30 January 2010

Why I'm exhausted today...

Our days don't always go as planned.

Plans were for the kids to stay the night with Ryan's folks. We were going to do a little shopping, get home, sleep in in the morning and then help some friends move. Didn't exactly happen like that.

We had an awesome meal with Ryan's folks. Everyone loved it, even Bethany. (Bethany has become difficult in eating lately and wants mommy to feed her and doesn't like to eat a full meal). Shortly after the meal, Bethany began projectile puking liquid all over my inlaws leather furniture. I took her downstairs and bathed her. Bethany acted just fine which was great news. I assumed the food shoveling was the culprit of the puking. While Bethany sat in Grandma's lap, she continued to have this tiny cough, just like she did prior to the first puking episode. Not wanting Eunice to worry about Bethany all night or deal with a puking kid, I asked Bethany if she wanted to go home. She jumped right up for her snow pants. Scott all of a sudden had to go home too. Great! I just drove 40 miles one way to drop off two kids that were going home with us. Brilliant! We started getting Scott ready to go, while Bethany read with Grandma. Trying to protect the wool rug just in case, we covered Bethany with her Duckie blanket. Round 2 of puking began! What fun. This time the solids came up. Fortunately not enough time had elapsed for the food to break down and the sour stink to form. This time it was all over Bethany and me. Nice! At that point, we were thinking we were all staying the night. No toothbrush, no jammies, no sleeping in!

If it was just that simple, it would be okay.

The next two hours or more were NOT fun. Bethany got her clothes stripped off again and she was excited to wear her brothers Hulk Hogan shirt. At first. She screamed and screamed. She was SO tired, she wouldn't give up. She wanted her Duckie blanket. She wanted her Duckie blanket!!! Even though she knew it was in the washer because she puked all over, she wanted her Duckie blanket. It was not getting any better. I wanted her to STOP crying. I could handle the crying. I just didn't want her to puke on me again. I was already down to my camisole and thermals with no clothes to change into. Thankfully the room was dark and there was no clock. I have no idea when she FINALLY calmed down. All I know is when I woke up this morning, I was still TIRED. Bethany on the other hand was wide awake... and asking for her Duckie blanket which I could not find. My sweet mother in law had brought it downstairs when it came out of the dryer but I couldn't find it in the dark.

Gotta love parenting!!!

29 January 2010

You know you live in Iowa when...

According to Jeff Foxworthy, you know you live in Iowa when...
  • your local Dairy Queen is closed from Sept through May.  Not true in our neighboring towns because they also act as restaraunt, not just an ice-cream place.
  • If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't even work there. 
  • If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong
  • If you measure distance in squares of farm land.  Not the case up where we live.  It's rolling hills, trees and an abundance of random fence lines and tiny fields - I would know since I deal with their farm maps daily.
  • If you know several people who have hit a cow or deer numerous times
  • If you can drive 70 mph through 2 feet of snow during a
    raging blizzard without flinching.  Seriously.
  • If you install security lights on your house and garage, but
    leave both unlocked
  • If you design your kid's Halloween costume to fit over a ,snowsuit
  • If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow - definitely true on our driveway!!!
  • If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.  Sometimes it seems like this is true but we really do have beautiful seasons here and would complain regardless.
  • If you find 10 degrees 'a little chilly'.  Definitely true right now.  It was -9 when I drove to work this morning.

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28 January 2010

26 January 2010

Praying and Eating Children

When I arrived at my parents last night to get the kids, they were all downstairs. As I made my way down there, I had the usual greeting from Scott: repeatedly screaming mommy and running towards me while Bethany simply acknowledged me. But last night the excitement was just as quickly gone and they returned to their playing.

Scott and Bethany were using their little imaginations to the full extent. They were playing house and having a blast. I was partly involved with them but mostly just chatting with my folks. They two kids were going non-stop.

At one point Bethany and Scott were talking about being married. After having watched them greet each other yesterday morning with a kiss on the lips, I wondered if they did that because that's what Ryan and I do.

I continued my conversation with my mom.

Next thing I heard was Bethany talking about having babies in her belly. Shortly after that they must have been born and she was laying them on the stairs. Scott excused himself for a potty break and when he came back she stirnly scolded him to make sure he didn't step on their babies as he came down the stairs.

I continued my conversation with my mom.

I look over and Bethany, the new mom, has a plate in her hand with ice-cubes (from the toy kitchen set) which were her babies and she was talking to Scott about eating the babies. I informed her that she can't eat her babies and Scott, the protective and apparently hungry, father stepped right in and said that this was their pretending and they could eat their babies.

