"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

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A New Career

Being an engineer turned stay-at-home mom, I am frequently asked if I will go back to engineering once the children are grown.  The truthful answer is, "No."  It's been almost 20 years since I worked in that field.  Aside from my engineering knowledge and skills being woefully out-of-date, I really don't have a desire to return to that profession.

This leaves the whole world of possible careers open to me.

After much pondering of the possibilities, I have come to the conclusion that when I return to work I would like to....be royalty.  I hear the benefits are excellent, not to mention the travel options.  I think I could get used to lavish clothing and jewels quite quickly, if I must.

In order to start preparing for this future career, I am coaching my children to start addressing me as "Your Highness."  I think I will also begin referring to myself in the third person, as well.   First on the to-do list though is finding a kingdom in need of a royal personage.

If anyone would like to be my courtier, I will be accepting applications soon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Five Years

In some ways the time has flown by, and in other ways it has crawled.  Either way, we are so happy that five years ago today we brought Marcus and Zoe home to the frozen wasteland of Minnesota.

The first pictures we ever saw of them (sometime around November 2007)

The first time we met them in person.

Sometime during our first week at home.  It didn't take Zoe long to fall in love with Snickers.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

I Better Warn You

So, I'm standing in the kitchen this morning, looking our across the snow covered wasteland of our backyard, when I notice a little finch flitting between our two bird houses.  This observation prompts me to say, in my best birdie voice, "Hmm, I wonder which one is bigger?  This one looks more comfortable.  I'll have to go tell the wife."

Evan, overhearing my little bird imitation, comes into the kitchen and says, "Mom, you know anthropomorphism is the leading cause of death by animals."

So I feel the need to give you the heads-up, if you ever find me pecked to death by black-capped chickadees in my backyard, you'll know why.

Monday, February 25, 2013

I'm On A Roll

Look at this as an advertisement for our upcoming house concert.

I love this song.  If I could have it going through my head every morning, that would be a good thing.

Remember...April 6...Save the date!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Save The Date

April 6, 2013

Put it on your calendar, you have an appointment at 7:00 pm.  Actually, appointment is kind of boring and formal.  An opportunity?  A privilege?  A date!  Yes, you have a date.

A date with your sweetie.  A date with your friends.  A date to come over to MY house for a very special night.

Here's the scoop:  You know Ben Kyle?  Well, maybe you don't KNOW Ben, but if you read my blog you know about Ben because I periodically post his music here.  What does Ben Kyle have to do with April 6, you ask?  I'm so glad you asked that, btw!

Well, Mr. Kyle decided to do something fun and slightly unconventional.  He decided to do some concerts in people's living rooms.  He put a little request out on the glorious internet for volunteers.  Being one to jump at fun unconventional things (and now with a living room large enough to host a concert), I decided to contact Ben and volunteer our living room.  Lo and behold, Ben has agreed to do a little concert right here in OUR home.

The tentative date is April 6, 7:00-10:00.  More information is available here.  Our concert is not on the website yet, but I will post more information when I get it.  It will be a very special night with some very beautiful music, I promise!!

For those of you that aren't within driving distance of my home, he is doing these concerts around the US. Other locations include Decorah, IA; Chicago, IL; Grand Rapids, MI; Nashville, TN; Atlanta, GA; Gastonia, NC; and Philadelphia, PA.  More information here.

Get your calendars out right NOW!  Save the date!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Appetizers Anyone?

Nothing like a big bowl of crayfish for an appetizer!

Molly doesn't look to sure about this.

 Nina, on the other hand, is thoroughly enjoying her snack!

It's a bit labor-intensive, but surprisingly tasty treat!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review

Since I'm on vacation this week, I actually have time to read a book...in its entirety....in only a few days!  I love vacation!

My first book for this vacation was Manalive by G.K.Chesterton.  It was...interesting.  Thought-provoking.   Strange, in an interesting and though-provoking sort of way.  Chesterton was an amazing author and thinker.  In this fictional book, he manages to bring forth thoughts, ideas and convictions about how we live our lives (or should live our lives) all under the pretext of a made-up story.  Pretty much, the whole of the book can be summed up in one quote from it-

"His principle can be quite simply stated: he refuses to die while he is still alive."

 I'm really not going to share much more about the book, except to encourage you to read it.


Can't come down to Gulf Shores without making a trip over to Pensacola, primarily for the purpose of going to McGuire's.  Since it was a little chilly today, we opted to go there today.

Can't go to McGuire's without eating a lot of good food, primarily their shepherd's pie.

 Eight hours later, I'm still full!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Another Day

The day started quite cloudy, but warm.  By the time I got back from my morning run, it was quite clear that it was going to be the perfect day for some swimming.  We made a quick trip to the store to purchase a couple boogie boards and decided to test them out after lunch.  The waves were larger today than they have been so far this week.

The kids spent quite a bit of time in the water, while I warmed myself in the sunshine.  After a bit of coaxing, they convinced me that the water wasn't really TOO cold, and that I should come on in.  So, in I went.

