"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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Why Does It Do That?

I've been pondering music today.  Not a specific song, per se, but music in general.  I've been wondering why it has such an emotional impact on me (and presumably others).

Here's how my brain ended up on this subject -I've been listening to Mumford & Sons' new album a lot this week.  I know, I know, that is quite a surprise, isn't it?  Well, specifically, I've been listening to a song called For Those Below (sorry, folks, if you didn't get the deluxe version you're out of luck).  When I first heard the song, it didn't really do anything for me.  I mean, it was good, but I didn't go, "WOW!"  It's different from their other music, a duet - quiet and reflective.

Anyway, the more I listened to it, the more I liked it.  Yesterday as I was listening, it struck me how the song parallels a book I am reading to the kids for school (The Bronze Bow).  I thought that was pretty cool.  Then this morning as I was driving to the grocery store, I turned it on and just started crying because I could see some of my own life in the song.  So, in the course of a week, I went from being neither here nor there with this song, to seeing it reflect my own life in some way, and emotionally connecting with it.

That's what got me pondering music today.

It occurred to me that I (maybe everyone?) have so many thoughts, fears, emotions that stay concealed in my soul.  Not that I am consciously trying to stuff them (although sometimes that's the case), but let's be honest, our lives don't always allow for time spent pondering or expressing things.  They get shoved into the corners of my mind and heart and left there in the dark.  I go merrily on my way, doing my day-in-day-out routine.  Then, I hear a song that penetrates deep into my soul, the words sneak in between the bars which I keep those hidden things behind.  The music strikes a resonance with my hidden thoughts/feelings and WHAM!  I'm exposed, validated, connected.

Truthfully, some music makes me physically ache inside.  If you've never had that happen then I can't explain it to you, but I know I'm not the only one who feels this.  Sometimes it's the lyrics, sometimes it's just the instruments themselves.  French horn music does this to me.  Really, it does!  Mumford & Sons' music does this to me.  Dawes music does this to me.  And Romantica....and Simon & Garfunkel...and others.

Okay, now you all might think I'm completely bonkers, but I'm okay with that.  Anyone who has read this blog for any amount of time has already come to that conclusion.

And Now

For something completely different.

If you're tired of looking at the progress on our addition, I will give you some entertainment instead.

As much as I LOVE Mumford & Sons' cover of The Boxer (and I do LOVE it), nobody sings it like Paul Simon!  The man is a musical genius!

***Zoe walked in while I was watching this video and said, "Are these guys trying to sing that Mumford & Sons song?"  Arghhhh!  I quickly set her straight and sent her on her way!***

A Roof Over Our Heads

After three days with no roof...

we finally have a complete roof on our house once again.  And isn't it pretty?  It looks so nice!

As an added bonus,we also have a floor beneath our feet.

They're still projecting the whole thing to be completed before Thanksgiving!  Stay tuned next week for the removal of the old walls and installation of WINDOWS!  Yay!!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me

Well, since everyone else got their birthday mentioned on the blog, I thought I would wish myself a happy birthday, too!

I'm the last of the September birthdays for our family.  Now we have a month long break before the next pair of birthdays.

So, happy 22nd birthday to me - for the 25th time!  If your going to pick an age to be stuck at, you should pick a fun one.

Oh, and happy 14th birthday to Google, without whom I wouldn't have a blog.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Out With The Old, On With The New

My yard is now littered with these...
Everywhere I look....more trusses....

Which is a good thing, since my living room now looks like this...

 This makes me SMILE!

I Heard That

Things you don't want to overhear from the guys who are in the middle of removing your roof -

"Well, I'm not an engineer, but I think this will hold."

It took all my restraint not to shout back from where I was hanging up laundry, "Well, I am an engineer and it better hold!"

Don't worry, folks, I'd trust a construction guy over an engineer any day to do this job!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm Missing Something

Apparently, my house is disappearing piece by piece!  Today, lots of pieces disappeared - like the ceiling in the living room, and parts of the walls.  Let's just say the room is feeling rather...airy, and we'll be feeling rather chilly by morning since it's supposed to get down into the 30's tonight.

In addition (tee hee a little construction pun there), the living space of our house has shrunk considerably today.  In an effort to keep the mess contained, we have these lovely plastic door coverings in a few places.  Snickers is NOT happy about this change!

Can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring....or take away!

Monday, September 24, 2012

More Walls

Things really started taking shape around here today...

Marcus & Emily are standing in the window opening for the living room

Here's a shot of the entire back of the house.

Molly checking out the view from her new bedroom.

Don't worry, Molly, they will cover up that hole in the ceiling before you move in.  They'll also pour a floor, too.

Oh my, apparently the Native Americans who used to live here left cave drawings on our wall!

