28 February 2011

Kitchen Drama

I was home today with a sick kid. Good day to get my house back in order, do some reading and prepare a few meals. All was going well until the meal prep time. When Ryan wasn't able to come home for lunch, Scott and I decided to have fruit and popcorn for a meal so there was no cooking involved. When mid-afternoon came and I had two nights worth of supper for us and a meal for a friend to prepare, it was time to start in the kitchen.

All of our pots and pans are stored on the lazy-susan part of the cabinets. Well, guess what happened when I tried to push it open. The lazy-susan (why is it called that anyway?) broke. And I couldn't get it to move. It had fallen off the rotation or something and was at a funny angle so it wouldn't turn past the flush wood front. Great!!! The one day I'm home and had something planned to have on the table when Ryan got home.

At 530 when my hero husband came home, he jokingly asked where supper was. Well, it was 530 and supper hadn't even been started yet. Ryan had a few little things he had to do before he could attend to that lazy thing in the corner. Ryan began working on it and had to break a piece of the oak cupboard to get it free. Then he emptied the LS onto the kitchen floor.

So at 10 minutes before 7 when I got off the phone with Nicole and Ryan was still taking over the kitchen floor, I had to think of something fast. I pulled out my Tupperware Rice Cooker (love that thing), tossed in the ingredients for Spanish rice and got it cooking in the microwave. When that was done I combined it with a can of black beans and served it to my kids. They thought it was great. Well Scott started to pick the beans out but I stopped that real quick and explained that my sick little boy needed the energy those beans would give. They ate like champs. I rewarded them with lime flavored tortilla chips and oranges and we were all happy. And to be honest, it was a half way healthy meal too. Beans and rice made with home-made/canned salsa... good stuff.

Shortly after we were done eating, Ryan was done in the kitchen. So I quickly cleaned out the beastly LS, put the pots/pans back while Ryan made himself a sandwich (the man has to have meat in every meal) and then began my 3 meals to cook. It was 8pm. I managed to complete two of them and part of third. Guess I better go put that meat away, finish washing my dishes and head to bed.

I'm sure glad I have my handsome husband. He not only takes care of animals and his family, but he fixes random broken things in our house too. He's awesome like that. I like him.

27 February 2011

B's went Bowling

Some dear friends today allowed us to join in on their family fun at the bowling alley. With 6 kids under 13, you can imagine the fun... and noise. You know you're in a small town when I showed up at the bowling alley and realized that I left my purse at home - 25 minutes away. Great. It was 2pm, my kids hadn't eaten yet and I didn't have money to buy their lunch or pay for bowling. I, with embarrassment, explained to the owner I've never met before that I left my purse at home and asked if I could bring a check in tomorrow since my office is practically next door. You know you live in a small town when he didn't blink an eye and said yes. That's what I love about living in a small town! Okay, on to bowling pictures...

Here's A helping my girl B. He was a great help the whole time, especially with my three.Bethany roll doesn't have a lot of force and it takes a L O N G time to get down the alley so she regularly laid down on the ground and waited for her ball to get near the pins.
Here's some of those we got to chat with while bowling. I was super glad to spend some time with my pal, V.

She really didn't have this great of form everytime... she's into dancing so she's got some moves you can see here:

I like this guy:

Thankfully Scott knew to put the ball on the ground and push it, unlike his sister who thought she could throw it literally. Each time I wondered if she was going to break the wood floor or her toes. Scott wasn't interested in holding it right but at least I didn't fear for his safety.

Imagine our surprise when one of Scott's buddies also showed up at the alley for some bowling. My younger two were just as excited about him as Scott.
Thanks for letting us hang out with you today... even if kids didn't get naps :)

26 February 2011

Where the REDFERN grows

I've told you about him before, but I wanted to share again. I took a glance at an old high school scrapbook for a certain picture of my 16 year old cousin when she was 2. When I ran across, these pics, I had to take a pic of them and load them.

This is Scott Redfern. He means the world to me. And so does his family. Scott Redfern was your average kid in many ways. And in other ways, he was more mature than some adults. Here's a few pics of my dear friend Scott who's life and death played an important role in my life.

Scott loved to mountain bike:

He was funny and enjoyed friends and Hume Lake:

He finally got to drive the Ranchero:

He was a good example to all of us:

These pictures go way back and some of the memories are fuzzy while others are perfectly clear. What a fun trip down memory lane!

25 February 2011

Are you Kidding Mre!?!?

