Monday, November 28, 2011

Is that all you're doing ?

Short post this evening, but at least one really cute picture to go with it.

The blog post title is what my daughter asked me when she came home from school and saw me setting up lights outside the house.  It was a nice enough day, albeit a little lot windy, so I began putting up some of the exterior Christmas lights I have available.  And I guess she was a little disappointed when I decided to stop for the day.

In defense of her question, I do plan to do more ... but that will be time and weather permitting.  I never have control of one of those variables and lately feel much less control of the other.

So here are the pics of the exterior of The Case Place so far ... maybe there will be more pics later in the month with more decorations ...
but don't count on it!  :)

From the middle of our street

A "close up" of the nativity

And here's that "CUTE" picture I promised
at the very beginning of the post!  :)
I found it especially amusing that she is
drinking MILK while sitting ON THE COW !!!


Whose turn is it to place the Christmas Star ?

Daddy trying to move the tree into place ...
with a little "help" from Myra and Catalina
L-R: Josh Jr, Myra, Brooklyn,
Savannah, Catalina,
Ben and Karen sitting

I love Christmastime!  My favorite thing is that (usually) there is very little fighting and lots more giving.  But one question always seems to bring out the grumpys in my kids:
Whose year is it to place the Christmas Star atop the tree?!

This year, amidst the arguing over who did it last year and why it should be "my" turn (argued by 5 of the 6 kids ... but only because Myra still has no clue what is going on yet ... she just likes the shiny lights and all the new things she can try to sneak to play with!) ... I devised a plan to keep us on track.  We'll see if it works next year, but for now it brought an end to the discussions and everyone seemed willing to accept my plan.

There are six kids in this house, each who wants to place the star, which is the last ornament to go on the tree before we conduct our annual "light it up" ceremony.
 - Josh Jr will be 18 years old in 6 more Christmases ... so my plan is to have us start over this year and just go down one child each year until that time.  This means Josh Jr placed the star this year, and will do so again after his 18th birthday.  His next turn would not come until he is 24, at which point we assume he will be living somewhere other than this house, perhaps even with a family and traditions of his own.
 - Ben will go next year and he will be 11 at that time.  His next turn will be when he is 17.  That puts his 3rd turn at 23 ... and we hold out the same hopes for him at that age (living somewhere other than this house, maybe even married).
 - Brooklyn will go the year after that, when she is 10.  So her second turn will be when she is Sweet Sixteen, making her third turn at 22.  I will be shocked if she is still unmarried and/or living in this house at 22.
 - Savannah will go the following year, and since she will be 9 she might actually be able to reach the top of the tree with just a chair and not need a ladder or a boost on daddy's shoulders.  Her next turn will be at 15 and then again at 21 ... if she's home from college for the holidays.  :)
 - Catalina and Myra are the two youngest and they will each easily get three more turns.  But by that time, they will probably have to drag mommy and daddy into the living room to decorate the tree anyway.  So the only thing they will fight about is who has to wake up daddy and tell him to not be such a Scrooge!  :)

The future looks bright!

Oh wait ... maybe those are just all the Christmas lights.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Did Christmas explode in your house ?!

This will be Blog Post #1 related to Christmas at the Case Place.

Here's a few pictures to give you a sample of the spirit of Christmas that rules our roost from **the day after Thanksgiving until New Year's Day!
**(Black Friday is known as "decoration day" around these parts.  And what better activity
to start off the New Year than to clean up all the decorations from the holidays!)

I recommend you stop on by when you are in the area because the smells of fresh-baked cookies, or cakes, or breads and the Scentsy "Spruceberry" candle smell make it really feel like Christmas!


Is your forehead magnetic ?!

I should do a better job at listening to my kids when they tell me things, because the alternative is that I would miss out on some really cool stuff!

This picture and related story are an example of some of that "really cool stuff."

Doesn't this look "cool" ... wait for it!  :)
My oldest son, Josh Jr, came home from school and asked if I wanted to see something "cool."  At that exact moment I was not really in the mood to see anything, cool or not.  I was a little grumpy because the house was a mess (due to my youngest daughter's desires to wreak havoc in every room she visits).  But I took a proverbial "step back" and said "Sure.  Show me something cool."

And then he did!

