Friday, April 30, 2010

Dear Thunderstorm,

Couldn't you have waited until AFTER naptime to start?
Ayla and a 15 minute nap are NOT a good combo.
Cassie (mother to a crazy-fearful-of-thunderstorms 2 year-old)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Posting from Paul's computer...

...which has all the keys in tact. it's a luxury, i tell ya.
after my last post, i went back and looked at it and thought to myself, "nobody is going to be able to read that!"
so i decided to launch paul's computer and post a quick update.
yesterday i was horribly ill. high fever, stomach stuff, aches. not fun at all.
i was not a good parent during all this an ayla pooped on the floor, bringing me to tears. actually she brought me to tears more than once yesterday. it's nearly impossible to be that sick and be a decent parent. so glad i'm feeling better today.

tate is here for 3 days. my mom and sister are heading to florida right now to be with chris and brenda. brenda will be delivering her baby this week!!! SO exciting! so wishing i could be there, too. :(

i kinda feel like i've been living an out of body experience these past couple months. can't quite get myself back on track. i've been to africa and back, florida and back and now i've been helping jody prepare to move. so much going on. it's been a shock to my system and i'm having a hard time processing it all.
all the while, life still moves forward. showings and open houses, baseball practices and soccer games. piano lessons and recitals. not to mention poop on the floor and planning for a garage sale.
and yet, i feel distracted. it's been crazy.

last weekend paul did Rebuild Muscatine and worked from 730am -5pm on saturday and 8am-7pm on Sunday. It was a long weekend for him. Plus, he's been doing quite a few home and radon inspections.

We had a surprise party for Erin last weekend to celebrate her birthday. Mom and I started our Saturday off by driving to Milwaukee to a funeral. I'm pretty sure there is nothing more horrific than going to the funeral of a child. No words.
Then we drove from Milwaukee to Ankeny...6 hours. Spent the evening with family there. Sunday Paul and I took all the kids on a family bike ride. 8 miles to be exact. It was the first time Lani had rode her bike that far. She did great. it was a gorgeous day and nice to be able to spend it out and about with the kids.

This weekend we plan on going camping. Friday there are supposed to be thunderstorms, so it looks like we'll wait and go on Saturday. It'll be our first trip of the year. Hoping Ayla will be easier this year.

Oh, and we are getting a dog. A golden doodle, actually. It's coming from a family who owns 2 golden doodles of their own. Their dog is due on April 30th! So we are anxiously awaiting the email saying she has delivered. She'll be sending pics of the litter. Then we'll get to go to her house and pick out the puppy in 3 or 4 weeks. Figured since Jody was moving, I could replace her with a dog. Hey, maybe we'll even name it Jody. :) The kids did mention naming it Landers. Which IS kind of cute.

Lets see...what else??? We had a second showing last week. They don't want our house. Ummmm...yeah. Don't need to discuss that any further.

Every once in a while we have "slumber parties" in our bedroom with the kids. Ayla has never been a part of this little tradition...until last weekend. Saturday she got to participate. She was SO excited. And it was fun. It's kind of like staying at a hotel, only in your own home. A little mini vacation of sorts. You should try it! :)

And I've started packing. No, we haven't sold the house. No, nobody is intersted. But I'm so tired to being in limbo. I figure if we act like we are moving, maybe the house will sell. So I'm taking down pictures, moving furniture to the garage and packing up boxes. I'm sorting things to sell at our garage sale. And just plain clearing things out. It has to sell this summer, right?

Ok, I think that's it for now. Whew...I feel so much better just getting that all out. :) Hoping I can find a free moment to get my computer fixed this week. Missing my blog and my virtual friends. :)


hdaa the daredaful flu yesterday. NOT fun.
better today.
bbsitting tte for 3 days hile jennie goes to floridaa to visit chris nda brendaa...ho ill be daelivering their 2nda bby this eek:)
so exciting. cn't it to be n unt gin!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

hppy erth day...

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these, too

They re sooo cute.
It couldan't hve been esier to get gooda ones. :)

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Enggement photos

Took some enggement photos for Tesi's brother & his fince lst eek.
These ere my fvorites of the 100 finl ones. :)

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Still on the fritz...

Hven't tken my computer in yet.
Just hven't found the time.
nd I'm getting by.
I seemeda to hve founda one of the missing letters.
everytime i type the letter DA, the missing letter ppers right long ith it.
It's gret.
So no i daon't hve the missing letter here i needa it, but it pops up here i daon't needa it.
I CN post pics though. So i'll entertin you ith tht.
e hve been spendaing lots of time outsidae.
Love it.
Tonight e re hedaing to the movie...OCENS.
e plnneda it LST erth day hen e got to see the previes of it.
Shoulda be fun.
Here re pics...

