Friday, July 23, 2010

Things I don't have to do ...

...because he always does them for me.
Background:  I'm stealing this idea from my friend, Jean.  Check out her blog, Living for the Sonrise.  I feel like I can relate to her on so many levels, because she and I are in very similar circumstances these days!  We both have two young girls, both staying home with our kiddos (ok I am sort of staying home), both have great hubbies that deserve to be known as such!  She recently posted a list of things her hubby does for her.  I decided to do the same.

So here goes ....

- Take out the trash  (I recently realized how much I should appreciate this when Tim was gone and I had to contend with maggots in the garbage!)

- Mow the yard

- Feed, water and let the dog out

- Take the dog to the vet and take care of his shots, baths and medicines

- Pick up dog poop (enough said)

- Pay the bills and generally take care of all the financials

- Take or pick up the girls from the sitter on Thursdays

- Take the recycling out

-  Go to work everyday

- Take care of home maintenance - like plugged drains, toilets that won't flush, windows that get stuck, garages needing cleaning, downspouts full of leaves, light bulbs needing replaced, etc.

Typically the rest of the household duties are shared.  Sure there are things I typically do, but if I ever, ever, ask Tim to help me vacuum, do laundry, scrub a toilet, change a diaper, get a binkie at midnight, do the dishes, unload the dishwasher, get groceries, bathe the girls, read stories at bedtime or just about anything else he is willing to help out. 

In a world where conversation about our spouses is often reserved for bashing them, joking about their faults and imperfections, and generally speaking about the worst in them ... I am happy to join in a dialogue about what I appreciate about Tim.  His efforts to take care of me, our family, and our home do not go unnoticed or unappreciated. 
He is a good husband and a wonderful daddy to our sweet girls.  We love him to bits.

(Too bad he'll never read this!Ha!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Loving the Bike

Hey all (5 of you readers) ... oh well! :)

Check it out!  My story about RAGBRAI landed me in the "Look who's Loving the Bike" section of this really cool website called Loving the Bike    Thanks, Darryl!   

I'm hoping to land on the back of a slightly newer tandem for a day of RAGBRAI coming up here really soon!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


It had changed very little from the time I was last there, which was probably more than 10 years ago!  Yikes!  How is it that I'm not 17 anymore?!  Anyway ... as total gluttons for punishment we packed up the girls on July 4th weekend and took them over to Adventureland.  My mom and dad, my younger sister, Jessi and her family, my cousin Hilleri and her girls ( and her mom (my aunt Judi) all went too!  This was actually the brain child of my mom and dad ... and it ended up being tons of fun!  The little kids got to ride a ton of rides, and us big kids enjoyed a few roller coasters too!  Thanks Grandma and Papa for a very fun weekend!

Colorado 2010

Its been a crazy busy summer so far between Tim's training for his forty mile run this summer (the guy knows how to celebrate a birthday in style, huh?!), my jury duty summons, work, trips to the pool, trips to see grandma, and the like.  But, we did take a break from the usual routine and headed out to Frisco, CO just a couple of weeks ago.  It was wonderful.  We totally loved the slower pace, the beautiful scenery, and lots of fun activities as a family.  We stayed in a condo that was literally right on the side of the mountains with a winding, babbling brook running right behind.  It looked like something out of a painting.  The girls did great with the flights, being off schedule more often than not, and being drug all over ski country for the week!  Ella got a pair of little pin-on wings from the "pirate" of the plane and was ecstatic about them!  We laughed for days about the "pirate" comment! 
Here are some snap shots from the week.  The highlights were biking down to Frisco from Vail Pass, breakfast at the Log Cabin in Frisco on Father's Day, shopping in Breckenridge, hiking to Rainbow Lake, the chuck wagon ride complete with fantastic BBQ and wild west show, the farmer's market in Vail, and seeing the trailer where Tim lived when he worked in Beavercreek back in the early 90s.

We're back in the swing of things here in MP again, although July is proving to be a very busy month!

Friday, May 28, 2010

My favorite bicycle memory

Today was a really exciting day at my house!  I won a $300 gift certificate to Bickel's (a bike shop nearby in Burlington) by winning a radio contest on 107.3 The New Mix!  Several weeks ago I heard about a  contest they were hosting asking for participants to send in their favorite biking memory to celebrate May as "National Bicycle Month".  I have tons of fond memories of bike rides, mostly on the back of my parents' old Schwinn racing tandem.  So, I decided to write in and try my luck!  I never expected I would actually win!  I'm so excited for my shopping spree ... although all you cycling enthusiasts out there know that three hundred bucks doesn't go very far in a biking specialty shop!  Either way, I'm not complaining!

