Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snowpocalypse

Recently, we had our second snow this winter and according to the locals it was one of those once-in-a-decade-or-more events. Actually, they say snow at all is one of those rare events let alone snow on Christmas followed a couple of weeks later by ~7 inches. As the weathermen made the predictions, schools shut down before the storm even arrived and everyone made a mad dash to the grocery store to get their milk and bread. A friend of ours took a picture at Publix and the bread shelves are literally empty. Every one of them! (But there were still some tortillas) The best part, to us anyway, was the fact that the snow stayed around for several days. School was cancelled for 3 days and I got 2 days off from work! Woo hoo!

We took a lot of good pictures so that's what this post is mostly about. But first, here's a shot we took shortly before the world tried to end.




I like this picture because it was taken on one of those nice evenings when we were enjoying being outdoors and the neighbor kids were all playing together. That kind of thing never happened in Las Cruces. Maybe it's because everyone's house is surrounded by a rock wall. We all had a lot of fun that night. But I don't know why Hunter is kissing the Titan. I like it too, but that's a little extreme.



And then it snowed!


Dana broke out here not-used-since-the-80's snow gear and I provided the musical accompaniment by singing the Flashdance song every chance I got. I tried to get her to do the fast foot shuffle dance thing but she refused.



Kids + snow = snow angels, every time

Cameron and Cade do the deed here. Dana made one too.




Cade couldn't wait to go sledding so while we waited for his brothers to get their act together. He would run and jump on the sled to slide across our yard. I just love this action shot.


The neighbors on both sides of us joined us for sledding on a hill near our house. The dads were acting like kids and the kids were having a ball. If you remember Dana's last sledding adventure (see our December 31, 2007 post) you'll know why she vowed to never touch a sled again. Fortunately, I was able to talk her into it one more time. Can you tell she's a little apprehensive here? This hill is NOTHING like Ron's Suicide Run at Inlow.


Cameron charging down the hill. Surprisingly, he was the first one to get cold and quit despite the fact that he was the only one with snow pants and boots on.

Kevin and Hunter tried to build an igloo. They managed to build the walls about a foot high before realizing how much work it is. They called it good at that.


After a full day of sledding, snowball fights and eating snow ice cream, we were treated to this spectacular sunset.

Day Two dawned bright and early and with it came the news that there would be no school or work for the second day in a row. Not surprisingly, Cade was begging to go out before the sun was fully up. Eventually, we made it outside and Dana laid down the law and told the kids everyone had to build a snowman of their own. And that's where things took a turn for the weird. You see, Kevin and Cameron had been reading my old Calvin & Hobbes comic books. Remember Calvin's snowgoons? They sure did.


It's a little hard to see but Kevin's snowman's head is lying on the ground while the arms are reaching up where the head should be. I have to give Kevin credit for taking the time to trim the branches to make the arms look right. And yes, the red paint is the snowman's blood.


Cameron built this grotesque scene. The snowman with the lopping shears stuck in his chest has an "x" for each eye as you'd expect. The other snowman's evil look leads me to assume he's the culprit.



Good ol' Cade made a regular snowman but he really liked the idea of using paint to make the snowman look better. He started with eyes, a mouth and a couple of buttons. Then he added some more buttons. Then some more. And then hair. And then more facial features...



Here's our complete snowfamily. Kevin and Cameron are hard at work on their creation in the background. How do you like Dana's stick snowwoman?


Remember the snowman lean from my last post? These snowmen were doing "the lean" just hours after being made. I'm telling you, there's a hit song and dance here if I can just figure it out.


Dana also made this caterpillar by the curb. Pretty cute.



More sledding. Kevin and Hunter on a small hill behind our house.


Cade catching maximum air off a 4" jump.


No joke, this boy would stay outside all day and night if we'd let him.


