Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Scary Mommy Day

Last night I had one of the scariest dreams I've ever had, and this evening I witnessed one of the scariest moments involving Svanja.  It comes in second to the moment about a month ago when I had just set Svanja in her carrier down on the couch, then turned around to take her out, and the carrier fell off the couch with her hitting the floor head first as I turned, and all I saw was the carrier upside down on the ground with her still in it.  I will never forget that moment; I cried and cried, but Svanja was totally fine, praise God!

I will never forget tonight, either. I was talking during supper, and Svanja was eating her peanut butter sandwich, and I heard a choking sound. I look over, and Svanja's face is red and water is pouring out of her mouth and nose.  She is trying to cough and cannot get air in.  I immediately whip the high chair tray off and grab her, turning her face first on an angle toward the ground, and whack her back with the palm of my hand. Thank goodness for all the CPR and choking training sessions I went through as a security guard in college and as a 911 dispatcher afterwards! She was fine, although visibly scared, after she got the water out of her airway. But there have only been one or two other legitimate choking incidents with her, and this was the scariest of them all.  It looked like she was drowning, which happens to be one of my worst fears for myself.  And the look of fear on her face when she couldn't breathe tore my heart apart, and I was so afraid while she was choking that she wouldn't get to take another breath.

I don't know why that had to happen today.  I am still recovering from an awful dream I had last night involving her.  I dreamed I was in a public building, and I wanted to attend a casting call for a movie.  I decided to leave Svanja (who was about 4-5 months old in my dream) in a cradle in another large room, and I covered the cradle with a fluffy blanket so that no one would know a baby was in there and kidnap her.  I went off to the casting call, and lost track of time.  When I realized how much time had passed, I ran back to the room, so scared that someone had taken her.  I was afraid at first when I didn't see Svanja as I first entered the room, then remembered her cradle was covered with a blanket.  But then I realized that she could have suffocated because of how long she had lain in there.  I pull off the blanket, and see her laying there, eyes closed, deathly pale face, and a little bit of a frost-like substance on her cheeks. I touched her face and screamed; she was dead.  Shock and guilt enter my mind in a split second - two words lighting up in my mind: dead and negligence.  And I snap fully awake, unable to handle it.

It took me a while to go back to sleep, and I had to check on her just to ease my lingering fear.  The sound of her breathing in sleep calmed me, but not enough.  I knew what happened in my dream would never happen in real life - I would never leave her alone in a public place, never cover her cradle or bassinet with a thick blanket, and Lord willing never do anything that would cause her or another baby to die due to my negligence.  But then I started to think about SIDS and our next baby and the stories I had heard, and fear of someday finding a dead baby in a crib started to creep in. I prayed, which helped me to fall asleep.  It was actually pretty neat to be able to pray to the Holy Spirit and say, "You are the Comforter; please give me comfort."  He did!  

And God has continued to comfort me even tonight as the two events mingled in my mind; Jordan and I had a great talk about fear of loved ones dying.  And peace has come over me even as I think about my greatest fears.  Thank you God!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

There and Back Again!

I am in my second trimester. My first trimester was...exhausting, to say the least.  It was the main reason why I have not written a blog post in so long!  All I wanted to do was lay down and sleep, but it's hard to do that when you have a rambunctious one-year-old girl who demands that you play with her every waking moment!

So I laid down and watched her play, laid on the floor and let her play on me, and laid in bed while she napped so that I could nap as well.

And I remembered how much I hated that part of pregnancy.

And now it is over, and I even made it this far without much nausea, only throwing up once!  But I am so much more emotional than the last pregnancy.  Less nausea, more emotion - I think I'm having a boy!  We'll find out next month; I'm 15 weeks along so only a few more weeks till we can tell the gender!

What else has been happening in my life?

I officially started my Facebook photography page, Photography by Kjelse, and I'm pretty excited about getting a little side photography business up and running!

My husband and I are going to become official members of the church we've attended since high school for him and since I was about 2 years old.

The other big plan that we have going on is slowly but surely working out, but it's still not public knowledge (sorry!).

I began physical therapy for my sciatic pain in my lower back, and it seems to be helping.

Jordan started working as a car salesman and is much less stressed out than at his previous job.

Svanja began swim lessons - she is a little fish! She loves the water and gets so excited when we get to the pool!

And I have been dying to write.  There are so many things that have been on my mind and heart lately, but I needed to write a catch-up post first!

Lastly, some July 4th pictures.

Go-kart race

My youngest sister

Daddy and daughter

My little patriot and I

Thursday, May 9, 2013


It has been quite a while since I posted last (relatively speaking).  I am just so tired lately...the first symptom to hit me when I was pregnant with Svanja was exhaustion, and it seems it's the same with this pregnancy.  I take a nap almost each day, sometimes sleeping up to 3 hours. Thankfully, Svanja sleeps about the same during her nap.

I wish I could sleep more at night, but no matter how late or how early I go to bed, I wake up just before 6 due to the sun and birds.  I finally put up two blankets over the window, since even with the light-reducing, insulating shade it still gets too bright for me to sleep.  We'll see if that helps me sleep in later.

God has been so active in my life lately.  Well, actually, that's the wrong terminology.  My eyes have been opened to see how God has been working in my life lately.  I can't wait to share where God is calling Jordan and I!  Pieces are slowly falling into place, pieces of confirmation.

There is so much I want to write about - how to fight as a couple (to get things resolved, not worse), the New Heaven and New Earth (one of my favorite topics EVER - looking forward to eternity!!), how much I love my new iPhone 5, what I'm planning on doing for Svanja's birthday party....


Svanja is one! She turned one on Tuesday!!!  And she is taking more and more steps and really enjoys the risk of walking.  She looks like a toddler, acts older, and I seriously don't know how Jordan and I lived before we had her.  I can't imagine life without her now!

