Monday, December 24, 2007

Reeve Lost his 5th Tooth

I've been reading the kids Harry Potter for about 3 hours every kidding at least 3 hours a day! Well there's not much to do from 7-10pm at night, and they can't get enough of it. Kyle now doesn't go anywhere around the house without his wand, and he's constantly performing Cheering Charms on Reeve or trying to disarm me with an exhuberant Expelaramus when I'm asking him to clean up his toys. We're on book 5, and the other night, during a particularly gripping part of the book, Reeve flicked out his tooth with his tongue. It really startled us all!

He's always happy to lose a tooth!

You might have heard that we had a blizzard here this weekend. Even this morning there were still flurries flying through the air. It dumped over A FOOT of snow again in one night! It's worse than that for us because we're on the ridge top and we get a lot of deep snow drifts from all the wind.
Santa's worried...can you see the ridge of snow behind him? I can tell you it's above my knee!

Snowy December

Well we were happy to drive home from Florida and Tennessee with very good weather. When we crossed over into Wisconsin there was no snow on the ground, but by the time we came closer to our house there was an inch of snow still on the ground. The kids were thrilled to come home to snow.

The weekend that we came home it snowed about 8 inches total. Before I could unpack Reeve and Kyle first insisted that I decorate for Christmas..."It's snowing already and we don't even have our tree up!" They enthusiastically pointed out. Then they could take it no longer and HAD to go outside in the snow...that took some more diggig to find all of their winter gear (gloves, hats, boots, snowpants, etc...). Reeve knew where his snowboard was, so he was glad to get that ready.

Kyle had a snowboard too, but his boots were too big and he kept losing them on the way down.

He's such a goof

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hobe Sound Thanksgiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving this year at Tom's Mom's house.

It was quite a feast

This is Lauren's (Tom's neice) boyfriend John helping to carve the Turkey with Barbara's friend Pam.

The kids were very well behaved.

The sun must have been in their eyes for this pic...they do look like cousins!

And they get along sooo well :-)

Deck Demolition at Ken's in Tampa

After our day of fun at Busch Gardens we spent the next day helping my brother take down his deck. The deck needed to come down, so the building contractor's could start work on Ken & Erin's new addition.

The building contractor's had to design a special foundation to protect their neighbor's Florida Oak Tree.

Ken and Tom made a good team, and the deck came down fairly easily and quickly.

It's going to be really cool! They'll have a new bedroom and bathroom, bigger kitchen, and a laundry room.

Here's a pic of Ken in the front of his house. It's a really nice house in the historic district of Tampa.

Busch Gardens - Tampa, FL

Before Thanksgiving we visited my brother Ken and his wife Erin in Tampa, FL. We lucked out because that was the weekend that Jack Hannah was visiting Busch Gardens.

He put on a pretty good show with beautiful exotic cats and other creatures...weird birds, etc...

After the show Jack stuck around to sign autographs. Reeve and Kyle have seen him on David Letterman, so they were pretty excited to see his show and get an autograph.

Reeve was almost tall enough to ride on some thrilling rides...but not quite.

Kyle, who was more excited about riding some roller coasters, was just tall enough for the kiddie rides.

We walked the big kids (Ken, Erin & Tommy) up to the no-way-on-earth-would-I-subject-myself-to-such-torture rides.

The kids and I went to The Land of The Dragons to wait for their return

It was full of very tame, almost too tame, kiddie rides. We spent hours in there waiting for the "big kids" to return.

Reeve and Kyle spent hours in the bounce house. They must have gone through that line at least 10 times.
The cool thing about Busch Gardens is that it has great rides and beautiful animals.

We took the safari train around the park and came really close to some rhinos

massive aren't they?

and Kyle's favorite...zebras.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Indy Zoo in October

