"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

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Birthday, Evan!

Here's another thing that happens every year - Evan's birthday!

Seventeen years ago today Evan entered the world, and our lives have never been the same.  Actually, those first few days after bringing Evan home our primary thought was, "What have we done!"  Let's just say adjusting to parenthood took a little time.  After that initial week or so though, Evan has been a tremendous joy to have as a son.

I have to say though, that I have cried many tears over this boy in the last year.  No, he hasn't been a problem child, it's just that he is growing up and soon, very soon, he will be off to college.  It's an adjustment to me to have to "let go" of my firstborn.  I immensely proud of him, but it's hard on my heart to let him go.

Evan, we love you so much and we are so proud of the fine, godly young man you have become.  Have an outstanding birthday!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It Happens Every Year

We close up the cabin for the winter :-( It's always sad to close it down because that truly marks the coming of winter. But the actual closing it down is quite fun :-) It's amazing how fun work can be when your doing it with people you like!

Rachel & Emily hauling away leaves
Raelea doing a splendid job of helping!

 Marcus with his pile.
 More hauling away leaves!
 Ian took a break from his cerebral endeavors to help close the cabin.
 Cousins are great!
 Brothers are strange.
 Along with closing the cabin, we celebrated the October/November birthdays there also.  Raelea loved that part of the weekend!

Something else that happens every year is "Birthday Bowling."  This is where we celebrate all fall birthdays (I think there are 14 of them) with Chris' dad and stepmom.  It's always a good time of bowling and conversation.

Marcus, getting ready to roll the ball.  Check out his concentration.

 Emily having a good time
 Molly must have had a good frame.
 Grandma & Grandpa with Brittany
 Nina & Grandma
 Molly & Grandma
 All the grandkids :-)


It would be really great if the rain would stop for, say, four or so days, so I can get my leaves off my grass. It wouldn't be so bad if we hadn't already started raking. Now we have giant piles of leaves in our backyard, but we can't get them up because of the rain. Okay, "can't" probably isn't quite right, we COULD get them up if we wanted to deal with wet, soggy leaves :-( So, I guess it's better to say that we "don't want to" deal with the piles of leaves in the rain.

So, if we could get about four days of dry, preferably warm, weather, I would much appreciate it.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Where's Barb?

Wow! It's been almost a week since I last posted. Yikes! How did this happen? Well, I'll tell you...life is crazy busy :-). When all my kids were little I had no idea how busy life would become when my kids got older.

So, what did I do with my week? Lets's see, school took up a large chunk of time. I have six I'm schooling at home right now, two of whom are learning to read. That learning to read phase is always time consuming. Then, of course, there's Evan. He's time consuming in and of himself :-). He takes his drivers test next week, so we needed to take time to practice parallel parking. Fun,fun!? We also went and did a campus visit to Bethel University, as that is a college he is (ever so slightly) considering.

Somehow the week slipped by in the midst of the activity: school, church, lessons and more lessons, miscellaneous life things....I wouldn't change it though. Despite the busyness, it was a good week :-)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Why not?

It's true confessions, time once again on my blog.  Die hard blog readers of mine know that they will hear all sorts of "interesting" tidbits here.  I have no shame!  So, today's confession is - I have toenail fungus!  This is not new news to old time blog readers as I think I have confessed this here before.

Nobody freak out, please.  It's not as contagious as you think.  I only have it on one foot and in the past 30 years of my feet spending a lot of time together, it has not passed on to the other foot.  I really don't think you can get it from reading my blog.

Anyway, I confess this rather unpleasant fact today because I am trying something new to get rid of the old fungi.  My sister Deb called me about a week ago and told me that she had read about a study that found that in some cases applying Vick's Vapor Rub to fungus infected toenails will get rid of the fungus.  Granted it only worked in about 39% of the cases, but I figured it was worth a try.

I'll let you know in five months if the twice daily application of Vapor Rub to my toes has indeed cured my fungus or only caused me to go around smelling like menthol for almost half a year.

It should be noted that the last time I mentioned toenail fungus on this blog it was because I was soaking my foot in apple cider vinegar.  It also has been successful in some cases in combating toenail fungus, but I didn't like my feet smelling like vinegar.  Menthol is much more agreeable to me.

