Saturday, September 24, 2011

What doth a day bring forth?

I am a day early so my post will probably be short since I only posted last Tuesday! But each day this past week has been full of fun, busy, craziness. We reached milestones that had me jumping for joy and getting all sentimental at the same time. I guess it will be that way from here on out. I don't think women go through menopause because their hormones change, I think they go through menopause because their children are growing up and don't need them as much. My children are in the midst of toddlerhood through the cusp of being a teen. How much more emotion could we honestly cram into our home in a given day I ask with a bit of sarcasm!!

I think I ended my last post with Lindsay receiving her American Girl doll in the mail. Julie (the American Girl doll) has been everywhere with us this week. She has been well loved. I decided since we had nowhere to go Tuesday, I would let everyone sleep in til 7:30. What a nice Mom, eh? Well, here is our Beaker smiling amidst her sorrow because she didn't get to see Daddy before he left for work. She was NOT happy and was crying and really not happy with him for leaving her. So I called him and he talked to her. She was happy after she heard his voice. 

 It's a little blurry but here are Kristine and Beatrice cleaning up their mess they made while I was busy folding clothes and making my bed. Yes, it's true. I DO make our bed every weekday. I don't do it on weekends. They did a great job too except Beatrice was really bothered by the fact that Kristine liked to stand on the dustpan. Not sure why, it stayed in its place for her.

As usual, we went to the nursing home on Tuesday. We reached a milestone there because Beaker was cold and I was trying to play the piano and keep her warm. It wasn't working so Mr. McNair said he would hold her and she very shyly went over by him and both of them were a bit surprised at each other I think!!
Isn't he a cute little old man. He loves the children, too. We won't be there this Wednesday and I really am sad about that but we have a good reason. We are going to visit Taylors' family for three days. The children don't know so they are going to be over the moon Monday morning when they find out.

After the nursing home, we met Dorothy and the Great Oz, and my sister-in-law and her children at the Sawmill Grill. It is probably the worst restaurant I have ever eaten at. They can accommodate our large crowd but their wait staff is very unprofessional and untrained. Anyway, after lunch, Dorothy and Oz took Robert, Lindsay, Beatrice, and Kristine home with them and they spent the night there. Dorothy and Oz were out of town for about a week and they had company for two and a half weeks before that so we haven't gotten to see them much. This left me with Maddie. So, here is where the first milestone comes in: We drove all around looking for a cellphone for her. She has wanted a cellphone and, here is milestone number 2, she is old enough to stay home by herself! Since we don't have a house phone I knew she needed a cell phone. We found a tracfone for $5.00 and on Friday I bought her a minutes card. She is so excited about it. I couldn't find my phone to take photos though so I will this week.

We met Mr. Handsome at church Wednesday night and then went to Red Robin for dinner after church. We love Red Robin!

On Thursday, Maddie and I got up and she started school and then we left to get the rest of the gang. We met Dorothy at Food Lion. They all had fun and even Cousin John spent the night and did great!! He loves his cousins and they love him! 
We headed back home and everyone started school and I got lunch ready. That afternoon, some of my friends came over and we went to visit some shut-ins from our church while Maddie, reaching milestone number 3, stayed home with the gang. She was so excited!! I was a bit nervous but felt like she would do an excellent job. She is very responsible and very sincere when she has something to do. I had a great time visiting a lady from our church who has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home. I went with a dear friend of mine who happens to be her daughter-in-law. I had a small squishy golf ball in my pocket and when I gave it to her, she just loved it!! And she was thrilled when I told her she could keep it! We then went and visited another sweet lady with whom we had a nice visit. Then we headed home. It was only about 1.5 hours but it was enough for Maddie and she did terrific.

Thursday night, Robert had his second night of Boy Scouts. He is now a Webelo I, milestone number 4, which is a bit sad because the Cub Scouts are so cute!! Webelos are cute I guess but the Cub Scouts are still little boys. Webelos are young men!! He loves scouts with Mr. Handsome. And Mr. Handsome loves Scouts with Robert. While they were gone I got ready for co-op. I am in charge of the craft class this week and I picked out a flag banner for a craft. Here is a prototype:
You may not be able to see it but it says Mom on it. The children were going to make their names on their banners. I used my cricut and my make-the-cut program (which I just found out doesn't make their program for cricut anymore - thank you provocraft for ruining my life! (just kidding)... 