I'm posting pics from October, but I'll post some current news too. I'm catching up with all my digital photos...what a process! I haven't started a Christmas letter this year...I might not get one out. I like the idea of sending out letters at Valentine's better anyway. That way the kids can include Thank-you's and I can respond to Christmas letters that we receive, so don't count on any letters in the mail until February :-)
We're swimming in snow! We've had like 10" of snow already. It's great! I love winter with lots of snow on the just makes winter bearable. In the afternoons after we've finished school work the kids and I go outside. I get my cardio exercise shoveling snow and they have loads of fun sledding down our hill. I'll get pics soon (promise). Our neighbor usually plows us out right away, but he didn't get to us too quickly this year. That's okay it was incredibly nice that he did this in the past and we were not expecting it at all. Tom shoveled first and was able to get his car out to drive to work. He hasn't been biking because with his new schedule he has to be at work at 6am and just hasn't gotten in the groove of things to leave at 5:15am to ride to work. It's also very dark at 5:15am and dark at 4:30pm when he gets done with work...not exactly fun when you're on a bike in sub zero temps. Each afternoon I spend about 1-2 hours just shoveling snow trying to get a solid path for my car. We've parked all our cars at the end of the driveway near the road, so we won't have far to drive to get out. We had a harsh comeback from our trip down south. The temps are bitter cold here. Sub zero in the morning and then warming up to a balmy 10 or 15F. It's funny because after you experience those daily temps when you finally get a 30+F day you truly feel like you're experiencing a massive heat wave. If it's sunny you feel sweaty and the need to take your jacket off and it's only 33F! Crazy :-)...can't wait to feel those 30+F days again.

At the end of October I drove my Mom back to Indiana after she had helped me with the kids for 2 weeks while I could go be a slave a my job. The weather was still nice there when we went, so we decided to take a trip to the Indiana Zoo...this is a meercat that we saw at the zoo:

Here's Dad with the boys in front of the bears totem:

They have some really neat elephants there:

New this year was a shark petting tank:

They also have an impressive dolphin exhibit. It's a bittersweet exhibit for me. I love to see dolphins, but it's sad to see them in Indiana with no ocean around. It's hard to tell, but it looks like they don't get any natural sunlight in there. That really makes my stomach turn. A couple of the dolphins they have were born in captivity, so at least they don't know what they're missing.

Reeve told me they looked happy and that they were well cared for. That's it for now...stay warm everyone :-)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Animal Tracks at the Kickapoo Valley Reserve

Waaaaay back at the end of October the kids went on a home schooling field trip to the Kickapoo Valley Reserve. The older kids in our home schooling group learned about how to survive in the wild and wild edibles while the younger kids (mainly boys all Reeve & Kyle's ages) learned about how to spot animal tracks.

They had a blast and of course didn't even notice the chilly weather. They all got copies of the animal tracking cards, so they can identify animal tracks around our house...really I don't want to know :-). I know we have foxes and coyotes nearby, oh and tons of deer. I saw a wolf on the property once and the town patrol man said he saw some black bears sunning on our road (this was about 8 years ago).

Here's a pic of Tom in his side job gear. He'll probably be getting new patches and hats in the future as he decided to change the name from Raye Mechanicals to Raye Heating & AC, LLC...that way people actually know what he does, otherwise he kinda sounds like an auto mechanic or something.

He's gaining faithful customers, and we haven't really marketed. Recently he was able to fix a problem and save a customer $200/month on their electrical bill. They were VERY happy!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Kyle's 5th Birthday

My parents were able to come visit just before Kyle's 5th Birthday. We had a great time going to a soccer game and opening presents. Too much fun to stay home and cook, so we ordered pizza from the Viking Pizzaria in Elroy. Yummy!

The kids dressed up as knights in shining armor this year for Halloween. We went to a Halloween party at in my parent's neighborhood in Indiana. We also delivered candy filled pumpkins to Realtors (for Affordable Mortgage). We did this all before Halloween and by the time Halloween was here the kids were sick of candy and dressing up.

They love wearing the costumes but they both agreed the candy was way toooo sweet. Ironically after experiencing a couple of pieces of candy for the first time in their lives they both got a little sick. It's been a very long time since they've been sick, so they both associated getting sick with eating the candy. It's too bad there can't be more tricks instead of treats for halloween. It will be interesting to see what they want to do next year.

Elroy Museum Field Trip

Can anyone tell me the name of this wierd plant we had growing in front of our house? Kyle's certain he planted it and we believe it came from a Dr. Seuss book. I think it's amaranth, but I'm not sure.

We're involved with an active home-schooling group, and at least every month there is a field trip we can attend.

A couple of weeks ago we went to the Elroy Museum. We'd never been in this museum before because it's only open on the weekend and we've never made the time.

It was a cute little museum all about the history of Elroy, Wisconsin. There is a lot of rail road history here.

This won't be on the Top 10 favorite field trip list because the kids were kind of bored with it. The librarian gave the tour and while she's wonderful with story time she was quite long winded on this trip. She was also pretty nervous about the kids in the museum...home schooled kids are very inquisitive and they tend to take a hands-on approach to learning. This museum was strictly HANDS OFF everything.