Sunday, December 27, 2009

Who let the Dawgs out?!?!?

Hockey - who da'thunk it. Some silly rednecks like us enjoying a hockey game. I'm not sure I even understand the rules. It's like soccer on ice, kick the thing in the goal but you use a stick instead of your foot. What are the rules for contact...that's not important just enjoy the show. Last night we enjoyed our 2nd annual outing to Tsongas Arena in Lowell, MA, for a Devil's hockey game. The base had organized some seats in a private "box" to enjoy the game. We paid the the premium to enjoy the game from the luxury of our secluded, comfortable, padded seats, private wait staff service, and a visit from the Dawg himself. But I'll get to that part later.

The irony of this "family" event is not lost on Kristi and me. We take all the kids to watch the "devils" play a game. Surely we could think of something more appropriate for the day after celebrating Christ's birth. Regardless, Cory could not be more excited. My son who is a chip off the old block in terms of being shy seems to love this game. He's not into hitting, but in some weird way likes to watch this craziness. Although he is confused about being a Devil's fan. He thinks he likes all Boston teams - so the Bruin's being the local team is too much for him since we go see the Devils. He doesn't get the major-minor league thing. That's okay - he's 6. He was super excited that one of the Devil's players was named Cory (and he scored a goal). Later Cory mentioned he did not want to play hockey - because they loose their teeth and then have to eat soup all the time. Kristi was relieved to hear those details.
Back to the irony. Kristi paying to see violence. Here's a pic of the end of the one good fight of the night. Each guy took a few swings to size the other up, then "bing" the Providence guy played some chin music with a beautiful right cross on the Devil player. He went right to the ice.

It was a special promo night where they handed out Devil Dawg banks at the door. You can imagine the excitement for all 4 kids...and 2 parents who had to lug them around afterwards. K's dad would be proud that they are labeled as "Collector's" series items.

Lucy warmed up to the event because it was D-Dawg's birthday. All his mascot friends were there to entertain. Lucy spent the night keeping up with them (and not the game). Here she's pointing out some silly tree frog mascot across the arena.

Eventually D-Dawg came to pay us a private visit in the box. Apparently he was smitten with K, because he planted a big smooch on her cheek. I then took a mugshot to report him for assault.

Some food was included in our premium box seat prices, but for the good stuff, fried dough, we had to order out. Finger-licking-good. Yum.

Lucy eventually learned she could lean on the table and see over the entire arena. She spent a considerable amount of time "counting" players. She can only count to 7 or 8 so she kept having to start over.

The kids reminded us we had been at D-Dawgs birthday last year so apparently it is now a Christmas tradition.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day in Pictures

In their new pajamas on Christmas Eve before singing carols with some neighbors

Ready to see what Santa brought on Christmas morning. 6:45 a.m. (better than the 4 a.m. wakeup one year)

Lucy asked Santa for a lamp for her bedroom, and that is what she got. Riley received a Lego set, Mary received a Littlest Pet Shop set, and Cory got Star Wars Legos. No one was disappointed. He also left some fun stuff in the stockings...mittens, candy, toothbrushes, McDonald's gift cards...

After a breakfast of waffles, bacon and eggs, Riley read the story of Jesus' birth from Luke

Present time...Riley was shocked by the DSlite--

Mary was happy with the Little House Collection (that weighed a TON!)

Cory was stoked by the cowboy boots

Lucy was thrilled with her stack of presents
We are blessed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Christmas Open House

Come on in, we're having an Open House today. Can I get you some spiced cider? Help yourself to some peppernuts and explore our home.

You may know that I really enjoy Santas. I think it might be because he's so RED. This is the Santa Village. My parents got this for me a long, long time ago. It has Kringle Toy Mfg, The Cocoa Shack, Stables for the reindeer, the Elf house, as well as Santa's house. The kids like moving the little elves around and rearranging the scenes.

I often get Santas as gifts. There are many displayed on shelves around the house. This guy was given to me by Ted. He bought it in the Czech Republic several years ago. And the cute Santa cubes were given to me by a dear friend.

I have two Santas worshiping the Christ child. This one:

And this guy that I got for my birthday this year. I have an ornament identical to this one as well. You can find it on our tree.

And here are the stockings where Santa delivers our presents. They're not any sort of heirloom--just pretty, bright colors.

Another favorite item in our house is the Nativity set Ted purchased in Bethlehem.
I saw this beautiful set during my college trip to Israel but couldn't afford it on a college budget. Several years later, when Ted was working with the Israeli's in the F-15 office he had an opportunity to take a trip there. I did my best to describe the nativity set I wanted and hoped he'd have a chance to get to Bethlehem and know what I was describing. He did, and I love it!

And last, but not least, here are the sweetest things we have in our house. :)

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Celebrating with Neighbors

We had an awesome neighborhood Christmas party last night. It was an all afternoon and evening affair, yet mindful of the fact that we all have loads of children and church the next morning (although it was cancelled because of the snow, but who would have known that). Mary Beth described the party as "perfect" after it was all said and done.

