round up.

Hmmmmm. Maybe weekly recaps is the way things will happen around here. As much as I envision taking time at the end of each day to jot a few notes out...I don't seem to be creating the space to do that until I have an extra pair of hands and most of the primary stuff has been touched on, which usually works out to be on the weekends. We are doing our best to survive the summer with some moments of bliss thrown in. ;) Last week, we spent a day with my sister and her babes, making giant bubble wands.
Creating the bubbles was a bit tricky for us, so the kids lost interest after a few rounds. That is when Brittni and I got very interested and tried our hand at making the biggest bubbles we possibly could! Later that weekend, the kids and I made some fossilized dinosaur footprints in some sugar cookie dough. We tried printing the cookies before they went in the oven, but ended up having to re-do all of it once they were out of the oven and cooling. It made cookie eating all the more wonderful. :) We had another lively week with a geography lesson with some friends, an art class where the kids are making things out of clay, a day of dear friends coming over to play, and swimming a couple of times. I even got to go to an herb class this week taught by my wonderful friend because Jamie so willingly accepted to watch my kids while I ventured out with Kodiak. It was a great week!


and here we are...

I don't know why I am so drawn to this picture. It kind of cracks me up, really. I had pumped some milk for Kodiak in preparation of an evening I thought I would be getting away with a friend. It didn't end up happening, and so I had this bottle of milk in the fridge. I think I was trying to get some cleaning done or something...and had given Journey this bottle to see if it would entertain Kodiak for a few moments. I love seeing her be the attentive big sister that she is. And sweet Asher...in his own world, in his own mind. Something about all of this just makes me smile and I wanted to share it. An ordinary moment. They make up the heartbeat of our days. It seems like, as the summer heats up to uncomfortable temperatures, we have been slowing our pace and finding new rhythm throughout daily life. We are spending a LOT more time indoors and much more time at home. The past few weeks we have been navigating what that means for us. I have been feeling a pull to incorporate a bit more of a natural rhythm to our days that enables us to find a peaceful groove while actually accomplishing the things that seem to be important in the workings of family living (like cleaning, for example...and for the homeschooling family...learning!). Apart from that, we have been doing our best to stay COOL during these crazy summer days and still try and get together with the people in our lives who nurture and encourage us. We had a little hoop date with some dear, treasured friends a couple of weeks ago. We brought our hoops and the kids all helped one another decorate some homemade hoops! There were 8 kids among 3 mamas. Once the decorating was finished, we went to a shady spot in the grass to hoop it up. That didn't last long with the extreme temperatures, so we opted to walk down to the pool and jump in!
We've made a list of "things to do". I am working on putting them each onto individual craft sticks and place them in a "boredom jar" because I have been hearing that word lately from my oldest one's mouth. BORED. I have never heard him say this before. I know the heat is difficult to embrace and so it helps to have something on hand to pull out and give instant idea to. Face paints are on the list. Journey decided to give it a go the other day...she likes butterflies best.
And for the 4th...we had some fun getting a little festive...
(papa and asher talking over the grill)
our 4th was full of fun. and backyard fireworks. and a beautiful lightening show watched from our trampoline!


June is a guaranteed month of insanity. :) There is always something going on within the family with so many birthdays this month, summer solstice and father's day thrown in the mix and a potential trip or two. The month started out with the Rundio's annual fishing trip to Greer. This year everything was quite different because of the fire that was raging throughout eastern Arizona and New Mexico. When leaving, I had no idea how close the fire was to where we would be staying. The closer we got to Greer, the more in shock I was with just how BIG this fire was. This was our view driving into Greer...
While we were there, we were put on pre-evacuation notice from the local sheriff's department. We had to leave the next day. We stayed around for as long as we thought was safe to let the kids do some fishing and enjoy the beauty that is Greer. It was quite emotional, really...leaving this sweet town without knowing whether or not it would make it through this fire. I had never before been this close to the magnitude of a wild fire. That energy is intense! This was our view as we were leaving the next day: The rest of the month was filled up with celebrations and activities and swim dates. We also started a weekly library date with Granny and Grandpa so that the kids can get to the library every week and so that mama has a couple of hours to herself (and Kodiak)...to clean in peace. ;) It has been rather nice! We also planted a wee garden on the Spring Equinox and this month we have really seen it blossom to fullness. The sunflowers have been our favorite and the kids really enjoyed seeing them grow to such heights! We recently harvested them and are drying the seeds. Father's day celebrations were full of fun. I am really trying to make a more conscious effort in encouraging the children in gifting handmade. I always hold it as intention, as well as using natural materials in whatever we give...but I really want to step it up a bit and be more proactive in the gift giving. I know that within my own life and with my own children...the handmade gifts are of a very special variety. For father's day this year, we tried to be mindful of this and took on a few last minute projects for the men in our families. Hopefully we will be more on top of the game as each celebration presents itself. ;)
(josh, wearing his princess crown that journey made him)
asher giving Grandpa GG a big thank you hug for the wonderful movies that he got for his birthday. Grandpa GG knows exactly what he likes!
And the month rounded up with this incredible boy's 7th birthday. There are no words to describe what I feel for this soul. He amazes me continuously and he brings so much meaning into this life. He wanted a surprise party for his birthday...so I gave him one! He was certainly surprised and it was one of those moments that has you smiling until you cry...to see his reaction and the beautiful FUN energy of it all. I asked him what he wanted to do on his birthday and he said he wanted to go swimming at Nonnie and Papa's house. I knew that I could easily pull off a surprise by taking him over there to swim. His dear friends in his homeschool group were there waiting to surprise him for an afternoon of swimming. He had a great time! For his birthday, Josh and I promised him a trip out to La Brea Tar Pits in L.A. because it is one of his most treasured destinations of all time at the moment. We planned to take him the weekend after his birthday, but plans have been changed and we probably won't make it out there until August. It was an eventful month! We are blessed with so many wonderful friends and family.


