.:. in and out of season .:.

:: i want to marry you :: March 23, 2009

Filed under: Marriage,music,Nat,newlywed — Ellen @ 1:19 pm

every so often i find myself still at the computer, and it’s been 2 hours since i sat down.   i am full of visual stimulation for great ideas in decorating, cooking and crafting so i jump up with a start and try to keep going with the day.  it’s one of the downsides of my schedule, because sometimes free time is not a good thing.

but i want to remember how last night i was playing the piano after ebeth and nikki left and nat came over and we pulled out the words to Unplayed Piano and decided to try a little duet.

It didn’t necessarily sound very good – Nat hardly knew the song at all – but after a few times he left and got the computer and put it on top of the piano and we recorded it, twice and listened and smiled at the rough patches and complimented each other on the good parts.

i remember when we were dating having these moments where i  thought fiercely,


it was the biggest thought i had, and the greatest thing i could think of.

last night i thought it again as i watched him sing.  i want to marry him every day!!


here’s to you, natty: March 12, 2009

Filed under: Marriage,Nat — Ellen @ 11:06 am

My sweet, strong and very handsome husband has recently started a blog for the purpose of remembering and writing  stories of his life, and of his time working at the hospital.  He has some really beautiful ones, and some hilarious ones, and I love reading them, and hearing them.   Here’s the link:



leave him a little love, if you’d like.

i’ll save mine for when he comes home.

[    = )   ]


.:.from where i am standing.:. February 11, 2009

Filed under: goals,inspiration,life in general,Marriage,newlywed,running,wifery — Ellen @ 7:30 pm

I have been avoiding blogging lately because I feel a little blog-boring.  Motivated and excited about life and full of dreams – but not very full of interesting things to write about.  Then today while I was running my three miles on 4 hours of sleep and too much espresso I was thinking about blogging, and thought, “who is this blog for, anyway?”  And, “what IS blogging?”  and thinking about how anything I put out there into the world – for myself or for whoever – I want it to be genuine and honest and I want it to be a time capsule and I want it to be fun and inspirational and true and brave and humble and lots of other things that if I spent too much time analyzing (read: comparing to others blogs) would amount to me either quitting altogether or trying to become something I’m not naturally.  And I am saying no to both of those because I like blogging, I believe in it, and no matter how unineteresting, I want to be myself.  


RUNNING: Yes, I have been doing it a little bit more.  We have a plan that starts from the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in March and works up to a very hypothetical marathon in Alaska in August.  I’m not going to talk about that anymore though until I/we are doing at least ten mile runs without dying.  I did three miles for the first time in months – maybe even a year or two – last week and was so proud I couldn’t stop talking about it.  Unfortunately I think it made me a little too confident, because to be fully and one-hundred percent honest with you, my

EATING: has been very, very bad.  I am craving all kinds of ridiculous things, and haven’t been to the grocery store yet this week and we are out of my fresh food daily staples: macintosh apples, red bell peppers, spinach, green beans and minestrone soup (not fresh, but a staple.)   I have been hungry at weird, non-meal times, because I get up at 4 in the morning and that is supposed to be sleeping time…. and I drop pastries on accident occasionally at work and can not find it in me to throw them away… so I mark it out as “discarded” and eat it.  And I was telling Diane today that I think if I could have one thing a day for the rest of my life it would be a vanilla soy latte.  Believe me, I know about soy.  I have read up on it in multiple reliable sources, and no about the hormonal risks, overprocessing, etc… but THEY TASTE SO GOOD.  I just heaved a huge sigh because I know what I wrote down on my goals list that I will talk about in a minute:  “Only one soy drink a week.”  It is nonfat milk for me, now, or none.  Coffee plain and simple.  And the proof is in the pudding: my go-to jeans feel too tight… and they have not just been in the dryer.  

MARRIAGE:  We are at a beautiful place right now, six months past our wedding.  Nat is such a servant, and he helps me and cares for me in ways I never even expected him to, or dreamed that anyone would.  He is teaching me more than he knows.  We are partners and pals and we are happy and I need to learn how to better hold/use my tongue, and we have been cooking a lot of delicious meals and making dinner every night really special with candles and good music lately.  And, it is good.

