Monthly Archives: June 2012

Sure, ya, you-betcha!

Ryan and I will have been married for five years this September.  We wanted to get away, just the two of us, to celebrate.  When a good friend announced she was getting married in Iowa this June, we jumped at the chance to travel to the midwest.  Ryan’s parents graciously agreed to watch Evan and Makenna and off we went. 

Standing on one end of the William Irwin.  One of
the ships that transported iron from MN through the
Great Lakes.  It was retired for being too SMALL.

We flew into Minneapolis (I have never savored reading a book on a plane so much!), spent some time with my sister and brother-in-law (there’s a serious bromance going on between the husbands), and then drove three hours south for the Iowa wedding.  After having a great time at the wedding, we then turned back and drove north. 

This drive was longer–six hours!  But honestly, when you usually have most of your conversations with your spouse while trying to wrangle a three year old and an almost one year old, the six hours of uninterrupted time together was heavenly! 

Ryan messing with the anchor chain. 
The tour guide said each link weighed
approximately 40 lbs!

The next two days were spent exploring Duluth and the surrounding area.  Why Duluth you ask?  Well, having gone to college in Minnesota, I love the state.  And Ryan was born in Duluth and lived the first five or six years of his life there.  So, to sum it up, both of us were open to this destination.   We know it’s not the most glamorous place on earth and definitely not tropical, but for us, it was perfect. Included are a few pictures of our time there.

Captain Ryan

Touring the ship was fascinating, taking walks in downtown Duluth and further up the North Shore was AWESOME, checking out where Ryan was born and spent the first years of his life was interesting, but the restaurants we visited were just okay.  We had a hard time deciding on where to eat the second evening.  Ryan vetoed one place, I vetoed the second, and then we were so hungry, we just picked something we had previously ruled out.  Despite querying Yelp (its a website that gives reviews of all types of restaurants), this decision was really difficult for some reason.  Maybe we had too high of expectations for our last night on the town.  We ended up at Grandma’s right by the Lift Bridge and the only good thing about our experience was watching the Lift Bridge in action.  The reviews of Grandma’s on Yelp were dead-on.  But one of the restaurants we passed on had awesome reviews but looked like a dive in a desolate part of town…we haven’t figured out how to best use Yelp!  Anyway….back to the more interesting aspects of our trip… 

Ryan likes to experiment with the panoramic setting on our camera.  Here are a few he took…

The famous Duluth Lift Bridge.  It didn’t turn out like he expected, but it was still cool looking

A beautiful afternoon at Two Harbors…this is a navigation barrier (?) near the harbor.  We assumed it helped
control the waves so ships could dock easier…

 Below are some photos of what happened the day we left! Please keep Duluth-ians (or Duluth-inites) in your prayers! It sounds like it’s horrible out there.  Thanks, Bob Miller, for supplying these photos. 

Sinkholes were prevalent throughout
the area…

Ryan and I both recognize this intersection.
Crazy to think that we were just driving
through it on Monday or Tuesday.

One of the downtown I-35 tunnels…

My Heart, Forever Outside My Body

“Making the decision to have a child — it’s momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”  – Elizabeth Stone

I love my kids so much that I can’t put it into words, but there are moments that I desperately need a break from them.  I had many of those moments this week.   Makenna has been out-of-sorts and Evan has been acting up and struggling to eat all over again.  Put those dynamics together, and it’s been one exhausting week! 

Several times this week, Evan’s meals have lasted over an hour, which is very unusual.  We’ve gotten it down to a science where he can usually eat 6-7 ounces of purees and 2-5 ounces of Carnation milk in ten minutes or less!  So going back to hour-long feedings, is disappointing and frustrating!  I’m worn out by the end of it because it requires me to maintain a matter-of-fact attitude and be very patient.  Sometimes I can do this easily and other days, I’m praying that God will give me the strength and grace–moment by moment–to continue to push through this issue with him!  It’s been especially frustrating when I’m trying to get the house cleaned and the kids packed up to leave and I can’t do certain tasks until feeding him is accomplished!  He also blessed me with a (behavioral) vomit episode in the middle of the night mid-week.  : (

I know Evan’s behavior has deteriorated because we’ve been talking about him going to his grandparents’ house this weekend (Ryan and I are going out of town for a few days, kids-free) and although he’s excited to go, it means a change for him.  We let him know of changes in advance because he handles the actual change better, but then there’s also behavioral fallout leading up to it.  Despite being aware of the “why” behind his behavior, this week was tough. 

I’m excited to get away and have time away with my husband without our children, but I know that I’ll be wondering what they’re up to and how they’re doing.  I’m sure we’ll be calling and checking in frequently too.  I was ready for a break, so why am I missing my kids already, right after they pulled away in their grandparents’ vehicle?  Why do I count the moments until bedtime (or even naptime some days) but then an hour later, I’m wishing they were up, so I could delight in their smiles and laughs and quirks?   
I know it’s healthy, to love them and miss them, but also to get away.  They can be the source of such joy and such frustration.  Ah, parenthood!  And, Mom and Dad, this week has made me all the more grateful for you two…that you juggled five of us and didn’t lose your temper more often amazes me! 

The 799th Thing I’m Thankful For

“O Lord God, why have you showered your blessings on such an insignificant person as I am? Such generosity is far beyond human standard! Oh, Lord God! What can I say? For you know what I am like! You are doing all these things just because you promised to and because you want to.” 2 Samuel 7:18-21

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalms 27:13-14

Our happy little girl,
always a smile for everyone!

This past Tuesday, I sat humbled and crying in our Honda after having opened a letter from United Healthcare Children’s Foundation.  Originally, we were applying for this grant because our health insurance wasn’t going to cover any of Evan’s feeding therapy (they had told us so over the phone last fall).  The grant required an official denial letter from our insurance company so I went through the process of obtaining one.  Then our insurance company shocked us all by approving Evan’s feeding therapy!  I figured that since we had already gathered the necessary paperwork for our grant application, it wouldn’t hurt to still apply, especially since we still had to pay 30% of the therapy costs.  Deep down I just knew though that we’d get a denial letter sooner or later.  

So about a month after I had submitted the application, I was sitting in our vehicle with the kids, holding an envelope from the foundation.  I opened the envelope, wanting to scan through the letter, absorb the rejection, and then leave it in the vehicle to put it out of my mind. Instead, as I perused the first page of their letter, I found that the grant had generously given us several THOUSAND dollars to spend on Evan’s feeding therapy costs. I re-read the page again and the tears started to roll down my face and I didn’t even know what to say to God. I had doubted His provision and here He once again blew my expectations away!

The amount of joy and love of life that
Evan has despite his medical issues,
amazes me!  He looks like he doesn’t
have a care in the world…

God has blessed our little family over and over again, but so often I forget what He’s done for us and focus on what is still not going smoothly or prayers that have not yet been answered.  One thing I’ve been doing lately to cultivate an attitude of gratefulness is to write a list of 1000 gifts that God has blessed me with.   This wasn’t my idea, it came from another blogger: Ann Voskamp (  I’m currently at 799 on my list.  It has really helped me be more aware of all the things I have to be grateful for.  Now I constantly look for things to add to my list, whether they be big things (this grant) or small (pb&j w/ banana sandwiches).  Will you join me and start your own list?  I guarantee it will change your outlook forever.  Ms. Voskamp welcomes people to share their lists or gifts on her blog. 

If your family has a child with special needs or medical issues and you’d like more information about the foundation mentioned above, feel free to email me or check out a previous post on this blog (twelve back) for information.