Below is the story I sent in that won me the loot!!  Tim has already come up with a half a dozen ways he can spend the money.  Boy, is he gonna be disappointed! Just kidding, hon ... kinda ...

Some of my earliest, and certainly some of the fondest, memories of summers growing up in northeast Iowa center around RAGBRAI, the back seat of a 1964 Schwinn criterium-racing tandem, and time spent on the open road with my dad.
The tandem was canary yellow with bright blue handlebars, a 10 speed, and weighed in at more than 50 pounds.  And it was my favorite place to be on a humid July afternoon.  After many summers of begging to go along, my dad gave in and agreed to let me ride with him on RAGBRAI XVII.  I don’t remember a summer that he didn’t ride and I’ll never forget the first time he took me along.  I was nine years old and he had to rig blocks of wood on the pedals so my feet would reach. 
We left from our house in Waterloo early in the morning and set out for Dyersville – a mere 75 miles away.  But, it didn’t matter to me far we rode, I was happy just to be going along.  Turns out it was a good thing I didn’t have any concept of how far we went, because the ride ended up being 86 miles that day!
 I learned a lot of new things my first day on RAGBRAI.  Things, I never imagined I’d remember now 21 years later.  Like … if a hill has a name, its gonna hurt going up!  (But at the top of Iron Hill there was the best cherry pie I’d ever eaten … and a bathroom! I hadn’t yet mastered – or even attempted – going in a cornfield.)  I learned that everyone who sees a little kid on the back of a tandem will yell “She’s not pedaling”, and think they were the first person to come up with such a great line!  (I was pedaling … most of the time).  I learned that those Lutheran church-ladies can whip up a mean plate of spaghetti in their church basement, and that you have to eat more than you think so you don’t bonk.  (My dad already knew this, and would tease me by telling me not to eat my banana down to the bad spot and then hand it to him.  Knowing all the while I couldn’t resist such a trick!)  He dubbed it “the banana-pass” and to this day we both know what the other means when we say those words. 
We finally made it to Dyersville and I saw the basilica for the first time, where legend has it that my great-grandfather helped put the spire on the top … only he did so slightly inebriated … and left it a little bit cock-eyed as a result.  I wanted to go swimming when we got in, with the energy only a 9 year old can have after an 86-mile day.  And I was appalled that my dad was too tired to take me!   We slept in a full sized pick up truck that night and awoke to rain for day 2 – Dyersville to Bellvue.  I couldn’t wait to dip my tire in the mighty Mississippi.  That day I learned that a garbage bag makes a great poncho, and that I really could use a cornfield for a quick bathroom break if I really had to.  I giggled all day about a sign one farmer hung from his corn, “Please don’t pee on my corn, its wet enough already!”  I learned, much to my dad’s amusement, and much to my chagrin, that a buffalo burger is not just a big hamburger, but, in fact, made of buffalo meat!   We traced our hands on a quilt being made of all the riders’ handprints while passing through Andrew, IA.  He drew his big hand around the outside, and my little one just inside his.  That pretty much summed up how I felt about riding with my dad … part of a great adventure, but secure just being along for the ride with him.  We made up a little song as we rode, to the tune of “Under the Boardwalk” by The Drifters.  “Under the sunshine, down by the trees, on a bicycle with my daddy is where I’ll be.” 
Well, that was it … I was officially bit by the RAGBRAI bug, and my dad and I would ride parts of several other RAGBRAIs together in the coming years  … but nothing would ever quite compare to that first RAGBRAI together! 

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Next Prom ... May 2024

Tonight Tim and I took the girls to watch the promenade at the high school during prom festivities.  Ella liked seeing all of the girls in "fancy-dancy" dresses.  Although, I think I'm still the one who enjoys this more than anyone.  Brynn liked rocking out to the music playing in the background!
2 years ago, we did the same thing.  Ella was just 9 months old and Brynn was just a hope and a dream at that time (or an egg and a sperm if you want to be all technical about it...).  Anyway .... This is the blog post I wrote later that night after tucking her in.  Tonight my heart was in much the same place as that night  ... so I'll just re-post what I wrote then.  Only, now I'm thinking of two girls' first proms (and how I really better start saving for that now!  Holy cow ... the dresses were phenomenal, but surely couldn't be cheap!)  Anyway ...

A letter for my baby Ella with thoughts of your first prom ...

As I sat and watched all the teenage girls and their dates promenade through the gym tonight, with you sitting on my lap, my mind wandered into the future ... to your first prom.  I know it is almost 16 years away, but if what everyone says is true, that day will be here before we know it.

