Motherhood and Beyond

To be a mom is the most rewarding job in the whole world. But it can also be the most difficult. Motherhood and Beyond is peeping into the world of being a mom, but at the same time a wife, a friend and much more. Life doesn't always go easy and some may not know it now, but there is nothing more precious than life. So I welcome you to join us. Follow in our daily routines, our special activities and just enjoy the ride!! TO MOTHERHOOD AND BEYOND!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

6 Days of Lili----Diva style

Lili will be six in just a few days. A friend suggested that I do six days of Lili. Six posts about her and her life so far.  I just realized that I should have started on Friday, but I will catch up today and finish out the remaining four days like it should be.

To my daughter Liliann---
Day 1

On the day you were born, I had no idea what type of little girl you would be. When mommy was little, I was a tomboy, I loved to fish and play outside. I loved to get dirty and play with my brothers. So I never imagined that one day you would grow into such a beautiful, fashion diva! One who loves to get her nails and hair done at the salon, wants to put on make up and loves to be in high heels.  At first, I was scared. I have no clue when it comes to girly stuff like that. But now, as I see you turning six, I could not ask for a better daughter.
You look so beautiful every day, whether you are wearing jeans or a dress. I love to sit and watch as you get your hair done at the salon. When we went there for your birthday party, there was a wedding party getting their hair done. And the flower girl was just your age. They struggled with her because she didn't like getting her hair done. She kept moving and wiggling. I looked over to you and you were sitting in a perfect pose, chatting up the girl as she did your hair.  You looked over and waved, but never broke the stance she asked you to sit in. As you walked to get your nails done, you looked so much older, but so young at the same time. You were stunning.  As she did your nails, you didn't flinch. You sat perfectly still and loved every minute of it. The beauty salon girls just loved it!
But as we went out to the park for your birthday I noticed you didn't let the beauty of the day stop you. You rolled down the hill, you played on the slides and you had lots of fun with all the kids that were there. Looking beautiful every step of the way. On this day, I want to celebrate the diva in you. The one who wears high heels, who wants to be crowned Miss America and who no matter what, would choose to get her nails done over going to a movie any day! I hope you never change your beautiful ways. I hope you always love to get pretty and look your best, but still know how to have fun at the end of the day. 

Where did summer go?

It amazes me that we are already in the last week of August. The kids have been in school for almost a full two weeks and the leaves are already starting to lose their deep green color. I work in the manufacturing industry, our company builds boat trailers. The production teams are down to 32 hours a week. And I sit here and think, where in the world did summer go?

I think that maybe we were just so busy that it flew by, but as I look back, we didn't really do that much this summer. We had no vacations, no traveling, nothing that really took a lot of time to make it go fast. As a child, I remember summer being the best time of the year. No bedtime, no school, and swimming every day. We would stay up late with our friends in the back yard playing kick the can or hide and seek. But as an adult, my days are filled with work, and my nights filled with laundry and dishes.  For the month of June, we had baseball. Lili had a few fun things during the month of July. And August has been filled with birthdays, school starting and illness. Both of the kids were sick this month, Lili with yet another ear infection and Damon had the flu.

I can't believe that next week will be the beginning of September. Lili will turn 6 on Wednesday and school pictures are already being taken.  I really can't believe that summer is almost gone. There were things I still wanted to do. More camping trips I wanted to take and more vacations I wanted to take the kids on. There are national parks I want to see, oceans I want to walk in and beaches I want to lay on. I guess those dreams will have to wait yet another year.  So let's break down the last few months of summer:

June----filled with baseball games and hotdogs! We had a lot of fun watching Damon play a few times a week and improve on his skills as a baseball player.

July---filled with beauty and poise. We had so much fun watching Liliann grow as a person, walk across a stage in front of people and dance her heart out. She did such an amazing job at both the Little Miss Heritage Days contest as well as the Miss Ida County Princess pageant. She had a blast at both and here is to hoping next year brings a crown!

