The Wassup Chronicles – Vol. 1

Welcome to “The Wassup Chronicles”, where I tell you what’s up in my world and…you listen. (but then you get a turn, too, so hang in there!)

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Good morning friends!

I have been working on and off for months — MONTHS!! — on a blog post titled “The Mission Statement of Mrs. Gore’s Diary”.

‘Twas one part funny and three parts dramatic and, oh, about five parts explanatory and I worked on it and I worked on it and I worked on it and I put other writings on the backburner and I let it clog up my idea queue and, last night, after pulling it up again for the 35th time since January and still finding it lacking or missing something (or more likely having too much!!), I said…

PHA-HOOEY!!!

I’m done with it.

Moving on.

I mean, all it was was my entire manifesto for living, so…whatevs, right? Sometimes writers write for themselves, and I suppose this was one of those instances. I know now what the mission statement of Mrs. Gore’s Diary is, so that’s cool. All 3000 words of it.

All that to say, I’m FREE this afternoon! And, rather than nail myself down to a specific topic (for instance, mission statements), I just want to blab.

So what do you want to talk about?

We could talk about Valentine’s Day. It was probably my least prepared holiday ever, and I’m trying to figure out why. Was it because my mom and Amy were out of town the week before and we didn’t have time to plan our annual party? Was it because I’m still trying to recover, somehow, from Christmas? Was it because my heart just wasn’t in it?

I don’t know, really. But I learned something: you can prepare for weeks to have a holiday or you can prepare the morning of, and chances are, your kids are going to have a blast. By the time they came to the breakfast table on the morn of the 14th, we had a pretty table set, and festive donuts, and a little gift at each place. Best of all, the kids got to pass out the cards they had made for each family member the day before, and it was so fun to see what sort of sweet nothings they came up with on their own.

Yesterday's Valentine breakfast. Donuts. Fruit. Strawberry milk. Lots of fun. Lots of love. ❤️😍❤️😍

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I’m always analyzing the purpose of education, and I discovered yet another reason we should be passionate about the schooling of our children…

so they can make their Valentine cards WITHOUT US!!!

I didn’t even have to make Shepherd’s cards, because his big brother transcribed them for me! (#manny)

All in all, it was a fun day, and the Mister and I even squeezed in a date last night!

Which leads me to the next thing we could talk about, if you’re in a talking mood…

La La Land.

Ohmuhgoodness.

Yesterday was my second viewing of this…this…this…CINEMATIC MASTERPIECE!!!…and I loved it even more the second time around. I so want to really talk to you about this movie but I abhor spoilers and so I can’t. All I can say is:

1. This is the coolest, most suck-your-breath-right-out-of-you-for-two-whole-hours movie.

2. Especially if you are well-acquainted with the old movies — SO many nods to the films of yesteryear, in major ways, but then in manifold subtle ways that just knocked my socks off.

3. Don’t expect a Christian worldview, duh, but this is actually a pretty clean movie. I was shocked by the utter lack of all the things that are routinely shoved down our gullets by Hollywood. THAT SAID, while there are not an immense number of expletives, the ones that are in the movie are like…BAM!!! The kind that make you flinch. I just didn’t want you to tell your hubby that “Mrs. Gore says this is a great movie! Let’s take the KIDS!”

4. I’ve seen the movie twice now and the second viewing was the best. I came away really understanding the film and letting it teach me something rather than trying to make it what I wanted it to be. I realize that’s vague but…just watch the movie. You’ll see.

5. I have a maternal sort of adoration for Emma Stone. I want to make her biscuits and jam for breakfast and tell her not to stay out too late and I also want her to know that she always has a place to come home to. I’m assuming she could afford to add a room on to our house because we don’t have a spare room, so that would just be an added bonus to the adoption.

Which leads me to the next thing we COULD talk about. If you wanna…

Some of my Facebook peeps already know about this, but GUESS. WHAT??

We have a special project in the works at Gore House.

(Doesn’t “Gore House” sound very Halloweeny? Ew. I mean, I like Halloween, you know that, but not the haunted house part of Halloween. Which is totally what “Gore House” sounds like, a haunted house, oooooooooooooooo!!!!)

