Thursday, September 30, 2010

part of the family

My aunt has a Golden Doodle and I always have said that she seems more like a person than any other dog I've known. I love that dog!
Then, Cassie and her family got a Golden Doodle, Willow. I must admit, I pretty much thought they were crazy. Cassie always has so much on her plate and I just thought adding a dog to the mix was nuts. I don't anymore. I was wrong. I almost feel bad for thinking that because I genuinely love Willow so much! She is like a human, it's crazy! Since Brigg and Lani are in school all day, this is who Cassie gets to spend her days with...2 adorable girls!SERIOUSLY, I think Willow was posing for me!

Not only is she cute, but she is so smart...kinda like all of Cassie's kids! :)

looking back 4 years

These few days before Tate's birthday each year, I tend to do a lot of looking back. I just cannot ever seem to get over that we didn't even know about Tate until the day after he was born! So, 4 years ago today, we were "waiting". We had no idea that our baby was already overdue (he was a week late). I am not going to lie, I think about that first day of his life that we did not even know about him (and the second day when we knew about him, but had yet to meet him)...about all that we missed. Many times, those thoughts make me sad. I wish that I had not missed a second of his life. However, he was in extremely good hands and felt the love of his first mommy and daddy as well as his grandparents during those first 48 hours until we got to meet him and we are SO THANKFUL for that.

There just aren't words that I can come up with to describe my gratitude for Tate's birth family. They gave him (and STILL do!) all that he needed and more while Maggie was carrying him and also while they were in the hospital after he was born. They love him beyond words and soaked up that time they had before we came into his life. As I've mentioned before, Maggie nursed him. She didn't have to do that, but she knew it was what was best for him and she wanted the best for him, no matter how much harder it would make it to place him in the care of 2 strangers. Brandon stayed with Tate until the very last moment in the hospital and then came to see us off when we left the adoption agency with his heart riding away in the car of someone far the hardest moment of my (and likely his) life.

We made a promise to Brandon and Maggie. We promised that this was not goodbye. We couldn't have made a better promise for the sake of all of us! And though it took 3 1/2 years, even Maggie has become a physical part of our lives...although she has always been a part of our lives even before we knew her. Brandon has been there from the beginning. Our first meeting (following Tate being born) with him was 2 1/2 months after the day we took Tate home and he has been nothing short of amazing for 4 years.
We. Are. Blessed.
And those words aren't enough.

This is not how we planned to grow our family when we met and got married. This is not how we imagined we would be blessed with a child. This is more than we imagined. It has changed us, changed our hearts forever. For us, we have been blessed by the way God chose for us to grow our family more than if we had been in control and chosen to do it "our way". I've said it time and time again that I am not in control of my life and I am so happy that I am not. If I had been in control of my life, I wouldn't have Tate. I wouldn't have my whole heart, which is what he is.
He is my heart.
The mere thought of him makes my heart physically feel like it could burst. I love him so much it hurts.

I can't believe it's been almost 4 years!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

random pictures and tidbits from today...

Sean and Tate playing (probably playing Wipe Out...I can't remember)...

And Tate's hair is just crazy.
He got a bath tonight so it's a bit more under control!

In the car today, Tate said, "Mommy, can I do this?" When I looked back at him, he had his middle finger up! I said, "NO, you cannot do that!" He kept it up for about 10 more seconds saying, "why?". He finally put it down and I asked him where he learned that. He said, "I don't know, I just did." Oh great. I have no idea where he learned it. Sean and I certainly don't let him watch anything on TV that he would see that, nor do we ever do that, so who knows. Anyway, right after he put his middle finger down, he flashed me the "I love you" sign and said, "can I do this???" to which I responded "of course!". I have a feeling I know where he learned that. :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wipe Out Zone

Remember Tate's obsession with Wipe Out?
Well, he still is just as obsessed as he was a couple weeks ago.
He plays "Wipe Out" all the time!
He likes to create "Wipe Out Zones".
This is one he created with legos today.
He even has names for each of the obstacles in it.
My favorite one he named is the "Tater Totter".
He thought of it all by himself!
He's pretty creative!
He also has the "Spin Cycle" (just like on the show) and the "Light Hoop" which is actually a glow bracelet that he uses for one of the obstacles.
Here he is having his zebra go through the Wipe Out Zone.

