Thursday, May 31, 2007

Zoo Tracks

Isabella, Lisi and I picked up Miss Rhys this morning (day 3, and still not hitting the 'fun potential with her!), and met up with our friends Jordan, Jake, Jadyn and their Mom, Angela, at the Zoo. DANG was it crowded!!! We squeezed our way thru a few exhibits and animals, and found quiet at the camel ride. SCORE! We then found our way to the Scoop On Poop exhibit. score?!? The beetle dung races were a BIG hit, as was becoming a PCI: Poop Cycle Investigator. Actually, I learned some good 'truth vs. myth' re: garbage and recycling. Bottom line: sort your recyclables before they get to the curb, DO RECYCLE paper & plastics, recyclable paper makes up more than 30% of what is in landfills~ diapers make up less than 2% of what is in landfills, and that paper does not decompose in a landfill. RECYCLE, my friends! Wow. Kind of got off tangent from the zoo...

the scoop on poop

The summer exhibit at the Blank Park Zoo is "The Scoop on Poop". You can only imagine how the kids are LOVING that! What this picture shows is that it would take 16 hours for an elephant to poop the combined weight of Jordan, Jake, Isabella, Lisi, Rhys and myself. Lovely. How could I have gone another day without knowing that???

more Rhys

"But I wanted to ride on the camel, too."~ Rhys
(OK, so she did not really say this, but her face is clearly showing what she feels.)


Isabella: "Mommy, why did it take you so long to take Rhys into her house?"
Me: "Oh, I had to laugh with her Mommy."
Isabella: "Why?"
Me: "Because her Mommy is HILARIOUS."
Isabella: "Is that the fast way of saying that she is super-de-duper-de-duperty funny???"

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Don't Quite Know How To Take This

Rhys has taken to calling me "Grandma".

Best Quote

"I cannot find my Momma. I'm staying with Pastor Lori!"~ Colin at Story Time at Barnes and Noble this morning after listening to a story about a little piglet who lost, and then found, it's Momma.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Rhysie Piecie

Today we had the pleasure of our friend Rhys playing at our house. Her momma is not feeling so well. (1st trimester of pregnancy with baby #2) So we went and picked up Miss Rhysie Piecie (I could spend time with her just for the joy of calling her that!), made an "am I out of my mind???" run to Super Target (which went great, by the way), and then on to our house to play, play, play!!! The look on her face when she discovered that the Dora house talks was absolutely priceless:) Lunch time went well, naptime went long (love that!), and then we were on to dress up. When I took Rhys home at dinnertime, she was still saying "bumble bee", so we are going to pick her up again in the morning just so we can keep the fun going...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Making Memories

My Grandpa Lowe has often said, "you never know when you are making memories". But I am pretty sure that I knew we were making memories last week when the girls and I went to visit a miniature paint horse, 5 other full-size horses, and a menagerie of dogs and barn cats. Most of you know that Isabella LOVES animals. dogs, cats, horses~ she wants to get to know them all. Lisi, however, is very timid of all animals. We have been working on this and trying to introduce her to friendly animals, and we have definitely been making progress, but still, she does not have the same love of 4 legged creatures that her older sister does. So when we went to visit the horses, I fully expected to hold Lisi while watching Isabella enjoy herself. Boy was I surprised when Lisi ASKED to ride the horse! And she loved it!! So the plan for our summer is for the girls to take horseback riding lessons. Or maybe I should be calling it horse care lessons, because the girls will be brushing and cleaning "Frisky", the horse they will ride. They will also learn how to care for the tack, clean stalls, and feed the horses, too. And then they will learn how to ride:) You can count on seeing more pictures of Frisky as the summer goes on...

I wanna be a cowgirl

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Huff-Diddy & His Wife

It was a fun night for the Main's ... hangin' with Jason & Shari Huffey. We met J & S through Josh & Dara, and Jordan Creek Family Church. Jason was our worship leader; Shari sang with the worship team, and then MUCH to my delight, learned to play the piano to add that element to our Sunday morning worship. They have since gone on to a new ministry, and we still miss having them at JCFC. So that made tonight even more fun. J & S recently moved to a new home, and we had the pleasure of having dinner with them over there. What a GREAT house!!! And if you can believe it, even BETTER company:) As the pictures show, our cutie girls are totally comfortable with J & S, so it should be a fun time to be had by all when they stay with our girls later this summer...and Mark and I head North to Alaska! Now those are good friends:)


yep, I think that title 'bout sums it up. Note to parents who read this blog: when the sitter calls you home from a party because your child has puked, it is not just puke. It is projectile all-over-the-bed/walls/favorite stuffed animals, and in her hair, too. And just about the time you get all of that cleaned up, she will be asleep on your side of the bed...which is why I am still awake and blogging:)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

pictures, continued...

