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Friday, December 31

shoot...

If this guy can get up early,

and walk his two dogs,
his horse,
AND
his llama.....

I think I can get off my lazy butt and take my Lucy for a walk every day,
don't you?

(didn't have my camera the first time I saw this guy on the way
back from the pool....got the shot today though!)

Thursday, December 30

Alternate titles considered -

"These Girls Are Ridiculously Gorgeous"
or
"My Daughter Can't Use My Camera For Sh*t"

But I am just going to call it -
High Tea at The Biltmore Arizona.

Yes.  High Tea.  While I admit I was a little worried when my most awesomest friend
Leslie booked us a 2:00 reservation there for today - her and I and our girls -
worried that it might be a tad stuffy and high society but
IT WAS AWESOME!!!  Just like my friend....
She never steers me wrong!  Never!

So here are the beautiful girls we call our daughters.

Like I said...just ridiculous, these two!

Anyway.  We ordered tea and had finger sandwiches
and scones and cakes and all kinds of goodies!!!!
And we spent two hours just catching up
and laughing and chatting and just enjoying being out
and relaxing together!
And then we handed over our cameras to the girls to hopefully get a
good shot of Leslie and I.
And hopeful was all I got.
Maybe Olivia got a better shot........

I couldn't even Photoshop the grainy-ness or blurry-ness out.....oh Hannah....

Anyhoo.
After our Tea, Leslie introduced me to
the most amazing mall on the planet...
oh, wait,
that's what Hannah called it.
oh, wait....
she was right!

Fashion Square Mall.
Spent another couple of hours there, doing girl stuff.
It was just what the doctor ordered.
A great day from start to finish.
Good friends
Good foods
Fabulous mall....

Wednesday, December 29

Did you know...

that a half cup of olive oil and a handful of salt
thrown in the bottom of your dishwasher
in the middle of the mountain of bubbles from the Dawn dishwashing
liquid that your middle son filled the soap cup with,
gets rid of the bubbles?

Saturday, December 25

Merry Christmas!

From our house to yours!












Friday, December 24

The Checklist

ALL the shopping
food and gifts?
CHECK

As much decorating as I can possibly do this year?
CHECK

Finally, all three of my kids home where they belong?
no swim, no friends, no school...
CHECK
Nothing wrapped yet?
CHECK
(dammit...)

Family outing to the Phoenix Zoo to see Zoolights?
CHECK
Meat and sauce prepped for tomorrow's lasagna?
CHECK

A perfectly executed (and devoured) Christmas Eve meal of
(little bit Eye-Talian)
with roasted brussel sprouts
(little olive oil, little breadcrumbs, little salt)
with.....
(little bit German)?
CHECK


A much needed walk for Bill, Lucy and I,
and a bike ride for the kids,
after dinner,
up the street, along a few of the trails,
while taking in an A.mazing sunset?
CHECK




The fastest walk/ride home EVER....OK we were running, actually
when we heard the pack of coyotes yapping,
yapping, yapping, as they were getting closer and closer and closer
to us?
DOUBLE FRICKEN CHECK!

We will no longer be admiring the sunset without being in a vehicle somewhere...

Anyhoo.

A great ending to a great night?
CHECK to that, as we sat outside in front of a fire,
sipping coffee and hot cocoa,
listening to Garrin tell ghost stories.

Blog post done?
CHECK

Time to wrap.....
(dammit)

Thursday, December 23

Although right now it's 68 degrees

this morning was the aftermath of the torrential rain storms we had over night.
Thank you California!
It was a chilly 48 degrees as I took Hannah to the pool for morning workout today.
The clouds were still around here and there, ominous looking,
but as the day progressed nothing came from it.
What is so super cool, is that you can see
for.ever
here.  From blue sky to white puffy clouds to stormy-ness.  It's kinda awesome.
I pulled over to take a few pictures.





Anyway.
It feels like Saturday.
Actually, every day this week has felt like Saturday.
(how bad is that?)
But things are winding down.  Gifts are bought.
House is mostly decorated.
Menu is planned for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Amazing hair stylist has been found.

No, I'm serious.
It is said that finding a new stylist can be one of the most stressful
things to happen when you move.  I believe it.  I am on stylist number
two already - and we've only been here 3 weeks.
Anyhoo.  He is terrific.  He owns this place called Choppers,
which looks like a motorcycle gang hang out slash tattoo parlor meets
artsy fartsy eclectic and eccentric cafe.

