29 June 2008

Wedding Shower and Bachellorette Party

I had a weekend with the girls and it was lots of fun. Thanks to hubby for making arrangements for his parents to keep the kids. And thanks to his parents for coming down so I could go out and have some fun with the girls!

Friday night was the wedding shower. The invite said "lace and frills welcome". The previous shower I went to, the bride got a million pairs of thongs. So, I decided on something a little different. I took an artichoke jar out of our recycle bin. Cleaned it up and made a new label. It looked just like the old one only it was specific to the bride and groom. It had an ingredients label and nutrition label and the whole bit. The jar was filled with lots of "frills". We had a good time. One thing I'd change is that I'd find out ahead of time if the bride's @postalic mother would be there. And in the event she'd be in attendance, I'd save my gift for another time. Needless to say, the mother didn't appreciate the "lace and frills" and it was obvoius!

Saturday we spent the day on the Mississippi River. Thirteen friends, the bride and the "slave" had a fun day together. A big thanks to RJ for driving the pontoon boat for us. It was fun celebrating and enjoying a little sunshine. I had a blast on the wave runners and laying on the beach. They talked me into wearing a cute bikini and I got a little tan. Woo hoo, its the 1st of July and I'm finally getting some color to my skin!

It was quite the adventurous day. A few things to remember... I forgot to stop in M town at the Quick Trip with the other Suburban. In fact, we were having so much fun talking, I don't even remember driving through the M town! How many people can say that it hailed on them while they were on a sand bar on the Mississippi? Yes, we can. It hailed for about 3 minutes and poured for another 10. It was crazy. Don't wear your contacts if you'll be splashing around on a wave runner. [side note: I didn't know about the wave runner and wore my contacts thinking I'd be spending the day basking in the sun with friends]. And one last thing to note, after losing the safety key to the wave runner, don't volunteer to hold the button out with your fingers the whole time back to the docks. Even if you can see the bridge from there, its a long drive and your hands will get really, really tired. I had forgotten what river water smells like. Its not so pleasant but I loved every moment of it. The river here was tons warmer than the San Joaquin River I grew up playing in!

27 June 2008

Happy Birthday my sweet baby girl. I can't believe a year has gone by already. You have brought such joy to our home. I love to watch your little personality develop. You are as stubborn as I've ever seen but it is my prayer that your stubbornness becomes a quality trait that helps you say "no" later on in life. Your love for people, animals and food make us smile. You look for Scott when you wake in the morning and call his name if you can hear him. If DJdog is anywhere nearby, you are completely distracted and give him all of your attention. With food, you are a bottomless pit and love to eat everything. You are as precious as they come and we are so thankful for you every day. We love you my beautiful little girl. Happy Birthday!

26 June 2008

Atta boys!

Congrats to my alma matter: California State University, Fresno! What an exciting few days its been. This all happened in Omaha... and if I lived in SW Iowa, I so would've been at those games. I was even tempted to stay at my moms last night to watch the 3rd game. Go bulldogs!
Fresno State Wins 2008 College Baseball National Championship
Bulldogs defeat Georgia 6-1 to win CWS.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) -Fresno State was smashing in its final performance as college baseball's team of destiny, winning a championship that would have been impossible to predict.
With Steve Detwiler
providing all the offense Justin Wilson needed, the Bulldogs captured their first national championship in a men's sport with a 6-1 victory over Georgia in Game 3 of the College World Series finals Wednesday night.

Detwiler homered twice and drove in all six runs, and Wilson allowed five hits in eight innings to cap Fresno State's wild ride to a title.

Fresno State was forecast to be a Top 25 team coming into the season, but the Bulldogs lost 12 of their first 20 games. They needed to win the Western Athletic Conference tournament just to make the NCAA field of 64, fought off elimination in regionals and super regionals, and became the first No. 4 regional seed to reach the CWS since the tournament expanded in 1999.

