Thursday, April 30, 2009

The High Dive

When I was little, I used to want to jump off the high dive. My family never "belonged" to a pool, but whenever I could hitch a ride to the nearest neighborhood club, I would eye the high dive with much anticipation. It never looked that tall from my beach chair. Surely, I could climb up there by myself and take the plunge. I was always mesmerized by how deep the diving well underneath the board was. The rest of the pool would only reach 5 feet deep, but the diving wells seemed so much deeper and more dangerous. 

I never wanted anyone to watch me. I was afraid of embarrassing myself. I was never a skinny child...and I never could wear the cute, trendy swimsuits like my friends. Mine were usually from the "child plus" section in the specialty JC Penney catalog. 

Somehow, I would muster the courage to walk around to the other side of the pool, stare up at the huge ladder, and place my foot on the first slippery rung. I would take my time climbing up, making sure that no jerk-faced kid was trailing too close behind my...behind. 

When I finally reached the top, I would pause for a second and catch my breath. The change in altitude had a dizzying effect. My feet would wiggle on the sand-papery diving board, and, all of a sudden, I would wave frantically to my mom, friend, or whoever was there to watch me....forgetting all fears of embarrassment and just desperate for someone to witness this immeasurable amount of courage. 

But then, with all eyes on me, I would laugh at myself, say "Who am I kidding?", and turn around and head back down the ladder. Going down was always more difficult than going up. Admitting I wasn't ready...admitting I was out of my element...admitting I had no business being there in the first place....were tough pills to swallow, especially since, at that age, I was still hiding pills in my turkey sandwiches so that I wouldn't have to actually launch them down my throat. 

It's amazing to me that at the age of 25 (almost), I am still standing on that high dive, looking down at the water, contemplating jumping into the next, new exciting adventures in my life...but yet backing myself down the ladder before anybody gets hurt. 

Monday, April 27, 2009

Luke's Birthday

I haven't updated in a while. Sometimes I have so much to say and yet so little all at the same time. I don't know how that is possible, but it is. I don't know who all reads this little blog, but I like to update frequently so as to maintain an accurate record of the happenings of 9428 Haddington....and so I begin....

Luke turned 24 on Saturday! It was just an absolutely beautiful day on Saturday, we enjoyed doing some yard work and being in the sun. I made a field trip to Muncie to get CeCe ready for her senior prom. I crack up when I think about how last year, she wouldn't even touch a pink, sparkly dress, but yet, this year, she was like Barbie Princess on Ice. She looked beautiful...hard to believe I have no more girls to help get ready for dances and formals. Tear. 

I came back to Indy just in time to make our reservation at Buca's with Abe & E for Luke's birthday. We enjoyed good food and great conversation. We made a side trip to Kohl's on the way back and then came back to the house to eat some chocolate cake (that I made, which was DELISH!) This recipe was dubbed as "The Best Chocolate Cake in the World," and I do believe it lived up to its name!

Sunday, the whole Ernstberger clan, including Seth, Liz, and boys, as well as my parents, came to our house to celebrate Luke some more. I swear, we feel so unworthy of the love we makes us start thinking about all the other birthdays in the family that weren't honored with a family get-together. We feel sad when we think about this, but we also feel inspired to be better and orchestrate family gatherings more often. Everyone deserves to feel as blessed as we do :-) 

We played outside, ate good food, shared stories, caught up on was an awesome day. Any opportunity we get to see our precious nephews, we cherish.

I have been working really hard lately on keeping a positive frame of mind...and a pure heart. Thanks to my sweet friend & sister-in-law, E, I have realized some changes that need to be made in that department. It's one day at a time, one foot in front of the other....and I like where this life is heading. 

On the subject of E, and Abe, they unfortunately experienced the loss of their dog, for you animal lovers out there, send a little prayer their way. 

Alright, here's some photos of the weekend!

Look how beautiful (er....handsome, macho...) Gus is!

Playing with CeCe & E

Gus in the sprinkler

Look at that face!

I took 10000 pictures, waiting for a smile....

Gus dirtying Deohgie's water

Luke's Apple-Cranberry Gorgonzola Salad that looked amazing!

He was quite proud of his work!

Miss CeCe in her beautiful dress

Luke's 2 layer birthday cake with chocolate ganache frosting!

