Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

New Years Prayer

Thank you Lord for giving me
The brand new year ahead
Help me live the way I should
As each new day I tread.

Give me gentle wisdom
That I might help a friend
Give me strength and courage
So a shoulder I might lend.

The year ahead is empty

Help me fill it with good things
Each new day filled with joy
And the happiness it brings.

Please give the leaders of our world
A courage born of peace
That they might lead us gently
And all the fighting cease.

Please give to all upon this earth
A heart that's filled with love
A gentle happy way to live
With Your blessings from above.

~ Charlotte Anselmo ~

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pitter Pat

What could be more wonderful that the holiday season? Fresh warm cookies, smiles from family and friends and little ones diligently trying to be good enough for the big guy in red to make a stop. We are all on the school schedule, so add lazy mornings to the mix and it is pretty good. We gathered with the Baldwin side of the family on Sunday and as usual bucked a bit of snow getting to Jake and Kristine's digs. We all had a great meal and fun with the gift exchange and soon it was time to head down the road. Today we congregated at Kris and Rick's house to enjoy time with the family. Kris generally has a set deal about how presents are opened and wouldn't the newlyweds want to get a present opened right away. Well! Come to find out their was a stuffed animal and couple of bibs announcing the are expecting a baby next summer. Kris was elated as daughter, Jessica, and hubby Matt are also expecting next summer. Guess we better plan on a few more cuties to adore next year. Very hard to focus on presents after that bit of glorious news. As with all good things, we wrapped up with a bite to eat to get on the road before the ice hits. Yes, we are having quite a weather event this week. We have had sleet, ice, snow and right now are in the midst of a flood watch and the rain is really coming down. Overnight we are supposed to have the rain turn to freezing rain and heavy snow and all should wrap up on Sunday. Nothing has been ordinary with the weather this year, so this fits right in nicely. Tomorrow the boys and I are going to cook up a turkey and enjoy each other's company from the safe sanctuary of our own digs.

If we could share one wish with you, it would be for peace. Not only for the holidays, but for each day going forward. So much has come our way in the last few years and peace is the thing I desire most. God bless each of you and thank you for being a part of our lives.

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Mumblings from a teenage guy

If only you could be here right now, the guys are both watching snowboard clips on the computer. As if that wasn't enough, they are both getting along and treating each other well! (Holy moly!!) A giggle here, a stunned remark about a cool stunt, and then the search for the next video. All of this from two fellows that were heart-broken about not being able to snowboard over Thanksgiving. (Yes, lots of moping going on over the holiday.) Last year, we spent Black Friday in Dubuque at the slopes. Nice photo below of them with their gear. Yes, I would be the lounge bunny type in case any of you are curious. Thank goodness I have Mia (Australian Shepard) lying on my feet to keep the thoughts of snow from giving me a chill.

Hurray for the little things in life!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The necessity of thanks

Often, we cruise through life meeting each obstacle and then down the road to the next. Not stopping to think why we had the obstacle to begin with. My life is a perfect example of this 40 years of sweet memories, good times, love, marriage, children and some really great coworkers. Oh sure you had your moments of despair, disbelief and shame, but all seemed right with the world, so you just kept going mindlessly. Giddy in the moment.

Three years ago life came to the base of a mountain and the pitch was quite steep. No doubt, all the little puddles that had come my way were preparing me for what was to be, but in my silly-headed manner, just kept plugging. Now I feel the challenge in stepping upward for the last few years. Adjusting to loosing big chunks of love from your life is my mountain. No "little brother" to torment at family gatherings now. The love of my life is no longer suffering, but is unable to help hug the kids and me at the start and end of each day. The career that I worked so hard for so many years is gone. All a piece of the mountain that I am working to scale one step at a time.

Some days it is very tempting to just give up and give in to the challenge. Then out of nowhere appears a sweet note, timely call or laugh from a friend. Encouragement to finish the journey and see where the mountain will take me.

Thank you. The challenge will make me a stronger person and better to serve all I meet along the way. Your thoughts are appreciated and keeping us in your prayers is a huge bonus. You are the reason we will give thanks this year. God bless!

Becky, Dalton and Trenton

Monday, October 5, 2009

What's new

Hello Blogosphere Friends!

Pardon me for being remiss about writing much recently. Life has been chugging along and I have finally kicked some kind of a bronchial cold that I have had since the beginning of September. (Only three trips to the doctor and four prescriptions later or my thoughts are it finally ran its course.) Only now it would appear that both of the kiddos are coming down with some nasty headcold. Ah, fall in Iowa.

School seems to be speeding by and the boys finish out their first quarter of classes in a couple of weeks. Trenton is doing much better than expected in Jr. High and just loves his new Special Ed teacher. She is just what we needed to keep him going. Thank you, Beth. Dalton is my tougher case as school is of no interest to him and his grades are poor. I keep holding out that the light will come on soon and he will just soar. Prayers welcome.

Autumn has brought a few other changes. I started back to work in August for Center Point High School. (This is NOT where my kiddos go to school. Easier on everyone that way.) My assignment includes assisting the Curriculum Director, Nurse and High School Counselor. It is wonderful to have a job again and this is very different than anything I have ever done. All three of my bosses are very interesting and have been patient in helping me learn their areas. I do hope that the congress comes up with something for medical insurance as this job does not have benefits.

