Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bye-Bye Olympics

The Olympics are over, and we're all sad here. We had to have ice cream after dinner last night because we couldn't think of anything else to do. Well, that's not totally accurate--we actually did take a walk and THEN have ice cream, but everyone went to bed at a reasonable hour. What's up with that?!

I love watching the Olympics. We didn't have a TV at all while I was growing up, but we would rent one during special times, like when the Olympics were on. And then my brother Dan and I would glue ourselves to the TV and watch all the obscure sports you never see any other time with total and complete absorption. I am proud to say that I am passing down that tradition to Nathan and Luke, who are following the path I forged in Olympics watching. Nathan's favorite sport was basketball, while Luke's was swimming. Both of them liked beach volleyball second, although Luke did specify men's. Whew! But they watched pretty much all day, so they also become experts on sports like rowing, team handball, water polo, and synchronized diving. They also are much more familiar with the flags of the world, which all started with the flag game at our Olympic party. Anna's quite up on the American flag at least, so she's got a good start, LOL.

Nathan was pretty faithful at daily filling in the medal bar graph I had made to hand out at the party as well. It was interesting to track which countries were in the top 5 at different parts of the competion. I had picked the U.S., China, Russia, U.K., and Germany to track, but at the end of the first week, the U.K. and Germany were not in the top 5 at all, and everyone was wondering why I hadn't included Australia, South Korea, and France. I probably should have put Australia instead of Germany (who did indeed finish in 6th place), but we have that German family on our cul-de-sac, so I definitely wanted to include them no matter what. What I should have done differently was make the graph go up past 50! I never dreamed China would get over 50 gold medals, so I only had the parameter be 40 for each kind of medal! Even though I don't think they deserved some of their gymnastics golds, the ones for their prepubescent "women", it still is an amazing accomplishment.

I definitely enjoyed the swimming the most. All those exciting races! Track just isn't as exciting to watch. I will say that the new suits pretty much make men look like women, and vice versa. I'm not a fan of them, although I don't really want them to bring back the tiny Speedos either, LOL. Seeing them in diving was more than enough, thank you very much.

I think female swimmers must have a lot of self-confidence in their looks. I mean, to get in front of a big audience, including TV watchers around the world, with your hair smooshed into a lumpy plastic cap, goggles, raccoon marks above your eyes where you had your goggles before the race, and an androgynous suit that emphazies your muscular neck--they all look like frog creatures from another planet. Then I would see them on the medal stand and think, "Hey, she's actually pretty attractive! I never would have guessed!" I just don't have that self-confidence, and that is clearly the only reason why I never became an Olympic caliber swimmer. That, and I'm not really a water person. I'm more of a water-WATCHING person. It's just a small difference.

So now the Olympics are over, and we are getting back to our regular routines. This means me actually exercising, as opposed to just watching other superbly conditioned athletes do their thing, while envisioning myself in that kind of shape (but realizing that none of them have had 6 babies, so of course I'll never look like them. And that's the only reason why.) Actually, when I was doing my workout this morning, Nathan helpfully pointed out that even if I wasn't pregnant, I would always have a bunch of extra skin on my tummy, so it would never REALLY be flat. Hey, thanks! I was wondering about that! I'm going to start putting all my spare change in the "tummy tuck bucket", I guess. LOL!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Facebook Etiquette

So I went ahead and joined Facebook. There are plenty more cheerleading pictures where that one came from, LOL. Fun memories.

Now I'm looking at people to be "friends" with, such as old classmates, and that raises all sorts of questions. Like, it just seems sort of rude and presumptive to ask to be friends with someone I haven't really even thought about, much less kept in contact with, for say 17 years. Do most people say yes if they just remember you? (And again, it seems a little presumptive to assume people will remember me after 17 years, but we did have a small class, LOL.) Is the goal to have as many friends as possible, even if the connections are tenuous? How about if really you are just nosy and want to see what people are up to? Also, when asking someone to confirm you as a friend, should you always put a personal note in there? So far I always have, but I'm running out of things to say. But maybe people don't respond if there's not anything personal? I just don't know. If you have any Facebook insights, feel free to share them! In the meantime, if you're on there, look me up--I'll be your friend! LOL--sounds so junior-high-ish.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cheerleading Past

