Saturday, February 27, 2010


I think it is good for us all to reflect upon our weeks, to appreciate the small things and to admit our weaknesses as well. So, here goes mine.


-Waking up with good morning kisses from my husband and father of the child I am carrying.
-Receiving yellow roses "just because." Although I think it had something to do with the return of morning sickness. ;)
-E-mail correspondence with two of my dearest friends. Their words make me feel as though I am living right along side of them when in reality we are miles and miles apart.
-Getting to catch up and talk about strollers with a friend whom I haven't seen in far too long.
-Taking a walk to a nearby cafe, sheepishly ordering a tea, and pouring over the pages of a baby decorating book that the above mentioned friend sent me.
-Rebounding for John while the rain poured down on the makeshift gym he plays in this year. I love watching him enjoy what he does, and am thankful that God gave us the opportunity to be here this year.
-Realizing once again that God often works in ways that we don't see at the moment, or may never see.
-Looking back through my journal to only to be reminded of how perfect God's timing is.

Lowlights: (Is this even a word? Someone please help... my poor English only declines while living abroad.)

-Spending my mornings over the toilet once again.
-Going on a 30 minute walk up and down the surrounding hills only to find out how miserably out of shape I really am. (I really contemplated taking a shower sitting in the tub, but finally convinced myself to find the strength to stand.)
-Sending my brother a package for his birthday, only to realize his name was not included on the shipping label.
-My messy kitchen.
-Realizing that it has been far too long since I talked to my sister, and wishing I were there to experience the little things in life with her.
-Craving a deli sandwich but not being able to find nitrate free meat in the grocery store here. I'm tempted to just get it freshly sliced from the deli and call it good.
-Craving crab rangoon and realizing it would be another two months until I could satisfy such a craving.
-Dreaming about crab rangoon last night only to wake up and realize that I was still in Germany.
-Googling "crab rangoon" to check spelling, only to have this photo appear and make me want it all the more. And yes, I did attempt to make them last year. However, they turned out horrible. Nothing like these tasty looking ones.

18 weeks.

My bump at 18 weeks, before heading out on a Sunday afternoon walk around the lake with some new friends. Baby Turek is growing and so is mom!

Note to self: Next time stand in front of the plug in and don't let John cut off your arm. We'll figure it out by the time our baby comes. ;)

And then we headed out to the lake, followed by dinner at Vapiano. I am so glad the sun's recent appearance has melted most of the snow and that the temperatures are rising as well.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Baby Journal.

As I was looking back through my journal this morning, I thought it would be nice to start sharing a few selected entries that I have written along the way. Since we didn't tell family and friends until we were further along, hopefully it will be a special way for you to imagine our journey to parenthood and our emotions along the way.

My journal is usually more of a prayer journal, but since finding out we were pregnant, I have included a few "baby journal" entries as well. Here is one from the day after we found out I was carrying little Baby Turek. (And no, I did not edit any of it.... otherwise I probably would have taken out a few lines of "so incredibly blessed!")


I am amazed at God's blessings. I can't believe there is a small little miracle growing inside me. It still seems rather surreal. I imagine it will until I see the doctor at least.

I have been blessed with such an amazing husband! This morning he gave me a kiss on the forehead because I was brushing me teeth, took two steps and then turned around with the cutest look on his face. He then rubbed my belly and little and just smiled.

This afternoon, after waking up from a nap together, he gave me a big hug and exclaimed, "We're going to be a family now!" He is so sweet... and I know he will be an amazing father. I am so incredibly blessed.

At times I feel overwhelmed when I think of what a huge responsibility God has entrusted us with. I pray that we will be Godly parents and that God will give us the wisdom we need to raised our children to follow Him.

I am just so incredibly blessed to get to carry this little miracle. I trust this Christmas season will have a special meaning as I imagine Mary, carrying Jesus.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A messy kitchen.

I woke up this morning feeling so hungry that I had to finally force myself from underneath my cozy covers to head to the kitchen for some oatmeal. (I will admit that I did stay in bed longer than necessary, thinking that perhaps the hunger would go away if I could just fall back asleep. No such luck. I think baby Turek is demanding more and more of mom's nutrients these days.)

As I quietly slipped out a bed and into the kitchen to set my journal and Bible down before heading to the bathroom (top priority when pregnant!) I immediately noticed a MESS. The dishwasher, full of clean dishes was hanging open, and dirty dishes filled the sink. After making my breakfast and sitting down to eat I immediately felt convicted. I have all day to keep the house clean, and this is what I wake up to? What should have been a peaceful morning suddenly seemed out of order and far from relaxing.

