Friday, December 28, 2007

Mission: Sewing!

My mission, should I choose to accept it (which, I have), is to turn this box of cozy fabric:

into a crib bumper, crib skirt, nursery window treatment, and maybe a small quilt... in the next 80 (or so) days. Time to get busy! I want to put a soft yellow pom pom trim on the bottom of the crib skirt (and maybe window valance), but need to find that first.

In case the colors are weird, the fabric is all dark brown, sage green, soft yellow, and lilac/purple.

Anyone want to come help?

Merry Christmas, baby!

It's a few days late, but Merry Christmas from our house to yours (ironically, neither of these pictures were taken at our house).

I am in awe that we will have a 9 month-old next Christmas. Oh, how different life will be! The nearness of this great life change is feeling very daunting to me. Not because of all that needs to be done, or because of the fear of labor, but just knowing that life will be massively different, I know I don't even know the ways in which it will be different.

My knees are shaking and my throat is a bit dry as I stare right in the face of an inevitable mysterious change, without knowing what it really is or means. Baby girl is due in 84 days. That means the delivery "window" is 70-98 days. Gulp.

This, I think, is one of the problems with waiting so long to have babies. Hubs and I are very used to us. To our marriage the way it is. To choosing what we do and when. To our house and the way we live in it. Every Sunday night, we have our church small-group over, which includes 20 people - half of which are kids. The kids ages range from 1.5 yrs to 18, and all but two of them are boys. They are loud, and very active. Their parents apologize for the chaos, but I am thankful. I think we need some chaos training in our home. We bought a home to fit a family, and I really want a big family, but that doesn't mean I'm used to the chaos it brings! Every Sunday we invite people over for chaos training.

Today, I painted my nails red to feel a bit prettier. I feel like a whale, and while I know that I have the pregnancy "glow" and am the picture of maternal beauty (or so they tell me!), I don't feel very pretty. To me, whale = fat = not pretty. Red nail polish always helps. At the same time, I finally took off my horribly chipped toe-nail polish that has been on since September. There was barely any left on anyway. I figured I'd better take it off while I can still reach my toes (barely).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Happy sick day

As much as I look forward to having our little one with us and being a mother, there are some things I know I will miss about our pre-kids life. Today is one of them.

Hubs and I are both sick. Both of us. We don't venture too far from the box of kleenex, tub of mentholatum, and chapstick. I hated to do it, but we had to skip church this morning, which was especially hard to do because I was supposed to be singing in the advent choir. Worse, we're practicing during the Sunday School hour, so I missed our choir practice as well. But, my lack of sleep last night, and the fact that I woke up feeling worse than yesterday, mandated that we stay home.

So, we're sick, both sick, but it has been lovely. We slept in, then both took long steamy showers to clear our heads. Steve went to the store for me to buy some chicken noodle soup and rent a movie. We're both snuggied on the couch, the dog is snuggied in her bed (which I brought downstairs for her), and we're spending our day watching movies...sleeping on and off.

It's quiet and calm.

I know these days are fleeting. Surely, sick days won't be like this at all when there are little ones to watch after. I don't think children are extra calm when the parents don't feel well.

I'm all stuffed up and can't breathe one bit, but today is one of my favorites. I love it, and will miss it when it's gone.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

107 days

I am due in 107 days. Given that babies can easily come two weeks "early" or "late," that means that I hit the delivery "month" in 93 days. Only 93. If you don't count the days between now and Christmas (really - who isn't busy enough with just Christmas??), then that leaves 73 days. Seventy-three days!

I had a dream last night that I had our little baby (which strangely, was a boy). I had just brought him home. For some reason, I was alone...don't know where hubs was (he is on a business trip right now, so that may have snuck into my dream). Baby boy was the size of a 7 month old. He could also talk. In my dreams, the baby always talks and tells me what I'm doing wrong. Nothing was ready... there were no sheets on the crib, I had no diapers...nothing. Worse, I had forgotten to feed him. We all forgot to do any immediate breastfeeding at the hospital, and it wasn't until we were home for awhile that I realized I hadn't yet fed him anything. Ever.

And people wonder why pregnant women don't sleep well!

93 days...that is really 73 days. Oh my.

And of course, at a time when I feel like I have SO MUCH to do at home, I am trying to get through a long to-do list at work, as I prepare to leave there in about 79 days, which is really 59 days. For some reason, my boss thinks that this should be my first priority. Doesn't he know?

For my sanity, allow me to tell you things I'd like to get done.
  • Paint the baby's room. It would help if I could finally decide on how. I'd been planning on doing white beadboard halfway up the wall, with the top half in a butter yellow. This morning I was thinking the room might be too small for that and maybe we should just stick with the yellow.
  • Paint the crib... either white or dark brown. Again, it would help if I would decide. We got our crib for free from a friend, but this paint decision is killing me. It may have been worth $400 to just get a crib that was a color I liked. ;-) Ok, not really... but it seems like it sometimes.
  • Decide what decorations or pictures to put on the walls of the room. I have no idea.
  • Order fabric online. Again, decide. I might just order too much of lots of fabric so I don't have to decide until after it gets here.
  • Sew the crib bumper and crib skirt, and maybe a matching blanket (of course...not for the infant to sleep under). Sew curtains.
  • Buy and install a black-out curtain.
  • Buy new closet doors. This may involve fabric too, not sure.
  • Add shelving, rods, and baskets to the baby's closet. It's actually a big space, but not very usable for a little one right now.
  • Sign up for and attend my breastfeeding class, and cloth diapering class.
  • Attend our birthing class (already signed up - can cross that off the list) our birthing class, which is each week in January.
  • Decide if we want a doula, and if so, interview some, and pick one.
  • Pick a name for the baby, or at least narrow it down.
  • That last one is really important, so I'm listing it twice. Pick a name for the baby, or at least narrow it down.
  • Make food to have in the freezer for after the baby is born.

Ok, that might be it... for baby-specific items anyway. Phew. That list makes me tired, and I'd go take a nap except for two things. First, I have that work to-do list to get through. Second, when I go to sleep, I'm greeted by huge newborn baby boys who talk.

I think I need to go now and get busy. Feel free to nominate any favorite girl names if you want to help me out!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

So thankful

One of my greatest irritants on Thanksgiving is this. I LOVE to go around the table and share what we are thankful for. I could do this for hours. I am so thankful for so much. I also love to hear what other people are thankful for. Sometimes it surprises me, sometimes not. Either way, I always come away feeling more thankful for the person who shared. Yet, it never fails that every Thanksgiving there are many people in my family who groan at this tradition. They hate it. They have a hard time coming up with something. Of course, we do it anyway, but I hate that they don't want to do it. How can we NOT be thankful?

I am so thankful. I have been amazingly blessed... in abundance. Oh, how I don't deserve any of it. It's all a huge gift.

I am so thankful that I am pregnant, when I didn't think we'd be able to get pregnant easily. I am so thankful that we're having a little girl, when I really didn't think I'd ever get to mother a girl. This blesses my soul so deeply. I am thankful that she is healthy and growing well - she is a miracle. I am thankful that my body knew how to do this!

I am so thankful for my wonderful husband. He loves me so deeply, so tenderly, and without reservation. He has been taking amazing care of me without complaint. I feel guilty that I am so tired, and he does so much. He just smiles and tells me I'm busy climbing a mountain. I love him. We are also thankful that he got a new job recently and loves it. I'm thankful for how diligently he provides for our family in so many different ways.

I am so thankful that I have parents and an extended family I love. They are a joy to me. I wish we were all closer and saw each other more. I know many people who don't wish that of their family. I am blessed.

I am so thankful for my church and the families in it. I love our worship together. I love the relationships we've made. I love going to church, and again, I know many people that don't. Very, very blessed.

I am so thankful for our warm, cozy home. I do try to guard my thanksgivings against materialism, but I truly am. I recognize this is a gift - I know many people do not have a warm, cozy home to call their own. In recent days, I've spent a bit of time reading by the fire, under a blanket, drinking warm tea, listening to Christmas music. Ahhhh. I absolutely love it. Best of all, we've been in this house for about 9-11 months, depending on how you look at it, and it's finally feeling cozier. We've been putting pictures up, painting some walls, and making it ours. It makes these moments all the more cozier. I love our house. We hosted thanksgiving this year in our big dining room, everyone sitting around a big table. I LOVED it.

