Thursday, January 4, 2018


My grandma died yesterday.
This was my grandma I lived with for nearly ten years as I slowly earned my first Bachelor's degree. I have so many good memories of her when we were children, pulling us to the park in the wagon, reading book after book to me on her lap, singing 'swing on a star' to me when we'd sleep over. I feel bad reflecting on the years I lived with her. I know one of my cousins had lived with them for a semester and I think they really 'lived life together' with dinner together and deep conversations. I'm ashamed to say I used their home more like a hotel coming and going. I would talk to them, and we did have dinner together from time to time, and there was 'life lived together'; in some ways how could there not have been, it was nearly 10 years on and off. But I don't think I was really present. I was very invested in my friendships in that season of my life, but I didn't seem to save much of it for my family. I feel badly about that now.
I was talking to Doug shortly before 2018, reflecting on 2017 and wondering what 2018 would bring. We are hopeful it will bring us another baby, but I also voiced a feeling that something bad would happen. And sure enough, days later, she passed. I don't know why, but somewhere along the line I've developed a superstitiousness that I don't really like. My grandma was 96 years old. Me saying that is not what made that happen, a person doesn't live forever. But I seem to think about that a lot, and probability. I remember being in a group with 2 other friends and thinking about that statistic that 1 in 3 marriages would fail, and I thought to myself "poor Emily, she's going to get divorced someday." What a crazy thought, who thinks like that?! And crazy enough, both I and the other friend ended up divorced. And I think about percentages like 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and since my book club friends haven't had one, that must mean I will. Crazy, crazy thoughts. And really, underlying fear.
Ever since I read a book by Joni Eareckson Tada where she prayed for God to increase her trust, and shortly afterwards she had a diving accident which left her paralyzed I have been terrified to fully pray that prayer myself.
And it makes me wonder, am I short selling my own life because I am not willing to let Him take me where He has for me?
I don't know. By His grace I was able to trust and follow Him as He led me through an unwanted divorce, and He was 100% faithful, and has blessed me beyond measure. He has proved to me that I can trust Him and He provides. But still, I find myself not wanting bad things to happen and trying to avoid hurt.
Today I was on campus as I am in my last semester of my BSN and I had to meet with the professor about an internship and I took August with me, as I'm walking out of the building a guy held the door open for me. I realized I recognized this guy, it was a guy I had a crush on at this college almost 18 years ago. We chatted for a little while, he was also divorced and happily remarried as well, and it just felt so reaffirming that God is good and He can take pain and hurt and bring healing and joy.
Long story short, He is trustworthy and I should trust God with everything!
My grandparents celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary last summer, with their 8 children nearby. They have a total of 39 grandchildren, and 40 great-grandchildren, a number that keeps climbing. We are blessed because this couple chose to raise their children to know the Lord, and my parents raised me as well. "But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord's love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children" Psalm 103:17.
My grandpa fell last week and broke his hip, and was at the rehab. So my biggest sorrow is that as she died he was not there. However, she was with my aunt and uncle who they have lived with for the past 5 years. They moved there after my grandma fell and broke her hip, and was unable to be in their house anymore due to stairs and the begin/middle of dementia. She has been mostly wheelchair bound since then, and the dementia had progressed, so there is a peace about death in that fact. I remember living with her and talking in the kitchen once as we were making food or something and she was talking about her sister-in-law who had dementia and how she never wanted to be like that. So I am comforted to think of her in her heavenly perfection restored to her full body and mind. And my aunt and uncle have taken such loving care of her and my grandpa these past five years. It has been wonderful to see them be so loved and taken care of. What a sacrifice by my aunt and uncle, yet done from their complete selfless love for them. A true blessing to witness.
Doug and I were planning a trip for the end of January to go visit them once we'd heard about the fall. Now we will be going sooner. I am thankful that I was able to see them a couple times last summer, and fall, and that I have a few pictures of August with them too.
I thank God for the life of this wonderful woman who loved her family so much and followed and trusted the Lord herself. What a blessing and privilege to live for 96 years. Thank you Lord.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Reflection on 2017 Goals

