Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

Am I Turning into Scrooge???

December 1, 2013

Sorry, but I am not excited about gift giving this year.  Yes, I love to bless those around me, but I’m starting to realize that maybe my spiritual gift is not gifts.  I would rather spend time doing some family/bonding/memory/making activity that will last in my children’s minds forever!  Seriously, what did we buy them last year that they are still using? The question is semi-unfair as we went to our homeland, Canada, last year for Christmas.  Being in the desert in the Southwest, we had to buy warm clothes, long pants and shoes for the kids and we kept telling them the vacation to another country WAS their gift.  :o)

christmas 2012 1

See?!  What a great memory!

Our then 9-year-old daughter was DYING to get this set/book where she could draw outfits for dolls.  She LOVED it to death… I think it took about 21 days.  I haven’t seen it in almost a year.  We also got her a fat, purple and pink sparkly piggy bank that she spied in Walmart.  She was DYING to have a place to put her money…. AND would accentuate her pretty bedroom. I’m fairly certain the pig has been vacationing with the naked dolls that still need dresses since late February.  If the Popsicle man ever comes by in July/August and my wallet is empty, I need to remember to look for that pig.

My then 16-year-old son was DYING to have this totally overpriced black with lime green stripe cooler-than-cool jacket.  It is a close fitting, non-waterproof, zip-up, and being in Arizona I’m giving him a bit more grace than his little sister for not using it A LOT.  I did see the lime green coolness trying to peek out from a pile of clothes on the floor in his room.  I’m not sure if he wore it or if it fell off the hanger?  Then Dec. 16th, we crossed over the Sierra Nevadas in a snow storm…  pulled into the first ROSS we found and bought him a more suitable winter jacket.  Jacket #2 has been in the winter clothing box in the garage since January 2nd.

My then 14-year-son, who was DYING for concert tickets or iTunes gift-cards, got a mountain bike.  My husband bought it hoping for father-son bonding times, which did happen a few times last January and February.  Now, said son HAS used the bike and he does take care of the bike, but he rides his longboard 9 out of 10 days of the week.  Recently I asked him what we got him for Christmas last year… long pause… “Concert tickets or something?”  Um, no, but we probably should have.

My then 19-year-old got the most useful, but not necessarily fun gift…. an orange suitcase of her very own.  She was leaving for college in January and it turned into a necessity as I realized if I didn’t buy her one, she would be taking one of mine.  All that said, she LOVES orange and LOVED it…. AND she took one of mine anyway.  She also opened a brand new shiny pair of Nike tennis shoes, as some sort of athletic course at school was in her near future.  I’m positive that the Nikes won the “Most Used” Christmas gift of 2012.

Rick and I got a nice shiny red van for Christmas… that I crashed three months later.  Boooo Hissssss.  At least I remember what we received!!!

Do you remember what you bought everyone last year?  Do you remember what you received?

Happy Basha’s Memories

October 24, 2013

bashas

Basha’s is a local grocery store chain here in Arizona that I used to frequent a LOT due to its proximity to our house at that time.  We moved near Basha’s when I was pregnant with our third child and lived in that wonderful house for six years.

As you can imagine, I visited the store OFTEN with all three children.  The three children that God blessed us with who don’t really look that much like their mother or father.  We have two blond-haired, blue-eyed kids and one with dark brown eyes and hair.  My husband has black hair and light brown eyes.  I have light brown hair and green eyes. Genetics are a weird deal.  I tell you all this frivolity to set up the first happy memory.

Happy (sort of) Memory #1:  I was casually strolling the aisles at Basha’s with my three offspring, when a lady in her mid-twenties came up and inquired, “Are these all your children?” “Yes, they are,” I replied proudly.  Then she had the audacity to ask, “Do they all have different dads?”  What in the blue blazes was she thinking???  I glanced down at my attire, wondering if I left home with only wearing my underwear … nope, fully clothed, not looking like a hoochie-mama.  I assured her that indeed, these three angels did have the same father, but I didn’t go into the fact that none of them look like him.  Good gravy, lady!

Happy Memory #2:  In our homeschool we studied a unit in science about the motion of falling objects.  One of the examples was Galileo dropping a cannonball and a musketball off the Leaning Tower of Pisa to determine that falling objects fall at the same rate.  Of course we climbed up in the play house and dropped all sorts of items into the dirt below to test this ourselves.  Back to Basha’s…. months later we were in the pasta aisle and my middle child was closely examining the spaghetti sauce jars.  (Not sure why???)  When all of a sudden he yelled (because he never spoke quietly until he was 12) “Mom! Here is the crooked building that the guy threw the rocks off of!”  (Insert song from the Sound of Music as I mentally skip through the hills of happiness!)

