"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

Friday, August 30, 2013

The Things We Do For Love

Well there's "walking in the rain and the snow, when there's no place to go..."  But not today.

The things I did for love today consisted of.....

Paying a little visit to the Xcel Energy Center.  As long as I live so close, I thought I should scope the place out for Wednesday's concert.  If we're going to do this thing, we might as well do it right!  I'm sure I looked quite like a lunatic peering in the doors of the arena (most were locked), but it was worth it and valuable information was gained.

The rest of the day was unfortunately spent causing great angst in the lives of some friends and family (sorry, Eddi!), as we have ONE extra ticket to Wednesday night's concert...a wonderful thing except adult responsibilities get in the way of all sorts of fun.  This barrier racing thing is not compatible with holding down a real job apparently :-(

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Living The Dream

Might I encourage you, on this 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, to spend 16 minutes watching and listening to this amazing speech?  I'll make it easy for you.  Here it is....

Perhaps you don't have 16 minutes to spare.  Might I encourage you then to take five minutes and read the speech in its entirety?  I'll make it easy for you.  Here it is...

"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

America has given the Negro people a bad cheque which has come back marked 'insufficient funds' But 100 years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land.

And so we've come here today to dramatize an appalling condition. In a sense we've come to our nation's capital to cash a cheque. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of "Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of colour are concerned. Instead of honouring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad cheque which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we've come to cash this cheque - a cheque that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.

We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquillity in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: in the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvellous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realise that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back.

There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights: "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating "For Whites Only". We cannot be satisfied and we will not be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed - we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave-owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today!

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning: "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring." And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true.

And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania! Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California. But not only that. Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: "Free at last! Free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

 And now, might I encourage you to Live The Dream?

Alabama, 2012
"one day right there in Alabama little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers."

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Wall

I'm a night owl. I perk up after dinner and then go around like the energizer bunny all evening. I'm rarely in bed before 11. Unfortunately, my life circumstances require me to get up at 5:30 in the morning. Six or so hours of sleep works week for me for weeks on end......until I hit the wall. Out of the blue, I can barely keep my eyes open past eight.

Tonight is one of THOSE nights. I feel like I might be coming down with something, too. So I have popped some vitamin C and zinc, and off to bed I go.

Good night!

Monday, August 26, 2013

10 DAYS!!!

In just ten jam packed days, i will be leaving the lovely, balmy state of Minnesota to go to the lovely, balmier state of Oklahoma for a wonderful weekend of friends, family and amazing music!  I do need a name for this latest road trip.  Two years ago it was the Middle-aged Moms Roadtrip then came the Mother-Daughter Road Trip, but what shall we call it this year?  I'm open to suggestions :-)


Oh, wait, I will wait....

First Day of School

It's like the first day of kindergarten over here....only 10 YEARS late....complete with Mom getting all teary-eyed at the bus stop.

Nina and Molly both are starting at a local community college today.  Their first time "doing" school outside the house.  They did do public school last year, but it was on-line.  They are both excited...and a bit anxious.  I am excited for them, and know that they will love it once they figure it all out.

The house is strangely quiet without them around, and next week Aidan will be starting school, as well.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself with only four kids at home!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Beach Weather

It's got to be HOT for me to take the kids to the beach.  70's just won't do it.  Low 80's don't really cut it either.  It's FINALLY gotten hot enough here for a little beach excursions, so that it was we did yesterday.  The big kids didn't want to come along, so it was just the littles and me.

A visit to the beach just isn't complete without a sandwich (complete with the sand).

Marcus and I worked hard on our sandcastle/village.  He was quite proud of the results!

As I sit her sweating while I type this, I'm wishing I was at the beach right now!

Ready, Set, Go!

When I woke up at 5:45 and checked the current conditions, I was NOT happy to see a temperature of 77 degrees and humidity at 76%!  Not ideal running weather, to say the least, and the race wasn't going to start for another 2 hours.  To say they were brutal conditions would be accurate.

Nonetheless, off we all ran - me, Aidan, my sister Deb, her husband Peter, and her daughter Rachel.  The humidity was a killer...as was the glorious sunshine.  I'm a big fan of sunshine, just not while I'm running.  We survived.  We finished.  We're glad that's over!

All in all, I'm happy with my results.  I did a little better than last year, and finished 34/96 for women my age and 280/745 women overall.  I figure if I'm in the top half, I'll be satisfied.


Aidan finishing strong

Looking a little worse for the wear, and looking forward to our complimentary milkshakes.

Next race: Sept. 4 from the entrance gate to the barrier at the Xcel Center!  Gotta love those concert races!!!!!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Newest Family Member

After the passing of Shadowfax and the proper time of bereavement, Evan has purchased a new mode of transportation.  I don't believe this beauty has a name yet, but I'm sure once Evan gets to know it better he will come up with an appropriate name.

Congrats, Evan, on your first "adult" purchase.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Best Compliment Ever

Evan to me this morning - "Mom, your hair looks like that Bastille guy today."


