Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Who Am I?

Can you guess which of my kids this is about?  

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I've recently started wearing my brother's blazers to church and to school.  

I randomly decide to bake yummy things and deliver them to people's houses…for no reason at all.  

I make dinner, including homemade tortillas from scratch,  without using any recipes.  

I drive my mom bonkers with my late nights and early mornings. 

I am the happiest one of all that there have only been two full days and two part days of school in the last two weeks.  

I hate writing essays with every fiber of my being.  

I accept babysitting jobs that pay in treats instead of cash.

I've recently begun receiving stacks of letters daily from prospective colleges.

Who am I?  

I am Cami Rose--
the kind-hearted, hard-working, beautiful oldest daughter in the house! 

I am loved!

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PS  Cami didn't know anything about this blogpost when I wrote it.  :) 

Friday, January 24, 2014

20-months

Glen took the day off of work today to drive to Harrisonburg and  take Spence to the oncologist for his 20-month check-up.  We are inching ever closer to that 2-year post-treatment mark, which is a big hurdle to get to and I am pleased to say that...  
It is all still good!!!!

Now they are hitting the town and having some good old-fashioned guy bonding time (eating and watching a movie), while Cami is running in a track meet, and the rest of us have settled at home after an evening of running kids here there and everywhere.

Yay for normalcy!    

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Clinic stats:  
WBC=4.6    RBC=4.72    Hgb=16.0   Platelets=156

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Looking Good in Any Weather

On Monday it was 60-degrees and sunny.

The kids spent all day outside playing.

Then on Tuesday we woke up to this...

Temps dropped into the single digits, the wind howled, and five inches of snow fell...  

 School was canceled for three days in a row (in addition to having Monday off for MLK day), a fact which may have induced a tad bit of silliness at our house...

The wind was blowing too hard to play outside much, but we did get get to do a bunch of shoveling...

which of course required a good dose of hot chocolate afterward.

Today it was all of 15-degrees or so and this is how I found Adam playing football outside with his friends at homeschool co-op….

Besides the genius pairing of shorts and winter boots, I hear that red and orange is the new black and white!

Stay Tuned:  Fashion Seminar by Adam--only $2784 per session (or a plate of homemade cookies).  Sign up here for great tips on color pairing and how to be fashionable in any kind of weather.  


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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mom Time

 Being the oldest in my family means that I also have the oldest grandkids for my parents.  In fact for ten years I was the only one in my family to have ANY kids of my own.   Shortly after Ellie was born though, the baby boom started and now there are eight cousins from my side to share the love with!    And lucky for us six of those eight cousins happen to live within 50 miles of us!

 Being the sole proprietor of Crain grandkids for so long, meant that grandparental trips out East usually revolved around our house and doting on the kiddos.  So imagine my surprise when just a couple weeks ago I started hearing rumblings that my mom was coming to town soon and nobody had bothered telling me.   She was going to be a mere 30 miles away and her visit had nothing to do with us.

It turns out that my brother and his wife were accompanying another two of my brothers on a trip to Spain, Morocco, and Portugal and my mom was coming to babysit their four children.  I couldn't stand the thought of my mom traveling 2000 miles and me not seeing her, so I've been thinking of every excuse possible to spend time with her.  We spent all afternoon and evening there on Friday, had them all over for dinner on Sunday,  and then went back and spent all day on Monday to enjoy the MLK holiday with them.  

The following photos were mostly taken on Monday and are some of my very favorites.  It was a gorgeous day that day -- about 60 degrees and sunny.  The kids spent most of the day outside and just soaking up all the cousin and grandma time!

 We laughed when I took this picture and realized that the only three grandchildren that are missing in this photo, also happen to be the only three brunette grandchildren (Spencer, Andrew, Madeline).   Apparently we have some strong blond/light hair genetics going on!

Little baby Jack was absolutely in love with Grandma.  He wouldn't willingly go to any other person besides his mom, dad, and grandma.  Here he is helping himself to grandma's dinner! 

This is Bridgette and McKenzie FaceTiming with their parents.  I absolutely love how happy they look to see them! 

All of us were eating up the chance to dote on babies/preschoolers!  It's been a long time since we've had one of those around our house!

Lincoln loves his grandma too!

This was a common sight on Monday--lots of dress-ups and lots of chasing the baby around.

It's easy to see that my mom is a seasoned pro when it comes to taking care of kids, because they all flock to her!

I also enjoyed my little kid time.  

….and my mom time!  

