Two Tiaras and a Sword

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Frienbs" Forever

Friday could not get here fast enough.  For several weeks, we had been planning.  My sweet friend in Georgia had asked us to come and visit, and the day of departure had FINALLY arrived.  We were excited to begin our Thanksgiving break and to see our friends.  My Prince had to stay home to preach on Sunday, but the rest of us loaded up the car after school and headed to The Peach State for a weekend of fun, games, food, and laughter.

We faced quite a bit of traffic as I had expected with it being the weekend before Thanksgiving, but other than that, our trip was fairly uneventful.  God kept us safe and the car in working order, and we were very thankful.

We made it to our friend's house and went in to the new experience of runaway tacos.  They are pretty much normal tacos, but instead of normal shells, you eat them over Doritos.  Originally the idea was to make them and eat them out of the individual sized bags of Doritos, but because there were so many of us, my friend just purchased the large bags, and we ate ours out of bowls.  Aunt Babo (another friend) and one of her munchkins joined us for dinner and hung out with us for a while.

We spent the evening laughing, reminiscing, and just catching up - all the while taking turns playing crocodile dentist with the little girls.  We met BearDog who we had heard so much about.  And he was just as sweet as they told us he was - even if he does think and act like he is part cat -as well as spoiled rotten.  He took a special liking to The Young Prince, and would stand at his feet and bark until The Young Prince would acknowledge him in some way.  If The Young Prince sat down, BearDog was there.  If The Young Prince walked out of the room, BearDog went in search to find him.  It was sweet.  It is said that dogs are a good judge of people.  And I think that BearDog knew that The Young Prince is awesome and decided to hang out with him as much as possible over the weekend.

The talk turned inevitably to WarDawg and his ability to call owls.  Seriously.  I've witnessed it firsthand, the guy is an owl whisperer.  It is very cool.  So, we were talking about owls and my friend Special K and her sister Aunt Babo told us about the time when they were young, and they had a pet owl named Winkie.  How have I known them this long and never heard this story?  A pet owl story is not something you hear about every day.  Pretty cool.

Then Uncle D had to tell us about how he and Z-Bob had been outside working on a fishing rod at night, and the lure caught the attention of an owl.  The owl landed not far from them, and flapped his wings.  They said he was huge.  It is a good thing that he did not try to eat the lure, because if he had, my friend would be nursing her second pet owl back to health as we speak.

Talk turned for a few minutes to politics and presidential candidates.  T-Bone confidently announced that he had the perfect head of presidential hair, so he could be President one day.  This is the same child who charges people to let them touch his wonderful head of hair.  Seriously.  No joke.  Maybe one day he WILL become president and he can earn back some of our national debt by charging foreign heads of state for chances to touch his hair.  T-Bone for President!

The kids entertained themselves and us for quite a while playing with two laser pointers and BearDog.  I'm afraid that BearDog will never be the same again.

It had been a long day, so we all decided to retire for the night.

The little girls and I woke up fairly early, and hung out in the living room waiting for everyone else to "rise and shine".  The little girls decided to get dressed and go out to play.  When the Youngest Princess came out, bless her heart, her sweat pants (that we put up last year and she has
dn't worn this year yet) looked like capri pants.  Proof that her sweet little self is actually growing.  She decided that she was okay with that.  They were just playing outside...and off they went.

Special K made biscuits and bacon, and we all enjoyed a wonderful breakfast.  We had kids inside, we had kids outside, we had kids going out and coming in.  There were kids everywhere, and it was wonderful.  The indoor soccer ball kept many of them entertained off and on all weekend long.  There was a game or two of basketball, and all sorts of things with wheels were ridden.

Special K, The Oldest Princess and I made a Target run.  Special K and I can't get together without heading to Target if there is one anywhere near where we are.  In Target we ran into Aunt Babo and her munchkins.  We did not find what we were looking for, but we found several things that we weren't looking for.  Isn't that the way it is just about every time you go to Target?  I know it is with me, anyway.

