Vignettes

There is much to be written as 2014 is drawing to a close; our visit to Virginia in all its lovely bittersweetness, Christmas Day in our home, and tonight’s New Year’s Eve Party. Those posts will appear eventually, but I had some tiny, delightful moments I wanted to be sure weren’t lost to time.

Yessa and I have gotten into the habit of playing a hand or two of Uno before bed every night.

Lately The Buster has been playing with us by adding a unique twist to the game. He’s the Dragon Master who controls the extra beasts that have been added to the game. When the color changes in Uno, the Dragon Master offers up dragon options. (Difficult, ever-changing rules. Very balanced and interesting, though.)

Uno and Dragons

Uno and Dragons

A few nights ago we left our game on the floor so we could come back to it the next day, and when we woke up, we saw that Nutmeg had added her own twist to the game.

Dragon Uno with the slipper bonus pack

Dragon Uno with the slipper bonus pack

For those of you who don’t know, Nutmeg has always been a fetcher cat. In her younger days she would inconsistently fetch and retrieve a rolled up ball of paper. As she aged, she resorted to hauling whatever random items she chose around the house. Buds and I have awakened to 8 stuffed animals, socks, and barbie dolls sitting in a group on our bedroom floor. More than once I looked up, curious about the clunking noise, to see her carrying a barbie by its hair up the stairs. Pretty distinct thunking sound.

Lately, slippers have been her item of choice. And on this night, she decided that putting the slipper right in the middle of our card game so it would be ready for us in the morning was the way to go.

I wish I could read her mind…

So loving.

So loving.

Yup, she gets it.

We’re having friends and family over to kick-off the New Year tonight. Typically, I was getting myself twisted into a knot about having the house all cleaned up and ready to go.

Consequently, last night I issued a few edicts to the other members of my family about doing their part, cleaning up after themselves, etc. Not my finest moment, even though I tried to be loving and respectful, while sharing my frustration. (Justify, justify, justify.)

The children scurried off to clean up their dinner dishes, and when I walked through the hearth room later, I saw that the markers and drawing paper that had been scattered on the floor had also been cleaned up. I knew that the youngest one was most likely the house elf that took that task upon herself, so at bedtime I told Yessa, “Thank you for cleaning up the markers in the hearth room.”

Without rancor or sarcasm, and with complete honesty and openness she looked at me and said, “You’re welcome. After your little speech, I looked at them and thought, ‘I better clean those up.'”

This child is both angel and devil so perfectly rolled into one package.

So wickedly sweet...

So wickedly sweet…

Space and Rocket Center

Thanks to a suggestion from Aunt A, the children and I took a road trip to Huntsville, Alabama this week to visit the Rocket Center. It was an easy 2 hour drive, and I don’t think any of us had ever been to Alabama before.

The Rocket Center was virtually empty, and we enjoyed several hours of time exploring. Since we only worked our way through one of the buildings, and there are several other museums in Huntsville that are of interest, I foresee another visit in our future.

Cracker Barrel for lunch...our obligatory road trip visit.

Cracker Barrel for lunch…our obligatory road trip visit.

A space shuttle is always impressive.

A space shuttle is always impressive.

It was a rainy, gray day.

It was a rainy, gray day.

A space shuttle is always impressive.

A space shuttle is always impressive.

101 Inventions was the main exhibit in the building we toured.

Legos were one of the 101 influential inventions.

Legos were one of the 101 influential inventions.

Lots of building time:

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A small catastrophe:

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Implosion

Implosion

Humans have been around for such a short amount of time.

Humans have been around for such a short amount of time.

Buster loved this video/musical theater. He sat and let the images wash over him.

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From the website: http://rocketcenter.com/

From the website: http://rocketcenter.com/

We rode the simulator a couple times.

We rode the simulator a couple times.

This is a location for Space Camp, so we got to see the parts that campers get to enjoy:

Testing grounds.

Testing grounds.

The water tank

The water tank

Buoyancy practice in here.

Buoyancy practice in here.

Designing module in here.

Designing module in here.

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Lots of space shuttle landing practice:

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I was a little disturbed thinking of the poor monkeys…

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A tiny little rocket

A tiny little rocket

The outside area we didn't explore on this visit.

The outside area we didn’t explore on this visit.

A few final poses:

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Weight on different planets

Weight on different planets

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And on our way out the door, Astronaut Ice Cream!

Yup, tastes like styrofoam.

Yup, tastes like styrofoam.

Another interesting adventure.

Monkeyshines and An Early Thanksgiving

The Chan Clan left last week after a 5 day visit. Buster sobbed the night before they left because our time together is never long enough.

This was the second year in a row that we’ve spent time together the week before Thanksgiving. Todd completed the Flying Monkey Marathon down at Warner Park, seemingly effortlessly. Always inspiring.

Looking Strong!- Photo courtesy Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey

When this crew is in town, it’s like having family visit. Relaxing, laughter-filled, and when our time together ends, we all want to know when we’ll be together again.

We went to a homeschool program at the Main Library where cardboard creations were the order of business. Our crafty crew got right to work.

Sample cardboard creations

Sample cardboard creations

Their project begins

Their project begins

Hauling over the raw materials.

Hauling over the raw materials.

Discussing the plan.

Discussing the plan.

More work

More work

Buster takes a break.

Buster takes a break.

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More friends join the fun.

More friends join the fun.

Buster conked out first. This was his drive home in the car.

Buster conked out first. This was his drive home in the car.

The first wall is up.

The first wall is up.

We had some beautiful weather while they were here.

(Photos by Gina.)

Time on the swing.

Time on the swing.

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So patient.

So patient.

We’ve got our next visit planned, so though we were sad to see them go, we’ve got more fun to look forward to in the near future.