"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, June 30, 2009

Now This Is Interesting

I called our pediatrician today to get the results from the ringworm cultures from Molly & Zoe. Lo and behold, they do NOT, I repeat, NOT have ringworm! Amazing! The doctor who did the culture was quite certain that it WAS ringworm by looking at it and so was I, but apparently we were WRONG.

Well, this is indeed good news - I think. It's good news that it's not ringworm, but the question remains, "what is it?" Who knows? Weird dry skin? Cradle cap? You got me. I'll try oiling the spots for a while and see if they go away. If not, it looks like we're off to the dermatologist for more scraping and culturing.

The other bad news in this whole event is that we are out the $200+ dollars for the ringworm medicine that we started them on immediately after seeing the doctor. Bummer for us. Molly, on the other hand is delighted to not have to take that lovely medicine anymore.

I am glad that I can be the bearer of good news to those of you whom I alarmed by my previous post.

Bubble Tea

Today, I was introduced to Bubble Tea (or Boba Tea).

Here are the ingredients (just add ice and milk) and special straws...

Here are the "Bubbles" - strange looking black tapioca pearls.
And here is the finished product...
Stop on by, we'll fix you up one. It's pretty good if you can get used to sucking fish egg-like balls through a large straw.

Here's One More

I have another reason why I LOVE my neighborhood...Our neighbor, Anne, is moving to Arizona and she just GAVE us this chair (and the little lawn chair as well). We have been wanting another chair for the living room, but didn't want to spend the money to buy one - presto, (almost) new chair. I think I'll reupholster it eventually (Mom, I'll need your help), but the chair itself is in excellent condition.

I love my neighborhood...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Can You Believe It?

Do you believe that in the entire Minnesota library system there is not ONE copy of The Art of Kilt Making? What's with that? Has no one in Minnesota EVER wanted to make a kilt until I came along? Hard to believe!

It gets worse. There is not even ONE person on Ebay trying to sell their copy of The Art of Kilt Making! Apparently when you get a hold of such a gem of a book you keep it forever.

So, if any of you have a spare copy of The Art of Kilt Making laying around that you're not using right now, could I borrow it? Or better yet, you could just stop on by and teach me how to do it...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Well, That Was Fun

The 50th anniversary bash was pulled off without a hitch (that took place 50 years ago) and a good time was had by all (I think).  I do know a good time was had by our family :)

Do you know how hard it is to make us behave for a picture?  There are only four of us, but we are an unruly bunch.
Eventually, we do settle down and do as we're told.
Thankfully, our children are MUCH better behaved!

The Happy Couple

Aside from a few sprinkles, the weather cooperated, the food was plentiful and tasty, and Elvis was, well, very Elvis-like.


Congratulations, Mom & Dad, on 50 great years with many more to come. Love you!

Crystal Gets It

Because no one has claimed the 30,000 hit on my blog and Crystal was the 30,001 person, she gets all the bragging rights.

Way to go Crystal!! You, among others, have been one of my pleasures of doing this blog. I get to "know" people from all over whom I may or may not get to ever meet in person.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Just 29 more visits....

Will you be the one to send me over 30,000???

Two Of Many

Here are two of the many reasons why I love where I live:

I have neighbors who do this with my kids...

Thank you, Mrs. K. for giving the kids a sloppy, slippery good time!

Reason number two, we have places to do this...


We might not have wading pools in our parks, but we do have some fun parks that spray water. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

50

Number of years my parents will have been married on Saturday! The big bash is in the making, so I may be scarce around here until after the weekend is over, but I promise you many great pictures!

I am so proud of my parents for staying married the the good AND bad times of 50 years. No one is married for 50 years without some trials and difficulties, but they stuck with it and worked through it and here they are today.

Mom & Dad, thank you for being the great parents that you are! I love you tons! Now, prepare to PARTY...

101

Only 101 more visits and my blog will have reached the 30,000 mark! Will you be the 30,000th visitor?? There will be no prize awarded, but you will inherit bragging rights. You'll have to let me know who you are though, so if your visiting go to the bottom of the blog and see what number you are.

I should point out that at my average rate, 30,000 should be reached sometime Saturday (weekends are usually slow in the blogosphere, so it might not be until Sunday).

27

The number of college credits Evan has earned in the past three weeks. I'm loving this CLEP test thing :)

Ironically, since he is doing college in a slightly unconventional way, I have spent the past several weeks doing such riveting things as contemplating where he should get his BA degree from to allow him to get into the graduate school of his choice. The kid's only 15 and I'm trying to figure out his plan for the next, oh, say, eight years???

