Monday, June 23, 2008

We're leaving on a jet plane

I'm madly getting laundry done to have clothes to pack in the red bags Keith pulled out of his magic hat this morning. (He bought them years ago for Kathleen's soccer team.) Seven red sports bags are lined up in the family room receiving various forms of packing mania -- all the fun stuff that signals vacation time for our family -- bathing suites, sunscreen, towels, flip-flops . . . And the kids that went to the Braves game a few weeks ago are bringing along their Braves tote bags for their carry-ons.

We should be arriving at LAX at about 9:00 am. My mom is working on the rather daunting task of picking up all nine of us and getting us back to her house so we can get settled in and then back out again -- probably first stop: THE BEACH!

We're so excited to see everyone. The kids are hilarious as they prepare for the trip. All of their personalities come through. Keri Lynn has been doing her own laundry for the last few days getting ready for the trip. Kristofer says, "We're leaving tomorrow?" Kade wants to pack his own clothes instead of letting me do it for him. Konner doesn't care two wits if he even has any clean clothes, "I could just wear this all week." Kylie packed her own things days ago since she's the one with a ton of extra clothes. Kathleen asked if I would take HER clothes out of HER bathroom to wash them for her . . .

It's supposed to be really hot in Southern California right now -- all the way up into the 100's. This is unusual for this time of year. Usually it's June Gloom, much to Keri Lynn's dismay, being her birthday month and all. It will be weird to feel the California dry heat as opposed to the slightly "cooler" Georgia humidity.

Off to change another load!

Friday, June 20, 2008

VBS decompression

At last we are done with VBS. It wasn't that I actually did anything really. I just hung out with Keva and caught up on some crochet projects, finished a book, wrote a little. I think it must be just the work of getting everyone out the door every morning and then back and rested in time to do it all over again the next day that has me and everyone else just pooped.

Later tonight at 7:00, Keri Lynn is expected guests for a casual birthday party game night. She turned 17 over choir tour and we're having a celebration now before June whizzes by. Our house is a mess from all of the coming of going of VBS this week. So what am I doing instead of cleaning, now that we're home? I'm at the computer, of course. I've sent EVERYONE else to bed for a nap because everyone was crabby coming home. Decompression time, I guess. As soon as all have had a little snooze, we'll do our usual panic clean-up time before a party.

Keith has today off, will be working over the weekend in his new lead position. He's over at someone's house working on a possible third car for our family. If we can get it in decent running condition, it may be Keri Lynn's car, should she ever get her license. She's finally taking Driver's Ed next year. Since she didn't have a health class through the public school system, she still has to take a drug/alcohol awareness class through the DMV before she can get her driver's license.

Kristofer will probably get his permit at the same time Keri Lynn gets hers which will TOTALLY disgust her!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father's Day

The Daddy with the dramatic one
The Daddy with the youngest one
The Daddy with the athletic one
I just loved this card . . . Look, it's for the #1 Dad, and all the rest are behind him, Dad #32 and Dad #8.
The Daddy gets a big kick out of it.
Opening the gift
The Daddy gets a bunch of snacks that he thoroughly is enjoying this week
The Daddy with the huggy one
We take a moment to stop and admire Kylie's haircut. She wanted a bob with that smushed-up look in the back. So I attempted it! And I think it pretty much worked.
Side view
The important thing is that she LOVES it and brushes her hair every ten minutes to make sure she looks good.
The Daddy with the techy one
The Daddy with the hungry one
Here's the oldest one. Sigh.
And here they are together. So precious to the Daddy.
Happy Father's Day! We love you!

Father's Day = Mother's Day?

Keith just got word that he'll be able to join us for our trip to California after all! He's gotten the week off. He may not be able to stay the full week because he needs to insure that he gets back before he starts work again.

We had a very nice Father's Day. For weeks, Keith has been complaining about the inequity of Father's Day when compared to Mother's Day. So I asked the kids what we should do to make this Father's Day extra special for Daddy. They shrugged, said they didn't know and went back to whatever they were doing.

Kidding. Totally kidding!

Regardless of how Father's Day actually panned out for Keith, I did get some great pictures, and that's all that really matters in the long run.

On a more serious note, I am so grateful for my husband and the father of my kids. He is the anchor and rudder of our family. This is true only because he is a godly man who himself is under the authority of The Anchor and The Rudder.

Right after Father's Day, we plunged into the craziness that is Vacation Bible School. We've already finished our second day, mornings, 8:30 to noon. I'm not exhausted like I've been previous years because it's just me and Keva hanging out. I've been taking my crochet projects with me, along with a book and a notebook to keep me entertained. Kristofer is helping with the tech stuff -- sound, lighting, video, etc. Keri Lynn is helping with the two-year-olds and Kathleen is helping with the four-year-olds. Everyone else is actually IN VBS. We've got a new high of over 400 kids attending this year. That's a lot of energy!

Friday, June 13, 2008

California, here we come!

We've finally nailed down a week for our whirlwind trip to California! We're very excited. It's been a while since our last trip. We'll be staying primarily with Mom and Rich. And we need a car! So if there are any readers out there in the So. Cal. area with an "extra" car that they wouldn't mind giving up for a week -- let us know! And if anyone wants to take us out for a meal, let us know! Or go with us to the beach, let us know!