Oh gosh, another year already!
Whelp, that time of year where I look back at my old goals and see things I totally forgot about, haha.
1) Plan vegan dinners 2-3 times a week - I would say this mostly happened, especially if we say 2 times. It was really hard for me to motivate cooking this year. I don't know why. My grocery budget was over $300 almost every month (for only 2.5 people!) and we still went out to eat a lot in addition. I don't know. It was harder to have time in the kitchen with a little one either on my back, by my feet, or yelling from another room, so I need to work on quicker things in the future and some of my favorite vegan meals (or regular meals) take a long time to prep.
2) Take a trip together. I really want to go to Acadia National Park in Maine. We are thinking maybe early October for a fall colors tour. However, a 15 hour road trip with a one year old? We shall see... - Yes! We went to Hawaii in May with August, back to Maui and also to Oahu. It was a great trip. No Acadia this year, but we did take a fall colors road trip around Lake Superior in October and it was wonderful. 1,300 miles with an 11 month old, he did pretty well. We tried to limit car time to 4-5 hours per day and we had a new hotel every night, but it was a great family trip.
3) Finish reading the Old Testament. - Nope, I was doing good until I switched phones and couldn't get my Bible app to work anymore. But I am about 3/4 the way through.
4) Breastfeed August to 12 months. - Yes! We are at 14 months, and I think we're now on the way out. I'm happy my body was able to do this, and I still have a freezer with 6 more months stored for him too.
5) Memorize one scripture passage per month. - Total fail. I just can't seem to remember anything. I had a new verse in my bathroom and read it several times each day, and I couldn't tell you any of them now. And the same one has been up now for months and I just can't remember it :(
6) Goal together with Doug, turn this house into our first rental property, and find a new house to move into. - Nope, we are still in our house, and there are some things I really appreciate about it so we probably won't move until "the perfect" one comes up. But we did buy a house and our first rental property is going well so far!
7) Spend as much time holding August as possible. - Yes and no. I really do not have a snuggler baby. He pretty only much lets me hold him when he's falling asleep. So I do hold him, look at his gorgeous eyelashes, kiss his forehead and nose, pray for him, sing to him, and then I go do my stuff. I have seen that somehow I have turned into a totally task-oriented person and I don't like that. People matter more than a clean house or chores, I just can't seem to put that into practice though.
8) Hug Doug whenever he wants. - Pretty sure Doug would say that was a fail too. Yes I'd hug him, but lots of times I wasn't fully present :( what is wrong with me, why can't I just stand there and hug and hold the person I love?!
My overall goal last year was intentional living, and I don't think I lived up to it. So many days I would just fall into bed at the end and think another day over and I just 'got thru it'. My word to focus on was grace/gracious, and I don't think I really was either. Man it's so hard to be fully present and be kind and loving in the midst of stress and the daily grind. I should give a little 'grace' to myself, but I also know I need to depend more on the Lord. I just flat out can't do it on my own. I need to find my fulfillment in Him and let that love overflow. I guess I'm not really sure 'how'. I'm already praying about this, involved in a small group, attending church... I know I can't earn it through my works, but I'm also asking for it through prayer, so I'm not sure. I am sure about one thing, I have a lot of continued growing to do in 2018!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cozy evening

Just a lovely evening cozy on the couch with the hubby, talking, sipping our teas, listening to a "crackling fire", smelling pine scented candles, kitty on the lap, with the baby sound asleep.
Feeling very blessed.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

home updates: kitchen sink and coffee table edition

We finally got rid of our old constantly stained sink. No matter how hard I scrubbed, or how long the bleaching comet sat in there overnight, it remained stained.
At the same time we did this we decided to put in a reverse osmosis system. I had one at my parents and I've always thought they were the "gold standard" of water purification. Then later we were talking to a neighbor who told us that our city has the best water in several local counties.... whoops... well, can't hurt! The system was $200 on amazon and it's installed now so it's staying.
new sink from Lowes
It took Doug a couple hours to install it. I think a couple frustrating hours actually. He had issues with the sink strainers leaking and the instructions on the part said only apply a bit of silicone and the guys at Lowes were like "oh no, you have to load it on". So he had a few trips back and forth, but eventually the leaks stopped.
Ta-da! The new sink is a little deeper and quite nice. We don't have an 'after' of the under the sink area. But the reverse osmosis system takes up almost the entire right hand side with just a little room for the container of trash bags. Surprisingly we still have enough room on the other side for everything else. There was a roaster pan that went out to the shed, but other than that, everything fits. And since I've used that pan once since getting it at my 2010 wedding, I figured it didn't matter too much being stored in the shed. I do miss that little ridge around the old sink for holding the sponge, but oh well.
The other new thing lately is a lovely new coffee table my dad built for us.
In the summer my dad said he had a piece of walnut wood that he was wondering if I wanted him to make anything. He had just finished making a table for my brother, and had a lull in his work, so I think he was getting crafty. I can't remember if it's from a tree he actually cut, I think so.
We had been using the coffee table I got for a previous wedding gift, and it was just laminated wood and getting chipped and peeling and the edges were sharp for a soon-to-be little walker. So I suggested a replacement coffee table. And Dad got right to work!
Pretty soon he had made it into boards, sanded it down, and put the pieces together to see how I liked the order.
I don't have more of his 'progress' pictures, but pretty soon he had it all built, then we chose a stain, and he stained it, varnished, and applied a wax topcoat. And then delivered it.
I love how he followed the natural pattern of the bark to make the rounded edges, it's so unique.
Our last table had this handy feature that the top lifted up, so I definitely wanted this one to do it too. And actually this one brings the top to a more appropriate level for working on the laptop or eating dinner, so that's awesome.
It's so beautiful. My dad is so talented!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

