30 August 2010

My Two Littles

Judah, you may kiss me...

but please don't clobber me...

or I'll wipe it off!

25 August 2010

Distracted Again

Okay, here's the website I wanted to share with you now that I'm outta time to blog: http://www.spaceflight.nasa.gov/realdata/sightings/index.html. It's NASA's website for sightings of satellites, etc. Right now, the space station can be seen as it passes through the sky at night. From where I live, tonight the space station can be seen at 8:30pm moving through the sky. How cool is that. Go, check it out. It would be a good excuse to stay up late and learn something :)

1000 Posts

Okay, I never really pay attention to how many posts I've done. Apparently this is #1000. In honor of 1000 posts, I have a little something to share (and maybe give one away later... too bad this isn't post 975 so I could have one done my post 1000).

Remember those canvas bags I made for the children in Ghana? I blogged about them here and here and a few other places. While making those, I decided to make one for myself. I had it just about finished right before we left for Ethiopia and then my sewing machine had a glitch (okay, really it was me that had a glitch because I was putting some pieces back in wrong after cleaning it). Anyway, last night I finished the bag. Now, I'm working on a few more canvas bags. Some with the Ethiopian flag, some with a print (like what went to Ghana) and might even make myself one to fit my laptop.

Bring on the fabric, cause I'm sewing bags again. For every bag I sell, I plan to give one bag away to someone in need. How about that. Buy one for yourself, give one to someone in need.


As we were walking out the door into the slightly overcast day, Bethany says: "I can't go outside, it's too sunny." Umm, no, it's overcast my dear, get outside.

On the way to town this morning Scott said: "I have to hurry and get my teeth brushed, then walk to the bus, the goof off." When I told mom what he said, she laughed because he doesn't goof off at the bus stop, he stays glued to his grammy.

Because the morning was going so great, I brought my phone charger with me. Upon arriving at work, I realized I didn't even bring my cell phone!

That makes me think of Bethany's drama the last few nights going to bed. She was scared. One time you'd ask and she was scared of her bookshelf, then next time she was scared of her pillow shark, and everything else under the sun. I had to introduce her to all the pigs and dolls on her shelf and she managed to kiss them as we went through each doll.

I like the idea of sharing a website idea with you. What I don’t like is that writing these posts remind me of how little I write any more. Additionally, I’m not sure if I write about anything besides my kids bowel habits – obviously a constant issue at our house.

So before I share the website, I thought I’d share about my kids. While pregnant with Scott, I was adamant that we choose a name that wouldn’t be shortened into a nickname. So, he was named Scott. As soon as he was born, Scott was given lots of nicknames by yours truly. For a momma who didn’t want a nickname, I sure gave him plenty. What I didn’t want was for Scott to have a legal name but then be called by a totally different name his whole life. It was made clear to others that he was not “Scotty”. But he did manage to pick up nicknames from others. My favorite was Scotty-too-hottie.

Fast forward to child #2. I still don’t like nicknames. One of the names we discussed was Kate. I had a college girlfriend with that name and loved it. Ryan agreed on Kate yet modified my suggestion by saying we could name her Katherine and call her Kate. No way. We can name her Kate and call her Kate was my reply. She was named Bethany. A name that can be shortened but we again made it clear that her name is Bethany. Her nicknames are many.

Judah is similar. His nicknames are terms of endearment. Remember, I’m NOT a fan of nicknames. Yet I’ve managed to give each of my kids nicknames. Don’t tell Ryan but I love their nicknames. They can be Scott, Bethany and Judah to everyone else with close friends and family using their special names. The thoughts in my head today were the opposite and now I find myself wondering what that was all about.

As I was driving down the road this morning, I found myself thinking about what nicknames they’ll carry with them through life Seriously? Where did that come from? I don’t like nicknames right? As I thought through their pet names, I realized they’re just that, pet names. They’re not nicknames that they can carry with them through life. Maybe one or two of them will stick with those we’re close to and who knows maybe one day Scott will get married to a woman who calls him Scotty-too-hottie. In the mean time, we’ll just stick with their normal given names.

