"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, February 28, 2012

Sand, Surf, Sun

That pretty much sums up our day! We started with sand.  Because of a stalled beach rejuvenation project, there is a giant pile of sand just down the beach from us.  We took advantage of this and did a little dune jumping.
And since we are missing the snow back home, Raelea made sand balls instead of snowballs.

Then we moved on to the surf, which I think consisted primarily of running away from the waves

Then Zoe decided to try the combined effects of surf & sand.  She discovered that sand, then surf works much better than surf, then sand.

Then came the sun...

which resulted in many rosy cheeks in our house.

My sympathies to all my Minnesota friends who are enduring a "wintery mix" of weather.  Spring will come soon, folks.  Really, it will!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Random Pictures

Apparently the activities of yesterday completely wore Marcus out.

Raelea and Zoe showing their excitement about their morning coffee!

Even though the sun is still hiding, that hasn't stopped us from enjoying the sand and surf.

The high point of the day was taking the ferry to Dauphin Island to see the Estuarium.

And then there was the Estuarium...hmmm...he looks pretty good in this!

Zoe, Molly & Nina entertaining themselves while they wait for their King Cake.

There you have it, random Monday pictures!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Not Sure What To Think

Nina had an interesting experience today at the outlet mall. Not sure what to make of it. She was going into a dressing room at a store when the clerk asked Nina, "Are you mixed?" Nina was puzzled, and not quite sure what the woman was asking. Finally the woman asked, "Are you part white?" Nina then acknowledged that she was, indeed, "mixed." The woman then said, "I didn't want to offend you and ask you if you were black." Nina assured her that she wouldn't have been offended. She was a bit puzzled at why that would be offensive. Wow! Not really sure what to think of that. Quite sure this conversation never would have taken place Minnesota! Btw, the clerk was African American.

Like Coming Home

Well, like coming home if I were rich and lived here.

Even though we don't live here, this is the fifth year Mom & Dad have stayed in this house in Gulf Shores, so if feels like home when we get here.  And this morning, this...
 my big, stripey cup, made me feel very at home!  Every morning while we are here, I drink my tea out of this big, stripey cup while I look out at the beach ;-)  I love my big, stripey cup!
And we get to enjoy this wonderful place because of these wonderful people...
 my mom & dad, who give up their peace and quiet for a week to share this great place with us.  I love Mom & Dad!

Because it was chilly today and because it's tradition, the kids made their annual trip to the "Shark Store" to pick out souvenirs.  Here's Raelea modelling her choice...

And Nina enjoying the wi-fi at the house....and Grandma & Grandpa's iPad :-)
I love my kids!

Feeling very loving tonight while watching the Oscars.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Here We Are

Twenty-two hours in the car is grueling, but once we get down here, we forget all that and just shift into relaxation mode!

Can I just say that I LOVE vacation!  Where else can I spend an hour doing a jigsaw puzzle or sit and listen to Nina and her grandpa discuss which guys are cute on Facebook. 

 Lack of sleep is making it difficult for me to put thoughts together, so here are some random thoughts on our trip down.

Let's see, maybe you'd like some highlights of the trip.  How about a quote? 

Raelea: "Mom, when I grow up I want to go to Iowa for spring break.  They have lots of farms there."

It seems like Iowa has the market on interesting museums.  We drove by the Grout Museum in Waterloo, IA.  Who knew there was a whole museum devoted to grout?  (okay, not really)  And then there's the Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids, IA.

When it comes to interesting names for towns, Mississippi gets the prize.  Where else can you find a city called Buckatunna?

There are some wonderful things about being down south...like Chick-fil-A and Krispy Kreme.

Okay, I've exhausted my ability to think at this point, so I will just post a few pictures and then I'm going to bed, where I will fall asleep and then startle awake when I think that I've fallen asleep at the wheel of the car.

Nothing like enjoying our arrival with a few frappuccinos.

 Our house for the week

Lots of Mardi Gras beads

Molly relaxing :-)

Stay tuned!  I promise the next post will be more coherent!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Making Progress

Sorry for the quiet.  I am trying to cross off items from my last post.  I've finished five of the thirteen items....43 hours to go.  Hmmm, we'll see how this goes!

