Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Little Bits of Thankful

Packing is hard. I'm tired. Leaving is harder. I love this town and these people and this house. Like, they're my favorites.

Thankfully,  I've had some bright spots in the last month as we've gotten ready to move away from Flagstaff . Here's a little bit of what I've been thankful for:

An amazing hike to the highest point in Arizona, Mount Humphreys, in the San Francisco mountains that make the scenic backdrop to our town.

I got to do the hike with my two besties--Christy and Mariah.  Made my heart happy.
Our shirts say "Bears Don't Scare Me".  I made them.  We were known on the mountain as The Bears Don't Scare Us Girls.  It's a good thing to be known for.

9.6 miles total--to an elevation of 12,637 feet above sea level.

At the saddle, where things started to get really fun.  And really windy.
(Jack Black falsetto singing voice) Gorgeous!

The trick is to just keep reminding yourself (and your friends) that there are many false summits.  Also, you should go to the bathroom below the treeline or else...it will be difficult up here.

We made it!  Epic!  Windy!  Sandwich!

On the descent, the wind was so crazy it blew the snot out of us. 

And we think the high elevation made us a little...happy.  Things were sure funny up there!

The car is in sight, the bear is growling behind us, and my blisters are annoying.  But what an amazing day with amazing people and amazing beauty and it was amazing.

Bonus weekend:  Both sets of grandparents were in town so we got to head off on a spontaneous motorcycle date with Jason and Mariah (they've been our friends since college).  We rode to Mars Hill to look over the city and to not make out, we rode around downtown, and hung out on the balcony of the Zane Grey ballroom that overlooks downtown until the wee hours of the morning.  And then Mariah and I, who were experiencing delayed onset muscle soreness from our hike the day before, stumbled down the stairs and struggled to get our legs over the motorcycles (me more than her, have you seen that girl's legs?)...it must have seemed like we had been partying a little too hard up there on the balcony, when in reality, we were talking about my dermatologist and fine china.  And such.


We've had some sunny days with friends at the park...

Chasing monarch butterflies--there have been so many this year!  (Jack Black again) Gorgeous!

Also gorgeous, I must say :)

Squeezing in as much time as possible with old friends...here we are at my old roommate, Amanda's home (she and her husband Danny are the ones who sang at our wedding).  Danny is an avid hunter, can you tell?  Funny story, we stayed in Danny and Amanda's house for 3 weeks when we first moved here and we invited our first friends, Bianca and Matt Fahy, over for dinner there and on the way, Bianca casually mentioned that Matt and their daughter Eden were vegetarians.  And I had cooked a roast.  And there are a lot of dead animals on the walls.  And a sign that says, "Vegetarian:  Old Indian word for Bad Hunter" on the wall by the table.  Nice. 

The girls.  I need to get me an older daughter to dote on Annie.

The boys.  Evan was trying to impress them with some bodily function humor.
It's like Little House on the Prairie out at their house.  The kids saw 8 or 9 big elk and played in the woods until after dark.  I was so glad because I had wanted to take them camping--but now I could check it off of my Flagstaff Bucket List because of all the woodsy things they did that night (and all the while I got to catch up with my friend on the couch).   I did take the kids camping in the backyard a few nights later, so double check.
I've been feeling so sentimental...I take pictures of my friend's kid in cowboy boots...

...and also her door that is covered in handprints.  I told her I would send her this picture in 20 years when her youngest is off at college and she'll finally appreciate it.

When we decided to move, one thing I secretly hoped for was that our family could be involved in VBS at our church one last time.  We got to be and it was awesome.  The theme was The Egypt File.  Sam and Evan got to attend, I got to decorate the entire Fireside Room, and Annie got to tag along.
Egyptian Pharoah, Floozy Gypsie, Indiana Jones.  Which one doesn't fit?

Amazing decor...the church is totally transformed, and mostly only using discarded or second hand treasures and lots of volunteer manpower.

The Fireside Room (which contained half of my house decorations and furniture, it seemed.  Hey, we're moving!)