23 August 2010

Night Out

Last night we went out to supper with some friends.  Prior to going, I suggested to Ryan that we might get a sitter for the kids even though 99% of the time, we go to family friendly activities.  Ryan valued his time with his little ones over having a quiet meal with some friends.  (Just one of many reasons I love my husband)


Supper with our childless friends was, at a minimum, entertaining.  It took my kids about 5 minutes to finally get seated after we arranged and re-arranged who they got to sit by.  Our meal came and we were passing plates all around after I cut up orange chicken and we got the little ones served.  Nobody spilled their drink which was nice.  Conversation was often interrupted with a comment or dirty look from one of the kids.  Bethany had the pleasure of sitting next to Jon.  Although, she wasn't so fond of Jon and would give him a glaring evil look if he would talk to her.  If he would look at her, she'd cover her face so she couldn't see him.  I wish I had my camera so I could've captured one of my daughter's favorite faces.  Video of Bethany reacting to Jon would have likely won a "funniest video" contest.  We were able to enjoy our meal and our conversations.  Of course, the 3 trips to the bathroom in 3 minutes with Bethany was beginning to test my limits. 


But even that was funny.  Her tummy hurt so she went in to empty her bladder.  Her brother had to go to so he peeked in to tell us so (I so should've closed the door all the way).  A minute later, it was a repeat of the same thing.  I so should've closed and LOCKED the door that time.  The third trip to the bathroom was annoying and funny.  I was sitting in the bathroom holding my daughter's hands (at her request) bribing her with ice-cream if she would poop on the potty.  She doesn't care about bribes.  They don't work.  But I try anyway because I'm tired of going to the bathroom 3 times.  This time Scott enters twice and I wonder who's at the table letting him walk the 10 feet to the bathroom hall.  Asking Bethany to do her business proves to be worthless.  In complete Bethany style and fashion she says "I don't want to poop on the toilet.  I need to poop on the trashcan!"  What, where did that come from aside from the fact that the trash was right next to me?  I assure her that she's a big girl and she needs to use the toilet.  Because it had a flip lid, she was sure she could poop on the other side.  Oh dear!  She's funny and she knows it.  We quickly leave the bathroom.  By now, Judah has had 3/4 of a glass of water and he's due for a bathroom break.  Ryan is at the counter paying for our nice and quiet meal out with friends so I can't even pawn it off on him this time.  I ask Jodi to keep an eye on Scott and make trip #4 to the bathroom.  I was in there so much last night, I think I have it memorized.  With a little help from Jodi, Scott didn't make a guest appearance this time.


We were on our way home and I wondered if Ryan still thought taking our kids with us was still a great idea.  Do you think he would have had a different answer if I was the kids' favorite (he currently has that title) and he was the bathroom monitor?


Last night I pulled out my fabric and scissors and home-made patterns.  Tonight the sewing machine will come out.  I'm working on a little project right now and hope to share some pictures soon.

22 August 2010

1st day of School

My Scott started school this past week. He was super excited. I was excited for him but at the same time, I was a little disspointed that 5 years has already past. He's growing so fast! He had 3 days of school this past week and loved it. The only complaint I heard was that he didn't get to have breakfast at the school like the other kids. He's enjoyed the phonics and hasn't told me much else about school. Ryan's enforcing the jolly phonics with him after school (he goes to the vet clinic after school) and giving him math problems. Yes, my kid can already add and subtract because he was bored and needed a challenge.

Enjoy a few pics of his first day of school. You'll see my little Judah had to get some pictures too. He's become quite photogenic in the last 3 months. Bethany was MIA, enjoying her 3rd and last day hanging out at her grandparents.

18 August 2010

Website Wednesday

I started thinking about this post and ignored it and watched an entertaining TV show while I vegged on the couch. So, a little delayed and a bit rushed, I began to think about what website I wanted to share. A website I use often? A website that showcases an organization that I believe in? Here’s my Website Wednesday choice:

Family Fun Magazine is one of my favorite websites. Don’t get me wrong, I love the actual magazine that my in-laws faithfully give to me. But I also make lots of use out of their website. What I like about the website is that it has the same info and so I can just link to the project or article that I want to share with friends. When I’m making a shopping list, I can copy it right from the website so I don’t have to re-write it (yes, I’m lazy like that).