Back to the list of accomplishments.
Connor is through with his first-week-off-from-school-so-let's-get-up-at-the-
crack-of-dawn-to-go-to-morning-workout-everyday week.  He is wiped out.
Two of the days were all day "camps" with his coach.  9 to 4.  He's looking forward to a
few days off before week two begins on Monday morning!

Hannah?  Well.  She's at a friends house.  Is it just always 'better' at a friends house,
whatever "it" may be?  Or should I just be happy that my social butterfly,
has made this transition look like she's been living here for 6 months already?
Whatever the reason, we hope she can join us for the holidays.......

Well.  Off to do a few more things. 
Shopping Decorating and Cooking will not end until Saturday I suppose.
I'm glad.
And at least I am doing it with fabulous hair!

Tuesday, December 21

just because........

I didn't have anything better to do...
Well no...not really.

Just because I wanted to explore other parts of town...
no...that's not it.

Because I finally ran out of clean underwear...
yeah...that's probably it.

Finally bit the bullet and headed to a laundromat,
since we still do NOT have a working dryer.
Remember?  The Sears guy is happily showing up on Christmas Eve?
Yeah that's gonna be pleasant for sure...

Anyhoo.  Besides the fact that we now need a walking stick to try to hike
from the hallway through the laundry room to get to the kitchen from the garage...
UP
and
OVER
the dirty clothes pile....
not having clean underwear cinched it for us.

So I washed a bunch of loads of clothes and found the one and only
laundromat around here, on the internet.

It was a sign that THIS was the place for us,
don't you think?



They have a really nice website, actually.
Very professionally done.
They even have a van!!  Real nice, huh??


It was a
PLEASURE
hanging here for a couple of days.....

Friday, December 17

Do NOT move to Scottsdale

if you have a tendency to be a klutz,
and trip and fall often....
I'm just sayin'.














Ok - so this gorgeous place is at the end of our street.  It is called
Lost Dog Wash Trailhead.
It is one of quite a few trailheads in this area.
Don't misunderstand me.  Not only are the trailheads like this
but this is how the entire landscape of Scottdale is.
Rough, Raw, and Beautiful!!!!

It rained all day yesterday on and off.  Bill and I took a drive
instead of a walk as to not have to call 911 to get a breathing treatment....
parked the car and got out to take some quick pictures.
It was cloudy and foggy - just awesome.

The trails through this area look amazing and we are looking forward
to taking some time to explore them with the kids.
OK - maybe without the kids.

I think I can find some peace there.

Thursday, December 16

what do you do...

...when you haven't started school yet?

...your mom is ignoring you because she is decorating for Christmas and
unpacking her whole life all at the same time?

....your dad is holed up in his office ahem "working"? (just kidding babe...)

why..you stay in your jammies all stinking day and surf the web...
well, maybe just the jammie top...and your Diego undies while you're surfing the web...


...and then when you get bored....
.....you parade around in your sister's Uggs, your jammie top
and
your Diego undies.  And god knows
Hannah's not wearing those things around here right now...
The Uggs that is...the Uggs....
Which reminds me - LIKE FATHER LIKE SON...(click to see)

January 3rd will not come soon enough for my poor Garrin.

Wednesday, December 15

.........fan...tastic

Shot picture number two - putting up some Christmas decorations
while unpacking load number 2 that Bill brought back.
Just when the garage was looking neat and tidy, right??

anyhoo

Back to my "lit" tree.
Which apparently isn't so "lit" anymore.
Love having to string lights on a tree that shouldn't need that....

Don't get me wrong, little snags like this are creating only eeney weeney
teeny tiny meltdowns by me.
Heaven forbid EVERYTHING go smoothly.
oops....no complaining here.
All that crap goes away when I look outside and see the sun shining,
or walk outside..........without a coat and mittens.
The weather is just glorious here.
I am LOVING it.

So speaking of snags.
Got our washer and dryer here only to find out that the dryer hookup is
electric and not gas.
So my hunt began for a steel blue Samsung dryer to match the washer..that was electric.
You can imagine how many steel blue dryers I came across....
Low and behold, found one at a Sears Outlet here,
got the dryer for a fraction of a new one,
brought it here.....
wired the 4 prong electrical pluggy thing on....
AND installed the dryer vent from the wall to the back of the dryer
after consulting with my brother for the last two days via cell phone
all by ourselves.

