"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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Lessons From Last Night

You learn something new everyday, or so the saying goes, but I discovered that you can learn something new at NIGHT as well.

Take last night, for instance.  Last night I learned:
  1. You should not consume a whole bunch of caffeine throughout the day and into the evening.
  2. You should NOT ignore the dog that is trying to wake you up in the middle of the night.
Lessons I will not soon forget.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This Made Me Smile

At Aidan's football game on Monday night, Zoe was having a little conversation with one of the football moms.  Zoe told her that my birthday was the next day.  She also told her that I was going to be....21!

I love that girl!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Birthday To Me

Thought I'd take a minute, while Nina is making lunch, to wish myself a happy birthday!

I always get reflective on my birthday, so I think I will share some things that I am thankful for this past year.

  1. I'm thankful for my family and friends who love me in all my uniqueness and put up with all my irritating behaviors (and there are many).
  2. I'm thankful that I am healthy and happy (present mild illnesses aside).
  3. I'm thankful that my family is all healthy and happy (present mild illnesses aside).
  4. I'm thankful that I got to go to Kansas City this past year and experience a Mumford & Sons concert. (one of my goals for 2011)
  5. I'm thankful for having the ability to homeschool my kids.
  6. I'm thankful that my husband continues to be gainfully employed :-)
  7. I'm thankful that God gave me the perfect husband for me!
  8. I'm thankful that we got to go camping this past summer, even if one of the trips was to...Iowa.
  9. I'm thankful for kids that make lunch for me, so I have time to blog.
  10. I'm extremely thankful for a God who loves me so much to give me all these blessings on top of the greatest blessing of all, his Son Jesus!  Thanks, God!
There you have it...the short list of things I am thankful for at 12:10 pm on September 27, 2011.

Love to you all!  I'm thankful for my blog buddies and Facebook friends as well!!

Monday, September 26, 2011


Okay, this one was so incredibly lopsided it ceased being fun by the end of the first quarter. 

But hey - Go Swarm!!!

Okay Then

Nina's quote of the day:

"Donny Osmond makes me want to do dishes."

Birthdays & Bowling

Every year, around this time, we have a massive birthday celebration with Chris' side of the family.  Not only do all of us in this family have fall birthdays, all of my kids' cousins on Chris' side have fall birthdays as well.

So, Grandma and Grandpa throw a birthday bowling bash each year, which is a wonderful event of food, bowling and presents.  This year was no different.  Everyone had a great time, even if our bowling skills aren't exactly top notch!

Here's Raelea getting ready to bowl.
Aidan, looking handsome, as usual.

I'm glad Evan took this picture in the fifth frame, as my game went downhill from there!

No birthday is complete without a cake.

Evan & Nina sharing a seat :-)
Special thanks to Tom & Gloria for the great time!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

She Wears Her Sunglasses At Night

I know she wasn't sporting these when I said good night to her, but when I went in later, Raelea was looking quite comfortable in these shades.
Apparently she thought her room was too bright.

It's a Tea Party

Zoe turned five three weeks ago, but today we finally got around to throwing her birthday party.  Life was a little chaotic at the beginning of September with her big sisters in Pennsylvania and then her brothers in the Boundary Waters.

My kids only get kid parties when they turn five, ten and 15, so they are a big deal to the kids.  Zoe opted for a tea party with a few friends.

Here are the beautiful princesses awaiting their lunch.

Lunch was followed by a rousing game of pin the handle on the teacup.

And the birthday girl, Princess Zoe.  Looking quite regal with her tiara.
And here is the helpful lesson I learned while preparing for the party.  Plastic tiaras cost between $5 and $10 at Party City, but you can get them for $1 a piece at Target.  So, if you're in the market for plastic tiaras - Target is the place!


Go Swarm!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Because This Is How I Feel Today

"So hold me fast,
Hold me fast 'cause I'm a hopeless wanderer,
And I will learn,
I will learn to love the skies I'm under!"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


We found it!  The cure to nail biting...wait for it....


Our dear Emily (a former nail biter) is now sporting lovely long nails because she cannot bite her nails with her braces.

So, if you are looking for a $6000 cure for nail biting, here you have it!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


What more is there to say?  No injuries on either team.  Aidan made at least one sack and prevented at least two touchdowns by the opposing team.  Sad to give up the third touchdown of the year, but all's well, it has to happen sometimes.

