Monday, January 27, 2014

Fifty-Eight Enchiladas

Our second-born, Joey, turned 18 this month.  Don't ask me how that happened. I asked him about it in the car the other day, and he said, 'Well, Mom, I grew up. I'm a man now.' I think I turned and looked out the window, so he wouldn't see his Mama's misty eyes.
He is a really great young man.  He loves Jesus, and he loves people, and he is obedient and hard-working and innovative and wise.  And on top of all that, he's really cute.
For his birthday, he usually has one family over for dinner and games (our family tradition), but this year, we have a bigger home.  And he's 18.  And he's thinking of heading to music school in Kansas City this fall.  So we decided to go for it.

We all had a fabulous time.  He invited a lot of older friends and some of their fathers. He said, 'Mom, I'm not a boy anymore.  I want some fathers to be at my party.' Cool.
We prayed for him, and the men headed down to the man cave for a 4 hour long foosball and pool tournament.  We had prizes like chocolate and cheese puffs and Starbucks for the champs.  Guess who won the coffee?  Yep.  Joey and his Dad. The apple really doesn't fall far from the tree.
The Group.  Joey is lying across the guys in the front.
Danny and Friends
Hannah and an old friend, Beth, getting reaquainted

While the guys were competing and yelling downstairs, I was in the kitchen with an old friend of mine, getting the food ready for the soon-to-be-starving hoards.  And if you've never cooked for a group of hungry young men, let me tell you this.  When you hear them starting to ascend the stairs, you had better have the meal ready. Like NOW.

And hence the title of this post.  Fifty-Eight Enchiladas.  Oh yes I did.  Five pound of ground beef, a pound of rice, four and a half bags of tortillas, 2 1/2 pounds of beans, three pounds of cheese, three heads of Romaine, six tomatoes, two English cucumbers, a Costco bag of tortilla chips, 13 two-liters of soda, twenty pounds of ice, four half-gallons of ice-cream, Hershey's syrup, a box of cookies, six Heath bars, caramel sauce, various other condiments and toppings, and a large bowl of homemade whipped cream. Phew.  I think we'll be eating bread and gravy for the rest of the week. But it was worth it to make these guys happy. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Unpacking Our Old Friends

Our great room is finished!  The wall and windows are bare, but we can use the room, and we are just really enjoying it.  Even the grumpy old bears come out of their caves downstairs to hang out with the rest of us!  We finally have a room that fits us all!
And this morning I got to *after 10 months of having them in boxes* unpack my wonderful old friends, our BOOKS. Each book we've read over the years has a special place in my mind. They are a connection between me and my children and our learning.
Piles and piles of Children's books, History books, Missionary stories, Science readers, and just plain good literature.  Ahhh....

All morning as I unpacked and helped with school and answered the wrap-up questions of the construction crews, our kids just sat all over the room reading, coloring, playing with Lego, writing speeches, and doing math.  Here is Ellie, coloring in her book, on my favorite purple couch.  The couch I haven't sat on since last spring.  It was a good morning indeed.

My Sarah found and unpacked a box of her fun things.  It was almost as good as Christmas.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

We're Getting Closer!

It appears that the Sargents are moving again.  Not out of this house, but into it. Again. Did I say 'again'? The great room is almost finished - hallelujah! The two huge brown tarps that (dis)graced the area between our living room/kitchen and the new room/school room for 3 months are NOW GONE.  We all yelled and ran around when we yanked them down from the ceiling! It has taken some time to get used to the new look, but I think it's very nice and open and cozy.  That's partly because there isn't any furniture in there yet.  Or people.  Or empty tea mugs.  Or stacks of books or piles of pencils or Legos or snow boots or grocery lists or stuffed animals.  Yes. I am enjoying the peaceful, immaculate look while I can.  
This used to be a garage! The color is Cornerstone, by Behr.  It's not as yellow as it looks in the pictures, but it's soft and light and we really like it. Kind of like French vanilla ice cream.

From the living room, looking toward the great room and the school room.  And see that big JVC box under the window?  That's our Christmas present from Kenny's sister and her husband.  It's a flat screen TV.  I think they got napkin rings and hot cocoa from us.

View from the school room

The new room has been a super fun play room for the kiddos, while we wait, and while we stay indoors this winter.  It's been quite a cold, snowy few weeks! Some of the younger ones were thinking it would be better just to ditch the whole carpet/furniture idea, and keep it this way so they can yell and run.  Kenny thought maybe some rubber walls would be nice too....

This week promises to be just about nuts.  We just came off of our first speech and debate tournament, lasting 4 days.  And now we are heading into one of those weeks- where we are moving furniture and preparing for the carpet and laminate flooring to be put down. After the flooring is in, furniture will be moved again, and we'll have the great room to set up, the living room to set up, and our bedroom to clear out (all the books and bookcases for the new room have been stashed -in piles ready to avalanche- in our room). Then we plan on painting our bedroom and setting it up.  So yeah, it is kind of like moving in.  Again.

In fact, tonight, the four older girls got excited and decided to clear out their rooms, vacuum and rearrange them, in anticipation of our new house!  While the big girls did theirs, I bravely signed up to help Sarah and Ellie. We were almost done, when I noticed some things between Sarah's mattress on the floor and the wall.  Let me just interject here- I really could have just walked away.  Called it good enough and gone to bed.  I really should have walked away.  But I just couldn't do it.  I took in a deep breath, pulled the mattress away from the wall, and longed for Heaven. After summoning some small people in to rake out the items, I just sat there, stunned.  And you know, I really shouldn't have been stunned.  Why?  Because this is just deja vu for me.  Been here.  Done this. Sorting out half-sandwiches (No. I really did not find half-sandwiches in there. Yes, I did), Playmobil, 14 books, 5 pencils, 6 dirty socks (none matching), 7 Beanie Babies, hair pretties, colored chalk, scraps of paper, Michael's missing water bottle, a wooden tomato, a toy I'm just sure I put in the Goodwill bag, and one-half of the children's Nativity set was easier than it should have been.  Because I'm a pro at this. My kids are amazed at how fast I can clean their piles of stuff. I always tell them, 'In Heaven, everything goes where it's supposed to.  And nothing gets broken or goes missing for months.' In Heaven. But not here.

Aside from the recurring trauma I suffer from finding those piles in the house, we are all very happy to get this place one or two steps closer to feeling like a finished home. The unveiling of the new room was really very exciting, and the whole family is ready to help. We'll keep you posted!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Children Make Me Smile

If there ever was a Kenny Jr...
Not quite sure about this one...

Just a really hard day

Joey and Hannah, chillin' at the Roadhouse

Yes, I'm sure Ellie really is listening to the sermon.

Emma and Mom aren't too sure about Tommy's homemade marshmallows.

Our morning crew

Thomas and his 'Uncle Doggie'

These kids can even make 1970's wood paneling look good.