Saturday, May 31, 2008

Settled in and gearing up...

Travis and I are comfortably moved into the Nams. Now we are just waiting for this little baby. My due date is June 24th but the doctor said yesterday that things are really moving along. I am 3 cm now and 60-70% effaced. She doesn't think it will be much longer. My mom changed her flight and Travis is now not going on his trip next week to Chicago... we'll keep you posted if anything happens.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It takes a Village

A "bedtime" story.
Mommy asked Daddy to put up the crib.
Daddy opened the box and began arranging parts.
Mommy was also cranky. She was tired. She wanted to sleep after a day of moving. She wanted Daddy to go to bed with her (he is her extra back pillow). Daddy wanted to assemble the crib so he could be done with it and golf on Monday.

An hour later:
"Is that the right way???"
Another hour later:
"That wasn't right either"
"The directions are not very clear. At all. They must have been written in China."
A few minutes later:
"Why don't we just assemble the drawer?"
Another ten minutes later:
"That part is broken."
Mommy gets more cranky.
She says to Daddy: "Can you please do this tommorrow??"
Daddy relents and serves Mommy.

Next day:
Daddy tries again after church.
Daddy asks Mommy to help.
Mommy gets cranky. Again.
She goes and makes mushroom ragout. She waits for dinner club friends to arrive. She sends Daddy's friends in to help.
Less than two hours, three master's degrees follow three pages of directions and finish.Thank goodness for friends.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Baby Update: the last days

Have you noticed that the numbers dropped dramatically on our countdown?
Both Travis and I have grown in our excitement as "that day" approaches.
We don't know when it will be.
But it might be sooner than we think.
The doctor said I was 1-2 cm dilated and 40-50% effaced. That means things are getting started for the birth! She said it was "favorable" and that I will probably not go past my due date.
We both cannot wait to find out what it is.
Now, some people might think "O my goodness. You could have the baby any day!" But we do not want to cause any unnecessary alarm. This is just the beginning and we have a lot longer to go. We are holding out for my mom's arrival if we can and we are definitely not going to have the baby while Daddy is gone in Chicago the first week of June :)

Our weekend accomplishments on top of moving:
The crib is up.
The carseat is in the car.
The diaper bag essentials are packed.
The hospital bag is started.

We still have a few things to do-- but who can complain about buying a stroller and shopping without using any of your own money??

Monday, May 26, 2008

Home Again...

You might have noticed that the title changed...again.
We've moved!
It is our fourth move together.
It was Travis' fifteenth move in his life. I am generously behind that with seven now under my belt.
The adventure continues.

Where are we? We are home sharing and house-sitting with our wonderful friends, the Nams in North Mesa, another corner of Phoenix we have yet to explore. The family generously gave up space so we could have two of their five bedrooms for a "Summer Suite".
The changes.
Losses: Leaving Travis' family and all that entails-- things like a separate A/C unit, for which we thank Connor for enduring my sub-polar pregnancy temperatures. We will miss our "hot sauce" men-- their love of Mexican food and BBQ sauce was seemingly bottomless. I will miss the companionship of Travis' mother, nana and sister-- especially on talking walks and I will never forgot their help through my pregnancy by lightening my load and giving me time for my husband during an incredibly busy season of life.

Gains: Loving the Nams and gaining time together as a couple. Travis will cut his commute to work and school enormously. We will also have space for a baby room as well as the "calvary" when they report for baby duty as the Nam's travel to Maryland for a month. We can't wait to benefit from their friendship as we already have this past year. We anticipate more times of golf, fellowship, food and learning all the Asian ways!

More update tommorrow....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Looking back while we look forward

As we paused to consider the birth of our child into this world this past weekend on our vacation, we cannot think about adding to our family without considering our heritage. Lately, we have lost a family member, my Tante Gertie, my Oma's younger sister, and our family friend, Louise Stark. Both women had amazing lives and stories to tell. You can read about Gertie's life on her son's blog.
Tante Gertie spent her life alongside her husband as a missionary, traveling the world providing low-cost eyeglasses in third world countries. She died doing this in India. Louise Stark was a dear family friend who was adopted into my mother's family, the Dahls, from as early as I can remember. She was my uncle Erik's childhood librarian and has always been a part of the Jansen children's lives. One time, she told me an amazing story when I interviewed her: she told me about the first time she ever saw an airplane. What a privilege to know women who could tell such stories and be a living part of history! I love how they were there for it-- World War II, immigration, education, and so on. I hope that my children have the joy of knowing other generations, so that they can learn as I did, to respect their wisdom, experience and lives.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Simply Showered