Oh, one more thing.  Yes, I am aware that there is oral medication that you can take to try to get rid of the pesky fungus; however, when on the medicine you need to regularly monitor your liver enzymes as the medicine can cause liver damage.  Personally, I'd rather live with the friendly fungus than risk liver damage. :-)


Just when you thought it was safe to visit us.  Just when you thought that the plague had left our house and we no longer needed to be quarantined.

Whammo!  Chris falls ill!  Yes, our brief stint of having a fever free house is officially over.  Late on Thursday evening Chris uttered the dreaded words, "I don't feel so well.  I think I'll go to bed."

Well, he's pretty much spent as much time as possible there since then.  He didn't go in to work on Friday, but managed to get a few work related things done by setting up his temporary office..

Actually, he has been up and about for short stints and then he gets overcome by sickness and retreats to the bed :-(  Poor guy.  He's still in the, "It hurts to cough" phase.  Once he recovers I think we can officially declare ourselves done with this illness, as we have all had it now (I think).  Unless, gasp, he has some new and different virus than we all had, in which case we will all be ill for another five weeks....

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Was Rejected!

Yes, it's true. I went to give blood today and they, gasp, turned me away :-(

For the first time in my 27 years of giving blood my hemoglobin was too low. Grrr! When I was young I was once turned away for not weighing enough and once I almost passed out after giving, but NEVER has my hemoglobin been too low. No worries, folks, I'm not anemic or anything. It was 12.1, but the Red Cross requires it to be 12.5 or higher.

So now, the big question is "why?". One possible cause....believe it or not....TEA! Apparently tea has something called tannins in it. Apparently tannins get in the way of iron absorption, so the three cups of tea I had this morning (and the five or six cups i have every day) probably didn't help my iron levels.

So I will wait a month or so and try again, all the while eating lots of read meat, legumes and other high in iron foods.

I Missed It

Oh man! I missed it! I missed my 50,000th visitor!!! But wait...if I go to my handy dandy map thingy at the bottom of my blog, I think I can figure this out......

Okay, I think my 50,000th visitor was Crystal WAY up in Alaska! Hi, Crystal! Congratulations on being my 50,000th visitor. If you're ever in MN you can pick up your prize, but you have to warn me of your coming ahead of time, so I can figure out what that prize might be :-). Scones?

Upon further review, my 50,000th visitor may be some nameless person in Haiti....hmmm, I think I'll go with Crystal.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Fever Free

Yesterday was the first time in nine days that Molly was fever free and the first time in about 30 days that no one in our house had a fever!!! Yippee!!! That's not to say that we are a healthy bunch yet though. There are many of us still hacking and coughing, but hopefully, no longer contagious. Could the end of this illness be in sight? I sure hope so!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thoughts On Grace

Having just returned from a relatively long road trip, I have Les Miserables on my mind.  You see, whenever I am required to drive for long periods, and stay awake, I listen to the soundtrack to Les Miserables.  It easily keeps me awake and alert for three hours.  I love it!

Well, because of my recent drive to St. Louis, I had tunes from the musical going through my mind this past week.  One of the things that I LOVE about the story is the theme of grace and forgiveness woven throughout and how the various characters deal with it.  I'll assume for this post that you are all familiar with the story.  If not, you really MUST see the movie at least or, if you're really ambitious, read the book (it is SO worth it!).

Anyway, the thing that struck me this week was how both Valjean and Javert were shown grace and forgiveness, Valjean at the beginning of the story and Javert at the end.  Although Valjean received the grace and forgiveness and it totally changed his life, Javert refused to accept it and chose suicide instead.  In the song "Javert's Suicide" (creative name, eh?), he sings:

Who is this man?
What sort of devil is he
To have me caught in a trap
And chose to let me go free?
It was his hour at last
To put a seal on my fate
Wipe out the past
And wash me clean off the slate!
All it would take was a flick of his knife.
Vengeance was his and he gave me back my life!
Damned if I'll live in the debt of thief
Damned if I'll yield at the end of the chase
I am the law and the law is not mocked
I'll spit his pity right back in his face
There is nothing on Earth that we share
It is either Valjean or Javert!

How can I now allow this man
To hold dominion over me?
This desperate man that I have hunted
He gave me my life. He gave me freedom.

