Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Woweeeee Extravaganza Day!!!

I bet you're interested in reading now!! HA! Well, I won't get to our Woweee extravaganza until the end because it was today. And I usually post tomorrow but then the woweeeeee extravaganza day would be yesterday and tomorrow would be today! So, I am posting tomorrow today because I feel like it.
We had another fun week. We didn't do too much because we had Vacation Bible School (from here on out it will be referred to as VBS). We have it in the evenings and my two favorite things about VBS are: 1) the opportunity for children to hear the Gospel who might not otherwise get to hear it; and 2) I don't have to prepare five meals - aka dinner- for five whole days because we eat dinner at our VBS!! So I get a mini-vacation!! Well, except for lunch - and I only have to serve and clean up breakfast. My children complain about my breakfasts so I quit serving them a meal at breakfast. They can have toast or cereal now. They do like Norwegian pancakes, which I never tire of saying that. And the like regular pancakes, which took me 10 years to make properly. I know you think I'm lying but I am actually being conservative because if you count the years I wasn't married to Mr. Handsome, it is more like 15-20 years!!! But now I am happy to report I make great regular panacakes. They are never as good as Norwegian pancakes though.

Without further ado, here are some lost picutres - well, I forgot to post them from Father's Day. How could I do that? We also celebrated our Beatrice's fifth Birthday!!! She turned five on Tuesday. Where does the time fly? She was born in the middle of VBS five years ago and we missed all of it. All of us!! It was the first time we had ever missed any of it!! And this year was her first year going with the big kids. She wasn't in the nursery class. Her "other mother" and her "other mother"'s husband were her leaders. They spoil her worse than grandparents!! She no longer has to take naps in the afternoon (rats!), too. So this was a big week for our Beatrice.

Here is the Great Oz!! Yup, my Dad. And I think I've mentioned I call my mom Dorothy. We celebrated his birthday on Father's Day as well as my brother Tom's birthday.
And here is their cake. Notice who gets to choose the cake. NOT the Great Oz. Or Tom. Beatrice!! :) They never complain - it's just cake after all.
And here is the Father's Day cookie. Notice Oz is on top!! :) ha ha ha ha... I know the lady at Food Lion thought my Mom was crazy when she asked her to put Oz on the cake.

The Great Oz showing off his birthday cake.
Beatrice blowing out the candles.

Our children would love nothing more than to have a "normal" birthday party like the rest of the competitive and overly OCD parents out there who rent rollerskating rinks and book parties at the movie theater. Well, we don't do that. Not because I wouldn't want to but it's cost prohibitive and there are so many more imaginative things to do!!! They get birthday parties and cakes from both grandparents and we let them pick something special to do and generally one or two friends. On their seventh birthday, they get a sleepover. It's the only one they will ever get (probably) and it's the age I can stand having the children over and won't go loo loo!! :) Anyway, I asked her what she wanted to do and she said, Go to Britt's doughnuts. And she picked the people she wanted to go with. Well, our one friend had to work (we brought her three doughnuts on the way home) but our other friends (and their new baby) were able to meet us. Britt's doughnuts has been around a long time. It's in Carolina beach, which is about 25 minutes from us. Just a small hole-in-the-wall place but they make the best homemade doughnuts. So here is everyone at Britt's with not a single doughnut in sight. One side note: We were all heading back to our cars when we started getting attacked by seagulls ala Alfred Hitchcock, though there were no phone booths around to hide in! We figured out that they wanted the doughnuts we were holding in our hands. I brought my camera but was too busy trying to keep the birds from eating me, my doughtnuts, and my children and their doughnuts - AND from doing their business on our heads! 

