Friday, December 12, 2008


I was broom sweeping around the fireplace yesterday morning at about 11:15 with Ian running around the living room and dining room, when I heard him crash into something and fall down. Since this happens about 500 times a day (he is a "toddler," after all, people!), I kept on sweeping and casually asked, "Ian, you ok?" Then the screaming ensued. I turned around to see my little boy running towards me with blood flowing down his face and smeared all over it by his hand. Blood was dripping all over his clothes and onto the floor. Quite a shocking sight for a mom. I guess he wasn't quite ok.

So after getting him cleaned up and attempting to put some ice on the goose egg that was rapidly forming on his noggin -- a feat which he refused to let me accomplish with all his might -- I made us a quick lunch of peanut butter sandwiches and fruit, and made the (blessedly short) trek to the local immediate care clinic. Thankfully, the bleeding from the cavernous gash on his forehead was reduced to a trickle that was easily wiped up every 5 minutes or so with a damp paper towel.

There, Ian experienced the application of his first stitches: four of them to be exact. We were there for most of the afternoon and finally left around 3:00 (after some precautionary x-rays and a lot of waiting), after which Eric and I took him to McDonald's for some much-deserved ice cream.

All in all, I was proud of his behavior throughout the day. Here are some fun highlights:

* While we were still at home before leaving, I tried to find out what he had hurt himself on. I asked, "Where did you bump your head, Ian?" He looked a little confused, pointed at his forehead, and said, "Right there, Mommy."

* A minute or two before the doctor came in to stitch him up, he commented to me, "Fun day, Mommy! Thank you fun day!" He had already received a Bob the Builder sticker and gotten to play with a stethoscope, so he thought he was in heaven. All I could say was, "I'm glad you're having fun!" He had no idea what was coming....

* Mere moments after screaming and thrashing around so badly that it took three of us to hold him down (me and 2 very patient nurses) while the doctor stitched him up, Ian literally hopped off the table and said in a very happy voice, "All done! Play now?"

* The doctor gave him a neon orange bandaid for his stitches, which Ian was very proud of. Every person at the clinic who asked him what he did after that got a description of his "cool or'nge ban-naid."

Here's a picture of Ian with his two face scars in front of the Christmas tree this morning -- the other cut on his chin was from falling headlong into his bathroom step stool a few days ago. As you can see, he's quite proud of himself!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Tunnels, walls, and choo-choos

Nearly everyday (and usually many times throughout the day), I hear this sweet little voice ask, "Mommy? Build tunnel?" I'm tellin' ya, the kid is obsessed with tunnels right now and I have to admit, sometimes I get tired of building tunnels. Sometimes I'd much rather read a grown-up book or peruse status updates on Facebook or hide my head under the fluffy comforter on my bed and take a good, long nap. But since I love the kid so darn much, and he usually asks so nicely, I indulge him in some tunnel-building together for at least a few minutes a day. And it usually turns out to be quite fun.

Like a couple days ago when we were still both in our jammies (I won't mention how late in the morning it was), Ian got out all of his wooden blocks and his wooden train set, and we had a big ol' tunnel/wall/track building party. It wasn't the first time he'd integrated all of these toys into one elaborate masterpiece, but it was the first time I'd thought to get the camera out while doing it. So here ya go: the progression of Ian's building expertise.
building the tunnel
Ian with his wall
Tunnel, wall, and choo-choo, all together

And later that day, while playing with Daddy.....
We love the fact that he gets so much use out of the wooden toys we've carefully picked out for him. We intentionally look for toys with which he can use his imagination and play with in all sorts of ways. He really is learning how to use his imagination and play time is getting to be more and more fun! Maybe tomorrow, I'll think twice about wanting to take that nap....

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stuff Christians Like

Our cousin Beth clued us in on this funny blog by a guy in Atlanta. He dedicates his website to talking about the oddities of American Christian culture and allows his readers to make fun of themselves along with him. I love to see what crazy things he's talking about each day!

Monday, October 13, 2008

90% of a Decade

Eric reminded me today that we both forgot our dating anniversary last week on October 8th! We've been so preoccupied with program development and classes at Bethel, renovating our new house, and gearing up for yet another move that it completely slipped our minds! We usually have a small celebration where we at least go out to dinner to commemorate the day, but this year the evening was spent grading papers and watching an episode of "Chuck" online. We might have had some ice cream.

