Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring Break 2017

More than a week ago, the kids and I arrived back in town from our Spring Break trip. This year, Glenn stayed home to work and watch dogs, cat and chicken girls, and the kids and I headed southwest for a visit to Arizona with my parents.  It already feels like the trip was a month ago but I'll try to capture as many memories as I can.  

We left on a Saturday and Grandma H drove with us while Pop-Pop battled a bad cold and stayed back in Cheyenne for an extra day.  We had new movies on the Kindles, a book on tape, the last Harry Potter book for Will and more pop songs than either Grandma or I wanted to listen to.  The kids are pretty good travelers and we made it all of the way to Gallup, NM for the night.  The next morning, we headed into Arizona.  Our first stop was the Painted Desert.  It was a bit of a last minute decision but I'm so glad we drove through it.  
Future senior picture?  Will at our first stop at the Painted Desert.  Well, our first stop after the gift shop.  
Reina, a cupcake and the Painted Desert.  
Happy to be on vacation!  

This was one of my favorite stops. The rock was filled with pictographs and my favorite was the bird and frog that you can see there.  

A pueblo foundation in the Painted Desert.  Reina really liked all of the 'old stuff' and maybe we have a future archaeologist on our hands.  

I think this was called Newspaper Rock?  It was filled with pictographs. The scale is hard to determine here but the boulder was gigantic. I used my zoom lens but it was filled with drawings.  

Petrified wood!  

Reina and a giant piece of petrified wood.  

A cool petrified stump.
After the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, we drove for a few more miles and stopped at Walnut Creek (Canyon?) Cliff Dwellings.  After a slightly steep hike, we were able to walk through actual cliff houses from somewhere around 1300-1400. This stop made a big impression on kiddos and adults alike.  The kids were impressed at how old everything was and I couldn't stop thinking about teaching a toddler to walk on a cliffside.  Eek!

After our many side excursions, we rolled into Phoenix on Sunday evening.  We stayed at a fun resort that night and kids spent time in the pool on Monday.  Later that day, we traveled across town to our hotel in Scottsdale and Grandma and Pop-pop's condo across the park.

On Tuesday, we headed to Salt River Fields to watch spring training and the Rockies!  We sat in the grassy area overlooking the outfield and it was a gorgeous day for baseball.  Will even got an autograph from Rockies outfielder, Carlos Gonzales.
The view from our seats, with the zoom lens.  

Will and Dinger and Reina!  

Will (second from left) hoping for a toss from the outfield.  
On Wednesday, we visited the Museum of Music in Phoenix.  Will was nonplussed by some of the exhibits but he really enjoyed the room where you could try out a bunch of instruments.  Reina could've spent all day at the museum.

Will probably needed these Elvis glasses, right? 
We didn't leave the gift shop of the museum empty-handed.  Reina had her eye on a $56 ukulele but I said it was too expensive so when I noticed a $10 harmonica, I said "how about this?"  Her eyes lit up and that's how I ended up with an 8 yr-old, a harmonica and a 14-hour drive home.  

After the Museum of Music, we spent a few hours at Top Golf and the most important thing to remember from that excursion is that I WON.

On Thursday, the kids had time for one more swim, we gave Pop-pop and Grandma lots of hugs and then we pointed the car north and started home.  We stopped at Homolovi State Park in Arizona and saw more pueblo sites.
Obviously, you can't take any artifacts out of the park and there are pottery shards everywhere.  Someone has placed different pieces on rocks and it's a very cool way to see all of the different types.  

It was a little windy up at the top.  

More shards and a turquoise bead.  
The weather in Cheyenne was supposed to turn to snow on Friday so the kids and I kept a steady pace home.  We made it to Santa Fe on Thursday night and had one last night in a hotel.  Friday morning, we grabbed a donut and I drove them around the old plaza in Santa Fe - one of my favorite spots in the West.  Then we headed north.  The kids did a terrific job.  We didn't have any snow until we crossed the state line into Wyoming.  Will thanked me for the trip and told me that he'd never forget it.  Not a bad sentiment to hear on the last day of a long car trip.  Glenn and the dogs and the cat were happy to see us and I was delighted to have a few extra days to get cleaned up before it was time to head back to work and school.  We can't wait for our next adventure!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Amelia Earhart by Reina

Last month, Reina had to write a book report on a t-shirt.  She could've picked a mystery, historical fiction or a biography and she chose "Who Was Amelia Earhart" as her book.  Reina enjoyed reading about Ms. Earhart and her tshirt was delightful - she decorated it with a drawing of Amelia and some scenes of her life, the fact that she liked to play football with the boys, she once rode a sled under a horse, she had a yellow car that she liked to drive fast and of course, a deserted island where she might've ended up.  Just like Reina's Pilgrim project, she came home with a good grade and a stack of comment cards from her classmates.

