Teen Elect…

Bennett got an invitation in the mail to attend a “Teen Elect” event at our church and although he acted like he didn’t want to go, I knew he was secretly a little curious about the evening.

Both Hallie and Hunter have attended this activity when they were 12 & 13 years old so they provided just the right amount of hype. It was also fun that Hallie was helping run the event so Bennett knew there would be a familiar face.

Teen elect is a crash course on socializing, dancing and manners for young pre-teen/early teens.

They learned proper dining etiquette and had a nice sit down meal where they could practice what the learned. After dinner they attended mini classes and Hallie taught the class on how to talk and carry conversations by asking questions and providing information.

They had dance lessons and then had a little dance where they could practice.

I’m sure you can tell from the pictures – Bennett had a terrible time. 🙂 I’m actually not sure who had more fun, Hallie or Bennett!

Hallie brought the energy and the kids responded so well to her. She was in the middle of dance floor teaching those kids how to let loose. As uncomfortable as he was, Bennett was on the dance floor the whole time both asking and being asked to dance. He didn’t make a run for the bathroom one time the whole night and you better believe that kid can carry on a conversation – he’s an old soul!

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Sports birthday party…

Cannon was so patient as we put delayed his birthday party a few weeks. I think he was okay with it because he couldn’t decide what kind of party he wanted to have. He thought he wanted a sports party (like Hunter had when he was younger). But then he was confident he wanted a science party (like Bennett did a few years back). But he must have talked to a few friends at school because he came home confident again in the sports party – so we ran with it.

Hunter was considerably younger when we threw this party for him so it took much more parent involvement to run the games and drills. Cannon knew exactly what he wanted to do – he wanted to play chair soccer and frisbee dodgeball and all the kids were old enough to play without intervention which was so much fun to watch. We could have made the party an hour longer and it still wouldn’t have been enough time for the kids.

Because it was a “sports” party we invited everyone to wear their favorite jersey and wouldn’t you know it half the kids showed up in a Suns Devin Booker jersery – and we didn’t even play any basketball. Which actually came in handy when we were dividing teams because all the Bookers were on one side against everyone else. 🙂

Cannon was happy with how the party turned out which is all I could hope for.

After everyone cleared out, we cleaned up the party and then cleared out the living room of all it’s furniture as we prepped for the function we were hosting the next evening. Never a dull moment around here!

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Thanksgiving 2023…

Between all the Turkey Trot prep and the Turkey Trot, I managed to make 130 rolls. 🙂

I typically make them the day before, freeze them in their knotted but not risen state. The morning of Thanksgiving, I pull them out and they rise while we’re trotting. We get home, and bake away before heading to eat with family. This year was no different. There are few things I like more at the Thanksgiving table than homemade rolls.

Steve’s brother hosted a beautiful dinner and we gathered with the family that was available which was about 50 people.

I can’t write a Thanksgiving post without sharing my gratitude for this guy. Thanksgiving is always a little busy around our house due to the Turkey Trot but Steve just steps up and takes care of all the things that slip through my hands. He cleans up my messes as I run out the door and he entertains the kids while I crash on the couch when it’s all said and done. He is my balance in all things.

Thanksgiving weekend we got some good family time in. One of the favorite extended family activities is cardio tennis. We showed up to the high school courts and played for hours. Although very few in the family actually played tennis in high school – they are all athletic, very competitive and have had experience with the sport. So cardio tennis with the gang is so much fun. Hallie was a shining star and it was fun for her cousins to see her play some since most don’t live in the area. Hunter also held his own and he’s participated in this game for a few years with not as much confidence.

I wish we would have taken a picture when we had two courts full of family – instead we snapped one after half the group left. Still a reminder of how awesome it is to have so many fun cousins.

We also attended our last ASU game for the season and we haven’t seen stands this full in a few years (most of them were UofA fans but still – a full stadium is fun to be a part of). Sadly ASU had a poor showing for their final game and left us wondering if they’ll ever be decent again.

Thanksgiving week was fun and exhausting on so many levels. I’m grateful for our little family. They are the center of my world and I love it. I’m grateful for all the extended family we were able to gather with. We talked, we swam, we played, we connected. They are as good as they come and I find myself in awe with just how fortunate we are to be one big family. And now we get to ride this high into the Christmas season.

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Turkey Trot 2023…

I often get asked the same question over and over again regarding the Gilbert Turkey Trot – it’s the question as to whether the Turkey Trot is easier to manage year after year because we know what we’re doing. Although there’s some truth to that – there’s also new challenges year after year as we grow and it often feels like we’re figuring it out every year.

What started as a small neighborhood run has grown to 5,500 runners plus spectators (a record for us) and every year we’re surprised at the growth. None of us have any experience in running large events like this or even more particular a race, but we’ve figured it out and we do it for charity.

These three ran the 5K and they all crushed it.

These ones ran the Fun Run.

And here’s some behind the scenes:

We buy doughnuts by the pallet. Hunter was in charge of unloading all these doughnuts. I don’t even want to count how many doughnuts our family consumed between the packet pickup, race day and the day after.

The local shirt printer we work with is awesome and he is so good to us – printing all the runner, volunteer, trot team, glasses and brainfood shirts. And he willingly adds to our order two days before the race when our registration is higher than we anticipated.

Hallie, Hunter and Bennett volunteer at the packet pickup with me the night before the race. They are paid in pizza and swag and that is enough for them. The older they get, the more helpful they are and they know how to work. I think Cannon and Briggs are now old enough and next year we will be able to volunteer as a family.

This is my friend Ruth and she started Az Brainfood which is one of the two charities we raise money for. She is an integral part in our packet pickup and onsite registration and more importantly we are a team outside of the Turkey Trot. If I’m working on a project, Ruth is by my side and vice versa. Grateful for friends like her.

This team is why the turkey trot functions as it does. They have vision and are willing to serve and they’re pretty fun to work with.

Grateful for another successful year!

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Come back to me…

5 nights a week I sit down at the computer to write a blog post – and I’ve done this for years and years. (Long past the popularity of blogging when everyone moved to different platforms). I’ve used this blog to document all the things pertaining to our family life and my personal thoughts. Throughout the years, there have been times when it’s so easy to do this and takes very little effort – it just flows. And then there are times when it’s a chore and I have to make myself sit down and write something…anything.

Honestly speaking – I’m in a period where it’s a struggle. Not because I don’t want to write and share but because there is just so much going on, it’s hard to narrow a topic and write. I was just going through pictures and there are so many things I want to get down on paper before I forget, but the truth is when I sit down to write my mind is blank. Perhaps blank isn’t the right word because my mind is definitely not blank – there’s just no words. Nothing comes to mind to write even though the thoughts and ideas are constantly swirling.

My solution to this dilemma is to not write. Skip a day. Skip two. Skip another. Which is great! The problem is life keeps marching on and thoughts and ideas keep piling up! I just need to figure out how to convert those ideas to words again. I’m sure it will come back to me – it always has. Just not today.

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