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(Hold your mouse over a picture for its caption.)

December 1, 2007

Patrick's birthday is Monday, and we had his party today.  The theme was sort of medieval/dragon/swords and shields.  Yes, I gave eight boys plastic swords, sent them outside and let them duke it out!

I can't take credit for this one, but Publix did a great job Everybody made their own cardboard shield

Defending our humble castle Attacking the pinata

Making a wish

December 3, 2007

Happy Birthday, Patrick!

Alex started with his new class today, and he came home a new child - or perhaps I should say my old child has returned.  :-)  He was bouncing off the walls when he got home, saying how NICE she is!  And as an added bonus, he said the teacher he thought was Ms. Bradburn (who he thought he wanted) was actually Ms. Keller (who he got).  LOL

December 8, 2007

The Homeowners' Association put on the neighborhood holiday party tonight, and it was a complete success!  Over the last couple of weeks I've recruited bakers to make cookies for the party and pick-up trucks for the kids to ride in behind Santa's tour through the neighborhood.  We have the same DJ every year and he's absolutely fabulous at getting everybody involved. 

Patrick and Stephen in the balloon contest Patrick came in third in the hula hoop contest!

This was hilarious - the kids lined up holding hands and had to get the hula hoop to the end of the line without letting go of hands. Alex bobbing and weaving to get the hoop by him

December 10, 2007

Patrick went to the prize box in gifted class today and got a dinosaur fossil that he chipped away all afternoon to get to the baby dinosaur inside.

My young archaeologist

December 13, 2007

As everyone knows, the mortgage industry has taken quite a hit lately, which is affecting both Mark's and my work significantly.  There are three big lenders in the home improvement (or in our case, swimming pool) industry, and over the past couple of months two of those lenders have pulled out of the market.  Well, this morning Mark got the news that the third lender is pulling out as well.  We quickly made the huge decision for me to go back to work full-time as a legal secretary.  Within an hour I had an interview at my old law firm for a job working for one of the nicest partners there, whose secretary has just left the firm.  Amazing!  My head is still reeling, about every aspect of the situation, but I feel so blessed to have that door open to me.  We talked to the kids about it at dinner, and they were surprisingly good about it.  They've seen our finances get tighter and tighter as business has declined this year, so I guess that has helped them understand.

December 17, 2007

After an agonizingly long weekend, I finally had my interview with Derrick this morning.  It went great, and I start work on January 2.    Way back when I helped open the firm he was the fourth attorney to join the firm, so he and I both know each other and our work.  If I have to go back to work in an office, this is the perfect situation.

December 22, 2007

Both of the boys had friends sleep over tonight.  Mark got them involved in a website with optical illusions.  I was thoroughly enjoying watching the kids as they "got" the illusions.  The best parts were when the kids pointed out the illusions to each other.

Completely enthralled

December 24, 2007

My mom gave the boys a new pad for the springs on the trampoline, which Mark and I installed yesterday.  It seemed to give them a renewed interest in the trampoline.  After dinner we went to the candlelight services at church, then drove around looking at Christmas lights.  I just love Christmas!

Hard to believe it's Christmas Eve and we're all out in shorts.

December 25, 2007


Ahhhhh - happy children.  Isn't Christmas wonderful?  The usual Christmas morning rule is that Christmas doesn't start until at least 7:00 a.m.  The kids didn't quite make it until then this year, though!  They had us up and stockings attacked by then.  As has become our tradition, Mom was to come over at 9:00 so we could have a big Christmas breakfast and then open the rest of the gifts.  Hmmmm - two hours until then, and THEN having to eat breakfast - that was simply too much for the kids to endure, so they called her, at 7:00 a.m., and asked if she could come early.  Being the fabulous Grandma that she is, she obliged and we were happily stuffing our faces by 8:00.  We then attacked the gifts, A great big thanks to everyone for the fabulous gifts!

Showing his "disappointment" at getting coal!
I had been threatening all month that Santa was giving them coal in their stockings.  Well, Santa obliged - with coal shaped chocolates!

Patrick's team is the Bucs, and he got a Bucs jersey.  Alex was thrilled with his Marvin Harrison jersey

We then headed over to the River to continue the festivities.  Nana got all of the grandkids a Wii and they LOVE it!  She also got them a Ripstick, which is a complicated sort of skateboard.  Between the Wii and the Ripstick, the kids were in heaven.  Heather already knew how to ride a Ripstick, so she gave everyone lessons.  It was hilarious to watch them twisting and falling all over themselves!  The uncles gave it a go as well, and tried to get me to do it, but after watching KC crash and burn once or twice, I decided I'm much to old for that sort of shenanigans - and so is KC! 

I made a book with all of the grandkids for Mary Ellen, which was also a big hit.  We have such incredible and wonderful times as a family, and I really enjoyed putting it together for her.

Grendel and Boo on the drive

Cousins hanging out Mark and his clone

Checking out the book Playing the Wii

December 26, 2007


Heather showing off her experience on the Ripstick Alex showing off his LACK of experience (note he's about to fall!)

Ryan very cutely waiting for a ride Nana, Ryan and I going for a spin

This is the product of having three big sisters!

December 27, 2007

Ryan found a new use for olives!  LOL

December 31, 2007

We had another fun New Years Eve out front with the neighbors.  We had much tamer fireworks this year so the kids put on most of the show for us. 

It's Sparkler Boy! Mark helping little Daniel with a sparkler

Alex the pyromaniac The big boys hanging out