Since Target didn't have the games we wanted, we headed to Toys-R-Us.  They had one of the games we were looking for, so we got it, and then went in search of the other one.  We, on a whim, stopped at Barnes and Noble, and found it!  Then we had one more stop to make at the grocery store to pick up one quick thing.  The Oldest Princess and I stayed in the car and Special K ran inside to get what we needed.  I noticed that someone was dressed up as something near the front door of the store, but I did not have a great line of sight from the car, and I could not tell exactly what it was.  Finally, the person moved and I could see that it was a lady dressed up as a Turkey.  She was shaking her tail feathers, and putting on quite a show.  I knew that Special K was "upset" that she had left her phone at home and was unable to get a picture with Turkey Lady as she went into the store.  Unfortunately, Turkey Lady herself went into the store, because when Special K came back to the car I was more than willing for her to pull around and let me take her picture with Turkey Lady.  But by that time it was too late.

We headed home to feed the masses their choice of turkey or ham sandwiches.  We ate lunch, and then it was time to get down to business and play some games.  The first one was the Pie Face game, which was Special K's idea.  The very game we had just made the trip to Target to purchase.  Of course, someone had to video and take pictures, so we had the kids circle up around the table, and Special K and I took pictures and videos while they played.  It was pretty funny.  And The Young Prince, who hates whipped cream with a passion, was somehow lucky enough to get through two whole games and come out as the winner both times.  But we didn't stop until everyone got a "pie" in the face.  Well, everyone, EXCEPT Special K that is.  Wait a minute!  Wasn't this HER idea in the FIRST place?!?  It is pretty fun, and it is very funny, and it makes for some great slow motion videos, but it is also extremely messy.  So if you decide to play, make sure you have plenty of paper towels ready for clean up.

The Oldest Princess, The Young Prince, Z -Bob, Special K and I all took a few minutes before dark to drive out to see the little blue house where we used to live.  I loved that house and all of the memories that went with it.  I love how God provided it just when we needed it.  I love how it was far enough out that the kids could play and enjoy the horses that belonged to our neighbors.  I love that it's seclusion was a healing balm to my hurting heart after my daddy had passed away.  Many happy memories were made in that place, and it was sweet to go back, even if just to drive by, and remember for a few minutes.  The kids both said that they remembered it to be bigger than it was. Maybe just because they were much smaller when they lived there.  I remember how even after we had lived there for several weeks, The Young Prince would tell me that he wanted to go home.  He was too young to understand what it meant to move, and that we were home.  But it didn't take him too long to settle in and love it.

We stopped by Aunt Babo's house to get the hot dog roasting sticks she had put out for us to borrow.  Our plan was to follow her wishes and be like ninjas - in and out, without anyone knowing we were there - but as soon as we pulled in one of her munchkins saw us.  Special K rolled down her window and diverted his attention while The Oldest Princess jumped out of the car on the other side, grabbed the roasting sticks and jumped back in.  The other two munchkins had joined us by then, and Special K worked her magic for a few more minutes talking to them and asking them questions, and then we were off.  The munchkins none the wiser.

We went back to Special K's house, and Uncle D was there.  He grilled hamburgers and hot dogs.  He gave me a hard time, because I special ordered my hamburger to be as flat as possible and "crispy critter" burnt.  He told me it was not Burger King.  I could not have it my way.  But despite giving me a hard time, he did a great job, and my hamburger was wonderful.

We cleared dinner away, and broke out the Dutch Blitz cards.  We had a great time playing.  And Grammy, before you ask, we were fairly nice.  Not all the time, but we all did our best to control ourselves. Most of the time.  Until The Oldest Prince used Z-Bob's sunflower seed spit cup, and then it was on.  Z-Bob did not want any part of The Oldest Prince's "spit fumes".

We sent the boys out to start a fire in the fire pit, and we got things ready for s'mores.  The guys did a good job with the fire, and we had fun roasting, some of us burning, marshmallows to make s'mores.
We took pictures of course.  Lots of pictures.

Then someone came out with some boxes of long sparklers.  The kids enjoyed them for a few minutes, and then Z-Bob suggested that we do one of those sparkler pictures.  Special K told me we needed a seven letter word.  I instantly thought of "friends".  "Forever" also came to mind.  We decided that "Friends" would be perfect.  They started talking about cameras and tripods and long exposures, and settings...stuff that makes my head spin.

