29 April 2005

Just two quick things to share right now while I eat my lunch:

1. Check out this picture of DJ and Alisha (one of my ADX sisters). DJ proposed this week so I’m asking you to pray for them and their upcoming marriage in September.

2. Here are two updated photos of my watermelon, I mean belly. Only 9.5 more weeks (if he’s on time). And, no, I'm not having twins (that I know of).

28 April 2005

I have such a wonderful husband. Last week was wonderful – he was so sweet and thoughtful. I even got a dozen roses one day. He was just more loving that usual. Not the typical guy love either. He hugged and kissed me more and didn’t necessarily have any expectations from that. He seemed happier. Finally I questioned him about it and he’d noticed too that his attitude had improved and his reasoning was that he’d had some time off work. The poor guy is busy at work and often frustrated with something there, then he’d have to come home to a whiny wife. Both of us feeling better was so nice. Our house was kept up and things were in some kind of order.

Ryan is awesome all the time (I just focus on the negative). I’m so blessed and so thankful for my husband. We’ll soon be looking at a two year anniversary. My how things have changed and how we’ve adjusted and grown together as a couple. In two short and sweet years, much has happened for both of us. Ryan has been a wonderful handy man and worked to remodel, build and create things for me. He understands that I speak all the love languages and works hard to communicate those with me.

I remember thinking a year ago about having children. And I’m so selfish that I knew that I’d have a lot to learn. But I also remember thinking that Ryan would have TONS to learn and to be honest, I was a bit concerned about how we would deal as parents. And I focused on all Ryan’s shortcomings (as if I don’t have enough of my own to keep my thoughts busy). Now, as this pregnancy begins winding down, there’s no doubt in my mind that Ryan will be the best dad and a wonderful example to his child. Oh, I’m so blessed to have Ryan as my other half!!!

21 April 2005

I left off last time to go take care of my JV youth group. They’re a great bunch of kids who I’ve really grown to like even though they drive me crazy. Last night was step-up night which meant that everyone stepped up to the class they’d be in next year to experience it for a night. So, I picked up my current 7th graders and headed home. Got home and William Edward Goat was loose and out frolicking. All I could think of was my 200+ tulips. Fortunately he was down behind the barn. In the process of all that minor drama (fun), I climbed over a fence b/c I’m too lazy to walk to the gate. Zack, my little buddy, scolded me for climbing a fence and being pregnant. Tyler then piped up and said that he didn’t know I was even pregnant. Where has he been???? At least one of my kids uses my pregnancy as their prayer concern each week. Poor guy, and he’s super intelligent. Anyway, I pulled my shirt snug across my belly and asked if he could then tell I was pregnant.

When we were counting the number of kids to expect for JV, we planned on 9, which is 3 more than usual. When all was said and done and we started our program, we had 12 kids stuffed into our JV room in the basement. It was a ton compared to what we’re used to. All of a sudden, my shy 7th grade boys were quite outgoing. They’re used to having one girl in the group and she’s older so they’re not so worried about impressing anyone. Last night though, there were 4 new girls there. It was cute to witness those boys be so different than their usual behaved selves. Ryan, who will be teaching them next year, was gone for the evening (some call it work, I call it free supper). So, to make things easy, he planned a movie for them. Just one minor problem, I couldn’t get it to work right. And I changed the channel and couldn’t find the remote to get it back on the AUX channel. We (our friend Alan came over to help) ended up taking the kids upstairs to watch the movie. I knew I could work the system up there, even if might take me a few minutes to remember all the different settings. Got the movie started and settled kids down when my smart-alek mentioned that something wasn’t right. I said it was right and continued settling kids down and getting my growing self comfy on the floor. The movie was 2 minutes in when I realized something really was wrong with the sound. There was sound coming out but it was the surround sound doing a check on the system. Somehow I had pushed a button while I was fumbling around and jacked up the sound. Got that straight and restarted the movie. They got to see the first 28 minutes of it, not quite the full movie of course :)

Ryan came home from his meeting with Dr. Mike Hilton who was in town (from Purdue) to do some consulting with one of Ryan’s beef clients. So, we stayed up for another 1.5 hours chatting and going over the consulting stuff for the following day. I would’ve gone to bed except the client they would be working with the next day is also a client of mine. So, I got to take part in the conversations since I had planned the guys’ rotational grazing system and knew a little about his operation. That was fun but seeing 11pm on the clock when I went upstairs was not. Of course, I wanted to chat with my honey about my day and he wanted to sleep. It was soon 1130 before I gave in and rolled over for a little shut eye.

