Dear Santa…

Although our kids are getting older – this is one tradition that not even the older kids are willing to let go of. Bass Pro has mastered Santa’s workshop and they love to go and play with all the toys they have set up.

Dear Santa

Briggs asked for loooooots of gum.

Dear Santa

Cannon asked Santa for cotton candy maker – a kid after my own heart!

Dear Santa

Bennett asked for a ginormous lego set.

Dear Santa
Dear Santa

The older kids were okay with a group photo with Santa but that’s as close as they were willing to get!

Dear Santa

Briggs was so excited and enamored with the man in the red suit. Cannon was equally excited but a little more nervous. Bennett was excited but skeptical.

As Steve pointed out just a few weeks ago – we are living in our golden years and nothing makes us realize that more than Christmas time when the energy and excitement is palpable. I’m sure these are the years we will look back and remember so fondly. There is magic in the air!

Dear Santa
Dear Santa
Dear Santa
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Thanksgiving break…

We started our Thanksgiving break with flu shots for the whole family! Some were braver than other, but my lips are sealed! We’re hoping this helps even just a little bit in the fight against this year’s flu bug that is already taken Arizona by storm – 300% more cases confirmed than this time last year.

Thanksgiving break largely revolved around the Gilbert Turkey Trot – all the prep and then of course the actual race.

Steve’s brother hosted the family this year, a beautiful and intimate gathering of 62 people. 🙂 It really isn’t as chaotic and crazy as it sounds. Everyone brings food and family came over the day before to help set everything up. They have an ideal home to host such a gathering.

Its been a while since the whole gang has been together.

Sometimes in group pictures its hard to tell who is an original member of the family – here’s all nine of them. (and Annie on the far right was a trooper – she had a baby just days before but wasn’t about to miss out on the fun!)

Before the rain decided to make an appearance all the cousins enjoyed a friendly, yet rather competitive gave of wiffle ball. Young and old – they were all out there swinging for the fences.

After Thanksgiving day, we all kind of crashed in some regards. A lot of naps and sleeping kids (and adults!)

We got some time with Bob and Virginia over Thai food before they flew out on Friday.

Hunter arranged a turkey bowl with his friends and his fun was cut short when he caught Bennett’s head to his eye.

Saturday night we gathered as many siblings as we could and went to the final ASU game of the season. We started the season sweating to death in 110 degrees. We ended the season bundled up (layers upon layers and then blankets thrown on top) when it was 46 degrees out – we had a cold front move in and it was a late night game. Despite the cold (I had no idea they served hot chocolate in this stadium) we had a great time.

We ended the break by pulling out all the Christmas boxes and blanketing our home with green and red and more glitter than my vacuum knows how to pick up.

And then we blinked and it seems like Christmas is already here. That’s what happens when Thanksgiving is so late in November!

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Gilbert Turkey Trot…

Years ago, I designed a logo for the Gilbert Turkey Trot. That opened a door to my continued involvement which seems to grow each year and for that I am grateful.

There is so much that goes into this event. Meetings upon meetings and a team of people invested in this cause. It is beautiful to watch so many countless hours poured in as a labor of love.

This year we started to get a little nervous a week before the race. Rain was in the forecast and it was looking ugly. We’ve never had to deal with rain and we weren’t sure what we would do. We prayed, ordered ponchos and prayed some more: We just needed a small window Thanksgiving morning!

The night before the race, the kids and I went and worked the packet pickup. And although heavy with clouds, not a drop of rain fell and the clouds parted for the most beautiful sunset.

Of course after everything was set up late that night, the rain came down. But the next morning the threatening clouds just hovered. The sun even peeked out of the clouds a few times. By some Thanksgiving miracle the forecast for absolute rain never came. It didn’t rain the whole time we were there, even through clean up. As the last couple people cleaning up drove away late that morning, the rain started to fall. It was a miracle.

Actually, that night, in that parking lot at the mall, a tornado touched down ripping out 20 trees and caused some building damage.

Even with threatening rain – we had the best turnout we’ve ever had and even more money was raised for AzBrainFood and Families Fighting. Blindness.

The family showed up from near and far – all of Steve’s siblings were together – and supported Lucy and her cause. Steve, Bennett, Cannon, Briggs and myself ran the one mile family run. Hunter stepped it up a notch and ran the 5K (thanks to soccer he’s in great shape) and Hallie conveniently missed both runs and ended up at the family booth helping with cousins.

We saw Steve’s brother and sister for the first time since their arrival and it made for a sweet reunion.

Steve, with all of his brothers and brothers-in-law. (Oddly enough in this picture they’re split evenly – four brothers-in-law on the left, four brothers on the right.) Eight of them in total and when they get together they laugh and laugh – they think they’re all pretty funny and their comedic timing is something else.

The gratitude wall is always my favorite every year. Its fun to read all that people are thankful for.

Even Briggs tagged the wall – with his own name – the only thing he really knows how to write.

Being in this place surrounded by so many family members wearing their white shirts with red glasses was a beautiful feeling. We are family but we are also a community and when all together, we’re quite the sight. Hallie and I were some of the last to leave and I looked around in amazement at the empty streets. They were crowded just an hour before and with an army of volunteers the whole thing was torn down in no time. My heart was full. And tired.

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The love of a parent…

You know how you don’t fully appreciate your parents until you’re a parent yourself? I had one of those moments this weekend when I was driving 40 minutes away for the second day of Hunter’s soccer tournament, his fourth game in 24 hours.

The thought came to me – my parents did this for years – except they had several kids playing competitive soccer at the same time and I was one of them. I’m driving one boy to and from practice and games and it’s a lot. I can’t imagine multiple kids doing this!

I continue to get glimpses of what my parents experienced/sacrificed when I was younger and it’s humbling to feel of their love for me years after the fact. They really did give up so much – I think every parent does.

I’m realizing the things we do for our kids now may not often be appreciated but I have a feeling they will eventually understand the sacrifice and love – just as I continue to all these years later.

And although 4 games in 24 hours is a little excessive for my liking – I love watching him play. I feel his excitement, I understand his frustration – It takes a lot, but it’s also rewarding.

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Little Brother’s Revenge…

It’s been a while since we’ve had any injuries and luckily this little incident didn’t add another set of stitches to Hunter’s eye/eyebrow (he’s already got two scars from when he was younger.)

Hunter gathered with his friends and their dad’s last week over Thanksgiving break for a little turkey bowl flag football. (Bennett is now at the level that he can play with the big kids and he couldn’t be more happy about it).

Bennett got a long ball and Hunter was going to make sure he caught him before Bennett made it for a touchdown. As Hunter caught up to him, somehow Bennett’s head hit Hunter’s head and I’ll give you one guess as to who had to come home early! I’m not sure what hurt more, his eye or his pride knowing that his little brother got to stay at the field playing with all of his friends!

Hunter had a nice goose egg which turned to a swollen shut eye and eventually just a black eye. Today it’s turning a nice shade of green and when Briggs pointed out to his friend that Hunter had a black eye, the friend took one look and said, “That’s not black, that’s purple and green!”

Grateful we dodged stitches!

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