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Aha Moment

In about three months I will have been married for three years. This is no small feat but sounds like nothing compared to the forty plus years I hope that we have together. These last three years have changed me. Some obvious ways: I share everything with someone a bed, a bank account and a car. I have a new name, new dreams, new dogs and a new outlook.

Marriage has changed me in more subtle ways as well  I have learned that I am selfish, evil and impatient. I have seen that when pressure and disappointment enter my life I want nothing more than to be left alone to deal with things by myself.  To isolate and push back at Devin even sometimes being angry at him for my own hurt. This doesn’t work when there is someone else there who wants nothing more than to help, understand and support. I have had to let go of the desire to protect myself from everything this world can throw at me.  I have to choose to join Team Chapman everyday.

It is this choice and the participation that has delivered me on this the 31st of May, 2011 this “Aha Moment”: Intimacy is many things, today it is the idea that I cannot imagine my life without my Husband.  This might sound simple and perhaps something people feel in small doses throughout all committed relationships but for a person who has marked their life on independence this is HUGE. The thought alone brings tears, we are us, we are two people who have chosen one life.

So here’s to Devin thanks for being someone I can truly trust and rely on.

Dog Mom

the tiny one

So many people make jokes and jabs saying dogs or cats are starter children, they somehow prepare you for parenthood. I think this argument is extremely thin. I mean if I have a hard day with the dogs and they disobey I can shame them and lock them in a cage while I revamp their craigslist ad. Dogs (despite many attempts on my part) are also useless with various house chores and I swear my Mom had three kids so that she didn’t have to clean out the fridge or clean toilets for twenty years. In addition I hope that our doggie parenting isn’t a reflection of how Devin and I will act as parents or I might find myself playing second fiddle both as the good cop and bad cop. Somehow he does both so well and the dogs adore him for it.

There are some ways in which being a Dog Mom has changed me:

  1. DOG MOMS NEVER SLEEP IN: Every morning around 6:00AM I am awoken by the sun and the clinking of little dog tags begging to go outside. It isn’t this noise that drives me from slumber but the debilitating fear that being slow to act in regard to my little alarm clock will result in a 20 minute session with my carpet, Nature’s Miracle and a wad of paper towels.
  2. DOG MOMS ARE NEVER FAR FROM HOME: Dogs know that you love them and care for them enough to carry a tremendous amount of guilt everywhere you go, every after work dinner, late night hangout and Saturday afternoon shopping adventure. No matter how much fun I am having all I can think is that somehow the water bowl has run dry, the big one has finally become hungry enough to eat the small one and that I forgot to close the bedroom door and every pair of leather sandals I have are in shreds.
  3. DOG MOMS BECOME THOSE CREEPY DOG PEOPLE: I never thought I’d be a dog person I didn’t have pets as a kid and found it strange people would elect to have to clean up after an animal. There is no limit to how much these creatures can destroy your belongings, literally crap all over your life  and still look at you in the eyes smiling afterwards, it is unreal. We try to never feed them people food but they have a three year plan to change our minds I swear; their relentless pursuit of what they want and desire is inspiring. But it is the unlimited amount of obedience and affection that causes you to quickly forget the former. They always race to the door, greeting us with unlimited excitement and enthusiasm, we are the center of their world and boy do we like it. But there is also no way to express how much I love these little sacks of fur. Recently one of Devin’s Mom’s dogs passed away and we both were emotional over it, knowing how devastated she must be, it shocked me because I felt for her what I would feel myself…grief. I can’t really imagine my life without them.