Monday, April 20, 2009


I don't know how, but there is just something so inspiring about beautiful spring weather. Maybe it is the potential of a fun-filled summer, the anticipation of consistently pleasant weather, or just the simple fact that nature is in full force, waking up after a slow and sullen winter.

Whatever the reason, I feel inspired today. It was raining for most of the day, but by the time I got home, the drops were gone and the sun was out. Our front door is open and the cool breeze is blowing through the screen. I cooked a great meal (Rachael Ray's Shallot Pasta), and now I have one eye on the TV  because Dancing with the Stars is on, one eye on Luke because he is gorgeously perfect, and one eye on my computer....oh wait, is that three eyes? Scratch that. Life is still good.

I attended my first Indianapolis Zumba class. It was so much fun. The instructor was awesome and the atmosphere was so uplifting! I have attended 2 other classes in Muncie before, but never really got much out of it. This class tonight was almost enough to make me extend my membership! We will see...

I have the ambition to get off the last of this weight (15 more pounds...ugh!) and to truly enjoy my hard work. I also have the ambition to just open my heart and my soul to anything and be available to any be listening, always.

Just to finish this off, I have 31 school days left! Wahoo!

Saturday, April 18, 2009


I have made a goal for Luke and I to go to some Indy restaurants we have never been to before. On my list are St. Elmo Steakhouse, Eagle's Nest, and some other places in my Indianapolis Monthly "Best of Indy" issue. Too often we go to Applebee's, Panera, Wendy's, Olive Garden. While we are young and experimental, we need to venture out more!

We tried the Claddagh Irish Pub off 96th street, which is a chain, but it is one we have never been to before. We went was after 9, so it was more of a bar atmosphere at that point. They had a DJ playing some 80s rock which was good for us, and we sat in the bar area. The tables were a bit uncomfortable because you had to straddle it with your legs since it was made out of a huge barrel. I got the shrimp & chips and Luke got a big turkey club sandwich. I can't complain about my battered and yummy. The chips (or fries) were a little bland...I would prefered Luke's potato wedges that he got with his sandwich. 

Luke enjoyed a Blue Moon while I had 2 cosmopolitans....which inspired two promotional Absolut Vodka girls to come over and take my picture with my martini because it showed that I was drinking Absolut. It was awkward and I made them swear that the pictures wouldn't be posted on the Internet. They wanted to give me an Absolut Vodka t-shirt, but I kindly explained that I was a teacher and would not have an occasion to wear an alcohol brand t-shirt. 

Anyway, our friend Chris joined us for a beer and we got to catch up on some adult topics like his upcoming wedding, taxes, buying a house, and his law school and Luke's med school studies. We are so adult now! 

All in all, I would return to the Claddagh...maybe with a bigger group of friends for some drinks or on a Sunday afternoon for a nice lunch.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Cherry Blossoms!

With this beautiful spring weather, our cherry blossom tree is getting more and more pretty pink blossoms! I am very excited to see it in full bloom. Here is a picture we took on Monday, when we saw the first bloom on such a symbolic day.

Also, my sweet friend Jenn brought over a framed cherry blossom print that will look beautiful in our home. It is so nice to be thought of and prayed for!

Ode to Craigslist

Luke and I have had a lot of luck on Craigslist over the past couple of years. We first experienced its glory when we were needing a washer and dryer when we bought our house. We could have spent thousands at Lowe's, but instead we spent $150 for a washer and dryer set that have done wonderfully for us over the past year!

We also bought a $40 queen mattress and box springs off Craigslist for our guest room. Our guests lovingly refer to this mattress as "bedrock" because it is quite hard...but hey, it was $40 and it gets used like 5 times a year.

Luke purchased a mountain bike that retails for hundreds for only $15 (and the seller included a bike rack for a car for free!)

Lastly, we coughed up the dough and bought a treadmill last night. It is straight from a private gym and only 3 years old. We are thrilled to have it and to say goodbye to our monthly gym membership fee. For $550, I would say it was a steal!

Less I forget the mirror from our bathroom that I sold all by myself on Craigslist for a whopping $15. Love it!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Three parts

I now view my life as three parts.

First - all the days before August 11th, the day we found out about the pregnancy. These days include my childhood, my teenage years, my college years, my wild and irresponsible years. These are the days where my biggest worry was how I was going to spend my weekend and my biggest fear was my phone battery dying in the middle of an important conversation. Things were different, as they should have been. I was always looking toward the future, but the future always seemed a ways away.

