Monday, July 30, 2012

Sewing Weekend

Grandma Jackie came to visit for the weekend and we spent it sewing. 

The first part of the weekend, she and Mom worked on the Mystery Quilt that had been done on their recent Quilt Retreat at Sea cruise.  They didn't have time to work on the project because they were on the cruise to work and make sure everyone was taken care of.  So, they worked hard this weekend to finish the quilt top.  Now, they just need to add the back and bind it.

This is Michelle's finished product.

On Sunday afternoon, the kids came home and they had time with Grandma making their own pillowcases.  They had picked out their own fabric at the store.  Marshel was easy - he picked two fabrics in about 5 minutes and was done.  His is the Chevron pattern with WW2 planes at the top.

Rachel jumped around to a bunch of different fabrics, but ultimately decided on an orange pattern with a pink border.  Very cute!  She made one to fit her body pillow.

Kellee, always one to be different, spent a lot of time picking out her fabrics.  She ultimately had about 10 bolts of fabric to choose from and could not decide.  Finally, after what seemed like hours, she picked a hot pink fabric with black cats (not Halloweeny). 

It was a good weekend and the kids are enjoying sleeping on their new pillowcases.

Puppy Time

The dogs were having a good time playing.  Marshel was too busy playing video games to even notice, but Kellee was right in the mix.  She was wrestling them to the ground, but usually they won.

Suddenly, Kellee comes running to me and says, "Mom, Sophie knocked out my loose tooth".  So, it seems if we have any more loose teeth to come out, we will just call over our "tooth fairy".

Rachel was busy in July

July was all about Rachel.  She was like the Energizer Bunny - she just kept going and going and going...

First stop:  Student Council Camp

She headed to Camp Verde, Arizona for 5 nights where she met with kids from high schools all over Arizona.  They did a lot of activities building Spirit and camaraderie.  She will take all of this back to her high school this year to get her school's students amped up for the school year.

Next Stop:  Florida Vacation

Rachel returned from Student Council Camp, washed her laundry, repacked her suitcase and the next morning was on a plane to Florida to spend time with her Cortese family, including big brother Nate.  They spent time at the beach, going out to dinner, visiting with friends and family, and finishing it up with a day at Universal Studios.  She had so much fun and was so busy - she hardly took any pictures.  She had a great time though and was so happy to reunite with her best friend/brother.

After her day at the beach - OUCH!

Crazy Brother

Final Stop:  Cheerleading Camp

Rachel returned from Florida, unpacked, repacked and the next day headed off to Arizona State University for 3 days of Cheer Camp.  She and the other girls spent their days in workshops, practicing cheers and dances and getting to know cheerleaders from other schools. 
The last day of camp was when the girls performed for the NCA (National Cheerleading Association) judges.  Finally, it was time for awards.  Rachel's team, Maricopa Cheer, was given a Superior.

On day one, nominations were handed out for All-American Team.  Rachel received a nomination for her jumps.  On the last day, after awards, the final winners were announced. 

Rachel was awarded a spot on the All-American Team.  She was so excited.  She was the only one on her team that made it.  She now has the opportunity to attend other NCA events across the country and world.  Whether she attends or not, this will definitely look good on her cheerleading resume.

Good Job, Rachel!

She is now back at work and getting ready for school to start in a week. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Happy 4th of July

Our 4th of July celebration was postponed until the 7th of July. 
Although it is monsoon season, we rarely see rain.  However, the one main day we get
rain is on the day our town celebration was supposed to take place.  So, we were excited to
finally get our celebration, even if it was a few days late. 

The 4th of July has much more meaning for us now, especially Mom, since Michael serves our country in the US Navy.  We are so proud of him and are glad that he is doing his job to keep us safe and free.  It helps us to appreciate being a part of the military family in this country.

We started off the day with a huge waterfight.  We attempted to break the
Guiness Book of World Records for the World's largest Watergun Fight.  The record
was 3,400 people.  We ended up getting over 3,800 people, beating the record held by Thailand. 
The kids enjoyed spraying each other, but especially loved when the fire truck pulled up and the firemen sprayed the crowd with the fire hose.  They came back soaked, but laughing and happy.

This was a guy with a home-made glider.  He had a large fan attached to a seat,
run by a generator.  Very creative and fun to see him flying overhead.

We enjoyed dancing and listening to the music by an Arizona band, Rendezvous.  They were really good and entertaining.  After the band, we had the flag ceremony, followed by Laura Walsh singing the National Anthem.  Laura was Kellee's voice coach for awhile and now is on her way up in the country scene, opening for Miranda Lambert recently.  What a great voice!

Marshel and Kellee enjoyed all the junk food, especially the Cotton Candy.  Despite all the warnings not to lick their fingers, Kellee could not resist.  She and Marshel were a big sticky mess.

We got these cool Fireworks 3-D glasses, making for even better fireworks.  Mom prefers the traditional fireworks - pretty in their own right.

Can you tell Kellee took this picture?

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Our Summer Trip to Africa

Mom took everyone (Rachel, Jarron, Marshel and Kellee) to Africa today - well Out of Africa - in Camp Verde, Arizona.  We started the day early, driving north about 2 hours, to Camp Verde.  After getting our tickets, we boarded a safari bus and rode into the "Serengeti".  This was an open area where the animals roamed free - well as free as possible.  We were able to feed either the giraffe or the camel.  The giraffe was asleep when we arrived and wanted nothing to do with us.  The camel would not come out of her barn.  We started to get a bit discouraged, but then we found the zebras, water buffalo, ostrich, antelope, and many more animals.  The driver brought them over to the bus by throwing them "cookies".  They were so close we could have touched them, which would have been pretty dangerous I'm sure. 

On our way out, we saw the camel stick her head out the barn door, almost like she was glad we were leaving.  The giraffe was awake, but ignoring us, but finally got interested in the carrots we had and came begging, sticking his head in the open sides and sticking that long tongue out.

After leaving the "Serengeti" Safari Tour, we jumped on a tram and headed towards more animals.  We saw tigers, white tigers, bears, servals, hyenas, porcupines, turtles, birds, prairie dogs, and more.  Many of the animals were sleeping, but those who were up were pretty cool to look at.

We enjoyed the Tiger Splash Show.  Zion, the tiger, had a great time playing with his trainers.  They had a ton of pool toys and the tiger would run around to catch the toys and then jump in the pool.  Some of the trainers also jumped in.  They had a great time having a tug-of-war with Zion - Zion always won.  At one time, Zion jumped on a sled and it took 4 of them to pull him around.

We went to the Giant Snake Show.  They pulled out this giant Reticulated Python.  We didn't get to touch it - they brought it around but held it too far away to reach it.  Marshel really liked the snake and was really bummed that they didn't pick him to come in and touch the snake.

On our way out, we visited the gift shop.  Marshel and Kellee picked out a little White Tiger; Rachel picked out a giraffe.  We were all worn out and everyone but Mom slept on the way home.  It was a fun day and we hope to go back another time - maybe when Michael and Nathan are home.