Here’s a perfect example of one of their projects. If only I had read the magazine or perused the website before today - the first day of school and Scott’s turn to take snacks to school. Not that I would have been organized enough to accomplish these cute cupcakes, but I might have tried. These cupcakes are made with a cooking, an M&M, Mr. Goody candy and white piping. How easy is that!?!? Go on over and check out the Family Fun website.

Speaking of fun websites, I also want to share one of my favorite blogs. She’s new at blogging but I love what she has to write. Her facebook posts, if you know her in real life, are always funny, encouraging and or thought provoking. She’s another momma who has biological children and has adopted. Like Jayme, she was in my travel group. Go on over and meet Mrs. Deem.

17 August 2010

First morning of the new workout routine.  I did not want to get up.  As I crawled out of bed, I heard my phone beeped to let me know I had a message.  Hmm, who's not coming?  It was my buddy who'd called and texted to let me know that she totally forgot that her husband was out of town and she couldn't very well leave the kids to go work out.  Between daydreams of crawling back in bed, I laughed at the message because I've done that more than once.  Made plans but forgot that Ryan was gone and I needed to be home with the kids. 
As I closed my phone, I looked out the window.  It was absolutely stunning.  I debated on grabbing the camera and went on with the morning routine  before deciding I had to capture this God-given sunrise.  I just brought the camera in the house Sunday night but couldn't manage to find it.  Fortunately, as I drove to town, the sunrise was in my view the whole time.  I didn't get to send the photo to my local weatherman but I was able to etch it in my mind.
I arrived at the ghetto gym and ventured downstairs.  By myself.  I figured the two other girls wouldn't be motivated to show up but I had to go down just in case.  Not wanting my arms to be too sore tomorrow, I kept the workout simple and brief.  Then I headed back out into the cool morning air to go running.  It was great.  I was done and home by 645 and though I'd missed my girlfriends, I was glad I saw the sunrise and got some exercise!

12 August 2010

Cori's comment

I love Cori's comment from my last blog.  Thought I'd add a quick follow-up from that as a new post.  I love physical exercise.  In the last year I was lifting weights and doing strength training 2 days a week.  It was a great time to connect with a friend too.  Said friend began training for a half marathon and we stopped working out.  I mostly continued lifting some weights out of my living room.  It wasn't the same: I wasn't lifting as much and I missed my friend.  About the time Michelle was ready to lift again I hurt my back and wasn't lifting much of anything.  More time passed and when I was ready to start lifting weights for strength training again, Michelle was moving to Ames. 
I know that I love and need exercise.  Even the 2 days a week I was doing wasn't enough but it was all that I would make time for.  I kept saying that I was going to get on the treadmill the mornings that Ryan worked out but that never happened either. 
When I was reading the June issue of Prevention Magazine, I was encouraged and motivated to start running.  After all, I didn't have a lifting partner and I certainly wasn't motivated to do it myself.  The "Yes, You Can Run" article had a simple work out schedule.  I didn't even try to follow it exactly, but I remembered one thing it said: "run the given distance, taking walking breaks as needed.  If you can only run 15-30 seconds at a time to start, that's okay".  Well, that was the push I needed.  I began running on our driveway.  Up and back on our driveway is 1 mile.  The first few times, I did a lot of walking, especially on the hill.  Over time, I have quickly improved.  I don't get to run daily (I am a busy working mom after all), but I make a point to run regularly and take breaks from running when life is crazy or my legs are super sore. 
I found that running not only was a source of exercise, but it has also been a source of "me" time.  I don't normally give myself that time because there's always something to do around the house, kids that need atttention and love, etc.  The quiet run has been great. I put on some running clothes, grab my ipod and get moving.  My mind doesn't know how to stop, it's in constant motion.  This new running adventure has also been a lesson in being quiet, without all the mind business, and focusing on listening to a podcast or something like that.
As I've run, I've improved.  Just the other night when I was dead tired after a full day at work, and a full and hot night of bible school, I was ready for bed.  But our bible school shirts had to be laundered.  Rather than start laundry, climb two stories of stairs (not a big deal, but I'm lazy at 10pm) to lay in bed and then get up to change laundry, I decided to stay in the basement and run on the dreaded treadmill.  (I'd so rather run outside where I can enjoy a breeze and some sunshine on my pale skin).  I popped in the earbuds and began listening to a book.  As the washer finished it's cycle, I was too busy running and listening to care.  It was a slow run because it had been a long break.  I only ran a mile but I didn't even get winded.  I was so excited.  That is, until I clicked over to see how many calories I'd burned.  88.  Seriously, that's half a snack!  I may enjoy running but I need to burn more calories than that!
Enter Jen, my physical therapist friend.
The next day Jen approached me about working out.  We'd chatted about it in the early summer but we both have busy schedules.  Jen wanted to start next week.  Woo-hoo!  I'm super excited about that - the working out, not the getting up early.  Maybe a few of the other girls will join us.  Now that I'm hooked on running, I'm planning to continue that and incorporate the other stuff back in.  After bible school, I'll be eager to go back to core strengthening exercises too!  And let's not forget that hubby likes to join me for specific exercise too :)

