Saturday Hikes

A few times this summer, I convinced myself to ignore the urge to sleep in on a Saturday and went for a hike. Each time I realized how amazing it was to watch the sunrise from the side of a mountain. How much cooler the air was at 6am at the peak of Camelback. And how nice it was to enjoy some peace and quiet without having to watch the clock.

This past weekend, I was treated to a truly breathtaking sunrise, vegetation that was greener than I’ve seen in months and a cool breeze with just a few sprinkles of rain.

I looked like a total tourist taking so many pictures, but I really couldn’t resist. At least I wasn’t hauled off the mountain by paramedics like a tourist so there’s that.

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Seriously, I couldn’t get over how green it was

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A view from the top

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Missing June

Before I get into the fun we had in Montana, I neglected a few of the things we did in June this year. I normally do a post for B’s birthday, my birthday, our anniversary…and yet here we are, staring down the barrel of school starting and not a post to be seen.

In my defense, it’s been busy.

The house is coming along – you can actually see where the new walls are going to be. And with a whole new sewer line that runs through the entire house, we shouldn’t ever have to use the phrase “shitter’s full”. So there’s that.  This is all a long way of saying instead of blogging, I’ve be housing. Yes, it’s a verb. Ask anyone who has remodeled.

So, without further delay, the missing June posts.

Sweet Baylor turns Seven.

You, my gorgeous daughter, are by far the smartest, most challenging, loving and wonderful girl. Your potential will only ever be limited by your desire – you will move mountains.

I am so proud of the hard work you put into school, into making new friends, into learning to read and do math. I love your enthusiasm for swim team this summer and for your ability to conquer your fears. Your hustle for sports is growing and it’s amazing. You are so beautiful and your outer beauty is only eclipsed by your beautiful heart. Watching your faith in God grow and your kindness spread – especially to strangers in need – makes my heart happy.

Year six was a pretty amazing year. But I think seven is going to top it.

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Love this kid. Gangsta face in a doughnut float.

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The Momma turns Thirty Something….

So this is one of those birthdays that makes me feel old. Not as much physically, but the number is a little up there. However, I really really really like my birthday. So while the number can be a little shocking, I’m always grateful for one more year to celebrate. And having good health, a happy family, fantastic friends, a good wig and the realization of a few dreams while still having time to dream up new ones? Well that’s just the icing on the cake.

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Also? This is the kind of old person I plan to be. Just bat shit crazy in the best way. Good news is that I think I’m already there. Check. Mark.

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Happy Anniversary

Every year when I bring up our anniversary, Peter argues with me about the number of years we’ve been married. He always thinks it’s less than the actual number. Which I think is better than him feeling like it’s been much much much longer.

We celebrated 11 years married and this year marks 17 together (also the other reason I’m feeling real old). We will have been together more than half my life this year, which is a nutty statistic and yet such an awesome one. It’s amazing to think how much we’ve both changed – we’ve grown up together. We’ve watched each other go from nerdy (ok, just me) teenagers, to college coeds, to young adults, graduate student, newly weds, homeowners, parents…and thankfully the list keeps growing.

The traditional 10 year anniversary gift is tin, but since we redid our pool last summer we decided the gift would be PebbleSheen. Which is not really romantic, however very enjoyable. We say “happy anniversary!” every time we slide our feet over the smooth surface of the pool.

Thankfully the traditional 11th anniversary gift is far more appropriate for us this year. As the contractors were bracing a new steel beam in our living room, I pointed and said “happy anniversary!”. Maybe 11 years is when most married couples go broke on a remodel so they made the gift steel. Makes sense to me.

Happy anniversary PW!

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Oh, Hey There

I’ve written this post in my head several times. And the list about where I’ve been and what we’ve been doing keeps getting longer and longer and longer. It’s been a whole new level of nutty around here – but as usual, it’s a good nutty!

