Thursday, October 9, 2008

What? 2 New Posts, Matt? What is going on?

So, I just posted some brilliance below, which may make more sense if you read that post first. But Amy took a ton of beautiful pics up in Prescott of our sweet Atlie Rae Rae picking apples. And you know, if anyone deserves a good solid post dedicated solely to them, it would be Rae.

So, enjoy her pics. Way Squishy!!!


Does Anybody Still Read This Thing?

So, we've taken a little "blogcation" (is that a word? If not, someone put it on Wikipedia and give me credit. Just a little flash of brilliance.) We haven't really what you call "updated the blog" for awhile. But we really have thought about it over the past 2 months. But here are some highlights of the recent past and some stuff going on right now, with a little glimpse into the future, just in case we don't do anything for a few more months. We've got a lot going on:

-Well, school has been going great for the 4 oldest. Drex is in 5th grade and his first year in ELP as well, which he loves. He is also playing the trombone for the first time in band. Just wants to be like his Grandpa Ras! Braden is doing great in 2nd grade. His teacher this week called him a "role model" to the other kids in class, a perfect kid and someone that all the other kids want to be friends with. We're very proud of him. Sadie is turning into quite the little reader in 1st grade this year. Both she and Braden are also missing front teeth right now, which is very sweet. And Abbie, who is in Early Learners, loves it and is doing great. She is learning to write her letters and practices everyday. Her favorite thing to write is "DAD". Oh wait, that's what my favorite is for her to write. Slight confusion there.

-Amy loves having much of the day with just Jo and Rae Rae at home. Jo pretty much rules the house while she is the oldest kid home, and it's all Amy can do to keep her from ripping Atlie's face off or from trying on every peice of clothing in the house. She gets that from her dad. No, confusion again...

-Drex and Braden are playing fall baseball right now. I guess that is a slight benefit from Fall in the AZ. They are both on the same team with our beloved Coach McGrath at the helm. Braden is playing up with the older kids and is doing great. Both Drex and Braden have had the chance to pitch as well, and Drexy even has played a bit of catcher, which he enjoys. I mean really, besides the pitcher, catcher is the position that gets the most action, so that's fun. But the Green Monsters have won every game so far.

-BYU is currently 5-0 and ranked in the Top 10 in the nation. Out of everyone in the family, you may be surprised to find that Amy is the one that is most excited about this. She is the one that let's me know what is going on in Cougar Country, listens to Bronco every chance she gets, and is breaking down film for the game this weekend. I don't even know who we're playing. Hold on while I ask her..........she said we play New Mexico on Saturday. Hold on...............the game starts at 3pm AZ time. That's good to know. She also just indicated that she already has the chips ready and the beverages on ice, so we should be good to go. Everyone is invited to come over, she also just mentioned. Anyways, even though she is the die-hard fan, she still let me take my 5th annual BYU football/Utah trip with my bro-in-law Mark this last weekend. As usual, the trip was perfect, except for the actual coming back part. I was very sad about that. I love Utah. I went to my first live session of General Conference as well. It was heaven. But we went up to the game on Friday night in my current favorite spot in the country, Logan, UT to watch Amy's Cougs roll the Aggies. We did a temple session there in the beautiful Logan Temple as well as ate at the happening hot spot, Arctic Circle. They have Lime Ricky's there. Apparently you can get a version of that at Sonic, but it sounds pretty shady to me.

-While Amy forced me to go to Utah, she took the kids up to her parents house in Prescott and they all had a gay old time. (Do people still say that? Was that Scooby? No wait, the Flintstones.) Besides all the kids either getting over sickness, actually getting sick, or would be sick soon, they had a blast picking apples, playing in the tree house, and playing with Grammy's 2 new kitties. Apparently their names are Morris and Oliver (also pretty shady). There should be plenty of pics below if I will ever shut up long enough to post them. I'm like crazy returned missionaries who make the Fast and Testimony meeting go longer because they sing their testimonies. No, I'm not actually. Keep reading.

-Some people may or may not know that this coming week I am going in for a bit of surgery. I currently call it the surge. I also like to make a lot jokes about it, which those close to me get mad at me about. But it's just a little elective weight loss surgery. The same thing my mom did a year ago. We're excited, but some of us (me) are getting a little anxious about it, so that's why we (me) make jokes. And no, I won't share those here. But Wednesday morning in Tucson should be fun!