My brother found this photo on facebook. It shows my varsity cheerleading squad from my sophmore year. Note that we all had the classic and perky "side ponytail" hairstyle. This was actually a big deal for me, as before that year, I did not have enough hair to actually have any sort of a ponytail, side or otherwise. From the picture, it appears I barely had enough hair that year, but I was determined. I was maimed from a disasterous too-short haircut my 7th grade year, and I spent my entire high school career trying to grow it out. My hair is not what you might call fast-growing, and obviously Anna suffers from this gene as well, LOL. She is dying to have enough hair for a ponytail, but I am vowing to never let her cut her hair into many short layers, thereby making it impossible for her to have a ponytail for many years.

I guess I should mention, for the benefit of those who did not know me in high school, that I am the one in the back row on the far right. But you could guess that from the hair, right?! A blast from my past--I guess I'll be thinking about old cheers all day long now, LOL.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Back Down to 4

My parents left Wednesday morning, taking with them Caleb and Jonathan. We will meet up again next Friday, spending Labor Day all together at White Sulphur Springs for the Wright-Pat OCF retreat. To say Caleb and Jonathan were excited about going would be an understatement! They had been looking forward to this for a very long time! They were especially excited about riding in Grandma and Grandpa's car--you know, one of them where everyone has their own door and window! The ride was made even better when Grandpa bought them both a candy bar (well, a roll of Starburst for Caleb) at a gas station. How thrilling! That had never happened before! Now they have a busy schedule of fun in Ohio for the next week.

When they drove off, we launched into "dairy week" here at our house. There are several recipes I used to make but can't anymore because they can't be modified for Caleb's allergies. We are enjoying them all now! We eat healthier when Caleb is around though, LOL.

Nathan and Luke are managing without their younger brothers. I have not noticed any dramtic decline in bickering; however, that is a direct result of them staying up too late to watch the Olympics. I foresee smoother sailing next week when the Olympics are over. They went to a neighbor's birthday party all afternoon Wednesday, and they spent yesterday at a little waterpark not too far from here. Our homeschool support group was going, and so was the high school part of our homeschool co-op, so I knew there would be people they knew. The McCs were so very kind and picked them up and dropped them off, which was wonderful for me. They got there at 11:00 and got back here a little before 6:00. They were so tired! I was glad they had the chance to do this, especially after all Luke's mouth traumas lately. I thought he needed something special! Once again, it was really quiet with only the 2 girls and me, and I napped the whole afternoon along with them.

Last night I went to a crop at the house of a local Creative Memories consultant. I finally decided I really needed one again, and I especially needed to dedicate some time to scrapbooking, since I wasn't doing it consistently at home. I really liked her, I had a great time, and I finished 6 pages. I finally am past Anna's birth! Now if I can just discipline myself to work on my albums regularly . . .

I think that's all that's happening around here. Looking back, I should have had plenty of time for blogging, LOL. I guess I've just been goofing around, watching the Olympics. Next week--back to the routine!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Toothy Update

We've been in a "gain some, lose some" tooth mode lately. Here's what's happening.

Luke: He is down 2 as of today. He got his lower 2 incisors pulled to help make some room in his bottom jaw. The lady asked me if I wanted the laughing gas for him when she called him back, but I said no. I knew it was extra ($50), and I had already told him to expect to be numbed in the mouth. Plus, I had a zillion baby teeth pulled as a kid, with no laughing gas in sight, and I did fine (plus I walked home 8 miles in the snow uphill . . .). He was a little nervous, but he did just fine. Whew! Now he is dealing with the 2 big holes in his mouth. In a related note, he has adjusted to his expander just fine, although it is a constant battle to get the food out of the top of it. The feeling of having food stuck up there drives him crazy.

