Monday, August 29, 2016

Last Weekend in AZ

 With school coming to a close, dance season wrapping up, packing up our life and moving, and selling our house -- summer started out with a bang!  Here are a few random events leading up to our Arizona departure...  The last week of school was hot.  Most days the temps were a good 5-15 degrees over 100.  So, we spent a lot of our time in the pool.  In the picture above Kinley is in-between swims (probably coming in for a quick snack).  She lost her two front teeth during the last week of school.  I love her new smile.
 Wondering what Kinley is pointing to?  Her 1st grade crush asked to sign her yearbook -- She was so excited.  It was the 1st thing she told me when she hopped in the car.  The second we got in the house she had to pull it out of her bag and show me.
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 Busy days meant this little guy was much more self managing than usual.  This picture makes me smile.  One afternoon while  scrambling to finish everything on my "to do" list, I came across this scene.  My baby boy (wearing a halloween shirt and thick winter pants in the heat of Arizona) fast asleep on the couch with a pile of snack wrappers surrounding him... and our snack box (empty) resting above his head.  Sure love this little buddy of mine.
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 Our last weekend in Arizona was not only the girls dance recital but, also transfer week for the missionaries in our ward!  Another one of our favorites heading off to a new area.  We certainly had some exceptional elders come through Lake Havasu!  Love, love, love having full time missionaries in our home so often.
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 Dave had to stay home and finish up work while the rest of us started our travels to Oregon (1st Utah and later Oregon).  Because Paisley was so close to her birthday, we decided to have a mini celebration before leaving.
 We opened a few gifts, ate a dinner of her choice, picked up some frozen yogurt at the local self serve shop, and did some swimming out in the pool.   Dave bought her a special gift -- She is about to open it in the picture above (nice wrapping job :)).
 She had been eyeing this owl for a good month -- after bringing the same one as a gift to one of her friends for her birthday (Kinley's crush's sister -- small world).  She was thrilled to have a little one of her own and has slept with it (and Rosie (her turtle) and her sea world Orca) ever since.  This is a girl that loves her stuffed animals.
Twinsies!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Happy Birthday Paisley! (5th Birthday)

 For a good part of the summer we didn't officially have an address to call home.  Our  Arizona home sold much quicker than expected.  The very 1st person that walked through our home bought it!  Talk about a huge blessing from God.  This was one of the many times during this transition that God's hand was clearly in this process.  As a result of this unexpected blessing, we  spend the majority of our summer in Utah!  We  had so much fun with Grandma, Grandpa, Michelle, Tyson, and Baby Jay.
 Within days of our arrival, Mrs. Paisley had a birthday.  She turned 5!  The kids spent the day decorating the driveway with glitter chalk.
 Paisley loved her purple balloons Grandma surprised her with.  There were a handful of times I would see her sitting on the stairs admiring her special balloons.

 Paisley's received a sea turtle stuffed animal after her dance performance earlier that week.  She carried her little "Rosie" everywhere she went and made sure it was tucked in close to her at night.  She was thrilled when we decided to make sea turtle cupcakes for her birthday dessert.  I love how she feels more comfortable on the counter than the chair-- just like my little Alexa. :)  Notice the glass jar in the picture above?  I am pretty sure there is a baby grasshopper trapped inside.  Paisley is an animal lover to the core!
 She is a crafty, birthday girl!
 Zoey and some of her cupcake designs.
 ... and finally it was time to open gifts.  The birthday girl was excited.
 The over sized parachute was a hit.  It had just the perfect amount of handles for everyone to spread out and play.
 Paisley showing Rex some balls to be bounced on our parachute.
 Minutes after the kids and I woke up that morning there was a knock at the door.  When the door opened there stood one of Grandma's ward members with a delicious cake in hand.  She said she was as the local bakery and felt prompted to buy this cake and deliver it to Grandma's house!  Perfect timing -- Paisley was standing at the door and so excited to see that someone had hand delivered her birthday cake right to the front door.  I could see the excitement on her face each time she walked by this cake throughout the day.  It served as a special reminder that today was her special day and she was loved!
 Grandpa lighting the cake!
 Paisley making a wish!
Paisley loved spending her special day with Grandma and Grandpa!!!

Paisley is such a sweet little thing.  I love being her Mama so much.  Yesterday I gave Paisley an interview.  I asked her what her favorite things in life are -- here are her answers!

1. color: purple
2. food: oranges
3. animal: giraffe
4. place to visit: Arizona and DeGraw house
5. hobbies: barbies, swimming, riding bikes
6. favorite family tradition: Opening presents at Christmas and holiday dinners
7. book: The Grinch and Halloween Dora
8. song:  When I am Baptized
9. dream job: "it wouldn't be cleaning the house" (yes, our summer chores consist of cleaning the entire house everyday and although my kids do it, they do not enjoy it!)
10. thing to do with family: picnics and hiking
11. personal hero: Alexa! (loved this answer -- didn't supersize me at all.  Alexa is her everything right now.)
12. restaurant: Georgie's (new local restaurant.  The kids get to pick out a treasure from a huge treasure chest on there way out the door.  She loves this!)
13. school subject: playground - recess
14. Disney princess she is most like:  sleeping beauty
15.  favorite activity: hanging out with mama. :)
16.  Favorite thing to do with mom: read books before bedtime
17.  Favorite thing to do with dad:  Movie time!