The Bulldogs (47-31) from California not only showed they belonged, they showed they were the best, even though no previous national champion had more losses. The national title was the second in school history. Fresno State won the 1998 women's softball title.

Give 'em a Brake

Give 'em a brake, isn't that slogan for the state DOT workers? I totally agree that we should be cautious around road workers and would hate to cause any one harm, but today, I wasn't so compassionate. The road I travel to work is getting ready for a face lift. This past week, workers have been ripping out the old tubes in the road ditches under the driveways and installing new ones. Each morning and evening when I go home, all is quiet on the road and machinery is parked in nearby fields. Yesterday I was frustrated that the warning signs were placed quite a ways ahead and I slow down right away only to crawl along for a while before getting to the work area. Last night I paid attention to where the work had been finished as the new culverts are corrugated metal pipe and shine brightly in the sun.

This morning as I was moving right along down the road when I came up to the work site. I immediately slowed down. There was a lady standing to flag cars only she wasn't flagging cars at all. She wasn't even facing the same direction nor did she have her flag rolled out yet. I slowed down and moved into the other lane since it was down to one lane at that point according to the warning sign a while back. As I did so, the lady stopped, stared at me, gave me a nasty look and shook her head. I watched her in the mirror as she turned and watched me go by.

So here's what I found entertaining and frustrating all at the same time. I know this isn't a highway or a super heavily traveled road but you can still take the appropriate cautions. It wasn't like they were just getting started and I flew through there. As I got a little bit down the road, the one lane and even a bit of the other were covered in dirt they'd dug out of the ditch. There were no cones to guide traffic, no person on the other end to divert traffic around the track hoe. Just this one lady who had a pissy attitude and didn't have her flag out. As I continued to drive to work, I tried to make sense of her reaction to me. And it just didn't make sense. I slowed down and moved into the other lane. Was I supposed to stop? Maybe she should have had a sign out then that said stop then. Geesh, I hope she has a better day and she's done working when I drive back through this afternoon.

[non]scrap bribing

Sign me up Jody... I need a little help in the scrapping department. Some of you might be familiar with the IowaGeek site. Its always a great read and they're cool people too. Anyway, Jody has a [non]scrap bribe going on. I'm letting you know about it so that you can go over and sign up and then pass the gift along to me if you win :) Okay, fine, you can keep the gift yourself if you want. Go over and sign up and let Jody know that I sent you will ya.

25 June 2008

Scrap Booking Fun

For those of you who know me, you know that I love to scrap book. I love all the creative things others come up with that I can copy or use to get my own ideas. I'm not naturally creative but I try. When I scrap, I find something cool, have some ideas on how to put the page together but then end up doing something very plain. Yes, I live a type-A personality. Between that and my unwillingness to spend loads of money on scrapping accessories, my pages aren't extravagant.

For the last year or so I've really wanted to get a computerized die cutting tool. But, in all honesty, I just couldn't make up my mind. I'm on the computer most of my work day and the last thing I want to do when I get home is spend more time on the computer. My computer is in the spare bedroom which isn't even on the same floor of our home. Plus, I have two little kids to chase around when I get home at night. I wasn't sure how much use I'd get out of the thing. Recently, though, I've been working on Bethany's first year book. I've borrowed my friends non-computerized tool and as much as I appreciate it, it just doesn't compare to the computer version. So, I've been looking and reading lots of information about the different tools. And, I've made up my mind, thanks to this very detailed machine comparison sheet I found online. I really, really want the one that is out of my price range. Like $200 more than I have saved up. It does so much more plus the program that it uses is so versatile. But because of my lack of funds, I would have to get the other one. Still a good machine, just not want I want. I so feel like a child who thinks I have to have a certain one. I just want to throw a fit to get the one I want.