And of course, I am so thankful for the gift I've been given of salvation - eternity with the King. I have done nothing to deserve this, nor will I ever. I'm completely undeserving. It is truly a gift. He is the giver of all good things, and I can't hardly imagine an eternity enjoying His majesty. I'm so grateful that God wants relationship with me. It doesn't make sense to me, but I know He does. What a great, great gift.

So thankful.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

WFMW: Cheap "insurance"

The other day I came home from doing some errands, and hubs had gotten home before me. This kitchen was a mess! Turns out that we had had a leak under our sink (ok, really we had a garbage can thing under there that turned the plumbing bolt thingy every time you pulled out the garbage can). There was a flood! Thankfully, it didn't spill out, mainly because there is linoleum in the cabinet that curls up in the front - it held all the water in.

Anyway - everything was a mess under there. Hubs pulled everything out to toss it our dry it out. Praise God - it turns out we had some cheap insurance that we didn't even know about.

We had a nearly full roll of paper towels under the sink (unwrapped). It acted as a huge wick and soaked up tons of water. Even though only part of the roll touches the linoleum, the full roll was absolutely soaking wet. Hubs was pretty sure that this saved us from the water spilling over the linoleum and into our kitchen.

That works for me! We decided that we should always keep a roll of paper towels under the kitchen sink, just in case. It's pretty cheap flood insurance!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I hate to eavesdrop, but sometimes you can't help it. The people next to you are just too loud, or too intriguing - like the aftermath of a bad car accident on the freeway.

Observation #1:
Last Sunday, hubs and I were eating at a local fast food Mexican place after church - Qdoba. Ok, really - we do this every single Sunday. I love, love, love Qdoba. There are never enough tables there, and the tables that ARE there, are always super squished together. There was a family of four (two adolescent children) sitting next to us. We were so distracted by their conversation; our table ended up being a pretty quiet one. They were a sad train wreck. Their conversation represented all that is wrong with our culture and with marriage today. First, they spent a long time talking about their family schedule for the week. Well, the wife did (ok, she really dominated the conversation the entire time). She had her electronic device out, and proceeded to inform the husband of all of the things she had scheduled for each day of the week. It took a long time. Then the discussion turned to their schedule for that afternoon. She needed to get some things at the grocery store, but forgot the list at home. She wanted them to go up the hill to their house, go get the list, then go back out to do their errands, though she was NOT happy about it. The kicker here was her reasoning - she absolutely refused to use her day off with the kids (Vets day) to do "family errands." No way. The family errands had to get done on Sunday so that she could spend Monday however she wanted.

It was just sad. The husband was so quiet, so beaten down. What a wife! There was no joy at their table. The family wasn't enjoying being together at all - they just sat there and listened to mom rant and rave. Sad.

Observation #2:
Hubs went to the grocery store for me last night (he is my hero!!!) and called to ask about a particular item. He also had to share a sad observation. He was watching a family of 4 or 5 in the frozen food aisle. All of them - parents and kids - were all extremely overweight. They were carrying their food items with them, which included several kinds on (non-diet) soda, and some other junk food items that I can remember right now (chips or something). They were standing in the aisle arguing over which FOUR kinds of ice cream to get. It was yet another representative picture of many problems in our culture.

Obviously they don't, but I always wonder if these people realize how much of a stereotypical picture (of bad things!) they have created. If they realized it, would it make them sad? Would they be ashamed, make excuses, think it's funny? I wonder what sad stereotypical pictures other people see me in that I don't recognize. Oh, I pray for eyes to see them, whether they are in public or private.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

The truth

Is it a bad sign when the gal at Subway tells you that you look tired?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Baby news!

And the verdict is in... thanks to the amazing technology we enjoy today, I get to share the news that in about 20 more weeks, I will be the proud mommy of a baby girl. A daughter.

There are so many boys in my husband's family, and so few girls. I've been preparing myself for years (and especially the last few months) that we will likely only have boys. I love boys, and would have been happy with this situation, but I did long for a girl too. I didn't have any brothers, so when I think of "childhood", I think of girls and girly things. Hubs and I both hoped and thought it might be a girl, but didn't hardly say it outloud, knowing how unlikely it was.

So, while I was there... laying on the reclined "big chair", with warm goop on my tummy, looking at the blobs on the screen, I couldn't believe it when the doctor mentioned that our DAUGHTER looked beautiful. He waited until about halfway through - purposefully keeping the suspense.
He was certain about that diagnosis right away, and then made us wait a while. Let me assure you, he had reason to think it was a girl...and it included anatomy words that I won't post on the blog. We definitely had a good money shot - and it's a girl.

My question back to him (really? it's a girl??) barely came out in a whisper. Tears flowed. Hubs held my hand. It was amazing. I could look at that video of her beating heart all day long. We got a DVD of it - I think I might go watch it again.

It's a girl. I will have a daughter - a daughter I never thought I'd have.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I cannot believe I haven't posted anything since October 3rd, and here it is... October 30th. Wow. Such an appropriate effect of how I've been feeling. I have been busy. Busy experiencing, hearing, feeling, doing...without the time, energy, or clarity to comment and reflect on it all.

I am just a couple days shy of hitting the 20 week mark. That half-way milestone is a bit daunting to me. I know we have "a lot of time left" (a comment I hear frequently), yet I know that the next two months will become very busy with holiday busy-ness, and the last month or two I may lack the energy and agility to do too much. I do not feel like I have a lot of time left. By the way, I will just say...for the record, that moms who have been moms for years, while I appreciate their wisdom and advice, do not remember some things accurately. They do not remember how much there is to DO to prepare for the first child to be born. There are so many decisions to be made and research to be done. My friends that are newer moms get this...they completley understand. But my friends that have been moms for a long time just don't seem to get it.

I am feeling great... I'm not sick any longer and I have much more energy than I did at the beginning. However, I've recently started getting extremely tired at night - and night starts somewhere between 3:30 and 6:00pm. This has been difficult. Getting my work hours in, getting my ministry commitment done, and researching/ planning all the needed baby things...AND being ready for bed at 5pm - this has all been very difficult.

Through it all, my husband has been WONDERFUL. He is showing his love for me so tangibly; I have never loved him more.

Yesterday, I had to work during the day, but we took a couple hours in the early afternoon to go look at strollers with a friend of mine. This was absolutely exhausting and overwhelming. I was supposed to keep working when I got back, but couldn't. Hubs put me to bed, and woke me up later to send me off to my bible study. I tried my hardest to keep my eyes open while I was at bible study. I was so tired! I really wanted to come back home and go to bed, but there were a few important grocery items we were out of. I called on my way home to tell I was stopping at the store, and to see if there was anything he wanted.

My WONDERFUL husband told me to come home, get in bed, and he would go to the grocery store (at 10:00pm). He really, really does not like grocery shopping. At all. I told him I really didn't mind, but without any complaint in his voice, said he would really rather go and let me sleep.

Like I said, he has been WONDERFUL. I love him.

Our ultrasound is tomorrow. Just saying that makes my heart beat faster. I wonder if we will be able to tell the gender (and yes, if it's clear, we will be finding out), I wonder if anything will be wrong with the baby, I wonder what it will be like to see it on that little screen.

I wonder what this little one will think of the jogging stroller that we just found on craigslist... hubs is out picking it up for me as I type. =)

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Need baby STUFF advice

It's a backwards day at Shannon's Works For Me Wednesday, and of course, I've got one thing on my mind: BABIES. I've got one in me that's about 16 weeks old.
We are going to try to register early, hoping that we might get help with some big ticket stuff for Christmas, and so we've started the research. Oh my gosh. How on earth do you pick which car seat (infant or convertable? Which brand?), and stroller, and ALL the other things to buy?
More so, I really would rather err on the side of minimalist. I don't want baby stuff just because they sell baby stuff. If we "need" it, fine. But otherwise, my kid can cope.
So....all you mom's... my question(s) for you is what baby stuff did you love having? What things would you suggest I pass on? Were there any specific brands/types that you really thought were better than others? I need HELP!
Really need help. If I get overwhelmed and can't make a decision, I do nothing. That's not necessarily a good decision here. We've had a great debate about where the kiddo will sleep when it's first born. We'd like it in our room, but not in our bed (really - it's not an option, so you can leave out that suggestion). We had a serious discussion about the feasibility of just using a laundry basket. We're currently leaning towards the bassinet in a pack-n-play. Like I said HELP.
Thanks everyone!!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Happy Autumn

Yesterday was the first official day of Autumn, and the weather is cooperating pretty well. As we went to church is was cloudy and overcast...and cold! Our church was way too cold, but that's a whole other problem. Our house was so cold when I got home; I turned on the heat, the fireplace, lit candles, and put on my sweats and wools socks. In a bit the sky cleared to sunny, crisp autumn day. Today was no different. It's cool but sunny - high of 62.

