Monday, December 17, 2007

Love is Alive

On Saturday evening, we were lucky to attend an incredibly touching wedding. It was Brian's cousin, Kate, and her new hubby Dillon's wedding. It was a 7 p.m. wedding and very pretty with all the candles and Christmas decorations. Everything was red and white and festive for the Christmas season. But that's not what made this such a special affair. During the wedding, two people spoke on behalf of the bride and groom. And I don't think there was a dry eye in the house. Dillon's speaker was the mother of one of his buddies, while Kate's speaker was her grandmother. Each talked about how Dillon and Kate grew up and how they met, and the obstacles each overcame to get to this point in their lives.

The woman who spoke about Dillon talked of her 12-year-old son passing away from cancer, and how great Dillon was to her family and older son. After a couple years and much hesitation on Dillon's part, Kathy and her family were able to talk Dillon into becoming a counselor at a summer camp for siblings of kids with cancer. Which is where he met Kate, who is a cancer survivor herself.

And Dillon's father passed away a few years ago. So, just hearing the stories of what they've overcome, and that God was there to put them together, was just amazing. They truly are an inspiration and we're so honored to have been there to share in their special day. Personally, their wedding inspired me to count my blessings and not to take anything for granted. It also made me believe even more that God puts us in certain places for a reason.

Congrats, Kate & Dillon! We wish you all the happiness in the world. And all the red-headed children you can handle! :-)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Our Big Helper

Tonight, we had fresh bread and soup for supper -- and Sam was more than eager to help make the bread. He was such a good helper!

Then There Were Three

Sam was not too excited when he saw Mom and Dad getting all dressed up on Sunday night. He knew something was up, and he wasn't included. It was Brian's annual Christmas party for work, which means the sixth anniversary of our "official" first date*. My parents were here to watch Sam and take the obligatory photos in front of the tree. Of course, when Sam noticed the picture-taking, he didn't want us taking pictures by ourselves. But he got to have a lot of fun with Grandma and Grandpa after we left!! Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa Edmondson!

* Our first date is always up for discussion. Some members of this marriage think it occurred in October (Brian), while others think it occurred in December (me). And I'm writing this, so I win! :-)

My Boys

On Saturday, I went to the Iowa State-Iowa men's basketball game with a friend. As we were leaving, I called Brian (who was at home watching Sam) to see if I could pick up anything on the way home. No answer. That was odd, as Sam had been sick and surely Brian hadn't taken him out into the cold.

My phone rang a few minutes later and it was Brian, telling me, "Sorry we missed your call. I was vacuuming and Sam was dust-busting."

Just picturing the two of them cleaning the house made me laugh out loud and my heart smile. And again I was reminded of just how lucky I am.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Lazy Weekend

Since the weather was so bad this weekend, we were able to put up our feet and veg out the whole time! It was awesome. We rented movies, watched football, ate chili and just hung out. What a wonderful way to spend the weekend!!

Where'd Our Baby Go?

Sam had his 18-month check up on Thursday. He had two shots and was mesmerized by the band-aids on each of his arms. (We learned our lesson last time he received shots, and brought his favorite blankie and a special treat -- juice!!) He was such a good boy and only cried when he got stuck but calmed down right away. I was very proud of him. The doc says Sam is a very active boy (no kidding) which is one reason he's in the 91st percentile for height but only 55% in weight. He is Brian's child, after all! He definitely takes after Grandpa Burchland in the height/weight ratio.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We Are Thankful For ...


Sam had so much fun at all the Thanksgiving festivities we attended. We had Thanksgiving day with my family, then went to Marshalltown to celebrate with Brian's family on Friday and Saturday. There are a ton of little kids and Sam had a blast. He wasn't even shy about it. He inched his way right into the middle of all the kids and made himself at home.

Now that we are parents we realize even more how lucky we are to have the families we do. We are so fortunate to be able to bring Sam up with such a wonderful extended family. We had a very fun Thanksgiving holiday and feel extremely blessed.

Sam's First Shiner

Mr. Manly received his first black eye on Thanksgiving. He was having a blast chasing his cousins (and grandparents, ahem) around the basement, until he ran into that darn china hutch. Unfortunately, I'm sure there will be worse injuries in his future. Although I hope not.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Two A. Knolls: Part Deux

Yesterday, Andrea Knoll (Matt's wife) and I ran in our second Living History Farms off-road race together. I had also taken part a few years ago with some Iowa Games friends. And, boy, has it grown! There were nearly 7,000 people yesterday and the course has increased from six miles to seven. It was crowded but part of the fun is people-watching. A good number of them wear costumes and/or run as a team. (See the person on the left side of the second picture.) I can't remember everything we saw, but there were the "Dunder Mifflin" rabies awareness runners, Wonderwoman (apparently it was a 'wonder' how she got into her costume), running Christmas trees, high school boys running in diapers & pacifiers, men with red dresses on and/or men wearing tu-tus, etc. Probably the most memorable, though, is the guy who ran completely naked except for a leather loin cloth. No shoes. No nothing. And we were running through creeks, sticks, trees, mud, etc. -- not to mention it was COLD!! It is rumored that he ran the Des Moines Marathon in the same attire.