So, here's the current debate going on in my own head. Get the cheaper one (I'd right the names of them to simplify but don't want people to google the name and read my worthless info) and then later wish that I'd gotten the other. And spend the extra money to add the program from the expensive one too it. Or, wait a few months and hope and pray that I can get a cash award for a contest I'm entering at work and buy the more expensive one. Wouldn't that be sweet?!?! I'm not a patient person so we'll see if I wait the 6 weeks to find out if I get the cash. I just want it know so I can make Bethany's book all pretty! Grr.

Teeth, Finally

Tomorrow my sweet little baby will be one year old. And last week that poor child still didn't have any teeth. You could tell they existed underneath her gums by the shape of her gums but none had poked through. That didn't stop my little girl from eating though. She never was really a fan of baby food and has to eat what you eat. But these days she chews up chicken, veggies and other foods without any teeth. That's my girl. Last weekend, two little teeth poked through the skin. Its funny to see. Scott got his two front top teeth first. Bethany is getting her two front bottom teeth first. It's about time!

20 June 2008


I recently had to write a bio for a website I was asked to contribute too. You should all know by now that nothing I write is short. Here's what I wrote, it may have to be shortened before it can be used. Let me know what you think.

Born and raised in Central California, Tamara B received a degree in Agriculture Education with a double emphasis in Animal and Plant Science. As a multicultural academic scholar, she experienced a variety in education, travel and career experiences. Similar to the rest of her life, she was involved in a little bit of everything: welding, showing cattle, micro plant propogation trials, student government, greek life, athletics, leading bible studies, working for the USDA, grant writing, boys and even a little formal education thrown in the mix.

It was during her college days that the USDA employed her with a variety of agencies for work experience. She thoroughly enjoyed the days that she sat under the Giant Sequoia for a quick bite to eat, hiked up the streams in the national forests for water quality monitoring, and surveyed for endangered owl species at midnight with the Forest Service. She loved and appreciated the days she worked for an environmental based education program to educate the underserved rural communities on natural resources. Hiring students who knew nothing more than picking citrus fruit was more than educating on natural resources. It gave the students and their families hope. Eventually those experiences led her to the Natural Resources Conservation agency where out of offers from 6 states, she chose Iowa. The 10-week summer experience in Iowa was quite the learning curve. You could imagine all the things that were strange to her after growing up in Central California, even if it was a small (6k people) farming community. It peaked her curiosity enough that she came back for another 4 weeks to check out a "winter".

Two short weeks being honored as the first in her extended family to attend college and receive a degree, Tamara B made the big move to the midwest. Unsure of its permanancy, she settled in rural Northeast Iowa. Content with her surroundings (but missing fresh clam chowder, fresh fruit, friends and family), she quickly got involved in her new community. It was a few weeks later that she met Ryan (a whole 'nother story in itself), whom she married less than a year later.

To date, she lives in a beautiful old farm house with her amazing husband and two beautiful children. She continues to work full time with the USDA. Her husband, Ryan, is a veterinarian and fixes both livestock and pets. The two of them are blessed to have both of their parents move to the area and take an active role in their children's lives. In her spare time, Tamara likes to scrap book, sew and enjoy the outdoors. In the 6 years she's lived in Iowa, she has become just like you - An Iowa Mom.

18 June 2008

Amish Questions

I was just out working with an Amish landowner. It was beautiful out and quite amazing to see the women out in the garden and the children tending to chores, napping on the lawn, etc. The more I visited with the Amish man, the more questions I would love to ask. It would be so neat to see what their day to day activities are like. This family had a huge garden, two small barns with milking goats and a small area that looked like a green house. I saw a battery hooked up to a motor which I suspect keeps the milk tank cool. How do the keep their meat cold? Do they ever have iced tea? Are the children born in a hospital or at home? I have found this group of people intriguing since the day I moved here. I would love to come up with some kind of outreach project so I could get to know them better. Wouldn't that be cool?

