Alayna's Christmas Orchestra Concert

>> Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Christmas is fast approaching and that means school concerts! Alayna had her's tonight. This is her 2nd year playing cello. I love the cello and I love that she loves playing the cello! ❤️❤️

Just a side note: She wanted the sweater she's wearing SO bad. She begged me to buy it for her. I held firm and said if it's something she really wants she could buy it with her own money. Well...this sweater wasn't cheap. She REALLY did want it! LOL! She proudly purchased it and I think it was a mighty fine choice. She looks adorable in it! :D 

Jared is in Austin all week. He was really sad he couldn't be with us. I recorded it for him though. Walker had to work and so that left Eli as my date! :) He is such a goof ball but I love him! <3 (Oh, and ignore the tired looking mom vibe I've got going..LOL!) 

We got epic seats this time! We never get so close up and we never can actually see any of our kids when they perform. For whatever reason they always end up hidden behind another kid's head or a music stand or the director you name it. :P 

So I took advantage and got ALLL the pics! :D 

They did a great job! They are learning how to play up to 5 different parts all at the same time. It's tricky stuff. Alayna even said they did way better than they have at their practices. I think the concert fairies sprinkled their dust on them tonight! 


EVJ Practice

We are eating, sleeping, and breathing volleyball over here at the Kitch household!! 

Alayna is on an NYS team that practices twice a week on Mon/Wed and games every Saturday. Plus! she has Club practice twice a week also on Tues/Thurs and has different clinics on Saturdays here and there. And her appetite is enormous! She is always eating! LOL! You wouldn't know it looking at that cute girl though. :D 

She's close to the net on the left side looking up. :) 

It is fun to watch her though! 

By the net with arms up

The season goes until May and in Jan. her Parks & Rec team starts up. She only has one practice and one game a week on that league though. :P 

I'm buckling for a great season. So happy we could do this for her! Seeing her passion for the game is exciting! 


Another Year Another Birthday....

>> Sunday, December 2, 2018's that time of year again! I turned another year older. 

Hello 42!

I asked the kids to take a quick family picture together...this is what happens...every...single...time...LOL!! 

They really dislike taking pics. But you'd think they'd all cooperate to get it over faster...LOL! But takes about 45 minutes to get 1-2 good ones. :P 

 Ta-da!!!! :D 

I had a nice bday with the family. We all went to Alayna's game. 

Eli's such a butt! LOL! :P 

 This team only has a couple of weeks left. They have grown SO much over the season. So many varying ages, abilities, and skill levels. They've only won one game all season but they give it all they got every time!

Since Alayna has started Club she's grown a ton too. Watching her yesterday use the new skills she's learned she was AMAZING out there. She was diving and spiking and setting like a champ! 

After the game we went to Rubios for lunch. Walker gets a sweet discount if he comes in with us. :) This was the only pic I got at lunch though...bummer...

Jared usually isn't a big gift giver. But this year he was so cute and found a really great deal on a FitBit that I've been thinking about getting. He stayed up  late on Black Friday and planned it all out and got it for me. It was so sweet! <3

Later that night we went to see some Christmas Lights. We made hot chocolates and drank them in the car while we looked at all of the fun displays. 

Yep...this was the only pic we got of that too...hahaha!! But this street has some really cute decorations. You'll just have to trust me or go see it for yourselves. It's off of Elliot/Higley in Gilbert. 

It was right before bedtime and we all realized I never got to blow out candles or make a bday wish. So Alayna and Jared improvised...Yep, that's a slice of bread! Hahaha!

Grateful for my family and getting to spend my special day with them. As I get older that's all I want is to be with them. They are truly fun people and I love them to bits!!! <3

I almost forgot!! Jared also wrote me this sweet post:

[Why] do I love thee? Let me count the ways... at least the top ten? in no particular order.

1) You are smokin' hot! Schwing! (what? I said, in no particular order)
2) You help us all to make memories that will never fade whether we know we want them or not
3) You know all of me, and you love me anyway
4) You are a tremendous cheerleader for our kids and me
5) You have an intelligence that you underestimate
6) You have a deep love for God and a seemingly direct conduit to His spirit
7) You can cook like nobody's business
8 ) You can organize and optimize any chaos
9) You never quit in the face of adversity (even when it seems like it will never stop)
10) No one can care and put their heart into others the way you can
Bonus) You can bring yourself to tears when you laugh

Happy Birthday to my everything partner!! 🎉🎈(cuz I know you like emojis) I love you!!!!!!!!!! (cuz I know you like exclamation points)

(And yes, I know the poem is the "hows", but the "whys" were more fun)


Not the Kind of Deja vu You Want to Have......

>> Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Yesterday I was about to head out to pick up my mom for a dental appointment when the house phone rings and Walker is on the other end saying, "I've been in a car accident and it is really bad!"

He had just left for CGCC and was heading down Gilbert Rd. at Ray when a girl decided to make a left right in front of him. He tried to slow down but just wasn't able to stop in time. Her car flipped over from the force. 

