Sunday, December 23, 2007

Now We Wait ...

Waiting has never been my forte. So you can well imagine that 40-weeks of pregnancy has felt a bit like 40 years ... oh, I don't know, wandering in the desert waiting for the Promised Land? Actually, with all of the preparing: nursery decorating, furniture and gear "research" and selection, reading, reading, reading ... it hasn't really been that challenging to wait. Until we hit 27-weeks that is, and daily life became home bound life. Even THAT wasn't too tough compared to the last 11 days in the hospital.

THAT was some serious waiting.

Now we are home and the waiting continues. Our doctor has indicated everything is a possibility at this point from going into labor over Christmas, to a scheduled c-section next Thursday or Friday, to "waiting" into January. It's hard to wait with so many variables. At least for us.

Leon spent his days while I was in the hospital working, caring for me, waiting with me and then coming home at night to finish the nursery nesting "just in case". We're ready alright, as ready as two 30-somethings with ten-years of marriage under their belt but relatively little infant experience can be, that is.

Now we wait.

Obvious connections to this Advent and Christmas season and waiting are clear. And that has been unique conversation for us as we wait.

But it doesn't soothe the nerves; not "bad" nerves, just nerves, energy, and excitement. WHEN will we actually see our little Sydney?

One of the very special parts of the challenges of this pregnancy has been the "perk" (albeit for medical reasons) of seeing Sydney each and every week via very clear ultrasound. We've literally watched her grow and develop for the past 10 weeks and it has been incredible. We've seen her "practice" breathing in the womb (a truly awesome thing to see); we've seen her facial features take on definition; this past week, we even saw her sucking her thumb. We know she can "hear" and feel us; she always tries to bat away the technician's ultrasound wand! And she responds to singing, chatter and general "Hey, Sydney!" (that usually from Leon) ... We want to have her here, though. Safe and healthy and here.

And so we wait.

It could be a very big week! We'll keep you posted.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Pure Delight of a Full Liquid Diet

The Sydney Grace journey continues!

Hello from the third floor of Saint Joseph's Medical Center located here in beautiful, historic Saint Charles. Yes, that's right. Gretchen, Sydney and Leon are living the life here in Labor and Delivery ~ and no, Sydney is not "here" yet.

But, please allow us to tell you how we GOT here.

On Tuesday, we went (once more) for just a simple, routine obstetrics visit. We are starting to be really suspicious of "routine" visits, given how they seem to turn out for us these days! Leading up to this week's appointment, Gret had been having fun with the stomach flu, which got all sorts of things "going" in terms of the baby (contractions, etc.). Of course, we didn't realize this until our exam. Blithely arriving to Dr. Keisler's office, we were curious to know how things were progressing. After all, at 34.5 weeks, we recognize that "any time" really is ANY TIME, which alternately thrills and terrifys us!

In a matter of moments, Dr. Keisler was able to discern that Gret's body had progressed farther towards real labor. Added to this, Sydney is hanging out breech, with her little feet neatly poised to make an entrance into the world with very little encouragement! Dr. Keisler immediately sent us to a place we are starting to know well, Labor and Delivery.

We arrived. Gret was attached to the monitors (which Sydney really has come to loathe; she kicks at them with impressive strength!), and before we knew it ~ Gret was back on an IV of magnesium to stop what was progressing to a very active labor! (For those of you who haven't had the joy of magnesium, let's just say it would never be considered a "recreational" drug. It's absolutely nasty stuff and they had poor Gret on quite a dosage.) The specialist Gret and Leon have seen each week came in, and after an amniocentesis shared that the steroids little Sydney received all those weeks back did NOT help her lungs. In otherwords, Syd was not at all ready to be born. After another day on the magnesium, the contractions slowed and today (Thursday), Gret was put back on a lesser treatment of medication, but we have learned that the hospital is where she will stay until it's time to deliver Sydney Grace. Another amnio next Tuesday will let us know if the additional steroids received yesterday worked (and the doctor feels they will), at which time (next Friday) and at 36-weeks, we will potentially have a scheduled c-section to bring Syd into the world.

Of course, in the way of hospitals ~ all of that could (and doubtless will!) change in an absolute heartbeat.

In the meantime, Gret is getting into the groove of life here on Labor and Delivery. Leon has already spoiled the nurses station with daily cookies and treats and we are receiving just splendid care (and would be cookies aside, I am sure!). Gret graduated from a clear liquid diet, to a full liquid diet (she was all about the pudding) to REAL food earlier today and is learning the joy of being content with what is placed in front of you. (Truly, some of her best meals in New Orleans don't hold a candle to how she loved her beef broth and toast yesterday after 48 hours of little food ... and that's not a joke!)

In all, we continue to learn what it means to be Mom and Dad. Right now, our job is to keep Sydney safe. While the uncertainty is tough; and the tests and pokes and prods hardly ideal; and the hospital stay potentially over Christmas difficult to consider; and all the other "unknowns" make life a challenge, we remain convinced of God's promises. When we start to worry, try to own and dictate the situation, or rebel against the circumstances before us, we need to quiet our hearts and minds and remember that Sydney is God's precious child. He alone knows the plan for her and her tiny body and her life. While we won't lie and wish we "knew" how this would turn out, we are trusting in God. We beg you to pray for that understanding to continue to "surpass" our hearts and minds, while so many other worries and woes try to claim our focus.

More on hospital life, food and bed rest to come :) But the dinner hour is coming, and Gret needs to start reviewing her menu!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Just because everything is different doesn't mean that everything has changed.

Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ~Elizabeth Stone

Just this morning, I was contemplating change.

I was thinking about how for the past 8 months, the constant mantra I have heard from well-intentioned friends and family has been, “Your life is going to change in ways you can’t imagine.” Some people share this [fairly] obvious insight with a gentle smile, others with a knowing grin; a few deliver it with a devious snicker, and still others with a grimace of impending doom. The result has been that in my over-emotional, physically tapped mind I have started to fear change … which is definitely not my style. I have started to worry about change and to wonder if I am up for the task of facing (not just parenthood) but this whole notion of CHANGE that seems to be so paramount in the language of so many well-meant “advisors.”

I have also started to notice that some people say my LIFE will change, while others say I (my SELF) will change. Is there a difference? Me VS. My daily grind? Me VS. My priorities?

In preparation for Sydney’s birth, I have been talking to loads of people. I have been reading loads of magazines. I am subscribed to far too many blogs, Web chats and e-newsletters. Overall, source after source assures me that upon the birth of my child, my life will be forever stripped from me. That my own sense of self, my interests and my cares will be “lost” in the mad scramble of parenthood.

