Planes, Planes, and More Planes

Falcon Field airport in Mesa had an open house the last weekend in March. April4001We drove across the Valley for a family day. An Army Cobra helicopter was offering rides to paying customers, historical aircraft was on display, and food trucks and bouncy houses rounded out the family fun.April4002April4003

We especially enjoyed the historic restored B-17 that we were able to crawl/walk through. April4004April4005April4006First, Stephen took the boys inside, and then I was able to tour it while Stephen watched the kids. April4007We climbed up a ladder to view the bombardier’s and navigator’s positions in the nose of the plane, and then we viewed the cockpit.April4015April4016 Silas climbed up into the top turret, and he especially enjoyed walking through “the dangerous part” (i.e. the open bombay). April4009April4011Next came the radioman’s station and the waist gunner positions. April4017April4012We could see the ball turret and tail gunner position from the outside only, but it was super cool to be inside such a historic aircraft that still flies!April4013April4019

The very next Saturday, we invited some friends along to watch the Luke AFB air show with us. We learned from the last air show that it wasn’t worth it to try to get on base. Instead we set up our chairs and watched from Glendale Ave and Reems Road, giving us a great view of the aerial acrobatics. The Thunderbirds are always an amazing grand finale, but I especially enjoyed the “Tora! Tora! Tora!” re-enactment of Pearl Harbor.

Silas was smitten with the B-17 and even constructed his own out of Lego.April4020PicMonkey Collagea He made this video to show Grampy his very own version of the Flying Fortress.YouTube Preview Image

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Brynn Bear

IMG_20160405_130416999Baby Girl’s fourth tooth popped through her top gum on her 10 month birthday. She has another one coming through any second now, so Brynn’s been a little fussy lately. Now that she has some teeth, I’ve been giving her more solid food. She’s tried avocado, Kix, Doritos (once child number three comes, this makes perfect sense), bananas, yogurt bites, and whatever else we’ve thrown her way.IMG_20160405_130511031

Brynn can really get where she wants to go. This month she progressed from army crawl, to the “Gollum” (hands, one knee, and one foot), to all fours and to the bear walk (hands and feet). She’s quick and quiet. I’ve lost her a couple times around the house because she doesn’t make any noise when I call her name.April3001

Skills include clapping and maybe even a few first words. It sounded like she repeated “mama” one day, but I have to tell you about Easter. Brynn wore her yelllow dress to church, and when a friend asked her, “What color is your dress?” It definitely sounded like Brynn answered, “Yellow.” Of course, she didn’t really said the word, but both my friend and I were startled.

As the doctor says, Brynn is “long and lean.” A month ago she was in the 87th percentile for height and just the 26th for weight.April3008

We love you, tiny ballerina!April3007

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Celebration of Our Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3 ESV

This year we celebrated Easter. Of course, we’ve always observed Easter by attending church on Resurrection Sunday and wishing each other a “Happy Easter!” We’ve even done egg hunts, new clothes, and potluck dinners over the years. But this year we were more purposeful. And we partied. We partied because Christ is risen from the dead! And that’s worth celebrating.April1022

Easter is about life.

Eternal life. Life in Christ. New life. Abundant life right now through the Spirit. Life on earth. Life to come in heaven. Christ’s righteous life in our place. Christ’s coming back to life, announcing that God accepted His payment on the cross for our sins.

Our living hope is a Person, and His name is Jesus.

The Easter party started early with Easter buckets from the Floreses on Palm Sunday. The kids got all sorts of candy, toys, and clothes. The boys’ favorites were the mini paratrooper action figures. Later in the week, Connie and David delivered Easter baskets filled with bubbles and chocolate and love for our three kids.April1005April1007

April1008Every party needs decorations, so the kids and I shopped Hobby Lobby in search of some Easter decor centered on Christ. I was happy to find a “He is Risen” banner, a wooden sign with the quote, “He has risen indeed,” and a set of Resurrection Eggs. Walmart had an egg centerpiece that I thought would tie in nicely too.April1024

In case you’re unfamiliar with the idea of Resurrection Eggs (like I was), they are a countdown to Easter with one egg to be opened each of the 12 days. (There’s no significance to the number 12 except that eggs come in dozens.) Inside each egg is a trinket that helped us teach the kids the story of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. For example: a donkey for Christ’s triumphal entry on Palm Sunday, a cup for the Last Supper, a crown of thorns, and a stone for the tomb, etc.April1001April1004

{You can definitely make your own Resurrection Eggs, but this set was on sale and was better than I could have come up with on my own. The accompanying booklet from Family Life is helpful, but I recommend it with one caveat. When the booklet said that “The Bible tells us that Jesus was stronger than any man” (p.16), we skipped that part. The book’s point was that Jesus had the power to stop His own crucifixion (which of course He could have since He is God), but Philippians 2:7 teaches that Jesus “emptied himself…being born in the likeness of men.” Though still fully God, Jesus was not a human with Superman-like strength.}April1002April1003

