"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

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Waking Up

So, I wake up most of my kids at 7:30 on school days. Yesterday, I went downstairs to wake up Nina & Molly, oh, I mean two of my dear children. I woke them up in the usual fashion, by saying in a very sing-songy, happy voice, "Time to get up, girls."

Nothing happened, so I gently rubbed a leg of each girl and sweetly announced again that it was a beautiful day and it was time to rise and shine.

No movement.

Actually, Nina did move; Molly buried herself further under the covers. So, I had to resort to drastic measures and hold Molly's precious blanket hostage until Molly would show me her face.

Needless to say, this did not earn me any brownie points with my girls, SO they informed me of a few things yesterday. First, Nina told me I must NOT touch her when I am waking her up!!! In fact, she told me that she wakes up when she hears my feet coming down the stairs!

Molly informed me, when she started speaking to me again, that I mustn't be "so annoying" when I wake them up.

SO,so,so,so,so, I came up with a new tactic for waking them up. I simply go in the room and STARE at them! I tried it this morning :-). Believe it or not, it worked! They both woke up by me staring at them. Or maybe they woke up because I kept busting out laughing while I was staring at them, hard to tell.

And now, you can all thank God that you are not a child in my house! These poor kids have to put up with their entirely too strange mom every day!

Decisions, Decisions

There are few things that cause such disagreement in our home as deciding on what to name a puppy. First, I must tell you...we are getting a boxer puppy :-). Maybe as soon as May!

Now, the discussion on puppy names has begun. Let me give you a little history. When we got Snickers there was quite the disagreement over what to name our adorable little girl. The boys came up with names like Saber, Fang, and Killer. The girls came up with names like Sunshine, Flower and Rose. Needless to say, the two parties were not going to come to an agreement...until...until the name Snickers was suggested. Upon hearing that name, all parties came to an agreement.

Now, fast forward ten years and add three more kids to the decision making process. You can imagine the difficulty in coming up with a name for our new puppy. Here are some of the names that have been considered: Bella, Piggy (wouldn't it be fun to call out the door, "Here, Piggy"), iDog 2.0, and Ali (as in the boxer). Finally we have come to a near unanimous decision (it's impossible to get a unanimous decision with eight kids). We are reasonably certain that we are going to name the new puppy....


Don't you love it? If not, oh well, it's not your puppy :-D

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Has Sprung

How do I know this?  Certainly not because the flowers are starting to come up outside!  No, on the contrary, the flowers are still buried under snow :-(

No, I know that spring has sprung because Nina has started her annual spring henna-fest, where everyone who steps foot in our house gets a henna tattoo courtesy of Nina.  You see, there is no point in doing henna in Minnesota in the winter because we never show any of our skin from November to March.  The only place anyone would see a henna tattoo on a Minnesotan in the winter would be on their forehead.

Anyway, here are some of her creations...

Isn't she talented?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Our house is being overrun by Gophers.  There's the two old ones and now there is a 17 year old one!  We couldn't be happier!

Evan has accepted his invitation to attend the University of Minnesota in the fall which means the summer will be filled with such exciting things as freshman orientation, meeting with guidance counselors and registration.  Oh, and let's not forget, trying to get a campus job.

He has also been accepted in to the Honors Program and will be receiving the Presidential Scholarship.  We are very proud of you, Evan (even though you loathe the fact that I am blogging about this - it's my blog and I can brag about you if I want to)

Monday, March 21, 2011


That's how many pictures I took (with a little help) during our week in Alabama.  About 100 of those are of dolphins :-)  Something about those dolphins that I can't resist!

I won't bore you with all 800 pictures, but I will post a few more because....because I like to look at them and remember the wonderful week we had.

Sisters and beaches just go together so nicely :-)

Snack at the house - just look at the view out the windows :-)

Someday in the not-so-distant future we will have flowers blooming here again...

Cute kids in warm places :-) 

 Okay, I will stop now.  No more pictures from paradise. Thanks for indulging me :-)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Home Again

We have indeed arrived back home safe and sound and none-the-worse for the wear. A little tired, yes, but well. Now, after 23 hours in the car (actually 22 hours in the car and one hour at my sister Kathy's house for breakfast), I am ready for bed. How nice it will be to sleep in a bed that reclines all the way, isn't moving, and doesn't run over wake-up strips in the middle of my sleep.

More pictures from vacation are forthcoming, as soon as I get the mountain of laundry under control.

Goodnight from Minnesota.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Will Be Interesting

Let's see how this goes, I'm going to try blogging while playing Spinners.  I suspect that I will either deliver a very incoherent blog post OR I will lose the game.  Let's see what happens, shall we?

Well, I quickly stopped blogging, and I lost the game anyway!  Go figure!

