Friday, December 13, 2013

December 13

So....when I had the goal to blog 25 days of Christmas, I kind of also had it in my head that we would do a little something Christmas every day.

Today....not so much.

Except biscuits. I made and froze 37 sausage-cheese biscuits to bring to our Christmas week get-together. 

It rained almost all day.

We had hot dogs for supper. Again.

Dale is still working on division.

I got our game closet cleaned out/reorganized. How unimportant is that 11 days before Christmas??  But it is kind of part of the bigger project of rearranging and setting up a schoolroom/guestroom. So. There ya go.

The kids watched waaay too much tv today. There was  Toy Story marathon on. They soaked up a lot of that, while also channel hopping over to PBS to catch some Curious George (Alan's a fan, lol) and then we topped it all off with the Grinch. The real one, from 1967, not the Jim Carey one that is on tv every.other.night.

Now it's 10:00 and Alan can't get to sleep. Couldn't have anything to do with the fact that he watched FOUR STRAIGHT HOURS of television this evening. 

Mercy...we're going to need a brain and body cleanse tomorrow. TV and hot dogs. Tomorrow we'll do better. 

Lamest blog post ever, but I didn't want to skip a day. :)

(And we did do our One Wintry Night reading. Today was actually THE big story, of "The First Christmas". Bethlehem, Manger, Shepherds, Angels. A precious 20 minutes spent together.)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 12

Today seemed like a really busy day! Not sure what filled it up, but I don't think I slowed down much. And that's a good thing.

Breakfast this morning was homemade biscuits and fried eggs. I don't like fried eggs. But I like frying them, and everyone else likes eating them, so we still have them. 

Our One Wintry Night reading was about how God prepared the world and chose the exact time for Jesus to be born. The Roman rule of so much of the world, including Israel, made so many elements just right for he birth of the Messiah. We also read about Mary's gentle obedience to God's will for her, her trust in His angel messenger, and her song of praise.

Today's big event was our local Christmas parade! It had to be rescheduled twice because of weather, but I guess the third time was the charm! 
Random parade float. I loved the smoking fireplace/chimney!

The weather tonight was clear and cold, but not too cold. Just cold enough that everyone was ready for a cup of hot chocolate when we got home!

During our Bible reading time (Mary's song again - I love it when things work out like that!) I showed Brooklyn the magic of laying under a Christmas tree. Tyler couldn't resist joining in. :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 11

Another dentist day.

In his checkup yesterday Dale was found to need a little work and we were able to get him in today.

He was scheduled for two hours, but thankfully done after just one. Alan and Tyler and I hung out in the waiting room watching tv, playing on the tablet, reading. I was so, so grateful for a friend that volunteered to keep kids for me during that time, so we didn't have to keep Brooklyn and Daniel contained and entertained and quiet in a little waiting room.

We read a chapter of One Wintry Night after we got home and got the littles in bed for naps. Today's reading brought us all the way up through the time of the judges and prophets. So close to the coming of the Messiah! 

We started working on hand-sewn ornaments, something they've been asking to do for a while. Dale was still numb from the dentist (and frankly, a little grumpy) so he didn't feel like doing anything.

Today was an exciting day for all 3 big boys: Daddy drove the school bus route that stops right in front of our house! Red. Letter. Day. There was jumping, waving, shouting...oh it was more exciting than Santa in a parade.

Potato/broccoli soup for supper, then Daddy and 2 biggest boys went to church.

That's it. No pictures, very little Christmas-ing, hardly anything to count as 'school'. But the kitchen is clean, the playroom is vacuumed, we tended to our teeth, visited with friends, read good books and used our hands. And that somehow filled another whole day!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 10

This morning I loaded up our crew of 5 and we went for our first visit to our new dentist since moving. Dale was the only one with an appointment today, and so far we really like everything and everyone about their office! The others behaved themselves very nicely in the waiting room while Dale had his checkup and cleaning.
Slim pickin's on pictures today, so you get one of me trying to figure out
 how to wear my scarf before heading out to the dentist's office. :)

This afternoon I should have been doing any number of productive things, but instead I enjoyed myself very much 1 - cuddling with my husband before he went to work after lunch, 2 - visiting with our new pastor and his wife when they dropped by, 3 - chatting with my sister on the phone. (Hey - at least I was putting away clean laundry for that last one!)