Dog Moms, Cat Moms, Fish Moms, Bunny Moms etc. I am sure you can relate. Somehow these creatures burrow a space into your life and your heart.  If you haven’t had a pet maybe it’s not for you, but that’s what I thought and look at me now. To affirm how crazy for my pups I am I uploaded just a small taste of the photos I treasure and share with anyone who will let me.

the regal one

Snugglesguy love

Risotto & Ristretto

It will almost be a year since I last blogged….woops. I just really suck at sticking with hobbies except for one: cooking. So this will be the subject matter of this post. In the last six months I have become even more motivated and experimental in the kitchen. I have always loved to cook and to try new and more challenging recipes. I love nothing more than looking through a cookbook and finding a recipe that has ingredients I have never tried and techniques that require youtube instructional videos and  best recipe consultation.  My friends and family have both reaped the benefits from this curiosity (recently risotto, kale chips, pork loin roast, skillet lamb steaks)  as well as endured complete flops (salmon burgers, beet goat cheese salad, grapefruit bars).

Through these trials I have found I have a gift for two things: baking and meat preparation. For some reason whenever I try anything that would fit in these two genres it comes out singing.  Something that has helped and inspired is all the incredible food and cooking blogs there are out there. I have listed some on my blog but here are a few more local ladies I find inspiring:

http://rosemarried.wordpress.com/

http://www.theunexpectedharvest.com/

http://soimarriedavegan.tumblr.com/

This last year has also brought a lot of changes for the Chapman Family. Devin is still working a Coffee Roasting company called Coava. He was their first employee and as a result has really had a lot of opportunities to grow and learn very quickly in the world of coffee. If you like coffee check out their site coavacoffee.com . I also recently began working for them as an Office Manager/Account type of person.  So I guess we are both in the coffee business in Portland which might give way to cliché to those who don’t live here. I also work at a new restaurant Otto and we’d love visitors 🙂 Great food, wine and cocktails and watching Francis transform food has also fueled my cooking fire.  I am still on the road to becoming a midwife and am waiting to hear back from school to see if this summer will begin the adventure of Nursing School. What else…. We now have two dogs Oso has joined the family and won over my heart.  Well that’s enough catching up.

In conclusion I thought I would share some of the culinary experiments that went so well they have been repeated.

Rhubarb Strussel Muffins adapted from Smitten Kitchen

(a way for me to have rhubarb since it is almost exclusively served with strawberries)

Ingredients

Topping

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of cloves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Muffin

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup light or dark brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (see Note)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb, in 1/2-inch pieces (from about 6 to 8 ounces of stalks)

Directions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Butter 12 muffin cups.

Make streusel: In a small dish, stir together flours, sugars, spices and salt. Stir in butter until crumbly. Set aside.

Make muffins: Whisk egg in the bottom of a large bowl with both sugars. Whisk in butter, then sour cream. In a separate bowl, mix together flours, baking powder and baking soda and stir them into the sour cream mixture, mixing until just combined and still a bit lumpy. Fold in rhubarb and 1/3 (feel free to eyeball this) of the streusel mixture.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with remaining streusel, then use a spoon to gently press the crumbs into the batter so that they adhere. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Rest muffins in pan on cooling rack for two minutes, then remove muffins from tin to cool them completely.

Sunchoke & Kale Risotto c/o Erin Hohengarten with some tweaks by yours truly

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs  butter
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt (less if your veggie stock is salted)
  • 4 to 6 sunchokes, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 6 to 8 cups of mushroom stock
  • 2 cups arborio rice
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • nutritional yeast to taste (optional)

Directions

Be prepared have all your ingredients measured and ready to go. Take a large pot and begin by heating the oil and butter. Stir in the garlic and onions and allow them to become translucent. Next Toss in the sunchokes and let them simmer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, add a label full of broth to the sunchokes and allow them to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sunchokes are tender. When the sunchokes are tender, smash them with a fork as best you can.

Now it’s rice time! Stir in the rice and saute for a minute. Now add a cup of broth. Stir the rice continuously until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat this several times until the rice is tender. You may not need to use all of the broth. I had about a half cup left. it will take about a half hour for the rice to become tender. When you feel that the rice is almost perfect, add the kale and parsley. Stir for a few minutes and serve! I added parmesan cheese and kale chips on top for texture.

Crustless Quiche  by Me

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 10 oz  chopped spinach
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 3 cups shredded Muenster cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a 9 inch stoneware pie pan. (if you use glass lightly grease)
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.
  3. In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add spinach and onions.  Scoop into prepared pie pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Standing Ovation

A great one from that night.

