Friday, December 31, 2010

Eating Crow

You know you're desperate for friends when you leave the used furniture (yes, we're still sitting in camping chairs and eating off of cardboard boxes) place wishing you would have had the nerve to get the number for your salesman's wife who is a stay-at-home mom of a four year old boy.

Although I appreciate my moments of solitude and periods of time alone in the woods, as Meyers-Briggs so pointedly stated, I am a pure 50 percenter. Not, this kind of 50 percenter, but a 50% extrovert/50% introvert kind of gal. I truly enjoy being with others, listening to stories, sharing in conversation and actually participating in relationships. Yet, I know that the only way I am able to be, or do, any of the above is through intentionally balancing those moments with others with provided quite time in our home, laying on the floor to soak in a good books, walk through the woods or sit on the back porch with a warm cup of tea.

A number of years back when my family was gathering together for the Christmas holiday in Indy my mom shared that she was reserving two rooms for us all to enjoy. I pointed out (thinking of the financial impact) that there were only 7 of us at that time and we could all easily master one room together. Mom & Dad in one bed, Sarah & Gil in another while Allison, Mary & I took residence on the floor - saving $80 some dollars in the end was completely worth it in my mind. When I shared this grand plan with my mom she promptly shared that she would be willing to pay $84 to allow me the space to have some alone time in order for me to be better with everyone together. Nothing more humbling than you're own mom telling you that your emotional and mental needs are a little high maintenance. Thanks mom.

Still, this whole staying at home with Yael and spending up to 13 hours a day with her, and only her, is waring on my mentality. Yes, I am learning. I actually feel as though I'm learning quite a bit - about my daughter, our marriage, how to continue to meet the needs of our home and family. And yet - I need more. My greatest fear is becoming too wrapped up in my home, my family, and Yael so much so that I forget the needs of the world. I have this great fear that Yael may come to embrace a sense of entitlement and selfishness when in truth, she is equal as all others in the world in regards to receiving God's love. How can I show her this though when ALL of my time is spent with her?

So, for my mental, spiritual & emotional health as well as for the hopeful health of Yael I did what I never thought I would ever do - I, Jessica R-D, joined the, a Beckley Mommies Network Community. And yes, I believe I will be attending my first play-date this coming Wednesday.

This is a big deal. This was/is a humbling move to make for a number of reasons.

I mercilessly poke & prod at Jake for his previous and current involvement with ADV. Although he has made a few really good friends from this on-line community, there is something about it that strikes me as hilarious! Call me old-fashioned (because I truly am in so many ways) but the idea that Jake has "friends" on-line that he has never met and yet they are so gracious in celebrating with him his completion of nursing school, the birth of our daughter, great and memorable motorcycle rides, etc. is so intriguing! They are indeed an on-line community that we have never met (again, with the exception of three really great guys whom we have spent great times with that would sincerely give the shirts off their backs for Jake. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure they would give the shirts off their backs for Yael & I too).

So, when I shared with Jake yesterday the leap of on-line faith I took I received a look that had been coming to me for the last 3 years. I deserved every sarcastic note it contained, every bit of laughter it accompanied and the smile he shot my way could speak no less that a hundred words of playful harassment. I ate crow and there was no going back.

This was also a big deal because "these" women are the women I giggle at. When I was working for GECRC my office was located inside the Glen Ellyn YMCA where, if you know GE, there are mommies abundant with BOB strollers (and yes, we have one), Starbucks in their hands and their hair pristinly done after a Zumba class with like individuals. I don't know why they struck me as such an intriguing group but they did! I never really longed to become part of them, in fact - who even knew, for so many years if I would/could become a mom. And yet, there they were - in masses mind you! Carting, carrying, pushing, strolling so many kids around. This was their life and I couldn't imagine myself entering into this circle. It seemed too foreign, too self-serving - not on the trajectory I would hope my life would take.

And yet here we are and here I am and one of my tasks today is to obtain a YMCA membership the day after I joined the BeckleyMommies online community.

