Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Back in the swing of things

Even though the school kids around here are on break, we decided we needed a little bit of catch-up after our long vacation.  The best thing about homeschooling is doing it when we want!  We invited Ana over today to do some math and science lessons with us-- it was fun for Alex to show her what we do :-)

Our other goal is to get to the ski hill a few times before we leave on our next adventure (which, for me, will be very soon).  

Monday, December 28, 2015

Returning Home

As we ALL took the same flight home, it was pretty easy to navigate the airport with three kids and four adults.  But wait...... what about Cave?  He was too big to fit inside any checked bags, so we improvised.  I used a hair rubber band to secure his front paws around Justin's neck and then we used another one to attach his hind paws around J's belly.  You wouldn't believe how many stares, giggles and "Cool backpack, dude!"s we got!


It kind of reminded me of our days traveling with Alex and Hippo

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Post-Christmas Hike

The Loehrs were able to join us for a post-Christmas hike (followed by lunch at Reynoso's).  What a lovely way to spend time with friends.  I have to hunt around for the photo with everyone in it-- I'll update this blog entry when I get it!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cave the Wolf and the marble track

Justin has a new best friend.  He was invited to eat breakfast at the table this morning.  

The other activity that has been a huge hit in recent days is Great-Great-Grandpa Yoder's marble run.  It was Great-Grandma Alice's and then Papa Bob's.  Daddy and Auntie Carrie played with it as children and now these three hooligans get to enjoy it.  We know Great-Great Grandpa was watching all the action from his seat in Heaven!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Morning!

Santa ended up coming to Phoenix!  We barricaded the kids in the hallway to make sure they didn't sneak out extra early and see all the presents :-)

Don't feel bad for them-- we left them a note and some breakfast bars if they were hungry.

When it was FINALLY 7am, we released them!  Santa doesn't really wrap presents for us-- he just puts them out and fills the stockings, so it's super-fun to see what's there!
Justin's favorite was a GIGANTIC stuffed wolf.

Alex got some dragons and a calico critter red panda set with a beautiful wooden 'portable' dollhouse to use.  It kept her occupied for the next three days straight!

We played with our new toys all day long.  When it was time for bed, Justin insisted on being snuggled in with his newest prized possessions-- "Cave" the wolf, his wolf slippers and his new Camelbak.  

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve in Arizona

After hitting the earliest Christmas Eve service available and enjoying the carols as they tell the story of Christ's birth, we headed back to Casa Marotz to celebrate some more.  Alex and Justin hosted their annual Holiday Tea, complete with silly hats and (blech!) Little Debbie tree cakes.  Vera seemed to enjoy the festivities, but wasn't too keen on wearing ridiculous headwear.

We opened family presents early enough in the day for the kids to enjoy playing with them (Justin received his OWN camelbak!) and prepared for the big extended family party that evening.

While the younger two went to bed 'on time', Alex has transitioned into a 'big kid'.  She got to stay up and visit until the end.

The highlight of the Christmas party is always the whistle concert performed by the entire family, with Grandma Mary as the director.  Alex really had fun taking part in the musical experience :-)

After everyone went home, she made sure Santa had his plate of cookies and veggies before she collapsed into bed!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Serious Cookie Decorating

And now it's time for some serious cookie decorating.  Carrie, Alex and I suited up and got to work:

Monday, December 21, 2015

Around the House

The Loehrs and the Bennetts came over for a visit today-- Alex learned how to play 5 Crowns from Diane, and will soon be beating all of us regularly.

The kids are having a great time-- every room has a variety of toys and crafts and fun things to do!  It's probably going to take Bob and Mary a month to get their house back in order, but man are the kids having a blast! Alex and Vera work on some engineering:

Grandma Mary leads crafts of all sorts:


and tall, tall towers are being constructed by the work crew:

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Morning Hike

I'm so glad these kids enjoy hiking and nature as much as Dave and I do--  we got up early for a 'breakfast hike' today.  Justin was proud of summiting "two mountains" yesterday and wanted to do it again.  I was only too glad to bring along the camera and get some nice shots.  We talked a lot today about how this is winter in the desert, and spring looks much different.  Maybe we'll have to schedule a spring-time trip to do some real sketching/observing of desert plants.

Dave explaining the Arizona flag/ sunrise connection