So, what did Evan inform me of today? That when he is done with his PSEO stuff (in 2 years) he wants to get his bachelor's degree in...you guessed it...Scotland. Hmmm. I'm not sure I'm okay with that. He will, after all only be 17 at that point....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pools

It's been really warm here in MN this week (really warm for us (90's), to my dear friends in TX it has been very pleasant).  Anyway, my dear friend Jean just commented on our lack of a pool at the very same moment that I was composing this post in my head.  How funny is that (okay, maybe it's only funny to me, but I'm okay with that).

Anyway, back to the warm weather up here.  We had a little pool upgrade here this week, due to the warm weather and the woeful lack of water in our yard.  We went from this...
To this....
Okay, so it's not too much of an upgrade, but our kids think it's a huge improvement and Snicker's thinks we bought her a larger water dish.


While your looking at the pictures, notice the lovely flower garden in the background.  Too bad you can't see the roses in bloom - they're beautiful!!!

Almost

They tried hard - really hard, but Molly's team lost their game tonight.  All is not lost though, as Molly is pointing out to me right now. "We didn't lose, we got 2nd place!"  

And so they did!  They had a great season with much improvement from first to last game.  We had a great time watching her play and now that I know more about soccer, I actually can yell things from the sidelines that make sense :)

So, here is the EVAA second place girls' soccer team...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wading Pools

Many of you know that our family lived in Minneapolis for three years.  I don't regret living there, but it definitely showed me that I am not a city-living person.  Don't get me wrong, there were many great things about living in the city, but I never felt "at home" there.  When we moved back out to the 'burbs I felt like a dark cloud was removed from over my head and I could start being myself again.  

Anywho....one of the GREAT things about Minneapolis (and something that I do miss) is that in many of the city parks there are free wading pools.  In the summer you can just hop on over to the local park and splash around for an hour or so.  Well, since it was HOT this past weekend and we were looking for something to do, I decided to take the kids up to one of the wading pools in Mpls.  It was a blast!  I had forgotten how fun it was for the kids to splash around and play there.  It also did wonders in helping Marcus not to be so fearful of the water.  So, now I've determined that Mpls. is a great place to visit, but I don't want to live there :)








Pictures of the Games

I won't bore you with too many pictures from the Highland Games, but I think you need to see a few.

As always at these events, there were a LOT of men in kilts.
A fair amount of time is spent tuning drones.  Here's Evan tuning Bob's drones.
Here's Evan tuning his own drones.
Evan looking sharp in his uniform - even at 7:00 in the morning.

And here's my first place winner :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers' Day!

Ten Things I Love About My Dad

1. He has a great sense of humor.
2. He is a hard-worker - probably the hardest worker I know - as in, the man, although retired, never stops working (okay, maybe almost never)
3. When he was diagnosed with lung cancer he faced it bravely and never gave up hope.
4. He helps us with all our home projects (as in, the shed that Dad built).
5. I've inherited his metabolism so that, even at 43, I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight (thanks Dad!!)
6. He took us camping when we were kids - my fondest memories of childhood.
7.  He knows a ton about history, which made family vacations not only fun but educational as well (I remember Fort Ticonderoga, Dad:)  )
8. He loves my dog and my dog loves him.
9.  He loves my kids (and my kids love him - a lot).
10. He likes to debate and even though he and I don't see eye-to-eye politcally, he still loves me and lets me come visit :)

I love you, Dad, and I hope you had a great Fathers' Day!!

Band Performance

For those of you that are waiting on pins and needles to find out how Evan's band did (okay, none of you are waiting, but I'll tell you anyway). The band he is in did not place at yesterday's competition, but the Grade 3 band (one level up from Evan's) took first place and their drum corps took first place as well.

Pictures will follow once Chris comes home with the camera!

Today

My big boys come home today (yay), but my big girl is leaving :(

Nina is heading off to camp for the week. This will be her first time at camp (although she was at a weekend retreat last fall) and she is REALLY looking forward to it. We will miss her a ton! I am sure she will have a great time and will have lots of stories to tell when she comes home.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

He Took First

Evan took first place in his solo competition in Chicago!!!!

Yay, Evan!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Miss My Boys

Well, the two that aren't home this weekend. Evan and Chris left for Chicago today. Evan is competing in a bagpipe competition tomorrow; Chris went along as a (band required) chaperone. They drove through an absolutely terrible thunder storm, but have arrived safely.