So what now? These movements feel right, these choices to engage in the Beckley community through these avenues fit right now.

Still, there is this nagging weight in the back of my mind reminding me of our belief that we must be intentional to provide a safe foundation for Yael while at the same time continually exposing her to the world through love, service, and whatever other avenues God may provide to teach us how to love a little better.

So with that - this coming Monday I will be e-mailing and/or calling the Carpenter's Corner, the Shepherd's Center and the Fishes & Loaves Food Pantry to see if there is anything Yael & I can do there together. I will also be listening to this weekly program with hopes that it will open my mind a bit more to life here.

And you can bet that I will most likely report back on my experience at the Beckley Mommies play-date. Here goes nothing, or maybe just something...
Winter Wonders

One of the most significant influences that lead us to move into the hills of West Virginia was the simple desire to grow some roots in a place where we can run in the woods, climb trees and play in rivers & ponds. We wanted to be in a place where Yael can come to know and appreciate the simple joys which only Mother Nature can provide. This past week we have experienced a significant rise in snowfall which has all but melted away after a 48 degree afternoon yesterday.

Our front yard under the large oak tree.

Shoveling with Dad

An afternoon at the park

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Goldilocks & The Good Fit

Three bowls of porridge.
Three wooden chairs.
Three beds.

Of all options available, only one bowl of porridge, one wooden chair, one bed was the good fit that made Goldilocks feel welcome, feel at home, comfortable. I've been thinking a lot about Goldilocks lately as I nurse Yael in the middle of the evenings, go about our day with anticipation for what new relationships or adventures may come our way. Most recently, as we have sought out a new spiritual home in Beckley.

When Jake & I returned to the US after our year over seas we were not quite sure if we wanted to return to the tradition of attending church. It was a difficult spiritual time for the both of us and what we believed we needed most at that time was to rest and seek out spiritual support from outside the church, as we had come to know it.

This resolution lasted a total of 3 weeks until we decided to give it a go and seek out a spiritual home. Soon we found ourselves attending a Presbyterian congregation downtown Chicago. With engaging music and an upper loft to call our own (with the others who were trying to hide away) Grace Chicago was a good fit for the five(ish) months we attended. We could sneak in, receive, let go, and sneak out. No one was the wiser. We were greeted and welcomed a total of two times and although we made efforts to build a few relationships, with the exception of one - they just weren't good fits. We were too raw and they (the church and those we met) were too adapted. We were a mess and knew we needed more. More accountability, more welcoming, more spiritual connectedness, more of Jesus through others.

Enter Wicker Park Grace (WPG). If you are a frequent visitor here you know the impact that Wicker Park Grace has made in our lives. From the first Sunday evening we came to worship we have been welcomed consistently, even when we weren't welcoming ourselves, were at our worst emotionally and/or spiritually or before they began to know how truly messed up Jake & I are.

See, this is why we fell in love with our spiritual community at WPG - they represented Jesus to us. From the parishioners to the services - each element of our relationship with WPG offered us grace, accountability, love and friendship. So much so that it was only contagious to want to pass it on by loving others who entered in, welcoming the strangers, supporting the elderly, feeding the hungry. It became a part of who we have become (both singular & plural).

We fell so deeply in love with WPG that we decided we wanted nothing more than to have Yael baptized through this congregation - accepted forever into this community.

Welcome Goldilocks. When we moved to Beckley we knew it was going to be an exciting (read: difficult) challenge to enter into a congregation as we had experienced and come to love in WPG. Yet, I was up to the challenge. With a knowledge that not attending a church would only hurt us we began to seek out a new spiritual home that fit.

First bowl of porridge: Our first Sunday afternoon in Beckley we attended a "Christmas Around the World" festival at the local Catholic church. What a great time we had! Receiving tastes (both figuratively and tangibly) of Christmas from over 10 different countries - we had a great time meeting the self professed "only Bolivian" woman, the only Syrian family and Philippiano families in Beckley. At first I was sold at going back (and still may) but when I thought of attending a Sunday Catholic mass by myself (which may happen now & again due to Jake's schedule) I felt strangely uncomfortable - not an unwelcoming uncomfortable - simply a personal sense of uncomfortably. This bowl of porridge was too hot.

