Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Special Weekend.

We had the last of our winter birthdays in January when Paul turned 19 years old. It was a wonderful weekend as we had friends visiting us from VA.

Kate and Dreama went to Amish Country and enjoyed the yummy menu that Paul selected for his birthday meals. It was all delicious and a lot of fun.

Elizabeth never minds when homemade ice cream is requested by the birthday person.

Our southern friends still had thin blood and weren't use to the cooler temperatures, even in the house. We loaned them extra layers to wear.

Kate wanted to do some sledding. Fortunately, the weather cooperated and we had some snow. This is Michelle and Kate going down the hill. T-Bob is trudging up the hill in the background.

Our friend Kate loved the sledding, although her asthma did NOT appreciate the cold dry air.

The girls made quite a few trips up and down the hill before we decided to take our southern friends home and warm them up again.

The one thing I had promised Dreama was that I would show her our lake. They thought it was great. We only were able to stay a few minutes. The steps were too icy and snowy to go down to the shore. It was a lovely day, a fun weekend and a great visit. We hope they can come again.

Sledding With the Mangos - A Pictorial Essay

The Mango Men like to build ramps out of snow to take their sleds down. They put the ramp at the bottom of the steep hill to maximize their air. Paul is standing there with the shovel to do any needed repair work after the ramp is used. Thomas is getting out of the way, and T-Bob is coming down the hill.

T-Bob hits the ramp.

Up the ramp!


Then he lands it.

I love watching my guys play together. They have such a good time sledding! I also am thankful for my new camera that can take pictures so fast as to catch the whole scene.

Catching up!!

Merry Christmas ans a Happy New Year Dear Friends!

I am going to update the blog for the fall and holiday season. I tried to download the pictures in chronological order, but that was a fail! Thanks for being patient with me and now see what has been going on in our lives. Fasten your seat belts we are going to move fast!!!

I love snow on Christmas lights. This is a house that is close to our home that really does a bang up job with their lights.

Some of the children and I went over to admire them when we had a spontaneous snow storm. Why do I use the term spontaneous? Well, the rest of the area only had a scant one inch of snow, but the cloud parked over our town and deposited about 7 inches of beautiful snow.

We did have a green Christmas this year. We had to select and fetch our tree in deep puddles and a lot of mud. Do you know how hard it is to get eight people to agree that we had found the 'perfect' tree? Well, this tree may not have had the perfect tree, but it was at least acceptable.

Elizabeth enjoyed her seventh birthday! She is growing up into a fine young lady. She enjoys helping out in the kitchen and has learned to love reading. She is getting a grasp on multiplication and doing very well with her homeschooling. She is a lot of fun. She will be doing the poem 'The Highwayman" for her poetic Interpretation for tournament. She has it memorized, we just need to polish her presentation.

In Octorber the girls and I went to a camp in NC for Home-schooled teenage girls called 'Daughters of Destiny' JoAn was a counselor this year, Michelle was a camper and Elizabeth was my helper. I taught classes in Herbs and Nutrition as well as one on Building a Heritage Library. We had a great time. This picture was taken at the banquet on the last day.

These are our friends Chrissi and Steve. They have eleven children and our families really enjoy getting together and playing. The kids play soccer and Kick the can and other traditional kids games. I love watching them all play together. They returned the favor and came and visited us in December. Chrissi has her own blog at www.sewsowso.wordpress.com and you would probably enjoy her writing. She and her older girls have a business of custom sewing. Actually, they make most of Michelle's clothing for us, since she is so tall. She writes about how to do different sewing projects and technics, about their family and also Chrissi's thoughts. I love Chrissi because she is so 'real'.

Thomas loves to read on the roof whenever the weather permits. I think it is because it is so quiet out there and he doesn't get as distracted. This spot is the warmest in the early spring and late fall than any other outdoor spot. It is protected from the north and west from the wind, and it gets the morning sunshine. My children all love to be on roofs. Their daddy takes them up from the time they are little. There is no fear of heights among our children. Mommy does get a little nervous, but I try to not interfere.

This is our latest wall of books. The family room has floor to ceiling bookshelves. The upstairs hallway is lined with bookshelves, and all the bedrooms have multiple bookshelves - all full. These shelves are filling in too fast. There is no such thing as too many books, just insufficient bookshelves. We did buy three tall bookshelves when Boarders went out of business this fall, but alas, those too are almost full. I don't know where I am going to put the books I bought on Saturday from the last book sale I went to. Hmmmm. There's got to be room for another bookshelf somewhere.

We cleaned out our garden in late October and we found this melon hiding in the weeds. We cut it up and it was still sweet and good. It was a bit overripe, but still very edible. The garden is empty now except for some turnips, parsnips, red cabbage, kale and brussel sprouts. We had a good garden this year.

Michelle has been doing art classes with T-Bob and Elizabeth. This is Elizabeth's still life in pastels. I am glad that Elizabeth will help me out with this. It is not my strength, and she is quite artistic.

This infamous moment was captured by the children on the camera. Please note that it is 11/11/11 at 11:11:11. They captured it right to the second on the atomic clock. Way to go!!

Michelle made caramel apples this fall for a party. They look so yummy and good. We had to document it with a picture!

We enjoyed our traditional thanksgiving brunch at church. THis tradition has been ongoing for over 40 years! We all gather together for a big breakfast about 9:30 we eat and fellowship and then about 10:15 we gather together for a time of prayer, singing and reflection of things we are thankful for. It is always special.

My family and our friends the Morrises joined together for a big Thanksgiving dinner at our house. The little girls enjoyed mothering their babies.

Dad did his traditional job if official turkey carver. He always does a nice job.

