Surviving in a Male Dominated Household

Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011...A Look At What I've Learned and Done

2011 was a crazy year.

I continued my work with Mommy's Recess.
I continued my work with The SoapBoxers.
I made new friends.
I made new enemies.
I started using my twitter account more.
I spoke in front of a school board (for the first time).
I continued to speak in front of the school board.
I spoke at a City Council meeting (for the first time).
I continued to speak at the City Council meetings.
I made even more friends.
I made even more enemies.
I helped save a barn.
I did the readings at my husband's Grandfather's funeral.
I read a letter from my mother in law to her dad at the funeral, and I publicly cried.
I used my writing talent to write Conservative articles and was promoted to Communications Director of a National Political Action Committee, all while working at home.
I attended my first Conservative Writers Conference (and made more new friends).
I learned more about couponing and started my stockpile.
I followed a passion of mine and joined a Ghost Hunting group.
I made even more new friends.
I went Ghost Hunting.
I had a physical paranormal experience (was scratched on a Ghost Hunt).
I didn't pee my pants after said experience.
I learned how to do audio review after a Ghost Hunt.
I went to my first Iowa State Homecoming Football game.
I learned how to fill out form upon form to get us into a home that not only saved us money but is much bigger and much nicer than what we had.
I learned how to throw things away (I had to--we had too much stuff).
I learned how to get a kid transferred from one school district to another.
I learned how good it felt to have all of our credit cards paid off.
I learned I shouldn't have closed the accounts after paying the credit cards off.
I started writing even more for Yahoo! News...and made even more enemies.
I had an anti-me tweet hastag created about me. 
I was on THREE radio shows, twice about the barn, once about a Yahoo! News article (and Ghost Hunting).
I learned how to bless a home with the traditional Catholic blessing and Holy Water.
I met A LOT of Presidential Candidates.
I re-learned how to be comfortable in TV interviews.
I learned how to wrap Christmas presents---fast.
I attended my first Iowa State Basketball game....Court side.

I did a lot in 2011. But overall, I learned  more about myself. What my limits are and what they are not. What I thought was something I couldn't do, I did. I surprised even myself.

Here's looking forward to an even happier 2012.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My latest Yahoo Article!

Yes, I've made a decision. I'm supporting Santorum. Gasp. Read more about it here and how I met Senator Santorum here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm SO not ready for REAL silverware

Liam turned 6 this weekend. On Saturday. And I did okay. I was more stressed about hosting my first Thanksgiving (and cooking my first turkey) on Thursday and having a birthday party for Liam on Saturday (not to mention Black Friday shopping).

I suppose, in my own little way, I kept my mind busy. As long as I was occupied, I wasn't focused on the fact that my first baby, my little "dooder" was turning SIX on Saturday.

We filled his room with green and yellow balloons and gave him a Green Bay Packers blanket, along with surprising him with Aunts, Uncle, Ma'am, Papa and Grandma and Grandpa at his party. And yet, it never hit me. I even lit all six candles and carried the cake to him.

But tonight. At dinner. I asked him to set the table and handed him the plates and silverware and he said, "Mommy, can I have a real fork?" I realized I gave him two adult silverware and three toddler silverware.
"But can't you use the one I gave you," I asked.
"No, Mommy. I'm a big boy. I'm six. I need a real fork."

I don't know what it was, but the "I'm six. I need a real fork" really hit me. He IS six. He DOES need a real fork. And then, I started thinking (which is always dangerous). He's SIX. In ten years, he'll be driving. In eight years, he'll have a permit. In three years he'll probably be taller than me....where is my little baby?? My little dooder?

And I take a breath. Because, only once in a while now, but he still does, after his bath, he asks me to cradle him and sing "he's my baby, he's my baby" like I did when Daddy was in Iraq. He still remembers. I hope he always does. Whether he is 6 or 66.

Friday, November 18, 2011

An Update: A Move, A Conferences, A LOT

Sorry it's been so long since I updated the blog...but we've been busy.

We moved. To a house. With a garage. And it's AWESOME. I can't wait to get some pictures on the wall to help with the acoustics. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the vaulted ceilings. But the toddler screams? The echos? Yeah.

The house is about 500 MORE square feet than what we had before. And TWO more bedrooms. And a two car attached garage. And a doorbell. And a vegetable sprayer. And a yard. And a closer bus stop for Liam. And no stairs to haul kids, groceries etc etc...

And it is LESS than what we were paying at the apartment. 

Blessed. I feel so VERY blessed. And speaking of being blessed, we had Liam's first Parent/Teacher conference. To be honest, I felt a little weird. For the first time, I was attending a parent/teacher conference in a elementary school...and I wasn't the kid at home sweating bullets.

And here is where I turn into the mom who brags. Don't like moms who brag, stop reading. You've been warned.

Liam is in Kindergarten. We were informed he's reading at a 2nd-3rd grade level. They even removed him (and another kid) from the class during reading time for a special 2 on 1 with a specialist. Because he was "a reader" as opposed to the other kids in his class. And, as the teacher said,  "he even blew me away with words that he knew. Words that didn't follow the normal rules, he got them."

Yes. This is my kid. I remember reading books in first grade and thinking "This is SO stupid. I don't care about Dick and Jane. Can I go home and continue reading my chapter book? Please?"

I even had my first grade teacher call me a "liar". No, really, a liar. We were talking about clocks with hands. I told her we had a clock at my house that had three hands when she said that "clocks only had two hands". I came home crying and the next day, my dad (and hero), came to school with the clock that was my Great Grandmother Sarah (and name sake's) clock in her one room school house. It had three hands. Minute, Hour and Day. She had never seen anything like that.

Most parents say, "My child is brilliant" and as much as I try to NOT be THAT parent, I am. Because he is. He wants to go to Harvard, Notre Dame, Iowa State (because that's where Mommy went) or The University of Texas (because that's where Woody went).

Yeah, he's a smarty pants. Just like his mom. Speaking of mom, I attended a fundraiser this week with Jeff Mullen, my new political job, and had the opportunity to meet Newt Gingrich.

Smarty Pants.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oh the Attitude....

This morning I read FireMom's post on The 1st Time Kindergarten Made Me Feel Stupid (But Likely Not the Last) and I chuckled. Well, not so much chucked but all out laughed. Because I've had the "dumbass" tone from my kindergartener as well.

And I wonder if Ms. Z (his teacher) has to deal with it too.

The first week of school, Liam came home saying he was "SOOOO BOOOORED." I asked why and he said, "They think I don't know math and stuff."

Yes, Liam. We know you're smart. I tried to tell him that the first few weeks the teacher just needed to see where the other students are at. "Not everyone knows math, Liam."

A few days later, he came home with the same attitude as a teenager. "Ms. Z thinks she knows EVERYTHING. But she doesn't."

Oh Lord. I thought I'd have at least 8 years before this attitude started.

However, he has been bringing home "tiger paws" which I believe are like gold stars. Everytime he does something good, he gets a tiger paw. He says he has "21 tiger paws....the MOST in my class."

