24 August 2012

First Day of School

On a little mini-vacation for a few days and am thankful that I have some time to post pictures of the first day of school.

The night before when my kids should have been on a perfect schedule - showered, lunches made, read to, and tucked in bed, they were out swinging on the swing set.  Scott, who is normally not my outdoorsy kid found a toad with an owie leg.  He collected it in a jar, brought it inside, and gave me clear instructions to open the lid every two minutes to let it get fresh air.  It sat in a mason jar on my counter so that Scott could show it to his daddy.  Then, he insisted on creating a little habitat for it and putting it in his room over night.  As you might imagine, the next morning he insisted on taking it to school.  So, here's my eldest with the toad his proudly caught and created a habitat for:

Scott was also sure that he had to take a picture with our dog, who's currently under quarantine.  Not a worthy picture.  But this one sure is... it's my littles hanging out on the front porch taking pics with Daddy while momma showered.

Scott and his teacher.  We look forward to her challenging him and having high expectations.

Bethany and her teacher.  She is so excited to have her teacher.  Which is great because two weeks ago, Bethany was sure she was going to have the other teacher - the one that Scott had.  We look forward to a year of learning for Bethany too.
 Bethany, in true Bethany style, was adamant that she wear her new shirt to school.  That was after she was adamant that she wear it to bed last night.  She was so excited!  Momma doesn't normally let that happen but I didn't want to squash her excitement.  I had wished that I'd already found an idea on pinterest to make the regular 'ol baseball tee into something cute.

Judah doesn't start school until next week.  He needs all things to be fair or he shuts down and mopes.  But Judah had his final day at Grammy's daycare.  A special day it was.  He was greeted by his friend, Anna.  Later in the day, by request, Grammy made him chocolate chip cookies!
sorry, it's turned and i'm not fixing it!  

16 August 2012

What a Gem


She's always been a helpful little girl.  In the above picture (take November 2009), she was holding her beloved sippy cups.  Long gone are the days of her chugging a full bottle of hot chocolate out of those things the moment she woke up.  These days, as she gets ready to prepare for kindergarten, she's growing into such a helpful little girl.  Much like her momma, she's a diamond in the rough... and has lots of refining to do, but also has a heart of gold.

This morning when my bathroom was out of clean towels, she volunteered to bring me one from upstairs.  Not just any towel, but her favorite Dora towel.  It was so sweet as she tried to hang it just perfectly next to the shower for me.  It was sweet seeing her to think of others first.

While she can have a sassy mean streak on occasion, she was award winning sweetness again tonight.

On our way home from Grammy's daycare, I informed the kids that I had a meeting and would be leaving the house right after getting the kids home.  Bethany informed us that she wanted breakfast for supper.  On this hurried night where Ryan was outside working on the garage/landscaping and I was headed to a meeting and we both had small group bible study at 7pm, I knew that our best "breakfast for supper" that I could put together would be cereal.  She was happy with that.  The wheels must have continued turning for my girl, cause it wasn't long before she informed me that she would make me something to eat for supper.  We came in the house and she went right to work.  While I picked up the living room, Bethany carefully spread nutella on sandwich bread for me, leaving just enough goodness on the knife and her fingers that she could get a small taste and smear a whole lot over her beautiful little face.  I'm not a fan of nutella sandwiches but how can you say no to the preciousness of a 5 year-old's efforts?  While I grabbed up my laptop and binder for the meeting, Bethany slid the sandwich in a quart ziploc bag, carefully picked out a watermelon jolly rancher which joined the nutella spread in the ziploc, and carried it over to me.  As she handed off the goods, she had a big 'ol smile on her face.  I had a big 'ol smile on my face too.  And the preciousness, and thoughtfulness of my daughter warmed my heart.  

I'm so proud to call her daughter.  Intentional parenting is tough, and doesn't always pay off.  I could make more effort, I know.  But today, two different times today, it paid off big time.  She's learning from those she watches.  She's thinking of others and serving them.  And I am one grateful momma who enjoyed that nutella sandwich for supper tonight!!!  Thank you Bethany for loving me more than you love those sippy cups in the above picture.  You are a gem and I thank God for you!

14 August 2012



He's my husband.  And the father to our children.  But not just any father.  He's a rock-star Daddy.  He has his children's hearts and they have his.  He has my heart too.  He's a visionary.  He's also Mr. Steady.  And he's smart.  Like really, really smart.

We've had a busy few weeks.  

A few weeks back when I was super iron deficient and had NO energy, he encouraged me to lay down and rest, even though our garden and home needed my attention.  He worked on the garage with the kids at his feet pounding nails in scraps of wood.  VBS and visitors from Mexico City last week required a lot of time and energy.  Ryan managed it all seamlessly and even made sure the kids had clean VBS shirts each morning.  This week I'm spending a few days, with very little notice, in central Iowa.  We still have a lot going on in our family this week.  He stayed home with Bethany and took her back to the doctor on Monday while dealing with one itchy little girl.  

