Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Welcome Home, Troy!

Our favorite solider (also known as Kaethe's sister's boyfriend), Troy, has made it safely back from Iraq.

We're grateful for his service there and of course, thankful that he is home. Hopefully the army prepared him well to take orders from his girlfriend...(no offense, Kara!)

Thanks, Troy, and we look forward to spending more time with you!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Cereal is good stuff!

Amalia is now enjoying solid foods (just rice cereal so far, not the sushi that is on her bib). We also had a wonderful Thanksgiving back home in Michigan. Click here for the highlights.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Calling all potential travel agents...

So, we're trying to plan a trip with our friends, The Kurths. Here's our current criteria:

1) Cheap airfare from both Pittsburgh and Austin, TX.
2) Reasonable hotel room prices, preferably for a two-bedroom suite.
3) Activities that are appropriate for two little adorable girls, that their parents can appreciate as well.

Other than those things, the world is our oyster. Any suggestions?

Monday, November 20, 2006

The basement is done!

After several weeks of ripping down the ceiling, tearing up carpeting, appointments with contractors, trips to Home Depot, and making decorating decisions, our basement project is completed.

It is amazing how hectic life gets when part of your house is under construction. All of the steps you take to avoid that part of the house, all of the time it takes to plan around the repairs, etc. And we had most of the work hired out! Even that takes time and coordination. Since it was so dusty because of the drywalling, we tried to keep Mali out of there for the better part of the week. But that meant that we had to work her schedule around the electrician, the carpeting appointment, the window appointment and everything else. I think any changes to a household routine are even more difficult when there is a baby involved--they seem to pick up on their parents' stress. However, egardless of the process, it is oh-so-rewarding to relax in that space again. And as you can see, Mali is a big fan of the new carpet.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Mali's new tricks

Sitting up (almost) by herself

Reading stories with the Terhunes

Smooching Mommy

Calling her friend Timmy to compare exer-saucer notes

Being wild and generally looking cute, especially in an outfit given to her by her godparents. Speaking of, we want to wish our wonderful goddaughter, Kaeta Bernice Kurth a very happy baptismal birthday today!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The wisdom of two-year-olds and other updates

"You are just like Mommy", Benjamin Meyer stated to his Aunt Kaethe.

We're not exactly sure what he meant by that (the hair color? the age? the fact that they have been friends since first grade?), but it was very true and even more adorable!

Of course, this is also the kid that was recently quoted with saying "What's that noise? I don't hear anything".

Anyway, we had a wonderful visit a few weekends ago with the Meyer family of Kilmanagh, MI. Amalia finally had a chance to meet them and both families relaxed over good food, coffee, and wine.

Amalia LOVED playing with Ben and Timmy and also had the opportunity to hear Uncle Jonathan preach a sermon and Aunt Ruth play the organ.

THEN...last weekend, Aunt Kara came for a much-anticipated visit.

Mali enjoyed modeling a Chicago Bears cheerleading outfit (she's such a bandwagon fan!), going to a Halloween party at her friend Brendan's, and being generally spoiled by her aunt. She did, however, miss out on dinner celebrating her Mommy and Daddy's fifth anniversary, due to her bedtime. We definitely recommend Nakama Japanese steakhouse for such events--and a certain surprise made this one even better. (More on that in the future...)

Click here for pictures from these weekends.

Monday, October 23, 2006



Surprise pictures

In the process of de-cluttering the other day, we found a disposable camera that was so old we had no idea what was on it. Our best guess was from our friends' JR and Amanda Yingst's wedding, two years ago. Well, that was wrong and here are some of the pictures. Any guesses on what event this was? One clue--it was 5+ years ago!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Grandparents are fun!

But now it's back to just boring Mommy and Daddy at home.

Here are pictures from the past two weekends of spoiling!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Book recommendations...