 Above is everyone holding Big A!! That's what we call him. His big brother is really Big A at home but we think he's such a cutie pie and needs a macho name like Big A!! Beaker is conspicuously absent at this point because we did not let her hold Big A. Besides, she was busy trying to eat all the doughnuts.
 Here is Big A's dad and mom. Well, his Dad and Beatrice's "other mother".
 And here is Big A's first dip in the Atlantic Ocean. He loved the sand. He squished it all in his toes and tried to pick it up with his toes. He was soooo cute. We headed home from here and Beatrice went out with Dorothy and the Great Oz for lunch and shopping. Dorothy was so nice as to help her find the loudest toys in the toy store. Beatrice also figured out that the two LOUD toys she picked played the same songs so she tried, much to my purist musicians' ears, to play them at the same time. My ears quit ringing sometime Thursday morning, I'm happy to report.
 Once again the Blake household is rampant with fashion faux pas. I have a little post-it book with fashion citations on it and this one is not on it. I suppose it would read, "unnecessary use of hair accessories"
 Dorothy was also so thoughtful to get Beatrice a make-up kit for her birthday. Little did we know, she would give Beaker a makeover!! Fashion Citation!! "Coloring outside the lines"

 We have knitting, crocheting, and now quilting at my house once a week. One of my friends recognizes that my children turn into leeches as soon as an adult shows up at the door, so she brings a bag of goodies for them and plays with them while we quilt, crochet, and knit!! What a gem she is!! :) And they look for her now. This week she gave Beaker and Beatrice lion masks to make.
 I only took two pictures at VBS because we were so busy that I didn't get a chance to take anymore. But the above picture is probably one of the cutest boys Mr. Handsome and I had in our class (well, except for our Robert, of course). He won the drill contest. He had to follow the commands the leader gave. Sort of like simon says. We were so excited for him!!
 I know it probably looks like a healing session at our church but it's nothing of the sort (we dont' do that junk anyway!! ha ha haha...). The fellow in white (Mr. Handsome is just to his left) is a pastor and a master karate expert. He told us what he was but I didn't get it so I will call him Master Karate Expert. He is 74 years old and locked his hands together by his fingers in front of him while three men on either side pulled and they could not pull his arms apart. He used his elbow to karate chop four 2 inch thick cinderblocks in half. He laid on a bed of nails and had someon put a bed of nails on top of his chest while someone broke a brick on that!!! He also had our pastor lie on a table and he put a papaya on his abdomen and used a long knife (which has a special name) to cut the papaya and not the pastor!!! He didn't cut the pastor at all!! Beaker didn't like this part. As soon as he put the knife over our pastor, she spazzed out. I didn't see her but one of her teachers had to take her out because she couldn't handle seeing him get hurt!!! This was our last night of VBS. It was a lot of fun and we had a great time. VBS is always a fun time at our church and we look forward to it every year.
 You never know what you'll see driving around Wilmington. Note the knee high boots on the lady on the scooter.
Our Maddie's birthday is in two weeks and we promised her a bike for her birthday. She and I went today and picked it out. Her other bike was a lemon and it was way too small for her. She loves her bike!!

This was part of our Woweeeee Extravaganza day. We did something we do maybe once every four years. Well, it WAS once every four years because the last time we did it WAS four years ago. There were exceptions and I will note that. We went to see a movie as a family!! We don't go very often because, well, it's a waste of money. But we promised the children when we found out cars 2 was coming out that we would see it in the movie theatre. The exceptions were that we have been to the free movies (which are no longer free) in the summer and Mr. Handsome's dad paid for us and his brother and his kids to see Rio. It was so much fun and I call it an extravaganza becasue it was rahther expensive (h put in there on purpose to heighten the drama). We went with my brother and his family. The movie was very cute and we really enjoyed it. A great ending to a wonderful week. Tomorrow is our Fourth of July musical at church. Mr. Handsome has a solo and I know he will do terrific!! :) Have a great week.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Remove not the ancient landmark

