Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Clearing out the Freezer

So I just spent a few weeks making sure I had the freezer fairly well stocked and now I have a need to mostly empty it.  I called a local farm today for information on ordering a whole steer and a whole pig.  The farm raises their animals organically and the prices are a great deal when you get an entire animal.  There is a large up front cost but you save quite a bit in the long run so it ends up being a tremendous help to the budget. I was expecting to be told there was a bit of a wait time or that only one animal was available for a while.  I forgot that I am dealing with a larger organization than the last farm I purchased a half steer from.  I now have both a steer and pig on order for the end of February.  Which means I will be getting at least 300 lbs of meat at once (we are splitting both animals with another family).  I currently have at least 12 freezer meals, 3 whole chickens, a turkey, 2 lbs of ground turkey, 7 meals worth of ground beef, 2 bags of cooked ham, several bags of shredded chicken, about 20 lbs of chicken breasts broken into meal size portions, italian sausage, polish sausage, and a few hamburgers in the freezer. This is just working off the top of my head so I'm sure I have forgotten a few things.  It all needs to be eaten in the next 8 weeks or so.  Or we can plug in the extra fridge in the basement for a short while. I don't like to have both of them plugged in downstairs if I can avoid it but for a short time, I'm sure it won't be that big of a deal.  And I'll have to get a bit creative in packing things in for a while.  I think it is safe to say I won't be buying any meat for a while.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Random Movie Quote

"This once proud vessel has become a floating psycho ward. . ."

Why is it that I feel as if that quote describes our house by the end of the day at times?  You've just got to love the Muppets.

A Mini-Mouse

When Alan upgraded my computer the other day, he realized the wires on my mouse were very frayed and to the point of not being easily fixed.  Rather than buy a new one, it has been replaced with a kind of tiny mini-mouse.  I believe this is one of those things that my FIL got for free in a bag from a conference and we accepted thinking that we were not sure how we would use it.  But now I am very glad we had it because it saved us from having to spend money on a new one.  And because it is so tiny, I had to take picture.  Every time I use this mouse, it will remind me that we are making small steady progress by not running out to buy a new one.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Birthday Alan

Just a short simple happy birthday and we love you.  I hope you have a wonderful day.

Meal Plan

It's the week after Christmas which means Alan's birthday and using up Christmas leftovers.

Monday: cereal(B), pork chops (D) and pistachio cake and pistachio ice cream
Tuesday: pancakes (B), ham and scalloped potatoes (D)
Wednesday: eggs (B), cajun beans and rice (D)
Thursday: cereal (B), spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread (D)
Friday: crockpot oatmeal (B), honey glazed chicken (D) (this is a freezer meal that we never got to last week because we were invited over to spend dinner with some friends)
Saturday: French toast (B), pizza (D)
Sunday: eggs and muffins (B), leftovers (D)

As the last week of the year, I will try to snatch up a few sales at the grocery store before prices go up in January so hopefully I'll be able to stock the freezer a bit.  Maybe I'll be able to find a ham or turkey marked down. We can always hope.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011

 I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  The kids around here are very happy. Most of the assorted paper and plastic and assorted twisty things keeping toys tied down have been picked up.  We only made half the cookies we planned on, only read a few of the books, only got through half the Advent calendar, didn't touch the Jesse Tree this year, yelled a bit too much, and yet I think the kids are still happy.  Katie fell in love with The Nativity Story movie this year and although it does not exactly keep to the Catholic version of the story, it was a great story to share.  The younger ones have loved Polar Express (I just don't get that movie) and the new Veggie Tales Little Drummer Boy movie.  Right now the kids and their Dad are all gathered around the tv watching Muppet Treasure Island.  I do believe that is Alan's favorite Muppet movie and his parents were nice enough to buy a DVD version this year to replace our very old and worn out VHS copy.  So now that dinner has been cleaned up and the kids are in pj's, it's time to share pictures.
decorating the tree

I know it looks like Ellie is decorating the tree but she is actually taking things off the tree.
Ellie and her doll

The before shot

Before Mass on Christmas morning.

Our traditional Christmas breakfast. Everyone gets to pick what they like, a rare thing around here.
Katie and her doll.

Liam's new RC truck.
The Nerf gun conference.
Chuggington trains.

His own fire truck.
Abby now has an Ergo carrier just like Mom's.

