Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the fourth file, fourth picture

just following suit like citystreams and lauren to randomly post the 4th picture from the 4th picture file. for some reason, we have a few videos in our picture file and you aren't supposed to cheat. this is shasta back when he was a mere adolescent kitten. it was before we had children and our cats were really important to us. now we are tempted to just "let them go." shasta is sweet at times and has brought us much laughter...like in this video...but if you know anyone who wants a big baby of an orange kitty, let me know...

if you want to join the fun, go find your fourth and fourth and share!

quick update

i can't believe it! my munchkins are taking SIMULTANEOUS naps! i must quickly take advantage of the opportunity to update the bloggy blog as it will soon pass. i have already taken a shower, wrapped christmas presents, read my Bible, straightened up the downstairs. it feels strange for me to be alone and for the house to be this quiet!

by the way, i LOVE my new diaper bag and highly recommend it for mommies who are dissatisfied with their current bag-toting situation.

today i ventured out on my first run with both munchkins at the greenway in our AMAZING double jogger. we had so much fun! marit sang and read her dr seuss book while graham slept. my knees are feeling it a little (maybe i need new shoes?), but overall i felt great! this is truly a blessing to be able to exercise with both bugs during their awake time and a wonderful way to get them outside while marit gets in-brace time.

marit learned how to stack blocks this week and she is becoming quite a little communicator. she eagerly says "nigum, digum, nigum" and points at what she wants, at which time we remind her how to ask nicely for things and she threateningly makes the "more" sign we taught her. it is in our nature to be demanding i suppose. she has been such a delight lately, though we do revisit the same discipline issues over and over, especially when i am nursing and can't pay close attention to her...she takes advantage of me!

graham has been smiling for a few weeks and it is wonderful to have a little real interaction with him. he wakes up once (usually) a night to eat and sleeps well for most of the rest of the night. we are working on naps, but a schedule is still in its formative days. marit delights in waking him up, so that makes it a little challenging...she pulls his pacifier out, hands it to me, and says "uh-oh" as graham starts to wail...we are working on that too.

adam has his last residency interview this week and then will be on christmas break for a couple weeks (his last one EVER). we are looking forward to the time together as a family as we celebrate advent.

the lead paint situation is still slightly stressful, though a pediatrician friend helped to calm our fears a bit. we have a couple options that we are considering, but right now we are content to stay where we are and carefully monitor marit and the peeling spots. we appreciate your continued prayers for this!

we continue to be so thankful that i will not be returning to work. we will be poorer, but rich in time together and significantly less stressed out. God is gracious to make it possible for me to be home with little chubby munchkins!

graham is stirring, so that's all for now!

Monday, December 15, 2008


with christmas around the corner, we are filling up on decadent edible delights. this soup is a welcome healthy meal. i love real simple's recipes. they have just about everything!

Squash and White Bean Soup with Parmesan Biscuits
Real Simple

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, rinsed
1 bunch spinach, thick stems removed (4 cups)
Biscuit mix and ingredients to make 8 biscuits
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan (1 ounce)

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes.

Stir in the squash, thyme, 5 cups water, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the squash is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the beans and spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted and the beans are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the biscuits according to the package directions, sprinkling with the Parmesan before baking. Serve with the soup.

Tip: To make this satisfying soup even heartier, add 1/2 cup orzo or other small pasta at the same time you add the water.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

things have changed

for my birthday, i received a giftcard to llbean. i used a portion of it to buy this diaper bag. i have always enjoyed shopping, but i have not been this excited about a purchase in a long time. after toting two less than satisfactory diaper bags around for the last 7 weeks, i decided to combine everything for both munchkins into a deluxe bag. from the description, this seemed to be the ultimate bag. the fed-ex man came, but went to our neighbor's house...how disappointing! seriously, what has happened to me? why am i so excited about a diaper bag? a guess i have graduated to a new realm of mommishness. i'll let you know how it works out for us!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Product Review: socks for the whole family

socks are important to me. they can make the difference in a good day and a bad day, especially in the winter. do they fit nicely without creases and wrinkles? do they keep feet warm without overheating them? do they wick moisture or get soggy? are they ugly or cute? my absolute all time favorite best ever sock brand is the smartwool sock. these people know how to do it right. colorful, comfortable, warm, but not bulky, all around wonderful socks! they also make kid and baby socks which marit has really enjoyed-they stay on better than any other socks and keep her feet nice and toasty. however, the baby booties don't stay on little newborn kicking feet. it was a good idea though. best places to buy these wonderful socks: on sale at rei or sierra trading post as they do run on the expensive side. you can get the kid version at essential apparel. the knee socks and tights are also extremely comfortable and high quality.

i have had trouble finding baby socks (especially for the early days) that will stay on active little newborn feet. i am thrilled with trumpette baby socks . not only are they adorable, but they stay on well and fit smoothly under shoes. pure joy seems to be the best place to buy these at a reasonable price. they make super gifts as well!

if you need socks, check out these styles and enjoy toasty tootsies!

