Confessions, Food, Letters to My Kids, Pregnancy

Dealing with Newness

Dear Child of Mine,

Your realness seems to have brought about may unexpected changes to my life. Yes, already. I am still finding it hard to believe this is for real, and perhaps I’ve become jaded by our years of disappointments. I’m trying to hard to be excited, but for now I’m just thankful for the swarms of people being excited on my behalf.

Have I mentioned you’re going to be so loved, Child? You are! You have been prayed over, anointed, and desired by so many for so long. All those years ago when we started trying to conceive, I wanted to have a baby. I wanted to be a mom. It was purely a personal desire, one which was untainted by the pangs of infertility or the uncertainty of adoption.

All these years later, my focus has shifted in ways I never could have orchestrated on my own volition. By the grace of God you have been brought into our lives, and by the grace of God I believe you are going to be used to further His Kingdom. I am more excited about the holy anointing I believe to be on your little life than I am about becoming a mother. I truly believe that Creator God has ordained your life for a purpose, for this moment in time. I am so honored to get to carry you and parent you. Your Daddy and I are going to love you ’til you’re blue in the face and you’re so embarrassed by our public displays of affection. But in the end, we know whose you are. The Lord God is forming your body and preparing you to do His work. I can’t wait to watch your story unfold.

In the meantime, here’s what’s been happening in my life since your little heart started beating.

1. I am exhausted. I nap once or twice a day, even when getting over 8 hours of sleep each night. Apparently being a host for the creation of a human being takes a lot out of woman.

2. I have terrible acid reflux. My lifelong intestinal issues have probably eased me into this stage, but man, the burning and the regurgitation and the burping and the bloating.

Speaking of which….

3. I sort of look a little pregnant, but I’m pretty sure that’s mostly bloating. I live a relatively healthy life with a well-balanced diet. I love my fruits and vegetables, and get a good number of proteins and carbs in; I enjoy sweets and fried foods but normally with self-control. This pregnancy has thrown all balance out the window. There may or may not have been a day when I ate a cheeseburger and chips for lunch, most of a full-sized bag of Cheetos as a snack, and then had a Big Mac and medium fries for dinner. I never would have eaten like that in a million years. I don’t know if it’s hormones or cravings or some mental game, but it is messing with me.

4. The morning sickness has been totally tolerable. Again, perhaps it’s the years of nausea that makes morning sickness reasonable for me, but I’ve only had a few days of holy cow not fun. My stomach feels a little off most of the time, but I’ve learned to ignore it. My new habit includes a slice of peanut butter toast (on white storebought bread, not ever my thing…) first thing in the morning, and grazing or small meals every couple hours. Thank you to every woman ever who has recommended that new eating structure. (My waist line does not thank you, however.)

5. I find myself easily out of breath. This is totally frustrating to someone who typically speed walks ahead of the group. I now find myself lagging behind, huffing and puffing. Oh, and leading worship takes all the wind out of me. *whew* Apparently all this has something to do with increased blood and oxygen production, which makes sense.

I am finding myself anxious for the next time I’ll get to see you or hear your heartbeat, just convincing my brain that you really do exist.

Psalm 139:13 (The Message)

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.

Food, Husband

Valentine’s Tradition


Dear Child,

Years ago, probably our sophomore year of college, your dad and I decided that pizza would be our Valentine’s tradition. Rather than adding another holiday to the list of expenses and extravagant expressions of love, we thought we’d have fun exploring the local pizza joints – a new restaurant every year. This has given us something wonderful and DELICIOUS to look forward to and we honestly thought it would be a really fun tradition to continue once YOU join us (whenever you decide to join us. I’m feeling particularly impatient atthisverymoment.)

We enjoy the hunt for a new restaurant, deciding together on the style of pizza (New York style, Chicago style, Detroit style), picking out the perfect toppings (lots o’ meat, savory garlic, something fancy-pants), and boxing up the leftovers.


Valentine’s is not the only time we eat pizza, though, don’t you fret.  Besides those bi-monthly-ish occasions when we splurge on a restaurant pie, every week or two, I make one from scratch. Sometimes I fail miserably – the crust isn’t cooked, I drop the whole pizza on the floor, the dough never rose. But most of the time, there’s crust, sauce, cheese pepperoni and garlic, and THAT makes us very happy.

You know you want a bite! Don’t worry, Child, we’ll save some for you!


