"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

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How To Be Two Places At Once

Well actually, I haven't figured that out yet, but it would have come in handy today and, even more so, on Friday. This just means that I have 45 hours to figure out the trick to it. Any advice from those of you who have mastered the art of self-duplication? On Friday, I need to be at a doctor's appt. with Aidan, dropping Aidan, Emily, Nina & Molly off at soccer and taking Evan to driver's ed. all at the same time. Hmm, I guess I should have titled this how to be THREE places at one. Apparently Aidan will have to duplicate himself as well. My Industrial Engineering skills will be tested to the max :-)

For whatever reason, this week is crazy busy. More specifically today and Friday are crazy-busy. Obviously not too busy to blog though.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

So, Which Is It?

I was told by a child of mine (who will remain nameless) that s/he HATED being in this family!!! Just a short 20 minutes later the same child said, "You're the best mom in the whole world!"

Do any of you wonder why I am slightly schizophrenic? Talk about mixed messages!

Okay, I've been parenting long enough to know that neither of the said statements are true, but I sure enjoy the second one more than the first!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Health Update

Raelea - feeling much better, still a little rundown and occasionally a low-grade fever - won't be able to go back to school until Friday though since I made the mistake of mentioning the word "flu" when I called her in sick (I won't do that again)
Marcus - nasty cough, low-grade fever, generally pretty clingy
Zoe - coughing when she wants a cough drop, maybe coming down with something, maybe not
Aidan - icky cough, but not sick enough to keep from playing football
Nina - headache and sore throat this morning, feeling better this afternoon
Molly - currently healthy and happy
Evan - also healthy for the time being
Emily - Healthy despite sharing a room with two sickos
Snickers - no longer throwing up all over our house and yard, appears to be completely recovered

As a general rule, you'd best avoid our household or any member of it for about the next week, just to be on the safe side...

Happy Birthday to ME!

I get the dubious distinction of finishing up our September birthday bonanza. Now we have a month's respite before the next birthday (Evan's).

Anyway, since it's my blog, I need to say happy birthday to myself :-) My family did a great job of making it a relaxing (I took a 1 1/2 hour nap) and fun (I got a bunch of great presents - mostly around the exercise theme) and tasty (thanks, Tami for the cheesecake - it is awesome!).
And now, for those of you who are wondering what I looked like as a wee tyke...
To all my Facebook friends, thanks for the birthday wishes !

Saturday, September 26, 2009


You might wonder why you are not getting blog updates on Aidan's football season. I know you are waiting to hear reports of Patriots football. Well, truth be told, the games have hardly been blog-worthy - until today that is. The Patriots finally won their first game today!

Go, Patriots!!

They were down by one touchdown after the first drive, but spent pretty much the rest of the game in the lead. We, parents of Patriots, were beside ourselves with glee to watch our boys play well AND win! Aidan played a nice game with a score stopping tackle and some good blocking.

Yippee! They won't end the season without a win. 1-8 isn't great, but it sure beats 0-9.


Maybe, maybe not. We really don't know if poor little Raelea has THE flu, but it sure looks like she might. Her fever is on day 3 now and she has a nasty cough and some croup-y breathing. Hoping she gets a good night's rest tonight.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tiring Day

It's been a tiring day today! This morning was the funeral for one of my college roommates who died last week of ALS. It's very strange going to a funeral for a friend who, until two years ago, was healthy and young and active...Despite the sadness of the occasion, we know that Margie is at home with the Lord now, enjoying her new, healthy body. The funeral was much like a giant college reunion. I saw so many people that I haven't seen in years, but with whom I shared a very significant phase of my life. What a wonderful time of catching up and sharing.

Now, I'm sitting here with a sick Raelea in my lap. She's come down with a fever this evening. I'm hoping it's nothing serious. Poor girl!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wedding Pictures

I promised you wedding pictures, so here there are...

Evan the Bagpiper with the bride & groom. When they were younger my friend, Brenda, insisted hat Evan looked just like his cousin Colleen. I think she was right.I'm not sure what mom thought was so funny...
This was decidedly NOT funny. This is the mammoth wasp that I found up my skirt! Thankfully, it did not sting me.
Evan the Bagpiper in action
My brother, Jim, walking his only child down the aisle. He held himself together amazingly well.
Evan & Molly
Evan and his cousin, Maggie.
My sisters and me
Nina was Colleen's personal attendant
I think I'm going to start a new career in wedding photography :-) Here we have Colleen & Jason with cousin Rachel
There you have it, or at least a small portion of the wedding pictures. It was a great time!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fun, Fun, Fun

My niece, Colleen, got married today. We had a great time, but I can't share any pictures with you until tomorrow because the batteries in my camera need to be charged. Actually, I need to be charged too because it is 12:18 am.

See you tomorrow...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Not Done Yet?

