Fourteen years ago I went to Laurens to register Becky for preschool, and met up with two other moms from Marathon who also had daughters going. We talked and decided it would be a great idea to carpool with the girls, that would be handy for us busy moms and save gas money. That was the beginning of haleyashleybecky...the three little girls who grew up through school together as best friends and are now graduating together as best friends. 

I remember taking them to preschool and they would sit in the back seat and have "screaming contests" to see who could be the loudest. They were always together in, and out, of school. Birthday parties at each others houses, playing t-ball together in the summer, telling secrets about the boys they liked, spending the night together so they could torment all the brothers (7 between them!).

These three grew through the years of fingerpainting and play-dough into the years of first crushes and getting their ears pierced. They made it past the drama and awkwardness of middle school and into the drama and romances of high school. They stuck together through boys, siblings, other friends and even a few fights. These three little girls grew up into beautiful women who I am proud to say I claim as my daughters...all three of them. I may have only given birth to Becky, but Haley and Ashley have claimed my heart as daughters too.

The three little preschool girls are now on the edge of going out into the world and taking it by storm. The years flew by and I know they are ready, but the question I? 

date April 28, 2009

Gorgeous prom couple...

date April 25, 2009

I have been doing some thinking lately and have some questions...please feel free to post answers!

If you are raised to attend church and believe in God but don't attend church every Sunday after you are grown does that make you less of a Christian? (no, just going to church makes you a Christian just like being in the garage makes you a gotta do more than attend)

Is someone who professes their love of God and openly displays it more of a Christian than someone who loves God just as much but just doesn't proclaim it loudly? (no)

If you raise your children to love God, take them to church regularly, have them baptized and confirmed and then when they leave home they don't go to church, does that make you a bad parent? (no, children have minds of their own and need to make their own decisions)

Does the person who regularly reads the Bible know God better than the person who does not? (nope, God comes to everyone in different ways, don't have to read the Bible to understand Him)

Does God answer every prayer? (every single one, not always as fast as we might like or always with the answer we might want, but He does answer)

Are the sins of your children a direct result of your parenting? (nope, again, children have minds of their own)

Do you have to live the "perfect" life in order to go to heaven? (I have asked to be forgiven for my sins, so I will go to heaven with my very "imperfect" life)

Can you raise your children to become the person you want them to be...i.e. a worshipper and follower of God? (you can try!)

Just some questions I have been thinking about lately. I, obviously, put my answers behind each question, but I would love to have the opinions of others. Are my answers wrong or misguided? What do YOU think?

date April 24, 2009

Little things. Life is made up of little things and sometimes life is just too short to let those little things matter. 

You make a mistake and it affects no one, that is a little thing that needs to be let go. 

Your child does something stupid, they learn from their mistake and don't do it again. Little thing that needs to be let go.

You say something you wish you wouldn't have, you apologize and mean it. Little thing that needs to be let go.

Life is a measured number of years and filled with mistakes, regrets and just plain stupidity. No one knows how long they will be on this big marble we call earth, but while we are here we need to let the little things go. Putting others down to raise yourself up is no way to live, let the little things go.

date April 23, 2009

You live your life in a way that you hope will set a good example for your children. You live your life in a way that is comfortable for you and those around you. You live your life in a way that makes you happy. But once in awhile, your life doesn't  go the way you planned it and that is when "angels" step in to help. I truly 100% believe in angels. Not just because I have a collection of over 100 figurines of them throughout my house, but because I have seen, and felt, more than once, their presence in my life and the lives of those I love. To me angels can come in "ghostly" form where you just feel them around you or they can come in human form. When we lived at the house in Marathon I had the drudgery of doing dishes every night and while it may sound strange, I often felt the presence of my if she were watching me from the kitchen door. I have not felt that since we moved to Albert City, but I know she is still watching over me. I have had human angels help me lately when I needed it, they stepped in and gave me support in many ways. Even my kids have angels watching and helping them...Brian and Becky had a successful trip to and from Kansas, angels watched them while they drove and made sure they were safe. Last night Becky's boyfriend, who will be 8 hours away at an Army base when she graduates, told her he is going to try to get leave so he can come home and be here for her ceremony and reception. He is being her angel, even if he doesn't know it and I pray that angels will keep him safe while he is away for 20 months, and help Becky get through that 20 long months too. 