I've raised a smart bragger. I suppose there are worse things, right?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

Happy 32nd Anniversary to the two best parents a kid could ever ask for!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 Ten Years Later

We all remember where we were on 9/11. I was in college at Iowa State. I remember getting ready for class, sipping my coffee and watching the Today show. Katie Couric was talking about how Michael Jordan was going to be going back to the NBA. I went to brush my teeth and when I came back out the first tower was on fire. I went and woke up my roommate Nancy, and told her there was "something going on in New York" and that "it could be big news". How right I was.

I packed up and walked to campus for my Rhetoric class. When I got there, the attendance was slim and the professor had told us that a another plane had flown into the second tower. Since it was a rhetoric class, she asked us to pay attention to the language used in the media and asked us to go watch what was going on. We would talk about it on Thursday.

Campus was eerily quiet for an early fall weekday. The few people I passed, I could see concern in their eyes. I picked up the pace to my apartment and when I entered, I was surprised to see Nancy, sitting in the same place where I left her, watching the news.

Our other two roommates, who had gone to campus earlier in the morning came back. We all sat on our living room floor, watching, praying, crying. My roommate Stephanie was in a panic as her mother was in Washington D.C. on business and she couldn't get a hold of her. Kayla (another roommate) pulled out her Bible.

We cried, we prayed. I called my dad, I called my mom. I was excited for my afternoon class, Philosophy. What an appropriate day to have a philosophy class and ask, "WHY".When I got there, a sign was on the door. My professor had not made it back to Iowa State as he had been in Europe and his plane was grounded in Canada.

I went back to my apartment. A friend called me and said gas prices were skyrocketing so I left to fill up Beezer (my VW Rabbit pickup). I swung by the grocery store and grabbed milk, bread, enchilada fixins and beer, a college diet staples.

After cooking dinner for my roommates and friends, I blogged about my feelings on livejournal. It's angry. It's personal and it's still a little too much for me to share, just yet. It certainly doesn't feel like it's been 10 years, more like 10 days.  I remember it all too well.

Watching the coverage brings back all of those feelings.

And the tears.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The First Day of Kindergarten...

Let me start out with "I DID NOT CRY". So there.

I didn't cry because, well, I didn't have a chance to. Here's what happened:

I woke up. Realized I didn't hear Liam out in the living room. Panic! Find my glasses and squint at the alarm clock. 7 AM. Whew. Bus isn't coming until 8:21. I've got time to get everyone ready. But I don't hear Liam.

Panic! My mind is racing with thoughts. "Did Liam leave already? Is he outside?" I get up so fast I scare and wake Brendan (yes, at some point in the night, both he AND Sean climbed in our bed.)

Brendan is screaming. I check the door. Still locked. I go into Liam's room. He's asleep. In pure "Nemo" fashion, as Liam usually does to us, I say, "Get up! Get up! First day of school! First day of school!" He rolled over, "Still sleeping. Go away."

Liam is a child who has always been a morning person. He goes to bed at 8, he's up at 6. He goes to bed at 11 (if we have some event that keeps us out late) he's up at 6. Never fails. I always wondered when he'd be a "normal kid" that I had to wake up in the morning. I should have known, all it would take would be for him to be a student.

Kids get up, I get them fed, Daddy gets in the shower. I make my coffee and chug as much as I can before I clean kids up, change diapers and dress them. Thankfully I had laid all of their clothes out last night.

Daddy's still in the shower. I pack Liam's lunch. Turkey on bread (no mayo, no mustard--just plain), a Capri-Sun, Cheez-Its and a Rice Krispie bar for a snack/dessert/surprise (as I had written a cute note on it).I had to put a freezie in his lunchbox because I didn't want his drink/turkey to get warm. I tweeted the following: Sending Liam to school with a Medela breastpump freezie to keep his lunch cold. Cause that's how we roll.

Chug more coffee. Change a poopy diaper. Daddy's still in the shower.

I pick out my clothes and try to put them in the bathroom. Daddy's still in the shower. Door is locked. Coffee.

It's 8:00. Liam is supposed to be outside in 16 minutes. Bus will be here in 21 minutes. Daddy's still in the shower. WTH, Daddy?

FINALLY Daddy gets out of the shower. I jump in the shower. I go through all of the things over the last few months in my head. Since Liam was capped out of Jordan Creek, he gets to ride the bus for free. Bus service for Kindergarten is door-to-door. Mr T. is his driver. He is scheduled to be picked up at 8:21, but be outside 5 minutes before. Don't cry. Take pictures. Follow in the car so I can get pictures at school. Don't cry. It's an early out day so be sure to ask what time the bus will drop him off. Don't cry. I can do this.

I get out of the shower and get dressed. Record shower/dress/makeup for mom. Hair can air-dry. Dad takes Liam outside. WTH, Daddy! I don't want him to get on the bus without me seeing him!! Call Daddy and Liam back in. Daddy gets two little boys ready to go out the door as I finish up some things (checking to make sure bag is packed etc)

Time for the mandatory "at the door on the first day of school" picture.

Yes, Liam picked out his outfit. And Brendan didn't get the memo to look at the camera.

Now, we wait for the bus.

He's SO excited. Brendan still doesn't get the memo to look at the camera.

So we sit on the curb.

It's 8:30. I figured the bus would be late on the first day, with all of the pictures and what not, but I tweet: "Wondering if the bus is late. Was scheduled to be here 10 mins ago.

Get a response from Elaine, the Communications Director at the West Des Moines Schools (I got to know her well during #barngate #savingthebarn #movingthebarn). She said, "Two are running a little late, rest on time. Email (insert email address here) the bus number and we can do further follow-up."

So I sent her an email (from my cell-yay technology) with Liam's bus number. She said that was a bus that was running late. No biggie. Then I tweet: "Still waiting for the bus. 20 minutes late?"

5 minutes later, I tweet: "Liam thinks that there should be a tumbleweed going across the road as we wait for the bus. Lol.

5 more minutes later, I tweet: "Liam is now questioning what horseradish is.

20 minutes later, it was time for a nap.  
Yes. He napped. And a few minutes later, little brother was having no more of waiting. So he had to be placed in the car/carseat. 

He was not happy.
Sean says, "Let's get this show on the road!!! Come on!!"

A few minutes later, I decide to call Elaine's cell. She said she was waiting for a call from the Transportation Department...and they called while we were on the phone. I opted to hold. She said that the bus driver was by, but we weren't there. Ummm...not so much. So she put in a call to make the bus come back and get him.

More waiting. Liam decided to inspect his lunchbox. And he found the note I wrote on his dessert.

Yes. Mommy loves Liam. Notice the #Medela breastpump freezie in his lunchbox. Awesome.

And then the jokes started. I tweeted: "Oh Lord. Now we're telling jokes that are not funny. Where's the bus? LOL.