Don’t forget to check out the new pictures I’ve posted. One is of a cool celtic cross that I thought was neat (thanks Carrie). The other two are belly shots: one from April 14th (even though the date says 3/13) and one from April 18th.

20 April 2005

My how time flies when you’re having fun (or when you’re swamped at work). We’re in the process of signing farmers up for a new program – very detailed and lots of shuffling papers. The hours pass pretty fast when I’m at the office. It is such a work load that I could easily work 10 hour days without blinking. And normally I would but this pregnancy thing takes lots of my energy, good moods, etc. So, I’ve been working 8.5 to 9 hour days to earn a little credit leave – which I’ll definitely need when the baby comes. I’ll have less than 8 weeks of sick and vacation time when July rolls around so I’m really wanting and needing to earn some spare hours. This new Conservation Security Program has been a great way to earn those hours. Anyway, today I took a little break. A bit jealous that Ryan was going out with some friends and some cattle guy for supper tonight, I decided that us wives should get together for lunch. Last minute, I called Jen for lunch since she’s still home on maternity leave. Picked up some lunch at the Keystone and went to Jen’s. We grubbed and then I held Daniel (almost 7 weeks now) and chatted with Jen. It was a well needed rest time just hanging out and fortunately I pre-warned my boss so the 1.5 hour lunch was no big deal to me. I’m thinking I’ll be working some Thursday evenings (when Ryan is at bible study) and some Saturday mornings to pick up extra hours.

On to other B news. Ryan was gone this weekend to a Men’s retreat and I stayed home solo. Usually it unnerves me to be out in the country, in an old scary house all by myself. And what’s worse is coming home to that dark monstrous place on the hill. But I survived. Yup, I didn’t have to stay at my mommy’s! Usually locking the door scares me more than anything b/c that’s acknowledging the fear. My door remained unlocked Friday night but I did have a minor fright. Went to bed and saw this light flickering and reflecting off my bedroom wall. Took me a second to figure out what it was. But I realized it was the burn pile I started outside earlier that evening – and it was still burning. It was 930pm, definitely dark. I crawled back in bed and said a quick prayer. Just told the Lord that I was going to trust Him to take care of the fire, keep it under control and that I would get a good night sleep. See, if I would’ve gone outside to check the fire, I would’ve been a big ol scaredy cat the rest of the night. So, I rolled over and went to sleep. Didn’t even think about it till mid morning on Saturday. Went out to check the fire and God had perfect control. Where the wood slats (from our remodeling) stuck 3 feet over the edge of the burn pile into the grass, they didn’t burn. I’m serious, they burned right up beyond the edge of the burn pit and stopped. The wood quit burning! How awesome is that!!!

It was a weekend of no TV. And I’m so thankful to Ryan for following through with that even though he loves TV and really wanted to watch the Cardinals. TV really takes away from our relationship but my husband doesn’t see that. Sunday afternoon though, instead of lounging in front of the big screen (big for us), we cuddled, chatted about our weekends, tossed a baseball out in the yard, piddled around together and then snuggled up in bed reading a book before I fell asleep. It was so nice! Yay for me and putting my foot down on the TV issue. Ryan has had the last two days off to work around the house. He’s been working on the trim upstairs (from the project we started pre-wedding). I’m so thankful for his hard work there too.

Just a couple of prayer requests to share:- Katie’s mom is battling cancer again which is draining for everyone in the family. Pray that God continues to heal her as she starts chemo yet again.
- Pregnant ladies – I know of several lately that have had minor to major problems with their prego’s. And, I know after 7 months that you become quite attached to those little boogars inside your belly. Pray for health of babies.
- I’m wanting to start a young mom’s group in the area. So, if you can be praying for the culmination of that – times to work out for mom’s and older/wiser women who are willing to watch babies/kids.
- Thanks for those who’ve been praying for me to feel good. Of the last 9 days, I had 1.5 that I didn’t feel good. That darn iron problem. The pregnancy is so much easier when you feel half decent.