This is a long overdue post about my shower a couple weekends ago...
So now that Travis and I are rested and relaxed here at Pacific Beach, tucked into our cozy oceanfront (a free upgrade!) room, I will attempt to catch up on my stories.
I am sitting on the slate stairs of our little hotel stealing internet access from the next door hotel in the cool shade of a banyan tree with a cool breeze blowing and sunshine streaming through the leaves. How's that for a great blogging spot?
My lovely mother-in-law and sister-in-law through me the most creative shower. Their theme was "Real Simple"...It was cute, classy and very applicable, as all I need are the simple basics to get started for this child.
I got the basics! Travis' family gave me the crib, and a lovely group of people gave me my car seat. We are still on the hunt for our stroller with the blessings of my DC shower...but we don't really need it right away. Other surprise gifts I received were a baby sling, spa gift certificate, swim lessons and some flannel leakproof cloths that you use to protect your gear from overflow diapers. I ran a bunch of errands the evening before last and was able to purchase with giftcards our diaper bag and other goodies to go in it: a Diapee and Wipee, some cute gender neutral sleepers, and a nursing cover. I now have all the nursing supplies I need, the home-from-the-hospital essentials and the few cute things I really wanted. God is so good to us!
My caregroup also blessed me by making some delicious cupcakes on Friday night, while I went out with the Dinner Club girls, who blessed me with endless advice about being a mother. I was so inspired by both my time with them and with the advice that was shared with me at the shower. Janis had everyone contribute a Simple Joy and a Simple Tip that applied to motherhood. And although I requested no games, she even found a creative one with Scrabble letters, which was the beyond best shower game I had ever heard! Everyone received a letter and had to come up with a creative word or quality that applied to motherhood. I'll post those later....
I was overwhelmed by the good work that God has done by planting me in such new rich soil. My friends from work commented that it was amazing to see how many people loved and supported me. I agree wholeheartedly. It is truly an amazing grace that so many people would love and support me in this next season in such a short time of building in Arizona. I love the verse from Malachai 3:10 which says:
And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Check out all the fun pictures on Flickr!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Baby Update: Week 34

Only 42 days left...Maybe more, maybe less.
According to the full moon schedule, it may be as early as the 18th of June; but Gigi doesn't come until the morning of the 19th, so we'll hold off for her :) But the uterus is measuring small (no suprise if you've seen my belly) so we apparently need to get another ultrasound, unless I can convinced them otherwise. Not that I don't want to see my baby, but they think because the baby is in the 30th percentile for size, that they need to confirm that the placenta is sufficient. The legs are still 2 weeks longer than the rest of it's body, so that makes me think I'm going to get a very long and skinny child coming out of me :) No suprises there given its familial genetics.
A funny quote from childbirth class last night.
Travis leaned over last night and said, "Babe, I should teach this class". I raised my eyebrows. He continued, "An epidural is medicine between the 'epi' and the 'dural' space". Rocket science. My husband and I must look like goofy school kids, laughing our heads off and holding hands.

Friday, May 09, 2008


As we confront challenges in our lives, it can be easier to give up than to fight the good fight of faith. Travis and I have been facing some car troubles lately that can leave us discouraged.

First, we had to spend a large amount on his old Camry. Have you ever gotten that far into repairs that it isn't worth as much as you put into it? We couldn't ditch the car because the first bit we put into it wasn't that horrible (knowing that the poor car has taken a beating), but after another two incidents, we realized we had put more into it than it was worth. All I had to say was "Thank you Lord for our Hyundai!!"...

Then a month later, on Tuesday, I was driving to a community diabetes support group to give a talk and cooking demo, and as I pulled out of a stop light into the intersection, the engine in the Hyundai just went "clunk" and died. Turns out that the timing belt broke. And by attempting to restart it, we damaged the valves in the engine. Not cheap to repair. Not cheap at all. In fact, very expensive.

As a young couple trying to save for a house and working hard to do so, this can feel like an insurmountable set-back. My mom sent us this encouragement from Spurgeon. She wrote:

As I was praying for you all this morning and your particular needs, parts of Psalm 68 brought faith and encouragement….so, I thought I would pass it on…

Verse 28: “ Summon your power, O God, the power, O God, by which you have worked for us”….mr. sprugeon has this to say about the verse, “ Being reconciled to God, we may look to him to perfect that which concerns us, since he NEVER forsakes the work of his own hands.”

Verse 34: “ Ascribe power to God, whose majesty is over Israel, and whose power is in the skies”….mr.spurgeon says in a nut shell, let us not by our doubts deny His power, but by yielding to Him and trusting Him, let our hearts acknowledge his might…..

This is an excellent reminder, because we need to believe in the God of power, not just allow our doubts to assail our hearts into despair. Travis is leading us in practicing thankfulness in times like these: to focus on what we are grateful for instead of our trials. We are finding three things a day to be thankful for: that we have a healthy baby, we both have great jobs, and that we have the money to pay for repairs without going into debt.

