Friday, October 29, 2010

Bill Dart

My sweet father-in-law went to be with Jesus today. He has been in pain for a long, long time, and I am thankful that right now, he is no longer hurting. I still miss him terribly though.

He was at home surrounded by his family when he passed - exactly as he would have wanted. When Matt realized that his dad was not doing well today he left work and went straight to the airport. He was trying to make it home in time but his dad died while he was traveling.

My mom and sister had planned awhile ago to come up here this weekend. My mom was already here when this happened today, and my sister had planned to come tonight. She didn't come, and mom and Will and I are flying home in the morning.

The funeral is planned for Wednesday, November 3rd at 11am at St. Mark's Episcopal Church in Brunswick.

Thank you so much for your prayers for our family.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

27 years ago today...

My sister was born!

Happy Birthday MB! I love you so much!

You can be my sidekick anytime you want:)

Back in Chicago

As of last night, we are back in Evanston. It has been a crazy few days. Yesterday Mr. Dart continued to improve. He is definitely still very sick and very much in need of our prayers, but yesterday his life didn't seem to be in immediate danger, as it had been the day before. Matt was using his vacation days to be there, and he only has a couple of days left. If we continued to stay there this week, we wouldn't be able to come home for the holidays, and if Mr. Dart continues to get well, he would really want Matt to be there for the holidays. It was a really tough decision to leave and come back to Chicago, not knowing what the days ahead hold for Mr. Dart. But, we can't predict the future. We believe that God is in control and we trust Him.

The scene from only 48 hours earlier played itself out again yesterday afternoon. We made the decision to leave at 3pm, bought tickets back for last night, packed in 45 minutes, and raced back to Jacksonville to catch our flight. We are HIGHLY impressed with Southwest, by the way. We had a very good experience with them, and Will slept for about an hour on the flight, which we were VERY grateful for!

We are also extremely grateful for our friends Courtney and Dave. When our world turned upside down - so did theirs. They dropped everything to take us to the airport, take care of our dogs (in their home!), and pick us back up from the airport late last night. We are truly blessed to have such wonderful friends.

We got to see Will's cousin Otto yesterday morning for a bit. Otto was looking pretty spiffy in his skeleton outfit =)

Monday, October 25, 2010

Matt's dad

The last 24 hours have been a whirlwind. Matt got a call yesterday at 4pm to come home right away - his dad was not doing well. He'd gone to the hospital by ambulance because he wasn't getting enough oxygen. The doctors said his kidneys had started to fail and he may have had a mild heart attack. The doctors said the only hope was to put him on a ventilator, which Mr. Dart had already expressed he did not want. The consensus among Matt's siblings was not to put him on a ventilator, and for Matt to come home right away.

Our church small group, which Matt leads, was to start at 5. We called to say we wouldn't be there, bought plane tickets for the next flight to Jacksonville, arranged a ride to the airport and help for our dogs (thanks Courtney!), and were gone within an hour.

Once we pushed back from the gate, the pilot came on and told us that because of strong storms, all outbound southern flights had been shut down. So we sat there on the plane for 2 1/2 hours and waited. We finally left, and got to my parent's house at 2:30am (and Will didn't sleep at all on the flight). Matt went to the hospital as soon as we got in town to see his dad.

Throughout the day Mr. Dart has seen some modest improvements, but his life is still at risk. At this point we are hanging tight and still praying for healing - and definitely peace, comfort, and strength for the whole family. I'll keep this updated as we know more.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


We decided VERY last minute to go to Kohler, Wisconsin this weekend. Matt got off work mid-afternoon on Friday and called me on the way home and asked if I could be ready in 45 minutes. An hour later, we were on the road!

We had a great time. The weather was just perfect - sunny, not too cold, and the autumn foliage was at its peak. It was a nice, short time to relax and get away for a little bit. Just what we needed!

Here's a few pictures from our time there...

Monday, October 18, 2010

15 months

Will is 15 months old!

My sweet Will,
  • You weigh 23 pounds, 6 ounces. You wear 12-18 or 18 month clothes and a size 4 diaper.
  • You are walking!!! You walk more than you crawl now. You've gotten pretty fast too!
  • Your favorite foods are bananas, grapes, strawberries, carrots and green beans.
  • Your favorite toys are action figures, balls, a wooden hammer, and your cozy coupe car.
  • You've learned how to open cabinet doors in the kitchen, and whenever the refrigerator door is open, you hurry over and try to stand inside.
  • I taught you how to "dance" (bounce) when there is music on, and you love doing it!
  • You are such a sweet little boy and a joy to be around! I love you so much!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Birthday weekend

My birthday was Saturday, and I am now a woman in her 30's! It sounds so much older! We had a great weekend celebrating and relaxing. Matt worked a half-day on Friday and Will and I picked him up from the train and got ice-cream and went to the park with Will!

Work clothes didn't slow him down!

Saturday morning Matt brought me breakfast in bed - Alton Brown's overnight oatmeal! It was awesome. Then we drove up to Winnetka, a cute town on the lake north of us, and walked around their downtown area and had lunch. It was such a beautiful day and we had a great time.

