Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's Not Too Late

at least, it's not too late THIS TIME!

It's been ages and ages since I entered one of the fun contests over at 5 Minutes for Moms. Mostly cuz my computer is so slow and reading up on the many cool things they offer over there ends up taking me so long to do.  But that's EXACTLY why this particular contest looks so perfect for me.

Click on this button and check it out. They are giving away some really great stuff. NOT the least of which is a very sleek, compact, and FAST notebook. (I had to ask my sons: apparently a notebook is no longer a spiral-bound mass of lined paper waiting to be filled with pretty words! It's a little mini-laptop. Who knew?)

Head over for yourself and see the other stuff they are giving away. Maybe you'll get something great out of the partay?


The Rest of the Easter Pics

Not a lot of original quippy things to say to go with the pics, though. I was up laaaaate and loooong last night with Li'l E. She coughed so hard she threw up. Poor thing. We bonded in the steamy hot bathroom after I cleaned her up and calmed her down enough to loosen up her chest. Somehow, she managed to wake up perky and happy at 6:10 a.m. It's 9 a.m. and I'm STILL dragging, even after Shaggy let me sleep in a bit by taking over the other kids' morning routine for me.

But here's the rest of our Easter fun for your viewing pleasure...

"Is this going on the blog?"
Well, just for that, yes!

"Hey, this Easter thing is pretty fun."

All prettied up for church.
Yes, I realize we do have three other children.
But they are boys. And they have recently
developed an aversion to the camera.
And, unfortunately, an affinity for pranking Momma
at the very last second before I click, when I do get them
in the frame. Ugh.

Two of the three tables set up downstairs
for our capacity-crowd Easter buffet!

Hiding with cousin Gawah from the hustle bustle
while we got the buffet up and running.

Thrilled to have my parents with us for the day.
So thankful for the beautiful family they created.

Cutie pie cousins, hangin' out and hammin' it up.
Something tells me these three are gonna
keep us hopping in the years to come!

There you have it. The Gang's Easter wrap-up.
Celebrating the Resurrection of the King of Kings
was made all the sweeter for the great time we all got to
spend together with (most of) those we love.
I say "most of" because I always miss my Massachusetts sister
more than normal when the others are gathered here and
they are absent. It's a rare thing to have all of us
together for more than one holiday a year.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So Loved. Sharing The Love.

My bloggity crush is hosting two really big, special giveaways, to help raise funds to bring home her TWO precious girls from China.  You really need to check out the fun going on over there.

The first give-away is called SO LOVED. You can ready about it by clicking on the adorable button strategically placed here in my post. It'll take you straight there, like some kind of super-duper high speed magical transporter. Give as generously as you can to help bring home little Poppy and Esther to their waiting family.

You automatically get entered with every donation for some pretty sweet prizes.  And even better?  It's an investment in two sweet little girls who need to come home to their Mommy and Daddy. It's an investment in a family that is heeding God's plan  to build their family through special needs adoptions. It's an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy way to DO the Love Of Jesus. Cuz we're all supposed to be DOING that stuff.

So Loved

The second give-away is called SHARE THE LOVE.  You can enter that by posting on Facebook and/or your own blog about the SO LOVED give-away. Literally, you will be "sharing the love" by telling others. And if you do that, you can be entered to win some purty stuff.  Click HERE to see what you can win. 

Purty, huh?

So, there ya have it. Some bloggity clicking to keep you busy and to get the word out about cool prizes, a really cool family, and some fun stalking.

Ooops. Did I say that out loud?

And don't forget, when you click there,
tell her The Gang's Momma sent ya.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Am a Ditter, I Am a Ditter!!!

~ Or, Scenes from Spring Break at The Gang's house ~

Me to LadyBug:  "LadyBug, you should put the book down now and play with your sister."

LadyBug to Me:  "Oh, can I just finish this little bit? I'm almost done, I promise."

Me:  "Okay, but make it quick, she's waiting for you..."

I immediately hear pounding feet racing through the house.  Li'l Empress bounds up to LadyBug and hops up and down in front of her. Poor LadyBug is trying to finish the last three pages of her final book of Spring Break.

Patting her own chest for emphasis, Li'l Empress declares, "I am a ditter! I am a ditter!"