Go Swarm!

Fit of Poetry

I'm feeling a fit of poetry coming on, so I will share one of my favorite Robert Frost poems tonight...

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Some Good Ideas

School has been in full swing over here for a couple weeks now.  I'm starting to see what makes the day go smoother and what makes for difficult sailing.  With this new insight, I am offering some helpful ideas for all my homeschooling friends whom I'm sure experience the same sort of problems with their day.
  1. Let's just eliminate breakfast and lunch...a partial-day fast Monday through Friday.  We all know that meal prep and clean up really get in the way of a smoothly running school day, don't we?  Stray breakfast dishes, or cleaning off the counter, just delay the start of school.  Just when you're in the middle of a fascinating subject, the bird clock on the wall starts hooting at you to notify you that it's noon.  Why break for lunch?  Let's just skip it altogether.  Hmm, we might have to eliminate dinner, too, if the school day is running particularly late.
  2. Clothes.  Completely unnecessary!  We all know that when clothes are worn they must be washed and dried.  This laundry duty REALLY interferes with the flow of my school day, so to solve the problem I think we should forgo clothes Monday through Friday as well.
  3. Doctor's appointments...actually any appointments.  These interruptions should be banned from the months September through May.  All illnesses and well-checks should only occur during the three months of summer.
  4. Any and all emotional or discipline needs will need to be rescheduled for the hours of 4 pm to 8 pm.
  5. Weather.  It would really help if the weather on every school day was cloudy and preferably windy and rainy, this would eliminate the desire of some children to take "short cuts" on their school work because they want to go outside.  Weekends, on the other hand, must all be beautiful and sunny.
  6. Lastly, I would like to build a silent room around each of my children.  A special room where they can hear everything I say perfectly, but where they can't see or hear any of their siblings.
There! I hope you all benefit from my helpful suggestions.

Good day!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

25-0, 21-0

It occurred to me that I never posted the results of Aidan's last football game.  I know you've all been waiting with bated breath to find out if they won or not.  Well, they did indeed win that game, and they won again tonight as well.  As you can see from the scores, their defense is quite formidable.

That's Aidan in the long black socks (87)

There are many things I like about Aidan's current team/coach, aside from the fact that they win every game.  Coach makes sure the team is disciplined, they are not allowed to slack off or miss practices without penalties.  They must show excellent sportsmanship at all times, as well.  Coach is never harsh, cruel or unkind, but he expects the boys to give it their all - and they do, game after game after game.

Anytime a player is injured (on our team or the opposing team), the team "takes a knee" until the injured player is up.  And these boys are quick to applaud the rising of the injured  player, no matter whose team he is on.

Because our line is quite good, we unfortunately had quite a few moments with our players "on a knee" tonight.  Aidan was the cause of two of those times.  Just to get you all excited to come see the game, I'll put in the video of Aidan's last tackle of the night.  He's 87 in the upper right at the beginning of the video.  Enjoy - and don't worry, I don't think the other kid was seriously injured, but he did have the wind knocked out of him :-(

There's still time to make a game....here's the updated game schedule for those of you that are interested: Sept. 20, 24, 29, Oct. 1 (am game), 4.  After that come play-off games and then the Lightning Bowl (if we make it, which seems quite likely at this point) which is somewhere towards the end of Oct.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Please Pray

Folks, some days are just full of difficult news.  Today was one of those days!  Talked to a dear friend this afternoon who shared a very difficult trial her family is going through.  Later, talked to another very close friend who was burdened by a trial involving someone close to her.  Now, I just found out that a dear family in our church is facing the possibility of another child with cancer - this would be their third!  They just buried their 14 year old son on Sunday, and now another son may have a tumor.

I'm overwhelmed!  Could you please pray for all these folks?  The first two situations, I cannot share the details, but God knows them, so could you please pray for them.  As for the church family, their Caring Bridge website is here.  (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/corinnewatters) You will find all you need to know there to lift them up in prayer.


Don't Ask

Birthdays are a raucous time around here!

Boys' BWCA Trip

Despite having to come out of the Boundary Waters a day early because of the forest fire, the boys had a great trip. And it's a good thing they did come out early, as the fire grew significantly after the guys got out. It's currently more than 80,000 acres large :-( Anyway, here are a few pics...

