"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

Monday, June 30, 2008

Date Night

One of the things that Chris and I have done throughout our marriage is have date nights.  Sometimes we are more consistent with them than others (especially when Kim was our faithful date-night babysitter - thanks Kim!!!!  and Casey).  Lately (like say in the last four months), our date nights have been sparse (read non-existent) due to the addition of Marcus & Zoe, but alas, tonight, Chris & I went out on a date - just the two of us - alone - for two whole hours!

So, what might Chris & Barb do on their first date night in  a long time?  Well, we started the evening off at Walgreens for some beverages (I chose juice & he chose raspberry iced tea) and then we went over to Linder's (a garden store) to pick out some plants for our yard (50% off yippee).  Then we did our favorite date night activity.....drum roll...we went to Fleet Farm!   Now, I know I have readers that don't live in Minnesota so I will need to explain Fleet Farm to you.  It is kind of like a Super Target for farmers.  Where else can you buy sporting goods, and bovine vaccines, clothing and baling twine, food and horse stalls, you get the idea.   If they don't carry it at Fleet Farm, you don't need it (okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but not much).  If I had known how much fun this store is I would have registered there for our wedding!  I'm only kind of joking there.

What did we get at Fleet Farm tonight?  Well, as usual, an eclectic mix of items.  ten feet of chain, a 3/4"dowel and some hooks (all to hang a hammock in the tree fort), some bug spray (for this weekend), some bubble juice, four Snickers bars (for Snickers salad) and a bag of dark chocolate kisses.  Like I said, this store has everything!

Now you truly know how strange we are!

You Gotta See This

Go to Molly's Blog and check out the Sun Song, but be careful you'll end up singing it the rest of the day.  A special thanks to my friend Linda for introducing us to the Sun Song.  If all learning could be this fun.

The Color Green

I had an interesting conversation with Raelea on Sunday.  It went as follows:

Raelea: When I grow up I want a motorcycle.  A green motorcycle.
Mom: Oh, really, do you still want to drive a green dump truck?
Raelea:  Yes, a green dump truck and a green motorcycle!
Mom: (changing the subject) Did you have fun riding the horse yesterday?
Raelea: Yes.
Mom: When you grow up do you want a horse?
Raelea:  Yes, I want a horse.  A green horse.
Mom: Horses don't come in green.  They come in colors like brown and black and tan.
Raelea:  A green horse, I want to have a green horse.

Okey dokey folks.  There you have it.  A green dump truck, a green motorcycle and a green horse.  Believe it or not, if I ask her what her favorite color is she says purple!

Since we're on the subject of green (and since I like putting music videos in my blog), I will add the late Rich Mullins song The Color Green here for your listening enjoyment.  Rich is one of my favorite musicians.  He was a very talented man with a huge heart for God. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Not your usual pick-a-pile today. It's been so long since I've done a pick-a-pile you all thought I had abandon the idea, didn't you? Well, I haven't, but I also haven't been picking up may piles lately either. Anyway, today I decided to organize my spice cupboard. Unfortunately, I did not take a before picture, so to fully appreciate the after picture you need to follow these instructions.

1) Close your eyes. Wait, open your eyes and read all the instructions first, then close your eyes.
2) Remember back to previous pick-a-piles you've seen on this blog.
3) Imagine what someone who has piles like that in plain site might be hiding in her spice cupboard. Imagine spices tumbling out willy nilly when I am looking for the, say, cardamom (I always want to spell that with an 'n' at the end)
4) Okay, now you are ready to open your eyes and see how nicely I've rearranged everything.Now isn't that special! We've lived here four years and that's the first time I've cleaned out that cupboard. Why is it that I am always confessing these embarrassing things to you all?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Evan's Post

I got tagged about a year ago, and since I've discontinued my blog, I'll do it here.

