Sunday, March 25, 2012

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Another Spring Break has come and gone for us.  The good part is that summer will be just around the corner. The "bad" part (or should I just say the chaotic part) I guess is that things are about to get very crazy around here.  Travis has his first baseball game this week, and it just happens to also be on his birthday.  He will have one to two games per week plus practice times for the next two months. Add that to our regular chaos and you will see how all of a sudden it will be June around here in the blink of an eye. 

Yesterday we got a chance to visit with my brother.  He was in town for training for his job so he extended his stay into the weekend. It was nice to have some good quality time with him.  My boys really enjoy playing with Uncle Rob.  I only wish he didn't live so far away so we could see him more often.  However, I did get my yearly picture of him with the boys. We did our "serious" picture first.
 Then they did some silly ones. This one was my favorite.
 Sometimes I look at other blogs or see my friends and family post pictures of their little girls playing dress up in cute princess dresses.  Well, we have no princess dresses around here. However, we do have football uniforms....

 and Darth Vader costumes! I am so glad to see they can be used for more than just Halloween! Connor lives in an imaginary world.  When he dresses up he is in total character. He has been walking around here all day talking in a strange voice, trying to sound like Darth Vader. I am not even sure he has ever even seen a Star Wars movie.  He cracks me up.

Yesterday Daryle finally got the uniforms for the baseball team.  They look pretty good too. 
I can't wait for their first game! I just love how they all look in their uniforms. They are just so. darned. cute. 
In one way I am dreading going back to school.  Back to a schedule. Back to deadlines, test prep, workshops, Science Night, yadda, yadda, yadda.  On the other hand I think my kiddos need to get back into their routine.  After two weeks of no structure they tend to get a little restless.

On another note, we had our last post placement report for Connor. Yes, can you believe that time has come already??!  We had it last Thursday.  We survived.  Thank goodness the social worker is a fellow adoptive mother and a former teacher. She understood the craziness that was going on around us.  I guess my kids get a little anxious when a visitor comes over to write things down and report it to Russia. Honestly, they are typical boys until my phone rings or somebody comes over and they need to be good. That is just recipe for disaster in my house.  I am glad all the reporting is over. When we did these for Travis I knew all the dates by heart that we needed to have the reports in by. With Connor I wasn't even sure if this was our last report or not until she showed up at my door.  I will say if I hadn't of called I don't think they would have called me. I do feel a great sense of responsibility to get these in on time in order to help those in the process now.  From what I hear things are shaky in the Russian adoption world right now. I sure hope they can work something out between the countries. Only time will tell.  I pray for all of the children around the world who don't have forever families. Of course the ones in Russia have a special spot in our hearts.

I will leave with a funny conversation at our house last night.

Connor: When I am 10 I will have a sister.
Daryle: Really, where will she come from?
Connor: Russia!!
Travis: No Connor, you don't want one of those until you are 16!
Me: What is that supposed to mean?!
Followed by lots and lots of laughter.  I am still scratching my head over that one. Silly boys!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Here Comes the Hail!

