Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Extra Bedroom

We live in a 4 bedroom house. When we first got married, the bedrooms seemed about right. Emma, 4 1/2 years older than the nearest girl, got her own room (the smallest). Brooke and Rachel, just 2 1/2 years apart, share a room. And the 3 boys, 1 1/2 years from oldest to youngest, share the largest bedroom. A "bonus" room above the garage, it is plenty big enough for 3.

Then along came George.

As an infant, we kept his bassinet in the master bedroom. But after several months he was ready to move out.

We had a spare room downstairs off the kitchen. The floor plan called for it to be a dining room but we never planned to use it as such. It was carpeted and didn't have a hanging light like you would expect to find in a dining room.

We decided to move the 2 girls down there. Partly because they spend part of their week with their mother, partly because they generally keep their room pretty tidy. They like being downstairs during the day, closer to play in their room, but at night they felt lonely, far from the rest of the family. Like any new room, it took a few days for them to get used to it.

Victoria did a great job setting it up. She blocked the wide entrance (to the front living room) with bookcases on the living room side and a beautiful quilt made by the girls' grandmother on the new bedroom side. The doorway to the kitchen was temporarily closed off with a curtain.

Well after several trial months we decided we would go ahead and put a real door in the doorway. I went to Lowe's and got a pre-hung door. The doorway was wider than the door and frame so I needed to narrow down the opening by about 2 1/2 inches.

My good friend Randy volunteered to help out. He has a garage full of power tools, and is much more skilled and experienced in home projects than I am. Randy and I got together on Friday and ripped some boards to the right size to use as spacers to narrow the opening. We added some shims and leveled the door on all sides. Randy used his power-nail-gun to secure the spacers and the door frame. Thanks Randy!

One funny thing, when Randy left about all that was left was to attach the doorknob. I put the spindle in and wanted to see if it was set correctly. Rachel and I went in the room and pushed the door shut. Oops!

The spindle fit just right and latched the door shut. But I had neglected to attach the knob, and now the knob was on the other side of the door than us. Rachel and I were trapped inside! Brooke came to our rescue but couldn't get the door knob apart. She eventually brought Victoria and Rachel and I were set free!

We still need to put up trim to finish the doorway but this room is now more of a room. My sister Chris was here a few weeks ago for George's birthday, and mentioned something about the kids playing in the "extra bedroom." In a family of 9, I'm not sure there is such thing as an extra bedroom, and we had a good laugh about this.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Scott tissue Cloggiest Moment Contest

Well, Scott Tissue announced the winner of their Cloggiest Moment contest. It wasn't us, but I think our entry is just as funny.

A Very Impractical Joke: the adventure of the toilet squirter

With 6 children in the house, we have a LOT of cloggy moments. One Christmas, our son got a practical joke kit. Along with the fake gum, spoon with a fly on it, and bar of soap with a hidden spider, came the now infamous toilet squirter. A toilet squirter is a little rubber ball you fill with water and set between the seat and the bowl. A clear pipe extends from it and when you sit down, it squirts your bottom.
He tried to play the toilet squirter joke on his 13-year-old sister. The prank failed miserably when the squirter was jarred loose, she didn’t see it, and it got flushed. The squirter and some toilet paper remained jammed in the toilet for days. We drained and removed the toilet. My husband tried everything he could think of to knock it loose, all with no luck. Finally, our friend lent us his plumbing snake and that did the trick.
Much to the dismay of our children, Santa never again left anything quite so cool as a toilet squirter.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Pizza Review - Pizza Hut

Tonight we got pizza from Pizza Hut. We got a CheezyBites with half bacon and half cheese only, and a medium thin crust pizza with half pepperoni and half bacon.

Pizza Hut has a deal where you can get a medium pizza for $7 with the purchase of a large so our total price was around $20.

The CheesyBites don't taste much different than a normal Stuffed Crust pizza but it is kind of neat to have them in bite-size pieces.

Rachel said "It was good and I liked it. I liked the CheesyBites the best."

Luke said "It was pretty good. The pizza was a little greasier than I like."

Victoria said "It looks like a big flower. Unique and delicious."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Online Dating Carnival

Check out the Online Dating Carnival. They have a cool story about how Victoria and I met!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Pizza Blog Hosts Contest

My other blog, Pizza Delivery Stories, is hosting a free basketball contest for the ESPN Tournament Challenge. Check it out!

