Friday, May 30, 2008

Jim's Job

Well again Jim's job has changed a bit and again the responsibility has also increased. Jim was a division conroller in charge of the Cessford plant that his company aquired and lets just say that it has been keeping him busy. Recently, one of the other division conrollers left the company and unfortunately they are not going to replace her. Instead they have taken the remaining 3 controllers and split their jobs by material as opposed to being split by company. Now, Jim is in charge of all asphalt and asphalt production. Another is in charge of concrete (his job changed very little) and the other person is in charge of something else (not sure what).

Luckily for Jim he did lose a few things from his previous duties, not so lucky, he aquired quite a bit more. Hopefully the transition goes well for him.

Jim's sister, Barb, also made a job change recently. She has been a physical therapist with Mercy Hospital for 12 years. With this she was stuck on a rotating schedule of weekends and holidays (that would drive me crazy!). She recently accepted a job offer from Methodist Hospital as a physical therapist but it is a Monday to Friday job. Congratulations to Barb, she makes the big move late June and here's hoping it's great!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Congratulations Emily!

Last Thursday Emily graduated from high school. For most of us this is a given, for Emily is was a feat. Not because she is unintelligent, but because she has had to face things that would seem foreign to most of us. She has worked SO hard, far harder than many of us have ever worked. This past year alone she has worked 2 jobs to equal full time so she can provide insurance for herself and Kameron, gone to school, been a full time Mom, and provided completely for herself and her son.

There have been people in Emily's life who have told her she wouldn't make it, and those of us who have always told her she would. She worked hard and she did it. Not only did she graduate, she did so with honors, awards, scholorships, and the respect of her teachers and peers.

Attending her graduation was amazing. I have never been to a high school graduation that was so touching and heart felt. The ceremony is small, about 65 kids from her school (its an alternate high school from the main one). Emily got the chance to speak and she did an awesome job. The subject of her speech revolved around the saying "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." For most of these kids that is something they need to be reminded of often.

Everything about the ceremony was fantastic. The principal's talk was great, you could tell her emotional and invidual connection with many, if not all, of the students. The teachers also had amazing things to say. There were tears many times but nothing compared to handing out the roses. Each student was given 5 white roses to give to the people who made a difference in their life, people who they could not have done this without. Needless to say I was very touched as Emily came down and handed me one of her roses.

I have always been there for Emily. She has become like a little sister to me. I always tell her to remember that my expectations of her aren't high, I just expect things when others in her life may not. She has so much potential and it was great to see that be recognized that evening. As they announce each graduate they list the awards and scholarships they have achieved upon graduating. Emily's list was long, far longer than any of her classmates. Some of them she knew about, others were a surprise and it was awesome to see her reaction.

Congratulations Emily, you did amazing!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Lots of Busy Weekends

As with many of us our weekends fill quickly with quite a lot to do. The weekend before Mother's Day kicked off a run of busy weekends for us. Jim's Dad and his wife Linda came into town that weekend so we could all help honor Harry for 35 years of refereeing and umpiring for Iowa highschools. Harry, Linda, Barb, Jim and myself were all able to attend a nice banquet in Ames, there were a few people being honored for 35 years and 2 or so being honored for 50 years, although there were other honorees there. It is amazing to think of working so many years and working so hard, everyone was proud of him.

While Harry and Linda were in town we had lunch at our place and we were able to show both of them all the changes we have made in the house. It was looking a whole lot better from the last time Jim's dad saw it. Jim, Harry, and Barb also put up our garage door opener that Barb got for us as a house warming gift. I wasn't able to help much because I had a couple of photo shoots that weekend but they went very well. The garage door opener works great and makes using the garage a whole lot easier, that for sure!!

The next weekend, Mother's Day Weekend, Jim's mom came into town. Her and Barb spent time together Friday and until Saturday evening, then they came over for dinner at our place. We also had Jayke over for the weekend so we had quite a group. We grilled ribs along with other goodies, then we played Wii and watched a movie. We were also able to show Joy our home for the first time which was exciting. I think she liked and now she will have 2 choices of places to stay when she visits!! The following day we headed to church for the Mother's Day service, but they were inducting a new minister so it ended up being different than a regular service but it was still nice. We all headed to lunch before Jim and I went to meet Chelsea to drop off Jayke. He was so good and so awesome all weekend. We certainly love him!

Last weekend I headed to Omaha to celebrate my Mom's birthday and Mother's Day with her. A couple of years ago we were able to do that and it was a lot of fun so it was nice to have another Mom and Mandy Day. We did some running, some shopping, we headed to the Dodge House which was a lot of fun, and just had a good ol' time hanging out. I think my brother and sister liked me being able to see their softball games and I liked it as well. I stayed through the weekend to see my cousin Nicholas graduate high school and then headed home to spend Sunday night with Jim before he had to head to Salt Lake City for the better part of this past week.

This week has been pretty chill for us. It is nice to take some time and just relax. I am taking a Photoshop class which began this weekend and Emily's graduation party but other than that we have been able to take it easy. I was pretty excited on Saturday evening because my friend Melissa who lives in Chicago but I spent time with in China was passing through Des Moines on her way back to Chicago and so we were able to meet and have dinner. It was a blast! I miss having some of my good friends around sometimes, that is for sure! We have some more busy weekends coming up very soon so we better enjoy this break!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

House Updates

Jim and I have been working on the house quite a bit since we moved in. I thought it was about time to post some before and after shots!

Living Room Before

Living Room After

Main Level Spare Bedroom Before

Spare Bedroom After

Bathroom Before

Bathroom After-just cleaner really!

Stairs Before

Stairs After

Outside Before (in the fall)

Outside After (this spring!)

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Last Frost....Hopefully!

Monday night was hopefully the last frost we will see this season. Of course I am a plant newbie and we have a super ton of landscaping in the front of our house with beautiful spring flowers ready to bloom any second and I was very nervous that we would lose it all. A teacher I work with was telling me all about covering my plants and why and with what. She insists that you should never use plastic, only cloth such as old sheets and whatnot.

Of course Monday night Jim and I both brought home tons of work to do so when we finished that up at around 9:30ish I convince Jim that we still need to go cover the plants, I would hate to lose them the first year before we even get to see how well the yard looks in full bloom. I gather every extra sheet, pillow case, sham, blanket and one old towel. With that we managed to cover all of the blooming beautiful things in our front yard.