Okay, gotta go take care of JV kids…

14 April 2005

Yay for me and thanks to those who’ve been praying specifically for me to feel better. I’m on day 3 of feeling good – that’s a record these past 6 months. Lots going on as usual. Had my monthly visit to the OB yesterday. He had some blood tests done since I complained about feeling like passing out way too often. My hemoglobin showed for being low and so he put me back on the prenatal vitamin for iron. This is what caused other “plumbing” issues before so I’m hoping and praying that things will go normal. I just want to walk around and sing “I feel good….”

Other than that, I’ve just been major emotional and witchy. I’m so easily irritated and have lost my patience. That can be partly accredited to the insanity here at work and dealing with butthead people. Its frustrating though because I can see the attitude problem but haven’t been able to kick it quite yet. Perfect example:
Last night after getting done with JV youth, I chatted with my sister for a short bit on the phone while Ryan watched some TV. Just before 9:00, I asked him to turn off the tv, help me put away a few clothes quick and then have some quiet cuddle time in bed. I thought this was a perfectly acceptable request since we’d had a busy week so far, tonight is bible study and Friday noon he’ll leave for men’s retreat weekend. I thought it would be good for us to have some time together. After waiting 10 minutes, it was obvious that he was not going to turn off the tv so I got up and left the room. On my way upstairs with the clothes basket in hand, he said that he’d fold clothes if I brought them to him. FORGET HIM! The clothes I was carrying were already folded and the unfolded bedsheets and a few socks were upstairs. Made no sense plus it didn’t fix the Ryan focusing on tv instead of TB time. Oh yeah, I had asked him earlier to focus on me for a few minutes and he kept having to glance back at the tv – that drives me crazy. Anyway, so I went upstairs, put away clothes and then read for a while till Ryan got done watching his show and came up. He crawled in bed and went to sleep. No “I love you honey” or nothing! Grr, so frustrating. And it hasn’t seemed to improve either. Just a bit ago, I called and asked him to come home at a decent hour tonight so I could see him since he’ll be gone all weekend. He said he’ll try. WELL WHOOP-TI-DOO! Seriously, like he can’t make arrangements to tell his bible study buddies that they need to keep on track so it only lasts 2 hours instead of 3 or more.
See, all of this is really no big deal but it just ticks me off to no end. I could go on and on with the things that have made me crazy lately. And, I could only imagine that Ryan is in the same boat with me making him crazy. My husband is not perfect BUT he is wonderful and I do love him dearly!

I’m a whiny witch about at my wits end! I think that sums it up pretty well today :) Praise the Lord though I’m feeling better and that’s gotta help some!

11 April 2005

What does Love mean? A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, "What does love mean?" The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined:
"When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn't bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That's love."
"When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth."
"Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs."
"Love is what makes you smile when you're tired."
"Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK."
"Love is what's in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen."
"Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday."
"Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well."
"My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don't see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night."
"Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford."
"Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day."
"When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you."
"You really shouldn't say 'I love you' unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget."
And the final one -- Author and lecturer Leo Buscaglia once talked about a contest he was asked to judge. The purpose of the contest was to find the most caring child. The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman's yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, "Nothing, I just helped him cry"

08 April 2005

Check out Caryn's website. She's the little girl that survived the plane crash on Easter and is fighting for her life in the burn unit. The site has daily updates, pictures and a place you can send a note to the family if you'd like. Take a peek
Monday I wrote about feeling good. Go figure that it all went down hill just after that. Had some major nasty cramp that lasted an hour that evening. Thought it was no big deal at first but it got worse. Felt like someone was stabbing me! After 30 minutes, we called the doc and he said it was probably round ligament pain. I got the pain part! Needless to say, I didn’t move much except a potty break, grabbed some food and later got up and went to bed. Tuesday night we hung out at the Royer’s and I got to hold Daniel. (He’s 4 weeks old now and I didn’t make him cry this time – woo hoo! This is the little boy that I hoped would be a girl so we could marry them off but he’s darn cute anyway and I’ll find plenty others to marry my child off to). I had the cramp scare again but it was just gas this time – isn’t that precious! Tuesday was interesting when I got home. Ryan was having a bad day and trying hard to not take it out on me. Its hard to leave work and work though and I was, needless to say, eager to go for a walk and then head off for bible study. Keep us in your prayers as both of our stress levels are increasing rapidly with work and the baby.

