Monday, December 19, 2011

Flyin High

First of all, THANK YOU to all of the friends and famly that prayed for me today while Ella and I flew to Atlanta.  I was very nervous about this flight, since James wouldn't be there to take care of Ella in case I got sick.  I woke up this morning feeling pretty bad, and I finally decided to take a double dose of my Zofran.  You can either take 4mg every 4 hours or you can take 8 mg every 6 hours.  James made the executive decision to have me take the high dose, and I had a much better day today. 

We took a wheelchair to the plane, since I wanted to rest as much as possible.  Ella and I flew AirTran, and I love this airline.  The people are helpful and friendly, and the flight attendants are so accommodating.  I really appreciate all of their help today.  Ella was also a perfect little angel on the flight.  Usually she gets antsy and wants to get down on the floor and run all over the place, but today, she just sat quietly on my lap, read books, and ate animal crackers.  She smiled and cuddled, and even let me get up to go to the bathroom, while the flight attendants watched her.  That's a HUGE deal, since she usually gets hysterical if her parents go somewhere she can't see them.  But not today.  She just read her book and hung out until I got back.  Praise the Lord!!!

Now I'm at my parents' house, and I'm going to get a shower and go to bed.  Tomorrow we've got cousins coming over to play with her, and then on Wednesday, James will be here.  Thanks again for all of your prayers.  Please keep praying for me...I'm not out of the woods yet.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Checkin' In

Hi again.  I feel like I should warn you that I have no idea where this post is going.  I just realized that it's been awhile since I wrote anything, so I figured I should put something up on the blog.  I guess I'll update you on how everyone is doing at our house...

James is very tired.  He's been having to play super-daddy every day, since I'm out of commission.  He adores his little girl, and he loves to play with her, but it wears him out quickly.  He took her out of the house all morning and all afternoon today, since I had a very rough day and needed rest.  She loved the attention, but he's just DONE.  So I advised him to sit on the couch and play Call of Duty for a few hours tonight.  He put on his headphones, picked up his PS3 controller, and checked out.  Poor guy.

Ella is doing pretty well, but she's definitely feeling a lack of hands-on playtime from her mommy.  She's so used to having me down on the floor with her or reading books in the rocking chair during the day, and I know that she's confused to see me lying on the couch.  She keeps coming over and trying to pull me off the couch, like it's a game of hide-and-go-seek or something.  Poor baby.  Thankfully, she and I are headed to my parents' house for a week tomorrow, with James to follow us on Wednesday, so she will get lots of attention while we're there.  Hopefully she will let people play with her and not go into "I don't know who you are and I want my mommy" mode.  I guess we'll see.

And how am I?  Well, I'm sick.  Really sick.  I had a BAD afternoon, and if that keeps happening, I'm going to talk to my doctor about putting me on the Zofran pump rather than the pills.  Right now, I'm dealing with extreme nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, stomach cramps, dizziness, and other things.  There are some good moments when I feel almost normal...but they are fleeting and rare.  Hopefully this won't last 70% of my pregnancy like it did last time, but I'm not going to get too hopeful and set myself up for frustration and disappointment.  Mentally, it's just better for me to be prepared, and then I can be pleasantly surprised if it is better than I expect. 

Okay, well I would write more, but I need to go throw up.  See ya.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Blessedly Sick

Weird title, I know.  But that's just how it is these days. 

I'm sure you've all heard by now our wonderful news that I'm pregnant with baby number two, and we're very excited!!!  However, this comes with a catch...I'm pregnant.  And when I get pregnant, I get a little monster called "hyperemesis gravidarum."  Those of you who were here when I was pregnant with Ella will remember that I got this beast of a medical condition, which is defined as, “debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration due to unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting.”  (You can read about it at if you are interested.)  Last time, I had to be hospitalized to get it under control, and I had been hoping that wouldn't happen this time. 

Well, I wasn't so lucky...and last Saturday, I ended up in the emergency room at Barnes Hospital with pretty bad dehydration.  They pumped me with not one but TWO liters of IV fluid, and I felt well enough to go back home.  Thankfully, my body responds to a medication called Zofran, which was developed to help chemotherapy patients deal with nausea, and is safe during pregnancy, so I am taking that every 4 hours, all day.  This medicine has side effects of its own which aren't fun, but they're better than constant debilitating nausea, so I'm really thankful to have it. 

