Saturday, November 28, 2009

Start spreading the newwwwwwwwwwwwwwws...

I'm leaving todaaaaaaay...
I'm going to be a part of it,
New York, New York!!!!

Yup, and guess where our hotel is?
That's right...smack dab in Times Square!
I am going to miss Sean and Tate terribly.
This is the longest I will have ever been away from Tate!
However, I cannot help but feel a little giddy!
I am going with my friend, Jenny for work.
We will be working during the days, but are looking forward to the evenings!
I will take LOTS of pictures, but Sean has sternly told me that I cannot bring our computer with me.
I've begged and pleaded, but he will not change his mind.
So there will be no posts from me until I get back next weekend.
I hope everyone has a great week...I plan to!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Pictures from Thanksgiving...

Daddy and Tate wrestling...

"Mini Tate"...

Tate watching the Sesame Street cast sing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade...

This is blurry, but as you know, it's not very often I am able to get a smiling picture of Tate...

And the rest of the family arrived today. I only got a few pictures, but this one of Kayla is so cute...

We were only able to hang out with the whole family for about 2 hours before we had to leave. I had some laundry to do and many preparations for my trip to New York City I leave for tomorrow morning.

Drew Allen Boyd

We got to go to visit Drew on Tuesday.
He is the sweetest thing!
Tate loved him too.
I forget Tate ever being that little!
Congratulations Luke and Erin!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is being spent at Sean's parents' house. This IS our 2nd home truly. SO SO thankful for it too! Delicious food, LOTS of wine :), tons of toys for Tate, a KING SIZED bed in the guest room, lots of room for Tate to run and play, lots of relaxation and like I said, it's our 2nd is just comfortable here. We just ate an amazing feast, watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, watched football, napped on the couch, Tate watched a movie, have drank a couple of bottles of wine already, OH and I am STILL unshowered and in my pj's. It's been a good day. Tomorrow, Sean's siblings and their families will join us and Tate will be so happy to have some other kiddos to play with. Although, he's pretty content having all of the toys and attention to himself for now! :) We are looking forward to spending part of the day with the rest of Sean's family. We wish it were able to happen more often!

I am feeling so thankful for such amazing family and friends, for the country I live in, the state I live in, a roof over our heads, the clean water that runs from the faucets in our home and for our health. I could write a list a mile long of all of the things I am thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thank you Grandma and Grandpa!!!

Tate's Grandma and Grandpa Shingledecker came to the Sunday night Water 4 Christmas event and bid on one of the silent auction items which all of the proceeds went to clean water.
It was a toy wagon and grain auger.

Gary said before they left that if they won it to bring it home with us for Tate.
And guess what...THEY WON IT!

And this was one happy boy noticing that his Daddy was bringing in a special gift for him from his Grandpa Shingledecker...

These pictures do not do his excitement justice!

Daddy couldn't get them out of the box fast enough...

He especially loved the auger.
He played with it ALL evening!

This gift made this little boy SO HAPPY tonight and more importantly, this gift saved lives!
Thank you Gary and Marsha!
Tate LOVES his toys!

While we were gone...

Tate turned 10!
I swear he grew about a foot in 3 days!

And matured about 3 years!

Oh how we missed him SO MUCH!!!!

What a weekend!!!

Let me start from the beginning...
Friday at 3:00, I left work and headed directly to Methodist Hospital to meet Drew Allen Boyd who was born a few hours before that!
He is my sister's new nephew born to Luke and Erin.
I'm not even going to go into details, but my sisters in laws are family to us as well, so it was almost like WE were getting a new nephew too!
I didn't get any pictures...but I promise I will SOON!

From there, I ran home, picked up Sean and Tate and we headed to Colo where we ate a quick (and delicious!) supper and dropped Tate off for the weekend!
He couldn't have been happier to see us leave.
He was very excited to be staying at Nana and Papa P's for the weekend!
And THANK YOU is not enough for keeping him Pat and Linda!!!

We left Colo around 7:15pm to drive to Muscatine.
Saturday was the first event.
It was in a really fabulous, HUGE room in Davenport with no electricity.
So a few lights were brought in with extension cords, but the rest was all candle lit.
It was such a cool atmosphere.
Very "big city", industrial art gallery feeling...minus the lights one would likely find in an art gallery! :)
The wine was free...and let's just say we took advantage of that!
A LOT of money was raised so that our brothers and sisters in Liberia could have clean water.
And it was nice to have an adult evening with no kids!

And my parents started the dancing later in the evening.
After this...many others joined.