Anyhow, special project.

The plans have been drawn up. The bids are about to come in. The fundraising has begun.

Ready?…

WE’RE BUILDING A SCHOOLHOUSE!!!!!!!!!

Oh, man, you know what, we can’t talk about this here. I’m gonna need a full blog post to talk about it. Just…consider this the official teaser trailer, with lots and lots more coming soon to a Gore House near you.

(ooooooooooooooooo!!!!)

Let’s see, what does that leave for us to discuss? Assuming you’re still listening…

Oh, how about this?

I got bangs in December.

I no longer have bangs in February.

I mean, I still have bangs, but they are long enough to pin back and, although my mom and my kids and my nieces REALLY loved them, and my husband really liked them, and even though I felt cool(ish) again, we have decided to part ways (literally, they’re parted down the middle and subtly pinned to the side).

Why? Because Mrs. Gore ain’t got time for THAT. Did you know that, when I don’t have bangs, I can wash and style my hair and it will last me for three whole days (and then maybe a half-day more with a lil’ dry shampoo, thank you Oscar Blandi)? And when I say “it will last me”, what I mean is that I don’t have to touch it, think about it, or even brush it in between. And did you know that I didn’t know how wonderful this was until I lopped off a whole section of hair atop my forehead and had to deal with it every. single. day.?!

All I had wanted, really, was to look as awesome as #ohhoney. (If you don’t know what all these hashtags mean, you’ve really got to join us at Facebook, pronto!). I’m mean, sure, she’s FIVE, but who cares? Her bangs are DIVINE. She looks like a miniature Jess from “New Girl”. Or a tiny Audrey Hepburn. When she wakes up, they are more or less perfect. And when she’s in the wind, they’re perfect. And when she’s wearing a hat, they’re PERFECT.

(See what I mean? This was after a windy and sweaty morning at Vintage Market Days…)

I'm always an #ohhoney fan. But after we take the sponge curlers out of her hair…😍

A post shared by Mrs Gore (@mrsgoresdiary) on

My bangs, however, were little hair devils that stuck out in a million directions when I woke up in the morning. And when I was in the wind they stuck out in two million directions. And when I wore a hat…just no.

Even worse, somehow, when they weren’t being hair devils and were as en pointe as I needed them to be, they were making me feel vain in church and I seriously thought I was done with that, my sisters.

I’m not kidding, that’s when I really knew they needed to go. Preacher’s wife can’t be feeling vain on a Sunday morning, not when preacherman is bringing the Word to the flock. Get thee behind me, Bangstan.

So, do I regret getting bangs? No I don’t. I’m so glad I tried it. It was fun and exciting and I’m glad I got it out of my system.

Did I like my bangs? Not enough.

Maybe someday, when I have time to wake up and groom myself every morning instead of every third or third-and-a-half morning, I’ll give it another go.

If I’m no longer vain.

(But I probably will be. Even though I won’t know it until I get the bangs.)

Ah, this was a fun talk, and I’m going to try to do it more often. Thanks for listening.

Now tell me, wassup in YOUR life? What did you do for Valentine’s Day? Have you seen La La Land? DO YOU HAVE BANGS?? Are they perfect or are they hair devils? I’m all ears…

 

Grandmother’s Valentine Tea Time…and Supper…and Sleepover…and Breakfast

Many of you know my mom by now.

Superhero.

Perpetual (voluntary) servant.

Holiday magician.

And what I love most about her ability to hostess with the mostess is the ease with which she shows hospitality.

Hospitality is her gift. It oozes from her fingertips. It wafts from the open windows of her living room.

And it doesn’t matter if the person she is serving is eighty-eight years old or a prince or a pauper or her 33-year old daughter or a one-year old who has no idea what is going on…

she loves and she serves and she gifts and she ministers and she parties.

How blessed are the children in her life who are growing up under her grandmotherly wings, and my prayer is that her gifts will live on and multiply in the lives of her grandchildren, bringing light and hope and comfort to a world that needs all of the above.

