Thursday, September 30, 2010

I might have gone a little too far...

So I've been slowly coming out of a really really long funk.

Lots of contributing factors all coming together over the course of a few months, but ever so slowly I'm coming out of it.

*I've been meeting friends for coffee again. Much needed filling of my soul.
*I've been taking pictures. Lots. Of the amazing fall surroundings and of my babies.
*I booked a ticket to fly to Colorado. Alone. Staying for 3 days.
*I volunteered to help paint the playground at the kids' school.
*I registered for a 2-day class to renew my sub license!!
*And this is a little weird and possibly taking it too far... but the other day I was driving alone. No kids. No dog. It was beautiful out, so I had the windows down. And all the sudden I heard Party in the USA come on the radio. I couldn't help it. I rolled with windows up, cranked the music and started belting out every single word while putting "my hands up" and "nodding my head like 'yeah' and moving my hips like 'yeah'." Not even kidding. It was awesome. And I even continued the car concert when the next song that came on was Cal-i-forn-ia Gurlz.

Yep. Proof. It's good.
And we move into our new home in eight DAYS. :)
Happy fall, indeed.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dignity restorers...

"i really believe the world doesn’t need another sandwich board church sign on the corner announcing really good coffee & fun for families. the world needs people willing to restore dignity where it’s been lost."

Found this blog post linked on another friend's blog.
Thought it was great.
Lots of thoughts on "church" rolling around in my brain these days. This gave me something to chew on. To think about. If you want to read the whole post, go HERE.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New normal for a while

We're living in my parent's basement for the next 18 days.
They don't have wireless internet, so I don't have access to my lap top.
This means I can't post pics. I don't want to clog up their computer with MY millions of photos.
Blogs are not nearly as much fun with no pics. So I'll be sparsely posting for a few weeks.
But things are good here. We are so relieved.
Mom and dad are putting up with us and I'm sure it's not a ton of fun. It feels like there are a lot of us when we are all in one condo! So we will continue to try and stay out of their way as much as possible and be as helpful around here as we can.
18 days. Then we'll be figuring out our NEW new normal. We are excited.
And still pretty darn thankful!

Friday, September 17, 2010

just sent this to my cousin...

and wanted to share with you, too.

remind me to tell you about the "20 hour early possession, water flowing from the ceiling and ceiling crumbling to the floor at midnight" story. won't have to remind me. i'll never forget this.


heading to a much-delayed closing right now, but it hasn't been easy to get to this point. i'm thinking i won't believe it's truly sold until we have BOTH signed on that line.

and then we are having a beer.
or a margarita.
or a bottle of wine.
or all three.
i couldn't make this stuff up if i wanted...

Thursday, September 16, 2010


we are officially OUT.
our belongings are scattered throughout the state.
some in a PODS storage unit somewhere.
some in a friend's garage.
some in dad's storage.
some in our cars.
some at my parents.
but we are out of 1107.
and i'm tired.
that was a long couple of days.
i am making it official...we are not longer "old house people".
never again will be own an "old" house.
we used to claim that we loved old houses. loved the projects.
that was before 3 kids and a dog.
now we want maintenance free. and i'll go to my friends' old houses and admire the character and the woodwork and the tall ceilings and then go home and sit outside on my patio or garden or watch football while they work on projects every weekend. :) just fine by me!!
we close tomorrow at 10am.
then we have 3 weeks of living in my parents basement.
and we close on our new home on oct 8.
lots to keep us busy in between.
RUN4WATER race, brigg's football games, tate's birthday, my 15 year reunion, a visit from leah! FUN stuff!
so exciting.
it's been a crazy 6 months. i'm waking up from a long, restless slumber and wondering what the heck just happened.
we have a new house, a new school, a new "normal".
lots of adjusting to do.
but we are thankful.
so very thankful.

(and the biggest thank yous to my parents. we could not have gotten the POD loaded without dad helping for hours and hours on wednesday. and i could not have gotten through today without mom watching ayla and loading while i frantically finished up the kitchen. we just couldn't have done it without them. thank you.)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

just real quick...because i am sooooo not done preparing this house for the new owners arriving tomorrow at 2:00.

wow...pretty amazing day.
i knew today was going to be crazy for me. so i scheduled my vitamins post to post early this morning.
and it was a pretty hectic day.
but the response we got was insane.
so so awesome.
reminding me throughout this mess of day that it's not about me. not even a little bit about me.
people i have never even MET in real life, emailing me. starting with "you don't know me, but i read your blog and i want to help".
so cool.
what a force we can all be together.
so thanks.
thanks so so much.
i wish i could pull out a book at put some amazing, perfect quote here at the end about compassion and love and jesus. but all my books are packed away. :)
so simply
thank you.
i can literally feel the love and excitement and compassion.
good night...