Later in the week, I got home from work just as the sun was setting. Dana told me Cade had been waiting outside for me because I had told him I'd try to come home early so we could play some more. Feeling a little guilty, I quickly changed and we hurried out the door to get a few sledding runs in before it got too dark. Fortunately, the sky was clear and the moon was out so we had plenty of light to continue playing even after the sun set. We had a great time and neither of us wanted to come in from our sledding in the moonlight adventure. That's a memory that will last a lifetime.

And finally, Cade bought some handcuffs (which he calls "cubbies" for some reason) at the store yesterday. I cuffed him to the oven handle. He thought it was pretty funny until I told him they broke and I couldn't get him out. He asked me to get some tools to get them off and I told him he'd have to wait until I finished fixing lunch because I couldn't leave the microwave unattended (chicken nuggets - that's about the best I can do so no comments!). He looked so sad and pitiful that I had to take a picture before telling him I was just kidding.


I thought it was funny.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Christmas 2011

This year, for the first time, we spent Christmas at home alone. Although we certainly missed seeing everyone and spending time with our families, we still had a great time.

On Christmas Eve, we went out to an early dinner before the church service and the boys chose to eat some fine cuisine from McDonalds. Oh well. After enjoying our meal together, we went to a beautiful service before driving around to look at lights. Our favorite house didn't decorate this year so it was slim pickin's. Then we went home and started our new Christmas tradition of opening one gift each - and that gift is a new pair of pajamas. After putting them on, lighting the fake fire (we have a gas fireplace), and watching a movie together, we sent the kids to bed.

As usual, the kids weren't allowed to see what Santa brought until they woke us up. Much to their dismay, Dana laid down the law and set a "no one bother us before 6:00" rule. Since the stairs to their rooms are right beside the living room, Dana and I slept upstairs in the bonus room to make sure they didn't peek.

At 5:58 am, we were awakened by 3 rowdy boys bursting at the seams with anticipation and excitement. Remember that feeling?



Here's what the boys found when they came downstairs. Cade got a Green Machine, Cameron got an iPod Touch and Kevin got a wicked-cool, electric Airsoft rifle. As their dad, I automatically called priority on all 3 Santa gifts when I want to play with them.



And then the paper shredding began.


Laser Tag with night vision! We've, I mean, the boys have had a blast with these.



You can tell Cameron didn't have any interest in this Metroid game for his Wii. He's been dying to get this since it came out in September.



Shortly after we got up, we noticed it was snowing! Before long, we had 3" of snow on the ground and it continued snowing all day and most of the next but we didn't have any more accumulation. Later in the morning, we went sledding on the hill by our house and were joined by our neighbors on both sides of us. We all had a great time together and it was quite different than our experiences in Las Cruces where everyone is confined to their own, walled-in yard. I tell you, we had a wonderful Christmas! However, Cade was a little bummed about the snow because he couldn't ride his Green Machine for a few days.



First snow tasting of the year.


I don't know why we took a picture of our table but I like this shot for the trees and houses in the background.




Out here, they have these things called trees that the snow collects on and they look really pretty.



The view across the road toward our old back yard.









Cade will spend all day, every day outdoors if we'd let him. Here he's getting ready for our second trip out in the snow. I found my old ski mask and gave it to him to keep his face warm. Doesn't he look awfully stinkin' cute?





I built a snowman on Cade's head.




Our neighbor built the big snowman in the background. He quickly developed a lean before losing his head. Then I noticed the little one I built on the Titan was doing the same thing. The Snowman Lean. Sounds like a new dance craze!


Cade and I had a contest to see who could throw a snowball the highest against the house. Here's his jumpshot.





This is on the 3rd day of the snow hanging around. We didn't have much left but that didn't stop Cade from taking advantage of what was there.


It took a couple of days but he was finally able to take his new wheels out for a spin. And he crashed right off the bat. For some reason, this thing doesn't spin so well on the concrete. The kids have a little trouble with it on the asphalt as well (I don't!).

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Cade's first ride and his first crash.

