Thursday, September 29, 2011

In Which Amelia is Chatty, Does Not Include Pictures, and Fails in the Cool Blog World

Just peeking in for a bit until Steve gets home. I feel like being sort of random and scattered and actually doing something relaxing (like typing about everything and nothing) instead of running around feeling guilty for everything I should be doing.

Tomorrow I leave for Portland with the mother.  That is all.  No other children/spouses/relatives/friends are coming.  Just the two of us.   We are going to the Art and Soul crafting event and taking two classes: creating a fabric "anthology" portfolio thingie, and a crazy quilt purse.  This event has been in the works since Silver Bella was cancelled in April.  Despite the plethora of obstacles and family crisis over the past few months, we are still flying out of Denver tomorrow evening and arriving in Portland (and seeing Joan!) for the weekend.  Our original plan was to take the HarriEd and find a babysitter, but when I calculated that she would be with a person she did not previously know for over 25 hours while I was in classes, I began to rethink our scheme.  Not only would she not know the babysitter, but she would be in a new house when a new time zone, unknown napping and bedtime routine, etc.  I would also spend a lot of money on the babysitter and all of the necessities to make H more comfortable.  It just makes sense for her to stay home with her daddy in the morning and Clara in the evening when Steve goes to work.  Then she can sleep in her own bed, eat at the normal times, nap as usual, and be with the people that she knows and loves.  She probably won't really notice that I'm gone.  Me, on the other hand?  I'm really struggling with the idea of leaving her for five days.  I know it's partially a pride thing because I have the tendency to think that I am the only one who can take care of Harriet properly, comfort her adequately, and so on.  Also, I worry that something will happen to her that could have been prevented if I were home.  I feel like it's back when I was so nervous about letting her sleep as a newborn.  I wouldn't sleep all night because I was freaked out that something would happen if I wasn't watching her.  Finally, I really had to trust God where the rubber met the road and truly acknowledge that he cares for Harriet infinitely more than I ever could.  He is enough for her and he will care for her.  Now I have to do that again.  And I know I'll have to do that countless times for the rest of her life.  Yeesh.

Today was busy but fun.  First I ran over to Kid's Kloset to deliver some of the jeans I had altered and to leave an invoice for an outstanding alteration project.  I love hemming jeans because it is so easy and relaxing, but it also provides a bit of extra cash for my other crafty projects.  The funny thing is that whenever I go to the store to deliver a pair of finished jeans, the clerk will say, "Oh I'm so glad you're here!  I have more jeans for you!"  That has happened twice this week.  It is such a blessing to have a little money-maker that uses my natural inclinations and gifts.  Thanks, God.

After coming home and cleaning the house up a bit, Clara and Jemima, and Kylie and her two kids came over for lunch and craftiness.  We had been planning to make these fabric pumpkins for a few weeks. Even though I was beginning to wonder what I was getting myself into with having people over the day before The Big Trip, it was worth the screaming children, food flying everywhere, dog running away, etc, to push things through and make the pumpkins.  They turned out to be such cute little guys!  Pictures are forthcoming.

I like having a chance to let Kylie and Clara and their respective children hang out at my house.  I really want to develop relationships with other moms that result in a supportive friendship, and not a guilt-inducing one.  I feel like I can have Kylie over and my house does not have to be clean (the kids just completely bomb it anyway, so why bother?).  My kitchen does not have to be spotless.  I don't have to have make-up on or a perfectly coordinating outfit.  I want friends to feel like they can come over and let their kids run a muck and it's okay.  Because this is a season.  Our kids won't always be screaming and stealing each others' cups...just because.  Someday they will be old enough to stay home by themselves and then we can go get pedicures.  But in the meantime, there needs to be support and acceptance.  It needs to be okay to stop being a Good Girl...just for a little while.

(I've got to order the Grace for the Good Girl book.  Just reading the first chapter was so convicting and helpful.)

Oops, Steve is home.  I'll have to detail the magic of the chiropractor at a later date.

See you after Portland!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Joy Today

It's pretty typical when I'm pregnant for me to think deeply depressing thoughts.  Maybe it's hormones (okay, maybe a lot) but I always get all caught up in One Day Steve Will Die and we won't have any more adventures together and we never had our Real Adventures anyway because we were living every day life....

And then I realize that I shouldn't watch Up when I'm pregnant.  Or ever.

So I am thinking about joy.  Real, deep joy that comes from recognizing that every good and perfect gift comes from God.  Every moment of sanctification comes from God and that's joyful, too.  So here's my snappy little Five Minute Friday post of joyful things.

Joy is:
 - when Steve gets home from work at night and no matter how rotten my evening is, we usually get a huge kick out of just Being together
 - Harriet leaving in her hair bows
 - having my spirit totally do an about face when I turned on the Newsboys' Adoration album when I really did not want to do the dishes
 - feeling the Baby #2 squirm in such a very small yet determined way
 - grinding fresh flour in my own mill
 - getting huge squeezing hugs from the one and only Harriet
 - finding myself crying again because really the joy is too much.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

In which HarriEd is the main feature

If blog silence is a sign of busyness then this is definitely true for me.  Yeesh, life doesn't sit down and drink a latte very often...and neither do I.  (Although I did drink a decaf latte today made with our wonderful, glorious, hard-working espresso machine.  It was delightful and I was reminded that my days would be a lot more chill if I sat down and drank a latte when the afternoon gets edgy.)

There are lots of things to take pictures of -  like the totally paint job that my dear fambly performed on our house last Saturday. I have the Before pictures, which look appropriately awful with junk cluttering every surface, but the After pictures are still in the works.  I got the pictures back on the walls and most of the living room re-organdised before the Wretched End of Summer Cold attacked my personage.  Basically life stopped after that.  (I was glad it happened right after the first MOPS meeting of the year.  Hmm...stressed out Amelia and big fatty cold.  There couldn't be a connection there, eh?)  I'm going to take After pictures when the curtains are up, and the throw pillows are on the couch.  At least the bloggie bloggie motivates me to actually get this stuff done.  HGTV ready or not, my living room and bedroom look incredible.  And the basement was miraculously changed from Junk Dump Spot to Fun Family/Craft Room.  Heavenly!

I did upload some pictures of the HarriEd today.  That's what you get tonight, folks.

Zucchini pizza casserole is an all-time fave.  She eats more than I do. 

Harriet always uses her right hand for coloring, eating, etc.  Sorry, Grami Cami!  She also makes the sounds of letters every time she colors.

Houses are rockin' awesome and she will delight in one made out of boxes, baskets, chairs, or, in the case of this deluxe version, a blanket over a table.

Harriet will wear necklaces and scarves from the moment she gets up to the time she goes to bed.  And also hair barrettes.  She just doesn't take them off!  She also likes to fix things with screwdrivers.

What better way to spend time with your daddy than playing the drums?  (And wearing a lanyard.)

Harriet's latest venture into the land of adorableness is to really be interested in reading books.  She has a basket of her own books (along with some from the library) and will repeatedly bring them to me throughout the day.  Of course I have to sit down right then and read them to her.  Her favourite is the Tomie de Paola Nursery Rhymes.  I love it.  Harriet also finds great delight in The Wiggles DVDs that we pick out at the library.  She can do the whole Hot Potato song.  I need to get that on video.