"I enjoyed listening to the part when ...."
You dressed up.  (Mom's comment - Reina wore a homemade by Grandma pilot's helmet and her swim goggles since we didn't have any aviator goggles.)
She was in the rases
It cud hurt her eyes (why pilots had to wear goggles, I'm assuming)
She was nuve fun (I have no idea)
Reina said the football
She played football because I like football
She needs goggles so the wind doesn't smack her in the eyes.
She needs goggles so the wind doesn't SMACK her in the eyes.  (Reina made a big impact with that one)
You told us about the horse.
When she died
You talk about the rolocoster
She made her own roaler coaster.
the fact
She liked playing with the boys.

"I would like to learn more about..."
How did she crash
I like your presentesnen
New sne pipe (again, no idea)
Amelia Earhart
Amelia Earhart's deth
What body part got hurt.
Amelia Earhart
good plus 22 exclamation points
not much
the rolucoaseter
the boys.

I love this peak into second grade brains.  A mixture of curiosity and morbid-ness.  Can't wait to see what the next project is.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A letter to the birthday boy

I took this picture last month at the Louisville Slugger Museum.
He's holding a famous player's bat...I'll have to ask him which one.
He remembers stuff like that now.
Dear Will:

Yesterday you turned 10 years old.  A decade!  You've been on this planet for a decade.  Well, a decade and 38 1/2 weeks or something like that.  Your dad and I have marveled all month about the last ten years and how fast they've flown by.  its will!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Well, that's what I get for walking away from the computer for a few minutes.  We'll leave it in there for posterity.  Back to the birthday letter.

The baseball sign.  Your smile says, "is that all I'm getting?" 
For your birthday, you received a Harry Potter shirt that your sister picked out and a wand that lights up.  I found you a cool baseball sign for your wall and your grandparents sent you clothes and money from one side of the family and a case for your Kindle and a baseball glove from the other.  You got cool earphones from Aunt Vicky and Uncle Matt and Nerf stuff galore from the Nebraska relatives.  You celebrated with a bunch of friends, a sister and the baby cousins at a local arcade.  For two hours, you all ate some pizza and an ice cream cake (you didn't want me to bake!!) and played video games.  There was a lot of 'bro' and 'dude' and other tween-isms but we all survived. I even beat your dad at a marathon game of air hockey.

Why didn't I get pictures of the air hockey?!  Here are some tweens.  
And a 3-yr old.  3-yr olds can play video games too Bobo!  
Little sisters and little sisters of friend's even got in on the action. 
The highlight of your birthday?  You got your own phone.  We told you a few years ago that you couldn't have a phone until you were 10 and boy did that seem like a long way off when I told you that. Dad and I went shopping a few weeks ago and picked yours out.  We told you that it would probably be an old fashioned flip phone and we tried to keep your expectations low.  Your dad had a great idea to hid your phone in a box of cereal in the kitchen and we'd call the number when you were done opening all of your presents.  I couldn't last as long as he wanted to - the look on your face when you opened your last present was more than I could handle.  When you heard the new ringtone, your face lit up and you dove through the Cheerios looking for your present.  My next blog post will just be a list of everything you've texted me in the last 36 hours.  It'll be riveting.
A boy and his phone, a love story.
Will, you are a sweet kid.  While I was cleaning up the kitchen tonight, you and Reina were playing a game. I'm not sure of the details or the plot but your name was "Xavier."  You two have your moments but there's nobody she looks up to more than her big brother.  I hope you'll remember that.  Your cousins think you are pretty great, too.  Baby Cousin thinks you are pretty funny and Toddler Cousin wants to marry you.  No pressure there buddy.
She was delighted to wear your jacket at the wedding.  

