Monday, December 29, 2008

The real meaning

Most people that know me know I'm not a big fan of the holidays. For many reason I tend to let it stress me out. Stress that exceeds my normal levels. Stress that is mostly self induced (see I'm past denial) but none the less stress that will reduce me to a quiver bundle of tears and curse words. I vowed this year was going to be different. I started early, prepping the kids for the changes that were coming. I must say through this whole holiday season I've been incredibly impressed with my children. And we should keep in mind Dan is 10 & Wav is 8, they are still children. Their understanding and compassion and comprehension goes way beyond their years.

My kids have grown up always knowing the real meaning of Christmas. It isn't Santa and shopping and sales. It's Jesus and his magnificent birth that we are celebrating. Most of our Christmas's though have been big gift holidays. Tom & I have always gone a little over board (he would say it was all my doing & I won't deny that) getting them everything they wanted. This year I really wanted to scale back. We talked in November about lack of time and tight funds and we discussed the possibility of opening gifts on new years eve instead of the 24th. They were absolutely ok with that. Completely understanding of the fact that Tom & I were both incredibly busy this time of year with work, work & church obligations. Then I prepared them for the quantity and that I was going to stick to a rule of two gifts each. Again they told me they would be happy with nothing so long as we were all together. And you know what, they meant it, that wasn't just talk.

We did not put up a tree, we did not put out any decorations. I did not wrap the two gift each that I bought them. We made no big production of them getting their gifts. And yet we had one of the most enjoyable holidays ever. We enjoyed a wonderfully moving church service Christmas Eve. We slept late on Christmas morning. We got to visit with friends and family. We sat around and laughed and celebrated as richly as we have any year.

I'm always surprised when I hear adults talk about what they "didn't get" and how short changed they felt at Christmas. And I want to say "stop acting like a 10 year old." And then I laugh thinking some of these people could take a lesson from my 10 (and 8) year old. I know I've got some tough times ahead of me with the teen years looming in the future but we are going to go into those years with a strong foundation. And I'm betting that is going to make all the difference. The most important job I have is to prepare my children for life, not just any old life but a good, productive, responsible life! I couldn't be more proud of them. I love you guys.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Photos from Christmas

Stella was not happy about this picture, as is evident by her quick escape. And obviously Sarah could take some lessons from Riley on posing! Typical Sully......

Typical kids... He never takes that stupid hat off!

A very impromptu photo of the cousins.

The Shining

Replace the grand Overlook Hotel in the mountains of Colorado with my not so grand house at 601 Clark St in the snowy fields of Iowa. Add another kid, two dogs and a cat to the Torrance family and you'd have the makings of "The Shining".

As I laid in bed last night unable to sleep, I started to see the correlations. Oddly enough I couldn't identify with the female lead, rather I was feeling sympathy for Jack Nicholson's character Jack Torrance. The terrible isolation that he endured and that eventually drove him to unspeakable acts. I understood. After being held prisoner in my own home for what felt like an entire winter (but was really only one day) I was feeling sympathy for poor Jack.

Yesterday seemed to stretch on forever. Why is it in the middle of the summer I will actually plan entire weekends with the goal of not leaving my house, but in the dead of winter staying in the house for even one day brings me to tears? I should tell you a nice young man from down the road did kindly offer to drive his "big cat" 12 miles just to get me and take me back to Mo's. I declined after getting a vision of Lloyd and Harry on their moped!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

'Twas the tuesday before Christmas and all through the house....

Here's my little bundle of joy (B.O.J.) sound asleep at 8:00pm. Why of course, because at 1am he likes to get up and a cause trouble. About 1am this morning the B.O.J. wakes up and throws up a stomach full of dog food, IN MY BED! I'm thankful he only hit the bottom sheet. So I get up and take him downstairs and outside. He tinkles then comes in, because it's like 9 below zero and it's sleeting at 1am. We go back upstairs, I dig through the cupboard until I find a clean sheet. I proceed to clean up his mess and change my sheets, at 1am. I turn around as I'm about to get the messy sheet off the bed and the little P.O.S. (I'll let you figure that one out on your own) is pooping in the hallway. So I go clean up that mess. I finally get the sheets on the bed and before I can turn out the light he had wiggled his way back into bed under the covers and is softly snoring! Oh if I didn't love him so much I give him a boot to the curb! Maybe it's me, I'm older and more patient now (who said that?) but he is probably about the best puppy we've ever had.