Please refer back to the title of this post and see if it applies to this actual post.

Anyways, those are the highlights. (Really, that's all you did the last 2 months?) Yes, we're boring people. Ooo, ooo, except our very successful garage sale for the Humanitarian Project our ward did a month ago was also a big deal. The kids did a great job in helping us reach our goal, and sold a lot of cookies and lemonade that Saturday morning. By the way, people buy crazy stuff all the time. Even at 5:45 in the morning on a Saturday.

Who loves and misses this song?

Anyways, enjoy the pics. My kids are squishy I just learned recently. I think that's a good thing. And let us know how you're doing.


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Family Fun Day!!! - LONG but awesome post. Please laugh and comment below that you laughed. This is my longest title for a post yet! Keep reading!

Today was among the best days of the summer. Mostly because Amy and I pretty much decided it would be. Admittedly, it was partially out of guilt for telling the kids we would be doing lots of fun stuff this summer that didn't pan out, we declared Saturday a no chores Family Fun Day. Out of an effort to not make this post 45 miles long, we put the pictures of Family Fun Day in one of those slide shows below. But let me explain a bit in advance.

We told the kids in a "team meeting" the other day that no chores would be done on Saturday. They looked at us with that same shocked expression that they normally give us EVERY Saturday when we tell them that they actually DO have chores. "Yes, you have chores. Same as last week, the week before that, and, oh ya, the week before that even." Our kids are weird. But what I'm trying to say is that the kids would have been thrilled if Family Fun Day consisted of ONLY not doing chores. But we took it to another level.

We began at 9AM at IHOP for breakfast. We lived up to their slogan: We came hungry and left happy. IHOP should have been happy about that, along with the money we gave them at the end of our meal. Those not too happy were the slew of old people who had to sit across from a family with 6 whole kids! They looked at us like someone stole their shuffleboard stick, like someone forgot to shuffle their deck of cards properly, or like someone who doesn't leave their blinker on for miles at a time. You get the drift. The food was excellent, but we forgot our camera to begin Family Fun Day, so you won't see any pics below of IHOP. Just trust us. We left happy.

Next we went to Brimhall Junior High Acquatic Center (fancy name for "pool at a junior high"). We spent several hours there swimming, splashing and generally participating in tomfoolery-ish activities. Many pics of this leg of the trip are posted below. Please completely and thoroughly disregard any and all pictures that include me (Matt, in case you already forgot who is writing this since it's already long and we've got a ways to go). Me and pools in general, as for now, just aren't a good mix. Ever heard the phrase "Two peas in a pod"? Well, that's not me and swimming. But we had a lot of fun. The three oldest jumping off the regular and high dives were funny. And Atlie looks very sweet and chubby in a swim suit. Check it out for yourself.

Next, after changing at the Acquatic Center Lobby Restrooms (big stall in the mens room), we got some lunch at Wendy's. The kids love Frosty's. There was a nice old lady that came and sat by us who, by the end of her meal, said some very complimentary things about our kids (well behaved, like each other, etc). It slightly redeemed the slew referenced earlier from IHOP. It also reminded me of a quote from Dumb and Dumber:

Lloyd: Excuse me, little old lady. Do you have change for a dollar?
Elderly woman: Change? No I'm sorry, I don't.
Lloyd: Well, can you do me a favor and watch my stuff here while I go break a dollar?
Elderly woman: Of course.
Lloyd: Thanks. Hey, I guess they're right. Senior citizens, although slow and dangerous behind the wheel, can still serve a purpose. I'll be right back. Don't you go dying on me!

It made me laugh.

We then headed to Superstition Springs Mall to the Super Saver Cinema. In case you are wondering, what they are actually "saving" is money from refusing to update the ambiance from the 1991 thing they have going on right now, as well as forgetting to put some actual cushion in the cushion part of the seats. But we, the consumer, also saved by only having to spend $14 for a family of 8 to see Nims Island. Great movie, but Jo was quite tired at this point of the day. And by tired I mean loud. Which isn't ideal while watching a movie with lots of other people in attendance. Of course, the only answer was Skittles. She fell hard from that sugar high. There are some great pics of her almost folded up in her non-cushioned seat as she sleeps. Good stuff. Then we went upstairs at the mall and went on the double-decker merry-go-round. Kids LOVED it.