11 August 2010

Untitled... cause I'm too lazy to title this one!

Is it wrong to go to bed at night wishing that God would hold back the light for just a few hours while you catch up on sleep? Friday night I rushed home from work, changed clothes quickly, grabbed my ipod and headed out for a run. Much to my surprise, Ryan wasn’t home with the kids yet. Almost two miles into my run, Ryan still wasn’t home and I began wondering if I should have brought my cell phone along. I made a stop back by the house (I run laps on our long driveway) to grab my cell. Puzzled by the time, I call Ryan who’s on his way home with the kids. I have time to do one more lap.

Here’s where I should have stopped.

But I’m not so smart like that. I was enjoying the sunshine, the time to myself, and the music on my recently added playlist. I started mile number three. Early in my run, my legs hurt. Not the normal ache, but a pain from my knees down. I wondered if it was because I hadn’t ran for 10 days or if it was something else. Knowing the pain in my legs, and the cramp in my side weren’t going away, I opted to mostly walk the last mile.

The last quarter mile was the sweet as I had my two little ones with me. Bethany and Judah wanted to run with mommy in their flip flops. The business of family kept me moving and my muscles warm for the next few hours. That night as I crawled in bed freshly showered, I looked forward to sweet dreams.

I may have had sweet dreams last night but they were regularly disrupted by wakefulness.

Saturday I opted not to run. I was sore and still not sure what the cause was of the tingling and aching in my legs. Not to mention that Saturday I tripped going up the stairs, folded my body in half trying to brace myself and had an awful pain in my lower back. Great. I really don’t want another back injury. Saturday was a busy and frustrating day. We enjoyed a few hours at Sweet Corn Days while our church kicked off the summer Vacation Bible School. Can taking three kids to a kiddie area (bounce house, seed spitting contest and roping a calf all went along with the Saddle Ridge Ranch theme for VBS) with 86 degree humid weather be any fun? How do single parents do it? Needless to say that night I was tired. Shortly after the kids were in bed, I peeled my contacts out, brushed my teeth and headed to bed myself.

Sunday came and introduced itself to me with a kiddo, Scott, who had some question. In my half-asleep state I thought it was a good time to send him back to bed hoping we could all get a little more sleep. I didn’t know that I’d actually be able to fall back asleep and have multiple moments of wakefulness mixed in with the next two hours of sleep. It felt so good to sleep. Anticipating the events of the coming week, sleep couldn’t be a bad idea at all.

I didn’t go to sleep asking God to hold back the light for a few hours. However, I sure am glad that God helped hold my eyelids closed for a long and much enjoyed night of sleep.

It’s now after 10 and we’ve had another full day which included church, a baptism in the river of some dear friends, a wonderfully yummy lunch at the church, setting up for VBS, keeping/entertaining the neighbor boy with cheap water guns, browsing through junk food for supper, reading that same book AGAIN to Bethany, bed time routine, and watching one episode of The Unit. I could use another long night of sleep to be ready for next week. I’m super excited to see how God will show up at the Saddle Ridge Ranch.

P.S. I still haven’t forgotten about the Charity: Water. In fact, I revisited my want list from Tupperware and was fine with wanting all those things. Then the Charity: Water came to mind. What do I want more, some Tupperware that I’ve managed without or clean water for a family in Ethiopia??? Pretty convicting to me but that’s a whole ‘nother post.