Anyway, lots going on around here, more about that later. If I don't get a chance to blog again before the holidays (which is tomorrow I guess, feels like another work day to me!) I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!! I won't say Happy New Year because I know I'll be around before then. (My new life coach/personal motivator/slave driver/scout/personal organizer/fellow ninja will make sure of that, she is pushing for more than a once a week blog post!)

A little Holiday Humor for you:

Clark: So, when did you get the tenement on wheels?
Eddie: Oh, that uh, that there's an RV. Yeah, yeah, I borrowed it off a buddy of mine. He took my house, I took the RV. It's a good looking vehicle, ain't it?
Clark: Yeah, it looks so nice parked in the driveway.
Eddie: Yeah, it sure does. But, don't you go falling in love with it now, because, we're taking it with us when we leave here next month.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Snowy Tuesday: Part Two

There seems to be a reoccurring theme here. It's Tuesday. It's snowing. Except this time it's as if someone said "Ok mother nature, that was good but this time do it with more feeling". Thankfully it's not blowing more than it is or it would be really ugly!

I hope you are all enjoying a stress free holiday season, I know I am. Really? Who said that? lol! No I'm fairly stressed & I've all but eliminated any holiday shopping. I guess I can add that back in because it's really not made that much of a difference. I did quite enjoy doing nothing this weekend. Except Saturday I had to have Sully to the vet by 8am, the kids to church by 9am, the kids and I had to be in Waterloo at GMAC to see Santa by 10:30am. Then we took a break and went to Target to get groceries (yeah that was no break). Then we met Suzanne & Tami at Hu Hot for lunch (I broke it to Tami that I think Suzanne has moved above her on their list of favorite people), then I did nothing (after I put away the groceries). I seriously sat on the couch and watched tv (I know gasp) for like three hours. That is unheard of!!

Sunday I got the kids off to Sunday school at 9am, we went to Church about 9:45am. I had a worship committee meeting right after church & then I had to visit a little. We got out of there around noon and had to run to Walmart to pick up a few things (I hate that i can't even buy things i need to live without fighting a crowd this time of year!) Then we came home and I did nothing for about an hour (after I made hamburgers and fresh guacamole for lunch). We were back at church by 6pm for the kids Christmas program. It was really cute and we had a lovely reception after wards (put on by the wonderful & fabulous members of the December service committee! Can you hear the applause?) I promptly fell into bed exhausted about 11pm on Sunday night. What a ride!!!

Here are my good buddies B & C with Claire by the Christmas tree at GMAC.

Sully at 9 weeks old.

Sully & Sarah

Who's going to break it to him that he is not a lap dog?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snowy Tuesday

Winter reared it's ugly head last night, ice & snow. Thankfully when I finally got on the road this morning the plows had just been down hwy 175 so my drive was slow but not as bad as it would have been earlier in the morning.

Poor Sully, home all day in the kennel by himself, whatever. Seems that Grandma Bea has been coming over to get him by 8am every morning and taking him to her house (right next door). Spoiled baby. Now she's made us agree to a specific feeding schedule. I say more power to her, just keep the little monster over there until he is fully potty trained, then I'll take him back, lol!!!! Seriously he's a good dog and he and Sarah have become fast friends. I don't think he even cared that I was here tonight, he was all about Sarah. I think even Stella is feeling a little left out.

Here are some photos from Sunday afternoon. What cute kids! Little Miss M wanted nothing to do with it but we got in a few tear-less shots!

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Sully is 2 day shy of 8 weeks old. He's 16 lbs last time we checked, which was yesterday so he could easily be at 17 lbs by now, lol!!! He loves to sleep! At night though he can't just sleep between Tom & I he actually has to be touching one of us. And if he's under the covers a little that is even better!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Welcome home Sully!

I can't believe today finally came and we have Sully at home with us! I drove up and picked him up about 3:30pm. He was exhausted in the car. I tried to get him to just lay down on the passengers seat but he wanted to be in my lap. That is probably the last time that will ever happen. Tom was at home waiting for us when we pulled in. We walked over to visit Grandma Bea and of course she had toys already waiting for him. Then we walked back home and got to visit with Grandma Sandy & Grandpa Kevin.