May continued to be a busy month with a lot of family events and transformations. I know that some time was spent in reflection of Grandma Verner's beautiful life as family came into town to celebrate and honor her. Kodiak began crawling around, so life changed in that way. Life was full with the same activities it was last month as far as what the kids were involved in. We had a fun sleepover party for all the nephews at our house the end of the month. It was such a treat to get to be with all of them together. Being the first one to have children in my family, I haven't had the opportunity to "just" be the auntie when we are all together. So, these moments where I am with my nephews without their mama's around is very precious to me. I love them so very much. Here are a few images from that night...
pizza time!
making smores 'round the fire
looking for scorpions with their black lights
They all had a really good time together and woke up EARLY in the morning for a pancake breakfast. Hmmmm. What else happened this month? Oh yes, Journey cut her hair off and my dad somehow managed to turn it into a magical little pixie cut that suits her so well. :)


April was another busy month in the outdoors. We try to soak up as much as we can while we can endure it, because we know that when the mid-summer months roll in, we won't be able to enjoy the outdoor life in the same way. We took several trips down to Coon's Bluff where the kids could romp around in the river and climb rocks to the desire of their hearts. This became a fast family favorite for "places to roam free". The arboretum was visited a handful of times as well this month. The heat was getting to be enough to where we didn't last long past morning time with the baby in tow. But he was always a trooper for me, taking his naps in the ergo as I wore him on our walks. We also got our new clubhouse this month! Papa spent endless hours working on this treasure for us and it.is.amazing! I am so blessed to have a dad who can craft such beauty that will live out a long and loved purpose. The kids love their clubhouse and have spent many early mornings playing and using imagination within these walls. I know that it will be used even more when the weather cools off again. And, of course, the last few weeks in April were full of spring celebrations and egg hunts. We did a party with our homeschool group and also two separate celebrations for both sides of the family...not to mention the egg hunt we do in our own backyard. :) Several other things took place this month that don't have pictures to tell the stories. Asher broke his wrist when he fell out of a tree he was climbing. He had to take a break from his gymnastics class that he so dearly loves. He still hasn't started again...hopefully at the end of this month. His wrist is all healed up now, but it was a bummer for him for several weeks. Journey also started her t-ball games this month (I can't find my pictures!). So each week we would have practice on Thursday nights and then game day was Saturday. She really enjoyed it and she was all business about the game! It is fun to see her explore different things. We had full weeks with gymnastics (prior to the tree incident), art class, t-ball, earth scouts and homeschool group activities. We went on a tour of the Salt River Landfill with our homeschool group at the end of this month. The kids thought it was really interesting and I actually learned a lot about this facility that I wasn't aware of. We talked about ways that we can reduce our trash to begin with (instead of just relying on recycling) and we started up our compost bin again in effort to minimize what we throw away. It was a great learning experience!


(a very ordinary moment. asher building letters with mini marshmallows and toothpicks)
March was a fun-filled month and the weather was so perfect for enjoying as much time as we could outside, from what I remember. In fact, there were several evenings where the kids wanted to eat our dinner outside on that patio. I remember one of those evenings, it ended up snowing in parts of the east valley, and we could see snow on the Superstition Mountains from our backyard. Our dinner didn't stay warm for very long that night. :) It was also during this month and April where we started harvesting creosote together as we went on our weekly hikes. So much beauty in the desert around this time of year.
Tia came into town for her spring break and got to stay with us one of the nights she was here. We got up the next morning and took a hike together. We were supposed to meet up with one of the homeschool groups we are a part of, but we were running late (ahem) and missed the hike. So, we just took our own and the kids had a lot of fun hiking with Tia.
We also tried to visit the arboretum as much as possible with the beautiful weather around. We became members last year and the kids really love exploring the grounds. It is probably our favorite place to visit when things aren't so hot.
(exploring rocks and minerals at the arboretum)
(journey feeling good with the breeze on her face)
(their favorite tree stump, roots exposed)
For St. Patty's day, we have made it a tradition to go to Fountain Hills for their celebration. The kids love seeing the huge fountain turn dark green. The night before, we set up a little leprechaun "trap" to see if we could trick any little green folk. No such luck, but we did get a note...teasing us for our attempt. ;)
asher looking out at the fountain
(my very own little leprechaun)
(looking through the basket of spring books)
At the end of the month, we took a trip with our homeschool group to go camping at Kartchner Caverns. We took a tour of the caves together which was such an incredible experience. I can't wait to go back again sometime soon! It was a weekend of exploration and...lizards! There were lizards everywhere. Asher's kind of place. (a lone trek through the desert) my lover of reptiles