29 June 2010

Bucket List

Having recently returned to work, I feel like there’s so much that I didn’t get to do while I was on “maternity leave”. In fact, I feel a little robbed of my hard earned vacation. The time went quickly and because of a back injury (I hope to hear back about my MRI tomorrow), there was a lot I didn’t get to do. In the quietness of my day today (yes, all of the 3 minutes I spent in the bathroom counts as quietness) I started thinking of those things I didn’t get to do. Those thoughts turned into other things I want to do. I thought I’d share a few:

- Host an African theme night at the church
- Create a t-shirt for orphan awareness
- Host a party for all my country neighbors (I’ve lived there for 7 years and still don’t know them)
- Learn more about graphic designing
- Sing songs with my family while playing guitar
- Grow a BIG garden
- Home school my children… I think
- Memorize more scripture
- Run a 5k with my girlfriends
- Run a 5k with my husband

What’s holding me back? Why haven’t I done those things? Like most people, I can come up with a million excuses but are they legitimate? What’s really holding me back? As I look at each item above (and it’s by no means a complete list), I think of reasons why I can’t. But with each item I read, I come up with self doubt. African Theme Night – what if no one comes? Orphan t-shirt, what if no one buys? Neighborhood party, what if they don’t come? On and on it goes.

Seriously, why do I doubt like that? Is it healthy? Is it true? Because really, if I would cross some of those things off my list, there is such a reward. African theme night – bring an awareness to my community of what its like other places. Orphan tshirt – raise an awareness and raise money for a future adoption (ours or someone else’s). Neighbor party – love my neighbors.

As my maternity leave quickly passed, I did get some things done. I adopted a child, traveled to two foreign countries, hung out with my dad and nephew, pudle jumped with my kids, hiked a short trail with my kids, co-hosted a purse party for www.haitiancreations.com, hung out with various family members, etc. Though I got some things done, I feel like I could have done more. I want to watch Zack play baseball, take my kids on more picnics, live life. I don’t want to look back on my maternity leave, or my summer, or a year, or a life-time and feel like I wasted it ya know. I want to keep learning, keep serving, keep loving other so I better stop typing and start something…

I would love to hear what’s on your “bucket” list.

28 June 2010

Tell me all you know about Nahum

For those who are church attenders, you might recognize that as a book of the bible. For those who don’t attend church, you’ve likely never even seen the word before. Because I attend church and have (at one time thanks to pledge semester of Alpha Delta Chi), I memorized the names of the books of the bible as they appear in the bible. At one point I’ve even read that book. But hearing the request to tell someone all I know about Nahum, I sit there and say “ummm, ummm, well I think it’s one of the minor prophets. It falls after Micah and before Habbakuk…”. Yikes, this is the second time today I’ve felt like I have a total lack of biblical knowledge. How well can I give an answer for what I believe? Am I saying you have to have Nahum memorized to give an answer? No, but the point is that I’m feeling convicted about my knowledge of and my time in The Word.

As I continued to sit and listen to an i-tunes sermon, I had to turn it off. I minimized i-tunes and opened up e-sword. Listening to a message on God’s Word is good. But my conviction was to know and spend time in scripture. I opened up to the 34th book of the bible and began reading the 3 short chapters. Go read Nahum. It isn’t pretty. The books is about Nahum’s vision concerning Ninevah and man am I glad that I’m not living in Ninevah. After a brief and sad read, I wondered what was up with Ninevah. Why did God have such anger here?

It’s amazing to me how much I sometimes have to force myself to spend time in the Word. Yet every time I open up this book, aka e-Sword - the Sword of the Lord with an electronic edge, I just can’t get enough. This has been a good lesson today. Are you convicted of something in your life? What are you doing about it today?

Happy Birthday Princess!

Super Mom here. Okay, okay, it’s not about me but honestly today I felt like I was (expected to be) Super Mom. Mostly I didn’t mind so it was okay. Back to my Princess Peach though.