August---birthdays, school supplies and laughs.  The first week of August we celebrated my 28th birthday by spending the day at Adventureland P ark in Des Moines. We stayed at the hotel and had a great Mexican supper.  Then came the first day of school, followed by celebrating Lili's 6th birthday out at Moorehead park.

Well, now that summer is almost coming to a close, I guess it's time to say hello to fall. Time to get ready for football, dance and wrestling!!!! Thinking that as an adult, fall may be my favorite season yet!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baseball 2011

Apple pie, Baseball and Fords...what more can be considered American?  When I first learned we were having a boy, I never imagined he would love to play sports. Ryan is not into sports, and I really don't get into sports either.  So I never thought that we would be sitting at baseball four times a week when he was just 7 years old.

We live in a small town.  One that apparently can't get enough people together to have baseball available for younger people. So we went out of town and found Damon a great team!  The first few practices were tough, as the other boys on the team had played together for a year.  But once he got the hang of it, he fit right in!

They started out with practice four times a week. And then when games started, we had games 2 times a week and practice once a week. And I'm not talking about an hour practice, they were out there for two full hours. The coach had them running the bases, practicing catching pop flies and working on batting.  He was a great coach and I hope he comes back next year.

Damon started out a little rough, trying to remember what he had learned in T-ball the year before. But once things really started going, you could tell what his skills would be and where he would have issues.  The biggest issue---talking!!!  Who would have guessed that????  Because there were older boys on the team, Damon was placed out in the outfield for most of the games.  We were fine with that, he has to start at the bottom and work his way up to getting to play a base.
But we noticed that out in the outfield, he would stand there and talk to the other kids around him.  There were even a few times where had he been paying attention, the ball would have been his to put back into play.  But because he was not paying attention, he missed the ball and missed a good opportunity to show the coach he knew what he was doing.

But as the season went on, he grew better at not talking (or dancing) out in the outfield. And I guess that a few talks with the coach probably helped as well!

They didn't keep score at the games, though I know the boys in the dugout were out there counting whenever they scored.  And of course Damon was out there making sure that when his team scored, he knew that they had a point. He was very interested in making sure they won. And when they didn't win, it was because the other team cheated. Oh to be 7 again. 

This is his team picture. The head coach is on the right, with the assistant coach on the left. Damon is down front, right in the middle!

The season ended at the end of June with a great win over Charter Oak-Ute.  And even Damon said he was ready for the season to be done. But then again, a week later he was asking already for more baseball!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Free Birthday Clubs

 Sign up and on your birthday receive free food!!! List taken from SweepsAdvantage website.


Austin Grill:

Baja Fresh:


BD's Mongolian Grill:

Ben & Jerry's:


Black Angus Steakhouse:

Bob Evans:

Buca di Beppo:

Burger King:

California Pizza Kitchen:

Captain D's:


Charlie Brown's:

Cheeseburger in Paradise:

Chili's Grill & Bar:

Cold Stone Creamery:

Dairy Queen:

Damon's Grill:


Del Taco:

Famous Dave's:


Firehouse Subs:




Glory Days Grill:

Gold Star Chili:

Hard Times Cafe:

Islands Restaurants:

J&R's Steakhouse (Long Island):

Joe's Crab Shack:

Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon:

Macaroni Grill:

Maggiano's Little Italy:

Medieval Times:

Melting Pot, The:

Moe's Southwest Grill:

Muer Seafood Restaurants:

Noodles & Company:


Old Country Buffet:

On The Border Mexican Grill & Cantina:

Orange Julius:


Qdoba Mexican Grill:


Red Lobster:

Red Robin:


Rookies, All American Pub & Grill:



Spicy Pickle:

Steak & Ale:


T.G.I. Friday's:

Texas Roadhouse:

Tony Roma's:

Survey Sites that are good!

Grabbed this list of survey sites from another forum.  No guarantees on quality. Please comment if you try any and they are good / bad.