"Oh dear" I thought and sorta continued my conversation with my mom while watching out for hannibals.

Next thing I know Bethany brings me a plate - hopefully not the one she ate her babies from - and a fork. I asked her to help me pray for my food... and before I could finish my sentence she was gone with my plate to the kitchen because she forgot to frost the cake. When she came back, I initiated my request again. Short and sweet, Bethany prayed "God, thank you for God. Amen" while Scott bullied through the prayer to insert his leadership and said "we are not a praying family". "Oh really?" I asked. I thought we were a praying family and thanked Bethany for her prayer. Scott continued, this is our pretend family and Bethany and I are married and we can do what we want. We are NOT a praying family. "Well then" I thought as I chuckled at their continued creativity and role playing.

Amidst the laughter mom said "well I can imagine why they're not a praying family... they eat their kids. What family that eats their kids would be a praying family?"

Point well taken mom! Oh Lord, how I love the minds of children and their creativity that You have given them. May I always encourage their creativity while also teaching them to live a life pleasing to You, to be a family rooted in prayer and NOT to eat their children! Amen.

You get what you get, not what you want!

I can't remember if I've posted about this before or not. So, here's a recent story of my son's famous line. But first a little background.

One day during Sunday School the kids were picking out their mats to sit on. Ms. Amy told the kids "You get what you get, not what you want". For the next few weeks, we heard this phrase often! Eventually I told Amy about what my son learned at Sunday School. She laughed and clarified that she said "You get what you get and you don't throw a fit". Scott was close and his new catch phrase was quite entertaining.

Fast forward to yesterday. He was sitting with mom and Ralph in the living room. They were chatting about something related to satellite or cable - something like that. Ralph commented about what he wanted and Scott turned to him and said "Papa, you get what you get, not what you want". My mom said they were laughing so hard that they didn't have the heart to tell Scott is wasn't the place to correct him!

Thank you Ms. Amy for your dedication in teaching the SS class - even if he grasps more than the lesson and then twists it a bit!

25 January 2010

Long Day

If I were getting adequate rest, I might not be fighting a cold. My fault, I know. Today was one thing after another and each thing had its own little special moment.
  • Nice, quiet drive to church. I kept having this feeling of fasting from sunrise to sunset. I do not do food fasts. I try and I get sick. But I felt at peace about trying from sunrise to sunset. We'll see where that leads.
  • It pays to be on time for church and makes the morning go easier.
  • I had such a full worship experience before our pastor ever said a word.
  • Struggled a little with a meeting I was in but my heart is elsewhere right now. I'm so thankful that God is working in the details of my life and priorities!
  • Had a nice chat with a dear friend after the meeting. We're two peas in a pod sometimes and I'm so thankful for her! God is putting some similar things on our hearts right now and it's good to chat with a like-hearted individual.
  • Tried skype-ing our friend from Mexico, Isaac. Got really nervous about what to say should he answer. My already bad spanish is RUSTY. Dissapointed to not talk to him but thankful for voicemail.
  • Rockstar husband picked up the laundry that I had scattered everywhere while I was out and about. Love him!
  • Got home at 5pm, friends arrived at 530 to watch the Vikings game. We get to hang out with friends and Ryan gets to watch football for once (okay, maybe the 5th time this season).
  • Wild kids are a blessing. J and I loved watched our two little girls play with each other. They're both used to playing with their brothers. They played house and played doctor. So cute that I watched rather than interupting the moment by running for my camera.
  • Who knew guys beating on other guys could be so entertaining. Anyone up for a butterfinger?
  • Celebrated joyfully when Michelle texted me to say that Jock and Lisa were finally getting their kiddos. Thank you DHS for finally getting them their kids so M and I no longer have to stalk her FB page!
  • The kiddos are nestled in bed together. Scott has a cold and should have been in bed early. Oops. I'm headed there too with my ipod in hand so I can listen to some more family life podcasts. I hope that Ryan gets back from the clinic soon so I can fall asleep.

23 January 2010


The guy on the left is flying in on Monday.
edited: as of Sunday, he will not be flying in tommorrow. As I understand it, he might come a week later. We're praying for tickets to be purchased and details to be finalized!

You don't understand how excited some of us are to see him.

Oh how I wish he was bringing these people with him!

For those who need a little refresher course, the above mentioned guy is Isaac. He played a huge role in our mission trip to Mexico this summer. We grew to love Isaac and his entire family. The second picture is taken with some of the youth from the Mexico City church that helped us in Huixquilucan. Two of the students I miss the most are in the above picture.

