Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Miscellaneous Rambling and Pictures

Kevin mowed our back field.  Yes, we have a tractor!

I got crazy and bought a helium tank so we could blow up helium balloons.  So much fun.

We have a new computer!  This brings our "fleet" up to 7 computers.  The entry room has 4, obviously.

3 sweet girls.

Lydia, our cat whisperer.  (The weather was lovely yesterday, when this was taken.)

Isaac plays so well with Daniel.  Sarah was tired.

                In more serious news, Ohio State University was the site of an apparent terrorist attack a few days ago.  The attack took place outside Watts Hall, which is where Kevin spent much time when he was in Ceramic Engineering at OSU, 25 years ago.  I'm so thankful that the injured students will apparently be Ok, physically at least.  As for the attacker -- I am very thankful a security officer shot him before he could harm anyone else. But oh, how sad. How sad to be 18 and so deluded as to think that God wanted him to harm and kill.  (This is assuming the attacker was in fact motivated by ISIS beliefs, which seems likely.)

                  There has been substantial discussion lately about the election and the reality that Clinton won the popular vote but lost the election.  I agree, it is nuts.  I really think the electoral college needs to go.  But reality is, the election took place under the "rules" of the electoral college. The campaign was waged with the idea that swing states was where it was all at.  If popular vote was the method by which the president was chosen, then the campaigning would have been carried out differently by all candidates.  I do think it is unfair that voters in large states effectively have less influence than those in small states.  But to look at this election NOW and say the electors should change their votes doesn't make sense either.  The methodology of the electoral college effects voting patterns and campaigning.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Picture

We had Kevin's mother and our niece over for Thanksgiving dinner. Here is the clan.  Is it totally obvious that our almost 14 year old son is taller than both of us?  He has grown inches this year.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

This Week

  Kevin and I went away to a marriage conference Friday evening and all day Saturday.  Kevin's mom graciously stayed with the children.

  It was a first.  19+ years of marriage, and we've never gone to a marriage seminar.  It was good.  I don't think there were any earth shattering revelations but the messages were good and thought provoking.  As Kevin said, it was good just getting away and focusing on our marriage.  We have a lot on our plate with Kevin's job and 9 kids to care for.  Sometimes our marriage ends up on the back burner.  Partly that is a busy life, but we have to WORK to keep our marriage strong.  The natural tendency is to let the urgent overwhelm the important.  We are fighting that by setting aside time for each other.

  Not surprisingly, Mommy and Daddy's disappearance for more than 24 hours (we stayed in a hotel overnight) meant Rose was a little stressed when we got home. She had a fine time with Grandma and her older sibs, but she missed Mommy.

 This week she and the next 2 kids have been clingier than usual.  I've done a lot of sitting with them reading books and cuddling them.

 This does not come very easily to me.  I think most people who get PhD's are project oriented people.  One has to either be a genius, or driven, to get a PhD.  I am definitely not a genius so yeah, I'm project oriented. I love getting stuff done, getting projects finished.  Cuddling little kids and reading books doesn't naturally appeal to my sense of "getting things done."

  But really, being physically and emotionally available for my children (older and younger) is way more important than organizing our closets, even though the latter makes me feel accomplished.  The house is kind of a mess right now and there are projects not getting done. Just like I have to focus on my marriage, I NEED to focus on my relationships with the children.

  I feel like this is one of the things the Lord has taught me over and over in the last 20 years.  Work on the relationships and don't worry so much about the projects.

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Election

I definitely don't do politics much in this blog, and I promise it will stay that way.

I didn't stay up late on Tuesday night. I have Littles who wake up early, and I thought it was a foregone conclusion that Clinton would win.

Like many Americans who woke up on Wednesday morning, and opened Facebook (or a news source), my mouth gaped open as I read that Trump is our new president elect.

Wow, I totally didn't see that one coming.

And I was happy. Yes, I voted for Trump.

I am not a very "political" creature. I don't know much about trade deals and the economy.  I am a smart person and I could figure it out, but I realize that I don't have any way of influencing these kinds of things (except for the occasional election, when realistically 1 vote doesn't matter much anyway) and I am super busy raising and educating my children.  So I don't read a lot about politics.

When I voted for Trump, it was basically an "anti Clinton" vote. I don't like Trump's personality. He is a jerk.  He has not treated at least his first 2 wives well. He had an affair.  He has said some rotten stuff.

But Clinton pushes my one litmus test button (mixed metaphor, perhaps?) and that is the issue of abortion.  I am ardently pro life. And Clinton is not just a pro abortion person, but a fanatically pro abortion person. I think even many pro abortion people quail at partial birth abortion, but Clinton was very open that she thinks this procedure (which is a few inches from infanticide) is a wonderful right for women.

