Sunday, December 10, 2006

"revised" jimmy on the pumpkin patch train

okay guys -- after several great suggestions and ideas on what to do to make jimmy's picture better, here's what i have to show for it. i darkened in the background and created it over completely behind jimmy's face. that seemed to make a huge impact on seeing exactly where his nose and chin ended. overall, i'm MUCH happier w/ this picture now that the change is made.

summer took this picture on the way to the pumpkin patch, but i've alwasy been drawn to it as if there were some ethereal feeling to it. trust me, though, there was nothing any more angelic about this little demon today than there was any other day -- making him fit right in with the other little demons present!

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

jimmy on the pumpkin patch train

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i drew and colored this picture of jimmy, riding on the train to the pumpkin patch w/ us. the picture is actually darker in person, but colored pencil seems to lighten up during the scanning process.

anyway, the pictures was taken of jimmy as he watched out the window on the train, so just the side of his face (hardly even any silhouette of his facial features) is visible. i had a hard time doing his skin, as he is so pale-complected that i didn't have pencils that light to work with!

i was happier w/ some sections of the picture more than i was the overall picture -- but it was definitely a learning process.

this drawing was done in a 9 x 12 sketchbook w/ 70# white paper and prang colored pencils, sprayed w/ matte finish sealant to keep it from smearing.

our front porch looking out

here's what today brought us -- the after-effects of 1" of ice covered w/ 10" (and drifts) of snow and a night of fog that froze in the tree limbs. just beautiful this morning!

this is from the kitchen steps looking out on the front yard. the sun was up, but not past the clouds so it still looked fairly dark outside.

these are the trees down the east side of the yard . . . .

jerry took this picture, and i'm so proud of his creative photography! he's really branching out in his interests! this is our front porch looking straight north into the trees across the road. this was a little later, so the sun was up and it was brighter out.

same tree out the kitchen door, but it looks more fabulous with more light shining on it. as i was cropping pictures and stuff, i asked jerry what was that blob on the picture. i figured there was a dot of moisture on the lens or something, but when i zoomed in we saw that it's a beautiful redbird flying over the tree. i feel like i should "touch that out" for the picture to be more pleasing to the eye, but then i think "if that redbird was out flying today, he deserves to be in the picture!"

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the last couple of days have been marvelous, starting w/ ice coming late on wednesday and into thursday morning. then late thursday afternoon, the snow started falling, but once it started -- it flat-out got with it! we had 10" of snow by friday morning, w/ drifts up to 2 ft deep. all that on top of about 1" of ice, so travel was practically at a standstill here. the main roads got cleared off quickly and town was clear -- but that's nowhere near where we are.

we were just trapped at home for the last 3 days, and it was wonderful. jerry and i stayed home from work and scott stayed home from school. we could've gotten out in case of emergency, but sometimes it's just nice and peaceful to just "be home". i absolutely love being trapped at home in situations like this. i love to cook. we spend lots of family time watching movies and playing games. it's better than vacation, b/c at least we're not all exhausted when it's over!

jerry had to make a grocery store/pharmacy run today, though, and found out that once he hit the main roads everything was just fine. it's still a little slick here and there, but nothing like it is still at our house!

Friday, December 01, 2006

our back door looking out . . .

the view out the back door is not quite so pleasant as the view out the front. the boys were intending to sled thru the front yard, but jerry nixxed that idea.

after the round of sledding, the boys came up on the carport and collapsed -- too tired to even make snow angels. jacob was in the drift between the car and van.

scott fell on the smaller drift sount of where jerry parks his car.

when they recovered from sledding, then they decided that they should throw snowballs. that was easier said than done, though, as this snow was still too dry to pack a good snowball -- but it was good enough to get so-so snowballs. after pelting each other a few times, they turned on jerry and plastered him good. he was standing there griping about how they got his clothes all wet and he had been so careful to not get wet already . . . . . as he took his sweatshirt off to shake the snow off of it. uh-oh -- that just made him a better target -- a jerry w/ no shirt on. so they pelted him again. he had a few choice names for "the pups" as he was coming in the back door. fortunately, they were kind enough to not pelt me b/c i was taking pictures and i might hurt them!

they came in the house and thawed for a while and snacked until their body temperature and blood sugar levels were back up to normal, and then they needed something else to do. the conversation sounded something like this . . .

"what do you want to do?"