AT LAST! Pictures of the last day of pre-school.


Monday, May 21, 2007

End of the School Year

I cannot believe that I FORGOT to post pix from Isabella's last day of pre-school. Truly, I think I am still in a bit of denial:) When Lisi and I arrived to pick up Isabella, the teachers had used side walk chalk to write "Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Kindergarten We Go!" on the way up to the front doors. And then they outlined each of the students, and let the kids accessorize their chalk drawings and write their name, too. SO CUTE!!! It has been a great 4 years at WDM United Methodist Pre-School and Parent's Morning Out program.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Tahoe, Baby!!!

Just got an e-mail today from a relative on Mark's Dad's Mom's side of the family, and the 2008 reunion is being planned for Lake Tahoe. How awesome is THAT?!?!?!?!?!
The Pearce side of the family (Mark's Grandma, Wilma Pearce Main) meets every 3 years. The first one that I could have been a part of was in Southern California just before we got married, and we just could not swing it with the wedding plans, too. 3 years later, and Isabella in tow, we met everyone at Estes Park for the week, and had an AMAZING time. 2 years ago was in Oregon, and we wanted to go SO badly, but it conflicted with my grandparent's 60th wedding anniversary celebration in St Louis. I am thinking that Lake Tahoe next summer will totally be worth waiting for!
And to make it all that much better, they are a GREAT group of people! (check out Will Higman's website.)Mark has been going to these family reunions all of his life, so even though the cousins live all over the country, they are still good friends. Very cool.
Just thought I would share that little bit of excitement with you:)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Stanley Mwangi

This is our most recent picture of Stanley. He is wearing his "smart boy" school clothes. Is he not just the CUTEST?!?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Compassion International

Oh, this makes for a happy day at our house: we got a letter from Stanley Mwangi today. He is the 8 year old boy whom we sponsor through Compassion Int'l. Stanley lives in Kenya, and we have sponsored him since he was 5 years old. We LOVE getting letters from him...especially the ones we got early on with drawings of dogs and cars, and his printed English below the pictures. Just warms my heart and makes me smile to think back on them:) Today's letter was especially exciting because it included a picture of his Mom at her OWN business! In addition to monthly support, and an extra monetary gift at Christmas and his birthday, Compassion allows one additional monetary gift per year to benefit the child's family. The maximum is $100.00. Stanley's mother used the money to open her own beauty salon. How cool is THAT?!? The money was the equivalent of 22,ooo of their currency. Amazing. Now she is better able to support herself, and Stanley's 2 siblings. We also received a very heart felt thank you from his mother. I have often wondered what she thinks of us. Total strangers who help to financially support her child, and write him letters and occasionally send a picture of our family. I wonder if she knows just how MUCH we love and care for Stanley. That we think of him as our own son. Honestly, nothing would make me more happy than for Stanley to come to Iowa to go to school some day. I think about it so often that I have even wondered if he would prefer to have a bedroom downstairs where he could have more privacy, or if he would rather be upstairs and closer to all of us. When Mark had this idea to sponsor a child several years ago, I thought it was a nice idea, but it was Mark who chose the organization, and who picked Stanley, too. I had no idea how this little boy would affect my life. We pray for him, and for his family, every day. Stanley has asked us to pray for water in his village. It is his job to carry water for his family, but sometimes there is just not enough. These are things that I just cannot imagine.
I encourage you to reap the blessings of sponsoring a child. We have enjoyed being a part of Compassion Int'l, and have even visited the headquarters in Colorado Springs. You can learn more at

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Lisi's Park Day

Today was Lisi's last day of pre-school, and as we have done in year's past, it was spent at the park. It was SO windy, and a bit cold, but thankfully, no rain! With Lisi's class, even more so than with Isabella's, the kids have grown up SO much since September. They are all such good friends now; not nearly as timid as they were 9 months ago. So that makes a day at the park even more fun. The kids all ran off to play tag and go down the slides, and we Moms had a little more time to gab. I don't know how I missed taking more pix of Lisi with her friends, but this one is fun:) And I am pretty sure we will have summer time adventures with Madison, and probably Bella and Sophia, too...