He's so proud of it!

Smile Tate!!!


My Own Little World

I have a song that I really have been loving lately.
"My Own Little World" By: Matthew West
I saw Matthew West in concert a few years ago when he opened for Toby Mac.
He did his set all acoustic and I LOVED it! He was amazing.
He's gotten a lot more well known since then which makes me happy.
He is releasing an album, The Story of Your Life on October 5th...can't wait to get it!
To create this album, he spent close to 3 months alone in a cabin sifting through thousands of emails of people telling their stories...many are unbelievable heartbreaking. He picked out stories to inspire each of his songs on this album. It's been talked about and advertised a lot on K-LOVE (which I LOVE listening to!). They have interviewed him and it's just been so interesting to me to hear some of the unbelievable stories of people being saved by the grace of God. I love that all of these songs are about true stories from real people.
This song is convicting to me.
The lyrics are on the video, but I added them below as well.

In my own little world it hardly ever rains
I’ve never gone hungry, always felt safe
I got some money in my pocket
shoes on my feet
In m own little world
Population me

I try to stay awake through the Sunday morning church
I throw a twenty in the plate but I never give ’til it hurts
and I turn off the news when I don’t like what I see
it’s easy to do when it’s population me

What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world

Stopped at the red light, looked out my window
Outside the car, saw a sign, said “Help this homeless widow”
Just above this sign was the face of a human
i thought to myself, “God, what have I been doing?”

So I rolled down my window and I looked her in the eye
Oh how many times have I just passed her by
I gave her some money then I drove on through
in my own little world there’s Population two

What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
What if there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world

whoa yeah
whoa yeah

Start breaking my heart for what breaks Yours
give me open hands and open doors
put Your light in my eyes and let me see
that my own little world is not about me

What if there’s a bigger picture
what if I’m missing out
Show me there’s a greater purpose
I could be living right now
outside my own little world
My own little world yeah
My own little world woo

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Together 6 years!

We've gone through a lot in 6 years.
And I'm not going to lie, we've had some really rough times.
Marriage is harder than we ever's work.
But it's work that I love.
I love being married to this man, even when times are tough.
I love him.

Our weekend in Chicago was much needed.
It was so great!

I found it very ironic that when we checked into our hotel, they gave us room 925...our anniversary is 9/25!

We did all kinds of fun things.
We took a water was so cool!

It was a beautiful fall day...a little chilly and windy, but it allowed us to snuggle up. :)
Here are a couple of pictures from our water taxi ride...

We went to Navy Pier...

And then to Millennium Park.
We LOVED The Bean, it was so cool!!!

underneath The Bean...

Looking up from underneath The Bean...

Sean in front of The Bean...

We were doing all of the touristy things.
We're such nerds, but we loved it...

The Bean was probably our favorite part of Chicago.

We went out to The Melting Pot on Saturday night for our anniversary dinner. It was so fun and unbelievably delicious and perfect for an anniversary dinner!
Then, today we went to IKEA and spent a few hours there getting lots of bargains!
It was a fantastic weekend away!
Happy Anniversary Sean, I love you so much!

(and Happy Birthday today to Sean's dad, Pat! Hope your day was great!!!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Sean and I just booked a room in Chicago on Priceline (I LOVE Priceline!) for this weekend to celebrate our anniversary! So excited! I'm also so grateful for my parents being willing to keep Tate for the weekend while we enjoy a mini getaway! :)

Details about Tate

Since my post about Tate's appointment yesterday, I've had several emails of concern. I thought I had better post some details so everyone knows what is going on.

