Thursday, March 31, 2011

blind spots

Had a little discussion today about "blind spots".
It totally stresses me out to talk about that!
Why, u ask?
Because we all have them. I know I have them. And some of u reading this are even thinking, "oh yeah...Cassie's blind spot is this or that."
I know it's So clear to everyone else but ME.
And that just stresses me out because I don't want to be annoying. Or hurtful.
So discussion of blind spots makes me squirm.
That's all.
Deep thought of the day.
They come fast and furious when I'm home all day cleaning.
Maybe I should avoid that. :)
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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

wow...what an honor...

i've been subbing.
a lot.
last week i was in a preschool special education classroom all week and this week i have been in a 5th grade classroom.
i really just wanted to jot down a few things before i forget how amazing this has been.

i remember before i had kids.
i wanted to be a workin' woman.
i seriously would have just loved to work my way up the corporate ladder.
be the "boss".
make lots-o-money.
sat through meeting after meeting.
gone out to fancy lunches.
i'm serious.

then i had brigg.
it was crazy.
my plans were to take 8-12 weeks off work and then go back.
i remember week 8 coming and going.
i began to PANIC.
how in the world would i go back to work??
and just like that, it no longer meant anything to me.
i just wanted to stay home with my baby.
none of those things were important to me at all anymore.

staying home just felt right.
it was like i had found my niche.
and i didn't even know i was looking for it...i thought i already had found it in the business world.

fast forward to 2010.
3 babies later.
a couple part-time jobs here and there.
one pretty brief full-time job.
years of baby raising, diaper changing, breastfeeding, and 10000 boxes of goldfish later.
i decided i was ready to get back into the school.
i started to feel it in my bones when brigg and lani were both in school and i would volunteer.
as soon as i walked through those doors, my heart would skip a beat.
children squealing...the smell of crayons and paint.
i started to feel like i was missing it.
so i renewed my license last year and got back on the sub list.

it's been a bit of a rough go with ayla.
i have not worked outside of the home since she arrived.
there has been a looooong adjustment since november.
about 5 months.
there have been days that it's kinda sucked.
mommy guilt.
lots of it.

but all of the sudden, something has clicked.
she's fine.
no tears.
no begging not to go.
excitement to see her friends.
and finally, i feel like i have started to shift my focus off of just getting through the day and getting back to her, to actually enjoying my day.
being present in the moment.

and can i say it has been awesome.
amazing, in fact.
this week, all of the sudden, it just felt right.
like i had again found my niche....when i didn't even know i was looking for it.
5th grade has been great this week.
my parenting teaching just clicks with this age group.
it hasn't been easy...just right.
and i have loved it.

and it's not just 5th grade.
it's the school in general.
all of it.
as i walked around the playground today on recess duty, i wanted my computer right there.
i wanted to get all the thoughts rolling around in my head down on paper.
i looked around at the 100 kids or so on the playground and felt overwhelmed.
what an honor.
what a privilege to have a part in building who they are...what they become.
(i dont mean my 3 days subbing, but teaching in general)
what a responsibility.
sometimes scary.
and teachers just don't get the credit they deserve.
they work their butts off.
the majority of them love these kids like crazy. they put their heart and soul into their jobs.
it has been such an honor to see it first hand this past 6 months.
it's a tough job. but man, the rewards are endless.
is the system way.
are the teachers perfect...nope.
but they are working hard and doing everything they can to guide these kids down the right paths.
to provide the life skills for their future.
and i think they are doing an amazing job.

i can only hope that i grow up to be the kind of teacher these women and men are.
(and that i can find a job so i have the opportunity to become a teacher at all!!)

feeling pretty thankful tonight.
very blessed.

(and HOW CUTE is that photo of ayla?? mommy and teacher. how lucky can one girl be?)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

More progress on the nook!!

left for the weekend with the 2 youngest. paul worked his butt off. it's really really coming along. we are painting. i'll be sewing the curtains this week (or more likely this weekend...i sub thru wednesday). i am amazed at his abilities. him. AND the nook! :)

Friday, March 25, 2011


leaving for the weekend with ayla and lani.
be back sunday.
until then....

