Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I don't know about everyone else, but Christmas always sneaks up on me. This year has been a little better, since I'm not in school or working, so I have had more time to enjoy the season and all the coziness and sweetness that comes with it. Even so, I have a hard time focusing on God and Jesus and the magical message of his birth; it just seems to become so diluted by Christmas shopping and Christmas cooking and Christmas parties, etc., etc. But! My friend Barbara has been doing a series of posts on the Christmas story, fictional pieces written in the voice of those involved in the birth of Christ, and it has been wonderful. Funny and touching, picking up on the details that I always miss when I read it in the Bible. Barbara always seems to zero in on the true nature of God in a way that I so appreciate, and she's always given me a more complete picture of God and His goodness than I have on my own. Can you tell I'm a big fan of hers?? Anyway, here's a link to her blog and those posts; I'd start at the beginning (there have been five), the piece entitled "In Morning Light". Barbara, these could be the start of a book, methinks. :-) I hope you all enjoy them the way that I have.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


When Elias was first born, I thought that most of the painful, hard stuff would be over. I mean, I knew I would be sleepy, and wouldn't know what I was doing for awhile, etc., etc., but I was looking forward to the mostly physical stuff being over: being so uncomfortable, ending the pre-eclampsia symptoms, and that sort of thing.

But when we started to nurse, it quickly became apparent something was wrong. He wasn't getting what he needed; he fell asleep as soon as we started, and I couldn't for the life of me wake him up; he started losing weight. Then the doctor told me that I needed to supplement him with formula. I can't really express how much this hurt my heart. I had been looking forward to nursing as I had been looking forward to Elias! I loved the simplicity of being able to continue to feed my baby with my body alone, and I longed for the quiet closeness of feeding time.

There was none of that in the early weeks. I cried, he cried; we struggled with the supplementer. Feeding him took well over an hour, and then I would pump afterwards to stimulate more milk. I took (and still take) herbal supplements. I would set my alarm to wake him up at night to eat. It was harder than pregnancy and labor put together. The hardest was giving him formula. I know that formula is an amazing product, that it keeps babies alive, it even helps them thrive. But to see that he needed more than me to do that, killed me. I wanted him to have my milk. And it hurt that he was just as excited about formula as he was about what I had to give.

He's not having to be supplemented anymore because I have enough to give him. And that has been AMAZING. I've started to gain the benefits of those hard, hard hours of work.

But this whole situation made me think about God, and about how He nourishes me. Now the two situations are so different: Elias DID need something more in the beginning. But again, he seemed to like the formula just as much as the milk that I produced for him. And I thought about God, and how He has this perfect food for us: it nourishes and grows us better than anything else could. And yet, for me, and probably for others too, it's not enough. I need more. I need Jeremy and my comfort and pretty clothes and people to take care of me. I need, I need, I "need". And do I love those other things as much as I love God? I take less of His perfect food, made just for me, because He provides those other things for me as well. Because He is kind and gracious. And those other things together can be part of His nourishment of me, but I think that many times I start to look to those things first. I look to the formula first, instead of the other way around.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Baby stuff

I thought I would do a short post on some of the things we received for the baby, what has been super helpful to have and what has not been so great, since I have several friends right now who are expecting--

1. Prince Lionheart wiper warmer: I know, I know-- a wiper warmer is not a necessary. You may even think I'm spoiling him. But at this point I know this at least: you pick your battles. And at 3 a.m., when you're changing a squirmy little guy's diaper and trying to keep him at least a little quiet so your husband who has to go to work in the morning can sleep, OR you finally got him to sleep and don't want him to wake up, a wiper warmer is awesome. And, this isn't California; it gets COLD here at night, even with the heat on, and so this thing has been great. It doesn't shock him like the cold disposables do.

2. Cloth wipes: These go in the wiper warmer and they're awesome. I can NOT believe how many wipes we can go through in one week, probably a hundred fifty (since we went through one hundred diapers this last week!!), and so this has proven much less wasteful and more pleasant for the baby overall. Thirsties Fab Wipes are what we have and we bought about 3 packs (18 total), which is just barely enough. I'd like to get some more at some point soon. And they're so cute and soft.

3. This pail liner is awesome; it's washable and dri-able, so you can just dump it in the wash with everything else.

4. You need a Moby wrap or a baby sling. Period. I just vacuumed, swept the kitchen, and cleaned the bathroom with Elias snuggled up against me and using both of my hands. I think I like the Moby wrap better for a newborn because I can fit him up higher much easier than with the sling, but my goodness we sweat so much when we're in it! It'll be good for this winter while he's so small but I think we'll transition quickly to the sling when it both gets warmer and he gets bigger.