Needed to visit the SSA to get Judah a social security card. Like any wise person, I looked on the SSA website to find my nearest office. Go figure, the closest office is 85 miles away.

On Wednesday I decide I need to get my butt down there and get the card. I try calling to ask if I should do the card in his new name or his Ethiopian name. Each time I would get through the switchboard, the call would drop. Oh well, I knew what I needed. With Ryan's help, I gather all the necessary documents I needed. On Thursday, I dropped the kids off at daycare and headed down the road.

The 85 mile trip didn't seem so bad when I knew I could stop in at St*rb*cks and get coffee, stop at V*ctoria's and get some more undergarments, go to the special grocery store to grab wheat pancake mix for mom, and stop to grab those keens I really want.

While the SSA worker was entering Judah's information, we made a little small talk. I told her it was too bad that I had to drive 85 miles and wished they didn't have an office in the town 35 miles from my office. Then she dropped the surprise bomb and told me that they do have an office in the town 35 miles from me. Are you kidding me!?!?!?! I specifically looked on their website. After plugging in my zip, the nearest office was 85 miles away.

Still not too frustrated cause I had a few more things I wanted to do in the city.

Then the sweet worker also informed me that Homeland Security wouldn't approve the SS card. Because I was helpful and also told them that court was done and his legal name was changed, she entered it that way. No since in doing it in the old name and then having to get a new card, right? The problem was that his permanent resident card is in one name and she was entering a different name. Homeland Security didn't like that. So, she submitted some additional notes and suggested I call Homeland Security.

Seriously a bummer. But I kept my head up cause I was doing some shopping!

So back into town I go with my little agenda. First stop, OldN*vy where I grabbed a few clearance things before I headed inside the mall to VS's. Of course the items I wanted weren't on sale cause the ones I bought on Saturday were dicontinued colors and clearanced. No more discontinued colors. So I left VS's empty handed. Over to grab the shoes. I just can't buy the peach color even though it's totally trendy and cute. Walk out of there empty handed. Great on my checking account but not what I'd hoped for. I did grab a sub and a frappucino before heading out of town.

So, I drove 85 miles one way to not get the things I went down for. Great. I did learn though that there's a nearby office for my next trip, I did get a half day off of work, and a sugary coffee flavored drink. Oh bother.

23 February 2011

Kid Conversations

The Conversation that occured in the back of my van on the way to AWANA was so funny that I had to call Aaron's mom and tell her. I thought I'd share the laugh with you too:

{boys one-upping each other about being in high shool or college}

Aaron: I'm going to live with my mommy Caden and Emerson are going to help meforever.


Aaron: Caden and Emerson are going to help me. Scott do you want to help me?

Scott: Help what?

Aaron: Take care of my mom and dad

Scott: Well, your dad might die [said so matter of factly]

Aaron [who's parents have run an assisted living and has seen older people die]: well, we'll just take care of my mom. And when she dies me, Emerson, Caden and you can just live together forever!

Scott: Well don't you want to get married and have kids?

Aaron: No. I hate kids.

End of that conversation and they moved on. Meanwhile I'm laughing out loud and grabbing for my phone so I could call Aaron's mom before I forgot the story. I love these kids!

