Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vacation 2012

Some pictures and memories from our road-trip vacation:

- We drove through 11 states down to Florida and back with Christopher's entire family.

- Loki spent most of the 45+ hours of driving on the lap or on my feet. A little too much togetherness.

- We spent a little bit of time helping Christopher's sister's family moving into their new home. They live in a little lake community in rural Orlando.

- Chris and I drove to Satellite Beach to visit my cousin and his family. We ate at the same taco place we went to when we visited for their wedding several years ago. We went to the beach and played with their little boys.

- Then we left Loki with our family (who graciously watched him the week we were gone) and sailed away on a cruise ship to visit the Western Caribbean.

- We went snorkeling in Honduras and learned that isn't the best activity for us because I can't see much without my glasses and Christopher's beard made it hard for his mask to fit properly. We also kayaked that day which was a nice redemption for that excursion.

- We had ice cream ... every afternoon. Ice cream, in my mind, is within the definition of vacation. Usually not everyday but poolside ice cream overlooking blue waters quickly became our standard afternoon activity.

- We spent a lot of time walking around the promenade deck and talking about various things in our life. Being removed from the responsibilities of our daily life and the stress of work and school really helped us connect and see things clearly.

- We went to Altun Ha, Mayan ruins in Belize. We were a little too early for the end of the Mayan calendar, though!

- We met a couple on the cruise who invited us to drive with them around Cozumel, which was my favorite day of the cruise. The beaches were beautiful and we ate fresh seafood in the sand at a little Mexican restaurant on the ocean.

- And then, at the end of the week, Christopher's parents brought Loki to the port to pick us up. We were pretty excited to see him. =) ... Oh yeah, and the rest of the family, too.  But, who are we kidding, really Loki.

- We celebrated an early Christmas with our family in Orlando and we enjoyed spending time with them. Christmas with kids around is decidedly more fun than with just adults. The three dogs also added to the fun.

Since coming home, we've been doing a little bit of Christmas-y things and are keeping with the low-key, relaxed vibes that came from our vacation. Our shopping is done, our little tree is up and decorated and only a little bit of snow would make it feel more like Christmas.

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season with your family and friends!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

These last two months ...

So in the last two months ...

- We welcomed my brother John's long-time girlfriend and short-time fiance into our family. They had a beautiful wedding and a fun reception at Lindsey's parents' ranch. I'm excited for them as they begin their marriage and look forward to many future memories.

I wish the horse in the background showed up in this picture!
- Christopher gave a presentation at a conference in New York and finished studying for his Qualifying Exams which he passed last week. Yay! I'm proud of his hard work and dedication and excited that he has this milestone behind him. Per our agreement, I took over much of the housework, cooking and Loki duties - tasks that we usually split or he just does (like the cooking). I've enjoyed cooking new things using the produce from our CSA box and I've learned that no one really cares if the dust bunnies swirl around another day ... or two ... or three.

Roasted Pepper Soup. I can't tell you how many times the fire alarm went off while I was roasting the peppers. Probably wouldn't have been a big deal it is wasn't in the middle of the night. Not my best Susie Homemaker moment.

A lot of this happens in the mornings.

- In the midst of DQE studying we entertained Christopher's family in Milwaukee for a weekend.

And I went to Chattanooga with a friend to attend a conference. Maybe more on that later - let's face it, I haven't been the most consistent blogger. But there are several idea floating around my head ...

- After a relatively small accident our taurus was considered "totaled" so we bought a car. More specifically, a 2007 Prius which we named "Gorgeous" but I call him "Geo." Although it was a little sooner than we intended, we were glad to pay for him outright and make Dave Ramsey proud. It was great to see the rewards of our frugal-ness. 

- I canned lots and lots of apples with friends, adding to our zombie-apocalypse cellar.

So, what's next? We are going on a road trip-vacation. The road trip part is with Christopher's family and the vacation part is the two of us on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. Here's to a week of relaxation, good food and spending time together!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Loki, our little social butterfly

Disclaimer: This post is mostly about my dog. If you stop reading now, I wont be offended. 