You'd think that this would have been a pretty full Family Fun Day. You'd be right. But we kept going. And what's more fun than Wal-Mart on a Saturday? Other than a shiv to your eye, nothing really. But we went shopping for school supplies. Don't be fooled though; school supplies are no longer things that the school provides for you. School supplies are the long list of things that the teachers ask each student to bring the first day of class, all listed in the "introduction" letter they send to the kids 2 weeks before class. The teachers do introduce themselves, but also introduce the 28 things that are needed to even be allowed entrance to classroom B-8 on the first day. And they all include hand sanitizer. Where was that when we were kids? Whatever. Anyways, besides having a lady over the loudspeaker announce "Amy, please come pick up Braden at the Jewelry counter" (he got lost) and the Nazi Wal-Mart shoe lady in the kids shoe section, the Wal-Mart trip was a success.

We came home, finally, and I went to go pick up Little Caesars pizza while the kids got in the tubs and showers. We enjoyed the pizza, and then finally finished a full day by watching College Road Trip, the new PG movie that Donny Osmond is in. I may or may not have watched it all. I was...busy doing very...important things. So, I missed most of it but heard the kids chuckling many times, and laughing a lot a few others. Jo was 0 for 2 making it all the way through the 2 movies for the day. But the other kids did great.

Anyways, that's about it. We had a great Family Fun Day. Amy and I are lucky to have kids that are so much fun to hang out with. They are great kids, regardless of the evil looks from the elderly.

Harry: Where's the booze?
Lloyd: I got robbed by a sweet old lady on a motorized cart. I didn't even see it coming.

If you made it this far, you are awesome.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Metal Mouth!

Is that a mean thing to say? So Drexy got his braces on last Wednesday. It actually turned out great because his aunt Maren was working that day and got to put the braces on. That made things a little easier and more fun for Drex and worked out great for me because I got to lean over the chair the whole time asking annoying questions. Drex finally conceded to get Diamondbacks colored bands on his brackets, after his mother disappointedly told him that he couldn't get the "bracket jackets" because they cost extra money. That may or may not have been the truth. Consider the fact that he wanted to get jackets that would spell DREX on his top teeth and then money signs for the bottom teeth, and you decide. Anyway, he's doing great so far, and we have only had to go back to the orthodontist twice since Wendesday. Three times in one week isn't so bad, right?

A Great Birthday and Baptism Weekend for Braden

It was a great last weekend as Braden turned 8 on Friday, then got baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

It all started Friday when Braden woke up to his chosen breakfast of Eggs, Bacon, Donuts and Juice. We opened presents (his favorite present was of course the baseball glove that Dad picked out for him, and that is getting worn in as we speak.) Later in the afternoon he took a couple friends to the junior high pool with water slides and stuff, and had a great time. Then when Dad got home, our friends the Palmers came over and joined us for some cake, ice cream, and general merriment.

Here is a picture of Braden before blowing out his birthday candles, including a big #8 candle:

Saturday brought an amazing day. Braden and I had to be down at the Stake Center for his baptism at 9:30. There were 2 other 8-year old kids getting baptized that day. We had a LOT of family there from both sides. Braden had asked Drex to give a scripture on baptism as part of the service, and he did great. Braden also had Amy's dad (Pops) give a talk on baptism. He was very thorough in his preparation and delivery.
I got to baptize Braden. Then we changed out of our wet clothes, and went into the chapel where just our family was to do the Confirmation. It was a very spirtual experience for me personally and many others expressed the same. We were so grateful and appreciative and humbled to have the love and support of so much family and friends. Braden is one lucky fellah!
After the baptism we came back to our church building for a great luncheon. Everyone brought food, which was great. But of course, the centerpeice of it all was the Krazy Subs, particularly the Krazy 8 sub. The Krummenachers always do a fabulous job and we encourage any and all to visit their shops here.
Here are some pics of some (not all) who were in attendance.
Grandma and Grandpa Ras with Brades
Great Grandma Ras with Brades
Grammy and Pops Lange with Brades

Brades with cousins Crew and Noah
Abbie going crazy!