Grace: She is up an amazing 5! When we were in Ohio, she was drooling like a faucet, her nose was runny, and she was pooping all the time and had a terrible diaper rash. This is how my kids teeth, so I was expecting a tooth. Specifically, I was expecting the fourth bottom tooth in the front, since she had all 4 up top, and a lop-sided 3 on the bottom. But it never came in and never even looked like it was going to come in. Eventually she stopped being drooly, snotty, and poopy, her rash went away, and I stopped looking for that tooth. Two Fridays ago I was playing around with her on her back. I stuck my finger in her mouth and ran my fingers all around her gums. To my surprise, I found 2 top molars fully in! Obviously this was what she was working so hard on in Ohio! Her bottom molars were about to come through, and have since done so, and today I noticed that--hey!--that one bottom front tooth is through too. So Grace has been a busy girl lately. No wonder she had gone back to taking both a morning and an afternoon nap!

No one else has had any tooth issues, although Anna did have some mysterious virus Sunday. She woke up at 3:00 A.M. running a fever. I gave her some motrin, and she went back to sleep, but when she woke up at 8:30, she was just as hot as ever. I gave her some more motrin, and Bob stayed home from church with her. She was still running a little fever when we got home from church at 1:00, so I gave her some tylenol, and then some more motrin at 3:00. This seemed to do the trick, finally getting the fever down. She took a good afternoon nap and perked up in the evening. She slept fine last night, and she seems fine today, so it was just a 24 hour thing I guess. Hopefully no one else will get it. My parents are here to take Caleb and Jonathan back to Ohio for 10 days on Wednesday, and we don't want any of them to be sick for that!


Saturday afternoon we managed to rouse ourselves off our Olympic viewing couch in the basement. We headed over to our local rec center, which was having an open house. What we wanted to see was a fencing demonstration. The rec center is starting some fencing classes this fall, including a homeschooling one, and we had already decided to sign Nathan and Luke up for them (the ages were 7-12). I've always thought fencing was a neat sport, and Anthony is fencing for the Academy. Plus, we watched the women's team sabre bronze medal match on TV, and it was so interesting! We all wished we knew more about how points were scored, so we were hoping to have some of our questions answered.

The McC boys showed up with their dad for the same demo--they also are planning to take the homeschool class. There was only one man there, who kept saying he was waiting for more people, but no one else ever showed up to help him. That didn't really matter. He was a big talker, so he explained all about the 3 different blades and let everyone touch them. He showed all the padding and mask you wear, and he talked about the differences in rules for foil, epee, and sabre. Very interesting. Really I need to go back and watch the team final with him right there to explain the action though, LOL. It all moves so fast.

Then he got all 8 of our boys dressed up, and he gave them each a foil. He explained some basic moves and practiced with them for quite a while. The boys were so excited! It would have been great to see people demonstrate fencing, but actually doing it was even better, especially when they never dreamed they would be able to! At the end he even hooked up Isaac, Caleb, and Daniel McC in the electronic vests and stuff that they wear for an actual match and showed how to get points in each event. (My boys are very slow volunteers, espeically when they are not sure what they are volunteering for, so they did not raise their hands, unlike the McC boys, who shot their hands up as soon as he asked for volunteers!) We were there about 2 hours. We were the only people there for a while, so our boys were the only ones dressed up. More people did trickle in, but they just had to watch! The man did say that when he was done, he would give everyone else a chance to suit up and try on the equipment, but it was nice because we got so much individual attention.

So now I need to remember to sign up online on Aug. 21 for the class. I think it will be a lot of fun for the boys!

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Timely Devotional

This is from my daily Elizabeth Elliot devotional email:


There are dry, fruitless, lonely places in each of our lives, where we seem to travel alone, sometimes feeling as though we must surely have lost the way. What am I doing here? How did this happen? Lord, get me out of this!

He does not get us out. Not when we ask for it, at any rate, because it was He all along who brought us to this place. He has been here before--it is no wilderness to Him, and He walks with us. There are things to be seen and learned in these apparent wastelands which cannot be seen and learned in the "city"--in places of comfort, convenience, and company.

