Saturday, December 31, 2011

bucket list

A friend of mine just suggested I start a daily health challenge at

I am on day three and so far it's been kind of fun, I'm curious to see how long I do it.  I could see it getting old after awhile... although they do have good ideas that are fairly easy.

Anyways, I'm suppose to come up with 3 things on my bucket list and share them.

A few for 2012:

1. safe delivery of baby #3 due at the end of April
2. Peregrine sprint triathlon in August (good recovery goal)
3. get my weight down after the pregnancy
4. keep working on flexibility/core strength training

A few ideas for the long term future:

1. complete an Xterra triathlon (or one on dirt trails)
2. do some more rock climbing
3. teach my kids to be eat healthy/exercise
4. go biking with my mom (and her dog : )
5. do another Olympic tri with 100% effort and no pregnancy : )
6. do a 5k in under 30 minutes

You got can any you want to share?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Jesus CEO 5

This chapter was the first to NOT strike a chord with me which is part of why it took so long to write about it.  I reread it twice and it just doesn't do much.. so I'm moving on but in case you're curious.   It was about believing in yourself, just like Jesus did.  The chapter talked about how Jesus knew his job, and just did it, feeling 100% at it.  Then the questions at the end were asking how much do I believe in myself?  and what would it take to believe in myself down to my toes?

Well, I don't really have an answer. I guess I'm a 85% or so, most of the time.. and it would take a perfect world (effect) to feel 100%.  Perfect kids, perfect sleep, perfect job, perfect home, etc.  But I guess Jesus didn't have perfect conditions and neither will I.

Hmm.. oh well.  Any ideas?   

30 day challenge

‎30 day challenge. I decided to throw myself a 30 day challenge. I like to do this every once in awhile. This time my challenge is "no seconds" when it comes to food. I kind of started about a week ago but Christmas didn't go so well. But I'm back and it took every ounce of energy not to have extra last night (even picking at the leftovers was out). Phil "made" me pack up the leftovers just to challenge my self-control (it was pretty funny yet sadly difficult at the same moment). Anyways. I thought I'd see if anyone wants to do a 30 day with me. Pick whatever you want, whatever works for you and I'll check in on you.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I see I haven't blogged in awhile but life has been very busy here with Christmas parties, travels, preparations, and everything in between.   And this next week we have more Christmas parties, birthday, more travel and continued work stuff so we'll see how it goes but I don't see much blogging this week either. 

If you're out and about in Waterloo you should stop and look at our nativity scene in front of our house.  Although I don't have proper lighting, yet, it is kind of neat looking.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas! 

2012 will be here before we know it, and looking forward to it.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!

Christmas is one of those times of year that you just love having little kids.  Here we are getting ready for the season.

putting up lights outside

Wendell dressed in Christmas stockings and an elf hat, oh and a sweatshirt that would fit Harlie

This headband is a new tradition in our household, we got it last year but I love wearing it because it has bells.  When I'm stressed I like to put it on. 

Her reaction was the same as ours.  We knew Wendell made this ornament last year at preschool but could not remember what it was.  It took me a couple of days but I remembered.. they had made a birthday cake for Jesus.  (Um yep.. looks just like a birthday cake Wendell.. good job  : ) I did write on the back so we'd remember in the future.  Definitely a keeper but I'd never remember it 20 years from now.

what cheese balls

random picture insert here... Wendell decided he wanted to camp out in Harlie's room last night and since it wasn't a school night (last night) then we let them.  He would have been asleep in no time but Harlie kept him up.  Finally I turned out every lick of light and she crashed too.   I know they'll want to do this more often which is great as they will probably be sharing a room in a few months for a few months.

Our Christmas lights.  This year I finally made my own nativity scene.  I like it but we have to get the lighting figured out.  We bought solar lights but they aren't working very well (probably due to the cloudy sky) so I'm not sure if we'll take them back and just buy plug in lights or see if these lights get better.  I really want to have music playing (some christian Christmas music) but Phil and I both agree that nobody would probably figure it out and then it would be a waste of time.  We'll see, maybe I'll just play it for myself.

