"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, April 30, 2013

Dear Spring

Dear Spring,

Thank you so much for visiting our fair state the past few days.  As always it was a pleasure to have you here.  I wish you didn't have to leave so soon.  Please come back again REALLY soon!

Love,
Barb

Couple inches of snow predicted for Thursday.  Really?!  Snow in May?!



Long Overdue

Sometimes when I'm making dinner I think, "I should put this recipe out on the blog."  When it's an exceptionally tasty dinner, I assume it's already out here.  You can imagine my shock and horror when I looked to see if one of my favorite recipes was here, and it wasn't'!!!

SO, without further ado, I bring to you Southwest Turkey Burgers courtesy of my dear friend, Tami the Recipe Goddess.

Southwest Turkey Burgers

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
4 Tbs. cilantro, minced
1 Tbs. chili powder (or to taste)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. pepper

Combine well and form into patties.  Grill or fry.

Great with guacamole or avocado slices, tomatoes, pepper jack or monterey jack cheese, salsa or sour cream.  Serve on a bun.

Tami the Recipe Goddess has also mashed up black beans and stirred them into the meat mixture with good results.

You should go make these right now!!  Or maybe tomorrow if it's past dinner time in your part of the world.

Enjoy!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Let The Races Begin

Since I refuse to run during the winter, the Get In Gear race today marks the beginning of my running season.  Thankfully, winter did decide to flee prior to today, and it was a gloriously pleasant morning.  Perfect for a little run in the park!

The falls were flowing quite nicely, although there was still some ice on the side.


Aidan joined me this time for his first ever 5K.  He did great!

My partner in crime, I mean running, this year is again my sister Deb.


Our times weren't spectacular, but not too shabby considering the amount of training we put in (or didn't put in).  I finished in the top third for my gender and age, and in the top half of finishers overall.  I'm happy with that.

But it should be known that this is the real reason why we run...
Yay, for post-race snacks!!!!!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Suffering

I posted a quote on suffering on Facebook yesterday, but since not all my blog buddies are Facebook friends, I thought I would put it out here as well.  Actually, I'm going to put a little more of it here because it is all just so good!!

The quote comes from our pastor Jason Meyer who is teaching on 2 Corinthians 1 right now.


Christians do not glorify suffering. It is hard and it hurts. We don’t minimize it as if we are fake and stoic. We acknowledge that it hurts. We praise God in the midst of suffering when God shows up in our suffering. We see more of God so we praise him more. The praise is sometimes more raw. When you come face to face with your powerlessness and your inability to rescue yourself from suffering, you are positioned for a life of praise.

When you come to the end of your rope and then God comes with might, his deliverance will elicit praise. It is so important that Paul who suffered much could live a life of praise. Suffering did not make him sullen. It made him sing louder. The song came from a deeper place—it was not shallow praise, but deep praise.

Some of us are in danger of not being worshippers because we are not in touch with our weakness. Sometimes people feel pressure in the church to act like they have it altogether. Let me be frank. If you act like you always have it altogether, then you make praise impossible because you act as though you don’t need to be delivered—you act like you have arrived and don’t need grace or God anymore. How do can you urge someone to praise God with you and enjoy his deliverance if you act like you never needed it in the first place? Being in touch with your weakness and your need for deliverance, primes the pump for praise to come when the deliverance comes!

Honestly, I find this to be so incredibly true in my experience.  Pastor Jason, who is also an adoptive parent, talks specifically about the suffering that adoptive parents experience as they walk their kids through the difficult times - suffering that is not temporary or alleviated in a short amount of time, but is chronic.

Let me give you one more example of redemptive suffering that is perennial. We are going to have an adoption choir Sunday night. Many parents counted not only the physical cost, but also the ongoing emotional cost of bringing brokenness into their families. They heard it as a calling. And they said “yes” to what has become some perennial joys and pains—a pointed life of sorrowful yet always rejoicing. We can support them and pray for them.

I cannot begin to tell you how thankful I am for a pastor who "gets it."  Who doesn't dismiss the trials of parenting a hurt child, but doesn't paint a picture of doom and gloom either.  Who doesn't place adoptive parents on  a pedestal, but doesn't pretend that their lives are just like everyone else's.

