Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Home For the Holidays!

We have now been home for the holidays a total of 11 days. Will it never end?!?!?! It's terrible that my first "holiday" post is so negative, but I've had enough! Not of Christmas, Christ's birth, good stuff, etc., but enough of all the togetherness with my children. Sorry, but it's true.

I have been shopping every day before Christmas and, in a quest to spend Grandma's Christmas money and various gift cards, every day since Christmas. I have had ENOUGH shopping. In a frenzied huff, I headed out to Michael's tonight at 8:30, in a frigid, 30 mph wind for the second wooden human skeleton thingy because the first one couldn't have his or her ribcage finished since it broke and had to be hot glued.

Today we went to Limited 2, Claire's, Barnes and Noble to use a 4 year old gift card, Children's Place, and Michael's, all with 4 kids in tow. Yesterday we went to Walmart, Michael's, Target, TJ Maxx, Penney's, and Icing to have ears re-pierced from a bad job done the day after Christmas. The list continues similarly every other day. Yes, I know that this can't happen unless I let it, but that's beside the point...isn't it?

The shopping continued here at home. Hannah set up a "store" in the hall outside all of the bedrooms. It is directly, and I do mean directly, at the top of the stairs. She had gathered a bunch of junk, I mean stuff, she didn't want anymore and was offering great deals to her brothers and sister. With no takers, she swiftly cut her prices, drastically, and got some interest. Now, I was allowing this as a good exercise in free trade and entrepreneurship. Adam actually got a great deal because he wanted to return his Spore Creatures DS game (from one of those previous trips to Walmart) because it keeps freezing. He was going to buy Diddy Kong Racing instead. Fortunately for him, Hannah was selling her Diddy Kong for $5 so he bought it. He saved $25!

With business being slow, Hannah set up a rental deal. She offered rental of toys and stuffed animals for 25 cents. I thought this wasn't too bad until I realized that that was the same as the cost for some of the stuff. I guess if someone takes you up on a deal like that, you can't really argue that it's a bad idea. I bought a spool of lavender thread for 50 cents and Williams bought a headless person on a horse for a quarter.

She told me tonight that she made $8 something from her sale. I think I'll need to check with the rest of the siblings to make sure no one got "taken" by their merchant sister. I explained to her that it was all a good idea with lots of chances for "learning" something, but emphasized that taking advantage of younger brothers, who shall remain nameless, was not a skill she needed to cultivate. She vigorously denies any wrongdoing.

Never underestimate the drive of a 10 year old on a mission to buy an I-Pod Touch.

School starts again in ONLY 6 days.

P.S. I spelled entrepreneurship correctly, on my own. Just wanted everyone to know.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


We took the whole family on a 5 day cruise over Thanksgiving week. Everyone was excited except Williams who said that he just wanted to stay home. I kept telling him he'd be happy that he'd gone, knowing that he had no idea what he was in for. I'm pretty sure he was imagining the fishing boats in Accra which make up such a big part of the local economy.

Eating, of course, was one of the highlights of our trip. I refused to let anyone order off the kid's menu in the dining room. Grilled cheese sandwiches or chicken nuggets seemed just wrong when there were so many wonderful foods to choose from. Amazingly, one night, every kid (except Williams) tried an escargot. No one gagged or anything! The last 4 months of Williams life has been spent tasting one weird food after another. I didn't push it with him. Our favorite was dessert when almost every night we all had the Chocolate Melting Cake.

The girls both made lots of friends in their respective "kids clubs". They enjoyed the chance to have a little freedom roaming around the ship with friends and without mom and dad. There were days that we really didn't see much of them during the day. (We did usually know where they were!) The boys enjoyed the water. They would have been happy to spend from sun up to sun down in the pool and hot tub.

I have to recommend a cruise as an excellent family vacation option. I think I can honestly say that the kids enjoyed it even more than mom and dad, if that's possible. We didn't have to worry about food costs, which is usually large with a family of 6. There were activities tailored to their age groups which allowed mom and dad to have some time off. There were tons of kids on our ship since it was the Thanksgiving holiday, so we didn't have to worry about making them toe the line with their behavior. Adam and Williams playing catch with the football in the hall didn't receive too many dirty looks. I'm also proud to say that only one golf ball went overboard from the putt-putt course. It could have been so much worse!

Williams and Hannah in "the tub".

You can never have too many pillows!

Scott in the ping pong tournament.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008