I decided to not make lunches for everyone the night before co-op. Bad, bad, bad, bad, bad idea. Bad idea! Kristine let me know it ALL day Friday!! ALL day!! I decided to just pack one big snack for everyone in Robert's bag instead of giving them each their own lunch bag. I did not realize she looked so forward to her "nack' as she calls it. A lesson learned!! On Friday we headed out to co-op and had another great day. In hind sight, I will definitely have to make the crafts last longer. This was the SECOND craft in a row that took a whole five minutes!! Thankfully my friend who is actually in charge of that class had a very creative idea that kept them busy most of the rest of the class. They loved the banners. 

After co-op, our great adventure began. Determined to finish these curtains for my kitchen, I planned our meals so I would have enough to pay for ALL the fabric for them. OH - I completely forgot!! And to help me "save" money, I decided to find the best deals in town and USE coupons. Did I just say that? Yes, I did. Well, after two hours of trying to find coupons to match product and also having the auspicious honor of getting a virus on my computer because of the couponing, I concluded what I already KNEW about couponing: Unless you eat junk food and have LOADS of time on your hand (I don't because I'm too busy on facebook!), and money for ink and paper, it doesn't pay. And I saved one whole dollar. AND I had to bring the product back in the store with my receipt to get my dollar because I forgot to use my ONE coupon. ONE. I know, Aunt Betty Jean, it is so worth it to do it with toiletries and stuff like that!! I think that I will just drive down to Bradenton every six months and raid your closet!! Ha Ha Ha!!! :) I did use to print out my lists for Harris Teeter, Food Lion, and Lowes Food for what I wanted at each store and that was very helpful.

So anyway, back to after co-op. Friday was shopping day. We love shopping day. We get paid! And we go shopping. And our friends palled around with us too so that made it even more fun. Here we are at our last stop and probably our favorite store, Lowes Foods:
Everyone is so excited about having money, it's like a free for all! They are grabbing whatever looks good! (Yes, my children spend their allowance on their own junk food. Pineapple soda? BLECH!!) And there ARE three kids shopping carts too. See? Here they are ready to roll:

Isn't that cute? Just try leading them around the store and stopping. Talk about hurting achilles heels. OH, and here's where milestone number five was reached: Beaker no longer needs my help getting in the van!! And the big kids can shut the door themselves. I sat in the van feeling sort of helpless because I had nothing to do but wait until everyone was in and Robert shut the van door. What a weird but exciting feeling!! See what I mean about menopause? Happy and melancholy don't work together!!

 I took these pictures for my younger brother. He is such a transformers geek. And being the nongeek, I did not realize until I looked at this for quite a while that the -imus at the end has both vowels short. I was pronouncing it like Don IMUS!! Ha ha ha hahahaaaa......
 And mispronouncing the choc in chocwave did not make sense either, then I realized choc has to rhyme with shock!! See what I mean? No geekness in me!

So after Lowes Foods, we skittered home and had, dare I say it, Cars chicken nuggets!! It was such an unimpressive meal but the children thoroughly enjoyed it. Today we had Lindsay's special birthday dinner with the Great Oz and Dorothy. One would think since we live only 25 minutes from each other we would have them for dinner more often but I am embarrassed to say this, we don't! I am so glad that I remembered to ask them yesterday. We had a great time. Pork ribs, salad, bread, and baked potatoes in the microwave. Maddie brought that to my attention: you can make baked potatoes in the microwave because our microwave has a baked potato button. Go figure. What will they think of next? A popcorn button? OH wait!! They HAVE a popcorn button!!
 This is a photo of a double rainbow only I don't think you can see the second rainbow. The one is to the left of the pine tree in the center and the other is to the right of it.
I end with our Beatrice, enjoying her video game. She is bowling with Kristine and the two of them were so excited when Beatrice made a spare for Kristine!! Too cute!! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mr. Handsome is now Mr. Wonderful

