Monday, December 31, 2007

The Higgins, Rogers, and De La Rosa Cousins

The Higgins, Rogers, and De La Rosa Cousins
Originally uploaded by R J Bremer

All the cousins on Christmas morning.

I've been told that the responsibility of getting another set of pink pajamas in there rests solely on Steve and me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ethan's Getting Baptized! Part III

Let us look at it like this: To be a Christian means that we have had an experience of the grace of God. That is essential Christianity. There are many definitions that one could give. One I have often quoted because it seems to me to be such an excellent one is that old definition of Henry Scougal, the Scotsman who lived nearly 300 years ago. He said that Christianity is ‘the life of God in the souls of men.’ In other words, what makes us Christians is not primarily what we do, but what God does to us. That is essential Christianity. This rebirth, this being born again, is all God’s action. It is not man’s, it is God’s. It is being born from above. It is the work of the Holy Spirit of God. Therefore, the essential thing about being a Christian is that one has thus been dealt with by God.”

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, My Soul Magnifies the Lord

Well, we had quite the busy weekend here in the Bremer household, which is probably why I've not been able to blog about it until Wednesday. It was so much fun though, and pretty much everything went off without a hitch! Ethan was baptized on Sunday of course, but the fun started on Thursday when Nana and Papa showed up. Papa read Ethan some stories, but he didn't like this one:

Ethan soon forgave him though:

Friday was spent shopping for party food and supplies. Then Steve came home from his business trip to a family that was very happy to see him. Saturday, the men worked in the garage (and put some shelving in my utility room so it is so much more organized now!). Steve's sister Jill and brother-in-law Tim showed up Saturday afternoon and Jill helped me cut veggies and cheese and get ready for Sunday. I made a new recipe called Apache Bread Dip that a friend gave to yummy! That night we played my favorite board game ever, "Beyond Balderdash." Unfortunately it is not Jill's favorite board game ever, but she humored me and played anyway (and came in 2nd!).

Sunday morning we all got up and got ready for church. Ethan and his dad sang some hymns for us all before we left:
After the baptism, Steve and I had an open house for the church. Almost everyone came out to celebrate with us, and I was nervous if we would have enough food and space, but the Lord really worked everything out. No one went away hungry (some gracious friends even brought some food with them), and the house seemed to expand to fit all the people.As the youngest member of the church, Ethan got plenty of attention from the girls.
Over all, it was a fantastic time of fellowship and celebration for our newest little member of the Covenant.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ethan's Birth Announcement

As promised, here is a scan of Ethan's birth announcement. This was my first ever stamping project that I designed completely on my own and it was so much fun. And hey, it only took me 2.5 months to get these out to people!

The colors didn't scan so well, but all the blues sort of complimented each other when you see them in person.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Ethan's Getting Baptized! Part II

Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. --Psalm 139:16

I ended my last post with these questions:

So then what? Why does an issue of apparent semantics -- me choosing Christ or Christ choosing me -- mean that babies should be baptized? They haven't chosen or been chosen at all yet, right? How does their baptism mean anything if they don't even remember it?

I want to focus most of all on that last question. My experience with my own baptism was very important to me. It was built up to be important to me; it was to be a public confession of my faith in Christ. My thoughts have changed on that, however, and now I view baptism as a sign of God's covenant with his people. In the Bible, God promises that our children are a part of that covenant, which is why, when someone professed their faith in New Testament times, their household was also promised to be saved (and everyone in the household was promptly baptized). We see this happening in Acts 16 (specifically verses 15 and 31). The way I read these scriptures indicates to me that children were baptized as part of the covenant of grace.

Even when I understood all of those things in my head, my heart still had a problem with baptizing infants that didn't even know what was happening to them. How was that at all meaningful? During a theology class at church, another mom told this anecdote and it really hit home with me; I think I almost changed my mind about infant baptism right there on the spot! She told us about how above each of her children's beds, there was a photograph of their baptism. At bedtime, it was common for the children to occasionally ask their parents about the photo -- they wanted to hear the story of their baptism. The parents would then tell them about how helpless and tiny they were as babies; how they depended on mom or dad for their every need. They then talked about how, to God, we are all like helpless little babies; that we don't even know that we need him, but he still cares for us and nurtures us. They talk about how God chose us to be part of his family before we even knew it, when we were too weak to choose Him (she mentioned reading Psalm 139 to them)! And so, they were baptized as small helpless babies into God's family, and Mommy and Daddy had to promise to teach their baby about God and Jesus.

That story from that mom is what really hit me about baptism -- it isn't about the experience one has, it is about pointing the child to Christ their whole life. God promises that our children are a part of his covenant and their baptism is a sign to us, their parents, of that promise. Does this mean that every infant that is baptized professes faith later in life? No. But many people that are baptized as believers go on to abandon their faith later in life as well. We don't know why this happens, but I believe Paul tries to explain much of it in Romans 9.