1. I play the bagpipes.
2. I enjoy hacking into Mom's account.
3. My favorite band is Field Marshal Montgomery, or FMM. They are (you guessed it) a bagpipe band.
4. I drink warm milk, all the time.
5. I have aspirations to be a history professor.
6. In Scotland. A history professor in Scotland.
7. I know numerous Scottish songs, and can sing all with a passable Scottish accent. Some of these are: Tae the Weaver's Gin Ye Go, The Carls o' Dysart, Wha'll be King but Cherlie and Are Ye Sleeping Maggie? (Not my cousin Maggie. Ooh, a bonus. I have a cousin named Maggie. And one named Ian. And Cullen, and Kieran, and Rachel, and Colleen, etc.)
8. In my house, I hope to have a private library, a turret (at least one), and an armory.
9. I have written a book, entitled Corruption of Nine, and am working on a second one, entitled Lindisfarne. I do my best writing while listening to blaring loud music. Preferably bagpipes. Actually, bagpipes are the only thing I listen to loud, the rest is in more of a moderate volume.
10. I have a coin collection, and a rock collection. Neither of them has come to much. Actually, the only collection that's come to much is my book collection.
Here's another bonus.
11. I was helped in my writing by The Coalition of Ten. A.K.A., my friends. Thanks to: Sam Klejwa, Phillip Klejwa, Andy Comer, Tony Comer, Daniel Brown, Andrew Paulson, Ben Barnhart, Noah Pehrson, John Peterson and Daniel "Rafael" Henkel.

In Over My Head

Okay, here's another installment of 'Barb's Favorite Songs." Today, I was thinking about how often I feel like I am in over my head with this parenting eight kids thing. Some days go off without a hitch, but more often than not, each day brings may hitches and many times when I just shake my head and go, "now what do I do with THIS?"

Ironically, this is exactly where I want to be - in over my head that is. You see when we started this latest adoption journey one of the songs that spoke to me (yes, songs speak to me, my pets don't, but songs do) was Steven Curtis Chapman's Dive.  My favorite part of the song goes as follows

There is a supernatural power in this mighty river's flow
It can bring the dead to life, it can fill an empty soul
And give a heart the only thing worth living and dying for
But we will never know the awesome power of the grace of God
Until we let ourselves be swept away into this holy flood

So if you'll take my hand and close your eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith
Come on let's go

So, you see, if I am in over my head then I can really see God work.  Anyway, here's the song.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Feeling Better

Well, thankfully, today I am feeling much better. I would say Evan and I are about 90% healthy. Emily is still quite under the weather though :( By tomorrow she should be doing pretty good as well, as this seems like a one-day sort of illness. Hopefully, none of the other kids will get it though. We are six down and four to go with this particular virus. That's one thing about having a larger family, when one gets sick, they all get it and it takes a while to work through the whole family. We pretty much spend all winter with someone sick.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Praising God for Competent Kids

I woke up around 3:30 this morning with the beginnings of the stomach flu. I wasn't sure how the day was going to shake out with me in bed and Chris in Virginia (the state, not the town), but thankfully, I have some very competent children. The five older ones managed to put three meals on the table and keep everyone fed and happy throughout the day. They did a great job and I am very proud of them. By late afternoon Emily & Evan also appeared to be succumbing to the illness as well. Thankfully, Chris gets home tonight.

Lest you think they had no fun today, I will include some pictures I found on my camera. Who knew magnets could be so fun?

Now, I have to include the next picture so you can see that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. This is my dad - taken in Gulf Shores a few years ago (I was sick then too - something about sticking magnetics all over you when Barb is sick....)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More News on The Drought

Here is a link about the drought in Ethiopia. Our kids come from the SNNPR region of Ethiopia and that is where their bio family still resides. Please pray for them.


So, while I was making dinner last night (with Evan's help), Emily was outside playing with Marcus.  Soon they beckoned me to come "watch Marcus rollerblade."  THIS I had to see.  So, outside I went and this is what I saw...
My kids are a hoot!

The Library

Since we are big book fans, we go to the library regularly (although not regularly enough if you look at our overdue fines). Last night, was library night.As you can see, we end up with a lot of books! Each of the five older kids can pick out ten books. Marcus & Raelea each get about six. So, if you do the math,that brings us to about 62 books. Now during the school year, I am checkin gout school books as well, which brings us to about 100 books each time we go. (They love us at the library!)

Here's the genre that each child usually chooses:
Evan-history, anything Lord of the Rings, mystery, large tomes with weird names that I would NEVER read
Nina - fashion & haircare, pre-teen novels which I only preread to make sure they are okay
Molly - craft books and more craft books
Aidan- ninja stuff, sports stuff, weapons stuff
Emily - princess stuff, ballet & ice skating stuff
Marcus & Raelea - anything with an interesting picture on the front of it
Zoe - whatever she can grab off the shelf fro her stroller
Chris - How to build a shed books, starting your own business stuff, wilderness camping stuf
Me- I don't have time to read! Actually, I only read books I own these days because then I don't have to hurry up and finish them. For example, I am reading Les Miserable and have been for the last year (literally). I am about 2/3 of the way through.

Monday, June 23, 2008


Well, Aidan has decided to start his own blog now, too. Click here to visit his new site. He's just getting started, but I think you will enjoy it!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

While The Cat's Away...