So that's why you haven't heard from me in awhile.  I'm currently seven and a half weeks along with little peanut, so I've got a long way to go!  I'm due a few weeks after we move to Savannah this summer, so this will be a Georgia-born kid.  Love it.

Here's a picture of little peanut from the ER sonogram machine, at a little over 6 weeks along...

Here's a closeup...

I'm scheduled to go to the OB's office for the first time on Wednesday, so hopefully we'll have more pictures to share!

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


What was Ella for Halloween? 

I'm so glad you asked!

She was...drumroll please....Cinderella! 

It seemed appropriate, given her nickname, as well as her overwhelming obsession with the movie.  It's one of two Disney movies that she asks to watch every single day...all day.  No, we don't actually let her watch tv every day, but she would have this one on repeat if we allowed it.  She was delighted with her costume...

I've never taken her trick-or-treating before, but the block behind our house is really safe, and we have lots of friends back there, so this year, we did it.  Here we are, all ready to go!

James had a really bad cold, so he didn't feel up to going.  Instead, my friend Katie came with us.  She was pretty excited, and Ella was thrilled to have her along!

Once we got home, I bathed Ella and put her to bed.  Then Katie and I ate her candy.

The End.

Friday, October 28, 2011

How Deep the Father's Love For Us

Have you ever heard this song?  I've been thinking a lot about it lately...

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

...more on why later...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Prepare for Landing...

Normally, I try not to share diaper incidents on this blog. 

Okay, maybe just one.

Yesterday, I flew with Belle from St. Louis to Atlanta on AirTran.  We're going to attend my sister's baby shower and my mom's birthday party this weekend.  Since James is coming on Friday after work, I decided to go ahead and bring both of our bags, so that he wouldn't have to take luggage to work.  This made it cost-effective for me to upgrade to business class, so I sat in row 3, right beside a kind middle-aged gentleman, with Belle in my lap. 

This kid has been on some airplanes in her 19 months of life, by the way.  29 of them, in fact.  She's a pretty frequent flyer.

Okay, back to the story. 

So there I am, sitting with Belle, happily reading Goodnight Gorilla, when the pilot comes on the intercom to say, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are beginning our final descent into the Atlanta airport.  Please remain in your seats with your seatbelts fascined, and we will be on the ground momentarily..."

That's when I smelled it.

And it was BAD.

About a thousand thoughts rushed through my head all at once...
"What did she eat for lunch??"
"So THAT's why she wanted to squat down on the floor!"
"I hope it didn't get on her clothes."
"I wonder if these people think that's ME."

But the thought that crowded out all the others was this...I'm in BUSINESS class.  These people did not sign up for the full Ella experience.  They paid good money for these seats, and they shouldn't have to smell this for the next 15 minutes.  I've got to fix it.

So I risked my life, stood up, laid her on the seat, and changed her then and there. 

Yes, I took one for the upper middle-class team, of which I am not even close to being a member.

I broke a federal law for a dirty diaper.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Recurrence of the Plague

So, we're all sick.


Thanks, mom of that little kid in the cry room at church who let your sick kid grab all my healthy kid's toys and wipe snot all over them before telling me TWENTY MINTUES LATER that your kid was "really sick." 

That was really considerate of you.

Monday, September 19, 2011

If You Give a Toddler a Cookie...

Have you ever read that children's book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie?"

Well, here's the Ella version...

If you give a toddler a cookie, she's going to want a glass of milk.

If you get her a glass of milk, she's going to remember that it comes from a cow.

If she thinks about cows, she's going to run upstairs to the playroom to get her book about farm animals.

If she runs upstairs to the playroom, she will stop on the stair landing to play with your glass candle holders.

If you ask her to stop playing with the glass candle holders, she will turn around and run up the rest of the stairs to the playroom.

If she gets to the playroom, she will start sorting through her toys to look for her book.

If she sorts through her toys to find her book, she will find her bucket and shovel that she used to play in the sand at the beach.

If she finds her beach toys, she will run to her room to find her bathing suit.

If she pulls out her pink bathing suit, she will want to wear it.

If she wants to wear it, she will put it on...over her clothes. 