The week following our move to Beckley we just happen to get lucky with religious services abundant due to the Christmas Holiday. What a delight for a church seeker like me to be able to hit up four, yes - four, religious services in ONE week!

Second bowl of porridge: Wesleyan Chapel - who promptly shared with us upon entering in the front doors, that they were indeed independent and not Wesleyan (?). Okay. This bowl of porridge was too cold the moment it was set down on the table.

First chair: Episcopal Church - on Christmas Eve we participated in a service full of grace and liturgy that filled our hearts with great anticipation for the celebration of the birth of our Love, Jesus. Yet, this chair just felt too small for us to fit comfortably into.

It was at this time that Jake & I had an honest conversation and time of reflection about what we were specifically looking for in a spiritual home & community. We came to find that in our lives and in the space we're bent toward, the single most important factor we were looking forward to was becoming part of a welcoming congregation where we felt comfortable to bring anyone and everyone to church with us, knowing full well that they would be welcomed in the fullest sense.

With that knowledge we decided to attend the free Christmas dinner being hosted by the Methodist Temple on Christmas afternoon. Upon entering Yael was delighted upon (sometimes in a wonderful way, other times in the most annoying manner), we received a gracious (and very tasty!) dinner and we sat, alone, for quite sometime. That was until we resolved to take it upon ourselves and welcome others, in true WPG style. By the end of suppertime we had made great friends with a former Unitarian Minister, Geo, and his partner, Thomas. We also had a wonderful time welcoming Rose into our lives, a woman who has been volunteering at the Christmas supper for over 10 years but does not hold any religious beliefs.

Still, this chair felt too big. And yes, we did exchange numbers with Geo & Thomas.

The following morning Jake needed to work so in a true West Virginia blizzard Yael & I made our way to the PC USA church located in downtown Beckley. I was smitten with them at first site of webpage - they are quite involved in the community by hosting regular gatherings for the elderly, volunteering at the local soup kitchen, amongst other actions centered around welcoming others.

Upon entering Rita came to introduce herself, followed by a line of others within the congregation welcoming both Yael & I. The service was beautiful and message pertinent. What really sold me was the sensation that I could bring the homeless man who walks Hwy. 3 to this church and he would indeed feel welcome.

This porridge tasted just right. This chair fit. I felt as though Jesus could come here and feel truly welcomed.

So this coming Sunday we will attend as a family and see if the bed fits right as well. Because, like Goldilocks, we all need a place to rest. Whether it's spiritually, emotionallyor physically we need a place to rest where we feel welcomed - a important factor for a good fit.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

O sing to the Beloved a new song,
for Love has done marvelous things!
By the strength of your
Indwelling Presence,
we, too, are called to do great things;
we are set free through
Love's forgiveness and truth.
Yes, your steadfast Love
and faithfulness
are ever-present gifts in our lives.
All the ends of the earth have seen
the glory of Love's Eternal Flame.

Make a joyful noise to the Beloved
all the earth;
break forth into grateful song
and sing praises!
Yes, sing songs of praise extolling
Love's way;
lift up your hearts with gratitude
and joy!
Let the voices of all people
blend in harmony,
in unison let the people
magnify the Beloved!

Let the sea laugh, and all that fills it;
the world and those who dwell in it!
Let the waters clap their hands;
let the hills ring out with joy
Before the Beloved, who radiates Love to all the earth.
For Love reigns over the world with truth and justice
bringing order and balance to all of Creation.

Psalm 98, rendered by Nan Merrill in Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness

Friday, December 24, 2010


I have a confession, which shouldn't be too difficult to guess as evidenced by the title of this post. I have officially shopped at Wal-Mart.

Against every cell in my body in our first weeks in Beckley, I made the leap and have made two successful shopping trips to Wal-Mart where, not much to my surprise, I found everything I needed (except leeks in the produce section) at a convenient and low price - just as promised.