Anyways, that's our fun for now.  We haven't really been out and about to scope out Christmas lights yet but hopefully this weekend or next week.  We're quite notorious for making Mc D's ice cream runs in the middle of winter.   

Monday, December 5, 2011

Jesus CEO 4

Day 4.. again very simple yet thought provoking.  The chapter was about being on a mission and stated that Jesus was on a mission and he stayed on his mission even when it was tempting to divert.  Then the questions they asked where, what is your mission? are you doing it? are you being distracted? 

Well.. great questions but the chapter made me think more about Jesus.. and what exactly was his mission?  The chapter states that he didn't heal everyone, or raise everyone from the dead, or build shopping malls, etc.   He had a mission, knew what it was, and stuck to it.

So what was his mission?  I asked Phil this so I'm curious to see what he has to say but I have been thinking about this and I know that Jesus #1 mission was to die/pay for our sins and then be brought back so we can "live" again. 

But what was his mission during his life?  Here's what I've got so far: 1. to teach us about God 2. to show people compassion and love 3. to call us on our mistakes and then challenge us to do better

Hmmm.. I wonder if that should be my mission.

Any other ideas/thoughts? 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

On the drive to our big feast on Thanksgiving day we decided to take a moment to write down what we're thankful for.  I had my list, Phil had his (he was also driving at the same time so maybe a little distracted) and we attempted one with the kids. 

Wendell's answer was "hugs".  Aww.. how sweet. 

Some of my answers kind of surprised me:
1. having a good mother-in-law
4. my home
5. MMO/my church

When you really sit down and think about what you're truly thankful for, it's hard to really pick which one is your #1 pick.  A lot of it also depends on the day, the moment, or the past year.

Since the kids couldn't really answer an open question then we played a little game called... would you rather A or B.  We took their favorites and made them choose. 

So Wendell, would you rather watch tv or play computer games
.... eat cottage cheese or mac-n-cheese?
..... wear flip flops or boots?  

How about Harlie, would you rather see an airplane or bird (looking out the window)?
... eat or watch tv?
drink juice or chocolate milk?
read mommy's book or Harlie's book (she loves to pretend she's reading my books)?

It turned out to be a very fun game and it helped with the long car ride.  It also felt good in the soul to know that we know our kids.   We know what makes them happy and usually work to make that happen, within reason. 

So I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and were able to take a moment to reflect on your blessings!

Monday, November 28, 2011

nature hike

Every year, I put on our summer bucket list to go on a nature walk.  I love going out in the woods but sometimes it makes me nervous if I go alone.   But this past Saturday we loaded up Phil's bike and took off to check out a new park in Cedar Falls.  We'd never heard of it but it's called Ulrich and is located on the Northwest side of town.  So we took off and discovered a fun little park that is nothing but woods and some rail road tracks.

We even packed a picnic and ate in the 48 degree weather, outside on a blanket.  And as you can see I took my camera but it quit working towards the end... it's getting old. 

This gets us excited for next summer (or maybe the next one) as Phil and I are thinking about doing an Xterra race which is a triathlon - but the bike and run is on dirt trails instead of paved.  Before kids, Phil and I used to ride dirt paths at George Wyth and loved it but for some reason we quit.  Now the flame has been ignited to do a different kind of crazy race.  There is only one race in Iowa a year and that is at Sugar Bottom near North Liberty.  I'm not sure what this next summer will bring but it's something to think about... if not this summer (due to adding baby #3), then next summer. 

Jesus CEO day 3

The chapter again was simply put... we all answer to someone whether you are 2, 4 or 33.  Jesus, being our perfect leader, also answered to someone - that is God.

Q #1. Do you know who your boss is?

They also talk about a food chain and ask Q #2. what is your food chain? 


