Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Miracle of Life

We ended up having a 3-D ultrasound of the baby done just before Christmas, and had a mini photo shoot with our actively moving baby inside my belly. When we saw these pictures, it really sealed the deal for us, and made it seem even more so incredible that God has given us the ability to make and grow a baby that will one day live among us outside of my womb. Even though I take care of pregnant women every day and deliver babies all the time, this first-time personal experience is taking the miracle of life to a whole new level. My mom gave me a book of poetry for Christmas called The Joys and Challenges of Motherhood, and I found this poem there, which I think is worth sharing, as we share the 3-D photos of our little tiny miracle.

"The Miracle of Life"
Life is precious
We hear it so often
it becomes
a litany without meaning
until the moment when
life explodes upon you
Pain and ecstasy at once
place within your arms
that perfect precious entity
The absolute realization
of an idea
that words keep in the shadow
of our consciousness
A kind universe
The smiling face of God
Good beyond measure
This tiny individual --
this proof of hope and truth
and all things beautiful
The wonder of creation that is your child.

-Danielle Morrison-MacNeil


These pictures were taken when our baby was 19 weeks and 5 days old inside the womb. Any guesses on whether it's a boy or a girl? Leave us a comment and let us know your guess! We had our eyes closed anytime the ultrasound probe was approaching the revealing areas. A big surprise awaits us!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas JOY!

We had full days over the Christmas week, with something to do and somewhere to be every- single-day for 8 days straight! Fortunately we managed to squeak in some rest and relaxation time amidst some wonderful moments with our families.
Our nieces and nephews are such a joy to watch grow up, mature and develop each of their personalities a little bit more. They are each soooo different, and each wonderful. They're all loving and affectionate, well-mannered, and respectful (I'm sure this is how they are always behaved in their own homes, too!). Our youngest niece, Ella, is almost three, and really starting to come out of her shell and warm up to us now. She's so fun to watch and so full of energy! I don't know that my brother ever expected to have his sister reincarnated in his own daughter, but I see little glimpses of myself as a child in Lauryn each time I see her!
We had some time to celebrate Christmas while Jill & Daniel were still up north before heading back to Florida. We also had some time with my parents, and with Tim's family, including all the siblings and their kids. Before Christmas, we attended the annual "Zimmerman Family Christmas," which is Tim's maternal side's gathering of anywhere from 130-160 people (yowsers!). We had a much smaller gathering of the Johnsen family after Christmas, with my dad's siblings and just a few of the cousins.
I think we were both very thankful for the peace, quiet and soft-sung worship that we were able to experience (albeit only for an hour and a half), while we soaked in all aspects of the Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at our church. With all of the hustle and bustle of the season, it seemed like just what we needed to help us inch our ways a little more into the Christmas spirit... the real spirit of the season! We've celebrated the birth of our King and Savior - the greatest gift of all!
Here's a sampling of our photos to share the memories of our Christmas joy! We are abundantly blessed!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Our first baby picture!

Little baby Johnsen Martin was a bit finicky for the first photo shoot, not wanting to reveal her- or himself completely to the ultrasound tech... but Mama Kirsten took a break and made a visit to the bathroom, and then the baby seemed to cooperate a bit more. We had a hard time getting images of the head initially, but then the baby did a nice job of posing for some side shots, and we got this great picture! As Tim said in the ultrasound exam room, "this makes it official!"
It's never too early to be proud parents, right?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A winter wonderland wedding

Jill and Daniel are married! Last night, Tim's sister, Jill, married Daniel. It was a beautiful wedding and reception, and our church had been magically converted into a gorgeous winter wonderland. It was wonderful to see Jill so happy and at peace - she was a radiant bride! We're thankful for how God has brought Jill and Daniel together and pray a special blessing on their life together.
I'm sure everyone, bride and groom included, are happy to have some time to rest before the next big events... we're not sure which will come first - a new niece or nephew (our sister-in-law is due December 25th) or Christmas! Either way, these are special times, full of joy and celebration.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A dancer or a soccer player?