Today my sweet Bethany turned 3. Happy Birthday Miss Bethany. I love my sweet little thang. She’s a doll. We celebrated off and on throughout the day. Since she recently told me I was the best muffin maker, I started the morning crawling out of bed to make muffins for my girl. While those were in the oven, I went to build the castle cake. Only I realized that I didn’t have frosting. That’s a separate story in itself.

Some Sunday mornings are a little rough and stressful. Today was no different. This time because our sweet girl wasn’t feeling so great. She was all dressed up in her sweet princess dress and princess shoes but her normal glow was clouded over with constipation. Poor thing. We were to church, only 10 minutes late, and were greeted by the Pastor who said “don’t worry about sitting down”. I went from the back of the church to standing next to my seated (and timely) husband, to the stage where Judah was given his “new baby in the church” rose.

Back to Miss Bethany.

After church we made a quick run to the grocery store where Ryan bought the items for home-made ice-cream (he didn’t like my store bought stuff which is good because the freezer pushed open and the contents thawed) and I bought frosting.

If this is how our whole day is going to go, I’m going to need a nap.

At the house I threw together a oriental rice stir fry dish. Only I had the wrong seasoning packet which also meant I had no directions but I was plenty hungry. I made lunch as best as I could recall from the one other time I’d made that meal.

This is how our day is going to go isn’t it?

The birthday girl, she wasn’t going to make it to the table and went straight for the nap. That was okay with everyone at the table! Princesses need their beauty rest after all. While she rested, I managed to put together thee ugliest castle cake ever. Seriously.
Normally that would make me crazy. Today, not so much. I knew Bethany would be thrilled even if the corner of the castle had fallen off.

Post nap, my gleaming little beauty had bed head and was in her comfy clothes. She was so cute in her Mexico soccer uniform that I didn’t want to change her. But, pictures were in order and our princess needed to be all beautified.

While Ryan froze ice-cream, I threw together a quick dish of baked chicken alfredo and rolls. I managed to pull that off quite well just as the ice-cream was finishing. Our family plus the grandparents all sat down for a meal together. Before we were done, Bethany was distracted in the other room with a pooping extravaganza. Poor thing. Who cares if she didn’t eat lunch and didn’t eat much supper, let’s eat some cake and ice-cream. Wait, wait, the girl has to blow out some candles and hear all of us sing to her first.

Like clock work, all three of my kids were having issues. Bethany was screaming and pooping as I walked through the room to take Judah to the toilet. Scott had the bathroom occupied and when questioned informed me that he’d pee’d and pooped in his pants. Nice. Got that dealt with and took Judah to the toilet where he did both numbers. Yes, my youngest son is apparently the only one who can sometimes potty on the toilet. I disgress.

Cake and ice-cream was great and I was summoned to the chair to snuggle a sweet little girl while the grandparents helped clean up. The birthday party was about over when I caught this sweet little boy smooching his Grandpa in the kitchen. We ended our night watching Alvin & the Chipmunks while I edited a few photos.

Where did that nap go? Oh yeah, those don’t happen or aren’t needed when you’re a super mom. Happy Birthday to our Super daughter, my very own little Princess Peach.

25 June 2010

6 more months

I heard someone say: today is 6 more months until Christmas. First I was interested in entertaining that idea. Wow, it really is only 6 more months until Christmas. Then I wondered if it really has any influence on how I plan. Seriously, why do I even entertain this idea. I love gift giving and watching people open gifts. But really, there is so much more to it... I don't want to spend 6 months planning on the gift giving part all the while not focusing on other important things in life.

24 June 2010

bowels, not bowls

I originally sat down to write this post after putting the kids to bed. The boys went down great. Bethany, not so much. It was partly my fault. Each night we put her down and as I’m walking out the door she begins to whine like a baby. Each night I stop and to figure out what her deal is. It’s the attention but she always seems to have some other excuse. So each night I give her another kiss, or more water, or cover her up again. Always something. Tonight I’d had enough. I told her she was fine and that she needed to go to sleep. I gave her fair warning that if I had to go back into her room, she would get a spank. Not wanting to follow through with the spank, I sat at my computer for a few minutes catching up on your blogs and then proceeded to ignore her desperate cries for attention, even the negative kind, by going downstairs.