I am pleased to announce that I am no longer concerned about my vitamin D levels.  I have sufficiently replenished my stores of vitamin D  today.  I have also replenished my bodies iodine supply as well.  You see, it is quite healthful for me to be down here.  To be honest, the only thing I am not getting enough of down here is Mumford & Sons  and Evan (Oh, I miss Snickers and the bunnies, too).

Here are a few pictures of the day.

Despite appearances, I am not praising the Lord for the glorious day.  I am shrieking because the water is COLD!
 Deb and I decided to try our hand at boogie boarding.  It took a few tries, but we were eventually successful.

 Beautiful Raelea doesn't care much for getting in the water (there are jelly fish in there, you know), but she did have fun playing in the sand with Grandpa.
 Mom & Dad strolling on the beach.
 Marcus, also, preferred the sand to the jelly fish infested waters.
 We ended the day with a tasty dinner at the Crab Shack.  Great food, great company.
Notice the lovely tans we are all getting :-)

Two more days in paradise and then it's back to the real world :-(  I guess it can't last forever....

Monday, March 14, 2011

Digging, Dolphins and Dead Things

The day started off with some serious digging.

After lunch we went on a dolphin cruise

and for dinner we ate some dead things.

And here are some other dead things we've encountered today...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fun In The Sun

Lest you be left wondering, I just wanted to let you all know that we are having a grand time enjoying the sun and surf.  The temperatures are lovely and the sun is shining.

They have REALLY big crayfish down here...

Molly at her favorite place on earth.

The little girls getting their feet wet.

The view.

Enjoying the (new) pool.
Going on an alligator hunt.
The mama alligator (she has three babies).

Try not to focus on the painfully white legs!

Stay tuned for more pictures tomorrow :-)

Dear British Petroleum,

I just wanted to let you know that I did my part today to clean up the Gulf coast by spending 30 minutes picking up tar balls.

You're welcome,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Soon And Very Soon

In just 10 hours we will be hitting the road and going south.  Instead of packing, I thought I would write to you all.

Since we can't bring all of you with us, though we would like to do that, I thought I would tell you how you can "pretend" to be with us while remaining in the comfort of your own home.  Ready?

Here we go....

Right around 5:00 pm CST, run around grabbing your last minute things; don't forget to use the bathroom before you go!  Run outside to your car, sit down, go back in the house and grab a few more things, go back to the car and drive down the street about three blocks.  Remember that you've forgotten something essential and drive back home.  Repeat this about three times.  Now since you are not REALLY going on a road trip, you may go back in your house.

Next, find a semi-comfortable chair, not a lazy-boy or anything like that, but it doesn't have to be a wooden chair either.  Sit in the chair for at least three hours, get up and use the bathroom, and then go sit down again.  Repeat, oh say, ten times.

While you are sitting in the chair you can do a few things.  You can play on your iPod (assuming you're not "driving").  If you want a genuine trip, you should play Tilt To Live, Bejeweled and Sudoku.  Perhaps you could also  play Doodlejump.  You may NOT check your e-mail or Facebook, as you only have an iPod and there is not Wi-fi in the car.

Now, you may also listen to music or books on tape.   Once again, if you want to really join in our fun you should limit yourself to the following:  Mumford & Sons (Listen to as much as you want - oh say, ten hours or so), Les Miserables (the entire soundtrack, once through, feel free to sing along - performing all the parts), Elton John, Matthew West, an assortment of classical music (for when Chris is driving), Casting Crowns, Tenth Ave. North, U2, The Police, etc.  When you tire of music you may also listen to Adventures in Odyssey, Your Story Hour, Magic Treehouse, and Adopted For Life.  Oh, I forgot to mention that you must turn down whatever your listening to every five minutes or so and ask, "What do you need?"  Then contort yourself into strange positions pretending to hand something to someone three rows behind you.

You also get to eat!!!  This is the best part of the "trip."  Her are your options, for dinner tonight you will have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (it's best to squash it a little bit), grapes and carrots, with a small drink of water.  Water will be rationed so you don't need to make too many bathroom stops.  There will be homemade muffins for breakfast tomorrow which must be eaten while sitting in your chair.  You may get up for lunch and go to some fast-food restaurant. 

Between these meals, you may munch and any of the following:  gorp, Chex mix, raw almonds, Doritios, lightly salted mixed nuts, Tootsie Pops, clementines, beef sticks, baby gouda, assorted sucking candy, water (or highly caffeinated pop if you're an adult), flavored pretzel bits, apples, cookies, granola bars, poptarts, bananas or dried fruit.  You should eat a lot of this stuff during the middle of the night hours. 

