Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bike Riding

Victoria received a new bike from her Nana and Poppa. She loves it so much that she has been riding it in the house. She watched a movie sitting on it and even parked it in our closet. The fact that she has been able to maneuver around the table and the island in the kitchen is pretty impressive. It will only be a matter of time before those ol' training wheels come off and she will be riding on her own. It is now parked in the garage where it should be. We had to convince her that it is a little bit of a tight fit in the closet.

Merry Christmas!

There is so much to be thankful for this Christmas. I can't imagine not having Jesus in front of us leading the way. How blessed we are.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gingerbread Houses

Every year we save the Halloween candy to decorate a gingerbread house. Once me missed making one at Christmas so we made one for Valentines Day. It was really cute. Anyway...we had this huge supply so we decided to make three. One for us of course, and two for our neighbors. They were a big hit. Kirk was really clever in using left over styrofoam as a base. Pretty cool idea!
These boys! They kept eating our supply. I wasn't sure if I was more worried about how much sugar they were eating or that we might run out of candy. It is amazeing to see how much food these two boys consume. Especially the big one. Either way, we had a great time decorating them. Great family time. Even when the roofs kept sliding down from the weight of the candy and the walls were caveing in on itself. A few stressful moments that always turned into laughter. The great part is that we finally got rid of all of that stored candy. Yay!

Winter Wonderland Festival Continued

For some reason I couldn't get these pictures to upload correctly. I guess when you live in the desert they have to ship in the snow. They had this tall trailer full of snow with a snow bank. They kids were in heaven. The boys had plenty of snowball fights. They were the last ones hanging out on the slush left over from hours of fun.


Winter Wonderland Festival

Our friends' church, Mountain Valley, was having a Winter festival. Kirk painted backdrops for their rooms. They had several rooms with games, crafts, cookie decorating. That kind of stuff. They even had a room with computers in them so you could email Santa and actually get a reply. Jared was skeptical and wanted to challenge Santa so he asked for a million bucks in small unmarked bills and that he didn't mind getting coal. Teenagers! Our friend told him to watch out for the Santa police. Our friend AJ is always wearing shorts and a t-shirt no matter what the weather. So this particular night I was impressed, he was actually wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. But looking a little closer he was soaked to the bone from the snow. So I guess it didn't really matter.
Hannah and Victoria's first time riding a pony. They were so excited it was funny watching two giggly little girls. Though it looks like these particular ponies had seen better days. One of them had his feet pointing outward. He was the opposite of pigeon-toed. Really wierd.

This is one of eight backdrops that Kirk just whipped out lickety split in our very own garage. He makes it look so easy. They really dressed up the rooms and made them fun to be in. Cookie decorating. Victoria and Hannah had drawn pictures for Santa and were very pleased to see that Santa had visited the cookie decorating room. Victoria couldn't wait to give him hers. A special hug from Santa. A special hug for Hannah too! The girls could have hung out all night in the petting zoo. It kind of looks like Victoria had strangled this chicken. I guarantee you it is still alive. They were so tame. I have never seen so many tame chickens. This bunny was really cute. Oh the little grey and white bunny was cute too. And this bunny was cute too. The red haired one that is. The hanging snowflakes turned out great! This room looked like it was ransacked. I think the kids tore through this game and left it in shambles. This was pin the nose on the reindeer game and some other ones. Cute huh. Santa's workshop was busy, busy. It came with extra elves!
Only in Scottsdale do you need painted snowdrifts.

I Made Myself a Snowball.

Victoria memorized this really cute poem by Shel Silverstein called "Snowball". And can recite it at any moment for you. In case you aren't familiar with it here it is.

I made myself a snowball
As perfect as can be.
I thought I'd keep it as a pet
And let it sleep with me.
I made it some pajamas
And a pillow for it's head.
And last night it ran away
But first it wet the bed.

Tye Dyeing

Daphne and I were up to our eye balls with dye. The colors are beautiful. You never quite know how something will turn out. We have as many successes as we have disasters.
We have a tendancy to gather garments over the months to dye. By the time we started this huge project we had a five gallon bucket stuffed full of "things" to dye.

we thought these looked like trees with a vibrant sky.