Those of you who have not been with us during previous house projects might be under the assumption that our bathroom MUST be finished by now despite the lack of photographic evidence to the contrary. Sorry, folks! It isn't done yet, primarily because my dear husband had to go back to work. you can only live so long without income, you know.

Rest assured, it is ALMOST done though. What's left? Just a little trim, a fan cover and a towel holder, oh, and some nice storage thingies for under the sink. Anyway, here are the most recent pictures of our lovely bathroom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We Have A Winner!

Yes folks, we have a winner in the Guess What Barb's Kids Are Doing In Science Class contest. Mary Chantland! I will copy the answer here for those of you that don't read the blog on Facebook...

Mary Chantland said...
As for guessing with what it has to do with botany, maybe categorizing plants?

Yes, Mary, the children are learning about Taxonomy! The practiced their classifying skills by placing the shoes in kingdoms(by color), phylum(sandal/not sandal), order(adult/children) and class(dress/play). If we had gotten out all the shoes we probably could have classified all the way down to species, but I didn't want to have that many shoes laying out :-) Who knew that botany could be so much fun? Certainly not I. I am much more of an animal person than a plant person, although that might change after this curriculum.

Congratulations to Mary!! Special thank you to Tami and Jean for not shouting out the answer.

Monday, September 14, 2009


I have such brilliant blog readers, I thought I would let you guess what these pictures have to do with studying botany. Come on, folks, put your thinking caps on...

I LOVE homeschool!

Oh, and don't you LOVE that all the kids are smiling! **REALITY CHECK***Only I know the truth that one of those kids was only smiling for the picture and really did NOT enjoy our little science project.

Happy Birthday, Emily!

Wow, two birthdays in one day :-) Emily, you are a treasure to us! We love your creativity and beautiful smile. You are very musically talented and we look forward to seeing God use your musical gifts for His glory.

Happy birthday, precious!

Happy Birthday, Aidan!

Wow, double digits! Today, Aidan turns ten one whole minute before Emily! I can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. It seems like just yesterday that I was sitting in Waco, TX waiting for them to be released from the hospital and waiting for the paperwork to get done so I could bring them home. They were so tiny! When I brought them to the place I was staying in Waco (Thanks, Joe & Jane!!!!) Aidan & Emily slept in dresser drawers. Now they are so grown-up!

Aidan, we love you so much. You bring so much joy and laughter to our home, I smile just thinking about it.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Kid Parties

With eight kids, you might think that we are constantly hosting birthday parties. Not so! We decided a LONG time ago that we couldn't do a kid party every birthday for every child, so we came up with a solution. You only get a kid party every five years (as in on your 5, 10 and 15 birthday). This has simplified our lives immensely :-) Well, as you know Aidan & Emily will be turning 10 in just a few days, so today we had their 10 year old kid party. That translates into 10 extra kids in the house.

We took them all bowling which was a great time, but I have no pictures to prove it because we forgot the camera. It all went extremely well and the girls out-scored the boys by ten points. Then it was back to our house for cake, ice cream, presents, tag and football.
I don't have any great pics of the party but here are Aidan & Emily blowing out their candles on their extra-special bowling cake!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


While looking for a baby picture of Molly, I came across this gem...There are two things you are thinking right now (I can read your mind via the internet) 1)Wow, Chris & Barb looked a LOT younger 12 years ago and 2) Wow, Barb really did get bigger than a house when she was pregnant.

This picture was taken at Nina's 1st birthday party just two days before Molly was born.


Bummer. The Patriots lost again tonight. Although the team did not play too well, Aidan had some great blocks and tackles. He came home exhausted and went right to bed. I think he's sick, but he seemed well enough to play, that is until after the game was over.

Hope he feels better in the morning.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Molly Dolly!

On 9/9/09 at 9:00, Molly turned 12! It's been a long time in coming. Molly declared about a month ago that she did NOT like being 11. Apparently there is something unpalatable about being 11 to dear sweet Molly.

Molly is the smiliest child I know. When she was a baby she smiled all the time. I would go into her room in the morning and there she would be smiling as happy as can be. She still wakes up with a smile on her face! Something I don't do - EVER.

Molly, we love you tons and tons and we are so proud of the fine young lady you are becoming. I hope being 12 is much more pleasant to you than 11 was :-)

Patriots Lose

Sad to say, but Aidan's team lost their first game last night. They fought hard, but were outperformed by the Titans. That's okay though, their next game is tomorrow. I'm sure it will go better.

Go, Patriots!!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

School Is In Session

Most of the happy students.
Once again, my students give me a plethora of produce on the first day of school. Btw, check out the size of that zucchini! And, no, I did not eat all of this stuff - now if they had showered me with chocolate, that would have been a different story.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Long Day

It's been a LONG day of bagpipe festivites, but now it's over and it's pizza time :)

Evan did not get any solo medals this time :( but the band took 1st place :) Actually, the band was the only grade 3 band here, so they automatically took first place - but they played nicely nonetheless.

