Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Rock Band New Year...

We have been playing Rock Band constantly since Danny opened it on Christmas Day. I have become the drummer, Skylar the basist, Danny the lead guitar, and Eliza the fan/cheerleader/wardrobe consultant. Eliza had us wearing rock outfits by the end of the night and took all of the pictures. I thought I would just post a few photos of these photos of us rocking in the New Year.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I am so glad I got my holiday decorating and most of my shopping done prior to the holidays this year. We invited Dan, Liz, Hailey, and Hayden to stay at our house the weekend before Christmas; it would have been much less relaxing if I was worrying about decorating and shopping that weekend too. Thank goodness their trip from Colorado was uneventful weather wise, and their kids were angels as well. Liz, you are such a planner and my hero... Hailey and the girls played pretty well together, and I am grateful they had this cousin time. Hayden was pretty close to mama most of the time, but I was able to cuddle and rock him nearly to sleep on Saturday night, which was VERY sweet and special to me. It was so nice to be able to share our home with them and see them every day for a few days. I miss them so much already. With Liz, Dan and Danny's help we hosted Christmas with Dad and Carol on Saturday, Dec. 20 and the Dingeman's, Findlay's and Grandma Mase on Sunday, Dec. 21st. We had ham both days along with several salads, vegetables, rolls, and many desserts. There were lots of left overs both days. Thank God for 2 fridges. Surprisingly, the cooking didn't cause me to go screaming into the woods, but I was a little worried it would at times. Thanks to the family for being so patient and loving and just being gracious guests overall! Love you ALL.

On Saturday, the kids soaked up lots of Grandma and Grandpa time and got lots of toys. Skylar loved her Spa kit and Eliza loved the Pixos and Moon Sand. They couldn't wait to start playing. We had all of the spa kits done by the end of the day and pixos and moon sand littered the kitchen table in no time. I have said it before, but it is so fun that Skylar and Eliza have Grandparents that love to PLAY. They also each got personalized bath towels, and it was surprising how excited they all were over those. It really is the little things sometimes... Sunday, the meal was later in the afternoon and gave us plenty of time to have a leisurely morning and set up slowly for the big meal, so Dad and Carol were able to come back over in the morning to visit and play some more.

17 adults and 4 kids is a lot for my little house. Surprisingly, there were several seats left at the tables at mealtime, because the younger crowd and the guys migrated to the basement to watch Christmas vacation and chat. The present opening was not quite as stress free with us all in our living room, but what's Christmas without a mound full of wrapping paper and screaming kids.... They each got some fun toys that they played with for the rest of the night. Why is present packaging such a pain?!?? The adults drew names again this year, and I love to see what each of us finds for each other. Dan gave me a Ryan Adams CD and a candle, and Liz gave Danny a remote control helicopter. Perfect gifts. I love candles, and always love listening to new music artists. Danny is a big kid, so what's not to love about a remote control toy? Eventually, the drums and guitars came out in the basement with Danny and the Findlay kids and Dan, John, and I played Cribbage. I am so thankful that we have a family that enjoys each other and that Grandma was well enough to enjoy the holiday with us as well.

We spent Christmas Eve at Jenn's with the Cunningham, Brant, Herrick and Eiteman families as is tradition. We were missing a very important family member again this year with the passing of Grandpa Cunningham. Our gift to Grandma Mary was a quilt with some of his old photos on it that she could cuddle with. We all had a good cry. Funny how the emotion of the holiday just sort of hit us like a ton of bricks once the gift was opened. I hope it is something Grandma can hug and enjoy everyday.

Christmas Eve usually means opening PJs, feeding the reindeer and leaving cookies for Santa. We did all of these things, but we had another surprise this year. We gave the kids a kitty for Christmas and she was waiting in a kennel under the tree when we got home from Jenn's. Eliza, said,"Did Ryobi have a baby?" (Ryobi is our other cat) when she say her and Skylar almost started crying worrying about Ryobi's feelings getting hurt....not exactly the reaction we were hoping for. Oh well...time will help with the bonding. I just love our new kitty. We named her Coco, and she has the markings of a Siamese but is just a stray from Grandpa Dave's. He and Sandra did a great job training her and she has acclimated to life at our house very well! No accidents and only a few minor fits from Ryobi...Time will help her too, I hope.

