November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend With Aunt Dawn

I am so excited!  I know this post seems out of date to you, but I am trying to catch up on what I didn't do while I was sick in December.  This post puts me one step closer to finishing the family journal from 2010!!!!

So Aunt Dawn graced us with her presence for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.  As always we were all much looking forward to her visit.  We always enjoy our time together and truly we were all wondering how the holidays were going to be without my folks to celebrate with.  It turned out to be a fabulous Thanksgiving and a weekend filled with fun and games and hugs and food, of course.

She got in Wednesday, late afternoon, in the midst of chaos and preparations for Thanksgiving company.  Sam and Ellie were so glad to have her they decided they wouldn't let her go home.
Dawn is quite a good cook (as demonstrated by the huge box of preserves, jams and jellies she brought for us) and always a help in the kitchen so, of course, we put her right to work finishing up with the pies.

Allen felt sorry for us after cleaning and cooking all day and offered to panini us some sandwiches.  He threw in popcorn and jelly beans, just in case.  (We always serve jelly beans, popcorn and pretzel sticks the night before Thanksgiving because when the kids were little they got such a kick out of Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving dinner.)
There is a thrift store that sells beautiful things right next to the hospital where Dawn works.  She always arrives with a rubber maid full of nice clothes for the kids.  Ellie's wardrobe quadrupled by the time our friend was finished unloading her box.
We got quite the fashion show from the little Miss.
And Dawn got a cuddle. By the way, she LOVES this dress, Aunt Dawn, and wears it ALOT!
We started Thursday with a breakfast buffet, the Macy's parade 
and lots of time to make up for missed hugs and cuddles.
Dawn was forced got to sit in on
Allen's rather loud and fun Bible lesson.
We found out the afternoon before that our 1 guest for Thanksgiving dinner was going to be 9 instead, which made for some fun times and a nice full table.
After dinner us "grownups" played a number of raucous rounds of Pit while the teenage set played a rather quiet game of Taboo.
Friday morning we put Aunt Dawn to work putting up and decorating the Christmas tree.
To retaliate, in the afternoon, Dawn put my cookie painting skills to shame while we baked dozens of cookies for her church's cookie walk.  Yes, we sampled a lot.  There is something to be said for baking cookies with a good friend.  I think Dawn put it best in an email "Ive baked dozens of cookies since then, but none have turned out as well, or as been as much fun as baking with you."  That sums up the afternoon perfectly. 
Friday night, to continue our kick off day for the holiday season, we went to see a theater production of "The Worst Christmas Pageant Ever".  A bunch of laughs was an fun way to end a festive (and tasty) day with a special friend.   If you've never read this book, do so.  You won't be sorry.  (And no the movie is NOT as good.... you have to read the book.)
Saturday morning was more cookie baking...
... and sampling.
By Saturday afternoon, we decided it was safe enough to brave the stores and headed out for Target and, of course, lunch at Chick-fil-A.  We decided to give Dawn her Christmas gift since we knew we wouldn't be able to get together for the holidays.
Saturday evening we got crafty.  Dawn is one of those people who can make anything and make it look incredible.  We cashed in on her skills for our Jesse tree project.  
Then we spent the evening making Christmas cards together.
Come Sunday morning, it was sad to say our time together was already over.  But before Dawn headed out for her return trip, we had to have a few pictures.  What else did you expect?
You know you have a good friend when every time you visit, it doesn't matter how long you spend together, it is always too short and over too soon.   
Thank you, friend, for blessing us with the gift of your friendship and giving us a weekend of beautiful memories to see us through til we meet again.


Kat and the rest of them

"Friends are the family we chose for ourselves."

November 25, 2010

A Psalm of Thanksgiving

Tuesday evening, in our Thanksgiving worship service, our Pastor read from Psalm 136.  He encouraged each of us to write our own Psalm of praise.  After spending the day cooking, cleaning and trying to restore some sense of order to our home before company arrives, we spent some time this evening brainstorming.  It was an excellent exercise.   The kids commented on how we had more verses than the real thing.  The truth is, we could have gone on forever.  
Take a minute and give it a whirl.  You might be amazed at how much more you have to be grateful for.  