But bed is calling me. Or vegging on the couch with the remote or a book...something where I don't have to think. Haha.  *yawn*

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mommy Five Link Up

Heather over at A Different Kind of Woman has started a really cool link-up with Sarah from Tealography! This is the first day of the link-up, and I'm excited to join in. Oh, and it's Heather's 22nd birthday!! Happy birthday to you, Heather! Today's question is:

What is your Mommy's top five can't go with outs?

My top five are:

1. Pacifier:  Svanja was nursing me dry and raw before I introduced the pacifier to her around 2 months, and even now it keeps her much calmer than she would be if she didn't have it.  Her favorites are this pink camo one and this funny lips one we bought at a tourist trap in Kentucky. 

2. Ergo Baby Carrier:  I have absolutely NO clue how moms survive without a carrier of some sort! I use mine ALL the time; it's the best way to keep Svanja content and out of trouble while I get things done.  I've had 5 different carriers, and this one is my favorite. Svanja loves it, and it doesn't hurt my shoulders or back even if I wear her for 3 hours at a time. It's designed so much of the baby's weight sits on your hips, instead of all on your shoulders (like other carriers do).  I also loved the Moby Wrap when she was smaller.  Here I'm using it at church during band practice.

3. Earth's Best Organic Blueberry Banana Baby Food Pouches: Svanja's favorite flavor of baby food. She sucks these pouches dry super fast!  Baby food pouches are one of the best inventions for on-the-go feeding. They're super easy, super quick, and virtually mess-free! I make my baby food at home, but for on-the-go, I can't recommend baby food pouches enough!

4. Boogie Wipes: Much better than Kleenex for wiping Svanja's nose, these keep her nose moisturized, plus they grab those long, ucky, stringy green boogers really well.  Pair them with a suction bulb and you've got the upper hand on a snotty nose!

5. Bobux shoes: These are really expensive, unfortunately, so I can only get one or two pairs every six months, but Svanja wears them all the time. They are the only shoes I've found that stay on her feet (and that she can't pull off, even while wearing socks!), probably because they are made of soft leather and elastic.  They are flexible, too, and specially made for babies' feet to grow correctly.  Closest thing to going barefoot, which is best for babies and toddlers, but can't happen when leaving the home.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunshiney Days

Spring is upon us.

I took Svanja out last week to play in the grass. She was quite fascinated - it was only the second time she's played in the grass!  She also stood up a little by herself. She's getting much better at standing up by herself, and she's even taken a few steps! So close to walking :)

This is more of a picture post to make up for my last all-words post, hehe. Svanja's dress and barrette are from Target.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Big News, Pt. 1

On Monday I decided to run a 5k and start a diet, and a friend was going to let me borrow her copy of Insanity so I could try to get fit over the next couple months.  I should have figured from those three things that I was soon going to find out...

I'm pregnant!! (and of course can't do any of those three things)

I found out the very next day, on Tuesday, actually! I took a pregnancy test on Monday because that was the day my period was supposed to come, and I just had a feeling...but the test was inconclusive. I say inconclusive because if I looked really hard, I thought I could see a line, but I could have been imagining it. Even Jordan wasn't sure.  We both figured we were just trying so hard to see it our brain was making it up. So I tried again Tuesday morning, and it was VERY positive!

I figure I should be due on December 30. (Jordan was very excited about this - big tax break next year, if I don't go late!)

I'm going to try to find a midwife, and I wish there was a birthing center nearby.  There is one about an hour and a half away, but I feel that is a little too far, and I definitely do not want to give birth at home (but props to those of you who do!).

So Svanja will be a big sister. And she will make a fantastic one!

I would put some pictures in, but my computer is being very slow from a stupid task that is taking 113% of CPU usage (how does that even work?) and causing everything to freeze up and uploaded pictures to show up black and asdflk;ajef....*insert deep, calm breath* I don't get road rage; I get computer rage.  Slow drivers who go 10 miles beneath the speed limit? Not a word.  Slow computers that take longer than 5 seconds to do anything? Crazy impatient guttural sounds that sound like "grrrrrr" and "hurry up, you dumb thing."

As for the big news, pt. 2? Not yet. Patience, my young Padawan. We've got some things to work out first.  But it is almost as exciting as this piece of news!  I cannot wait to see Svanja and her little brother/sister interact, and experience a second pregnancy and labor/delivery, and breastfeed again, and have another little tiny human to love on!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

SUPER (secret) Excitement and Some Cool Pinterest Pics

I'm only writing this because I have to say something. I have to let it out. and later today I will probably write another post on an entirely different topic. But.


Unfortunately I can't say what they are yet.

But suffice it to say, we're pretty excited. and nervous. But God has been leading and working in really awesome ways, answering prayers and setting things up for us.

Don't worry; I won't hold you in suspension too much longer, a couple days at the most.

In the meantime, *squeeeeeeeeeeeee*

Oh, and please enjoy this collection of some of my favorite images from Pinterest.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Manic Monday Morning

I was feeling quite motivated this morning. The sun woke me up around 6:15, as it usually does, and I was super hot and not feeling like going back to sleep (I honestly thought it was about 8 AM).  The sunrise was gorgeous, the temperature was about 40 degrees, and I decided I'd had enough of couch potatoing.

So I went on a mostly-walk-with-a-little-run jaunt.  I did my BSF lesson first, then used the exercise to pray.  Let me tell you something - God is SO good! He has been answering our prayers like crazy lately!  (as in, "Lord, please have this person e-mail us back today," and they do, or "please give us confirmation in ****," and He does!)  I am really looking forward to my prayer time with God every day a lot more than I used to (not that I didn't before).  I have started praying very specifically, and I think that's part of the reason why I enjoy it so much now, because I start looking for those answers to my prayers.

I also realized this morning that I would like to be able to do a 5K in the fall, so that gives me some motivation and a goal to work towards, instead of just a general "I want to be in shape."  And it was a good little jaunt. I just think I'm going to go earlier, because by the time I got out there, there were kids waiting for the bus, and people heading off to work, and the local marathon/Ironman (Ironwoman?) lady doing her daily run, and I am slightly embarrassed about my jostling tush as I run, haha! So tomorrow I'll go right at 6 or 6:15.