While you are "driving" you should start straight ahead like a zombie.  Oh, you also get to control the aural media while you are "in the driver's seat." During you're "non-driving" time you can try to sleep in your chair, but you should jerk awake every half-hour or so and say, "Are you doing okay?  Do you want me to drive?"

There you have it.  Continue in this way until about 5:00 pm CST on Saturday.  Oh, I forgot to tell you, you should slowly turn up the heat throughout the trip and when you arrive, you should jump off your seat and pretend to walk out on the sand and listen to the waves crashing and feel the breeze (you might need to employ a fan and a vivid imagination for this if you live in Minnesota).

Thanks for "coming with" on our trip!!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we will!!  Adieu!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One Day More

Here's my song for the day.  I chose it for two reasons: One, it is one more day until we leave for vacation!!!!!!  Yippee!  Two, because I will be listening to this entire soundtrack tomorrow night as we drive through the night.  I can think of no better way to occupy three hours of middle-of-the-night drive time :-)


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Love My YMCA

Since I use my blog to let you know when organizations are NOT living up to my expectations, I thought I would also use it to let you know when people or organizations are EXCEEDING my expectations.

So, today, I would like to publicly thank the aquatics department at my local YMCA, specifically Sarah, Mackenzie and Molly.  Molly is Marcus' teacher and she so much enjoys teaching my son that it is a blessing to me.

Sarah is the aquatics director ( I think that's her title), anyway, she has gone out of her way several times to make lessons and times work for the kids and me.  She so genuinely wants my kids to succeed in learning to swim and I really appreciate that.  Recently she made sure that Raelea had the same teacher from session to session because she knew Raelea needed the continuity to succeed.

Lastly, I want to thank Mackenzie who is Raelea's teacher.  Prior to starting lessons with Mackenzie, Raelea was terrified of the water - as in "cling to the wall as if your very life depended on it and don't let go now matter what" sort of terrified.  Because of Mackenzie's willingness to do whatever it takes to help Raelea feel more comfortable in the water, Raelea is now floating on her back all by herself and putting her whole face in the water.

Anyway, thank you to all the folks at the YMCA, you all are the best!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

One Hand

Yes, I can count on one hand the number of days 'til we leave this frozen, snow-covered tundra for the warmth of Alabama!  The sandals are all out, the shorts are coming out of storage....

I can almost feel the warmth and hear the waves.

I CAN'T WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, sorry, about that outburst....

An Official Apology

Dear Mr. Asko Dishwasher,
I would like to extend a formal written apology to you.  Please forgive me for the unkind words I have spoken regarding your ability to clean my dishes.  The unfavorable comments made while I rewashed load after load of dishes over the past year were, I have since discovered, unjustified.

You see, Mr. Dishwasher, upon the recent replacement of your fellow appliance, Mr. Water Softener, my dishes are suddenly coming out of you sparkling clean.  So now, I recognize my error.  It was not you, my dear dishwasher, who was failing me; it was Mr Water Softener the whole time.  You were trying your best, I now understand, to clean my dishes, but the job was....impossible.

Please forgive me!  I now understand that you are a wonderful dishwasher and a credit to all things Swedish!

Your owner
with sparkling dishes once again

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


I am discovering a very strange fact about my children.  Something I had not known about them all these years.  They have a strange disposition to find the saying or hearing of certain words repellant.  Not like, "Go clean your room!"  Which most kids would find repellant, but like normal words in normal usage.

Here is what I have discovered:  Many of my children do like the word pack, as in, "Would you like a pack of peanuts," or "Could you put that in the pack?"  For some strange and bizarre reason, they find that word...disgusting!???  What's with that?

Some other words that they are not fond of are packet and pocket.  If I were to say, "Do you have a packet in your pocket?"  My children just might go into convulsions!

I really haven't the foggiest idea how these words developed such a bad reputation in the minds of some of my kids.  At first, I thought it was just one child that held these views, but last night I discovered that several of my children feel the same way.


It Would Be Easier If....

You could just tell your teenager what they should do and they would do it!

Okay, I've said it before and I'll say it again, that I really do like having teenage children.  They are very fun and funny, much of the time; it is a joy to watch them grow into their own people.  It is wonderful to watch them mature and discover.

HOWEVER, it is also very frustrating because they are no longer at an age where you can just tell them what they should do and they say, "Okay, Mom."  So, when you see them making less than mature choices, you're limited in what you can do.  Really the only option is to reason with them, which, if any of you have tried to reason with a teenager before, you know is a rather difficult proposition, since teenagers are not necessarily known as creatures of good reasoning.

Complicating the matter of course is the fact that my desires and goals for my teenager may not be his/her goals and desires.  Hmm, there I just need to learn to LET IT GO!  Easier said than done, I'm finding.