Big thanks goes out to my mommy-dear who kindly took Harriet on an afternoon outing to the library, Dollar General, and the bakery.  Because of her efforts, I totally spanked an assignment to write an abstract on Ryrie's Dispensationalism, and I have a renewed sense of ability in my course-taking efforts.  All I need are two hours of uninterrupted time to think and suddenly I can produce papers like the good ol' days.

(Except that I wouldn't trade my current days of squeezing in online classes with the good ol' days of school for anything.  I am much happier with a hubby and a baby or two, thank you very much.)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day at the lake

It was cool and ever so windy, but our afternoon cookout at the lake with friends was fantabulous.  Even in the pre-packaged Wally World burgers were a little weird.  (The hubby did a good job cooking them, however.)

Harriet loves her some Haddie and Judah.
 They spent most of dinner prep getting on and off of the parking curb-thingie.
After eating about 5 million tomatoes and getting them all over her face and shirt, it was time for Harriet to hit the beach.
Thanks to Judah for donating the shovel.
And the bucket.

The water was still pretty warm despite the chilliness of the wind.
Clara and Jemima-bean were there, too.  And Kylie and Nathan.  I'm sure people have lots of better pictures, but hey!  I remembered the camera this time.  Sadly, the muchly-loved s'more fest back at the S home was not documented.  It was a jolly good time.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Five Minute Friday: Rest

Resting is kind of a scarce thing in our little house these days.  Harriet is pushing her naptime and bedtime routines to new heights of insanity.  She rolls and hollers and generally avoids rest for as long as possible.  Then when she is finally asleep for the brief span of time, I emerge from the bedroom to see a pile of schoolbooks and a mountain of dishes and a to-do list as long as my body.

But I was thinking today that it really isn't an issue of how much I have to do, or how little sleep I get (thanks to the H).  It's really an internal issue.  There are these constant little voices saying things like

You aren't good enough.

You aren't skinny enough.

You aren't keeping Harriet in a good routine.

You can't keep the house clean to save your life.

You are so busy that you don't have time for your husband.

You fail.

That's where the real agitation lies.  True rest for me comes not from leaving the dirty dishes and sitting on the couch eating chocolate chip cookies.   True rest for me does not come from getting 10 hours of sleep (although that sounds really fabulous right now.  True rest comes from silencing those stupid niggling voices and just doing what I'm supposed to do.  As me.

 Am I resting in who I am as the person God created me to be?  More importantly, am I resting in who I am because of what Christ has done?  
I was really blessed by the post here. And I really like Five Minute Fridays.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Nebraska State Fair, etc

We're very glad that the Nebraska State Fair moved to a town that is only 1.5 hours away instead of 3 hours away.  Now we can actually attend and enjoy and take pictures to prove it.

(You can tease me all you want about how jacked up these photos are...but State Fair related pictures need a cheesy, vintage feel, don't you think?  It's right up there with chili cheese fries and funnel cakes.)

Margaret won a purple ribbon in the fashion show.  Woot!

Steve is loyal to the slightly sketchy Kabab House.

Harriet helped me eat my smoked turkey leg.  I hope she didn't share my indigestion, as well. :-P

What's the fair without giant livestock?

Or prize winning photos?  (Good job, Tim.)

Or a photo with the original Trigger?

Lydia's souvenir was a milk mustache.

And a ride with Eleanor on the swings.

Harriet and I went on the carousel.

And Steve, Jacob, Tim, and Margaret went on the Puke Machine.  (Yep, they are upside down on the right.)

The fair was hot and we got dirty and really super sunburned, but it was a loverly way to spend a Saturday.
In other news, I have been trying desperately to keep caught up with school, keep the kitchen clean and keep Harriet from killing herself.  Today was an exciting day as she refused to nap until after 3pm, dove off of the bed and split her lip open, and then threw Farmer Jed into the flushing toilet.  Wowsers!  She really is the best thing, though.  And now she's sleeping so I can finally. have. some. me. time.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Crazy Life Happenings [in bullet points]

  • My grandad passed away last Friday at home.  It was a blessing that Levi and Clara were there when it happened.  And it was a blessing that it happened on a Friday so that relatives and friends could get here over the weekend for the service on Monday afternoon.  It was really a splendid service with military honors which reflected what he desired for a funeral.  I learned yesterday that Texas A&M at Commerce (where he was a professor for many years) flew their flag at half staff in memorial of him.  That's pretty special.
  • Grief is such a weird thing.  I still haven't felt the need to have a huge deluge of tears.  It's just more of a "bleh" feeling.  I mean, it was so hard to see Grandad suffer at the end (although God was gracious in allowing him to be made comfortable by the morphine) and he was so unlike his usual jovial self that I am relieved that he is no longer dealing with that.  However, it's the memories of him as he was two, three, or fifteen years ago that makes me feel sad.  
  • A very good thing is getting to spend time with the crazy Texas relatives: looking at photo albums, swapping stories, and just laughing like crazy.

  • And another very good thing was spending time with the wonderful, fantastic D girls this week.  I just can't get enough of their fellowship (sadly, I don't have any pictures on my camera) and it was a blessing to host them in the middle of a crazy week.  They graciously postponed their arrival by twenty-four hours and then survived the chaos of family happenings.  Maybe we'll have a visit when things aren't so hectic.  But I doubt it.
  • Part of the hectic-ness occurred when I waltzed downstairs to let the Cretans dogs out of their kennels for an afternoon outing and discovered that there was 1/2" of standing water in one half of my basement.  [insert much moaning, groaning, and general freaking out]  Thankfully, the water was only on the unfinished side and everything that was on the ground was in plastic storage totes so we didn't lose anything.  And I was so grateful that Jenny was the dog wrangler, Tim and Julia hauled out tons of soggy boxes, and Levi pretended to be stomping grapes on the water saturated blankets that were in the dog kennels.  What caused the momentary disaster?  The air conditioning was clogged up with dog hair and was not draining properly.  My dear father came over with his air compressor and performed a very inexpensive fix.  Now we're all dry!
  • Baby Jemima is a darling.  She has the most massive baby legs I have ever seen. I hope our next baby is this deliciously chubby.

  • Can my life settle down for a few minutes, now?

    Five Minute Friday: Older

    Harriet is getting older every day, every hour, every minute.  I've known this and observed this since she was born, but this week her growth and development seems to have exploded.  I keep wanting to tell inquiring minds that she is fifteen months (or fifteen years, for that matter) instead of almost fourteen months.

    This week my sweet darling girl gained three new teefies, learned to say her cousin's name, and mastered the art of eating oatmeal with her own spoon.

    But her major development was finally, finally getting over her perfectionist tendencies long enough to start walking.  It is beyond precious to see her stepping carefully away from a piece of furniture, glancing in awe at her Robeez-adorned feet, and walking confidently toward the welcoming arms of a Small Aunt.  I'm blown away every time.

    People say, "Enjoy it now, they grow up so fast!"  To be honest, I'm glad that Harriet is growing up.  Each moment of her development opens up new areas for adventure...soon she'll be learning to read...and I can teach her how to sew...and she can go from being my little baby to the Friend I really want to have in my eldest daughter.

