Thursday, April 28, 2011

Putnam Museum

A couple of weeks ago, Sean somehow won tickets to the Putman Museum/IMax Theater on Facebook a couple of weeks ago. They had to be used by 4/30. Tonight was the night.

I had never been to the Putnam Museum and I found out that it was kinda cool, but not super great for a child Tate's age. Sean found it interesting and Tate found a few things interesting, but he may enjoy it a bit more in a few years.

He liked the "Hospital Room" as he called it. I'm sorry, but this dummy was just creepy. Tate was kind of intrigued, but a bit scared...

I personally liked the buffalo. He's a good model too...check him out eyen' the camera...

And I also really liked the lion...

Tate asked to sit on the octopus, but as soon as he was up on it, he said, "I want off, I want off!" We made him stay on for a picture first...

See the resemblance here? I mean, aside from the height, the tan, the abs and the long hair. You know, aside from all that...

I really was there with Sean and Tate.

Here's proof...

This was hilarious.

Tate decided he wanted to start dancing while in the "Hospital Room". He said, "Look Mommy! Look at my finishing move!" He gets this from Dance Central.


Look at that finishing move!

Our poor attempt at a family picture...

It was a fun little trip.

We are grearing up for a fun weekend in the Des Moines area.

Photo shoot for me to do tomorrow, then Saturday my parents, the Burbacks and us will be staying at a hotel in Downtown Des Moines and Sunday attending the event that will honor my dad (along with 99 other nurses) as one of the Top 100 Nurses in Iowa.

Fun weekend!

1 year ago today...

Mom and I were in Florida to help welcome Boone into the world 1 year ago today!


That was 1 year ago?!!

It was so special that we were able to be there in the waiting room for when Chris came out to tell us if it was a boy or a girl, that we got to go in and meet Boone only minutes after he came into the world, that we got to witness Bode's first look at his brother. So so special.

I only wish that they lived in Iowa so I could see him and get to spend as much time with him and Bode that I do my other nieces and nephews. I miss them all the time!

Happy Birthday Sweet Boy!

Wish we could be there to celebrate this special day with you!!!

We love so very much!!!!!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Season, New Look!

LOVE the picture of Tate on my header. It's a current favorite of mine. And I LOVE yellow! It's a happy, spring/summer color. And since it's starting to feel a bit more springy around here, I say that the new BRIGHT yellow blog is fitting! So until I get new family pictures taken this summer, Tate's going to be the lone model on my header...and I would say he's doing a pretty good job! :)

the power of prayer

Oh man, I had tears in my eyes tonight as Tate and I prayed together. Really, no words have ever sounded sweeter out of his mouth. I started to teach Tate The Lord's Prayer tonight. I would say a few words and he would repeat me. Oh.My.Word. Sweetest thing ever!

I left the room and Tate yelled for me, "MOMMY! MOMMY!" I asked him what he needed and he said, "Will you teach me The Lord's Prayer again?" We said it again. Then he asked to learn one more prayer. We said the one we've said many times, "Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep".

On a completely off topic note...I ran 2 miles today on the treadmill. Seriously, I almost died. However, I did it! Oh my goodness, don't know how I am going to run a 5k in a month. Not sure if I'll be able to do it without walking a bit. I'm going to try, but's hard! We will see!

long term goals...

*Lose 50lbs by my 31st birthday on September 21st...lofty goal, but I'm determined!

*Learn to like water...another lofty goal that I'm not as confident about...not sure I'll succeed!

*Teach Tate The Lord's Prayer by the end of the summer...we started tonight.

*Read "Made to Crave"

*Run a 5k, without walking...not sure that will happen until my 2nd try, but I DID run 2 miles today (on the treadmill)!

*Arrange our family room furniture in a manner that allows for more room while playing the Kinect...important stuff people!

*Learn how to bake my mom's homemade bread...even though I can't actually eat bread on this diet!

*Make our yard/landscaping look pretty before June!

*Learn how to make sushi...Chris, I will be needing your expertise for this one!

*Plant a vegetable that actually produces vegetables.

*Get some new family pictures taken...Cassie, that's going to be all you!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

lots accomplished

There's just not a whole lot that makes me feel better than having my calendar for the month completed. I just got done with May. May looks to be a good month! Lots going on...lots of fun things and lots of things to keep me motivated. My May calendar spilled over into the first week of June, so I can actually see "DAM TO DAM 5K" on my calendar now every day. My friend Jenny said that she would run it with me, so it's official. I still need to register...THIS WEEK. It's less expensive if you register early so my goal is to get that done in the next day or 2. (just waiting for your call, Jenny!)