God does not intend to make it no wasteland. He intends rather to keep us--to hold us with his strength, to sustain us with his sure words--in a place where there is nothing else we can count on.

"God did not guide them by the road towards the Philistines, although that was the shortest...God made them go round by way of the wilderness towards the Red Sea" (Ex 13:17,18 NEB).

Imagine what Israel and all of us who worship Israel's God would have missed if they had gone by the short route--the thrilling story of the deliverance from Egypt's chariots when the sea was rolled back. Let's not ask for shortcuts. Let's keep alert for the wonders our Guide will show us in the wilderness.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Luke's new torture device

Here it is: "the expander". Luke got it installed this morning, and I practiced turning it 2 times. I have to put this metal "key", which is on a long stick, into this little hole in the middle of the device. Then I turn it all the way to the back. That's least favorite part, and I can see why, as the stick goes way back in his mouth. SO we get to do that once a day for 25-30 days or so. Then we can stop with the turning, but the device stays on for several more months, until his top jaw has separated enough.

Luke had a hard time eating lunch today. He had chicken noodle soup (they recommended soft foods for the first day), but it really bugged him that food kept getting stuck up there. We have all sorts of little brushes and tools to help keep it clean, but I guess it was just an annoying feeling, so he hardly ate anything at all. Of course, he is one of my skinniest kids, so this is not a good thing! Maybe I need one of those things after the baby comes, LOL.

Poor Luke will also have a rough time next Monday. He is scheduled to have 2 of his bottom baby teeth pulled. That, combined with the expander, should really make his mouth feel pleasant. Lots of ice cream next Monday night! Good thing the Olympics are on to distract him.

Speaking of the Olympics, we've really been enjoying watching them. Of course, the boys miss watching the marquee events in the evening, but frankly, when you're an 11 year old or younger boy, a swimming pre-lim or semi-final is just as exciting as the final! Plus, some of the fun, different sports are shown in the morning, like rowing and water polo. They really got into U.S.'s water polo win this morning! School was done in record time. I'm foreseeing a lot of that these next 2 weeks, LOL. And of course I found a video of the mens 4x100 relay from last night for them to watch. That was just TOO exciting to miss! Go U.S.A.!!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

And then there were 2

Today is the company picnic for Bob's dad's company (well, the one he used to work for, LOL) at the local amusement park. It's a big family tradition that everyone goes to this, but I was fortunate enough to be pregnant again so that I didn't have to go with the girls. Whew! Heat and crowds . . . sooooo not my thing. Add in the swimming, and it's pretty much my least favorite thing.

Caleb and Jonathan were excited; Luke and Nathan were not at all thrilled about going. They both just wanted to stay home. (Awwwww) Nevertheless, Bob left with all 4 boys about 8:30 this morning to drive to PA. They did take a suitcase, and they do have hotel reservations, so they could potentially stay the night, but Nathan and Luke were adamently opposed to that. I have the feeling they'll be back here, although it will be late. Both boys just want to sleep in their own beds!

So it's just me and the girls today. Actually, going down to 2, and having those 2 be the youngest 2, means a lot MORE work for me, LOL. No one to help entertain or fetch things or check on little people who might be just a tad TOOO quiet!

We went on a walk this morning and ended up at the neighborhood playground for a little while. Now it's after lunch, and I'm in the thick of doing laundry. Dirty, dampish boy laundry that has been moldering in duffel bags for a week. I'll leave the smell to your imagination, but let's just call it "skanky". Next, I'm hoping to take a nap when the girls do. Yep, it's a pretty exciting girls' day here!

Camp Caleb De-Brief . . . Fairly Brief

Nathan and Luke made it home yesterday afternoon about 4:30. They were dirty and smelly, but we were all so happy to see them! They both agreed Camp Caleb was "really awesome". So there you have it; hopefully you weren't expecting many more details. Just kidding (a little bit)! I found that when Nathan went up there all alone, we got an exhaustive, setailed description of all that went on. With both of them up there, we got snippets and fragments, all of which were filled with inside jokes and bits and pieces of songs. So I still don't have a very clear idea of exactly what they did, but they both had a really great time.