22 February 2011

Bite Size Review

I love when SemiFeral Mama does her Bite Size Reviews.  Following the crazy weekend where I hosted the Sweetheart Supper on the coat-tails of the missions leader training, I vowed to do nothing for a week.  Here's my bite-sized review of my last week or so:
Don't Like Those Phone Calls
Tuesday morning I got another yucky phone call.  My mom prefaced it with "I have bad news".  I wondered which kid had a seizure, or fell.  Nope, not that kind of bad news.  She called to tell me my Uncle Hector had passed away.  He lost his battle with cancer.  He was scheduled to get moved to some fancy cancer hospital in Arizona.  He didn't make it there.  In the recent years we weren't close but he's still my uncle.
Another Day Older and Deeper in Debt
Thankfully this isn't my mantra.  Thursday morning when I called my abuela (my dad's mom) to wish her a happy birthday, she wasn't very happy.  That might be because she'd lost her son 2 days before.  It might be because she's struggling with her legs as the diabetes continues to punish her body.  When I said "HAPPY birthday" she told me that there wasn't anything to be happy about.  How sad.  She did tell me that my Grandpa used to sing the Johnny C*sh song to her back in the day.  Though I was sad to not be there to hug my grandma, I was glad to learn something new about my grandfather after him being gone for 14 years.
Another Interesting Phone Call
And since I'm on the thought of interesting phone calls, I got an interesting call yesterday.  It was a lady who claimed to be from a bail bond place.  She was calling in regards to my sister and her husband.  She said my sister put me as a reference.  Not sure what that means.  Or why a bail bond place would have references.  The lady asked me if they still lived in the area... obviously digging for information.  I told her I didn't know and kindly ended the phone call. 
A little More than Nothing
My friend M emailed me.  At work.  That's not normal.  Then she texted me to ask if I'd checked my email.  That's odd.  I read that she was going to be home for the weekend and wanted to do a girls night out.  Yikes.  I just vowed to do nothing for a week.  But this is M and I don't get to see her much.  And when I do, it's amidst chasing kids.  How sweet it would be for a girls only night out!  Oh, and the feeling that she was frantically trying to get a hold of me, it was because she's expecting a baby and her husband was about to share it with his staff and post it to facebook and she wanted me to know before the whole FB world did.  Thanks M for thinking of me.  So glad to hear your news!
Apple Crisp
Last fall I canned lots of apple pie filling.  So, it's no surprise when I show up to a gathering with apple crisp.  Well, I made some last Thursday for our bible study group.  Then I made another one Friday to share at work for a birthday gathering.  I think I'm done making apple crisp for a while.  So, if you're coming over any time soon, I'll either bust out a bag of starbursts or there will be no dessert :)
La Rana Bistro
The girls night out was wonderful.  I haven't hung out with the girls for quite some time.  To be honest, I'm much better one-on-one.  But regardless of that, I love those girls and was so thankful to have some time with them.  They were super kind and even paid for my meal as a birthday gift to me.  I was this close to trying the duck but at the last moment I chickened out and had them swap the duck for chicken breast.  We left La Rana and headed over to Hotel Winneshiek to continue our chatting.  We stopped in the restaraunt there when we saw desserts near the front door.  They were calling our names.  We shared a few desserts over pregnancy and delivery stories.  Girls, when are we getting together again???
Day out with Ryan
With crazy winter weather on it's way, Ryan and I headed to Waterloo a day early to celebrate my birthday.  Just the two of us.  It was amazing.  We grabbed at late lunch at my favorite, but losing its favorite-ness, place, Olive G.  Then on to do a little shopping.  He spoiled me.  It was great.  Mostly stuff that I needed anyway (like new undergarments and shoes).  But I also got some added fun stuff like jeans and a cute shirt.  From there we headed over to the book store where I couldn't even force myself to look at anything after having spent money at the undergarment-porno shop.  We ran into some dear friends there and chatted for a bit before we headed over to Target for my caramel frapp fix and then headed towards home.  Those who know me, know that we stopped for groceries while we were in town.  Saw some cute Keens that I want.  If they would've had my size, they would have come home with me.  Guess that's what I'll be spending my birthday money on :)Keen Summer Golden Slip-on $80.00 Rated: 5 stars! NEW! | http://www.zappos.com/urban
Happy Birthday to Me!
I woke on my birthday to an ice-storm.  I've always wanted to go ice-skating for my birthday so I guess God was setting it up perfectly for me.  Only problem was that it continued to rain/ice all day.  Church even got cancelled.  So I spent the morning cleaning (wow was this needed).  Who does that on their birthay?  Apparently I do when I haven't cleaned for some time.  It was a day of hanging out with my family.  A few phone calls and texts but otherwise just me and the fam.  It was great.  I didn't get an airline ticket home for my birthday but I do have a family that loves me!  The home-made cards from the kids were great. 
Thank you Presidents
The federal government helps me celebrate my birthday most years with Presidents Day.  It was great to be off.  And even if it wasn't a holiday, I would have been stuck home because of the ice on the driveway.  Fortunately yesterday brought just enough snow to cover the ice and the driveway was manageable this morning.  I spent the day cleaning (yes, I had lots more to do) and preparing for guests.
Mongolian Nationals and a Cowboy Anthropologist
How do I keep this bite-sized?  Farmer in my office mentioned his daughter was going to Mongolia to study.  Ryan's been there twice.  I told him we'd be happy to meet with her.  Then connected her to Naraa, our UIU friendship student who's a Mongolian international student.  Naraa's dad is also in the states visiting and her brother is now attending UIU too.  We invited them all over for supper.  Farmer's daughter wanted to bring her dad.  He's the cowboy who checks cattle with horses, has a working dog, etc.  They all came over for supper.  I fixed a yummy chicken enchilada casserole with rice and corn.  It was fun.  I learned why Cowboy Farmer was interested in coming.  He studied Anthropology and is going to visit his daughter while she's there.  He wanted to learn about Mongolia and the culture too.  Fun stuff.
Sad Day
Today its cloudy and I'm looking forward to the sunshine.  The family will bury my uncle today.  I'll be here in Iowa apart from them.  I hope and pray that they can find hope today amidst their grief.  Especially my grandma.  I love that woman!