5. Newborn sized clothing. I thought he would be huge, so we barely had any of these and actually had to buy some after he was born.

6. Two Boppy (obviously, you need a Boppy or something similar) covers, crib sheets, and changing table pads. Or three.

7. Bundle Me stroller/car seat cover. So soft and cozy, I think this will take us straight through winter here.

8. Changing pad for your diaper bag, for when your newborn is screaming in the backseat because they have a wet diaper and you have to change them in the car because there's no place with a changing table nearby.

9. Lansinoh nipple cream. You'll understand by that second week.

10. An electric breast pump. I fought against this for a long time, but that manual one was horrific. The electric one is much more gentle. (I do know some people that like the manual better, but I had a very hard time with it and couldn't express anything because it was so uncomfortable.)

11. Side Sleeper/ Co-sleeper or a bassinet for your bedroom. I have really appreciated being able to just reach over when he's crying in the middle of the night (which is all the time) instead of stumbling down the hallway. For the first couple of months, at least, I can't imagine having anything else.

12. Fenugreek: If you have any problems with your milk supply, this herbal supplement is really helpful, and this brand is great. I've noticed a huge difference using it. Also, Mother's Milk tea and Red Raspberry Leaf tea are galactogogues as well.

13. A swaddle blanket. Elias' arms and legs are constantly moving and wake him up if they aren't pinned down. This helps him sleep a HUNDRED times better than he was before. And, this particular one will keep him swaddled, while with the other ones (and we tried out a few!) couldn't withstand his constant movement and would eventually come undone, and he would wake up. With this particular one: watch when you wash it, b/c all of the velcro can get stuck on other clothing, etc., in the wash.

14. A couple of soft hats. It's too cold for a baby to not have their head covered around here. It reminds me of the women in my family; whenever they would see a baby with it's head uncovered, they'd say (loudly), "That baby needs a hat!"

15. And finally, I think I would get a nursing cover for next time; at some point, he can figure out nursing himself and I won't need to see him to help him along, but it's been a struggle to keep modest and help him along, especially since so many people are going to be visiting you and the baby. I've just been draping a blanket/sling over us, but I can't see him, and it hasn't been working very well.

What you may not need much of:

1. Socks. These don't get dirty, so he goes through, like, 2 a week. Of course, we don't have a girl, so this may just be partly because we don't have a lot of "outfits" we're putting together and coordinating socks with.

2. Fancy, expensive clothes that aren't easy to get in and out of. We stick to cheaper onesies and pants most days.

3. Huggies diapers. I have literally watched as the pee poured out of these horrible things right onto me, the couch, my husband, etc. Get Pampers or Luvs instead. (Although maybe with a girl these would be different.)

4. Receiving blankets. These are basically just used as burp cloths around here at this point since they're just too small to do much warming.

What you may want to wait for:

1. An infant seat OR swing. I think you have to know your baby's personality before buying something like this. We have the Little Lamb chair, and he's not a big fan. Knowing him now, I would totally have gotten a swing instead. He likes movement and gets bored really quickly in this seat. I'm lucky if I can set him in here for a quick bathroom break.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


It's been almost two months since I've posted. But I have a good excuse. The first month I was too pregnant. And in this second month, I have a baby.

He's a keeper for sure.

The weeks leading up his birth were a little tense, since I developed preeclampsia, but I was able, thankfully, to avoid artificial induction, a c-section (barely), and any complications with the preeclampsia. Labor was hard and long, and I'm still recovering even now, but learning life with this little person has been much more intensive and difficult than labor ever was. But I'm looking at him right now, and he's totally giggling in his sleep, and I'm thinking it was totally worth it, even though the hard part isn't over yet.

I think what has been the most fun was finding that he wasn't quite the stranger I expected him to be. I mean, he was at first, but we have gotten to know him in these last four (four already?!) weeks, and he just seems an extension of us already.

So we're good, getting back into a routine now that Jeremy's paternity leave is over, and trying to figure out how to be parents to this little guy. And I'm beginning to look forward to Jeremy's and my birthday on the 13th, and Diana's visit later that week, and Christmas, and Aunt Crystal's visit in early January... lots to look forward to in these next weeks.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Trail of tears

This is a picture, not of real blood or tears, but of ice cream. Nutella ice cream. I tried to make Mom's birthday cake with an inner layer of Nutella ice cream... and then it all melted. Everywhere.

Fortunately, the cake itself was wonderful, the ganache on top was divine, and some of the ice cream melted through the bottom layer of cake, making it very moist and lovely ;-)

Thought I would share some recipes that I used that night that turned out a bit better:
Easy-peasy spaghetti/tomato sauce by 101cookbooks that I used for pizza
Raw&Cooked Vegetable salad (that was wonderful!) from Lydia's Italy (Barbara, you would love this!)