The reason Eric even remembered it was that he was thinking about what a beautiful fall day it is...very similar to many of the fall days during that semester in 1999 when we spent a lot of time talking walks together (sometimes skipping class to do so!) while enjoying the cool breezes, bright colors, and flitting grayish clouds overhead. Fall always reminds us of the beginnings of our relationship, which is one reason why it's such a special time of year for us. (See my post from 9/12/07.)

So nine years later, here we are, working at Bethel and living in the same neighborhood, enjoying the exact same breezes, colors, and sky that we did in that fateful fall of 1999. Here's hoping for many more to enjoy together!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Book Report -- In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto

My friend Andrea was reading this book, and after hearing a brief synopsis from her, I was intrigued. Not the "I-have-to-read-that-now!" kind of intrigued, but the sort of curiosity about something that you know will shake up your life a little bit, even if you don't really feel like shaking things up. Deep down, I really like complacency. It's comfortable. It feels better to be a little ignorant and keep living life the way you always have than to stumble across new information that shocks you a little bit into making some changes.

Which, of course, is what this book by Michael Pollan did, to some extent. Now, our household has been on an on-going quest for a healthy lifestyle ever since Eric and I got married. Little by little, we've been educating ourselves on finding the right balance of nutrition and exercise to keep our bodies and minds working as well as possible. So it's not like I've never thought about the things In Defense of Food pontificates on. Pollan just gave me a little more information...."food for thought," if you will.

The premise behind In Defense of Food is that we Americans don't eat like we were intended to eat as human beings, and we need to get back to the basics. Pollan suggests a mindset that is driven by reminding oneself to: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." In other words, eat mostly real, whole food, not "food products" created by science. Don't stuff yourself; it's just not healthy. And while there are some definite health benefits to eating meat, dairy, and grains, try to focus more on eating plants instead. For more information, read the book. :)

While Pollan didn't convince me that all "food products" are evil, he did convince me to at least think more carefully about the food I purchase and consume and its affect on both my body and the environment. For instance, I'm trying to frequent our local farmer's market more often for my produce than my local mega-mart. The food I can find there comes straight from the earth and has mostly been raised without pesticides and fertilizers...and is a heckuva lot cheaper than visiting the organic section of the regular grocery store. Thankfully, South Bend has an indoor farmer's market that is open three days a week, so I can actually fit this into my lifestyle in a more convenient fashion. Also, instead of going straight for the nutrition facts on food labels, I'm trying to worry less about the fat/protein/carb/calorie content (although those things should still be considered in a balanced diet) and concentrate more on exactly what is in the food I'm buying. Ideally, an ingredient list should consist of mostly food. I know, I know, that sounds crazy! But all those food derivatives (high fructose corn syrup, sodium bicarbonate, maltodextrin, monosodium glutamate, to name a few) are simply not food.

So anyway, I came away from the book having learned some things, as well as having more questions pop up in my mind to be considered in later research. But for now, I'm taking to heart his admonition to eat food, not too much, and mostly plants. What do I have to lose?

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Ian's been meeting a lot of cousins lately!

Last week, we went to Plymouth to get together with Eric's cousin Beth, who was visiting her parents for a few days from southern Indiana. We hadn't met her youngest son Jay yet and wanted the little kids to all have a chance to play together. We went to a nearby park, then had a delicious lunch prepared by Aunt Rachael (Eric's aunt, who is also a good old family friend of my family from way back when!). We were able to get the kids to sit still long enough to get this shot of Ian, Jay, Annabelle, and Joey:
Then yesterday, Ian and I drove to Fort Wayne to meet my brother's daughter, Kennice. She's such a cutie pie! For the few hours I was around her, she seemed quite content and happy. After Ian ate Mom's delicious dinner of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans and homemade applesauce (before which he was Mister Grumpus), he enjoyed playing a little bit with his baby cousin. It was a fun evening! So here are some pictures of Kennice and Ian:

My mom and dad with their two grandchildren:
Fun times, all around!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A New Life for Ian

from Lisa

You may notice that the last two posts, as well as this one, are all talking about "new" things. It's been two months since we came to South Bend, and we're still in that transition period. Some days, we really miss Bloomington and our friends there, but most of the time, we're completely stoked to be where we are and to be headed in the direction we seem to be going with our lives. Even still, some adjustment is required. Even little Ian is processing things in his own way, as evidenced by this conversation we had in the Jeep on Monday morning on our way to Meijer for this week's groceries:

Ian: "New church, Mommy?"
Me: "No, Ian, we're not going to the new church today. We're going to Meijer!"

