"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

Friday, October 31, 2008

Election

As you may have noticed, I don't talk politics here on my blog.  There is a very simple reason for that - I don't want to.  Actually, many of the dearest people in my life fall on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me and I don't want to annoy any of them.

That said, I have to make an election post because it's all anybody is talking about these days; myself included.  I will make only nonpartisan comments though :)

First, vote, people, vote!  If you don't exercise your right to vote then you don't have the right to exercise your right to complain about the country, the gov't, etc.   The first and foremost method, in our country, of affecting the policies of our country is to vote, IMO.  (that's "In My Opinion" for those of you out there that don't know the lingo).  Remember, vote early, vote often.  (okay, not the vote often part)

Second, be informed!  Don't vote for someone JUST because you like their tie or their hair or the color of their skin.  Don't vote AGAINST them because you don't like their tie or their hair or the color of their skin either.  Folks, we're electing a president here, not a poster boy :)  What do you  believe gov't should be and do?  Choose the candidate that most agrees with what you BELIEVE.

Okay, I'm done now.  I don't want any of you to come see my blog next Tuesday until AFTER you've voted.  Promise??

Let's Talk Fungus

Okay, most of you know we've been dealing with the dreaded ringworm over here for eight months now.  We are finally going to squash that fungi (there's a misnomer) once and for all!!!!

Raelea went on oral anti-fungal medication last week and today, Zoe & Marcus got their prescriptions for it as well.  I'll just line them up twice a day for the next eight weeks (yes, EIGHT weeks) and administer that lovely orange flavored cocktail which will (hopefully) kill that fungus once and for all.

In the course of the next eight weeks we will also have to bring the three of them in for a blood draw to check their liver enzymes.  Drawing blood from a 2, 3, and 4 year old - now THAT should be a fun day!  All kidding aside, I am so glad that we are finally going to be rid of our little house guests.  It has been a very minor, but very irritating part of the last eight months.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Evan!

Evan turned 15 on the 28th, but since we spent the entire day in the car driving home from Texas, we celebrated his birthday today.How time flies!  It seems like just yesterday that he looked like this.
Don't you think he was an adorable baby?  And now he is such a handsome young man!  We are so proud of you, Evan, and we are honored to be your parents!

Texas Slideshow

For those of you that want to see ALL our pics from Texas - here's the slideshow...

Trip To Texas By Photo

Here are some of the photos from our trip (in no particular order).

Tracy, Aidan, Emily & Luke (Tracy's son)
Aidan & Emily with Jane & Joe.
We don't look too shabby :)
Emily, Luke & Aidan
Raelea playing her "violin"
Raelea & Ella (the twins bio cousin)
Raelea, Zoe & Ella in LT's pick-up
Tracy & kids playing some game at the campsite
Aidan & Will (cousin- Ella's brother)
Yes, our musical instruments come with us camping!
Aidan & Will
Yes, Killer Bunnies comes with us camping!
Our beautiful campsite where only one brown recluse spider was seen (that would be one too many!)
Ah, the removal of Molly's stitches by her "doctor" father.
Lounging at the campsite.

Trip to TX By The Numbers

Hours in the Car :   38
Lowest Price Paid for Gas:   $2.09
Lowest Price Seen for Gas:   $1. 97
Best Miles Per Gallon:  13.3
Five Nights at the Campground :  $100
Miles Travelled:  2,200
Spiders in the Campground Bathroom: 100's
Trips to the Bathroom in the Middle of the Night:  8
Time spent with Tracy, Luke, Lindsay, LT, Will, Ella, Jude, Joe & Jane :    PRICELESS

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Blog Vacation

My blog is taking a vacation. Actually, we are taking a vacation and I can't blog from the campsite, so there will be no updates until October 30. Please come back then because I am sure I will have all sorts of stories to tell and pictures to show.

Now on Thursday night when you are all sleeping snug in your bed in warm houses, I want you to think of the ten of us and think, "those folks are crazy!"

Ta Ta For Now....