Finally I got word from Elaine. Turns out, if you live in an apartment complex, door to door doesn't really literally mean "door to door". More like "Front of the Apartment Complex" to school door. Hmm. If you've ever visited our home, we are tucked away just about as far as can be from the road. Good for riding bikes, bad for bussing--now, I know I've seen a school bus come by our door, but that's only for special needs kids. Whoops. Liam is not special needs. Which means I get to walk him (and little brothers) to the road every day.

But Elaine told me she'd go ahead and call the school for me to let them know that Liam would be late, to no fault of his own, and to give him a pass to his classroom.

So I walked him to the front while Daddy drove little brothers in the car as the bus was coming back just for Liam. School has already started. Actually, it started over an hour and half ago. Whoops. 

But, as promised,  Mr. T and Bus #5 arrived. And he was thrilled. He ran to the bus and I could hardly snap off a picture before he ran on. But I did. 

I didn't see him get to his seat before Mr. T took off. I couldn't see where he was sitting as we followed the bus. But he told me the bus was "cool". "It has red seats and I sat in one seat, seat number five, just like my age and the bus. But one other window was open, so I moved to that seat. And I stuck my hand out the window."

And then we got to the school. I asked Mr. T what time to expect Liam to be dropped off at the front, since it is an early out for Kindergartners today. He said that it wasn't and radioed back to base. They said that Phenix (Liam's school) and Hillside were normal out today. Hmmm...that's not what I was told by the Principal. And, being the "Question Authority" person I was raised to be (thanks, Dad) I smiled, nodded and headed to get more pictures.

I got another picture even though I knew he was missing "first day" stuff on the inside. 

And then he and I went inside and went right to "the office". I talked to Susan (yes, the Principal's secretary and I are on a first name basis already). She handed me a "Pass" for Liam and told me that they wouldn't count this against him. Wow. My first kid's first hall pass. I inquired about the early out and bus ride home and she said she thought that the kindergartners WOULD get a ride home. I told her what the bus driver told me. She asked the Principal and the Principal said she was told that they would get a ride home as well. Time to call back to Transportation. 

I walked Liam to his room and his teacher said, "There's my little Paleontologist," so I knew he was in good hands. They were lining up for something, and I said, "Have a good day, buddy!" and went back into the Principal's office. This is where I tweeted: "Already talking to the Principal. Awesome."

I inquired about the bus bringing him home. The Principal said that she has "kindergartners who are expected to ride the bus home" and I informed her that the bus driver said no. She called Transportation and I waited (for a bit) to hear back. I gave my cell number to Susan and told her to give me a call when she heard, either way.

Turns out, we did need to pick him up. It's a good thing I did question, because there were some parents who weren't expecting to pick up their kids. 

They're doing construction at school which means it is chaos to pick them up. Turns out, according to a West Des Moines Police Officer that I was "talked to", we're only to stay on Locust street and wait to pick them up. Good to know. 

So after two hours of Kindergarten, including lunch, Liam had a good day. When he was holding open a door for the boys to go into the bathroom, "some kid wearing a blue shirt punched me in the stomach" and "the lunchlady threw away my Capri-Sun and made me have Strawberry milk" but other than that, a good two hours. 

And I didn't cry. You can see how busy I was. Tomorrow is also a half day but now I know where he needs to be for the bus to pick him up and how to pick him up at the end of the half day.

And this is why Communications is so important. I know I'm not the only parent of a Kindergartner to expect that door to door LITERALLY means "door to door". Maybe they should clarify in roundup/handbook that "if you reside in an apartment complex, the bus will stop at the nearest entrance to the apartment units"...or something along those lines.

I sincerely want to thank Elaine for the great job she did with keeping me in the know with what was going on, getting a bus ride for Liam and being so prompt with her tweets and emails. I also want to thank Robin, the head of Transportation for calling me this afternoon and apologizing for the mix-up and our patience.  

Now? Mommy needs a beer. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Really Bob Vander Plaats? Really?

On Sunday over at Mommy's Recess I went out on a limb and wrote Marriage is Between a Man and a Woman...and Bob VanderPlaats. Writing this was scary and refreshing for me. I risked making friends and family angry at me. But I needed to say it. I needed to be honest with myself and my fellow Conservatives.

After I posted it, GOP candidates started refusing to sign it. Now I'm not saying that it was MY blog that made them not sign it....just that I was relieved others had the same opinion as me. When the vow debuted, The Family Leader, led by Bob Vander Plaats of Sioux City, has said it won’t endorse any candidate who doesn’t sign the vow.

And that's just lame. Withholding an endorsement because they won't sign your pledge? Come on. Bob, I was impressed that you and your campaign ousted the State Supreme Court judges. But I'm afraid that gave you too big of a head. Sorry, Bob, but you are not the end-all-be-all spokesperson for Conservative Republicans in Iowa.  Believe it or not, we CAN think for ourselves. I still respect you, I do. But you're starting to lose some rank in my book. Bring it down a notch, Bob.

This morning I read VanderPlaats say, “I never have given much weight to endorsements,” Vander Plaats, CEO of the conservative non-profit The Family Leader, said Friday. Now, he was saying that in response to an article calling him a influential supporter. Maybe he's eating some humble pie? I don't know. Threatening you won't endorse people and then saying you don't put weight in endorsements? You can't have it both ways, Bob.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Keep Trying

We got some bad news today about the house. Turns out totally paying off credit cards (and having them closed at the most inopportune time) screwed with our credit. Again. *Sigh*

They don't want to use my credit because I'm a freelancer. And I don't have 2 years of 1099's. So it's all based on Hubby's credit. Which would be fine, except Sallie Mae totally screwed us over when he was in Iraq. And yes, we've had TWO kids since he's been back...but we're still fighting them. And yes, Sallie Mae IS a Government agency so you'd think that THEY'D know the rules when dealing with other Government agencies (re: Department of Defense; Army). But no...whatever.

I'm going to take some responsibility for our issues. But not all. I've been working my tail off to get things in order, playing by the rules, filling out the forms and faxing, emailing and phone calls. And it's just really, really frustrating.

But just when I was almost in tears about it all and the bad news we got this morning, I hear Wyatt from SuperWhy say, "Today's lesson is KEEP TRYING!" Granted it was about learning to twirl, but I can apply it to myself. Keep trying.

Thank you, Wyatt. I will keep trying.

I've always been amused (and motivated) when someone tells me that I can't do something. Tell me I can't? I'll show you just how much I CAN. I hear that is the Bolton in me. Or the Gormally. At any rate, my mom claims it comes from my dad's side. But I don't think it is a bad trait to have.

Tell me I can't, and I will. I will keep trying.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!!

Here are 17 fun facts about the Fourth of July to share with your children, your friends and family…Adapted from Fun Facts About the Fourth of July.

1. A Truly Young Nation
The average age of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence was 45.

The youngest was Thomas Lynch, Jr (27) of South Carolina.  The oldest delegate was Benjamin Franklin (70) of Pennsylvania.

The lead author of The Declaration, Thomas Jefferson, was 33.

2. Men of Harvard

1 out of 8 signers of the signers were educated at Harvard (7 total).