As much as I enjoyed the phone call, I did hang up from it in almost panic mode that ohmygoodness-it'sonlytwoweeks tillChristmas!!!!

So when Daddy got home from work I insisted we all go shopping together. The two main items I wanted to find were not available, but we did get some other things checked off our list, both holiday-ish (like trade gifts for an upcoming party and supplies for the kids to make gifts for their friends) and everyday-ish (like bananas and diapers). :)

We had a late supper, got the kitchen clean and the groceries put away and spent some time reading from Matthew 1 about Joseph being a just man and not making an example of Mary. We sang a few Christmas carols, said prayers and sent the kiddos off to bed.

Then, I was able to get a big chunk of Christmas shopping done online! Those items I couldn't get in person today are now paid for and hopefully on their way tomorrow! Which reminds me: Mom, Dad... that package from Amazon with my name on it you'll get in the mail one day next week? Don't open it!! :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Dec 9

- Read from "One Wintry Night" from God's calling of Abraham to the Exodus from Egypt and settling in to the promised land.

- Sang Christmas carols 'round the piano.

- Painted on our candy-cane striped J's, a project still in-process:

- Had a little preschool time, with some Christmas finger-plays/"action rhymes", then read The Night Before Christmas

- Finished Farmer Boy! Yay!

- Put together a little Pinterest project...

...which was a great hit with the nappers when they woke up!

- After a supper of frito pie, we ended this cold dreary day with a few fun rounds of Jenga, before our nightly Bible reading and a few more Christmas carols.
I love Alan's face in this pic! He was ready for it to fall any second! (It didn't.)

Saturday, December 7, 2013

December 7

Today. Oh today was full.

It started at bedtime last night when I agreed to let Alan (and Dale) make pancakes for breakfast this morning. Alan has a Paula Deen kid's cookbook checked out from the library and wanted to use the pancake recipe from it. The problem with most recipes is they do not feed our large family. I have no problems increasing them, but that complicates things for a 7 year old. 

So, before I went to bed I hastily re-wrote the ingredients list to increase the recipe by a half.

This morning I awoke to the sounds of Alan and Dale clinking, working, and arguing in the kitchen.
Soon, Dale came and put my handwritten ingredient list under my nose and asked if I really meant 1 1/2 CUPS of baking powder. Goodness, no! I squinted my sleep bleary eyes at the list and complimented him on catching that mistake. 

It didn't take long for things to disentegrate in the kitchen, so I peeled myself from the bed to go set things right again. The pancake batter looked fine, but was not holding together well at all. Those boys had a fine mess. I began tweaking and working and trying to figure out what had gone wrong.

This is when I learned my second mistake. When Dale came to ask me about my mis-written recipe, he asked if I had SWITCHED cups and teaspoons with the ingredient below baking powder. In my sleepy state I answered "yes". This is how it was written:

1 1/2 c baking powder
1 1/2 tsp sugar

The sugar amount was RIGHT, but he thought I switched them and I said 'yes', so those boys put one and  half CUPS of SUGAR in those pancakes. 

They were truly CAKES and didn't need syrup at all!

In the end, everything was edible so it all worked out.

Greg spent a lot of the day rearranging furniture. We decided our original room arrangement needed a little tweaking since moving in, so we've been working on that as we can.

I went shopping with a friend this afternoon. Thrift-store / antique store shopping. It was really nice to get out and look at pretty things and have woman-friend conversation with no kids around. 

After I got home I started some split pea soup and worked on putting out some more Christmas decorations.

After our soup we all settled in for more hot chocolate and another movie. Charlie Brown Christmas this time. This is the one Christmas movie we own, and Daddy found it today it the furniture rearranging. Yay!

