Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

So Christmas 2011 definitely did not turn out how I thought it would. Payton ended up getting sick the night before Christmas Eve. She had a 103 fever. I took her into Urgent Care on Christmas Eve morning, and they tested for RSV which was negative - thank goodness. I suspected an ear infection, but she didn't have that either. The dr. said it was viral, and gave her a steroid for the congestion. Meanwhile, Chad's family is arriving our house for a Christmas gathering. We got home in time to visit with everyone, but obviously Payton was not feeling the greatest. Chad ended up going to church services since he had to serve communion and I stayed home with a sick little girl. I have to admit, I was very sad about not being able to go to church services and I cried a little. This is the first year that I haven't gone, and it just didn't seem right. I just love the candlelight service. There is something so magical about singing "Silent Night" by candlelight. Also, my parents have a little gathering at their house every year after church services, and we missed out on that too. My mom always makes the best food. She made sure that she saved us a couple bacon-wrapped smokies and her pickle roll-ups. :) Something else that was different about this was the first Christmas that I didn't wake up at my parents' house on Christmas morning. That's right---30 years old and have spent every Christmas morning at my parents' house. We usually go to church with my parents and then stay the night at their house Christmas Eve and wake up there Christmas morning. It was so weird to not wake up at their house this year. But now that we have Payton, I think it's important that she wakes up at HER own house on Christmas morning.

Thankfully, Payton was feeling better on Christmas morning, but still not 100%. We opened presents here, got ready, and then headed to Baxter to open presents at my parents' house. Aaron and Jess were there too. After that, we traveled to Knoxville to celebrate with my grandparents' and have supper. My grandma had a fantastic meal (as always) and we had a nice time.

2nd Annual Sugar Cookie Making Day

Every year on the second weekend in December, Chad goes on a deer hunting trip with his college buddies down to southern Iowa.  I think he said this year is the 15th year they've been doing it.  He leaves on Friday after school and doesn't come back until Monday evening.  Ever since we've had Payton, my parents have come to stay that weekend to keep us company.  Last year Mom and I used our gift certificates to the spa and we had so much fun, we decided to make it an annual thing while Chad is on his hunting trip :)  We also made sugar cookies last year and decided to make that an annual tradition as well.    I remember not having very good luck with the dough last year as it was too sticky and very hard to work with. We thought it was because I didn't let it chill long enough. So this year I made sure to chill the dough overnight---didn't help. We had the same situation as last year. So, we cheated and went out and bought the Pillsbury dough. :) This was MUCH easier to work with. I am going to have to try to find a different recipe for next year. Here are some pictures from our fun day!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Golden Apple Award

This morning, my mom received the Golden Apple Award from WHO-TV 13 and Allied Insurance. The entire school was called for an assembly at 10:30, but no one knew what it was for. Chad, Payton, Aaron, Jess, Kaylee, my dad, and I had to sneak into the school so Mom didn't see us. She was so shocked when her name was called. She is definitely deserving of this award. She has been teaching for 35 years, and is retiring after this year. We are so proud of her! Congratulations, Mom! We love you!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Behind in Blogging

So, here it is almost Thanksgiving and I haven't even blogged about Halloween.  I have been working on a class this month, and just finished it, so I thought I would do a little blogging.

Payton had a fun Halloween.  She seemed to really enjoy it this year.  She didn't quite understand the concept yet, because after the people would give her the candy, she would try to give it back to them.  :) 

We had a lot of fun this fall.  We were able to make a trip to Appleberry Farm here in Marshalltown and also to Carroll's Pumpkin Farm in Grinnell. 

As I put away Payton's Halloween costume this year, I looked at her costumes from the past couple years.  The first year she wore a hand-me-down costume that was given to us by some friends.  That fall I was shopping at Old Navy and scored some $2 costumes.  I bought a 12 month butterfly for her to wear for her second Halloween and a 2T monkey for her to wear for her third Halloween.  I remember at the time thinking how long it would be until she would be able to wear them.  Well, it sure doesn't seem like it was that long ago that I bought them.  Time goes way too fast!




Monday, October 17, 2011

UNI Homecoming

UNI Homecoming was October 8. It was a GORGEOUS day! We got to Cedar Falls a little early so we could hit up the bookstore. Then we took a little walk around campus to look at all the leaves and the fall colors. Such a fun day! Go Panthers!


On October 6, I turned 30.  I was really dreading it.  However, it ended up being very fun and probably my most memorable birthday yet.  On Saturday, October 1st, Chad threw a surprise party for me.  I went shopping in Williamsburg for the day with my good friends who I used to teach with in Newton.  When I came home, I walked in to a house full of people!  I was quite surprised, and very impressed that he pulled it off!  It was a fun night, and I am so blessed that many of my family and friends were there to help me celebrate.  I hardly took any pictures from the night, but here are a couple.
Banner that my mom made
Cake (notice the fire extinguisher in the background)
Then on my actual birthday, I was greeted with yet another surprise.  I walked into my classroom that day and saw that my co-workers had done quite a number to my room. 

