December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

The highlights of today:
Singing around the piano
Homemade gifts
Time together
3 naps for mom
Tamales for dinner

Antarctic Auditions

I found a cute decorating idea in Family Fun Magazine, called Antarctic Auditions. We put out a sign in our front yard.

After a couple days we slowly started setting out penguins...

Then one morning Kenneth opened the front door to go running and found a stuffed penguin on the front porch with a note that he was applying for a position...

Then I came home one afternoon and found a dozen penguin cupcakes ...

A couple days later another penguin on our door step...

And this morning there was a small line...

I thought that our penguin decorations were funny, but our anonymous neighbors have really added to the spirit of fun in our house this season.

One of my neighbors called me one day to ask me what a group of penguins is called. The answer is: a waddle, unless they are nesting with eggs then it is a rookery.

We are thinking about having a rookery next year!

Going Going Gone...

We have after 10 years, finally gone native! We made Tamales for our Christmas dinner. I have a very kind friend Carmen, 2 years ago I went to her house to help her make Tamales. I learned alot about making them, more interesting she shared her memories of Christmas and that to her Tamale is the smell of Christmas. I always associated pine smell with Christmas. Arizona Christmases have taken me a while to get used to but, this year I wasn't hungry for a ham. It was the tamales calling to me. I called Carmen to ask her where I should go to buy masa and where to get chile sauce that isn't bitter. She said she had some extra as she had made too much, and I could come get it. I drove right over and not only picked up some chili but also a roaster to cook the meat and hand writte instructions. The next day she called to ask how it was coming. She offered to come over the next morning to get us started.

Abby and Truman mixing masa.

Everybody helped with assembly.

So with a good teacher, we made 10o Tamales! Ahh, the smell of Christmas in the air!

Abigail Cleone Welling

Happy 10th Birthday!

Usually it is hard to get good pictures of my kids blowingout their candles, but thanks to the trick candles that relight, we got lots this year!

I am sitting here on Christmas day writing and thinking how grateful we are to have Abigail in our family. When she was born, we had only been living in Arizona for 3 months and in our house for 2 months. Abby wasn't due until the end of January. She was born 5 weeks early and that was it's own scare. She so tiny and then she had a "respiratory incident" and was in NICU for several days. I remember looking at all those desparate parents and babies with serious problems and feeling guilty that I thought my life was hard. Kenneth and I "snuck out" of the hospital when she was 2 days old and tried to finish some of our Christmas shopping. It was good to take a break from the NICU for a couple of hours. She was released from the hospital on Christmas Day and was brought out to us in a little flannel stocking. Some of our new friends invited us to christmas dinner and the kids wrote to Santa asking if he would come a day late. We celebrated a day late. Abby had Jaundice and had to be in a suitcase of Bilirubin lights. It was hard to have a new baby and not beable to hold her all I wanted. Kenneth's family all came to visit and were disapointed to not get to hold her much either, I think they all had a good time anyway (I don't remember, I was a truly incompetent host). We did have a nurse who came everyday to check on her for a week or so. It was really nice to have a professional opinion without having to drag myself out to the doctors office.

Now looking back, I am most grateful for Abby's good health, doctors and nurses who took good care of us all, a patient and gentle husband who took good care of me and the other 3 kids, and the good friends that we have been so blessed to know.
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December 22, 2009

Gingerbread Village

Every year Kenneth asks me to not get carried away with the gingerbread house building. I try to do something every year that is cool and I always do something that falls in the category of "carried away". This year instead of a giant cathedral I divided the dough into four pieces and gave a size limit, and 2 kids per lump of dough. Seeing as we only have 7 kids, I counted Kenneth as a kid. He and nate made a great gingerbread Outhouse. Kenneth's comment this year was "It's fun to let the kids make the gingerbread houses like that." I would have to agree! They did have fun and the village is cute.

December 20, 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words

I am really happy when I see this expression in my children's faces, the pleasure, the excitement, the anticipation. I am really enjoying this Christmas season. I have been the recipient of many kind acts. My family is bustling with excitement about the gifts they plan to give. My projects will get done when they get done and I am ok with it. (even though I am thinking about not sleeping tomorrow night)
I am especially grateful for the easyness of my life. My husband takes good care of me, my children love and respect me, my home is nice, and I have food in my cupboards. What more could I ask for!
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Feliz Navidad

Hazel's Preschool program was very cute this year. They did a little nativity play, Hazel was the Inn keeper's wife. She was supposed to say "if you don't mind some mice and sheep, we have a place where you can sleep." We were all helping her practice at home. During rehearsal she would skip the part about the mice and sheep. So one day while we were driving home from preschool I asked her to say her part, and reminded her to start at the beginning. I was suprised by her response, she proceded to recite the play in it's entirety. She knew everyones part even the narrator and included stage notes, like then the angels sneak in the back door by the choir seats. My favorite part was "then the wise men are supposed to say 'let's follow the star' but Fred doesn't say that, he says 'grr garrer ga gar'.

After the Nativity, each class sang 3 songs. (I apologize for the filming, Abby did it because I was helping keep another class quiet and Kenneth was at Sydney's concert.) The best one was Feliz Navidad with choreography.

Abby's Birthday

Abigail wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. She was born on December 21st. Most people don't want to bring their kids to a birthday party that close to Christmas. Abby doesn't know what she wants for Christmas let alone her birthday. All these factors let us to December 5th...
Abby invited all her friends to come to the zoo and in lieu of gifts to bring $10 to help sponsor an animal. We had a great time at the zoo and the kids decided to sponsor the wallaby. (She also got a donation from her siblings and my parents. She ended up with $111.) Instead of cake, she requested a picnic lunch with Oreo cookies.

