Sunday, December 30, 2007

One of the easiest and yummiest vegatable soups...

This has become my favorite soup. I don't generally like zucchini or cabage - but in this soup, it's very, very yummy.

This recipe makes about 8 bowls of soup. Pretty much all of the ingredients are optional and flexible. Personally I can't imagine it without the onion, carrots, cabbage and zucchini (and broth and spices, of course).
Actual soup in picture at right.



3 large [thinly sliced] carrots
1 large [diced] onion
3 cups of diced green cabbage
1 can green beans (or 1.5 cups of fresh green beans)
1 large zucchini [cubed]
2 tsp of minced garlic
Half a small can of tomato paste (I think it's a 6 oz. can)
Optional: 1/2 can of diced tomatoes [drained]
Optional: 1 cup of chopped celery

6 cups of broth (beef or chicken)

3 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt

Meat is optional:
Any type of beef or chicken works... we usually use some chopped up beef stew or roast meat. About 1 pound of meat.

Step 1:
Using olive oil in a large stock pot, saute' the carrots, onion, celery and garlic on low heat until soft... about 5-7 minutes.
At the same time, brown your beef in another skillet.

Step 2:
Add all other ingredients EXCEPT for the zucchini and bring to a boil.

Step 3:
After a boil is achieved, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Step 4:
Add zucchini and cook for another 3-4 minutes (the zucchini will become soft very quickly - you don't want to overcook it).
The next time we make this soup, we're going to try adding a package or two of ramin noodles.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas 2007

I know you won't be able to see the actual gifts, but it's still a fun video to watch.

High Resolution
(You may want to click 'Play' and then pause it so it loads the video.)

Low Resolution

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Okay... it's been almost two weeks and I haven't gotten a chance to go over any details... so until then, these photos will have to get you by.

High Resolution

Saturday, December 15, 2007

You want advise from me????

Getting older is a strange thing. When you're younger, you can't wait to be a grown up. But when you're a grown up, there are times you don't feel it. I was listening to the radio the other day, and the DJ was talking about an article that he read about today's twentysomethings. He was saying that the people in their early twenties now are a lot less mature than their counterparts 30 years ago. With the ease of technology, and going to college on "Daddy's dime" has caused their maturity to slow. The DJ was interviewing a prominent Christian artist while discussing this information, and he asked her what it was that made her feel like a grown up for the first time. She had mentioned that she felt grown up for the first time on her 23rd birthday.

Although there are many times that I feel like a grown up (like every time I've had to price shop for major appliances such as washing machines and deep freezers), I still struggle with the feelings of being a kid. I feel young. In many ways, that's a great thing - I'm able to play without shame with my kids. Other ways, it's really been a hindrance.

I know I've written about such things recently, ( but I guess I just keep coming back to it. At what point are we grown up? At what point are we able to feel confident enough to share with others our wisdom. I am not considered old at 32, but at the same time, I'm not considered to be very young either. I don't exactly know where I fit at times, and how to go about sharing my experiences with others.

I'm learning more and more that I'm a writer by nature. This was not something that I wanted to be "when I grow up", but it's something I've become. In my writing, I want to share my experiences and revelations about the matters that are near and dear to my heart: marriage, parenting, and growing in God. I struggle, at times, with sharing things on these subjects. I really wrestle with wondering if I'm old enough, and wise enough to give advise on topics as monumental as these. What if what I write about parenting when the boys are young, and as they grow, things turn out to be the opposite of what I wrote about? What if I write about conflict resolution in marriage, and then have a huge fight with Michael that I can't resolve in the manner that I once wrote about. I don't want to be a hypocrite, especially with the life altering subjects that God has placed on my heart. But I'm hearing Him tell me, more and more, that He's going to give me the wisdom, and He will work out all the details. I'm learning that as I seek Him more, the fear fades. As I walk in His will for my life, and write about the things that He has placed in my heart, then it is His wisdom I'm imparting to others - not my own.

Michael and I have long held a different belief of the verse Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart." We've both been taught an interpretation of material things. If you follow God, He'll give you that nice car, or that big house. While that may be true - He does delight in giving you blessings, Michael and I have really felt a different heart behind that verse. We have felt God give us desires in our hearts. As we delighted in Him, He gave us the desire to be married to each other. As we delighted in Him, He gave us the desire to be parents. As we've delighted in Him, He gave Michael the desire to worship Him with music. As we've delighted in Him, He gave Michael the desire to pursue photography. And as we've delighted in Him, He's given me the desire to write about marriage, parenting, and growing in Him. He's given us the desires of our hearts.