By time I finished folding 4 loads of laundry, I’d almost forgotten that I wanted to blog. Now what was it that I wanted to write about?

Ah yes, my kids and their bowels. I know this topic interests all of you [read sarcasm there]. I’ll try to keep it brief. Kid #1 has bowel issues that have existed from day 1. Today he failed at being a big kid and pooped in his undies and didn’t tell anyone for 6 hours. Hello, can we saw “raw bottom”. And he still hasn’t learned. His sister continues to follow in his footsteps. She’ll be 3 on Sunday and still won’t go on the potty. She refuses and right now its not worth the battle. Lately she’s been going well on her own (we’re eating lots of fruit) and is pooping and getting wiped a lot. Hello, can we say raw bottom for her too! Child #3 does great at pottying. Only he doesn’t tell you when he has to go. And unlike his siblings who were dry through the night at 6 months, he’s still not dry at night. Setting a timer has been helping me remember to take Judah. He sits to potty and soon we hope he learns to stand to potty.

Why do my kids have bowel issues? As if that’s not enough, I read on facebook that a buddy of mine pretty much trained her son in 2 weeks and is done with diapers. I, on the other hand, have a 3 year old who won’t sit on the potty without a fit. Nice. I haven’t even really tried with her cause I don’t want her to have a negative impact on her little brother. This hasn’t been a fun learning experience for anyone in this house. I would love any ideas in the potty training arena if you have them.

22 June 2010

No belt

I got to work today and realized I didn’t have a belt on. Hmm, that’s not like me, especially when I wear slacks. Fortunately, it was no big deal. I apparently don’t need a belt with these slacks. Maybe it has something to do with the 7 to 9 pounds I’ve gained since we left for Ethiopia. Hmm, now what? Thankfully I realized this before I packed my lunch. It would be so easy to eat less, only it’s not so easy. Last week on the days I went to work, I felt like I was starving all day. A light lunch was too light. And no “snack time” left me hungry. Am I really hungry or have I just trained my body to eat all day long? This morning I packed a crab salad wrap, a little pasta salad and some fruit before I headed to work.

By 10:45 I was hungry. I busted out a crystal light packet, dumped it in my water and took a drink. My goal is to drink something when I feel hungry and maybe that will hold me over for a while. Do you think it will work?

Its 1140am and I’m thinking that noon can’t come soon enough.

I’m not all about diets but I am about eating healthy and treating my body like it’s God’s Temple. If I like to make sure my house is clean before and while I have company, then why wouldn’t I do the same for my body as the Holy Spirit resides in me?

Thank you Lord for the noon whistle in town. I’m free to refuel. Only now I’ve been sitting for an hour listening to a net replay at work. My body hurts from sitting and I desperately need a standing break. I decide to work at my standing work station cause I know that I’m not really starving.

Whether or not I lose weight, I certainly plan to change the shape of my body. Did you know that during a recent visit with my aunt, she asked me if I was pregnant. I so need to work out again. I so need to be accountable about what I eat. I so need to change the shape of my gut so that no one else has to ask me if I’m pregnant :)

At 1215pm I eat my modest but filling lunch. That was awesome. I wanted to go outside and enjoy some warmth and sunshine but I didn’t want to take an official lunch break. Being there a short day today, I needed to keep trudging along.

I got home shortly after 5pm and I still wasn’t hungry. Amazing. I went right into the kitchen to put dishes away and clean up a few leftover dishes from last night. I also managed to eat 5 oreo balls. At least they weren’t dipped in chocolate. Maybe I consumed only 25 grams of fat instead of 37. Yikes.

What was it I said about treating my body like God’s temple? Man did I fail on that one today. I guess its time to get back up and try again tomorrow.

