Saturday, May 30, 2015

My Budding Virtuoso

So proud of Paige and her progress in piano and violin this year.

She did a duet with her friend, and they really were the best!! (Not biased at all! But seriously... they were.)

A job well done!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Day at the Museum

One of the coolest field trips Brandon and I went on together was to the Natural History Museum in Mesa. I really wasn't expecting much, but it was impressive! We started out in the main exhibition hall, where they have a multi-story dinosaur habitat with flash floods every half hour. So cool!

Animatronic dinosaurs, dino bones...

Ancient fish puzzle.

More dinos!

Prehistoric sea creatures.

It wasn't all about dinosaurs. There were plenty of other exhibits, like the space exhibit. This star field looked really cool in person.

On a higher level of the main exhibit, we met a T-Rex.

One of the first things we found was the play area, which was crawling with a bunch of kids on field trips. I told Brandon we would come back later, but he couldn't think of anything else besides getting back to it. I kept reassuring him we would, and then finally we had it all to ourselves.

I thought we were done, and then I realized we still had baggies for panning for gold. As I went to find the gold panning area, I realized we missed half the museum! We headed to the courtyard, and after much effort, we managed to get a few specks of gold.

This tube led to a fun place where you can dig for fossils.

Coming back into the building another way, we discovered the Lost Dutchman Mine (which was dark and a little creepy) and the old Mesa jail cells.

Last was the western movies exhibit, and Brandon got to star in the show!

It was near impossible to get this selfie in the frame without my phone in the frame, but it proves I was there.

This was such a great museum, I am going to have to take my other kids there, too.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


One fine Wednesday night, Kyle suddenly dropped this one on us, "I'm going to prom Saturday." What?!?! That caught us off guard! Then I started the questions: What will you wear? Did you order a corsage? Do you have enough money? Aren't you going to cut that shaggy hair? Yeah, we had to scramble a bit, but we pulled it together. The pics aren't the best, but it's not like I had time to plan!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Amazing Jake's

Our next field trip was to Amazing Jake's with our good friends! We had the lunch buffet and then headed for the rides.

We only had two ride cards, but the laser packs were too big for the boys, so my friend and I wore the packs while our kids shot the guns... that was the plan anyway. In practice, the moms got so competitive that we took the guns from the kids and started firing away at each other. She started it!!

Our last activity was cosmic bowling. Such great form, don't you think?


I love his victory dance. You can see he is knocking a whopping two pins over!

I'm gonna miss this boy when school starts.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Seven Springs

All winter long, Brandon begged to go camping. He also begged to go swimming. I guess he's a summer kind of guy. Spring was busy, but we finally figured out a weekend we could go. I thought it would be warm after it hit 100 a couple of times, but that weekend definitely was not. We decided to stay low and go to a campground north of Cave Creek called Seven Springs. We got a late start, so I was kind of nervous, but we were relieved to find a campsite, even if it was really rocky. With the air as cold as it was, the first order of business was to start a campfire.

The night was really chilly, and we were just barely warm enough to sleep, but our bodies ached from the cold. Our tent poles broke as Russ was setting them up, so I'm really glad it didn't rain! Our tent was so ghetto.

Love camping breakfasts!

I'm not a very experience camper, so I forgot the syrup for the pancakes. The kids had the idea of melting marshmallows on top. Genius!

I think she was enjoying it.


We didn't really have any major plans, so we loafed around a bit.

And then we went exploring.

A little way from our campsite, we found a creek! There was mention of a creek in the campsite description, but we thought the dry wash right next to our campsite was it. Good thing we ventured out. The kids loved making leaf boats.

Afterward, we decided to try to drive to a place called Sheep's Bridge. First we had to drive like 20 miles up a dirt road. Then we realized we had to drive like 12 miles down an unmaintained dirt road. Russ thought we could do it, and we had already come all that way, so we decided to try. The first mile or so was a breeze, but that quickly changed. After a few miles of road that was so rough that we could only go about walking speed, we gave up and turned around because we realized it would take us another hour to go the last six miles. That made for a really long trip to a sheep's bridge. At least I got a picture to commemorate the moment we turned back. Maybe if we get some quads someday, we can come back and conquer.

As we made our way back down all those miles of dirt road, we caught a rock next to our rotor, and it made an awful screeching noise. The fire ranger stopped to help us take the tire off and get the rock out, and it was smooth sailing again. When we got close to home, we ran our car through a car wash, but there was so much dirt on it that it didn't get very clean. My dad would have kept that dirt on his truck like a badge of honor. He would have been proud.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Going Wild

Our second field trip was to Wildlife World Zoo, way across town. We've been to the Phoenix Zoo so much that I decided we needed to try something else, and the Wildlife World Zoo did not disappoint! Well, unless you count the crappy $6 plate of nachos. Sadly, there weren't any elephants, but at least there were giraffes.

Brandon has been wanting to go on a sky ride ever since we ran out of tickets before he could go on the one at the fair. He was so excited!

Rare albino gator... I remember seeing one at the aquarium in New Orleans when I was a teenager. One of many funky cool creatures we saw that day.

These guys are funky cool, and that includes the little dude in the front!

What up?

Later in the afternoon, we headed over to the aquarium side of the park. They let us touch starfish, lobsters, and sea urchins, and I just have to say... sea creatures are freaky!

So many great fish tanks.

See that spot in front of the penguin cage that would be perfect to stand in for a photo op? Yeah, somebody explain that to my four-year-old!! He was busy climbing up the three stairs and jumping back down. I guess they made the viewing area too fun.

I loved that it had both a zoo and an aquarium and rides... I will have to bring the rest of the family here someday.

Before I go, should I show some of the freaks? Okay. This guy was just waiting for an unsuspecting victim to walk by.

Hello Gemma, would you like a kiss?

The king of the freaks... the moray eel. I think they put on those funky lights just to make them more creepy. The only creature that might be even more disturbing is the king crab, but luckily they didn't have any of those.

God sure made some weird creatures. Hope you don't have nightmares now... especially you, Gems.