Then after school, we all went out to our favorite Mexican restaurant, El Portal.  Chad and Payton met me there.  They even sang to me and let me wear the sombrero!! :)

This is my present from Chad.  So excited to go see them on November 19!

All in all, it was a great birthday and made me realize just how lucky I am to have such great family and friends.  Everyone keeps telling me that the 30's are great years....let's hope they are right!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Football Fun

I changed the background of the blog to a football theme.  I thought it was quite appropriate.  My brother and dad are both football coaches.  Dad is in his 12th year at William Penn and this is Aaron's 4th or 5th year at Twin Cedars, but his first year as head coach.  Penn is having a great season and I think Aaron's team is doing ok.  I feel like a horrible sister/daughter because I haven't been to any of their games yet.  Chad went to Aaron's game last week and we are hoping to get to Penn's Homecoming game October 29.  In addition to following Aaron and Dad's teams, Chad and I are followers of Bobcat football and this is a fun season to watch!  Our quarterback was named ESPN HS player of the week last week, which was pretty cool.  I had him in class as a 7th grader when I taught at the middle school.  He is a great kid and it's neat to see him doing so well.  Also, this is our first year as UNI season ticket holders.  We went to our first home game this season last Saturday and it was so much fun.  We were not sure how Payton would do because when we took her to a Bobcat game earlier this season, she hated all the noise.  But on Saturday she did awesome!  She sat on Chad's lap the entire game.  It was a fun day and I'm looking forward to spending many more Saturdays at the dome in Cedar Falls!
Go Sabers!

Go Bobcats!
Go Statesmen!

Go PaNtHeRs!!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


On Labor Day, we took a trip to the Blank Park Zoo.  This summer, we had won some free passes, but we never got a chance to go over the summer.  So, we decided Labor Day would be the perfect opportunity.  Well, it seems that the whole city of Des Moines felt that same way.  The place was PACKED!  We had to park in the overflow of the overflow parking!!  I have never really been a big fan of zoos, and I think Payton takes after me in that regard.  I took her once when she was just a year old.  We went with some friends, and she pretty much slept through most of it.  So, I was really excited for this trip because I thought she would have a blast now that she's older.  I was wrong.  Apparently zoos just aren't her thing.  She did get excited seeing the monkeys, and she did feed the giraffes.  (Although we pretty much forced her.)  Despite her lack of enthuisiasm at the zoo, it still was a nice family day.  On our way to Des Moines, we stopped in Newton to visit my friend Sara's newborn baby, Trey Michael.  What a cutie! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?

I took the title of this blog post straight from the Alan Jackson song.  I remember exactly where I was that morning.  I was a sophomore at William Penn University, and my roommate and I had gone up to the cafeteria for breakfast.  Once we entered the cafeteria, I remember seeing lots of people in tears.  We weren't sure what was going on, but quickly learned that two planes had hit the Twin Towers.  We went back to our rooms to watch the coverage on tv and just sat in disbelief.  How could something like this happen?   

We take time today on the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 to remember all those who lost their lives that day and all those who fight for ours today.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tailgate fun

Last weekend Chad and I went to Ames for the UNI/Iowa State game.  We went early to tailgate at Dolly.  Dolly is the RV that my friend Kristy and her family use for the ISU games.  Jess, Keith, and the boys joined us for some tailgating as well.  The weather was pretty crappy, but we still had a good time.  The game was a close one....I really thought UNI would pull it off, but they came up short. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Well, our summer is officially over and school is  back in session.  We made it through our first week back.  I have a nice group of 2nd graders.  It is my biggest class yet with 25 students.  Chad is enjoying his classes and his cross country kids.  Middle school cross country practice started last Thursday.  Payton is doing great back at daycare!  I think she really missed her friends and Karla.  My goal is to keep up with this blog, but you all know how that goes.  I was doing really well posting over the summer, but now that I'm back at work, who knows.  Here's to a great school year!

Monday, August 8, 2011

To the Birthday Girl

Dear Payton,
We can't believe you are two already!  Where does the time go?  You fill our lives with so much joy and we are so lucky to be your parents!  You are constantly making us laugh.  Your new-found obsession with our keys and cell phones is quite amusing.  Keys:  You don't quite understand that we need the keys to get into the house and start the car.  When we take them from you, you get a little very angry.  Phones:  You like to pretend that almost any object is a phone and you put it up to your ear and start chatting away. 
You are definitely finding your independence and like to do lots of things on your own.  We have started doing "time-outs" when you are acting naughty, but those don't seem to be working effectively.  When you start acting up and we ask you if you want to sit in time-out, your reply is "Yeah."  So...we might need to look at a new approach to the time-out situation.  :)
Your appetite continues to be great, and I am still amazed at how one can eat as much as you do and still remain in the 5th-10th percentile for weight.  Can you share your tips with me?  :)  You eat almost anything we set on your plate, but your favorite is definitely fruit.  You love all kinds: bananas, strawberries, grapes, watermelon, name it! 
You continue to have Papa wrapped around your finger.  When Papa is in the room, you want nothing to do with anyone other than him.  You are his little princess.  I love watching your bond with him. 
You have enjoyed being home with Mommy and Daddy over the summer, but I think you are ready to get back to Karla and all  your friends at daycare.  
You were doing really well with using the potty, going every morning and after nap.  We kind of got out of the habit this summer though.  When school starts back up, we hope to really work on the potty training. 
We love you so much and are so blessed.  Happy 2nd birthday, sweet pea!  We love you to the moon and back!
xoxo  Mommy and Daddy