Here are a few of our current favorites:

I first read this when I was pregnant, and it moved me to tears (then again, so did many things those days). The basic premise of "attachment parenting" is that infants are learning to trust or mistrust and a parent's role is to watch their cues and respond appropriately. Dr. Sears, the primary author (along with his wife) believe that creating this environment for children allows them to be appropriately prepared for independence later in life. We both feel that we were parented this way and are grateful for it. We followed the chapters on breast-feeding and after-birth bonding to the letter and Mali did great with both of them. "Baby-wearing", aka the use of a sling, has not been nearly as helpful, however.
If "attachment parenting" is one camp, then Dr. Ferber is definitely in the other, or at least that it was what extreme followers on either side will tell you. However, I think they actually have much in common, and I thank Dr. Ferber every time Mali goes down for her nap (which is currently three times a day, on least somewhat of a schedule!!!)
I received this as a shower gift and finally got around to reading it last weekend when we were all sick. Everyone knows that it's important to read to children, but this book explains questions like what books, what ages, and why exactly it is so important. Did you know that "Goodnight Moon" contains every sound in the English language?" This almost made me want to wake Mali up and read to her. But that would have interfered with her nap schedule.

The same woman who gave us the Read-Aloud Handbook also recommended "Milk, Money, Madness". Full disclosure--I was a formula-fed baby and think I turned out pretty well (maybe as result of attachment parenting?). However, all three of us are really happy with the decision to breast-feed Mali. This book describes itself as a "why-to" as opposed to a "how-to". I read it during nursing and it is a great combination of being easy-to-read but very thought-provoking. I would definitely recommend it to anyone considering breast-feeding. It would be wonderful for the first few days when everything seems overwhelming at first.

Mali's personal bedtime recommendation. The line "Time for bed little snake, little snake. Good gracious me, you're still awake!" is read numerous times in our house. We hope both Dr. Sears and Dr. Ferber would approve.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I consider myself a pretty sentimental person. I save cards and notes and attempt to scrapbook some of our family memories. One of my parents' favorite anecdotes of my childhood is that I cried when they gave away one of our couches. I can't visit Milwaukee without a tearful drive-by past my very first apartment that I shared with my roommate Hannah (and then later with my husband) in the coolest neighborhood anywhere, Milwaukee's East Side. I don't like to look at my neighbors' For Sale sign. I cringe to think of how hard it will be to move out of this house someday, or worse yet, part ways with our beloved 1996 Pontiac Sunfire.

One of our surprisingly hard moves was from that same apartment in Milwaukee (not just because we had to move in the middle of the night, that's a story for another posting). Even though we were only moving 40 minutes away to a Milwaukee suburb and a much nicer apartment, I hated the process of packing up our home. It was the first time that I had seen all of our wedding presents and items we had collected as our own family placed into boxes and stacked on top of each other. I still remember the feeling of confusion walking into the door one night and seeing everything that Jonathan had packed.

However, I didn't realize exactly how sentimental I was until I shopped for the last time at the East Village Shop 'n Save. Our local grocery store is closing after only have been opened two years. In general, it's sad that a local business in closing, especially since it's good for the neighborhood and good for Pittsburgh to have competition with the monopoly of Giant Eagle. Why everyone thinks it is worth it to spend $10 extra on groceries every week in order to save $2 on gas is beyond me. But now the store is closing and I took advantage of their closing sale.

Once again, that same confusing sentiment hit me. It was bizarre to see a grocery store in such disarray. All of a sudden, I had memories of "good times" at the grocery store. The kind pharmacist that sold me 9 months of prenatal vitamins. Introducing our friends Mike & Kellie Ryan to the store, and then seeing them there the next few times we shopped. The shopping trip when I was 40 weeks pregnant with massively swollen ankles, when I meant to buy a week's worth of food, but came home with only Crystal Light, iced tea, diet cola with lime, Gatorade, and sparkling mineral water. Ahh..the memories.

So now I'm on to the next nearest Shop 'N Save. Not nearly as nice, but at least it's avoiding Giant Eagle. Wish us luck in this newest transition. I should have at least taken some pictures for the scrapbook.

Labor Day Pictures

Click here for pictures from our Labor Day weekend. Enjoy!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Yum, Yum

Having visitors here recently has finally given us a chance to cook again, as well as enjoy having those guests cook for us. I had forgotten what it was like to use make something using both hands! We tried a new flourless chocolate cake recipe that you can find by clicking here. Best enjoyed after surviving a slightly colicky evening.

Next on the list--Shoo-Fly pie. I love the idea of making regional foods and I guess the new license plate for Pennsylvania is "I brake for Shoo-Fly pie". Until this summer I had only heard about it as a part of Amish culture. After trying it (several weeks in a row) at the farmers market, I tracked down a recipe from our neighbor Becky who is not only a great cook, but also a blogger who recently wrote about how she loves cooking, including making things for her neighbors.