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Heading to work again this morning, but wanted everyone to know the $10,000 goal was reached with 2 hrs to spare! And another $1400 was raised before the day closed. With the match, that makes a grand total of $21,400 in ONE DAY. It was awesome to watch unfold. Thanks for listening. Thanks for donating! What an honor to be a part of it all.
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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World Water Day 2011!!!!!

I want to start this post by saying i am SO EXCITED to be a small part of this World Water Day campaign with so many other tribe members at The Adventure Project.
Water has played a huge role in my life the past few years.
Hours, days, weeks, months spent thinking, praying, planning, fundraising for this cause.
It is so important to me.
Because truly, there is a solution to this problem.'s basic. It's necessary. It's available and should be accessible to every human being.
So over the course of the past year, I have started to view the WAY I give to water a little differently.
There are thousands of broken hand pumps throughout India. Actually, one third of all hand pumps installed in the last twenty years in developing countries are now broken. And 4,000 children die every day because of lack of clean drinking water. That makes no sense and is unacceptable.
Instead of going in a drilling more wells, The Adventure Project is partnering with WaterAid to train and employ handpump mechanics. The mechanics earn an income, bringing themselves out of poverty, and they save lives – turning water back on for thousands of people each year.
How exciting is THAT?!?!
Watch this video. Please.
This is Ram Rati. I have blogged about her in the past month a couple of times. Because truly, I love her. I want to meet her so badly. She is incredible. After viewing some of the photos taken in India, I emailed Becky and said, "I love the women in the photo with the attitude." She instantly wrote back saying that Ram Rati stole her heart as well and The Adventure Project would be featuring her in this campaign.
So awesome.

The Adventure Project - World Water Day 2011 from The Adventure Project on Vimeo.

So here's the deal.
The Prem Rawat Foundation has stepped up and agreed to match any donations made TODAY for World Water Day, up to $10,000.
As of right now, there are 125+ bloggers who will be blogging about this cause today.
If each blogger can raise about $100, over $20,000 will be raised in ONE DAY for this cause. I am looking for 10 of you to give just $10.
$10. Simple, right?

I'm serious, my heart is pumping just thinking about Ram Rati and WaterAid and India and the difference this could make for a country.

So I'm hoping you all want to be a part of this.
And just to sweeten the deal, I'm going to send you to my sister's blog....because she is doing a giveaway.
Here's how it will work...
In the giveaway are
4 mini clipboards
1 bottle of Bath and Body Works Dancing Water Hand Soap
and for anyone local or anyone who wants to travel to the QC area,
a free photo shoot

you get...
1 entry for posting THIS LINK on Facebook
1 entry for every $10 donated

Leave a comment on her blog (or email her if you're not comfortable posting how much you donated on her blog)
In the comment include if you posted the link on Facebook and how much you donated.

Donations can be submitted to qualify for the giveaway until 12am EST and she will draw a winner and post on her blog on Wednesday.

So first go HERE and donate.

CLICK HERE to go to her blog and enter

Go HERE to check out her photography blog if you might be interested in the photo shoot.

Monday, March 21, 2011

i am so excited to be part of this!!

i really really think you want to be, too.
watch this video and then go sign up!! (i know...i'm still not shutting up.)

