Monday, December 25, 2006

More of Christmas Day

By the time Dylan and Chris got all their gear on, the clouds rolled in, the temperature had started to drop, and the wind was blowing.

Dylan took right off on his bike, but Chris had to have Daddy lean over and help operate the pedals.
Daddy wasn't quite dressed for the chilly wind.

Mom and Dad and Colleen came back for awhile and ate lunch with us. While we were all in the kitchen, Karen called from somewhere out in the water to wish us Merry Christmas. Carl, Karen, Carla, and Greg are all on a Christmas cruise. They've been doing this several years now.

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!

Merry Christmas!!! What a blessed day. Mom, Dad, Colleen, Mark, Fernanda, Dylan, Chris, Guy and I aaaaallll gathered in our living room last night.

We had homemade potato soup, sandwiches and brownies. We couldn't eat or get the kitchen cleaned fast enough!

Before we opened our gifts, I used one of my nativity sets and told the boys the Christmas story.

It is so much fun to watch the kids playing with their new toys. I played Santa and passed out the presents with lots of movies and cameras snapping.

At the end Fernanda sent Mark on a scavenger hunt to find his gift. He went all through the house, upstairs, downstairs, out to the mailbox, and ended up in the backseat of my Acura where he found a new golf club.

Then it was time for the boys' scavenger hunt. They, too, were sent all over the house. They ended up in the laundry where they found new bicycles. Unfortunately, it was dark and raining outside, so they had to be set aside for the moment. There certainly was no lack of other things to play with.

Santa always comes by in a firetruck, sitting on top with a spotlight on him, throwing candy to all the kids. We all huddled under the porch area of the front of our house, listening to the siren, waiting eagerly for him to drive by (in the rain) sitting inside the cab. This is the first time I can remember it ever raining on Christmas eve. This morning the sun has come out, and it is 62 degrees. I told Guy someone should have posted a sign at the entrance to Riverwoods that says, "Drive Slowly! Children playing with new toys!"

Now this morning the "kids" are playing their toys!

We hope all of you and yours are enjoying this wonderful Christmas day!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

I haven't received a lot of pictures from Jeannine lately. I guess they are frozen up as you can well see with the snow in the background. She is always so faithful to send pictures weekly. I looove getting the video clips. Maya is starting to say words that you can understand now. We are sooooo anxious to see her. They are coming in the day after Christmas.

We will be opening half of the presents with the boys Christmas eve. In fact they just placed cookies and milk on the fireplace mantel and have gone to bed. Tuesday when Jeannine arrives, we'll bring out the rest of the boys' presents along with Maya's so they can open some with Maya. Just not sure how we will explain Santa coming by twice!

Oh, boy! Christmas is so much fun with little ones in the house!

One day this week I kept the boys while Fernanda went Christmas shopping. The area we live in has a little park about a block and a half from our house. So we walked down there and spent some time playing. They went down this slide about a bazillion times - beside one another, on top of one another - they really played together quite well. Some days that is the case, and then other know boys!

They climbed up on this big rock, and Dylan so carefully posed with Chris.

Here's another sweet pose of the two. Dylan has his hand on the side Chris's head.

Here we can now see his face!

This is Chris. He loves to wear these protective glasses of Mark's. They are so scratched up, I don't know how he can even see out of them! And he can barely keep them on!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Jeannine and Maya on Halloween.

Halloween Costumes

Here is Maya with two of her little friends that went trick or treating with her. They could only stay out just a few minutes because it was near zero that night.

Queen for the (birth)day!

This is a little crown with fur trim that Maya got for her birthday. It was the day before Halloween, so they celebrated it all together by having some little friends over wearing all their costumes.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Maya Pictures

I've been in Maya-picture-withdrawal for this last week! Looks like she is starting to think about playing dress-up already. She is 13 1/2 months here.

The Semester Has Ended!! YaHoo!!

Dylan loooooves chocolate!

This is the way Chris eats much of the time - leaning on his hand.

The boys are ready for bed. This is one of the few times I've actually caught them standing together long enough to snap a picture.

The week is coming to an end and with it the semester. WWWHHHOOOHHHOOO!!! Until near the end of the semester, it probably was the best semester I've had since I began teaching - some 30 years ago. This was one special group of students. I got tons of emails thanking me and telling me what a great teacher I was and how much they had learned. One said I was the best teacher she had since the 10th grade. She is married and has two children. They actually restored my zest for teaching and validated that this is my calling.