In order to usher in the new season, and in an effort to decorate SOMETHING in my house (the rest of the projects just feel overwhelmingly big), I put up a couple autumnal decorations. Beautiful. (My front door is red, not pink - if it looks weird on your computer).

Happy Autumn!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Just in time

Just about the time that I start wondering if I'm really pregnant (not just fat), or if I am pregnant, that I might be permanently screwing up my unborn's time for my next midwife appointment. Just in time for some well needed reassurance.

Three awesome things happened at my appointment yesterday. One of them is so awesome that I had to blog about it so I could remember it forever.

First, we heard the heart beat right away. This was just a wonderful blessing because at my last appointment it was a tad early to be hearing the heartbeat and it took about 10 minutes to find. Yesterday, we heard it the moment she put the doplar thingy on my stomach. Yay! And yes, I really truly am pregnant.

Second, my midwife made me feel justified in feeling so huge and needing maternity clothes. I feel like I shouldn't be so big yet...based on some things I've read and other peoples comments. I've had to get over it and just buy clothes that fit, but still - I hate feeling like I'm abnormal or somehow doing this wrong (which I know it totally stupid). Anyway, although I'm 14 weeks along, my uterus is growing fast at this stage (which can be totally normal and should even out soon.... or I'm having twins, but it's most likely that I'm just a fast grower) and it's actually the size of where the average woman is at 18 weeks. Based on that, she thought I was totally normal sized and it made complete sense that I needed new clothes. Justification is really nice.

The last truly awesome thing that happened: while she was feeling around on my tummy, she told me I had great muscle tone on my stomach. My jaw dropped. Let me tell you - that's not a compliment I've ever heard from anyone. Ever. As I regret weighing 10-15 pounds extra to begin with, and now feel like a big blob, that is just a compliment that almost made me cry. Seriously - I almost hugged her. I refrained.... but not from recording it for all time.

I think my appointments should be closer together just for the emotional benefits that come along. (Yes, I know that in a short time they will be really close together and I will probably regret saying that.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

what if?

What if I'm not really pregnant?

What if I've just gotten fatter from eating every two hours, especially from all the ice cream and cookie dough I've been enjoying?

What if I'm now so fat that I'm wearing maternity clothes, when I should just be wearing fat-lady clothes?

By the way, WHY are the clothes at target put in this order: juniors, women's, plus size, maternity??? The maternity clothes are right next to the plus size clothes, and the racks aren't marked well. I already feel like a fat blob, the last thing I want is to be buying plus-size clothes. Maternity clothes might be just as big, and bigger, but it makes it completely better because they are maternity. I swear a man designed the store layout. Idiot.

Well, regardless of WHY I'm wearing maternity clothes, I am. And the angels rejoiced today when I found a fantastically-fitting pair of jean capris at Old Navy for $13.99. No joke - I heard the Hallelujah Chorus in the dressing room, especially since I found a well fitting black top to go with them. For the first time in weeks, I thought I actually looked kind of cute in an outfit. I wanted to hug with check-out girl, but I refrained.

Clothes are hard right now. I'm still in the weird stage where I just look and feel fat, not pregnant, but none of my clothes are fitting. I had one cute pair of black capris I could still wear (to work and to church, bonus) but this Sunday, as my tummy squished out of the top of them and made me feel deformed, I decided that I wouldn't be able to wear them anymore. Darn dryer. I'm mentally ready to just go get an autumn wardrobe of tummy-panels... filled with corduroy and other warm, cozy fabrics, but our current mid-80's temperatures are higher than they were all of August, and I'm going to be in Texas for four or five days soon, where it is even 10 degrees hotter. I've been trying to find a few things I can wear right now, without buying a whole summer wardrobe - in mid September.

Enough complaining. Praise Jesus for my new jean capris, even if I can't wear them to church.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

a bit o energy?

I've heard rumor that once in the second trimester, you feel a lot better and get miracle energy. Needless to say, I've spent much of my couch-time dreaming of miracle energy.

I don't think it's fully here yet, since I'm still requiring about 10 hours of sleep per night, but I'm hoping that I, at 12.5 weeks of pregnancy, have found the edge of this new stage. I think I might have. Until now, I bemoaned the the layer grime in my home and complete disorganization while laying on the couch, with no energy to really think about it for too long, let alone do anything about it.

Until Wednesday. I don't know whether it was energy found on the beach during vacation, or whether I'm teetering on the edge of miracle energy.

On Wednesday, I vacuumed. Shouldn't be a big deal, but let me tell you, I think the dog was even tired of laying on the dog-hair-covered carpet. Yesterday, I cleaned off my desk in my real office (like, with cleaner) and moved my work stuff from my couch workstation to my desk workstation. Oh and yesterday, I did laundry. It's still in the dryer, but hey - it's clean. Today, I'm tackling the biggie - the bathroom. I'm taking it slow, with blogging breaks in between steps because I'm probably not supposed to be using some of these cleaners. I'm using the milder ones instead of the strongest ones, and have fans on. Oh, and I'm saving the shower for the once-a-month cleaning lady we're going to be getting soon. I only have to be reminded of the shower grimy-ness once a day for the couple minutes that I'm coherent during my shower.

If nothing else, I can sleep better knowing that the house isn't quite so toxic.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

i'm back

While most probably haven't noticed, I've been on a blogging break. Really, a life break....enjoying a well needed vacation. Ahhh. Let me say it again: Ahhhhh.

What did I do on vacation?
Sit with sand between my toes, received lots of freckles on my face, laugh while trying to put on unflattering snorkel gear, laugh at the turtles swimming right at me, read two and a half chick-lit books, and the enjoy of lots and lots of sleep.

What did I NOT do on vacation?
Much to my husband's surprise, I did not once check my email or read any blogs. Actually, I didn't get on the internet once.

It ended too soon. I could use about three more weeks of beach time.

I'm back. Pictures to come.

Monday, August 27, 2007


I'm always intimidated by a difficult trailhead... when you are going for a hike, but just getting past the trailhead wipes you out.

I'm 10 and a half weeks pregnant. Just the trailhead; barely getting started. On this Monday, I'm still recovering from some horrible weekend nausea (morning sickness paired with a rough boat trip is NOT a pretty thing), I have a hand that is massively swollen and itchy from one or two wasp stings on my thumb, and I have come down with a head cold...and am not allowed to take any medication for it. Oh, and I had a complete bawling breakdown with hubs last night because of the cellulite that has made a home on my legs recently.

It's been a bit of a rough trailhead. I'm pretty wiped out. I dare not complain though, for I know I'm just getting started. What if this is the easy part?

And I think it is.

There is one good thing though.

When you go for a hike, and it's a killer from the get-go, it always has a fantastic view at the top.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

joyful noise

Today I heard a joyful noise: a fast little pitter-patter of a tiny, but very strong, heartbeat. Oh, what a joyful noise.

I finally picked my midwife and today was our first real appointment. There are two women who share this practice and I will alternate who I see with each appointment. They are both such a joy. They are so excited to know me, spend time with me, and thrilled to have the privilege of delivering our little one. That is such a change from other doctors offices where I feel like I'm an interruption in their day.

I'm not quite 10 weeks pregnant, so they cautioned me that we may not be able to hear the heartbeat yet ... but that we could try. It did take quite a while and they decided to take the extra time to keep trying for me. The baby is so tiny compared to how much fluid it is swimming's pretty easy for it to just swim away from their little microphone. And finally, there it was, loud and clear - the constant flutter of a tiny heart.

I am here to share the news, but am without words to describe how I feel.

My heart beats for two.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cleaning schedule

It's time to clean the toilet (and the rest of the house for that matter).

This morning, my morning sickness queasiness officially turned into hard core morning sickness barfing.

Does anyone know where I can buy barf bags? I'm a bit nervous to go out in public.


Monday, August 06, 2007

Waiting to shop

Baby status: 7 weeks

Yesterday I went shopping with my mom for some baby-room inspiration. In less than 13 weeks we will be able to find out the gender of this little one. Since I really want a gender neutral nursery and bedding, I have less than 13 weeks to determine how we want to paint and decorate the room, and what type of bedding I'd like to make or buy. I think that if I know the gender of the baby, it will be nearly impossible to pick truly neutral things.