One thing I can say is that our weather stays pretty much the same day in and day out.  It cools down in the winter and gets super hot in the summer.  There is not much of a change on a day to day basis.  Often times the weather forecast calls for rain but you don't think too much about it because it may or may not rain in your neighborhood.  One part of the valley gets rain and your yard is as dry as a bone.  Well, last weekend our area got hit with a huge storm.  It was so exciting!  We got wind, rain, hail, and rainbows. Some people a few miles away even got some snow in their yards. No snow for us. Although there was snow in the mountains that surround the valley. That is always beautiful, it looks like somebody took a sifter with flour and sprinkled it all over the mountain tops. As for the hail, this was the first time Connor ever saw it and you would have thought it was Travis' first time too.  He doesn't remember ever seeing it before, but I am sure he has.  Here is was just the day  before, digging in the backyard. (Yes, my little goofball is wearing socks... why? I have no idea.  Maybe to keep the bleach company in business??!)
This is how our street looked on Sunday morning. This hail and rain came and went all day. It alternated rain, hail, sun, rain, hail, sun, etc.. It was awesome!! Oh, and it got cold too.  (Being in the 50's is cold for us! Especially in March when the previous week I was sunburned from being out in the 85+ degree weather!)
 I am so glad this weather happened on a weekend so we could all really enjoy it.
 My boys wanted to hang out in the backyard and survey the damage from the wind and rain.  They would have stayed out there all day long if I would have let them. Travis did a good job of staying out of the rain... Connor, not so much. He wanted to run out there like he was taking a shower!
We are on our last leg of Spring Break. The weather this week has  slowly climbed back up into the 80's. Just where I like it. I am not a fan of the hot, hot summer  weather. But what can you do?  No matter where you live there is some type of weather you have to deal with that is not much fun.  I guess for now I will take the heat. Along with the air conditioning!
We have lots of things to keep us busy over the next few weeks (months??!).  Tomorrow we have our Diamondback ticket draft for our season tickets and my brother is in town from Seattle so my parents are having a party on Saturday. Next week is Travis' birthday and his Little League season officially starts. The first game is right on his birthday!  (I am thinking the family celebration may have to come a day early just for time management purposes.) I can't believe he will be 9 years old!  He is getting to have a friend party this year too which will be the following weekend.  The good thing is there will be lots to post about here! Stay tuned... this may take awhile!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fun Times At the Zoo

When people wonder why we go back to school so early (at the end of July) I just remind them about the wonderful breaks we have during the rest of the year.  Summers are so hot around here that you can't do much outdoors (unless you have a swimming pool... which we don't.. and even then sometimes it is actually too hot to even swim, if you can imagine that!) However, in October and March the weather is beautiful and there is so much to do outdoors.  We always get two weeks off in October and then two weeks  off in March.  As a teacher I love it because the kids get a nice break from school and come back nice and refreshed.  As a mom I love it because I get to spend extra time with my kids.  This year my parents bought us a Zoo Membership to the zoo for Christmas.  Last week my mom had a few days off so we took the boys to the zoo.  Evidently everybody else had the same idea because we couldn't find a parking spot and then the line to get in was out of this world.  If you are familiar with the Phoenix Zoo, I can tell you the line was all the way across the bridge at the entrance.  Fortunately we are members, and with that comes perks.  My mom went ahead to check, and yes, we got to bypass that whole line and walk right into the zoo. Hurray!  (I was beginning to panic because of course Connor immediately had to "go potty" right when we got to the entrance.) 

The weather was gorgeous and our zoo is so big that even when we got inside it didn't feel super crowded.  For some reason my boys love getting a picture by this komodo dragon every time we go.

 With our membership we got 4 free passes to ride the train around the zoo.  Usually we just walk, but since it was free of course we had to take a ride.  Connor gave it a "thumbs up"!  (Don't you love how his juice left this red mark on his mouth. all. day.long??)
 Travis trying to be "too cool" to be excited about riding the train.  He will be nine in just a few days... he is growing up too fast for me sometimes!
 Well, we are not too cool for the train! I don't know why this came out blurry though.
 One area Travis loves is the petting zoo area.  This area has come a long way since I was a kid.  Travis loves to brush the goats.  He really loves animals so much.

