Holiday Hours

As the Papa, I have certain prerogatives. Some of them are weighty, like making sure my children fully understand the gospel, and that they learn to love God. Others are more whimsical, like my gleeful tradition of throwing a glass of cold water over the shower curtain, onto any of my children who take a shower in my bathroom.

You can see that these children are sorely in need of a cold glass of water in the midst of their showers.

You can see that these children are sorely in need of a cold glass of water in the midst of their showers.

But this time of year, there is only one prerogative that matters: I (and only I) have the authority to declare the beginning of ‘Holiday Hours’.

Don’t get me wrong — we do lots of things to celebrate Christmas. We start listening to Christmas carols as early as the first of November, some years. Kathy’s passion for all things Advent sometimes threatens to eclipse the actual day of Christmas, entirely.

But there is a moment when school and work are finished, and when the real fun begins, and it is based on my work schedule. For the children, it means that bedtime constraints (never very strict in our household, anyway) are relaxed, and that we begin to seriously address ourselves to the fun of being a family. We play more games, we watch more movies, we bake more cookies and we generally enjoy each other in a deeper and more significant way.

Some of my favorite girls, at the Scrooge play.

Some of my favorite girls, at the Scrooge play.

Last night, we had our Scrooge party, and attended the excellent musical of that name at a nearby church. When we got home, I gathered the kids into our family room for an extemporaneous Family Meeting.

“I have an announcement,” I said, gravely, standing to my feet.

“Uh-oh,” Daniel flinched. Sometimes, my announcements are not very welcome.

I raised both arms and loudly declaimed: “HOLIDAY HOURS!”

And so, the fun begins.

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Zero Fun, Sir!

One of my favorite Football movie quotes is from Remember the Titans, in which the new coach (played by Denzel Washington) is haranguing the team. One of the football players is clowning around, and Coach Boone singles him out:

Petey Jones: [has hand raised for a high-five and is smiling]
Coach Boone: Put your hand down.
[Petey does as told]
Coach Boone: You’re smiling.
Petey Jones: Yes.
Coach Boone: Yes, sir. Why are you smiling?
Petey Jones: ‘Cause I love football. Football is fun.
Coach Boone: Fun, sir? It’s fun?
Petey Jones: Yes.
Coach Boone: You sure?
Petey Jones: I think…
Coach Boone: Now you’re thinkin’. First you smile, then you thinkin’. You think football is still fun?
Petey Jones: Uh, yes.
Coach Boone: Sir.
Petey Jones: Yes- no, sir.
Coach Boone: No?
Petey Jones: Um, it was fun.
Coach Boone: Not anymore though, is it? *Is* it?
Petey Jones: Not right now, no.
Coach Boone: No, it’s not fun anymore. Not even a little bit.
Petey Jones: Uh… no.
Coach Boone: Make up your mind. Think since you’re thinking. Go on, think. Is it fun?
Petey Jones: No, sir.
Coach Boone: No? Absolutely not?
Petey Jones: Zero fun, sir.
Coach Boone: [addresses team] All right, listen up! I’m Coach Boone. I’m gonna tell you about how much… fun you’re gonna have this season.

Mustering all my authority (as pater familias), I instructed my children, many of whom are now off from school. Like Coach Boone, I radiate authority and am generally obeyed without question.

Well, most of the time.

OK, once, I was obeyed without question, sometime in 2003. I’m pretty sure.

“Now, you understand that Sarah and David and I are not on Christmas break, yet. We all have school and work until Friday, and until we are off, there will be no fun whatsoever. No fun until Friday evening.” I waved my index finger sternly.

Zero fun, Sir!

Zero fun, Sir!

Naturally, they all took my words to heart, and are NOT playing games, watching movies, drinking egg-nog, and generally being festive.

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Home for Christmas

Strange things are happening in our household this weekend. Joshua and Rachel are home from college, and Mamie (Kathy’s Mom) is visiting us for a few weeks. When my parents stopped by for a quick visit, we all rushed out to the front of the house for a family picture.

A passel of Edgrens (and one Moore).

A passel of Edgrens (and one Moore). Not sure what happened to Daniel.

