It is Sunday, January 6. Darin and Tyson are at church and Jori and I are hanging out at home. Jori was sick yesterday, throwing up and just feeling pretty miserable. Thankfully she seems to be almost back to normal now and no one else seems to have been affected!
These last couple weeks have been busy ones. On the 17th The Van Gilders came to hang out. They brought a huge plate of Christmas cookies, which were devoured by the following day. Tyson and Jori had fun swimming with their friends and Darin and I enjoyed having some more adults to hang out with. Then on the 19th the Warrens and their extended family came and decorated Christmas cookies with the kids. We also packed into 2 vehicles and headed out to Jubilee Mall with the older kids. While our family of 4 picked up some groceries, Uncle Lonnie, Auntie Debbie and the rest of the gang went and did a little Christmas shopping to pick up some presents for Mama Joye, Darin and myself. Then it was time to have some ice cream at KFC before we headed back to the house.
December 22 was our 11th wedding anniversary. Early in the day we made Christmas cookies with some of the kids. It was a bit of a production, but the result was delicious. We had a wonderful evening planned at one of the local lodges, but Darin ended up getting a piece of steak lodged in his throat and our night was cut short. He’ll have to write more about that whole saga as it is too long to tell here. The next day we stayed home from church, but went out that afternoon to watch the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie and have supper with the Van Gilders, well all of us except for Darin had supper as he still had steak stuck in his throat. On the 24th, we finally managed to get the Christmas tree up. This gave the little ones only a couple days to try and pull the decorations off of the tree.
Christmas day started bright and early. After the kids had breakfast it was time to open stockings, or rather Santa hats, and eat some treats. There’s nothing like a sugar high to start the day! Late in the morning, we gathered around the Christmas tree to listen to Darin reading the Christmas story. After that, the chaos began. Opening presents with 9 children (the baby was asleep) is a lot different than opening them with only 2 children. Thankfully there were aunties and other helpers around to give assistance. It was so fun to see the kids opening their gifts and being so thrilled to have a new yellow knit hat, or a shovel and pail or a new car to play with. Darin and I were thrilled with our gifts of Pepsi Max, chocolate, soap and all the other little goodies that the kids had picked out. After the present opening madness, the aunties took the kids out to play and we opened presents with Tyson and Jori in our room. They loved being part of the big group, but it was also special for them to have some special things from family to open up on their own. After a very sunny start to the day, the weather took a turn and we had lots of rain. This meant that we’d be eating supper inside instead of outside as planned. There was some rearranging of the playroom and heavy lifting of tables and soon the playroom was transformed into a lovely dining area. We fed all the little ones but one in our house and had them in bed by 6:30. We sat down to eat the big meal with the TYB family and various members of the Harding family and friends around 7. It was a lovely time of celebrating and just being together. We truly felt blessed to be included and made a part of the larger group.
Two days after Christmas, Auntie Gemma left. This led to a busy few days as Auntie Annelies was now on her own, which meant a lot more time watching children for me. Thankfully the older kids were around to help and Tyson and Jori had fun pitching in as well. After church on Sunday we did some back to school shopping with the kids. Part of me is really eager to get back into a routine and have a little more time to myself, but I am really going to miss having Tyson and Jori around! On New Year’s Eve the Van Gilder’s were back out. This time Darin, Tim and a coworker of Tim’s were getting together to tear apart our shower to try and fix a leak and give us a bit more water pressure. It was a cooler day, which meant the kids were not eager to swim. Thankfully the Wii kept them busy and we managed to avoid too many meltdowns. On New Year’s Day, Auntie Gabriele arrived from Germany. We were happy to have her come, but sad that she wasn’t feeling very well when she arrived (thankfully she is fully recovered now!). That night, I chipped my tooth on tuna noodle casserole. It left a very sharp edge, which was cutting up the side of my tongue.
Now we are up to Wednesday. Tim came back to help Darin work on the shower some more. I think they both were surprised that the project was taking so long, but that seems to be the way most projects go. By the afternoon, I couldn’t handle my razor edged tooth, so Darin took a nail file and did a little dental work to ease my suffering. He is a man of many talents! My sweet friend Athena, Tim’s wife, had offered to have the kids spend the night at their place, so we quickly made a plan to have them go back with Tim that day and stay over until FRIDAY!! Wow. That is true friendship. On Wednesday and Thursday night, we had a phone call from Jori. She was feeling a bit homesick and sounded so little as we talked to her. It kind of broke my heart a bit, but also made me smile just to picture her on the other end of the phone. Even with our kids gone we kept busy, but it was the kind of busy where you don’t even know what's been accomplished at the end of the day.
On Friday Darin headed out to the airport to pick up Auntie Nona from Holland. On the way back, he picked up Tyson and Jori. They arrived a little after noon and right behind them were Uncle Lonnie and Auntie Debbie and Auntie Debbie’s mom. It was wonderful to have them here as the extra hands gave me a chance to sit! They even got the kids suited up and in the little pools for a swim. They brought backpacks for DD and Koki, who will be starting preschool on Wednesday! Friday night, Jori was up and laying on our bathroom floor because it made her tummy feel better and on Saturday morning she threw up. Thankfully there were now three aunties around to keep an eye on the kids and I could spend most of the day with my girl. Tyson spent most of the day walking around with an iPod and headphones. We could hear him singing all around the house.
Now it is Sunday, just before lunch. Auntie Gabriele and Auntie Nona are both doing a wonderful job and Jori has perked up quite a bit since this morning and I have finally had a chance to sit down and write about our last couple weeks. As you can see, we keep busy around here! This week will be another busy one with the kids all heading to school on Wednesday and Auntie Annelies heading back to Holland on Thursday. Hopefully once we are back in a routine I’ll be able to carve out some time to sit down and keep you all posted on the current state of affairs here at Tshepo ya Bana.
*All of December’s pictures are up so remember to check them out here!