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!

Posted by Picasa
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.

Posted by Picasa
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.

Posted by Picasa
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!

Posted by Picasa
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

Posted by Picasa
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.

Posted by Picasa
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!

little girls and santa

one of the reasons that we like the mall of the great plains so much is because of this santa. he is so cute and such a nice person. he has such a pleasing personality that kids just love him. in the last 4 years, i haven't seen a kid that has been the least bit afraid of him or has misbehaved while being w/ him. he's just so calm and happy and easy to be around.

here is santa and raven . . . . .

here's santa and riahna . . . . .

Posted by Picasa
here's santa w/ both girls. when i asked summer if she told santa what she wanted for christmas, she said she told him that she and riahna wanted a bike "like mitchell and maxwell have". somehow i don't think riahna cares too much for getting a bike for christmas, but raven is convinced that riahna wants a bike, too.

what an imagination!

it is amazing what a little imagination can do for a little one. we had quite a time laughing at this situation ourselves. we had been to the mall of the great plains in olathe, kansas, shopping for the day. after painting for a while at clay cafe, all the kids were tired and needed naps. (so did some of the adults!)

summer and lucas weren't done painting yet, and they had chosen some really nice old world santas to paint, so we brought the girls back to the hotel w/ us for a while. riahna went to sleep just fine, but raven wanted to play for a while. we didn't have any toys w/ us for either of the kids and their own things were down in their own room. we probably could've gone down there and gotten some stuff, but raven started playing "maple leaf" -- using her sock as her little dolly, name "fussbutt".

here, you can see "fussbutt" snuggled up next to memaw as we're getting ready to take naps. raven just handled little "fussbutt" so gently and tenderly -- it was terribly comical overall.

after my snuggle time w/ "fussbutt," raven put her in the carseat to go night-night. she pulled the blanket up over her and then told me to "sh-h-h-h-h, fussbutt's sleeping!" i was just about to die laughing -- the kind of laugh where you want to laugh but know that you can't so you're trying to squeeze it out your ears. i knew raven would be upset w/ me if i was laughing at her -- but i just wanted to know (b/c inquiring minds want to know) how can you tell when a sock is sleeping and when it is awake. it looked pretty much the same to me!

but raven is such a good mommy, she knew just what fussbutt needed and when she needed it. it was so cute to see how gentle raven was handling her sock while she was playing pretend.

here you can see a pictures of fussbutt on the phone -- she's calling her mommy to see when she's coming back.

Posted by Picasa
it seemed like it took forever for summer and lucas to get back to the hotel, but it probably wasn't but a couple hours. amazing how time slows down when in a hotel room w/ small children!

at least it was entertaining, as jerry and i laughed and laughed over the "little fussbutt" situation. i commented to jerry about how raven came up w/ that name, but that mystery was solved soon after summer and lucas arrived at the hotel, as summer looked at riahna and said, "so how if my little fussybutt?"

Thursday, November 23, 2006

crash and burn - thanksgiving night

thanksgiving was a full day, w/ dinner at mickie's house and family time, packing suitcases at memaw's, and loading up in jerry's car to go to kansas city for the weekend. summer and lucas were gone to the chiefs game, so the little girls were w/ us for the day.

family time at mickie's house was great and we stayed there until around 4 or so. then we went back to our house and got our things ready to be gone for the weekend. we didn't try to get the little girls down for nap as we figured they would sleep in the car. i was just about exhausted by the time we got in the car, but no naps were in our near future.

the ride up to kc w/ the girls wasn't bad, but riahna really needed a nap and was determined not to take one. we even stopped at a gas station to give her a break out of the car seat and have a bottle, but no nap was oncoming. she was just pumping her little legs for all she was worth -- her latest nap-stalling technique . . . i can't sleep if i'm still moving.

raven couldn't wait to get to the hotel b/c she wanted to go swimming w/ memaw. she was so anxious and excited and she kept forgetting not to put her feet out into jerry back of the seat, so she kept poking him in the back. after a while, he said, "raven, remember not to put your feet up into jerry's back, ok?"