The picture above (and the one to the left) is what resulted from this experience.  You see, my son's science teacher had explained to him (and his class) that our brains emit a small amount of electro-magnetic pull (or something like that ... remember that I said I need to do a better job listening?!
This is what I'm talking about!)
Anyway, as a result of this, everyone has a spot (or two) on their forehead, where a coin (I recommend a quarter) will actually "connect" with these magnetic waves and will stay put ... for a LONG time!

You will just have to try this yourself to believe me.  Don't press the quarter to your head (like that "stick the card to your forehead using oily, sweaty residue" crap).  Just maneuver it around your forehead (start near the temples on the outside portion of your eyes) until you find the spot.

If you do this with someone else, there is a second cool trick you can do.  Once the spot has been found, have the other person slowly remove and then replace the coin in that same spot.  They will be able to feel the magnetic draw to your head!  You can then do this to their head so you can feel it too.

This will cause some of you to call me an outright dork ... but I don't care!  This was the coolest science thing I have ever seen!  And I proudly wore my quarter around (here and there) for days afterward.  Including one cool experience driving from our house all the way to Sam's club with some friends (several miles and the quarter never fell off).


How was your Thanksgiving ?

Despite multiple "issues" that seem to happen every year (see: turkey still somewhat frozen), our Thanksgiving was a complete success.  Among extended family fun was had by all, and the food was delicious!  Herewith are some pictures with a little story behind each one.  I hope you enjoy (and if you attended this wonderful event, THANKS for being part of such a great day!)

Turkeys cook perfectly @ 325 degrees ... And here's the second one all cooked! 

So I had a little problem with the oil,
but nothing like you hear about related to oil fires!
I had too much oil for the birds we were cooking (both 18-20 pounders)
so I decided to take some oil out.  I emptied it into a large glass bowl ...
which turned out to be a BIG mistake.  While moving the chair, with the
bowl sitting in it, filled with 350 degree oil, the bowl shattered !!!
Fortunately, no one was injured and the bowl and oil cleaned up easily.

The BEFORE ... and ... the AFTER ... er ... "DURING"
(where the adults all sat in our living room)

The BEFORE ... and ... the AFTER ... er ... "DURING"
(where most of the kids sat in our dining room) 

Here's the first turkey all cooked ... and here's what my "carving" of it looked like.
The "darker" looking stuff on the white meat side is the best part!  So crunchy!

A smattering of side dishes ... and ... non-alcoholic "fancy" drinks.
(I did not get pictures of the delicious desserts ... sorry!) 

Aunt Mandy and baby Peter ... sooooo cute!
Gotta love those Thanksgiving afternoon naps!  :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How did this one stay alive so long?

I try to "surprise" my wife Karen with roses every once in a while.  Supposedly that is important in a marriage or something
(Just kidding Karen!  I know why it is important!)

I've had some good fortune with most of the bouquets I have bought over the years, with the roses lasting for weeks before they finally die off.  I have learned that roses in our house in the summertime are a waste of time and money.  They just wilt in the heat and that has the opposite affect of what I am going for when I bring pretty roses home for my Pretty Lady.

This most recent bunch of roses lasted several weeks, but there is one that is still hanging on amidst the rest that gave up the ghost many days ago.  I'd have thrown them out last week, but this one rose is clinging to life ... So they remain on the ledge between our family room & kitchen.  I have to wonder
how long will this last rose hang in there ?!


What was this BEFORE you took it apart ?!

Below are the pictures of some "remnants" of my destruction this morning:

(Okay, you got me!  The plate that's holding the
screws and bolts wasn't originally part of this item)

And here are a few hints, if you haven't already figured out what the item was before I deconstructed it today:
- it is was a piece of furniture
- I have wanted to throw it away for a while
- it had duct tape on it to prolong its life
- it used to have a t-shirt on it (to cover the duct tape)

(More remnant pictures ... but these are a sure give-away)

So by now you can see that this is a recliner which we have had for several years.  We got it from my parents when they moved to their new house.  It was in mediocre condition then, but since my kids are still young I haven't really been in the market, as it were, for anything new or in very good condition.

If you've been to our house you already know that this recliner has lived in our family room (the one with the fireplace and my puzzle desk).  It was still very comfortable but a few months ago the back broke so it was pushed up against the wall and was not safe to recline in.  Today I finally had the time to take it apart, piece by piece, so now we can just throw it away with our normal trash.