But I feel really good now.  I also started the 3-day military diet.  Supposedly you can lose up to 10 lbs in 3 days, which doesn't seem very healthy, but I doubt I'll lose even close to that, since I have been eating fairly healthy.  You do actually eat food on this diet,'s not just a crash diet that severely limits your calories.  Breakfast consisted of a half grapefruit, a piece of toast with 2 tbls peanut butter, and a cup of black tea.  It was actually pretty filling, more filling than the normal bowl of cereal I eat.  And 2 tbls peanut butter on one slice of bread is a lot.  Almost too much!  So on Thursday morning, I'll weigh myself and see how much I lost (I'm only counting on maybe 3 lbs at the most).  I currently am at 148 lbs (and I'm 5'2", BMI 27.1, which should be lower than 25).

Skirt from Gordman's
I took in a maxi skirt's waist by hand, as well. I just got it for my birthday, and I LOVE it, but the waist is a little too big!  Now it fits really well, and I love it even more. So comfortable and cute!

Then Jordan and I went to Verizon to get my phone upgraded, while my mom stayed at home as Svanja napped. My phone's battery had conveniently swelled up and died this weekend, and we became eligible for upgrades last week.  I'm planning on switching from Droid to iPhone, while Jordan will keep his Droid so we can compare and decide in the next two years which we like better.

Well, we pulled in, and we locked and closed the doors to our car.  And then we realized our key was in the car!!  We only have one key, and the remote lock/unlock on it stopped working a while back, so we have to manually lock the doors, which is why we didn't have the key in our hand.  Thankfully, my dad saved the day and brought a whole bunch of tools for unlocking car doors and easily unlocked ours. (Who knew that a white-collar executive could break into cars so easily? He said he keeps them around because people at work lock their keys in their cars often)
Manic, but good, Monday morning!
By that time, we had just about run out of time before we had to be back home so my mom could make an appointment.  So I still have a definitely dead Droid.  But hopefully this afternoon or tomorrow we can make it back out to Verizon.

It's a gorgeous day today - partly sunny and a high of 66. Jordan and I plan to take Svanja and go for a walk or hike this afternoon.  I wonder what adventures the next couple of hours hold?

P.S. I apologize for the webcam pics. I don't feel like pulling out my camera and taking real photos right now, haha!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I'm on the way to a suburb of Chicago with my mom and daughter right now! We're going to visit the Chicago Botanical Garden for an antiques & garden show.  I had wanted to go into downtown Chicago and visit the Children's Museum but Svanja just came down with a cold, so the idea of her crawling all over things with other babies didn't sound appealing, considering the current state of her immune system.  So we'll make another trip this summer. I am seriously in love with Chicago. I love the sense of smallness I get as the skyscrapers tower over me, and my imagination runs wild as I see the crowds of people and think about their stories and what they are doing. Are they corporate spies? FBI? Pilots, journalists, budding entrepreneurs, foreigners? I'm sure most of them are just normal working people, but I love the intrigue of big cities. Not to mention, Chicago is extremely corrupt so that is why my imagination tends to run on the wild side there. I also love the cultural diversity. All the different ethnicities and backgrounds and yummy food. And the airport, oh! Busiest airport in America. Filled with beautiful planes, and the world is available from this one piece of land. I just need to go in and buy a ticket, and I can go anywhere in the world! The possibilities! And the people and their stories! Honestly, probably the biggest reason I love Chicago so much is because I love to people watch so much. It just fuels my imagination.

This is a bit of a rambling, unplanned post...I'm typing on a phone so I can't see everything all at once. So I apologize for any weird sentence structures or misspelled words lol!

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Non-Blogging Passion (Girl Behind the Blog Vlog)

Here it is: my first vlog.  I am trembling a bit because I've never done this before, but I'm excited to do so!  Note to self: use more facial expression.  When I get nervous, I smile.  The exact same smile, constantly. At least it was a nice facial expression!

Without further ado, my foray into vlog-land:


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I Can't Believe...

I can't believe...Svanja is almost a year old. More than that, that I've been a mommy for almost a year...WHAT?!

I can't much God has been teaching me through Bible Study Fellowship (BSF). Almost every week I walk away stunned (yes, even to the point where I drive away with mouth hanging open) because God has used something in the lesson or the lecture to speak directly to me.

I can't believe...I got our bedroom clean, and it's stayed clean for over a week!! (I could nickname myself Little Ms. Tornado with how messy I usually am)

I can't sisters will be back from college in two weeks! So excited to spend uninterrupted time with them!

[edit: added later] I can't believe...HOW MUCH RAIN WE'RE GETTING!  Holy flooding, Batman!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Tangled in Tears

This is my best faking-sadness-right-now-face.  Highly attractive, right?

But really, I am so emotional today, and I don't know why. I cried twice (partly out of sadness and partly out of anger) over the Gosnell trial (if you don't know what it is, an abortionist is standing trial for 7 cases of first-degree murder because he butchered third-trimester infants after they were born [and most of the news media has been silent on the trial] can read more here. Be warned, though, it is extremely graphic).  I cried after practicing the piano for playing the prelude at my grandpa's memorial service tomorrow, because I wished he could hear it and I know he would enjoy it.

Ok, so those are reasonable grounds to cry.

But then I almost cried four times while watching Tangled. FOUR TIMES.

I've seen Tangled close to a million times and I cried the first and maybe the second time I saw it, during the lantern scene. And maybe during the Flynn-being-sacrificial scene.  But getting teary-eyed over it (and other scenes that never caused me to blink an eye) now?

I had to run to the bathroom and take a pregnancy test. It was negative.  But I had to make sure!  I'm rarely this emotional.  Do you guys ever take a pregnancy test just because you're feeling more emotional than normal?

Maybe it's the's been so cloudy and rainy and grey over the past week.

But whatever the case, I feel like having a really good, long cry.  I haven't seen Les Miserables yet, and I've really been wanting to, and we have the Blu-Ray just waiting to be stuck in the player. So maybe I'll watch that tonight.