Sunday was spent sleeping in for me.
Remember, I don't drink...ever.
So a few glasses of wine DID ME IN!
I felt better by lunchtime. :)
We spent the day getting ready and setting up Geneva for the charity event that my parents were hosting there that night.
My friend (who happens to be my co-worker too!) drove all the way to Muscatine for the day to help us set up and be a part of this amazing event.
And she drank the "water kool aid"...and she "gets" it.
I am so happy about the fact that she is committed to this cause!

There was great music...

great company...

And Scott Harrison, founder of Charity:Water...amazing.
He and my dad...

And lots of money was raised at the event on Sunday night too...
It was an amazing weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Weekend of Water

And another weekend has arrived! Lots going on this weekend...looking forward to it all! It's all going to be about water and I hope to have many great pictures to post when the weekend is over. Tate is going to be having fun at Nana and Papa's all weekend while Sean and I attend several fun Water 4 Christmas events! Can't wait.

I am going to miss getting to spend my entire weekend with this one though!

I'm sure he'll have so much fun at Nana and Papa's that he won't miss us nearly as much as we'll miss him!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Notice the right sidebar. Click on the button labeled Shop 4 Water and you will be directed to the Water4Christmas Etsy shop where you can buy all kinds of amazing items...all the proceeds going to water! Shop with a purpose this year!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Just so you know...

On Water 4 Christmas's "First Gift Friday" a lot of money was raised...a lot.
How much you ask?
OVER $10,000
That's 1000 lives in Liberia that will be changed and saved from sickness and death.
That's 1000 people in Liberia who will have clean water for the next 10 years!!!
All because you stepped out to help make a difference.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

It never fails...

If I want pictures of Tate smiling, I just need to put him in the bath tub...

There were just too many smiling pictures to choose from...

At one point during his bath, Tate picked up his cup filled with bath water like he was going to take a drink. I quickly said, "Tate, don't drink that water, it's yucky!" As the words came out of my mouth, I immediately thought of the millions of people who would probably look at that water and just wish it was the water they could drink every day.

We are so blessed in so many ways that I remember a time when I didn't even realize that one of my biggest blessings was to simply have access to water...clean water.
And now, I can't get it out of my head...I am constantly reminded every time I cook, wash dishes, brush my teeth, drink water, take a shower, give Tate a bath, wipe down the counter, make iced tea, do laundry, water plants, mop the floor, etc.
Can you imagine not having access to water without walking miles and miles and then the water that you do get is contaminated and dirty?
Don't let yourself forget about how blessed you are.
And when you're reminded...GO HERE...give water.


I don't know where Tate comes up with some of this stuff. As you know, he is obsessed with Super Heroes. He often will put his fist in the air and say, "I have the save the day!" Tonight in the tub he started talking about power and I got a kick out of it...

productive and relaxing weekend

We had such a productive day today! It's 6:45pm and I still haven't showered. I will be heading to do that shortly. :)

I spent more time cleaning the bathroom today than I have ever spent cleaning a bathroom. For almost 3 years I have been showering every day with bath toys at my feet. It's not really been that big of a deal, but as the years have gone by, more bath toys have been acquired. We do have this little turtle net thing that suctions to the side of the bath, but it is always bulging with toys and has toys falling out of it. I just couldn't take it anymore. I did some rearranging and now, for the first time in 3 years, I have NO bath toys in the bath tub!!! Woohoo!!! We will now be getting them out of our designated bath toy drawer each time Tate bathes and then putting them back after the bath. He had WAT too many bath toys in his bath at a time anyway.

So anyway, I seriously cleaned our tiny 6X6 bathroom for 2 hours! Much of that time was spent bleaching/cleaning all of his bath toys. He has about 837 of those rubber toys that squirt water and I don't know if any of you have this problem, but if you don't clean those and let water sit in those, you may find that the next time water squirts out of it, the water is black and chunky. Yes, that's right...disgusting!!! So I spent about 45 minutes cleaning all 837 of his squirt toys. It is no fun cleaning those. Really, all you can do is fill them with water, shake them up and squirt out the water and nasty black stuff and then repeat until they squirt out clean. Tedious and annoying. But I did it, and they're all clean now.

I also threw away a ton of broken toys, empty shampoo and conditioner bottles and empty hair product bottles. I scrubbed every inch of the floor, scrubbed the sink and toilet, reorganized all of the items that I hadn't thrown away, bleached the bathtub and Magic Eraser'd the tub surround. That bathroom is sparkling! We'll see how long that lasts.

I have done a ton of laundry today. I also put away a bunch of Tate's clothes that are too small. It seems like I'm always doing that. He grows like a weed!!!! He must be going through a growth spurt too because he is sleeping really well and eating ALL THE TIME! I am not kidding. If he's not eating, he's saying, "I'm hungry Mommy." And he really is! We will give him food and he will eat it...all of it!

