Saturday, December 13, 2008


The nine dollars a head were spent well. The Phoenix zoo was lit up with reds greens whites yellows oranges. People everywhere. Any extra activity was four dollars a head. We saw three animals, one otter, four zebras, and one elephant secluding in the shadows. The gift shop was open. Santa was visited. The free zoo concept is honored now in this family.
Earlier we went to two of the Chandler area parks. They have nice parks around here. The weather was sunny and bright. Kids ran around climbing, chasing, jumping. We headed home and prepared for our zoo trip.
We slept in until about nine a.m. Slowly and casually getting around to catching the day time activities. Coffee was welcomed while phone calls from friends rolled in. As a family we put the Christmas cards together for mailing. We decided to get out and enjoy the weather at the local park. This turned out to be the highlight of the day.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Marking Time

There is nothing going for the next couple of weeks. The kids are getting into some state of relaxed homeyness that feels nice. We have somewhat of a routine during the week and on the weekends we run all over. This weekend to the zoo but nothing further planned.

Savannah helped find herself a soccer team to join so we'll see if we can recreate the gopher run out here. I've been working in the Ak Chin clinic all week adding another 45 minute one way commute for Traci on days when Savannah and Shane have school. When I get home from work we usually eat dinner, sometimes take out. Traci has honed her kitchen skills into a fine art. She conjures a magical taste adventure nearly every night with careful attention to nutritional needs and regional cuisine. She is able to fire up a great meal in about 30 minutes. We finish eating and Traci will go out with her friend Lisa while the kids and I begin some evening activity usually involving too much television. I've made a few nights TV free engaging them in games of checkers or uno.

Traci is home more nights than not.

We had a visit from Grandma and Grandpa Townsend via web cam this evening. They are looking well and it was delightful to see a familiar face. Savannah really enjoyed talking with them. Grandpa called on the phone so they could talk and see each other in real time. Friday nights have proven to be Traci's night out with Lisa.
We finished Wall-e and the kids are now in bed, awake, but in bed. Sophia likes to lay out on the couch until she falls asleep. I will gently pick her up and relocate her in her own bed shortly. The kids have been a little wound up and leaves me wondering if it has something to do with the close proximity of the moon.
I made dinner this evening. Not very proud but gave a selection of ham or turkey on wheat bread with apple slices and goldfish crackers all served with an ice cold milk served in glass. Savannah passed. I think she just grazed all night on various things. She definitely finished the apple slices fro the younger one's plates.
It feels like we're just holding up the rhythm of day to day sort of like marking time in the marching band, our feet our moving but we're not headed out anywhere. It's relaxing to not have to run anywhere. I think we'll be like this until after the holidays. Hopefully we'll get some time to spend with Shane's buddy G and his family over the season.

Uncle Tom called to express their "joy" at the gift we bought for grandma Nana. Anne Thomas got on the phone and told me all about the giant Monster in her house. She successfully prompted through her new joke and delivered the punch line expertly. I could hear her moving around, running through the house by her voice in the background. She's full of the antic spirited clan Miller with some strong southern roots. It's difficult to wait to see what her future proves to hold. Mostly getting into some sort of fatigued gibberish now so it's time to make my exit.

I have left a few images of our short foray into Mexico.

It was very interesting. We ended up in the border town across from Douglas Arizona. We were advised by the border patrol to find some of the local bacon wrapped hot dogs.

We found a little wagon and ordered up a few of the dogs. I had mine with everything, the kicker being the green salsa. Tasty! It may have contributed to my aforementioned illness the next day. The kids didn't care for them. Shane peeled off the bacon and Sophia was more interested in the cola. Savannah gave it a fair try but didn't finish it. Traci, after trying my loaded dog, lamented at her inferior less saucy entree. She finished it up.

We visited a few shops and then came back to the U.S.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


It is finally official! Here is a photo of Jill and Kip. They are anticipating an October 2009 wedding.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Special Moments....

The children actually spent an enjoyable evening playing a game of checkers...without bickering!!! I just had to capture the special moment on camera.

Lazy Sunday

Today was enjoyable. It was a lazy day without expectations. We slept in and stayed in our jammies until noon. Then Jim mustered up enough motivation between he and Savannah to go on a 6 mile bike ride around Chandler. While those two were out pedaling, Sophie played games on one computer while I shopped on the other. Our new friend Ryan, along with Baby "K" and son "G" brought our beloved son home around 2p. Shane had spent an action filled night with his buddy, "G" and arrived home with a big hug and an, "I missed you!"