Happy Memory #3:  Yet another trip to Basha’s with my two little boys in the seats of the cart and my personal shopper (7 year old daughter) walking beside me.  A kind, elderly lady with fluffy white hair shuffled by and stopped to look at my children.  She smiled so sweetly.  (I braced myself to explain that I only had one husband.) Finally she remarked, “You have beautiful children!”  I whole-heartily agreed, but merely said, “Thank you!”  As she slowly made her way down the aisle, my loud, middle child yelled to the grandma, “My daddy drives a fancy Cadillac!”  It was true, albeit a hand-me-down from my parents, but his statement shocked me, nonetheless.  The sweet little lady threw her head back and belly laughed, as did I.

Happy Memory #4:  This same store had a very generous produce manager who allowed our daughter to go behind the black swinging doors each week to get free “rotten” food for her bunny rabbit, Blackie Honey Bunny Crosby.

I miss Basha’s.

Post Wreckage Wisdom

March 21, 2013

Before this past Saturday, the previous car accident I participated in was in 1999 in Anaheim, California.  Thankfully I have been fender bender free for 14 joyous years. (However, in my current state of narcotic use, I could easily and most probably be missing large periods of my life in my memory banks.)  When one meanders through life without hitting other vehicles, you tend to forget many important facts regarding collisions.  This morning, at 4:06 a.m., I am here to inform all those who need informing on said subject.

1.  Accidents happen when you least expect it and when it is not convenient in your life.  In my case, I was casually  heading to Bed Bath and Beyond to purchase a much needed shower curtain liner for the main bath due to visitors who were scheduled to arrive at my home in exactly four hours.  My daughter and two friends were descending upon our house for Spring Break from college in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a mere 14 hour drive to Phoenix, Arizona.  Two days after their arrival, three Canadian relatives were also visiting for a week.  Hence, the new shower curtain liner was MANDATORY.

2.  Teenage drivers are a danger on the road.  Out of a neighborhood shopping center driveway (right next to Charming Charlie’s purse/accessory mother ship store) a small white vehicle came flying directly into my lane from the right without any warning time, hindering me from doing all those things you know you should do when you figure out you’re are going to hit another car, i.e. brake, scream “Sweet mother of God!”, brace yourself so as to increase muscle injuries, curse the driver’s day of birth, yell at your kids “Hang on, Mommy’s going to hit someone!” or any other such nonsense. I glanced at the car and slammed into it.  That is all.  I never saw the driver’s face as she was looking to her right the entire time she was entering the four lane road, planning on crossing two lanes of traffic.  The kind police man asked me how long I had between my visual awareness of the other car and impact.  “One second.”  I have since wondered about her actions.  Did she just find the queen mother purse to match her favorite hot pink and cheetah print shoes, and couldn’t wait to get home and unite the two, creating the perfect ensemble?  Did she just eat at the Mellow Mushroom and was in a pasta induced coma with garlic permeating from her pores?  We will never know, dear reader.

3.  When the kind police man finished my inquisition and then glanced in the back seat of the van to witness a tear-stained little Latina child, he should have used his kind policeman voice and asked a politically correct question like, “Who is this little sweetheart?” or “I see we have a princess in the back seat.” or “Honey, are you ok?”  But NO.  He got the wrath of the blubbering adoptive mother when he blurted out, “Who is THAT?” like I picked up an illegal alien down by the border and was transporting her color-coordinated, well manicured dimpled self like a criminal. I will admit I answered a bit tersely, “SHE’S MY DAUGHTER!!!!”  My tone set him in his place and his kind police man voice surfaced as he praised her for being in her booster seat and wearing her seatbelt.  I am a protective mama first, and an injured car passenger second. Don’t ever forget that!

4.  Auto injuries are curious beasts.  Due to the impact of the airbag underneath the steering column of our van, my shins took a real beating.  I did not know there was an airbag under there, nor was I aware that it was hinged from the bottom and the molded plastic cover was capable of shaving your legs so thoroughly upon explosion, you might never need to shave them ever again due to the absence of several layers of skin and hair follicles.  Thank God I was wearing jeans.  As was predicted by my ER doctor friend, other injuries will surface when the most intense injuries subside.  After four days of lying on the couch with my legs elevated and iced every hour around the clock, I was able to stand without tears accumulating in my eyes.  Then I realized my right shoulder was not working as well as it had been performing before the white car jumped in my path.  Yesterday x-rays were had and after two days of icing my shoulder every hour around the clock, we will hopefully have some answers tomorrow as to my gimpy limb.  When that is concluded, I do not know what will make me cry next…. the seatbelt bruise line across my entire torso?  Or some other area still in shock waiting to surface.  I will surely keep you posted, even though I am aware of “women’s tea rules of courtesy” of not speaking of sickness or operations.  This ain’t a tea…. it is my blog, and where else can I complain with my sense of humor intact for the enjoyment of others?