Four each at William & Mary, Yale, and Princeton.

George Wythe was a professor at William & Mary and one of his students was Thomas Jefferson.

3. An Act of Treason

After signing the Declaration, John Hancock remarked that Congress must now “all hang together”.

Benjamin Franklin replied,

“Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

4. Happy July 2nd

The initial date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress was July 2, 1776.

The next day, John Adams remarked in a letter to his wife Abigail (who happens to be my 8th Great Aunt) :) :

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.

It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

5. Date for History

Congress revised the Declaration for final approval on July 4, 1776.

The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (bitter rivals) died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.

6. Our National Turkey

Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to his daughter Sarah Bache in 1784:

“For my own part I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the Representative of our Country.

He is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly.

You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk;

And when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.

I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey.  For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.

He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.“

7. Enjoy Your Day Off Without Pay

Congress made Independence Day an official unpaid holiday for federal employees in 1870.

(In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday)

8. Our Nation Has Grown

There were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the newly independent nation in 1776.

Total U.S. population in 2011 is 311.7 million.

9. A Salute to the Union

A salute of one gun for each state in the United States, called a “salute to the union,” is fired on Independence Day at noon by any capable military base.

10. Thank China for Old Glory

87.5% ($2.8 million) of imported U.S. flags are from China.

11. And for Fireworks

97% ($190.7 million) of imported fireworks are from China.

12. Hawkeye Hot Dogs

One of out every four pork hot dog consumed in the U.S. originates from Iowa.

If not Iowa, then likely North Carolina or Minnesota.

An estimated 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on July 4th.

13. Lone Star Beef

One-sixth of all beef production comes from Texas.

If your beef hot dog, steak, or burger didn’t come from Texas, there’s a good chance it originated in Nebraska or Kansas.

14. Sunshine Lettuce or Tomato

75% of all lettuce head production comes from California while 71% of all fresh tomatoes come from California or Florida.
15.Pass the Potato Salad and Chips

You guessed it.. approximately half of the nation’s spuds are produced in Idaho or Washington.

16. Some Baked Beans Please

36% of the nation’s dry, edible beans are produced in North Dakota (the most in any state).

17.  The Liberty Bell Tap

Every 4th of July the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia is tapped (not actually rung) thirteen times in honor of the original thirteen colonies.

Make the 4th a learning opportunity. I know I am the 8th Great Grand-Niece of Abigail Adams and the 3rd Cousin, 7 times removed from Roger Sherman.

Who is Roger Sherman? He was the only person to sign all four great state papers of the U.S.: the Continental Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the Constitution.

I believe it's fair to say I have a lot of patriotic spirit in my blood line. Have a Happy and SAFE Fourth of July!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Interview With Andy

Note the kid running across the field at the beginning of the story? Yeah, that's Liam.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Stop

The Earth says "Stop." Do you see it?

It was pointed out to me after I uploaded it to facebook. At the time I took the picture, I did not notice it.

Do you see it?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things

The toddler pulled the front clean off of the silverware drawer. It is a mess because I had to clean up as much as quickly as I could before Baby B got to it. Clean. Off.

Monday, May 23, 2011

It All Started With A Barn...

*As always, these blog posts are my own viewpoints and in no way are reflective of or endorsed by "Friends of Maplenol Barn" or Save the Barn Committee.*

We're on the verge of buying our first home. And we're excited. We've been renting for way too long. We've been working hard for years getting our credit card debt paid off and getting everything in order so we can get a decent interest rate.

This has been YEARS in the making. And yet, I stopped to think, what was the "kick in the butt". All I could come up with was IT ALL STARTED WITH A BARN.

Back in January, I wrote about "The Barn in the City" because of a news story I saw. That drew me to a school board meeting where I voiced my opinions. I met some great fellow barn huggers who felt the same way I did. We worked very hard to make the public-- both local and national aware of what was going on. We went on television and radio,

                                                          And even had t-shirts made.

During the process of all of this, I had ups and downs. I had my parenting and priorities called into question. I continued to teach my children about how the content of their character is paramount in life, even if others didn't agree with you or did things to hurt you or your Constitutional rights.

Now you may be asking yourself, how did a barn get you to buy a house? Well, it was on my way to a school board meeting that I saw a house for sale. But that didn't go as we had hoped. But it was okay, because with the help of our realtor, we found an even better house.

If I hadn't spoken up about the barn, I never would have driven by the house that drove me to contact a realtor. If I hadn't contacted him, we probably wouldn't be as close as we are to being homeowners.

So yes, we have the barn to thank for being thisclose to being homeowners. An American dream. All because of a barn. This barn. THE barn.

Are you still not involved? Do you want more information on how to help in saving the barn? Contact me at sarahb at or visit Write the West Des Moines School Board  and tell them to keep the barn where it is--right on its historic site.

The barn belongs to the community. Not to a single board or group of community members. It belongs to all of us. It still serves a purpose. It still inspires people and initiates dreams. It's more than "just a barn".

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: My Warranty Card Expired

Mom is NOT supposed to get sick. But I did.

Going to have surgery on Friday. Prayers and thoughts are appreciated. Thank you, friends.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The "Vacation" Week Begins

I told my husband a few months ago, "you know, you should take a week of vacation, sometime in April, just so you can see all that I do every day."

And you know what? He agreed. I'm excited because this means I can get caught up on work, things I want to get done around here etc. etc. He, on the other hand, doesn't seem that thrilled it is finally here. Why do I say that? On Friday night he updated his facebook to "Started my vacation a few hours ago, haven't killed any of the boys (yet)." 

Heh. Welcome to my world.

That being said, our oldest (5) had to spend some time in his room yesterday when my husband had "had enough!" of the constant whining about when dinner was going to be served. Keep in mind this was 30 minutes after lunch.  

Since I knew ahead of time that this was going to be "the" week I would have help, I scheduled 3 dentist appointments and 3 Dr. appointments (two will include shots) for this week. Plus Sean turns 2 on Wednesday, Liam has to take snacks to school on Tuesday....add in the typical Chiropractor appointments, School 4 days a week, I have a school board meeting I need to attend on Monday...along with my usual work requirements....AND making it to see the Easter Bunny at some point at the mall. Hubby is going to be glad to go back to work next week. Hopefully I'll get a little more sympathy when I'm exhausted at the end of the day. 

Maybe at the end of the week, hubby will end up like Liam did on the Easter Bunny's lap when he was two.

That bunny was pretty scary...but running after the three Bow-sons can be scary too!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Praying for Great Grandpa Bob

On Monday we arrived at the funeral home for the family viewing and prayer before heading to the church. We have jokingly referred to Liam as "Father Liam" as he is always making sure we pray before meals (sometimes more than once).

Knowing that Liam had accepted Great Grandpa Bob was deceased, but having never seen a body, we weren't sure how he was going to react when seeing him. Dave stayed back with the little guys while Liam and I approached the coffin. I told Liam to kneel on the kneeler and I did the same. I turned to Liam and said, "Do you want to pray?" He nodded his head yes. We said the "Our Father". At the end of the prayer, Liam turned to me and said, "I want to say a special prayer for Great Grandpa Bob." I said, "Okay."