If she puts on her bathing suit over her clothes, you have to take a picture.

If you have to take a picture, she will have to smile and look adorable.

If she looks that adorable, you will inevitably give her another cookie.

Don't believe me? 

Well, here's the proof...

Sunday, September 04, 2011


Our front porch is a disaster.  Or, rather, it was a disaster.


The sad tale of the porch cracking history is unknown to me, but I do know that these cracks have made it impossible to sell our house.  We haven't had the money to get the porch fixed, but recently we faced the fact that it had to be done, found a good contractor, and took the plunge. 

 This week, the guys showed up to do the work, and it was really interesting to watch it happen!  Let me introduce you to Rusty, the guy in charge of the work crew.  He likes to use drills, hammers, and chisels...

They took off the top layer of tile and cement...

 This is what it looked like at the end of the first day, after they carted off most of the rubble.

 On day two, they dropped by for half an hour to power wash the surface.


Then, on day three, they laid wire mesh before pouring the concrete.

We had to wait a bit for the truck, but at last, it arrived!

Ella was so excited.  She had been supervising the process carefully in her pajamas.

The guys started bring up wheelbarrows of concrete and dumping them over the wire mesh.

Then they spread it out with these little hand tools.

They did the initial smoothing with a 2 x 4 plank.

Then they used this thing to push the concrete down and make sure there were no holes underneath.

Despite the fact that it was nap time, Ella pulled her chair over to the door and watched the whole process.  Notice the change of attire...she let me change her clothes, but she wouldn't leave her observation point.

This was another smoothing tool.

Here was how it looked after they smoothed it with the tool above.

At this point, I had to leave to go to work, so I didn't get any more pictures.  They waited for the surface to harden a little, and then they smoothed it one more time and scraped a special tool over it to give it a little bit of texture.  

Then we waited 2 days for it to harden....and voila!  A new front porch!

Hopefully potential buyers will think that this is a big improvement, and someone will make us an offer.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Raising Belle

You might have noticed the new blog title.  Or maybe not!  In any case, I've been trying to figure out what to name this blog since we don't have our dog anymore, and I've settled on "Raising Belle." 

Wanna know why? 

Well, it's pretty simple.  Our little girl has several nicknames, one of the most popular of which is "Belle."  This is really a shortened version of Ellabelle, which was another nickname of hers.  (James is big on the nicknames....he's got a million of 'em.)  It's appropriate for several reasons.  First, she's beautiful, and "belle" is the French word for beautiful.  Second, her mama is Southern, and soon she will also live in the deep South, so she will be a little Southern Belle.  Finally, she's a little wild woman, so it makes sense to give a nod to the expression, "raising hell"....thus, we are Raising Belle!!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Adventures in Spaghetti

I might have gone a little bit nuts at the farmers' market in Tower Grove Park this morning.  Okay, maybe I went a LOT nuts...whatever.  Since James is on call all weekend, I figured I'd spend a little time in the kitchen working on my spaghetti sauce recipe.  Over the past 10 years or so, I've used a spaghetti sauce recipe that starts with a commercially jarred sauce, simply adding fresh ingredients to that base.  But I thought it would taste even better if everything in the sauce was fresh, so today I decided to experiment.

Here's the lineup...onions, tomatoes, red peppers, garlic, carrots, olive oil, wine, garlic powder, onion powder, san marzano tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

A really huge cast iron pot...

 even bigger cutting board...

...lots of fresh herbs on the back deck...

Unfortunately, I had to buy the tomatoes, since the local wildlife have already enjoyed ALL of mine on my behalf.  Stupid squirrels.

So here's what I did.  I chopped up the onions.

...and the carrots...

I made the carrots really small, so they'd soften quickly, and I tossed them (along with the onions) into the pot with olive oil to soften up for about 8 minutes. 

Meanwhile, I peeled and grated the garlic.  Yes, I grate my garlic rather than chopping it.  Just call me Rachael Ray.

The next step is where things went awry.  I thought that I would make the tomato puree by pulsing some canned San Marzano tomatoes in the food processor.  They are supposed to taste great, because they grow in the fertile soil at the base of Mount Vesuvius in Italy, and they're really famous.  Well, let me tell you that I didn't really like the taste.  SO....I made two batches - one with the SM tomatoes pureed, and one with some tomatoes from the farmers' market pureed.  I liked the fresh stuff much better.  Lesson learned.

