"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

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Last Game

Tonight is the last regular season football game for Aidan.  While I LOVE watching him play football, I am breathing a HUGE sigh of relief that the season is almost over.  Having something going on every single night and weekend (and more than one thing going on most nights) has been a little bit draining on dear old mommy :)

All that said.

Bowling & Pinball

On Sunday, we went to Luck, WI to celebrate all the kids' birthdays with Grandma & Grandpa.  For the past couple years we have done this at a bowling alley.  It is always a lot of fun and this year was no exception, except for my gutter ball streak.  Raelea & Marcus had their first bowling experience (Raelea didn't want to try it last year).  They also had their first experience playing pinball.  They thoroughly enjoyed both activities!
Uncle Darren showed Marcus how to do the pinball thing.
Chris took the job of teaching Raelea.
I just had to post this picture.  I'm not sure what Molly's ball was doing, but from her facial expression, it doesn't look good.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Not So Gross

Not everything outside my front door in the morning is as gross as those piles of millipedes.  When I let the dog out this morning, this is who I found on our door. The pictures of him on the glass didn't turn out, but here is our little green froggy friend after he jumped to the siding.  We've seen lots of toads outside our door, but this is the first frog I've seen.  Hope he comes back again.

The Leaning Tower Of...

Well, in this case, it was the Leaning Tower of Canned Goods. WHile I was getting the soup in the crock pot this morning, Zoe was busying herself by emptying my pantry. When I turned around, this is what I found. Not too shabby if you ask me. I think she has a future as an architect.

Molly's Soccer

It has come to my attention that we have not posted any pictures of Molly playing soccer!  This unfortunate situation must be rectified immediately.  In all fairness, we have tried to take pictures of Molly playing, but that soccer fireld is so darn big and the action is usually quite far away, hence the pictures don't turn out too well.  

Molly is on the red team and they are not doing too well this season as far as wins and losses go (no wins, all losses), but they are doing great in the improvement area.  This is Molly's first year playing soccer and her ball handling skills improve each week.  I think in another year or two she will be quite formidable on the field.
Go, Molly!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Why I Love To Homeschool

When you go through school as a child you don't really appreciate all the interesting things you are learning.  You listen (sometimes) and retain a few facts to satisfy your teacher, but very few students (myself included) really marvel at what they are learning.  As a homeschool mom, I get the privilege of re-learning everything that I didn't appreciate the first time around.  How fun is that!  And, the subjects I really loved as a child (mainly science & math) I get the privilege of teaching to my kids.  I can get REALLY excited about algebra and earth science - just ask my kids.

Anyway, history never really excited me as a young lass, but now, I love the stuff!  (The exception to being bored with history was when we were on vacation Dad would tell us interesting things about wherever we were.  My dad is a walking history book.  He's great!)Anyway, I love the stuff now because we aren't learning history out of a text book (do you see an anti-textbook trend here in my blog?).  Instead of reading two paragraphs on Paul Revere in a textbook, we read a whole book about him, read some of his actual journal entries about his part in the revolution, read Longfellow's poem and discussed what in that poem is truthful and what was artistic license.  Hey if we lived on the east coast, we probably would have taken a little drive from Boston to Lexington & Concord.  How cool would that be?
Anyway, now to share with you some new info on Mr. Revere that I learned this week -

He was 41 when he made the famous ride.  He made many other rides before and after the 18th of April one.
After the war, he left his silver smithing business and began a foundry where they made bells - who knew??
After that, he became a pioneer in the production of copper plating (primarily used for ship's hulls at that time).  His copper business which was started in 1801 is still operating.

There you have it.  Interesting facts about Paul Revere II.

This Is Just Gross

Yes, that is a pile of millipedes.  This is what greats us when we open our front door this time of year.  Piles of hundreds of millipede.  It's like a millipede convention on our sidewalk.  This picture is of a small pile.  Some mornings the pile is two or three times that size.  How gross is that??  I don't know why they've chosen our sidewalk for their annual convention site, but they have.  The dead carcasses laying around the convention sight are the remains of previous convention attenders after Aidan got ahold of them.  I can't fault him too much for squashing the critters (although it leaves a nasty mess).  We really need a good frost around here to get rid of these lovely visitors.

