Thursday, December 20, 2012

Oobleck, Missiles and More Minecraft!

Last month I was getting ready to place an Amazon order and asked Russ if there was anything he needed.  When I went to place the order, I saw that his needed items included three different colored lasers...  Highly necessary items. :)
And they are used almost daily between driving the cat crazy, making our own disco rooms in the dark, and like this--as a high-jump bar.

Russ decided we needed a Minecraft-inspired tree this year and came up with this.

I love the texture of the bark, the 3-dimensional branches, the lights and ornaments hung with fishing line, and his small fire so we can snuggle by it (we are fireplace-less in this house and were surprised at how much we missed it!).

We were leaving Open Gym at gymnastics, walked out into the parking lot to go home after they closed, "Mom, can we do more gymnastics out here??"
2 hours at the gym + 1 hour spinning around a bar in the parking lot...

...leads to exhaustion.

I can always tell when this kid is growing--for about a month straight he'll take random naps, either anytime we go anywhere in the car or between 4-7pm...

So the kids like to watch tutorials on YouTube for how to do things in Minecraft.  So of course Brooklyn wanted to make her own tutorial.  I figured out which software to download, how to use it, and let her go.  This is Brooklyn giving a tour of the windmill she made, explaining everything as she shows it including detailed information on the axles, gears, pistons, how the wind makes it work...unfortunately though, the audio doesn't work!!  Sigh. 
I was quite impressed while listening to her though, she knew her stuff!

So, Brooklyn dropped gymnastics.  Unfortunately, one of her first teachers wasn't a good match and she got burnt out on it.  We love going to the open gym, but it's only once a month!  So we did the only logical thing...bring gymnastics to the house!  Each day has about an hour of flipping, hanging, jumping, rolling, cartwheeling, hand-standing...pretty fun stuff!

She has been working on flipping over the bar at gymnastics for weeks and was getting really frustrated.  Set up something at home, let her go, and she gets it in minutes.  Love her!

We were really into Oobleck for about a week.  It was everywhere.
We had a friend come join in the fun one day and went through NINE boxes of cornstarch!! 
The photos below are only having used five of those boxes.
They had an Oobleck fight.
After using the additional four boxes, both girls' hair was completely white.
Thank heavens for showers.

The aftermath.

The city Christmas parade was just a mile down the road from us, so we walked down there. 
We had to leave a bit early since it takes awhile to get there when there are so many fun things to climb on the way...

We finally got there and were miraculously able to snag a seat.  Well, the kids were able to.
We were at the end of the parade route and we didn't see anything for an additional 45 minutes.
During that 45 minutes, people kept coming and coming.  Thank heavens I stayed by the kids (Russ ran into the store) because by the time the parade got to us, the crowd was 8-10 people deep.

I kept a close eye on the kids because I knew Sam was apt to get up and go if he got bored.  Of course in the 10 seconds he's not in my sight, he disappears.  I was SO glad Russ was at the back of the crowd because I could hardly turn around, much less search through the crowd.
And thank heavens Brook got tired after about 40 minutes of parade because the rest of us were ready to get out of there.
The reason she got tired and wanted to go?  She was apparently singing Jingle Bells non-stop for the entire time she was sitting there.  I wasn't close enough to hear it, but I'm sure all of her neighbors enjoyed it (it looks like they had a lot of space in the photo, but believe me, they did not!).  :)

Earlier this month, Russ's class headed to Livermore for a week.
They also checked out the surrounding area.  I always wanted to go out to this vantage point, but we never made it.

Here's the inside of a missile.

I missile, rising up out of the ground.


This was Morning #1 after Russ leaving for the week.
No one can ever say that I'm not loved.  :)
(Sam LOVES his dad.  As in, asking me multiple times a day, "How many hours until Daddy is home?!"  This morning I told him that Russ gets a full TEN DAYS off for Christmas.  That kid was bouncing off the walls!!)

I adore this photo.
Sam had asked me to help him with something on Minecraft that was going to take me a bit.
While waiting, he's jumping all over the place (literally over the back of the couch, running around to the front, jumping over, running around...), and at some point he only got halfway with his jump before passing out...

He is also my Popsicle fiend.

