27 July 2011

Summer of Memories

So I went to Life 101.9's website to nominate a friend for their "Summer of Memories" contest.  This is how the contest rolls:
When you were growing up, summer meant a break from school and a chance run and play.  Now summer can feel like a busier time than the rest of the year.  We hope this summer that you and your family are finding time to get away and spend together.
But maybe you know of a family who isn't able to have time together.  Dad is busy working a lot, Mom is working to make ends meet, and the kids are all off doing their own thing.  The one thing your friend and her family could use is some time together, but they can't seem to find it.
You can help!  Nominate that friend and her family for Life 101.9′s Summer of Family Memories.  The winner and their family will receive:
  • a $250 gift card to the Coral Ridge Mall
  • 6 tickets to a Cedar Rapids Kernels game
  • a family meal at Pizza Ranch
  • a gift card to Parable Lemstone Christian Bookstores
  • a $100 gas card from Kwik Star
  • and a nights stay at Country Inn and Suites in either Waterloo or Cedar Falls
And as I thought about how I wanted to write up my nomination, I got selfish and wondered if I could nominate my own family.  The pity party of thinking we were deserving subsided enough that I think I put in a pretty good nomination for some friends.  I want my friends to win but if you know someone who's deserving and lives within the Life 101.9 listening area, go on over to their website and write up your nomination.  

25 July 2011


So, I've been wanting to make a trip to CA to see family and friends.  Tonight I saw a picture from way back in the day of my Uncle Kenny and two of my cousins.  My uncle died when I was 7.  It was a walk down memory lane when I saw the picture.  And it reminded me of reason #8 that I want to go home to Kingsburg.  I miss my abuela.  And reason #19, I miss my two cousins who I haven't seen in  years but want to catch up with.  My cousins who lost their dad while we were really young and who I didn't really know when he died but got to know a few years later when they lived with our family. 
I even looked at last minute airline tickets thinking I'd make a last minute trip to CA.  But they were $903.  A lot more than I can pay for a ticket.  So, for now, I'll continue to try to plan skype dates with my girlfriends like Baker who request to skype when the wild children are still awake. 
Lots going on right now.  Check out my www.journey4hope.blogspot.com for what's rocking my world right now.

21 July 2011

Using my fresh Cilantro

Two recipes I love right now.  Thanks to my friend Meg for sharing them with me.

Mango salsa 

I always wing it on the amounts…. but here are the ingredients: 

Diced mangoes

White or Red onion (small diced)


Fresh lime juice

Fresh lemon juice

Hot sauce (like Tabasco) – little to taste

Salt/pepper as needed


Super simple but very tasty!


Black Bean Salsa (from Cooking Light)

Combine all of the following together, let sit for a bit in fridge to meld flavors.

3 cups chopped tomato (about 2 medium)

1 cup chopped red bell pepper (about 1 medium)

1 cup chopped green bell pepper (about 1 medium)

1/2 cup chopped red onion

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/3 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 jalapeƱo pepper, finely chopped

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (11-ounce) can extrasweet whole kernel corn, drained


19 July 2011


I'm loving this song by Laura Story.  The first time I heard it, I'd just been praying for a dear friend who was very ill in the hospital after multiple nightmarish things happening.  Check out these lyrics:


We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It's not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You're near?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can't satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

16 July 2011

What a Day

When your son is in the men's bathroom, needs help wiping and your husband is gone, what would you do? I called on Ben. He does not do that. So instead he cleared the bathroom and guarded it while I took care of the son who didn't want to put down his toys long enough to wipe. Grr. Good thing was that he knows his dad's full name when asked by the guy in the next stall after asking for his dad.

When you let your daughter wear a gold ring so that she too feels like a princess and she loses it, what do you do? She didn't want the ring to get wet when she washed her hands at DQ so she took it off. She thought to tell us about it when we sat down at the wedding reception 20 minutes later. Ryan went back to DQ, asked about the ring, searched high and low in the bathroom, went threw the nasty trash and no ring. Visions of passing that down to her own daughter some day are gone. It was the first and last time she wore it. Sad.

Speaking of DQ, while there for a slushy I saw a woman using sign language. In the deaf culture it's rude to know sign and not tell them because you can basically eaves drop from a long distance away. I waved my hands, got the women's attention and informed her that I knew sign language. Excited to use what little sign I knew, I went over to the table and sat down with the deaf couple. That's right, both deaf. My sign language was never great but it's been a long time and it's really not good now. Thankfully he could read lips. We managed a very simple conversation. My hands were shaky as I tried to recall the various motions to converse. I was excited to try. I think they were also excited that I took the time to try.

The woman went into the bathroom after Bethany. If she found the ring and kept it, I hope it blesses her. Obviously, I'd rather them be honest and report the ring. But if someone else is going to have it, maybe it will be a blessing for them.