I took it apart partially for that reason, but moreso because I am always curious as to how complex the systems are in things we use every day.  When my car dies, I plan to take it apart a little each day, so I can see all of the inner workings and hopefully learn a lot about how cars actually work in the process.
I'll do a separate blog that year and showcase a piece or two each day and explain what it is, what it does, and rate how difficult it was to take out.

Until then, this was a very fun, although challenging, experience.  I am pleased that the chair is gone and feel much more adept at fixing our other recliners, if ever anything should go wrong with them or their mechanical parts.

In the battle of TOOLS vs CHAIR ...
TOOLS definitely WON !!!


Monday, November 21, 2011

Hand me downs from a "little" brother ?!

Late last week I received a welcome gift from my younger brother and his wife.  They brought me a large sack (think Santa's bag!) of some clothes that he had ... um ... outgrown ... :)

I was ecstatic for the new partial wardrobe, especially considering it included 3 new belts, a nice pair of jogging pants, several nice dress shirts (long sleeved ones too!), and two VERY unique shirts that I will be sporting very soon for "special" occasions.

Since I know you're dying to see them, here are those two "special" shirts (the first of which my oldest son said was "totally cool" and then he tried to see if it would fit him!) ...

So here's a shout out of "thanks!" to my little brother and his wife (who we will be hanging out with this Wednesday evening) for the cool clothes!  Kinda makes me happy to have a "little" brother who is bigger than me!  :)


Who doesn't like a snow day ?

Here's a random picture from a "snow day" my kids had several weeks ago.  It became apparent very quickly that we are/were in need of more cold and waterproof gloves for the kids.  :)

Colorado "snow days" are the best because the sun usually comes out and coats or earmuffs become "optional" based on whether or not they will compliment your outfit (see: Brooklyn's example!)

(L-R)  Brooklyn (8), Ben (almost 10), Josh Jr (12)
Savannah (6) and Catalina (4)

You might be wondering "Where was Myra for all this fun?"

This next picture is your answer.  :)

Myra (16 months old) enjoying the fun from INSIDE !!!
And YES that IS snow on the window!  :)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

We're to THAT stage already huh ?!

Kids are naturally curious.  They climb.  They open things.  They taste.  They hide.  They tear things up.  They pull things out.  They draw.  They leave a trail of their inquisition throughout any locale they visit.

It is never the exact same age when kids decide to be "little destructive terrors" ... but it is always equal parts frustrating and fun.

Here are a few pictures of Myra, who is almost 18 months old now, and her "curiousness" in all it's glory!

She's so proud to have climbed up
high enough to mess with her nlinds!

Her lack of concern for her "baby" is alarming!  :)

The answer to that age old question:
"How long does it take to empty a Kleenex box?"
Apparently ... about 11 minutes.  :)

Truth be told, I helped a little with this one.
She had climbed in the Lazy Susan* on her own.
*(in this house it's called a Dizzy Lizzie)
I made her move to the back for the picture!  :)


So who's Winning here ?

I think the answer is: everyone!

I've always enjoyed being "one of those dads" who physically interacts with his kids.  I love holding my daughters' hands as we walk places.  I still hug my boys goodnight.  But the best are our "wrestling" matches!  :)

As often as I have the chance to sleep in, my children will get the chance to play one of their favorite games:
Push Daddy out of Bed!

The rules are simple:
 - Get daddy out of bed.  By any means necessary!

They always eventually "win" but I teach them about teamwork by making it difficult to get me out of bed unless they are all working together.  My "favorite" has always been whichever child is the youngest one trying to help.  They try so hard even though they really don't "help" at all.  I've "given up" before a few times just because of how much that child (and it has rotated through almost all of the kids) is straining to get me out of bed.

We also wrestle in the living room or family room, often in a very impromptu situation (such as after bedtime prayers or just before dinner).  I always picture myself as the "daddy lion" wrestling with his lion cubs.  All "daddy lion" wants to do is sleep, but those pesky cubs just wanna play!  :)

These are some of the "moments" I am trying to enjoy to their fullest potential before my kids become to grown up to enjoy this healthy activity!