Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The New Addition ...

Last month, we were able to confirm what our Intelligender test had suggested. That the third and final in our series will be a girl! We took the Intelligender test at 10 wks. And I figured it would be pretty easy to do. I mean, I can read directions, and Jon executes tests like this daily, right? (He later reminds me that even though he requests the tests, someone else actually does it. LOL) The directions are insane.... "Pee in a cup, draw 20ml with the syringe, put into the cup of crystals, swirl, don't shake.... wait 10 min, no more or less, don't touch it, look at eye level, not from above or below.... how hard can it be, right? Hard. I'm waiting and watching from the bed, apparently not eye level.) I see only green, so I'm thinking boy for sure. Time was up and I made a CRUCIAL mistake. I picked up the jar. Disturbing it. After is settled, Jon thought it was more orange than green, I was not convinced. We took pictures. I emailed them to the Intelligender company. Jon shared them with 9 colleagues. Who were split 5 in favor of Girl, 4 in favor of boy. ARG. The company said, "Well, it looks more girl, but we can't be sure. We'll just send you a new test." Thank you Intelligender. While I was soooo on board with taking the test, I wasn't about to spend another $30 on a new test. So this was a very nice gesture. Test #2 arrived in the mail and the next morning, we re-did the test, without any major mistakes. Jon's thought: "It screams Girl". My thought was that yes, it was more orange than green, but can I really trust it? My gut had said all along that we're a "boy makin' family" and number three will be a boy.

Ultra sound day came. Meredith joined me in the office, Jon joined via phone between patients, (along with various nurses and MA's, ha..ha..) Our lovely Technician, pointed out various "lines" in the screen, which she said indicated "girl". In fairness, I had a hard time really seeing "boy" with either Ian or Campbell, so just pointing out "lines" wasn't enough to convince me. I thought, "OK, are we saying girl because you don't see "boy parts" or because you see actual "girl parts". She assured us it was a girl. The next night, I got a call at home from our OB who's message was, "Well, I guess I'm the last to know ... Congratulations!" I was seeing him the next morning for my monthly appt., so didn't really think to call him. ha..ha. I figure, well, he saw the scan, and says girl too ... Jon read the scan and agreed girl. I suppose, I can finally breath and say it. We're having a girl.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Temple Lights

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Brenna's Visit

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Brenna and her family came to Phoenix for Thanksgiving to celebrate her Grandma and Grandpa Johnson leaving to serve a mission. It was great to spend a couple of days with her and glad her family was willing to share her while they were here for a short time! ;) Sunday morning before church, we made a quick stop at the entrance of the neighborhood for some pictures. It was a bit chilly, and the grass was soggy, but we survived. :)

Breast Cancer Walk, Tempe AZ 2009

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November 9th ... a beautifyl day for a walk! in October 2007, Our Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It's so wonderful that a couple of years later, we can call her a Survivor! Unfortunaly, Mom had recently broken her shoulder and wasn't able to walk with us this year, but she was still with us via cell. Before the walk, I was looking for pink shirts the boys could wear, but had a hard time finding them (no big surprise) I did however, find pink knit caps for a buck at Target. Perfect. Not sure how thrilled Jon was, but it was great! :) Thanks to our friends High School Karen and Carmen who joined Meredith and me this year. Next year, we'll walk again and hope you'll join us too!

Little Visitor

One morning we found this little guy in Ziggy's outside water dish. The miracle here is that I actually grabbed the camera, sucked it up, and picked up this little bugger and let the boys check him out. Of course, someone dropped him and he ran in the house, the good news is that he ran into a tube of butcher paper, so it was easy to remove him. Ugh. I still get chills just thinking about it. LOL