After awhile Jim and I decided to take the kids to the movies to see Disney's new film, Bolt-3D. We headed out into the cold night...yes, cold! The high was only 60 degrees today. We had to wear jackets! I think the warmest it will be this week will only be 72. Anyway...after we spent way too much for tickets we bought some popcorn and headed into the darkened theatre for some Disney magic. The movie was well received by both young and old.

We headed home and after teeth brushings, story time, and kisses we put our happy, lazy, children to bed. Jim and I stayed up searching the 150 channels for anything worth watching and eventually called it quits.

Before calling it quits though, I received a call from my friend, Jill. She happily announced that she and Kip were officially engaged!! YEAH!!!!!!!! And I am happy and proud to announce I have been asked to be her Matron of Honor. (Hmmmm, does not sound as good as Maid......) and of course, I am honored.

The picture above is of Kip and Jill when they came for a St. Louis visit this past summer.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Shane's Pal

It appears Shane has really taken to a new friend. G is the imaginative eight year old son of the W's. He seems to enjoy the same make-believe world Shane does. They spend most of their time running around acting out the sagas created in their heads about cowboys, aliens, wizards and whatever else comes to mind.
Mr. W, G's father, and I hiked with the boys up lookout mountain. Lookout mountain is one of the smaller parks in the Phoenix mountain park system. At 2054 feet it makes for a decent climb but not quite the challenge of Camelback Mountain. Shane brought along his toy six shooter and a fresh reload of caps. He and G went off ahead of us and spent the time swapping the six shooter back and forth. They would shoot imaginary threats out of the air, from behind rocks, and on top of cacti. G released some floating cotton from a bush then proceeded to shoot them all out of the sky. G is about a foot taller than Shane and made it up the rock quicker as he was also very familiar with the terrain. Shane had to stop a few times to take a break and a sip of water but we all made it to the top. The view was a spread of the whole northern valley. We sat on the top for a while watching planes fly overhead and people climbing up from below. We made a quick descent and headed for the W's home where the women had prepared a fine meal of pasta, bread and salad.
After dinner we piled in the car for a short trip in to the city for the Christmas light parade. We let Lisa drive whenever we all go anywhere around Phoenix. She is familiar with the layout of the city and gets around well. We were slowing to a stop in mid traffic and Lisa commented on how far we were from the parade. The vehicle and pedestrian traffic was backed up for several miles. We drifted our way in to a parking spot along the side of a road and dismounted with kids in tow. The W's have an eight month old daughter who was bundled in a stroller. Each available adult grabbed the hand of a corresponding child and we pushed into the crowds, it was about 40 minutes before the scheduled start of the parade.
We arrived at Central Street to find the sidewalks, curbs and lawns were already saturated with people, children, pets, balloons, light sticks, barricades, lawn chairs, hats and horns. We staked a claim on the area between a fence and the sidewalk in front of us there were five rows of awn chairs starting from the edge of the sidewalk into the street. We stood in front of a large bush and the sidewalk was completely blocked in front of us. The only route for foot traffic was behind us between the fence the bush and the sidewalk. People were constantly walking through the bush and pulling the branches back letting them loose to swing out and hit one of us. We tried to move but there was no place to go. It was a mild annoyance and we enjoyed the parade anyway.

The entire two hour parade went by while Shane and G played with their light up necklaces, twisting them to make glasses, whipping them around at each other, attributing them with special powers. Shane would grab my stomach every few minutes and say "this is a poison spell and you're dead" or "this hand makes you freeze in ice". each time I would oblige him and either die from the poison or freeze in position. He would then bring me back to life or unfreeze me. I'm not sure they even saw any of the parade.

E and Traci sat in front of our crowd holding K the eight month old and Sophia our four year old. R noticed E "resting her eyes" at one point during the parade. Eight month olds take their toll.
The only eyes tuned directly into the parade were Sophia's. The parade created the magical experience you can sometimes get from large social observations of holiday events. She was fascinated by all the lights, music, balloons, and people. The colors, sounds and smells drew her in and held her attention for the full two hours. The last to drive by was Santa and Sophia waved with a look of admiring credulous longing. Those last few moments made the previous two hours of being whipped in the back by a thorny bush worthwhile.