In addition to spending all day cleaning, doing laundry, feeding Tate every 15 minutes and makeing a delicious dinner (see recipe and picture below)...Tate and I managed to sit down and relax while watching his new favorite movie Alladin! I LOVE that movie and am so happy he's developed a love for it as well. He asks to watch it every day!

Yesterday wasn't terribly productive, so I am happy today was. We spent all day yesterday watching football and laying around. I made tacos for supper and then we went to bed at a decent time. I needed a day like that, but our house NEEDED a day like today! :) It feels good to get a little bit of both in a weekend...relaxation and productivity.

I had better get back at it. I need to bath my child and myself and clean up from our yummy dinner! Here's to a week that hopefully will fly by! We've got a super exciting Water Weekend ahead of us next weekend!

Want another one?

Okay so I have another super delicious, easy recipe to share. I've made it a couple of times and will make it many, many more!

I am on a little bit of a recipe sharing kick!

Lemon Chicken w/ Green Beans and New Potatoes
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 lemons, 1 thinly sliced, 1 juiced
4 cloves garlic (I use Garlic salt and just skip the salt)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
3/4 lb green beans (I use 2 cans)
8 small red potatoes, quartered
4 chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 450. Coat a large baking dish with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Arrange lemon slices from 1 lemon in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. In large bowl combine remaining olive oil, lemon juice of 2nd lemon, garlic, salt and pepper. Add green beans and toss to coat. Using tongs, remove green beans and arrange them on top of lemon slices. Add potatoes to same olive oil mixture and coat. Arrange on inside edge of dish on top of the beans. I also add a lemon pepper mixture on top of everything. It adds a lot of flavor.Place chicken in olive oil mixture and coat. Place chicken in dish. Roast for 40-50 minutes. Remove chicken and continue roasting potatoes/beans if necessary.

I use canned cut green beans because I love canned beans. Put I'm sure fresh or frozen would be just as good!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oh my...

It's hard to believe that this boy does not have Larry Stewart's blood running through his veins.

Making Faces

Or I guess I should say...making face.
He only has 1 funny face he makes.
He thinks it's hilarious.
I kind of do too.
He'll try to act like he's going to be cooperative for a picture.
He smiles sweetly and says, "mommy, cheese me!"
Then, just as I lift the camera up, this is what he does...

Oh Great!

Now I have another person in my household that I get to fight over the computer with.
This isn't even a joke...he LOVES the computer!
We made the mistake of introducing him to the Playhouse Disney website that has all kinds of games and activities themed with all of Tates' favorite shows.
He's very serious about it as you can see...

Friday, November 13, 2009

First Gift...LIFE

Every day, 4500 mothers bury their children due to contaminated water. They are forced to sustain the lives of their families with a diabolical liquid that contains both life and death. This lack of access to clean water is the leading cause of death in underdeveloped nations. And it doesn't have to be.

So as we gear up to scurry through the department stores and browse endless catalogs in search for new jeans, Tonka Trucks, gadgets and dolls...we are pausing. We are pausing. And today, November 13th, we are buying water. Clean, life-saving water.

$10 will provide one person in Africa with clean water for 10 years. It will literally change, and possibly save someone's life. A mother. A child. A brother. A grandfather.

We are rallying together for a cause. For clean water. One day. $10. Asking everyone to let this be their first gift. Let water, let life be your first gift of the season.

Click THIS LINK to be directed to the secure donation site of the highly recognized non-profit, charity:water. All donations are tax deductible and 100% of the profit goes directly to clean water solutions in West Africa.

My Dad just got home from Africa a few days ago and got to witness first hand the difference that clean water makes. Here are a few of the images...

Dad pumping the clean water well...
Dad and Jody with the people whose lives are being changed...being saved by clean water...

Imagine if your child was dying and all it took was for someone to sacrifice a couple cups of coffee or a meal out to McDonalds to save your child's life...that's it. What if that person decided that their coffee or McDonalds was more important than your child's life? What would it mean for you to sacrifice $10? It would mean saving someone's child's life. It is important. It is a life. Someone's baby, someone's brother or sister, someone's mother.


These are some of the kids my dad met while in Africa last week.
These are the kids that water could save.
These could be your kids.
Look at these faces...

What wouldn't you do to save these childrens' lives?
What if it only took $10?
Give Water.
Give Life.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Are you ready to bury your child?

It is no more acceptable for someone else to bury their child than it is for you to bury your own.
Especially when it is something that can be prevented.

Tomorrow, give life.
Give Water for Christmas.
Give $10 (or more!) to save a life.
Click HERE.

