Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

50th anniversary questionnaire

Tomorrow my parents will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Last weekend we had a party to commemorate this special occasion. To get to know my parents, each table had this quiz for guests to fill out:

Question: Why was Glenn angry when they arrived at their honeymoon resort?
Answer: Because Christine immediately spent a ridiculous amount of time emptying the suitcases and placing everything in drawers.

Q: In what month did they get engaged?
A: September 1965

Q: Why did they move up the wedding (and no, she wasn't pregnant at the time)?
A: They had originally planned to get engaged around January 1966 and to get married in June but Glenn's draft notice came up and as a conscientious objector he planned to go into Voluntary Service instead. They wanted to go to Voluntary Service together so they changed the wedding date to January 1, 1966 and went to Peoria, Illinois 2 months later to serve his term.

Q: Who was the maid of honor in their wedding? The best man?
A: Christine's friend, Margaret Zook and Glenn's brother, Wilbur Bauman

Q: In what area of the country did they go for their honeymoon?
A: Poconos, PA

Q: What was the name of their honeymoon place?
A: Birchwood Resort

Q: When did they return to the same location?
A: 1989, taking many of the same photos their photographer took the first time around

Q: What trophy did Glenn win on their honeymoon?
A: Ping Pong (My brother is still trying to wrap his head around this one - honeymooning in groups?)

Q: Where did Glenn and Chris live before going to Voluntary Service in March, 1966?
A: With Glenn's parents, Harvey and Veldora Bauman

Q: Why did Glenn shave off his mustache?
A: He promised Christine if she gave him a son the mustache would go. Chris was never a fan of the mustache because she says it always stuck straight out and because his mother's red hair came out only in his mustache but not in the hair on his head. In 1972 he got that son and the mustache went.

Q: When Chad was 3 or 4 and looking at Glenn and Chris' wedding picture, what did he say to Chris about Glenn?
A: Who is that funny looking man with you, Mommy?

Q: In thousands, how much money had Christine secretly squirreled away for their 50th anniversary trip when Glenn found it during their move this past year?
A: $5000.00

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My grandmother

This is my grandmother. Pray-er, crafter, crochet-er, quilter, sewer, lover of laughter and family.

I won't tell you her age because that would be rude but because I'm very proud of her longevity, I will let it slip that she was born in 1921.

We're not quite sure what Santa was saying to her, but she was certainly enjoying it.

Since she lives with my parents we were able to enjoy her presence in and out of our Christmas celebrations over the last four days.

And this. This memory will stay with me forever. HopeAnne learned to crochet in the past 2 months. Knowing that (Great) Grandmom has been the creator of many of our household decorations through the years, HopeAnne decided to ask Grandmom to teach her a new stitch. Grandmom was more than happy to help her out.

Proof that you don't have to share DNA to be family, that love flows through generations, and that each family member has a role to play.

My grandmother with her children

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Games

Continuing on with our Christmas Eve traditions, we move from family gifts to family games.

This year we enjoyed two new games; Bounce Off and Pie Face. Some of us enjoyed them more than others.

Guess whose idea it was to play this game?

Not really a fan


Strategy. If you have to have whipped cream in your face, you might as well eat it.

Definitely not a fan.

Why? Why do you make me play these games?

Still not my idea of a good time.

HopeAnne won which means she could have escaped the whipped cream in the face but since she really wanted whipped cream on her face, she took a turn to end our "fun".

Monday, December 28, 2015

One more

I forgot to mention the best gift.

Presents had been given, gifts had been unwrapped, but there was one lonely gift bag under the tree. No one claimed it.

Upon closer inspection, we noticed that it said, "To Mom," but the space for the gift giver's name had been left blank.

With fear and trepidation I pulled a box from the gift bag,

and opened it up to find
a mug.

Dear Mom, Thank
you for putting 
up with whiny,
spoiled, sloppy,
ungrateful children
like my siblings
Love always, your favorite

I looked around. I waited for someone to 'fess up to this creative and witty gift.

The kids all looked around at each other. One after another they blamed someone across the room.

I could be wrong but I think Andrew and Mariana were named the most.

This went on for several minutes...

Before I admitted to buying it for myself just to see who they would think had done it.

And it was well worth the effort.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Family Christmas

Last year each child received a snowman of gifts. This year I decided to switch it up a bit. I put all the gifts together into four big snowmen instead of 8 individual ones. For the last few weeks I've been telling HopeAnne that one was for Andrew,

one for Jesse,

one for Mariana,

and one for Shoun.