Pre School Program

Well, this is the last week of pre-school, and I truly think that I am more sad than the girls are. In years past I was sad at the last week of school because I had no idea what I was going to DO all summer. But now I know that the summer goes by fast whether you have it all planned out with camps and excursions, or if you just enjoy it day by day. No, this year I am sad because pre-school is where I have made so many of MY friends, and I am going to miss them!!! Standing in the hallway waiting for class to dismiss is when I get my daily dose of adult conversation. Even if that conversation is constantly interrupted by the other kids, there is at least a glimmer of real conversation!!! And the teachers! For both Isabella and Lisi, this was my 2nd year with each of their teachers, and they are just great people. They have done so much so teach and encourage our girls, and to encourage me on the days when I just think I cannot hold it together another moment. For that, I will be forever grateful ... and thankful:)
Yesterday was Isabella's Pre-School program. If I was a better Mom, I would have remembered to charge the batteries for the video camera. But I saw that Charlie's Mom is better prepared than I, and I am hoping she will get me a copy of her video:) The kids have been preparing for at least a month now for the songs that they sang, and they did a GREAT job! Olivia Wormley's Mom told me that she got a kick out of Isabella shakin' the tamborine during "ABC Rock". With any luck, Charlie's Mom zero'd in on Iz for that:)
The 1st pix above is after the program, with Emma, Iz and Olivia munching on chocolate cookies. The next pix is of Mrs Thorson and Isabella.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Becky Hansen REALTOR

What a GREAT piece of mail to have on top of the stack when I got home today!!! A big 6x8 four-color process, heavy weight paper mailer to announce that Becky has joined Iowa Realty...AND a beautiful picture of her, too!!! Can you tell just how proud I am of her???
She worked SO hard studying for her real estate license, and was nervous going in to take the exam. We all knew she would do GREAT, but there was much excitement when she let us know that she passed, and would be starting with Iowa Realty!
So if you are looking to buy or sell a home, and would like someone with a can-do attitude, and great taste to boot, Becky is DEFINITELY the woman for the job! You can reach her at:

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Weekend

I really had more of a Mother's Weekend, than just a Mother's Day. Lucky Me! Saturday morning started out with breakfast in bed, courtesy of Isabella and her pre-school class. I had 4 mini-blueberry muffins and Earl Grey tea. Very nice:) Then we did the Ruth Harbor walk, and as GREAT as it was to see such a great turn-out for the event, and know that money was raised, it was even better to spend that time together as a family. We do not do that often enough.
We came home, ate some lunch, and all 4 of us took afternoon naps. Lovely:) Then off to a Byers' (ie, Mark's) family birthday party. I think in years past the family got together every month to celebrate birthdays; now it is just a few times a year. But it is still fun to see everyone on a (somewhat) regular basis. Baby Kalea, who lives outside of Iowa City, just turned 1, and even though I KNOW she is 1, it still took me by surprise to see her WALK into the family room! I also found out that Jeff Leer knows more bizarre music trivia than I do. But here is the BEST part of the Mother's Day gifts from the girls!!! My wonderful husband has begun a tradition of taking the girls shopping for me, and letting them choose the gift(s). Last year on my birthday I got 'Shaggy' from Build A Bear. Yep, I had been wanting one of those:) So Mark comes home and says to me, "remember, you have 2 very different girls". And with that, Lisi has me open the gift from her: a pink Barbie fishing pole. Yep, I had been wanting one of those, too!!! Isabella proudly hands me a beautifully done-up bag from Brighton: coordinating necklace, bracelet and earrings that she picked out herself. And although "Pop Garden" is not a style I normally would have chosen on my own, she was SO excited that I of course wore it all to the birthday party, and then again to church on Sunday. And as it turns out~ I love them!
Sunday was a slightly crazy day with Mark and I both volunteering at church, church itself and then hosting a Mother's Day lunch for 16. But we made it through, got to spend a beautiful day with family, and now I am veggin' out on the laptop. Does not get too much better than that:)
My Mom is borrowing my digital camera, so when I get that back, I will also post pictures of the AMAZING flowers she got and planted for me for Mother's Day. She has done geraniums for me in the past, and these are much more contemporary flowers. Very Cool!
I have often told Isabella that the day she was born, she made me a Mommy, and that was a VERY special day for me. Lisi coming along just 2 years later expanded my horizons of Mommyhood. I am very blessed, indeedY

