Sunday, July 6, 2014

4th of July weekend

We headed out of the valley and up to Flagstaff for the holiday weekend.
Out of the heat, ready for some small town festivities and lots of family time.

We rented a house a little over a mile from the historic downtown.  Our first morning, we walked down for breakfast and explored the area.  William had his first chocolate milk and pecan roll...I think we've created a monster.  

After naps back at the house, we headed out for a late lunch/early dinner at a local brewery.  William was beyond thrilled that we were up close and personal with Route 66 and the trains going by every 15 minutes.  The kids were so well behaved, they earned popsicles while Mom and Dad sampled the local beers.

{4th of July}
On Friday, we were up and out the door early to secure spots at the local 4th of July parade.  It was such a fun event - Flagstaff appears to be a close knit community and it seemed every local business, politician, and service provider had a float.  

Lily and William were thrilled with hot chocolate while Ryan and I sampled the 'favorite' local coffee.  Then we tucked in and waited patiently…a little foot racing, games of tag, and meeting new friends ensued.

Lily met a sweet new friend, who invited her to sit on her wagon…curbside, up close to all the floats and therefore in prime range to gather candy.  How could our girl say no?  William chose to hang out a few steps back with Mom and Dad instead.  His favorite float was the Firetrucks, of course.  "Weee-ooo Weee-ooo Weee-ooo, Fire Tuck!!!"  Repeat ten times.  

Almost immediately after the parade ended, the rain came (it's monsoon season so the clouds tend to roll in mid to late afternoon).  Our family headed back to the house for a rest, then did 'poppers' on our front sidewalk.  That was the extend of the fireworks for us…between the rain and being up early, we decided ordering a pizza and crashing for the evening was the best idea for kids and parents alike.  

After packing up the house and eating breakfast at a local joint, we drove to Snowbowl to play around a bit.  It was upper 60s in town, but mid 50s at the base of the ski resort.  Felt so good, especially knowing we'd be back in the Phoenix heat by the end of the day.  It truly is amazing that we can drive two and a half hours and have more than a 30+ degree swing in temperature. 

After leaving Snowbowl and Flagstaff, we drove Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona.  If you ever visit the area, this is an absolute must.  It's a 25 mile windy road down the mountains following Oak Creak…the views are out of this world and you end up in Sedona, red rock country.  It was also one of the most peaceful parts of the trip…radio silence from the back seat!!
We had a quick lunch with an amazing view, and seriously considering booking a hotel to spend the night.  There is something about Sedona…we felt so relaxed, peaceful, and content, and never wanted to leave!  However, we decided the kids were ready to be home and headed off to Phoenix.  We would end up regretting that decision shortly...

{This is how a photo session normally goes!}

Less than one hour from home, I-17 came to a complete stand still.  And stayed that way for almost three hours.  A horrible, fatal accident a few miles ahead closed both lanes (it's a fairly dangerous drive with lots of up and down mountains, winding roads etc).  We missed the traffic diversion by a matter of minutes, and we were literally the last car in our lane waiting for the highway to open back up.  

However, the kids had a blast running up and down the highway, playing football and making new friends.  Time passed fairly quickly, and we kept saying how lucky we were to have a full tank of gas, lots of water and snacks.  And of course, safe and together.  Always a good reminder to appreciate what you have and be happy in the moment.

{not a bad view!}

A successful family vacation!  Though sometimes stressful traveling with children, we love being together, getting our kids outside of their everyday bubble, and exposing them (and ourselves!) to different cities and ways to live.  We are already considering our next trip!  :)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June happenings

A brief update on a few June happenings:

~Fairchild was in town for work (he comes each June and we love having the excuse to get together each year!).  

~Lots of snuggles from this boy

~Lily attended a Little Glee camp.  After five days of practice, the girls sang and danced to three songs:  Walking on Sunshine, ABC, and Shout!  Lily can be very anxious prior to a new experience so we've been trying to push her a bit this summer, in anticipation of Kindergarten this fall.  Little Glee was her third such activity and she experienced no tears or nervousness the entire week.  We are so very proud of our girl.  And most importantly, she absolutely loved it and wants to do it again soon!

~Nanny was not missing out of Lily's special performance, so booked a last minute flight.  We were beyond thrilled to spend a few days with one of our favorite gals.  