17 February 2011

(Don't miss last night's post about the Sweetheart Supper)

It was 40 degrees out when I came home tonight. You know what I do when it’s 40 degrees out? I don’t wear a coat. Thankfully my kid did wear coats (and snowpants) when they wanted to go outside and play in the snow tonight. Problem is, with the snow quickly disappearing, there’s a new phenomena at our house. Yes, you guessed that right: mud puddles. The kids left the house dry and warm and clean. They didn’t stay that way long.

Their boots were full of water, their socks were brown and their feet were COLD from the “snow” they were playing in. As you might imagine, the soggy clothes were stripped off outside and they were taken straight to the bath tub. Now, how’s that for a family fun evening! We completed it with a Veggie Tale movie complete with popcorn, carbonated sugary drinks called pop, and nutria-grain bars!

16 February 2011

Sweetheart Supper Review

Let me start with this picture of Scott, just because he's adorable.

Okay, now that you saw my adorable son, what else do you want to hear about?

To give you little history about the Sweetheart Supper, it started in 2006 with my mom and I serving ladies who didn't have someone else to love on them on this love-filled holiday. Now an annual event, the Sweetheart Supper has grown from 11 ladies in my home to 35 ladies in the church basement turned 4-star restaurant. Invitations are mailed out on the first of February inviting the ladies to join us. This year I mailed invitations to 60+ ladies. With such a big invitation list, I was thankful to also have many of my friends and church family volunteer to help out. Every detail was accounted for to make it a special night for the 35 ladies who came out.

Some ladies drive themselves. Others opt for a handsome guy to pick them up at the door and escort them into the church. Tracy's luminaries added festivity and color to the walkway leading up to the church. In the hallway, the ladies were greeted by a variety of people who removed their coats, hung them up and led them down a lighted path to the main room.

The first course, made by Sharon and Jennifer was a jello salad course adorned with fresh fruit.
As the ladies were finishing up their salad, several people were in the background dishing up the main dish. Alan made the Salisbury steak with a yummy gravy with a hint of mustard flavor. Tracy made the twice baked potatoes and California style vegetable and I believe it was Diane who baked the dinner roles.

While some were in the kitchen washing the first set of dishes, Jon, Steven and Ben were playing some a-maz-ing background music and I chatted with a few of the ladies.

Once the ladies were served the main course, we tried to sit the children down for supper before it was their turn to serve the dessert. That didn't go near as well as I had hoped. But then again, my daughter pushed every button I had with her incessant whining.

. The ladies continued to be spoiled. While Pastor, Jeff and others re-filled drinks, some members of the church choir came in and performed for the ladies. That was followed by a piano duet by two of my favorite high schoolers, Ali and Mitchell.

(just wanted to add here that these are two of my favorite ladies. I usually see them across the counter at my office. The sweet doll on the right if my buddy Albert's wife. Albert came to my office like clockwork once a month to do business. Of course, there was no business I could help him with but I made a point to sit in the chairs and chat with him each month. My sweet doll recently lost the love of her life after 62 years of marriage. And though my heart aches for her loss, I was so glad that she came out and joined us this evening. The lady on the left is my grandma's age. She's a wonderful Norwegian baker who taught school for many years, never married, and has a chocolate lab that my husband treats. These two ladies are perfect reasons of why I do this every year. They deserve to be loved and spoiled for an evening)

Of course, the dessert is usually my favorite course of the evening. No doubt, if Kara has anything to do with it, it will be simply amazing. This year the kids were quite distracted with their own desire to eat dessert and had a hard time serving others first. They did it though and now I know for next year to let them sneak dessert before hand so they will serve dessert with more joy and understanding.