And, mark today down as a red-letter day, Miss Brooklyn is in a big girl bed! This is an essential next-step in the potty training process. A girl can't very well get to the potty when she's stuck in a crib, now can she?

As predicted by her mama, daddy, and three big brothers, she is enjoying her new freedom. Not long after tucking everyone in, we could hear little feet thump-thump-thumping and a sweet 2 yr old voice chanting "kangaroo! kangaroo! kangaroo!"

This could be a long evening.....

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 6

Today was the ice storm that wasn't. We, the weather-loving storm-watchers, sat back and watched as family and friends all northward of here saw ice and snow. Seeing as how our roads stayed safe and our power stayed on, I won't complain. But I think it did make us a little out of sorts to be all geared up for excitement that never happened.

What we had was rain. Cold, COLD rain. And crazy, CRAZY kids. It seemed like they were bouncing off the walls or whining and crying (sometimes a combination of both!) all. day. long.

Even so, it was a good day overall. We read the story of the flood today in "One Wintry Night". How even then God was planning on sending a Rescuer to his people someday.

We read another chapter and a half of Farmer Boy, and Daddy got to join us this time!  

Then Dale and Alan and I played another round of Spelling Baseball. Because Dale won by such a large margin yesterday, I tweaked their lists for today by giving Dale slightly harder words, and Alan slightly easier. But I think I tweaked too much, because Alan won by a landslide today. Dale was a good sport about it though. I think he much prefers a game to some of our previous methods of learning spelling words. :)

I thought about doing another Christmas drawing with the boys this afternoon but my patience was just about used up. So I let them make cookies instead. 

Which makes no sense. Patience is a must for turning kids loose in the kitchen. 

It worked out ok in the end, though. Probably because this was about the time Daddy got off work and I begged talked him into trading off and letting me make the walmart run he was about to do.

So Daddy came home, I grabbed Dale and a handful of fresh-from-the-oven peanut butter cookies, left our supper simmering in the crockpot and hit the road!

We enjoyed some one-on-one time out shopping. Picked up some grocery essentials and some craft supplies for Christmas stuff to make with the kids. Because what good is all that stuff you save on Pinterest if you never DO it, right?

We skipped our Friday night movie, since we watched a movie last night. The boys were ok with some tablet time instead - they hadn't been on it all day! Yay for less screen time!

Now I'm sitting with my man in front of our beautiful Christmas tree, drinking the last cup of last night's hot chocolate. Good night friends! Stay warm!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Dec 5

First of all, somebody was super proud of himself for getting a pencil to stand up in a lego block. He did it over and over again!
In the morning we continued reading through "One Wintry Night". Today's chapters covered the fall of Adam and Eve.

Before lunch we all sat down together at the table with our paper and pencils. Following the directions from Art Projects for Kids, we each drew and then colored or own Santas. Here is Alan's:
And I am so disappointed that Dale's seems to have completely disappeared! He put so much into his background and scene setting. It is so very 'Dale'. :)

While we were cleaning up lunch I had the idea to have a spelling bee with Dale and Alan. I left them finishing the cleanup and put together a list of 30 words each for them. I gave them about 10 minutes to study their words, and then we got out our Bible Baseball gameboard. Instead of a bee, we played spelling baseball! Dale and I loved it (for different reasons, lol). Alan - not-so-much. But that may have been because too many of his words were too challenging. We'll definitely be doing this again soon!

Finally, with 33 degree rain closing in, we had an early supper and got into pjs to watch The Polar Express on tv. Complete with hot chocolate - although it was not served with backflips and singing. ;)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 4

So many have been so generous to us for Christmas this year that today, we were able to do the following for our children. They don't ask for much at Christmas-time, but my how they love to decorate!
We thank you all very much -  you made their day, and that makes ours. :)

(These boys have been wishing for a "blowup" for years!)

(Only one thing missing: a little white-lit tree in the darkened window on the left!)
(Well, and maybe my white-lit garland around the door.) ;)

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 3

Today we began our traditional reading of:
I think we will use this during our daily school Bible time. The book tells the story of the coming Savior from creation through the Resurrection. I'm thinking we may even do ornaments or other projects for each Bible story.

