"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Tea For Two

Well, actually, times that by seven. Tea for fourteen - that's what we had at our house yesterday. My lovely young ladies love to host tea parties, so they invited 11 of their dear friends over to enjoy a spot of tea and some very sumptuous fare. As always, the young ladies were a delight to have in our home. I was able to remind them that although good manners and ladylike behavior are of some importance, of far more value is growing in their relationship with the Lord for then they will "be like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that (s)he does (s)he prospers." (Psalm 1:3) Each young lady got to take home a planted flower to remind her to put her roots down deep into the soil of God's marvelous love.

Evan provided piano music as the girls arrived and he and Aidan were the servers for the meal. They did a great job of pampering the ladies! The menu consisted of Lemon Poppyseed muffins, Cranberry/white chocolate scones with Devonshire cream, blueberry-banana bread, petite sandwiches, mini quiche, orange chocolate cookies and a strawberry cream puff ring and, of course, tea.

Here are some photos of our fun day.

The lovely tables.



The lovely desserts.


The lovely ladies.
After a few hours indoors, they broke free and played outside.  Nina opted for more comfortable clothes, too.




Friday, May 30, 2008

Good To Know

Here is a conversation from this morning, while we were sitting on the couch waking up -

Mom: Marcus are you a squirrel?
Marcus: No.
Mom: Are you a hamster?
Marcus: No
Mom: Oh, yeah, you're a BOY.
Raelea (chimes in): I LIKE boys!!!

She was VERY enthusiastic in her response. Hmmm.

What's For Dinner?

Ethiopian food last tonight! I just thought you might want to see what it looks like. I wish you could taste and smell it too - it's awesome!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Our Camping Group


For those that are interested, here is a picture of our entire camping group.  A fine group of people (and dog) if ever I saw one :)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Because Pictures Are Fun

Zoe and her future husband, err, I mean her friend, E.J.

You can't play outside all the time!

How do you keep a one year old out of the fire pit and out of the road?

And who is that handsome fellow with her?? Isn't he cute!

If we can just paste Chris into the picture we could use this for our Christmas photo.


More Camping Pictures

For more camping pictures check out Natalie's Blog

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dogs

Okay, Snickers is demanding due space for herself. Here is a photo journal of Snicker's weekend.

Aside from scrounging food off the ground, this pretty much sums up Snicker's time camping.

Girls

Well, in an effort to be fair, here is the post about what girls do when camping for a weekend.  After all, there were 12 girls with us this weekend (not counting moms).  So, let's see, a few girls did pick up big sticks, but not once did I see any of them hit anyone else with their big stick!  They were mostly used for walking sticks.  As you saw a few posts ago, they did gather around our pantry for some tasty hot chocolate the first morning.  They took MANY hikes in the woods down to the waterfall.They also did their fair share of traipsing through the woods, usually, but not always, without laser tag guns.The girls participated in all of the group activities. The teams were usually girls and dads against boys. That made for a fairly even match.

Molly played her flute, but I don't have any pictures of that. The girls also helped make the ice cream and since they were the ones to roll the ice cream ball around for 30 minutes, they got the largest portions of ice cream.
And of course, the ever important event of the weekend, they got to spend time with their friends!

Boys

On our camping trip this weekend there were five 14 year old boys (one for each family).  If we throw in little brothers, our boy total for the weekend was 12 (not counting dads).   So, I devote this post to 'What do boys do when they go camping?'

Well, as you can see from the last post, the first thing they do is find a big stick.  Then they proceed to have stick fights with said sticks whenever there is a lull in the action of the weekend.  When not trying to pound each other with sticks, they were seen running through the woods with guns (laser tag guns) in hand, scaring all the wildlife within a half-mile radius.  This is what was occurring when Evan got tangled in some barbed wire.
Of course, they thoroughly enjoyed outdoing their dads in all the organized activities. Eating was big on their list of fun things to do, as well. Lest you think we are raising a bunch of brutes, they also participated in some more refined activities. Here you see them discussing whether or not a republic is the best form of government.  I kid you not, that is really what they were discussing!And lastly, they took a quiet moment to put on the first ever guitar/chanter concert.   Okay, there really wasn't a quiet moment the entire weekend - there were 24 kids there, remember!So. there you have, that's what our boys do when camping.

Monday, May 26, 2008

We Made It Home Alive

In case you were worried, we all survived our camping trip. Several children have bumps and bruises and Evan had a tangle with some barbed wire, so I guess we would call it a very successful camping trip! I feel like so much fun happened over the weekend I will need to make it into several blog posts over several days. The total number of people that were there the whole weekend was - seven adults and 24 children. For a time on Sunday there were ten adults and 31 children (not counting the two en utero). Why the discrepancy? Two of the moms are pregnant and A)suffering morning sickness or B) has a broken foot. The third mom just doesn't enjoy camping with several really young 'uns. We were so glad they could all join us for a time on Saturday though.

