Saturday, December 6, 2008

For Nothing is Impossible

"For nothing will be impossible with God. And Mary said, "I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me as you have said." Luke 1:37-38

Every December, as I read the Christmas story in Luke, I find myself savoring these verses. Mary had just been told that she, a virgin, would 1)conceive a child, and 2)that this child would be the son of GOD! Wow! Talk about impossible! But the truth that lies in this verse is so profound, so deep, so hope-giving....NOTHING is impossible with God.
All throughout my life I've had struggles with my own "impossibles". Would I ever meet a man I'd want to marry...and have him like me? Will my bills always be met? Would hard relationships be reconciled? Could those deep hurts and patterns in my life be healed and forgotten?
Over and over again God has continued to answer: "I can do it, believe me", "I can do it, look to me", "I can do it, follow me!"
Just last year at this time I sat in our quaint one-bedroom apartment, with a baby in my belly, wondering how we'd EVER be able to afford to rent a two-bedroom in West LA. I felt God asking me to trust Him, to believe Him to work something glorious. And here I sit today, in the most beautiful four-bedroom home...which we attained by miraculous measures! Praise God!

And Mary? Well Mary was on the front-end of the most awesome and perfect miracle of all time, with no ability to see into the future. She had only the truth told her by an angel...for nothing is impossible with God. And she believed! She laid down everything and let God do to her and with her whatever He pleased. What humility! What trust! So beautiful.

Lord, I long for a heart like Mary's. You are the God of the impossible. May it be done to me as you please!

As we decorate our beautiful tree, hang lights, shop for presents, loudly sing our favorite Christmas carols, and enjoy delicious treats, I'm so thankful for the most cherished part of all...His birth. God sending his only Son to save us! Each December as I plod through the book of Luke in the Bible, I eagerly anticipate reading and remembering how Jesus came, lived, died and rose again to save us.
I'll be there soon, but for today, I'm observant of Mary's attitude...and prompted to follow her example. Will you help me Lord?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Tooth!

Ah Ha! Those nights of tears, the endless drooling, and the rubbing of gums have finally paid off. Noelle popped out her first tooth on Friday! She is, however, still very private when it comes to her gums. We tried to snap a pic to show off her pearly white, but ended up with these. Alas, you'll just have to blindly celebrate with us...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Sweet like candy

Our sweet little bunny. She was ready for bed by 6:45....but I bet she still enjoyed her first Halloween.

Monday, September 29, 2008


"...future generations will be told about the Lord" Psalm 22:30

"Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made." Psalm 145:13

What an thought-provoking experience to birth, mother, and love future generations by mothering my tiny Noelle. My future generations will, Lord willing, be birthed through my Noey. Joe and I have been given the weighty responsibility to love, guide, and set the stage for our future generations. What will we leave them? I long to leave a legacy of loving the Lord our God with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength, and loving others more than ourselves. What does it look like to pass this on to a five-month old? As I sat rocking in a dark room tonight, holding Noelle to my body and feeding her for the seventh time today, stroking her soft head, and whispering a prayer over her, I thought, this is it. This is the beginning.

God speaks often and boldly regarding his protection, blessing, provision, and fulfillment of promises for generations after a family lives righteously. Lord, might I live in a manner that will someday bless my great-great-great grandchildren!

This summer we were able to introduce Noelle to her great-grandparents. They held our baby and prayed a blessing over her. Tears streamed down my face as I imagined the Lord's joy at this prayer. Marilyn and Ray Riihilouma gave their lives to the Savior and gave their lives to blessing others many, many years ago. Their lives forever marked my mother's. My mother's mine. And mine, I pray, Noey's. I hope to someday sit, hold, and pray a blessing over my great-granddaughter. I hope to see the joy of the Lord on her parents' (my grandchildren) faces. I hope their mother, my Noey, will be living boldly with a heart for her Savior and a heart for people.

"There is no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 4

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Times flies when you're changing diapers, and feeding, and bathing, and......

When did it happen? When did my baby go from this....

to this....

I kissed Noey goodnight a few moments ago and realized...I've never experienced such joy as watching my little one change, grow, and develop daily. It's like slowly unwrapping the best present of all. Thank you Lord for this blossoming life!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Not So Sleepless In Seattle

Last week Joe traveled to Seattle for some meetings. Noelle and I flew to meet him and spend a couple days with some of our co-workers there. I was nervous about traveling alone with Noey...driving to and parking our car in LA, flying out of LAX, and being the sole comforter should she have a mid-flight melt down. And what would I do if I had to sit next to some weird man and needed to nurse??!! (smile). Having already 'survived' sleeping alone at home the night murderers arrived with Joe gone (hee!), I knew who to turn to as I drove off that morning. I prayed to our big God that he would be our "man", our protector, and my companion today. He answered!! I don't know if I've ever had such a smooth travel as I did that day. I found the long-term parking with ease, had to pay no extra for my baggage, flew through security, ended up with whole row to myself on the flight, and Noey slept the whole time. Praise God!