Winter Camping

Okay, not really winter camping since it's only fall, but I just checked the forecast for where we'll be staying tomorrow night (Kansas) and the low is supposed to be 36 - and raining.  Oh, this should be FUN :)  Once we are snug in our sleeping bags, everything will be fine.  It's the fact that we have to get out of those sleeping bags in the morning.

Aside from the poor weather forecast, we are really looking forward to our trip.  Almost everything is packed and we will be off first thing in the morning.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend Photos

Ah, now that I've upload the 100+ photos from the weekend, I can post a few for your enjoyment.

  The removal of the dock from the water was supervised by Cody the dog.
We put everyone to work raking.


All work and no play...well, that just doesn't happen at the cabin.
All work and no food...well, that just doesn't happen either.
Emily & Cousin Rachel had a great time, as always.

Molly before her close encounter with the dock frame.

Well, Zoe had a good time, too.

Leaves aren't just for raking!



Leaves, Docks and the ER

What do these three things have in common? Well, our weekend included all three. We went to the cabin on Friday and Saturday to close it up for the winter (sad, but true). Saturday was a gorgeous fall day and the raking was very pleasant. Many years we rake in the rain and it is miserable, but this year was not one of them. It was beautiful. Anyway, the leaves got raked and the dock was brought in by mid-afternoon, which left the rest of the day for playing.

I ran off to the grocery store to pick up some stuff for dinner and when I returned I found everyone in the kitchen staring at Molly, who by the way was covered in blood. Hmm, not exactly what a mom likes to see. It seems that while the kids were playing, Molly fell and hit her face on the metal dock frame and sliced open her forehead right between her eye brows. My brother-in-law Peter was there and he is an EMT. He provided first-aid and made sure she didn't suffer a concussion, but he did think it would need stitches, so off to the ER we went. The doctor and nurse at the ER used the word gaping a few times (not really a good sign). So, they stitched Molly up nicely and sent us on our way. (as a side note, we were in and out of the ER in 60 minutes - ah the advantage of not having this happen in the Cities where we would have spent about three hours in the ER).

On Sunday, sweet Molly wasn't in too much pain anymore, but she has a really nasty black eye. She doesn't want me to post pictures, but I will tell you that her new nickname is Rocky. To top it off, we will be in TX when the stitches need to be removed so we are thinking of having Chris do it :)

IBEX

For those of you science geeks out there, I wanted to let you know that the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) was launched yesterday. It is a satellite that was sent into space yesterday to explore the outer reaches of the heliosphere, which is created by solar winds. Cool stuff folks!

Friday, October 17, 2008

How Were We To Know

That we were adopting a miniature adult? On the forms we filled out before our adoption I am sure we checked two kids under the age of seven. I'm sure of it! Well, I guess they are only looking at chronological age. Go figure. I should have been clued in on this when our supposed four year old started folding up his blankets - neat as can be - neater than my 14, 12, 11, or 9 year olds can fold theirs. And then when he he wanted to fold his clothes too and they looked like an adult did it, I should have figured it out, but, I tell you, he looked so much like a four year old. His bed is made impeccably - better than my dear husband makes ours (don't tell him I said that). Then came the advice from that little mouth on everything - how to parent, how to set the table, how to clean, how to drive (that one is pretty interesting since I'm pretty sure his car experience prior to coming home was pretty limited).

Now after almost eight months, I've figured it out - we've adopted a miniature adult! How were we to know?We love you so much, Marcus!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Big News

We have big news over here (no, we are not getting more kids - sorry to disappoint some of you). Chris is switching jobs...again. I shouldn't really say again since he has been at the Fed. for over five years; however, in our almost 18 years of marriage this will be his eighth job move. Actually, he's been at the Fed. loger than he has been at ANY other job. Early in our marriage this stressed me out a lot. I'm more of a get-a-job-and-stay-there-until-retirement type of person :) Now is only stresses me out a little :) Chris has always made very smart career moves and he is in demand in his field because of it.

