Sunday, July 31, 2011

RAGBRAI Rolls through Durant...

....and Durant is ready!

I had the opportunity to tweet some live updates from Durant to the QC Times on Saturday. 
And take photos and write a short print story which appears **HERE**.

I was so proud of my hometown this weekend. 

And the traffic.....WOW. 

Pretty busy for a town with no stoplights. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Read by TENS of People...every day!


This blog is a place for the professionals to look and see who I am.


This is a place for me to share some really GREAT stories about my friends, relatives, neighbors and others (who may otherwise be my friends, relatives and neighbors thanks to the world-shrinking abilitities of the world-wide-web).

But most of the time, this has been a place for me to document the triumphs and tragedies, the everydays and the ever-hopes-and-dreams of a single, work-at-home-mama in the midwest. 

It is my story.

So...if you are here, visiting for a beat, because of a link that I used as a "professional" journalist...I hope you will enjoy stopping by nonetheless. 

Because I am
Pretty much
Success Story. 

I hope you will stop by this neck-of-the-woods-world-wide-web often.

I'm pretty sure that at least 10 people who are TOTALLY UNRELATED to me stop by to visit almost every day!

Sort of makes you feel special...huh? 

Chocolate Candy and Biblical Concepts..."Can't Outgive God"

I hate the word "devotions."  So I try not to use it.  But I totally love it when I come across an idea that is fun AND illustrates a biblical truth..... idea that I can share with my kids.

It's even BETTER when the idea involves chocolate. 

Here is what we did. 
(idea came from "Creative Correction" by Lisa Whelchel.)

The Wildcat was playing a game.  In another room.
The three girls were with me. 

I gave each of the girls a handful of M & Ms.

Claire was told to go to Nathan (aka: the Wildcat) and give him ALL of her M&Ms.  And hang out a while with him while he ate and come back in a little bit.  "And bring the brother with you."

Marisa was told to eat ALL of her M&Ms.

Tookie was told to hold on tight to her handful of M&Ms.  Until Claire and Nathan came back.

We chatted. 
Hung out. 
The kids wondered what in the world their crazy mama was up to this time. 

When Claire and Nathan got into the living room, I had Claire cup both hands together and gave her twice as many M&Ms as she gave away.

I told Tookie she could eat her M&Ms (finally). They were still M&Ms....but they were smooshed and she had to sort of lick her hands clean.  She was okay with that.

Here's the gist of it:
"If we live with our hands open, giving to others, God will continually give back to us by the measure we use to give away.  If we think only of ourselves, we recieve limited blessings.  And if we hoard what God gives us, we may lose what little we had in the first place." 

Luke 6:38
Give, and it will be given to you.  A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Give this a try with your kids.
If you don't have enough kids to illustrate....have the first kid go give a handful of candy to some kid who lives down the street.
Or call me.  I can donate a couple.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Here's What's Up

For starters, it's time to start thinking about this again.....

Holy School Supplies, Batman!
We aren't done shopping yet, either. 

Back to school and back to work. 

Nathan is lifting weights and will be starting football next week. 

Marz is getting in some good girlfriend time with some friends she met at Spring Valley Bible Camp.

Claire is trying to grow up some more on me.....
....something that makes me simultaneously smile and cry.

And Tookie is packing for the last round of camp. 

And me....well, do you see that little twitter thing along the sidebar here?  That is because I am going to be corresponding with the QC Times by twitter this weekend as RAGBRAI rolls though our hometown. 

Which means I am LEARNING how to use twitter. 

Sometimes I think that anything "technology" is like a foreign language to me. 

Back to school has me thinking of back to work.
It was not an extremely profitable summer on the work-front.
So it is time to pick up the pace a bit. 
I am exploring some new work options to add to the writing work that I do.  I love freelance, but sometimes the paychecks aren't as regular as things like my electric bill. 
Just sayin'. 

Will you be out and about this weekend? 
Hopefully I will see you! 
(and take your photo and tweet about it)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Camp--Week 2: Post Script

So I picked Marz up from her week at camp this morning. 
And the girl just had so so
much fun. 