Happy Birthday To ME

Hey everyone, it's my birthday!  I'm 29 for the 15th time (that would make me 43).

Some other memorable events of 1965

The Twins won the American League Pennant
The Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers flooded (you can still see the high water markers in St. Paul)

How Much things cost in 1965
Yearly Inflation Rate USA 1.59%
Year End Close Dow Jones Industrial Average 969
Average Cost of new house $13,600.00
Average Income per year $6,450.00
Gas per Gallon 31 cents
Average Cost of a new car $2,650.00
Loaf of bread 21 cents

Wow, have things changed!  If you want more info on the exciting events of 1965 click here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

My Song For Today

As I was showering this morning, this is the song that came into my mind.  It is one of my all time favorites, harkening back to my college years (which was a LONG time ago).  I still love it today and so I will share it with you.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Football & Soccer

Well, the 49er's won their game yesterday (after being rained out on Tuesday) and lost their game tonight. I think that makes them 3-3-1. They played hard tonight, but just couldn't pull it off.
Grandma & Grandpa even came to the game too cheer for the Niners.

Zoe would much rather talk on the phone.

Molly's team tied tonight against one of the boy's teams. Molly even got to play goalie - not a position most of the girls enjoy. Grandma & Grandpa are going to watch her play on Saturday.

Oh, This Will Be Fun!

Okay, we're studying the fifty United States for geography this year.  Since I have visitors on this blog from many different states, I thought I would enlist you all to help school my kids (I'm good at delegating :)  )  Here's what I'm going to do.  When we are studying a state (we do two a week) I will let you all know and then anyone from that state can post a comment with something interesting we should know about your state.  Since I don't have readers from every state, if you have every lived in the state or know something unique and interesting about it, let me know.

Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this will be fun, but hay, it's my blog!

Since we are starting three weeks into our school year, we need to play catch up.  We have started with New England, so the states we have covered are
New Hampshire
Rhode Island

Anyone, from New England out there??



That's how many relationships we have going on at our house on a daily basis.  Assuming that relationships are one-way (you know, someone can be upset at you and you're just fine with them).  Do you know how hard it is to keep ninety relationships running smoothly?  Can you say impossible?  Now I know why there is almost always someone who is irritated by some one else or upset about something regarding someone else.  It all makes sense now!

Although, when I am tempted to have a little pity party over here, I can remember my friend Tina - they have 240 relationships going on every day!  Oh, that gives me a headache just thinking about it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Forgot To Tell You

Two weeks ago, IT arrived!  IT being Zoe's permanent resident card.  After being in this country for seven months, she finally can prove that she entered here legally :)  I don't know who the man was that I spoke to at CIS, but he deserves a raise.  I'd give him a big hug if I could find him.  After speaking with several other people in that department who were no help at all, this guy must stand out as some sort of genius.  He found out what the problem was and he fixed it!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Mr. CIS-man!

Raelea Has Discovered...

Games! Not games like hide-and-seek. Games like Monopoly, Dread Pirate, Heigh Ho Cherrio and Milleborne. Yes, some of those games are a bit beyond a three year old's ability, but thanks to rule modification she manages just fine:) The most frequent request from Raelea these days is, "After your done __________, will you play a game with me?" Who can resist that? Big brother Evan is looking forward to when she can play games like Warrior Knights and Risk. I think that's why he is so eager to play games with her now - he's priming her!And since we're speaking of Raelea, let's get an update on Raelea's speaking. The child has truly found her voice, so to speak. She talks and talks and talks and talks....To think that a year ago she could only say about ten words is a bit mind-boggling. 

Unfortunately, one of her favorite times to talk is when she is at speech therapy. Why is this unfortunate? Well, she would much rather ask Ms. Janet about her plans for the weekend than work on saying her t's and d's etc. It's called, "I can avoid the hard work if I can direct the conversation elsewhere" tactic. She's very good at it!

In all seriousness, we are so incredibly happy to finally be able to know what our little sweet pea is thinking.  It is a joy to hear her talk (even if it is nonstop).

