Hats Off

Luke loves hats. My favorite hat he wears is this old cowboy hat. He gets out the stick horse and runs around the house saying, "neeeeeiiiiiigh" and "WOO HOO." Everyone once in awhile we'll remind him it's "YEE HAW" but we usually prefer to hear what he comes up with when he's a "Cooooow." Yes, he doesn't say cowboy either.


School Dayz

In case you forgot, we don't have summer vacation in Arizona. Truthfully, it's because if we did it would have to stretch from May until October. Don't worry, you can make fun of the fact that we live on the surface of the sun because while I'm sitting by the pool, I'm thinkng about how I'm going to rub our gorgeous winter weather in everyone's faces when they're shoveling snow in April.

OK, back to the whole school thing. Summer literally never ends in Arizona, so we have year round school which every mother I have ever met appreciates. The end of July, my kids headed off to 4th and 1st grade.

Last year there were tears, so I was convinced this year was going to be a repeat. Dustin kindly agreed to come up with me so we could divide and conquer with the kids. We got up to school half an hour before it even began, but you seriously have to if you want to find a parking space. I got to the school 3 minutes before the start of Meet the Teacher and had to park a good quarter of a mile away. Which might not seem bad, but remember, it's July in Arizona.

As we walked up Nate saw his best friend from Kindergarten, Travis. They got excited over their new Mario lunch boxes, put their back packs down and ran off. This was not the dramatic scene I expected.

Luckily for me, I still have one child who know how to make her mom feel loved. Ellie moped and refused to talk to anyone. Finally Grace showed up and announced that she had picked the desk next to Ellie and everything was better.

The next thing I know, the bell was ringing and the kids lined up and headed in. Nate was so excited and Ellie totally ignored me. Can you imagine? So I guess I've learned the official age you do not respond to your mother yelling, "I LOVE YOU," as you walk into school. In my defense, everyone I know still does this to their high schoolers, so I'm sure I'm not the most embarrassing mother in the world. I mean, I'm a cool mom, right?

Luke, Sadie and I headed off to celebrate/commiserate the first day with lots of friends at our traditional brunch. It luckily ate up the entire morning, so I didn't realize how lonely my house was going to be. By the time we got home and I put Luke down for a nap I was slightly excited that I didn't have anything to clean.

Everyone had a great day. They both LOVE their teachers and Ellie even proclaimed, "I GET to do homework." Best first day of school yet!


Christmas Card picture?

Dustin went to Utah on business and stayed an extra day to see family and friends. I think he might have spent more money at the BYU bookstore than I did on my last trip. We really do love BYU!!
We can't wait to take the kids to their first BYU football game this fall.


The Beach -- continued

By Saturday night we were all lucky enough to be sitting around eating pizza while the kids ran back and forth from the beach to the pool.

When we first saw the pool, I think we were all slightly disappointed. In the pictures it looked small, but in real life it was miniature. Good bye cannon ball contest. Good bye pool races. In the end it turned out to be the best pool EVER! The little girls could walk across the entire thing, it was always warm and perfect for jumping into. Luke literally demanded people catch him by shouting, "JUMP! JUMP! JUMP!" repeatedly. Livy loved watching the show and so her parents sweetly obliged by catching Luke literally hundreds of times in a row. Kathleen came home with biceps of steel from lifting Luke out of the pool while the rest of us figured out he could climb out himself.

And when we weren't in the pool or hot tub, we were probably at the beach. The big kids loved being thrown into the waves and boogie boarding. Unfortunately after 2 days straight, their stomachs were rubbed raw and we had to run out and by them all new rash guards.
Nate also graduated to the stage where you were underarmour under your bathing suit too, so no more cute butt crack shots.
Sadie was jealous of all the big kids boogie boarding, so she invented her own method. She would take the board and lie down in the water and let the waves take her in and out.

Luke loved the sand more than anything. He loved to lay in it. He loved to roll in it. He loved to eat it.SO he was pretty much covered in sand the entire time we were there. Finally, the last two days we were there, he warmed up to the waves. Unlike his cousin, Livy, who loved the waves. The bigger the wave and the colder the water, the better.I'm actually glad Luke didn't like the ocean until the last few days, because once he discovered how fun it was I had to be on guard the entire time.

