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2008-11-29 - 5:38 a.m.

Bummer! I awoke a few moments ago rememebering that I forgot to put the Turkey broth away made from the carcas! I just came back upstairs after dumping it.
DARN I do this every few years. MAke a nice stock, and clean all the kitchen with the last remaining thing to do to put it away AFTER IT COOLS. IT was too hot. Then being so tired later I FORGET About it!

The other clean up downstairs needed is to put away the remaining Christmas decorations which are on tables, and on the floor. The kids had a wonderful time decorating the tree all together yesterday after we ate dinner. They baked cookies and had a snack and decorated. They found Sadie's Gingerbread cards and played some card games. They played with, and set up nativity sets. It was lovely. I came upstairs thinking I would take a quick nap and upload photos in order to be able to take some more of their decorating. However, MY camera somehow got stuck in a focusing mode after I downloaded its pictures off the memory card. I am happy to have the photos up for all to see. I shared some and my Mom was excited to see them and be in the loop of what's going on here.

But it is disappointing the camera is now in this broken mode with a message "LENS ERROR" I also briefly had a message "Memory Chip not usable"
But that disappeared quickly. It is stuck on "LENS ERROR" Now and won't allow me to even see what was left on the memory stick.

OH WELL... No Christmas Decorating picture, and no pictures of our awesome Thanksgiving Day as I failed to bring the camera with me then. However it WAS AWESOME. I hadn't planned on bringing the oldest two here as I couldn't afford to, and a friend helped me out with that. She looked heartbroken and the thought of not having all the kids together.(Honestly it made HER so sad to think of that possibility! She is not used to the scism of the family I have had to become more de-sensitised to.)

I accepted her kind offer of a loan. I got a flight here for THU MORN, booked midday on WED thanks to SW airlines for $300.

We are driving back today. The little ones spent Thanksgiving with their Dad,but as it fell during my week with them, the deal is they go for the day and I pick them back up at 7pm. Had I not had the big kids coming I would have suggested he just keep them the extra day as that's kind of silly considering it doesn't allow ANYONE to make travel plans should they want to. I am glad I held off on that offer with optimistic hope that SOMEHOW I would get the oldest two here and have all six together on Friday! So I feel very blessed that indeed happened!

To me just having all the kids together again is a holiday!

A friend said "We are not having Chritmas this year."

I said "Sure you are! You will celebrate with a song and joy- just not material things."

Indeed so shall we and many others.

We did head to the Mall yesterday where I got a photo taken of all the kids. Some things are indeed worth spending a little money on and paying less on a bill! I relished this opportunity to get them all dressed up and get that done. It was fun. I gave Katerina some Mary Kay beforehand and it was fun playing with makeup with her. At fifteen she is old enough to be wearing some. I enjoyed filling a personal compact with what looked nice on her.
Pocohantas gave me a lovely Cranberry colored dress shirt for Soren a while ago that she got somewhere in her travels (thrift store, hand me down in organizing someone's closet where it may have been a gift that sat unopened and unwanted for years.) I was so grateful that when she saw it she thought of Soren, as it looked teriffic on him over his jeans and Converse sneakers (that were hidden in the picture.) I was happy that we were able to find dresses for all the rest of us that complemented that shirt.

Katerina got her Chrismas gift of a new outfit early so she had something pretty for the picture. She was even a sport and tried on a dress of mine first which is the EXACT color of that shirt- but which we all agreed looked like a tent and no one should wear (including me) ever again!

Katie needed a little encouragement. She eventually felt beautiful in her navy velvet dress once she remembered it WAS HERS from last Christmas and NOT A HAND ME DOWN. She has vowed "I DO NOT WEAR SADIE'S CLOTHES." Likewise she won't willfully wear any hand me downs that were worn by another girl either! She also had put on HER FAVORITE sparkly star demin skirt with a fancy sequined fushia shirt with a butterfly and wide 60s style sleeves which while lovely was not in synch with the concept I had for the photo. Hippy child wasn't the look we were striving for- maybe that can be a theme another year!

Best of all, the darling Raitlin was so cooperative in NOT WEARING her favorite dress. I came across a velvet CRANBERRY dress with a pattern on it that was the perfect match to this shirt. We had the theme going then! She then saw her FAVORITE red velvet with the wide spinny skirt and beautiful bow and accepted the promise of mine that I will take HER PICTURE in her favorite dress for her another time if she would wear the cranberry one to match Soren. She agreed. WHEW that red was a bright one that wouldn't have worked as well.

We even WOULD HAVE BEEN ON TIME but for the fact I got lost heading to the Dulles Town Center! Ironically I avoid paying the toll road so know all the back roads to Ashburn to work, but in the car visiting with the kids I hopped on the Toll Road East rather than Rt 7. I then hopped off and got lost on all those back roads in Ashburn I don't USUALLY take. I laughed as I drove by a kickin Barbarque place my Boss was thrilled to discover and just HAD to take me to lunch there one day! (My birthday ended up being the excellent excuse for her to do so! She was dying to share this find with everyone for weeks before that as she is so sweet and social.)

I then had my bearings and knew where I was- ridiculously close to work. I then knew how to find my way back to Route 7 where I INTENDED to be.

So in an endearingly funny way the older kids got in one of what they claimed once was a favored experience: Getting lost and driving around with MOM.

GPS has taken away the joy of those spontaneous moments. I didn't have it in the car though as Pocahantas was borrowing the car the other night, and the key was stuck in it (Which periodically happens) I had JUST READ an article in the paper about an increase in thefts from cars in Loudoun County. Its apparently a trend of late - sign of the times which motivated me to be concerned for that brief moment long enough to take the GPS our of my car. Didn't seem worth it at the time to fight with the stuck key- so I just took out the GPS with the comment in hindsight "If the car gets stolen I will still have my GPS"

Thanks to the lack of a GPS we had the BEST excursion on Thanksgiving which would otherwise not have happened. The kids did laugh at me as I promptly got lost LEAVING BWI. I had Katerina looking in the car for those MapQuest directions to no avail. I remembered they were STAPLED to the SW Itinerary in my purse only AFTER we were lost and no where near the desired route to 70 W. So we were heading to Washington D.C. which the kids wanted to visit, when I saw the road to Annapolis. It was a terrific place to spend the morning as there were a lot of people out strolling on that Sunny Thanksgiving Day. There was a coffee shop book store open- so Katerina and I were in heaven. Best of all we were able to get lunch for all three of us for $12.00 AND A GOOD large carmel coffee drink that they didn't even mind then giving us an extra cup for as I got the large with the intention of sharing. They seemed to understand!

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