Lately, I have been reading these pieces of wisdom out loud to Leon with disdain in my voice. I then usually hurl the offending resource against the wall (laptop excluded). Where is this emerging anger coming from, I wonder (besides the obvious pregnancy hormones!) … Are Leon and I selfish people that we balk so adamantly against the suggestion that we will be ourselves no more because of Sydney? Shouldn’t we be “okay” with this? What kind of people are we to not willingly surrender our entire selves for the good of our baby?

Well ~ maybe we are awful people, but Leon and I are absolutely bored with hearing how we won’t have any time for our own thoughts; that we won’t have any sense of our “old life”, and that even our marriage will be forever stripped of what it once was by the presence of our baby. We are bored of it and we refuse to believe it!

Interestingly, while I think the point of most of these articles and blogs and ballsy advice givers is to suggest that a baby will be more than worth such sacrifices, the speakers never really get around to saying that as convincingly as they warn us of all we are about to lose forever in a vast abyss of toys, dance lessons, Mommy and Me classes, piano recitals and baby gear. I have been more and more troubled by the attitude expressed by so many that children stamp out, destroy, and even strangle personal hopes, dreams and wishes … the idea I hear and read and absorb from so many is that a child replaces any sense of personal or marital identity.

I think I am going to boldly suggest that can’t possibly be true. (And yes, I can already picture which of you dear readers is laughing into your morning coffee at my next thoughts, which will probably seem either endearingly na├»ve or innocently just plain stupid, but bear with me) …

Leon and I are walking toward parenthood with the idea that, after 10 years of married life, Sydney is adding to, not replacing our hopes and dreams and goals; that the change that everyone “warns” us to expect is a welcome change that we do actually understand more than folks might realize.

Do I understand the “realities” of day-to-day care for our baby? Of course not. But do I “get” that life is changing in ways I can’t anticipate ~ definitely; after 32 years of living I have rather figured out that life provides lots of stages where things change completely and this prepares us for the next stage …

Sydney is an added piece of our life; not our entire existence. She is a gift from God; entrusted to us for care and parenting. She is His and we have the opportunity to love and nurture her; and to provide her with opportunities for growth and joy and learning and faith.

Now, this doesn’t mean we won’t be guilty as charged when we behave like typical Gen X parents and hold forth about every little burp our baby makes. But we’ll try really hard not to obsess that way too often. And I am also not suggesting that we will be like sitcom parents (think Ross and Rachel on FRIENDS for example), whose baby never enters conversation and who is largely forgotten except for at “milestone” events ;-) (I always wonder when I watch these shows, where on EARTH is their baby??) But I think what I dare to suggest is that I will be a lousy parent if I lose my identity because of Sydney. What a road to resentment and what a tremendously uninteresting mother I would be!

I don’t want to be afraid of my daughter’s arrival because it means I am at the same time committing hari kari on my own spirit. And I don’t think I am missing the point of the sacrifice of parenting and motherhood to make that statement …

Maybe Leon and I are wholly wrong. Maybe in a year or two, someone will come up to either one of us and ask us to define our selves or to express our deepest goals, and we won’t even recall what those were before life with Sydney. Maybe.

But my guess is that even if and when those things do change, when the inner person shifts and is so redefined, it won’t be a mindless slide into a person-less oblivion … but considered and connected to who I was before my child and to who I plan to be with my child and who I would like to be when my child is grown … I suppose time will tell.

It's not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can't tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself. ~Joyce Maynard

Friday, November 16, 2007

Saturday, November 10, 2007

"Hey, Kid! Go play with sticks."

Recently, my parents, our good friends, Doug and Carol, and Leon and I had a conversation about today's overly parented child.

You know the type ~ the poor child whose parent obsesses over every tiny detail; calls the teacher with insane worries and requests; actually watches their high school student's class-by-class attendance online via Power School and calls the teacher immediately if Junior is late to class, demanding an explanation; the early childhood parent more worried about Sally being gently disciplined (because it will most likely damage her fragile sense of emerging self) than by the fact that Sally can't recognize her alphabet letters; Helicopter Parents.

That bane of childhood who have taken all the fun out of growing up: no more home-baked birthday treats (somebody might have a peanut allergy or somebody’s parent might use fatty oils and real sugar); no more bicycles without helmets (though we still have school buses without seatbelts, go figure); no more climbing trees and playing sword fight with sticks or eating dirt or exhausting oneself playing with the neighborhood kids till all hours; no more hopping fences. We want a well-packaged childhood; after all that’s what’s safest for the children (plus, they don’t ruin their baby UGG boots and Ralph Lauren, monogrammed backpacks).

When I look at the rules and regulations of today's pre-middle school set and the obsessive tendencies of parents even on the high school level, I wonder how my generation escaped childhood alive. I mean, for crying out loud, didn't my parents love me?! They let me carry a backpack loaded with books and didn't give me a wheeled suitcase to haul my things! I could be crippled or maimed! Are they going to pay my chiropractic bills? They didn't feed me organic everything ~ I actually ate Mac and Cheese made with (gulp) powdered cheese PRODUCT! I ate cookie dough batter made with (brace yourselves here) RAW EGGS! I could have high cholesterol or worse! Dangerous hoydens.

Lest you think we intend to raise Sydney with no rules or sense of safety ~ let me be clear to say that Leon and I fully own that the world is a "dangerous" place. We also appreciate the opportunity to make smart choices and protect our child in a world that largely feigns deep care for the young, but consistently creates systems that threaten them. (And I do love baby UGG boots … come on, seriously cute!) The point is not to be typically-American and pendulum swing 100% the other direction (I mean, after all we seem to live in a culture that absolutely refuses a moderate position on anything from politics to how I feed my baby) ... The point is, all this perfectionist parenting scares me just a little because I have a tendency to ... (I'm sure this will SHOCK most of you) people-please and push for perfection.

Seriously. The other day Leon and I got into a discussion about which language to introduce Syd to (in addition to English of course) from the start. I don't want a million toys, books and games with 15-different languages, so I want to pick just one. You know: Mandarin is all the rage but Spanish is so practical ... oh dear. Here we go ... Gen X parenting! STOP the madness.

I am slowly developing this theory about my generation as parents; we who graced TIME magazine as the apathetic generation; whose Boomer parents were criticized for leaving us to fend for ourselves as latchkey kids and ATARI addicts (and who, true to form really didn’t care all that much about the criticism). The result is … I think we are truly overcompensating.