What do you do when you feel like crying?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What I've Learned from Living with My Parents...While I'm Married

For the past 9 months, my husband and I have been living with my parents.  For the most part, it has been a good experience; my parents are super easy to live with and we all have good relationships.  I'm so blessed because I know that doesn't always happen.  But that being said, there are some things I've had to learn (and am still learning) about this season in life.  If any of you have ever lived with your parents, I'd love to read some tips in the comments as well! I know not everyone has the same experience (some parents are terrible to live with), so some tips from a different point of view are helpful, as well.
  • Find privacy. Take your bedroom, clean it, keep it clean so you have your own little space to chill out in.
  • Don't take it for granted.  Appreciate the fact that your parents love you enough to take you (and even your spouse) back in for a while.  Savor the good parent/daughter moments.
  • Make your bedroom your own - hang your favorite pictures on the wall, put up your curtains; if you have a rug from your previous apartment, place it on the floor.  I should also pull out our bedspread and sheet set to make the bed look like our own.
  • Don't make your mom do all the work cleaning and cooking.  I've not been as good at this as I should be.  I do okay with some cleaning, but I don't cook as often I should.
  • Take the time to get to know your parents from more of a peer-to-peer angle, rather than just a parent-child angle.  The parent-child dynamic is still there to a certain extent, but now you're all adults, and that should drastically change the relationship (hopefully for the better - less arguments!).
  • Don't go near their bedroom when they head there together...haha!  And on the same note, take advantage of the time with your spouse when your parents leave the house ;)  Or else make a game of it and see how quiet you can know what I'm talking about!! Shhhhh...
  • Your parents need some space, too.  Head to the other spouse's parents' house for a night or two, go out on a date and leave the kid with someone other than your parents, spend a Saturday together at a park or on the town.
  • Surprise your parents with something.  A clean house, a cooked candlelight dinner for two, an organized bathroom.  If you're living with your parents, odds are that you can't afford to buy a thank-you gift every once in a while, so get creative. (Maybe, if you're crafty, find something in the basement or attic that needs to be re-done and get to re-doing it, using DIY ideas from Pinterest or other blogs)
  • Talk with your spouse often.  If you're living with your own parents, he is probably going to have some issues that need to be worked out.  Be compassionate and put yourself in his shoes (what if you were living with your in-laws?).  Help him out in any way you can, and give him a lot of grace.  If you're the one living with in-laws, talk to your spouse about what you're feeling, what you're wanting, what is frustrating you. Don't hold it in and assume you just need to get over it.  That's what your spouse is there for, to support you and hold you in the difficult times.
  • Don't forget about your in-laws.  They may want a piece of you, as well.  Go spend the night or the weekend at their house, and consider splitting the time living with your parents into two so the in-laws can have you, as well (or your spouse can get a break from your own parents).
  • Look to see what God is teaching you from it. Humility? Trust? Learning to respect your parents?
  • Keep an eye on the goal.  You're not going to be staying with your parents forever.  You will have your own place again, someday.  There will be hard days, but they will pass, and this season will come to an end eventually.  And there will be things that you will miss about it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Grandpa Clark

My heart is so heavy today.

My grandpa died yesterday.

I don't know what to write, only that I have to, that I must express what I'm feeling.

I'm sad, I'm weighted, I'm a bit frustrated because Svanja is sick on top of it all and it is very hard to handle her feverish crying along with the grief. The day is cloudy and windy and only magnifies the pain.

I saw Grandpa on Thursday, the day before he died. He smiled at me in his wheelchair at lunch and held Svanja's hand, telling her how cute she was. Thin wisps of white hair surrounded the bald top of his head. Blue veins wound their way just underneath translucent skin blemished with age spots.  I grasped his hand, wrinkled and fragile, and told him I love him.  I did not know that in only one day he would be gone.

We knew he would pass soon, so it was not altogether unexpected.  But I had expected him to die in the hospital after a stroke, and that we would have time to say good-bye to him before he died.  Instead, he slipped peacefully away in his bed at the nursing home.  He kept telling the nurses and Grandma yesterday that he did not want to go the hospital.  It was like he knew that his time was up.

It was hard to see Grandpa decline in health over the past 6 months. When Jordan and I moved back to our hometown, he could still walk and was living at home and engaged us in conversation.  My mind moves back in time, to when he played big band songs beautifully on the piano and as a little girl I always wanted to play "as good as Grandpa."  I remember him cooking; he cooked once a week for Grandma and he made delicious food that was often British or Ecuadorian in nature.  He had lots of books and Bible commentaries, and I first discovered Tolkien's world of Middle Earth at Grandma and Grandpa's house with an old copy of The Hobbit.  Grandpa loved to write, which was one of the reasons I learned to enjoy writing as well.

He was the Wheaton Spanish professor who wrote memoirs, watched British drama, drank tea, wore glasses and vests and a British-like cap, read biographies, played piano, cooked well, and loved my husband from the moment he met him, taking him out to Culver's every week during my first semester at college.  He was the grandpa that took me out to eat on grandpa/granddaughter dates, and created toys for me and my siblings and cousins out of wood, and helped me with crafts, and bounced me on his knee as he sang long-forgotten nursery rhymes to me.

But it is not all sadness, for Grandpa was a Christian and highly valued his relationship with Jesus.  He is now in heaven, whole, rejoicing in God's presence.  He has fulfilled the last line of the poem I wrote for him and Grandma on their 50th wedding anniversary: he is now dancing with Jesus celeste...

Friday, April 5, 2013

God Gave Wings to My Dream

I am the girl that dreamed of the sky, and God gave me wings to get there.

There is something about the robin's egg blue of the daytime sky, with the clouds floating weightlessly and the sun brilliantly shining through the layers of atmosphere.  I watched birds soaring high above me, carried on streams of wind, and I was wistful.  I watched planes flying in the thin reaches of the atmosphere, white contrails following behind, and I longed to have wings of my own.

