"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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Joy

I decided today to start a little personal study on joy, mostly because mine seems to be so transient and easily crushed.  Here's what I discovered today on my little joy-journey.

God takes joy a lot more seriously than I thought he did!  Here'a the verse I read today -

All these curses shall come upon you and pursue you and overtake you till you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep his commandments and his statutes that he commanded you.
Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness.
                                                                               -Deuteronomy 28:45,47
Yikes!  God cursed Israel not just for not obeying him, but for not being joyful and glad in doing so.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Things That Fill My Mind





13 Days

I can put up with anything for 13 days, including subzero temperatures and MORE snow!  In 13 days, we will pile into our van and drive and drive and drive and drive.  Twenty-two hours later, we will pile out of our van and hear the lovely sound of the surf!

Then for a week thereafter, I will write blissful blog posts while lounging on a deck and watching dolphins frolic in the formerly pristine Gulf.  I will awake in the morning to the sound coming through my open window of the waves crashing on the shore.  I will walk barefoot on the beach while finding beautiful sand dollars and seashells.  I will eat shrimp caught fresh that day and sip lemonade to cool down.  I will swim in the pool while listening to the seagulls calling each other.

The words below and zero will only be found together in sentences like, "I have zero things to do today, so I am going below for a swim."

The words wind and chill will unite like this.  "I hope the wind chills the balmy temperatures a bit."

And ice and cold will be found in sentences like, "I am hot and would like an ice cold lemonade about now."

The only white I will see for a whole week is the long stretch of white sand and all shoveling will involve building sand castles.  Actually, I will also have to see my white legs as well, but they won't remain white for long.

My vitamin D levels will rise to normal levels.  My feet will see the light of day again.

Ah, I can put up with this cold and snow for 13 more days!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Three Years Ago

Today is the three year anniversary of the hardest day of my life!  It was a beautiful day, it was a God-ordained day, but it was a very, very hard day.

Three years ago, this week, Chris, Evan, Molly and I were in Ethiopia to pick up Marcus and Zoe.  It was an amazing week and Ethiopia is an amazing place.  The people are beautiful, the country is beautiful.  I would love to go back!  Really words can't describe a place like Ethiopia.  There is so much suffering and pain, yet in the midst of it all there is so much beauty and joy.  My words fail me when I try to explain it.

Anyway, back to three years ago TODAY.  While we were in Ethiopia we were blessed to be able to meet Marcus & Zoe's father.  Our agency arranges these "birth family" meetings as a way of connecting the first families with the adoptive families.  Having met the "birth families" of all of our other adopted kids, we felt somewhat prepared for this meeting. Oh, were we ever wrong!  There is nothing on earth that could have prepared us for entering into another person's grief the way we were allowed to that day!  The love that their father had (and no doubt still has) for them was overwhelming, as was his grief.

This was different than anything we had ever experienced before.  With our domestically adopted kids, we knew they would be able to see and have a relationship with their biological families.  This is not meant to minimize their grief, by any means, I know that they have suffered more than I will ever know, but this was different.  This man might never see his kids again, he had no way to fully grasp how far away we were taking them, he had no other choices or options.  If and when he meets them again, they will be "foreign" to him, in the sense that they won't speak his language, their life experience will be a totally different from his.  Words fail me again.

Anyway, not to be a downer or anything, but this is the anniversary of an important day in my life and while not a day to celebrate, it is a day to remember.  A solemn day.  If you are so inclined, you can pray for Demisse.  That God would comfort his heart and sustain his life and health until the day in the future when, Lord willing, Marcus and Zoe can go back to Ethiopia and see him again.

And now for some pictures from three years ago...

This was taken very early in the morning on our trip down to meet their dad.


Goats.  Goats everywhere.

People.   People everywhere.


This is a typical home in rural Ethiopia.  Despite what we might think, the interior is extremely neat and tidy.


And last, but very far from least, here is what Marcus and Zoe looked like three years ago :-)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Bank Holidays

My sweet hubby works at the Federal Resereve which means that he gets bank holidays off. That would mean that today he is home for Presidents' Day. Since it is pretty impossible to do school when Dad is home, we take the day off school, as well. Yippee! Over a foot of new snow AND no school or work, for what more could one ask?

Well, on top of it all, dear hubby let me sleep in, so right now I am sitting in bed with a cup of tea and the iPad :-). I LOVE sleeping until 9:00! It's something that rarely happens anymore, but I do SO love it!

Hope you all have an outstanding day as well!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's Working

I began exercising last year after my physical because my cholesterol level was 203.  At 44, I did not want to go on medication (yes, I had a doctor recommend that, even with only a 203 level).  I decided I would try to lower it by starting a regular exercise routine, mostly because that sounded more appealing than changing my eating habits :-) 

Anyway, I don't have a lot of free time in my day, but I decided that I could squeeze in 30 minutes of exercise each day.  That's all.  Not 60 minutes, not 40 minutes.  30.  That's it.