Once in Seattle, we had fun taking in all the sights. Seattle was everything I imagined it to be...beautiful, cool, misty, and grey. I loved the rolling hills, the water that surrounded the city, and especially the Pike Place Market! Pike Place Market is home to the very first Starbucks, many eccentric shops and restaurants, and the fish market. The fish market was truly a sight to see. Scruffy-looking men in plastic aprons hollered, cheered, and threw fish around. Crowds gathered to watch these men work, and people would buy seafood just to see their routine.
Sometimes the customers would even get into the act.

Every now and then, the men would surprise the newcomers in the crowd by throwing a giant fish at them! I shrieked the first time this happened...and then realized the giant fish was a fish pillow. Hee! It was still sick, however, as it was covered with fish juice from the floor. ugh!

Noey, was not so impressed with all the antics. In fact, she would cry every time they started up their chant. Not cut out for life as a sea fisherman I guess...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

It's been awhile since updating this blog...and for good reason...we spent most of the month of August traveling for work, family, weddings, and such. God was so gracious with our travels. Noey transitioned GREAT, we found safety whereever we went, and we come home feeling full of life from all of our visits with friends and family.

Here are a few highlights from the first leg of our trip in Colorado:

Time with Auntie Amy in Colorado. Noey had her first real-live laugh watching Amy jump on the trampoline.

Visiting with Uncle Paul for the very first time. I think she was digging his new haircut!

Cousin Vivian was so beautiful and so much fun! Noey wants to be just like her! We did a "twinsies" photo shoot. It started out okay...
And ended up in tears...

I had a lunch with some of my best friends and their kiddos. What a great looking bunch!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Let's Go Dodgers, Let's Go

Thanks to our good friend, Mike, who treated us to Saturday night's Dodger game. Noey's first major league appearance! After our successful night at a minor league baseball game, we were pretty confident Noey would do just fine and wondered if she might even make the big screen in her cute pink Dodger's cap.

After one MAJOR diaper blowout (we had to throw the outfit away!) and fighting LA traffic, we arrived at the game. Ahhhh...the smell of hotdogs and garlic fries, excited kids running around, the thump of the latest 'Jock Jams' cd, the abundance of Dodger apparel, and seeing people from every neighborhood in the greater LA area coming together...what fun!

Mike had purchased us tickets in the infamous "bleacher" area. Fans here have the True Blue. Cheers are started here. Fights are picked with any opposing team's fan. Every now and then cheers with obscenities are shouted towards the opposing team (to which my mommy-glare always came out!) These "bleacher" fans pride themselves on being the loudest and most vigilant. We had a underestimated just how loud the cheering would be. After a few startling moments for sweet Noey, she seemed to be adjusting just fine. That ended with the home run hit by LA's new sweetheart, Manny Ramirez. The stadium erupted and as I watched all the children seated around us putting their hands to their ears. I also watched Noey's lower lip pop out, her face scrunch up, and her lungs fill. She had had enough. Poor baby, she cried into my neck as I tried to reason with her that this was simply a glorious moment and this is what good fans do. Maybe that will sink in next time. :)

But we, like every new parent, were learning the art of improvising. I tucked Noey on my lap in such a way that a burp cloth was snuggled up against one of her ears, and my hands covered her other ear whenever the cheering voices rose. She loved it! She could watch the crowd with none of the noise. Noey and I smiled our way through the rest of the game! I think she is an LA fan at heart...

Friday, July 25, 2008

kinda corny

The Redlands Farmers Market is no ordinary place... Booths line the streets, overflowing with fresh produce, nuts, salsas, honey, bread, flowers, lotions, makeups, tupperware, and tube socks. Yes, tube socks. We found booths for every political party, social cause, and religious ideal. Musicians performed, kittens and puppies were sold, and Gothic teenagers lined the streets.

Mom, Amy, Kristin, Noelle, and I hadn't walked around long before we spotted the treat we had to have... fresh roasted giant corn on the cob smothered in whatever spices suited your tastes.

Yummy! So we ate our cobs as gracefully as we could, bought some delicious produce, and attempted to keep cool in the sweltering heat.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

We are the Champions, my friends....

