Thursday, March 29, 2007


While I was too sick to blog, my friend Anne had a birthday. Albeit belated, Anne, here is YOUR birthday list!

Anne is a GREAT Mom to beautiful Miss Mia
Anne is hard-working, honest and loyal
She has a great smile, and an even better laugh
Her name is pronounced "Annie"
Anne can accomplish anything she sets her mind to
She thinks of herself as a small-town girl, but gets around the 'big city' just fine
She does not like to drive in snow
Anne LOVES to go dancing
She has a weakness for chocolate
I am so happy that she is my friend!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Des Moines Christian School

Yesterday Mark and I had our 'parent interview' for Isabella to begin Kindergarten at DMCS. Neither of us really knew what it was all about. The Principal just asked us to be there, so we did as we were told. Isn't that setting the right example for our kids??? And I am happy to say that it was a very pleasant visit to the Principal's office:-) The girls and I had met Mr Lambert a couple of months ago when we went to Chapel there on a Wednesday morning, and Mark had met him the night of K Round-Up. But it was nice to sit down and hear from him what DMCS is fundamentally all about. DMCS asks that teachers, faculty, and at least one parent of each student profess a belief in Jesus Christ. And among the many points in their Statement of Faith, I really like how the last one is phrased. " Belief that a Christian is one who has received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord by faith. We believe good works to be the inevitable result of true faith (Romans 10:9; Ephesians 2:8, James 2:17-18; I John 2:3-40). " I think that concisely states that there is nothing that we, as sinful human beings, can do to 'earn' our way to an eternal life with Christ. He came to this Earth to be the bridge between us, and our sin, and God, who is perfect, and has said that the penalty for sin is death. Christ is constantly working on the behalf of all of those who willingly accept the gift of His salvation that He offered to anyone who believes by faith. When Christ was hanging on the cross between 2 thieves, and the one who recognized Christ and professed his faith in Him was told, by Christ, that they would see each other again in Heaven, also shows each of us that belonging to any given religion, or being baptized, or doing works of ANY kind, is not necessary for eternal life with Christ. It is recognizing who He is, openly professing your faith in Him, and simply accepting Him into your heart and into your life. The thief hanging on the cross had no opportunity to do anything but acknowledge Christ, and it was Christ himself who told him they would see each other again in Heaven. So powerful.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Best Jeans

It is a good thing that $$$ spent out of town counts less than $$$ spent @ home, because I found the BEST jeans when I was in St Louis! They are by Worn, and Nordstrom sells them in the Point of View dept. Everyone living in the DSM area will see me sporting my new white jeans EVERY time they see me this spring, summer, and possibly into Fall:-) And more importantly to my cutie husband, I might just be retiring the velour hoodie and track pants ensemble of the past year!!!

Friday, March 23, 2007

it was a hullabaloo

Hullabaloo by Cranium. If you have kids between the ages of 3 & 10, you MUST own this game. If I had not been taking the pictures, you would have seen me playing, too. Just a great time to be had by ALL!

Carousel & Butterfly Garden

Lisa had a great idea for we 5 girls to go to Faust Park in Chesterfield to ride the carousel and visit the butterfly garden/ museum. It was a bit of a chilly spring day to be outside, so I was pleasantly surprised when the carousel was inside, and the butterfly garden was down-right warm and humid. I think Iz, Lisi and Paige could have stayed on the carousel riding different horse-ys all day. It was fun. And beautiful. The St Louis Zoo also has a beautifully restored carousel that we rode last summer. In an era of fast-paced, interactive video games, it is good to enjoy the slower pace of simply going up and down, and around and around. But the Butterfly Garden is what surprised me the most. I really enjoyed it! And Isabella was in her very own Heaven. (I LOVE the picture of her studying the brochure.) Lisi, however, was ready to go as soon as we got there, and Paige did not like the thought that a butterfly might land on her...and there were hundreds of butterflies fluttering around. Wish I had a picture of Paige trying to duck every time she saw a butterfly coming at her. Thankfully she got more brave and did have a good time. She and Iz even posed in front of the GIANT butterfly sculpture outside.

