Monday, August 24, 2009

Summer Memories

Summertime is a great time of year…a time to take a break from the regular routine, and to get away and enjoy a change of scenery. The past two summers we were able to get away from the Phoenix-area heat by making a trip back East in 2008 and travelling up to Sedona in 2009. I’ll update you on last year’s trip, then post about Sedona separately.

The trip back to the “old country” last year was quite an adventure. We flew into Baltimore and stayed overnight with Jeff’s brother Marc, Rachel, and their kids. The next morning we were off on a road trip north to Connecticut to visit with my Uncle John and cousins Ellen and Gail. There was a wonderful celebration for my uncle’s 80th birthday at a German restaurant, and it was great to see family I had not seen in years. While we were in Connecticut we also visited with family friends Linda & Lee, and got to see Linda’s son Mark and the new home he was building there.
We then made our way down to New Jersey to visit and stay with my friends from high school, Nicky and Joe and their children. Katie had so much fun playing with the kids, and we enjoyed catching up with Nicky and Joe on all that they’d been doing. The school year was just winding up when we were there (in June), and they were getting ready to distribute the yearbooks that they’d been helping coordinate. We even got to go to one of Katy’s softball games to see her play.

After New Jersey, we drove down to the Poconos in Pennsylvania to visit with Linda’s daughter Jodi, her husband Joseph, and their kids Sloane and Spencer. Their home was a bit out in the country, and it was so beautiful…lots of open grassy areas. This part of the trip was a particular highlight for Katie. Sloane rides horses, and she was kind enough to let Katie ride her horse Teddy Bear. After we had dinner with the family, we drove down to the stable where Teddy Bear was, only about 10 minutes or so from their house. Sloane was so sweet, letting Katie help groom Teddy Bear, then leading Katie around while riding Teddy Bear in the nearby indoor ring.

Sloane said Katie was a natural :)! It was Katie’s first horseback ride, and from that moment she was hooked. She’s since taken riding lessons back here in AZ, and she loves learning to care for them and ride.

Then we headed back to Maryland again to visit with family there before flying back to AZ, but not before stopping at Gettysburg to see the new visitor’s center there. Jeff is a Civil War buff, so since we were not too far from the area we wanted to be sure to see it. At first Katie didn’t want to go in, but once she was inside she was snapping pictures and looking at all of the displays.

Back in Maryland Katie got to play and visit with her cousins a bit. We took the train in to Washington D.C., walked over to see the White House, and went into one of the Smithsonian museums.

It was a very busy trip, but worth every minute! We enjoyed seeing everyone so much, and just wish we weren’t so far away so we could visit more often.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Remember how I wrote yesterday that I couldn't wait to hear about Katie's first day of school...well, I learned to be careful what I wish for! The first thing Katie said to me when she got into the car after school was, "Mom, I have a confession to make, I got a bump on my head!"

Luckily, it was just a small bump, and she's been just fine since it happened about one hour into the school day. She was sent to the nurse's office, and she had the distinct honor of being the first patient for the 2009-2010 school year. A distinction she could do without, but fortunately nothing serious! The rest of the day went just fine, and no homework for the first night.

Monday, August 10, 2009

First Day of School goes without saying that I'm woefully behind on posting, but I am determined to get caught up! So, I'm going to start with today, then fill you all in on what we've been up to the past year or so in future posts.

Today was Katie's first day back at school after a fun and relaxing summer vacation. She had to admit she was ready to get back into the routine at school. She had so much fun picking out her backpack (an ASU backpack...yes, that's a Sparky on her shoulder...really, we're not brainwashing her :)), and her outfit for the first day.

All I can keeping thinking about is how fast she's growing up, and how the time passes by so quickly. Wasn't she just in kindergarten? Already a fourth grader! We're bracing for the drastic increase in homework. She'll be participating in soccer this fall, but that's it. I'm so lucky that I've been able to take the first day of school off to spend a little extra time with her this morning...with my usual work schedule I don't get to do this during the year.

Can't wait to hear about her day when I pick her up this afternoon. For now, it's off to the craft room to continue catching up on my scrapbooking.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Catching up - Spring

OK, while we've been getting ready for the holidays we have realized how far behind we are in keeping the blog updated. Even handing the reins over to Katie has not helped too much, so while Katie is at horse camp...story to be told in another blog entry...I will attempt to bring the blog up to date!

Katie's last entry told about her birthday party in March. In the spring we were busy watching Katie take part in different activities, mainly karate and soccer. She's been active in karate (TaeKwonDo) since kindergarten, and is working her way to get to a black belt. Here are some pictures of her in action!

Katie doing a sidekick during her testing back in February. I'd show a picture of her in her sparring gear, but she might get mad at me for embarassing her, so I'll skip that one.

Here she's getting her new belt from Master Turner, the head of the martial arts academy she attends. She moved from intermediate red to intermediate brown at this test. She is working at the high purple belt level, then there are about 7 more levels to get to black belt.