Sam and I needed to get out for some fresh (frigid) air one day and did a little sidewalk art.
(It says "SANTA!  Don't forget me!")

Ha, I've got a few of Sam, huh?
This was taken first thing in the morning.  The way you can tell that is because Tesla usually avoids Sam...except in the mornings.  She will get up off my warm lap to saunter over to his where he asks her how she slept and loves on her.  He is hands down her favorite...for about 5-10 minutes.

The kids discovered socks on wood floors the other day.
Now I seem to find stray socks everywhere I look.

For the past couple of months, Brooklyn has been into using various accents and has asked about certain words in Spanish and French (I think the accents bit is due to many that she hears on YouTube).  I can help with the Spanish, but not so much with the French.  So I got some flashcards and started putting them around the house.
Sam was actually the one that was most interested!  He loved when I'd put a couple of new ones up while he was out of the room, then finding them and repeating the words after I tell them how to say them.

I didn't hear the full song or see the video to Gangnam Style until about a month ago.  I turned it on though and the kids flipped.  Immediate jump up and dance!
Can you imagine how excited they were when a Minecraft version of the music video was made?!
So this is longer than it should be (2 minutes, I think), but just before this they were totally in sync and I was dying.  So fun!

At the zoo, hoping to see the new baby rhino!  Unfortunately, the rhino was not available to the public yet.

But it was still fun!!  The best part about it all is that we hardly saw anyone else the whole time we were there (including our homeschool group that we were there with!).

Of course we had to visit the gift store.  We played lots--burying an alligator in rocks in this photo.  Told the kids they could each spend $10 or save it or whatever.  Brook decided she wanted to save it, but found a $3 key chain.  Sam decided he was going to pass as well, but then found a $3 windup snake toy that the cat loves.  Works for me!

Sam asked me to document our Minecraft decorations that I made in-between cutting out snowflakes for the window.

Brook and I did some Minecraft Christmas-themed scratch art.

Aaaand more Minecraft!
I was lying on the floor, exhausted, ready for bed, but the kids were playing together on our server and were having a blast.  I had to document some of the non-stop conversation that goes on.  I love to listen in as they often come up with the most sweet and/or hilarious things.
Don't get me wrong, I've had to break up an arrow fight or two, but all in all they play really well with each other.

Brook asked to take some photos with the phone. 
I wasn't aware she intended to follow me around, snapping everything I did!

Recall what I said earlier about how Sam feels about his dad??  Yup.

Sam asked me to play a Memory game that was included in one of the magazines we got recently.  It was all about different kinds of shells.
Sam said, "What if we did a Minecraft game?!"
So I googled the things he thought we should have images of.
Print, cut, paste, voila!

We love our homeschool park day!! 
 Always lots to do and lots of friends to do it with.
I love that I'll be pushing the kids on the swings and some of the older kids will come and ask if I'd like for them to push for awhile.  Or if they can help dig holes and bury the kids in the sand.  Or lift them up so that they can reach leaves.  And in turn my kids love taking their computers for whoever wants to play our games.

When the weather turns cold, my need to crochet something kicks in.
This year I had the idea to do a creeper for Sam--it's perfect, since creepers are just a bunch of pixels!
I got started the week Russ left town and finished a week after he got back and I love it!
He's seen me working on it, but has never seen it laid out.
SO excited to give this to him!
I actually had a Lot of fun doing it and Brooklyn's already requested a Minecraft ocelot face...hmm...

Hope you all have a wonderful rest of the year!  Love to you all!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cats, Spinning, Escalators, oh my!

So, for Russ's birthday (yes, I'm well aware it was over a month and a half ago...) we decided it was time to add another family member.  So off to PetCo to look at their sweet, adoptable kitties.
We found this little girl:

Of course she was insane for the first day or two, mostly hiding under the couch.  But by the end of the first day, she found her preferred snuggle spot.  Even still, every night she goes in and sleeps on Russ's feet in bed...until he gets up.  Then she wanders the house, meowing like crazy.  When Russ was out of town for a week, she would NOT shut up!

It was a full 3 weeks before we could decide what to name her.  We settled on Tesla, but the kids still enjoy trying out other names on her.

Sam testing out Russ's birthday streamer doorway.

