You see, after a lot of hemming and hawing, I decided to cancel our Friday night lit discussion because three homeschool events in our house three days in a row seemed a little intimidating, AND I was going to have a difficult time finishing the reading and preparing for the Latin Club party the next day AND I thought we should get to the Vigil Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception as the next day was going to be rather crazy.
Somewhere in the midst of cleaning, I found some slightly used foam board that, it seemed to me, would make a wonderful obelisk for the middle of our sunroom and most appropriate to the party. It was to be, more-or-less, a model of the obelisk in St. Peter's Square which we had learned about at the Papal Exhibit that came to our local museum a few years ago. Read more about the real obelisk here if you like.
Here's is my initial result before running off to do some shopping (and get some more foam board and a can of spray paint) and before coming home and suggesting to John that maybe he'd like to make it with the kids.
He reluctantly accepted the task after I assured him that I could handle the dinner and the cleaning preparations. I was enthusiastic about the idea of them building this together. He dug right in, as any good engineer would do, and made proportionate measurements based on a real photograph we found on flickr.
They had a great time piecing things together, though the younger set went to bed in tears because they wanted to watch Daddy spray-paint the new structure in the basement, but they had passed the deadline for bedtime (which was being rather strongly enforced since we discovered that our parish for some reason didn't have a vigil Mass but only offered an 8:30 Mass the next morning for the Feast Day). I was just getting up from settling Frank down to bed when I opened the door and smelled something. Ugh.
The paint smell was going to be bad - and get worse. I started by cracking a few windows open downstairs, but soon realized it wasn't going to do. So I threw some extra blankets on the kids
and cracked their windows open. Soon I had the kids in the upper bunks relocating to lower bunks (the smell was definitely stronger up there!) and threw the windows wide open. The three little girls were delighted with my suggestion to all snuggle up in Kate's bed ("Little House on the Prairie" style) and share all of their blankets (at this point a considerable pile) together. They were SO warm that they asked to keep the windows open longer than we actually needed to! Naturally they're posing in this shot...
Frank was snug in a double-fleece blanket plus a down comforter. He never even stirred from the cold.
After about an hour, the smell had fully-dissipated and were able to close the windows and turn the heat back on. It was nice that there was no wind as that would have made things too cold too fast!
The real bummer was that, after all that trouble, the one can of spray paint didn't come close to covering the entire obelisk. It was a curious thing to compare to a paint job we once did to the entire exterior of our old house (just before we sold it) which only took five gallons of paint to accomplish the job!
The result, nevertheless, was quite satisfying. It was a fun addition to the party and the kids decided to bring it along to next month's state JCL convention - after giving it a fresh coat of paint of course. :)
And, in this picture, you can hardly see the silver electrical tape with the red imprints on it. This is a picture from the Latin Bingo game at our party the next day.