Life moves on and Jeff would have been 46 this upcoming Saturday. We miss him as much as ever and know he is watching us from his comfy chair. Happy Birthday buddy!

Hope you are all having a nice Fall season.


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Love Ugg Boots

Check out the link and you could win a pair for free!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Soft Landing

Trenton mentioned someone was in the driveway with a trailer so we headed outside. Can you imagine our surprise to see this was the chaser for a hot air balloon. Even better, the balloon was sponsored by our credit union. Trenton went out and helped out the crew. Unfortunately, I was headed out to teach religious education for the evening. Many of the neighborhood had congregated to enjoy the landing and retrieval. The guys were kind enough to take care of our newly planted alfalfa. Trenton said they had it all picked up in just a matter of minutes. The lucky couple that had enjoyed the ride said it was worth the cost. Trenton asked if he could get a ride and the fellow said sure, its just $500. Needless to say, he is still just in the wishing phase.

What a great surprise and fun way to end the day!


Friday, August 21, 2009

You guessed it

Sadly, summer vacation has ended for Dalton and Trenton. We enjoyed a nice dinner out with Pat on Wednesday evening to celebrate the fun we had together. We all chatted about happenings, concerns about returning to school and the crazy weather as of late. The guys both grew so much over the summer. Trenton must be at least three inches taller and took off some of his love handles. Dalton has lost weight and hopefully will not loose any more as he looks a bit lanky.

How did they spend their time? Well, skateboarding, motorbiking, hanging with friends, playing with the dogs and cats, caught a few movies and gaming. Trenton ranks this summer as just a smig behind last year due to all of the wet weather.

Day one and two seemed to go well at school. I had treats waiting for them after their first day and they munched them right up. Praying for a year of positive endings and that they both give school serious attention. Getting back on the schedule is going good so far. No failed alarm clocks or shutting off the snooze. Yeah!


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Cancer Support

September 12, 2009 is a special day to support awareness of cancer, particularly in regards to children. Recently a friend and a cousin were diagnosed with cancer and it would mean a great deal to me if you would include them in your prayers. My son, Dalton, lost a classmate in the fifth grade to cancer and this would be a way to help ensure other parents don't have to see their child wither away. Needless to say, after the boys and I lost Jeff last summer, cancer is something we would really like to see more research and hopefully a cure. I will send a photo of us in our shirts when they arrive.

Thank you!

Becky, Dalton and Trenton

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Frying Fish

We decided to have a fish fry to celebrate the many summer birthdays in our family. Russ, my brother, is both an avid outdoors man as well as a good grease commander. We all had activities early in the day, so we called for a evening event. Mother Nature certainly held up her end of the bargain with some terrific sun and then a cool dusk. My little goat friend, Delila, helped with setting up the garage for the event. Not sure she understands she is a goat.

Russ started the cooking and it seemed like everyone popped in at just the right time. Mom was in charge of cooking the sweetcorn over a flame and she was super successful. The kids kept themselves entertained with the party horns, water balloons and running around. After eating ourselves to the near misery stage, we enjoyed the fireworks from our town's days. Nice ending to a fun event.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

County Fair

Summer is not complete without a trip to the county fair. This past week we had the opportunity to enjoy both the Delaware and Buchanan County Fairs. Tuesday was the beginning of our adventure with a bike race at the Delaware County Fair. Trenton and nephew Kaden suited up and kicked it during the hot laps. Hot guys in cool outfits...wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday began the week for my Sister, Deb, and I as vendors at the Buchanan County Fair. Deb has a business with her homemade candles, wooden roses and body lotions. She was kind enough to let me use a table to put out some of the items from the long-gone Internet business. We had some long days with hours being from 11am until 9pm most days. We didn't sell much but did enjoy catching up with each other and observing human behaviour at its finest.

Thank goodness for visits from friends and family to give the days a bit more zest. Mackenzie and Reagan gulped down some carmel apples, Jimmy showed his dairy cow and gathered the Grand Reserve trophy, and several types of car events. No fair would be complete without a carnival ride and Sammi and Matthew had a blast at wristband night. The carnival even had some wild cats that put on quiet a show. A Bengal tiger named Sampson and his buddies Kiera and Sadie put on a fun show to watch and good news is not one member of the crowd was eaten.

As with all good things, fairs must end. We loaded up our goods today and said goodbye to our vendor buddies and headed for home. What a nice week!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Summer is heating up

Like many families, summer usually involves a fun get together or two. We did our annual 4th of July party on the 5th this year and we had a great day for everyone. Of course, lots of good food is a given with Peg in the kitchen, but the male force took to lighting up the evening sky with a few booms and a nice light show.

Dad is getting ready to put up the garage, so we had some really cool ravines and dirt piles. Big hit with the younger crowd. Check out the scary faces of the diggers. Yep, glad I have older kids and didn't have to encourage a bath of those proportions. Haley and I had a little fun before the party marking the way to the party and the potty. To the best of my knowledge, we did not have any falls into the holes.

