30 December 2009

I need YOUR help!

I have 110 tickets to sale for the Vacation Package. I have 4 days to sell the tickets. Would you please consider buying a few so I don't have to return the money.

Details on the tickets can be found in this blog post: http://tam4buit.blogspot.com/2009/12/vacation.html

You can mail me a check or use paypal: buitenwerf1976@live.com

*** I do have the option of postponing the drawing until I sell the 600 tickets but I'd really rather prefer to be done with this fundraiser so I can focus on other things.

28 December 2009

He's learning

Scott is great at inviting our adult friends over. This time though, we invited them all on our own. Last night we enjoyed the company of our dear friends as we brought our families together to share in a meal and fellowship.

As they arrived, Ryan was still out on an emergency call (he brought a new calf into the world who arrived backwards and upside down... ouch!). Anyway, our friends stayed with our kids for a moment while I ran the neighbors home. While we were gone, our sweet little son was quite the host and offerred hot chocolate to S&M. When I got back to the house, I asked to get them something to drink and they informed me that my son was already following in our foot steps and had already asked them.

He's too cute.

Most of the time.

27 December 2009

Quick Thoughts

I so need to update my profile. That was more than 4 years ago. I've since chopped my hair, lost the baby weight, grown my hair out, gained back the weight, and am currently running around with short hair and only a bit of the extra pounds.

Christmas is gone. We know that because our wise little son is now counting the days until next Christmas as well as the days until summer. His "how many more days until..." question is getting on our nerves but I'm thankful that he's curious and wants to know. Christmas may have past but I'm still trying to reflect on the celebration that we fail to focus on at our house. How is it that we can have plans on focusing it more on the babe in the manger but still manage to spend too much on gifts and fill our time with overeating rather than worshipping a King? I'd hoped to make a birthday cake this year but that didn't happen. My kids can tell you that we celebrate Jesus' birthday but they're also loving the presents they received.

I also tried to make Ryan's gifts a little more focused on Christ. My good friend gave me the 3 gifts idea. This is basically the idea behind it:
1. Gold
· This is a practical gift given to Jesus it would have helped them to afford the journey God was about to send them on.
· To represent this gift you give a practical gift to help them on the journey of life that God has for them.
· This could include clothes, coats, shoes, boots, or even a shelf for their room, Something they have a use for.
· These gifts should not have a religious theme or you will blur the lines of the gifts.

For this gift, I gave Ryan a journal and have been praying that he will use it to draw closer to God in all areas of his life.

2. Myrrh
· This gift was a perfume to bring pleasure or joy into Jesus life.
· This is a fun gift to get so this gift you give is something fun they will enjoy.
· This could include a game, a basketball, a toy, just something to have fun with and play.
· These gifts should not have a religious theme or you will blur the lines of the gifts.

For this gift, I gave Ryan a starbucks gift card and a Snoopy comic book.

3. Frankincense.
· This was something they would have burned to give a pleasing aroma to God. The gift would have burned steady and strong.
· You choose a gift for your child that will help them to live a life pleasing to God, a life in which they will be steady and strong.
· This could include a story book, an activity book, a Bible, a Bible game, a movie about God, CD with age appropriate music for them, a picture for their bedroom wall. We have given T-shirts with Christian saying on them.


Focusing on the living a life pleasing to God, I gave Ryan some new workout clothes and gloves. He works out 3 days a week with another friend so I got him shorts, a shirt, pants and some weight lifting gloves. By the way, he looks really hot in his new pants!

The kids were of course spoiled with gifts from grandparents, parents and us. We loved watching them open their gifts. We also greatly enjoyed the company of our family - his on Christmas Eve and mine on Christmas day. I of course especially enjoyed the 4 day weekend off from work!

22 December 2009

My Father in Law and Barbies have in common

This afternoon was a celebration of service and retirement for my boss and secretary in the office. We hosted an open house for them and with lots of visitors comes a packed house, warm temperatures and a lot of noise. When things began slowing down and I back at my desk to close the windows, I heard my phone beep. The voicemail would have to wait... I had a some things to clean up and having just looked at the clock, I had about 5 minutes left before I had to leave for guitar lessons. A quick conversation with the staff and they volunteered to take care of the clean up. I was free to go. Before logging out of my computer, I ran out to start my van and it wasn't in the parking lot. Though the day had been chaotic, I at least recalled dropping it off for an oil change.

commercial break: Kurt's Auto Body in Elkader is EXCELLENT. Does great work, has good people skills, is a wonderful all around business to work with. Back to my story...

Kurt, in perfect normal time was bringing my van back in 5 minutes. I had failed to tell him that I had to leave early for my guitar lesson. A few minutes behind schedule I was moving down the partially snow covered road and listening to my voicemail.

It was my father in law who'd called an hour before from T0ys*R*Us. He was shopping for his little granddaughter. They are giving Bethany a Barbie powerwheels jeep for Christmas (that I got during my first Black Friday shopping experience). While shopping at T*R*U, he saw some Barbies on sale and thought he should pick up a few for her to have while driving her new jeep. He wanted me to call back ASAP.

Yikes. Big dilemma here. We don't like Barbie nor do we plan on our daughter having them as toys. How will I address this with Mark? By now he's either bought them or he hasn't, right? I wondered if I should call Ryan and let him be the one to break the news to his dad. No, Ryan has had a crazy day and is probably still working cattle or euthanizing a cat. Do I allow the Barbie so long as my mother in law agrees to help me make non-slutty clothes for the doll? What kind of message will that send? It sucks to have to tell a grandpa that his gift is inappropriate for my little girl.

I decide to call Mark back. I talk to him for a short bit about it and he starts LAUGHING at me. He was totally just pulling my leg. He wasn't out shopping, he was out burning his trash. He didn't consider buying the dolls for Bethany at all, he was just being funny. This is typically my father in law - full of poop but I didn't expect it at all. I was in the middle of a chaotic afternoon and trying to get to guitar lessons and not real well focused I guess.

Real funny Mark! It was real funny and I love that Mark is funny like that. Usually though I can spot his BS from a mile away.

I told Ryan about it and he just grinned from ear to ear. Mark had let him in on the joke earlier. Real funny guys! Ryan though gave me the perfect way to get him back. He suggested that I call and inform Mark that we finally found out why I've not been feeling good. That I would be expecting another child. That would get him for sure. But I couldn't say it without laughing because I'm NOT pregnant. I tried to talk Ryan into making the phone call but he didn't.

