The State of This Blog Address

Dec 6, 2016

My blog is suffering... that much is obvious. I am about 11 months behind on posting and as much as I like to hope that life will calm down and I will have the time to devote to catching up, the truth is I have less time than ever, with each passing day. I have debated heavily how I want to continue. Sometimes I contemplate throwing in the towel all together. Turning blogs into books has become really difficult and that is discouraging as my ultimate goal has always been to turn this blog into a printed history of our family.

But when it comes down to it, I can't let go. Between this and the private blog I wrote on from 2006 until 2013, I have over 1000 posts, countless number of photos, and so many recorded memories. I hate the thought of not continuing on. But something has to change. I cannot keep dreading logging in because I know I am so far behind. So, I'm letting myself off the hook. It pains me to not have the past 11 months recorded in great detail, but I want to be able to move forward and blog in the present. Perhaps a day will come when I can go back and fill in the holes. But, if not, I need to be ok with that as well, and I think I am!

So here goes, a brief recap of the past 11 months, in words only, no photos, and from here on out, I am blogging in real time. Hopefully this space can once again be a place I enjoy spending time, rather than one more thing on my to do list that stresses me out.

February- The main highlight of February was our trip to Disneyland. We surprised the kiddos with the trip at Christmas and then anxiously counted down the days until our trip. It was magical. We had a few days to ourselves and a few days with Bruce's brother's family, his dad and aunt. The girls dreams came true when Grandpa gifted them an afternoon at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where Sunshine was transformed into Jasmine and Beebs was transformed into Anna. The girls also became Jedis and fought Darth Vader and The Seventh Sister. Shark Bait wore a different Disney onesie each day and got stopped everywhere we went so people could oh and ah over him. And Man Cub was just in heaven overall, especially when the night parade opened with his favourite character, Mack from Cars, leading the way.

After Disney, we headed down to San Diego for a few days with our friends from Bruce's academy days. It was wonderful to spend time with them. And after we returned home, the rest of February seemed pretty low key. We did take the kiddos to a Coyotes hockey game which was so much fun. I forgot how much I enjoy watching hockey! And then I turned 31, which was pretty dull... turns out, after all the hoopla of turning 30, it all goes downhill. Ü Especially when you spend your 31st birthday speaking in church. Not cool!

March- In March, we started attending a lot of mission paper parties. Many of the youth we have grown close to through Trek and teaching Sunday School and Bruce's years in Young Mens left on missions this year. We got to attend a lot of gatherings where the boys opened their calls and later in the year, we were able to go through the temple with many of the boys and hear their farewell talks. It was an exciting time! In March, we found out that the trek son we are very close to would be serving in the England Leeds Mission, speaking Slovak. I totally called it... the England part. Not the Slovak part!

Mid-March, we bid farewell to our trusty Blazer. She was 20 years old, we had driven her for 10.5 of those years and she was on the way out. She is the car we brought Sunshine home from the hospital in and it was really sad to say goodbye... but our new fancy pants minivan helped ease the pain. Well, other than the part where we took on a car payment for the first time in our marriage. Luckily, we've almost got that sucker paid off already. We could actually pay it off right now, but were told that it was better for our credit to pay on it for a year? I hope that's actually true or I'll be mad that we keep holding off on making the full and final payment!

April- April was pretty low key... Sunshine took a sewing class and learned to make pillowcases. She's been her own little pillowcase sweat shop ever since. Pretty much everyone who is near and dear to her has a Sunshine-made pillowcase. And if they don't, they are probably getting one for Christmas! My best friend KJ was in town from Hawaii for her brother's wedding. Unfortunately, we didn't get much time together at all and it broke my heart to know she was just an hour away but not able to spend time with me. But she did bring me some POG (passion fruit-orange-guava juice) that eased my pains marginally.

May- May brought the end of a great school year. Sunshine and Beebs both loved their teachers and their classes. Man Cub rocked his first year of preschool, which was technically a one day a week tot class. Kindergarten graduation made me cry and we held our second annual Memorial Day BBQ with our favourite friends from the girls school.

June- This is when life started to get crazy! June was the month of swimming for us. Both girls were heavily involved in competitive swimming, with an hour long practice for each of them 4-5 mornings a week and swim meets two nights a week. We eventually got into a good routine with it, but it was a hard month! Especially since right after we signed the girls up, Bruce got a promotion at work that changed his schedule, making him unavailable to help with getting the girls to practice and meets. I'm not sure I would've committed to swimming had we known about the job change any sooner, so it is probably good that it worked out as it did. I am glad both girls got to compete all summer, even though it was difficult to spend that much time at the pool with four kiddos. It was amazing to watch them both progress and grow so much in their sport.