Woody & Buzz take Halloween, 2009

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Halloween was fun for all this year. Truly, the first year the boys could really get into things. Both were so excited about their costumes, which was great. last year, we spent Halloween at Seaworld, so we got away with t-shirts for the occasion. Their friend Gabby was going to be Jesse from Toy Story 2 which prompted the boys to want to be Woody and Buzz. I confess I tried to deter them, wondering how i was going to put them together. I got Buzz on sale at the Disney Store and am CRAZY glad I picked it up when I did. I'd never have gotten a good Buzz costume made at home. Woody was way more do-able. I busted out the sewing machine and made the vest and chaps. Helps when you find good fabric. We ended up with two great costumes and really milked them with any and all events we could find. I'd spent too much time and money for these to be worn for 2 hours on one night. LOL The pictures here don't' include Halloween night. (can't seem to find them) It's too bad, because you miss the crazy cool Jesse costume Gabby had and the authentic Woody shirt that my cousin Luann sent that she'd made for her boys a few years back. I'll have to dig a little deeper for them to add soon.

Halloween night was a blast - we had some friends and family over for dinner and then got the kids ready to hit the neighborhood. A great time, although we discovered that not everyone knows the "lights off if you're not home" rule. :) ha..ha...

Copper State Fly-In, Casa Grande

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More fall fun .... sure the Arizona summers are crazy hot, but fall is the best! Another great day in October, and the boys and I decided to go out ot the Copper State Fly-In over in Casa Grande. Papa & Grandma A drove down to meet us and we spent a fun afternoon checking out various airplanes and helicopters!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Balloon Fiesta, Albuquerqe, NM

October 2009, was fun for the Russell's. We started our adventure heading to New Mexico for the Balloon Fiesta. We started on the road headed towards Globe, where we saw an "Estate Sale" sign. If you know us, you know we are Yard Sale Suckas .... but, all I need to do is remind you that we got our complete Wii Rockband set for $15 bucks and you'll recall that when you take time to dig, you find cool stuff. ha..ha... Unfortunately, this particular "estate sale" wasn't quite as fab. We decided to turn back to check it out. Why not, we had plenty of time and we were on vacation. So, wander we did ... as we got further into the area, following signs, we joked that the "estate sale" sign may have been a bit misleading. ha..ha... We finally arrived at the destination. Found a family who was clearing out their recently deceased mother's mobile home and I mean EVERYTHING. (including some things they brought from their own estate). If you were looking for anything vintage (and I use the term loosely) it was there. I was, however, fascinated by the old school ice trays .... the kind you have to crack loose with the handle across the top. :) We left with one thing. A faux animal print wrap/cape. It cost a quarter and I thought hey, Halloween is coming, and this is just funky enough that someone might want to use it. Alas, Halloween came and went. So did the cape.

Off went went, headed towards Eager, AZ. Made a quick pit-stop at the Hon-Da casino and then back on the road. We made it to Eager around lunch time.... and noticed the streets seemed to be blocked off. We opted for the drive-thru somewhere and discovered it was the Homecoming Parade. We jumped back on the road and had to get clever trying to outrun the police who were blocking off all the small streets to the main road... foiled a few times, we finally just made it. While small town Homecoming Parades are great, we just didn't want to lose the hours on the road. We probably had another 4-5 hrs to go.

Smooth sailing the rest of the way ... with a great stop at some picturesque place where people enjoy hiking, etc. Jon can tell you where it was, but he's not here and I've got no earthy idea, so when you get to the photos, the early ones are of this particular unnamed location. LOL. A few more hours on the road another couple of quick stops and eventually, we made out way into Albuquerque and finally to the beautiful Rio Rancho home of friends, the Savages. They were so awesome to offer to have us stay and truly, it made the trip. We'd not seen them since out days in Philly and it was fun to see them and catch up after a couple of years.

Saturday morning we were up early and got the boys dressed in layers ... PJ's, and then long sleeve shirts and pants .... and sweatshirts and coats. It was like 6 degrees .... too cold for the AZ folks. ha.ha.... We got to the park-n-ride place and realized that Campbell didn't have shoes. we debated for a moment on needs (hey, he was wearing socks.) but, Jon quickly drove back to the house to retrieve them while the boys and I got in line for the buses. The lines quickly disappeared and he were waiting .... only to discover that we were now waiting and the bus in front of us was the last. hmmmmm..... Thankfully, they gave us 5 min and luckily, Jon appeared in the nick of time.

