"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, May 31, 2011


Aidan has a quiz for you today :-)  Let's see who's the first person to get the right answer, okay?

=  ?????????

Okay that was fun!  While you're thinking of the answer you can listen to this...

Okay, I am continually amazed at the talent of these four guys! Oh, to have just a tiny amount of the musical talent....

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Year Of The Wood Tick

I think this is definitely the year of the tick.  I'm not sure what weather conditions are ideal for wood ticks, but I'm fairly certain that whatever we've had this spring is it!  We were at the cabin for a few days this weekend and between the two-legged and four-legged creatures there, we must have found over forty ticks on us.  It's not like most of us were hiking through the woods, either.

It was crazy!  I'm not really fond of the little creatures and I spent most of the weekend feeling like I had ticks crawling up my back.

Five, Four!

Oops, yesterday was just too busy to put a countdown post out.  Let's see today, you must really meet the gang....

Of course, there's me, but you already know what I look like and you already know that I am quite a unique individual.  Let's see some of the other folks, shall we?

Here's my friend Sylvia!  She's one of the few people crazy enough to go with me on this little adventure.  Sylvia is so many things that I am not: artistic, sweet, beautiful and sugar-free.

Sylvia brings along her eldest son, Ben!  He is the sole male on this little trip, but I think he's up for the adventure.  Ben is one of Evan's best friends, so he can act as my surrogate son if I start missing my own sons to much.

Then comes Molly!  She is definitely the most rabid Mumford & Sons fan of our group (but there are others that are a close second).  Our goal for this trip is to get a picture of Molly with Marcus Mumford and Ben Lovett (in the band, not Ben above).

In Kansas City, we will be meeting the contingent from St. Louis which includes my sister, Kathy, who is amazingly like me in many ways - only slightly more....normal.

Kathy will be traveling to KC with her daughter, Maggie.  Maggie is an experienced concert goer who is going to help Molly's dream come true.

There you have it.  The six fanatical concert-goers.

And now, for your listening enjoyment...

"I know my call, despite my faults and despite my growing fears"

Saturday, May 28, 2011

She Got It Right

I was at the YMCA with some of my kids this past week, and while we were playing in the pool I started talking to a young girl.  She was curious about our family and upon finding out that Marcus, Raelea and Zoe were all my kids, she asked a bunch of questions about adoption.  Apparently they had just talked about adoption at school that day, so she was excited to actually meet someone who had adopted. 

Anyway, when she found out we had adopted six kids she said, "You are so lucky!"

Out of all the people I've talked to about adoption, she is the first one who got it right!  Virtually every other person who hears about our adoptions says, "Those kids are so lucky!"

This ten year old girl got it right.  Although I would use the word blessed instead of lucky, she realized immediately that it was not the kids who got the best end of the adoption deal, it was the parents.  I wish I knew who her teacher was because obviously he/she did a great job of explaining the wonderful things about adoption to her class.


A week from today the concert will just be a glorious memory, but we will have another whole day to relax in Kansas City!  What to do with an entire day in KC?  Hmm, I'll have to think about that, and while I'm thinking, I will listen to this song....

"So break my step
And relent
You forgave and I won't forget
Know what we've seen
And him with less
Now in some way
Shake the excess

And I'll kneel down
Wait for now
And I'll kneel down
Know my ground

Now I'll be bold
As well as strong
Use my head alongside my heart
So take my flesh
And fix my eyes
Tethered mind free from the lies"

Friday, May 27, 2011

One Week!!

Yes, just seven days from now we will be on our way to Kansas City.  The plan is to begin our trip at 4:00 AM, in order to arrive at our destination in time to be at the front of the line (or at least close).

I'm trying to get out the door to go to the cabin this weekend, so I can't post much now.  Suffice it to say, we are all getting anxious to go and watching all these live videos is just making me more excited!

How about a homicidal rampage song for our video for the day? It's a little different than most of their songs.  If you're wondering, I hear that he read Steinbeck's the Grapes of Wrath and then wrote this song.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Eight More To Go!

Today, I'll make a list of the things I look forward to on the Amazing Middle-Aged Moms' Road Trip.

  • Being able to use the bathroom without several little people standing outside the door asking for help with one thing or another.  (yes, this does make the top of the list)
  • Being able to spend 14 hours in the car with a couple of the finest ladies in the world!  I love my friends!!  More about them in a future post,
  • Being able to spend 14 hours in a car with two wonderful teenagers.
  • Spending hours sitting in line on the sidewalks of Kansas City with above people AND my wonderful oldest sister and niece! (More about them in a future post, as well.)
  • Holding only adult conversation for three days!!!
  • Sweating.  Since we haven't had a lot of opportunity to do that here in MN this year.
  • The open road!  I love road trips!
  • Spending three days being just Barb, not Mom.  Don't get me wrong on this one, I LOVE being a mom, but it isn't often that I get to just be ME.  Being mom requires extreme amounts of responsibility, sometimes I don't want to be responsible for anyone but myself.
  • Spending six hours sitting on the sidewalk of Kansas City discussing the meaning of Mumford & Sons songs.
  • Not being responsible for making sure that eight kids eat three balanced meals a day.
  • Being able to jump up and down at a concert for two hours and singing along with my favorite songs.
  • Last (for this list), but certainly not least, hearing this song...