I imagine we’ll spend all day getting ready ... doing your hair and make up, maybe even going for pedicures or manicures.  You will put on your new dress (the one that I should start  saving for now!) and you’ll waltz down the stairs to show off for your dad and your younger brothers and sisters.  Daddy will twirl you around the living room, and we’ll take all kinds of pictures of our baby girl, now all grown up.  Maybe you’ll even wear a pink bow in your hair like you did tonight.

The bag I’ll help you pack that night will be entirely different than the one we took with us tonight. Then it will be make- up and hairspray; tonight it was a warm bottle and your favorite blankie.  

You’ll nervously await for your date to arrive.  Daddy and I will try not to let on that we’re even more nervous than you are.  And I’ll make sure Dad puts his shot-gun (which he thinks would be a really funny joke!) back in the safe.  This boy, who is not yet a beau, but more than just a friend, will show up at our door with your corsage in hand, and his car freshly washed.  Dad will probably tell a cheesy joke to try to break the ice, and you’ll be embarrassed and roll your eyes, but you’ll laugh at him anyway.  He always can make you laugh and smile.  You and your date pose for more pictures, and your cheeks start to hurt from smiling so much!
And before we know it, he’ll take your arm and lead you to the door.  I hope he’ll remember to open the car door for you.  And I hope he will treat with gentleness and respect. 
Daddy will wipe the tears from my eyes -- and try not to let anyone see them welling up in his own. We’ll pray that you’ll be safe ... that’ll you have fun ... that you’ll get lost in the moment and enjoy the freedom and carefree spirit of youth.  I hope you dance the night away with all of your friends close by!

We’ll  remind you to be strong and pure, and hope that you will be able to stand up to the peer pressure that often comes along with nights like this.  That you’ll be true to the values we’ve modeled and taught you over the past 16 years.  And we’ll swell with pride as we watch our little Ella Grace smile beautifully as they call your name during the promenade through the gym ...      

But, for tonight I’m going to hold you tight, all snuggled up on my lap.  I’ll rock you just a little longer than usual, and try to capture these moments in my mind’s eye --  your chubby little 9 month old face, rosy cheeks, the tiny pink bow in your soft blonde hair, those big blue eyes as they blink, heavily, off to sleep, and the funny way you pull my face close to yours for “Ella-kisses”.  And, tonight I am grateful, for many reasons, that I have another 16 years before your first prom. 

Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

So Long, Insecurity!

My mom and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the Beth Moore Simulcast this past weekend, and very much enjoyed and were convicted by her message. (Along with 300,000 other women across North America!)   (Thanks, Dad and Tim for watching the girls so we could enjoy a little mother-daughter time!)  We learned very quickly that insecurity is not humility and actually is a form of sin and pride as one's insecurities (my insecurities!) cause one to constantly be focused on themselves and what others are thinking of them.  She outlined, in the funny, heart-warming, insightful, energetic way that only Beth Moore can, what it looks like to be a secure woman in Christ.  Her words and the scriptures she spoke from have continued to minister to me all week.  It is my hope, that each day, I can continue to live as the redeemed daughter of the King that I am.  If not for my own sake, for the sake of my little girls, who do and will look to me as an example of what security in Christ looks like. 
As the event wrapped up, she asked us to turn to the woman beside us, and say these words to each other.  It was a really meaningful thing to say these words to my mom and to hear her say them to me:  (I copied this from Beth's blog at

My Dear Sister

If Christ is Your Savior
You are the dwelling place
Of His own Spirit
You have it IN YOU
to be secure.

Every day of your life
You have a choice to make
You can live in your old defeat
Or you can turn from your unbelief
And choose life

Make up your mind
To put off the old you
And put on the new you.

Never, ever, ever forget
That the Lord is your security.
He will keep your foot
From being caught in a trap.

He will take care of you
To your very last breath.

Now, leave this place
And go out into the world
And act like a person
Who knows she’s dearly loved.

You were born to be exceptional.
So, Girlfriend, go forth

And walk worthy of your calling.
You are clothed in strength and dignity!

Now unto Him
Who can keep you from falling
Be glory and majesty
Power and authority
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
Now and forever more
So Long, Insecurity!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Is this what He sees?