she sat there for a little bit and then said (in a very pathetic voice), "jerry, you don't have to yell at me . . . i'm just a little girl." it was so comical because jerry is about the last person on earth who would be yelling at her. he wasn't even talking in a loud voice or sounding impatient. she's just learning how to use things to her advantage. i just about choked to keep from laughing at the face jerry was making after being admonished by a 3 year old -- it was really quite comical overall!

jerry was very anxious to get to the hotel b/c he wanted to watch the chiefs game at 7. we were just getting to the hotel at 7, so by the time he got our stuff up to the room, the game had started. raven wanted to swim and riahna needed a bottle and a nap, so jerry got to keep riahna while i went swimming w/ raven. i'm not sure what happened w/ jerry and riahna, but jerry was quite tired out by the time i got back from swimming as riahna was still determined not to take a nap and had cried most of the time i was gone. she was asleep as i entered the room, so i got the "don't make a sound or i'll strangle you" look.

after swimming, raven and memaw had a nice, long, hot shower and got ready for bed. it wasn't too long before summer and lucas got back, but they were quite wound up after the game and all. they came in a talked for a while before going on to their own room

it was probably about midnight by the time they got to their own room, their things carried up and the girls moved over there -- the girls didn't take long at all to just crash for the night. as you can tell, these are 2 tired little girls. the 2 tired grandparents are not pictured!

Posted by Picasa

summer and lucas at the chiefs game

well, again, it's chiefs game time. when told about the possibility of chiefs tickets this year, lucas jumped all over the chance to see the chiefs play the broncos. neither of them had ever been to a pro-football game, so i was sure it would be an experience. summer wasn't too thrilled at the idea of going on thanksgiving, but w/ dinner being at noon and the game being at 7 pm and w/ us spending that weekend in kc anyway -- it all worked out just perfect.

here is the happy (and adorable) couple at the game. again, they were threatened upon pain of death to take pictures for me to show on my blog and to scrapbook -- so they did a good job, too. so far, i've had success w/ 2 out of 3 kids, so we'll see if scott can live up to the standards set when he goes on new years eve!

h-m-m-m-m, these pictures are very reminiscent of the days when summer used to take pictures of herself all the time. i bet i have about 100 pictures that look almost identical poses at just different ages. i always knew when summer had held my camera for me when i got the film back from developing. now w/ digital cameras, i don't have to wait to see who was holding the camera!

almost, but not quite good enough . . . .

there, that's perfect. that's the one that mom's going to want.

Posted by Picasa
here i guess they imposed upon their neighbors at the game to take their picture for me. to hear them talk about the game, it was obvious that lucas had much more fun than summer did and he probably would've had even more fun if he had gone w/ someone else -- but that wasn't an option.

i thought summer would have fun if she would just go w/ the flow and enjoy watching the crowd, the people, and the game. there is usually plenty of action to keep a person busy, even if you're not a football fan. according to summer, she would've had more fun if they had left at half-time. that way, she was still having fun. but after half-time, the crowd had too much to drink, it was terribly noisy in there (hello? the noisiest stadium in the nfl!), and she was ready to leave.

lucas, though, was probably NOT ready to leave, so that's where the problem came up. i had told them not to worry about trying to hurry out of there, b/c no matter when you leave you're not going to get out of there in a hurry. a person might as well just wait on the game to be over and let the crowd clear out a bit before trying to get out. i find that it works much better for me/us to just wait it out rather than trying to make a run for it.

for the future, i'm sure that summer would probably not care to go again but that lucas would jump on the chance for tickets should they become available again. who know, maybe scott and lucas could make each other a deal or something -- after all, that way they could each go to 2 games. that is if we get another chance like we did this year!

thanksgiving w/ my family

thanksgiving was with "my family" this year, as we are in the habit of trading off on thanksgiving and christmas. we are together and celebrate both holidays, but it just depends on what day and time that we're together. last year, we had dinner w/ jerry's family in nevada and then left from there to go to kansas city. this year, we were hosting dinner at our house . . . except that with my back problems and physical therapy -- i was just too miserable to have everyone at my house, so dinner was served at my mother's house. we still did most of the cooking, but just ate and hung out at my mother's house at the farm.

holidays with my family are usually loud and rowdy, but everyone has a real laid-back routine. we eat, we talk, we play games, we eat, we nap, we play games, we laugh, we joke, we make fun of each other and other people, we eat some more, we laugh, we have a great time.