We finished up the night with our family birthday tradition. We take our kids on a 1-on-1 "date" with mom and dad on their birthday. The birthday kid gets to choose where to eat dinner and what movie they want to go to. Braden chose Texas Roadhouse (also a family favorite). He likes that he gets free ice cream and can ride the bull as everyone gives him a big "Yee-Haw". It's shown below. But after a great dinner, Braden chose to see Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3-D. It was a lot of fun.
I know that both Amy and I were exhausted at the end of the day. It had been a crazy 2 days, but all well worth it. We are so proud of Braden and the life he has lived up until now and for his correct choice and worthiness to be baptized. We are very proud of you, Brades!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Prescott Trip

At Granite Creek Park. I used to play here all the time as a kid, catching tadpoles and crawdads in the creek. There is very little water now, but we still had a ball just having a picnic, playing at the park, playing frisbee, catch and hula hooping. Great time!

Building new tree house steps. A few years ago, my brother, Chris, built this tree house in my parents backyard. The kids love it! My mom keeps it stocked with little chairs, games, toys, coloring stuff and snacks. It needed new steps, so I enlisted my boys in helping Uncle Chris build them. Drex worked especially hard at it. It was a good project!

At the 4th of July Parade. Every year Prescott has two 4th of July parades: the kiddie parade on Friday (15 minutes long, with tons of candy thrown out and free icecream afterwards) and the regular parade on Saturday (2 and 1/2 hours long with a million lions club guys in old cars, dancing grannies and borderline sacriligious church floats). We opted out of the regular parade this year and just did the kiddie parade.

At the Prescott Courthouse Plaza. This "wishing" fountain is a favorite of my kids. The courthouse was crazy packed as always, but we had a good time getting yummy frybread and playing ball.

The infamous Whiskey Row Boot Race. So every year Prescott has the Whiskey Row Boot Race. Basically, you mad-sprint down Whiskey Row (dubbed such because of the many bars that line the street) to the finish line at the end of the street. This was my kid's first year running. Let's see: Braden's boots were about five sizes too big, Drex's we had to squeak on after smothering his feet with Gold Bond powder, and Sadie's had Hello Kitty isignia dangling off of them. We were novices. Noticably. But the kids had a great time! We didn't take any trophies home, but the kids are already planning their strategies for next year. And when my kids show up at your house to play wearing a shirt advertising Whiskey Row, you'll know why.

This is Matt's favorite picture. He absolutely loves my parent's dog, Bailey. He's big, slobbers a lot, sheds like crazy, and Matt just loves to cuddle up with him. Okay, so he's not Matt's favorite, but my kids adore him. This was Atlie's first close-up time with a dog, so she was pretty amazed by the whole thing. She would just squeal everytime she saw Bailey. Even Matts got to admit it was pretty darn cute!

Picnicing at the Courthouse. Aside from the fact that Drex managed to throw both of his brand new tennis shoes into the middle of a 20 foot tree, unable to be recovered, we had a great time playing downtown a couple of times while we were in Prescott.

Just had to post. Too cute.

Great action shot, Braden! The weather was so nice on our trip that we played outside most of the time. We bought some frisbees, hula hoops and bats and balls and just let the kids have at it!

Hula hooping became a favorite pass-time while in Prescott. We had competitions almost every night, and Braden won every time. But Abbie has since mastered her technique and is up and coming. I think she's about ready for a re-match.

Matt's Trip to New York City

A few months ago, a good friend of mine, Daniel Palmer, asked if I wanted to go on a free trip with him and some of his work associates and clients to NYC. Hmmm, let's see. Free trip. NYC. Oh, and also, we were going to a Yankees game. And since Yankee Stadium is getting torn down after this season, it didn't take a whole lot of arm twisting. In fact, none at all. Not even a little. And Amy was 100% on board with the idea since she went to NYC last year with her sister. So now, Amy and I have both been to NYC, but not together.

And just for the record, NYC is a crazy place and I loved it, having never been there before. And since I'm in tip-top shape, even marathon runner shape, the extreme walking, 98-degree temps with like 80% humidity didn't even phase me. Hardly broke a sweat at all. Others in the group didn't fare as well.

Some highlights included visiting Ground Zero, harbor cruise to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, eating at Carnegie Deli, buying a beverage from Rupert at Hello Deli (of David Letterman's The Late Show fame), Times Square in general, watching a Yankees game and seeing the new Yankee Stadium getting built right across the street from the old one, being crammed into the subway like sardines, eating at Angelo's on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, and watching The Dark Knight in Times Square (and getting out at 2AM and seeing that Times Square was still packed with people).