    (And it also helps to know that there is another little Rodgers on the way.  That way I can enjoy watching two sweet children grow older.)

    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Five Minute Friday: He Makes All Things New

    It's hard to think about things being "new" when I feel sabotaged by morbid thoughts of sickness and death.  It creeps in everywhere...the prayer request at church for the family of a baby who died after a premature birth...the daily experience of watching my grammy and Clevi watch my grandad slip away toward even sneaks into the books I pick up at the library.

    The fact of life is that death is imminent and it effects every one.  It's easy to get depressed.  What is there to really live for?  Is it just plugging along here on earth and then dying?  What are we doing?

    But this gives hope:

    50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”[g]       55 “ O Death, where is your sting?[h]      O Hades, where is your victory?”[i] 56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:50-57)

    There is something else, something new that is coming.  God will make all things a twinkling of an eye (which, as I think C.S. Lewis mentioned, is such a cheerful and wistful action).  There is a point and something better is coming.

    So, in light of this:
     Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

    We keep going and in the middle of entropy and death, we look forward to something new.

    (This was my first time writing a 5 Minute Friday post.  The theme was "New," yet the topic of this post has been on my mind for a few weeks.)

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011

    Cooking Adventures: Flatbread Pizza and Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga popsicles

    Even when my crafting stuff is buried in the deep dark chasm of the basement, I do find a creative outlet in cooking.  This is why I tend to contrive elaborate menus with involved preparation time even though I really need to keep scooping out my house.  But it's fun!  And rewarding and fuels my creative spirit.

    (The sad news is that my camera is still out of juice, so I don't have blog-worthy pictures...or any pictures at all...of these cooking endeavors.  I'll just have to use the power of words to induce you to try out these recipes.)

    Flatbread Pizza

    Most of you are aware of my infatuation with The Cookbook and the subsequent cult of Cookbook followers.  Actually, The Cookbook is entitled The Food Matters Cookbook, written by Mark Bittman, and chock full of recipes that emphasize vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, and so on.  The recipes are incredibly simple, absolutely delicious, and (this is the great part) inexpensive to put on the table.  The flatbread pizza recipe is a perfect example.  Not only was it absolutely delicious but it took less time to make than a frozen pizza.  And it cost less, too!  We tend to have pizza on Fridays, but this recipe was so easy and fabulous that we made it on Sunday night, too.

    Here's the recipe for the flatbread (with changes by moi):

    Easy Whole Grain Flatbread
    1 cup whole wheat flour
    1 teaspoon salt
    2-4 tablespoon olive oil (I used a cast iron skillet so I only needed 2 TBSP of oil.)
    1/2 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
    1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, optional (The fresh herbs would be amazing, but I only had dried and it worked just fine.)

    1. Put the flour in a bowl and add the salt.  Slowly add 1 1/4 cups water, whisking to eliminate the lumps. (In his intro to this recipe, Bittman notes that use can use more or less water to create a more custardy or cracker-like flatbread.  It's up to you.)  The batter should be the consistency of thin pancake batter.  If it's not, whisk up to another 1/4 cup water into the mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time.  Cover with a towel and let sit while the oven heats, or up to 12 hours.
    2. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 400*F.  Put the oil in a 12-inch rimmed pizza pan or skillet and put into the heated oven.  Wait a couple of minutes for the oil to get hot but not smoking; the oil is ready when you just start to smell it.  Carefully remove the pan.  Add the onion and rosemary if you're using them and give them a little stir.  Pour in the batter, gently swirl the pan to distribute the oil and return to the oven.
    3. Bake until the flatbread is well-browned, firm, and crisp around the edges, about 45 minutes.  (It will release easily from the pan when it's done.)  Let it rest for couple of minutes before cutting it into wedges or squares.

    OR make a pizza!

    I baked my flatbread pizza crust in a 450*F oven and flipped it over after 20 minutes of baking to give it a crispy crust on both sides.  I baked it for about 10-15 minutes on the other side, cutting down the baking time significantly.  I added toppings, stuck the pizzas back under the broiler for 3 minutes to brown the cheese and hooray!  Pizza!  We made two flatbread pizzas last Friday: three cheese and tomatoes and mushrooms.  We noticed that the juices released from the tomatoes and the mushrooms made the flatbread really soggy and kind of weird.  So, on Sunday night we sauteed the tomatoes and mushrooms before adding them to the flatbread and it worked stupendously.  The crust has the yummy taste of a pan pizza with the crispyness of a thin crust.

    Okay.  Enough gushing.

    Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga Popsicles

    My fantastical discovery of the week has been the book Ice Pop Joy, by Anni Daulter.  This book contains loads of recipes for organic, healthy, delicious...popsicles!  The pictures that accompany each recipe make my mouth water.  I want to make all of the popsicles.  Some of the popsicles are the typical fruit variety (although the combinations are anything but typical), but many recipes are very adding spinach or wheat germ or even tofu to give the popsicles a nutrious boost.  Harriet loves ice cream (as in, hyperventilates when she sees it in the freezer), so I think that popsicles will be a great alternative, especially these healthy kinds.  Today I tried the Goo-Goo-Ga-Ga popsicles which was a mango and an apple steamed until soft and then blended with 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt.  Pour into the molds, freeze, and you have a happy little popsicle.  Harriet went bonkers over it and sat in her highchair (shirtless, I must add) and sucked away for 45 minutes.  Brilliant, I tell you!

    And now for my popsicle mold story.  Apparently popsicle molds are obsolete in central Nebraska because I looked high and low in this silly little town and came up empty handed.  Not to be dissuaded (I wanted popsicles!), I found some horribly cheap little plastic containers in the dollar section at the local Wal-Mart knock- off that were just the right size for popsicles.  Using brute strength and some really sharp kitchen shears, I poked a hole in the lids, and stuck a popsicle stick through into my pureed mango/apple/yogurt.  They worked well...but I don't have a picture to prove it.  Yet.  I really need to invest in some Real Popsicle Molds.

    So there you have it: cooking adventures from this week.  I won't tell you about my banana muffins which turned into banana cake thanks to a mis-measuring of the milk.  But I will tell you that H hyperventilated over chicken and rice stew this evening with the same enthusiasm as she regards ice cream.

    This gives me hope.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    The story that is my life

    I'm back in the wonderful world of internet!  Yes, yes, I know I'm going to have to be careful about frittering away my time on that menace Facebook, but I've already enjoyed the half hour or so I spent browsing for maternity clothes tutorials.  The Harriet is in bed, the dishes are done...what else is a girl to do while she waits for her Mr Wonderful to come home?

    It has been a long while since there was a proper blog post.  The funny (and relieving) thing is that my Google Reader has been very quiet lately, too.  I think that late summer tends to breed either busyness or introspection and blogging takes a back seat.  For me, blogging has taken a back seat to a tremendous quantity of busyness, insanity, logistics, stress, etc.  Things are calming down ever so slightly (at least the county fair is over and done with), and the glorious fall routine is looming in the near future.  And I'm itching to get back into the blogging world.

    So, to bring you up to speed (although most of you readers know this stuff because you are a) family, b) close friends, or d) somehow connected with my family/close friends), I'm going to run through what has taken place somewhat categorically.  Or something.