Then, I chopped up some (like a LOT of) tomatoes and threw them in the pot. 

For some extra tomato goodness, I put in some tomato paste.

Then I picked some basil and oregano from the garden, chopped it, and tossed it in.

Then I added salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, a little sugar, and about a fourth of a bottle of chianti.  I let that simmer for about an hour, and it was fabulous!!

The stuff with the fresh tomatoes was much tastier than the stuff with the canned ones, although they were both much better than what you buy in the spaghetti sauce section of the grocery store.  Why not try to make your own?  It's actually not hard, and it's delicious!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

House Cleaning

Ella's hanging out in her high chair eating lunch, chowing down on hotdogs, black beans, spanish rice, and wheat bread.  Someday, she'll realize that those things aren't meant to be eaten together, but for now, she thinks I'm the next Paula Dean, so I'm going to go with it.  Besides, I'm having brain freeze.

Why, you ask? 

Well, I'll tell you.  I just cleared over 3000 emails out of my inbox.  I had to sort them through, rather than just deleting the whole inbox, because there were some things in there that had to be saved.  It's mind-numbing, which is why I haven't done it in probably 2 years.  I'm so glad that's done.  I really need to do my other email address's inbox, too, but I'll save that for another day. 

In other news, we're back home from Saratoga, and we had a BLAST.  I'll do some blog posts about it soon, so that you can see what we did.  I've unpacked the suitcases, straightened up the house, and now I need to go to the grocery store. 

Okay, Ella's done with lunch and wants to get down, so I'd better go.  Bye!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Backyard Fun!

By now, I'm sure everyone has heard about the mythical "heat dome" that is trapping a horrible weather system over the midwestern United States, causing record high temperatures for weeks this summer.  And if you haven't heard about it, I want to know where you live, so that I can live there, too. 

But anyway.

After six straight weeks of telling Ella that she couldn't play outside because it was too hot, James and I realized that we needed a new strategy.  Our little girl has breathing problems, and they get worse (like scary worse) when she gets overheated, so I couldn't just let her run around in the yard.  Then, we went to the seminary's summer picnic, where they had kiddie pools set up outside, along with a slip and slide (blast from the past!) for the kids to cool off from the heat.  (The Dean of Students also climbed into the pool and took several runs down the slip and slide, too.  That's why we love him.)  That gave us an idea...we needed to buy our own pool!

So the next day, we went to Target and got a fun little blow-up pool, and Ella thought it was the greatest thing ever.  Here's how it works.  Ella wakes up, and we do our usual morning and afternoon routine.  Then, around the time that James usually comes home from work, she starts making periodic trips to the front door to look out at the street and see if daddy is home yet.  I eventually get her a little popsicle to combat the heat, and we go out to sit on the front porch and wait.  Before too long, she sees his car pull up, and he gets out.  She squeals, "DADDY!!!!" as he walks up, and she starts to jump around and run into the house.  Before he even gets his shoes off or puts his keys down, she starts trying to pull him towards the back door.  After a few minutes, he humors her, and she leads him to the garage, where they pull out the swimming pool, as I head upstairs to get swimsuits for both of them. 

It's adorable.  Seriously. 

You might notice all of the letters and numbers floating around in the water...those are her bath toys.  She loves to bring them downstairs and put them in the pool.

Ella doesn't seem to think the pool is nearly as much fun if James doesn't get into it and splash with her.  She's such a sweetheart.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Ella has discovered Disney animated movies this month, and she seems particularly taken with one in particular...Cinderella.  (This is probably because they keep saying "Ella" in the movie.)  She always loves the scenes where the mice are singing and dancing as they do their work.  Apparently, this has inspired her to start doing some work of her own....

 However, that broom is a bit big for such a little person...

But don't worry.  She's pretty sure she can handle it.