I'm super excited about Isaac coming to Iowa for a couple of reasons:

  • I'm looking forward to connecting with Isaac and getting together with our Mexico Team.
  • I'm excited to introduce him to my family because he became like a brother to me while in Mexico.
  • And of super importance, I'm excited for Isaac to come to spend time with his brother who lives just 2 hours from us.

Oh Lord, would it be your will that Isaac can arrive safely. God would you be glorified as Isaac rubs shoulders with people here in Iowa.

13 January 2010

Much better, thank you!

Back in November, I shared with you about my experience at Finnelys' Irish Pub. I was less than thrilled with the place. I'm picky, we all know that. I'm also very frugal, especially as we save for our adoption, and expect to get my money's worth. Last night Ryan wanted to go out to dinner before a movie. I thought the $10 at the theater was enough of a treat and didn't want to spend the extra money to eat out. We would have gone out to try Finnelys' except when Ryan brought home meat from the locker, there wasn't enough room in the freezer so the pizzas had to come out.

Today I had lunch planned with my sweet no-longer-Texas friend, Jen. I'm so glad she's back in town. We agreed to have lunch at Finnelys'. I wasn't super excited about going there but know that everybody needs a second chance, and sometimes if you're like I was as a kid, you need a third and fourth chance.

Anyway, I was a little more impressed with Finnelys' today. Of course, I was paying specific attention to the details so that I could give a follow-up report today. I was tempted to introduce myself but wasn't sure if the guy at the counter was Tim, who'd commented on my last blog post. I ordered something different today because to be honest, I couldn't remember what I ordered last time. It ended up being another plain sandwich which was not their fault. They dress up this specific sandwich with coleslaw. I asked them to leave it off. My bread was toasted this time. The meat was flavorful and the cheese existed (I could tell when I pulled my sandwich apart) but I couldn't really taste it. With no slaw or anything to moisten the toasted bread, I dipped it in my ranch/BBQ mixture and was fine. The waitress was more attentive than last time which was nice but Jen still had to ask twice to have her drink re-filled. We enjoyed a nice lunch together although our feet froze in there and we both had our coats over our legs which helped.

As we stood at the counter to pay, I handed Tim my debit card. He swiped and then said "you're Tamara". I replied with "yes, you found my blog". He asked how my experience was and I said it was 100 times better. I might have embellished that number a bit but the service had definitely improved and I was thankful. As I jotted down a tip and signed my name to the receipt, I thought about my second experience of eating there.

Once again I wasn't satisfied. Ten bucks for a meal (including tip) and I better really enjoy it (and the service). That's no knock against Tim or his restaraunt. I just prefer home-cooked meals that cater to my likes (no coleslaw for me thank you), cost less money and allow me to be a better steward of the finances God has blessed us with. A few things I really appreciate about Tim and his restaraunt:
  1. He cares enough about it to find out what people are saying/writing about it.
  2. He keeps a place running in our small town rural america which is no easy task.
  3. And the thing I like best was his honesty and good nature today.

Today when we walked out, somehow my wallet snuck out of my purse and onto the sidewalk. From the story I've gathered, Tim opened the wallet to see who it belonged to. Knowing my friend I ate with, he looked up her number to try to find me. Since Jen just moved back from Texas, he then called Sara, a friend of Jen's. Sara relayed the message to Jen and Jen relayed it to me - gotta love small town america. There was no urgency in picking up my wallet and no doubt in my mind that all the junk receipts and pesos (I don't carry cash) would be in there. I walked right in and our server handed me my wallet, complete with all my junk.

Tim, if you stumble on this post, please know that I appreciate you and your staff for getting that back to me! And also know that I probably won't be back any time soon but that's no fault of your own but rather my decision to put that $10 bucks towards bringing home our sweet little boy from Ethiopia and eat cereal or leftovers at my office.

I like your ipod

I like his ipod more than mine. Is that envy?!?!? Maybe a little but mostly just fascinated with how far apple has come with their product in a few short years. My ipod nano is several years old. It was a gift from Ryan just over two years ago. It holds about 2 gig and isn't flashy at all. Nowadays, the nano has much more to offer. While checking out Jim's new nano, I found out that it can play FM radio and has a video camera. That's impressive. Check out the nano at the apple store to get a better idea of the other bells and whistles it has. They come in 8 and 16 gig which means that they hold lots of songs and video.