Sarah wasn't sure what to think. Stella just looked at us like "surely you must be joking?". He played for a while, sniffed everything out, then Tom took him up to give him a good scrubbing. He was shivering when they came down stairs so I sat on the couch with him and covered him up with the blanket and he promptly fell asleep. Not just a little asleep but eyes rolled back, mouth open, snoring asleep, it was so cute. Then we got up and went out side and peed. We came in and within a couple minutes headed back out side to poop (what a good boy!!). He played with Sarah and Stella while we had dinner. As soon as Tom sat down to watch tv Sully was up on his lap and sound asleep again! We finally woke him up to play in the hopes that he'll sleep thru the night. He's already fetching the big tennis ball (he can't even get his mouth around it yet). Tom just took him out and he promptly peed again.

He's a genius.

He is such a people dog. If I sit on the floor to play with him, he'll play for a while then he comes over and crawls into my lap (he's very lazy) but he likes to be touching you. Right now he is in my lap with his head on my arm, his head is starting to lean to the side as he falls asleep... Again we've gotten lucky and been blessed with a great dog!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

weekend update

I just uploaded a bunch of random pictures. I've been meaning to blog them all, so here they are!

This is a photo I took while we were in Panama in October. I had it printed as a 20x30 Gallery wrap to hang in my house. I'm in love with this piece. I've sold one with the potential to sell another. I took it up to church this morning as they are looking for new art work for the church. I got a ton of compliments and am proud to have it hanging there.

Satruday, after working a few hours I met Tami & Suzanne for lunch at Hu Hot. It was delicious as always, it was nice to finally meet Suzanne too!

Oh my Sarah does not know what she is in for in 5 short days! She was such a good girl, sitting so patiently while i'll snapped a few photos.
This is Waverly's Reinbeck History project for school. She worked hard on this poster and was proud to present it to her class.
This is my handy man. Poor Kevin had to work all day Saturday on his various properties. It's hell being a landlord, lol!!!! But gosh he got a lot done!
We had a food drive at work a week ago and collected a ton of food that we were able to donate to the local food bank.

a few more

just a couple more from Thanksgiving morning....
(Jason I told you I'd get this one out there!!! )

Friday, November 28, 2008


Dan- "Waverly, I can read you like a book. A book with really big print!"

Thursday, November 27, 2008

3 Posts in one day!!!

Oh my gosh, this is my third post of the day, maybe I should go out and get a life, LOL!!! What a great Thanksgiving. I even got a nap with Sarah this afternoon. I'm posting just one quick sneak peak from this morning. D & J, thanks for letting me spend the morning with you, I love your family!!! I so could have just stayed all day! What a fun bunch!

Brenda's girls

Oh we had so much fun last Sunday with all of the girls! E was her normal beautiful diva self, she's such a big girl! And A had us cracking up with her beep beep and "charlie". V & K are such beautiful babies and so easy going.


What a beautiful day we are having here in Iowa! The sun is shinning and the temperature is mild and there is no snow on the ground (yeah!!). I had thought I would reflect on what I am thankful for but I think I can sum it up in two words: Friends, Family.

Everything I am thankful for some how ties back to my friends and family. I have the best girlfriends I have ever had in my life. Loyal, intelligent, kind, wonderful, spiritual women. And their support & guidance & wisdom has helped me to become a better person.

And my family (you know who you are) who love and support me every day. The family that helps take care of my children. The family that does my laundry. The family that holds me when I'm sick. The family that dances with me in the dinning room. The family that lifts me up when I'm emotionally spent. The family that listens to me vent and helps me to see things in a new light. The family that rallies around me in my times of triumph. That is the family that I am so very thankful for.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Shari Extravaganza!!