Remember when I went to Africa?

Of course you remember! Pretty sure I blogged some of my longest blog posts ever upon my return.
The thing is, as it gets further and further away, it gets easier and easier to forget.
To start complaining and whining about my own personal circumstances.
About my huge major life crisis.
And I need a swift kick in the ass to remind me.
To remind me that it's not all about Cassie.
It's not all about my cozy little life.

An easy way to get that reminder is to talk Sierra Leone.
And wouldn't you know...shortly after my whining session the other day, I was reminded.
Funny how that happens at just the perfect moment.
It literally brought me to my knees.

One of the few things we did when we visited the WMF team, was to provide them with some much-needed supplies.
We were so happy to be able to do this.
We honestly felt as though we were in the way much of the time there.
We were humbled by their graciousness towards us.
We were amazed by the work they do.
And providing these supplies was the one tangible thing we felt we could do for them.

We had a ton of vitamins we brought along.
It was so fun to see them all lined up in the window.
Knowing they would be used to provide these malnourished children with much needed nutrients was exciting.

When we got to love on these children one afternoon, we were witness to the great need for nutrients in their diet.
They were tired.
Some of them were so little and literally falling forward out of their seats during their program.
It was late afternoon and they were hungry and weak.

The boys did a great job of keeping their attention and providing stimulation to keep them active and awake.
And filling them with the word and the love of Jesus.
But they still needed that basic necessity of nutrition.

At the end of the program, they were each given a hard boiled egg.
The WMF team told us that for some of the kids...most of the kids...this would be their only protein for the whole week.
Can you imagine that?
One egg being the only protein your child gets in a whole week?
I can't.

They love "The Good New Club" for many reasons. The kids adore the leaders. The singing. The dancing. The stories.
But I'm pretty sure the parents love the fact their their kids get some nourishment.

We were so ecstatic to hear that after we left Sierra Leone at the beginning of March, they were able to start handing out a vitamin with each egg.
So now each child got a hard boiled egg and a vitamin to go with it.
Pam just received an email from a WMF team member saying they were almost out.
And they really hated to take that away.
So simple.
A vitamin.
Gosh...seems silly that we couldn't continue to provide that for them.
For the families who are hungry and thirsty.
For our heroes there who give their lives daily to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these families.

So here is where you can help! :)
We are going to collect vitamins.
And then send them over to Sierra Leone to replenish their supply for the Good News Club.
I can tell you that each of us was beyond grateful for the opportunity to help the people of Sierra Leone by fulfilling this need.
I think that is the hardest part about coming home. Feeling unable to help.
But here's our chance.
So if you are so inclined, you can be a part of our effort to supply a shipment of vitamins to the people of Kroo Bay.
If you are local, you can get the vitamins to ME by October 14th.
I am heading to Colorado on October 16th and am hoping to have a suitcase full to bring with me to Jody.
If you are not local and would rather send them, email me and I'll get you an address.
cassieburback at gmail dot com
Jody is going to be our central collection point.
So if it's just easier for you to avoid shipping the actual vitamins, you can paypal her directly and she'll buy them FOR you. Let me know if you'd rather do that and I can get you her info.
Then once we get word that someone is heading over to SL, she will ship them in ONE shipment to that person.
It would be fun if we could blow them away with a huge outpouring of support.
Let me know if you are interested.
Sorry, this isn't the last you are going to hear about my passion for these people.
Thanks in advance.

Monday, September 13, 2010

sign language

Lani and Ayla's birthdays are coming up. We move into our new house on October 8. I have a trip planned October 16-19. And we are celebrating with the family on October 24. So I have been thinking about birthday gifts.
As a family, we often times throw eachother the "I love you" sign. You know...sign language.
It's a connection even across a huge soccer field.
I love it.
I have Ayla giving the "I love you" sign on my wallpaper on my phone.
A simple way to tell the kids without embarrassing them.
Anyway, I'm so excited. I found a necklace with the I love you sign on it.
SUPER cute.
It will be Lani's birthday gift.
(we also got a smaller, cheaper one for ayla...we just don't trust her with a nice necklace yet)
But seriously, isn't this CUTE?!?

found it on etsy HERE.
just in case you want one, too!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The post in which i rant and rave about my current situation and then move on...

i have been absent.
for very good reason.
we have been packing up the rest of our house.
but honestly, that's been going just fine...

it's other circumstances that have taken over my life the past few days.
and i might just lose it.
(the other day ayla replied to something i said with "geeeeeeezzzz, psycho."
i know...not super appropriate coming for a 2 yr old, but true nonetheless.)

