November 25, 2011

Catching Up

Oh, my!  It's been a little while since I blogged.  This week we had the privilege of having Rhonda here for Thanksgiving.  Now that she's on her way back to Denver, I'm sitting here wondering where in the world the week went!  Why can't all the weeks Ted is deployed go this quickly?!  I'll type out some highlights from the last week or so, and then I'll do separate posts with pictures...assuming I have the time and energy to finish this little project!

We did a minimal amount of schoolwork and instead focused on a couple of service projects.  We took a meal to some friends and went shopping for Operation Christmas Child boxes.  Last year we purchased a little bit at a time and were able to do a LOT of boxes.  This year, we did it all in one fell swoop and managed to pack 5 boxes for the same ages/genders of our older 5 kids.  I chose the dollar spot at Target for this adventure--we got everything we needed there, for the most part, and it was much easier to keep tabs on everyone than if we had gone to the dollar store!

That night I went out.  I knew only that my friend Jen had arranged for her husband to bring her two kids to my house and babysit all of the children (minus Zaden) and that was I supposed to meet her at her house.  Well, since I saw Stefanie's minivan in the driveway when I pulled up to the H's house, I figured something was up!  Sure enough, it was a surprise birthday party, and it was quite a treat.  Jen fixed a delicious 5-course meal for us which included homemade chocolate cheesecake for dessert.  Oh, my!  Everything was wonderful, and best of all was getting to relax and visit with friends.  I felt so honored and blessed.

Charis had play rehearsal, and we did laundry and cleaned house preparing for Grandma J's arrival!  Her flight arrived in the middle of the afternoon, so we were able to enjoy dinner and the evening together.  I may have even gotten a nap before dinner...I can't remember!

We attended both services at church, and then I took a nap in the afternoon before we ate dinner and headed back to church for a special Thanksgiving service.

We got to Skype with Ted in the morning, which was an extra special treat since he doesn't get to Skype with his mom.  Later, Rhonda and I went out with some of my neighbor friends to The Cheesecake Factory for my birthday lunch!  Jessica C babysat the kids.  We took Zaden along and he did great!  Good food, great friends...lots of fun! 

My actual birthday!  Rhonda got me a one-hour massage for my gift, so after Skyping a bit with Ted, I headed out (right after a feeding!) to enjoy some alone time.  I was gone for about 6 hours--WOW!  Six hours with no kids!  I must say, I never thought I'd WANT to be alone for my birthday, but considering the circumstances, I can honestly say it was heavenly!  The massage was wonderful, and then I enjoyed lunch by myself and started a letter to Ted, a luxury of time that is rarely afforded these days.  Then I drove to the Dayton Art Institute (and pumped in the parking lot!) and enjoyed seeing the Norman Rockwell exhibit.  Oh!  It was so wonderful!  I'm so glad I went and did that.  Then I picked up Chick-Fil-A (courtesy of Rhonda) to bring home for dinner.  Rhonda took Charis and Kenna to the theater for Charis's dress rehearsal, so Rhonda and Kenna got to watch the show.  Meanwhile, the boys had their karate class in our basement!  If we can get a few more boys interested in joining, Sensei Steve R. says we can hold the classes at our house, which is fine with me!

Grandma and Charis got some girl time this day.  Charis had been saving her Michael's gift card to use when Grandma came, since Rhonda is the one who got it for her for her 11th birthday.  They shopped and then went out for lunch together.  I worked just a little bit on some Thanksgiving Day preparations, and then after the girls got back, I went out to get my hair cut (just a trim) and buy some groceries at Kroger.  I know, what was I thinking?!  We had most everything we needed for the dinner, but I did need to get a few items, and it's always nice to go shopping without kids in tow.  After dinner we watched It's a Wonderful Life with some real stove-top popped corn!

What a fun, relaxing day!  Rhonda and I worked together on the food stuff off and on.  We enjoyed spending time with the kids...watched the parade a little, made Thanksgiving posters like we did last year, and finally got ready for our big meal in the evening.  We hosted 3 college kids from our Resolve to Read Sunday school class, and it was so fun to watch them interacting and playing with our kids.  Colin, Ian, and Christine were just as silly with our kids as Ted would have been if he had been here--I think he would have been proud of some of the jokes and puns that came out!  We added some leaves to our Blessing Tree and played games.  And of course we enjoyed a full meal:  turkey, make-ahead mashed potatoes, squash bake, green bean casserole, dressing, Waldorf salad, homemade orange-cranberry sauce (courtesy of Eilene), and rolls.  We enjoyed chocolate-pecan pie for dessert with hot tea. 

Today was a little bittersweet.  It was normal as far as doing laundry, getting things cleaned up, etc.  I made a run to Trader Joe's and Meijers (kidless again!), but then we had to take Rhonda to the airport in the afternoon.  I honestly cannot believe it's been a whole week!  I can only pray that the coming weeks will fly by as well.  I am not entirely sure what we're doing for Christmas, but I hope it's as fun and full of blessings as this Thanksgiving was.

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