But in the end, I will be walking on sandy beaches, watching dolphins frolic and listening to the waves crashing, so it will all be worth it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Pre-Vacation Panic

This happens every time we are about to take a trip. I enter the pre-vacation panic mode. On top of the normal school, music lessons, orthodontic appointments, classes, church, and co-op preparation, we must add:
  1. Making numerous lists
  2. Getting out the summer clothes
  3. Packing chosen clothing
  4. Making muffins
  5. Shopping for trip
  6. Shopping for Evan (who is staying home)
  7. Making to-do list for Evan
  8. Making gorp
  9. Making chex mix
  10. Finding sunscreen - hmmm, not even sure where to begin looking for this, maybe I'll just go buy some new stuff
  11. Typing up care instructions for dogs
  12. Delivering bunnies and dogs to their various temporary homes
  13. I'm sure there are more things that I must do, but I have just gone into brain-freeze looking at this list!
Yikes, I need to get off the blog and get to work!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sorry For The Wait

Last Monday, I told you I would post the message from church that prompted my Monday post. Well, here it is....finally. I hope you take the time to listen through to the end because it is really good!

If God Knows Everything and Has Planned Everything, Why Pray?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vacation Excitement

With vacation looming, the talk around the house frequently centers on our trip.  Today was no different.  This morning Marcus said to me, "Mom, I'm really looking forward to our trip to Alabama!"

I responded, "Great!  What do you look forward to the most?"

"Stopping at the gas stations in the middle of the night!"  To which, certain other children in the room replied, "Yeah!  That's so fun!"

Wow, we're going to walk on white sandy beaches in the sunshine, and the thing my kids are looking forward to is taking bathroom breaks in the middle of the night on our 22 hour drive!  I had no ides gas stations were so entertaining!

Now I've Done It

I sent a money order to Electric Dragonland today!  Can't say I've ever done that before.

This means that I have officially committed myself to getting my tattoo.  There's no turning back now; well, unless I want to lose $50.  No date set yet for the inking, but it is coming soon...

My friendly tattoo artist told me that I do NOT want to get it done before vacation because, apparently, it can't be exposed to sunlight or water for two weeks.  So, it will have to wait until we get back home...but definitely before summer.

Stay tuned....

Friday, February 17, 2012

Congratulations, Nina!

Hold on to your hat!  Nina just got her driving permit!  After enduring 30 long hours of driving instruction and a trip to the DMV, Nina is the proud bearing of a Minnesota Driving Permit!  Let the fun begin :-)

Way to go, Nina!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It Won't Be Long Now

Ten short days from now...from this very minute...we will be in our van, hurtling down the freeway, on our way to the white beaches of Alabama!  Twenty-two hours after stepping foot in the van, we will de-van (Hey, if you can de-plane, we can de-van), and feel the ocean breeze on our faces!  It will be GLORIOUS!  I can almost hear they waves crashing just thinking about it.

You have NO idea how much I look forward to walking on the beach with the wind in my hair, picking up seashells and watching the kids play in the waves!  When you've lived almost your entire life in the center of the continent, the beach is a very special place, indeed!

Ahhhhhh...I think I'll go to bed now and have happy, beachy dreams!  Good night!

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope you all had a splendid Valentine's Day with those you love.  My sweetie brought me home chocolate AND took me out for ice cream tonight!  What a guy!  If I didn't know any better, I'd say he was trying to make me fat.  :-)

Happy Valentine's Day to all my faithful readers! Here is a sweet gift from me to you! <3  A song that never fails to make me smile!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Comes Early

Evan and gang held their second annual Valentine's Day Dinner for their lady friends tonight.  While last year was reminiscent of a lovely tea party, this year was a masquerade, complete with original music, an original drama and, of course, masks!

It never ceases to amaze me at how these guys pull this off!  The music was great, the drama was...a bit dark, but well done, and the food was really excellent (I got to sample the left-overs).  As I sit here typing, the remnant of the party is still carrying on in the living room.

Now for some pictures...

 Here are four of the seven who put this whole thing on.

 Now six, with their masks...kind of a scary bunch.  I hope the ladies don't have nightmares!

A little rehearsal before the ladies arrive.

The tables are all ready.

And then the lovely ladies arrive.

No pictures of the meal, but I can assure you it was excellent!
Apparently, my picture taking was a shocking surprise :-)

How many people does it take to blow out a candle?

The ladies also provided some musical entertainment.

Then, of course, there was just general conversation and silliness.

As the party started to wind down, we allowed the little girls to come in and see all the pretty ladies!  (My kids ADORE Evan's friends!)

And Evan ADORES his little siblings!

