spring showers

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abe Lincoln

Back in Minnesota I was adjusting my attitude towards the idea of living in the Midwest. I’ve known disappointment plenty of times in my life but for some reason this was especially difficult for me. Not normally a crier, this became a new part-time hobby. Looking for apartments made me cry. Ezra accepting job interviews made me cry. It wouldn’t take much to set me off. Not wanting to be so affected by my emotions I made a conscious effort to shift my attitude and short-term (dear god please) expectations. 

So we found an apartment, I set up a little balcony garden and enjoyed the pool once it was warm enough. I dove into finishing my Shiatsu CEs to keep up my certification, and we went thru our garage and sold, donated and organized much of what was in storage collecting dust. And I started to nest in our little one bedroom abode.


I started shifting my thoughts towards motherhood. We took a birth class that was incredibly eye opening and transformative in our preparation for childbirth. It was this class that convinced me to switch my care to the MN Birth Center. Back in January was the first time we attempted orientation, but there was a fire alarm that set off the sprinklers and thus it was cancelled. The second time we got a flat tire on the way. For awhile I gave up on it thinking maybe these were signs. Our class made me realize I should give it one more try and it ended up being one of best decisions I’ve ever made. This was where my wishes would align with the care I would receive. So while I hadn’t planned to get one – I scheduled an ultrasound and sent all my records to show we were low risk. We wanted minimal intervention and so at 23 weeks we saw the baby for the first time and watched the heart beating. Forgoing dopplers for fetoscope, we’d still not heard the heartbeat. So it was a surreal and profound moment. There really was a baby in there and I was a mother.

Twenty-three weeks


In Iowa with the original mother.img_7254

Being silly!img_7427 img_7431img_1186

On the upside of being in the Twin Cities (and if I’m being fair there are many) was being around family who was very supportive and excited for us. We visited Ez’s parents a couple times and my sister for Easter.

What happens when Uncle Ez comes for a visit.


Twenty-six weeks


Birthday for Soren!


 Our families threw a couple of fun showers with all the silly games and tasty treats. Everyone made us feel so special and cared for. We received so much support and gifts for the babe. My sister calls it the modern day equivalent to living in a village – looking out for the mother-to-be. I love thinking of it this way. 

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What happens when a boy attends an all girl shower.

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My parents had wanted to take us out for an engagement dinner back in the day, but because we had a very short engagement it never happened. So instead a year-and-a-half later they took us all out to celebrate the baby. It’s not often that we’re all together!

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The kids loved the “baby sake,” otherwise known as Sprite.

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Listening with my fetoscope to the baby’s heartbeat.


Twenty-nine weeks


Another shower with Iowa family!

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Spring has sprung!

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View behind our apartment. We literally live on the other side of the tracks.


Our dear friend Chris (affectionately known as AK47) whom we met in Malawi arrived back to the US and his first stop was in Minneapolis for a conference. So very serendipitous how to world works some times. So he stayed with us for a night and we heard about the rest of his travels and future plans.


Always a pleasure to hang with my nephews and stuff our faces with frozen yogurt. Indulging my pregnancy sweet tooth.

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Birthdays and the beginning of summer!


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Thirty-two weeksthumb_img_0434_1024

Thirty-three weeks


One more trip to Champaign before the baby comes. Memorial day weekend! I was feeling particularly lazy on this trip and took lots of naps. We did make it to the lake but you wouldn’t catch me swimming in this freezing water. Kids are crazy!

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Thirty-four weeks


Soren’s 5th grade graduation!!


My Aunt asked to take a few maternity pictures of us. We were given quite the photo shoot.


Thirty-five weeks


Thirty-six weeks


Thirty-seven weeks


While it was a hard few months for both of us transitioning in so many emotional and physical ways (and trying to be supportive and positive for Ez who was working a crazy 75 hours a week), it was also an incredibly spiritual time. It was a time to practice acceptance and gratitude. I may not have always done this with grace but I made an effort to be happy. After all, I had a special being growing in me, a loving family, my health and the ability to transform my thoughts. If only I’d try.

Thirty-eight weeks


Thirty-nine weeks


Preparing for Zuo Yuezi (aka: Sitting Moon). Cooking up congee, soups and healing herbal decoctions for the month after labor.


Three days to go…


Just waiting now…


July 15th – two days late and the night I go into labor



“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”                                    -Mother Teresa

The holiday season was upon us and of course with so much going on Ezra and I decided – why not move again. We claim to want a simple life, and have even made some great strides at this. But at times it seems like we just make things complicated. We had a return ticket to Jordan and originally thought we’d go volunteer a bit and get out of the cold winter months. But why not move to Europe instead. Ezra can travel to London every few weeks for work and we’ll live some place else. More on this later.

So here we go again, packing up our apartment. But first we had a fun sleepover with our nephews and spoiled them with ice cream and video games.


We had our traditional Christmas Eve dinner of potato soup followed up with mass and opening a few gifts. Why not throw in some face painting as well. You mean this is not part of everyone’s holiday festivities?

cwvDm9asA_Lw9YsGTQNy8vW7Zxw-1 cwvDm9asA_Lw9YsGTQNy8vW7Zxw-2 A helpful gift-giving tip: When the Lego kit you want to give is sold-out all over the country. Just get a gigantic box of styrofoam peanuts instead. I promise this will be a hit.

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Christmas is extra fun with kids around. We got to see our niece and nephews at least for a bit and watch them tear thru the presents in no time flat.



The last week of December my mom took all of us girls and Beckett to see the play The Grinch. We celebrated Dad’s birthday with a movie and his favorite Mongolian BBQ (I can now vouch that there does not appear to be such a thing in Mongolia). Then we saw more family and celebrated the holidays again – just for good measure.