The weather was very nice and the only time it rained was on Saturday night while we were tucked snuggly in bed. I just LOVE to listen to the rain drops on the camper roof. It brings back fond memories of childhood. For those that don't know, when we camp the girls sleep in a pop-up trailer that is 37 years old. It is the same trailer that I camped in with my family while growing up. It comes with a lifetime of fond memories.

Mom & Dad, this next picture is for you. I wanted you to see how well you taught me to pack the camper. Please admire the efficiency :)To everyone else, you can marvel at the lovely orange upholstery in our 1971 Bethany camper. Linda, this should look VERY familiar to Terry!

We camped at Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. It was very nice and little did we know, it is a bird haven. I saw so many cool birds I could hardly contain myself (actually, that isn't to unusual for me, but usually it's not over birds). Anyway, here is a rundown of the birds I could recognize - many Baltimore Orioles, many Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, many Rose-breasted Grosbeak (I had to look that one up), one Indigo Bunting and we heard, but did not see several owls (perhaps of the Great Horned variety). Now how cool is that?

Okay, now for some pictures of our weekend. Here we are going camping (don't be fooled by the unsmiling faces, they are just tired of mom always taking pictures for the blog. Marcus is indeed in the car, he is just hidden behind Evan.
Let's contrast that picture with the coming home from camping picture. Gee, do you think they are a little tired?  This time Marcus is hidden because he has fallen asleep and is hunched over.

Most of our days were spent playing games like capture the flag and scatter thanks to Yoshi, our weekend activities coordinator. Notice all the little bodies compared to the bigger bodies :)

Some of the girls (and a stray boy) enjoying a morning cup of hot chocolate.
Some of the boys, carrying big sticks (which they did most of the weekend).

Thursday, May 22, 2008

No Time To Post

Since I bought all those flowers the other day I've been busy getting them in the ground or in pots so they don't die over the weekend while we're away. Between potting and getting ready for camping I have no time to post :( Here's a pic to tide you over.

A Camping We Will Go

Posts might be sparse over the next few days as we are getting ready to go camping over the long weekend. This will be Marcus and Zoe's first camping adventure, so I should come back with lots of stories :) We are going with four other families and there will be a total of 34 children (2 not yet born) between our five families. It is guaranteed to be a memorable weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Where's Barb?

Sorry you didn't get a post this morning. I had a colonoscopy this morning and I couldn't eat any solid food since 2:00 yesterday, so needless to say, the only thing on my mind this morning was FOOD! I guess I could have posted about food, but that would have made me even hungrier. Now that the "procedure" is done and my stomach is once again full, I'm back :) Btw, for those that care, my colon is quite healthy, thank you very much. How's yours????

In honor of spending a few hours at the hospital this morning, I will pass on "Things you don't want to hear during surgery:" (courtesy of Evan). Here they are -

Better save that. We'll need it for the autopsy.
"Accept this sacrifice, O Great Lord of Darkness."
Bo! Bo! Come back with that. Bad dog!
Wait a minute, if this is his spleen, then what's that?
Hand me that... uh... that uh... that thingy there.
Oh no! Where's my Rolex.
Oops! Hey, has anyone ever survived from 500 ml of this stuff before?
There go the lights again?
"Ya know, there's big money in kidneys? and this guy's got two of 'em."
Everybody stand back! I lost my contact lens!
Could you stop that thing from beating; it's throwing off my concentration.
What's this doing here?
I hate it when they're missing stuff in here.
That's cool. Now can you make his leg twitch by pressing that one?!
Well folks, this will be an experiment for all of us.
Sterile schmerile. The floor's clean, right?
OK, now take a picture from this angle. This is truly a freak of nature.
Nurse, did this patient sign an organ donation card?
Don't worry. I think it is sharp enough.
FIRE! FIRE! Everyone get out!
Oh no! Page 47 of the manual is missing!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And What Season Is It?

I was finally able to buy my annuals last night. Usually, I plant all my vegetables and annuals on Mother's Day, but this year, with the Child Dedication and all I was too busy on that day. Since I was gone last weekend, this is the first opportunity I had to get out and purchase the flowers. The downside to this was that it felt more like winter than spring last evening, so here I am buying flowers and wishing I had on gloves and a winter coat! My fingers went numb from the cold, truly! It was about 45 degrees and I am sure, with the wind whipping like it was, the windchill was in the 30's. Brrr. Hard to get excited about planting when you're freezing.