I had a few days of no running over the weekend, so my run today was just not fun at all. It was HARD. I did it, but it was on the verge of miserable. Plus, my phone had issues and temporarily died about 1/3 of the way into my run and so I had no music...and that was very very bad. I honestly did not know if I could keep running, but I PRAYED for strength and God gave it to me. And out of nowhere, my Pandora just started playing again after about 4 blocks of running with no music. I thought my phone had died. Weird...not sure what that was all about. He let me make it 1 mile, but I didn't do my mile and a half today...tomorrow I will. :)

I drank about 60 oz of water today. That was almost harder to do than running my mile! Ugh...I am just not a fan of water at all. I must say that it did prevent me from drinking even a single pop today! I did have my coffee this morning though...24 oz of it! Aside from the coffee (and several glasses of wine was a LONG day!), water is all I drank today! Woohoo!

I made some super adorable treats (dipped Peeps!...I'll post pictures later.) for some friends who are bringing home their daughter from Africa on Friday! I plan to leave them a box of goodies at their home so they will have them upon their return. So happy for them!

I think we are going to buy a half beef this week. We eat SO MUCH beef that it seems that it would just make so much more sense financially to do that. We went to a meat market in our neighborhood that has been around for YEARS to buy our Easter ham (which was the best ham EVER!) and talked to the owner about pricing and what not. Anyway, it sounds like we may have a freezer full of beef in a few short weeks. :) Good thing we have a deep freeze!

I am uber excited to get our landscaping plans under way! We have some serious landscaping/yard work to do, but we love doing that and especially love the curb appeal it gives our home when it's complete! This house may be our biggest undertaking yet in regards to what needs to be done. I will have to take before and after pictures for sure.

I am feeling super accomplished tonight. Aside from 1 small load of laundry, we have all of our laundry done, I edited and sent out the pictures from my last shoot, I completed my May calendar, groceries are stocked, menu for the next couple of weeks is planned, dishes are done, I did my daily run, balanced the checkbook, drank my daily dose of water and even...wait for it, wait for it...shaved my legs! I know, I am going ALL OUT TODAY! :) And now I'm off to bed.

Here's to tomorrow being as productive as today was!


losing weight...

I am going to read this book...

I have heard nothing, but great things about it.

I am super excited!

Since the beginning of the year, I have been on a weightloss journey. Likely, most of you who read this already knew that.

I have done dieting before...and it's worked...kind of. I can lose the weight, it's keeping it off that has been the struggle. I always have gained it all back PLUS more! I needed a lifestyle change, I wanted to be healthier and be able to physically do everything that I want to do. Plus, I needed to be healthier for my family and myself.

It's been hard, but so exciting to see results and know that this is it...I'm losing that weight for good. I am not allowing it to come back. No way. I used to get to a plateau in my weightloss and get discouraged and give up. Now, when I do my weekly weigh in and see that I have only lost a pound or two, or haven't lost anything, I know I need to be doing more. I am not giving up and I needed to write this here so that I can be held accountable.

I started with the diet change. I eliminated carbohydrates, only allowing myself 19 grams of carbohydrates or less per day. The weight literally fell off of me. However, this is not a lifestyle change. I can't go the rest of my life not eating bread, fruit, pasta, potatoes, etc.. I am getting to the point where I know I need to switch to something more long term, but I am scared. I am still consistently losing 2 to 3lbs per week...however, I have added running to my routine and am hoping this will boost my weightloss even more. I am going back and forth as to when I'd like to switch to a more low calorie/low fat type of diet. There are still so many things I could change while still staying on my current diet. So this is where I've decided to challenge myself...

I don't really like to drink water. I've never been much of a water drinker. I love milk (which I can't have on this diet) and pop and tea and coffee and juice and wine. Water? Not so much. So I am going to challenge myself to drink 50 oz of water/day and see if that boosts my weightloss. I also hope to eliminate some of my Diet Soda intake. I just can't eliminate the coffee yet. :) I have read several times that I should be drinking 100 oz of water/day, but I think I need to start small! :) I am lucky to have 2 oz. of straight water a day currently, so 50 oz/day would be a huge change for me!

So we'll see how it goes.

Easter Weekend...

We had an amazing weekend celebrating Easter!

There's just nothing I love more than being with family.

My Aunt Cathy and Uncle Steve and my cousins Drew and Brent, as well as my Grandpa and Uncle Kent were all together at my parents house for the weekend. We just hung out and played cards and chatted, ate, laughed, played XBox Kinect and just enjoyed being together. On Saturday morning I took photographs of 2 extremely amazing and adorable children who I literally fell in love with, then in the afternoon, I drove the the Easter Bunny around town and stopped for several people who wanted to meet him. Sunday morning, we had an Easter Egg Hunt outside my parents house and the Easter Bunny showed up! We dyed eggs with silk ties (such a fun activity to replace the typical egg dying!) and just hung out and then had an amazing dinner. It was a fantastic weekend and Tate was dead asleep in the car on the drive home by 7:15pm! This is unheard of for him! He played HARD!

