"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, April 28, 2010

Homeschooling

A friend posted this on her Facebook page.  I thought it was so well said that I needed to post it here as well.  It came from a blog called Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


The Public School Parents' Guide to Homeschool Parents
We all know that there are a lot of misconceptions about homeschoolers, and, while most of those tend to be centered around the kids, there are a lot of misconceptions about homeschool moms (and dads), as well.  I'm often surprised to hear some of the things that people who don't homeschool think about homeschoolers.  I guess I shouldn't be.  I used to be a public school mom (for two years) and I imagine that I thought some of these things, too, though it's been so long, I really can't recall for sure.

Anyway, I'd like to make some homeschool mom confessions (at least, as relates to this homeschool mom).  Oh, and the title just sounded fun.  No negative implications intended there at all.  Some of my best friends and favorite relatives are public school parents.

1.  We do not have superhuman patience.  I can't tell you the number of people who say to me, "I couldn't homeschool; I don't have enough patience" or some variation thereof.  Let me tell you, my name and patience rarely occur in the same sentence unless someone is saying, "Kris has no patience."

I have told people, "I know that homeschooling isn't for everyone and I'm not suggesting that you should homeschool, but if you're going to give me an excuse, you'll have to come up with a better one than that because if I have enough patience to homeschool, anybody does!"

When we first began homeschooling, I told the neighbors, "If you come home from work one afternoon and there is yellow police tape around the house, you'll know that one of us [the kids or I] ran out of patience."  So far, we've all survived, but seriously?  I've done homework with my oldest when she was in public school.  So far, my worst day of homeschooling hasn't been any worse than my worst night of homework.

2.  We don't homeschool because it gives us the warm fuzzies.  There are probably almost as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschoolers, but I don't know of anyone who does this just because it makes them feel good because, you know what?  Some days, it does not feel good.  Some days involve tears, whining, yelling...before breakfast...and not necessarily from the kids.  Which leads me to confession number three...

3.  Some days, we watch with envy as that yellow school bus drives by.  We don't do this because it's easy or a cop-out.  Some days, homeschooling is just hard.  Some of us have been known to threaten to send our kids to public school (my kids can tell you exactly how far we live from the public school because I've mentioned it a time or two).  Some of us have spent more time than we'd care to admit daydreaming about what we might do if our kids were in school all day.  And, there are some days when it takes every ounce of will power not to chase down that school bus.  However, when push comes to shove, we know there is nothing else we'd rather do than homeschool our kids.

4.  We don't think our kids are better or smarter than yours.  Most of us are average moms and dads with average kids who have their areas of strength and their areas of weakness -- academically and personally -- just like yours. We have our hopes and fears, doubts and insecurities just like you do.  Do some homeschool parents have gifted kids?  Absolutely!  Do some homeschool parents have kids whom the parents think are gifted, but in reality, not so much?  Yes.  Do some public school parents have gifted kids?  Yep.  Do some public school parents have kids whom the parents think are gifted, but in reality, not so much?  I think you see where this is going.

We all -- public, private, or homeschool parents -- think our kids are pretty special.  That doesn't mean that we, the homeschool parents, think our kids are better than those not educated at home.

5.  Our decision to homeschool is not a personal commentary on your decision not to.  Contrary to popular belief, we do not think that homeschooling is for everyone.  We don't think that you're a bad parent or that you don't care about your kids as much as we care about ours because you don't homeschool them.  We see educational choices as yet another personal parenting choice and we realize that you are making the choices that you see as best for your family, just as we are.

6.  Our decision to homeschool is not a personal commentary on the jobs of public school teachers.  Many of us do have a beef with the public school system as a whole (I don't think that is exclusive to homeschoolers).  Although we may see the system as flawed, this observation does not typically extend to individual teachers.  Most of us realize that the majority of teachers are good people, doing a good job with a whole lot expected of them for pitifully low compensation based on the time and effort their jobs require.

7.  We realize that there are homeschooling families who probably should not be homeschooling.  However, this is true in every area of life.  There are public and private school teachers who have no business in the classroom.  There are parents who have no business having kids.

