Sunday, January 29, 2012

Update on Africa

I have officially got confirmation on dates for my trip to Africa. I will be traveling to Kabwe, Zambia for 12 days from August 16th-August 28th. I'm sure it was a difficult process for the leaders to decide which team members would go on which trip. I think there around 40 nurses going on 4 different trips this summer. I have prayed a lot over the last couple of weeks that I would be selected to be with the group of people and team that God wanted me to be on. When I got confirmation my initial reaction was actually that I was surprised to be going on the last trip for 2012 and that it was going to be that late in August. I probably was even a little disappointed but I was reminded quickly that this is God's plan not mine. Then my next thought was I wonder how that lines up for my work weekend since I work every 3rd weekend I better start planning and asking someone to trade my weekend, so I looked at my schedule and guess what????!! It's perfectly planned around my work weekend and I will not have to trade with anyone because the 2 weekends I will be gone are me weekends off. Wow!! God really did know what he was doing :)  I am very excited to get to know everyone on my team over the next 7 months....Sometimes there are awesome benefits to facebook as I've already been able to meet a couple of team members. 

Another thing people have been asking me about fundraising and how to support me. I received this information today. If you feel lead to support my trip to Africa this is how a donation can be made. 
You can send a check directly to the organization, make check out to: Ten Talents Global Initiatives 
and on the memo line:  Nicole Sowers/Nurses for Africa 
and send it to:
Ten Talents Global Initiatives
PO Box 460472
St. Louis, MO 63146

This is a 501c3 charity for tax deduction purposes. 

If you would like you can also give a check directly to me made out to Ten Talents Global Initiatives and I can send it on, or if you don't worry about the tax deduction you can give me money directly that I will give to the charity to support my trip. 

I am very excited for this awesome opportunity to serve and I will continue to update and will definitely be talking about the trip when I get back :) 

I thank everyone in advance for being supportive whether financially, with prayers, or helping Brandon with the girls while I'm gone! 12 days is going to be a long time to be away yet such a short time for a life changing experience I'm sure. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

We brought the Snow inside!!

I feel that it is important to get your kids outside everyday possible! Lately I have not  been able to convince my kids that going outside and playing in the snow can be fun. My girls evidently are too smart they say "it is too cold, snow is cold!"I couldn't agree with them more but I really am running out of ideas to do inside. Today I decided to bring the snow inside and put it in our water table that Blakely got for Christmas. The girls put on mittens and spent a good 30-40 minutes finding fun ways to play in the snow. 

This activity did get a little messy inside but the girls had a lot of fun and they didn't get cold like they would have if they were outside. 

Brandon turns the big 30

Last week was really rough we all caught something Brandon started with the flu, then 3 girls with ear infections, and I got strep throat and an ear infection. It was not much fun at all and we all felt miserable. I forgot how bad an ear infection feels....ouch! Luckily we were all feeling well enough to celebrate Brandon's 30th birthday! We had an extra little girl with us that night and it was so fun to watch the girls spoil Brandon and sing Happy Birthday to him. We got out the party hats and all :) Then Saturday we were able to celebrate at Mi Casita with Brandon's family which was also a lot of fun!

The girls and I completed another Pinterest project by making Brandon's gift. It was so cute each girl completed this sentence We Love You Because You........

I personally enjoyed Blakely's answer the best :) 

Happy 30th Birthday Brandon................We Love You!!!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

I'm going to Africa!