You can almost hear the inner mantra: “WE won't raise our kids that way. WE will be involved parents. WE will make SURE people know how completely in tune we are with our child's every need. BE GONE peanut butter; BE GONE getting to know neighbor kids whose parents I don't know (and don't care to walk down the street to get to know ...); BE GONE childhood wildness!”

We'll see how Leon and I do once our little girl is here. Truth is; I was raised to be inventive and imaginative. Super-sized plastic Fischer Price kitchen that (as a friend recently wrote me) is larger than my living room? Who needs it! I loved building a clubhouse (and one very inventive time, a house boat!) out of large moving boxes. Crazy bike-like toy that attaches to my television so that my child can peddle like a mad gerbil in a cage and get some exercise? Go ride your bike outside! (Oh, wait … our neighborhood eschewed sidewalks for larger lawns … )

But maybe Sydney will want these things? Maybe she won't appreciate a mom and dad who tell her to play with sticks? Maybe she won’t want to lick the cake batter bowl because she learned about salmonella at school? Will we be able to provide our child with a sense of old-fashioned play and adventure and risk in a 2008 world of risk management, helmets and home-baking free classrooms?

I think we owe it to her to try ...

Then again ...

Maybe I am just inviting disaster. How does one say, "It's all fun and games ..." in Madarin anyway?

For more on this topic, check out Chris Mercogliano’s new book, In Defense of Childhood: Protecting Kids' Inner Wildness. [Click here] to read an interview.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

You Know You are an Ultrasound Junkie When ...

Each week, Leon and I visit the maternal fetal medicine unit at St. Joseph's hospital where we undergo a variety of tests. We have an ultrasound done and Syd is tested for biophysical indicators. It's a timed test, 30 minutes and once she passes her indicators, we just sort of watch her in there. Then, we move on for a stress test (which means I get strapped up to an external fetal monitor and they watch her heart rate and my contraction rate.)

The long and short is that we spend loads of time looking at, deciphering and enjoying our baby girl via ultrasound.

Yesterday, she met all of her indicators early in the test. So, the tech switched over the 3-D so we could enjoy those images. Here is one of the best ...

But, as you all know ~ ultrasound can be ... tricky to watch. You know the FRIENDS episode where Joey says (about Rachel's ultrasound DVD), "What is it?" to which Chandler responds, "I don't know, but I think it's about to attack the enterprise!" For all those out there who have pretended to see an arm when told it was there, who have mistaken their babies heads for their feet, and who wish we could have crystal clear imagery ~ we share this video from a recent SNL ...

Let me add a disclaimer that my wonderful hubby is NOT like the hubby in this video! Leon epitomizes support, encouragement and sensitivity. But ... even HE would love this technology ... and the NFL endorsement ... (If the video "sticks", be patient and let it buffer through once, then you can watch it again and it will play smoothly!)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Empty-ish Nesting ...

It's been another great week here at hospital camp! Experiencing our first week following the fall play, we had much more of a sense of relaxation and calm, which was really nice, actually. A successful doctor's visit on Wednesday revealed that we are holding steady ~ Sydney is doing wonderfully (she passed her biophysical tests with flying colors!) and so we continue to give thanks. I have learned to readjust my sense of "good news" and for now ~ no change is excellent news!

Leon is deep in nesting mode. What does this mean? Well, it means tackling projects that bring organization and structure to our home pre-Baby. Now, those of you who know us well are probably thinking, "How can Leon possibly BE more organized?"

Oh how little you know.

It is very possible.

First, Leon has completely revamped all of our major closet spaces (linen, etc.); he has totally reonovated the storage in the laundry room (something I have been hoping for for some time); today he is condensing his already uber-organized garage into even more convenient storage; and then he is starting on our basement [insert ominous music], which again many of you know has long needed organization. It's downright scary down there. I have long had a theory that we absolutely MUST bring order to the basement chaos. There is something symbolic about living a centered existence when your "lower levels" are a madhouse ~ so it will be exciting to see that space re-imagined!

This organization projecting is so important to him that he generated his own funding. He sold [gasp here] his very cool PSP with all of its games and movies.


Leon SOLD a video gaming item, which is clearly a sign of some sort of mental condition or impending fatherhood ... one of the two. Of course, he still has his super cool PS3, so life is not totally in a state of some unnatural chaos.

In general, we are pretty sure that this nesting is Leon's way to blow off steam and stress as we grapple with pregnancy challenges. For my part, I am spending time working (probably more than I ought, but for cryin' out loud ... I'm confined, with a laptop and a mind full of ideas for my work at LCMS ... it's rather exciting to be giving energy to that work right now) and in the evenings, I am cataloguing my acres of recipes ... loving to cook the way I do, I have piles of recipes and dog-eared magazines and clippings, etc. that need order. Order is a big thing for us right now. Might as well enjoy THAT while we can ;-) I've already designed the Thanksgiving menu and have planned out how I can use my allowed and alloted "stand up time" each day/week to accomplish prep for that (I love preparing for that meal; it's a completely special tradition for my Dad and I); and have started plotting Christmas presents/cards, etc. Go Jamesons!

OH, and I created a Meez (she's over in the right hand margin ...) who I can manipulate to be more active than I am allowed to be. Hehehe.

Other than that, we give thanks for a fresh week and more opportunity to pray for and "grow" our baby girl. Please continue to join us in those prayers!!

+Gret & Leon

Saturday, October 27, 2007

28 Weeks! Huzzah!

Yesterday, we officialy made it to 28 weeks. [Insert raucous cheers here] This is excellent news. At our follow-up appointment this week, Dr. Keisler stressed the vital importance of the next four weeks. We continue to covet prayers.

We had a chance to ask Sydney for an update. This latest ultrasound photo gives a clear indication that, from Syd's vantage point, "It's all good in here, Mommy and Daddy!" So we are trusting that she's comfy and growing and developing just as she needs to:

We will be seeing the obstetric specialist at St. Joseph's hospital each week for an ultrasound and to be on the monitor to gauge the level of contractions. Every other week, we will additionally visit Dr. Keisler. At this point and time, we could completely go full-term, or Syd could be here tomorrow. It's a lesson in waiting ... a lesson in letting go ... a lesson in simply enjoying each day and relying on God's total provision ... some days we really struggle with those lessons. Other days, we feel unstoppable. We suppose that's natural and are already appreciating how this experience is shaping our marriage and our relationship as we prepare for parenting together.

Now to life on the Homefront here at Hospital Camp ...