Nothing gets your adrenaline pumping and your heart racing like when your child calls you with news like this. 

There were so many tender mercies in all of this. One of which was Jared was working from home and he was able to go with me to help Walker. 

We arrived on the scene and had to park a bit down the street at the gas station. The intersection was blocked off by police cars and a firetruck. As we approached we only could see two silver cars. We couldn't distinguish which car was his but we saw one on its roof and we started to panic and our already quick pace turned into a run! As we got closer we could see that it wasn't his car upside down and my heart sighed in relief! 

There was a guy up in his office in one of the buildings there on the corner and he heard the accident. He ran down to help. He was the first on the scene and he pulled the girl out of her car. She couldn't get out by herself. 

Thankfully, she and Walker are OK!! She had a little scrape on her arm and a bloody nose. All of her airbags deployed. However, she was up and walking around and answering questions. Walker's airbags didn't go off. Fords are built pretty sturdy and the front end took the impact the way it should have. He was mostly shaken up from it all but as we were waiting for the police to finish up and get all the paperwork completed he started to stiffen up. He definitely has some whiplash. He's even more sore this morning. We are getting him to the chiropractor as soon as we can. But truly...It is a miracle they both walked away from this accident! 

The police officer is in front of Jared leading us across the intersection to get to where the kids were. 

I mean....does this not send shivers through your body???

She must have turned RIGHT in front of him. The impact was directly on the front of her car on the passenger side door. Not the rear of the car. I don't know what she was thinking???

What's crazy, ironic, sad, frustrating, insert adjective here..... is Walker was in a hit and run in his Kia JUST last November!! 😢 He just got this Ford Taurus in August. So he's had 2 cars in 2 years but hasn't owned either of them for more than 6 months! Praying our hearts out her insurance will do the right thing and cover the repairs/replacement. He's been saving and saving so he can go on his Mission this summer. There's no extra cash for another vehicle. 😕 He really needs something for school and work ASAP! 


Happy Thanksgiving X's 3!!!

>> Sunday, November 25, 2018

Thanksgiving just kept giving this year!!

With growing and aging families some traditions have taken some shifts this year. We had Thanksgiving Day with our little family. I have to say I LOVED it!!! We don't usually spend it just the 5 of us. It was a special treat for sure! Getting my little crew all to myself was just what my Momma heart needed! <3  

My boys love the Thanksgiving sandwich! They have become masters at packing on as much as possible on those little Hawaiian rolls! LOL! 

And even more skilled at getting that mile high thing in their mouths!!! Hahaha!

 We had a relaxing day. We had lunch around 11am, decorated for Christmas, listened to music, and then hit up leftovers for dinner! :) 

It was perfect! <3 

The realization hit me when we were gathered all around that this will be the last Thanksgiving for 2 years with Walker. I had a moment where my heart sunk a bit. So I was EXTRA thankful to have this one on one time just with my little family. <3 I need to soak him up as much as I can!!!

We got this picture sent to us from Jared's Mom and Rich and their get together in Texas. It's so good to see her smiling. She just had knee surgery a couple of weeks ago and the recovery hasn't been easy. 

We spent Friday afternoon with my parents and my brother and sister and their families at Matta's. We had a Mexican Thanksgiving. It was nice to see everyone. My dad has been going through radiation treatments for several months and my mom's health hasn't been good for years. Hosting everyone felt too overwhelming for them and we all decided it would be easiest for everyone to go out and celebrate. No cleaning and no was too hard to pass up! :P I'm bummed I forgot to get a picture of everyone though. 

Saturday morning we got together with Jared's family. We went to Talking Stick Resort and did the buffet breakfast. The cousins got to catch up and the adults had time to chat and have a laid back time too. 

We had 3 days of giving thanks and Alayna said this year was her favorite one yet! LOL! Who doesn't like to celebrate for 3 days? Haha! 


Big Change!

>> Saturday, November 24, 2018

Alayna has been begging me to let her get her hair cut. She's turning 12 next month and she wanted a change. This pic was last weekend on our hike in Sedona. It's the most recent pic I have of her. LOL!

And this is what she looks like now!!! 

I think she looks adorable! They cut off 6" of hair! She's a brave woman! :D 


Happy 25th Anniversary!!!

>> Sunday, November 18, 2018

This week marks 25 years of dating my guy. It's been more than I ever could have imagined. We decided to celebrate with hiking West Fork Trail in Sedona. Yes, with our whole crew. We're super romantic like that! 🤣

It's hot air balloon season. We saw tons of hot air balloons as we drove up! It was so neat!

When we got into town it was still pretty early, and even though we at breakfast at home, we were all hungry. LOL! I pulled off into a random plaza and we found this restaurant called, Creekside American Bistro,  that had a GORGEOUS view and SCRUMPTIOUS breakfast!!! We hit the jack pot! <3 

I swear I taught my kids how to behave in public better than this. :P 

Everything there was so good!!

 Let's pretend this picture is clear. I just loved it of the two of us girls. ;) 

After breakfast we drove up the rest of the way to West Fork Trail. I've seen pictures online that are absolutely stunning. I've been dying to go up there for about a year. Unfortunately, we missed all the fall foliage. Darn it! But it was still beautiful!

