The Gang’s All Here

January 21st, 2015

Bring on the party!  The gang’s all here!

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This is living it up at lunch time today with black-eyed peas, jello salad, and leftover muffins and biscuits.

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Hannah and Emily made up a rhyme and memorized it.

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They came to recite it to me.

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This afternoon we all went on a walk.  Even we had snow flurries this morning, it turned into a sunny, pleasant day.

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They were truly a gaggle of giggling girls!

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The duo with their babies.

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The trio.

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A loose dog came to greet Shadow.

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The manly trio.  (I sure appreciated Paul wearing his orange jacket–I could easily spot them when they were ahead of me.)

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The groups intermittently ran and walked.  We went quite a ways before turning back.

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Once we got home, all the kids (except Rachel, who took a little nap) played on the trampoline.

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When I remember the hours they spend on this each day, plus the boys play soccer and Nerf guns, I can see how they need three meals a day.  I believe their endurance will have increased by the time they go back home.  (Just warning you, Jeremy & Lynn!)

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Decorating Day

January 20th, 2015

Today was the day we planned to have Emily decorate cupcakes.  It’s a project she wanted to do to earn a badge in her American Heritage Girls group, and it seemed like the perfect time to do it while she was here.  I made the cupcakes yesterday, and we planned for her to make the icing and decorate them this afternoon.

Before we jump to that, I have to say this day did not follow the script at all.  I decided to sleep in and not go to the gym because I just didn’t feel up to it.  When I got up at 5:45, I discovered the 3 youngest were partying away in their bedroom.  I made them all lay back down in bed, and wondered how long they had been up.  I strictly enforced the no-talking rule, and they did all go back to sleep for about another hour.

Even with a little extra sleep for myself this morning, I still did not feel very good, and ended up going back to bed after I cleaned up from the breakfast.  That pushed all my teaching to the afternoon, and needless to say, it was abbreviated.

After lunch (Andrew graciously fixed grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch) the younger girls got started on a box of crafts.  That kept them busy for quite a while.  Rachel Anne was pressing play dough in the bottom of a princess shoe because she liked the print the tread made!  (The shoe was clean, just for the record.  One little lady washed it in the bathroom sink yesterday.)

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Yesterday I had promised Hannah I would do her school first.  I didn’t know it would be after lunch, but that’s when we did it.

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Emily waited so patiently until I was finished with Hannah’s math lesson, and finished clearing enough lunch dishes away that we could start on the icing project.

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She did an excellent job and did it pretty much by herself, with me telling her what to do.

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She was completely shocked at the amount of butter and sugar that went into the icing.

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While Emily was making the icing, Sam was taking a turn teaching school.

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Emily was putting some icing into separate bowls for the different colors.  I was so impressed with Emily’s calmness, patience, and general easy-going spirit through it all.  She didn’t seem to be bothered in the least that there were lots of little observers pressing in on all sides constantly.  She just calmly and quietly kept working and steadily doing the next thing.  I so admire that!  I wish I could be more that way.

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Coloring the icing.

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Believe it or not, orange was the most popular color!

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I showed her how to put a coupler and tip on a bag, and then she prepared a bag all by herself and loaded it.

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Everyone wanted to decorate some cupcakes.  I allowed four people to decorate at a time.  Some of the youngest ones needed some of my help, and they just had to wait their turn.

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Because I was so overwhelmingly impressed, I have to mention that it didn’t fluster Emily at all to have people practically on top of her while she was decorating!

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Emily got to decorate the most cupcakes since it was her project, and everyone else got to decorate about 2 of them.

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Emily even did a great job spreading the base coating of icing on them.

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Here’s what the boys were doing while we were in the kitchen with cupcakes.

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As soon as the decorating was finished, all the girls high-tailed it outside to take in the last of the afternoon sunshine.

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There burned off some energy until they got too cold and had to come inside.

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One neat thing I’ve watched this week (so far) is that Paul and Steven hang out together pretty much all the time.  Those two seem to have “hit it off” in a major way and get along so well.  They play soccer together–often just the two of them, games, and whatever all else.

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It has surprised me how much Andrew is concerned for the well-being of Shadow, their dog who is also staying with us—on the back porch!   Andrew wanted to have her stay inside, but I just couldn’t quite agree to that.  So, he has put his own pillow, the one from under his head on his bed, out there for her to sleep on, fixed up a box with blankets, and tonight was feeding her scraps from our supper of steak.  She is not being too slighted, even if she isn’t sleeping on our waterbed at nights.  (O.k., so the pillow was old, and I had suggested to Andrew he might want to throw it out and get a new one from our supply in the closet.  He chose not to, but then when Shadow came, it seemed like a good time to down grade his current pillow to a dog cushion and get a new one from the closet for himself.)

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Tonight while Emily was waiting for Hannah to finish in the shower so they could go to bed, she drew this wonderful rainbow on the whiteboard.  I’ve been impressed with her artwork.  Both of my nieces have drawn a lot on the whiteboard and seem to enjoy it.

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It’s about time for the washing machine to be done, so I’ll slip another load in before I sign off for the night.  I’ve done some food prep for the meals tomorrow, and my wonderful husband washed the dishes that didn’t fit in the dishwasher after he came home from Chorus practice.  I think we will start tomorrow off on the right foot!