Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

We have had another wonderful Christmas. Unfortunately we're celebrating Christmas alone this year. We were supposed to have Nana and PawPaw with us but because of the weather we sent them on towards NWA ahead of the storm. They got there right as the storm was hitting. We miss having their company but are glad they arrived safely.

Santa brought Eli some Constructs


An Emily a doll she can dress and pose.


Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

O Holy Night

An old friend from college inspired this blog with her blog post.

Couple of days ago a friend from college posed the question to all of his face book friends "What is your favorite Christmas carol". I had to ponder that question for a while as there are so many that I love. Should I pick a secular song? Should I pick a religious one? I finally settled on "O Holy Night".

I picked it because of the memories it brings back. Many years ago the Christmas tradition was to travel to my Great-Grandparent's house (well, actually my Great Uncle's house but they lived there) for the extended family to gather. Now, for those not in the know (all 3 non-family members that read this blog) I come from a family of singers. Get more than 3 of us in a room and there's a good chance some singing will occur.

But I digress. I have memories of the whole family gathered in the family room. Grand Piano in one corner. Family scattered around the room. My great uncle would be posed at the piano (he taught voice for many years in Plano, Texas). Throughout the evening songs would be requested, songs would be played and sung. My great aunt, my grandmother, my mom and aunt, a couple of family friends, etc would surround the piano and sing. One song that was usually requested by GrandDaddy (my great grandfather) would be O Holy Night.

I can still hear the voices joining together in song:
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born;
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!
O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Now they have passed on and new traditions are being born.


Here's a new group I've discovered and enjoy singing it:

He's 7???

Wow, when did I become old enough to have a 7-year old? Eli turned 7 the other day. Here's some pics from his birthday and the party the following weekend. Here's some pictures from the activities.


Alicia put her creative mind to work and created a Lego cake.


Eli got a 2 wheel scooter from us.


Alicia made a robot cake for his family party


It was getting late so he put his PJs on before cake.


Eli and his friends enjoyed building with Legos.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I know, I know

Yea, I know, I've been a bit lackadasical about posting lately. We've been busy. Between running wiring to the fountain and onto the pergola. Building a massive swingset for the kids. And just generally staying busy well, I've been busy.

So what have we done this past month. Well, there's the items above. We've loaded up the entire family worth of bikes and gone to two-rivers park. The kids peddle like mad while Alicia and I just kind of coast doing our best to not fall over. The optimum speed for coasting w/out falling over is 3.1 mph by the way. We take turns peddling up ahead and coming back. So the kids get in a nice 2 mile ride while we get in about 4. They are exhausted by the time we get back to car, all is well.

We've begun getting power out to the pergola. Alicia has requested rope lights out there so in the interest of not running an extension cord across the path 365 I burying power, etc. I figured I'd put an outlet next to the fountain while I was going by it. That project got put on hold to construct the "Stanley Backyard Fitness Center" circa 1976.

Let's just say, this sucker is sturdy and stout. Yes folks, each of the A-frames is made out of 3, count them 3, 10.5 foot 4x4s, cross pieces, etc. Connecting the 2 A-frames are 2 2x8x14' with a 2x4 on top for good measure. I bet the whole contraption exceeds 500 pounds. It took 3 neighbors plus me to stand it up. Alicia helped get things lined up right (I must give her credit for helping get the A-frames assembled and she would have helped with the barn raising but there's wasn't room for her to grab on.

Still to add is the 8' long movement explorer unit, at least it gets built in place.

And now we're in the market for new windows for our house. We had 2 salesmen come by today. The first took about an hour and gave a nice pricey quote. Nice windows though. Second guy came and spent 3, yes you read that correctly 3 hours selling his windows. Nice glass, not so much on the frames since they were vinyl. A little ess pricey though, not as much as you'd expect.

I'll try to extract some pictures from the camera in the next few days. Until then....

Monday, October 26, 2009

Little Sleep + Pure Sugar = ???????

The magic answer is "who are you and what have you done with my sweet child."

