Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Welcome 2009

Jack is working tonight, and our plans for the night had to be cancelled, so it is a solitary New Year's Eve here at home. The kids and I will be watching the ball come down soon, toast each other a good new year, and then go to bed. See ya in 2009.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Silver Dollar City

We have had tickets to go to Silver Dollar City for months, but we have held off so we could see it all set up for Christmas. On Sunday we packed up the kids and drove up to Branson for the day to use the tickets and enjoy the day together. This is going to go down as one of my favorite family memories... ever. In fact, I have been invited to an all-night crop this weekend, and after not paper scrapping for over a year I am going to break out the scrap crap and make an album with the best of the nearly 300 pictures I took.

Matt was wingman for the younger boys when they wanted to ride the scarier rides. It was awesome to watch them just having so much fun together. Kyle wouldn't ride the swing ride (although Todd couldn't wait to get on it),
but for some reason this behemoth appealed to him. And for me, the expression on his face makes this the best carnival ride photo.... ever. He did this the whole time, while Todd would occasionally open his eyes as he swirled by and smile at us, then promptly shut them again.
I love the interaction in this shot as Matt was telling Todd how well he had done as the ride finally came to a halt. After all those I-want-to-puke expressions throughout the ride, Kyle was all smiles when it ended.
As Chet and Matt rode a big roller coaster, these guys were planning which rides they wanted to hit. In the end they rode every single one in the kid area.
My baby is tall enough to ride the rides alone? Are you sure?
Maybe she is, but that doesn't mean she would! Faith was her buddy on all her rides, and when Beth didn't want her elephant to fly Faith just put her arm around her and they circled around at ground level.
Kyle was on the front of his roller coaster ride, and here he is telling us "No!" when we told him to put his arms in the air "like you just don't care" (Todd called up that last bit to him.)
For Beth, the very best part was the frog ride. They all hop in a circle ribbiting and bouncing. She wanted to bring it home and keep it in the backyard. The property is big enough, the truck isn't.
In the end, we watched the lighting of the tree, saw the parade of lights, ate a funnel cake, and then left the park to take the kids to dinner.
It was about as close to a perfect family day as we have ever had, and a fantastic memory to end the year on.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Faith's Video and Christmas Recap

I have at last uploaded Faith's video successfully! I posted it here with the Christmas morning pictures to help set the Christmas reading mood, because even though these pictures show some of the kids' presents, they weren't what made our Christmas so great. (If the video starts stuttering, I would let it run through without volume, then click play again and turn the volume back on and it should play smoothly.)

We had a really nice Christmas. We warned the kids to not wake us up before 7:00, so at 7:01 they appeared at our bedside all dressed and ready to delve into presents.
It was a very nice morning as everyone took turns opening presents. Between Black Friday sales and some really great deals we found on Amazon, Santa managed a really nice Christmas for very little money. They also had presents my mom had left, that Jesse and Sam sent, that Papa and Leigh sent, and their adopted Gramma Berta had sent. And they seemed to genuinely love every single present. There was at least one thing that each of them really wanted, and one thing each of them loved and didn't even know they wanted until they opened it. I love presents like that.

Beth kept pulling off her package bows and sticking them on her head. This was a box of long colorful socks my mom bought her. Beth loves socks like this, and one pair even had frogs on them!

Faith has been wanting one of these chairs forever, and those movies aren't new releases but are titles she has really loved watching over and over this week. Today we were watching Hairspray and she was blown away when I mentioned that the mom is really a man in real life. (John Travolta) Her reaction was hilarious. I wish you could have seen it! She was stunned!
Todd couldn't wait to play UDance, but since Santa forgot to bring the batteries it needs he had to wait.

Have I shared Matt's coffee obsession with you? I won't talk about his cream and sugar to coffee ratio, but he laughed as much when he opened this big huge mug as we did when we picked it out for him.
I shared how much Chet loved this book, so when I saw the game on sale for an incredible price we had to get it for him. They have all played it a few times, and I love that girls have to repeat "boys are fantastic, girls are elastic" before they can join in.

All Kyle really wanted (other than a live tiger in a cage and a dirt bike... Santa wasn't bringing those!) was a disco ball. He wants to have parties in his room with hot girls. We got him the disco ball, and he can have parties, but the hot girls are a big no. This was his favorite disco ball, but he also got the rainbow one and a strobe light. As I type this the kids are in his room having a party, dancing to Todd's new Kids Bop CD. The girls put on dresses for it, and Faith asked to use the tickets from our trip to Silver Dollar City yesterday as ID to get in the door at Klub Kyle.

Beth received a set of frog towels and decorations for the kids' bathroom, so I couldn't resist when I found this Barbie set for her dollhouse. It is a bathroom set with frog accents. I think I might have to gather all the froggy gifts she received and take a picture, because she really raked in some fun frog things.

I think the best gift was the Nerf guns. The boys received a 4 pack, and I really should have gotten 2 packs of them so we could all play at once. Josh and Mystery and kids came over to spend the day with us, and while our enchiladas were cooking Todd and Josh battled it out.

These little guns with foam darts have been so much fun.

Everybody should make time in their lives for a Nerf war.

Overall, it was a calm, quiet, and fun Christmas day. One of the best we have ever had. In fact, other than Beth getting that flu bug again on Friday, the whole weekend was great. We really enjoyed just getting time together without having to be anywhere. We watched movies, cooked yummy food, hung out in our jammies, and just played together. I hope your holiday was just as awesome, no matter how you spent it!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

'Twas the Night Before

'Twas the night before Christmas when who should appear,
but an All-Star Santa....and two hyper reindeer.
The hour grew late and there was a change of plans
after greeting their dad with a "Happy Birthday Old Man!"
The children were finally sleeping sound in their beds,
after threats of duct tape rained down on their heads.

