Monday, September 30, 2013

Baby... Maybe

I took a pregnancy test when I got home from Slovenia. I'd had some vague symptoms in the two days prior to arriving back in the states, which shall go unmentioned here because my grandparents read this, for one (Hi Grandma!). But I was anxious to test when I got home even though I was groggy and dehydrated and jet-lagged and thus kind of out of it after being awake for 21 hours.

I left the test in the bathroom and went to the living room to eat dinner with Ross. I went back in the bathroom and there was a faint line. I was like, no, I'm seeing things. But I went back again a few minutes later and it was still there: a second line. I went back a few minutes after that and it was still definitely a line. A faint, faint, purple line. And then it hit me... wait. I'm pregnant? I'm pregnant! It's positive! It's faint but positive!

I told Ross to come look and I think my words were, "am I crazy or is there a second line here?" He said, "well, there's definitely a line. But it's so faint. It looks like it's not positive but not negative." I said, "not possible. It's a yes or no question. I shall pee on more money in the morning and compare the two tests."

So I did. And it was positive. Faint, but positive. I'll spare you a photo.

That was this morning. And all day it's been sinking in. I've been going back and looking at the test (gross?) every hour just to remind myself it's real! It's still hard to believe my eyes.



We are unbelievably excited.

It's so, so early: 3 weeks and 2 days. Yesterday was pretty much the earliest point at which First Response can detect hcg on a home test. All my experience in work and life makes me cautiously optimistic. My logic is trying to argue with my heart.

My logic sees NICU babies and fatal syndromes and incompetent cerivxes (cervices?), and preterm labor.

My work experience sees infertility as an epidemic and high-risk pregnancy as common. I was always so humbled and astounded at many moms' stories of courage and persistence and hope when I worked in the NICU and in the high-risk OB clinic.

In the past 6 years, I've had to say the words, "you might be having a miscarriage. Let's get you in for an ultrasound today." I've had to ask the question, "are you ready to pull the ventilator?" I've spent hours and hours obtaining prior authorizations for expensive medications that will help keep baby inside longer for patients who would otherwise deliver far too soon. I've said goodbye to babies who were delivered too soon.

My personal experience sees the ache of those who have been trying to conceive for years. The loss in the eyes of friends whose baby passed away after 7 months, 4 of which were spent in the NICU. Part of me can't even go there. Now, more than ever.

My internal disappointments in the past 2 1/2 years have led to doubt and angst and strife, and an inability to believe that things can go right the first time.

But. Baby. My eyeballs see a positive pregnancy test, and my heart is singing with joy. That we would be so lucky. That this morning, this one day in time, things would go well! I don't know if I'll be pregnant tomorrow, or two days from now, or two months from now. But honestly, at this point it's all already in motion. It will happen how it's going to happen and I've made as hospitable of a home as I can make for you, little one. Please stay a while. It's already so exciting knowing you're there!

Calling the OB office I used to work at and being able to say, "I got a positive pregnancy test and I need to make an appointment" was completely surreal. Labeling this post first trimester made me grin from ear to ear. It's finally my turn! It's real!

Welcome to earth, baby!

We love you already.


To friends or family reading this with envy or despair or bitterness in your hearts: I'm so sorry. I debated posting these updates, since I've been the one on the other side of the screen, wanting something I could not yet have. However, this blog is my family scrapbook and more than ever it's a good way to keep family and friends in other states updated. Feel free to reach out via phone or e-mail if you want to talk more!

While it appears we don't need fertility assistance, we've had to wait a long long time for our marriage to be ready for such a special delivery. God is the author and perfector of this story, and he knows all the whens and whys. I've wanted a baby for years, but the reasons and timing were never quite right. God's timing is perfect. I'm humbled that he would ever choose us in all our sin and squalor to participate in so marvelous of a thing as creation. A tiny person! From two tiny cells!


Friday, September 20, 2013


Thanks so much for your kind words on yesterday's post! We're so happy to be celebrating 5 years of marriage. It's worth celebrating!

Speaking of which, I worked night shift this week and when I pulled up to the apartment yesterday morning, Ross was just leaving for work. He had a box in his arms and I smiled and waved as I parked. He smiled, and then slouched over and went back inside. Ha!