As we sat at dinner at Taj Mahal (one of our favorite restaurants, where we are "customers for life") on Monday night with several friends, I felt a rumble or a tumble in my belly... I said to my friend "I think I might have just felt the baby move." And she promptly replied, "Or that's the Tikka Masala you just ate!" I didn't feel anything on Tuesday, but Wednesday brought a few strange, yet fascinating sensations in my womb. Yesterday, however, was a day full of wonder and awe, as I sensed movement -clearly other than my digestive tract- several times throughout the day. This really is an incredible thing! I never imagined how amazing it would actually be to realize and feel that there's a tiny little human being developing and growing inside my body. It's indescribable, I think, and until you've experienced it yourself, you really have nothing to compare! I'm not sure if we have a dancer (salsa, of course) or a soccer player in there, but if this early movement at 18 weeks and 4 days is any indication of their energy level in the future, we'll be busy!

On another note, we finally got our tree decorated, and it looks beautiful. We had quite a time getting all of our lights to work... it's so strange how you can put them away one year, totally working fine, and pull them out the next, only to find that half the lights are out?!? Ugh! Anyways, my very patient and diligent husband got them all in working order, and we're a little more in the Christmas spirit every day.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The first belly picture!

I've had several requests for belly pictures, so I decided to finally take some today. This is the first official belly picture! All of a sudden, it seems this week my belly popped out of nowhere. I had a little bump before, but now some strangers can even tell I'm preggers. In one day, I had 4 patients ask me when I was due! Not so sure how I feel about that... But anyways, today I'm 17 wks and 4 days... only 22 wks and 3 days left to go!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Scrounging for dinner... a delicious meal.

Last night, I was at work late, so Tim prepared dinner. He decided to do his part to clean out some storage supplies of food... I arrived home to a wonderful aroma and dinner on the table. My dear husband made a delicious meal of some veggies that needed to be used up from the fridge, scallops that were in the freezer since when I lived at my old house (before we were married), artichoke hearts that came from a box of items in the basement from Tim's old house, edamame from the freezer that was probably from a Trader Joe's trip about 4 or 5 outings ago, and marinara sauce from our pantry. It was a surprisingly lovely blend served over rice! And so far, neither of us are paying gastrointestinally for the use of old(er) foods. My Uncle Bill would j-u-s-t die!
Tim's new idea is that we designate certain nights or weeks at a time when we can only use food from our pantry or freezer in order to proceed with the long overdue consumption of many great foods that linger on and on! And I keep saying I want a chest freezer! There are pros and cons to everything in life, but I just think that one should always have adequate storage for good ice cream. Spoken like a good Norwegian girl who loves her milky, creamy foods.
PS. Did I mention how important it is for all women, but especially pregnant women, to get adequate sources of calcium in their daily diet?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Full of Thanksgiving

We enjoyed a very full holiday and weekend, but it was great. I was the rounder all week at the hospital last week, and on call on Thanksgiving Day, but we managed to squeeze in two turkey meals with both of our families. We enjoyed a wonderful time with our parents, siblings and nieces and nephews. I managed to get a photo of the feasting table at my parents' house, but forgot all about it at Tim's parents' house. By the time we got to Tim's parents' house, I was very tired, and the tryptophan was kicking in - I think it took over my photo taking natural tendencies! Friday night we headed downtown to enjoy the Mayor's Christmas tree lighting, a tuba Christmas concert, a walk through Central Market, and a meal at one of our favorite locales - Spyro Gyro. Yummy Greek food! Steve, Isaac and my parents met us down there, while Traci and Lauryn stayed at home nursing a pending cold in my niece.
We had a fun outing on the Saturday after Thanksgiving with my parents, brother and sister-in-law and my niece and nephew. It's beginning to be a tradition now to go to Frysville Farms to get our Christmas tree. We pick out our favorite concolor fur, get some hot apple cider and meander in awe through the aisles of pointsettias. The kids spoke to Santa, ensuring him that they were very well behaved, and each getting a toy in return. And to top it all off, we had a horse-drawn hay wagon ride through the tree orchards. Now we can enjoy the aroma of our citrus-smelling tree as it pervades the living room!
We have so much for which to be thankful. It's so easy to forget that in the midst of how busy life gets, what's going on around us with war, bad economies, global warming, worsening crime, etc. and seeing the sorrow of so many others around us. We have a warm house, good food which is abundant, good secure jobs, wonderful family, health, love, education, our faith, terrific friends, a baby growing inside of me and each other. We are blessed! Thanksgiving shouldn't be just a single day, but a way of life... everyday.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scrubs for the next 6 months!