    My grandparents:
    Probably the most difficult event of the past few weeks is that my grandparents (with whom we are all super close) moved back from Colorado because my grandad decided to stop chemo treatment for pancreatic cancer and get on hospice.  Not only did this create a bunch of logistical confusion (mostly involving a decision to go to a nursing home or to stay at home under hospice care), but it is also really strange and difficult to see my grandad physically challenged, confused due to the continuous influence of morphine and...dying.  I told Steve that we are too young to have our grandparents getting old and ill.  Thankfully, Clevi have committed to spending each night with Grammy and Grandad to help Grammy out and provide some assistance as the needs occur.  But please be praying about all of this if it comes to your mind.

    The brother:
    Also high on our prayer list is the finding of permanent residential treatment for my brother, Peter.  His violent behavior (which is the result of mental retardation) has grown to such an extent that he cannot live at home any longer.  This is in spite of months and years of therapy, neuro feedback, medication, alternative settings, and so on and so forth.  My parents have been working tirelessly to find and apply to residential treatment facilities that will meet his physical and mental needs and nothing has turned up yet.  (He was denied placement at what would have been a perfect place because his mental capacity was greater than the clients they usually accept.  Major bummer.)  He will be entering a special ed class at our local school which will get him out of the house for the majority of the day and also give him something to do.  Hopefully this will provide some immediate relief while the quest for a permanent location continues.

    The house:
    After living at the parents' house for almost three months, we were able to get back into our own place last week.  What a huge, huge, huge relief.  Don't get me wrong, I have been ever so grateful for the space, food, entertainment, pull-out couch, and support that my family provided.  But I missed my dear little house and my air conditioning.  The ironic thing is that after a blazing hot couple of weeks without A/C, we moved and we have only run our air twice.  But those two times have been splendid!  We're working on getting things pulled back together, getting our stuff re-organized, and planning on building a privacy fence for the back yard.  We went grocery shopping the other night for the first time since being back in our house and Steve and I agreed that we felt all giddy and newly-wed again.  I guess that's what it takes: any time we start losing the marital bliss, we'll go live with our relatives for a few months and then move back to our house.

    The pregnancy:
    It is weird to be pregnant with the second kid and just not be really paying attention to all of the What Is Happening This Week updates and such.  Sorry, baby, but you're along for the ride for the time being.  Things are going really well, overall, and I can't believe that Monday marks the beginning of the second trimester.  I never had really puke-worthy morning sickness, but rather felt gross all day long and ate nearly everything in sight.  This stopped at eleven weeks which completely freaked me out since I just woke up and felt perfectly fine.  We have seen the little munchkin on the ultrasound several times and he/she looks healthy and big and active.  Yayness!  (And as far as the craving question goes, I don't really strongly desire anything except for large quantities of meat and Subway salads.  And I can't stand anything remotely tart or sour.  *willies*)

    The Harriet:
    I have to talk about the HarriEd because she is amazing and wonderful and adorable and ever-so clever and takes up all of my time every single day.  She had a language skills explosion last week and while she has been saying words for several months, now she says things totally in context and without any prompting.  I almost feel like I'm having a conversation with her instead of being her Dorling Kindersley vocabulary book.  She says everything and mimics everything we say.  Now I'm going to have to curb my rather flagrant use of "crap" and "stupid."  HarriEd climbs on every surface she can get her teeny petite self up onto, but still refuses to walk despite her ability to do much more coordinated physical activities.  She is like her daddy.  And her mommy.  (Although somehow we got over our phobia of trying new things long enough to learn how to walk.)

    The other things:
    In case I didn't have enough to do, I'm going to be starting online classes this fall with Calvary Bible College to finish up my degree.  I was able to transfer over 90 credits which let me enter as a full senior.  I don't think I'll finish it all in a year, especially with the baby in February, but I'm shooting for graduating in December 2012.  Exciting!  And I'm also hospitality and creative activities coordinator for our MOPS group this year.  It's a lot of work but it is FUN and I'm brimming over with excitement about the craft ideas I've found online.

    There you have it.  This is kind of like a Christmas card in August, but I wanted to get the bloggie up to date before diving in again.  I really do appreciate your prayers for the grandparents, for Peter, for my parents, and for the rest of us as we desire to help, support, and minister to them.  Thanks!

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Summer in the Swimming Pool

    When I saw this pink polka dot ruffled swimsuit on the rack at Target earlier this spring, I knew HarriEd simply had to make it part of her wardrobe (that's the fun of having a girl, right?).  We finally made the big purchase while vacationing in California and she got to try it out for the first time:

    She wasn't quite sure that to think of the giant swimming pool.  However, a little help from her daddy and some silly antics from her Grami soon made her very comfortable and hesitant to leave.

    Having thoroughly enjoyed her time in the big pool, Harriet thought she needed a little pool at home to make these miserably hot summer days more bearable.  (And, if truth be told, her mommy thought it was necessary so that the pink swimsuit could be worn on a regular basis and so that said mommy could stick her own toes into the pool.)

    Now she spends a good part of her afternoons sitting in her own little swimming pool.  Sometimes her small aunts join her.  Sometimes Stupid Hank joins her.  And she generally uses up a good hour or two getting in and out and in and out...over and over and over.

    (Don't let the cheesy smile fool you [although isn't it precious?] because it is rather traumatic when the pool has to be Put Away.)

    But life is consistently improved by a ride in the toy car and eating a pint of so of blueberries.

    Happy Summer!

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    The Game of Parenting

     I don't know how it is for you, but the internet and the connection it provides between individuals can be both a blessing and a negative distraction for me.  Since having Harriet, I tend to gravitate toward blogs, Facebook statuses, and websites that talk about parenting: attachment parenting methods, healthy nutrition for babies and families, cloth diapering, organic living, classic imagination-friendly toys, you name it.  It's fun and an encouragement to follow other mothers in their quest to raise their children.  But sometimes it can be a distraction.  Sometimes I feel a tremendous pressure to never ever let sugar touch Harriet's lips.  Or I think that her imagination will be instantly stunted if she watches a DVD.  Or she will be emotionally distanced from her parents if we adopt a modified spanking style of discipline or make her sleep in her own bed.  And I freak out at the thought of the little monster that I'm accidentally creating.

    (A rational evaluation reveals that while Harriet does eat sugary foods at times, she still adores spinach, strawberries, salmon, oatmeal, cucumbers, eggs, avocados, beans, rice, chicken, pork, beef, carrots, cauliflower, the list goes on and on.  While she watches Baby Einstein on some mornings, she also loves to read books, and play creatively with her baby doll, crayons, or new Fisher Price farm set. :-))

    But here is an interesting little analogy that I thought about today.  Recently, Steve and I have discovered a liking for board games - you know, the snotty European board games that you can only order from places like and cost around five million dollars.  Steve takes them rather seriously, and I play along, trying to beat him but knowing that I won't.  (BUT, there was the glorious event on Monday morning when I beat him soundly by twenty points...while holding down morning sickness nausea!  I win!)  In any case, we have become rather adept at playing a two-person variation of Puerto Rico.  One thing we have discovered over the past twenty-something times we have played is that in the two-person variation there isn't much room for strategical moves, while there is a heavy emphasis on tactical moves.  You basically just have to keep the overall goal in mind (winning victory point chips) and just react to the other player's moves as they happen.  (An example: I might have the initial strategy of settling lots of plantations on my little island, getting lots of products, shipping lots off to Spain, and getting my victory points that way.  But then Steve decides that he wants to do a mixture of settling and building, so I have to react accordingly and build more than I would have otherwise in order to keep abreast in victory points.  In short, there isn't just one particular strategy that is a sure-fire win each time.)