  • Canisters for sugar & flour - ah, that's what wedding gifts are for!
  • Heavy duty curtain to hang at the back door to catch some of the cold draft
  • Rugs to soak up the snow and mask the cigarette burns on the carpet
  • Shower curtain
  • Trash can for the kitchen - still looking for one to fit the bathroom
  • Silverware - another wedding gift "Ah Ha!" moment
  • Etc.
  • Etc.
It was, in all honesty, a GREAT shopping experience. With Yael in tow we didn't have to shift from store to store, in and out of the car seat, unzip and zip her amazingly cute snowsuit, or even have to engage in the parking challenge over and over and over again. I see how Wal-Mart gets people.

When I was in high school my girlfriend Alissa shared one afternoon, after a trip to Meijer, how great it would be if Meijer would be able to provide and sell everything you need PLUS have a number of flights of condos stacked above it so, if needed, you would never have to leave comfort to get everything you needed. We were in high school then - before we could dissect all that is inherently wrong with this plan. For two naive 10 graders from Eaton Rapids, MI it sounded like a sure-fire money-maker. A way to continue to ease into convenience and comfort. Aside from the condos, Wal-Mart pretty much does this. Wal-Mart provides almost everything one individual born and raised in Beckley may want as well as provide a way to avoid the daily challenges of life and streamline the daily hassles.

I get this. Life is hard here - and I mostly know this through my visits to Wal-Mart, a social hub of Beckley. Jake & I have joked many times already that I get my social needs fixed from going to Wal-Mart. It's true. People fawn over Yael. Men and women, with great frequency, share stories about their kids and grand-kids and how they have all grown up and in some cases moved away. One elderly woman shared, "Aren't they so precious at this age. Enjoy it cause when they grow up they will leave you and never come back." An elderly man admitted, "If I had an opportunity to have kids again there is no way I would - too much in this world to take their joy away." Another man confessed, "I wouldn't have kids in these ages, there's no way they are going to have a good life." All sharing these intimate stories as they touch Yael's hands, grabbing her toes, sharing how beautiful she is and how lucky my husband and I have become.

I often read blogs of idealistic life. Country & markets. Homemade & handmade. Fabrics & crafts. Homeschooling & unschooling. I have batted around with how to even make our blog more up-lifting in this manner - give it a little bit more spirit, lighten it up a bit. But I have come to accept that this is not how I'm bent. I'm bent to listen to the stories of the men & women who shop at Wal-Mart. I'm bent to truly hear their stories and carry them with me. I'm bent with the need to share them, their hurts and joys if only to raise my awareness of the many more who share this same trajectory of life.

Born into a rural community, married and/or divorced with kids, blue-collar employment, loss through the trails of poverty, often experiencing life the best they know how with the limited education available. And yet, one thing bring them together - shopping at Wal-Mart. Because this one thing in life, shopping, can be easy. Although it may not be the most ethical choice nor the most educated option - it is easy. And when your kids have left you, regrets run amuck in our memory and your worldview is limited and full or sorrow, such deep sorrow that you're willing to share it, pass it along to a complete stranger - an easy visit to Wal-Mart may possibly ease life's pains a bit more, just for today.

A memorial decal adorns a truck sitting in a parking lot of a Wal-Mart in Beckley, W. Va.
Thank you Washington Post

So although my conscious just won't allow me to become a frequent patron of Wal-Mart, I believe I have much to learn, simply from my two visits there.

And no, I still haven't found a trashcan that will fit into our bathroom.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Southern West Virginia & Us

It's hard to imagine that it's been over two months since we have touched this blog. This is not to say that we have not entertained the idea of posting an up-date every now and again. Yet, the time never seemed right, the internet connection never consistent nor the space of time ever provided. Too many good things to make ourselves sit down and write.

In addition, I have had a tumultuous relationship with this format of communication (meaning this blog). Still, many have asked us when we are going to up-date our blog. I have shared with them my struggle to begin writing again within a public format but did not feel a sense of resolution in letting it go completely.