After all the beautifully mild weather on Monday, on Tuesday it got really cold and started snowing.  We got about 5-inches of snow, which may sound kind of wimpy to all my Minnesotan friends, but it's a lot for Virginia--more than we've had in three years.  With the super cold temps in the teens (again relatively speaking), the snow is not melting and my kids haven't gone to a single day of school yet this week and are home yet again tomorrow.

My poor mom thought she was was only going to have one kid home with her during the day while she babysat, but it turns out that their county has already called off school for the rest of the week and she's had a houseful every day.  

Although I don't think my mom minds too much, I do think  she might need a nap when she gets home!  


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Idiot

I woke up in the middle of the night last night to someone yelling the word, "Idiot!" 

It was me.  

Yelling to the bad guy in my dream. 

It made me think of that crazy lady at church who crumpled up, colored on, and ripped up a brand new $100 bill--just to teach a lesson.  


Oh yeah…that was me too.


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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Floating Lanterns Over Mexico

While I really wanted Cami to keep blogging about her trip to Mexico, she keeps talking about how hard it is to sit down and write a fun blogpost when she has an AP Lang essay to write.  Or AP calculus homework to slave over.

So I decided to give her a pass this week and write it up myself.  

This will be the final installment of blogposts about her service trip to Mexico to help build houses.  (Click here for part 1 and part  2)

On the final night of her trip--after the houses were finished and presented to their new owners--all of the participating families gathered for a real Mexican fiesta!  They started off the fiesta with some mediocre Mexican food at a seaside restaurant, then headed out for a real treat--the opportunity to live their own Tangled moment (sans the serenade)!   

She said that the effect of the lanterns floating over the Bay of California was absolutely enchanting...

and the perfect capstone to an amazing week!  


Thank you to my Uncle Buddy and his family who welcomed Cami with open arms on their family trip...

and allowed her to have an experience of a lifetime!



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Friday, January 17, 2014

Catching Up

Sometimes I just need a blogpost to recap a whole week at a time.  Here's a glimpse at this past week (since Sunday): 

*After an entire month at home for Christmas break, we brought Spence back to JMU on Sunday afternoon.  It's been surprisingly lonely and quiet around here without him.

*Sunday evening  our YW presidency held a  super  planning meeting for the whole year that went all the way to midnight.  It feels good to have calendared out the year, but it got my week off to a sleep-deprived start!

*Speaking of sleep deprivation, I've been trying to be more consistent with my exercising routine and by golly if that doesn't make me more tired too!  (especially the getting out of bed earlier each morning).

*I am helping the Laurels (the 16-18 year-old young women at church) create a cookbook that they can take off to college and missions with them.  They're submitting some of their easy family favorite recipes and I am formatting them for the book.  On Tuesday we had a photo session where they each brought a dish they'd made and I took photos of the food and the lovely young chefs! (see picture below)

*We've been learning about European geography this week at homeschool and I taught the kids all about the Berlin wall. I told them how I'd been there in 1987 and had seen both sides of it before it was torn down a couple of years later.  I showed them a photo essay about it and was surprised when I found myself very emotional when going through the pictures with them.

*My mom is in town watching my brother's kids while they go on a trip to Spain and Morocco.  It's so weird to know my mom is a mere 35 miles away and I haven't seen her yet.  We hope to remedy that this weekend!

*My 6-year-old niece in California faceplanted it onto the sidewalk while their family was out on a walk.   She knocked six teeth out or loose and dislocated her jaw.  The poor girl had to spend 2 days in the hospital because she couldn't eat or drink anything.  I got a small glimpse of how helpless it feels to be so far away from someone when they need love or support.   She is doing a little better now, although it sounds like she is still in a lot of pain.

*As part of the geography studies, my kids have been having fun creating sentences from country names.  Here's a sampling of their work:

"I am Hungary for Turkey Greece."
"I had to Russia a Czech to my Swiss bank account."
"Italy's boot kicked us in the Netherlands and caused us Spain."

*I taught geography at our homeschool co-op on Thursday and on Sunday I will teach the young women about their divine worth, so I've been studying, studying, studying all week.   Although teaching has never been my strong point, I am happy that I'm growing to enjoy it more and more.

*Oman.  The kids had so much fun with it, now I'll Finnish up by telling you how Iran to scrub the Greece off of my China and now there's Norway I'm going  to do that anymore.   It's way too Chile for that.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Favorite Present

So what was the kids' favorite Christmas present this year?

Here are a few clues:

*it clearly has nothing to do with hair care or grooming

*it  wasn't any more winter clothing that Adam could refuse to wear

*it definitely was not a rake 
(how long do you think it takes leaves to decompose on their own?)

*and it definitely didn't involve any new pets


....

So what was their favorite present?  

A slackline!  