And because of that desire that He's implanted in me, I'm going to trust Him with my words. I'm going to trust that as I write about marriage, parenting, and growing in Him, He will take those words and use them for His glory. I'm an imperfect human, and I will make mistakes. But He's a perfect God, and He will cause all things to work for good. Praise God for that!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ice Storm 2007

It's a bit cold here. The ice shut down everything around town. There was no power at our place for about 12 hours yesterday. Here's a video of some of the houses in our neighborhood.

You can also see some panoramic views of some photographs that I took....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Random Thoughts for your Sunday

Driving back and forth to work now, I take a different route. Seeing the new sceniery has stirred 2 random thoughts every morning. I'm probably wierd for thinking this way, but these 2 things really bug me. Like baby squirrels, these seem to be things that are never seen. You know (at least one) of them exist, but I have yet to witness them personally.

I've never seen the price change on the gas station signs. They change, almost daily. But I've never seen it. This bugs me to no end! It's not only the fact that normally, the price goes down after filling up (I filled up on the way to work on Friday, and of course on my way home, the price was 2 cents less), it's just that I've never seen it happen. I wonder how they deal with customers filling up at the moment they want to change price - do they charge them according to what it was when they started? Or are they charged half and half? I don't know! On the list of things that I want to see before I die, I include seeing a gas station sign changing price before my eyes!

The other thing that I've noticed on the way to work are church names. If the church is named a number, it's always the first one. Always. First Lutheran Church. First Presbyterian Church. First Assembly of God. Now I know I haven't traveled that much in my lifetime, but this seems to be a common trend. I've never seen the 45th Church of the Nazarene. How does everyone get to be the first? Maybe I just haven't seen enough to know that there may be a "Second" somewhere.

I know, I'm goofy. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

My first day

I started my new job today, and I must say, it went very well.

I was greeted this morning by 3 growling Taco Bell dogs (they looked just like the one in the commercials). After a quick scolding from their owner, they settled down on their respective pillows. Joking about their security system, my new bosses, Jim and Diann were happy to see me.

Right off the bat, I got to take another tour of my new workplace. Several orders had come in within the half hour of their opening, and many supplies needed to be pulled from the shelves. I played shadow as I followed Diann around, grabbing bags of Saliva Ejectors and boxes of Lidocaine. Once all of the loot was gathered, it was time to learn the software that keeps track of all these parts.

I sat down with Diann, and she started to show me the ropes of the software. I have a lot of training in Quickbooks, thinking that if I learned that program, it'd take me far in my career. Of course, Dental Supply doesn't use Quickbooks - they use a program called DacEasy. It's a pretty simple program, that tracks all of the inventory and invoicing. A few of the commands are new to me, but the basics are pretty straightforward. After doing the few invoices for the orders we pulled, I discovered a shortcut that Diann didn't know about. At that point, I got to hear her brag to Jim about how I just taught her something new, and she was so happy I was there.

The day progressed with lots and lots of orders, boxing up orders, invoicing, receiving inventory, and showing my new bosses the joys of looking up how much postage an envelope would require on the post office's website. (The office is located less than a block away from the post office, but they were relieved that there was a way that would limit their time in line). Before I knew it, it was lunch time.

I had a very uneventful lunch, a drastic contrast to working at Pro Video. I'm used to my lunch being interrupted several times each day with phone calls and customers. Today, I was able to sit at a table and eat. That's all. I'm thinking I may bring a book to work with me, and take advantage of that time to catch up on the books I can't find the time to read otherwise.

The afternoon was just as busy. Lots and lots of things to learn. I think if I wore a pedometer today, I'd be pleasantly surprised with the amount of ground I covered in that office. There wasn't much sitting happening. In between showing me the ropes, Diann and I were able to chat some about our families. I learned that she and Jim have a daughter, son-in-law, and grandson in Florida, as well as a son that lives here in town. I also learned about what she bought all of her family for Christmas so far, and how she was so happy that Jim finished installing a new bathroom countertop and medicine cabinet over the Thanksgiving break.

I blinked, and my day was over. By the end of the afternoon, I was using DacEasy without assistance, and the dogs were begging me to be pet. I was complimented on how quickly I've picked up on things, especially for my first day. I left the office very encouraged in God's plan in this season of my life, and very confident in the decision to change jobs. I think I'll really be a big help to Jim and Diann, and serve them with the talents that God has given me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm looking forward to the holidays.

It's been a while since I've blogged anything. Michael has been really great at it, posting videos and pictures. I've been somewhat silent these last few weeks. I have no excuse for it, I just haven't taken the time to write.