The kids took turns riding on the 4-wheeler and the "most held" award was clearly taken by Stevie. Boy can that little fellow work the ladies. I bet he didn't walk a step unless he was playing tease. What a ham! The adults had a nice opportunity to chat and catch up on all the happenings.

All too soon, the fireworks faded, the parents rounded up the kids and we all headed to our abodes.
Freedom is wonderful! Thank you to the many men and women that provided us that freedom!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Summer antics

Summer is the golden time for kids. School is out and the guys enjoy sleeping in most days. They are hanging out with their friends and keeping Mom running with many errands. The warm days with ample humidity seem to run on with the sun putting it's pajamas too early most days. This week is a special treat with our niece staying while her Mother recovers from surgery. The boys and I are discovering that four-year-old little ladies are pretty busy. You can see them all bouncing around on the trampoline on a recent evening. Mia, the pooch, loves to be included in all play activities.

My parents know the strife of being unemployed and filling one's days, so they showed up with a couple of new kids to spoil a week back. Introducing Sampson and Delihla our little goat kids. We make milk for the kids at least three times a day and feed them with bottles. They love to romp and play and Sammi like to carry them around in her adventures. They are about three weeks old and are the milk goat variety. Surprisingly enough, the boys approve of the little kids and Jimmy, the llama, is looking forward to having company again soon.

Wednesday the baler arrived and finished up the first cutting of hay. We had a storm move through this morning that blew the oats around quite a bit. Hope they pop back up in time to be combined in a few weeks. The garden looks much better with the warmer weather. We are enjoying a few strawberries and some lettuce. More yummies soon.
What could be better? Fresh air, fresh berries, hugs from a cutie pie, handsome kids growing up all around. Summer is grand!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Over the firsts

June 2 marks the one-year anniversary of our dearly loved, Jeff, joined the "Big Fishing Team in the Sky". He fought the lung cancer that permeated his strong body with every bit of his being. The boys and I have experienced some great challenges in the last year. Shortly after Jeff's passing, we had wind damage that took the roof off of a building. No worries, building was repaired by some handy Amish craftsmen. Cedar Rapids suffered its worst flooding and continues with the many struggles to re-establish businesses and homes and like the raindrops the pain trickles to many areas of our community. The community is working to identify how it plans to rebuild going forward. Furthermore, my ethics caused me to step away from my job in August and I have been searching for work since then. Being without work has been a tremendous struggle for me personally having worked hard all my life. Sit and stare at the walls for nine months and you find a thing or two out about yourself. Family matters most; work just pays the bills. Co-workers from past employers have been the icing on my cake. Their wacky emails and phone calls have kept me going on some really trying days. I raise my glass to my many friends and cheers for keeping me going. The boys have been amazing in their journey. Kids do the grief thing a bit differently then us adults and a fishing trip hosted by Jeff's best friend, Craig, and cousin, "Jammer", put the smile back on our little guy's face. Learning to live without your Father at age 12- and 14 has been a challenge and I am very proud of the guys for hanging in there. Family has really come to rescue on many occasions. When the tornado this Spring took the roof off of the other building and did a bit of damage to the house, I just felt defeated. Not to worry, John S was right out and his sweet wife, Rebecca, was on the phone. We went and helped out the neighbors that had more significant damage. Parts for the building are on order and someday the building roof will be fixed. Kris and Rick have kept us in close range all year. Not sure what we would have done without them. Trenton eats more poptarts out of Kris' pantry and Dalton is a aeration dude for their lawn company, Irish Green. Good thing we only live a few minutes apart. My parents have been there for us time and time again. Running a 40-acre farm is getting easier, but there are moments. My parents have been through so much in the last few years that I just pray they are justly rewarded. My brothers and sister have helped so often. Jake helped Dalton fix the door he shut a little too hard and even gave him a little visit when Big D was practicing his teenagerness. Deb's kids are some of Trenton's favorite guys to hang with and Sammi is my little niece that keeps me on my toes. Certainly this is such a brief and incomplete list of supporters for our year of firsts.

Pardon my rambling, but it does take a village. What has been the hardest thing this year? We all agree, we miss Jeff's big strong hugs the most. Why would he be taken when he was only 44? Because we all need to remember we are only here for a while. Some minutes, some days and some live to be 100. What matters is what you share with others. Thank you to each and every one of you for helping us along the path this year.

Becky, Dalton and Trenton

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cutest graduate

Last Friday was a very exciting graduation day for the preschool class at Little Huskies. In attendance was a lovely little girl with flowing curls and big blue eyes named Samatha (Sammi to her buddies). Much to my surprise, the entire class of 60 students were all doned in cap and gown. (The caps were a source of entertainment for many.) The young group walked into the theatre from the back or some walked and several sprinted. The kids were elegant when they accepted their diplomas and made is across the stage. Soon after the songs started and the kids cut loose with funny tunes and darling dances. After a cookie, we grabbed up the graduates and escaped into the warm sunshine of the afternoon.

