Saturday, December 29, 2007

Not quite American Idol...


For Christmas, one of the things Shan got for me is "SingStar 80's" for the PS2. It comes with two microphones and a PS2 game with 30 songs from the 80's. She and I had a BLAST singing the songs while the video plays in the background. You are given points based on how well you hit the notes, etc. We learned pretty quickly that we sound much better when the music is cranked up and we can't hear ourselves. :-) The only way I will ever end up on American Idol is on the blooper reel! I mean, I can't even beat out Crazy Dave (if you remember him)... I may sing horribly, but I still manage to rack up points! :-)

Here is a list of songs in the game. We have not tried singing them all yet, but (to borrow from the Cars movie), "We Will Have Our Day!"

Billy Ocean "Caribbean Queen"
Billy Joel "Uptown Girl"
Blondie "Heart of Glass"
Culture Club "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?"
Cyndi Lauper "Time After Time"
Dead or Alive "You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)"
Dexys Midnight Runners "Come on Eileen"
Duran Duran "Rio"
Erasure "A Little Respect"
Europe "The Final Countdown"
A Flock of Seagulls "I Ran"
Foreigner "I Want to Know What Love Is"
Kim Wilde "Kids in America"
Madness "Our House"
Madonna "Material Girl"
Men at Work "Who Can It Be Now?"
Nena "99 Red Balloons"
The Pretenders "Brass in Pocket"
R.E.M. "Stand"
Run D.M.C. "It's Tricky"
Simple Minds "Don't You (Forget About Me)"
Soft Cell "Tainted Love"
Squeeze "Tempted"
Starship "We Built This City"
Survivor "Eye of the Tiger" *
Tears for Fears "Everybody Wants to Rule the World"
Thompson Twins "Hold Me Now"
Tina Turner "Simply the Best"
Twisted Sister "We're Not Gonna Take It"
Wham! "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"

Shan and I did really well with the Duets game, though we trashed Run-DMC's "Tricky" so badly, I don't even think the game will let us sing that song anymore... :-)



I am so hooked on the game that I bought "Amped" at Wal-Mart last night. I haven't tried yet, but will fire it up later today!

Amped songs include:

Alice in Chains "Would?"
Audioslave "Cochise"
Blink-182 "I Miss You"
Blue Öyster Cult "(Don't Fear) The Reaper"
Boston "More Than a Feeling"
Cheap Trick "I Want You to Want Me"
David Bowie "Changes"
Fall Out Boy "This Ain't a Scene, It's an Arms Race"
Foo Fighters "Best of You"
Free "Alright Now"
Iggy Pop & The Stooges "Real Wild Child (Wild One)"
Judas Priest "You've Got Another Thing Comin'"
The Killers "When You Were Young"
Motörhead "Ace of Spades"
Nickelback "Savin' Me"
Nirvana "Come As You Are"
O.A.R. "Love and Memories"
Pearl Jam "Alive"
Poison "Every Rose Has Its Thorn"
Queens of the Stone Age "Go with the Flow"
Quiet Riot "Cum on Feel the Noize"
Radiohead "Creep" (radio edit)
The Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop"
Steppenwolf "Born to Be Wild"
Stone Temple Pilots "Vasoline"
Sublime "Santeria"
Tom Jones with The Cardigans "Burning Down the House"
Yeah Yeah Yeahs "Gold Lion"
Yes "Owner of a Lonely Heart"
ZZ Top "Gimme All Your Lovin'"

There are two other US versions (Pop and Rocks) that I will buy eventually. The kicker is, the UK has about 12-13 different versions! What is up with that!? And, of course, people are clamoring for a COUNTRY version, DUH! That would take sales of the SingStar series to new heights in the US for sure!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas Time!

We had a lot of fun this Christmas, and we had a lot of tears. This was the first "real" Christmas without my Dad. He was in Houston or Kuwait or something this time last year, but we were still able to talk to him. This year, he was not here, and there were times it was pretty hard. I think the hardest moment was when Shan got her two pounds of chocolate. See, every year, my Dad bought his daughters-in-law two pounds of chocolate - a tradition handed down by his father. This year, Mom provided the chocolate in my Dad's honor. It was very moving for everyone.

We took lots of pictures, but I won't bore you with all of them. So, here is a smattering of images from Christmas this year with the Hendersons:



One of the few moments there actually was some "peace on earth!"



Shan is swallowed up by her presents and by Emily's presents nearby!



I'm not sure what Emily opened up, but it sure got Shan's attention!



Emily cannot believe Santa left them a note (and ate the cookies and drank the milk, no less)!



This is our tree, unaware of the attack about to come underway by our kiddos!



This is a close up



Emily watches as Shan looks at the Mickey and Minnie felt poster the kids colored for her.



