Friday, December 9, 2016

Advent Calendars

The boys love to buy chocolate Advent Calendars each December.

Advent Calendars 2016

I offered to buy them Lego Advent Calendars a few times, and every year they opt for chocolate ones instead.

Advent Calendars 2016

This year, we bought them at World Market.

Advent Calendars 2016

The boys are storing them in the china cabinet, and they do such a good job at only eating one chocolate per day.

Advent Calendars 2016

Connor picked this one, with Santa on his sleigh.  Each piece of chocolate has a different design on it, but Connor has been joking that all of his are shaped like boots.  Of course, he eats it before he shows it to anyone.  He is a genuinely funny kid.

Advent Calendars 2016

Lex picked out this one, with a Santa Bear at his house at the North Pole.  I'm pretty sure that the chocolates in this one are exactly the same as the ones in Connor's calendar.

Only 16 days until Christmas!  Maybe I should start getting ready?

Thursday, December 8, 2016

You Are Here

So, this past summer, just after we got home from our trip to San Francisco, which was too late to be truly awesome because I missed getting a San Francisco mug, I discovered the Starbucks You Are Here mugs.

These mugs are awesome.  They are adorable.  They are the perfect size for my caramel mocha.  They stack.  Did I mention that they are awesome?

So, I've been collecting mugs.  And my family was very kind and they brought me more mugs when they came to visit for Thanksgiving.  Kind, generous, accommodating of my demands for mugs, enabling my mug addition.  This is my family.

Anyways, I realized that all my mugs were clean at the same time the other afternoon, which is something of a dishwasher miracle, so I decided to take a photo.

You Are Here

A photo of my mugs.

I bought the Texas mug first.  Then, I bought Oklahoma, Ohio, Dallas and Michigan on trips.  My parents bought me the St. Louis and Indianapolis mugs on their way down to visit.  My brother bought me the Denver and Colorado mugs in an airport on his way to visit.  

There are more mugs, though.  Like that San Francisco mug I didn't buy when I was in San Francisco because I didn't know it existed yet.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Top Secret: License to Spy

We went to our local science center to check out their new travelling exhibit, Top Secret: License to Spy.

It's a high tech spy exhibit, with lots of fun gadgets to test out.

There is even a mystery to solve.  Lex didn't use the paper guide at all, and he solved the mystery after about the third exhibit.  Connor played along even after he had figured it out, but he had cracked the case after the first few exhibits, too.  I think they would make good spies.

In fact, they even designed some spy disguises for use in all their sleuthing.

Top Secret

I have no idea who this guy could possibly be.

Top Secret

You can totally tell this is Lex because of the Darth Vader Ugly Christmas Sweater. It's a dead giveaway.

Top Secret

Uncle Kevin and Nana tried out some disguises, too.  Can you tell who is who?

Top Secret

Another favorite exhibit was the laser maze, and there was also a voice changer.

Top Secret

Lex kept going back to play with the voice changer, pretty much between every other interesting exhibit.  It's what he was doing while Connor was going through the paper guide to solve the mystery, even though they had both figured out who the bad guys were.

Top Secret

Of particular note was an exhibit where you had to sit at a person's desk, and using the personal information they had on their desk, such as the calendar, photos and books, try to hack into their desktop computer password.  Connor tried it first, and he got the computer to open on the first try.  He claimed that the exhibit was broken, because there was no way it could have been so easy.  So, my brother sat down, and he tried it.  And he couldn't get it at all.  Connor really just did hack the password on his very first attempt!

We should send him to spy camp.  Or Vegas.  Or both.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

In which we go to the lake

One sunny afternoon, we stopped by the lake at the park by our house to walk around for a little bit because it was a beautiful day.

At the Lake

Have you noticed that Lex is always wearing this Darth Vader Ugly Christmas Sweater these days?

He found it at Target in early November.  It was $19.99, and he said he needed it "to get ready for winter." I'm a sucker, so I bought it for him, and he has worn it every. single. day.  When I make him take it off to take a bath and to wash it, he puts it back on as soon as it comes out of the laundry.  Sometimes the next morning, or sometimes after only a few hours.  I don't think this sweater has ever seen the inside of his closet.

At the Lake

He gets comments on it everywhere we go, and he is always happy to talk to everyone he meets about his fabulous Darth Vader Ugly Christmas Sweater.  Anyone want to place bets on whether he retires it after Christmas?

At the Lake

My Dad.  He asked if we could take a nice family photo by the lake.  And it turns out that no, no we can't take a nice family photo by the lake.  This is the best we could do:

At the Lake

We are so cooperative.

At the Lake

Wait, Lex is totally over it.  But that duck will be happy to take his spot.