Some thoughts on that question are:
  • it's very hard for me to submit to anyone, sometimes God included.  The other day I asked Phil if he thinks I submit to him and he said something like.."when you want to". And he is correct.. and that also goes for God.  When I want to it's easy.. when I don't want to, it's hard, very hard. 
  • It also makes me think of certain family members who think I should submit to them but now that I'm adult, I don't have to.  I should respect all people but that does not mean I have to do what they say/suggest (and they should respect that in return). 
  • I recently had a meeting with my boss.. the big boss above my boss.  And we talked about somethings that happened this past summer at work.  Right now I am processing this submission as well.  I don't want to go into detail but I have to remember that it's always a learning process.
  • Submission reminds me of a teenager.  "I don't want to!" "Why?!"   "Whatever.."  Sometimes I have that attitude...  so when I think like that I need to stop and think about the food chain.  There's a little saying out there that says "God has a plan, and it's better than mine".  I need to remind myself of that even when I don't feel it's true. 
I think there are some deeper issues when it comes to submission, but I haven't figured it out.  Any ideas?

Q #3 - how regularly do you communicate with your boss?  Well when it comes to God, I try to have some 1:1 time daily.  Sometimes it's nice and friendly, sometimes I'm a teenager, sometimes I am so full of joy and peace that I get a glimpse of heaven.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jesus CEO

The topic I read about the other day was about how we think about ourselves.  The author says that Jesus always said positive thing about himself, as do other successful people.  So the question is what do you say about yourself (self talk)?  So it had me pondering... and two thoughts came to mind. 

1. About 6 months ago we had a training at work, the speaker said that most women wear make up (his point was that women with disabilities should be the same or at least given the opportunity) and that women who don't, either think they look fine without it or just don't care/aren't motivated.  So as one of the few women who rarely wears make up I have wondered why that is?? I still haven't figured it out.   This thought brings me to...

2. When I think about my thoughts about myself, or how I look (above) I really don't think I have thoughts unless something major is going on.  Ex.  I wear make up when I get pictures taken, go to a wedding, or a big family get together.  But I also don't do "self talk" unless something major is going on - really bad day with the kids, something happens at work, I run a good race/bad race.

So in general, I don't have much self talk. 

As I write this it reminds me of a friend that commented once in college about my  high self esteem. I laughed at the time but I think my indifference gave her the opinion that I had high self esteem.

I'm not sure.. if I don't have low self esteem, then is it high?  I think I'm just neutral. 

Which brings me to another question they ask.. who do you say you are on a daily basis?  And out of frustration of getting this question a lot in life.  My answer was Heather Rene` (McCulley) Hunt.  Can't I just be me?  Do I have to say I'm a mom? a wife? a daughter? a co-worker? etc.  When I list of those things I feel the pressure to be someone.. but I just want to be me.

So the last question is.. what good, pure, true, beautiful words do you feed yourself everyday?  My answer.. I have none, so sad.  And that probably needs to change.  We often hear about mission statements but maybe I need to have a positive statement or letter that I write to myself.  And it could have specific examples of how I do each thing.  So that will be my homework.. and if I feel comfortable I'll share it. 

One last thought.  I have a very hard time when I am wrong or if I do something wrong.  I feel like I am often right.. and I have a very hard time seeing someone elses point of view.  I'm terrible at sympathy for anyone other than my children.  I don't like work evaluation because they ALWAYS have ways to improve and I hate being told I'm wrong.  Which is why I hate confession time when I pray, which is why I don't do it often.  I think I don't like to look within because I focus on the negative and I'm hate feeling incomplete/inadequate.  So I simply don't do it.  So in turn, I live life in a world of Heather Rene` (McCulley) Hunt.. and I don't see others world from their perspective.  Maybe if I had some good talk.. I could listen more to the bad talk. 

(Man, chapter 2 and I'm already in some really deep thoughts, this might be an occasional read.. I'm exhausted just thinking about it all.  I might have to find someone to process this with, and I might have to buy the book instead of borrowing it.)