If you Twitter you can keep track of them there as Chris (seajayjay) is tweeting as is the MPPB. If you following the MPPB's tweets you will see the results from the competition as soon as they are in. Evan's solo competition is at 8:00 am (bummer for my not-a-morning-person child), so he needs to be on the grounds by 7:00 am. The band is competing in the afternoon and then there is a massed band performance at 5:30 in the evening (can you say "exhausting?).

Evan, do your best! I am SO proud of you and I can't wait to join you in Waukesha. Chris, I love you tons and miss you terribly.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What Should I Read Next?

Time to appeal to my loyal readership once again. I am without a book to read (not totally true, since I am in the middle of reading a few if you notice my bookshelf). Anyway, I'm looking for suggestions for a summer read.

Anyone have any thoughts? Jen?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This One's For My Kids



I love you guys!

Oh, and here are the words for those of you that don't want to listen to Toby Mac (your loss)

I'm For You lyrics

Tell me where its hurting
Are you burning?
Running just to catch your breath
And going nowhere
It's getting old when you feel like you got nothing left
Well it ain't over 'til it's over
I told you since the day we met
So let me be the voice through all the noise
Whatever I gotta be
I'll be for you

Whatever you need from me
To see you through
Everyone of us has stumbled
Everybody's humbled
We hit the ground and our lives crumble

Whatever I gotta be
I'll be for you
I'm for you
If you never knew
If you never knew
I'm for you
You know it's true

I know the feeling
I know it's real when the drama's all in your face
You see a mountain
I hear a promise - it's never more than we can take
Well it ain't over, 'til it's over
We can learn from our mistakes
So let me be the voice through all the noise

Everyone of us will fall
Have our backs against the wall
And everyone shares a need to be loved

You've always been for me
So I will be for you
That's just what it means to love

Whatever I gotta be
I'll be for you
I'm for you
If you never knew
If you never knew
I'm for you
You know it's true

Whatever I gotta be
I'll be for you
I'm for you
If you never knew
If you never knew
I'm for you
You know it's true

Everytime you fall, I'll be for you,
If you back's against the wall, I'll be for you,
Cause you've always been for me, I'll be for you,
I'll be for you, I'm for you.
If you never knew,
If you never knew,
I'm for you.

I'm for you, like your for me, like I'm for you,
I'm for you, like your for me, like your for me, like I'm for you,
I'm for you like your for me, like I'm for you,
I'm for you like your for me, like your for me, like I'm for you,
I'm for you like your for me, like your for me, like I'm for you,

I'm for you

For Those Of You That Care

I KNOW that some of my readers are oh-too-familiar with ringworm, so you may be interested in some ringworm facts I have just uncovered. (emphasis was added by yours truly)

Treating your home is also important. Fungal spores can persist in your carpet for up to 2 years, so re-infection is a concern. The more animals in the house, the longer the treatment must go on before the environment is clear.

"Hair is the enemy! Getting rid of the hair in your house is the best way to rid the fungus from your home. That's why we recommend that owners clip their animals' hair (making sure to warn the groomer). The only reliable killer of the ringworm spores is a 1:10 dilution of bleach in water. Use this with care because it is a harsh mix and will stain. Sunlight will kill ringworm too. Anything that can't be thrown away can be left outside to try to get rid of ringworm contamination," suggests Dr. Angus.

"People with the highest risk for catching ringworm from their pet are young children who have never been exposed, the elderly, or people with a depressed immune system," comments Dr. Angus. Once humans have been exposed to a strain of ringworm, most people develop immunity and rarely get the same strain again.

There you have it. For those of you who have NOT dealt with ringworm, please bear with the rest of us while we scream and pull our hair out in an effort to eradicate this fungus from our homes...

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

IT'S BACK!

Oh, I shutter to even write the word...

We've been without our dear fungi (or so we thought) for FIVE months and now - IT'S BACK!

Yes, dear readers, ringworm has reared its ugly head (or spores, as the case may be) again. This time on Zoe's & Molly's heads. GRRR! Can I scream now???

I fear it will be our nemesis for life....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Poetry & Cheese

My quote for the day piqued my interest and I decided to do a little researching on poetry about cheese. It turns out that G.K. Chesterton is quite wrong in his statement! It seems that one James McIntyre (1827-1906), wrote a couple of poems about cheese. In the interest of education, here they are:

Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing over 7,000 Pounds

We have seen the Queen of cheese,
Laying quietly at your ease,
Gently fanned by evening breeze --
Thy fair form no flies dare seize.

All gaily dressed soon you'll go
To the great Provincial Show,
To be admired by many a beau
In the city of Toronto.