Sammi was really excited because she was coming home to stay with her Aunt Becky and she did not want me to get out of her view in case I might escape without her. We left in good time to hit a barbeque at Kris' and Sammi was in heaven with a big playground and lots of kiddos her age. After about three hours of serious playground activity, I loaded the little doll up and took her home. She does love a bubblebath and played for a good while. We washed all the play out of those locks and called it a day. She did awake around 7:30am on Saturday morning and was thrilled we had a birthday party in the afternoon. We had a few errands and then hit the party. She loves her new found friend, Addy, and they had fun playing again. She was excited when we got home because she thought her Mom was here to play. She was crushed when she found out that Mom was going to take her home. Big crocodile tears spilled down her cheeks, but I assured her that we would do a sleepover again soon.
Sweet Sammi our new graduate posing in a flower bed with a kitten named Buttercup.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

History with Hoover

Thursday, May 14th, we loaded a school bus with 70 lively Sixth Graders and headed for the Herbert Hoover Historical Museum in West Branch, Iowa. The noise level at 9:00am could probably have registered a 5.0 on the Richter scale. By 10:00am we were on the grounds of the impressive complex. They divides the kids by their classes and we had the tour of the grounds first. Adam, the tour guard, guided us to the birth home of "Bert" Hoover. Can you imagine five people living in a very small two-room house with no electricity or indoor plumbing? This is the bedroom that housed all five of them and was about 10 foot wide.

Herbert's Dad was a blacksmith and the kids thought the shop was cool. We then ventured to the one-room schoolhouse and this got the attention of the kiddos. The tour guide passed around slates and chalk and shared what school meant in those times. We learned more about Hoover in the Presidential Museum and library.
Hoover's parents passed when he was just a young fellow and he was shipped out to an uncle in Oregon. Hoover was in the first class at Stanford and graduated with a degree in engineering. After he made his millions, he eventually became President. He was a world traveler and was best known for his humanitarian efforts in saving millions from starvation. Belgium created a status of Isis and it rests on the grounds as a thank you for saving their children from hunger.

We then walked past the prairie and shared with the kids this would have been reminiscent of Iowa in the early days. They weren't impressed to say the least. We finished the walk with the grave of President and Lou Hoover. Massive 10 foot slabs of marble cover the burial site and sits overlooking the grounds. All too soon, we loaded up all 70 and headed back for the day. If you thought the trip back was quiet, you guessed wrong.

We could all gain a thing or two from Herbert and his life. We are here to take care of each other first and foremost. He also felt strongly that hard-work and kindness were a expectation, not the exception. Great day!


Monday, April 27, 2009

And it hit...

Yesterday afternoon found the boys both enjoying a little time with their "Megan" of choice. (Yes - both have a sweetie named Megan.) Dad and Dustin Z brought down the semi to load out some scrap and some fencing items. We had sat down to enjoy some cherry cheese cake and I mentioned the weather sure seemed to be mixing up something. Warm, moist wind whipped at our beings the entire time we were outside. Around 4:30pm Megan 1 came in and said she had seen a funnel cloud coming our way. Trenton turned the to the news and nothing was on regarding any danger. So we all went out and sure enough we could see a funnel shaped cloud near the neighbor's heading for Central City. As I looked toward the house, I noticed the siding had taken a beating and some was dragging off the East side of the house. Soon we noticed that the top of the West-most hoop was missing. We went down to check it out and it had been ripped off and was laying in the ditch. The back end of the newly fixed hoop was pushed out and the wood was lying on the fence posts. Sure enough, we had really suffered from the wind and had been outside during the most excitement Alburnett has experienced since the tornado of 2000.
Boy was I disappointed. We lost a roof to the other hoop building last summer just after Jeff passed away and have been working to tidy up the place. I feel let down and like I am behind the eight ball so I decided to walk to the cemetary. Well as they say, God works in mysterious ways. As Shasta (my yorkie pooch) and I made it around the corner you could see the fire trucks and many helpers taking care of our neighbor's. The three houses right around the corner had taken quite a hit. Attitude adjusted quickly.
Today is the quiet after the storm. Dalton temporarily tacked the siding back up last night since another storm was on the way. We did get some much needed rain and we can now see the oats popping up in the field. The Insurance company has been notified so we will just wait.
Thank you for the many calls and emails. We are fine and better for the wear.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Present

Every emotion I possessed was tapped this past weekend and the adage of today being the "present" really seemed to hit home. Friday I had the great opportunity to help at the school with the physical fitness test of seeing what time our children could complete a one-mile run. Let me say, I think most every child could do this but boy did the kids have the lazies that day. My "present" was a note to make sure we are out doing more physical activity together. Just after, I met a sweet friend for lunch at a super yummy resturant. She much like myself is getting used to life without her husband, however her is still alive. We shared tales on how to keep the lonelies at bay and tales of our children. We were about to wrap up and I heard a familiar voice cry my name. I looked over and several of my buddies from my last job were enjoying a Friday lunch together. So I hunkered over and joined them after my first lunch. Many funny tales were shared about the times we had during my stint there. What an awesome "present"! As if I could stand any more fun for one day, I headed to my "sister's" for a cooking party and enjoyed way to much delicious food and lots of great laughs.