I told her that I misjudged the money supply and ran out of money after Shoun so every child younger than that would not be receiving gifts this year. She always looked at me funny after that.

We started with the oldest (opposite of the Secret Santa gift exchange where we started with the youngest - always need to be fair) who got to choose a gift off the pile and then give it to the proper recipient.

How did they know who to give it to, you might ask? Well, there was an initial written on the bottom of the box. However, just in case someone might decide to do a little pre-Christmas peeking, it was not the first initial of that child's name but instead was the third letter of the first name. Pretty tricky, right?

Pizza Pouches so you can carry your pizza
around with you

I love someone with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia to the moon
and back, to infinity and beyond.

The girls asked me to make fleece mermaid tail blankets which I was very
willing to do but then I found an adoption fundraiser selling crocheted
mermaid tails and since I'm a sucker for adoption fundraisers...
HopeAnne's squeal when she opened her gift, and again when Eden opened hers, 
was the best reaction of the day.

And Victor spent the morning playing music on
Daddy's ipad.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Sibling Christmas

Starting with Christmas Adam, as usual, we had two movies and dinner together (minus Domino's Pizza). First the little kids, and most of the big ones, watched Inside Out. Only a few had seen it and the rest were pleasantly surprised. I personally enjoyed Sadness and decided it would be a good idea for us to spend the rest of the holidays each portraying a character. The idea did not catch on.

Next, the older kids were treated to our annual pick of an 80s or 90s movie which they are not privy to know until the moment it is turned on. For some reason, they had it narrowed down to Big or Top Gun. Don't know where they come up with these things. Apparently we were a little off and it came out in 2000 but this year's pick was Erin Brockovich.

Christmas Eve morning we woke up to cinnamon rolls and brunch, then time to read the notes we had written to each other and placed in our stockings. Last year we added a new twist and before the stockings were put away in January we each wrote a letter to Jesus from ourselves. Each individual wrote about hopes and dreams for the year as well as things we wanted to work on. These letters were also found in our stockings when we opened them up. Always my favorite part of the day.

Then the kids exchanged their Secret Santa gifts.
HopeAnne made Jesse a scarf and found some Star Wars socks.
Jesse had Andrew's name. This is sure to be popping up on N3RD this coming semester.
These sisters had each other.

And Isaac found this shirt for Victor and immediately he started to receive calls from the ladies.

Looks like maybe they really do all love each other.

To be continued....

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas 2015

Christmas 2015

Dear Family and Friends,

Due to the busy holiday season and other events, and after much thought, anxiety, and consternation, our family has decided to cancel our Christmas letter this year.  

John has little enough time to read all his Facebook page and watch the Eagles lose, let alone write a Christmas letter.  And then there is all that time he spends being pastorly, grading papers for his Messiah College students, and counseling at Grace Like a River, so he definitely does not have time.

Andrew, a junior at Asbury University, is finding his way as an excellent screen writer but time and motivation to write a Christmas letter? Probably not. All of his free time is spent either dreaming up the next film he’s going to create or working on said film. And his summer was filled with an internship in NYC and a quick trip to Kentucky to accept a student Emmy for his documentary, Hedgehog USA.
Jesse went off to Eastern University this fall as a freshman studying middle education with an emphasis in science and math. He’s having way too much fun to write our Christmas letter. Being elected to student council, playing intramural soccer on his team the Tight-ans, and drawing pictures with the ink sac from a squid in biology class are keeping him too busy to write our annual letter.

Mariana, a senior at Mechanicsburg Area Senior High, is feeling stressed about college auditions for the musical theater departments of various colleges, mostly in the NYC area. She’s been flying high since playing Peter Pan in her high school’s spring musical last year and then when she was chosen as one of only twelve students for a summer musical theater intensive at Wagner University (her first choice for college) and I don’t think she’ll come down long enough to get something written.

Shoun is a freshman at MASH. He was too busy this summer to get a head start on our Christmas card. While he could have been writing he was hard at work at a nearby farm. He definitely learned the value of hard work (and a great paycheck) but knows that he doesn’t want to go into farming for a living. And now that he joined the school’s swim team, well, he just can’t write even a single paragraph.