Okay, so Chris isn't a cat, but here's what's going on at our house today while Chris, Evan & Nina are at the Rebelution.

First, I had a house full of princesses and wild cows (don't ask).

Later, Zoe had a run-in with a piece of chalk.  The chalk won.  

Raelea did some rock climbing.

And finally I was treated to a rousing rendition of The Nutcracker, starring Aidan as the nutcracker, Molly as the Mouse King and Emily as the little girl. It was lovely!

And that is all for now. Adieu!

We're Sick

Unfortunately, we have not escaped unscathed by the stomach flu we were exposed to last week :(  Chris has been nauseous all week and Nina was sick on our ride home from Wyoming (although that may have been car-sickness) and now, poor Molly has gotten it.  She was sick on the couch all day yesterday.  Hopefully, when she gets up this morning she will fee much better.

Marcus & I are suffering from summer colds - bummer.  It's no fun being sick in the summer.  Hopefully, we will all be feeling up to speed soon.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

God In A Box?

You may have heard that we should not put God in a box, but what about learning about God in a box?During family devotions tonight, Raelea decided that the best place to be was 'in a box.'

This worked out well for the most part, until....

the box tipped over!

A special thanks to Auntie Kathy and family for the sunglasses and the BOX.

My Kids Are Going To Rebel

And I couldn't be happier!

This weekend The Rebelution is coming to the Minneapolis Convention Center.  Chris, Evan & Nina are going to be there, serving and participating.  If you've never heard of the Rebelution it here is the definition according to their website 

"The official definition of the 'rebelution' is "a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture." When you look around today, in terms of godly character and practical competence, our culture does not expect much of us young people. We are not only expected to do very little that is wise or good, but we're expected to do the opposite. Our media-saturated youth culture is constantly reinforcing lower and lower standards and expectations.

The word 'rebelution' is a combination of the words "rebellion" and "revolution." So it carries a sense of an uprising against social norms. But in this case, it's not a rebellion against God-established authority, but against the low expectations of our society. It's a refusal to be defined by our ungodly, rebellious culture. Actually, we like to think of it as rebelling against rebellion."

If you have teens and live in the vicinity, this conference wold be well worth your time on Saturday (you can register at the door- Nina will be working with the registration team, Evan is in the bookstore - go figure).

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Clothing Sizes

I bought a pair of shorts the other day.  They are two sizes smaller than the pants I wore in high school some 20+ years ago.  Now before you get to irritated by that statement, you need to realize that I weigh about 10 pounds MORE than I did in high school.  So my question is: how can I wear pants two sizes smaller and weigh ten pounds more?  I think the fashion industry is a conspiracy....

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Zoe's Ride Home

More of Wyoming

Did I tell you we had a great time there? So, yet another post on Wyoming. On Sunday we went to a Buffalo Jump site, where the indians used to stampede the buffalo of the cliff of a sink hole to get enough meat for the winter. It was very cool (made me want to be an archeologist). Later in the day we hiked up the mountain behind Larry & Vicki's house to an old cattle camp on the hill.

It was a great visit with Larry & Vicki (thanks so much for having us, guys!) and we look forward to doing it again sometime soon.

National Geographic

Or maybe it was Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (I am sure some of my younger readers have no idea what that is). Anyway, we had some wild animal experiences while we were in Wyoming this past weekend. The first thing we noticed was that there are a LOT of deer living with our friends, Larry and Vicki (well, not really with them, but sharing the same plot of land, so to speak). At first we were all excited about seeing the many deer, but by the end of the weekend we would only get excited about the fawns and bucks.

In addition to the deer, there are a lot of cattle living in Wyoming! The verse that kept going through my mind this weekend was Psalm 50:10 "For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills." I think I saw cattle on a thousand hills in Wyoming and to think the Lord knows them all and owns them all - amazing. I think the many deer belong to him too :)

Anyway, cattle are not that exciting, so let's continue our little biology class...On Saturday we decided to go to Devil's Tower(notice the cattle in the foreground). This is a VERY cool geological site, but we're not doing geology class right now, so I won't go into it.   Maybe another day...Anyway, we decided to hike around the base of the tower (on a nice paved trail - 1.3 miles). The first .65 miles was rather uneventful and the only wildlife we saw was what we brought with us
Notice how nicely the kids are sitting and how weird I am. The last half of the circle was really VERY cool.  First, we saw a baby fawn, laying by a downed tree about five feet from the path.  No doubt it's mama had given it instructions to lay still and so it was doing just that, even with about a dozen people gawking at it.  It was very cool.That was cool, but nothing compared to what we saw next...