This is Mr. Handsome's 11th Father's Day as Dad, Daddy, and Daddum. We were reminiscing today about the "early" years. I know some of you are already zoning out but we drive past our "old" neighborhood everytime we are out. But today was different. I forget what subject we were on but I know it had to do with God's blessings and not forgetting what He has done for us. We were probably commiserating about something our brothers had done to irritate us!! So much for any depth of lesson learned!! We got on the subject of our home and where we started. Our home today is so unlike where we started but I wouldn't change it for anything. Our first home is our landmark. I even remember Taylor coming to work and discussing with me what he thought a wife would like in a home. I chose wrong!! I did. Not kidding. But that was because he was looking in a neighborhood where some dear friends lived and I wanted him to live there!! But he chose a brand new neighborhood that one could very easily get turned around and lost. He picked a boring house with awfully boring colors - blah beige!! And green shutters. It only had two bedrooms - this led me to believe he probably wanted a small family. But one thing he did that really earned my respect (I still was not interested in him, though) was that he would not let his parents help him pay for the house. He was determined to trust God for it. Oh, and did I say that it was only 900 sq. ft.!!! Yup, that's IT!! Who in their right mind would buy a house that is ONLY 900 sq. ft. Well, of course, my sensible husband. Fastforward to today. We live in a much larger house, WITH a much larger family. We - meaning Mr. Handsome, who I was trying to help find a suitable wife and it turned out to be me - use our first house as our ancient landmark. It's only 12 years ago I moved into that home. And it was a home. It may have been a house but it stands as a beacon of how far God has brought us. Just like Proverbs 22:28 says: "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set." Mr. Handsome had a vision long ago of what he wanted - what God wanted - and God gave him the blessings we have today!! I wouldn't change a bit of it.

All right, all right, I know all you want to see are photos of last week. And boy was it a crazy week. I took so many photos on Monday that I thought I would have to post everyday this week but decided that would be rather boring and tedious so I am doing it now! At 12:00 at night. Since school is done and I have nothing to wake up to in the morning, I can stay up and relax for a bit longer.
Monday started with a roar!! One of Maddies' friends spent two days with us because her Mom was not done with school yet. She arrived about 6:30 - yup, AM!! No worries, though, she just goes to sleep on our couch until the Little Girls and Lindsay wake up to stand around her, staring at her until she wakes up. They love when she comes to visit and are always fascinated that they find her asleep on our couch!! She will open one eye and stare at them and then go back to sleep while the three of them watch TV until I wake up. After I woke up, we ate breakfast. I think I made pancakes today. Not Norwegian this time, though the children ask for them quite often and now that I have become accomplished at making them - mix flour and milk first THEN add eggs - they are a lot of fun to make. I am not as fast as Grandma Hansen or my Dad but I can get about thirty done in a half an hour I guess. I've never actually counted so don't hold me to it. Anway, after breakfast, I leave Maddie, her friend, and the two big kids at home and take Beaker and Beatrice shopping with me. Have you ever gone shopping with just two children? It is like a Caribbean vacation. I can hardly believe it!! I get to shop with ONLY two children. We arrived home right before lunch and headed up to Mom and Dad's for lunch. Mom recommended I let the big kids swim in the waterway. And here they are!!
Robert in the waterway - a bit apprehensive

Maddie and her friend also a big apprehensive - what's the big deal guys? crabs, oysters, sharks, ahem, yes, sharks!!! Just kididng no sharks today.

The three of them horsing around - finally got comfortable out there.

We told Lindsay no girly girl allowed here!! She was painck-stricken and sure something was going to come up from the depths and eat her. Nothing did - she survived and ended up having a great time.

Maddie's friend - well all of our children's friend. She is smiling because she is having fun now but they were all so pitiful when they started!!!

Our Maddie the brave and fearless one of the bunch.

You are probably wondering what the life jackets are for and the VERY long - 100' to be exact - ropes are attached to their persons. In order to be sure no one drifted off to sea, they were tied to the dock, which they thought was really cool. Although, they never got into water above their waists and it was rather calm, the waterway can be very, very, very, very, very rough. So Safety Cop, aka Mom, prevailed!!

We arrived back home just in time for my friend to pick up her daughter. After they left, the fun began. We were planning a surprise birthday party for my friend!!! I love surprises and here are the photos of the party which we had on Tuesday:
Remember the cake I mentioned from Monday? Here it is!!! Maddie and her friend made and decorated it - from scratch - no boxes were used thus no trees were harmed!!

Here is the table all decorated and waiting for the guest of honor to arrive.

