This year we started a new tradition that adds to
our advent calendar. This is our new elf Gilligan (the kids are supposed to name him) and he hangs
around the house every day to spy on the kids for Santa. Then he magically flys back to the North Pole each night to report whether they've been good or bad and then comes back and hides in a new spot.
I found this at Hallmark and was intrigued (after hearing about some of my friends doing something like this last year) for a few reasons. 1st -- it's fun. 2nd-- it's perfect for blackmailing your kids.
Gilligan came with a story book explaining that the kids need to be good in order for him to return to Santa and get their treat (I added the treat part since that's what I usually do every December with our advent calendar) which they find with Gilligan each morning. We've gotten creative with where to set him (it has to be a high spot so the kids don't touch him and make him lose his magic) and they have a great time finding him every morning. (At least they sound like they're having fun. It's hard to tell at 6:30 am when I'm trying to drown them out.)
Can you find him?
So far he's worked brilliantly. When the kids are driving me crazy all I have to say is, "Gilligan's watching."
That's what Thanksgiving was full of this year. Several of Jason's cousins we hadn't seen in awhile traveled this way and with their kids and we ended up with a lot of little boys around the same age. They ended up having a pee-wee turkey bowl of their own! (Sorry the images are blurred--I didn't have my camera so I used my phone. I actually like the effect.)
Ok, so mostly they liked to jump on top of each other and wrestle. The older boys understood the concept of football a little better than the smaller ones. (Like McKay, who waited until there was a dogpile and then jumped on top.)
Here's most of the group. (The ones we got to hold still for a few seconds.)
Like today. Today was funny. (Not funny ha ha-- the other kind of funny.)
Fridays are pretty low-key around here. Hunter doesn't have school, I don't teach lessons, and no-one seems to plan their vacation on the weekend. Usually I use Fridays to clean, catch-up, and recooperate from the rest of the week. I spent today laying in bed for too long, cuddling with the kids while we all stayed in our pj's for hours on end, finishing a few scrapbook pages, making some phone calls, looking at blogs, and all sorts of lazy-day things that made sure I didn't have to venture out into the cold and rain.
Then suddenly, my calm and low-key day turned very torrential very quickly.
Both my cell phones began ringing at EXACTLY the same moment. I'm not kidding-it was weird. I grabbed my iphone and then ran to dig the samsung out of my messy purse. I didn't recognize either number so I hesitated. I stood there, looking ridiculous I'm sure, ready to pounce on one or the other, but unable to decide on which. Finally, on what I'm sure was the split second before it was about to stop ringing, I answered the iphone (which really should have been a no brainer since that's my business phone). It was a potential renter who wanted date verification and all sorts of information immediately, so I got hopping on that right away.
Then within the next 15 minutes all of the following happened:
As I was typing a rental contract the timer on the oven beeped reminding me that the small loaves of pumpkin bread were probably done, but the big loaves were not.
McKay started whining about nothing in particular.
The small loaves of pumpkin bread were not done, so I put them in for another minute.
I finished the contract and called the rental company. As I was on the phone McKay announced that he wanted to be held. The timer on the oven beeped again.
The small loaves of bread were done, so I took them out and convinced McKay that they were too hot to eat right away. I sat down to type an email to the renter and send the contract while holding McKay.
I sent the email and realized that McKay, who I thought was done taking naps, was asleep on my shoulder.
I put him in bed and then returned the phone call of the person who had called my other cell phone. It was a teenage boy wanting voice lessons. While I was on the phone with him, the doorbell rang. (I am NOT making this up.) It was the UPS man dropping off a large package (thanks mom!) and picking up a small one. I hung up with my new student, dealt with the nice UPS man, and the oven timer beeped.
The large loaves were finally done and Hunter started begging for some. I cut up a small one and gave it to him with a cup of milk. I went back into my office to make some notes about my new student and finish up the rental stuff. The lady from the rental company called back and asked me to email her some pictures. So I did.
Hunter asked for more pumpkin bread. I finished my stuff and then joined him...waiting. Nothing else happened.
Suddenly the storm of activity was over and my Friday was back to normal. I thought, "that was so weird" and then immediately had the impulse to call my sister and talk about it. She didn't answer and my mom is on an airplane right now so I'm blogging about it instead.
(Yes, my blog friends, you're my 3rd outlet for inconsequential stuff that I feel like talking about. Now aren't you grateful that I can usually get a hold of one of them?)
Living next door to the church has many perks, one of which is using the parking lot for bike riding. The funny thing is that when we moved in I was pregnant with Hunter, and I remember thinking, "Someday I can teach this kid to ride a bike over at the church." And here we are.
Hunter's teachers sent home a blank "turkey feather" that each child was supposed to decorate with their family and return to school to be placed on a large turkey. There were no guidelines, we were just supposed to decorate it. I pulled out some stickers and puff paint and then decided to trace Hunter's hand. Then I told him I thought we should write things that he was thankful for all around his hand, since that's what Thanksgiving was about. He like that idea, so I prompted him by saying, "So what are you thankful for?"
Without hesitation he said, "Jesus."
I hesitated. Are you supposed to write "Jesus" on a school project?
I quickly said, "What else?"
I considered this for a split second, then wrote in a prominent spot "Jesus and Heavenly Father".
You know what? Who cares if this is a school project. How am I supposed to teach my kids to "stand for truth and righteousness" if I shy away from sharing our beliefs no matter where we are?
I praised him for his train of thought and then we proceeded to list all sorts of other things, as I silently thanked Heavenly Father for this sweet spirit he has sent to me.
My little pirates were ready to go get some candy.
Checking out all their booty! (Yes, some of our neighbors actually gave out bags of candy.)Hot dogs, chili, and fritos for dinner and a bowl Halloween witches brew to drink. And a little craft. It was a perfect night.