Boys and Nerf Guns

I love being a Mom of so many boys.  Shopping is simple with them.  None of them will ever beg for pink anything (have I mentioned that I truly can't stand pink, never could).  Toys easily go from one age to the next. Blocks, cars, swords, and nerf guns.  Just about every boy in the house got a Nerf gun for Christmas this year, including Alan.  (Granted, Alan is now just slightly griping because he would only let me buy a small 2 shooter and now claims he is out gunned by the rest of the house but I kind of say it's his own fault.)  I suppose I should not at all be surprised by the following conversation:
Me: Why is there a Nerf dart in the cupboard?
Gabe: I'm not telling you.
 Yes, I do love having a house full of boys.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Attempting to Find My Desk

Alan upgraded my computer for me this week.  In doing so, he pulled the computer off the desk and unearth a whole ton of junk that was shoved behind it.  So I am not attempting to clear the clutter. I swear this is actually a project I attempt to conquer every few weeks.  But it never fails that as soon as I get the desk cleaned off and walk away, some little urchin wanders along and dumps 10 new objects onto the desk.  You see, if you don't know where it belongs, said object obviously must live on Mom's desk. Or if it's a really big object you walk downstairs and toss it into Dad's office because there is a door there that you can close.  Sigh. It was much easier to be an organized person before I got married and had children.

The point to all of this mindless rambling is I have unearthed several German coins that predate our marriage.  And a scalpel.  And a bunch of random holy medals.  And plastic snap pieces to use with my snap press. And metal snap pieces to use with my snap setter.  (No, I don't have a gadget problem.  I do actually use said objects to make diapers.)  I also found all of the smelly stuff the kids put into their scented bean bags they  made at camp this past summer so my desk smells rather interesting at the moment. And Ellie's ultrasound pictures and Gabe's baptism pictures.  Yes, I do actually attempt to be organized but I must channel my grandfather for just one moment and say if the walls in this house could move, they would be missing.  You see, there are a whole ton of small people who like to move things around when we aren't looking.  And I guess two slightly disorganized distracted adults who often do the same.  If I ever manage to truly clean the desk and put everything where it actually belongs, I will have to take a picture.  Wish me luck because I sure could use it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Decorating Cookies

Ok, this is where I admit that I have not yet started to make Christmas cookies.  I did make a batch of peanut clusters for a cookie exchange because it was something I could making using the crockpot.  I am starting to think I may have a slightly sick love affair going on with my crockpots.  Anyway, the kids have not been lacking for cookies even if I'm not making them.  I brought 11 dozen home from said cookie exchange (which the kids devoured in 3 days) and we brought some home from a friend yesterday (the kids devoured those in about an hour or two).  But I fear now the time has finally come for me to make cookies myself.


To make up for my total lack of domesticity (is that a word? not sure but it sounds good so I'm running with it), I picked up a pre-made kit of gingerbread cookie things at Target the other day.  Yes, I love those pre-made kits when you find them in the clearance section.  Cookies, frosting, sprinkles, everything you need to just hand to the kids and say have fun.  You get points for being a cool mom and your planning time was about zero.  So last night after finishing dinner the kids all got to decorate a gingerbread cookie.  Ok, Ellie did not decorate one. She just ate one but next year I'm sure she'll be in on the fun.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ice Skating

Today we were able to take all of the kids ice skating.  Ok, Ellie and Robert hung out with Dad and just watched but everyone else got out on the ice.  Even me.  Shocking, I know.  My only regret is that I did not get a picture of Gabe but he only lasted for the first hour before he was ready to take a break.  The poor kid spent most of his time laying on the ice rather than skating but he had a big huge smile on his face the entire time.




Katie and Abby can't quite decide if they enjoyed the chance to socialize with girls or the skating more.  Either way, by the end of the afternoon they were both doing a great job on their own. Everyone caught on rather quickly (of the kids, only Bryan and Sean had ever been skating before) and all injuries were minor.  The kids are already planning a return trip so I guess that means they had a great time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Open Letter

