Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mom-Friend Dating and Squishy Baby Photos

Being a new mom living in a new place, I think a lot about ways to find friends in my community, including mom-friends.  I have heard it said many times that friend dating is much more difficult than regular dating, and I can see how that would be... At least with mom-friends there is the solid pick-up line of, "Your baby is adorable!  How old is he?"  Works every time to engage a mom in conversation in any situation.  (I can say this from my vast experience of using the line once at the mall play area today.)  I can then pretty easily drop in the fact that I am new to the area; then I ask them if they have lived around here for a while..... We can then chat for a bit (Moms seem generally to be eager to speak to someone who is not their child, no matter how random the stranger is...Again judging from all of my vast experience in this matter.)

Then, the wall comes....How do you seal the deal?  Jump from mall stalker to friend?  I never exactly dated (I'm only married, der).. I was just too shy and awkward and whatever the opposite of assertive is.  Being uncharacteristically straightforward was part of how I ever got married in he first place ('nother story).  So there it is.  I think the answer is to go up to people and ask if they want to be friends until I find someone who isn't creeped out by that.  Haha. Looking back, this tactic has worked oddly well for me over the years.  I think it almost worked in the mall today.  I bet I'll see that girl again. :)  Really my goal is to find someone else who moved to the area recently, preferably from a cornfield...Or China.

Now, as promised, so that you don't feel like your time was totally wasted be visiting my blog today... Here are lots of squishy baby photos to help you forget all about the fruitless rambling...

You've forgotten already, haven't you?

("Yes, thank you, my baby is adorable, isn't he?  He is 3 months old.  Do you want to be mom-friends?")

Friday, July 24, 2015


A few years back, I did not understand how people-watching was okay. As an introvert, The whole idea seemed pretty rude. I didn't want people looking at me, so why was it okay if I stared at them?  I have finally realized what you readers have probably understood all your lives. (When done with proper intentions,) People-watching isn't creepy-- It's community. By observing others we can learn about them and from them.

So thank you, man lying under the shade tree in the park, for reassuring me that I am not alone on this seemingly lazy day, and for reminding me that I should not take this "free" time for granted...that I should make more effort to enjoy this time and be truly appreciative of it.

Thank you, older man sitting on his walker seat, staring toward the lagoon as if searching for something...Thank you for reminding me to pray for those who grieve...and to be thankful for what I have.

Thank you, 10-year-old kids sitting at the picnic table with that teenager (although I really hope you were not talking about what I am pretty sure you were talking about…).Thank you for reminding me how short innocence can last.

Thank you, Dalito, the person I watch by far the most frequently... for your rewarding snuggles and smiles, even though they are eventually followed by your many cries. And thank you for enjoying stroller rides through the park on beautiful summer days so that Mommy can clear her head.

To all the friendly amblers and cyclists that I strolled past today-- Thank  you for saying "Hi." You might be the only adults besides Ryan that I will see all day today. 

To the people with the cute chairs on their front lawn-- Thank you for giving me food for thought. :)

I am blessed to have you all as part of my community.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

One Week Old!

 Dale Allen was born on April 25 at 4:18 AM.  He was 8 lb, 11oz and 21 inches long.  He was a cute newborn, but now he is already over a week old.  The week flew by, and he has already grown up so much.  He has already outgrown being swaddled...He has also outgrown not eating, haha.  

So now, because everyone seems to be making these lists these days...

One Week

...Having anything in his mouth
Hanging out in his swing
Cuddling with Mommy and Daddy
Being talked to
Taking naps during the day

Not having something in his mouth
Diaper changes
Clothes changes
...Not wearing pants for whatever reason
Initially getting into his carseat (fine once in it)
Sleeping in the middle of the night

Overall, he is a pretty awesome little guy, and we like him a lot. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2015


Lots has been happening in the past couple weeks.  A quick summary of changes ahead:

Ryan's new employer in Rosemont, starting June 8:

Our new city, starting the end of May-ish:

Our new home, starting the end of May-ish:

Bouncy baby boy, new to the world starting any time between now and April 28-ish.
Not actual photograph. Our baby should have a nose.
New roles and responsibilities for us!  Such as assembling car seats and strollers, for instance... :)

We are humbled and thankful for the Lord's provision in this whirlwind of a month.
Next step: Baby.