... and there you have it!  Paisley is my little ray of sunshine.  I can't imagine this life without her.  She is a sweetie.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dance Recital 2016 (Kinley and Alexa)!

Kinley and Alexa were in the same Hip Hop class this year.  They both did great!  They danced to "I like to move it, move it (mixed with a Spanish song we couldn't ever remember the name of :))".
It was a sassy dance, which these two were able to preform effortlessly.  Kinley was the tiniest one in the group but, had no problem staying on point with the big girls.
Both the girls loved the costume for this dance.
Alexa seems to have a natural talent for the hip hop/ jazz style of dance.  She likes the music fast and the movements to pop... The choreography and style choices this year were right up her ally.

Alexa also took a Jazz class this year.  She LOVED her costume!  She danced to "I don't like it, I love it".  Another sassy song -- her favorite. 

Kinley did a ballet/ tap combo class.  For ballet she danced to "Ever, ever after".  It was a cute one.  Zoey and Kinley's classes danced parts of their ballet classes together this year.  I loved being able to watch the 2 of them on stage together.  So pretty.
For tap Kinley danced to Ne Yo's version of "Friend like me".  Loved it!  Kinley is a beautiful dancer.
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Zoey also did a cool Irish jig dance.  One of her teachers is from England and was able to teach the older classes some authentic English/ Ireland dancing.  We forgot to get a picture of Zoey in that outfit but, she did great.  She danced with the advanced group and was able to keep up nicely.  Zoey's school teacher and daughter came to see her performance.  We LOVED her school teacher (Mrs. Hagest).  I have never met a teacher so talented at what they do!  We will miss her deeply.  She brought flowers to Zoey and each of her sisters.  So sweet.  Zoey was excited to see her teacher there to support her.  We gave each of the girls a baby stuffed animal at the end of their performance.  They were so excited about both gifts.
Here are my girls after a very long night of dancing holding their new treasures.
It was a bitter sweet night.  A few tears were shed that night, as the reality of another move set in and we knew our family would once again be stepping into the unknown -- with dance, school, our ward (congregation), new house.  It will be hard to top such an exceptional year.  We loved living in Lake Havasu.
The next day was technically day 2 of the dance recital but, because it falls on a Sunday we have asked the studio to allow us to opt out of the performance for that day.  We feel like Sunday is a special day, set aside for doing special things -- things that bring us closer to our Savior, Jesus Christ. Recreational activities are something our family has decided not to participate in... this decision has caused us to stand alone often but, we continue to feel strongly about this choice!  Anyway, this particular studio has been very respectful of this choice our family has made... even though it is an inconvenience for them -- Zoey does a lot of solo and front work in the choreography -- missing on day two is tough.  Because she had some partner work in one of her dances this year, that created another issue.  The studio continued to work around our desire to sit out day 2 -- the teacher taught a girl from the older class Zoey's routine and asked her to step in for the Sunday performance (Zoey had to loan the tap costume to this girl -- her favorite costume).  The teacher was expected to keep track of it and return it the next day.  Zoey was nervous but, it all worked out in the end.  Mrs. Abby (a crowd favorite dance teacher returned the costume to our house 1st thing the next day and the girls were able to give her one last hug and say good-bye).  We will miss her.  She was not only a great dance teacher but, a great example of high morals and hard work.

Here's to another wonderful year doing what we love... Dancing!

Paisley and Zoey's Dance Recital 2016

Just before making yet another big move across the nation, the girls participated in their yearly dance recital.  Oh, how I love watching these beautiful girls -- all dolled up and on the stage -- sharing their talents with the world.  I love this picture above.  My oldest and newest dancers sharing the spotlight.
This was Paisley's 1st year of dance and she did amazing.
She participated in both a ballet and tap combo class.
She loved her kitty costume and felt pretty in it.
She danced to "Everybody wants to be a Cat" and "the Aristocats".  I adored seeing my baby girl up there on the stage.
This year Grandma Rhees was able to come out and see the girl's recital.  They were so happy to have her here.  We did a lot of swimming with grandma during the week of the recital.  This year it worked out that we got extra close seats to the stage -- front and center.  I loved seeing my girl's faces as they looked into the audience and were able to quickly spot Dave, me, Rex, and grandma out there cheering for them.  Paisley immediately spotted us and gave us a few waves before the music started.
Zoey did a wonderful job.  Her passion is dance and it shows.  She shines on the stage.  This particular costume was for ballet.  Zoey danced to a musical rendition of "Enchanted Sweet".  The combination of her graceful disposition and extra long legs create a beautiful ballarina.

Tap was Zoey's favorite costume of the year.  She loved the red underskirt that showed when she twirled.  She danced to "Ladies Choice" from Hairspray.  This was a particularly tough dance for her because there were a few lifts and partner work (in the air) that made her nervous.  In practice there were some falls every now and then.  During dress rehearsal and the recital these lifts went smooth (She was the one being lifted).  I could see the relief in Zoey's face when the lifts were over and was so glad this dance was near the front of the performance -- so she wouldn't have to worry all night.

Hip Hop!  She danced to "I can't feel my face when I'm with you".  She did awesome!
For jazz Zoey danced to a song called "Mercy".  Fun costume for a fun dance!

Zoey's lyrical class is still her favorite!  She has a natural talent for this particular style and looks flawless on the stage.  She danced to "lost boys".   Beautiful song, talented dancer, pretty costume -- perfection!