Here's the smoke from the fire on the day they paddled in.

Whittling is a favorite activity up there :-)

Thankfully, the weather was BEAUTIFUL!  I'm not quite sure this is the best way to paddle a canoe though....

Lots of rocks, lots of great pictures :-)

The smoke in the air did strange things to the moon.

Then they were told to evacuate, and this is why...
 You can see the flames in the photo above :-(

There were firefighters at the portages helping the campers get through quickly, and making sure that the portages remained passable.

And here is what the area looked like after the fire had moved through. :-(  It makes me sad because it is usually so incredibly green up there.  It will rebound, but for now it looks quite devastated.

Happy Birthday, Aidan & Emily!!

Happy birthday squared, around here today!  My favorite twins in the whole world came into the world 12 years ago today!!

You two bring so much joy to my heart, I can hardly stand it!  I hope you have an amazing, extremely fun and joy-filled birthday!

I love you tons and bunches!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


After 15 years of waiting, Evan finally has his own room!  This is big news around here!  You see, the only time that Evan had his own room was that brief three year period when he was an only child.  Since the arrival of siblings, he has had to share (just like all the other kids).

At first, it wasn't because we didn't have the bedroom space, it was a conscious decision on our part to have our children share rooms.  Personally, we believe it builds a lot of character :-)  But as the children started multiplying, we were forced to have the kids share because we really did NOT have the bedroom space.  Prior to this weekend, we had two bedrooms with three kids in them each and one bedroom with two kids.

To fully understand the awesomeness Evan is feeling at having his own room, you should also know that, not only did he share a room with his two brothers, their room had no door on it, and Evan's portion of the room also doubled as the play room.  So, not only did he have no room, he had no privacy!  It's been like that for the past 3 1/2 years and not once, literally not once, has he ever complained or even asked for his own room!  (I love that kid!)

Anyway, our basement has been in a bit of turmoil since the little water heater incident, so we decided that this might be the time to give Evan his own room; he is, after all, going to be 18 in just a month.  So, with a bit of chaos and an added dose of brawn, we managed to move the school room into the area Evan used to occupy and move Evan into his very own room!

Doesn't he look happy?

They're Coming Home Early

Got a call tonight from Aidan, which was a bit of a surprise because there is no cell phone coverage in the Boundary Waters.  It turns out they are on their way home a day early.  Apparently, the fire that has been burning up in the area for about a week was getting too close to where they were camping, so the ranger told them they had to leave.

They're not home yet, but I am sure they will have stories to tell.  I asked Aidan if they smelled the smoke and he said they had, then I asked him if they saw flames and he told me they got pictures of them.  I'm glad they're safe, and (selfishly) I'm glad to get them back a day early, but I'm sorry, for them, that their trip was cut short.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

It's Been Awhile

Raelea has been asking for more cardboard items lately, but I haven't had the time or the energy to oblige her...until today! Today, she received her long-requested cardboard pocket knife! Oh! Was she ever happy!
And here she is demonstrating the proper way to close her pocket knife...you wouldn't want to get cut by the blade, you know.

She is a little disappointed that her pocket knife only has one blade and no scissors, but I think I can remedy that tomorrow.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday Molly!

Yippee!!  Molly's 14!  Happy birthday, sweet Molly!  I'm so glad to be able to give you your birthday hug in person!

And so glad that you can give your new guitar a birthday hug in person, as well!  (No, those aren't really marks on the back of the guitar - it's pristine - it must be from the camera flash)

Molly, you are a joy to have as a daughter! We are so proud of you and we look forward to being serenaded with lots of guitar music! Love you!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Raelea's First Writing Assignment

Raelea is now in first grade. I'm bound and determined to do a better job of teaching writing to my younger kids than I did with my older kids.   So, Raelea has now composed her very first story.  I thought I would share it with you all.
The Big Fish
A person was holding a fishing pole.  A person saw her bobber get pulled down.  Once she wound the line in, there was a fish that was 180 feet long.  The person's name was Raelea.  She took the fish and put it in a cooler that was 180 feet long.  She took it home and ate it for dinner.    
The end.

Off They Go,...

