Monday, September 13, 2010

The best part of turning 30 is

The fantastic friends I have made over the last 30 years!

My beautiful family.
Jodi, Brent, and Andrea
Kalika, Brent, and I: the best employees Bryan LGH ever had.

Tosha and Mandy
Chris, brooke, Brad and Brian

Some more amazing Bryan workers:)

Maggie, Sam, Tosha, Hillary and I.

I think there should be a party like this for every year that I am in my 30s. Possibly even 40s. We'll see how I feel when I get there! I thought turning 30 might be tough, but so far so good. I couldn't imagine a much better situation than what I have (well, unless I owned a summer home somewhere tropical and had the money to fly there whenever the mood struck me.) Here's to a great decade!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Pondering an upcoming holiday

Right off the bat, I DID NOT make these cupcakes...Yet. But, I am making plans to do so on September 21st, as it will be International Day of Peace and also World Gratitude Day. Brainstorming other ways to celebrate a day that sounds like it has so much potential! Maybe a trip to the Humane Society to walk dogs? A litter pick-up walk? Take food to Matt Talbot? Get a tattoo of a dove? Looking forward to September 21st!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mary Jane for babies?

Willa got her first pair of vegan, hemp shoes!!! So cute and comfy. They are Isa Booties and we found them at CircleMe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

So many chances to help St. Monica's!

Hello, friends and family! Want to give you all an update on an awesome fundraiser that I get the opportunity to be a part of this September. It is called the Amazing Chase and it benefits St. Monica's behavioral health treatment organization. I am part of a team with three other girls (brooke petermann, Melanie Nebesniak, and Amber Smith) and we will compete against 30 other teams in a great big puzzle-type race that takes place all over Lincoln on Saturday, September 18. The goal of the whole group is to raise $60,000 to help out the women that the organization serves. Last year, the top fundraising team raised over $9,000. I would LOVE to see our team break $10,000! (Not to mention that the prizes are super-sweet, like a trip to the Dominican Republic and Las Vegas). The more money we raise, the earlier our start time will be for the race and the better chance we have of winning. Here is the website for St. Monica's, in case you are interested to learn more about their life-changing services or about the race:

We have a few projects in the works to help out with our fundraising efforts, and a few others that we are still cooking up so I will keep everyone up to date on ways they can help out.
On August 19, 20, and 21 we are holding a garage sale at the home of brooke petermann (8800 Garland St) and all the proceeds will go to St. Monica's. We invite you all to come and pick up some great deals! But prior to attending the garage sale, we are looking for anyone who has a few things in their garage/basement/spare bedroom that are collecting dust or stubbing your toes when you enter the room. Anything that you would like to be rid of and that could bring in a few dollars/cents when the right person comes across it. If you have anything of the sort, please contact me and I will come and pick it up! You will never have to see it again! Yay! You can call me, text me, email me, tell my husband and we will run on over and get it. My number is 402.890.1737 and my email address is It would be best if we could get it by next Wednesday evening, as the sale starts on Thursday, late afternoon.

Another really awesome deal that I would like to extend to anyone wishing to donate corresponds with my cleaning business, Purely Maid. I would like to offer to anyone donating $50 or more, a deep cleaning of all of their bathrooms. And, if you are really feeling charitable (or really not liking to clean) I will clean your whole home for a donation of $150 or more. OR if you would like to make the donation and give the cleaning as a gift to a friend, loved one, day care provider, boss...we can certainly work that out. All I ask is that the donation be made by September 15 and that the cleaning be scheduled by the end of this calender year. Monetary donations can be made directly to our fundraising site: GI Gals or a check can be written to me to be donated at the end of the collection period. Please feel free to share this information and the cleaning offer with anyone you feel would be interested! We are really motivated to WIN THIS RACE and to do great things for the women at St. Monica's. Please check back, as we have a few more FUN ideas in the works...Thank you for your time!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A project is underway.

