Monday, March 25, 2013

Friends in New Mexico

You have to know the Joneses by now, don't you? Our fun-loving Utah friends who moved to New Mexico just weeks after we moved to Chandler? We have been visiting them at least once a year ever since! This spring break, it was their turn to drive to our house, but since Dan couldn't get the time off work, I decided to pack up the kids and drive up there. We couldn't miss out on a chance to play with our friends!

Farmington is a pretty small town, but we still found some fun stuff to do every day. Like the Big Bounce...

I was all worried about Brandon, so I followed him for a while, but he conquered the biggest of the obstacle courses over and over on his own. Near the end, he came to me a few times and cried for about a minute, but then he was off again!

Super slide!

It's a Jones tradition to cool off with slush puppies after working up a sweat.

And since the Johnstons do whatever the Joneses do (only smaller because apparently the Johnstons' mom is a cheapskate)...

Afterward, we wiled away a lovely afternoon in the backyard. The kids had a ton of fun in the hammock.

The next day, we headed to the Bloomfield indoor pool. (Note to self: trying to shower and dress all 8 kids at the public pool is a baaaaad idea!)

We were too tired to play at the park after the pool, so we saved it for the next morning. My kids remembered that park from our last visit and wanted to go again. Luckily, it wasn't so hot this time!

Okay, not the best picture, but I couldn't resist posting it because of the pure joy in Kallie's face! Oh, to swing on a swing!

All the kids, except 9-month old Brexton.

That afternoon, we went to the Farmington children's museum. The kids went digging for dinos...

Did several slightly disturbing puppet shows for us (do they always have to eat each other?!?!)...

And had fun on the light and magnetic tables!

This is a disturbing exhibit where you stuff this guy's organs into his gut. Kallie decided to pull them all out and hide inside.

I can safely say the kids spent most of their time in this playhouse. They served all sorts of meals...

Planted and harvested vegetables in the garden...

And even plucked apples from the tree.

On our last night there, Dan and Leesa somehow thought it would be a good idea to have the kids help paint the playhouse. This was after their fiasco with priming the playhouse, which ended in much of their furniture and walls being primed, too. It was a bit nerve wracking!

Only Kallie's name painted on the back porch (by Cassidee) and some paint in the hair, but totally worth it... right? Right Leesa? At least the kids had a blast!

On our drive up, we saw quite a bit of snow through the mountains of Arizona. On the way back, the snow was almost melted in the mountains, and the wildflowers in the desert had burst into full bloom! It was a glorious scene, but especially when the back side of the Superstitions came into view and I could see Weaver's Needle and Flatiron at the same time. By the time I found a place to pull over, the best photo ops had passed, but I still got a picture.

And just for fun, I whipped out my telephoto lens for a closer view of Flatiron.

After being in the relatively barren plateau of New Mexico, where it was mostly yellow dirt and leafless trees in the San Juan riverbed, I was thankful to be back amongst the saguaros, red rocks, and wildflowers of the Sonoran desert. But I was especially glad to be back with Russ... he bought me flowers!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Goodbye Friends

It started with a bunch of cake pops.

Last summer, three friends got together to try making cake pops. It was so much fun that we decided we needed to do it again! (Remember the silk plant Melanie tore out of the pot so we could use the styrofoam to hold our cake pops? Haha!)

So a little tradition was born where we got together to experiment in the kitchen about once a month, and my neighbor joined in the fun. Next it was soft pretzels...

Then caramel apples... (hey, we never said it was healthy... just fun!)

Then new Thanksgiving recipes, candies for Christmas, pumpkin pies, and breakfast recipes. The best was when we pretended to do a soup day and threw a surprise baby shower for my neighbor instead. She was shocked!

Rewind a little bit... while all this unhealthy eating was going on, we also got some exercise at the neon splash dash!

Pretty soon, our families were hanging out together, and we went to the Christmas boat parade at my parents' house. Everything was going fine until my friend's husband's job moved to Wyoming. Sad face!

We made the best of our time left with a froyo date, a Super Bowl get together, and a picnic at the park. During the last week, we had a going away party for her family. Here is the cooking club together for the last time.

Then I signed up to provide dinner for their family on Saturday night. We went to Rosati's Pizza and then came home to have a fire and s'mores. It was hard to get good pictures because our fire was so small, so I took a picture of our marshmallows roasting together.

The kids were loving it.

Brandon and Logan were looking at each other through the patio door.

Once we stoked up the fire, we got a decent picture.

The day before we left for our spring break trip, we went over to say goodbye one last time because we knew they would be gone by the time we got back.

Cheyenne doesn't know how lucky it is to be getting our friends, the Teeples! We'll miss them, but I'm sure we'll see those guys again some day. Good luck in your new home!!