 A year ago, Loki had one doggie friend, an older cocker spaniel (my in-law's dog) who he has known his whole life. Today, he has four (with one partial, I'll explain). We thought he was "beyond help" for getting along with other dogs and had stopped actively trying to change that.

Enter Penny, a tiny tea cup poodle, who came to visit us last fall. Whether it was her size or her timid nature, Loki didn't say boo to her - just sniffed her butt and went along his business. We were surprised, but then again, maybe he thought she was too small to be a threat.

This summer some good friends of ours got Lucy, a sweet little rescue dog. We knew that they needed to be friends because we see Lucy's owners often and we'd like the dogs to be able to be together. To our shock, their first meeting went well. Lucy and Loki worked out their differences pretty much on their own; Lucy, being a puppy, wanted to play with Loki, being an old dog, and he would have none of that nonsense. Now, they have come to an agreement and it seems like he sometimes tolerates a small amount of playing. They have romped in the woods together, attended many parties, and have shared their toys.  A few weeks ago, Loki was invited to a party and met Milo. He was content to let Lucy enjoy playing with Milo while he scouted out the ground near the grill.

Hanging out with Lucy.
So, that's four dogs, which is a significant increase. After many years of believing one thing about our dog, we have begun to believe another, and - perhaps - have begun to let him be a dog. We are more confident with him when we approach other dogs and we know that, after the initial rough meeting, he will probably do okay. The "dog aggressive" label that he was given has slipped and we are amazed as he shows us what he is capable of if we let him.

He does have one "partial friend," the verdict of which will be decided this coming week. Christopher's sister and her family have a nice little dog, Scout, who ventured to the U.S. alone from Asia a few weeks ago. Christopher picked the dog up at the airport and she spent a night here with us. We think (hope) that the disorientation and trauma of being flown halfway around the world alone and being picked up by a total stranger didn't allow Scout a fair chance at meeting Loki. Loki, however, did great and even responded calmly when she kinda freaked out in the middle of the night (doggie version of jet lag?). We think that Scout will do better with her family in a different environment.

So, what can be gleamed from Loki's recent increase in dog friends? Sometimes we get labelled and end up in a rut because we don't allow ourselves to experience anything else. Maybe all we need is a little push out of our comfort zone to help us realize that we are capable of more than we ever thought.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Summer I Fell in Love with Milwaukee

Recently I have taken to labeling my summers. For instance "the summer I fell in love with Christopher" - 2008, "the summer we moved to Franklin" - 2010, "the summer we drove ALL over Wisconsin" - 2011.

The summer of 2012 is "The Summer I Fell in Love with Milwaukee." (My husband still says that Milwaukee the armpit of Wisconsin but I believe he is softening.)

We had decided early in the summer to try to stay put in Milwaukee, planning to take short trips about once a month to see family. We knew that Christopher needed uninterrupted weeks of studying and we just wanted to stay home a little bit more.

We moved a little over a month ago into a cute little house and perhaps that helped my infatuation become love. We now have a Milwaukee address which simply makes me happy. I love that we live close enough to Lake Michigan to be able to visit it several times a week. I love that we live within walking distances to the library, several grocery stores, many restaurants and Target. I love that while Milwaukee is one of the most segregated cities in America, the grocery store down the street has as many Spanish signs as English signs. (We moved from a blue area to a yellow area according to that map.)  I love that there are many things going on in the summer, especially the free things.

But most of all, I love the people - and by that, I mean "our" people. I love our friends and i think they are pretty wonderful. It makes me feel at home knowing that there are people in our corner. People who like to play games, people who like to cook as much as my husband does, people who stop over just because they can.

My brother and sister-in-law's family are in the middle of moving and a pretty big life transition. It reminds me of when we moved to Milwaukee. Last week I hosted a get-together with the new spouses of PhD students. Only one women was brave enough to say "I really need friends." I remember that feeling and I'm sure it was echoed from around the room. Moving is hard. Change is difficult. It's an up-hill climb; the breeze may be nice and you may enjoy the scenery along the way but it is still work. I think that we have reached the top of that hill. We can stand there and look back and know that the climb made us stronger.