And tomorrow??  Well, tomorrow the roof comes off (maybe)!  That'll be fun!

That Mailman, Again!

Bringing me the very best things!!  Today, my new best friend, stuck this in my mailbox....

Now, I am the very happy owner of both the digital version AND the Deluxe CD.  Happy, happy, happy!

So, now I will give you a little personal review of said album.  I know this is slightly premature for my US friends who did not preorder said album, but....oh well!  

I love, love, love the whole thing!  There.  How's that for a review?  

Okay, a little more detail.  Lots of banjo.  Much more and better harmonies than Sigh No More.  The whole thing has more of a "live" feel to it than Sigh No More.  This is a good thing.  A very good thing!

Personal favorite tracks: Hopeless Wanderer (no big surprise there- I've love it for a long time); Below My Feet is AMAZING; there is a tie for third place between Ghosts That We Knew, Whispers in the Dark, I Will Wait and Lover of the Light (oh, and Where Are You Now a bonus track on the Deluxe Edition)

I like Babel a lot, but I need to "figure it out" more.  It's kind of an angry song, and I need time with that type of song.  Same with Holland Road - somewhat angry...yet hopeful, too.  I adore Not With Haste particularly if I think of it in relation to Marcus & Carey (Mrs. Mumford). :-)

There you have it, my completely biased and totally fanatical review!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

I Love Time Zones!

I am particularly appreciative of time zones tonight!  You see, while it is still Sunday, September 23, here in Minnesota, it is Monday, September 24th in England!

Why would I care, you might ask.  Well, you see, Mumford & Sons new album is released (in the UK) on September 24....AND since I preordered the deluxe version of said CD, I can NOW, as in right this minute, download the digital copy while I wait for my hard copy to arrive in the mail!!!

So - so long for now....I will be listening to some most amazing songs....

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Happy Hobbit Day!

This is old news to my kids and all their friends, but for the rest of you, today is Hobbit Day.

So, how are you going to celebrate?  Suggested forms of celebration include food, fireworks, dancing and much merriment!

As to the, "Why should I celebrate Hobbit Day?"  Well, if I need to answer that for you, maybe you shouldn't celebrate it!

For me, I'm just enjoying Tolkien today, they man was a genius with words and an expert storyteller.  So, I will leave you with some of his thoughts...
“We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God. Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming 'sub-creator' and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic 'progress' leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Friday, September 21, 2012


And the walls go up...

Only to have to come back down today :-(  Something about floor height, tiles, subfloor thickness....

I'm learning so much in this process!

Yes, they're going to take the walls back down to shave off, I believe, less than an inch of height, and then put it all back up again.  (Due to a misunderstanding of our choice of flooring materials - these things happen)

Hmm, pretty sure I'm not nearly a perfectionist enough to be in the construction business!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Carpenter Ants

Two words you do NOT want to hear when someone is tearing apart your wall preparing for an addition.

Not that I'd know anything about that.

Oh, wait.  I do know something about that....unfortunately.  Now to call the exterminator...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Next Year

This little house project this year has helped us determine our project for next year....

Yes, indeed!  In addition to putting a deck back on the house, next summer will be the summer of re-landscaping the yard!  We knew the yard would take a beating, we just didn't realize the scope and scale of it!  Good thing snow will be on the way soon to cover up the dirt :-)

That's A Lot of Wood

And that's not even the roof trusses (they're coming on Monday).

The walls start going up tomorrow.  Yay!  One more step in the right direction.  Hoping and praying for NO rain next week when the existing roof gets taken off!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

This Will Be Interesting

Got an e-mail from our general contractor today.  All it said was, "Huge lumber load coming tomorrow"

I love how he used the word HUGE, if he had said big or large, I would have thought it no big deal, but HUGE, that's another story.  I'm not even sure how much lumber constitutes a HUGE load, but I guess I'll find out tomorrow!

Stay tuned for pictures.

In other news, we moved almost all our furniture out to the storage container.  The kids and dogs are enjoying all the open space.  We'll see how they enjoy it tomorrow when they have no place to sit down!  Well, the dogs will sit where they always sit, the floor, but the kids.....

Monday, September 17, 2012

My Next Job

Is going to be as a photographer for The National Enquirer.

I think I have quite the knack for it.

A New Home

For our belongings, not our kids (although after a day like today, it's tempting to put a child or two in there as well.....okay, folks, I'm kidding, put down the phone and stop dialing child protection.

This lovely storage container will grace our driveway for the next two months!  Yippee!  We won't have a single couch left in the house.  Nor will we have a dining room table,  coffee tables, end tables, entertainment center, bookshelves....nor will we be able to park all our cars in the driveway.

Oh boy!  It's been a cakewalk up till now.  Starting next Monday, the work will no longer be taking place solely outside.  We need to clear out three rooms completely (dining room, living room and family room) and part of the laundry room.  If any of you have ever stepped into my laundry room, you know what an endeavor that will be! 