Why Everyone Needs A Sibling

Because sometimes you want to drive and sometimes you want to ride...and...there are some things that Mom & Dad just can't do.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We Need A Cow

Dear Chris,
A year ago, we went through seven gallons of milk a week.  Six months ago, we upped it to eight gallons a week.  Last week I bought ten gallons and we ran out one day short of a week!!!!!  We drank over two gallons of milk on Sunday alone.  Help!  

Because I don't like mid-week grocery store runs, I manage to fit 10 gallons of milk in my refrigerator (I knew that industrial engineering degree would come in handy), but I don't think I could fit any more in than that.  So either, I need a cow or I need another refrigerator.  There are zoning ordinances which prohibit the cow, so....

The Wife

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Birthday Bash

We are big on birthdays over here; however we don't feel the need to drag the extended family out to our house every couple of days in September.  To avoid this we do one September birthday bash for all the September birthdays.  (Don't worry, everyone gets their own family party on their actual birthday)  Anyway, Saturday evening was the September birthday bash.  Here are some pictures of the festivities.  We even let some non-September birthday folks get presents also, as Marcus & Raelea were having a hard time seeing (seemingly) everyone else getting presents.

Here's Zoe with Auntie Joy.
Raelea modeling her new slippers.
Nina got to open her presents first since her birthday comes first in the month.
Molly looking like she can't wait to open her gifts.
Aidan in his ever present Longhorns hat.
Emily, with cousin Rachel looking on.
The rare picture of me on this blog!  Yes, I have a September birthday, too.  We won't talk about how old I'm going to be...
Okay, Now we start the non-September bunch.  I guess we could call this a birthday preview party for them.  Evan's birthday is in October.
Raelea's is in November.
And Marcus (who waited VERY patiently to open his presents) has his birthday in December.
Zoe thoroughly enjoyed the party and the cake, hers, mine and anyone else's.

Chris has a December birthday, too, but people figured he was old enough to wait for his presents.


The "shedding" around here continues.  That's my term for the building of the very-much-needed shed.  yesterday Dad and Chris spent the entire day pounding and cutting and nailing and (of course) running to Menard's to buy more stuff.  At the end of the day, here's how far they got.While the shedding was going on, Zoe & Marcus were doing other things.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Things I Learned Today

You really should try to learn something new every day or so I've heard. Well today, I learned two new things. I'll share them with you so that you, too, can be enlightened on these subjects.

1) Soy sauce does not need to be refrigerated. Who knew? Maybe you all knew that, but it has been on my refrigerator door all my life - until today that is! Once I found out that it was unnecessarily taking up valuable door space, out it went! While I was removing the soy sauce from the refrigerator I learned...

2)Worcestershire sauce has anchovies in it! What???? I LOVE Worcestershire sauce. It's right up there with onions and garlic. I hate anchovies. How am I going to come to grips with this? Oh, and Worcestershire sauce doesn't have to be refrigerated either!


Science should NEVER be taught solely from a textbook. There, I said it. I hope I didn't offend anyone too much. I LOVE science! I know not everyone loves science (they were probably taught it from a textbook).

Anyway, this is what we did for science today

Yes, we were burning things with a magnifying glass. So, what exactly were we study through burning things with a magnifying glass? Well, the main course of study this week has been the sun. How incredible is it that the sun is 93 million miles away and so hot that we still feel that heat here on earth? Pretty mind boggling if you ask me. Now we could have just read about that, but how much more interesting it is to start things on fire with that heat!  It's one thing to tell the kids not to look at the sun, it's a much more memorable lesson when you show them WHY they should not look at the sun.

The other topics covered today, while burning things, were how light refracts through lenses and how some things take much greater heat to actually melt or start on fire than other things. (dry leaves were the best) Oh, and no lesson with a magnifying glass is complete without shortening the lifespan of one ant (hey, I have boys, it's a necessary ritual for boys).