I am aware that while we may be at the top of the hill, others are not, which allows us to offer encouragement and friendship. 

And Milwaukee? my love affair will continue - with pumpkins, apples, bike rides by the lake and cool evenings on the front porch.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A weekend of extremes

I had planned to write a post titled "the summer I fell in love with Milwaukee" but that one will have to wait. Right now I think the weekend is much more interesting.

Friday night I went out with a small group of girls to watch "Grease" on a huge outside screen with about half of the people in downtown Milwaukee. This was really fun and certainly not extreme but was part of my weekend (and goes to show how little time I've spent alone in the last three days).

On Saturday I canvased local farmer's markets looking for 8 bushels, approximately 400 pounds of tomatoes in preparation for Sunday's tomato extravaganza. My co-workers and I have been planning a huge tomato canning day for awhile now and I'm a little impressed that we actually pulled it off. For anyone local: West Allis had the best selection and I convinced a farmer to give me nice bushels for the price we had been paying for seconds. We will go back to this place next year. Since I went to the West Allis market alone, I was super thankful for my co-workers push cart to get everything to my car.

Saturday night we had a house warming/end of summer picnic at our house. We invited a lot of people and about 35 people showed up, including many families new to Marquette as well as our neighbor girl who didn't understand the concept of veggie burgers. We had a great time and I am especially thankful for a husband and a friend who made and cooked all the veggie burgers. It was neat to have a houseful of friends and entertaining to watch the kids and dogs (our friends brought their puppy who is one of Loki's few doggie friends) run all around. 

Sunday was the tomato extravaganza. We had approximately 9 bushels (450 pounds of tomatoes), two pressure canners, two water bath canners, two propane heat sources, one grill, two food processors, one huge turkey fryer pot and one equally huge wooden paddle/spoon to stir. About 16 hours later we ended up with about 240 jars of various sizes filled with various kinds of tomatoes. It was crazy!!! There were six of us so the yield is about 40 jars a piece. Needless to say, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, we will survive on salsa. We even have some tomatoes left over -- after the three ladies who had to work that night left, we remaining three decided to conveniently forget about the remaining two small boxes in the garage. We are already talking about a big apple canning day in a few months but we all need some time to recover first.

Now I'm sitting on the couch with Loki trying to decide what to tackle around here. We have lots of tomatoes from our CSA box and I may just make some salsa. True story.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lil' House on the Hill

Dear lil' house on the hill,

 We are now officially your renters, although we wont move in for about another week. When we looked at you, we were still thinking that we didn't want a July lease (but that changed after we saw many other places that didn't really fit the bill) so I don't really remember how big your rooms are or what color your walls are. I am fairly certain that the pictures on Craigslist are old and that the living room isn't bright blue but I can't say for sure.

I am pretty excited that the piano will be staying but am even more excited about the little postage-stamp yard with a small gardening plot. I'm already schemeing and dreaming of a compost pile, water barrel and more tomatoes and zucchini than we know what with. Oh and pumpkins! Maybe we'll grow enough food that I'll be able to work less. Or maybe we'll grow so much food that it will seem like I have two jobs! I'm working on convincing Christopher that he doesn't have a black thumb so that he can join me in this endevour/adventure/second job.

We think that your layout will work perfectly for us with our bedroom downstairs and two others upstairs. It will be nice for Christopher to have his office upstairs away from the main living areas. I hope that we will fill the third bedroom with toys and that we will hear little feet pitter patter on your wood floors. I hope that we will fill your rooms with memories and even better friends. I can't wait to sit on your porch and read or wave to the neighbors. I am excited to walk Loki through the parks in the neighborhood and to venture the mile east and enjoy the lake.

