"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, August 31, 2011

But There's More

As wonderful it is to watch Aidan and his team win, and as proud as I am about his playing well, that's not what brought tears to my eyes tonight.  The thing that made me tear up and made my infinitely proud of my son is the kind and comforting comment he made to Emily regarding her braces. 

I love that boy!!!


What a way to start the football season!  Aidan's team looked a little shaky on the first few plays, but they quickly calmed down and played an excellent game against a good team.  No serious injuries and a lot of good plays, what more could I ask for?

Aidan is starting on both offense and defense and he is their starting kicker.  Needless to say, he's exhausted after playing almost the entire time. This is his first season kicking and he did a great job...especially the play where he kicked off and then went on to tackle the ball carrier, knocking the guy's helmet off in the process.  He started and finished that play :-)

 He's # 87
Anyway, all you local folks, if you can, come out and see them sometime.  It's a good time!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Big Day For Emily

Despite trying to avoid this day, it has finally arrived....

She has a mouth full of metal.  Don't be fooled by her smiling face, she really is NOT too happy about this new phase of her life...although she is enjoying all the pudding and ice cream :-)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011


 My rubber tree plant.  She's beautiful, isn't she?

I've had her for many, many years; probably around 20.  This is an accomplishment because, despite my fondness of plants, I am not particularly adept at keeping them alive.  When I was younger  I used to over-water all my plants and their roots would rot out.  Because of this, I've developed a habit of under-watering them.  This means that the only plants that survive at my house are the really hardy kind; the kind that can survive drought conditions.

My beautiful rubber tree plant is one of those hardy pieces of flora.

Now, we live in Minnesota, so the dear plant cannot be outside year-round.  It can, however, be brought out over the summer months.  During this time, my plant is VERY happy.  It gets the heat it desires, it gets watered more than once every two weeks. it gets lots of fresh air.  It's so happy that it grows and grows and grows!  This makes me happy :-)

This makes my husband unhappy :-(

You see, because we live in Minnesota, my dear rubber tree plant cannot STAY outside most of the year, so it stays in...my dining room.  Well, technically, it takes over my dining room because my rubber plant measures about nine feet wide, five feet deep and six feet tall.  In a dining room that is about 12 by 14, THE plant takes up....more than it's share of space.  Especially considering that we have a table in there that seats 10, as well.

About this time every year, my dear, sweet husband nicely requests that I "cut back" the rubber plant.  This is painful for me, as I hate cutting beautiful healthy branches off of plants.  It makes me...sad.  Most years, I cut back a teeny-tiny bit on the plant hoping to placate my wonderful husband.  And, bless his heart, despite the eye-rolling, he has never taken a knife to my tree on his own (I love you, dear!!!).

Well, this year my plant has done extremely well outside.  So well, that even I can see that it is NOT going to "fit" into the dining room in a few weeks.  So, this morning I steeled myself and took a knife and pruned my lovely tree down to a truly manageable size.  Sniff, sniff.

Here are the finished results...

You're welcome, Chris!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Music Room

Currently, in our not-too-large house, we have one piano, one snare drum, one flute, one bagpipe, one chanter, one French horn, one coronet, and two tenor drums.  These instruments, and all of the paraphernalia that they need, reside primarily in our living room.  It's working...if you don't mind tripping over a French horn case now and again.  Oh, and try to ignore the bagpipes on the dining room table, too.

BUT, birthday season is upon us in just eight short days, and among the list of gift suggestions there are: a guitar (Molly & Evan), a ukelele (Evan) and a hammered dulcimer (me).  Not sure where we would put these new instruments...except, perhaps, in our new music room!  Such a room doesn't exist, but wouldn't it be nice if it did? 

Perhaps we could sell all our furniture and turn the living room into a music room...not sure where you would sit when you came to visit, but you could have fun playing with our selection of instruments!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Love Camping!

Really, truly, I LOVE camping!  I grew up camping most weekends in the summer.  We took week-long, or longer, trips almost every summer, as well!  It was great!  I have so many fond memories of camping when I was young that I want to give me children a gift of those memories as well.

I think the thing I loved most about camping when I was a kid was that we were all together and not all being pulled in separate directions by different social calendars.  I knew that, for that time we were camping, the family would be the main focus.  I loved it!

So, we created memories this past weekend.  We declared it an electronics free weekend, so all iPods, iPads, MP3 players, laptops, etc. were banned!  Hallelujah!  Nobody was holed up in the camper with ear buds shoved in their ears :-)

The four hour drive up to the great North was worth it.  We were rewarded with lovely weather, great scenery and superb ice cream.  Btw, for those of you wandering around the Itasca State Park area, Emmasville has great ice cream!  I would HIGHLY encourage all of you to wander around Itasca State Park sometime.  It is a beautiful park with lots and lots to see and do, the high point being walking across the Mississippi River at its headwaters, of course.  The fire tower gives you a great view of the park as well, but your thighs will ache for about three days afterwards :-(

Okay, now for some photos!

A little sibling love

The mandatory hike across the Mississippi River.  My earliest childhood memory is of doing this very thing when I was about four or five

 Potential Christmas photo

Nina, looking beautiful even when she hasn't showered in days

Teasing the little fish off the dock

 Hanging with Aidan in the morning sun

Lots of hiking

 Riding to the beach in Uncle Peter's truck

Gotta love Jiffy Pop Popcorn!