BABYSITTING: I seem to be doing a lot of it, and  I love it.  Tommy….. has just turned two, is very, VERY cute looking (I don’t say that about all children, either.) and is pretty obedient and VERY pleasant to be with because his favorite thing of all time is to be read to.  We can spend hours reading one book at a time under blankets on the couch, he running back and forth from the bookshelf for a new one, as happy as could be.  Besides reading, we play with toys or he takes a bath or brushes his teeth, or we walk outside and I tell him how fast he can run.  It’s wonderful.  Nat called him our stand-in child the other day because he knows how much I love the dream of having kids and how fascinated I am by discipline strategies, baby products and that I am

READING: Baby Wise, a book about a method of parenting that is very scheduled with sleeping and feeding.  I know that when the time comes, I will be fully armed with a lot of parenting information and the best of intentions, and that even so it will be challenging and different than what I expect – but I am fascinated, and so I am reading.  Aside from Baby Wise, I’m on book 7 of Harry Potter now, although I haven’t started it yet.  I’m waiting a little bit to savor it more and draw it out as long as possible.  I have been surprised by how much I like it, and I will say that I found much of the “witchcraft = horrible reading material for people” hoopla just that – a lot of hoopla.  Kids can watch tv, questionable non-wizardry-related movies, go online whenever they want, and read books about materialistic, greedy teenagers – – and they can’t read Harry Potter?  It is not unlike Narnia in the fights between good and evil, and Harry and his friends who are loyal and help each other…  Anyway, we must all choose our battles of course.  I am Pro-Harry, you can be Anti-Harry, and we can still get together and have a marvelous time.  I am also reading The Message these days… bouncing around between Paul’s letters and Proverbs and Exodus.  

LISTS + SCHEDULES:  While waiting for Tommy’s mom to come home last night I filled a piece of printer paper with a schedule for the rest of the week, a new weekly list/schedule of daily chores, ideas of ways to reach out to others, some general goals, some positive “success statements” for me to think about, and two food lists: Allowed and Not Allowed.  It was like therapy, and a self-taught lesson (I was home-schooled, I find these most effective.) in positive thinking promoting well-being.  Here are some things I came up with:

Chores: Monday – Kitchen & Bathroom.  Tuesday – Vacuum.  Wednesday  – Dust.  Thursday – Laundry (2-4 loads).  Friday – Organize, sort and label. (I was running out of ideas – our apartment is small.)  Saturday – Purge and give away.  (Every day, it seems, I come across some article of clothing or a book or a knick knack that I realize we do not need whatsoever.)  Sunday – R & R.    These are aside from the more obvious Everydays:  Dishes, clothes put away, all rooms straightened, car cleared out.  So that’s chores.    

Others:  Make and keep a calendar of birthdays.  (Birthdays are not my strong suit except for Nat and family and Amanda’s.)  Invite new people over for dinner often – maybe every week?  Remember to get decaf coffee for dad, Cafe Verona for the Mullers, and Cafe Estima for Judy every so often, as well as tea for others, and Tuesday nights.  Send baby/happy pregnancy gifts.  Call just to say hello (meaning, don’t always just send a little Facebook shout out.  Use my voice.)      ….

Goals:  No more picking at my nails.  Pick up extra shifts at work.  If no snow – ride bike!  Record music with Garage Band.  Bring healthier food to work for breaks.  Work on having better posture.  …

The Allowed list is pretty guessable and obvious (fruits, veggies, blah blah blah.), and the Not Allowed List is:  Overeating.  Mindlessness.  More than two coffee drinks a day.  Starbucks pastry case items.  Canned pasta (I have been craving spaghetti-o’s consistently for weeks.  By the way – do not let this eating talk fool you into thinking I am pregs.  I am not.)  Skipping breakfast.  Second dessert helpings.  …

And then the Positive Statements included things like:  I love to keep things clean.  I listen before I speak.  I answer my phone when I am not with others and even if I don’t feel like it (and if I really don’t feel like it, and they leave a voicemail, I call back in a timely fashion.)  I am a runner.  I do not spend our money on things I/we do not need….. and so on.  