21 June 2010


Yesterday our pastor shared a message on service. I wish it was up on the web already so I can share it with you. It was a good lesson and certainly applicable to me. His challenge at the end was for us to ask ourselves where are we serving in the church and where can we be serving in the ministries of our church. I first thought about it and couldn’t really come up with anywhere that I was serving. I was taking a break from the youth because my kids are young and can’t be involved in youth. I was taking a break from some activities because I was busy working on Judah’s adoption. I guess I really need to step it up don’t I. It didn’t take me long to realize that I am involved. I was the co-chair, and recently named the chair, of the Missions Committee in our church. I’m also the person who runs the business meetings of our church. So I guess I’m not doing too bad. Regardless, I’m sure there’s an area where I can step it up, right? Yes, there is.

I have one problem with this whole idea. The first thing Pastor said this morning is that some people have served so much that they’re burnt out. That is something that’s on my mind all through the sermon. No doubt we need people to step up and help out in different areas. But that the same time, we’re still a small church. Do we really want to have so many activities that we don’t have time for ourselves, for our families? No doubt I support most of the ministries in our church but I think there’s also a point where we as individuals need to step back and look at the big picture. Yes, take Pastor’s challenge and see where we’re serving. But we also need to remember that we’re human and we have limits. Where can I serve? I can serve in the church but I can also serve my family. After all, my kids are my responsibility to raise and to guide them towards Christ. So when I ask myself how I can be involved in a ministry at church, I also have to ask myself how that will take away from my family.

I’m not at all knocking Pastor’s message. In fact, I was convicted by it and thought it was perfectly appropriate. Jesus did serve his followers. But we also need to acknowledge when we’re doing too much. What are your thoughts on this? How do you find time to serve elsewhere (since many of us serve at work, in the community and/or at church)? Do you take the time to judge how it will affect the rest of you? What questions do you ask yourself?

13 June 2010

A Quick Update

All’s well on our journey. We’re all transitioning quite well considering the events of the last month. We’ve travelled on a day trip to see family and run errands, a weekend trip a short drive away, and a 5 day trip a long way away. We’ve also enjoyed having my dad here this past week. In the time we’ve been home I managed to do something to my back which has gone on for 3 weeks now. Loving on kiddos and keeping up with a home quickly becomes a difficult task when you physically can’t lift or bend over. So, our transition, and my “maternity” leave, has looked quite different than I expected. The back issue has been a great way for Ryan to connect more with the older two kids and attach more with Judah.

We’re all doing great really. I’m so thankful that God knows our limits and doesn’t push us beyond them. Some days I think God is taking me right up to my limit though. It has been a good and difficult lesson as I train and love Judah to recall how patient God is with me, a sinner.

Scott is a wonderful big brother and continues to be in Judah’s face much of the time. Scott is a big helper with Judah and life in general. He’s had to grow up a bit which has been good since he can be a tad bit dependent with things he should be independent about. Bethany is doing well too but taking a little different journey through adjustment. If she loves Judah, she certainly doesn’t show it in an obvious manner. She makes sure to let us know that she needs some focus time too. While she’s dealing with constipation and a raw bottom today, her sweet little brother has had five NASTY diapers. Nice. Judah is doing quite well. He eats like a champ. And if you give him something he likes, he is a bottomless pit. Tonight it was mixed fresh fruit and I had to cut him off. Judah is doing mostly well with toileting. I can see it being an issue of control for him so for now we’re trying to be super encouraging when he goes on the potty.

Seems like we’re holding up too. One of the questions Holt asks us in our follow up questions is about getting enough time together as a couple. Yes, we’re getting time together each night – otherwise known as Ryan watches a TV show on DVD as he winds down and I’m too tired to wind down so I fall asleep next to him. Seriously. I’m looking forward to the new “normal” whenever that happens so we can adjust our time as a couple to that. Since you already know we’re not perfect, I’ll share something else you already know. We have left some room for improvement in our marriage. I could do a better job at respecting my husband, we could improve on praying for and with each other, etc.