I walked up the stairs to see what was going on, and he was standing inside with a box in his hands, saying I'd caught him! He was trying to go to work with my anniversary gift, to surprise me with it when he got home and I woke up. Instead, I got to open it early.

But first, the back story:

I love baked goods and I was really particular about finding a wedding cake that was delicious more than anything else. We got our cakes from Cupcake Island in Omaha and we loved them! The main cake was lemon with raspberry filling, and the groom's cake was chocolate with strawberry filling. Yum! We cut and served our own cake at our reception and it was so fun.

Well, our wedding reception venue "lost" the top tier of our wedding cake, and I've always been pretty disappointed by that. We never got to eat gross freezer-burned cake on our anniversary! We kept meaning to go back and get more cake but then time went on, and then I stopped eating gluten, and then our marriage wasn't great.

But we were in Omaha this past winter and happened to drive by Cupcake Island for the first time in years-- and they had a sign in the window advertising gluten-free cupcakes! Apparently Ross started plotting.

This Wednesday, he DROVE TO AND FROM OMAHA to get a lemon cake with raspberry filling, decorated exactly like the top tier of our wedding cake, to celebrate 5 years! It was so thoughtful and symbolic and beautiful and delicious! A perfect gift. And I got to eat cake for breakfast.

The rest of our celebration was tonight. Per tradition, we went out for pizza! There's more of an explanation here, but basically we served pizza at our wedding reception and have since made it a tradition to celebrate our anniversary with a good pizza dinner!

Tonight we went to Waldo Pizza for the first time. I'm so bummed we didn't get a picture together, but we certainly did enjoy our food. (I got a GF Hawaiian pizza with jalepenos and vegan mozzarella. Don't knock it 'til you try it.)

I will go to bed tonight full of good food and good memories. Celebratory, indeed!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Five Years

Dear Ross,

Sometimes I feel like people don't take us seriously because we've "only" been married for 5 years, or because we don't have kids yet, or because we aren't homeowners. I have to remind myself, "don't let others look down on you because you are young..." But I also have to remember, we are young! (Even when I give you a hard time about being in the last year of your 20s).

During these early years, though, I've felt so old. I felt so worn, so broken, and so weary, so early on. We stumbled straight into "for worse" but today, despite all circumstances, I feel like we're easing into "for better." I'd love to stand here and say, we chose each other! We chose the hard thing! But really, the choice was never ours to make. God used the rough edges of the past 5 years to smooth our restless hearts and when we looked with clarity, the answer was already there: You were already always a part of me.

Our marriage was a teeter-totter for so long, ready to slam us on the ground either way at the slightest breath: all in or all out. It feels like God tipped the scales in favor of us before we were ever ready to put the work in. We were pulling one way, and he gently laid a loving but heavy hand on the opposite seat and said, come this way. We fought. But slowly, so slowly, our marriage began to tip toward all in.

And today, I have nothing but gratefulness in my heart that that slow, involuntary tip toward us has become a landslide. I'm all in. I know more about you than I ever fathomed the day we said "I do," but I also love you more than I ever thought I would.

God carried us through the dark days and showed us how to choose each other. We're growing into "for better" and it's that much sweeter now. Someday we'll be better at sharing our story. About boldly declaring, "look what God did when we messed up beyond the point of no return!"

But until then, we'll tell each other, and we'll tell those close to us. We'll remind each other that if God can know us intimately and still choose us, we can see the worst in each other and still choose love. Love sees the best, too. And loving you grows easier and easier.

Happy Anniversary!

All my love,
           your wife

Friday, September 13, 2013

Choco-Coco Ice Cream

I have to admit that summer might be reaching an end. The outdoor pool now has a dome over it for winter swimming. The air has actually been cool the last few mornings. And, well, my fall allergies are back in full force. The worst in years. I'm pretty bummed, but this one last hot-weather recipe sure felt good on my sore throat this week!

This recipe really couldn't be easier. Three ingredients. Simply delicious.