Part III of these postings will come on Monday, with pictures of Ethan's baptism. Hopefully I haven't bored everyone to death

Friday, December 7, 2007

Christmas Cookies!

Check out how to make these fabulous cookies at The Pioneer Woman Cooks!

I made these for an ornament/cookie exchange party that I'm going to this evening.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ethan's Getting Baptized! Part I

And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you. --Genesis 17:7

I suppose, since the time is drawing near and I will be posting pictures of the event here, I should just come right out and say it: Ethan is being baptized in about a week and a half. No, I have not converted to Catholicism, and yes I said baptized and not dedicated. I've been wanting to write a series of posts on the subject, because if you had told me 5 years ago that I would be having my infants baptized I would have looked at you like you had two noses. But here I am, and I couldn't be more excited about little Ethan's big day.

Steve and I started going to a reformed church right after we got married. I had always grown up in non-denominational churches, and it was Steve's preference to attend a Presbyterian church. I didn't really think there would be a huge difference. I was a little wrong. We started going to Redeemer and becoming reformed really changed my theology a lot. Even still, my biggest sticking point with all of the new things I learned was not the total depravity of man, or the idea of a limited atonement, it was the relatively small point of baptizing babies. Anyway, I don't want to give a big theology lesson in these posts because, honestly, I understood the theology behind infant baptism long before I was comfortable with committing to it for my own children. I would mostly like to write about my own experience with baptism and what ended up changing my heart, and why I am so excited about Ethan's baptism. However, Patch Blakey has written an absolutely excellent article which sums up the theology behind infant baptism really well. Since you will inevitably be confused at my attempts to explain things, that article is a good place to start and see where I'm coming from.

To start out (yes, I'm just now starting; the above paragraphs were just, er, not the beginning), I want to say that I was baptized as a believer. I have witnessed many wonderful child dedications. I don't think either of those things are wrong by any stretch of the imagination. I don't think that my baptism "didn't count" because it wasn't done as an infant, and I don't want to make anyone feel like I think their baptisms were less than sufficient. But I am going to talk about why I think infant baptism is better, so hopefully I don't offend a whole mess of you.

I was baptized when I was 15 (some of you reading this were there! how neat!). I had come to confess my faith in Christ only a year before. Leading up to my baptism, there were one or two Sundays when I met with my youth pastor and we talked about my testimony. The main question was, "how did you come to know Christ?". There was an emphasis on when I accepted Christ into my heart and my story. During my actual baptism, I stood in the baptismal and told my story to the whole church. It was really a great day for me, and I was glad to experience it.

So why would I want to deprive Ethan of that experience?

Well, looking now, through a new lens of theology, I really feel that the day focused too much on me and what I had done to become a Christian. The thing I started asking myself when I was studying reformed theology is: if I am totally sinful (as the Bible teaches) how was I able to choose Christ at all? In Matthew 16, when Peter confesses Christ as the Son of Man, Jesus tells Peter that it was the Father that revealed the truth to him (Peter) and not flesh and blood. Peter didn't come to his faith on his own, the Father gave him his faith! So maybe the focus on my journey to Christ during my baptism should have been more of a focus on the faith that the Father had given to me.

So then what? Why does an issue of apparent semantics -- me choosing Christ or Christ choosing me -- mean that babies should be baptized? They haven't chosen or been chosen at all yet, right? How does their baptism mean anything if they don't even remember it?

Ahh, now that I've thoroughly offended everyone, I have to go attend to my wee babe. I will answer my own questions in the next post (maybe tomorrow).

Monday, December 3, 2007

Menu Plan Monday

So after somewhat of a hiatus, I'm getting back into my weekly menu planning. I've never blogged about it before now, but I was getting pretty good at it before Ethan was born and then, well, Ethan was born. We had a lot of help from the church with meals and I had a lot in the freezer too, but I hadn't planned out a menu for my week in a long time. I actually started up again last week and it just reminded me how much it blesses my daily life. Dinner should be such an important time for the family and having it planned out makes a much easier day. It also saves me a lot of money and time when I go shopping. I don't coupon clip or look for specials, really, but having a set list of things to buy helps me keep the impulse purchases to a minimum and prevents me from having to run out and get a key ingredient at the last minute. I plan my menu on Mondays and do a big shop on Tuesdays. Anyway, enough blabbering, onto my menu, which I am going to work on posting every Monday (we have a lot of leftover days because it's just the two of us and I usually cook more than we eat).

Tuesday: chicken noodle soup, wheat rolls, salad

Wednesday: marinated flank steak, green beans, salad, rolls

Thursday: leftover buffet

Friday: sole with lemon-butter sauce or cod with fennel and potatoes (depending on the fish selection)

Saturday: (sabbath feast): ham, homemade macaroni and cheese, salad

Sunday: leftovers for me (Steve will leaving town for a week)

So that's it! I try to vary the protein (red meat, chicken, fish, pork), and none of the recipes are all that complicated, save for maybe the mac and cheese. I pull from a variety of cookbooks and I always take requests from hubby. :)

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Breaking News

This just in: My son is the cutest hat wearing boy EVER.