I was bragging about him today.

I'm not trying to make him look perfect.  He's real.  He's not perfect.  But, he is AMAZING and I'm so thankful to be called his wife.  Not only did he take care of his girl, he also managed to get 3 kids registered for school.  

Honey, I'm so glad to partner with you in marriage, parenting, and life.  

13 August 2012


What to do with guests from Mexico City, a city of 18 million people, when they come visit you in rural Iowa...

First, you thank God, literally, that your friends are wonderful hosts and are fluent Spanish speakers.

Then you sit back and try to join in on some of the conversation and the fun.

In a whirlwind 3 days, the Pastor of the church we partner with in Mexico City, and his wife, came to visit us.  The excitement radiates from these people!  So, what did we do???  Or should I say, what did I get to participate with them in???

1. Checking out Fayette:
Victories, a walking tour of UIU, Pavo Blue coffee shop, and a local construction site
Me walking with Sara at UIU.

2. Lunch at the Irish Shanti
Pastor Jaime did manage to eat an entire jalapeno styled "Gunder Burger"

3. Check out a local farm:where they fed yearling horses grain out of their hands, snuggled baby kittens, bottled fed a baby calf, learned about canning tomatoes, and sat on the front porch of a beautiful farm house

Jaime and Sara pose with owner and gracious hostess: Lyneen.

4. Good 'ol fun:
A potluck, follwed by a campfire, s'mores and some singing

5. Take them to the SonQuest Rain Forest
It was Bible School week at our church and they jumped right in and participated.

I was right in my element this past week.  In more ways than one.

06 August 2012

Big Picture

I have been criticized and criticized and nit-picked a ton lately.  I'm getting tired of "turning the other cheek". So, tonight as I sit with a keyboard in my lap, I have a fiery, anger-filled post I'd like to write.  As I just told my husband about it, he reminded me of last week's lesson in Sunday School.  It's only because of his wisdom and reminder, that the thoughts won't spew onto this blog.

I am so thankful to be surrounded by people who are willing to listen but people who are also willing to hold me accountable.  These are people I love to have in my circle of friends, and regardless of an actual blood relation, I count them as family!

I, by no means, am comparing myself to Joseph but it is my prayer tonight that like Joseph, I will prove faithful in the midst of trials and that in the end, God will be glorified.

05 August 2012

a few sights to see

B having tea with her buddy, Ryan.  They both have their favorite color in hand.

Celebrating birthday #7 for our oldest son, Scott.
He's smart, funny, thinks of others, and handsome.

It didn't turn this pic, but no worries, I cropped off the evidence of
child bearing years and only showed our smiles.

Bethany had the bright idea of making yogurt
parfaits for our family.  She was meticulous in
her prep work and layered yogurt, granola and
fresh peaches perfectly...

... then served them to everyone.  She can be precious!

Judah enjoys the parfait in the living room... when did I get
soft and let me kids start eating in the living room???

Summer fun.  Many evenings are spent on the trampling with
the sprinkler keeping them cool and giggling.

This isn't a great picture but I had to capture it anyway.  Just last
weekend we visited Ryan's Grandma B.  Here the kids are playing
with dinosaurs on what was Grandpa's bed.  Grandpa may be gone
but his memory lives on and is clearly seen in this photo with his
flag laying at the head of the bed.

Great Grandma with the wild 3.  She was amazed and kept telling
us how good of eaters they were.  We had breakfast for supper
and they ate like champs!

Judah and Great Grandma.  He took several pics with her
that were absolutely precious.

This little boy loves reading to his Great Grandma

This little girl is just a ham and wouldn't take a pic with her
Great Grandma at first.  I guilted her into it and then it went well.

One summer night after baths, Bethany donned
an old sorority t-shirt of mine and danced around
in it for quite some time posing for pictures.

Two in a Row

I guess posting two days in a row is possible when you're laid up on a couch.

While I struggle with being still, and accomplishing "nothing", this is a much needed rest.  For some time I've been in what seems like a constant state of exhaustion.  Is it because I'm no spring chicken?  Is there something more going on?  I began paying attention to some of the little things going on.  I would list them but it might be too much information for you.  Needless to say, I finally went to the doctor and asked the "spring chicken" vs medical issue question.

