Tuesday, May 25, 2010


This last Saturday, my husband and I were able to participate in the "Take Steps" Walk to benefit the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). We had planned on taking the whole family with us, but the kids hadn't been feeling well, so we left them at home with my inlaws (thank you!).
I'd never been to anything like it before. It was very cool!
They had a band playing, booths set up with information and freebies, mascots from the Cardinals and the Coyotes, the Chick-Fil-A cow (giving out coupons, yippee!), FREE food, Star Wars characters (Zander missed out!), face painting, bounce houses..... FUN STUFF!
Then they had some people get up and give some speeches. A doctor talked about the latest advances and treatments (he mentioned Cimzia - the medication Brandon just started). They had selected an "honored" member - a 15 year old kid who has had Crohn's for 5 years. He talked about his experiences - he has had it rough! He's spent almost half of the last 5 years in Phoenix Children's Hospital. He almost died at one point and they had to remove his colon to save him. Makes me very grateful that Brandon doesn't have it that bad.
And then there was the actual Walk. I really felt it was like marching with an army of people with the same goal and purpose. It was only just over 2 miles, and it didn't feel very far at all. It was pretty neat. There were at least 2000 people there.
Several of the people were part of "teams". They had matching t-shirts with their team name on them. Some of my favorites were "Clayton's Crohnies" and "Connie's Colons". One team had red shirts with an "X" over the words "Crappy Bottoms". That made me giggle a little. Next year, we'll have to put together a team.
Anyway, it was a great event, and I'm very glad that we were a part of it. We will definitely go back again next year - and we'll bring the kids, and hopefully have a team!

We didn't bring our camera along, we just had Brandon's cell phone. So, we didn't get very many pictures, and the ones we got weren't all that great. But here you go - proof that we were there!

Some random people posing with the Star Wars guys. Behind them you can see where the band was playing.

Brandon with the Star Wars guys

Howler, the Arizona Coyote's mascot

At the begining of the walk - see all the people?!

And here we are! Aren't we so cute? (uhh... sure?)

And as for fundraising - I think we did GREAT! Our goal was $250 - and we surpassed that by quite a bit! The total that we earned was $325! $110 of that was donated by Zadyball - thanks to my wonderful customers this last month!
(That's just OUR numbers - the entire walk raised at least $100,000!)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kindergarten Graduation

It's hard to believe it, but my son is now a Kindergarten Graduate!

Last week, the school had a Kindergarten Awards ceremony and invited us to attend.
It was a special day, so the kids were encouraged to dress up

The kids lined up and came in

I had three kids with me - by myself - so I sat near the back. I was a little disappointed when Zander was on the opposite side of the stage from where I was.
The kids put on a little program and sang some cute little songs. I tried to get some video of it, but since I was so far back, it really didn't turn out great. Plus, I had a very restless 1-year old wanting some attention.

After the little program, they called each class up and gave out awards.

I guess it was fun that they did something like this for the kids, but I didn't enjoy it much as I spent most of the time trying to keep three kids in line.

On the last day of school, they had Kindergarten Graduation. This was MUCH more enjoyable. Brandon had the day off work, and so did his parents, so they were able to come too.
We waited outside for a while until they were ready for us

Then we got to go into the classroom. The kids were ready for us, wearing their cute little graduation caps.

Then they had the kids go out, and they all marched in

Then, they gave out awards. First were the awards for any one who had read more than 50 books. They got a certificate AND a poster. The posters were individual for the kids. The teachers made sure they got one of something they liked. Zander's was a fancy car.

Then, the teachers called each student up and gave them a special award that fit their personality. Something that the teacher's thought was special about them. Zander's award was the "Heart of Gold" award. Describes him perfectly!

Then, they had each of the kids read a little paper that they had written about themselves. Zander's said that his favorite food is corn and when he grows up he wants to be a Race Car Driver. (Thus the poster of the car).
Then, of course, they got their diplomas

Posing with Gran and Papa

With the family

School Friends

Mrs. Baxla - his teacher for the last 3 months. (Teacher #3 for the year - Mrs. Bobbit had a baby and didn't come back, Mrs. Courson couldn't stay because of Arizona retirement laws)

We are very proud of our Graduate! We love you Zander!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Harry Potter Party

On May 11, my baby boy turned SIX! Time sure has FLOWN !
Hours old

6 Years Old

This year, we have been reading Harry Potter. I've read the first three books to him, and he has gotten pretty excited about it. So, naturally, he wanted to have a Harry Potter birthday party.
As his birthday gift (besides the party of course) I made him a Harry Potter costume.

You can't tell from the picture, but it is reversible, has the Gryffindor emblem embroidered on it, and has pockets to store his wand. I was pretty proud of how it turned out.

For the party, we sent out invitations that were basically an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. I found the wording online - here's what it said:

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Headmaster Albus Dumbledore
Order of Merlin First Class, Grand Sorcerer and Chief Warlock, Supreme Mugwump International Confederation of Wizards

Dear Child's Name,
We are pleased to announce that you have been accepted into the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for an elective spring session and feast being held in honor of Head Boy Z’s, 6th birthday.

