Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Well let's talk about my husband right now! We went to bed at 11:30 pm. This morning he told me that he got up and shaved at 12:15 am and had the shower running. He was going to get me up when he looked at the clock and decided that 45 minutes of sleep was not sufficient. I think I would have knocked his lights out if I would have gotten up and ready.

Actually my story for this blog is a prayer request also. I was putting stuff away today in one of my upper cupboard. While getting down my flip flop got stuff in the hem of my pants and I fell. I think (HOPE) that I just rolled my ankle (it hurts on the top of my foot), but it hurts a little. I put a bag of corn on it when I got home to ice it. It feels better now.


This is for you Scoggins!!!

Jason's second favorite meal is meatloaf. He actually has lots of seconds and no favorites - there always has to be room for something to come along and be the best is his theory. We were making it Sunday night and the kids were helping in the process. Actually I don't know if helping is the right word, but it was "fun????"

At school we were talking about meatloaf and I wanted to let Amy know that she is the only person in the world that doesn't like meatloaf. Jess's son Jackson got his first meatloaf at 14 months. First he took a bit and chewed slowly figuring out what his mom had put on his plate, but then decided that it was great and was two-fisting it into his little mouth. Drew attacks meatloaf with a similar technique. So Amy - don't deprive your poor boys and give them meatloaf!

House Update

Well I would like to say that there are big changes, but to the ordinary eye there isn't much new except tons of wires everywhere. The above picture is the water tubing that goes everywhere in the house.

The plan is for insulation to go in this week and dry wall delivered on Friday. PROGRESS!!!

Only if the poor sider could get there, but we are getting so much rain right now. Wish it would cool off my classroom a little bit though!

Second Day Fun!

Many of you know that our kids like to throw up - especially at inappropriate times. Usually in the car while going somewhere or when it is really hot!

I was so confident that I didn't need help getting to school on Tuesday that I told Jason to go after putting my stuff in the car. I was doing great. Kids in the car on time and everyone was still sane!!! I put the garage door up, started to back up, Drew starts coughing the cheese cube that I gave him. I yell, "NO!!!" Put the van in park and run to the other side just in time to see him up chuck his entire milk glass and some reminants of last nights supper. Great.

Ally watch the movie - while Drew and I change. On the road a few minutes late with a smile on our face - Everything can't go perfect that quick into the year.

First Day of School

Well yes it is not close to the first day of school, but I was too tired and busy to get these up last week. Everything is going great and I really like CCA! It is not much different that STL, but not so much color.

Ally loves preschool. When we ask what she did, she say, "I can't tell you. It is a secret." She is continually singing new funny songs about how to sit or clean up or whatever activity they are doing. She has so many funny quirks about her that I can't mention them all, but here are a couple of my favorites!

1. At supper one night she was tellin me (Jason was in WI) about the potato thing. They had to cover their head on the floor so that their bodies wouldn't get hurt and the potato wouldn't get them. She showed me and it looked like what I would do in a TORNADO drill. I asked the teachers the next day and they had taught the kids about the tornado drill. Phonics aren't our strong area, I guess.

2. She is also watching the Big Comfy Couch when getting to school. They do "exercise" she was a clock the other day by laying on her back and circling her legs in the air.

3. When getting to school, she told me that we didn't need to hold hands at school - where is my baby going????

4. When leaving the same day, she was in tears because she had to go tell her teacher something???? She is in love with Miss Joanna. I am so glad that she loves school because she has a long road ahead of her!!!

Drew on the other hand is not a big fan of leaving mom and sister. He asks to go back to the truck everyday. He is getting used to being at Sherry's. She is awesome and loves those guys so much. He is VERY excited to see his big sister in the car every night. I just wish they would continue that love when they got home and wouldn't fight!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Good Thing about Living in Iowa!

Remember that you can click on a picture to make it bigger!

The Iowa State Fair is one of the highlights of everyone's summer. I think that Rachel went 4 or more times this year. It offers a little something to everyone and a lot of fun for everyone. We try to go as a family even though we didn't stick together. There are WAY to many people there to stick together. Of coarse you find lots of people you know - especially if you are with my dad.