On that note, I am so very thankful for the many friends I have with whom I can be real.  Because of the public nature of this blog, I withhold many details.  While wanting to be authentic and real, I am also keenly aware of my children's right to privacy.  I always share truthfully, but I don't share all.

A shout of thanks to those who do know "all we go through," and support us through it.  I love you more than I can say!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Face of Fear

What does a child do when they are afraid?  Seems like an easy question to answer, doesn't it?  Let's see.  Some of the possible options might be: scream, hide, run to Mom or Dad.  Kids do all those things on a regular basis.  If they see a snake or spider, they might scream in the hope of scaring away the critter. What if they're afraid of something they can't see?  Seems like the standard response is to run to Mom & Dad.  How many times has a parent awoke to a terrified child beside their bed?  The child goes to the source of protection and comfort.  The one or two people that they've learned to trust to take care of them.

Now, consider for a moment, what does a child do when he's scared and he doesn't believe he can trust anyone?

Then fear becomes much more than an emotion that can be calmed by another's presence.  For a child to face their fears believing they are all alone; it becomes debilitating.  It becomes terrifying beyond all measure.  What does a child do then?  Well, unfortunately and all to frequently, they lash out, much like a cornered animal.  In their mind, they are fighting for survival.

Chris is away in New York for a few days.  No big deal to most of us (not that we don't miss you sweetie, we do), we know he'll be home in a couple days and all is well.  So, when Marcus started having a difficult time controlling his emotions yesterday, I didn't immediately put two-and-two together.  I did wonder why on earth chairs were getting thrown when we hadn't had to deal with that sort of behavior in awhile.

Then, I went to my chiropractor this morning and while I was getting a massage, it came up that the massage therapist is an adult adoptee from Russia.  Talking with her helped me to see the connection between the anger issues Marcus was dealing with and the fact that Chris was gone.

When I got home and talked to Marcus it came out that he truly was afraid that Chris was not going to come back from New York - EVER.  What the other kids and I take as a no-brainer, Marcus struggles mightily to believe.  Being the problem-solving mommy that I am, I suggested to Marcus that when he is afraid of something it would be better for him to come to me and say, "I'm afraid of________," than to throw chairs and household objects at me.  To which he replied, "I CAN'T!!!!"

He can't share that with me because he doesn't trust me.  Over five years of consistent love and care, and he still can't bring himself to trust me enough with his fear.  Breaks my heart.  But we continue on...loving, caring and praying for healing in his little heart.

Today, the story has a good ending, in that after we identified the fear, we were able to take some steps to help assure him that his fear is unfounded, and that Daddy really does love him and will not desert him.  After that, not surprisingly, happy, sweet Marcus is back.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Winter Wonderland

Okay, I know it's April, and we in Minnesota are VERY tired of the snow that just can't seem to stop falling, but...

this morning was just plain beautiful!  So, while most of the country is basking in springtime, we get to continue to enjoy the beauty of snow-flocked trees.  Btw, I am totally NOT being sarcastic here (strange for me, I know).

I love my yard no matter what time of year it is (except, perhaps, when I have to rake leaves in the fall), but snow makes it look downright magical!





So today, on April 23, 2013, I am thankful for a yard full of white stuff!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Another Option

In case my plans to become royalty fail, and the world doesn't need another essayist, I have come up with yet another post-homeschooling career option.

I was listening to the BBC World Service today on MPR, and they described a man as an ex-football star who also was a billionaire business man and an "all-purpose public figure."

Eureka!  That's what I want to be when I grow up - an all-purpose public figure.

I wonder what the qualifications are for that position.  Is that something they only have in Britain, or could I be an all-purpose public figure here in the U.S.?  I better start researching this!  I'm pretty sure I will need a superb wardrobe for this position and probably a nice car and home, as well.  Yes!  This may be more versatile than either being royalty or an essayist!!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Lift With Your Legs

Not with your back!

This is my public service announcement today.

A long, long time ago, when I was young and foolish, I didn't listen to this sage advice.  I was trying to move out of my dorm room, and instead of waiting for help, I decided to try to move a very heavy couch all by myself.  Bad idea.

Now, 27 years later, I am still occasionally plagued by pain from the injury I incurred while moving that couch.  It only happens about once a year now, but it can be quite random.  Unfortunately for me, today is the day the old injury has decided to flare up.  I am now reduced to walking around like a very old lady, shuffling around and asking people to bend over and pick things up for me.