Before I begin my blog about my week, I want to say what a wonderfully, terrific husband God has blessed me with. He is an Engineer by trade. When one hears that word, one naturally assumes he can put together and take apart things on command. That is not the case with him. He is not into all that Tim the Toolman stuff. He is more cerebral in his living. Which is fine with me - a whole lot less accidents to deal with!! But last week, our dishwasher ran for three hours! Yep, THREE hours. We didn't know though because we had Revival and we were at church. We came home to a wet burning smell and immediately heard the dishwasher still running. So, Mr. Handsome told me not to use the dishwasher until we could afford another one. His beloved lawnmower also blew up over the weekend so we had these two things to take care of. OH - and we got a tune-up and new tires on the van last week, too. Anyway, He and Robert went to Webelos on Thursday evening and they decided to go to Lowes. Mr. Handsome called me from Lowes and said he found a floor model dishwasher for $150.00 less than a brand new one. (My Dad told us [he is the Great Oz because he knows everything.] not to spend more than $350.00 on a dishwasher. So guess how much the dishwasher came to with tax? You probably didnt' guess it so I'll tell you. $350.00!!!! Isn't that amazing how God works. We don't have to listen to the Great Oz rant at us because we overpaid for an expensive dishwasher!! So Mr. Handsome had them deliver it on Friday. And I calmly reminded him that Lindsay's party was Friday evening so he said he would come home and hook it up as soon as I got home from co-op. He did just that and I had no idea he knew how to hook a dishwasher up. But being an engineer he follows rules and directions to the letter. And that's what he did. So he's Mr. Wonderful now - well, he's been Mr. Wonderful all along but I needed a catchy title!! And I have a dishwasher that runs circles around our last three!! It works great. AND everytime one of the children opens it they say, WOW!! Look at the inside of that dishwasher!! (We are used to plain white dishwashers) It's all silver inside!! Yes, it's the little things that thrill us!

Onto my fun week. I have lots of pictures because it was our Lindsay's birthday. Now, I know people think I'm a scrooge but we don't do kiddie birthday parties for every single child every single year. Between us, my parents, and Taylors' parents, they have THREE birthday parties already. I would also have to do a birthday party practically every month starting in June through December and that is way too much. for me. And they get a special dinner where they get to pick their favorite meal. Nutrition is throw out the window even! Anyway, when they turn seven they get a sleepover party. Maddie's was a bust - all the girls were naughty and half of them got scared because I keep rebuking them and they didn't want to stay somewhere they had to follow the rules so they went home. But the ones that stayed had fun. Robert's was great - he had 13 boys who were so well behaved!! It was great. And Lindsay had 8 girls who also were very well behaved. There were no cat fights or whining or crying!! It was wonderful. I love parties and I love planning them. With Lindsay's I decided to make party favors because I was tired of wasting money on junk. I took her to Party City to pick out her decorations - Hello Kitty - and she wanted me to spend $25.00 or $15.00, not sure which, on a pinata. Why would I spend that much money on something that is going to be destroyed in a matter of seconds. I told her we'd make one (I posted pictures in last week's entry showing the beginnings of it.) So we did. And I renamed her Hello Mitty because she looks more like a mouse. See for yourself:

 Here is Kristinie the Great trying to hit the poor mouse, I mean KITTY!! Maddie and Beatrice spent the night at a friend's house.
And here is Birthday Girl trying to hit the KITTY! 

So, the pinata is made with a balloon, newspaper, paper mache, and duct tape for the bow. YES, they now make duct tape with patterns. Pretty cool, huh? This is not my grandpa's duct tape or the Great Oz's. Hey, maybe I should switch his duct tape with mine and see if he notices!! Ha ha ha - well, first I have to find his!! And then give up my duct tape which is from some dear friends - nah, I'll just keep mine.

Most of our week was spent preparing for the birthday party and doing school, as usual. We also started our first day of co-op. Every spring and fall the children attend classes on Friday morning for nine weeks. It's so much fun. The moms and dads teach the classes and boy, is it ever fun!! One of my friends and I are teaching two classes - a craft class and a Bible class. I really love the Bible class - it is I Spy Jesus in the Old Testament. But I digress - as usual. Back to the beginning of our week!!  

While I was busily making these (finished version down below):

 and the Pinata,
the children were busy doing this:
 Half a box of SAM's tin foil sheets later, they made place settings! And baking pans!