In the evening, with cool grass as my pillow, I lay back and watched the encroaching night change the sky from azure to deep navy behind the sunset.  And stars would prick the navy, and it would turn black.  Thousands of stars scattered across the sky, twinkling their praise to God.  I watched the steady gleam of satellites slowly creep from one horizon to the other, and I thought of the astronauts floating miles above in the International Space Station.  My heart did not belong on earth - it belonged in the sky, in space.

I was in junior high when I first discovered the sky and ate up everything I could on airplanes, astronauts, and atmosphere (which back then consisted of scouring our set of encyclopedias -- dial-up internet was too expensive to use for web surfing!).  I prayed often, believing that God answered prayers and would give me the desires of my heart, that I could someday get up in the sky and fly and go to space.

And you know what? He did answer my prayer.  When I was 14 or 15, we found out about a program near us that offers free flight lessons to high school students.  They specifically sought girls, minorities, and low-income students, although they accepted others as well.  And it wasn't just a flight lesson or two for free; it was ground school and all flight lessons for free, all the way through getting a pilot's certificate!  And that is what I did, and I passed my private pilot test the Friday before I left for my first year of college.

Mom and Dad gave me two telescopes in high school, and God gave me wings.  I could see into space farther than before, and I could fly part of the way there.  I often pointed the nose of the airplane straight up into the deepest blue part of the sky, and imagined there were no limits, that I was going to fly straight out of the sky into space.  And I treasured each moment in the airplane, using the time to pray and enjoy the feeling of flight.

I dreamed (and still dream) of the sky. What do you dream of?  Do you pray for it?  God doesn't answer all of our desires, but perhaps He will answer some of yours.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

In which I start writing about my schedule and end up praying about God's will

I've started getting up early again. There is so much I want to do before Svanja wakes up! Do devotions (which currently consists of doing my Genesis BSF lesson and time in prayer), exercise, spend a half hour learning Arabic, work for 30-60 minutes on my freelance projects, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and a cup of tea, write a blog post (obviously doesn't happen every day, haha!), pick up the downstairs or do dishes, and take shower/get dressed/put makeup on/do hair.  

Total amount of time needed: 4 hrs, 10 mins, give or take a half hour.  Svanja wakes up around 8:30, so I would need to get up at 4:15-ish in order to get all that done every day (did I do my math right?).

Not happening. The earliest I can go is 5.  I did 5:30 this morning, and I got devos and breakfast and tea and shower/hair done, but that was it.  I got a little sidetracked with Facebook and Twitter...and reading other people's blogs.

What I will probably do is work on Arabic every other day, blog every other day, and if I don't have enough time to do the freelance projects, move that time to Svanja's naps (she naps a total of 3 hours each day, so I have plenty of time to work on them).

But I want to be very consistent with my devotions. God may be telling Jordan and I something very specific right now.  I want to KNOW that is Him talking to me and not just my own mind going off on its own, seeing arrows in coincidences and convicting me falsely.  The more I do devotions, the more I pray, the more I ask God to make me sensitive to His voice and His leading, the more I should be able to tell what His will is for us and what it isn't.  Pray without ceasing - it's hard to do, but I'm trying to do it.

Under Your will is where I want to be
Truly knowing that You are speaking to me
Accepting that our future is in Your hands
Holding nothing back in following Your plan

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Knots In My Stomach

I lean toward "natural," alternative baby-rearing techniques in a lot of areas.  I cloth diaper (mostly),
make my own baby food (mostly), baby wear (mostly), and do cry-it-out - HOLD IT!!!  How does cry-it-out fit in there, and WHY would I do that since it is such a horrible, traumatic experience for a baby?

Well, first of all, I'm pretty sure that cry-it-out (CIO) is not really mainstream anymore. Most of my friends who have spoken about getting their babies to sleep, and most bloggers that I have read, do not do CIO.  It seems that the attachment parenting way to get babies to sleep has taken hold in the mainstream now, at least in my circle of friends.  So that's why I think it fits into my above list (though the same could be said for baby-wearing...).

As to why I do it, well, the attachment thing wasn't working. At all. And as soon as I tried CIO (which wasn't until Svanja was about 5 1/2 months - I wasn't doing this on a newborn!), it worked and she began sleeping for 12 hours. She sleeps for about 13 hours now, and she fusses at first when I lay her in her crib, but rarely (as in once every other month) does she cry longer than 5 minutes.  She's usually asleep within 2 minutes, and she wakes up blissfully happy.  (which makes for a blissfully happy mama!)

However, because I have chosen to do this particular technique, I often feel condemned.  Not by my friends - none of them have ever berated me about it - but by the parenting/blogging world in general.  I see articles and blog posts and status updates about how horrible CIO is for the baby, and how you're a selfish mom only thinking of yourself if you do it, and how your baby is going to grow up and be completely ruined because you did CIO.  I love reading blogs of moms who are into DIY and thrifting and cloth diapers and babywearing, but my stomach turns into knots as soon as they hit on the topic of sleep.  And even worse than the articles and posts are people's comments on them.  Oh, the hatred spewed by moms (from both sides of the aisle) toward each other! I also have a love-hate relationship with Dr. Sears.  I have tried to put into practice a lot of his attachment parenting techniques, but I don't buy into all of them (or all his claims).

I finally realized something, though, and while knots sometimes still form in my stomach while reading such posts, this has helped a lot:  One parenting choice you make for your baby is not going to ruin your child for the rest of his/her life.  You choose to bottle-feed instead of breastfeed? Great; I'm sure you have good reasons for it. I was bottle-fed because of breastfeeding complications and I turned out fine.  You choose to breastfeed for 3 years instead of weaning at a year?  That's your choice; it's certainly not going to hurt the child and I hope you both really enjoy that special time together. You choose CIO and a crib instead of co-sleeping or something else?  Your baby is not going to have major issues just from that or develop an unhealthy attitude about sleep.  And vice versa - choosing to co-sleep and rock to sleep and nurse to sleep is not going to cause your baby to have dependency issues for the rest of his life.  And in terms of a CIO baby growing up - my siblings and I were all CIO. And we're all really close to each other and to our parents, and none of us have fears of the night (in fact, as long as I can remember, even as a small child I loved going to sleep because I always had awesome dreams!).