I knew my baby sister was talented, I knew she took being the keeper for her club team quite seriously, I knew she had skillz... but I still was anxious as she and her team headed into the championship game this last Monday. The two teams were neck and neck the entire game, but when the whistle blew, Amy's team WON 1-0. Amy's team, United Mayhem, traveled from Colorado this past weekend to compete in an invitational tournament here in San Diego, California. Her entire team played well, and Amy delivered three shutout games...allowing only one goal during the entire tournament. What can I say...she got game!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Splish Splash's official. We've got a future Olympic swimmer on our hands! Noelle was made for the water! She's been enjoying the pool most every day during these "dog days" of summer. She loves her sweet shades, her new swim top, and watching her diaper grow to unbelievable sizes as it fills up with water. But I must say...she mostly loves that Grandma and Grandpa got in with her!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cute Baby = Free Stuff

Ahhhh....the Inland Empire Sixty-Sixers! Joe, Noey, and I joined the locals in cheering on the Dodger's A Team last night. They played the Modesto Nuts (yes, Nuts) and what a game it was. The players were young, the country music was blasting, and the mascot Bernie was the star of the show.

Joe and I practiced the art of bartering for goods with your baby. As the mascot looked for the most enthusiastic fan to win a free pizza, we simply lifted Noey high above our heads. Two winks and a slobbery smile later, we were gripping the esteemed prize. We enjoyed every bite of that cheesy reward, despite complaints for our neighboring fans that Noey hadn't let out one good cheer.

Later, when game balls were being tossed to fans, we stood and swayed with Noey once again. A player pointed us out and gently lobbed a ball our way. I could get used to these perks!

Balmy breeze, baseball, free stuff, and a night out with my girl and my man. Who could ask for more??

I love my man...

Two years... who knew so much could happen in such a small window of time? I married the man of my dreams, our fairy-tale wedding took place in a castle (which happened to be where we met!), we've traveled to three countries, lived in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and now the Inland Empire, we've traveled the northeast coast and driven the north-western coast of CA. We've spent the night in sketchy roadside inns, deluxe bed and breakfasts, many a friend's spare bedroom, 3-4-and 5-star hotels (we prefer the nice 3' breakfast!!), and even a yurt! We've led a summer training program together with students from all over the world, we've been blessed to work alongside each other in the Sunland region among the nation's finest. And now we've started our greatest adventure of all....parenthood! Through it all, I've fallen more deeply in love, and more deeply in awe of this man I've married. He draws me closer to my God and King, he challenges me, cares for me, protects and platforms me. We began the daunting task of dating and growing more and more vulnerable with each other three years ago...all the while clinging to and believing the truths in Ecclesiastes 3. "God makes everything beautiful in his time" and "whatever God does lasts forever, nothing can be taken from it or anything added to it". God's done it, I couldn't have dreamed up or created anything more grand. My life truly has become more beautiful with each passing day. Thank you God, for my wonderful husband.

Here we are...our 2nd anniversary and our first big date away from Noey! We felt like kids on the last day of school! We visited the gorgeous Mission Inn in our new hometown. It was, of course, VERY hot that day, so we've got the IE (Inland Empire) gleam!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Championship Caliber

We traveled to Orange County this week to cheer on our nephew Josh. He was selected to represent the Mission Viejo All-Stars team and his team made it to the championship game! He may have been the youngest player on the team, but you'd never know it. He assisted with out after out while playing second base...and hit with more power than any nine-year-old I know. The two teams were neck and neck the whole game, but in the end Josh's team won 1-0!!!! As the crowd roared and the boys celebrated... I burst into tears. Hormones of a new mommy??? Nah....just pure joy at a victory well-fought for. :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Noelle loves her cousin Viv

Joe, Noelle, and I were able to spontaneously visit Colorado Springs last week! One minute we were working on our new home (more on that later) and the next we were boarded an ExpressJet flight to Colorado. Noey did GREAT for her first-ever flight outside of mommy's belly. Once there, we enjoyed greeting our new Sunland Edge staff, catching up with this summer's Global Student Program at the Glen, and visiting with family. Noey got to meet Grandpa, her cousin Vivian, her Aunts Amy, Kristi, and Pamela, and Uncle Dave for the first time. Wow! What a visit.
We captured these cute shots of Noey and precious. The room lit up like paparazzi when these two first laid eyes (and heads on one another).

9 Pounds of Precious Baby month since my last's amazing how 6 pounds of baby (turned 9 lbs now!) can occupy your time!!! I've grown to LOVE being a mommy and Noelle brings Joe and I joy every day. We love watching her personality emerge. We've got quite the firecracker on our hands we think! She loves people, touch, and seeing the world from her perch high on Daddy's shoulder. Her head and neck look less 'bobble-headish' every day and she scoots around on her back now. She still doesn't know her hands and feet belong to her, that it's unladylike to pass gas in public, and how to say much besides 'coo' in the English language...but I'm sure it won't be long.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Moms' Day

My first Mothers' Day! I was treated to coos, unintentional smiles, grunts, and LOTS of one-on-one time with Noey while feeding. My husband, father-in-law, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law made a mid-day feast, and Jesus gave a deeper joy to my heart regarding being a mommy. What a great day!