I’m a little behind on my blogging lately. Things have been busy at home & work & my other work. A really good kind of busy though! Anyway two weeks back I had the pleasure of spending the whole weekend with my good friend Shari! I dubbed it the “Shari Extravaganza”! And it definitely lived up to it’s name. We started out with home made pastries at her house. Her talents never cease to amaze me! Lite and flaky pastries filled with sweat cinnamon-y goodness! Then we headed south to the Iowa game. I’ve never been to Kinnick Stadium for a game. We caught the train at the Coralville mall and road that over to the stadium. It was brisk that morning (ok it was freaking cold) but we were bundled up good! We had great seats just 25 rows up on the 15 yard line. I thoroughly enjoyed the game and all there was to see. And the Hawk’s won!

From there we drove to the Cracker Barrel for a late lunch. No trip with Shari would be complete with out a stop at the Cracker Barrel. As usual it was delicious! I am sad to report that they no longer have apple dumplings on their desert menu, however they have added pecan pie (that was to die for!). After lunch we headed over to our motel to change for our next event.

Shari had gotten us tickets for the Mercy Me concert in Davenport that evening. So we changed and headed out for the Adler theater. Bebo Norman was opening for them and I’ll admit I had no idea who he was prior to this evening. He and another musician did all of his songs acoustic. They were amazing. He could have been singing about anything and I would have loved his sound but the fact that his songs had such meaning made it even better.

Mercy Me was great, as expected. After their first four songs (which rocked!) they all sat down and turned up the house lights. They took questions from the audience and did a lot of acoustic songs. They spoke about a lot of things that really made me think, I had a couple “ah-ha” moments. It was a wonderful show, exactly what we were in the mood for. Bart ended the show on stage alone. He sang the first verse of a hymn I was not familiar with but it seemed everyone else knew it. After he sang the first verse he walked off stage, the lights dimmed and the entire audience finished the next three verses. It was an incredibly moving experience. Just remembering it now brings a tear to my eye. The energy that kind of show generates is amazing.

We got out of there about 11pm and had a heck of a time finding a Mc Donalds. (We were in need of a little late night grease!) We spent the next few hours just talking before finally falling asleep about 3am. We enjoyed a lazy Sunday morning and of course had to have breakfast (which actually turned into lunch) at the Cracker Barrel (we couldn't just drive by it on our way home). We ran through the Michael's in Coralville and picked up some scrapbooking goodies. Then before we left town we stopped at Walmart and picked up the latest Bebo Norman cd. I think I’ve been listening to it ever since.

What a wonderful weekend! It was the perfect combination of events, I had a great time!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

That's My King!

I'm waiting to get a link from Pastor Mike with the video that he showed today in church. It was the words of SM Lockridge. Dr. Lockridge was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, San Diego CA from 1953 - 1993. This video makes you want to stand up and say AMEN!!! I'll admit I contained myself in our fairly conservative Presbyterian Church this morning but I wanted to stand up and shout! Thank you Pastor Mike for the introduction to Dr. Lockridge!

**ok correction i did a little hunting and found the video on my own. Watch it! then watch it again!

"You Can't outlive Him and you can't live without Him."


The cat is out of the bag, um, well, so to speak. I'm proud of my kids though, they kept the secret for almost two weeks. We went up yesterday to visit our new baby. He is getting so big!! And what a lover, he just loved all of us holding him! We won't be doing that for long though. Sully comes home on December 5th!

Monday, November 17, 2008


Isn't it funny how things happen, I've always said good things happen to good people. And sometimes good people are rewarded with things they didn't even realize they wanted. Frequently when you stop searching for something it just falls into your lap.
Are you tired of my trite sayings yet? lol!

We were all talking about names the other day. Dan decided he likes Farkas. Go figure. Waverly loves the name Jake. Tom & I kind of like Sullivan, Sully for short. Makes me think of the big hairy monster on the pixar movie Monsters Inc. I'm currently partial to Bebo (as I saw Bebo Norman on Saturday night but more about that later) but I can't get any of them to buy into Bebo. Oh well....

Friday, November 14, 2008


His package is heavy and his balls are misplaced. What more can we say about Brandon? Yep, that about does it!

Today was Brandon's last day at GMAC. I will miss Brandon. He brought a little laughter and fun to our room. He's been my neighbor for a while now and I'll miss him!

To answer a question raised earlier in the evening, yes. Totally Metro!
one beer, two beer, three beer floor.

My favorite Democrat Angie!!!

Jeff... ah Jeff.. ever the thinker.