Happy Thanksgiving from the Wachter family

1 Who healed me during my infancy;
For his mercy endureth forever.

2 And gave me brothers and sisters;
For his mercy endureth forever.

3 Some that will greet me in heaven;
For his mercy endureth forever.

4 The God who gave me life;
For his mercy endureth forever.

5 When doctors said it was impossible;
For his mercy endureth forever.

6 To him who sought me from among the chaff;
For his mercy endureth forever.

7 And ransomed me from my sin;
For his mercy endureth forever.

8 With the life and blood of his Son;
For his mercy endureth forever.

9 O give thanks to the Lord of lords;
For his mercy endureth forever.

10 Who gave me eternal life;
For his mercy endureth forever.

11 And blessings beyond imagination;
For his mercy endureth forever.

12 For the blessings of friends;
For his mercy endureth forever.

13 Who show the love of Christ;
For his mercy endureth forever.

14 And become family for us;
For his mercy endureth forever.

15 Aunt Dawn, Aunt Helen, Uncle Griffith;
For For his mercy endureth forever.

16 Aunt Hope, And the March family;
For his mercy endureth forever.

17 Uncle Brady and Aunt Kate;
For his mercy endureth forever

18 Terry, Katrina and Gracie;
For his mercy endureth forever.

19 Uncle Tony and Aunt Carrie;
For his mercy endureth forever.

20 And the Baby Beans;
For his mercy endureth forever.

21 Mr. Sonny and Diana;
For his mercy endureth forever.

22 For the gift of His church;
For his mercy endureth forever.

23 And her members;
For his mercy endureth forever.

24 He who gives me comfort; (woof-woof and binket)
For his mercy endureth forever.

25 And allows me to share that with others;
For his mercy endureth forever.

26 Who shelters me from evil;
For his mercy endureth forever.

27 Who leads captivity captive;
For his mercy endureth forever.

28 To the Lord who gives life;
For his mercy endureth forever.

29 And all good things;
For his mercy endureth forever.

30 To the Lord who takes away;
For his mercy endureth forever.

31 Praise ye the Lord!
For his mercy endureth forever.

32 For the Lord who directs our path;
For his mercy endureth forever.

33 And leads His people;
For his mercy endureth forever.

34 For the God who provides;
For his mercy endureth forever.

35 For all our needs;
For his mercy endureth forever.

36 And the desires of our hearts;
For his mercy endureth forever.

37Praise ye the Lord!
For his mercy endureth forever.

November 23, 2010

Can You Believe?

I rarely read the newspaper.  As a matter of fact, when our home subscription expired this fall, we didn't renew it.  Allen is too busy and I don't have the stomach for the blood and guts of it all.  I quickly become discouraged and overwhelmed by the headlines and struggle to stay focused on what really matters.  Allen listens to the news and reads Yahoo news daily and keeps me informed of things that interest me, such as politics.  When there is something specific I'd like to read about, I pick up a paper at the market.

Yesterday, I was standing in Starbucks with Allen, waiting on our coffee order, looking around and taking in the people, the Christmas display and the wonderful smell of the holiday coffees.  My eyes settled on the stand holding newspapers.  As I scanned the headlines of the New York Times imagine my shock when I realized, what we used to pay fifty cents for now cost $6.00!  That is not a typo.  For anyone who is not informed, the New York Times now cost $6.00 on Sunday!  Allen pulled out his blackberry and went to their website, where you can read the paper for free.

While I am at it.  The beautiful bags of Christmas coffee were stacked up in a tower.  Which reminded me of a discovery I made this time last year.  There was Christmas coffee and holiday coffee on display in our local Starbucks.  Trying to decide which one I wanted to bring home, I approached a barista.  "What's the difference between the Christmas blend and the holiday blend?"  I asked her.

She lowered her voice and said, "There is no difference.  We have to offer both types of packaging so no one will be offended."

There you have it folks.  $6.00 for a newspaper to line the bird cage and even our coffee is politically correct.

