Visit to Santa

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Last night we went to visit Santa at the mall.  It was nice because there was no wait and it wasn't very cold out so we didn't freeze while we were there.  Sydney assured me he was the real deal because his beard was real.  He was a very nice Santa.  Sophie went right up to chat...and when he asked Sydney what she would like for Christmas...she very politely asked for a kitty.  Thank goodness Santa has a speech ready about his "live animals policy".  Oh well, nice try on her part.

Today I snuck into Sophie's room to make sure she was on her way to falling asleep for a much needed nap.  She had on one purple dress-up glove and just one fancy dress-up shoe and she was holding her wand.  I suppose these are very important items for falling asleep.


Ragnar Relay Las Vegas 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just over a month ago, I completed my first Ragnar Relay in Las Vegas.  It was an experience I will never forget.  Words cannot express how much fun, that's right FUN I had running in this race.  This may be a bit of a long post, because I want to write down lots of the details.  I began this adventure with the usual impulsive me agreeing to be on my friend Robyn's Ragnar team that she was putting together.  This was back in July and I started training to run more than the usual 2-3 miles I sometimes attempt at the gym :)  Before I knew it the day had arrived to leave to drive to Las Vegas (by myself)...NO KIDS or Mark (he generously took time off work to stay home with the girls and adjusted his schedule so I could go do this).  I was a little nervous and excited about being gone for a whole weekend without the kids...unfortunately, I have never left my kids since they were born so that is over six years that I have always had the girls or at least one of them around.  I made it up to Vegas in record time, I am truly amazed how pleasant road trips are without children :)  Then I stopped to pick up my friend Aubrey and we headed to Mesquite to stay the night.  It was much closer to the start.  We had been asleep for about 45 minutes when the rest of our van arrived and knocked on our door.  Being economical as we all are, we squished our team into one hotel room...and unfortanetly all the guys had to sleep on the floor.  The next morning we all got up bright and early and headed to the Clark County Fairgrounds (about a half hour south of Mesquite) where the official start of the race was.  First our team checked in and decorated the car.  Our team name was the Leap Frogs and we ended up using my Santa Fe as one of our "vans".

I think it is pretty amazing that we managed to fit no less than 7 people, all our gear, sleeping bags, two huge cases of water from Costco, and all our food including a big cooler into this car!  Yeah, it was a little squished but that just made it all the more fun...although, most of the time there were only six of us actually in the car (since someone was out running their leg of the race).  I love my Santa Fe!  Here's Van 1 (that was my van) and our half of the team before the race started.  On my, Robyn, Aubrey, Anne, Michael, Joe, and Brian!  We had the best group :)

This was the start of the race.  There were so many people dressed up in fun costumes milling around and some of the vans were seriously tripped out.  It was super fun to feel the excitment in the air.

Aubrey started the race for our team so she wasn't in this picture.  We still look pretty fresh because none of us had actually run anything yet.

Our first legs of the race routed us through the Valley of the Fire State Park.  My first leg was mostly up this huge hill.  It was not too bad and I was so glad it was my first leg.  Mostly it was just a little on the hot side because there was no shade whatsoever, and well, it was all uphill!

After our van finished up our first legs, we drove to Lake Mead to hang out at the Marina most of the day.  We tried to sleep but it was a little difficult since the day started to warm up and there was lots going on.  As night approached we started to get a little goofy...all the more fun and ended up playing some hilarious games of 20 questions.  All I can say is no sleep, running, and people you are completely comfortable with equals lots of laughing!

So after these first few pictures, my camera must have disappeared deep into my bag.  I wish I had cool pictures from the rest of the you'll just have to picture it.  We started our second legs of the race about 8:30ish at night and we were so excited to get going again by that point.  I felt bad that the other van's legs were pretty tough and it had been a hot day.  At night we ran with a reflective vest, a little red blinking tail light and a head lamp.  Besides the whole running at night experience, many of the vans had appropriatetly tripped out their decor with Christmas lights so they were all lit up during the night.  I loved all the cheering and screamming and music from my own van as well as others.  It was fun to stop and cheer your teammates every few miles and yell and scream as we drove past them.  This is something we did from the very beginning of the race, but of course as the night wore on, we just got sillier, and then finnally a bit sleepy and oh so tired.  I loved running into the "chute" on my night leg because it was just fun to see everyone there and hear all the noise.  After our team finished up our night legs (this is a non-stop race so the next van continues running), we drove to the next big exchange point and rolled out sleeping bags to sleep in the grass in some park.  It was FREEZING, at least it was for me.  I am a Phoenix girl and I don't do outside weather under 70 degrees very well.  However, we did manage to catch three hours of sleep before Aubrey started our half of the team off on the last of our legs...all at around 4:30 in the morning.  Yup, cold, tired, a smidge cranky, hungry, did I mention cold, me and everyone else squished back in the van to finish off our last legs.  The last leg ended up being the most difficult for me because I had the worst tummy ache (that's what I get for being cooped up in a vehicle for several days and not eating food I normally eat) and I was super tired.  However, I managed to run the entire thing, even though it was a little slower than I would have liked.  After our last runner had finished we ate at McDonalds of all would not believe the junk food that was consumed despite being runners :)  Then we had to drive all the way back to the Clark County Fairgrounds to pick up one of the cars from some of my teammates and then we drove to the Red Rock Casino/Hotel for the big finish.  Here is most of us at the finish line including the other team members that were in Van 2.  Ok, I'm a little biased on this one, but seriously I think I had the best van!  We had way too much fun and I laughed so much with all of you!  I think the people I was with is what made this race so incredible. 