(thoughtful silence on Ian's part)

Ian: "No old church. No Marsh....Meijer."
Me: "That's right, Ian!"

(more thoughtful silence)

Ian: "No old house. No IU....Bethel."

The little guy is obviously starting to realize that we have a different life than we used to. Thankfully, this fact doesn't seem to bother him much, but it's pretty interesting to hear him process the differences out loud. I'm sure there are things he misses about those "old" things, but at least he seems to be on board with embracing the "new" things. I'm so thankful!

New House!

Yep, we're buying a house. A few years ago, when the far-off idea of coming back to Bethel was just being tossed around in various people's heads, Eric and I began dreaming what that might entail.

"We could be professors at Bethel, starting a new program to help the school fulfill its mission. We could be involved in students' lives the way some key people were involved in our lives when we were students. And maybe, just maybe, we could buy a house in Bercliff Estates and live only blocks away from campus so we could walk to work every day and be accessible to the students we're mentoring."

At the time, it was all just pie-in-the-sky style dreaming. But now, we're actually living it. And quite often, we look at each other and say incredulously, "Can you believe this is actually happening?"

But it is. Even down to the part about living in the neighborhood we had hoped to someday live in.

The funny thing is, we looked at this house during our house-hunting marathon last spring, and ruled it out due to price and amount of work that needed to be done on it. However, since then, the house has become empty, the hardwood floors have all been refinished, and the price dropped within a reasonable distance of our price cap. So we thought, "Why not look at it again?" After doing so, we put an embarrassingly low offer on the house (which was the best we could do), and with some negotiation over a couple of weeks, it was accepted. Then came the round of inspections to deal with, where more negotiating took place. In the end, the sellers graciously conceded to let us have the house at a price we can easily afford and with a doable amount of work left to be done. Praise God!

So this will be our new home in another month or two:
We are so thankful to God that all of this is taking place! We just sit in incredulity at how He orchestrates things in ways we never would have imagined! Sometimes He gives us exactly what we want, and sometimes He gives us exactly what we need...which we then later realize was best all along. This situation happens to fit in both categories.

PS: For those of you who are Facebook users, I've posted more pictures of the inside of the house on my profile.

Friday, August 01, 2008

New Animal Friends

This week we've tried to get out and enjoy South Bend a little bit before we dive into the school year, so on Wednesday morning, we went to the nearby Potawatomi Zoo as a family. I had never been to that particular zoo (to my recollection...maybe I went there as a baby/toddler when my family lived in the area), and it was a nice, little zoo with a heavy emphasis on protecting and increasing endangered species. We saw all sorts of exotic animals like red pandas, bison, snow leopards, white-naped cranes, and chinese alligators. While the morning started out cool, by the time lunch time rolled around, it was hot and we were all ready to get home for Ian's nap, but not before finishing the day with a ride on the "choo-choo," the highlight of the day for Ian.
Ian watching the tiger
Ian was afraid of the goats!
Eric and Ian on the train

Yesterday, we also made a new friend who came right to our patio door and asked for food: a little kitty! She was so hungry and so sweet, and she let Ian do almost anything to her. She just kept cuddling right up next to him. They ate their afternoon snacks together, and she spent the entire rest of the evening dozing on and under our patio furniture. By this morning, she was gone, and we haven't seen her at all today. Here are some pictures of our new friend, though:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

A Quick Update

We're still here! It's been almost 3 weeks since we updated, and a LOT has happened! On the 10th of July, Eric successfully defended his dissertation! It was a beautiful day with lots of people we love milling about. Here are some pictures from the day:
Eric giving the presentation
After the defense, waiting to hear the final verdict

On the afternoon of the defense, Ian went home with his Nana and Pop where he spent a few days before switching to his Mimi and Papa's house. They all kept him so we could finish packing and make the move up north a little easier. (Thanks again, Moms and Dads!) Then, a couple days after the defense, Eric turned 29! He's calling this year the "victory lap" of his 20's -- and what an exciting year it's already turning out to be!