~A favorite spot with Nanny is the Simple Farm.  This will be our last trip until they reopen in the fall, due to the summer heat.  William loves checking out the goats, but the chickens are quickly becoming his favorite.  And I scored some seriously yummy produce!

~No visit would be complete without a trip to the Twisted Lizard, our local watering hole.  Thanks Nanny for taking a pic of the whole family!

~After Nanny left, the kiddos and I joined the neighborhood Mom's group at the greatest show on earth…Ringling Brothers Circus!  Lily swears it was the best day ever and William can't stop talking about the bikes inside the "ball" (eight motorcycles inside a sphere).  

~Finally, we checked out a new-to-us indoor playground attached to our favorite toy store, and were treated to a story and sing-along with none other than Princess Anna herself. I had a happy five year old….even though she told me multiple times that it wasn't the real Anna, just a cousin helping her out because Anna's too busy to make such appearances.  :)

~What a fun, busy month June was.  And July is looking to be even better…with a few awesome trips on the horizon.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

5 years

May 31, 2014
Weight - 41 lb 57 percentile
Length - 44 inches. 79 percentile

A few thoughts from the birthday girl herself!
1. What is your favorite color? Purple, pink, silver, golden!  I have lots!
2. What is your favorite toy? My new teddy bear from McKenzie.  It's purple, pink, and white.  She's the softest animal!
3. What is your favorite fruit? This is a tricky one.  My favorite fruit is blueberries because I like those the most.
4. What is your favorite tv show? Another tricky one!!!  Full House
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch?  Yogurt.  That one is easy!
6. What is your favorite outfit? My two Easter dresses.  I only wear dresses right now.
7. What is your favorite game? Duck Duck Goose.
8. What is your favorite snack? Everything! 
9. What is your favorite animal? I like unicorns, but they aren't real.  So my favorite is a gorilla.
10. What is your favorite song? Let It Go (from Frozen).  And every song from my preschool class.
11. What is your favorite book? Beauty and the Beast
12. Who is your best friend? Mckenzie.  
13. What is your favorite cereal? Chocolate!
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play in my play house (thank you Nanny).  And play with Jake, Anthony, and Claire (our neighbors)
15. What is your favorite drink? Water.  And Chocolate Milk
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas and Easter.  I can't pick one.  Wait, is my birthday a holiday??
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Paci and night-night but I lost them (about 10 months ago, ha!)
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Yogurt and vitamins and grapes
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Cake.  And pizza 
20. What do you want to be when you grow up?   An artist.  Because I'm really good at being an artist. 

A few thoughts from Mommy
1.  What is your favorite personality trait? Lily says the absolute funniest things.  She has always been extremely verbal and is wise beyond her years.  But my favorite has to be her independent, assertive personality.  While challenging at times to parent, she is really learning how to use these traits to be the best person she can beand what else can a Mom ask for?
2.  What is your favorite memory this year? For Lily's birthday, she and I had a date to get her nails done.  We don't spend much on-one-one time together (really need to fix that!) and it was so special to pay 100% attention to her.  She completely lit up knowing that one hour was all about her and that I was completely focus on our conversations.  
3.  What is your favorite book to read together?  She has all the Ladybug Girl books and these are my favorite because Lulu reminds me to much of Lily.  She is spirited, strong willed, stubborn yet smart, innovative, creative, and looking to have an adventure with friends and family.  Lily in a nutshell.
4. What is your favorite activity to do together?  Honestly, I love the every day little things with Lily.  Brief chats while making her breakfast and hearing about her crazy dreams.  Playing a game of Bingo while William naps.  Helping with her letters and being amazed at how much she is learning this year.  Laughing with her while William is being silly.  
5. What is the most difficult part of parenting this year? {EXACT SAME THOUGHTS FROM LAST YEAR!} While Lily continues to be a serious talker, her strong, assertive personality has proven most difficult for me.  While these traits are exactly what I'd wish for her as an adult, they tend to be very difficult to parent.  Unfortunately (and fortunately), we have very similar personalities and often clash, as we both want things to go our way and are too stubborn to give in.  Luckily for both of us, Daddy know exactly how to diffuse our tempers.
6. What is the best part of parenting this year? Watching her gain confidence and learning to navigate the world.  She continues to be a natural leader.  Her PreK teacher described her perfectly - she wants to learn, she wants to leads, she wants to be a sweet friend - and she is getting better and better at it each and every day.  
7. What is your favorite song Lily sings? Lily has a thing for musicalsher favorites are Sound of Music and Annie.  I love hearing her sing those songs from my childhood.  It reminds me of watching Annie with my sister, and signing along to 'My Farvorite things" with Mema.  
8.  What is your favorite 'Lily-ism'? Her laugh! I swear if I could bottle that sound, I'd never have a bad day.  I also love hearing the hilarious thoughts in that girl's head. 
9. What is one parenting trait you wish to improve.  Patience.  Same every year.  Because she and I are so similar (and stubborn), I tend to overreact and wish instead I would take the time to listen and understand her frustrations.  Also, remembering that she is just a little girl and still learning (no matter how old or mature she seems).  I compare how I parent with William compared to Lily and realize how much more relaxed I am with him and his shenanigans the second time around…I need to remember with Lily that most things aren't that big of deal, it's a stage she will outgrow, she has to make mistakes in order to learn, etc.  
10.  Any last thoughts?  I love my girl more than words.  She is truly the light of our lives.  She makes our house fun, happy, exciting, and a bit crazy.  I am so proud and lucky to be her mom!