This is the time of year I look forward to. I love the upcoming holidays. Thanksgiving and Christmas have always been steeped with tradition for me. My side of the family hasn't always been tradition-filled. Up until the recent research done by my mom, I didn't even know the facts of my family tree. Thanksgiving and Christmas, however, were consistant each year. It was the time of year I felt closest to my family. It's the time of year I still look forward to, with new traditions.

Christmas, especially, was the most enjoyable for me. When I was much younger, Christmas Eve was spent with my extended family. My dad's siblings and my family would gather every Christmas Eve at my Grandma Thornton's house. We'd all exchange gifts (gift certificates to the skating rink were always my favorite), and have lasagna on the good China. The house would be filled with lots and lots of talking and sharing, and everyone got along. Keep in mind, we weren't a family that got together very often, so this was a real treat - especially for Grandma! I've come to appreciate how much she loved those times. When she got sick, it was around Christmas time. While she was in the hospital, my parents decided that it would honor her if we all had Christmas together. All of my dad's brother's were there, and we all shared a meal together. Shortly after the last guest went home, Grandma passed away. It felt as if she was waiting for us all to be together, one last time.

Now that I have a family of my own, I cherish the traditions we've come to enjoy. We still celebrate Christmas Eve with my family, carrying on the joy that Grandma started so many years ago. I'm blessed to have that gathering at my house now. All of my siblings, parents, and remaining grandparents file into our house, and we have lasagna. I now have Grandma's good China too. It's still packed up, waiting for a hutch, but it feels great knowing that I have momento of a part of my grandma's favorite evening.

Thanksgiving has it's own tradition now too. We travel to Kansas, to spend the weekend with the Deeter side of our family. After enjoying a nice meal with everyone on Thanksgiving, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I wake up the next morning before the sun. Somehow, JoAnn Fabric has become a tradition for us! We found out a few years ago, that they have amazing sales on the day after Thanksgiving, and if you don't get there early, you'll miss out. You'd be surprised at how busy a craft store can be! This has become an activity that I look forward to. We laugh at the seriousness of some shoppers, giggle at the thought of those who felt the need to wake up even earlier than we did, and come home with some really fun loot. We have a new addition to the family this year, which may affect the tradition a bit. Having a newborn may make it difficult for my sister-in-law to go shopping so early on Black Friday - but then again, he may help her wake up in time to get the great deals!

I'm especially excited for this Thanksgiving. I start a new job the Monday after Thanksgiving. It will be a whole new adventure! I'm sure this will be a year to remember.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Camping - well, not really.

We recently went here...

...with some friends...

... we ate some pizza... the cabin had an oven.

There were leaves...

... a big pile of them....

... and a lake...

... with a beach...

... that even the dog enjoyed.

There was also a... kinda stunk...

... but the boys still had a good time.

We walked the trails...

... and there were lots of places to climb...

... a lot...

... all along the trail...

... many places to climb...

... even in the trees...

... the boys had a really good time...

... We all had a really good time...

... even the dog.

We even found some strange alien testing facility.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

We don't do Halloween, but costumes are still fun.


Wii Party

We celebrated Kevin's birthday the other night. We had a lot of fun playing the Wii - the cake and ice cream was excellent as well.

Happy birthday Kevin!

Watch the video!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

2007 Flag Football

It's about 9 minutes long... but it covers games from the entire season.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Crazy Kids

I had the exciting chance to play flag football this weekend. A friend of mine plays on a league and they were short players... so I filled in. It was fun and exausting! I had my share of missed opportunities, but I also made some good plays that helped the team - I was most excited when I intercepted a pass at the 5-yard line and ran it all the way (way far away) - I mean a long, loooong way away to the our endzone to score my first-ever-in-my-life touchdown. I did a two-second dance and promptly collapsed on the sideline while a sub went in for me. I wasn't too usefull after that run.... luckily it was near the end of the game (the second one of a double-header) - we won 28-20. Yeah! But we lost the first game 20-24 and because of that loss, the team barely missed the playoffs for their league... so everyone went home with mixed emotions. I went home happy that I could still walk.

While I played, Heather chatted with some of the wives/girlfriends of other team members. What an encouragement that my wife would come watch me get run over by some rancid teenagers. Sure the average age of the guys playing was about 25, but I always seemed to be matched up to the 18 or 20 year old that could out-run, out-jump, and out-manuvure me. Man was I pooped!

Jacob and Chris had fun playing with a tree. Up and down they went - from bottom to the top and back down... multiple times. Christopher stayed at the top long enough afterwards for me to grab my camera an shoot a few pictures of him. He's a tree-climbing maniac.