Monday, November 14, 2011

more books, more reading

The latest reads.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender - interesting book about a young girl who starts to notice she can taste the emotions of whoever makes the food.  So her moms makes her a cake and she can taste the sadness and loneliness of her mom.  It's kind of an odd story line but also creative.  In the end I would say it was an odd book and okay.. not a great read.

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow - a book about a girl who is bi-racial.  She was raised to be "white" until she is forced to move in with her "black" grandma.  It's a very sad book as it goes into how people treat her, what they expect of her and also her sad story about why she is forced to live with her grandma.  It was good and educational but sad.  For some reason I have a particular interest in reading about African American people so this book was right up my alley.

The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman - a mystery!  I don't remember ever reading a mystery.  This was about a pregnant woman who is stuck on bed rest or as the author puts it "being held hostage by a terrorist.. the agenda is unclear, the demands vague, to be held for at least 2 months [on bed rest], then 12 weeks to 18 years, depending on how you look at it".  This book definitely had a sense of humor.  But like this statement, I had to read some parts about three times to understand what she was saying.  An okay book.. fun to read something different.

The rest of my books are due back today so who knows what's next.  I have two that I didn't get too so I might try and renew them.   We'll see.. off to the library I need to go, very soon!

Let me know if you have any good recommendations!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Jesus CEO - 1 gifts

This chapter talked about Jesus being tested in the wilderness and when he came out he knew more about his gifts and about what he was suppose to do.  One question they have is: what wilderness experience has helped you see your gifts more clearly?

I will admit I don't see any clear answers for myself. 

In fact the chapter made me think more about what are my gifts? am I using them?  Well, I know my gifts and I've taken a lot of those tests to show that I'm task oriented, relational (on a deeper level), and a deep thinker/analytical.  I know my target person to help is the needy/under resourced/ down on their luck kind of person.  But sadly, I am not using any of my gifts (unless you consider my work).  I have tried many different volunteer opportunities and none have lasted long term as they have never seemed a good fit.  I think part of it is that I like helping people but I've found most people want to do it their own way.. and don't want my advice.  I am a problem solver and like finding solutions.. and again, most people don't like to hear my rants.

On another note, now that I am a mom of young kids I feel like my gifts are (my life is) on hold or much more limited as I don't get to use them or do what I've always thought was my "mission".  Some people seem to just know their gifts and how to use them, and they seem so happy... I feel like I am not that person (when it comes to using my gifts).  

One way I've tried is that the kids and I have been visiting an older lady in the nursing home for about 9 months now.  And although it's okay.. it's not great.  I don't think the lady really cares to see us, she's friendly enough just not real excited or thankful when she sees us.  I do think others there enjoy our visits but I personally, don't get much out of it, other than knowing I'm a little light in their day.  But I can already feel the itch to quit and try something else.

I was at church today and saw a paper posted to adopt a college student.  Maybe I should try that?

Maybe being a mom of young kids or simly not finding a good match is my wilderness.. and I need to think about that more.. and maybe I need to think about how maybe my mission field has changed in the past 5 years since I have changed.   I feel like since I have the kids that I don't really have time or engry to use my gifts or to think about a mission... unless you count the kids themselves.  So if my kids are my mission field then that's a whole other string of thoughts.

I think I'm getting lost.   What was the question? 

Jesus CEO - intro

Hey everyone, I just snagged a book from the church library that I really don't know much about but when I thumbed through it, it looked really interesting.  It's called Jesus CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership by Laurie Beth Jones.  I will admit the title didn't really catch my eye but the short chapters with questions at the end did.   I don't know if this book will be a long journey or a short one but I thought I'd bring you along with me.  Most of my followers are christian moms like myself so hopefully we can share some thoughts together.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

clothing designer?

Ever had a problem that wasn't going away.. so you think of creative ways to solve that problem.  Then you realize (as I often do) they don't make what you want.  Ergg...

