"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, November 30, 2011

Good To Know

We have a handy-dandy budget/accounting program that monitors our spending and sends us timely reminders.  Well, last night I received an e-mail stating that I had "Exceeded budget for Coffee Shops."

Who knew!

I didn't even KNOW I had a budget for coffee shops!  Wow!  This is indeed good news! 

First order of business, up the budget for said coffee shops!

Monday, November 28, 2011

What Will They Remember?

I sometimes wonder what my kids will remember about their childhood, and more specifically, what they will remember about their mom.  I guess I'll just have to wait and see, but I had an interesting conversation with Nina today that made me happy.

We were driving in the car talking and I was trying to make an expressionless face (just because), but I couldn't do it.  I told Nina that I look sad or mad when my face is blank, and she said, "I don't know, you really are smiling most of the time."

That made me smile!

I want my kids to remember their mom as a happy mom.  I am a very impassioned person which means when I'm happy I'm really happy and when I'm not...well, you'll know it.  I get stressed or exasperated and, because I am with my kids 24/7, they see all this.  So, for my daughter, who's beyond the "Mom, your perfect" stage, to tell me she thinks I'm smiling most of the time, is precious to me!

Thanks, Nina, for brightening my day!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Today we put up our Christmas decorations :-) It always makes me smile to pull out the pretty things I haven't seen in a whole year. The kids get so excited...it's almost like they are getting presents. Since not all of you will grace our house with your presence this Christmas season, I will include some pictures here of our pretties.

Everyone needs antlers to decorate, don't they?
Btw, notice no snow on the ground :-(  This is not right when decorating for Christmas!

If it were up to me, I'd make new stockings, but every time I mention it my children have violent reactions.  You'd think I had told them I was going to get rid of all our pets.  Who knew that kids developed such a strong attachment to their stockings?  Even ugly stockings...

Raelea's favorite decoration, the Advent wreath.

Molly & Mumford enjoying the lights.
There you have it, I did not include the headless Santa in the pictures...maybe next time....

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Eight adults.  Twelve kids.  Four large dogs.

Family.  New friends.  Good food.

Laughter.  Stories.  Tea.

Football.  Nail polish.  More food.

Thankful hearts.  Full bellies.  Sleepy bodies.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!  Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, I hope you were surrounded today by those you love!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's Play

Let's play the new blog game "Guess What's In The Bucket"


Snickers is trying to help you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

No Shave November

Evan declared that it was "No Shave November" a few weeks ago. 

We were initially skeptical about the amount of facial hair he would generate, but apparently we were wrong.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Once again, no doubt in an effort to improve their product, Facebook has irritated me.  They will no longer automatically feed my blog posts onto my Facebook page :-(  This means I will be required to take personal responsibility and forward my posts to my Facebook page.  ORRRRR, all my Facebook readers could come on over here and check my blog...thus driving up my daily hit numbers :-) 

Whatever!  I guess I'll get used to the new routine.  While you can't teach an old dog new tricks, methinks this old lady can learn one.

Just Slap Me

Next time I get it in my head to go to the Mall of America on a Sunday afternoon could someone just slap me and say, "Woman!  Have you taken a leave of your senses?"  Because only someone who has disconnected from reality would spend 20 minutes finding a parking spot, any parking spot, and then wait in line for twenty minutes to by ONE thing!

I will thank you for it, I promise!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Playing With iSplash

Bed Head!

Some night's sleep just produce better bed heads than others. Apparently last night was one such night...

And look!  They're adorable even WITH bedhead!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Oh, Look!

Mumford has a new chew toy! 

Oh, wait!!  That's my bed.  Silly me, I get the two confused, and obviously, so does she.

If she wasn't so dang cute....

Oh well, it's only a bed, right?  Granted it was the beautiful sleigh bed that we waited 15+ years of marriage to get, but it's still "only a bed."

I wonder if they make bed-shaped rawhide.

More Music

In addition to hanging out and playing a variety of instruments around the home, Molly plays flute with a local youth orchestra.  Last night was their fall concert.  It brings back lots of memories of band performances from my childhood!

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's In The Blood

In case you're wondering where my interest in the hammered dulcimer came from - it's in my blood apparently.  Literally.  You see, I am related to John McCutcheon, who happens to be a master dulcimer player.  He and my dad are second cousins.  Just thought you'd like to know this little bit of trivia :-)

Now if I can just get him to give me lessons....