Poised a couple feet off of the ground, the kids make their way from one tree to the next teetering, bouncing....


and laughing the whole way!

I love that it gets them outside more and that it's something they can all enjoy together.
I am very glad that it has the guide line above for them to hold on to, so that they don't end up like Dwight did in this clip....




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Some other favorite presents:
Emma: weaving loom and some new clothes
Ellie:  pioneer doll set and a lap harp
Adam:  microscope and Monopoly
Spencer:  laundry supplies, a new coat, and a few textbooks
Cami:  trip to Mexico and some nail polish
Glen:  tools and a stereo system
Lara:  new macro camera lens (from my brother Nate) and a new kitchen

Monday, January 13, 2014

Building Houses in Mexico (Part 2)


Today my mom blackmailed me. She told me I either had to help clean the kitchen or write her a blog post.  It was almost like she was asking me to steal her blog again. (shh, don't tell her I actually wanted to write another blog post!) So anyway here I am typing away contentedly while my mom and dad slave over the dirty dishes :-)

The first time I stole the blog I told you about the out-of-this-world awesome Christmas dinner we had our first night in Mexico and how I got there. Now the story of my craziest Christmas ever continues with us building houses!

No, you didn't misread that. Cami Goold, the teenage girl who loves nail polish and cupcakes and hates nothing more than yard work was actually building a house. And I LOVED it! For three days I worked next to my Aunt Debra, Uncle Buddy, Hannah, Ethan, Isaac, and 20 other families cementing brick walls and tarring roofs so we could give the best Christmas present ever to 2 families. It was definitely hard work but I cherished every second I spent working beside awesome people and learning awesome skills to build awesome houses.

Here's a glimpse of the work we did:

{First we built the walls from the ground up. There were a lot of cinder blocks and even more cement involved.}

{Hannah, Isaac, and me with a big pile of cement}
{Me and Hannah cementing some more.}
{After the blocks were stacked and glued we poured cement to fill the walls.  Those buckets were HEAVY!}
{We took random breaks from building walls to move piles of dirt.}
{Hannah and I had a good laugh about this guy photobombing our picture}
{Once the boards were in place we went on the roof to help nail them down.}

{After the walls were all built up, supports for the roof were put in and we helped pass up boards.} 

{Working on the roof was new, a bit unnerving, and totally 100% awesome.}

{After the boards were in place we used thick, black tar to glue down shingles. I learned later that the only way to remove tar from your hands is to wash them with gasoline. yay.}

{This is what 20 families building houses in the desert looks like. Awesome.}


{After just 3 days working on them, this is what we left the houses looking like. Another group will come in a few weeks to finish the inside and present them to the families.}

After we finished working on the houses we started, we went to the houses that were started last year by another group to finish them up. 


{Me, Ethan, and Isaac moving a huge pice of dried cement out of the yard.}
Once the 2 houses were fully furnished and shiny clean we got to do my favorite part of the entire trip: present the houses! Since the families receiving the houses don't own cars Buddy and Debra went to pick one of them up from their previous house shack.

{This is the tiny trailer a family of 6 had been borrowing from a friend to live in.}

{This is the house they live in now, thanks to Families Helping Families.}

{the living room.}




This is the family Buddy and Debra drove to their new home. When they were presented the house they were so elated they were literally speechless. Afterwards

{the bathroom}
{The kitchen}
{one of the bedrooms}
{This family had 7 kids! We never saw their previous living situation but all I know is how happy they looked when they got to walk into their new house.}

{This is the family Buddy and Debra picked up and brought to the new houses. When they were presented the house they were so elated they were literally speechless. Later that night we were talking with one of the organizers of the FHF project and he told us what happened after the family walked through their new home. The dad walked up to him with tears in his eyes and just gave him a big hug. This man works as a dish washer at a restaurant for 12 hours a day. He leaves work twice a day to BIKE his son to and from school. For this man and his family we gave up just a few short days of our winter break and in return they were able to finally have a steady roof over their heads, a blessing I take for granted every single day.}

{Me, Hannah, Ethan, Isaac, Uncle Buddy, and Aunt Debra with the end result of our 3 days of building.}


  Building houses in Mexico was hard work but it really didn't feel like work at all. When people ask me how Mexico was I usually can only come up with an unimpressive "it was so awesome!" because I can never find words that adequately describe how great it really was. But when it all comes down to it awesome really does describe just about exactly how I felt about the whole thing. So totally awesome. Another awesome thing is my Aunt and Uncle. I cannot speak highly enough of  Buddy, Debra, Hannah, Ethan, and Isaac and I am so grateful they let me tag along with their family. 






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