I would also like to pick relatively quickly because I've got a few grandmas that will probably start making baby blankets before I decide who my midwife will be. Without any color preferences, I know I'll receive a mountain of bubblegum pink and mint green yarn and stitchery, and I know enough to know that those AREN'T the colors we'll be going for.

Thirteen weeks is not that long considering I've had zero ideas about what I'd like to do. So, mom and I went out yesterday to spy at some posh baby stores, hoping to get some ideas from their little room displays and overly priced bedding (baby blanket for $80??).

The day was going well and good ideas were everywhere.

We mostly played with the idea of a whimsical, old-fashioned beach theme. I love the beach, so surely any baby of mine will too. I commented that there are so many beach things going on sale soon, since it's the end of summer. Without a pause and in all seriousness, my mom commented that it's too bad that it's too early to buy anything. You know... just in case.

The conversation continued and I was just stunned and hurt. Of course I know the risks, and I know it's early in my pregnancy. I think about the risk of miscarriage every single day, and my way of dealing with that is to plan for the baby that is alive and making me nauseous. I know my mom is a little sensitive because she miscarried in her first pregnancy, pretty late in her first trimester. A traumatic memory for sure.

Here's the deal: My mom's (and friends and family's) job is to joyfully celebrate and plan for this life growing inside of me, and should I go through the pain of losing the baby, then their job is to just love me and help me grieve.

So will I stop dreaming of this little one...their eyes, their smile, and what their new bedroom will look like? Absolutely not.

Besides...most of my day is spent sleeping and eating crackers. Who really has time to do much shopping??

Monday, July 30, 2007


So far, one of the greatest things about being pregnant is telling people.

I will forever remember the look on my mom's face when she FINALLY got it. I told her we would need some dog-sitting services next March, since that's when the baby is due. My dad figured it out right away, but my mom couldn't figure out what I was talking about. Then the light bulb went on and she was so excited.

Our pastor literally yelled - let our a huge whoop! The man who leads our church small group literally started crying.

Interestingly, when I told my team at work, everyone was happy for me, but it was pretty obvious that there was a difference in reaction between those that are parents and those that aren't. It's like the parents know a huge secret, a wonderful secret, and they are thrilled that I'm going to find it out. The non-parents are happy, but it's different.

Friday, July 27, 2007


I am expecting. A child. In about 34 weeks, I will have a new name: mom.

The roller coaster of physical and emotional changes has begun. My life as I knew it is already gone and it will never come back...and I have a feeling that it will continue to change forever.

With the exhaustion comes great, great joy. I can't imagine how much my joy will increase...or how much the exhaustion will increase too. Both are unimaginable!

Isaiah 63:7

I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord,
according to all that the Lord has granted us,
and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion,
according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Yes, I'm here. I really am.


I am here. I didn't go anywhere, just got busy not posting about it.

What have I been up to? Well... hmmm... I don't know. Let's see...we had my 16 year old cousin over for a week, I sewed myself a skirt (actually it was for my cousin, but I messed it up and it only fits me), I have suffered from allergies, hubs and I have coordinated a couple weddings at our church, I painted my bedroom, I've enjoyed the sun, got our air-conditioner fixed (because I'm one of the lucky few in Seattle that has an air-conditioner, a true blessing of our new house), enjoyed several BBQs with friends, complained about the rain, am enjoying the sun again, planned a vacation to Maui, have had dinners with both our parents, and visited with a lot of friends.

More to come. Sooner this time.
- kel

Monday, July 09, 2007


I've been in a bit of a hole. I don't know how else to describe it. I think I have a tendency to be depressed sometimes, although I don't usually think I'm really depressed... it seems to be far too linked to hormones or allergies. No denying it lately though, I've been in a hole and have had a hard time getting out.

I may have found my ladder again. Water.

The last couple of days, I have gone for a great walk at my new favorite park. The picture to the left is part of my amazing view for this 3 mile medicine. It's beautiful. I swear I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

The path curves along the south end of Lake Washington. Some parts of the trail offer the shade of trees. Other parts of the trail are actually a big dock (not for boats, just for walking) out on the water. The trail continues around the sandy swimming area.

Water has been a constant in my life. I love it and I need it. It flows steadily and continually, and keeps me moving steadily and continually. I spent much time on a sailboat as an infant, even before I remember it. There was one place my family lived for a few years that was not near the water, but even during that time, I spent much of my free time in a swimming pool. Ever since then, I've lived near the water. Except for a year and a half - when hubs and I lived about 30 minutes from the water. And this was an ISSUE. I used to tell him that we lived in Iowa and the air felt dusty to me. It smelled dusty. I swear it did, I wasn't just making that up. Too far from the water for sure. Thankfully, this park is only minutes from my home. Downhill. It's not even work for my car to get there... just float down the hill and exhale.

I find it interesting that water is such a friend to me. It's as dangerous as it is lovely. You can float in it, or you can sink in it. It gives and it takes. Actually, I nearly drowned when I was a toddler, but miraculously lived. That ocean gave me back to my parents and gave me life. We are friends.

I love that the oceans connect us all. I could go down my hill, get in a boat, and that water would take me anywhere in the world I would want to go. It could take me to the lovely beaches in Ocean City Maryland, southern California... or even India, Haiti, or Portugal...all beaches that I've enjoyed. The water I enjoyed today is the same water my parents are enjoying out on their boat right now.

I know that the water doesn't actually sustain me and bring me joy. I know my heavenly Father does. And all this beauty around me reminds me of His constant love. And you know what? I know He loves the water too. He spent the first days creating things out of the water, and in between the water, but left as much of it here. He didn't have to, and I'm glad he did.

Tomorrow I shall go on my three mile walk... through the trees, past the turtles that sit on the floating log, and along the floating walkways. And I shall thank God for getting me up and for blessing me with such beauty. For sustaining the sun, the breeze, the waves, and the trees. And for sustaining me.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Current, Anticipation

My front door is being painted red. I hope it turns out ok! We painted our house dark gray, but it really turned out way more blue than we were expecting. We like it; it's pretty, but a lot more blue than we were expecting. I'm hoping the red looks ok with it.

This process of having our house painted has been a bit tortuous for the dog. All those mexicans in white suits outside the windows, banging on the walls. Poor puppy! They have to have the front door open in order to paint it, so she is locked upstairs in a bedroom and she is NOT happy about it.

This afternoon I am going to pickup my 16 year old cousin. She will be staying with us for about a week, and I am so excited. I have a lot of cousins, but only one girl cousin on each side of the family. I love our time together talking...and just doing stuff together. Hopefully, we'll spend lots of time watching movies, painting, walking, shopping, etc. I also hope to study John together, so please pray that that study leads to some good discussions about faith.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Crazy days

My weekend was crazy. I've been planning on posting about it, but honestly, it's taken me a couple of days to recover!

I coordinated another wedding this weekend. Hubs and I went to the church early to start setting up the facility and get ready for the rehearsal. Then the rehearsal. I had to cut the evening short because I started having some horrible abdominal pain. That happened to me last month too, and it's a bit of a mystery because I can't tie it to anything on my calendar. Saturday morning came bright and early. I packed up the car and my magic wedding purse and headed to the church, running a bit late. Thus began a long, long day of vows and traditions, followed by a dinner receptions. The dinner reception was originally supposed to just be for the small gathering of out of town family. It turned into dinner for 100. Yikes! Time to go home and make cupcakes for the baby shower at my house Sunday afternoon, and finish decorating.

On Sunday, we headed back to church for service. Afterwards, Hubs stayed at church for a congregational meeting. I headed out to get balloons, and buy some strawberries and grapes. I knew I was in for it when I stepped out of the party store, balloons floating overhead, and stepped into a downpour of rain. And I mean downpour. By the time I got in the car, I was soaked though. I stopped at the store and got my fruit. Just enough time to scarf something down for my lunch, and finish the food preparations.

When I got back home, balloons and fruit in my rain-dripping hand, I instantly saw a problem. My platter of cupcakes, which was up on the kitchen counter and scooted back quite a ways, was half empty. And a couple cupcakes were upside down on the counter - glued on by their cream cheese frosting. The beast struck again. Stupid dog. Stupid, stupid dog. Ugh. So, as quickly as I could, I headed back out in the rain to buy more dessert for the shower. And I desperately called hubs (about 10 times) to come home and baby sit the dog upstairs. I really didn't want my baby shower guests to get vomited on.

