God is always working to make His children aware of a dream
that remains alive beneath the rubble of every shattered dream,

a new dream that
when realized will release a new song, sung with tears,

till God wipes them away
and we sing with nothing but joy in our hearts

--Larry Crabb

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What's Wrong?

I don't know what is wrong with me. Chocolate is not doing it for me right now. I have a bag of Hershey's kisses (a HUGE one) sitting on the back of the counter, and I've walked by it several times already today without temptation. (Craig has not had the same experience). However, I am completely addicted to something else right now. Are you ready for this???? SPINACH. What is up with that? It all started when we on our way to Omaha for Christmas and stopped at Subway for dinner. Their Spinach and Artichoke dip was fantastic on a veggie delight, and then after arriving at Craig's parents', his sister was making spinach dog treats. They smelled so good. No, I did not eat one, but must admit that I was a little jealous of the mutt for a bit. The next morning I decided to make an omelet for breakfast. Eggs, Milk, Spinach, onion, and 1/2 slice of Pepperjack cheese. Oh my. One was barely enough, and I don't usually like eggs that much! Next, a sandwich. Wheat bread, mayo, mayo, potato chips (a family classic) and, of course, my green leafy love. When we got back home, I tried to recreate the omelet experience. It wasn't very good...neither was the second attempted repeat, but tonight I hit the jackpot. I sauteed green pepper, onion, mushroom, spinach, (all fresh) and a little pepperjack in some EVOO (thanks, Rachel Ray) and served in a soft tortilla. Fantastic. And the best part is...it is all low sodium, so it works with my diet well! I'm sure that it is just a phase, and my next obsession will be something substantially less healthy, oh say lard or nutella, but for now Popeye and I are best buds. Sorry Olive Oil...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Cable me please!