I got there and she is all like
MOM! I gotta tell you about this dance party we had last night. 
It was so fun!
Me and "ONE OTHER GIRL" were dancin
while the music was playin
and it was SO

And I am like...."just you two dancing?  honey?  did everybody else know it was a dance party?"

And she is like....OH.  I don't know.  BUT WHO CARES?  It was So

And then she proceded to BEGIN
to tell me about 4 or 11 more stories.
But then she would stop and say.....oh...i'll tell you later.

Later began as I was doing a u-ey to get out of the parking lot. 

And she started finishing her stories.....

....a lot of them were about memories with friends in her cabin.....which she will "NEVER" forget....

.....some of them were about God and the speakers and counselors....which she will "NEVER" forget...

.....and TOO MANY OF THEM were about BOYS....which I WISH she would JUST FORGET!

oh well.

God is good. 
Camp is great.
and boys are least I remember when they used to be.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Record Breaking Temps=Chillin' Out at Home

To simply say "it's hot" feels like one of those extreme understatements.

But, dang, it's hot.

I grew up in the I understand what an Iowa summer can spring on you.

Sometimes Iowa Summer will make her appearance in April, and then go into hiding until July. 
Sometimes she will just sort of ease us all into her season.
And sometimes, Iowa Summer will just say HAH!  You wanted you got it!

It is days like today that make me want to count down the shopping days till Christmas.

Which, by the way, there are 158 days till Christmas.

There isn't a whole lot we can do outside without nearly choking to death from the humidity. 

There is the old standby of swimming....

....unless your 10-year-old has a raging case of swimmer's ear. 


So today mama spent some money and we went to see a movie. 

The Zookeeper.  It was funny.  And family friendly. 

And my 14-year-old even got into it....

....yes, he is special.  We love the wildcat, though!

Wildcat, Tookie and Claire-Bear. 

Another good "stay-cool" tip that I can offer you is this:
Eat ice-cream at every meal.

This is a good time for it. 
Try new flavors. 
In a cone, in a bowl....
....breakfast, lunch or doesn't matter. 

A few days ago I thought that ice-cream at every meal would get old.

I was wrong. 

Anyone wanna nominate me for Mother-of-the-Year? 

(disclaimer:  i'm kidding.  of course.  mostly, anyway.)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Class Reunion

I have gotten used to saying things to the kids that start out with the phrase:

100 years ago, back when I was in school......

Last night I went to my 20 year class reunion. 
For some reason it was harder for me to say "20 years" than it is to say "100."

(might have something to do with how i seem to cope better in the land of make-believe??
kidding, of course)

At any rate, I got to the reunion sort of late becuase I had a wedding in the afternoon and a baseball game at 7:00.
But I knew I had to go becuase I just have my grandmas voice in my head scolding me if I don't. 

(grandma H. grew up in Nebraska. every year her and grandpa would head back to their hometown for the reunions. she was always disappointed when the local people wouldn't show up because they were all used to seeing each other. but when people come from out of town...they want to see the locals too!
this is the speech I would hear from her every year when they used to make these trips...)

So I went.  Got there at 10pm....which is getting pretty close to this old girl's bedtime, I might add. 
It was a fairly small group that showed up from the class of '91.
And with the band playing, my old ears had a hard time keeping up with the details about families, kids, jobs, etc. 

And then there was the tiny hint of insecurity that I felt about how I was going to present myself as being wildly successful after 20 whole years. 

It went something like this: 

I had kids and I got old.

What I didn't say was this:

All the dreams and ambitions that I had 20 years ago got thrown out the window when 2 lines showed up on the EPT.
I devoted myself to a some new dreams, 4 of them to be exact. 
These dreams are now 14, 13, 11 and 9.
Everything I have ever learned goes into supporting these 4 dreams of mine.
And as they grow, their dreams become my own.
Following these young dreams in their sports, their school stuff, their friend stuff and all the other stuff 
Is like following my heart. 