We, who are so often judged, try not to judge others and we definitely do not want to our rights as parents restricted because of a few sensationalized cases.  The majority of parents who homeschool are doing so honestly and with integrity, raising kids who are just as ready for life after homeschool as any other kid is for life after graduation.

8.  Just because we're Christian doesn't mean that we are "religious homeschoolers."  There are a huge percentage of us who, while we are people of faith, would not necessarily say that we are homeschooling for religious reasons.  Being able to share our faith with our kids and looking at our studies with a Christian worldview is a huge benefit of homeschooling, but many of us would not consider it the singular reason we homeschool.

9.  We don't do this to shelter, over-protect, or isolate our children.  People who don't homeschool often don't realize what is available to homeschooled kids.  Our area offers band, soccer, baseball, football, tennis, track, volleyball, prom, monthly socials, graduation, graduation banquet, year book, co-ops and classes, and so much more.  These kids are not sitting at home by themselves every day.  They're out with other kids enough to experience their fair share mean kids, bullies, and, for the older kids, teen-aged angst.

And, look how many of us have more kids than the national 2.5 average!  Seriously, if you have siblings, you know that there's no one better to help your practice interpersonal and conflict resolution skills than siblings.

10.  We don't do this to annoy  you.  We homeschool because we feel that it's the best choice for our families.  We don't ask you to think it's the best choice for your family.  We did not wake up one morning and flip a coin to decide on this lifestyle.  We prayed about it, researched it, and talked about it long before deciding that homeschooling was the right choice for our family.  We do not come to your blogs or corner you at the soccer game to tell you how bad we think your decision to send your kids to public school is because we don't care -- not in the negative "don't care" way, but in the "that's your family's decision and we respect that" way.  You are doing what you feel is right for your kids and that's exactly what you're supposed to do.  It's what we're doing, too.


Ooo, A Contest

Hey, blog buddies and Facebook friends, I've got a new contest for you.  I don't think there's a prize, but it will be fun anyway.  You see, we (read I) really want to improve the curb-appeal of our house, but I really lack in the ideas department.  Now I KNOW some of you are very creative, so maybe you can give us some free advice on how to improve the front of our house.  Here are a couple pictures of the current state of things...
We are specifically concerned with improving the area around the front door.  Like getting rid of that hideous planter...and the lamppost needs to be removed/replaced...and those bushes have seen better days...you get the picture....HELP!

Our New Toy

Okay, it's technically a new car NOT a new toy, but it sure feels like a toy :-)  (technically it's not new either - just new to us).  Yesterday we bit the bullet and bought a Honda Ridgeline to replace our little truck.  

It was a long overdue replacement as a small truck is really not a very practical vehicle for a family of ten people.  We often found ourselves in a bind when part of the family needed to go one way and the rest of them needed to do something else.  If the break-up was anything different than 8/2 or 7/3 we just couldn't do it (although we have been known to throw a few of the older kids in the back of the pick-up for short drives).  Anyway, not wanting to lose the functionality of a truck altogether we opted for the Ridgeline, a sort of truck/car.  It has been many years since we had a Honda, but we really like them a lot.

So here you have it, our new vehicle -

and it's not white!  Yippee!

Monday, April 26, 2010

She's At It Again


Once again, Zoe was showing off her VERY unique sense of fashion tonight.  This time she was modeling her idea of sleepwear.

Cabin Opening

Once again the cabin is open and ready for all the fun of summer. Despite the rainy weather, all of the leaves were raked up and almost every other cabin-opening activity was accomplished.

The activity which Zoe engaged in most was eating.














The highlight of the weekend though, was the Wear Your Hat To Dinner dinner on Saturday night. For reasons unbeknownst to the rest of us, my dad declared that everyone needed to wear a hat to dinner on Sat. night. As always, we did what we were told :-)


My sister-in-law Joy and niece Colleen started the dinner off in the following fashion.













Nina was looking sharp in her straw hat.









Evan and Aidan, well, they just looked too cool for their own good. Apparently they thought it was Wear Your Sunglasses To Dinner night.

Nina, Cousin Rachel and Emily were banished to the living room to eat dinner.  Okay, not really banished, there was just no room for them in the kitchen.