November 22, 2010

Study, Study, Study

Last Sunday the kids had their first cantata practice.  With their assignments and scripts in hand they spent much of Monday studying.
And Quizzing each other on the scripture there were supposed to memorize.
And practicing the songs they will be singing.  
Which is a good thing because us bigger people had our first final to study for.  
So we ignored pretty much all our responsibilities so we could sit around quizzing each other all day and just generally trying to cram in all that we should have been studying all weekend while we were visiting instead.

While everyone else was busy, Elisabeth found ways to occupy herself.  Like playing air hockey.
And taking bad pictures of just about everything in sight.  I deleted about a hundred from my camera card.
Although, I really liked this one.  I guess she thinks her toes are as cute as I do.
Since Uncle Frank wasn't taking the test, he stayed with the youngers while Brianna went to class with us.  When he showed up with swords made out of balloons, we knew it would be a fun evening.  I hear they had a rip roaring game of the Great States and Battle ship.
Meanwhile, we had a special treat with both our little students at class with us.


I just love this little face. I could photograph it all day. It seems so funny to me, that after 7 kids I can still find everything she does, so fresh and cute.
Which might not be so good for Elisabeth.  After I took a picture of her in the pink fur and curlers this morning, she asked to, "See Ellie?"  I showed her the preview and she said, "Oh, I am so cute!"

Do you think she has heard that a few times?

Do You Remember...

...this post?

I bet you were wondering what happened to all those pumpkins?  Oh, someone humor me, please????
One of our projects this weekend was to bake them up to get ready for Thanksgiving.    If you have never enjoyed the wonderful aroma of a pumpkin roasting in the fall, you are missing out on one of life's greatest pleasures!

Did Anyone Happen to Notice...

...the incredible moon last night?

It was so beautiful, I was watching it all the way home from church.  Which wasn't the safest thing in the world, since I was the one driving.

When I pulled in the driveway, I tried to capture a picture but with my pocket digital this is the best I could get.  I want to remember it just the same.

Who Doesn't Need a Smile on Monday?

This is how Ellie showed up for school this morning.  

When the Pa's Away

When the girls were little and Allen started travelling a lot, I used to get so lonely in the evenings.  I dreaded his time away as the thought of days on end with no adult interaction and what seemed like endless nights stretched ahead of me.

Once the girls got a little older it was easier to handle because they went to bed a little later and we would spend the evening watching a video or playing games together.  Then they would curl up in my bed for the night and keep me company for eight sleepless hours.

When we started having boys and there was a run with 3 toddlers, trips out of town became a thing I loathed once more.  Days on end with no rest from the daily routine of caring for and schooling six children was wearisome, at best.  But somehow, we worked through it and even had some victorious times of making happy memories.

While I don't jump for joy when I know Allen will be traveling, the children and I have fallen into a routine that makes it a bit more fun.

It usually involves a video.  Or two.  Or three.  Lots of games.   Reading aloud.  And NO COOKING.  Once Elisabeth came along she jumped right into the action.
And even though we can't all fit in the same bed, the kids still drag mattresses, pillows and blankets into my bedroom to keep me company.  I think they could skip the cushions.  As you see, the only thing Sam keeps up there all night are his feet.
Going to visit Mrs. Murphy in the dark takes on a dangerous undertone, as there is very little bare floor space to be seen, never mind finding it as you make the journey half asleep.  I will leave you on your own to imagine what it is like when they have a stomach bug.

The nights are still long. And we still miss our Pa. But travel days aren't quite so bad when you have 7 buddies to pass the time with.

November 21, 2010

You Gotta Have the Instruction Book

After dinner, on Tuesday evenings, Allen does a special Bible lesson with the kids.  There's no telling what it might be about but it always involves some fun demonstration.  We usually end up laughing pretty well before he gets to the serious part.  Last Tuesday was one of the best yet.

His current focus is on Proverbs.  This particular evening was to show the importance of studying the book of Proverbs because it is God's instruction book to us.

