Well, we did go bowling on Monday. Remember last week when I said I was pretty nervous about going bowling with the children on my own? Well, I had good reason to be when I walked into the bowling alley! Mr. Happy was checking us in. YIKES! Was that a bit nerve wracking. He kept staring at our children - who behaved themselves quite well! - and eyeing them suspicously. I figured we were done for when the other Mr. Happy-in-training told the children to pick their shoes up in a not-so-happy voice. Of course, I can't blame him for that. Who wants to trip over ten shoes scattered around their floor? It also didn't help that Kristinie the Great was not happy when she was told they didn't have shoes her size. As soon as she opened her mouth, it was evident someone had to do something. And since I was not the gatekeeper of shoes, all I could do was console her. Then Mr. Happy-in-training handed me a size 8 shoe, which fit her perfectly! Go figure. Oh, he handed me another one so she had two! Catastrophe averted. Before we left the house, I set down some pretty strict ground rules: No running, no yelling, no pushing, shoving, kicking, fighting, etc. I also reminded them that there were probably a lot of older people there practicing and we needed to be careful not to disturb them. I also explained proper bowling etiquette: wait until your neighbor is done to bowl your frame, don't hover around the lane while your neighbor is bowling. Well, Mr. Happy actually gave us a neighbor!! Can you believe it!!???!!! There are 30 lanes, 6 were being used and he gave us a neighbor!! Mr. I-Love-Children was clearly not happy for us to be next to him. And the truth is, I felt bad for him. When you are a laid back, paying for a game, not wanting to be disturbed kind of guy, I would be kind of grumpy with five excited children next to me, too! Anyway, we started our game and about four frames into it, Mr. Happy comes over to talk to me. He thought we were --- say it with me, a DAYCARE! --- I told him that we weren't a daycare and I was the mom of ALL of them!! I love to watch peoples' faces but I'm too busy keeping an eye on my children to notice how people react. I do have one friend who LOVES to watch peoples' faces and she says they are hilarious. I will have to take her word on that. He was very impressed with how well behaved all of the children were, compassionately moved Mr. I-Love-Children, and all was well in the bowling alley that day. The kids had a great time, and Lindsay won! Kristinie the great came in second. Not sure how that happened since I didn't help her but she was pretty excited.
Kristinie the Great with her stylish bowling shoes! Still recovering from the "no shoes her size" incident. Don't ever tell a girl you don't have her shoe size. I am learning prissy and sassy. Not too well, but learning!
The best picture of Lindsay I could get. Everytime I tried to take a photo, Beatrice, who is the blur in the photo, ran across the camera path!! I don't know how she managed to do that!
On Tuesday, we met some dear friends at a park for a picnic and playtime! We took one friends' two boys home with us. Kristinie the Great loves this fella!! They all play so well together and enjoy each others' company. And he loves to watch KK!! Here is one advantage to homeschooling AND having a lot of children. Homeschooling has precluded playing in "age groups". My children are "drawn" to make friends with children their own age, but they, as well as their siblings and their friends, never mind playing with children who are other ages. What a tremendous blessing that is!!
After my friend picked up her children, two of my sister-friends came to visit. We celebrated a birthday, and Jesus' Birthday!! What a great time we had. I forgot to get a photo of all of us. I will have to do that sometime. I thank the Lord for them. They are such terrific friends.
Here is Lindsay making breakfast before the nursing home. She is not feeling well now. She very rarely gets sick, but has started running a fever. We are praying it won't last. She is pretty tough and rarely gets ill.
Robert wanted to celebrate his birthday with our friends at the nursing home. So we made a chocolate chip cookie cake. (It was the simplest one to make!) I forgot to take photos of the party because I left my camera in the van. But he had a great time and our friends were so thrilled we wanted to celebrate with him. We did find out that some of our friends can't use juice boxes because they will accidentally squeeze it too hard and spill it on themselves. We have the same problem!! (Well, not me, but some of the children!!! ha ha ha) We also found out that the third floor of the west wing of the nursing home was stuck on their floor because the elevator wasn't working. We were really sad because one of our favorite friends was stuck up there. So we brought the party to her and her little group of people! We sang Jingle Bells and gave everyone a piece of cake. Mrs. Everett was so thrilled. I hope they have that elevator fixed this week. They seemed pretty frustrated that they couldn't get down to the first or second floor.
Lawn art! We finally got Snoopy put together and he actually works; unlike Bob the dinosaur whose head is supposed to move but doesn't.