Many of you have made veiled [okay, less than veiled in most cases] comments related to Gret's ability to lay low ... remain calm and rested ... it's as if we all think Gret can't sit still.

But she can! And she will, especially once this play is over (that's right, for those who didn't know ~ this week was not only Gret and Leon's first week of modified bed rest life, but also tech week for the fall play at Lutheran High, which Gret is directing ...) Many continued thanks to Gret's parents, who jumped in along with Leon and parents of the students to manage all of the "active" details. Gret literally sits in a big comfy chair at rehearsals and (now) at performance and directs. It's been a new way to direct, but maybe she could get used to this!

The good news is that Gret is able to work from home ~ so watch out Youth Ministry Office because with all this time on her hands she has plenty of energy for new ideas, writing projects, updating, planning, etc. It's rather fun, actually! And with co-workers making time to come visit regularly, not as lonely as one might worry!

Leon continues to excel in creating soup-based dinners, yummy snacks and more. The wonderful Immanuel family is taking care of us as well, which is such a blessing. We are so thankful for our Church. And Gret is allowed to prepare small meals and move in a "low key" sort of way. She led Leon through the steps of making her infamous chocolate chip cookies yesterday afternoon, which was fun and broke up the "supine time" Gret needs to do each day.

Every day that goes by is a good thing. And honestly, it's rather exciting to think that Syd could be here "any time." We know that's true of any pregnancy, but there is something about having the doctor quite literally say, "we just don't know" that is slightly nerve-wracking. Our prayer is simply that whenever Sydney arrives, she is healthy, happy and hale.

We're sure life here at Hospital Camp will get a little dicey ;-) We'll keep you posted. And the door, phone line and Web access is always open to you! We love hearing from friends and family!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Waiting for Our Miracle ..."

Dear Family & Friends:

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped.” Psalm 28:7

God is so good all the time. We give thanks to Him for his goodness, care and love, which we have felt through the words, actions and prayers from each of you over the last few days. As we wait on God’s plan for our little Sydney Grace’s arrival into the world, we are confident that He has good plans in store for our family.

We want to provide an update about where things “are” with regard to the pregnancy following the “adventures” of the last four days. Much has changed in such a short span, but the important thing is that as of now, Gretchen and Sydney are healthy and safe. Here’s a recap/update:

After what was to be a routine ultrasound this past Thursday, we found ourselves admitted to St. Joseph’s hospital before being transferred to St. Mary’s hospital in St. Louis. It turned out that Gretchen had several complicating indicators that showed her to be experiencing pre-term labor. We spent three days working with the awesome team of specialists at St. Mary’s and were able to slow Gretchen’s contractions, provide medications that would better protect Sydney should she be born early, and learn that Sydney is healthy in the womb. On Saturday afternoon, we were able to learn, through various tests that Gretchen should not be going into labor in the next two weeks. We were released to home care on the condition that Gretchen basically rest and maintain limited home-based activity (with the exception of special approved Doctor’s release for "special" occassions) for the duration of the pregnancy. In this news, we were extremely blessed. Things could have gone much differently. We give thanks for Gret’s response to the medications and the care of the doctors ~ all of which were evidence of God’s provision in this situation.

Our goal is to keep Sydney in the womb as long as possible (“Cook, Baby, cook!”). The doctor’s at St. Mary’s told us that at 27 weeks (where we currently are), they would give Sydney a “good” chance for survival, but obviously each week that passes improves those numbers and certainly reduces the complications that would accompany such a premature birth. Our goal is to make it at least to 34 weeks, which would allow us a safe delivery at St. Joseph’s here in St. Charles.

So, Leon is now “in charge” of Gretchen’s at-home rest (Gretchen calls it Nazi Hospital Camp), and of course as you all can probably assume, keeping Gret resting and content with limited activity will be something of a challenge (prayers please ;-) Gretchen will be able to maintain her work from home, but is eager for visitors and phone calls! Leon is looking forward to learning to be something of a manly Martha Stewart in the kitchen and has already started collecting recipes. Bailey is assisting Leon by following Gret everywhere and glaring at her if it seems she is too long on her feet.

In all of this, God continues to reveal His care and lasting provision in our lives. We are so thankful for the support and love you have shown to us, and we ask you to continue praying for Sydney as we progress through these next weeks. Please don’t hesitate to call or contact us ~ we are thankful for your loving connection in our lives.

With Joy-filled anticipation of all that is to come ~

Leon, Gretchen & Sydney

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

So ~ Exactly How BIG is big?

FIRST: We have a NEW Niece! Rhylah Sabrine ... Click here to see her!

We had a prenatal visit today ~ we are at 26 weeks and counting and things are going very, very well. Some of you know that after our appointment 4-weeks ago, I was a little nervous about my doctor's comment that "Oh, you are having a big baby ..."

She left us with the promise that we would talk more about that in the coming weeks.

Well. Here we are.

This appointment, she exclaimed (and I mean exclaimed), "Whew, we really are talking about a big baby!" Now ... I am a tall woman. Leon's no shrimp. So, we weren't anticipating some 6 pound little thing (I haven't been buying clothes in the newborn size, that's for sure.) But when I've only gained 19 pounds ... I didn't necessarily expect gynormous ... well, apparently the baby weight is all Sydney! Dad attributes it to the large, Staude roundhead.

(Family types know of what I speak ... Friend types - ever notice how large and round my Dad's head is? Take a gander! It's pretty cool. Now imagine giving birth to it ... wait ... that's just plain weird. Sorry! Just imagine a baby with a big round head ... wait ... that's weird to ... oh forget it! It's past dinner time and I am too hungry to be composing logical thoughts.)

Moving on ...

Dr. Kiesler is amazing! And she knows her stuff so she is sending us for a second ultrasound (which secretly thrilled us to pieces ... the other night we were talking about how we wish we could see our little girl once more and now we get to!) and then we will be discussing options ... due dates, etc.

THAT all being said. Many of you have been asking to see Syd ... er, my bump. So, given that today was such a fun day (and I do mean that! It was fun to learn more ...), we decided to truck out to the backyard and take a few snapshots of that exciting bump that is only going to get bigger and bigger and ... oh dear. Getting nervous again!

We took Bailey with us. He has been a little weird with Sydney stuff around the house. I, for one, am convinced he can hear her heartbeat. You know, how collie's can hear a human heartbeat under 3 feet of snow? Well. A Golden has to be able to hear a baby under a few inches of belly! And he definitely knows something special is up with the nursery. In fact, whenever we are in there talking and dreaming, he runs for his favorite stuffed cat and comes barreling into the room demanding some love of his own. We love our Bubba.