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He was hesitant to try it again but I talked him into it. Here's his first successful spin. (Special thanks to Cameron for letting me use his iPod to record this. Dang that thing is neat!)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

December

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and as much fun as we had. As usual, we stayed plenty busy in the weeks leading up to Christmas with parties and other activities.

One of the best things to happen was the spelling bee at Cameron's school. Cameron was in it and was competing against 2 kids from each of the 3rd and 4th grade classes. Guess who won? We were (are) so proud of that little dude! When the second to last student missed her word, Cameron realized he could win it if he spelled his word right and that look was written all over his face. When they asked him to spell "unify", he actually paused and thought about it (unlike when we were practicing) before spelling it correctly. Now he has a big ol' honkin' trophy and gets to compete against the kids from the other schools in town. All of them. From 3rd grade through 10th grade! Isn't that nuts?


Here's the Cowart Elementary Spelling Bee Champion and the runner-up (which we suspect Cameron has a crush on). She doesn't look too happy.

Speaking of Cameron, any of you that have spent much time around him know he's the most curious of the 3 boys. If there's a button, he'll push it. If it comes apart, he'll disassemble it (and never put it together). I think this next photo is a great example of his curiosity.



We recently got a new front-load washer and dryer. Dana took this picture of Cameron watching the washer to see how it works.



As we got closer to Christmas, the boys and I started our vacations and had plenty of time to hang out around the house with Dana. We filled our time with play and a lot of fun activities.



Making Janet's famous orange ball cookies is one of our favorite Christmas traditions (and yummiest!)



We also made gingerbread houses. The kit contained 5 houses but we really couldn't figure out which pieces went where so we pretty much decided to wing it. One of the very cool buildings I made was accused of looking like an outhouse.




Not the outhouse but a fine example of my handiwork. Hey, we started to get desperate when the icing started drying so quickly and just grabbed whatever piece was closest to make the house.


Cameron and I built a music box that plays "Here Comes Santa Claus" from scratch. OK, maybe not completely from scratch but we did assemble it from the completely disassembled kit. That's pretty much the same as building it from scratch, right?


Christmas time also means Christmas pictures of the family. When I look at other people's pictures, the family always looks so nice and everyone looks so happy. When I look at ours, I remember the arguing and griping and effort it took to produce one or two half-way acceptable shots. We probably took 500 pictures and after deleting those with tears, mad faces, sad faces, weird faces, and closed eyes, we didn't have any left. So the following shots are the best we could do.



This wasn't actually planned but Cameron really wanted to take a picture of us. He did alright.



I realized later, I didn't get a nice picture of Dana with the boys. They all wanted to make funny faces in all the shots she's in. That's OK because this represents our family better than the fake poses.


Dana took a nice picture of the boys and me.



I had a special request to get a picture of the boys with the sled this year. Mom and Dad had a picture of all the grandkids in the sleigh except for Cade. We almost waited too long. Little dude isn't so little anymore.



We also drug out our Twister game for the first time in years. The boys had a blast playing it and of course roped Dana and me into several games with them. I'm not sure about Dana, but it sure made me realize just how little flexibility I have anymore.


Cade's struggling to stay up in this solo game. Notice his tongue!


Kevin's friends Hunter and Nic even got into it. This game appears to have broken down into some alternate version.


We also spent a lot of playing time outside. Cade, more than the other two, loves being outdoors. He drags his scooter and bike and anything else he can get his hands on out every day if we let him. Even in the cold. Recently, he came up with a new way to keep his face, and nose, warm.

Ever since Cade was little, he has loved wearing gloves (and weird outfits). Of course, we can never keep a pair of gloves together so when he finds one he'll wear it Michael Jackson style for a few days until he either loses it or finds another one. Here, he found one black glove and one Spiderman glove. I think they pair nicely with the desperado look he has going. Just the other day he went into the store with me to return a movie dressed just like this except with two Spiderman gloves. If it didn't bother him, I guess it doesn't bother me. (


I'll post our Christmas pictures soon.