I am feeling the need to share this letter that will be sent to our parish priest and pastoral administrator after Christmas.  I feel it is important to share because we all need to be aware of the consequences of liturgical abuse and watch for it.  It is my firm belief that the wishy washy, liberal thinking, God loves you no matter what so just do what you feel and don't worry, let's just keep those butts in the pews at all costs thinking of the past 40 some years in many Catholic parishes has had a very high cost. It has cost a generation of people their faith.  It has resulted in thousands of people walking away from the Catholic Church because they never knew what it was in the first place.  It is the reason why most folks still attending Mass can't tell you a darn thing about their faith. It is the reason people think it is ok to receive communion when they are home visiting relatives just so they don't offend anyone but fail to realize doing so is wrong when you don't hold the proper beliefs.   How can we pass the faith onto a new generation when we lack it ourselves? How can we teach the truth when we don't know what it is to begin with?  Yes, I will be harsh and say if you aren't willing to follow the rules, at least have the guts to admit that you are not following the rules and own up to it rather than insisting everyone else should change.  Anyway, here is my letter.  I'd love to hear your opinion on it.
We have discussed this issue with several folks who are educated on Canon law.  Each of them agrees that having a lay person give the homily or speak during the time reserved for the homily is a clear case of liturgical abuse.  If it is necessary for a lay person to share information at that point in the Mass, it is only appropriate after a priest or deacon has given a full and complete homily and when the lay person is speaking on a topic entirely separate from the homily.  This is not splitting hairs regarding the law.  When quoted directly from the Vatican sources, Canon 766  does not at all use the phrase "the moment of the homily." This appears to be something that is being added in our diocese to justify the current actions. According to canon law 767.4 (which describes the homily and the responsibilities of the priest / pastor / presider in regards to the homily) "It is for the pastor or rector of a  church to take care that these prescripts are being followed."  This unfortunately is not happening.
Each of us as baptized Catholics are called to be in union with Holy Mother Church and the Pope.  We as parents are called to raise our children in the fullness of the faith without watering it down.  We alone are answerable before God for how well we transferred that Faith to our children.  It is our obligation to make sure they see the faith practiced properly.  As such, when we have another option available to us, we simply cannot continue to bring our children to a parish where liturgical abuses are going to happen on a regular basis.  It is our firm belief that these issues are at the heart of the issue regarding folks leaving the Catholic Church today and the ongoing division you see today in the Church.  They are also what frequently is seen at the beginning of movements which lead to schism within the Church.  We have an obligation to dissent from the Bishop in those areas that the Bishop has chosen to dissent from the Pope.  It is our belief that this is one of those cases. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

Meal Plan

Here's the meal plan for this week.

Monday: cereal (B), taco soup (D)
Tuesday: oatmeal (B), leftovers (D)
Wednesday: eggs in toast (B), mini meatloaves (D)
Thursday: biscuits and gravy (B), cheeseburger roll-ups (D)
Friday: pancakes (B), honey glazed chicken (D)
Saturday: eggs, hashbrowns (B), sweet and sour meatballs (D)
Sunday: cereal, cinnamon rolls (B), ham (D)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Liturgical Abuses

I have to say that nothing ruins my Sunday morning more than a blatant show of liturgical abuse.  I just don't understand why a lay person continues to believe even after it has been pointed out that it is flat out wrong that she is able to give the homily.  I also don't understand why the rest of the parish is not standing up and saying "This is wrong."  After getting no where with her, we are hoping talking to the priests about it might help but I really doubt it.  I guess I'm starting to wonder how much we have to put up with before it is appropriate to pull our membership and go to another parish. I hate the idea of parish shopping but I also hate the idea of giving credence to the idea of tolerating things which are not right.  Yes, we do have an obligation to disobey the Bishop in cases where the Bishop (and his consorts) have chosen to disobey the rightful authority of the Pope.

I'm also getting irked by Children's Liturgy when it is attended solely by children over the age of reason.  8, 9, and 10-year-olds belong with their butts in the pew, thank you very much.  And altar servers wearing flip flops, snow boots and dirty sneakers on the altar.  It's not that hard to get a pair of dress shoes and reserve them for Sunday Mass.  It's also not that hard to spit out the gum and take your job seriously.  Sigh.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Two-Year-Old's Sense of Humor

Robert is becoming quite the comic lately.  He loves to laugh and loves it when he realized he can make other people laugh.  His latest thing is knock knock jokes.  I will truly admit that there is almost no such thing as a funny knock knock jokes but they are somewhat humorous when told by a toddler.  Robert's latest joke goes something like this:
     Knock, Knock!
     Who's there?
     Apple.
     Apple who?
     I laugh!
And then he proceeds to laugh because this is where the punch line goes and you must laugh.  The best part is that it is always a real laugh.  The kid cracks me up.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Advent Purge

I know the purge on the sidebar does not appear to be making much progress but we have actually been clearing quite a bit out of the house.  Several boxes and bags are waiting in the garage to leave the house for new destinations and I am trying not to log anything as gone until it is truly, honestly gone.  When the bags and boxes sit in the garage, sometimes little people discover something and it migrates back into the house.