We both bowed our heads into our hands. Liam began,
"Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
And if I die, before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
God, please bless Great Grandpa Bob."

And he stood up, made the sign of the cross, and turned out to the crowd. I had tears streaming down my face. He's so little, yet so spiritual. So thoughtful.

Here is a picture of Liam with David and Great Grandpa Bob before David's deployment to Iraq.

"God, please bless Great Grandpa Bob."

Friday, April 1, 2011

Discussing Death with the Kids - The Soul Within

We've been blessed. My son knows ALL of his Grandparents and even got to know and love his Great Grandpa Bob. But on Thursday morning, Great Grandpa Bob gave in to his body and gave his spirit up to God.

That's not to say he didn't fight it. We've known for weeks it could be "any time". It was an emotional roller coaster for everyone. I don't even want to know how many miles my mother in law put on her car driving back and forth to Ottumwa. But I'm sure she'd say it was worth it.  

She was the most self-less woman through all of this, always putting her father's needs before her own wants.

I hope my boys care half as much for me as she does for her dad when it is my time. While she faced some hard decisions, she did it with grace. Even though she got more than any one's share of grief for the hard decisions she made, she knew she was doing the right thing.

I know my mother in law and I haven't always gotten along the best. But I know that through it all, she cares for me and I for her. After seeing what she's gone through with her father and her family, I have a new found respect for her. It's almost like a sibling relationship. We pick on each other, but if anyone else says anything about her, I will always be there to defend her.

That being said, on Thursday morning when I got the call, I was at home with the boys. David had already gone to work. Sean and Brendan were napping and I was working on a political article. After hearing the news, I took a deep breath and walked into Liam's room where he was playing with his cars.

I sat down next to him on the floor, took a deep breath and said, "Liam, I need to talk to you."
He looked up at me and said, "Okay, Mommy."
Another deep breath. "Great Grandpa Bob died this morning." Pause. Liam nodded his head. "Do you know what that means?"
"Yeah. I miss him," Liam said with a lip quiver.
"Do you have any questions," I asked.
Liam thought for a moment. "But why did he die?"
I responded, "Because we all die. Do you know what that means?" Long pause between both of us. I continued, "That means you won't be able to talk to him again. You will see him at the funeral, but it is just his body."

Liam responded with the always more mature than his age intelligence, "I know that, mommy. His soul is in heaven with Great Grandma Margie. His body is just a shell. He's not really in there."

Wow. Color me shocked. He's 5 (and a half) and he gets it. He's always been that way. An old soul, if you will. He seems to know more than he should at his age. But maybe that was my doing. He was the one I leaned on while Dave was deployed. I shouldn't call him my "rock" because he was so little...more like "Mommy's Pebble". Maybe he knew more than what I gave him credit for at his toddler age. I mean, he did hear about mortar attacks and his daddy being over there. Maybe it was being faced with his own father's mortality at such a young age that caused him to grow up so fast...and maybe I'm thinking too much.

At any rate, he seemed to understand what was going on. I'm not sure how he'll handle it at the funeral on Monday, but he'll be surrounded by family that loves him, including my father who has volunteered to drive across the entire state of Iowa to sing at the funeral. Dad said, "It's my son-in-law's grandfather. It's family. Singing at funerals is what I do."

And that's what is important at this time. During a family crisis, family needs to come together. My dad only met Grandpa Bob at our wedding, and yet, he's family. Family members care and love each other. They help each other through tough times.

As Liam said, our bodies are "just a shell". 

We need to remember to be nice to each others soul that lies within.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Bonus For Being the Only Female in the Family...

You've heard me talk about having all boys. Living in a home of men. Yes, I always check the toilet seat and even bathe with Aquaman.

While we were out shopping at Target last night, I had a revelation. When we go shopping, it is the ONLY time I can go into a bathroom and not have to worry about someone coming in. The restrooms are separate and as much as my husband tries to convince me, I AM using the Women's room...not the family room!!

It's those few minutes of peace and quiet that makes grocery shopping with three kids under the age of 6 manageable.

That being said, the picture below was a source of humor for Liam (who can now read--and knows what words he cannot say). Ummm Target? Might want to rethink the abbreviation.
Peace and quiet. Found in the bathroom at Target.

I also want to mention Julia's blog  which is a great blog about homeschooling, geocaching, living frugally and crafting!! Check it out if you're interested in any of these things...she also has some great giveaways and I was the lucky winner of the DiGornio Pizza Giveaway. I've made this one of my MUST READ blogs! You should too!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Iowa Weather

Yes, that was a funnel. It did go back up and David and the kids were in a safe place. But I love tornado season.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Discussing Death with the Kids

I knew the conversation would be coming up soon. I just didn't know that a topic with such gravity would be so well handled...thus far.

My husband is blessed to still have a Grandparent alive. I never knew my Father's parents, as they passed before I was born. My Grandma JoAnn died when I was 6 and I can still remember her house, spending the night with her and thinking she was the smartest person in the world because she helped me figure out a Rainbow Brite word jumble (it was backwards and she held it up to a mirror so I could read it). I remember Grandma's funeral and refusing to go to the cemetery. I remember how upset my dad was with me, but I just refused to go. I wanted to remember Grandma cooking in the kitchen, working in her garden and showing me how to make hospital corners on the bed when putting fresh sheets from the clothesline on.

My Maternal Grandfather passed when I was a Senior in High School. He and I were very close. So close that he gave me his Wings from WWII. So close that I was chosen to be the Lector at his funeral. So close that every day after cheerleading practice after school, I'd drive in to Carroll just to sit with him for a few hours...even if he insisted on watching "Wheel of Fortune". When he died, I took it hard. He was my last Grandparent. He was my Grandpa. He was my friend.

I didn't get to meet David's Paternal Grandfather but I did attend his funeral. We had been dating about 4 months when he died. Attending his funeral brought up memories of my own Grandpa and I think I cried harder than those who knew Loel (Dave's Grandpa).

But life and death is a cycle. Our second child, Sean, was born on the 5 year anniversary of Loel's death. Sean was 3 days before his scheduled date and just decided that's when he was going to be born. And Sean is ALL Bowman. A man of few words. A man of action. He may not say it, but you know he loves you. And from what I understand, his Great-Grandfather was the same way.

David's Maternal Grandfather is now in his last chapter. He's been suffering from Alzheimer's for some time now and his body is slowly breaking down. It's been a sad, slow process. We've allowed my in-laws to take Liam to visit him on occasion, but on Saturday we got a call we've feared. He's going fast. They're moving him from the nursing home to the hospital.

Liam was visiting my parents for the weekend and Dave took Sean. Sean is too little (he'll be 2 in April) to remember the visit, but it would be good for Great Grandpa to see him. I kept my parents informed as to what was going on and Liam said, "Great Grandpa Bob is dying."