The teenagers snored and slept through the flash
as they dreamt of new Xbox games and cash.

The stockings were packed away from our reach
so bags were filled with pop-tarts and treats.
The packages were wrapped and stacked by the tree
that had been nearly stripped in a booby-making spree.

Then a tired old Santa and his green-eyed wife
headed off to sleep for a couple of hours that night.
But first she blogged for all their internet pals
"From us in the Ozarks, Merry Christmas Y'All!"

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Whispering Merry Christmas!

The presents are out, the kids are asleep, and I am heading to bed for a couple of hours sleep myself before they all wake up. Have a merry and blessed Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa Claus is coming to town!!

We have been running here and there doing all the last minute things to get ready for Christmas. It has been a year where nearly all of our traditions have flown out the window, and that is okay.

The younger kids were part of the Christmas program last week. I would love to tell you about it, but I didn't get to see it. I had to leave my office later than I planned, so I missed Kyle's class singing. I think he was just glad to see me make it, though. This expression on his face is funny!
Todd was supposed to be a shepherd in this Nativity, but when I got to the school his teacher told me he wasn't feeling well again. Poor little guy was feeling pukey again, so I brought him home. Unfortunately, it is the season for giving, and Todd gave that pukey bug to all of us. One at a time we have all been coming down with it for about 10-24 hours at a time. Last night and today was my turn, and it has been very unpleasant. We missed the candlelight ceremony tonight because of it, and that really saddens me. It is my favorite service of the year.
We have been re-arranging our house again, so we decided to set up our den area upstairs for Christmas this year instead of squeezing a tree into our living room. With our work and school schedules compacted even further by our holiday activities we just hadn't found the time to unpack all the Christmas stuff. So we decided to buy a new tree instead. If you have never set up a pre-lit tree I just have to encourage you to try it! We had the tree assembled and ready for ornaments within ten minutes.
I decided to get a tree that satisfies my girly nature. It is white, with teal, purple, and pink accents. The older boys hate the colors, but the girls think it is great! Next year we will have our girly tree upstairs again and set up the green tree downstairs.
I had several of these big ornaments on the tree, but they have dwindled down. It seems Beth has decided it would be fun to stuff them into her shirt to make boobs out of them.

The final piece was an angel topper. Since this was a girly tree, and I picked the colors, I also decided on the angel that had something in common with me. She plays the flute. I bet if you didn't know me 20 years ago you didn't know I know how to do that.
And since girls and girly trees like to have friends around, we paired the little purple tree up with the white one. Next year we will add a little pink one for a girly Christmas forest.
TodayBeth kept coming to me and telling me that she really needed to talk to Santa. She needed to call him. I was just too sick to do much about it all afternoon, but this evening I could finally sit up and not have the world spin around me so badly. So I called the North Pole and left a message asking Santa to please call her.

About ten minutes later the phone rang, and a very happy Beth relayed to Santa that not only does she want a Barbie and a real frog,but she would also like a phone, a laptop, and $500. Um yeah... me except for maybe the real frog.
Then Todd got on to say hello. Santa had asked Beth what she would be leaving him to snack on and she promised him fudge and milk. Todd promised cookies and eggnog. Apparently I need to actually bake tomorrow.
Skeptical Kyle got on the phone and was blown away when Santa mentioned that he knew Kyle had played on an all-star team this year. Then Santa mentioned that he had heard Kyle wants a disco ball for Christmas and Kyle said, "How did you know that?" I do believe his belief in Santa has been restored for at least another year. Thanks, Santa!
Then Faith got on the phone with the big red elf, and talked about music and reindeer food. I am finding it particularly pleasant that she cannot figure out who Santa is, and she cannot even try to guess aloud because she knows she isn't allowed to contribute to disbelief in the younger kids.
I have a lot to do tomorrow to finish prepping for Christmas, but I am not as unprepared as years past, which is another tradition we were happy to bypass this year. Presents are mostly wrapped, and provided this pukey bug leaves me alone we should be ready to feed the flying elf and his reindeer tomorrow night.

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Pictures.. Here ya go, Matt!

On the Saturday before Mom left we all dressed up in our Christmas clothes and came into town to try to take some family pictures on the square. It turns out it wasn't a great location visually for taking pictures, and the wind decided to join us in full force. I ended up not liking most of the pictures, particularly since my camera is having issues at the moment, but I have been fiddling with them. In the meantime, Matt keeps asking me if I have them uploaded yet. "Hey, Mom... pictures done?" "Mom, where's the pictures?" "Mom, can I have the Christmas pictures before next Halloween?" Okayyyyyy, Matt.. here you go.

These actually all need to be edited better, and I may even retake the whole thing if I can't find a way to liven the pictures up a bit.
Here are my pretty little girls.
And my handsome guys.
And here is the entire 6 pack.
When we got home that afternoon, I asked them all to sit on my favorite bench for photos and try some that way. They came out better than the ones on the square, but by this point the kids were freezing.
Mom took some of Jack and I together too. (Matt just came in and saw this one and said "Any photos of me going up?)
Here are the individuals.
That afternoon I asked my icicles to change their clothes and put on the funny shirts we had found for them. We found one for each of them that really suited their personalities. These are going on the family cards. (Mr. Impatient's is the first one posted on this thread.)
Now, in the first set of individuals you can see Todd's picture. But this one IS Todd. How does so much personality get packed into one little person??

I am hanging this one in our bedroom.
So off I go to edit them better and get them ready for print. I want to frame them. I found the perfect frame at Target today that I am going to go back and get eventually.
It has the exact amount of spaces oriented exactly the way I need them for this set. Isn't it pretty?