I know that it is a little silly and funny.  I also know that that kind of thinking and putting things down in an organized way on paper really helps me to plan and think more clearly, and to stick to things.  I am going to keep this piece of paper close by and refer to it often to remind myself.   

And finally, here are some pictures out of my “artsy fartsy” folder into which I put things that inspire me from all over the internet world:

And that, my friends, whomever you may be, is that.


…you will have your music. December 26, 2008

Filed under: Marriage,Nat — Ellen @ 10:00 pm

img_4310My husband has such a gift for making things really, really special.  He loves the element of surprise, he loves details and the logistics of planning a holiday, and he loves showering me with gifts and meals and letters and special unexpected things.  I mean… Nat only has maybe four faults (along the lines of “didn’t put the toaster away in the usual cabinet – on accident”) and sometimes I am so in awe of his goodness that it is overwhelming.   His love for me has brought such joy into my life. 


Our first christmas was filled with beauty.  I woke up to an apartment full of candlelight and a delicious breakfast (chocolate chip pecan pancakes) and  then we cleaned up and Nat read the Christmas story out loud.  We opened gifts from each other, starting with stockings and ending with the “big ones” – a timbuk2 bag for nat, and boots for me.  

The most beautiful present of all was the very last one i opened – a small flat box.  Inside was a fifty dollar bill, a letter, and a printed email.  the letter said, “This is an iou for one piano.  I will find the right one, I will rent a truck, and move it in.  As soon as possible, you will have your music.  I love you, Nat.”  The email was one from a woman who Nat had come SO close to buying a piano from, but she had sold it to someone else after all.  He had wanted to have it all set up on Christmas day to surprise me.  THAT was the overwhelming part… and I may have shed a tear or two over that, and for how wonderful his heart is.  

We fell asleep on the couch for a while after that, and then woke up and went to Starbucks – we had wanted to walk, but the one by us was closed – and got 

big soy lattes and a french press for my dad.  We spent the evening at my house in Winfield and had de-licious lasagna and cookies and eggnog and opened even more presents.  I got a HUGE surprise when at the very end my dad pulled from behind his back a box and said, “Well, this looks like the last one!”  It was the CAMERA LENS that I had been looking at – super zoom, super awesome…they all went in on it, and I am SO happy to have it!!!  I could not believe that I forgot my camera last night, but I have been playing with it today, and it really is incredible.  I feel like it’s getting a whole new camera.  The zoom is seriously long, so I need to take it outside where it can be more useful.  So far I just have super close-ups of all the trinkets in our apartment.  = )



My dad loved his french press, and mom loved her box of things and the wedding photo book we had made for them.  Bryan was happy with his gift card, and Gary started playing his Lego Indiana Jones game right away.  I JUST LOVE PRESENTS!!  I love giving them, choosing them, buying them, making them, opening them, watching people open them…. I love everything about them, and I love that about Christmas.  


So, I am just tickled to death that we still have three more Christmases to go – Wisconsin, Sioux Falls, and Dawson.  Which equals a lot of travel, many, many hours of driving, and many hours of good quality time just alone together which we love, need, crave, and thoroughly enjoy.  


And…. on an entirely different note altogether, we are getting TATTOOS!  On our ring fingers, and possibly another one(s) but that is a secret and a surprise.  







top of the morning to you. November 17, 2008

Filed under: life in general,Marriage,Nat,newlywed — Ellen @ 3:15 pm

mmmm….. not working this morning.  

once again a headache has gotten me up and out of bed.  if you ever get migraines, you might know how sometimes you want to lay down in the dark with a cold pack, and sometimes you have to get up and move a little.  for me, even if i just move to the couch and sit here, it’s better.  nat is in the shower and my christmas playlist is playing.  friday is at her picture-perfect behavior because she’s been by herself all night, so she’s sweet and needy for affection.  how i picture (dream) of her being when she’s a lazy old cat.  

we went to college life yesterday after i worked all day.  it was wonderful wonderful….. hearing judy speak is always my favorite, because she is a friend, and her words are familiar.  it feels like church that you grew up in.  as a speaker, i am always astounded at the gift God has given her to pass on wisdom, love and truth to people.  she spoke about call and conviction, and about ‘expanding your repertoire of “feeling God” emotions so that it includes conviction.  Correction, discipline, etc…  That when we are in a time where we are just not “feeling God” that perhaps we are too narrow-minded in what that would feel like, because when we feel led to do even the smallest act of kindness, or to not sin – even in the tiniest instance – or when we feel bad about a sin we have committed, that is “feeling God” and it happens a lot.  