Robert the Ham wanted to be sure to get in the photo. I thought I took a picture with Maddie and her friend holding the cake but I guess I didn't. Oh, lots of trees were harmed in the decorations. :(

Here she is!!! The one in the background is the Gues of Honor!!! And she is VERY surprised. She had no idea. It was lots of fun to plan and have the party. We don't throw big soirees - I adore them but that is waaaaaaaaay too much stress and work for me, as you will see when we get to Wednesday.

Moving onward and upward: Wednesday was a big day and my week would not have been so stressful if it hadn't been for Wednesday. I know I have mentioned before that we go to the nursing home every Wednesday. It has become a great blessing to us and we are getting to know the residents. Well, because of this, we decided to have a fifth grade graduation party for our Maddie. I forget all the important milestones for school since we homeschool and realized Maddie was finishing up elementary school this year!!! So our pastor was glad to oblige and do the honors of conferring upon her a certificate of completion for fifth grade. And we invited some people to come celebrate with us. What fun it was!! We invited a dear family who have four children, with three being our childrens' ages - one a couple years older but enjoys spending time with us too. So here is our Maddie graduating from fifth grade:

You can see Mr. Handsome with the purple shirt on. and the man in the white shirt is our pastor. He gave Maddie her certificate. She was so thrilled. All the children present got up and sang a song. One hilariously funny story: I was so nervous because you know how old people can be. Were they going to be glad we were there??, would they be annoyed that I was making them eat cake and drink capri suns (old people have the same trouble with the straws as little people, by the way!!), would they just be put out part of their Wednesday service was being taken up by this??? All my fears were confirmed when NO ONE was there at 11:00 but one dear lady. When I told her we were going to have cake and juice for Maddie's fifth grade graduation, she balked and  yelled, "SNACKS!!! SNACKS!!! I'M SO TIRED OF SNACKSS!!! ALL THE DO IS FEED US SNACKS!!! I'M NOT HAVING ANY CAKE!!" And she walked away - well, as fast as one can walk away in a walker anyway!! Then she told me she was going to round some people up and left. At that time, Mrs. Charlene, the nurse, came in with the regular group of Alzheimer's patients. They are always glad to see us - well, for five minutes then they think we just arrived and are just as happy to see us again, even though they don't remember they've seen us and the circle starts over and over again. So anyway, wanna know how much cake was left of a half sheet cake with very small pieces cut because the residents eat right after the church service? A 2 inch wide piece the width of the cake from top to bottom!! And the lady who didn't want snacks? She took a piece AND a capri sun for AFTER lunch!! OH - and Lindsay and Robert went home with our friends who have the four children and spent the afternoon. We picked them up at church that evening. But they missed all the fun at dinner. We had artichokes - WHOLE artichokes. And here are the results:

From the bottom two pictures, you are probably thinking we told Beaker that she had to eat her artichoke or have it for breakfast. Well, we didn't - though we're not above that. She was enjoying her artichoke and at precisely the wrong time she saw the choke - and it scared her to death. So, for your enjoyment, here she is - scared of an artichoke!!!

Thursday was another fun day. We love Thursdays because all of our friends come over for knitting crocheting, and sewing. And today was a big day because one of my friends got a new sewing machine. And another friend of mine and I taught her how to sew on it. She went home and sewed all afternoon. She was kind enough to leave her son, whom we at our church have affectionately dubbed Chicken Wing, or if you prefer something a bit more  civilized, Bubba!! Well, we in our house, we have dubbed Robert, Chicken Leg. So here is Chicken Leg and Chicken Wing. Now if we could only find Chicken thigh and Chicken tender!!!
Chicken Leg and Chicken Wing

Chicken Wing spent the night and we took him home Friday morning. Friday was shopping day but we decided to play hooky from some of our shopping and go to Jungle Rapids. I will try, try try to remember my REAL camera and waterproof case to take photos. Beaker and Beatrice both got brave and went down the BIG rides which was hilarious because they are so tiny and looks so funny walking up seven flights of stairs THREE times to ride this one ride that is nicknamed the toilet bowl. Never thought a ride named that would be fun. Saturday Taylor went surfing in the morning, came home and mowed the lawn, then we went to THE pool, and came home. Robert made his caked for his Dad for FAther's day and for Beatrice's birthday. Below is the cake.