More to come on all of the below, but in case it takes me another month to get back to blog, he’s a taste of what we’ve been up to…

First – we moved. No really. I can hardly believe it myself. I was convinced that when we started our remodel, we were going to be able to live in the house – or at least do it in phases. Then reality hit and it became clear that we had to move everything out of the house. Like everything. I think I was still telling myself that it wasn’t REALLY everything as I was moving each room. Thankfully it all got done and we are now settled in to the parent’s house while they are away for the summer. And fingers crossed we’ll be move in ready by the time they are ready to head South or things are going to get a liiiitttle squishy around here….don’t worry Noni, Baylor said she’ll share a bed with you.

The remodel is in full swing with sledgehammers flying. Even though it’s the beginning and there’s more undone than done, I can see it. I can see what it will look like, and it’s going to be awesome. And because “we” (oh yeah, I put quotes there, PW) are project managing it, it’s been busy with decisions, scheduling and lots of running around to find what we want and at the best prices. It’s nutty. But it will be worth it. If we don’t go broke in the process. Any time we get an unexpected expense (which we knew were coming!), I read the kids an extra book because they’re going to need college scholarships. Kidding. Kind of.

Let’s see…what else? Oh! Baylor graduated kindergarten! As I watched her walk across the stage and get her diploma, I was filled with gratitude. We are so lucky that we listened to our collective guts and that there was a space available for her at this school. It’s such an amazing community of funny,  kind, fun loving people. From the staff, to the teachers to the parents. What an amazing year it’s been!

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And that same little face turned SEVEN yesterday. Seven! Where do the years go? Although I have to say, I think this was my favorite birthday so far. She was incredibly spoiled by all her family members – including new golf clubs. And my sweet pokie little puppy’s speed aligns perfectly with the speed of golf. Look out, Annika Sorenstam.

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Auggie boy wrapped up his time at his preschool and is off to school with Baylor next year! He’s super pumped about a uniform – no seriously. He “performed” in the gymnastics show and got his coveted blue ribbon. He’s actually pretty good – I think he’s got a few more years working on his cartwheel ahead of him.

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Peter and his Teal Tornados finished another great season. It was amazing to see how the team had improved from last year to this year. Next year he will have Baylor AND Auggie’s teams to coach – and Baylor’s team will be doing player pitch. I think he’s secretly really excited for the challenge.

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Oh! And Disneyland! Because things were nutty enough, we decided to take the kids to Disney over spring break. Which I foolishly thought since our spring break was so late, that it would be quiet. It was not. But it was Auggie’s first trip and it was very fun. I think we tried to pack too much into two days, but at least we’ll know for next time.

I swear he was having a good time despite what his face looks like….

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And last but not least, I’ve started to make good on my New Year’s resolution. It’s amazing what putting something out in the world will do! Not long after my post went up, a friend reached out about some content writing work. Then another. Then I finally started that freelance writing class I had put off for a year and it turned out to be a bust. But it enlightened me to realize that I really do like doing content writing. It seems that work keeps finding me, and when it does, I am always silently amazed and awed. It’s been hard, and yet really fulfilling which means it’s meant to be. I’ve got my website up – it’s rough so don’t get too critical. It’s a work in progress that I can keep my publications listed and hopefully keep it growing. Let me know what you think: www.bethwand.com. No really, let me know what you think (just don’t be mean!).

More to come – I miss this place!

 

Easter 2016

As we drove to mass this morning, Baylor and Auggs each told us what Easter meant. They talked about how Jesus died because He loves us so much. How He opened the gates of Heaven and then how He rose from the dead. It was so sweet to hear them speak about our faith so perfectly.

After yet another amazing brunch at my mom’s, we headed over to her friend and neighbor’s house. Joyce offered up her yard for an egg hunt. It was like being in a secret garden!

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Spring has Sprung

Ever since we moved last summer, I’ve been dying to have a garden again. Our lettuce table didn’t make the move (I’m still not sure why. And I’m still waiting on my replacement…ahem, PETER) so I have been without home grown veggies for too many months.