Thanksgiving part 5

I know thanksgiving has passed, but since it's my blog, i am going to keep celebrating on here. i need to cultivate thankfulness in my hard heart all year long. today i am thankful that i was able to go on a run! i have been a "runner" for roughly 14 years now, but have not run hardly at all in the last year due to pregnancy and the challenges of running with a baby in the winter. i have done other exercise, but nothing beats an old fashioned pounding the pavement run with a vivid blue sky above. i know it will take a while to get back in good running shape, especially since my opportunities to get out the house by myself between feedings and such are very limited. but i am thankful that today my gracious husband babysat during nap time and afforded me sweet alone time during which i was able to clear my head and think and pray. what a blessing! now my 26yr old joints hurt...

Well again

Once again we have weathered another storm of sickness. We all experienced the stomach virus this past week...what a mess of body fluids. on tuesday morning marit was playing as normal and whimpered and reached up to be held. we love to snuggle, so i gladly picked her up and spun around to dance...she looked surprised and scared and then proceeded to vomit what looked like feta cheese soup everywhere...all over herself, the floor, my new sweater. i thought it was just a fluke since she had just finished a cup of milk, but alas she threw up 7 more times over the course of the day. it was so sad since it was her first stomach bug and she was frightened each time. thankfully adam was able to come home from school to help, but that resulted in him getting the virus that night and the next day. early thursday morning graham started to throw up...a scary thing in a newborn. however, just like the meningitis, he weathered this well too and after 30 hrs was able to hold his feedings and pedialyte down again. i got a touch of the virus on thursday as well, but definitely was blessed to have the mildest version. all told, adam and i were thrown up on 15-20 times over the course of the week...lovely laundry was the result of that as you might imagine. we have done the laundry, cleaned the bathrooms, and started eating again. once again, it is God's grace to us that my sister lives here and was able to help out during this week. we are once again healthy and thankful.

also this past week, we discovered (with marit's help) that our apartment, in the downtown area of our city where we have lived for nearly five years, has peeling paint in places and is revealing old paint that tested positive for lead. oh dear. if you know anything about old houses, you know this is par for the course. our apartment/townhouse is about 100 years old. we live in our urban neighborhood intentionally and feel called here, but have really struggled with being here this week. lead poisoning in a child can cause severe developmental delays and even mental retardation. marit's initial lead test a couple months ago was normal and she would have to actually ingest paint to become poisoned, but there is still risk. who knows what a toddler might get into? do we have to choose between the neighborhood where we feel God has called us and the risk of our children being poisoned? there are other problems with our apartment...we park on the street and i worry with two munchkins that marit will run into the street when we are loading up. there are only upstairs bathrooms...fun for potty-training in our future. there is no place to go outside and play unless we walk a mile to the playground which we do most days. we know that living a life for God's kingdom does not guarantee safety and comfort, but aren't we called to care for and protect our children as well? we have explored other living options in our neighborhood and there are few for a family of our size. we almost bought another 100yr old house until we noticed that it had paint beginning to peel as well. pray for us as we struggle with these thoughts that we would be obedient and patient and that God would protect our children from the hazards of our living situation.

we had a lovely thanksgiving with adam's family (that's the kids and i on thanksgiving day and marit is practicing her "more" sign) and are looking forward to spending christmas at the beach with my family. we are hoping to make it to christmas virus free!

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'm Retiring

I know i'm only 26, but i am retiring. after lots and lots of praying, talking, thinking, advice-seeking etc, we have decided that it is time for me to resign from my job that generates income so that i can be home with our two munchkins as they become more and more demanding. it was one of the hardest decisions we have ever made...not because i don't want to spend as much time as possible with our children, but for several reasons:
-my job as a hem/onc nurse has been our only source of income (besides student loans) and benefits for 2.5 years
-i love my job...great co-workers, boss, and patients
-it is in a way part of ellen's identity...i am growing comfortable with being mommy and wife only without the nursing career attached
-i hate to disappoint people and i hate to quit things

we went back and forth for months (since i found out i was pregnant with graham really) and it has only become clear in the last week or so. it has been such a wild last couple months, it has felt like anything added to life would just cause us to reach a breaking point. i am already exhausted all the time and if i work a few shifts a week, i feel like i'll be living in a fog. i don't want to miss this sweet time with my little ones. soon adam will start residency and we will have an income again with health-insurance. for now, we will pinch pennies, probably be on medicaid or cobra and be together as a family. farewell 5-south, hello messy house (i guess if i'm a stay-at-home-mom, i'll have to keep it cleaner?)!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Happy and Healthy