On Valentine Eve, I packed up the last of our things at the house, I threw my finally finished sugar cookie valentines into cellophane bags, and I gave her a quick call to see if we were still on schedule for this year’s “homeschool Valentine party”.

“Come on out anytime! But, now…don’t expect much…” she warned me. “I didn’t go ‘all out’ this year.”

I snorted, used to this sort of humility from her, knowing full-well that her party would be off the chain.

Which it totally was.

~

We happily left behind the Valentine catastrophe that was our own home…

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And we headed to the country where Grandmother and cousins and parties and rest and relaxation were waiting for us with anticipation

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The children were forbidden to enter the party place and had to wait on the porch, but I snuck in to get a few pictures before the chaos descended.

How did she describe this party, again?

“Not much”?

HA!

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I DO know what she was trying to say with the “not much” stuff, though. Rather than a big meal and desserts and party games like we’ve done in the past, this year we decided on a simple tea-time party, with cake and ice cream only and lots of free play-time for the kids. 

The decorations consisted mostly of things the kids could take home: a giftbag of fun candy for each child, a Valentine activity book under their plate, a small mason jar filled with roses and then a special wrapped gift from Grandmother. The girls received a silver necklace with a heart charm, the littlest children received various toys and whatnots and Gideon got his very own tortoise comb in a leather case that is embossed with the words “Hey, Slick!” (I die).

Moving on…

Party time!!!

The kids were instructed to line up on the porch and await further instructions.

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Heeeerrrre’s, Grandmother! Hi, Grandmother! You’re beautiful and amazing and we’d be lost without you!! Just in case you didn’t know that!!

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Time to come in!

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I love their happy faces. These kids word hard in school, and it is so fun to take a day off for some pampering and celebrating.

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Sigh. Is there anyplace more satisfying in the world than a familiar table with the ones you feel at ease with?

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I honestly don’t think there is.

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Not surprisingly, the kids tore into their presents first.

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Here, Betsie shows Abel how to work his new train whistle.

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and then the candy was tackled! There was some good stuff in those bags. (I know, because I stole some when the kids weren’t looking)…

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And then we dove in to the dessert. There was pink milk for drinking…

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ice cream hearts with sprinkles for eating…

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and enough chocolate cake to keep our tummies happy until suppertime.

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And one of my favorite things about these parties is that she never forgets the mamas!

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But the highlight of the party turned out to be, without a doubt, the activity books mom bought for each child. They worked on these books all evening long, from the 3-year old to the 10-year old. You never know what’s going to strike a chord with little people, do you? I’ll share a link to these books at the bottom of this post. If I remember.

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And then we were DONE!

As beautiful as the pre-party table was, I am training my eye to see the beauty in the aftermath, as well. Good things happened here, even though it looks like a disaster zone.

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After dessert, the kids ran around and exchanged the valentines they had made for each other. It was a mad-house! And so fun to watch! So fun that I forgot to take a picture! But here’s Abigail with her valentine from Gid.

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By the way, I told my friends that I should get a medal for making it through homemade valentines with Betsie this year. Hours. It took hours.

She had very particular things she wanted me to write on each card, most of which were very obvious, such as “Dear Gabbie, I am making you a valentine card. I am bringing it to you at church tomorrow. Valentine’s Day is this week…” and so on and so forth.

But this one was my very favorite.

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I don’t know why, but that just tickled me. “I am so happy for you”.

Anyway, after the great valentine exchange, we went outside for a few group pictures before everyone got changed for the next phase of the party. 

I could not love these people more if I tried. Not possible.

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(the next is my new favorite picture of Sheppy, haha!)

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So on to the “next phase of the party”…

this was my dad’s doing, and so typical of his idea of a fun time. The kids were directed to throw on some play clothes and work boots, and off they went to do some labor, loading up their Granddaddy’s backhoe with rocks. 🙂

 But I think they had as much fun doing this as they did partying. And so I love the way this Valentine celebration showcased the personalities and preferences of my mama and daddy so well.

By the way, we did not purposefully arrange the kids into a heart shape in the next picture. It just happened. Valentine’s Day is powerful like that.

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The kids were MOST thrilled when, returning back to the house after their “job”, their Granddaddy blessed them with a wage! They lined up, oldest to youngest, and closed their eyes while he rummaged through his wallet for their earnings.

