Monday, December 27, 2010

A Flurry of Fun

Jimmer's offerings to Santa --

A sweet representation of a youngster's hope on Christmas Eve.

A visiting guinea pig:

A sweet representation of a youngster's responsibility on Christmas Eve!

Legos Technic sets -- Mike's dream vehicular set, complete with gears, suspension systems, and even rack-and-pinion steering.

After building the set models, Mikey is now creating his own custom vehicles with additional Lego parts cannibalized from other sets.

A sweet representation of a youngster's creativity on Christmas day!

Dear Legos, Inc.

My 11-year-old son is available to test all your Technic sets. He is additionally able to provide his consulting services and invention ideas to create and enhance future dynamic vehicular sets. He will provide 3D drawings from multiple angles and build all necessary prototypes for each of his inventions/creations.

If you hire him, he'll love you forever...and probably make you a lot of ca$h.

His mom

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

Saying goodbye to the season of Advent.

Welcoming the new season of Christmas!

It's not often we snap shots of our whole family.

This will undoubtedly be the last of Joe's face we'll see for some time. (Joe's annual facial hair growing marathon got a late start this year.)

We wish for you all a very merry and blessed Christmas!

O come, let us adore Him.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


It certainly is that time of year...

when our next door neighbors get 9 sets of their trains out and run them throughout all parts of their yard,

when the kids play Christmas music at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar,

and when the kids play football by the nearby huge, extremely well-lit Texas oak tree.

Now all that's left to do is celebrate and enjoy the special day of the season--Christmas!

And eat more treats.
And listen to more festive music.
And stay in our PJs much of the day.
And drink a little hot cocoa!
And find all the little baby Jesuses around the house and put them in their proper manger cribs.

Have a blessed and very merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Gramma & Mr. Merle

Today's creation
by Kathleen

Coming soon to a little mountain town in Cali.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Twist Tie People

I found these little people hanging from my computer screen the other day.

Their names are Katherine and Kathleen.

Kathleen made them for her friend, Katherine.

The real Katherine isn't into gymnastics or anything, but her doll version sure is.

Back bend

Push up

Hand stand

Mary Kate (left) added herself to the growing bunch of girls hanging around.

I think they're all playing leap frog at the moment.

Twistie idea from this library book.

Armed with a handful of twist ties and embroidery thread, the girls are now showing more of their friends how to make these funsies for themselves.

Some are made to look like themselves--others are more out-of-this-world with bright orange skin and neon-colored hair.

They giggle at their Travolta Stayin' Alive poses,
and marvel at other balanced contortions.

Good simple fun.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Christmas wish to you from Kathleen

Kathleen has been taking guitar lessons for a couple of months and wants to spread a little of her Christmas cheer.

Let me just say that I am so happy her teacher comes to our home for lessons!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crochet Nativity

Out of our several nativity sets, this one is the most unique.

My Grandma H. crocheted the set.

I find it very charming, and our kids absolutely **love** it!

Among all of our Christmas decorations, it's the first thing the girls look for and want to set up in the living room.

Proud Mary

Well, she probably wasn't feeling "proud" since she was so saintly and all. Just doing the job she was called to do, right? She sure looks like she feels great though...and very happy!

Joseph also looks quite thrilled after such a challenging journey (and not just the donkey ride into town).

The good king bringing gold from afar.

All the talk amongst these blond, brunette, and red-headed angels must be about how busy they know they're all gonna be watching over this little Savior's family.

A couple of reasons I find this particular hand-crafted set charming.

Would you just look at that Shepherd's wooly vest? Sweet.

And this. THIS.

The lady is spinning wool. Now, that is making it real with nativity scene detail! No need to stop what you're doing--just come as you are to see our newborn King!

With the mess all those large manger animals surely made, I'm glad Grandma H. wasn't tempted to make it even more real.

This nativity is one more hand-made heirloom I feel privileged to enjoy year after year.

Thanks, Grandma!

I'm adding this to the Nativity Parade.
Go have a looksie at some other Nativity sets.


I've also linked this post to A Meaningful Family Christmas link party where you can check out other families' wonderful ideas.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our chilly weather school room

When it gets chilly around here, our regular school room is nearly abandoned...

for this cozy area.

Can't blame them.

With the fireplace having three sides, all of the kids have staked out their individual spots to keep toasty...and reading. (Jimmer alternates sitting at the end of the fireplace and snuggling on the sofa to do his reading.)