My dear friend Martha Ruth Takano is a pioneer. She is always the first to pave the way. She was the first to visit Multnomah (the place where we met),the first to take  Greek, the first to fall in love, the first to graduate, get married you get the idea.

Therefore it was no surprise when she drove the 174 miles to Portland from Seattle to announce she was pregnant. I wasn’t shocked but I was ECSTATIC, for many reasons knowing what incredible parents Chris and Missy would be but also so excited for the adventure they were beginning.

I also realized this was my first chance to be involved in a pregnancy and birth. Wanting to be a Nurse Midwife has evolved more from the theory of practice than the nitty gritty duties and responsibilities. I have found most people feel this way about pursuing jobs in the Medical field. You begin with these aspirations, I will be Podiatrist though you may never have touched a patient’s foot.

Chris, Missy and Caleb were my first feet. Not as a Nurse Midwife but as a dreamer. You see I am not a dreamer. I am a doer. I set goals, make lists and complete them. I actually am a dream killer. I am too practical to put stock in something even slightly unattainable. So this journey of school and risk has made me realize if you don’t dream you will not have a life full of miracles.

Getting to be a part of Caleb’s growth and development, seeing my beloved friend change and grow into a beautiful home for her child. Seeing Chris’ anticipation and love grow for this little man that he had never met were all miracles that have sustained my dream.  So on March11, 2010 when I received a call, during an Anatomy and Physiology lab final….I knew that another miracle had begun.

At Missy’s belly blessing we had nailed down the plans for me to attend her birth (my first natural birth). We had made phone lists and texting trees. So I speeded through my final and then speeded to Seattle to make sure I was there when that miracle came out.

By the grace of God and Caleb’s timing everyone who planned to be there for Caleb’s birth made it and the room was full. Mom, Sarah, Mom-in-law, sister-in-law, grandma-in-law and husband in law. We were a crowd cheering on the most gracious glowing Mother in the history of birth. Missy walked, leaned, bathed and laughed that baby out. All the while minding her P’s and Q’s. I kid you not  she was in mid contraction asking nurses to please stop touching her feet or please rub her back.

I will never forget being there and seeing my friend go through this process. She was so focused, so determined, so nurturing and so loving to a child who was causing her the greatest pain she had ever endured.  She was in this moment expressing her identity as a Mother. She had been a Mom throughout her pregnancy caring for Caleb, eating well for him, building a home for him.  But Missy had also been preparing to be a Mother throughout her life. In this room full of people was a family, a fortress and Missy had been given as his family. She had grown as an individual seeking to live a life full of grace, freedom and authenticity and in this example had been a Mother to many others. In that journey she met Chris a man striving for the same goals to live a life in light of great hope and joy. They had been Mother and Father long before they had baby.

I guess what I noticed in a new light is that we are made to do this. As clique as that might sound we are made to love and I believe as long as we a breathing breath we will never be shy on opportunities to do so. This in and of itself it part of my dream. To help bring children into this world to be loved. When Caleb finally arrived love was his welcome. Tears, laughter, and pain for his Mother, but love. This love was so contagious even one of the Nurses whose shift had ended stayed to see him born because she felt this strong love as well. He was perfect! That night was perfect. Watching Caleb’s birth, watching Missy’s delivery I had a peace that I haven’t had in years. This miracle will be in my mind everyday as I pursue my dreams.

I want to go to school and learn to be a Nurse so that in these moments I can be full of knowledge and confidence, but I want to go to school to be a midwife to learn how to impart that knowledge and confidence to women. I have known Missy for years and she is driven, smart and strong but being giving birth will humble even the strongest of people.  I want to be there to encourage women in all aspects of their life that they have been given the ability to be and do anything they want to do.

Lastly, I ask anyone who reads this to give a standing ovation to any Mom, giving birth is no easy task and there is no reason or rhyme to is other than the love of their child. So when you see a Mom today or tomorrow thank them and pat them on the back and if appropriate stand and clap.