The happy campers

There is one little, itty, bitty thing I DON'T like about camping...actually there were hundreds of itty bitey things I didn't like....but they sure liked me...

Actually, there were hardly any mosquitoes the entire time we were there, which is why we didn't put on bug spray when we went for a hike on Sunday...big mistake...but I sacrificed my legs so that the mosquitoes wouldn't bite the rest of the people...I'm still scratching...ouch!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Our family has a weird thing about fiberglass statues that you find along the roadside.  One year, on our way to Yellowstone, we stopped at every large fiberglass statue we saw.  You would not believe how many of those things there are from Minnesota, through North Dakota and into Wyoming.  It was a hoot!

Well, our camping trip this weekend provided us with more large fiberglass things to ponder.  We made a brief trip to Bemidji for the primary purpose of visiting Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.

An unexpected and hysterical surprise was this lovely statue in the town of Menahga, Minnesota

Driving by at 50 mph, I couldn't figure out what exactly this statue was, or more specifically, what this gentleman had skewered on the end of his pitchfork, but I laughed about it for several miles.  If we weren't already late in getting to the campground, I would have stopped to find out.  You can be certain that when we got home though, I googled the statue and found out that it was St. Urho!  Of course, I should have known that!  Yes, that's a giant grasshopper he killed.  Way to go, Urho!

Friday, August 19, 2011

A-camping We Will Go

Off for another round of camping! We'll be gone until Monday, and I am quite certain there is no internet up in the North Woods. This means there will be no news from me for four days :-(. Or maybe it's :-) depending on your point of view.

Just a side note for all you Minnesota camping aficionados who don't plan ahead, if the state park of your choice is full, try checking out the campgrounds in the state forests. The campsites cannot be reserved, so if you can get there ahead of the pack, you're golden! They are nice, but a little more rustic than the state parks - no electricity and only vault toilets. All in all, it beats going camping in Iowa! I will come back with plenty of picture!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Oh, No!!!!

So, we went to Goodwill tonight to do some shopping and something terrible happened!  As we were checking out, the nice woman behind the counter asked me if I qualified for the Senior discount!!!  UGH!!!  Say it isn't so!  Please!!  I'm still TEN years away from qualifying for the Senior discount, please tell me I don't look 55 yet....please....please...please!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More Photos

We went to a dual-purpose party at my sister's house yesterday, celebrating her daughter Rachel's birthday and their new deck.  You know, a deck-warming, birthday party.  As always, when my family gets together, it was a smashing good time and I have the pictures to prove it.

Raelea enjoying her rare cup of pop (or soda for the rest of you).

Molly enjoying the deck.

Apparently dancing lessons also took place.

And then there were the speeches...Zoe kicked it off with a lot of laughing...

Followed by Raelea's recounting of the story of Adam & Eve.

And Rachel finished it up with the story of Samson...complete with dramatics...I think she's destined to be an actress.

And then things got a little...weird.

Well....um....this is my husband....not quite sure what he's doing....which is typical....

And then there's Nina...um...not quite sure what she's doing either...she had the camera most of the night....and managed to take 170 pictures in two hours...

Ah, back to a little normalcy!   Aidan & his buddy Grandpa (and his ever present football, as well).

So, as you see, a smashing time was had by all :-)


And a happy early birthday to Rachel!!

Saturday, August 13, 2011


Thursday was a henna-fest over here! Nina was hard at work covering many people with beautiful artwork. Here's a sampling...

And then she let me have the henna bottle :-)


My favorite band doing one of my favorite hymns.  :-D  This makes me HAPPY!


Every time I wear this shirt my kids call me Steve.  Sometimes they call me Steve's mom.

Anyone want to guess why?  ****There is an unfair advantage here for people living in the US and having children between the ages of 12 and 18.****

Here's a clue...teehee...get it?  A CLUE :-)

Friday, August 12, 2011

My Heart's Desire

My heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved.     -Romans 10:1

I read this verse this morning and thought, "Yes! That is my heart's desire."

This isn't about "converting" anyone to my religion, or having some belief that everyone should share my beliefs.  Pure and simple, it's about wanting people, the people I care about, in particular, to experience the real love, the real freedom, the real joy that come only from knowing Jesus.

Deep down, above my love for Mumford & Sons, above my love for my family, above my love for my kids, and even above my love for my husband, I have a love for Jesus that is the sure and firm foundation of my soul.  That love is what has made me who I am.  That is the love that sustains me through the daily difficulties.  And that is the love that motivates this particular post.

So, for today, I will leave you with this thought...
"because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."     -Romans 10:9

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Few More Weekend Memories

Despite the lovely weather at home, it rained most of Saturday at the cabin.  Of course, the kids HAD to go out and stand in the rain (despite the fact that it was thundering and lightning).

Eventually, they tired of standing out in the rain, so we took a trip into town and visited the hardware/all-purpose store.  It provided quite a bit of entertainment...

Back at that cabin, this is how they kept themselves busy...

In the evenings, there was plenty of this going on...

Okay, I am now officially done with the weekend :-) 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Music

I told you it was a musical weekend, so now I will provide some free advertisement for Austin Durry and his band Marah in the Mainsail, and some free entertainment for you all.

Austin was with us this weekend and performed this song...enjoy!

A Guitar Weekend

What do young men do at the cabin for a weekend...yes, they play guitars and other stringed instruments.  They play them during the day, they play them at night, they play them inside and out.  They play them when they are playing other things.

It was a very musical weekend.  Stay tuned for more evidence of this :-)