We are all finally well! For the past month at least one of us has been ill with the dreadful virus that caused Graham's meningitis. Seriously, i don't think i have ever felt so terrible as this virus made me feel. part of it was that it was hard to "sleep it off" with two little munchkins to tend to. one particularly rough day, i just laid on the couch while marit went about making mess after mess after mess...my body hurt too much to intervene. whew glad that's over! i turned 26 in the process of our recovery and had a quiet birthday that included charlotte's chocolate molten cupcakes (AMAZING!), a new pair of keens, and a couple shopping sprees (online of course as we have been quarantined to the house lately). i'm now in my late 20s...oh dear i feel soooo old. and GUESS WHAT ELSE?

the day after my birthday marit began to walk...jeremy and katie were here and she loves to impress them so she just took off when we were practicing walking with assistance. she used to cling desperately to our fingers as we practiced and now she shakes them off with a grunt of independence. she really is growing up. since then she as begun to initiate, stand up, and just go all around. this is a big deal to us because she is 16 months old and her brace wearing has significantly delayed the walking process and yet here she is doing it and with finesse! as with each new skill gained, marit has entered another phase of contentment and cheerfulness with her new mobility. however, there are those darn molars that are starting to erupt through her gums...

graham's big announcement of the week is that he FINALLY lost the gross end of his umbilical cord and he now has a nice little inny belly button that no longer stinks. he is still sweet as pie at one month old (!) and would like to spend the rest of his life snuggled up on my chest ( at least that's what it seems like) where he is most content-thank goodness for the bjorn!

that's all for now as i continue to wage war against the cheerios that are TAKING OVER our floor. where do they all come from? i find them everywhere even though i vacuum frequently.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.

psalm 33:20-22

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A tired bunch

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hangin' on

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

the kids are well, but adam had something terrible over the weekend (probably meningitis) and i'm just coming down with something now. we are hanging on and meditating on this verse in between feedings, poopy diapers, nose blowing, tylenol/motrin popping, quick naps.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Thanksgiving part 4

Charlotte graham (she dressed as a baby for halloween) is the subject of this post. she is my sweet sister who just graduated from college, didn't have exact plans for this year and so she just decided to move here to help us adjust to life with two children. i cannot even explain what a blessing it has been! she lives across the street and works several part-time jobs. she visits often, picks up groceries, does random odds and ends around our house (thanks for washing the high-chair cover!), and babysits, and hangs out with me, and just generally helps out. I really believe that God, in His great sovereignty, has provided her for us, especially for the last 6ish weeks while we have been in and out of the hospital. marit adores her auntie char char and i love having her around. if only we could keep her here somehow...

thank you for serving us so well charlotte!

catching up

well, after my last post praising graham's sleeping habits, a lot has happened. it turns out that graham sleeping through the night was the first sign that he was indeed ill. the second sign being his lethargy, strange cry, and lack of interest in nursing during the morning. the third sign was the 101.7 fever he spiked monday afternoon. i called adam, who immediately came home and we made arrangements for marit (thanks jeremy and katie!). then we went to the peds emergency room, where there was not even a 1 minute wait before we were seen by the resident, who happens to be a good friend of ours. a fever in a baby less than 1 month old is pretty much a medical emergency because they can go downhill so fast and with little warning. graham was poked 5 times before they could get an iv and all the necessary labs (because he was so dehydrated, his veins were collapsed). i cried during this part as i held him still. then came the lumbar puncture that we did not watch. then we were admitted to the hospital for antibiotics (in case cultures grew bacteria), fluids, and monitoring. it was so sad. he didn't open his eyes for 3 days and just cried out in pain whenever we moved him. his fever remained high until wednesday morning. i stayed with him and held him for pretty much the whole hospitalization. on tuesday we got the diagnosis: enteroviral meningitis. praise God it wasn't bacterial, but still meningitis is scary. finally the fever began to subside, he began to eat well again, and he started opening his beautiful eyes again-it was like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. during our stay, i numbly watched the election...the national events that seemed so monumental before concerned me very little as i held my fiery hot baby. once again, the body of Christ loved us well and prayed us through yet another trial. graham and i have spent about half of the last month in the hospital together. we got home yesterday and it has been so sweet to be together as a family again and to remember to be thankful for each precious moment we have with our children. adam wrote about what we have been learning in the last several weeks and i want to post it here to go with the story. we will get back to normal life soon. in the meantime, love and serve well.

