Monday, July 11, 2011

The Phoenix Haboob

Just in case you were wondering what a Haboob is. 
Here it is.
July 5, 2011 we had our first big "Haboob" of the year.  It is a desert term for "dust storm".  One would think that these only happen in the Sahara Desert.
Now you know it happens in Phoenix.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Water Rockets

We thought we would spend some family time shooting off the water rocket at the park the other night.  Yeah, it was still 100 degrees out at dusk but it was worth it.
This water rocket we have had for probably 12 years.  It is made from PVC, a tire valve, a bike pump and a 2 liter bottle with water.
I came across it in the garage the other day and decided it was time to pull it out again and have a little fun.
I kept trying to get an actual picture of the bottle leaving it's resting position and kept missing it.  One second it is there and the next it is gone leaving behind a stream of water.

 I did finally get one.  It looks like Kaleb is going to be hit in the face with it but I assure you that he is a couple feet away.  It only "looks" like that.

Jared has always found time to attempt to wrestle his Dad to the ground. Now that he is actually taller than Kirk he "thinks" he might be able to do it.  
Kirk still out weighs him so it will be a long time before he can pull his Dad over. 
 You can just barely see the bottle flying out of the picture.

It was a little hard for Victoria to pump an endless amount of air into a Squirt bottle.  She was funny to watch because she was trying every single kind of technique to force the lever down.

I love this picture.  Catching an empty plastic bottle falling from about 50 ft in the air is like trying to catch a feather floating right in front of you.
AAwwww....he missed!

I love this time of day.


Flash Back!

My cousin Kathy posted this picture of us on her blog so I swiped it. 
I remember this day, (I think we were at Redondo Beach, Calif.) because I didn't really want to wear the same thing that my sister was wearing and I didn't want my hair in two pony tails.  I wanted it down like Kathy's and my mother said "no, it will get tangled if you leave it down."  So up it went.  Kind of reminds me of every Sunday morning that Victoria protests and insists on her "One Pony Tail MOM". 
I remember that I had bought one of those black velvet posters that you color in with markers.  I think Kathy and Kim got one too.  I remember having to walk around the pier with that ocean breeze blowing and my poster was like a sail ready to fly to new places.
I pointed out to Victoria Aunt Kathy, Auntie Kim, and Uncle Rich. And she chimed in pointing to me adding "Daphne".  I think the glasses and the hair make her think that.
We always had good times when we were together.
I never felt singled out and the youngest when we were together.  They always included me in and didn't ditch me like the other cousins would do.
I love them.
I would give anything to be at the ocean right now.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Mud Storm

Victoria informed me that the storm we had the other night was a Mud Storm...not a Dust Storm or a Rain Storm! was a Mud Storm and this is the proof!

Only in AZ can you have a Dust Storm as thick as fog and rain at the same time.
It makes the dirtiest mess.  Everything is coated with dust.  The streets, the side walks.  Everyones car...except our neighbor who doesn't have anything better than to wash his car every single morning!  No kidding.  Usually your vehicle looks out of place if it is the only one that looks like you went mud womping on the way to the grocery store.  But our neighbors car looked out of place being the only polished vehicle in a 20 mile radius.

And don't bother washing it because there is more to come.  They even closed the airport due to NO visibility.  Living in the desert is definately interesting.

4th of July

Man it's HOOOOTTT!!!
So what do you do on the Fourth of July when it is 110+ degrees.  You swim hoping that it will actually cool you off. 
The water was a little refreshing at 84 degrees. Pretty close to bath water but still worth the swim. 
It was nice visiting with Nana and Poppa and Auntie Kim.  We don't get much of that so it was nice just hanging out and floating in the pool dodging water bombs, squirt guns, canonball splashes and underwater torpedoes.  We would be talking and someone would grab an ankle and yank you off balance.
The cousins had a great time goofing around.  Some of the things that the boys were doing was a little wierd.
They would line up on the diving board and take turns diving in, or do cannonballs.  There were usually waves at the other end of the pool where the adults were hanging out.

I love watching the kids swim and jump in.  They burn themselves out to the point of exhaustion.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Gardening in PJ's

Somehow I missed these pictures of when we helped Kathy plant the rest of her garden! 
We started after dinner so Victoria is already in her PJ's. 
I love it when the day is winding down and the sun casts long shadows.
It is beautiful.
Pumpkin the cat loved laying in between the rows.  Zeus was supervising to make sure that Kaleb's row was straight.  I would have never imagined that my cousin Kathy and my youngest daughter would be planting seeds together.  They pretty much even have their hair the same way.  Long and beautiful.
I love how Kathy includes my kids and engages them into doing things.
The kids were very excited to help plant seeds.  I think the pets were too.
By the time we got home Kathy called to say that the corn had already grown an inch above the ground and that the onions were a little above that.
It was so peaceful.  The most exciting part was that the air temperature was very comfortable. 
It was beautiful.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The grass IS greener on the other side!