So, anyway, back to the original announcement. Chris will be leaving the Fed. and starting his own business, Agilis Consulting. He has a gig lined up with Thomson Publishing starting in November. Ironically, he worked for Thomson about 15 years ago (when it was West Publishing). Despite the slight anxiety this move causes me, it will be a much shorter commute for Chris and that translates into more time with the family (which is always one of Chris's primary goals).

So, there you go, we are doing our best to help the economy by starting our own business. Next thing you know we're going to go out and buy a bunch of stocks....No one can say we didn't do our part :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seven Days

In seven days we leave for Texas! This isn't just any ordinary vacation, we are going down there so the twins can "meet" their birth mom! They are over the top excited to see her and their bio half-brother and their bio cousins. It's all they can think about or talk about these days. They're even having dreams about it :) We are so incredibly blessed to have three wonderful birth mothers for our kids! God has been so good to us!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

iPhoto

I really love my Mac and one thing I really love about it is iPhoto. I can play around with my photos and do all sorts of fun things with them. Well, the other day, Chris took a picture of me (this doesn' t happen too often) and I was surprised by all the wrinkles I have on my face (when I smile at least). So, I thought, hey, I can get rid of those with iPhoto. With a few clicks of the mouse, I went ack in time about 20 years. Amazing!

Here I am at 43.
And here's about what I looked like at 23!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!

Anyone that knows me well, knows that I am a tea fanatic (read addict).  I LOVE my tea and now that it is getting colder outside I have several cups a day.  I pretty much need a cup of tea with me at all times.  Anyway, my dear sweet husband (who also loves tea) bought me a hot water dispenser several years ago, but the thing stopped working several months ago.  Since then, I have actually had to wait for water to warm up on the stove top before I can steep my tea (Gasp).  Well, no longer!  Dear sweet hubby bought me a new hot water dispenser and installed it today (he had the day off), so here I sit sipping tea (green tea w/mandarin orange)and writing to you all.  To top it off, I made biscotti (blueberry chocolate chip) this weekend!  Tea & biscotti - it's like heaven on earth (okay, maybe not quite, I am sure heaven will be WAY better than tea and biscotti).

Pictures

I just uploaded my pictures from my camera to my computer. I hadn't done it all weekend and,boy, was I surprised when I saw that we had taken 160 pictures since Thursday night! Yowza! So, instead of my normally wordy post, I will shower you with pictures of what we have been up to.  
The boys "taking a knee" to listen to coach during their last game.

Aidan getting his trophy for playing football.

Zoe enjoying playing with her biggest brother.
Raelea helping Evan with his physics.
Molly's last soccer game.  Yes, they are playing a boys' team.
Part of Molly's team with their coach.

Molly with her really cool trophy.
Emily's bagpiper made out of play dough.
Raelea enjoying a beautiful Sunday at the park.
Look at this handsome guy!



Marcus reading to Raelea or maybe it's Raelea reading to Marcus- hard to say.




Saturday, October 11, 2008

Grocery Shopping

I do my grocery shopping on Saturday mornings - early. I don't like to waste much of my day at the grocery store and I REALLY don't like crowded stores, so I try to get there around 6:30. It's great. You have the store more or less to yourself, except for the people stocking the shelves. If you go any earlier than that the shelves aren't completely stocked yet and you might not be able to get everything, but by about 6:30 they are pretty geared up for the Saturday morning rush.

The other advantage to going early in the morning is that there was hardly anyone there to notice that I forgot to put my shoes on before I went shopping. It wasn't until the end of my trip through the store that I looked down and noticed that I still had my slippers on. No wonder my feet were so cozy and comfy this morning. Actually, I wasn't too self-conscious about this little blunder because just last week I saw a woman there who was in her pajamas - at least they sure looked like pajamas to me. Maybe she walked out the door and forgot to get dressed just like I forgot to put my shoes on. Let's just say that the folks that shop early in the morning aren't there for a fashion show :)

Books

We are book people. There are books in every room of our house. Sometimes, there are books on every flat surface in the house. There are book shelves everywhere you look - stuffed to overflowing. Occasionally, dear hubby asks me to go through the books and get rid of some, but when I try to do that, I have a very hard time finding any that we(the kids or I) don't want.