Shoofly Pie
Serves 6
375 degrees
35 min.

Preheat oven to 375F.
Prepare 1 unbaked 9" pie shell*.
Cut together w/ pastry blender:
1 cup flour
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T shortening or margarine
Reserve 1/2 c. crumbs for topping.
Combine in mixing bowl:
1 cup molasses
1 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup cold water
1 tsp baking soda in 1/4 cup hot water
Add crumb mixture and beat together.
Pour into unbaked pie shell. Sprinkle reserved 1/2 cup crumbs on top.
Bake 35 minutes.

(By the way, I know most people checking this are really only looking for baby pictures, so here are two of the latest).

Monday, August 14, 2006

What has Amalia been up to the past few weeks?

a) Dancing at a wedding (congrats to Matt and Erica!)
b) Traveling to Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan to catch up with more family and friends
c) Hanging out with grandparents while Mom and Dad went to their 10-year class reunion
d) Her first out-of-the-womb meeting of her future boyfriend, Max Snyder
e) Attending a church service and confirmation at Trinity Lutheran, Berrien Springs (congrats to Kim!)
f) Hosting her “Aunt” Hannah who visited from Milwaukee to cook us some yummy food and help Mommy catch up on sleep
h) Learning to suck her thumb
g) All of the above with lots of eating, smiling, and an occasional nap thrown in there too!

Click here to see more pictures!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Family Vacation

Our little girl is a traveler! We made a spontaneous decision to spend a night in Morgantown, WV last weekend and she did great. As Midwesteners, we're still a little surprised about how close we are to West Virginia and although we had planned to drive further into the mountains, we ended up having a good time in Morgantown. We explored the campus and discovered some great restaurants. Interestingly, it seems every other business in Morgantown is an Asian restaurant of some kind. We had great sushi--notice the picture of Mali watching Daddy eat. Not knowing what to expect, we had pictured eating somewhere like Cracker Barrel...I guess the lesson is don't judge a town by its stereotypes.

Maybe we'll be Mountaineers fans this year?

Monday, July 17, 2006

Amalia's Baptism

Amalia was baptized on July 2, 2006 at our church, First Trinity Evangelical Lutheran. Although it seems strange to our human minds to consider our precious 6-day-old daughter a "sinful human being" and in need of salvation, knowing that she is now cleansed of her sin by the grace of God is wonderfully relieving. As much as we want to protect her from the world in so many ways, we recognize that we simply can't as parents, and instead can only rest on God's mercy. That was pretty consoling as she has experienced her first mosquito bite the other day and we know that there are many more everyday "dangers" yet to come. Click here for an overview of our church's teaching baptism, specifically infant baptism.

More facts about her baptism: her godparents are Derek & Karianne Kurth who traveled in from Austin, TX for the celebration. The Kurths are also parents of our beautiful goddaughter, Kaeta Bernice Kurth. Does that make Amalia and Kaeta god-sisters? Amalia's Grandma Deni lovingly made her gorgeous baptismal gown including using fabric from Kaethe's confirmation dress. Tracey Johnson, a member from our church, made her banner. And of course, having friends, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, great-aunts & uncles and even a great-great-great aunt there made the day even more special for all of us.

Click here for more pictures from that day...

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More pictures of our little model...

Here are more pictures of the first week in the life of Amalia June Ward, including shots of her meeting lots of family and friends. So far, she approves of everyone and now that the out-of-town company is gone, she's wondering what happened to all of the action.

We've also had some questions about her name. Amalia is named after her paternal great-grandmother (Dena Amelia Ward) and paternal great-great-great grandmother (Amalie Wernicke). Her middle name is from her maternal great-grandmother (Dolores June Koch) and June is Mommy's middle name too. Amalia also seems to enjoy the nicknames Malia and Mali (pronounced "Molly").

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The best day of our lives...

Amalia June Ward entered the world on June 26, 2006 at 9:27 p.m. Mommy, Daddy, and baby are all doing great and enjoying getting to know each other better. More updates and pictures to follow!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Good things come to those who wait...

So we didn't celebrate Father's Day the way we had hoped. The newborn-sized onesie with "I Love Daddy" on the front is still packed in the diaper bag and Jonathan's presents have yet to be unwrapped. The good news is that not only did we get take advantage of Old Navy's Father's Day sales, we've also had lots of time to catch up with family and friends, mainly those who call to ask "Is that baby here YET???". We also got to hear the collective sigh of disappointment when we wallked into church yesterday, obviously still extremely pregnant.