A few things I know:

--Luke was the hero of the "Cature the Flag" game, where he led a daring raid to free everyone in jail. Apparently, "no one believed he could run that fast and get everyone out."

--Luke's favorite thing was the pudding fight they had after "no hands dinner", which was basically, sloppy joes and pudding, and you couldn't use your hands to eat anything. (But evidently you could use them to throw pudding?) Nathan's group also had a pudding fight.

--Luke's group only had 3 boys (including him), and 13 girls. I personally think this helped him feel confident, as he wasn't going head-to-head with too many boys. He did say the other 2 boys were really into movies, which of course he is not, but it sounded like they all got along just fine.

--Nathan knew 3 people from last year, and another one from the year before. He had a wild camper in his little group of boys who "swung naked from the rafters" in their cabin. This made a big (negative) impression on Nathan.

--Both Nathan and Luke did really well at archery, and had tons of fun shooting the gun. Nathan showed me his target from that, and he didn't do too badly! I think that's his favorite.

--On the last night, Nathan's age group hiked somewhere and had an overnight campout. As they prayed before dinner, they prayed that it would not rain. And then it started hailing. They thought that was funny and hunkered down under their tarps to wait it out. It did eventually.

So that's about all I know, folks. I'll have to get more details later.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The Perfect Summertime Snack

The perfect summertime snack is . . . frozen blueberries. Ed's parents came to our Olympic party, and his mom Lucille brought us 2 big gallon ziploc bags full of frozen blueberries. Elizabeth mentioned that they had jsut been snacking on theirs, right out of the bag, and I thought to myself, "Well, I won't like that!" because I'm not a big fan of frozen grapes. But on Monday, Grace was fussy at the end of lunchtime, and I grabbed some frozen blueberries to toss on her tray while I finished up eating. Of course, everyone else immediately wanted some to, and I tried one myself. YUM!! They are the perfect size to be frozen! I loved them, and we've been snacking on them quite a bit lately! I am making a blueberry snack cake to take to Bible study tonight with some of htem, but we've mainly been snacking on them, frozen. Who knew?! So I just thought I'd share that tidbit, in case someone else had contemplated trying them but was afraid they would taste like frozen grapes, LOL.

Speaking of Elizabeth, she got up early to drive to White Sulphur Springs to pick up Luke, Nathan, and Zachary, even though Zachary was done at the gentlemanly hour of 1:00ish, while Luke was finished at the ungodly early hour of 10:15. So she could have left several hours later, but I am so thankful she was willing to do this for me! Caleb had an accident last night (after many nights without, grrrr), and of course, he and Jonathan were both sleeping on the double bed which is their bottom bunk. So I had to move them into Nathan and Luke's room, but I had washed their sheets yesterday and hadn't yet put them on . . . so needless to say, it was a disturbing night, LOL, and Jonathan ended up sleeping until 9:30 this morning. And I was glad I could just wait until this morning to wash Caleb and Jonathan's sheets instead of worrying about it in the middle of the night before leaving early in the morning to drive. We are all so eager to see Nathan and Luke again and hear all their stories! I'll let you know what they said!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Quiet House

As opposed to the rush and activity of last week, this week has been very quiet. We've gotten a (very) few errands run, and I've checked off a (very) few things from my mental to-do list, but mainly I can say that I've been exercising in the mornings and napping in the afternoons. I'd been thinking that it was easier to keep the house clean with just 4 kids, but then I realized that actually it's just easier because we're not doing school. Hmmm. Oh well, I guess I'm jsut not cut out to be some kind of unschooler, just to keep the house cleaner!

The kid dynamics have been different with having Nathan and Luke gone. There's hardly been any bickering whatsoever between Caleb and Jonathan, and Caleb has loved being the biggest boy. He really wants to be thought of as a "big" boy, right there with Nathan and Luke, so over the past few months, he's been doing things to try to get them to notice him. And, I'll admit, he can be annoying. He has a louder personality. Luke, in particular, has resented all this, and in his particular critical way, has gone out of his way to make sure Caleb does NOT feel like a big boy. It's been a big source of tension, and one which I've discussed many times with Luke, because it's really not a good, honoring attitude at all.