Then, and finally, just my friend (whom the shower was for) was helping me setup the final touches, I reached under the sink and found a huge puddle of water under there. We sopped up the water with towels and put a pot under the leak.

By the end of the weekend, my friends from church began a new life together, my friend with a new baby was showered with love and got to catch up with her friends, and hubs and I slept very well Sunday night.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

New phase

We are here. A new phase of life. Hubs and I have officially entered the phase of life called trying to get pregnant. There are lots of specifics about this, as you can imagine, that I won't discuss on the internet. But a new chapter means that I'm thinking of new things and things in new ways... so I decided to announce the phase. I will say that so far, this new phase is pretty darn fun. ;-)

Phases are interesting. We rarely know the length of a phase when it begins. I wonder how long this phase will last. And to what extent is the length of a phase an issue of perception? At some point it will be the pregnant and then mothering phases, but could also turn into the struggling with infertility phase. Only God knows the length of each phase, and this is all in His hands.

It's interesting to me how the marking of an official phase changes things. For example, I've been getting comments for a long, long time about when we are going to have kids. I've really been able to laugh these comments off ok, although sometimes the inappropriateness of it slightly irritates me. Generally, I can come up with a casual but slightly funny response. But now we are trying. With purpose. I wonder how long it will take before the same question conjures up a response that is hurt or sad. Same question, but a different response based on the perceived phase.

And now, it is announced. My name is Kel, and I'm in a new phase.

Finally... if any of you know me in real life, please know the fact that this is sort of confidential. My baby making habits are just not things I'm ready to talk about at work! =)

Feeling pretty

I had nothing special planned for today. I need to finish my Bible study, do my paid work, do some laundry, make breakfast, make lunch, make dinner, and keep the kitchen and living room cleaned up. Tonight after dinner, I'm meeting a friend to review our Bible study together.

None of these tasks are exciting or noteworthy, but I decided to try something new today while doing them: to look pretty. I always do my hair and stuff, but tend to wear "comfy" clothes around the house...which really just means that I looks sloppy, and end up feeling sloppy too. I wondering if my tasks are done sloppy as well as a result. The day started on the same note, and then I decided to go change my clothes.

I'm sitting at the table, outlining Daniel 2:1-23, and doing some work email, while wearing a black t-shirt, a twirly knee-length black and white skirt, black sandals, and an orange bracelet. I feel pretty. Honestly, not much has changed besides changing yoga pants, or capris, or jeans for a skirt. But it's a twirly skit and is just cute.

I had to chuckle as I carried an arm-load of laundry downstairs, walking carefully in my kitten-heeled sandals. I feel like the picture of a 50's housewife! But is that a bad thing? Is it weird to do laundry while looking pretty? I have no idea if my tasks will be done any better or faster. I have no idea if I will sustain this. I like the idea of it. I like that if someone stops by for a delivery or something, that I will look nice. I like that my husband will think I look pretty when he comes home. I like that even if I look pretty for benefit of me and my dog (who does agree that I look very pretty today), and no one else - that it is enough.

I'm wondering if any other home-makers and stay-at-home moms have tried this in this decade? Do you ever "dress up" (if a skirt and cute sandals constitute dressing up) for your daily tasks? Is it manageable with kids? Do you think I'm ridiculous?

Monday, June 18, 2007

Trees falling from the sky

Yesterday, I wandered through a framing store and a craft store for general inspiration and a couple specific decorating-dilemma solutions. Up and down every aisle.

I meandered down the cake decorating aisle, trying to think if there was any reason I might need any of these interestingly shaped cake pans. Not yet, maybe later. Then there was a section of wrought-iron wall art. I love wall art. I stopped and contemplated. Where could I put this? Would hubs like it? Do I really like it, or am I just bored?

Some confusing noise forced me out of my decorating trance. I looked up. On top of the tall shelving unit was a bunch of artificial trees and plants, in storage for later. One tree in particular was rocking. I started to scream something about "a tree!" but was conflicted by the fact that you don't scream inside of craft stores, and because it made no sense. I'd sound like chicken little: a tree is falling, a tree is falling! And just as I was unsure about being unsure, the whole big tree fell right next to me. The tree was taller than aisle was wide, so it fell and then banged into things on both sides of the display. Cake pans crashed. Craft store mayhem! There was no one else to witness this crazy turn of events, just me and the artificial tree. A gal, with a helpful red craft-store vest on, came running around the aisle. Her face turned pale when she realized that she almost knocked a tree on a customers head. I was fine, just bewildered.

Hubs and I do want a couple artificial trees in our house. Well, I do...he might just be going along with the whole silly thing. I'm not sure how much men ever really want artificial trees. Speaking of that, is it bad to pine after an artificial tree? ;) My only wish is that in compensation for this traumatic ordeal, I would have be given that disorderly artificial tree to take home with me!

Friday, June 15, 2007


For the past month or so, I've been trying a new eating strategy. I haven't blogged about it, or even told most people about it, because I recognize that it's a bit silly. And it is. But it's working, so I welcome silly.

Unlike other sweets, chocolate has a power over me. If there is a tray of sweets, and some are chocolate, I NEED those chocolates. I can give or take other sweets, but if there is chocolate in front of me, I really don't have a choice. I must eat it. I can stop eating other sweets after I've had just a bit, but not with chocolate. My name is Kel, and I'm a chocoholic.

To remedy this, I decided that I'm only eating chocolate eight days a year: my birthday, hubs' birthday, our anniversary, valentine's day, two times on vacation, and two other random days of the year.

This has actually been working really well. I'm just not eating chocolate on the other days of the year. It's not an option. I don't need to consider whether or not I "need" that treat. It's not an option. If someone offers me chocolate, I don't feel bad about saying no... because "I'm not eating chocolate right now." Easy.

And somehow, I don't even miss it. Until today...holy cow. The other day hubs and I celebrated our eighth anniversary, which is one of my chocolate days. I had pre-purchased a bag of dark chocolate M&Ms that were calling my name at the store. Yum. That evening, we went out for dinner and had a flourless chocolate mud thing for dessert (we actually went out for a really cheap dinner, and fancy restaurant for dessert and coffee). It was GOOD. The last couple days have been hard though. I just want sugar and chocolate. Oooh, I want sugar and chocolate. I haven't given in, but it's been hard. Chocolate makes me want more chocolate...and just sugar in general. No wonder I created this silly rule for myself.

So, I'm glad that today is a non-chocolate day. I can't handle the chocolate voice in my head that comes afterwards.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Menu Plan Monday 6/11

It's been awhile since I participated in Menu Plan Monday at Laura's but that's just because it's been awhile since I created a menu plan. I'm getting back to routines and budgeting, which means getting back to the kitchen. Monday is mid-menu for me, but I'll post my current plan.

Thursday: kel - work at home
Breakfast: poached eggs & toast
Lunch: hubs - free lunch at work; me - burrito
Dinner: Hamburgers and corn on the cob

Friday: Kel: Work at home
Breakfast: poached eggs & toast
Lunch: free lunch at work; me - burrito
Dinner: Chicken cordon bleu, salad

Saturday: kel - mom visit for the day
Breakfast: kel - Ham and egg muffins
Lunch: Kel - out, hubs - sandwich at home
Dinner: Baked chicken, foil pack vegetables, dinner rolls

Sunday: church in am, small group in evening; make cookies for small group
Breakfast: peanut butter & english muffin
Lunch: tuna melts and soup
Dinner: chicken quesedillas

Monday: kel - work at home
Breakfast: Oatmeal
Lunch: kel - burrito; hubs - sandwich
Dinner: Pork ribs, vegetable packets, mini potatoes

kel - work at home
Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: kel - burrito; hubs - sandwich
Dinner: Salmon, rice, and salad

kel - work at home
Breakfast: Ham and egg muffins
Lunch: kel - burrito, hubs - sandwich
Dinner: Anniversary dinner - out

This WAS the plan, although several things have already been adjusted for life. Friday was emotionally draining and we ate dinner out. I didn't buy the pork ribs at the store (the sale starts on Wednesday, but the shipment doesn't come in until Thursday... figure that one out!), so we'll have the chicken cordon bleu tonight... or chicken breasts or something. I had the lucky treat of eating lunch with hubs today...which we never get to do mid-week. He was at the office just for the morning, and I hung out at a coffee shop while he was there. My favorite Subway sandwich is the daily special on Mondays, so it worked out quite well.