Less than a week after the defense, we packed up all our belongings in a Uhaul and moved back up to South Bend. I can't describe how weird it felt to be driving up US31 into South Bend, knowing that we were coming back after six years. Not weird in a bad way....just strange because when we moved south to Bloomington, we never imagined that we'd take the same road back up to our new-old home. It's very exciting! We're so happy about the chance to teach and be involved at Bethel College. It's amazing how God works!

So now, we're getting settled into our apartment and beginning to keep our eyes open for possible house candidates within walking distance of campus. Ian is adjusting fine and seems to even like his new surroundings. He's just glad the cat is still here!

Saturday, July 05, 2008


We had a very nice 4th of July yesterday! Even though the weather brought the coldest Independence Day I ever remember experiencing, we got to spend time with some good friends and each other. We also ate lots of yummy food! Isn't that the hallmark of every truly good holiday?

In other news, lately, Ian's been celebrating every single meal with his own toast. Sometime early in the meal, he lifts his sippy cup and says, "Cheers", eagerly expecting us to follow suit...which, of course, we do. It's become a fun family ritual at any meal. We have no idea where he got it from! He may have seen us do it once or twice, but we very rarely say "Cheers" when we toast, so who knows! At any rate, it's fun.

Also, he loves to help water the miniature garden we put out this year of one cherry tomato plant and three basil plants. He lugs the watering can across the yard, and painstakingly pours water on our thirsty plants. He's always so proud of himself when he's done, and we usually have to fill the watering can another two or three times before he's satisfied. So cute.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Good Thought; Bad Implementation

Here's a quick, random little Ian story.

A few weeks ago I put Ian on the potty after a failed nap attempt. My patience was rather short, and I was not feeling very good, so I just gave him a book and told him to call for me after he was done going to the bathroom (this is actually standard procedure when Ian is stalling, but I've begun to extend it to times when I'm just plain annoyed with him). That same day I had been putting away laundry, and I had left a pile of wash cloths on the sink counter which is next to the toilet.

After leaving Ian in the bathroom, I went out to the couch to lay down for a couple minutes while he did his business. For two or three minutes I could hear him chattering to himself while "reading" his book. Then, after a little while, it dawned on me that there had been complete silence from the bathroom for at least 30 seconds.

I quietly got up from the couch and tip-toed down the hall and peeked into the bathroom. Two things immediately jumped out at me:

1. Ian, seated on his seat, with a very thoughtful look was staring intently down into the toilet bowl. He had his hands curled up into little fists that were resting on his hips.

2. My stack of washcloths was no longer there.

I said, "Ian, whatcha doin' buddy?"

He looked up at me saying, "Uh-oh. Shorry. Mess."

What had happened was that he had peed all over the place, and had apparently tried to clean it up with the wash cloths that were on the counter. However, he had accidentally dropped them into the toilet.

I just shook my head, and we both started laughing.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Choices, choices

About a month ago, I blogged about the ideas we got from the book Parenting with Love and Logic. Since then, we've tailored some of their ideas to our own situation and personalities. One way we've done this is by using choices to help lead Ian to a result that is not an option. For instance, all the steps leading up to a nap are laden with choices for him. "Do you want to sit on the big potty or the little potty? Do you want the grey sweatpants or the green sweatpants? Do you want the blue blanket or the green blanket? Do you want the duck book or the doggie book?" The wonderful thing about all these choices is that none of the specifics matter to us. What does matter to us is that he's still going potty, he's still putting on sweatpants, and he's still going down for a nap, but he feels like he's a part of the process and does everything much more willingly.

For another example, Ian often likes to climb into his own car seat now, instead of being placed there by us, and when we try to force him into the seat because he's taking too long (playing with the buckles, etc.), it's a struggle, to say the least! However, if we simply say to him as we're approaching the car, "Ian, do you want to get in your car seat by yourself, or do you want Mommy/Daddy to put you in?", he can answer either way and he knows what to expect when he gets in the car. Getting in the car seat is not an option, but how he gets in there is. The "Do you want to ______, or do you want Mommy/Daddy to ______" is a very powerful tool. It puts him in the driver's seat while still putting him on the right road to where we want to go. It seems that it's all about setting the stage for the situation so he knows what to expect.