Over the last year, but mostly over the last 6 months, some of Tate's behavior has really started to concern us. He has always displayed a bit more fear than other children his age. He has always been scared of things that most kids love...for example, slides at a park, noises that might not seem loud to the average person scare him to death, bright lights bother him and he requests to wear his sunglasses frequently, unexpected touch makes him panic even from Sean and I. These things came on gradually and over the last several months have gotten significantly worse. He doesn't want to wear socks because he says they're scratchy, he had a panic attack after only about 20 minutes of Vacation Bible School because of all of the distractions, loud music and people. He will cower when someone talks to him...even just someone who says hello and sometimes will say, "don't talk to me." He will even say that to people who are very familiar to him. He has to touch EVERYTHING to feel its texture. He also likes to smell everything. He acts like he doesn't want to be touched and when asked for a high five or hand shake he often pulls away and refuses.

These are things that over the last several months have become very noticeable to anyone who is around him...even a perfect stranger would notice that he wasn't like other kids his age. I've even had people say that maybe it could be a very mild form of autism, but deep down I knew that wasn't it. Tate does very well socially with his peers. He isn't afraid to walk up to a child at the park and ask them to be his friend, he makes eye contact when speaking with you and just doesn't display many of the common symptoms to autism. However, when you hear it time and time again, you start to get worried that maybe your love is blind and it could be that.

I have done a lot of research and found what I believed matched to exactly what Tate has. His senses seem to be heightened, causing him panic and fear in many instances. It appeared to me that Tate displayed almost all of the symptoms of Sensory Processing Disorder.

Well, after heading to the doctor, he confirmed that he doesn't believe that Tate is anywhere on the autism spectrum. Whew! However, he fully believes that Tate has Sensory Processing Disorder. We are going to be starting regular therapy for him so that he can learn some coping mechanisms and we can learn the best ways to work with Tate to make things better/easier for him. We did learn some initial tips from the doctor. There is no cure of Sensory Processing Disorder, but it is something that can be controlled.

The crazy thing about the whole situation is that our doctor has a 3 1/2 year old son who also has Sensory Processing Disorder and is in therapy for it. He said that Tate appears to have a much more severe form of the disorder than his son. It felt so great to have a doctor who was so understanding and knowledgeable about the disorder. We feel like we're in extremely good hands and look forward to finally knowing how to address this disorder to help Tate in the best way we can.

We love Tate so much and it pains us to see him so fearful and panicky about things that many people don't even notice. In addition to that, his fear and panic often translate into people thinking he is just a naughty kid. We hate that and it makes things difficult for us as well. It's just a relief that we finally know what's going on and can move forward.

We pray that we will be able to get this under control for Tate's sake! We know that we are heading in the right direction. We would appreciate your prayers.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

4 year well child appointment...

We went to Tate's annual doctor appointment this afternoon. We really are happy with the doctor we saw and are relieved about that because we really loved our doctor in Des Moines.
Tate's developing great.
He weighed 36lbs (58th percentile) and was 41 inches tall (60th percentile). As usual, his head is off the charts, but nothing that's of any concern, he just must have a big brain in there! :)

I will post later more details about some other things involving his appointment that we had concerns about. I don't have time to go into detail right now, but will just say that I feel like we are in good hands with this doctor and he confirmed our concerns while making us feel at ease about the next steps to address them. So I am happy with the outcome and am so proud of my boy!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


I am going to bed tonight feeling very blessed.
I had a great 30th birthday!
I got a gazillion messages from so many people today that just made me so happy.
I have the greatest friends and family.
From cards to texts to messages to gifts to coffee to a fun filled day, it seems that everyone I know acknowledged my birthday!
Today was so busy! I missed so many calls today and it was fun to hear the messages from everyone giving me birthday wishes!

Tate had a rough night last night, so we were up for almost 2 hours in the night. Ugh. Because of that, he slept in. My mom, Cassie and Ayla came to town this morning and arrived before Tate was even up, so as soon as he woke up, we got him ready and rushed out the door and he ate breakfast in the car. We first headed to Target, then went to lunch at Granite City, then went to a couple of shops before hitting up Sonic Happy Hour! All the while, every few minutes I was given a gift to open...30 total. It was so fun! I also got a couple of beautiful hand made cards from Lani and Ayla as well as several cards in the mail from friends and family.

After our busy day, we arrived home and immediately fell asleep on the couch! We had such a long night last night that a nap felt good. Also, there's nothing like an afternoon nap with my baby boy to make me happy on my birthday!