It was a good time although both of us had forgotten how physically demanding the course is. Good thing there were so many participants this year; it gave us a chance to rest when we all became bottlenecked at creeks and tunnels.

Then we got to relax at Matt & Andrea's beautiful new home. And a hot shower never felt so good!!

Delicious Snack!

Sam has developed a keen liking for every type of pudding. Plus, he has loved bananas from day one. So, what could be better than eating them together!? Yum! I think I see peanut butter and banana sandwiches in someone's future!

A Boy's Work is Never Done

Another fun thing Sam got to do last weekend was help rake our yard. Good times!

Mr. Clean, Mr. Clean

Sam really, really, really likes to clean and organize. (I am hoping this a good sign for the future.) Here are a few pictures of him sweeping the kitchen last week. He was having a great time ... until he noticed a little boy in the oven window and just couldn't resist kissing him! I guess I can't blame him.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Congratulations, Aunt Mary!

Last week, my aunt Mary was inducted into the athletics hall of fame at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. It was a very nice ceremony and I was glad to be able to attend. (This was her umpteenth induction, as she's already a member of the Creighton University athletics hall of fame, Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall of Fame and who knows what else. Let's just say she is a stud.)

As an only child (and only grandchild for nearly 19 nears) I think of my three aunts and uncle as my sisters and brother. We are a close family and they have always been extremely supportive of me and have taught me many things throughout the years. I idolized them as I grew up, and it's really special when I hear that others feel the same way about them. They are my family and I am so proud.

Congratulations, Aunt Mary!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Why'd the Chicken Cross the Road?

To get some candy!

Last night, we took Sam out for "Beggar's Night", as we call it in Des Moines. We went to my parents' house so he could trick-or-treat with his cousins. And, yes, people are required to tell a joke in order to receive candy. It's a Des Moines thing. (Unless, of course, you can't talk! So Sam was off the hook for this year.)

We dressed Sam as a chicken. I had been telling people that his costume was a duck, but I guess I had my poultry mixed up. Either way, Brian wanted him to be something "manly", like The Incredible Hulk. So he was disheartened to hear many people making comments such as, "let's get her a piece of candy" and "she needs something for her bucket". (Let's not share that with Sam as he gets older.)

He had a great time running down the sidewalks and also touching every single pumpkin he saw. And he absolutely loved all the dogs he got to see and pet. He got the hang of picking out a piece of candy towards the end of the night. We were out for probably 45 minutes. And the weather was beautiful -- in the 60s. It was a great night for a first-time trick-or-treater!! And he was exhausted when we got home! What a tired little chicken!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Welcome to our Neighborhood

For those of you who have been to our house, you've probably noticed a yard across the street that's ... um ... how do I put this ... quite eccentric. Our neighbor has some rather interesting items in his yard -- all the time.

It all began three years ago just before Halloween. He started his yard display with homemade bigger-than-life versions of Superman, Spiderman, Beetlejuice, etc. And we thought, "Boy, he's really festive. This will be fun."

Now it's evolved into a year-round display of his "artwork", including wooden chairs, trombones, neon orange shapes, etc. (Yes, trombones.) Didn't you know that trombones go along with stuffed animals in the front yard?

Of course, Halloween is the granddaddy of his creations. In addition to his artwork, there are music and random scary sounds blasting from a huge speaker. As I type this, the theme to "Ghostbusters" is playing. I can't knock the guy for being creative, albeit a tad scary.

Here are a few pictures. And I hope he doesn't find out about this post and kill me or something. (No, he's not that scary. But close.)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Goin' to the Chapel

Our good friends, Kim and Brian, tied the knot this past weekend. It was a beautiful day and gorgeous wedding. And the reception was so much fun. They are great people and we are glad to call them friends! We can't wait 'til they move to Story City (hint, hint!).

Of course, once again I did not get a picture of the bride and groom both looking at the camera. I need to get better at this! Sam had fun playing and dancing with his new friends, Will and Jake (Lori's sons).

Oh yeah, and to top it all off ... Kim won this week's football pool! Way to go, girl!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

I've Finally Made It!

Move over, Wall Street Journal! I've been featured in an article on the web site for "Kingdom Klowns of Iowa". One of their members happened to be at a workshop I was giving, and he reported my talk on this web site. He was a very nice man, and I appreciate him taking the time to write this to help get the word out:

Sunday, October 21, 2007

It's the Great Pumpkin

Today we took Sam to his very first pumpkin patch. Since he absolutely loves carrying the plastic pumpkins all around our house, we thought he would enjoy this little outing. And, boy, was he in heaven! We got to ride on a hayrack, see some pigs, sheep and kittens! He ran around like crazy, pointing and babbling at all the pumpkins. We gave him a small one, and he held tight to it the entire way home. He probably would've slept with it if we would have let him! He truly helps us to re-appreciate the little things in life.