After supper tonight, Danaya and I sat down to play a game of Martian Rails.  It is a game in the crayon rails series, but is set on the planet Mars.  This post is more for Ben’s family who owns a wide variety of such games.  Crayon rails games are games where you build your rail network by drawing on the map with your particular color of crayon (mine is usually orange), and then pickup and deliver loads round the map.  Track costs money (especially on Mars), so you typically start with a small layout and then grow it as the money is earned. 

In tonight’s game, we were about a third of the way through when your track covered about half the map, and money earned was spent just as quickly on track and train upgrades.  Danaya had sixty million in hand, but I had just lined up my next three runs based in the cards in hand, had built the necessary track extensions, and was out of money.  I had a load of tourists on board headed for Syrtis Major and had just stopped at Pax Grove for a load of UN peacekeepers (to run down south to Isher for a big payout).  Here were my three load cards, track built, and about 120 million in income awaiting.

  
Then it happened.  Danaya delivered a load and in drawing her replacement card, she drew 3 event cards.  The first card, Earthlings, Go Home lost me my load of tourists.  I counted it out and figured that it had set me back about 3 and a half turns; both Danaya and I had already upgraded to the 16 milepost locomotives already.

  
Then Danaya read the second card, Green Mars North, which flooded a bunch of the northern canals wiping out 4 of my bridges in the process.  The bridges cost 2 million each to rebuild, but I was living in the edge and had spent my money on the tracks that I needed (some of which was for a number of turns down the road).

  
So there I was, broke and stuck on a section of track that only connected three cities, having no tourists, and no money for bridge repairs.  After a good laugh, I conceded the game.  Danaya won with 60 million in cash having connected to only three of the major cities, and having already circumnavigated the planet with her track.

The latest hanger-on at the Huber Houston house is Walter the ring-necked pheasant.  He’s an escapee from the dog shelter/animal menagerie next door.  He’s pretty friendly and sort of follows people around (or chases them in Daelynn’s case).

   
 

On Sunday afternoon, we were at another family’s home for a birthday party.  They love on a couple of acres and have goats and chickens.  But those animals are not what this post is about.  The neighbor’s dog, Skeeter, was over and brought his not-altogether-hygienic tennis ball with him.  While Brock was a little hesitant (see the picture of him tentatively reaching under the dog to get the ball), he played a little throw and fetch with Skeeter. 

    
 


It’s not every Christmas you receive the gift of a grandchild’s  birth–and your first grandchild, at that!
Brodwin (pronounced with a long “o”), Brody for short,  was born on Dec. 26, 2015, at 3:55 AM, much to the joy (and relief!) of his mother, Elissa, and his father, Layne. Of course, his grandparents and aunts and uncles are pretty excited, too!

 

Tiny Brody, about 12 hours old, held by his maternal grandmother

Brody is beautiful (I knew he would be! 😉)! He is calm and alert, and looks intently at people and objects. He looks a lot like his parents, IMHO.

 

Those eyes…

Brody did have to spend  the night and next day in the neo-natal nursery due to a few issues, but seems to be doing well. He and his mom (and dad, who has been at the hospital most of the time) should be arriving home on the 28th.

It’s going to be ever so hard to leave for our return trip to Houston!!!

 

Can you see the bubbles Brody is blowing in his sleep? He made tiny squeaking noises, too!!

We are thankful for the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, for His death and resurrection, and the gift of forgiveness of sin and for victory over the ultimate consequence for sin–life instead of death.

This year, we are also grateful for the gift of our son’s son, and pray that he too will one day receive the gift of forgiveness of sins and the blessing of eternal life!

We’re currently staying at Layne and Elissa’s, prepping for Christmas and more importantly waiting for Munchkin, Layne and Elissa’s baby, to arrive.

This morning Elissa, Danaya, Davison, and myself (Ben) played a game of Settlera of Catan.  Davison pulled off a massive win with scoring 10 points while the rest of us were all sitting at 5 or 6.  He had the help of the Longest Road, Largest Army, plus multiple 12 and 2 rolls.

picture of Davison winning Catan
Davison wins!

Heidi has recently been enjoying baking gluten free desserts, most often without any prompting.  This afternoon she cracked open a couple of cans of cherry pie filling and made a bunch of cherry pecan individual pies.  They were cooked just right and were delicious.

 

Able Baker Heidi
  
Cherry Pecan Pies
 

A couple of days ago Davison was leafing through the Lego Star Wars minifig book that we got with the tub-o-Lego.  He recognized the wings on the picture of a set associated with the General Grievous minifig.  Upon closer inspection, the cockpit cover and one of the missiles were familiar as well.  So Davidon proceeded to build the set.  Pretty much everything was present, except for General Grievous himself; uh, I’ve heard that he um, fell into shadows in uh, the planet Endor…

Here’s some pics:

 

Master Scrounger Davison
    
  
the foldout wing cannons
 

We have finally (it took about a week and a half) completed the large Republic Frigate model.  Technically we have about 10 pieces missing, but we’re declaring it done (and will add the final pieces as they show up).

the Republic Frigate

 

After church on Sunday, we stopped by a nearby water park area.  At one point there were some stepping stones down the creek, possibly involving a little wading.  It wasn’t until all of the kids except for Brock had gone that Mom arrived and noticed the rather large snake sunning itself on the rock nearby.  Brock didn’t go wading.

the snake is on the rock to the right of Daelynn

the sunning snake
We’re not sure what type of snake, but based on descriptions it was likely a water moccasin.