We spent 3 days with Craig's family this week. That was all I needed. They have awesome cable and we do not. Ever since we got home, all I do is channel flip and it is driving both of us crazy. Combine this with day 7 of prednisone side effects (munchies with no food in the house, insomnia, irritibility, and generally feeling crappy) and Christmas was a pinnacle for disaster. No kidding. We spent the entire day changing the channel, except for 5 minutes in the basement deciding that we should move the rabbit cage...but neither of us mustered the energy to do it. Oh well, it is good to have goals and plans. But seriously, we need more cable. HGTV, Discovery health, ESPN, something. There is only so much Deal or No Deal that one can take!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas from the Riedel's! We hope that this Christmas season finds you healthy, content, and richly blessed. It's been a few years since I sent out a "Christmas Letter," so I figured we were due. So much has changed in our lives, probably too much to share, so I'll try to hit the highlights.
Buying a house. We bought our home in March of '06. It sits near the end of a quiet tree lined street in Davenport. It has turned out to be the perfect location for us...centrally located to work, church, shopping, groceries, nearby parks, many kids in the neighborhood for Madison to play with, and a bike trail coursing through the backyard. Since moving in our more major projects have been painting rooms, building a shed, trimming trees, revamping the fire pit, and changing the exterior color from red with gold trim (ugh) to taupe with white trim, and installing a new garage door. Craig and I spent six weeks (summer '08) on ladders and scaffolding scraping, sanding, and painting, but couldn't be happier with the results. At times we had to focus on opposite sides of the house because it just didn't seem a good idea to be 30 feet off the ground on scaffolding with someone who was sick of you...and vice versa, but we did well. I think that we only had one fight (which wasn't my fault, therefore, I won--in case you're curious).
Vacations. We've taken our share of vacations in the last few years. We've done several weekend trips with family and our good friends. Sadly, there are too many to list! In July '06 we went to Montana to a cousin's wedding. Madison and I drove out with my parents and we met Craig there. (he had to fly due to time constraints). It was an awesome time. We stopped at Mt. Rushmore, The Corn Palace--twice (still wondering why even once), and the Badlands on the way out. We spent an enjoyable day at Yellowstone, and even got to see a grizzley!! Another favorite place in Montana was Oussel Falls. We also have continued to make our annual pilgrimage to Colorado. We ususally rent a condo for a few days, and in summer of '08 we decided to camp in the 11 mile canyon again. We took my cousin's daughter, Cassidy, with us and had a wonderful time. The only part that was not so fun was at night in the tent. Madison was convinced that she was going to be eaten by a bear and the only way to avoid it was to stay awake, listen close, and ask "what was that?" after each sound of nature. We had a great time, but next time her sleeping bag will be next to Craig! :)
Madison. Our sweet 10 year old young lady. She has grown so much in the last year and I fear that I will be the shortest in the family soon. She continues to play league soccer in the spring and fall, and loves to play with her friends and American Girl Dolls. Madison has truly been a joy in our lives. She has such a gentle spirit and frequently fills our home with laughter.
Craig. In February of 2007 Craig left for a 6 turned 12 month deployment in Iraq. While there he set up electrical systems and provided logistical support for soldiers. He enjoyed his work there immensly, but is glad to be back on US soil. I'm sure that he would tell you that it's because I'm here and he missed me a lot. :) He still works for the Arsenal and was recently promoted to a team leader position. In addition to work, Craig enjoys volunteering with the junior high youth group at church, and will complete his stent as a deacon in December. Craig has also recently become involved with Primerica.
Melissa, Missy, or whatever you call me. I am still working at Trinity on the IV team. It is rewarding, challenging, and a little crazy sometimes. The thing that I like best about my job is that I have about 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with my patients where I can really just listen to what they have to say. I learn so much from them...it's amazing. I also enjoy reading, networking with friends, and baking.
Church. It is an exciting time in our church life. We have gone to Christ's Family Church since moving to the quad cities, and the construction of a family life center is now nearly complete. It houses new offices and a multi purpose room that can be used as a gym, gathering room, etc. It is wonderful to see what God is doing there. We have a wonderful church family, too, which makes living away from our "real" families a lot easier. Craig and I are also involved in a small group that has been very rewarding.
Family and friends. We have been so blessed to spend time with so many of you. The Nieuwsma's had their big reunion in '07. It was refreshing to spend a few days reconnecting and catching up. Sadly, my grandpa Goemaat passed away in February of '07 shortly after a car accident. We were fortunate to have had the chance to know most of our grandparents well even into our adult lives.
Future. "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11. Thats all we really need...God knows the plan and we are excited to discover what is in store for us in 2009.
May the love of Christ fill you this Christmas season , and may peace, joy, and blessings await you in 2009.
With Love,
The Riedels

Friday, December 5, 2008

Oh kitty kitty.

So Craig's brother and sis-in-law recently moved to Europe. Apparantly there is a 6 month quarantine process before their cat can join them. This is where we come in. We agreed to cat-sit for this period of time. (Sigh) While being a foster parent to a cat does have priviliges (I'm sure that there are some...we'll discover them someday), it also has its issues. I grew up in a home where we never had indoor pets. Actually we did. Once. For about an hour. The first time one of our little farm kitties claimed the living room carpet as its litterbox it was sentenced to a life of outdoor survival, without the opportunity to appeal. Anyway, being a first time house pet foster aunt has spiked a few problems.
**First, I didn't realize that cats puke so much. Maybe Isaac is just an exceptionally pukey cat (not his finest attribute). Before he pukes he make this really strange yowl that sounds nothing like a sound that should come from a cat. After he pukes he feels a need to cuddle with me. I don't care much for cuddling with a cat under these conditions. I should have asked a few more questions when spot carpet cleaner came with the cat.
**Second, I didn't know that you pretty much have to be a member of the secert service to buy prescription cat food. Actually, I didn't know that they MADE prescription cat food. There is a market for underground prescription cat food smuggling if anyone is looking for a career change.
**Third, Isaac taught me that a cat/human relationship is very one sided. The only way that I can peak his interest at a random moment is by offering treats, which smell horrible and have not been ruled out to contribute to problem #1.
**Fourth (and final), the litterbox. Now THAT is what should be quarantined!
All in all, though, we are having a great time with this little guy, and will probably be a little sad when April comes around...or else we'll be at the pet shop.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What a week!