I think I might be wearing scrubs for the next 6 months! Fortunately I work in a field where that's probably acceptable. I had my first excursion to Motherhood Maternity today... my friend Cherilyn had warned me about the experience. And she was right on target! She compared it to going to a bridal boutique or a car dealership. I went specifically JUST to get a tummy sleeve, and maybe a long-sleeved black t-shirt. But I was accosted immediately by the sales clerk upon entering the store. I found the tummy sleeve pretty quickly, and thought I'd browse for a few moments. I was asked on more than one occasion if I needed anything, and the clerk made sure to maintain constant small talk with me and point out several new pieces that are "great, and so comfortable!" I found the black t-shirt, but then she told me that if I got two or more, they'd only be $9.99 each... enjoying a good deal, I said OK and made my way to the register (now with two t-shirts and the tummy sleeve), not willing to spend more time (or money) there today. It sure was hard to resist all the shirts that said "Baby, bambino, bebe" on them, or "Baby makes the world go 'round," or simply "Baby" with an arrow pointing down to the belly. I somehow managed to get out of there without one of each! That's just for you, Rachel! :)
The real kicker occurred when I got to the register - did I want to take advantage of US Weekly for $1/wk, did I want to give them my e-mail address to get updates, coupons, etc., did I want to sign up for the "perks" plan, which would give me over $400 in savings and samples like Similac and Huggies (uh...no, thanks!), did I want to sign up for a college savings plan for my baby???!?! Not to mention a request for my name, address, phone number, due date, etc. And...at the end of it all, I was given a "free gift," which included a bunch of coupons, some lotion samples, and a free bottle to reduce colic. Eeeek! Can't one just go shopping in peace? Maybe we should send our husbands, mothers or mothers-in-law - the non-pregnant folks - to see if their experience would be any different.
Do I have to go back again? I did ask for a gift certificate from Motherhood Maternity on my Christmas list, but maybe I should only shop online. At the end of it all, I decided that I needed a little treat, so went straight to the coffee shop and had a decaf gingerbread latte. Hmmm...yum! Great for a cold, blistery evening.
So, with the combination of my shopping experience which I'd rather not repeat, and the fact that I'm convinced that maternity pants are never gonna fit me (a bit of drama coming through!), I think I'm going to wear scrubs for the rest of my pregnancy. And now I have two long-sleeved t-shirts to go with my scrubs. Problem solved! At least for now...

Friday, November 14, 2008

From the patient's point of view...

I'm not used to being a patient, and I suppose at this point in time in the pregnancy, I'm not much of a patient... but I did have my first prenatal visit with my doctor last week. Sitting on the exam table and being -on the other side- certainly is something that takes getting used to. My doctor is awesome, though, and makes me feel totally comfortable. We talk through everything together. I had some questions for her, all of which I have answers conjured up in my own head for my patients, but I wanted to be an unassuming patient and ask her opinion. I asked how she felt about prenatal massage, how late into the pregnancy she thought I could travel, and her opinion about some screening tests and returning to work after maternity leave. She's a great clinician, but also gives a very personal perspective having just come off of maternity leave herself - that's why I had to wait until 13 1/2 weeks to see her! But she's well worth waiting for.