There is also the great truth that if it was God's will, he is powerful enough to provide exactly what we need. This isn't just a mistake, it is a guiding moment along life's pilgrimage. I was reflecting on the Israelites this morning. I can find comfort in their story as I "sojourn" through the Phoenix desert in search of a place to call home. In their story God provided direction and comfort through the cloud and fire, he provided daily food by means of quail and manna, he provided water in the desert, and he provided clothing that did not wear out. If God did such for them, will he not also give us everything we need for life and godliness?? It is surely within his power.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


I had a request from a "poor lost Dutch boy" in Mesa, AZ who was looking for a recipe of a Dutch dessert called bunket. This is a pastry filled with almond paste that is traditionally served in our family at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have one disclaimer: I have never attempted this recipe alone. I have made it with my Oma but I haven't made it myself yet. This year will be the first time I try. I did get a hint from a relative, who says that it is best to freeze the filling in a log shape before wrapping it in pastry and baking. This ensures the filling from "leaking".


For pastry:

1 lb. butter

4 Cups all purpose flour

¾ Cup cold water

Few drops of white vinegar

Mix as you would for pie pastry


1 lb. almond paste

3 eggs- leaving out 1 egg white

2 cups of sugar

Juice and rind of 1 lemon

Mix all together

Divide each mixture into eights. Roll out 1/8 of pastry into long narrow strip. Use 1/8 of the filling and put into center of strip. Roll it up and seal well. Use left over egg white to paste strip shut. Prick or gnash it gently. Bake at 425 for 10 min., then at 350 for about 25 min. until lightly browned.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Baby Update: Week 33

Veni Vidi Vici. I came, I saw, I conquered. At least, we think we did.

Our first childbirth preparation class began last night at 6pm. Travis and I walked over after I got off work to a room full of eager parents--waddling mothers in all their glory and nervous first-time fathers sat in a circle before our instructor began. We mingled, we listened, we asked questions. We even "practiced" breathing patterns to get through contractions. Travis would hold up his fingers one at a time and we did the traditional "He He Who" together. Reality sinks in. We are actually going to do THIS.

The class was an eclectic mix- there were three teenage couples and the majority probably in their early thirties. The question loomed in my mind, "Are we old enough to distance ourselves from highschool and relate more closely with the thirty year olds?" This discussion about age keeps coming up. Apparently the average age for a first-time home buyer is 31. That gives us a little more breathing room. We can be tempted to feel "behind" when most of our friends are already homeowners at a young age. But when you look at the couple with teenage acne attending childbirth class together, we are certainly grateful that God has given us enough time in his perfect plan to be ready for this child at this particular age.

Saturday, May 03, 2008



1 lb. butter
4 Cups all purpose flour
¾ Cup cold water
Few drops of white vinegar
Mix as you would for pie pastry


1 lb. almond paste
3 eggs- leaving out 1 egg white
2 cups of sugar
Juice and rind of 1 lemon

Mix all together

Divide each mixture into eights. Roll out 1/8 of pastry into long narrow strip. Use 1/8 of the filling and put into center of strip. Roll it up and seal well. Use left over egg white to paste strip shut. Prick or gnash it gently. Bake at 425 for 10 min., then at 350 for about 25 min. until lightly browned.

I divide the dough and wrap in wax paper and refrigerate it.
Keep the filling cold. I roll it first in my hands.
You’ll notice some filling always runs out while baking.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Just in case you were wondering.

Some people back East have doubted I really look pregnant yet... here's some proof. It's all in there... less than 8 weeks to go.

Two week count down...

Travis & I are counting the days until we go to San Diego... it will be our last "childless" vacation. We found this steal of a place in Pacific Beach on the ocean that is only...get this... $62.00 a night. And they just renovated it last year and it has granite countertops in the kitchens. Sweet... we can't wait to wake up to Tully's coffee brewing in our own room, lounging around at the beach, walking to the famous mocha shop, and generally being together. This photo is from the one other weekend we have found something relaxing to do together--- thanks to the Nam's we are now both addicted to golf. Some friends were in town and we all shot a few holes together and then went out to dinner.
We have been trying to find little ways to spend more time together. Yesterday, I had a random Wednesday off and met Travis for lunch. I had a whole hour with him for lunch and then I started my annual My Sister's "Treasure Hunt" and then went back, picked him up, and we commuted home together. Two whole extra hours together! The week prior we saw each other (minus sleeping in the same bed) for a grand total of an hour. If I had only known this was an effective way to practically double our time spent together, I would have done so sooner. Who cares what gas prices are :)
We are learning to trust the Lord and lean on him in all circumstances. As we begin the countdown to the birth of our child and count down the weeks of school remaining, we are waiting on the Lord for the fulfillment of all his promises. Like Acts 13 reminds us, it was 450 years before the prophesies came true. Isaiah say, "Then you will know that I am the Lord;
those who wait for me shall not be put to shame." There is always hope that God will fulfill his promised towards us. It is comforting to be reminded that it is not up to us to make things happen. It starts with God, the Provider:
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. ~ Isaiah 55

Hooray for Drew!

We are so excited to hear that an old friend from Covenant Life, Drew, has finally found a woman... and a woman we all LOVE~ Congratulations to Drew & Melanie on their engagement. We are so glad that God has answered all of our prayers.