(the ladies still commented that they enjoyed the children even though this one was whiny and needy the entire night. She may have sweet-talked her grammy into giving her ringlet curls to wear with her sparkly pants but her attitude was neither sweet or sparkly!) The ladies below were much more fun to be around:

When the ladies had the dessert plates picked up, Jodi (who planned our entertainment for the evening) had one more trick up her sleeve. As a teacher, she had her students make Valentine's cards for each lady. Ms. Luella showed me her Valentine and made sure I even saw the back which read: "somebody loves you". How precious! They were the cutest things. Well maybe not as cute and Andre who passed out the Valentines:

Bringing smiles to their faces and joy to their hearts was such a blessing to me:
We ended the evening with the traditional flower vase given by the anonymous donor. In addition to that, the women's ministries committee in my church also gave them a Mary & Martha gift certificate. Each of the ladies can redeem this certificate for 2 hours of service in their home cleaning, dusting, cooking, etc. What a sweet gesture from the ladies in the church. Here's another of my favorite ladies having her rose wrapped by Diane before she heads outside. With less than two hours with the ladies, I think we all had a Happy Valentine's Night!

There was so much going on at the church that I'm not sure I even know of everyone who served at this event. What I do know is that I couldn't have pulled it off without each person who worked in the planning process, who worked in the kitchen, who picked up ladies, who washed dishes and cleaned up, and those who prayed for the invitees. I'm especially thankful for my very own Valentine who took time to carry around the camera and capture the night in pictures for me. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to everyone who served to help make the Sweetheart Supper super successful.

10 February 2011


Just 1 more day until we start the Gateway Team Leader Training that I've been planning.

Just 4 more days until the Sweetheart Supper that many others have been helping plan.

Just 10 more days until I'm another year older, oh joy!

09 February 2011

boys will be boys

On the way to Awana tonight, the following conversation occurred:

Scott: mom, can I go to Aaron's college when I grow up?

me: It depends on what your interests are by that time Scott.

Aaron: I'm going to Luther!

me: Really Aaron, why do you want to go to Luther?

Aaron: Cause there's a walmart there!


Oh yes, you know you live in the rural country side when your kid looks forward to going to a certain college because there's a walmart nearby. Little do those 5 and 6 year olds know that there's probably a walmart near every university in the country... except our nearby Upper Iowa.

I love living here where the porch swing is frozen stiff, the snow is 2 feet deep, the windchill is 30 below and the nearest university doesn't have a neighboring walmart!

He made my day

This morning I got an email from my rockstar husband that made my day.  He was trying to order me some clam chowder from Splash Cafe for my birthday.  Splash Cafe is one of my favorite places to eat at Pismo Beach.  Thankfully, my husband is also wise and decided that the $65 shipping fee wasn't worth the quart of chowder. 
It is the thought that counts.
I wonder what he'll come up with next.  He is running out of time after all :)

Haircuts all around

We're due for hair cuts around our house, apparently. Saturday I knew the kids wanted to watch cartoons. Since I'm a mom that doesn't like tv at all, I decided to bribe them with a cartoon. They had to get their hair cut and take a bath, WITHOUT whining. Because Sonic was coming on in 45 minutes, they also had to help me get done quickly if they wanted to watch a cartoon. The challenge was on and I must say that my boys did pretty good. Scott was done first and started playing in the bath. Then on to Judah while Bethany entertained herself in her room. Judah did great while I managed to leave the top longer but trim it some and blend it in with the sides. It reminded me of the days of fitting sheep as I trimmed Judah's tight curls and tried to keep them even on top. Soon enough both boys were in the bath flip-flopping around. Washed and rinsed, it was a mad rush to catch the last half of Sonic while momma showered.

I may have bribed my kids but at least I was successful.

That is, until my daughter decided to wonder into the bathroom and take scissors to her auburn colored curls. She came downstairs and told her momma that she wanted a haircut. It wasn't until I saw her holding the end of her hair in her fingers that I realized she had cut her hair. OH MY GOODNESS! Why is it that on Friday night our friends were here and acknowledged Bethany's beautiful hair and compared it to their daughters short hair that she'd cut on her own? And then the very next day my daughter does the same thing. Where does that come friend? Why did she think that was okay to do? It's not like I'd cut the boys hair for the first time on Saturday.

Thankfully, Bethany has layered curls. Since she's only had her hair trimmed once, the natural growing-out process gives her hair layers. Because she cut a chunk out of her hair where it would sit over her shoulder, it's not too obvious. Clearly you can see it if you know, but no so clearly if you don't know. However, when I went upstairs and saw the beautiful locks of hair on the floor, I wanted to cry. I was so sad for her jacked up hair. So sad that I might have to cut it all short to fix it. So sad that I left the scissors out. Oh, Bethany. I love you so much.