As I wrote in my journal I felt further convicted in that my own sin, laziness, was what created this messy kitchen. I should have cleaned up before heading to bed, but chose not to. I found other things to be a priority instead of taking care of my own home. Heading directly to Proverbs 31, these are some verses that stood out to me. (NASB version)

vs. 18: "She senses that her gain is good." - How easy is it to feel like certain things in our lives are meaningless? This woman sees what she does as GOOD.

vs. 25: "Strength and dignity are her clothing, And she smiles at the future." - This woman is obviously well prepared for whatever the future brings. When I think of the future it is easy for me to get overwhelmed about all the un-knowns instead of SMILING. I need to plan and prepare for what I can, and leave the rest in God's hands.

vs. 27: "She looks well to the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness." - Do I eat the bread of idleness? Yes, and far too often.

I am praying that God would continue to convict me and reveal my weaknesses so that He can turn them into strengths. I know that God's love for me doesn't depend on any of these things, but I am so grateful for what He has done for me that I WANT to be obedient. I want to be a good steward of every single aspect of my life. And, a sin is a sin... even laziness.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Happy Birthday John!

Happy 27th Birthday to my wonderful husband! He is getting all three things he requested:

One: No bake cookies. I made them last night for him to take to his teammates today. He walked in the door and looked like Ralphie off the Christmas Story when he saw his Red Rider under the tree. Definitely more than just excited; I would consider it pure elation.

Two: The birthday boy wants pumpkin pie for his birthday "cake" so that is what he is getting. Although I just realized that I failed to pick up birthday candles. I'm just going to have to blame it on the pregnancy brain... the catch all for my latest mistakes. I do have some tealight candles, so perhaps I will just throw one of those on top. Yes, we are classy like that. Of course I could walk to the local grocery store, but that would just require more energy which I seem to be running out of after cooking and cleaning all day. (And running a birthday related errand, but I can't spill the beans on that one yet.)

Three: One of his favorite's... four cheese chicken fettuccine. I still remember when I first tried making it for him back in our college days. It resulted in a broken glass pot, chicken with a side of glass shards... and red candle wax all over a white tablecloth. Just the thought of it makes laugh, although at the time I am pretty sure I just wanted to cry. Thankfully I have gotten a little better in the kitchen over the years. ;)

Oh... and ten years ago today John asked me to be his "girlfriend." Apparently he knew I would say "yes" or it may have very well ruined his birthday. Either that or he figured I would be too nice to say "no" and used it to his advantage. ;) So, happy anniversary of sorts too!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Eleven Roses for...

eleven Valentine's Days spent together.

I still remember our first Valentine's Day like it was yesterday. A nervous, sixteen year old young man was standing at my parents' doorstep with red roses in hand waiting to take me out to breakfast before school started. I was pretty nervous as well, especially since it was basically our first "real" date. We had hung out in groups, but we hadn't gone on a single date, just to the two of us at that point.

Breakfast was served and followed by a long day at school. I rushed off to go back home to prepare for our date later that night. John picked me up and took me to Mister C's for dinner, a local restaurant that sadly just closed recently after 54 years of business. Needless to say, I felt spoiled. By the end of our date he had also given me a little heart-shaped ruby necklace. At that point, I felt like a princess. And I still do.

This Valentine's Day we woke up early for a bus trip to head to eastern Germany for a basketball game. I was woken up promptly with a good morning kiss and before I even had a chance to roll out of bed John ran to the other room and returned with these:

I laid there thinking, this is way better than it was ten years ago. I might be sitting on a bus the entire day with a bunch of guys, but our love is so much stronger than it has ever been. We made frosted sugar cookies the night before to pass out to his teammates, and bought some treats with us to take on the trip. On Monday we headed to Dortmund to sit and dream in Starbucks and to look through a bigger baby store as well. Last night we went out for an Italian dinner and chatted away through the delicious meal and the mint tea that followed. As we sat there watching some young girls dressed up for Karneval playing with their puppy, I couldn't help but to think of what a great father John will be. Every year just gets better and better. I have more than I could have ever dreamed of ten years ago.

(For pictures from the game go here. You can even see me cheering in the midst of the fans dressed up for Karneval. And yes, those silly drums were so loud that they were vibrating my seat. I am pretty sure our little baby was wondering what in the world was going on!)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snowy Days.