"In these bodies we will live and in these bodies we will die.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nine Days!!!!

The excitement is mounting!

Important questions are being answered, like:

What time shall we leave?
How long must we wait in line to get good seats?
Can we bring our cameras?
How about water bottles?
What sort of snacks do we need for the drive?
When/where will be able to shower?
What will be wear?

So much to think about!

Here's your video for the day.  If you're a Shakespeare fan you should recognize several lines from this song.  One of my favorite songs on their one and only album.

"Love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you. 
It will set you free! 
Be more like the man you were made to be.

There is a design, an alignment, a cry
of my heart to see
the beauty of love as it was made to be!"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Marcus, The Soccer Guy

He may be young, but he shows great potential as a soccer player! I was finally able to attend one of Marcus' soccer practices/games. His team lost, but the tried hard and had fun.

They spent the first 20 minutes practicing and learning "how to play the game."  Aidan is the Coach's Assistant, a job he relishes.

The remaining 40 minutes they played against another team.

I really like his coach!!!  I mean I REALLY like his coach :-)  See, Chris looks like he knows how to play soccer (at least well enough to earn the respect of his 1st and 2nd grade players).

She's just too cute not to be included in the pictures :-)  Zoe didn't really watch the game, but she had fun nonetheless.

Let The Countdown Begin!

Okay, folks, I've held off annoying you with my countdown to the Amazing Middle-Aged Moms' Road Trip....until now.  In just 10 short and very hectic days we will be leaving on our ever changing adventure to Kansas City.  I'm still trying to procure photos of the participants - hopefully they will be forthcoming by the end of the week.

Let's see, how shall we celebrate our countdown?  Oh, I know!  We'll watch a video a day to get us all pumped up :-)

So!  Today's video is the song I most look forward to hearing in just 10 days!!!!!

Now For Something Completely Different

Nina before

Nina after

Friday, May 20, 2011

Big Game Hunting

I should have known this would happen...you give a boy a bb gun and what's he going to want to do with it?  Yes, that's right, shoot things!  Not being a hunter myself, I'm a little squeamish about dead animals, so you can imagine my surprise when I heard the following from the breakfast table this morning (I was in another room).

Several girls - "Ewwwwww!  It's bleeding!"

Marcus - "Aidan's killed a squirrel!!!  Cool!"

Several girls - "I'm done eating.   I've lost my appetite!"

Aidan (rushing into the house) - "MOM!!  YOU HAVE TO COME SEE THE SQUIRREL I SHOT!!  Come take a picture!"

I dutifully congratulated him on his kill and managed to take a picture (without really looking at the victim), but I was not, under any circumstances, going to skin and cook that thing, despite much encouragement from my Facebook friends!

Now, Aidan insisted that I blog about his amazing squirrel hunting adventures and include a picture of the trophy, so, once again being the dutiful mother, here is the picture of Aidan's first squirrel.

Snickers, a squirrel killer herself, appears to be quite interested in Aidan's accomplishment!


It was a good week for planting, well, at least the middle of the week was, after the threat of frost was done and before the rain came.  I haven't totally finished my flower planting, but I did get quite a bit of it done.  I still have a few pots to do, this one however appears occupied!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


And Little Lion Man :-)

Mumford and a White Blank Page

Okay, admit it, you laughed!  This is just how my brain works!


Spring around here means it's soccer season.  This year we have two spring soccer players, Molly and Marcus.  As an added bonus, Chris is coaching Marcus' team, which is quite a stretch since my dear husband doesn't know much about soccer (by his own admission).  I'm sure he is doing a great job as coach though :-)

Molly's team had their first game on Monday and they WON! (3-0)  Considering their dismal record last year, we are very excited to start the season off with a win.  In Marcus' grade level they don't do full games, as it is just too much for the young  kids.  They are primarily working on ball handling skills, with a little bit of a game at the end of each practice.

No pictures of Marcus yet, as I haven't been able to make any of his practices.  Hopefully that will change next week.  Here's a picture of Molly though...

Monday, May 16, 2011

And So It Began

Bagpipe competition season, that is.  Saturday was Evan's first competition of the season - the Minnesota Scottish Festival & Highland Games.  I wish I could say it was a glorious day, but in all honesty, it was quite miserable - cold, windy and rainy.  I was dressed in numerous layers, including long-underwear and wool socks and I was still cold.   I can't even imagine how cold the pipers and drummers were in their kilts, etc.  When they competed they were in shirt-sleeves (it's easier to play the pipes if you don't have a suit coat on).

Anyway, Evan had a wonderful time in his solo competitions and he came away with first places in the piobaireachd and the jig and a second place in the strathspey reel.  He scratched his 2/4 March because his pipes weren't working properly (a problem in the cold and rain).  All in all, he had an excellent start to his solo season.  He is competing in Grade 3 this year, a grade level higher than last year.