So here are some photos ... first is a photo that expresses how I feel about having my bump photographed! Just teasing!!

When we get those new ultrasound photos we will be sure to post those as well. Leon is already striking poses that he thinks Sydney will be adopting since she is going to be so much more "gestationally mature" (Leon is learning all the phrases) compared with 18 weeks. It really will be fun to see.

AND we'll let you all know if that January 19 due date changes! Maybe we'll have a Christmas baby after all ... and wouldn't THAT be a wonderful gift.

Oh! For those of you wondering where Leon is ... he didn't want to be photographed. His hair was a mess. Good grief ;-) Bump? Hair? Hmmmm.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sydney's Space

We continue to work hard on Sydney's room ~ and grow more excited daily as things come together. So often, we find ourselves simply standing in the room ... thinking, wondering, considering all that will "be" our daughter.

As a couple, it has been completely rewarding to work on this project together. We find ourselves consulting one another about everything from trim work to the color and pattern of the quilting, etc. Leon has clear opinions about keeping it fun and childlike (and reigns in my tendency to go for the more formal and elegant ~can we say toile fabric patterns and matelasse bedding anyone! Come one, kids love that!) and weighs in on everything from discussions of wall art to the debate over gingham patterned crib skirts or solid crib skirts.

We finally received all of Sydney's furniture - thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Staude and the fine folks at JC Penneys! We also have started securing the "Daisy Garden" bedding - thanks to Grandma and Grandpa Jameson and the tasteful crew over at Pottery Barn Kids. Gotta love it!

Leon was able to set-up the crib without incident. I don't say that because we anticipated incident, but it was a little tricky to balance the thing, figure out how the sides are supposed to lower, etc. Good thing we hold advanced degrees.

The end result continues to be a daily transformation of the space that mirrors the transformation we are feeling in our emotions and attitudes as we ready for January.

Each day that passes we grow more and more excited for our daughter's arrival. Enjoying lunch with our good friends, Zach and Alicia Klug, whose little girl will arrive literally any day ~ we all consulted on each others worries and thrills and excitements. I am just excited that Sydney will already have a friend her own age! Alicia and I are looking forward to plenty of play-dates in the months and years to come. What a fun new direction for our lives.

I won't lie ~ we continue to be overwhelmed sometimes. Those who know us, recognize that Leon and I are planners. We've been married 9-years and have a fairly established routine. Bringing Sydney into our pattern and adjusting our living to best nurture her will take patience and creativity and patience and laughter and patience ... but at age 32, (sorry, Leon is still just 31) we really are ready for this new focus. Don't get us wrong, we love all of the activities and events and people who have absorbed our very best energy over the last years, but it's time to shift that absorption to the home front.

We just can't wait.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Home Improvement ~ Jameson Style

I am not handy.

Leon is handy.

Working together, we have started remodeling our "old office" and turning it into a brilliant baby space for Sydney! It's an adventure.

Here is the opening progress ...

I was inspired by photos in my Pottery Barn kids magazines, which means that I needed Leon to do more than paint (and for those of you who know us well, you know Leon brings new meaning to the idea of being fastidious). We decided to add wainscoting to two walls, add trim around the windows, upgrade the lighting and paint. Armed with visions of the room, we headed off for the local Home Depot to begin our work.

The paint department was no problem. Leon being expert at paint; he made sure we selected a satin finish kitchen and bath quality paint so that we can keep it all really clean ... I have a feeling Leon and clean and Sydney and clean may mean two different things ... but we shall see!

Then, we headed for the lumber department, where a Dad of one of Leon's youth works. He connected us with an expert and we were set to select wainscoting, trim, chair rails, filials (see ~ we now know what rosette filials are!) liquid nails, etc. etc. etc.

And of course, we needed a miter saw to accomplish all of this. Leon detoured to the tools and we took advantage of Labor Day sales and added a really manly, really cool big ol' saw to the cart. After a few hours, we headed home.

With great enthusiasm, we started projecting. Thankfully, Leon is more patient and prescribed than I am, and so our efforts really paid off. I am too eager and would just as soon slap it all together (and then would, of course, be super bummed because the end result didn't match the vision in my mind). Leon keeps us focused ~ almost painfully precise! I mean, he makes us wait DAYS for paint to dry before we add the second color, etc. ARGH! But worth it!

And, I got to work the saw! I felt totally like one of those cool chicks on Extreme Home MakeOver!

This weekend we are picking up the nursery furniture and adding the pink color to the walls. Yeah! Then, as MeeMaw (HAHAHA, MOM!) Staude shared this morning, the real fun starts as we pick out wall hangings and rugs and dress the room. Of course, I am not really allowed to hang those items either ... I have sort of a problem producing anything but extremely large holes in the wall when I try to wield a tool ... ah well!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Nursery Time!

It's time!

We are ready to start painting the nursery (or rather, Leon is ready to start painting the nursery ... I am not allowed, and no that's not necessarily because of fumes. I am an impatient painter. Leon is a fastidious painter ... and the end result is well-worth his patience, let me tell you!) At any rate, Sydney's eminent arrival becomes all the more real as we have selected furniture and colors ... it's sort of intimidating. I mean ... we are setting her tastes. Determining what she might like (or grow to loathe ... oh dear) with this early choices.

Of course. I was raised in a concrete-floored basement (ask my folks) and turned out okay (in my opinion at any rate). Maybe we are putting too much into this ;-)

We are going to go terribly gender-specific: pink! Yeah for pink! Hooray for pink. I love pink, which means for now ~ so does our daughter. Oh that it will always be that easy!

Originally our thought was something "gender neutral" ... but no. We are embracing Sydney's girl-ness on her behalf. The room will be pink and white, with spring green accents. (Afterall ~ green is the new pink). AND the best part is (well, not the best - but a cool perk), I will finally get to purchase the nursery bedding I have had my eye on for months. Check that. Make it years.

Check it out:

So that is our Labor Day ... labor. I was going to be making jam (how industrious and domestic, yes ... I know ... it's really tasty jam, too!), but have been informed by my vineyard-tending Dad that the deer have eaten everything I would harvest.

Oh well! Darn deer. I guess I will just have to crash on the sofa and eat bon bons whilst Leon paints the perfect room! What a tragedy.

Just how much chronicling of baby-waiting does everyone really want to hear? More? Less? I'll endeavor to make the next post about something exciting and work or grad school or fall high school play related (we are doing The Importance of Being Earnest ... which reminds me, I am supposed to email the students the cast list today and have not yet done so ~ they are all probably very nervous and stressed .... and the fact that this makes me laugh suggests I am not a very nice person!).