 Connor loves the carousel!  He wanted to ride on the dragon so badly, thank goodness it was available for him when it was his turn to get on the ride. And yes, he dressed himself. It was 87 out that day but he insisted on wearing long sleeves with his shorts. I packed a short sleeved shirt just in case he changed his mind, but he never did.  (Can you say stubborn child??)
Now we are on to week 2 of our break.  Just a lot of hanging out and relaxing going on around here. We have been doing yard work, playing baseball, riding bikes and scooters, playing with friends and going to different parks.  The doors and windows have been open as the breeze flows through the house.  I love spring break!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Every year the leprechauns come to our house the night before St. Patrick's Day. Usually they leave some Lucky Charms and other trinkets. This year they didn't disappoint!  They left each boy a green shirt (and this year they even left mom and dad each a green shirt too!), some gold coin candy and a green bowl to eat their cereal out of.  They even turned our milk green... again!  Here is Connor with a huge smile, he thought this was pretty neat!
 Travis will still wear all the fun stuff and let me take his picture. He is such a good sport!  (He looks like a giant to me in this picture.)
 The yearly pose for the day. I need a March picture for the yearly calendar for the family.  Phew, I got a decent one!  (Things can get tricky with Connor, he doesn't always cooperate with pictures!)
 I let them do a silly pose and this is what we got.... "Peace Out" they said!
I hope you all had a nice St. Patrick's Day yesterday!  I like celebrating this little holiday and I can honestly say I am part Irish. St. Patrick's Day always makes me think of my grandma, she has always liked this day too.  She has always been the one to tell me about our Irish roots.  Ireland is one place I would love to visit one day. My grandma had the chance to take a trip there once and she just loved it. I enjoyed seeing all of her pictures and hearing all about her trip.  Hopefully one day I will make it there too! I will leave you with an Irish Blessing, one of my favorites.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Biker Mom?

I have been known as "Soccer Mom" and "Baseball Mom" even "Basketball Mom". Now I guess I can add "Biker Mom" to the list.  That is all Travis has been obsessed with the past few weeks. His bike.  He likes to take the wheels off, put them back on. Let all of the air out of his tires. Then pump them up again.  He likes to take off the seat, put on his friend's seat, then put his seat back on again. He loosens the handle bars and tightens them up again.  He takes off the pegs then puts them back on again.  Then he announced that he wanted to spray paint his bike.  After at least two weeks of putting him off we finally compromised. We told him he could spray paint the rims only.  He was told to do black, white, or silver (they already were silver). He decided on black.  I have to say, give Travis a project and he will be busy for hours. He acts like a little man. It is so cute to watch. Here is his bike without the wheels.
After scrubbing each wheel with soap and water he got out the paint.

Tah-dah! Two new wheels. He is so proud of his hard work.
Meanwhile, the sun went down and Connor found some sidewalk chalk.
He decided to make a crosswalk between our house and the neighbor's house. Although, they have also referred to it as their own runway....
I had to take a picture of our beautiful AZ sunsets.  This picture doesn't do it justice though.
Here he is putting those tires back on.  He tested it out that night but the batteries in the camera wore out.  Oops!
Today we got the new batteries installed. This is how Travis is spending his spring break....
doing as many wheelies as humanly possible!  This boy is addicted to his bike. (I guess there could be worse things!)  I am glad to see him hanging out with his friends, riding his bike getting exercise and fresh air.  I guess I am now a "Biker Mom"!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


For the last 7 years that I have taught Second grade I have been waiting for Travis to get the chance to do this school project.  In class one of the stories in our reading book is about a boy who has to choose a food item to bring to school that reflects his culture. He brings a jalapeno bagel because his mom is Hispanic and his dad is Jewish. Anyway, we always let the students bring in a food item that reflects their heritage.  Thank goodness for Travis he is "just" Russian. (I say that because if he were my biological child he would be many different things!) Since we have a picky eater on our hands, and we are not very good at eating Russian foods on a regular basis, we had to find something for him to make and bring.  Our first stop was to Cost Plus World Market. I thought I had seen some Russian cookies in there one time.  Not today.  All they had were Russian Style Pickles... made in Belgium!  Uh, no thanks!  Our next stop was Google.  We looked up Russian desserts and found Russian Tea Cakes.  Imagine my surprise when this wonderful recipe only had 5 ingredients! (We left out the nuts since one classmate has a nut allergy, so ours had 4).  All you need is butter, flour, vanilla, and powdered sugar.  I printed off the recipe and we were off to bake some cookies.  Thankfully Travis has had a lot of experience in the kitchen so he did a lot on his own.  However, when it came time to "shape the dough into 1 inch balls" it was tricky.  The dough was very powder like but when you squeeze it in your hands it shapes into a ball.  He got frustrated so I finished that part up. Otherwise, I was just supervising. Here he is in action.
 Measuring out the powdered sugar.
 A very proud boy!
 These are the finished product. I should have put them on a pretty plate for a nice picture, but of course we were short on time. We are just lucky we took any pictures at all!   They turned out perfect.  Travis was so excited and proud to bring them to school. Evidently they were a big hit!  Later that day several of his classmates came up to me and told me how yummy they were.  His teacher told me that during his presentation Travis mentioned to the class that he was born in Russia.  One little girl raised her hand and said, "So you are an immigrant!!"  Too funny... they have been studying pioneers lately so I guess immigration was on her mind.  Classic.  (Daryle had to add, "At least he is legal!!!")  I guess it is a good sign that he keeps asking to make some more. Maybe they will be come a regular around our house.

