Monday, December 28, 2009

Annoyance Turkeys

One of the presents the kids received in their "Wii bundle" for Christmas this year was the game Lego Rock Band.  Being naive of all things video gaming, though, we didin't know that you needed to have special controllers to play the game.  So the kids were unable to play it for the first few days until we figured out what to do.  The controllers are quite expensive and we researched (meaning asked other gaming geeks) what to do.  Luckily we found most of what we needed at our local BX (Base Exchange, the military department store for you non-military-lingo acquainted folk).  We pooled all the money we received for Christmas (thanks Grandmas and Grandpas) and bought 2 guitar controllers, 1 drum set, and 1 microphone.  We had to order the microphone, but luckily a visiting friend had an extra one we could use for a couple of days.  So, with all our new equipment we were finally ready to become virtual rock stars.  The game is really a lot of fun and the whole family enjoys playing it.  Here are a couple of shots of "the band".  The name explanation is below...... 

Look at those rock stars!

Noah is singing We Are The Champions!

Even Phantom is part of the band!

What are the Annoyance Turkeys?  
     Last year when Noah was in the 4th grade he was copying his spelling list on the dry erase board, writing the words 5x each.  To mix it up a bit he likes to sometimes see how small he can write the words, or write them in a shape of some kind.  One day he wrote the words as small and close together as possible in 2 colums.  It just so happened that the words, "annoyance", and "turkeys" were part of his list and lined up perfectly in the 2 colums with no spaces so his dry erase board read:
 This was not an abnormal occurance in our house but this particular day it just struck Rob as the funniest of things.  When he came home from work and walked passed the classroom he burst out, "WHAT is an annoyance turkey?".  Noah explained to Dad what he was doing and after that Rob said, "oh, well, that would  make a great name for a band" - and since both my boys want to be rock stars (way before Lego Rock Band ever made it on the scene) the name kind of stuck and they'be been using it ever since.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas this year was quite exciting!  It started with a phone call at 2 in the morning!  Some good friends of ours from church were having a baby and needed Krissie to come stay with their 4-year old son so they could go to the hospital.  Krissie went to their house and spent the night.  In the morning she brought Deacon home with some of his presents where the kids were already up and sitting nicely by the tree waiting patiently.  Mom got some coffee, got Deacon settled and the present opening began.  I have TONS of pictures of the kids opening their gifts, but I just picked a couple of my favorites, or rather tried to find shots of them opening the gifts they most loved.

Each year the kids buy each other presents.  It is so wonderful to see the time and thought they put into coming up with something their siblings will want.  Micah has wanted a watch FOREVER, but the rule was you were not allowed to own a digital watch until you could tell time on an analog dial.  Micah is just learning to tell time, but when Noah had thought about it and asked to buy Micah a watch we were so touched.  We knew it was what Micah really wanted.  This is Micah opening his watch from Noah, and the joy on Noah's face is what really just warms our hearts. 

Noah had no idea what he wanted for Christmas this year.  When we would ask him he would say, "just some Legos, I guess".  We thought long and hard and finally decided to get him his very own iPod.  He loves music and has been using an old hand-me-down 1st generation nano.  The one we got him is green and engraved with the inscription, "Someday these people will ask for MY autograph".  At first I think Sarah thought it was cooler than he did, but he quickly got it and was thrilled with the green music machine (which is what he named it on iTunes).

Here is Deacon opening a few gifts that we brought over to our house.  Shortly after we started opening presents we got the phone call that Mom had given birth to a healthy baby girl.  Deacon stayed for a couple more hours and then his Dad came and picked him up to go meet his sister.

This is the last present the kids opened (Sarah's favorite gift was her digital camera, but I can not find a shot of her opening it that is in focus),  This joint present was a "Wii bundle".  I love the excitement that it captures and Deacon in the right hand corner excited because my kids are all excited!

Mommy opening her favortie present, a pair of black terrier Christmas socks, and helping Phantom open his present from the grandparetns Murphy.

After the presents had been opened the Briggs' came over to exchange gifts with us.  We ate yummy bread, cookies, and other snacks.  It was a great time hanging out and spending the holiday with some of our favorite people.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

our tree, all decorated

On Christmas Eve we open our stockings.  The kids get a Hallmark ornament every year and some kind of candy.  This year they each picked out the kind of candy they wanted in the stocking.  Sarah chose Milky Way candy bars, Noah choose Skittles, and Micah choose Nerds.  Sarah's ornamtnet was an angel on the phone with a cup of coffee.  Noah's ornament was a camping scout scene with Snoopy and Woodstock.  micah's ornament was a reindeer kid playing super hero. 
 After the ornaments we went to our church's Christmas Eve candle light service and then to a holiday gathering at someone's house with all our church family.  It was a wonderful time.  Mike and Jessica McDonald opened up their home and made us all feel so welcome.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Over the last few days we have had so much snow!  We have had a good time shoveling, sledding, shoveling, building snowmen, teasing the dog, shoveling (have I mentioned that?)  Here's a couple winter wonderland shots.

We found some GREAT hills not a far walk from our house, but our backyard will do in a pinch.  Phantom has so much fun chasing the sled.

Micah went outside for a little bit, but since he is still recovering he was cold within minutes.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Tree - FINALLY!