It is quite a change for us, transitioning from a quiet, relatively empty house to chaos and bursting at the seams. I am surprised at how much it fills my heart with joy, to have the older kids back home.

My favorite five children, typically silly.

My favorite five children, typically silly.

And of course, it is always great to have Mamie here with us. We always wish she would stay longer; I suppose she finds that our chaos is better in small doses.

Hooray for Mamie!

Hooray for Mamie!

We have them only for a few weeks, then Mamie heads back to Michigan, and Rachel back to school for January Term. Joshua will stay for most of January; a nice change from last summer, when he was in Turkey most of the time.

Kathy and I are grappling with being parents of grown children — they think they can rush off and have their own lives, how rude! I guess the secret is to make the most of the time we have, so I will cherish these next few weeks.

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Power Outage

High winds swept through our area today, and we lost power around 6 pm. 

So I went shopping, and Kathy took David and Sarah to a school concert, while Daniel stayed home in the dark, staring sadly at his blank computer screen.

When I eventually returned home, I found the house blazing with at least 20 candles, and the family huddled around the kitchen table, playing games. 

image

Daniel had to check one of the more obscure Munchkin rules ...

“Finally, we are a family,” Sarah announced firmly.

Who knew it needed a power outage and some games to transform us!

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Science in December

Such beauty

Such beauty

The beauty and delight of the season is definitely all around us. Christmas lights twinkle outside. Early Christmas gifts are exchanged. Christmas cards and family pictures arrive daily in the mail. Advent calendar treats are opened with eagerness.

And, because it’s Washington, the rain pours down. Nonetheless, Christmas is coming and soon we’ll have the family together again.

In the mean time – we do school.

David and Sarah are using a new curriculum this year for science – Physical Science by Exploration Education Science. It’s a wonderful program – computer driven lessons with a workbook for writing out labs and homework plus a large a box of materials to assemble into hands-on projects.

More Dec 001 (Large)

For some time we’ve been struggling with the “racer.” The kids couldn’t get it to work properly after the first experiment. We figured that was fine, we were done with it, and we moved on to the glider (very cool!!) and the boat. Little did we know there would be a continued set of experiments that all featured the racer. Ugh.

More Dec 005 (Large)

In addition to trying a new curriculum, we decided to do this year’s science with friends. David and Sarah work independently at home in their own workbooks, then once a week (cough, cough, okay, whenever we get around to actually meeting) we get together with David’s close friend, Eli, to complete the building projects and do the experiments. It’s a WIN-WIN! The children have fun working together, they help each other understand the various directions, and Michelle and I get to drink coffee and visit.

Older siblings either hide and do their own homework or come investigate and “help.”

Emma does homework

Big sis Emma does homework in the other room.

This morning Michelle and I were fed up with the kids continually being STUCK in their lessons, unable to finish things because of that little broken racer. We both emailed complaints to the company (separately) asking for new materials, assistance, or whatever help we could get on this frustrating little racer car. Literally minutes after filing a complaint online, we each received personal emails asking for us to call them and they would help us get the cars in working order.

What great customer service!!

Of course, neither Michelle or I really knew exactly what the problem was with the cars, so we resolved to call the company this afternoon while the kids were working on fixing things. Better yet, we’d make the kids call them. They could work on their telephone skills as well as science – homeschooling is all about multi-tasking! Before we could even make a single call, Eli and David had the racers fixed and were soon completing one experiment after another. Nothing like the threat of having to call a company rep to make us all work a little harder. Ha.

David and Eli got the cars up and running again!

David and Eli got the cars up and running again!

Heh heh heh. Very impressed that Exploration Educationcontacted us so quickly. Pleased that the kids could complete the missing experiments and get their labs all written up. Now we can move on to the next set of lessons. Or rather, we can stop and enjoy the upcoming holidays and FAMILY!!

- Quote of the Day –

David: “No science is worth this much aggravation!”

LOL! Welcome to the world of science, Davy. Your big brother, Joshua, would agree that there is definitely some serious work involved in math and science. Hopefully it is worth it.

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The musings and ravings of a bloggart family