Before long, the hats started moving from head to head.
It wasn't long before Colleen was wearing Molly's Ethiopian hat and my brother Jim was wearing Peter's firefighter helmet.










Then Chris ended up in Molly's hat and




















Deb was seen in this lovely number.
























By the end of the meal, this is what started to happen...
Aside from working and wearing hats the kids did also find some time to play.All in all, it was a wonderful time, but I think it just plum wore Raelea out and she fell asleep on the living room floor.



Friday, April 23, 2010

To The Cabin We Go

After a loooong winter, we are finally going up to the cabin to open it up and get it ready for the wonderful, fun summer.  Yippee.  Stay tuned for pictures of the fun on Sunday or Monday.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Friendship Bread

I have some Amish Friendship Bread sitting on my counter right now and it is troubling me.  Not the bread itself, but the name.  For I will share with you two stories which will make you question how THIS bread every became known as FRIENDSHIP bread.

But first, some of you may not be familiar with Friendship Bread, so I will give you a brief introduction.  This bread is made with a fermented starter batter.  Here's how it works, some friend of yours gives you a plastic bag with some gooey sticky stuff inside and they hand you an instruction sheet that tells you what to do with this concoction for the next 10 days.   Most days you just have to kneed the bag and let the air out of it, as it starts to blow up like a balloon after a few hours.  On day 10 you add stuff to the mixture and divide it up into four plastic bags to hand off to your friends.  To the remaining mixture you add a whole bunch of ingredients and then bake it into bread.  The bread is, indeed, quite tasty.  Now for the stories of why this bread is misnamed...

How to End a Friendship Bread

Once upon a time there was a happily newly married couple named Chris & Barb.  They were quite a content and happy pair, not to mention good-looking and humorous (but I digress).  Barb and Chris were both gainfully employed full-time and busy with a variety of other activities.  Life was good.

It was in this blissful state that we found Barb being handed a bag of Friendship bread starter.  Barb, being somewhat of the domestic type, took the starter and dutifully made the friendship bread on 10-day intervals for a month or so.  Here our story takes a rather shocking and sad turn.

One fine morning while Chris and Barb were preparing to go to work it occurred to Barb that it was DAY 10!  The bread had to be made today.  Unfortunately, Barb's day was destined to be very busy and she just didn't see how she was going to get to making that bread, so she approached Chris with her dilemma and insinuated that, perhaps, he should do the bread making chore on that day.  Sadly, Chris, too, had a very busy schedule for the day and indicated that, no, he could not make the bread.

Well, for whatever reason, a fairly warm discussion occurred regarding the baking of the Friendship Bread which ended in these infamous words being uttered by Chris.

"Men don't make bread!"

Well, this declaration stopped Barb in her tracks and she huffed out of the room to go make the bed.  While she was making the bed, Chris showed up and offered to assist her in the tidying up of the bed, to which Barb replied, "So, do real men help make beds?"

So, you see, Friendship Bread is truly a misnomer which must be replaced.  Perhaps Bread-That-Will-Make-You-A-Slave would be a better name.

****Important****  My husband is not a chauvinist pig!  The aforementioned comment was said out of frustration over being enslaved by bread.  Although I don't think I have ever seen him make bread, he does more than his share of cooking, cleaning, etc.*****


Now, if this were the only friendship bread story I had to tell you tonight you might not be convinced, but it's not!  Oh, no!  You see, after almost two decades of avoiding friendship bread like the plague, I was once again tempted by a friend to take a bag home with me just this past year and so begins my second story...

I Hope I NEVER See This Stuff Again

Not too long ago, and not too far away, domestically inclined Barb accepted a bag of sticky, sugary mush to turn into Friendship bread in just 10 short days.  Dutifully, Barb needed that bag and added ingredients as instructed.  On Day 10, Barb cooked up two loaves of tasty Friendship bread which her children gobbled up in no time.  But Barb was perplexed.  To whom could she pawn off these 3 bags of goo that were sitting on her counter?  Try as she might, she could not find any takers for the sticky slime that would become Friendship Bread, so there they sat on her counter - fermenting.