As I walked down our mountain yesterday, I decided a pair of skis would have been a wise investment.

I love spending my quiet times sitting at the kitchen table with this as my view. Yesterday I splurged and added a tiny cup of coffee with vanilla creamer. Even better.

Our car, collecting the snow and waiting for John's long arms to come by and clean it off. Lesson learned: do not sweep it onto the sidewalk. Crazy, stalker neighbor lady will open up her window and yell at you in German.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Our Decision to Cloth Diaper.

Warning: If you are not interested in baby related products, you may want to skip this post. :)

I mentioned in my last post that I have been researching away. I love to research, and would research all day if I could. Finding a new product that has rave reviews is like music to my ears. So, when I stumbled across "modern" cloth diapers I was instantly intrigued and set about to do hours of research.

Many of you are probably imagining the "old" days, when moms (and dads) used something similar to this with some sort of plastic pant as a cover.

(Photo taken from Green Mountain Diapers.)

No worries. I imagined the exact same thing, and thought to myself, "Who in the world still does THAT?"

That being said though, I was interested to see what was on the market today. Since I had read that disposable diapers take anywhere from 100-500 years to decompase and was also aware of the loads of chemicals that go into most major brand disposables, I was already planning on doing something more eco-friendly. (Seventh Generation disposables, etc.) Since we live overseas most of the year, I knew this would mean having to find an eco-friendly store wherever we may be headed and could also translate into one possibly time consuming and expensive endeavor.

Enter the world of modern cloth diapers. I was overwhelmed at first. All the chat boards had new lingo that I had never heard of in my life. Flats, pre-folds, fitteds, pockets, aios, one-size, PUL covers, wool soakers... it was enough to make my head start spinning.

Eventually I figured out this new vocabulary. There are countless options out there and the prices range from one or two dollars for a pre-fold to over thirty dollars for a top of the line all in one diaper.

I decided on something mid-range as pre-folds just don't sound too appealing. Maybe I would get the hang of it, but if we are going to spend the money on this new adventure, I want to make sure we go with something that will work for us.

This is one of the diapers I decided on. A Bumgenius all-in-one. The closest type of diaper to a disposable you can get. And, sooo much cuter than disposable diapers with silly cartoons plastered on them!

Check out the inside.

(Both of the above photos taken from Cottonbabies.)

The bonus to cloth diapering, from what I have read at least, is they really do a much better job at containing blowouts and most babies don't get diaper rash either. I was sold... and surprisingly it didn't take too much to sell John on the idea either. He even agreed to help with the laundry. ;)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

15 Weeks.

My "baby bump" at 15 weeks, 4 days. (In quotes because I'm not sure if it really qualifies as bump yet!) It is starting to show a little here, although if you didn't know me well you probably wouldn't really notice.

I believe this was taken in the morning... on the day of yet another ultrasound appointment. Baby Turek decided to cross his or her legs for us... leaving us in suspense for yet another month! That is okay though, I have kept busy researching cloth diapers, baby products with safe chemical ratings, strollers, cribs, and all sorts of other necessities that we will need regardless of whether it is a boy or a girl!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cozy evening.

It is snowing... AGAIN! I planned to walk downtown this morning to get out of the apartment, but as I walked out of our apartment and down the stairs to do some laundry I quickly changed my mind. The hallway was freezing! I decided cleaning would be a better option for today. Instead of shopping, I spent my morning scrubbing floors. Sounds like a fair trade, right?

We had a teammate over tonight for some chili and homemade cornbread. It was a perfect night for a bowl of soup. The candles were lit creating a cozy ambiance inside... all that was missing was a fireplace.

If by chance you are looking for a good cornbread recipe, try this one! I cut down the sugar and it was still delish. And buttermilk? Who has that on hand? I just used the white vinegar and milk trick which always seems to work like a charm.

Looking for a chili recipe? Sorry, can't help with that. I usually just end up dumping things in and tasting it along the way. After all, isn't that the point of chili? So easy but oh so delicious?


Just so you know...

If you leave a comment but it doesn't show up right away, it isn't because you did something wrong!

I have turned on comment moderation so that those without a google account can post comments now. This way I don't have to deal with any anonymous users making comments without my knowledge. :)

So, if not having a google account was holding you back from leaving a comment... post away!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Beginning Stages of the Bump.

I figured it wasn't fair to say I was starting to get a bump and then not post at least one picture.