Monday, March 12, 2007

Life's Greatest Question

What is the meaning of life? Man has been searching for the answer to this question for centuries. Up until recently, typing it in to Google was not among the top methods used to try to find the answer.

In church this morning, Pastor Jim interviewed John Beckett, Chairman of RW Beckett Corporation and author of the book Loving Monday. They showed that if someone does a Google search for "the meaning of life" (as well as several other key terms), they are shown a sponsored link to the site, Life's Greatest Question.

This is a site Mr. Beckett created to give his personal testimony "using non-religious words" as he said. The site is currently getting about 35000 visitors per month, and of those, about 1 in 8 is making a decision for Christ through the website!

Powerful stuff!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

'Til The One Day When This Lady Met This Fellow

(Pink comments added by Victoria.  I love this story of how we met and I'm so thankful to Kevin for taking the time to type it up.)

I thought I would write about the beginning of our family of nine, or how Victoria and I met. I was a divorced dad and had been living on my own with the kids (half time) since the summer of 2001.
I had tried online dating, mostly Yahoo! Personals, but also and eHarmony. I really thought this was a good idea for me, for several reasons:
  • I was older and didn't have many friends or peers that were single.
  • I had the kids quite a bit and didn't have alot of time or money for conventional dating.
  • I was comfortable with computer technology and able to go online often
So I had personal ads online at several sites. It seemed to me that there were many more guys online than girls so the numbers were not in my favor, but I still tried. I replied to some ads and had numerous online chats. Some of these led to phone conversations and a few of these led to dates.

I did have one date, a trip to Cedar Point, with a girl that I had never even spoken to before our first date, every communication we had up to that point had been online. That was our only date so maybe it wasn't such a good plan.

So anyways, at the time I was also spending lots of time in an online Euchre league, and at the same time chatting online with Yahoo! messenger, where I was known as kev_cleve.

Well one Saturday night in May as I was playing cards, I got a little heart message in my system tray, which meant I had a Yahoo! Personals reply. I was quite surprised since I had only had I think 2 girls contact me first in about a year of having my ad online. (His picture was kind of scary and he had 3 kids under age 6.)

Now I had had several replies from girls that I had contacted, but almost never did someone contact me first.
Anyways, in the reply Victoria introduced herself and mentioned the Alive festival. I replied back to her right away and mentioned that we were having Vacation Bible School the week of Alive. (Alive Festival rocks!)

A few minutes later the little red heart showed me that she had replied back again. This time mentioning that her church had VBS that week also and asking what church I attended.

When she got my reply, Victoria realized that she and I already attended the same (small) church!

"This is SO WEIRD!!!!" she said twice in her response back. (see extended footnote below.)  As I said, it was a Saturday night and after 3 short messages each way, we realized we were destined to meet the next morning in our church service.

So that is the story of how we met. More courtship tales to come when I get the chance to type them.

**Kevin couldn't know HOW weird.  When I prayed about dating again, I had only asked the Lord that He not lead me to anyone from our church.  I didn't want to risk any awkwardness if a relationship didn't work out.  And here I was reaching out online among THOUSANDS and who do I hit on first??  Some random guy who actually already attends my (teeny tiny storefront) church.   Boy did I feel admonished!  Not that that was the first, or the last (unfortunately) time HE had to remind me exactly who was in charge.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Friday Pizza Review - Marco's

The past few weeks we have been ordering pizza from a different pizza shop every Friday night. Usually wherever we have a coupon for or some other good deal.

Tonight we ordered from Marco's. With the coupon, we were able to get 2 large 1-topping pizzas, an order of CheezyBread, and a 2-liter of Coke for $19.99.

Nathan ate the bacon pizza and said, "Good, very good. It actually tasted like double-bacon. Excellent."

Luke had a slice of bacon and a slice of pepperoni pizza. "It was good but the crust was a little salty" he said after he got home from indoor soccer practice.

Brooke said, "I didn't have much, but CheezyBread was good!"

Rachel said, "I ate some CheezyBread and it was good."

George had no comment but you can tell by looking at his face that he liked it!

Emma was absent.

Dad thought the pizza was tasty. It's more of a hand-tossed crust and the sauce is kind of sweet. The parmesan cheese sprinkled on the CheezyBread makes it extra-delicious.

Vote For Me!