JB and Blake's wedding was awesome today. Loved it. Loved the message that Shane gave that challenged not only the bride and groom but all of us who are married. Good stuff. Their reception was equally fun. It's always good to catch up with friends.

A long and stressful day is done. A few other gray hair moments today:

  • Kids streaking their undies

  • cutting a finger on the glass of a pic frame that he opened up when he was supposed to be in bed. Ruined picture, cut finger, disciplined child and tears could have easily been avoided with obedience.

  • and a few other things that aren't worth mentioning.

15 July 2011

These Two

I miss these two ladies like crazy. Oh how I wish I could teleport them to Iowa so I could hang out with them for a weekend.

With my Abuela, I'd love to make fresh tortillas and see if she'll tell me about old times.

With my Nanny, I'd love to eat chocolate gravy, go for a walk and watch wheel of fortune after we plant some flowers.

But since I can't do either of those two things right now, I'll just show off my two beautiful Grandma's who are both amazing women.
This past week we've had fun with Grandpa and my two nephews. We went to the museum/aquarium, went fishing and celebrated Scott's 6th birthday. Here's a few pictures to share. In no particular order (because I'm too lazy to re-arrange them):

Scott had a hand full of gifts. I love that there weren't tons of new stuff. I love that we mostly just hung out and celebrated. I love that one of his friends/cousins gave him a gift all on his own, without the help of an adult.

No super detailed cake this year. He didn't rave over it. But he didn't complain about it either.
Oh, and my daughter. My spitting image. Yes, there's a great need to pray for the future of this child. In this photo she's saying "look momma, I can walk down and backwards back up the slide". Great Bethany.

My boy in his new glasses. Hopefully tomorrow we can get them adjusted to his face, cut their nails, and do other things that we've been too busy to take care of this past week.

This afternoon Ryan took off from work. Ryan took his son and my daddy-o mini golfing. Scott and Dad both managed a hole-in-one.

She was screaming with excitement over the fish she caught. I caught video of her reeling in the fish while letting out her squeels and giggles.

Such a great person to take pics of. Sometimes she's stubborn and won't smile for me. We actually took several really cute pics in which she would not smile. Again, my spitting image. But she is cute. And if she's cute and she's my spitting image, that means... yes I followed that too.

The three littles petting a turtle. Three energetic kids all within 12 months of age. Oh, what fun.

Another of my girl. As long as one person was paying to steer the boats in the water, my kids thought they were steering. It was awesome. Until I made them leave.

14 July 2011

Birthday Boy

Happy 6th Birthday Son.

We love you!

13 July 2011

Hanging Out

We've been busy the last few days.  I was able to take yesterday off and hang out with my kids, 2 of my nephews and their grandparents.  We ventured to the Mississippi River Museum for the day. 
A few things I learned yesterday:
- Look in the seat of the van before you have your husband cancel your debit/credit card.
- When husband does "freeze" the card, make sure your backup credit card hasn't been expired for 13 months.
- When your backup card is expired and you need to unfreeze your debit/credit card, make sure you know the pin or they WILL NOT unfreeze the card for you.
- Don't be grumpy with the bank employee when she doesn't help you or you'll have to take more time to call back later to apologize for said grumpiness.
- The T@rget in Dubuque is not a super T.
And a few things at the museum
- Take kids super early so they're not there over lunch and nap.
- It's warm there, dress accordingly
- Dress the 5 kids in the same color shirt so they're easier to keep track of.
- Balancing the interests of a 9 y/o and a 3 y/o take effort.
- Be prepared to spend a few bucks to get in ($15/adult, $10/child).
- Enjoy the museum even if you're not a fan of museums. 
Today I'm back at work. 
On tonight's agenda: Fishing at the Donlon's pond.  Should be fun!

11 July 2011


These were both taken a few weeks ago.  Scott's black eye is now gone.  I'm sure they'll have new bumps and bruises this week.


The kids are having fun with the many new friends and family that are around.  Some friends are staying with us for the next month or two.  They came Saturday.  Plus my dad and two nephews flew in on Saturday.  They're staying 1 week.  Last night we had 4 more guests arrive late just for one night as they were passing through.  As you might imagine, our kids have had no shortage of friends to pla with.


This week my oldest son turns six.  He's such a joy to have.  It's going to be a busy week around our place!

03 July 2011

my son

My kids are growing up.  It's been a busy weekend with food prep, visiting friends, etc and my kids have been rock stars at just going with the flow.  Anyway, tonight Scott was so cute.  We were playing with sparklers and he would have nothing to do with them.  He was chasing lightning bugs.  At one point, his friend killed a lightning bug and Scott was upset.  When I went over to see what Scott was upset about, he said the cutest thing:
Lightning bugs are nature's fireworks.
Simple but true.  He proceeded to chase nature's fireworks to celebrate Indpendence Day (a day early I know) instead of play with store-bought ones.  Oh how I love that boy!