So far, since I've entered the second trimester, I've felt great! This is such a relief, because I wasn't a big fan of not having any energy to do anything during the first trimester. I can eat pretty much all things now, which makes my taste buds very happy. A couple of things I was bummed about, however, came up at my doctor's visit:

1. I found out my blood type was AB negative. No one should really be upset by this, but I was, because I know that it means I'll need Rhogam shots at 28 weeks in the pregnancy, and possibly again after the baby is born, depending on the baby's blood type. I'm not a fan of extra blood draws and shots - I just don't like needles! I actually was absolutely sure that the lab must have made a mistake, because of course I would remember if my blood type were negative, so I had my doctor order a blood type again (speaking of subjecting myself to more needles). Apparently I really am Rh negative! So be it - but I'm still trying to figure out how I managed to end up with such a rare blood type and be Rh negative all at the same time. My mom is AB positive and my dad A positive, so they both must have a recessive (negative) allele, that got together to make me who I am today. Tim is O positive, so we have a 50/50 chance of having a baby that is Rh negative. A little lesson in genetics... I actually got pretty nerdy and started drawing all sorts of Punnett squares to figure out what all the options were, and how I turned out this way! I know - I'm a bit of a geek! Anyways, this really shouldn't have any implications, but if the baby has a different blood type from me, I'll need a Rhogam shot and the baby might be at higher risk for jaundice. I'm sure it will all be fine... but I really didn't want to believe or accept this. This is definitely one of those things that confirms that I can't totally let go of being a clinician myself, and I need to try to do so... if I were a normal patient, I would have just accepted the news the doctor told me and moved on... so now, several days later after lots of return to college biology, I'm moving on! I'm sure my family and friends are thankful!

2. I'm anemic :(. The second piece of news that my my doctor shared with me that I wasn't so excited about was that my blood count was low. It wasn't horribly low, but I started taking "GI friendly" iron supplements. Anyone who's taken iron knows how important it is to take friendly iron! I've often been a little anemic, and my hemoglobin wasn't terribly low, but my doctor thought it was a good idea to be proactive in building up my stores, so I'll be ready at the time of delivery. I'm pretty sure that this time around my counts were low, because all I ate were carbohydrates for about 8 weeks during the first trimester. I don't eat red meat to begin with, and my regular doses of leafy green veggies were out for a long time. So now I'm taking my iron and eating my normal diet, and hoping that the extra pills will soon be history.

I'm starting to get a little pooch in my belly, which is kinda fun, but kinda not at the same time. The baby is about the size of my fist now, but big enough to make things push up and out a tad. It's very cool to think about why my belly is starting to bulge, but I'm definitely not ready for maternity clothes. So, I'm rotating through about 4-5 pairs of pants that still feel comfortable enough to wear... I'm not interested in walking around like some of my patients with my zipper undone! I'll have to do some shopping soon... cuz I can't wear my PJs to work!

It's fun to start thinking about things for the baby, likes diapers, back packs, strollers, a crib, etc. I found a really neat thing online called Wishpot, where we can make a wish list from all different stores online, which is like a registry. It's a great idea, so everything can be streamlined all on the same web page. Someone was a smartie who came up with this idea! Fun!

So that's the wrap up for now of me from the patient's point of view... I don't have any photos yet, but we'll have to start doing that in the next few weeks. It's still incredibly amazing to think that there's a human life growing inside of me! We definitely need some photo documentation of this miracle!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Season of Change

To everything there is a season,

a time for every purpose under the sun.

A time to be born and a time to die;

a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

a time to kill and a time to heal...

a time to weep and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn and a time to dance...

a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;

a time to lose and a time to seek;

a time to rend and a time to sew;

a time to keep silent and a time to speak;

a time to love and a time to hate;

a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

It's still settling in - Barack Obama is the next president of the United States! I'm listening to his acceptance speech as I write this. I'm moved by his words - he brings hope and vision to a country that is in need.

I couldn't stay awake on Tuesday night to watch the final results, but I felt good about going to bed when I knew that all Obama had to do was win California to become the next president of the USA. I felt confident in that news, and headed to bed, but then kept waking up throughout the night thinking "could it really be true?" And sure enough, it's true! It was confirmed for me, too, when my friend Rachel sent me a text page saying "Yay!!!" -- thanks, Rach :) Even though you woke me up, I'm glad you helped me rest more peacefully.

When I got up Wednesday morning, I was filled with excitement and pride. I brought a radio into the bathroom to be able to listen to NPR while showering. Most of what I was listening to reminded me of the above scripture from Ecclesiates. The words I heard coming from Obama brought tears to my eyes. I also heard an interview with an African American woman who is 109 years old and never believed she would see this day come. She was the daughter of a slave, and she spent the early years of her life in a country that permitted oppression and segregation. How incredible it must be for her to be alive today! How incredible for all of us!

