Sunday, February 28, 2010

My prayer tonight....

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
Lord, may I not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
Because it is in giving that we receive,
in pardoning that we are pardoned.

Supply packing...check

Just finished up packing the supplies we are taking over to Africa.
5 suitcases full.
We are really going. :)
Now I need to go pack my own clothes.
Getting super excited.
Still worried about leaving Ayla.
I'm leaving right during her naptime. I hate that. She'll wake up and I'll be gone. Ugh.
Once we get through tomorrow, I'll be fine.
Butterflies galore in my stomach!!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Now what?

I've been preparing for our showing all week.
I've been making copies of things and getting money and collecting supplies for our trip all week.
Well the showing is over.
The house is cleaned from top to bottom.
Supplies are gathered.
And now I'm pacing.
Literally pacing.
Now what?
Jody will be picking me up in 49 hours.
I need to do something until then.
I'm distracted and busy in my mind, but just pacing around the house.
Must just be nervous energy. Need to release it somehow.

In other news, Dad made it to Haiti...barely.
Made his connection in Atlanta with about 3 minutes to spare.
Haven't heard anything from him since he boarded the plane to Haiti.
Praying he made it into the country with his supplies.

Back to pacing.
If only we'd get an offer on our house. Now that would give me something to do. :)

Friday, February 26, 2010


Can't decide how I'm feeling.
One moment I'm giddy with anticipation.
The next I'm hugging my kids on the verge of tears.
The next I'm helping my dad get out the door to head to Haiti.
And then it starts all over again.
It's been a crazy day.
The kids are realizing that I'm truly leaving and they are going to miss me.
But I know they'll be fine. We have lots planned for them. I only worry about Ayla because she's so little. But I'm confident they'll barely miss me.

The newest info on dad. (many have emailed with questions and i don't have lots of time to reply)
He is flying out this afternoon. Getting to Miami tonight and staying the night. Flies out tomorrow morning for Haiti. Arrives around 10:30am. They told him to be ready to hit the ground running. He will get directly to work. The previous anesthesia person had been there nearly 4 weeks. She had only signed up for ONE. She was losing it and needed to leave. It was fairly abrupt, but she gave him lots of information about what he would need to bring. Please be praying for him to get through security with his equipment. Apparently people are having a hard time getting in with all medical equipment. It could be interesting. He NEEDS this equipment to be the most effective. So if you are the praying type, please put that at the top of your list.
Also, rainy season started yesterday. He has a cot and a sleeping bag. He will be sleeping outside. They said the conditions were "horrible".
I just left the house and they were grabbing last minute items to head out the door. He was a bit crazy trying to make sure he had everything. And anyone who knows dad can imagine how this was all playing out at the house. I think he's having a mix of nervous energy, excitement and anxiety over the unknown. So be thinking about him. He leaves Haiti on March 10. They tell him that is the hardest part...walking away knowing that there is more work to be done. Lots to pray about.

And AFRICA!!!!!!!!!! T minus 3 days! I'm throwing things in a pile as I think of them. Got a head lamp today. Hilarious. I will not be bringing ANY technology. No computer, phone or camera. Which is a good thing. Because as I think about the 8 of us in Africa, I can imagine me wanting to live behind my camera lens the whole time. Which is not where I need to be. If you want to follow along, Jody will try to put updates on her sidebar under her Twitter account. Just go to her blog and check for updates. Her dad may also be posting some updates in blog form as well.

I think that's it for now. Oh yes...and we have a showing in the morning. Which I am now going to go prepare for. Oh how I hope it goes well. Paul has been SO SO busy with home inspections this week. 4 full house inspections and 3 radon. That is a good sign that things are beginning to move again. We have a house in mind if ours would sell soon. So of course I'm hoping THESE ARE OUR BUYERS!

Off to do some touch-up paint.
If you made it this far, thanks for listening. :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My little artist

I love to walk in her room and check out her easel.
There is always something different on there.
And I kind of want to professionally frame this lion.
Isn't it GREAT?! :)
(maybe I'm a little biased. i know....)

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Making her evening rounds...

Checking her blackberry...

Bugging her brother...

Snuggling while Daddy reads her a bedtime story...

I can't remember what we did without her.
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I'm finishing up week 4 of p90x.
And it's still hard.
I would never do this workout in front of other people.
Thank goodness it's a home workout program! :)
But I do think Ayla makes it look pretty fun....