    So anyway, while I was folding laundry this afternoon, I started thinking about how the example of a game of Puerto Rico is a neat picture of parenting.  You see, as far as I can tell, there isn't just one perfect strategy for parenting.  There isn't the Never Feed Sugar or Watch TV Method that always works every time.  Neither is there the Plastic Diaper Baby Food From a Jar Method that works across the board.  Each and every parent has to react to the different children (or even just one child) that God has given them.  Things switch up and methods have to be changed, but parents have to keep the over-arching, long-term goal in mind.  The victory points!

    As a believer in Jesus Christ, my over-arching, long-term desire and goal for Harriet Alice (and for her future siblings) is that she knows Christ and follows him and loves him.  Decisions that we make in the practical areas of life like eating and recreation can affect this to a certain degree (I do believe in irresistible grace, but that isn't a topic for discussion right now).  If Harriet eats junk food all of the time and is sick as a result, she can't spend time truly enjoying God and His Word.  If Harriet watches trash on television, she can be tempted to sin and be distracted from leading a holy life.  But I desperately want our practical decisions about her upbringing to be intimately connected to a long-term goal...and not just exist because I feel a need to compete with other parents.  

    The bottom line is that each and every parent needs to make decisions that are right and best for his or her children.  It's their role and responsibility.  But this can be a hard thing to keep in mind.  I'm reminded of the passage in John 21 when Peter wonders about John's future ministry and asks Jesus, "Lord, what about this man?"  Jesus replies, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?  You follow me."  Those words "you, follow me" are what I definitely need to bring to the forefront of my mind when the temptation to compare and contrast distracts me from my parenting task at hand.

    I know I have a long way to go in this parenting game that I'm playing (my whole life long, I hope!), and I know there is a lot left to learn.  But these are some thoughts that have been impressed on me lately and I hope they can be helpful.

    Now my child is whining.  I'd better tend to her....

    Friday, June 24, 2011

    Amelia is Rabbit? Who is that? (And a little HarriEd update)

    Hi.  I haven't been writing on my blog because a) life is busy, and b) the internet/computer at my parents' house is slower than a three-toed sloth.  And when life is busy and I have to poke around on the computer for twenty minute before I can get Blogger to load...well, I guess I just get too paranoid about wasting time.

    (Charlotte-who-is-looking-over-my-shoulder just told me that she can read everything I'm typing. She has grown up!  Pretty soon that will be Harriet-reading-over-my-shoulder!  Ah!)

    So what has made life so busy?  We moved back to Nebraska a little over a month ago. We're living with my folks until we can get back into our house (which involves some shifting about of the relations who are renting).  After a whirlwind trip to California to visit Steve's family and go to an Acts 29 Boot Camp, we drove with Steve's parents for four days through the Southwest and Midwest in order to make it back to Kansas City for Steve to be in a wedding.  If you want a boost in your sanctification, just drive for 1300+ miles with an almost-one-year-old.  Eesh.  It was worth it, however.  The wedding was crazy fun because it was Christ-centered, involved lots of people whom I love, and also had a dance after the ceremony. You can't beat that combination.  Steve started work the following Monday and I tackled the laundry before it tackled me.

    Since then, I've babysat Heathen, returned to Jazzercise, was "hired" to do contract work as an alterationist for a local clothing store, launched my cupcakes at the bakery, had dreams of starting a family-integrated Acts 29 church, helped my mom declutter the craft and laundry rooms, and schemed about painting the walls in my house.

    HarriEd is growing  She will be one in a few weeks and that completely blows my mind.  Totally and utterly and completely.  Her favorite foods are beans and rice, cauliflower, green beans, oatmeal and applesauce, graham crackers (honey-free!), cream.  Actually, she is a fantastic sport about trying new things and will eat almost anything.  But when she sees ice cream it's like her life has reached its climax of delight.

    Her favorite pastime is taking things out of boxes and then climbing into the box.  She is beginning to really play with her toys: hugging her stuffed dog and dragging it around, stacking the rings back onto her stacker toy, and reading interactive books (Where's Spot? is the hit of the moment).  HarriEd is also learning new words. Right now she can say Thank you, Hi, Bye, Mom, Dad, Done, Dog, Moo, Out, Noodle-Noodle (which is actually her word for nursing), and Look.  And she loves to sing Old MacDonald Had a Farm.

    What can I say?  Having a toddler is nothing but awesome. 

    (Now Charlotte wants to do a craft project.  Bye!)

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Packing again, the trip to Nebraska

    Last night was ROUGH with the ol' HarriEd.  Maybe it was the whacked out schedules of the weekend, or maybe it was the chocolate chips in her ten month birthday cookie that she ate, but she woke up TEN times last night.  The goofy part was that she would whine and whine and then nurse and then roll over a few moments later and put herself to sleep.  Even though she wasn't nursing back to sleep, she still woke up and woke up her parents, too.  Thankfully, when Harriet popped awake this morning, her dear daddy was equally eager to get her out of bed so I could sleep (or at least lie there for a few moments without her wearing my skin clean off).  

    I know I may live to recant this, but with our next kid we are not co-sleeping the way we have co-slept with Harriet.  End of story.  Do you realize that I have been talking about Harriet's sleeping issues since she was eight weeks old?  Eeps!  These have been eight long months of sleepless nights.  But I should quit talking about it and move on to something else.

    Like moving!  I have been packing most of the morning.  We are moving on Friday, which seems like it is coming up rather quickly, but the reality is that Steve's last day of work is today and we don't have that much stuff to move.  We were debating whether or not my parents should bring their SUV down to pull the trailer, but we realized the other night that our car is capable of towing such a small trailer.  We are scheduled to get a hitch tomorrow and the trailer on Thursday, so hopefully we can get everything in boxes by then.  We are trying to keep Uhaul in business, it seems.  

    The trip to Nebraska last weekend was quick, but I was so so so glad to be there to meet sweet baby Jemima!  She arrived on May 7th (Jacob's birthday), weighed 7 lbs, 7.5 oz, and has the loveliest crop of dark hair you ever did see.  She is just precious and I'm crazy-excited to be an aunt.  If you haven't already seen the loads of pictures on Facebook, here is a link to her album of birth pictures: Jemima

    Being in the delivery room after Jemima's birth brought back a flood of memories about Harriet's delivery.  Kylie was taking pictures and when I walked in she said, "Doesn't it make you want to have another one?"  I responded, "YES!"  So yes, baby fever is rather catching and it's taking over a lot of my thoughts.  Of course I treasure these more grown-up-Harriet moments (i.e. I'm not engorged right now), but having another baby would be so wonderful.  Oh well, we'll wait and see.  In the meantime, H and I will spend many an hour over at the Clevi abode, snuggling that sweet baby up.