I'm going to Africa. I'm going to Africa. SERIOUSLY I'M GOING TO AFRICA??!!!
Yes, this summer I will be traveling to Zambia Africa for around 12 days on a medical mission trip. I will be traveling out of Chicago with several other nurses to change lives in Zambia. I'm pretty sure that one of the biggest lives that will be changed will be my own. I have so many things that I think will happen while I'm there and what I will be doing but I know that God's plan in this trip is so much bigger then my own.
It has always been a dream of mine to be involved in medical mission trips. About a year ago a friend of mine who I used to work with posted an organization on her facebook called Nurses for Africa. So I was curious to learn more about this organization, I read a little online and of course you can sign up to inquire more information so I thought sure why not? Within a week I had a call from a lady within the organization and she wanted to know if I was interested in going in August 2011 or I could wait and go in 2012. I knew right away 2011 wasn't going to work since Blakely at the time was only about 4 months old and I was planning on nursing her until a year, but I thought sure 2012 would work out great! The lady asked if I had any questions and at the time I really didn't, I just told her I would talk to my husband.
Super Dad was supportive of the idea and thought it would be a great opportunity for me and he knew I had always wanted to go.

The days went by and in fact months went by and I never called the lady back. I really had my own questions of: Can I really leave my babies for 12 days?? (Seriously I've never even left them for 2), Can Super Dad handle the girls for that long by himself?? Can I raise the money to be able to go?? and What if I'm pregnant before then?? Even with all of these questions running through my head Africa kept coming up. I couldn't make myself delete the voice message I had from the lady with her phone number and it was just constantly in my thoughts. In September I decided to go to bible study on Monday nights at church and we started the study Discerning the Voice of God, by Priscilla Shirer. When asked something about where we might be having trouble Discerning the Voice of God the first thing that came to my mind was the mission trip to Africa and I felt it was really weighing on my heart to get in contact with this lady from Nurses for Africa. I got on my gmail account to see if I still had her email address and sure enough I did so I thought well what can it hurt I will just email her and go from there. I didn't hear anything for a couple days and thought well I did what I was suppose to do and didn't hear anything so I was at peace about the situation. Then I got a message back saying yes we are planning trips for 2012 and applications will go out in October so I will send you an email in October regarding the application. October came and went and there was no email about applications so I thought oh well I guess it is not the right time for me to go with such a young family. I had mentioned a while back about the opportunity to another nurse and in early November she asked if I was still planning on going. I told her no, I hadn't heard anything more from them so I didn't think it was going to work out. Seriously that night I got home and there was an email from Nurses for Africa for the application process. I still kind of stalled and on Monday December 12th, 3 days before I was suppose to send in my application I asked my bible study to pray for my decision, we also watched a video from Priscilla Shirer that mentioned Africa and then one of the ladies sitting next to me pointed out I was sitting right in front of the Map on the wall which is a map of Africa. I knew I had to send my application in and let it go from there. If I got accepted then I would go, if I didn't it wasn't the right time. I was at peace with it either way.
And now it's official I will be going to Zambia Africa. Exact dates are not set but it will be sometime between June and Sept 1. I am really excited about the opportunity to serve and meet new people. I ask if you are reading this to continue to pray because a lot will happen between now and then, and I still need to raise enough money for my travel cost. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

This morning I got to wake up to this.......................
Isn't this just beautiful the fresh falling of snow on the bare trees? Or do you see what I see?? 

Most of the time when it looks like this I'd rather just keep the curtains closed, close my eyes, head back to bed, or maybe a pj day with the girls curled up on the couch watching cartoons and movies. I really debated all these options but instead.......... I took on the day by waking up, taking a shower, getting dressed (which was a difficult task today), got the girls breakfast, dressed, boots, coats, hats, mittens, and out the door  for MOPS. God must of known exactly what I needed today, maybe because he read my blog yesterday :) but today the girls enjoyed playing in the nursery and preschool rooms while I got to enjoy time with others moms learning about how to organize our lives and not feel overwhelmed by the craziness of toddlers and preschoolers. I felt refreshed and ready to tackle some of the challenges of being a mommy! 

Since your probably wondering why the getting dressed for the day was my most difficult task for the day this picture says it all..................