So if staying up all night running and running and running wasn't enough...Robyn and Joe and I decided to go to the BYU/UNLV football game that night, and none of us even took a nap.  Ha, we were SO TIRED so I think we look beautiful in these pictures considering we had been up for over 35+ hours and only three hours of sleep in the field.  It was a fun game though as BYU fans always come out to support the team!  There were so many BYU fact there probably were more BYU fans than UNLV fans.

We had sweet seats!

I will look back on this memory for a long time!  It was one of the best things I have ever participated in and I can't wait for the opportunity to do one of these again.  I am thankful for the safety and protection our team had during this race.  It was a happy experience for me...but I was sad that one runner was killed during this race by a drunk driver.  And so I couldn't end this post without remembering this runner and his team and those teams that were involved in this horrible tragedy. 


Happy Halloween 2009!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

This year my girls decided to be Disney fairies for Halloween.  Sophie already loved Tinkerbell so we dressed her up as that.  Sydney's favorite Disney fairy is Rosetta (a garden fairy).

Of course we tried to get Sophie to look at the camera but no such luck.  She was "flitting" around all over the front lawn...probably because she was so excited to go "trick-or-treating".

Sydney's fairy slippers had pretty red flowers sewn onto them and a matching flower clip for her hair.

This year we rounded up most of the cousins to trick-or-treat with us.  Our neighborhood really got into the spirit of Halloween and there were some fun spooky houses to visit.


Sydney's Birthday Party

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sydney turned 6 in July! She hasn't had a "birthday party" for a few years so I agreed that this year she could have one, and she decided on a Disney Fairies theme. Now unfortunately, her birthday happened to fall about two weeks before we were moving and so several times I tried to bribe her with something else so that I could just cancel the party thing. However, she insisted and I felt bad that our move was going to get in the way of her 6th birthday, so I let her have one anyway. Actually, it didn't end up being too much work and the party itself was lots of fun! The girls all got to plant mini-gardens. Seeds, dirt, a little water, and their own planters, they LOVED this! Then they decorated wands with lots of glitter and rhinestones.
I bought a Costco cake and then put a few fairies on top to make it a bit more Disney fairyish.

I also threw down a blanket in the living room so they could all eat pizza and Capri Suns while they watched Tinkerbell!

And last but not least, I made each girl a "tinkerbell" tutu. It was so cute to see all the girls running around (including Sophie) in their tutus and waving their wands.

Sydney had fun with her friends and enjoyed all the presents this year!


Moving On

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In May of 2006, Mark and I received the keys to our first home. I remember having so many mixed emotions about moving to Tolleson. Sydney was so little and we were thrilled to have a house for her finally. We celebrated her third birthday the first summer we were there. Mark made the big decision shortly after we moved in to return to school and pursue and MBA degree. We added cute little Sophie to our family in May of 2007. We worked so hard on this house to make it beautiful and make it our home. I have so many happy memories of our Tolleson house and it still a little difficult for me to write this all down.

However, I would not want to forget those little things that made this house so special.

(ok, this is as far as I got the first time I started writing this and then it was just making me cry so I put this post away for a few weeks...and now I'm going to attempt to tackle it again)

I was originally going to write down some of the happy memories in this house...but I think in the interest of trying to finish this post I will skip over the details. In general, we had many happy Christmas's, birthdays, lots of dancing, lots of good food, and a lot of laughter and love in our Tolleson place. I'd like to think that the new owners will walk in and feel the laughter in the walls!

We finally made the decision earlier this year that it was time for us to leave and move on with our lives. On a side note...long before we ever had started discussing the possibility of moving, I had a strong impression one evening that "our time here was finished". I remember I was driving on 99th Ave. (with the girls) and those exact words came into my mind. I thought it was kind of weird, probably because it was right around the time I had just finished doing the paint and chair rail in Sydney's room. In fact I think I thought that it was a ridiculous thought because we were probably going to end up staying in this house for many, many more years than we had ever intended. Later when we made the decision to leave, and I was scared, I thought back to this impression I had months earlier and I knew we were making the right decision.