I’m thankful for the progress we’ve made as a family and know that we will continue to adjust and move forward; hopefully becoming more like Christ each day. Ya know I pray daily that my kids will love God and love others more each day. It’s

08 June 2010

Thanks Janel

So we all know that I've been out of the blog loop lately. Yesterday I managed to jump online long enough while visiting with my friend Michelle to read an update on our friend Janel's adoption progress. It was so good to read what's going on in their journey. Janel, as I read it aloud to Michelle, I had to stop reading because my emotions got the best of me and I started crying. I turned the screen towards Michelle and we both read. For those of you who aren't following Janel and Jake's journey, check them out: http://team-sullivan.blogspot.com/

Today when I came to town to run a few errands (all 4 kids were quiet if not asleep) while Dad was in charge so I could get a quick break, I popped in on Janel's blog again. It was so fun to read her post about the journey bags. I want to link to it so you can read but I have to preface the link: first let me say that this is by no means a pat on my own back. I don't think I'm some amazing person or that I did such a good deed. I'm me. A sinner saved by grace. A wife who fails miserably but has an understanding family. A person who loves others. Yes, I made a few bags but it's more than that. God has given me the ability to do certain things. All I did was say "yes" to using my small little gift (I'm really not a sewer for those who want to know) and offerring it up to God. I did this by sewing up a few simple bags and praying for the individuals who would receive them as I sewed. True, these bags are going on a journey, but the glory and the credit goes to a God who cares enough about those specific villagers in Ghana to use a nobody like me to cut and sew some fabric.

Now, with that said, I would encourage you to say yes when you feel a tug at your heart to do for someone else. It could be as simple as a meal for a new mom, some potted flowers for an elderly lady, or a visit to a shut-in. Okay, now if you're super board you can go over to Janel's blog, skim through the post about the journey bags as you scroll down and read the real stuff - what God has been doing in their lives as they say "yes Lord, use me" .... http://team-sullivan.blogspot.com

Time Flies

We've been home a month with Judah. The month has been a busy one. We've seen lots of friends and family both far and here at home. We've been so busy it makes my mind swirl.

Just this week we've seen lots of people. On Friday my Aunt Janie, Aunt Anna and Uncle Johnny drove in for a weekend visit. They've been on a road trip and I'm thankful they made it up our way. I love getting to spend time with my family.

On Saturday I drove to Iowa City to run a few errands and have a "big girl" lunch at Panera with Tera and Betty (a huge thanks to Uncle Mike for taking the boys to McD's so the girls could have a quiet lunch. Another huge thanks to Uncle Mike for meeting me in Iowa City to switch vehicles so I wouldn't have to drive all the way to Prairie City to get my van back!) I left the home of the Hawkeyes and headed to Cedar Rapids where I met my dad and nephew at the airport. It was so good to be able to pick them up. Of course I drug them with me to run a few more errands, before driving home in a downpour.

My Aunts and Uncle who drove in left on Monday morning. My dad is here all week. Last night my nephew came home with us and we played a bit. Today we had plans for a picnic at a local park but we've had a gentle rain all day so we've all been stuck inside.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the week and hoping that the weather man is wrong since I read that we have a half decent day tomorrow and then showers the rest of the week.

02 June 2010

new computer

I have a wonderful hubby who bought me a new laptop for our anniversary.  Thanks love.  Now you'd think I'd be able to get all caught up on blogging and such but that isn't the case.  I'm currently sitting at the motel parking lot using their wi-fi.  I had to come to town earlier for xrays on my lovely back issue.  Then over to the pharmacy to pick up my muscle relaxer which they wouldn't fill because the pharmacy in DesMoines said they gave me more than they really did.  Gotta love the locals, they called right to DM and had them fix it with insurance so I could get my sanity, I mean, muscle relaxer.  So as that's getting ready to kick in and do it's job (well, sorta kinda), I'm heading back home to rest while mom keeps the kiddos.  Thanks mom.


The New Busy think 9 to 5 is a cute idea. Combine multiple calendars with Hotmail. Get busy.