Sunday, February 28, 2010

Our weekend

We've had a busy but wonderful weekend! On Friday I had a great time with Courtney going to lunch and running errands to Babies-R-Us and Target. We were out for a long time and Will did SO good, which I was thankful for!

Yesterday we went to a baby shower for our friends Matt and Debbi. They are in the 1-year program at Kellogg (well Matt is!), they moved here from Dubai where they'd lived for the last year (how cool is that?), and they go to church and KCF with us and are expecting their first baby in a few weeks!

Tonight we had over all of the couples from KCF for dinner and bible study. We made restaurant-style salsa (make it people! this is my third time in 3 weeks and I still love it!), pico de gallo, gaucamole, and queso, and Matt made delicious black beans and grilled tequila-lime grilled chicken (here is the recipe...soo good and I just love the name: Tequila Mockingbird marinade) with peppers and onions. We had all the fixings to make fajitas or taco salad or nachos or whatever. And for dessert I made texas sheet cake! YUM!

Pico de gallo

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We're not in Kansas anymore...

Or I guess I should say Georgia!

Matt walking home tonight (taken from his phone)

The street in front of our apartment

The dogs sure do seem to love it though!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Sitting up

A few days ago Will started sitting up on his own! He seems so much more grown up to me now!

He flaps his arms constantly, so most pictures come out like this...

But every now and then he'll stop and just look adorable...

Oh I think I could be content for him to stay at this stage forever!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Seven months!

Will is 7 months old today!

My sweet little boy:
  • You have started sitting up by yourself!
  • You are much more ticklish now, and you love to giggle!
  • You didn't have a doctor's appointment this month so I don't know how much you weigh, but your 6 month clothes are getting snug, and the 9 month clothes are still a little big on you, so you seem to be just right!
  • You love your sleep! You sleep from about 8pm to about 8 or 9am. You sometimes take a morning nap for about an hour, and you pretty consistently take an afternoon nap for about 3 hours.
  • You LOVE to grab my hair and yank as hard as you can. And when I have my hair pulled back, you settle for pulling my glasses off and putting them in your mouth.
  • Gone are the days of letting you nap in your car seat while we go out to eat. You want to play...constantly!
  • You melt your daddy's and my heart with your huge, toothless grin and we love you SO much!!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our weekend

My mom left Friday - we had such a good time with her and miss her already! Here are a few more pictures that we took before she left.

We had a GREAT weekend. We rented several movies - State of Play (we both enjoyed), Hurt Locker (Matt liked, a little intense for me), and Love Happens (it was ok). And Saturday we made Pioneer Woman's restaurant style salsa and ate more chips than we'd like to count! Does it make it better that we went to the gym first ;) The salsa is delicious - I think we'll be making this often!

Sunday we went to church and then to a southern brunch at Big Jones in Andersonville. I got fried okra and I was happy!

After brunch we went to the Art Institute of Chicago. This was the first time I'd been, and it is free during February.

Matt in front of Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon"

Thankfully Will kept himself busy most of the time...

Will and I checking out some art

When we left the Art Institute we went to the Russian Tea Room for tea! It is right down the street from the Art Institute, and was a lot of fun! They serve tea in the traditional tea cups like Matt remembered from Russia. And Matt got a piece of chocolate cake! All in all it was a great afternoon!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Matt -

Thank you for asking a shy girl you didn't know too well to our homecoming dance 13 years ago....and sticking with me all these years! I love you babe!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Apple dumplings

We are having a great time with my mom in town. Today we got out and met Matt for lunch and then did a little shopping!

And tonight we made Pioneer Woman's apple dumplings. My sister had made them and told me how good they were, and apparently from PW's website they are her #2 recipe...right behind cinnamon rolls. They did not disappoint. They were sooo good, and easy to make!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


So...what do you think of the new look? I've been messing around with photoshop, trying out different 'looks' for the blog. And I've found that I really enjoy doing it - I'm learning a lot about photoshop and html. So don't be surprised if I change it again soon!

In other news - my mom came in town today! Yay! Will has been thrilled to see his grandma. A snowstorm hit Chicago last night though, and it hasn't stopped snowing since, so we have been snowed in today. But we had a good time this afternoon making hot chocolate and watching the snow come down from our warm living room!