In the very beginning of December I did the official family photo shoot. It is always a challenge to get everybody looking the same way and smiling simultaneously. There were a couple good ones. I also got the family Christmas letter written. If you would like a copy let me know and I will get it to you.
JoAn decided to get about 12 inches cut off her hair. She donated it to Locks of Love. It really does still come below her shoulders, but it looks a lot shorter when it is all 'sproinged'. up.

It is hard for me to believe, but our first baby is now 21 years old! Where has the time gone? I look around our table and it seems like only a short time ago that toddlers once sat where there are now adults. I thank the Lord for His faithfulness to us in blessing us with these children.

New Years Day was again another big party at the Mangos. It was good to see our friends again. Mom and Dad enjoyed the grandchildren before they left to go spend some time in Florida. Isaiah is getting so big. He is starting to crawl all over.

These babies don't belong to our family, they are some of the children that JoAn watches in her work as a mother's helper. They came over to our house so she could watch them so their Mom and Dad could go out and have a date alone. The children ALL really enjoyed having babies around to hold and love on. I love the way even my boys really love to take care of babies. They will be good Daddies some day.

Well, that's our fall and winter wrap up. I hope you enjoyed it and feel like you are caught up on the news. I'll try and do a better job of keeping up to date.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Mangos go Dancing!!

Can you believe it? I still am a bit shocked!!! My DH took the children and I to a ball. It was an Old English Ball. We had so much fun! It was all English folk dancing. The kids were so excited.

The guys got all dressed up. I was surprised at how excited they really were. Of course, it didn't hurt that a lot of their friends from the debate club were going to be there.

Without intentionally planning it, Paul and Michelle ended up in coordinating outfits. They looked so nice.

The band for the evening was 'Girls gone Mild'. Everybody in the band was over 50. They did a lovely job of playing English country music. The lady in the black dress with the ponytail, was the instructor. She did a really nice job of teaching all us newbies the different steps to each of the dances. She kept everything moving smoothly, which was a challenge with about 140 dancers to keep organized.

Michelle had a friend who is a beautician do an 'updo' for the event. It came out real nice.

Pastor Mike was the emcee. He has all the get up and costume for an English ball. He even grew out the sideburns for the occasion.

T-Bob made sure that he had a partner for every dance. He kept the ladies happy with his charming smile and friendly conversation.

Thomas and Michelle were even partners for a dance. I had to put a picture in here of them holding hands. Never thought I'd see that done willingly! Of course in all these dances, you switched partners about every 20 seconds.

Promenade all! This style of dancing is really good exercise. The dances do keep on going for a long time. You got to dance with pretty much everybody by the end of some dances, and definitely by the end of the evening.

I really enjoyed seeing my DH and Michelle dancing together. She was happy to finally have a partner who was taller than herself. I think only three of the guys at the dance were taller than she was. We are looking forward to going again.

Incidentally, for those keeping track, JoAn and Elizabeth stayed home. You had to be 10 or older to go. Elizabeth is only seven. JoAn was willing to watch her for us.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

A PROUD Day for the Mangos

I finally am sitting down to write a post on the blog. The picture above was taken by one of the kiddos, and I really like it.

Yesterday was a big day for our family! As you may know, if you have followed our blog for awhile, our family has really gotten into speech and debate in the last year and a half. Paul even went so far as delaying his high school graduation a year so he could have a second year of debate. We do team policy debate through CCA/CCO (Christian Communicators of America/Ohio) and it is pretty neat. This year the policy is RESOLVED 'to that the US federal government should change its policy for the domestic Agricultural production of food.'

Paul and his partner Caleb have worked REALLY hard at coming up with a great case. They have spent lots of hours getting it together and well evidenced. This is both boys' second year of debate. Yesterday was the club's Round Robin Tournament. All the teams in the club competed against one another to see who would come out on top. Paul and Caleb finished the night 6-0 and won in a toughly argued final match in front of the club. It was videotaped, and I am looking forward to getting to watch it, now that I know who won. I had to leave during the match, as it was too intense for this mama. I don't like raised voices and arguing and this match contained a lot of that, Almost all by the negative team. I did come in for the final speech by Paul to close the match. I was amazed by his eloquence and timing. After being buffeted though most of the match by the more experienced debaters, he took control. He stood straight and tall and started off in strong tone, but with a smile, "Judges if you are looking for good orators, vote for the negative team", and he gestured at his opponents with a wide swing of his arm, and then he continued, "but if you are interested in the facts, you need to vote for the affirmative team". All those in the audience sucked in their collective breaths and said "ooooooh". The negative team sat there and shook their heads in helpless rage as they would not have any more opportunity to respond. He then proceeded to lay out their case one last time and explain exactly why their policy change was needed and what was wrong with the negative team's ideas. The other team sat there the whole time fuming and shaking their heads and glaring. It was a classic moment. It made this Mom heart of mine proud. (If you are interested, we will have a copy of the whole debate on a DVD, but it is rather long- 1.25 hours) This makes all the work worthwhile. They did a much better job than the men we have seen in the presidential debates.

My dear Michelle, has struggled all her life with speech difficulties. She didn't even start talking until she was 4. She has had speech therapy and continues to work hard at her enunciation. In the beginning of the debate season she was told that her speech wasn't good enough to participate. She persevered in taking the classes anyway and by the end of the classes she was allowed to be a full fledged debater. She has continued to put a lot of time in. I have to admit my eyes misted up when she was given the 5th place speaker's award. This was out of like 18 competitors. She was so excited! She said, "I guess they understood me!" It was a big moment for her.

Thomas is the consummate speaker and debater. He and his partner finished fourth in the novice division and he was in third place in the individual speaker awards. He also has put in a lot of time. He is hoping to actually win something this year.

Last year, in all the tournaments, the children did not really win anything. It was a year of intensive learning. They are hoping for better things this year, and yesterday was a great start!