Saturday, December 29, 2007

St. Augustine

Yesterday we spent the day in St. Augustine. One thing we have learned from traveling with kids is to quit while you're ahead, which is exactly what we did. We began at the fort - Castillo de san Marcos. I figured 20, 30 minutes at the most to tour the castle. 2 hours later, I looked at my watch. The boys were just fascinated by the fort. We explored all the rooms. Jonathan loved the "canyons" (canons). However, he was not so thrilled when they set them off. They didn't use a canonball, but the rest was authentic. What a blast!

Then, as we ate a snack, we walked across the street to the Old Spanish Quarter, where there are 8 houses recreated with period actors inside. We watched the leatherworker, blacksmith, and others. This, again, took longer than I thought because the boys were so interested. At that point, we decided to skip the other two exhibits, play at the playground for a while, and stop for lunch.

Our last stop was Fort Matanzas, the southernmost protector of St. Augustine. This fort is much smaller than the other, but you have to take a boat to get there!! The boat trip alone made it worth it. Plus, it was free!!! Love our National Park System! After a quick stop at a shoe store, we made it home by 5:15. There is lots more we could have done, but we returned with happy children, and we were not too exhausted. The weather was perfect, too.
Last night I was asking Chris what the children will remember from this trip. We do lots of traveling, and I have to wonder what they retain. If nothing else, though, they are getting a love of history. Although Benjamin claims to "hate" Social Studies, he was in his element yesterday, asking questions of all the guides and just taking it all in. That makes all the traveling worth it.

Playing with presents

The boys had fun on Thursday playing with their presents. The sandbox was a big hit - we had to throw our old one away after continual jumping on the lid broke it - and fresh new sand made it even better. Benjamin and Alexander enjoyed the lightsabers (which stay outside), as did Uncle Jeff. Jeff is planning on picking up lots of girls at Penn State as he walks around with his new lightsaber.

Alexander got a volcano science

kit. He cast the volcano and is now waiting for it to dry. We'll hopefully be able to erupt it tomorrow.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A few more Christmas pictures

Here are a few more pictures from Christmas Day. Alexander received a remote control "Herbie," which produced some fun and lots of arguing over who would drive it. Today, however, the novelty has worn off and they're having lots of fun playing with it and are, surprisingly, taking turns without much prompting. This morning they were outside, running it down the sidewalk.

As you can see, Jonathan was thrilled by all of his "Cars" paraphernalia. He's having a great time playing with them, and it's kept him rather busy.

Yesterday Benjamin had a birthday party at a bowling alley in Ormond, about 30 minutes away. Mom and Dad took Alexander and Jonathan along with them to drop off Jeff at the airport, then took them out to dinner at Perkins, their favorite restaurant. The report is they ate and ate and ate. Chris and I got the better end of the deal - we DROPPED OFF Benjamin and went out to dinner, just the two of us, at Stonewood's. I had won a gift certificate at the 5K race, plus we had free appetizer coupons. Our bill came to $3.17! We gave the waiter a generous tip and still only spent $15 on a great meal!

Today Mom and Dad took the boys to spend their Barnes and Noble gift certificates (thanks, Craig and Liz!) while we met some friends at the theater to see Sweeney Todd. It was our first movie in a theater since this summer, I believe. The movie was so-so. Johnny Depp was great, but I can sing as well as Helena Bonham Carter. They left out two of our favorite songs from the musical. But I'm really not complaining, as we were there without kids in the company of other adults. It really wouldn't have mattered what we watched.

Tommorow we're all off to St. Augustine for the day. I'm hoping to come home with some great pictures. It's going to be a gorgeous day. Despite the one-hour distance, our kids have not yet had the chance to visit. I'm really looking forward to it, except for riding in the back of the van between Benjamin and Alexander. That will probably be the most challenging part of the day.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Family Time

We were very lucky to be able to spend this Christmas with both sets of Grandparents and my brother Jeff. We began the celebration on Christmas Eve, when we hosted dinner at our house. We then went to church, where we were treated to Alexander's "Silent Night" solo, Chris and Benjamin's bell choir, and the children's choir singing two anthems. I stayed at church to play bells for the other two services, but I hear that the boys were asleep by 10PM. Not bad for Christmas Eve.

The next morning the boys were up before 6 AM. Since mom and dad are sleeping in the living room, we told them not to wake the adults before 7. Would you believe they followed directions and played in their room for an hour? We FINALLY opened presents at 7, much to their relief. Church at 10, followed by lunch back at our house. Then it was off to the Weinrich grandparents' house to open more presents and have dinner with our good friends the Larsons. Wonderful food, great friends, fellowship, and even some caroling. You should hear our version of "Oh, Holy Night." It's unforgettable. Ah, the joys of Christmas. May it never end.
But, lest I forget, within all of this fun family time, there was Chris crawling through the boys' window to help reposition the collapsed bunk bed (yes, Benjamin managed to dislodge it by laying on the bottom bunk and pushing it up with his feet), the boys arguing incessantly as to which of their 5 new DVD's they would watch, tears and more tears from Benjamin when Alexander insisted on playing with his remote control VW Bug without sharing, and Jonathan obsessing over presents, turning into a little greedy gimme-gimme child for the day. Ah, the joys of Christmas! I'm glad it is over!