5.  God takes care of His children.  When God found our new-to-us van on November 30, 2012, He was testing my thankfulness at receiving such a good and perfect gift from Him, despite it being red.  Red is my least favorite color.  But I WAS thankful for the van… the low miles, the reasonable price, the stow-n-go compartments to haul more junk, the awesome air-conditioning, the radio controls on the back of the steering wheel, etc.  And I was content knowing that I couldn’t see that it was red while I was riding in the van. I imagined that it was a purty royal blue color.  So I am pretty sure I passed the red van test and now get another new-to-us van that is not red.  I will keep you posted.

Currently my pain meds have once again done their duty and I am ready to drift back to a psycho-dream filled sleep.  Good night for now.

DRE-E-E-E-EAM, dream dream dre-eam

January 23, 2013

When you grow up, you assume your life is the normal life of all the other kids in the world.  When you get older, you realize just how non-normal your growing up actually was, well, compared to all the other non-normal lives you learn about as time goes on.  Confused yet?

All that to say, I grew up thinking everyone dreams in color.  I do.  Of course I’m not the weird one, am I?  Thanks to the internet, I have discovered that more than 80% of people dream in color.  Not so weird after all, thankyouverymuch.  Yet another fact caused me to pause and consider my abnormalness once again…. 95-99% of people forget their dreams. What?  Almost every night I have vivid dreams and can tell the tales of them the next day.  My children take great pleasure in asking me what I dreamt last night and then rolling on the floor holding their sides due to laughter induced dream tales.  Some dreams have stuck with me for years… for 24 years, in one case… like it was yesterday.  Some are so real that I write them down to ponder later.

While we were away at Christmas I had this great dream (that my children loved) about my husband wanting to redo the greenhouse (that we don’t have) on the back of the house (that we don’t live in).  He was all inspired and wanted to show me his plans, but he insisted the best view was from the neighbor’s back driveway.  The only glitch was that he was naked and I wasn’t walking outside with him.  I’m the modest one in the family, for goodness sakes alive, even in my dreams.  So he talked me into driving over to the neighbor’s back driveway in our station wagon with tasteful “wood” paneling on the sides.  He drove me over there and proceeded to do a 13 point turn in the little driveway until the car was facing our greenhouse (sideways on the driveway.)  But the inevitable happened and he backed up too far and we went down into the ditch and got stuck.  I told him I would climb out the window and go call AAA but he yelled, “You cannot call Triple A, I’m naked!”  And that was the end.  I did not find deep meaning in that dream.  I pray we never own that house or car!  But it WAS funny!

Sixteen years ago, after watching Father of the Bride 2, my husband decided we should move from Spruce Grove, Alberta to Phoenix, Arizona to be near my parents.  I whole heartily agreed.  We put the house on the market and prayed for a quick sale, it was winter after all. Then I had a dream about a lady coming to buy our house. I awoke quite relieved and explained in detail what she looked like to my husband. For ten long months, our house sat on the market and many people came to see it.  Every time I opened the front door, if it wasn’t the lady in my dream, I was disappointed.  Phoenix was calling my name, after all.  Finally one day she came.  I recognized her.  And she did buy our house.  Truly, I think God gave me the picture of her as a sign of hope that there was someone coming.  It gave me a measure of assurance.

Do you remember your dreams?

Pizzeria Bianco

April 15, 2012

There is the semi-famous pizza place in downtown Phoenix that has a reputation for fabulous food.  Two or three years ago, an article ran in the paper naming a memorable activity to do each month of the year in our fine city. Pizzeria Bianco was listed for April…. because there is almost always a two-hour wait to get into one of the 12 tables inside the vintage brick building… and April is one of the last months before it is too hot to wait outside for two hours.  I cut out two of the mentioned activities and put them on the side of the fridge… the side no one sees unless they are invited WAY into the kitchen. (The other activity was seeing the bat cave and we did that last year.)

So, when Rick’s brother and his wife were visiting America, we took the opportunity to go to Pizzeria Bianco.  This was Rick and my second time going down there and putting our names on the list.  The first time, we were unaware of the two-hour wait…. and had prearranged activities that hindered our possibility of sitting in one of the 12 tables that night.  THIS time, we planned accordingly and L O V E D every minute in the tiny brick structure.  There were fancy names for the salad and the pizza that we devoured…. that I wish I could remember to impress you all.  But you’ll just have to be impressed in your mind without Italian foody words.