Other than hat wearing, not much is going on around here. We are having a guest for dinner tonight, so I've got some salmon marinating in the fridge and a pumpkin spice roll for desert. Yum!

In bummer news, I ordered a glider with ottoman from Target via Amazon and it arrived yesterday, but it was broken! And not just a little broken, the whole bottom part of the glider was basically shattered. I was really disappointed. You see, ever since the visit to my in-laws last month (where there are gliders and rockers all over the house) I have realized the importance of having a rocking chair when one has a new baby. Even in our tiny house, we are just going to make room because I've decided it really is an essential item. So we're sending this one back and hoping for another one to arrive intact soon!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Two Month Checkup

Little Ethan celebrated his two month birthday last Friday, and as his present we got him a trip to the doctor's office today. Lucky him, eh?

I'm happy to report that everything is well with our little man. His weight is up to 13lb 5oz! That's a gain of 5 pounds in just 6 weeks for those of you who are keeping track.

So the doctor's visit was great. The next trip down the hall to immunizations was not so great, however, for Ethan or his mama. I probably won't forget his wide-eyed look of surprise when they jabbed him with that first needle and the screams that followed when they stuck him with two more after that. It really broke my heart.

Here are some pictures of us in happier times:

Saturday, November 17, 2007


So, I've just gotten into stamping and card making. I wanted to make my own birth announcements and when I went to the stamping store in downtown Oak Harbor, I found out they do a (free!) card making session each Friday. It's really great -- you can go in anytime during the day and they have all the supplies out to make one card. Plus they set out a sample for you, so if you're like me and not really all that good at making stuff yet, you can just copy their design. The above is what I made yesterday.

The scan didn't come out so well, but it is a scarecrow stamp on creme colored paper, colored with pencils and a little strategic glitter placement. Then I used what looked like a mini shaving cream brush to put some distressing ink all over the paper. Then I took the metal side of a ruler and scraped up the sides of the paper. After that, I put some straw around the orange card and put Mr. Scarecrow on top of it with some little adhesive squares. Easy peasy! Again, this was all done from someone else's example, so no real points for creativity on my part unless you count the coloring job.

But I did design and make Ethan's birth announcements all by myself and they are looking pretty spiffy. It only took me 2 months to get half of them finished! I think they will be in the mail after Thanksgiving, but I'll put a sample one here after I mail them.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, prayers would be appreciated for Ethan and I -- we are taking a big trip to Kansas City to meet all of his great-grandparents and great-aunts and uncles (basically all of my extended family). Steve is not able to go because of work, so I will be braving the friendly skies alone. Alone, but with an infant. Mainly I'm just daunted by getting through security with a car seat, stroller, diaper bag, myself and, oh yeah, the baby! Anyone got any tips?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lobster Overalls

These pictures are for Auntie Jill. The cute lobster overalls belonged to her boys before Ethan got to wear them.
The overalls made him sleepy. Oh, and I forgot to put on the matching socks!

Sunday, November 11, 2007


I am not the photographer that Steve is (especially when he is gone with his camera and all I have to take pictures is a digital camera purchased at the turn of the century), but I believe this is the first big Ethan smile captured to date:

He is so cute I just can't stand it!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ethan and Family

Since Steve has been gone to San Diego for the last couple of weeks, Ethan and I took a trip to visit my in-laws. The trip was wonderful! It was so nice for me to have Nana and Papa and Aunties and Cousins around to help with the baby. Ethan loved having all the attention and gave everyone smiles (his new skill!).

We arrived on Halloween. Ethan dressed for the occasion.

We took walks with Cousin Chase. Chase is 6 and has cerebral palsy.

Papa getting Ethan dressed for an evening walk to Starbucks.

You can see here Tallulah is walking herself. She's become very independant since the baby was born!

Nana helped with a bath.

Cousins Landon (left) and Logan loved on Ethan.

Logan went outside to help Nana rake up the leaves in her yard.

Landon went outside to disperse the leaves back over the lawn.

Ethan now gets to join in everyone's favorite activity: reading stories with Nana.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Ethan n Jodi

Ethan n Jodi
Originally uploaded by jennirettburg

My sister-in-law took this photo while I was down in Vancouver, Washington a couple of weeks ago. I think it is my new favorite of Ethan and me. I just realized that the reason I like it so much is because Ethan is looking right at the camera and it makes him look so wise. Silly, I know. :)

Ahhh, California

As someone who used to live in California, and someone who may very well live in California sometime in the future, and someone with a lot of friends in California, I thought I'd post this link about what's going on with public schools there. It is so hard for Christian parents to send their kids off to public school these days without having to unteach a lot of stuff! Most of the things (like in the link above) are so subtle, too.

