"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, June 30, 2010

And Now For Something Decidedly Different

I finished Rob Roy the other night and I've decided to read something completely different than the 100+ year old fiction that I normally devour.  I've decided to read a newer (2006) non-fiction book called Crunchy Cons by Rob Dreher.  I'm not very far into the book (intro & first chapter), but I think I' am ready to declare myself a "Crunchy Con."  The conservative part should come as no surprise to anyone close to me, and for that matter, neither should the crunchy part :-)

Being disaffected with the Republican party for some time now, I find this book a breath of fresh air.  The realization that there are, indeed, other people who have similar beliefs to mine.

Don't worry, Mom & Dad, I will loan it to you when I'm done.  (wink)  I think you would find it less painful than you think...teehee...

Monday, June 28, 2010

An All Around Good Weekend


We had a busy, but very nice weekend :-)

Friday evening, amidst torrential rain and fire alarms, we welcomed Molly home from camp with a dinner and program at church.  It is SO nice to have her home again, but she had a great time at camp and was sorry to leave it.  She finally got to see her "new and improved" room...she loves it!


Saturday evening we had a picnic with some friends at Pam and Cory's house.  The kids had a great time in the water, until it started to rain.
  
Oh, then there was that little stint in the storage room during the Tornado Warning.   I guess it wasn't a completely all around good weekend after all.  But, actually, there really wasn't any tornado, so we'll call that a REALLY good thing to make up for the hour with the bugs in the storage room when everyone should have been tucked in bed.

Sunday we slept in because of being up so late in the storage room and went to the late church service.  The afternoon was filled with a badminton tournament 
and washing the van and truck.  An event which started out like this...

And quickly degenerated into this...


I also managed to make curtains for the girls' room.


So, as you see, it was a GOOD weekend :-)

Friday, June 25, 2010

Randomness of Life

Chris took some time to stop and smell the flowers the other day.  Apparently he wasn't the only one...

Who knew that if you don't harvest your onions one year, the following year this will grow...



Raelea is rather fond of this clip=on tie that has made its way into our house...


Chris getting smooches from his girls on Father's Day...


Molly enjoying some time with Grandma after her final soccer game...


And beautiful Zoe handing out snacks after Molly's soccer game...


And there you have the randomness of our life!

Countdown!

Yikes!  Things are sneaking up on me!!

We leave for the Boundary Waters in a little under three weeks.  I don't even have our menu planned yet!  I do, however, have the permit, the canoes reserved and the packs accounted for, so I am not totally unprepared :-)  We'll be gone for five days and then just a little less than three weeks after that I leave for....

SCOTLAND!


Yikes!  I need to start getting organized.  I should finish my spring cleaning before fall arrives!

We're Done!

Marcus' last day of t-ball was last night and so our spring sports season has officially ended.  As much as I enjoy having my kids in athletics, I am looking forward to the six week reprieve we will have from going to sporting activities several nights a week.:-)

Hard to believe though that football starts up in just six short weeks!  And that is the most grueling time-demanding sport that our kids take part in.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Room Redecorating

There are a lot of things going on around here while Molly is away at camp.  One event of the foremost importance to Molly is that her (and Nina's) room is getting repainted...by Nina.  I'm not sure of the wisdom of letting a 13 year old paint her own room, but hey, what the heck, it's only paint, right?

Actually, considering her lack of experience, Nina is doing a really nice job.  I promise to post more pictures when the room is done.  Hopefully that will be before Friday evening when Molly comes home.

Not only is the room getting a new paint job, we are also rearranging the furniture, which is no small feat in an 11 X 11 room that has two twin beds in it.  Not a lot of room for furniture, in general, and not a lot of options for moving that furniture around :-)

One MAJOR benefit of this little room redecoration is that their room is really, really CLEAN.  Now let's just hope it stays that way!

Soccer's Over

Tonight was the end of Molly's soccer season and, even though Molly is away at camp, we went to the game to see her team take second place in the championship game.  Although they lost tonight, they had a great season and Molly and the whole team played quiet well.  Way to go, Molly!

Now I'm just not sure what we're going to do with our Monday and Wednesday evenings...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Well, That Was Lovely!

"That" being the Sting concert last night.  He performed with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as his "back-up band."  So much talent on one stage.  It really was exquisite.