Disclaimer: It's more icy than creamy, and I'm not sure if it's because we melted chocolate in, or because we used a different brand of coconut milk-- we used A Taste of Thai this time, and Simply Thai last time. We still love this recipe, and the iciness was remniscent of a Wendy's frosty, so I can't complain!

Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream
makes 6 servings

{ put the bowl of the ice cream maker in the freezer 24 hours prior to making ice cream }

2 cans full-fat coconut milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup + 1/3 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips (divided)

1. Whisk the coconut milk and sugar in a pot over medium heat. Once the milk starts to warm, add 1/3 cup chocolate chips and stir until they melt.

2. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, whisking frequently.

3. Pour mixture into a heat-safe bowl.

4. Refrigerate until fully chilled, stirring occasionally to accelerate the chilling (this took us about 1 hour).

5. Pour the chilled mixture into the ice cream maker and turn on.

6. Allow the mixture to spin for 30-45 minutes. Add 1 cup chocolate chips. Continue mixing for a total of 1 hour. Garnish with extra chocolate as desired.

7. At this point, you can enjoy it soft-serve style, or you can scoop it into a freezer-safe dish, cover tightly, and allow it to freeze completely. (You'll have to let it soften a bit again after getting it out of the freezer.) Either way, it's delicious.

Dig in! And pray for ragweed season to end quickly.

Thursday, September 12, 2013


Wo-oah time is getting away from me. I started (another) new job two weeks ago and I'm evolving into these fantastic dual roles as a nurse in a very high-risk setting two days a week and a very low-risk setting two days a week. It's taking some time for the schedule to settle down, but I think I really like it.

Let's see... what else is new?

... We joined a new Gospel Community this fall. The one we joined last year was amazingawesomeoutstanding, but sadly disbanded over the summer since the leaders are taking on a new role in our church. We're really bummed about that, but we're excited that our new leaders live closer to us. I'm happy that one couple from our last group is in this new group with us. Ross is happy that two A&M grads are in this new group with us.  

... My brother Tommy is getting married to a phenomenal girl (hi Sarah!) in May and I couldn't be happier for them.  They actually had an awesome engagement this winter and I didn't blog about it since I wasn't writing much. It was really sweet and so thoughtful. Tommy moved to KC this summer, so Ross and I have really been enjoying getting to know him and Sarah better.

They've asked us for marriage advice and part of me is like, whooosh, where to begin? "Do everything differently than we did!" But the other part of me, the part that hates it when people say, "enjoy your life now because you have no idea how hard it'll be when you have kids," wants to say, you know what, marriage is pretty great. It's fantastically difficult and you will learn about yourself and your spouse in a whole new way, but do we do anyone any favors by scaring them away from the next step before they get there? Don't we need more encouragement and open communication instead of a bunch of naysayers? I'm trying to be more positive in general and this has been a great subject about which I'm learning to weigh my words before speaking.

That being said, my friend Jami recently wrote some advice to her baby sister who's getting married soon, and I just loved it. Read it here. Truth is truth:

If you think you can go into marriage, and do this in your own strength, look around. Christians and non-Christians have the same divorce rate. It's really easy to walk away from someone that hurts you deeply. Your spouse will be the one who can can love the deepest, but they can cut the deepest too.

And so, you'll need something more than human love. Because your husband can't satisfy that need. God made it this way for a very important reason: He, himself is your satisfaction.

... While I'm recommending other blog posts, my friend Melody wrote a post today regarding one of my favorite CS Lewis quotes from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: “Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” Lots to think about. Read it.

... Did I mention that I've been going to the chiropractor since this past spring? I've had lower back/hip pain on and off since high school, but being on accutane this winter somehow exacerbated it tremendously. Like to the point where it hurt to walk every single day. I'm happy to report that the chiropractor is outstanding and I'm pain-free most of the time now. When a very particular spot on my upper back starts to hurt again, I know it's time to do my exercises and go in for an adjustment. (I never thought I'd say something like that.) But. I'm a believer.

... I think I've babbled enough. That's more or less what's going on over here. Now I need to catch up with my last Canada update (from vacation two months ago!!!) because I want to finish blogging about that vacation before going on another one this month! My first trip to Europe is approaching quickly!