I think we'll be doing a lot of sitting around on our beds...or in the kitchen...I guess we won't be entertaining any guests for a few months :-)

I must keep telling myself, "This will all be worth it.  This will all be worth it."  I am also thankful that we will have our kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms untouched - thus making the house completely livable during this little project.

And the fun continues....

Saturday, September 15, 2012

We Have Walls

Well, at least foundation walls.

Week 2 down on our addition and here's how it looks...

The main part is going to be Nina, Molly & Emily's bedroom.  Don't worry, they will not have a gravel floor when it's all done :-)  The other little part is an extension of the family room (to allow access to their bedroom)

And, apparently, next year's project is going to be landscaping, because our yard is taking quite the beating in this whole process.  It is nice to see the backyard without an excavator and bobcat though!

The Polar Plunge

Aidan has been having some leg and foot problems this football season.  Nothing serious, just REALLY tight muscles, so coach prescribed some stretching and.......

YES!  An ice bath!

Fun, fun, fun!  The things he does for football!?

Oh, btw, they won again today, 20-7.  Go Lightning!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Day Has Finally Come

Thirteen years ago, I had an inkling in my mind that this day would arrive.  It wasn't so much a dreaded foreboding as an undeniable inevitability.  I didn't have much time to contemplate it, seeing that I was caring for a five, three and two year old along with two newborns.  Life was chaotic and busy, but in the recesses of mind there was the thought of THIS day.

Today, this very day, I have entered the realm of having FIVE, yes, count them FIVE, teenagers in my home!  I am no longer knee deep in diapers and toys (well, actually, I am still knee deep in toys), now I spend my time with driving children to work and driver's tests and things like that.

Pray for me!

No, actually, I love having teenagers, which is a good thing since I have a boatload of them.  But you can still pray for me anyway!

Happy, happy birthday birthday (they are twins after all) to Aidan and Emily!!  Welcome to teendom!

We love you both so much!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


In case you're wondering...it was a 50 yard run for a touchdown.

Way to go, Aidan!

Go, Lightning!!

Science Tastes Good

Why, yes, that is an edible model of DNA!

It was our first co-op for the year, and once again I am teaching science for the 3rd through 12th graders.  No astronomy this year, though.  It's all about the human body for the next nine months.  It should be a fun, exciting, and TASTY year!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Fun Continues

The hole is all dug out (as of Tuesday), and now the building phase has commenced.

As if our block doesn't have enough trailers and heavy equipment on it already, this baby showed up yesterday.

 It didn't stay long, only long enough for this to happen.

And then today....the walls began to go up :-)  This makes me HAPPY!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


I, like all of you, remember exactly what I was doing 11 years ago this morning.  It started out like all other days, I was caring for my kids and getting ready to start school when the phone rang.  It was my friend Karen calling to tell me to turn on the TV.  She couldn't even explain why, she said to turn it on. It was not quite nine o'clock.

I turned on the TV and watch in dread the events happening in New York.  The kids came in and stood watching, but not really understanding, what was going on.  I walked over to the window and said, as a reminder to myself, "God is still on His throne!  God is still good!"  I needed to remind myself that even when our world turns into utter chaos, there is One who is in charge and He never relinquishes that power.

I was doing a one-year Bible reading plan that year and the reading for September 11 included these verse.
"Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread.  But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy."   Isaiah 8:12-13
So, I turned off the TV and went on to care for my kids for the rest of the day, checking the TV frequently and praying even more often.  What else could I do?  It was all so nonsensical in my mind, surreal and horrific.

It's good to remember that day.  I'm amazed today at how many people I know lost friends and family half a continent away.  My heart goes out to them, as they grieve not just as a country, but personally as well.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Interesting Stats

I'm easily amused!  I did a little search to find out how people end up at my blog.  A majority of my readers are Facebook friends with me and come here from the links on Facebook.  I knew that already.

What I found interesting was what sort of Google searches people were doing to end up here.  Logically, six of the top ten were some sort of variation on Barb, Chris and Zoo.  That makes sense.  The sixth most common search was "Zoe and Raelea."  That makes sense, too.

It's the other three searches that I find amusing.

The third most common search that ends up at my blog is "dots candy."  Hmm, I think I've only done one blog post that involved Dots, but apparently that word produces a lot of blog traffic!

Number nine on the list was "mammoth wasp."  Here again, I only mentioned a mammoth wasp in one post!

And lastly, "fun hair nets."  Now granted, I may have blogged about hairnets more than once.  Actually, if you google "fun hair nets" my blog shows up fourth in the list of results! This leads me to believe there is not a lot out there on the internet regarding fun hair nets!