New flooring has been purchased for the porch! I would say to look for before and after photos in the coming weeks but I don't think we took a before photo and now its not really "before" anymore. If you haven't seen our porch, picture a stuffy, storage place for recycling. That kind of smelled funny.

Thursday, July 29, 2010


I am so very glad that brooke chose Roald Dahl for book club. Normally I can't read during my night shifts, as it makes me too tired. But I am very motivated to stay awake for reading this book! And, because I can't NOT throw a little Willa in, she accompanied me to the library for the first time today to pick up the books. She loved it!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sending our love to Baby Sam

A few months ago, I posted very briefly about Baby Sam Bennett. With a very heavy heart, I share with you all that she was fitted for her angel wings last Tuesday, at 9 months of age. Such a HUGE message of love, hope, and strength in such a TINY package. There has not been a moment in my life the past week that I did not think of the Bennett family and of Baby Sam and of heaven and of angels. There was an article in the Journal Star today about Baby Sam's friend, Baby Morgan, who also passed away from the same genetic disorder, spinal muscular atrophy. Baby Morgan's parent's were quoted saying that they treated every day with Morgan as if it were Christmas or her birthday, as they knew that time with her was so precious and so limited. It makes me wonder why we don't all treat all of our days this way? With our babies, our older children, our spouses, our parents, our pets, our friends...? So that is what I learned from Sam and Morgan, and that is my new goal in life. God bless their families and friends who sill stay on this earth awhile longer to spread their message of love a little further.

I wanted to share a link to the blog posting that contains pictures of the pink balloon release that was held Friday evening, in honor of Sam. The photographers, Holly and Jared of The Moment It Clicks Photography, donated their time and talents to capture these beautiful moments for the Bennett family. We were so glad to be a part of it.
the moment it clicks photography
If you meander your way a bit further down their blog, you will also find a little snippet from the pictures they took at brooke and Brian's wedding! They do amazing work.

ps. sorry, I realize a blog post with no pictures is boring, but I got a little wrapped up in trying out new backgrounds and now its late and I'm yawning. But rest assured that had there been a picture, it would have been of Willa.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Baby sign language story...

I have a story to tell that only a mom or a friend of Willa will appreciate. So if you are neither of those things, it might bore you. But first is this darling picture of Brad and Willa taken on Father's Day in the Haymarket. We went to Buzzard Billy's for dinner when Brad got off work. We sat on the patio there and watched the hail come down!

Now for my story...Ever since Willa was about 4 months old and started having small amounts of rice cereal, I tried to teach her the 2 little baby sign language phrases I knew. I learned them from a coworker. They were "all done" and "more". I would show her both as we were eating the cereal and she would look at me like I was loony. Then as she got a little older, she would just laugh when I would do them. Never once did she imitate my actions or indicate that she was remembering or trying them. So probably about a month ago or so I just stopped showing them to her. I figured she would just learn to talk and we could skip the signing. When she is "all done" she just presses her lips together and grunts at me. Good enough, right??? Well, a few nights ago I had a little bowl of mashed avocado that I was feeding her with a spoon, and then a little bowl of black beans that I gave her a few of and she was feeding them to herself. She had eaten all the beans on her tray, so I tried another bite of the avocado and she did the lip thing and turned her head. I said "are you finished eating?" and she looked at the avocado bowl and did the sign for "all done!" Completely out of the blue! I thought it must be a coincidence. How on earth would she remember that from months ago??? So then I asked her if she wanted more beans and first she clapped a few times and then it turned into the sign for "more." I was just amazed! It was like we were having our first conversation! And she seemed SO proud of herself! All of the sudden, she seemed so grown up that it was almost eerie. On that same evening, she also gave me a big hug when I asked for a hug, and she pointed at the flowers in the book we were reading when I asked her to point at the flowers. It was the most fun to watch the learning process take place!
I know, that story probably seems lame to everyone but me, but its my new favorite:)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Putting babies in wagons too small and eliminating dairy

If you happen to be a friend of me elsewhere, besides the blog, then I am sure you already saw this picture more than once. But it seriously cracks me up. It makes Willa look huge! If there were nothing in the background to reference her size to, you would think she was about ready to take over the world!