    Harriet is napping right now, which means that I should try to get some more stuff in boxes.  Whee.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    The move, the Harriet, and dark chocolate

    We had some really exciting news yesterday regarding our move to Nebraska: Steve was offered a job back at BD, five days a week, 3-11pm.  And our benefits package (which was excellent, by the way) would begin immediately.  This is such a blessing for the obvious reason of not having to find a job upon landing in Nebraska, but also because this is a half-way decent shift.  He'll be able to be at church consistently, and I won't have to be home alone at night.  Eeee!  Of course, there are lots of details to be worked out (he has to be all official and re-apply, do a background check, and finalize a start date) and we're praying that those details will work themselves out smoothly.  Sometimes it's hard for me to get excited about circumstances because I worry that those circumstances will be short-lived.  I don't want to be disappointed again.  But why not be happy instead of stressed?  It's a lot easier and doesn't waste so much energy.

    We don't have a moving date set in stone yet.  We thought we were going to Atlanta next weekend, but now that is off, so we may be able to move sooner.  My mom is considering driving the fambly's Suburban out here so that we can tow a small Uhaul trailer.  It seems stupid to rent an entire truck ($$$) when the only large piece of furniture is our bed.  I need to start a moving list and getting things into boxes.  Didn't I just do this?

    And then we come to Harriet.  I think her new teeth must be bothering her still because she has been cranky. Because she hasn't been eating as much solid food as usual, she has been nursing more.  That's all fine and dandy (I mean, I want her to keep nursing for as long as she needs to and she needs to keep getting sufficient sustenance with the drop off of solid foods), but she gets so frustrated with who-knows-what that she has been biting so crazy hard.  My initial reaction is to yank her off and say NO in my firmest Mommy voice.  But then she gets a sneaky grin on her face and does it all again.  Grrr.  And OUCH.  My dearly beloveded mother who has breastfed five babies with a variety of temperaments and in an abundance of situations told me to pop Harriet off immediately, sit her down on the floor, and walk away.  Without saying a word.  That is hard for me, since I want to explain away the situation, but it seems to be working.  She wails for a while because her ego has been deflated, but then we reconcile and nursing is better.

    Sometimes I worry that we are not eating healthily enough.  I mean, I can't afford organic food, and we don't use coconut oil, and sometimes we eat ice cream or syrup or pizza from Pizza Hut.  But I went grocery shopping yesterday and when I was standing in line I compared the items in my cart to the ones in the cart of the woman behind me.  The thing that struck me was that every single thing in her cart was white: ice cream, white bread, ramen noodles, donuts, chips, frosted flakes etc.  No vegetables or fruit or anything that wasn't processed.  No wonder people have a hard time weaning themselves from processed food to healthier choices!  Even though my food wasn't entirely organic, at least I had a cart full of vegetables and whole grains.    I want to be constantly improving in our food choices, but I guess we are still doing a pretty good job of putting healthy things into our bodies.

    And in light of that discussion, I will now talk about chocolate.  Ha.  But really, Clara shared this idea with me and it actually is good for you.  Just melt dark chocolate chips and add whole almonds (or whatever kind of nut you like) plus a bit of crushed toffee (okay, this part isn't good for you - it's just good).  Spread it out on waxed paper and sprinkle with coarse sea salt.  Let it set and voila!  The Most Delicious Thing on the Planet. And as long as you don't gorge yourself on mounds of the stuff, you can feel pretty good about eating it.

    Steve is off fixing a roof for an older couple from work and I'm off to St. Louis for a grand day out with Jenna.  We're going to check out some of the free stuff, drive through Forest Park, eat at Whole Foods, and just have a good time.  Yay!

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Harriet, decisions, changing mindsets

    You know how hard it is to get back in the habit of something once you have stopped doing it?  Like remembering to make the bed, or to clean up the kitchen every night, or to write on a blog.  Sometimes it feels like I'm so behind that it's not worth catching up.  But here I am, nevertheless.  I'm not going to apologize too much...just press on ahead to bigger and better (or at least more consistent) things!  (There's something in the Bible about that, methinks.)

    Harriet needs to receive some credit for my blogging absence.  The little miss Inexhaustible has been making valiant attempts to ditch the morning nap (AHH!) thus denying me the hour or so of uninterrupted typing time.  I'm not really sure what to do about the morning nap ditch.  On some days it's easy to go with the flow: she gets up later (8:30am), messes around all morning, and takes an early afternoon nap.  But on other days the lack of nappage is like scraping my fingernails over a chalkboard.  Harriet whines if she doesn't sleep and whines if I try to get her to go to sleep.  And I sit on the bed staring at her theatrics and praying for patience.

    In other HarriEd news, she now has four teeth.  Yes indeedy, after a hectic Saturday night and a cranky Easter morning, two more pearly whites emerged on her top gum.  So cute!  And such a relief.  I think I'd rather deal with two teeth at once than the pain and agony happening for one tooth at a time.  She also likes to plan to have her teeth arrive on holidays, which is rather festive and makes it easier for me to remember (since I am an absolute FAIL when it comes to writing things down in a baby book).  With the arrival of the new teeth, HarriEd's appreciation for mushed up food has waned significantly.  It's a bit discouraging to have so many former favourites be denied with such vehemence.  Her poor mommy is left wondering what in the world to do!  Thankfully, Harriet has become a great fan of cheesy Mexican rice casserole and zucchini pizza casserole.  Go figure.

    With all of her drama, we love her still!

    After a lot of discussion, prayer, more discussion, tears, and more discussion, we have made the decision to move back to Nebraska.  We were waiting for a bolt of lightning to strike and God's booming voice to tell us if we should stay or if we should go, but since that didn't happen we had to weigh our options and just choose.  (Well, there has been a lot of lightning around here recently, but no booming voice.  Just scary tornadoes.)  The reasons for moving are as follows:

    1. The lack of money.  God has provided for all of our needs through various and sundry means, I must say.  But (I don't want to say "but," but I don't know what other word to use at this point) the lack of steady stable income has been most stressful for us and we haven't been able to save up any money for next year's classes at Covenant.  If we were to continue with school we would have to get a significant student loan which is what we want to avoid.
    2. The lack of purpose.  Over the past few months of talking and having experiences and other things, Steve has come to grips with the fact that being in vocational ministry just isn't for us right now.  Maybe later on down the road of life God will lead us back into it.  But right now that doesn't seem to be the case.  It's really, really hard to have to switch gears like this...for both of us, but especially for Steve.  He knows that it would be foolish to spend time and money on a degree that lands him a job that doesn't meet our family's disposition.  We want to keep working in a church, but not vocationally - at least for right now.
    3. The lack of family.  Being away from family has been much harder on me than I anticipated.  Granted, we have received a tremendous outpouring of support and care from the Gs and I'm crazy-grateful for that.  At the same time, it's really lonely to be in a new place with a little baby.  I can't get out and meet people.  We don't have the support of family when things are going rotten with H.  And the bottom line is that we believe that it is very important for Harriet to be around family while she is so little.  There's a reason why God designed the family, and when you don't have a dysfunctional one why not take advantage of the perks?
    So we're tentatively planning on making the move back to our old house in the middle of May.  We hate to disappoint people or let people down, but we really have had to make a choice that we feel is best for our family.  And there you have it.