Website Wednesday

For some time now I’ve thought of different things I can share on my blog. Each of them requires time. As a mom with a full-time career, my time is super valuable to me. There’s also things I’d would love to submit to the local paper for a one-time or even a regular column. Again, do I want to prioritize time to that? Though I’d love to do that, I have more important priorities like my husband and kids. So, I’m going to try something new. We’ll see how well it goes.

Website Wednesday.

I have no fancy logo (and believe me I could spend hours coming up with something), no huge connections, no deals worked out with any website. Just a simple desire to share the websites that I find useful, helpful, funny, etc. There are times that I run across something so simple, something I just wish I could have known about long ago.

The first website I want to start with is www.google.com. Now, I’m sure all of you are well aware of google. But do you know all the things you can do on this website? Sure, there are the common ones you see at the header of the home page but google has so much more to offer. Did you know that google has a TRANSLATION PAGE? I’ve used it numerous times when communicating back and forth with friends in Mexico City. DOES GOOGLE HAVE A DESIGN PAGE FOR SHELVING, ETC? There are many facets to google. I would encourage you to search out a few!

With each helpful website, I also want to share one of my favorite reads. Besides hotmail, this is one of the first websites I open in my browser. I love that it’s honest and real even when the reality of what’s being shared is sad. I love that it’s funny and well written, all the time. I love that I can hear her voice when I read it. I love that the picture I get of her personality from her blog, matches her personality in real life. I love that she’s smart and educates herself, that she’s not full of fluff and political correctness. I love that she uses the term “craptastic”. This person writes about a variety of things that might interest you. As of late, posts seem adoption related but give the girl a break, she did just adopt from Ethiopia. So, go on over to Jamey’s blog at www.zehlahlum.blogspot.com and see what you think of it.

10 August 2010

In a Fog

Night one of Vacation Bible School went super.  It was a little late getting home, a quick nightly routine and getting to bed.  By time I turned off the light, I was more than ready for some rest.  I woke up this morning to a super heavy fog.  I couldn't even see the edge of my yard.  It was still 5ish and so I rolled over and went back to sleep.  When the alarm sounded, it didn't phase me.  I woke to Ryan's voice.  It was still foggy and I certainly wasn't driving to work in that.  As I woke, and the mental fog lifted, I realized that the heavy fog was likely on the inside of our windows.  Due to the heavy and warm humid air outside and a window air conditioner running on the inside, it created a fog on our windows.  Man, I guess I won't be sleeping in late this morning!

06 August 2010

Charity Water

I've seen the banner's multiple times.  I saw it on the Johnson's blog and didn't take the time to read what it was about.  I've seen the words "charity: water" many times and not given it much thought or attention.  This week, I can't get it out of my mind.  It's such a simple yet complex thing. 
For approximately $5,000 a well can be dug that would offer clean water to a community.  I can't put into words what this would be worth to a community.  However, I do know that I saw the need with my own eyes when we were in Ethiopia.  I saw the women and children walking with their jugs (40 lbs when full) to the nearest source of water.  I saw them dip the jug into dirty, gross water that you and I wouldn't swim in and carry it home.  I saw the women and children bathing in the disease infested water just down stream from where the livestock were drinking.  It broke my heart.  The images are etched into my mind and bring sadness to my heart.  These kids have such potential.  They could be teachers, doctors, missionaries.  Yet, they may not reach maturity because the unsafe water they drink has e-coli, salmonella, cholera and Hepatitis A.
Today during lunch I was checking out Charity: Water's website.  Oh, that's where all those images have come from that I've seen on people's blogs and other places.  I was blown away by the work they're doing.  I haven't been able to get it out of my mind ALL afternoon.
Did you know that 100% of their donations go directly towards the projects.  That's amazing.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how I can get involved.  I feel this tug on my heart to go back to Ethiopia and do ministry.  After all Ryan and I are trained and educated in a variety of things that can be useful there (veterinary medicine, conservation, gardening, etc).  After reading through this today, I'm thinking that this would be a good start.  I went to the charity: water website and looked at where in Ethiopia wells have already been dug.  Some in the South, but none near where my child is from.  None near the Schinschico Hospital (a place that serves LOTS of people in the South).  Wouldn't it be cool to see a well go in near the hospital to provide clean water for them and the nearby community members. 
I won't be forgetting this anytime soon.  Don't be surprised if I try to pull you in so that you too can play a part in providing clean water to a family that desperately needs it.