And some other recipes that I've made lately that will be added to the regular rotation:

Friday, August 27, 2010

oh my... have you ever

seen such beautiful lips?!

On the bottom left is Baby's belly. Follow that up diagonally and there's his little round chin and then a big beautiful pair of lips that he's got all pushed out and his nose is more in the shade. His arm is on the right, over the left side of his face.

He's had his arm up since the beginning, which is actually really sweet because I tend to do that a lot. He'll probably come out like that, making me work harder in delivery!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

34 weeks (for Barbara)

Not a great picture, but here I am at 34 weeks. One, I can't believe that I'm this far along! Two, how can I still have 6+ weeks to go?!

I'm feeling well, actually, considering I'm carrying a five pound baby boy INSIDE MY BODY. I'm sore all over, my pelvis, my back, my hips. I'm waddling. I can't get up in one motion, it takes two or three. I have to pee all the time. And I'm sleepy all the time. But--

I'm great. And we're still having fun with the pregnancy.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Today, it has been a hard day. I've been thinking about not being in the house, and feeling lonely here in this apartment, and if it's lonely now, how lonely will it be to have the baby here and have Jeremy over at the house, trying to get it ready for us, and how tired and overwhelmed Jeremy must be, and how big and overwhelmed I am, etc., etc., etc.


Today, I am thankful for such a loving, supportive, compassionate, funny, warm, caring husband. I am thankful that my parents are close by and are so willing and able to help during this time. I'm thankful for girlfriends that make me laugh and make me think and boost me closer to God. I am thankful for a cozy apartment and a car with air conditioning and a fabulous weekend with friends, and for this little boy bouncing around in my belly.

And I am thankful for an easily reheat-able baked pasta, some romaine lettuce I had forgotten about, a leftover Roma tomato from last week's CSA bag, and that teeny bit, but just enough, piece of parmesan cheese that made my lunch just now even better and so pretty.

Monday, August 2, 2010


It's been a busy couple of months--we were on vacation for what seemed like two weeks, traveling from Bloomington, IL to Kansas City, MO and back.

Of course, that all sounds like a lifetime ago. Crazy how quickly the vacation glow fades and the regular stresses/joys/boringness of life crowds out its memory.

We've moved into panic mode with the house... just hoping that we can get in there before Baby comes. (No, Baby doesn't have a name yet...) We did buy paint the other day, though, which is pretty exciting, even though we're not ready for it yet. We may even have to give our month's notice to our landlord later this month, which is another exciting (yet scary!) prospect.

It's so easy to lose focus of what we know GOD is going to do. We do know that He will give us what we need when we need it. It's just that sometimes... I think that I know better about what I need than he does. Which is pretty hilarious, since He's proven over and over that that is actually not true! Ha! I'm glad that I know that as big and powerful and scary as He can be, He also has a pretty great sense of humor. I hope that He finds these times of my freaking out funny rather than frustrating! I think to some degree that He really does.

Pregnancy lately has been... uncomfortable. This last week in particular has been hard for me physically, what with the hip pain, pelvic pain, circulation issues, emotional issues, heartburn, and a plethora of other aches/pains. I'm asking that GOD help change my attitude this week, though, because I have ten weeks left, and I don't want to spend them cranky. And cranky I have been.

And that's life right now, among other things. Barbara, I WILL post some more recent pictures of my pregnant self soon. I am certainly looking pregnant these days :-)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

it's been awhile

We've been all around lately, and are focused focused focused on the house and thesis right now. And so I have lots to post and share, but no time right now to share it.

But there is one thing I'd like to share, this post by a blog that I follow. I loved the imagery and message of what she wrote this morning and thought you all might like it too.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

summer days--

Well, this has been an interesting week. A few highlights:

1. Our church conference last week was a lot of fun, and it was so good to have people from all our (6) churches together in the same room. It just puts us all on the same page again. And God, as always, was so good to us, the collective us, and the me and Jeremy us.

2. I got shingles this week. On my face. Yes, you read that right. Nobody ever told me how weird pregnancy can be. I don't even want to discuss the other weird things that I've experienced so far, but let me just say this is the fourth time I've been on antibiotics since I've been pregnant.

3. This is the first month that I have had absolutely no money coming in from my work, and Jeremy and I have been a little, er, nervous about it, since right now we are totally not making enough from just his salary, especially since we have a house AND an apartment. And then, ta da! God came through with a huge bonus through Jeremy's work that covered the difference. It's so crazy. We're currently having faith for His help in our finishing the house, and I feel like this is His way of showing us that we have absolutely nothing to fear. I feel so encouraged. And really, it's just super cool how He does stuff. So I'm kind of impressed too. Ha. He is pretty impressive.

