Girl's Weekend- Father & Sons Campout

>> Sunday, April 29, 2018

It's that time of year again! Alayna and I wait all year for this weekend! The boys go off to Father's and Sons and her and I have Girls Weekend!!! :) 

It was just Jared and Eli this year that went to Father and Sons. Walker had to work. They left around 3pm on Friday to go be "men in the woods". :P 

Meanwhile, Alayna and I went and did a little retail therapy. We got her a couple of new dresses and a little chocolate on the way out! As you can see! LOL! 

Chocolate and AZ temps don't really mix! :P 

It was opening weekend for the new Avengers - Infinity War movie and we were both excited to watch it!

Of course we had to get Icee's and popcorn. We ate SO MUCH popcorn! LOL! Movie theater popcorn just tastes so much better than popcorn at home! :P 

The movie was SOOO good!!! One of the best ones yet I think. It had a great story line and it was so funny! 

After the movie we went and got her some new shoes to go with her new dresses and then went to Rubios for dinner. Walker was working and we wanted to to say, "Hi!" It's fun to see him at work. :) 

They just opened a new Nitro Live ice cream shop next door. We hadn't tried it yet. It was pretty cool to watch them make it. The ice cream was ridiculously creamy!!! It was delicious! <3 

We headed home completely stuffed! 

The next day we went to Serrano's for lunch. I'm pretty sure Alayna has a hollow leg. I honestly don't know where she puts all the food she eats! LOL! 

She had fiajitas a new discovery for her. She loves steak and veggies. It was a match made in heaven for her. :P She also has a love affair with flan. She dreams about flan and asks to get flan any chance she gets. So I had to make all her flan dreams come true! :) 

Love my girl to bits!!!!

As we were leaving the restaurant we saw a bunch of #redfored teacher standing on the corner showing their support for the teacher walk out that's been happening since Thursday. Our state ranks 50th in the USA for teacher pay. Our school classrooms are over crowded with too many students, the buildings are falling apart, the text books are out of date, and our children and teachers deserve better. There is a lot of controversy about why did they choose to walk out now and not at the beginning of the next school year. Parents are upset because they rely on the schools to babysit their kids while they work. I was told it was illegal for them to walk out because of their contracts. But the bottom line is, no matter when this would have happened people would be upset about something. I stand 100% behind our teachers and our children. They are our future and deserve SO much better than what they have had!!!!! Arizona keeps voting for tax increases and passing Props for education and the money never makes it to the schools, teachers, or students. It's sickening. 

After lunch we did a little more shopping. We picked up some fun nail polish and other things. We had such a fun time together! We love our Girl Weekends!

The boys got home late in the afternoon. 

They had a blast! Eli helped cook breakfast for everyone. He loves to cook. <3 They had paracord bracelet making, air soft gun wars, shot guns (Jared came in 1st place for adults and 2nd place over all! :) ), played games and soaked up all that nature!!! :)


Piano Recital

>> Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Alayna had a piano recital last night. Her teacher has had small recitals before but this year she joined with her mom who is also piano teacher and Alayna got to perform for a much larger group! Playing in front of people is a skill. I'm grateful she had the opportunity to develop that last night. :) 

She played, "Viva la Vida".

She was awesome! She played so well and she was calm, cool, and collected! <3 

She is our little performer for sure! Miss Sassafrass! :P 

Way to go sweetie!!!! We are so proud of you! You have worked so hard all year! Congrats! 


Stank Resort

>> Monday, April 16, 2018

Found this little treasure in the doorway of one child's bedroom. Left affectionately (of course 😜) by another child! I'm dying!! 🤣😂🤣#lysol


Honor Roll & Winged Wolves

>> Sunday, April 15, 2018

Alayna made it on the Honor Roll once again! Very proud of her!

She continues to amaze us with her drawings too!


Happy 15th Birthday Eli!!!

>> Saturday, April 14, 2018

Happy 15th birthday to this wild and crazy guy!! 🎂🎉🎈 Eli brings so much fun and life into our lives. His quick wit and humor make everyone laugh. His personality is larger than life and he has a heart to match. Love this boy of ours!! 💙💙

Eli decided on Macayo's for his Bday lunch! He loves himself some fried ice cream! :P 

 He was happy as a clam until dessert came and the servers burst out in clapping and singing! Hahaha!!!!!

He said, "You played me!" LOL!!!!!

 Those eyes...

That smirk...

 That expression...

Made it all worth it!!!!! I was dying!!! Hahaha!!!!! What made it even better is going back and looking at the pictures and seeing Walker's face! He had no sympathy either! :P 

We had a nice lunch as a family. 

I don't know where time goes. I say this every year on every kid's bday. It really is an illusive thing! I love my boy! He really is an incredible person. I genuinely love spending time with him and talking with him about anything and everything. I love the young man he's becoming and it brings me so much joy to have a front row seat in his life!

PS. In just 6 short months he'll be getting his driving permit! He's beyond excited!! Gulp!


CAUTION: More Cheese Ahead, By Jared

>> Wednesday, April 11, 2018

CAUTION: More cheese than I'm used to is ahead

I've been reflecting on my trip to DC, and it was truly a great experience. The foundation of our country is a remarkable one. The fact that the framers knew that it wasn't perfect and created ways to peacefully right the ship in a well-mannered way was revolutionary (/rimshot). That didn't always work. The Civil War was necessary, but it was an anomaly. The seed of democracy that was planted and began taking root throughout the world is awe-inspiring. Seeing behind the curtain a bit at a couple of my favorite historical figures (Washington and Lincoln... I know, very original :P) was awesome. These were not perfect men. They had their faults, but they were not afraid to confront them. Washington freed his slaves. Lincoln did remarkable things in the face of and in spite of depression and anxiety.