Your Mama

Family, Food, Husband, Photography

An Eccles Easter

We were so blessed to have our Eccles Family with us for this holy weekend. They arrived in time for the Good Friday service (which was a wonderful time of remembrance and solemnity with our Ecumenical brothers and sisters), and we still had plenty of time for a late stew dinner and good conversation before bed. There really is nothing quite as lovely as conversation with our parents
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Saturday was a simply gorgeous spring day and we ventured out of the confines of our cozy home many times. We took a walk around the village while the Sour Cream Pound Cake was baking, admiring homes and wishing the canal was filled with its gentle waters rather than revealing the contents of its belly. 
After enjoying a light snack of Pacific Beach Peanut Butter (which I reviewed in yesterday’s post) and homemade crackers, we opted for an exploratory walk through the locally acclaimed Mount Albion Cemetery. It might sound strange to enjoy a cemetery so much, but you would not believe the beauty contained in this sprawling, terraced, park-like grounds. Not only is it intriguing and emotionally riveting to read the various epitaphs and calculate lifespans, but the walking path is just incredible (not to mention extremely aerobic.) 
By the time our walk was over, it was time to head to Medina for an tasty tour of Della’s Chocolates (we came home with Dark Chocolate Toffee & Coconut Clusters and Dark Chocolate Peanut & Raisin Clusters – a grown up kind of Easter treat!) and Rosenkrans Pharmacy and Gift Shop (where I couldn’t resist buying 2 bags of Easter M&Ms on sale for $1.99 each!) Finally we were more than ready for a sit down, early dinner at Avanti’s! (They don’t open until 3:30 on Saturdays, 4:00 on weekdays.) The boys split some spicy Buffalo wings and a Cheese Steak Hoagie Pizza. I ordered a delicious salad with apples, walnuts and crumbled Bleu cheese (my dad would be impressed with my love of that stinky cheese), and mom enjoyed an amazing-looking burger and fries. (I shared a few of her fries and a Buffalo wing, so don’t think I was too ultra healthy. :))
Sunday morning we enjoyed a celebratory worship service together at AFMC and rounded our time out with another filling meal. I opted to stray from the traditional ham or turkey dinner and made a pot roast with carrots, mashed sweet potatoes, biscuits, green beans, and that delectable sour cream pound cake with ice cream and strawberries for dessert. Yes, we were full! 
As we waved goodbye to our dear family, we opened the windows for a bit of fresh, 60 degree air and settled in to enjoy a true Sabbath Sunday together
About Me, Food

How I Fell in Love with Oatmeal

Oatmeal seems to be one of those highly divisive foods–people either love it or they hate it. I think it’s really about the consistency or texture. It could added to the list of foods like tapioca pudding (or any pudding), yogurt, and stuffing that has the potential to trigger one’s gag reflexes. At least that’s what it used to do to me. 
(side note–I have grown to love yogurt and have moments of really loving pudding. But tapioca pudding or stuffing are still on my “most hated” foods list.)
When my sister and I were kids, she was all but obsessed with “ointmeal”–her 3 year old name for oatmeal. She loved the little Quaker Instant Oatmeal packs of peaches and cream, strawberries and cream, and brown sugar. I would enjoy the smell of these warm breakfast cereals from across the table, begin to be convinced that I would love the stuff, give it a taste, and gag my way to the garbage can. Yuck! 
I stayed away from oatmeal of any kind until college. The dining commons produced this extremely thick oatmeal with a side of brown sugar that I just HAD to try. And you’ll never guess–I LIKED IT! I quickly realized my previous issues with the oatmeal was the runny consistency. Thanks to the DC, I realized the oatmeal could be made to your desired thickness. 
I was still into the heavily-sugared varieties (included the Brown Sugar instant packets), until senior year of college. On my meager budget, I decided it would be much more frugal to buy a canister of dry, rolled oats rather than the pre-made packages. Thanks to my need to save money, I gradually began to wean myself off of the tons-of-added-sweetener bowls of oatmeal. 


A year or two into marriage, I really began to experience oatmeal to its fullest potential. Now, it’s my most favorite breakfast! I combined old fashioned rolled oats with water or milk, a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and chopped fresh fruits like apples or bananas. If I’m feeling especially indulgent, a swirl of peanut butter or a sprinkle of chopped nuts tops it off to perfection. 
And so, my friends, the moral of the story is Give Good Foods a Second (and hundredth) Chance. Tastebuds are always changing and it might become a favorite in the future. 
The end. 
How do YOU feel about oatmeal??