The snag that occurred near the end was when I was called in and told that I would have to teach the pediatrics part of the maternal-child course from now on. AARRGGHH!! The amount of pediatrics background I have.....well, you could put in your eye, and you wouldn't feel it!! The last time I had anything to do with pediatrics was before I graduated in 1968! I've never worked in pediatrics, never wanted to work in pediatrics, and don't want to have anything to do with it now. The same thing happened to my counter-part on the other campus. She doesn't have anymore peds experience than I do. What are they thinking?? Needless to say, we are MOST upset. It will nearly double my class hours load. We protested quite loudly, but in the end we lost. After finally starting to crawl out of the big-black-hole-of-the-curriculum-change I was shoved into last January, I'm now back in it. Oh, retirement....where aren't thou???? How I wish I could just walk away from it all. I did hand them my official notice that I don't plan to sign my summer contract. Full-time faculty are not required to work in the summer. Since Jeannine's baby is due in July, I want to be free to spend some time in Montana and not have to worry about juggling classes around my time off. You only get 5 personal days off each year - there is no way to schedule a baby around that!! I hate teaching summers anyway. You have to teach the same amount of material in 5 weeks less - and you get paid less!! That's no deal in my books.

I just got my treadmill put together this afternoon and took my first trip on it. Works great! Last night I tried to balance the monster on its side and attach this heavy end-piece with 4 large bolts. It was impossible without 6 hands! I finally gave up. Today Mark helped me get that end-piece on before he went golfing. He said I never would have got that on by myself. The rest was a piece of cake. Now I can walk and watch QVC all at the same time! Since it is in my quilt studio, I can dream about all my quilt projects. Right now the quilting has gone by the way-side with the grandsons here, so quilt-dreaming is as close as I can come to it for awhile.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Friday, 12/15/06

Wow! The last couple of weeks have been jam-packed. Can't even begin to catch up on all the happenings here. The boys are settling in just fine. Once in a while Chris will actually utter an English word! That is a major step for him. But it is only when he wants to say it! :)

Today is my last day of work for the semester. After today I plan to not even think about school until the first day I have to go back in January. I need a COMPLETE break from school!!!

I begged, pleaded, grovelled, and whatever else I could do to get Guy to let me buy a treadmill. Several years ago I had one. It was not motorized, and I really didn't use it much. I was also in a different frame of mind (and body) then. Now, I'm really much more motivated to use one. I really like to walk in the neighborhood, but in the summer, it is too hot. In the winter, it gets dark too early. It is great in the spring and the fall, but I've got to establish a habit and if I miss more than a day or two, it's all over and consistency goes out the window. I found a motorized one last week that was dramatically reduced in price because the next year's model was out, and they only had two left of the old model. I've been pricing them, and when they are $399 and up (and I mean UP!), I knew that $173 was a real find. I finally convinced Guy that I needed this one, and I brought it home in a big box. Now I have to figure out how to put it together. That's my goal for the weekend. I've got to get it up and running, because I PROMISED I would faithfully use this one!

I'll get some more pictures up of the boys when I get them downloaded to my computer. It's also been more than a week since I've recieved pictures of Maya, and I'm in big time withdrawal!!!

Saturday, December 2, 2006

This is actually a very loving moment even though it looks like Chris is trying to choke Dylan.

The boys are soooo glad to see Daddy!

The Family Has Arrived!

Fernanda and the boys (Dylan - 5 and Chris -3) arrived from Brazil this morning. Mark had to leave about 2:00 a.m. to pick them up at the Atlanta airport. The flight from Brazil is always an overnight flight for them. I don't think Fernanda got more than 30 minutes' sleep. I watched the boys for the afternoon while Mark and Fernanda took a nap. Dylan speaks both English and Portuguese, but Chris only speaks Portuguese. Chris understands English, but won't speak it yet. It will be interesting to see how long it takes for him to begin speaking English. Chris talks to me all the time, but I have to get Dylan to interpret for me. :) I understand just a few basic Portuguese words, but not enough to really understand what he wants.

It is hard to believe that they are not just here for a visit this time. I know it was hard for Fernanda to leave - her home country, her brothers, and her friends.

Mark had been offered several jobs. He took the one based out of Tennessee - Kirk n Blum. They gave him quite a chunk of money for moving his family here. He will be working from home, but will probably be going to TN 2-3 times a week. He will also be traveling to Mississippi some for work that the company is doing there. The place in TN is south of Nashville, so it shouldn't be too bad of a drive. KnB said in 6-12 months they would open an office in Birmingham.