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Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's traditions

My friend Lisa (actually, she's an ANGEL because she took over running the homeschool group for me) is running a contest on her blog. She asked for New Year's traditions, and I'm afraid I don't have much to offer, but here goes:

I always, always, always watch the ball drop. The new year just doesn't even feel right without it. I do wish though that they'd say adios to Dave Clark...I feel bad for his post-stroke self trying to talk so that anyone has a chance of understanding him. He's a great man, an icon of his time, and keeping him on the air destroys image. I got to do New Year's in Time's Square on year in high school. TOO COOL.

On New Year's day, my family usually gets together. We hang out, play games, and generally laugh. A lot. Now, my husband's family has been grafted in too since the in-laws have a house up here. I don't watch sports, and could never see another televised game again and have it be too soon, so it is DEFINITELY NOT about the bowl games, although there will undoubtedly be some game watching on the in-laws side of things.

For my family, we always have standing rib roast. We're not southern, so no hoppin' John or Susan or Joe or whatever. And we have Yorkshire pudding. It's my grandmother's recipe, and it's one way we keep her memory alive. What I love most is that it's my dad's mom who always made it (my parents divorced decades ago), and it's MY mom who carries on the tradition. Unfortunately, the in-laws are hosting this year, so who knows what we will be eating ;-(.
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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Yesterday's project

So I had some great plans for what I was going to accomplish yesterday...but so did my kids, and their plans did NOT line up with mine. They wanted the new trampoline put together. Knowing that it needed to happen, and there is no time like the present, and if I could get it done, the hubs wouldn't have to, I set out to do it. Here is the finished project. The kids LOVE it, and so do I as it is nice and safe compared to the old one you can see in the Boys and Ice post.

All the kids helped haul pieces to the backyard, and put the legs together, but then they got cold and bored, and only Scott (under duress) stayed to help with the rest since it said 2 adults were needed. It took the better part of the day to get done, and my fingers were frozen by nightfall, but it's finished!
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Boys and ice

On day two of our ice adventure, the boys, with the help of an ingenious friend, took the ice sheets and placed them on the old trampoline WITH THEM and proceeded to jump and break the pieces-launching them high into the air. I pray the mother of the other boy will forgive me for continuing to allow it once I found out , as there were 4 kids jumping, but they had good fun, and I went out and supervised and put an end to it when the trampoline got too slippery.

This is the snowball that N made from some frost on a box. You can't tell size, but it's about 1 1/4 inches in diameter.
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My kids have been chomping at the bit to freeze things with our sub-freezing temps. They wanted to a) spray the whole yard and freeze it or b) spray the trampoline and freeze it. I, of course, being no fun at all, vetoed both ideas. So they filled plastic totes instead. The above ice is the result of those.
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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Bald Eagle

I had a photo shoot in the beginning of the month with two adorable boys. While we were shooting, a bald eagle flew overhead and I managed to grab these:

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Only on Christmas

Sari got a new scooter from Nana and Pop Pop for Christmas. It even comes with a scooter for your Barbie that you can hook to the front of it. But it was darn cold outside by the time we were home, so Sari improvised ;-).

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On Christmas Eve eve, the kids who regularly attend Thrusday night church went caroling at a local nursing home. Here are a few pictures. Do you like the one above? Where you can't see TJ's face at ALL? The funny thing is that's how Mimi sang the whole night and TJ never did-except this one brief moment where their rolls were reversed. And the colored paper? That was a riot. One of the sweet older ladies has a granddaughter who made them THAT DAY, and they were meant to say, "God Jesus loves you", which makes little sense in the best situation. But then they were passed out to kids who had NO idea why they had them and also were not standing in any semblence of a straight line. The result? Alphabet soup!

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Hawk visitors

For the past few weeks, we have had a red shouldered hawk hanging around. Today, his mate showed up too. In the past, we have had them nest in a large tree in our yard. This time, I'm not sure where their nest is, but the male has been hanging around a huge tree in a vacant lot a few houses down. Where they perch is at least 60 feet up in the air, so I am maxing out my zoom to get these, but check him out-he's HUGE!

Just for comparison, this last picture was taken by my new point and shoot. Pretty good, huh?
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I went to an ornament exchange the week before Christmas. Everyone had to make their ornament, and the main components were very specific ;-). Because I know one of my friends is dying to know, here is my ornament:

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Disney for the holidays

Nobody does the holidays like Disney does. Sari told me the other day that her two favorite things were halloween and Christmas lights, so of course, we had to go see the Osbourne lights at the Studios. This may be the last year with Disney passes for a while. The kids would love Universal tickets instead since we've never been there. The problem? The Disney passes blacked out for the holidays on the 18th, but three of the kids had been sick, like antibiotic, hacking up a lung sick, for the week leading up to that, so we had to force ourselves to go when I would usually have given them a few more days to feel better. I had two objectives: See some of the Epcot storytellers in the countries and see the Osbourne lights. As a bonus, Marie's family was going that day too, so we spent a few hours with them also.

Sari was enchanted with the snowflakes being projected on the ground as we left Epcot.