In dealing with undesired behavior, the choices also work quite well. If he's being exorbitantly loud at dinner, we calmly tell him, "You can either sit nicely and quietly in your chair, or you can play on the floor without food. Which do you want to do: eat or play?" If he chooses to eat, but continues to have inappropriate table manners (we're talking about things a 2-year-old reasonably has control over -- his mouth and loud antics), we gently take him down out of his chair and his supper is over, which means he probably goes to bed a little hungry. We've only had to do this once so far. An empty tummy is a powerful consequence to misbehavior related to food. However, a full tummy and the enjoyment of dinner is also a powerful consequence and motivation to straighten up. The trick is coming up with consequences that are applicable to the situation, and making it clear that the action leading to those consequences is his own choice.

I can't help but think that these choices are helping him become a more responsible individual, in the long run. I hope that the more situations he comes across to learn from his choices, the better choices he'll make as he gets older. All of this mixed with empathy and instruction about God's love may lead him in the right direction. I hope! Like my friend Anne says, it's kind of like "preventive" parenting: staying one step ahead of your child and predicting what might set him/her off, then being upfront with the child about the situation so that their actions really are their choice.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


by Lisa

For those of you not on Facebook, here is an update of our latest projects that we've been doing!

Eric decided to use his power tools for the last time in a year (they'll be put in storage while we're living in the apartment this year) and build a TV cabinet with doors so our TV isn't "staring" at us all the time! He stained it a similar color to our coffee table and end tables, and it matches almost perfectly! I'm so impressed with his woodworking abilities! Here are some pictures of the finished product:

I, on the other hand, realized that a lot of our artwork and wall hangings that we had hanging in our living room were very low on color (our walls do all the "coloring" for them!), and that we'll be living in an all-white apartment with light beige carpeting. Not too inspiring. So I decided, instead of spending tons of money on artwork, to make my own! I used pre-made stretched canvas and acrylics to make three wall hangings. It was the first time I had picked up an artist's paintbrush in nine years, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Here are some pictures of how they turned out:
While our handiwork is certainly not commercial quality, we have really enjoyed creating things with our own hands these past couple of weeks and putting our own stamp on our furniture and decorations. It's been fun, and we'll enjoy the outcomes for years to come!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Ian loves "watching" us make dinner or whatever we happen to be doing at the kitchen counter. He pushes a dining room chair into the kitchen and puts it right up against the cabinet so he can see what's going on up there on the counter. Sometimes, he "helps", but most of the time there are knives and other non-kid-friendly things involved, so he's relegated to watching. We soften the blow of not being able to help by feeding him appetizers of his favorite veggies: carrots, cucumbers, green (or red) peppers, tomatoes, etc. It's a great way to get some veggies in him before dinner even starts (so we're less worried when he only goes for the meat and starch at the table), and to keep him occupied while we work! Making dinner has become a family affair!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Reading with Dad

Hello! It's definitely summer! We've got Indiana's famous high-heat, high-humidity concoction of weather sitting right on our doorstep, and it looks like it's going to be staying for a while. The thunderstorms have moved away for a couple of days, but according to, they'll be back later this week to add more water to the too much we already have! Some of you may have seen reports about the flooding in our area. It's been pretty crazy. Two of my co-workers are still stuck in Indianapolis due to roads being closed between there and Bloomington. Hopefully, the water will start to recede soon and we won't have any more damage.

So because of the yucky weather lately, we've been spending more time indoors. Here's a video we took yesterday of Ian and Eric reading together in the nice, cool air conditioning.

Reading is one of our favorite family activities. There are many evenings where Eric and I don't even turn on the TV, but instead, sit in the living room and read. It's a very relaxing way to spend time together. Sometimes Eric even reads to me out loud, which is so much fun and a great way to share our favorite books with each other. Ian loves books, too, and we spend a lot of time reading to him each day. He has some favorites right now: Dr. Seuss' "Oh the Places You'll Go," "Winnie the Pooh and Honey Tree" (one of my personal favorites), and a library book called "Tough Trucks" that we recently ordered from Barnes & Noble because he likes it so much. We're finally getting away from just picture books and into the realm of books with more words on each page. He really seems to be enjoying stories now. It's fun to see your child developing interests in things you like to do as well!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Love and Logic

I recently finished reading a book called Parenting with Love and Logic by Jim Fay and Foster Cline. Surprisingly enough, I had never heard of this book, or anything associated with it. I now wonder what kind of bubble I've been living in!