We had a leisurely morning at home to open Santa gifts and gifts from each other. Danny got Xbox and Rock Band 2 while I received a Memory Bound Gift Card and an AWESOME makeup mirror even though we weren't supposed to exchange gifts.(Why does that never work?) The girls got shoes, boots, robes, DS games, movies, toys, coloring books, candy, more Pixos, you name it they got it. I think there were 8 or 9 gifts each. They were excited by everything and nothing is better than a child's face at Christmas. I am so grateful that Danny purchased a digital video camera recently...there are some priceless moments on film.
Christmas Day was hosted at the Herricks with the Wrights, Herricks, and Campbell's. Grandma Jo and Joell made a wonderful meal and there were TONS of gifts as usual. The kids got some fun new toys that were on their list. Danny and I got a new toaster which was much needed. I think our last one was 20 years old...I also got some Ugg boots, a new watch, sweater and shirt, and money for a new winter coat. Danny got some much needed new shirts and some guitar books he had asked for. Thanks Santa Jolene and Neil.
We were also able to spend the 26th, 27th, and 28th at home together as a family loving our new kitty and enjoying each other...I have so much to be grateful for.

Friday, December 12, 2008

We're BACK from the Carribean...

Well, we are finally back home after a long day of traveling yesterday. Our flight was delayed 2 hours, so we didn't arrive until after 1am. Boy, did sleeping in our own bed feel nice! Unfortunately, the ground feels like it is still moving after so many days on a boat, though.

We had quite an adventure on and off the boat. We spent most of our money on pictures, drinks, and cigars on the boat. ( I know...cigars...gotta try something different once in a while) Such fun! The cigar bar was our favorite quiet place on the ship to talk and meet other people. We had to leave the ship before we got too attached or had to take out a second mortgage on the house. : ) There were also some great stage shows as well as a couple of good rounds of trivia that kept us busy while on the ship. Amazingly, we didn't use the hot tubs and only dipped in the pool while sun bathing for a couple of hours. There's so much to time for sitting around.

Our first port was Grand Cayman. Joan, Kevin, Tim, Jenn, Danny, and I went snorkeling while Grandma and Kathy went 100 feet down in a submarine. We all saw some wonderfully colorful fish and the snorkeling boat even took us over a shipwreck. Very cool experience and extremely peaceful. I could have done it all day, if the water was a little warmer. Can't wait to see the pictures from the underwater camera. We spent some time shopping in Grand Cayman as well, and Danny bought me a gorgeous Ammolite pendant and earrings. Ammolite is a fossil mined in Canada and is very rare. It has several colors in the stone and looks different depending on the lighting.

We spent the next port day in Jamaica. Joan and Kevin went on a tour of a spice factory and pottery shop. Grandma and Kathy toured Jamaica with a tour guide and did a little shopping. Jenn, Tim, Danny and I went on a muddy, dune buggy ride. It was a BLAST! You couldn't even tell what color our shirts were originally when we were finished. We also jumped off of a 15 foot cliff into the ocean when we were done. There are some muddy pictures below, but this is only half way through the course. After we cleaned up on the ship and had lunch, we also ventured out to a beach and did some shopping near the pier. I just love the people of Jamaica. So laid back and happy. Irie, Mon.

The last day at sea was very warm, and we finally laid out and dipped in the pool for a couple of hours. We never did use the ship's hot tubs. We had a pretty relaxing last day on the ship and had to spend some time creatively packing. We only had carry on luggage and had them packed pretty full when we arrived. Good thing our purchases were small items...

Overall, it was a great vacation and good times with friends and family. I was so proud of Grandma, considering she had never been out of the country before. She just went with the flow and experienced quite a bit of the culture and met several new people in and out of the ship.

We are cruisin' again in February on the same ship. At least we have a lay of the land now.

We missed the kids horribly and it sounds like they were getting a little mopey missing us the last couple of days. Thank goodness for such WONDERFUL grandparents to watch over them when we were gone. They played, fed the kitties,and made Christmas cookies with Grandma and Grandpa Peterson. They did a lot of crafts, drawing, and painting with Grandpa David and Sandra. We are so thankful that the kids had the chance to experience time with the grandparents and experience a good spoiling too.