And good news! I just now re-remembered how to send pictures from my phone to the blog! Now, I can post from work, instead of doing actual work. Night shifts are for the birds. To make this particular post a little more zesty, I thought I might just ramble about my recent delve into the world of veganism.

On the advice of a good friend, I purchased Alicia Silverstone's book, The Kind Diet, a few months ago. I still haven't actually read it, cover to cover, but I have tried a few of the recipes and glaced at a few sections. And I have been reading her blog weekly. She has come a long way from playing Cher in Clueless! She is living a completely vegan lifestyle and has a very non-intimidating way of writing about it. Since becoming a vegetarian a few years ago, I have always toyed with the idea of giving up the dairy products, so after reading Eating Animals and Alicia's blog, I gave it a little trial run. I did a pretty good job of it for about 2 weeks and it felt GREAT! I am not even kidding, my energy level quadrupled, at least. I loved what I was eating, I had fun cooking it, I lost several pounds. In 2 weeks. It was amazing. So you might be wondering why, with all these benefits, I didn't just keep it up??? I am wondering that too, now that I am writing about it and talking myself through it. Here are the troubles I had with it (and that I need to find ways to overcome).

1) Living in Lincoln, it is inconvenient to eat healthfully AND vegan anywhere but your own home. There are not very many restaraunts in a decent price range that offer healthy vegan options. Pasta is an option, but unless I can substitute whole wheat noodles, I don't want to eat too much of it. Sandwich places are a good option, just hold the cheese and mayo. And of course, Yia Yia's has a vegan pizza with soy cheese and veggies and it is super yummy. I think a good plan of attack for this setback (since no one seems to think I should move to New York City or Los Angeles just for the food) is to explore a few places that I don't normally eat, instead of eating at the normal fast food type places. Maybe Maggie's Wraps, The Cup, that Greatful Bread place...And also work on just not eating out so much.

2) It is a little bit more expensive to eat healthfully and veganly. Especially since my other half won't touch most of my new recipes. We have to pretty much buy 2 sets of groceries. And, since its just me eating the veggies and tofu, some of it tends to spoil before I get around to using it. The answer? Go to the grocery store more frequenly, but buy smaller amounts. And, really utilize the farmer's market this spring/summer.

3) My lack of will power. Sometimes in my personal life, I can be pretty darn lazy. Not usually at work, just at home. So sometimes even though I have the tasty, healthy supplies at home, I just decide we should get a pizza. Or, we go to a get-together and I don't prepare a vegan dish to take along. And the big one, that gets me every time, is baked goods. I have such a sweet tooth and when I am offered a cookie, a muffin, ice cream...I don't turn them down. Ever. This is where I really need to do some work and overcome my own personal shortcomings. And also, buy a vegan dessert cookbook:)

I think I am ready to dive back in, even if veganism is only something I do in big spurts. I just loved the way it made me feel! I realize that in our Nebraska farming culture, it is going to be impossible to eat this way 100% of the time, and I would never expect that others would cater to my new eating desires (it is nice enough that people provide me with vegetarian foods!) but you may see me eating a lot of vegetables in the future. Or toting around tupperwares of funky soups. But I don't plan to give up my quarterly sushi meals. A few times a year, some fish may have to die. Gosh, that sounds horrible. We'll see.