"i don't know. what do you want to do?"

"oh, i have an idea!"

"oh yeah? what's that?"

"let's shoot something!"

"yeah, that sounds cool. get the guns out!"

(loose translation, of course, but you get the picture!)

so, a few minutes after getting bundled up, this is what our back porch looked like. jacob had snow-shoveled a place to set up his lawn chair where he could "sit and shoot" in comfort. how redneck is this???

while scott was standing at the corner of the house, ready to get the jump on anything before jacob had time to level his gun.

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throw in a few games of lethal and agressive monopoly, a couple of movies, some food -- and that pretty much sums up the day for us on friday. jerry was just knocking them dead at monopoly, though, so it just got that much more dangerous and competitive.

the weather was too bad to go to school or work, but just right for some great family time and fun together.

no more snow fun

ok, that's it. i'm done playing in the snow and i'm going in the house!

raven was soon wrapped up in her fuzzy blanket, getting ready to watch some cartoons.

now that she's in the house and bundled up w/ her blanket to watch some cartoons, a piece of fuzz will make the whole world better. for those of you who don't know raven, she likes "fuzz" like some kids like blankies or that special toy. she just likes a piece of polyfill to rub on her face. i can't for the life of me understand what is soothing about having the piece of fuzz tickle my nose -- but she likes it and keeps fuzz hidden everywhere!

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mommy and daddy are hoping that raven gets tired or the fuzz or gives up on the fuzz before riahna is old enough to pick up on the same habit! i guess it could happen . . . . but probably not!

snow - with big boys and big toys

funny how weather creates situations that make it too difficult to travel to work or school, but these same situations present totally different and fun circumstances for play! jacob came over on friday to go rabbit hunting, but ended up waking scott up "to go play in the snow"! it's been a long time since scott was drug out of bed to go play in the snow, as snow hasn't really been an issue here for several years. mostly, we've just had ice storms and those aren't much fun to play in.

so now we had 2 big boys w/ a sled, a ski rope, and a truck. sounds like the makings of a good accident to me, but they were determined to go out and play in the snow. while they might have been having a great time, it looked to me like they were intent on killing the other one. it was like a game of deadly "chicken," and neither one was willing to be the first one to give out!

scott was the first one on the sled, w/ jacob driving the truck.

it wasn't long before scott was tired and cold and ready for his turn to try and kill jacob, so they switched places. now jacob is the potential victim.

looks like they are stopped here -- negotiating, probably. or planning some better way to carry out this long form of fun/torture.

scott looks like he's saying, "now what was that?"

here's a long range shot taken from about 300 yards away. they drove all over that field at speeds topping the high teens. scott swears he was only going about 17 at the fastest, but i'm sure he meant 70 (seventy instead of seventeen). as if that old "slur the syllables together" will fool mom!

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i don't know how many miles they sledded this morning, but they sure had fun and they were definitely worn out after that escapade. someone flying over our place would probably be sure that we were the victim of a ufo and crop circles, but it was nothing more than the boys having a little fun.

snow angels

this has really been the first time raven has gotten to play in the snow. we haven't hardly had any snow since she was born! just ice storms!! she got a sleigh-shaped sled for her 2nd christmas, when she was about 16 months old -- and we had to pull her thru the house so she even got any use out of it!

she was so excited when it started snowing. she would open the door and snatch a handful of snow and eat it, but suddenly her hands were cold beyond her tolerance. she was suddenly crying and they had to run warm water on her hands to get them warmed up. i guess she just didn't notice they were cold until they were too cold -- all in excitement over the snow.

friday morning, summer and lucas got the girls all dressed up to go outside and play in the snow. yeah, riahna is not going much playing -- but they wanted her to be a part of it. so they dressed her up in her little snow suit and took her out on her blanket. she slept thru their whole play period, which was probably only a few minutes.

here's daddy (lucas), making a snow angel and trying to convince raven to stay outside and play with him. shortly after they got outside, lucas and raven were throwing snowballs at each other. right as lucas threw one at raven, she fell . . . which put her face right in the path of the snowball he had thrown. so, daddy hit raven in the face w/ a snowball, and she was done playing. it wasn't fun anymore!

here's daddy and raven, posing together to get their pictures taken in front of their house.

now here's mommy and raven together, posing for daddy to take the picture.