Actually, I didn't know that John played the dulcimer until this past week!  I knew he was a well-known folk musician and I knew I was related to him, but I did not know that he played the dulcimer.  Truthfully, the person who made me want to learn the dulcimer was the late Rich Mullins who, aside from being an amazing musician, was an amazing person as well.

Can you tell that I am anxiously awaiting the call that my dulcimer has arrived in Minnesota???

Oh, And Here's Another

Lest you think I've forgotten about Mumford & Sons (okay, no one actually thought that, did you?), here is a new song of theirs....

As you can see, I'm kind of in a music sort of mood today :-)


I know I posted this on Facebook awhile back, but not all of my blog buddies are Facebook friends....so, for you anonymous blog buddies, here is another band I LOVE!  And when they become famous, you can remember that you heard them here first!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Little Dulcimer Music

For those of you unfamiliar with the sound of a hammered dulcimer, here is a lovely example.

Isn't She Beautiful?

I would like you to meet my new hammered dulcimer.  Isn't she beautiful?  Actually, this picture is a stock picture, but mine will look a lot like it.  I don't actually HAVE my dulcimer yet, either :-(  BUT...they said it should come in about a week, so I don't have to wait too long.

For those of you that want details.  I am getting a Dusty Strings 12/11 dulcimer.  It is a beginners model, but the wonderful store we purchased it from, Homestead Pickin' Parlor, offers a 100% buy back when you want to upgrade!  Isn't that just amazing?   So, I can learn how to play a bit on this lovely instrument and then sell it back to the store for the same price I paid for it, to buy a more advanced model.

Btw, anyone who is interested in stringed instruments (ukuleles, guitars, banjos, dobros, dulcimers, etc.), this store is GREAT!  You really should stop by and experience it!

When my baby comes, I will post pictures of her in all her beauty :-)  I can't wait!!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My Sympathies

Uranus is feeling left out :-( 

Pluto will be visited in 2015.

Neptune MAY have a space craft sent to it in 2016 (arriving in 2030).

Saturn is being orbited by the Cassini spacecraft....

and then there's poor Uranus.  Last visited in 1986, and no plans for any other visits :-(  I feel bad for it.

Almost as bad as I felt for Pluto after it's demotion.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Come One, Come All

So!  If you've been inkling to hear Evan play his bagpipes, here is your chance!  Wayzata High School is doing Brigadoon for their fall musical, and they have hired Evan to be their bagpiper.

Their performances are November 10-12, and 17-19.  I believe all performances are at 7:30 pm.

So, if you happen to be hanging out around Wayzata, Minnesota, this weekend or next; longing to hear some bagpiping, you should check it out :-)

A Riddle For You

I found six of these today around the house.
None of them were where they belong.
All except one were black.
All except one belong to the same person.
Most were on the floor, but two were on the kitchen island and one was on the mantle.

What are they?

Monday, November 7, 2011

What Marcus Wants For Christmas...

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth
by Dan Gardner

Every body Pauses and stares at me
These two teeth are gone as you can see
I don't know just who to blame for this catastrophe!
But my one wish on Christmas Eve is as plain as it can be!

All I want for Christmas
is my two front teeth,
my two front teeth,
see my two front teeth!

Gee, if I could only
have my two front teeth,
then I could wish you
"Merry Christmas."

It seems so long since I could say,
"Sister Susie sitting on a thistle!"
Gosh oh gee, how happy I'd be,
if I could only whistle (thhhh, thhhh)

All I want for Christmas
is my two front teeth,
my two front teeth,
see my two front teeth.

Gee, if I could only
have my two front teeth,
then I could wish you
"Merry Christmas!"

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Music To My Ears

Whenever Evan is home, we know it, not because he is loud....because he is very musical. Pretty much from the minute he walks in the door until long after we're in bed, he is making music. If it's not the ukulele, it's Molly's guitar. If it's not the guitar, it's the piano. If it's not the piano, it's the bagpipes. He comes to the dinner table with an instrument.  He reads his homework with an instrument.  He writes papers with an instrument.  I don't think the child could live without his instruments :-)

A Tough Night For Guy

Last night, Evan hosted his second annual Guy Fawkes Night bonfire. As he did last year, Guy came to the party,....
but he didn't stick around long.

It was a somber affair!  Okay,  not really, but they all look like they are watching intently while Guy burns...
All in all, it was a nice night to...