Happy cooking to you!

At the coffee house

Hubs needed me to drive him to the office this morning. Driving back home, with traffic, would take me forever, so the plan was that I would work at the local coffee shop for a few hours. If you buy a latte, you get free drip refills. With their free wi-fi, it's a deal hard to beat.

I found a nice empty nook with leather armchairs and a fireplace on. Cozy. The perfect arrangement to enjoy my tall, nonfat, sugar free caramel latte. There is no other way to enjoy a grey Monday morning.

Awhile into my time, a man came and sat in an armchair near me. I don't mind sharing my perfect spot - no problem. Awhile later, two other people happened to come in that new him...they were surprised and happy to see each other. They sat down and conversation commenced. No problem. I'm all for coffee house friendships and coffee house conversation. It's beautiful. To a point. Like all beautiful things, too much of a good thing, is not a good thing.

These people are cracking me up. THEY are cracked up.

One of them recently had his unlocked car broken into; his leather coat, cell phone, and wallet were all stolen. They have spent the last hour philosophizing (is that a word?) this violation. It's a prime-time comedy sketch, and they are completely and totally serious. Added to the comedy is the fact that they are a bit white-trashy (except one of them isn't white) looking. I'm in a bit of an upscale area, and they don't fit in quite right. And yet they sit, trying to determine how they feel about this incident.

They believe in the law of attraction: This guy was too trusting, and was putting too much value in his processions. He needed to share them and was attracting this. The other person was attracting an open opportunity. They were meant to collide. He was a co-creator in this situation. If you think of it as a donation to someone who needed his things more, it feels better inside. Way better. Even better, if you think of it as sharing... that he was so well off that he was offering to share his things with someone else. Whoa... that feels even better. Maybe his things were discovered, not stolen. Just like America, right?

Garbage. Just garbage. I finally put on my MP3 player and am hoping that Paul Simon can drown them out.

What I would like to know is...

What on earth did I do to attract these loonies to me, in my lovely coffee house nook? And may I never do that again!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Yet again. I'm here yet again giving a general update on my life, without any one topic worthy of a post of its own.

I'm meeting with a friend tomorrow night to plan a summer Bible study together. She was in my Bible study group this last year, and we became friends. We are both ones who need forced discipline, so we both liked the idea of continuing a scheduled study. True to form... our study of Romans ended over two weeks ago and I've been floundering. I have read my Bible but without much purpose or insight. Unfortunately, the summer will go by so quickly and we could have used those two weeks in the new study! I think we are going to study Daniel together (although we're still debating between that and Esther)...doing a homiletics exercise and then following up with a commentary. She's a new friend, so I'm really excited to get to know her more through this time.

Hubs and I are having our house painted soon. Quite an ordeal. We are not painting it ourselves, although the price tag is a big one to swallow. Parts of our home are three stories tall (on the sides where it goes down on the side of the crawl space), and it's just big. If we did it ourselves we would risk injury and death, and we would just be miserable for a couple of months. Honestly, it would take us all summer and we would hate it. Our happiness for the summer seemed like it should be worth a lot, and so, we are paying a lot. I exaggerate not when I tell you that our house is the color of a poopy diaper. With brown trim. On directions, I tell people that it's a mustard-colored house, but that's to be polite. It's the color of baby poo. It will soon be a dark charcoaly/blue-ish/ gray with white trim, black shutters, and a red door. I am very, very excited. Yay for a pretty house!

I just realized yesterday that I have five and a half weeks of vacation saved up and am now highly distracted thinking of the ways I might use them.

Happy Wednesday to you!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Clumsy me

I'm a little scared of what life will be like when I'm pregnant (no, I'm not pregnant). Not because of the body changes or labor pain, though I'm a little fearful of those too. I'm scared of the clumsiness that comes with pregnancy. I'm clumsy enough as it is. I'm afraid that added clumsiness will pose a risk of killing myself and/or unborn child.

I'm not doing so well today. Last night I managed to drop a hot iron onto my foot. The pattern on the bottom of my iron is burned onto the top of my foot. Then, in an effort to sleep without moving my burned foot at all, I did something crazy to my neck... when I woke up, I couldn't move my head to the right. That's a great way to start a day of wedding coordinating. ;-)

Hubs bandaged up my foot today so that I could wear shoes to the wedding, and I managed to massage my neck enough that I gained back some mobility, though not all. I really tweaked it well. Nice.

Really... I don't think I need to be any clumsier than I am now. At all. I'm not sure I'll make it.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Wedding bells

Random fact about me: I am a novice wedding coordinator.

I've done a few weddings for friends, and now I'm the wedding coordinator for my church. My church has a new building and we've never really had weddings before. Our old building was designed to be a chicken coop (no, not kidding), so people never really wanted to get married there. Now we have a beautiful new sanctuary, and four weddings booked for the summer.

My first wedding for our church is tomorrow, and the rehearsal is today. It is not my wedding - it's not even a church member's wedding, but I'm so anxious/excited/nervous. I'm having a hard time getting any work done today, or anything done for that matter, because I am just to excited.

Hubs helps me on wedding days. I know he doesn't have to, but he does and I'm so thankful. He can wrangle up the groomsmen, while I wrangle up the bridesmaids. We have a lot of fun doing it together. To thank him (or bribe him?) for doing this with me, we went ahead and bought two good walkie talkies with a ear piece thing. We have a secret desire to be spies. We've been practicing our wedding-spy lingo and etiquette.

There are two secrets to our wedding coordination success. The first is we are just an awesome team...and the walkie talkies will make us even cooler. Seriously - the first secret is just US. We are just good at this. Ha!

The second secret, is my magic wedding purse. I have this bag, which is super cute, that has every item that might be needed on wedding day. (Ok, there are a few other things I'll bring to the church that are just too big to fit in the bag.) It has rescued several brides.

It is packed with 39 different wedding-survival items, grouped by category into zip-lock bags.

Did you know that roses can bleed their color onto a wedding dress?
Did you know that can cause a bride to panic?
Did you know that shout-wipes can remove that stain?
Oh yes, they can.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

WFMW: Count your salad!

I just re-started tracking my food using the SparkPeople tool. Handy little tracking tool. Anyway, I've been trying to be more diligent in eating more salads. I love big salads...with a little bit of lettuce topped with tons of crunchy veggies. It takes up a huge bowl. Yum.

I put my salad ingredients into the food tracker, and was a little surprised to see that it is about 140 -170 calories (depending on what all I put in it). For 140 calories, I'm eating lettuce, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, cucumber, a few black olives, 1 TB gorgonzola cheese crumbles, and 2 TB lite balsamic vinaigrette. More cheese, nuts, or olives puts it closer to 170.

I don't know about you, but an additional 150 calories to my diet is significant.

In the past, I would plan out my food, but not really count the calories in the salad... all those veggies don't add up to much. Of course, the fiber and nutrients provided by those 150 calories are definitely worth it - I'm not saying you should skip the salad. Just count it! I need to eat less of an entree (or better yet, less of whatever carb-filled side dish there is) and enjoy my 150 calorie salad masterpiece.

My tip this Wednesday? Eat your salad, but count it too!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sunny day

Lovely, sunny day. I wish it were this sunny and warm all year long.

The view of Cougar Mountain (which is not a mountain, just a hill), from my backyard:

BBQs and hiking

I am so thankful that we had a three day weekend. The first two days of our weekend were so busy. Fun, but very busy. Hub's and I had worked diligently to keep Monday we got to spend the whole day together doing whatever we wanted. It was wonderful!

On Saturday, my sister and her family came over. They gave us their picnic table, which I've wanted for a long time. I helped my dad and grandpa make it about 20 years ago. It was a huge octagon-shaped table. Since then, dad took out the middle section, so now it's round with six sides. Still great for a BBQ! I was dismayed when the table ended up at my sisters house, so I didn't wait two seconds to ask for it when I heard they were moving. We enjoyed dinner at our place, and spent the afternoon/evening keeping the 3 1/2 year old entertained and happy, and keeping the dog out of the face of the 6 month old. On Sunday evening, we hosted a BBQ at our house for our church small group...about 25 people (about 12 of those were kids). Lots of food, and a lot of fun. I was so thankful to have that big table!

We spent the first part of Monday sleeping in. Yay! Then, I rearranged furniture - one of my very favoritest things to do. Then, we went for a five mile hike on Cougar Mountain. For those of you who live in generally flat places of the world, this was the category of mountain that we prefer to call "hill".

