Camping Like Noah!!

>> Monday, September 29, 2014

 We had our Ward Camp-out over the weekend up near Payson. The weather predicted it would rain. We were a bit leery about going, but decided to be brave and beat the heat and head towards the pines. :)

We left after the kids got home from school around 4pm. It was cloudy with patches of the highway wet where it had already rained before we got there. When we entered Payson we some some pretty rainbows! :)




Eli was feeling a little carsick. He's learned he can't read while traveling. Poor kid. I used to get soooo carsick as a kid. Unfortunately he takes after me. :(


We also saw this "sweet ride"!!! I had a Maverick in High School. It was this same exact color but mine was a 4-door and it was a clunker!! LOL! I had to take a picture of it...it brought back so many memories! :D

We stopped and grabbed some dinner by which time Eli was feeling much better. The Dramamine kicked in and the fresh air really helped. Then headed the rest of the way to camp. It's just a few miles north of Strawberry but before you get to Happy Jack. 




It was a GORGEOUS evening!


By the time we got to camp it was dark. The forest is pretty thick with trees and the dirt road was wash boarded. The last time Alayna went camping was when she was like 3 or 4 at another Ward Campout held in the Desert. She doesn't remember it. 

As we drove further into the forest Alayna's eyes were as big as dinner plates! I asked her what was wrong and in her sweet little voice filled with uncertainty she says, "Are we safe? Are we going to be eaten by a bear???" Oh my gosh..it was so funny and precious all at the same time. We all cracked up. We assured her she would be fine. But she wasn't too quick to accept any reassurances. LOL!

We found a place to park and set up the tent and as we are pulling things out of the van it began to POUR rain! It was crazy town! Jared and Walker worked as fast as they could to get our giant 12 man tent set up. Which is over 20 years old. Despite their best efforts the inside of the tent was drenched with water. And wouldn't you know it...about the time we finished getting everything done...the rain stopped!!! 

We had a nice fire pit that everyone gathered around in the center of the campgrounds and that evening we had a musical number by the Schnepf's and a devotional by Bishop Hawk. The kids played night tag and made s'mores and played until they passed out. 

Jared is such a sweet husband that he put a twin mattress in the back of the van and Alayna and I slept in the comforts of Big Red. Jared, Walker and Eli slept in the tent.

It rained all night long. In the morning we woke up and found this little guy stuck to the window. 


Alayna named him Toby. 



We laid there for a while and just watched the rain run down the window and soaked in all the refreshing sweet rain-washed air. It was a beautiful morning. :)

Jared and the boys had a bit of a different night than us.....Did I mention that our tent is over 20 years old? And it did NOTHING to keep them dry? Jared said water was dripping on their faces all night. Water was coming in through the walls and everything was soaking wet. We put the van bench seat in there, the food, etc. It was all soggy by morning. I felt terrible.....

I asked him why they didn't come into the van with us and he just said he didn't think we'd all fit. I wish he would have let us try to see first. Poor guys. Walker's whole side was soaked through, Eli's shoes were goners, it was water of epic proportions...we felt a little like Noah and the Ark! LOL!

Notice Eli is wearing Jared's flip flops!! Hahaha!
 We didn't let it get our spirits down though. The kids were more than ready to run out and play in the rain before breakfast!


Little Miss found a special friend named Wormy. :)



Alayna and her friend Morgan were trying to get the worm to crawl across a deer bone they found in the woods. 


Apparently there was an entire deer skeleton left here. The girls were fascinated! 

Morgan, Emmy, & Alayna
Our very own Catalina Ward Hillbillies! LOL!!!


I just couldn't get enough of how beautiful it was up there. I needed some good ol' fashioned out door, soul lifting, fresh air!


Stunning!


As you can see the rain let up after breakfast and everyone was able to pack up with out complications. Jared and I look a bit tired but we were still smiling. :) You can see the crummy tent behind us. We ended up packing it up and throwing it out!! We'll never see that piece of junk again! 


 Thankfully I thought to bring a towel. It got it's workout trying to sop up all the water overnight! 


Eli LOVES camping. He loves being outdoors at all times. He was in hog heaven the entire time!
  