Several hours later, I'm still laughing about how my blood pressure went up and I spent 5 minutes trying to figure out how to reply to Mark before I actually called him back!

Best Husband Ever

Last night after the kids were put to bed, Ryan grabbed the pile of unwrapped gifts and carried them to our room.  While I sat and practiced my guitar (my fingers are sore this morning), Ryan wrapped all the gifts.  He's studly like that!
 
Today as his day is expected to be wild already and it's only 9am - working 170 head of cattle, two DA (displaced abomasum) surgeries, a couple of small animals - I'm hoping that he knows that I'm so thankful for all his hard work both at home and at work.


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20 December 2009

Christmas Letter Text

Buitenwerf Family

From the desk of Miss Bethany

I found the elf today. The elf hides around the house and watches us to see if we're naughty or nice. He reports back to Santa, even though Scott and I know that Santa isn't real. He was sitting on the bookshelf that Daddy made for mommy this year. Did you hear about the shelf that daddy made for mommy? It's in the room with the Christmas tree. We love seeing the lights on the Christmas tree and playing with the ornaments that decorate it. I love playing with toys - the aquadoodle, Scott's blocks, my Dora kitchen. I also love helping in the kitchen by mixing stuff while I sit on the counter. I even have my own scraper…

As you can see, Bethany is growing quickly and her mind is always on the go. She's thinking, and getting distracted non-stop…

Daddy, this is my letter, let me share this year, please. What was I saying? Something about the kitchen... my favorite thing is hot chocolate. It's tasty! I just have to have it right away in the morning. I can down a cup of hot chocolate almost instantly. Mommy and daddy keep saying that I'm addicted. Scott likes it too. Scott likes me more than hot chocolate. He loves to sleep with me at night and I don't wanna share a bed with him so now I just ask to sleep in my crib. I love my crib, my duckie blanket, and having my fan on. I love when daddy tells me stories. Mommy isn't a good story teller. My momma is great as long as she's not washing my hair.

What was that I heard… Veggie Tales… LarryBoy, there's no here quite like LarryBoy...

Like Ryan said, Bethany is easily distracted. And thank goodness; we want to share with you about our year.

--------------------------------------


Bethany is definitely her mother's daughter and talks and moves non-stop. I'll try to keep it brief here…

It's been a full year, one full of blessings, full of busy days, full of grace, full of failure and full of trying again. I continue to work full time while trying to make the best use of the rest of the time in the day God has given me. A couple of things I've done this year include starting the adoption process of an Ethiopian orphan, visiting with family and a few friends for a week in California where I got to celebrate the life of my late Uncle James and participate in the wedding of my cousin, Sarah. Shortly after that, I spent 10 days outside of Mexico City on a missions trip with 11 other amazing team members while Ryan kept the kiddos at home. I canned a bunch of tomatoes into salsa. I made use of my sewing machine by making some black baby dolls and a shoulder bag. I organized a few fundraisers and attended various training sessions for our adoption. I spoiled myself one weekend and attended my first ever blogger conference.

Throughout the year I've continued to lift weights. After getting hooked on the Biggest Loser, I am trying to focus more on my physical health recently by incorporating some time on the treadmill. Of course some days when I eat 10 snack size almond joys, I fail miserably but get back up and try again the next day. I also fail at respecting my husband and serving him but am thankful that he is forgiving and loves me regardless. I love him too and am so thankful for his continued devotion and leadership in our family.

--------------------------------------

Veggie Tales are over now and mom is off changing Bethany's diaper so I'm going to play computer. I can't play on PBSkids.org so I guess I tell you a few things. I finally started school this year - I go to preschool on Tuesday and Thursday. I love spelling and reading words, W-O-R-D-S, words.

Scott, this is my letter. Get away. Scott is my big brother. He watches out for others. He loves to feed the animals, take baths, play in the sandbox and draw. He still has problems pooping.

BETHANY, don't tell people that! Daddy's making supper, you should go help him… nevermind her. I love to tell jokes, tell stories and sing songs. Bethany and my favorite song is Good Morning Beautiful and we both love to sing it with Daddy. Lately I've been trying to remember phone numbers of people while I dial their number to call them. My favorite thing this year was going to the waterpark.

Okay Scott, that's enough, I want to write about Daddy.

Okay, I'll just go play in the snow without you, Bethany.

--------------------------------------

My Daddy is the coolest guy ever. I just adore him and love him. Daddy is the one who makes me hot chocolate every morning while he sings Good Morning Beautiful and lets me help in the kitchen. Okay, really I sit on the counter and talk to him, but he let's me think that I'm helping. When Mommy went to Mexico to tell people about Jesus, daddy took good care of Scott and me. He told me stories every night before bed.

Excuse me, Bethany, can I share a bit about Daddy too? For those of you who don't keep up with Ryan, he's quite the busy guy. Besides being one of the local veterinarians, Ryan also takes time to search out the details involved in a one-room school, writes an agricultural column for a local newspaper, installed an outdoor wood burner this year, and countless other things it takes to lead a family and maintain an acreage.

Okay mommy, my turn again. Did I tell you about when he took us to the water park? He let Mommy and Scott go on the big slides and he played with me in the shallow water. He's a good Daddy like that. He reads us stories, prays with us and makes us dinner. He even watches cartoons with us when Mommy isn't home.

--------------------------------------

As usual between my kids and my wife, I don't usually get a chance to say much. I'm okay with that for the most part. Something they didn't share much about is our adoption process through Ethiopia. It's been a process in paperwork for sure that we started this past summer. Most recently we were matched with a little boy from Ethiopia. He is 22 months old.

His name is Dirk. No Scott, his name is Judah. That's my girl, Bethany, you know mommy likes that name. All three of you are crazy. His name is _____ (which means "take the lead to expand") and I like the name Daniel. Names are important to us, but that's not the point of this.

Anyway, though we've been matched with this beautiful little boy, it will be approximately six months before we can go to Ethiopia to bring him home. While Scott and Bethany are looking forward to sharing their things and Bethany is even making excuses as to why she needs to take her shoes off and share them, we have a lot of paperwork to complete, money to save and praying to do. We would love to have you join us on this journey. You can follow along with updates on our adoption blog (www.journey4hope.blogspot.com) if you'd like to read about the specific things we're doing along this journey.