And when LadyBug didn't move quite fast enough to put down that book and play with her "ditter," Li'l Empress leaned in really close and whispered, "LadyBug, I am a ditter. You can play wit me."

When it comes to girl-time with her "big ditter,"
there is NOTHING wrong with that girl's hearing!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot

Food. Family. Fun.
It was a busy Easter holiday.

It started early on Saturday, with a little mani-pedi action
for the girls. Getting ready for their Easter finery.

While Daddy was installing curtain rods
and light fixtures.

And leveling floors for vinyl installation.

We colored eggs.
And talked about the Resurrection.
And sin. And new life.

Look closely.
LadyBug does a great job of keeping
Mei Mei on our minds and in our hearts.

Prepping the baskets and leaving them sit empty
just increased the sense of anticipation!

And all that was just Saturday.
I'll do the rest of our holiday fun and festivities
in a follow-up post.

I might even throw in a favorite family recipe for you.
If you ask really pretty.

Right now, I need another cup of coffee.
I have an Easter holiday hang-over.
I haven't eaten that much sugar in a long, long time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On Raising a Strong Willed Child

I believe I may have mentioned once or twice around here that our Li'l Empress is working hard, daily, to live up the meaning of her Gaelic name - "little fiery one."  She's sassy, spunky, and opinionated. I may worry about a lot of things with this girl o' mine, but self-advocating is not likely going to be one of those things.  Here's just a snippet of the things that have come out of her mouth recently.

This morning, sitting in the right-turn lane at a red light:  "Red mean top."

"Yes, Li'l E. I'm stopped."

When I see it's all clear, I make the right on red.
Which, in my state, is perfectly legal.

From the back seat, "MOMMMMMMMEEEEEE!
You mut top at red. Red mean top!"


When she's trying to make a point and someone interrupts her, 
she screws up her little face and declares, "I not talkin' to YOU."


Thanks to Dr. D, she's now running around the house mumbling
and then pointing both index fingers at the closest sibling
and yelling in a growly little voice, "Wick Woh'd!"

We're trying to get that one on video, without her knowing we're filming her.
She's a sly one, tho. Always sees that darned camera coming.


When driving to school on a sunny morning, I've taken to pointing out
the newly blooming trees and flowers. The other morning, I pointed out
a purple azalea bush and a pink tree.
 She got a little snippy with me and wouldn't look at the purple bush.

She said, (in a pitch perfect imitation of her tween sister)
"Mooooommmmmeeeee, I DO like pink trees."
Like, "duh, I'm so over purple, MothER."


Every. Single. Time. The Boss and/or I leave the house, she demands to know, 
"Who gonna be in chawg?"
Like she has some first right of refusal or something.


And the "why." Oh, the why.
All of a sudden, literally in a day and night difference, we are in the "why" stage.
One day, Shaggy got wise to it. And played along.
He answered so many of her "why?" questions that he actually
got down to Original Sin.

Yessir. My oldest teaching my youngest about Adam and Eve
choosing to rebel against God by eating an apple.

WHY? Because he could.
Serves her right!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot

OMIGOSH!  I just looked, and it's been 17 days since my last post.
Heh. I feel like I'm sitting in a confessional.

"Bless me Readers, for I have fallen behind. It's been 17 days since my last post."

Heh. I kill me.

Anyhooo... I knew that the first three weeks of April would seriously kick our collective hiney around here but I had NO idea just how hard the pace would be on all of us. We are spent. Run-down. Worn out. And ever so grateful that the three and a half weeks of calendar crowding and overlap of activities is finally over.  I am so over it.

But in the midst of it all, there were some great highlights. Shaggy has earned almost enough to begin seriously looking for his first car. Dr. D has blown out some of his personal records in triple and long jump, now that he's training with the varsity team. Baby BlueEyes rocked a science electricity project that several moms told me about when they went in for the presentations (the memo about which I must have missed?), and Li'l E had two successful drop-off's in a row in which she allowed me to unbuckle her and open the van door to her teacher without me walking her in to the classroom. Can we hear a Hallelujah on THAT one, my friends?!