The following photo was taken at 14 weeks, 2 days. I am a little confused whether I should label it as my bump at 14 weeks or 15 weeks. Technically I was IN my 15th week but only 14 weeks along. Why do they have to make this so confusing? I guess I should just label it as 14 weeks. (My thinking: If a baby was one week and one day old, you would just say he was one week old.) Glad we got that sorted out! ;)

Consider yourself warned: If you scroll down you will see my bare belly. Not that I really enjoy exposing my bare stomach to the world, but whatever... I'll get over it. In all honesty, you couldn't really tell that I even had a bump unless I showed it off a little.

At this point it wasn't actually a "baby" bump, but rather bloat. In the morning it looked pretty normal, but by the end of the day it looked like this:

My uterus is progressively moving upward, and I think it could probably be considered an actual baby bump by now! I'll be sure to post more pictures soon.

Baking Day!

Mmm. Just thinking about these cookies makes me mouth water. I mustered up enough energy to attempt a new recipe during a "snow day" earlier this winter. (Of course, a "snow day" for me simply means that I don't want to leave the apartment.) After all, what is a snow day without some baking?

Directions: Drop batter by the 1/4 cup onto cookie sheet. Talk about some big cookies. I was getting a little nervous that they wouldn't spread out.

Relief sets in as the cookies start to spread. (Do you love how small our oven is? The cookie sheet actually rests in its side groves.)

And, the finished product. A little crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. Perfection! They received rave reviews from all taste testers involved.

Here is the recipe for those of you looking to try something new. Warning: these cookies are huge! As in, cookie shop sized. Of course, if you don't fancy large cookies, just drop by the tablespoon or whatever you prefer. They are most definitely my new go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. If you get a chance to try them out, let me know what you think!

Cute "Daddy" moments.

I've decided to start doing some posts about all the cute and funny things my husband has been saying lately. Of course, perhaps no one else will think they are so sweet, but at least I will have a little collection of quotes to look back at once we are on the other side of this pregnancy. For those of you who know John, I hope you'll appreciate it as well.

My belly is finally starting to pop and it makes everything seem all the more real. John has been rubbing my belly, kissing it, and saying sweet things to the baby all along, but now it is becoming all the more frequent.

Yesterday we were talking about everything and John eluded to the fact that he is feeling a bit left out. He then proceeded to say, "It just doesn't seem fair that you get to hold the baby all the time. I should get at least one day a week to hold him."

My heart melted. I can't wait for the day when he finally does get to hold baby Turek in his arms. Call me sappy, but just the thought of our tiny little baby in his big, strong arms makes my eyes mist over.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Steak Salad Success.

For some reason I have been craving steak salad lately. I would like to blame it on the pregnancy, but I think perhaps it is because I have been thinking of a trip I made to Clearwater Beach, Florida, with my girlfriends last summer.

Clear Sky Beachside Cafe was a casual, yet delicious restaurant that we visited on a couple of different occasions. The first time for lunch, and the second and third times for breakfast. Just to give you an idea of what our breakfast entailed:

Almond french toast. A-Mazing.

Complete with two of my best friends, a cup of freshly brewed coffee, and this view from our seat on the outdoor veranda. Seriously, could I ask for a better day?

Well, on our lunch visit I happened to have a steak salad, which was to. die. for. In an attempt to satisfy my craving, I organized my weekly menu to include a steak salad. I used a recipe from The Food Network's Giada for inspiration, complete with the homemade red wine vinaigrette.

Unfortunately, I was unable to use Gorgonzola which is on my seemingly long list of foods for pregnant to avoid, but I substituted with fresh Mozzarella which was also yummy. (Although I imagine Gorgonzola would make even better.) I simply rubbed the steak with olive oil, salt and pepper, and pan fried it. Oh, and I also left out the Belgian Endive as I figured Romaine and Argula would suffice.

We served up our salad, placed our steak on top, drizzled it with vinaigrette, popped some garlic bread on the side and voila... a delicious dinner at home. Not quite as good at my salad at Clearwater, but then again my kitchen window doesn't afford me a view of the beach either.