In his own words:

"Don't worry Mom,

I'm a professional!"

Here's more photos:

Monday, October 22, 2007

Autumn Colors


Saturday afternoon: 70 degrees and still. The most beautiful weather for a motorcycle ride.

Tim and I took off for a cruise around the outskirts of Cedar Rapids, visiting Robins, Center Point, Palo, Downtown Cedar Rapids, and south along the river.

View Larger Map

We both took our cameras and enjoyed snapping off some photos throughout the ride.

Check out my pictures at my website

It was an awesome ride.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


I wrote a letter to Michael's grandparents yesterday. Writing letters to family who live far away is a very fun thing for me (even though I don't do it often enough). I view it in the same category as I do all my short stories about the boys growing up. It gives me a chance to think back on the last few weeks, and re-tell some of the amazing and humorous moments with our family.

One such moment happened just two nights ago.

I've written on the blog, many times now, about how Jacob is really walking in a new stage in life. He's now what the media calls a "tween", kids who are not quite teenagers, but not little kids anymore. I'm really having fun with Jake being in this stage right now. He's so witty, and our conversations have gotten a lot deeper.

With his new maturity, comes more school responsiblities. He has homework more often than last year, and is expected to finish his homework a lot sooner than last year as well. His homework has started to become somewhat research heavy. Michael decided it was time for Jake to get his own computer, to look up subjects on the internet.

We've all heard the news stories, and I'm sure we've all seen "To Catch A Predator" on Dateline. The internet is not a very safe place. While it's filled to the point of overflowing with great information, there is also the counter side of that. Demented ideas abound on the internet. Porn is easily available, even if you're not seeking it out. When talking about getting a computer set up for Jake, Michael and I decided that it would be best to put a filter of some sort on Jake's internet. Michael found a great program, that had many features that we thought would be necessary to keep the innocent eyes of a 9 year old stay innocent.

Michael, Jake, and I were all in Jake's room the other night, getting his computer set up for him. Michael explained all the rules to Jake about the internet and IM, and Jake was very understanding. Michael had already taken the opportunity to test out the filtering software and decided to show Jake an example of the filter. Every time something is inappropriate, a window with the words "Anti-Porn" shows on the screen, basically letting you know that the website you want to look at is not going to be viewed. Michael was satisfied with the settings on the filter, and gave the computer over to Jake.

Just before going online, Jake looked at me and asked, "Who's this Porn guy? And why doesn't anyone like him?"

So, with a straight face, Michael had to explain on a 9 year old level what porn is. When Jake heard the watered down facts of porn, he reacted with a great big "Ewwwww!" He ended up being very happy that we are so protective of his internet usage.

Now, Jake is our household weather man! Since he has his own computer, he has our local news station's weather site bookmarked so he can check the weather whenever he wants! He's also enjoying the fact that he can IM Michael and I, even though we're just downstairs. (Let me know if you'd like Jake's IM screenname to chat with him, we're only letting him add people with our permission).

He is really enjoying the fact that there are lots and lots of ideas on the internet. Tonight, we're going today to buy some PVC pipe. He found the plans for a marshmallow gun on the internet. :)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Thanks for all the comments!

I have a great family.

My last entry was born of a hard day. I was yelled at by a customer, frustrated with my boss (not Michael), and dealing with past hurts and wounds. I wasn't even sure if I should post what I wrote.

Michael has challenged me to write more often. To write even when I don't feel like writing. My last post was part of that challenge. I was dealing with some sour feelings, and instead of just curling up and cutting myself off, like I usually do, I forced myself to write. That post was more of an exercise than anything. I wasn't fishing for encouragement. But I was truly blessed by the encouragment I received.

Thankfully, those rough days are few and far between anymore. I've come a long way! I've learned a lot about myself in the past 5 years, and am thankful for the journey God is taking me on. I am very blessed by an amazing family. Not only my biological family, but the family I married into 11 years ago. When I married Michael, I knew that I was being blessed by God giving me the best He has for me. I had no idea, however, the depth of the gift He gave me in Michael's family. I have a best friend in my sister-in-law. I have parents that are supportive. I have grandparents who have shown me more love than necessary. I have an aunt and uncle who I consider friends. I am truly blessed by the Deeter/Johnson/Lantz/Monhollon clan! :)

On a side note, in regards to those hard days. I have to laugh at times at an old SNL sketch with Al Frankin. He did a character named Stuart Smalley. He had a mantra to get you out of a funk, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!". It's a funny sketch, but there is some truth to it. Sometimes you just need to tell yourself those words. Here's a clip of an old sketch with Michael Jordan. It's a very low quality, but it still makes me laugh:

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Having a rough day...just need to sort it all out.