The most exciting of all the highlights, though, was LadyBug's Wind Ensemble season. Two weeks ago, they performed a full-length concert of 11 or 12 compositions and KNOCKED. IT. OUT. OF. THE. PARK. Beautiful music was made, ya'll. Beautiful music.  And then. . .

LadyBug's Elementary Wind Ensemble had earlier been chosen to perform at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association's Conference held in Hershey on April 14.  So, with a ton of other eager parents and chaperones, and 66 of LadyBug's ensemble friends, I traveled this past week for an over-nighter to the conference. On Wednesday, we took a couple huge buses and a trailer full of equipment, stopped at Sh@dy Maple for dinner, and headed to a hotel for a good night's rest before the kids' early performance on Thursday.

The kids that I got to chaperone were 3 of LadyBug's close friends and a really sweet group of girls. We hung out at the hotel and watched Americ@n Id0l together till lights out. I enjoyed getting to see the girls interact and handle themselves in such a "grown-up setting."  Since I didn't get any parents' permission, I'll only share pics of my gal. But trust me when I say, their sweetness and cooperation made the work of caring for someone else's kids a total pleasure.

Getting ready for bed and giddy about tomorrow's
performance already!

I was totally impressed by how well these kids handled themselves. Getting them up was no big deal. Being ready on time (for the performance of a lifetime!) was easy. They all looked beautiful, in their concert black and whites. They took total responsibility for packing all their stuff up, sweeping the room one final time (each!) for things left behind, and for getting down to the lobby on time (early, even!) for the bus's departure. They really made my job so pleasant.

And the concert? I struggle to find words to describe just how beautiful the experience was. They all settled right in, warmed up, and got down to the business of tuning up and focusing. And when the music started? Let's just say that I fought tears of pride for the whole concert. THE. WHOLE. THING. Several of the songs were quite poignant and moving, while others were light-hearted and fun. At one point, even the conductor (whom we ADORE!) had tears in his eyes.

They never sounded better than they did
at this performance. They completely knew
how big a deal this invitation was and they
ROSE to the occasion. Every one of them.

What the kids (and the conductors, for that matter) did NOT know until the end of the concert is that the composer of two of their songs showed up for the performance. He was completely wowed by the kids and told the directors that, in his opinion, they ranked among the best elementary bands he's heard across the nation. The conductors were totally pumped that he was there and that he was so impressed with their work. And when we got on the bus and they told us about the encounter, I was really impressed to see how it connected with the kids. They GOT it. They realized the importance of this occasion. Of that composer's feedback and praise. It was an experience that they will never forget. I know I will never forget it.

After their performance, the kids got to walk around the exhibition hall. It was really crowded and full but so much fun for the gang. Each of the kids brought their mouthpieces and had the chance to try out various "high end" instruments. The price tags on some of those shiny clarinets was enough to make me hyperventilate but it was so great to see my girl so enthusiastic about her instrument and be totally into THAT kind of bling! That's the stuff that will last a lifetime, you know what I mean?!

I wasn't the only one shell-shocked
over the sticker prices!

As a "kudos!" for a job well done this season, the overnight trip also included a visit to an outdoor activity arena. For the rest of the day, the kids wore themselves out and celebrated with pizza, go-karts, mini-golf, batting cages, and arcade games. While we chaperones chilled out and soaked up the sun for a few hours. It was awesome, because we had the whole center to ourselves, since it didn't open to the public till after we left. Talk about a perfect chance to burn off some steam and enjoy the fruits of their labors!

That's the LadyBug, burning up the curves!

Waving to her adoring fans Momma...

Good thing she plays clarinet better than
she mini-golfs.  Hee hee hee.

Posing with my girl.
It was so cold and windy in the shade
that these smiles are totally fake!

I'm so grateful that I took the time and opportunity to spend this time with my LadyBug. Participating in the trip, getting to watch her interact with her friends, witnessing that amazing concert? It was all an amazing privilege and honor. It was such a wonderful trip and again, a memory that both of us will treasure for a long, long time, I'm sure.

And now? I think that concluded the last of the crazy calendar that was our April. I think I might actually have a "normal" (I know, what is normal anyway?!) week ahead. It's a good thing, too. This Momma can't take much more excitement 'round here. And I really need to grocery shop.