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Betsie was so happy with her 3 dollars.

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And the rest of the evening was just spent relaxing outside…

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A couple of hours later, with the sun setting in the distance, we finally wandered back into the house.

The kids played with their valentines…

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and then there was a pretty epic game of hide-and-seek.

It did a little somethin’ to my heart to see this new generation hide in all the best spots my brothers and I used when we were little.

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We supped together and finally, to wrap up the evening, we gathered around in our pajamas to watch one of the best animated love stories of all time, “Beauty and the Beast.”

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Close to midnight, after lots of giggling and switching beds and getting situated, the last child fell asleep and I turned off the lamp.

Nestled up on one of the couches with my firstborn, I could hear the peaceful breathing (and a few light snores!) of seven beloved children, and I thought my heart was going to explode.

Valentine’s Day sure takes on a new spin when there are children in your midst, does it not?

FAR too early, morning came, and seven alarm clocks roused me from my sleep.

We had a pancake breakfast…

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and just like that, Amy and her kiddos were loaded up and headed back home.

And we were so very sad.

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It was the best “not much” party we’ve ever been treated to, and we can’t WAIT to see what Grandmother has up her sleeve come Easter. ❤

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Special thanks to my mama for another great party. You are an integral part of our homeschooling operation, and we are so, so grateful.

And if you are interested in the activity books for next year’s Valentine’s Day, you can find them by clicking on the picture below.

A Surprise Valentine Breakfast

I’m glad you guys seem to love me so much, because, after blogging for 3 years, one thing is very clear: there is no rhyme or reason to this blog.

And speaking of love, while I’m plugging away at writing up some memories from Gid’s 7th birthday, I thought it would be a good time to FINALLY share the pics from our Valentine celebration.

You know, the one from last month.

Pinterest is laughing at me right now, isn’t it? Valentine’s Day is so last season.

But that’s okay because, honestly, I’m behind in every area of my life right now, and this has actually led to something GREAT.

As I usually have the house decked out for V-day on February 1st, I felt pretty much like a miserable failure when the week of love arrived and my house was not dressed for the occasion.

Rebekah was throwing up all week long, and things just weren’t working out for me; there was no possible way I could have the house cleaned up and decorated by the 14th.

Something had to be done.

If only I had a completely empty room just sitting around that I could put ALL of our Valentine stuff in…

well, I did.

The sunroom!

Recently emptied of all of its furniture and cuteness to become Jake’s temporary dog-home, it was the perfect place to hold a little party for the kids.

The sunroom is separated from our kitchen by an antique door, and what excited me the most was that, by covering the door’s large window, I could completely deck out the room and have it ready without the kids ever seeing it.

The entire day before Valentine’s Day, they had NO idea that there was a party waiting for them just beyond that door.

But I knew. And I was pretty giddy about it.

There was nothing really spectacular about this party. I already owned all the decorations, the books, and the games, and the breakfast menu was our typical pancakes and bacon.

The fun was in the surprise and in taking a moment in our day to celebrate a holiday together.

Take a look!

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I hid out in the sunroom and took pictures of the kids when they saw the party table…

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Mr. Gore pretended to be surprised, too. Please notice the completely trashed-out, non-decorated room behind him that matched the entire first floor. But NOT the sunroom. 🙂 Sigh. I love the sunroom. And Mr. Gore.

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I say this every time, but I think this was my favorite party ever…

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We ended up our breakfast by reading our little collection of Valentine books together. (The Day It Rained Hearts is our favorite!)

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And then we opened our valentines to each other. The night before, Mr. Gore and I made handmade cards for each kid with pictures of us and them, and they were a huge hit.

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I would show a picture of Rebekah with her valentine, but she threw up on it right after this, and all over our party table.

But, still. It was a great morning.

And best of all, it completely inspired me to keep the sunroom empty, so that, during these crazy years with little ones underfoot, I’ll always have a safe place to celebrate our holidays.

Did I mention that I love the sunroom?…

~

Coming next to a sunroom near you: a Nursery Rhyme party! (maybe).