Eli's "trying" to help Alayna....this picture cracks me up! hahaha!

We, and everyone else in town, decided to show up to hike at the same time. We waited for a good 45-60 min. to get into the parking lot. It was completely full when we got there. The only way to get a spot was to wait for someone to leave. Jared took the younger two to explore while Walker and I inched forward to claim our prized parking spot! :P 

I didn't really love this sign warning us of snakes...LOL! They said they aren't poisonous but come on, how do they know??? Thankfully, we didn't see any while we were there! 

Apparently there used to be a lodge up there. The Mayhew Lodge opened in 1926… and closed its doors in 1968 after the land & building was purchased by the U.S. Forest Service for historical purposes. Unfortunately, the building burned down in 1980. 

Not much remains of the lodge but a couple of buildings that are mostly rubble and a fireplace that stands alone. The sign said several famous actors stayed there in it's hay-day, Walt Disney and Jimmy Stewart were two of them. :) 

It was a perfect day for a hike. The weather was cool and crisp and just made my soul sing!!

From the National Forest Service website: 

There are a number of reasons why West Fork is one of the most popular trails on the Coconino National Forest. Once you've strolled beside the pleasant little stream that ripples along the canyon floor and looked up, way up, at the dizzying cliffs that tower above it, you will fall in love with it, too. West Fork is fantastic throughout the year. In springtime, migrating songbirds decorate the trees with flashes of brilliance. In autumn, the canyon is ablaze with color, with red and gold leaves floating in clear reflecting pools under a canopy of solid color. In wintertime, icicles decorate from red rock overhangs, and snatches of snow persist in cool shadows. As a matter of fact, you'll probably find a new reason to be here every time you visit.

As for the trail itself, it's an easy stroll, but you do have to cross the stream in a number of places. Usually, that involves negotiating a few strategically placed stepping stones or taking a couple of steps in shallow water. The trail is marked and maintained for the first three miles.

Many hikers explore beyond the end of the maintained trail. Eventually the pathway ends, the route becomes more strenuous, and you will be forced to hike in the stream bed as you continue into the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness. If you choose to travel the entire 14 mile stretch from one end of the canyon to the other, plan to do a lot of wading and boulder hopping, and even some swimming. 

I really want to go back next fall before the leaves are gone. We didn't go the 14 miles. Boy I wish we could have though! 

We were all exploring and the next thing I see is Alayna and Eli scaling this crazy high wall!!! It's much higher than this picture lets on.  As soon as I saw them I yelled out to them to GET DOWN! The rock is so slick and dangerous! Even at the level Eli got up to he was unsure of his footing to get down. Boy I'm glad I saw them when I did!!! KIDS!!! LOL!

Eli was fascinated by the design of the water. He said it looked like a whirlpool. Then decided it was like a cauldron and started chanting, "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble." From Macbeth. LOL!

Alayna's hair cracks me up in this pic! :P 

Love these people!! <3 

Hard for me to think Walker will be leaving us this summer for 2 years. I want to soak him in as much as possible before then. <3 

Alayna: "Watch me click my heels!" Haha! 

This hike is so neat. It has so many different areas and they all feel different and look different. This part was one of our favorites. It looked all misty and felt like we were entering a Magical Forest!! And the weather dropped by 10 degrees instantly. It was so crazy!

I loved this tree hanging right at the tip of this cliff. How it's growing there and thriving I have no idea! 

We did find some leaves that looked to have recently fallen. I can only imagine how it must have looked when the whole canyon was filled with trees with all of these stunning colors!!!! We must come back! 

There's Eli hiding in the cliffs again! LOL!

My little girl helping her Momma climb the rocks! <3 

Eli getting a refreshing drink of water. :P 

He also made his water bottle a boat and got everyone in on the action watching it go down this little waterfall, get towed under by the current, and cheer when it resurfaced. He finds ways to have fun no matter where he's at. <3 I love that about him!

Then the kids dared Jared to dip his head in the freezing water! He said it was COOOLD!!!!! Haha!

I absolutely LOVE this picture!!!! Love, love, love it!!!!!!

A kind person on the trail asked if I wanted to get in with everyone too and of course I did! The lighting ended up not being great though. I tried to fix it it the best I could. 

The further back we got, the colder it got. We even found some ice!

The icing on the cake is that 8 years ago I injured my foot. It's been a very s-l-o-w healing process. The most I've been able to walk is 1 mile. I hiked 4.5 miles!!! 🎉🎉 And that was up and down rocky rough terrain! I'm so HAPPY!!! 👣 It was a little tender this morning but I'm not complaining. I'm feeling so very grateful! ❤️🙏 

It was a wonderful day celebrating our life together over all these years. It all began 25 years ago over Thanksgiving weekend when he said those magical words every girl wants to hear, "Since everyone thinks it anyway....Will you be my girlfriend?" Hahaha! Hilarous!!

I love my boyfriend! <3


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