Monday, August 31, 2009

Weddings and Blood Sugar

On Saturday I picked up my old college roommate, Becca, in Portland we took a little roadtrip to Richland, WA. Our other roommate, Lisa, was getting married and there was no way we were going to miss it! It was a fun trip with lots of laughing and chatting and it was so nice to be able to reference Multnomah things without having to give a lot of background context. Lisa's wedding was beautiful. She was a gorgeous and radiant bride, the ceremony was deeply touching, and the reception was lighthearted and fun. Plus we got to stay in a hotel and browse through bookstores and go to Ikea! The whole weekend was a great girls only getaway for me.

Right now I'm putting the finishing touches on a big wedding jewelry custom order. I've been working on four bridesmaid necklaces and earrings, two candlelighter necklaces and earrings, and one flower girl necklace and bracelet on an off all summer. The wedding is in just a couple weeks so I need to finish up and I'm hoping to have pictures for you soon. It's been very fun to work on these pieces and to pray for the bride and groom as I do. What an honor to have a little part of creating beauty for such an important ceremony in their lives. I hope I get to have a piece of wedding cake.

Did you catch that last sentence? Well, last week I failed the glucose tolerance test. So now I have to take a three hour glucose test. This Wednesday I will fast for 10 hours and then have my blood drawn. Then I have to drink a super sweet drink and have my blood drawn every hour for the next three hours. If I don't pass this test I will be diagnosed with gestational diabetes and I won't get to have any wedding cake. The good news is that 85% of women who fail the first test pass the second test. Pray that I'm one of those women, please!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

On Getting Old

Noah: When me and my brothers grow up then you and Dad will start getting old.

Jeana: You mean we're not old now?

Noah: No. You're still young.

Jeana: How do you know when someone is old?

Noah: Well, they start looking old.

Jeana: What does old look like?

Noah: You get cracks in your skin, your hair turns white or sometimes goes away. Your bones get weak. Your muscles run away. Well, they don't run away but they just go away. A little bit.

Jeana: Do you know anyone who is old?

Noah: Yeah, lots of people are old. I like them.

Jeana: Good. I hope you'll like me when I get old.

Noah: I probably will. But don't ask me to change your diaper!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Since we're being all lovey dovey...

Here's the full engagement story we wrote out and sent via mass email to everyone we knew at the time. It's a long but hopefully enjoyable read. In case you can't tell, the white words are Geary's, the red words are my interruptions/explanations.

Subject: Jeana loves Geary and I know why- she said yes!

I knew it was going to happen Thursday. I was picking up the ring that day in Vancouver and I had it all planned out. However, I had one goal that was not going to be easy. I wanted to surprise her. Please don't misunderstand, she knew it was going to happen. We had discussed marriage thoroughly and it was a good thing. However, she didn't know the how or the when.

In fact, no one did. I couldn't let it happen. Jeana is smart. Jeana is intuitive. Jeana is... conniving. I knew. That was it.

So Thursday came with a gust and I was on my way to Vancouver accompanied with excitement and a beautiful domination of reality. Yes, commitment. But I came to the wonderful realization that I would get to love this woman forever. Yes, commitment!! The task before me now was to create a romantic, surprising, and beautiful moment that captures the heart and freezes time. No problem (insert fear here).

I knew where I wanted to propose. A year ago, before I left for Israel, I courted Jeana on her porch over some hot cups of tea. On one of those porch-engaging moments I gave her a sand dollar. You're probably thinking that's a cute gift- Jeana obviously likes shells. But that sand dollar was found one time at the coast. I was spending an afternoon alone with my journal when during that reflection I was overcome with a tangible taste of God's providential love. My first reaction was worship. My second reaction was to share it with someone like-minded. But I was alone. I wonder if one enjoys God's presence more by sharing it?

Well, Thursday night unfolded. I arrived back in Portland with the ring and promptly called Jeana to "plan" the evening. I asked her if she wanted to eat dinner with me. "No", she said she was going shopping.
Ok. She would call me after she got back. I waited impatiently.