so back to my ranting.
on friday morning we were all eating a fine breakfast of cheerios and milk.
life was super fabulous.
i may have been chanting something about "it's friday...oo oo...we're gonna ooo...because we'r ooo....and we sold our house...oo ooo."
(or something like that. i can't really remember exactly.)
anyway, i was happy. oh so happy. chant-worthy happiness.
then it happened.
brigg simply scratched his head.
then he scratched again.
then he started digging at it.
then he yelled, "MOM!! somthing is WRONG with me! stop chanting! (ok...he didn't yell that part, but he had to yell to be heart OVER my chanting) i think i have lice or something.
not the "L" word.
PLEASE...not the L word.

i walk over to him.
pulled apart his super thick, coarse, curls and yep.
the L word.

i may have freaked.
i may have cried.
i may have screamed.
i don't remember.
but i do know it wasn't pretty.
i do know i hopped in my car, in my pjs and NO bra and raced to the store like we had the biggest medical emergency ever known to man.
and there were exactly TWO boxes of lice shampoo left on the shelves.
i called the schools and told them we were in the middle of a crisis and would not be there.
and i came home to kids who were yelling, "Dad! GOOD NEWS!!! Brigg has LICE! We don't have to go to school and we aren't even sick. We don't even have to lay around! We can PLAY!"

and then there may have been more screaming...because i certainly was sooooo over my chanting mood.

after treatment brigg was still itching.
so i lost it.
and paul lost it.
and we pulled him into the garage to do this....

oh yes we did.
shaved it nearly bald.
more tears...from me.
brigg loves it.
and then paul pulled out the big guns to get rid of all that nasty hair....

and i've been a raging lunatic ever since.
every single sheet, stuffed animal, soft toy and blanket in the house has been washed in HOT water and dried in a HOT dryer.
every piece of furniture vacuumed.
every head treated.
after brigg's head was shaved i could see with my naked eye all the nits.
it gives me the eeby geebies just talking about it.
i think i got them all.
we'll see.
i didn't find any in anyone else, but we will all be treated again in a week.
also, while i was picking nits out one by one in the bathroom, brigg's neighbor friends came over to ask him to play and lani answered the door.
she said, "He can't come out to play. He had fleas."
now it won't be so hard to leave the neighborhood.

oh...and the lice was spotted just minutes before the pest inspector arrived to check our house for termites.
he found a couple pieces of wood UNDER our front porch that had old signs of termite damage on them.
so we have to do a partial treatment under the porch.

AND i don't know if we're going to be able to get high speed internet at our new house.
and our buyers have been moving their things into our garage all weekend.

i need counseling.
that's it.
deep breath. i'm moving on.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

this is the way it goes 95% of the time.

so awesome.
such perseverance.
i love it when he said he could take a break now. and dance this evening.
makes my heart happy...

Live Drill Day 2 - We Hit Water! from charity: water on Vimeo.

getting creative.

we are cleaning out cupboards.
since we will be displaced for over 3 weeks, i would rather not pack up a bunch of food.
so for lunch i made this up...
boil 16 oz pasta
in pan put together....
1 pkg frozen spinach
1 cup frozen broccoli
1 can black beans
1/2 red onion...chopped
some minced garlic
a can of rotel
salt, pepper, cayenne
bring to a boil and reduce heat while pasta cooks
mix everything together in a huge cast iron skillet (because all your pans are packed away)
top with shredded mozzarella cheese
bake at 350 for 30 minutes

it's in the oven.
could go either way...delicious or disgusting
we'll see.

i am not RECOMMENDING this recipe yet.
just thought it was funny to get it down on paper.

we are having grilled chicken for supper, so leftovers would be a great side dish.
anyone want to come over for supper?
ha...i'm guessing not.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

2nd Annual Run/Walk for Water

You didn't think we'd forgotten, did you?
We haven't.
And we're doing another Run/Walk for Water this year.
I'll be there bright and early on September 18th at the river front in Muscatine.
Last year was amazing, and I'm pretty sure this year will be even better.
So if you are interested, go HERE to get the registration form.
Sign up and bring a friend. Or 2. Or your dog (I will be). Or you kids. Or whatever.
Walking for water so they don't have to.
Love it!

i do love charity: water

super disappointing day for charity: water.
but i love their commitment...

