December 30, 2008

The Leahy visit

Monday night we had a great visit with our friends the Leahys. They were some of the first friends we made in Arizona. Unfortunately they left the desert for greener pastures in Colorado. We were so pleased to be one of the stops on their visit. We made homemade pizza and finished off all the ice-cream in the house. (Which wasn't as hard as I had thought.) We played our new Sequence game and had a great time laughing together.
(My camera battery was dead while they were here so I stole this picture of the fun from Jami's blog! Thanks Jami)

December 29, 2008

Baby, it's cold outside.

I realize as I write this many of you are up to your necks (or at least your knees) in snow, but I am cold. We usually don't see freezing temperatures until February. Yesterday Kenneth had to scrape the windshield, and I actually had to give in and turn on the heat. I have been wearing sweaters inside even.

December 28, 2008

Pizza, puppy, and paraphernalia

We ate pizza in the food court of the convention center. It wasn't that good but it cured the whining. Kenneth made up a slogan for them "even worse that Papa Johns and twice as expensive."

Dejay was a big hit everywhere we went. He was really well behaved.

Nate and Hazel showing off one of the many treasures picked up at vendor booths, fake mustaches! We also have a fine assortment of key chains, coupons, toothpaste tube squishers, fire hats and stickers.
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Baby #8

HaHa, Hazel... Who's the baby now?

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Dejay is helping us to handle Hazel's obnoxious youngest child behaviors. The best help is when she decides to throw a screaming and crying fit, he gets worried about her and starts licking her face. She is not fond of the slober and so she stops crying. Hooray for Dejay!


It was by the brand new Phoenix metro light rail that we traveled on Saturday. We waited in line for about 1 hour and 10 minutes to be some of the first riders.
It was free to ride, the cost was the wait in line.

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Going Buggy

We took a tour of the new Phoenix Convention Center and saw this cool garden that is watered by a system that recycles the condensation from the air inside the building. The garden was infested with giant bronze bugs.

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December 25, 2008

It's a Dogs Life

Dejay's first Christmas was a success. Santa even filled his stocking!

6 AM Christmas Morning

Santa Clause leaves our stockings on our beds after he fills them. When I was a kid I woke up all night and would swish my feet at the end of my bed to see if my stocking was there. As soon as I felt it I would dump it all out and see what I got, then go back to sleep until the sun came up. My kids bring their stockings up to my room when they wake up. It is fun that way to see them opening everything!

Christmas Eve part 1

On Christmas Eve we had a quiet candlelight dinner of "bread and goat cheese in a little linen sack".

Then the kids all got one present to open...

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Chrismas Eve Part 2

Everybody got a pair of new PJs.

And went to bed. Hurray!

December 20, 2008

Live Nativity

Tonight was our Church Christmas party. Potluck dinner and Christmas program. The couple in charge of the program asked if our children would be the live nativity. It was a pretty simple setup. After the first song, Mary, Joseph and baby come on stage and sit/stand in the stable, the shepherd and sheep, and the 3 kings all enter and stand on the other side of the stage. 2 songs. Then everyone leaves Mary and the baby for a lullaby. Then everyone comes back and forms the traditional stable scene. Simple right?

So here are our festive variations on the traditional scene:

On the first entrance the wise men couldn't remember where to stop and so they approached and retreated a couple of times before stopping, and then still being a bit unsure wise man #3 lay down on the stage and did a few break dancing moves.

The little sheep's costume was made from quilt batting, which allowed her to pull small tufts of fluff off as she walked leaving a little trail behind her in case she couldn't find her way off stage.

Upon second entry the wise men now knowing where to stand went right to their spot, offered their gifts and pressed their hands together in the attitude of prayer. The third little wise man began chopping the little sheep on the hear with his prayerful hands. The 2nd wise man tried to shush him and he turned on her with his hands still clasped but not so much in the attitude of prayer as much as the attitude of Jackie Chan.

P.S. I found out at church today (Sunday) that our little sheep was also fed real hay by her siblings!

December 19, 2008


We bought a chocolate filled advent calendar this year. The kids and I had a long discussion about how to decide who opens which day. We decided to go oldest to youngest so that Hazel would not know what was going on for the first week. The goal here was to not let Hazel sneak everyone's chocolates. The plan worked wonderfully she didn't even know the chocolate was there for the whole first week. So on her assigned day we introduced her to the calendar and explained that "today you get to eat the chocolate behind this door and then in 1 week after everyone has another turn it will be Hazey's turn again" I think she understood. We even showed her which door would be hers to open. So for the next week every morning and every afternoon after her nap she would come ask "Now is it my day?". She waited so patiently and didn't sneak a single chocolate. So on Dec 16th it was finally her turn, everyone was so proud that she had waited! Dec 17th it was my turn again, and I went to open my chocolate. WHAT?!?!?! Every door had been cleaned out! (except the24th I think because it had a double door and she couldn't figure out how to open it)
She ate all the chocolates.