From our family to yours, we wish you a Christ-filled Christmas!

With love, Ryan, Tamara, Scott and Bethany

18 December 2009

another little give-away I'd like to win.

Because of my desire to quit daydreaming about being more involved with photography and graphic design and actually do it, I signed up for this contest at one of my favorite blog sites. The contes can be found here and here.

Wish me happy thoughts on winning.

Merry CHRISTmas!

I think you know me by now. If you don't, please leave a comment below so I can get to know you a bit.

With all that has been going on lately, I almost got my annual Christmas letter done. This year I was determined to get it in cards and in the mail. But life happens and Christmas letters get put on the back burner. The following is our Christmas letter. No fun editing, no great layout but none the less, it's us and that's what I wanted to share.

I made the letter into a pdf to email out (since we're a week from Christmas by now) but I didn't like it. It really jacked up the pictures. So here it is, our Christmas letter. Click on the image to enlarge and be able to read the actual words:

***edited to add: when I first checked it, it would let you click on the image to enlarge. Now it won't. Not sure why?!?!?!? Anyone that can fix that for me? I gotta get on the road but I can fix it once in DesMoines if you'll tell me how.

page 1

and page 2 (cause we're wordy like that)



17 December 2009

A day (or 8 hours) in the life of me...

In the past 8 hours, I have:
  • Gone on a trail ride in the snow. It really was work related. By the end of it, I was cold and feeling like I had rocks in my snowboots rather than toes. What a beautiful time. A good refreshment and reminder of the things I love about my job: being outdoors, working with people.
  • Finished up one of the home-made gifts that was driving me crazy.
  • Driven down the road in the vet truck while eating a piece of no longer frozen pizza, sharing with Bethany in the middle and cracking the window to get rid of Ryan's work smells. Hello, safe driver award goes to me please.
  • Watched Bethany rock out to the song Fanatic.
  • Bathed two energetic children and watched them have fun in a bathtub with about 1 inch of water while I prayed in frustration for the well to kick in and recharge the water tank two floor below.
  • Washed, folded and put away four loads of laundry (the reason our water is struggling).
  • Partly packed for another quick trip to the DesMoines area to pack G&G's things for their move to the retirement home. Thank you Lord that Grandpa is alive, even though he's having a rough time moving from the home he built and the community he's always lived in!
  • Missed bible study again. I don't like missing this but as you can see from above, I had lots going on.
  • Kept myself and hubby awake way too long since our morning will start at 510am!

home-made gift

Making a home-made gift right how.  I'm on try #3 and running out of time!  Grr.  I love home-made gifts but sometimes I despise the process!


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15 December 2009

Church Christmas Program

You might remember that last year Scott was quite entertaining and distracting during the children's Christmas program.  He was checking out the presents under the tree, digging through the blankets to see baby Jesus and even managed to pick his nose - all of this in front of a packed church.  Thankfully, this year the setting was different and my kids have each grown a little bit.  I was quite thankful for a quiet little boy who stood on stage when he needed to and he wasn't distracted by presents, babies or boogies! 
 
The kids are growing quickly of course.  This year they're grasping the idea of presents much more.  This also means that we have to make much more of an effort to help them understand that we celebrate Christmas as the birthday of a conquering King.  We've been reading through the nativity story, talking about Jesus' birth, etc.  But when it comes down to it in 10 days (Scott is counting down all by himself), it will be easy to be distracted with too much food and lots of presents.  How do we make sure we don't talk about the reason for the season all season long and then ignore it on Christmas day?  What do you incorporate into Christmas Day to help little ones focus on giving and celebrating Jesus' birthday?




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10 December 2009

I'm a little selfish

There's a contest out there for a new HP touchsmart computer. I really don't want you to go over there and sign up for the give-away. I'm a little selfish like that and I want the odds to stay lower so I have a better chance of winning. I just checked and there were over 3,000 comments.

Wowzers. 3,0000 comments? I don't think I've had that many blog readers since I started this thing.

The odds aren't great. But you know what has good odds? Our vacation raffle. Not even 600 tickets sold yet. I'm not so selfish with this one, feel free to buy lots of them and use them as stocking stuffers this year.

08 December 2009

t-shirts


I love a good tshirt. But I rarely spend money on one, unless its for the Iowa vs. ISU game. Anyway, I will buy tshirts with a purpose. I've been looking at some sites that have tshirt fundraisers. And to be honest, I just don't like what I see. But at www.mycrazyadoption.org, there are a few tshirts I really like. Go on over and check them out.

Who Knew

Who knew that shoveling snow could be fun?!?! This morning at the end of our work-out, we decided to shovel snow instead of working our abs. It was quite fun to shovel the walks for a few people.

I say this not to pat myself on the back. Rather, I hope it would encourage you to do something nice for your neighbor. If you live near where I live, shoveling snow is an easy option as we're about to get 6-12" of snow today before we get high winds.

Don't forget to buy your vacation tickets - a chance to enjoy better weather than we're about to endure. Click here for more info.

03 December 2009

Vacation

As I look out my living room window, its snowing and cold. At this point, I can't help but think of a little vacation somewhere warm. I'd love to go somewhere warm. Personally, I'd love to fly South and do some mission work, hang out with families, children, people on the street. Maybe for you, that's not the ideal trip. Maybe you'd prefer to fly to a coastal resort town and sip drinks on the beach. Well guess what, I have the perfect contest for that.



At $5 per ticket, it's a pretty sweet deal. Not only do you get the chance of the vacation, you also get the chance to help us bring out little guy home.

This vacation package was given to us to be raffled off as a fundraiser for our adoption. If we don't sell enough tickets to cover the minimum amount requested, we will refund your money and return the vacation package to the anonymous donor. At $5 per ticket, we need to sell at least 600 tickets. Remember, each ticket sold, gets us five dollars closer to adopting from Ethiopia and gets you one step closer to an inexpensive vacation! Please consider buying 1, 2, or even 20 tickets. Leave a comment on this post or email me for the address to send ticket money to.