All that to say, if you’re ever in Phoenix and have an evening to relax, I highly recommend Pizzeria Bianco.  (It is just East of the Science Center.)  Fabuloso!

Spring Break #1, 2012

March 31, 2012

I love homeschooling.  I think I’ve mentioned that here before.  I love it for several reasons…. one of them being the freedom to make and follow (or not) your own schedule.  So, way back in August when our co-op moms were deciding on Spring Break, we picked the first week of April.  That sounded good to all of us.  Done.  Bam.  Then last week we got a call from my husband’s brother asking if we wanted a week of company for their Spring Break.  SURE!  So today wrapped up Spring Break #1.

Next week starts Spring Break #2, only because it was already on the schedule and we don’t have to go to class on Wednesday as per usual.  The Crosby’s will be doing school work, but it will be a tad relaxed.  And everybody said…. AMEN! 

Spring Break #3 will be later in April, when our son has a cycling race in Monterey.  We don’t plan to bring any school work on that trip either.  I did alert the pupils that the same amount of math, history and English will need to be done by the end of Spring Break #3….  in order to keep the water flowing in the primed schoolwork pump. 

See why I love homeschooling?  Here is a photo tribute to spring Break #1, 2012.

Street Hockey Championship in the cul-de-sac.

The Metate Trail in the Spur Cross Recreational Area…. HUGE saguaros!

What would a hike be without some planking?

And to finish off hike #1…. some ruins. 

Spring Break #1, Hike #2 at Black Canyon Recreation Trail

The cacti are just beginning to bloom their AMAZING blossoms.

And we discovered there was a river at the bottom of the trial….. that we didn’t plan on… in time, water or food… so we will return to this hike someday when we are prepared.

Goodbye Spring Break #1.  Hello Spring Break #2!  (I love homeschooling.)

First Time EVER!

February 24, 2012

Card

(Image scraplifted from: http://kellishouse.blogspot.com/2009/07/handmade-card-tutorial_30.html )

Yes, it’s that time of year again…. Scrapping in the Pines, our bi-annual scrapbooking retreat for four days in the cool pine-covered mountains of Prescott, Arizona.  There are seven of us going….. but this time I’m packing GAMES!  Yes, you read that right… GAMES!  Yahtzee, Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride, 13 and Carcasonne!  We’ve never played games in Prescott! And movies, but we always take movies!

AND… please make sure you’re seated for this announcement… I’m not scrapbooking at Scrapping in the Pines!  I know!  Unbelievable.  I am making cards this trip.  I’m always a bit envious of my sister’s beautiful handmade cards that arrive in our mailbox several times a year.  Mine are usually handmade by a little Asian woman and purchased in a big box at Costco.  But after my third box of that type…. I have LOTS of baby and sympathy cards… but I’m fresh out of birthday cards … AGAIN  Enough! 

I scooted into Barnes & Noble tonight and bought a card making magazine….it cost as much as buying five cards at Hallmark, but it will be worth it’s weight in gold when I’m done.  All of my scrapping patterned paper, ribbons, buttons, eyelets, lace, trim, glitter, flowers and such will be making the journey.  Along with blank cards and envelopes.  I also resurrected the stamps, ink, embossing glitter, heat gun, and the metal embossing template!  What a blast from the past!  WAIT!  Inspiration just struck at this very moment… and you’re here to witness it first hand…. I can MAKE the envelopes!  Oh, sweet mother of baby Jesus, that is a great idea.  My aviator husband has all kinds of maps that will be perfect.  YES!

And so, it will be the first time EVER that this retreat should REALLY be called “Relaxing, Gaming and Crafting in the Pines.”  But we’re not changing the name after 15 years!

My Peeps

February 1, 2012

Last weekend I had the joy and privilege of speaking to the Arizona homeschoolers in a mid-year refresher.  We all found sitters and gathered together in a hotel in Mesa and can I just say that it is so energizing to be with your peeps.  We are all in the trenches together.  We are parents lacking socialization with other adults all day long because we’ve chosen to school our kids at home.  We laughed, we cried, we laughed some more.  We shared our victories and our struggles.  No matter how hard our journey seems, there is always one other family who has it WAY worse than we do… and it secretly gives us hope.  If they can keep on schooling, so can we! 