Local Girl at An Island Life is having a photo contest. Please check it out and vote for me, WeekendsWithDad, if you are so inclined.


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

My husband the genius, OR How to get control of your kids' gaming.

One of my goals for 2007 was to get some sort of control over exactly how much time our brood sits in front of electronic screens. I suggested to Kevin that I'd like some help on this. He didn't get back to me for a while, but when he did, I was very impressed with what he came up with. It is now posted on our refrigerator.

Last night at my monthly card club meeting, the early childhood psychologist in our group suggested I post it on the web for the enlightenment of others. Here it is.

Family of 9 "Screen Time" Policy

[Screen time includes: Video Games on TV (Xbox, Playstation, Sega, Nintendo, ...) TV Shows, Computer Games, Internet, and Handheld Games (Nintendo DS, Gameboy)]

1. School work done on the computer
2. Movies watched as a family (4 or more people)
3. Sporting events
4. Reality TV, Award Shows, and similar events may or may not count (PARENTS DECIDE)
5. Video games as physical activity (i.e. DDR)

School Night Limits (Monday - Thursday)
1. 2 hours(elementary students) or 3 hours(7th-12th grade) per person
2. Maximum of one and a half hours at the same activity
3. Homework must be done first
4. Bed must be made and room must be neat
5. If you play without doing #3 or #4 you may receive a 2-3 school night suspension

(This will apply to interim reports and quarterly grades, and will last until the next grading period. 7th grade and above will have penalties doubled.)

1. If you have all A's and B's you will get 2 hours.
2. If you have any C's you will lose 1/2 hour.
3. If you have any D's you will lose 1 hour total (you will get 1 hour).

Weekend Limits (Saturday & Sunday)
1. Four hours per person of screen time
2. Maximum 2 consecutive hours, then you must do another (non-video) activity for at least 1 hour

Friday Nights: No limits.

School Holidays / Snow Days, etc Same as weekend limits

Reserving the TV:
1. If you have a show you want to watch, you may reserve the main tv for 1 hour per day at a specific time. We will have a reservations sheet and reservations must be made at least the day before.
2. If you have a weekly show, you can have a standing reservation (example, every Thursday night).
3. If more than one people want to reserve the same time slot, a parent will decide (by taking turns, etc)

Sharing Game Time:
1. If you are taking turns or playing a multi-player game, that counts as your time.
2. If you are watching someone else play while waiting your turn, that counts as your time.
3. If someone is waiting to play, there is a 1/2 hour limit.
4. If 2 or more people are waiting to play, they both must be given a choice to play (as partners / opponents). If they do not want to play together, one may choose to wait again for the next open turn.

Summer Limits:
1. Same as weekend limits
2. Must do 1/2 hour physical activity before each 2-hour block of screen time.

Monday, March 5, 2007

George's Birthday Quiz

George’s 1st Birthday Quiz
1. George _______________ - heavyweight boxer and grill spokesman
2. George _______________ - father of our country
3. _______________ George – 1995 Heisman trophy winner from OSU
4. George _______________ - actor, starred in TV’s ER
5. George _______________ - current Senator from Ohio
6. George _______________ - botanist, invented over 300 uses for peanuts
7. George _______________ - wrote Animal Farm & 1984
8. George _______________ - one of the Beatles
9. _______________ George – monkey, friend of the man with the yellow hat
10. George _______________ - 43rd President of the USA
11. George _______________ - owns the New York Yankees
12. George _______________ - political analyst & former Clinton staffer
13.George _______________ - TV dry cleaning owner, married to Louise
14. George _______________ - played God, lived to be 100
15. George _______________- Iceman, one of NBA’s 50 greatest players
16. George _______________ - created and directed Star Wars
17. George _______________ - former plant collector, namesake of “George ****** Arboretum” in New York
18. George _______________ - lived in outer space, married to Jane
19. George _______________ - composer, wrote Rhapsody In Blue
20. George _______________ - country singer, sang “All My Ex’s Live In Texas” and “I Hate Everything”

Sunday, March 4, 2007

George Turns One!

We celebrated George's birthday Saturday with cake and ice cream for family and friends. Besides the 9 people who live here, we had 15 guests (7 adults and 8 kids) for a total of 24. (Actually there were only 23 as big brother Nathan was invited to a birthday party of a classmate at the same time).

Thanks to everyone for coming and for bringing gifts.