so far, this year has been no exception. we had a great dinner, talked and laughed, raven rode the motorcycle, riahna played on the floor and napped -- fairly typical, except for a couple a new guests this year. summer brought her friend ina, from russia, who was very quiet and seemed fairly overwhelmed by so many talkative and curious people. we invited jacob and the boys to join us, as amanda was getting ready to have company at their house in the late afternoon. i'm sure that gave her a nice break to have the little ones up and out of the way while she was getting ready for dinner.

above is 1/2 of the family room at my mother's house, showing everyone here except for stormy, riahna, jerry, me b/c i'm behind the camera, and my mother (who is no doubt dithering about something in the kitchen). summer is hidden behind galen's head.

jacob is taking a dose of good-natured razzing here, it looks like. joey was quite interested in that spray bottle of hair spray of raven's and the turning coffee table. enough to keep a kid entertained all day!

here's jerry, who was on the other side of the 1/2 circle pictured above. joey had been over to get some hugs and kisses from "gra-pa" as he explored this new place and the people/toys there.

stormy had a good hold on riahna, who really needed a nap but was determined now to take one. she has now reached the point of fighting naps by singing until her little tired eyes close anyway and then she kicks her feet to keep herself awake. to get her to take a nap now, a person has to hold her where she can't kick her feet!

Posted by Picasa
just a picture of summer, since she wasn't shown in the previous group picture. she and lucas were getting ready to head out for kansas city and a football game and we were going to come up later w/ the girls and meet up at the hotel. it made for a long day, but was lots of fun.

another year, another thanksgiving, another round of things to be thankful for. we have been very blessed and we are truly grateful for what we have and who we have.

surprise riahna!

sorry sweetie! watch out -- raven has the camera and she's looking for up-close and personal pictures of everyone in her world.

Posted by Picasa
this is riahna mae on thanksgiving day, laying on the floor and rolling this way and that or trying to scooch and scrunch because she hasn't quite figured out how to crawl yet. they keep prompting her by putting little toys and things out in front of her, but i just think of the times they are going to wish she didn't know yet how to crawl when i see that!
those days will come soon enough! already she can get wherever she wants in the walker, so it won't be long now! watch out world!!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

jerry takes a ride during harvest

while jerry might have been raised on a farm and spent quite a bit of time there, things have certainly changed over the years. when my brother was harvesting beans next to our house, jerry said, "you know, i've never been on a combine w/ a cab." i convinced him that he should go out and ride around for a while and he jumped on the chance.

we walked down the lane and down the road a bit to where kirk was parked. he had no cell phone signal in the field, but could go to the end and talk. we stood around a talked for a bit, and then i told kirk that jerry would really like to ride in the combine. kirk easily agreed, and he's usually really good to give rides and talk about what's going on. he has a john deere 9650, so it's pretty big.

i think jerry thought that it would be a fairly tight fit in the cab as he probably wouldn't have a place to sit, but he was surprised to find out that this combine has 2 seats in it. much better for men, who seem to have a fear of being too close! i went ahead and just walked back to the house, as jerry would be like a kid in a candy store w/ too much money to spend and i wasn't sure how long he would ride. i didn't want to just stand down the road "waiting" so he could enjoy his time riding and talking.

there is no secret of when this is moving along, as the fog of dust and the hum of machinery warns a person well in advance. i stood on the carport on the east side of the house and took this picture from about 300 yards away. i just thought it looked neat to see the combine making headway through that cloud of dust w/ the sun shining on the side of it.

jerry didn't know i was out there taking pictures (probably because he was so absorbed in riding in the combine and talking) i was amazed that i could actually "see" him in the cab in this picture as these were taken from so far away and then zoomed in. he only rode a couple rounds, but he was gone a couple hours. they had a breakdown, and jerry being the mechanical-minded guy that he is . . . just couldn't help but stay and help see what the problem was and find a solution.

Posted by Picasa
for this day, the solution was to put the combine in the shop, order parts, and call it a day. while they intended to be harvesting on thanksgiving, that option wasn't an option after this afternoon. nothing like a "forced" holiday for family fun time!