To bring the point home, he discretely told the girls not to help out.  Then he handed the little fellows a store bought cake mix and tub of icing, minus the instructions.  He told them to bake a cake.  Aedan and Samuel took off with gusto and starting moving about the kitchen.
After a minute or two, Aedan looked at the bag of cake mix and said, "How are we going to make a cake with just brown sugar?"  Good question.  Who cares that it wasn't brown sugar.  Samuel's excitement turned to worry as he saw visions of his treat flying out the window.  
And then a little bit of scorn towards Pa who ought to know you also need eggs and flour.
Nathaniel rushed in with the solution.  "This is the book Mama uses to make a cake."  He got my favorite cook book.  (Betty Crocker 1972 edition) and flipped to a picture of a cake.  As he began reading the ingredients the younger boys discussed which you put in first, eggs or sugar?
Allen finally took pity on them and handed over the box with the instructions while explaining that we must read the directions to be successful..
After that things progressed smoothly.  The gang stirred up a red velvet cake while Brianna explained the chemicals and additives used to make it red.
To make it more fun, Allen let each child make his own mini cake, ice and decorate it with sprinkles.
And at last they happily had their little treats.
And, hopefully, a sweeter lesson that will last a lot longer than dessert.

November 20, 2010

Did You Ring?

Thursday morning I was pouring my coffee and Elisabeth asked for a banana.  I set her on the barstool and peeled it for her while Allen and chatted a bit.  I noted it was 7:15 and left them there to put my face on so I could get my day started.

A few minutes later one of the girls brought me my cell phone.  She reported it had rung and Uncle Tony was calling but Elisabeth hung up on him.

Being so early in the morning, I immediately began to worry about what the problem could be.  I didn't think twice about dialing my friend's number and asking what was up.  When his sleepy voice answered the phone, I explained that I was sorry I had missed his call, but it seems Ellie had hung up on him.  Tony said he thought I had called and that's why he called me.  How upset I was as realization hit home.  My little princess must have dialed his number and then hung up.  Quickly I offered my explanation, apologized profusely and told him to go back to bed.

As I walked down the hallway to reprimand the little operator, I scrolled through my call list to see how many times she rang our friends' phone.  What I discovered was she had also dialed another friends cell phone.  It was easy to understand why those two.  Both of their names start with "B" making them the first two contacts in my address book.

But what are the chances that they both live on the West coast?

November 19, 2010

Turtle Soup

Emma is such a good turtle owner.  She tends to Zipper carefully and monitors his health with great care.  The other day she was reading in her turtle manual and got to a section about how to know if you are over feeding your turtle.  We all laughed at that one.  We say that Zipper eats like his owner.  A lot and with great enthusiasm.  So, she is reading and gets to the part about how to know if your turtle is over weight.  After a quick inspection she decided Zipper is, indeed, fat!  The cure is more vegetables in his diet.  Now turtles are very messy when they eat.  In order to keep from having to clean the tank more than once a week, it is recommended that anything besides pellets be given in a separate tank.  Emma got this clear plastic box and put her friend in there with some water.  Then she dropped in some grated celery and chopped carrots.  When I saw it, what else could I do but laugh?  It looked just like turtle soup.

November 18, 2010

Practice, Study and a Snuggle

Forever In Blue Jeans

I am joining Carin at Forever in Blue Jeans for her weekly challenge to get mom in the picture.  If you've not been in the picture this week, it's not too late!  Here's my four step plan to recovery.  1-Grab the camera 2- grab a kid 3- take a shot 4-post it!  You can't ask for easier than that.  I can't wait to see you in the picture!

This week has been a whirl wind of activity and fun.  Come to think of it, what week hasn't been a whirl wind lately?

This first picture I was helping the kids learn their music for the Christmas Cantata.
And here helping Aedan with his Bible lesson worksheet one night.
Saturday night, Ellie wanted to camp out in the boys' room.  Since it was a church night and the boys had not taken any rest after a full and busy day, we thought it best they not have any reason to stay awake any later than necessary.  Elisabeth decided she would camp out on her own floor, instead.  When I came to tuck her in, she asked me to lay down with her.  I must admit it wasn't too uncomfortable, or I was tired enough not to care, because I dozed off for a few minutes.
A little kink in the neck on Sunday, is definitely worth it for the snuggle time with my girlie!

Until next week,