Apparently, it's this huge organization similar to, but smaller than, Focus on the Family, that primarily deals with discipline of children, both for parents and teachers. I decided to read it for two reasons: 1) it came highly recommended by my friend Anne, and 2) I was, after only two years of parenting, feeling a like I was exhausting all the possibilities when it came to effective discipline/correction of Ian -- who, by the way, is not a "problem child" or anything, but simply has a stubborn streak in him that Eric and I feel needs to be channeled in the right directions. I wasn't sure that all of our time-outs, spankings, and loss of privileges -- however lovingly they were doled out -- were achieving that desired effect. I have to admit, though, I went into reading this book with a bit of skepticism. After reading through some of their articles online, I had come away with the feeling that it was all a little idealistic. Afterall, parenting, like any relationship, is not a cut-and-dried situation, and there are really no "magic" formulas that will work for every child.

However, after reading just the introduction to the book, I quickly began to see that the authors had no intention of endorsing any kind of "quick-fix," but were really just using biblical principles of enforcing consequences. While there was nothing completely revelational about Love and Logic for me, it did give me tips about how to better teach my child to make good decisions in his life, without pandering to either extreme of forcing him to do so and hoping he'll just "get it" someday. Here are some things that were made more clear to me while reading this book:

1. Natural consequences for a child's actions are often much more effective than outright correction/discipline, especially when paired with genuine empathy for the child who is suffering from them. This is not to say that Eric and I will stop punishing Ian for very serious offenses, especially if they have little to no natural consequences for him at this age (or if the consequences are life-threatening or just too large for him at this age), but it does give us a few more options for correction.

2. Modeling responsibility works far better than teaching with your words. This is the wake-up call that every parent needs to be reminded of day in and day out: Your kids are watching you, even when you don't realize it!

3. Providing a child with choices, especially when both of them are 100% ok with you, goes a long way toward bolstering their confidence in themselves. It's amazing the number of situations I've noticed that I can offer Ian a choice rather than making it for him, even at his very young age of two. It takes a lot of pressure off of me, and makes him feel like a "big boy." My friend Anne is especially adept at this skill with her kids and has been a really good example for me.

4. Choices and consequences can be paired together for an amazing chance to teach responsibility for one's own actions. By offering a child two choices, one with a good consequence and one with an undesirable consequence, they get to make the decision themselves. This also has the added benefit of communicating boundaries without being controlling. Putting "the ball in their court" to make the decision, again, takes the pressure off of the parent to control their child's actions (which we really can't do anyway). For the child, the learning comes in suffering through the consequences.

So maybe to those of you who are reading this, all of this seems like, "Well, duh." But for me, it's been an encouraging resource that has provided some insight that I was not expecting. I feel like, with these general guidelines, I can strike a balance in my relationship with Ian (and hopefully any subsequent children). After applying some of these principles to our parenting over the past week or two, Eric and I are already seeing results in Ian's behavior and attitude toward us. It's been fairly liberating to remove the pressure off of ourselves to make sure he behaves, and instead to encourage him to behave, all the while ensuring he experiences the consequences of his behavior, whether good or bad.

I have no illusions that we've got this parenting thing all figured out! I'm quite certain that we'll continue to wrestle with exactly the best way to guide Ian "in the way he should go," so that "when he is old, he will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6). By daily asking God for guidance and wisdom, we know that He'll teach us as we go along. I feel like this book, though, was an answer to that prayer for today.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Cheers to Seven Years!

We celebrated our seventh anniversary today! We're not sure why, but for some reason this year seems particularly celebratory. Maybe it's because of various things we've gone through in the past year...maybe it's because of the exciting future ahead of us...but, whatever it is, we're both so thankful that we have each other and we're anticipating the (Lord willing) many years we have left together. Marriage rocks!!

Anyway, here are a couple pictures from today:
At Bill and Lucy's, dropping Ian off before dinner
At Bombay House, our typical Bloomington anniversary dinner site
Ian with Lucy
Thank you to all of you family and friends out there who support us and encourage us in our marriage with both your words and your examples. We thank God for you, too!

Thursday, May 08, 2008


Today marks a very important day in our family: Ian went the whole day in only one pair of underwear with no accidents!!! Needless to say, we are quite excited. As a testament to the considerable progress he's made in the past few weeks, here's a picture of his completed potty train:

Towards the end, he wasn't even asking for stickers after using the toilet, so when we got to the end of the chart a couple of days ago, we just stopped giving them to him, and he hasn't even noticed. Going to the bathroom "big boy style" is so much a part of his day by now, that he hardly gives it a second thought! He still loves reading books almost every time he's in there, but we enjoy that too because it's good time spent with him. All in all, potty training hasn't been that bad!