We've known for a long time that Eli has behavior problems when he's short on sleep. We've also noticed problems when he ingests significant amounts of pure sugar (smarties, ring pops, etc.). Sugar mixed in with "additives", (chocolate, desserts, etc.) don't affect him much. Mix the two together and "oh my, who are you, and why can't you behave". Tonight was one of those nights. Whew.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween

Tonight was the Church Halloween Carnival.

Eli, after going through several options, decided to be a robot again. Emily decided to be a butterfly. Alicia and I spent a couple hours on Friday cutting out and painting the butterfly wings. Emily, Eli, and Alicia spent several (2-3) hours gluing sequins onto the front side of the wings. Then last night Alicia and I spent another 2 gluing sequins on the other side once we decided it was necessary. Then we glued it together, turned the coffee tabled upside down on it overnight, and went to bed.

Here's pictures of the finished product.


Sam 1 Fencepost 1/4

First some background information. Some previous owners of our house planted several rows of cedar trees on two sides of our property. The western set were staked with wooden stakes, easy enough to remove. The northern set were staked with 10' T shaped metal fenceposts.

Anyway, 2 of these metal fenceposts were "out of plane" with the trees. For those of you non-math folks that means not in the same line as the trees.

Anyway, couple of weeks ago I removed 8 inches of gravel, and dug a 2 foot hole to finagle one out. That took 45 minutes or an hour.

This weekend I decided to tackle the other one. So, I removed 8 inches of gravel and then decided to loosen it up a bit. So I grabbed the post with 2 hands and started rocking. I had a pretty good rhythm going probably moving the top of the post a foot off center each way. So I was on a back swing and the post decided it had had enough and snapped off under ground.

As I was flying backwards through the air I briefly had the thought, "this is gonna hurt". I landed hard, then took a fencepost to the forehead. "Ouch" I said. I sat up, shook my head and got up to see where it broke. Alicia was on her way over to check on me. She asked if she could get me anything about the same time I noticed a drop of blood hit the ground. I asked for a paper towel and decided I'd better sit down.

She brought a paper towel at which time I requested a band-aid.

Anyway, long story short. I'm fine (my wound is still oozing), the hole is filled in in the yard, and I've got a good conversation piece for Halloween parties.

I'll post pictures of the kids later (cause I know that's the real reason you all read the blog).

So I have myself a point for accomplishing my goal. I gave the fencepost 1/4 point for going down with a fight.


Sam

Friday, October 16, 2009

Camping



Eli's Cub Scout Pack had a family campout at Maumelle Park. We borrowed a 4 man tent from family friend Joe (thanks Joe). We borrowed sleeping pads from Paw-Paw (thanks Paw-Paw). Alicia bought sleeping bags for her and the kids. You know the good ol' Coleman specials. They'll do great for our purposes.

So we went and setup camp. A bit later we built a campfire and taught all the kids how to make 'Smores. Most folks ate before they came. One of Eli's fellow Tiger's dad's owns/runs Markham Street Bar and Grill, they show'ed everyone how you cook on a fire. They had baked potatoes, corn on the cob (OK, he used a butane stove for the shrimp he cooked).

The kids got to stay up until 8:30 or so. The picture above is from shortly before we headed off th brush teeth. We hiked to and from the bathroom starting at 8. Eli learned how to brush his teeth with his finger because he left his toothbrush at home (brought the holder though). It was probably 9 before the kids fell asleep.

We turned in about 10.

At about 3am we awoke to find Eli crawling across our faces (how he missed Emily is still a mystery). He said he was trying to get back into his bed. We turned him around and sent him back across the tent. Then the kids awoke bright and early at 6.

It was COLD, as in low 40s cold.

Kids enjoyed a smörgåsbord of various breakfast items to include hot chocolate. They then played with other kids on the playground until about 11.

Alicia and I broke camp.