I want so much from you ... I want to create a peaceful space where we can love and grow. I want to entertain our friends in our home in a way that hasn't been as convenient living 30 minutes away from them. I hope that our family will visit and feel welcome. But most of all I hope that we will know that the real magic lies with the people in the house and not with the house itself. You will be the framework that holds our love and the place where we make memories but the bigger picture lies in the relationships and in the One who brought us all into being.

So lil' house on the hill (and I really hope that name sticks), we are super excited to see you in a few days!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Whitnall Park, The Oak Savannah and Loki's Long Tongue

We are moving in 10 days (more on that later) to a different part of Milwaukee. I am excited for the community that we will be living in and am really happy to live closer to our friends. 

But I will miss Whitnall Park. Loki and I have spent many hours in that park. It is incredible that the same place can look so different on different days and during different seasons.

I have great plans for the many pictures that I have taken these last two years at the park but that project may have to wait for some other creative juices to be used up first.

A couple of weeks ago we followed the foot path by the library and came across an Oak Savannah and Wetlands preserve. On a really hot day last week, I took Loki back there for a short walk.

And a few more funny pictures of Loki - all hot and bothered!

Just a little bit crazy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer reading

 I pretty much love the library more than I think it is right to love a government building. I know many of you (Gina, Mom B.) will agree. I love that I can pick up books that I would never buy and browse through them at my leisure and I love that I can request books and have them delievered within a mile of my house. If the library system could get together with Amazon and just send books to my house, that would be the best. But then they would probably charge me for that service and I wouldn't like that. In fact, we would probably drop them as quick as we dropped Netflix when they raised their prices. After all, the library has movies for free too. =)

Sitting on our coffee table ...

That's pretty much sums what I've been thinking about recently: re-doing furniture, creativity, yummy Thai food (ahem, Christopher <3), budgeting, and organization.

I've also been reading Storm of Swords, the third book in George R. R. Martin's series "Song of Ice and Fire." It's only about 1,000 pages long and I have been getting it from the library, reading it for 21 days, writing down which chapter I am on and then returning it since there are other holds on it in the library system. After doing that twice, I bought it on Amazon. So Amazon will be sending that book to my house. =)

Back to the library system ... the Milwaukee library lets me (and everyone else) request 15 books at a time and the library website is not blocked at work. So this past weekend during some slow time at work I requested my 15 books and stored some away in the handy on-line list on my library page.

So I have some books on decorating, frugality, sustainable living and baking bread coming my way. I am also excited to read Kisses from Kate and something by Madeleine L'Engle this summer too.

And I'm wondering, since apparently my list isn't long enough, are you reading anything good this summer?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A nice start to summer

Our dear friends got married over Memorial Day weekend on the groom's parent's farm in Indiana. We road tripped it out to Warsaw, camped on their front lawn, ate food that they grew just for us and witnessed our friends say their marriage vows. There were lots of friends from Marquette there; we chatted by the fire, played lawn games and worshiped together. And when the conversation got too theology-heavy, my friend (a non-theology wife) and I ditched the theology shop talk to play bean bag toss.

My favorite part of the weekend was when we attempted to light wish lanterns. It windy and one of our friends name the lanterns "flaming orbs of death" as they caught fire and tumbled through the field towards whoever and whatever was in it's path. After our first failed attempt, Christopher and I deliberately and carefully lite our lantern under the protection of a big tree and watched it sail into the sky.

Our friend, Anne, wrote about it on her blog here.
You know when she says "two of my favorite people"?
She's talking about us.
I'm just saying.
(The feeling is mutual.)

I had many DTR's at this wedding ... conversations that basically boiled down to "You are important to me and I want to invest in our relationship."

From the fireworks as our friends danced their first dance to the family dog that delivered a dead rabbit during breakfast the morning after the wedding, the whole weekend was perfect. 

We also made a neat gift for our friends. We wanted a project that we could both work on and we were both really happy with the result. Our niece even helped when she was visiting in May. I am really happy of how it turned out and the the groom said it was one of his favorite wedding gifts.
I'm just saying.
Inspired by pinterest

We have enjoyed the warm weather, hot walks with Loki, watching our little plants grow on the patio and occasionally enjoying raspberry lemonade outside.
Of course my husband would make homemade raspberry lemonade; he's just that great!
I'm just saying.