On a different note, I wanted to share with you all some pictures of Springtime in Bloomington. This year has been the prettiest we've ever seen here; Bloomington has certainly been living up to its name! The rain has come at just the right times and in the right manner to produce some amazing blooms all over town. Here are just a few of the pictures that I've taken in the past several weeks:

hyacinth & daffodil

forsythia & redbud


I absolutely LOVE spring! It's my favorite time of year. I didn't even get any pictures of the plethora of Bradford pear trees that line the streets of Bloomington, but let me assure you, they put on a stellar show this year as well. In our six years here, I've come to love the abundance of flowering trees and shrubs, as well as the the magnificent bulbs that Bloomington grows in early spring. I'm really going to miss living here.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Balloons and Underwear

by Lisa

We took this video of Ian last week and wanted to share it with you all!

Ian is doing really well with potty training! When we're home, he only has one or two little accidents a day, and 5-7 uses of the toilet. He's even doing pretty well at going when we're out and about. Some days, it takes a bit of patience, but he really is learning and we're seeing the end in sight! Already, we're doing a lot less laundry than when we were using diapers full-time (we use cloth diapers). All in all, this potty training thing has been a fairly positive experience!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A Pretty Day in April

I wasn't quite sure what to think yesterday as we drove to the title company to sign all of the paperwork to finish the sale of our house. I found myself spending most of the day in a reflective mood, because the sale of our house symbolized so many things. It would take me way, way too long to write here everything I observed or contemplated, but I thought that I would share a few "quick hitters" from the day.

Something that gets lost in our consumer culture is an understanding of the concepts of stewardship and ownership. In particular, the Christian concept of stewardship of God's resources is often twisted and perverted by capitalistic principles of ownership. This house was never mine; in actuality, it is a physical resource that I had the privilege of managing on God's behalf. In hindsight, I recognize that my responsibility with respect to this house was to maintain and improve it, so that it would be ready for the next person(s) that God wanted to occupy it. When viewed in that light, every time I mowed the lawn, updated the landscaping, or renovated/repaired something in the house, I was actually being a steward, and not an owner. I have a very clear picture of this now that we are renting the house from the buyers. None of my actions will really change over the next 3 months, but they will all be focused towards keeping the home in proper shape for the next occupants. To me, this is a picture of how we should think about our own lives. Our lives are not our own, even though it may look like it. We are stewards of our time, resources, money, and skills, not owners. When we don't use them, or when we misuse them, we do not just harm ourselves, but we defraud those that follow us.

I have to say that I sure felt good being on the "selling" side of the table as opposed to the "buying" side. I had forgotten the sheer weight of what it means to purchase a home. All of the financial responsibilities, coupled with the maintenance that is sure to come, is something we get too used to. From a Christian perspective, we need to be doubly or triply aware of what we are doing when it comes to such a large scale purchase; "ownership" is a two-way street, and a large-scale purchase like a home ends up owning the owner as much as the owner owns the purchase (if not more). This has real implications for our ability to be free to go where God calls us, or to have the energy and time to give to others.

Finally, it was interesting to sit in the same chairs (or at least, the same spot at the table), in the same room, at the same title company, where we signed for our home 5 years ago. A lot of memories came flooding back. This house has been the place where we have celebrated some of the happiest moments of my life: bringing Ian home from the hospital to a house full of grandparents and great grandparents, celebrating Ian's first birthday with a big party on a gorgeous early Spring day, and numerous other dinners and/or parties with family and friends. I also thought about how this house was the site of the most painful loss I've ever known, and how the few moments on Earth that I had with my second son were here.

I could write much more, but I won't...mainly because I need to work on my dissertation.



Saturday, April 05, 2008

the Potty Train

Since Ian is almost two, we're in the full-throws of potty training! It's actually been kind of fun, believe it or not. We've enjoyed watching him become more independent and aware. And while the many trips to the bathroom during the day get kind of tedious sometimes, we recognize that it's all a means to an end -- his eventual complete independence -- and that's a good thing. Here are some pictures of him enjoying his "potty time."