Each family is different; each child is different. I may not do CIO with my other kids, but time will tell. I was that pregnant girl who thought I knew exactly what I was going to do - attachment parenting all the way. No way could I ever even think about doing CIO. And the tables turned on me!  I look at that attitude now as one of prideful, wrong thinking.  CIO is not a sin, nor is using disposable diapers, nor is using a swing.

So here's to the moms who have felt judged and condemned by other moms - you are trying to do what's best for your family, and you know what? No one else can tell you what that is because they have not been in your shoes! Your child will not be ruined by the parenting technique you chose!

P.S. The picture is of Svanja and I when she was a newborn...we kept her in our bed occasionally, and I happened to snap this picture (yes, I was faking sleep, haha) for Instagram.

Friday, March 22, 2013


I heard this poem the other day at my church's moms' group.  It spoke incredibly to me. I hope God uses it in your life, as well.


by Russell Kelfer

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said, "Wait."

"Wait? you say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

"My future and all to which I relate
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to wait?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.

"You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
And Lord I've been asking, and this is my cry:
 I'm weary of asking! I need a reply."

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
and He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

"I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of my love for each saint. 
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

"You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

"You'd never experience the fullness of love
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

"The glow of my comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

"You'd never know, should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if you missed what I'm doing in you.

"So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still . . . Wait."

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hello, I'm Your Lifeline.

"My brother is on the floor by his bed, and I think he's dead!"

"There's someone outside, and they're trying to get in."

"What time is it?"

"Help me - I've been taken by a man in a truck!"

"My 8-year-old son will not go to school."

"We're at home, and my wife is about to give birth!"

"My chest is hurting, and I can barely breathe."

"My neighbor's shed is on fire, and it's about to catch the house!"

"There are aliens in my attic!"

There are certain lines of work that get under your skin, whether you want it to or not, and begin to run in your blood and change you, for better or worse.  And one of those lines of work is emergency services.  I used to work as a 911 dispatcher, and every. single. day. I am reminded of that job.  I am reminded of specific calls and incidents, of feelings that coursed through me as I answered the phone or the radio, of the people I worked with, of how I was changed by that job, and of how much I loved being a dispatcher.  Because I did love it.  With all my heart.  It took me forever to realize I loved it, and then once I  realized I loved it, the end of my time there was starting to come into sight.

Each of the lines written in the introduction were lines I heard when I answered 911.  I would answer the ringing line with "[town] 911; where is your emergency?" I waited with half-held breath for the reply.  Was this call going to be one that I dreaded, with an active shooter or someone needing CPR or a child that was kidnapped?  Sometimes I would internally breathe a sigh of relief as I began entering an already-occurred vehicle burglary call, and I would relax.  Other times, though, adrenaline would course through me as I began entering a high-priority call - an accident with injuries, a fire, a shooting, a burglary of a home in progress.

You only hear one end of the story.  You don't know everything that's going on.  And you try to picture in your head what is going on through snippets as the phone is handed from one person to another, or is placed down on a table as people scream and fight. The snippets come in even farther apart when a story unfolds over the radio.  "Uuuuuuugggghhh..." an officer moans over the radio, "I've been hit." Hit by what? A bullet? A person? A car? Other voices chime, "The vehicle is flipped over!"  "Fire..."  "We need JAWS now!"  You're so afraid that the officer is going to die, and you don't know exactly what happened.  You want to help, you want to rush to where you saw the officer's vehicle's GPS was on the map, but then you realize that you are helping by sending the fire trucks and ambulances and other officers.  The only other thing you can do is pray.  Only later do you learn the full story - a drunk driver hit the officer's vehicle and flipped it; the officer and passenger was trapped inside, and a fire started (but was quickly put out).  They all survived, but only by the grace of God.  Often, these stories end in death.

And sometimes the voices over the radio do tell of tragic endings.  Wildfires are spreading over the land, and your agency is working with other agencies, all teaming together to fight the fires.  There aren't enough men, aren't enough trucks.  Homes are being destroyed.  "There are supposed to be people in that trailer!" you hear someone from another agency cry out over the radio as he calls for more units to the location.  Twenty minutes later, there are confirmed dead in that trailer.  And a day later, you read in the news online about a dead mother and baby in a burned trailer, and you cry as you recall what you had heard on the radio.   You try not to imagine what happened inside that trailer, and you succeed, because you have built a wall around your mind that keeps that type of empathy out.

But then there are those times when you get to witness wonderful things, things like a husband helping his wife give birth to a healthy baby as he is coached over 911 on how to do it.  Things like officers stepping in to take another officer's report call when that officer had a rough day.  Things like firefighters volunteering to take the time to help an old lady with her fire alarms that just keep going off.  Things like a 911 caller calling back a day later to say "thank you" for helping him on the phone and "thank you" to the officer who took his report.  People's lives are saved, property is kept safe.  Children are found, and hysterical callers are calmed.  Suicides are prevented, violent men and women are locked up, and families are reconciled.

I had some really rough days. There was even a point where I started applying to other jobs.  But God gave me the strength to get through the hard times and the hard hours.  He pulled me through that point in time where I wanted to leave, and He showed me how much I had learned and how much satisfaction the job gave me.  And I realized I was in love with it.  I left because we had a baby and we moved, but I know one day I will go back to it.  I enjoyed helping the callers and the officers and firefighters more than I knew, and I enjoyed the occasional (ok, maybe a little more than occasional) rush of adrenaline that came with some of the calls.  I enjoyed the laughs shared at the crazy stories and people we encountered. And I enjoyed the camaraderie with my co-workers, both dispatchers and those out on the streets.  There is a strong bond between emergency services personnel that many of the public don't realize.  Maybe it's that way with other occupations, but it's different when your lives are in the hands of your co-workers and when you hold your co-workers' and others' lives in your own hands.  You have to trust, and think quickly, and get it right the first time.  Because whether you are an officer, a firefighter, or a dispatcher, you are a lifeline to someone, and you don't want to let them down.

