Thursday, December 30, 2010


lots still going on around here.
we have company and are trying to soak up all of chris, brenda, bode and boone that we can. they leave sunday.
snow is quickly melting. they are talking 53 degrees tomorrow. so the beautiful trees are disappearing as i type.
it's just kind of wet. and brown. not nearly so dreamy.
so it was sledding yesterday and we are going bowling today. i'm happy with both. :)
(i tend to live in the exact moment...sometimes good...sometimes not. but it's who i am.)
we are having our stewart-side christmas tonight. the kids are busting at the seams with anticipation.
paul has THREE inspections this week. kind of "yay!" and kind of "ugh!". he's been busy and tired. but today is his "friday", so he's pretty excited to close out this week. and the year. :)
i haven't taken any pictures. i'm so mad. my grandpa was here and i did not get a single picture of him with the kids. so frustrated with myself about this!
that's about it for today.
off to kick some butt in bowling.
is it really almost 2011?!?!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

what can bring dreaminess to a screeching halt??

watching a VERY late night iowa hawkeye bowl game with you 9 year-old son (yes...still very dreamy) and casually looking over at him as he is scratching the crap out of his head.
that does it.
abruptly waking up from the dream while shaving his head bald at 12:30 am on a tuesday night. (or is that wednesday morning?)

either was an awesome hawkeye win tonight.
love 'em or leave 'em.
(that hawkeyes that is. NOT the lice. we'll leave the lice.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

I realize my posts have been a little "dreamy"

but is DREAMY out there.
a couple pics from a few minutes ago...

and this is our road.
our house is on the left behind that dark brown fence.
and our neighborhood looks insanely beautiful.
i. am. in. love.

and inside?

we are still in our pajamas.
it's warm in here.
and beautiful outside.
my dreaminess will wear off soon, i'm sure.
but for now...i'm enjoying it.
so just humor me.
or ignore me.
or whatever works for you.
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mom and the girls worked together to make place cards for everyone...

then mom put on her chef hat and finished dinner...

it was delicious!
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after the gifts were opened

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group shots on christmas day.

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Sunday, December 26, 2010

we have found our happy place

the past couple of days have been awesome.
we are love Love LOVING being out here in the woods! :)
it has been SO gorgeous. we've had a fire going for about 30 hours straight.
bundled up and went out for walks and shoveled snow together.
played games. drank hot cocoa. and ayla fell asleep last night as we watched A Christmas Carol.
it's been nearly perfect.
we are happy.
but tomorrow it's back to reality. paul goes back to work.
:( sooooo sad.
i wish he had this week off.
but we have more company on their way. my grandpa and uncle will be arriving at my mom's tomorrow.
then chris, brenda, bode and boone get here on tuesday!!
we are so excited to see them!!
we'll celebrate another christmas with them and they'll be here through the new year!!
so lots of good things yet to come.
back to the family.
it's toy story 2 tonight. and the fire is still burning.
there is something about the fire that makes the kids calm.
i'm serious.
so thankful tonight. so so thankful.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Can you tell I loved the snow??

It was so gorgeous.
I loved every single second of it!
And I'll be happy if it's all gone by January 1st and I don't see it again for another year!

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More snow on Christmas Eve Day...




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Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve




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We were dreaming of a white Christmas...

And we got it.
We are ecstatic.
2 days of the year I hope and pray for snow.
It's beautiful out there.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours.
Merry Merry Christmas, indeed.
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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ayla and Willow

ayla sometimes goes in willow's "room" and sings.
i just happened to be on the computer when she was singing a few minutes ago and decided to type the words as she sang them.
this is what she said...

my heart tells me it will not stop beeping...
i love flowers and trees...
you are a good good girl...
to the castle...
my heart tells me it will will not stop BEEEEEEEEEPING...
my heart...
my baby willow...
it wouldn't sleep and then she closed her eyes....
i love you my baby willow...
my heart tells me it will not stop beePING....
my heart tells me it loves willow.
willow puts her paw on my sometimes.
sometimes she does not.
sometimes she does.
i love staaaaaarrrrs.
when i put willow's paw on me, she'll put her paw on me sometimes and sometimes she doesn't...
i love you my baby willooooooowwwww....
my heart tells me it will.not.stop.BEEEEPPPING!!!!!!!

2010 Christmas Letter

(no...i did not send any. this is it!)


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I sat down with my computer and a hot cup of peppermint mocha coffee the other night by the fire and took a deep breath. It was time to write the annual Christmas letter. I stared at the glowing screen for what seemed like hours. Nothing. I started to type and then I’d find myself backspace backspace backspacing. It’s just too overwhelming. I wanted to capture the emotion of this year, yet it seemed impossible. When I think back to January, February, and March, it seemed like a million years ago and that our lives were so very different and I couldn’t quite put my finger on the WHY of it all.