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
the Gunpowder Treason and Plot,

I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, t’was his intent to blow up King and Parliament.

Three score barrels were laid below to prove old England’s overthrow;
By God’s mercy he was catch’d with a dark lantern and lighted match.

Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip hoorah!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Look Who's 7

Happy birthday, Raelea!  You are so incredibly special and we love you tons!

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Okay, now I'm not the most tech savvy person on the planet, but I'm no idiot either. 

Why is it that I am having such a difficult time navigating around the Google+ site?  Okay, maybe the five minutes I've given it so far isn't quite enough time.  I'll try some more, but if I don't figure it out soon I'm just going to throw in the towel.

For starters, it doesn't like my profile name!  I've used this profile name for all my Google accounts in the past (Picasa, Blogger, etc.) and it never complained, but NOW....no, no, no!  Google must approve my choice of names!  Not as in, making sure someone else doesn't have it.  As in, is it acceptable by "Google standards."  Hmmm.  Not liking that too much!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I Warned You

On Sunday, I posted about transracial adoption and I told you that I would soon give you my take on the whole thing.  Well...here I am and here it goes :-)

The focus of Sunday's post was that the National Association of Black Social Workers believes that black children CANNOT be properly raised in a non-black home, period.

First, let me address the fact that the quotes I included in the previous post were from many years ago...surely things/ideas have changed in that period of time.  No, they have not.  If you go to the NABSW website you will find that the emphasis made in the 1972 statement has NOT changed.

A lot has happened in the past forty years, despite the NABSW maintaining their position.  Adoption has been studied, adoptees have been studies, adoptive families have been studied, ad nauseum.  The welfare of children in non-biological families has been studied.  The book I mentioned (that I was quoting), In Their Own Voices, Transracial Adoptees Tell Their Stories, cites many studies on the long-term effects on people who were placed in a family of a different race than their own (they are all footnoted in the book, so I am not going to do that here).  The studies were regarding psychological health, self-esteem, family integration, etc. of the children.  In EVERY study, the children who were transracial adopted did as well or BETTER than those that were adopted into a family of their own race.

Here is a sample of what was found...and this is truly significant, imo!

During the first encounter with the children in 1972 (adopted and birth) they were given a series of projective tests including the Kenneth Clark doll tests, puzzles, pictures, and so on, that sought to assess racial awareness, attitudes and identity.  Unlike all other previous doll studies, our respondents did not favor the white doll.  It was not considered smarter, prettier, nicer, and so forth, than the black doll, either by white or black children.  Nor did any of the other tests reveal preferences for white or negative reactions to black.  Yet the black and white children in our study accurately identified themselves as white or black on those same tests.  Indeed, the most important finding that emerged from our first encounter with the families in 1971-72 was the absence of a white racial preference or bias on the part of white birth children and the nonwhite adopted children.

This is amazing!  Encouraging!  If you are not familiar with the doll tests you can view them on YouTube.  They are heartbreaking!  But the study of children placed in transracial adoptions and their white siblings did NOT react the same way as other children, presumably raised in their biological homes.  I cannot even express how happy this makes me!

I could go on and on, but I won't! 

Some of you are thinking, yeah, so what's the big deal?  Why is Barb going on and on about this?  Well, the reason why is that there are people who believe those things I quoted in the first post.  They believe that there is NO WAY I should be parenting the children God has given me.  That there is NO WAY that my multi-racial and black children will thrive in our home.  I have a problem with that! 

Personally, I believe a little education can go a long way, so this post is my effort to educate :-)

Carry on!

Stainless Steel Cleaner

****Public Service Announcement****

I have discovered a GREAT stainless steel cleaner!  Well, actually, I didn't discover it, my mom did, but she shared it with me.  And now, I will share it with you.

I have a LOT of stainless steel in my kitchen AND I have a LOT of kids leaving fingerprints in my kitchen.  As you can imagine, this is not a very good combination (at least, not if you want a sparkly kitchen).

Well, I've tried a few different methods of cleaning my appliances, but none of them worked very well, or they were just too much work.  Until now!  Today I bring to you...

Weiman Stainless Steel Wipes

Quick, easy and very effective in making my stainless steel appliances SHINE!

Mom got them at soap.com.  $5.85 for a 30-count container.  Btw, I cleaned my refrigerator, my dishwasher and my microwave all with one wipe. 

There you have it!

You're welcome!