We woke up and quickly ate dinner before my Starbucks date with Lora! James watched Tate and the girls for us while Lora and I had some time to chat without kids asking us questions every 30 seconds. It was so nice!

This was my best birthday to date!
Thank you to everyone for making it so wonderful!

Apple Upside Down Cake

Tate helped me bake a cake yesterday.
He was so proud of it.
And he's just cute.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

football and family fun

Brigg had his first tackle football game today.
Wasn't he just a baby yesterday?

He says he loved it, but the look on his face didn't show it.
He got hurt on the first play. :(
However, later he managed to recover a fumble.

Tate did pretty well too.
This was when he first got there and wanted to snuggle with Daddy because he said he was cold.
It was a little chilly and drizzling.
LOVE fall weather!!!

After the game, we headed to my parents house to have an early birthday celebration for me.
We had mexican food and boston cream favorites!
Thank you to my amazing family, I was able to check 2 items off of my list of things I want that I posted here. I got my new lens and a sewing machine!
I am so excited!
My sister, niece and mom are coming on my birthday Tuesday so we can go to lunch and hang out for the day. So excited for that too!
Then, that night I am going to get coffee at Starbucks with Lora while James watches the kids. Wednesday, we are doing dinner with Mike, Sarah, Leah and Kayla and then Thursday we're doing dinner with the DeCooks! Lots of fun stuff this week!


When we walked into DeCook's house yesterday evening I was so surprised by balloons...

a bottle of red wine...

and a birthday cake!

I was completely surprised!!!
Thank you DeCooks for doing that for me!
It made me feel very special and so blessed to have your friendship!

Unfortunately, following a fun evening of going out to dinner, eating delicious cake and having great conversation, we had to watch a very sad Hawkeye game. :(

The kids looked cute though...

So fun!
An early birthday party.
Then another one on Sunday with my family!
And my birthday isn't until Tuesday!
I love having a "birthday week"!


I love my sister's dog, Willow.
She is seriously one of the cutest dogs ever and super smart!
She's only 4 months old and HUGE.
She's almost like a person, it's so crazy!
Love her.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

my day in Des Moines

I went to Des Moines for the day today.
I played my music loud and sang the whole way.
I didn't have to answer a little 3 year old's questions every 30 seconds.
I loved it.
Then, when I arrived, I met a couple of friends (who happen to be past co-workers) for lunch.
Then I went up to my old place of work and chatted with some old co-workers and met the person who replaced me.
It was a great time seeing everyone!
Then, I had an engagement photo session.
I'm telling you, it was SO MUCH FUN and I am ecstatic about the images I got.
You'll have to hop on over the my photography blog to get a sneak peek.
I haven't put them on there yet though.
I took 450 pictures and after editing, I ended up with 280 images that I loved.
I have no idea how these 2 are going to pick their shots they want...they are a beautiful couple which made for beautiful pictures!
After the photo session, I headed to Cathy's and did her hair.
I sang loudly on my drive home again and just got done editing the pics from my's 3am!
I need to go to bed!
I think I'll go ahead and upload some of my favorite from the session onto my photography blog first!
It was a great day!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

he wants to be a chef

Today Tate said he wants to be a chef when he grows up.
He wants to watch the Food Network all the time.
At least 5 times a day he says, "mommy, can I help you make the ingredients?" which means, can we cook?
He LOVES it!
Tonight we had breakfast for dinner and he made the eggs.
He was so proud!

And he takes his cooking very seriously...

I really wouldn't be surprised if he does become a chef someday!

my feet must be delicious

At least to mosquitoes.
Seriously, I don't have less than 10 mosquito bites on my feet.

And just a warning, this post is going to be random.
Alternate post title could be "Random Thoughts by Jennie and 1:30am"
Moving on...

