"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 29, 2011

Chop, Chop


Brace yourselves, folks!  

Molly before......

And after......


Isn't she just ADORABLE!!!!!!!!!

Oh!  I love it!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Please Pray

Hi, folks! Just wanted to solicit some prayers for my mom. She fell today and broke the neck of her femur (I didn't even know that a femur had a neck. She is probably going to have a partial hip replacement surgery tomorrow to fix it.

Please pray for a successful surgery and a quick recovery for her. Thanks!

Together Again

Finally my whole family is all under one roof again!  Molly & Aidan are back from a week at camp, Chris is back from five days in Washington, D.C., and Evan is back from two days of freshman orientation at the U.

Starting with my trip to Kansas City at the beginning of the month, June turned out to be a month where our whole family was seldom together.  That, on top of the many soccer games and band practices, made for a bit of a chaotic month.  It was fun, but I'm hoping the the remainder of the summer will calm down a bit!

Friday, June 24, 2011

June or October?

You decide?





Well, the attire certainly makes it look like we are watching Aidan's football games in October, but...

Oh!  Look it's Marcus playing soccer!  I guess that means it's June.  Good thing these sports remind me what month it is because, this year, it's a little hard to tell by the weather!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My New Hobby



I knew all my baton twirling would pay off some day!

While Mom's Away...

New patio doors get put in :-)  Just look at the new lovely door I came home to on Sunday...



Monday, June 20, 2011

Sweet Victory!!!

Congratulations to the Minnesota Police Pipe Band (MPPB) Grade 3 for winning first place at the Chicago Scots Highland Games this past weekend!!!!

This was a significant win for the band for several reasons.  First, MPPB was competing against Macalaster College Pipe Band and Chicago Celtic and both bands had defeated MPPB earlier this season.  The other two bands are very good and they played well on Saturday.  While MPPB Gr. 3 has only seven pipers, both Macalaster and Chicago Celtic have at least 12 each.  Having a smaller number of pipers has some advantages, but it does mean that each and every piper will be heard by the judges, so if one person makes a mistake it WILL be noticed.

Also, according to "band historian" Pari, this was only the second time MPPB Gr. 3 has won at Chicago since 1987.

Despite what we told the Macalaster folks, the win was NOT a result of playing Pop Goes the Weasel on the chanters during the seven hour drive to Chicago.  The main reason I am so happy about the win is that I know how hard these pipers have worked to get to this point.  The pipers have been having group practice three times a week- every week - for months.  That, in addition to their individual practicing and lessons, means hours and hours and hours and hours of practice.  Many of the pipers also competed solo at Chicago, so they had to be preparing for those competitions as well (coming away with two 1st place, two 2nd, and three 3rd).  They have worked so VERY HARD for this win!!

Also note,  that aside from Stephen, whose age I don't know, the average age for the pipe corp is 18!  Mark, Stephen, Joel, Evan, Abby, Alex and Ian, you guys are ROCK STARS!!  Thanks also to the supporting drum corp of Galen, Laurie, Erin, Rob, Sally and Mark.

Special thanks to Mark Lucas for being a great Pipe Major and to Stephen Elias for being an amazing teacher to many of the young pipers!!!

Without further ado, here is what the band was doing at 4:00 on Saturday....



And here is what they were doing at 7:00 on Saturday....


Job well done!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I Say Hello, You Say Good-bye

6/19/2011

4:00 AM - Evan, Nina, Emily and I arrive home after a whirlwind trip to Chicago (more about that later)
8:50 AM - Chris leaves for Washington, D.C.
1:30 PM - Molly & Aidan leave for a week at camp

7:01 PM - I'm exhausted from far too little sleep last night :-(

Thursday, June 16, 2011

60,000

It's that time again.  The Zoo is rapidly approaching another milestone number for blog hits.  Let's see if Crystal is once again the one to view my blog on a milestone hit.  She's done it twice before :-)

On The Road Again

I just can't wait to get on the road again....