Things that we enjoyed

  • Fair Food! - Ohh the things you can eat. You can get a deep fat fried anything (oreos, twinkies, pickles, funnel cake, real potato chips, etc) You can eat any animal that is grown in Iowa. Jason over the years of working at the fair for 4H has tried all the food booths almost. His favorite is the Cattleman's. If you can't figure it out - they sell really good BEEF which you must say with a low grunting voice. Jason ordered a Mark and Gary pound burger. He didn't eat all three patties. We figured it was cheaper to buy it and let the kids eat the extra burgers since they don't like the bun. Jason had to wear a button the rest of the day showing that he was proud of endeavor. Chris likes the pork chop on the stick. My mom got the hugest corn dog that I had ever seen. Ally and Drew discovered Aunt Rachels Dip n Dots. She had to go get another cup. I am not sure what I like the best. I usually try and get an egg roll or the ice cream from the Diarymen of Iowa. Didn't get those this year. The lines were way to long for everyone to get their favorite, so I settled on a ribeye sandwich. Sacrifices.

  • Animals up the ying yang! Everyone must bring their prized possession. There are contest for the largest pig and bull. Man they were huge. I think the bull weighed close to 3600 pounds and the boar weighed just under 1200. We looked at a lot of the animals. The kids enjoyed touching the some that we laying near the edge. Ally enjoyed watching one man feed his pigs. He put several types of poteins and then mixed it with water. We also visited a petting zoo, but wasn't much fun since all the signs said that the animals liked to bite.

  • BIG SLIDE - Half the trick of the fair is to hide all the rides. The Midway is where most parents will go broke at the fair - unless Rachel talks you into a new pair of $180 boots! But Ally could see the big slide that Grandma promised to go down with her. At the end of the day we forked out $2.50 to go down. We had to pay for the kids even though they were on our laps. After getting our tickets a lady from India said here take these and gave me 4 free slide tickets. Yeah!!! The kids went down the first time and LOVED it so at least got to go down again.

  • Little Hands Farm - This was cool and maybe they have had it before but we hadn't seen it. The kids got to be a farmer. They went it and got their apron, basket and hat (got to keep it!) They first planted and picked some veggies, then they got corn and soy beans, then picked an appled, gathered eggs from the chickens, then came the terror - ride the tractor. Riding was great BUT getting off was another story. After the tractor ride Ally continued and Drew went for a break with Jason. We sheered the sheep, milked the cow, sold our produce and got a dollar to spend in the store where we bought crackers and cheese. It was cute and the kids loved it!

  • Tractors and More Tractors! Drew spent most of his day pulling someone to each and every tractor there and sitting on it. Reminds me of Andy Gross on the farm Kaylee and Ally liked to sit on them for awhile. We had to pry Rachel off though :) I know that a lot of the pictures are on "off" colors. Drew still thinks that they are all "Jon Eeres" though.

  • For those of you not familiar with the weird traditions of Iowa, some lady always sculpts a cow and other significant thing out of butter. Yes it is true and it has one of the longest lines. I am not sure what they do with it afterwards, but it would top A LOT of baked potatoes! This year she did superman along with the cow.

  • Tatoos - You have to go and show your school spirit. I didn't seem much UNI, but saw more than enough Hawkeye stuff and proud that ISU was shown more - they are the ag school. Every good parent makes their kid get a tatoo showing who they cheer for. Ally took hers off with in minutes. She must be a Hawk fan at heart. Drew cried when he got his.

  • Well the list could go on and on and you are probably sick of reading it, but you didn't have to keep scrolling. It was a good day and the fair always means that the summer has come to an end. Until next year!

    Friday, August 18, 2006

    What a Day!

    Oh this day might need to be smothered with prayer and praise! Our babysitter called last night at 9:15 and said she needed to close the daycare for Friday due to too many kids sick. Huh???? What do I do at this time of night? I called all the babysitters that we had watch our kids. All busy. Aunt Rachel had to work. Grandma was one of three in the office due to a huge funeral in Brooklyn.

    So what to do. Last day of teacher's mtg and I had a parent conference at 8 bells. Jason can't get behind either. Well - he went in REALLY early and my principal said I could bring them for the morning. Drew went with me and actually sat on my lap and crawled on the desk beside me during the conference - YIPPEEEE - who is this kid??? Ally watch Beauty and the Beast. Now I need to work so we will see how they do. Jason will come in a couple hours to get them and take his turn.

    The trials (or what we think are trials) of the Willis family.

    Thursday, August 17, 2006

    The MAP is still Here!