We wanted to buy our Christmas tree the weekend after Thanksgiving, but there wasn't much to choose from on the lot.  We waited until a new shipment of trees came in and finally got our tree yesterday.  Today after church we started decorating it.  Micah has been SO sick, he put on a couple of ornaments but mostly just napped on and off on the couch watching, poor thing.  The skirt Sarah is wearing is one she made in her sewing class.  Noah's sweater was knit for him by his Grandma Murphy.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cub Scout Pack Meeting and Cake Auction

Once a month the Cub Scout Pack has a meeting with all the dens where they give out awards or do activites as a pack.  In December they always have a cake auction to help raise money for the pack.  Noah and Micah both entered a cake this year.  Noah's cake was actually one of the highest cakes bid on!  Micah's Tiger Den all chipped in and bid on the paw print cake and then they all shared it.  Micah is really enjoying his first year of cub scouts and it is great having his brother in the same pack to help show him the ropes.

Noah and his "Cub Scouts Rock" cake.

Micah and his "Paw Print" cake

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Cub Scout Christmas Tree Sales

This was Micah's first year selling Christmas trees and Noah's last year selling as a Cub Scout.  They got a shift working together and the weather was very mild.  They had a lot of fun helping out and snacking on cookies and hot chocolate.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Piano Concert at Burg Lichtenberg

The boys began lessons with a new piano teacher in Landstuhl.  They came to her just as she was planning her Christmas recital at the castle in Kusel.  The boys quickly prepared a piece and played beautifully.  Noah has played recitals before, and recitals at this castle, but Micah, who just started piano about 2 months ago, had never played in front of people before.  He did a phenomenal job.  We are so proud!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Homeschool Christmas Party

The home school Christmas party at the skating rink is always a big hit.  I only saw Noah for a few minutes when he would come in for a sip of water, he spent the whole time on the skate floor and has 2 big blisters to prove it.  Micah had a great time making the crafts, decorating cookies, eating treats, and socializing with his friends.  Sarah wasn't feeling too well, but she had a good time hanging out with her friends and even took a turn working at the craft booth. 

Monday, November 30, 2009

Oireachtas Rince na h-Eorope - Bremen, Germany 2009

There are 4 levels to compete in: Beginner, Primary, Intermediate, and Open/Championship. You start out as a beginner and primary dancing 4 light shoe dances and 2 heavy shoe dances plus a traditional set and trophy dance. In order to place out of the first 6 dances you must have at least 6 dancers in the competition (then the first place winner will "place out" of that dance) - If there are 11 or more dancers then the first 3 places will place out. These dances are done to the same music but each dance is unique to the school. The traditional set dance is "won" the same way, but all dancers dance a choice of 6 dances that have the same steps. The trophy dance is any step from the first 6 dances but you must place FIRST regardless of the number of dancers to place out of this dance. During these first two levels of competition you wear a class costume (for Sarah it is the NEON green class dress).
Intermediate Grade competitions are a bit different in that you have to place first in the competition, and there aren't as many dances to compete in. Also, you can stay at the Intermediate level for several years before moving up. (you can only win once per calendar year though) Many teachers require their dancers to win the competition 2 or 3 times before moving them up to the Open-Championship level. A lot of the dancers that compete in the Open/Championship level also compete at the Intermediate level as well. For these competitions you may wear a solo dress. These dresses range depending on the years style. They are colorful, sparkley, extravagant, and EXPENSIVE!
Sarah went to this feis to dance ALL the Intermediate dances for the first time, but she still had 3 Primary dances that she hadn't placed out of yet. She only had those 3 dances to catch the judges eye and earn a place. She SWEPT the Primaries with a hat trick of THREE first places, including first place in the trophy competition. She also took home two medals for fourth place and one for fifth place at the Intermediate level which is really great for her first time, and considering that many of the 10 - 13 girls (all aged 13 - 15 years old) she competed against were also there to compete in the qualifiers for the World Championships!!! We are so proud of Sarah and her accomplishments at this feis, she dances remarkably well! All her friends placed well and surprised themselves with big wins, too, so it was a HUGE success!
Sarah is now OFFICIALLY an Intermediate dancer having no beginner or primary dances to place out of anymore. She will stay in the Intermediate Grade for at least 2 years trying to earn those first places before she moves up again. It will be a lot of hard work and dedication, but Sarah is passionate about this sport!

Sarah and Hannah on Saturday. They only had team dances this day, so they were relaxed and happy. Their solo competitions didn't take place until Sunday.
Sarah with her trophies from the Primary competition
Sarah taking FOURTH place in her Intermediate Hornpipe. SHe went there with a goal of placing in at least ONE intermediate dance (and by placing I mean she would have been happy with 7th or 8th place), but she surprised herself and is so pleased!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


We traditionally spend Thanksgiving day with our friends, the Briggs.  This year we hosted at our house.  It was a wonderful meal with good friends and lots of fun.We played lots of games (Phase 10, Eric won!)

The Briggs 7 children and our three

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Moon

We went to see New Moon with a HUGE group of people: moms and teens and moms without teens.,, but they wouldn't have their picture taken silly women!  After the movie a group of us went to the Macaroni Grill on base and hung out and ate.