Wednesday, December 31, 2008

We Wii'd

What did you do this Happy New Year's Eve? We Wii'd. After receiving some very generous Christmas checks, wii yeilded to tempation and bought a Wii. It really is too funny. I am watching the Captain (the Mii dressed in griin) trying to KO Marco. Marco seems to be a bit more challenging than Ryan. I won the first family bowling tournament, and now Marissa, Maren, and Daddy are playing a nice round of golf. Maren just whacked it 60 yards farther than both of them on her first shot off the tii.
With the temperature outside in the single digits, this may be a great alternative to getting some much niided activity in over the winter break. One of our family New Year's resolutions is to have a wiikly or at least bi-wiikly (with Craig's crazy schedule) game night. It's always somewhat hard to find a game that Marissa finds challenging, yet Maren can actually get and play along on her own. This may just be the ticket.
So here's to 2009. Wii wish you a blessed and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

She is Something Else...

I want to tell you about our Sweet Marissa. Seems like I have blogged on and on about Princess Maren, but Marissa is something and someone else entirely...

Sweet Marissa is our first born and I remember when they put her in my arms the first time, I felt I completely recognized her. My first thought was, "I know you." Maybe it was because we had spent so much time alone together while we were waiting for her to be born. I read "Goodnight Moon" and "I'll Love You Forever" to my bulging belly every night (or morning if I happened to be working the night shift). The Captain (known then only as the Lowly First Officer) had just started flying commercially and was gone a lot with training and long trips on bad schedules that no one else wanted. We kept each other company. Even now, there is a part of her heart and a part of mine that are the same. I know that part of her.

She is not a girly-girl, but rather takes some pride in being a bit of a tomboy. She is barefeet and mudpuddles, a lightning bug catcher, a cicadia shell collector, dressed in ripped blue jean cutoffs and t-shirts, all wrapped up in a hefty dose of good old Iowa black dirt. Not that she isn't girly-girl material. She has the most beautiful green eyes (her Daddy's) and hair that would make Jennifer Aniston jealous even on her very best good hair days. She just isn't interested.

She thinks that bathroom jokes are the best and often announces quite seriously, with a giggle attached, that she has to "go associate with the big white round one" when nature calls. This is also inherited from her Daddy, I am sure. Not too giggly about the boys just yet and her boyfriends are really still just boyFRIENDS. She loves school, maps, reading, the Newsboys, swimming, her new cousin Lizzy, her dear friend Abby, and maybe, every once in a while, her little sister Maren.

The one thing that really sets Marissa apart is her BIG heart. This is the part that made her cry when we were leaving my mom and dad's the other day. I was backing down the driveway and heard her leave out a big sob. " I really wish Grandpa could walk better. It just makes me so sad. " My dad has Parkinson's disease, and although his teetering, stuttering walk is all she has ever known, I think her sensitive heart knows that things are getting worse and won't be getting better. This is also the part of her that indignantly claimed she was going to grow up to be the "King of China" so they would stop being mean to baby girls there, after hearing in Sunday School that little girls in China are not wanted and left orphaned or worse simply because they are not boys.

She has the gift of empathy. I hope she always has the bravery and spirit to use it. Empathy can leave you a little lonely and misunderstood if others just aren't feeling the love like you do. She is our Sweet Marissa and she really is something else.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Perfect Gift

My baby Jesus has a chip on His head. Not on His shoulder, but right on His forehead, and it was my fault.

I love my Nativity set. It was a gift from my mom the year I moved away from home to live in Tulsa, OK. She thought I needed a Nativity set in my little studio apartment far far from home. A subtle reminder of where and what I came from and what was truly important. So every year since, at Christmas, I carefully unwrap each fragile ceramic figure and reverently arrange them in an appropriate position. Being sure that all the shepherds eyes are gazing at the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph are looking sufficiently wondrous yet peaceful while the angel's glory shines 'round . I try to make it as perfect as possible.