While it looks like I am wholly enjoying myself, this look is actually the look of, "Holy cats!  This water is really cold!!!!!!"  Not to worry though, after about three or four minutes my body adjusted to the temperature - or perhaps, I just became numb.

At the end of the day, we were blessed with a beautiful sunset.

Have I mentioned lately that I love it here?

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Warmer Day

The wind picked up today, but the temperatures were also much nicer.  This means we spent more time on the beach.  

Nothing brings sisters together like a little walk on the beach!

I did mention the wind, didn't I?  I got a new hairstyle courtesy of the wind!  Frightening, isn't it?!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Taste of Heaven

I know heaven will be way better than the beach, but I just can't imagine anything better than this....

"My" stripey cup always welcomes me.  I love this cup!!

 Coffee is always good, but coffee in the sun on the deck, well, that just tops everything!

 Except for coffee in the sun, on the deck while getting a foot massage!  I'm so glad I brought alone my own personal masseuse.

Well, then there's coffee on the deck, in the sun while getting a back massage.  That's good, too!

Gotta go, blogging isn't nearly as fun as living...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Just A Family

Just stopped in Waynesboro, TN for lunch, and Chris was asked if we were from the Baptist Children's Home!  The gentleman said he assumed that because of the number of  children we had. I suspect it was the number AND color of children we have.

Nice gentleman.  It just never crossed his mind that a family could look like ours.  Chris had a very nice conversation with him.

I love blowing people's minds!

Friday, February 15, 2013


I hope you have your yoga pants on and your suitcase stuffed to the brim.  Don't forget your running shoes, as we will be taking some jogs in the early mornings.

Prepare to sit in a rather uncomfortable chair, preferably by a window, and stay that way for the next 22 hours.  Remember, you can take breaks using the previously mentioned bathroom break protocol, throughout the entire journey.  At about 2:00 AM you should turn on the soundtrack from the Broadway version of Les Miserables and listen to that in its entirety. That should keep you awake for a solid three hours.

Ready, set, go!

Your Virtual Vacation

For those of you who are vicariously vacationing with us, I thought I should let you know when we are to depart.  We will be leaving this evening, after dinner, so you should spend your day packing.  Don't forget your shorts and flip-flops.  Oh, and definitely don't forget the sunscreen, as our pale winter complexions burn easily.

We have lots of snacks for the trip: apples, pears, Clementines, Chex mix, gorp, chocolate, sugar in a variety of forms...

Bring a pillow.  To get the full effect of the trip, you may want to sleep in a closet tonight, or curled up between a rock and hard place.  Actually, if you're over the age of 15, you probably should only sleep in short 15 minute intervals.

Every few hours throughout the night, you should get up, wake the kids, walk outside for a minute before you make your way to a well-lit bathroom,  walk back outside on the way back to the corner where you're sleeping.

When you awake tomorrow morning, sit in your car while you munch on chocolate chip muffins.

That should be enough to give you the proper feel for the vacation.  I hope you enjoy the ride!

A Fair Trade

Since winter is wearing on and on here, I decided to work out a little trade.  I'm trading all this white stuff..

for this white stuff...

I'm thinking it will be a good trade.  It will cost me 22 hours in a van full of seven kids and a boatload of money in gas, but I'm still thinking I got a good deal on this!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wrestling With This

I've never given wrestling much thought, except perhaps to tell my kids to take it outside before they break something.  Aside from my husband's high school wrestling experience and Evan's brief stint at wrestling when he was 6, I really have NO experience or knowledge of the sport.  I am certainly not passionate about wrestling.  But even I am a little befuddled at the Olympic Committee's decision to do away with wrestling in the Olympics.

I mean really, people!  Let's do away with one of the sports that has been around since the beginning of the Games.  Let's ignore a sport that people have been participating in for 9000 years.  Why?  To make way for such time-honored sports as...in-line skating!?  Really?!

Sometimes I just shake my head!

This Should Be Perfect

Nothing like a comic novel  about murder, bigamy, burglary, insanity and truth, beauty and the goodness of life to entertain me on vacation!

This should be good!

Monday, February 11, 2013

All Day

This is the song that has been going through my head ALL DAY!

"You were wrong and always have been wrong, I'm a man, no worse than any man..."

Les Miserables trivia:  Colm Wilkinson, Valjean in this clip, plays the Bishop in the new movie.  He was voted one of the five best singers EVER in a Rolling Stones Magazine readers' poll.  While you might not see that in the above clip, just watch this one below...

Lastly, a bit of Zoo trivia:  Anyone want to guess the line from Les Miserables that is sung most often by me here at home?  I'll give you a clue, it's sung by Valjean...when he's Monsieur Madeleine...

New Recipe?

I was looking for a recipe for a Pita Sandwich.  I thought this might help.....