I think the break from each other will be good for everyone. The first few days, Caleb and Jonathan didn't even seem to miss the older boys, but yesterday and today, they've said how they wish they could do _____ with them. They'll all have a week back together again, and then my parents are coming out and picking up Caleb and Jonathan to take back to Ohio with them for "Grandma and Grandpa Camp", for those too young for Camp Caleb, LOL. Caleb and Jonathan are very, very excited about this, and they have been ready to pack their clothes for it since the day we got back here from Ohio. They'll be out there about 10 days, and then we will meet up at White Sulphur Springs for the Wright-Patterson OCF retreat there Labor Day weekend. So I guess we'll test the old adage of "absence makes the heart grow fonder". If not, more character development is in order for September. But it's been nice to have a quiet house for a week!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Cake Wrecks

Here's a fun link for you all today: cakewrecks.blogspot.com . If you've ever made a cake, or even of you haven't, you'll find some pretty vivid examples here of "cakes gone bad". The first page of cakes actually isn't the funniest, but if you keep clicking "older posts" at the bottom of the page, you'll go back to earlier cakes, and some of them are so hilarious. The mis-spellings especially. And some of the baby shower cakes! Oh my goodness! Definitely something to check out when you are bored and want a laugh.

And remind me to never accept pay for any of my cakes, in the event that I really screw up and someone would forward a picture on to this lady!

Monday, August 04, 2008

They're off!

We dropped Nathan and Luke off to Camp Caleb in PA yesterday. It was touch and go, timing-wise, as it always is with us. There is a half-an-hour drop-off window, between 3:30 and 4:00, so I knew we needed to leave about 1:00. No problem!

Well, we had the absolute longest church service ever. It was communion, Mike had a really long sermon, and the guy leading the singing felt the need to introduce every song with some long intro. Ack. To really set me off, Bob had been pressed into service at the last minute (8:30 in the morning) to do children's church, so even if we had wanted to slip out before communion or something, we couldn't. Church usually gets out about 12:15, and yesterday it went until 12:45. We didn't even get home until 1:00!!

The boys changed, loaded their stuff in the van, and we all inhaled sandwiches. I think we left about 2o after, which is an absolutely amazing turn-around for us. But . . . there was construction on I-70, and so we were still cutting it verrrrrry close. We made it there at 3:55. Whew!

Luke was concerned about our potential lateness, but he was still very excited about going. I had wondered if he would get more and more nervous as the time approached, but he didn't. He and Nathan were so cute, packing their bags Saturday morning (yet another stressor for me before the party, as I tried to get socks folded, and so on for them, LOL). He was nervous when we actually dropped him off, and the counselor came to the car to help him carry stuff though. I am really praying that he felt comfortable right away. I was never nervous for Nathan--he's such a happy, go-lucky guy! Nothing really fazes him, not even being laughed at or anything. Luke is not like that, LOL. I just want him to have a really good time. I know this will be a stretching time for him. He and Nathan are in different age groups, so he won't really see Nathan at all. He is very used to having Nathan around, and making friends with Nathan there too. This will be different, as it will just be him. I'm praying he finds a "kindred spirit". We'll see how it goes. We won't know until Friday, when he comes home! Either the other kids and I will go up, or maybe Elizabeth. Zachary is done with support staff at WSS that same day, so whoever goes will also pick him up too. I'm sure the van will be chattery on the way home that day!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A few more pictures . . .

At the teacher supply store in Dayton I found some great Olympic-themed stuff for bulletin boards. The pictographs were a nice touch, as well as the flag border. Caleb is holding the torch I made.
I spent a good deal of time coloring these rings Thursday night with Sharpies. I thought I was going to expire from the fumes. Caleb told me I was such an artist, LOL. He was very impressed by my careful coloring. Yes, I always did get good marks in school for coloring. It's a gift.