If this wasn't the cutest little sad face, I might not be able to handle all of the crying at my house some days ...
As a general rule, my kiddos are happy little girls, who play well together, are not terribly demanding and are learning to mind their parents and say please and thank you.  But, we have our moments, sometimes several moments, when the crying and fussing and carrying on abounds!  Recently, I had one of those "aha" parent moments when I caught just a glimpse of what God sees in me at times.  For the most part, I am a happy gal, not terribly demanding of God, I'm learning to listen to Him more and be more thankful even when I don't always get what I want.  But ... I wonder if when he looks down at me somedays if he sees a face and attitude like the one Brynn was sporting in the picture above!  The following true story brought me to this reflection ...
Brynn has assumed the role recently of my right hand man babe whenever I am at the stove preparing supper.  At 5:30 pm without fail she is hungry -- hungry is not a pleasant thing to be in our house!  (you'd think my kids were starving by the way they behave at supper time, except for the thigh-rolls and cheeks that give them away - but that's another story)  Anyway ... If there is something brewing on the stove, she assumes (correctly, for the most part) that it is for her.  She is not content to observe or happily sit by my feet while I lovingly prepare a gourmet feast hurridly throw something together! :)  Instead, she stands right next to me, reaching up for me, squaking, crying and shouting "mama" seven hundred and thirty seven times.  One day last week she discovered she could open the oven door.  Knowing she had figured out how to get to the jack-pot, I stood in front of the oven door, preventing her from getting the door open while the casserole was in the oven.  This royally ticked her off.  The typical crying and begging while I'm fixing supper, turned into all-out-fit-pitching.  And I do mean meltdown of epic proportions.  You'd think she was seriously injured or otherwise in jeopardy of serious injury the way she carried on.  I just shook my head, as I told her, "Honey, if you open that door while its hot, you'll burn your little hands."  She, of course, had no idea what I was saying, and continued to fuss.  I tried telling her "owie, hot, no touch" or something to that effect, thinking maybe she'd understand that instead.  Nope ... more fit-pitching, alligator tears, hanging head in defeat, more clinging to the handle on the oven door trying in vain to wip it open. 

Then there was that still small voice ... is this the way God sees me sometimes?  Do I beg and cry and whine and shout my requests to Him, not knowing what it is I am really asking for?  Do I pitch a big fit when I don't get just what I want?  Do I cling to and hang on the proverbial oven door, begging him to let me open it, not knowing that doing so will severely burn my hands ... inflicting pain and suffering for myself and for those around me?  Thank you, sweet Father, for standing in front of me, guarding me from my own selfish desires, knowing what it is that I am really asking for and keeping me from the harm I would so readily bring on myself.  And thank you for babies who fuss, who try my patience somedays, who are growing and developing just like they should, and who have taught me and continue to teach me lessons I would never learn otherwise.  I do so love them ... even when that's the face I look down at.  I can more clearly see that You look at me with that same kind of affection, even when my grumpy face is the one you see.   And, I continue to stand in awe ...

Monday, April 12, 2010

A nice change of pace

So after an extremely busy month in March, we have made it to April!  And, I'm really loving the change of pace.  I plan to post another time about my last few days at Family Medicine, but I don't have the pictures yet to go with the post ... so that post will be out of order, but that's ok.

Back to loving the change of pace...

For the first Monday in I don't know how many years (not counting maternity leaves and holidays) ...
... I did not set an alarm clock and slept in until the girls woke me up (it was 7:30AM, but that's not so bad)
... I stayed in my pajamas until 9:30 while sipping on a cup of coffee
... enjoyed just being a momma 
... laughed at Brynn learning to use a spoon
... threw a ball to Ella at least 50 times while she tried to catch it.  She told Brynn "I playing catchers with mom, and I'm a good catcher."  All the while, she was wearing her jammies shirt, undies, and high healed purple princess shoes.  I love that she is still little enough to wear exactly what she wants without worrying about how it looks; that she is still confident enough to believe she is a good catcher despite missing well over half of the balls thrown to her; just the right mix of girly-girl and tom-boy.
...put sunblock on the girls for the first time of the summer!  (Can I call it summer even though its only April?  It was 70+ degrees this morning!)
... rode my bike to the park while carting the two (not so little) bitties in the bike trailer (whew!) and watched them play in the sand and on the slides for an hour (B looked so cute in her sun hat!) 
... got eaten by a pink dinosaur while she was also eating her lunch (she said I tasted like chocolate...hmm)
... read them their stories myself before putting them down for naps
...then scurried off to pick up the basement and iron a few shirts for Tim (you're welcome, hon!)
... now I'm off to fix something for supper because soon the girlies will be awake again (or be awake still in Ella's case -- she's gonna be miserable later after not napping well  at all today)

I think I'm going to get used to this schedule really quickly!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

overheard at the park yesterday ....