4. This weekend is our trip to Bloomington, IL to hang out with some friends. We'll take a day trip up to Chicago one of the days and generally just hang out with some really solid, fun friends that we've known for awhile. I actually went to high school with them, although we were NOT friends then. We re-met through the church and just felt really connected to each other and now try to get together as much as possible. We're really looking forward to it. It will be the only summer vacation we have, since Jeremy is saving his vacation for the when Baby comes and has to spend the weekends working on the house anyway, and of course, there is the financial situation :-) We can't wait. I think I've been successful at talking them into hitting up one of Rick Bayless' restaurants. Huzzah!

Monday, June 21, 2010

feeling the love

Mom came back from her vacation in CA toting a couple of fun things for Baby, a CUTE book from Aunt Crystal by Charley Harper

and a full length bib made from vintage fabric from Mom!


And then waiting in my mailbox for Baby (and me) was a package.

My lovely friend Beth knitted my boy some adorable hats that make me sweat to think about now, but will be absolutely perfect for that little soft head come wintertime.

I'm about 25 weeks now, feeling (and seeing!) the little one move and grow. I've gotten to that really fun part of pregnancy, where the daydreams about him grow more frequent (along with trips to the bathroom), and feeling more and more special about being so close to our baby. I can't wait to meet him, sure, but I'm so enjoying this in-between time too.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

feeling better.

The last post up is a sad one, one that I wrote about a week and a half ago. Everything in life felt really, really hard. That Friday, as Jeremy and I stumbled heartbroken into our weekend, God showed up and reminded us of His love and presence. And, in true God-style, He overdid it, and Jeremy and I came out of the weekend completely refreshed, grateful, and so in love with our Dad.

Things have not changed, however, because that weekend was not about change, in situation anyway. It was a change of sight; He opened our eyes, again, to His plan and purpose for our lives in the present tense, and gave us the grace and strength, again, to handle all of the hard things we are currently experiencing.

I am so, so grateful. And I know Jeremy is too.

Things since then have been busy; I've taken over the financial paperwork and bill paying to give Jeremy a break as he is pulled in every other direction. That's been pretty interesting; math is not my strong suit, but organizing is, so I'm doing my best. This includes a budget that we came up with, which I don't think either of us have ever done, and which has been difficult. Good, but difficult. I'm still trying to read for my thesis, which is not going quickly at all (boo.), unfortunately. And Jeremy is still working on the house, leading small group for the church, and trying to keep up with a very busy schedule at work. And, we're both getting to know our little man, so active in my belly.

Also, I've been cooking. We are a part of a CSA this summer, which is a lot of fun but also very different as far as not having control over what we're "buying" for the week. I have been trying very hard to be adventurous and try everything (or almost everything) at least once.

This is a beet salad I made that is one of Giada's recipes. It was... okay. Here's the thing: I don't like beets. They taste "earthy," which basically means it tastes like dirt, no matter how long you cook it or how well you "caramelize" them. If you like beets though, go for it. The salad was entirely edible. HOWEVER, if you are pregnant, you should not try this. It took me awhile to figure out, but I confirmed my malady online: beets fall into the same, er, category as cauliflower, broccoli, etc. So, proceed at your own risk. Or, your husband's risk. Whichever.

We got basil a couple of weeks ago, which I immediately turned into pesto, a glorious, wonderful pesto. As I was eating a pasta made with that pesto, tossed with grilled, shredded chicken and Farmer's Market zucchini and squash, I thought, "Pesto just may be my favorite food." And it's so versatile! I didn't have any pine nuts (and they certainly weren't in my grocery budget for the week!) so I used some raw macadamia nuts that I had wasting away in the crisper. It was lovely. Still is: a small bunch made five servings. Guess what's for dinner tomorrow...

And then we had Thai basil the next week, which we didn't like. It has a distinct anise taste and scent, which both Jeremy and I can't stand. I used it in a stir fry that I've been making: grilled chicken, red bell pepper, and some CSA Swiss chard. Jeremy picked it all out, and I would have too, if I hadn't decided to give it a fair chance. I threw it away later though.

Something else I made this week (actually just last night) was a cherry clafoutis. I got the recipe out of one of my cookbooks, but recipes for clafoutis are online everywhere. I've also made it with blueberries, which is also fabulous. I look forward to cherry season every year for clafoutis.

So I've been busy, but good, enjoying the adventure of our CSA box and the confines of eating organic, real food on a tighter budget. Definitely an adventure.

