Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Full house...


While many headed south for spring break, we stuck it out here in the cold, SNOWY yuck. With the exception of our trip to Cincinnati, we endured less than stellar weather, and I dreamed of sunny, sandy beaches and warm ocean breezes. I am such a whiner, I know. But, I'll tell you, nothing warms the heart more than a house full of people you love! Saturday afternoon, just in time for a late lunch, Kylie (one of Caroline's China sisters) and crew rolled into town! As our afternoon festivities were about to begin, Mindy arrived home from her trip to South Carolina (MAN, I missed that kid!), and within minutes, Alex (boyfriend) was on the scene (feels like I have five kids, a good way). We were joined at dinnertime by my neighbors returning from their trip south! The house was overflowing with noise and laughter, and any and all semblance of order was abandoned...I couldn't have been happier! We had a wonderful time!


Keeping up with Caleb was no small challenge!

We spent Saturday afternoon playing outside and wearing out the shutter on my camera. I was particularly enamored with a little boy named Caleb. Oh, MY! I honestly don't know how in the world they EVER discipline that boy. He is beyond cute, and when he grins, OY! Now, I do have my own heart-melting son who, at birth, had an Elvis-style head of hair and came equipped with a chubby-faced grin that would charm the hardest of hearts, so I know cute. I might add that cute has saved his hiney in many a circumstance. And Caleb...he's right up there! He's all boy, too! Mickey was pretty taken with him, as well, and enjoyed some male bonding for a change.





Caleb played "hard to get" with all of us,

including Abby...

We skipped naps and sent the guys...with little ones in tow...on a hunt for firepit fodder while Kristi and I stuffed Easter eggs. Ian was on camera patrol and did a great job! Click here for some adorable pictures of that from Kristi's post. Then it was on to an Easter egg hunt! Mindy, Alex and Abby went out to hide the eggs while we kept the younger kids occupied. Mindy, by the way, was so relieved to have made it home in time for all of this! The thought of not seeing any of them or meeting Caleb and missing out on all the fun with the little ones was more than she could bear. Do I have great teenagers, or what?



There was one slight snag in my fun little Easter egg hunt. I went to the basement in search of buckets and returned victoriously, or so I thought, with four of them. As soon as they laid eyes on them, pleas went up from both little girls for "the pink one". No level of negotiation...or offers of bribery...brought a solution. Trying to encourage Caroline to be generous and let her guest use the pink one resulted in a major no-nap fit. I was SO proud. Kylie wasn't giving in either, at first, but I think she honestly felt a little sorry for Caroline when I put her in her room for a cool-down. Either that or her parents are toddler whisperers. In an effort to save my parental ego, I'll say that I can usually reason with Caroline, but when she digs her heels in, it's not pretty.


Caleb did not understand why

he couldn't have the eggs on the tree!




The hunt for prized eggs picked up speed at the end...


I'm not the only Mamarazzi in town...

I made one last-ditch effort when she came downstairs. I told her that Jesus wants us to share even our favorite pink bucket with our friends. She looked at me with all seriousness, sniffed back her remaining tears, and said, "But it matches my shirt." Heh.



"What candy?"



Should've saved this one for "Wordless Wednesday"...



Just as I snapped this picture, I heard

Kylie spontaneously tell Caroline, "I love you"...

Click on the photo to view the entire image...

Dinner was delicious. Can't take much credit for it...Jon did all the grilling, Grandma Dotty brought mac and cheese, and Sam's Club took care of the potato salad and fruit. We capped off the evening by sending everyone outside for s'mores, hoping to grab a few minutes for some girl talk. To no avail. At one point, I was on a series of about twelve interrupted sentences in the span of seven minutes. We finally chased everyone into bathtubs and bed.


I caught Kristi blogging before she even left my house!

Amazingly enough, we were on time for church the next morning. Our new (fairly large) church is a good 20-25 minute drive, and if our timing is off, we hit the late-comer traffic. With the margin for error slim, I made sure we were all up and showered early for Palm Sunday! I had warned Kristi and Ian that our worship tends to get pretty loud, as in "rock out" loud. Of course, except for a couple of songs, it was fairly tame that day, and I think they thought I was nuts. Thankfully, Aaron Pelsue, our worship leader, did rock out on I'm a Revolution. Interestingly enough, someone from their church in North Carolina hired Aaron at our church a few years back. Small kingdom, eh?


This was Kristi's reaction to...


...this. Who needs a tissue when you've got a mama?

Still speakin' to me, Kristi?

We dodged a thunderstorm and some serious rain on the way home. We made hot grilled sandwiches and munched on chips, fruit and salads for lunch. Then we sent all the little ones to bed for much-needed naps. The afternoon was filled with preparing a major mexican fiesta for dinner...enchiladas, tacos, salsa chicken...I had drooling teenagers, to say the least. We broke out the cards after dinner and played Grump...apparently, it goes by a few other regional names so Kristi and Ian were familiar with it. Based on Solitaire, it's a high-speed partner game where all teams plays on the aces in the middle. It can get somewhat physical and stir up a competitive spirit in even the most laidback person. It's a rite of passage in this family. I learned the game on one of my first family dinners with Jon and his family many years ago, and now our teens are beating us at our own game! Their hand-eye coordination is SO much better. It's best not to play with spouses...or boyfriends. Poor Alex didn't know what hit him on his first night of Grump. His only word for the game was intense. Kristi and I turned out to be well-suited partners. Wish we could play together more often...we'd give those teens a run!


Kristi just figured out why Jon and Mickey were winning...


Cold, hard evidence, boys...

Late in the evening, Jon and Ian graciously took over the bedtime routine so that Kristi and I could finally have some time to chat. Our chat lasted into the wee hours, but it seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. What I love about these relationships we have with these families God brought together in Guangdong, China, is that it's the type of friendship that distance doesn't affect. It really does become family. We finally crashed, and, all too soon, it was morning and time for our dear friends to head on down the road. Jon and the older three had already headed off the work and school, but Caroline and I got in a few last minutes as they had breakfast and packed up the car. I think the girls were worn out. At one point, they were on opposite ends of the sofa (at Grandma Dotty's next door), sucking their thumbs (a sure sign of exhaustion) and getting on some serious TV face. Poor Caleb tried to climb up and join them, and they promptly bounced him off their sofa.


AACK! Kylie is totally cut off in this one!

Click on the photo to view!




Our last laugh came with goodbye hugs. Be sure to click on this flick'r link to see all the (170+) photos from the weekend, including a series of shots in which the hugs from sweet Caleb were less than enthusiastically received and resulted in a pile-up on the floor!


We loved our time with part of our dear China family and so wish we had the opportunity to do this more often with the rest of that family...our door is always open...I can almost guarantee that the house won't be perfectly clean, there will probably be dishes in the sink and laundry in the upstairs hallway, and you will most likely be lucky enough to witness stray decorations from at least three recent holidays. But you'll eat well, we'll laugh much, I'll take loads of pictures, and...if you play your cards might even get to play Grump.


Visit Fireworks and Fireflies to read Kristi's posts of their visit here, here, here and here...


Ally said...

Looks like you all had a wonderful time. Great pictures of your memories together.
Hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day!

Kristi said...

Somehow I missed this fun trip down memory lane when it was posted the other day! So it's your turn to head south, I promise I'll feed you just as much delicious food...
Thanks for making us feel so welcome!

Tricia said...

I finally checked back in to see the pictures. Looks like all of you had tons of fun! Love the pictures and it does sound like you have wonderful teenagers.