Now for a brief intermission...not totally off topic as you will soon discover...for Mother's Day, Evan bought me a game called Killer BunniesI wanted it because the name was so funny to me.

Back to our regularly scheduled program...

Well, a few more yards down the path, I spotted the strangest thing happening in the woods. First, I saw a rabbit, that's not so odd, but then I saw the snake (there are lots of rattlesnakes up there), now that's a little odder. At first I thought, "Oh, poor bunny is being attacked by this rattle snake!" as the two tussled in the woods. It soon became apparent the I should have been thinking, "Oh, poor snake is being attacked by this killer bunny!" because that is what was happening. The two would tussle, complete with snake flopping up in the air and bunny hopping madly around, and then the snake would slither away a few yards, bunny would follow and jump on the snake again, I kid you not!. Finally the snake sought refuge in a tree and bunny hung out for a bit then started towards us. I was actually ready to run if that bunny came any closer. Have you ever heard of anything so odd? Because this bunny is now my hero, I will post a picture of her (I'm sure it was a her - teehee)

She doesn't look much like the bunny on my game, but the gleaming eye is a nice touch!  I guess the snake deserves a spot on the blog too, since he was the one suffering in all of this.  He's there in the middle of the photo.  No one wanted to get close enough to confirm if it was indeed a rattler or not.

Well, after all that excitement, we had to go home and rest a bit!

Monday, June 16, 2008

The Drive Out To Wyoming

Since my body is still on Mountain Time, I will post tonight about our drive out to Wyoming. After a slow start with the dead battery, all went well. The wind across southern Minnesota and South Dakota was fierce though. I thought we were all going to be blown away at the rest stops!  
Who knew that stopping for gas could be so much fun?

We were a little concerned about how Zoe would do with the long drive, since she starts screaming after about an hour in the car when we go to the cabin. Well, true to form, after about the first hour she let everyone know she had had enough - not a good sign with ten hours left in the journey. Thankfully, after a rest stop and a snack, her attitude improved significantly and she managed the rest of the journey without too much difficulty.
Btw, under that pink blanket is Nina - she's having 'room time.' Seriously, she is. I think she had enough of ten people in the van!

Anyhow, no trip across South Dakota is complete without a stop at Wall Drug.

Towards the end, everyone just wanted to get there.Finally, we arrived at Larry & Vicki's house and it was so worth the trip!

Stay tuned for tomorrow, when you will hear stories of cows, deer, snakes, bison and killer bunnies. Not to mention lots and lots of hiking and jumping on trampolines.

Glad To Be Out Of That Van!

Hi folks. We're back. Happy and mostly healthy. Nina & Chris picked up the stomach flu while we were gone :( I will post more later, probably tomorrow. With lots of great stories and pictures. I miss the beautiful Wyoming landscape already!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Click, Click, Click

So, we are all out in the van ready to leave for Wyoming. Chris turns the key to the ignition and what do we hear? Click, click, click. Hmmm. Not good. Gotta go, I think Chris is getting out the jumper cables....

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Barb's Beauty Salon

We leave for Wyoming (the state, not the city) in the morning. The camper is packed and hooked up and we are ready to go. So what does that have to do with a beauty salon, you ask? (I just love putting words in your mouth!) Well, I have five girls, which means five heads of hair that need to be "done" each morning. Thankfully, several of those heads are attached to bodies that are capable of doing their own hair. Anyway, when we go on trips or camping, we have found that it is easier on everyone if we braid as many heads of hair as possible. That way, no one has to do their hair in the morning before we leave or while we are gone. I don't have to bring a huge supply of hair care products and everyone is happy :) (btw sometime I will do a post on all of the hair care products in our house - that would be a hoot)

So, I spent a few hours today and yesterday doing Nina, Molly & Emily's hair in a new style (for us). I couldn't do Raelea's for a couple reasons 1) she wouldn't want to sit still ong enough and 2)she has a bald spot in back where her ringworm is. I can hide that bald spot witha ponytail, but I wouldn't be able to hide it with braids. Zoe also missed out on the braiding fun because 1)she has puffs in her hair right now and 2) she wouldn't sit still or quiet enough to do even one braid. Okay, I'm so excited to show you the pictures of the girls' hair. It turned out so cool! Here you go...

I will see you all back on my blog on Tuesday. I hope you have a great weekend. I am sure I will have stories to tell of our travels. You can' ttravel 11 ours in a car with eight kids without stories to tell :)