So, I have consistently been strenuously exercising 30 minutes five or six days a week for the past 10 months or so.  This past week I had my physical and the blood results have come back.....drum roll, please....it's working.

Let's take a look at the numbers, shall we?

Last year my cholesterol was 203.  This year it is....175!  Yippee!  All without changing my eating habits, except for adding a few more nuts to my diet.

But, that's not all!  My blood pressure which has usually been about 121/80 is down to 100/64 and my resting pulse which used to run about 78 is now 61!  I'm just feeling oh so healthy now :-)

The only problem is my hemoglobin and red blood count is a little low :-(  I'm thinking this might be because of my massive tea intake.  Apparently tea has a chemical in it that blocks the absorption of iron.  This usually isn't a problem for most people with average tea consumption, but I drink about 6-8 cups of tea a day.  Hmmm.  Not liking the idea of having to drink less tea. 

So, when you hear me whine and complain about not wanting to go exercise (which I do a lot of), just remind me of why I am doing this, okay?

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Few Of Her Favorite Things

While I was making dinner tonight Raelea announced, "Do you want to know what my favorite things are?"

Sure, Raelea, what are they?

"God (he's first),then my blankie,then forms!"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I'm Hungry

I have a doctor's appointment this morning (just a physical) and I need to fast before it :-(  The appointment is at 8:30 which doesn't seem too bad (it's way better than, say, 3:00 this afternoon), but I am sure missing my morning cup of chai tea!!  Let me tell you, a glass of warm water doesn't quite cut it as an adequate replacement, but it is better than nothing!

This is the physical where I get to see if all this exercising is paying off.  Well, I won't know right away, but hopefully I will know in a week or so. 

And now for a public service announcement for my lady friends....Have you scheduled your mammogram recently (assuming you are over 40 or at risk)?  Gotten your cholesterol or blood pressure checked?  How about a colonoscopy?  What about your PAP? 

Do it!  I like you all too much to have you succumb to some highly detectable and treatable illness!

Love you all!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Party

No party post is complete without pictures, so here are a few pictures from the Valentine's Party Evan and Co. threw yesterday...

Here are three of the guys getting ready for the big night.
It wasn't long before the guest started to arrive.  The gentlemen parked the ladies cars for them and escorted them to the house.
 
Then dinner was served.  Our dining room was quite packed  :-)


Apparently the ladies were quite touched by the dinner.


The dessert (trifle) was excellent!


 After dinner the ladies reclined in the living room.

And enjoyed some musical entertainment.


As well as other forms of entertainment...





I think it's safe to say the ladies had a grand time!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

Just wanted to wish all my blog readers and Facebook friends a happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you all feel loved and special today!

Our day will be pretty normal, except with an extra special breakfast, a little more candy than usual and going out for dinner.

The going out for dinner is necessary because Evan and the guys that he hangs with at Normandale are hosting a special Valentine's dinner for the girls that they hang out with.  None of these kids are dating, so the guys wanted to make sure that the girls didn't feel left out on Valentine's Day.  Isn't that sweet?

Said dinner is going to take place HERE, so we need to vacate the house.  Our house should be a whirlwind of activity from about noon on, as the teenage boys come over to create a culinary masterpiece (this should be quite interesting!)  I am trying to stay out of this as much as possible, since the boys really  want it all to be from them.

I will however be available for assistance when they start to realize how much work it is to put on a nice dinner for 20 people!

Enjoy your day!!

Winnipeg Is Off

Bummer!  Evan, Aidan & I were supposed to be going up to Winnipeg this coming weekend for the Winnipeg Scottish Festival.  Evan was going to do some solo competitions there, but the main reason for going was so the quartet that he is in could compete.  There are no quartet competitions here in the states, so they need to go to Canada if they want to compete.  I was VERY much looking forward to hearing them play and taking a little road trip, but alas, it is not to be. 

The other three guys in the quartet have all been battling head colds, and head colds and bagpipes do not mix!  They don't want to go if they are not playing their best, so the trip is off :-(  Evan could still go and do his solo stuff, but it just isn't as fun without the others, so he has opted to stay home.

On the positive side, Evan (and the rest of the quartet) can now join the band at the Scottish Ramble in St. Paul.  This is always a very fun event!  So, if you're looking for something Scottish to do on Saturday or Sunday, come on down to the Landmark Center in St. Paul! The band will be playing at 4:00 (I believe) on Saturday and there will be a "special treat" around 5:00 on Sunday.

So, Winnipeg is off, but the Ramble is on!  Hope to see you there!