And just so this post isn't entirely political in nature, here is a dose of the cuteness that is my son:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Fat Little Souls

Wide Eyed
Originally uploaded by Steve Bremer

"Though a mother's work can seem monotonous or repetitive (and it is) when it comes to doing the laundry or changing the diapers, we have to have the eye of faith as we go. God blesses all these loving duties to the prospering of the souls of both mother and children. Reading stories over and over, stacking the blocks one more time, washing a face, wiping a nose, changing a wet diaper, or putting fresh sheets on the bed are all ways that a mother cares for her children and communicates love and security. And in some mysterious way, God uses it like sunshine and water on a tender plant. So we plant and water, but it is He who gives the increase.
All the loving attentiveness a mother gives her children is food for their souls. When the child is a small baby, all those smiles and kind words, the laughing and playfulness, the motherly delight and pride in each new accomplishment, is used by God to prosper the baby's soul. And it continues as the child grows. Even the smallest gesture, if done in love and kindness, is nourishing. And we want children with fat little souls, children who are healthy plants, as in Psalm 144:12, 'that our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth.'"

From; also seen in Building Her House (which I'm reading right now and highly recommend).

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Long Time No Blog

Well, I have not been blogging much lately! I have actually been getting plenty of computer time while Ethan is nursing, but I've never felt up to typing a whole blog post with just one hand.

I feel like I am emerging from the fog of being post-partum. Today was the first day that Ethan and I went out to run errands by ourselves! I got him enrolled in our health insurance plan and then went to Wal-Mart. Baby steps, eh? It definitely wasn't our first time out of the house; this past weekend was spent in Vancouver, Washington meeting all of Steve's relatives. They had a really fun shower for him where he got a lot of clothes and toys and books. Everyone took turns holding him and he was very alert almost the whole time.

He seems to be a content baby. He really only fusses when he is hungry, and that happens every 4 hours or so. Sleep is still very high on my list of wants right now, but I generally get enough to get by. The weird thing is trying to fit all the things I want to do into 4 hour blocks.

I haven't had him weighed since last Friday. By all appearances he is putting on chub, not to mention the copious amounts of wet and poopy diapers.

Well, I think he is waking up which means it is time to eat, and I will be back to being one this post ends here!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Eyes Open

More Ethan
Originally uploaded by Steve Bremer

His little face just melts me. Even in the middle of the night when I'm so tired I can't see straight.

Steve adds photos usually a couple of times a day to his flickr site, so that's probably a better place to visit for your daily dose of Ethan than this blog.

Oh, and thanks for the prayers regarding nursing -- it is going really well for us now despite a few hurdles last week.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sweet Relief

Sweet Relief
Originally uploaded by Steve Bremer

On Saturday, Steve and I slept in and I made cinnamon rolls for breakfast. The night before, the baby had kept me up into the early morning hours with unusual amounts of kicking and generally being very active in the womb. Steve joked that morning that maybe it had been his last hurrah in there before coming out.

I was having some Braxton-hicks contractions, but nothing more than usual. We decided to do some yard work that day, and I was surprisingly motivated (being 40 weeks along and all) to plant some bulbs in our yard. I talked to my mom on the phone on the way to the nursery, and made a remark about a particularly strong b/h contraction. Still, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t experienced before. While doing some of the yard work my belly continued to tighten with b/h’s, and I thought they were getting a bit strong. When we came in from outside around 3 p.m. my contractions were starting to get, as I called them, “hurty”. We decided to go out to dinner at Flyers that night and I had the extra spicy five-alarm burger. I was still having contractions that hurt, but pretty far apart. We headed to Blockbuster and rented “Breach” and the first season of 24 (we’d never watched it on TV). During the movie, I was still having contractions, and after the movie I told Steve that it might be a good idea for us to do all of our dirty dishes that were sitting in the sink. It was while we were doing the dishes that things got more real. I was drying, and every so often I’d have to stop what I was doing and lean against the kitchen counter and sway my hips. We decided to start timing things to see if they were regular. We figured out they were 4-6 minutes apart, but only lasting about a 45 seconds. This was at about 10 o’clock at night. The next time I went to the bathroom, I realized I was losing my mucous plug. That made me happy, because even if I wasn’t in actual labor, at least I was dilating enough to cause something to happen.

At around 11, Steve and I decided to try to go to bed. We did go to bed, but we never slept. We kept an eye on the contractions, which were definitely more painful and lasting about 75 seconds. However, when I lay down they spaced out to about 8 minutes apart. Again, I was convinced it would all peter out and I would be going church the next day. But, then they started coming closer together again, and before we knew it they were about 4 minutes apart. And, while laying in bed at about 1 a.m. I felt a pop and a gush and I knew that there was no turning back. My water was clear and I was feeling baby move still, so we felt comfortable laboring at home some more while waiting for our doula to arrive. I was most comfortable standing during contractions at this point, and using Steve to lean on. Once the doula got there, she started rubbing my back while Steve would hold me and I would moan and sway my hips around during a contraction. They were getting really intense, and before too long, that five-alarm burger made its reappearance, so Skai said we should head to the hospital. It is only a 7 minute drive, but I had at least two contractions in the car, one of them right as we were going through the gate to get onto base. Steve told the gate guard, “My wife is in labor, we are going to the hospital, the lady in the car behind us is our labor assistant, please let her through.” The gate guard was a big man, but he looked a little scared at the prospect of me having the baby right there, so instead of giving us a hassle about letting Skai on base in her own car, he said “Roger that, Sir.” And we made it to the hospital at about 3 a.m.