Snake pit, complete with creepy snake sounds and rope swing over bridge.

The kids sang like crazy every night.  I stood in the back and cried like a sap.  Does that make me a tree?

"He moved!"

Some of the high school girls and I went down to the creek for the day.  These girls are tough--they hike 2 miles into a canyon with cactuses (I refuse to say cactii) and rattlesnakes and thorny blackberry vines in order to sunbathe.  And they let me tag along!  (Oh wait, I drove).

There are natural rock waterslides here (Midgley Bridge)...why haven't I been doing this for the past 6 years???  Oh yeah, I have kids that could fall in and drown or might complain on the whole hike out.

Simple pleasures around town...like riding the bus downtown for snow cones with friends, Zoe and Joseph.

And a special treat--seeing Zoe and Joseph's daddy, Mural Joe, painting the NAU mural downtown.

I'm also thankful for silly things like the fact that the warm weather has made most of my flowers bloom early so I could see them one last time.

I love our life here.  I am thankful for it.  I don't want to leave.  Then I remember that I loved Carlsbad and Shymkent, too...and that I have the capacity to love another town in the future.  But Flagstaff will always be our special place--where we fell in love, where our kids were little, where our friendships were many and deep.  I am thankful and sad and happy and thankful.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Evan's Birthday

Evan's birthday...what a good reason to have a day of fun :) We were going to wait to celebrate at dinnertime because Wednesdays are busy for Jeremy, but Sam and I woke up early and decided to surprise Evan by decorating, blowing up balloons, putting out most of his presents, making "The Birthday Donker", and setting the table (Evan got to use the red plate, which caused me to have to make an actual breakfast that he could eat on it instead of our regular fare of cold cereal...I made pancake balls because the last time I made them he acted like Bob in "What About Bob" and went on and on about how they were THE BEST THING he had EVER eaten and what a WONDERFUL and BEAUTIFUL mommy I was for making them and could he have them EVERY DAY).

"The Birthday Donker"--Evan acted so mad but he's the one who started the tradition.  I told him that the tradition when I was growing up was birthday spankings, so he shouldn't complain.

We generally did things he liked--built with Legos and played games and even went to The Red and Blue Ball Store (for Flagstaff friends--Babies to Kids/Booknest but we call it The Red and Blue Ball store because of the Rokenbok set they used to have that transported red and blue balls but they don't have it anymore but we still call it The Red and Blue Ball Store and we will always call it that because we like traditions).  In the afternoon, we picked up Evan's favorite big best friend, CJ (she's in college), and went to a park that has forts in the woods near it.  We played make believe stuff, my favorite!  (the kids like it, too, don't worry:))

Evan with his buddy, CJ.
Then we went to youth group where Evan sat on the Hot Seat (as per FCF Youth tradition) and then we had mint chocolate chip cupcakes.
On Friday (a few days later), we had Evan's actual birthday. It was Robin Hood themed.

Satchels filled with coins and candy jewelry.

Evan said: "This guy is yelling, I WANT TREASURE!"
Lundgren birthdays will always have cardboard at them as long as I am around.

It was fun and I'm sure he liked it, but I was off of my game somehow. Here's some conclusions I came to:

--Don't host a birthday party a couple of hours after the brand new renters of your house visit for the first time. It will kind of take away the focus of the day and will probably cause you to not get much sleep the night before which never makes for a happy mommy.

--Even if you are trained as a special ed teacher, don't have 10 children of varying abilities try to do crafts together or follow rules to games that involve strategy. I should have done like another birthday mom that week and just had an Angry Birds themed party and let the kids throw things at other things. That would have been gone better, I think.

--Don't forget to serve water to the children. Have another adult there to help. Don't let them start licking the frosting off of all the cake decorations because chaos will break out and it will get a little gross. Don't...(I could go on, but maybe I should sum it up with "Don't try to be Mom-of-the-Year, just let them PLAY!") But Evan had a good birthday and is already pestering me about next year's...

On a much calmer day a week or so later, playing with his dino excavation kit...great present Aunt Kendra!