On Easter morning, we opened the last egg. It was empty because the tomb is empty. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! We sang the Resurrection Hymn together. Then came church, a fellowship dinner, and an Easter egg hunt at the church house, and watching It’s the Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown.April1020April1021

Decorated hard boiled eggs and plastic eggs were hidden for the hunt at the church property. Cooper figured out that plastic eggs were a lot more fun, so he went straight for those. He picked up only one hard boiled egg, and that was only by mistake! Silas decided he wanted to find only the eggs that were actually hidden. No picking up eggs lying on the grass for him. Brynn watched from her blanket on the grass.April1023

This was the second of our egg hunts this year. The Friday afternoon before Easter was the annual MOMS Club egg hunt. It was at a new park this year, so the kids enjoyed exploring the new playground equipment while the eggs were “hidden.” April1010April1011April1012April1013After the hunt, we invited Kristy and her three boys over to dye eggs with us. It was the first time I had ever colored Easter eggs, and a first for Cooper and Silas too. I read the story of Christ’s death and resurrection to the kids while Kristy prepped the egg-dying kits.April1009April1014

We colored a dozen eggs for each family. Silas and Cooper were really interested at first. After a while Silas just wanted to play with friends, but Cooper stuck with it a little longer. It did take some time since the eggs had to sit in the dye for a few minutes, and we had to take turns with friends. I thought it was great!April1015April1016April1017April1018

I’m learning that while Christmas is amazingly special, it’s just the beginning of the story. Easter is the party time that calls for some big celebration.

But, really, Easter is a beginning of its own too. One day we’ll party forever with Christ as we treasure Him Who is our Life.April1019

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Shamrock Birthday

Last Thursday was my 33rd birthday. I felt known, loved, and treasured.

(I also fell apart by the end of the day, but birthdays are a weird mix of emotions like that for me.)

Stephen got up early and brought me back a Starbucks coffee. March3003Then he surprised me with a present that anticipates our coming move—red rubber rain boots. Can’t wait to try them out in Portland!March3002

Earlier last week Silas made me a card that said “I love you,” spelled out in his adorable handwriting. Cooper drew me a picture of hot lava with lava snakes and lava snails. Oddly specific artwork, but just the sort of thing a mama of boys would love to receive from her 3 year old man.March3004

My thoughtful friend, Jen, pampered me with an afternoon out. Not only did we enjoy a relaxing pedicure together, but she gave me my inaugural ride in a convertible. A red convertible, no less!March3006March4001

Cards, phone calls, birthday wishes, and gifts from family and friends peppered my day with love. My cousin Laura even sent me a package full of some of my favorite things. (In my opinion, striped paper straws are the height of civilization, and I have now fully arrived as an adult.) As I opened the gift, I felt like Laura was reading my mind. Come to find out, my mom and sister had given her some tips on what types of things I loved. And because I tend to be the oddball of the family, I was shocked to discover they knew me so well!March3001

After a supper cooked by Stephen, we celebrated with these elegantly delicious St. Patty’s Day strawberries from my bestie, Rebekah.March3007

Thankful for another year to mark God’s grace in my life.

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A Lesson in s-p-e-l-l-i-n-g

Cooper seems to have a good ear for music—not so much for spelling…

YouTube Preview Image

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Money 101

Silas has been drooling over the Lego “Gray Avenger Ship” for months now, but recently decided he’d like to get the “Blue Avenger Ship” instead. We’re letting him earn money for simple jobs and {hopefully} teaching him some diligence, discipline and patience in the process.

The concepts of pennies, dollars, and how much things cost are rather hard for little people to wrap their brains around. So, the other day I created an earning chart for both boys. {Cooper is now earning his way towards buying the Lego “Fire Helicopter.”) I glued on pictures of the toys they want, and now the boys have a visual of just how many dollars they need to earn.March2002

Since the pay is pennies at a time, I needed a way to track the boys’ earnings until they reached $1 to add to their chart. Using a variation of a Pinterest idea, here’s our counting-pennies Lego tracker. Each little circular “peg” represents a penny. An easy way to help kids visualize that 100 pennies make up 1 dollar.March2001March2004

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Hey, everybody! I’m 9 months old now. March1007That means I can wave, pull up on furniture and eat Cheerios.YouTube Preview Image March1004My first tooth popped through on the day before Valentine’s Day. (Mommy thinks it’s adorable that I have just one tooth.)March1003

I also love to dance! Music is optional. My favorite dance move is to bounce up and down while sitting on the family room floor. My hobbies are smiling, exploring the house with my army crawl “swim,” and staring at Daddy.March1001March1002

Happy March!