Second - the past nine months....from the day we got the positive pee stick to the day we were to deliver the baby, had all gone as planned. Yesterday marked that day, and dreaded it since September 12th, when we learned that there would be no baby afterall. However, thanks to some friends who refused to let us be forgotten...thanks to some family who wanted us to know that our hurt was their hurt....thanks to the kind words expressed....we got through the day. We even laughed and didn't spend the day crying. Yesterday, though it was the end of one journey, marked the beginning of another. 

Third - today....forward. This third part of my life is going to be a time for me to put in practice all of the lessons I have learned over the past 9 months. Luke and I have learned how to communicate even the darkest feelings and saddest thoughts. We have witnessed each other at our rock-bottom worst, which will only allow us to worship each other at our God's-honest best. We have fought, we have prayed, we have cried, we have fallen to our knees....and at the end of it all we still have these bands on our fingers. We are so much stronger, so much more mature, so much more aware of each other. 

Aside from my relationship with Luke, the miscarriage really helped me to bring other relationships with certain friends and family members to a deeper level. In the first part of my life, my relationships with others, though satisfying and fulfilling, never put me in a position where I was truly vulnerable and desperately needed the advice, the help, the love of others. 

Not everything was positive, of course. I fear each day when I think about getting pregnant again that I will lose another baby. I fear that my miscarriage was a punishment of some sort, like I deserved it (or rather, didn't deserve to be a mother). I fear that I will see that blank ultrasound playing in my mind until the day I die...and maybe I will. I am jaded a little bit. I might not have the same sparkle in my eyes the 2nd time around...but I suppose that is to be expected when you see the other side.

Things have changed. I have changed. My marriage has changed. My friendships have changed. But this third part of my life is going to be the best yet, and so I say, change is good. 

Monday, April 13, 2009

Deep breath.

Today was supposed to be your birthday. I was supposed to have met your sweet face for the first time. Of course, there would have been a strong likelihood that you would have greeted the world a few days or weeks early, or there was a chance that I could still be sitting here, waiting on you to arrive. Regardless, today was supposed to be your birthday.

I first heard the date, April 13th, nearly eight months ago at my first doctor's appointment. In just a matter of seconds, a nurse was able to determine when you would be ready to make your entrance into the world. With a smile, I thought to myself, "Wow, April 13th seems so far away." 

April 13th has taken a long time to get here. There were days after we found out that we lost you that seemed twice as long as regular days. I cried a lot, because I couldn't imagine never  meeting you. I couldn't imagine never holding you. I couldn't imagine April 13th actually arriving with you.

Here I sit, at the completion of this journey, and I think about the days behind me. I know I am stronger in many ways, but I still feel this deep pain....this deep bruise....and I can't do anything to make it feel better. I think this is the way it will always be, and that is OK. Why would I want to forget you? Why would I want to just make it all "go away?"

I have worked really hard to make myself healthy. I have taken care of myself. Through it all, I have thought about you...and about what I could have done to have prevented what happened. I know in my heart that there was nothing I could do, but I can't help but want to be in the best health I can be for "the next time." 

I think about what you look like from time to time. Do you have dark hair? Is it curly? Do you have your father's nose (oh no!)? I can't even imagine how beautiful you are. 

I wish I could have walked this road with you. I wish I could have carried you through to your birthday. I wish I could celebrate you and talk about you and show you off to the world. I wish so much, but that is all they are....wishes. 

Above all else, I wish I could have watched you grow up....told you to eat your vegetables, played with you in the yard, fixed your hair in pigtails, given you advice about boys, helped you with your homework....but for now I will just say Happy Birthday and I love you.

Your mother

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 2009

We had a pretty great Easter this year. We went down to New Albany on Saturday afternoon and went straight to Seth & Liz's so that we could see the boys. Gus & Sol were looking cute and were excited for Easter! 

We ate dinner and had ice cream at Polly's Freeze. I had a Polly Burger, fries, and a chocolate dipped cone. :-) Yum! It was junk food at its finest....but I didn't care. 

I got to watch "Slumdog Millionaire" finally, which was awesome! It was so moving and poignant...I would like to watch it again so that I can pick up on some things that I missed the first time. I love movies like that that really make you think and open your eyes to a "new world." For example, I will always remember the movie, "Hotel Rwanda" for those very same reasons. 