I can't believe I am going to admit this but it's so funny and ironic that I can't help myself. Being the purist that I am when it comes to cooking, I would NEVER EVER use a piece of cooking equipment for something it is not intended to be used for. For example, I would never use a frying pan to boil pasta. That's crazy. But I did use a pie plate for the first layer of Robert's cake so it looks like an old lady's hat in person!!! I know you're laughing hysterically at me but the idea is not mine so I can't take credit for it and I can assure you I will never, ever do such a thing. It went against all my sensibilities and Julia Child admonitions that have been beat into me over the years!!! But Robert was glad to use it and his cake not only turned out, well, very creative, it tasted lovely: mocha cake (no boxes here, ladies!), fluffy white frosting tinted appropriately, and enough spirnkles to ruin anyone's day that has dentures!! Signing off, Good bye and Good night!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New days and new experiences

I have been thinking about what to write about this week. When I go to bed, I have lots of ideas! But when I wake up, they are gone. I was trying to describe my week in my mind. It was a bit surreal, went by waaaaaayy too fast but I was glad for that. Maddie and Robert went to sleep away camp on Monday afternoon with two of their friends and our youth pastor. Kristinie the Great aka Beaker and Beatrice went to morning camp for the week. So for three hours, Lindsay and I had the house, the car, the FOOD, the TV, the, well, you get the picture - all to ourselves. And Lindsay and I had each other all to ourselves. That was a strange experience. Lindsay is smack dab in the middle! Just like I was. Not that that really matters but you do have certain traits that are your own: self sufficient earlier, independent. It didn't take Lindsay long to figure out that we could have a conversation without the big kids taking over and the little kids screaming and fussing. So, to celebrate our being by ourselves, on Tuesday I took her to a little girls' salon. She has wanted to go there for a very long time and I decided to do it this week so she could have the time all to herself. She got a pedicure and her hair sprayed with glitter hairspray. She was thrilled. After that we went and picked up the little girls who promptly informed me they were very disappointed they didnt' get to go!

Here is Lindsay getting her pedicure.
And here she is on their "runway".

The girly girl of the bunch gets a dream come true. And now back to reality!! :) Wednesday the little girls were off to camp. By this time, I am done and over with getting up early and driving my children to camp. Now, don't get me wrong. I don't mind getting up early. During the school year, I am up and at 'em. But up and at 'em and outta the house before the dew has even evaporated is not for me!! I take my hat off to those of you who do this everyday. I am spoiled and I thank God I am. As Jerry Clower said, "Don't mess with what Mama's got."

Here are the children at the nursing home the week before last. It was just Lindsay and I this past week and let me tell you, it was one of the funniest episodes I have ever seen. Lindsay made chocolate chip cookies for the residents. So after the service she and I stood at the door, and you would have thought we had just stepped into Macy's the day after Thanksgiving for Black Friday specials. I think they were afraid they weren't going to get one!!
Here they are singing America the Beautiful.

This may not look like much but it is Lindsay's very first quilt block. She made it all by herself. I had extra squares cut out and she wanted to use them to make a quilt block. So we set out on a pattern. And this is what we came up with.

We made the quilt block on Thursday and then Thursday afternoon, the house was a flurry of activity with our friends over for knititng crocheting and now quilting. It was loads of fun. One of my friends has been quilting a long time and brought her stuff to show us. The things she made were beautiful.
I know there are some of you who don't have a sense of humor but I thought this was hilarious beyond measure!! The blurry part is where you check off the violator's infraction: like visible pantylines or VPL. Another one is matchy-matchy. Here's why they are sooooo funny: I violate ALL of them except the VPL - that is a big no-no, and thanks to my Mom I've never had that problem. I picked that up on Tuesday at Pier One in case anyone wants one for themselves. As I am sure you will rush over there before they are all gone.
And here is the main top to Lindsay's quilt. I did finish the first border (I am going to try to make it a twin size this time) but I haven't had a chance to take a photo yet. I may get brave and enter it in the county fair this year.