Also in the spring Jeff coaches Katie's soccer team. We've had a great core of girls stay with the team over past few seasons, and it's a great time for Jeff and Katie to have fun. This season they were the "Red Dragons."

Another springtime activity for Katie & I is to visit the Desert Botanical Garden to see their butterfly garden. It is truly amazing! They have so many different varieties of butterflies, you really do need a guide to identify them all. We always hope one will land on our shoulders and travel with us a while, but no luck on that count this time.

That about sums up our spring activities this year. Katie finished her second grade year in May, and we took our summer vacation shortly after in June. But that's another story for another blog entry :).

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Party Fun

Hi there again. It's me, Katie, and I used to be 7 1/2 years old. But on March 16th it was my 8th birthday! And I had a blast!

It was at Brunswick Zone in Gilbert, and my friends and I did cosmic bowling. They turn the lights down, play awesome music, and the lanes glow in the dark! My friends, cousins, and family were all there.
It was a Hannah Montana theme party, and I even had a Hannah Montana birthday cake.

Some of my best friends celebrated with me, and we had lots of fun eating pizza and bowling. And everyone signed a souvenir bowling pin, so I'll always remember who came to my party!

It's hard to believe my birthday will be coming up again soon...only four months and eight days. Now, we just need to decide what we'll do for my 9th birthday celebration!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Me and Barbara Park

We are long overdue for an update to our blog, since we haven't posted anything since the end of 2007. To keep up better, Katie will be taking over the updating duties for our blog. Tonight will be her first entry to bring everyone up to date.

Hello my name is Katie. As you all know this is my first entry. So I will tell you an amazing story about when I met a real author. Her name is Barbara Park. She writes the Junie B. Jones books.

My favorite book that she's written is Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business, which is about Junie B. learning that she is going to have a new baby brother. When her mother has the baby, Junie B. gets to spend the night at her Grandpa Frank Miller's house. When her Grandma comes home from visiting the hospital, she says that the baby boy is a cute little monkey, and Junie B. thinks that her brother is a real monkey! Junie B. tells everyone at school. At recess, her friends Lucille and Grace give her their stuff so that they can be the first to see Junie B's monkey brother! But when she goes to the principal's office, she calls her Grandma to ask if her baby brother is a real monkey. Her Grandma says he's just a little normal baby.

I met the author on February 6th at Changing Hands bookstore in Tempe. After she spoke, she autographed two of my Junie B. Jones books and her new book Ma there's nothing to do here. Here is a picture of me with Barbara Park.

That was my amazing story about my favorite author. I hope that I see her again.

That's all for now.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

End of 2007

OK...finally I will get caught up through the end of last year.

In September I attended a Creating Keepsakes scrapbook convention in Phoenix. I was able to take some really great classes and shop for all kinds of scrapbooking supplies. But the highlight of the weekend for me was meeting Creating Keepsakes magazine founding editor Lisa Bearnson! I took two of her classes, and she was kind enough to take a picture with me. A dream of mine is to be able to do something related to the scrapbooking business someday, and she was really supportive. Just a really awesome experience!

September also brought another season of ASU football, and Katie's soccer season. ASU did surprisingly well (winning 10 games and losing 3) given that we had a new coach, and the future looks really good. Katie's soccer team also had a winning season, and the girls had a lot of fun with Jeff as their coach. Here are a couple of pictures of the team (and yes, there were 12 girls on the team).
Katie also continued with her karate classes in the fall, and when she tested at the end of September she earned her new belt and student of the month honors.

In early October, we visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix to see their butterfly garden. In the fall they have monarch butterflies, and in the spring there are many other different kinds of butterflies. It's becoming a "must do" each season. Katie can spend hours in the garden taking pictures and watching the butterflies. It's really fun because sometimes they will actually land on you and hang out for a while.

Then came Halloween. Katie decided she wanted to be a tiger this year, so off to Target we went and found the perfect costume. We had lots of fun trick-or-teating in the neighborhood, and I think Katie had even more fun after we got home giving out candy to the kids visiting our house.
In November, Katie's cousin Elizabeth came to visit for the Thanksgiving weekend. They had so much fun playing together. We all went to the Phoenix Zoo on the day after Thanksgiving, figuring it would be a great way to walk off all the extra calories consumed the day before. It was pretty crowded, but we were able to see most of the animals out and about. They have a new exhibit with stingrays and small sharks, and you can reach in to touch them. I never knew stingrays could be so friendly :). If you put your hand in the water, some of them came right up and swam under your hand. And their skin was pretty smooth.

Early December brought Katie's first karate tournament. She competed in both "forms" and "sparring". She earned a medal in forms and a third place trophy in sparring. If she keeps up with this, I don't think we'll have to worry about her being able to take care of herself when she's older.

Then, before we knew it, the holidays were here. Katie's cousins from Maryland came to town, and they got some time to play together while they were all off from school. We also managed to make mini gingerbread houses with graham crackers, which was a lot of fun.

That about sums it up for the Fall of 2007. Lots of great things and good memories for the year.