"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, January 31, 2014

Out Of Touch

While I am frequently accused of being out-of-touch by my teenage children, this weekend I really am going to be out-of-touch....with civilization (also known as, no internet).  I will be spending the weekend at a Jr. & Sr. High Winter Retreat with about 300 young people.


I will be getting very little sleep in the next two days.

Pray that I can keep my eyes open, and act the like the adult that I am supposed to be!

Talk to you Monday!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Winter 2013/2014

Now that we are midway through this winter, I thought I would offer up a little synopsis of how it's going....

When it's not below zero, it's snowing.

Oh, and let's not forget blowing.....it's doing that in both of the above conditions!

Take today for example...
Hmmm, we're dishing up plenty of the latter this morning (four inches here already -with lots of blowing, let's not forget the blowing), followed by the former tonight.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Work Avoidance

Okay, so I'm supposed to be prepping for teaching my biology class tomorrow, but before I do that I thought I'd give you a few things to listen to.

I've got another band for you (no big surprise here).  They're called The Intermission Project, and here are a few tunes from them. First up is my favorite song of theirs...

And this one just went up today, and I love it!

Listen and enjoy, and I will go back to lesson planning.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Our Little Adventure

Evan and Erin were on their honeymoon last week, and they "conveniently" left their keys to their apartment in our possession....teeheee....

And this sort of happened, at their place last night, in preparation for their return...

In addition to decorating all their rooms, we cleaned the apartment, made them dinner and bought them groceries.  So much fun!  Thanks to Deb & Peter fore the idea, Chris for finagling the keys from the newlyweds, and Amanda & Joe for joining in on the craziness!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Story For You To Think About

This is not a political blog.  This is not an "issues" blog.  This is just MY blog.  There is a blog I follow entitled "I Write What I Like."  I like that!  I write what I like, as well!

Today, I am going to share two true stories.  I am not going to tell you what to think about these stories.  That's up to you.  I just spent an hour trying to teach high school biology students how to think for themselves and not just regurgitate facts.  I'm assuming that my blog readers are at least as capable as my high school science students in this matter.

The first story begins a little over eighteen years ago....

I was married and had a two year old son.  We wanted to have a second child.  I became pregnant in June, 1995 but suffered a miscarriage seven weeks into the pregnancy.  Another pregnancy followed that fall, but it quickly ended in miscarriage, as well.  We were grief stricken.  Would we ever be able to carry another child to term?  We just didn't know.  The doctors, though compassionate, were unable to give an answer to the "whys" or "what ifs" beyond giving us statistical data. 

We started talking about adoption.  It had always been our plan to adopt, but we thought we would have our biological kids first and then adopt. Still hoping for a successful pregnancy, we didn't start the adoption process.

In January, 1996, I found myself pregnant yet again.  I was scared spitless!  I went in to my doctor's appointment at nine weeks gestation and held my breath while they tried to find the baby's heartbeat....there it was!  The beating of a little heart. That heartbeat brought my chance of miscarriage down significantly.  I was due in September.

Three weeks later, I went in for an ultrasound, which my doctor agreed to do to calm my nerves about the pregnancy.  As I lay there on the table, the nurse looked and looked for that heartbeat, but it wasn't there.  Sometime between nine weeks and twelve weeks my baby had died.  I declined the offer to do a D & C, and opted to let my body take care of "getting rid of the baby" on its own.

This is when I was given a most wonderful gift from my heavenly Father.

About a week or two later, I finally miscarried my baby.  Only this wasn't a "normal" miscarriage in one sense.  Although the baby had been dead for a time before it came out, the amniotic sac had remained intact.  Because of this, my baby had not started to deteriorate, but remained intact as well.  My miscarriage began with my "water breaking" and I "delivered" a very teeny, tiny baby.  God allowed me to hold my little, itty bitty baby in the palm of my hand and marvel at the little arms and legs.  It clearly was a little baby - maybe an inch long.

That's my story.

Unbeknownst to me, another story was happening at the same time as mine. It also involved a pregnancy.  A young, single woman found out she was pregnant.  She made the brave, gut-wrenching decision to carry her baby to term and place it up for adoption.  Her situation was definitely not ideal.  Her baby was born seven weeks premature in September of 1996, the same month my baby had been due.  She followed through with her adoption plan, and we were blessed with our first daughter.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Now You're Talking

Chris uttered those wonderful words to me the other night....