typeTAP: Water Revolution from The Adventure Project on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

c'mon...just 15 more

have i mentioned that i love THE ADVENTURE PROJECT??
that i have the utmost respect for the women who are running this organization?
that i am in LOVE with their new perspective on how to give??
oh, i have?'s worth revisiting.
because i believe so deeply in this organization and the people running it.
they know what they're doing.
and they are amazing.
they recently launched a blogger-type campaign.
the goal is to raise $10,000 in one day...which happens to be WORLD WATER DAY.
in 24 hours they found 50 bloggers willing to dedicate their blog to this cause on TUESDAY (which is world water day). they decided to double down and try to find 100 bloggers instead.
they are almost there. they only need 15 more bloggers.
and some great news came in...they found someone to partner with them and MATCH the $10,000 goal.
that is HUGE.
but i believe they need all 100 blogs to give it their all. (and more would be even better!)
so i encourage you to go read about the project and sign-up. i really think you want to be a part of this.
it's going to be awesome.
you can read about typeTAP HERE and sign up.
you can read a little more HERE at jody's blog. there are some great links there. i would urge you to read more about this project. you will fall in LOVE with these mechanics and their stories.
i hope you join us. it's one day. one blog post. and an opportunity to be a part of big big change around the world.
thanks for continuing to listen to me. i know i get get annoying. but i truly, from the depths of my soul, believe in this. truly.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


we made it home.
countless countless photos to sort through.
lots of memories this week.
spring training baseball, beaches, sharks teeth, parasailing, laughter, family, good good times.
but really, are you supposed to be this tired after doing a whole lot of this...

well i am.
we stopped at the store on the way home.
milk and bread for the kids.
fruits and veggies for me.
lots of fruits and veggies.
that all i'm going to be able to eat for WEEKS to make up for this past week.
but so so so worth it. :)

kids are in bed.
i'm making a cup of hot tea and heading there myself.
with my husband, my computer and our DVR.
so romantic.

and oh my own bed feels like a dream.

much much more to come on our trip to florida.....
consider yourself warned.
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Monday, March 14, 2011

Saturday, March 12, 2011

made it...

To the beach. Shark tooth hunting.
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Friday, March 11, 2011

even in the rain....

We know how to have fun. :)
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lunch by pool.

Nana b and ayla having lunch by pool.
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spring training

Becky asked me to post pics. Here is one becuz I can't figure out how to do more. Went to spring training game today. Perfect. Awesome. So so happy. Saw my bro and fam. Spent time w/ Paul, brigg and Donna. We r having a great time. Updating regularly on fb. More later. Luv u Becky. :)
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

International Women's Day

You may not know this, but today in international women's day.
It's striking a chord with me today.
I know I have posted this video here before, but I want to do it again.
Because I really do believe that woman can change the world.
Watch closely...

Seeing as it is International Women's Day, I wanted to share another story with you that has touched me. It is the story of Ram Rati.
Becky Straw, of the Adventure Project, traveled to India a couple months ago and met her.
She fell in love with Ram Rati and has been passionate about telling her story since she has returned. And what a story it is!
You see, woman across the world don't always have the advantages we do in the United States. They are looked down upon and scared to speak up. They need women like US advocating for THEM. Ram Rati is a success story. And she doesn't have to be alone.
The Adventure Project is working to make sure men and women everywhere have their dignity restored. They are partnering with organizations that are working to help people in developing nations transform their countries from the inside out. It's a fairly new concept and it's catching on.
Letting go of the idea of AIDE and looking more at organizations who are working to develop products & services that improve communities, save lives, & create jobs.
So today is a good day to look at a woman who is a success story. A woman who has captured my heart. And understand the these men and women have the abilities to change the future for their whole country.
Upon her return, Becky told a story of watching Ram Rati work.
She said
That afternoon I sat in the dirt alongside a group of women, watching Ram Rati and her colleagues fix another well. I was blown away by how strong they were. How they jumped in and grabbed the heaviest tools. They knew just what to do, and how to fix it. I scanned the crowd and noticed three school-age girls also watching. Mouths open, standing in awe. They were mesmerized. I recalled what Ram Rati told me earlier in the day, when she grabbed my arm and pointed at those same three girls. With conviction she said, “I want these girls to be more than us.”

On that day, in the middle of a small village, I think I observed the birth of a revolution. For the female mechanics, this is their Women’s Rights Movement.