100 days of Practice

Miss Shari has to be the greatest violin teacher the kids could ever have. She shares her talent and can easily motivate the kids to play beautifully. Kaleb earned another 100 days of Practice medal. There were a couple late nighters of a quick scale or two when he "almost" forgot. We are really proud of both of them. They practice hard and it shows. Way to go Kaleb!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

State Chamionship Competition

The team made it down to ASU for the State Championships. The competition was pretty good. The boys were all prepared, had fun and just did the best that they could.These boys can function independently from the adults. They handled themselves very well. Here they are checking the battery level. In the morning hours they were pretty comical. There was much laughter between the rounds, the presentation and technical judging. By the late afternoon it looked like all of the kids were dropping like flies in the pit area. While the boys were waiting to do their skit they met Burger King in the hallway. The boys had a good relationship with this referee. He was at the regionals so they already knew him from the last Sat. Queen Victoria meets Burger King! Lunch break. The other boys went outside to play some football. They came back in a little muddy. I guess boys will be boys. Zach and Kaleb hung out and played Railroad Tycoon. I guess they released their energy by blowing up things on the computer. To each his own. That little thing hanging on the back was their crash dummy that was part of the requirement. It just hung on dangling. It was so noisy and over stimulating that Kaleb had to shut down for a few minutes. I managed to crochet a whole scarf yesterday. It was actually kind of nice to stay in one spot for a while. Our lives are so busy that I rarely have a moment to be in one spot for any length of time. The boys placed 6th in robot performance. Their top score was 320. They were in the top 4 for the final elimination round. They came so close. Either way we are really proud of them. This type of experience has really been a great learning experience. For the adults as well. Of course now they want to do it next year too. The next step is to add in using sensors. They could have scored higher with the judges if they had used sensors. So the fact that they scored as high as they did without sensors is amazeing. They did a great job.

Sisterly Love

Actually Daphne is a little panicked. Jared is sprouting and is going to pass her up. It is only a matter of time that he will be looking down at her. Jared has always been below her chin. Not any more. He is just a "long drink of water" and a "bottomless pit". It is been quite an experience watching our family grow. I miss those baby years but am enjoying the teens as well. They still need their mom so I still have job security. I love them. They will always be my babies. Even if they grow taller than me.

More Shirts

Holy Holy Holy

No we aren't talking about spiritual holiness. We are talking about Jared's beloved pants that he just grew out of...boohoo. Mom says "yay". Jared has a way of wearing something long enough to the extent that you wish to rip it off of his body and burn the item of clothing. It could be a shirt, a sweatshirt or even this pair of pants. Yes we are saving the pants. I told him that I would sew it into something for him ...eventually so he can treasure his pants until he's a hundred.


Kirk has been painting backdrops for Mountain Valley Churchs Christmas Festival. He had all of this styrofoam leftover from the Desert Hills job so he cut out a bunch of snowflakes. Pretty cool huh? He looked like Gepetto out in the garage hunched over the foam as he was melting it away with the hot knife. He is happiest when he is creating art. God is really blessing us with the numerous jobs that are coming in. Dec. is usually one of the hardest months to get work in the past. Not when God is in control though. Things go so much smoother with God doing his thing. It is best to just get out of the way and just do what he says to do even if it is designing snowflakes for a festival. It makes people happy including my husband.

Southwest Bricklines

First Lego League in Robotics presents the 1st place Championship team...Southwest Bricklines. The boys won 1st place in the Regional championship and a special award for Robot Performance. They achieved 290 points for a single round.The boys have been working since Aug. preparing for this competition. It is provided by Lego teaching kids from all over about engineering. The boys had a blast. Of course it's legos. There was so much more to it. The theme this year was Transportation. Our team chose air travel and the spread of germs during flight. It makes me not want to ever fly. I will spare you the gross details that they discovered. There was alot of research and team building involved. The boys worked really well together.
Kaleb and Zach were the youngest but were able to participate just as much as the older boys. Getting some coaching from Mr. Horak. Jared really enjoyed working with Mr. Horak. He worked with him quite a bit on the programming. Jared has learned alot this past fall. Daphne screened their shirts that Kaleb designed. It is a lego with plane wings. The boys are scopeing out their plan of attack. They have this same table set up at the Horak's house for training. The vinyl mat and all of the pieces are sent in a big box to be built. You should have seen all of their eyes when they received the box in the mail. You would have thought it was Christmas. Doing a practice run. The real deal. Gotta line it up perfectly or the whole mission won't go as planned. There were a bunch of missions to chose from with points for everything achieved. The team chose to run two missions that took the whole 2 1/2 minutes. It was a little intense. If the robot was off by a half a hair it would miss picking up the loops or knock down something it wasn't supposed to. This was a great move. Those two little stick things would fly down and do a karate chop on these rings to knock them down. Taking a breather between rounds. Ready to go! It was cold in the gym. Everyones hands are in their pockets. Waiting for their turn. Part of the Southwest Bricklines rooting section. It was a very long day. The boys had to be there at 7:30 am and we left around 5pm. We topped the day off with pizza. It was fun going to dinner with everyone. For some reason I can't get that picture to upload. Oh well. Zach, the CIA agent. Part of the competition is research and presentation of what you learned. So the boys put together a skit about a news reporter interviewing Jerry Burns of Southwest Airlines regarding the spread of sickness on airplanes. They did a great job. Afterwards, the judges question them as to how they came to all of their information. It is a very well rounded program. It isn't just about programming a robot.
The CIA taking down the Lego spy.