Angels come to us in our weakest moments, when we are on our knees and see no end to the troubles or torments we are experiencing. Angels also come to us when our joy is endless and we can't imagine being happier or prouder. Angels are all around us, watching, loving, helping and guiding...we just have to let them into our lives. You can be a skeptic and not believe, but they are still there. Some you can see, some you can't...but all are welcome in my life...and for those that can read this, and you have done something to help me or those that I love, whether you know it or not, you are my angels, and for that I thank you.

date April 16, 2009

Eighteen years ago a little girl entered this world, screaming and yelling and making sure everyone knew she was there. To this day, she loves being the center of attention.

My Becky, my first daughter, my first little one to dress in the frilly clothes and pink tights, the first to buy the headbands and barrettes for, the first for the little black Mary Jane shoes, the first to potty-train while sitting down!

I vividly remember when Becky was born, her little hand on her shoulder so labor was slowed down. I remember the weight of her when the doctor first put her in my arms and how she looked so tiny, but felt so heavy.

Growing up Becky was always the giggly, silly, laughing one. She could say some of the funniest things and not even know she was being funny. When asked what her name was, at age two, the response was "Sissy Grin"...I called her Sissy and Dan called her Sissy Grin because she was always so happy. As a little girl Becky was always smiling...except when her brother picked on her! Becky wanted to be the center of attention and had no problem with the spotlight, in fact, she craves it.

Although Becky is the epitome of "girl" she also has the strength and grit to be a farmgirl. Becky has learned to drive a tractor, throw bales, sort and load pigs, work on machinery and build buildings. She can go from full make-up to full pig manure in minutes without the blink of an eye.

Never before has there been someone quite like Becky. She is smart, beautiful, accomplished, determined and ready to take on the world. Her dreams are big and she has the motivation to achieve them. Never again will there be someone like my Becky, when God made her He broke the mold. Eighteen years flew by in a heartbeat and I have enjoyed every one of them. Watch out world, I am turning her loose on you and no one will ever forget meeting or seeing or hearing about Becky...she is going to take over and make the spotlight wish it could shine as brightly as her.

date April 9, 2009

You know the saying "God never gives you more than you can handle"? Well, I am beginning to doubt that. This last week has been a roller coaster of emotion and things that are causing me stress. I know I always tell people that no matter how bad your life seems there is always someone worse off than you...and I know that is still true for me, after all, I have a roof over my head, a car to drive and a family who loves me. But sometimes, it is tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel and not think it is a train headed straight for you.


By popular demand, (okay it was one person, but a girl can dream can't she?) I have been asked to blog about the t-shirt quilt I made for Becky. This quilt, the result of four years of high school t-shirts, was the easiest quilt I have ever made, and also the hardest. The pattern was simple, but the memories all these shirts brought back made it tough to work on. My kids are not the kind of kids who just go to school and don't get involved...if there is something to do chances are one, if not more, of my kids are involved. That means t-shirts for almost every single one of those events...hence the huge quilt with 30 shirts, and some extras we didn't use!

I am having a difficult time with Becky graduating and moving so far away and spending so much time with all her t-shirts just reminded me how much I am going to miss her. I struggled when Brian left and two years later I still miss him like crazy. It will be hard to let Becky go, but for me part of letting go means making a quilt they can take with them to remind them that mom loves them. What better way to feel the love of your mom when you are far away than with a quilt that she made? Brian's wasn't a t-shirt quilt, his was made from fabric with guitars on it, but the thought was the same...."stay warm, stay safe and remember I love you".

My mom taught me a lot of things when I was growing up, but I have to say the one that means the most to me right now is that she taught me to sew. When my kids were little I made most of their clothes, just like my mom did for me. As they grew, and outgrew having mom make their clothes, I found a new way to give a little of myself to them...quilts. Nothing feels better than watching your child climb into bed under a pile of quilts that you made for them. Living in an old drafty farmhouse it is often cold, and knowing that I am helping them stay warm means a lot to me. My heart melted the day Brian came home from college, with his graduation quilt tucked in beside his dirty laundry. He told me he slept better with the quilt because it was the warmest blanket he had. Nothing prepares you for the time your son, that little boy who is now a man, thanks you in his own way..and doesn't even know he did it. Quilting is my therapy...bad day at on the quilt, nothing on television worth on the quilt, feeling sad that your kids are growing up too fast and moving on the quilt to send with them. Many years ago my mom had an old, old quilt that she had made when I was a little girl. She was going to throw it away because it had gotten torn and tattered. I took it because it represented so much to me...I remembered a lot of the fabric in the squares from clothes I wore as a child, and just the fact that my mom had made it made it special to me. I hope someday my children will look at the quilts I have made for them and feel the same way.

