Right Where You Are

I have read before that when overwhelmed at a task, that you should just start right where you are and move forward. Well, I have missed an entire school year on our blog and that disappoints me because we did a lot of great things. I will do a quick little recap and hope to get some pictures in as well.

Cam started and finished 7th grade at Sossaman this year. He was very nervous to start a new school but he loved it! It was nice to have a new teacher every hour, and to have more kids on campus with the same interests. Cam fell in love with the STEM/Robotics Club and his team even went on to compete at the state level. I believe they came in 16th overall. He also excelled at band. They played several concerts with the last one being my favorite. The percussion class played a song on steel trash cans. Awesome!!! Cam finished his 7th grade year with straight A’s!

Carsten started and completed 4th grade at San Tan. He had his first male teacher and I think it was really good for him. He started the year out being very shy but by the end of school he had a couple lines in their Reader’s Theater play of Stella Luna and earned a Student Leadership Award for the 4th quarter. He continued on in Cub Scouts this year as well.

Our family enjoyed a couple of trips during the school year. We joined the Reed’s on a 7 day Mexican Riviera cruise. The boys loved that and enjoyed having their cousins to play with as well. Heather went out to see her new niece in Wisconsin. Eloise Elizabeth Weiss was born in October 2015. It was a joy to spend some time with Jocelyn and her family. Heather did not enjoy the driving in/after snow. Heather and Mark took a quick adult trip to Las Vegas and really had a good time celebrating the 21st birthday of Heather’s friend’s (Jennie) son. In March our family escaped for a quick birthday celebration in Oceanside, CA. We were surprised by the condition of our favorite beach. The weather had cause severe erosion to the beach. It didn’t hamper our stay on the Strand in the least.

Heather and Mark are still with the same employers and things are going well. We added granite counter tops and got a new roof on the house. Heather got a new car, Blueberry the Chevy Captiva. We had to say goodbye to Abbie in May. It broke our hearts that we were unable to do more for her. She is missed daily.

We have a big trip planned to visit London this summer and Cam will turn into a teenager!! Yikes! Hope to post more frequently in the future. I will also try to add some pictures.

Carsten starting Cub Scouts 2015

Carsten starting Cub Scouts 2015

Blueberry - Heather's new ride

Blueberry – Heather’s new ride

Cam and his partner at Robotics

Cam and his partner at Robotics

House upgrade of new granite

House upgrade of new granite

Vegas with the Hossack's

Vegas with the Hossack’s

Boys on Mt. Lemmon

Boys on Mt. Lemmon

Heather and Wanda on Mt. Lemmon

Heather and Wanda on Mt. Lemmon

Baby Ellie (Jocelyn's daughter)

Baby Ellie (Jocelyn’s daughter)

Abbie - We miss you!

Abbie – We miss you!

Cruise

Cruise

Cabo

Cabo

New Year's Day

New Year’s Day

Cruise

Cruise

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Oceanside

Oceanside

Oceanside

Oceanside

Easter

Easter

First day of school 7th and 4th grades

First day of school 7th and 4th grades

Last day of school

Last day of school

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That was a quick one!

It is hard to believe that summer is over and school has started and it is just the 2nd day in August.

We had a good but short summer. In addition to our big trip to California we found many things to keep us busy around here!

Fireworks Fun

Fireworks Fun

Fireworks Fun

Fireworks Fun

Family Dinner at Joe's BBQ

Family Dinner at Joe’s BBQ

Family Dinner at Joe's BBQ

Family Dinner at Joe’s BBQ

Family Dinner at Joe's BBQ

Family Dinner at Joe’s BBQ

Play at the AZ Science Center with friends

Play at the AZ Science Center with friends

Staycation at The Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale

Staycation at The Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale

Staycation at The Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale

Staycation at The Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale

Staycation at The Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale

Staycation at The Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale

Glow Golf with friends at Fat Cats

Glow Golf with friends at Fat Cats

First day of 7th Grade

First day of 7th Grade

First day of School

First day of School

First day of 4th Grade

First day of 4th Grade

Cam in front of his new school after 8 years at his previous one.

Cam in front of his new school after 8 years at his previous one.

Summer 2015 - Heather iPhone 170

Fireworks Fun

Fireworks Fun

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Disneyland and CA with a stop at the beach!

Our big exciting summer vacation was a trip to Disneyland that was given to us from Mark’s parents for Christmas. We decided to extend the 4 day trip and add 3 days at the beach (one of our favorite places to be).

Disney was magical and with so much time to spend there we didn’t feel any pressure to run around the parks or wait in long lines. It was a so much fun!

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School’s Out For Summer!

I hope you sang that instead of just reading it. Carsten and Cam are out for the shortened summer (HUSD will start the modified school year calendar in July). I am off work for the most part. I still need to work about 12 hours each month.

This summer we have a Disneyland trip planned. We haven’t been since 2007 when we were evacuated from our timeshare in Escondido. The boys are not big roller coaster kids, but I think there will be enough to keep us busy!

Cam finished his last of 8 years at San Tan Elementary School. He had a really hard time leaving on the last day of school. While there was not a promotion ceremony the school organized a Clap Out. The 6th grade students walked through the halls of the school while all the others kids clapped for them. The clap out finished down the hallway lined with parents.