A La Carte Research
Adept Consumer Testing
Adler-Weiner Research
Advisory Panel
Alan Newman Research
Ask California
Ask Miami
Athena Market Research
Atkins Research Group
Australian Opinion Research
Australian Shoppers Survey
Baker Solutions
Begin Surveys
Bellwether Surveys
Beta Research
Beta Sphere
Big Look
Bolt Survey Panel
Brand Fidelity Panel
Brand Institute Inc.
Business Research Lab
Buzz Back
Buzz Sponge
Clarion Research
Click IQ
Clickin Research
Colmar Brunton Research
Columbia Business School
Consumer Link
Consumer Logic
Consumer Mail Panel Online
Consumer Opinion Services
Consumer Research Associates
Consumer Reviews
Consumer Views
Coors Panel
Cosmetic Research
CQS Research
Cyber Pulse
Discover Why
Disney Magazine Panel
Domus Online
Easy Rewards
Ecker & Associates
eDigital Research
Element USA
Email Cash
Employee Surveys
Fact Finders
Feedback Plus
Fleischman Field Research
Focus Line
Focus on Boston
Focus World International
Food Quiz
Freebie People http://www.urlhasbeenblocked/
Freemoney Limited
Game Crew
Gang & Gang
Global Reviews
Golf Testing
Gongos & Associates
Grace Market Research
Hagen Sinclair Research
HBS Research
Health Trak
Hill Top Research
IncentivePartnership Plus
Inside Heads
Interactive Opinions
International Survey Room
Internet Poll
Internet Survey Center
Internet Surveys of American Opinion
Ipsos Australia
JD Power Panel
Jewelry Consumer Council
JRA Marketing
Kelly Research
KNOTS Opinion Club
L&E Research
Leibowitz Market Research
Live Surveys
Live Wires
Luxury Brands
Market Equity
Market Intellect Panel
Market Reader Pro
Market Surveys
Marketing Analytics
MarketView Research
Mars Research
MBS Internet
McMillion Research
Media Transfer
Michael Herbert Associates
Music Research
NPD Group
On Quest
Online Eval
Online Surveys
opinion BAR
Opinion Force
Opinion Now
Opinion Place
Opinion Site
Opinion Square
Opinion Trone
Opinions Count
Opinions Unlimited
osMoz Club
Osterman Research
Participants Online
Performance Research
Physicians Advisory Council
Pick the Hits
Planet Panel
Pragmatic Research
Precision Research
PrizesOsterman Research
Product Testing Services
Pure Profile
Q Fact
Q&A Research
Radar Reporter
RedBook Click
Research Connections
Reserach Dimensions
Restaurant Poll
Savitz Research
Senior Survey
Shifrin Hayworth
Socratic Forum
Socratic Technologies
Sonic Drive-In
SpectraCom Inc.
Speed Back
Sporting Insights
Study Response
Survey Center
Survey Peace
Survey Site
Taylor Research
Technology Board
Test Spin
That's What I Think
The Edge
The Hartman Group
The Science Advisory Board
USA Panel
Usability Sciences
Verity Consumer Trends
Visitor Friendly
Vividence Inc.
Wired Insights
Wired Pulse
Yahoo Research
Yale School of Management
You Say Focus
Your Say


Livewire Research

Market Reader Pro

Marketview Research

Marketing Analytics

Mars Research

Microsoft Usability

Partnership Plus

Permission Research

Planet Panel

Penn, Schoen & Berland

Take A Survey

USA Polls

Vehicle Voice


VOC Online

Socratic Forum

Study Response

Survey Center Online

Kidz Eyes

Kids Panel

Nima Hunter

Opinion Outpost


Persuadable Research

Planet Pulse

Reel Surveys

Response Panel

Survey Direct

Survey Savvy


Test Spin

Viewpoint Forum


USA Panel

Zoom Panel

Sites to stay away from!

If you are one that likes to do surveys, contest, and wants to earn money from home. I have gotten a list of places that you want to stay away from. These places are known not to pay, have issues or just be invalid.