Don't worry mom this is the first task I started to tackle when I got home and hopefully with the help of these little girls we will have accomplished the "mountain" of laundry by the end of the day!!
Yes Introducing to you my Laundry warriors Teagan and Harper who will be learning colors today by sorting the pinks and purples, they will be learning how to add and subtract by counting the # of loads there are, and they will be learning chemistry by adding stain stick and detergent to each load :) 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Confessions of my not so perfect life

Most of the time I try to keep this blog pretty positive. I really use the blog more as a story of my life that I hope I can keep and show the girls some day. I try to blog about the happy things so that when things aren't always so happy I can come back here and look at the happy things and be reminded of how blessed I am.

But today I'm going to confess, Our lives are not perfect and here are some things that really frustrate me about life right now.
1. My house is a disaster!! It's a chaotic unorganized mess right now. People tell me all the time, don't worry about your house, a messy house shows that the kids are playing and are happy right?? The food on the floor, it shows that I fed them and there tummys should be full right?? And the books scattered throughout the living room shows that they've been enjoying reading today right??
What I see is this......... an anxiety attack of why can't I control this mess? Why aren't my kids well enough behaved that when they are done with something that they put it away? And a sense of feeling like I am not able to control anything in my life right now.
Honestly I feel like a better wife, mommy, and woman when our house is clean and we have a schedule!!

2. I Love my job, HATE THE HOURS!! While I love that Brandon and I are able to coordinate our schedules so the girls are only in daycare for maybe 5-10 hours a week there are times that it stresses me out. My "schedule" is so varied from day to day, and the only thing I know is that I work every 3rd weekend and what holidays I work for the year (I won't even go in to detail how working the weekend and holidays stresses me out). Otherwise it is just maybe I work Tuesday maybe I work Thursday, maybe it is a 8 hour shift, or a 4 or a 12. The hours might start at noon or not until 7 pm.
And I wonder sometimes if my schedule stresses me out, what kind of toll is it taking on the girls?? Sometimes I even wonder if would just be better if I worked a normal day job 8-5 and they were in daycare with a stable schedule?

3. It really bothers me that Teagan still sucks her thumb at age 4. Now I have to admit I really haven't done much to try and stop her. I remember still sucking my thumb at age 9!! Yikes

4. Teagan can be found in our bed most mornings. Secretly when I work overnights the one thing I enjoy is having the whole bed to myself :) Now I'm not only sharing my bed with one other person but sometimes 2, or 3, it drives me crazy!! But yet I enjoy my sleep so much  I have no motivation to try to correct this in the middle of the night

5. I hate paying bills, and I hate being on a budget. Mostly because I fail every time when we are on a budget and it makes me again just feel out of control and like a total failure.

6. Harper still has some pretty terrible temper tantrums and I don't always know when they are going to happen, but then she is so funny and cute there are times I have trouble not just laughing when I'm suppose to be disciplining.

7.  I look out the window and I see the fields out back, and I dream about living back at the beach. I only spent a short 6 months living in West Palm Beach. But I miss it!! I miss the ocean, I miss the heat, and sunshine. Although I know this is a positive to not living there...............I MISS THE SHOPPING!! Sorry but Waterloo/Cedar Falls lacks a good mall.
Back to my last post though, my husband loves me a lot but I don't see us moving to the beach anytime soon , haha :) I also would miss our family and friends.

8. My kids they don't come when I tell them its time to leave somewhere and in fact most of the times they go running the opposite way!

9. I hate Snow boots, coats, mittens, hats, socks, all the things that make getting out the door even more complicated.

10. And the biggest thing I hate that I fear parenting some days. I fear that the girls might make some of the same stupid mistakes I made. I don't want them to ever have to suffer some of the pain and hurt that I had, I hope that something I do or say will protect them from feeling hurt. I know its not possible, I know that the mistakes I made, the hurt I felt makes me who I am today and that they will make their own mistakes, have their own hurt, and I hope they can find the good in it and be better women for it. But don't all Moms wish they could protect them from that??!!