For No Good Reason

For no foreseeable reason on this the 23rd of May I thought I’d try my hand at this again.  I like the idea of sharing my story and have been inspired by friends with book blogs, wedding blogs, baby blogs, cooking blogs, photo blogs, bus blogs and have also been intimidated by them.

The journey I am on and the story I have to tell is a humbling one of many school rejections, nights of tears and starting unnecessary fights due to stress with my hubs. Which ensures my blogging will be erratic and reminiscent of some teenage livejournal. But hey sitcoms are popular for a reason and so are dramas, I think we are “in to” other people’s messes, failures and successes.

Since my last blog was over a year ago  I thought I would give a status update:

My life is full of books, flash cards, thai food and  baby food. I have the wonderful pleasure of nannying for Mr. Aiden Reeves perhaps the CUTEST little boy in Portland. His Dad is a social media guru here is his AMAZING site full of tid bits on parenthood, husband-hood and the fight to be the life of the party. http://www.writetomean.com/ His Mom is an integrous real-estate tycoon helping real families find amazing homes. Her intelligence and wit not wasted for a second, she is a shark in a cocktail dress and kitten heels. I would trust her with my life. http://www.mellisareeves.com/ So to say the least being entrusted with their child’s care and development is an honor and a privilege. Here’s the lil stinker and my lil stinker too:

I am on my last leg of Nursing Pre-Requisites at PCC.  Microbiology sounds like a fun summer plan huh! I am running again.  On  June 26th the lovely Rebekah Smith and Sarah Shifflet and I will join the ranks of the clinically insane  and pay to run 26.2 miles through the hills of Seattle, WA.

Devin recently join the ranks of the elite and snobby and is working as a barista at Crema. For those of you who know him best you can agree the only way this job could be more fitting is if they bought a big screen and a Setanta sports network package. He is also working for an up and coming company Firepoint Communications as a designer check out one of his first websites: http://www.barnabas2.com/

Devin and I are part of new community called Bread&Wine based in our neighborhood of North/Northeast Portland. Living and loving with these people in this last year has caused me to ask questions that have laid dormant for years. This group of people has forced us to reconsider grace, forgiveness and compassion. To begin anew looking through the lens of love to reach out to our neighbors, to be known and not invisible. Check it out:  http://www.breadandwine.org/#/home

So this Summer will be filled with tending our vegetable garden, THE WORLD CUP, microscopes and bacteria, spending as much time in the sun as possible and breathing deep what is hopefully my last summer before starting Nursing school. This fall I will be applying to programs across the nation for Nurse Midwifery, retaking the GRE and studying to become doula certified. For those of you who aren’t familiar a doula is a woman who serves the needs and well-being of a woman before during and after her birth.

Well that’s enough news for anyone. I hope I didn’t leave anything out. This week I will be finishing a blog I have been working on for a while . For a sneek peek and alternative perspective on this event check out the beautiful and talented  Missy Takano :http://takanotwo.wordpress.com/2010/03/13/welcoming-caleb/

Old Post April 2008

It’s been seven weeks since I have updated this. Typically this might be chalked  up to beginner blogger’s block or amateur anecdotal anxiety. I however can attest my neglect of my baby blog is indicative of my neglect for myself as a person over the last seven weeks.

Recently my job has changed, it has gone from a job to a career. Which on paper sounds like a fantastic opportunity but for me has been slow suicide to my proverbial heart and stomach lining. I am 23 and have an ulcer, nightmares that my husband is my boss and continual tears shed over the possibility of getting a B.

While I have never been one for grades finding that they tend to be poor measures of someone’s love of a subject or ability to apply it, not to mention their failure to ascertain how cool you are. The board of shadowy figures who chooses who shall and shall not have their dreams come true seem to have this obsession with the number 4 and the letter A.