Carsten has wrapped up 3rd grade and will be moving on to 4th. Both boys received certificate for academic achievement/honor roll. In addition, they were each recognized for a Character Counts Award. Cam for Fairness and Carsten for Caring.

So far this summer we have had a quick trip to Tucson and Breakers Waterpark, been to see a couple of movies, went swimming, had playdates, and went to the AZ Science Center! We are just getting started!

Here are just a couple of fun pictures from the past few months!

Cam and Carsten April 2015

Cam and Carsten April 2015

Carsten at the HUSD Art Show

Carsten at the HUSD Art Show

April 2015

April 2015

Heather turned 40!

Heather turned 40!

We went to an AZ Rattlers Game

We went to an AZ Rattlers Game

The boys and their friends

The boys and their friends

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Spring break brought us a 9 year old!

We had a great Christmas and New Years, and here we are just finishing up our Spring Break. We stuck close to home and we were able to celebrate Carsten’s 9th birthday with both friends and family.

We enjoyed a day at the Renaissance Festival. The boys got swords/axes and Heather got hypnotized!

Boys at fountian

Boys with Gree

Carsten with knight

On Carsten’s actual birthday we ran around getting all of his freebies! KrispyKreme, Popcorn at Harkins, Joe’s BBQ lunch and dessert at Red Lobster! His “party” with friends was a small group that played at Peter Piper Pizza, came back to the house for cake and presents. Then it was into the hot tub to relax! The boys settled in to watch Box Trolls and then drift off to sleep.

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Lunch

with cake

We worked in a swim with friends, built a volcano, and got ready for a tag sale next weekend. We did not go on a big trip, but we had a good time.

Mark and I celebrated our 13th anniversary with a quiet dinner at High Tide followed by a little shopping at Kohl’s.
13th Anniversary
On St. Patrick’s Day we will celebrate Mark’s Dad and his retirement from Boeing. Andrea and Mike are in town to celebrate. After the celebration at Boeing we will have dinner at the Mining Camp.

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First Semester Done!

Wow! How can the first semester of this school year almost be finished? Just 4 more days and we are done with school for 2014. The year has been going well for both boys. Their grades have been good and they both earned awards for grades after the first quarter. I anticipate there will be awards for second quarter too.

Cam has been playing in band and just had his winter concert last week. He is still in the percussion line and he has found his passion. It was very exciting to watch him play the piece Ancient Hunters. Each time he hit the symbol he did it with gusto!

Carsten continues with Cub Scouts, and while he probably would say it isn’t his favorite thing, he does enjoy it once we are there.

We spent Thanksgiving in Tucson this year. It was quiet with just the four of us and mom and Ken. The best part of the weekend was watching U of A BEAT ASWho!

Christmas is just 10 short days away. Mark and I are trying our best to instill in the boys the true meaning of Christmas.

From our family to yours….Merry Christmas!

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The Balch Burg Trip October 2014

We flew to Richmond, VA on Oct 1st bright and early in the morning. At the airport we rented a car and drove to Williamsburg. The resort was lovely and we were greeted by a toad at the front door and a frog on our patio. We spent the next few days milling around Williamsburg and Yorktown. The Colonial Passway was beautiful. We watched a reenactment of the civil war and ate at a quaint little cheese shop. One afternoon Andrea met up with us and we headed over to the Jamestowne Settlement. It was rich with history and truly great to see Andrea. We drove back to Richmond to check out her house and have dinner.
On Oct 5th we left Williamsburg and headed on to Pittsburgh. To break up the drive we stopped at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum at Dulles Airport. The Space Shuttle Discovery was our favorite! The drive was filled with rolling hills and changing leaves. We met Karen at the Westend Overlook for our first view of downtown. Our stay was filled with fun including a tour of Heinz Field and a ride on the Just Ducky Tour Boat. We enjoyed visiting with Karen, Noah, Damon and of course their cats as well!

It was Tuesday when we headed to Hamburg to meet up with Heather’s mom and Ken at Traci & Lee’s house. We spent many of our free moments going on walks to the barn to visit the horses or getting in a few extra steps after a good meal, with some possum sliding and furniture moving thrown in to keep things exciting! Our family dinners were spent laughing and celebrating with Kristine, Hank, Addy, Griffin, Gma Pat, Ryan, Lyn, Leah and many friends we met too!
We took a day trip over to Niagara Falls and boy were we cold! We watched a guy make huge bubbles and ate under an ultra-sonic bird repellent. The Sky Wheel provided views we had never seen. A stop by the wax museum let us bump into the Obama’s! The animal park was a lot of fun! The animals followed us around in the tram and opened their mouths to let us pour in the food! Ken might have kissed a camel!
To celebrate Wanda’s 60th and Ken’s 75th birthdays we enjoyed a dinner cruise down the river. The Grand Lady fed us a wonderful meal and we danced the night away!
This Burg Trip was a HUGE success and will never be forgotten!

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Pagosa Springs Part 2

It sure took me long enough to finish off this vacation.