For those of you that don't know, I have been a Sting fan for, oh, about three decades.  The very first concert I ever went to was to see The Police.  I must have been about 13 or 14 at the time and went with my sister Kathy and her boyfriend (now husband) Doug.  I believe A Flock of Seagulls opened for them (now there's a flashback!).  I know I saw The Police at least one more time in concert (maybe two, it was SO long ago, I don't even remember).  I loved the music then and I love his (Sting's) music now.

This was decidedly different than a Police concert though as most of it was enjoyed sitting down and  the median age of the crowd had to be somewhere in their 40's.  But, oh, the singing was lovely.  I just love his voice and he is certainly a very talented song-writer.

Okay, I'll stop gushing now...let's just say I'm glad I went.

Thanks, Chris, for taking me out on this date :-)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day, Dad!

Just a little post to let you all know that I have a wonderful, amazing, smart and very funny dad!
I love you, Dad!  Happy Father's Day!

Today's Lesson

It's good to learn something new every day and as a homeschool mom I feel like it's my duty to teach my kids something whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself.  Well, today we drove to Winona to do the Steamboat Days parade and then it was off to LaCrosse to enjoy an afternoon with some band friends.  Driving through south eastern MN affords the opportunity to talk about glaciation and other geological facts.  We also talked about the locks and dams on the Mississippi.  You know, normal homeschool stuff.

Well, then there was that wonderful opportunity to teach the kids how to respectfully and remorsefully talk to a state trooper when you are caught speeding on a lovely stretch of highway south of Winona.  They learned valuable lessons like: always have your driver's license with you, carry proof of insurance in your car and the ever important, thank the nice officer for letting you get off with only a warning.

It was a highly educational day for my kids.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Winona Steamboat Days Parade

This is a shout out to my extended family in the Winona area.  Evan and the band are playing at the Steamboat Days parade on Sunday.  Come on down if you want to hear him play.  The parade starts at 12:30 and they are near the beginning of the parade (#5), so you'll have to be there at the beginning.  Aidan & Nina are going to be carrying the banner and I'm doing water duty, so it's kind of a family affair :-)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Book Club

Evan's in a book club, Nina's starting a book club and, finally, it's my turn.  Tonight is the first meeting of our new book club, consisting of my mom, my sister Deb, My sister-in-law Joy and my niece Colleen.

We are discussing My Antonia by Willa Cather while eating Bohemian food and getting henna tattoos.  Sounds like fun to me!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yippee!!!

yippee |ˈyipē; ˌyipˈē|exclamationexpressing wild excitement or delight.
That pretty much sums it up.  Wild excitement and delight :-)
I did it!  I FINALLY booked our flight to Scotland.  We're going to Scotland!!!!  I'm off to wander the hills and dales...Ahhh....I CAN'T WAIT!!!

YIPPPEE!!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Henna

Nina's latest passion is henna tattoos!  She got one on her leg at the highland games last month and ever since then has been wanting to do them.  She's been practicing the designs and then she used some of her babysitting money to purchase the supplies.  Well, the henna arrived a few days ago and she has been taking almost every available minute to put tattoos on all of us.  I finally got mine tonight.

She is quite good at it and we are encouraging her to "set up shop" at local art fairs, etc.  She is quite the entrepreneur, so this is right up her alley.


Anyway, here are the results on my leg.


This obviously isn't the finished product as the henna paste is still on it.  I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see the finished results, but you get the idea.  Isn't it pretty?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I've Been Thinking

This post has been a long time in coming.  I've composed it in my head numerous times, but never typed it in.  I'm finally ready.  This is going to be one of those posts that I do because they are cheaper than therapy :-)

Three years ago, we were waiting for a referral for Marcus & Zoe.  We were in the throes of the international adoption process, not mainly because we felt we needed more kids, but because we felt that the Lord was leading us down this path.  More than anything in life, Chris & I want to obey our heavenly Father, wherever that may lead us.  Well, we were certain that His will for us was to adopt two kids from Ethiopia.

I had two songs that summed up the "why" part of our adoption.  The first one was Steven Curtis Chapman's Dive. The lyrics that most concisely summed up what I was thinking were the following.

But we will never know the awesome power
Of the grace of God
Until we let ourselves get swept away
Into this holy flood
So if you'll take my hand
We'll close our eyes and count to three
And take the leap of faith
Come on let's go

I'm diving in I'm going deep in over my head I want to be
Caught in the rush lost in the flow in over my head I want to go
The river's deep the river's wide the river's water is alive
So sink or swim I'm diving in

The second song was Casting Crowns' The Voice of Truth .  Particularly this part...