So Friday arrived and we took Beatrice to camp. Beaker woke up Thursday with a 103-104 temp in the middle of the night. So she had to stay home. She was not disappointed to spend her time with Lindsay and me. We drove out to get our food from the farmer's co-op we belonged to (second to last trip - yeah!!) and then headed home to pick up Beatrice. We ate lunch and the big kids arrived home. We were so excited to see them. They had a great time at camp. Maddie got a bit homesick on Thursday morning but she was a real trooper. Robert, being the only boy, was not homesick at all!! He had a bunch of boys to play with for a whole week.
Here is our festive banner we use for celebrating. One of my friends gave me the idea. We made one for her and then I made this one for me. We have one more to make. We're supposed to use it when we celebrate so we will be leaving it up most of the month. Birthdays, Father's Day, Welcome Home, Congratulations on finishing fifth grade!!
And we had a minor parking infraction one day too. Barbie and Vicky double parked in my pantry. We think Beaker was the perpetrator. Surveillance cameras are being requested but seriously doubt Mr. Handsome will allow that.
Maddie learning to use a knife from one of my friends. She knows how to cut just not peel. Of course, I was a bit of a nervous nellie with the whole affair. She did just great. Maddie is one of the hardest workers I've ever seen. She loves to learn new things, too.

This is what happens when you get up sometime before Mr. Sun rises - and let us not forget that it IS summer. We found Beaker just like this around 8:15am this morning. She woke up when Beatrice stuffed Pat-Pat the puppy dog in her face and I told Bea to stop. Someday she will get on board with my schedule. For whatever reason, she's the youngest, she the most strong willed, she's a night owl - who knows - but she does not like to sleep.

Poor Anderson! He is going to have some serious gas. We love seeing the new babies at church. What a blessing to see them grow! And Anderson is no slouch about that. We see him growing from week to week.

Beatrice is trying to feed him AND get her photo taken. Anderson is so patient and understanding. He loves all the attention!! :)

This is what happens when you let your children use lip gloss. You never know where it's going to end up. Nope, not a bruise, either!! :)

And here is our Glam-Girl Beatrice!!!

I will never earn points for being sentimental and mooshy, though I wish I could. I think I'm too silly to be that way. But if you were at my house and I was singing my favorite little kid's chorus, you might see my tear up because I am thinking about how much God has blessed us with five terrific children. It is fun keeping up from week to week. Seeing them grow and become what God wants them to be. Here's the chorus:

The birds upon the tree top, sing this song;
The angels sing the chorus all day long;
The flowers in the garden blend their hues;
So why shouldn't I, why shouldn't I paise Him too.

And if you're wondering what the tune is: think of the most cheerful tune you can think of and that will be it. I hope I didn't forget anything about my week last week. It was a lot busier than normal and always exciting. This week is shaping up to be the same so see you next Sunday!! :) Have a great week, and remember as Bob and Larry would say, God made you special and He loves you very much.

I forgot about my big adventure - or what I like to refer to as THE INCIDENT. We went swimming with my sister-in-law at "the" pool. I put "the" in quotes because we go on my parents' ticket. They belong to a country club and Dad lets us go swimming at the pool. It's great fun and the children look forward to spending time with their cousins. So it is time to leave - I have already showered and dressed wearing my below knee length capris (which would be to the ankle on the average heighth person, just for the record). Beaker decided she didn't not want to get out of the kiddie pool. So I, being the very daring parent I am, go in after her. Thankfully, it is only two feeg and I only get about six inches of pants wet. But you bet your bottom dollar that she knew she was in trouble!! Lesson learned: Dont' change until ALL children are out of pool!!!

And I forgot to say how God blessed me: Due to circumstances I will not get into, I lost $50.00. I know you're getting sick already. But you were probably not nearly as sick as I was and Mr. Handsome was amazingly understanding. I prayed and asked the Lord if He could please help me because I had to buy a cake for Maddie's party (graduating fifth grade) and some other things. So this happened on Tuesday. Yesterday, Maddie and I were at the food store and I told her I would look one more time in my purse to see how much money I had and thank the Lord, I found $50.00!!!!!! Not kidding - true story!!