Thursday, November 29, 2012


With Shyla starting preschool this year, we thought it would be a good idea to get her in a routine of doing homework.  As a young girl, I loved homework (NERD ALERT!) and I want to instill in her a love of learning and I also hope if we can make it a routine now, we may prevent some fights in the future - PROACTIVE PARENTING!

So I bought her a preschool level workbook and told her she needed to start doing homework each night.  She got SO excited!  {and my heart grew 10 sizes that day!}  She assumed that her teachers sent the book home for her, and I didn't correct her, so she bought into it big time!

I thought we would do 1-2 pages each night.  She decided to do more like 9-10 pages each night.  Sometimes she just colors and other times she lets me go through the directions with her and she follows them.  I figure, for now, either is fine.  We are setting the routine and she is excited about homework.

This also brought back a flood of memories for me.  I very distinctly remember being little and watching Chelsea sit at her desk doing homework.  How I longed to have homework of my own!  Perhaps you feel more loved by your teacher if they are willing to send work home?  I don't know - by 6th grade kids sure don't feel like that!

So, are you wondering what Harper is doing while Shyla is doing her homework?  Well, she's just hanging around.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

School Pictures!

Since the primary reason for this blog is to share pictures, I thought it fitting to share the most recent school pictures.

When Shyla was at daycare, she cried every time they had school pictures.  Thus, I thought this baby-school picture of Harper was a success!  She looks a little unsure of the situation, but she's not crying at least.  And I happen to think that her ponytail and shoes look adorable!

Knowing this would be Shyla's first preschool picture, we talked about it for days to get her ready.  I had a different outfit picked out but, of course, she had her own decision made.  I was actually thrilled she wanted to wear her mexican dress again!  Ms. Jessica mentioned to me that Shy had done a great job smiling for the camera and boy she was right!  This picture captures Shyla's true essence!  Her smile, long bangs, and bags under her eyes!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

We have so, so, so much to be thankful for.

This was a fairly typical Thanksgiving around here.  I got a 40 minute run done (about 4 miles), then Stevie went for a 43 minute run (about 6 miles).  After nap-time we headed over to my parents house where my mom had prepared dinner for about 30 adults and these 4 lovelies:

Aren't they cute sitting at the kid's table?  It breaks my heart to know that at some point they will, one-by-one, decide they are too cool for the kid's table.

Dinner was, of course, delicious and then we had playtime.

We are so lucky to have each other and are thankful for the lives we lead - on Thanksgiving and everyday.

Friday, November 23, 2012


"Sisters share childhood memories, and grown-up dreams."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fall Vacation: Day 2: Polar Express

The main reason for this mini-vacation was to take the girls on a trip to the North Pole aboard the Polar Express.  So, Saturday we left Scottsdale and drove to Williams, AZ (about 2 hours away).

We tried to get the girls to pose together by the railway sign:

We had a dinner buffet before the train and a breakfast buffet after.  It was yummy and well worth the cost.

Grandma and Grandpa had sent new jammies for all the kids to wear!  Don't they look cute all together?

We were so lucky to be together and to occupy 4 benches so the kids could move around a bit as they pleased.

Harper had a good time.  She obviously didn't understand the train part, story, or Santa.  But she just likes being with her cousins.  And she LOVED the cookies.

Shyla spent the majority of the ride to the North Pole looking for it out the window.

O.M.G.  My girls hugging across the bench!

Me and Stevie - with no kids on our laps.  Weird.

Santa came and gave each child a bell.  Harper tried, repeatedly, to eat hers.  Shyla wanted a candy cane instead.

Sunday morning, after breakfast and a Western Gun-Fight that the girls were both indifferent to, we packed up for the 4.5 hour drive home.

Overall it was a great trip.  We enjoyed the Polar Express and think we will do it again in a few years.

PS - aren't these just the cutest feet you've ever seen?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Fall Vacation: Day 1: Back at the Resort

After the fun at the Children's Museum we headed back to the resort.  Both girls fell asleep in the car, which meant they didn't take real naps back at the hotel.  After eating a quick lunch and resting a bit, we decided to go to the playground.  I really liked this playground because it was tightly gated in (i.e. no way to escape) and there was only one place Harper could fall off.  I sat in that one place so the girls could pretty much run wild and free.

I LOVE watching them play and laugh together!

Notice Shyla's sweatshirt says, "Jump and Spin."  Fitting.

Harper loves to do whatever Shyla does - they both laughed hysterically after Harper took this shoe to the face!

HA!  HA!  Look at this picture!  Stevie said she looked like a porcupine!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Fall Vacation: Day 1: Children's Museum

Last weekend we took a short vacation that started out in Scottsdale, finishing up the last of our 2012 timeshare.  We stayed at the Sheraton Desert Oasis because Kierland wasn't available.  It was nice, but definitely not as family-friendly as Kierland has always been.

We drove up after work on Thursday.  Basically that evening we just had time for baths (in the giant jacuzi tub with the jets), a little playtime, and then bedtime.

The real fun started Friday!  As the girls started waking up, I decided to let Stevie sleep in a little bit.  But as soon as I got Harper out of her crib and got her jammies off, I realized she was going to need a bath!  Shyla and I went into the bedroom and started getting the water ready (yes, the tub was in the bedroom).  She was excited to be helping with Harper's bath, but somehow managed to get her thumb caught in the faucet resulting in this cut, a lot of screaming, and an awoken Stevie.