We got to feet the stingrays.

We saw the new Komodo Dragon exhibit.
The weather was beautiful. The kids were happy...

And we found a hairy pig!

We brushed the goats at the petting zoo. Even a cream colored one named "mini muffin".

And rode the Carousel

Santa Puppy

As we have already said DeJay has gone back to Guide Dogs for the Blind for the rest of his training. Raising DeJay was a great experience for our whole family, we had a lot of fun and learned a lot about dog training. I think that the greatest thing we got out of it was the blessing that comes from selfless service. I think that the kids understand that we will miss him, but that we will have changed someone's life. That feels good.

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Rebekah's Birthday

Better late thank never... I don't remember what day we celebrated Rebekah's birthday. I do remember that her birthday was Nov 21st, and we did have the party so that is the important things! Right?

We had this rainbow of cupcakes with ice cream.
The girls played this game that is a favorite of Bekah's. Everyone ties a balloon to their ankle and then everyone runs around and tries to stomp on the balloons and pop them. They also played pin the tail on the donkey and musical chairs. Everyone had a great time. When it was all over Kenneth took Rebekah to the mall and let her get her ears pierced.

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December 17, 2009

Sydney Saxophone Recital

Sydney had her saxophone recital tonight. She is a diligent practicer and is progressing very fast. She got to play in the ensemble numbers with the high school kids and held her own really well. She even got to play the lead part (doubled with one of the senior boys) in Frosty the Snowman, Truman played the piano for the group. Sydney's solo was We Wish You a Merry Christmas, and Christian was her accompanist. The quartet played What child is this.

Sydney relaxing between numbers, forgot that everyone could see her while she went cross-eyed.

DeJay in Boring, Oregon

Last night, we got another update on DeJay:

Hi Megan,
Today we arrived on the Oregon campus with 18 puppies and 12 big dogs at about 2:30pm. Once again DeJay rode shotgun with us up front, we had a full truck and we knew we could count on him to ride on a tie down up front without any problems. I've attached one photo of him looking out of the puppy truck door when we stopped to deliver a puppy in Roseburg, OR. The other photo is of him in front of the kennel on campus. I just wanted to let you know he is doing great and you should be very proud of him. He is a wonderful dog and the best co-pilot we have had. He gave both Lee and I our "dog fix" all the way to Oregon, we are both amazed at how well he traveled being so young. Good luck and hopefully you will get to see him at a graduation,

Joseph Aguirre

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December 12, 2009

Puppy College

Well the day we worked so hard for but hoped wouldn't really come, came. Friday we returned Dejay to Guide Dogs for the Blind. Today has been a quieter without or puppy. Sydney went with me to drop him off and on the way home we were feeling a little guilty that we weren't more upset and weepy. We decided that the predominant emotion was pride. Our family worked really hard to train Dejay and he was a great experience for all of us. We are proud of him and excited to see what he can do.

I will admit to being lonely today for my constant companion, and I haven't had the heart to put away all his things yet. So tonight when I got and email from the Puppy truck drivers, we were all excited to hear how Dejay's first day away went. Here is the message we got: (FYI the kids all tied a piece of ribbon on his collar as they said good-bye... The principal at the elementary school gave him a new bone as a going away gift, and he took it with him on the puppy truck)

Hello Megan and family,
Thought I would drop you a note to let you know DeJay and his seven canine partners arrived on the San Rafael campus with us safe and sound at about 4:30pm today. About a half an hour after we left the pickup spot in Goodyear all the dogs were asleep, except for DeJay. He seemed a little "antsy" so we brought him up front on a tie down and he immediately settled down, allowed us to pet him, and took turns falling asleep with his head on either my or Lee's lap.
We read DeJay's paperwork and we realized that with seven children in the house he probably wasn't used to being alone. He became our "co-pilot" for most of the trip to California and back up to campus. He sure loves his ring bone and would grab it to bring with him each time we took him out for a walk or to be a co-pilot. We are saving his bone for the trip Tuesday to Oregon. His collar with the seven ribbons is one of the most festive ones we have seen and he wears it proudly. He truly is a nice dog and we enjoyed transporting him and look forward to seeing him again next week. Thank you for doing such a good job raising him.

Puppy Truck Drivers Joe and Lee

December 3, 2009

Expect the Unexpected

Life has been really chaotic around here lately, and today is no exception. Our experience at Costco was great today.
Hazel and I went to Costco at noon today. It was so busy that even the tire technicians were running checkstands. Hazel had to go to the bathroom. After visiting the bathroom we were trying to cut across the surge of customers leaving the checkstands and stay out of the way of the food court line, suddenly Hazel stopped. I stop with DeJay in tow, and try to drag Hazel out of the traffic. Everyone is stopped around us and she declares loudly "something is wrong with my pants". I look down at her in disbelief as she pulls a pair of flowered panties out of her pant leg. "Oh, here's the problem!"

November 15, 2009

Fish Tank Stand

Kenneth and I have finally finished our Fish tank collaboration project. He made the stand and I made the stained glass panels for the doors. It is hard to tell but there is a light inside the cabinet which illuminates the glass in the doors and also makes it easy to see the music books inside. Each kid has their own slot to keep their piano and instrument music in.

Here is me and the door.
Here is a shot of just the glowing doors.
The stand without the lights on...

The stand and doors in all it's glory.

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