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Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Patch has hit double-digits!  OMG!  He's been all over the place on what he wanted to do for his birthday this year.  The original plan was to invite a few friends to go to Medieval Times, but we couldn't seem to get everybody available on the same day.  He also wanted to go to a local laser tag place today because he gets to play free on his birthday, but that was going to just be Mark, Alex and Patch.  We ended up swapping the two events.  He had a few friends over today and Mark took them to laser tag, and we'll do Medieval Times later as a family.  Worked out beautifully, especially since I was home from work sick as a dog today.  Mark picked up a cake from Publix, we sang Happy Birthday, had cake and opened gifts, then Mark took them all away to laser tag and I went back to bed.  The kids had a fabulous time at laser tag, and at bedtime, Patrick said he'd had a wonderful birthday.  :-)

Make a wish Hurry up, Dad!

Dig in Kewl - an archery target

and custom arrows from Grandma!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

We've had the inside Christmas decorations up for a while, and today we did the outside.  Patrick was thrilled to be able to help Dad on the roof with the lights!

absolutely fearless Lookin good

Monday, December 8, 2008

Patch's MusiKids performance is 8 days away and he's been working on the rhythm part of his song, with the expectation that he would be paired with someone else to do the melody.  Well, he learned today that it will be just him playing alone, so now we have to throw something together in a week.  Argh.  We went through a bunch of songs, and have finally settled on Joy to the World, since he can pretty much play the melody of that with chords.  Gawd I hope it works!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Tonight was Mark's company's Christmas Party in Ft. Lauderdale.  I've worked late every day this week so we could leave in time, and Mom came to stay with the kids for the night.  We got there a bit early and Mark gave me a tour of the factory where all of the chemical products are made.  It was very interesting, and really strange, since it's so different from life in the mortgage industry.

 In years past, the company parties have been huge elaborate affairs at a banquet hall that went well into the night.  It was a sure sign of the troubled times when we got there this year.  There is a section of the parking lot outside the factory that is called the "Backyard Expo," where the company showcases many of it's products like grills, water features and stuff like that.  That area was decorated (very nicely) and set up for the party, and the gathering was much smaller.  It's been a very rough year for the company, with many layoffs and branches closed down.  It was more of a select group this year, and we were very pleased to be included.  We had a wonderful time, although it was very cold out, so the party disbursed relatively early.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tonight was the big evening at Medieval Times for Patrick's birthday.  We got there early and browsed the gift shop, which is huge and filled with nothing but medieval stuff - Patch was in Heaven!  He used his birthday money to buy a sword, and when we paid, they told us for $10.00 he could be knighted with his sword.  You couldn't have done anything better for Patch!  It was amazing, as were the show and the meal.  :-)

Goofing off in the lobby eenie meenie miney mo

May I present Sir Patrick!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Patrick had his MusiKids performance tonight at the school.  He did absolutely wonderfully!  His solo went great at the beginning, and the rest of the show was amazing.  Unfortunately, none of my pictures turned out, so I can't share it with you.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Today was the firm Christmas luncheon.  One of the women at the firm has been in and out of the hospital for the last several months and the doctors cannot figure out what's wrong.  The firm has said they will match any financial gifts anyone wants to give them, and they announced today that we have a room full of gifts for Tammy's children, and over $5,000 - before matching - for her family!  Have I mentioned the people I work with are incredible?  Scott, one of the partners, said some really nice things.  One was a quote from a 7-year-old boy:  Love is what you feel in the room at Christmas when you stop opening the presents for a minute.  It was really a warm fuzzy luncheon. 

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Becca and I hit the mall today - along with everyone else in Central Florida.  Mark and I have gotten the gifts we know the kids really want, but I haven't gotten them anything extra or unexpected.  The firm gave out Christmas bonuses at yesterday's luncheon, and while we could sure use it elsewhere, I decided to spend it on making the boys' Christmas a little better.  Becca and I had a blast, covered just about everything for both of our kids, and then hit Denny's for a few hours of chatting.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Mom gave us Cirque du Soleil tickets for Christmas and tonight was the show.  Mark and I saw the show when it first opened and were blown away, so we've been especially excited to share it with the boys.  We weren't disappointed!  Before the show started, a guy in a suit got on stage and shared that this show (La Nouba) opened exactly ten years ago tonight, so that was kinda special.  The show was AMAZING!  There is a ton of gymnastics-type stuff, so Patrick was blown away by that (he kept whispering to me that maybe he could do that when he grows up).  By the end of the show, my cheeks hurt from smiling and my hands hurt from clapping!  We talked the entire way home about who liked what part best and how did they DO that.  Wow!  THANKS MOM!

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

We had our traditional Christmas morning - starting with kids waking us up to open stockings.  Grandma came over soon after, and the kids convinced us to open the rest of the gifts before making breakfast.  Everything pretty much revolved around them this year, so the gifts were opened up pretty quickly.  ;-)  The big gifts were an iHome for Alex's iPod (a clock/radio/speakers for his iPod) and another sword for Patrick, and a couple of new video games.  After breakfast, Mom and I moved in to getting things ready for dinner.  This was my first Christmas dinner (and I've only done Thanksgiving once), and I couldn't have done it without her!  The kids were happy with their gifts and the dinner was delicious.  What more could we ask for?

Grendel got a new monkey (she killed the last one) Entering the world of Calvin & Hobbes

Sunday, December 28, 2008

UCF has a new program this year called Light Up UCF, and it has an outdoor skating rink, among other activities.  The natives were getting restless, so we went and tried out our skating skills.  Mark's back has been bothering him, so he played photographer.  The boys did really well, once they got the hang of it, although for a while it looked like a practice in avoiding falling!

Patch and me getting the hang of it Patch again

Alex and me

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our Sea World passes expire on the 31st, so we figured we'd go for one more full day today.  We packed lunches and changes of clothes (for the water rides) and planned for a late evening closing the place down, but when we got there, the entrance was closed because they were full.  :-(  Mark brilliantly suggested we go go-karting instead, and saved the day!

Ready at the starting line

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We gave Sea World another try this morning, but sat in traffic for about 45 minutes before deciding the lines for the rides would be just as bad even if we did make it in, so we gave up.  It was kinda sad because we've had Sea World passes for years and we know we won't be able to go again for a long time. 

The gym is closed for the holidays, but Patrick still had his lesson with Scott.  Since the place was almost empty, I went out onto the floor with my camera, although I only ended up with one good video.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's New Years Eve!  We didn't have our usual group of neighbors around this year, so we did our own little fireworks show early in the evening.  Mark crashed early, but the boys and I stayed up and watched Dick Clark until the ball dropped.  We were all asleep by 12:15!

Swimming on New Years Eve!

Alex the master pyro Patch - pyro in training