Remember - "Nothing's Cooler Than Kilts in February!"

Sunday, February 13, 2011

It's All Relative

Aidan: "mom, what's the temperature?"

Mom: "It's 45 degrees."

Aidan: "Yes! It's shorts weather!"

Things That Make You Go Hmmmmn

Gulf Shores, Alabama - 32 degrees this morning
St. Paul, Minnesota -36 degrees

Hi, Mom!!! This post is just for you :-)

Don't worry, I'm sure in a couple hours you'll be many degrees warmer than we are!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ten Reasons

I'm getting a little tired of winter and subzero temperatures, so now is the perfect time for...


Top Ten Reasons Why A Long, Cold Winter Is Good

1. It keeps away the really BIG insects.
2. It keeps away the really BIG poisonous snakes.
3. It keeps me from getting too much vitamin D.
4. Naps don't seem like a waste of precious time when it's below zero outside.
5. I go to bed earlier just to get warm.
6. We don't have to worry about malaria or yellow fever.
7. I don't have to mow the lawn every week for about six months out of the year.
8. No one is tracking in mud or grass clippings when they come inside.
9. It's easy to hide a few extra pounds under all these closthes.
10. Um, let me think, I know it will come to me....oh, yeah, I appreciate the 12 weeks of summer all the more!

There you have it!  Ten whole reasons why I should be thankful that it is FREEZING out there.  The power of positive thinking.

It's not working.......

Saturday, February 5, 2011

And Now, A Post From The Dog

Hi folks, it's me Snickers, the dog.

I wanted to let you know what I learned yesterday.

It's really easy to get the little plastic lid off of that powdered chai tea mix, but it doesn't taste very good. The tea, not the lid, that is.

Dear Auntie Deb, I am sorry for destroying one of the cans of chai tea mix that my mom bought for you. Will you forgive me?
(Mom told me I had to write that)

Teehee, let's see the bunnies write their own blog post!

Raelea's Prayer

Here's what Raelea prayed tonight at bedtime -

"Dear Lord, I pray that I would sleep like a stuffed animal, because I've heard that they sleep very, very well."



Friday, February 4, 2011

Fun With Eggs

I've known this for some time, but thought maybe I should let you all know.  Eggs are fun!

One of my favorite parts of elementary school science is doing fun experiments with eggs!  I love doing experiments with things you already have in your house.  Science is fun!!  Say it with me, "Science is fun!!"

We are studying birds right now in science, and we have finally gotten to the part about eggs.  This has brought us to a week long adventure of egg experiments.  An egg, a little vinegar, some Karo syrup and water and, presto, you're in business.

If you've never done it before, go, right now, and put an egg (not hard-boiled) into a cup of vinegar.  Put it in your fridge and leave it there for a couple days.  I'm not going to tell you what happens because that takes all the fun out of it.  After about three days take your egg out and examine it - it's so cool!  Then put same egg in a cup with Karo syrup.  Leave it for a few days and come back and examine it.  Slightly gross, but still very cool.  Lastly, put slightly gross egg into a cup of water, leave it for a few days and check it out.  Presto, cool egg experiment.

The next experiment is one most people have done, but I like it anyway.  Take an egg between your palms (with fingers clasped) and squeeze.  How cool is that, that you can't break the egg even though you squeeze as hard as you can?  God designed those babies perfectly to be sat on by mama bird, didn't He?

Right now we have an egg sitting in our fridge in a cup of water to see if water can be absorbed through the shell of an egg.  I've never done this one before, so I'm not sure what we'll find out...

Lastly, this is my favorite, even though it really has nothing to do with eggs per se; it just uses an egg to show changes in air pressure.  Anyway, you hard boil an egg and peel it.  Than you take a carafe which has a mouth just slightly smaller than the circumference (girth) of the hard boiled egg.  You should be able to set the egg up on the mouth of the carafe without the egg falling in, but it should be fairly close  in size to the egg.

So, you take a piece of paper and light it on fire (I like experiments that involve fire!).  Quickly drop the burning paper into the carafe and quickly set the egg upright on the mouth of the carafe.  Wait.  Oh! This is so cool.....Sorry, you'll have to do the experiment to find out what happens....

Say it again - "Science is fun!"

Don't Do It

There are any number of things that are unwise to do.  This week we discovered one of them. 

It really isn't a good idea to go out to a realty site and browse for property, in say Wisconsin, if you really aren't in a position to move.  Who knows what beautiful, lovely property you might stumble across by doing such a thing.  You might actually find a beautiful 3600 square foot home on 37 acres of lovely land with a trout stream running through it....all for less than you paid for your existing, much smaller, home on a mere 1/3 acre.

Not that I know this from experience or anything....