How do you discipline that? I tried a couple things, finally I bought another calendar (considerably cheaper at this point in the season) and the kids are doing it without her. So they all had 3 chocolates this morning with their breakfast.

December 18, 2008

Upgrade Update

For those of you who are concerned about our TV watching habits (or rather lack of TV). Yesterday I got a new bigger TV for Christmas! We finally had to give up on the little 14 inch that I bought at a pawnshop the second year we were married.

So... to all the kind hearted generous friends who have given or offered to give us TV's (we actually received 6 in the last year), thanks for the offers but we already have a brand new 19 inch flatscreen. :) It's huge!!

December 17, 2008

Thinking about going back to bed

Some times I get to the end of the day and think "I should just go to bed so that nothing else can go wrong!" Today I am thinking that already.

Sydney opened the fridge and a brand new gallon of milk "jumped out" and split open. The spilled milk pooled under the fridge. There was a pen jammed in the back wheel of the fridge so it was hard to pull out. Nate slipped on the milky floor and was sent away and went to play with the puppy. Christian was moping behind the fridge. Sydney forgot to do her homework. Rebekah refused to shower because she didn't want to be third in the shower. When all the girls came out none of them had showered and there isn't time for Rebekah to shower. Nate says "mom Dejay pooped in my room". No one can find clean socks. Christian says "Oh, you wanted me to mop behind the fridge until it was clean?". Truman says "I just stepped in dog poo in the hall". And the only clothes Hazel will wear is a swim suit!

I'm thinking about going back to bed...

December 14, 2008

Why am I so tired?

Kenneth writes a weekly email to his family and I found this excerpt to be very telling:

Dear family,

How are you all doing? We are fine, thanks.

This was another busy week. Monday we went to a concert. Tuesday we went to a concert. Wednesday we went to a concert. Thursday we went to a concert. Friday we went to a concert. Saturday we went to a concert. Just kidding about Tuesday...

It is really fun to watch your own kids perform!

Hazel looks like this at many of the concerts...

It's tough to be the baby!

December 12, 2008

Junior High Homework

Hazel and I checked out a bunch of Russian folk tales. If any of the kids are supposed to be doing something like homework or practicing, I find them in the living room reading library books. I have read Baba Yaga about 25 times since Monday.

Here is Christian studying hard!

December 11, 2008

Santa's Little Elves

Tonight we had a Guide Dog activity, we rode a school bus around to look at christmas lights. There was one house that really put on quite a production. Evidently on the weekends they even have a santa in the sleigh and they will take your photo and email it to you. I think the owner noticed the school bus driving back and forth in front of their house. She came out and offered us candy canes and we took pictures. It was rather hurried and 7 kids move fast, especially kids who just came from a band concert and have been on their best behavior. It was a festive evening...

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Labs are notoriously hungry

Dinner Time!

All I want for Christmas...

The kids were playing with Dejay in the living room while I was making dinner. Truman calls me "Mom, Dejay has something in his mouth and I can't get it out." It is an important thing that Guide Dog puppies never eat things off the floor, so I come out to see. The kids have his mouth pried open and I can't see anything either, but he is obviously working on something. So I sit down and open his mouth again (he is really good natured about this) I still can't see anything, so I decide to let it go. I look at my hand and there are his two front teeth. Truman hadn't realized that puppy teeth fall out and is a little grossed out, but Abby gets all excited and asks if she can keep the teeth. So now she is keeping them on a shelf in her bed room!

Is the Puppy's front teeth

December 4, 2008


Tuesday I got to go on a field trip with Sydney and Truman. They went to Biztown where the kids run a city for a day. They spent 1 day a week since school started working on the curriculum which included, economics (supply and demand, product pricing), interest and credit, advertising strategy, writing resumes, job interviews, how to open a bank account, write a check, and make a bank deposit. The goal of the day was for each business to pay off their bank loan and make a profit. Truman was the CEO of the delivery center and Sydney was one of his employees. Truman had to make a speech(see video below). The kids all worked hard (and Dejay worked hard too).