    It's challenging to switch gears.  I mean, one of the whole reasons why I wanted to get married to Steve was because we had similar goals to be in ministry.  It was like, Hooray! Now we can be in ministry together!  He can work on sermons all day in his office, eat lunch with me, be off in the evenings, [enter other visions of happy married life], etc.  Now we are understanding that this isn't working out for us right now.  The whole Follow Your Dreams at Whatever Cost may work for Disney movies, but that sure isn't the reality of having to pay bills and keep yourself sane.  We feel confused and disappointed.  What next?  I think the goal for the next little bit will be to move forward with life, seeking God's direction, enjoying being a family and just being content to LIVE for a while.  We both struggle with living each day and not coveting some other greener grass.  Maybe that's the purpose for living a less adventurous lifestyle for a little while.


    Harriet is actually asleep right now.  Glory be!  I need to fold and put away the Alpine range of laundry that we washed yesterday, type up a moving list, and clean up the kitchen.  Maybe this evening I'll get to work on my quilt.  That will be fun.

    Have a good day, everybody!

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    This Tuesday Morning

    I realized the other day that I haven't written a one-topic post in a while, unless you count the HarriEd updates which frequent this bloggie.  Those are definitely one topic as H would not allow herself to compete with anyone or anything else.  She must be the Only One.  Perhaps this lack of blogging focus is because my own brain feels exceptionally scattered these days.  The dear little child has the attention span of a gnat, and in order to keep up with her, my attention span is curtailed by force.  Thus when I try to focus on one thing for more than a minute, the gray matter starts bugging out.

    In any case, HarriEd blows me away with her sweetness on a daily basis.  She is so stinkin' busy: every waking moment (of which there are many) is consumed with scooting around the floor, picking things up, and inserting them into her mouth.  I have to say, though, that she seems to be less prone to immediately sticking things in her mouth before giving them a good look over.  It's almost as if she is allowing herself to play with the item first.  Or at least give me time to discern if it is suitable for consumption.  Lately she has begun to eat chunks of food that I place on her highchair tray.

    Aside from learning to clap, H has been pointing to facial features on my face and then pointing to the same facial features on herself.  I'll say "nose" or "mouth" or "eyes (ouch)" as appropriate and she gets this silly little grin on her face.  The other day she lifted up my shirt, pointed to my stomach and laughed.  I didn't really know what was so funny about my stomach (unless you are laughing at its flubbiness) until she put her mouth on it and performed a full-blown raspberry.  Apparently this was a game she had developed with her father.

    HarriEd is also infatuated with herself.  She really needs a sibling because if this keeps up she will be the most vain child on earth (how can she help it when she has scores of friends and relations telling her how fantastic she is on a daily, if not moment by moment, basis?)  We have a picture of her hanging on the wall and every morning when she wakes up, she smiles at it and waves.  She also loves to watch movies of herself.  Sometimes when I'm making her lunch and she is whining in the highchair I'll put a short clip from the Flip on the computer.  She then settles down as she becomes overwhelmed with her own amazing-ness.

    Okay, moving on from Harriet.

    Steve has been working two jobs for the past week or so.  Cabinet Solutions wants him to work whenever he isn't at Wal Mart which equals lots and lots of hours (and an increased checking account!) and no days off.  We're hoping that he can switch to being full-time at CS because the pay is better, the hours are better, and he'll always have weekends off.

    What have I been up to?  Taking care of those two people.  Cooking up new recipes from Food Matters.  Sewing in my spare time.  Attempting to make our house livable.  (Ha.)  Keeping in touch with friends and fambly.

    I'd elaborate, but the muchkin woke up.  See?  I told you she was vain.

    Thursday, March 31, 2011


    She wore her yellow sun bonnet,
         She wore her greenest gown;
    She turned to the south wind 
         And curtsied up and down.
    She turned to the sunlight
         And shook her yellow head,
    And whispered to her neighbor:
         "Winter is dead."
    A.A. Milne

    (Much thanks to Tessa for the beautiful flowers and the delightful company yesterday.]

    Monday, March 28, 2011

    The Tale of HarriEd

    There once was a girl whose name was HarriEd.  She was a very busy little girl who liked to scoot around on the floor, pick things up, study them for a moment, and then stick them in her mouth.  There were other times of the day when she liked to stick other things in her mouth that were actually appropriate for consumption.

    Sometimes HarriEd went outside.  This location afforded even more interesting sights, smells, and textures.  Small sticks, grass, and dried leaves were assailed by her dexterous little fingers.  Only a passing squirrel or robin could distract her from her task of evaluating and eating.

    Then at other times, HarriEd's mommy let her play on the kitchen floor with such exciting things as plastic containers.  These were fun to bang on the floor and unload from the cupboard, but they paled in comparison to teensy weensy sweet potato muffin crumbs that were hiding under her highchair.  Her mommy came to remove such minute specimens, and HarriEd happily scooted away to find her next adventure.

    When not eating, HarriEd liked to tell stories.  She told stories about kitties, and babies, and daddies.  She also read stories.  She read Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny and Barnyard Dance.  She also read Cat the Cat and all of the other Little Golden books on the revolving rack at Borders.

    HarriEd liked to go to church.  At church she got to spend time with people besides her mommy and daddy, which usually resulted in lots of attention directed toward the cuteness of her person.  This she enjoyed very much, along with singing loudly and pulling herself up on the pew to talk loudly to the person behind her during the sermon.  All of this attention was almost as exciting as looking at pictures of herself on the computer - which became a nightly ritual.

    And so HarriEd lived a happy life marred only by the occasional diaper rash, the infrequent absence of her mother and the inability to slobber on the xbox controller.

    The End.