food and concerts

Veggies to roast: potatoes, butternut squash, and rainbow carrots. August loves them.
We went to my parent's choir Christmas concert. It was really very beautiful. August was a good boy, I kept him busy by giving him one cheerio at a time out of my hand. It was like a 20:1 ratio of cheerios to songs, but oh well, they were multi-grain, and kept him quiet, am I right??
One song the attendees were invited to sing along with the choir. I had to post the words, they are so beautiful.
I heard the bells on Christmas day Their old familiar carols play And mild and sweet their songs repeat Of peace on earth good will to men
And in despair I bowed my head There is no peace on earth I said For hate is strong and mocks the song Of peace on earth, good will to men
Then rang the bells more loud and deep God is not dead, nor does he sleep (peace on earth, peace on earth) The wrong shall fail, the right prevail With peace on earth, good will to men
Here's a link so you can listen and sing along! :) (altho no organ on this track)
The organ was playing and everyone was singing. These are the times I miss being part of a more traditional church and the hymns and the organ. I really do like our church, but I miss that! And they had a couple songs with handbell accompaniment, and I miss that too, I miss playing handbells. I guess I'll let a little my preference worship style slide for solid biblical teaching, but I wish I could have both.
The next day mom watched August for a half day so I could go to a communication in healthcare class at work. It was actually pretty good. Then we met up afterwards at Unos for lunch. My friend Matt said August was behind because I haven't given him crayons yet. So here ya go August,
and this my friend is why I don't give him crayons!
I think he'll catch up come preschool!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

everyday life

Feeling busy around here. I have 2 classes left to go in my nursing program and am just feeling busy with taking care of August, staying on top of homework, and the constant stream of laundry, house cleaning, and meals. I used to love to make dinner. Now I never know what to make. I think I wouldn't mind it still as much if I wasn't either 1) having to use my precious 'August is taking an afternoon nap and I have a bit of alone-time and I'd love to go read or watch tv' but instead I have to make dinner or 2) I wasn't constantly interrupted because he isn't napping, and won't play alone for 30 minutes without crying for me not being right there with him. But that is where we're at right now. We are eating more frozen pizzas than I'd like to admit.
Otherwise he remains a joy.
Yesterday was so sunny and gorgeous. We took a walk and he played in the leaves.
I have like 5 videos of him grabbing handful after handful of leaves and tossing them around. So cute!
Earlier this week we visited our friends Miralie and Micah.
Miralie just turned 2, I think Micah was in bed by the time I was taking pics.
Over the weekend we went over to visit Liz settled in at home with the new baby, and later she sent me this picture of Daniel modeling the fox hat I crocheted for him.
Crochet patterns are so hard to follow, that's a newborn size and it already is kinda small. Bummer!
We had a really nice Thanksgiving and were able to celebrate three times. My parents were going to be out of the state so we celebrated early with them, then on actual Thanksgiving we went and had dinner with my aunt and uncle who are vegetarians and fabulous cooks, and the day after we went and had another dinner with Doug's parents. Lucky us! I made this pumpkin cobbler two times, and it was very tasty.
Finally in a bit of gross news, I had been smelling a bad smell in the other living room where August has his toys and everything set up. I couldn't tell if it was spit up or what kind of smell. A couple days later I realized it was a "dead thing" smell. So when Doug came home we started looking around. First I looked behind the bookcase, nothing. Then Doug looked under the bookcase and said "there's a dead mouse under there." I thought he was teasing me but no...
Indeed there was a dead mouse under the bookcase. It remains unclear if the cat got him and then he crawled away to die? Regardless. SO GROSS. And absolutely disgusts me my son was playing FOR DAYS a mere foot away from a dead mouse. Yuck. I'm not sure where to go from here. We have a house from the 60s, and Doug has found mice in the crawl space and mice in the attic, so there is going to be one from time to time in the middle house layer too! Not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing that we have a cat as we were still the ones to have to find it. So yeah, good times.
Other than that, we are all good and doing well, just busy :)

Monday, November 20, 2017

baby Daniel

Welcome to the world sweet baby Daniel!
My bf Liz had her second son last Friday and I had a front row seat! (back stage pass??)
She was due yesterday, my work weekend, and I was praying she'd have him Friday so I could be there. Thursday I texted her and she said nothing was going on, wake up Friday am to a text they were off to the hospital! Earlier in the pregnancy she said this time she wanted only her husband in the room, but closer too she made a best-friend exception, woohoo! I was also lucky enough to be present for her first son. It is such a miracle to witness new life coming into the world!
We had a couple things on our schedule that day that I ended up skipping, August's first chiropractic appt (I was interested to see what they would do for a baby?!) and there was a special Christmas thing at Meadowbrook Mansion (built by one of the Dodge brothers) we were supposed to go to with Doug's parents. But I was so glad I was able to be there with Liz, as I said, it's such a miracle.
It was also cool that the anesthesiologist let me watch her give the epidural, she was teaching these two medical students and I asked if I could watch too and she was explaining everything she was doing. Cool! It's like I could do it now too ;)
Anyway, after a long journey for Liz, little Daniel (or big 8# 1oz Daniel) was born healthy and with loud little lungs!
Doug was a huge help watching August alone an extra day, I know it's hard when I have my work weekends, of course we love August, but "single-parent" 13+ hour days are very long feeling. He brought August to the hospital at one point since I hadn't packed any pumping stuff and was feeling the pain. So that was appreciated too.
The new family is settled back at home and off to a good start. Thank you Lord for this new little blessing!
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14