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