Vacation Package Guidelines
  • At least one of the travelers must be at least 18.
  • Destination may include anywhere in North America, Central America, or the Caribbean
    Airline service provided by Continental Airlines. Hotel stay provided by Marriott Hotels.
  • Dates of the trip to be chosen by the winner
  • Need to be pre-booked 8-10 months in advance of trip for best availability of hotel and flights
  • There is no guarantee of availability of date preference, however booking in advance will minimize black out dates
  • The trip arrangements will need to be scheduled prior to June 30, 2010
  • Drawing held after 600 tickets are sold or on January 3, 2010 - which ever comes last.
  • We reserve the right to cancel the raffle and return the money to the buyer. You will be notified if the raffle has been cancelled.
  • The winner will be given full information on arranging booking of tickets with donor.
  • In-land transportation, meals, hotel incidental expenses, and other travel expenses are not include.
  • No limit to the number of raffle tickets purchased by one individual
  • Prior to booking the trip, the winner may choose to transfer the trip to another person(s). Yes, you can win and give it away!
  • Once the trip has been booked, any cancellation or change of dates might be allowed at winner’s expense and is subject to availability.

02 December 2009

Working on Overload

It's been a wild few weeks.  Craziness at work, holiday planning at home, kids getting to big to leave presents out in plain view, adding running on the treadmill on the days I don't lift weights, more craziness at work, adoption stuff, etc.
 
I've really been wanting to post about how my perception of being in the world and not of the world is changing.  It's a difficult thing for me always but something that has been increasingly on my heart and mind.  That will have to wait for another day because there are two big things going on right now.
 
One is Ryan's grandpa.  He was a rockstar in surgery and I just talked to him very briefly just minutes after they pulled the tube out of his throat.  What joy to hear his voice.  He is just learning that he's been in the hospital the last 9 days with a broken neck and yesterday had surgery to fuse the vertebrae together.  We're so glad he's here.
 
The second is life on the adoption front.  We finished our homestudy and  yesterday got a call from Holt.  It wasn't about the homestudy.  Rather it was to ask us if we were ready to get a referral.  And by ready they mean financially (see the post from yesterday at our adoption blog).  I let Holt know this morning that we are ready and this afternoon we got a referral from them.  We still have to take the information to our doctor before we can accept a referral.
 
Obviously between these two things, I'm quite distracted and giddy!







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27 November 2009

His 1st Day at Work

Scott is spending the day at work with his daddy. He's pretty excited about it. So much so that he was up 3 different times last night. Once he was asking where his snowpants were (I explained that he'd have to take his snowpants and gloves if he wanted to go fix cows with daddy). Once he was informing me that it would be his first day of work. Another time he was letting me know that he wanted to leave at 2...(short pause)...30 so he could watch some cartoons.

I think he was so giddy about his day with his daddy that he didn't get to sleep all night. He didn't wake up to easily this morning either. I can't wait to hear about his, and his daddy's, day together.

Things I learned shopping on Black Friday

I learned a few things this morning on my first ever Black Friday shopping adventure:
  1. Shopping in a rural town is much easier than shopping in the city.
  2. Shopping at a 24-hour store means you don't have to "camp out".
  3. Only shopping at one store seriously reduces your run-around time.

Okay, I shopped at only one store. One that is not my favorite store but my bank account seems to think so. Here's what I learned while shopping at our local wallyworld.
  1. In the 24-hour store, you can get there a little early and pick up the smaller items you want and just not check out until the official sale starts.
  2. It works best if you have two people teamed up together shopping. One can hold the cart and the other can weave in and out of the lines of customers to get what you want.
  3. Most of the big items (ie: flat screen TV's, powerwheel jeeps, etc) are "papered" items where they give you the paper, you pay for it at check out and then pull around to the tire and lube area and they load it for you.
  4. You should consider grabbing your smaller items before you wait in line to get the powerwheel jeep paper. Then again, you might want to get in line first. BUT, if you have an extra person, they can get in line for you while you pick up the smaller items.
  5. In the case you buy a big 'ol trampoline that they don't have as a papered item, and you have to manuever your oversized item in a cart through a line of people, you might want to pick that up last.
  6. If the powerwheel jeep is on major sale, make sure you pick up the one that's on sale.
  7. If you're getting smaller items, you might take your shopping bags with you instead of using a cart. It's much easier to get through the highway of people without a cart.
  8. And to wallyworld, I'd suggest you put that big and super heavy trampoline as a papered item so I don't have to lug it through your store. If you would have done that, I'm sure I would have spent more money manuevering through the store.

Overall, I had a great time. I met a few of the girls and Zach at 4am in town. We hustled up to Decorah meeting only car on the road which we passed cause we were women and a guy on a mission. Having been my virgin voyage with Black Friday shopping, there are definite things I'd do differently. I got some great deals this morning which means next year I should maybe wait and do some more of my shopping on Black Friday instead of two months prior. Dave would be proud of me doing that, and not of me buying twice as much. Next year I will also find me a shopping buddy so I can accomplish my mission with a little more ease! Considering I was back home by 630am and should be to work on time, I don't think I did too bad!

26 November 2009

Thankful

I started a post with a list of things I'm thankful for. In the middle of that, I lost my internet connection and couldn't even save a draft. So just real quick, I want to share something I'm thankful and prayerful for...

Monday Ryan's grandpa fell while trying to load a snow blower. He's 85. He went to the doctor and was sent home a stubborn and sore man. Tuesday morning when he woke his throat was swollen, he couldn't really talk and had been in horrible pain all night long. A trip to the emergency room determined he broke his 2nd vertebrae and his atlas (sp?) which is the stem that holds the skull onto the spine (from my limited understanding). The doctors determined that he needed surgery and then because of his age tried to see if they could avoid surgery. As of today, his only option is surgery. He's 85.

Please join me in praying for God's will to be done and for His name to receive all the glory. Whether that be a successful surgery, a difficult trip through recover, or Grandpa getting to meet his maker and Savior, to God be the glory.

24 November 2009

Yes, I Love Him

Normal morning routine this morning: I work out in town and shower at mom's. Ryan brings the kids to town in my van. This morning was a tad different though.

Ryan was a bit delayed. I greeted the kids at the door and ran out to greet Ryan before he hurried off to work. He was cleaning something out of the back of the van. I kissed him. I kissed him again. And a third time. Instead of the typical 3 kisses, I continued to kiss him and since he was in a hurry, he just picked me up and carried me while he walked and we kissed.

It was totally cute and fun. Until we got interrupted.

A local lady was out for her daily walk. She had come into the yard when she saw me to ask for an update on our adoption. I didn't know that she was standing there as I kissed and kissed Ryan. It wasn't like we were sucking face though I was a little embarrassed at first. But that didn't last long. I love my husband and am glad for people to see it, even if its when I'm kissing him in what I think is a private setting.