Usually, I try and write about something in my life that may inspire others. Motherhood comes with a unique set of challenges. Those challenges can be quite hard to endure. Sometimes you feel like you’re all alone in life, and hearing that someone else has gone through that same thing, can be comforting.

Today, I’m feeling just the opposite of comfort in numbers. I’m actually feeling rather raw.

I came home from a conference a few weekends ago, feeling refreshed and revived. The conference was all about finding your purpose and passion in life. A major theme throughout the weekend dealt with your own personal attitude, and realizing that God created you for a reason. I have to admit, I’m having a hard time with my attitude right now.

In life, I’ve dealt with a host of issues. One recurring theme in my life, unfortunately, has been a lack of confidence. I’ve had a hard time feeling like I’m worth much, and therefore haven’t had much confidence in myself as a person. I really have a hard time seeing myself as unique or special. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that God created me for a purpose, and He made me to be special. I can see that in everyone else, very easily at times. To be honest though, I have a very hard time seeing that in myself.

Growing up, I learned from my grandma how to do crafts. I thought I was pretty cool knowing how to cross-stitch and create things with plastic canvas. Then I went to a crafts show, and saw that a lot of other people did the same thing. I kind of gave that up at that point. I was struggling to find something that made me unique and significant. Being crafty was fun, but it didn’t make me unique.

As I got older, I found out that I could carry a tune. I loved music, and would have it on at any point possible. Singing along to the radio was like second nature. Then I tried out for a school musical, and my signing wasn’t unique enough. Cassandra had an amazing voice! Of course, she got the part. A few years go by, and I thought I’d try out for the junior high talent show. Again, nervous as could be, I gave my all, to be followed by Cassandra. My teacher told me “Your voice is okay, but her’s….there’s just nothing like it!”. That prompted me to stop singing in front of anyone, for many years.

As an adult, I’m still searching for what makes me unique. Thankfully, I’ve picked up crafts again. Although it’s not going to define me in history, it’s still a fun activity. I sing in front of people now, but never by myself anymore. I like being the backup singer…in hopes that singing a cool harmony will make me unique and stand out. Right now, though, the only outlet I have for doing that is overcrowded. I’m more frustrated than fulfilled in that area.

I found a few years ago, that I enjoy writing. Once again, though, that’s not a talent that is exclusive to me. I am surrounded by amazing writers in my family. But I find myself here, writing again, about feeling insignificant as a writer. Why is that? I have no idea why I’m even writing about it, or what I hope to get out of writing about my feelings today, or why I even feel the need to post my feelings on a public blog. I just have to write.

I don’t know if writing is going to put me in the history books. I don’t know if I’m ever going to really make a difference to anyone with my writing. To be brutally honest, that is something that has been hard to deal with. All I know is that as I get older, the more and more writing is a part of me. When I’m writing, I’m able to sort out my feelings. I’m able to not think about my shortcomings. It helps me sort out (like today) those raw feelings. It preserves those joyous moments with my kids. It helps me to really understand the depths of my feelings towards my husband. It even sometimes makes me understand what God has been telling me all along.

I’m significant.

I’m worth something.

I’m unique.

Even on the days that I feel raw.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Trend? We'll see.

Okay. A crazy wave of blogs have recently been posted by family members this week: from my Dad, my Sister, and my Aunt. I challenge them all to write often and continually... as that was and still is the challenge I made for myself when I first created our blog.

It's really cool to have a place to lay down some thoughts or opinions and (sometimes) get feedback, compliments or rejections by others that may or may not really care. That's the interesting thing about blogs.... in my opinion, I'd like to have our blog have three main aspects:

  1. A cache of notes and letters to family and friends
  2. A cooktop of thoughts and revelations about our life and local happenings
  3. Feedback and encouragement/rejection/opinions from readers
One concern that arose in some posts was the issue of blog privacy. Hmmmm... I'm not really that concerned about it. I don't think I'll be posting anything that will endanger me or my family on this blog. Most of our posts will include notes and stories about recent events with general information that only readers that know us would really understand. If someone could explain to me what the worry is, I'd be happy to try to understand why there's a scare.

One thing to help you with is the privacy option in the blog settings to "Add your Blog to our listings?" Yes or No.

(A Public blog appears in your Blogger Profile. If you select "No" we will not show your blog anywhere on, but it will still be available on the Internet.)

I'll be adding some more video soon. Since we got our new camcorder, I'm trying to keep up with the video that we capture. Once it gets too old, it seems too outdated to blog about them.