So I have been thinking - what do I want this blog to become? Do I want it to become a format which I communicate the daily happenings of my life with Jake & Yael? Should I begin to write more about the causes of the world which both Jake & I feel so deeply about? Is this a space that I should just keep to myself and use it as a means to write about my personal journey in this new stretch of life? Or, as I have decided to do, should I use this space as a means to share with our many friends and family about our new life in the Appalachian mountains of Southern West Virginia.

Having recently found myself with a couple of days to reflect of our move to Beckley, WV I have found myself feeling more free. I have come to find that our life in Chicago, although full of wonderful and life-giving friends, was too big, and yet too confining for me. Our circles of friends was too big and I felt stretched too far to keep up. And yet, the community - in it's natural(?) state was too confining. So much concrete and so little grass. I remember many weekends when I would naturally want to send our care packages, return calls, visit friends or engage my creativity - I simply didn't have the energy to do so. I simply needed to rest.

So with that current reflection in the forefront of my mind - I want to keep the following goals for my new life as a stay-at-home mom, a nurturer to my husband and a participate in the Beckley community:
a) I want my circle to remain small(ish). I want to know deeply and learn from a small group of people - be them my neighbors, friends, spiritual community, YMCA members, people I engage with in the grocery store. I need for my circle to remain small.

b) The median income for the Beckley community is a smidge over $29,000. This is not a wealthy community - it's a coal mining community in the hills of a community experiencing generational poverty. I want to learn more about our community, the lives of those who live here. What are their personal stories which they care for?

c) There are also generations of crafty people, comfort food and great music (thanks Rachel!) here. I want to spend time learning how to engage the folk art presence in the lives of those who practice here and learn how to make some good ole' Appalachian food. There are cookbooks upon cookbooks of traditional dishes and yet - a community based, privately owned restaurant is hard to come by/doesn't exist in Beckley. Why is such a socially rich community taken over with chains and big business?

d) Lastly, I want to know more about the Beckley community as a whole through the local news, current events and people. There is a lot going on here politically and socially and yet - I haven't noticed any socially orientated groups who advocate or provide for social needs one way or another. Where is social activism taking place?

So, in the midst of trying to find a space to hold myself accountable for becoming part of this community and trying to find a way to bring new life to this blog - this is what it will look like in the coming weeks/months. We hope you'll stick around, learn a bit about our new life in Beckley, the community who lives here and the social issues surrounding each of us in the Appalachian mountains of Southern West Virginia.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wow, what a few months. After the announcement of Yael's birth we have experienced quite the adventure and we wanted to follow up with the continuation of the story. The most important part? Our daughter, Yael Marie DeBoni was borh at 11:51am, Thursday, August 5th, 2010. 7 pounds 1 ounces, 19 1/2 inches and as healthy as can be.

About her name:
Yael's first name isn’t after anyone, we just really like the name and it seems to fit our little one. We first came across this name after finding a kinship with the artist Yael Niem. Not long after we asked our friend Cory if he had a fondness for any girls names. In reply he shared that he had always loved the name Yael. It is a Hebrew name and is pronounced “ya-el" not like the school yale. Her middle name comes from Jake's paternal side where there are a number of Marie's canvasing the family tree.

That’s the nuts and bolts, if your interested in the long version then here it goes:

After a consistently healthy pregnancy we were looking forward to our hopeful delivery at the West Suburban Medical Center's Alternative Birthing Center (ABC). We had made the decision at the onset of our pregnancy to deliver our little one into the world through the means of an ABC with a midwifery practice. As we progressed through our pregnancy and found that my body was responding well to pregnancy we knew we had made a choice that presented well for us.

For those who are not familiar with an ABC: An ABC is a low intervention/natural birthing center connected to a hospital. The ABC connected with West Suburban Hosp. was a large room outfitted with a number of alternative birthing tools (birthing stool, tub, ball, etc.) used to make the natural birthing process more comfortable. Yet, if an unexpected circumstance presented itself, we were at the hands and in the location of medical intervention if needed.