On having an unmedicated birth at the hospital: it was okay. The staff was mostly good about leaving us alone to do what I wanted; although I did “have to have” an IV and they wanted me to pee in a cup when I got there (not fun during contractions). The doctor was actually very good about respecting my birth plan, from not announcing the sex (letting us discover it), and not cutting the cord until it stopped pulsing I felt like he had actually read our plan and tried to do everything he could for us. Overall the Navy hospital did a good job of respecting my wishes and I’m not at all sad about our choice to birth there. Plus, the post-partum nursing staff was fantastic!

They checked me in and to my dismay I was only 4 centimeters dilated. Skai told me not to be upset though – she saw all the emotional signposts of late first stage labor and transistion so she knew I wouldn’t be long. She was right, because they checked me two hours later and I was 8 centimeters!! This was good progress, but I was having such hard labor at this point that I just wanted to start pushing. Things definitely got more difficult after that check. I didn’t progress for quite awhile, but kept having transition like contractions – 3 or 4 in a row with hardly any break in between. I was, at this point, freaking out (to put it mildly) because I was too far along to get any drugs (which I knew I didn’t want, but begged for them anyway), and yet not making good progress. Skai called her doula friend for some advice and they decided I needed to sit on the toilet and have a couple of good contractions there to move things along. This didn’t appeal to me because I knew it would hurt more than I already was hurting, but Skai got in my face and told me it was how I was going to get baby out. So we did it, and when we got back to the bed I only had a small lip of cervix remaining on the left side. So I labored on my left side for a few contractions and then announced to everyone’s relief that I was pushing. The nurse okayed it and pronounced me completely dilated.

I haven’t mentioned Steve much in this story, but he was there the whole time, holding my hand, looking directly into my eyes and telling me I was doing great. He was amazing throughout the whole thing. He has been amazing since too…he is a great dad and the best husband to me. I thank God for him!

I thought pushing would be better than what I had been going through, but it was still agonizing. Even when I wasn’t having a contraction I had horrible back pain, and we all thought the baby was posterior (he wasn’t, I think it was just my muscles and bones protesting Ethan trying to come through). I did have a problem believing that all my pushing efforts were actually doing anything, even after being told numerous times that everyone in the room could see the baby making its way down. Finally, though, the doctor came in, uncovered his tray of tools and started helping Ethan into the world. There was the infamous ring of fire during crowning, during which I yelled loudly and A LOT (apparently enough to make the doctor jump at one point, according to Steve).

Then, Ethan was born. Very coneheaded, and somewhat quiet (but I think he still got an 8 and a 9 on his apgars). He was on my chest and I was so relieved (see photo above!).

I still cannot believe that I pushed out a baby. I look at him and just think it was/is impossible. This story leaves out a lot that is blurry and hard to remember now, only 4 days later. I thank God for the grace to have gotten through labor, and even though it was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, I don’t think I would have done anything differently (other than take back my request to “just knock me out and take the baby out now!!!). Thanks to Steve and my doula, for seeing me through. And praise the Lord for a wonderful baby boy!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Boy!

Born on the Lord's day at 9:32 a.m.

Ethan James

8lbs 9oz

21 inches long

we're doing well, and would appreciate prayers for establishing good nursing skills.

pictures here:

I'm going to write up a birth story soon.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Can I Whine Just a Bit?

As I was reading on another blog, "40 weeks is a long time to wait for anything." Today is the first day that I've really felt down about not having the baby yet. I know I just passed 40 weeks and most first-time moms don't go into labor until after 41 weeks, but I'm getting so antsy about meeting this baby and not being pregnant anymore. I also think that there is so much anticipation on a daily basis that each day I don't go into labor is sort of a let down.

I also saw this picture this morning (I don't know who the blog belongs to, I got the link from someone else) and it about put me over the edge as far as wanting a baby to love on.

I am definitely thankful, though, that everything is still going smoothly. Except it seems that writing this post has given baby some hiccups.

I am also looking forward to tomorrow; Steve and I have planned to do some gardening -- planting bulbs that will (hopefully) show up next Spring. And, hey, I definitely won't still be pregnant next Spring. Right? RIGHT?!