And since I haven't posted a picture of Will in awhile, here is one I took with my phone - he is wearing an outfit that his Aunt B sent him this week. Thanks MB!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Baby shower

I hosted a shower yesterday for my friend Courtney, who is having a baby boy in April! I am so excited for her, and can't wait for Will to have a new playmate in a few months. Courtney was one of the first people I met when we moved to Evanston last year - we both worked in our church office and her husband went to Kellogg and was a leader in Kellogg Christian Fellowship. And Malissa, another of our great friends from KCF, flew in from Boston to host the shower too!

We played the game of guessing which candy bar is in the diaper - it was hilarious!

Malissa (in black) and Jenn, another friend from KCF

Courtney and her sister-in-law Jean

Thursday, February 4, 2010


Oprah's show today was on America's Silent Killer....diabetes. I turned it off about 20 minutes into it because I was so frustrated. The show was about Type 2 diabetes (a preventable, curable disease primarily caused by being overweight). Which was fine...I understand that the message needs to get out there, and I applaud Oprah for trying to save lives with this message. What I found frustrating though, was that as a scare tactic for Type 2's, they show a Type 1 diabetic (what I have...a disease that cannot be prevented, has nothing to do with eating too much sugar, and there is NO CURE) that is a double amputee on dialysis and awaiting her second kidney transplant. At this point I turned the tv off.

I then went about my day and tried not to think about it. But then tonight we got a phone call from someone who'd seen the show and was worried about me. I really appreciated the concern, but got even more fired up because it confirmed how terribly misleading Oprah was today. I checked Kerri's blog to see if she'd written about it. Sure enough, she had. She said exactly what I was feeling, and she worded it wonderfully. So, I am copying her post in it's entirety.

Dear Oprah and Dr. Oz,

Diabetes is very expensive to manage and to treat the complications of, but what comes at an even higher cost is the damage of statements from a doctor, claiming that diabetes is reversible. I was diagnosed as a child, and my type 1 diabetes is not the result of any controllable factors. However, I have many friends who have type 2 diabetes who can make the same claim.

I can't lie - I had a lot of hope about
your episode regarding diabetes. Even though it was billed as "the silent killer" and even though I knew you'd show the darkest side of diabetes-related complications possible to "sensationalize" this disease, I was holding out because I wanted this episode to be accurate.

Dr. Oz, you are a doctor, and a mouthpiece for the medical community. I realize you are a cardiologist, not an endocrinologist, so you can't be expected to know everything about every medical condition, but I'm surprised you were chosen as the expert on diabetes. I understand that doctors are human, as are their patients, and no one expects you to be an expert on every medical condition. I actually respect doctors who admit that they can do a lot, but can't do everything. And since you aren't an endocrinologist, I'm not shocked at your casual mentions of the two types of diabetes, not making clear distinctions between the two. (Actually, I believe it was Oprah (or her husband, Richie Cunningham) who continued to bring up the "type 1 or type 2" question.)

I was hoping that you take a clinical approach, instead of one that generalizes diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a very serious disease and shouldn't be put in that "lose weight and you'll save the healthcare system millions" category. You had an opportunity, and a duty, to educate the public about the different kinds of diabetes, and to help people understand what methods of treatment work best.

I was disheartened to see how this show was handled, editorially. You two started off by saying that diabetes is an epidemic, one that will eventually bankrupt our healthcare system. After discussing how insulin and glucose work in the body, you then cut to Laureen. Laureen is 44 years old, on dialysis waiting for her second kidney transplant, and a double amputee. You zoom in closely on her tears as they fall, as she laments how she has been dealing with diabetes for most of her life and wishes that she took better care of herself when she was young.

(Back to the studio: Oprah asks if Laureen was a type 1 or a type 2 diabetic. Dr. Oz says she was type 1 diabetic. "She's type 1. She's not making enough insulin. Type 1 is genetic." I'll admit this is one of the first times I've ever heard type 1 and type 2 even mentioned in the same breath in mainstream television. And then in the next breath: "Diabetes is an epidemic.")

Why show a type 1 diabetic with serious complications, and then say that diabetes is the fastest growing disease in the country? You need to specify that diet and exercise, or lack thereof, did not cause Laureen's type 1 diabetes. Yet you want people to see the horrible effects of type 1 diabetes on her body and then say that a generalized "diabetes" is an epidemic. Type 1 is not an epidemic. Type 2 diabetes is. And thanks to your mishandling of the facts, ignorance now joins the epidemic status as well.