Otherwise not much going on. The usual schedule. But, I’m getting bigger by the day and need more clothes. Yeah, Ryan really doesn’t like when I resort to my last pair of normal pants that go low enough and were big enough. Their khakis and have holes around the pockets that highlight my undies. It is really tacky, I know but I hate to buy clothes that I won’t wear for too long. I’ll be shopping this weekend for another pair of pants as well as some shorts and capri’s. Wish me luck.

07 April 2005

Each weekday, I receive an email that has romantic ideas I can use on my honey. I added a few of the recent ones I liked. They're excerpted from "Simply Romantic Ideas: 150 Fun and Creative Ways to Romance Your Husband". If you're not married, you can change it up a bit for your boyfriend or even a buddy.
1. Romantic Gift Ideas: Give him an envelope that contains a check and an announcement that says, "You've just won $50 (or whatever amount you choose) to spend any way you want, for being a wonderful husband!"
2. Ideas for Romantic Dates: Take your husband to the church where you were married and have a picnic lunch on the church steps or lawn. (Remember to bring your wedding album.)
3. Romantic Gift Ideas: Give him a card that acknowledges his provision, leadership, strength, courage, etc., especially when he is in a stressful season at work.

04 April 2005

Amen, Amen, Amen to a refreshing and quiet weekend. It wasn’t as crazy as usual but still slightly eventful:

Friday night I got home from work and Ryan met me in the yard. He never greets me outside so I thought it a bit weird. Well, he wasn’t greeting me, he’d been called back to work for an emergency on his weekend off. There was a cow, actually a heifer, in need of some help. It was just 5 minutes down the road from our house and OB calls usually only take 15-30 minutes – enough time to pull the calf out, clean up and get back in the truck. I decided to jump in the truck with Ryan. Got there and the heifer was in a chute (good sign) but psycho as all get out – they usually are their first time around. The heifer had a really small pelvic area and the calf wasn’t coming out and wouldn’t keep his feet out straight. Some time later, Ryan informed the guy that he would have to do a C-section. Yup, those are fun and take more than 15 minutes. By now there was an audience and no one really wanted to be there. The owners were supposed to be out for their anniversary and Ryan wasn’t supposed to be on call and poor me just wanted to run a “quick” call. Needless to say, it was total NE Iowa style to get the job done. If you can envision, this psycho heifer being tied up with a halter, let out of the chute and turned around to put her head in the headgate was quite the ordeal. It took two ropes and 3 people to get the dumb thing where they wanted her. Then, they swung around a gate and tied it to the chute with Ryan’s log chain to keep it as a steady side panel. Then, they tied the heifer around her body, just before her hind hips, to the gate to keep her from moving all over and kicking the snot out of Ryan. Then Ryan got to start the procedure. Its an amazing thing to watch the incision of the skin and then the uterus. And then to pull the calf out from the side. All I could think was that I might be in a similar predicament in a few months – first time mom, stubborn baby that won’t come out, psycho mom and a doctor that has to do a C-section. Hmm… I’m not so sure I like that idea. But I did tell Ryan to remember this heifer when he thinks I’m whining a lot or have a bad attitude about the situation. Needless to say it was 2 hours later when we left the farm. The sun had gone down and I was freezing. Yeah, I had on scrub pants and a sweater, topped by Ryan’s coat but it was 40 degrees and I was just standing there. Burr, it was chilly after a beautiful afternoon.