Sweet, huh?
Yeah.  Until we turned on the dryer and it is making a god awful noise....
You know, right after I threw in my
VERY FIRST LOAD OF LAUNDRY SINCE I LEFT MASSACHUSETTS!!!!!!!!!!!
Called Sears right away,
and they are going to send someone here

on
Christmas Eve.
ahem...

Other than that things are beginning to feel normal.
Met with Garrin's new teacher yesterday.  He will start school at the beginning
of next year - after the break.  AND will be riding the bus.
This will be the first time in 8 years that I will NOT be transporting
any of my kids to and from school.
Now if we can just get the transporting to and from the pool
down to a bare minimum I will be a happy camper!!!

I want to give a quick shout out too, to my
personal social coordinator (if you don't have one you MUST GET ONE!)
very dear friend Leslie who lives here in Arizona!!!!
Who I love with all my heart.
While I learn to drive the roads around here,
she is busy busy busy filling my social calendar for the next couple of months
or so!!
In exchange, I am letting her borrow THESE.
Now THAT is love....right there....

The kids have adapted nicely into their new swim teams.
This upcoming weekend they do an annual hike up Pinnacle Peak Mountain,
followed by a kickball game and cookie exchange at a park.
A way to get the whole team together in one place,
since there are 6 different pools, I think.
So after Bill and I take our blood pressure on Saturday morning
to determine which of our fat butts are in better shape to take the kids
on the hike, hopefully one of us can get some good pictures of the landscape
finally.

I did start bringing the camera in the car with me,
but not really running around as much at this point in time.
Soon, though.  Soon.

Oh and just a quick thought....
maybe try to get a visual on this one.

Connor does yoga as part of his dryland portion of his swim workout.
Connor doing the Downward Facing Dog.....

See you tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 14

oh....great....


You wanted photos?
Well, here is the first one.

Tuesday, December 7

OK - so it's Tuesday

I am sipping on a latte at Starbucks,
trying to get as much stuff done on my computer as I can possibly do.
Had to come here
to get away from my kids for awhile
for the free wi-fi, since we have no
Cable TV
Internet
Phone.
The three things we can't seem to live without these days.

With all that is happening, it has been nice being so busy as to not
really realize the things I will miss about leaving the east coast.
Not gonna go 'there'...

Anyhoo.

Got the kids all registered for school and Hannah and Connor start tomorrow.
Hannah started swimming last night.
Said it was "amazing".  She truly has a passion.
I talked with Bill last night, and told him that I am so proud of her.
We taught her well - she just marched right into the pool last night,
un-escorted by me, swam her workout - new kids - new coaches,
and came out when was all said and done - happy as could be.

Maybe taught isn't the right word.  Gave her the tools - may be better.
We have given her all the tools necessary to be comfortable and confident.
And that shows in situations like this.  I love her.  I just love her.

Connor starts tonight.  Hopefully all will go well with him.  He seems to
be in a different place here - in his head that is.  I feel like he is growing into his confidence
the older he gets.  It's not always been easy for him, as it has for Hannah.
But he seems to be truly happy to be here in Scottsdale.  Back to the familiar -
which is always a good thing for Connor.  His coach has tried to make him
feel comfortable, so we will see how it all plays out.

My fingers are crossed for the first day of school.....

Garrin is relaxed.
He has spread himself out all over the place.
He has set up monorails
and racetracks
and has not stopped playing with his toys.
He is so easy going, it's almost like his life never gets disrupted.

So Bill.  Poor Bill.
Got on a plane today to head back to Massachusetts,
to pick up another truck, get the rest of our stuff, load up,
and take that looooooong drive
A.G.A.I.N.
He doesn't seem bothered by this all, unless he is putting up a good front. 
Love him for doing this for us.

Me.  Just taking it all in.
Learning the roads.
Learning where Target is.
Starbucks - obviously.
Albertsons.
Settling into my new life.
A life I know how to live.
One I feel comfortable in.
One I feel confident in.

Maybe I'm just following my daughters lead......

Saturday, December 4

some thoughts

OK.  So we are here.  In Scottsdale.
Finally.
I think I want to hire a chauffeur to drive me around for the next week or so.
I don't want to drive anymore.  Anywhere.  Period.
And to think that Bill has to do that all.over.again.....
Oh, I didn't mention earlier that we didn't fit all our stuff on the truck.
yup.
He's got to fly back, rent a smaller truck (thank God) and haul the
rest of our stuff here.

It was 70 degrees yesterday.  And it will be that today.
I'm just sayin'.