Now, finally after many weeks of building, stucco, planning, redoing, planting and fertilizing – the garden is growing! And it looks amazing. Every time I catch a glimpse of this space, it makes me so happy.

While this is not the true true before, it’s enough of a before for this post. Imagine no stucco and very 1970’s ugly brown cement block…

My helper was not excited for the camera. He was ready to work. And by work, I mean move dirt from one side to the other.

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Aaaaannnddd the after!!

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There are four new roses – three gifts from my mom – she hand picked not only the color but the scent. I’m so excited for the blooms. One is a Pope John Paul II white rose and the one at the nursery was amazing.

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See that little pod under the bloom? It’s a Praying Mantis pod. I’m hoping they hatch and keep the aphids away…we’ll see if it works.

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I’m a little obsessed with the obelisk. If you need one, I got these at A Rustic Garden. Good prices and fast shipping. They are making a happy home for two kinds of grape tomatoes including Sweet 100’s – my favorites. There’s also Swiss Chard and mixed greens lettuce coming up. IMG_9207

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I honestly forget how much I love Orange Blossoms. Every year, the first sniff of their scent reminds me – and it’s the most welcome memory. We will have Arizona Sweet and Valencia oranges this Thanksgiving. There’s also a small Meyer Lemon in the raised beds that will provide some shade in the summer.

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One of the lone survivors of our backyard re-landscaping was this Pomegranate tree. It was a bit neglected, but after a good trim and lots of fertilizer, it’s full of blooms. And hopefully lots of fruit too.

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Organized Living: Catch It All

Any time I flip through a magazine or catalog, I always sigh when I see neatly organized “catch all” or mud rooms. I love the idea of having a place to house all the stuff needed for activities, school and life.

This is our finished catch all and I love it. It makes clean up easy (ok, slightly easier) because everyone can put their bags, gear and or reminders in one space. Plus there’s not back packs and soccer balls every where. Or at least in theory.

This bench is an antique that has been in our house since I was little. It sort of floats around rooms, but it always works. The mirrors and the baskets are Target. And the shelf is courtesy of Peter and his amazing carpentry skills.

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I love the baskets. They make storage so pretty. And yes, having a crap basket is totally necessary.

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One organized living solution that keeps my sanity is to have a bag for each activity. Swim, dance, soccer, softball – all of them get a bag. Then at the end of each game or practice, all the crap goes back into the bag. That way there’s at least a fighting chance of finding soccer balls and TWO shin guards.

And that orange bag? Is a life saver! It has pockets surrounding the inside and the wide opening means everything is easily accessable. It’s called The Game Day Tote from Simply Steph’s Monograms on Etsy. Tell her I sent you when you order yours.

Need ideas for your mud room? Head on over to Pinterest and get ready to lose a few hours. All you need is a little space and some imagination – now get organized!

Rockin’ and Rollin’ 2016

When you live near the Rock and Roll Marathon route, you can either try to get around the marathon, run it, or find away to enjoy it! We chose the last option and joined our friends, the B Family, for their annual water station. They are literally on the route so they are blocked in – which is a great excuse to hand out water and turn it into a party.

We rode our bikes over to their house and realized that this was a well oiled machine. Tables with cups and a system for filling and then refilling the water jugs was in place. Not to mention a great spread of breakfast and bloody marys for the volunteers. It wasn’t long until the first few runners came by, then the big waves came. It was so neat seeing the various kinds of runners – everyone was working hard. The sweetest thing was that so many runners not only slowed down, but some stopped to take the water from the kids and thank them for being there to cheer and hydrate. It was so cute to see the excitement on the kids faces.

Cutest helpers ever

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The waiting

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Someone has to drink the champs and bloodies

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Working hard!

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Towards the end, the kids handed out little candies too. It was a very sought after position

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Congratulations to everyone that ran! And thank you to all the runners who took time to say thank you, you made a lot of little kids very happy!