For help with how to go about this venture, we've taken information from our parents, our friends, and some books, and put it all together in our own way. One of the most helpful sources of information has been Jill M. Lekovic's book, Diaper-Free Before Three, the self-described "healthier way to toilet train and help your child out of diapers sooner." She outlines potty-training as a very gradual and natural process. As a pediatrician and a mother of three, she gives some wonderful tips that have helped us a lot in this whole adventure.

One tip we took from my parents, though, was the idea of a sticker chart, which they used on me when I was being potty-trained. While Lekovic doesn't recommend using actual rewards (besides verbal praise) for using the toilet, we kind of got in a rut with Ian where he just wasn't interested anymore. So I drew up this chart with two of his favorite things: a choo-choo and stickers. He really gets a kick out of putting a sticker on the chart after he's produced something in the toilet -- a little sticker for a "pee" and a bigger sticker for a "poo." It's always a big celebration when he's allowed to run bare-bottomed into the kitchen and attach a sticker to the train track. As you can see, in just the first five days, he really did well on his output! Since then, he's already rounded the corner of his choo-choo track and is well on his way to becoming potty trained. Hallelujah!
If anyone else has any ideas or tips you want to share, we're all ears!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Into the Clear Blue Sky

So I was driving home from the grocery store yesterday with Ian in the back seat. It was a chilly, blustery morning, and I had finished my weekly shopping much earlier than I normally do. As I crossed the overpass above State Road 37, I saw a huddled figure walking over the bridge. Glancing at the person while driving by, I noticed that it was a middle-aged woman. Since there is nothing on that highway for a couple more miles, I decided to stop and see if she needed a ride. Chances were, if she was walking that direction, she was probably going to someplace in my neighborhood and would probably appreciate not having to walk the whole distance in that weather. After inviting her, she got in my car, out of the wind.

Her name was Eileen. She was going to the license branch near my house to take care of a title matter with her RV. Her car broke down a week ago, and she's relatively new to Bloomington and didn't know anyone, which is why she was forced to walk. After guessing that she was a student, I asked what she was studying. As it turns out, she's a Ph.D. student in Human and Family Resources, focusing on miscarriage intervention and therapy. Interesting! I informed her that I recently had a miscarriage, and she began to immediately open up to me and explain why she chose this particular career path. It seems that several different events in her life have served to prepare her to work in this field, not the least of which was her daughter's experiencing a rather horrid miscarriage with very little emotional or physical support. She's also written a short book designed to help women through the loss of a child, whether unborn or not.

Once we got to the license branch, I gave her my phone number so she could call me when she was finished and I could take her back into Bloomington. Because she seemed so independent, I was surprised when she actually did call me about 45 minutes after I got back to the house. So, Ian and I jumped back in the car and picked her up from the license branch. By this time, it was sleeting horribly. I was so glad she didn't have to walk 5-6 miles in that! However, she admitted that the only reason she allowed me to give her a ride again was so she could give me a copy of her book, which she did once we arrived at her house. We parted ways then, after she shared that she felt the universe brought us together so we could participate in "reciprocal assistance." I smiled to myself as I thought, "Yes, the 'Universe,' indeed."

I'm so thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to meet this highly interesting woman. I almost drove right by her, thinking that I had groceries in the car, or that I might be putting my son in "danger" by picking up a strange person on the side of the road, but God spoke as clearly to me as He ever has that I needed to stop. Maybe it was for my benefit. Maybe it was for her encouragement. Maybe it was both.


PS: If you're interested in a copy of her book, email me, and I'll put you in contact with Eileen.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Christ the Lord is risen...He is risen indeed!!!

I love Easter.

I love the whole week leading up to Easter, and the reflection and contemplation that takes place when I stop to think about what Christ went through on this earth. I love the significance of Passover and thinking about Jesus' last supper with his best friends and the sorrowful contemplation of Good Friday with the hope of Sunday morning. I love waking up on Sunday morning with rejoicing. I love the bright colors and flowers and happy music. I love singing "The Hallelujah Chorus" at my church on Sunday; it gives me chills every time. I love making or partaking of a celebration dinner made up of delicious food and time spent with people I love. But most of all, I love the fact that we have a God who not only understands our human experience intimately, but also is truly alive and living.

It's this fact that makes me want to jump for joy when reciting the ancient liturgy: "Christ the Lord is risen....He is risen indeed!!!!"