ETA: I've reopened the poll, because I'm still pregnant, so I figure anyone else who wanders by should be able to vote until I actually have the baby. Plus, boy is winning and that doesn't bode well for me being able to buy pink, girly stuff when the time comes for knowing what to buy. And my niece may or may not have a meltdown if she gets another boy cousin (Hi Meagan! I've done my best to grow a girl for you, but no promises other than it will be a sweet, cuddly baby!!)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Nine months!!!

Nine months!!!
Originally uploaded by Steve Bremer

NO, he didn't have to use his wide-angle lens, and YES that is a maternity shirt (even maternity clothes don't fit that well these days).

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Non-Update Update or Yup, Still Pregnant

So, I'm at about 39 weeks today and I had a doctor's appointment this afternoon. All looks good: baby is head down and blood pressure is normal. The doctor says I'm not dilated, but I wasn't really expecting to be. Besides, I've known people who were not dilated and had a baby the next day, and people who have walked around at 2 centimeters for a couple weeks. I'm not sure why they even check at this point, other than something else to write down in my chart.

Prayers would be appreciated that I would go into labor in the next couple of weeks. After that, the doctors get nervous and start saying scary things like "induction." I'm not too keen on inducing for a number of reasons. I suppose we'll cross that bridge when and if we come to it.

At any rate, I will do my best to keep readers of my blog updated on Preggo Watch '07.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Chit Chat

Well, I am officially on weekly OB appointments now and looking into the final stretch of this pregnancy. I cannot wait to meet this little one! My sister-in-law and her husband came up to visit this past weekend, and hubby put up a lot of pictures on his Flickr site. A couple of people have told me that it looks like the baby has "dropped" but I honestly can't tell. I am having a lot of braxton-hicks and a few mildly painful contractions here and there. I am planning on going late, so I don't get anxious in the meantime (yeah, right!).

Oh, I also put a link to my Amazon Wish List on my blog. That thing is a Godsend, because I can never remember anything when people ask what I want for my birthday or other holidays. Now I can just look stuff up and keep track of it all year round.

I must stop this post here, however, because it is only delaying the inevitable of me going to get the oil changed on the car!

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I was in a baking mood the other day and made these:

They are plain white cake, with a non-crusting butter cream icing. The icing was really tasty, but really hard to work with. Part of the reason I made the cupcakes was to practice using my decorating tips. A crusting buttercream, made with part shortening instead of all butter, would have been easier to work with (i.e. wouldn't start melting in the bag because my hands are warm!), but just doesn't taste as good, in my opinion. So, I decorated about 5 cupcake and then just used my spatula to ice the rest. Since I can't have 15+ cupcakes sitting around the house to gorge myself on, I sent this batch to work with Steve. He said everyone liked them, and the tray came back empty, so I felt pretty good about how they turned out overall.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Some of These Things Are Not Like the Others

So you've seen Dove's Campaign for Real Beauty (which I enjoy immensely, but find a little disingenuous since Dove sells products that supposedly make you more beautiful), and we can all appreciate what goes into making a real person look like a model for a print or TV ad.

Here's another something along those lines. No one argues that the subject in question is a beautiful woman, but the folks at Redbook seem to disagree about exactly how beautiful she is before airbrushing. (Link was courtesy of The Common Room)

I don't really have too much of a problem with wanting to look like a model, minus a small spell of insanity during my sophomore year in high school when I got my friend Jessica to give me a makeover for YM's CoverGirl model contest. It was a short lived venture, because once I saw the polaroid of myself after the makeover, I knew I would never look like the girls that won that contest. And I learned that a lot of makeup was not at all flattering on a 15-year-old.

Anyway, I hardly ever wear makeup now, except for special events and when I'm feeling extra girly. Hubby says he prefers me without makeup anyhow. And I prefer to defer to what he prefers. Say that five times fast!

This post is getting long and rambling. And I have things to do this morning! Time to get my rear out of the computer chair!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fresh Belly Pic

I have to say that I think I'm starting to look pretty ridiculous. What is that in there? A giant football?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Books, Books, Books!

So, I'm trying to read three books at once these days:

1. Putting Amazing Back Into Grace -- this one is a reread from 3 years or so ago. We used it for a small group study when I was first learning about reformed/covenant theology. It explained so much to me about some things I had been taught but I could never quite make sense of. (for example: if I am a completely sinful human, how is it that I was able to choose to ask Jesus to be my savior?). It is loaded with information, and I don't think I got it all on the first read through. I highly recommend this book.

2. Teach Them Diligently -- the best parents I have seen in action use Scripture all the time when talking to and training their children. Since I wasn't raised that way and I am shamefully undisciplined about memorizing Scripture I bought this book to give me a little nudge. I've just started reading it, but noticed there is a chart in the back that lists common discipline issues and matches them up with verses. Neat! And it is definitely motivating me to spend more time memorizing the Word.

3. My Life for Yours -- if you read this blog at all, there's no secret that I enjoy reading Doug Wilson's stuff. I haven't actually started this one yet, because I expect it to be a relatively quick and enjoyable read, even though his books usually give me a lot to chew on.