This is Adam. thanks for all your prayers and encouragement. Some of you may or may not have received the emails from Charlotte. Ellen and I don't have access to a computer right now so I am sorry if this is delayed. Anyway, yesterday Graham came down with a fever that has persistently been around 102. The number isn't really the problem, it's just that any newborn with a fever potentially has a big problem. So after a trip to the ED and multiple sticks in all kinds of locations and an admission to the hospital for a few days it has pretty much been decided that little Graham has some sort of viral illness, and if he does happen to have some bacterial illness that was not picked up on the various studies those little buggars are currently being blasted to smithereens with some high-powered antibiotics. It may seem like overkill but a newborn baby is not someone you can just watch and wait for to see what happens...they can go south in a hurry if they have a bacterial infection and there are no clear signs or labs that can tell you for sure that they don't have such an infection. Anyway, needless to say, this has been quite stressful for Ellen and me and at times has felt like the straw that might just break the camels back. We have been in the hospital about half of the last 40 days and are physically exhausted. Please pray for us, that God would sustain us and make us patient and kind when we feel like we are about to snap. Please pray that Graham would be well again and in the same breath pray that God's will would be done (for who knows if it is His will that Graham be healed), simply praise God with us as we know He is good and will do good in this situation. I hate to ramble on and on especially since I just non-selectively sent this to most everyone in our address book and I don't know how it will strike some of you, but I feel compelled to write on anyway. It is amazing how our prayers for ourselves and our children have been changed by the sufferings we have walked through with them (Marit's hips, Ellen's preterm labor, Graham's illness, looking back further, Ellen's stroke). In the past my prayers had at least some strong component of "my will be done in their life"...the "my will" no doubt being something that is good such as making them healthy or successful in some noble career one day, etc. But oh how wonderfully our prayers have changed and how much less pressure I feel for my children these days as my nearly only prayer for them has become, "Father, may our children be 'known by you', may you draw them to Christ, may you by whatever measure of faith given to them make them eager and useful sons and daughters in your Kingdom and may their lives result in your glory and their joy." For if this is true then all else will take care of itself. The irony here is that, for my prayers to be converted and my mind to be changed as it has been, suffering and pain were required, and not just required at random, but required as orchestrated by our kind Heavenly Father. I now understand Job, "Shall we accept good and not adversity from God." For our God is the One who powerfully bends even suffering to serve His purposes, and oh how well this grace of suffering has worked in our hearts these months...how much more readily our hearts worship God and find their satisfaction in Him. Let us worship this God "who spared not His own Son but gave Him up for us all." If i had time i would write on but I must go back to the hospital. We are grateful for all your friendships.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Thanksgiving part 3

Graham slept from 10 pm-5:30am without waking up to eat. we feel like new people! what a blessing to get a whole night of sleep (instead of the usual 1-3 hours at a time) before my first day on my own with two munchkins. i love God's attention to detail!

for your listening pleasure

this song popped up on my pandora radio the other day and i thought it was so beautiful. i love alison krauss, but had never heard this song before.

Friday, October 31, 2008

This is so my family


hehehe...i love this blog

not the nicest image, but...

we have been adjusting to life with two kids under 18 months. whew! what an adventure! to top this week off, marit has been running high fevers and waking up at night. last night as marit was screaming from her room and we were changing graham's 5th poopy diaper in an hour, exhausted adam said:

"kids are God's enema for selfishness"

it's so true! we are being sanctified one sleep-deprived day at a time.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Thanksgiving part 2 (Graham is here!)

We are so excited and thankful to welcome Graham into the world. He arrived pretty goopy and after a relatively uncomplicated labor. He arrived on 10/21 at 2:13 am weighing in at 8lbs 8oz (I'm thankful he was 2 weeks early!) and 21.5 inches. So many little details were worked out by our Heavenly Father...
-He was 38weeks by 2 hrs, which was our goal gestation, since I had preterm labor and such
-My doctor was on call and already there all night and she left town for the rest of the week shortly thereafter
-labor and delivery was very quiet that night...I was the only one who delivered and I had a nice big post-partum room
-I went into labor in the afternoon/evening so my sister could come spend the night with Marit without having to miss any of her obligations
-Adam still had one week left in his off month, giving us time to adjust to two kids...
-I had just enough time to get all the antibiotics he needed in before he was born (gbs + for you medical folks)
-he was delivered with only 4 pushes!

He is a sweet little guy and loves to be held all the time. He's a wonderfully eager eater and has already started gaining weight again. His head has a tiny bit of dark fuzz, but it barely counts as hair. His eyes are dark and look like they may be brown. Marit is adjusting well...she's interested, but not overwhelming and her behavior has not been affected much. It helps that we have plenty of folks to give her adequate attention. She seems like such a big girl! Though we are tired, we are overwhelmed with thankfulness and joy for this little life God has entrusted to us!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Product Review: For the Mommies

I am also going to start doing product reviews from time to time of things that I feel work really well, or that i just like. adam calls me a "master shopper," mostly because i love to discover great products and great prices (what woman doesn't really?). today's product is:

Weleda calendula oil diaper cream

while this cream still has zinc oxide in it (the stuff in most diaper creams that promotes the healing), it also has the amazing calendula oil to sooth the skin. marit has very sensitive skin and gets diaper rashes occasionally, due to her brace and such. we have tried a variety of products, including burt's bees (i recommend almost all of their other products, but not the diaper cream), balmex, and may others. nothing knocks out the redness and rash like weleda...usually after one generous application. of course, it's kind of a naturally trendy product and i think it's made in europe somewhere, so it can run from $7-10/tube, but it's worth it because you don't have to use it for nearly as long. mommies take note and watch the bum of your little sweetie heal rapidly!

