31 August 2011

Proud to be an Iowan

I've been wanting to blog about a cool Iowa story for over a week now.  But finding the time to do so has been tough.  When I saw it again on the news tonight, I thought I had to do a brief post of why I'm proud to be an Iowan.
First off, I must say that I'm in counseling now that I finally admitted that I'm an Iowan and not a Californian.  But anyway.
A few weeks back I heard of a local pastor doing a good deed.  He'd heard of cattle ranchers in Texas having to sell their herds because a drought has meant a lack of hay crop.  If you can't feed your animals, you have to get rid of them.  This Pastor and a few other Iowa farmers are helping the drought-stricken farmers in Texas.  The project which they called the "Hay Lift" is taking donated hay from MY (previous work) county where they had a good hay crop and donating it to those in need in Texas.  Now, how about that.  Why?  Because we should pay it forward.  And because the locals that I'm proud of remember the '88 drought where their yields were bad.
I'm not going to re-write the article found here http://www.kwwl.com/story/15354809/iowa-farmers-helping-drought-ridden-texas-farmers but I will say one thing.  Way to go guys (and ladies).  I'm proud of you!!!

26 August 2011

I am thankful. And have a full tummy.

Good Grief

With change comes grief.  But not a bad kind of grief.  It's a good kind.  Today is my last day in the office I've worked in for 9+ years.  This office is like home to me.  After all, I spend 9 hours a day here.  This morning will be my last drive to work.  Will I meet the Donlon's on the road?  Will deer run across in front of me?  Will the recycle truck be at Gunder?  Will I get all my stuff packed up and loaded into Ryan's vet truck?  I thank God for the 9 years I've had in this quiet office on a river town in Northeast Iowa.  So here's 9 things I love about this office/job:
1.  My boss.  I started this job with a boss who was very kick-back but became like a father figure.  He retired Jan 2010.  I was blessed to eventually get a new boss who was also kick-back.  Just a few years my senior, I also enjoy and appreciate my "new" boss.
2. My coworkers. They are wonderfully hard working people.  This is more than a paycheck for each person here.  It truly is a means of serving and educating those around us.  My coworkers have changed over the years but I've learned from each one of them. 
3. My clients.  Most the time they're farmers.  Some times, they're landowners who rent ground.  Sometimes they're landowners with no crop land.  Sometimes they're super friendly.  And sometimes they hate the government so they're jerks.  But, there's a hand full of favorites.  The ones I wish I could take with me.  The ones I would sit around a camp fire with.  The ones who use this building for assistance and education, not just for rules and money.
4. The landscape.  This is one of the prettiest and diverse counties in the state.  I'm not biased at all either.  It has rock out-crops along the Mississippi River bluffs.  It has acres and acres of timber and wildlife.  It has the rolling hills of cropland.  And a few prairie pot holes can be found in some areas of the county.  With the might Mississippi bordering the East side of the county, and the Volga and Turkey rivers running through the county, there's plenty of spots along the river to fish and protect.
5. My corner office.  I'll admit it.  I'm kind of spoiled.  I have a back corner office.  Not really an office, more of a cubicle.  But it's still in the corner so I have a little space to myself back here.
6. The partners I work with.  Some of them I would consider my coworkers.  Our building has 3 agencies.  The staff in those other agencies are also my friends.  I'm going to miss the [not just] girls over at FSA for sure.  I'm going to miss the DNR partners that I've come to know around here and my Extension buddy downtown.  Clayton County has some great partners and I appreciate them.
7. The challenging work load.  Well, this won't change in my new county.  It will still be a challenge.  But, I like the diverse workload here.  I'm swamped almost all of the time.  And working with participants with all kinds of backgrounds and interests creates it's own fun challenges. 
8. The interest in conservation and wildlife.  What more can I say about that?  People like to improve their land around here and I love working with them.
9. Educating open-minded people.  Not everyone has to do things they way their grandfather did it.  I like when people come to us open-minded about how to pursue or deal with something.  To prevent a problem before it arises.  That is definitely one of my favorites about the job.
I'm looking forward to today.  Although it will be a little akward saying goodbye.  I love my co-workers but I hate "goodbyes".  With that said, I'm looking forward to my next adventure in another field office.  A closer drive to work.  A new staff that I already know a bit.  A similar but different work load. 