One day we thought it would be fun to get the kids surf lessons. You had to be 8, so poor Nate was bitterly disappointed to be left out, but little did he know how lucky he was. It was a hot and sticky day with the temperatures nearing 100 and yet the water was ice cold. I think the lifeguard said the water temperature was 58 degrees. BRRR!

Ellie popped up on her first turn and rode the wave in like a pro.
And then a few turns later, she lost her balance, fell in and she was *cold*. She is just like her mama -- once she was cold, she was done. Nate was such a sweet kid that he actually took off his rash guard and gave it to her so she could warm up and she headed out for a few more turns.

Other beach entertainment included digging a giant hole (that we waited inside of all day for the tide to come in and destroy)
copying our neighbors and building a sand couchburying the little girls in sand and making them into mermaids, Red Rover in the surf, Duck Duck Goose and lots of other fun games.

If we weren't near the water, we were probably eating. Dustin found a new love-- Rita's Water Ice so we went there every single night. My kids got ice cream from an ice cream truck for the first time in their lives. I discovered the cake shop in Sandbridge sells the most delicious giant soft chewy cookies ever.We made brownies and we also ate ourselves silly the night of the FOOD FEUD.

My sister and I assigned out team colors and each team had to come up with a menu based on their color. Quick run down:
RED TEAM! WOO HOO! We won the TRUE COLORS award (for having the most food of our teams color). Our menu was cherry lime soda, fruit salad, sweet and sour meatballs & red velvet cupcakes. I had my dad on my team, who wanted to literally buy everything pre-made, but we still had fun.
GREEN TEAM won the JAZZ HANDS (most team spirit) award for sherbert and sprite, pesto ravioli, & mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches. They had a cheer and everything.
The ORANGE TEAM won the THERE'S A PARTY IN MY TUMMY award (for yummiest main course). The served a blood orange drink, orange glazed salmon, and peach cobbler with hand whipped orange cream. Kyle literally hand whipped that whipped cream and it was delicious.
And the YELLOW TEAM! They ended up with the FANCY NANCY award for being so dang gourmet. We had hand juiced mango lemonade, crab cakes with hollandaise sauce, and pineapple and mango granola with caramel sauce. Everyone else was sharing their menus, but those little girls were trash talking everyone so they were the team everyone was feeling competitive with. I had Ellie sort through the toothpicks to get all the red ones for our team to use and I walked into my room to find "YELLOW TEAM STINS" in all the leftover yellow tooth picks.

We also played lots of games like Sardines, Saboteur, Maui Maui, Just Dance for kids
and my sister had a whole night of Minute to Win It games.The other big hit was Ooga Booga, a long honored family initiation. I cannot show you any pictures or give you any details because it is an absolute secret.

Harry Potter part 2 came out while we were at the beach house so my sister went on-line and bought us all tickets to go see it. We were trying to decide how early we needed to be there to get seats together and we decided to head out about 2 hours early.You should have seen the usher's face when we asked where the line was. Apparently people do not stand in line to see Harry Potter at the beach. We still had time to go eat (at a sit down restaurant no less) and get back in time to stand in a line of about 3 people before we were seated in the theater.

One morning I went out for a run and the winds were fierce. By the time I got back the lifeguards were driving up and down the beach with their red flags. We decided to head to the Virginia Beach boardwalk where we ate at the a Mexican restaurant with the biggest round table I have seen in my life.

The kids all got cheesey souvenirs including Luke's cow (his newest obsession) and Ellie decided to get her hair wrapped. While my mom and I waited with Ellie, Dustin and Tommy rented one of those giant four person bikes. Except there were only two of them to pedal all those lazy kids around.
Luke LOVED riding on the front.
All in all, we were so lucky to see all of our family for an entire week. Cousins, Aunts & Uncles, Grandma & Grandpa . . . We love you!

Then it was time for the sad good bye. We checked out of the beach house and headed for the mall to kill some time before our flight.And in a long honored Mangum family tradition, Lola and Livy pushed us off for the airport.