I’m seriously considering just using the day of the week in the subject line every time.

Yesterday after getting back from Peoria and taking long naps we decided to decorate for Christmas and pick out a Christmas tree. If you’ll remember from last year we’re huge fans of the trees with more personality, and did I mention free? So we did that again. Haven’t taken pictures of the final product yet so you’ll have to wait on that. I know, you’re on the edge of your seats.

Trysten up close whilst looking for the tree.

Tariku close up whilst looking for the tree.

How Tariku carries everything. Seriously, Trysten has tried to do this and can’t do it for some reason. Tariku, on the other hand, just swings it up and there it sits. It’s a testament to nature over nurture, I think.

I know it’s dark but this is the moment when Zach taught his boys the fine art of farmer’s blow. Mmmm.

Dailah close up whilst looking for the tree.

I do love Christmas. Even though I had begun to feel under the weather, Christmas music, decorations, it all brings me back. Love it.

The africa we won at the Wine to Water party. Isn’t it amazing? I seriously love it.

Just a little perspective on how big Abe is.

Abe dancing with me during Christmas music. He loves it.


Found us in Peoria, IL to meet my mom’s side of the family to celebrate the holidays. I love doing this for many reasons but the main one is simply because I always have fun with that group of people. How can you not have fun when there is a lot of card playing and whiskey drinking. Germans, what else would you expect?

There’s also the small bit about going to a hotel and letting the kids swim until they’re sufficiently prune-y.

Just in case you don’t believe me that Zach is the best daddy in the world, here’s proof. While I sat on the sidelines and took pictures (by that I mean I read my Esquire magazine) he was in the water swimming with the kids and throwing the kids and acting like a dolphin. He’s seriously the best.

Not quite able to swim on her own, she got a lot of daddy time.

Look at his smile. Seriously smiles all the time.


Pretty sweet cannonball if I do say so myself.

This cracks me up. Look how skinny he is. Jumping with no fear, love it.

Doozie getting thrown.

Playing cards.

An enthusiastic game of Headband, that would be my mom with her arms raised in victory.

Trysten playing slapjack with my uncle and grandpa. After coming home and playing with me, I had to make an apology after noticing how bad he cheated.


It did happen here too, but I’ve been enjoying all the things I’m thankful for and I’ve just forgotten to blog. But here you have it, the thanksgiving blog-4 days later.

Every year we begin the thanksgiving events with the YMCA’s Turkey Trot. I run the 1 mile and Zach runs the 5 mile. I LOVE this family tradition. This year, Zach took Abe and they of course made quite the impression.

On the way to the Turkey Trot, Doozie was feeling a little under the weather.

The 1 mile runners. The boys were big fans of sprinting then walking, sprinting then walking. Made it tough to actually run a mile but it was lots of fun watching them get excited.

Waiting to spot daddy and Abe. Puh-lease can’t believe I get to call them mine.

Sadly, the only picture I have after the trot is this one. Doozie with 2 of her aunts. Emily and Leslie. The rest of the time can pretty much be summed up by the fact that I wanted to go to bed at 6:15.

The Purse

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. So today I wanted to show you one of the things I’m thankful for.

A girl, I said it. I’m thankful for a girl.

Because only she would have a purse that held such interesting things. (Lest you think this is her only purse, I must divulge that this is one out of many).

So here we have it. Contents:
-7 real chapsticks, 1 fake chapstick
-2 containers of eye make up
-1 cheek sparkly blusher
-2 smaller purses to hold…
-3 bracelets
-1 doll brush
-1 hair clip
-1 tiara
-1 Halloween key chain
-1 toy stingray

So if you don’t have a girl yet, you should get one, because everyone needs these kinds of things on their couches.


$30,000 now. The weekend has raised $30,000. That’s 1500 people. The moms and dads, sons and daughters. It’s so hard to believe. $30,000 in one weekend. Last night’s party in Muscatine that Cassie and her mom, Candi, put on was a HUGE hit. By HUGE I mean they raised $17,000! Then there were the other 10 speaking engagements Scott went to.

I don’t have pictures of any of those yet, Amy was one of the official photographers of the weekend, but I do have some of the Wine to Water event.

The Klipsch men. So beautiful, such big hearts. I love them so very much. P.S. My specific Klipsch man is rockin the bowtie.

I did get to dance with my beloved about an hour after the party officially ended (but a half hour before it unofficially ended).

Leslie, Scott Harrison and myself.


Some of the people congregated around the dessert table. It was hard to capture the vibe in pictures as the flash lights up the place and it was quite dark in the actual space. But you can kind of see it here, with the Africas on the wall.