Saturday, May 12, 2007

$250.00 Cake

So today was THE day of the 2nd Annual Ruth Harbor Walk for Life. And what a GREAT day it was!!! We had about a dozen Jordan Creekers, plus kids, there to walk. And thanks to Angela's idea to do t-shirts, Ryan Rogness' graphics, and Aunt Cindy's hook-up for custom iron-ons, we were sportin' great tee's, too! We had a double stroller (LOVE IT!!!), the May family brought a cool wagon (kids loved it!!!) and a few Dads had kids on their shoulders. It was just fun.
But the BEST news...before all the sponsor sheets were even tallied, this year's walk has out-done last year's walk. REALLY love that!!! In the past week or so, the girls and I have toured the neighborhood asking for sponsors for the walk. We went to one house, and the husband said that he would sponsor us, but did not give an amount. So, knowing that his favorite cake is a HOMEMADE Angel Food Cake, I asked him how much it would be worth for a charitable donation. He laughed and said that I drove a hard bargain. (Lots of retail sales experience:) He said that I needed to name my price, and he would decide if it was acceptable. So I said that $50.00 would be great, but that if he thought my cake was totally worth it, then $100.00! And he replied with, "well, how about $250.00". YOWZA!!! So thank you Grandma Byers for passing down your 13 egg white cake recipe. It is all going for an amazing causeY
Mark and I were also able to meet the new house parents, as well as 2 of the young women living at RH. It was really a rewarding experience, and a GREAT way to spend time together as a family.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007


I am so blessed by the awesome women that I know! Last night several friends came over and as a group, the Women of Jordan Creek Family Church created these AMAZING 'welcome bags' for the women at Ruth Harbor. Even a few ladies who could not make it to my house made sure that they were able to be a part of the evening by contributing good smellin' lotion, pedicure supplies (loved that when I was pregnant!), and $$$ for gift cards to Target (who doesn't love that???). We assembled 5 gift bags, and the timing is perfect. There are currently 3 women living at Ruth Harbor, and the Director is talking with a 4th young woman. I think it was Dara's idea last year to do these gift baskets, and it was the house parents who made a point of saying how much the women appreciated the thoughtfulness. Can you imagine being, what, 15 years old, pregnant, and not being at home. You go to live in a house with people you do not know. You don't know what your future will hold just 5 months from now, when you have a baby. You don't know if you will keep the baby and choose to parent that baby on your own, or if you will choose to place your child for adoption. You don't know if your current friends will still be your friends thru the next 5 months, or afterward. You do not know what your relationship with your family will be like as your own life is changing so much. But when you walk into your new bedroom, you have a beautiful bag of goodies waiting on your bed with a note that just says 'welcome'.
I am so blessed by the amazing, loving and generous women that I know. Thank you...

Friday, May 4, 2007

Experience Cinco de Mayo

So Cinco de Mayo is not quite what we thought we would be experiencing on 'Experience Day' at Des Moines Christian, but leave it to those crazy church-goers to make it a party in the hallways! The high schoolers had made cardboard 'floats' and had a parade going thru the school...complete with candy being tossed to the kids. Ya, those soon-to-be-Kindergarteners are looking forward to Fall!!!
It was a great morning, though, and Isabella was THRILLED when she got to her class and found Adele May there. Nothin' better than seeing friends when you are in a new place. And much to my delight, Lisi took leaving her Sis-Sis there OK. But boy was she glad when it was time to go get Isabella. Those sisters just love each other so muchY
I have written it before, and I will write it again:

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Kindergarten visit

Earlier this week Isabella's pre-school class took a 'field trip' to the elementary school a block away. She and her classmates were able to visit the Kindergarten classrooms, and the school principal gave them a tour of the school. Isabella thought that was GREAT!
Tomorrow (Friday) is 'Experience Day' at Des Moines Christian, and I know I am more excited about it than she is. I am suppose to drop her off for 1 1/2 hours to 'experience' Kindergarten, but I really want to stay and experience it with herY

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

May Day

What a great tradition. Kids making little baskets of goodies, leaving them on their friend's doorstep, ringing the doorbell, and then running like crazy so no one sees who gave them the May Day basket. So silly, and yet, so much fun.
Isabella's teacher had told them about the "May Day fairies", so I thought it would be fun for the 'fairies' to leave a little something for the girls at home. (Favorite cousin) Heather told me about these way cute dresses with matching doll dresses, so I found a set for Iz and for Lisi. And the dresses are the perfect size for their American Girl dolls from Grandma Nancy and Grandpa Bill! Lisi took her doll EVERYWHERE with her today. She was quite a show stopper:) And it was so cute to see Iz carefully put her doll on the swing next to her and give her a little 'push' before she went swinging herself.
The 3rd picture is of the girls 'dashing' away from our neighbor's house.
And the last pix is of Lisi and Colin rolling down the hill in front of our house this morning. I encourage you to double click on that picture to see it enlarged, and the pure joy on their faces:)
It was another good day to be a Mom.