04 August 2010

Never a dull moment

Today I was home early. We met with our social worker for a required post-adoption visit. Home more than two hours before normal, I grabbed my laptop and began working on a post for our adoption blog. Sitting in the living room, I hear something fall in the next room over. I turn my head and peer through the French doors to see something on the floor. As I’m trying to figure out what could have fallen in the dining room, I hear it. The sound of something spewing out of a bottle. I know exactly what that is. I jump out my seat as quickly as I can and run into the other room to grab up the bottle that burst through the cap and popped the cork - that’s what I saw on the floor. I rush into the kitchen to grab some cleaning supplies. As I come back into the dining room, I see how wide the blast was. It shot the cork clear across the room which is no surprise. The fact that the wine sprayed all across the room surprised and frustrated me. It wasn’t just a cheap bottle of wine. It was a prized bottle of Muscat Wine from the Ramos Torres Winery. When we were visiting the winery in 2008, it was the wine-maker’s first crush of Muscat and hadn’t even been bottled yet. Ryan liked it so when I was there in 2009, I stopped by the tasting room and forked out the cash (the wine-maker is a childhood friend of mine and usually gives me wine) to buy Ryan a little gift. As I began wiping up the mess, I find that its everywhere. Across the table, all over the wood floor, in the centerpiece which is a bowl full of wine corks (ha, ha), down the antique sewing machine and even puddled in the little pull out storage containers of the sewing cabinet. Nice.

Now, I’m not wine-maker or wine-drinker for that matter but I did know enough to put the cork back in the bottle. When Ryan came in the house, he put it in the fridge to chill so he can finish off the remaining wine (yes, there’s about a glass full left) tonight. I’m a little nervous about the other 20 or so bottles that are tipped on their side in my dining room. I guess if I can learn to drink coffee, I can learn to drink wine, right? Currently I flavor my cup of coffee with a packet of hot chocolate mix and some other flavoring. What can I mix with the wine to make it more palatable on my inexperienced palate? You can be sure that next time I’m in Kingsburg, California, I will be stopping by the Ramos Torres Tasting Room to grab another bottle of wine!

02 August 2010

Tasting Central Iowa

*** Okay, so I tried to post this on Monday while borrowing Sharon’s internet. Of course, I was in a hurry and didn’t have much time to post my pre-written thoughts. Unfortunately blogger didn’t like some of the formatting and wouldn’t post. I didn’t have the time or patience to figure it out. So now, I just sat for a few minutes going through the text again to remove some of the auto formatting. Here’s my Monday post:

I had one particular goal for the weekend: for Tera and me to take Grandma out for a few hours to spoil her. Of course I decided to make a weekend out of it. I had places to go, things to do.

Saturday morning Uncle Mike took us downtown to the farmer’s market on Court Avenue. I loved every minute there. That afternoon, Ryan and I took the kids to half priced books and let them pick out a few things. When it was nap time, Tera and I left to pick up Grandma. It was great to spend a few short hours spoiling Grandma - as much as she would let us. It was sweet, in so many ways.

Saturday morning didn’t go perfectly as I planned. I didn’t get a new pair of running shoes. I didn’t get to the African store that has injera. I didn’t get alone time with Ryan. I’m so thankful for our weekend though because I did have a great time with Ryan’s family, with my family. In addition to that, I enjoyed some traditional Dutch pastries.

Sunday was another day full of blessings. We ventured over to my old stomping grounds. Though it wasn’t my stomping grounds for long, Ames was a time in my life that God used to grow me. Ames and Cornerstone Church are more than just our old stomping grounds. My dear friend’s husband recently started his new position with The Salt Company which is part of Cornerstone. Though Michelle has officially lived in Ames since Wednesday, we haven’t connected much this summer and I was excited to visit my friend. More than that though, being at Cornerstone Church was a time for me to be challenged in my walk... to put my words and thoughts into action. In addition to that, I briefly got to meet and chat with Janel. After leaving church, we were able to stop by our friend’s new apartment before heading back to Uncle Mike’s for lunch.

For a while now I’ve jokingly asked Ryan if we can move to Ames. This weekend made me miss living there. Ryan’s Uncle invited us to come more often so I could get my taste of the city. We might just do that... and quarterly may not be enough!