    These are some crazy folks from my school singing about the MAP. Actually it is curriculum mapping which is recording what we actually teach. It is much better than what I have known as the MAP.

    Tractors Must have Wagons!

    Drew has been influenced and might be smarter than we expected. Yesterday I looked out the window to see him trying to hook his wagon up to his bike. I am not brilliant and just smiled. I told my mom about it and she got one of Ally's "jump ropes" (aka bungee cords). She hooked up the wagon. Drew was in heaven. We need to teach him about turning corners and not to run over kitties, but other than that him might be a professional.

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    A Great Start

    Ahhh a bad start this morning contrary to the heading. I sent Jason on his way knowing that at some point I have to get the kids ready by myself. Yeah most moms or dads do this already, but it is hard to wake them up at 6:30 and everyone be in a good mood.

    I was doing soooo good. We were in the car - noone screaming (bonus!!). I had given them a cheese cube to munch on while watching Jakers! I had it in reverse when I looked back to see Drew gag on the cheese. "NOOOOOO!" I screamed hoping that I would magically stop it, but as I got out ran behind the car, he had already thrown up. Yuck!

    So clean out the car, clean up the kid, put him back in and drive off - 15 minutes later. ahhhh hopefully it will go better tomorrow!

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Feeding the Cows

    When I blog - I go! Now don't just read all of these and say busy the Willis's are. It is not that difficult to comment on any of the posts. You don't have to "sign up" either!!!

    I am so excited that this week we aren't going to WI and we have no evening plans or commitments that we HAVE to do. We get to work and play. This morning as we were going to our first day of school - teacher's mtgs. Ally asked if she was going to work to. Yeah - you are going to Ms. Sherry's house to play today. "No mommy, I am going to work at Ms. Sherry's house." Man what it would be like to work like that. If my nap included a two hour nap, I would be in heaven!

    Jason was weeding eating the much needed disaster around our house and the kids were enjoying feeding the cows the tall weeds. The tricky part is getting it OVER the barb wire fence without getting stuck. Ally can testify that it doesn't feel good on the arm. Drew's shirt was not excited about getting hung up either.

    Grandpa Charlie came over to feed the cows one last time and Aunt Rachel helped with baths and read Drew his bedtime books. She might be our hero if she can bring Chad's Ernie over tomorrow. We left Drew's in STL at Lori's house. Hope Chad will be able to sleep without him. It is so nice to be in a regular swing and to enjoy and evening with my family!

    Sleeping Kids!

    Some days you fight and fight to get your kids to sleep. I just want you to sleep so that you won't be crazy maniacs tonight!!! Okay the real reason is so that I can have 45 minutes or more (cross fingers) of quiet to get something done.

    Ally is starting to get old enough to not "need" a nap in her opinion. If she takes one we won't get her to bed though. Drew on the otherhand becomes groucho without one. Drew didn't feel extremely well today and after and hour and a half of fighting him to stay in bed - I gave in and put him on the couch to watch a movie with Ally.

    Tada - 10 minutes later and both were out. Movie ran out and they slept for about and hour and a half. We tip toed around hoping not to stir our sleeping monsters - I mean - beauties.

    St. Louis - Home Sweet Home??

    Jason and I really enjoyed the Summit retreat that we went to at Calvary this weekend. I am planning to go back next year and would encourage anyone to attend one of Willow Creeks conference if you have the chance.

    We also got to enjoy the sweet fellowship of friends. Ally and Drew loved to play with the Brown kids on Thursday and Trip and Quinn (Quinn was not incredibly exciting) at Miss Chris's on Friday. We ate with Randy and the kiddos. Jason and Drew enjoyed cleaning their ears with crayons. They both loved playing with Daisy and giving her treats.

    I can't believe that it has been over two months since we have lived in STL, but I miss it dearly. I miss all our friends. I keep trying to get Amy interested in East Iowa Bible Camp, but Chuck reminds me it is the wrong direction. Ahh who cares - there is plenty of room for Sharon and Becky. There are cowboys for Scott and people that can't hear for Charles! Jason just mentioned that there are a lot of Amish people that need websites!

    We love all of you that read the site from Misery! Just what have you done to our poor Cardinals though????

    Update - But not much change...

    These are from August 4th, but I need to document them. The roof is shingled and the garage and stoop is poured, but not much else is new.

    By this weekend we should have siding. Slow process now trying to get all the "guts" put in behind the walls.