Corinne got Russ this awesome fish AND the shark.  Unfortunately, there wasn't enough helium in the shark for it to work, and we couldn't get the fish to work all that great, but it was fun to play with!

Russ and Corinne hiked up the mountain on his birthday weekend.
The kids and I took the tram and met them at the top.
Sam and Russ kept hiking a bit at the top while the girls checked out the restaurant--hello nachos and onion rings!! :)
Here's part of the AMAZING view from the top.

This is at our homeschool park day.  The kids love spinning on this thing.
Note:  You know it MUST be cold here because both kids are in long-sleeved shirts, Brook is wearing pants and a hat!!!  VERY abnormal for these two.  A very cool thing about Albuquerque though is that 45* in the sun is actually really quite pleasant.  So it must've been windy or something.

I Love when these two act out stories.  We made them a tent and they were playing fishermen.  They are just so sweet with each other.

Here's a 2 minute video of them acting out their story.

One cranky weekend day where everyone was low on sleep and the gymnastics gym was unexpectedly closed, we drove around looking for something to do and ended up at the Bosque.
Brook had fun balancing.

This is the entrance to the museum/gift store!  Kinda crazy.

This is inside the museum.

An area where you can look out over the pond and see all of the fowl.  Sandhill cranes were making the way through the area then.

Aaaaaand this is where Sam sat the entire time we were checking out the Bosque.
I even tried taking his seat belt off and he woke up, flipped out, and buckled it back in.
Russ hopped back in the car and took a snooze while Brook and I checked out the gift shop and got some goodies for the boys.

Brook & Sam's giant leaf nest at the park down the street.

This is my mattress.  And my kids flying off of it.  Into the wall.
They loved it, of course.

We found this keyboard at a thrift store for a few bucks.  Sam was so proud of himself that he figured out how to record and play back his own songs.

You can't see it super well here, but this is the first random yarn-bombing I've seen done.  It's down the street at our park.

Russ has to get his exercise somehow!

Russ was in charge of Thanksgiving this year and decided he wanted to do a bacon-covered turkey.
After we ate it, he decided next year he's just getting fried chicken.  Ha!

One of the families in our homeschool group had a Christmas party.  They lived waaaaaay out in the boonies, up by the mountain.  It was a really neat and beautiful area, and the kids had a blast running around the house. 
Homeschoolers have some of the coolest spaces and toys.  This is one of the movie-watching places--wall-to-wall seating, hammock and a big screen setup.  Another favorite area was the bar hanging from the ceiling--lots of pullups, swinging, hanging upside down going on.  There was also a large kids table where we set up our laptops and had Minecraft running for whoever wanted to play.

Brooklyn, Russ and I had an art day where there was a lot of painting, snowflake making, and painting those snowflakes going on.  It was a lot of fun!

We had tickets to the River of Lights here in Albuquerque and decided to use them on the first night.  Once we got close to the parking area, we turned around, unable to deal with the sheer amount of people we saw trying to park...and we high-tailed it to the mall to catch Rise of the Guardians.
We all enjoyed the movie (mostly--Sam has a tough time with movies because they are too long), and decided to check the mall out per Sam's request.

We found the ride area and used the few quarters I happened to have.

The ride area was right at the edge of the food court, which was Very cool.

Theeeeeen we spent the next 30 minutes riding the escalators!

The mall was about to close, but we couldn't pass up on the Hurricane Wind machine!!!
Russ actually made me get in and try it after this--the kids loved it!!

And of course we've been Minecrafting!
While I'm pretty sick of it, I'm constantly amazed at how much we learn from it.  Not only have I learned way more than I ever thought I would about installing mods, maps, making skins, Java and coding and making our own mods...but the kids love it and will randomly pull out things they've learned for me.
Like when I was doing something on there for Sam the other day and he said, "Dat says 'weakness'."  Yup, he was right!  Or another day, "Dat says 'episode'."  Right again. 
And Brooklyn almost has the process of making her own skins and uploading them herself down (which involves typing the right website in, finding the skin she wants to modify, doing so, downloading it, opening the right folders, copying, pasting, re-naming, going to another website, finding the right page to upload, and finding the right file to upload).

Off to finish the next post, the one where when I finish I will officially be Caught Up!