Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Day

The highlight of our trip, was of course Christmas!

The morning brought all the noise and laughter of 22 people unwrapping gifts -- but first there was a spontaneous dance party.

Did even Uncle Mike join in??

Then came the exciting gifts:

Bow and arrows for Colsen
Shoes and football game tix for Strider

Giant bear for Rayna
Miles and his thumb patiently waiting...
And a microphone and guitar set for Miles!
 (Yay, more noise!)

Finally, in the evening we had the traditional pageant performed by the kids....
Sam and Rayna were Mary and Joseph
Miles took his role as Baby Jesus very seriously
The angel appeared to the shepherds
The wise men came to Tebow worship the baby
The whole cast
And then Christmas was over.  :(

It was time to say goodbye.....  Until next time, Frank Family!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's Off to Ohio We Go...

For Christmas this year, the Frank family gathered in the Hocking Hills region of Ohio.

 We packed the van to the gills (makes no sense, I know), and endured some long hours of quality family time together on the way.  This was the first year I was really wishing we had some sort of video player while driving.  Somehow we survived without it, though.

I have to say, traveling without a young one who needs to nurse, nap, or be changed, is much easier.  (Did we ever take a trip with a baby during which the baby finally fell asleep for a much needed nap and then 5 minutes later someone announced that they had to go to the bathroom, so we drove around a gas station parking lot, launching the bathroom-goers out the side door, while keeping the car running and moving at all times so the baby wouldn't wake up....and then he inevitably did anyway??)  Yeah, we didn't have to do any of that this time.

Anyway, we fiiiiiinnally arrived.... and pulled up to this, so it was all worth it:

We were happy to see each other -- and to start exploring the house!

Of course, a few of us found ways in and around the house that made others of us shriek:

There were plenty of acres to hike...

 .... a hot tub to plunge into....

... and an outdoor brick oven to cook in!   We made pizzas the first night, and it was still hot enough the second day to cook some sweet potatoes and squash in for the next dinner.
 The pizza production line inside:

We made so many pizzas that night that we had enough for several more meals!

The kids also enjoyed the fact that there was a basement theater room...

And between all the cooking and hiking and hot-tubbing and movie-watching, we had plenty of time to just hang out and enjoy being a family -- and playing the celebrity game, the couch game, euchre, and the yankee swap game.

Fun times with the frolicking Frank family!

Will post Christmas Day pictures tomorrow....

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Our little Mozart

Miles was playing with a toy on the couch yesterday afternoon and when Strider realized what he was doing, he told me I should come see how Miles was like a young Mozart.

I have a hard time picturing little Wolfgang Amadeus doing this, but it was fun listening to little Milo anyway. Always nice to have some Christmas music around!  :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Poetry "Slam"

Last night I got the camera out to video the kids reciting some poems.  Of course silliness ensued.

I did get a few serious recitations first.... For example:

After Rayna kept rushing through hers, I told her to slow down, and this is what we got:

After I got at least one good poem/speech from each person (ask Strider to do his full monologue for you --he refuses to let me post it on here!), they started unraveling...

This one is the kids' favorite:
True poetry "slam?"

This one is my favorite:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fighting in the Revolution

I took the younger 2 boys to Latta Plantation last week for one of their homeschool days, and they had such a "blast!"  (Rayna was spending the day with her grandparents.)

They learned all about the Continental army and the Loyalists and the Redcoats and the plight of the soldiers... it was quite fascinating.

Then, the commander got them all lined up and started "drilling" them:

Drills like this (video):

After he decided they passed muster, he handed them all muskets!

They were divided into 2 camps and started shooting at each other. (Cole and Milo were Brits)
Colsen and Miles both kept hitting the ground.... good technique I guess?

Afterwards we were able to tour the big house, and then hear a presentation by a man pretending to be a slave, telling about their lifestyle and showing the objects they used to use in their cabins.

Finally, it was time to meet "Father Christmas."

The field trip came at the perfect time because we had just arrived at the point of the Revolutionary War in our books and co-op class,  Over the last week whenever I read to them, they always want to use their break afterwards to run out in the backyard and pretend to fight as soldiers.  The other day Miles had the BB gun, since he was a British soldier, and Colsen, the poor Colonist soldier had to make-do with 2-by-4's, saws, etc.

I love seeing them so excited about history!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Church celebration

Sunday evening was Redeemer's dual-purpose celebration:  Jesus' birthday AND the church's birthday.  So, after a barbecue dinner, we were treated to a variety of special performances.

Rayna, Colsen, Miles, their friends, and their teacher all played their violins for a few songs.

Video sample:

(That's me playing the accompanying piano!)

Then Colsen quickly changed into his costume to assume the role of King Herod in the children's pageant -- which was a complete riot.  The lines were funny, the kids were unpredictable and funny, and we all had a great time watching.  One of my favorite parts was watching Colsen "die" by falling out of his throne onto the floor, and the scootching away behind the curtain.

To commemorate the church's anniversary, I was asked to write a script for a slide-show/video.  Here is the finished product:

Church of the Redeemer Birthday Video

Our church community is so awesome!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

St. Nicholas Day

Saturday night was our big St. Nicholas Day celebration, and, as always, it's one of our favorite days of the year.  This time we assembled the "original" crew -- the same families we celebrated with back in 2007.  The families, and kids, have grown significantly since then!  It was fun to have several teenagers in the mix this time... They all used to be so cute and little!



Back to 2014:

After our St. Nicholas bingo game and loud and crazy dinner (which ended with the adults trying to have intense conversations about sermons, church polity, and spiritual needs while the big boys were racing through with little, shirtless boys on their backs), we got the crew outside from some shenanigans in the dark.

Love this crew:  2 boys from each family!  (We sent them all in Blair's car.)

After this fun time with friends, it was time to get back home and get the little ones to bed.... "with hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there!"

Our neighborhood always nicely times their Christmas celebration near St. Nicholas Day, so this year again our kids to to see Santa during our Santa weekend!