Matt had asked our friends Dave and Courtney to come over for appetizers Saturday afternoon, and he made hummus, guacamole, and homemade tortilla chips! It was SO good!

Courtney and Noah

We had a great date at Symphony's and then he surprised me with a cake from Rose's Bakery - a gluten-free bakery in Evanston. My mom had called ahead and ordered it - it was delicious!

Sunday afternoon we took Will down by the lake to play a little bit.

Overall a VERY good weekend! Be sure to check out my sister's blog post she did on my birthday - she made a very sweet video of the two of us growing up! She's awesome!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Will walking and butternut squash soup!

Will has started walking! He started about 2 weeks ago, and he now walks more than he crawls. Here he is walking one night this week and then the next morning...

And here are a few pictures I took of Will this week. The weather has been so nice, so we've spent as much time outside as we can!

And here are a few things I made this week...

Pioneer Woman's Roasted Garlic and New Potatoes - yum!

Almond Chicken Stir-fry from Southern Living

Also, I wanted to post this recipe that I sort of made up for butternut squash soup that turned out really good...

Butternut Squash Soup

2 butternut squash
1 onion
3 T butter
3-4 cups broth
1/2 cup half and half or cream

Cut butternut squash in half and brush each side with olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Roast on pan with the cut side down for 45 minutes at 375.

Saute onion in butter.

Scoop out squash with a spoon. In blender or food processor, puree half of the squash and sauteed onion with 1 1/2 cups of broth and 1/4 cup of half and half. Repeat process with the other half.

Heat mixture over low. Add whatever spices you like - I added lots of cayenne pepper to give it some kick, with a little bit of nutmeg and curry powder and a little more fresh ground pepper. Add more broth or creme if mixture is too thick. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Help

I have read a lot of good books lately, so I thought I would start doing reviews of some of them. With Matt working now (and working from home most nights) and not having cable, I have more time to read while Will is asleep. And I LOVE it! I had missed not reading as much the last few years. It's also really nice having a library within walking distance of our house. I love the feeling of walking out with an armload of books I'd been wanting to read, all without paying a dime!

The first book I want to review is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This would have to make my list of the top 5 novels I've ever read. The book is set in 1962 in the segregated town of Jackson, Mississippi during the height of the civil rights movement. Told in first person from the perspective of three different characters, the book pulls back the curtain on the lives of white Junior League women and their "help" who basically manage their lives, from cleaning their homes to cooking their meals to even raising their children. The book specifically chronicles two maids, Aibilene and Minny, as they take on a huge risk and work with a white woman, Skeeter, to tell their stories in a book she is writing of what it is like to live their life as the hired help of the white class.

It is a heart-wrenching and fast-paced book whose 464 pages will be over before you can blink. I found it very hard to put down and stayed up late too many nights devouring it. Stockett does an incredible job of drawing you in and making you empathize with the characters. Being from the south myself, I pictured every scene being played out in my head as I read through the syrupy southern dialogue. (I was also happy to find out that a movie is already in the works to be released next spring!) This book will make you laugh, and it will make you angry.

I was surprised to find out that this is the author's first book. I will definitely be reading anything else she writes. I also thought it was neat that she lives in my old stomping grounds - Atlanta.

I gave it to Matt to read when I was done and he read it in about 2 days on his train-ride commute. He loved it as well, and we enjoyed talking about it afterwards. My mom was visiting while I was reading it, and she picked it up and read the first few pages and then went home and bought it to finish it! And this is a woman who swears she never reads fiction!

I would highly recommend this book.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Weekend and a recipe

Here are a few pictures from our weekend...

We had our friends Brett and Tiffany and their little boy Eli over for dinner Saturday. They are also from Georgia and were involved with Campus Outreach with Matt during college. They live nearby in Buffalo Grove and this is the first time we'd gotten together with them. Our boys are only 2 months apart, though, and they seemed to have fun together, so we hope to get together with them more often!

Will and Eli

Matt made a grilled honey-glazed pork tenderloin, grilled new potato skewers with rosemary and garlic, braised brussels sprouts with cream sauce, and an heirloom tomato salad with almonds and parmesan. And for dessert he made creme brulee!

Heirloom tomato salad

Brussels Sprouts

I am amazed at how delicious Matt can make brussels sprouts taste, so I asked him how he made them. Here is his recipe, in case you are interested!

Brussels Sprouts

1 pound small brussels sprouts (be sure to pick out the small ones), trim stem end and cut in half
1 T olive oil
1/2 to 3/4 cup of cream or half and half

Put olive oil in pan and allow to get very hot. Place half of brussels sprouts in the pan, cut side down. Leave them until they turn brown (around 3 minutes). Remove brussels sprouts and put on a side plate, and repeat process with the other half.

When all brussels sprouts are browned, combine them all in the pan and add 1/2 to 3/4 c of cream or half and half. Stir and then cover, reducing heat to medium low.

Braise in liquid 15-20 minutes until tender (most of the liquid should be gone), stirring occasionally. Season with kosher salt and plenty of fresh ground pepper.
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