If you're thinking of starting your own blog, you might want to dedicate it to fun hair nets, as there appears to be dearth of blogs on this subject!


Um, you want to put that where?

Oh!  Well, that's okay, I guess.

I guess you could say construction has begun in earnest!

And it's not just confined to the back yard.  Our front yard is looking pretty sweet, as well!

Sunday, September 9, 2012


I forgot to report on Aidan's football game yesterday...34-13!

There you have it!  It appears that his team has hit its stride now.  This win leaves them at 2-2.  I expect more wins later this week, as they are really playing well.

Aidan did great, carried for one of the touchdowns, got at least one point after and several first down conversions.  He also got a lot of bruises, and is in serious pain today.  Not really sure why he likes this sport when it leaves him barely able to move the next day, but he does!

Happy Birthday, Molly!

You only turn 15 once in your life, and today is Molly's day!

Happy birthday, sweet Molly Moo.

We love you!


For only the second time in the many years that my blog has existed, I am allowing someone else to write a blog post!!  Shocking, I know.  The guest writer is my eldest sister, Kathy.  As I am a devoted fan of Mumford & Sons, she is an equally (or more) devoted fan of a band called Celtic Thunder.

Without further ado, here is her blog entry...

September 2012 is extra special 

The long awaited second Mumford and Sons CD is going to be released this month - Hurray. However, another long awaited CD will be released this month. Some of you may be familiar with Celtic Thunder.  One of their members, Keith Harkin, is finally releasing his solo CD. Keith is a talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist. Also, a very sweet person and not bad looking. Check him out.

Raise My Hands

Paint my spirit gold.
Bow my head.
Keep my heart slow.

Filmed at Red Rocks, Colorado.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I'm Really Excited

Ben Kyle (of Romantica) is releasing his debut solo album this coming week.  I can't wait!  You should be excited too, because I promise you this will be great music.

How do I know this?   Well, I've already heard three of the songs and they are GREAT, and if you click here you can preview two of those songs yourself.  The thing I most appreciate about Mr. Kyle's music is the beauty of it.  It is just a thing of beauty!  Oh, and he has a really nice voice, too....and the lyrics are great....but mostly, it's a thing of beauty!

We're planning on going to the album release concert on Tuesday, so you should join us if you're in town.  Otherwise, go pre-order the CD right now!  You won't be disappointed!

We Made It

We all survived the first week of school! The first day was brutal, but after that it improved significantly, which is a good thing for me...and the kids.  Emily even uttered those words that every homeschool mom longs to hear, "I actually like school this year!"

Ahh, this might not be such a bad year after all!

Aidan's Schedule

Several of you have expressed an interest in coming to one of Aidan's football games, so I'm just going to go ahead and post the schedule out here. Give me a call or email if you need more in formation. 

9/8/2012     9:00 AM  Scott Highlands Middle School
9/13/2012   6:00 PM   Black Hawk Middle School
9/15/2012    9:00 AM  Scott Highlands Middle School
9/22/2012    9:00 AM   Lakeville North High School
9/27/2012    5:45 PM   Black Hawk Middle School  ***My birthday, btw***

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Well, That Was Fun

I didn't report on Aidan's last football game because, well, because it was not very blog-worthy.  Let's just say they lost...by a lot...they got pounded...trounced....you get the picture.

But.......that was last week!

They had a bit of a shake-up in the line this past week (one of the players is injured and out for the season), so now instead of being back-up running back, Aidan is one of the starting running backs.  He is thrilled with this, especially considering what he had to do to "make weight" for the position.

Well, tonight was his first time as starting running back, and what a night it was.  The team as a whole has pulled together quite a bit in the past week, and Aidan had a great night.  For the first time in his football playing career he scored a touchdown!  Yay, Aidan!

That's my boy (in the black) going in for the touchdown.

He didn't stop there, though.  He went on to score another touchdown and three extra points, and several first down conversions.  Their team won 28-18, so Aidan carried the ball for 15 of those points :-)

Needless to say, we have a very happy (but sore, exhausted) boy on our hands tonight!

And So It Begins

When the Precision Demolition trailer pulls up to your house in the morning, you know you are in for an interesting day.

And so we were.  The house underwent a bit of a transition in the ten hours that trailer was parked out front.  
The living room went from this...

To this.

The deck disappeared completely, 

only to reappear in a heap on the front lawn.

And the chimney, well, we won't be needing that anymore in the absence of the fireplace.

Aside from being a little noisy, okay a lot noisy, when they were jackhammering the brick out of the living room, the whole thing wasn't too disruptive to our day.  Toward the end, their plastic sheet kind of failed and the house got a bit, shall we say, dusty, but all in all, it wasn't too bad.

Monday, we've been told, is the beginning of the digging phase.  This should be fun!