All of them doing their work in the same vicinity--quietly--makes for a smooth and efficient day of school.

Let's hope we have a long, chilly winter!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Our School Room :: Filling Up

This is what our school room looks like today.

Just a few years ago, it looked a little less cluttered. Even slightly empty.

From this

to this.

BOOKS boOkS BookS bOoKs BooKS BOOkS!

And I'm not even showing the four (filled) upstairs bookcases.

And these

These are the kids' individual cubbies where they keep their current school books. (Along with a nature shelf in the middle.)

Books that have sparked so many of the kids' interests,
held captive their attention,
helped shape their character.

Jimmer's cubby

Since he's our youngest, it's bitter sweet to see these books for the last time on the kids' shelves.

Kind of like when you think you're going to be SO happy when your youngest child is potty trained, and instead you just look at all their little baby clothes and wish you could capture all those sweet baby moments again.

(Not the physically demanding, sleep deprived years -- just the smiley, sweet, innocent, and everything-is-new-and-wonderful-and-interesting times.)

I'll probably be okay when the book clutter is gone.

But I know I'll miss scenes like this when the kids are all grown up.


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Snowflakes :: 3D

The three girls here are papercrafting again.


'Tis the season!

After this one was hung, the girls got busy again and made one for their neighbor friend.

They're easy to make. All it takes is:

-6 sheets of copy paper
-Christmas music (optional, but recommended)
-a fire in the fireplace (also optional)

Check out this tute to make some indoor snow for yourself!

NOTE: The only thing this tutorial leaves out is making the second half of the snowflake that needs to be stapled to the first half. Then, to keep the branches held together while it hangs, you'll need to staple or tape about half way down each branch where the outer ribbons cross.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

A look on the outside

Front-yard football -- the tackling sort

Don't you love how *ready* Jimmer looks with his hands in his pockets?

3 girls, 5 boys -- no protective gear

Thank goodness this all took place before their tummies were stuffed with turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin ice cream pie.

Look out, Kathleen. You've got 3 boys charging to tackle you!

She may have avoided getting tackled,

but Mikey didn't fare quite as well on this play.

A view from the inside

A happy Thanksgiving here.

We hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving where you are!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

In the mind of Mikey

Along with Kathleen's pile of drawings and other papery projects covering a table in our school room, Mikey made his contribution to the heap.

He's steady in his work and not one to disappoint.
So, as you can imagine, his creations are of...vehicles.

Some *wearing* exciting things

I was informed that this is a monster truck with
a front slider, coil overs, and reservoir shocks.

Some *doing* exciting things

A mudder with a supercharger--making a muddy projectile mess.

For the record, this next one is Mike's favorite drawing.

A rock-crawling Jeep Comanche using its winch.

My only concern with this drawing is that there is no longer a driver in the vehicle.

What happened to him?

Does his mother know that he was driving precariously over boulders near the tundra line among snow-capped mountains?

Did he leave a trail plan with a park ranger before he started his off-road journey?

Did he bring a sweater?

A go kart
I can handle peddle go karts.
I think.

Diagramming vehicles from various perspectives is also a trend with Mike's drawings.

He started doing this when he was around 7 years old. After we took a ride on Uncle Bob's houseboat down the Mississippi, Mikey came back and started drawing the whole boat from different angles--some of which he had never actually seen.

Channeling his inner da Vinci:

Okay, I was caught a little off guard with the next one. NOT a vehicle?

Besides Mike thinking about vehicles, I'm usually not sure what else goes through his mind. So I must ask:

"What's this flow chart?"

"Is this a diagram of your mind showing how you file and retrieve information?"

He says, "Oh, that's a diagram of a bunch of slide outs. I imagined all of the little boxes sliding into each other and all fitting into the largest box."

"I drew that a LONG time ago when I was little."

(Interpretation: "A long time ago" = sometime last school year)

* * * * * * *

Now that he's not so "little," what does he make?

Drawing in 2-D > Building in 3-D

He's kind of big on this Erector Set right now.

This week's creations:

A dragster

X Plane (his high performance "test model")
with forward-swept wings and twin tail fins

In progress: an off-road pick-up truck chasis
with independent front suspension and live axel in back

(He did have to tell me all the specifics because I know nuh-singk about zees vehicles.)

So there you have it.

Glimpses of Mikey's mind on the inside...from the outside.