Can you imagine drinking this?
Until this well was dug for one of the many villages in West Africa, the people were drinking the water pictured they drink this...

Millions drink the contaminated water that is pictured above...millions.
Mothers are forced to feed their children that contaminated water.
If they don't get water, they die.
If they drink the contaminated water, they die.
They don't have to.
Please help.
Give life HERE.

Meat Cupcakes

Want a delicious, kid friendly, easy and fast meal?
Meat Cupcakes.
Sounds appetizing, I know.
Actually, it is!
I made it, and it was a hit. :)

Here's the recipe:



Wednesday, November 11, 2009

a picnic and playing at the park...

It has been such a beautiful day today!
We ran a couple of errands this morning and then packed a lunch and went to the park for a picnic and some fun! Tate had so much fun...

and as usual, so did Sean...

and I can't remember the last time I got 1 good smiling picture of Tate...let alone, 3!!!

As we were leaving the park, Tate looked at me and said with pure joy, "I'm so happy Mommy!" Me too, buddy!

To save the day!!!

Last night Tate was playing Super Hero and he put his arms up in the air and said, " TO SAVE THE DAY!" It was so cute. I have no idea where he got that! It must be from a movie he watches. Since I reacted to it, he's been saying it all day!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Federal Holiday

Love federal holidays!
I have tomorrow off for Veteran's Day.
In addition, it's supposed to be 60 and sunny tomorrow!
So tomorrow we are going to have a fun, family day.
We are planning on going on a picnic and spending time outside.
Then, I'll only have 2 days of work left before the weekend!

Monday, November 09, 2009 true!

"Being a Christian doesn't just mean that we are saved FROM something but that we are saved FOR something; to be God's hands and feet here on earth." ~Shaun Groves
This is something I too often forget.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

YOU can help change the world...

My dad and Jody are now in the air on their way back home from Africa. To say this trip was life changing for my dad would be an understatement by the sounds of it. Apparently, he is going to be unrecognizable upon his return. I just looked at a picture of him on Jody's blog and I saw dimples. Dimples? I didn't know my dad even had dimples! I was asking Cassie, "did you know Dad had dimples?!" She said, "NO, because he's never smiled so big before!" I am SO EXCITED to hear everything about his trip! Every time Cassie or my mom talked to him, they said it was like talking to a different person. They both said they've never heard him so happy in their lives. He was presented with a live chicken from the chief in one of the villages which he thought was just so cool! Go to Jody's blog to see a picture of him with the chicken along with all kinds of other pictures of the beautiful faces clean water is helping. It is truly amazing to see what a difference this is making and for my dad to get to meet, talk to, hold these people and children whose lives will be saved because of clean water is such an experience!

Please consider joining us in saving these lives. Even if only on one day...November 13th. Read below to see how to help...

Just one day.
24 hours.
And we need everyone.
Online blog, twitter, facebook, email, viral campaign.
Asking everyone to buy water.
To let their first gift of the season be life.'s the image.
The explanation is below.
And the link.
IF you want to invite people ahead of time via email or your blogs you can.
But on NOVEMBER 13, we need everyone.
Give $10.
Encourage everyone you know to give $10 on November 13.
Can you imagine if we all just came together, from all over the country/world, for one day?
And we all bought water together?
We all spent $10 to give life?
On November 13, when people begin to open up their Google Reader, their blog list, we want them to not be able to escape this

Updates, posts and statuses all over will be about buying water.

(Below is a ready-made explanation of the First Gift Campaign. if on Nov. 13, you just want to click and drag it to your blog or email, you can. Otherwise, you can write your own).

(if you click on the following image, you will be able to read it. sorry)

Gonna be fun.
Be thinking.
The image and explanation are yours to use.
Or you can write your own.
Link everyone here (yellow donate button) to donate.
Got it?
November 13.
First Gift online campaign.
Consider yourself personally invited to change the world...

Our Weekend

We had a great weekend just as we expected to.
We had Erin's baby shower, lots of water park fun, Ayla's 2nd Birthday Party and well...we just won't talk about the Hawkeye game.
I'll just leave you all with some cute pictures!

Ayla and her Daddy...

Tate had a BLAST at the water park!

From left to right...
Cassie, Erin (I know, she doesn't look 7 1/2 months pregnant does she!), Mom, Lisa (Erin's sister) standing in front of one of the super cute monkey themed tables at the shower...The Beautiful Hadley (Lisa's daughter)...

Tate's favorite part of the water park. I think the adults had as much fun here as the kids!

The monkey cake Cassie made for Ayla's birthday. SO CUTE! She decided to carry the monkey theme from the shower into the birthday party...

Ayla loved it!

It was such a great sad it's over!