Sunday, February 27, 2011

new dos...

the cosmetologist...
we realized as jennie was cutting our hair that my kids have never been to a salon.
our salon has always been a kitchen or a garage.
jennie said she thought they were missing out on something in life.
i beg to differ.
ugh...i hate the salon.
all those mirrors and fumes in the air.
not for me. :)
i'll take my kitchen any day!
and what a LUXURY to have a sister/aunt for a cosmetologist!!
we love it.
every family needs one!

brigg wanted to go mohawk again...but "not spikey".
i think his hair looks like puck on Glee.
hope he doesn't act like puck one day! :)

and lani wanted hers chopped.
"to her chin".
she looks 16 to me....

i also wanted mine chopped off.
and fire engine red.
i've always loved changing my hair up.
we decided fire engine red might cause a little too much reaction in the kindergarten classroom, so we toned it down a bit.
i still love it.

ayla just got a trim, but we didn't want to leave her out of the picture.
so i got a cut and color.
i think i might even get my eyebrows waxed and shave my legs before we leave for florida.
that's big time, people. BIG time. :)
thanks jennie! we LOVE our new dos!

one year

today marks a year (almost to the DAY) since we have been in a church building.
(outside of the time i attended church while in which i cried from the first moment andy started playing:)!)
anyway...i am not posting this to start some sort of debate about the importance of sitting in a pew every weekend within 4 walls. please, don't let it turn into that. i am just hoping to get some thoughts down on "paper" so i don't forget this part of my journey.
it has been important.
no, we have not walked away from jesus.
not even in the slightest.
in fact, i would go as far as saying we have never felt closer to the heart of jesus.
never searched so deeply for him.
never wanted so desperately to see this world through HIS eyes.
i've read and dug and prayed and begged for him to reveal himself to us in new ways.
and of course, he has not disappointed. he has showed up in so many ways. and we have been faithfully watching for it.

but this morning was a turning point.
for the very first time in a full year, i missed it.
i wanted to get my kids up and take them to church.
to quietly sit in the back and worship corporately.
it that is SOMETHING.

i got this email from my daycare provider on friday:
SUBJECT: your baby girl
"i was on the phone w/ my dad and ayla wanted to know who i was talking to, so i told her. we started talking about family, people we love, and people that love us. we were talking about family, friends, people at church etc. ayla said "yeah, and God loves me and i love God. he's my friend!" with the biggest smile on her face. it was adorable!

just thought you might like to know that your daughter picks good friends :)"
(hope you don't mind my sharing this, kerry!)

HE is prompting all of us.

i have been reading lots this past year. new perspectives. i am putting on new lenses.

this morning i was up early.
i made my coffee and sat down to try to finish my latest book before the kids and husband woke.
i came across this...
The secret to joy is to keep seeking God where we doubt he is.
( looked to be bold and large and red in the book. :))
i am aware that this would mean something different to every single person reading this.
but i know what it means to me. it means something very personal and very deep.
and something i have been wrestling with.
in the same book, the author tells the story of jacob and esau to her son.
how jacob was terrified to see his brother because his brother had wanted to kill him with his bare hands. jacob knew he was meeting his brother in the morning and he could not sleep.
he was up all night wrestling with an unknown man and couldn't see his face. he refused to let the man go until he blessed jacob.
finally the man turns to jacob and gives him a new name...israel....the god-wrestler.
all night jacob had been wrestling with God.
she says
"All that while Jacob hadn't known who he was wrestling. Just a man in the dark, a man he couldn't see. And in the black, all that night, it was the face of God over him that he was struggling against. God is behind the faces, son. Can we see?...Wrestle with God, beg to see the blessings...and all the faces become the face of God."

so that was long and probably means something different to you, but like i said, i need to get this down on paper. for my own use. take it as you see fit. :)

he is prompting us, i believe.
he is urging us to move forward.
and honestly, it's kind of painful.

i do believe we will begin our search for a new church home very soon.
i think we are ready.
i know we have been on some journey this past year and it has been what ann voskamp refers to in her book as "Ugly-beautiful". i love that. say it with me...UGLY BEAUTIFUL. :)
pretty awesome.

so there you have it.
whacked out post from cassie.
no comments necessary, just wanted to write it down for my own benefit.
i've been fairly vague on this topic for a year now.
and we are moving onward.
we are ready to seek him where we doubt he is.
kinda funny how this took 12 months to make it to the blog.
ann says
"God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors. And I've got an inkling that there are times when we need to drive a long, long distance before we can look back and see God's back in the rearview mirror. Maybe sometimes about as far as heaven--that kind of distance. Then to turn, and see His face."