Classes will begin at the stroke of 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon on Saturday, May 15th. Please take the Hogwarts Express train to our address, currently disguised as a muggle home at address. There you will find the magical door visible only to Hogwarts students, friends and families. The password is Flibbertigibbet. The last class will end at approximately 4:00 o’clock, so make sure to set your remote broom starter for that time. Capes and robes are optional. Be sure to bring your thinking caps!

Please respond by owl no later than May 12th so that we can prepare for your arrival. Send the owl to email address. If your owl is in the shop, you may use your muggle phone to call phone number.

Lots of the kids were very excited about the password and had practiced it so they could say it to get in. Of course, we had the Fat Lady guarding the door. (I found the picture online, printed it out, and put it in a frame)

For the party, we decided to have individual "classes" like they do at Hogwarts. First of all, we started with "History of Hogwarts" as the kids arrived. I had the first movie playing on our laptop. (I wanted to keep them in the front room, not in the family room where the TV is)

I was dressed as Professor McGonagle (I'm a nerd, I know)

I gave them a little introduction, and then "sorted" them into the houses. There were no Slytherin, of course, and I gave out the rest randomly.

I gave each kid a "wand" and then we headed outside for "Herbology" class.
I started preparing for this class a couple weeks ago when my kids and I planted cups of grass. (They thought that was great fun!)

Each "student" got a cup of grass, scissors, and a marker. They were instructed that for this "magic" grass, they needed to give it a "haircut" and decorate the cup. They were all pretty serious about it.

Then we went back in for "Transfiguration" class. I gave each of them "magic clay" (homemade playdoh) and told them they needed to turn it into an animal. (There were quite a few snakes)

We then had "Care of Magical Creatures" class. This one was a bit of a reach, I must admit, but I thought I was pretty clever. I found a pin the tail on the donkey game for only $1 at Walmart. What I told them was that it was a "Magical, Invisible Donkey" that disappeared when it's tail fell off. That was why they needed to practice putting it back on while blindfolded. Good, right?

The next class was my favorite. Potions!
I found the official Harry Potter Wiki where I found a list of all the potions ingredients used in the books and movies. So, I went through those and found things in my house that I thought would make good substitutes. I also found some nifty looking bottles and jars at Goodwill to put them in.

I gave them each a "cauldron" (plastic cup) and we made a potion together. Dragon's blood (water with food coloring) + Boomslang Skin (pop rocks) + bicorn horn power (baking soda) + Bouncing Spider Juice (lemon juice). It was nice and fizzy.

Then, I turned them loose and let them make their own potions. Some of them got pretty interesting! A couple of kids were brave enough to taste them! It was good, messy fun!
Then it was time for Defense Against the Dark Arts. I tried to build up the suspense a little bit. I told them they would be battling against a very fierce, dangerous dragon, and the only way to defeat it was to hit it with a branch from a Whomping Willow.
Okay, so it was a Dragon Pinata and a stick. But I thought it was fun.

Yippee for candy!

Then it was time for cake

The cake was actually pretty easy to make. I used round cakes in a few different sizes. One was cooked in a bowl, and the top of the cake and Hagrids hut were cooked in my Pampered Chef prep bowls. I used canned frosting, and the towers are made of ice cream cones. I was surprised that all the kids wanted the "pointy" parts and fought over who got them.

The birthday boy with a messy face

Of course there were lots of fun gifts to open

And then they had time to go outside and PLAY!

It really was a great party and I think that everyone had a great time! But, it was A LOT of work and I was EXHAUSTED by the time it was over!
I COULD NOT have been able to pull it off if it wasn't for my wonderful in-laws who came to help, as well as my fabulous husband. Thank you!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Girl's Night

Brandon took Zander to the Father's and Son's campout, so I got to spend time with just my girls. I wanted to make a fun day of it.

So, we made some pizza for dinner. And some cookies.

Then we hung out and watched Sleeping Beauty (Ady's choice).

Played a little dress-up

And then we played a few games. Ady's favorite is Jumping Monkeys. You have to catapult the monkeys into the tree. It's good for lots of giggles!

The boy's didn't get home until late the next afternoon, so in the morning we went shopping and out to lunch. It was a fun time and I was happy I got to spend some quality time with my best girls!

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Zander has been taking karate classes for the last few months. He really enjoys it and has done very well.
This last week was the awards ceremony. Zander received a GREEN belt! It was really quite an accomplishment, I think. Most of the students went from white belt to yellow, but he skipped right over yellow and got the green! We are very proud of him!
He wants to continue to take karate and we are going to keep encouraging him as long as he wants to do it.

Before the awards were given out, all the student put on a demonstration to show us what they had learned. Zander is the only one in white because we started at a different school where they gave us "free" gis when we signed up. We decided to move to a different (less expensive) school and didn't think we needed to buy a new one until he grows out of this one. And he doesn't seem to mind too much.

Getting his award and belt

Showing of the moves

With his Sensei