    Household Fun

    What can you do with two laundry baskets and a bat??? A row boat! Duh!!! Keeps them busy while making lunch.

    Wednesday, August 9, 2006

    My Hero

    We had a big thunderstorm this morning that only lasted about 30 minutes but caused us a small headache. Jason was about ready to leave this morning but I talked him into staying a couple minutes so that he didn't get so wet running to the car. I don't think he would have really been able to see the road either. He ran downstairs to check the forcast on the internet. A couple minutes - I means (that is for you Mel) seconds he came up. "I know where the water came from last week." Calmly he said that our basement was quickly filling with water.

    Water was GUSHING in through the wall where the pipes come in the OLD farm house. GUSHING means water flowing in full force through a 4 inch hole. He gets a broom and I call my mom so my dad can help and bring the stuff to clean that is in STL storage. Remember it is 6:15 in the morning!

    An hour later the mud - yes mud - was cleaned up mainly off the floor and the standing water was gone. My dad ran to Grinnell to my uncles carpet cleaning business to get a massive fan to blow under the carpet.

    I was getting out of bed at the time to come work on the computer. If Jason hadn't stayed I might have cussed when I saw all the water. What would I have done without my sweetheart? Freak out with the 4 inches of water on the floor inching closer to my computer. I guess our morning has started off with quite a BANG!

    Monday, August 7, 2006

    Would You Believe It?

    What was Jason's least favorite Sunday morning church activity???? If you have ever sat with Jason during church you would know that he doesn't like standing and shaking hands. Well - foot in mouth - a few weeks ago we commented on how we missed that because we don't get to talk to anyone in church.

    We went one Sunday to church in WI and they did. This past week at Parkview, they had us stand up and greet. We laughed at our most dreaded activity, but now a relief to say hi to the people around us.

    We have found "our spot," but it seems that everyone else sits in random spots each week. WE NEED FRIENDS! Ally on the other hand absolutely loves her class and cried last week when I picked her up. "I forgot to color my picture. I was too busy playing and didn't stop to color."

    Klaire Julia!

    Many of you have prayed for our friends, Sheryl and Jack. Sheryl has had some difficulties during pregancies. Klaire was born at the end of June and it doing well. Ally HAD to hold her making me more nervous than Sheryl. Drew just wanted to scream at her. He didn't touch her for obvious reasons!


    I have been working many days in my room. I could have just thrown my stuff in and gone but at some point I would have had to clean it all out. Thanks to my sweet husband I have been able to go on Saturday while he keeps the kids. Also he came and helped me get rid of ALOT of trash (8 boxes full and 2 trash cans). I could have had the custodians do it, but I am trying to keep them as friends!(Below is the trash pile)

    You can't tell much, but the desks are slowly emptying and things are organized or disappeared!


    We got to go to a friend's wedding reception on Saturday evening. Jason and I stopped at the house and I about cried - It is soooo nice. It is just what I have wanted. Yes it might be very similar to our house in STL, but I loved that house!

    The windows are obviously in and Monday they should have put the shingles on. They said they will start the rough ins (electrical and plumbing stuff) later this week. Our builder didn't think the siding guy could get there til next week. It is moving fast and I can't wait!!! Our other surprise was that the basement was framed. They aren't finishing the basement, but the North Liberty code says that they must "fur" the basement which to me means insulate it. Most contractors put it without the framing, but our guy decided to frame it. This will help Jason so much in the months to come and save us money later!

    Welcome to my room! I "have" kind of a picture of Drew in his room, but it wasn't good and I was trying to keep him from falling off the second floor. I will be much more comfortable with him in there once the walls are done.

    ABC for Me!

    A is for age:

    B is for booze of choice:
    don't drink, but love happy hour with a Pepsi or cherry coke

    C is for career:
    middle school math teacher

    D is for your dog's name:
    no dog and don't want one

    E is for essential items you use/love everyday:
    computer and overhead - can't teach without it!

    F is for favorite song(s) at the moment:
    Yikes I have no clue - we listen to kid's music in the car!