Freezer Surprise

I frequently save meals in my freezer. Anytime we have enough leftovers for another meal, I freeze it. Usually, I label the meal and put the date on it; however, sometimes I forget to label it or the tape falls off and then...we have freezer surprise! Since frozen food often loses any resemblance to its original look, it's anybody's guess what might be in that Tuppperware container. It makes dinner kind of an adventure:)

Well, today, I pulled out some meat from the freezer and I could not tell what kind of meat it was. Here's a pictureTell me, can you tell what kind of meat that is????

Well, I didn't think it was chicken and I was reasonably certain it wasn't beef, so that left pork. I thought it might be pork chops, so I pulled another package of pork chops out of the freezer and waited until it thawed.

Lo and behold, it was pork, just not the chop variety, so for dinner we had pork chops and pork ribs. All was well and our mystery dinner was devoured by all.


Here's a recurring pile around our house.So, because my hubby is running out of pants to wear to work, it's ironing time. I loathe ironing. Okay, maybe that's a little strong. Let's put it this way, there are usually about one hundred other things I would rather do than iron, including blogging :) Actually, I took the picture last night and then promptly spent the next hour doing all the ironing (while watching ER). The ONLY time I watch TV is when I iron, literally. The only working tv we have in our house is in our laundry room. Well, I used to watch tv when I would work out, but since that hasn't happened in, oh say, about seven months, the tv only gets turned on when I iron. And you can se by the pile that I only iron about once every two months :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Back In The Game

Well, the 49ers played again tonight and Aidan was able to play some.  They only used him on offense and not as a running back (to give his foot some rest).  He did great and the niners won 19-0.  Go Niners!!

Scotland Here He Comes

Evan found out last night that he stands a good chance of going to Scotland with the bagpipe band in 2010.  The are going to the World Pipe Band Championships in Scotland and Evan would be elated to be able to go.  His pipe major gave the impression that he should be able to attend by then.  This would be a dream come true for my young lad.  He needs to be at least a Grade 4 piper by then  (grade 1 is the best, grade 5 is the beginners which is where he is at right now)  Let's just say that he is REALLY motivated with his practicing now!  It won't be long before you will be seeing a post of him in his kilt and all the other paraphernalia those bagpipers wear.


The 49ers lost again last night, but it was to be expected as one of their star players was sidelined with an ankle injury.  Yes, Aidan, playing his new position of running back was injured in the 2nd quarter.  He's still limping today, so I am to sure if he will be playing the game tonight either.  He is VERY disappointed!  In his short time in the game yesterday he made some great runs and, although being nervous about carrying the ball, he did an outstanding job.  We're praying for a quick recovery over here :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Unicorn Song

My husband is nearly perfect in all regards, so you can imagine my horror when I found out that he had never heard the Unicorn Song! Now, I shutter to think that others of you have never heard the Unicorn Song, so I will post it here for your enjoyment. It brings back fond memories of my childhood!

Hindsight is 20/20

It seemed like an innocent enough request at the time.

Raelea - "Mom, can I color in my notebook during room time?"
Mom - quickly assessing the request - "Yes, that would be fine."

One hour and fifteen (apparently boring) minutes later....
Now I know the correct answer to that question next time :) I have to say, I had a REALLY hard time not laughing as I was telling her that she should only color on the paper.

Shed Update

For those of you wanting to check on the status of the shed (Mom & Dad), here is a picture fro m last night.  Progress is slow due to inclement weather and too many sporting activities :)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Miscellaneous Pictures

Computer time. The kids each get 45 minutes of computer time on Saturdays. That's it for the week, unless it is of the educational variety (researching something, reading mom's blog, etc.)  Frequently, this is what our office looks like.  I don't know what Molly is playing, but it obviously was better than anything else going on in the house at that moment.  (It should be noted that many of you have walk-in closets bigger than our office - and that is NOT an exaggeration)Raelea was very excited about the new lawnmower we picked up at a garage sale this weekend!  
Raelea was also very excited to have Grandpa's listening ear last week!
Marcus thoroughly enjoyed his first carousel ride (the same cannot be said for Raelea).
She's just to darn cute!
Lastly, here's Evan carrying the Scottish flag for the Minnesota Police Pipe Band in the Defeat of Jesse James Day Parade in Northfield.  He was very happy to be carrying the SCOTTISH flag (have I told you how much he loves Scotland?)