Thanksgiving part1

I'm going to start posting about the small things i am thankful for...little answers to prayer. partly in an effort to cultivate a heart of thankfulness in myself and to praise my sweet Savior for the detail He takes in caring for His children.

I am so thankful for the fact that I will be 38 weeks pregnant tomorrow. A little over 3 weeks ago, we sat in a room on labor and delivery and watched the contractions on a monitor, knowing I was 5cm dilated and 80% effaced and that little Graham might come that day. of course we can hardly wait to meet our son, but wanted him to have a little more time inside of me to develop and grow in strength. i really feel like God used my dr and responded to the many who were praying for me and stopped my contractions. they just stopped! and 3 weeks later i'm still pregnant and graham will be a term baby. what a blessing!

i haven't been sleeping well due to contractions and a 9 month pregnant uterus sitting right on top of my bladder. friday night i woke up at 2 to use the bathroom and could not go back to sleep until around 6. so saturday night, adam specifically prayed for me to sleep well, to "not even have to use the bathroom." i slept from 10-6:30 without peeing! if you have never been pregnant, you may not know what a miracle this is, but i felt more refreshed than i had for a long time after a night's "sleep." i love how attentive to small things our Father is.

Thank you Mr Piper

This post is primarily taken from John Piper's website...a great resource!...a friend of mine posted this on facebook with a picture of her sweet 11 week old son who passed away. 11 weeks, less than 3 months old and this baby was perfectly formed. i'm not interested in a political discussion about who to vote for, the pros and cons of each candidate etc. this is just a humble rebuttal to those who criticize one-issue voters. some things are worth being criticized for.

One-Issue Politics, One-Issue Marriage, and the Humane Society

Investigating dog life in Minnesota has solidified my decision to vote against those who endorse the right to abortion. So then what is my response to the charge of being a one-issue voter?

No endorsement of any single issue qualifies a person to hold public office. Being pro-life does not make a person a good governor, mayor, or president. But there are numerous single issues that disqualify a person from public office. For example, any candidate who endorsed bribery as a form of government efficiency would be disqualified, no matter what his party or platform was. Or a person who endorsed corporate fraud (say under $50 million) would be disqualified no matter what else he endorsed. Or a person who said that no black people could hold office—on that single issue alone he would be unfit for office. Or a person who said that rape is only a misdemeanor—that single issue would end his political career. These examples could go on and on. Everybody knows a single issue that for them would disqualify a candidate for office.

It's the same with marriage. No one quality makes a good wife or husband, but some qualities would make a person unacceptable. For example, back when I was thinking about getting married, not liking cats would not have disqualified a woman as my wife, but not liking people would. Drinking coffee would not, but drinking whiskey would. Kissing dogs wouldn't, but kissing the mailman would. And so on. Being a single-issue fiancé does not mean that only one issue matters. It means that some issues may matter enough to break off the relationship.

So it is with politics. You have to decide what those issues are for you. What do you think disqualifies a person from holding public office? I believe that the endorsement of the right to kill unborn children disqualifies a person from any position of public office. It's simply the same as saying that the endorsement of racism, fraud, or bribery would disqualify him—except that child-killing is more serious than those.

When we bought our dog at the Humane Society, I picked up a brochure on the laws of Minnesota concerning animals. Statute 343.2, subdivision 1 says, "No person shall . . . unjustifiably injure, maim, mutilate or kill any animal." Subdivision 7 says, "No person shall willfully instigate or in any way further any act of cruelty to any animal." The penalty: "A person who fails to comply with any provision of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor."

Now this set me to pondering the rights of the unborn. An eight-week-old human fetus has a beating heart, an EKG, brain waves, thumb-sucking, pain sensitivity, finger-grasping, and genetic humanity, but under our present laws is not a human person with rights under the 14th Amendment, which says that "no state shall deprive any person of life . . . without due process of law." Well, I wondered, if the unborn do not qualify as persons, it seems that they could at least qualify as animals, say a dog, or at least a cat. Could we not at least charge abortion clinics with cruelty to animals under Statute 343.2, subdivision 7? Why is it legal to "maim, mutilate and kill" a pain-sensitive unborn human being but not an animal?

These reflections have confirmed my conviction never to vote for a person who endorses such an evil—even if he could balance the budget tomorrow and end all taxation.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Marit and Molly

Molly is soooo patient and Marit adores her. Also, notice Marit's new walking brace!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

pregnant neighbors

We live within a couple blocks of each other and are due within 2.5 weeks of each other. It's been fun and Ellie, Sam, and Graham have many play dates in their future. Thanks for the picture Diane!