Anyways instead of sitting here complaining about my messy house I better go do some laundry! Being a mom is a challenge, being a wife is a challenge, but I'm up for the challenge. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Adventures on the Farm

The year 2011 proved to be a tough year on the farm. I even nicknamed it the "angel of death" of animals that is.  We have buried 1 horse, 2 Cows, 3 calves, 2 dogs, an unknown amount of cats have died, and I believe 9 chickens. I never thought that I would get use to the death of one of our animals and I never thought that my sweet little 4 year old would already be "use" to animals dying on the farm. Last year we got "use" to animals dying, we weren't all that surprised anymore when another would die, but it did take a toll on us.

Brandon has always loved having cows, even when we first started dating I remember him talking about his dreams to run like a hundred cows on all this land that he was someday going to own. It took some getting use to but I knew when I said yes I will marry you that I was going to be married to a man that would always live on a farm and at the time I thought we would always have cows.

When we bought the house we live in, we bought it with the Cows in mind. There were other houses we looked at but none of them had the buildings and the land lay out that this house has. We sold a lot of cows just to have money for a down payment for the house, and then we moved up here with I believe 10 Cows (I don't know Cows, Calves, Steers, heifers, etc total I believe there were 10). Brandon was prepared to rebuild his "herd", he kept the best ones, and was excited to have cows at his own place. But not everything went as planned, cows started dying, money started getting tight, and things were just tough.

So this past summer Brandon started thinking about selling the rest of the Cows and getting pigs. He mentioned it to our very opinionated daughter, Teagan and she started crying. She didn't want to sell the cows, and she definitely didn't want pigs!! We prayed a lot about what God had planned for us and Brandon decided that selling the Cows was the right decision. The cows went right from the pasture to the buyer so it worked out really well. Teagan still talks a little bit about Vanessa her favorite cow but she has really enjoyed helping Daddy go pick up the pigs and feed them. 

This was a really tough decision for Brandon and I can't even begin to tell you what an amazing husband he is. I was a little worried about him selling the cows since I knew that was his dream and what he really wanted, I kept saying are you sure?? is this really what you want to do?? Brandon's response was that he wanted what was best for his family, priorities change when you become a husband and a Dad and the  pigs allow him to still have his love and hobby of having livestock but he will have more time for his family now without the cows and that he will be able to provide better for his family. Yep, He's pretty amazing!! (most of the time)  :) 

So now we have Dora, Piggy, and Diego with some more coming in Feb...................

On to New Adventures at the Sowers Ranch! 

Monday, January 2, 2012

Teagan Kennedy is 4!!

Teagan Kennedy is our New Years baby and she is officially 4! Wow, I know everyone always tells you how quickly it goes by but you just don't expect it. Sometimes however there were days during those "Trying 3's" that I thought 4 was never going to come!!
Teagan had a busy fun filled birthday!! We started celebrating Thursday when Teagan got to go to her first movie, The Muppets. Teagan invited her friend Maleah to join along and we had a great time. It was Mommy, Teagan and Maleah so we had a total girls night filled with pizza, and the movie. I loved just sitting back and listen to two 4 year olds talk about the sparkles on the shirts, that their favorite colors are rainbow and purple, and the gifts they got for Christmas. We just love Maleah she is so sweet and Teagan and her just get a long so well.

Teagan all ready for her night out.......She dressed herself and I put a little makeup on her she was so excited!!

Teagan and Maleah ready to eat at Pizza hut.....aren't they adorable??!!

Then Saturday we got to spend time with Grandma and Grandpa Kennedy and Great Grandma Woehl. The weather was again wonderful and Teagan got to even ride her new bike outside. She had a great day there!!

 Thank goodness Teagan got a Hippo from Great Grandma.....It had to match the one Harper got for Christmas. Teagan and Harper with Margo and Harry :)

Teagan Blowing out her candles.............

And again we had to blow them out when we ate the cake that night too :)

Sunday Teagan's "Real birthday" as she called it, we got to spend with the Sowers family. We enjoyed having Christmas and Teagan's Birthday at Grandma and Grandpa Sowers. 

Teagan opening birthday gifts with the help of her sister and cousins....

Teagan's Birthday present from the Huff Family (Aunt Dana)....