The band, on the other hand, had a bit of a harder time.  The Grade 3 band had pipe problems (due to the inclement weather) and some health problems with  some of the members, so they did not perform well.  They were scheduled for two competitions, but they scratched the second one because they did not have enough pipers who were able to perform :-(.  This was particularly discouraging because they have been practicing a ton and, under normal circumstances, they are quite good.  The Grade 4 band, however, did well and took home a second place medal.

Grade 3 band marching to the line to begin their competition.

When not competing, this is what the band members looked like!  Looks like fun, doesn't it?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Fun Things To Do

If you're wondering what to do tomorrow and you live in Minnesota, I encourage you to come on out to the Minnesota Scottish Fair & Highland Festival.  I can't think of a better way to spend a rainy, 51 degree Saturday than standing outside and listening to bagpipes!  Actually, the weather is supposed to be lousy, but it's the first competition of the season and I wouldn't miss it for anything. 

Hope to see you there!

Never A Dull Moment

As you might imagine, life here is rarely dull (or quiet); today is no different.  We are blessed to have our friends Alex and Abby over and the kids have taken over the kitchen.  Lacrae is blaring from the radio and the kids are frosting mini-cupcakes.  Here are some pictures of their work.

Molly, Aidan and Alex hard at work on their creations.
Nina, showing off her work - or just showing off, it's hard to tell
Some of the finished products.  Believe it or not, they actually look really nice!
Abby (yes, they are identical twins)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

How Fanatical Are We?

That's the question I've been trying to answer tonight.  What exactly are we willing to do to obtain primo seats for the upcoming concert?  Hmmm.

Here's the deal -

Molly has an orchestra concert on Thursday, June 2, at 7:00 pm. I forgot about that when I was thinking about the concert (June 3), and I was thinking that we would drive to Kansas City on Thursday afternoon so we would be "fresh" for the concert on Friday.  Now that we can't leave on Thursday afternoon, we need to come up with Plan B.

There are two options:
1) Leave after her orchestra concert.  Drive to KC and arrive there at some wee morning hour, crash for a few hours and then go to the concert.

2) Wake up extra early on Friday and drive down there and go directly to the concert.

Hmm, which to choose?

The other conundrum is that this is a general admission concert and since we don't want to be too far back from the stage (oh, no we don't), we need to get in line early.  The question is, "How early is early?"  My dear sister has informed me that if you want front row seats, you need to be in line 12 hours before the gates open.  This would mean we would have to get in line at about 5:00 AM :-)  Hmmm!

My dear, sweet husband has suggested we drive through the night, arrive in KC early Friday morning, go right to the park and stake out our spot in line, curl up there and go to sleep.  Sleeping on the streets of KC, now there's something I've never done before!

Stay tuned!  I told you this was going to be a wild, good time.  Anytime you let middle-aged moms loose you never know what will happen!

At Long Last

I have waited for this moment for years - when I could finally hug a second refrigerator!  Okay, actually I never thought about hugging a refrigerator until I saw this beauty standing in my garage.  How I made it this far in life, with so many kids, and only one refrigerator, I will never know, but those days are behind me now!!!

And just in time for Evan's graduation party :-D

Monday, May 9, 2011


5 days until the first bagpipe competition of the season

24 days until the Mumford & Sons concert in Kansas City

32 days until Evan's graduation party

So many fun things coming up, it must be close to summer!

Friday, May 6, 2011

To Plant or Not To Plant

That's the question I've been asking myself and everyone else. You see, the general rule of thumb here in Minnesota is that you don't plant your annuals until after Mother's Day. Most years I spend Mother's Day at the nursery buying excessive amounts of plants and then I go home and start putting them in the ground. I can't think of a better way to spend Mother's Day :-)

But this year Mother's Day is a little early AND it was below freezing at least twice this past week, so I am a little leary about putting my precious annuals in the ground. Hmmm, what's a girl who is anxious to get her hands dirty to do?

The general consensus is that I could plant the hearty annuals this weekend, but I should wait until next weekend for the moRe sensitive ones. I think that's what I'll do :-)

More Puppy Cuteness

Hmm, do you think this dog gets enough attention?
Snickers deserves the Best Old Dog Award!  She is infinitely patient with the"Usurper" (as Snickers refers to Mumford).
Does it get any cuter than this?
All in all, having a new puppy has not been TOO much extra work, although we all look forward to the day when she is potty trained :-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Molly, Molly, Molly

Dear, sweet Molly made quite the announcement the other day. On the way home from church she stated the following, "Do you know what I want to be when I grow up?"

Um, no, Molly, tell us please.

"A barge pilot!" she said with great enthusiasm.

Okay, then!

My children are so UNIQUE, or shall we call it strange?

So, there you have it. Raelea wants to drive a green dump truck and Molly wants to pilot river barges.

For those of you that are interested, she wants to be a barge pilot because, "it sounds like fun and they make a lot of money!"

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

We were supposed to go up to the cabin this past weekend to open it up for the summer, but due to a broken water pump, that plan was scratched.  In lieu of the cabin trip, we went to Rochester instead.....to pick up Mumford!!  :-)

And so, now, without further adieu, here is Mumford.

Snickers is being very patient with her new sibling :-)

Oh, go ahead and say it.  She's adorable!!