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Something's gotta give...

i've had a couple people email and inform me that i haven't blogged lately.
i know. and i hate it.
but seriously, i just don't have time right now.
i think we are going through a transition time in our lives.
and something had to give. life. can see what i have chosen.
i do miss it.
but i am trying to soak up every single second with my kids and hubby because they are fewer than they used to be.
it takes everything to stay on top of family and housework and car repairs and relationships and supper and working out and weight watchers. i don't really have a spare second left.
jennie came today and did haircuts all around.
i washed all our bedding today...don't remember the last time i did that.
oh...PTO meeting on tuesday and i am volunteering at the kids' school on tuesday morning. i work all day wednesday. going to the maple syrup festival in cedar falls next weekend. get to see lisa and family AND becky and family.
very excited for that.
paul's gone all this coming week for work. he gets back friday night just in time to go to the festival with us.
and then we leave next wednesday for florida for a week.
beyond excited for that, too!!
so so much going on.
and not tons of time to get it all down on paper.
so there you have it.
the blog and email is what had to give.
maybe i can come up with a new method in the future, but for now, this is how is has to be.
love you all. :) miss you! :)
be back soon....

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


i'm not sure if this is an example of karma, or what. but it's crazy.
you know when you swear you'll never do something...and then you end up in a situation where you feel like you have no other choice but to do it?
yeah...what ever that's called.
it happened to me.

i would say i'm a very "involved" parent at school. i love to volunteer in the classroom.
to go to the classroom parties.
to help out when need be.
but one thing i've never done is attend a PTO meeting.
i have nothing against PTO. i think PTO is awesome. i just am not a PTO-type person.
actually, to be honest, i'm not a MEETING-type person at all.
i like others to have the meetings, do that planning and then ask me to help implement.
or volunteer.
or whatever.
and i have never intentionally avoided the PTO meeting, but i have never made a big effort to go.
and over the course of the past 4 years, i am embarrassed to say i have never been to one PTO meeting.
which brings us to this past month.
we are in a new school this year.
and letter started coming home saying they NEED people to step up for PTO or there would be NO PTO next year.
i honestly didn't think much about it.
but then i happened to be at the school.
and i happened to walk by the principal, who was talking with the PTO president and she yelled.
cassie! CASSIE! come here! jacqueline.
jacqueline is the PTO president and they are looking for some volunteers.
i told her she should ask YOU!"

i could not run.
i could not hide.
i agreed to come to the next PTO executive meeting and sit in to see what it's about.
when i showed up, i saw the minutes.
they literally listed people who were being considered for positions next year.
and guess whose name was listed as the president?
did you guess?
holy crap.

apparently our school's PTO is struggling. like there honestly will not be PTO next year if they don't find someone to volunteer.
all eyes on me.
are you up for it cassie?
well....i suppose.

so i guess i'm the pto president next year.
at a school where i barely know more than 2 other parents.
where my kids truly are minorities.
where i actually hope to be teaching next year.

and that might be karma.
either way...i'm scared.
and still wondering how in the world this happened.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

We went to Chicago

with JUST lani.
we dropped ayla, brigg and willow off at jennie and sean's.
(and can i just's ONE thing to watch 2 of my children. but quite ANOTHER to add in the 60 pound puppy! so THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to them!!)
jennie snapped a photo of us before we headed out...

we stopped along the way for lunch.

and i barely took any photos.
but we went directly to IKEA when we got to town.
we spent a couple hours there.
lani got a light for her nook and 3 baskets for the cubbies under her bed.
and then we went to gordon biersch for appetizers.

she was loving being with just mommy and daddy.
then we went and checked into our hotel. (again...THANK YOU priceline!)
we got lucky and it had a pool and hot tub.
we spent a couple hours swimming.
then as we headed back up to the room, we stopped at grabbed a couple desserts to take with us.
we ate dessert in bed and watched some TV.
then up early this morning for breakfast before we hit the road.