Problem: my legs get cold when I go to work at night time
while the rest of me is bundled up nice and warm 

(And I'm not a big fan of those really, really long coats)

(and I wanted something really easy to get on and off, especially over boots)

Solution: sweat/blanket skirt 

Am I crazy? yep
Do I like it? yep
Is it warm? yep (double layer of fabric : )
Do I really care what kind of fashion statement I make at 10pm when I drive to work? not really
Do I like being warm and toasty? yep

I think I have missed my calling as a fashion designer.  : )

Kind of wished it matched my coat (but it was out of my tub of extra fabric down in the basement = free).  If I decide I really like and will use it, maybe I'll go buy some material to match my coat and actually sew the edges together so it looks a little nicer.

Can't wait to try it out when I work tonight! 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

big news!

Oh, did I forget to tell you our big news? 

Well in case you haven't heard... I'm pregnant!  15weeks

Officially due April 25th (expecting 2 weeks after that : )
this is the current size of the baby

We are not going to find out what we are having.. so we'll have a surprise!

Wendell and Harlie both know and seem pretty excited. 

Wendell asks me about once a week "is the baby still in there?".

Harlie loves to pet and kiss my tummy.

We are not planning to move anytime soon, and will squeeze our family into this lovely cottage that we call home.

We are excited to feel like our family is complete..
and in a few years will move into the next stage of life!
just for fun, any idea why i love this picture?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Halloween outfits from G&G

Wendell's preschool party
this boy loves dresses, I thought about dressing him in this for Halloween but he chose his train costume (same as last year)

awww... aren't they cute? : )

time to carve pumpkins, I love this part!

all done, as of about 4:30pm today.. just in the nick of time

Grandpa (my dad) came to visit 

Let's go!

Grandpa made a good assistant since dad was at work.

Hope everyone had a good Halloween, it sure was fun for us!

update: as of Friday afternoon

one roll would have been enough : )

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

two random thoughts

I just want to share a  few random thoughts...

I try to make our grocery budget based on a one or two week allowance (depending on the week/schedules).  This past week I only needed enough groceries to last one week. So being frugal I noticed that we were in the middle of a roll of toilet paper (well maybe more toward the end but it wasn't empty, yet)  and we had one more to go.  In my defense, our rolls are a little on the higher count side as I don't like changing t.p. very often.  Anyways, Phil commented something about me being pretty risky by assuming we would get by on one extra roll of toilet paper (there was another comment as well but I'm not sure he'd want me to share : ) .  So I did buy some extra at Walmart the other day but I just had to share... as it was a comical moment in our house hold. 

For fun: 1. do you think we will make it on one full roll of t.p. for one week? 2. Would your family make it?  3. Did you ever have older family members set a limit on how much t.p. you were supposed to use?  4. If yes, then how much? 

I had a family friend (we called Aunt B) who said my limit was 2 squares.. now who can get buy on two squares?  maybe Harlie on a #1, maybe.

And a tip for you:  when you break something consider replacement parts before buying the whole thing.  Maybe I'm just lucky but the last two times I looked into replacement parts then I was sent the new part for free.   Usually the replacement part is much less expensive then the whole thing and it saves on how much we send to the landfill.

Let me know if you have any tips for saving!

new round of books

Last week I started on my last of a pile of books I had gotten from the library.  About two chapters in I decided I didn't really like it and was not happy to go the weekend without a good book.  I didn't have the time, or freedom, to go get a new batch until Monday, making Monday a very happy day.  Sometimes I don't realize how important reading is to me until I don't have a good book to sit down with when I need it. 

I would say reading a good book, exercising, spending time with God and cooking new things are some of my top stress reliever type activities.  What are yours?  Are you taking enough time for yourself? 

Well here are the latest three reads, the last one not included as it doesn't make the list.

1. Still Alice by Kim Geneva - a great book!  It's about a woman who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's and you walk through her experience of how her mind works.  I recommend it!

2. Goodnight Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson - very confusing and I was surprised it got such great remarks on Amazon.  The story was good but reading was tough.. and frustrating.

3. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio - good start, ended as a soap opera, quite ridiculous in my opinion  but I finished it out so it makes the list.

My mom has told me that when she finds a good book she goes to Amazon to see what other books they recommend, and it also gives ratings so it's fun sometimes to look up those ratings or to get ideas.  I haven't gotten addicted to looking at Amazon but after book #2 I had to see what others said about it.  Almost everyone liked it.. one or two were like me and were frustrated with it. 

Anyways, have you read any good books lately?  (Sarah - what was the name of the one you recommended, I don't remember.)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

art work

Wendell and I have been doing some late night artwork lately.  We put Harlie to bed and then Wendell and I pull out the real paints.  One fun thing is that for now we are using up my old paint so I don't always have the colors we want, so we've mixing and experimenting. 

The reason I post though is to ask, who's paintings are creepier, mine or Wendell's? : )

The rainbow is the most normal but uncreative of the bunch. 

Anyways, I love that we both have a vision and then we try and draw the same thing.  Most of you probably don't know that I love doing art.  I love to paint and draw.. or at least I used too.  Anyways, I'm excited to do this again as I've really enjoyed the painting.  I just hope next time I plan it out a little better so we have something to aim for, instead of creepy old lady mushroom hats.

experimenting with mixing paint colors

pumpkins : )

rainbows, with crayon

Friday, October 14, 2011

scroll down and you'll see who wrote this : )








leaf pictures

We all had our favorite leaf pictures.. here are two of mine. 

I hope that we can get some nature hikes or bike rides in before all the leaves fall and it turns too cold.

bird nest

Just makes me chuckle.

Monday, October 3, 2011

one week off

Phil and I just took one entire week off from working out.  We have not done this in almost 4 years when we started our journey.  It was so wonderful sleeping in, not rushing in the mornings and just laying around the house this weekend.  But it also threw our routine off and we were a bit lost.. well maybe I was more than Phil.  Anyways, I was back at it today, ran a little over 3 miles this morning.  I could tell I was tired, squeaky and creaky from not working the legs in a while but it also felt good when I was done.  I think this winter I'm going to take up some weight lifting... and possibly try to do some more walking.   Maybe keep swimming, hmm... not sure on that one.  Anyways, winter will be here before we know it so I want to plan now.  Any ideas out there for what I can do this winter?  Any good work out tapes video's you can recommend?    : )

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

prize or surprise, whatever

Wendell and Harlie have a sticker chart.. when they do things they are suppose to like eat supper well, pick up their toys when asked, let me comb their hair/put ponies in (Harlie), or whatever comes up at the moment then they get a sticker.  That sticker goes on the sticker chart and once it's filled in they get a prize. 

Anyways...this last time I decided once they filled it in they would get a surprise and that was us taking them to the "amusement park" on Airline Hwy. that has the jumping pillow, go carts, batting cages, and mini golf.  Since the location is very close to a few places we go regularly I decided to blind fold Wendell as I did not want the repeated question of if we could go there anytime we were somewhat driving by.  And it was kind of fun since it was a "surprise" anyways. 

I think the pictures pretty much say it all.  We had a great time, although it did cost some $$, it was a fun surprise.  Wendell really, really, really wants to go back so we are going to try and go back before they close for the season.

Phil coined it an "amusement park" when Wendell kept asking what kind of place it was.  We're not really sure what you would call it so amusement park for now... on a much smaller scale.

An my title was prize or surprise because Wendell calls either one a "prize", sometimes it's hard knowing what he is talking about as they do have two totally different meanings.

Have you surprised your kids lately? 

** funny story, we were on our way home the other day and I informed Wendell that Grandma Charla was waiting at our house to visit us.  When we got close he asked me to call her and tell her to hide.  (what?)  He said he wanted it to be a surprise : )  so I called her and sure enough she hid beside the bed.  Funny thing, Harlie, then Wendell, walked in first and she (Grandma) yelled "arggh" and of course the kids run out of our room screaming and laughing.     Priceless.

Have you scared your kids lately? : )