Tate patiently (ha!) waiting to start the Easter Egg Hunt...

And the hunt begins...

I love watching the kids hunt for eggs!

The Easter Bunny even showed up!

I love that Tate is beyond the age of being afraid of the Easter Bunny and can now enjoy him!

I think the Easter Bunny might have been tormenting Ellie (my aunt and uncle's dog) a bit...

MOST of the kids with the Easter Bunny.

Ayla was not into him, which is weird because she usually has no fear! I think she may have been a bit tired.

We got her in a picture anyway...and as you can see, she was THRILLED about it!

Tate giving the Easter Bunny some love...

These kids give my grandpa (and MANY other people!) SO MUCH JOY! He was thrilled to have a photo with several of his Great Grandchildren...if only Bode and Boone could have been there!


It was a great weekend filled with love, laughter and fun!

Hope you all had as great of an Easter as we did!

The Easter Bunny around town...

The Easter Bunny and I went to a couple of places in Muscatine on Saturday. It was so funny...we were in my dad's convertible so that the Easter Bunny would fit and as we were driving, EVERYONE was honking and waving and even asking us to pull over for pictures!

So fun!

I did ask permission to post pictures of these kids online.

I have no idea who they are though!

We pulled over for 1 car who was honking and asking us to pull over for his daughter and then when we were out on the street, 3 more cars pulled over to meet the Easter Bunny and take pictures! It was crazy!

I kind of think we should make this a tradition every year!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Our Internet has been down...

...and in this house, that is TRAGIC! :) It's up now, so more posts will be showing up on here soon!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

bullet points about running...

"...trying this new fad called uh, jogging. I believe it's jogging or yogging. it might be a soft j. I'm not sure but apparently you just run for an extended period of time. It's supposed to be wild." ~Ron Burgandy in Anchorman

Seriously, that is one of my most favorite movie quotes from a comedy.

So here's my running update in bullet point form...

*I am now running 1.5 miles every day as of today (aside from 1 rest day/week)

*I do not walk during my runs anymore, not at all.

*I run SLOW, so I don't know if it really qualifies as running, but I'm counting it, so there!

*When I say SLOW, I am talking about doing 1.5 miles in 22 minutes...yup, slow.

*I have my own couch to 5K plan that I created myself. Don't know how wise that is, but that's what I'm doing.

*I plan to keep at 1.5 miles daily for my next 6 runs...then I'm going to do 2 miles daily.

*I am going to run the Dam to Dam 5K in Des Moines on June 4th (my friend Jenny doesn't know that she is going to run it with me...she's avoiding me since I asked her a few nights ago, but she's totally going to do it...and Melissa Morris and Sara Knutson, you both should too!)

*I hope to be running a 5K daily for at least 2 weeks before the race.

*I have a feeling that extending my run from 2 to 3 miles is going to be much harder than it will be to go from 1 to 2 miles (considering I'm already at 1.5 miles)

*Once I am able to run a 5K, my goal is just to work on my speed to better my time.

*I would like to create a goal for how long I'd like to complete my first 5K in...I am right now really hoping for 40 minutes...however, 45 minutes may be a more realistic goal.

*Never in a million years did I think I would say (or type) what I'm about ready to type...I really like running. Like I actually look forward to it every day.

*My shoes don't hurt my feet as bad anymore, but I'm thinking it may be a good idea to invest in some good running know, since I am totally a runner now! Ha. :)

*I would like to run at least 1 other 5K aside from the Dam to Dam this summer (Lora, you don't know this, but you'll be running the other one with me since you can't do the June 4th race).

And there is my running update.

We went to take pictures of the flood...

...but not before I got some cute pictures of the people who I went with!

I must say, Ayla was totally prepared for the flood with those pants!

Ha. :)

The flood is pretty bad...

These pictures were taken while we were standing on the Rainbow Bridge.

Love these 2!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I went through some old pictures tonight...

I've shared some of these before, but am sharing them again because of one reason or another.

Possibly one of my favorite photos ever.

This photo represents so much and is a photo that makes me want to fall to my knees and thank God for the gift of my son, of his birth family, and the blessing of our adoption.


My first Mother's Day ever!

I waited 26 years to be able to celebrate a Mother's Day.

I won't forget that day ever.

My grandparents...both in heaven. I never realized how much my dad looks like his father!

Another one of my favorite pictures! And also a moment that I will not forget. I remember snapping this picture. I remember how much he loved the beach on this trip and how much I loved watching him love it!