Something else I heard on NPR referred to a young woman who refused to vote for Obama because he didn't put his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem. I did some reading about this, and the long and the short of it is that sometimes Obama puts his right hand over his heart and sometimes he doesn't. I don't fault Obama for doing this, and I recognize a plethora of bigger issues and factors that should have been considered in choosing where to cast your vote (fortunately millions of others thought so too). In fact, I firmly believe that if we're going to pledge our allegiance to anything or anyone, it should be to God and His Son... not to a flag or a single nation, but to the Father of ALL nations. Despite his own recent surge of controversy, I think Ray Boltz said it well in his song "Pledge Allegiance to the Lamb."

I've spent a lot of time travelling all around the world and had several encounters with folks who aren't big fans of the USA. It's often been far from pleasant. I remember living in Spain and trying to hide the fact that I was an American, because I didn't want to face the negative attitudes and comments about our country.

After this monumental event in our country, a new sense of pride wells up inside of me. I'm excited to see how the world's perception of our nation and our leadership may change. I'm hopeful for the change that has been promised. I'm encouraged by the energy and enthusiasm that our new leadership brings to the table. I'm thankful for a leader who seeks to unite and not divide. I'm anxious to see how our foreign relations improve all over the world. And I look forward to a day when we won't be involved in war, and peace will be more of a reality.

To everything there IS a season and THIS is the season!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sea Bands saved my life and much, much more - an update!

It seems like it's been forever since I last wrote any blog entries... Certainly some updates are long overdue, but I'm happy to announce that I'm finally at a point where I can sit down and share some words.
Right after we were in NYC visiting our friends Jennifer and Seth, I started to feel super sick - not only was I plagued with a bad upper respiratory infection and sinus infection, but I also had a new sense of nausea and extreme fatigue overtake my body. As it turns out, growing a baby inside your body takes a lot of energy and sucks a lot of life out the momma in the beginning of the process. That's right! We're growing our family, and I'm pregnant!
I'll be 13 weeks tomorrow, and I finally am starting to feel a little more like myself - able to stay awake past 8 o'clock, able to eat some foods other than carbohydrates, able to not wear my Sea Bands (which saved my life over the past two months - literally - highly recommended) and still function on a day to day basis and able to sit down and write a blog entry. This past week has been a good week all in all. I still tire more easily than previously, but I feel like life is coming back to me bit by bit. I ate salad every day last week, which was a beautiful thing!
I'm reading a book that my friend let me borrow when she knew we where thinking about starting a family - it's called Twice Alive, and it's about spirituality of pregnancy and mothering during the 1st year. I haven't gotten very far, but what I've read so far has been real and 'right on.' The author talks about how the first trimester causes many women to resent this beautiful new life growing inside of them, because you feel so tired, often sick, and not yourself, that it's extremely difficult to enjoy the amazing miracle that's occurring inside your body. I can't say that I've reached resentment, or even close to it, but I have often been incredibly impressed by this process and how it has affected me - in ways I never could have expected, both bad and good. I have to admit, though, that I'm very anxious to experience the second trimester, when I hope to have an energy burst, feel the movement of a new life inside of me, watch my belly grow, and much, much more!
It's a very interesting process to finally be in the shoes of my patients that I've taken care of for so many years. Now the experiences that I spoke to them about with a certain 'voice of authority' as their doctor is taking on a whole new meaning for me. Now if only I can heed all of my own advice, I'll be doing quite well!
So the pregnancy is certainly the biggest news around here these days, but lots of other things have been happening. My grandmother's death was hard and painful, yet incredibly beautiful all at the same time. I had the honor of sitting with her and my mom when she died, and also got to tell her about her future 7th great grandchild before she died. Watching my mother cradle her mom and sing to her in her last moments was one of the most special experiences I've had. I see people die all the time in my line of work, but this was the first time that I was with a family member when they died. It will not soon be forgotten.
In the middle of October, I travelled to Arizona for a conference with my partner, Rachel. It was a conference on colposcopy, which basically is the procedure that women have to go through if they have an abnormal Pap smear. Rachel's husband said it best when he asked "So, you're going to a conference all about cervices?" And that's just what we did - 3 days chock full of cervices. I have to admit that it seemed to be a bit much by the end. We did have a little diversion, however, when we escaped down to Nogales, Mexico for an afternoon and evening. It was just a little over an hour from Tucson. Interestingly, we just walked straight through the gate to get to Mexico, but had to wait 1 hr and 23 minutes in line to get back into the USA. We got some great pieces of pottery, though, so it was all worth the trip. Not to mention that I have an on-going love affair with Mexico, and feel right at home whenever I'm on Mexican soil!
Tim and I also are on a Missionary Support Team for our friends Ralph & Deb, who are planning to serve with YWAM in Germany starting in the Spring of 2009. We just had their big kick-off fundraising event last weekend, ARToberfest - check out www.ralphdeb.blogspot.com - which was a lot of fun, but a lot of work. I think we're still recovering from the weekend! But it was all worth it. We're blessed to share in the vision and ministry that God has laid on the hearts of Ralph and Deb. I've also transitioned to supporting Deb & Ralph with all of my jewelry sales from ZiZi Designs. Jewelry making has definitely slowed down as has the rest of life with my pregnant state, but I'm hoping to be able to pick up the pace a bit over the next several weeks, since we have two shows this month.
I'm sure that many other things worth sharing have occurred since my last post, but it's hard to re-cap all of that now. I often thought to myself, "oh, I should write about that on the blog," but couldn't get myself off the big cushiony chair to do so.
Oh yeah! It hasn't helped that both my laptop and desktop computers have had their hard drives crash in the past couple of weeks AND my computer at work went bizerk. Fortunately, Tim's is still working, and he's kind enough to share with me when he's home from work. I was almost afraid to touch his computer, but that might be superstitious, and I certainly wouldn't want to succumb to that! But seriously, how can one person have three computers go bad on them in two weeks? Sure is a good reminder of how dependent I have become on technology - I'm nearly paralyzed without all my computer stuff! And, a lesson in needing to regularly back up my stuff on a regular basis.
Anyways, enough of an update for now. As we approach this new season of life, we're thrilled and can't wait to see how the story unfolds. Looking forward to exciting times in the days to come! Blessings to all!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Grandma has gone home...