25 August 2011

Today is the Day

I hope you enjoy your first day of first grade son!

23 August 2011

Great Grandma

I miss my grandma's. A lot. They're both alive. But they live where I grew up in California and I live in Iowa. I don't get to see them much. Haven't seen my one Grandma since 2008 and my other for over a year. I'm long over due. In the mean time, I'm blessed to have a third Grandma. She's Ryan's Grandma but she loves me like her own. While we were in Des Moines Monday, we made a point to head home a little different route so we could stop and see the kids' Great Grandma B. She's a sweet and loving lady. And she LOVES her great grandchildren.

Here's a few pictures back at Grandma's apartment with Scott reading to her:

22 August 2011

It is Finished

I'm glad today is done.  Granted, I would have loved to been in bed 2 hours ago.  As it is, I'm sitting here blogging with no glasses/contacts in and I'm tired and my eyes are blurry.  I'm brilliant, I know.  I thought about sharing with you about the chaos of my day and maybe I still will tomorrrow.  But I couldn't find anything positive to share.  Yikes, I gues it was a bit chaotic.  But as I sat here and thought about it, I have lots of positives from today.  It's all a matter of perspective.  I share these to encourage you to look on the bright side and to thank God for the many blessings we have:
  1. Roof over my head.  Warm bed.  3 meals today.
  2. Starbucks coffee.  Shared with two kids.
  3. A day off of work.
  4. Being EARLY to an appointment.
  5. Time with Great Grandma today.
  6. Ryan's family who loves me like their own family.
  7. Kids who are, for the most part, perfectly healthy.
  8. A hug from Judah (those are rare sometimes)
  9. Money to buy groceries and other things.
  10. Air conditioned vehcile.
  11. Seeing Scott's bones on x-ray today.
  12. An encouraging word from a friend.
  13. Funny kids.
  14. Excited kids.
  15. A husband who puts groceries away so I can veg on the couch.
And there's lots more where that came from.  Those good memories are good considering our wild day!  Thank you Jesus for rest.  I'm looking forward to getting some now.

18 August 2011

shutterfly... a love hate relationship

I love shutterfly.  They sent me a 50% off books coupon.  I ordered 3 of the "faces of Ethiopia" books.  Cha-ching on the savings there.
I love shutterfly.  Last time they jacked my order, they gave me a $10 off coupon which I also used.  I hear another cha-ching on the savings.
I love shutterfly.  They had a free shipping on orders over $50.  More savings. 
I don't love that I couldn't get free shipping to send books to two different places.  Only one destination got free shipping.
I don't love that I couldn't also use the 30% off of prints coupon from their site.
      (now, I'm not trying to sound like a total jerk about not getting 30% off, I just didn't see until I read the small print that I couldn't use the free shipping and the 30% off at the same time)
I don't love that after I ordered, the free shipping somehow mysteriously dissapeared.
I love that you can cancel your order within 30 minutes.
I don't love that I had to spend another half-hour adding all the photos and books back to my cart to "fix" the order.
I love that in the end, my total was $46.83 and I saved $74.37.  Cha-ching for savings... not so much for cash flow :)
I don't love that somehow my first cancelled order was only $44 and change and I'm too tired to figure out the difference.
Overall, I really like shutterfly.  And of course I will use them again and encourage each of you to try them.  I love my photo books... even if I'm 3 or so behind.
P.S. The picture is one I ordered - one for his daddy and one for his momma in Ethiopia.  I hope to check on her when I'm in Ethiopia at the end of October.

Hat Day

It's a hat day today.  In light of that, I found a couple of hat pics from the archives...