We've filled quite a few extra trash bags with odds and ends and broken toys and ripped books.  Two boxes that were filled with assorted stuff from our last move were finally sorted and mostly trashed.  So we are making slow, steady progress. Much more than is being officially logged as of yet.  Over the next week I will hopefully work on purging the clutter from the top of the bookshelves.  They are a very handy place to put the stuff you don't know what to do with yet or can't have down near the little people. But often once something goes up to the top of the shelves, it never makes it back down.  Must work on that.

And why do I keep a record of the purge on the blog?  I've found if I don't have a somewhat public way to keep myself accountable, the purging simply won't happen. So I am using it to force myself to do what needs to be done.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Meal Plan for the Week

Ok, using a suggestion from yesterday.  Here's the meal plan for this week:

Monday-oatmeal for breakfast, tuna casserole for dinner (Mom and Dad's date night so just the kids)
Tuesday-eggs and toast for breakfast, chicken azteca and rice for dinner (Mom's night tonight)
Wednesday-muffins and yogurt for breakfast, sandwiches for dinner (Boy Scout Christmas party so half of us will be eating there)
Thursday-cereal for breakfast, chicken and broccoli over rice for dinner
Friday-eggs for breakfast, potato soup for dinner
Saturday-hashbrown casserole for breakfast, hot dogs and bratwurst for dinner
Sunday-French toast for breakfast, sweet-n-sour pork for dinner

Normally lunches are planned out as well but not this week. How well we actually stick to this list remains to be seen.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cooking for the Freezer

I am predicting that our local grocery store is going to raise prices in January on several products that they have not during this year.  I'm most worried about meat prices.   Meat in general is getting incredibly expensive it seems and these basic simple staples I've been relying on will likely increase in price in a few weeks. To combat that (or give me a few extra weeks to tweak the grocery budget), I'm buying extra right now and putting ready made meals into the freezer.

Lately I've been working with the Fix, Freeze and Feast book.  I love it because it uses real food ingredients rather than relying on processed fillers.  It's been easy to see how many servings each recipe makes and how big a serving is according to the authors. With many recipes I'm finding that they consider a serving of meat much more than we do around here.  I don't plan on each person eating 3/4 of a lb of meat or more at a time. 

Today I have managed to put 7 meals into the freezer which join 8 other meals already stored away.  I'm hoping to get at least 2 more meals into the freezer tonight and several more on Wednesday.  Now I just need to find a realistic way of tracking the freezer inventory so we use everything in a timely manner.  Any brilliant ideas for me or favorite recipes for the freezer?  I'd love to see what you've got going right now.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

St. Nicholas was Here

Hope he visited your house, too.  And, um, he just might have been seen out at Wegmans around 10:30 or so doing shopping because someone forgot to remind him that he was expected to visit.  Man, that pile of shoes is getting rather big.

Happy Birthday Kieran

Kieran is now officially ten. Double digit territory. I'm hoping he enjoyed his day and will ignore/forget about me griping at him to leave me the heck alone so I could get some rest while the baby was finally sleeping but who knows. Red Robin for dinner, pistachio cake for dessert and a nerf gun for a present. I'm not sure who was more thrilled when he opened it: Kieran or the brothers who were with me and told me what he wanted. Oh my goodness, I haven't seen quite that much excitement over a present since we bought a toy vacuum for Bryan when he was one and he stood there for close to 10 minutes and just said "Oh Wow" over and over again.
Anyway, happy birthday Kieran. Hope you had a great day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

2011 Christmas Card

This year's Christmas card. Check out Shutterfly for your own photo cards, photo calendars and prints. Once again, their promotions and discounts allowed us to get our cards for free.