So that's what I'm reading these days. After these three I'll either have a newborn and no time for reading or I'm going to pick something fun and fictional to get me through the last of this pregnancy. I'm coming up on 35 weeks! I can hardly believe it. Oooo, I'm going to start a poll! Just for fun, vote over there on the right: is Jodi's baby going to be a boy or a girl?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Steve & Jodi Bremer ~ Est. 8-8-2003

I love you, Stephen. Even on our wedding day, I never imagined marriage could be this good. God has blessed me beyond what I ever thought possible.

Saturday, August 4, 2007


I made this tonight for a neighborhood get together and it was a big hit. It's from my new Junior League Cookbook. I was a little nervous serving something at a party that I'd never made before, but it turned out great. And I should say that my "neighborhood" only consists of 3 houses, so that lessened the risk of embarrassment considerably.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3-1/4 oz. pkg. dry vanilla pudding mix (NOT Instant)
3 tbsp. butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 (15-20 oz.) can sliced peaches (in juice, not syrup) well drained, reserve juice
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp. reserved juice
1 tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Directions: Combine in large mixer bowl flour, baking powder, salt, pudding mix, butter, egg and milk. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Pour into greased 9" deep dish or 10" pie pan. Place drained fruit over batter. Combine in medium mixer bowl cream cheese, sugar, and reserved juice(3 tbsp.). Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Spoon to within 1" of edge of batter. Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over cream cheese filling. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until crust is golden brown. Filling will appear soft. Store in fridge.

Jodi's Notes
--If you're not a fan of peaches, you could make this with pineapple too.
--I used an 8" cake pan to bake it in and it turned out great, but I ended up having to serve it from said pan because there was no graceful way to dislodge it and put it on something prettier. If you have a springform cake pan, it would work perfectly for this recipe.
--It took me awhile to find non-instant pudding mix (none at the commissary, but yay for Safeway!), and it came in a 4.6 oz box...I just guesstimated how much 3-1/4 oz was

What's Your Educational Philosophy?

This article on homeschooling pretty much hits the nail on the head. It reminds me of reading one of Doug Wilsons' books on homeschooling/classical education. To paraphrase, he said that public/state-run schools are mandated by law to tell our kids that God is completely separate from the classroom, and what Christian parents should be instilling is that God is the Great Designer behind every single thing that they learn. (edit: I should add that DW does not contend that one has to homeschool in order for their children to learn this. He does say, though, that as parents we are responsible for what our children learn even if they are in a public school).

From the article:
"Probably the most significant benefit of home schooling, though, is one I didn't mention in my previous column. Home schooling puts parents back in control of their children's education. That's not to knock the legions of dedicated public school teachers who do their best to educate kids. But when someone else is educating your child, it's that person's philosophy of education and his or her ideas about what's important -- not yours -- that govern what's taught." (emphasis mine)

I'll just stop typing now before I really get up on a soapbox.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My Wife

My Wife
Originally uploaded by Steve Bremer

My genuis photographer of a husband took this picture of me (thus the title of the photo) yesterday. I am normally the least photogenic person on the planet, so I'm quite amazed at his skills. I wasn't even really posing, either, I was commenting on the rocking and rolling going on underneath my shirt and he started clicking away with his camera.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Thoughts on Impending Parenthood

This is going to be one of those stream-of-consciousness type posts, so just bear with me.

Last night, Steve and I were running some errands it was quiet in the car and I was thinking about how tired I felt. I then thought about my dreams of having a big family and disciplining all of the children we might be blessed with and classically homeschooling them and most of all, growing them up to love the Lord. I think at some point I just remarked to Steve out loud, "It's going to be hard to homeschool our kids." He said, "There's no doubt about that," and we arrived at our destination and I started thinking about what kind of chair we were going to get from OfficeMax. :)

Anyway, I have been thinking a lot about the sheer amount of work it is going to take to raise the one child I have on the way, and then the thought of having a quiver full is quite daunting, honestly. I want so many things for my future children and all of the things I want take a lot of work. I know those of you with kids are probably thinking, "well duh, Jodi!" and it's not as if I haven't thought about all of this before, it is just that now all of the work is coming closer to being reality, if that makes any sense. My struggle with these thoughts is that I have always been sort of a tired (maybe even lazy! gasp!) person, and hard-working is not a way I would describe myself. So, I worry about being motivated and able to do all the things I have in my head that my kids will need from a mom.

So today, I was reading the blogs I normally read and over at The Dominion Family, I found this little gem:

At one point in the conference Andrew said that the opposite of rest is not work but rather restlessness and I think that sums up the conference rightly. Rest is not a lack of work or order. We don’t find rest in homeschooling by giving up order. Order helps us achieve rest. Work helps us achieve rest. Restlessness involves anxiety. “The lesson of modern education is anxiety.” The solution to anxiety is acceptance and repentance.