Oh what I would do to have
The kind of faith it takes
To climb out of this boat I'm in
Onto the crashing waves
To step out of my comfort zone
Into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is
And He's holding out His hand

And so with this adoption, we dove in or stepped out of the boat, depending on which analogy you want to use, and here we are today.

Now to the "why" of this post.

Lately, I have been reflecting on that step of faith we took two years ago and it has occurred that it doesn't feel like I thought it would feel and, on a day-to-day basis, it doesn't look the way I thought it would look.  I feel more like Peter than anything else.  He stepped out of the boat too (good for him), but then he saw the wind and promptly sunk! (Matthew 14:29-30)  That's where I am much of the time - neck deep in water.  But, I also know that as soon as Peter started to sink Jesus IMMEDIATELY reached out His hand and took hold of him. (v.. 31)  And so it is with me, too, when I think I can't do this anymore, that I can't possibly help these kids find wholeness, Jesus is right there reminding me that HE can make them whole.  AND He is always reminding me that "His power is made perfect in my weaknesses" (of which there are many, so I am sure His power has ample opportunity in me).

Then this morning, I was thinking of Moses and how God asked him to go lead the Israelites out of Egypt and how (after arguing for a bit), Moses obeyed.  Well, it didn't take long before Moses was no doubt thinking, "This is not really what I bargained for.  These people are grumbling and complaining and they don't listen to me and..."  Oh, how I can relate to Moses!

The first steps of obedience are tough, but the ongoing "consequences" of obedience are life-changing.  There.  I've said it.  Amidst much joy and fun, life here is hard, but that's not a bad thing.  Hard brings growth.  Hard produces dependence on Jesus.  Who else is going to take hold of me before I sink?  How else will I know Jesus more?  Certainly not by having an easy life.  Certainly not by playing it safe.

When I look back on my life, I can see times of great difficulty and pain, but it is those times that I wouldn't trade for all the world because those are the times when I came face to face with Jesus.  Not the distant God of a faraway heaven, but the Abba Father, the friend who sticks closer than a brother.  Those are the times that made Jesus so precious to me.  So, I wouldn't trade today's difficulties for anything in the world, because I know what I am gaining is priceless and a treasure beyond words.

And so I will leave you with the lyrics to the song that I now hold on to...

I Want To Know You
by Sonicflood

In the secret, in the quiet place
In the stillness You are there
In the secret, in the quiet hour
I wait only for You
Cause, I want to know You more

I want to know You
I want to hear Your voice
I want to know You more
I want to touch You
I want to see Your face
I want to know You more


I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward, pushing every hindrance aside
Out of my way
Cause, I want to know You more

I Got It!

No!  I'm not talking about my tickets to Scotland, I'm still holding out for a better price on those.  I'm talking about my entry permit for our Boundary Waters trip. 

Yippee!  It's now official.  Nina, Molly and I along with four other girls/moms are going into the BWCA in July.  This will be different than our previous trips, in that my mom is not coming with us :-(, BUT the ladies we're going with are great and I am SURE we will have a very memorable time.

Now that we got the permit, I better reserve the canoes and start checking the gear.



I can't wait!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

While I Was Away

I just got to looking at the pictures that Chris took of the kids while Evan & I were in Milwaukee.  They went to the cabin, but the weather wasn't to cabin-ish, so they went to an historic fur trading post in the area.


All I have to say is, "Momma, don't let your babies grow up to be fur traders..."

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Victory!

I know I have been remiss in keeping you all up to date on Molly's soccer season.  With all the bagpiping going on these last three weeks, I've had little time to think about anything else, but alas, my mind can now wander to other family activities :-)

Molly is playing very well this year.  She is handling the ball better and being more aggressive in going after the ball.  It has been fun to watch the games, as all the kids are starting to really get the hang of the game and learning to play together as a team.  Molly's team (the blue team, since they have no other name) is doing well with a record of 2-1.  This beats last year's team which only won one game the whole season.  We are glad to be on a winning team again :-)  Another added bonus to this year's team is that she has two friends from the neighborhood on her team.  In the past, she has known no one on her team at the beginning of the year (one disadvantage of homeschooling :-)  ).


Anyway, here are some pictures of Molly...

Yes, there are boys on her team.  The league is co-ed because they didn't have enough boys to form a boys league, so there are about four boys on each of the girls' teams.  It's worked out really well.






Good job, Molly!  Keep up the good work!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Finally!

