The purpose of this blog is to capture some of the high lights and low lights of just normal day to day life. Our life is loud, busy, and fast, but we love it!


Hello Mayah!

Happy 6th Birthday to my sweet Mayah Rae!  Six.  Wow.  She has taught me so much about being a mom.  Patience.  All children have very different needs. Trust your gut. Listen. Think outside the box. Run. Red #40 is from the devil.  Small does not mean quiet.

Mayah asked for a Hello Kitty party with a few of her close girl friends.  Done. Lots of prep work made for a wonderful little party.  David and I enjoyed it. Mayah did too!

All organic and gluten free.  I made the bow because Red Dye is evil.

Mommy made a Pin the Bow in Hello Kitty.

Craft time! The guests made Hello Kitty gift bags to take home that I later filled with some take home gifts.  It was fun and easy!  Got to love ideas from Pinterest!

My happy birthday girl!  She and her sisters made Hello Kitty faces instead of the bags.

Playing Hot Potato.  It was full of laughs!

Mayah helped spin all the girls, including sister Leah for our second game.

Lunch time!!!  Butterfly sandwiches, carrot sticks,chips, and Capri Suns. 

Mayah and Madeline.  These two have been friends since before they were 2!  

Mayah and Emsleigh.  Such a cutie!

Mayah with our neighbor Cristina.

Mayah and Ranelle. Love those similar smiles!

Mayah with our new neighbor Ava, who has become an instant friend!

The party girls!

One her actual Birth-day we took off school and went to the Phoenix Zoo.  Our dear friends, the May Family, came to play too!  It was a long, but as Mayah said "wonderful!" day!

They all sang Happy Birthday to her after we saw the 3 week old baby zebra.

Fun crew!  Great day!

For dinner Mayah chose Salsa and Peach Chicken for her favorite meal.  We opened presents and then David started carving pumpkins with them.  I think it was a great day!
Happy Birthday to my little peanut!
Posted by Picasa


Leah's Birthday Photo Shoot with Mommy

This is my second year taking Mayah and Leah's birthday photos. If you did not see Mayah's you can check them out here

Leah's pictures were a lot easier to take this running around a lake trying to get what I could since she would not stop for me! We used the common area in my parents neighborhood for both shoots. I have always wanted to take some pictures there to see how they would come out. 

Leah had a lot of serious faces and a LOT of silly faces.

Not sure where she is looking, but I like this one.  It is edited for color.

Cute smile! Just a vignette added to this one.

I am going to miss those chubby cheeks.  Her sisters lost that baby face at age 4 and I am sure Leah will too.  This was was edited-a color boost.

This smirk kept showing up. 

Such a pretty girl and getting so big! 
Posted by Picasa

Mayah's Birthday Photo Shoot With Mommy

Since I stayed with my parents this weekend while David is away hunting elk I decided to take Mayah and Leah out for their birthday photo shoot.  This is my second year doing it with each of them.  Below are some of my favorites of Mayah.

This is one of the first shots.  It was edited with a boost of color and removal of the scab next to her eye. Love her genuine smile here.  

Love that porcelain face!

There were a few like this that I liked. 

One of my favorites.  May do some editing on this one.

I love this because you can really see her freckles.
Posted by Picasa

Finishing Felicity

Part of Chiara's curriculum this year was using the American Girl series Felicity.  Felicity takes us back to Williamsburg in 1774.  Chiara read a chapter a day, which ends up being a book a week.  She had vocabulary for each chapter, questions, activities, and more. She worked harder than she has ever had to. I am very proud of her.

It was really fun to watch the movie, given to us by my soon to be sister in law's daughter.  I loved how Chiara was able to dissect the film along with me. A developing movie critic! For now we will use her regular (BJU) curriculum for reading and history, but I am hoping to get back to American Girl with Addey for the Civil War!

For each book Chiara had to be Felicity and write in her journal. It was a good way for her think about the main part of the book and respond as the main character would. Here she is using tea, which holds great significance to the Revolutionary War, to dye the journal. 

It was creating a neat effect in the end. It is only partially done here.

With each book there were newspaper articles to write. For the final project she made the newspaper.  To make the paper seem old it was torn and she took it outside to rub it in the dirt. She named it The Williamsburg News

Here are all the articles and one comic she made

We made our first lapbook during this unit.  It really is a neat way to organize and display work.

This was fun, educational, and I love that because we home school we can use alternatives to learning. This was also a learning experience for me.  I needed to set time to read each book, know the vocabulary, and keep an open dialogue about events in the book and how it related to the Revolutionary War. I love history and I can see by using things like this Chiara is loving learning it too!
Posted by Picasa


Emma Lynne at 16 Months Old

October 3rd Emma turned 16 months old.  Seems odd to think she is one about to embark on being one and a half!  If you have had a child this age you know there is a huge difference.  

She desperately wants words....I want them for her too! She is so frustrated at me (and everyone else) not understanding what she wants.  I can tell, because when I do guess right you can see the joy and relief in her face.  She did say something that sounded like Nanny and Leah this week. Progress.

She is "running", which is really a word for walking really fast on her short little legs. She gives "love" which are the sweetest hugs you will ever receive.  She waves at everyone now. She loves Mickey Mouse and her baby doll.  Leah is her buddy. So great to see that relationship growing! She wants to do everything her sisters do. Hmmmm, except go to bed without a fight. 

She pants like a dog for just about every animal she sees....can't wait to take her to the zoo soon!  She gets excited every time she hears a dog bark. 