(My last real day of work at VASE is tomorrow...So weird...Add that to the list of changes!)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015


But will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built!
2 Chronicles 6:18

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

A couple of weeks ago, a minister at church challenged us to be on the inside what we claim to be outwardly—a child of God.  That challenge can probably also apply in the reverse direction for some of us… God has humbled himself to live inside sinful man, and the Spirit dwells in the heart of every believer—How often do I let that show on the outside?

Sunday, February 15, 2015


In a field of yellow flowers underneath the sun,
Bluest eyes that spark with lightning, 
Boy with shoes undone.

He is young so full of hope,
Reveling in tiny dreams,
Filling up his arms with flowers,
Right for giving any queen.

Running to her, beaming bright, while cradling his prize,
A flickering of yellow light within his mother's eyes.

She holds them to hear heart,
Keeping them where they'll be safe,
Clasped within her very marrow,
Dandelions in a vase.

She sees love where anyone would see weeds,
All hope is found,
Here is everything he needs.


The above is the first verse of "Dandelions", a song by Five Iron Frenzy.  This song has been on a short list of my very favorite songs for years (powerful lyrics, and I do love me some ska), but these days I can't seem to listen to it without a good way.

#babyboy #hormones

...Here's the second verse:

Fathomless your endless mercy,
Weight I could not lift,
How do I fit in this puzzle,
What good are these gifts?

Not a martyr or a saint,
Scarcely can I struggle through,
All that I have ever wanted,
Was to give my best to you.

Lord, search my heart,
Create in me something clean,
You see flowers in these weeds.


The little boy gave his very, very best to his mother, and even though it wasn't the best by some people's standards, she knew his heart and loved his present more than all the exotic flowers in the world... Bahhh, it's too much adorableness!  And that is the way that God looks at everything we do for Him with a pure heart.

...Then my imagination always jumps further.  I picture my little boy smiling and clumsily traipsing toward me with an armful of dandelions, wanting to give me the best...and then I picture him 20 years later, in love, trying to win over the girl of his dreams with all the best that he has...and that's when I lose it.  The tears are starting already.

Too much adorableness...

...And then I think of my wonderful husband and all the times that he gets me something or does something thoughtful for me with the smile that deep-down says, "You deserve the best, and I only want to give you the very best that I have, and I was a little toddler not all that terribly long ago and I was adorable beyond all reason and my mother might very possibly break down right here in adorableness-induced tears if she saw how sweet I am being to you..."

BAHHHH.......I just can't take it!!!

I'm getting excited to meet my little boy-- Can you tell? <3

...And I did mention #hormones, right?  Haha.

Monday, January 19, 2015

What we did this (long) weekend

Wow, I really am posting twice today...

Thursday was Ryan's birthday.  He says he had a good day. I conveniently had the afternoon off for a doctor appointment (the clinic suggested the date, not me...), so we had some extra time during the day.  We finally went to Black Dog.  I can't quite believe I have lived in C-U for almost 10 years and never made it there until now.  (Black Dog is widely considered one of the top 5 best BBQ restaurants in America.)  Mmmmm..... The below picture doesn't do the food justice.  That was an appetizer, Burnt Ends, and it was mostly gone by the time I took the picture.  Apparently, it was a miracle that Burnt Ends were even still available that time of day.   Apparently, they are usually sold out long before 4:00.  Mmmm.....

On Friday, we escaped to a cabin in Indiana for a couple nights...because I often sit around these days and think about all the times in the near future that we will NOT be able to do things like escape to a cabin in Indiana. 

This place was perfect for us.  They leave all the food you need stocked in the fridge, so you have no contact with anyone the whole time you are there, and there is absolutely no cell phone or internet service.  It was really, really nice.


Overall, it has been a really great weekend, and we are taking this last day off (MLK Day) to catch up on some things before Ryan's last semester of college starts.  Very thankful for the chance to relax before all craziness breaks loose this spring!

It's MLK Day...

...which means that I am off work, and I will be at my computer most of the day catching up on fun computer-related things...such as blogging.  I might even put up two posts today, but that might be a bit too wild and crazy of a day off...We'll see.

Let's start with Christmas, partly because this picture makes me feel warm all over:

Aww....Look at that perfect Christmas dress, and the twinkle in that Santa's eyes... Awwwww...... (It helps that I am partial to this particular Santa, not to mention the cool kids he's with.)

Ok, moving on. :)  But first, note the upright Santa Hat on the end table there.  Those hats sang and danced (yes, danced), and all 5 of us kids got one... :-/  Ohhh the cacophony... Ha.