She truly does do my workouts with me.
And she's honestly pretty good.
I'm super impressed with how quickly she has picked up on the different moves.
She's a master at jumping jacks!
And she doesn't even wet her pants when she does them.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Half way through this week!

It's getting crazy around here!
Dad leaves Friday for Haiti. I leave Monday for Africa.
And I just got a phone call to schedule a showing for Saturday morning.
I get very excited about showings. Especially considering we've had like 1 showing in the last 7 months.
Good thing I've been working on the house the past few days. I don't feel overwhelmed with getting it ready to show.
Starting to pack for Africa today.
I'm getting so excited!!! I love that feeling of excitement and anticipation.
Love it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm ready for this day to be over....

Just feel exhausted. But I have lots left to accomplish tonight.
Kids are fast asleep.
Paul is at a meeting and won't be home for a bit.
I need to fit in another hour or so of productivity!!

Dad is heading to Haiti on Friday with Mercy Ships. He has had his paperwork in for weeks and has just been waiting for a call from them. They called this afternoon and asked if he could come tomorrow. They are in great need of an anesthesia person immediately. Like they said...tomorrow. After much scrambling, he is on a flight out on Friday. He is flying into Port au Prince and will be working in a MASH tent in the city. They informed him that he would not have access to monitors or anesthesia machines. He will be using techniques from the dark ages. And I'm pretty sure he can't wait to get there and get busy. He'll be staying until March 10. They also told him to bring a cot. The rainy season is approaching and a sleeping bag would not be sufficient. He'll be bringing his own medical supplies as well.

And now back to me being wiped. I just am. Emotionally and physically wiped. The quiet in this house is allowing my brain to think and process and it's just crazy. Life, that is.
It's just crazy. And so fleeting. I so don't want to waste it. I do not want to waste this life. We only get one chance. I pray that my eyes continue to open to those hurting places where I can be used for good.

Enough thinking. Back to work!

Housework is never complete

And that is why I hate it.
I like to start a project and finish a project and then move on to something new and different and exciting.
This does not describe housework.
I'm slowly working my way through the house so by Sunday night it will be clean and laundry will be complete, folded and put away.
I need to have bags packed for the kids to stay a night at my parents and spend some time over the weekend at Lisa and Tony's house.
If I get lots done, I may even try to get all packed for our road trip to my parents house in Florida 3 days after my return. I'm sure I won't be wanted to do it when I'm trying to recover so we can drive 22 hours in a small car! :)
I feel like I'm making progress. It's just keeping it all in order until departure day. Lots can happen in 6 days.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Girl Effect

The first time I saw this video, I cried.
It's just words.
But they had a huge impact on me.
And now I am reading the book "Half the Sky" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
Watch and then read the book...

Come together now

Point your toes, Ayla

I painted Ayla's toenails last week.
I kept telling her to point her toes and she wouldn't do it.
I said, "Ayla, please point your toes so I can pain them!"
She said, "I am!"
This is what she was doing...

She was pointing AT her toes.
For some reason I found that so funny....
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Sunday, February 21, 2010

The real preparation.

Man, I have been busy. At least in my MIND I have been busy.
Daily tasks are being sent through my Africa lens. I'll be doing lani's hair and shout out to Paul, "Hey, while I'm gone, I think you should just pull Lani's hair back in a pony tail every day. That will be easiest." Then I look at Lani and I say, "Remind your dad to pull your hair back in a pony tail every day. That will be the easiest for him."
Then I drop the kids off at school and I call Paul and remind him, "Hey, when I'm gone, don't forget that you need to sign the agendas every day. K?" And after school I tell the kids, "Hey guys, remember to remind daddy to sign your agendas every evening. K?"
Every single task.
Don't forget piano at 4 on Monday.
Gymnastics at 5 on Monday.
Baseball at 6 on Tuesday.
Birthday party on Sunday at 3.
and on and on and on and on....
I have been preparing.
But last night it hit me in church...I am personally, in my heart, nowhere near prepared for this trip.
I am going to Sierra Leone.
It's not Florida, people.
It's not Mexico.
It's not even Guatemala.
It's the poorest country in the world.
And I will be there in 8 days.
So last night as I rushed to get Ayla into Kidzone and was barking out orders to Paul about how to sign her in and all the things not to forget, I was slapped in the face by my heart.
About 10 seconds into Andy's first song during worship, the tears started flowing. It was crazy. I couldn't stop them. I am so not ready to do this. I started thinking about the people there and how I don't want to make a fool of myself in front of them. About these teenagers who were going to be meeting us for the first time and how I cannot even begin to hold a candle next to the light the WMF team has been showing them for years.
I just started to pray that I could connect with one. One person. That that person would look at me and see something that would click. Maybe a desire to love them like Jesus loves them. Can I do that? I don't really feel worthy of being a part of this group. Even as I type this I feel a small panic coming over me.
I just want them to be able to see my heart and how I so desperately want it to beat the way same way Jesus heart beats.
I realize I am rambling now. But it's how I'm feeling right now. Today. And all these feelings are rolling around my heart and in my head. I need to let go of the here. Paul and mom and dad and the kids, they are going to be fine. Geez. They are fine. I need to focus on the there. And be praying for my own heart. If you'd pray for me, too, that would be great.
Gosh...I'm going to AFRICA