good times

Auntie Kah had this GREAT idea to go get ice cream one night, so even though Iz & Lisi were already 'jammie time' girls, we hopped in the car and headed into Kirkwood. Cold Stone Creamery is new since I was last in town, and it was definitely a good choice! Iz picked mint ice cream with rainbow sprinkles and 1 chocolate chip mixed in (how cute is THAT???), Lisi went for "Banilla" with "care bears" (aka, gummy bears) mixed in, and Kah and I went for the raspberry mix-in. So Good!!! Great Grandma skipped the drive in, but got some good, sweet hugs when we got home.

too sick to blog

and for those of you who know of my laptop/e-mail addiction, you KNOW I must have been sick. Isabella, Lisi and I cut our trip to St Louis short and drove home on Monday. I vaguely remember unpacking the car and starting to sort laundry, and then I remember Thursday afternoon. YIPES!!! I slept for the better part of 3 straight days. Isabella slept her way thru a 3 day fever, too. Lisi, however, was JUST fine. Mark took her to work with him on Tuesday, but I think she pretty much took care of Iz and I on Wednesday and Thursday. We are feeling much better today, but just really worn out. Thankfully Dara agreed to have Lisi over to play this morning~ THANK YOU!!!
Although our trip was shorter than planned, I still have fun pix to share, so I will work on posting those next...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

On Being Home

I am home. Isabella, Lisi and I drove to Kirkwood on Wednesday afterschool, and I am home. We are staying with my grandparents, who have lived in their same home since 1954, and I just feel like I am home. Even though my Grandma just had the kitchen gutted and remodeled (thank you Pastor Josh!) it feels like it just never changes here. It always has the same smell, and I love it. I lived here for awhile when I was 5 years old, and caught the bus to Kindergarten from here. With Isabella excited to begin Kindergarten in the Fall, it was fun telling her that this is where I went to school, and showing her how I walked up Horseshoe Drive and up Lark with Jenny Duncan and her sister to catch the bus. I remember one winter day when we were SO cold walking home from the bus, and her older sister telling us that if we ran we would be warmer, and me telling her that, no, we would only get home sooner where we would be warmer. But not bad reasoning for a 5 year old:) And I told Iz that this is the house where Grammy lived when SHE went to Kindergarten. Oh, if only I could always remember the look on her face! Absolute astonishment. It was so cute. After my 1st grade year we moved to Des Moines, but my Mom, brother and I continued to come back 'home' once or twice a year, well, I guess until I graduated from high school. Then when I was 23 I decided to move to St Louis, and lived with my Grandparents for 1.5 years. It sounds crazy to do that just when a person is so ready to be independent, but I look back on that time as some of my very best memories. I was going back to college and taking science classes. It was so fun to come home and have grandpa waiting to hear what I had learned. I loved that! And as I was making friends and going out more, it was good to get style advice from my Grandma. Again, sounds crazy to get fashion tips from your Grandma, but if you have met my Grandma, you know what I am talking about:) Actually, I will post my favorite pix of my Grandma and me. It was taken at Paige & Murf's wedding just over a year ago. also, I should note that the pix of Isabella is from last summer, but it is of her riding the ride trike down my Grandparent's driveway, and that picture just brings back MEMORIES!!! So it has become so important for me to share all of this with Isabella and Lisi. I think I have brought them each down once a year, and more if I think I can make the drive (LOL)!!! It is also great that my cousins, so, again, I ask, are they 2nd cousins once removed to my girls???, anyway, my cousins who live here are closer in age to my girls than to me, and they have SUCH fun playing together!!! I will be sure to get current pix for my next post.
As for the snow bums in Telluride~ have not heard much from them this week. I am trying to not take it personally:) Last I heard, though, the weather was gorgeous and it was a good time being had by all.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Alex and Lance