Alicia took Emily home for a nap while I took Eli to the Pinnacle Mountain Rendezvous. He had an OK time. If we go again we'll spend more time watching the blacksmith (he really enjoyed it) and less time looking at things that they want you to pay money to do that you can do just as well at home.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Soggy Day

Today's a happy soggy day, we're back down to owning 1 house. While it's nice to feel rich enough that we can own 2 houses I really don't like 2 house payments, I prefer no house payment but I can live with 1.

It's been raining cats and dogs. And oddly enough some old, long bearded fellow was standing in front of the lumberyard I pass on the way to work, part of me wanted to stop and ask if he needed help loading up the lumber for his boat.

We have entered the realm of busy families (and we've only got 1 kid doing activities, can't wait to see what's in store for us when Emily joins the fray). Tomorrow we have soccer at 8:30 (it's gonna be soppy), followed by a school cleanup time, then in the afternoon Eli and I are going on a hike with his Cub Scout den. Good thing the path is paved.

Anyway, back to doing nothing for a few short moments.

(sorry Nana, no pictures, we've been too busy)
.
Sam

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Soggy soccer

The fields are wet and the other team's a U8 team but the kids are
having fun.

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Soccer part 2

As promised here's some additional pictures.

Like I referred to in my earlier post, it's a lot like herding cats, but they have fun.


Taking a shot on goal. Unfortunately it didn't go in.


More gang dribbing.


It's a breakaway!


His team wound up winning 6-2, granted the other team scored their 1st goal for them but.... They all had fun.

Then we headed off to a Cub Scout fun day at Resevoire Park. Eli tried out the sling shots and BB guns. Emily was a good sport even though she didn't get to do anything.




Wow, 3 posts in 24 hours, may possibly be a record for me.

Soccer aka herding cats

Here's a shot from Eli's first game. More later.

Friday, September 11, 2009

A busy busy month

Wow, what a busy month. We've purchased a new house, sold our old one, moved 1/2 our stuff to the new house, scheduled the move of the rest of our stuff, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned. Did I mention cleaned? Went to school and work. Cleaned. Packed. Cleaned.

But you what we didn't do? Take pictures of the kids, sorry Nana, we'll get some next month.

Sam

Monday, August 17, 2009

First day of school

Emily's first day of pre-school was today. Wow, how the kids are growing up. It's been a hectic month. We bought a house, went to the beach, stopped in Memphis on the way home (eastern Mississippi is rural), got our house ready to sell, had an open house, Emily started preschool. Whew, how the time flys.

Here's some highlights.


Building a sand castle


Paw-paw's first venture out to the beach


Who needs toys when you've got a drift log to play on.


Never know what these 3 are plotting.


Making ice-cream


Spoon? I don't need no stinking spoon.


TV before bed, new treat for our kids.


Mamma's gotta get some sleep when she can.


Cool storm early one morning. Sun shade didn't like it too much though.


Aren't they cute.


Helping Uncle Ron put his frog back on the tree.


First day of school. Here's a post from back in the archives from Eli's first day.

Well, that's all for now. Now back to trying to get this house sold.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Letters to PawPaw

Well, I fully intended to post pictures of the kids creating get well cards for PawPaw. But, my virus software got a bad virus signature update which makes it say my iTunes is full of a trojen. They are working on an update, so perhaps I can post the pictures tomorrow.

For details on PawPaw check over at http://therottenkidney.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In Other News

So we decided to buy a new house this past weekend.

We really didn't go into the weekend looking to buy a house. We've been casually looking for the past couple of years. Friend down the street was insistant that we needed to go look at this one though. Pretty nice house.

Addendum. Guess I should tell folks about the house. It's a 4 bedroom, 2.5 bath colonial. Has a family room with fireplace, living room, dining room, eat in kitchen. Yard has a sprinkler system. House has a whole house generator that runs on natural gas.

I'd post an address but I'd prefer to know who has my address so send me a message and I'll pass it on.

Sam

Saturday, July 04, 2009

"The" News

For those who follow my blog that aren't plugged into other family news channels you may want to sit down.