I'd warned Ryan about the haircut but left the locks on the floor for dramatic expression. It worked.

Ryan also made sure to express his opinion of Judah's haircut. He made fun of all my hard work. So, in a matter of 5 days all of us have gotten a haircut. Bethany wasn't supposed to but got a partial cut. Judah was the lucky one with two haircuts. The first on Saturday and the second on Sunday when I buzzed off the top of his head.

08 February 2011

More American & Less Ethiopian

I think I finally grasp the point of the court date. Judah came home as a legal immigrant. He was not automatically considered a citizen. Judah's court date, as I understand it, is what legally changes his name to Judah and what makes him eligible for a US birth certificate. After we get his BC in his new name, then we can apply for a US passport and US citizenship. These are things I thought he was already eligible for, but apparently court is the process that makes it all legal. [someone who knows way more than me can educate me where I'm wrong in this].

Though the emotion of becoming an American occurred when we landed in Detroit and heard "welcome to America" in customs, this is now the legal process of him becoming an American. It also symbolizes, sadly, another loss of his Ethiopian-ness. Sure, he still has those beautiful Ethiopian eyes and his Ethiopian middle name. But, our sweet little Judah is becoming more and more American and less Ethiopian each day.

In other news, in August we were spending time with one of the UIU international students. Sydni is from Angola but lived some of his childhood in Addis. Sydni loved seeing Judah and Judah counted right along with Sydni in Amharic. Yesterday we saw Sydni again. This time Judah hardly even acknowledge the familiar language and didn't count one single number with him. While I'm thankful that my son is fitting in his new environment so well, I would also love to see him maintain some connection to his roots.

Made my Day

Just got a message from a friend that made my day.  The short version of the story is that he'll be paying my membership dues for an organization I've been involved in.  The last two years I let my membership go while we saved money for Judah's adoption.  Very nice of him.  Now, if the organization will let it happen, it will be great.  Thanks my buddy Mike in Texas!

Cheese Heads

Don’t be confused. I’m no Green Bay fan. In fact, it’s been several years since I’ve paid any attention to NFL football. Quite honestly, the last Super Bowl that I even paid attention to was when Janet Jackson had her wardrobe malfunction. What year was that? Not to mislead you, I should share that I’ve been to and hosted several super bowl parties. I usually spend more time chatting and watching the commercials than I do the game. I’m actually a bit opinionated regarding the super bowl and pro sports in general, but I’ll keep that to myself for now. All that to say, I did show up at a Super Bowl party yesterday where most the people there were wearing Packer gear. It was a great game. Not because I watched it, but because I watched a friend who was so excited and texting while the Packers were stomping the Steelers. Then her fingers took a rest and her friend began texting back when the Steelers started making a come-back. Eventually the Packers made another run and the house shook with excitement as the fans were jumping around and yelling for their favorite football team.

Though I may have spent my evening hanging out with friends at a Super Bowl party, you wouldn’t catch me in a cheese Head. The kids had a blast with Troy’s cheese head:

Thanks to the Bishop Family for inviting us out. It’s been way to long since we’ve hung out with you. While our little ones are growing a little bigger, your kiddos are tall, handsome and a joy to be around! Hopefully we can get together again in the near future and catch up again.

02 February 2011

Thoughts... in pictures

We had a great few days with family celebrating the life of Grandpa B. It was good to sit around with family and talk about Grandpa. I think we each learned something new about Grandpa. I wanted to share a few pictures with you without sharing the intimate ones:

Bethany putting her sheet music (aka her coloring pages) on the organ so she could play it:

Ryan helping cousin Isaac tie his first tie.
Where does she get these kind of moves? And why does she know to shake her butt the way she does and take pictures looking like this. I must say she loves her new pink chuckie-t's:

The older of the B great-grandchildren. The other two are younger and didn't make the picture. The kids each wore one of their Great Grandpa's old sailor hats:

The B Family.

It was a cold walk:

The 3 older boys standing over the headstone:

I still haven't had time to put my thoughts on paper that would be a good story to read and at the same time honor Ryan's Grandpa. He was a wonderful man who loved to serve others, was a gifted word-worker and quite the handy man. At the burial and funeral, Pastor Joe did an amazing job telling about Grandpa and sharing Jesus. During the funeral, Ryan eulogized his grandfather and did an amazing job sharing. Ryan is quite talented and speaking publicly and I'm not sure if there was a dry eye in the place when he walked off the stage.