Callie even serenaded Zoe & Raelea at bedtime...complete with ukulele music.  We LOVE Callie!

Just don't ask...

More random pics...

Nina, who missed most of the party due to drivers' ed, did throw on a dress when she arrived.  Erin (who Nina is hugging) made both Nina's dress and her own.  She is so talented!!
  There you have it, Evan's party!

I didn't explain this last year, so I will take just a sec to do it this year - the reason that these guys throw this elaborate party for these ladies.  Most of these young ladies have made a decision to not "date around."  They are not interested in giving their hearts away, only to have them broken.  They are trusting God to bring them a husband when they are ready.  While this is a wonderful thing, it can be a lonely thing for a young lady, particularly on Valentine's Day.  So, these guys put on this party to show the ladies how much they appreciate, respect  and love them - not because they are trying to get something from them, but for who they are.  It really is a beautiful thing!

Front Row Seats

As you know, WAY back in June a group of us took a little road trip to go to a concert.  At said concert, we had front row "seats," front and center, to be exact.  It was an amazing experience.  When you are that close to the stage, to the music and musicians, it is an intense experience.  Your eyes are fixated on the stage and everything else is just kind of blurred in the background.

Yesterday at church, I heard an amazing message on prayer.  I'll post a link to  the message here when it is available on the web, for those of you that are interested in listening to it yourself.  Anyway, one of the things that hit me right between the eyes, was that, as a Christian, I have been given a front row seat to witness God, who He is and what He is doing!  I have a front row seat to the divine life of God himself.  To witness His glory and splendor.  It made me wonder why I waste so much time looking around at other things!

When we were at our concert in June, people tried to push us out of our premium spot.  I planted my feet in the ground and would not budge.  There was NO way on God's green earth that I was giving up the very best spot at that concert!  Oh, that I would have that type of tenacity to hold onto my premium spot, center-stage at God's "concert"!  So many things try to push me this way or that.

Just some rambling thoughts to start my day.  I'm off to a "concert" now :-D

Friday, February 10, 2012

Hindsight is 20/20

In retrospect, it might not have been such a good idea to teach the kids about sharks just two weeks before we go to Alabama.

After school today, Aidan came up with the following treatise:

1. Don’t carry any dead fish in water.
2. Stay out of water early in morning and early evening. (Swim in the heat of day.)
3. Stay out of dark, murky water. (Swim in clear water.)
4. Don’t wear bright colors that are contrasting. (Especially contrasting colors.)
5. Don’t swim near a steep drop off.
6. Never provoke a shark. (Don’t poke or touch it.)
7. If you see a shark stay calm. (Don’t make any rapid movements.)
8. Swim calmly and in rhythm toward land or a boat.
9. Always keep the shark in sight, look directly at it (sharks often attack when not seen)

(If all else fails fight the shark, do anything)

I then found him passionately instructing his three youngest siblings on how to avoid being attacked by a shark. This is going to be an interesting vacation!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Name of the Moon

Now, I know that I did a previous post on a book called The Name of the Wind, but do not be confused.  This post is not about a book.  It is actually about...the name of the moon!  Imagine that.

Unbeknownst to me, until two days ago, the moon (at least when it is full) has a name!  My eldest son, who is a walking encyclopedia, not only informed me that full moons HAVE names, he then began to recite those names to me.

Without further ado, for your edification and education, I present to you the names of the full moons according to the Farmers' Almanac.

Full Wolf Moon – January Amid the cold and deep snows of midwinter, the wolf packs howled hungrily outside Indian villages.

Full Snow Moon – February Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February’s full Moon the Full Snow Moon.

Full Worm Moon – March As the temperature begins to warm and the ground begins to thaw, earthworm casts appear, heralding the return of the robins.

Full Pink Moon – April This name came from the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox, which is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring.

Full Flower Moon – May In most areas, flowers are abundant everywhere during this time. Thus, the name of this Moon.

Full Strawberry Moon – June This name was universal to every Algonquin tribe. However, in Europe they called it the Rose Moon.

The Full Buck Moon – July July is normally the month when the new antlers of buck deer push out of their foreheads in coatings of velvety fur. I

Full Sturgeon Moon – August The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month.

Full Corn Moon or Full Harvest Moon – September This full moon’s name is attributed to Native Americans because it marked when corn was supposed to be harvested. Most often, the September full moon is actually the Harvest Moon, which is the full Moon that occurs closest to the autumn equinox. In two years out of three, the Harvest Moon comes in September, but in some years it occurs in October.