This is even more unfortunate in that I have a 5K to run next weekend.

At least my chiropractor will be happy to see me again!

Lift with your legs, not with your back!

I Was Blind

But now I see?  Hmm, no, that's not quite right.

Turn a blind eye?  No, that's not it either.

Hmmmm,  Oh yeah!!  The girls finally got blinds for their windows, after using sheets for the last four months!  Yay!  That's it!


We're slow, but eventually the job gets done!



Friday, April 19, 2013

That About Sums It Up

Upon waking this morning, Marcus looked out our window and declared, "Outside looks like a whole new winter!"  And that pretty much sums it up!



At least it's pretty!

And now, for your listening enjoyment...



At least it's pretty!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Let's Get This Straight








Well, that about does it!

Sweet Emily had her hair straightened today by our dear friend and stylist, Amy, in preparation for the Father/Daughter Tea on Saturday.  While I prefer her gorgeous curls, sweet Emily likes the feeling of straight hair.

Now the job is going to be keeping her head dry until Saturday.  Difficult in the current weather conditions (At least it's pretty!)



At Least It's Pretty

I've decided to take a new approach to the current weather condition (4 inches of snow and counting)....I will now continually say, "At least it's pretty," whenever I feel like complaining about the fact that it is snowing 6+ inches on April 18.


"At least it's pretty!!!"



Good Stuff

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Time Travel

Given the current weather situation here in Minnesota, I thought now would be a good time to indulge in a little time travel.

I'm not going far.  My first stop will be April 2012 - just one short year ago...

Oh, look!! A little girl playing at the park in shorts and a short-sleeve shirt.  I believe she is barefoot, also!  She doesn't appear to have a single goose-bump on her!  Look how smiley and happy she is because she can go swinging!!

Hmm, What is this color I see?? Green??  So much green!!  Hmm, and more people looking quite comfortable wearing very few clothing items.  Not a boot or a mitten in sight!!
 
I know, I know, the spring of 2012  was an anomaly - outrageously pleasant for Minnesota.  Maybe I should travel back another year to see how our current situation compares.

Here we are, April 2011.  Hmmm, look!!  Clothes drying on the clothesline!  Not a flake of snow in sight, green grass...I can almost hear the birds chirping just looking at it!  More of that green stuff, too!

Just a little further back...

April 2010.  Well, now I'm just getting myself downright depressed!! Look at the leaves on the bushes and the plants coming up in the garden.  More shorts.  More green stuff.  I love the color green!  I think the color green is my new favorite color!!  I think I'm going to paint my bedroom a lovely shade of grass-green...right now...


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Attitude Adjustment


The current forecast has forced me to come up with a new coping mechanism.  I've decided to do a mental calendar adjustment.  I will no longer acknowledge that it is mid-April, I am now going to adjust my mental calendar to February.

****DONE****

My what a really lovely warm spell we're having!  I wish every winter was as mild as this. And look!  Some fresh snow to brighten things up, too!  I couldn't ask for a lovelier February!

See how nicely this little mental calendar adjustment works!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Boycott

It's April.  I will no longer shovel any snow that may fall out of the sky.  I am boycotting shoveling! If you come to visit me, you will have to walk through whatever has accumulated on our driveway.  

The shovels have officially been put away until November!!!!

Thankfully, last weeks snowfall is almost melted, just in time for tonights ice and snow!  Oh, joy!

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Little Pet Peeve

I have a little, tiny pet peeve.  I don't have to deal with it all the time, but when I do, it kind of irks me.  

Tablecloths that shrink!


You see, we have a really long dining room.  That's not the problem.  An 120 inch tablecloth fits our table beautifully....until I wash said tablecloth; then, it has only an inch hanging off on each end.  

Now, If I owned a smaller table, I could just buy a larger cloth to account for the shrinkage, but no!  One hundred twenty inches is the longest you can get tablecloths around here.  So, I enjoy a wonderfully fitting tablecloth for one or two meals, and then I frown at the little inch hanging off the end for the rest of the time.

Like I said, it's a tiny pet peeve, but one that is bothering me today.

That Pesky Corner Cupboard

Trying to organize my cupboards can be an effort in futility.  Certain cupboards are home to so many and varied items that there is little hope of making them fit neatly together.  nonetheless, I decided to give it a go, on one such cupboard.

