Saturday, February 18, 2012

Tucson Rodeo 2012

Every year hundreds of cowboys and cowgirls (over 600 this year) descend upon Tucson to show us what they got. With them comes thousands of fans from all over the country to cheer them on. The Tucson Rodeo is such a big deal here that the last Thursday and Friday in February is officially Rodeo Break and all school districts in Tucson shut down. In fact, last year at a school district meeting wherein we were discussing whether to lengthen the school year one woman suggested that we give up Rodeo Break. You could have heard a pin drop. It was like those movie scenes where the record scratches to a halt. People couldn't believe she just suggested that the beloved and sacred Rodeo Break be sacrificed. When I first started teaching in Phoenix (which doesn't recognize the Rodeo as an official holiday) I was shocked we didn't get Rodeo Break off. All my life, growing up in Tucson, I just assumed everyone got the Rodeo off. My co-workers found the concept of Rodeo Break to be hilarious and got years of mileage out of that one.

Anyway, I hadn't been since I was a kid so we thought we'd take the kids today for Opening Day (it runs all week). We had such an amazing and fantastic time. The kids loved seeing all the animals and competitions. Their favorite event was the steer wrestling. Our oldest daughter, the ultimate lover of animals, was very concerned about the well-being of the animals. She would stand up and shout, "Get the bull, cowboy, but please don't hurt him!" Our son declared it the best day ever and said he wants to be a rodeo cowboy when he grows up. Even our youngest, who is generally a holy terror everywhere we go, was mesmerized by the animals and was in her element being free to roam the rodeo grounds unrestrained. The people there are amazing. Friendly, welcoming, just really down to earth. There truly is not a more family friendly event anywhere.

Here are the kids right before we headed to the Rodeo grounds.
Our eldest daughter and myself, cowgirled-up.
Our youngest. I love this picture for a couple of reasons. First, the vest she is wearing is a vest my great-grandmother made for me when I was my daughter's age. It was part of an outfit. She would be thrilled to know that her great-great granddaughter wore this today. Secondly, when I was a kid my grandparents used to take me to see the cows that were down the road from their house. I would always go ask to see the "moo cows" and there are pictures of me around this age and a bit older standing at the fence like this or in my grandfather's arms looking at the cows. Watching my daughter today reminded me of this.

The vest.
Our kids are hard-core. They left the Rodeo all tatted up.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Catch Up in Pictures

I haven't posted anything in a while primarily because I don't even know where to start. To say that our life has been insane, upside down, turned around, etc. would be an understatement. However, things are settling down again and I figured I'd do a partial catch up in pictures that I love (and yes, I am well aware that I am totally biased).

Before I had children, in fact before I was even married, I ran by own basketball program at a large high school in Phoenix. I loved coaching. It is a huge passion of mine. When I had our first child over six years ago I gave that up along with my teaching job. Over the past year or two I have really missed coaching. This year I went back to coaching girls Varsity basketball at one of our local high schools here. The administration was great in allowing me to bring my children to the practices (thankfully my husband was home in time to watch them for the games...that would have been difficult). My decision to do this made life exponentially more busy but it was a terrific experience and my kids had a great time. The girls were wonderful with my kids and I will never regret raising gym rats. My daughter especially looked up to the girls on the team and they were so awesome in including her in pre-game activities (I took my daughter with me to a couple of games). She was in hog-heaven.

Our youngest daughter, A, is a spirited child. Days have been hard with her. Recently, she literally almost died and it has made me re-evaluate how I respond to her. While the days are still long and hard sometimes, I am just so thankful that she is here with us knowing that a mere matter of seconds could have meant a difference in whether I would be burying a child this month. I love this girl to pieces!!!

Our son, E, has battled asthma and other lung issues since he was 8 months old. We've had a rough couple of months. Here he is in a compression vest, something we've become all too acquainted with recently. Poor guy has bacterial bronchitis and pneumonia as well as a nasty case of thrush due to all the inhaled steroids he is on to control his asthma. Kid is a mess, but one of the most good natured, cooperative kids you'll ever meet despite spending most of his young life in and out of doctor's offices and hospitals.

E fancies himself a cowboy. He wears his boots everywhere and thinks they are perfect for kicking up dust. Unfortunately for him, his mother doesn't like the fact that the dust causes him to cough. Even when he is pouting this kid just melts my heart.
Our older daughter, D, has joined two cheerleading teams. One is her school team and the second is a team through Parks and Rec. She LOVES it. The Parks and Rec team had to vote on a team name and the name my daughter suggested, The Sparkles, won. She is beyond excited. I was a college basketball player so anyone who knows me finds it hilarious that my daughter is a cheerleader. However, she loves it and that is all that matters. (On a side note, since she spent the basketball season with me in the gym she is actually pretty impressive with a basketball so there still may be hope).
This picture seriously just melts my heart. I've found myself looking at it repeatedly. I just want to freeze them in this moment in time. I hope they are always this close and that he is always this protective of his sisters.
My serious little baby!