We listened to Tim Hawkins’ new homeschool song

and we laughed until we cried.  Happy tears with my peeps.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

As the evening progressed, there were door prizes, laughter, a Southwest buffet and then I shared our homeschool story…. the challenges, the kid that couldn’t read, my failures as a homeschool mother, the triumphs and what we’ve learned along the way.  It’s cathartic to give your testimony.  It not only gives hope to others, but you realize how God pulled you through your circumstances and you’re still alive to tell the story.

It was a good weekend.  And I’m ready to finish the homeschool year now.  Not quittin’ anytime soon.  Thank you, my peeps, for showing up and keeping me on my journey with my kids.

Snow Angels and Snow Balls

December 10, 2011

The Colombian princess played in the snow for her first time today up in Prescott, AZ.  In the morning I pulled out some snow pants and boots for her.  She was jazzed about the boots, but the snow pants were not her thing at all.   First she started to take off her jeans to put them on, but her brother explained that they go over your clothes.  This didn’t fly either.  Of course, this was in our balmy 74 degree house.  Her tune changed when we arrived to snow and chilly weather.  For some reason she asked for her hair to be tucked in her jacket???  Not sure what that was all about.

Next came the making of snow angels for the frist time.  I never realized how hard it is to describe the making of a snow angel until today.  She didn’t want her hair touching the snow… then I told her to move her arms up and down and she repeatedly raised them off the ground straight up and down. (She is good at following directions!)  Finally a kindly friend plopped down next to her and showed her how it’s done.  The result she loved…. the snow in the hair, not so much.

Then the snowball war commenced.  Nora loved throwing the snowballs and sneaking up behind unsuspecting targets…. but she didn’t exactly love being hit by snowballs.  I can relate.  I’ve been trying to teach her how to throw like a boy, but it’s not sinking in yet.  Lots of girly-thrown snowballs today.

So much fun to see the wonder on a child’s face the first time their little fingers freeze from making a snowman!  I loved that we got to share this day with Nora… and I love that God let there be snow in Arizona at least once in a while.

Lately Nora has been fascinated by eyebrows… and uni-brows… and snowman brows… awesome!

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful!

December 5, 2011

Really!  In Phoenix… in December… it snowed only 25 miles from our house!  We had rain … but we are not used to harsh conditions where we need closed-toed shoes… and a jacket!  I can imagine the sympathy in your heart for us!  haha.

December brought out Christmas decorations with a vengeance… lights, wreaths, trees, snowmen, etc.  First year EVER… I got the fake tree up with all the silver, blue and white ornaments… on December 1st!  A week later, we are still waiting to go buy a tree for all the non-blue ornaments.  A few years back, I came to the realization that red is not my favorite color.  In fact in the ROYGBIV list… I’m basically loving the rainbow in reverse order.  I’m a violet, indigo and blue gal from the boots up.  SO…. I went blue Christmas shopping and the blue tree was born.  I love it more each year… as the ornaments accumulate.  There are a few homemade preschool ornaments that made the cut… we have a popsicle stick Star of David with blue glitter…. and a dough star painted royal blue.  Yes, they are on the back, but they did make the cut for MY tree.

I love these stained glass snow flakes.  Rick and I bought these in Mexico two years ago at Christmas time.  Love them!

This stained glass trio was purchased last Christmas in Bogota, Colombia.  Yes, it’s supposed to by Mary, Joseph and the Babe Jesus, but I also like to think of it as Rick, me and our little colombian princess who joined us last Christmas!

Nora has loved the thought of Christmas since her first days in the USA.  She arrived to her forever home on December 22nd and it was one big blur of Christmas bliss her first week home!  Her eyes sparkled when she saw Grandma’s house all decorated in every corner!  A village with ice skaters and lights in the windows… a sleigh full of teddy bears… brass reindeer with ribbons… embroidered Santa pillows…. snowmen that play the piano and sing…. little Christmas mice climbing candles… matching wreaths on the front doors… and Santa himself waving the lantern from the top of the tree…Spendid!  All year long she has repeated that Christmas is her favorite!  We have stressed over and over that it is our favorite too, because Jesus was born then and THAT is the reason we celebrate.

We are doing the Jesse Advent Tree devotional with the kids.  We bought a little tree for the kitchen table that looks pretty lame right now with only five ornaments, but it looks a little better each day as we add to the story of Jesus!  We review every night and Nora basically gets it so far…. just a bit off on a few stories!  It is a bit alarming that of the first five stories, death is talked about three times!  (Adam and Eve’s disobedience, Noah’s neighbors and Abraham starting to sacrifice Isaac!)  I never thought of it before, but it’s all part of the story of our salvation!

So thankful for a relaxed Christmas month to share with our little girl!


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