The physician's assistant thought there might be several things going on.  She also thought they might all be tied together.  She ordered blood tests and an ultrasound.  By the next day, with my exhaustion worsening (maybe because I'm up late watching the olympics at night), the results were back on the iron test.  Surprise, surprise, my iron was low.  I would soon be adding an iron supplement to the hormone treatment I had just started.  For someone who doesn't like to take any meds, you can imagine my frustration.  However, at least now we were starting to have some answers to the exhaustion.  With just one more test, I was seeing light at the end of the tunnel, or was it just light headed-ness from the exhaustion and heat mixed with new "drugs" in my system.

On Thursday I headed over to the hospital for an ultrasound and laughed when they said I would need a mammogram.  Angry that this was new news to me, I laughed because it's impossible to squeeze "nothing" into something.  Anyway the technician was sweet and everything about her deameanor and words led me to believe that it all looked normal.  When the radiologist finally came in, his voice carried no emotion and he said "well, with bilateral pain like this, it doesn't typically say cancer" and then he paused.  As he paused, I think my heart skipped a beat and I was trying to run through my mind what he said again while CANCER seemed to be the only thing that stood out.  The radiologist has zero bedside manner.  He should have totally worded it differently and started with words like "no worries...".  In the end, it was good news.  I was so dumbfounded my him that I didn't even manage to get my question out: so if it USUALLY doesn't mean cancer, how are you sure that I'm fine????

I left his office with a new level of exhaustion while at the same time being so, so incredibly thankful that I didn't walk out of there broken-hearted as sometimes happens to people.  I went from there to the chiropractor because my back was already problematic at that point.  It amazed me that my chiropractor seemed more interested in getting to the bottom of my "issue" than my doctors.  I don't want a band-aid fix, I want to know what's causing the hormone issue, the low iron, etc.

As I lay here on the couch again, I thank God  for this time of rest.  I'm thankful that it's been a continual, refining  process.  I'm so, so dissapointed to be missing the Sunday School class, and I would love to worship with my church family and set up for Vacation Bible School.  But I'm thankful that, as we prepare to go into a wild week of VBS, I chose not to commit to teaching this year which means if need be, I can lay on the couch each night of this coming week.

04 August 2012


Intentional parenting means less blogging.  Being bed-ridden because of my lovely lower back issue means I finally get to lay around and do nothing.  It allows me to watch the olympics and update my blog.

The last few months around our house have been different.  Busy, good, difficult, exhausting, and blessed.  A few of the things we've been up to lately include:

  • The 3 littles new love of impersonating wild animals thanks to Ralph Duren, the animal impersonator.
  • One sweet girl who has made multiple meals in for our family lately.  Yes, she's 5.  Ryan usually makes the kids' breakfast, he was gone, and Bethany took it upon herself.  If only I could have caught a picture of Bethany standing inside the refrigerator dragging bagels down off the shelf.
  • The building of a new garage requires Ryan's time almost nightly which then means I'm given the chance to become more comfortable in the kitchen :P
  • Garden, garden, and more garden.  It's twice the size of last year.  Some things are growing great, others have left plenty of room for improvement next year.  I dug 120+ onions last week and have canned several quarts of tomatoes already.  If I can get a hold of a tiller, I'd like to replant stuff again just to see if I can get a second season of crops.
  • The kids are big enough that they can play independently.  That can be good and bad.  I have to make a point to allow them to entertain themselves but still take the time to nurture and love on them.  That's sometimes hard to do after a full work day, time in the garden, prepping supper and dishes.
  • Scott has been earning money for a Spider Man book for quite some time.  He read the 100+ page book in a few short hours as soon as he got it.  He still loves to snuggle and he's heart broken if I don't specifically tuck him in at night.
  • My heart longs for Ethiopia but I haven't managed to pursue much recently in that arena.
  • A few months ago, Ryan and I started to pursue a waiting child.  My eyes were opened to the need and I raised my hand without considering a few things.  With many other projects impacting our finances and time, we decided to put a halt on adoption.
  • The drought that has impacted much of the midwest has not directly impacted us but does indirectly impact us because our neighbors, clients and friends are farmers.
  • Judah is growing in height and bulk.  He's a solid little boy, just like his siblings.  His smile is contagious and he's such a good little helper.  I still wish I knew what goes on in his little mind.
  • A guy backed into my van yesterday at the dollar general store.  He did little to no damage.  He came in and found me.  I so appreciate honest people, especially when it means putting him in a financial crunch.  The right thing is always the right thing.
Trying to simplify life hasn't come easy or quickly.  Nor do things come without a  price.  I have become the cup nazi at our house the kids MUST use their specific cups.  I have shopped the sale ads and we've eaten a LOT of chicken lately.  I have been slowly learning to say "no" which has been the hardest lesson for me but one that I pray proves fruitful for my family in the long run.  Besides that, we're up to the same 'ol, same 'ol and thank God for each new day He gives us!