I got this information from a site that I belong to. Here is the link to his post, I just want to share with all of my readers in case they aren't a member of this site:















G"""""""***""* "***

















Any sites belonging to Michelle Thompson
Any sites belonging to Evely Turner
Any sites belonging to Steve Allen

* = Unlicensed Cash Crusader site
** = Boycotted Sites from
*** = IFrame Cheater (invisible pages to fraud search engines!)

" = (Far) behind with payouts
"" = Site from Dragon Team, knowing of not paying!
""" = Site from clickbuxx-Team, well known of not paying!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

May could be the month!

Surrogacy has been a part of my life since July of 2006. I look back and realize we are creeping up on the anniversary of the day surrogacy came into my life. And wow....5 years already I have been in the surrogacy world. It changed my life, it changed who I am today. It has made me a stronger person. It has made me a more open person.

And one year ago next week, will be the anniversary of when my guys and I first started talking. I look back to a few of our first emails and realize how much our relationship has changed. We went from two completely different couples, to very close friends. I love them as if they had been in my life for years.

After two failed transfers, I am scared yet excited for the third. I want this to be the one that works. I don't want to keep trying. I want to make them daddies. Their goals and dreams are on the line. As a surrogate, it is very hard not to think that something is wrong with my body. Though I look back and know that I have never had issues becoming pregnant. When Jan and Doug came and we did the IUI, the doctor asked about using a medication that increased the chances of a pregnancy. We both felt that no was a good answer. They did not want multiples, and I didn't want to carry multiples. Two weeks after the IUI, as I sat listening to the nurse on the phone say that I was pregnant, I knew that my body was fertile and was born to be pregnant.

I never questioned my fertility after the first failed transfer. There was a lot going on and I honestly just felt as though that wasn't the one. I knew every time I peed on a stick it was going to be stark white. No matter how badly I wanted it to have two lines, in my heart I knew I wasn't pregnant. The second transfer was harder to handle. We changed the scenario going from a 5 day transfer to a 3 day transfer. We switched from fresh to frozen. I honestly had every positive feeling in my body throughout the entire time. I felt pregnant. I felt as though it had worked. And when the nurse called me at work and said that there was a beta of just 1, my heart sank. I really honestly felt as though they screwed up. Maybe it was a 10 and the lab tech forgot to type the zero. But after 4 more home pregnancy tests, I knew that it didn't work. Though for a few days, I held onto the hope that maybe it would change. Maybe it was a late bloomer, my body was a lower HcG producer, maybe that was it.  But sadly, AF showed and I knew it was gone.

Never have a felt like more of a failure. Sitting there in the bathroom, knowing that my IF's dreams were going down the drain is such a horrible feeling. I hated the fact that my body wasn't doing what it was supposed to. But after reading and researching IVF a bit more, I came to realize that sometimes, it isn't the carrier's issue. Chemically something is going right. The embryo is failing, not my body.
And after long talks with the RE, my IF's and myself, we all decided to go one more round. This time, new egg donor, back to a fresh transfer and a new start. I feel so good about this time. I am staying positive and I know it will work. I am ready to be pregnant. I see everyone around me who is pregnant, some are ready to deliver and it brings me back to September, our first transfer, and how we would be delivering in just a few months time. Or if January had taken, I would be just a little over 4 months along, and my belly would start to show.

But as the saying goes, everything happens for a reason. I look back and think about September and realize that had it taken, I would be delivering during the most busiest time of the year for my work.  I would be leaving all of my important duties to my coworkers, making them work longer hours, covering in my absence. Or, it makes me feel as though my work would fire me, let me go and get someone else to cover while I was gone. So there are silver linings in even the worse situations. And when I think about January, it would have us delivering in October. October is the month that Kyle was born. While it would be neat to have them share the same month, I want October to stay special. That month belongs to Kyle. So as I look forward to the future, I think positive. I have a really good feeling that May is going to be a great month!!!

I am so lucky to be a surrogate. I am so proud of the beautiful child I brought into the world for a couple that were unable to do so themselves. I look at the many pictures I get and just smile knowing that I brought him life. I do see bits of myself in him, but I don't feel motherly towards him at all. I love Kyle and we will always have a special bond. But he is not my son. He is Jan and Doug's son. He looks so much like his father!!! I just love his smile and his cute hair!!