See you again soon.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


The boys are both in flag football right now, which means lots and lots of practices to sit through. I usually use this time to catch up on some reading that I might not normally have the benefit of enjoying. Back at Christmas time, I had asked for the book, "Wild at Heart". I figured that I live in a house of boys, so it might be a great insight for me into the workings of the male wiring.

I couldn't find a more appropriate book to read during football practice! The book explains how much God intended for men and boys to be adventurous, and to seek out danger. I'm reading all of this while watching my kids run into other kids (they say it's flag football, but someone always gets knocked to the ground). It has helped me to understand the boys a lot more, seeing how this was God's design.

Chris, in particular, is a very rough and tumble boy. He's told me several times that he's a "professional" and I shouldn't worry. He loves it when he sees fear shoot across my face at the mere mention of one of his stunts. He has a very distinctive cackle as he laughs at the thought of giving me grey hair.

We were on our way to his football game on Saturday, when he saw my book sitting on the seat next to me. On the cover, it shows a man jumping from one peak to another, with a very deep ravine in between. That of course caught Chris' eye, and he asked me, "What is this book!?". I told him that it's a book about how God made boys to be adventurous. He asked me what exactly I meant by that, and I summed it up by telling him, "Well, God made boys to want to do dangerous stuff. He made them so that they want to explore and play games to win."

At the mention of the words "do dangerous stuff" his eyes lit up. I knew at that point I had opened a can of worms! We got to his game early, and he had some time to play on the playground before his teammates showed up. A few minutes into his playing, he was climbing at a height that really made me nervous.

"Be careful!" I cautioned him.

"C'mon Mom! You said yourself...God MADE me to be dangerous!".


The rest of the morning, he was reveling in the fact that all of his courage to do dangerous stunts was how he was designed. He told me, as often as he could, while performing risky positions, that he was made to do this stuff. He started to tell me that he was born to do this, and he stopped himself mid-sentence.

"I was to do dangerous stuff!" He seemed to have an understanding, deep inside him, that God had knit him together for adventure. It wasn't something he learned, but it was a part of how he was made. It wasn't something that happened after he was in this world. It was something that was a part of his world.

With a deliberate cackle, he went on about his play. Climbing, bouncing, balancing, and tumbling.

And then he played football.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Flag Football

Jacob is number 2 (in yellow). See photos here.
Chris is number 4 (in blue). See photos here.

Download the video here to play in your local player or watch it below.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Semi-Deep Thoughts for Thursday

I find myself to be a deep thinker at times. Not all the time, but sometimes. Something will be said or I'll see an event, and it gets my gears turning.

I was dropping Jake off at school this morning, and we were talking about how he's seen some teenagers do some really dumb things. There is a group of teenagers on our block who like to skateboard. It's a very stunt heavy activity. Jake witnessed one of them jumping off a ramp and going down over a 5ft retaining wall. Even at age 9, you know that's not a safe activity! I made a comment to him that I'm praying that he and Chris will be wise teenagers. I am truly praying for that. I want them to have the balance of having fun as a kid, but also not breaking any bones, morals, or even laws.

I dropped him off at his school, and watched him walk into the building. At that moment, I realized how scary it is to be a mom. I'm responsible for teaching this child how to become that wise teenager, that responsible adult. I'm still trying to figure out life myself, and I'm responsible for teaching life to my kids! Yikes!

I remember when I was growing up, I thought all adults had everything all figured out. Now I'm the adult, and I know the truth. We don't have things figured out. We're flying by the seat of our pants! I'm amazed at how each day, we're learning who we are, what we were put on earth to do, and how to glorify God in this life. I'm thankful for the lessons that God has taught me already, and I'm thankful that I've been able to impart some of those lessons to our boys. I'm thankful that as they grow, I'm growing too. I'm thankful that I don't have to have all of the answers now, that as I pray for wisdom for them, I'm praying for myself at the same time. I'm most thankful that God loves my boys, and that He'll guide and lead them into being the amazing men they are to become.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Need a laugh?

When I need a laugh, I just go to YouTube and look for clips like this....

Friday, September 7, 2007

Jacob tells about school (a little)

Jacob reveals some of his feelings about the 4th grade...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Football Practice

The boys' first game is in a week.

New Camcorder

We just got a new camcorder. It was difficult to decide what to get - we finally decided to go with a hard drive (HDD) camcorder: a Panasonic SDR-H200.

Here's our first video clip...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Another season has begun...

