Wednesday, September 2, 2015

School swim party...

We buy each kid two swimsuits at the beginning of the swim season - we get our money's worth and then some out of those suckers! Hunter's are seeing the most wear at this point and one of them is bound to give out at the seams at any moment. (By the way - we've owned a lot of brands of swimsuits over the years and hands down Lands End is the best in quality and lasts the longest.) But really, we've got weeks left before those suits head to the closet for semi-retirement. There will be a few instances where they get pulled out over the year and chances are they won't fit by next year.

This week we've used those suits a lot. Swimming in our pool, friends' pools, water parks and the PTO swim party. All but one of those swim events was cut short due to our wonderful monsoon season and our beautiful lightning shows we're seeing most afternoons/evenings.

Monday was the school party. We've been in the school now 4 years, starting our 5th year. Time changes everything. I remember first attending this event when Hallie was in Kindergarten. We were new to the area, we didn't know anyone and it seemed like everyone else was connected. Now we recognize a good majority of people for some reason or another and our kids are running from friend to friend. One of the many reasons I enjoy neighborhood schools.
Life with Fingerprints: School Swim Party
Life with Fingerprints: School Swim Party

Steve was on Bennett duty and I was on Cannon duty. My job might have been a little easier:
Life with Fingerprints: School Swim Party
He was as chill as can be and never wandered around. He came alive when he spotted one of his siblings and it made his day when they sat and played with him for a minute (with their friends!)
Life with Fingerprints: School Swim Party
Life with Fingerprints: School Swim Party
Life with Fingerprints: School Swim Party
Hunter was a blur as he was constantly moving the whole night. He breezed by me with a wave as he ran through the water to catch his friend playing tag. He only approached me one other time when he was looking for a friend, other than that, I just watched him from afar in all his 6 year old glory and delight.

The night ended early with a beautiful display of lightning and with the way the kids were disappointed you would think they rarely get a chance to be in the water!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Happy Fall...

I can't believe it's September. And although our triple digit weather is no indication - fall is just around the corner. Fall in Arizona is vastly different than most areas, but I throw up some decor and burn a pumpkin candle and it makes me feel warm and cozy. We're approaching my favorite three months of the year.

And not surprising to many Christmas is already on my mind. Not to stress anyone out, but there are only 16 Saturdays left to get everything in. It's time for me to start rounding up ideas for our homemade Christmas gifts. I think I've got an idea squared away for Cannon. My friend has this massive Noah's Ark set. I fell in love.
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This picture doesn't do it justice for just how large it really is. It's also very, very expensive. I figured I could make a wooden set somewhat modeled after this one - at least use the animals as a pattern to cut out with a scroll saw. I borrowed the animals this week and photographed them to make some patterns.
Homemade Christmas: Wooden Noah's Ark
Homemade Christmas: Wooden Noah's Ark
Now I'm just waiting patiently for the weather to cool so I don't get heat stroke in the process. I might be waiting a while. I need to see if there's any other homemade gifts I can start that don't require me to be outside!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Lake trip...

Before school started a friend invited us out on his boat. We made the mistake of telling the kids at the beginning of the day that we would be going to the lake and then regretted it every minute after the afternoon monsoon rolled in. They wanted to go so bad and were so looking forward to it that the rain was a devastating sight. I thought for sure our evening lake trip would be cancelled. But our friend was ready and willing to go. The rain had become intermittent and there was a chance it might not rain the rest of the night.

It rained the whole drive to the lake (and yet no lightning) and then let up once we got the boat in the water.
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Steve wakeboarded with the kids and then the massive tube was blown up. Kids love tubes. They get whipped around to near falling off and they laugh the whole time. I loved tubing as a kid - now knowing how bad it hurts when you get thrown off makes it not worth it!
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At one point, it started raining while the kids were on the tube. I could see they were getting pelted with the rain, trying their best to shield their eyes. So I suggested we stop the boat for a bit and let the kids swim around. Once we got the kids pulled in Hallie asked, "Wait, why are we stopping?" I told her she looked miserable out there and it was time for a break. She insisted that it was so much fun and she was not wanting a break. Funny kid.

Speaking of funny kids:
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He was having a hard time maneuvering around the boat in his life jacket. It seemed to throw off his balance and more than a few times I found him on the floor of the boat unable to roll over. He just laid there without making any noise, waiting for someone to notice him and pull him up.
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The tube, the rain, a bag of licorice and box of wheat thins...we had a great time.
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Sunday, August 30, 2015


Steve started his corporate career path right out of college. We moved our little family out to Wisconsin and he started in retail buying with Kohls. It wasn't a job he had ever envisioned for himself - in fact its one of those jobs you don't really realize is even out there when you first start your job hunt. But he fell in love with buying and he was good at it. Kohls was a great company, but after 5 years, we were ready for a change. A change of scenery for our family and a change of scenery for Steve's work.

Although it wasn't our intention to come to Arizona - that's where the job offer came from with Petsmart. It was a tough decision - but we relocated and Steve continued his growth and development in buying. Petsmart was a completely different environment than Kohls but equally good. It was more casual with people bringing pets to work and being able to dress in business casual. They had great team building activities and charity events that Steve enjoyed. He also got to travel to new lands which excited him on many levels. He spent many trips in Asia and worked with the sourcing and manufacturing side of retail which interested him.

After two years of working with Petsmart Steve went back to get his MBA in Global Management. Through this process, Steve was exposed to a much larger business world and his eyes were opened to new possibilities. Although he loved his career in buying, he started dreaming of a different path. A path that might utilize the skills he had developed and yet challenge him in new ways.

His work with Petsmart grew long. He had a tough year as the company transitioned under new management as they tried to recover from a few stumbles.

Just months before Steve graduated, Petsmart (a public company) was sold to a private equity group and once again they transitioned to new management and of course experienced some struggles with change and vision for the company as a whole.

After 10 years in corporate - with a new degree under his belt, Steve was ready for a change of scenery. But not a change of scenery within retail - he was ready for a pivot. He searched and researched and spoke with mentors and connections and he landed on something he's more than excited about. He will be managing a few companies for a private equity group. It's new and challenging. It will draw on many of the things he has learned over his corporate career and yet push him to learn so much more.

As of Friday, Steve made his last 45 minute commute (each way) and walked in the door with his final box from his office. Our hallway currently looks like this:
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Picture frames, awards, old calendars, candy jars, mugs and other collectibles from 5 years of being in an office. Luckily he didn't bring home the ginormous aquarium and turtles - he found new homes for those items!

Corporate life has its advantages and we've enjoyed those benefits over the years. This career pivot has risk and reward awaiting us and it's what Steve has always hoped for in his career path.

For Steve it means not spending an hour and a half every day in the car. It means being able to see the kids before he leaves for work in the morning. For us it means having him around just a little bit more and having the flexibility to enjoy life as a young family. The programs during school he had to miss, class parties he wanted to be there for, Halloween parades, birthday lunches, vacation time with us in Idaho - all of it can be possible. Its not as if he will be working any less - but the flexibility will make a world of difference for our family.

Steve closed a chapter in his book. But he did it with a skip in his step full of anticipation and excitement. It's time to pivot.
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