I'm not sure how he'll take it once Grandpa does go. Liam has never seen a body. He hasn't been to a funeral or a wake. I'm not sure how he'll process it all once it does happen. But he seems to understand that when people die, they don't come back. He knows about heaven and Jesus (and thanks to a kid at preschool, "black angels") and that our soul lives on but the body dies. That's some pretty heavy stuff for a five year old.

I'm sure Sean won't know what's going on, but in the interest of being honest, we're planning on telling him the straight facts. We're not going to say "he's sleeping" or anything like that...just that he died.

How have you explained death to your kids? What worked for you and your family?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy? Ash Wednesday

I'm not sure if "Happy" is the word to use. But the more I think about it, the more I believe it is correct. So, I thought, why not make a "Top 10" reasons it is happy? Here we go...

Top Ten Things About Lent/Ash Wednesday

10. Even the Pope gets ashes show us he is a servant of the servants as well.

9. You can save money on all the food you won't be eating while fasting!!

8. All the good fish recipes are shared...and who doesn't like grilled cheese and tomato soup?

7. A convenient excuse to watch The Passion of the Christ.

6. Purple is a much more elegant liturgical color than green.

5. You don't need to hide or make excuses around your penance and sacrifices--because everyone else is supposed to be doing the same thing.

4. Recycling. The ashes for Ash Wednesday are burned Palms from Palm Sunday the year before. Catholicism was green before being green was cool!

3. Catholic camaraderie. When you see someone else with ashes today, you know they were at Mass, too! :) That and you can learn more about your friends and co-workers--I didn't know you were Catholic?!

2. Cool antiphons.

and the #1 reason Lent and Ash Wednesday is happy... the chance to become closer to Jesus Christ!

So yes, I say to you, Happy Ash Wednesday!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Preparing for Lent: Doing It ALL for My Children

*As always, these blog posts are my own viewpoints and in no way are reflective of or endorsed by "Friends of Maplenol Barn" or Save the Barn Committee.*

As a Catholic, I always try to stay with the traditions and beliefs of our faith. For the last few years, I've always either been pregnant or nursing so the fasting and no meat rule hasn't always applied to me (The Pope says so). I am nursing Baby B still, and while I will try to adhere to the no meat rule, fasting isn't always an option.

Usually I try to give something up for Lent. Candy, pop, etc. This year I'm doing something different.

It was an inspiring night, last night, at the West Des Moines School Board Meeting. I was told by a fellow parent that we (the Friends of the Maplenol Barn) cherish a "thing" while he (and his fellow anti-barn people) cherish their kids. He also suggested that we use the passion for the barn for volunteering at our kids schools. (Assuming we do not?)

For someone who doesn't know me from Adam, to state that anything I do is not putting my children FIRST is beyond me. What a hurtful, sweeping generalization. My husband and I ALWAYS put our children first.

My husband served in Iraq. He has told me that he wanted to go so that our child(ren) hopefully wouldn't have to. Can this parent say he has been away from his wife and child for a year and put himself in a war zone so that his kids wouldn't have to? I doubt it.

We chose for me to leave my full time job at Principal Financial Group, and while finances may be tight, we did this FOR OUR CHILDREN. Our kids don't go without. They always have a full belly, warm baths and a warm bed. And they have love and learning. On the days when my oldest doesn't have preschool, I sit with him and work on math equations (yes, he's only five), teach him history, writing, language and reading. And sure, I drive a 1993 old minivan (yes, it was built before I even had a permit). But it's paid for and it serves its purpose.

Some nights, after the boys are tucked into bed, I stay up until 1, 2, even 3 AM writing and looking for additional work. Just to make ends meet. Sure, sleep would be great, but again, I'M DOING THIS FOR MY BOYS.

People have asked, Why all of the interest in the barn now? Where were these people 5, 10, 15 years ago? I can't speak for every person who supports the effort but I can speak for myself. 5 years ago we were living in Ankeny with an infant son. 10 years ago I was in College at Iowa State working on my Bachelor's Degree. 15 years ago, I was a 15 year old girl looking forward to turning 16, getting my driver's license and prom.

You may have noticed I said 5 years ago we lived in Ankeny. We lived there for three years. But after my husband returned from his service in Iraq, we CHOSE to move to West Des Moines because of the great school district. Again, FOR OUR KIDS.

And that's why I'm fighting to save history on the Valley campus. Not only for my kids, but every kid in the district. Our children have the right to see, touch and learn history. Without the physical reminders of our history, it's only a picture in a book. NO taxpayer money will go in to refurbishing the barn. NONE. It is all money that has been donated by fellow history lovers; people who see the value of keeping landmarks and reminders of our history.

I love my boys. I would do anything for my children. Everything I do, I do it for THEM. For someone to say otherwise obviously doesn't know me.

So that's what I've decided for lent. At times when I feel like I want to blow up at someone for making such a rude comment, I will pause and think, "Am I being a good example for my boys?" Last night I bit my tongue. HARD. Granted, I did tweet my feelings but the rage built up within.

I compare it to the hate of those who are stealing signs and putting the word DESTROY over SAVE. It's the same hate that turns people away. Hate is not a good thing to have in your heart. Hate is not something we should be teaching our kids. The word "Hate" is actually on the "we don't say that" list at our house.

I am my child's first teacher. Everything I do, I do for my kids. Heck, with the exception of 3 months in 2008, I have either been pregnant or nursing one of my boys since February of 2005. Think about it. We're at 6 years (again, with the three month exception) where my body has not been just mine. We're talking 70 months. 70 months where my body has either carried or fed one of my boys. But I wouldn't change a day of it.

I will continue to be a good role model and inspiration for my boys. Anyone who says otherwise apparently doesn't know me.

“Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too.” William Smith

I will not let their hate and anger consume me. God knows my reasons behind all that I do.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Traveling home...

*As always, these blog posts are my own viewpoints and in no way are reflective of or endorsed by "Friends of Maplenol Barn" or Save the Barn Committee.*

This weekend I went back to my parents house for a visit. After Liam's gymnastics class, I loaded up the car (with all three boys) and we went to Ma'am and Papa's house. I realized we haven't been home since Christmas (and all of the barn work started).

I love going home. Time seems to go slower. The pace of life seems easier. More relaxed. Maybe it's because my mom does laundry, diaper changes, makes the meals etc. It allows me time to work on my writing, gather my thoughts and nap. Yes, I get to take a nap. And I LOVE it.

While some may think traveling with three boys 5 and under could be stressful, I love it. I know what is ahead of me. My home. While it isn't the same house I grew up in, it's still home. The air seems fresher, people are's home.

It's the farm. It's the love of our land and history. So while I was distanced from the barn by space for a few days, I feel more energized and closer to it now. I'm ready for a fight to keep the barn in its original footprint. I'm ready to keep it and restore it for my children. I'm ready.

Let's go.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Character Counts? Parents Must Live It.