Thursday, August 22, 2013


Here's the conversation I overheard this morning after I took out Zoe's braids.

Raelea (to Zoe) :  Zoe, your curls remind me of.......bacon.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Under Construction

The Zoo is undergoing some renovation.  Please be patient as I try to figure out how to do this.  Despite general appearances, I am quite illiterate when it comes to HTML!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Book Review

It's been awhile since I've reviewed a book on here.  Despite the appearance that I only listen to music obsessively, I do LOVE to read good books.  My dear friend Tami recommended that I read The Hawk and the Dove trilogy by Penelope Wilcock.  It consists of three books (duh, it's a trilogy!): The Hawk and the Dove, The Wounds of God and The Long Fall.

I attempted to start reading them many months ago, but just couldn't "get into it," so I put it down.  Many months later, I picked it up again and this time found myself pulled into the story pretty quickly.  The books are primarily about a group of monks in the middle ages, but the first two books are told from a modern day perspective of a mother telling the stories to her daughter.  Strangely, that format is utterly dropped in the last book.  I found that to be quite odd, actually, although the mother/daughter thing really didn't add anything to the story line.

Anyway, I would recommend the books, as they are well written and they have excellent character development.  I found myself dabbing tears from my eyes on many occasions (which really isn't at all unusual for me, but nonetheless...).  I felt invested enough in the characters to see them through all 557 pages.

It also provided me with some wonderful quotes for Facebook statuses :-)  I'll leave you with this quote from the book, as a little taste of what it is like.

"He showed us that the shekinah of God, his radiance in creation, does not rest where we looked for it, in pomp and processional, in riches and state and investiture of power.  No, the fragrance of his presence is found in the broken, suffering ones.  The beggar at the roadside, we have to kneel to see his face.  The newborn child and the torn, exhausted body of the labouring woman, the midwife must kneel to deliver."   - The Long Fall

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Getting Decked!

No, I haven't been in a brawl (I haven't even been to Guthrie yet...oh, wait, forget I said that...)

We are FINALLY beginning to build our deck.  It was the first thing to go when we added on to the house last year, and it is the last thing to be replaced.  That's okay though because it is finally getting done...or at least started.

As with most building projects, this one begins with digging holes.

My dear husband had no idea that he would spend an ENTIRE Saturday digging three holes, but that's the way it worked out.  We have the dubious distinction of living in a VERY rocky area.  Rocks and digging holes are not compatible companions :-(

All of his hard work has paid of though, and we now have three very beautiful holes dug in our yard, just waiting for cement to be poured in (after the required inspection, of course).

That Was Fun!

Our church had a little picnic/carnival event after church today.  Despite the extreme lack of shade, it was a very fun time, and the kids who were reluctant to go in the beginning didn't want to leave.  Which just goes to show, children, that when Mom and Dad say something is going to be fun, they're usually right!!

Can a bouncy castle be anything but fun?

Or a bouncy slide for that matter!

Getting your hair rainbow colored is always fun, as well.

Realea chose a more subdued hint of blue on the tips.

Even Marcus couldn't resist a little color!

And if your hair is already colored, might as well paint on your face also!

We also got to hear these lovely people perform (2/5 of Marah and the Mainsail)

Because of the heat, they really wanted to go IN the river.  We said NO (we are so mean!!).  Standing on the rock was almost as good.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

They're Gone! All Gone!

Emily used to look like this...

And then after almost two years of looking like this....
Emily now looks like this....

Look at that beautiful smile!!

Emily is VERY happy to announce the removal of her braces!!!!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Doctor's Orders

My grandma had osteoporosis.  My mom has osteoporosis.  My oldest sister has osteoporosis.  See a trend here?

I'd really like to put off that diagnosis for myself for as long as possible.  Aside from a strong family history of the illness, I am a slender Caucasian woman who was anorexic when I was younger - all things that increase my likelihood of getting osteoporosis.

So, what's a gal to do to reduce her risk of osteoporosis?  Well, according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website I should be drinking my milk, not smoking or drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, and exercising.  I'm doing all those things.  Regarding exercise the NIAMSD website says "High-impact exercises may provide the most benefit. "

I can't think of any more high-impact exercise than jumping up an down, over and over again.  Wouldn't you agree?

Sooooooooo, my upcoming concert trips are JUST what the doctor ordered, don't you think?  I'm doing it for my HEALTH!

Random Observation

I'm pretty certain that the decibel level in my home is high enough to cause hearing loss.

I go to concerts for the (relative) peace and quiet.  I find them very relaxing.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Wondering What To Do?

If you're just sitting around with 37 minutes of free time on your hands, might I suggest that you spend it watching this...

Don't have 37 spare minutes in your day?  Watch it while you work out, like I did.  It'll make your workout fly by...trust me!

Only have a few minutes?  Just listen to a song...or two...

As I told Molly, it's freakishly good!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Watch Out, WPGA!

This is how it begins, right?