Friday, October 10, 2008

home sweet home

i've been home from the hospital since tuesday afternoon. after 10 days of being confined to one very blue room, home is a delightful place to be. adam tells me that marit is noticeably more pleasant to be around as well...now that her little life is back to normal. she has been so happy lately and is even eating and sleeping better since i've returned. what a blessing she is in our lives! i've included some images from home. charlotte came over to watch a movie with me yesterday. it's so fun to have a sister across the street!

graham is now 36 weeks and 3 days old, so it is pretty safe for him to enter the world whenever he is ready. i've been 5cm dilated and 80% effaced for about 10 days now and we joke that i may still make it to 40 weeks. either way, we have a good shot at making it to term now and for that we are thankful. i'm still on "modified bed rest" in hopes that i will make it to next week and adam has been very good about reminding me to lay down, stop nesting, stop cleaning, stop playing. i am just so thrilled to be here, that it's hard to hold still! we praise God for his faithfulness over the course of our lives, but it has been especially evident over the last two weeks. He holds graham's sweet little life in His loving hands.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What's been going on

warning: this is long and rambling...i have a touch of hospital dementia
I've had internet access for the last week since I have been hospitalized for pre-term labor, but I just haven't felt inspired to write much. It's not because I haven't been extremely bored and find myself with tons of extra time suddenly. Maybe it's because my room that I am not allowed to leave is a very uninspiring color of prison blue. Anyway, after our delicious day last week, we experienced a "disgusting day" during which Adam and I both acquired some sort of food poisoning or virus or something. I got extremely dehydrated, not a good thing for a pregnant lady in her last 5 weeks and have been in and out of labor, back and forth between labor and delivery and antepartum(where I am now on bedrest) ever since. Let me tell you, it's been fun. For the last 5 days, I have been a very boring patient and for that I am thankful! God has been gracious to grant Graham 1 more week in my womb even though I've been 5cm dilated and 80% effaced since Monday. Basically I'm a ticking time bomb. So I lay around in my blue room all day and take occasional naps, incessantly check my email, read a little, listen to sermons, watch the occasional television show, listen to music. My sister introduced me to Pandora Radio.
This has helped me to keep my sanity to some extent. You should check it out as it allows you to listen to music based on artists that you select, so you pretty much only hear music you like. It's pretty awesome.

I always say that "one day when I have time, I'm going to...." The top 3 on my list are to learn how to make handmade pottery, how to play the mandolin, and to renovate an old house. Since my current situation does not allow for these activities, I'm learning to be content with this quietness that has been given to me. When Graham does come, I may think back on this week (and maybe longer than a week) and wish I had enjoyed it more. My life is certainly on the brink of becoming insane, so I am trying to enjoy the solace now.

The worst part of this whole thing for sure is not spending much time with my snuggle bug Marit. Adam brings her to visit me every day, but it's awkward in a hospital room, partly because she's a little scared of me, partly because she just wants to crawl around all the time. I look forward to these visits every day and get all emotional when they are over. Something about a mommy's heart just longs to be with her children. I've had a lot of time to think about whether or not I will return to work after Graham comes. We can't really afford for me not to, but I just long to be with my babies as much as possible and to be able to focus on doing something well (shaping the hearts of these little ones is such a privilege), instead of being spread to thin to be of much use anywhere. If you are of the praying type, you can pray for us to be wise in our decision regarding this.

Adam dropped out of his cardiology rotation for the month. We are thankful that this was an option for him, though it means he will finish school in march instead of february. Also, my parents and sister have been a tremendous help with Marit. My dad and adam have been getting the house ready for a new baby, working on various projects. Friends cleaned our house and then hired a cleaning service to "deep clean" it for us in preparation for the new baby and because our sickness and rushing around resulted in a lot of chaos.

I've had lots of visitors, calls, emails, facebook messages, gifts (we even have an assortment of preemie clothes now!), encouragement and have been so blessed by the body of Christ. We have been loved so well this week and I know it's a beautiful testimony to others.

There has been a lot of stress involved in the last week, especially for Adam. He took his boards on friday in atlanta and was afraid I would deliver while he was gone. He goes back and forth between me and Marit, doesn't get a lot of sleep, and worries about my contractions and hydration status and Graham's well-being. Sometimes I do not respond well to how worry is manifested in Adam and so our relationship has been tense at times as well...little time together doesn't help.

I suppose this could be considered to be a season (though short-lived) of suffering or hardship, just like Marit's battle with hip dysplasia. Adam and I have had a lot of talks about suffering in the recent past and it is a topic that keeps resurfacing in our independent experiences and readings. If that's the case, I pray that God uses this time to refine us, make us more Christlike, break down the idols of comfort and ease that we hold dear in our hearts. At the same time, we must have perspective that hardship brings pain yes, but also deep communion with Jesus and others in the body of Christ as we allow them to serve us (a humbling place to be really). I must also recognize that I am not suffering on an island by myself, but am surrounded by others who struggle and suffer much deeper pains than I may ever have to face. A friend visited recently who lost her young husband to leukemia, another friend miscarried in her 3rd pregnancy, another friend has a beautiful baby that is not expected to live beyond one year. The world is so broken and filled with pain. I want to remember that and not dwell on my own challenges as if they were an exception to the rule. Why do I expect things to be easy and to provide me with comfort when that is not what is promised to us in this dark and fallen world? What is promised is that we will never be forsaken, that we will never be separated from the love of Christ, that we will be provided with the grace necessary to face any trial. In these promises, there is a sweetness that tempers the bitterness of life in this frustrating world, a little taste of eternity as Christ walks with us through the hardest times in life.