Well, lo and behold, one day Barb did find a taker for the three bags of sticky, gooey, sugary stuff.  The family dog and counter cleaner, Snickers, discovered the bags while the family was away and proceeded to carry the three bags to the beautiful living room carpet.  Once on the carpet, Snickers proceeded to tear open each of the bags.  Upon tasting the goo, she decided she didn't really care for it, but carried the bags around a little bit dripping sticky sugary stuff ALL over the living room and hallway.

Upon arriving home, Barb discovered a HUGE mess of goo all over her carpeting.  It had apparently been sitting there for awhile as it was nicely soaked into the carpet.  No amount of cleaning was going to remove that stuff, but it did prove quite able to attract all kinds of dirt.  To this day, if you go visit Barb you will be able to see the massive Friendship Bread stain upon her living room carpet.

Now do you see why I find the name deceptive?  So, you may ask, why do you NOW have Friendship Bread sitting on your counter??  Well, my dear sweet daughter accepted a bag of the stuff from a friend at church last Sunday.  I was all ready to toss it straight in the trash can when she showed me the recipe book that this friend sent with the starter.  It appears that you can make all sorts of tasty treats with this stuff :-)  So, while I have been blogging here, I have also been making Chocolate/chocolate chip muffins from the friendship bread starter.

By the way, anyone a bag of Friendship Bread starter?  I have to get it off my counter before Snickers discovers it.

Paul Revere's Ride

I was just thinking about this poem.  Although it would have been more apropos to post it four days ago, I will do it now because everyone should read it periodically.  Even better, perhaps we should memorize it.  Although it is not completely historically accurate, it does have enough true history in it to make it worthwhile.   Not to mention the fact that it gets me all choked up, but as you know, there are a lot of things that do that.


Okay folks, read on...really it is worth it...it's best if you read it out loud, too...

 

Paul Revere's Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
One if by land, and two if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.

Meanwhile, his friend through alley and street
Wanders and watches, with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.

Then he climbed the tower of the Old North Church,
By the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
By the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town
And the moonlight flowing over all.

Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,--
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide like a bridge of boats.

Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
Now he gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns.

A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.

It was twelve by the village clock
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.

It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, black and bare,
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.

It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,---
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
>From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

This Day In History

Ah, the joys of digital cameras...I went back to look at old pictures from Aprils past. Here is what I found...
 April 2009
Nina enjoying her new twirly skirt
April 2008
Raelea enjoying a chocolate covered Rice Krispy bar that Nina had made.

April 2007
Emily enjoying her little sister, Raelea
April 2006
Aidan & Emily enjoying their cousin Rachel at the cabin
April 2005
Evan & Aidan enjoying a walk through Como Park Conservatory

April 2004
Enjoying taking pictures of our house in Minneapolis as we were getting ready to put it up for sale.



Wednesday, April 21, 2010

All In One Day

Most days around here bring a variety of activities. Yesterday was no exception. Aside from the normal activities of the day (school, bagpipe lessons, eating, negotiating peace treaties), yesterday also saw these activities around our house...  

Princesses scrambling up the slide of the tree fort in an unsuccessful effort to avoid getting their picture taken


and me giving a bagpipe bag a bath in the bathtub and subsequently letting it dry on the dining room table.
I'm sure you all can relate to the activities that we we have around here, right?  These things happen at every home, don't they?

Never Too Early To Start 'Em

Ever since Aidan & I started taking drum lessons drumming has been a favorite activity of most in the household.  Raelea even insisted on having the metronome for her "practice."

And for those that are interested, yes, she does own a pair of cardboard drum sticks.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just Passing Them Along

I read a couple of great quotes today that I thought I would pass along...


Natural Child: Any child who is not artificial. 
Real Parent: Any parent who is not imaginary. 
Your Own Child: Any child who is not someone else's child. 
Adopted Child: A natural child, with a real parent, who is all your own. ~Rita Laws, PhD.
I love that quote!


And on a different topic regarding the biological difference between races of people...
 "Genome variation research does not support the existence of human races.”  - Neil Risch
and...

Race is a social concept, it's not a scientific one.
We're all part of a continuum. I am 100 percent certain that if we could determine the genome of everybody on this planet, there would be no bright line that distinguished this social concept of one race vs. another.      - J. Craig Venter 

And there you have some food for thought....

