Locks of Love.

Kira got her first haircut today, she is 9 1/2. :) She donated 12 inches to Locks of Love. Supercuts has a great thing where you can donate your hair, they take care of the details, and the cut is free.

She is really excited about her new style, and made all the choices about her donation length, the new bangs, and when to do it. We are very proud of her. (Though I must admit, it was a little shocking for me!)

Here is the before:

 She was pretty nervous!

 Cutting off the pony tail! Yikes!

Getting bangs for the very first time! 

And the After: 

She *loves*  it! And we took her over to Target to pick out some new clips and bands so she can practice fixing it herself now! The only downside? She was bummed she didn't do it sooner. :) 

Ok, I forgot to add this to the first day of summer post,

But it is just too fun! Evan's best friend L is adorable, and they had so much fun in the pool today. Here is a cute series of them playing teeter totter on a tube! :)

Look! E and L and cute tangled up feet! :) I love it!

School's Out for SUMMER!!!

And we kicked it off right!

We had a great time swimming and picnicking with our friends today!

 I took a ton of pics of swimming from my shady spot next to the pool, but I was starving by the time we ate and so I was *eating* during lunch. ;) But that's ok, we have all summer, I can bore you with pictures of children eating another day.

The kids had a ton of fun trying different dives. I'm not sure how they weren't in pain, because the belly flops were numerous! But they just kept at it. They were most impressed by Kevin's mad skills (he's the dad of three of the kids, and they thought he was just too cool! [he kind of is :oP] )

Then Evan, who has never dived in his life was pulling this stuff out of nowhere...nary a belly flop, even if his form is a little off. I have no idea how he figured this out so well. 

Pretty crazy stuff~but that's just Evan for you.

So that's our big kick off for the summer! We had a great time and have a ton more planned after we moms got to sit around, drink tea and hang out! Can't wait for the rest of summer vacation! 

Teacher Appreciation/Year End gift ideas!

We love our teachers, and each year my kids have had fabulous teachers!
To show our appreciation we try to do a little something to show our gratitude!
This year we did this fun idea:

 A fluffy new beach towel and a very fun magazine! (Who doesn't love this magazine!?)

And these cups! I loved this idea and the tag is a free printable you can find here, at Lisa Storms blog! I loved her cups, but here in the desert, we need the double walled kind so they don't sweat. These were a great find for only $5 at Walmart! And the lemonade mix we just picked up at Target. :)

Last year was a similar idea here.

I've seen tons of great, inexpensive but creative ideas all over the internet and thought I would share some with you in case you need some ideas!

I love this idea from Sara over at Our Best Bites, the picture is for Mother's Day but if you scroll down to the very end under the instructions is a link for a free printable label just for teachers! Yay for free stuff!

And check out this fantastic link from Tip Junkie! If you don't follow her blog you are missing out on so many great ideas! This is the same place I found the fun Christmas gifts we did for our teachers this year, and a million more great ideas!

How are you celebrating your teachers this year?

Give me a link, I love to hold on to great ideas for the future teachers in our lives!


Today was Crazy Hair Outrageous Outfit day at the kids school.

And I actually had to tell Kira that it is not "outrageous" to wear a brown shirt with a red plaid skirt. A little off maybe, but no one would think it was crazy.

Then Evan put on a check shirt with plaid shorts. Which looks like how most 7 year old boys look all the time.

Then I had to take a picture because Kira's  "Pippi Longstocking" hair was just too much. And after this:

I had to say, "Guys! You are supposed to look crazy!"

*Note their body position didn't change, just their faces. LOL

Evan and his "crazy" mohawk. ;)

Hahaha! This kills me. Also this is it folks, she is donating her hair next week to Locks of Love. She is ready for it to go. I'm a little sad, but how is this for a last hurrah!?

Fifteen Years. We've only just begun.

May 18, 1996 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I made the very best decision of my life. I married this man. This man who promised to love me through it all. And has kept his word every step of the way.

I have struggled this year with what to *do*. It's a gift year. In fact, its the year you give a watch. (I don't make up the rules). But the thing is, that after all these years, I know that Shawn would not have the slightest use for a watch. No matter how fancy or how well it kept time. In fact, there are two things working against me in this desire to give a gift. Number One, I am a lousy gift giver. It's just a fact. Shawn has always known just what I would love, and surprises me every year on all the important dates. He's just magical at it. And I am not. I struggle every year to surprise him with something fabulous and I have never succeeded. (Well there was that one time in 1996 at Christmas, but jeez, we were newly weds and poor. A gift at all was a surprise back then). Number Two, Shawn just buys what he needs. And often what he wants (and he doesn't want for much, and when he does it involves technology that I cannot begin to understand). So that leaves me sort of in a lurch when it comes to gift giving.

I am good at saying what I feel. And writing. So I thought I would start off with that. It's not much. But it's from my heart, and he's always been good at knowing my heart.

