Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Party Number One

Today was our payback to wonderful friends who helped by watching our girls during the time I was injured and needed so much help. Here were our attendees:

Quinn Rose-6
Ciela Rose-4.5
Rachel Powers-4
Nataniel Chappelle-3.5
Alex Kolmer- 3.5
Carina Rose-2.5
Addie -1.5
Benjamin Chappelle- 1.5

If we tried to repay these friends one at a time, it would be over a month of weekends! So we decided we would have a Christmas party for the kids and just have everyone for one full day!

We had planned crafts, snacks, lunches, playing, movies and hired our 13 year old neighbor to come over and be extra hands and eyes.

It was all great. The highlight for most of the kids seemed to be making Reindeer headbands. These were made by using the one footprint cut out as the face, and both hand prints as the antlers. Then some googley eyes and a red nose a few staples, and wa-la, Reindeer headband.
All the kids loved them and wouldn't take them off.

I really enjoyed getting to bond with some of my friends kids, something that doesn't always happen when you both have your own kids to care for. Highlights included little Benjamin not crying when his parents left, having a dog drawing contest with Kiana (I lost by a LONG shot), comforting Alex when she started missing her mom a little, and then noticing that she always wanted me to be in eye shot, and a seeing that a little smile and wink, and she didn't feel lonely, putting sweet Carina down for a nap, Rachel warming up to me and wanting to go on our walk, and LOTS of tickling of little feet while trying to trace them! Addie stole Benjamin's pants while I was changing his diaper and hid them, thinking she was very funny. He thought so too, and they were both trying to say his name. Addie said "Ben a men" it was so sweet. Lily was so happy to be having a big group of friends to her house that she was a tad bossy a few times, but overall was good, and she honestly had THE best time. Mommy and Lily stole away a few minutes during TV time, when she was done and the other kids weren't, we cleaned up her room and had a nice time talking.

We had kids from 9a-5p and made a few minutes of down time TV time from about 12:30-2, though many of the kids didn't want to watch that long. Of course we don't often use TV in our house as the entertainment, but we also knew that if we didn't have a way to get them to sit down for a few minutes we'd be sorry come about 4pm...

It all worked out great. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I honestly could not have survived without these friends while my foot was broken and I was trapped, unable to walk, drive, or care for my children properly. Beside the emotional and logistical support that they provide through many hours of phone calls and giving rides to and from work, preschool, walk-a-thons etc, these four families have cared for our children in a bind and at a moments notice, without hesitation, and in a manner that showed they weren't concerned with how inconvenient it would be for them, only helping us in anyway they could.

The Rose's who have four children, took my two kids on a few occasions with no notice, and even came to pick them up in order to make it easier on us (once only so Lawrence wouldn't have to miss the kick off to his Buckeye game-and another time as they were preparing to go out of town for the weekend as soon as he picked them up). The Kolmer's gave up a Sunday to come meet Lawrence, so he could be comfortable with Carrie coming over to watch our kids with her kids the next day. The Chapelle's are expecting baby number 3 and had to deal with Lily throwing a tantrum leaving the children's museum, helping me out any time possible when I had an important work conflict without me even asking as well as many other times of calling and offering to take a child, just because they felt they had a little more room for helping that day. And the Powers, friends who have been like family to us since we met them 4 years ago. They are the family that we learned to be family with since neither of us had family close by. Since then, Shawna's mom moved to town, and they haven't needed us as much as we've needed them. But they don't use that as a reason to not always come through and offer to watch our children, at our house, pretty much any time we've ever asked.

Of course these four families are not our only friends in Portland, and they aren't the only ones who helped out while I was injured, I could mention a dozen more. And of course, I didn't write the above to compare in any way the help that one family gave over another, only to give a small example of HOW much help it really was to us. We felt that we wanted to repay them with the gift of time, the thing each parent needs more than anything else, for caring for our children in such a selfless way, and letting them drop their kids off knowing it would be a fun party day for the kids and not something that they might have to feel guilty about (like any parent needs more guilt). We appreciate you guys SO much, and I do not know how we would have survived the months of September and October this year with out you! You are truly blessings in our life.

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