Today we went to Easter mass at Mt. Saint Francis. I definitely got emotional during the pre-service music...Luke leaned over to me and said he was imagining what our baby would have looked like. It was sweet and sad all the same.

We spent a few hours visiting and catching up with Luke's family, and then we had to take off and head to Indy to meet my parents at our house. It is really important to us that we make efforts to see both families on holidays. Mom & Dad came through with some Cadbury Creme Eggs for me! Yay!

I was able to send my first text since before Ash Wednesday today. It felt good but the last 40 days really told me that I don't need to be tied to my phone and texting all the time. Rather than texting, I know that I can always pick up the phone and TALK to the person....which is something we don't do very often these days as a culture! 

Anyway, enjoy the pictures....

We need to see the Kiawah sun IMMEDIATELY! Look how pale!

Family picture at Grandma's

Two of my favorite girls

Luke finding  his Easter basket hidden in the yard!

Luke and Gus shooting hoops

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chinese adoption

My goal for this blog was never for it to be a place to "rant and rave." I really only wanted it to be about documenting our life's little events and moments. However, with these weekend leading up to the due date of the baby, I have been thinking a lot about babies and parenthood. 

A teacher I work with adopted a baby from China about three years ago. They named her Hope. They wanted children for a while but couldn't have any, so they spent a lot of money and time going through the Chinese adoption process. This teacher has often commented on all of the requirements they had to meet before they could adopt Hope. This has many times raised the question, "Why can't the U.S. make ALL prospective parents (not only adoptive, but anyone with the ability to conceive) go through the same process to ensure that each child will have stable parents who will give them all that they need?" Unfortunately, we can't sterilize everyone on Earth and make them fill out an application before they have kids, but MAN it would really solve a lot of problems if we could. 

I went to a Chinese adoption site tonight because adoption is something Luke and I have an interest in down the road. I of course want to be pregnant and birth my own children, but I also have a desire to adopt children who need a good family. I am not trying to be Angelina Jolie, but I would really enjoy adopting children from different countries, too. I think spreading diversity and teaching each child about his/her own unique culture so that they could educate others on their cultures would really be awesome. I also am very aware of all the children in America who need families, so I would want to adopt an American child, too. Basically, I want to save the world, one child at a time. :-)

Anyway, I found an adoption agency in China called Great Wall China Adoption. Yes, it sounds like a restaurant. :-) However, it is really informative and I read about all the requirements to have to meet in order to adopt a child from China. WOW! It is amazing and I would like to share some of these requirements. For the full run-down, go to

Interesting Points:
1. You have to be married. Hmmmm....novel concept.
2. Both people have to have high school diplomas. 
3. You have to have a net worth of at least $80,000.
4. The household has to have an income of at least $10,000 per person (including the adoptive child and any other children). For example, Luke and I would have to have an income of at least $30,000 to adopt (him, me, and the child). 
5. There is a limit to 5 children in the household.
6. You have to be married at least 2 years, unless it is your 2nd marriage and then it is 5 years. You can't have been divorced 3 times. 
7. You can't have been arrested for any felony, violent crime or drug use. You also can't have more than 3 DUI's regardless of the outcome (so deferment programs don't count).
8. You can't be on depression meds (have to be off them for 2 years), can't be diagnosed with depression/anxiety, can't be diagnosed with alcoholism within 10 years, can't  have ANY drug history, no cancer, hep A, B, or C, can't have both people in wheelchairs, and can't have a BMI over 40 (very interesting). 
9. Can't adopt a child unless any current children are at least 12 months old. 
10. Have to be at least 30 years old and under 50 (this is the only one I disagree with. I am just shy of 25 and feel like I could be a perfectly good I would change it to at least 25 years old)

I think it is great that they take adopting so seriously. It is obviously a huge commitment and they don't want people adopting kids like we go and pick out puppies at a store. It's amazing how the things that occur quite often in the U.S. such as teen pregnancies, people with criminal histories, people with ZILLIONS of kids (octomom!), people with histories of drug & alcohol use/abuse, and people who don't even have jobs are not tolerated when adopting from another country. 

Another interesting fact is that 95% of children being adopted in China are girls 6 months old. I suppose it is true that since the population is so high and they have said that you can only have 1 child, they give up their girls because they want a boy to carry on the family name. The mothers drop the babies off at the orphanages and are given 3 months to come back and claim the child. When the 3 months are up, the child is no longer theirs and they begin looking for adoptive parents.