Isaac is also a freshman at MASH. He could have written our letter for us if he didn’t spend so much time with his viola instead. He enjoyed music camp at Messiah College this summer, plays in their orchestra during the school year, made 2nd chair at County Orchestra, and auditioned for and is heading to District Orchestra. There’s always orchestra at school and King’s Strings concerts, too.
Eden loves to write so we thought maybe she could do the honors this year but instead she decided to go off and go to real school for 5th grade. She is at a charter school in Harrisburg which is just right for her; lots of field trips, hands-on learning, and small group instruction. She writes a lot of stories and enjoys her writing assignments in history but didn’t want to write our Christmas letter.

HopeAnne, 9, is the lone homeschool representative this year so I could have forced her to write our letter but that didn’t seem fair. Besides, she spends all of her time running and wouldn’t really enjoy stopping to write. Healthy Kids Running Series keeps her running each fall and spring (where she’s come in 1st place each season this year) and Girls on the Run was another outlet this fall which culminated in a 5K around Hershey Park where she came in 15th out of 428 girls ages 10 and under.

Victor, who will be 3 in April, would probably love to write the Christmas letter, because it would mean he could pound on the keyboard, and he loves pounding on everything and with everything.  He is extremely verbal so it would be worth a shot except that he’s too busy spending all of his time getting in trouble.  If it can be climbed on or over, he’s there. If it involves water, he’s soaking wet.

And as for me, well, I love to write but since writing so much for The King Zoo and Funny Farm blog, I didn’t know what else to put into a Christmas letter. And if I do find any spare time I try to fill it with sewing or reading or planning for the Bible study I lead at church. And of course there are all the usual jobs for a family of ten (eleven if you count the 16 year old foster child we had for a few months this year) - laundry, cleaning, cooking, taxiing, you get the picture.

So there you have it, the reasons we couldn’t write a Christmas letter this year. We knew you’d all be expecting a card so we had to at least write something to explain the absence of our annual update. We needed to let you know that even though we would love to tell you about our lives, about how grateful we are for all God’s blessings and lessons of the year, and how we’d love to wish you a Merry Christmas, we just didn’t have time this year. Perhaps next year…

Cindy for all of us

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pizza delivery

Once upon a time we were making subs to take on a day trip. I sent The Good Doctor to the grocery story for some lunch meats; ham and turkey so everyone would be happy. He came back with just ham which left some people cranky so we sent him back to the store (be thankful it's just down the hill) for some sliced turkey.

He came back with ham again.

I don't remember if we sent him back a third time or if we all just had ham subs that day.

Some things never change....

A few months ago, we were given a wonderful gift of a gift card to Domino's Pizza. I was saving it for a time when the whole family was home and since tonight, Christmas Adam (we used to call it Christmas Eve Eve but as someone intelligently pointed out to us today, Adam came before Eve, it will be forever-more known as Christmas Adam), we are all here, I determined this was to be the day.

The Good Doctor was all set to run some errands so I gave him the gift card which was very clearly marked with the Domino's logo. Keep in mind that I have been reminding him of our Christmas Adam plans for a few weeks, mentioning the names of our philanthropists and the wonderful dinner destination to which he'd be traveling. Daily. Because his short-term memory has been damaged by 8 children and no longer works as it should. Unfortunately, it was malfunctioning even before that.  Anyway, before he left, he tried to order on-line but for some reason, the code on the gift card wasn't working. He called the local store but they also could not get the card to work. So he called corporate headquarters but she couldn't get it to work and had to check with someone else who also couldn't get it to work. He gave up and decided that we would just have to pay for our meal after all.

And on the way to Papa John's he realized his mistake.

Looks like we'll try Domino's for New Year's Eve.

Unless The Good Doctor decides to try our gift card out at Little Caesar's instead.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Adventures of Mr. Victor

"I am getting in trouble" follows me most everywhere these days.
As he pulls the block over to the sink, "I am getting in trouble." As he "helps" me wash the dishes, "I am getting in trouble." As he pulls the block to the other side, "I am going on the other side to get in trouble." All the better to wash the dishes, maybe?
Light switches are fun. He seems to not care that we need the lights more than he does. While HopeAnne and I are doing school together, all of a sudden the lights will go out. He likes it because he can see his light-up toys better. We, on the other hand, find it very hard to read a book or work on math problems in the pitch black dark of the basement.
Helping himself to some water, minus cup, is still a favorite activity. Thank the Lord for the Lock button.

The "joys" of having sisters?
How many teenage boys does it take to put socks and shoes on the toddler?
And then its bedtime. Ahhhh. Take a breath. Relax.

Until he yells, "Paci," or "Music," or "Covers!"