Of course, we really do have so much to be thankful about. Kaethe is still feeling great and the baby seems to be doing fine. We read an article recently entitled "Does Fatherhood Make You Happy?" and agree with the general consensus of yes, although that it is certainly frustrating at some points, the wonderful moments make up for it. I'm sure that when we actually meet the baby, all the struggles of waiting so long (and hopefully the pains of labor) will disappear.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

"Crunchy Cons" ???

Just so our friend Mike O'Connor stops teasing us that all our blog is about is the baby, I'll turn to one of our mutually favorite topics...politics.

We are both dying to read this book , which describes the group of people that both "vote for George W. Bush and shop at Whole Foods". We thought we were the only family in America like that! (Disclaimer: the social worker in the family needs to state that she is not always a supporter of George W., but that's a post for another time). There's more of us urban-living, church-going, farmers-market shopping, anti-Sam's Club people than we thought. Has anyone else read the book? Any thoughts on it?

Church happenings

Lots of fun events at our church lately. Here's two of our favorite pictures from Mike & Kellie Ryan's wedding and Kaethe's surprise baby shower. Also in the wedding picture are future newlyweds Matt & Erica.

By the way, no updates yet other than the fact that we're both climbing the walls, waiting to go into labor. We'll keep you posted!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A Very Happy Mother's Day

We celebrated our first Mother's Day weekend with a wonderful baby shower thrown by family and friends in Michigan. It was so nice to be spoiled by both grandmas, aunts, and everyone else there. For the first time since our wedding, all of our bridesmaids were together--two with brand new babies! The shower theme (created by Grandma Deni) was "Family Tree", complete with pictures of our families throughout the generations tied on to an actual tree from the Shunkwiler's yard and childhood toys from both of us.

We'll post more pictures as soon as we can figure out how to create an album to post--suggestions, anyone?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Welcome music

So we completed our childbirth education boot camp class this past Sunday. Labor can't be too much more exhausting than spending 8 hours learning about it. At least we didn't see any mice in the cafeteria like our friends did at another hospital. The good news is that we really did learn some good information and it was a nice complement to everything our midwives have been teaching us. We have also decided to create a CD to play during the process. Any suggestions on what our baby should hear upon arrival? Post your votes in the comments section. Thanks!

Another year...

The baby's room is finished and now definitely looks less like a University of Michigan fan headquarters. Here is the proud Daddy taking a break after all of his hard work in there. He's modeling the new rocking chair, area rug and diaper bag. Happy 28th Birthday to him also--what an exciting year this will be!

Monday, April 24, 2006

New Friends

Our baby is thrilled that two new friends officially entered the world! Timothy Jacob Meyer was born on April 13th, 2006. He even made it in time for his daddy to preach not one, but two Maundy Thursday services, not to mention the rest of holy week. Then, Maxwell Christofer Snyder celebrated his very first birthday on April 21, 2006--surprising all of us with a 2 1/2 week early arrival. Parents (Jonathan & Ruth Meyer and Chris & Tonya Snyder) and babies are all doing well.

It is truly an amazing feeling to watch your dearest friends' families grow. We can't wait to learn from their examples!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cleveland Rocks!

Yes, we are devoted Steeler fans who are supposed to hate the "mistake by the lake". But, we did have a very enjoyable Palm Sunday weekend in Cleveland, celebrating Jonathan's mom's birthday. Happy Birthday Grandma Deni! We actually liked the city so much that we returned a few days later, although that was really just an excuse to shorten our drive to Michigan for Easter. On our Cleveland vacation we visisted the zoo, a great open-air produce market, and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. We stayed at the beautiful Hyatt at the Cleveland Aracade (shown in the picture). Isn't the best invention in the world?

At the R & R Hall of Fame we learned quite a bit about Les Paul, creator of both the electric guitar and the eight-track. Interesting, right? However, we actually lived in his hometown for a year (Waukesha, WI) and near there for several more years and never once knew exactly who he was. The only thing we had heard of him was that a few years ago Waukesha was trying to designate his birth place as a historical landmark, but unfortunately realized that they had built a Walgreens where it once stood. So unfortunately they are just left with the Les Paul Parkway, appropriately marked with a guitar symbol.