We had the table out at its full 10 feet length. It's so nice to have such a huge table. And it's even nicer without the half wall behind it--you can actually move around it so easily!
So here is finally a picture of the "new kitchen", with the hardwood floors and with no little wall. Isn't it nice?!
Of course, this is what the family room looked like while the men were working. They finally finished the trim on the wall this morning around 11:30, and so this afternoon we had to put all the books back in the bookshelf. It looked like a library exploded in the family room. I was about to cry at 2:30, when I was frantically trying to get all the books back in ("How did I have this so they all fit?!"), and I still hadn't taken my shower or finished cutting up veggies, washing fruit, etc. Just a little panic attack, LOL. But everything did get done, and I did get out of the shower before anyone came.

"Let the Games Begin!"

We had our grand yearly party this afternoon, and it was great! This year's theme was the Olympics, which was a timely one. We wanted to kick off and get everyone ready to watch the Olympics when they start next Friday, on 8/8/08, at 8:00 PM local, as we learned in our Olympic trivia part, LOL.

When people arrived, we gave them nametages and a flag, which we put around their neck backwards, so they couldn't see it. Then they had to ask other people "yes or no" questions to try to identify their country, like, "Is it from a country in Asia?" or "Does it have red in it?". The kids did really well at that, and after everyone had figured out their flag, we formed up on the side of the house. Sarah B., as the oldest "competitor", had the honor of carrying the tissue paper torch that I made. They marched around to the front of the house to the "Olympic Fanfare by John Williams, which played from a CD of Olympic music I bought. As they came in front of the adults, they said the country name for the flag they were wearing. Then we began the games.
First we had a "land swimming relay". I divided everyone up into teams of 4, which was a challenge, and the kids picked which stroke they wanted to run across the yard doing. Here you see Caleb McC doing the backstroke.
Next we had a "relay pentathalon", consisting of a running part, then walking on the balance beam curb, then long-jumping across our driveway, throwing a frisbee in a kids' swimming pool ("discus"), and finishing up with shooting a basketball into our little hoop.

Originally, I had thought we would also have a plain running relay, but it was just. too. hot. So we commenced our medal ceremony.

We handed out gold medals to everyone (I had a challenging time finding these, but I finally was successful at Target in Ohio, in their party section. Yay!!). Then I played the national anthem, and everyone sang along with the words, which I had written on the back of the poster of Olympic rings, that you can see David holding up there in the picture. Bob waved the flag around behind David, so it was really nice! I love hearing people sing the Star-Spangled Banner.

Then we rushed inside to cool off in the air conditioning with lemonade and gatorade, while we got the final food touches ready. We had an Olympic-themed meal--pizza bagel bites, spiral deli roll slices, carrots, celery, and red pepper strips with ranch dip, pineapple rings, grapes and blueberries, chips and pretzel rods, and for dessert, 3 kids of cookies, all of which Nathan made, and some cute little cupcakes with sprinkles that our neighbor Theresa brought and were a huge hit with the kids. So did you catch the themes? Circles (bagel bites, tortilla slices, pineapple rings, and cookies), "batons" (all the vegetable sticks and the pretzel rods), and balls (blueberries and grapes. Well anyways, I thought about it, LOL. I had thought maybe no one would be too hungry because of the heat, but the food was wolfed down, and we basically had no left-overs. We ate 180 bagel bites! There were 41 people here! Of that, 26 were kids. Whew! While everyone was eating, I asked them a bunch of Olympic-related trivia questions I had dug up. I learned a lot from that!

We sent everyone home with a photo-copies schedule of events and when medals would be awarded each event, as well as with a "medal bar graph", where they can fill in how many gold, islver, and bronze the U.S gets, and compare that with 4 other countries--China, Russia, Germany, and U.K. So my hope is that everyone went home excited to watch the Olympics, and knowing a little bit more about them.

So that was our day. It was tons of fun, but now I am so tired. At least I am done for the year with big parties!! I am going to post some more pictures of our decorations, but after that, it's bedtime! Tomorrow is another big day, as we leave to take Nathan and Luke up to Camp Caleb right after church.