We decided to use a midwife as our primary caregiver for a number of reasons. My sister, Allison, is a certified midwife and through the years has helped increase our education of the birthing process and how the care of a midwife differs from that of an OBGYN. Through her support and our efforts and desire to welcome our little one into the world in the most natural setting we were given the honor to work with Women's Healthy Center in Forest Park, IL. If you're in the area and need a midwife - we could not recommend them enough.

Fastforward 40 weeks and 1 day.

At 2:00am on the morning of August 4th I began to experience the sensation of my water breaking. Within 30 mins. it was affirmed that my water did indeed break. One of our midwives shared with us not long ago that we were welcome to ignore the early stages of labor. Yes, "ignore". So that's exactly what we did. We let the contractions come and go and took time to rest with each other. At 7:00am we called the midwife to share with her our news. She asked us how far apart our contractions were only to be reminded that she told us to ignore them - laughter ensued. As the morning progressed, as did my contractions. It was such a beautiful time together for both Jake & I to enjoy one another and rest in the arrival of our little one. Although my contractions were progressing they were not progressing enough and at 2:00pm we made our way to our midwives office only to discover that we were only 2 1/2 cm along. We were sent home and asked to meet another midwife at the hospital at 7:30pm. For the next five hours we continued to care for our little one by caring for each other. We had dinner together, went on long walks (okay, let's be honest - they were really short walks that seemed like eternity when experiencing contractions ever 3-7 minutes.), and rested in the hope of new life to come.

Upon our admission into the hospital we continued to experience a number of, let's call them set-backs. My body was proving to be stubborn and a bit confused (keep your comments to yourself!) as my contractions were progressing and regressing consistently between 2-10 mins. with varying digressing of intensity. All in all, after 34 hours of labor and an immeasurable amount of support from my beloved husband Jake, Yael was born and we became parents.

I know several of you are into birth stories so here’s what happened with a bit more detail, anyone else is welcome to skip this paragraph! For starters the hospital and our midwives were great. They were beyond patient and attentive, giving time for and suggesting many techniques throughout labor. I was encouraged and simply allowed to enjoy (enjoyment is all relative when you're giving birth, right?) the birthing process. I never felt rushed or pushed into doing something that didn’t seem right to us. We had hoped for no interventions but when, after 33 hours, my contractions slowed way down we were encouraged to start a low dose of pitocin since the waters had been broken for so long and my body was quickly loosing steam.

This is where I have the honor of sharing those who helped make giving birth to our beautiful daughter possible. At the beginning of our pregnancy we had asked our good friend Rebecca to be present at Yael's birth. It was our hope that with Rebecca by our side Jake could enjoy being a father and husband without having to think about being an advocate if circumstances presented so. On the morning of the 5th Rebecca joined us in the ABC and quickly found her place by my side, helping me push and offering encouragement. She was the first to share with us that Jake & I had a girl and the first to announce that after hours of pushing "we finally had an ear!".

On the morning of the 4th Jake & I had called our parents to share that their grandchild was on their way. With just over five hours of driving ahead of them my parents decided that if they started on their way that afternoon they would get to Chicago just in time to welcome our little one. Little did they know... My parents arrived that evening only to find us in the triage room. That evening my mom stayed with us in the ABC room, quietly praying in the rocking chair and stepping in for Jake the few times he used the restroom. Her role was instrumental in sharing through the wisdom of giving birth to myself and three sisters that I would get through this, I would deliver our child and I did have the strength to do it.

Jake never left my side. From 2:00am the previous morning through today, Jake has never left my side. He was the one to never let go of my hand or leave my sight. It goes without saying that when you choose to share your life with someone you choose to do exactly that - share life with them. With endless gratitude to God, that is what we had the honor of doing throughout her birth, share in life together to welcome another life into ours. If you would like to hear more about Yael's birth story from Jake's perspective I'm sure he would be happy to share his thoughts with you.