I can look at every single shirt on Becky's quilt and remember every single event it represents. I know Becky can too...and now she can look at them and remember every single time I told her I loved her and wrap herself in my love even when she is far, far from home. As the magnet on my refrigerator says "Blessed are the children of the piece makers, for they shall inherit the quilts".

date April 5, 2009

Chicago was awesome! We got there about noon on Friday and found our way to the hotel with no problems. The college is about 9 miles from where we were staying so we left early since we didn't know how long the traffic would take us to get there...ended up being about an hour! We took interstate most of the way but then ended up in the main streets of Chicago on the way to Loyola and drove through some really interesting neighborhoods. One block was all Jewish businesses, the next was Greek, then some Indian, some Pakistan and a little bit of Chinese. Got to the college, parked in the parking garage and made our way to the new library building. Gorgeous! Built right on the lake with two sides made of glass, the view is awesome. Becky had her interview for the big scholarship and then we had the reception with the president of the college. Tall round tables set up all around the room, several tables of food and lots and lots of people! The girls and I hit the dessert table first, Dan tried most every table and discovered he does not like sushi! Being a catholic college and a Friday night there was of course no meat served, the food was interesting to say the least! After listening to a couple of speeches Becky decided she had enough and we went back to the hotel...stopped to eat at Denny's on the way.

Saturday was our day to explore the city. We went to Navy Pier first, parked about two blocks away in a parking garage...on the 11th floor! Cold and windy day, downtown is a definite wind tunnel. It was fun to walk around Navy Pier, saw a botanical center on the top floor and lots of little shops everywhere. Took some pictures of the lake and the big ferris wheel. After we went back to the car (and paid our $14 for parking!) we drove around downtown to see the sites. Since it was so cold we didn't get out to explore, but did see the Bean in Millennium Park, the Equitable Building (where Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper) and lots and lots of cars and people! No patience for Chicago people, if the light turns green and you don't IMMEDIATELY move you will be honked at! Some of the streets go underground under the buildings, that was cool to drive through. Saw a mime on a street corner, a homeless person and a dog tied to a signpost. Also saw a HUGE statue of the American Gothic couple, that was pretty cool. The girls took lots of pictures, although it was so cloudy we couldn't see the tops of most of the buildings. In the afternoon the girls and I found a mall and did a little shopping. On the way back to the hotel we even drove through a cemetery because they had some interesting headstones and you know how that fascinates me! Took a picture of the mausoleum and also one of the columbarium...which I have no idea what it is. (The dictionary defines it as a place for public display of urns).

Saturday night we had a Scholars Night at the Museum of Natural History. We got a fancy meal and were give free rein to roam around the museum. It was amazing and I am sure if everyone's feet hadn't gotten sore from so much walking we would have stayed even longer. Displays of animals...huge elephants, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, whales, name it, they had it. Better than going to the zoo because you could stand right up close and see how huge these animals really are! The food at this event was more plentiful than the night before and we had fancy sit-down tables. It was a fun night!

Sunday we went back to the college and of course it was snowing and even colder than before! The lake on Friday was a beautiful blue, Sunday it was gray and had big waves...but still beautiful. Becky checked in and we went to see the dorm she will be living in. Nineteen floors and enough beds to house the entire population of Albert City! We could have gone on a tour of the campus, but it was snowing and so cold Becky decided we should just call it done and go home. We had already walked around most of it Friday anyway. 

Becky loved Chicago and the campus and after seeing it I feel much better about letting her go there (like I had a choice in the matter!). The campus is small and closed in, the only time you even see the city is if you walk between two buildings that border the street, and the one building is mostly offices so she won't be doing that often. The train makes a stop on campus so she has transportation if she needs to go somewhere. Everyone was very helpful and talked alot about security, so she will be safe. Seems like a good college and I am sure she will get a good education there, plus it gives me four years to have excuses to visit and see more sights of Chicago! All in all we had a good time and Becky is anxious to move there.

The pictures are of the girls at "the beach"...taken in the museum. For more photos you can check them all out on Facebook or (let me know if you need details about how to work snapfish). I was pleased with how well the drive went and whenever we had somewhere to go it seemed that the traffic wasn't very bad. I guess they saw the Iowa license plate and felt sorry for us! We also did the three days "on the cheap"...between the hotel, gas, shopping, parking fees and food we spent less than $400...not bad for the big city!

date April 1, 2009
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