Friday, December 26, 2008

Wii Wiish You a Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone had a festive and safe holiday. We enjoyed a quiet day at our home with just our family. We spent most of our Christmas Day jingling bells, roasting chestnuts on an open fire and spreading peace on earth and goodwill to each other.

Actually, you can probably guess how we really spent Christmas Day by the title of this post.

We broke down this year and finally got a Wii.

For years, we have been fighting against the X-Boxes and PSP's of the world. We had seen too many young and not-so-young brains turn to mush playing Mario Bros. for twelve hours at a time.

Here is how our road to mush started.

After the kids opened all of their other gifts from Santa, we had them open a wrapped Wii remote. It took about ten seconds for them to figure out why they only had remotes. Once they checked the TV for the game consul, you could see the realization on their faces. For the next few minutes we heard many shouts of something about the greatest day of their lives. We then officially surrendered our TV to the kids for the day.

Number One Son bowled a 216 right off the bat. Both kids quickly ran through all of the Sport games before starting the Guitar Hero rock off. Lady Di then had to step in just to see if the game was working correctly. After the kids scored more points than her on Livin' on a Prayer, she decided something must be wrong with her guitar.

Here is Sweet Pea perfecting her slide steel guitar technique. She is dressed in her rock star pink, froggy, footie pj's.

N1S is rocking out a little more conventionally. Maybe camo thermal pj's will catch on with the rock and roll crowd.

At lunch time we forced an intermission on the kids from the game. Lady Di prepared a monster Christmas banquet and we all indulged to excess. We were all feeling a little groggy after eating so the kids suggested that we get some exercise to work off some of the turkey and stuffing. So we played some baseball, bowled a few games and boxed a few rounds.

That is one good thing about the Wii. At least we get more activity out of the game besides just our thumbs.

After playing for a while I asked the kids if they wanted to get some real exercise and help me outside. They just popped in the Wii snow shovelling and floor sweeping game and said, "That's OK. We'll just work in here."

Toward the end of the afternoon, Sweet Pea was asking for some gel to put on her back.

"Why do you need gel?", I asked.

She answered, "Look at my back. Every time I move my arm, my back hurts."

Her first Wii-related injury. We may have to invest in the Wii Athletic Trainer game in case we need to virtually wrap an ankle or rub out a cramp.

God Bless us, everWii one!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Better Late Than Never

Just like all of you, we have been busy trying to get all of our holiday duties done before Christmas. Unfortunately, blogging duty has been pushed closer to the bottom of our to-do list lately. So I am finally getting around to answering Father of Five's challenge to show your crib. I'm hoping to kill two birds with one stone by combining his challenge with his other challenge to show your holiday lights.

With my apologies to FOF for its lateness, here we go.

You can tell by the photo that I don't know how to take night pictures. We decided to use red, green and white for the house and white lights everywhere else.

Inside we have our three trees up. One white, one blue and one multi-colored. You'll have to look at last year's pictures of those, since I was unable to squeeze their photos into the schedule.

I don't know how many more years I will be dumb enough to get up on the roof to put up lights. I'll have to trick Lady Di to start doing it soon.

See you after Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Long Live the Queen

We recently had a break in our cold weather. We awoke Saturday morning to temps in the thirties. This time of the year, we aren't used to such balmy winds. We usually have to wait until the end of March or April to get warm enough for snow to stick together.

We decided to take advantage our good fortune by going to our favorite sledding hill. When we last visited our hill, it was coated with a nice thick layer of ice which Sweet Pea's airborne chin greeted abruptly. I assured her that this year the snow on the hill would be much softer. Currently, our hill is half snow and half mud. Which slowed us down just enough to ease last year's fear of flying down the hill. Hiking up the hill, of course, was just as laborious as last year.

When we were muddy enough, we went home to build our first snowman of the year. Sweet Pea did all of the rolling. Number One Son was too tired. SP informed me that she had built a snow queen. That gave me an idea. A snow queen needed special royal robes, so I found some teal colored Christmas lights and dressed her up. SP found a flat piece of ice for her crown. I added a lighted tree topper, inherited from my Grandma Peg, and our queen's crown was complete.

Since our warm weather was going to continue overnight into Sunday, I was doubtful that our queen's reign would make it through the night. Especially, since the Christmas lights were burning themselves into her as well.

And sure enough, by ten o'clock pm, she had toppled.

She was beautiful while she lasted. I'm sure she will rise to power again come March.

And just so Mother Nature could keep me on my toes, the temperature dipped to 8 degrees by three o'clock pm on Sunday. So I was standing out in the frigid wind, pulling tangled lights out of a block of ice, instead of something productive like an afternoon nap.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Son of Snowhill

The weather lately has just been cold. Yesterday, our weather was upgraded to fun. It's still cold, but we finally have snow. Not a lot of snow yet, but enough to shovel, sled and snow angel in.

Past winters have provided us with enough snow for the snow plow to build a mighty mountain in our cul-de-sac. The kids really look forward to that hill. So far this year's hill is acting like the sequel to a really great movie, which is never as good as the original. This year's snow hill has a slow start compared to the last two years, but the kids still know how to have fun.