at breakfast i said to lani, "i'm glad you had fun being an only child for a day. but i think you'd get bored if you really were the only child!"
she replied with, " i don't think so."
so fun.
i love 1-on-1 time with each of the kids soooo much.
and it's a 3 day weekend, so no school tomorrow!
oh...and i love chicago.
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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


oh...and the night before valentine's day i stayed up until after midnight making pj pants for the kids.
yeah...maybe should have thought that through a little more.
i'd never sewn anything other than straight lines around cloth napkins in my life.
it was supposed to take 20 min per pair.
so i gave myself an hour.
it took me over 3 hours.
i'm not good.
this is what they look like...

cute on ayla
but lani couldn't get them over her hips.
i almost cried.
but by the time i got to brigg's, i was a master. :)
his are perfect.
(and a completely different flannel fabric, but he was half dead on the couch, so i didn't get a photo of them.)

the sunday before valentine's day, mom had us all over for dinner.
it was so nice.
she set a cute table and got valentines for the kids.
and we had a blast.

not only valentine's day, but their 41st wedding anniversary!
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Valentine's Day dinner....

we never do anything "romantic" for valentine's day.
we always include the kids.
this year was no different.
i grabbed some tulips for $5 (because they made me think spring. and health!)
and i grabbed some sparkling grape juice.
i pulled out some wine glasses the mom made for chris and brenda's wedding
and of course i pulled out the LOVE tablecloth.
and viola!5

paul and i had portabellas.
he made his into a lettuce wrapped.
we marinated the portabellas in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, salt, pepper and garlic for a few hours.
grilled them on our weber.
also grilled red pepper halves.
added avacodo to the mix and YUM!
i also made homemade baked french fries.
tossed the sliced potatoes with olive oil, sea salt and pepper.
baked at 425 for about 30 minutes.

and i made heart-shaped hamburgers for the kids.
they giggled.

it was a good dinner.
but brigg was very sick.
he sat with us for like 5 minutes and then went back to sleep on the couch.
wasn't a perfect valentine's day be any means.
but we enjoyed what we could.
there was lots of love.
we went around the table and talked about what we loved about each of the kids.
they were happy.
and now they are all on hopefully we'll be back to normal by the weekend!

happy belated valentine's day!!
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Lani=Influenza B
an hour at the doctor.
and an hour waiting for lab results.
20 minutes at the pharmacy and $58 worth of drugs later...

i passed meds and realized we were missing one of lani's drugs.
there was a mix-up.
so we owe $25.
and i'm sending paul to the drugstore this time.

i will not get sick.
i will not get sick.
i will not get sick.
i will not get sick.
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both big kids sick.
head stuff.
at their school they have been exposed to strep, bronchitis and type B influenza.
hhhmmmm...wonder which one they each have.
we have a family dr. appt at 10:30 today.
is it spring yet?

Monday, February 14, 2011


Go read this letter.
Go ahead.
It's awesome.
And perfect for today.
Then consider giving to the Adventure Project.
They are changing lives. People like Shelia.
And you can be a part!
(and if you don't want to click the link...the letter is right here....)

“What do you love about being a handpump mechanic?” I asked.

We were sitting cross-legged on the floor of a bare office, each knee gently kissing our neighbor’s. A few of the men started the conversation, with each taking turns before passing to the person on their right.

“I have learned new job skills.”

“I’m earning more money.”

“Here, we have the proper tools to get the job done.”

“I like helping people,” said another.

As the procession of answers finally landed on Shelia, she uttered an unexpected and amazing response: “Because I am a mechanic, I fell in love.”

“WHAT?!” Screamed twenty mechanics (and two Americans) simultaneously.

“Because I am a mechanic, I fell in love,” Shelia repeated with a smile. “Years ago I learned how to fix a handpump, so I traveled to the next village to fix theirs. A man in that village saw me working and thought, ‘Look at that woman!’ He had never seen a woman fix a handpump before. He was impressed. So I did not have an arranged marriage. I had a love marriage.”

I watched Shelia’s face glow and cheeks blush as she recalled the memory.

Sadly, Shelia is now widowed, but it was her job that saved her. She was able to raise their son as a single mother and could afford to send him to school. He now has a good job and a family of his own.


The Adventure Project is excited to keep hearts pounding and water pumping this Valentine’s Day. Shelia and her team have fixed 304 wells in only two years. We want to help her fix the 4,000 that are broken in her district. Share this story and make a donation. Every $20 will help to expand the mechanic training program – bringing clean water to three more people in need.