Let's have a geography lesson. You see mountains look like this:

Mt. Rainier:

Mt. St. Helens:

Mt. Adams:

Mountains have snow on them. Mountains have a risk of erupting. Mountains have a tree line, which means trees don't grow to the top. Mountains make their own weather patterns. When you live near a mountain, you can refer to it as "the mountain" and people know what you are talking about. There are several BIG mountains relatively near me, but only the closest one (for me this is Mt. Rainier) is referred to as THE mountain. Mountains are big, and therefore, far apart. It takes time to get there. The other mountains are a bit of a drive, so they are referred to by name (Mt. Baker, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, etc.).

My backyard has a view of Cougar Mountain. I don't want to mislead you though - it's not really a mountain. It is the category of mountain that no one here calls a mountain - it's a hill. A beautiful view, but a hill. Actually, I was trying to Google it to show you what it looks like, and there are no pictures of it. Why? Because it's just a hill! :) Trees to the top. Maybe I'll post my own picture later so you can see. Turns out, I don't have one from a sunny day yet, so I need to take one. But, the sun is still coming up on that side of the house and it's too bright. I'll take one later today and post it.

Really, we just laugh when we go to some other place in the country and see what people call mountains. Seriously. Any incline is a hill. A big incline is a mountain. Directions for a quick errand shouldn't include "go over the mountain and...". Going over a mountain isn't quick. ;-)

Anyway, we went for a five mile hike on Cougar Mountain hill. It was great! I love where I live because I'm in the middle of suburbia, within a half hour of a couple different big cities, and there are several mountain trail heads 5-10 minutes from my house, AND, most importantly, there is a Starbucks and a Tully's (local coffee chain, better than Starbucks) within walking distance from my housing development.

Lesson of the weekend: You will get a huge blister when hiking for five miles with a toe ring on.

Have a great week!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Christmas in May

I'm home. Finally. The flight from Lisbon is painfully long. Flying west, wherein I'm graced with an extra eight hours in my day, is the best cure for the days when I long for more hours in my day. I really do not want more hours in the day.

My only complaint with being home is that it is COLD. We're expecting a high today of 62, but it's currently raining and 48. Thankfully, it's supposed to be 75 by Friday, but then cool off again a bit. (How boring is my blog if I've gotten to the point of discussing the weather with people who don't even live here???) My problem is that I'm used to 80. Hot. Sun. Warm. Sandals. I really, really need some sunshine people.

The best part of coming home was that I received a belated Christmas from hubs. It was an IOU present - a "we'll shop for it together" present. Then, some financial analysis decided that perhaps my Christmas present should wait. I knew that I would receive my gift when hubs was ready and comfortable....even if it was a few years from now, and I was content to wait until the time was right.

I'm so happy that it's NOW!! Yay! And what is it, you ask? It's my very own, very pretty piano. I barely know how to play, which makes this gift even sweeter. It's a gift to honor my desire to make music. I am so thankful that his response wasn't "you can have a piano once you can play better" but that he is investing in my dreams instead.

And, if nothing else, it's just really pretty in our front room. :)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Lovely Life in Lisbon

Two days of health meetings ended yesterday. Five days of nutrition meetings begin tomorrow. One deliciously lovely free day was enjoyed today.

Lovely Lisbon.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Very transparency

One of my favorite movies is "Love Actually" - it's one of the ones I can watch again and again. I love the part where the Colin Firth (does the sentence really need to go any further than that??) who plays Jamie, falls in love with Aurellia... except that he speaks English and she speaks Portuguese. Once their paths separate, they both learn the other language... "just in cases." When he eventually proposes to her (in Portuguese), he explains to her that their love is very transparency. I love that moment. (BTW - this movie is NOT kid-appropriate.)

You'd think that I could speak at least a tiny bit of Portuguese from watching that movie so many times. But no... all I can remember is the broken English version of their words. I wish I had paid more attention.

In about eight hours, a nice man in a shuttle van will come pick me up to take me to the airport. This service is one of the only ways I can guarantee to be at the airport before boarding time. (That is because I don't start packing until 11pm, but anyway...) I will get on an airplane, and 24 hours later (time changes and one layover included), I will get off the plane in Lisbon, Portugal.

I'm blown away at how cool my job is. Seriously. I work for non-profit, so who would have ever thought that I'd get to go to meetings is LISBON!?!?!??! Not I. I never craved travel when I was younger. Yet, I've been so blessed by it, and stretched by it. God has opened my eyes to a much bigger world. I am so thankful. God is so good to me; His love is very transparency.

And, I'm SO thankful for my husband who spent his whole evening tonight, and stayed up WAY too late, putting together a list of things I should see in Lisbon - and their directions. This is especially generous because he doesn't get to go... he did it all for me. =) Thanks honey!

Pictures to come...

PS... the gal who played Aurelia lives in Lisbon. How cool would it be if I met her? Maybe she will teach me some Portuguese.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Fun little map...

For my family who teases me for traveling SOOOOOOO much, I really don't. I've only been to a measly 4% of the world's countries. I wish it gave a % of the states in the US because I think that one would be more impressive. This is filled out, as of next week's trip.


One of the things I've been thinking about in my post-trip processing, is the need to correctly understand the suffering for which we are compassionate towards. I think a vastly different culture and lifestyle can easily be confused for suffering; we confuse compassion for what should just be fascination. There are many things about other cultures which are not suffering - they are just different (cooking on the ground, washing clothes by hand in the river, etc.). We tend to believe the lie God's goal for us all is to be comfortable, and our goal for others is that they would have a lifestyle that is as comfortable as ours. Not that we should want people to NOT be comfortable, I just think we tend to use the goal of comfort as an idol, and perhaps much of our own comfort-seeking is sinful. I think it's interesting that many of these lifestyle differences that we see are so similar to how life would have been lived in Jesus' day - and it was just fine and acceptable. These are not things he takes issue with in the Bible.

To clarify my thinking about this, I wanted to define suffering. Is this defined in the Bible anywhere, or just described? I can't think of a specific definition. I was thinking that suffering is the lack of fullness of life that Jesus talks of. So, then I wanted to define "fullness of life" - again, this gets talked of often, but I don't think I've ever heard it defined. This is interesting to me because it needs to be something that only Jesus can truly fulfill, but something we can strive for. So, I was thinking that the fullness of life would be experienced when the effects of sin (broken relationships between people, between people and the earth, and between people and God) are removed and these relationships are restored.

This definition would work (by my thinking) in that only God can fully achieve this, but that we can try to restore these relationships to some extent - as much as we are able in our fallen world. It encompasses both physical and spiritual suffering, but also shows how physical suffering is a spiritual effect.

What do you think of these definitions? Do you think this is right thinking?

Thursday, May 03, 2007


I'm disappointed.

There is a young couple who used to work at our church, but then moved away to attend seminary. They were leaving as we were joining, so we never got to know them, but I've heard they are neat people - ones that are a blessing to know. The husband is going to be interning at our church this summer, so they will be back for a few months. We offered to have them stay in our home for the summer. Really, our house itself would be perfect - we have so many extra rooms right now. They could have their own private bedroom, bathroom, and study. While I know this would be a blessing to them, *I* really wanted them to come stay with us. I was looking forward to the friendship that would develop after being house-mates for the summer.

I just found out that they won't be staying with us. Our pastor wanted to wait and see if anyone else offered their home, particularly one that is closer to the church. We live 20 minutes away. I don't think this is too far, but the pastor lives only 5 minutes away, so 20 minutes seems like forever. Unfortunately for me, someone offered.

I know that it is all in God's hands and this was meant to be, and will obviously be the best solution. But still, I'm disappointed.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

goodbye and hello

Goodbye sweet children.

Goodbye yummy mangoes.

Goodbye lovely sunshine.

It's time to go home.

I really am here, just quietly. I'm in the space of confused observation that comes after a trip to a different world. I really do miss my blog, and especially my blog friends, but have gotten into the habit of enjoying the blog world by observation as well. Today, I thought I'd post a simply post, just to get over the hurdle of posting.

I am here.

I got back from Haiti mid last week and it has been a whirlwind. I'm exhausted - not from jetlag (it was only a couple hours away), just from... everything. I've been going through some emotional/spiritual cartwheels, and that takes a lot out of me. Also just physically - I was going non-stop while in Haiti, had one day of down time when I came home, and then back to the office for a thousand meetings for two days. More to come on another day about the emotional/spiritual cartwheels.