ARGH!!! I just wrote my entire post, and then lost it trying to flip the picture of Lisi to be the right direction. ARGH!!! I know I should learn to 'save' everything, but why can't it just be sitting on my desktop somewhere?!?
So Uncky Alex and Mr Lance came over for dinner tonight. Mark and I love having family and friends, and friends who are like family, over to eat and feed them well. College students are an easy mark~ they will eat just about anything that anyone is offering:-) But when Alex comes over with his friends, a good time is to be had by all. Isabella and Lisi have such fun showing them all that they have learned; Alex and friends are light-hearted enough to just join in on the fun. So tonight Lisi was dressing up for us (you are going to have to about stand on your head to see the picture, but I am NOT trying to mess with it again.) Alex and girls were being silly, and Lisi was happy to show Mr Lance the jammies she had decided to wear.
Somehow this all flowed really well in the post that disappeared into a cyber-black hole, but what I really want to add is about Lance's Dad. Lance now attends West Point, but grew up just behind my parent's house. He has kind of been a fixture for as many years as I can remember. About 2 weeks ago, his Dad died suddenly and unexpectedly. I did not know his Dad, but after attending his funeral services, I think it was my loss not to have known him. His Dad was a principled man. And one of the things that Lance said about his Dad, I have shared with several people in the past couple of weeks, and now I will share it with you. Lance said that with most people you have to earn their trust. With his Dad, you had to lose it. His Dad chose to trust. And in this culture, where doing business on a hand-shake does not exist, I think his choice is to be admired. I did not know Lance's Dad, but his example has influenced me...through the words spoken by his son.
Tomorrow morning, like at 6:45 am!!!, Mark, Alex and Mr Matt are leaving for Telluride. I usually go on this annual Spring Break ski-trip, but this year it is 'boys only'. I am keeping the camera with me, so I might have to post pictures from years past of their adventures, but I am thinking that the girls and I will have adventures of our own this week. Stay tuned...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Happy Birthday 2 Chloe

What is the official term for the relationship of my cousin's child to me? If Chloe, now age 2, is my cousin's daughter, is she my 2nd cousin? Or my 1st cousin, once removed?? And what does that make her relationship to my daughters??? I think I will just call her my cousin, and also my daughters' cousin, and call it good. Actually what I call 'good' is that Paige, Chris and Chloe recently moved back to Des Moines from Chicago! The 3 girls all play so well together, we really should be getting together more often...but for now, it is family birthdays and a Mom's group every now and again. Tonight we celebrated Chloe's 2nd birthday with pizza, a giant cookie cake, and LOTS of balloons. She was VERY quiet and shy when everyone was arriving, but by the time sugary cookies and cupcakes had been eaten and the gifts had been open, the 5 little girls (all under the age of 5!) were upstairs jumping on the bed. A PERFECT party:-)

Chloe, here is your birthday list:
Her Dad use to call her "Chloe-Dog", but her Mom asked him to please stop:-)

Chloe usually has a very serious expression on her face

When Chloe cracks up, it lights up the room!

I heard her sing the ABC's with her Dad tonight

She got Llama Llama Red Pajama book for her birthday...and red pajamas, too

Her birthday party brought out the best in Mark!!!

Happy Birthday, Chloe!
We love you!!!

Friday, March 9, 2007

Baby Eli

Oh, it has been a fun day at our house! Eli McGee, 6 months old, has spent the day with us, and it has been a good time:-) Isabella was happy, and has said, "Babies LOVE me!" Lisi likes being a big sister for a day, and has said probably 10 times today "I AM a BIG girl!" They thought it was great fun bringing up baby toys et al from the basement, and have had a string of questions for me today about what they used, how they used it, when they used it. And have I mentioned how TALL Lisi looks now that Baby Eli has been in the house?!? It has run very smoothly with the play, nap, bottle, diapy change, play, nap, bottle,...sequence. I did, however, forget just how time consuming those 4 basic tasks are:-) We did make time for lunch and a playdate with Dara and Colin, and that was a good time. I think Dara likes getting her 'baby fix', too. So thank you Megan for letting us be blessed by little Baby Eli today!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