I'm in the Primary Presidency and we were in charge of coming up with some activities for the kids. We decided on making Whirly Gigs or Buzz Saws. Alayna is coloring hers. I think the sun was a "bit" bright in her eyes...LOL!


You thread a string through the holes and tie the ends together. Then you twist and pull them it spins. It a toy the Pioneer Children use to play with. 



Walker and the older kids hanging out...



Chase reallllly loves Walker!! LOL!!!


They are really good friends. I love that they have each other. 


Chase was trying to chop wood. Jared, myself and Bishop Williams (his dad) were watching. We were mostly in fear he was going to chop his foot off. 


This homemade swing was the hit of the party with all the kids. No matter what their age!



Aren't flames cool looking?? This fire pit dried many buns over the weekend! LOL!

If you look close you can see Alayna's finished Whirly Gig around Jared's neck. ;)
 My handsome man!


 Jared chatting with Bishop Williams. 

We had to be packed up and out by noon. We only had it reserved until then. Most of the families left right after breakfast. We were one of the very last families to leave. We played card games, ate way too much junk food and played for as long as we possibly could. 

By the time we left another storm was brewing and it was getting pretty cold. 

We stopped in Payson again for lunch and headed home. When we were on Gilbert Rd/Elliot a HUGE monsoon hit. The rain was so heavy and strong it was like someone took a fire hose and was spraying the van. We couldn't hardly see the car's tail lights right in front of us. The streets were flooded immediately and we were spraying water wakes as we drove. We've had SO much rain this year! I've never seen so much water in all my life living here in AZ!

We got home slowly but surely and it continued to down pour. We unloaded the van and I began what turned out to be 3 days of laundry!! Hahaha! Go camping for one night..come home with 3 days of laundry..sounds about right! :P

It was a fun family trip with our awesome Ward family! It's given us all the bug to go do it again real soon! :D




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Teacher's Quorum Secretary

>> Tuesday, September 23, 2014

We have some exciting news! Walker was called as the Teacher's Quorum Secretary on Sunday! :D

I just threw this in here cuz he just got his school pics back today! :P He's so handsome!!! :D

Jared hurt his back and so neither one of us was there. Bishop Hawk asked him if he'd rather wait to be set apart until next week and he said, "No. Let's just do it." 

What a stinker!!! We wanted to be there!

Oh well. 

We are still happy and proud of him. This is his 2nd time being Secretary in one of his Quorums. :)

President- Aaron Merrill
1st Counselor- Bracken Trudeau
2nd Counselor- Corbin Bollschweiler
Secretary- Walker Kitch

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Charlotte's Web

>> Saturday, September 20, 2014



Alayna and her class went to see the play "Charlotte's Web" yesterday. It was put on by the Child's Play Theater in Tempe. I was one of the lucky few parents that go to go as a chaperone. :)



Once we got to the theater we sat and had lunch and waited for our turn to head in.  


There was a little down time before we could enter the theater, so the kids had time to visit. My cell phone is awful and I tried to capture this scene a few times, but this was the best I could get. I just want you to look closely at this scenario. What do you notice?

If you said, Alayna is the only girl among 5 boys and the center of their attention you would be correct! I sat back and watched her the whole time telling these boys what to do and what game they were going to play and making them laugh. It was too much!!! :P Need I remind you she's 7!! Heaven help us! LOL!

The play was so cute and I may have had to wipe away a tear or two when Charlotte dies. At this age the kids are still mesmerized by the magic of make believe. The Child's Play Theater Company always does a wonderful job!

On the way home Alayna's little friend Jake S. asked her to sit with him. My feelings were only slightly hurt. I sat across from them to keep a clear eye on them. LOL!! They both giggled all the way home. 

I'm not sure if she gets along so well with boys because she has 2 older brothers or what it is. It seems like most of the other girls in her class wouldn't be caught dead sharing a seat with a boy. I'm glad she's confident in who she is and she can be friends with everyone. But as her Mom I hope these boys know I'm not afraid to come after them if they get fresh! Hahaha!!


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Let's Dance!!