I had kids
And I got old

And I am so glad that I did.

So what do you think?  Would that have come off as being "Wildly Successful?"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sticky-hand Sign Language

This is one of those sticky hands that you get for a quarter out of those machines at the bowling alley.
Whenever the girls and I go there for some french-fry therapy, we end up with a few new sticky hands and tatoos that cost fifty cents.

Here is one of our many sticky hands sticking to the ceiling.
Above my bed.
Making the "I love you" sign.

Claire must have stuck it up there before she went to camp for the week. 

I love you too, Claire-bear!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A little bit of Nathan's Baseball Season

Here is a bit of Nathan's baseball season.

Along with some shots I made him sit for. 
Because I refuse to pay for a picture if I don't have to. 

And the ones that came back from the "professional" package that I did not order, but another family member did...were all pale and pastey looking. 

And I have Nathan's official approval that these pics that I force him to sit for kick the professional shots' proverbial butt. 

just sayin'

How are we so busy?

The calendar for this week looks fairly blank.

Which should feel sort of relaxing, right?  It kind of does...but my brain is having trouble with this concept.

With the exception of me:  so much "nothing" to do seems to leave everyone with so much to do.

I have chauffeured Nathan and a friend to the golf course and home from the golf course around 7 times in 3 days. 

We have made impromptu trips to the pool twice. 

Grocery store:  twice
Drug store:  not yet, but soon.

My mind seems to have too much time to hang out, because I feel like I should be "doing something"
"on our way" somewhere
or "writing" something. 

But....I'm not. 

Just going with the flow of summer. 
Weird and totally foreign. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tookie Softball Season

Tookie's first year of Minor League Softball.

Her team won the league championship.
And she got a medal.

Which made her smile. 

She was nervous this year.  Last year she was one of the stand-out athletes on her team. 

This year-maybe not so much.

But smiles and medals are how we finished this year.
So all is good.

Camp...Week 1

Claire has been counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds for this day. 


This is her 3rd year going to Spring Valley Bible Camp.

She is an old pro at this. 
Which somehow does not make it any easier for me. 

She packed her own bags.
Knew exactly what she needed.
What snacks she would take...for herself and to share.

She packed a fake snake.  Ready to play a practical joke on her camp counselor.
Obviously it won't take her long to be her cabin's official jokester.
I am so proud.

I asked her today if there is anything...anything at all that makes her nervous about being away from home for 5 whole days.

She said not really....except for one thing:
And what exactly is that one thing?  it's hard to hold in your farts for five whole days.
But she isn't too worried about it. 

Pretty sure she is going to be the practical jokester....and the farter in her cabin. 

Did I mention how proud of her I am?

This goodbye-hug-from the heart lasted just long enough....until they both realized that they were sisters and actually do not hug each other.
Can't you just feel the love?  So glad I was able to capture the moment.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What's more precious than this sweet face?

This little girl is growing up on me.
And I'm not too overly excited about this
whole time thing just flying by. 

Missed her tons while she was away last week.
And gonna miss her again when she goes to Spring Valley Bible Camp
next week. 

Wanna know what is more precious than this sweet face?
 It's the little bits of time that I get to spend with her.
Cuz the older she gets, the less time there seems to be.
I'm treasuring each little bit that I can.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th internets.

I love this excerpt taken from a letter by John Adams to his wife, Abigail. 

“The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”
 (The Book of Abigail and John: Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, Harvard University Press, 1975, 142).

Today I am going to try and forget some of the personal turmoil going on in my life and
Celebrate all the good
Pray for military families and soldiers
and remind myself, once again, that I don't need to be worrying about stuff that is completely out of my hands.....
....because God holds me and my family in His hands.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Hot Deals for Hot Days

Hey locals~

Did you read the article I wrote about Westfair Drugstore in the "News and Views?"

They have a dollar section.  And stuff for 50% off.

See all this?
One of my 50% off deals.
So naturally, I stocked up.
And let me just say, on hot days like today... don't want to run out of deoderant.

Thanks Westfair!