The above has turned me into a half of a person and it is here that I end my digression. For the first time in my life I am going to quit something. I am going to drop out of my class this quarter and we are going to save so that me and school can have an exclusive relationship. This is really difficult for me and for Dev. He is so great and has been patient as I have become a stressed out tyrant and an unforgivably absent wife.  I can’t live with one foot in and one foot out, I am just not cut out for that.  Needless to say school isn’t going anywhere and neither are those shadowy figures so until I can dance for them and them alone I will be a PCC drop out.

E-mail to a potential Reference

This is an e-mail I wrote about a month ago to a person who will be writing references for me for future applications. It was the beginning of my application process. I wanted to post it because it is my romance with my current step of faith/adventure.

I have wondered for a long time what I would be when I grew up. For years I thought I would be shooting three’s in the WNBA. But when I stopped growing in sixth grade and summers were spent at Summer Camp instead of training I began to leave that dream behind.

Next I believed I would be a missionary, a single woman missionary to be specific. That I would spend my life living alone and caring for women in other cultures, helping them to advocate for themselves and to discover freedom in Christ. From my experiences on short term mission trips and even my experiences at camp I learned that I loved reaching out to people the world often ignores. Finding value in and humbling myself to advocate for those who are so often not given a voice.

I pursued this dream by attending Bible College, there I met and fell in love with missionary culture. I longed to leave America and entered into an almost unhealthy passion thinking that becoming an overseas missionary would change my relationship with God. That I would become a super Christian. I spent a summer abroad and discovered God was the same here and on the other side of the Atlantic ocean.

I went back to school confused and ashamed thinking missions wasn’t for me and not knowing or understanding where my future and my relationship with Christ had little to nothing to do what I did as a vocation or where I lived. And in fact being challenged that if I wasn’t sharing the Gospel with my co-worker then how in the world did  I think I would magically do it in another language in another culture.  I realized I had shaped my dreams on other’s lives, other’s goals and sometimes other’s expectations and I was lost somewhere in between.

For a long period of time my dreaming almost halted. I was confused and somehow was seeing and thinking more clearly than I had before.  I had my first love and first heart break. I ran a marathon, graduated college and stayed in Portland.  I got to know ME not as a missionary, or as a youth group all-star or even as a girl who worked at Camp Barnabas. Just me a waitress in a city with a Bible degree.

After some searching I came back to an idea that had lived in the back of my brain for a long time: be a nurse. So many things had kept this out of sight and out of mind.  Committing to finish at Multnomah and never really being good at or liking science or math to name a few.  As well as a belief that I wasn’t smart enough to do or be anything like that.  Love returned to my life and Devin showed me that anything is possible. If I believe I am made to be a nurse that my gifts and interests surround nursing I began to agree that  I should AT LEAST pursue the possibility and open myself up to failure or success.  This concept bled all over me. This risk is the risk I constantly have to take with the Gospel. Believing in something I cannot see, trusting someone I cannot touch and receiving love that has no logical motivation.  But moving forward by what I know to be true inside of myself.

So I enrolled in some pre-requisites courses at community college. I began meeting and talking with nurses in my I saw the opportunity to be a nurse in the context of relationships and families in my community. Which is when I began to explore the field of Nurse Midwifery.

As I spoke with CNMs I realized my passions for advocacy, caregiving and for empowerment had a home. My desire is to study to become a Nurse Midwife so that I can help women learn and take ownership of their own health and the health of their family.  I desire to provide an alternative to corporate health care that creates self-empowering knowledge and brings affordability to families who would be financially devastated  by simply having a child.  To celebrate one of God’s most beautiful miracles and to share this hope and joy with others.

This road is still quite new on the national scale but I happen to live in a city with the top rated program.  All this to  say I will be pursuing this no matter which road I take. An associates in Nursing, an accelerated BSN or an Accelerated Bachelors to a Masters in Nursing.  There will be many more applications this winter and would love your help on any or all of them. If you have any questions please let me know.

Love the ex WNBA player, the ex Elizabeth Elliot, the ex Corporate Accountant and the future Laura Rice Chapman