Sweet Pea and her friend were determined to make the snow hill bigger by adding more snow to it. I offered the girls all of the snow they could shovel from our driveway. Instead, they decided to borrow the snow from our neighbor's driveway. So much for tricking them into shovelling our own snow. After ten minutes of hard work, the girls abruptly changed their plans to include sledding in our back yard.
In this picture, they are coming straight for me and I did almost lose my shins.

That left Number One Son with the snow hill to himself. When I was half done shovelling our driveway, I walked over to see what N1S was doing. He was digging a tunnel through the snow pile. He had gotten close to halfway through using only a child size snow shovel. He needed more power, so I gave him a spade and garden hoe to finish the job.

Once SP and her friend saw N1S's accomplishment, they wanted to mine their own tunnel two inches to the right of N1S's tunnel. After I relocated them a couple of feet to the right for safety reasons, they commenced their burrowing. The snow was flying as they dug like crazy for fifteen minutes. When their tunnel still hadn't materialized after that time, they drew faces in the snow instead.

So even though our snow pile is starting out small this year, we have one and half tunnels to enjoy until the next snowfall brings the plow around.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Weekend Warriors

Well, we certainly got our money's worth out of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I'll start with Thanksgiving morning. At 8:20am Lady Di ran in the Turkey Trot 5K race in Minneapolis. She ran with over 5000 other runners. Thirty-four minutes later, the kids and I were cheering for her as she finished strong. Even though it was cold, watching the kids give Lady Di a big hug after the race gave me a warm feeling. Way to go Lady Di!
We then drove back home to start the turkey and the rest of our meal. Our nephew, Kubes, stopped by to celebrate with us. Before the meal, we had to play a game of Life. When starting the game, you have to decide if you want to go to college first or start a career. Since Kubes hadn't played in years, he couldn't decide where to start so he asked Sweet Pea what his best strategy would be. "I'm not sure what to do. How should I play this game, Sweet Pea?", he implored.

Sweet Pea answered, "First, you spin the spinner. Then you take your car and move that many spaces. Like, two, three, four,..."

He decided to go to college first.

After the game we scrambled to the table to see how much food we could eat. I went around the table asking for preferences for white or dark meat. Sweet Pea requested a turkey leg. "You can't have the whole leg." (that's for Daddy), I admonished.

"Yes I can.", she countered.

Well, at least I got the neck and giblets. And she completely cleaned that leg.

Once we were miserable and in our food comas, Lady Di brought out her homemade pumpkin cream cheese pie with homemade whipped cream. There's always room for pie.

After dinner, Kubes found a nice comfortable spot on the floor while Lady Di and I cleaned up. We spent the rest of the evening joking and watching football.

Friday night found us in Minneapolis again. This time for the Hollidazzle parade. We even got to wave to Lady Di's favorite weather man at the WCCO television building. This is our second year seeing the parade with our friends from LD's hometown. They have kids close to our kids' age and they got along very well. On our way back to the hotel after the parade, two horse drawn carriages were waiting for us. We couldn't resist taking a 15 minute ride through the cold streets, bundled up together with a warm blanket.

Our horse's name was DJ. Sweet Pea wanted to take him home.Lady Di and Sweet Pea enjoyed their snuggle.
After a restless night in the hotel, (Sweet Pea's stomach had had a little too much excitement.) we went to Macy's to view the Christmas display they have every year.

At lunch time we had a small brush with fame. We got a booth at Hell's Kitchen restaurant and were just getting our drinks, when local politician Al Franken walked in. I just about elbowed Lady Di out of the booth when I saw him sit down with some friends two tables away. Lady Di knew just what to do. "Number One Son!"

This election year saw many political ads and N1S was very interested in them. He knew exactly who Al Franken was. When we visited Mr. Franken's political opponent's booth at the State Fair this summer, N1S son said, "Thanks for the sticker, but I think I'm going to vote for Al Franken." He asked the waitress if she knew who was sitting next to them. She said, "Sure, he comes in all the time. Would you like to meet him? He's very nice."

That's all N1S needed as he marched over to Al's table. Followed closely by his little long haired shadow, Sweet Pea. We watched N1S introduce himself and shake Mr. Franken's hand. He then introduced his sister. He then kept talking, about I don't know what, and seemed to go on and on and on. When he came back he said that Al Franken's wife said they had very good manners. He couldn't remember much of anything Al said. I think SP said something about losing three teeth this year.

Regardless of your political views, it was kind of exciting to actually see someone who has been on TV. It was also nice to see the kids use appropriate manners to initiate and hold a conversation. Who knows, if Mr. Franken ends up in the Senate, the kids may end up with an invitation to Washington.

Sunday passed rather quietly. I got a couple of our Christmas trees up and not much else done.

The weekend must have been too much excitement for my stomach too, because Monday morning found me with the stomach flu. Since this post is a bit long, I will save those details for a later post.

Stuff About Me

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I'm a 40 year old dad of two. My wonderful wife, Lady Di, and I try to keep the kids from blowing things up here in central Minnesota.