It was understandably a very stressful summer. Not even a trip to the beach in May could take some of the edge off things. In fact, while we were at the beach, we had several offers come in and reality sank in that we were really going to be leaving. Looking back on everything that happened I realize that we have been blessed and ended up exactly where we were supposed to be. Moving is always a bit crazy. This is our 6th move and 11th ward we have been in. So I think we are pretty good at the whole moving and adjusting to change thing!

Even though we were sad to leave behind all the memories in our old home....we LOVE our new place. We LOVE our new house, we LOVE our new area, we LOVE Sydney's new school, and we LOVE our new ward! I can't believe how happy the changes have made us. The first few weeks I kept thinking that maybe something was going to happen and it was all going to disappear. But I know we have been blessed and guided to the next place (hopefully last place) we are supposed to live. It has been so nice to have family close by and have a great ward that also happens to be many of our neighbors. I am loving that (even though I always thought I wouldn't like living so close to everyone). However, it is nice to go outside in the front yard, or over to the pool (yup, we ended up with 2 community pools and one is right around the corner from our house) and see people from our ward and they have all been so nice and friendly. So I guess I could have titled this post "Moving On" or "Falling in Love". I have fallen in love with Gilbert and our new place!

I realize there are still no pictures of the new place. I will definitely have to post some of those up, as well as first day of school, and about a million other things that have been going on :)


PFG Pictures for Grandmas

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This post is mostly for me and of course all the Grandmas that my kids have :) I just love cute pictures of my kids. Sophie loves all her babies and I caught this on camera one morning. She's giving her baby a hug and kiss!
I don't want to forget how many times we read "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" to Sophie either. She is mostly past this stage but for about a month, we read this book at least 5 times a day to her. After each page with the fruit she would say "hungreeee"...I love books and mostly buy hardcover books for the kids. Unfortunately, Sophie loved this book a little too much and broke the binding. Oh well, hopefully she will spend lots of time with other books.

These last two pictures are of Sophie the first day I pulled her hair back into tiny pigtails. And when I went to take her picture, she actually stopped to give the camera half a smile. That is progress for her.

I couldn't pick which picture I liked best! So both of them made the final cut.



San Diego

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

We went to our favorite city at the end of May. It was a little cold and it rained part of the time but we still had fun. We love San Diego and of course the beaches. We took the girls to Sea World for two days. This year if you buy a ticket to Sea World, you can upgrade to the season pass for free. (So I guess you can basically buy a season pass for the price of a ticket.) Anyway, one day after we headed back to the car, we found a sea gull perched on top of our car.
Even though it was a bit chilly, we still went to Del Mar, Carlsbad, and Encinitas beaches. If the weather would have been nicer I'm sure we would have hit a few others. Sydney had fun collecting more shells and hunting for sand dollars of course.

We usually end up walking about a 1/4 mile down the beach with the kids. Since the weather wasn't perfect, there wasn't very many people around which was kind of nice.


2009 Dance Production

Monday, June 22, 2009

We spent most of last week working on the final days of Sydney's dance production. This years show was "New York, New York". Sydney participated in two shows this year, one on Friday night and another on Saturday afternoon. She also had dress rehearsals all day on Thursday. We are so proud of her accomplishments and hard work this year. She has practiced so hard for both her dance and acro parts of the production. I took all of the pictures on dress rehearsal day because the show days were so CRAZY. We had very strict time schedules we had to adhere to on those days plus we were not allowed to take any pictures during actual shows. I got out my old hot rollers (from high-school) to do Sydney's hair. She was so good...she had to have her hair done for three days in a row! I told her it is hard work to be a princess :)

Pretty hair...half up, half down.
She also had to wear make-up for three days in a row. I think I deserve an award just for putting eye-liner on a 6 year old. She didn't love that part so much. But she had fun getting ready for the rest of it.

Her first dance in the first show was "Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend". This was her tap number and it was super cute. I took pictures during dress rehearsals but I wasn't close enough to the stage so they didn't turn out. For the night of the show...I took my turn being a "room mom"...which consisted of watching 10 six year-olds in the dressing rooms and backstage. The show was 2 1/2 hours long and the girls were checked in an hour before the performance so I was very tired by the end of the night. However, it was so fun to be in the wings on stage (behind one of the curtains) and watch Sydney dance up close.

Her next performance was "The Boy from New York City". This was her acro dance. I am amazed at how much she has progressed this year in acro. She is very close to doing full splits (both ways) and can do all sorts of other flexible things. Here's a picture of her warming up with a "sugar bowl". She can touch all the way to her eye-brow now but I didn't want her to ruin her hair for the pictures.

There are only a few girls that can do headstands unassisted at this point and hold them for at least a minute. Sydney has worked so hard on these and she was front and center during part of her acro performance.