Someday I will go back to it.  For now, though, I will enjoy the memories I have and the lessons I learned, and I will focus on what God wants me to do right now.  And I will always be kind to the 911 operator and to the officer pulling me over, because you never know what kind of day they had yesterday, are having today, or will have tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Untimely Death of a Never-Read Post

I had a lovely post all written out. I started editing some html, then went into the normal view, and Blogger kindly informed me that part of a tag was missing.

I hit save before I edited that tag, but while it was trying to save, I went back into the html view and somehow accidentally backspaced my whole post.

And then it saved.

And the last thing I had copied was a simple link.

*sigh* Maybe it was for good reason. I was talking about God in that post; perhaps some of my theology was off.  Or maybe (probably) it was just a simple mistake.

In either case, I unfortunately lost about 45 minutes of my time because of that terribly-timed save.

So, my prayer for the rest of this day: "Lord, do not let the rest of my time go to waste."

I usually hate clipart, but right now, I feel a kinship with it. I feel like this right now:

Maybe my prayer for the rest of the day really should be: "Lord, please help me control my anger toward non-animate objects that I'm placing the blame for human error on...and keep any destructive weapons like knives or axes away from me and my laptop..."


Friday, March 1, 2013

Party Time!

I turned 24 years old today. 24! That's like...the hours in a it's like I'm a day old? Excuse my weird rabbit trail. I got to choose where to go out to eat for lunch today with some folks I dearly love, so I chose Sahara, the Middle Eastern restaurant we have in town. Small, simply-decorated place, but DELICIOUS food. I love their chicken shawerma (sp?), and I tried babaganoush as well, and it was yummy. Shawerma is a vertical piece of seasoned meat on a put meat on a stick and hang it by a fire (or grill)...that's basically what it is. I think our chicken was seasoned with curry. It came in a piece of pita bread with a white garlic sauce and red onions sliced thin and seasoned with spices. SO yummy. Babaganoush is eggplant mashed up with tahini and served with pita bread for dipping. Also very yummy. I could eat this type of food every day. Their salads are super good, too. I absolutely love the Mediterranean diet. And tomorrow we're having a family birthday party with some relatives who are in from out of town. I got to choose the menu, as well: enchiladas verdes; bean, corn, and avocado salad; white queso and chips; Spanish rice; mandarin orange jello salad; and for dessert, black forest cake. We're also having Jarritos (Mexican soda) to drink. I've been craving authentic(ish) Mexican since we moved to the Midwest from Texas, but I've never had homemade Mexican food (outside of American-ized burritos and tacos and taco pie). So this will be very interesting and fun to make. Can you tell I love ethnic food? Give me any culture's ethnic food, and I will enjoy it and eat it eagerly. I've always been this way since I was little. I'll take sushi over fried fish, gyros over a burger, curried lentil soup over tomato soup and grilled cheese, lefse and lingonberries over crackers and peanut butter. I am off to sit with a content belly now...I could actually fall asleep. I feel so much better when I've eaten healthily than when I eat the typical SAD (standard American diet) food.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Other Side of the Valley

"This is our valley" by indecent-lighting

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through 
the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.  - Psalm 23, emphases mine

"The Lost Sheep"' by DouglasRamsey
Jordan and I have been walking through a valley. I actually wrote a bit about this last week.  He has not had a job for 6 months since he graduated college, and we hit what we considered to be rock bottom last Wednesday. You know, that moment when your bank account is negative, and you have no gas money, and your student loans are going to start repayment this month, and you have applied to many, many jobs and some interviews with no callbacks.  I opened up my computer and began applying to jobs myself, something that I wasn't previously going to consider since we have a baby girl who needs raising. We have been blessed to be allowed to live with my parents, so we have the basic necessities of shelter, food, and clothing. That's why I didn't consider our position to be absolute rock bottom...but it seemed pretty close, and it was compared to our history.

But God is oh-so-good, and His provision never fails.  The very next day following that bleak Wednesday when our situation seemed hopeless, on Thursday morning, Jordan got a call back from a company who offered him a position.  And they even accepted the pay rate Jordan requested!  Praise God!

God used this time to teach us many things: humility, dependence on God, faith in His promises, how to manage money wisely, the difference between "need" and "want."  And He has, once again, pulled us through the valley and led us to green pastures.  Oh, hallelujah!

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

-Casting Crowns, "Praise You in This Storm"

P.S. As I was writing this post, I just got a call for a job interview myself. And let's just say...the job fits what I'm looking for in one.  God is working!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Hope in Darkness

“The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places.
But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now
mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.”  -J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

Into the light by ~38DDmisswhiplash on deviantART
Coming Out of the Tunnel by `gilad on deviantART
Grief on the Loss of a Friend by *philneff on deviantART

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Looking for Life in Spring

It is raining out. Droplets of cold water are falling, falling, falling, onto the pure white snow covering the ground.  The crystalline snowflakes are losing their form and melting into bland water; 8 inches has melted into 7 inches and, by the end of the day, may be completely gone, leaving dark muddy naked dead ground behind.

I hate spring in the North (yes, I know it's not spring yet, but today is acting like a spring day). It tears the beautiful snow away from my world, and turns clear, cold days of reflected sunlight and red smiling cheeks into dreary gray days of bone-chilling humidity and dirty mud tracked everywhere.  In the winter, you can go sledding and ice skating; in the fall, you can play football and have bonfires; in the summer, you can go swimming and picnicking. In the spring, you can just do your best to avoid the mud.  At least, that's how I feel about it.  I miss spring in Texas, when the world begins to blossom in March, and I'm on hands and knees planting a garden in the fresh dirt surrounded by flowering trees.  March in Illinois is just dreary and wet.

Yet, the snow must melt. The rain must fall. And the mud must mix into the sub-soil.  Because when it does, and the dirty job of spring is done, everything turns green, flowers bloom, and birds sing.  Baby animals frolic in tender pasture, and people shed layers of clothing for the freedom of a t-shirt and jeans.  And color is everywhere.