Saturday was the official food testing for a good friend's wedding coming early October and since the father of the groom had prior commitments, I was the honorary "spousal alternative". We enjoyed many tasty vittles and surprisingly the veggies were my favorite. (Still hope for me...) I had the chance to meet the bride's parents and the maid of honor all in this swanky hotel. Woo hoo. Now I just have to loose the weight I promised myself and then we are all ready to get those two married.

Sunday we met Grandmother Marilyn at Coralridge for lunch and shopping and had a fun time. She spoiled Trenton a little extra as tomorrow is his big 13th birthday. Seemed like time flew by before we needed to head for our grief group in Hiawatha. As we were making small talk, somehow conversation led to me stating one of my friends was in the "house" as they call it. When we finished our meeting, arrangements were made for Trenton and I to visit with him. He looked good and we had a nice chat and did a bit of reminiscing. I could tell Trenton was having a hard time by the number of potty breaks he was taking. My "present" was being able to ask my dear friend if he was ready to step to the other side and he said he was ready. I did ask him to give my sweet husband Jeff some love when he arrived. He smiled and said he would do that for us. Clearly, I count this as the best "present" I have had for a while.

We do tend to forget our present is a present. Any of us could meet with our destiny today, tomorrow or next week. Are you in a place that should that come your way it would be a present? We are here for such a short time and have so many chances to make it count. Plant a tree, a flower, say a nice comment to a friend or visit a shut-in. Make today count as it is a special "present" from God.


Monday, April 13, 2009

And he turned over the land

Today the phone rang a little early and it was my Father who was planning a day of fix and prep work here. We plan to have hay on the entire farm this year, so we need to get the seed planted on the end that was beans last year. Dad brought along, Dylan, my uber-handsome nephew to help out since he had the day off. After a few attempts, the tractor rumbled to a start and Dylan hooked it to the disc. After a couple of bites of lunch, we got serious about turning over the ground. Dad headed to the garage with Trenton two steps behind to change the oil in the lawn mower. Love men working in the garage with all the comments, cussing and other testosterone laden events. I was summoned to find some stone thing to sharpen the blades of the mower. Keep in mind unless I tripped over this device, I wouldn't have the first idea of what we were looking for. So I went out and thank goodness it had already been found. I cleaned and put a few things in their place and then swept a bit.

Trenton relieved Dylan from his disc duties so they could head home for chores in their own back yard. Here is a snapshot of Trenton running the tractor and disc. Tomorrow we will toss on the hay and oats and hope for a good growing season.

Thanks guys for all the hard work!!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Been walking - day two.....omg

Ok, I promise I have not been drinking, but you will not believe what happened to me today.

I went and picked up the little kids the fun-colored play balls that I just loved as a kid. I had been looking for these and happened to find just enough at K-Mart. The cart didn’t really hold them so I had a couple under each arm heading to the checkout. As I approached an old fellow with a funny look on his face, I asked him if he wanted to play with my balls? He chuckled and said he was good and I headed to the checkout.
All went well and I headed out to the white buggy to load my fancy balls. Some wind caught one sitting in the kid seat part of the cart and the ball fell to the ground. So I walked the way of the ball and the darn thing took off like greased lightning. About that time a gal walking towards me said hey two balls just fell out of your cart! Snap! She went for the doubles and I headed for the single with a ball under one arm and my bags of goods under the other. Those balls really fly as I went from K-Mart East to Sherman Williams and was still tracking it when I got to Blockbuster video about two blocks down. I saw my ball head across Collins Road and decided the game was over. I headed back to the car and hoped my friend had better success in tracking then I did. Oh no, she saw hers last heading for Michaels about three blocks away. Well I thanked the gal, we had a great laugh and I headed out to see if I could find my balls. (OK – new fitness program began yesterday with the renegade llama and now I lost my darn balls.) After driving around I did locate one next to Collins Road, hopped out walked down into the ditch and put the ball in the truck. In case you don’t know, lunch time on Collins Road is busy and it is one of the most heavily travels roads in Iowa. Needless to say, many people had lunch and a show today if they were anywhere near Lindale Mall. Sadly I have to report I was unable to find my two missing balls. I only hope they went to a good family with a couple of kids that will love and cherish them.

I bought the two older kids Frisbees and I had enough walkng for today. Grrrrrr. Perhaps I will stay in bed tomorrow……
Becco the chaser

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Been walking?

As I was driving home today from spending some time in town, I thought it would be a good day for a walk. Sun is out and the wind is under gale-force strength for a change. Parked the buggy and then fed the cats and headed over to feed the llama. Of course, all this transpired while I was chatting on the cell phone. Jimmy, the llama, was in his little pen to keep him out of the nasty winter weather we had over the weekend. Time to walk him over to his pasture and let him stretch his legs. Jimmy will usually follow his full feed scoop of yummy food anywhere, but today the few bright green sprigs of grass distracted him. He walked around and checked out the hoop buildings and then headed back towards his small shed. He made a pit stop at the flower area with the rocks around it to munch the weeds there. As I walked up behind him, he headed down the driveway. I figured this would be no big deal as we have used him as a "lawn-mower" on several occassions.