I really hope that Luke and I are in the position to do this someday. 

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Signs of Spring

For a couple weeks now, Luke and I have anxiously awaited the blooming of our bradford pear tree in our front yard. Unfortunately, in the fall, the tree suffered some damage due to a wind/rain storm and a huge section of branches broke off. This was really upsetting to us, and it made us question the livelihood of the tree come Spring. Lucky for us, the tree has survived and looks beautiful! It is the biggest and best on our street, and we were dorks yesterday and took pictures of it. :-)

Additionally, we are waiting on the blooming of our weeping cherry blossom tree in our side yard. Of course this tree has special significance as it represents the child we lost in our miscarriage about 6 months ago. The tree has looked pretty puny throughout the winter and has worried us a lot, but we see signs of budding and we are very excited for it to bloom. The due date is approaching, April 13...and I hope we see blooms by then. 

Luke and I have had quite the wonderful weekend. Friday night we enjoyed some Puccini's, which is a local Italian restaurant with a few locations in the surrounding area. We ate it a few times last year on the northwest side, and we discovered a location right off 116th street so we dined there on Friday. Yummy! Luke then got the awesome idea to rent "The Brave Little Toaster," the 1987 classic tale of discarded electric appliances who go looking for their master. We absolutely loved watching the 22 year old movie and laughed the whole night. 

Saturday we spent a good 20 minutes laying in our driveway in the sun, and I think we both fell asleep! We also did a lot of productive things around the house like laundry and cleaning and putting the trim up in the bathrooms and entryway. YES we are STILL finishing up the tile job! It has taken forever! But I see the is near!

I made some absolutely STELLAR crockpot ribs for dinner and really want to share the recipe with you.

Use anywhere from 2-3.5 lbs of pork back ribs. Do not use spare ribs as they are not as tender and don't do a nice job with this recipe. I made that mistake a few months ago.

Cut off any excess fat you see (I don't like doing this as I don't care for handling bloody animal parts, so I leave the fat on usually...)

Spray a crockpot with nonstick spray and turn it on low. Cut the ribs into 3 sections (about 4-6 inches long.

Mix 1/4 cup of brown sugar with 3 tablespoon of liquid smoke and some garlic (how every much you like, chopped up), as well as salt and pepper to taste. Rub this mix into the ribs and then layer the ribs with sliced onion. Red onion works nicely.

Pour a can of coke, diet coke, Dr. Pepper, pepsi, diet pepsi...any dark cola....into the crockpot with the ribs. 

Cover and cook on low for about 8 hours. The smell in your house will be amazing!

After 8 hours, take the ribs out carefully, probably with tongs or a slotted spoon because they will literally be falling off the bones at this point. Dump out the liquid from the crockpot, then put the ribs back in the crockpot. Dump in BBQ sauce (I like the Jack Daniels brand) in the crockpot over the ribs. Cook for about another hour.

Take the ribs out and ENJOY! They are so amazing. They fall off the bones and would make excellent pork BBQ sandwiches, too. This is Luke's favorite thing I make, and he even compares them to Loon Lake Lodge ribs, which is a high compliment! 

I just wanted to include a couple pictures I found of Edna on my camera. Look how pretty she is!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Tough Week

This week was pretty good until Wednesday, when I had to deal with a not-so-fun-situation with regards to a student's parent. I find this part of my job extremely exhausting and depressing. It is all I can do sometimes to put a smile on my face and go on. "Moving forward" has never really been my strong suit. I am hoping to build a thicker skin in time.

The concept of "not everyone is going to love you" is really hard for me. I hate being insecure and thinking that there is someone out there who is upset with me for any reason....whether it's a friend, family member, student, student's parent, or stranger on the street. I wear my heart on my sleeve and just take everything too personally.

I know that these traits will pay off one day...that I will be a loving mother and a sensitive friend. I hope that my parent problems at school are limited and that these people learn to just let me do my job.

Anyway, I am happy it is the weekend. I can't wait to rest and relax with my wonderful husband in our beautiful home. Our pear tree is blooming and the cherry blossom tree is ready to burst. I can't wait to take pictures! 

By the way...good meal idea is Rachael Ray's Cowboy Spaghetti. Google it and enjoy!