At the Lake

Well, at least the ducks are photogenic.  They were also following us around, begging us for bread.  Next time we go, we will have to take some to feed them.  Enabling the freeloader ducks.  This is what we do.

At the Lake

Connor tried on Uncle Kevin's jacket.  He said that it was like an old British spy coat on him.  I think he was talking about a trench coat.

At the Lake

Turns out that this kid would totally rock a trench coat.


The End

Monday, December 5, 2016

Elf Feet Art

I found a quick seasonal art project that I wanted to do with the boys, and since Nana and Uncle Kevin were here, they got roped into doing a little homeschool art, too.  These are the dangers of going to stay with homeschoolers during the school week.  You may end up unintentionally learning Latin and doing art projects.

Elf Feet Art
This is the one I did as an example.

Elf Feet Art
Here are Connor's Elf Feet. 

Elf Feet Art

Lex decided that he didn't want to draw Elf Feet.  He opted to draw Santa, instead.

Elf Feet Art

His Santa is pretty fantastic.

Elf Feet Art

I ended up drawing a second set of Elf Feet, this one with pants instead of an elf kilt.

Elf Feet Art

Uncle Kevin was a good sport.

Elf Feet Art

Elf Feet Art

Nana's Elf Feet are very pretty.

Elf Feet Art

Friday, December 2, 2016

In which we go to the park


There is a brand new park in town, and the kids love it.  It's easy to see why.  There are so many fun things to do, climb on, spin around and swing on.

At the park

These zip line swings are a particular favorite.

At the park

At the park

At the park

Even Uncle Kevin liked them.

At the park

At the park

When we first arrived at the park, there were only two other kids there.  Of course, they were a couple of our favorite local redheaded homeschooling friends.  It's a small town park thing.

At the park

At the park


Thursday, December 1, 2016

In which we say goodbye to the era of the eye patch

Today Lex had a visit with his ophthalmologist to check to see if his vision had decreased at all while we were weaning him off of his eye patch.  If you remember, he had only been wearing his eye patch for an hour a day since his last visit in October.

No more eye patch!

Well, he totally rocked his vision test!  He did the 20/20 lines with his glasses, one eye at a time, no problem.  He even read the 20/15 line with both eyes and his glasses.  He even read most of the 20/10 line!

So, he doesn't have to wear his eye patch any more.  No more eye patch!

NO MORE EYE PATCH!!

He has had to wear an eye patch every single day for most of his life.  He's been doing it for four whole years, and he is only seven.  And he really doesn't remember a time before he had to wear the eye patch.  It's a whole new era around here.

He was so excited that he ran all over the doctor's office, dancing.  He did the victory lap/dance combo thing again at home, too.

So, to celebrate, we had a party.  Nana and Grandpa and Uncle Kevin got him a cake.

No more eye patch!

The cake has eyes.

No more eye patch!

If you want to eat a cake with eyes, you have to sneak up on it from behind.  I mean, obviously.

No more eye patch!


So, we are having a great time here, not wearing eye patches anymore, and being able to see clearly with our glasses.  It was a ton of hard work, and there were lots of tears, but it worked!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Amarillo Botanical Garden of Christmas Lights

We have been to see the Christmas lights display at the Amarillo Botanical gardens before.  I took the kids in 2014, and they even sat on Santa's lap for a second.

Sidebar:  We saw Santa at the mall a few days ago, and I asked the kids if they wanted to sit on his lap or get a photo taken or tell him what they wanted for Christmas.  They said no.  Connor informed me that he is too old for such things.  He said, "Come on, Mom, I am almost ten!"

Anyways, we saw the lights.  The whole family went.  It was an evening full of holiday magic.

Photos, to wit:

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

But first, let me take a selfie with this Christmas agave tree.

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Lex, hanging out with his friend, a violin-playing toad dressed as Santa.

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

This is our *official* family photo.  It was taken by a person who was working there, wearing a badge that read, "Ask Me to Take Your Photo."  Seriously.  I don't know how qualified she was for her job.  But we look great in front of that waterfall, no?

Amarillo Botanical Gardens


Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Lex, in the wild blue holiday yonder.

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Here's that Melodious Toadious guy again.  He seems suspect honestly.  But, I suppose he can't get far with those lights tangled up in his feet.

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

I like this Nativity Scene.

Amarillo Botanical Gardens

Here is our second attempt at an *official* family photo.  It worked out much better.  Connor is a little ninja.

Amarillo Botanical Gardens


This one is almost all of us.  Some of us were missing and completely done being a part of *official* family photos.  And that's all right.  We were there to have fun, and we did.

'Tis the Season, Y'all.