23 November 2009

Music to My Ears

Tonight while doing dishes, my sweet girl wanted to help with the dishes. I managed to talk her out of it this time. My guys were in the other room being rewarded with Wii time while Bethany and I hung out in the kitchen. I listening to Ryan's favorites on his ipod and of course Bethany was movin' to the music.

The song on the playlist: You shook me all night long by AC/DC.

Know what I did, cause I'm a good mom like that? I started the song over and turned it up. Yes, conservative little me.

It gets worse.

I then picked Bethany up and let her stand on the counter so we could be closer in height and we danced our little hearts out on the dirty kitchen floor next to the sink with boiling water. And it was fun! Now I know, especially now after looking up the song lyrics (which I promptly removed the link after reading the lyrics) that its not a song I want my daughter to learn. In fact, I much prefer her singing I love You Lord or Good Morning Beautiful instead.

It gets even worse.

That is the same song that plays when I call Ryan's cell phone. I thought it would be cute/embarrassing for that ring to be his wife calling. One of the guys in the office joked that Ryan sees the caller id and doesn't want to talk to me. That might be true. But it might also be that he leaves his phone in his truck because he doesn't want to hear that song when I call :)

This thought is not music to my ears! Hubby, maybe you should change the ringtone!

On a better note, let's see if I can add a video of my little dishwashing helper. Nevermind my random chatter. The cute part starts about 20 seconds in when Bethany talks to her daddy:



video

You're a Photographer if You Own a Camera

I attended the iblog conference two weekends ago. Haven't had a chance to write about what I learned there but I am trying to put it into practice.

One of the things I learned from Darcy at Graphically Designing was "you're a photographer if you own a camera!"

Saturday Scott and I enjoyed a beautiful fall day. We ran around outside, played on the swing set, chased each other through the pasture, ventured into (just a bit) the old barn, played hide and seek and generally had fun. When we went inside to check on my napping child, I grabbed my camera, my other kiddo and headed back outside. Wishing that I could take amazing photos, I started playing with my little camera and found myself flopped down on my belly shooting pictures up through the grass. Here's what I captured (with a little doctoring up on the computer later that night): this first one is a picture Scott took of an old pine tree in the pasture. Some don't like the electrical lines running across but that's life in rural america when you have a livestock barn beside the tree. Scott loves taking pictures and I really should just give him our old camera. He took a decent one of me that I might end up using in my next blog banner.

The rest of the pictures I took while we played around.





















19 November 2009

Ready or Not, here it comes!

Pretty soon, we'll be going from this beautiful (and a bit unusual) warm weather to our normal frozen fields and big eskimo coats.

(yes, my child looks like an orphan in her eskimo coat. Her daddy is getting better at putting hair clippies in her hair before he takes her to town.)

18 November 2009

Dissapointing Meal

I had lunch with a dear friend today to celebrate her birthday. We work in a small town so our options are limited. When I'm celebrating a birthday with a girlfriend, I'd rather not eat at the local pub, the bowling alley or the local mom-and-pop type of places. Fortunately, we have a few other options in town.

The place we chose was Finnely's Irish Pub. It looks cute and sounds fun so we parked out front and headed in. I was glad to see that they had incorporated a little breezeway to the place. The last time I was there was winter and each time the door was open, my legs about froze solid and fell off. We grabbed a quiet booth and plopped down. The menu seemed different than I'd remembered. A salad sounded healthy but I was eager to fill my belly with something warm since the weather outside is chilly.

The special was chicken gumbo. Chicken gumbo? That doesn't sound Irish to me. And I'd never (in my limited experience) heard of chicken gumbo. The waitress took our orders and I was dissapointed that nothing jumped off the menu to grab my attention. I order the roated chicken breast sandwich with french fries. The waitress returned with our drinks in hand and I continued chatting with my friend.

A short while later our food arrived and I must say I wasn't impressed with the presentation at all. Fortunately, I'm not usually too concerned about presentation as long as it tastes good. Well, they didn't quite have the taste thing figured out either. My sandwich was plain, boring and needed some sprucing up. My chicken breast was fatty and void of flavor. The french fries had potential too but also lacked attention. They were covered in grease and the only flavor I could taste was the sea salt.

Seriously, did I just pay money for that? My husband is a great cook. He's not had culinary training and doesn't prepare fancy foods. He does pay attention to the simple things. Ryan makes a tasty chicken breast sandwich in which he toasts the bun, adds a few strips of bacon, adds some ranch dressing and I throw a few pickles on it in addition to avocado slices, etc.

If you're driving through our small town and feel the need to stop at Finnelys Irish Pub, please understand that the ambiance is far better than the food!

Christmas List

Growing up, I don't recall ever having a Christmas list. In fact, I don't remember ever asking for something specific. (Disclaimer: this doesn't mean it didn't ever happen). Sure, I remember getting specific gifts from my parents. Gifts that I really wanted that my parents just happened to get me: a scooter, a Dallas Cowboys parka, uggs. But I don't recall ever having a formal list.

Is that just the way my family did things or has it changed in recent years?

These days, there's multiple ways of sharing your Christmas wish list with others. Recently Jody at IowaGeek shared her thoughts about having a list. You can also create a list at http://www.yourlistonline.com/ and have it emailed to your friends and family to give them gift ideas for multiple occassions.

So here's my thoughts on having a Christmas list. Some people (like my in-laws) appreciate having a list so that they get you something you like. Others (like my parents) have never asked for a list but have always given me something I like/want. Perfect example is the blouse I'm wearing today was a gift from my parents - not something I asked for but I love it. Personally, I can see benefits both ways. I like having an idea of what to get Ryan and have utilized his list more than once. The thing I don't like about the list is that I have to make sure with those I share the list with that we don't both buy the same thing. And really what fun is it when you're done opening gifts at the end of the day and none of the gifts are a true surprise. Sure, you may not have known who was buying which gift, but you still got the things on your list.

Twice recently I have started a wish list. Eventually I feel selfish and delete the list. Then I consider keeping one in my journal just in case people ask but never have written anything down.

Christmas is just a few short weeks away. I just might create a wish list afterall...

16 November 2009

blogging

Had a fantastic few days at the iblog conference. Learned a ton of new things there. Now I'm busy trying to digest that and make a plan for the future of my blogging...

