Adam & Aubrey brought their kids over too and so we all just hung around, relaxed and played. It was a perfect Saturday! Thanks Ammon! 
Ammon, I can't believe he is 16 now! It's so weird to have him drive over!!!! 

They had this little diving platform on the rocks and Spencer thought he was pretty hot stuff because he could do a back flip off of it! 

 Ethan prefers the less risky game of basketball. ;)

 Ryleigh & Ashley (and Jayda... but she's missing from my pictures) enjoyed floating around and being chitty chatty!

Olivia loves to swim now! She is all about being in the water. 
 The kids started lining up on the slide and going down like a big train and of course we had to get a picture! They just wanted to slide down the slide.... but I held them up! Sorry guys! But then... just as I was about to let them slide down I realized we were missing two!! WAIT!!

Ahh.. Finally! Complete!
 From youngest to oldest: Addisyn, Olivia, Garrett, Ethan, Spencer, Jayda, Ryleigh, Ashley, Ammon

Then I let them go....