Gotta go-- need to make dinner! I got a pound of grass-fed ground beef for hamburgers for this week--Jeremy's favorite--but just used 3/4 of the pound and added some cooked lentils to bulk it up. Not bad, and Jeremy was a good sport about my bastardizing his beloved hamburgers. And now I've got a 1/4 pound for taco salad tonight! Yay!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


My new favorite lunch: toasted honey whole wheat bread, a thick slather of goat cheese, warm roasted grape tomatoes, and big pieces of avocado, all topped with fresh basil, salt and pepper. On the side is zucchini, picked up at the Farmer's Market this weekend. It tastes like Spring and the fulfillment and payoff of a cold, dark winter.

This has been a weird week. I thought Jeremy and I were in a hard place already, and then yesterday the ground sort of shifted... and we're in an even harder place, or at least it seems like it. I know that God is in control (HE, thankfully, reminded me of that yesterday) and that HE sees us, and that HE has a plan, but these are things I know, not necessarily things that I am seeing.

So the ground is still shifting, and we don't know where we'll end up, and until then-- well, I don't really know. I know we'll be okay, though. And that's good enough for now. Hopefully our Spring is right around the corner.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

on planning, expectations, and spring storms

The other night I was pretty excited about dinner. I had bought two beautiful artichokes on a day trip to St. Louis, MO (where I got a bunch of maternity clothes, including 5 light as air sundresses) at Whole Foods. I have never made artichokes, but that's part of the fun for me, so I got to work and went online to find a recipe. I found one for "stuffed artichokes," fulfilling my tendency (or, as Jeremy would call it, my maddening tendency) to choose a recipe I've never made or tasted before. So I set to work, got the artichokes going, got the Trader Joe's ravioli boiling, got the butter tomato sauce going... and, Jeremy was an hour and fifteen minutes late.

Deer in our front yard at 6 p.m.

One hour later

He did have a good excuse, but it did throw a teensy wrench into my dinner plans. As I waited for him, I turned down the lights (it was storming), lit some candles, turned off the television, and envisioned a quiet, romantic night, where we would converse excitedly at the table about our day and then cuddle on the couch and just enjoy each other's company.

Dinner was gross. I couldn't eat the artichokes or the ravioli. I think I had waited too long to eat, and so my stomach completely refused to participate in my romantic plans. A big part of it though, was that the artichokes had no flavor. Jeremy just ate the stuffing out of them (ew). I had some leftover cake that I doused in macerated strawberries and whipped cream. It was lackluster as well. Jeremy turned on the t.v. I crumpled onto the couch, which I abandoned for my bed not too long after. It was a pretty disappointing night.

It seems like whenever I plan or get my hopes up for something, it fails miserably. Here's the thing though: did I ever think to pray for Jeremy so that when he came home from work (after being gone for over 12 hours) he would be able to relax? I had been home all day long, doing whatever I wanted, watching PBS, reading, going for a walk, while he dealt with people at work, then people at Home Depot, then the storm, and yet I expected that he would just be wooed by the candlelight. I think I got him mixed up with someone else: me. What would have gotten him to relax? The t.v. on. Hamburgers and french fries. Maybe some ice cream. Helloo, Alanna. Maybe you could tell him what kind of night you're hoping it will be. I just miss it sometimes, you know?

The next night he came home sick from work. I made this and this. And it was fabulous. And then we went out and got shakes and then lolled around, watching a movie. It was much, much better, perhaps mostly so because I wasn't thinking of expectations fulfilled or denied. I just enjoyed being around him, running around in the storm, seeking out a milk chocolate shake.

And then the next night, last night, we unexpectedly were able to get two couple friends of ours to our favorite pizza place, where we ate and talked for two hours. Then he and I went to the grocery store, where I bought the biggest box of Lucky Charms I could find and he got ice cream. We came home and watched Modern Family on Hulu, cuddled up on the couch. Much more romantic than artichokes by candlelight. And much more fun because Jeremy was relaxed and happy, and I was able to just enjoy being with him.

Friday, May 21, 2010

finding out

the news is out: today we found out we're having a boy. We thought it might be a boy, but I tried very very hard to keep an open mind so that I wouldn't be disappointed if it was a girl. But it's not; it's a boy!

I never wanted to have a boy; I definitely wanted all girls, which is just so silly to think about now. But when I got pregnant, I had this little picture of a blonde, curly headed, sweet, chubby boy that I couldn't get out of my mind.

I am so so excited.

So excited that I have wept twice today, which was immediately preceded by my laughing so hard that I cried. I believe that's called hysterics. I am tired; mom and I went to St. Louis, MO yesterday to do some maternity shopping (6 dresses, 3 pairs of pants, and 3 shirts!!), and by the time the 12 hour trip ended, I was beyond exhausted. And then we got up this morning and found out we were having a boy (!), and, apparently, it was just too much for this pregnant lady. I'm barely functioning at this point, and it's only 6 p.m.