Just when I think I might get a break from sports, another season begins. We had a very busy summer with all 3 of my guys in baseball. Michael coached the church softball team, Jake played in a pretty competitive league with his school, and Chris played PeeWee with Parks & Rec. Well, Jake's season ended, and that gave us a few free nights in the week. Then Chris' ended, and that was 2 more. Then Michael's ended, and that was the last busy night.

Now it's Football Season.

The boys have been talking about wanting to play football for a while now. I missed last year's sign up, and felt terrible about it. I almost missed this year's too, but with a phone call, I was able to get them signed up. Their practices started this week. To be honest, I wasn't sure how they'd do. They've never played before. All they really know how to participate in is baseball.

After their first practices, my doubts were squashed! Jake's first practice was a blast for him. Running, almost constantly, for an entire hour, seems to be fun. He smiled through the whole practice! He was counting down the days until his next practice!

And then there's Chris. Chris has never been a huge sports guy. He likes to play games, but as to watching, and sometimes participating, he can take it or leave it. When asked every year about baseball, he always wants to sign up, but is never really excited about it starting. Once he's in the game, he has a blast! It's never really been enough to get him riled up though. We've never "made" him go, it's always been his idea, but he's just never been as passionate about baseball as Jake always has been. Football, however, seems to be his game. He doesn't watch a ton, but he'll watch more football than baseball. He's been bugging me all summer about making sure that I sign him up for Flag Football. He wanted to play, no matter what! The week leading up to his practice was full of anticipation for him. Every day, he was asking me when his first practice was.

He had his first practice last night. Jacob had practice on the same night, starting a half hour before Chris'. Chris watched his big brother run drills, and was grinning from ear to ear. As we drove from Jake's practice to the park where Chris' practice was being held, he suddenly got really quiet. I was worried, thinking that maybe it was going to be like baseball again for him. Something he'll do, and have fun in the moment, but it won't really stick with him. I asked him if he was okay. He responded to me in a very dreamy tone, "I'm just thinking of what it will be like to be a professional Flag Football player." My worries flew right out the window with that single statement! He was actually looking forward to practice!

Once we got there, he was out of the car in no time, and with his teammates, tossing the ball. His coach got them all gathered up, and started practice. He ran and ran, pulled flags like that was his mission in life, and grinned the entire time. After running a drill midway through practice, he looked over to me and yelled, "Hey Mom! This is really fun!". Never had I heard that in the middle of practice before. I think Chris found his game!

The whole drive home, he was telling me the rules, and how to strategize in the game to make the play. He was even a little frustrated with a kid for not knowing the rules. I had to reassure him that coach would make sure all the kids know the ins and outs of the game. We got home, and he showered up, the whole time talking over the hiss of the shower about all the plays he made. He got out of the shower, and asked me, "When's my next practice?". Unfortunately for Chris, the next practice day is a holiday, so practice is canceled. Now he has to wait a full week before he can run plays again.

So now we're up to several nights being scheduled for sports. Both boys have practice twice a week, with game day being Saturday. Next week, Michael will start playing Fall Softball, so there's another night. I'm thankful that the boys all have fun, and are involved in activities that are good and healthy for them. I've seen their smiles, and that's enough for me to busy myself several nights a week!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Happy Birthday Tim

We enjoyed a (full) day of enjoyment with a friend - Tim. Golf, board games, pizza and ice cream - we tried our hardest to wear him out. He's celebrating his #(@#&#th birthday on 8/26. Check out pictures from the day at sillyhat.


The boys started school this past week. My babies are getting older. It's a sad fact that I've had to face.

When they were little, I heard so many negative comments about how things would be as they got older. "Just wait until they're teenagers" I would be told, as if they were enlightening me with a terrible omen. It always bugged me, and I would always reply back in a most positive fashion, explaining how I look forward to seeing them grow into amazing men. I don't want to look at my kids' maturing as a bad thing. I feel like if I pray, and pray, and pray some more, I might get enough wisdom to raise my kids to be patient, loving, kind, humble, etc. I'm seeing some of that fruit already in my kids.

I'm realizing that I have to pray more and more lately. I'm stepping into a stage in Jacob's life that is new to me. He's in 4th grade now, maturing, growing, and acting more like an adult than a kid. When he was a toddler, it was easy for me. I knew what I needed to do as a mom. Now there are emotions, actions, and reactions that I'm taken aback by. There hasn't been anything bad...just unexpected at times. I first noticed it when he started to talk about one particular girl in his class. He talked about her a lot! After a while, he shared with Michael that he had a crush on her. While the fact that he had a crush was sweet, I was kind of sad. No longer were girls being seen as "just a kid in my class". He says he doesn't like her anymore, and he doesn't talk about her as much, but I know this won't be his last crush.