Oh my, was I ever way off..... Mr. Jimmy spotted the street and headed out like a full bread race-horse. Crap! So I cut through the hay field and saw his old black hiney heading for the horse farm at the top of the hill. Guessing he has made this journey before because he took a hard right at the driveway and proceeded to rile up six different pens of full grown horses. Here is me slowly walking up the hill wishing I had on walking shoes and something to catch him with. So when I arrived at the neighbors, Jimmy, had put himself in an six foot wide alley way between four pens of horses. Ha! So much for Jimmy having superior intelligence. David, our neighbor, parked his truck at one end and I went to corral my naughty 20-year old llama. I caught him on the third try and headed back for the farm. We had to be quite a site walking down the road...chick with bright blue scoop and her llama on a leash. Yep, got quite of few waves and grins.

My guardian angels must have been preparing me all day as I had a jacket and that is not my usual style. I planned to go for a walk and in a very odd style, definitely got my 30 minutes in and then some. So have you been out for your walk today??


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring's a mixing

Over the winter I had agreed to help my Sister, Deb (above), with the Spring craft fairs and low and behold today was the first one. As most of you who know me can imagine, I was fiendishly busy last night! Several flower arrangements with tulips, daisies and roses were put together to hopefully grace the houses of those wanting a touch of beauty in their houses. I had discovered these cute Easter baskets that I had been working on and finished putting the glue one those just before midnight.

Good news, I did wake up on time and Trenton helped me load the family truckster and hit the road in respectable time. We picked up our neighbor boy, Spencer, and brought him along so the day wasn't so long for my fellow. I should have known it would be a day to remember when Deb called at about 7:30am to let me know she was running late. I couldn't help but tell her a story that I too had just crawled out and was heading for the shower. Tee hee, she was relieved when I let her know we were only 20 minutes out of Independence. We arrived and set up on a super great weather day. The boys located the activity area and went on their way. Deb arrived with her daughter, Mel, and we got down to business. With a tight econony, we sure had a lot of lookers and even a few buyers.

The day was near the end when Trenton and Spencer came in trying to tell their stories as I was counting back change to a customer. I asked Mel to help the guys out and they all headed out to the lobby. Soon Melanie was back wide-eyed and told me a story I had to check out. The guys had been skateboarding in the correct area when a middle-aged woman drove up and wanted to use a skateboard. Ok that doesn't happend every day and she helped herself to some kids' board and took a spill on the concrete. Believe it or not, that is the good part of the story. Next she said she was hot, so she began taking off her shirt and headed for the building. As she approached the building, she disrobed even further. By the time she entered the craft fair, she was in her birthday suit. She then headed for the restrooms (the building is a community center used as a workout location as well) so she took a shower and then went back out in the the hallway. Holy moly. The young gal at the front desk was freaking out and rather than dail 911, tried to help out. Trenton finished this story much like the 12 Days of Christmas song... three policemen, two squad cars and a crazy lady loaded into an ambulance.

Guess you can figure out what we discussed on the way home from Independence? Sad statistics indicate many homeless people have one form or another of mental illness. Trenton, Melanie and Spencer even got to tell the tale to the police because the poor old beaten up car happened to be stolen as well. Heavens, there is a gal that could use a few extra prayers.

Well, I am going to close as tomorrow we have a visiting priest and we need to take treats to church. Bet when he sees me, he will know he has his work cut out for him.

Make tomorrow a special day and share some love!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day to my prince

Did you wear green today? We made it through the day without a pinch. Trenton even has green bands on his braces. Yes, I did say braces. Trenton had his braces installed yesterday and is missing his favorite foods. Poor chap is really sore and quiet.

Please indulge me while I reminisce a moment. Today was the 21st anniversary of my first date with Jeff. We certainly did have some great adventures in our years together. We painted the town, several colors, lived in a tiny slab house in town, moved to a tiny farm in rural Iowa, raised hogs, goats, cows, llamas, cats and still working on a couple of prize kiddos. We had our great triumphs and many scraped knees. We always seemed to be able to buy high and sell low. Something to be said for consistancy, right? Many, many years we both worked in town and then came home to more to get done. The American dream in the form of a couple of "in love" rookies at life.

Cancer brought our dreams to a dramatic end. There will be no retirement on the road in a rv with white hair and lots of laughs, no walking kids to graduation with a parent on each arm, no wishing your sons lots of love and happiness as they marry their bride. Jeff was so brave and undaunted in his fight for life that he left us all with so much more - faith. I can truly say the last year has been the worst year of my life with Jeff's illness as well as mine. You can't put in words the strife that overcomes one as you lie down at night and stare at the wall wondering how you came to this point, where do I go from here, and then the tears begin to stream down the cheeks. Life is unfair and even sucks at times, but then you see the glory of a sunset and decide tomorrow is well worth living.

Kind words and prayers from friends have kept us all going in this challenging year. Sometimes your calls and notes have been the light for that day. God has us under his wings and we have all grown through this adventure. Perhaps it is like the seasons: Spring seems more lovely after a difficult winter. I pray our Spring has arrived and days will start to come more easily for the three of us.

Today may well be your last and although moving to eternal peace is glorious for the departed, be sure to leave your sparkle for those carrying on. We get too caught up in the daily trivial matters often to remember our real mission. Love with all you have in you today and always.