 Will, you are less than enchanted with school at times but when you bring your report card home or when we work on math together at night, I see how sharp you are and how hard you are working.  You've already read 1,000,000 words this school year.  A million words!  That's amazing.  You just finished the sixth Harry Potter book and I've suggested a slight break before you tackle the last one. I'm not sure if you'll take that advice or not.  You and I are reading the Secret Garden together right now and while there aren't any wizards or wands in this one, you seem to like it so far.  You also read sports books and gave a report earlier in the month on Honus Wagner.  Not many other students would pick a player who's last game was almost 100 years ago.  When you aren't shooting hoops in the driveway, you are throwing a baseball up against the house in the backyard.  Soccer starts in a few weeks and baseball will overlap into the summer. It's always some season at the Pauley household.

Happy birthday big kid.  Double digits, I still can't quite wrap my mind around that.  You made me a mom a decade ago and I'm so very thankful for that.  I hope this year is a great one for you and I can't wait to see what happens.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Reina's Guide to Your March Madness Bracket

1.  Have your mom read the bracket match-ups to you.
2.  Always, ALWAYS pick teams that have some type of cat as their mascot:  Wildcats, Tigers, Bearcats, Cougars, etc.  You can also pick teams who's name starts with a C or a K, if all else fails.
3.  Always pick teams that have an inappropriate word as part of their title or one that can easily be turned into something inappropriate.  Butler (just like last year), Purdooooooo, Bucknell (Buttnell)
4.  Generally, pick teams from states where your relatives live:  Florida, Minnesota (Final Four!), Virginia, Kentucky.
5.  Always pick teams from places that you recently visited (Louisville) or would like to visit (Florida Gulf Coast).
6.  Pick teams with names that you find pretty (Marquette and St. Mary's and Creighton) and interesting (Xavier and Baylor- your 2017 Nat'l Champions according to R).
7.  Eschew traditional seedings - only one #1 makes it out of Reina's Elite 8 and root for those Cinderella's - Go Bucknell!

Good luck!

Monday, March 13, 2017

I wondered why the battery in my camera died so quickly

The monsters and I traveled to Louisville, KY last month with Aunt Vicky and baby cousins for our aunt's wedding.  Pictures of everyone dressed up and looking fancy and meeting new family members and hanging out with everyone else are coming soon, I promise.  In the meantime, as I was pulling photos off of my camera, I realized why my camera battery didn't last for the entire weekend. See for yourself. 

A selfie with a full sized Canon.  

Will's Subway sandwich, artfully arranged.  

Louisville buildings directly across the street from Subway.  

Sister pushing stroller, aunt and mom and some pretty blue columns a block from Subway. 
Sister, most of mom and a Sprite.  

Toddler cousin loves her Bobo.  

Perhaps it's time for Mom to go back to the eye doctor? 

Interesting combination of giant baseball and Civil War statute?  

We see you!  And sister. 


Cool composition kid. 

Gatorage mustache birl.  

I giggled.  I love Will's selfies. 

Baby cousin and the a hotel bathroom sink bath.  

Bridges in Louisville from the backseat of the rental minivan. 

John Legend.  ?  

Sleeping sister.
Drained battery aside, it sure is fun to see the trip from his perspective.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Hooping it up

March Madness is just around the corner but the Pauley basketball season is all done.  Both kids played this year.  Reina on a co-ed team for second graders and Will on a boys' 4th-grade team.  Will's team was undefeated and Reina's team lost just one game.  After that game, she was mad and asked me if the team lost again, was she allowed to say the 'gosh d-word'?  While I appreciate her ask for permission first strategy vs ask for forgiveness, the answer was still no.  (Yes, I acknowledge that I'm a giant hypocrite for the number of times that I cuss at the tv because of sports.  Do as I say, kid....) 
Will - #5 - running down the court.  This kid can play some tenacious defense.  

He can also look pensive on the basketball court.  

Will getting ready to shoot a free throw.  We were so excited for him to get a chance to score but the nerves got to him a little bit too.  He did make a basket later in this game. 

All of Reina's games were at 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays at a gym that's the furthest school from our house and still be in Cheyenne.  It took us all a few minutes to wake up during those games.  She picked out the shoes herself from the boys' section at Kohl's.  The girls' choices were too pink for her liking.  

She has some speed!  Reina had fun playing basketball too and she got the chance to bring the ball up the court during each game and even took a few shots at the basket.  I hope there's more basketball in her future.  

A smile on the basketball court!