Live Drill - No water for our birthday in Central African Republic from charity: water on Vimeo.

getting excited!

feeling like we are moving right along around here.
our buyers have asked for full access to our garages starting friday. this has been a good push for us to get them cleaned out and ready. we're almost done with that.
POD arrives one week from today. we have 2 days to fill it. it gets picked up a week from thursday and stored until we need it delivered to our new house.
works out perfect because our buyers have also asked if they can get possession one day early. their movers would like to begin moving their things into the house on thursday afternoon. so our POD will be packed and locked by 7:30 am on thursday the 16th. i then have until 2:00pm to clean an empty house. i think i like cleaning EMPTY houses. :)
so really, after 2:00pm next thursday, my life is going to be so much happier. i even looked at the extended forecast for next week and it's going to be perfect!
i do love iowa in the fall. it's gorgeous out there. and it makes it very hard to stay inside and pack when the windows are open and the sun is shining and the breeze is blowing. but i'll have plenty of time to enjoy in TEN DAYS.
can't wait.
then we officially close on friday the 17th.
thinking i may even have to get a sitter for that evening. we'll have some celebrating to do!

Monday, September 6, 2010


September 2010

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the orchard

we hit the orchard on saturday morning before the hawkeye game.
it was a small group this year.
just paul and i and our kids.
lisa and tony and their 2 girls.
and donna.
this is our tenth year doing this.
how is that possible?

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the princesses and the frog...

this little guy was quite the entertainment for us...

we told hadley to give him a kiss.
i didn't think she really would.
i was wrong...

and ayla and the frog had direct eye contact for quite some time.
ayla thought he was funny.

and then she wanted to hold (more like squash) him.

how cute is hadley's chubby little hand on that frog??

after staring deep into the frog's eyes, ayla was trying to show us what his face looked like.

i have never looked deep into a frog's eyes, so i can neither confirm nor deny this face.
but she did have it mastered.
i kinda believe her.

of all the millions of pics i've ever taken...

these are some of my favorites EVER.
there is just something about hadley...

maybe it was the clothes or the lighting or the beautiful scenery or the colors or the sky.
or maybe it's that serious face she has. the one that reminds me of my ayla.
that serious face...just taking it all in. soaking up every word. every action. every thing.

or maybe it was the challenge of trying to get her to smile.
because once her serious facade falls away, she has the best smile.
the best giggle.
pure joy that bubbles up from deep inside her.

she would never give you an obligatory smile.
when she smiles it's the real deal.
she means it. can just tell. that's for real...

and it just makes me want to squeeze her.
i can see so much of ayla in her.
so i'm already saying lots of prayers for lisa and tony.
and hoping they can give me some advice on how to deal with these girls.

go ahead.
tell me you don't just want to take her home.
i won't believe you.

oh wow....

as always, we had a horrible time apple picking.
seriously...i took more pictures than ever.
i have tons to sort through.
and we have our buyers moving in early, so i have no time.
i just grabbed a few to post as a quick glimpse.
i'm sure i'll be posting more late at night this week.

this was a much-needed trip for me.
my heart needed filled up.
i've been a bit "empty" lately.
i loved having these days to focus on my family.
be fully engaged.
so sad that it's over.
so sad that i'm already feeling distraced and i've been home a few hours.
but this is a crazy 10 days coming up.
it'll all be worth it, but i HATE being so distracted and preoccupied.
hate it.
back to organizing...
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

So now...I sew

When I was in college you could always tell when it was finals time by the cleanliness of my apartment.
It was spotless during finals. Or midterms. Or any major test times.
You could count on everything being clean and organized and perfect.
I hate cleaning. And I hated it even more in college.
But I would have done anything to avoid studying in advance.
Then you would find me, the night before the test, pulling an all-nighter.
It's the way I function.
I cannot help it.

Well, I am older and wiser now. (hee hee...not really wiser, i suppose)
And we have a POD arriving in T minus 14 days.
4 of those days I will be in Wisconsin.
And what did I do yesterday and today?
I learned to sew.
I picked out fabric for cloth napkins for each family member and I learned to sew.

Obviously sewing cloth napkins is very important for the homeless family.
Wouldn't you say?
I tell you...I'd do anything to avoid the packing that needs to be done.
Even sew.

Honestly, I think I'm in love.
I loved it.
Sewing...that is.
It was theraputic.
An escape from my current mess of a reality. :)
It was awesome.
I think I'm hooked.
I'm already researching patterns for cute dresses for the girls.
Adorable skirts.
I may want to practice a little more. My squares of fabric probably don't count for much experience.

But they are cute.
And soft. (flannel)
And the monkeys are for Ayla.
The birds for Lani.
The rest of ours are not finished yet.
I packed the fabric away, not to be pulled out until after our move.
I think our new house may have to have a sewing nook.
Or maybe not...we'll see.
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Ummmm...I'm scared about our future...

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