At the beginning of our pregnancy both Jake & I were looking forward to giving birth together with no additional support in the room outside of our midwife. We could not be more pleased to have been so wrong in our hopes. In retrospect, I can now not image giving birth without Rebecca, my mom & Jake. As we welcomed Yael into our life, our community, our world we are so grateful to have had these very values that we hold so tightly be those that made her birth possible.

After announcing her full name for the first time Yael was placed in our arms and Jake was able to cut the umbilical cord. For the next 24 hours we were given the gift of never having to leave her side. We were able to celebrate Yael's life with both sets of new grandparents and enjoy many hours of sleep and precious rest for the first time in 34 hours.

On the afternoon of the 6th we went home as a new kind of family. Now exactly seven weeks later we have experienced quite a number of adventures in our short time together. Jake passed his boards, I officially quit my out of home employment, we said good-bye to our friends in Chicago and are now resting in the North woods of Michigan until the next adventure. Currently we are enjoying our time with family and friends, Jake is diligently looking for a job, we are finding our daily routine, going on long walks and immeasurably enjoying the presence of Yael in our lives.

As a family we are thriving and experiencing a new love together. For all the thoughts, prayers, well wishes and vibes that you and others have sent us we cannot even hope to fully express our gratitude. The love of God demonstrated through family and friends has sustained us, Thank you.

- Jake, Jess & Yael

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Yes, we have been completely negligent of the blog over the past 6 or 7 weeks.
No, we have not been negligent of our new little addition.
Yes, we have an amazing little video for you.

Yes, she really is that cute and amazing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mom and dad couldn't be more proud:
August 5th, 2010.
Yael Marie, welcome to the world.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A quick taste of life.
Together we have had some beautiful moments over the past two weeks. Here is a quick taste of some of the goodness we have had as we wait with anticipation for our little one to make its way into the world.

the fruits of many laborers who welcome us so wonderfully at the Oak Park farmers market. i cannot say enough wonderful things about this community market.
two weeks ago jake & i spent the morning picking blueberries on our way to visit his parents. Indiana berries aren't bad, but they simply are not MI blueberries.
part of my summer responsibilities include making sure that little kids from our program get off to norman b. barr camp (who offers us this service for free!) alright and arrive home safely. last year was our first year taking this chance and a tradition it has become! due to scheduling, we were unable to attend last year. this year though - with our summer programming changing dates Jake and I were able to head up north for a couple of days to spend time with kids and wake to a sunrise like this on our four year anniversary.
although you can't tell depth here - know that jake's hands were struggling to get around this growing little one inside.
the following afternoon my parents surprised us with a quick visit to Glen Ellyn on their way home from KS. ladies & gentleman, if you are ever in Glen Ellyn and have a hankering for some sweet treats and supporting a community based organization - make your way to Bells & Whistles Snackery. it will be worth the stop.
lastly, we had the gift of welcoming so many wonderful friends into our home the last few weeks before we officially become three. a special treat through was delivered in the package of Mrs. Bowen and Jess (more about Jess and her amazingness coming soon)!
we also have had some very unwanted guests as well!
tomato caterpillars -
you have no home here!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Summer Lovin' Continued...
Morning coffee with Mike & Ashley
Living in a world of finger puppets is sometimes a scary thing.
Giving our little one some love.
Family relaxing.
Our morning in the woods.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Friends & Family

He/We are done! Outside of taking his boards Jake has officially completed his program, CRT, supervision & all. To celebrate this accomplishment and the beauty of friendships built during this time many of us gathered together at Belmont Harbor to say farewell one last time before heading our separate ways.

This weekend we're relaxing (and learning to relax) by the pool, enjoying the vitamin D that is aplenty and spending sweet time with friends & family.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A taste of the last few weeks...

Strawberry & vegetable picking.
Cleaning and celebrating swollen toes, ankles & strawberries.
An evening with Pam & Tom.
A beautiful rainy visit with Rachel.
Reuben cooling down.
A surprise visit to a Chicago Cubs game w/ Rebecca & Jacob.

An afternoon D&D date with Malachi, Sarah & Gil.

Malachi dancing with his cousin.
We continue to be so grateful for the small things that make for wonderful summer afternoons...