Give Me Words to Speak

I can hardly type at the moment but I wanted to share a quick prayer request. A young couple in our church had a baby at 24 weeks gestation. This little baby has been fighting for her life and is doing well for her situation. Weighing in at 2 lbs now, she's growing and beating the odds. With that said, its a continual fight and her kidneys are not so hot. So, we keep praying for her. Well to add to the stress of the parents, who have their baby in a hospital almost two hours away in a hospital, today they are sufferring a tragic loss. Daniel's dad was in a car accident and killed yesterday. My heart goes out to these people. I read the prayer chain email this morning and was flooded with emotion. I hardly even know this couple and my heart aches. I can't imagine how they would even be able to stand on their own two feet at this point. Please be praying for my new friends as they walk through this valley and try to keep the strength they need to travel to see and love on their baby.

17 June 2008

Mosquitos and other pests

i hate mosquitos. in fact, i despise any bugs that crawl on me when i least expect it. i have several mosquito bites recently and typically i'm not their favorite food.

on the same note, i was out playing with the kids on saturday. we were running around in the lawn and bouncing from the fort house thingy to the bucket of water to fish in to watering plants. it was a blast. while scott was fishing, i noticed a spider on his pant leg and called him over to get it off. only, it was a tick and not a spider. okay, i despise ticks. so much so that i'll avoid the timber at times because of them. but i got it off, squished its guts out and went on our merry way. fast forward to the next morning and ryan was giving the kids a bath. he pulled the kids out, let the water out and found a tick in the bath tub. a tick!!!! freaked me out. it was on my son, or at least on his clothes, all night. what if he gets sick?!?!?

needless to say that when we played outside sunday night, i was glad to let him run around with no pants on. that way, no ticks would be climbing up his leg without me seeing it on his bright white little legs. and i hardly sat bethany down at all because of it. and when i did, she had 7 or more ants on her within 1 minute. what the heck? i grabbed her up quick, brushed off the ants and hauled the kids inside. when inside, i pulled her diaper off to make sure none snuck down her crack. poor baby. she was fine, i was the one traumatized :)

13 June 2008

A Simple Thank You

I called one of my producers [Alan] today to let him know that I needed a signature on a document before I could send an automatic payment. His wife answered the phone and informed me that he was out and to call his cell phone. I did just that, called a few others and then went to the kitchen to grab my lunch. Ready to sit down for a meal, the secretary informed me that I had a call. To my surprise it was Alan's wife. She called to thank me for all the assistance I give Alan. She went on to tell me that he's shared with her on multiple occasions how I've helped him, given him new insight, etc concerning his cattle grazing operation. She said that she understands we don't get thanked enough and wanted to pass along a little appreciation.

Needless to say, it made my day. There are certain farmers that I like to work with, some that make my job difficult and some that I avoid. As much as I like working with Alan, I often times feel like I can't feed his hunger for learning ways to improve his operation. So, it was nice to hear that, in doing my job, I've helped someone out. Sometimes, I feel like we get in a rut and do the bare minimum and do so with a sour attitude. This was the encouragement I needed after having a non-motivating day yesterday!

Thank you Lori for taking the time to make a difference in my day!

Elkader Floods

Thanks to Shannon at the Clayton County Register for allowing me to post a few pictures.

This first picture is an aerial view of Elkader. The top of the picture towards the left is a camp ground that was completely under water. To the right of that is the baseball fields and city pool. At the center of the picture running from left to right is the Turkey River channel. Below the channel in the picture is several city blocks that were under water. The downtown is located along the river and many businesses and homes were flooded. Residents were evacuated and moved their vehicles to higher groud at the Catholic church. Only the water came up more than expected and even the catholic church flooded.

This second photo is downtown looking up river. This bridge was the only bridge that remained open in many of the nearby towns. I've been crossing this bridge recently to get to work as the route I would typically take has bridges closed. Elkader is a mess but it is a tiny mess in comparison to nearby Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Cedar Falls, etc.
To see more pictures of downtown Elkader, check out the Clayton County Register photos they have posted.