That got me wondering, if the nano has improved that much, how much has the video ipod improved? Ryan has a very early model of the video ipod. From the looks of my searching at the apple store, it is now called the ipod classic and doesn't look like it has the cool video camera or FM radio player. Maybe apple is using the webpage to brag about the 160gig of space rather than the camera and radio. Who knows. According to the price set for both, I think I'd go for the nano and have the radio and camera and just stick with my tv to watch movies on! Thanks apple for such a fun little tool.

12 January 2010

Blind Side & Bethany

Ryan and I had some alone time tonight (thank you mom for keeping the kids). It was a great movie but sad that Michael's story is all too common in the US. It was interesting that I didn't know the story line at all and we were at the movie with some friends that also have a heart for the orphans. Oh how my heart aches for people who don't have a mommy and daddy to love them, read to them, nurture and celebrate with them. Oh how I wish Holt would give us siblings in addition to the little guy we're waiting for.

While we enjoyed a night out (where we at frozen pizza at my office cause I was working late), my mom and Ralph kept the kiddos. They care for our kids all day while I work and so it's like a second home to my kids. Bethany has been really clingy lately. Maybe its the cold, maybe its her age. Well apparently, she had a bit of a fun but sad moment tonight while Mom was making supper. Bethany was walking around the house repeating something that mom wasn't quite sure she understood. She had Bethany repeat again what she'd been walking around saying: my mommy doesn't care about me! When Grammy asked her why she thought that Bethany said "my mommy doesn't care about me cause she's not coming to get me". Oh child! Mom clarified that I do care about her and she could stay one night with Grammy.

Oh child, how will you cling to me tomorrow morning when I stop by to snuggle you for a bit before I go to work??? I love you Bethany and I do care about you. I care about you enough to focus a little of my attention on your daddy too!

Sweetheart Supper

Let me preface this post: this is not about me or to pat myself on the back. Just wanting to encourage you to be thinking of others in this season. Next month I will be hosting the Sweetheart Supper. My mom and I started this little service project 5 years ago. Mom and I knew a few of the elderly ladies in our community who would likely be forgotten on Valentine's Day. We made up simle little invitations and invited the ladies to my home for a simple meal. In just a few years, it has grown quite a bit. Thanks to a couple of my friends who've stepped up and helped, Ryan and I (mom let me run with it after a few years) no longer have to finance it ourselves or do all the work. The Sweetheart Supper is still simple but fun. We live in a small rural area where 3 towns make up the Valley community. With the thoughtful hearts, working hands and financial help, we've been able to invite all the widowed and never-married mature women in our community to a free 5 course meal. Several people in the community know about it and have even contributed $20 here and and flowers there. Some of the women drive themselves while others take us up on the offer to be picked up for their date. The women arrive ready for a night out with big smiles on their faces. They get served, have a chance to share, and are sent/taken home with a small gift. Certainly these women are not forgotten on a day when most women would love a little extra attention. This year as I begin thinking about and planning for the Sweetheart Supper, I wonder what else people are doing to serve others. Do you have plans to make the day or night special for someone who might otherwise be forgotten? Would you be willing to go together with another friend or another couple and invite some elderly, and perhaps lonely, women into your home for Valentine's. It doesn't have to be extravagant. For those who know me well, you know that I'm not famous in the kitchen. Fortunately I have friends that have helped in that arena. I don't yet know what our Sweetheart Supper will look like this year but I do know that I'm more blessed to give than they are to receive each of the last 5 Valentine's Days.

11 January 2010

I love my little guy!

If I could get my thoughts to post on this blog, and control which thoughts get posted, I might have a very interesting blog. I think about things to post throughout my work day or while I'm showering or driving but it never makes it here. I wish I had more time to post really. I get so busy with living life that I don't get to write about life. There's one thing from Saturday that I don't want to forget to share:

Scott received a little wooden cutout Jesus-fish with markers from his sunday school teacher. Saturday he sat at the table and colored it while I was busy in the other room. A little while later he came into the bathroom with the biggest smile on his face. He was so excited, I think he was at a loss for words. I could see that he'd written "to mommy" at the bottom of it. I was so proud of my little guy. I asked if it was for me and he pushed his hands towards me as I knelt down and said yes. I hugged him and thanked him and told him that I was proud that he wrote "to mommy" all by himself (he's 4!). I proudly placed it on my bathroom counter so I could daily be reminded of all the things my child is learning! He was beaming.

I was beaming too. The next morning as he was getting ready for sunday school, Ryan informed Scott that Ms. A wouldn't be his teacher today, that Ms. K would. His immediate reply was "I will tell K thank you for my Christmas present when I see her". He did indeed. And unlike some reports from Sunday school, K did tell me that he was such a good little boy and was attentive and listening.