Thank you to my mommy for your years of selflessly pouring out your life. You are an inspiration to me!!!

Thanks Dr. Lee!

Joe and I stumbled blindly into the world of ob-gyns nine months ago. We prayed for a wise and skilled doctor, and the Lord delivered!

We felt in good hands with Dr. Lee from the first belly measure to the last stitch of my incision.

Now if only she had a sleeping-through-the-night potion...

We Are Family!

Noelle's only been breathing air for 14 days and she's already been cuddled with, snuggled with, and kissed by much family. What a lucky girl!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

We're Home!

Daddy has a new weight-lifting routine now because.....
...we're home! Joe and I are in bliss, in shock, full of joy, full of yawns, and in love with our little girl. We laugh as the pile of baby items in our one bedroom apartment grows every day. From strollers, to Baby Bjorns, to cradles, cribs, bathtubs, diapers, boppy feeding pillows, swings, changing tables...the goods abound!

We're so grateful for my mom...who flew in from Colorado to help me recover, help Joe and I adjust, and to love on baby Noelle. We've been treated to delicious food, clean rooms, pleasant company, and someone to dance and sing to Noelle.

Joe and I on our first big outing....a walk around the block!

We've had two nights of "reality check" and one night of fairly blissful sleep thus far. Who knew that six pounds could produce such heart-wrenching wails?!!

As I whispered truths to Noey about her Savior King this morning, I was struck again with his promise to be our Faithful God forever, from our first days to our last. He was with us in the womb, as He knit us together, and He remains close, protective, and good throughout our days. "For do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. " (Isaiah 41:10)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Our hospital stay..not quite the Hilton...but close!

Noelle is here! Joe and I find our hearts enlarging for this sweet little one every time we gaze at her.

Our stay at the hospital felt surreal, a little long, but a lot necessary. Noelle's breathing began to improve the very first day...thank you Jesus! The nurses helped suction some gunk out of her lungs, and she coughed up a good bit too. She came into this world HUNGRY! Yay! We want to see her tummy get nice and fat. She latched on to mommy right away and sucks with fury! We had to supplement with a little formula while at the hospital, in order to satisfy her growling belly. She ended up only losing 2 ounces off her birth weight by the time we left.

I grew increasingly sore and pained as the first three days progressed. Here I am on my very first walk... a big triumph after needing lots of help to just move from bed to toilet to bed. I may have been a bit ambitious, as we decided to walk "the circle" instead of just to the end of the hall and back. The walk ended with pain, nausea, dizziness, and nurse putting wet clothes on my body. Oops!

Joe stayed with me Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday night. What a man! He lifted me, tended to me, and helped me do unmentionable things. He cradled Noelle, fed her bottles, and endured medical person after person after person enter and exit our room into the wee hours of the morning. He's a master at changing her diaper, teaching her to burp (as pictured), and singing to and wooing his little princess. She's already drawn to and comforted by her daddy's voice.

Grandma Teten joined us on Wednesday and stayed with me Wednesday night. Noelle loves her Grandma already! She snuggles her head right into Grandma as she's swayed and rocked. I am grateful to have my mom close by...when you don't feel you're on your "A" game, there is nothing more comforting than a mom.

Auntie Kristine visits every day! I look forward to her visits, and I think Noelle does too! Maybe she'll get Kristine's curly hair?!

On Thursday both Noey and I were cleared to leave for home! We thanked our kind nurses and doctors, changed into our comfort clothes, and headed into the real world. Noelle did great her whole ride home...what an adventure we have ahead of us!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Happy Zero Birthday Noelle Ruth Maschhoff!!

What began at 10pm on Sunday, April 27 culminated at 3:59pm on Monday, April 28 with the arrival of our beautiful Noelle.

Expected: Noelle is healthy and so am I. Our doctors and medical staff were great. Joe and I got to wear some really stylish outfits while in the hospital...hee! There was pain (yikes). I learned to LOVE epidurals. We're blown away with how much we love this little girl already!

Unexpectedly: Joe was NOT a basket-case when it came to the sights/sounds. We delivered via c-section after a long labor. Our two-day hospital stay was extended to four or five.

Thank you, God, for your presence, your miracle, and your goodness. Thank you, friends, for upholding our family in prayer and for sending us your love. We're so excited!!!!!!!!!

Noelle says hello!