A light bulb went off in my head when I read that...the opposite of rest is not work! It makes so much sense to me and what I've been struggling with in my head regarding my own laziness and disorganization. A concrete example of how this would apply to me is that, sure, I can put off cleaning the kitchen and let dirty dishes pile up, but I wouldn't be at rest just because I wasn't working on cleaning the kitchen. I would feel restless about the mess until I took care of it. And, yes, disciplining and educating my kids is going to be constant work, but I will feel more at rest (or at peace, or content) to know that I am doing what needs to be done, rather than have wild, unruly, uneducated children. :)

After thinking on all of this, I will have to remind myself (daily or hourly as the case may be) that I feel more at rest cleaning the house than I would sitting on the couch watching TV!

Monday, July 30, 2007

It looks as if I haven't updated my blog in almost 2 weeks! That's what happens when I get my husband back after 7 months, I suppose.

We have been having a blast being together again and hanging out. We made it down to Ikea in Seattle last week and got bookshelves for our books and desks for our computers (yes, we have two...but one is older and mainly used for surfing and email). Steve spends a lot of time on the newer one for his new photography hobby. Speaking of which, he has started a photoblog here. His writings are much wittier than mine and his photos are turning out to be beautiful.

We attended our first Bradley Method Childbirth Class last week. I know that Steve was skeptical at first about going to a class, but he humored me and I think we both really enjoyed the first one. I would like to have an unmedicated birth, which can be a bit of a challenge in a hospital environment, and these classes are specifically designed with that in mind. It is also designed to prepare the husband to be the primary coach and support for his wife and educate him on how to help his wife on how to get through labor without drugs, and how to deal with hospital staff, etc, etc. Even if God has other plans for my birth, I think I'm really going to enjoy this time with my husband spent preparing for labor.

In other baby news, I unpacked and washed most all of the clothes I got from my shower back in May and put them away. I have a little dresser full of little baby things!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Stone Update

So, first things first, having my husband back is the best thing EVAR!
After yesterday's excitement I am feeling alright today. The OB said that the shot they gave me for pain last night would last 24 hours, and it pretty much did. I didn't have a flare up all day, but felt generally drowsy and weird from the shot. I haven't needed to take a vicodin yet, and the less I take of that, the better as far as the baby is concerned. I can still feel a slight aching in my back where the stone is and I am praying that it stays slight.

Tomorrow I will have the ultrasound to try and see the stone (I am hoping they will let us have a peek at the baby, since Steve hasn't seen an ultrasound yet).

I was feeling well enough that Steve was able to get me outside and practice some of his photography skills.
30-ish weeks:

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

So Much for an Uneventful Pregnancy!

So it turns out I have a kidney stone. I went into L&D tonight for severe back pain and thank God I'm not still there having a baby, but I am pretty sure that I have a kidney stone which is NO GOOD. They gave me a shot of non-narcotic pain relief at the hospital, so I'm not feeling too bad now, but this stuff is only supposed to last 24 hours. They released me and the OB gave me some vicodin, which, even though he prescribed it to me, I'm completely wary about taking.

I have to go in to get an ultrasound tomorrow to check and make sure that the stone is small enough to pass on its own. Otherwise, I don't know what they are going to do.

I had a kidney stone about 5 years ago, so I'm not totally unprepared for the pain, but I know this is going to be a difficult week for me. Steve is getting here tonight, so thank goodness I will have someone here!

Please pray for a quick passing, and that the baby is okay with all the stress and meds. Also, I'm a little drowsy-ish right now because of the medication, so if this is not-so-coherent that's why!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Cake Decorating 101

So, I don't know if I'm the only girl who grew up having never baked or decorated a cake, but here I am at 26 learning how to do both. I came across a cake decorating website and it sparked my interest. I'm not artistic per say, but I'd like to know how to make those neat character cakes and other simple things for kids' birthdays and other occasions. I signed up at Michael's for a Wilton cake decorating class. Here are some of my initial results (I can't say they are great, but I'm sort of proud of my first little cake)!

I baked a 6" cake from a mix and torted it with that handy metal gadget in the background. I didn't have to worry about being accurate with a knife, I just set the cake on the counter and ran the wire through. Neat-o!

This probably looks a little messy, but once I torted the cake, I put the bottom layer on my cake stand and put a "dam" of frosting around the edge of it. This is because I was using raspberry jam as my filling and didn't want it to seep out the edges and show through the white icing. So I edged the layer, added the filling and put the top layer on. Then I iced the whole thing.

The last picture is the final result after my night at class. The dent in the border happened in the car on the way home. Keep in mind I had just learned the techniques and practiced a couple of time before they released us to use some of the stuff we had learned on our actual cakes. I wouldn't recommend writing in yellow icing, but like I said, we were mainly just playing around with what we had learned - I didn't have any design in mind when we started. Enough disclaimers! By the way, it tastes great!!