In fifteen years we have been through more than most people in 50. For starters, we were pioneers in this internet dating stuff, in 1995 half the people we told would hear our story and follow up with "What is the internet?" And we married in a hurry. Met in October, married by May. And that was the easy part. He almost died on me. Twice. There was birth of two children. I supported him through school. Twice. He has supported me in school. (technically only once). Jobs, and job losses. Sickness and  health. The loss of his mom, and my grandparents. The acquisition and loss of beloved pets. Home buying. Home selling. Home building. Moves. Across town, and across the country. And back again. Fights big and small. Heartache and moments of such profound love you just feel like you fell into a black hole. We've grown older. A few more lines on our faces. More gray hair than we would like to admit. We are a little softer. A little more gentle. A little wiser. We grew up together, so much changes between 20something and almost 40. But we managed to show up and hang on, and keep on keepin' on.

Some days fifteen years feels like a lifetime. It feels like I've never not known Shawn, or loved him. And it feels like I know everything about him, what he likes and doesn't like. What he needs before he needs it. That I can anticipate what's coming at every turn. And there is great comfort in that. In knowing. In feeling settled.

 And other times it seems like I've only just met this man that I love, and he surprises me with something I didn't know. I love that even after all this time there is room to learn more. That there is still some mystery to him, to US, to what we have. I'm never bored, even when I'm content. We still make each other laugh. We still know how to hold a hurting heart gently and keep it safe until it heals enough to make a go of it on its own again.

Every day I wake up next to Shawn, and I'm so happy he is next to me. I think that my level of gratitude for this simple thing is something that I gained through all that "in sickness" part. So many times I have had to sleep alone while he has been in a hospital fighting to come home to me. And so no matter how simple it may seem to some, or how cheesy it sounds, it is just a pure and honest truth. And its one I never take for granted.

Shawn, thank you for the  best 15 years of my life. I cannot begin to even imagine my life without you in it, and I look so very forward to the next 15. I love you. Always.

Just for fun.

This was hanging up outside yesterday and I thought it looked so sweet.

This is my niece, Della, and her crazy hair! LOL 

And Kira and Evan cracking each other up in the back seat on the way home. :)

I have so many things to talk about...

but then I feel completely overwhelmed at the thought of the past four months in pictures. (You have no idea how many HUNDREDS of photo's I take in a month.)

So I'm going to start with yesterday and then I'm going to try to do kind of a summary post for each of the previous months back to January. :) That feels a little less crazy. And then I can get back to normal.

This weekend was a fun one, lots of family time which I have dearly missed over the semester. (Which ended up really well! I wound up getting a B in Econ, which I thought I would fail, and aced everything else, so Whew!)
Anyway, on Saturday we had everyone out for dinner at our house, and the kids played outside on bikes, trikes and with chalk and bubbles. It was really fun. Lots of neighbors stopped by to join the fun, and the weather wasn't too hot, so we enjoyed it.

After we put the kids down all over the upstairs, the sisters all went for a walk, and then we watched a movie. The guys all played board games. The grandparents always are in a race to see who can leave the fastest after dinner time, and all the mom's are jealous. ;)

Sunday we went and visited with GGP (Shawn's maternal grandma) and then we went to Sunday dinner. Which I have blogged about before, as one of my favorite times of the week. So relaxing, and just nice.

GGB is heading out to summer in Michigan this week, so this was the last dinner with her until October. She bought Avery this pretty dress, but Avery pooped all over part of the outfit and then didn't want GG to hold her, so the pics aren't so hot, but we tried.

My kids got in the pool, and they adore being in the water, so that was fun, I sat around and got some pics, so that was fun for me. Although Evan does.not.stop.moving. in the pool, so he is impossible to capture. He had a handful of hotwheels that he was diving for so he barely came up for air.
The water was on 77*F so Kira was having a hard time getting in.
 Evan was not having this same problem, he just jumped right in.

This was what I was working with.

Today is my day off. And I'm telling you, I am serious. I'm not even dressed and it's almost noon. I haven't had a day to myself where I was not required to be somewhere or doing something in weeks. In fact the last time that happened I had a stomach bug, so that's not counting. ;)

So there is a most random blog post, that is rambling and awkward and not likely grammatically correct. Even after an entire semester of honors English with Figler trying to pound into my brain how to write properly. Poor guy. If he only knew what he was dealing with going in. :)

TFL, and come back soon, I'll have some recaps, and they include Disneyland! :)

I'm back!

So I'm wrapping up the semester, and getting ready to relax a bit for the summer! I just completed a photography class, and wanted to post some of the pics from my portfolio, and since I'm itching to get back in the blog groove, but I really need to study for that last final, ( :) ) I thought I would throw some pics up to share, and then I can really get back in the swing of things later this week. So for now:

This was fun, this is an HDR image, I am just starting to figure out photoshop, so this is about as creative as I get for now. ;) 

These are some actions from Pioneer woman, and the photos' are from a shoot I did at a workshop run by Stephanie Newbold from Stephanie Newbold Photography. This girls were super sweet and cooperative! It was a really great class. 

This little guy was just playing in the park, I think he is adorable.

Thanks for looking! I'm glad to be back. My sad neglected blog will be getting lots of love this summer!