On Tuesday (6/17) we stayed at the resort, played sports, had lunch at a cafe we could walk to and had dinner at home. We took part in resort activities including painting butterflies.

On Wednesday (6/18) we got up early and drove to Durango to catch the train to Silverton. The 3 hour and 45 min train ride was just about 45 min too long. After lunch and some shopping in Silverton, we took the bus ride home, which was only an hour and 45 min. It actually snowed while we were on the bus. We enjoyed the beautiful sites ob our whole trip!

On Thursday (6/19) we drove to and hiked Piedra Falls. The waterfall was gorgeous, and while it was quite a drive out there, we had the place to ourselves! When we got home we played Monopoly, went to Bogey Q’s for dinner. It is a neat little restaurant with mini-golf, a playground for the boys, and corn hole! Lots of fin, and the BBQ wasn’t bad either.

On Friday (6/20) we went to Wild Animal Rescue Park. They had a big grizzly bear there that they tempted out of his den with a Reese’s and some grapes. Really surprised us how big he was. It was a nice little place and we had some cats to acts as tour guides. The we went souvenir shopping in downtown Pagosa Springs, grabbed lunch at Subway,and started to drive home. We stopped in Farmington and then headed on to dinner at Virges Mexican Restaurant in Gallup.

We drove the rest of the way home on Saturday.

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Pagosa Springs Summer 2014 (part 1)

Our family spent a week in Pagosa Spring, Colorado this summer. We extended our vacation to include some sites we wanted to see along the way. We also rented a car to save on gas and have piece of mind while driving.

On Thursday (6/12) we headed for Flagstaff. It was the noon by the time we left and made it to our first stop at Meteor Crater around 3pm. This is a neat place to visit. The size of the hole that was created as a result of the explosion was huge! You could stand the Eiffel Tower in it and the top would not reach the top of the hole. After that we headed to downtown Flagstaff. We walked around and took in the sites. A stop at NAU and my old apartment was a must as well. had to show the boys what I did when I lived in Flagstaff. We grabbed dinner at Cafe Rio, which was across the street from our hotel.
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On Friday, (6/13) our first destination was Four Corners. It was a first for the boys and I, and while Mark had been there before he didn’t really remember it. The drive was long, flat and boring! We stopped in Tuba City for a quick snack and blew our way in to Four Corners by lunchtime. It was so windy there that we all had to wear sunglasses to keep sand and dust from getting in our eyes. We did the customary photos with all of us in different states and then ate some frybread. After loading back up in the car we headed off towards Colorado. Again, the drive was boring and flat until just outside of Durango and then we had rolling hills and green trees. We agreed that most of our drive on Friday could have been a movie set for an alien invasion of Mars. Without stopping for a full lunch and instead just snacking, we were starving once we got past Durango and we found a little cafe that was supposed to have good burgers. Brenda’s Old West Cafe met our needs and fueled us up for the rest of our drive to the resort. We got checked in and went grocery shopping.
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Saturday (6/14) was pretty low key as we stayed at the resort for the day. We participated in a scavenger hunt and made our own ice cream. We played many different sports that they had available, including: tennis, mini-golf, volleyball, and catch. Sunday (6/15) was quite as well. We celebrated Father’s Day by taking Mark out for breakfast, visited Treasure Falls, explored Downtown Pagosa including the hot springs, went to a BBQ for dad’s at the resort, and played more fun sports!

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On Monday (6/16) we stuck close to home for the day. We tried swimming at the indoor pool, but it was a little chilly. We played more sports! Carsten and Cam really enjoyed tennis! In the afternoon we headed out to Bar D Chuckwagon for dinner. That was fun! Great little town complete with a train, shops, playground, dinner and live singers! The Bar D Wranglers impressed us with their talent and the boys loved their comedy routines!

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A quick update on the last few months!

Since Spring Break in Sedona and Carsten turning 8….
Carsten earned an Academic Achiever Award!
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The boys and I went to Tucson to visit my mom, Aunt Traci and Uncle Lee.
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We went camping with the Scouts and Cam completed his crossover from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts.
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Carsten and I went fishing with the Cub Scouts and visited a police station.
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We celebrated Easter with Mark’s family and Gavin, Jess and Logan who came all the way from Canada!
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Cam had a field trip to the AZ Challenger Space Center, and he had such a great time, Mark went on a space mission with Cam the following day.
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I celebrated my 39th birthday eating a LOT of free food!
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I had a small medical procedure to remove some cells that were at risk for cancer, so we got them out of my body before that could happen!

Cam had an end of the year band concert and played several different instruments.
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The boys finished second and fifth grade at San Tan.
I went out to see Desi graduate from high school with the boys, my mom, and Aunt Traci. We had a staycation at the AZ Grand Resort.
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We went with Mark’s parents to a AZ Diamondbacks game that they one in the bottom of the 9th!
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My sister, Jocelyn, and her family came out to visit. We played together all week!
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My dad and his family came down to join the rest of the Lafferty Clan to celebrate my grandma’s 90th birthday.
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I wish I could add all my favorite photos, but there is a size limit on the photos, so I had to settle for what would post. Enjoy!

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