16 August 2011

did I really

- Did I really feed my kids popcorn and smoothies for supper?
- Did I really just stay up past 10 when I desperately need sleep?
- Did I really have the chance to see the President and not give a rip?
- Did I really buy hair dye to cover the "silver lining"?
The next few days are busy.  Granted, my days are always busy.  But in a week's time, I will be in DesMoines for doc appointments for kids, have a going away party at work, send my son back to school and Bethany for the first time, have a home visit for the pre-school and send my husband off for a week of continuing ed.  Well, I guess we'll have a busy week.  But I find joy in those things.  And if you see me that I don't look so joyful, please remind me.
By the way, the Jay Leno jokes are hilarious tonight!

13 August 2011

Horseback Riding

One of the benefits of working with farmers (both Ryan and I do so), is knowing who to call when you want to take the kids out to the farm. With our little cousin, Isaac, here this week, we wanted to take him out for some fun in the country.

When we got there, the horses were being saddled by Lyneen. Unfortunately the kids quickly looked past the horses when they saw baby kitty's in the tack room:

We did manage to give the baby kitty's, and their momma, while we distracted them with baby calves and a 2-week old foal.

And then it was time to start riding. Thank you Taurus and Sunny for being cooperative and easy-going for the kids' first experience on a horse.

Isaac did perfect. He caught on super quickly.

A certain little girl loved every moment on the horse. Imagine that.

Scott, my least adventurous child, well, he thought Sunny walked too fast. That was super funny compared to his little brother who wanted to go faster.

The boys weren't so fond of being in the saddle together. Are you serious boys? I thought you'd have fun with it.

So I made them share for a bit and then took Judah off so a pouty little boy could ride by himself. Judah and Bethany weren't too find of sharing either. What is with these kids? At least they look cute in pictures.
And here's Alan, the farmer behind the fun. These horses aren't "hay burners". They're working horses. Alan uses them to check his beef cattle herd. I like this picture; it shows you how nice Alan is.

The kids weren't the only ones who enjoyed a little time on the back of a horse. This momma loves to ride horses. The last time I'd done so, I was working with this farmer on a grazing project.

And when it was time to put the horses away so farmer Alan could get to work, the kids continued to play on the farm... and eat out of Lyneen's hand as she managed to give away multiple packages of graham crackers to 4 cute little faces.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Alan and Lyneen. Thanks for taking time out of your day, for saddling up horses, for leading little kids around, feeding them graham crackers and genuinely enjoying life on the farm. Lyneen, maybe next time Alan will have talked you into getting some goats or pigs :) We appreciate you both:

12 August 2011

Ministering to the Orphans

Family Life has a good article about 10 ways to minister to orphans.  I really liked their first suggestion.  But I was dissapointed that FOVC didn't make their top 10... apparently they just don't know about FOVC yet.

James 1:27 [the bible] does tell us to care for the orphans and the widows.  Check out this article (or the FOVC website) to see what you can be doing to follow God's command.

07 August 2011

just chillin'

a few of the kids chillin' on my trampoline tonight...

Worth a thousand words

Earlier this week while another mom and I were having a meeting about VBS snacks, Bethany and Kenlin were using a calculator as a phone and taking orders for fuel. [Guess what Kenlin's mom does for work???]. Then on our way home, I was listening to a voice mail, and Bethany wanting to be like her momma, grabbed her flip-flop and began using it as a phone saying "I called her on my shoe cause it's the only phone I have right now". Well, alrighty then. Saturday she grabbed a crooked-neck squash and began using it as a phone. Of course, I grabbed the camera. And caught this. And then she asked me to take a video where she totally hammed it up.

The video, which I've posted on facebook, brings this photo to life! Worth all 18 seconds of your time it would take to view it!

01 August 2011

Sweet Corn Days

One portion of our weekend included Sweet Corn Days in our town.  This picture shows the kids enjoying some sweet corn.  Guess which one wasn't so enthused.