Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Boy and His Board

Merry Christmas, Son! I'm writing this here, since I haven't seen much of you since Saturday. I've heard it will rain again soon, and I look forward to it, since it will mean you will be stuck inside again. See you soon!

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Meme

I was tagged by Ginger for "A Top Three" Meme. Here it goes....

My Top Three:

1. Favorite books: (SO very hard to narrow it down!)

The Bible
The Narnia series by C. S. Lewis
The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind (currently listening to these, in Book 4)

2. Favorite desserts:

The caramel corn my daughter makes
A Big Hunk candy bar (a possible substitute?)
A Reimer's Honey Almond Nougat

3. Favorite ways to spend time:

With my family
At a library book sale
hiking in the mountains

Whom should I tag? I freely tag any who wish to play! Leave a comment and link so I can read your list!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Christmas for the Crew

Clark Chatter

"How do you do Christmas?" is today's topic for the "Big Families and How They Do It" blog round-up.

The Crew keeps is pretty simple. We travel at Thanksgiving and share that day with our closest family. Then, sometime after December 1st, but NEVER before, we begin decorating. A few years ago, we bought a beautiful, high quality, artificial tree for 75% off after Christmas. This has saved us about $50 a year. I much prefer a real one, but trees are SO expensive here! I pull the tree box and the Christmas tubs out of the attic and let the Lambies get to work. I love that they are old enough to decorate! My Honey puts together the tree and they deck it beautifully. We set up our three nativities and the Christmas village.

I bring out the Christmas books and we turn on Christmas music (favorite funny/second favorite/third favorite). The Lambies draw names to exchange a gift with a sibling.

My Honey and I get gifts for the Lambies all year 'round so we don't feel much of a financial pinch in December and we can focus more on the REAL meaning of Christmas. We speak a lot about how the world celebrates and why and why we do it differently. We look for more opportunities to serve. We pray together. We read together. We play together.

I love this time of year!

I make a full Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing and all the fixings...then on Christmas we enjoy leftovers and I don't have to cook! The children exchange their gifts with each other. On Christmas Day, we read the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible, pray and then open gifts. The rest of the day is spent playing.

Hope you enjoyed reading of Christmas with the Crew! Make sure to go to Ginger's blog and visit the other participants in the linky.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Crew went to Disneyland!

The Crew at Tom Sawyer's Island in Disneyland

We were so blessed to be able to participate in the Disney "Give a Day, Get a Day" promotion this year. We earned nine free tickets. The Lord provided for the rest of the funds and we were able to go this past week. We booked our hotel through Trips by Manny and were SO happy with it! It was a two bedroom suite with a living room, kitchen and two full bathrooms. We've never been in a hotel so nice. We didn't spend all the much time in the hotel, though.

When we arrived in SoCal, after checking into the hotel, we went toward downtown Disney. We were hungry and needed to eat fast, so we were looking for fast food that wouldn't give us too bad of tummyaches. We found a small burger joint called Al's Big Burger. The portions were HUGE and the food tasted good. No one was ill afterward which is a plus! They even included an ice cream in the very fair cost of the meal. We came back the next day for dinner again.

At Downtown Disney we headed straight for the Lego store. Too bad all three of our cameras were left in the hotel room! I snagged the pic of the giraffe above from the web. My very creative Lambies gathered all the brown Legos from the building areas and made an...a.... *ahem*.... pile to place under the giraffe. You should have seen the faces of the little kids that were planning to run under the giraffe, but noticed the pile. Noses wrinkled. One little kids even said that it smelled by the giraffe! LOL!

We bought two of the Lego games that we had never seen at Target. We were surprised to see that the prices at the Lego store were the same, or even a bit less than we'd seen at Target. They were quite a bit less than the prices on Amazon. We wandered the rest of Downtown Disney, enjoying the sites and smells (oh, the caramel corn!) till late. We watched the fireworks go off over Disneyland, then returned to the hotel. Some Lambies played one of the games with Dad, while some came with me to the hotel's gym. We used treadmills and elipticals, and I also got to visit with another guest that was vacationing from Australia.

We rolled into bed late, late, late, and got up about 6:30. We enjoyed the hotel's complimentary breakfast. It has been decided that we need a hotel quality waffle maker. Off we went to Disney proper. We did have to stand in line to exchange our Give a Day, Get a Day vouchers for actual tickets, but other than that, it was a smooth entry.

