Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Renewed Vision

The kids picked up their new glasses today, and are all feeling that 'laser-beam' thing that you get when suddenly the world comes into crystal clear focus for the first time. Joe is sporting glasses for the very first time. Amaya picked out a shade of blue that is totally her - stylish and artsy.

The Fiery Furnance and Papa's visit...

OK. These topics don't have much to do with each other, except that we started burning wood in our wood-burning furnace for the first time last month. We are hoping to save a chunk-a'change on our heating bill, and use up the firewood we've had sitting around. It's more work to get the wood to the basement, maintain the fire, carry out the ashes. But it has its own rewards.

Grandpa (papa) Chavez visited us for the last two weeks, and went home on Wednesday. He brought a warm spell with him, and left us just in time for some stinking cold weather.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Thoughts

Things I'm Grateful for this year:
  • The start of the Christmas season - a time to remember our hope in Jesus Christ .
  • Growth and healing that God worked in my heart this year. Some of you know that I have struggled in my faith for several years, and that I found a way to move forward this year. Be on lookout for faith coming out in new ways.
  • 16 years together with a beautiful woman who loves me, and who devotes herself completely to our children.
  • Children who make their dad proud in many ways, and who know just when to scratch my head.
  • Being part of the Mars Clan. I feel so blessed to have parents who raised us in love, for the paths they chose, and what they taught us. Every one of my brothers and sisters amazes me.
  • To live in a time and a place where we enjoy so much freedom and prosperity.

Mama Mia! Joe's Recent Events

Joe played the part of Luigi in the production of 'All Aboard for Broadway'. He did a great italian accent, and made us all smile and laugh. He also got to spend a week at camp Storer on the 6th grade camping trip. Best part? "the food!"

Amaya's Fall Fun

Here is Amaya at a football game with her friends Alexis and Megan. And Lydi and Amaya playing in the leaves on our deck. Fall has gone by so quickly.

Wambold's Amazing Circus

OK. I'm a little late getting this onto the web. Its almost December, and this happened back in August. This is when we went to see Wambold's Amazing Animal Act at the Hancock County Fair.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Anna's B-day

Anna turned 14 this week. To celebrate, we went go-karting and bumper-boating with some of her friends. Yes, that's Amaya pushing mom into the sprinkler!

Back to School

School started back up this week. Joe is going on the same bus as Anna, which means he has to get up earlier, and that Amaya is on her own later bus now. Lydi was very bummed out to see all of her sibs going away (those are tears in the picture).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Blown away in the Windy City...

Here's some photos from our vacation. We took the train from Toledo to Chicago. The train was awesome! (but the schedule was a little weird) Here's everyone at 4:30 am waiting for the train. After sunrise, we lounged in the 'sky car' and had a snack. It was a luxurious way to travel.

Here's Lydi at Lake Michigan, and Tia Karyn and Ruby and Alli. The water was great. Lydi was full of explorer spirit that day. While the other kids built a sand castle, Lydi and I combed up and down the beach.
Here's Amaya and Joe washing windows outside the Hancock tower - the 2nd tallest building in Chicago.
Here's Linda with 'Sue' the T-rex at the field museum.

We went to the Lego store at Nordstrom's which has life-sized models of Star Wars characters, and 'play stations' where you can build things.
We went to the Navy Pier. We made all of our travels by bus and El-train (that's spanish for "the train").
Joe with Chicago in background at Adler planetarium. The girls went to American Girl store.

We ate vietnamese, indian, italian and junk food, among other things. We had an exhausting, fun, educational, luxurious, sunny, wet time.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mars Cousin Camp

This weekend the Mars Clan gathered at Mom and Dad's to celebrate Mars-ness. How to describe what happened? Bonding (hung out at Great-Grandma T's), Fun, Exhausting, Explosive (rockets), Competitive (1K cousin race!), fashionable (custom T's!), artsy (Jan brought us clay), campy, tasty (Dan's dutch oven), historical (we visited a local site where a Mastodon was dug up some years ago). We didn't get around to everything we planned, but we sure had a great time on the things we did.

Here's Amaya learning how to throw a tomahawk.

Anna and Sarah singing the Moo song (note Udder milking gestures)...

We attended the sportsfest put on by the Portage County Field and Stream club. Here's Anna nailing a clay pigeon. Anna turned out to be quite the sharp shooter.

Alli making clay sculpture with Tia Janis.
Tio Chris building his rocket. Four rockets are in foreground from other cousins. The lauch was a huge success, and quite entertaining. Aaron got the prize for most surprising launch. The engine in his rocket was not secured, and broke loose. His engine shot straight through the rocket body, knocking off the nose cone, and leaving the rocket on the pad, and shooting off into the sky.

Grandpa surprised everyone with lightsabers, and there was a mass "Clone War", as all of the cousins dueled.

Campers stayed in a city of tents in the back yard.

We dropped in on Grandma T, did a few chores, ate lunch, hung out.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

First Garden Stuff

Today was memorable - we tasted the first few veggies from our garden. Amaya and Dad found 3 cherry tomatoes that were ripe. Those did not make it very far. We also found 5 cukes, and a bunch of lettuce. We have some pumpkins coming on. Anna grilled marinated chicken for us. Yum.

Get to the Point

We spent the 4th of July at Cedar Point. We got there first thing in the morning, and lunched and dinnered there, and stayed for the fireworks and closing. Joe and Dad rode the 'wicked twister' - rated a 5/5 on CP's thrill scale. After which we decided to stick to 4's and lower. I think the overall favorite thing was the sky 'cupcakes' that carry you into the center of the park via cable cars. We did that a couple of times. We really had a great time.

Happy Birthday Lydi

Monday, June 23, 2008

Piano Recital

The kids wrapped up their piano study-year with a recital. This is right before the show, with their teacher, and with Anna's friend Amanda. Anna and Amanda did a two-piano duo.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

World's Best Dad

Happy Birthday Grandma!

Anna Burns Rubber...

On memorial day weekend, we went go-karting. This shows Anna (red car) zooming past Dad and Joe (blue car).

Joe's Hair

Joe's hair style has been seeing alot of action lately. For teacher appreciation day, Joe dressed up as Mr. H, his teacher. Complete with balding grey hair. Joe also dressed up as a frontiersman, just for fun. His ponytail went perfect. And then it was time for a haircut.