Mooch, mooch, mooch.

Anyway, here are the dates. Mark your calendar! We'll attempt to arrive in California on Tuesday, June 24 and stay through Tuesday, July 1.

Here's a list of some things (not in particular order) that we're interested in doing with family and friends:

1) Beach, of course
2) Pollo Inka (This is mine!)
3) Park dates
4) Journey of Faith (our old church -- which sounds funny because it's not OLD)
5) My Grandma's place
6) Some kind of girls' night out somewhere!

Keith surprised me last night by saying that he was going to try to get some time off to go with us to California after all. It still is a little up in the air, but we'd finally decided to just go, me and the kids, and he'd have to stay. He hasn't been to California since we moved, so he'd really like to go! We'll have to see what happens.

Meanwhile, Keith has been working in a swirl of details, as he learns his lead position at work. Delta has been trying a new training method with the leads and Keith's group are guinea pigs, in every sense of the word.

I paid $3.96 a gallon for gas yesterday and counted myself lucky. What are you all paying?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Lazy days of summer

We are at a time of transition as summer whirls around us like a feisty twister.

Keith has taken a lead position at work, the first step into management. This means that he gets a little increase in pay and a lot of extra hours. It also means that he's not stuck at the phone but can learn management skills in a big company. It's a good opportunity. He's saying good-bye to his four 10-hour days each week, though, and saying hello to working occasional weekend days. We're hoping that this will give him an opportunity to move up in the company and retain his seniority. If he had moved on to Delta Technology, as he was so very close to doing a few months ago, he would have lost his seniority and might not even have a job right now with the fluctuating air line industry.

I have just applied for a job at Delta myself as a reservations agent (like Keith), but working part-time from home. They are taking applications now. This may be something I can do in conjunction to substitute teaching. And something may open up at the beginning of the school year that will trump all of that, but I want to be prepared if it doesn't. In fact, having talked to some people in the know, it may be better for me to get my teacher's credential through a school rather than through an internship program (as I was planning) in order to get a continued higher rate of pay. Do I make everyone's head spin with all of my flapping-in-the-breeze job talk?

Keri Lynn and Kristofer are back from an 8-day choir tour through Georgia and the Carolinas. (I like saying "the Carolinas" -- It sounds familiar and homey.) They went to churches, juvenile detention centers and even a psychiatric ward to sing. I think they felt right at home at each of those places! They even spent one night at a monastery, getting up at 4:00 in the morning for vespers. What was so amazing about the monastery visit is that no one could talk or text or listen to I-pods for 10 straight hours! I can't imagine doing that myself, let alone see a group of high school kids accomplish that feat. They are exhausted from their trip, but it sure is nice to have the whole family back under one roof again.

Right before they left for tour, someone asked me if our house would be kind of quiet after they left.

I looked at him for several moments, "You do know I have five other children, right? And that the ones left are the noisy ones, right?"

Nevertheless, he proved to be right. The house WAS quieter with the big kids gone. Kathleen became The One in Charge, which she learned quickly isn't always all it's cracked up to be! One night, we all played card games together. It was fun to see the change in family dynamics with the younger kids moving up the ranks. We played until nearly 11:00 pm. Konner fell asleep on the recliner and the rest of us were a little punch silly.

Overall, summer vacation has had an interesting start. Since I am as yet jobless, I've been doing essentially two things:

1) I hang out with just Keva during the day while the rest of the kids do what they do during these beautiful summer days. They go off to play at friends' houses, swim in pools, go on their Slip-N-Slide, play in their sprinklers, eat their food, sleep over, and generally make themselves COMPLETELY at home. I get out my latest Netflix movie, maybe a crochet project, a book and make myself comfortable on the couch. And every 56 minutes or so, I go to the laundry room to put in a new load of laundry in a desperate attempt to get that back under control.

2) If I'm not at the couch, I am in front of the computer. But why, do you ask, don't you see any email from me or blog posts or any other form of communication? It is because I've discovered something very dangerous. It has taken over my life. I'd rather do this than do other exciting things like, say, laundry or dishes or meals. It's Where I play Hearts. For hours. I've tried to reign it in, but I've not exactly shown good discipline.

The weather in Georgia has been very warm and mostly dry. It's been mostly 90 degree temps and an occasional thunderstorm in the afternoons to keep the humidity up. Kade has already had several bad sunburns. As a result, I'm getting better at reminding him to put on sunscreen when he goes off with a friend. Even Konner who usually just tans has gotten sunburned. I can't believe that we're already into our third week of summer vacation.

I've been trying to start a new habit with these warm long days of getting out on my walks a little before the sun goes down. The temperatures go down pretty fast and the sun isn't beating down mercilessly, and it's so pretty to walk in the twilight. I usually have the younger kids with me. Lately they've been collecting the little frogs that are everywhere. Kylie had fifteen of the poor things in an old discarded bottle. Keith brought in a much bigger one that had found a home in the garage -- and I can see with certainty that the small frogs are much cuter than the big ones. (Shudder.)

Speaking of walks, I will now attempt to get dinner done so that I can go on one tonight.