Sunday, February 10, 2013

It's About Time

I am so happy that the folks at the Grammys have finally figured out brilliance when they see it!  Just 2 1/2 years after I told you them, Mumford & Sons has finally received their Grammy!

Now that they're uber-famous, I don't know if we'll ever get pictures with them again, but you can bet we'll be trying come September!

Marcus & my niece Maggie

Molly & Ben

Molly & Ted

Congratulations, Marcus, Ben, Winnie & Ted!  You deserve all the praise!  
I feel like a proud momma tonight!

Pre-Grammy Attire

Coat and tank top from Target
Cardigan from Old Navy
Skirt from Christopher Banks - straight from the Salvation Army for $.99
Necklace from my dear friend Ruth
***Just ignore the slippers, I left my boots at the door***

Too bad, I won't be gracing the red carpet tonight, I had the perfect outfit picked out for that, as well!

Doctor's Orders

I found out last week that I am vitamin D deficient.  In view of this diagnosis, I am prescribing myself a trip to the sunshine.  I will be filling my prescription for an entire week, beginning on Friday.

Last year, I found myself with the same deficiency around this time and took the same measure to cure myself...

I'm thinking I can write off this trip as a medical expense.......

She's Finally Lost It

Her first tooth, that is!

Always looking for an opportunity to make money, Zoe has extracted her first tooth!  Isn't she cute?!

Friday, February 8, 2013


Oklahoma, here we come!!  Once again we've proved that we are pros at doing this concert thing.  Tickets are secured, camping passes are secured, now it's just a long, long wait for September.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Sign!

After giving blood yesterday, I was sitting at Caribou replenishing my fluid supply with a mint mocha latte.  I was also monitoring the Gentlemen of the Road website to find out where my beloved Mumford & Sons would be holding their Stopover music festivals this year.  Coffee and Mumford & Sons, what a fine way to spend 45 minutes of my day...but I digress.

Anyway, when the digital clock on my laptop struck 2:30 CST, the announcement was made that the nearest Stopover to me was...wait for it....Oklahoma!  Oklahoma?  Why could it not be Minnesota, or at least Iowa or Wisconsin?  Even South Dakota would be closer!  Guthrie, Oklahoma is 10 1/2 hours away....

But!  But!  But I have a Mumford friend in Oklahoma...and other Mumford friends spread across the south....and a sister in St. Louis (only 7 hours and 20 minutes from Guthrie, OK)...

And then there was my coffee cup...

Soooooo, it looks like I'll be taking a little trip to Oklahoma come September.  Anyone want to join me?  You'll have to decide fast.  Tickets go no sale on Friday and they are sure to sell out the same day.

When I went on my first Middle-Age Moms' Road Trip I had no idea that this would become a yearly event.  But then, I had no idea that Mumford & Sons would stop doing concerts in Minnesota either (what's with that, any way?!)  So, I've seen them in Kansas City, MO and Dixon, IL, and this year it will be Guthrie, OK.  More memories, more friends, more fun!

Valentine's Month

You may have been under the impression, as I was, that Valentine's is only daylong celebration.  Much to my surprise, my husband has informed me that it actually a month-long celebration!  How nice is that?!

Every day so far this month, my sweetheart has regaled me with gifts in celebration of Valentine's Month!

Love you, Babe!  You're the best...and you treat me far better than I deserve!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Did It Again!

I started giving blood when I was in high school, and I haven't stopped since.

And now for my public service announcement...


People's lives depend on it!

Oh, and you need to be nice to me today because the little stickers says so!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Catch Me If You Can

Mumsie and I doing a little game of tag on the lake.  She usually (always) won!

Back To Reality

Chris and I thoroughly enjoyed our weekend away at the cabin.  It's amazing how you get used to using an outhouse in subzero temperatures.  You also learn to use bathrooms in restaurants and stores whenever the opportunity arises!

The cabin took about three hours to warm up, but after that it was toasty warm the whole weekend.  It was a very relaxing, no-stress time.  Too relaxing for Mumford, who was bored silly!  She did enjoy a little running and playing on the lake, though.

One of the best parts of it just being Chris and me is that I didn't have to make nutritionally balanced meals at precise times.  Yes, indeed!  Being tied to children's eating schedules really wears me down!!

Now, no trip to the cabin is complete without a stop here...
where you can find the best ice cream/cheese!  If you're ever in Alpha, Wisconsin, you really should stop in to the Dairy.  You can thank me later!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Is It Bigger Than A Bread Box?

When I was growing up, that was a standard 20 Questions question.  When I play 20 Questions with my kids and ask them that question I get blank stares, or "What's a bread box?"

Now for their education, I present a bread box...

Of course, they still can't tell how big it is, but at least they know what one looks like!

Btw, if you're ever in Siren, Wisconsin, and looking for a way to kill an hour or more, the antique store there is great fun.  I now want an old Victrola, about a dozen stoneware bowls, numerous old books...and many, many other things!

I'm bringing the kids next time, as it is a highly educational (albeit breakable) place.