Enjoy the Labor Day weekend, all. And think of us and send Leon an encouraging post! "Paint good man! Paint!"

Sunday, August 26, 2007

So - We Suppose There IS Something New in Life

So, the reality - for those of you who haven't figured us out yet - is that Leon and I are terrible bloggers.


Imagine that in several thousand years, someone is able to unearth the Internet and digs through all of the unfinished, yet-to-be-updated pages of millions of people (people that Leon and I seem too much like). They would look at our blog and think, "How sad. Some people were content to be happy only about the purchase of a new table. How tragic their circumstances. How devoid of meaning their daily lives must have been."

Yup. That's us. Doing our part to contribute to the cultural anthropology of 2007 America.

In reality ~ life is too full for blogging (there, that sounds justified!). With a summer jam packed FULL of events and vacations and Gatherings and .... BABY, where do we begin?

(And our other question is always this, "who's reading this thing?")

So ~ unlike sad promises I made to myself each January in my personal journal, I will not claim to be turning over a new blog leaf. BUT the update is that Leon and I are having a Baby Girl. Her name is Sydney Grace and we couldn't be more thrilled that she will soon be part of our daily, mundane, apparently dining room table fixated living!

There she is, peering up at us. It's like one of those puzzle art pieces a few decades back, stare at this long enough and you will see two eyes, a little nose, and the indentation of lips as Sydney's little face peers up at the ultrasound dealy. "Hey, what's going on up there?" We of course think she is gorgeous! And definitely worth writing about ~ so perhaps we will turn over that new blogging leaf.

In the meanwhile, I am off to enjoy another cup of java at my dining room table.

+Gret & Leon

Monday, April 9, 2007

Easter Bunnies, eggs, and little ba ba bas

We didn't see the Easter Bunny this holiday ~ but we did enjoy the traditions of the day with awesome music at Immanuel (a full, and I mean FULL orchestra and choir provided worship through various selections of The Messiah; it was awesome), sunny (if not as warm as we might have liked) Missouri weather, a fantastic meal, and a day spent cooking and conversing with Dad in our kitchen (while Mom and Leon goofed around and enjoyed Leon's new PS3).

Mom even managed to provide photos of the "new" dining table ~ which is officially "christened" as of this festive meal!

It wasn't a loud or boisterous Easter. We didn't hunt for eggs or have to wake up at sunrise for church choir (well, Leon did ~ the ubiquitous Youth Easter Breakfast happens even at Immanuel) or because little ones wanted a basket. We can't, of course, wait for such distractions. I suppose you might say we are fond of ~ but ready to long for ~ civilized holiday celebrations. (Remind us of this in a few years ~ God willing ~ when we have to hold our eye lids open with toothpicks and Easter dinner sounds great catered in rather than gourmet prepared ... though I don't think I will EVER relinquish my quality time with Dad as we cook on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter ... Columbus Day. You know, all the biggies.)

Easter this year kept Leon and I mindful both of what we have lost and what we have gained through Christ. In preparing for my GIRLS' group Passion Week study, I wrote the following during my morning quiet time:

We have been told that God is love. One of the greatest ways God shows His all-consumming love for us is in his promises, which he keeps and remembers always. God demonstrates his great love for us by keeping his promises; and the trust that we find in God and his love enables us to love others.

Passion means first suffering. Then intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction, and finally love.

The sacrifice of the Cross is what saves us to love God and others. It is the central symbol of all humanity; it is the most important element in the Christian life. Only by the Cross can we truly love and trust God with our lives and our passions.

And, I would add, with our hurts and sufferings. Leon and I are ever mindful of this "both and" reality of our lives. Yet, we rejoice! And we are hope-filled!

As Job says, "God gives, God takes. God's name be ever blessed." (Job 1:21).

Blessed and JOYous Easter tidings to you all+

G & L

Sunday, March 4, 2007

What a Dining Room Table Means to Me - An Essay by Gretchen

We have been married nine years this June. In that time, we have been burdened with a fantastic quest; in truth in recent years, the quest seemed rather endless and we really despaired of ever seeing it through.

What was this Holy Grail of ours?

To find the perfect dining room table.

Not something that would "pass" or with which we could just "make do" until, magically like manna from the sky I suppose, some other table would drop in front of us ~ but a table that was at once perfect and useable, upscale and family friendly, modern and traditional ... something we want until we are 95, something that our kids can crayon all over and our family can gather around for holidays and feasts and Tuesday night soup. The kind of table that makes you want to sit a little longer; drink another glass of wine, and never, ever say "Let's go sit on comfortable chairs, eh?"

We found it. And on Saturday it was delivered.

A dining room table (and of course matching buffet, hutch, arm chairs, etc.) is one of those pieces of furniture that can make you feel pretty elderly. Truthfully. We danced around the living room singing, "We're so old!"

I mean really, the things are so solid ~ and you never really get rid of a great dining room table. Like family at the holidays, it's there to stay and its residence can be obnoxious or endearing and beloved.

We think we've got a winner.

Now, this is not to suggest that we have eaten on the floor or at a card table for nine years. The table we have used lo' these many years belonged to the Grandmother of Jack Fish. And it has a story that illustrates the point; if a table can set a bar - Grandma Fish's table came with an excellent pedigree ~ our new table has much to live up to.

I taught with Jack at Milwaukee Lutheran. He was in his late forties when he decided to return to Seminary, and he and his wonderful wife packed up their home and headed for a small apartment in St. Louis. Grandma's table went to a pair of newlyweds (along with the Fish's washer/dryer) and the Fish's went on to a new life. We were so thrilled. It came with chairs and everything. It was enormous and in need of refinishing (who has time, I cried ~ let's paint it to match our funky earthy dining room!) and the chairs were in quite a state. But it's served us well.

I love Grandma's table. I never knew this woman, but having gathered around her family table for nines years I feel a bit of an affinity towards her. And really ~ what a table. For starters, it is absolutely enormous. It has this fantastic leaf that actually folds right into the table (a neat trick our new table doesn't do ~ and we now have a leaf in our front closet). The pedestal underneath is large enough for a toddler to sit on comfortably (and most of you know this is important because there is nothing quite as cool as a fort under a solid, fortress like dining table). There's a story with this table, it has a sense of history. Apparantly, Grandma wasn't this table's first owner, either. And the insane thing is, the table doesn't shimmy or shake, it's as solid as the day it was constructed. Amazing.