Loki's summer haircut -- suuuppper cute!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Rabbit trails

At first I named this post: "housing, furniture and craigslist" but really, it's about rabbit trails. In other words, if you are really busy right now, this may not be worth your time to read.

Christopher and I have been looking at several housing options; our lease is up in August and we want to move closer to Marquette. We've looked at a few older duplexes and I've found myself inspired by crown molding, high ceilings and tall windows. We haven't quite settled on a place but we hope to soon. I am super excited because we will be moving closer to all of our friends and we want to be much more intentional about these relationships. I am finally getting the sense that we have a strong community and it makes me really happy.

Anyway, so in our search, I have been inspired and have begun to look for some vintage furniture. It's not very realistic that I'd actually buy anything considering the last piece of furniture that I bought and was not given to me was a cute little chair that I bought in ... hmmm ... maybe 2007. It's been a long time.

But I've been looking at this:
from Trash Can Annies. $250. I'd SOOO buy it if I could.
 And this:

from Leisure Living. Beautiful!!
 So then I wondered if I could re-paint my dresser. I have, after all, had it since college when I got it for $25 at a garage sale. I think I could re-paint it and put new handles on it and it would/could look really neat. I have had a tutorial bookmarked for awhile about how to paint wooden furniture.

So, then I looked on Craigslist for some furniture because I'm sure I'll be great at painting furniture, right?!? And I e-mailed someone about a free dresser and another person about a nightstand.

see ...
I think it has potential

Anyway, I'm sure Christopher would LOVE to go with me on a 30 minute drive when I pick up a free dresser that I intend to paint even though I've never painted a piece of furniture before in my life. Don't you? Actually, the only thing I'm sure about in regards to that sentence is that he loves me. And that the dresser probably wont fit in our car.

So, then I knew that I needed a sander if I am serious about this painting thing. And I found a sander on Craigslist and e-mailed that guy.

And then reason kicked in and I had to stop. Mostly ... I am looking for books on painting furniture at the library but that is at least free. =)

How's that for rabbit trails?


Monday, May 21, 2012

Decoding Christopher's PhD Program

Taking a break from the seriousness to give some information about Christopher's program - and what he'll be doing for the next few years.

Christopher says that while nursing has abbreviations for just about everything (CAD, OOBTC, UCI), theology tends to make things as long as possible (Augustine's description of theosis and response from the second ecumenical council. Okay, I totally made that up; I hope no one judges me.)

Anyway, for the next few years, we will spew out a couple of abbreviations that have a great impact on Christopher's school and, therefore, our life: DQEs and ABD.

Chris just finished the two years of coursework for his program. The next time he'll be in a formal classroom setting, he will be teaching in some way. I consider this the first big step of a three step program.

Now, he starts studying for his Doctoral Qualifying Exams (DQEs). Basically he'll collaborate with his professors and study til November when he'll be locked in a dismal room for two days where he will write essays to answer five questions. (This is step two.)

Then, we'll go on big, nice vacation.

After that, he will start researching and writing his dissertation. ABD stand for All but dissertation (not to be confused with abdomen); I think it goes like this: Christopher Brenna PhD ABD. But I think it's misleading - "All but dissertation" makes the dissertating part seem small when really it's a big deal and involves jumping through many flaming hoops while writing a book. (This is step three.)

Then he'll defend his book dissertation and we'll throw a big party. 

And then, once he gets a job, he'll be a professor and will teach students about Augustine, theosis and ecumenical councils (but probably not all together).

Monday, May 14, 2012

"The Lord himself will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14

It hurts when dreams end. 
There is no answer to the question of "why" and there is no reason to be found by our human minds.
Letting go is a painful process. 

Praying for God's will is sometimes easier than accepting it. 
When all you want is to see the reason behind a circumstance,
believing in His faithfulness takes trust.

I am nearing the end of a journey that didn't end as I had expected. 
My prayers were answered differently than I had hoped.  