*As always, these blog posts are my own viewpoints and in no way are reflective of or endorsed by "Friends of Maplenol Barn" or Save the Barn Committee.*

Some moms say "I'm just a mom." And that makes me mad. We're not "just" anything. We're everything. Most importantly, we're the first teachers for our children. We're the most important teachers. We need to act as such.

I am not only involved with the Barn group, I'm committed. Kind of like breakfast. The chicken was involved. The eggs are committed. I'm the eggs.

My kids are learning that if there is something that is important to you, you work at it. When it seems like all is lost, you keep trying. You preserve history. You protect it. You stand up for what you believe in. You fight for it.

Let's look at what the program "Character Counts in Iowa" says:

Image from Character Counts in Iowa.

"Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship"

Why would I bring this up? This week we had people calling us for yard signs. People wanted to show their support for the barn. People donated money for a sign and placed it in their own yard.

And what happened? Two girls discovered the size and font of our words and printed out the word "Demolish". They then, under the cover of darkness, targeted our signs by using clear packing tape and taping the word "Demolish" over the word "Save". They even had the audacity to deface a sign in the yard of a West Des Moines Police Officer.

The teenage girls were identified. When a parent of one of the girls was informed about what her daughter had done, the mother replied, "She has her right to free speech."

Well, yes she does. But not when it is trespassing onto private property and defacing personal property. That, my friends, is a crime. The mother continued and, all while having Jesus fish on the back of all of her vehicles, used the "F" word in denying what her child had participated in was a crime. That's REAL Christian.

I'm all for the first amendment. If there are people out there who want to "demolish" the barn, they have the same right that we do. They can make signs of their own, ask people if they would make a donation and place it in their yard.

Respect? None. Fairness? Not so much. Caring? Not a chance.

But after hearing the parent's reaction, I shouldn't be surprised at how the daughter acted. After all, we as parents are the first teacher. Hate breeds hate.

But there we go again, getting back to Character Counts. Citizenship. We are following the letter of the law. Taking all of the appropriate steps and vocalizing our support (in a legal manner) of a historic landmark. We treasure history. If the original barn owner didn't have the vision he did for West Des Moines, Valley wouldn't be where it is and there may be a landing strip for an airport there.

Quite often I am complimented by strangers about how polite my boys are. Please, thank you, may I etc. I always respond, "It took A LOT of work," and I think that's the problem. Some parents fail to see parenting as a job. And why should it be? Put them in front of Spongebob, let them play their Nintendo DS, don't discipline them because they're just "expressing themselves." The Wii can raise kids, right?

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Parents need to be parents, not friends. Parents need to be role models. Parents should NOT just play lip service to Character Counts. They need to live it. Children need to see their parents living it.

Which brings me to "the children". We've heard "think of the children" ad nauseam about the whole Valley expansion. But are we really thinking of the children? Really really thinking of the children? Let's look at the facts:

Keeping the barn in its current footprint does NOT hinder the Valley expansion at ALL.

Any funds put into the barn are funds we have raised and grants. NO taxpayer money is going to the barn. NONE.

No money that would be applied to education is going to the barn. NONE.

The school district (as outlined in the 28E) would not be responsible for ANY of the construction costs or costs of upkeep. NONE.

The benefits?

A historic and educational tool that would be available for teachers and students to use and learn from and in. WIN.

Bragging rights that they have a piece of Iowa history on their campus. WIN.

A beautiful, usable building on campus for the community to enjoy. WIN.

A landmark. WIN.

To quote Michael Scott, "This is a win, win, win." The school board wins, the community wins, the kids win. Win. Win. Win.

Yes, I may be biased as I am as committed as the egg at breakfast. But I believe in preserving history. As Edmond Burke says, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing," which is why I got involved.

I believe in showing my children we respect our forefathers and our state history.

I believe in showing my kids that even when adults disagree, they can come together and compromise to do what is best for everyone.

I believe and do take my kids to school board and city council meetings. I want them to learn how great our Government is and just how it works.

I believe in raising educated, polite, caring, respectful children.

I am a role model. I know my children are watching me. Character counts. We are the first teachers for our children. We must show them how to act, how to speak and how to care. How to be good citizens.

Yes, I know. I didn't attend Valley. I didn't walk by the barn every day for four years. But I grew up in rural Iowa where we still use barns. It is my family heritage. As Iowans, it is all of our family heritage.

If we destroy the barn, we destroy ourselves. Stop the hate. Save the barn.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Duffy Cartoon: 'Barn Razing' - Video - KCCI Des Moines

Duffy Cartoon: 'Barn Razing' - Video - KCCI Des Moines

The "Stew" Situation

*As always, these blog posts are my own viewpoints and in no way are reflective of or endorsed by "Friends of Maplenol Barn" or Save the Barn Committee.*

Last week I called Stew Hansen's dealership to let them know they lost my business due to Stew's disrespectful outburst at the City Council meeting.

I told the receptionist that I'm a mom and dodge minivan owner in the market for another vehicle (because we are) and I was disturbed at the comments by Stew Hansen at the City Council meeting. She asked me when the meeting was held.

She informed me that he does not and has not owned the dealership for some time. I told her that I was so irritated by his comments that I blogged about it and shared my feelings about his comments with family and friends. I also told her that I reviewed the video online from the city council meeting just to be sure I heard correctly.

She asked me for the web address of the video (I gave it to her) so she can share the video with her supervisors. She said she has had a few calls already about this issue and thanked me for bringing it to her attention. She said that maybe they will have to inform the public that Stew is no longer associated with their dealership so it doesn't affect their sales.

Until Stew Hansen's (the dealership) sends out a press release stating that they are no longer associated with Stew (the man), I will refrain from even glancing at the dealership that bears his name. I refuse to have the name of such a negative Ned on the back of my vehicle.

In this day in age, it's all about branding. If you own the brand, you must protect the brand. If someone created a fashion line called "Sarah Palin", I highly doubt liberals would be wearing "Property of Sarah Palin" shirts.

Just as if someone created a line of purses with the name "Nancy Pelosi", I highly doubt Conservative women would buy the latest "Nancy Pelosi Purse", just due to the name. Even if Sarah or Nancy had NOTHING to do with the company. That's what's great about our country. We can say what we believe and we can express our beliefs with our pocketbook. And until the dealership announces they have no relationship with the person (or change their name) I will continue to steer my business elsewhere.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: Public Speaking--Know What Is Appropriate

Usually here on Wednesday it is "Wordless Wednesday". A day when I post a picture that speaks for itself.

*As always, these blog posts are my own viewpoints and in no way are reflective of or endorsed by "Friends of Maplenol Barn" or Save the Barn Committee.*

Today I'm bucking the trend and going outside of the box (insert additional corporate buzz phrase here if you like). As always, this is my personal blog and my comments here are not at all related or endorsed by the Save the Barn Committee or "Friends of Maplenol Barn". All of the comments below are all my own.

