We spent a low-key lovely & cool fourth of July at home painting our master bathroom (ran out of paint and it's STILL not done, sigh) and then going over to swim/bbq with family. We didn't even watch fireworks, lame.

I came down with yet another sore throat, and then had a bad reaction to a facial that week as well, so spent several days uncomfortably sick ON TOP of burns and fever blisters all over my chin too... it was not awesome.

We spent the rest of the month running around between piano lessons and swim lessons and swim meets and synchronized swimming practices and qualifying meets and and..... man, I'm going to start ranking the end of swimming events in July right up there with the end of school events in May in terms of keeping us busy! Here's A in her synchro outfits & makeup... we had to "Knox" her hair into a bun for the performances, which entailed mixing that unflavored gelatin stuff you use to make jam out of into a SUPER thick gel and then painting it on her hair... once it dries it's completely stiff and won't come out in cold water... Crazy. A HATED it. Middle photo is her with her Duo partner Rebecca.

M tried out a little synchro workshop one Saturday and now has the bug... she may be doing a year-round thing with the Arizona Aqua Stars. Stay tuned to see if she stays interested and I can get it all worked out...

N and I were able to go see Singin' in the Rain (my favorite movie ever ever) in a theater... so totally amazing awesome. I was in a good mood for days afterward. Thanks to Grandma and Poppy who melted out at a swim meet in our place so we could go.

SIDENOTE: We bought these super fun deals called "pogo passes" and have been able to do a ton of stuff so far... I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT - CHECK IT OUT AT POGOPASS.COM. We took the kids to Big Surf and to a Rattlers game.

The game was too loud and too late for them so they didn't want to go again, but I can say that N and I are officially HOOKED on arena football games! We used our pogo passes and went the next two weeks! For free! SO MUCH FUN. Total opposite of a baseball game, lol. High energy, fast paced, high scoring, lots of gimmicks, super exciting. No one EVER leaves a game early because the whole thing can change in a second! It's awesome. The Rattlers ended up as National Champions, by the way... we got to see all three of their playoff games here in Phoenix. Call it white trash football if you will... but don't knock it til you try it!!! Also was fun because I got to hang out with the lovely Janna at the games too! Don't mind my hair... I'm growing it out and it always looks like death.
A whirlwind trip to California brought us to the end of July. We alternated two days at Disney and two days at Newport beach, (necessary to recover from Disney days). So much fun. We had a 2-bedroom suite at our resort and were able to spread out and enjoy the space.

D-land: Both the girls got chosen (thank goodness) to be Jedis in the Jedi training show
. Next time I'm hoping J will want to do it! My favorite quote from one of the Jedi cast members to M, as she's standing in front of Darth Vader, was "Keep smiling. He HATES THAT!" Super funny. By the way they've redone Star Tours and it's great! We utilized our fast passes well and did everything and went ALL day long, even stuck it out for the Fantasmic light show too. J was a little concerned in some of the rides, don't want to say "scared" but he held on to me tight during Pirates, the Haunted Mansion, and Space Mountain. His quote of the day was "I want to grow up first before I go on that ride again". Cutie. Love him.

California Adventure was great, except for the whole losing-A-for-30-minutes-thing. California Screamin' and Tower of Terror were once again hits! Our favorite ride on the trip was Radiator Springs Racers... the big new ride in Cars Land. So much fun, and worth all the hype, surprisingly. All three of the kiddos were into their lanyards and getting PINS. Sheesh. I think M could look at pins in pin shops all day long. Oh wait, she did. We also got J his first set of ears. I love that he chose to go with the classic blue. :) The girls and I hit the "Mad T" concert (crazy Disney-esque costumed music group doing covers of a bunch of pop songs... they were actually really good and the girls LOVED it. Here is J in his 3-D glasses for Star Tours, and his newly acquired ears and lanyard!

Newport: Man, how I love this beach, We don't even try to go any other beach because I know it would just be disappointing. The weather was a little cold for me to get in the water, but I totally prefer to lounge on the sand and sleep/read anyway. Kids had fun boogie boarding and digging for sand crabs. Nick was in charge of getting dinner one evening on the beach...and he came back with pizza and salad.... ummm, can you say NOT beach friendly, especially with the wind blowing? Kids liked it anyway.


Home again, home again... I threw myself into a huge vinyl order once we got back in town, and cranked out nearly 75 signs for a school in Texas in less than a week. Shipped them out and was kicking myself that I hadn't charged a little more... and then I got a dreaded email from the principal saying that most of the signs had arrived damaged... seems that even though I thought I had them wrapped up and cushioned REALLY well, the screws on the back of each one scratched the vinyl on the next one. UGH. I re-did almost 50 signs and sent the last of them replacements a few days ago. I'm trying to repeat the phrase "learning experience" over and over and over again so I don't get sick about it again.

We used our Pogo passes once again and all went to Jump Street for an FHE a couple of weeks ago... TOTALLY AWESOME. I swear I want a membership there instead of at my gym, my abs got a WORKOUT that night! N and Dave Meadows played dodgeball with the kids for a good 45 minutes. He was as sweaty and gross as he is when playing basketball... I think we all had a great time.

Also before school started we traded up to this beauty. I was kind of sad to see my old piano go, I've had it my whole life! Lighting is bad because it's in front of the window, but you'll just have to trust me that it's super pretty!  Girls are getting better and better at the piano, and I love the richness of the sound of our new one.
This little guy has taken it all in stride, having to wear pants and real shoes everyday, sitting in a desk, taking his lunch... I love it. He hasn't complained once and seems to like it a lot. Even when the bus takes FOREVER to get home sometimes. No discipline issues I've heard of either... I'm not even sure if his teacher does the whole color-system thing anyway. She's just so "teachery" I can't stand it. It's awesome.

Speaking of music and new stuff, J started a "Let's Play Music" class a couple of weeks ago and is LOVING it.  We have a super cute teacher in my ward. "Miss Jenni" is amazing.

I am quite enjoying having some peace and quiet to myself. Doing lots of projects... vinyl orders, hosting bridal showers, reading books, going to lunch... lol. I am doing things like cleaning and laundry too, I promise. Planning on going to a D-backs game tomorrow night (again, thanks pogo pass!) and looking forward to ASU FOOTBALL STARTING NEXT WEEK! YESSSSS!!!! GO DEVILS!

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