A Great Day To Be A Mom

It has been a busy day!!! Isabella, Lisi and I started out at Michael's (craft store) where they have a pre-school story & craft time. We met our pre-school friend, Emma, and her Mom there, too. We heard a story about Thomas The Tank, and then each pre-schooler made a Thomas felt story-board. It was a hoot! Isabella and Emma were each pretty exacting with their coloring and cutting. Lisi, on the other hand, just squeezed tacky craft glue on everything within her reach. We took home 1 beautifully executed story board, and 1 almost-finished story board...and some random papers with alot of glue. I think it is still drying in the car:) Then we loaded Emma up in the Suburban with us and headed over to Chuck E Cheese. Her Mom thought I was a little nuts taking 3 kids, ages 3,4 and 5, alone, but the girls were so good and we had SO much fun. Then off to school for Iz and Emma, and Lisi went to play with her friends Jordan, Jake and Jadyn. (When I went to pick her up, she did NOT want to have to leave~ it was cute.) And then off to PaPa's office for their first eye exams...and NOT given by PaPa. He was afraid that it might not go well with dialation drops, etc, so he offered to have Dr Den Hartog do the exams:) Lucky her! But despite the major meltdown from Isabella on the drive there, it went REALLY well. Lisi had requested that Rachel, who works with Dr Den Hartog and also goes to church with us, be the one to help her. Super cute:) And as a super-bonus, when we walked into the waiting room, there were GiGi and TGO (The Great One)~ the girls' great grandparents! They were also there to have TGO's eyes examed:) So after confirming that their eye health and vision was A-OK, the girls got gum. Everyone was happy.
Of all days to leave my camera at home! I had about a ka-gillion good photo-ops! I did snap a few on my camera-phone at Chuck E Cheese~ I hope the resolution turns out OK. But all in all, it was just a really good day to be a mom.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Happy Birthday Nick!

I am totally stealing this idea from another blogger, but here goes my first attempt at a birthday list:
Nick is married to my favorite cousin Heather
With him, she got tall, dark AND handsome
They live in Southern CA, which is waaaaay too far away from Iowa
Nick is a devoted family man, but has a love affair with mac computers
He is fluent in 2 languages: English and German
He is 100% German
Nick is a GREAT Dad to Emma Elisabeth (pictured with her 17 months ago)
He likes LEGOS
Iowa summers are too humid for his liking
Mini Cooper is his current car of choice
He knows way too much about root canal instruments
Chip is not just their dog-he is their son with 4 legs and a tail
He is a loving husband and father, and a loyal friend
Happy Birthday, Nick!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Thoughts on Sunday

Sunday I was listening to a talk radio sermon about why The Cross is so central to Christianity. Now, crucification was a common punishment at the time of Christ, so it is not that He died on a cross, as much that He DID die...for you, and for me. God is a just and holy God, and cannot be in the presence of sin. And because we are human, and not perfect, we all have, and do, sin. And the punishment for sin is separation from God, and death. Death while separated from God is, at least in my opinion, Hell. When Christ died on the cross, He took on ALL of our sins, and was therefore temporarily separated from God, His Father. When Christ was praying in The Garden before His crucifixtion, he said, "if it can be done, let this cup pass from me", it was not DEATH that He wanted to avoid, but any time of separation from God. Christ, at the right hand of the Father, was with The Father at the beginning of time, and had been in His presence ever since. Even as a man, He was still in constant communion with The Father. So taking on our sins and being separated from Him was, well, incomprehensible. Yet, He did it. For you, and for me. Christ is the bridge between us, as sinful humans, and a perfect God. Christ is constantly pleading our case to the Father. Without Christ, and his dying and taking on our sins, we would be FOREVER separated from God.
Oh, back to the radio what was being said is was not like Adam & Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, and God said, "now what?". No, God is omnipotent & has known since the beginning of time all that would happen in this world...including the temptation and sin of Eve & Adam. And since the beginning of time, God, and Christ, have known that a price would have to be paid for our sin. In the Old Testament, that price was the sacrificing of an unblemished animal. All of that foreshadowed Christ- an unblemished, innocent sacrifice for our sins.
So without accepting the sacrifice, the gift, that Christ made for each one of us, we will have to pay the price for our own sins. Lying, lust, dishonoring, gossip~ all equal to adultery or murder. Sin is sin. So without acknowledging and ACCEPTING the sacrifice that Christ made for each one of us (on the cross), there is no salvation from an eternity without God. Accepting Christ=eternity with God.
OK, so that was kind of heavy in light of my previous postings of silly pix of Isabella and Lisi. But I have not been able to shake that message, and thought it might be worth sharing...