Maybe during my next bout of night shifts, you can learn something about Brad?!?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Loving the porch swing

After we played with the bubble gun, and everyone in the Van Boening family (dogs included) had naps, we went to Grandma and Grandpa Luth's for Easter dinner. It was so tasty, my mom always does a great job of feeding this vegetarian:) Willa got a few more gifts, and then we sat on the porch and enjoyed the beautiful Nebraska weather. Thanks, mom and dad!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scoring big with the Easter bunny

While we were away at church, watching Papa Brad make beautiful Easter music on his drums, the Easter bunny hid a few eggs at our house, and stuffed Willa's basket full of fun summer clothes, some books, a bubble gun, and a giraffe that plays a lullaby. For some reason, Willa always looks like she is about to take someones face off with her two little teeth, when I think she has the best intentions to give kisses.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A true ladies' man

I thought this picture of Willa with Great Grandpa Christensen deserved its very own post. Willa has a touch of "stranger fear" sometimes and since she doesn't get to see her great grandparents as much as we would like, I thought she might be a little fearful of him. I was wrong! She sat quietly on his lap for a long time. When I mentioned this, Grandpa said something about always having this effect on the ladies.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Now you will know all about my favorite holiday

I adore Easter. I always have. I'm not even sure what I like best about it. I love the church service, the music, the Starburst jelly beans, the yummy meal, the weather...It is just my favorite holiday! So it won't come as a surprise that we celebrated big this year with Willa. Case in point, I bought "several" (okay, 5) different outfits that were suitable to wear to Easter church. I might have gone overboard a bit.

The day before Easter, my mom and I took Willa to Grand Island to an Easter egg hunt at my cousin Jackie's house. It was quite the celebration! There were over a hundred little ones there, and nearly a thousand eggs! Willa also got to pet a pony and touch a baby duck, goat, and kitten. She was thrilled! Right after the picture was taken with the duck, she tried to eat its bill. Or maybe she was giving it love, I'm not sure. Many, many thanks to the Gellatly family for the lovely day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Willa's new big girl seat! It even has a cup holder. That means she is growing up WAAAAY to fast.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A visit with our favorite people

We finally made it to Grand Island to celebrate Grandma's birthday, and Grandma and Grandpa's anniversary - 69 years! That is an amazing love story.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

So many giggles

Willa has a nightly ritual of playing peek-a-boo with the pj's that she is about to wear to bed. I think it is just her way of stalling bedtime but it is so cute that we let her get away with it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Nuptual treats

This was prototype #1 for brooke and Brian's wedding dessert. Vanilla/almond. They were a hit! I may have to see a dentist after all the "testing" I did though. Very sweet.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Dear blog readers, this is very important

Please take a moment today, and each day in the month of March, to visit this website and vote to provide a year of funding for research into a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

I believe the website does a better job of explaining the disease than I can. The reason I ask that you do this is because of Baby Sam Bennett. I came across her story on facebook, through mutual friends of her family. Her papa, Zach, went to Hastings College at the same time as I did. I didn't know him well but it breaks my heart to hear of a story about a tiny human, so close in age and appearance to my own little muffin, who will only be on this earth for a very short time. Baby Sam's mom, Laura, has a blog here: Please also keep this beautiful family in your thoughts and prayers. I cannot begin to imagine the strength that it must take them to get though each day. God bless them, and all other families affected by illness and loss.


Look at Willa with Kael and Borne! She looks huge (and like she might feast on them at any moment:) They are each about 2 months apart, with Willa being the oldest. It won't be long and they will catch up with her, she better pick on them while she can!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Did I say Michael Phelps? I meant Michael Jordan.

I think our little lady is unnaturally good at rolling a ball around. Really! She has aim and can catch and everything! She is kind of a ball hog, but she will fit in just fine with the rest of the Lakers, right???

Weiners in shirts

Our washing machine did something goofy to this cute onesie of Willa's. So Bailey wears it to the office on casual Fridays.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Heart Day!

The original plan for Valentine's Day was to spend it in Grand Island with Brad's family and my grandparents but the oh-so-familiar Nebraska snow had other plans for us. So, we had a very nice dinner at my parents house, and they had some gifts for Willa. Brad and I gave each other gifts too, but we must have forgotten to photograph them. They were shirts.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The following post is not suitable for children

A gruesome, violent crime was committed in our home, involving Mr. Frog. The suspect IS in custody.