The book, a gift for the boys from Mimi the Christmas before Tyler was born, has beautiful pictures and Dale and Alan love reading from it every year.

After our reading we got busy with tree ornaments. Our second tree is in the playroom. In previous years it has been in the boys' bedroom. Since it is in a more accessilbe, common room of the house, we decided to put (almost) all of our special, yearly family ornaments on this one. (When it was in the bedroom we just used generic, and sparingly at that!)

For once I kept my perfectionist hands off, and I love how it turned out, in all its clumpy, gapped, random glory! Each ornament is so special, and the tree is so colorful, just like this family of ours!

It really bothered Tyler that Daniel had NO ornaments on the tree (his baby's first Christmas is a frame and I left it off to get a baby pic of him in it, and we haven't gotten this year's ornament yet). So Tyler got a piece of paper and whipped something out right quick, just for Daniel!

When Daddy got home for lunch everyone couldn't wait to give him the 'tour' of our newly decorated tree!

After lunch we got to work on our living room tree. I am trying a color theme, and it is still a work in progress.

We did manage to get some school done among all the hall-decking.
We are almost done with Farmer Boy, and read two chapters today. Tyler watched Alan practicing his handwriting and he wanted to do it, too! So we did. Dale, bless his heart, worked on long division. :)

Thank you for all of your prayers for Alan and the rest of the family. We feel he is on the road to recovery. We are enjoying a few very mild days before a temperature drop this weekend!

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2 - Prince of Peace

"...and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

Tonight's Advent Bible reading was from Isaiah 9:1-7, and once again, God's word speaks directly to our needs. We are relying on our Savior heavily as the Prince of Peace tonight.

Four out of five kids succumbed to one degree or another to a cold over Thanksgiving break. Because of Daniel's age and the fact he has been sick the longest, and because of Alan's suppressed immune system, we decided those two needed to see the doctor this morning.

Daniel checked out just fine, but we learned that Alan has pneumonia in one lung.

We are now concerned for all of the children, as fevers and coughs are still coming and going, and especially for Alan, since his body just doesn't have as much to fight with as the others.  He is on antibiotics and being watched closely from all angles!

With the time spent visiting the doctor and taking temps and giving meds and making sure the house is ready for whatever coming and going may be done, we did absolutely zero trimmings of Christmas today.

And yet, "Christmas" is just as real, just as relevant as ever. The baby in the manger wasn't just a baby. He was God in the flesh. He has experienced our heartaches. He is the mighty God who conquered death and sin and lives again today. He is the Prince of Peace. 

He is our Prince of Peace.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Dec 1

Ok, y'all...I'm going for it:
I, who have blogged only once in 8 weeks, am going to attempt...
25 days of Christmas!

And today, being December 1st, will be:

Day One

Today we returned home after 8 days/7 nights away for Thanksgiving.  Usually I'm a Wait Till After Thanksgiving to decorate kind of girl, but with Thanksgiving being so late, leaving less than 4 weeks until Christmas, we decided to go ahead before leaving town and put up our 2! trees, with lights. We'll get to ornaments one day this week.

As a last-minute touch on the way out the door last Sunday I threw on a (wrinkled) tablecloth and centerpiece to come home to.

While I was still unbuckling babies when we got home today, Alan ran ahead and plugged in both trees!

Miss Brooky didn't nap on the way home this afternoon like she normally does. Once she had her blanket in hand after bathtime she passed right out in Daddy's recliner. That almost NEVER happens around here!  

After we scooped her into her bed, the rest of us gathered 'round for the first night of the new-to-us advent reading list we are following for this year. 

The reading was supposed to come from John 1:1-5 ("In the beggining was the Word..."), but the way it was written next to "Dec. 1" made it look like 1 John 1:1-5, and that was what Daddy read to us at first.  Which I think was no mistake at all. How fitting to sit in the glow of our newly lit Christmas tree and read:

"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all." I John 1:1 and 5

Hallelujah! God has sent His light into our darkness!