The phone rang and Jeana was really quiet. "
Geary," she said, "I just want to run away." What did she mean? "I just want to get out of the apartment." Ok. So I arrive at the apartment and Jeana grabs her coat and we leave. "Where do you want to go?" I asked. "I don't know" Then she started to cry. Not ok. We talked and she explained that she was just having a really dumb day.

Jeana: Actually, I was having a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day. I was being dumb and selfish and my heart was not right. And I knew it--that was the worst part. But I guess it was appropriate for Geary's plan. Since I was so wrapped up in myself, I was completely clueless about what he was doing.

And I was thinking she's not mad at me... this can still work.

Then my little mind started to whirl. Earlier I had set up a decorated table with a candle and roses at the porch, so that was ready. I just needed to get her there. I found myself starting the clever dialogue.

"I have an idea. How about we go to your old porch and play on the porch-swing, pretend that we're old people, and make fun of joggers as they pass by?"

She shook her head gently, "No."

Jeana: I think I was amused by this idea but I still wanted to be grumpy. That sounded like too much fun.

Yes, I panicked, but recovering with tenacious wit. "

Luckily she folded despite my wit.

We started walking hand-in-hand, slowly and enjoying the evening. I was surprised to find myself conversing about various subjects and having a pleasant time.

Jeana: Me, too. In fact, just sharing with Geary was redeeming my day. I was starting to feel better and I was looking forward to relaxing with him on our old porch.

The best part, however, she had no clue of that which was waiting.

We arrived within 50 feet of the porch and I could see the table's corners and adornments. Yet my face lied giving no hint of recognition. Then we started up the porch steps. Jeana stopped. I was wondering. She calmly pointed and said "There's flowers."

Jeana: I was thinking--we can't go up there! Some one is planning a surprise--I don't want to ruin it.

Amused in my head, I said, "Go see who they are for.". "No!", she asserted quickly.

Jeana: I was certain that whoever the flowers were for would come out of the house indignant because I was messing with her big surprise.

Again I panicked but I asserted "
C'mon." Jeana sighed with annoyance and approached the table. Within two feet she stopped moving and stopped communicating.

"Who are they for?"

"They say Isha." (That is my beautiful name for her).

Jeana: When I finally realized it was all for me, I still didn't have any idea what was going on. I was thinking, "Oh...Geary knew I was having a bad day and he wanted to do something nice!"

Now that she was sort of on the same page I lit the candle and took in my hand the letter sitting amongst the flowers. "Can I read it to you?" I asked.

She... stopped communicating.

Jeana: I wasn't expecting a proposal for at least another week or so. Geary had told me he was only going to a focus on a special project he was doing with his old youth pastor. I wasn't letting myself expect anything--my thoughts were frozen.

The letter spoke of the first sand dollar and my realization that Jeana was the one I wanted to share my worship, my life, and my love with for the rest of time. The letter ended saying that I wanted to give her another sand dollar.

I pulled a wrapped sand dollar from my pocket and unfolded it before her. She looked at the white shell and quietly reached to take it. As she lifted it her breath stopped. She recognized the sparkling circlet crowned with the radiance of pressurized carbon resting beneath the sand dollar.

Jeana: Finally, I realized what was happening and I noticed that I exhaled. I hadn't even realized that I was holding my breath. And now I was shaking.

I took the ring,got on one knee and tried to exclaim beautiful prose that captured the evening. Honestly, though, I have no idea what I said and I was too nervous to recognize the words.
ended with the question "So, I was wondering if you would be my wife?" And I gently placed the diamond upon her finger. "Yes please." was her answer.

Jeana: Yes PLEASE. Yes. Yes. Yes please, yes. PLEASE yes.

(I have to mention this because it's funny to me but as I was rising from my knee I was thinking... she's not crying? Isn't she supposed to be crying?)