Sometimes I try to do that with Christmas and even with my life. Find the perfect gift, send the perfect card with the perfect picture, try to host the perfect party, make the perfect appearance, and as much as I would like the "trappings" of Christmas to be perfect, it just isn't. We just aren't. I am not. I need a Savior. Sometimes I forget that in trying to make everything just right.

So, yes, one day as I was hurrying to put the Christmas decorations away until next year, I dropped baby Jesus on the table. He didn't do anything, it was all my fault. I look at that chip and think of my sin that He so willingly took on, a little farther down the road on a less than perfect cross. He is the perfect gift, and I am eternally grateful.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have eternal life." John 3:16

Monday, December 22, 2008

Orange Shag Carpet

We are having my side of the family over for our Christmas party tomorrow night (sure to be bloggable) and so I have been doing some cleaning. Nothing like entertaining (and vanity and pride) to make you clean your house. I even vacuumed the basement. We have a very, shall we say, very shagadelic-Austin-Powers-would-feel-right-at-home-sort of basement. Dark paneling, Coca-Cola pendant lights hanging over our burnt orange Formica "bar" area , harvest gold door, and yes, lovely at least 2 inch deep pile burnt orange shag carpet. Someday, we have plans to remodel, but for now it is the girls groovy play room. ( They too, should have to suffer through the colors of the 70's and appreciate what their parents went through.)

So vacuuming the basement is a major undertaking. It is hard to push the vacuum over carpet that is that shaggy. It is also like searching for lost treasure. I am sure I vacuumed up enough loose change to pay my Christmas bills. I also vacuumed up dozens of googly eyes from one of the girls craft projects. Not to mention Barbie shoes. So the girls stand at the top of the steps (neither one of them likes the vacuum very well) and holler at me every time they hear the vacuum loudly suck something up "Mom, what was that?". I have warned them - once they have everything cleaned up and it is time to vacuum that anything left on the floor is fair game. (They are usually a bit more thorough when I tell them this).

Anyway, I am vacuuming and vacuuming and vacuuming, and it happened, it actually happened several times - carperpetuation:

Carperpetuation (kar' pur pet u a shun) - n. The act, when vacuuming, of running over something at least a dozen times, reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it back down to give the vacuum one more chance.This is called a sniglet -words that don't appear in the dictionary, but should. I started giggling to myself because my older brother and I really thought these were hilarious back in the day. Here are some of our favorites:

Agonosis (ah uh no' sis) - n. The syndrome of tuning into "Wide World of Sports" every Saturday just to watch the skier rack himself. (that one really ages me)
Airdirt (ayr' dirt) - n. A hanging plant that's been ignored for three weeks or more.
Cabnicreep (kab' nih kreep) - n. The structural condition in which the closing of one kitchen cabinet causes another to open. ( we have one of those)
Expresshole-n. A person who goes through the grocery store's 12-item express lane with 22 items.
Facon - n. The fake bacon bits served at cheap salad bars
Hozone (ho' zohn) - n. The place where one sock in every laundry load disappears to.
Kedophobia (ked oh fo' be uh) - n. The fear of having one's sneakers eaten by the teeth on the escalator.
Prestofrigeration: The peculiar habit, when searching for a snack, of constantly returning to the refrigerator in hopes that something new will have materialized.
Rignition (rig ni' shun) - n. The embarrassing action of trying to start one's car with the engine already running. (I just did this the other day)

Nice trip down memory lane, must have been the 70's color scheme. But after tonight, I have made up my own sniglet:

Vaclamation: the loud protest children make when they are worried a parent has vacuumed up their toys.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day!


Yes, we had a snow day today. The weather channel told us it was coming and it did. But they lied. We were supposed to be in the 4-6 inch area -hot pink on the radar(yes that is inches of snow) and ended up with 8 inches instead - electric blue area on radar (yes that would also be inches of snow) and we are in a blizzard warning for tonight, also with another potential storm coming on Sunday. I am not happy.

