Friday, December 30, 2011

santa visit

We went to visit Santa at Fashion Square Mall.  We met Mimi, Aunt Emmy and Finn, and Angela, Cia, and Kolbe.
 Jimmy took a special picture that he drew for Santa.
 We were suckers and even paid for the overpriced pictures.
...okay, it was mostly just me.
Jimmy asked for his "Toy of the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse" and Little People for Gus.  Then he looked nervous when Santa asked if he had been a good boy.  Finn asked for a Lego Fire Station. Lucia wasn't all that interested in Santa.  At least she didn't scream, but she kept her distance.
 Gus, on the other hand, was all about Santa.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

tree trimming

We spent a long time looking for the perfect tree at Home Depot and we finally settled because the kids were too restless with our perfectionism.  There is not too much of a story to tell, but I am going to say that I highly dislike LED lights on Christmas trees.  However, thanks to one strand of our old lights burning out we were forced by my eldest son's sadness to go buy whatever was left on the skattered and tattered shelves at LawnMort (that is our own little pet name for the awful place known as Walmart... long story).  They may save on energy, but they just look too weird to me.  But then again, I hate change.
 These are the classic lights and as you can see half of them are burned out.
 Don't get me wrong we all still have loved this tree and sitting by it at night with the lights out is just lovely, but it is different.  
Gus really loved the tree...
 Especially pulling things off of it.
 Jimmy got to put on our new fancy $1 Ikea star!... someday I will find one I love but for now this will do.
The Blue LED lights also can't handle photography.  I could not get a normal looking picture of our tree this year no matter how hard I tried.  So if anyone wants a bunch of LEDs for their house next year, these ones should be up for grabs.  At least we still have ornaments that make me very happy to unpack every year.  Here is my Baby's First Christmas from 1982:
Anybody else out there have the same one?  It is Hallmark so I am sure it was a big seller that year.  I couldn't find one I like last year for Gus so I just never got one for him.  I am still on the lookout for something that is missing the year so that he won't know I bought it a year or two late.  Unfortunately, they just don't make them like they used to.  Here are a couple other favorites from my childhood:
Here is a new one that Jimmy and I made as a little craft project one day:
O, Christmas Tree.

Friday, December 23, 2011

aps electric light parade

It has become a tradition for us the past few years to start off the holiday season by going to the Electric Light Parade.  Jimmy pretty much counts on it.  It is close to my dad's house, so he always drives his truck to a prime parking space early in the day so we have good place to sit.  We make hot cocoa and take a quick walk over right as it starts so the kids don't even have to sit around waiting or anything.  Pretty idea... usually.  The first half was great.  And then it poured rain.  We had an umbrella and managed to keep the boys dry.  Jimmy really wanted to hold out to see Santa at the end of the parade on the firetruck and Gus was still happy so we were one of the few families that stayed till the end.  Jimmy was happy and at very least it was a memorable adventure.
 Gus loved the lights and sat contentedly the whole time.
(FYI, that is not his norm)
We are always happy when Uncle Danny comes along, too!
 Finally, we saw the man of the hour (he is the red and white speck in the front):
And then we booked it home.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

mystery castle

When Aunt Erin was here for Thanksgiving, she took us on a little adventure to the Mystery Castle. It is a funky old adobe house made out of a lot of rocks, pottery, and other junk including telephone poles for ceiling beams and metal tire rims for windows.  The story behind it is actually very tragic. It was built from 1930 to 1945 by a man named Boyce Luther Gulley after he contracted tuberculosis in Seattle and left his wife and daughter.  He was only given months to live so he didn't tell them about his disease or where he was going.  He ended up living the next 15 years in Arizona building this "castle" for his daughter.  She didn't even know about it until he died, but she ended up moving in. She lived in it and gave tours until her death just last year.  My grandmother actually knew her and had taken us here when I was little, but I don't remember.  I have thought about taking Jimmy for awhile, but as usual it took my sister to get me motivated.The inside decor is cheesy (lots of cats and dolls), but the building is pretty amazing.
From the foothills of the South Mountains, it has a great view of downtown Phoenix.
The wishing well that went down to the saloon below.  You could use the dumbwaiter to order your drink.
The Spiral Staircase was immortalized on the cover of Life Magazine in 1948.
Thanks for a fun adventure Aunt Erin!

Friday, December 16, 2011

thanksgiving 2011

Nana and Aunt Erin were in town for Thanksgiving so we celebrated at our house again this year.
 We all went to see The Muppets which was AWESOME!
Here is Jimmy and Finn in pre-movie anticipation:
 Our "hand"-made holiday decorations:
 Our own little turkey:
 Jimmy wrote name tags for everyone.
 Zach insisted on a Bacon covered turkey. I guess we all have our traditions.
 Baabee was very proud of his beautiful apple pie.
 We ate a little late, but it was worth the wait.
 Here is what I am most thankful for:
 Then Gus helped clean off Jimmy's plate..
... and then he attacked a drumstick.
It was a happy turkey day!