 Here is Lindsay hard at work (notice my curtains are not finished yet - Mr. Handsome is being polite and not noticing - I keep praying he won't notice so I can get them finished before Thanksgiving.)

 This is Beatrice's Bitty baby - it used to belong to Maddie. Bea named her Sara.
This is how Sara sleeps when Beatrice is doing school. WOW!! I wonder if Kristinie the Great would like to sleep like that for her nap!
 Play-doh - the toy I loathe and love!
Mr. Handsome entertaining Kristine so I can finish hand towels for the party.

And after all that business we still had time for the nursing home. See? Mr. Jerry's best buds!
Notice, Beatrice brought Sara with her! 
Later on in the week, I had to make the cupcakes. I'm pretty proud of myself. I normally am pretty procrastinatey (which is why this post is on Tuesday INSTEAD of Sunday!) but I am trying to grow up and out of that terribly bad habit. Lindsay wanted marble cupcakes with blue icing. Thankfully, she doesn't want fondant stuff, just the old fashioned sugar candies worked great for her. And let me tell you, those cupcakes were awesome. I mean, I know I shouldn't brag about my baking because I am not my grandma's granddaughter in that area but they were really good!! Thankfully, no one else thought so so I pretty much got all the leftovers! 

Not bad for a novice, eh? I just want to interject here to say that I love my children. They are so excited for anything I take the time to do for them that it doesn't have to look like Duff Goldman made it or Martha Stewart's crew decorated it. Lindsay loved every bit of her party. EVERYTHING!! I thank the Lord they are so grateful!! And here are the decorations. We, of course, hung up our festive pendant flags, which by the way, make pretty good curtains!

 See what I mean? I think I will leave them up until I finish the curtains!! What  joyous day that will be!!
 Here are all the girls happily eating their cupcakes.
I love this picture. They put Beaker in a blanket and lifted her up. Yes, that IS Robert off to the right. He and Mr. Handsome went to a football game so Robert could see his hero play quarterback!! 
 After the party was over Saturday, I straightened up a bit and we headed to Toy R Us so Lindsay could pick out her present from us. She picked out a Hello Kitty water cooler. She loves the thing. And today, she finally received her present from Dorothy and Oz: an American Girl doll named Julie!! I seriously don't think she has put her down and she is probably sleeping with her now. Anyway, the above picture is at a birthday party later in the day Saturday. Thankfully, I didn't have to cook dinner. Beaker is a hand talker. She can't say anything without her hands saying it, too. This is her trying to tell me something!
 One of Lindsay's quilt blocks. This is Sparky - he is the mascot for the kindergarten through second grade AWANA club.
 Rainbow on the way to church Sunday evening.
And again!

Well, that was some week. I love celebrating our childrens' birthdays. They enjoy picking out their favorite meal and picking out their cake or cupcakes. Sometimes they want a cake from Sam's instead of homemade. In three weeks, Beaker will be 3, and I can say after 9 years of potty training, I think we are finally done for the time being!! She just started going on her own to the bathroom. When I quantify the time spent doing certain things for the children, I am so grateful God gave me that time. WOW!! 11 years of diapers and pull-ups are finally coming to an end. Two still need them at night. 5 years of nursing. Maddie is getting ready to get her own phone. It is so great to see them all growing and see God working in their lives. I need to talk to Kristine to see what kind of birthday she wants. Right now it's Thomas. But next week it may be Clifford. Ah, yes, I am tired and rambly!! :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Credit where credit is due

I forgot to say in my post yesterday evening that the towel idea came from here:

And she got it from Martha Stewart. When I saw the towels, I was so excited to find a party favor that would not be thrown out right away! Thanks to Randi Dukes for the great idea. I follow her blog and she has five children like me - a bit older and younger - and it is great to see all the neat ideas she has.

Here is the unfinished towel. I will post a finished one - well, when I finish one!! HA! :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I am the sum of my parts

This has been some week. So, since we have seen triumph, tragedy, remembered heroes, fallen and living, here is a joke. (It is my favorite joke - and just so you know, no one at the nursing home got it. I could hear crickets!!! I couldn't believe it. They liked Beatrice's Why did the chicken cross the road? riddle better than my favorite joke.) Here it is:

A man went to his doctor and told him he wasn't feeling well. The doctor asked him what was wrong and he said, "Well, sometimes I feel like a teepee, and sometimes I feel like a wigwam." The doctor thought for a moment and replied, "I know what your problem is!! You're too tense!!"