At last night's City Council meeting we were discussing the fate of the barn. Yes, I've actually become pretty involved in all things barn. I'm meeting new and great people. I've been lucky enough to be able to network with local media and I'm enjoying the concept of helping keep a piece of history in West Des Moines. We've raised over $200K, have over 2000 supporters on our facebook page in 45 days and in less than 24 hours, distributed 200 yard signs in West Des Moines. With worldwide support (I'm not kidding, we've had 3 different countries sign our online petition) and monetary support coming from all over the US, this is more than just a local issue.

We have some great ideas to make this a in the black revenue wise project. Following the model of the Simpson Barn that is located in Johnston, Iowa and doing a lot of research as a group, this is something that is possible. Only if the school board will allow us to do it. We know of 6 additional grants we can apply for as well. Again, no money out of the pockets of the school district and this does not hinder the education of students at Valley in any way.

I understand some members of the community are not as informed as I am. I've been eating, sleeping, breathing barn for the last few weeks. If they want to be informed, they only need to seek information. The web address is printed on our yard signs that, again, are all over West Des Moines. Some people don't understand what "greenspace" and "water detention/retention" is. To be honest, until this all started and I got involved, I couldn't tell you what it was either. I was reminded of a quote of Abe Lincoln's that my dad always said, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

At the City Council meeting last night, a fool removed all doubt, for me at least. Stew Hansen, yes THAT Stew Hansen, prominent auto dealer in the Des Moines area attended the meeting. I would think that he would be well aware enough to monitor his comments in such a public forum. After all, negative publicity is bad for business. That's just simple public relations. He is entitled to his opinion, just like any other resident; but there's a way to be professional about it.

Mr. Hansen told another WDM resident at the meeting to "You've got a big mouth and you need to shut it" and he continued to say that the "City was holding the School Board prisoner" with their resolution that was on the table. A resident shouted, "They're holding the barn prisoner" to which Mr. Hansen replied, "Do you want to know my personal feelings about the barn? TO HELL WITH THE BARN." And he yelled it.

I was nursing Brendan at the time and it was probably a good thing I was. It gave me pause. Had I not been nursing Brendan I probably would have let my emotions get the best of me and shouted back. But, having a nursing baby (who was startled awake by Mr. Hansen's uproar) at the breast, I didn't. Oh, the smoke could be seen coming out of my ears, I'm sure. But I held back.

I know our van probably won't make it forever and we'll probably be in the market for a new (or new to us) vehicle in the next few years. I know I will NOT shop at ANY of Mr. Hansen's dealerships. Someone who has such a disregard for proper etiquette at a public forum, a disregard for others at the meeting (the "big mouth" comment) and a disregard for history, well, he can forget about my business.

Just because he's rich doesn't mean he can say whatever he wants and treat others horribly. And that's just what he did. One would think that he would know better than to lose his cool at such a public forum. Rich or not, my vote counts just as much as his does. That's the joy of living in a Democracy.

Mr. Hansen, With all due respect, I believe the woman with a child at her breast may actually have more of a vested interest in future generations. Not that you don't, but I thank you. I thank you for making our future vehicle buying options easier.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Have You Ever Stopped to Look at a Snowflake?

To be honest, I don't know if I ever have. Until today. It was a comment from a friend of mine in Atlanta who made a comment about how it was snowing and she then realized why the snowflake cut outs in paper were the way they were.

Growing up in Iowa and trudging through the snow year after year, you probably think it's strange that I've never stopped to actually look at a snowflake.

Maybe it's a "forest for the trees" thing.

But in the craziness of the day, husband off to work, no school for Liam because of President's Day, three busy boys vs. one tired mom, blog posts to write, book reviews to do....I looked outside.

And it was snowing. So I ventured out on the deck and looked. With a school board meeting looming a few hours away and the barn on the brain, I took a deep breath of the cold crisp air and I looked at the snowflakes.

Different shapes, different sizes. Unique. It helped to clear my mind of all of the clutter I had in there...all of the thoughts, deadlines, things that needed to be done....

And just took time to look at the snowflakes.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day...What it's like for a former Army wife

I believed that all I was going to get this Valentine's Day was a new tire. No, really. My van blew a tire last week and rather than a cheap $10-$15 patch, it required a new tire.

So that's what we had decided would be our Valentine's Day present. But I was surprised this morning. My wonderful husband decided to go and get us doughnuts. And he brought home a rose and a chocolate cake for me. The best part? The cake had a heart that said "E-mail me". He knows me.

On days like this, I remember what it was like when he was deployed. The Valentine's Day he was in Iraq, he made sure a dozen roses was sent to my work. He also had his dad obtain a giftcard for a massage for me. While it was a nice gesture, I would have given almost anything for a hug from him that night.

And I remember that. So while most women would scoff at a tire, I'm thankful for it. Because I can give him a hug at the end of the day. And that's worth more than all of the roses in the world.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

We're Mobile!

As if I wasn't busy enough with the preschooler and toddler, Baby B has decided he needs to be just as active as his brothers. He realized a week and a half ago that he could roll to where he wanted to be. I'd set him down in one place, come back a minute later and have to play "find the baby". Thankfully he can't go far in our small house.

But now? He's mastered the forward Army crawl. Sean never Army crawled, he went from rolling to crawling, so there was never the need to break out the Baby Legs.

We're going to have to find them again in our baby stash to prevent rug burn on Brendan's fat little leggies. If you've never used them before, you should get at least one pair. I love them. They also help with the little gap that always occurs between the jeans and socks.

I can't believe my baby is almost crawling. He's growing up faster than the first two!!

Here's a short video of Brendan doing his thing. And of Sean explaining how excited he is for the Superbowl. :)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sooo very tired

This has been the longest week ever. Between snowpocalypse, Dave's crazy work schedule, having three crazy boys stuck in the house and Baby B getting his first two teeth, I'm exhausted.

Brendan is discovering the power of these new found teeth. And he bites while nursing. And pulls. And when I tell him "no", he laughs. *sigh* We introduced solids to him, the traditional homemade sweet potato and breast milk puree. He did really well with it.

Liam decided one morning this week that he could draw things that actually resemble something. He pulled out his Little Einsteins Create a Masterpiece Doodler and drew a picture of the family.

Well, it kind of looked like the family. Sean was flying over everyone's head, or so I've been told. I'm pretty proud that his "people" now have eyes and bodies. 

Sean has decided he's ready for the potty. Of course, he sees big brother going potty in the potty and knows he uses the Cars potty seat. He likes to put it on the lid of the toilet when he's ready to use it. We've had a few pee pee's in the potty. He will walk in there and yell when he's ready to go. Of course we praise him when he's done...and then he usually wants nothing to do with his diaper and runs off naked. *sigh* I'm sure getting my exercise chasing after him, tackling him and wrestling the diaper on him!

So let's recap. Liam draws, Sean pees and Brendan bites. Throw in my husband's crazy schedule and a blizzard and you've got one exhausted mama. 
Emma and I are going out for "Girl's Night Out" tonight and I'm really looking forward to it. But, before I can go, I have to do some food prep for the Superbowl, clean the place and tackle the growing pile of laundry that needs folded.

A mom's job is never done.