WHY does our family feel so much more bonded this year? Is it because we finally sold our house in September and moved into a new home a little bit outside of town? Maybe it’s because Brigg (9) and Lani (7) had to change schools and enter into a new little world of their own. Even though Brigg has been involved in baseball, basketball, football and piano lessons this year, he still did not know a single soul entering 3rd grade at a new school and it was a difficult transition for him. But as we sit here in late December we feel good about it. He can honestly say he loves his new school and loves our new neighborhood. I’m pretty sure this move has stretched him and matured him in ways we didn’t expect. He is getting so old and continues to make us laugh hysterically on a daily basis. With imagination, intensity, drive, and deep love oozing from his being, we love him more and more each day.

WHY do I feel like time is slipping so quickly through my fingers? Maybe it’s because Lani has grown into a beautiful girl right before my very eyes. She too, entered 1st grade at a new school this year. The transition for her was seamless. She is so independent and pretty much keeps to herself. She had only made a couple friends in kindergarten, so the friendship aspect was not a problem. Just a month after starting school, she invited a couple girls to her birthday party and I could see she was also going to be fine in this new setting. She also started piano lessons this year and loves it! She is a true middle child. She is sensitive and compassionate and brings calm to or somewhat excitable family. We would be complete chaos without her sensibility. :)

WHY does it feel like we are entering a new season on our family life? Maybe because Ayla (3) has started going to daycare for the first time in her little life. And she loves it. She has wanted to put a backpack on and go to “school” for the past year. And this year, I decided we were all ready for a little change. So I renewed my sub license and signed her up for day care. We were fortunate enough to have a friend who was starting an in-home day care and was willing to take Ayla on a drop-in basis. Ayla is doing wonderful. Our much-needed little surprise to this family, we cannot imagine our lives without her. As much as Lani adds calm to our lives, Ayla adds spunk. She is a 30 year-old in a 3 year-old’s body. She brings laughter and excitement and passion to our daily lives. And we are so thankful God gave her to us when we had no idea we needed her so badly.

And Paul (still old…and bald) :) continues to be this family’s rock. Our common sense. Our bonding agent. He keeps me grounded and the kids (and DOG!) in line. He is still working at Muscatine Power and Water and also doing home and radon inspections. He loves us deeply and works hard to support us in all our endeavors. He is our sounding board and biggest cheerleader. An amazing father and husband, I cannot imagine getting through my days without him.

WHY do I feel like a different person than I did last year at this time? It appears that could be because of a million different reasons. I took a trip to Africa in March. Sierra Leone, to be exact. A week in a place that I had been praying for for years changed me in ways that I cannot ever describe in words. I have referred to feeling suffocated there several times. It sounds horrible, but honestly it was amazing. God revealed himself to me there and I will never be the same. My entire perspective on life was changed in a single moment in a hot, loud room in the poorest slum in Sierra Leone on a Saturday afternoon while I watched as children worshipped with hungry bellies and dirty rags for clothes. While I prayed with them as they waited for a single vitamin and a hard-boiled egg (probably their only nutrition for the week), God showed me that HE was there. Even when things look hopeless and broken beyond repair….HE is there. And He continued to remind me of that over the rest of this year. As I walked through dark valleys with good friends and said goodbye to friends as they moved on with their lives, He was there.

It’s been a year of change for us. And what seemed like scary change has turned out to be beautiful. I did not have to look far to see God’s hand in all of it. So as we enter into 2011, we are praying that we continue to hold what appears to be ours with a loose grip. That we remember our lives are not our own. That we treat others with grace and mercy and not judgement and scorn. That we remember this holiday season that God sent his only son for US. And He is here. In our brokenness and in those moments that seem overwhelming, He is closer than ever. In the end, I’m pretty sure that’s WHY my memories and emotions of this year felt so overwhelming when I started this letter. Because of Him and the new ways we have been introduced to Him this year. So very thankful for that. And may we remember the true reason for celebrating this holiday season. Because of a little boy born in a manager over 2000 years ago. One who is still with us today.

Much love from the Burback family this Christmas and into the New Year,
Cassie (for all the Burbacks!)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

good night world....

i'm beat.
i think i'm done shopping.
but then again, i thought i was done like 2 weeks ago. things keep popping up.
last day of school tomorrow.
i made a million cookies for lani's party and for paul's work.
he also has thursday and friday off.
i'm helping out in lani's room tomorrow afternoon for her party.
i love doing that stuff.
thursday morning paul is staying home with the kids and i get to meet amy for coffee.
strange how excited i am to have coffee with a friend with no children.
it will be nice.
feeling quite sentimental tonight. missing all the people i won't get to see over christmas that i love.
i think i'm overly tired.
or it could be the spiked eggnog.
either way, i'm done.
going to call it a night right now.
good night world....