But we embraced and then I noticed that my neck was damp and yes... she was crying. (whew)

We sat there on the porch for another half hour. We prayed for God's help and enjoyed talking as man and wife to be.

Jeana: When we got back to my apartment it was full of people of waiting to celebrate with us. Before we left Geary had cleverly faked needing to use the bathroom so that he could tell my roommate, "Jeana is getting engaged tonight!" And my roommate cleverly threw an impromptu party--it was amazing. Despite my ridiculous jogging outfit and frizzy hair.

Thanks for being excited with us and please pass the news on to people we may have missed. Like my cousin, who's decorations I used on the porch- thanks Nila... it worked.

With love,

Geary and Jeana

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Did I ever tell you...

... that I was wearing jogging clothes when Geary proposed to me? It had been a difficult week. I had been in a car accident the week before and I was stressed out with insurance and towing companies and such. Geary invited me to go for a run so I put on black warm-up pants with a white stripe down each leg and a saggy, baggy t-shirt. We walk/jogged a couple blocks away to the house I used to live in when he started courting me.

On the porch I saw a table lit up with candles, and a big vase of roses. Geary had to talk me into going to see what it was all about. I thought for sure I would be ruining someone's surprise but it was all for me. He asked me to be his wife that night and sometimes I laugh when I recall what I was wearing. The most romantic night of my life and I looked like such a slob. But I felt like the most beautiful woman in the universe. He still makes me feel like that, you know?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Life Lessons

Geary and I took the boys plus a friend to lunch at the local elementary school's cafeteria yesterday. Noah's friend pointed a finger to make a comment about someone he recognized and Geary, knowing the boy's parents would agree said, "Please don't point--it's rude." Then Geary demonstrated how to gesture with a flat palm toward whatever he wanted to direct our attention.

Noah, of course, had to get in on the lesson. "This is how you don't be rude," he directed. And then he proceeded to flat palm gesture toward another boy and state in a teachery tone of voice, "That boy has big ears."

We're so proud.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Little Random

We got our car back from the body shop. It looks better than ever and they even detailed the inside--it's so clean! Noah said, "Now we never have to wash our car again!" I wish. But I definitely appreciate the unexpected "reset" on car cleanliness. I also wish I could have that for my house.

In other news, the Episcopal church that right next to our church held an outdoor service last Sunday. Noah saw the bishops in their robes and asked, "Why are they wearing Jedi costumes?"

Yesterday Toby added to his list of Funny-Words-That-Make-Mom-Laugh. He started shouting, "May Coh! May Coh!" Then he did this funny one leg stomping in a circle dance. Turns out he had noticed the mail lady and was informing us of, "Mail Call!"

Sometimes I think there is no way I could love my life more.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Toby Talks

Toby has had a vocabulary explosion lately. I love his little voice and the funny way he phrases things. One of my favorites is, "Mommy hap blue?" It means he needs help and I'm positive that it came from me saying, "Mommy help you?"

Another favorite is "Where lar you?" He's asking, "Where are you?" So many times throughout the day I hear the pitter patter of his nonstop running feet calling out, "Noooooah! Where lar you?" He loves his big brother and I know there will be some super sad days when both Geary and Noah are at school all day in a couple of weeks.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Deconstructed Applique

One sure sign that I'm feeling better is my return to all things artsy-craftsy. I worked on a little bit of jewelry and handmade several birthday gifts this weekend. And today I made a little something for the creature growing in my womb.

I've seen appliqued onesies like this all over etsy and baby boutiques lately and I think they're adorable. I wanted to try it myself but since I am still a beginning sewer I decided to go for a more organic/messy look. I wanted the letter to look a bit frayed and for the stitches to be not so perfect--since I can rarely achieve almost perfect, anyway.

So instead of folding the edges of my letter over I left them flat and then straight stitched and back stitched 4 or 5 times along each edge. I didn't worry about having perfectly straight lines and I was glad to see the edges fray like I hoped they would. I'm really happy with the result.