Every House Needs A Porch

I LOVE porches, particularly the wrap-around kind.  We live in a split-level home so there is no way for us to put a porch on this house.  Bummer!  But, if we can't have a porch on the house, at least we have on one the tree house...

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Dear sweet Emily and dynamic Aidan turn nine today!  We are so very proud of both of them.  They add so much excitement, humor and talent to our family.  We are SO thankful that God brought us twins and specifically these two twins!  Aidan & Emily we love you tons and are so happy to be your parents.

Here are some birthday pictures of my cutie pies (don't tell Aidan I called him that :) ).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Mating Habits of Socks

If you read yesterdays post on socks, you know that I spent a good chunk of time yesterday afternoon trying to help my lonely socks find their mates.  While I was whiling away time with the socks, I got to thinking and that is always a dangerous thing.

How is it that socks lose their mates?  What makes some socks stay with their mates for life, while others seem to wander off at any given chance?  Once lost, how frequently do socks find their mate again?

Here are my observations.  Socks lose their mate in a variety of ways, some head to the laundry room with their mate, but come out of the dryer without one.  We'll call those mates MIA.  Perhaps my washer or dryer eats them.  A more likely scenario is that one of the socks gets entangled in the affairs of other items in the machine, perhaps a pair of pants.  The wandering mate will only be found when that pair of pants is put on again (which if it is spring, the sock might not be seen again until fall).

Other socks go their separate ways before ever reaching the laundry room.  I can't tell you how often I will find one sock laying in the middle of the living room floor with no mate in site - strange!  Since all of my children have two feet, I'm not quite sure how this happens.

Lastly, there are the visiting socks.  Visiting socks are the ones that show up in your laundry, but belong to no one in your household.  These socks sometimes appear in pairs, but frequently not.

Now, once socks are separated, will they ever be reunited?  You would think that beautiful and colorful socks like these
would have no problem finding (and keeping) their mates, but it is not so. It seems as though in sock life, as in real life, attractiveness has nothing to do with the ability to find and keep a mate.

While I was playing match-maker yesterday, I found it difficult to ascertain at times which sock belonged to which mate.  You see not all pink (or blue or yellow or black...) socks are created equal.  As you see here, pink comes in a variety of shades and, of course, socks come in a variety of sizes.
White does not come in a variety of shades, but the variety of sizes and styles is seemingly endless.  Believe it or not, none of these socks found their mates yesterday :(
One last observation for you to ponder, it is far better to be a plain white sock than a pretty colored, striped sock. The reason being, in a pinch a plain white sock can choose a mate that somewhat resembles itself of the same size, all of those pretty socks in the first photo are stuck by themselves until their original mate comes home.

And the moral of this sad tale is - Barb has too much time on her hands!  Oh, if you want to see the happily reunited socks, scroll down to the sock post below to see the happy couples.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Socks (Pick-a-Big-Pile)

They are my nemesis! Some of my children have a habit of removing those little foot warmers and leaving them all over the house, others remove them while lying in bed and toss them to places unknown to anyone but the dust bunnies. All of this disorderly sock behavior has lead to an inordinate amount of unmatched socks in our house. (no, Dad, the situation hasn't improved since you folded my laundry last year.)

So, for today's pick-a-pile we have unmatched socks. I will report back when I have them matched (warning, it cold be years).  The picture really doesn't do it justice.  There are probably one hundred socks there.  (which I guess is only 10 socks per person, that doesn't sound as bad...)Well, if you read the above post, you know that many of my dear socks did not find their mates yet, but some did have a happy reunion.
The large pile in the middle is Raelea's.  Don't take this to mean that she loses the most socks.  Some of those socks have been missing their mates since Emily was that size :)

For those that are curious about what I do with all the (still) lonely socks, I put them in a bag and pull them out again at a later date (say after someone has cleaned out under their bed or moved a book shelf).  They frequently will find their mate given enough time.  Of course, they don't fit anyone's feet by then, but they are happily reunited nontheless.