Mr. Jesus?

Mom sent this to me and I thought it was so cute!!
I love " Mr. Jesus?" and "The Three Amigos!!"

Monday, December 20, 2010

Some Burback-side Christmas pics...




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oh Smartwool sock...where have you been all my life??

i love my mother-in-law.
she understands my sock concerns and validates them.
and she buys me AMAZING (albeit a bit expensive) socks for my birthday.
socks that are fitted and tight and will probably last for years without getting holes in them.
they are
Smartwool socks.
and i. am. in. love.
they have changed my life.
if you are looking for an awesome sock, may i suggest these?
and you might be able find them cheaper on a different site. i just wanted you to be able to read about them.
awesome, i tell you. awesome.
kind of like my mother-in-law! :)

busy busy

i've been busy since thursday night.
(well...a lot of the "busyness" was actually just "having fun", but that still counts!)
slept better last night than i have in like a year. it was awesome.
it's monday, so that means bread and granola and tortillas if i have time.
just pulled the granola out of the oven...smells awesome.
bread it rising and meat is thawing to get thrown in the crock pot.
we need to make a bank/grocery store run when the bread is done.
apparently there is an ice/snow storm arriving this evening.
i want to be prepared.

i have pics from the weekend, but haven't downloaded them yet.
we had fun company last night and i got to snuggle with a sweet "little" baby boy.
it was fun!

back to work. really...there are only 3 days till christmas eve. lots to do!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Friday eve...

really looking forward to this weekend.
we are celebrating with paul's side on saturday.
fun, no doubt!

and i know a couple new things after the past 2 days.
1. i do not ever want to be a preschool teacher.
2. i do not ever want to be a kindergarten teacher.

and that's all i have to say about that.

but subbing is keeping me busy and i do love being in the schools. just an energy and fills me up.
it's awesome.
and i'm so thankful.
and i'm pretty sure i could get really really busy if i let myself. it is nice to be in complete control deciding whether or not i want to work a day or not.
i have only turned down one day because of prior commitments. otherwise i'm just saying yes to everything. getting my name out there. then maybe i can start being a little more picky.

snuggling in bed right now with paul, ayla, willow and a cup of Good Earth tea.
reading books.
soaking up this age.
ayla is so incredibly fun right now.
SO fun.
and she LOVES her day care. and the little girls she gets to be with. it's ALL girls. :) funny.
her day care provider is awesome. so so awesome.

so basically, life right now kind of rocks.
the main floor laundry and attached garage in 5 inches of snow is just the icing on the cake!

i know.
but my brain is fried.
preschoolers and kindergartners will do that to you.
happy friday eve!!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Happy Happy Birthday, Mom!!

It was a great night.
Drinks, dinner, dessert and fun.
And how is it that my mom is only 40?
Weird...since I'm 33. :)
Happy birthday, Mom.
Love you....
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remember when i blogged about the coal project and how it combined so many of my passions?
caring for the EARTH being one of them?
HERE is just one more reason why i LOVE this project.
(also...order your coal by friday if you want christmas shipping!!)

Etsy SALE!!

$3000 has been raised so far in the W4C etsy shop!!
and starting today they are having a SALE...25% off everything.
go check it out!
i received my items yesterday and they are awesome!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

kind of irritating...

i ordered a wall decal for brigg's room from amazon.
it was one of those big ones made by
it's super fun and brigg loves it.
if you are in the market for one, i got mine MUCH cheaper through amazon.
seriously...the decal came rolled in this long tube. probably about 4-ft long. put it in a box to ship. and i'm not kidding, the box was 4-ftx4-ft.
a GIGANTIC square.
about 3 sqare feet of wasted space.
totally irritating.
then they stuffed the rest of the space was yards and yards and yards and yards of this brown paper.
i about died when i started pulling it out.

i would guess at least 100 ft. i am NOT kidding.
why would they do that?
it makes no sense to me.
anyway...i couldn't bare to throw it away.
enter in repurposed wrapping paper and craft activity for the day.
ayla and i worked on it forever and didnt even get halfway through it all.

she fully enjoyed every second of it.
and a couple funny things she said:

AYLA: "Mom, can you hand me a tissue?"
ME: "Sure. Why do you need it?"
AYLA: (wearing her blue Cinderella dress) "Because princesses don't PICK their nose. They BLOW their nose."
( least she knows princess etiquette!)

AYLA: "Mom, what are we having for lunch?"
ME: "What do you want for lunch?"
AYLA: "Cham Clowder! Cham Clowder is my favorite!"
too cute.
Love her to pieces.
She makes my days so fun!
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