But, no matter how crazy I felt and acted today, we got to see our boy: his face and hands and lips and feet and heart. It was beautiful and wonderful and joyful. I just can't get over how excited I am that he's real.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


decisions, decisions on this quiet Wednesday afternoon...

Q: "snooze" or "dismiss"
A: Waking from my nap I hit snooze, but I must admit that in that dream/sleep/awake state, I was confused about this decision. I could generally understand that either one meant that I could go back to sleep, but also that they weren't the same thing. I went, luckily, with the first choice, which means that Jeremy is not going to find me passed out on the bed when he gets home today.

Q: "oatmeal raisin" or "chocolate chip"
A: Chocolate chip. With a cold glass of whole, raw milk on the side. Before you disagree with this decision, and especially because it is a hard choice to make, let me explain. I made the batch of oatmeal raisin a few days ago and had already had a "few." I made the batch of chocolate chip yesterday and had yet to have a whole one (I had to taste since I made half the batch for some friends, of course). Additionally, these are not just chocolate chip. I ran out of chocolate chips, so I used what I had, which was a few bars of dark chocolate with dried cherries and almonds. AND since I had bars, I had to cut up the chocolate myself, which means that the insides of the cookie did not consist of independent "chips" but itty bitty pieces of chocolate along with chunks. AND, I made it with whole wheat pastry flour, oats, and more chopped almonds. AND the recipe said to "not overbake, but underbake if anything." That lady is smart, because the outside of the cookie is totally baked, but the inside is super soft, almost like a cookie dough. My goodness. (She does not currently have the recipe online, but it's in her cookbook, which I ADORE.)

Q: vacuum or clean kitchen?
A: Oprah. On the couch. Then maybe the kitchen :-)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

back to "normal"

I don't know quite what I mean by normal, by the way. It is not necessarily normal for me to not have a job, or even to just be on break from school. It is not normal for me to go for a walk when Jeremy leaves in the morning and then come back, shower, paint my toenails, and make some toast slathered with goat cheese and apple butter. But it does feel normal. Or maybe the word I'm looking for is Awesome. I'm getting back to Awesome, because now I can have a clean home, and folded laundry, and fresh sheets, and a refrigerator that doesn't smell like garbage.

And maybe a nap. Because, my goodness, walking is not the graceful, effortless exercise it once was.

I realize how lucky I am. I know that most women don't have this opportunity, and I am so thankful for the life I get to live right now. And I know that, because this is my life, that Jeremy's life is much, much harder. That takes a lot of the fun out of it, but it makes me get off the couch in the morning and spend the day making our apartment as peaceful and warm for him as I can, while I can, since I know that when Baby comes, things will be very different. Until then, I'm going to try to enjoy this time, this summer, and morning walks followed by goat cheese and apple butter as much as I can.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Today's lunch was sort of a mishmash of what I had around; I found some soba noodles and then some leftover pesto in the freezer (that I had made last summer), and put those together with some parmesan sprinkled on top (and then some extra, a lot extra, sea salt on top--being pregnant, my favorite flavor/ingredient/food is salt!). I had some goat cheese in the fridge, and a crispy apple, so I put that over some honey whole wheat bread (with sea salt, of course). YUM. I feel completely satisfied.

Speaking of food, I've been meaning to post some recipes up here for awhile that I've recently come across. I haunt www.foodnetwork.com along with some other sites and blogs and have found the BEST recipes lately. I thought I'd share a couple of them.

This is a curried chicken salad that I made for the second time last night; I know it's nothing new, but it's SO easy and makes bunches. Jeremy really likes it. (The toasted almonds add a lot of flavor--I don't worry about blanching them, and I think I'm actually going to boil a couple of eggs and throw them in there too, to make it all last longer.)

I love Heidi Swanson's blog 101 Cookbooks; I have her Super Natural Cooking cookbook and pretty much love everything I've ever made out of it. She posted this recipe for a skillet bread not too long ago, and we really liked it a lot. It was the first time I had ever made quinoa, and it was much less scary than I had imagined.

Interestingly, it has a sort of custard topping to it, which was great with what we ate it with, a meat dish that I had cooked into oblivion. The custard helped to balance out the moisture ratio that was severely lacking in the meat. I didn't add the herbs to the top, but I think that would really help--otherwise the custard doesn't have much flavor. Next time I'll try it without the cream; the bread had a great flavor on its own. I will say, though, that the dry meat was all my fault, and it really had a great flavor and sauce. I will make it again. (I added black beans to it, which you can see in the picture.) Mmmm: that looks good. We both really enjoyed dinner that night.