                                       I surprised my cousin Kathy.
She was putting together a surprise party for Troy's 50th birthday.
I thought I would surprise her and just show up.  But then I started thinking that it would be more fun if we could plan ahead and have something to look forward to.
Really, I just couldn't contain myself.
So I called her up and said I had something exciting to tell her.
Her first thought was that I got a job.
No. I wish. But no.
Then she said
You're coming to see me!
We were like giddy girls counting down to the day we would see eachother.
Jared was still at Scout camp and Kirk was finishing up a mural job, so Daphne, Kaleb, Victoria and I drove 11 hours to Utah to cousin Rich's house and then another 3 to Malad, Idaho where Kathy lives.
We went through a culture shock. 
There was snow on the mountains still, green grass, flowers on the hillside, and cooler temperatures.
We were at Kathy's for a whole 5 days and walked every day.
It was awesome!
Rich's dog Duke went for a walk with us the first night.  The kids rode their bikes.  Kathy and I pulled Victoria along by the handle bars and had to keep reminding her not to put on her brakes.  We walked almost four miles that night.  The alfalfa was beautiful and green.  We discovered at this time that Victoria was extremely allergic to the greenery.  Extremely is such a mild word for what she went through.  She couldn't open her eyes by day 3 and the pharmacy is closed on Sundays.  She did so much better when we got some medicine into her.  She would walk around with a cold washcloth to put on her eyes.  Uncle Troy was coaching her on rinsing her eyes with water which really helped too.  She was quite the trooper. 
We had a great time visiting with Kathy's kids and Troy's family.  It was nice seeing Aunt Carol.  She has always been my favorite aunt.  We played a super loooooooong game of Uno.  I think we went through 7 decks of cards!  We were starting to help eachother just so we could end the game.  It was hysterical.  We learned a new game called Nertz. Wind and Sundi were winning every single game. They were really good at it.  Especialy Wind.
If you ask the kids what was one of their most favorite part of the visit...they really enjoyed being outside and it not being blazing hot and the animals.  The goat Zak was pretty funny to watch.  He would see Victoria come out from around the house and he would stand up on the fence and wait to see what she was going to feed him next.  Kaleb got the experience of collecting warm eggs from under a fluffy chicken.
 We drove up to Power House next to a river for a BBQ.  We thought we had thought out what we needed to cook hamburgers and hot dogs.  Kathy had made delicious potatoe salad.  We hadn't brought a grill for the fire.  So we were busy planning out how we could cook hamburgers.  Once the fire was lit and ready we went to get the hamburgers and discovered that we had forgotton to bring them.  Pretty funny.  We rolled with the punches that evening and still enjoyed our time together in the outdoors.  It was absolutely beautiful.

 The kids love having family.  Kathy's youngest son Blue just graduated from High School too.  He is two months older than Daphne.

The hills were covered in these sunflowers.  I think Kathy said they were South Dakota dwarf sunflowers.
It was fun having a campfire.  We marshed marshmallows for smores.  Another reason why Kathy and I walked every day.  We could eat whatever we wanted.  It was great.
Troy had accidently thrown a couple sticks that Daphne had put aside to carve into the fire.  Oops.

These were a some of the flowers that kathy had planted by her door.  It fascinated me how they weren't burnt to a crisp.  I feel like we live on the moon sometimes with all the rock around.  Kathy's whole yard and the fields around it had green grass and beautiful flowers flourishing.

Jumping on a trampoline in the country is a way different experience than jumping in our backyard. I was apprehensive to jump too much because I didn't want Victoria to fly off into the field.  Our tramp has a netting that surrounds it.

Victoria sent me on a guilt trip once again that she wants to ride horses like her friend Hannah.  She knows that Daphne has taken lessons in the past too which doesn't help the situation.  So anyway, Kathy heard and asked if she would like to ride Dragon Fly even though she hasn't been riden in YEARS!  She had the cutest pony saddle for her.  Dragon Fly did very well.  She wasn't too sure at first but Victoria was the perfect size.  And Daphne did an awesome job of saddling her up.  Victoria had a smile of pure satisfaction and content.