Then they said the kids would have to do their letters backward so when the picture came out, the word would be correct.  The Oldest Princess was a tad intimidated by the backward letter thing, so I told her she could have the "o".  She was happy with that arrangement, until Special K reminded us that there is no "o" in friends.  Ooops!  I was pretty tired, and I still had "forever" in my brain I guess!  So Uncle D said she could have the "i" instead.  Good deal.  Then The Youngest Princess was stressing out over getting her letter just right.  She takes things like this serious, and she was not going to be the one to mess up the picture.  So I worked with her for a few minutes making sure she understood what to do.  Then it was Missy B's turn, and we worked on helping her with her "s".  We lined them up and I went down the row making sure they all knew how to do their letter (backward to them - correct to me) so they would be correct in the picture.  Then it was show time.

The camera was ready.  The kids were ready.  We lit the sparklers and they went to work.  But something was not right with the settings, so we had to do a take-two.  No problem.  Grab more sparklers.  Let's do this again.  But wait!  After these, we only have 4 sparklers left.  So we HAVE to make it work this time.  No pressure.  Do not mess this up!  We have to get it right.  Places everyone!  Lights!  Camera!  Action!  Special K is behind the camera.  It's perfect!  It's looking good!  Keep it up everyon...."Wait!  WarDawg!  Your "d" is backwards!"  Oh, no!!  We don't have the word "Friends"!  We have the word "Frienbs"!  We all just had to laugh.  I'm pretty sure he did it just like I told him to do it.  I am pretty sure my tired brain was trying to think backwards and forwards, front and back, and I messed it up.

Then of course, the creative brains began to whirl.  There must be a way we can fix this!  Special K and Z-Bob know a lot about PhotoShop, and they were talking about cutting his image out of the original picture and flipping him so that it would be correct.  It almost looked like a capital "D" so she could take some of the sparkler image from the picture and make it look more like a capital "D".  The teacher in me cringed at that one.  The thought of a picture that said "FrienDs" made my eye twitch.

So I happend to think that we could take another picture of just WarDawg, with one of the four remaining sparklers and let him do his "d" the right way.  Then we could take that image of him and cut/paste/whateverthecorrectlingoforPhotoShopis the second image of him over the first into the original picture and make it look like the word "Friends".  Bingo!  My amazing friend could do that, because she is awesome!

So, we took the picture of just WarDawg doing his "d", and Special K went in to her computer and worked her magic.  All the while, laughing at ourselves and our crazy "frienbship".

I think the finished product is perfect.  And I love the memory that goes with it.  I'm actually glad we messed up the original, because now we have a story to tell.  It's a lot like life.  We are going to mess things up, because we are SO not perfect.  But God steps in and through His grace, love and mercy, He works in us and makes things right again.  And when people ask us about it, we have a story to tell.  A story about how God is The Master at fixing things we mess up.  I am glad that we did not have to walk away with JUST our original picture (although I love that one maybe more than the finished product).  I am glad that my sweet friend could fix it.  Just as I am glad that I don't have to go through life with all my mess ups permanently recorded (although they teach me lessons and point me to my need of God).  I am glad that I serve a loving, forgiving, merciful Savior, who died for all of my mistakes and washes away my record with his precious life giving blood.  God is SO good!

I could tell many more stories about our weekend.  About our marathon playing of Dutch Blitz.  About The Young Prince commentating our games (because he does not play) and making us all laugh, and laugh, and laugh.  About how Missy B called The Young Prince the "commenhater"  and made us all laugh some more.

There are stories of "The FAAAAABULOUS Nevada Hotel and Casino" - trust me, you just had to be there for that one! - with Berry and Beauford acting as the mascots.  The cheat-o-meter, and Benadryl induced sleep (The Youngest Princess had an allergic reaction to Beardog, and had to take a Benadryl.  I think she had the best sleep she has had in a loooong time).  And that was all just Saturday night!

But all too soon it was time to get to bed.  We had to get up and be ready for church the next morning.

Uncle D made everyone pancakes for breakfast Sunday morning.  I was a little disappointed that I did not get the Micky Mouse shaped one that I ordered, but I guess I will forgive him.  This time.  He told me he would be better prepared and make me one next time.  I'm holding him to that.

I'm not entirely sure how we did it, but we managed to get all 10 of us dressed and ready for church, and early at that, the next morning.  It was very good to go back and see old friends that we haven't seen in years, and meet some new ones.