‘The Holy Spirit is going to blow where it wills, and it will not always be to lead you into a spirit of worship or contentment or love or to be comfortable, but sometimes it will lead you to guilt and conviction and correction.’

just good stuff.  

i have been going through all of our photos because i’m making a photo album book online, and i have rediscovered some really really great ones like this one on nat’s computer – he wrote “i love you ellen” in the snow while walking alone through campus one night when we were broken up a couple of years ago:



and the first photo ever taken of nat and i:  i can really see the sure signs of a future marriage, can’t you?



and this one, when nat flew in to san francisco from alaska one summer and we took the bus back to chicago together:  



and these ones, which will always go down in history as one of our best dates:




“our memories,” joseph says, “are like a river cut off from the ocean.  with time they will slowly dry out in the sun, and so we drink and drink and drink and we can never have our fill.”    

– dinaw mengestu from “the beautiful things that heaven bears.”


* lovely day * October 17, 2008

Filed under: chicago,inspiration,life in general,Marriage,Nat — Ellen @ 2:32 pm


I woke up with a bad migraine at seven, so I wrapped a bag of frozen veggies in a paper towel, took two excedrin and lay on the couch for a while.  We had two blueberry muffins (courtesy of Starbucks leftovers) for breakfast, and then Nat left to walk to work at 8:30.  About 2 minutes after he left I realized, “I should have walked to work with him!!”  I thought about whether or not I could catch him for about 30 seconds and then leapt off the couch and decided to try.  I threw on a jacket over my pajamas, put on my slightly-too-small vans, and took off sprinting down the sidewalk.

I did catch up with him, and it was so cool to walk to work with him.  Doing things like that always feels to me like a mini-vacation, I think because it’s special.  It is a BEAUTIFUL morning, and really fall-crispy-clear, and I was glad for the migraine that woke me up.  I felt silly walking back looking all disheveled and morning face, and my toes were hurting from running so fast but it’s about a mile and a quarter to the hospital, so I think I’ll start walking him there and running back.

And now it is off to day 3 of training.  I look forward to it all becoming second nature, when I will look back on all the training and laugh at how clueless I was.

happy day!



kicking back. October 5, 2008

Filed under: inspiration,Marriage — Ellen @ 5:55 am

It is a welcome blessing to have internet connection in our apartment.  We are loving it – me curled up on the couch with chai, Nat at his desk, surrounded by books and knick knacks on his shelves. It’s great.  It’s midnight, it’s the weekend, and we are happy.

Our apartment is starting to take shape.  We have hung up our big clock, a wall sconce, and arranged our desks and couches.  In the kitchen, there is a pot rack and come tomorrow there will be an assortment of Ikea shelves, rails and hanging devices to add to the mix, thanks to a wedding gift card from the Rueping family, whom we love ferociously.  I’m itching to get it all set up. 

Here are some more inspiring pictures I’ve found from my decorating/interior design interest lately:

Another loud color kitchen… I like this one a lot.

This calendar is pretty neat too, and I like how this kitchen is so tiny (like ours) but really functional.

i’m learning that while i like lots of color, I like WHITE as well, with splashes of color.

can you even imagine having a bedroom as a kid, or a guest room in your house with bunk beds like this??  i love it so much.  if we have six boys, this will be the design of their bedroom.  If we have six girls, this will be the design of their bedroom with a slightly different color scheme.  If we have six children at all – perhaps they can just live all together and, as they get older, dress in the privacy of their curtained bunks.

Well, off to bed with me.  Where should we go to church tomorrow?  It is tempting us to skip it and head to Ikea early to get the breakfast deal……. We’ll see.

= ) goodnight.