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Home Improvements

We spent the day doing home improvements. Well, actually, they were yard improvements since they all took place outside of the house which is exactly where we wanted to be on such a gorgeous day.  I weeded the garden (oh,joy) and Chris and the boys worked on adding a  slide to the tree fort.  The slide serves two purposes: 1) to get down from the tree fort quickly and 2) to allow the little kids to get up in the tree fort without dragging out the step ladder.  In addition to the new slide, we also hung a new swing in the yard as well.  It's turning into quite the park back there :-)

First, we had to disassemble the picnic table because it was falling apart.  The wood is still good though, so Chris used it to make some decking for the new slide platform on the tree fort.

Apparently all this work really wore out Aidan & Marcus!
Molly had to test out the new swing.  After church today, most of the kids dashed into the backyard to go for a swing.  Isn't it funny how something as simple as a swing can be so much fun!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Finished Results


Here you have it folks, my new summer look :-)

Not sure what those crazy girls I'm holding are  doing.  I think they just wanted to be in the picture!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What's On My Mind This Morning

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion.  As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs; the early rain also covers it with pools.  They go from strength to strength; each one appears before God in Zion. 
 O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer; give ear, O God of Jacob!  Behold our shield, O God; look on the face of your anointed!  For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.  For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor.  No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.  O Lord of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!
Psalm 84 :5-12

Or for those of you who would rather sing it...

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What To Do??

Help!  I'm getting my haircut at 9:15 tomorrow morning (Thursday) and I don't' know if I should just get a trim or if I should get it cut short.  Something like this perhaps...
Dear blog buddies and Facebook friends, I need your input!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Ah, The Irony!

Chris and I went on a little date tonight - car shopping.  You see, now that he is gainfully employed again, we have decided that we need vehicle that seats more than two people comfortably.  Of course, we have the 12 passenger van, but our second car is a Mazda truck with no back seat.  We love our little truck, but it is not too practical for a family with eight kids.  Many times we have suffered from logistical meltdown trying to figure out how to get everyone where they need to go.

So anyway, off we went to the Honda dealer to look at a used Ridgeline.  We test drove the one used Ridgeline they had, but it wasn't quite the one for us (apparently it has some transmission problems).  On our way home from the Honda dealership we decided to stop and pick up some Cold Stone ice cream.  We got into the left turn lane, stopped and when it was time to go again, lo and behold, the truck wouldn't go into gear.  Try as we might, we couldn't get the thing out of neutral, so there we sat in the turn lane waiting for our tow truck. 

So right now, our dear little truck is sitting at the garage and we are waiting to see if the transmission is shot or if it's just the clutch.  Making this even more humorous is the fact that the Evan is supposed to be inheriting this truck when we buy our new vehicle.  It is only fitting that the truck now has transmission issues since he has been pretty hard on the transmission  these past few months :-)

As a side note, it is really humorous to see how many people pull up behind a car with its hood up and flashers on and wait and wait and wait without ever figuring out that maybe the car in front of them can't move.   And what's with getting mad at someone who's having car problems?   It was also humorous to watch a police car drive leisurely by without stopping to offer any assistance. 

On the up side, at least we finally got to use our free AAA towing!

Sit-ups


I'm trying to be really faithful in exercising these days. It was going pretty well until we started dog sitting last week; then a problem arose...Every time I lay down to do my sit-ups this is what happens :-) Dear, sweet Quin decides that I am his personal pillow. Isn't he adorable! He really is the sweetest dog.


Monday, April 12, 2010

Tartan Day

If you're like me, you had no idea there was such a thing as Tartan Day. Ever since Evan started playing bagpipes I have been exposed to all varieties of Scottish holidays/celebrations that I had no idea even existed. This past weekend Evan played his pipes with the band at the state capital to celebrate Tartan Day. I, for the second year in a row, got to watch the festivities.



For those of you that are wondering, but don't want to follow the above link, Tartan Day is a celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath in 1320 declaring Scottish independence. There you have it.