I don't understand and it hurts. 
  But the pain and grief brings comfort and strength. 

And there, in the stillness, just within my reach, is a little thing that makes today seem easier and tomorrow look brighter: 


And my dream?
It is now a dream that I will always dream. 
One that I laid safe and secure in His hands. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Things I am loving ...

Dear flowers, thanks for brightening up our table and for being a constant reminder that our family loves us. 

Dear Tipi CSA, we get our first box next month and I could not be more excited. Here's to a summer of figuring out how to eat all the veggies that you send us!

Dear hummus, today I made you successfully for the very first time, thanks to our ninja warrior blender. =) yay!

Dear Loki, although you somehow manage to rip apart toys that claim to be "indestructible" and then proceed to throw up the stuffing, I don't think I have every loved you more. (note: that has nothing to do with the barfing.) I love your obsession with peanut butter jars and the way you jump onto my lap whenever I sit on your favorite chair. 

Dear 894-94 interchange tunnel, I am so happy that you are now open as it makes Christopher's commute to school so much quicker! Even though we already decided to move closer to Marquette this summer, I am glad that we can enjoy the fast drive for a couple of months.

Dear The Firm, two episodes in and I am hooked! Thanks for having all your episodes available on-line and for simply being awesome.

Dear Selah, thanks for the oldies but goodies that have been playing on my laptop today. So encouraging.

Dear red quinoa dish (with shrimp, asparagus, red peppers and toasted cumin vinaigrette), #1) you need a new name. #2) I wish I could make you without using every pan I own. #3) I am so glad that I tried combining a few recipes from this site!

Dear Spring, thanks for your sunny days and cool evenings and for being a present reminder of the new life that we have because of Easter.

Dear Whitnall Park, regardless of the time of year, you always bring your A-game.

Dear next week, we aren't really sure what to expect while we entertain our nephew and niece for the week but we've been looking forward to it for a long time. We are excited to act like kids and enjoy Discovery World, some TBD kid movie and maybe some arcade action. Hopefully they wont have to remind us that we are the adults!

Dear Christopher John, there is no one that I would rather have by my side, especially during these last few weeks. As the semester comes to a close, I know that you will work hard while still being a good husband, dog owner, friend and uncle (skills you don't often get to use). I love you more than ice cream every day of the week and more than all of the things above.


{once again, letters inspired by Today's Letters}

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Some unexpected news last week has me spending the weekend in Milwaukee instead of going to Baltimore to visit a friend as originally planned.

Our apartment is a disaster (will someone please call in FEMA?) but it makes for a good analogy of life right now. 

We need times when we work hard and don't touch the laundry on the floor. We need times when we pack up and drive home, returning literally just in time to go to work and we eat food my mom sent for two days til we have time to buy groceries. And then we need the times when we, slowly but surely, go to the store, put away the laundry and change the sheets.

We need times when all we can do is process the information given and the emotions that accompanies it. We need times when we run into the open arms of family and friends. And then we need times to slow down, reflect and trust in the comfort and faithfulness that God provides.

Hopefully this weekend will bring calmness to both my apartment and my heart.
Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed," says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
Isaiah 54:10

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Christopher is gone for a couple of days and he left me some yummy Indian rice and food. In return, and because I love him to pieces, I made him some honey oat bread. 
I should have taken into consideration that one pan was bigger than the other.
Not perfect but good nonetheless. How do people get their loaves so perfectly shaped? 

Loki spent the most part of yesterday evening waiting for Christopher to come home - he has an internal clock that goes off at 5pm. Thankfully sleeping seems to have reset this clock.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Seven random things about life now

1) I gave up Facebook for lent. I had been thinking about a trial separation from Facebook and lent seemed like a good opportunity. So, what have my thoughts been so far?

I do have more time and while I have found some other things to waste it on, I have also been more productive. =) I noticed that a lot of my "interactions" with friends were on facebook and I want to put effort - away from my computer - into my relationships of today; my current co-workers, my friends, my husband and God.  That said, I do miss seeing some updates: pictures of friends' babies, updates from my sister-in-law about their life and kids, etc, and updates on my cousins lives.