So, the thought that struck me was that Javert realized that the one granting forgiveness, the one holding out grace is the one with ALL the power, and he didn't like that.  He didn't want to humble himself and accept that forgiveness because he knew his autonomy was at stake and would rather die than give up self-rule.  It makes for a great story.

I began to have this realization, that receiving grace and giving up self-government, is what keeps many people from accepting the grace that Christ is holding out and offering every person.  It had always puzzled me as to why anyone would refuse what Christ has to offer.  Who wouldn't want forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life, but now I get it.  Now I understand that it's the not wanting to grant Him that kind of authority, dominion as the song calls it, over their life that holds some back.

For it is by grace you are saved through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.     Ephesians 2:8

My prayer is that more of us would be like Jean Valjean in receiving grace and allowing it to change our lives and fewer and fewer of us would be like Javert. :-)


I'm a numbers sort of person, so you can imagine my excitement as the blog will receive it's 50,000 hit SOMETIME THIS WEEK!

Who knows, maybe YOU will be the one!  Let me know.  I have no prize for you, but I will offer you a hearty congratulations :-)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Second News Flash

I'm really thankful for my sister, Kathy, today.

Here are a couple reasons why...
- she know the difference between orphans and endorphins (not everyone does, you know)-
- she bought me the Mumford & Sons CD for my birthday
- she loves me enough to warn me before I make too big of fool of myself
- she makes me laugh so hard that I cry, for like twenty minutes

There you have it!

News Flash

Breaking news.....

Mumford & Sons is my new favorite band!  Just thought you would all like to know :-)

Here are a few reasons why....
- they use words like pestilence and plague in their lyrics
- their lead singer plays the guitar and the bass drum at the same time
- even after listening to their songs many times, I still cannot figure out what their lyrics mean
- Marcus Mumford is just a cool name
- they are from England
- they harmonize well

There you have it.  Just a few reasons why Mumford & Sons is my new favorite band. Now on the off chance that any of your readers have tickets to their concert at First Ave. later this month that you are looking to get rid of....just saying, that we would be MORE than happy to relieve you of those tickets...I'm just saying.....

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Random St. Louis Pictures

Evan came home from St. Louis with two medals and a fever; I came home with a cold and fever.  SO, not feeling up to too much talk here right at the moment, but I thought I would post some pictures of our little jaunt down to Missouri.

The first night there the kids had an 11 PM drumming sessions. 

Then on Sat. morning it was off to the Games.   

Alex & Abby 

They were like little vultures waiting at the table for their results :-)

Evan & Abby showing off their medals. 

Alex & Nina 

This was unusual for a Highland Games.  They had an eagle and hawk doing some free flying.

After the Games we went downtown to the Arch.  For some reason all the kids felt the need to touch this  mannequin's  hand

Even when not bagpiping, it is never far from their minds.... 

Alex, Evan & Abby at the top of the arch.  They felt the need to call Joel (who didn't come with us because he was sick) from the top of the arch and tell him their results. 

 Evan and his cousin Maggie.

Isn't this a cool picture ?

Alex & Evan managed to sneak in a game of checkers at the  store under the arch.

And here they all are.  It was SUPER windy and cold, so my subjects were not too patient getting their picture taken. 

Then there was some down time. 

So what do pipers do on a nine hour car trip?  Well, for at least three hours of it they did this.  For the non-bagpiping reader, they are playing their practice chanters.  They had fun doing "Are You Sleeping" in rounds and then they moved on to doing such classics as "Donald Willie and His Dog" and "Scotland the Brave" in rounds.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Well, That Was...Fun?

We came, we played, and we....conquered?

What was supposed to be sunny yet cool morning here in St. Louis turned into a rainy and windy morning :-(. Despite the foul weather, Evan and his two friends, Abby & Alex, each competed in three solo events this morning. Once again, despite my dire prediction of doom and gloom and Evan's pneumonia, we are coming home with medals :-)

Evan took second in piobaireachd, a second in 6/8 march and a sixth in 2/4 march. Abby took third in 2/4 march and Alex took fourth in 6/8. This was their first performance without their wonderful teacher there to tune them...and the judges sheets reflected that ;-)

After changing into street clothes we took the kids to the Arch and now we're chillaxin' at Kathy's. It's been a good day!