That dream is what I want to become reality for my IF's. They are such amazing people. They do small things that I never thought possible.  When I was down there the first time, E even carried my purse as it was quite heavy with my camera and traveling stuff while we did some walking in Mexico City. They help me through doors, carry things for me. When we first arrived, they had flowers and huge hugs for us. It was just plain amazing. My heart breaks when I leave, but I know that they think always of us here in Iowa as we do of them.  I honestly could not have gotten more lucky with this match. We have so much in common, we can stay up and talk for hours about, well just about anything. I can't wait until they come to Iowa and get to see how boring it really is! LOL  We always joke about how boring it is here compared to Mexico City. And I can't wait to go back. This is going to work and close to Father's Day I will get to announce to them that they are going to be daddies!!!!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Weather Spotter

Cobb Park, early fall 2010
Sun beam through the clouds,            

When I was a young girl, I had always had a fascination with weather. At 15, I would stand outside when severe weather was approaching and take picture after picture. And that was before the digital camera, so I had to pay to get my shots developed after I ran out of film. And I could easily use one camera (the disposable ones) per storm.  I can't remember how old I was when the movie Twister came out, but I immediately became addicted. To this very day I can recite almost the entire film by heart. Although I know the movie is fake, the storm chasers are so very real, and are becoming more and more popular each year.

home and really thought I was head over heels in love with my first every real boyfriend. Now 10 years later, even though I didn't go to school to get into meteorology, I still have an opportunity to become a storm spotter and I am THRILLED!!!!!!

So I thought I would do a quick blog post, show off some pictures so I can link it to the people who are looking at choosing me. Also, I wanted to link my blog to different websites, really get my pictures out there. Photography is something of a passion of mine, more than a hobby really.  I love to take pictures, mostly of nature. I am not a people person-I hate trying to stage shots. I would much rather take the camera on a drive out to the country and see what I can find. So enjoy the pictures!!!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 sad sad that it has been over 3 months since my last post.  And I want to call myself a writer some day. I mean how terrible is it that I can't even keep my blog up to date??? Well...I guess the life of a mom really does keep me busy even to a point that I can't blog when I want to!

Update time...since it has been 3 months, better get this done.....

Damon has been enjoying wrestling.  That isn't even the right word, he has loved it. Every weekend (well pretty much) we have went on a journey to a tournament for Damon.  I knew he was good, but I never knew how technical he really could get when he put his heart into it.  The strongest warrior can be great, but must have the heart behind the talent.  Even the best guy can be beat by someone who wants it more.  Damon is that kind of wrestler. He truly puts his heart and soul into what he does and in that way, he is exactly like his momma.  I can tell in his eyes when he is pumped, when he is tired, when he is ready to just give up, but won't because he knows that champions never forfeit.   This past weekend we took him to Super PeeWee State Wrestling in Waterloo, Iowa.  It was so much fun to run away for a weekend, crash at a nice hotel for a few nights and do some wrestling.  Damon lost his first match, technically the most important one.  He lost by points.  His second match he pinned the kid in 19 seconds. It was awesome!  Then the third match we ended up with a kid that has been wrestling 2 more years than Damon and travels around the Midwest in Nationals tournaments. He was good and beat Damon 11-1.  Our day of wrestling was done, but after a quick nap, we went swimming, had some good food and just had some fun at the hotel.  We are all bummed that wrestling season is over, but can't wait until next year.  If money is good, I want to put Damon in the team called the Predators. They are awesome and what Damon needs to excel in wrestling. The Mat Rats are a good local team, but the first 2 months are spent with 50 plus kids trying to learn moves and he didn't pick anything up until later in the season. I want Damon to focus and learn how to take that focus and transform it into good technical wrestling.  We are heading into soccer season now and Momma is excited to be cheering from the sidelines again!!!