Love, Brynn KathrynMarch1005

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P is for…

These are my peeps. My people. My marshmallowy sweet, squishably loveable (and often sticky) people. My peeps.Feb7011Feb7012Feb9001
ete’s Fish & Chips
Rachel was our tour guide for our first visit to Pete’s Fish & Chips in nearby Tolleson. Apparently the restaurant and downtown Tolleson had recently been given a facelift. It was super cute! Pete’s is somewhat of an iconic Phoenix lunch spot, so I wanted to try it before we moved away. Personally, I liked the chicken strips better than the breaded fish, but I was happy to try Pete’s signature dish.Feb8001

The boys fed the ducks at Friendship Park during playgroup the other week. Yes, there are a few area parks where one can see ducks swimming in actual water. If you look closely, you may also see another rare species called “turtle.” Feb7008

The kids and I had a lunch date with an incredibly cute guy the other day. Stephen met us at the Popeye’s near his office. While it was nice to see my man during the day, I was glad I don’t have to make Stephen’s commute each day. That traffic can be intimidating—and I wasn’t even driving in rush hour. It’s incredible to me how God has kept Stephen safe all these years driving all those miles.Feb7006

Peoria Sports Complex
Food Truck Friday at the Peoria Sports Complex advertised a Super Hero Night, so of course the boys dressed for the costume contest. We brought our very own Spiderman and Ironman, but Ironman was too shy to get up in front of the crowd for the contest. Silas posed with Spiderman and Black Widow for a photo op, and I had my first lobster roll from the Cousin’s Maine Lobster food truck.Feb7013

The Tale of Two Cities parade, celebrating Goodyear and Avondale, was worth seeing—especially with friends. The parade is only about five years old but we really enjoyed watching the floats, bands, and military and rescue vehicles go by. Collecting a bag full of candy from the parade entrants was a new concept for the boys. They were thrilled!Feb7003Feb7001Feb7002

Pink Eye
Silas looked like he had contracted Cooper’s pink eye last Sunday, and then Brynn came down with it in both eyes this past Wednesday. Cooper has been keeping me up all night with a bad cough, and Brynn developed a bad cold and slight fever too. We’ve been doing eye drops, vaporizer, tylenol and cuddles to try to get these little peeps better. Can you find the three wild humans in their native habitat?Feb7015

Stephen left on a business trip to Portland for a few days this past week. He and his boss hosted a brunch at Greater Portland, Inc. to introduce Portland business owners to GreenLoop’s work concept. Then, Stephen and Peter scoped out some possible office locations. Stephen was also able to tour two elementary schools and get a feel for some neighborhoods and homes for sale in the area.Feb7005

In the midst of our pink eye epidemic, I forged ahead with my goal of painting the master bedroom while Stephen was away. The first day of painting was great! The kids entertained themselves so well that I was able to do two full coats and half of the edging. We’ve now moved our furniture back in and will start on the master bath soon.Feb7004

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Ahoy, Matey!

It’s been a pirate kind of afternoon at our house today.Feb6001

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Of Valentine Ninjas and Mountain Men

I think I’ve created a new holiday character. Introducing—-the Valentine Ninja! Here’s the story…Feb4005

Back in my Utah days, my roomie Tara and I hosted a Valentine sleepover for the teen and tween girls at the school where we were teaching. That night Tara introduced us all to a “heart attack” as we forked the teen boys’ yards with paper hearts in the dark of night.

I loved it so much that I had been itching to do it ever since. (If you’ve been reading this blog for several years, you might remember that I dragged Stephen along to give the Horkavys a heart attack the first February we were in Arizona.) Well, I couldn’t resist doing it again.Feb4002

But this time, the boys and I gave “heart attacks” in broad daylight to my two closest friends from MOMS Club, Kristy and Randi. We did the dirty deed on a morning when I knew both of them would be at a club board meeting, but I still wanted the boys to be quiet. And thus the Valentine Ninja was christened.Feb4001Feb4003

(Parent tip: One of the best games for noisy little boys to play is Ninjas. They sneak around the house as quietly as possible {which is to say that you have to pretend to ignore them since their “sneaking” is so obvious}, and as long as you don’t glance their direction, you and your spouse can hold an adult conversation without interruption!)

We celebrated Valentine’s Day all week. Tuesday was craft day at the park where the boys decorated valentine boxes and exchanged valentines with their friends. Friday, I dressed Brynn in her valentine tutu so we could surprise Stephen at his office with his gifts. Feb4008(Even mini ballerinas sometimes don’t like to have their picture taken.)Feb5001Feb4007Instead, Cooper decided to go all out for the holiday and contract pink eye. So festive!

Silas got his first WarHeads candy, and it was fun to watch his reaction.Feb4009YouTube Preview Image

Sunday afternoon we loaded up for a family outing at nearby Estrella Mountain Regional Park. Upon seeing the desert hills, Silas excitedly said, “I’ve always wanted to walk up a mountain.” He picked a mountain, and we climbed it. Feb4011Even Cooper made it all the way to the top by himself—though he did need some carrying on the way back to the car.Feb4010Feb4014“Mount Silas” (as we named it) was over 1,200 feet in elevation, which meant we climbed up about 400 feet. Feb4016I’m proud of our hiking crew!2016-02-14 14.56.02aFeb4013

Stephen and I rewarded ourselves with Dutch Brothers iced coffees.

Another Valentine’s Day with the person I love most!

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