I also found Clinton's comments about "the village raising the child" very alarming. She has cited in a book "wonderful" programs (in other countries) where the government has people going into homes from birth on to "help" the parents raise their kids. That makes my skin crawl.  There are countries like Germany where homeschooling is illegal, and in Sweden children have been snatched by the government when their parents tried to homeschool them.  It does happen, and the "government knows best" mentality is unnerving to me.

And then there was the rigging of the primary against Sanders.

And the email server thing. OH MY.  My husband knows a lot about such things, as he has clearances for classified information.  He is outraged Clinton wasn't charged or even disciplined for the private email server.  People have been stripped of rank, and some have been jailed, for much less.

And the Clinton Foundation and its ties to some foreign countries supporting ISIS.  Ugh.

So yeah, Anti Clinton vote here.

It occurred to me far too late, on Wednesday morning after I learned Trump had won, that a lot of people must actually LIKE Trump and his message.

And that told me once again that people are complicated.  I have read a few articles since the election painting all Trump supporters as sexist, racist, homophobes.  People, it is WAY more complicated than that. Most of the evangelical women on my FB feed were anti Clinton because of the pro life issue and (for some) concerns about her views on homeschooling.  And the email server stuff. And the Clinton foundation.

Many many people were apparently stressed and upset about Obamacare premiums and stagnant wages and illegal immigration.

On the other hand, people I know, love, and respect supported Clinton because they believe that her views are kinder and better.  Some are even pro life people, but consider that her abortion views aren't incredibly important.

So yeah, people are complicated.

I do confess to major curiosity about how the media and the polls were SO WRONG.  Everyone showed Clinton winning, and winning handily.

The pro Clinton bias was very overt to the point that we stopped even reading CNN, which focused exclusively on Trump's sins and almost completely ignored Clinton's issues.

Most other news organizations were the same.

Journalists are people too. They tend to be on average liberal, and I think to some degree they stuck their heads in the sand.

But how were the polls wrong?  Again, a good question.  Were, as Trump's campaign manager said, there a bunch of undercover Trump voters who just didn't want to be hassled, so they didn't tell the truth?

Maybe.  Likely even.  I also know polls can be overtly or accidentally designed to give a wrong answer.

Another big question to me is how did Clinton even get the Democratic nomination, much less how did the DNC basically rig it in her favor?  She had SO much baggage.  I think she was a very poor nominee.

At the end of the day, all of this is mostly academic to me. I get up in the morning, and I care for my children, and I pray for our country. And that is what I am doing now.  I don't know what a Trump presidency will be like. I think it has the potential to be way better than a Clinton presidency.  I can't do anything but pray for him and our government, and I will.

I will also do this. I respect people who are sad that Clinton lost.  I was stressed and nervous when I thought Clinton was a shoe in. I understand being nervous about Trump winning. He does seem like a loose cannon in many ways.

In the end, we can't do much but live our lives, love others, and pray.  That's what I'm going to do.

Monday, November 7, 2016

They Grew, They Grew!

I mentioned that I tried to grow bacteria on Agar plates.  In the sun room. Under a heat lamp.  It got way too hot one day and cooked my bacteria.

So I tried AGAIN.  Really, how hard can this be?

This time I put them in the pantry, on the top shelf, with a lava lamp providing some heat.

And this time it worked!

Day 1 or 2

Day 5.  It is kind of "blech" but it worked.

Homeschooling win.  Yes, there is indeed bacteria in many places.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


Kevin bought me a FitBit for my birthday. It tracks my heart rate, how many stairs I've done in a day, and how many steps I've done in a day. It would keep track of my sleeping but I don't like to wear it at night.

I like it.  It is encouraging to have it vibrate when I need to get up and move around.  Also, it shows me that I move around quite a bit.  A "normal" day, where I am just moving around the house, averages about 7500 steps. When I work at it, I can hit 10,000 steps.  I do a lot of stairs too. One day I had 26 stairs (that is just up) in one day!  That was the day I was taking books down to the basement as we were rearranging the bookshelves.

I've been told for a long time that I should be exercising regularly, and of course I should be.  It is boring, that's the truth.  Someone, getting "credit" for brisk walking helps me enjoy it more.

Kevin has his own Fitbit and beats me almost every single day. However, on Friday (2 days ago), he participated in a fast 5K walk and now one of his feet hurts quite a bit. So he's staying off of it. TODAY I might actually beat him :-).