A few thoughts from Daddy
1.  What is your favorite personality trait? Oh man, let's see...mine is going to be a couple trait's b/c I think they go together:  I would have to say her brutal honesty and confidence.  Although there are times she would be better off not to speak her mind ("I just can't help it Daddy, God made me this way"), I always know she's telling me the truth...for the most part.  And I love her fearless attitude, both in trying new things and in stating her opinion.  She can frustrate me at times with this personality, and I know it may get her in trouble at times growing up, but I think know both traits will serve her well when she's an adult.  As her Dad, that makes me very happy.   
2.  What is your favorite memory this year?  100% without a doubt, when she learned how to ride her bike.  Just like everything she has ever done, she waited until she was good and ready, but once she decided to do it, she figured it out very quickly - literally only took her 5 minutes.   
3.  What is your favorite book to read together?  Right now, the Clifford books.  I haven't read as much to her lately (b/c I tend to put William to bed more often), but I love that she likes these books that I loved as a child.   
4. What is your favorite activity to do together?  I think I've said the same thing every year, but getting to run errands on Saturdays, just me and her.  It’s our time to have one on one and it's probably my favorite part of every week. 
5. What is the most difficult part of parenting this year?  The confrontations and push back she sometimes gives us.  I realize it's because of her independence, but come on lady, do you always have to ask why?!? 
6. What is the best part of parenting this year?  Watching her grow from a "toddler" to a child right before my eyes.  Her growth has been amazing and every once in awhile, I get a chance to see who she might become one day - and I can't wait to get to know that person.     
7. What is your favorite song Lily sings?  Ha!  Easy one this year - the *$#% Frozen soundtrack.   
8.  What is your favorite 'Lily-ism'?  Whenever she does something she's not supposed to and then says, "I can't help it Daddy, God just made me this way."  ...I really can't say anything b/c I know she's right.  :)   
9. What is one parenting trait you wish to improve.  Patience - probably the same thing I said last year.  I need to give her time to figure things out on her own and be more patient with her when she makes mistakes. 
10.  Any last thoughts?  I love my daughter more than anything and am so proud of the person she is becoming.  She has a great personality - it's just our job to make sure we help her smooth out the rough edges. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Duck Duck Goose

 We headed out to Fountain Hills, to a new-to-us splash pad and park.  However, the "wild" ducks and geese surrounding the pond proved much more entertaining for my city kids.  We spent half our time chasing and feeding these guys…with lots and lots of giggles.  Plus one little finger bite on our girl who didn't let go of her bread fast enough!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

It's my PARTY!

A few families came over for the evening to help celebrate our girl. 

 We kicked off with play in the cul de sac and pizza for dinner. 

Followed by a cake picked out by the birthday girl.
{I love this pic….pure joy, surrounded by two of her favorite gal pals}

We ended the party with a movie in the backyard.
Lily could pick any movie she wanted…she chose Annie.
And then proceeded to sing at the top of her lungs.
Not sure the boys were as excited…most ended up in the loft playing with William's train set.  :)

As the credits rolled, Kate and Lily finished off the evening with a dance party.  
Thank you to our amazing family friends for helping Lily feel so special on her birthday!