Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year's Bike Ride

Welcome 2016!

I can't seem to stop creating more traditions, and the more I create, the more I have to do each year. Sometimes it's good, though. We probably would have lazed around the house all day if we didn't have a New Year's Day tradition to go on a bike ride now. For some reason, this tradition makes Russ grumpier than any other... okay, I actually do know the reason. He hates having to try to stuff all the bikes into the car. We need a bike rack! At least we didn't have to worry about a bicycle for Kyle this year... last year's cram was so ridiculous that Russ just threw up his hands and went inside while Kyle and I finished the job.

Since we got a late start, we went somewhere close this year: a trail in Gilbert.



A few good bridges and canals are all we need for a fun time.



And a few unpaved areas to skate in just to keep it from being too typical. This one had it all.





Our original plan was to go all the way to another park, but once we hit one of the main roads, we voted to go to the waffle and frozen yogurt shop instead. Google promised us it was open, but alas... Google lied. We have such bad luck on New Year's Day! Just like last year, we ended up having doughnuts in a nearby grocery store.



On our way home, the sun was setting and the kids were getting tired.



But they were troopers, and we kept them going with promises of our traditional New Year's steak dinner.



Only this year, we know how to grill them to perfection. Yum!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve!

Welcome to the 14th and final post of December, and the last post of the year! What a crazy busy December!! I was mentally hung over from it so long that I'm finally writing about this in February! This year, I decided to tone things down a bit and not host a New Year's Eve party. Yeah, I tone things down by spending three weeks building a gingerbread village instead. Nice. That gingerbread village still stands in my kitchen today, but I'm sensing that fireworks are going to do it in soon. It should definitely go out with a bang.

But back to New Year's Eve... my sister was nice enough to invite us over to party with them. They busted out the dance moves.



We had lots of party foods, including teenie weenies of course!



Look at those darling little desserts!



Lori, I stole some of your pics because you took a lot of good ones of the kids!



Gem loves to have her picture taken with her favorite aunt.



Lori had balloons for the kids to pop at certain times to keep them occupied.







They had to do things like see who could stand like a flamingo the longest...



Turn their shirts backwards...



And the worm!!





Apparently I didn't read the "Age 40" manual where it says you should never try the worm. My knees were bruised the next day.



Things got a little noisy when we passed out the horns.





When it got close to midnight, we took the party outside. I bought really giant sparklers this year.



Cuz, you know, constantly lighting the little ones is kind of annoying!



Uncle Jer put on an awesome fireworks show. He looks pretty proud of himself.



All the girls loved the sparklers, except maybe Vannah. I think New Year's Eve might be her least favorite holiday.



My pretty little sparkler.



When midnight hit, we really turned up the noise!



And enjoyed our apple cider.





Thanks to burst mode, I got pictures of the girls setting off their party poppers.



Pow!



Where was Brandon during all this? Back inside having a dance off with Meems.



I think we need to end this year's blog with one more view of the air I caught while trying to do the worm. It might not ever happen again!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Titan

With Christmas over and the kids out of school, you know I had to figure out something to do to keep them occupied, so we thought we should take a day trip. Our options were really limited because I didn't want to go anywhere cold! This is when Russ suggested the Titan Missile Museum near Tucson... he keeps bringing it up, so I figured we might as well cross it off our list! I was glad he was the only one who had to wear a hardhat. It kinda looks like he has a little antenna, too... Russbot!



After descending a couple floors of stairs, we were at the blast door, and Paige got picked to be the one to move that 6000 pound door.



Next we saw the control room, which was filled with 60's style space age equipment, all covered in a lovely mint green.



Finally, we got to see the missile in its silo. It's so huge, you can only see a small part of it.



Once we got back above ground, we could look down at the missile though a window over the partially opened hatch. In an agreement with the USSR, the hatch to the silo was permanently affixed half way open to prove it is harmless. There is also a giant hole in the top of the missile as further proof. Of the 54 Titan II missile sites that were active during the Cold War, only this one remains.



We also got to see examples of the rockets that propelled the missiles. These are so powerful that they could travel to a target in the USSR in just 30 minutes.



After the museum, we headed to our favorite restaurant in Tucson. Even though it was before 5 o'clock on a Thursday, the place was packed! So we walked around outside to kill time.







Time for dinner! Where is our little B?



Being a stinker, of course! He didn't want to be in the picture, but I snapped this shot of him anyway.

Friday, December 25, 2015

It's Christmas!

Seven-thirty came all too soon. There were were again, Christmas morning, at the top of the stairs waiting to see what Santa brought.



If she had only one wish, it would have been to get an iPod at age nine, just like Paige did... and her wish came true!



Kyle has developed this music habit that often disrupts the harmonious feeling in this home, so Santa, the clever guy that he is, bought him a new speaker/clock/radio/light show with blue tooth built in so he could listen to his tunes in his room. He probably would have given Kyle something that can stream Pandora without having a screen, if his elves had known how to make such a thing.



Unwrapping madness!



The kids really wanted these earmuffs for some reason, and even though I kept forgetting to go back to Michael's to get them, I was lucky to find there were a couple left on Christmas Eve. Kinda useless in Chandler, but still cute!



It's a box! Does this game ever get too far gone for us? I think not.



When I asked Russ to buy me a ribbon holder from Hobby Lobby, he went and looked at it, and then built a better one for me with his own two hands. After I chose my color, he spray painted it, too. Love it!



This is what I call a happy mess.



Brandon got a marble coaster, and Dad helped him build it.



Paige and Kallie checked to see if Santa brought anything for WyldStyle. They had made a Christmas wish list just for her, and Santa delivered!



So cute with her Christmas carrot. It was organic!



After a while, we discovered another gift under the tree for Brandon. Instead of running in to grab it, he asked, "Is it from Mom and Dad?" When we told him it was, he replied, "Then it's clothes," and kept right on playing his game. Eventually, we persuaded him to come open it. He looks less than thrilled.



Just as he suspected.



After they got tired of testing out their new video games, the girls tested out the new TV for the loft. Are they spoiled or what?



Yay, the marble coaster is working! Sort of. It's almost like the elves made it in China or something.



In the afternoon, we headed to my mom's for Christmas part two, and she had a surprise for us over at the park. Knocker balls!





Brandon was too short to be able to lift them off the ground.



But that made it easier for him to roll! I love the look on his face.



Kallie wasn't strong enough to hold one by herself, either, so she tried sharing with Paige.



That was bound to happen!



I even took a turn!



I wasn't very stable, and Kassidy kept knocking me away. I need to improve my form! (And wear better shoes.)



When Russ and my sisters' husbands took a turn, an epic battle broke out... and there was one son-in-law who ruled them all. (In case you were wondering, it was not Russ.)



Back at the house, it was another gift opening bonanza.



And at the end of the night, the kids did a play for us that they had prepared on their own. Maybe the true meaning of Christmas is getting through to them, despite all the gifts.