Last night our church had a fund raiser for the youth group by offering babysitting there from 5-10pm. Aaron and I dropped off all of the children except Benjamin around 6:30, enjoyed a dinner date at Applebee's and then headed to WalMart for shopping. That worked well and they had a WONDERFUL time playing there. In fact, when we got back at 9:40 they were upset that they didn't get to stay until 10pm. :-D
Tomorrow is the big day, the Christmas play! They had a 2 hour dress rehearsal today. I took the opportunity to do some more shopping at WalMart after dropping off the oldest 7 for it. Miriam is in the play, but they said that the sheep didn't need to come to today's practice. Christmas presents for the children this year are aimed around the idea of providing entertainment in the van. Driving 1000 miles over 2 days in a van with 10 young children is going to be quite the adventure. Then we'll turn around less than a week later and do it again. Woooooooo-hooooooo! We've also decided that we're going to need to purchase one of those things that straps onto the top of the van that can hold luggage. It's going to take 3 large suitcases to hold clothes for the 12 of us. That can all go on top. Inside the van we'll need entertainment, food, diaper supplies, etc.
Our goal is to be totally ready for the trip by Thursday evening. Friday morning I'm flying down to Florida with Benjamin. My Grandma is 88 and is dying of cancer. I'm going down to tell her good-bye. That will be hard, but I am so glad I am able to go. A friend blessed me with the plane ticket. Thomas, Sarah, Naomi Ruth, Rebekah, and Hannah have all seen her this year while visiting my parents in Florida. She'll get to meet Benjamin this trip and I look forward to getting pictures of the two of them together. Our last trip down there as a family was when Susanna was a baby. She won't get to meet Stephen or Samuel, unfortunately. Anyway, I'll fly down Friday morning and will return Sunday afternoon. Then Monday morning we're on the road to Texas!
Samuel was shocked to discover yesterday at lunch that we all have the last name Hall. He thought that was his name because he came from Liberia. :-D We went around and all said our full names for him and by the time we got to him, he was so flustered that he couldn't remember his own name. :-D Speaking of lunch, feeding our family is quite the endeavor. I have found that generally to make sure there's enough food, it works best to make the recipe to where it says it serves 16. Between 5 normal hungry children, 3 children making up for lost time after starvation, and Thomas (11) already moving into the bottomless pit stage, they eat enormous amounts of food. Just recently I was thinking about how when Aaron and I first got married, I used to like to make recipes that served 8 and then would carefully divide them into 4 portions and freeze 3 of them so we'd have meals ready to go in our freezer. I would have had a hard time imagining at that time that 14 years later, that same amount which seemed like so much food at the time, would be half of one meal. :-D Good thing I like bulk cooking! Now I couldn't serve even one meal if I didn't. ;-)