Thursday, December 31, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

Our Cr-Azy Fun Fall Break {mobile monday}

Ok... so I guess it's safe to say that 2015 is NOT going to be a big blogging year for me.  It's October for crying out loud - Fall Break, even.  The time has passed us by and I've not kept up with sharing all of our busy Brunette happenings like I used to.  Here's a quick run down of what's been going on via mobile phone pics.  I'll get back to regular posting - I just can't make any promises for the near future.

* We've had a great time this season sharing the bleachers with family and friends cheering on Sahuarita Mustangs Varsity football.  The biggest celebration game was the SHS vs. WGHS - our small town's only two high schools on one field, we had friends on both sides ...it was quite a fun night!

* Buggy took off with her BFF Hannah to the Gulf of Mexico over the fall break week.  A week of camping on the beach... swimming in the ocean, building sand castles, roasting s'mores in the campfire, watching fireworks, collecting sea shells and dodging sting rays.  She came back home with sand in every-single-thing she took with her, a rat's nest hair-do and a perfectly bronzed tan.

* She also left me a large note on the fridge reminding me to PLEASE REMEMBER to feed her frog and fish while she was away.  This comes after the small panic attack I had when she was gone to Utah for three weeks this summer and I completely FORGOT about feeding the frog.  Poor little guy was so happy to see her when she got home... oops!  I can't believe he was still alive, but I'm very thankful he was okay and lived to see me feed him this vacation time.

* Freckle Face's BFF Lauren (and her twin sister Maddie) came down from Montana to stay with us for the whole week.  It was a joyous reunion.  I didn't see much of them unless they needed a ride somewhere, ha ha!  They spent a lot of time chatting, swimming, playing games, hanging out at the mall, and all that other fun teenage stuff.

* Monkey Boy enjoyed some time playing basketball and video games with Chris and Caitlyn, playing street hockey and making meals with Nick, going to the movies and visiting the Reid Park Zoo with the Facklers... and so much more.

*  He also enjoyed his first temple trip to Mesa with a few of the youth from our ward.  He was recently called as Deacon's Quorum president and has been prayerfully weighing his options for who to call as his counselors.

*  The kids finished out the first quarter with all A's and a couple of B's on their report cards.  They're doing very well in school and their teachers all had really great (and sweet) things to say about them at parent-teacher conferences.  I'm so proud of them... they're such great kiddos and I'm always glad to hear they're working hard and doing their best. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Buggy's Surprise Birthday Party!

Super sweet BFF Hannah came to me with an extraordinary idea for a surprise party for Bug's 14th birthday and of course I couldn't say no.  She planned the whole thing and rounded up some very cute friends to surprise Bug and later welcome her along to her first Stake Dance (at the Tucson East Stake).  It was a memorable day and I am thankful Buggy has such amazing and thoughtful friends to enjoy her teenage years with.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Weekend Activities

Weekends take on a whole different meaning once school starts back up.  We definitely enjoy that break away from school and work and try to relax and enjoy the little things in life.  Like sleepovers, football games, and making meals together.  Buggy has taken to the kitchen lately - her surprise schedule meant a reluctant culinary class, but I really think she's going to enjoy it.  She made everyone omelets this weekend - it was great!

- Jess

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Back To School For These Guys

**  Freckle Face - 10th Grade  ** 
**  Buggy - 9th Grade  ** 
**  Monkey Boy - 7th Grade  **  

Ok so technically this was NOT the first day of school... more like the third week of school, but hey! This momma has had A LOT going on and sometimes we just have to make due.  This was the girls' first uniform inspection of the school year though... and don't they look sharp!  So proud of all three of these kiddos, they continue to amaze me daily.  It's going to be a great year :)

- Jess

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Our Last Week of Summer

Our last week of summer was jam-packed with back-to-school shopping, get-togethers, and all sorts of fun!  Here's some of our highlights:

* Freshman orientation for Bug (pictured above with her friend Tianna).  She was nervous but so excited to be able to see her friends she hadn't seen all summer and to see what her schedule was going to be like.

* Unfortunately for the girls, the schedules still had not been made and no one was able to see what classes they had for a few more days... they were still in the process of hiring counselors, so they had to be patient for a few days longer.

* I was asked to come in for a job interview at SMS with Project Inspire... hoping that goes well although I do have an offer for a job in the downtown Tucson area if this doesn't work out.  I really want to stay around Sahuarita and work the same hours that the kids will be in school, so this would be the ideal job for me.

* 7th Grade open house for Monkey Boy... he was none too thrilled, but we made an appearance just long enough to say hello to a few friends and pick up his schedule for the coming school year.

* Freckle Face was scheduled for her ortho surgery (anchor implants) but luckily for her, that ended up not happening since her roots are still not ready for them to be in place.

* NJROTC early morning orientation all week for Bug... MSGT even invited Freckle Face to come join in the fun for one of the days.  They had a lot of fun together... and it was not nearly as bad as Buggy thought it was going to be.  She didn't even throw up on the first day!

* Monkey Boy and BFF Christopher went canoeing and camping with the scouts at Patogonia Lake, they had a lot of fun - got dirty and REALLY sunburned!!!

* Enjoyed a few good monsoon storms - LOVE this time of year here in southern Arizona.

* Ran into Ronald McDonald as we were out doing some last minute school supply shopping... he was happy to give us a smile and a wave while we were waiting in front of him at a traffic light.  Buggy was all too embarrassed to turn around and take a picture, but she was glad she mustered the courage.

* She also took the opportunity to sneak in some selfies while her big sister was sound asleep on the way home.  Girl's asking for trouble!!!