Cows numerous as a swarm of bees --
Or as the leaves upon the trees --
It did require to make thee please,
And stand unrivalled Queen of Cheese.

May you not receive a scar as
We have heard that Mr. Harris
Intends to send you off as far as
The great World's show at Paris.

Of the youth -- beware of these --
For some of them might rudely squeeze
And bite your cheek; then songs or glees
We could not sing o' Queen of Cheese.

We'rt thou suspended from baloon,
You'd caste a shade, even at noon;
Folks would think it was the moon
About to fall and crush them soon.

Notes

1] The cheese was made by James Harris at the Ingersoll factory (99).

6] the great Provincial Show: the Toronto Industrial Exposition, founded in 1878, and lit by electricity in 1882, where 22 of 23 buildings focused on agriculture (The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2nd edn. [Edmonton: Hurtig, 1988]: 345).

16] The great World's show at Paris: in 1889 the Eiffel Tower was built for this exhibition, established in 1851 in London.

Oxford Cheese Ode

The ancient poets ne'er did dream
That Canada was land of cream,
They ne'er imagined it could flow
In this cold land of ice and snow,
Where everything did solid freeze,
They ne'er hoped or looked for cheese.

A few years since our Oxford farms
Were nearly robbed of all their charms,
O'er cropped the weary land grew poor
And nearly barren as a moor,
But now the owners live at ease
Rejoicing in their crop of cheese.

And since they justly treat the soil,
Are well rewarded for their toil,
The land enriched by goodly cows,
Yie'ds plenty now to fill their mows,
Both wheat and barley, oats and peas
But still their greatest boast is cheese.

And you must careful fill your mows
With good provender for your cows,
And in the winter keep them warm,
Protect them safe all time from harm,
For cows do dearly love their ease,
Which doth insure best grade of cheese.

To us it is a glorious theme
To sing of milk and curds and cream,
Were it collected it could float
On its bosom, small steam boat,
Cows numerous as swarm of bees
Are milked in Oxford to make cheese.

James McIntyre

Now I guess we all know why Mr. McIntyre is known as the Cheese Poet.

Go Team Go

Molly's soccer season is almost over and, unlike last year's "not a single win" season, this year her team is doing extremely well. They've only lost one game in the play-offs and so they are guaranteed a spot in the championship game next Wednesday.

Not only that, but I am actually learning the rules to soccer - a huge improvement over last year when I didn't even know what I was supposed to be yelling from the sidelines :)

So, Grandma & Grandpa, If you're not doing anything at 7:00 next Wednesday night, Molly would love to see you at her game!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Quotes Of The Weekend

Child: I knew it was a bullhead (fish) because of its testicles.
Parent: I think you mean tentacles .
Child:  Testicles, tentacles - they mean the same thing.

????
Aidan spent the entire weekend with a bandana tied around his neck.  Because of this, the following conversation ensued...

Chris: Hey, John Wayne, take off your hat at the dinner table.
Aidan: Who's John Wayne?  Oh yeah, is he one of the pilgrims?

Fish

Where have I been all weekend? Getting to know the fish in Wisconsin, of course.


And how did these fish find their way into the hands of my kids?



Friday, June 12, 2009

Well, That Was NOT So Easy

While Evan is earning college credits, poor Molly spent yesterday afternoon getting "appliances" put into her mouth. No, not washers and driers, but things like expanders and MARA applicances. The poor girl could hardly eat anything last night because her mouth was so sore and food kept getting stuck underneath the wires. She has more metal in her mouth than...well, than anything I've ever seen. When Evan saw her mouth he said it looked like something from the Terminator.

Today should be better though, if for now other reason than I went to the store last night and stocked up on applesauce, cottage cheese and pudding. If the poor girl goes too many days without eating she will just up and disappear since she has about zero body fat.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Well, That Was Easy

For me at least :)

Evan took his first CLEP test today and 90 minutes and $15 later, he had six college credits (for Spanish). That comes out to $2.50/credit; not too shabby considering the cost of college tuition these days. Hopefully, by the end of the month he will have 30 college credits for the grand total price of $75. Thanks to the state of Minnesota that pays for six CLEP tests each year!

If you haven't figured it out yet, we're going for college on the cheap!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Menu Warning

You may notice over the summer that the What's For Dinner section on the sidebar lacks some originality. There is a reason for this and it's a good reason. Once again, summer has arrived at our house and one of the goals over the summer is to teach the kids how to cook (as in cook the whole meal, not just help Mom). We started this two years ago and it works like a charm. Back then the twins were only seven, so they needed a bit more supervision. This year, I envision afternoons of playing outside while dinner is being made by me servants, er, I mean children :)

In order to make this more fun for the kids, they get to choose what they will make for dinner. Mom retains veto power however, otherwise we would be having homemade pizza five nights a week. Since the kids have been grumbling about all the NEW recipes I've been trying, they are falling back on old standbys.