We were able to fit in every ride that we wanted to enjoy. Here's an incomplete rundown: Matterhorn was first. The entire Crew enjoyed the ride, with Troubles deciding that rollercoasters were not really his thing this time around. He didn't cry or anything, but he didn't want to go again. After that, I took most of the Lambies to Space Mountain. Poppa took Troubles to Buzz Lightyear's AstroBlasters and Nemo's Submarine ride. We all thought Space Mountain was the BEST! Even Missy enjoyed it.

We went to the left side of Disneyland next and enjoyed Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Troubles thought this one better than the Matterhorn) and Splash Mountain (not Troubles, but the other Lambies went twice, once with Mom, once with Dad). Troubles enjoyed Winnie the Pooh a couple of times along with seeing Pooh, Tiggar and Eeyore characters. He didn't want to sit with them, but he did enjoy seeing them.

We spent a good amount of time playing on Tom Sawyers Island. The treehouse and the caves were so much fun! Good resting time for Momma and Poppa, too.

When we returned to the main areas, we grabbed a fastpass for Indiana Jones and went back to Space Mountain. We watched the Captain EO Tribute then did the rollercoaster. Troubles and Poppa went on Buzz again, then they took the train ride around the park. While Poppa took most of the Lambies on Indiana Jones, Troubles and I explored Tarzan's Treehouse. What a workout! We went up and around s.e.v.e.n. times.

We walked through Main Street and enjoyed the snowfall. We left during the fireworks, by popular demand. The Lambies said they'd seen them y'day at Downtown Disney, so they wanted to go. Getting out was a bear, even though we left at the beginning of the rush. Next time I think we'll stay for an hour after the fireworks and see if it's better. ;)

I'm so thankful for the time we got to spend making memories and enjoying each other. Thanks again, Manny, for the great rooms, and to Mr. Disney for making his dream come true and creating all the jobs and opportunities for the families of America.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Little Angel of the Day: Olga


This is Olga. Doesn't she have the sweetest little smile? She is facing imminent disaster, though. She is almost to the age when she must leave her orphanage and be placed in a mental asylum. The children often do not live long after being transferred. It's a horrible system. The only hope of escape is foreign adoption.

Lily's momma, Patti, has been struck with Olga. She would love to adopt her herself, but doesn't meet the requirements. The Lord inspired her, though. Through a give-away, she is raising money to get Olga adopted. In just a week, she has raised over $5000 to help a qualified family adopt Olga. Are you that family? Could you welcome Olga and her beautiful, innocent heart into your family? If not, can you come alongside Patti and hundreds of others to help get this child of God to her forever family before it is too late? You may win an I-Touch or another gift, but that is hardly the point. You can help this little child of God in a very real way. What a privilege!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Just For Fun

I read this list over at Rural Revolution. F.u.n.n.y!

1. I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the heck are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection...again.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch three consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey - but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from three feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

24. The first testicular guard, the "cup," was used in hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Big Families & How They Do It: Birthdays

Birthdays are a big deal around here. And they come often. Monthly, in fact. With the exception of May, we have a birthday or two every month from January to August. We started off having a party for each child for each birthday, like most other families. However, as our family grew, the number of parties became burdensome; to us and our friends! Who wants to throw or attend a party each and nearly every single month for eight months?

We began having simple, family only parties on each child's birthday. No pressure, no huge undertaking, just fun little parties. One year, each child got a fun little scavenger hunt that led to their gift. We also did a BIG 'once a year' party to invite friends. Then we began to decline presents from friends at the party, as we neither needed or really wanted any more stuff. The kids chose an organization to donate cash gifts to instead, and themed the party around that. We had a VOM "Balloons to North Korea" benefit party and one for God's Littlest Angels Orphanage in Haiti. These types of parties were a blessing to all involved and to others as well!

One year we took our friends to Pump It Up, an indoor bouncy-house gymnasium. We allowed gifts this time, asking in the announcement that they stay to the chosen theme of Legos. By offering a gift theme, we were able to avoid toys that would not fit well in our family and instead, we were able to build a well-loved collection that is used all the time.

One year, the children decided that they would like a cash present. Since they generally don't get a lot of cash, we went with it. Each child got cash along with a small gift and was able to save or spend it as they wished (with guidance, of course).

More recently, we simply have family parties for the birthday child on their day. I am entertaining the idea of another big party, as it's been a couple of years since our last one. I like changing it up and doing something different each year. I'll be entering into talks with the Lambies to get their ideas. Since birthday season is January through August, so we've not a whole lot of time until the first one.

What are your birthday celebrations like? Please share! Then click the button below to go to Clark Chatter and see the linky for other birthday party related posts.