Mr. Handsome found out we had a leak in the washing machine. Great. Just great. We cleaned it up, and turned the water off. I am praying it is nothing serious. He is such a terrific man. I love him!! He spoils me beyond measure!! If I say I need something, there is a problem, or something needs to be fixed, he does his best to get 'er done!! (And by "I need something", I mean, "Honey, I need to go out; do you mind watching the children?" Mr. Handsome: "Sure, I will do it for you.")
We met our friends at the bowling alley again (Mr. Happy and Mr. Happy-in-training were happy to see us. Mrs. I-don't-know-how-to-run-the-cash-register lady, not so much!) on Friday and then went to the park. We had a great time. This park ride is a safety hazard. I am so shocked they even put it in. You're actually supposed to hang onto it and it swings in circles; a reverse merry-go-round, if you will. But everyone loves to sit on TOP of it!! HA!!! (OK, so I am JUST kidding about the safety hazard; If I did not get dizzy just by turning around, I would be up there, too!!)
Mr. Handsome and I went out for a much needed date. We just went up the road to a Mexican place, then went to visit one of my sister-friends and her family. We got to meet her son's hedgehog, Nutmeg. It is very cute but a bit scary. Lots of spiky things all over it!
Here is Beatrice and Beaker making the cake part of our Happy Birthday, Jesus cake to bring to my brother and sister-in-law's on Christmas Eve. This was not my idea, though I have wanted to have that for a tradition for some years. My sister-in-law (oldest brother's wife - where we went on Christmas Eve) asked if the girls wanted to make it. I also attempted sausage and cheese balls, a southern delicacy. They were a bit dry, and I am thankful that my sister-in-law was honest about it and told me! She said they tasted good (which I thought so too) but were rather dry.
Here is Maddie making candy clay to make a baby Jesus.
And here is Baby Jesus. His head is on the right. He is wrapped in swaddling clothes, which Taylor and I learned from our Maddie, are rags, hence the "dirt" on the white clothes. It gave me pause to think that the Great God of the Universe was wrapped in dirty rags, while I was born in the lap of luxury with all new things and a clean hospital room!!
The finished cake - with Mommy's lame attempt at lettering. I did better icing the cake, though.
Ah, Christmas morning, where you never know how someone in our house will look. We found snorkel, mask, and flipper sets on clearance in Target (I almost never shop there - I don't know why but I did notice that they didn't have a Salvation army bell ringer the day we went during Christmas) in September so we got them for the children to give them for Christmas. They have ALL wanted them, and as you can see, some more than others!! I also fixed Beakers' broken tent pole with about 10 pencils!! She was thrilled. I am so thankful for our children. I was feeling a bit guilty because several people had told me how everyone in their family has to open each present individually and they go around in a circle watching the present being opened. Then they say thank you to the person who gave them the present. I thought, WOW!! That is amazing!! We have always had frenetic present opening! How could I possibly change THAT!! I talked with Mr. Handsome and he said we should just keep it the way we always did it. I separate each childs' presents and put them in a separate spot so they are not all piled together and there is no one climbing over someone or grabbing the wrong present. So, anyway, we got up and Mr. Handsome read the Christmas story out of Luke, then prayed, then told the children they could open their presents. And it was really amazing. As they were opening their presents, they were ALL thanking us, AND each other!! It was such a great blessing!! I thank the Lord for our terrific children and how sweet they were thanking us for their presents!!
Here is Maddie showing off her "sock" that she made with her knitting machine!! After many failed and frustrating attempts, she figured out the right kind of yarn to use!
My Mom and Dad picked a bike to get for Kristinie the Great. All she wanted was snacks (which she got!!) Here she is standing next to the package. We had given her the bike Lindsay and Beatrice used and she was sooooooo excited. I guess the tires were more worn out than we thought because when it turned cold THEN hot THEN cold THEN hot, the tires must have gotten tired!! ha ha ha ha... They were both flat and cracked and irrepairable. She spent many a day lamenting to me about wanting a bike. And this one even has a basket to put a baby in!!
Here she is riding her new bike at my parents' house!
We had a terrific Christmas and I am so thankful for all that God has done for us this year!! It has been such a privilege to be married to Mr. Handsome, to raise and to homeschool our children, to serve the Lord in our church, to live the life I live!! I hope I will live my life next year to be more of what God wants me to be!! Don't sit on the shelve in 2012!! (I had to make it rhyme with 2012!!)