Chrismtas presents

Well, it was once again a plentiful house here at the Weinrich's. We gave them some presents we may live to regret (lightsabers for all boys, including Jeff; a fort Jonathan can build that takes up our entire living room) and some they'll enjoy for a long time (tinkertoys, a perennial favorite at our house.) In lieu of things, we donated money in Mom and Dad's name to Grandma and Grandpa's scholarship fund at Philadelphia Seminary. For Chris' parents, we bought them tickets to hear The Capitol Steps, who are coming to Daytona in February.

Jonathan received this hilarious shirt shown above. I bought it a few months ago at Disney. It's perfect because he is just now tall enough to go on his first rides at Disney. He wore the shirt all day (even to church) and will probably wear it again today.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Schaeffers are here!

Wednesday morning Mom, Dad, and Jeff arrived in Sanford. They got here just in time to hear my bell choir concert and attend Alexander's chorus concert. The boys have been enjoying playing outside with Jeff. Here they were playing some type of made-up game where they threw balls at Jeff as he tried to bat them away. It is, of course, all fun and games until someone gets hurt, which happened once they switched roles and Alexander tried to bat the balls away. Benjamin clocked him in the head and the stomach and we had to call it a day. Right now Jeff and Jonathan are watching Cars, by far Jonathan's favorite movie!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Christmas show

Some pictures from our Christmas show at church. Chris as a wise man, and Benjamin and Alexander as shepherds. They were great actors and singers. What made it even better was the cookies that followed the show. The boys were thrilled...we then went to another church's "walk through Bethlehem" where they had yet more cookies. Can we say oversugared????

My Amish Husband

Chris began the demolition of his beard by shaving off his moustache. Another teacher gave him this hat to complete the look. Jonathan tried on the hat, too.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Chris is famous.... least in the greater Daytona Beach area! There was an article in the paper this morning about his beard.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Stonewood 5K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This morning the four oldest Weinrichs ran a 5K in Ormond, with Jonathan and Cassidy as our cheering section. All of us had very good times, but something very unusual happened... I (Karen) beat Chris!!!! It was a come from behind victory. We ran together for the first half, but he pulled away at the water break. I kept him in my sights, and as we rounded the last corner, I ran as fast as I could to catch up. And it worked! I beat him by 2 seconds, and recorded my personal best time of 27:31! I also came in fourth in my age group. The boys did well also; Benjamin ran about 31 minutes, and Alexander and his friend Lynnlee came in at a respectable 36 minutes. To top it all off, both Chris and I won gift certificates. Mine was for Stonewoods Restaurant, and his was for a shoe store. What a productive morning!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Harry Potter funny!

Okay, so I know we're not up on all the internet/UTube stuff, but thanks to Beka, we have now seen the Harry Potter puppets. If you have not seen it, it's worth a look. Jonathan was laughing hysterically while we were watching it. The sped up version is funny, too. I'll never look at Severus Snape the same way again!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pictures Galore

If you want to see the other 100 pictures we've taken in the past 3 months, click on this link. Don't say I didn't warn you - there really are 134 pictures there!

Gingerbread Masterpieces

Here are some pictures of the completed houses.
Alexander's house was precariously placed. It did eventually fall down, all the better to eat!

Christian's was my personal favorite - notice the one-legged man on crutches. Maybe it's the guy from the strip club lawsuit (see "jury duty" post)

Anabella worked hard on hers. It looked like it would topple, but held up surprisingly well.

Lynlee was trying to put as much icing as she possibly could on her house. And she thought her mom would let her eat the whole thing!

This is Jonathan's. He didn't have the patience to make the actual house (Daddy made it) but the decorating is all his! He really enjoyed the eating part that night. Notice the garbage truck behind it. Jonthan ALWAYS has some kind of vehicle with him. This time, it was a garbage truck. Since then, I sent the remaining candy into school with Chris. I can't have it sticking to Jonathan's teeth!

Alexander's birthday party

I think I'm finally recovered from Alexander's party on Saturday. It's partly my fault, as I chose to go on a nine mile run that morning (!) The theme for his party was gingerbread houses. The twelve kids made gingerbread houses out to graham crackers and icing (homemade, of course, to avoid transfat). While the icing hardened, we played some games, including BINGO (they made their boards as they came in, throw the candy on the Christmas tree, and my favorite, marshmallow on a string. It was amusing to watch them hold the string for their partners. You can tell a lot about a child by how easy or hard he makes it for his partner.

It was a great bunch of kids. Alexander is still of the age where he has boy and girl friends, so I wasn't stuck with 12 boys. The girls seem to keep the party a bit calmer. He got some great presents, too, including Mad Libs, Clue, Matchbox toys, an art kit, soccer socks and ball, 20Q, and more! We finished off the party with a yummy gingerbread cake. I'm glad we decided on that - if I had served cake with frosting, there's no way the kids could have eaten it! They left on a sugar high. Sorry, other parents!