Monday, June 29, 2009

The Circle of Life

Last weekend we had the privilege of throwing a baby shower for our baby sister, Vanessa. Did we ever have fun!

Our oldest sister, Lucinda, truly has a gift for all things crafty, frugal and delicious. Most all of the decorations were from items already owned, borrowed or made by her own hands. Amazing.

The nursery has a jungle theme because Vanessa's favorite childhood toy was a little tiger crocheted by our grandma. The tears really flowed when our mom's gift contained that very tiger. Vanessa thought it had disappeared forever. It was so loved that it no longer has any appendages.

My contribution was a turtle cheese ball. Isn't he cute?

Barb made the zebra brownies that taste just like our great grandma's recipe.

We opted for fruit pies instead of the traditional cake.

The guests contributed some art work for the baby's room. Vanessa water colored the backgrounds and each person added their own special touch. I'm saving this for another post.

Animal babies frozen in ice. Can you guess when yours will be born?

The girls. With this baby the grandchildren will number 15. 7 girls. 8 boys. I never dreamed we'd be out numbered.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

My Dad

Many people say my dad is quiet and reserved. Having raised four daughters and a very social wife he has perfected the art of saving his words for opportune times. When dad speaks, everyone listens. I love that about him.

I remember riding with him in his Pinto and asking him all kinds of questions about how the car worked. What does that dial do? What exactly is an RPM? How do you know when to shift? He was the smartest man in the world explaining to me the inner workings of his vehicle. I loved to hear him talk. Then we would go home and have Beans and Bacon Soup or Cream of Mushroom soup for lunch together.

I remember laying with my ear on his chest and listening to Bach on the stereo. I would imagine that his heart was the conductor keeping rhythm to the harpsichord. I wanted his heart to go on beating forever. How could I live if something were to happen to him? Later that night (and many others) he would come to my bed at night to soothe my fears and tears.

I remember joining in on his morning runs and late night garage weight lifting sessions. He had made a custom program for each of us complete with a chalkboard chart. I wasn't an athlete, but I just wanted to spend time with him.

I remember him carrying his polio stricken mom even though it hurt his back and working in the garden beside his dad doing it just how Grandpa wanted.

I remember every warm Saturday night my Senior year of High School my dad took me to town to play tennis. It kept my mind far from thoughts of being dateless or feeling sorry for myself. The night usually ended with a Snickers Blizzard.

I remember the long ride to Tennessee when he dropped me off for college. He so patiently helped me unpack and rearrange everything just right. Then he lovingly hugged me and drove away. He didn't say a tearful goodbye. He said he was proud of me and smiled.

I remember how he always took a day off of work when each of our seven children were born and sat in the waiting room until the baby came. Not to mention the times he's spent his weekend helping to disinfect our house when all the kids have been sick or being my extra hands on a field trip.

Intelligent. Comforting. Devoted. Steady. There.

I love you, Dad.

Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Family Fun Times

We snuck away for a few days this week and treated the kids to a surprise Holiday World adventure. It's theme park in southern Indiana stuck in the middle of a corn field. Seriously. I had to laugh while standing at the top of a five story platform in my bathing suit about to plunged to my death while watching a farmer fertilize corn. You know what they say, "There's more than corn in Indiana.":)

If you live within driving distance here is why you should go:

1. It's affordable. Adult tickets are in the low $30's and kids in the low $20's. Children under 3 are free. There are always ticket coupons or promotions. Also, you can purchase your next day passes for $20 each once you are in the park.

2. It is the cleanest park I've ever been to. There is even a lady in the bathroon with a towel constantly drying the floor at the water park so no one falls.

3. Free fountain drinks and sunscreen all day.

4. The food is not only good, but is reasonably priced. We could feed our family of 9 for around $45 and everyone was actually satisfied. But, you can also bring in your own food and snacks to enjoy.

5. They have a great variety of rides for toddlers/preschoolers. The little ones don't have to sit in the stroller all day and watch everyone else have fun.

6. If you love rollercoasters, you've come to the right place. I prefer the less jaring water thrill rides, which are incredible!

7. There is a campground adjacent to the park with shuttle service where you can tent camp, set up a pop up or even rent a delux RV for your family which sleeps 8. Quite convenient if you need to put little ones down for a nap.

8. Lincoln National Park and Boyhood Home are only 10 minutes away. There you can observe a working farm, learn from the many Lincoln exhibits and even become a Jr. Ranger.

9. Holiday World is big enough that you won't get bored, but small enough that you can ride your favorites several times during your visit.

10. If you have food allergies, Holiday World prepares allergy free foods in a special kitchen to be delivered to you when ready. You just place your orders at the beginning of the day and they accomodate to your needs.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Random Summer Stuff

Well, Sean is home from school. Summer is officially upon us! My two weeks of non-homeschooling laziness are over and I'm feeling inspired to get back to work around here. Sean just signed two writing contracts for the summer, so he will be busy with that along with three weeks of leading teacher's workshops. I admire any wife who has a stay at home working husband. It is a hard balance for me to find what life looks like with Dad home all the time. It's hard to leave him alone and let him work. It's hard to drop my work and run off and play at a moment's notice. But, it's such a blessing to have him here. He's much more fun than me. The boys are already becoming more attached to him. Fall is going to be a hard adjustment for them I fear.

I got crazy last weekend garage sale shopping. I picked up a much needed vacuum with attachments for $3. I also found a love seat and couch for the school/play room to replace the couch that is literally thread bare from so much love. But of course, the addition required a complete rearranging of the room and reorganization of the school books. We'll be looking for a different solution for the TV. I'm thinking about a locking media cart that can be put in the corner. We'll see.

This week , in typical Monica fashion, I got a wild idea and decided to cook for the month of June. I find it hard to put dinner on the table in the summer. I'd much rather be outside, so there's the temptation to go out to eat or shop convenience foods which is really a waste of money. There's a sense of relief now when I open the freezer door. Now, I can work on other projects that are calling my name.

We're having a water drinking/exercising contest at our house. These are two areas of healthy living that we aren't consistently intentional about in our family. We are making a chart and checking off our daily progress. Those who reach their goals each week will get a prize. I'm trying to think of a good prize before next Monday. Any ideas? Hopefully this will spur me on in reaching my Weight Watcher's goals. I've committed to the program for one year (started in February). I don't want to be the mom with a five year old still carrying around her baby weight. It's been slow, slow progress thus far, but progress nonetheless.

I fully intend to take advantage of every free deal possible this summer. We've already enjoyed free Sonic Rootbeer Floats. The library coupons are rolling in which is always a treat. I think Sean is going to enjoy taking to kids to the free movies while I'm at work each week. Please let me of any deals you might run across.

I've got a few projects up my sleeve. It involves taking these to a whole new level. Stay tuned.