"Let's talk about remodeling the kitchen."

YES! ***Barb does the happy dance through the house***

It didn't take me long to do this....
You should all be proud of me that I didn't start tearing off wallpaper until after I got the go-ahead!  It hasn't always been so.  I have been known to start tearing off wall paper while Chris is at work to, shall we say,....push....the redecorating issue.  If he wasn't planning on redecorating before, a little missing wall paper will make it necessary to do now!

This time, I waited....except for that little piece I tore off by the sink a few years ago.....

I hate wall paper, by the way. I take great pleasure in ripping it from my walls with great vim and vigor!  The wall paper didn't have to come off quite yet, but it was something I could begin with...to make it feel like the project is indeed underway.

Stay tuned for posts on new lighting (and lots of it), new paint, and new countertops/sink.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sneak Preview

Those of you waiting for more wedding photos might like to take a look at the preview of the professional shots.

Here's a teaser...

You can view the other preview shots at the Simple Life Portraits blog.

We had the best photographers!!!!!  Okay, we're a little biased.  Simple Life Portraits is the photography business of Nina's birthmom and her husband.  We were so blessed to have them share Evan & Erin's special day with us!  Can't wait to see the rest of the photos!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Benefits of Having Teenagers

I LOVE having teenagers!  I really do! They are highly entertaining creatures - fun to talk to, fun to embarrass, they go to concerts with you, they keep you up late at night talking, and let's not forget the drama.  Drama is always entertaining....sort of.

They're just generally great to have around most of the time!

In the past two weeks, I have found yet another benefit of having older teenagers.  They are old enough and wise enough (sometimes) to reprove me.  Yes, I've been called on my lack of faith on two separate occasions in the past two weeks by my two oldest daughters.  I sincerely appreciate their correction/exhortation.  How easy it is for me to lose faith and lose heart, and how wonderful it is to be gently put back on track...even by your own child.

So today, I am thankful for children who are growing in their relationship with the Lord and who love me enough to correct me when I'm wrong.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

One More Party

Day three of wedding festivities today!  I'm in extrovert heaven!  The new bride and groom came over today for present opening.  It was a laid back time of tossing wrapping paper around and wiping glitter off their hands.

Now that they are setting up a house of their own, they understand the importance and value of dish detergent and toilet paper :-)

Dishes, I think!

And the ever important tv!
Just a few of the many generous gifts they received from family and friends!

Thank you to all of you who were part of celebrating this joyous event with us.  We would have loved to invite many more of you if space would have allowed.  Thank you, too, to all who prayed for the day!  Your prayers were felt and greatly appreciated!

Now, I'm off to look for another party.....feel free to stop by and help us eat some of the leftover food!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

We Are Blessed!

Today, Evan "found a good thing" as he made Erin his wife.

It was a joyous celebration of God's goodness in their lives and in our family!  We are SO very happy to welcome Erin into our family!

More pictures to come soon!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect

Or maybe, in this case, practice just makes the wedding day go smoother.  Either way, tonight was the rehearsal.

I am reasonably certain the Kempton was not texting in the middle of rehearsal ;-)

The ever important recessional practice.  Don't they look happy?  Just wait until tomorrow.

Erin's daddy gets to walk the beautiful bride down the aisle.

 And then there's these guys!  Evan has chosen his friends wisely!  I love these guys!!!

Rehearsal is done. The rehearsal dinner is done. The bouquets are made (and beautiful).  Everything is in place and ready to go.  Fourteen and a half more hours and it will be showtime!!  Someone get me some kleenex!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Outfit's Complete

Well, the wedding is now only three days away!  I bought my dress some time ago.  I shared a picture with my Facebook friends, but apparently I neglected to share it with my blog buddies.  Sorry,  folks! 

Here is the dress I will wear on Saturday, sans the Christmas socks...

I've been wondering what shoes to wear with this lovely dress since I got it.  I might dress it up with some heels or I could go with boots....but I think I like the heel option better for the ceremony.

