Thursday, June 26, 2014


I grew up watching Rocky. You remember the movies (there were only six how could you not have seen at least one) the underdog fighter Rocky Balboa takes on heavyweight champions and extreme contenders and wins! Well we have been on a Rocky marathon at our house. We just finished Rocky 5. The only one left to watch is Rocky Balboa. The boys have really taken a liking to the movies to the point they have their own boxing matches (not sure how I feel about this yet). Of course they are pretending and not really hitting each other. However, I do like their creativity in how they train and the things they come up with for boxing gloves! Check out the following picture:

Yes those are koozies for boxing gloves. Actually according to Charlie it's the tape they put on their hands before the gloves go on. I believe in this picture Charlie is Rocky. Anthony is Apollo and Will is Micky - Rocky's trainer.

It has been fun to rewatch those movies and see them in a different light - in a way I've never noticed before - the love story between Rocky and Adrian. I must admit I have all the first four movies almost memorized (I know it's sad). However, I never paid attention to the love story part of the movie. It may sound cheesy and I know it's only a movie but the love they share is pretty amazing. If you haven't seen them before I recommend renting them (You can get them at the library). If you have, watch them again and see if you notice the incredible connection they have for one another.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Worn OUT!

Yesterday I helped out our neighbor at a couple of tax sales so the boys hung out with Jon for the day. They helped him wash and put away equipment!  I only got to see how dirty their clothes were (and the little bit they didn't get washed off in the shower). Sounds like they all had a great day. And from the pictures below you will see that Jon worked them hard! It was good for them too!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Blind Date

Yep!   You read that correctly!  It all started with a text message from my dear friend Kelly.  The following conversation took place:

Kelly: I saw a guy I think you'd find attractive.  I've actually seen him twice this week.  First time he was loading corn.  Second time was this morning down the road from us.  He was in a JD tractor.  Want me to get his number for you?

Me: Sure!

Kelly: Maybe when it rains I can set you up on a blind date.

Me: How about a double date?  Not sure if I want to go by myself!

Now before you all get worried that my friend is setting me up with another man - she was talking about Jon!  We decided it would be fun to put a little spark in our marriages (to spice it up a bit) and pretend we were going out on a blind double date!  (I know there are times with both of our husbands professions - it seems like it really could have been a blind date!)  So, yesterday morning we text our guys inviting them to go out for supper and telling them when and where to meet us.  Kelly and I got together later in the afternoon to get pedicures and to find the perfect outfits for our big date (I never have any kind of luck when I go shopping - but yesterday was my day.  I found several things AND they were on sale!)  After picking out our attire we went back to her place to get ready for our big date!  We had SO much fun!!   We met our guys at Kaldera's in Pella.  We tried really hard to pretend like we didn't know each other - but it was just too hard to play the act for too long.  After a delicious supper and good conversation we headed to the Mango Tree for dessert!  The night was a lot of fun!  I enjoyed the girl time prier to our date night - especially getting ready together - I had forgotten how much fun that used to be!  It was a perfect blend of girl time and husband/wife time.  We just might have to do that again sometime!  If you've never done something like that before - I highly recommend it!  (In case you are wondering - I really liked my date - and have decided to keep "dating" him!) 

Michael & Kelly                   Supper at Kaldera's with our good looking guys!                   Jon and me

Group photo getting ice cream!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Anthony's First Cattle Show

Saturday, May 31 we headed to Washington, Iowa for the Southeast Jr. Angus Show.  We thought it would be good practice for both Anthony and Buddy (and maybe even for Mom)!  I had been stressing about it all week - wondering if we were ready or not.  I officially found out what my Dad went through for years when us girls showed.  I had ordered the supplies we would need and started getting everything ready to go Friday night.  I think I only got a few hours of sleep - only because my mind wouldn't shut off.  I kept trying to think about everything we would need and then add it to the list of things to pack in the morning.  I finally just decided to get up since I wasn't sleeping anyway - that was 5am!  I do believe that part of my nerves was because my Dad wasn't going to be there.  I've never done this without him and wasn't sure if I could!

We got all packed up - Anthony told me later that we packed and brought everything but the bedding and the gates - (which was probably true) and Jon, Glenda and the boys and I left around 8:30.  One of our landlords went down ahead of us and got our stall all ready to go with the fans and dividers.  So once we showed up all we had to do was get Buddy entered, weighed and to pay our entry fee.  We decided to wash him up and let him take it easy.  I think my nerves were still on hyper-drive.  It's one of those things where you hurry up to wait!  And then you have to decide how long you are going to wait until you want to start getting him ready.  We watched just a little bit of the show before we decided we needed to get busy.  I used to help my Dad get the cattle ready, but never did any of the clipping - so I was glad Junior helped.  My Aunt Kris came out to the barn and helped too!