I'm not sure what point I was trying to make in this post exactly, but was determined to try to get some thoughts out....sorry it's so long.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Diaper Wars

From Marit 14 - 16 months
While I sit in the hospital keeping Graham from being born, Marit and Daddy have fun diaper wars!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Severe Mercies

This is Adam writing on Ellen's blog as I watch over her sleep in a labor and delivery room. We have been at the hospital since Saturday night after her contractions came back. She has been flirting with labor ever since a recent GI bug we contracted. Graham will be 35 weeks tomorrow...a respectably safe age to deliver but not without potential difficulties. Needless to say our prayer is that her contractions would remit.
It is so hard not to be gripped with fear in situations like these...to trust that even in the midst of hardship or suffering our kind Father in Heaven is at work, to know that He even bends suffering in such a way that it ultimately reveals His goodness and mercy. Indeed, it has been in the times that are uncertain and painful that the message of the Gospel has been the most clear to me. In my tearful prayers these 2 days has come a "severe mercy" as C.S. Lewis put it. I think I reflected on this in an earlier blogpost (see Ellen's stroke post). It is severe to know that our son may enter the world with great hardship and danger to his life, but it is merciful that God uses this to make us love Him more. If you have ever suffered over one you love and you faithfully walk with Christ then you know the surprising peace I am talking about. You are familiar with grief turning into laughter through your tears. You know what it is to feel the certainty of God's love more poignantly, to your very core, even as you shudder with pain. You know what it is to have your hands raise spontaneously as you envision holding up your child or your spouse to God, crying out that you trust Him with their precious little life. Like Abraham we walk with our children to their place of trial awaiting God's provision, knowing that He can raise them to life. Our Father, the one who spared not His own Son for our sake, help us to give to you "our's" in return. May our children be "known by You" our God and take the good news of Christ into the world.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Delicious Day

Adam and i both had the day off tuesday and we just finished another stretch of passing each other like ships in the night for several days, so we had a wonderful time catching up and enjoying the beautiful weather! we started the day with a breakfast picnic at the canal of bagels, grapes, kefir, and a fabulous view. marit was soooo good and even sat on the blanket with us. after breakfast, we let her venture close to the river and then her behavior started to break down as she really wanted to go swimming ( a little cold for that dear). we met another sweet baby jogging with her daddy named piper. after our canal adventure, we went grocery shopping. i don't know about you, but i love to grocery shop as a family. i think it's so fun! while marit napped upon our return home, adam and i made this recipe for lunch. we don't eat much beef and i've never cooked flank steak, but oh my goodness, it was amazing. the flavor of arugula and steak is a great combination.

Steak with Arugula and Balsamic Mushrooms

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound flank steak
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 pound cremini or button mushrooms, quartered
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 bunches arugula, thick stems removed (about 6 cups)
4 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season the steak with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook to the desired doneness, 3 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Let rest at least 5 minutes before slicing.

Wipe out the skillet and heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until tender and browned, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Remove from heat and stir in the cream.

Divide the arugula, steak, and mushrooms among plates and sprinkle with the scallions.

Substitution: You can use almost any variety of mushroom in this recipe. Try smoky shiitakes (discard the woody stems), mild oysters, or a couple of juicy portobellos.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


over lunch we had a great theological discussion stemming from different things we are both learning from books he's reading, Bible study i'm doing, different sermons we've both heard. i will post soon with some of the thoughts we've been having about suffering's place in the life of the Christian. it has been a super busy month, but God has been gracious to allow adam and i to have rich conversation in our small bits of time together. after lunch, we hung an outdoor swing for marit and continued to just "hang out." we finished the day with our neighborhood Bible study, which is always a delight and went home and did the bedtime routine. truly, it was a delicious day!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I guess I should build a nest?

So Marit and I were walking in our neighborhood the other day (a fairly normal occurrence), which is urban and diverse. This man started yelling from across the street and I figured he was greeting a homie or something (also a normal occurrence), but he didn't stop yelling. Finally I turned to look at him and he said "When are you going to drop it?" confused, I said "what?" Annoyed, he said "when are you going to have your next baby." I mumbled a reply and waddled on thinking about "dropping it" and how it looks like I'm about to lay an egg. Thank you, neighbor, for that image.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another Reason I'm Thankful

Besides the fact that I am unfathomably and infinitely loved by the God of the universe, I have an additional reason to be thankful this week.