I am currently reading The Reason for God by Timothy Keller. A couple of days ago I skipped ahead to the end to see what might be waiting for me. I read the following words and just can't seem to get them out of my mind.
During a dark time in her life, a woman in my congregation complained that she had prayed over and over, "God, help me find you," but had gotten nowhere. A Christian friend suggested to her that she might want to change her prayer to, "God, come and find me. After all, you are the Good Shepard who goes looking for the lost sheep." She concluded when she was recounting this to me, "The only reason I can tell you this story is- he did."
Such simple words, yet isn't it too easy to go looking for God when in reality we should be asking that He come look for us? Or, how often do we pray that a loved one "finds God" instead of pleading with God to relentlessly chase after the one that He loves so dearly?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Random Phone Call.

So, just as I was finishing up my last blog post we got a random phone call.

Caller: John?
(John and I look at each other... who in the world is this? He had an accent, and was speaking rather quietly.)
John: Yes, this is John. May I ask who I am speaking with?

The caller proceeds to tell us that he is an agent from somewhere in the Middle East. Ummm... how did this guy get our phone number?

Seven minutes later.

John: May I ask how you got my contact information?
Caller: I have been searching for you for the last six weeks. I don't know how my team found your number.

My thoughts: Great. I feel very secure that some random agent from the middle east was able to locate us.

The phone call ended as John politely referred him to his current agent for further discussion.

And then John put two and two together and informed me that someone had sent him a facebook message requesting his phone number. And I was able to relax again, knowing that our contact information was not floating around in cyberspace. Or at least that it would probably take six weeks for someone to track us down. ;)

Another "sick" day.

Well, just when I thought I was over this morning sickness, it came back with a vengeance this morning. Thankfully I was feeling better by mid-afternoon.

While I was sitting here looking out the window at the shining sun, I suddenly became very grateful that I have been sick during the winter months and not the warm spring ones.

We have a doctor's visit in the morning and are excited to see our little one on the ultrasound again... one more benefit of the German health care system!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Missing my brother.

Yes, two posts in one day. Amazed? I am feeling so far behind and am desperately wanting to catch up on everything.

I have been missing my brother a lot since his deployment, so I keep going back to the last moments I spent with him before saying, "See you later." (I despise good-byes.)

These were those cherished moments, in a rushed 24 hour trip to spend what little time with him that we could.

I HAD to make spice cookies to take along, they are one of his favorites and a recipe passed down from my grandmother. No, my cookies didn't turn out as uniform as hers, but they were still tasty!

Celebrating an early Christmas!

And this is where it gets fun! We decided to tell my brother we were expecting before he left, so we could do so in person. He was the first person we told about our pregnancy, and the only family member we were able to tell in person. I knew he could keep a secret, as we weren't telling another soul until Christmas.

John took the camera, and said.... "________ is gonna be an UNCLE!" SNAP went the camera, and this is what was captured.

It took him a moment, then he looked at me and exclaimed, "You're pregnant?!?!"

And finally, our time with him ended. We prayed with him, and then said our "See you laters." I was so thankful I was able to give him a big hug and tell him I loved him. Of course, I was fighting back tears the entire time. (And am also doing so right now!) He looked at me, as though he could sense what I was thinking, and said, "I am going to see you again Suzanne."

The dam I built holding back my tears didn't last long though, as soon as I made it out of his apartment I was a mess. I think I cried the entire three and a half hour trip home. I got home, only to find a sweet message from him, and started crying again.... so hard that my nose started bleeding.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't pray for his safety and protection. I can't wait for our little one to meet his or her uncle. I am so proud of him and what he has given up for the sake of our freedom.

And once again, I have tried but failed to hold back the tears.

Starting to feel like myself again.

I am finally starting to feel like myself again. It seems to have gotten better with each day over the past week or so. Granted, I have still "lost" my food from time to time, but keeping the majority of it down has given me energy and strength once again. I often think of those without food, and feel so fortunate that I have never had to go without. I can't imagine having to ration out food each day, and not knowing if there would be any tomorrow. I can't fathom not being able to feed my children. We are blessed to have plenty, although we also have an even greater responsibility to help those without.

As I sat at our kitchen table watching the snow fall this morning while doing my quiet time, I couldn't help but to sense God's peace. The snow seems to make everything so pure. I could still hear birds chirping, and in my mind they were worshiping the Lord. They may have been cold and searching for food, but they were still singing away! To think that God cares for even His smallest of creations, how can I ever doubt that He will take care of me?

John and I were discussing idols in our lives yesterday, and I admitted that one of mine is comfort. I don't want to go through trials, I would rather my life just be easy. But, when I think to those who have nothing in terms of material possessions, their faith usually seems so my greater than my own.

I still have so much to learn, and I pray that the God who started a good work in me would carry it out until the day of completion.