Anyway, I share all this with you because I read a most wonderful article in World Magazine this morning regarding books in the home. Here is an excerpt-

Books in the home, even if they aren't necessarily read by the parents, promote better scores not only in English, but also in science and math.
The NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) study indicated that shelves of books are more important than income or parental educational backround. Homes with 10 or fewer books yield the lowest test scores, and the scores increase steadily with more books in the home, in history, civics, math and science.. The issue is not income, according to the study, or even whether the parents have a college education. "Students of high-school-educated parents living in homes with more than 100 books outscored students with college-educated parents and 0-10 books at home," the study notes.  
A poor family, with books in the house, will produce a child, on the average, who will do better in those subjects than a rich kid with no books in the house, "Gioia added. "The data just shows the power of the home environment."

So, the next time I am cleaning off a table and wondering why there are SO many books laying around, I will try to remember this article :) After all, the books can't be read while they are sitting on the shelves.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's All Over

Sadly, the 49er's lost their game last night against the Giants. They tried hard, but were unable to pull off a win, so their season is over. Molly has a game tonight and one tomorrow morning and then soccer will be over as well.

It has been a great season for both of them. We are very proud of their hard work, good sportsmanship and leadership on the field.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Nina's Thoughts on Adoption


Nina was asked to answer a question on adoption for a kid's magazine recently.  The question was, "Tell us three things that you wish other kids could know or understand about adoption."

I thought her answers were well worth passing on to not only kids, but adults as well, so here they are.

1)That my birth mom did NOT give me up because she didn't want me.

2) That my birth mom is not my mom anymore.  My adoptive mom is my mom and my birth mom is my friend.

3) That it feels cool and happy to be adopted, not sad and gloomy.  And I get to have an extra friend in my birth mom.

There you have it, three things we all can keep in mind when thinking about adoption :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Grandma Jammies

One thing I love about having bunches of kids is that you get to see your favorite clothes worn again and again. Grandma Jammies are some of my favorite clothing items. Here Zoe & Raelea model Grandma Jammies that were originally Nina & Molly's (I think - my memory fails me sometimes). Stay tuned for Raelea & Marcus in Grandma Jammies that were originally Aidan & Emily's.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Nothin' To Do

What was going to be a very busy evening has suddenly turned into a rare evening when we have NOTHING going on. What a wonderful surprise! Aidan was supposed to have his semi-final play-off game tonight, Molly was supposed to have a soccer game and Evan was supposed to have bagpipe lessons. Because of the rain, the football and soccer games have been cancelled and Evan's instructor is sick today, so, joy of joys, we have NOTHING to do. Ahhh. Can you just hear me relaxing. I can serve dinner at 5:30 if I want or maybe even 5:45 and we don't have to shovel the food into our mouths in fifteen minutes. We can actually LINGER over our meal.

Oh happy day!

States of the Week

This week we are studying Pennsylvania and Maryland. A shout out to Rebekah & Daniel - how about some interesting PA facts from you two....

What Are They Wearing?

Strange outfits around our house are really quite the norm. Sometimes it's from playing dress-up, sometimes not. Here is a smattering of the outfits we've seen in the past day or so.

First we have Aidan, looking oh so Ethiopian (if he could just lose the Longhorns hat). A special shout of thank you to my friend Jean who picked this up for Aidan while she was in Ethiopia last month. You see, I bought all the girls Ethiopian outfits while we were there, but I didn't think the boys would want any, so I didn't buy outfits for them. Oops! Aidan really wanted an outfit like Marcus's. I discovered that to buy an outfit like that here in the states it would cost well over $50 while you can pick one up in Ethiopia for about $12. Thankfully, sweet Jean was willing to get the outfit for Aidan while she was there picking up her new son.Well, this trio...I'm not quite sure what they are. I think Marcus is a knight defending a couple of fair maidens. We have a clash of cultures and ages going on there with the knight defending colonial girls, but that's okay...