My grandma died on Tuesday at 95 years old. We held the funeral services yesterday in Dallas, PA. Although sad times, these are also times of joy and celebration, for we know that Grandma lived a good life, and we know she's home with her Father and reunited with her hubby in heaven. These are some thoughts shared by my dad in an e-mail to family and friends earlier in the week, on the day Grandma died.
Along The Golden Streets

Along the golden streets, a stranger walks tonight,
With wonder in her heart, faith blossomed into sight.
She walks and stops and stares, and walks and stops again--
Vistas of loveliness, beyond the dream of men.
She who was feeble, weak, and shackled to her bed,
Now climbs eternal hills with light and easy tread--
She has escaped at last, the cruel clutch of pain;
Her lips shall never taste its bitter cup again.
Oh! Never call her dead, this buoyant one and free,
Whose daily portion is delight and ecstasy!
She bows in speechless joy, before the feet of Him,
Whom, seeing not, she loved, while yet her sight was dim.
Along the golden streets, no stranger walks today,
But one who, long homesick, is Home at last to stay!
-By Martha S. Nicholson

12:42 this afternoon (Tuesday, Oct. 7), Judy’s mother, Dorothy Bergstrasser, was called home to be with the Lord. She struggled and suffered long, but died peacefully with Judy and Kirsten present with her.

Judy was able to embrace her and sing the beautiful hymn of invitation, “Softly and Tenderly.”

Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
calling for you and for me;
see, on the portals he's waiting and watching,
watching for you and for me.

Refrain:
Come home, come home;
ye who are weary come home;
earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling, O Dorothy, come home!

She relaxed in the presence of the Lord and He took her home.

Arrangements are not yet finalized but we are hoping that visitation will be at the Curtis Swanson Funeral Home, Rt. 118, Sweet Valley (Hunlock Creek) from 10:00 AM to Noon on Saturday, October 11, with the Memorial Service following immediately at the Funeral Home.