So yesterday was one of my few days off in the month of March (cue violins playing sad song ...) and it was, by all appearances, a beautiful spring day!  It was a little bit chilly, but that doesn't keep a stir-crazy, outside-loving, energy-filled 2 year old from wanting to play at the park!  So, we bundled up and headed out to East Lake Park.  We swang, played in the sand, went down the slides, and climbed on the "wadders" several times each.  As the excitement over the playground waned, we set out for what I intended to be a quick walk on the trails.  Well, an hour later, I was carrying Ella on my shoulders, pushing a sleeping Brynn in the stroller, and carrying an arm load of treasures from our "adventure".  Ella and Brynn and I hiked all the way around the lake ... not that far, but quite a feat for a 2 year old!  She found acorns, cockleburs, walnuts, chime-pons (pinecones), sticks, and all kinds of leaves. 
The best quote of the day, approximately noon, we were two-thirds of the way around the lake, Ella is lagging behind and says to me, "momma, I just lay down in the grass and go to sweep (sleep)".  You think I wore her out?!  It was glorious! 
On a loosely related side note: She and Brynn both slept in until 9 o'clock this morning.  Of course, I'd been out of the house and at work for better than 3 hours at that point (insert second refrain of sad song here).  But Tim got a nice, sleep-in sort of Saturday.  I can count the number of times they've both slept that late on one finger. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cake, Cake, Cake!!

Here are some pictures of the girls at Brynn's birthday party on Saturday.  They both loved the cake ... and actually it was one of the most impressive 1st birthday cakes I've seen!  This wonderful lady (who made both my wedding cake and my sister's) made Brynn's cake.  It was going to be small and cute, but she wanted to use it to make an instructional/how-to type video for cake decorating, so it had to be 3 tiers.  So, she threw in the extra tier for free!  As a bonus, we got to sample 3 different flavors of cake, and they were all delicious.  Thanks, Kathy!  You're the best.  Check her out at
She is so talented, and is just a really nice person too!
So ... without further ado ... here's the cake...

We had a wonderful day for Brynn's party.  Thanks to all the family and friends who came to celebrate!  I'll post more pictures of the birthday girl when I get them organized! 

Monday, March 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl!

It is really hard for me to believe that my baby girl is one already!  Sweet little Brynn Elizabeth was born March 16, 2009 at 9:30 pm.  She was the perfect addition to our young family, and it has been a joy to watch her grow.  She is a happy baby with a charming smile that wrinkles her nose.  She has a very tender heart, and gets her feelings hurt easily.  She adores her big sister Ella, and wants to be where Ella is.  She does not want to miss anything.  Playing next to momma, daddy or Ella is her favorite place to be.  She is crawling all over the place now, and wants to walk really badly, but she's not quite brave enough yet.  She is a binkie baby, but only needs it at bedtime these days.  Just a couple of weeks ago she started talking more and more and now says "mama, dada, Ella, Deke, this, more, and hi."  Peek a boo and 'ride-a-little-horsey' are hilarious in her world!  She has a slightly mesmerizing attachment to her blankie, and within seconds of it being in her hands she will lay down on it and close her eyes... even if she was just up playing.  Its like she cannot resist its sleep-inducing-powers!   She will grin and clap anytime she hears music start playing.   She gives the best open mouth kisses called an "a-wah" because she always makes this hysterical "a-wah" sound as she plants one on ya! 
Brynn weighs in at 23 pounds, but I am not sure yet how long she is!  She has always trend at the top of the growth chart just like her big sissy!  I wish I could just bottle her up and keep her a baby forever.  These days go by so fast.  But, I know that part of the blessing of being a mommy is learning to hold on to these babies with an open hand and allowing them to grow, learn, explore and blossom.
Thank you, God, for the awesome privilege being momma to Brynn and Ella.  I love them more than words can express.  My heart just bursts every time my mind turns to them.  May I be found worthy of this high calling.  I love you, Brynnie.  Happy Birthday, baby girl. 


Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Best Nap-Hair Ever

Raisins + Celery + Peanut Butter = Lots of Fun

 ... Plus its a great way to get a 2 year old to eat celery! 


Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Let's Try This Again

Hi Friends!!

So, I have officially shut down the former blog, and I'm going to try to keep one here updated. 
Don't expect much out of me in March, because I have just started a new job, and I haven't yet finished at my current one!  So, March is pretty much going to be crazy around here ... but I know we'll get through it just fine!

I am hopeful that I can start/continue to capture the busy life that we are so enjoying with our two sweet girlies, and all of the funny, (sometimes naughty) things they say, do and learn.   I am hopeful that I can share my heart, and what I am learning about being a better wife, friend, mom, sister, daughter, PA and follower of Christ.   And I am hopeful that we can enjoy the journey together.

And just for fun, I'll include a cute picture of my*almost* one-year-old!  Where has the time gone?!

I love broccoli!!