And yes, Tate had a couple pairs of tights. They were BOY tights...specifically made for BOYS...really. Sean hated them and hated when I put them on Tate. I put them on him under his pants when it was really cold in the winter. Loved them. They were CUTE and kept him warm. :)

And more than one person has told me that Tate looks like Colt McCoy. Do we still think this??? I think it's the nose.

The weekend after Easter, my dad is being honored along with several other Iowa Nurses for being one of the top 100 nurses in the state of Iowa. In my eyes, he's much more than that.

Love him.

Love this picture of him in Haiti shortly after the earthquake.

Love that he's my dad...

It's so fun going through old pictures!

Beautify Me!

I was thrilled to see the weather for tomorrow. I cannot wait to get out and run again! It's been 2 days and I am ready to keep up my routine! Also, tomorrow I get to watch Ayla and Sean is off work! YAY!

I polished my fingernails and toenails today AND made a hair appointment and eyebrow wax appointment for Thursday. Gettin' beautified! Actually, the hair appointment is going to be a special treat! I have cut my own hair the last 2 times and I just can't get the back how I want it. I am really not too picky about my hair, it tends to be pretty forgiving, but it's been driving me nuts and it'll be nice to actually have the pampering that comes with the whole salon experience. I haven't had my hair done in a salon since 2002!!! Seriously, I'm not even kidding. And when I had it done back in 2002, it was done while I was working at the salong for 2 years prior to that! Since then, my friend who I worked with at the salon has always just cut my hair at her home. She's the only person who has cut my hair in YEARS, but she lives in Des Moines and it's just so hard to get together as often as I'd like my hair done. I'm going to color my own hair in the next few days. And let's not even get started on my eyebrown...YIKES they are bad!

So it's going to be a week of transformation for me! Too bad I couldn't lose about 40lbs this week! THEN, I'd be thrilled! :) Ha.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A look back 4 years...

Here are all the grandkids (on the Stewart side) this time 4 years ago.
I mean, I can't believe how small they all are. Brigg looks here like Tate looks now with his shaggy hair! They are just as sweet now as they were then!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Consider this...

Read the post below that I pulled from Lora's blog and then go order some cute stuff! Looking for a good Mother's Day gift idea? Here's your answer!

Lora's words...

One third of all hand pumps installed in the last twenty years in developing countries are now broken. And 4,000 children die every day because of lack of clean drinking water. We feel that is unacceptable.

Jennie's sister Cassie had this AMAZING fundraiser for an nonprofit organization called the adventure project this past Sunday and raised an AMAZING 2,000 dollars for clean water wells in India. CONGRATS! I was lucky enough to get to be there with my AMAZING friend Jennie to be a part of it.

I manned a table for a company called uppercase living. The demonstrator that I contacted was kind enough to contribute 20% of the proceeds that we make from the sales of Uppercase Living to the money raised for The Adventure Project. I am HOPING that all my blogger friends who read my blog would be willing to help decorate their home with something beautiful from Uppercase Living and help out this AMAZING cause. I'm not really sure how many of you there really are out there BUT anything would help:)


*click on Product *

go over to the right hand side of the screen and click 'Associate with Open House' *click on Lora DeCook

*go to shop AND... START BUYING!

You can also go to the website and make a donation OR you can buy this fantastic soap for $20 and I believe ALL of the money goes towards the adventure project organization.

I don't know a TON about it but if you are curious to learn more please go to

Big news!

I ran a mile outside without stopping! Yup, I did! And so now it counts!!! The down side? Now that I know I can do it, every day when I go out to run, I'm not going to be able to NOT run at least a mile because I'll feel like I've slacked. I know that many of you may think it's so crazy that I think this is a big deal, but really if you know me, you KNOW this IS a big deal! :) Ha. Oh, and to celebrate my victory, I am totally signing up for a 5K this summer. Yup, I am! And I'm even going to try to run the whole thing without stopping...YIKES!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The adults...

The Aunts and Uncles/Grandmas and Grandpas.

And tell me, what is it with men and refusing to smile for pictures?!

The Cousins...

Not the most exciting pictures, but good to have for documentation of all who attended.


Thank you Tammie and Derek for hosting the entire clan! Your house was PERFECT for the event!!!

Family Confusion

We were taking individual pictures of all of the families today. When it was the Hostetlers turn, Tate stepped right up and planted himself right in the picture. He wasn't trying to be funny, he just thought he should be in the picture. It was hilarious...

And in true Hostetler fashion, they lovingly welcomed him into their family...

And he was thrilled... But really, this is more like it...
Everything is right once again...


Sean's cousin Stacie had a little boy 9 months ago. We had yet to meet him!'s been way too long since we've all gotten together. Well, turns out Brevik is really really gorgeous. Me and my camera made up for lost time with him. :)

See? I wasn't kidding...gorgeous...

And I promise you, I DID NOT enhance the color of his eyes in this picture...they're just THAT blue and huge...