Here's what the inside looks like. And aren't you lucky? I just gave you a clue about his name!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mod Mami

I want to tell you about a new blog friend I've made. Adry Viola was orginally a Frugally Green reader but she found my personal blog and made some lovely comments about my jewelry. So of course I had to check out her blog and I discovered that she is also a Christian and has three boys and a little girl (there is hope for me, yet!). I also saw that she owns her own business called Mod Mami where she makes the cutest mommy and baby accessories! We were able to make a trade (I love bartering!) and look what I got in the mail a few days ago:

It's a travel wipes case and a matching pacifier clip! They are so adorable and even cuter in person. Adry's shop has a big selection so even if you don't like this style there are plenty more to choose from. Plus, she does custom orders and will even monogram. I know some of my friends who are really into purses would totally go for some of her Coach inspired accessories.

Adry was really easy to work with, she's a great communicator, and the shipping was super fast. I know the next time I need to shop for a baby gift I will be checking out her shop, for sure. I'm so impressed with the quality and style of Adry's things that I wanted to show her off here so you can take a look for yourself. Yay! Support Handmade!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A little sniffle, a little cough, and a heart full of praise

I'm feeling so much better today! I still have a little sniffle and a mild cough but the head congestion is gone, I have not vomited for days, and I am back to being mainly continent. I would put myself at 85 to 90% functioning human. And my heart is bursting with praise! God is so good!

The hardest part of this illness was the reaction I had to my medicine. I was prescribed Sudafed and a cough syrup with codeine. Apparently I have the special brain that doesn't get drowsy from codeine. It gets anxious and jittery. And sudafed is supposed to be non-drowsy, too so I was getting a double whammy of hyper mind reeling. It took a couple tries (all under the supervision of my doctors and pharmacist) to get the dosing right so that I could experience relief from my symptoms but not feel like I was losing my mind. It was scary and dark.

I've never experienced anxiety attacks before. I would feel like the walls were closing in on me. I couldn't breathe. My mind would race and all I could think was that I was trapped and I needed to get out. I would race for the windows and claw the shades up just to see that there really was such a thing as "outside." I would open the front or back door and just stand in the doorway crying, praying, calling out to God to save me from my own mind. He pulled me out every single time. And Geary was an anchor, too. I didn't have to explain to him, he just knew when to hold me, when to take me outside and walk me around the backyard. He would scratch my back gently and talk to me in a soothing voice. And best of all he prayed for me. He said what my panicked mind could not, "Give her peace. Help her relax. Make it stop."

So many days I waited, praying for healing, crying for relief. Last night I went to bed praying for peace of mind and that I would sleep well until morning light. I kept having the same dream. It was like I was floating in space with all these swirls of stars. I could hear my voice praying, asking God to save me, to heal me, to calm my mind, to just take it all away so I could be a normal person again. I started praising him, thanking him for his goodness and love in my life. I remembered the amazing things he has done (and is doing) in my family. And then it was like the picture zoomed out. And there were more swirls of stars, in layers. And each one was a different voice, also praying and praising. Some voices were praying for me! All the voices blended together and made one beautiful song. A lullaby that I sank into and rested in.

I woke up twice to use the bathroom (more pregnancy/get this baby off my bladder than anything) and both times the lullaby was right there waiting for me when I returned to bed. I drifted back to sleep easily and slept deeply until the sun woke me up through the open windows. When I sat up there was no more ringing in my ears. My head did not feel like a bowling ball. I could take a deep breath without coughing. I jumped up and looked in the mirror, my eyes were bright and not glassy. And I cried again, "Thank you! You heard me! I am better! You are good! You are great!"

I know I still probably have a few more days of coughing and nose wiping but I feel absolutely giddy at the thought that I can be a functioning human again. I can clean my house and feed my children and go outside because I want to not because I have to. And I can tell you about my God and how he walked with me through this valley, holding me all the way. I can declare his praises and tell of all the wonderful things he has done.

I waited patiently for the LORD;
He turned to me and heard my cry
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and the mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.

Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them
they would be too many to declare.

Friday, August 07, 2009

What a Man Does

Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ loved the church
and gave himself up for her...
Ephesians 5:25

In our house it looks like this, lately:

  • Holding your wife's hair back while she vomits repeatedly.
  • Massaging her back and praying for her even when you are sleep deprived yourself.
  • Caring for the children alone and reminding them to "let mommy rest."
  • Going to the store for Poise pads because your wife is so sick she cannot cough/vomit/sneeze without wetting her pants.
  • Taking out the trash full of those used pads without complaint.
  • Seeing past all the disgusting body fluids and telling your wife she is beautiful and that you love her.
  • Praying with your sons for their mommy when she can hear you. Praying with your wife when your children can hear you.
  • Being a pillar when you are rear-ended by a car three times your own cars size.
  • Handling all the details with the insurance company while still managing to communicate with your wife so she won't feel anxious or worried.
  • Grocery shopping, diaper changing, laundry, lather, rinse, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.
  • Staying home from work to care for your family even though you have a big conference to prepare for.
  • Knowing that it will raise the water bill but still being supportive of your wife when she takes 5 showers a day just because it is only thing that makes her feel better.
  • Shopping for a new car seat all by yourself after the accident. And then installing it. By yourself.
  • Staying up at night with your wife because her fragile, pregnant body is reacting badly to her new medicine.
  • Checking on her every time you hear her in the bathroom coughing up her lungs.
  • Offering to make food, tea, water bottles, etc for your sick wife.
  • Choosing "chick flicks" at the library instead of war movies because you know your wife could use the distraction.
  • Watching them with her and rubbing her back.
  • Kissing your wife on the forehead every night.
  • Driving your wife to Labor and Delivery because she hasn't felt the baby move all morning.*
  • Taking care of all the paperwork and the children while she gets hooked up to an IV for fluid.
  • Taking the children out of the hospital before they go crazy and buying them Strawberry Pop Tarts because it is the dad thing to do.

I could list all the ways Geary has given himself up for me in the past eight days forever but I think you get the idea. He is an amazing husband, my best friend, a model of Christ's love, and a true man. I am honored and blessed to be his wife and when I get over this horrible, horrible sickness I am going to pay him back so good!
*The baby is fine, by the way. Turns out all my cough medicine was just making him extra drowsy.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Right Now

Noah is wearing a t-shirt and underwear and a blue cape. He is holding a robot mask in one hand and a foam sword in the other. Toby is wearing a diaper and a plastic knight helmet. He is straddling a stick horse.

Noah: Toby, you can help me save the world if you want to.

Toby: No! My save the world!

Saturday, August 01, 2009


We've been having a record heatwave in the Northwest and our little house has no air conditioning. When it got to the point that we could be sweating while in the cold shower we knew we couldn't take it anymore. So we called Geary's mom and asked if we could stay at their nicely air conditioned house for the rest of the week. She graciously agreed, so on Tuesday afternoon we packed up quickly and headed down to Albany.

I don't know how to describe the feelings I have for being in that house. It's become a refuge for me. I stayed there while suffering from kidney stones. While recovering from kidney stone surgery. We lived there for weeks while looking for our house in Newberg. It just feels like...home. It's not our place and not our stuff but somehow it's become part of us. Familiar and safe and we just know that we're welcome. The only thing that could have made staying there this week better would have been having the actual grandparents there, too.

The boys had a great time playing with different toys. Noah read through a whole stack of new books and Toby could usually be found on the rocking cow. We also went "swimming" every night in the big whirlpool tub. Toby actually relaxed about the water and even let me wash his hair without crying!

Geary commented one night, "This spontaneous evacuation vacation is our first trip this summer where we've actually rested!" Thank you Grandma and Grandpa Bob for letting us stay in your beautiful home and escape not only from triple digit temperatures but also from the everyday stuff of life. It was exactly what we all needed and we are once again blessed by your constant generosity. We love you!