So mid last week phone rings and it's dad. They've found a mass on his kidney, don't know exactly what it means yet, we'll know more in a day or so once the MRI and CT scan are done. Thursday's the big day, we're on the way to KC to pick up the kids when the text message arrives "Stage 4 Renal Cell Carcinoma with mets to inferior vena cava and lungs". Do what? OK, Renal = kidney, good, they can just take that out simple enough, God planned ahead and gave us 2. Inferior vena cava, what the heck is that. Hang on there a sec, did that say lungs? Not good. OK, back to vena cava, what's that (Alicia made use of the iPhone's data connection as we're bebopping down I-40 at 75 mph to ask the knower of everything, Google). Vein from lower body to the heart. OK, that apparently explains other symptoms that started the whole diagnostic process a couple of months ago.

Siblings gather over dinner and do what siblings do when a parent is ill, they talk. Wow, what do we do now? What do we tell out kids? The consensous? Keep on like life is normal, that's the best option for everyone, we've gotta keep our optimism up. We've never been a family to shy away from living life. We have a hugh network of friends coming out of the woodwork offering support and prayers. We're taking this one step at a time. It's going to be a long couple of months as things play out but I think we're ready for whatever God has planned for us.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last T-Ball Game

Eli had his last T-ball game tonight. Opa captured him connecting with the ball.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thank you Ethan

Thank you Ethan for the towels. Emily and I kannot wait to go to the beach and use the towels. I kannot wait to see you.

Love Eli and Emily
As composed by Eli



New towels.

Writing the thank you note

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Gotta love technology

Being the frugal family that we are we don't pay for "premium" TV. We get 99% of what we need over the air. Through the use of hulu.com and my new friend espn360.com it rounds out what we miss.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm a bad blogger

Wow, been 6 weeks since I've posted, guess we've been busy.

We went swimming yesterday, and have rediscovered Emily's lack of fear of water.

Eli has 2 more t-ball games, the season is winding down.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wedding and T-Ball

Here's some videos from the reception.

I promised Emily a couple of months ago that we could dance at Rachel's wedding.  I kept my end of the bargin.  She had a blast.  Sorry it's sideways.
video

When we took a break Alicia caught her on video making quite a statement.
video

In case you can't make it out over the music she's saying "I want to do it all night long!".  She talked Opa into a dance right before we left.

Tonight was the first game for Eli's T-Ball team.  Here's his 2nd at-bat for the evening, sorry for the jerkyness, I was moving to get a better shot.
video

Eli loves T-ball.  We like it too.  They don't keep score.  Everyone bats each inning.  They have fun.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

She's 3 going on 15

... and very observant.

Funny story. Alicia painted her toenails earlier today. About a half out later she came upstairs from going to move some laundry. She found Emily in the bathroom having shaken up, then opened the toe nail polish in the act of painting her nails.

It wasn't the neatest paint job but she kept it off of the rug and her clothes. Before going to get the camera Alicia moved her off of the rug.

Here's a picture:

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's been a busy week. A coleague at work is moving so she gave us her swingset. We had to do a bit of tree removal.

The kids decided to pickup the sawdust to use as mulch.


And this stump made a good roost




The jungle gym platform made a good dance floor.


Eli finally got his loose tooth out Monday morning. The tooth fairy made a stop by the house that night.


Emily wanted her picture taken too.


Eli helped put the legs on.


And of course Emily wanted to help too.


It took both of them to carry the box of parts.


Attaching the slide




Swinging together


Eli had his kindergarten program tonight. It was titled "Get Loose with Mama Goose". It was cute.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter

Hope everyone had a great Easter. We had a wonderful gathering of family. Alicia's parents and grandmother came down from KC. My folks and grandfather came over. The house was full but that's one of the best parts of holidays. A wonderful gathering of family.

Per Nana's request, here are some pictures (in case she missed something today :) ).

In her usual style Emily quickly commandeered Grandma to read to her.


Egg dyeing time




Emily decided that some folks needed a bit more bling.
Decorating Paw-Paw



Decorating Grandma


What's in here?


Hummmmm.....


Absolute joy of a child finding an egg.


Found one.