Thursday, February 18, 2010

At Ayla's appointment on Monday...

She weighed 23 pounds.
I think her shirt is appropriate...
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Sometimes I wish I still knew it all...

I have been thinking about this lately.
How come, when I was 23 years old, I knew it ALL?
I had it all figured out. You asked me a question, I gave you a confident answer.
It was simple.
And now, at 33, the only think I know is that the older I get, the less I know.
And the more children I have, the less I know about parenting.

At 23 I could have told you:
1. I will never have more than 2 children.
2. I will NEVER...not EVER live in Muscatine again.
3. I will NEVER...not EVER be a stay-at-home mom.

4. I will always live in a big, old house. (which i would give anything to SELL right now)
5. I would never...not EVER...let me child drink some of my coffee in the morning.
6. I will never...not EVER drive a mini van.

7. I will never cry when I send one of my TWO children to kindergarten. Not EVER.
8. I WILL have a dog. (yeah...we sold ours when we found out we were having baby #3.)
9. We WILL have a Harley by the time we are 25.
10. We will spend our 10th anniversary in Margarita Island.

I could go on and on with all the things I knew.
But obviously, I knew nothing.
Because not ONE of those things listed is true today.
And I have 3 kids who love art (photo documentation #1)
And sports (photo documentation #2)
And teaching themself how to potty on the big toilet (photo #3)
And thank GOD I didn't know what I was talking about.
Thank God.
But some days, I just wish I knew it all again.
It was nice.
No questions.
No doubts.
I just knew.
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deep breath in.........and oooooout

i think ayla is getting better. it's been a bit of a roller coaster the past couple days. i'd feel like she was improving and then she'd crash again. but this morning she is looking and acting much better. whew! i have lots to get done.
i'm going to bake bread, do laundry and CLEAN today.
3 goals.
i need to pack for africa sometime as well. i've been filling out my calendar in great detail to paul knows when and where the kids are supposed to be each day.
oh...and i'm super excited about this. i have been LOVING clif bars these days. but they are pricy. Paul sent me a link yesterday showing you how to make them at home! yay! so i want to try those out, too. which means a trip to the store. and i don't have time for the store today. that will have to wait until tomorrow.
that's it. nothing else.
happy thursday! (today IS thursday, right?)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tater Tot!

Sunday night Tate appeared on our front step. :)
And he is staying until this afternoon.
He got to be toted along to the doctor and to the pharmacy and also witness meds being administered and neb treatments being given.
He has been a TROOPER.
Never once complained.
Joined right in with the big kids on their day off yesterday

We watched "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs"
and ate ice cream yesterday.
Contrary to his face in this photo, he was having a good time.

He has been very tough the past couple of days.
Putting up with Ayla being sick and then feeling better and taking her anger out on him.
He gotten a taste of what it feels like to have lots of siblings.
And eat meat and potatoes. And not get your feelings hurt when you get pushed.
I'd have to say it's been a learning experience for him.
And I think he'll want to come back some day. Ha!!
We love you, Tater!!
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3 years ago tomorrow...

Paul and I returned from Guatemala after a 9 day missions trip.
And this is what the kids looked like.