The one recipe that I wanted to make again as I was eating it is this one. I'm serious. I'm getting meat this weekend to make it again next week. I don't think I've ever enjoyed the smell of something cooking as I did this dish. And there is so much sauce left over which is AWESOME because that sauce is gold. One reviewer said she used it for an enchilada sauce, which I'm sure would be amazing. We ate on it all week. (It would be great with the above skillet bread.)

I've really been into making one or two meals a week and then eating on them over a few days. Jeremy doesn't mind, and it's been helpful for both my finishing up the semester and when I've felt a little less than well. We'll be having leftover curried chicken salad tonight (since I'm still a little out of it because of the UTI) with a twice baked potato (last night we had it with homemade oven roasted french fries--Jeremy's favorite). I saw on a food show yesterday that they bake the potato, carve out all the insides, then baste the potato in and out with butter, and bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes to make it extra crispy, then put all the good stuff back in and bake it for a bit longer. So I'm going to try that tonight.

I never knew food could be so much fun until I started cooking when I got married. It really is such a creative endeavor (most of the time!), and I really feel like I can be a bit artsy when putting ingredients together. Which is a good thing, when one is surrounded by laundry and schoolwork, etc., etc., right?

Monday, May 10, 2010

couch potato

Well, I've relegated myself to the couch today. It was an intense, busy weekend, and Jeremy and I were running on empty. In fact, we were more tired this morning than we were on Friday afternoon. That's just not right!

All that to say that I've been cramping today, nothing severe, but it definitely feels like menstrual cramps in a way that I haven't felt since I've been pregnant. It seems like Braxton-Hicks contractions, and I can feel Baby kicking every once in a while, so I'm just trying to take it easy. In fact, Baby is kicking right now : ) My lovely mother is bringing pizza for dinner, so I'm getting some time to just relax. I just wish Jeremy had the same kind of relaxation coming his way... Poor guy.

Anyway, on my online expeditions today I found this book on Orangette's Amazon store. Doesn't that look wonderful?!

Also, my charming friend Colleen posted a write-up on her blog of what had us so busy this weekend with some great pictures, if you want to see how we spent Mother's Day!

If this weird cramping doesn't stop by tomorrow morning, I'll definitely call my doctor, but until then, I'll be on the couch, reading my blogs, working on grading, etc., and eating lots and lots of pizza (with a side of ranch...yum).

Thursday, May 6, 2010

flying high-- almost.

I feel like a tethered ballon, with ropes holding me tight to the earth, with the promise that one by one, they'll be untied.

I had my last class of graduate school last night, and as good as it was to leave class, it was a little bittersweet. I really enjoyed grad school, discussing literature and history and politics and philosophy. I don't have anywhere else in my life that stretches me to think, and then to think more deeply, until it hurts sometimes.

I have my thesis still, and a few things to finish up, grading and such, until I am officially finished, of course. But I do feel like I'm saying goodbye to something that was really good for me, and something that I hope to be a part of again someday.

I do feel a little strangely giddy though, kind of exhilarated by the new freedom I feel. Like a balloon that has had one rope untied and is sort of bobbling about, still mostly secure. I'm wondering what new thing is waiting in the skies... and hoping it's adventure.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

alive and kicking

Jeremy felt the baby kick for the first time tonight! Such a sweet, sweet moment for him, I'm sure, but especially for me, to be able to share that with him.

These pictures were taken by Jeremy just a few days ago, after he realized that he could have some fun with "The Bump."

He's going to have so much fun playing with our kids.

And I know they're going to have a blast with him.

I know that he's probably totally overwhelmed by the idea of having a baby, just like I am, but I know, know, know that he is going to be the best, sweetest, most compassionate and fun daddy the world has ever seen.

Friday, April 30, 2010

cloudy morning

It's so nice and warm outside AND stormy and windy and gray. I love Spring around here; it's almost as if it's the time of year when the weather itself is feeling alive, newly woken from the frigidity of winter, ready to bring chaos and movement into the world again.

Speaking of alive and chaos and movement-- I have a baby in my tummy. You know how I know? I felt it kicking this morning in a very real "My baby just kicked me from the inside of my body" kind of way. I had my hand on my stomach and actually saw it MOVE once. If that's not alive (for the baby) and chaotic (for me) I don't know what is. The only times I've felt he/she kick is when I've been praying for them. I know it's because he/she feels their Heavenly Father loving on them and spending time with them and giving them the nourishment that they need, and I'm so glad, because I want them to know that they are His, and I want them to know that feeling of belonging and love from the very second they are able.

Being pregnant and expecting a baby feels absolutely nothing like I thought it would. It's so much scarier and overwhelming than I thought it would be. And I know that it will be okay and wonderful and normal all very soon, but I'm not there yet, neither of us are. And I guess that's a part of the process too.