That gets my blood PUMPING.
And consider joining this revolution!!

willow and ayla

So cute together. And willow is much more tolerent than I!
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Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday night...

I'm done subbing until we are back from spring break.
Sitting in bed with a hot cup of tea.
My mind is spinning trying to make sure I remember everything for our trip...which is basically 5 swimming suits and 5 toothbrushes. ;)
We are bringing ONE suitcase for our whole family and then each of us has a back pack.
Did you know Paul was flying separately??
He got bumped off a flight a year ago. He received a free ticket through United.
Well, the flights through United to Florida were literally THREE TIMES as expensive as the ones we got through allegient air. So he is flying alone. Which sounds heavenly.
But do not worry about me! I will be flying with not only my 3 children, but (are you ready for this??) also Lisa, Tony, Macy, Hadley, Nana S and Nana B. When we land Erin, Luke and Drew will be waiting for us. We have 2 vehicles that will seat all 13 of us and then Paul will meet us at the house later that night. That makes a grand total of 14 people staying at my parents!!
Plus, my brother and his wife and 2 kids will be joining us off and on. (they actually LIVE there, so they'll be staying in their own home.)
It's going to be crazy fun.
And I might need a vacation upon our return. :)
So I have our bags mostly packed. Last minute things will be tossed in tomorrow.
Every electronic device we own is plugged in and charging right now.
Books are placed in the kids' back packs.
Summer clothes have been tried on and wow...these kids have GROWN.
Willow gets dropped off at the kennel on Wednesday morning. :(
We are picking the kids up from school around 1:00 Wednesday (my mom and I) and then heading to the airport.
I cannot wait to soak up some Vitamin D.
And read The Help.
And drink pina coladas on the beach with people I love.
And not worry about my cell phone ringing at 6:15am asking if I want to work!!

Yes, excited is an understatement.
I'm going to bed now...just so the time goes faster.
Night world....

2 days

Need I say more? "Excited" would be the understatement of the century!
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Maple Syrup Festival...Part 3

a few more random pics from the day.
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE them. Love them...

there were some fun animals inside that the kids could touch and look at to help the long line wait go a little faster....

and hadley...well...she's just cute. and she calls me KHAKI. which makes my heart melt.

it was a fun fun time. love cedar falls. love hartman reserve. love the borglums. how can you go wrong??
(but secretly, i love being with the borglums even more in FLORIDA...and that's only 3 days away!!!)

Maple Syrup Festival...Part 2

it was cold and the wait was LONG.
but we finally made it to the pancakes! it was so cool to watch this guy.
he made pancakes from 7:30am-1:30pm.
it went like this...
1. he had this machine on a slider and it blobbed (technical term) the pancakes down in perfect pancake shape. it was fun!

then he left them for a bit and when they started to bubble, like this...

he started flipping them at lightning speed. i'm serious. it was so so fast.

if you wanted, you could stand a ways away, and he'd throw them up in the air and you could catch them with your plate! all our big kids did it and they all caught them. cute...

then you grabbed some sausage, a cup of starbucks coffee, or a glass of fresh milk for a local dairy farmer and viola...breakfast. and happy kids.

they also had FRESH cream from the local dairy farm as well.
it went perfectly with the coffee.
i had three cups. (off coffee...not plain cream!) and it was worth it!

Maple Syrup Festival...Part I

Saturday we made a flying trip to cedar falls to celebrate Hartman Reserve's annual maple syrup festival with Lisa and family. paul took the kids last year while i was in africa, so i was happy to be a part of it this year!
we got there a few minutes before lisa and tony, so paul decided to show the kids the sap in the buckets on the trees...
ayla was obviously very very interested....

we stuck our fingers in it and tasted the sap directly from the tree. pretty blah, but fun for the kids to see where the syrup starts!

then the borglums arrived and lani and macy ran towards each other and embraced. typical for them.

the big kids and the little kids watched as the middle-sized kids climbed all over the trees and swung from the branches...

and we got them all together for one quick photo before we stood in line forever to get a taste of pancakes and fresh maple syrup!

test with photo.