Finally, we were on our way. Ian has been talking about the balloons constantly, and the fact that we were taking a school bus to the venue only increased his excitement by a thousand percent. We arrived and were amazed at just how many balloons we saw. Many in the air and many more still on the ground being prepared for lift-off. hundreds. I want to say 500 -700 More than I could have imagined seeing. The event takes a mid-day break and re-opens for the evening lift-off. Unfortunately, the winds were too strong for the evening launch, but the fireworks show didn't disappoint. It was a great day! You can imagine the hundreds of photos that were taken that weekend .... luckily, you only have to suffer through a small portion of them, if you choose. :)

A big thank you to our friends, the Savage's. They were truly on of the very best parts of our adventure. if you've ever wanted to attend the Fiesta, start planning! It's an amazing great time, we will go again, for sure! The 2010 event will be held October 2nd -10th so mark your calendars!!

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Friday, October 9, 2009

Groupon ... Groupon ... Groupon ...

Have you heard of "GROUPON"??? (think Group + Coupon)

I signed up for this website about a month ago ... It's great. Check it out .... it's in several cities and every day there's a new geat deal and often they are discounted 50% or greater. spas, restaurants, kayaking excursions, go carts, you name it. So take a peak at the website and get the scoop. I think it great and wanted to pass it along.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Always fun when big brother teaches little brother new tricks. ha..ha.

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San Diego ... Labor Day '09

So .... I've spent way too much time updating this afternoon and don't have time to go into the nitty gritty details of this adventure. But hey, all anyone really wants to see the pictures, right? So I'll break down the bullet points.

  • We Went to San Diego
  • Had a Blast
  • Came Home
. . . . enjoy the pictures! :)

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Sedona Adventures

Last month, we decided to head north and enjoy the cooler temperatures. So, we packed the everyone, including the dog, in the van and headed north without a plan. Tends to be our way ... but typically makes for an exciting adventure!
We arrived in Sedona mid afternoon and our first stop was a beautiful "scenic view" spot. Tons of great photos to share. Then off to town. We stopped at the outlets on the outskirts. Most probably do, but by this time, Campbell had already dirtied 2 t-shirts to the point they couldn't be seen in public. ha.ha... So, the Gap outlet called out to us. We picked up a handful of clothes for the boys, got everyone presentable again and headed into town. While at the outlets, we saw a flier for the Trout Farm. Sounded good so off we went.
We were the only ones there by the time we arrived - it was near closing time. We were a little unsure if we wanted to do it, since we discovered if you catch one (and trust me, you will) you can't throw it back. Well, you can, but it'll cost ya 20 bucks. But, we figured we had a cooler with us, and could pack it in ice and see what happens. Turns out we did indeed catch a fish. Paid the guy a dollar to clean it and a couple dollars to pack it in ice and then made out way back to town. We saw that there was a place in town where you can take the fish you catch and they'll cook them for $6. We we found it, Heartline Cafe. Jon went to check it out came back and said now, not a place for us. It was a small boutique type place with nice linens and fancy dishes. LOL Knowing the boys were at the end of their "ropes" and how we were dressed, we thought we'd pass. Jon was going to ask if they just wanted the fish, but came back with a changed mind and we headed in to eat. It's a small place and the first couple was leaving and the other party of 3 was dining outside. We'd though to eat out front, but there was a bee that continued to taught Ian, so we moved indoors. We were actually the only people in the small place while we were there. The staff was so nice and Ian was so thrilled that he was going to eat the fish he'd caught. While we were seated, the bus-boy came with silverware and Ian put his little hand on his and said "I caught a fish!" The guy smiled. I'm not sure he spoke English, but he understood that Ian was excited about something good. ha..ha... Before long, our meals arrived and HOLY COW! You should see this fish! They offered trout on the menu and turns out that's how they prepared the fish we brought. for $6 I expected our fish to be cooked and laid on a plate - but when you see the pictures, you'll see how beautiful it was. Both boys enjoyed the fish and overall it was a super fun dinner. Even now, when I ask what everyone wants for dinner, Ian will occasionally say "Let's go catcha fish!" It was a highlight for sure!
That night we headed up to Flagstaff and got a room. Got a good sleep, ate a good breakfast and then headed to the fair. Only to discover that the fair started that night. So we wandered the fair "set up" for a while and watch the youth bring in their 4-H animals. After that, we grabbed lunch and headed down the mountain to Slide Rock. It was mid-week, so we could actually park in the parking lot. If you've been in the summer or on weekends, you know it's tough to find a place to park. It was a great time. Jon too the boys to the water and played for awhile. Dogs aren't allowed near the water, so Ziggy and I hit the trail and wandered for a while and found a place where we could watch the boys have some fun.
After Slide Rock - we headed back down to the Valley, making our way through Cottonwood, Jerome and Prescott Valley, where we stopped for pizza. Back down toward Phoenix. We stopped at Dad & Mary Lou's for the night to visit with plans to get back home the next day. The next day we decided to take an impromptu trip to San Diego for the long weekend, so after our Friday activities with the fam, Jon and I came home, got packed, got the dog off to the neighbors for the weekend and then early Saturday morning we headed back to Dad's where the boys had spent the night. Saturday morning, we piled into the Tahoe with Dad, Mary Lou and Aunt Meredith and headed to San Diego to spend the weekend with Ashley, Dan & cousin Calvin. Those pictures will come shortly, until then, enjoy these fun photos from northern AZ