Into the wild blue yonder....

Okay, not quite.

Off they go, into the wild!

My boys (sans Evan) are off to their biennial Boundary Waters trip....and I am SOOOOO jealous.  Five days of peace, quiet, camping, canoeing and portaging...ahhh...it's the best place on earth, methinks! 

Now that their on their way, I think I need to start planning our girls' trip for next year :-D  That makes me HAPPY!!!

On a side note, I'm down to only four kids at home right now.  I'm not sure I know what to do with myself with only four kids!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Yet another outstanding football game by Aidan's team! The first three or four times they had the ball, they scored on the very first play.  It was going to be a bit excessive, but the rules say that if you are three touchdowns ahead, you have to play second string players.  This made the game more enjoyable for the other team, and it was a great opportunity for our second string players to get more experience.

Chris only took video of today's game, no still shots.  So, here is a short video of Aidan kicking off.  Enjoy!

Some of you have expressed an interest in seeing Aidan play. He has games on Sept. 13, 17, 22, 24, and 29, October 1 & 4. After that there will be playoffs, and there is a good chance that they will be going to the Lightning Bowl which is the BIG game towards the end of October. Let me know if you want to go to any of these games and I will let you know what time they play.

Summer's Over

Sad, but true.  With the start of school today, I have to admit that summer is indeed over.  This always makes me a little sad.  I like fall well enough, but at heart I am a summer sort of girl - warm sunshine on my face is one of my favorite feelings!

Well, Emily decided to embrace the season change with a "farewell to summer" cake.

Notice the nice fluffy clouds and the warm sunshine!  But then there are the autumn leaves all around it too.  It's a very transitional piece.

Emily is enjoying baking while her older sisters are away.  Normally they hog the oven and she doesn't get a chance to explore the kitchen.  Yet another baker in the house will not be beneficial for our waistlines though :-(

You Learn Something New Every Day

And this weekend it was Evan's time to learn how to change the spark plugs in his truck!
Good thing he has such a good teacher :-)
Now Evan is happy and his truck is happy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Chilly Boat Ride

All morning Raelea asked, "When are we going on our chilly boat ride?"

Finally, after lunch, her wish was granted, and we embarked on a chilly (but fun) boat ride.  It's a beautiful, sunny day here at the cabin, but it is only 62 degrees.  While 62 and sunny is nice when you are sitting still on land, it is quite chilly when you start moving in a boat.

Deb quickly decided that arms are overrated.

The girls made sure Mumford was warm.

Snickers and Zoe took in the scenery, or were looking for turtles.

Quilts and sleeping bags made the ride quite comfortable.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Happy Birthday, Zo-Bug!

Our little Zoe is five!!  Hard to believe, isn't it?  This is her very first birthday celebration at the cabin, and she is enjoying it thoroughly - complete with a pretty dress, presents and a Hello Kitty cake...

Zoe, we love you and are so thankful for all the joy and laughter you bring to our family!

Happy birthday!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Sweet Nina!

My little girl is 15 today!!  Fifteen years ago today...we didn't even know you existed...but God did and He knew that you would become our beloved daughter...and it all began a few days later with the phone call, "There's been a baby girl born..."  What a glorious phone call that was :-)

So, dear Nina, for your fifteenth birthday, I give you

15 Things I Love About Nina
1. Her beautiful smile
2. She serves me by helping around the house, particularly if I am having a rough day
3. She loves to bake nummy stuff
4. She's never afraid to try new things
5. She is amazingly talented in so many ways
6. She does henna on me even when her hand is tired from doing henna on other people
7. She is an excellent drawer
8. She can dance
9. She has a great sense of humor, even if I don't always "get" it
10. She likes hugs and back-scratches
11. She gives excellent back and hand and foot massages
12. She is the most generous person I know
13. She says what she thinks - I love knowing where I stand and not playing games - she is very REAL
14. She puts fake nails on me whenever I want them
15. She is always thinking of ways to bless others

I wish you were older, Nina, so I could write more, as I came up with 15 in about 60 seconds!

She was an adorable baby...

who has turned into a beautiful young lady!

I wish I could give you a big birthday hug today, but since you are far, far away, a cyber-hug will have to do.

We love you so much, Nina! Happy Birthday!!!!!