2nd Birthday Party Fun

Yesterday was Payton's 2nd birthday. We held a zebra-themed party at our house last evening. The birthday girl sure loved seeing everyone and is enjoying all her presents. Thank you to all who made her special day so memorable!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Heavenly Birthday

Sending birthday wishes to Chad's dad in heaven. Today would have been his 60th birthday. It makes me sad that Payton never got to meet her Grandpa Pietig, but we know he is watching over her. We love and miss you Gary! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Haircut

Last Monday we took Payton to get her very first haircut!  We took her to my friend Janell in Baxter, who also does my hair.  I was a little nervous as to how Payton would do since she absolutely hates it when I comb her hair, but she did great!  I was really impressed with how well she sat in the chair and she didn't fuss one bit.  Chad and I joked with Janell that we need to have her come to our house every morning when we are in a battle just to get a comb through her hair.  :)

The first snip

Picking out a piece of candy for being a good girl

Thanks for my hair cut, Janell! 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Last Monday morning we awoke to our weather radio going off. It was about 4 AM. I heard it say that there was a tornado warning for Marshall county and I remember mumbling, "Are you serious?" So, we got Payton and Relay and some flashlights and headed downstairs to the utility room. We weren't down there for too long before the power went off. I usually don't get too scared in tornado warnings, but ever since the Parkersburg tornado, I definitely take them more seriously! Chad's brother and his family live in Parkersburg and thankfully their house wasn't hit by that tornado, but it was certainly devasting for the entire town. Anyway, I remember sitting there hearing a noise and Chad got a worried look on his face. I asked him what the noise was and he said, "Oh, nothing." (I found out later that the noise he heard was part of our tree falling, but he didn't say anything because he didn't want to worry me.) After the warning expired, we came up to check out the damage. We looked out our big picture window to see half our tree lying in the backyard. Chad went out with the flashlight to inspect (as well as all our neighbors). Once the sun came out, you could see that we were definitely hit hard by this storm. Chad spent that afternoon and the entire next day cleaning up and making several trips to the compost pile. We were lucky that our power was only off for about 12 hours. It ended up coming back on around 4 that afternoon. Lots of others in town were without power for 3 or 4 days! We still have some limbs hanging, so we'll need to get that taken care of. Our insurance won't cover it since the tree is not on the house or blocking the gargage. We got an estimate from a tree service in town: $500-$800!! That is just crazy! Oh well, I guess things could have been much worse. All in all, we are lucky that's all the damage we had.

Here is an article I took from the T-R.  It sums up the damage from the surrounding areas.

A breakdown of damage in the Times-Republican’s coverage area

July 16, 2011

By KEN BLACK - Staff Writer

While most of the area has had power restored, here is a brief breakdown of the damage in Marshalltown and surrounding communities.

Despite the property damage, no injuries were reported. The list below is not a comprehensive look at all of the damage, but a general overview of what many towns experienced.


Power out in some areas for several days, but most restored by Friday. Some homes and buildings had structural damage, either directly from the wind or falling trees. Corn was damaged at farm fields surrounding Marshalltown. Street lights were also down several days.

Green Mountain

In one of the hardest hit areas in Marshall County, Green Mountain sustained heavy damage at the grain elevator. Some of the silos lay in ruin, a mangled mess of steel that looks almost like it was crushed as easily as an aluminum pop can. Power was still out Thursday afternoon, but was supposed to be restored some time Thursday evening. The wind caused structural damage to a number of homes as well.


Downed trees caused damage to a number of homes in Melbourne. Residents spent much of the week cleaning up. Power was restored Tuesday night for a good portion of town.


A garage in Laurel was flattened by a tree, but many others in the area also had damage from falling trees, including a tree on at least one home. Outside of Laurel, extensive damage was done to trees on farmsteads and corn in the fields.

Le Grand

Most of the problem in Le Grand came from fallen trees as well. Alliant Energy crews spent most of the day Monday repairing lines and checking each street in the community for damage.


In all of the Times-Republican's coverage area, Garwin was ground zero. Some homes were nearly flattened and there was significant structural damage to many buildings. Entire roofs disappeared and the town was evacuated for part of the day Monday due to a gas leak.


The roof of Scharnweber, located on Highway 63, was blown off the building, causing extensive damage. Streets had many downed tree limbs in the aftermath of the storm.

Rural Areas

From southwestern Marshall County through the middle section of Tama County, the rural areas received a great deal of damage. There were many downed power lines, along with machine sheds, barns and all sorts of other debris. Crop damage was potentially very catastrophic in some areas, especially if the corn is not able to recover.

Tama County Economic Development contributed to this report.