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Good Monday morning to you!

The birth of a child. That's what Christmas is all about. Not just any child, mind you, but one who we Christians believe is our savior. But this isn’t a story about Christmas or Jesus. It is a one about the overwhelming joy of becoming a parent for the first time.

Today is Dec. 27, and our oldest daughter, Sara, was born 24 years ago. It was, without a doubt, the most positively emotional day of my life to date.

As expecting parents for the first time, Jolene and I did not know what to, well, expect. On the evening of Dec. 26, 1997, we spent a typical Friday evening by going to the movies. We chose to see Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton in “Dante’s Peak,” a flick about a dormant volcano that was about to erupt. That should have been a sign.

After going to bed that evening, Jolene got up to go the restroom, and I heard her calmy say to me from across the bedroom, “I think my water broke.” She wasn’t due for another month, so my reply was, “Are you sure?” and I rolled over in bed. She then proved her point by pitching her wet undergarments at my head from 12 feet away with Nolan Ryan’s speed and accuracy.

The race was on, and I packed up our Ford Explorer and maneuvered through I-235 to the hospital like Mario Andretti. And thank goodness, as our beautiful daughter Sara was born within a couple hours on that early Saturday morning.

I will never forget the first time I held her in my arms. The tears rolled down my face in pure happiness as I stared into her eyes, wondering how something so small and innocent could have so much of an impact. Yes, the birth of a child is a truly amazing thing.

The next day was Sunday, and I chose to attend mass at St. Ambrose Cathedral in downtown Des Moines, which was adorned in full Christmas decorations. As I gave thanks for this wonderful addition to our lives, I again became overwhelmed with tears of joy.

The years ahead were filled with even more joy. I could not wait to get home from work each day to see her waiting for me at the door. I would chase her around the house, and we would play a little game we created called “1, 2, 3,” where I would hold her in my arms, swing her back and forth while counting to three, and toss her into a pile of pillows on our bed while she giggled profusely. Then I would get on my hands and knees while she would crawl on top of my back to play “horsey.” Those were wonderful days, and I hope this trip down memory lane sparks a few pleasant remembrances for many of you, too.

Sara turns 24 today, and she came home for Christmas from her newfound home in California. We haven’t played “1, 2, 3” or “horsey,” but simply seeing her brings me those familiar emotions and a continued fascination about the birth of not just any child, but my baby girl. Happy birthday, Sara.

Have a marvelous Monday, and thanks for reading.

President and Publisher
Big Green Umbrella Media
515-953-4822, ext. 305


Your Clear Mortgage forecast from Jason Parkin

Sunny and mild today. Rain and snow look likely in Iowa tomorrow, then a shot of colder air moves in Wednesday. Snow looks likely at this point on Saturday, with much colder air next Sunday.

For help with preapprovals or refinancing, get in touch with Jason at parkin.mortgage

Things To Do

Monday, Dec. 27
Sporticle Trivia at Smash Park, Mondays, 7 and 8 p.m.
At: Smash Park is located at 6625 Coach Light Dr., West Des Moines
Info: Registration is free.
Join in on Mondays for free Sporcle Live Trivia with Nate!

Featured Home For Sale
Attention Realtors, post your listings here for $50. Contact pat@dmcityview.com for details.
975 26th Street
Des Moines, IA 50312
Check out this remodeled 1.5 story home located on a turn-a-round dead end street! Located in a nostalgic Des Moines neighborhood. Close to Gateway market and Smoky Row coffee! Fresh paint throughout, laminate flooring, new carpet & paint in the last month. Enjoy summer evenings on the front porch!....
Find Out More!

FROM KCCI: 99-year-old Iowa man appears on Wheaties box

MARION, Iowa (KCRG) —Clarence Frett has been eating a bowl of Wheaties every morning for breakfast since he was in the Coast Guard in World War II. “I dump a bowl of Wheaties and put a little sugar in it and put a little milk in it,” Frett said. “That’s my breakfast. I don’t eat much more than that.” ...READ MORE FROM KCCI

FROM WHO-TV: Abelardo’s on Ingersoll Avenue permanently closes after Sunday

DES MOINES, Iowa — A popular late night food spot in Des Moines is closing its doors for good after Sunday. Today marked the final day for the Abelardo’s location at 2510 Ingersoll Avenue. The Mexican fast food restaurant will remain open overnight until 1 a.m. before permanently closing. Axios reported in March that a Starbucks coffeehouse is planned to take its place.  READ MORE FROM WHO-TV

FROM WOI-DT Local 5: Kwanzaa celebrations kick off in Des Moines

The seven-day holiday centers around seven guiding principles, known as the Nguzo Saba. ... READ MORE FROM WOI-DT Local 5

CITYVIEW's Best Of Des Moines 2021

Nearly 14,000 votes were cast in the 2021 CITYVIEW Best Of Des Moines readers' poll.

Best Private College or Private University in Iowa
1. Drake University
2. Simpson College
3. Grand View University


Read more

Meet Natalie Franke: Teaches fourth grade and math for educators.

By Jackie Wilson

As a teacher, Natalie Franke’s career path veered off course the past 25 years. However, the different path led her to new opportunities.

Franke currently teaches fourth grade at Brookview Elementary School, and she’s in her 10th year with the Waukee school district.
When she was in second grade, Franke says she knew she wanted to be a teacher as she enjoyed playing school with her younger siblings.

“I’d make them do all the work,” she jokes.
She began teaching in the Des Moines Public Schools District, while also finishing her administrative degree. She planned on becoming a principal, but her path quickly changed.

“I was expecting twins. That changed my plans a bit,” she explains.


Read more

Place your help wanted ad in the list below for FREE! Email to pat@dmcityview.com. And ask us about upgrading your FREE ad with a display ad in any of our publications.




See all jobs listings

The pickleball courts and indoor track at the new Albaugh Family Senior Community Center in Ankeny during the recent grand opening. Photo by Aaron Burns.


Email to tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com to be included in an upcoming Daily Umbrella!
Digital Editions
Altoona Living magazine is published each month and mailed to every household in the community. The December issue cover story, "Christmas Then and Now" shares residents' perspectives on how their holiday traditions have changed. Also included are other features, informational articles and local photos. Each edition, as well as the archives, may be viewed at www.iowalivingmagazines.com. Read the November issue here.
Birthdays and Notables!

Happy Birthday Sara Goodman!

Happy belated Christmas Birthday to Jessica Chrystal!

Happy Birthday to these celebrities: Gérard Depardieu, Hayley Williams, Bill Goldberg, Olivia Cooke, Chloe Bridges, Emilie de Ravin, John Amos, Eva LaRue, Savannah Guthrie, Carson Palmer, Tovah Feldshuh

SUBMIT: Send your birthday greetings and congratulatory notes to:tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com

Poll of the Week

When do you take down your Christmas tree?

The day after Christmas
A week after Christmas
Two weeks after Christmas
Three weeks or more after Christmas
Don’t have a Christmas tree


What is atop your Christmas tree?

An angel - 40%
A star - 33%
A bow - 12%
Nothing -15%

Morning Chuckle

What did the balding man say when he saw hairpieces on sale for $5?

THAT'S A GREAT PRICE TOUPEE! Shane's answer was good, too: HIP HIP HAIR-AY. As was Gail Tomlinson's: THAT'S A HAIR RAISING PRICE.


Rex Post sent this riddle: What is the difference between a circus master and Caesar's barber?

Have a guess? Email tammy@iowalivingmagazines.com 


If you would like to advertise in this daily newsletter, please contact Pat Checketts at pat@dmcityview.com, or call 515-953-4822 xt. 311.

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