Airline Tickets

Evan & I are going to Scotland in August for the World Pipe Band Championship (YAY!). He's going to compete. I'm going to tool around Scotland and see the sights while he is practicing :-)
Anyway, my problem is that I need to buy our tickets and, being the bargain hunter that I am (never, never, never pay full-price), I'm not sure how to get the best deal.

So, I'm appealing to my world-traveling blog readers to give me some advice. How do you get the best deal on airline tickets? I've been told that tickets are cheaper if you buy them on Monday or Tuesday. Not sure if that's true or not, but I have been keeping an eye on them.

Should I buy now or wait until closer to August? I just don't know! I know of someone who got their tickets for under $1000, so I am kind of holding out for that, but haven't seen prices that low quite yet (that's not totally true, I did see prices that low if I wanted an 8-hour lay over on our return flight. Um, no thank you).

Anyway, any advice you all have would be greatly appreciated :-)

While you type in all your advice, I'm off to search all the discount ticket websites...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Surprise!

So, now that it is Thursday and I can tell you all my secret, some of you are going to be sorely disappointed :-( You see, it really isn't too terribly interesting to those outside of our family, but it was a big deal to us...here's a clue....Yes, hair! Here's the secret -

BEFORE
AFTER
Yes, indeed, Evan got his haircut! Some of you already know this because you saw him on Sunday, but it needed to remain a secret until he could surprise the folks in his band tonight.

So, what's the big deal? Well, Chris has been trying to talk Evan into getting his hair cut for quite some time now (say a year or so) and Evan's pipe major (and the rest of the band) have been trying to talk Evan into getting his hair cut for a long time, too. The answer from Evan was always, "NO!"

Well, lo and behold, Evan went for a job interview last Friday and the manager said, "You're hired, as long as you have your haircut by tomorrow at 3:00."

And that was that. He went home and we cut his hair. If I had known it would be so easy to talk him into a haircut I would have encouraged him to get a job a long time ago. Anyway, don't you think he looks smashing?

Hello, Italy!

Just wanted to say hello to my readers in Italy. It would probably be a more effective greeting if I knew how to speak Italian, but since I don't a hello will have to do. Oh, wait, google translator has come to the rescue. Ciao, to my Italian friends.

While I'm at it, I should greet my reader in Panama as well. Hola!

Sorry, I just think it's a hoot to see where people are visiting my blog from....

And let's not forget my reader from South Africa...Hallo!

It Was Bound To Happen

I should have known this day was coming for a while now.

As soon as we gave Raelea her cardboard iPod, I should have seen it coming. Anyone with an iPod knows you can't go long without getting a docking station....so, the time has come for Raelea. She is now the proud owner of a cardboard docking station to dock and recharge her iPod....
You may notice that she now also has an iPod Touch and a regular iPod.

Next thing you know she'll be asking for a cardboard iPad!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Too Cute


Over the years Molly has blessed us with many homemade gifts. She is like the queen of homemade gifts! She loves to give gifts. Name the holiday, she thinks of a way to make gifts for the whole family. It's very sweet.

For quite some time I've been meaning to share a picture of one of those gifts she made Chris and I about four years ago. She made a "portrait" of our family using peanuts. It's hanging on the wall in my bedroom and it makes me smile every time I look at it, so now I will share it with you....
It has always made me smile, but now that "Peanut Chris" has decided to shed his clothes it makes me smile even more :-) That's so like him!

Anyway, thanks, Molly, for being such an encourager to me and the whole family. Love you!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy, Happy, Happy Easter!



Before I turn in for the night, I needed to wish my blog buddies a very happy Easter. I hope your day was filled with a new understanding of all Jesus did for you through his death and resurrection!

We had a wonderful church service this morning, followed by dinner and fun and my mom & dad's house. Unfortunately I, once again, forgot my camera, so I have no pictures to show you :-(

I do have pictures of our Easter egg hunt here at our house though. We always hunt for eggs on the Saturday before Easter. This year we decided to do something different though - Easter egg hunt at night with flashlights! Way more fun and it evens out the playing field for the little kids :-)

Okay, they weren't really wearing horns on their heads! The camera did really weird things to the head lamp beams!

This was before we turned off the back light!


And last, but not least, here is Zoe doing her bunny imitation -