Thanks again to Jody who organized and the speakers who taught me many things!

15 November 2009

Blog ladies I've met this weekend and like....

This is certainly all inclusive...

www.sincerelyjenni.blogspot.com

www.kangarooboo.com

okay, well there's more but I'm using Beth's computer and just saw that she's keeping notes on sticky notes right now... more on the new blogs I wanna check out again later.

13 November 2009

update to cori... and everyone else.

I don't get or take the time enough to keep up with some of my friends.  Today we did a little of that.  I got to learn about her new guy and she asked me about my kids.  I've been spending lots of time on adoption and don't share much about my kids.  I do spend time with them and still take some pictures, I just don't take the time to write or download my camera.  In light of that, I thought I'd share updates on each of my beautiful children as well as the high and low of yesterday since Cori asked (and I've already typed it):
 
Four words to describe Scott: Amazing memory (that counts for one word), compassionate, loves TV, demanding.  What do I think he'll be when he grows up?  I have no clue.  But I can say that at this point his little mind is developing so fast that he's going to be an intelligent thinker.  His mind is always working.  He can repeat children's songs he's heard once, can repeat whole children's books, and if you tell him a made-up bed time story and get the details off a little the next night when he asks you to repeat it, he'll let you know the correct details.  At the same time, he's compassionate and cares for others.  Sometimes too much.  He's protective of his sister, and concerned for his little friends.  He loves to give his money to God.  And though he has no concept of the value of coins or dollars yet, he's quickly learning to keep some of the money so he can buy something.  He loves, loves, loves to give hugs and kisses to us family members.  Particularly on the nose.  It's cute.  I think he's a miniature Ryan so far.  We have lots of work to do to continue to mold his little character.  He's learning patience and I'm trying to get him to understand that he can't demand me to do things. We're finally past the "if you don't give me a candy, then I won't eat my supper" type of attitude stage.  I haven't heard it lately so I'm hoping we're over that stage.  He's 4 and a big boy and he'll tell you that.  He still hates to poop which is drama non-stop and is a momma's boy.  We're also working on self-help skills like putting on his own shoes and coat.  I've done it for so long cause I'm in a hurry to get out the door that I've never made him do it.  He can but doesn't want to.  Meanwhile, Bethany has her shoes and coat on while we wait J  Finally, I think he has that down now that I'm not doing it for him. This morning he screamed at his crooked sock twice but finally got himself dressed and ready to go.

 

And a little about my sweet girl.  Bethany is a mini-me.  Not sure if that's a good thing or not.  She's loving but doesn't want to slow down long enough to snuggle.  She is INDEPENDENT.  She loves her daddy.  She's a smart little cookie too.  She likes to tell jokes "why did the banana go to the doctor?  Because he didn't peel good!".  She is strong willed – granted she doesn't get quite the training/discipline that Scott received simply because there's two kids now.  So, we're working on being more consistent with that.  Sometimes she's my girly girl and wants to wear a skirt and carry around her purse (she'll make anything into her purse if it has handles).  But she's not afraid of anything and quite the adventurous little thing.  She's loves other people but also knows how to play hard to get.  I have no clue what she'll be either.  I'm guessing that as long as we can nurture her in the right direction, she'll be whatever she wants and there will be no stopping her!  She's usually a content little thing and in the mornings when she wakes up (she recently decided she wanted to sleep in her crib again mostly because she wants to pick at Scott who likes to sleep with her) she sings to herself and entertains herself until I get upstairs to get her.  She's my precious crazy-haired little girl.

 

Hi and low of yesterday.  Funny question.  We ask this a lot at bible study as our ice-breaker.  Last nights high was probably visiting with my friend Jamey who watched my kids when my other sitter couldn't.  Jamey is a sweet girl who's laid back and simple.  She wears cowboy boots which I love and doesn't care if her jeans are tucked in.  She's simple like that and doesn't have to compete and be someone she's not.  So it was good to visit with her and real nice that she kept my kids and wouldn't let me pay her cause that's what friends do!  Low, not getting my voice mail on my new phone to work.  Because I'm on the vet clinic's plan, I don't have the power to make changes to my bill – apparently even if that simply means resetting my own voicemail password!



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12 November 2009

Raffle Tickets

Yikes, I have less than two months left and lots of raffle tickets to sale.  If we don't sale enough, we return the money back.  What a pain and dissapointment that would be.
 
Are you interested in buying in tickets?  How about helping us sale a few???
 
It's frustrating to me because I connect with a lot of people through my work but the rules there don't allow me to sale the tickets.  I'm not trying to make excuses and I'm trying not to worry but reality is that I don't connect with lots of people outside of work/church.  Pray for me will ya?
 
Along with praying for that, I've asked a few people to boldly pray with me for siblings/twins.  I would add to that request that God would also provide the financial means of adopting another child.  Yikes. 







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09 November 2009

I love nice weather!

This past week has been unseasonably warm.  About 20 degrees warmer than normal and I love it!  The local farmers love it too now that their crops are finally drying down and they can get in the field to harvest.  What a strange year for that... but I'm not talking work here...
 
This picture is no indication of our weekend but I wanted to share it.  A few weeks ago we joined up with some friends at their local diner (aka bowling alley) and played a game of bowling.  My kids know how to bowl thanks to the Wii.  Only holding a 8# ball is a little different than holding their Wii controller.  The two really enjoyed keeping score with us.  Bethany doodled and Scott wrote the scores in mostly in the correct spots.  He's not used to writing that small and did pretty good for a 4 year old.  This picture shows their sibling rivalry in wanting control.
 
We were busy little B's this weekend!!!!  Saturday Ryan and his dad spent the day installing the components of the outdoor wood furnace.  Who knew that our basement was 2 foot thick stone behind the concrete blocks???  Ryan sure got annoyed with digging a hole through that real quick!  The kids and I kept busy with numerous tasks that we made into fun. Scott helped fold clothes much to his dislike initially but he had fun doing it by the end.  Then since it was 60+ degrees outside, we played outside barefoot in the sandbox, picked carrots and a few gourds from the garden, cleaned out and washed the van (this was Scott's favorite thing to do and he's so proud of our "sparkly new van"), and went to the Chili Bowl (a fall festival of sorts) out at the school where they jumped in the bounce house instead of eating supper.  We got home in time to bathe the kids and get the sand out of their hair while Ryan sat for a few minutes after his 12 hour day in the basement working. 
 