My church has heard it twice and they think it's very funny. I started out my week sick. Yes, I was sicker than a dog sick. Taylor wasted his vacation day on Monday taking care of everyone. Beatrice was sick on Saturday and Sunday. Mr. Handsome was so sweet. He let me go to church in the morning and the evening. Well, I actually had to teach Sunday School that morning and it was easier for me to go than for him to find a sub. He's kind of picky about who he lets teach Sunday School. Glad he lets me do it when the need arises. Guess I'm a keeper. I was kind of tired but thought it was because I was just tired.

I went to AWANA and had a great time. Upon arriving home, everyone informed me they were hungry. OH WAIT!! I know, I know. My family has to eat after church on Sunday nights because we start AWANA at 5:30. They really look forward to it. And I am such a mean Mom. They still have to get up at 6:30 the next day. Only this next day they had the day off. This really messed up my schedule because we are now "off" a day. Instead of each week ending in 5 and 0, it ends in another set of numbers. I can't remember which ones so you'll have to figure that  out. I didn't wake up Monday. I slept most of the day, which leads me to Tuesday.

YES, I got everyone up at 6:30, and Mr. Handsome admonished everyone to do what they were supposed to and let Mommy rest. Well, they did great except for what I like to call, "Indescretion No. 4.3". I was sleeping during their break time and I knew they were having fun and playing well together so I didn't even care. And Robert even crawled into my room to wake me up and tell me he "hurt" his foot. I looked at it, vaguely remember asking him what he did, told him he sprained it, and went back to sleep. It wasn't till later in the afternoon, after school was over, and I was feeling like making dinner that I realized what had happened. He was sliding down the stairs. Mr. Handsome would never have survived in my house growing up. That was one of our many safety hazard pasttimes. I got a battle scar on my nose a mile long sliding down the stairs on a cardboard box. Like swinging on the top of tall trees like a monkey, rock fights, swinging on vines that were probably about ready to snap, jumping off roofs into pools, etc. He has very strict safety rules in place and I really, really, really try to follow them. I don't let the children run with pencils or scissors. And I am not allowed to let them slide down the stairs. Of course, while I rested, someone got hurt! Mr. Handsome arrived home and I told Robert to tell him what happened. When he did, it was obvious that Mr. Handsome was not happy. He sent Robert to the bedroom. After he left, I started eating, and felt four eyes staring at me. I looked up and Beatrice and Lindsay were staring at me. So I asked them if they were also sliding down the stairs. And they both looked at each other, and yelled, "Kristine was doing it too!!" (Well, that's exactly what I would have done!) So all three were sent to the bedroom to get a good "talking to". Maddie was trying to get them to stop.

Anyway, Wednesday rolled around quietly. We went to the nursing home, where my career as a comedienne was dashed to pieces. But here is Beatrice keeping Robert company while I went and got the van for him. I made him hop through the parking lot on his foot when we got there and he asked if I could come get him when we were done.  Uff dah is all I have to say!!

The girls really played it up; doting on him ALL day Wednesday. They finally got tired of it by Thursday.

I was determined by Friday to finish Maddie's quilt. It has been vexing me for too long!! So from Wednesday on it was quilt quilt quilt during my free moments. And here is the end result. I finished it in time for her to take it to bed on Friday night. She was overjoyed. Which brings me to the date night Mr. Handsome and I went on Friday night. Our dear friends came to watch the children and they always send me some sort of crazy photo. I think it's because they're like me. I don't have sisters so they're my Sister-Friends.

 The front
 The back

This is my sewing room, rearranged for quilting. The floor, in theory, should be completely clear. But the children took over the open part. God blessed us with a 2500 sq. ft. home and we were all crammed in here at one time!!

The Sister-Friend (the other one was on the other side of her phone taking this shot! What I want to know is: Who is babysitting whom?)