Monday, April 26, 2010

making lunch

I just made myself a lunch of warm lentil salad, which includes carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, and a significant amount of red wine vinegar, along with a half sandwich of leftover homemade tuna salad (which was a new recipe, and quite, quite good) on toasted whole wheat honey bread. It was perfect.

Why is it that making yourself lunch is almost better than someone else making lunch for you? Maybe you're thinking: "Well, I don't know if I agree..." First of all, thank you for disagreeing with me so politely! Second of all, I think it's because I can make it just the way I want it, aesthetically and ingredient-wise. And thirdly, and most importantly, I think it's because I am taking time out of my day to do something nice for myself. It's like it's worth it for me to spend a reasonable amount of time doing something just for me--like I am worth it. And it does make me feel special, and well-fed, and totally satisfied.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

sunday afternoon

So often we (meaning Jeremy and I) have the television on, to keep us feeling like we're doing something besides lazing around, to keep us from getting bored, to keep us from getting lonely, to keep us motivated to do housework (okay, the last two may just be me). Right now, though, it's off, and I can hear my husband's breathing from a chair across the room as he goes in and out of sleep, the wind outside, the clickety-clack of the keyboard. It's nice. I wish I enjoyed this when I was by myself, but usually I'm too afraid of my thoughts, of being alone. I've gotten different as I've gotten older--more afraid, more anxious.

For example: I used to adore big thunderstorms. I would go outside, feel the wind in my hair, and would be so excited, so exhilarated by the feeling of freedom, alone in a big, dangerous world. I felt bigger than myself, a part of something so wild, without boundaries. Now I check the news minute-by-minute, listening for the town sirens warning of a tornado or hail or heavy winds. I wonder when Fear crept its way into that part of my spirit. And what other parts of me have been infiltrated or damaged or simply unalterably changed by its presence there.

When I remember how I used to feel, I'm scared in a different way about what that means for my heart and spirit. What kind of wife I am now, what kind of mother I will be... I don't know what has happened, or what I need to do to regain that wildness I used to experience, but I know that it's missing now, and that I'm desperate for it to reappear.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waiting. (Yes, still.)

I'm sitting here in our apartment, back from class, watching a sitcom, digesting my second dinner of Raisin Bran, and watching my poor dear husband do work at home, which he shouldn't have to do. Lately, life has not been busy, exactly, just... full. And not in a good way. We are both doing things that are not the real things, like the things that we want to do or that we feel we are supposed to do. I don't know if that makes sense. He's working (at home) on a job he can't stand. And then at night and on the weekends he's working on a house that we aren't living in. I'm cleaning an apartment that we'll move out of soon, hopefully, and I'm working at school and pretty soon on a thesis that I don't really care about anymore, or that at least won't be a part of my life in the very near future. We aren't having dinner with friends. We aren't beautifying our home. We don't HAVE a home. We aren't going out on Friday nights. We don't feel like we're living, I think. Just going through the motions, waiting for the next season to (finally) begin.

I guess that shows a clear picture of where we are, really. Waiting and frustrated by our lack of movement. I don't know that we're hopeless, but I think we may be close. Maybe that means we're almost there? Almost to the Promised Land? (Or, at least to Move-In Day?)

I know feeling this way must seem strange, as we're having a baby soon. You would think that we feel like things are moving, happening. But that doesn't feel real yet. It feels like it can't be real yet, because not only are we not ready, we are REALLY not ready. We aren't in a place to even prepare, yet. I mean, I'm doing my best to prepare emotionally, but when nothing else is in place physically, there doesn't seem to be a place, literally and figuratively, to prepare mentally. And that's just going to have to be okay, at least for the time being. Maybe if I write it again, we'll all believe it.

It's just going to have to be okay (deep breath) for the time being.

I know that it is not hopeless. We are not alone. We are not stagnating. We are just waiting. And that's okay, for the time being.

Friday, April 16, 2010


i did a blog once before and...well, it petered out. or i did. well, it doesn't matter who. (i'm blaming the blog.)

but now that i'm pregnant, and in the near future jeremy and i will be both birthing a baby, a thesis, and a house (i think the pain involved may be comparable), it might be nice to have a private space outside of facebook and its faceless hoards to let people know how and what we're up to.

me at fifteen weeks (sorry it's a bit dark).

hopefully i do a bit better this time in keeping up. we'll all just wait and see!

just kidding. i WILL do better. and maybe, along with the house, baby, and thesis, i can talk a bit about food, too. we have a CSA this summer for the first time, and that might bring up some interesting scenarios.

Jeremy: "What on earth is that?!"
Alanna: "Dinner."

Jeremy: [Just coming in from work] "What's for dinner?"
Alanna: "Kohlrabi souffle."
[Antics ensue]