Sunday mornings are always filled with church activities.  It was our second week of children's church in which our kids don't participate.  We believe in teaching our kids to sit still when they need to and to listen while the pastor shares the message.  Of course they don't get it right away but they are pretty good at sitting still and who knows when they'll start comprehending what the pastor shares.  Though we're sacrificing a little of our time to focus and an opportunity for them to learn at their level, we feel that preparing them for their future is also important.  And because of that, outside of church we have to make sure they're getting those opportunities to learn about God's Word.
 
Anyway, Sunday afternoon we had a quick lunch and headed back outside while it was nice.  Ryan took Bethany to run "errands" and she was excited to go cause she heard that he was going to "aaron's".  They still had a fun bonding time and she came back with a monster cookie all over her face and shirt.  Scott and I took the carrot scraps and went for a walk to the neighbors horse pasture.  He fed the horse the carrots and then we walked into the nearby field to pick apples off it so we could feed the horse some more treats.  Scott developed an allergy to something out there (carrots, apples, horse, tall grass) because when he awoke from his nap later, his big puffy eyes got puffier and he got a taste of benadryl.  It was a lazy Sunday afternoon for the most part and a great time to hang out as a family!


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06 November 2009

Last night our small group finished going through Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  I love and struggle with the last chapter.  What is God wanting with my life??? 
To love others?  yes. 
To give sacrificially?  yes.
To seek him?  definitely.
 
But how am I doing with all that?  I think I do well with those things but is it pleasing to God? Then there's a few others things that God expects of us...
To respect my husband.
To let no unedifying thing come out of my mouth.
To let your yes be yes and your no be no.
 
These are things I need to work on.  I'm so thankful to have a few people in my life who are willing to keep me accountable to that.  To question my motives in a loving matter.  I need that for sure!
 
I'm looking forward to the next study our small group does.  Thursday nights are tough for me cause by time it rolls around, I'm already tired from the week but I'm greatful that that time and group even exists.







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02 November 2009

Crazy week ahead

I'm glad that God has given me a flexible family cause we're in for a wild week:
 - TOnight: last minute hosting friends for supper who are in town for a funeral.
 - Tuesday: typical activities - guitar lessons and hosting a friend over night and taking her to a meeting in town.
 - Wed: No cubbies/Awana for us - were off to visit Ryan's uncle who's in town for a night.
 - Thurs: Parent/teacher conference for Scott's preschool then off to bible study group.
 - Friday: afternoon with the social worker for our homestudy and then having friends over for the evening/supper.
 
Whew, Saturday will be welcomed by time it comes!




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28 October 2009

Wakefulness

Each morning my alarm goes off and I don't want to get out of bed. Just 5 more minutes I think. Recently, I've been justifying my laziness by spending that time in prayer - sometimes falling asleep multiple times. I don't even have to ask God to grant me more sleep cause that comes naturally.

This morning was different.

I woke up and immediately began praying for a dear friend. She's my age and yesterday was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. The story of her diagnosis and treatment is hers to share and because she hasn't shared yet, I'll leave all of that out. It's not the purpose of my post anyway. This morning I was focused in prayer. Having learned and been reminded about several things surrounding prayer in the last 6 months, I had a hard time praying.

Pray for Specifics.
Naturally I want my friend healed. Fully. I want her to feel better. This isn't completely out of selfishness. I know that she's called to missions overseas. In my peabrain sized mind, I can't comprehend how she can go through the medical stuff associated with HL and still do the missions work.

This Then is How You Should Pray...
There's a section of verses in the bible that talk about how to pray - bringing glory to God's name, bringing God's kingdom to others, asking for God's will to be done. HOw can I incorporate my not-so-selfish specific prayers with this? This part I managed to put together pretty easily in my thinking and praying. God, a complete healing would allow her to bring glory to Your name, bring Your kingdom to lost people, do your will by reaching the nations. Can it be that simple?

Simple Faith.
It's so much easier to have faith like a child - a simlple faith. Praying for God's will to be done would be so much easier and that evokes emotion from faith but that's not me. I do want God's will but I also want to tell God my heart (yes, I know he already knows it), I want to share the intimate details of who I am and that when my friend hurts, so do I. Is it really that simple?

So in the early hours of the morning when I should have been crawling out of bed, I was there wide awake approaching the throne of a Holy King on behalf of my friend. Though Ryan nudged me three times to wake up, I was wide awake and thankful that God hears our prayers!

Funny Kids

Last night on the way home, the kids were in the back seat being kids. Bethany yells out "he pinched me in the nose". Pinch gets used to describe a variety of things. I tried to use it as a moment of learning which didn't come out real smoothly. But it was funny.

Bethany turned to Scott and said "Scott, I love you even when you're naughty".

Scott turned to Bethany and replied so sweetly "Bethany, I love you even when I'm naughty too".

Gotta love the things kids come up with!

26 October 2009

Transparent

Okay, so I'm about to be transparent and real here.  This also means that you will get to see my ugly but real side.  Warning.
 
I will try to keep it brief.
 
For months I have planned an adoption auction.  I have spent countless hours designing a website, gathering auction items, creating flyers about Ethiopia and orphans, purchasing supplies, asking God to bless the event, asking friends to make desserts, etc.  I've honestly spent more time on this event than I did on my wedding planning. 
 
We spent Saturday morning setting up and decorating.  I continued to pray for 3 main things: 1. That it would bring God glory, 2. That it would bring an awareness of orphans, 3. That we could raise a specific dollar amount with the auction.  It came together wonderfully and I was nervous but hopeful.  By mid afternoon, my throat was getting sore and I knew that I needed to sit down for awhile.  That break didn't happen but I did have a chance to get cleaned up (and put on make up for the first time in months), bathe my wild kids, and spend a few moments with family. 
 
We left to head back to the Opera House so that people could bring their desserts and we could eat as a family plus our friends that were helping.  As we sat together and ate our pizza, I had this overwhelming feeling of loneliness. 
 
So I began to pray.
 
Why would I feel so lonely.  Maybe it was that I was sitting in the big Opera House and had stopped running around.  The prep work was done and we were all getting a bite to eat before it began.  Maybe it was the devil playing tricks.  Of course a million things run through my mind.  I felt like I was having this argument with God about the lonliness and the "what if no one comes" thoughts that were running through my head.
 
But God, I aksed you to bless it in Your Name, not mine. How will they know about the need to care for orphans if you don't bring them through the door?
 