We were all ready and it was just about time for Anthony's class.  I told him that he just had to remember two things - always keep your eye on the judge and NEVER let go!  I wasn't quite sure how Buddy was going to react around other steers or just being in a new place.  Around home he could use a shocker to get him going - he's just so easy going!  I was so proud of Anthony.  He did such a good job!  There was only one time during his class where Buddy got just a slight bit excited, but Anthony had control and did a good job stopping him.  He ended up getting 2nd in his class which wasn't too bad for his first show!  He also got to go back in for Reserve Champion - which I thought for a moment he was going to get it - but he didn't.   Then they had a showmanship class for beginner show'ers and everyone was going to get a prize so we told Anthony to go for it!  Well, just before he was about ready to walk in the ring someone else's heifer went nuts and hit Anthony - basically pinned him between the heifer and Buddy.  It knocked the wind out of him, but he was ok.  He still wanted to show.  Obviously, for showmanship classes they judge you on how you show and not your animal.  The judge talked to each of the show'ers and then told them to walk their animals.  Well, for some odd reason, Buddy decided to jump on the back of this bull calf (he only weighed 325 lbs).  When he did he knocked Anthony down and I thought he was going to step on him - but he didn't!  The whole time Anthony never let go!  Such a brave kid!  He never cried and went right back to showing him.  The Judge had a hard time deciding between the kids so they all won - their prize $5!  After that Anthony was done.  We took Buddy back to wash out all of the product in his hair (and cool him off) while everyone else loaded up the trailer.  Anthony ended up getting $27 for prize money too!

Overall it was a good day!  Good experience for Anthony, Buddy and me!  I was thankful Glenda came along to help out with the other boys.  Although, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they did!  Will was super helpful and Charlie was good too!  There is another show in a couple of weeks that we are still trying to decide whether or not to go to.  And then before too long the county fair will be here!  I've been so proud of Anthony and all that he is doing with Buddy.  It's alot of work to take care of and show a steer.  It has been a learning process for us all and one I think I can say - we've all enjoyed!

Getting ready!

Walking to the show ring.

Waiting for our class to show.

This was actually when Anthony went in to show for Reserve Champion Angus Steer.

This was the beginner's showmanship class.  He is talking to the judge.

All done!  Picture time in front of the sign. 

Hanging with Uncle Joe during lunch time.

A Special Night

I'm not sure if I will even be able to put into words what happened on the night of May 28th.  It was the night we were revealing TJ's memorial plaque and the time capsule.  The fourth grade class along with their families, teachers and our families were invited to the school auditorium to a special ceremony.  One of the mom's on the committee shared a few thoughts and read from the book "Oh The Places You Will Go" by Dr. Seuss.  Jon and I were able to actually present the memorial plaque to the Principal of the High School and to share a few of our own thoughts.  Then they revealed the actual time capsule encasement - it was stunning!  And then it was time for the video.  Most of TJ's classmates were able to share memories they had of him, teachers shared things, and different classes did various things on the video - from reading a book to dancing to spelling out TJ with their bodies.  There were even pictures of TJ that captured who he really was.  It was such a touching video.  After the ceremony we had a supper for all of those that attended.

Jon and I were given the actual time capsule a few days before the ceremony.  We had the opportunity to see everything that the kids had brought.  I was so extremely touched by all they put in and their reasons why they chose that item.  Items ranged from t-shirts, journal entries TJ had actually written, notes, toys, camera and homemade items.  I was so moved by their stories and memories of TJ and was surprised at how much they still remembered.  He truly hasn't been forgotten.  Jon and I decided to contribute something to the time capsule as well.  We brought TJ's cowboys boots that he always enjoyed wearing in kindergarten (there is a story that goes along with it - perhaps I'll share that another day).  I remember after TJ had passed telling Jon how much I was going to miss these kids (and their parents), and how I wasn't quite sure what our role with them was anymore.  Our hearts have been so touched that they want to bring TJ and us along with them through their Jr and Sr High years.  It is bittersweet - but like one of the teachers told me - you can handle some of the pain rather than have nothing at all - which I would have to agree.  So, THANK YOU class of 2020!  You have brought smiles to our faces, tears to our eyes and joy to our hearts - without all of you - none of this would have been possible.  We are excited to walk these next six years with you!

 This trumpet case is the actual time capsule.  Everything the kids brought are inside this case.  Jon and I  thought it was pretty cool that they came up with the idea of a trumpet case being the actual capsule! It is so fitting!

 Right side of the time capsule encasement.  Each kid was able to design their own tile.  Each tile has a saying or something special about TJ with their name on it.  There are 41 of these tiles.  They will actually get their own tile back on the day of graduation!

 The top.  The tile in the middle explains what this actually is.  That way when people walk into the school they will know what this is.  It states:

A trumpet case of memories creates the Time Capsule hidden inside,
TJ's classmates recalling memories and sharing them with pride.
Encased by granite tiles, held safe until graduation day,
Wrapped with words of wisdom, thoughts of him, and phrases he might say.
In the year of 2020, wearing caps and gowns - a day to share -
this capsule filled with memories will then be placed on TJ's chair.
Though this friend is no longer with us, it's clear for all to see,
Ripples of TJ's spirit will forever teach us how living life should be.

The Front side

The left side.

TJ's plaque.  This will hang on the wall with the time capsule encasement underneath it.  If you are ever at North Mahaska schools and enter on the north side of the High School - you will see both of these items.

This is the FABULOUS group of parents that head up the committee of Seeing TJ Thru 20/20.  They are:
Robin LaRue (and her husband Jeff who couldn't be there) Elizabeth's parents
Kenney & Tanya Davis - Joel's parents
Tom & Tina Layman - Paige's parents
Jenell & Brad Steel - Kassidi's parents
All of their kids were some of TJ's closest friends.  They have been absolutely amazing.  We have such a great time when we all get together.  There are always many laughs shared and many memories made!

These are some of the classmates that made it that night!  The time capsule and encasement are on the right side of the picture.