No more competitions until February when they are off to Winnepeg...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Waukesha Here We Come!

Evan and I are off for a rip-roaring time in Waukesha, WI. A great tourist destination, I'm sure. Okay,we're not going as tourists. Evan has a bagpipe competition tomorrow, so we will spend Saturday pretending we're Scottish.

Evan is competing in three solo events and this is his first time competing with the Grade 3 Band. I'll let you know how he does on Monday, complete with pictures, no doubt. After the competition we are driving all the way back across the state of Wisconsin to meet up with the rest of the family at the cabin. It should be a VERY fun weekend with a LOT of driving involved.

Hope you all have a great Labor Day!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

She's Three!

Hard to believe, but our sweet little Zoe Bug is 3!! It has been a wonderful 18 months getting to know this fun little girl.

Zoe, we love you and we love the fun you bring to our family. You are such a snuggle-bunny and yet such a bundle of energy. Our family would be sorely lacking without you in it!

We love you tons and tons!! Happy Birthday, Zoe Girl!

Something New Every Day

I know they say you learn something new everyday, but I didn't think that I would learn that something at 7:08. Here you have it - Muhammad Ali is Irish. Who knew?

Well, I guess the rest of my day will be filled with things I already know...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Toilet and a Tub

Two-thirds of a bathroom is better than no bathroom at all! The bathroom was supposed to be 99% done today, but because of a damaged vanity (which we discovered when we took it out of the box) we are only 66.7% done. Rejoicing nonetheless that we do not need to stumble down the stairs half-asleep to use the bathroom in the middle of the night! Also, taking a shower in a full-sized bathtub instead of a two foot by two foot shower stall will seem like a luxury. (do you have any idea how hard it is to shave your legs in a tiny shower stall???)Unfortunately, the vanity came from Lowe's which is not particularly close to us, so finding time to go over there and return it could be tricky. But hey, the kitchen sink works just fine from brushing teeth, etc.

Happy 13th Birthday, Nina!!

Today, our sweet Nina turns 13! We have graduated to two teenagers in the house and we are thrilled (I LOVE teenagers - truly, I do!)

Nina, we love you so much and we are so proud of you. You are a blessing to us and you add so much fun and entertainment to our family. You are turning into a lovely young woman and we can't wait to see all that God has planned for your life!

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

More Information

Some of you were not happy with me being chary (*see vocabulary word of the month) in my description of events yesterday. So, for inquiring minds, I will fill in the details.

We have a problem here - rogue teenagers in our park creating mayhem. Let's go back to springtime - we found some "drug paraphernalia" in the park behind our house. Then we found another item which I will not elaborate on. All this lead us to notify the police of "suspicious" activity going on there. The police, having nothing better to do in our normally quite suburb, stepped up surveillance of the park and our neighborhood.

All seemed well until about two weeks ago when some teenagers hopped out of a car and chased a little 7 year old in the neighborhood. When I went to the park to check on things the boy informed me that the teenagers were"helping" him (it should be noted that said teenagers were still in the park within hearing distance). I didn't confront the teenagers, partly because they didn't look like the sort of kids who would respectfully take a scolding from a middle age lady. I did however let them know that I now knew what they looked like and I also got the license plate number from their car.

Fast forward, apparently a group of teenagers/kids have been making homemade bombs in our park and on Monday night they threw three of them at a neighbors house. Two of the bombs detonated, thankfully the largest one did not. This little bit of teenage terrorism is what brought the slew of police cars, police dogs and investigators to our neighborhood yesterday morning. Obviously, the police were very interested in the license plate number, although they have no way of knowing if those kids were the same ones that made the bombs.

On our part, we have stepped up our own "surveillance" of the park. Even if the police don't catch these kids, I want them to know that they aren't going to be able to hide in our park anymore.

Ironically, aside from one memorable night, we never had anything like this happen when we lived in Minneapolis - so much for the safety of the suburbs!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What A Day

Police cars, detectives, police dogs, homemade bombs, police questioning...what a day!

Let The Parties Begin

Birthday season has now officially started. We had a kick-off party last night to celebrate Nina (9/2) & Zoe's (9/3) birthdays AND we now have the privilege of having my nephew, Ian, up here in Minnesota. Conveniently, Ian's birthday is Sept.1 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, IAN!!!!), so we celebrated his birthday as well.

A great time was had by all.

Here's Ian surrounded by his adoring cousins.
Nina - ecstatic about her Celtic Thunder CD's. She decided to dress up for the affair - I guess you only turn 13 once.
And sweet Zoe likes the cards as much as the presents.

Who Knew?

Who knew that you could have a cattail-flute trio? Certainly not I!

It's good to see that the cattails Raelea picked at the cabin this summer are being put to good use :-)