Shan is about to give Emily a kiss for the homemade gift the kids made. Tyler and Emily wanted to make Shan something with Mickey Mouse, so they used modeling clay, puff balls, craft sticks and more to create Mickey, Minnie and other pieces for their gift.



The kids get ready to play Santa!



Tyler reads the note left by Santa - he got a new jacket since his was lost.



Emily looks on in total shock as she opens her Polly Pocket playset. She wanted a Polly Pocket with clothes and had some boys. She got BOTH in one present!



Emily hands out gifts while playing Santa.



The picture says it all....



Tyler opens the first part of his big surprise from my Mom - A WII!!



Tyler was still in shock that he got a Wii for Christmas! Since Christmas Day, we have all played it a lot! I have been completely amazed how interactive and how fun it is!! Been getting LOTS of exercise!



Shan gets a Mickey with her name on it!!



Emily asked her Mimi for a very specific dollhouse... And boy did she get it!



Why is Shan so surprised about her sweater?? (See next picture)



Shan and Emily were given matching winter sweaters for Christmas!



It was a very Mickey Christmas for Shan!



My Mom gave Shan a very special ornament... :-)



One of the coolest gifts Shan got this year was a set of Lenox Mickey's!



I got a very cool Tribe hat!



And, this was a very Tribe Christmas for me!! I'm looking forward to installing my new hitch "cover!"



I have never seen these before! They are headrests for the front seats in my truck!



Since I also collect Coke stuff, I got a very cool book!



The shirt not only sports a vintage "Wahoo," but it has my NAME on the back! In fact, Tyler and Emily got one too!



I have seen these in magazines, so I was VERY excited to open this up!!



How about some cool Tribe sweats? Mom got me these, and Shan had gotten me some camo flannel pants, so I will be warm for sure!



I also got a cool light jacket with the Indians logo on it!



And, to my surprise, I also got ANOTHER Tribe framed picture with my name on it!



Here is Mom with the book we gave her. The book is a printed version of Dad's online "Legacy" guestbook. It is very well put together and done in slick, heavy paperstock.



Mom also got a cold-weather set for her trip to the 'Burgh! You can see, she is ready to go!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Gingerbread Throwdown!

Hello, everyone! It's Christmas EVE! Emily woke up very excited because today is Christmas Eve. As our tradition, we go to Shan's parents' house to open their gifts tonight, and the kids are VERY excited!! Of course, poor Emily thought she got to open up the gifts as soon as the sun came up, but we told her last night that it would be later, after supper, when she could open gifts. Though this bummed her out some, she did not let it deter her from being excited about the fact she was going to open presents on Christmas Eve!


Since Jess, Nick, and Kensley were going to Colorado for Christmas, they came over the other day to hang out before their big trip. Emily and Tyler love playing with Kensley!


Nick and Jess drove through Texas, and stopped in Amarillo on their first night. They woke to blowing winds, freezing temps and SNOW and ICE everywhere! In friggin Texas, people!! It was so bad, they could not see the road signs telling them where to turn. They eventually got on the road, and though the posted limits for much of their travels said 75 MPH, they were maxed out around 35! It took them several more hours to get to Colorado than they had planned! At one point, the entry pass to Colorado was CLOSED due to bad weather, but by the time they made it there, they were allowed to pass - slowly!


On Friday, Emily had her school's Christmas party. She had a lot of fun, and got to eat a few snacks (pizza, juice, cookies, candy... just a few..)

I took more pictures, but our camera is wiggin out lately, so they were very blurry... I think the camera has been dropped one time too many, so the image stabilizer and the iris are out of whack... Had I realized how bad it was getting, I might have considered buying a different Christmas present this year... :-) Oh Well!


My Uncle Dean in the 'burgh is a pastry chef. His latest endeavor was a gingerbread village:

You can see more pictures on my Aunt's Blog.
A few weeks ago, Emily wanted to make a gingerbread house, so we bought a kit. Last night, we opened up the box and started construction! As we started out, Shan said we should challenge Dean to a Gingerbread Throwdown (if you are not familiar with this term, there is a show on Food Network called Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Feel free to look it up). After it was all said and done, we're pretty confident we would have won... You know, based on sympathy votes... You be the judge:


I took pictures as Emily and Shan did the construction:





After the house was built, we had to kill 15 minutes while things bonded. So, Emily started decorating the little characters:



I caught her "sampling" the icing!



We used some inventive ways to get the icing onto the house!



But, once everything was done, we thought it was not half-bad for our first-ever gingerbread house!



So, judges? Here are the two creations for the gingerbread throwdown (really, you can be honest... We can take it... It's only the hopes and dreams of a little girl that you're dealing with here... But, really, look them over and tell us which one would win a throwdown... It's okay, really. I mean, it is only Christmas, after all...)