I wanted a new table that was as enduring as Grandma Fish's table. I want a table that has potential to have a story.

And now we have one. And it's extremely exciting.

I suppose this makes me ancient, or just really, really odd. Getting all jazzed about a dining room set (well, that and I just voluntarily used the word "jazzed") but it's so much bigger than a table. It's about permanence and family ties and communal times to come.

So, we'll get back with you in a few years to let you know how she's holding up. In the meantime, I'm headed for the crayons ...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Mardis Gras

Those who know us well, know that New Orleans is a city dear to our hearts.

We first visited as newlyweds on our honeymoon and the combination of music, food, history, and soul was addictive. We have since journeyed to New Orleans every year of our married life at least once (but usually far more times).

We love everything about New Orleans, from the feel of the French Quarter to the touch of the breeze on your face as you stroll along the levy and the Mississippi glides along beside you; from the grand houses along Saint Charles to the funky painted river shacks along Burgundy.

We love the people of New Orleans, who demonstrate an exuberance (even since the storm) that cannot be described in words. They have a gracious hospitality that makes you feel at home. They have a sense of tradition, family, and love for living that is downright infectious and makes you tap your foot, join along and (if you're lucky) carry just a bit of the South home with you.

We love the food ~ of course ~ of New Orleans. Whether beignets at Cafe Du Mond in the early morning with a cup of steaming chickory coffee (even on 100 degree days), Turtle Soup au Sherry at Arnauds, Praline Bacon at tiny little breakfast haunts in Fobourg Marigny, Gumbo anywhere with the crusty French bread that is only found below sea level in New Orleans, waiting in line for a Mufaletta at Central Grocery, fried Pecan pie and burgers at the Camillia Grill at the end of the St. Charles Streetcar line in the Garden District, Alligator Sausage Cheesecake at Jacques Imos Uptown, a Po-Boy from Mother's where the one hour wait even on a steamy summer afternoon is worth every minute, the Avacado Shrimp salad at the Napoleon House, Bread Pudding at Commander's Palace, even a Lucky Dog consummed on Bourbon street at 2AM ~ food just tastes better in New Orleans.

Music. When Katrina was coming, and Ivan the summer before (yes, Gretchen has been there for each) ~ what you noticed first (besides your favorite Daquiri stand closing on Bourbon) was the silence. The music stopped. In the months after Katrina, it has taken time ~ but the music is back in the Quarter. What a sound. Preservation Hall is the best ~ where you have to tip $20 to hear "The Saints" but you won't ever hear the song the same way again. Or taking a ride over to Frenchman's Street for an evening at Snug Harbor ~ where Ellis Marsalis is know to drop in a few nights a week. Street musicians abound ~ some better than others ... the best can be found in the mid-afternoon at Cafe du Mond. And don't let them fool you ~ they'll take your tips, but if you want a CD (and yes, you will want) they can whip out the credit card machine before your VISA leaves your wallet.
There's just something about New Orleans.
It's Mardis Gras ~ and most folks outside of the South don't get Mardis Gras ... it's an intensely family-oriented celebration. Our friends in New Orleans are loving today, sort of a mid-year Thanksgiving. And we celebrate with them. We've got a great batch of Gumbo going on the stove, and french bread. We're picking up our King Cake (and here in Saint Louis you HAVE to call a real bakery and ask for the traditional almond paste King Cake ... traditional cakes don't have crazy fruit filling like Soulard's "traditional" cake claims!) and we will celebrate family, food .... so as the Cajun's say "Laissez les bons temps rouler!"

Let the good times roll!

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Life Most Deliberate ~ Resolute

A few years ago, Leon and I determined that the word "resolute" would be an important word in our marriage relationship.

Denotatively, the word means: marked by firm determination; bold, steady, faithful

Connotatively ~ it translates into deliberate living. Waking early to eat breakfast together ~ even when the snooze button is calling. Making time to exercise together ~ even when the work pressures seem debilitating. Creating that special meal from scratch ~ and always remembering to light candles at the dinner table, even on a Tuesday. Remembering to pick up a bottle of strawberry milk at the market ~ especially when making a mad dash to grab a few necessary items on the way to or from ... we always seem to be going to and from.

The days that I live deliberately are my favorite. The days that I wake early. Eat breakfast. Read my Bible. Listen to NPR on the way to work ~ and listen to quiet on my way home. Find time for a heart pounding exercise and trying out a new recipe ... unwinding at the end with a favorite TV show and a glass of Dad's Norton ... those are the days I love. Nothing special ~ just deliberate living.

Tonight, I found time for yoga practice and a leisurely bath ~ I am writing in my kitchen while a pot of white chili bubbles on the range (and frankly, the aroma is amazing! Yum-o!) ... waiting for Leon to arrive home from what seems to be a great night at youth group (Overtime, and the activity is a game called "Sardines" ~ he already wrote a text message to proclaim the night a brilliant triumph!) ... "Frank's Place" on the XM radio (and the thrill of seeing the TiVo light on capturing my favorite Sunday night programs: Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters ... don't you just love time shifting!) I love evenings such as these, particularly on Sundays ~ the week actually begins with a semblance of order and calm. I like that.

To some, this probably sounds dreadfully dull. I can name a few friends who will read this and say "you need kids" ... and some day, God willing, we will have them! And then, we will redefine what a life "resolute" feels like, the pace and ebb and flow will be drastically changed ~ but the core value ... living with deliberate intent won't change (at least we hope so as "old" parents in our mid-thirties ... hopefully that's one perk!)
So, as the week begins ~ here's to deliberate living. Enjoy your own version of a life resolute.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


If I could sing the title of this blog to you ~ which unfortunately I cannot ~ you would hear my one-woman rendition of the blended tones of the cast of White Christmas heralding nature's greatest winter gift ~ that's right, SNOW!

Today finds Leon and I tucked in at home enjoying an inside view of the white powder drifting down ~ and it's still coming!

It was one of those excellent days ~ 8 hours of productive time in the home office, challenging yoga practice, soothing hot chocolate ... and now, time for blogging before preparing dinner.

What am I thinking about this evening? (Aside from wondering why Katie Couric's eyes look so bizarre on tonight's evening news ...)

In my current graduate class, Media & Culture, this week is George Gerbner week. You might be familiar with Gerbner as the "media violence guy" ~ he has been tracking television violence for decades and is the creator of a theory known as the "mean world syndrome." Good stuff, provocative and worthy of chatter.

I just finished reading an article by Gerbner, Reclaiming Our Cultural Mythology ( in which he discusses how the systematic "homogenization" of media has caused a loss of the central story of society.