My favorite part of the drive was the last stretch out of Oklahoma and
through the flat land of Texas.
My question is though - why do so many deer sleep along the sides of the highway?
There were a lot of them - yes yes.  I admit.
Bill and Connor were NOT full of crap.  There were deer.

Thought admittedly, I love McDonalds french fries,
I am so sick and tired and artery clogged from all the fast food we ate,
that I can't look at another fast food restaurant for a very long time.
I need to find Costco, like right now!

We took a "alternate" route - and I use that term VERY loosely,
once we got into Arizona.  While that trip in my car alone would not have been
and issue...

6000 feet above sea level in the mountains???????

oh
my
god

Mrs. Navigation thought that would be a better way to travel - shaving a supposed
45 minutes off the travel time.
Yeah, if you weren't driving a full, top heavy 27 foot truck
with all my precious shit inside.
Poor Bill.
I bit my nails for him the whole
w
  a
    y

      d
        o
          w
            n

So.  That's all for now.  Off to meet the movers who will be helping unload.
Let's hope today in UNeventful.

Thursday, December 2

Well

This morning we are waking up right outside of Oklahoma City.
Drinking a nice hot cup of coffee - the first of a LOT of cups of coffee I need for this trip.
Lucy is sitting to my right eating bits of sausage and eggs I am hand feeding her off my plate.
It is only right after enduring being wrapped like a sausage in a blanket, head and all,
to sneak her into a hotel at night.  Not about to stay in some 'flea bag' hotel,
because apparently, those are where dogs are allowed.

Hold on, she wants a waffle.

OK.
The drive was mostly sunny yesterday, thank God.
The radio stations were mostly COUNTRY, I do NOT thank God for that.
My iPhone got quite the workout yesterday.

Music is making the days go quick.
That and our license plate game.
Hannah and I have made a list of states we have found.
We are three or four short.  Maybe we'll find them today.

Hold on.  Lucy wants some danish.

Anyhoo.
Bill and Connor have "claimed" to have seen lots of deer.
I personally, think they are full of shit.
I've only seen cows.  And LOTS of them.

Bill's operating on Monster energy drink about now.
I switched from plain ol' coffee to some canned Starbucks
Light Latte with Added Extra Energy Kick My Ass
and Stay Awake drink.
I got the shakes from it last night.
WTF is in that stuff???
I can drink coffee all day long and not get the shakes.
Anyway - none of that for me today.

I tried a McRib yesterday.  It should be called McRubber.
I hated it.  We are eating like crap, but we kind of expected that going into
this.  Snacks were on the lunch menu yesterday.  YUM.
Cheesy Chex Mix stuff.
Can't wait to get to a house with a kitchen.
So I can cook for everyone else,
and develop an eating disorder for myself.
I need to lose this weight I've packed on.

So that's all she wrote today.
Heading to Albuquerque today.
About a nine hour drive.

Until we meet again....

Wednesday, December 1

Why it is ok to pick through the trash.

ok....I'll get back to that.
Couple things first.
Pennsylvania?
That is one really big fricken state to drive through.
It went on and on and on and on.

It rained.
All day.
NO I mean, like ALL. FLIPPIN. DAY.
I pretty much white-knuckle-drove the whole way....
to Indianapolis..you know - where my boys play football.
Anyway - the rain.
It sucked.

So after leaving Harrisburg PA in the morning, yesterday
driving driving driving til lunch, we stopped at some rest stop place
where Bill could pull the moving truck straight on in as too not kill anyone
to grab some food.
We got all loaded back up into the car to head on out,
I turned to Hannah, looked at her beautiful smile,
and then said....

"WHERE
IS
YOUR
RETAINER?"

After she threw up in her mouth, she ran back inside to search
the garbage pails for the pair of retainers.........
Out she walked about 20 minutes later,
tear streaked face holding a little wrapped package with her
nasty dirty
retainers, to brush later that night.

Then the drive continued.

And continued.

and
continued.

Til we stopped for gas.
As all the kids piled into the convenience store
with my debit card to buy Mommy her Diet Coke and Whoppers
because, after all, I am stress eating right now......driving in the damn rain...
all kinds of junk food and sodas,
I pumped gas and cleaned out the car.

And then the drive continued.
And then

I REALIZED I'D THROWN THE F***ING RETAINER IN THE TRASH.

me
I couldn't stop laughing all the way back to the gas station,
thinking about how furious I'd been with Hannah....
and I go and do the same thing she did...

So anyhoo.
Next stop is Tulsa OK.
Ciao!