So yes, e re still live. :)
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Thursday, April 15, 2010

my computer s spilled on one side of the computer. i ould tell you ht letters no longer ork due to this spill, but i cnnot type them. if you look closely t this post, you should be ble to figure out t lest couple of them. the coffee spilled on the left side of the keybord.
it's so frustrting. i need to tke it in. there is n on screen keybord i cn use if i hve to, but it's pin in the butt.
so thts the del ith my computer.
you cn lugh if you nt. i don't cre.
cn you guess ht letters ren't orking?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Ok, I'm using the blog for my own personal gain.
We have a project that needs to be completed before I lose. my. mind.
And in order to complete it, my husband has informed me he needs a
I don't really want to buy one to use for one weekend.
So I am putting a plea out.
We would be happy to rent YOURS for the weekend if you have one! :)
Anyone?? Anyone??


ayla + computer + coffee = BAAAAAAAAAAAD

more later

Saturday, April 10, 2010

aaaahhhh...spring has arrived

soccer games in the morning.
worked outside all day.
grilled and ate outside on the patio tonight.
played catch after supper.
campfire is started.
kids are hunting for sticks to roast marshmallows for s'mores.
cannot WAIT to go camping this year.
it's going to be some much easier with ayla a little older.
i do love springtime in iowa...

Thursday, April 8, 2010

And this one...

She lost 3 teeth in 3 weeks.
Her first teeth lost.

She's not a baby anymore.
Looking at this photo it's obvious.
She's not a baby anymore.
Why does that make my heart ache so bad??
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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Then we picked up the big kids

And they ran off some energy in a nearby field.

And posed for one of my favorite pictures ever of the 3 of them together...

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A stop at the park

yesterday ayla and i stopped at the park on our way walking to pick up the kids.
she was hilarious.
that hair...

and she did a LOT of jumping...

this one just kills me...

she would have ran to canada if i hadn't stopped her...

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010


As I sit here thinking about Sierra Leone, these same moments keep coming to mind.
There were probably 4 or 5 specific moments that will be burned in my brain forever.
I can put myself right back there and feel how I felt right in that moment.
I'm so afraid those vivid memories are going to blur in the months to come, so I want to get some of them down here. For my memory's sake.
The first one came the day we went down into Kroo Bay to do home visits.
We had split up into 3 groups.
I was in the group heading down into the bay.
It was Teresa, Sheila and myself heading down with Jan. (pronounced YAWN)
As a must know that I adored Jan. He was UHmazing.
This man could PRAY.
And to see him in the Bay was incredible.
I might have to say I have never in my life seen someone who was so in his element. Working so hard for GOD. He was a beam of light in Kroo Bay. He had built relationships and genuinely loved these people. I want to be like him when I grow up. :)

Anyway, before we headed down, we were standing out on the balcony of a house rented by Word Made Flesh.
It overlooks Kroo Bay.
This is what we were seeing...

And Jan pulled out his bible.
He informed us that we would be praying into scripture.
And he gave us each a bible and told us to turn to Isaiah 61. (click on it to read the whole chapter)
Then he took off.
We prayed through the whole chapter and Jan led the way.
I have never heard anyone that confident about change in such a desperate place.
Emphasizing parts like...

"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners"


"to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair."

then on to...

"Instead of their shame
my people will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
they will rejoice in their inheritance;
and so they will inherit a double portion in their land,
and everlasting joy will be theirs."

All while looking at these surroundings.
Can I tell you how powerful that was?
How the tears poured down my face and how humbled I was?

I don't know if I can explain how these verses took on new meaning in Sierra Leone.
How the BIBLE took on new meaning.
I don't know about you, but sometimes it just doesn't make sense. I cannot wrap my mind around those kinds of words.
And I'm sure I am not writing this in a way that can explain the difference.
But THE WORD of GOD changed for me that week.
It was real.
It was ALIVE.
It was so crazy.
I have said this numerous times since my return, and I'll say it again.
There were moments when I
I just couldn't. It was all too overwhelming.
Like this moment...
I was DYING here, people.
Broken in a way that I didn't know existed.
This child was sleeping on my shoulder. I was drenched in sweat.
And my tears were soaking his head.
I tried to turn around and catch my breath...get myself grounded...and all I could see were the scenes from the above photos.
Finally, I just dropped my head and allowed those words to sink in deep.
I couldn't remember the full verses, but words just came into my mind.
"Instead of disgrace, they will rejoice"
"People the Lord has blessed"
"Praise will spring up above all nations"
And I just closed my eyes and rested in His promises.

When I opened my eyes and lifted my head, I could breathe again. (kind of)

I can honestly say that I will never view the Bible the same again.
I touched it, smelled it, tasted it, heard it.
The Living Gospel right there in the middle of the biggest slum in the poorest country in the world.
And this was just one of those moments that week....

Ayla's photography skills...

Ayla insisted on playing with my camera and shooting some pics of me while we waited for the kids to get out of school today.
I edited nothing. Cropped nothing. These are straight from the camera.
Is this talent or what?!? :) kidding...
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Ayla is so tired.
She's had a cold...runny nose, etc.
Just kind of tired and crabby.
Put her down hoping for a GOOD 2-3 hour nap.
15 MINUTES later...she's yelling.
So frustrating.
But I'm going to go with it.
It's shaping up to be a beautiful day. we'll hit the park before walking to pick up the big kids.
It's going to be a looooong night though. I can see it already.

Happy Happy Birthday, Erin!!

Seem like yesterday Paul and I were "babysitting" you in Storm Lake. :)
And now you're THIRTY?!?
Happy birthday!
Love ya!
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Monday, April 5, 2010

Another weekend gone...

And this afternoon we have a showing.
I have much to do between now and then.
I'm off and running.