I am not entirely sure how I think about this ... just the other evening I said to Leon ~ and not in the positive way ~ "what would we be doing without the Internet?" By that I meant, would we know our neighbors better? Would we have our families over for longer, lingering meals? Would that stack of "must read" novels be conquered more rapidly? Gerbner suggests that we used to gather our sense of issues and society from many sources ~ and now he says we rely only on media that exists to sell things. He suggests that the effects on our future will be profound.

But what if the new media IS telling the cultural story? It certainly is different ~ and unlike anything that has gone before ~ but is it really that far off base?

Or is it that we are learning to share, receive, and respond in new ways? Without blogs, would I know as much as I do about my sister who lives hundreds of miles away? Would I care about the daily status of my friends if not for Facebook? Without new technologies, I would mindlessly learn about presidential candidates, whereas now Barack Obama's site asks me to create my own blog to respond to his platform ...

As with every age, we need to proceed with caution, but perhaps our cultural myth is alive and well ~ just online ... I don't know. It's a careful balance, I suppose. And there are times when I wonder about our common pulse as a people ... in my class forum I wrote,

"Does society WANT a story-teller? Or does society equate a central story-teller with a loss of diversity? How do we tell a grand, sweeping cultural story in today's America that (seemingly) demands total devotion to concepts of diversity (and by association) autonomy? Do we have a cultural meta-narrative yet to tell?I think we do. Disturbingly, perhaps media IS telling us the story of our culture. Do we like it? Are we content with it? Those are different questions."
Just the musings of this wintry night ... I think I'll go prepare that supper ...
Onward & Upward!

Friday, February 2, 2007

It's a Je Je Jejune world ...

I'm enjoying a wintry February Friday night.

Watching Frasier reruns and skimming a few cookbooks for this week's menus ~ when the word "jejune" caught my mind, and I realized that was my day. I accomplished things, a major paper written, work projects crossed off the never-ending "to-do" list ... nothing sensational.

Still, devoid of interest and significance as it was, I wanted to keep the accolades from dear readers coming (those who are stunned by my sudden prolific blogging) and so, here I am!

I have been home all day; but without Leon home takes on a different aspect.

Leon is currently in Indiana on a major interview for a ministry position at a thriving, energetic congregation in Columbus, Indiana. The next months could be interesting ~ and that, too, is tugging my thoughts toward contemplation of "home" ...

I seem to be going through a homebody phase ~ meaning that I far prefer snuggling in at home to any other activity. It must be the winter that brings on this desire for cocooning. Anyone who knows me probably realizes that is a bit of a shift for me. Certainly in terms of work, I am constantly required to be "on" ~ socializing, traveling, eating dinners that last far too long with complete strangers and being energetic, interesting, and engaging. I enjoy that part of my life, and have a certain aptitude for it, but I think it has led me to be even more protective of my time at home ...

Home is an important concept ~ a place, a thing, a feeling, people ... and there is nothing I love more than dishing up comfort food, wrapping in my quilt, talking about everything and nothing with Leon while the "mundane" routine wraps around us.

Home is far from jejune ... even when my daily grind is.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Go On - Tell Me What You Really Think!

Today was productive; but ended on an annoying note as responses to a national survey we built started pouring into the office via email. Once again, I was reminded that - even though there is quite a line between critique and insult - many seem oblivious of the difference.

Why is it that, even when someone tells you that of which you are already aware (in the negative sense) it sounds so loud?

Developing opinions is part of life; and learning how best to express them is part of maturing. I think that finally, now in my "thirties", I am ever more comfortable expressing my own interpretation of things without angst. I think that in your twenties (at least from my perspective) - you're so focused on getting your thoughts out there onto the world tape that you speak as loudly and passionately as possible. Once you realize that, for the most part others are fairly open to listening (and that you perhaps don't have as much original content as you hoped) it's easier to relax and just be ... share ... communicate and reflect without such overwhelming intensity.

You save the intensity for those issues that really, truly, deeply move you.

You don't pour them out on random surveys asking benign questions about simple Web sites.

So that was the frustrating end to what was otherwise a famously productive day. People proved to be ... people.

And how do I answer this obnoxious demonstration of human nature - I am renewing myself this evening with a great glass of Merlot, a tivo-ed Frasier, take-out Chinese, and the opportunity to spew my feelings via a worldwide channel! What a world.

Onward & Upward ...

Monday, January 29, 2007

What Defines a Really Terrific Day ...

I am procrastinating.

Which is really rare for me; so there is a part of me that has this deep, psychological need to determine what is causing my avoidance issues ... BUT, I'll deal with that later.

For now - I am going to share what made today truly a stellar day among days. Those reading will quickly note that, clearly, it doesn't take "much" to bring happiness to the Jameson household.

First, we were up early. Really, really early. 5AM early. With the aroma of coffee (a delicious Sumatra blend from Starbucks, yum) already in the air. Beginning the day snuggled in with a cuppa java and CNN is just about the best start to the morning.
Work early - and even with dull meetings all afternoon - a lovely lunch with friends, work out in the afternoon, delicious supper from scratch consummed in the kitchen, with candles cozily glowing (where all meals are truly meant to be consumed) and even fresh apples and cheese for dessert ... and now, time for a glass of robust red vino and time to catch up on things like blogs, facebooks, personal emails, and digital life. What a day.

Does this make me boring? Or truly suburban? Or painfully simply? I don't know. But there is something totally relaxing about a totally jam-packed day that comes off on schedule. At a relaxed pace as opposed to a frenetic dash.
I just had to write it down; so that in the mayhem that will be this year I am reminded of what tranquility feels like ...
Onward & Upward+

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A New Year for Us ...

It's the New Year. I guess we don't often post to our blog because we don't have tons of photos or exciting elements to share ;-)

I can say that when the clock struck midnight, I took a deep breath and rather "plunged" into the year. It's the year of the Gathering (which sounds like some odd zodiac sign or something). In 2004, the Gathering consumed life. And while I have a feeling that the same will happen in 2007, my hope is that it doesn't consume "me" as much as it consumes my time.
[Gret in Norway - at the site of The Scream painting!]

As ever, we are looking forward to a new year. More than that, we are hopeful that this year will bring some serious changes to our family life. How many more Christmas letters will we have to write with the same topics - Gret: work, travel, directing, etc. and Leon: church, youth group, tennis, etc. We really hope that this is THE year for kids - we'll see!

I don't really know that anyone is reading this post ;-) But we pray God's blessings on you if you are. Enjoy your evening!