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ok, that was 30 minutes of work to get them ready for 5 minutes of fun and then whatever other time they had to stay outside for pictures before they could go inside and get warmed up! probably an overall exhausting experience for everyone involved, but a definite memory maker as raven hasn't forgotten that daddy threw a snowball and hit her in the face!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

new chew toy

riahna also got a special christmas gift from aunt andrea and uncle chris -- a big chew toy! it's a big stuffed dog, name mursery w/ all kinds of learning things on him. what riahna saw . . . ah, a shiny, blue ear!

grab it!

pull it closer!!

almost got it!

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there we go! got the ear in the mouth. m-m-m-m, tastes good. tastes just like shiny blue should. this gift was a great hit!

budding artist

raven and riahna got their christmas presents early from aunt andrea and uncle chris, so summer and lucas let them open them up early so they could be enjoying them and they could get pictures posted and sent to family.

summer sent me this picture so i could see raven w/ her new toy and also so i could see what a good picture she had drawn. the instructions for drawing a cat are across the top, so raven did each step and this is what she came up with . . . . .

a close-up picture so you can see more clearly that this is a cat, drawn by a very enthusiastic and proud artist.

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really i thought it was pretty good, considering that raven just turned 3 at the end of august. pretty good motor skills for one so young. hopefully, she'll continue her interest in art!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

putting lights up for grandma evelyn

well, thanksgiving weekend was over and we were headed back home. jerry wanted to come down 71 hwy and stop at his mother's house on the way home, so that was our plan. sunday, after breakfast and chit-chat, everyone went their own way from our group. after spending the whole weekend together, we were all ready to get home. as we were getting ready to go, raven said, "i want to go w/ memaw and grandpa!" funny thing was, she had complained about riding w/ us all weekend and now it was time to get in the car w/ mommy and daddy and go home -- she wanted to be w/ us.

evelyn and jeff had gone to jefferson city to spend a couple days w/ joleen after thanksgiving dinner is kansas city at cindy's house. joleen was just bringing them home to nevada on sunday as we were leaving kansas city. we arrived at evelyn's house around 2 and they weren't there yet, so we walked down the street to janie and dennis' house to visit. janie was very proud to show off the rag rugs that she and dennis have been making and they are really very pretty.

before long, they were all home at evelyn's house. we walked back up to her house and talked for a bit before joleen got busy getting out the christmas lights. jeff and kim were also there, and jerry was going to help put the lights up. an executive decision was made and the decorations were limited to putting lights and greenery on the porch and putting the lighted deer up in the yard.

joleen and jeff were working on the porch.

jerry was on the ground next to the porch, untangling the lights.

raven was pretty much right where the action was as long as it was interesting. here she is checking out what makes the deer move like that, and she wasn't real certain if she liked that or not.

she had a nap on the way down from kansas city, but i think she would've slept much longer if given the opportunity. it had been a long and tiring weekend filled w/ fun times and great memories, but she was a tired little girl.

when things got boring where the adults were, raven headed out to play in the rocks of the driveway. i know . . . poor little girl doesn't have any toys or any friends! yeah, whatever! she just likes to play in the dirt, in the gravel, in the grain -- she's a farm girl.

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the end -- what else is there to say?

the plaza lights

something that i really enjoy doing (and have done for several years w/ my kids) is going down to the country club plaza in kansas city while the christmas lights are on. yeah, i like going down there any time, but it's always special at christmas.

last year, we were down on the plaza for when the lights came on thanksgiving evening at 7. this year, we didn't even try to go down there b/c we had the little girls w/ us and the chiefs game was on at 7. jerry's priorities -- not mine. but that's ok this year, b/c my back wasn't up to carrying one of the girls down to see the lighting any more than jerry's knee/foot/back was up to it -- so . . . next year.

anyway, we weren't down there for the actual lighting this year, but we did make it down there saturday night. jacob wasn't interested in trying to go down to the plaza w/ the boys, and lucas wasn't interested in going, and jerry was happy to stay and go swimming at the hotel -- so that left me, summer, scott, and riahna for the adventure.

the weather was beautiful -- almost 80 degrees today. almost unbelievable for thanksgiving weekend. it made great weather for walking the plaza, except that everybody else was willing to walk the plaza in those conditions, too. that made finding a parking spot even more crazy than it normally is, but we finally found one after about 20 minutes or searching.

we only had a few stores that we really wanted to hit, so we made a quick run for discovery store, sharper image, and the body shop. we probably spent about 2 hours down there, drove through mcdonalds, and then went back to the hotel -- but it was a great time to spend w/ my kids. something traditional that we've done together for years, so it just felt right.

i asked a guy who was taking pictures at the plaza to take one of us for me, but i didn't realize that he cut little riahna totally out of the picture. the only evidence that i have that she was with us that night is the stroller handles in summer's hands. shucks! oh well -- next year we'll do better!