Snow days can be a bit deceiving. As a mom you think, whew, get to sleep in a bit, don't have to do the morning rush to school, no cold van with the AICD (automated internal cardioverter difibrillator - see previous post) - sounds good, yes? But really they aren't at all. Inevitably, the kids want to go play in the new snow - and it is enticing. It takes 20 minutes to find all the snow gear, get it properly attached, and in two seconds they are back in the house because it is just too darn cold out there. Then its hot cocoa and cartoons, and then, here it comes, those words like fingernails on a chalk board, "Mommmmm, I'm bored." Two hour late starts are really much more desirable. Leisurely morning, yet not enough time to get to the I'm bored part.

Really, we had a pretty good day. Marissa's dear friend Abby came over and saved the day. The girls built forts, painted pictures, played Barbie's, all interspersed with watching the really funny parts of Horton, and tonight we made cookies. Pretty fun really. I finished the Christmas cards, my novel , and the laundry. But what in the world are we going to do tomorrow?


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

These Three Queens...

I really have the coolest job. Sometimes you find God in the most unexpected places and today He came to work with me. Over the past year and a half I have gotten to know these three special ladies quite well. I'd like to share a little bit about them.

The Lovely Ms. E: Ms. E came into rehab today without her wig. After a year of chemo, tears, anxiety, a double mastectomy, and should we say a wig that had seen it's better days, she left it at home. And she did look lovely. Her hair had grown back in a nice soft swirl of curly silvery gray and Ms. E shone like an angel. It was more than just an opportunity to stuff her slightly matted, slightly singed, ( that's a story) completely uncomfortable wig into the nether-regions of a storage closet, but a gold medal victory over the the considerable opponent of breast cancer.

The Formidable Ms. N: There ain't no stopping Ms. N! She just keeps coming back for more. This sixty something young lady rides the stationary bike (for an hour) in rehab on M-W-F, does yoga and swimming on T- TH and tops it all off with a 4 mile walk on Saturday. This past year she has faced a heart attack, a near fatal brush with a ruptured appendix, and the death of her dear mother whom she had taken care of in her home over the past few years. After putting her 60 minutes in on the bike she was off and running to the Omaha airport to spent Christmas with her family in Phoenix, AZ. Her beaming smile rivaled the Iowa sun on fresh winter snow.

The Divine Ms. G: Ms. G. is 90 years old. She is my most consistent customer in cardiac rehab. Come hell or high water, on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9am she is on the the bike- seat at position 1, RPM 40-50, 15 minutes, BP 102/60, HR 66, weight 167 pounds - for the past 8 years. Last month Ms. G's heart rate irregularly jumped to 125 and they have been adjusting her meds to try to get it slowed down and regular again. Last night, while in the hospital it stopped. Completely. The nurses were able to get her back and this morning when I went to see her, after she complained of a sore chest from the CPR, she grabbed my hand and said, " I miss you in rehab, but it's okay if I don't come back." She lost her husband this past year also, and had taken care of him at home for a number of years after he suffered a stroke that left him paralyzed on one side. Won't they be a sight when they meet in Heaven again? Pete will probably walk out to meet her and maybe Ms G. will ride her bike through those pearly gates.

I hope I am half as strong as these women someday. I have a really cool job, don't I?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The weather outside truly is frightful...

I do have proof, see and that IS a minus sign out in front of that 4. This was the latest temp on our handy-dandy-indoor-outdoor-thermometer-thingy bought by my techno geek hubby. (I do find it quite handy myself, but don't tell the Captain) This is the temp, but what you can't see is the wind chill which the news said was -29. WHAT?