NOW moving on...To more pictures of Christmas:

Most of the kids with Santa

Of course, the youngest had to sit on Santa's lap too... Am I referring to me or my baby? ... Me, der.   I use the baby as an excuse for plenty of things, but I hope I don't need an excuse to sit on Santa's lap. Haha.

And some pics from Eisenmann Christmas:

Our first-ever attempt at roasting chestnuts!

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire......"  Haven't you always been curious?

It turns out that we will continue to be a bit curious... It was a valiant attempt, but it looks like we will have to try again next year to master the technique. :)  (Chestnuts were a bit over-roasted)
Taffy pulling.  Ryan made some perfect taffy.
Someone was unable to attend the immediate family Christmas...Or so Julie thought.

Every holiday is better with the right cardboard cut-out.

My present from Nelson. :)  I don't think that onesie is quite for me, though, or else Nelson really needs an update on my clothing size... 

That's all for now.  Stay tuned-- My goal is to post a bit more this year than last year!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Oh dear...

...Only one post stands between this December and last December.  For shame.  At least the one post this year had an appropriate name-- "Loaded Semicolon".  Last December went; this December came.  That semicolon is also loaded.

There's no way I am going to cover the whole year in one post (you're welcome), so let's just start with my most life-changing news in the past year--

On the morning of September 2, this happened:

I had to take a picture to convince myself it was real...

Now that this pregnancy is half over, I guess I should probably document something about it, huh?

Thankfully, there is not a ton to say.  Baby boy is due April 20, after we originally thought he would be coming sometime in May.  We have been blessed with a pretty easy go of it so far.  Apparently, you don't find out you are pregnant until you are over a month along, and it took me another month before I believed it... Shortly after I believed it, we found out the baby was 2 weeks further along than we thought-- So the first trimester went by really quickly!  I was never especially nauseated. I have slept a lot (especially at first), and I eat a lot (mostly just a good excuse, ha).  There was frequent crying at first, but I have a patient husband who deals with all of that like a champ.

Here is the little guy at 18 weeks:

His head is on the right (profile shot).  I'm convinced he looks like Ryan, but Ryan's not so sure... :)

We were super thankful to get a great report from our last sonogram/nurse visit.  Everything seems to be going well so far.  Thank you for your prayers for that adorable, wiggly little boy pictured above. <3

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Loaded Semicolon

Some of us in Champaign this summer are doing a Bible Study about Faith.  The following thoughts were provoked from our study last night of Abram/Abraham trekking with his household (servents, etc--a considerable number) across the desert to Canaan.

Genesis 12:5
"They went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came."

That is one loaded semicolon.

What transpired during that semicolon, between Abram & Company leaving for Canaan and actually arriving there?  Men, women, children, and lots of STUFF traveling on foot through hundreds of miles of deserts and where?  Well, no one knew exactly where they were headed (details, details...).  Why did God want them to go there, then?  No one knew those specifics either.  God was sort of vague about it all.  They were just going.  The lot of them must have been quite a sight, traversing the desert all together like that.  Did they endure thirst, fatigue, crankiness?  Twisted ankles, runny noses, bickering children?  Did they have a multitude of "bathroom" stops, bandage stops, fainting stops?  Just imagine the sweat, tears, blisters, and who knows what else.  We don't know what else because such details were not recorded.  In the eyes of history these details do not seem to be vitally important.  What God commanded was performed.  What needed to be done was done... and the story continued.  If I had a cookie for every time I dreaded a task (or altogether avoided a task) because I feared pain, work, or general discomfort, my belt would be several notches looser right now.  Consequently, this verse resonates with relevance to my life.

"They went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came."

Pure and simple.

Countless occurrences probably happened during that semicolon that seemed earth-shattering at the time, but in the face of history those events have been reduced to two strokes of a quill.

Looking back at my life so far, it is encouraging to see that the most difficult times of my life are decreasing in salience as time goes on.  As my own story moves forward, temporary discomforts that resulted from obedience to God fade from the front of my mind, while God continues to bless me with the positive fruits of those difficult times.

God is good.

I could name a few "loaded semicolons" in my life...How about you?  While those experiences were extremely challenging and left me at my wit's end several times, I can reverently say that I am looking forwarded to a few more semicolons in my life.  Such experiences are so often followed by some of life's most monumental moments.