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jill, scott, and summer at the plaza. little riahna was present, but not included in the picture, thanks to the guy taking the picture for me!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

rainforest cafe

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part of our weekend in kansas city involved going to rainforest cafe for lunch. it's good food, entertaining atmosphere, and extremely amazing for little ones. here's a picture of the whole gang from this thanksgiving weekend in kc -- jerry, scott, riahna, jill, lucas, raven, summer, jimmy, johnny (can only see top of his head), jacob, and joey. amanda didn't go w/ us b/c she had to work and it's their busiest time of year.

we left the hotel around 9-ish to head to jc penny outlet to shop a bit. we were a little late getting started, but that's not unexpected when trying to get 6 adults and 5 children out the door in the morning. we shopped for a little over an hour or so and came across some great bargains. too bad money is such an issue right now, but oh well -- such is life!

scott and lucas opted out of shopping at jc penny outlet and headed to kc creations, a custom motorcycle shop across the street. jacob had never been to jc penney outlet, so he shopped for a while and then skipped across the street to the motorcycle shop to see what the boys were in to. after we met back up, we found that each of the big boys tried on bikes to see "how they fit" and even picked out some in "my size" (according to the individual!), but no purchases were made as the size of the price tag didn't fit any of the guys! oh well -- add it to the wish list!

next stop -- rainforest cafe. our routine has changed a little over the years as we have added small children into the equation, so a nap time is now figured in after the rainforest cafe visit. we had a great meal, the kids were totally enthralled at the thunder and lightening during the "rainforest storm" and the gorillas whooping it up during the stampede. it was a blast and a total ton of fun. it was so cute to see their eyes light up in excitement -- a definite do-again activity!

Friday, November 24, 2006

clay cafe

this is one of our traditional holiday things that we do while at the mall of the great plains in olathe, kansas. we go to clay cafe and paint something. the funny thing about it -- it's amazing how relaxing it is to just sit and paint. you don't have to worry about making a mess, having the right colors, or anything else. you just purchase your piece and then pay a fee ($3) to sit there and paint.

raven loves to paint, so she was right up there at the table w/ summer and lucas. raven had a little mouse on skies ornament to paint this year. summer and lucas both chose old world santas and coordinated their colors so they would look good together.

little riahna was happy sitting here in her stroller. it was rather peaceful there until it got tipped over, but she survived w/o much fuss at all. that's a bad things about these umbrella strollers, as they tip over easy if there is too much weight on the back of them.

scott chose a dragon to paint and opted to sit at his own table where he wasn't fighting for room or to keep the table from shaking or anything. he's going to dry brush it, so i'm sure it'll look real good when it's done.

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amazingly, jerry found out last year that he really likes to sit down and paint something. last year i had the impression that he thought this was about ridiculous, but after sitting and watching other people paint . . . he got up and got himself something to paint and this year was looking forward to painting. last year he painted a cross that sits on his dresser and this year he painted a snow man.

jacob and the boys were there w/ us, too, but their pictures are not shown here for obvious reasons. i'll have them posted this next week to my other blog, and that way i won't have to blur their faces out.

in case you're wondering, i didn't paint anything and i never do. i know it sounds weird, but i would rather do something like that when i'm alone instead of together in a group. fortunately, though, that leaves me free to take pictures of everybody else having a great time. besides, if i were trying to paint something, i wouldn't get anything done on it because i would be trying to see what everyone else was doing on their projects!

after rearranging some things at home and seeing how many things i have accumulated to paint, i think we might start having "paint night" at our house every once in a while. everyone enjoys painting so much that we could do some projects and spend some time together while working on them. that might be a great idea for some of these winter nights where it gets dark so early. after all, we (meaning the whole group of adults) can only watch the same cartoon for so many times. it's bad when we go to put on a movie for the kids and the adults are arguing for or against the movie!