Listening to Scott. I can’t say enough how great the presentation is. I’ve heard it many times this weekend and I’d listen to it many more. Because it’s not just his delivery, which is very good, but it’s the people who tell the story for him. The people who taste “liquid gold” for the very first time.

Rene and her daughter, Grace. Scott bought Grace a Water for Christmas bracelet, which she was very proud of.

My sister-in-law, Kait (in red) and her friend who came from Chicago for one night. Beautiful people that I love.

One of my favorite parts of the night was when my friend, Amy Rowell, brought some people from World Relief. Refugees from Liberia and a few other African nations got to tell me personal stories about their fight for water. They also enjoyed the wine too! 🙂

Just a few of the Muscatine crew. Helped set up and tear down and throughout the night. Beautiful hearts in that small town.

My husband and his brother, Jake surrounding “Boomer” and “Papa Smurf”. They helped with the water walk. We had set up a space where people could walk with full jerry cans to see what exactly Africans had to do. The average African walks 3 miles for water, I think it was a very poignant example.

My mother-in-law, Terre (clearly looks run in the family), a good friend Lee Gaston was there as well. He bid on one of the Woodfire Grill auctions.

Zach and my good friend, Chrissy, who also helped set up and spread the word. Her smile clearly lights up the room.

Wine to Water Party

Went well. Exceeded expectations. It’s 8:45 and I’m seriously going to bed in 10 minutes. I’ll write more tomorrow but I just want to tell you that the party went well. How well?


I’m just not even sure how to believe that.

Oh, and Scott Harrison (President and Founder of charity: water) tweeted that the party was on par with the parties in New York. We think he’s enjoying the water weekend as much as we are.

But I was/am so happy with the event. Didn’t realize I had been holding my breath for the last few weeks, and not sleeping and drinking 4 times the amount of coffee I normally do.

But I was and I did and now my breath is light and full and I’m going to sleep for 12 straight hours tonight.

Knowing that the community and the people in it who I love so very much rallied around something some of them were just hearing about.


Thank you so much to everyone who helped, bid or came.

I, of course, didn’t have my camera. My father-in-law was our official photographer and I have yet to pick up the CD of pictures yet but you can find some here. But you’ll have to wait on explanations for tomorrow.

For now, good night and thank you, from the very bottom of my most humbled heart.

And So It Begins…

Water weekend is upon us. After so many months of planning and preparing it’s incredibly difficult to believe it’s here. I woke up this morning just plain giddy. Let’s do this already.

Last night I took a small hiatus from water to be with the family. It’s been at least a few weeks since I was able to hang with Zach without working on the computer or running around like a mother hen gathering random things for the weekend. But it’s exactly what I needed as a reminder. A reminder as to why I do this.

Because water frees up more time for the families around the world. Because we spend a little time here, they get to spend more time there. Less time getting water means more time with their family. Undoubtedly doing the same things we did last night with our extra time: telling stories, giving hugs and kisses, singing and dancing.

So I’m ready to do this. Ready to find some clean water and free up some time for the moms and dads on the other side of the world. There have been a lot of moms and dads on this side doing everything they possibly can to make that happen.

Just wait, wait for the pictures and the stories. They’re going to be great. Thanksgiving is coming early for us and for them.


The kids have been saying A LOT of funny things lately. I’ve forgotten most of them but I wanted to record one from Trysten because I think it shows just how old he’s getting.

Last Saturday I asked all three of them to clean up before bed. So they clean up for approximately 2 minutes and all come out to tell me they’re done.

So I begin to stand up and say, “Ok, so any toys that are on the ground or are not where they’re supposed to be are getting thrown away.”

Trysten, without missing a beat, says, “I did not see that one comin’!” Then proceeded back into the toy room to complete the mission.

I just thought that was hilarious.

That’s all I got for today. Tomorrow is the party. Right now it feels a little bit like I have a big track meet tomorrow. It’s that nervous-excitement-let’s-just-get-it-over-with feeling. Ready to break ground on some clean water. Ready to introduce more of the Quad Cities to this most essential task.

The Fun Begins

And now for the fun.

Part of the event Saturday will be the auctioning off of the Africas I told you about a few posts ago. Those were just a glimpse!

Now, I know most of you can’t make it to the party but we want to give you a chance to bid on the Africas as well because THEY ARE AMAZING.

So go here and bid away. There is a place to leave a message with which Africa you’re bidding on and what your highest bid is. We’ll bid for you the night of the party. Highest bidder wins.

Seriously, check them out either way. What has been most rewarding about party planning is seeing local artists, bakers, and “laymen” get around this idea and just go with it. The Africas are the perfect example of this. Every single one, I want every single one.

So go. Bid. Rest assured if you pick the ones I want (not telling you which ones) I’ll outbid you, so bid big!