OK...u may be able to tell I got a new phone. Its a smart phone...obviously much smarter than me. So I'm messing with it. Please pardon the interruption. Thank u.
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Saturday, March 5, 2011


Testing from my phone.

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Friday, March 4, 2011

I'm giggling...

imagine an extended family.
many of you may think of a group of adults gathered around a fire...drinking coffee.
graciously discussing politics and religion and education and such.
it's peaceful.
the kids are quietly putting together a puzzle in the middle of the floor.
getting along famously.
9:00 hits and they all stand up and decide to call it a night.
early to bed, early to rise.

nice, right?
that is not my family.
so it's making me kind of laugh hysterically to image that.
my sister wrote a post this morning about our family...meaning her parents and siblings.
and i read it and could hardly contain my laughter.
it's funny.
if you want to get a glimpse of my family, you should go check it out.
for those of you who don't know my family, something might click for you.
it explains a lot about me.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

choose joy

"It's rebellious, in a way, to choose joy, to choose to dance, to choose to love your life. It's much easier and much more common to be miserable. But I choose to do what I can do to create hope, to celebrate life, and the act of celebrating connects me back to the life I love. We could just live our normal, day-to-day lives, saving all the good living up for someday, but I think today, just plain today, is worth it. I think it's our job, each of us, to live each day like it's a special occasion, because we've been given a gift. We get to live in this beautiful world. When I live purposefully and well, when I dance instead of sitting it out, when I let myself laugh hard, when I wear my favorite shoes on a regular Tuesday, that regular Tuesday is better." (shauna niequist)

love that.

Africa 2010

just went to read meg's blog this morning and she posted about our africa trip last year.
i'm in tears.
crazy how a place can change your life forever.
my thoughts have been returning to sierra leone often this past week as i look at the calendar and remember where we were last year on this day.
i ran into sheila yesterday and school and we had a little "moment". our eyes kind of locked and i said, "can you believe it's been a year?" and she just sighed and said "i know...i can't stop thinking about it this week!"
so i'm not alone.
and after reading meg's post, i wanted to link up and share some of her photos from that trip.
i was an incredible week in my life.
one that i will never ever forget.
i miss africa.
i miss my africa girls from that trip.
feeling super reminiscent as i start my day today.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

last spring break...

i'm pretty sure there are few people in this world who appreciate hot florida sun in early march more than iowans.
i am beyond excited.
we leave one week from today.
i was looking through photos from last year.
remember?? i had just gotten back from africa less that a week before we left.
and we DROVE.
20 hours each way.
what in the world were we thinking?? :)

so one year ago...
it is obvious ayla still had an attitude. we could probably get this same photo this year.

but seriously...these boys have GROWN this year. wow...they look like babies!!

and of course the girls. we'll have a few of these shots in the near future as well...

i would not say that it's easy to have kids under 2 in florida on the beach and out in the hot sun.
but somehow we have managed to do it for several years.
this year we are going to have erin, luke and drew with us, too.
beach time could be interesting.
and not to rub it in...but none of those little little ones are mine this year.
which is incredibly exciting for me.
3 and up, baby! i can't wait!

we absolutely, positively could NOT do this if my parents weren't awesome and generous.
we take over their house for a week every year.
and they keep letting us do it.
the adults act like kids while the kids nap.
it's perfect for our families.
and the memories we are creating are pretty amazing.

all that to say we are pumped.
we are counting down the days and we are to ONE WEEK.
we get to see my brother and his family.
the weather looks to be sunny every day and right at 80 degrees consistently.
(does it get any better than that??)
i got my vacation book in the mail today. (The Help)
i'm thinking of starting to pull out summer clothes and get things organized.
can you tell??
look out florida...we are coming soon!