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pink Slippers

It's amazing to watch a kid learn to love something.  To see them go from a sleepy, tiny infant to an actual kid who has ideas and opinions.  Lately, Ella has developed quite a fancy for shoes.  Any kid of shoes.  Large ones, small ones, in between ones, red ones, black ones, shiny ones, ones with heels, ones that you run in, ones that you dance in, and other ones.  She'll raid my closet at any time of day she can reach it.  Pretty much every morning when I am busy making the bed, she comes in to join me for a shoe session.  She'll throw James's red tie around her neck out of his closet, slip on my high heels, and prance around until people start to admire her.  She LOVES the ones with heels.

But her pink slippers are her special shoes.

I think that she feels like a princess in these slippers.  She hunts them up every day, puts her tiny toes into them, and then gives you the "...okay, now I feel SO pretty" look. 

Of course, her favorite thing to do is dance in them...after all, isn't that what slippers are meant for?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Booster Seat

Well, I didn't post much this month.  You might have noticed, ha, ha!  July has just been a month where things went crazy at work, and now I'm just starting to get a handle on things again.  In any case, I will probably start doing some short little posts for awhile, so that I can post more often.  I've been struggling with wanting to write, and then realizing that I don't have time to write all that I want to say, so I don't end up writing anything.  I'm just going to do some short posts for awhile, and see how that goes.

Lately, Ella has started sitting in a "big girl" chair at lunch and dinner, with a booster seat to help her little 27" frame reach the food on the table.  She's so proud of herself, and she often goes around the dining room table, climbing up on each chair to try it out and see what the view looks like from each spot.  I finally got her to stop climbing up onto the least for now. 

Fortunately, this seems to be helping us to solve the problems we were having at restaurants, too.  She used to always insist on standing up in her high chair, so we would have a wrestling match every time we went out to dinner.  Now, she doesn't do that because she likes sitting at the table with us and joining in the conversation.

Now if she could just get her daddy to let her drink out of his cup and eat off his plate, life would be awesome!

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


Well, friends, I've got a sad announcement to make.  After much careful consideration for several months, we have decided that we can't keep our dog Max, and we took him back to the Humane Society today.  (You might note that the title of the blog has changed, and it will change again when I figure out what I want to call it now.) 

This was a really hard decision for us (it involved some tears), but we truly feel that he needs a lot more space than we can give him, and we owed it to him to allow him to find a new family.  He's been a good friend, and we will miss him, but this was really the right thing for us to do.  Thanks for everyone who called or emailed to let us know how sorry they were about this - we appreciate it!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011


I love playing with my little girl.  She is so much fun, and it is such a joy to watch her learn and explore.  Lately, she's been learning how to play on the playground, and she particularly loves to come down the slide.  She's often a little too brave, and she will try to come down a slide that is too high for her.

Here's a cute picture that our friend Mary Martha took a couple of weeks ago on the seminary playground...

Sweet girl!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blooming in June

Well, things have been wild lately, so I thought I'd post some pictures of a place of back yard.  I used to really dislike this time of year, because spring is finished, and the flowers all start to die.  The grass can get a little brown from the heat, and the stuff that was so pretty just a few weeks ago isn't so pretty anymore. Then, I learned to plant stuff that can survive the heat...and I started to like mid-summer!  (I'm still trying to find stuff that can bloom in mid-January, under a foot of snow, so if you are aware of anything for THAT time of year, let me know...)

Well, thus far, the heat has knocked back the roses, and the lilies are pretty much done for the year, but the hot weather flowers are starting to come into their own.  Take a look...

Here are the green beans.  They're SUPPOSED to be bush beans, because I'm tired of dealing with climbers, but they're not acting like bush beans.  Very aggravating.

Here are some squash and cucumber plants...with a huge weed in the background by the bag of garden soil =)

I love these flowers - they look like firecrackers!

Pretty daisies.

This is our purple phlox, which James likes to call the "P-flox allstars."  He's so strange.

Purple puffballs.

Red Don Juan climbing roses.

Last of the yellow lillies.

Pink double knock-out roses.

Last of the pink lillies.

Can't remember what these are called.

Red snap dragons!

Pink climbing roses.

Last of the maroon lilies.

White marigold.

Here are some tomatoes!!!

Here's a shrub rose!

Clematis, climbing on the back gate.

Purple asters.

And my favorite of all the blossoms in the garden...

She's my sweet little under-gardener!

Playing with her daddy's pager and cell phone...

...oh, wait...I'm not supposed to have these?

Sweet little Belle.