    Friday, March 25, 2011

    Random Friday Thoughts

    • Harriet was sick this past week and that's something I want to avoid in the future.  Even though I know that she is a child and will pick up all sorts of random germs, I still think that it will with worth the effort.  I also feel as though I have been elevated to the next level of motherhood.  Yeesh.  A sick H = A cranky H = Nursing all day = Needing Mom all day.  But I'm her mommy and that's what I'm for, right?  Thankfully she is back to her spunky, smiley self.
    • This whole sickness fiasco (the after-hours clinic on Sunday, the allergic reaction to the medication on Tuesday, the tracking down a local doctor on Wednesday) makes me realize how difficult and tiring it is to be in a new place figuring out New Things.  If you're not in the know, you just don't know.  Could I have told you that there was a family practice clinic in town?  Nope.  And no website told me that either.  Thankfully I was able to get information from a couple at church about a good place to take H.  I am grateful that the doctor was pleasant (despite the parenting lecture I received) and now we are "in" with somebody.  Hopefully this will make the next illness less of an issue.  (Wait.  I'm avoiding illness.)
    • I went clothes shopping yesterday.  We desperately need to spruce up our wardrobe since most of our clothes have been worn for 5+ years and are showing signs of extreme wear and tear.  They also make us look like we are in junior high (graphic tees and holey jeans, anyone?).  I went to Kohl's and bought lots of jeans for Steve, some basic shirts for me, and several outfits for the HarriEd.  I realized that I had never been shopping for her.  She has a lot of clothes from friends and relations, but I had never picked any of them out.  Our shopping venture yesterday opened another door in my love of dressing a little girl.  So, so, so fun!  The best outfit?  A onesie with a girl-y daschund on it and a ruffly pink mini skirt.  It kills me!
    • I've been really, really, REALLY struggling with contentment here.  And fighting off depression.  Most days I feel like I'm swimming in a molasses swamp in every area of my life: house cleaning, life purpose, healthy eating, spiritual walk, marriage relationship, blah, blah, blah.  It's hard to get up in the morning knowing that I'm facing another day of feeling hateful, then guilty, then depressed.  To be quite honest, things aren't as peachy keen here as I imagined they would be.  We don't really know what we're doing...and now it seems like we're being steered down another path and in a different direction.  I don't know what it means and I can't make sense of it.  Urgle.  I feel horribly isolated and out of touch with the kind of life I want to live.  So we continue to pray for clarity and patience and contentment.  (And sometimes that gets old, too.)
    • After that gut spill, I would also like to say that I am grateful for the Gs and that they are so generous with their time, washing machine, vehicles, listening ears, and support for us.  I'm also grateful for friends and family (mostly the latter)  who listen to my rants via telephone and continue to work through stuff with us.
    • Steve is starting a temp job at a cabinet factory in addition to his Wally World job.  This will give him consistent hours (!!) and better pay, and maybe maybe maybe he will be able to slip out of the Wal-Mart position.  Or just work 12-16 hour days.
    • I went to Zumba this morning (a regular class, not Zumba toning which I attend sometimes on Wednesday evening) and (shock!) had a good time.  Not only did I feel welcomed, but I enjoyed the dynamics of the class.  There were about 12 other ladies in the class and everyone was cheerful and enthusiastic.  The class is taught by a husband/wife team which was really cool because she demonstrated the more dance-y moves while he did a more athletic technique.  If I couldn't follow all of the elaborate hand motions, I just watched him.  They were both really solid teachers and knew their material well, so I felt confident about following their lead.  And it was real dancing - much closer to Jazzercise than some other classes I've attended.  
    • We were going to do something fun and refreshing out and about as a couple today since Steve works for the next 7 days in a row, but the weather is goopy.  I guess that means we'll do something inside!

    Monday, March 21, 2011

    Behind a frowning providence

    It's been almost two weeks since I last wrote a post and a lot has happened.  I've debated whether or not to blog about it because I don't want to be all sob-story.  But it's an important life event that needs to be shared.

    On February 17, we found out that we were pregnant with Rodgers baby #2.  After the initial mental adjustment of Now I Have to Be Pregnant in a New Place, the rush of excited feelings descended.  Harriet would have a sibling close to her age - hooray!  But not too close - hooray again!  As I braced myself for the morning sickness fiasco, I looked forward to the fun of making maternity clothes, signing up for week-by-week emails, choosing a name, and most importantly, having a new little person to adore.

    The morning sickness never came.  Aside from an overly sensitive nose and extreme exhaustion, I didn't feel badly at all.  This is great, I thought.  Maybe this baby will be a chill little creature and balance the dear HarriEd out a bit.  After several weeks of trying to schedule an appointment with a midwife here in IL (to no avail, I might add), I decided to make an appointment with my doctor back in Nebraska during the week that I would be home.  After everything checked out at that visit, I would announce our happy news to the world.

    But sadly, that wasn't to be.  The day after my arrival in Nebraska, I started spotting.  This was the dreaded nightmare of my pregnancy with H, and now it was actually happening.  Trying not to panic, I made an appointment for the next morning and then tried to reassure myself that some pregnancies with early bleeding turn out perfectly fine.  I stayed up practically all night praying that this would be the case for our baby, but deep down I knew that it wasn't so.  (In a way I felt as though I were ten-year-old-chubby-Amelia again praying for her kitten to be found...and knowing all the while that he was probably frozen out in the December snow.)

    The ultrasound and my physical condition the next day revealed that a miscarriage had occurred.  At first I felt very sad and disappointed.  The baby had died.  All of the hopes and plans were being destroyed.  To make matters worse, Steve was still in Illinois and wouldn't be able to come for another week.  While I was very glad to have the support of my family (and the help with Harriet) it was depressing to be going through a rather traumatic life experience without my husband.

    Like I said earlier, I have argued with myself whether or not to share this rather personal experience.  It feels weird to type it up like it's just some normal day in the life of Amelia, instead of the weird, surreal and saddening experience that it really was and continues to be.  But there are some reasons for sharing that outweigh the weirdness:

    1. The miscarriage exemplifies God's provision and loving kindness.  It happened in Nebraska where I had access to my doctor who know my medical history.  It reduced the stress by a million percent to not have to figure out where to go or what to do back in IL.  I had the tremendous support and comfort of not only my immediate family but my extended family as well.  I had siblings and parents who were willing and eager to help with Harriet on the yuckier days.  Those same siblings and parents provided a healthy distraction and external focus so that the clouds of depression didn't stay for long.  Our substantial tax return came several weeks early so Steve was able to come to Nebraska just a day after the miscarriage.  And I didn't have any prolonged physical difficulties.  So in the midst of it all God is very good.
    2. I want to be real to the people around me - and that includes the relationships that this blog supplies.  Being real means sharing the hard stuff as well as the jolly stuff.  It's a stripping away of all of the Fake Amelia which so often dominates my relating to others.  And honestly, I don't think I could be all hunky-dory on here without mentioning the miscarriage...because it effects how I feel and how I experience life.
    3. Our society deals with loss through miscarriage so poorly.  I wanted to share because I believe that no matter how many weeks a baby lives, it is still a person with a soul who was once alive.  Because of our culture's view of the sanctity of life, pregnancy (and miscarriage) becomes such a sterile and purely physical event.  Our baby wasn't just a blighted ovum that failed to bury into the uterine wall.  It was a baby...a person.  Even though we never knew that baby in a real sense, we can still experience the loss of a life that was close to us.  And while the grieving process may be different, it can still exist.
    4. I want to help others.  Even though I hope that none of you will ever experience a miscarriage, I want you to know that if you do, I'm available.  If you don't know what I've experienced, then you'll never know that I can be a listening and (hopefully) understanding ear.  

    I still do feel sad and disappointed at times, but we're really doing okay.  Having the drama of a sick Harriet helps with that. :-)  All of this has led me to really think about what it means to let God control your family size.  He really does give children and take away children.  Just because a couple chooses not to prevent pregnancy through birth control or NFP doesn't mean that they will have a baby every year.  Some couples are blessed with many children close in age.  Others struggle to conceive or deal with miscarriages or just with long spaces between each munchkin.  God is truly the one in control.

    I find it ironic that our miscarriage happened on the day of the earthquake in Japan.  It was hard to think about an entire country getting crushed when my small little world was being shaken up.  But a post from the Desiring God blog in response to the earthquake and tsunami also served as a personal encouragement to me.  At the end of Piper's prayer was this statement:

    O let them not judge you with feeble sense, but trust you for your grace. And so behind this providence, soon find a smiling face.