Sunday, March 4, 2007

"This Is A Really FUN Game!"~Lisi

This is a direct quote from Lisi as she was playing Hi Ho Cherry-O with Isabella and I tonight. Thanks Favorite Cousin Heather! My friend Angela has reminded me how much fun it is to plays games, and what a great way it is to spend time as a family. Playing with Lisi, age 3, can still be trying, but when it does go well, it is so much fun. And Grandma Jill and Great Grandma will be SO glad to hear that Isabella LOVES to play Rumikub!!! We might not play the exact right directions, but pretty darn close. And she is GOOD at spying new ways to play her tiles. I am not sure that Mark is as hooked on this new family pasttime as I am, but we will bring him around to our way of thinking...

Isabella's Bubble

So getting gum at Grammy & PaPa's house is a HUGE deal to Iz and Lisi. And on the rare occasion that Isabella has gum with me, she is constantly bugging me to teach her how to blow a bubble. And how do you teach someone how to do that??? But today was THE day...her FIRST bubblegum bubble:) It happened after church this morning, where she got Nerds Bubblegum from Creek Kids, and she was just chewing away, while I was gabbing away, and next thing I knew, she blew a bubble! This picture is just not as cute as it was the first time, but she wanted me to be sure to take a picture as soon as we got home:)

Friday, March 2, 2007

more winter pix

More pictures from our Iowa snow (the snowman and sledding were from last week). The other pictures are from how we spent our day inside today...including the one that Isabella took of ME working on the computer.


Cannot believe that I am typing the words, but this week Mark and I went to Kindergarten round-up and got Isabella signed up for the Fall. Simply unbelievable. But it did not take us by surprise. We have been having the 'where should our kids go to school' conversation for a few years now. Where we live is in the Van Meter school district. It is grades K-12 in ONE building. But about 1/2 of our neighborhood open enrolls to Waukee. Waukee today is alot like West Des Moines was when Mark and I were in that school district. Soaring in academics and athletics, but growing faster than they can build elementary schools~ no kidding! And Alex, my 21 year old pharmacy student planning on medical school brother, is a Sayre Montessori graduate, so that has also been a strong consideration. But after much prayerful consideration, Mark and I decided on Des Moines Christian School. I think the school has been in Des Moines for like 50 years or something like that, and renting space from a church. But last Fall they opened the doors for their OWN building on nearly 30 acres in Urbandale. And it, too, is grades K-12 in 1 building. Academics have always been top-notch at DMCS, but now athletics are also able to grow. I think what impresses me MOST about the school is that the principal and superintendent are both standing at the front doors to greet EVERY student as they come into school EVERY morning. It is just way cool. Our children's pastor, Lori Eilers, spoke at Chapel last week, and the girls and I went to listen to her, and for the girls to get a feel for the school. It was awesome. Absolute order and respect in the school. I loved it. And Isabella thought it was so great that we are going to make it part of our Wednesday morning routine from now until the end of the school year!


OK, THIS is the kind of winter that I remember growing up in Iowa. Snow for days. School closing. The Mall closing. Building a fire, playing games and drinking hot chocolate. I LOVE this!!! Even Isabella, who loves school almost more than anything else, was happy to stay home in her jammies all day yesterday. Thankfully I have a stash of toys in the basement that Mark and I packed away before birthdays and Christmas, so the girls are playing with our kitchen and grocery store stands like they are all new. We have also baked cookies, played in boxes, ran outside in jammies and boots to get icicles, stamped and made cards, and watched movies. I'll be glad when Grammy & Papa take them tomorrow afternoon until Sunday morning, but for now, this is good...

New To Blogging

Hello, All! OK, after being totally addicted to my friend's blogs, I thought it would be fun to start one of my own! And a week or so of snow storms, and being in the house WAY too much, has given me the time to get caught up on a few things, and sit down to do this. My intention is to post pictures of the girls and let all of you know what they are up to on any given day. I might include a bit here and there on Mark and I, too:)
If you have not blogged before, keeping current with this one will be easy. Just bookmark and check it out every few days. If you want to comment on something you have seen or read, click the 'comment' button, create a user name for yourself, and there you have it!
I look forward to sharing the adventures of Isabella and Lisi with you!