Sunday afternoon was the long anticipated trip to my favorite restaurant.

My friend's sweet parents, Mrs. P and her Texas loving husband, Bro. R joined us.  The pastor had  preached on gratitude that morning.  I know God has a sense of humor.  He tested us that very afternoon.  Our lunch was a comedy of errors.  If it could go wrong, it pretty much did.  But I still thoroughly enjoyed my food, and did my best to have gratitude and ignore all the little mishaps. (Said through gritted teeth) Nothing was going to stop me from enjoying eating at my favorite restaurant again after about five years!  Nothing!

We went home to spend the afternoon doing, what else...playing Dutch Blitz.  The Youngest Princess learned that she could yell "Dutch!" to stop the play of the game, and she did so just about every chance she got.  I think it was a power thing with her.  T-Bone also yelled it once.  Just. because. he. learned. that. he. could.  Missy B always somehow miraculously ended up with mostly 1's and 2's to begin with.  The rest of us "never could quite figure out" how that happened.  But it might have had something to do with her shuffling in her chair instead of on the table.  Where did The Young Prince put that Cheat-o-meter?  Meanwhile BearDog took advantage of our distraction to mark his territory in WarDawg's room.  WarDawg was NOT happy.

Before we knew it, because time flies when you are having fun, it was time to get ready to go back to church.  It was really cool that one of our girls, who had gotten saved when we were there, and had since gotten away from church, and had recently gotten back into church, was scheduled for baptism that night.   I love that God worked it out for us to be there to see her take that step, and to know that she is back on the right track and serving the Lord again.  God is good.

The boys stayed to play basketball after church, and Uncle D, Special K, T-bone, Missy B, The Youngest Princess and the Oldest Princess and I all went back to Special K's house.  While we were snacking, the Oldest Princess impressed Uncle D with her goat sound making abilities, and the Youngest Princess did her cheer routine for Uncle D, then The Oldest Princess took back over by amazing us with the large food items that she can fit in her mouth.  It was almost as good as Barnum and Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth...maybe we should get a bus and take our show on the road.  Or. Not.

We played some more Dutch Blitz, and we even talked Uncle D into playing two whole rounds with us.  I do not think he cares much for our game.

The boys got home and joined us in playing a little more Dutch Blitz.  Z-Bob was cracking me up.  He had this bull-pawing-the-ground motion he would make when he was anticipating playing a card. It was quite comical.  Special K and Z-Bob mentioned several times that they planned to practice up and beat The Oldest Princess and I the next time we were able to play.  We are not scared at all.  Bring it on!

We spent a little time watching funny videos, which everyone knows are funnier than normal when it is late at night and you are tired.

The Young Prince made me laugh until I cried, which I haven't done in a long time.  We tried to get serious and have everyone go around the room and tell me their favorite memory from the weekend, to help with the blog, but we didn't have much luck with that.  Z-Bob is evidently as afraid of "emotional fumes" as he is "spit fumes", and he let it be known that he did not enjoy our memory activity.  By the way, according to him, it had just been "two days, and a memory is not a memory until like six months have passed".  So will someone please set your phone to alert you six months from today and remind you to have Z-Bob read this blog and enjoy the memories I preserved for him here.  And also let him know that when you get older, a memory is anything that happened more than a few seconds ago, and if you don't record it soon, you more than likely will not have it to remember six months from now.

Monday was spent just being together.  Special K and I were able to get up before all of the kids and have a little bit of time to share our hearts with one another.  I hate that we don't live closer and can't meet for lunch and share our hearts on a regular basis.  But I am very glad that we have been intentional on getting together a little more regularly, recently, than we have in the past.  Now that the kids are getting older, it frees us up to be able to get together more often.  I hope we keep it up until we are old and gray.  Frienbs Forever!

All too soon it was time for us to go.  I was getting messages from My Prince telling me to "hurry up!"  So we said our goodbyes and headed home.  God gave us a good trip home with no problems.

We arrived home to meet up with My Prince, unload and hit the road again to go out and eat for The Young Prince's birthday.  By the way, Happy, Happy Birthday to The Young Prince, who is not so young anymore, and getting older every day, Prince.

It was a wonderful weekend, and on the brink of Thanksgiving, we have many, many things, and frienbs to be thankful for!

Frienbs Forever!

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