And Ayla was born 9 months later.
In two weeks I will be leaving them again for the same amount of time.
I can't believe it's been 3 years!
I can't believe how LITTLE they were!
Oh how time flies...
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Valentines Day.
Giant Hershey kisses from Nana and Papa...

My babies...who really aren't babies anymore, but will always be to me.

about 15 hours after the previous photo...
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And Ayla

Ayla spent most of the weekend trying to get her little hands on Leah's cats.
She LOVED them.
The feelings were not mutual.
But she tried and tried and tried and tried to win them over...

with snacks.

with little kitty laser toys.

With her sweet ways. :)

She may not have won the cats over, but I think she won Jeff over! :)
(here she is wearing his hat).
She had a cold all weekend, but I honestly thought she was getting better by Sunday.
No such luck.
24 hours after this photo was taken we were in the doctor's office with a temp over 103.
Poor thing. She does seem to be improving today.
Her spunk is coming back out. Never been so happy to see that spunk!
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She really wanted to snowboard.
Really really wanted to.
But we felt like it would be too long of a day for her and that Paul could only handle teaching one of them at a time.
So next time Brigg will be independent and Lani will learn.
And she thoroughly enjoyed tubing.
Paul said she insisted on doing it all by herself with no help from daddy.
Of course she allowed him to carry her frozen body back to the care at the end of the day though.

And she was ready to get back to Leah and "do art".
Honestly, these two look like mother and daughter to me.
The two blondies...

Leah has an UHmazing massage chair.
We all fought over it all weekend.
If we had room in our car, I'm pretty sure Paul would have stolen it with no remorse.
Lani loved it, too...

As always, she just loved being with Leah. Someone who shares her love of art and accessories and painted nails. :)
Someone who looks like her and "gets" her.
She loves Leah. (as we ALL do!)

And Lani is my quiet, shy one.
She goes with the flow. She loves being together and just hanging out, watching the Olympics.
Or playing a game.
She can do without loud music and wild behavior! :)
She is the calm in this crazy group.
And I love age 6 with her. She's my sweet little LuBug.
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Oh Brigg...

He caught on to snowboarding by the end of the morning.
But he admitted it was much harder than he expected.

This kid cracks me up.
I know I've said it before but I just "get" his humor.
And he's pretty quick.
After the last run down the hill he said, "Ya know...I'm kinda like Shaun White. Only that last time down I looked more like Snow White."

He's great. And so so fun.
I love this age. And I say that with every new stage with him.
I know those teenage years are coming. And he won't be so quick to give me a hug and kiss when he hops out of the car.
But today, I think 8.5 years old is just about perfect.
And he'll always be my baby boy.
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I'm trying here.

Really wanting to get my life back together.
Not sure when I lost all order, but I need to find it.
We are down to 13 days until departure to Africa.
I'm trying to get Ayla better, laundry caught up, bags packed and life planned before then.
I've got a ton of pictures that I want to get on here, too.
We had valentines parties on Friday.
The kids made salt dough hearts and painted them.
They put magnets on the back and wrote TO and FROM on the back.
These were their valentines this year...

I loved them.
I had to buy the magnets, be we had everything else in the art closet.
They were fun and pretty easy to make!
The funny part is that they missed their parties.
We headed to Leah's for the weekend and we needed to get out of town a little early to get Paul to an appointment in Iowa City before we continued on to Minnesota.
Lots of hours in a car.
As you can imagine, Ayla was a perfect angel...

Saturday I got to hang with Leah ALL DAY and Paul took Brigg snowboarding in the morning.
I was kind of sad that I didn't get any pics, but Paul took a couple on his phone.
Then I dropped Lani off at noon and they spent the rest of the day tubing.

Buck Hill was literally under 5 minutes from Leah's place.
It was SO convenient!
Paul texted several times throughout the day saying what an amazing time they were having.
Everyone was happy.
And here they are after hours and hours in the snow...

