Colton and I were there too, but by the looks of it, you wouldn’t know it. Ryan and Kelsey were in their own worlds. About half way through dinner, she crawled under the booth to his side of the table and proceeded to smother him in kisses, then she jumped on him. Luckily, I snapped some photos of these two. Oh, and you see how there are only 3 burgers on the table … one for Ryan, one for Colton and one for Kelsey. I brought My Fit Foods to In-and-Out and ate that instead. Can you believe that? Ugh. Diets.
Sometimes you have to just give yourself credit for trying. This past Sunday we were getting ready for church when I noticed these giant clouds overhead. The way the sun was bouncing off of the clouds left this really pretty glow in the sky. My inner photo hobbyist immediately thought, “Such great lighting for a photo!” So I asked Ryan if he would snap of photo of the kids and I on our front porch. (I have been a mother for nearly five years now and should know better than to think I could actually get my kids to sit still for a photo, but I tried anyway.) Turns out, Colton started running in circles like a crazy person, Kelsey kept asking if we were all done and I was taken to the ground to try to wrangle the troops. This is actually the best photo I got. It was such a bummer that no one really looked at the camera (Kelsey was almost spot on!), but what I love most is this picture actually represents what mornings are typically like for our family … half chaotic, half insane and always full of silly, unexpected moments.
During our week long vacation in Pinetop, Kelsey and I were out shopping at Eddie’s Country store (here). Directly across the street from Eddie’s is a popular steakhouse called, Charlie Clark’s. Someone once told me that Charlie Clark’s offers live music in their orchard and that we should try to go. So, I called them up. I was certain live music was only on offered on the weekends but to my surprise they do live music in the orchard on Wednesdays too. Perfect!
After the kids took their naps we loaded them up and drove down to Charlie Clark’s orchard (it’s right behind their restaurant). We found a small little table and sat down. I already knew this was going to be a fabulous night from the look of the place – old signage, rustic tables and chairs, a dance floor (I mean, come on!), country music, twinkle lights, perfect weather and huge trees all around.
There was this large grass area for the kids to run around in (and any parent knows waiting for your food to arrive is always a gamble so to be able to let your kids run around and play while you talk to your husband … well, that’s a dining out dream). Kelsey brought her baby doll and, together with Colton, they played “keep away” from one another. I got that on video, so I’ll have to share it with you. Seeing them play so well together was music to my ears. The table we were sitting at was off to the side and had a little itty bitty sign on it that said “no bar or food service”. But our waitress clearly saw that we were there to stay and served us anyway – score!
As the drinks started coming, the sun started to set and the musician started to play. It really was the perfect evening. Kelsey wanted to dance so she grabbed Ryan’s hand and led him to the dance floor. Then we all joined in; which wasn’t as embarrassing as it sounds, it was actually pretty special. When the musician asked the audience what they would like to hear next, Kelsey leaned over to me and said, “Mom, do you think he knows Let it Go.” I couldn’t help but laugh. We decided to ask … so, we put money in his tip jar, walked up to him and asked if he knew anything from the Frozen soundtrack (for the record, he doesn’t).
Then, Kelsey did something that really took me back. She found all of these green fruits (we’ll call them that because I have no clue what they were) and started collecting them. In a matter of seconds, Colton wanted in on the fun – only he started to eat the green fruits, which started to make her upset … so I needed to come up with a way to keep the peace. I had an idea. Kelsey and I would find a secret, secret hiding spot for our fruit so Colton couldn’t get them.
She thought I was the smartest person ever, so off we went to collect these green things. Then, it hit me. I had this blast from the past moment where I had done this before. Did I do this when I was little? Had I played this exact game before? I can’t remember much but I do remember being at a family reunion with my family, under large green trees, playing keep away with my cousins. The sun was setting, just like this evening was, and we were all running around giggling. That’s about as much as I recall but in this moment that rush and euphoric feeling of being with my family and being a kid came over me.
I looked up and realized that parenting is much more than being in the present. It’s about letting your inner kid come out and allowing yourself to relive the past. In that moment, I remembered my childhood so vividly .. and there I was playing this game of hide and seek and really influencing Kelsey’s childhood in such a positive way. Oh, I hope she remembers this moment forever. Or at the very least, when she is in her thirties and her children are running around laughing, playing, and having fun that it transports her back to a moment like this. A moment where mom was the smartest person in the world, dad was the strongest and her brother was the coolest.
If that wasn’t enough, the check presenters were mousetraps. I mean … that’s just darn cute. The next time you find yourself in Pinetop, Arizona, check out Charlie Clark’s for live music, dinner, and a really good time.
Summer has been really good to us, lots of family memories are being made over here. Some of our favorite things about summer:
2. Bright umbrellas, palm trees and blue skies
3. Nektar Juice bar every Saturday morning after swim class
4. Refreshing bowls of cherries
5. Sunday morning church (and trying to sneak in a photo)
6. Frozen (that one was for Kelsey)
We hope summer is treating you and your family well too. It’s hoooooot out here, but the kids are loving it.
On our lunch breaks, Teri and I played catch up over lunch at Chop Shop in Scottsdale. If you can hold out eating lunch until after 1pm, you’ll save yourself a few minutes in line. This place was packed! Mostly because it’s summer in Arizona, which means no one with sanity sits on a restaurant patio. See all of those empty seats behind us? Yep. It’s 115° so you’ll catch us Phoenicians indoors until November.
I know what Teri will say when she sees this blog post. “Wait, Steph … weren’t we just there.” Yes, we were just there. But I get off work around 1pm every Friday during the summer (it’s the best job perk I have!) which means I get to come home, relax, blog a little bit and then hit the gym before I have to pick up my kids from school. If you ask me, this is the best way to kick off the weekend.
PS – Two thumps up for the Chop House. The BBQ chicken salad and the Power Green pressed juice were great.
Notice how Colton is helping dad. He so badly wants to help him hang up the swing and to really take charge.
There he goes. What a big helper! He was all about the ladder and doing whatever dad is doing.
Now, do you see how much she cares about this. Not even a little bit of interest. Okay, maybe just a wee bit. As for helping with the swing … “Dad can do it,” she says.