I went to the OB yesterday as I am 33.5 weeks pregnant with David Graham, who is developing and growing well. For the last several days I have had this tender area on my calf. It is not unlikely that I whacked myself on something and just don't remember, but no bruise ever formed and all that could be palpated in the area was little knot. As a nurse who is married to a very cautious medical student, we immediately thought I had a DVT (for the non-medical, that is a blood clot in one of the deep veins) that would require blood thinning therapy and make the rest of my pregnancy a little more complicated. Well, I had an ultrasound of all the veins in my leg and there was no clot, but I was reminded of an earlier event in my life that explains why we and my OB freaked out a little bit. You see, I've had a clot before....

Adam and I were married in May of 2004. I was on hormonal birth control pills before marriage for some cycle regulation issues and remained on it into marriage for contraception. Three months after our wedding, we were on our way to another wedding in south Georgia and stopped for an overnight at my mom and dad's house. After a morning run and a shower, I was drying my hair and bent over to get underneath it. Suddenly I felt dizzy and weak. Adam was nearby and I made it to the bed, but the weakness got worse, my vision became blurry, I could not articulate words. Eventually I was unable to even sit up on my own. Of course, we hurried to the emergency room and Adam had to carry me in because I could not walk. My memories are a bit vague and spotty, but I remember having some sort of head scan (I think both a CT and an MRI), while Adam sat outside the scanner and wept. You see, my mom had recently had a brain tumor removed, so our family was still recovering from the trauma of that experience. As it turned out, I had a stroke. Yep, a 21 year old, completely healthy in every other way, avid runner, healthy eater had a stroke. I was admitted to the hospital for a couple days and within 24 hrs I had regained nearly all my strength and coordination (then my stroke became classified as a mini-stroke or a TIA).

I had a trans-esophageal echocardiogram done to look at my heart because surely there must've been a cause. There it was: a hole between the atria of my heart that everyone is born with and closes shortly after birth. Mine never closed. So I was diagnosed with a patent foramen ovale (which I found out later about 20% of the population has, but just doesn't know) and it was this little hole combined the the increased clotting potential that birth control causes that caused the stroke. A few months later I had my heart repaired at Emory University so that I would not be likely to have another stroke, especially during pregnancy (which is basically the same hormonal state as a body on birth control).

We learned a lot from the experience about how delicate our "everything's fine" life really is. Adam remembers making a commitment to God to love and care for me even if I never recovered from the stroke. God was gracious to us. I struggled with depression for a few months afterwards from the trauma of it all and because we were in a new town where we knew few people, but God was gracious to bring me through that too. I came away from the experience with a new respect for the hormonal state of our body. Of course, I'm never allowed to take birth control again, but I wonder if people realize how serious the side effects can really be. Also, we almost allowed our insurance to lapse from job to job, but decided to take out a private plan for just a few months. Our bills were significant with the insurance, but without it we never would have recovered.

That's my story from the past for today and I'm thankful for God's grace even this week in keeping my legs clot-free!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

check it out!

our life has been a whirlwind lately. adam is on a rough rotation right now and we have just been trucking along without much time for blogging. BUT, i must tell you about a recent gift given to us to celebrate the fact that we will soon have two children (basically both babies). from our whole extended family, we received this awesome stroller for jogging, walking, biking, and cross-country skiing (we don't do this, but it sure sounds cool). marit loves it already and likes daddy to push her around the house. it is very large and kind of like pushing a minivan, but what a dream to jog with (that's what adam says anyway as graham and i don't do that right now)! we are thankful!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Wonder of Sandra McCracken

If you don't have it already, get you ipod and go download In the Secret of His Presence by this wonderful singer/songwriter and be encouraged. Or if you are old school, you can order her cd through her website here.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Visiting Grandma and Grandpa

Here are a few shots from the road trip Marit and I took to visit Grandma and Grandpa (my parents) and to spend some time with my brother and his wife and daughter Aida. Aida and Marit are very different and very cute together.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Time to rock with baby gates (and i have a humorous husband)

Marit likes to climb stairs and Adam likes to comment on her adventures.
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Thursday, July 24, 2008

In honor of blueberry season

This is soooo yummy, especially with fresh blueberries (which are two pints/$5 right now) and homemade whipped cream. Vanilla ice cream is optional. It's also super easy. Enjoy!

Blueberry Cobbler
2 pints blueberries
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 cups heavy cream

Heat oven to 375° F. In a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish or a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate, toss the blueberries, 1/3 cup sugar, and 1 tablespoon flour.

In a medium bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, lemon zest, and the remaining flour and sugar.

Add the butter and blend with your fingers or 2 knives until coarse crumbs form. Add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons cream and mix until a shaggy dough forms.

Drop mounds of dough over the blueberry mixture. Bake until the berries are bubbling and the top is golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve with the remaining cream for drizzling, if desired.

Yield: Makes 6 servings