Do you realize how frustrating it can be to live with diabetes, of any kind? The testing, the injections, the complications, the daily fear of what may happen while you're driving or - worse - what may happen while you sleep? The physical impact of diabetes is tremendous, as you both illustrated with your jar of glass shards, representing what an excess of sugar in the blood stream can do to blood vessels.

But do you realize how equally frustrating the stigma of diabetes is? How we are so often viewed as having "brought this on ourselves" or as not working hard enough to prevent complications? I've written in my blog countless times about the
impact of diabetes and guilt, but you wouldn't understand that. You understand ratings. You understand getting your name out there and having people click on your website ads and tune into your show. You understand that showing a woman with missing limbs and streaming tears will make people sit on their couches and watch your show. What you don't understand is how some of us felt, watching from our homes. Opinions vary on how your show handled diabetes, but for me, personally, I feel like you just blended the worst of both kinds and then barreled into generic advice about generic diabetes symptoms and "remedies."

Now please don't get me wrong: I'm grateful for having more of a spotlight on diabetes. For all the times I've wanted to see diabetes featured on the Oprah show, I feel somewhat guilty for criticizing how your portrayed the disease. But it's hard for me to disconnect logic (i.e. not everyone has type 1 diabetes so not everyone will understand what information is correct or incorrect about diabetes) from my body's visceral response. I know that during many points in your show, I felt so frustrated. I wanted clarity to be delivered to the parts of society that are unfamiliar with diabetes. I wanted to have people watch your show and come away thinking, "Wow. There's more than one type of diabetes? It's not all about diet and exercise, but there are people who don't have a choice in this diagnosis?" Instead, I'm afraid that people will continue to think that diabetes is just diabetes, and that there is no distinction between the causes or the treatments. They'll think that all diabetes is controllable and treatable and potentially reversible. That it just requires work, and for the diabetic to not be lazy about taking care of themselves.

If one dollar of funding towards type 1 diabetes research is put back into a potential donor's pocket because they believe, as a result of your words, that all types of diabetes are the same and that all diabetics simply didn't take the measures to "prevent" their disease, this is your burden.

And for those of us with diabetes, we will have to carry the burden that society doesn't deem us "worth curing" because they think we did this to ourselves.

Kerri Sparling
Type 1 diabetes for 23 years … and counting

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A day in the life of Matt...

Three guesses on what Matt is doing...

A) He's volunteering with the Chicago area bomb squad and is serving as a human model of a living biochemical weapon (is it obvious we are into 24?)

B) He is participating in a study at Northwestern's school of psychiatry to try to understand his complex brain (ok, you know he told me to write that one!)

C) He's undergoing a 20 hour sleep study to try to understand why he is narcoleptic

As most of you know, Matt has trouble staying awake during the day.

A few little known facts about Matt:

1. One time in college while driving back on the interstate from visiting me in Birmingham, Matt was actually woken up by his cell phone ringing.
2. During Matt's first quarter at Kellogg, he raised his hand to ask his professor a question. While the professor was answering the question, he stopped himself to say, "Matt! You can't fall asleep while I'm answering your question!"
3. One time in undergrad, a professor handed a test back to Matt and said in front of the class, "Matt, you got the highest grade. Just think what you could do if you stayed awake even one time in my class."
4. Last spring, Matt took the train into the city four times. Three of those times he fell asleep and missed his stop.
5. During Matt's first summer in Moscow, he fell asleep on the Metro and missed his stop. The other 15 Americans and Russians he was with got off and Matt woke up to find himself lost in the world's largest public train system without knowing a lick of Russian.
6. At his last job, Matt built a sleeping cubby underneath his desk and took daily naps.

Ok, that last one was George from Seinfeld - Matt is proud of himself that he's never fallen asleep on the job (at least one that wasn't hourly) (nodding off in meetings doesn't count)(according to Matt).

So you can see, it is a problem. Last summer he got on medication that really seemed to work, but in order to continue to get the medication his doctor said he'd have to do a sleep study. So last night was the night! They monitored his breathing, snoring, leg movements, brain waves, heartbeat, lung intake, eye movements, and teeth clenching. It sounds pretty thorough! But he said he was able to sleep just fine last night and during all 5 of his mandatory "nap times" today. Hopefully they will come back with the results soon and Matt will get whatever treatment he needs!
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