With gratitude,
Becky, Dalton and Trenton

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ready for Spring

Long, rain-filled days have me yearning for the warmth of Spring. We are caught in some odd weather pattern right now and the rains just keep coming. Tonight, you can also add a gale force wind to make for a blustery, stay-in kind of evening. Yuck! The kids were going to walk down to the cemetary to see Jeff, but the wind quickly changed their minds.

A month ago the boys and I broke out the Aerogarden to grow tomatoes and jalenpenos. We were tired of the never-ending snow then and thought this would be something to keep us occupied. Holy smokes, we have little pea-sized tomatoes on our plants now! We are very excited and I tried to take a photo with limited success for you to enjoy as well. The plant is supposed to produce cherry sized fruit and the pepper plant is miniature in nature also. Here is my tribute to a quick arrival to Spring.

Make today special!


Friday, February 27, 2009

Spring Wings

As I was reviewing the tax paperwork before meeting with the CPA tomorrow, I kept hearing a rucus behind me. Upon looking out the window, I noticed a tree loaded with feathered friends of many sorts. I snapped a quick photo but it would be better with sound effects. The number of robins leads me to believe that Spring must be trying to make its way soon! Good news!

Best wishes for a safe and restful weekend to all and may your trees be singing to you as well! Make today something special!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Tax man a cometh

How does the old adage go? Two things that you can be sure of death and taxes. Well I am working on getting our 2008 taxes in order and I think I would rather be drug behind my truck, so does that count as dying? Yuck! Being more of a socially inclined person, sitting for long amounts of time trying to figure out what happened last May other than taking care of Jeff, is a bit of a reach. I have the one checkbook figured out for the most part and nearly half done with the other with a next Saturday appointment with the man. Sadly, I have about four inches of paperwork to then start in on to see how taxes work on areas new to me like social security, disability and the list goes on from there. One area that I can check off of my job hunt would be playing with numbers all day long. Go Donald Trump!

So as I go back into my little tax huddle, I wish all of you happiness and good health for the next week! It would be nice if this little snow storm would miss us in the next day as well! Stay warm!

Make today something special! Perhaps Obama will just end doing taxes with our current fiscal nightmare???


Sunday, February 15, 2009

Peanut Butter Dreamsicle Valentine's

Friday evening before Valentine's Day began our adventure in a couple of arenas. First off, we just cannot seem to escape snow this year. Our predicted half-inch became well over four inches of slippery powder. Trenton and I saw a number of accidents in Cedar Rapids during our Friday evening outing. Thankfully all just auto damage but that snow just kept coming and it was difficult to see much. We braved our way to the Home Depot and left with our 16 gallons of paint. After loading them into the house, we called it a day. Trenton was touched that Mom remembered him with a Valentine on his pillow and I received a sweet hug before he fell to sleep.

Saturday morning we loaded paint into the back of the family truckster and headed North for the big day. Surprisingly we arrived first and this allowed us to get the paint and many supplies into the house before the rest of the helpers arrived. Jake, Kristine, Natalie, Haley, Dustin and myself started in prepping and adding color to the walls of Mom and Dad's digs. We really got busy by 10am and finally threw in the towel at 8:30pm. The hallways and kitchen are the color of peanut butter and the dining room was the hint of an orange dreamsicle. To the shock of all, my Father commented it looked "nice". (Dad is a white paint kind of fellow.) Jake and Trenton were in the bathroom painting the ceiling when chaos broke out. Trenton decided to fill in the "opening" on top of Jake's head so Jake prettied up the boring brown of Trenton's hair with a glob of white. Oh, yes, they were having a paint fight and my Mother was not going to have any part of it. By the way men, white paint is NOT a remedy for your bald patch. Tired and weary we called it a day and decided we would need to finish another day.

Trenton had gone home with Jake to have some fun with Kaden and so I brought my niece, Haley, home with me. We have been having a great time doing "girl" things. We watched some movie about a princess last night and today she is wanting to watch a movie about Prada. Rather unusual experiences for me and she seem puzzled why I would not know more about these topics. We are just returning from a restful lunch out and Haley is playing with the dogs.

Happy Valentine's weekend, all! Make today something special.


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cold time

Continuing to fight a head cold since this past Saturday that doesn't want to heed the vitamin C doses and decongestant. Put a few cards together tonight to keep me from going insane. Here is a peek at one that will go out in the mail tomorrow. My camera doesn't show the details very well. I stamped a light pink on the paper.

Make tomorrow something special!


Saturday, February 7, 2009


Great news! We had a great time at Chestnut Mountain in Galena checking out the slopes with the snowboards and none of the guys got hurt! (I always wince when I read the warnings with the snowboard rentals... Whew) I have been told that Nick ( borrowed son from another Mother) is really getting the hang of the sport and this is only his second outing. Trenton and Dalton were telling me some of the cool tricks from their adventures. I can admit to having enjoyed window shopping at the lovely shops in Galena. I did a thorough walk through at the scrapbooking store and found a few "needed" items, but otherwise just chatted with the store keepers or other visitors. One particular shop was well organized and I told the gal behind the register that I would pester her mercilessly if I were a local for a job. She was flattered and we had a great conversation following.