>> Sunday, September 14, 2014

Walker turned 14 waaay back in July and still had not gotten his Dance Card. His best friend Chase has been trying to get him to come for the past few months, but he always finds some excuse to get out of it..LOL!

We aren't sure why he's been so opposed to it...maybe he's a little shy around girls? It can be a bit intimidating I'll admit. 

Jared and I finally told him he needed to go and give it a try. We had him call Bro. Esperson to get his interview done. We drove over and 5 min. later he was all set! :)

I was so thrilled for him. I don't know how excited he was when he left though..LOL! :P

About halfway into the evening our good friend Bro. Murphy texted Jared these amazing pics!!



Look at that SMILE!!!!!! :D


I know these aren't great quality but they are so precious to me. Bro. Murphy has no idea what it meant to me to get these. To have a little glimpse of my boy stretching his wings. 

We chatted with him today and he said he didn't know this Young Lady. She was from the Maricopa Stake. It was Ladies' Choice and she asked him to dance. He said she liked physics. So she must be a smarty pants...of course I already knew that because she asked Walker to dance! :P 

He thinks he will go again. I'm so happy for him!

I used to go to Stake Dances with my cousins every Saturday night. We loved it. We looked forward to it every week! So seeing him there brings back so many memories. :)


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Not Your Average Canine

>> Saturday, September 13, 2014


Earlier this week a neighbor spotted this guy with a chicken in his mouth running through the neighborhood!!!


Not a sight we typically see here in the suburbs. He must be awfully hungry to be this far from home!

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Court of Honor

>> Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Eli & Walker had their Court of Honor tonight. Unfortunately we forgot to take pics at the meeting. Darn it!

Eli has been working hard and earned 10 new merit badges!!! 


He had the photography & cinema one already. All the rest are new and there is actually one missing...the computer merit badge. Apparently they are discontinuing that badge, but the boys that have earned it prior to their announcement will still receive it, they just didn't have any left in stock and they will have to order it. :)


Walker earned a really cool award as well. 


The Thomas S. Monson Award. It is an award they did in celebration of the 100 year anniversary of Scouting in the LDS Church. There were specific dates you had to complete everything by and once they ran out of awards that was it! They are no longer available. 

So proud of my boys and that they continue to work hard in Boy Scouts!!! Way to go guys!

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Record Breaking Rainfall!!!

>> Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Yesterday we had record breaking rainfall here in Arizona. In one day we made up an entire year's worth of rain totals!! They said it was the rainiest single day in Phoenix where records go back to 1895.

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport recorded 3.29 inches of rain, which broke the all-time calendar day record total of 2.91 inches. That record was set in 1933. In some places they were recording 4-5 plus inches of rain!

There were several schools and entire school districts that closed and kids didn't go to school. Never in my lifetime would I have thought Arizona would have a "Rain Day" like a Snow Day. LOL!! 

Unfortunately for our kids our schools didn't close. They still had to go. The roads were pretty eerie as I drove them in that morning. We were the only car on the street for a while. As we turned on to the street to get to the school, the road looked a little wet but as I drove forward walls of water were being pushed aside by the van. I had to slow waaaaay down so we didn't hydroplane. Eli was freaking out...lol! As we kept driving the water was getting deeper and the one other soul on the street coming from the other direction saw me boating through and they turned around. I guess they didn't want to risk it! LOL!

We sure needed the moisture...but maybe not all at once! :P
Our neighborhood park became a lake. Here are some pictures from around the different common areas.




Yep!! That's a basketball hoop and the water is almost touching the bottom of the net!! 





The park usually is surrounded by high sided hills...ya..no hills here. 


On the news they showed cars on I-10 that had been abandoned because the pumps on the freeway there that were supposed to remove the water malfunctioned and the water came so fast and sudden that motorist had to just leave them there and get to high ground as quickly as possible. 

They showed clips of people jet skiing in their neighborhood parks and kayaking. It was quite the site!! Many homes were flooded, as well as a church, and a Fry's evacuated because their roof had collapsed. There were mudslides in some areas as well... list goes on and on. Water does a lot of damage.

Today has been dry but extremely humid. As I write this it looks like round two is on it's way. It's been sprinkling and the sky looks dark. Hopefully it won't dump as much tonight. :)

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