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Babywearing

One of the most frequent comments I get when out with a child in a baby carrier is "They didn't have those things when my kids were little," followed by "Are you sure that is safe? Can they breathe in there?"  Well, these pictures are my answers to those questions.  And perhaps one of the reasons I try to convince parents to wear their babies whenever possible.   I really don't know what I would do without babycarriers. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blessings

This song speaks to me in ways I can't quite explain.

Happy Birthday Ellie!

Little Miss Ellie turned one on Friday.  She is still such a tiny thing that it is rather hard to imagine she is already one.  She's walking, going up the stairs, perfecting the temper tantrum and in general holds her own rather well among her older siblings.  For their part, the older kids all love her and spoil her quite a bit.  She's a very lucky little lady and we feel beyond blessed to have her in our family.  Happy Birthday Ellie.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Veggie Tales-Where Have All the Staplers Gone

Just because I am in that kind of a mood, I bring you a song which brought a smile or two to our faces while stuck in purgatory, er, I mean the van packed with 9 fidgety children and assorted junk during our vacation. You've just got to love Silly Songs with Larry.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent

It seems like Advent has kind of snuck up on us this year.  I know it really hasn't but for some reason it seemed to come sooner than expected.  I wish I could say we have grand plans for this year but I have decided not to even plan much this year and just see what gets done instead.  The only think I am planning this year is to actually finish reading the book Jotham's Journey this year.  We started it last year and never finished it.  I don't think the Jesse Tree will be done this year although we may learn a bit about it at some point.  We splurged on a LEGO Advent calendar this year for the children.  Perhaps it was about the same cost as buying 8 or 9 of the chocolate Advent calendars but there will be toys leftover that the kids will use long term this way.  We have the Advent wreath hanging from the lights in the dining room this year because we usually run out of space if it's sitting on the table.  Hopefully we will be able to keep the kitchen table cleared for doing a larger Christmas puzzle.  The tree won't go up for several weeks and won't be decorated until Christmas Eve.  I have to find a new place to set out our creche since we have different furniture in the living room than we did last year.  Just hoping we can keep things calm and peaceful and low key this year.  One thing I am going to try to do is another purge of the house.  28 days of Advent will hopefully correspond to 28 items purged from the house.  I figure when you have so much clutter in the house that your belongings are becoming a hassle rather than a blessing, it is time to get rid of a few more of them. But the point of this rambling post is to say I hope everyone has a peaceful and meaningful advent this year. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving





Spent the morning at church with a few of the kids and someone snapped this picture for me.  Just a few of the wonderful people I am thankful to have in my life. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Baby Steps

Sometimes we all take baby steps.






  It is just cuter when some people do it

Holiday Traditions

This time of year I normally have a bit of an internal debate with myself.  I think we all have at least in the back of our minds some sort of idealistic picture we imagine when we think of the holidays.  A time with little arguing, great memories, families coming together to share and plenty of food.  Let's throw in church traditions as well that everyone will agree with.  Ok, this almost never happens.  Instead you often have a few people who had too much to drink and are getting too loud (or talking about now going to another party to drink more when they are already drunk and their parents just sit there and say nothing which is baffling, um, take their darn car keys), a tv blaring, people fighting, someone mad because they think someone else's kids are ruining their perfect child because there is no way their sweet perfect child ever would have done anything wrong, and the always present fight over are we spending equal time with each side of the family.  And other such crap.

The first year we were married, our holidays were spent blissfully alone.  Nice, quiet, peaceful.  The next year we started to feel a bit of guilt for not sharing our son with everyone else but we stuck to our guns and enjoyed a quiet year mostly alone.  Then we started to let that guilt thing creep in.  So we tried having different people over each year (because we both agreed we weren't schlepping the kids across the country or where ever) but it still never gave us a sense of peace.  I guess maybe we are just meant to be home bodies.  Or something.

Each year I try to come up with some meaningful traditions of our own.  The truth is that we are just too much of a fly by the seat of your pants kind of family to have too many traditions.  Our Thanksgiving tradition seems to be that Alan is always working on Thursday.  I can't remember a year in the last 12 when he wasn't working or on call (which means he ends up working at some point) or out of town.  The other Thanksgiving tradition is that the guys in the family do the cooking. This means that on Thanksgiving itself, the kids and I now settle down to movies and finger foods.  I didn't really realize how much the kids looked forward to their Thanksgiving finger food feast until they started requesting items when at the store and threw a minor party when they saw the ever popular fake spray cheese in a can crap that they only get on Thanksgiving. Alan likes to make a real dinner whenever he's home but the years he has been gone, we've gone without one because I am indeed that lazy.