Happy 4th Birthday Ian

Well, it's been at least 6 weeks, so it's really about time I posted some pictures from Ian's big birthday celebration.

Ian turned 4 on Aug. 15th. That night we headed out for our weekly dinner at McDonald's. Yep, that's's a weekly venture, and typically on Wednesday. Our McD's boasts $1.50 Happy Meals Mon-Wed. so, we figure if we're going to have a night out with the kids, it's should be a cheap one. ha..ha... Anyway, I think I brought cookies or something lame, but it was really just our "family" night with a small celebration - I brought one gift with us and then we opened his big gift at home. We arrived and Jon said something about his friends being there - when I told him no friends, he thought I was a seriously lame Mom. "Really: McDonald's for your birthday dinner and no friends?" Yes, loser move, I admit. But, the Carpenters saved the day - Jimmy showed up with his two boys while Laura was at a school meeting so we had a small "party". BUT, in my defense, we were having his actual Birthday Party the following Saturday and I didn't think it was that cool to invite folks to join us for dinner one day and then another party later. Whatever. So ... We enjoyed dinner, came home and Ian then received his Smart Cycle. I found this at the consignment shop back in March and stored it at Dad's for a while then in the spare room. Not an easy thing to hide, to say the least, but it's been a big hit and both boys love it.

The following Saturday we had family and friends over. A nice bonus was his cousins from Wisconsin were in town, so we were able to celebrate with this as well. As always, lots of presents ... lots of fun .... and too much food! He had wanted a "rocket" birthday aka Little Einsteins. Months ago, he and Jon had been out and about and found this great rocket toy on sale. Jon bought it then and put it in the closet. That poor kid tried for months to find his way to the top of the closet shelf - climbing on whatever he could find, but we stuck to our guns and this was going to be a birthday gift. Thus, his need for a "rocket" party was born. For the record, it did turn out to be a pretty cool toy. ha..ha... He was pretty excited about that cake ... a Costco masterpiece with a an edible topper that I found on eBay - they're great, an edible photocopy that you lay right on top of the cake. Technology is great!