Full Hunter’s Moon or Full Harvest Moon – October This full Moon is often referred to as the Full Hunter’s Moon, Blood Moon, or Sanguine Moon. Many moons ago, Native Americans named this bright moon for obvious reasons.

Full Beaver Moon – November This was the time to set beaver traps before the swamps froze, to ensure a supply of warm winter furs.

The Full Cold Moon; or the Full Long Nights Moon – December During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. 

Now don't you just feel smarter by reading this?  I thought so.  

Monday, February 6, 2012

No Greater Love

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." - Jesus (John 15:13)

I've been pondering today.  Whenever that happens it produces a blog post :-)

I've been pondering dying.  Not the "keel over," sort of dying, but the "laying down your life for someone" sort of dying.  It all started yesterday after church when I talked to a friend.  This sweet friend has just brought two new kids into her family, as she was telling about how the adjustment is going, I couldn't help but think, "this is what it looks like to die."  It brought back many memories of when we first brought Marcus and Zoe home.  She didn't have to say too much to me; it only took only a few words for me to vividly recall and understand what she is experiencing.  The laying down of a life, her life, for another.

Later, we went to a Super Bowl party.  While the men watched the game, the women talked (and ate, but mostly talked).  These dear friends shared their trials (and their joys) of being a mom.  I sat with dying women.  What splendid company!

Today, as I pondered these thoughts, several of my children had "issues."  Some of these "issues" made school start late, they made lunch be served an hour and a half late.  Plans were set aside, the laundry did not get done, the house did not get cleaned, the dulcimer did not get played, the emails did not get read.  They made me die.  Laying down MY life for THEIRS.

And that is what love looks like.  It hurts.  It's hard.  It is so worth every sacrifice.

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."   -Jesus (John 12:24)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This Is Slightly Embarrassing!

I'm not really sure if this is a good idea, to post my very poor attempts to play my hammered dulcimer, but...oh well!  You'll need to overlook the uneven tempos, the hesitating, and the wrong notes :-)

So here you go, this is a sampling of what goes on around here every day...in 60 second intervals :-)

If you can stomach another one, here you go....

The Enemy

For those of you that haven't been informed, you can now hear the entire song The Enemy (from Wuthering Heights). Some of us have been waiting for this for months!  Enjoy!!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thoughts On Mange

Well, I never thought that I would write a post about mange.  I also never thought that reading informational sheets from the vet could be entertaining, but I was wrong on both accounts.  While sitting in McDonald's enjoying a chocolate/Shamrock shake tonight, I pulled out the info sheet the vet gave me earlier today.  Here are some interesting (?) and entertaining nuggets of information I gathered.

  1. "Most dogs live in harmony with their mites, never suffering any consequences from being parasitized."  First off, is parasitized even a word??  And how do we KNOW that dog and mite are living harmoniously??  Maybe they are waging constant, albeit very small, battles against each other.  Hmm?
  2. "It seems like this would be a simple task since localized demodicosis classically involves several round facial bald spots and generalized demodicosis involves a bald scaly entire dog;"   Hmmm, yes, I think if I looked really closely, I could figure out which dog had generalized mange and which one had localized.  I'm sorry, but picturing a "bald scaly entire dog" is making laugh so hard, I'm crying!
  3. "Treatment is not necessary or recommended for localized demodicosis but there are treatment options for people who simply cannot feel right about doing nothing." "Doctor, I know that there is no needed treatment, and that you don't think it wise to do anything to treat this condition, but I HAVE to do something!  Just give my dog some medicine so I can feel better!"  Hmmm, that sounds like a good idea, don't you think?
  4. And last, but certainly not least - "Please, do not dip your dog in motor oil!"  Oh, bummer!  I was just going to go out and do that tonight!  I guess I'll just go to Redbox and get a movie instead.


Because we all know we don't have enough pets around here! Actually, we like to get our pets in pairs...kind of like Noah...2 bunnies, 2 dogs, and now (once again) 2 hamsters.

Sad Puppy!

Our poor baby is not feeling well!  Not only has she developed a lovely bald spot (mange) on her back, she also has a double ear infection.  Poor thing had to be scraped, poked and prodded at the vet today.  No fun :-(

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

In Minnesota

Sand is in short supply, but snow will do....

Actually, snow is in short supply as well, but there was still enough yesterday to bury a small boy!