12 June 2008

Mommy Stays Home for a Day

It's been a whirlwind of a week with lots of regularly scheduled items as well as the emergency type stuff. Late Tuesday afternoon I got an email from my mom asking if I could find any one else to keep the kids. So, on the way to Wisconsin that night I made a few phone calls and had no luck. Wednesday morning I decided I would stay home with the kids. Now, I know mom would have taken them but I also knew she wanted to quilt with my aunt. Because of all the other things going on around here, it was the perfect time to stay home with them.

We ate breakfast together, rather than having a snack in the car and Scott eating at moms. We played with blocks, trains and other toys together too. I even made a meal for lunch and Ryan came home to eat with us. Scott, who usually likes to help out around the house, opted to play while I cleaned the main floor. We had fun playing together, eating together and just being home. While the kids napped, I made sure to not vacuum but spent that time putting away several loads of laundry. I think I made good use of my time at home and even managed to hang out on the couch to watch a little of the noon news before Scott woke up and Ryan called.

In the late afternoon I even managed to have supper ready. Not quite on the table when Ryan got home but close. Now, I kind of cheated because both meals were part way prepared in advance. The chicken corn soup (I don't know the actual name of the recipe) was in the refrigerator waiting to be heated up and milk to be added. And for supper, Ryan had prepared the poppy seed cheese sauce and the meat mixture ahead of time too. All I had to do was thaw it, cook up some tortellini, spread some cheese across the top and toss it in the oven for a while. Regardless, that was two meals prepared, 3 if you count Scott's cereal, a house cleaned and kids attended to. Whew, did that feel good.

The best part about all of that was I had energy left to give my family after we finished supper. Ryan wasn't feeling great so I took both of the kids outside to play. I put Bethany in the baby swing and Scott played in the fort. I pulled a few weeds and played on the fort with the kids. Yes, I even went down the slide holding Bethany like a 3 year old child. We pulled weeds, picked up sticks from the lawn and chased each other around. Scott and I even managed to find 3 robin eggs which we promptly took care of and watched for a while. It was a bit windy but otherwise a great night to enjoy the outdoors. After an hour outside we headed in. Scott and I went upstairs and bathed him quick, I fed Bethany and put her to bed and then snuggled on the couch with Scott for a few minutes before putting him to bed. And once the house was quiet, Ryan and I sat and watched the news together for a few minutes before I fell asleep on the couch.

It seems like yesterday was a busy day even though I would have loved to clean my bathroom, visit a friend and her new baby and scrap book. By the end of the day my feet hurt and my back ached but it was so nice to have energy. Just goes to prove that some days my job sucks all the energy I have and its not even physical labor!

Broken Camera

So, my trusty little camera that goes every where with me has retired. Its very frustrating when I use it all the time. I love to capture fun moments, milestones with the kids or other things. A few weeks back the lense decided it wouldn't close all the way but still worked. And now, it closes even less but won't work. I guess one of the lenses moved around causing the blur and other problems. There have been multiple times recently when I've wanted the camera to capture something:
  • Bethany "army crawls" across the floor
  • Bethany tries to crawl but doesn't quite have it figured out
  • Bethany saying all kinds of things audibly and in sign language: please, more, eat, and thank you. Audibly, she says mama, daddy, dada, papa, grandpa, scott (without the "s"), DJ, etc.
  • Kisses from both of the kids
  • Flood Issues here in Northeast Iowa

09 June 2008

Do you know how to build an ark?

Way back when, there were some very important words spoken that we should consider today. God was talking to Noah and said something along these lines:
God said: Friend, I'm disgusted by the corrupt people on this earth. I'm about to destroy them with a flood. But Noah, I like you. Go build an ark.
And God gave Noah specific design criteria to build. It took him a long time and many people laughed while Noah did exactly what God had commanded him to do but the time came and God flooded the earth. Everything died except what was on ark with Noah and his family.