2) I went to Eau Claire last week to visit some girlfriends from college. I stayed overnight along the way so I didn't have to go the nine hour trip in one day and then we had lunch and took turns holding their babies. It was wonderful to get away for a short while and see old friends and would have been incredibly relaxing if not for the winter storm that blanketed everything in white and made driving stressful for half of my drive home. 

3) My husband has taken over the task of being our social coordinator lately. I am absolutely in love with conversations that start with him saying "so and so are coming over for dinner on Sunday. Do you want to have this or this?"

4) I have worked lots of overtime lately, including one day shift. I may never work another day shift again. For reals. But, aside from that, it has mostly been pleasant. I have been put in several situations (i.e. conflicts) that have given me some insight in how I respond to things at work. Also, I have been reminded that I really like my co-workers.

5) Many of our friends had babies in Jan and Feb so I spent some time making baby gifts.

{a nursing cover from this tutorial}
and I made a few hats for klove and cure international's knit pray love campaign.

6) We gave Loki a new toy that claims to be indestructible. At first we called it "ducky" but he didn't seem to understand that, probably because it sounded too much like "Loki" so now we call him "Howard."
7) Maybe it's spring fever or the fact that I have been land-locked and adventure-less for too long but I've been day dreaming and doing some research about going on vacation: a cruise, Hawaii, the Florida Keys. If all works out, we'll take a nice vacation in the fall when Chris is done with his qualifying exams. For now, we are going to have a mini stay-cation this Friday night and I am awaiting April which will see me flying to Baltimore.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Ache

Today I'm linking up with The Gypsy Mama, using her prompt to write a post that has been forming in my head for awhile.

Go {0700, yep, I'm up early!}

I sit on the couch with a tow-headed toddler, the son of a Marquette student who I just met. We read about Luella the Ladybug seventy four times as his blond curls brush my cheek. The room is buzzing with activity: friends celebrating a baptism, students talking about scholarships and qualifying exams, and moms discussin due dates, car seats and sleep schedules.  I don't know why he choose me, a stranger in a sea of strangers but I was grateful to settle in under the din and read about Luella.

I remember riding to the party, clutching my husband's hand and, with tears stinging my eyes, praying that I'll be able to enjoy a party that centers around a baby when we know that one wont be joining us in nine months. I was surprised at the emotions that surround finding out this time and, despite our prayers, the band around my chest tightened, the physical ache behind emotional pain. 

The ache lessons with acknowledgement -- to my husband, to friends who care and to co-workers who also wish they could "drink the magic water" - and it begins to lift through prayer. But on that Sunday, as the conversations swirled around us I found comfort in the the little hands turning the pages and the promise of God's faithfulness.

STOP {0707, almost!}

Friday, February 10, 2012

About: cousins

{written a couple of weeks ago}

On Friday night we dropped Loki off at "the sitters" knowing that he would get a huge bone, four walks a day and two nights on the couch. We watched a movie sans pooch and left the popcorn dropped on the kitchen floor for him to find on Sunday.

On Saturday morning we drove South through flat Illinois to my cousin's house outside of Bloomington. We were greeted by two girls wearing skirts and their little brother in striped pajamas.

For the rest of the weekend we held hands and tousled blond hair, watched Despicable Me, tested out flowery hand sanitizer and listened to the big sister's songs about historical events (yes, impressive). The oldest called Christopher "Buddy," the middle taught us about hello kitty and the littlest monkey-climbed his way up everything.

We talked with my cousin and his wife about theology, politics and parenting (we filed some info away for later). It was rewarding to have the relationship that used to be about playing Annie Annie Over around G'ma's small garage and spoons around her kitchen table once a year grow up. We talked about our families, discussed the homeschool co-op that they are a part of and toured the construction site (soon to be apartment complex) that my cousin manages. We talked about adult things - because, after all, we are adults. =)

And it was good.