I watched her go down the slide all by herself at the park. She loves to laugh when her sisters are laughing and dance when they dance. 

Trying to soak in every moment.

Posted by Picasa

Because I home school I can....

I am sure I could write a laundry list to complete the sentence in my subject.  How I want to complete it today is this ".....see them and treat them as the individuals they are."

Mayah is smart, silly, and excited about learning this year.  I am in awe at her reading ability and how easily the math concepts are being grasped and retained! However, my sweet Mayah has always been easily distracted.  I say she is "distracted by air" and it is the truth.  Chiara could work through a tsunami, always has been able to, so I have had to make adjustments for Mayah. Our school room is not a serene place of learning....there is an excitable 3 year old and a loud, mess-making 16 month old.  Not exactly an easy environment to learn it, and certainly one that is difficult for an individual who is easily distracted. 

I was the kid who had her desk moved away from the big beautiful windows at St. Ann's (2nd Grade) because I would "day dream".  I get it.  I get Mayah.  

So, last week the first thing I did was move the little white table to the corner so Mayah and I  could have table time together.  Close proximity. My voice and hers. Eye to eye.  Hand to hand.  Works well.  However, when I am teaching Chiara and Mayah is doing worksheets it was taking her forever. She tried going to the kitchen table, didn't work.  I came across my Beethoven CD and had a light bulb moment....get the CD player and headphones.  What a difference.  She can get her work done in a fraction of the time.  She stays focused and enjoys the music. Perfect. She might break out in a ballet move or two, because as you can see sitting is not really her style either, but it has made a huge difference. Even my "tsunami" worker listened to it when she could not think of a journal response and was happy that while listening was able to write and write! 

It's not a new thought, but I love that I can try, fail, try something new, and even make changes to it as needed. The beauty and freedom of homeschooling.

The picture of Chiara....well, she was done with her work and being silly.  I love that too. 


New Bike For Mommy

I love that my husband is getting on board with celebrating my birthday all month long! My dear friend Paulette would be so happy!

On that note, last weekend my sweet and very generous husband, along with my lovely daughters, gifted me a "new to me" Specialized bike and helmet!  I have never been much of a bike rider, but now that our girls are older, love riding, and David bought a trailer for the little ones I wanted to join the fun!  I had borrowed my neighbors for a few weekends, but it is heavier and not as easy to maneuver.  This one is light, comfortable seat, changes gears easily, and a great ride.  

I am hoping to get the trailer attached for this weekend to try that!

Posted by Picasa


Disney- Part 5, Two Surprises in One, Last Day

My parents were headed back to Arizona on Sunday after our last day at Disney. The girls just assumed we were too. Nope. We surprised them with a trip to the beach!  We went to Santa Monica Beach-we could see the pier, but we were not too close to it.  It was a busy beach day!  Gorgeous weather!  One more surprise to come....

David taking his girls down to the water! I know David loves the ocean so much.  He barely came out of the water the entire time! Leah does not remember coming 2 years ago, so for her this was like the first time all over again!  She loved it!  We all did! What made it even cooler was we saw dolphins swimming!!  In plain sight, in and out of the water. A-mazing!!! Who needs Sea World when you can see the wildlife right at the beach?!

Here is the first time Emma's feet touched the Pacific! She was a bit unsure at first...can't blame her it was cold! On a total side note: can't believe she is wearing a 6/9 month bathing suit at 15 months old! Little one.

Leah looked adorable in her sunglasses with her beach crazy hair!  

This was the shot I often got of her at the water.  Every time it came in she ran out!  She loved the game of it.

I did not plan this shot at all.  If there was one more beach bum in it it would surely be framed!

Emma spent a little time with me on the sand.  She is not a big fan of sand on her, so it was funny to watch her play. 

Had my feet in the sand at the Atlantic and the Pacific in the same summer!  Love it!

Chiara absoluelty loved being at the beach...little did she know how the next surprise would top everything!

Look at that face!  Joy.  She asks often when we are going back.  I think next summer we are going to have to!

Mayah made a friend and was digging for sand crabs.  Only Mayah would do something like that. It's one of many many things I love about her!

David took this with his phone...Momma's got a tan and lovin' it! 

Emma got used to the water and I can see will be a little fish like her sisters!

Playing in the sand.

Happy girls!


So, off we went to one of our most favorite bbq places-Baby Blues.  Mmmmm, seriously good food.  Everyone was tired and I was a bit worn out from the trip, but we made it through lunch and back into the car.  Off to LA.  The girls had no idea where we were headed.  Even when we got to The Grove we told them it was Mom and Dad time.  Right.  Well, Mayah saw the American Girl balcony and said something to Chiara.  I had to let the cat out of the bag.  Chiara was in shock!  Love it.

Here are the girls standing in front of the doll of their birth year

Even Leah

Here they are with our personal shopper (totally FREE service) Brittany.  She told Chiara that she could work there because she knew more than her! Yup, that's our girl!

Both the oldest girls were able to pick out the doll they wanted. They knew they were getting one for Christmas, but had no idea they were going to go get her.  Their Daddy even bought and LA shirt for the dolls and let them get their ears pierced since both girls have theirs.

Getting ready to leave.  Behind this picture is the 'book store' portion....Chiara's favorite part!

Here they are with their look-alike dolls.

It was a great trip.  I know we are making good memories for all of us.  We will be back in 2015 when Emma Lynne turns 4!
Posted by Picasa