Realea was graciously gifted a set of kids golf clubs from Uncle Darren and Aunt Monica.  She is over-the-top excited and wants to practice her shots every opportunity she gets!

Maybe she'll need to set up a golf date with Grandpa soon.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Exercise Just Got More Fun

I created a new playlist for working out to.  Not only does the time go by so much faster, I have a silly grin on my face the whole time!


I shutter to even acknowledge that it is already August.  For some reason, this month always brings me a certain restlessness.  I don't want summer to end.  I don't feel prepared for the school year to start again.  I want to continue with the "lazy" days of summer!

Yesterday I was describing it as boredom, but really it's restlessness.  Either way, I'm unsettled.  Just thought you all should know.  That way if I do something "rash" you'll know why!  Here's my favorite "I'm feeling restless" song for your (or actually my) enjoyment....

GAH!  Four weeks from tomorrow I will hear this song live (Lord willing) for the first time!

Monday, August 5, 2013

That Time of Year

Football season has rolled around again.  I love football, but I hate the fact that it ushers in fall.  This year we have two players.  Aidan will be playing again (his seventh season, I believe), and Marcus will be playing for the very first time.  This means we will be REALLY busy for the next ten weeks!

Random Cabin Pictures

I spent the weekend with seven teenage girls in a cabin.  I survived....barely.  They're really great girls, but they keep REALLY weird hours...as in staying up until 6 AM and then sleeping until 11:30.

Here's a little photo documentation of our weekend - 

I enjoyed a lovely run and some quiet time out on the dock while the girls were sleeping the morning away.

Went for a boat ride

And then a swim

It was a great weekend, aside from the fact that it is difficult to get three meals in a day that starts at 11:30!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

On Running and Life

I had the most glorious run this morning.  I'm at the cabin, and my route was flat and shady.  It was a perfect-running-55 degrees.  It was easy!

Contrast this to my runs at home where there are LOTS of hills and little shade, and I have to run at about 2 in the afternoon when the sun is the hottest.  That's hard!  And not too enjoyable either!  I often walk a bit when running at home.  Sometimes I don't want to go at all, but force myself.  Other times I just say, "Hang it," and don't do it at all.  I hate hills!  I hate them when I'm running.  I hate them when I'm riding my bike.  Yuck! 

When I do "have" to go up a hill I'll focus on the sidewalk a few yards in front of me or, if I'm close to the top, I'll look there, just to keep me going.  As much as I hate them, truth-be-told, it's the hills more than the flat running that builds my endurance.  It's the hills at home that make running a race so much easier.

As in running, so with life. 

If I could wave a wand, I would make my life a nice flat running course, shady and 55 degrees...or would I?  I sure would want to.  But it's enduring the hills of life that produces the greatest results.  Some days I just say "hang it" and walk away from those hills in life, but some days I force myself to go over them.  Inevitably, I'm always glad I did.  Those hills also make me appreciate the smooth, easy days so much more!

And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.     - Hebrews 12:1-2

Friday, August 2, 2013

R.I.P., Shadowfax

Evan's white truck, aka Shadowfax, passed from this life on Wednesday.  She had been suffering from a variety of ailments for quite some time, and had recently sustained a debilitating injury to her driver's side door.  Cause of death was a total failure of the brake system, no doubt from a leak in the system.  All attempts at resuscitation failed.  No autopsy will be performed.

A Definite Improvement

When you last saw our front yard on this blog it looked something like this.  Before we left for vacation we put seed down, and Evan faithfully took care of it while we were away.  Now, for the first time in almost 10 months, we have a green front yard....and not just green, actual grass!  


Now we're working on the backyard.  By September we should have our yard back!  

Next on the agenda?  A deck.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

How Do You Know?

I had one of my children ask me the other day, "How do you know there really is a God?"

I tried to explain to him that I had "seen" God.  Seen him in his answers to my prayers, seen him in Creation, seen him in the works He's done in my life....  Not much of this was sinking in to Dear Child, as he was in a funk/rage at the time.

Then it occurred to me, I knew God was real every time my child threw a massive fit and I responded kindly.  When I've been spat upon and looked lovingly back.  When I've been kicked and not struck back, but instead offered loving kind words.  I know God is real because I am not capable of doing those things!  I am a short-tempered, impatient, self-centered person, by nature.  I am.  I'm not being self-depricating, I'm telling the truth.

Every time I respond lovingly to unjustified abuse, that's Jesus living in and through me.  I SEE him, and it occurred to me, that is how my child will learn to SEE him.  So, every one of these fits we endure, every outburst of anger/fear on my child's part, is an OPPORTUNITY for God to make himself real to my child.

It hit me right in the chest, that my resentment over these outbursts should be changed to thankfulness because each one represents an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus to my child.

I wish I succeeded more than I fail at this, but it's hard.  I'm human.

As the late Rich Mullins sang, "It's hard to turn the other cheek, hard to bless when others curse you, oh, it's hard to be a man of peace, oh it's hard, so hard, hard to be like Jesus."

Truly, that I succeed EVER is, quite literally, divine intervention!