Here she is doing another part...the "sugar bowls".
After her Saturday performance, we brought her roses and took her for a milkshake at JITB! We are so proud of her hard work. She didn't even get nervous performing for all those people and being up on stage under the bright lights.
I couldn't end this without a big thank you to her wonderful dance school...Take Five Dance...and her amazing teacher Ms. Pam and Courtney (she helps out with some of the classes). Sydney has been at Take Five since she was three (although we took one year off when Sophie was born). This year, she did dance and acro for two hours every Monday night so we have spent lots of time at Take Five. We will miss this wonderful school and all the staff and all our dance friends. I am already worrying about finding another school and teachers as great as this school.


Sophie's Two!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm a little behind with posting. Sophie turned two at the end of May. We celebrated her birthday with a little party at our house with just our family. She didn't seem to mind. We had lots of balloons which was probably one of her favorite things and then I made angel food cake. My kids have never been big cake fans but they love angel food cake. (with strawberries and whipped cream!)

At her two year check-up, she weighed in at 22 lbs. and is in the 75th percentile for height. She loves when we read the Very Hungry Caterpillar and playing with her baby dolls. She also loves blocks and legos. Her latest favorite movie is Tinkerbell. Her favorite CD is ABBA (I have listened to this CD for at least 3-4 months straight) and asks for ABBA whenever we are in the car. I love ABBA too, BUT it would be nice to listen to a variety of music once in awhile :) Sophie's favorite foods are berries, Corn Pops, pinto beans (she eats these by the joke), and cheese. She loves to play with Sydney and trys to copy everything she does. This includes trying to pretend swim like Sydney at the pool...which causes me much anxiety since it involves her going underwater way too much. I usually have to pull her out after awhile so she doesn't swallow the whole pool.

When Sophie gets mad about something she screams "BAH!" really loud and mostly we just try not to laugh (which usually makes her even madder). She is still very reserved and is not as friendly unless you are around her all the time. She doesn't smile very much except when Sydney is around...Sydney can get her giggling. Sophie loves to repeat the names of all her cousins...I personally love how she says Ruby. "Wooby" Sophie is talking lots now and knows so many phrases. Last but not least, she is very stubborn and would rather make all decisions in this family :) Maybe it's a 2 thing...maybe it's just her!


Kindergarten Graduation

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I can't believe Sydney is done with Kindergarten. It went by so fast. She has grown up so much this year. This is her first day of school picture...
And here's Sydney on the last day of school getting ready to participate in their little graduation ceremony! (Sohpie squished herself onto Sydney's chair because she always wants to do whatever Sydney is doing.)

I'm a little sad that Kindergarten is all done. She had such a great year at her school. She also had a wonderful teacher. We will always be grateful for the opportunity Sydney had to attend this school!
Here's Sydney shaking Mr. Wray's (her teacher) hand and receiving her diploma! After graduation, we took a few more pictures and then we were ALL DONE! No more driving to and from school for a whole two months :)


Summer is here!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

It's hot here now! My air conditioning is running frequently and we keep all the windows and doors shut now. But I still love summer. I love going to the pool and eating watermellon and peaches and going to the beach! Don't slip-n-slides just remind you of being a kid. I was too tired to haul my kids to the gym to go swimming one night, so I just bought them a little slip-n-slide from Target and they had so much fun on this all evening.
Another year must have gone by because...I am once again being summoned for jury duty. We have lived in Phoenix for five years now and for some reason, I get one of these in the mail every year. Note: Mark has never received even one summons. One year I almost had to go in, I called the day before and they said my group had to go but I was supposed to call again the morning of in case things got switched...and it ended up being cancelled. I wonder how long my luck will hold out :)

I can't believe Sophie is almost two...I love that she can still fit in a two gallon milk box (from Costco)! I was making lunch for her and turned around and there she was, sitting in this box.

I am looking forward to Mark being around more this summer. He takes his last final tonight and then he will have summer break!!!! I could not add enough exclamation points to express my joy :) He does have one elective class he has to take but it will only be two Fridays and Saturdays in not too big a deal. I am so proud of how hard Mark works in school and of course in his normal job to provide for our little family. I don't know how he does it. Thankfully, this school year flew by. (sorry I am always posting little reminders about this, but I really do count the days for when this whole thing will be can't blame me, huh :)


Easter Dresses

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Since my last post was so's a nice short post! I suppose these are a bit late, but here are the obligatory Easter dress pictures. This photo session lasted only a few minutes. Sophie and Sydney were much more interested in hunting for the neighbors kitty than taking pictures. Can't say I blame them.

This year I found their cute stuff at this store, Naartjie. Apparently, a naartjie is a small citrus fruit from Africa (at least that is what it said on the bag), and also the name of a kids boutique store. Anyway, I thought they had super cute clothes and it will definitely go on my list of favorite stores for my little girls!


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