It began with crafting for the kids...soldiers, snowmen, Christmas trees and ornaments. After that we played a little friendly trivia game...although from the looks of Riley it appeared that it was very important that she won. I wish we had a picture of her screaming the answers to questions--her face beet red. She was intense, which is not her usual nature.
Then the fun really began. We dispersed into family teams on a digital scavenger hunt around the base. Some of the items on the list were:

A live Nativity
A bowling ball wearing a Santa hat
A Security Forces Person giving the thumbs up

And an Ice Rink--gee I wonder where we might have found one of those?

Our family had a ton of fun zooming around the base looking for the 30 items. I say zooming, but that probably isn't very accurate, since the fastest you can drive anywhere on the base is 25, and many places it's even less than that. I should also clarify the "our family had a ton of fun" line. Everyone but Lucy had a ton of fun...she was not thrilled with the getting in and out of the van routine. Even buying a doughnut didn't change her mood.
We returned in 2nd place...yea for us! Then we all had pizzas, got the kids changed into p.j.'s and taught the kids how to do Tim Tam Slams. For those of you who aren't familiar with this, it's a chocolate explosion in your mouth made possible by using a chocolate covered chocolate wafer cookie as a "straw" with hot cocoa. When the cookie begins to fall apart, you slam the entire thing in your mouth...
The kids had a little trouble doing this, but they liked the chocolate. We then told them to relax and enjoy a movie (yeah, right) and the adults went into the next room to play a fun game. We rolled dice to earn the right to try to open the package...Here's the catch. While attempting to open the package, you had to wear this goofy hat, a scarf and oven mitts. Of course, the package was well taped, and once you opened the first package there was a second, and then a third, and then a fourth and so on until you have a plastic baggie with a gift card inside, wrapped with tin foil. Meanwhile, the rest of the people are still rolling the dice continuously around the circle, and if anyone rolls doubles, your turn is over and the new lucky roller gets a chance. Around and around you g, hoping for doubles.
Ted got a turn in the middle of the game
Cousin It got a turn shortly after Ted--oh wait, that's me...
and in the end I got another turn--the one that mattered most, and I reigned victorious with the $25 gift card to Best Buy. (although I kind of cheated just a wee bit at the very last getting the last bit of foil off with my teeth. Which I feel super guilty about, but don't really know how to rectify, so I guess maybe I'll go into retail therapy with my gift card.)

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Return of Freedom Rink

As a proud member of the Typical American Male Fraternity...if I do something and it meets with any amount of success/applause, when I do it again, I have to do it bigger and better. Freedom Rink is no exception. The kids loved the rink last year and I enjoyed hosting the entire circle as they skated and generally had a grand time.

I've been thinking all year long about how to make the rink better. I saved some pine straw from the fall raking to help reduce the depth of the "deep end." I put it under the tarp to try and cut back on the amount of water I required. A second change is based on the wood leftover from the Remote Control Palooza (blog still pending - waiting on pictures). I also wanted to get the wood out of my garage. For those of you that remember last year, I had some "bowing" of the wood and eventually the tarp was pinched. I planned to use the plywood to add a second layer of structure as well as prevent the tarp from being pinched between boards on the side. The pic below gives you a perspective of the double layer of plywood and 1X6 boards.

I worked fast over the last week to get the frame in place. The weather guessers were saying we had a long string of cold weather this week, and I wanted to flood and be ready for that first deep freeze. We (my buddy Jon helped a lot this year) have more posts in to help support, we also added some length from 36'. The tarp won't support a full 48' but it will be 40 plus after I get some more water in the rink. We flooded on Tuesday. I ran out of daylight on the flood after a few hours. I was hesitant to flood it much after dark and not be able to keep an eye on the progress. We timed it perfectly. There is a nice flat and super thick glacier in the yard.

Today was the first skate of the year. The kids were so excited.
As always the kids came in and expected some hot cocoa.
Now that the rink is bigger. Time to upgrade the Zamboni :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Going Nutty

One of our favorite Christmas treats is peppernuts--a German Mennonite tradition. Both my grandmothers and my mom made these when I was a kid. Yum. I have only just begun adding this to my own Christmas traditions (not sure why I waited until now...maybe getting a little nostalgic in my old age), and the kids are enjoying the little cookies quite a bit. Hearing little Lu say peppernuts is pretty sweet.
The process to make them is not quick, but it's not terribly difficult--we've managed to do a little bit at a time and still enjoy ourselves.
Mary Beth is really enjoying helping me with the process--she cut A LOT of these little guys.

So far we've made two batches--most going out as gifts to our friends. I'm trying to decide if we need to make another batch to get us through Christmas and the week after.
Quite possibly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Tree

Trimming the tree is always a fun trip down memory lane. Here are some of ours
Our first Christmas

A child's first Christmas

A child's handmade ornament from preschool
Friends who are dear to us

Family excursions around the United States

It's a great tree, overflowing with cherished memories...