* The kids all had a blast at the end of summer youth lake trip on Saturday too.  They spent the whole day diving, swimming and canoeing on Patagonia Lake with the young men and young women and leaders from the ward.

xo - Jess

Monday, July 20, 2015

Corral Canyon / Mowry Trail - Arizona Jeep Adventures

We had an amazing time exploring some trails in the Sonoita/Patagonia area of southern Arizona this weekend.  Monsoon season was in full effect and really came down on us a few times... as you can see from the sheer darkness of the clouds - it was the real deal.  We were bombarded with hail and heavy rains through much of the rough areas in the Corral Canyon - unfortunately I was a little afraid of being struck by lightening and didn't want to drown my expensive camera so I wasn't able to get out and shoot the Jeeps climbing the rocks and navigating the mine pits... maybe next time - because it really is one of my favorite trails here in southern AZ.  I took most of the pictures out the window from the safety of the passenger seat.

As Military Man says: now, on the the next!

xo - Jess

Our Summer, Week 5 {mobile monday}

I've gotten a bit out of order here... so for today's pics we're backing up to a month ago - Monkey Boy spent a week at Camp Lawton with his Scout Troop.  They had a lot of fun and didn't mind escaping the desert summer heat for the much cooler temps atop Mount Lemmon.

And while their little brother was away the girls enjoyed some relaxing afternoons with their friends.  Summer flew by so fast... the kids just returned from two weeks in Utah and now school officially starts in just two more very short, action-packed weeks!!!

Happy Monday!
xoxo - Jess

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Passing through Box Canyon - Arizona Jeep Adventures

Had another fabulous Jeep adventure this weekend through Sonoita/Patagonia area and back up through Box Canyon.  Most of the pictures I shot from the passenger window as we were driving by... much of the road was rough and we were bombarded by hail and heavy rains.

...more to come!
- Jess

Monday, July 13, 2015

Old Glory Mill and Mines - Arizona Jeep Adventures {mobile monday}

Ok so after our first botched attempt to find these Old Glory Mill ruins, we set out again early last Saturday morning more determined than ever to find them.  We embarrassingly discovered that it was not five minutes from the place we were last time when we couldn't find them - we simply didn't turn up the right path the first time we were out there.  It did not disappoint - nice easy trail, cool mountain air, sunshine, plenty to explore... mission accomplished!

I was reluctant to take my 5D with us on this trail because the first time we went out that way it was terribly dusty and I don't want to risk ruining my gear... but I was able to take these with my mobile phone.

Grandpa Dan and Military Man brought along their metal detectors and found a few junk pieces while Grandma and I made a make-shift picnic under a grove of mixed mesquite and sycamore trees.  We watched some mating dragonflies and talked about geodes.

It was a lovely day - except for the blazing sunburn Sam and I got on our shoulders after I had convinced him to take the top off the Jeep... the road back through Arivaca was long, and straight sun the entire way home.

Happy Trails!
xo - Jess

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I {heart} Summer Flowers

Freckle Face's Mural Project on Sahuarita Road

Here's the link to the article on the PAG Youth Art Project recently published in the Sahuarita Scene.


We are so proud of Freckle Face's hard work and dedication to this project... it looks incredible!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Our Summer, Week 4 {mobile monday}

The girls spent an amazing week at Camp Zion on Mount Lemmon with our Stake, hiking, crafting, sharing, growing, and working on their community service projects.  This snapshot is of the girls and their beloved youth leaders from our ward.  They came home dirty, tired and full of the spirit.

Meanwhile, Monkey Boy and I spent the week watching Ancient Aliens and Star Wars, playing video games and staying out of the dreaded Arizona summer heat.  We took him and best bud Christopher to Rocks + Ropes, an indoor rock climbing adventure in Tucson... wore them right out!

- Jess

Saturday, June 13, 2015

California Gulch + a bit of Monsoon Season

Summer has been very low key around our place the last three weeks. Freckle Face started her first job working with the city through the art program at the district to create a mural for part of the underground crossing between north and south Sahuarita Road. She has enjoyed working on the project, although I suspect she is relieved to know that it doesn't go on all summer - she's realizing it's just as much work as getting up for school, if not more being up and ready super early in the morning and staying on your feet working all day measuring and cutting tiles, drawing and laying out plans, painting, etc. it really is WORK, lol!

We make a Jeep trip with the Bishops out past Arivaca to the California Gulch area near Ruby, AZ and Pena Blanca Lake. It was HOT and dusty... like really really dusty. We missed the area we were shooting for but found it on our way back from the trail. Well at least we know how to find it, so we
can go back and have a look around another time - maybe after it has rained sometime so we don't
have to breathe hot, dry desert clay-dust. It was still nice to finally get out and enjoy a little Jeep adventure, even if we couldn't find the right trail and landmarks.

Other than that, things have been fairly quiet around here. Buggy has decided she would like to follow her big sister's footsteps and join the NJROTC this coming school year... which had lead to her deciding she better start practicing her physical training NOW so that she's a little more prepared for the end of summer Hell Week that hits everyone like a ton of bricks if they're enjoying the lazy summer a little too much. She and I have started a walk-to-run program, running at 5am three days a week. It has been rough some mornings, but it feels good to get back into a routine that resembles some more of our family normalcy after the crazy year that we've already had.

Monsoon season has officially begun... temps have already reached 110 *F and we've had a few short bursts of rain. I love this time of year, even though it's insanely hot - the storms are phenomenal and there's really no words for the brilliant sunsets monsoon season brings... I can't wait to capture some this summer.

Hope you're all enjoying your summer too!
XO - Jess