August 30, 2020

Hello world

Who would have ever thought I'd be up in the 5 o'clock hour most mornings? Anyone close to me would not. 

But, unlike me, the world is beautiful when it is waking up.

There is quiet. It is fresh. Things are clearer. There are possibilities.

Most of my early mornings are on my mountain. This week I was there four times: by myself, with my "mountain mamas", with my teenage boys, with a dear friend. You know it was a good week when you get to the mountain four different times!

On two of the mornings the sun rose red. The sky was hazy and smoky because of fires in or near the superstition mountains and in california (sad!!!!!). The sun itself was a bright red circle. It was eerie and beautiful. 

So many of the world's problems have been solved on a mountain in the early morning. If only anyone would listen to me and a few other mamas. Until they start listening, I will just keep working out the solutions for my own personal problems--for my family and my own questions, pain, hurt, issues...

Some times I feel like my situation and problems are so unique and the things that I am learning are so profound and amazing. But then I realize how many other people in the world right now, and who have come before me, are experiencing their own similar things and doing their own learning and I don't feel so uniquely wise. And that is how it should be. 

I am just one of many. My worth is not based on the others around me and what they are doing though. That is a learning that I've really had to let sink in. 

I do not understand the HOW of Heavenly Father's love, grace, teaching, and miracles for ALL of His children. But I do believe He extends His love, grace, teaching, and miracles to ALL who are willing to receive them. 

Monsoons are finally here in Arizona and our temperatures have dipped below the triple digits. And that feels a little like heaven. Thunderstorms in the desert are the most awe inspiring things to an arizonan. Oh, it's exciting when the wind starts blowing, the storm smell fills the air, the lightening flashes, the thunder rolls, and the skies open to let the water dump to the earth. 

We got a big storm last night. Kyler and his of group friends abandoned the house and ran out to play in the rain. Soon Layla, Perry, and the family friends we had over for dinner were outside joining them, too. Eventually they came back to the door drenched and happy. There is no experience better than playing in warm arizona rain. It is true living.

We took advantage of the drop in weather and a few of us went on a bike ride this evening. We just rode around our neighborhood and we almost ran over lizards, a sonoran toad, and a RATTLESNAKE. No joke. A rattlesnake crossing the street. Eric and Kacin tried to kill it with a big rock, but it slithered into a mass of bushes and was gone. 

The world is a marvelous place.

August 28, 2020

Escape room 11: Casino Heist at Paradox***

We went back to Paradox Escape Room in Gilbert to try the room Casino Heist.

This room had a couple of cool puzzles and elements. But like the other room we have tried here, it was a bit heavy on the math. They give you a calculator and paper though.

I think we ended up getting two clues, but we solved it with around twenty minutes left over.

Yep, all we do is win!

We give this room 3 out 5 stars.

Casino Heist at Paradox=***

August 25, 2020

These days

It's time for a catch up according to my iphone!

Layla got a crystal kit for her birthday and she loved watching this grow. 

The balloons from Layla's party provided a lot of entertainment. There was a balloon dragon that ran around our house attacking people.

Kyler bravely fought him off.

Once the balloon dragon went to sleep, Eric taught these guys how to play poker.

Layla has recently (and finally!) found a love of reading. I was so happy the day that she stopped fighting me and started reading for longer than her timer was set or without even setting a timer. Woohoo!

Little sneaky Layla set up a scary surprise for me and ERic one day while we were out on a date. We came home to a "beware of doom" on our door.

Yikes! We were spooked by a bear in underwear and a whole collection of stuffies that did not survive on our big chair.

We found some peace at this area labeled "beach."

And then found an entire collection of Brinna and Layla art on our bed.

Brinna loves to dress up now. She jumps between being Elsa and Ariel.

We got some pet goldfish. And we kept them alive for two whole days.

Brinn's face!

Layla got this cool hair color for her birthday and so I got a hair makeover.

She worked her magic on Eric, too. Ha! Best picture.

Oh so there is a story as to why we decided to get those goldfish (that didn't survive us). A friend asked Kacin to watch her fish why they were on vacation. Just before they got home, Kacin and Kyler broke into their house and placed cups with individual goldfish all over their kitchen. I think it was over 30 of them! When his friend got home, she facetimed the boys to "thank" them for multiplying their fish.

We ended up with A LOT of apples this summer. So we pulled the apple corer/peeler out and went to town. We baked apple muffins, apple cake, apple crisp, and fried apples and made it a four course apple breakfast.

If it had been a contest, this apple cake won the prize. Yum.

We play nerts all the time. We introduced Kacin to playing for chores. Eric and I used to do this when we were newlyweds. The loser of the hand would have to go into the kitchen and wash a pot by hand or wipe the counter or load a few dishes. With all the sarcasm in my voice, Kacin loves playing for chores. Between Eric and Kacin the kitchen looked spotless.

We use rook cards to play nerts. We just replaced our old decks with these decks.

The picture below was taken by Brinna when we were actually playing solitaire.

Yep, this little bug loooves to take pictures.

We had some fun with friends in the pool. We are pros at stacking three in the pool, but they got it in their head that they needed to stack four. We seriously spent at least a solid twenty minutes on this endeavor. It was a good show of teamwork, and we sort of, kind of did it (for like two seconds). 

There were a lot of splashes like this.

See, kind of sort of had it.

I'm not even sure what they are doing in this picture (my guess would be Perry is playing some sort of chase game), but I do know it has my dad in it and that is a rarity.

Brinn and Layla have developed a love for gymnastics thanks to their aunt Jacqui. I caught Brinna doing her forward rolls and trying headstands on her own. 

Seems like a perfect place for a nap.

My parents were in between homes and stayed with us for a few weeks and to say my kids were in heaven was an understatement. The kids would disappear here for hours. They would talk and discuss and play and hang out. They loved having Grammy and Papa around.

Cousin sleepover was complete when they rode mattresses down the stairs.

My girls were in heaven when Jacqui started teaching gymnastics classes to them. They love it so much.

Brinna also started swim lessons. This swim teacher in Mesa is AMAZING. Brinn cried through the entire first class, but now she loves it and has grown leaps and bounds in her swimming skills.

Always big smiles.

This is her favorite part of the swim class. While they wait to take their turn to dive in the water and swim across the pool they kick their feet in the water. She loves kicking with her friends.

Brinn told us to smile so she could take a picture.

It has been SO hot here. And we haven't had much of a monsoon season, but we have had a few days of wind and storm (minus the rain in our area). Eric and I sat with the three youngest on the back porch to watch the storm one evening and it felt like heaven. I love arizona storms.