We visited the reservoir in town and  saw who could throw a rock the farthest.  Of course Blue threw the farthest.  I don't think I could even get it anywhere near what he did.  It was fun to just sit there and watch the kids and talk.  We were sitting on the hill above the bank and Zeus would go to lay down to cool his belly and pratically throw his body down on the ground.  He would slide several inches on his belly.  It was funny and cute. 
Daphne brought Sundi, Kathy and Aunt Carol homemade soap from a friend at Farmers Market.  And the kids painted rocks to leave around Kathy's house.  Just a little piece of us to leave behind.

More pictures of special memories.  I can't wait to live closer to Kathy.  We share so many similarities.  I think those Thomas genes came through on both of us. 

We decided to spend a few extra days in Utah with my cousin Rich and his kids.  We laughed so much.  Daphne teases him excessively which he dishes right back.  They got into a water fight at Payson Lake.  Daphne had thrown a cup of water on him and missed.  So she refilled and nailed him pretty good.  Well, Rich had a better cup.  He picked up the water jug filled with ice and water and waited for her to come back and got her head to toe.  We laughed so hard I was crying.  Now if Kirk would have done that there would have been hail and brimstone flying.  But Uncle Rich can do it.  He was always fun as a kid and he is still alot of fun.  We played at the park in Payson several times, watched a few movies from the Redbox and shared some great family time.

Rich's dog Duke is an awesome dog.  He just loves attention and getting some good rub downs.  There was one afternoon I was sitting in the backyard talking to Kirk on the phone.  Duke was laying his head in my lap getting rubbed and enjoying every minute of it.  He got this look like he had an idea.  I watched him jump up into the planters between boulders and dig a hole.  Well, I thought a hole.  Actually he was digging up some furry animal thing and freaked me out because he was proudly bringing it to me to show like....
Look what I have
Wanna see it?
Uugghhh Yuck.  I did everything but scream.  I ran into the house and he looked at me a little heart broken.  I actually felt bad like I hurt his feelings.  It was a piece of deer and its fur.  I heard he came home one day with an entire leg of a deer.  I am a city girl.  Our dogs don't come home with things like that.

Well, we had a great trip.  It was hard driving the whole way myself.  We missed Kirk and Jared but we all enjoyed our time away as well as Kirk and Jared enjoying peace and quiet.
We are ready to make the move out of Arizona.
It is time to move on.
Start over. Or again.

Party, Party, Party

We had a weekend of Graduation parties to attend.  It was fun but exhausting.
It was great visiting with everyone.

Daphne's Graduation! May 27th, 2011

These are just a couple of cute little crazy girls enjoying themselves.

 Oh, this is so late on being posted!
But....better late then never!
Daphne has graduated at the head of her class.  Heehee.  I can say that since she was Homeschooled for 14 years.  Wow...what a journey.  14 years. 
Would I do it again?  You bet.  In fact, we have 12 more years to go.
One down......three to go!
Okay, enough of that.  Daphne's Graduation was wonderful.  There was a lot of cheering and clapping.  We even broke a few tears here and there. 
Daphne and her friends Susanna and Emily 

We are so proud of her.  The ceremony consisted of 150 graduates that came from all over Arizona and who a part of Arizona Families for Home Educators.  We feel so blessed to feel supported by our state to include a real graduation ceremony for Homeschoolers.  The two student speakers were incredible.  They displayed more speaking ability and charisma than some professors at a college graduation that we had recently attended.  AZ Congressman Trent Franks spoke of the commitment and sacrifices that we make to homeschool our children and all the benefits that go with it.  It was such a relief to have the support and encouragement that so many of us need to continue.  It cracked me up when he spoke of a list of about 50 things that explained that "You know you are a homeschooler when...".  I wish I could remember them all.  The only one that comes to mind is "You know you are a homeschooler when the fuzz on rotten fruit in the fridge is actually a science experiment". 

 Daphne and her art teacher Larry, Daphne and Pastor Phil and Abby
The Askins family, Paul, Dana, Erin and Simon with Daphne.  Simon fell asleep. 
They came from New Mexico to see Daphne graduate.
Daphne and her Poppa, Daphne and her Momma or Torturer,
Daphne and all her grandparents, Daphne and her cousin Kyle.

It was very exciting to actually be at this point in all of our lives.  I am mostly excited for Daphne.  She has plans to major in Art and will be attending College full time in the Fall.
We are very proud of her.

Long ago when we were choosing Daphne's name before she was born, we did the "graduation" test.  You know the test...right?
Well, I am happy to say that it passed the test way back in 1992.
  It sounded awesome in 2011!