Anyway, the weather is supposed to warm-up this week, so I hope to put all those lovely flowers in the ground during room time this week. I will post pictures when I get some in. Have a great day!

Another Visitor

Yesterday morning, as I was trying to get a load of laundry in the washing machine before everyone woke up, I hear Aidan calling me loudly from the living room.  What was inspiring him to shout through the house while most of the kids slept?Yup, there was a deer in our yard. Not all that uncommon, really, as we live on a wooded park; nonetheless, it was the first deer we've seen in the four years that we've lived here. It made those of us who were awake smile.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm Baaaaack

and, boy, am I exhausted! Who knew that walking on the beach and swimming could take so much out of a person? Oh, and I forgot to mention the sunburn....Somehow, I don't think I'm getting any sympathy from you all. That's okay. Nina & I had a great time in Florida. It was very relaxing and I was able to take many walks on the beach (my FAVORITE thing to do). The weather was great most of the time we were there. It did rain some on Saturday, but it held off during the wedding, which went off without a hitch. Well, actually, there was a hitch, that is, Rebekah and Daniel were hitched, but aside from that there were no other hitches.

Despite the near perfect setting, I missed my family terribly and I was more than happy to get on that plane today and come home. Chris did an outstanding job of taking care of the home front while I was gone. Not only were the kids properly dressed, groomed and fed; the laundry also got done and the house was clean. They did some fun activities like going to the zoo, the park and the Scottish Highland Games (that would be Evan's influence on the weekend). Dad is SO much fun, I don't think they missed me much at all!

Okay, here are a few pictures of our picture-perfect weekend.
I'm a sucker for a good picture of a skink!  I just love those little guys!

Nina and her new friend Kara.
The beautiful Jr. Bridesmaid
The happy couple :)


This is what people do after getting married on a beach.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So Long, Farewell

No Pick-A-Pile this week, no posts for a few days, Nina & I are off to Florida in the morning. For those that haven't' read Nina's blog, we are going to FL for her birthmom's wedding. We are both really looking forward to the trip, but we will miss the rest of the family immensely. We are very thankfully to have a wonderful relationship with Nina's birthmom, Rebekah. She is a blessing to our family and we are very happy for her as she embarks on married life! Here is a picture of her and her soon-to-be husband, Daniel.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

*****Sweetie Sighting*****

Aidan & Marcus saw Sweetie this morning, running through the park. Why was she running? Because there was a large dog chasing her :( The same dog that was seen chasing her the day she got out of her hutch. Nice to know she's still alive, not so nice to know that that dog won't leave her alone!

Every Day is Mother's Day

Around here, I really feel like every day is Mother's Day. My kids are forever giving me lovely bouquets of "flowers" or writing sweet notes to me, giving me shoulder or hand massages, etc. I am so spoiled! Yesterday, while I was grilling, Marcus & Raelea regaled me with a lovely bouquet of something (I'm not sure what type of plant it is, but they found it in the park). Here is a picture of them running up the hill to bring me my "flowers." I also was able to plant two lovely rosebushes that my mom & dad gave to Zoe & Marcus for their dedication. One of my great pleasures of spring is planting and tending my garden :) By late summer it gets a little old, but I really enjoy it in the springtime. When things start blooming, I will post a garden picture, but not yet - too many weeds, not enough flowers yet.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Barb's Favorite Songs

Oh, I'm so excited! I have finally figured out how to imbed Youtube videos in my blog posts. Okay, so now I have a new feature - Barb's Favorite Songs :) First up on the playlist is "Voice of Truth" by Casting Crowns (currently my favorite group). This song was very meaningful to me as we went through this last adoption process. Many times I wondered, "What are we doing? How are we going to do this? This is going to be too hard." etc. This song reminded me that this adoption (like all of our adoptions) was a step of faith. I could believe that God would provide for us and act on that or I could believe the lies that He was not sufficient to meet our needs. I chose to believe the Voice of Truth for God's glory and you know what, He told me the truth!
Enjoy!

Mother's Day Bouquets

While I was napping today, some of my dear children were out gathering me some bouquets of dandelions.  Why dandelions?  Because they are the only flowers blooming here in our part of the woods!  Despite a chilly 38 degrees this morning, it warmed up quite nicely by mid-afternoon.  I am hoping to get my planting done soon. Normally, I spend Mother's Day planting in my gardens, but it was too chilly today and I was too sick to do it :(  Hopefully, I will have some time soon, as I really enjoy gardening!