Jacob has started to care a lot about what he looks like too. Gone are the days when we have to nag him about showering. It's his idea now. Gone are the days of bed-head. His hair has to be perfect. And gone are the days of shopping for clothes without him...he has an opinion about what he wears now. Things have to be cool. Styles have to be upheld. He even has to carry his backpack to school in a cooler fashion, with only one strap being utilized.

His sense of humor has matured greatly. He's always been very witty, but I've noticed an amazing growth in that area. The things he jokes about are more thought out, more relevant. He can add more to conversations than he ever has before. Along with that, I've noticed that less gets by him too. He will notice little things that only grown-ups might catch. Watching a movie the other day, he noticed a tampon joke and asked what it was, and what it was used for!


All of this growing and maturing has caused me to pray more and more for wisdom. I find that my kids don't need me as much as they used to, and I'm having to adjust to that emotionally. I know it's a part of raising God-loving, strong, independent, productive adults. That is my goal. I never assumed it would be easy for me to let them mature, but it's still taking some adjustments on my part. I don't want to smother my kids, but I want to be there for them when they need me. I want to be a parent they can come to with questions. I want to be honest about life to my children. I want them to grow up knowing that they can talk to their parents about anything, and we won't spin a tall tale in reaction. In doing that, I'm having to really think long and hard about what's age appropriate, and what the best way of going about imparting wisdom is. I've realized my first reaction is to find a book to consult, and I find myself asking: "What would Dobson do?"

James Dobson got me through the toddler years with books and programs about anything and everything toddler. He'd have creative ideas for discipline, activities, and how to show your kids how much God loves them. He's been a great resource for my early parenting years. Now that I'm in a new stage, I'm having to search differently. As Jake grows into a pre-teen, I'm realizing that I'm relying more on my instinct than what Dobson would do. You know, I think I may be maturing and growing too.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Photography - Little Babys

I'm not sure if everyone knows about it yet, but I've started a new side-business: Baby Photography. My focus is specifically "in-hospital" baby photography. I want to capture those early moments before the newborn starts to look like a little child... visiting the family the day (or two) after the birth while they are still at the hospital.

Our website is : or

For the time being, I'm doing it for free and offering the prints at a low cost. The family can order online with easy previewing and complete checkout via PayPal or by check. If you know someone who's going to have a baby, send them (or myself) an e-mail and let them know that they can get some great photos (or at least they're better than the hospital-provided pictures) of their newborn at the hospital.

Photography is something I enjoy and have found fulfilling being able to capture those special moments and memories for others.

Kernels Game

We went to see the local baseball team play on Tuesday... the Kernels.

It was hot and sticky.... well, at least it was sticky and about 80 degrees.

They won 6 to 1 versus the Burlington Bees (the KC Royals 'A-league' minor league team). I was excited to see some of the Royal's up-and-coming players like the speedy Derrick Robinson and tough-hitting Jeff Bianchi. I think that those two guys are the two most probable candidates to be called up next year. However, they didn't match up to my favorite Kernels players: Will Ortiz and Mark Trumbo who went 3 for 7 with 2 doubles and 3 RBIs. The Kernels outhit the Bees 13 to 4. I credit the Kernels pitchers for that: 9 innings, 6 strikeouts, 0 walks, 1 run. It was fun to watch.

We had lots of luck at the game:

  • Heather caught a Iowa Hawkeye t-shirt before the game even started.
  • Jacob got a foulball that bounced off the box seats above us in the 2nd inning.
  • Jacob got a Hamburger Helper t-shirt that was shot up from the air-canon on the field in the 4th inning.
  • Both boys caught special star-marked squishy baseballs that they took to the gift-shop to get an autographed photo.
Finally, the boys were selected to do the Chicken Dance on the dugout at the top of the 5th inning. You can see the video of their performance here (it was captured with my camera phone so it's pretty blurry - but it's all I had with me):

Because it was a school night, we had to leave at the 7th inning (it was already 9pm), but we had a good time and may try to squeeze one more visit this year.

I need to write....

I've been thinking about it a lot lately, and Michael tells me I need to. I need to write more....heck, I just need to write. I love to capture moments of motherhood into words. Being a mom has been an adventurous ride. My boys are great memory makers. Things are said, faces are made, and hugs are given that will always be with least at that moment I feel that way. Then a few weeks go by, and I find myself saying "what was it that Jake said that was so funny?"

So, the moral of the story is, I need to write more!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

My First Blob

Yeah it's a blob.

I don't know how well this is going to work for me... so I'm just testing it.