I started this week with lofty goals. I would start by going to work on Monday (a day off) and fulfill my latest work vision of getting a specialized Central Line Care team trained and on target to reducing central line infections. Then I would go home and set up the Christmas tree and decorations while doing oodles of laundry that had once again accumulated. By Wednesday, I could just kick back and relax...perfect! Then came reality.

The central line team is something that I have been passionate about for a long time, but did not have the backing from the management neccessary to make a reality. Finally, the break came and the go ahead was given. I intended to be at work for a couple of hours on Monday, get things going, and then go home. Well, I was there for a couple of hours, plus a few. During that time, my mom called and left a strange message. "Hey M.issy, it's Mom." (ok so that part was normal) then "I need you to call me when you get the chance. Call as soon as possible." I can only recall 2 other times that my mom had left a message like that. 1 When my grandpa N. had a heart attack and passed away suddenly and 2. when my grandpa G. had rolled his truck and had been life flighted to Iowa City hospitals. I knew I was not looking forward to what she was going to say. When I called back, mom told me that my dad had been in a car accident on his mail route. He'd slid through a stop sign on icy roads and had been hit by a pickup. He was in the hospital in Newton and was in a lot of pain...mainly in his chest when he took a deep breath. The nurse in me started to react. Hmmm...chest pain on inhalation...it has to be something respiratory...being thrown around in a car...OK got it..."Mom, did they do a chest x-ray" Of course they had and there were no broken bones, but they would do another one before he was discharged. The repeat x-ray showed a pneumothorax (collapsed lung). A chest tube was put in and I decided that I would go and be with him and mom until I had to go back to work. When I arrived at the hospital, he looked pretty crappy. He'd received a lot of pain meds and had a bandage on top of his head covering a couple of staples and a large cut. Shelli and Mom were both there with him. His left shoulder had a large bruise and a grapefruit sized hematoma. The chest tube was in and draining a small amount. The bedside monitor showed his vitals within normal limits. Whew~what a relief~he was going to be OK!

By Wednesday, Dad was ready for discharge. The chest tube was out, the lung re-expanded and pain was controlled with pain pills. He was starting to act too "good" to be in the hospital. He spent several hours watching cattle auctions on tv on Tues. That channel should be banned. It is rediculous. I can still hear the auctioneer bantering away in the recesses of my brain. Dad also spent a lot of time trying to figure out how many of the nurses that cared for him were on his mail route--there were two--which was quite embarassing. He liked it that the nurses would bring him whatever he asked for, but most of all he liked explaining his expectations of mom for when they went home. He practiced by refusing to use his sliverware and making her feed him. More than once she reminded him that his arms were not broken, but that could change.

The rest of the week (so far) has been relatively uneventful. Other than driving home in a snowstorm, taking the day off work on Thursday because I was sick, and finally getting the Christmas tree up nothing much has happened. Oh yeah, and Craig got home from his trip to Maryland.

I learned that I have a habit of taking so much for granted. Before the accident I saw my family on Saturday evening. I don't even really remember saying goodbye to my dad before we left. What if he would have slid just a little farther and the truck sent him tumbling off the road and rolling down an embankment. Those types of accidents are often deadly. Wow...

Why am I doing this?

I have a few friends that have blogspots, and have enjoyed following their lives a little more closely. I also enjoy creative writing and journaling so maybe, just maybe this might be a way for me to share with others the happenings in our lives. Craig (that would be the other half) has no idea that I have created a blog and would probably be freaked out at the thought, so I have opted not to tell him about it. He'll find out eventually and then the real fun will begin....