Christmas traditions have evolved rather slowly for us as well.  The tree goes up late in Advent.  Santa visits on St. Nicholas Day, not Christmas Day and he only brings chocolate or maybe a small toy.  (If I'm going to go to all the work to buy the big present, there is a small part of me that wants a bit of credit for it instead of some mythical dude.)  We go to Mass Christmas morning and sleep in a bit.  No presents until after church.  The Advent wreaths with the kids making the candles some years.  We usually make at least an attempt at starting a Jesse Tree and we have a few manger scenes around (with the wise men absent until Epiphany).  Confession during Advent and lately we've been putting off making the cookies until the actual Christmas season (IOW Christmas Day and later).  The tree stays up through the entire real Christmas Season.  We try to read appropriate books during Advent and do some crafts but some years go better than others.  Some years cards go out, some years they don't.

The one thing that is missing from our holidays is the frantic running from one place to another, the scheduling to make sure we see everyone and check off every single obligation.  Personally, I hate to be thought of as an obligation and would rather someone did not try to see me than come just out of obligation.  I will admit to being rather hurt when one family member basically told me they only came to one of our children's baptisms out of obligation, one that we now in their mind had to return.  So we try to avoid the obligatory mumbo jumbo.  We love visitors but we don't love entertaining or feeling required to clean and put on that perfect look.  I guess I'm hoping this year will be quiet, peaceful, restful and full of joy.  Once we got rid of a lot of the obligation and expectations, we found ourselves enjoying our holidays as a small family much more.  I hope you and your family will be able to do the same.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Old Fort Niagara

On Friday we took a trip to Old Fort Niagara.  It was a wee bit cold and windy but the kids were troopers and enjoyed the day. We learned about the history of the fort and the kids were given a bit of instruction in the life of the soldiers who would have occupied this fort.  They learned about the effectiveness (or lack thereof) of the musket, why rifles were not used in combat, why battles were fought how they were at the time and now to properly hold and fire a musket.  I do believe the portion of the day that was spent with the muskets and learning from the French soldier will be the most remembered portion of the trip.


We also learned of the connection between Fort Niagara and The Star-Spangled Banner, although I'm pretty sure the kids have already forgotten.  Like I said, the muskets were the big rage.


We would have stayed a bit longer to explore after our tour but it was getting rather cold and a few kids were complaining about not being able to feel their fingers or something.  So we headed off to drop in on my grandparents for a bit instead.  Nothing like brownies, candy and soda to warm the kids back up.


I'd love to head back to the Fort in slightly warmer weather or perhaps when they are holding one of their reenactments and take Alan with us.  I have a feeling he'd enjoy it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Few More Vacation Pictures

Just a few more vacation pictures. Did I mention that Alan and the older kids spent the afternoon at the beach and saw a group of dolphins hunting fish?  Amazing sight I've been told.
 This is how we pack for the trip apparently.
We discovered that we only have 2 suitcases.  Obviously one day we'll have to fix that.  We do have a few large green duffle bags and I've learned to pack in plastic totes because they are easy to stack in the van and carry so we're good as long as we don't ever have to fly somewhere.
 The view from the front row.  Yes, we turned Robert around for the trip thinking he'd want to watch movies but apparently he gets car sick facing forward, wasn't interested in the movies on the way down and the DVD player wouldn't work on the way back home.  He'll be turned back around for the rest of the winter to get us through the icy road season and keep him safer.  And, um, I think we've almost outgrown the van. Hard to imagine.
Kids with personality.  Everyone had fun spending time with their cousins.  It would be nice to be able to get the kids together a bit more often especially since they seem to have so much in common.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Real Reason for the Vacation

Ok, the real reason for the trip to Florida was to wish Grandpa Herb a Happy 90th Birthday.  We really miss being close enough to see Grandpa every week and being able to have the kids get to know one of their grandparents so well.  He's been the only grandparent they have who was just able to drop in at soccer games and such.  I know the kids loved being so close to him and Alan really enjoyed having a chance to get to know him as an adult.  I know we enjoyed spending the time with him so I sincerely hope he enjoyed having the chance to catch up and see everyone.