The guys were starving after coming off the slopes so we stopped at the on-site dinner and enjoyed the local fare. I think I will need to tell my Father to grow another cow from the size of the mammouth burgers they all consumer. Monster sized! As we walked towards the car we noticed a nearly full moon that was sitting in a clear blue sky. The guys all napped on the ride home and the fabulous warm weather had melted some of our ample snowfall. We can even see our driveway for the first time in months! The sun was so warm and beautiful today that you would just like to bottle it up for later in the week when ol' man winter makes his return. Ahh, the joy of a February thaw!

Make today something special.... we did!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Whistle and nocks ready

Today is the start of a new adventure for me and I had to shine up my whistle this morning. I am volunteering at the boy's school with the gym unit on archery. A week or so back in a moment of boredom, I approached the Principal about any needs the school may have that I could help solve. Some of you may remember a couple of years back I took my sons and a few other kids to Des Moines for the state archery competition and the boys won their way to nationals! Exciting!! I guess this makes me some kind of an expert and so I am helping by being an extra set of hands for the 4 - 6 grade classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We covered the basics and lots of safety today. I made them all promise not to shoot me, so we are all ready to go now. Wednesday we set up the nets, targets and get the kids shooting. More to come with this fun story.

The weekend seemed to pass too quickly. We had superwarm weather that even surpassed the freezing mark! We must be down to only about 4 more inches of snow to melt in most places, but I see snow blowing around in today's manic winds. The rascally groundhog saw his shadow so we are set for another six weeks until spring. Rats! Too bad the Cardinals couldn't pull it off yesterday, but the game was interesting to watch. Great commercials as always to keep the night interesting. We all looked like a bunch of weirdies with our 3D glasses but the guys dancing was a hoot. We even had a chance to oodle over a friend's new diamond engagement ring and sounds like we need to slot in another wedding this fall. Fun!

Make today something special!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Recovering from a light episode of the flu reminds me that it is important to take a moment to enjoy the little things. Today during a photo dump from my camera to my computer, I came upon inspiration of smiling as only from the cheeks of a child... Enjoy a moment with my adorable nephew, Steven, and his smile of smiles.

Make today something special!


Saturday, January 24, 2009


Yestereday found me coming up the stairs after a nice workout, when I heard the telling sound of a beeping cell phone. Trenton had tossed his cookies at school and needed a ride. Since I couldn't think of anyone else to pick him and his vomit-breath up, I headed to school. Julie, school principal, and I visited for a moment and she is going to check to see if someone may like some volunteering done during the week to help pass some time. She also had teased Trenton about coming home with us as she was feeling a bit under the weather herself. Trenton cuddled into the couch once we were home and turned on some mind-numbing tv to enjoy. My friend, Kris, called and was going to pick me up around 6:00pm. We headed out in the cold, wind-chilled night to see our friend in Alburnett. Zoey's pizza was on the menu, so we all ate well and enjoyed a great night of conversation. Trenton was impatiently awaiting my arrival around 8:30pm and we would down watching the Winter X Games. He conked out early but I had to see if the kid with the snowmobile could land his stunt and so he did.

Friends are like angels on dry ground. They keep you going and pick you up when it is needed.

Make today something special!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fixing cabin fever

With three days of sub-zero temperatures under our belts, we decided we better get away or trouble was brewing. Off we headed to my brother, Jake, and his lovely wife, Kristine's, digs for a bite to eat. The food was terrific and I confess to eating and eating and then just having a bit more. We all enjoyed hearing the stories from the kids and my niece's even made a mini-movie about the live of Mackenzie. Not sure when the 'go live' date is on the release of that future hit, but I will sure to add a line as that happens. My nephew, Kaden, received a dinosaur from Santa and it was having a fun time picking on their cat as you can see in the photo. It was a scream to watch the cat try to figure out the toy!! As all good things do, time passed and we headed for home. Jake is a salesman for Garst Seeds and must have some strong pull with Mother Nature. This information has been shared because if you ever visit be certain you have good tires and preferrably four-wheel drive because the drive home always seems to involve blowing snow and high drifts on the road. 2009 has been no exception to this trend.... Guess that is why his farmer's boast such high yeilds....all that moisture and well rested soil.

Sunday was the outing at Sundown Ski Mountain in Dubuque, Iowa. Dalton, Trenton and Dustin, handsome nephew, were wisked away by John in the early trolley while I enjoyed catching up on a few tasks before Megan (Dalton's sweetie) and I departed. As only I can do, I turned somewhere wrong and we enjoyed the scenic country-side near Dubuque for sometime before we finally found that location! Jake, Kaden and Paige did a bit of down hill action and enjoyed the lovely day complete with snowflakes you would see in a Normal Rockwell painting. As 4pm rolled around we put away the magazines and headed out of the lodge to get the crew. In true fashion, taking Dustin to Oelwein was a white-knuckle drive with blowing snow, slick roads and a few drifts. When we arrived in Alburnett around 8pm that night, school was already delayed for Monday. Good thing to have extra sleep after all that excitement.

Today the weather was sunny for a bit and the temperature felt warm with no snow and little wind. Tomorrow is supposed to break 30 degrees! Woo hoo!
Make today something special!