The tea cupboard!  Yikes!  It's a scary place that cupboard is!  Here's what it looked like before the cleaning....

And after...

Hmm, not a lot of change! At least I threw out some old items and organized some of the other stuff, but really not as satisfying as some cleaning projects I've tackled.  I think I better go find something else to clean that will actually LOOK cleaned when I finish!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Okay, I'm Not Done

I know I said I was done with the Ben Kyle posts...I lied!  I have another video from Saturday night I just HAVE to share!  This time it's The National Side...Enjoy!

The Difference A Day Makes


Apparently spring, summer, and fall have been bypassed and we're back to winter again - and this is just the beginning 5" - 10" inches predicted for tonight.







Monday, April 8, 2013

Just One More

I know our little concert is over now, and you would like me to stop talking about it......but...I promised my dear friend Ruth that I would video her favorite song from Ben's album.  So, without further ado, here it is...(sorry for the extremely out of focus picture, our camera is kind of lame that way)

I Have A Problem!

Hi, my name is Barb, and I'm addicted to tea.  Here are SOME of the different types of tea I currently have in my cupboard.

I now realize I have a problem....

RIP, Margaret

I was 14 when Margaret Thatcher was first elected.  I didn't know or care about American politics, let along the politics of Britain.  All I knew is that during my later growing up years, I would see her face plastered on newspapers periodically or hear her name in the news.

I liked her.  Not because of her politics (which I've already stated, I was ignorant of), but because even as a young girl, it did something to my thoughts to see a female leading one of the most powerful countries in the world.  I would see her picture and think, "She must be some lady!  Here she is leading an entire country."

It helped me realize that I could do what I set out to do in life.  I could be an engineer, if I wanted to.  It didn't matter if it was a field mostly dominated by men, that door was open to me, too.  Certainly, Margaret Thatcher wasn't the only person to help me realize that, but she certainly was one of them.

I'm sad to see her pass.  RIP, Margaret.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Well, That Was Fun

If you weren't one of the forty people who spent last evening in our living room, I offer my condolences.  Here is a recap of the events.

After rearranging the furniture to turn our living room into a concert hall, Ben Kyle arrived around 6:45.  We introduced ourselves, and he got set up for the concert.  The guests started arriving around 7:00.  As instructed in the invite, they all brought tasty food-stuff to share with everyone.



We enjoyed an hour of socializing, and around 8:00 Ben started the concert.  He played songs from his solo album, as well as songs from his previous albums with Romantica.  About halfway through the 90 minute concert he started taking requests,which was quite fun and entertaining. 

My favorite part was hearing the stories behind the songs.  After he had left, I thought of about half a dozen songs I wish I had requested, some because I love the song, some because I really want to know what they're about. Oh well, there's always next time.....

I have a video to post, but YouTube is taking forrrrrrevvvvverrrrrr to upload it, so I will post it another time.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Note to Self

Note to self:

Do not go out to Boxer Rescue websites and look at adorable Boxers.  Don't do it.  Don't do it.  Don't do it.


Note to self:
You need to obey the first Note To Self!

La, la, la, la, la....I'm not listening.....la, la, la, la....


Tomorrow

Tomorrow evening I will be sitting in my living room listening to this....LIVE!



Can't wait for tomorrow!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

There's Still Time!



If you haven't got your tickets yet for our Living Room Ben Kyle concert, there's still time!  Lucky you!

I guarantee good music, good food, good friends, and a good time!  Get your tickets here.

FYI, all proceeds go to Ben, we're just in this for the fun!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Things You Stumble Across

So, I was derping around YouTube with Molly tonight, only to discover this...

I thought it was funny and serendipitous that I just posted a video of Rend Collective on Facebook and a video of Lecrae here on the blog, and here they both are together.

Now Molly and I are talking with Northern Irish accents and amusing ourselves quite a bit!

Couldn't Say It Better Myself

A little Lacrae to brighten your Tuesday...

Monday, April 1, 2013

Some Things Never Change

Unfortunately, I am one of those things that DOES change!

On a whim, I tried on my wedding dress today. The changes were quickly evident...primarily in the form of wrinkles....on the dress and on me.  I am showing great restraint in not photoshopping the wrinkles off my face!


Well, that was a hoot.  Don't think I'll be putting that on again anytime soon!