To learn more go to:


The Adventure Project

a couple ways...

to BE love today.
i'm feeling a bit swamped these days.
i'm letting things go.
seems like there's just not enough time in the day.
it's valentines day today.
i love any excuse to throw a little party, so that's what we'll do tonight. heart-shaped hamburgers on the grill. a handmade card for each child with a list of things we love about them and i cussed my way through making pajama pants for them last night. it wasn't pretty. but it was all in the name of love. :)
i could probably link up to a lot of things that i'd love to get for valentines day, but i won't. instead i'll share a couple ways that you can actually BE love this valentine's day.

* GO HERE to read about the latest Adventure Project. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. you all know my passion for water, and this is a HUGE need in the world of water. more to come on this project. jody's words do a great job of giving you the run down for now.

* a couple of friends are going to africa in 2 weeks. they have the opportunity to help another friend of theirs write one of the final chapters in her life. read about it HERE and consider helping.

happy valentine's day.

a walk

oh my was NICE out today!
so we took a stroll around the neighborhood.
we were sweating by the time we got home.
spring is coming.
i just know it.
my babies....

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Our Valentines this year...

i am a copy-cat extraordinaire.
i love to find ideas and COPY them.
hence, our recent NOOK project.
and our repurposed entertainment center last year at christmas.
and now valentines day.
it works for me.
i love to copy.
apparently lisa knows i love to copy.
because she recently sent me an email linking to this blog post.
so again...i copied.

super easy.
super cute.
and valentines are done.
thank you blogland.
i love your ideas!
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we are FINE.
we did not fall off the face of the earth. (as becky put it!)
i subbed a lot last week.
lani had to stay home on friday because of a low-grade fever.
brigg had basketball tourny all afternoon yesterday.
my grandpa (age 93) fell and broke his hip.
my parents are celebrating 41 years of marriage tomorrow.
we are having a valentine's dinner with them tonight.
trying to plan our life for the rest of the year...that's usually works well. ha!
THE SUN IS OUT. IT IS WARM. (well, at least warm by "february in iowa" standards)
just trying to find time to BREATHE. so not lots of time to BLOG.
24 days until we leave for spring break in florida.
house is a disaster.
behind on laundry.
loving weight watchers online.
loving jillian michael's 30 day shred.
wanting to beat my dog.
loving my dog.
adjusting to our crazy life.
working on valentines.
just lots going on.
most of it awesome.
but it's just crazy.
and now we are going for a walk. soaking up the heat. :)
happy sunday.
peace out.....

Monday, February 7, 2011

A few things this morning

*watched the super bowl last night. not a big nfl fan, but i never miss the super bowl. love the commercials. last night the doritos one where he licked his co-workers finger was my favorite. :) and i loved loved loved half-time show. fun! love the black eyed peas! and i felt bad for christina for skipping a line in the national anthem. as she was walking up there, i said "that is a lot of pressure! i don't care who you are!" now she gets to be criticized forever for it. just feel bad for her.

*my car is frustrating. we got totally SC%$WED i believe. more problems than i can count. lots of money to fix. LOTS. i am still without a car. don't know what we're going to do. 3 months. i've had it for 3 months. it's been in the shop for a good part of that time. annoying. anyway...moving on.

*ayla is sleeping awesome these days. she went through a rough spell, but seems to be over it. whew.

*got to go to andy's show on friday night. my only wish was that it was the andrew and jody landers project instead of just the andrew landers project. i really could have used a jody fix before she moved to washington state. but it's probably better. i was not feeling well AT ALL friday night. it was the first time i've been in a bar and just drank coffee and water. :) SO thankful for my sister and sean watching the kids AND the dog while we went to the show. and then putting us up for the night. it was nice. and everyone had a blast.

*this is the point in the winter season when i start thinking, "ok, i'm ready for spring." which works out great because in ONE MONTH we are heading to florida for a week. when we get back, spring will have almost sprung. february is hard in iowa! :)

*the nook is coming along nicely. not enough progress to post new pics yet, but paul DID get the 3 cubbies built and put in under the mattress. we're getting close.

*i joined online weight watchers last week. i have a thing with numbers. and this perfect for me. i love inputting my points after each meal. keeps me on track. plus, lots of fun tools on that site. we'll see how it goes, but i'm loving it so far. and i don't have to worry about getting to meetings, etc.