The 3 kings in Mexico. Now you see why I call the old point and shoot the yucky camera-it sometimes randomly chooses to record only part of an image. In this case, Sari was left with half a face. You would think I would KNOW that and take more than one shot of each pose!

The Monkey King in Japan.

Julenissen and the storyteller in Norway.

The moon above the Aukershus. Remember the yucky camera? The old point and shoot that prompted me to ask for a new one? It did a decent job on this picture.

The angel on the top of the Epcot tree.

The Osborne lights. Sari is actually in the picture, just hiding behind Mimi.

This is what the street looks like. It's wall to wall people, and lights cover every surface imaginable.

Sari was THRILLED. Especially as the fake "snow" fell.

All four of them. This angst-filled look has become common with Scott, so expect to see more of it.

Another view of the street...and the people.
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Christmas day- the family gathering

These are from our family Christmas at my mom's. Members of my family and my husband's family all get together. We have the kids exchange gifts/open presents from the "grands:, and then the adults do a Chinese gift exchange, where everyone brings a gift worth about $20 and we draw numbers, pick a gift or steal from someone else, and all go home with something. We started doing this a few years ago, and it makes it MUCH easier, since we are never really sure who is coming and there is a lot of variety in finances, so this levels the playing field. I've learned the key is to bring a gift you wouldn't mind going home with yourself. That was handy this year especially as I did just that. I brought a yummy, big fleece blanket, and blankets are a hot commodity in our house, so I figured of all the gifts that were open by my number (half way through), it was the one we could use most. In the end, no one else stole it, so I got to keep it. My mom, my m-i-l, and my s-i-l also went home went home with a gift they brought too, so I wasn't the only one. But to be honest, I'm glad my m-i-l went home with the rusty TIN, pig shaped watering can and NOT me. Give me a comfy blanket any day!
All the pictures below are from my NEW camera. I'm very pleased at how well it handled the back-lighting with the sliding door behind everyone.

My step father. He's dying of cancer, but doing great. Actually, he's a walking miracle, because he has a host of medical issues-any one of which could take a person out of this world.
Finally! Sari got a Leapster. It's been hard on her with the other kids using their movie extra money to buy handheld gaming things-DSi's for Mimi and TJ, and an iPod Touch for Scott. She was feeling left out. I knew she was getting this from Gram (I got an amazing deal on it when Target decided to price-match Walmart's ad on Black Friday), but she didn't. She played with it almost all day today.

My mom picked out this shirt for Scott. It makes his eyes look amazing.

Aunt Karen got TJ the game he really wanted-New Super Mario Bros. He was very excited.
The Hubs. He can't pass up the chance to make a funny face.

Cousin B got a DSiXL for Christmas because, as my sister-in-law announced to everyone in the kitchen, they are wealthy and can afford stuff like that. He also had a 4 foot tall stocking stuffed to the brim. Anyway, he actually enjoyed watching Sari play it more than playing it himself. He would say, "You play. I watch." if she asked him if he wanted a turn.

Mimi with her new earrings and new fleece jacket. As much as I hate Wally-world, it saved our Christmas.

Aunt Karen bought Sari the Disney Princess collection from Target. She was thrilled, as you can tell.

B, who has made some great progress. There is something "not right" about him. They swear it's not autism, but that would be my guess. Socially he struggles, he doesn't make great eye contact, and pretty much does what he wants regardless of what everyone else is doing. But now he is reading. Really reading. He just turned 5 and he can read words like "snow" and "New York". That's not typical 5 year old reading. I'm glad he's making progress at his new school!

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Christmas morning-at home

I love this age when they can get excited about anything-even stickers!

Scott waiting patiently with his stocking.

Mimi with her stocking. She loved her Christmas eve pj's, but not as much as Sari, who spent all day in hers.

TJ hugging his stocking. They are SOOOO good about not coming out and digging in to them before we are ready. I know it must kill them to be so patient.

Santa was really, REALLY good to me. (And to quote my least favorite Christmas song that plays over and over in my head thanks to our friend at WACO, "Santa looks a lot like daddy", or at least my kids' daddy ;-) ). The hubs got me this great point and shoot. I told him I wanted one so I did not have to take the "big camera" everywhere we go. It's pretty heavy to carry around Disney for hours and hours on end. This little point and shoot takes great pictures and and weighs next to nothing. I am one really lucky and blessed mamma and wife for sure!

The BIG family gift. A new trampoline that I waited in line for 45 minutes for at 11:30PM on Thanksgiving night. And just in case you are wondering, it sat under that blanket for a MONTH with no one noticing. And it is still sitting there because yesterday was busy and today was FREEZING.

Every year, The Hubs buys the kids a gift just from him. Usually, he does pretty well. And he got 3 out of 4 this year. But for some reason, he took a leave of his sense and thought, "I know just what my 11 year old, artistic, girlie daughter wants. Certainly not the paint set she asked me for. She's much prefer the TOOL kit I found for her. After all, all the other kids have one." So the above picture is Mimi's somewhat disingenuous response. The irony? You needed a screwdriver to unscrew the plastic that covers the the screwdrivers. Poor planning on someone's part!
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