But, we got passed all that trauma and made it to the Children's Museum of Phoenix!  Shyla was super excited to see the 3-story tall climbing structure and immediately she and Stevie started making their way through it while Harper and I played down below.  Unfortunately, not long after that Stevie carried her out of the structure.  They both looked a bit shocked.  She was crying and they both had blood on them.  Yep, blood.  Shyla had tripped and hit her face on a pretend boat.  It looked as if she had just bitten her lip - turns out it was a little worse than that and you can see the pictures below.

 Notice the blood on Stevie's shirt?  It's on the back too!  We ended up throwing the shirt away.  Throughout our visit at the museum I kept pretending people weren't noticing and staring at us!

And now for a few pictures of the injury:

 The elbow took a good beating, apparently, but she never once complained about it.

This is what the inside of her mouth looked like on Saturday morning.  From Friday through Monday she would cry every time she ate or drank anything (even cookies!).

And here you can see the teeth marks on her bottom lip where we thought most of the damage was originally.  I took her to the dentist today to have it looked at.  Turns out she likely pushed the baby tooth up into the gums a bit and it may fuze with the adult tooth.  Not a big deal though - when it's time for the baby tooth to come out they just may have to pull it and fix any staining on the adult tooth.

The Children's Museum of Phoenix was really cool!  But, I must admit it was a bit overwhelming and very costly.  I don't think I would ever want to go there without Stevie, like I do to the Tucson museum, but I'm glad we went!

The rest of Friday was spent at the resort.  More on that later.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Bumps, Abscesses, and New Jammies!

Ahhhh life.  Here are a few things that have been going on in our lives:

Harper is using her head as a brake.  Forehead first into everything, resulting in bruises, of course.  She's obviously not fazed.

Pancake somehow ended up with a big abscess on her nose.  After a trip to the vet, $150 later, and 10 days of antibiotics, it seems to be healing.  She's such a good dog though - letting me squeeze and clean it (with a cookie afterward, of course).

And, it's finally cooling off enough to get new jammies!  We had 1 cold night so I went out a bought new blanket-sleepers for both girls.  I was surprised that Shyla chose the footed-jammies over the 2-piece Minnie Mouse ones, but these will definitely keep them warm and will get us through the winter.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Our OCC Boxes

Have you heard of Operation Christmas Child?  It's a program through Samaritan's Purse and I am shocked that this was the first year I heard anything about it.

I probably say this every year but when I was little one of the most important parts of the holiday season was choosing my "Christmas Angel" from the tree at church to buy gifts for.  Thankfully my parents had the means to help with this charity every year because it really instilled in me the desire to do good for others.  

Now, as a parent myself, I want my girls to grow up knowing that there are others out there who don't have everything they have.  Far too often we think about people who have more than us, instead of focusing on those who have less.

But I have struggled, and truthfully failed, at doing this.  Thus, I'm glad to have found this organization that sends Christmas boxes to needy kids all over the world.  

So here's what we did:
One afternoon Shyla was making poor choices and then pronounced that she needed Starbucks.  So she and I went to the store but instead of getting Starbucks, we filled our basket with things for other little girls.  We spent most of our time in the dollar section of Target but we also hit up the arts & crafts section and then Big Lots.  I gave Shyla the brochure so she knew nothing was for her and she could see pictures of little kids holding their boxes.
We decided to fill 2 boxes - one from Shyla and one from Harper.  Simple shoe boxes filled with the following things:
pens, socks, a puzzle, toothbrushes, toothpaste, band-aids, crayons, coloring book, sunglasses, pencil case, wash cloth, soap, chap-stick, book, playing cards, stickers, and a little picture and note from us.

We packed the things into 2 normal shoe boxes that we had laying around and attached a scanable tag.  We paid the $7 shipping online and linked it to my email address.  If all goes well, we will receive an email telling us where our boxes were delivered to (insert geography lesson here!)

I am always looking of ways to make Christmas more about helping others and less about getting gifts. If you have thoughts or ideas, I'd love to hear them in the comment section.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Halloween 2012

The Halloween season started off great!  Shyla decided she wanted to be a bumblebee after she saw a costume at Old Navy.  It was $15.  Boom.  Done.  And we even picked out a flower costume for Harper.  Shyla said she would kiss and hug Harper a lot, to simulate the pollination process.  How freakin' cute is that?

The first festivity we had was on October 19th.  Right after soccer practice we changed into her costume and drove back to Vail for Spooktacular at her preschool.  As always, I was mostly glad we went to see her interact with her friends.  It was cute, but short.  Everyone loved her costume because she looked adorable and because her classroom is called the Busy Bees.

The weekend after Spooktacular Shyla had a destructive tantrum.  These have become fewer and fewer (thankfully).  Sadly, the bumblebee costume took the brunt of the tantrum and was ripped up.

Her consequence was no more Halloween.  And we stuck to it.  It broke my heart to take Harper trick-or-treating with her cousins and no Shyla, but we had to stick to the consequence.  We were not going to buy her another costume (no way!) and we were not going to let her go trick-or-treating without a costume (no way!).  I know there were certain people (ahem, mom) who thought we were being unreasonable but we had to do it.

So, Harper and I went to the party at my parent's house and visited about 5 houses for candy, while Shyla stayed home with Stevie and handed out candy in our neighborhood.  The worst part was my family not being together on a special day.

Aside from all that, I just wanted to share this as it was really true this year especially:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My Girls - Professional Photos!

A few weeks ago we had professional photos done of this girls by my friend Torey.  We met her at the beautiful Agua Caliente Park for a mini-session.  A mini-session is 30 minutes, which I think is plenty for any photo-shoot with kids! In no particular order, here are the results:

If you are in the Tucson area and are looking for a reasonably priced photographer who is really good with kids, check out Torey's facebook HERE.