We also got ourselves a family pass to our community pool for the summer, so most nights of the week, we would eat dinner, then head over to the pool and swim for a few hours more. There were days when I spent 5-6 hours sitting in or at a pool. But it helped us to stay busy and mostly beat the heat during the first part of the summer.

July- Things really picked up in July. Along with the end of the swim season, we also had Shark Bait's first birthday and our two week road trip to Utah. It was a crazy, hectic month, but oh so fun. We had a blast in Utah. We touched lots of temples, ate lots of donuts, and spent as much time as possible outside enjoying the beautiful cool evenings. We fell in love with Swig cookies and sodas, ran a temple to temple 5k and celebrated Pioneer Day, Utah style. We ended the visit with a day in the mountains with all of my family before heading home to Arizona where Bruce and I had to decide which school our girls would attend... the one they had gone to since Sunshine was in Kindergarten, or a new school that opened in our area that I felt really strongly about...

August- In August, we headed back home to the sweltering heat. Bruce turned 33 and the girls got ready to start school. We debated heavily until the very last moment, at which point it became clear to us that they were suppose to attend the new school in our area. It was scary beyond belief to make the change, but it has been a wonderful experience. We are so happy with their new school. The curriculum is wonderful, the campus is beautiful and both girls are absolutely thriving there. We just really miss our friends from the old school and wish they would have all moved with us Ü Bruce and I hit a relationship high when together, we won the jackpot playing the basketball game at Chuck E Cheese, and we took a quick day trip up to Prescott to visit with some friends and enjoy the cooler mountain air.

September- Always a big month, September brought the beginning of my fourth year of teaching preschool. Bruce and I were given some amazing tickets to a Cardinals pre-season game and took Shark Bait with us. We were also invited to join some friends for a day at Wet N Wild water park. We celebrated Man Cub's 4th birthday by projecting a movie onto the side of our house and inviting all his friends and their families to join us in watching and we did all these things without spending an extra penny outside our regularly scheduled bills and food budget! No Spend September for the win! We saved a bucket load of money by really watching our spending, and were able to pay off a huge chunk of the new car as well as gear up for the expensive and fast approaching holiday season.

October- In October we added a new member to our family- Harvey Bones, the 5 foot tall plastic skeleton. He mostly hung out on our piano bench, but occasionally he could be found in miscellaneous places around the house. He was fun and we look forward to his return next October. The girls got their official Hogwarts acceptance letters and donned their wizard robes to attend Halloween at Hogwarts, presented by the Phoenix Symphony. Bruce and I hosted our first annual adult Halloween Party and it was amazing. Can't wait to do it again next year and we celebrated my nephew's birthday at Touch a Truck... aka, little boy heaven. Though Man Cub did not like all the honking horns at the event, he did love getting to touch and sit in the excavator. We finished off October with family photos at the Phoenix Temple, and for the first time in years someone other than myself took our pictures! It was fun to have someone else be in control and get the kiddos to all look at the camera and we ended up with some beautiful photos where everyone is looking and smiling!

November- November brought about our 5th annual Planksgiving celebration. Crab legs and melt-in-your-mouth ribeye, desserts galore and a trip to the movie theatre to see Moana. It was a spectacular day. I even started the day out by running a 5k with some friends at church. I did the race at a 10:25 mile pace which is huge for me, especially considering I hadn't been running regularly. My typical pace is 11:30-12:00 a mile, and that was when I was running 3 times a week and training for half marathons. It was exciting to see that I am not completely weak and useless when it comes to physical activity. Hopefully soon I can get back into a good running and exercise routine... as soon as I get my health back on track. Post with more info on that, coming soon! November ended with Bruce flying out to Maryland for a week long training at the Emergency Management Institution headquarters. My dad flew out to stay with us and that was such a blessing since it was one of those weeks where lots of little things happened that could have made for a difficult week had I not had some help... everything from Sunshine sewing through her finger while making pillowcases to a backed up toilet and two sick boys. It was nice to have my dad's company and help while Bruce was away.

And that leads us to December... the here and now! Blogging in the present for the first time since Shark Bait was born! Woohoo!

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