In contrast to the uplifting and inspiring, we have the horrific and sickening. The blights of slavery and the holocaust are gut-wrenching. Through that darkness were small pinpricks of light that were, thankfully, able to bring us out on the right side of these dark epochs. I am one who refuses to live in fear of things and is constantly trying to see the good in people. I fight to see it, and in my naivete, I think I often miss the more nefarious intentions of others. I pride myself in being able to see where someone else is coming from even if I disagree with them, but it is beyond comprehension how a human being can treat someone else the way that I know they have. I readily admit to choking back tears for most of the 2-3 hours we were at the holocaust museum. I couldn't keep it together. The contrast to my firm belief that people are inherently good was striking.

I suppose the conclusion that I came to (for myself) is that there is true evil in this world. And even the "good guys" have faults, but if one can look in the mirror and admit that we are not perfect, admit our failures, our flaws, and spit in the eye of those weaknesses, and stand up in spite of those weaknesses, we still have nothing to fear. I need to be my best self, Love life, and Try to leave the world a better place.


Washington DC Trip- Day 6 - White House (Again), Holocaust Museum, Going Home!

>> Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Since our hotel was so close to the White House and it was so busy the first time we stopped by there we decided to give it another try and get a better family pic. :) 

However, when we got there they had moved the fence line out all the way across the street and had cops everywhere!

I asked one of the guards by the gate why we had to be so far back and he gave a true politician answer and just said, "At anytime things can change. Come back in 5-10 min." :P LOL! 

We didn't have time to hang out that long but from what we could tell, and from talking to other visitors were saying, we think they were moving the President around and so they were keeping everyone at a safe distance. :) 

So we did our best to capture our visit. I actually think being further away turned out better. Plus the crowds weren't nearly as bad! :) 

Alayna took a selfie of us! ;) 

Jared thought this was funny. A guy had a whole tent set up with tons of political statements. He clearly wasn't a fan of the government. 

What's really important in Alayna's life are these! She LOVES Cheez-it's! We had about a half a box left and she didn't want to throw them out so she took them with her and finished the rest of them in about 2.2 minutes! LOL! 

After the White House we had reservations to the Holocaust Museum. 

In hindsight we probably shouldn't have ended our trip on such a heavy note. But we were all glad we went. It was really difficult to see everything these poor souls went through.

The first experience we went through was Daniel's Story. 

Then we got in line for our timed tickets to see the rest of the museum.  

 They have you choose a little booklet of a real person from the Holocaust before you enter the elevator to go up to the top floor. 

A quick story... As we entered the elevator to go up to the top floor the doors closed, the short video played, and then an elderly man spoke. He said, "I want you all to know that there is a Holocaust Survivor in this elevator right now."

Shocked & surprised everyone begins to look around and then he points to a small, beautiful, elderly woman with auburn hair and lipstick to match, standing in the corner. Everyone looked at her. She smiled & became bashful & waved off the attention. But looking at her our hearts instantly broke for what she had gone through. I was bawling as we exited the elevator. It was powerful!

Jared walked over to the couple and expressed his apologies for the horrible and unimaginable things she had to endure. We wished later we would have gotten a picture with her. But wanted to respect her time there and allow her to have the space she needed. I can't fathom what this exhibit brings back to her mind. She must be an incredible woman!

There are no words for this experience. All of us were moved to tears. The exhibit is so well done. You can feel those people who lost their lives in that place with you. You can also feel the evil that created this atrocity! 

There was a lot of information/history, clothing, tools, & personal artifacts to take in. The tour is self led & reverent.

A photo of the US's response.

They had books with pages and pages and pages of stories from some of the survivors. They actually had them recorded and playing over a loud speaker in glass rooms and you could follow along as the stories were being told. 

The concentration camps were absolutely hell for these poor souls. They played a video of the experiments they would perform on them. They would infect them with diseases, put them in ice baths to see how it would affect them (most froze to death) to help determine how to help their soldiers under those conditions. They put them in pressure chambers to see what it would do to the body to help their pilots. They were literally treated like lab rats! I couldn't watch much of it. I had to walk away! 💔😭 

These are their shoes. Thousands and thousands of shoes from the victims. Everyone who I've spoken to said this room is the one that haunts them and they remember the most from the museum. It definitely leaves you with cold chills. 

In the Museum they have a Hall of Remembrance. This week happens to be when they are holding several Remembrance events. We were lucky to sit and listen to the reading of the names of the men, women, and children killed during the Holocaust. It is a symbolic yet very personal way of remembering these individuals. The Museum provides lists of victims’ names, or you may bring your own. It's difficult to hear name after name after name being read. Especially when they are the names of babies & children who were only 1 years old or 4 years old. 😢

We were glad we went. But it was a heavy way to end our trip. We spent 2 hours in the Museum and by the end we were all trying to find the exit quickly. Our hearts just couldn't take it any longer. And it made us pause & think how extraordinarily blessed we are to be able to leave.... Those men, women, and children didn't have that luxury. God bless their souls! ❤️🙏❤️

After the museum we caught an Uber back towards the hotel to grab a bite to eat. We stopped at a place called Potbelly. They had sandwiches and stuff. We couldn't get over the size of the pickles they had! Alayna's 2nd love...PICKLES!! :P 

We swung by the hotel, grabbed our luggage and took an Uber to the airport. We actually ended up with the very same driver that dropped us off for lunch! LOL! 

 Some of us fall asleep the moment we get in cars! LOL!!!

We made it safely to the airport and back to Arizona! It was an incredible trip we won't forget! In so many ways this vacation blessed our family. We learned so much about our nation's history, we bonded as a family, we saw God's hand in so many ways through out this trip, and I was able to do things I never thought I'd ever be able to do again! My heart is so full of gratitude!!!! <3 


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