I love the beauty of individual snowflakes and of millions of snowflakes combined in a drift.  I love the wildness of stark trees against white snow and blue sky.  I love seeing my favorite constellation, Orion, drift lazily above me, and I love gazing at the bright, colorful diamond-star Sirius.  I love feeling the cold air tingle on my cheeks and turn them red, then coming inside and shaking the snow off and curling up with a cup of hot chocolate and a blanket in front of a fire.

But I love June, as well, with her fully green trees and perfect 70's temperatures.  I love the strobes and crashes of an intense summer thunderstorm that comes and goes in the space of 20 minutes. I love racing across cool water, balancing on two long, thin boards and feeling water droplets fall off my body.  I love being outside every day and seeing something new each day.  Winter has its time, and so does summer, but it's not possible without painful spring.

I go through seasons of spring in my life, as well. I'm in one of those seasons right now. I enjoyed the season of college life and even had it extended as my husband finished his degree and we lived on campus.  Next we hope is the season of being settled somewhere and staying at home, raising our kids while my husband works.  I look forward to homeschooling.  But right now is that dreary in-between time.  It's been 6 months since my husband graduated, and he is still searching for a job.  We have been blessed with the gift of a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, and occasional part-time work, but bills stack up and the baby gets older and we would love to be on our own.  But I am learning, in this time, to trust God more, and He is maturing me beyond the college stage.  (and, I have to say, in spite of the stress of being unemployed, we have truly enjoyed our time staying with my parents; it has also been a period of relaxation after the stress of working & going to college & being involved in much at college)

God is also teaching me to enjoy each stage and not look forward to the future so much that I miss what is happening now.  So I am doing that with this spring in my life, enjoying the time with my parents and Jordan's parents and enjoying our baby while she is still a baby, and I will even do that with the spring that will happen in about a month outside.  I will avoid the mud, but I will also look for the seedlings poking their heads above the muck, bringing life to the grey world.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Engaging in Encouragement: 14 Easy, Everday Ideas

{yes, I love alliteration!} Encouraging others has been on my heart a lot lately.  I’m not usually very intentional about encouragement, and I would really like to be a much better encourager.  It makes my day when someone—friend, family member, stick-in-the-mud—encourages me out of the blue, and it really isn’t that difficult to do.  So why am I not going around trying to help others have better days when it’s an easy thing?

I decided to compile a list of ways I can encourage someone.  Hopefully it will help me remember much more often to take the few minutes to do something unexpected and nice.

  • Write a card – it can even be anonymous, if you don’t want to put pressure on the recipient to respond. Make it a get-well card if the person is sick, or just write a favorite verse with “You are a {insert adjective} person!”

  • Send a verse to someone’s Facebook wall, Twitter, or via private message.

  • Clean something when you’re at a family member or close friend’s house, without being asked by that person. (If you babysit, leave the house cleaner than when you arrived)

  • Tell someone you missed them at the last {small group meeting/church service/MOPS/etc.} (via FB, text, in person, etc.)

  • If someone has just moved in next door, leave an anonymous bag or two of basic groceries on their doorstep. This happened to us when we first got married and moved into our first apartment, and let me tell you, it MADE our day/week/month!  To this day I do not know who left it there, although I have a few wild guesses.  But it helped us out so much and made us feel very welcome.

  • Bake an extra batch of cookies or an extra loaf of bread and give it away.

  • Give something of yours away – a book, a movie, a piece of clothing.  Or let someone borrow something, and when they attempt to give it back, tell them to keep it.

  • Practice hospitality and invite someone (or someones) over, even if just for coffee.  Your house doesn’t have to be spotless, because, chances are, their house isn’t spotless, either. I actually feel more comfortable in a not-spotless house, because then it feels more like home.

  • Give a hearty hug.

  • Ask how you can pray for that person and pray with them (this is also great for people you’ve just met – the waitress who happens to be wearing the same headband as you, the person seated next to you on the airplane, the elderly resident at the nursing home who rooms with your grandparent).

  • Pay for the food the person in the drive-thru behind you ordered.

  • Start a conversation with the shyest person in the room standing by herself.

  • Compliment someone on some part of their character (clothing compliments are nice, but a dime a dozen. Compliments on character, such as, “You are always smiling, and it cheers up the room,” or “You have such a servant heart. I can tell you really seek to serve God through serving others” are so much more powerful).

  • Hold the door open for the mom with a baby, the mom with 4 kids, or the mom-to-be who is spending all her energy just getting up to the door.

There are hundreds, thousands, more ways to encourage others.  Look for ways each day you can encourage someone around you.

What are some ways you have encouraged others or others have encouraged you?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

BS Thursday: Gerald the Juxtaposed Duck

They say he doesn't belong. But he doesn't care; he still goes where no rubber ducky has gone before. His is a long journey, and it will end when he meets the bathtub and his true owner, a babe with brown hair and blue eyes. And at the end of his journey, he will meet his soulmate, a princess duck that has been calling out for him and pining for a ducky dude of her own.  They had met once before, long ago, but he had forgotten, and now he wanders the world where duckies are not welcome.

Meet Gerald, the Juxtaposed Duck.

Gerald the Juxtaposed Duck sitting in snow

His long journey begins today.

(for info on the "BS" in the title, visit my post here)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DIY: An Adventure in Re-Upholstering a Dining Room Chair

Soon after Jordan and I got married, I decided that our dining room set needed a look that was about 20 years newer. The cushions were very worn, frayed, and outdated. I didn't have the money to have it done professionally (of course! I was a newlywed!), so I decided to DIY. After accomplishing incredible feats of math, beating away precision monkeys, and using about 4 different tools in about 6 different ways to unscrew a single screw, I finished re-upholstering the chairs. I also decided to document it in case I (or anyone else) wanted to try it again.

What you'll need:
-Measuring tape
-Sturdy fabric (indoor-outdoor is a good choice for kitchen chairs)
-Strong scissors
-Staple gun and staples (I borrowed mine from a friend)