I think it's a good think I don't live in a big city.
Although often times I wish I did. I love the activity of the city. All the places to go. But with my personality, I would want to be DOING things and EATING fun things ALL. THE. TIME.
I would need a really really good job...making lots of money to keep up with all my doing and eating!
While we were there we hit Target...which is a special treat for this small town girl.
As well as Starbucks. Ayla and Lani had a frappachino.
And we wandered the aisles. I got lots of things that I cannot get in Muscatine.
It was sushi in the afternoon.
Um FAVORITE food EVer.
And I never get it here.
And later in the night, between Olympic events and Ping Pong tournaments, we ordered some awesome pizza.
And did I mention bloody mary's?
Yeah...those, too. With pickles and celery and pepperocinis in them.
Leah and Jeff were awesome. Putting up with all 3 of our kids.
I think it was fabulous birth control for them!
And I'm pretty sure their kitties will never be the same.
It was a perfect weekend.
We came home filled up and fully refreshed.
Which turned out to be a great thing.
Because reality tends to slap you in the face hard after a weekend away.
And there was no exception this time.
FREEEEEZING house when we walked in the door.
Pneumonia and scary sick moments within 24 hours.
So thankful for the memories though. And time with fabulous friends who we can be ourselves with.
Thank you Leah and Jeff!! It was perfect while it lasted!! :)
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Rough day

Ayla has pneumonia.
She spiked quite a temp in the dr. office and I kinda freaked.
No school today, so I had all the kids with me AND my nephew, Tate.
While driving to pick up her prescriptions, she was a limp noodle in her car seat.
I said, "Ayla...AYLA!" And got no response.
I was a bit panicked and on edge after a night of no sleep.
Brigg reached over and woke her up.
Then he reached over and rubbed my arm and said, "Take a deep breath Mom. It's ok. She's just sleeping."
Sheesh. He's 8. And I'm tired.
But she is currently on neb treatments every 4 hours and fever reducers every 3 hours as well as an antibiotic. Which gives her horrible, urgent, diarrhea. I know, TMI. Sorry.
But this is what we're dealing with today.
Fortunately, Paul took half a day of sick leave this afternoon to come home and help out.
And she seems better tonight. Her breathing is a bit less labored and her cough seems more "productive".
She's still up with me after a very long, very late nap. I'm going to get in one more neb treatment before bed. Dr. said to not wait any more than 6 hours between treatments, so we'll be doing another early morning.
3 kids and it's still not any easier.
Just another day. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

we have heat

so thankful for a mr. fix-it hubby.
we have heat.
oh...and an extra child for the next 2 days...
busy busy

amazing weekend

it was so so so fun. good for the soul kind of fun.
walked in our house and said, "geez...our house is SO much colder than leah's!"
lani then said, "mom, it's COLD in here!"
i took my shoes off and felt like i was walking across ice on the kitchen floor.
walked over to the thermostat.
42 degrees.
yeah...houston, we have a problem.
paul is working on it now.
fortunately, we have TWO furnaces and the one upstairs is working.
so we're hanging out up here, eating gigantic hershey kisses that the kids got for valentines day from nana and papa s!
back to reality....

Friday, February 12, 2010

it's a go

so nothing really came of her sore throat. she appears to be fine today.
we're leaving in and hour.
i'm totallyNOT ready.
gotta run.
happy weekend to all!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


ayla is complaining of a sore throat.
this could drastically change our weekend plans.
going to try and get her in to see the doctor first thing in the am so we can plan accordingly.


Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.
(Vernon Howard)

Thursday? Already?

Lots going on today. I said I wasn't going to turn my computer on until I finished.
I lied. :)
Truly, I'm just checking in quick and then getting back at it. I needed a break.
I need to house to be cleaned from top to bottom.
Packing for the whole family to go visit LEAH this weekend! :)
Finishing up laundry.
Finishing up valentines.
Finishing up room parent duties for the parties tomorrow that we are going to miss because I'm pulling the kids out early to get on the road.
Just busy work.
And now I'm putting Ayla down, so hopefully I will get 2 hours of super productivity!!
We'll see.
SO SO ready for the weekend!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Back to school

Normal day of school today.
Which is rare these days.
And THE SUN IS SHINING...which quite honestly makes the world a better place.
I am literally watching the snow melt and drip off my roof as I type this.
It almost feels like there is a light at the end of the long, gloomy, dark, freezing, snowy tunnel.
Makes me happy.
I have been running around all. day. long.
It's been nice to get out of the house.
Finished up all the details to get my visa for Sierra Leone.
I have all my travel shots.
Now we just wait to get our visas in the mail.
We leave in 18 days.
The anticipation is building!!
And maybe...just day we will sell this house now that spring is coming?!?
We'll see.
For today, things are looking up.

a few more...

because i can.
and she's my daughter.
and she makes me laugh...
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