Tomorrow I'm off for another road trip to see a great band perform.  The Minnesota Police Pipe Band will be competing at Chicago Scots Highland Games this weekend.  Since I am playing chauffeur for four of the seven pipers in our Grade 3 band, I guess I'm driving the tour bus :-)

Instead of the Middle-Aged Mom's Road Trip, this is the "middle-aged mom takes a bunch of young people on a road trip."  I can't wait!  I love spending time with these "kids" and I LOVE watching them compete and perform.  If you happen to be in the Chicago area, come on over to the competition.  You, too, can be an MPPB groupie!  I promise you there will be some great piping on Saturday.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Freedom, Future Grace and Mumford & Sons

Freedom = the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved 


Future Grace = the grace (gifts) God promises us, but we have not yet received (e.g., heaven)

Mumford & Sons = an English folk band

What do the three have in common?

Through my decision to go on the Amazing Middle-Aged Moms' Road Trip, I discovered that there were people that wanted to "imprison or enslave" me into their belief that, as a Christian, I should not be embarking on an apparently obsessive journey to Kansas City to hear a "secular" band of young men sing.

This hurt my heart - deeply - because the God I know and love made me and he LOVES me the way he made me.  And while some people find their relationship with God strengthened only through "Christian" music and or literature, I am not one of those people.  God put in me a mind that loves beauty, that loves the beauty of words, that loves to be challenged to think and not be spoon-fed, that loves music!  When I hear or see beautiful things I feel God's presence in ways I cannot explain.  It is like a glimpse of Heaven to me - where all things will be beautiful.

When I read books like Les Miserables or The Brothers Karamazov my heart draws near to God.  I think deeply about forgiveness and the cost and responsibilities that come with it.  They challenge my brain and my soul.  Theses "non-Christian" books do more for my walk with the Lord than many devotionals I have read.  My God, who is very large and very powerful, is able to speak to my heart through literature that may or may not have been intended to bring Him glory.

Likewise, my God, who is very large and very powerful, is able to speak to my heart through music that is sung and written by people who may, or may not, be seeking His glory.  And I have freedom in Him to worship Him through such music.

This brings us to the future grace and Mumford & Sons part of this post :-)

Much of their music touches the very innermost part of my soul.  I cannot explain it to you.  It resonates with something deep down inside of me.  When I listen to (or sing), "love that will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free, to be more like the man you were made to be" my heart screams, "YES! I know that love!  That is the love that Jesus shows me!"  Future grace!

When I listen to (or sing), "there is a design, an alignment, a cry, of my heart to see, the beauty of love as it was made to be," my heart prays, "Jesus, show me that love!"  Future grace.  We will indeed see that beautiful love, in all of its glory, some day!

When I listen to (or sing - with tears) "And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair."  Well, my heart just cries for that day!  Future grace.


There.

I've explained it the best that I can.   I've exposed some deep corners of my heart to the entire world - not something I really enjoy doing, but something I felt that I must do. No doubt I will still have people make judgement calls on my heart.  I can't change that.  I rest in the love of the God who made me, who delights in me, who does know my innermost heart...

As an aside, I just want to say to my friends and family who are walking with me through this, who know me well and still love me, thank you!  I LOVE YOU AND I SO VERY MUCH APPRECIATE YOUR LOVE FOR ME!   Thank you for letting me be who God made me to be!  You are a treasure, a gift from my Heavenly Father, which I hold very dear to my heart!


Thoughts That Defy Words

Rarely am I at a loss for words :-)  My family will testify to this.  I can talk for hours on end about things that are insignificant or things that I am passionate about, but disconnected with.  But the past few days I am trying to put my heart down into words and I can't do it :-( ; at least not in a way that would be coherent and understandable.

I'll make a few more attempts, if they don't work I will just have to move on.  If they do work, you'll be seeing the results here shortly.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Evan's Graduation Slide Show

Here you have it - for those that want to take 18 minutes to see Evan's life :-)



Thursday, June 9, 2011

Molly's Slide Show

In the midst of the party preparations, I haven't had time to blog.  I will take a second though to put out here the slide show Molly put together of our trip :-)  My Facebook friends have already seen this, but I put it here for my blog buddies!


Monday, June 6, 2011

Yikes!

Evan's graduation party is in just five days!!!!  My list is long, but, since school is out, the days are long as well.