We are grateful for her strong faith which confirms our Christian hope and her eternal home in the Father’s house.

We covet your prayers in the days ahead.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hula-Hooping in NYC!

Despite my stuffy, icky nose and upper respiratory junkiness, coupled with overwhelming fatigue (being post call didn't help), we escaped to NYC this weekend to see some friends - Jennifer Gwen and Seth James. We had a great time... I just kept falling asleep at the dinner table - nothing against the company, which was fab-u-lo-so. :)

We spent most of the day on Saturday in Central Park, romping around and seeing all that there is to see in the ginormous green territory of the Big Apple. We found a guy teaching people to hula-hoop, while he played his bongo drums, so we joined in. Check out some of the photos. I'll try to post more when I have more energy!
Aren't they so adorable! Or maybe they found a great photographer!?!?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The girls are back in town!

It's been a great, L-O-N-G weekend! Not only did we have an extra day off, but also we had a very special visit from Cristy and Amber. Cristy's in the States on a brief break from her work in Malawi, and Amber came from NYC, having just gotten back from a summer in Kenya. Plus, I took today off, I'm on call tomorrow night (so post-call on Thursday), and we're heading camping on Friday! I didn't take any time off all summer, so I was ready for a little break! And a good break it has been, indeed!
We had a fab get-together on Sunday night with lots of friends and a feast-ful of food.
One of the best moments was having a bunch of us girls together (5) on a bed, which crashed to the ground when I shifted my weight to the same side that everyone else was already sitting on - oops! Fortunately no toes were smashed!
Stephanie, Heidi, Cristy, Amber, Acacia (dog-type) and I went on a great hike on the horseshoe trail on Monday morning. Only three of us were hacking! Somehow we decided that Amber had TB, Heidi had Pertussis (whooping cough), and I had some other strange communicable disease, maybe Hanta virus or something... that's what happens when you get a bunch of doctors together for some fun!
On the way home from hiking we stopped to get some fresh produce for dinner on Monday night - I was doing my best to pick out the best sweet corn in the bunch!
In the afternoon, we went to the Long's Park summer arts and crafts festival, where Amber bought a beautiful, wool rug, then was trying her skills as a Kenyan woman, carrying her load on her head!
Having my girlfriends around has been wonderful - I love having friends that you can go without seeing for months on end (sometimes even if they live in the same town - dreadful - sigh), and you can pick up right where you left off the last time you saw them! What a JOY!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Maureen and Saif are married!

A wedding celebration at Felicita Gardens in Harrisburg - Maureen and Saif are now married! We had another excursion weekend, as we headed to a little paradise just outside of Harrisburg - who knew?!?! We were honored to bear witness to the ceremony on Friday night and to join in big time bbq fun on Saturday! The gardens where the ceremony was held were gorgeous, and the weather perfect. Maureen was a beautiful bride, and the two families united cultures, languages and religions across many miles and bodies of water.
We had some time to meander through the gardens and get some great photos, dance a little, and even get in a game of bocce ball!
Here's a sampling of a few pictures; a slide show will follow later!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A trip to Mt. Gretna with my nephews

My nephew has been visiting for the week with Grandma Judy and Papa Roy. Tim and I adopted him for an evening on Wednesday night. We took him down town to Spyro Gyro's for Greek food with some friends (his choice off the menu was not saganaki or souvlaki, but rather a cheeseburger :)), and then he spent the night at our house. We all slept in the tent in the backyard. Tim left us early to go to work, and Isaac and I got ourselves together, made sandwiches and packed lunch for 6 people and headed out to meet up with Grandma Judy, Grandma Martin, Tristen and Gabe. We made our way to the lake and beach at Mt. Gretna, just as they were opening for the day. Tia (yours truly) was smart enough to put sunscreen on the nephews, but not on herself, so she came home a little sun burnt, but a good time was had by all. The boys played well together, enjoyed the water and the beach, the picnic lunch and a treat at the Jigger Shop afterwards. Isn't summer great? Too bad it slips away all too fast...
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