On the bug bit topic...
Tate has a MONSTER bite on his arm.
Like, so big and swollen and red that I'm getting concerned.
His whole arm is super swollen from the crease of his elbow to about 3 inches above his wrist...and he says it hurts. Not sure how concerned I am about that though because I specifically asked him if it hurts and whenever I ask him if something hurts, he ALWAYS says, "uh huh" in a whimpering voice because he thinks he'll get a bandaid or coddled. And he usually does. He's a smart little booger. :)

I have had the last 2 episodes of Desperate Housewives taped for MONTHS and just watched both of them tonight finally! Sean will be so proud of me and so happy to have them deleted off of our DVR.

I made French Dips and Cheesy Potatoes for dinner tonight. All I have to say is YUM! And Sean was super happy when he woke up to have that for dinner before heading out to work. I knew he would be...French Dips are his favorite meal I make.

I bought some vitamins today when I went to Wal-Mart.
See the post below to find out why.

I am super stoked that I did a google search for Davenport photographers and MY AD for Jennie Peakin Photography came up in the FIRST SPOT! WOOHOO!
SOOOO, if you ever call my phone and I don't'll notice the voice greeting has been changed to "You've reached Jennie Peakin Photography..." Also, I got my first call about 10ish days ago from someone local who found me on google. Only problem...he wanted a wedding photographer. Ugh. Oh well!

Tate was angelic today. So strange because he has been pushing my buttons intentionally and been extra whiny these last few days. I created a sticker chart for him that has 4 categories that he needs to work on. At the end of the day, whichever categories he did well in, he gets to put a sticker on the chart for that category. Since I started this over a week ago, this is the first day that he got a sticker on all 4 categories!!!
The categories are:
No Time-Outs All Day
No Whining (this one he probably shouldn't have gotten a sticker for today, but he only whined a little, so I let it slide) :)
Brushed Teeth (we always brush his teeth, but he hates it and whines and cries, so the point of this category is that he lets us do it without a battle)
Picked Up the Toys (this used to be a battle, but only a few days into this sticker chart and he now does it willingly!)

So, sticker charts work wonders in this house!!!

I had Sonic today for the first time in probably a week and a half. This is a long time for me to go without Sonic people! So I was HAPPY!

The other day, Tate said, "Mommy, your favorite color means go, Daddy's favorite color means stop and my favorite color doesn't mean anything." I was a little confused by this and had to think what on earth he was talking about! Then it hit me! He's favorite color is green (for go), Sean's is red (for stop) and Tate's is orange (which I guess doesn't mean anything). Don't know why, but that just amazed me that he thought of that. Kids are so smart!!!

I only have 5 days left in my 20's. I'm not one of those people who's upset about it. I'm kind of excited to be a 30 something. Remember that show? I don't really...all I remember is that I thought that "30 something" was OLD and that the show was for old know, people in their 30's. Ha.

I'm totally excited for Dancing With The Stars to start. I love reality TV...and though everyone else seemed to think Bachelor Pad was terrible, I totally loved it! I am not afraid to admit it...I'm a trash TV junkie. :)

I am still sick. Seriously, it's ridiculous. I have lost so much sleep from hacking up a lung every night. I have used up my inhaler and should probably call the doctor for a refill. It's so frustrating. No fever or anything, just a non stop annoying cough and wheezing. Maybe I do have asthma again...who knows.

So that's it from me. I should probably try and get some sleep!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Will you join me?


I haven't been to Africa and seen first hand the malnourished children. I haven't walked through the slums to witness it first hand. My sister, her friends and my father have. It was life changing for them. And my life has been changed by Africa as well. I don't have to go there to know there is a need...a need for clean water, for food, for prayers for the people.

My sister along with a few other amazing women went back in March and brought several supplies. One thing they brought were vitamins for the children.

These children...

After a weekly program, these children are each given 1 hard boiled egg. For most of them, that is their only protein they will get ALL WEEK!
Since my sister's group went to Sierra Leon, they also have given each child 1 vitamin along with their hard boiled egg. They are running out of vitamins and need more.
That is it.
Will you help?
1 bottle, 10 bottles, 50 bottles...whatever you can do.