And since I'm bragging up my little boy, I'll also share that Saturday morning while we snuggled in bed, he kept telling me the Daniel in the Lions den bible story that he learned on Wednesday night. I asked if he wanted to hear the whole story from the bible and since he loves being read to, he said yes. I grabbed up my bible, searched through the book of Daniel, and found the story and read it to him. He sat there quietly and listened to the entire story - big words and all. Atta boy Scott, you keep learning those stories of how people were faithful and God provided just like He did for Daniel in the lion's den.


All weekend I was hungry... for junk food. Why is it that when I'm trying hard to eat and be healthier that I crave junk food. Grr.

On another note, I woke up this morning hungry to read God's Word. It was a struggle though after a long and wakeful night. I think I have too much on my mind and I needed some snuggle time with my hubby. I didn't sleep worth a darn and had really wierd dreams. I woke up and immediately started praying for those situations. That God would fill me with more of Himself. Rather than try to understand why I had those dreams, I just wanted to rest in God's peace. At the same time I was TIRED and just wanted to go back to sleep. So it was a battle for me - do I get the much needed sleep and chance returning to the wierd dream state? Do I get up and read my bible and try, try, try to focus? Or do I get my lazy butt out of bed and get on the treadmill where I could have some quiet time?

What do you think I did?

This morning, I opted to stay in bed and pray while at the same time thinking about those dreams. Odd. I wish I'd been more hungry for God's word than I've been for junk food.

By the way, I totally became child-like last night. Ryan got called out so I had to fill in as Scott's wii playing buddy. Don't tell Ryan but I had fun doing so! We played Lego Batman and Scott just loves it. At 730pm having already given Bethany a snack of crackers and craisins cause she was hungry, I finally got off my lazy bum and headed to the kitchen to make a quick supper. At the same time, Ryan drove back up to the house. I did dishes from earlier and he took care of supper. That game was addictive!!!

07 January 2010

Sometimes I wonder...

who on earth would choose to live in a place where the high for the day is going to be zero degrees and the drive to work looks like this:

Note: this is NOT my drive to work, and not even on my side of the state. This is in Shelby county following the Christmas blizzard. Thank you Iowa DOT for sharing your picture.

04 January 2010

Vacation Raffle

[mixing tickets]
[we did put them ALL back in for the drawing]
[and the winner is...]

Of course, I can't leave the post at just that.
Jody Halsted is the winner of 2 airline tickets and 5 nights at a Marriott. I called her last night after 10pm to tell her. Ready to apologize for calling late, I was seriously bummed when it went straight to voicemail. For those who remember the iblog conference I went to in November, Jody planned and hosted that. She's a fabulous woman, loves her family and loves God. Go on over and congratulate Jody at http://www.iowageekonline.com/ Jody also writes at http://www.havekidwilltravel.com/. This time Jody, I guess you won't be able to travel with teh kids. Congratulations!
A few things I learned in the process:
  • Be very clear and concise about the details when asking friends to help sell tickets.
  • Know that it does take lots of time to administer the whole deal.
  • Raffles are fun when you're the winner. Not so fun when you know just about everyone who bought tickets and wish they could all win!

And a few other thoughts of appreciation:

  • I want to express a HUGE thank you to our dear anonymous friends who donated the vacation. You guys offerred us the package and we tried to say no but you were sure that you wanted to share your vacation. I'm so glad that I had just learned to let people participate, to not take away the gift that God gives. Thanks for journeying with us friends!
  • Also a big thanks to all those who sold tickets. You guys rock.
  • All in all we sold 723 tickets which greatly helps us in our journey to adopt our little guy!

Vacation Raffle Drawing

We did NOT draw the winner yesterday. We have sold enough tickets though. Praise God. We had a last minute trip to central Iowa this weekend which meant I didn't have a chance to connect with a few of my girlfriends who were helping me sell tickets. I'm hoping to connect with each of them by the end of the day today and do the drawing tonight.

Thanks everyone for participating.

02 January 2010

On the Road AGAIN

For the 3rd time in 5 weeks, we're headed to the Des Moines area. Right now I'm so thankful that we can go. That we have loving family to visit, a dependable vehicle to drive in, money to pay for gas, etc. This weekend we'll be joining with Ryan's entire family to celebrate with Ryan's grandparents. What are we celebrating? I don't think its anything official. But I am celebrating life, family (and hopefully safe travel since it's 4 below 0 and the windchill is -30ish).


Thanks to those who helped us out with the raffle. I'm confident that we've met the goal of 600.