So we woke up to the wind howling this morning and a good amount of blowing snow. Princess Maren looks out the window to check the weather and announces, after a thoughtful pause, " We sure are going to have to use a lot of hairspray today, Mom." Spoken like the true girly-girl that she is. Where did she come from? Here I am imagining fingers and toes lost on the way to church if not properly covered and she is thinking about her hair? That's our Maren.
Yesterday was absolutely beautiful for winter in Iowa that is. Forty degrees, sunny, girls played outside for a good two hours, just long enough to earn a potty break and a cup of hot chocolate - with marshmallows of course. We had a pastor from Uganda, Titus Baraka, speak in our church this summer and in his native Bari language Iowa translated to "oh what a day". I guess whatever weather extreme we seem to be having - this is true.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happily Ever After - again!

Guess what! I got married today! Or at least got confirmation of my marriage, on Facebook, to my husband. This was of great significance since I had been dating only the night before. This is also significant since I am married to a pilot who is gone quite a bit and a positive confirmation of marriage every now and then is very reassuring.

So, yes, I joined Facebook last night- pretty late and I really should have been in bed but, I thought what the heck, how hard can it be right, got my own little blog going- not too difficult. Anyway, while setting up my profile, I appropriately marked female- CHECK, married - CHECK, and erroneously thought that if you were married you would not be dating and ignored the next few options, but I guess everyone just dates by default when they sign up to FB. So leave it to me, my first FB post indicated that I was dating. Hmm, was I looking for a man or a woman? YIKES!

I just got off the phone with Captain Hubby and we both thought it was hilarious that we took the plunge again. A lot cheaper than the first time around, a little less romantic and not quite the picture I had of ever renewing my vows, since I am here and he is in Charleston, SC. We did agree though that we should have a second honeymoon - somewhere warm. It does make me look back over the past 10 - almost 11 years (Flag Day is right around the corner). Being an IA Pilot Wife is not always easy. In fact there are times it gets downright hard. But, I am sure it is not always easy being an IA Pilot Hubby or an IA Pilot Daddy either. So honey, YES, and I DO all over again! Love ya!
P.S. The Captain reminds me in his sweet comment that it has been 11 almost 12 years of marriage. WHOOPS!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Household Clean-Up Wizard... The Perfect Gift

Whoa, I really need to get that picture of Brad Pitt off my blog. It is just too distracting. Every time I sign in and see it I think "Wow, Brad Pitt must be following my blog... HA!!

So anyway, what does the IA Pilot Wife want for Christmas? Hmm, a break, a new job for her husband, tantrum proof children (not asking for perfection here) and a passenger side door lock that works.

Our lovely old Dodge Caravan has always had a few shall we say "electrical idiosyncrisies". Sometimes the left blinker comes on if you don't push the blinker lever (is that what it's called?)up all the way. Yes, this can be a problem. After going through the drive through, I have had the drivers side window sink down into the door- never to return - in the middle of winter last year. And now the door lock thing. All the doors automatically lock on the van once you hit 20 MPH. A couple weeks ago when the front passenger door locked it started making this awful, really loud noise, like someone getting defibrillated - hard. ALL CLEAR! SHOCK ON THREE! The first time it happened I really did feel like I was going into cardiac arrest. So, I have gotten fairly used to it now, but feel I have developed a bit of a tic. No wonder the "Big Three" CEO's took their private jets to DC.

Anyhow, I think I have figured out the perfect gift for us busy moms. I have this little icon at the bottom of my computer screen that always tells me "You have unused items on your desktop. Use the desktop clean up wizard to clean them up", or something like that. First, I always get a bit defensive thinking - "if you think MY desktop is messy, you should see my husband's". Being the good Dutch woman that I am, I try to keep my desktop tidy. But, I think I should have one of these installed for my house. "You have unused items in your household. Use the household clean up wizard to clean them up." For my house is truly a mess. No defensiveness - just blatant truth. Yes, that is what I really want for Christmas - a Household Clean-Up Wizard.
Place your orders now ladies!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


We are taking a class at church that is really hard. I guess I mean hard in a good way hard. Like when you get a really good lung burn, hot and sweaty work out in. You don't always look forward to it. It can be really painful and uncomfortable, but when you are finished, you feel much better for having done it and you know you will reap the benefits of it down the road.