Today I was making some banana bread.  A few days ago Red Truck Grandpa brought me some very ripe bananas.  Finally I had some time to bake some bread.  Connor decided to be my helper this time. This kid LOVES banana bread!  It is so nice to have a non-picky eater in the house. 
Oh my, look at him flashing a peace sign! He wants to be "big" so bad!  He really was a great helper. I hope my boys are always comfortable in the kitchen and grow up able to make a few things. I hope their future wives appreciate it too!  

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Connor's Latest Favorite....

For Christmas I got a few gift cards to Starbucks.  Lucky for us we have one right in our Target. A few weeks ago I took Connor to Target and we stopped in for a coffee.  I had planned on getting him a juice.  The lady behind the counter was so sweet. First she offered him the last sample of banana bread.  He gobbled that up with plenty of "mmm's"  and "that is delicious!" comments to make other customers want to buy their own slice.  Then she asked him if he wanted some whipped cream. I said, what?  Of course he said "YES!" without even really knowing what he was saying yes to. She told me it was free... so of course I said ok. She squirted some whipped cream into a little cup and then put a little straw in it.  Well, Starbucks has a new lifelong customer on their hands.  Now I can't go into Target without getting Connor some "whooped cream" as he likes to say.  (It sounds so cute when he says it!)  Today was no exception. Here he is in the cart enjoying his little treat.  

He even brought in his graham cracker from school. He knew it would taste yummy with that whoopped cream.  My little guy has pretty good taste! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Mr. Fix-It

Well, I don't have a picture to go with this story.  But... I just had to write this down.  Today when I went over to grandpa's house to pick up Travis I found him out front with one of his friends.  The friend was on his bike and Travis was just walking around visiting.  I stopped the car and had this conversation with Travis.

Me: Travis, where is your bike?
Travis: It has a flat tire.
Me: Really?  How did that happe...  Wait... what happened to your shirt??!  (At first glance the middle of his shirt looked faded... he was wearing a plaid button down shirt today for Western day at school.)
Travis: Oh, well that happened when I flipped off of my bike over the handle bars because of that flat tire.
Me: Is that tape?!  (Friend gets a big grin on his face and starts to chuckle)
Travis: (huge smile) Yeah, I tried to fix this rip.  (giggle, giggle, smile)
Me: (shaking my head) sigh... boys!  Gotta love 'em! 

Yes, he ran in the house, grabbed some scotch tape and tried to tape up the rip in his shirt. How could I even be the tiniest bit mad?? I smiled and shook my head.

And no, he didn't get hurt.  He just has a red mark on his tummy from the fall.  Tough kid.  I would have been in tears if that had happened to me. Yes, I am a wimp.

Well, I guess I can cross that shirt off my hand- me-down list to Connor!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Orange Picking

A few weeks ago my cousin Anna asked if anybody wanted to come pick some oranges from her backyard. Of course I said YES!!!  (Thanks again Anna!)  All four of us were going to head out but Travis was getting sick so he stayed home with Daryle. Grandpa, Connor and I headed out one beautiful Saturday afternoon.  Connor had a lot of fun using the orange picker to reach some of the oranges up high.
 Look mom! I caught one!
 Try as he might, he just could not reach this one.  But he sure had fun trying to jump up high!
 Ahh... finally!
We brought home a huge box full of oranges. We shared some with grandpa and my parents.  Blue has even enjoyed an orange or two. There is nothing tastier than an orange picked fresh off the tree!  We still have a few left, but I am sure those won't be around much longer!  Excuse me while I go have a snack...