Read about this from 2 people who can speak in more detail about it because they witnessed it first hand.
Cassie (my sister)

If you are local to the Quad Cities, feel free to give the vitamins to me.
If you are local to Muscatine, email my sister at cassieburback at gmail dot com and ask for instructions on how to get the vitamins directly to her.
OR, if you would rather paypal Jody money, she will purchase the vitamins. To do that, email my sister at the address listed just above and she will instruct you on how to do that. If you are not local to our area we still want your help!!! When you are at the store, pick up a bottle or two and email me at japeakin at hotmail dot com and I will get an address to you where you can ship them.

‘Intentions are wonderful things. They are the starting points, the defining moments of our lives. But in and of themselves, intentions are wholly inadequate. As a Christ follower, it’s easy to mistake intention for action and stirrings for solutions. I sometimes give myself credit for being a pretty remarkable human being just because I feel angry about injustice, pain over suffering, or empathy in the face of hurt. But even the strength of my intentions is not an accurate indicator of whether or not I will take the time to act, to put faith to work, to be the difference that Christ has empowered me to be. Defining moments are only as good as the lifestyles they translate into.’ (Nancy Ortberg)

"Jesus is interested in what we are doing with our compassion and acts of mercy. He doesn't care about how religious we appear. If our Christian faith doesn't manifest into something that helps the life of another human being, it doesn't mean squat to him."
-Red Letters: Living a Faith That Bleeds

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

a few things that are making me happy lately...

Not sure why, but I have been CRAVING milk these last few days...I can't get enough.
I always love milk, but the last couple of days it's been extra delicious!

Hawkeye Football!!!
Chills...seriously. love. the. Hawkeyes.

My allergies are out of control this year.
These eye drops have SAVED MY LIFE these last few days!

We enjoy Wipe Out.
Can't help it.
Tate loves it more than Sean or I. He wants to watch it at least 3 times a day.
We don't let him, but he asks.
Not gonna lie, I love watching it too.

Talk about some random things that are bringing happiness to me!

Also, this time of year, I feel very nostalgic. This was the time of year we were "waiting" for Tate exactly 4 years ago. I will NEVER forget the feelings. The day we got Tate was the happiest day of my life and this time of year just makes me think of that time and it makes me so happy and makes me feel so unbelievably blessed!

Also, I friend of mine has started the adoption process and I am just so overjoyed for she and her husband! I can't wait to watch them go through the process and hopefully can be a support to her along the way. They are using Bethany Christian Services like we did! It's not my place to disclose who it is , but you know who you are and I want you to know that I am praying for you and your future child! It is just so exciting for me to know that a friend I care about will be so blessed beyond anything they could expect by adoption!

Monday, September 13, 2010

River and Fountain

After ice cream and a quick visit to DeCook's, those were our 2 activities for the evening.
Tate loves both the river and the fountain!

As soon as we got to the fountain, Tate had to pee.
There is no bathroom close by so Sean took him deep into the park and tried to get him to pee by a bush. He freaked out because touched a leaf on the bush accidentally and then he refused to pee. So Sean and Tate walked farther to the other side of the park until they found a bathroom. Problem with that was that the toilet had an automatic flush and he is petrified of the flushing sound in public restrooms. SO, he refused to pee in the bathroom. So then Sean brought him back outside and said he had to pee on the ground then. He was too scared to pee by a bush so he just peed on the ground. Apparently he was very proud because after they came back to the fountain, he came running up to me yelling, "MOMMY, I PEED ON THE GROUND!". Mind you, the fountain area is fairly busy on nice nights. So that was nice.

Anyway, it was a fun night!

We were ALL smiles...

when Daddy got a phone call from work about 15 minutes before he was ready to head out saying that he didn't have to come in because of low census.
It was a beautiful night and so we finished supper and decided to head out and get some ice cream. Then we stopped by DeCook's and visited for a few minutes before heading down to the river. It was BUGGY out so we didn't stay down there very long. Tate said he really wanted to go to the "Rainbow Bridge" so we headed there and noticed that it wasn't changing colors like usual so we didn't go there. Instead, we headed to the fountain at Vanderveer Park. Tate is so impressed with that fountain...he ooo's and ahhhh's like it's the first time he's seen it every time we go!

I cannot even stand it.
I love my little man's dimples so much.
I love his smiles so much.
I love him so much!