I have a blog post I am very much looking forward to sharing with you all, but it will have to wait  until after the party, as all my time from here until Saturday is going to be taken up doing such things as washing windows, power washing the siding, weeding gardens, slicing and dicing various fruits and vegetables, etc.

Oh and let's not forget, finishing the slide show that I began way back in January.

I hope you are all planning on coming to the party, and be sure to notice the nice clean siding!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Let's Just See Pictures

I could go on and on and on about our time, but I think I'll just do a photo journey with you of the people who made our day a very special experience.


These our new friends Belle and Hillary.  We were used as an answer to Hillary's prayer, as she had prayed that she could get a ticket to the concert, and she happened to mention that to us.  Conveniently, we had an extra ticket which I sold to her :-)  

This would be Molly with Ted Dwane - the bass player and a VERY sweet, sweet young man.

This would be Marcus Mumford signing Molly's t-shirt.  He was very sweet, too, but in a hurry.

Marcus talking while signing Ben's shirt.
 Here is Maggie with Marcus. (are you sensing a trend here?)

Here is Ben Lovett signing Molly's t-shirt, with a water bottle in his mouth.

Water bottles and large quantities of water played an important role in our day!!  Beyond what you can imagine.  You cannot believe how hot it is down here!

Here is Ben cooling himself off with a cold water bottle - as you can see, we REALLY liked our water bottles!

Eventually (6:00 pm) we were let into the venue and we got THE best "seats" (there were no seats, this was a standing sort of concert)  We were front and center at the guardrail in front of the stage directly in the center.  I kid you not, we were in the very best spot!  See what I meant about learning a thing or two in 45 years?

Here is a what was behind us - 10,000 people...literally
  And at about 10:00 pm here is what was in front of us.  We spent most of our time facing forward! :-)




I have, quite literally 100's of other pictures that I will post on my Facebook page when I get home, but for now this will have to do.






Where To Begin?

This trip has been so epic in so many ways that I'm not even sure where to begin.

I'll start by saying one of the benefits of doing this sort of thing at 45 instead of at 20 is that we've learned a LOT in 45 years!  We've learned that if you ask the right questions of the right people, you will reap the benefits.  We've learned that you can make new friends by standing in line for seven hours with people.  We've learned that people pass out when packed inside of 10,000 people in 90 degree heat!

Ahh, let's go back to the beginning.  Molly, Sylvia, Ben and I headed out at about 4:00 AM yesterday morning.  After an uneventful seven hour trip we arrived at the venue for the concert and met up with Kathy and Maggie.


Much to our surprise....the place was quite empty.  No lines, no people waiting.  Apparently rabid fans are in short order, general, run-of-the-mill fans show up about three hours before a concert.  Rabid fans show up seven hours before the concert.  Now feeling no pressure to get in "line," We went and ate lunch.....on a wall.


We used a little time to ascertain the information regarding the best gate to stand by and the best place to park.  This is where the VERY kind, helpful people come in, and then it was off to get in line.  There were seven people ahead of us - a group of teenage boys and three young women from Minnesota.  So there you see, we were not the only crazy people to drive from Minnesota for this concert.  Actually, you would not believe the number of Minnesotans we met yesterday who came down for the concert.

To be continued...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

One More Day

In just 20 hours we'll be hopping in the car for the trek to Kansas City.  So much to do, so little time :-)  I'm feeling a bit melancholy today, so here is a song for my mood.





"There'll come a time you'll see
with no more tears
and love will not break your heart,
but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see
what you find there
with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair."

Amen!  This is Truth!  "He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth for the Lord has spoken."   - Isaiah 25:8

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

30 hours...Tee Hee Hee

So many thoughts going through my head today, but they won't be posted until they are fully cooked, so today we will settle for the weather forecast for Kansas City on Friday:

 High of 94/ Low of 73 and sunny with only a 10% chance of rain.

Now if that isn't perfect weather than I don't know what is.

For our second-to-last Mumford & Sons video I will present to you a song that will most assuredly NOT be performed at the concert, but is nonetheless one I enjoy.




"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."  ~Dr. Seuss