I needed to finish Maddie's quilt to work on our Lindsay's party favors for her party. I am a party pooper Mom. I love the idea of parties but I am not good at planning them. With that in mind, the children are allowed one big sleepover party when they turn 7. Lindsay is turning seven. And I am tired of junk for party favors. So, for less than $3.00 a kid, I am appliqueing hand towels and giving them those with a toothbrush. Her theme is Hello Kitty. Here is the beginning of the towel.
Whiskers need to be added and eyes and nose will be hand sewn. I sure wish I let my grandmas teach me hand sewing. I can barely make three even stitches in a row. OH - and did I mention Mr. Handsome took to my presser foot with his hacksaw and made it so that I could satin stitch? He's the best.

We also started working on the pinata. All the girls and Robert were overjoyed with the prospect of making a pinata until..... they realized they were going to be covered in flour and water goo. So of course, being the reasonable Mom that I am, I told them if they didn't want to help then there would be no pinata. Nice, huh?!! So they reluctantly helped. And here is that escapade:

 This picture didn't turn like the others do but here is Beaker being a techno-geek!! I will probably get fussed at because I am letting my two year old play video games. Hey, if it keeps her happy for 10 minutes and I can sit quietly for that long, I'm good. Just for the record, she's not even playing a video game. She is setting the video game system to Russian!! It's true - at least once a week, I have to reset all video game systems in our house back to English because Rocket Scientist Girl plays with them!
And here is our favorite baby, Little A, eating and sleeping!! Isn't he cute??

My title for this entry is "I am the sum of my parts". I knew at the beginning of the week that would be my title. I have said before I'm not very sentimental but I do love my memories of my family and the great times we had. My parts are: my family, my church, my saxophone, and my friends. Wondering why my saxophone? It is a part of me. It is a part that makes up the sum. I have played my saxophone longer than I have been a Christian, longer than I have been a Mom, longer than I have lived in one place, ALMOST longer than my little brother has been around, longer than the longest long it seems like. I started when I was 10. WOW! The rest is history but my saxophone is one part that makes me me. My salvation: it is a big part of my sum. I thank the Lord for it for it has molded me into the person I am today and I know exactly where I am going when I die. My family is a big part of my sum. My family is more than just the people who live under my roof with me. My family is my dad, mom, inlaws, cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, etc. I wish my family was closer in proximity because they are really a fun group of people! This is where my church comes in: it is a part of my sum. My church family can never ever replace my family, but they are a really fun group of people too, and they have great sense of humor (as can be seen from my Sister-Friend above!). I don't go to church because I have to, I go because I want to. I went as a kid and I remember my grandma going with me. She loved our pastor because he was Norwegian like us. And he just loved her. My grandma is who pointed me to the Lord. She read her Bible every single night. She would give me her old devotions and I would read them even though they were out of date! Well, I wouldn't read them, I would DEVOUR them! I remember spending nights with her and she would cover the far side of her night stand lamp, thinking it would darken the room enough that I could sleep. I could never tell her the towel never helped, but I didn't mind staying awake because I knew she was reading her Bible. My other grandma was the same way. She studied her Bible everyday. Sometimes when I went to visit her in her apartment, she would have her Bible, a notebook, and her Halley's Bible Handbook out. My dad even said when she lived with them, he would have to go upstairs when she would fall out of her big chair thinking she could walk, that he always found her Bible under her! My Dad wasn't too happy about that. He thinks that anyone who believes in the Lord is a weak person. Poor Dad - he doesn't know what he's missing. But he can certainly see a difference in our lives because of Him! I hope our children will see us reading our Bible and see how important God is to us. He is the sum of everything. And I thank the Lord for my grandmas who introduced me to Him!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

First Day of {Sunday} School

I just realized I forgot to post our first day of Sunday School photo. I forgot about taking a photo the first day of school. After pondering that, I further realized that I am a homeschool mom. My kids are in their pajamas until after breakfast, usually wear their play clothes, don't go get the bus (although they wanted to know what "real" school was like last year, so I sent them... oh, well, that's another story!),  no new backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. So I figured it would be great to take a picture on Sunday School promotion day. All four of the girls moved up to new classes. Robert stayed where he was. Next year it's his turn. They were all very excited AND very satisfied with their teachers. Of course, why wouldn't they be? They're all our friends, too!!

From l to r: Robert, Kristine, Maddie, Lindsay, and Beatrice