Tuesday, December 16, 2014

the banners

My big three with their tie-dye banners from the birthday party.  I wish I had gotten a picture of all the kids and their tie-dye but oh well... 

You can see that no one stuck too close to the tie-dye pattern but instead ventured out with their own "what will happen to this design when the colors start to bleed" ideas!

Isaac and Lydia (both top bunkers) hung theirs from the railing of their bed.

I have three remaining banner-napkins so these kiddos are looking forward to tie-dye round two, probably this weekend.  

And how fun is this?!?!  I was shocked by how well the cake turned out.  It came from a box, y'all!  The colors stayed so bright and the layers didn't smudge together.  We will definitely do one like this again!

Monday, December 15, 2014

a tie dye birthday

Our internet is giving me all kinds of trouble .... ugh.  It's gotten to the point that I can hardly use it at all in the evenings.  Oh well, these things tend to come and go so maybe I'll be pleasantly surprised next week :)  

I started this post 24 hours ago and will see if it lets me finish it now...

We celebrated Julianna's 9th birthday this weekend.  She started the shindig with two friends sleeping over, then after Sunday group and a big lunch together the 11 oldest kids joined us for some tie-dye fun.  

Earlier this fall a friend brought us a tie-dye cake mix and it lit a fire in Julianna that she wanted "a tie-dye party".  We baked the cake Saturday night and after much oohing and aahing the decision was made - no frosting.  The cake was much too beautiful on it's own.  

[I had no idea the color pattern would stay as clear as it did, even after baking.  In retrospect I should have coached the bakers towards using the colors to paint a "9" or a "J" ... we just had a meandering river look going on!]

We tie dyed used colored sharpie markers and rubbing alcohol.  It worked awesome.  Instead of pillowcases or t shirts (vetoed by Julianna, too humdrum) we chose to tie-dye "banners".  I bought a stack of white restaurant napkins and they worked nicely.  

I have pictures but they won't load, hopefully I can come back later and add them.  It really was a fun activity, perfect for my craft loving daughter!  

After the tie dye slowed down we got ready for cake!  A few of the dads had been outside with littler children (no sharpie markers for my John Paul, thankyouverymuch!) and we all gathered to sing and eat.  

These children (and their parents) are among our dearest friends here.  

Such joy to celebrate this daughter of ours together with them.  Julianna's got more celebrating on the horizon too!  We'll do a little something on her actual birthday (the 23rd).  

I'm so thankful for this beautiful little lady, my firstborn.   Happy almost-9th-birthday Julianna!  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

stage make up {updated with more photos}

So it's over.  The girls, well all of us, heaved a sigh of relief.  It was a fun adventure, but we are all weary of the endless rehearsing and schedule changes.

The filming is done and now we wait for the show to air (on New Year's Day).

When I picked up the girls yesterday I was a bit taken back by all the make up.  I am not ready for them to look this grown up.  I am not ready for them to BE this grown up!

They had a great day at the TV studio.  Lydia told me they met some "really famous Chinese people".  I asked her who she met and she said "well, I don't know, but I got their autograph".  ha!  When in Rome... Julianna didn't bother to get autographs.  "I didn't even know who they were!", she said.

Of course, neither did Lydia.

Here are a few pictures of the shindig.  I've seen a DVD of the first level competition so I'm pretty familiar with the performance but I didn't ever see it live.  [parent participation is not really a value of the school system here.]

I got these pictures from Lydia's teacher (no idea where she got them from).  I LOVE Lydia's teacher, such a gentle spirit!  And she initiates with me!

I looked at these together with the girls asking them to fill in details.  They mostly loved the dry ice effects.  Also the screen behind them was apparently pretty fancy stuff.

So that's the end of our jaunt into Tang Dynasty poetry (the theme of the competition - I'm dead serious!  It's a pretty incredible culture than has thousands of years of history to celebrate and now I can boast that Luke, thanks to the big sisters,  has memorized a bit of 唐诗! ha!)

Anyways... enough talk of ancient poetry.

Isaac (who spent Tuesday night throwing up - ugh!) seems to be on the mend, no one else is showing any signs of repeating his activities, and the laundry pile is diminishing once again.  Matt gets home late tonight (his last trip until after the holidays!) and we have a birthday party for my almost-9-year-old this weekend.  Good times!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

TV day (almost)

Today was dress rehearsal at the TV studio.  For me that meant that we, me and the party of five, were out the door by 7:45 am.  Certainly an invigorating start to the morning!  

I 'traded' a child with my neighbor Ashlei, sending John Paul and receiving her Grady.  With Luke in the stroller we headed for the girls school (drop off by 8am) and then back towards home where we stopped in at the boys' school and got Isaac and Grady to their respective classrooms.  The boys' school doesn't accept students before 8:10 and we were definitely on the early side!  

That sweet yellow glow is streetlight, not sunshine.  Though we had two nice sun-shine-y days last weekend things have taken a solid turn towards typical winter weather... gray with a light drizzle all. day. long.  Pleasant.  [ha!]

The girls were home late this afternoon and tomorrow is the big final day.  I'm ready.  And so are they.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

as serious as it gets

This is serious business, waiting for "your day" to do the advent calendar.  With five siblings to share the work it takes a bit of patience :)  Even Luke is quick to claim his turn in the rotation and showed remarkable restraint waiting an extra three minutes until the big moment arrived.

With 24 days to complete, running youngest to oldest , we get through the family exactly 4.8 times.  Sweet Julianna.  Being oldest has major perks, and a few drawbacks.

This year we hung our calendar on the big glass door - it separates our home from the entry porch and during the winter we try to keep it closed as much as we can, helps the house stay a smidge warmer.

Either way, open or closed, it's a great spot to hang our favorite Advent tradition.

Friday, December 5, 2014

your best books?

What are your favorite Christmas books for children?  Actually, feel free to throw in your best Advent/Christmas reading suggestions for adults too :)  

I'm trying to beef up our collection and do a little Christmas shopping at the same time!  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

this afternoon

The girls are back at it - more rehearsals.  As it turns out they did well, really really well, in the competition.  Now they are performing again, this time on television!  ha!  I have zero details at this point, my guess is it'll be on the provincial station?  

My first reaction to this news (more rehearsals, I mean) was a deep sigh.  I was about done with all the drama (pun intended!)  The biggest complaint I have is that I never know when they will finish for the day.... I wait til I get a phone call and then head up to school.  Now school is close, but it's still a trip with the boys and the whole late afternoon/need to cook dinner thing is kind of a big deal.  OH well, surely it'll be done soon.  And I really am excited for them!  Af first they weren't too fired up about more rehearsing but with the "you'll be on tv" news they've perked up a bit!  

So our afternoons feel long and lazy with no 4pm walk to school.  Today the boys colored and cut up some older Christmas themed coloring books and we created manger scenes.  My John Paul is really growing up!  He'll be FOUR on New Year's Day.  And his smile is pretty incredible :)  

Isaac majors on attention to detail, precision, thoughtfulness.

Luke was in my lap (he's a bit of a marker fanatic these days) and the two bigger boys were working hard on their artwork for a solid chunk of the afternoon.  Such a fun way to spend time with my boys (even if I am missing my girls!)

Then came the phone call, and a scramble to get out the door while gluesticks and scissors and crayons scattered :)  Got our big sisters and hurried home to start dinner.... then lights on the tree and finished the ornaments too.  The last four hours were full, but I wouldn't have it any other way!