And the negative thoughts continued.  I should have sent out postcards.  I should have put more in the paper.  I should have...  Seriously, why do we do this to ourselves.  The bible clearly says not to give the devil a foot hold.  Though I firmly believe that we should pray for specifics, I knew that God would choose to do what He wanted regardless of how much work I did and how much I was kicking myself for not doing.  Do you ever have that?  Where you have this battle in your own head?  I should have done the postcards... but I can only do so much with my time.  I should have done this... but I have two little kids that need mommy to eat supper with them. 
 
And so I shrugged it off and went on, focusing on how to present the desserts, etc.
 
The auction started at 630 and I'm so thankful I wasn't wearing a watch!!!  People were there but not tons and tons of people like I had hoped for.  It wasn't until the auctioneer walked in that I really realized how little people were there.  There was 45 minutes on the silent auction before the live auction of about 8 items.  Here stood the auctioneer and we hadn't even filled the room yet.  We waited another 15 minutes before I faced the inevitable and went on with the live auction. 
 
I didn't count the number of people there.  And to be honest, I don't think its important.  What I do know, is that I was really, really dissapointed in the turn out.  There were approximately 30 people there.  Besides the auctioneer, there was only three people there from the community outside of our church.  One was helping with the auction and the other was the auctioneer's son, who also happens to be a client of Ryan's.
 
The live auction came and went without much excitement.  A few things were bid on by several people but most things kept their starting bid or had one bid on them.  My saddle and blanket went for $25 when the auctioneer started it at that but even he turned and told me that he wouldn't understand if I didn't want to sell it for that much.  This was not what I envisioned.
 
My heart was happy but broken all at the same time.
 
Sure, the Iowa Hawkeyes were undefeated and playing at the same time but that couldn't have kept everyone home could it?  It wasn't even raining out.  I feel stupid for planning for 500, thinking we'd have at least 200 and having 30.  There's all these desserts, are people going to be mad that I asked them to make a dessert that I didn't really need?  What are you trying to teach me through this Lord?
 
Of course, I'm not all negative in my thinking...
 
At the same time, I was so glad for those who did come.  In fact one of the checks in the donations (they didn't bid on anything) said "we care" in the memo line.  Oh how I wish they would have said that at the event.  How could I stand there and look past all the people who were there to only focus on who wasn't?  There were lots of people there who care about us.  Who see the value in adoption.  Who care for the orphans.  That was so obviously evidenced by the amount of donations, by the desserts given, by the prayers said and the kind words shared.  But I was asking for more.  And it so wasn't in God's design for there to be more that night.  I still don't know why but I'm trying to be at peace about it.
 
I am so thankful for all the participation.  So, so thankful for the countless hours that mom kept my kids while I worked on adoption stuff.  So, so thankful for Ryan's ability to let me be off in another world focusing on this while he put the kids in bed and didn't get my attention.  So, so thankful for Cassie's amazing help planning, shopping, setting up, getting donations, adverstising, etc.  I'm so thankful for those who have cared through this process, whether they put it on the memo so I could "see" it or not.
 
We can't always see things even if they are there.
 
It's so much easier for me to understand and comprehend the tangible.  I specifically prayed for a range of money (between $4500 and $5400).  I didn't set a goal that would fund all of our adoption, or even a goal that would fund the difference of what we'd not saved on our own.  I don't even know where the goal came from except to say that it came to mind while I was praying one day.  We didn't meet that goal with the auction but I'm okay with that.  Because in that I faithful to pray and seek God and He was faithful to answer.  Those who supported us through winning bids, supported us big time.  I heard one lady say that she was writing a check for $500 and wanted the difference to go towards the raffle tickets.  I didn't know what her total was so I added it up later that night.  I was blown away to read the totals on checks and then match them with what they'd purchased.  It was so cool.  And as I held the money in my hand late Saturday night, I was and am so thankful to God who made it all happen.  Cause at the end of the night, we were ~$3,000 closer to bringing children home from Ethiopia. 
 
Yes, God did hear my prayers and He did answer and I'm so glad to have participated in that!
 
 





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20 October 2009

I think he's nocturnal

Scott and I pulled another all-nighter.  When we went to bed last night he was still awake even though he was told to go right to sleep and get rested so he could go to school.  About midnight he started puking.  Poor kid.  By time I changed his sheets, changed his clothes, got him all settled and went to the basement to start laundry, he had puked some more.  Fun job at midnight!  I ended up staying in his room with him while we had our own little sleep over.  It was quite fun and every few minutes (it seemed but I couldn't see his clock) we went through the routine of restlessness where I grabbed the trashcan, he dry-heaved, said he was done, snuggled up to me and I scratched his back.  I constantly prayed over him for his health and for mine as this is a busy week.  He was so sweet about it all and though I wasn't getting any sleep, it wasn't that bad. 
 
I'm so glad I didn't take benadryl to help with my allergies or I would've been dragging! 
 
At 5am when Ryan's alarm went off, he ventured into Scott's room to find out what was going on.  Scott was finally sleeping soundly and I was desperate for my comfy bed!  I texted my girls that I wouldn't be working out, listened to the guys have their accountability time over coffee, wished I'd worked out since I was awake anyway, and eventually conked out hard.  It was 840 when I woke up!  Thank you Jesus for some rest!
 
This morning I had a bright-eyed bushy tailed little boy who was insistent that he felt fine.  I was sure that his puking party was not the flu even though the media has everyone scared to death about it.  It was sure to be related to one or both of the following: 1. Sinus drainage - it causes an upset stomach and we've been there before.  2. Cough syrup with codeine - he hadn't had much to eat at supper and codeine can cause upset stomachs.  No fun regardless.
 

 





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19 October 2009

yikes

Life is moving forward quickly around here.  This weekend we were actually home - maybe because Ryan had to work and Scott is still sick and it has rubbed off on me.  Anyway, I took some time to clean the kids' rooms upstairs.  As I picked up a barrel that holds monkies, I was surprised to see what was inside.  The barrel had been on the floor with the opening pressed against the floor.  And when I picked it up, there was a nice, thick web spun with a scary spider in it.  I immediately through it in the toilet even though it was dead.  If that's any indication of my cleaning lately, its getting mighty scary around our house.
 
Praying for God to do big things with the auction this weekend and looking forward to spending some more time keeping up with my home and my family!


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