Okay, now that that's decided, I need some shoes for the reception....Oh, wait, LOOK!  Here is the perfect pair of shoes for the reception!
Yes, peoples, I am indeed wearing mustachioed Converse sneakers with my dress to the reception.  Eat your heart out!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Come With Me!

How many times have I uttered those words, when I faced some task or another?  "Come with me...."

If I have to do something scary or unpleasant, I am always looking for the comfort and support of another person.  If there is potential for something to go badly, or for me to be embarrassed, I want the presence of another person!  I feel braver with a cohort, less intimidated, stronger...

I am actually quite timid when by myself (stop laughing, it's true!), but if I have just one friend along, watch out!  I'll do almost anything!  I don't need the whole world to have my back, just one person is enough for me.

I was reading in my Bible today about Joseph, as in the Joseph whose brothers sold him into slavery.  The Joseph who was wrongly condemned to prison for over a decade.  That Joseph.  Many times during that story it says, "The Lord was WITH Joseph." It doesn't just say that the Lord knew about what Joseph was going through, it says that He was WITH Joseph.

Big difference in my mind.

The difference between someone who knows that you have to face a difficult event and gives you guidance and advice, and the one who says "I'll go with you, so you won't be alone!"

Then I got to thinking, "Hey, this wasn't just a God/Joseph thing!"

God told Joshua, "Be strong and courageous.  Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with youHe will not leave you or forsake you." (Deuteronomy 31:6) and "It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed." (Deuteronomy 31:8)

And then our memory verse for the week...."Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." (Isaiah 43:1-3)

So, it was true for Joseph, it was true for Joshua, it is true for me!  God doesn't just know ABOUT the things I'm going through, he is WITH me in it...always.  I think I'm going to start calling Him the God Who Is With Me!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I'm Freaking Out

I'm having a little freak-out over here!  Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Okay, I'm over it now.  Kind of.....

My oldest child is getting married in six days!!!!!!!!!!!

Why has this not sunk in really well until.....about......now??!!

I think I need to view this as gaining a daughter, not losing a son.  Not that I ever viewed it as losing a son......but certainly freaking out that I have a son old enough to get married....which apparently I do.....

Sure am glad we decided to cancel school tomorrow (dangerous windchills, and all.....), I think it's going to be a busy week!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Strong-willed Children

With eight kids, from five different gene pools, you can imagine that we have quite a wide variety of temperaments and personalities under our little roof.  Some of my kids are quiet and compliant, while others have fought parental authority tooth-and-nail since their first breathe.  I love them all dearly, but certainly some have been more "difficult" to raise.

Today, I have a word of encouragement for those who have young ones who fit the "strong-willed" label. Don't give up, don't be discouraged!  They will become such a blessing in your life.  Parenting them might be a daily challenge, and at times you might be tempted to just give up.  Don't!  And whatever you do, don't lose that relationship with them.  With loving, oak-tree guidance (as in you're the oak tree they continually crash into) they will turn out to be one of the biggest blessings of your life.

Hang in there!  I speak from experience.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy Blog-o-versary!

Yes, once again the annual blog-o-versary has arrived!  Today we celebrate six years of random, eclectic blogging.  Thank you to all my readers who make this little blog more enjoyable to write. Much to my surprise, my blog readership has gone beyond my immediate family and friends. I have really enjoyed getting to know some of you over the years. 

I thought we'd celebrate six years in blogdom by going through a few blog stats. (I really like numbers)

To date -
  • The most read blog post was  "A New Theory" with 1,475 pageviews.  I'm not sure why so many people viewed that post, but I should note here that the seasonal shift theory was debunked in another later post.  So much for my future as a climatologist.
  • Total number of page views  120, 468.
    • Of those, 91, 587 are from the United States, 7,523 are from Russia, followed by Germany, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, France, Italy, Canada, Poland and the Netherlands.
  • The most commonly searched words that end up on my blog are as follows...
    • barbandchriszoo (or some variation thereof)
    • zoe and raelea
    • dots candy
    • happy birthday
    • camping in 30 degree weather
    • mammoth wasp
 I have every intent to continue blogging in 2014 (much to the dismay of some of my more private children).  While Facebook is easier and Twitter quicker (and more anonymous), I enjoy the family-feel of a blog, and I still look at it as a way to record the events of our lives for future reminiscing.

Happy Blog-o-versary!!