Sorry for the delay in posting about our weekend.  Blogger was apparently having some "issues" this morning and wouldn't let me write a new post.  Apparently, it has all been resolved now though :-)

Anyway, Evan and I had a fun and memorable time in Milwaukee this weekend.  Aside from piping we explored "Miller Valley" with Alyssa, on our way to the lakeshore.  We took the circuitous route to the lake, but did eventually make it there.  It was very pretty, but I didn't bring my camera on that outing, so you'll have no pictures of Lake Michigan to look at :-(  It was an entertaining Friday evening activity.

On Saturday morning the competition began.  Evan performed two solos (for those that care: a 2/4 March and a Piobaireachd).  He had a good showing and took first place in both categories.  To add to the pleasure of it all, his friends Abby and Ian took second and third in both of those events :-)  As the morning wore on, the fun only increased as Evan's friends and fellow band members came away with all the solo medals for the day (I think they got all of them, if not all, pretty darn close to all).  What a blast to see so many people being rewarded for their hard work and dedication.  To top off the day, the band took first place as well.

Can I also just take a second to praise Evan's instructor, Stephen?  He has been an amazing teacher for Evan these past few months.  I'm sure Evan would never have had such a successful competition season without Stephen's input and instruction.  Lest you think I exaggerate, I should mention that Stephen teaches ALL of the piping medal winners from this weekend.  Every last one of them.  So, as you can see it is not just Evan's dedication, but Stephen's straightforward instruction that has produced such great results.

So, all in all, it was a sweep of the Milwaukee games.  Much fun was had by all.

My friend Judy requested video of Evan's performance, so if you didn't already catch it on my Facebook page, you can here Evan's performance by clicking here.  I'll try to post some video of the massed bands event later.


Now for the pictures...

If there is any doubt in your mind that Evan LOVES practicing his pipes, here he is playing his chanter while we wait for Alyssa prior to the drive.


The grounds for the games were quite picturesque, here are Alyssa & Joel warming up along the creek.

Here are most of the medal winners (15 medals among the seven of them) :-)

And, here is Stephen with Evan & Abby.  Stephen REFUSED to have his picture taken with the medal winners, so I had to sneak this one, but as you can see, he is fairly beaming :-) and this was even before all the results were in.


Now on to Scotland!

Friday, June 4, 2010

My Hope For My Kids

I'm praying Ephesians 3:16-19 for my kids this morning.

That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.           - Ephesians 3:16-19

If this prayer is answered for my children, I will die a happy woman!  Whatever else they do or achieve in life pales by comparison to them knowing Christ and understanding His love for them.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Gone Again!

One more weekend where we are on the run.  This is the last of the three bagpipe competitions Evan will be doing this summer (that is until Scotland).  It's my turn to go this time, so we are off to Milwaukee tomorrow.  If you're bored on Saturday and in the Milwaukee area come on down to the Milwaukee Highland Games.  I am sure it will be a ripping good time.  I may or may not be able to post results while I'm there.  If I can't do it, you'll have to wait until Sunday to find out how Evan did.


Hope you have an excellent weekend!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I've Got A New Job

Starting this week, I have become the Webmaster for the band or as I like to call it, the Jedi Webmaster.  You just wait and see what will happen now that I'm learning HTML.  Come on over the the band website and see what I get to play with now.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Rest of Us

You already know how Chris & Evan spent their weekend, so now I will regale you with tales regarding what the rest of us did...

Nothing!

We did nothing at all, except relax and play and relax some more.  It was wonderful (aside from a  few mosquito bites).  We spent the weekend and my folks cabin and the weather was excellent.  What else can I say...good swimming, good sun, good food, good company.

The water, although weedy, was pretty warm.  Who needs water toys when you have Uncle Peter?  He acted as a diving platform as well as a sea monster...

Marcus alternated between the water and the sand.
As always, Cousin Rachel is good company.
Even the dragonflies were friendly this weekend. (hey, do you like my purple nail polish?)

A long boat ride was a nice way to spend the time when the kids were tired of being in the water.
Aidan caught this nice Northern.  Unfortunately, it was the only fish he caught all weekend.
It did rain on Sunday evening, but then we were rewarded with this gorgeous rainbow.  Yes, if you always wanted to know what was at the end of our rainbow, now you do - our lake :-)
No weekend could be perfect without a stop at the Burnett County Dairy for (really good) ice cream.
We had a great time and Chris and the kids get to do it all again next weekend while Evan and I are in Milwaukee :-)