So, Monday night Evan cooks (Tilapia this week), Tuesday it's Nina's turn (BBQ sandwiches), Wednesday brings Molly to the kitchen to make Scalloped potatoes, Aidan will be the chef on Thursday (Spaghetti) and Friday would normally be Emily's turn, but we are going to the cabin.

You get the idea - I only have to cook two dinners each week. You can see why I like this plan! Nina, who would love to be in the kitchen more than anyplace else in the house, also made lunch today. I hardly know what to do with myself with all this free time on my hands...oh yeah, I'm going to teach them how to do the laundry, also :)

Not Good

When your child says to you, "Mom, what is that awful smell?" You know that something is not good.

When she says, "The laundry room smells like rotten eggs." You know that it is really not going to be a good afternoon.

Upon investigation, Mom discovered that the floor drain in the laundry room was backing up whenever water was run in the kitchen sink. This is better than it backing up whenever the toilet is flushed (I speak from personal experience here), but still not a good way to start the afternoon.

That lingering headache I had all morning did not go away after I discovered smelly water on my laundry room floor. After several unanswered phone calls and an e-mail message to dear hubby, he finally came home early, went to Home Depot to buy a snake, and cleaned out the nasty mess.

So tonight I will sleep easy, knowing that next time the drain backs up, I have the necessary tools to take care of the problem.

How was your day? Oh and by the way, I'm all in favor of global warming about now. Bring it on! What's with the first two days of our summer vacation being cold and rainy???

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Well, I Tried

Here is my first attempt at giving Zoe Nubian Knots -

They looked pretty darned cute last night, but when she woke up this morning it was more like Nubian mohawk. Crazy! I haven't quite figured out how to fasten those little knots yet, but I'm learning. 

Also, have you ever tried making a straight part on a head that doesn't sit still for more than three seconds???

Saturday, June 6, 2009

School's Out

Yesterday was our last day of school for the year - kind of.   You see, actually, the only person that is truly done is Evan.  The four middle kids get to do math three days a week over the summer, so they don't forget anything.  Marcus & Raelea are STARTING school on Monday because I have more time to teach them to read while the other kids are "out" of school.  

So, you see, school isn't really out, it's just changed.  We officially begin our summer schedule of school and chores on Monday.  Summer chores include such riveting things as weeding the rocks, weeding the vegetable garden and weeding the flower gardens (I've got a LOT of weeds!).  Great fun!

The sad part of this year's last day of school is that it is Evan's last day of being taught by me!  :(  In August he will be start taking college classes through a state program called the Post Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO)
, so I will no longer be his teacher (although I did tell him I will tutor him if necessary).  It will be so strange not to have him home all day next year!  We will miss him in our class room.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Problem With Tree Houses

The problem with tree houses is that they're attached to trees. Hmm, that's fairly obvious, but why is it a problem, you ask? Well, normally it wouldn't be a problem, but it will be a problem with our tree fort and our trees.

Why? Because all three of our trees holding up our wonderful tree fort are ash trees.

Hmm. What might that mean? Well, now that the dreaded emerald ash borer has made its appearance in Minnesota a couple of things could happen.  That nasty little bug might kill our ash trees - a very real possibility, but not too alarming as the trees would probably not die for many years.  Even after they expire, the trees should still be able to hold up a tree fort for many more years.

That's good, yes, but there is a more dire threat to our tree fort - ash borer containment.  You see if, by chance, our trees get infected OR nearby trees get infected then the containment solution may be to chop down our trees.  It's pretty hard to have a tree fort on three stumps :)

Molly has already pledged to chain herself to the tree, or maybe it was the tree fort, if anyone would dare to try to chop down our trees.  Now that would definitely be blog-worthy!

What Is Evan Wearing?



Well, it's elementary, Mr. Watson. He's wearing an Inverness Cape, of course.

A better question might be WHY is Evan wearing an Inverness Cape?  Well, if you'd read the link above you could answer that question.  For those of you that don't click on my links (which you really should do, btw) Inverness capes are not only worn by Sherlock Holmes, but also by pipe bands around the world when the weather is inclement.  Since it is now parade and competition season we thought it was high time to buy Evan the appropriate foul-weather attire.  As you can see, he likes wearing it even when the weather is pleasant.