In our reading for this week we looked at a quote by a Dr. James Houston who said, " I want to be a Christian. But in spite of that I want to be honest." I laughed when I first read it and the author, Robert Loane, writing so insightfully about this quote, laughed too when he heard it and goes on to say,

"On one level to speak of being honest in the Christian life may seem so obvious that it bears not even needing to be repeated. Yet, at another level it unmasks the struggle of so much Christian experience in this world. Sadly for many, to be faithful to Jesus Christ means putting their head in the sand , denying the depths of problems that exist both in the world at large and in their heart. For others, to be honest means a rejection, or at least a seemingly all pervasive suspicion, of anything that is hopeful. It is in the midst of this tension- faithfulness and truthfulness- that the Christian life is lived out." Robert Loane - Vantage Point 3

I think I have always thought that tension should be avoided or relieved, and we should strive to live "tension free" lives. So if in this tension is where we are called to live out our lives - I have to readjust my mindset a bit. So, this class has been a journey of awareness for me instead of just making it through the day with my head buried nicely in a dark sandy hole. Awareness that some sorts of tension cannot and should not be avoided - honestly. Not easy, definitely hard, but definitely worth it.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tonight's the Night!

We have some exciting news (no,I am not pregnant)! Madisen, our niece and Craig's goddaughter, is on the red carpet tonight. Not just any old red carpet I might add, but genuine movie-star-studded-Hollywood-big-budget-film-called -"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"- with- Brad -Pant - uh-I-mean-Brad-Pitt-and-Cate-Blanchett-RED-CARPET! How exciting! Truly! She plays Daisy ( the female lead role played by Cate Blanchett) at age 10.

I very distinctly remember Madisen at about two years old "performing" on the hearth of our fireplace in Bixby, OK. She always loved to put on a show it seems. If she wasn't perfoming, then she was getting all her cousins in the mix and making them perform. HMM, actress - directing, who knows? She has worked really hard at this. It's not like her dad is Will Smith or Billy Ray Cyrus (sorry, Chris). She has had to put in some long hours and her family has commuted half way across the country in order to give her a chance at chasing her dreams. So rock on, Cali Beatys! We wish her all the best and many more Red Carpet Premiers in the future!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Grace (and hot chocolate) for the journey,

Ah my dear sweet Maren, what is mommy going to do with you? Maren is our youngest and very different from our oldest. I feel like I am in new parenting territory with Maren. So today at church, as we were leaving, she throws a mini (I have seem them much worse) tantrum and in an attempt to swat at me, misses, but hits her cousin Jackson who was walking down the church hallway with us. Let me rephrase - she hits his hand holding his cup of hot chocolate which causes him to douse himself quite thoroughly in the face, causing hot chocolate to run down his shirt and pants, into a nice sticky puddle on the church's carpet.

I was:

  1. ANGRY: This hitting and tantrum throwing has been on the agenda for too long. When is it going to get any better? If I were Ironman I would have shot one of those light balls out of my hands - not at her, but close enough to scare her real bad! Instead, I immediately threatened her with a spanking the minute we got home.

  2. RELIEVED: I do thank God the hot chocolate was not hot enough to burn Jackson's little face. I just cringe at the thought.

  3. EMBARRASSED: What? My child acting this way? I wanted to crawl in the nearest hole.

  4. DONE: I was about ready to bawl. It had been a hectic morning looking forward to a busy afternoon and I was ready to call it quits.
All in about 2 seconds...

Thankfully a few things happened that I will attribute to God's grace. Jackson immediately started laughing. What healthy five year old, "nothing but boy" wouldn't find it hilariously funny to be doused with water and globs of undissolved hot cocoa mix all over his face in church. Then our pastor's wife walked by with their child Josi who is in a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy. Shelly casually mentions that she had spilled an entire pitcher of lemonade on their kitchen floor yesterday. Perspective makes a come back.