And I'll be leaving again soon. While in Haiti, I found out that I need/get to go to some meetings for work in Lisbon, Portugal. Yay! I'm SOOOO excited. I've never been to that part of the world before at all. The only hard part is that I leave in 8 days, which is a bit too soon for my preference. I'm honestly not all the way unpacked and cleaned up from Haiti. I have a ton of personal life things that need to get done....housework (it's in disaster mode), paid work, wedding work for church, bible study work, etc. Plus, I'd really like to catch up with a few friends. I have one friend who just had a baby, and I haven't seen him yet, and another friend who was due yesterday, and although I saw her yesterday, I HAVE to have time to see her and then baby when this child decides it's time to make an appearance.

So, I'm here.

Crazy moment of the day (yesterday): I've been enjoying club soda with lime lately. I really enjoy this while traveling and decided I should drink it at home too, but be warned - I've been told it's disgusting. I got a 2 liter bottle of club soda. Came home. Opened it up. Without even a bit of "hissing" warning, it promptly became a giant spewing fountain of club soda with a 5 foot radius in my kitchen, which included me.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

here i am

It takes me a long time to digest my thoughts.

I'm in Haiti. Almost done with the first week and about to begin the second. I don't have any concise thoughts to share yet.

We had a few days visiting projects. So strange to be in such a poor, foreign land with a two hour time difference. So close to home.

When I travel for work, I often feel out of place in my job... so unqualified to really be of any use, peering too closely into people's private lives, seeing their suffering without any effect worthy of the violation. I know good will come out of it a round about way, but during the privacy invasion, the round about way just seems too distant. But, the other day, I think I had a small part in saving a little boy's life. He was starving, and now he has a referral to a hospital, which is usually too full, and he will be cared for. He will get food and medicine and be watched carefully. Maybe that would have happened anyway, and maybe he would have gotten food at the distribution next week. But maybe not. At that moment, I was so thankful that I bothered to invade his privacy and enter into his world.

My favorite place is the island of La Gonave, which is the little island off of Haiti's main island. It's a small island, but when you are driving on their "roads" at 5 mph, it is a HUGE island. It is beautiful, but so, so poor. Wonderful people. Part of my heart will stay here for sure. Haiti is beautiful... yet no tourism. It's crazy. Amidst our time visiting hungry children, food distributions, and agriculture projects, we did get to enjoy the beach... I'm in the Caribbean after all. I got to swimming (fully dressed). It was awesome. Seriously awesome. Make a note to yourself - if there is ever a hotel on La Gonanve, you should go.

I'm at a rather vacationy hotel until Tuesday (thank the Lord for working by the pool with rum punch in hand), and then back to the world of dirt and sweat (and no Internet access) until the following Tuesday.

More to come later!

Sunday, April 08, 2007


The other day, Nise - a recent blogger friend, awarded me my very first blog award:

I'm a thinking blogger...or so the rumor says. Quite a compliment really. Sometimes I think I'm just a doubting, un-trusting, questioning Christian who write about it on a blog...but "Thinking" sounds so much nicer. Thanks Nise!

Ok, by the rules of this award, I'm supposed to award others...and I will. But not today. Sorry! I hope that doesn't rule me out for the "good blog etiquette" award, and surely it will.

I'm flying to Haiti tomorrow, and as I type, the shuttle is picking me up in 6.5 hours. Ugh. I really need to go to sleep!

When you hear from me next, I shall be very, very hot. And perhaps under a mosquito net.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Good promise

I've been feeling some emotional/spiritual turmoil lately. I can't figure out what direction God wants my life to go in - what choices He wants me to make. I do trust that His way is good, but I don't feel like I can hear what way that is. Honestly, I'm frustrated. I don't feel like this is something that will work itself out over time - I feel like there are some finite decisions that need to be made.

I had been reminding myself that if I draw near to God, and listen for His voice, He will guide me. But as we are in holy week, I've been reading so many passages of times that Jesus spoke to the disciples and they didn't hear him; He walked with them and they didn't see Him. What if He is directing me and I can't hear Him?

But, alas, our God has a funny sense of humor.

I was reminded today by my boss of our scripture verse for the year (my Christian workplace has a verse every year). It's a promise for me at this time:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Psalm 32:8
I've actually had this verse on a card in the back of my Bible since October and just never look at it. It's painfully applicable today. What a promise. What a promise that God knew I would need in April.

I may not hear His voice today, but I know He will (eventually) instruct, teach, and counsel me. Best of all, His eye is upon me.

A sign of aging

I've fully entered a phase in my life - a phase that doesn't end (I think) until I die. It is the phase of realizing the symptoms of getting older.

Tonight I went to bed, and could not sleep. I prayed. I just lay there. And some more. And yet, some more. I finally decided to get up and play on the computer - may as well.

And today I unhappily ask myself...since WHEN am I not able to sleep after drinking a latte at 6:00pm? Since WHEN do I need to get de-caff after some unknown time in the afternoon? WHEN did this happen to me??

So today I join all the old people for whom PM equates with de-caff. Tomorrow (or rather, today, since it's after midnight), I will also look more aged too, since I am most assuredly not getting the amount of beauty sleep this old lady needs!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sleeping Pill of Suburbia

I'm a Jacob. I wrestle with God continually, and while I sometimes pray that He would just break my hip and be done with it, I am thankful that He is patient with this child. It is a joy to know that He loves me personally enough to bother with me. I'm sure I exasperate my Father regularly.

Often, this blog is used for the outworking of that wrestling. If you a reader, thanks for your patience. I'm sure you sometimes get exasperated with me too! Please just know that my thoughts are barely half-baked when I post them here. The writing exercise itself is therapeutic.

Frequently, my pastor admonishes the congregation to fight to wake-up because we are completely and totally surrounded by the sleeping pill that is suburbia. We might live here, but we need to fight at not being sucked in. It's so easy to be comfortable, and then just desire comfort. To be safe, and then desire safety. To be surrounded by beauty, and then require it. Don't take the sleeping pill that is suburbia. You can live there, but we need to wake up. Be in the world, but not of it.

I've gone through such range of emotions during the last year regarding children. You can read back to past posts about how I've been a crazed, alien-woman with babies on the brain. Over the last several years, "baby brain" has been my typical state of existence. So, when I tell you that I have been wondering the last couple of days if hubs and I are meant to have children, you can be as shocked as I was. Today I realized that I definitely do want a family, but that I'm so totally scared to take that step. Who am I? Who took over my brain? This certainly can't be the same woman as before. Seriously - where did Hormona go? Oh, doesn't God have a funny sense of humor?

The way that hubs and I stay awake and fight the suburban sleeping pill, is through my work...focused on serving the poor around the world. I know God placed me where I'm at at work, and I'm honored to be doing what I do. But, I know that when we have kids I will be a full-time mom, and that part of my life will go away. I'm so afraid that the moment we have kids we will simultaneously be taking the suburban sleeping pill and I will wake up 20 or 30 years later with polite, Godly children (Lord-willing), but personally feel distant from God, and not serving at all. I've seen it happen. It's too easy to get sucked into all the decisions (nursery decoration, feeding schedules, discipline methods, school choices, etc.), convince that your full ministry is your children (not that it isn't a ministry because it is)...that your purpose IS your children, and you become self-focused or child-focused, and not God-focused.

I've seen so many people who become convicted that they need to be serving, so they do more in the church. Great. We are a unique family ordained by God and we ought to serve each other. However, this isn't enough for me. I think the church can take the suburban sleeping pill too. So many ministries are good, loving, and kind...but they are all about making sure that we suburban-sleepers maintain our desired levels of comfort, safety, and beauty. There are ministries in the church that make the church become inwardly focused as we focus on improving or maintaining our own life, by the world's standards. Don't get me wrong, so many of these ministries are loving, great things we can do for one another. It is good to serve one another. But it's not enough to ward off the sleeping's just a Christian sleeping pill.

Also, I will add that this isn't about pride with MY job or MY career. I'm beyond that...I get that I have nothing to do with my job. I really don't know how I ended up doing what I did; I know it's all God.

I don't know what to do to ensure that babies don't equal sleeping pill; we'll be giving up our current wake up call. I'm scared though. I don't have any happy thoughts to end this with, or any nice reflections that will wrap this up well. Just my heart on my sleeve...or keyboard.