Lili will begin her first year of soccer as well. She is excited and can't wait to play with her big brother.  She has been such a little cheerleader throughout wrestling season, I am surprised she wasn't down on the mat with the boys as much as she practiced with Damon.  Though in my heart I know she is too fragile, she hates pain and does not like to be held down. Instead of fighting back, she screams, a death scream that will make you want to cover your ears and hide under a pillow.  So I would rather not put her into wrestling only to hear that scream as she is being pinned. But who knows, maybe she will surprise us next year!  We had a scare a few weeks ago when Lili's cat, Purrsia, got out.  She was gone for almost a full 2 weeks. One night on a walk down the street, Damon overheard a cat meowing and Lili recognized it as Purrsia's voice.  They tracked it into a neighbor's garage and Ryan was able to get her out. She is now back home, healthy and safe. Lili is very afraid of letting her go and is constantly making sure that she doesn't get out again.  Her year of Kindergarten is going very well and really likes school. Though I am sure she would much rather be at home playing school so she can be in charge of everything that happens. Lili is very much like me in that way, likes things done her way. Its quite cute at times, but at other times...WATCH OUT!!

Ryan and I are doing great.  We just bought a new 2006 Chrysler Pacifica. Its beautiful and just awesome to drive.  The color is red. It has a 6-disc cd changer, which for those of you that know me, know that this was a huge improvement. I love music but I am constantly changing CD's while driving. This lets me put in my favorite 6 CD's and I can change them with just a touch of a button.  The kids love the new vehicle, though I am unsure of what to call it.  The brand is considered a crossover. It is not quite a minivan, but not an SUV either. So for now, its a stationwagon I guess LOL.  I don't know what else to call it!  

Ryan is getting excited about driving his bike again. He has already taken it out twice when the weather allowed it. He is getting ready to be out on the road again and I know he is anxious for the weather to finally be nice again. 

As for me and surrogacy....well, we are going for round three. I almost didn't think it would happen, but we decided to try with a new egg donor and I am so ready to get knocked up!!!  I have seen so many people get pregnant lately or give birth and it just makes me want it sooooo much more.  I can't wait to see the look on their face when I tell them we are pregnant. And for that moment when we are in delivery, as they watch their first child being born, it brings such a warmth to my heart knowing that because of me, they are able to be parents.  So right now we have chosen a new egg donor (well, we are in that process this week) and hopefully will be transfering in May!  I want to say April, but I just don't know if we can make it that quickly or not with the middle of March fast approaching.  
Also in the surrogacy world I have recently been named the host for the JustMommies message board for the surrogate mommies. I am super excited to have this position and while I know there aren't many who belong to this board, I hope to be able to spread the positive word regarding surrogacy and help those who need answers to their questions. I want to be able to be a positive image for surrogacy and hope that in the next few years, I can strengthen in that position.  I want to write a book about being a surrogate and maybe a fiction novel on surrogacy in general.  I want to write a positive story and a negative story, one that shows how things can go wrong.  That is my dream anyways!!

Well...for now...that is all. I have this setup at work now so hopefully I can blog on my break and start getting this show on the road!!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011 is finally here

Sadly, my last post was in October. I can't believe how I have let this thing go!!!! I am such a writer that when I don't write, it makes me feel really lazy!  So my new year's resolution is to take care of this blog and get to 30 followers by December. I know you are thinking, that isn't very many. But I am setting my goal low so I don't put it out of reach. I am currently at 14, so that is almost double what I would have now.

I guess the biggest thing is to make sure I pick a theme and write about it. My blog has kinda gotten out there and really just pushed everything together. I have surrogacy, my family, work, free stuff, work at home stuff. I don't have things organized and the reason I don't and can't get any followers is because I don't offer anything really of importance.

So to start off the new year right, I think I am going to sit down tonight and really think about what I want to write about. I am passionate about many things. This blog will be for my life, my family, my friends, work and everything else that goes with being a mom, wife, sister, daughter and friend. I am going to setup a new blog linked with this one for the one thing I am going to write passionately about. So hang on for the ride, 2011 is finally here!!!!!!!!!