By the time we got home, I had cooled my jets (and Ironman fire balls). I did not spank her, but Maren and I had a long talk. I know there is only so much reasoning you can do with a four year old, but I did see the look on her face when she saw what she did to her cousin and best buddy Jackson (They have been "married" at least three times - no kissing) We talked about holding her hands together real tight against her tummy and taking three big breaths instead of hitting - and I saw her use it tonight when she was tempted to wail on her sister while they were arguing over the Barbie's. So maybe this was the lesson she (and momma) needed to learn. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

To Blog or not to Blog...

...that is the question, and the answer -for I am very tired - wooo, very Shakspeareanish. Hmm, Shakespeare ...let's give that a whirl.

When the sun this morning did rise - who did call to myself with her little voice demanding that the nights fast be broken, but the lovely Maid Maren. My body and mind did long for more of such sweet, sweet sleep. Doth not this child know it is the day of Satur? Hath she not something better to do. Alas, no. Ah Bed, parting is such sweet sorrow.

Arise and face the Day of Satur! Such cleaning, such laundering, such Christmas program praticing shall be done. What? What say you? The practice is not of this day, but starts next week? We have dressed! We have partaken of lousy breakfast food in order to be on time! Next week? Surely you jest! But alas, tis true.

Ah Bed, you call to me - if sleep be the food of love, snore on!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Too much Peace and Quiet...

I am putting blogging to the test. See, my dear hubby is gone tonight. He is stuck in a hotel room (five star, flat screen, HD, peace AND quiet - no fair! We should have named our girls Peace and Quiet.) in Detroit, MI after flying the big three auto execs. home - nah, just kidding. He is in Detroit though. I always miss him more on the weekends - especially Christmas time weekends. The girls and I put up the tree tonight and it really was lots of fun. Beats five star hotel rooms hands down I might add. We were going to wait until Daddy got home but the girls urge to decorate a sparkly tree was just too strong. Craig and I talked it over and we went ahead and got 'er done. So, now Peace and Quiet are in bed and I am all by myself (queue Celine Dion).

Anyway, my test for blogging - will it be a sufficient distraction when I am feeling just a bit lonely and just a bit blue, AND instead of trying to tell Craig about what is going on here on the home front, I can actually show him. Oh, and by the way honey, if you are reading this, we're out of Dt. Dr. Pepper. Can you pick some up on the way home? Love ya, honey. Wish you were here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside!!

WOW! It is cold here! Here being northwest Iowa and the meaning behind my blog title. Yes, we do live in IA, yes, my hubby is a pilot, yes we have two sweet daughters, and yes, somewhere in all that I occasionally practice my chosen occupation of nursing.

How cold is it? Well, I don't know the acual temp (who wants to be tortured with that information) but the minute you step outside and take a deep breath - which you do because the cold nearly knocks it out of you in the first place - all of your boogers automatically freeze up inside your nose and get real sharp and painful. I hate that phenomenon, but it has become my official standard by which Iowa coldness can be judged.

So why another blog? I didn't realize such a vast blog world existed - until of course I tried to pick out a clever name and address that had not already been taken - who knew? Not I. (We do live in Iowa, you know.) Over Thanksgiving my sister-in-law introduced me to her friend's blog - and I was impressed! What a great outlet for creativity, venting, humor and keeping lots and lots of memories. I have tried to scrapbook, and have not done too well , but I still have the desire to keep these memories fresh or bring them back to life down the road. No paper, no mess, no clean-up - just a handy-dandy blogspot. I can deal with that.

So, why am I so crazy as to start a blog over the holiday season? That is the bigger question. I think it is called procrastination. I can think of about a hundred other things I should be doing right now. But, it is nice and cozy here in my little corner of the basement - space heater on foot and hot chocolate in hand. The girls are actually playing Barbie's together very nicely- small miracle for today. Ahh, now this is what getting ready for Christmas should really be about...AND my boogers are nicely thawed.