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Finally it was the New Year. In the midst of looking for a temporary home for our cat Diesel, he got diagnosed with diabetes. This means insulin shots and a lot of extra vet appointments. A few very lovely people offered to care for him. In the end my in-laws said they would take him again. Seriously, they are angels. We were packed, said our goodbyes and away we go again.

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Arrivederci, ciao, adios!cwvDm9asA3Lw9btnAfl5esWDJoI-7

fall turns to winter

“Nature always wears the colors of the spirit.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

We had tickets for London and Paris right after the wedding for our “honeymoon,” if you want to call it that. But due to complications with Ez’s work visa we switched gears and instead I got to have him home for a bit. After spending 16 months together, being completely apart was a bit lonely. Our relationship has often been in extremes when it comes to distance, but we weather our time apart as best we can.

My sisters (all three of them, although we missed Jill) organized a surprise shower for me the day before the wedding. There were fun games, delicious food and pedicures. Pin the mustache on Ezra was definitely a crowd favorite.

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Then the day after the wedding we had the most beautiful brunch, a little hair of the dog, and signed the paperwork to make it official.

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We decided to take a different kind of (pre)honeymoon up to Big Bog State Park. Yes, it was just as romantic as it sounds. Peeing outside (I never mind this actually), wearing a million layers and stopping at places called “Gampers” to get a beverage to warm up. I was also reading a Stephen King novel, which is not a great idea in the middle of the woods – thanks Aunt Colleen.


The rest of the fall passed in typical fashion. We watched the foliage and the slant of sun change. The air became crisp. It did not take long for me to start cursing the cold. But it was nice having Ez around and I was enjoying my work. It was great seeing friends and to hang out with my little sister so much. We would have wine dates, and I would find any excuse to go watch movies and bad shows at her place, because we didn’t have a tv. We also enjoyed Halloween with a bonfire at Ezra’s brother’s house. My sister Jill goes all out – she does us all proud.

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I went to Illinois for one more trip and had fun snuggling with Zoe and Beckett. We went to a fancy cupcake shop and a reindeer farm. I learned they lose and regrow their antlers every season. This just blew my mind. Ezra told me this was common knowledge – well I didn’t know.

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I had what we call “special time” with the kids. Beckett wanted to play with Legos and he critiqued my bridge as he out-engineered me. Here’s a picture of him with Abe – this is Illinois afterall.


Z said she wanted to ride the merry-go-round and shoe shop. I could not believe my ears, but it was pretty funny. She tried on every pair of shoe and progressively got sillier and sillier. Here is the proof.

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Why are these kids always playing checkers?


Autumn is a melancholy time for me, it always has been. This year brought sad news as Ezra’s step-grandfather died. We were able to go to Iowa a couple weekends to say goodbye and got to spend some time with Ez’s family. We ended up staying down for Thanksgiving and it was nice we could all be together. Laurie and I got a fun day just the two of us, cooking and doing yoga. It was such a treat, although we tend to make mistakes when we cook together.


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Then a couple weeks later, my sweet grandma passed. It should not have come as a shock. She was not well or happy for a long time, but it was still difficult and I felt this loss greatly. It’s hard not to look back and wish I had seen her more the last couple years and gave her more love and affection. The last time I saw her she remembered me. I treasure this last memory. We had a few giggles and I rubbed her back and shoulders. Going forward this will remind me to be grateful for the precious time we had with our loved ones.

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“Love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” – Thich Nhat Hahn

Twelve years ago I met Ezra and my life has never been the same. Our lives together have been a bit eclectic – an array of challenges and adventures and always full of love. Our foundation is built on acceptance of each other’s imperfections, recognizing the other’s strengths, and encouraging each other to grow into better versions of ourselves. We are best friends and over the years have melded our lives together in total. I have never felt so firm-footed and confident with someone, we have been a family for years.

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After spending so much time away from home I felt the fragility of life, especially hearing news from back home and not being able to participate in it directly. A wedding to us was about our families and we are blessed with grandparents who could attend. This became a strong motivator and mid August we decided to marry the end of September. We wanted it the be simple and intimate. A backyard wedding with just immediate family.

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Ezra was in London, so with much help from our families we were able to pull together a wedding that ended up being one of the best nights. Ezra’s brother got ordained. My parents fancied up their yard. Ez’s mom lent me her ring. We cooked food and baked the cake, and my sister made awesome invitations. The back yard dripped with lights and candles. Who says you need a year to put together a wedding! Everyone was involved in one way or another and we were touched by all the sweet words said to us during the ceremony. We were grateful for beautiful weather and an even better family.

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ode to summer

“No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.”  ~Lin Yutang

There is nothing better than a midwest summer. Except perhaps one thing – seeing your family and friends after a year and a half away. Coming home felt sweet and I was excited to be around loved ones and to be still. We started making the rounds through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois. Then immediately moved into our new apartment directly across the hall from my little sister. This would be months of fun, especially because Ezra would soon be taking off for his new position in London the following week. Well at least I would be still for awhile.



We followed up our tour of the midwest with our annual family vacation up north. There was a lot of serious puzzling, gaming and relaxing. It was a bit chilly but we got out on the lake and soaked up the few days of sunshine.

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The rest of the summer was filled with soccer games, bridesmaid dress shopping and birthday parties galore. I’m surprised there was time for work!



One last trip to Champaign and Chicago rounded out the end of the summer.


And then it was time to get ready for the wedding that Ezra and I decided to throw (with much help from family) for the next month. Who needs a year when you can do it in a few weeks?! It was a wonderfully full and happy summer with lots to celebrate.