*cleaning. that's what's on the schedule for the day. lots of catching up to do on the cleaning front. so i'm signing off and staying off until tonight.

happy monday bloggity blog world!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


after my last post i made an effort to readjust my attitude.
set the kids up to sleep upstairs.
planned on making pancakes and sausage for breakfast.
talked about finishing our UNO game.
and tucked them into bed.
things went downhill from there.
started feeling super crummy.
body aches. feverish. full head.
a child wet the bed in the night.
i may have cried...i don't really remember.

paul had a long talk with the kids before heading to work.
when i stumbled downstairs they were playing together so nicely.
for like 2.5 minutes.
i managed to pull off the pancakes and sausage.
i relaxed for a bit.
they fought brother and sister.
i mustered up the energy to make a cup of hot tea and finish our UNO game.
slightly less fighting during this time. it was worth it.

then i sent them outside for a bit. it's COLD, but the sun is shining bright.
and they have been out there for an HOUR. can i get a woot woot!??! (well, ayla is still inside, but i can deal with one.)
they are having a blast. and i've been able to relax.
feeling like i may even be able to pull off supper.
hoping tomorrow is better.
please let it be better...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

so much for reality...

just got the text that there's no school again tomorrow.
feeling a bit torn about that.

earlier today i was talking to jody on the phone. i had snuck into my room and was hiding. paul had been shoveling for hours. seriously. the kids had been in and out, but when they were IN they were all over me. so i hid.
i'm mature.
i don't care.
anyway...i got about 3 minutes. i could breathe.
then they found me. the started filing in. one by one.
my blood pressure started rising.
in my most calm voice i said, "please. can i please just have a moment. one moment. go downstairs. i will be with you shortly."
and i got a moment.
but it was short.
because guess what! jody's kids were home, too.
and they too, needed her. imagine that!
it was just like when we used to get together.
9 kids.
2 moms.
life called. so we said goodbye. later. we'll talk later. i thought it might be tomorrow. but now, i guess not.

deep breathe.

ok....that's better. the roast in the oven smells great. a bottle of wine chilling in the fridge to go with it. and i might even rent another movie. for my own sanity. :)

and the blizzard of 2011 continues....

and inside...

the kids got out early and it was already starting to get kind of scary out.
we started a game of UNO. (we are still playing it today!)

i pulled the last pan of cookies out of the oven as the kids were walking in the door.
it was warm in here and smelled GOOD.

we started a fire.
rented a movie. (bonus of having Directv. and trust me...there aren't many bonuses in my book!)
cracked open a couple cans of fat tire...

and dug into some super yummy nachos!

it was a fun night. we had anxiously waited for what they called the SNOWMAGEDON.
and it lived up to the hype.
brigg even asked to sleep upstairs because he didn't want to be downstairs alone.
the wind was ROARING.
and the fire was warm.
fun night.
but tomorrow we'll be ready for reality.
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she's an iowa girl through and through...

iowa girls know how to handle the cold.
if nothing else...we know how to handle the cold.
and it is COLD out there.
but lani stayed out there with paul and helped him shovel forEVER.
in payment, he played this game with her...

over and over.
her face is frozen a smile. :)
and yes, i realize it looks like he's throwing her into the basketball hoop pole, but it's an optical illusion.
she can take the cold.
she's tough.
and soooo cute.
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drifts in the driveway

this morning. willow looking over the drifts...

the kids went out to brave the cold.
i was out there long enough to snap a couple pics.
it's seriously COLD and temps are supposed to drop even lower.
"arctic temperatures" i believe is the proper terminology.

and paul's been out most of the morning digging away.
which seems a bit silly seeing as the plows haven't made it to our street and i don't see that happening for a long long time.

he and lani came up with a game.
i'll post pics of it next.....
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Goodbye calm

and the storm has arrived.
the kids went to school today. they are getting out 2 hrs early...which means they'll be getting off the bus in 1 hour. that kind of stresses me out because it's getting bad. the wind is blowing terrible. the snow is coming down, but i think the wind is a bigger issue at this point. they say the snow is to get heavier after 3pm.
i'll just be happy to have the kids and paul home safe and sound.
2 days of anticipation...wondering if this storm will live up to the hype.
we shall see.
i'm baking monster cookies, listening to music and waiting for everyone to walk through the door.
hope everyone is safe and warm!
happy blizzard to you!!