Here are some photos from the day - too many to list separately, so once again, I tip my hat to the Smilebox folks for a quick photo summary. :)
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Blue Ridge Reservoire, July 2009

We finally did it ... pulled the kayaks down from the ceiling in the garage, loaded (and I mean loaded) the van and headed up to the Blue Ridge Reservoir, about 40 mi. north of Payson along the Rim. What a great weekend. We met our friends from the Valley, Joy & Ty and their daughter Gabby who'd been up in the Show Low area visiting family. Luckily, they arrived much earlier than we, therefore able to secure a campsite. Which, by the way, was fabulous. Would definitely head back! facilities were clean, (and by clean, I mean smelled good too. LOL) We arrived late Friday night, just in time to set up our camp, get the boys to bed and visit for a few minutes.

Saturday morning - we were up early (of course. I mean, Campbell doesn't sleep past sunrise at home. put the kid in a tent and I'm lucky he slept as late as he did, which turned out to be somewhere between 5/5:30. ) Ty threw together a great breakfast and it was great to just hang out and enjoy the cool morning air while someone else made it happen. ha..ha... We ate, and just enjoyed the morning before hading down to the reservoir. It felt like the morning had passed, but it really wasn't much passed 8:30. We piled everyone back into the cars and made the trek to the launch site. Jon and Ian took one and Ty and Gabby the other. Joy, Campbell and I wished them a bon voyage and made tracks back to the campsite. Eventually Campbell went to sleep ...and I did too. I'm sure the gentle rocking of the hammock we were in was a big help there. It was great. Joy and I chatted, but really just enjoyed reading and resting. Isn't it great when you can hang with friends and it's cool just to be there - not having to entertain each other"? It was great. They gang managed to make it back to camp for lunch and we spent the rest of the day doing whatever it is you do when you're camping. LOL Out camping buddies headed back to Phoenix that night, but we stayed behind, enjoying another evening under the stars. Of course, this particular evening, the boys were excited to test their skills at roasting marshmallows. An interesting event to watch as you're trying to keep your 2 & 3 yr old clear of the fire. LOL The boys went to bed and Jon and I just enjoyed the quiet of the campfire ... the stars ... the night breeze. It was a great evening.
We all rose early with Campbell (and by WE, I mean us and anyone within earshot) We packed the van, cleaned the site and prepared to make out way. Turned on the van. Oh, wait, that's where it all went sour. Yeah. Dead battery. But, luckily the guy in a neighboring site had a battery in his camper we used to charge ours. (Yes, instead of jumping with his own car, he carries an actual spare car battery. Apparently he got burned one time. But, give him credit for not ditching the idea of being helpful altogether. We were quite thankful he was there and willing. Then again, he may have gotten wise to the fact that it was Campbell who woke the world that morning and perhaps just wanted to ensure would have a restful night. ha..ha.)
Too many photos ... I'm not going to caption them all, but if you know us, you know the players ... and the three you don't know are Joy, Ty and Gabby.

Friday, May 15, 2009


Well, Ian's been potty trained for a while now ... Campbell is just starting to take an interest ... but in the interim, we've found good use for all the pull-ups in the house. I guess living in Oregon really improved our tendency to reduce, re-use, recycle.... well, not re-use, that would be gross ... But you get the gist. ;)

Sleeping under the Stars

Last weekend Jon decided to put up the tent ... the evening weather has been great and he wanted to sleep outside before it gets much hotter. So Friday evening we got home from wherever we'd been and he started putting the tent up in the yard. You KNOW Ian was crazy with excitement! The tent was ready, sleeping bags in place and they were ready to go. Of course Jon wanted to hang inside a bit longer before hittin' the hay ... Ian was so patiend and eventually crashed out on the floor. We picked him up and put him to bed in the tent. (Poor kid missed the fun part) BUT, he woke the next morning wide-eyed next to his Daddy ... so excited that he had slept in the tent!Add Image
Ready to go ...

Jon's was equally excited for a night outdoors

Ian and Daddy still sleeping the next morning...unfortunatly Campbell decided us "indoor sleepers" needed to be up at dawn. Go figure. LOL

Ian Showing Campbell around the tent ... it was pretty funny