We've had a lot of rain lately. Rivers are raging, floods are as bad as they've been in the past and are expected to get worse. Lots of lakes and big bodies of water around these parts lately. Do you know how to build an ark? They're closing bridges left and right and Ryan just called to let me know that I should pay attention as I have to cross the Turkey River multiple times to get home. The good news is that God promised in His word that he would never again destroy all living things. As long as the earth remains there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night. Whew, that's good to know. I think some people are getting worried around here!

To check out the full story, which is really interesting to read, click here to read a few pages of the bible (Genesis 7-9).

05 June 2008

Busy... edited 6/6

Okay, so I'm just enjoying life... accomplishing a few things at work, playing with my kids, visiting with family and serving in my community. I don't have the time to write about a few things going on right now. I was going to paste an email that I sent to my friend Cori but I've since cleaned out my inbox and don't have it anymore. Shoot. Well, just know that we are good. And if Cori sends me the original email, I'll post it below.

In other news:

  1. My camera is broken. Do you think it would cost more to fix it than buy a new one? Its not even a year old!
  2. There has been a huge issue, which I'm not sure I've ever posted about. Telling you about it would really bring out my angry side, I would become a gossip and would get all worked up. Its been a 3.5 year ordeal already. God has really been teaching us patience. Well, I must report that finally the wheels have started to turn. Let's pray that they continue as it really does affect our livelihood.
  3. It feels like Tuesday but its really Thursday. Woo-hoo!
  4. Bethany is trying to crawl all over... yes my kids are slow movers. She's rolled around for a long time but she's now interested in crawling. She's pulling her self up on things too.
  5. Her vocubulary improves at an alarming rate. Peopl are always surprised that she less than a year old when they hear her say specific words and hear her jabber constantly. She's also learned a few animal noises and a few words in sign language. Atta girl. Oh, how I thank God for blessing us with her!
  6. Scott loves his sister dearly. He has funny conversations with her all the time in the car. He assures her that we will be to Grammy's soon, holds her hand, shares his snacks, etc. He's a talker too. The things he says are hilarious. "oh, just forget about it" as he covers his face. "imagine that" and many more... he's a funny kid.
  7. Last night Scott watered the flowers with me which means he drenched himself, soaked an iris that hadn't quite bloomed yet and played in the water/mud. I'm so thankful that God has blessed us with him.

edited to add what Cori so graciously sent me:

Here's what I've been up to lately-

  • Service Saturday is done
  • Trying to get done with the b-feeding. It's bittersweet and not so convenient!
  • Lost weight and am in pre-scott clothes but still can't get in those original wranglers. I think it’s the extra skin. I desperately need some new clothes that actually fit me
  • Lacking sleep on a regular basis with a little one that screams in the middle of the night but she did sleep the last two nights which was heaven.
  • Wanting the area program specialist position that Troy is leaving next week. Don't think I'll have a fighting chance. If it runs as an 11, I'm not eligible. Even at a 9/11, there will be stiff competition.
  • Wanting to run away to CA for a quick trip to hang out with friends and not take my kids or my husband. Do you think my family would kill me if I did that?
  • married for 5 years now. Wow.
  • Bethany's birthday is 4 weeks away and I have nothing done in her scrap book. In fact, I don't even have pictures ordered yet. Yikes. I think I'm going to do a combo party for her and Scott. They'll hate that when they're older but for now it just might have to work because our schedules are nutso
  • Today is a crappy weather day. I feel like I'm drugged on benadryl but didn't take any. I think its allergies.
  • watching a friends dog for a few weeks. It died on Sunday. It was a HORRIBLE phone call to make to the owner. Why does that happen when we were just trying to be helpful?
  • Still needing to get my thyroid and tailbone checked but I still don't like the doctors and feel like I've been off a lot lately.