Saturday, not so eventful which was good. We piddled around the house in the morning. That means that I was cleaning and Ryan was hiding out. I worked in the kitchen while Ryan worked outside. He’s good about helping me clean but also good about staying out of the way. The roofing guy family came to fix the leak from last year. You know you live in a small town when the roofing guy calls and tells you that he’ll pick up the supplies at the lumber yard and charge it to our account so that he doesn’t have to figure that into his bill later. We’ll see how well that works when we get the next rain. That afternoon we ran to Prairie Du Chien for a quick trip to Cabelas and Walmart. Of course, we planned our trip around lunch so that we could stop for Chinese. I was so impressed with lunch. The place changed hands and had some good food for less money. It was awesome. I usually don’t care to pay so much money for the buffet and then not eat it. But this had some more variety with a better presentation as well as a fruit and dessert bar. Nice stuff. We left there and spent too much money as usual but we needed a few larger items and both had birthday money to spend. That night we had the Ellis family (minus Sona who was at Women’s retreat) over for supper and a movie. Ryan had just purchased the Incredibles and everyone wanted to see that. I, of course, slept through it.

Sunday was such a beautiful day. It was potluck Sunday at church. Since we’re heathens and don’t attend Sunday school, we have to do something in that time before potluck. I wanted to go for a walk but Ryan wanted to grab a drink and sit in the park. I didn’t put up a fight (this time) and we ended up at the park with Tom and Alan (2 other slackers who don’t go to SS). For a mid-morning snack, I had a Milky Way ice-cream, twinkies and half a diet 7-up (yup, I'm prego). Good and healthy for the baby I’m sure. After potluck, Gayle came over. We took William (my goat) out for a walk. It was perfect weather and the first time I wore shorts without freezing. Then Gayle and I laid in the hammock and chatted for a while. The whole day was so kick back and wonderful. Mom came over and got some old wood that was taken out of the house when it was remodeled. I watered plants, laid on the couch for a short bit and cleaned up the kitchen again. I wasn’t hungry for supper really and wanted some popcorn but after my earlier eating habits, I thought it’d be good to have a decent meal. So, I made Ryan and me a light supper of Orange roughy and steamed vegetables. He was impressed. I don’t do much of the cooking and I definitely have a hard time choosing what to fix and how to get it accomplished but I was a pro in the kitchen this time. After supper I cleaned up the dishes one last time and then the folks came over for cards. We ended up playing Mexican train and us ladies beat the boys once again! Woo hoo for us!!!

Now, its Monday and I’ve felt good for 2 days now. Kinda rare for me. I did have the regular belly ache this morning but otherwise its not been bad. I’m excited to get home today and piddle around outside in the warm weather again. I love that my crocuses have flowers on them and that my tulips (I added 150 more last year) are coming up wonderfully. Spring is here, the grass is greener every day and I love this weather. I think I feel better just because I can go outside. Yay!
Had these pictures on my email this morning. These two are so cute. Check out the picture of Ryann and the one of Ryann and Kaleb together.
Some interesting thoughts and a prayer request from Tony Redfern who just arrived in the Philipines to do missionary work:

We arrived safely with very few travel disruptions after 31 hours of travel. We thank God for good health. We are still adjusting to the time zone. We are waking up at 12 midnight to 3 am ready to start the day! We are adjusting very well to Filipino food - we even ate fish-eyes! You have to suck the eyes out of the head of the fish - yummy! Craig and I are also adjusting to the culture and learning about the current reality of the church in Cebu City. We have been meeting with local missionaries, pastors and church leaders. It is amazing to learn why we are here teaching on "Leadership and Interpersonal Communication." It seems many churches are struggling with leadership issues. The churches of Cebu are in great need of strong spiritual leadership as Cebu City is known as the center of cult activity for all of the Philippines. Obviously, the cults and the culture work against the work of furthering the Kingdom of God. Please pray for us as many pastors and church leaders from conflicted-churches will be coming to the seminary class.

And for those who are interested:
Please continue to pray for the Stewart family. Connie and Sarah's funerals were on Friday. Caryn continues to fight for her life in the burn unit. She has 3rd degree burns on 75% of her body and is scheduled for more surgeries. Pray also for Brian and Christian as the mourn the death of their family and sit by Caryn's bedside. And let's also lift up the neighbors who've huddled together and are taking care of the dairy and the farm work that needs to be done in the mean time.