    G is for favorite games:
    rook or pepper

    H is for hometown:
    I'm paranoid about internet stalkers

    I is for instruments you play:
    piano and flute

    J is for jam or jelly you like:
    strawberry rhubarb jam

    K is for kids:
    Drew - 21 months, Ally - 3 1/2 yrs

    L is for last kiss:
    Gave: Drew Received: Jason

    M is for most admired trait:

    N is for name of your crush:

    O is for overnight hospital stays:
    kidney stones while prego, having Ally, kidney stones, having Drew

    P is for phobias:
    naked in bed at night if a stranger breaks in or a fire

    Q is for quotes you like:
    "Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Proverbs 31:30

    R is for biggest regret:
    not going overseas right away after Jason graduated from college

    S is for sweets of your choice:

    T is for time you wake up:
    5:30 during school - yikes I have to start that next week!

    U is for underwear:
    Victoria's Secret

    V is for vegetables you love:

    W is for worst habit:
    nail biting - trying to quit!

    X is for x-rays you've had:
    kidney stones

    Y is for yummy food you make:
    Turkish casserole, meatloaf :), potato soup

    Z is for zodiac sign:

    Now you know my ABCs... Won't you play along with me!
    Do it on your blog and then leave me a comment that you did it.

    Thursday, August 3, 2006

    Ice Cream Fans!

    If you know Jason really well then you know that one of his favorite foods is ice cream. He especially loves vanilla with strawberries. It is not difficult to talk him into going to get ice cream.

    A long time ago on a girl's night, my friend Sheryl and I went to Des Moines. We went to hang out at Barnes and Noble. I remember buying my wedding planning book there with her. Afterwards she said we had to go to her favorite ice cream place. It sounded fishy that they put you ice cream on a marble slab and mix things in - how can this be better than DQ. Well it was! Maggie Moos has become my favorite ice cream shop. We found one by chance in STL in Ladue on our way to one of the few Barnes and Nobles one night. We also got lucky when driving around one night in WI. I don't think that Iowa City has one yet.

    I didn't have a camera last night, but my phone works kind of. Like I said - Jason loves ice cream and is not a very good sharer. The kids had their own ice cream, but kept asking for a bite. I think that it is nearly impossible to say no to either one of their cute smiles and cunning "bite pease", but Jason had no problem. But they were persistent and continued to beg.

    The crazy man bought them cotton candy ice cream - I blame this on him because he was the one who ordered it. Not only was it 8:00 almost and cotton candy - but BRIGHT BLUE! To say the least, they both needed baths by the end of the adventure.

    So if you see a Maggie Moos - stop and enjoy a waffle cone. Jason's favorite is strawberry with oreos. I change it up but like batter with butterfingers or butter pecan with oreos. Personally it is better than Coldstone and in a close race with Fritz's!

    Wednesday, August 2, 2006

    Corn Season!

    Not sure if everywhere in the US has corn stands on the side of the roads, but it is always exciting in IA to have corn on the cob. Everyone knows where the good stands are. The best place in Ames is a house on 24th Street.

    In Appleton there are not very many options and I don't want to look for a farmer's market! So I will have to trust the grocery store sign that says "From Local Farmers."

    Drew is learning from his Daddy how to eat corn. He makes an absolute mess! There is corn everywhere!!!

    Ally is becoming a professional corn eater - which would make both grandpas proud. She eats in a row all the way across and then goes to the next. Some might think that is showing signs of being anal at a young age.

    Jason is getting his picture in because of is show-off abilities. He told me that I could take pictures of his undies later and post them, but no one wants to see that. We need to start an undies fund for him!

    After supper we headed out to make a bigger mess with ice cream. I will have to post those tomorrow night. Jason is driving me crazy with his snoring on the couch. I guess Letterman wasn't that exciting!

    Sooooo Pretty!

    We were coloring the other day. We found the Dora sticker earings and rings. Ally was so good to keep them in all day and was precious. Jason and I talked about getting her ears pierced on the way to WI, but think we will wait. We aren't sure that they will get the second one in after they pierce her first ear!

    Drew, on the other hand, doesn't quite get stickers. He puts them on his forehead. He always loves to get one at Wal-Mart!

    2nd Floor is On

    We didn't bring our computer with us to WI this time - less to lug back! I have Jason's laptop at night though. After completing my online training for Child abuse and bloodborne pathogens for school, I can try to upload a few pictures!

    Notice the kiddos in the front window. They weren't cooperating!

    The back it really big. It needs a deck to help break it up!

    We know that the roof trusses are on and it should be close to be shingled in the roofer got out there. I guess we will see what is there this weekend! The decisions to be made are hard. You have to live with what you picked for a long time. You might be able to change your bathroom color but siding color is there for a lifetime!