Monday, March 29, 2010

The 20 Week Ultrasound...

I never knew that going to an ultrasound could be such a frightening experience until today, nevertheless I am thankful that such technology allows us to prepare ourselves for the difficult time that appears to be ahead.

After the ultrasound technician was not satisfied with what she could see regarding the baby's heart she suggested it might be good to have the doctor take a look. We moved to a new room and met the doctor as he began to study the baby's heart to see if there was anything to be concerned about. Any explanation that begins..."The problem with your baby's heart..." is bound to put a lump in your throat, but we gathered our wits to be able to process the explanation that we received and I will try to summarize for you.

Our little girl (yes it's a girl) has a heart defect. The initial diagnosis is that it is either critical pulmonary stenosis (more likely) or pulmonary atresia with intact ventricular septum (possibly). Either way it will require a procedure immediately after birth. Only time will tell whether the condition will be treatable with a catharization or require a more extensive surgery. We will return to the doctor after our vacation and he hopes to be able to see better exactly what the situation is.

If you have questions, we have few answers beyond the explanation above. It was unsettling and scary to hear and we have a lot to figure out leading up to the baby's birth in August. If you are reading this we desire that you would pray for the baby's health and for our peace of mind as we travel these next months with this burden on our hearts.

Even with the news it has been hard to stem the excitement we have from seeing the baby's face and finding out it is a girl. She most certainly has two little sisters who hope to smother her with love and attention and two parents who she already knows how to make nervous.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dinner with Deb

 Since we moved to Iceland, we have tried to invite people over every week to share a meal and get to know eachother.  This spring, with going to school every day, getting pregnant, and experimenting with different ways to meet people, we have really been strained.  Solution: Our friend Deb is in school learning to be a master chef.  She doesn't have a kitchen in her tiny apartment and really loves to experiment with food and cook for friends and family.  One day she came over to make lasagna and that night as we all ate it, we came up with a plan that I like to call a WIN, WIN, WIN.  Once a week Deb comes over to cook and we invite people over to eat it that night.  Darcy absolutely loves to be in the kitchen and has helped make homemade bread, baklava, spinocopida, pan-seared salmon, glazed carrots, garlic pasta, mint rice, sheperd's pie, monkfish, and peanutbutter cheesecake just to name a few. One dessert that Deb made engaged all of your taste buds at the same time (chocolate cake topped with homemade icecream, pickled apricots, and toasted cashews).  It was brilliant.  I feel so fortunate to eat a  restraunt-grade meal each week and am picking up a lot of hints from the professional.  If you need any cooking tips, you can take a number and I'll try to get back to you (Oh, the irony...yes, I know).
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This is for you, Josh Burke

For snack time, Darcy went into the fridge and selected this as her afternoon snack.  It must run in the genes!
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Monday, March 8, 2010

Getting the disease

I am a certified, licensed ESL teacher.  I spent three years teaching English to foreigners in a public school and have done private teaching since then.  In college, my degree was in ESL and I learned all about how to be sensitive to and teach a Second Language Learner.  The last year of my life, the roles have been reversed and now I am the Second Language Learner, sitting at the desk, experiencing everything I'd been trained in.  I hadn't anticipated this experience, and it has caught me off guard in some ways.   It's kind of like the difference between studying extensively about a disease and actually getting the disease.

The other day as I was sitting in class it dawned on me that I was in the equivalent of a high-school ESL class.  Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but I was surprised by the thought.  The other students are from countries like Poland, Lithuania, Russia, Philippines, Ukraine, Mexico, Columbia,Vietnam, Thailand, and Chile.  I had students from all of these countries in my classroom, so it is a typical ESL classroom, but now I'M ONE OF THEM.  I AM THE FOREIGNER.

Okay, you are shaking your head, thinking It's taken you an entire year to realize you're a foreigner?  Well, in some ways YES.  The truth has begun to sink in more and more every day.  Most people have encountered foreigners and have become easily frustrated with their lack of language or different style of doing things.  It's easy to quickly form opinions and put them all in a box.  It's shocking to think that now I AM that foreigner who desperately does not want to be categorized.  This week Colby and I attended an International Fair.  You know, the kind where you go around and taste foods from different countries?  Colby and I both had a moment as we looked around the room at the weird foods served by different people in strange dress.  We'd been to International Fairs before, but this time we were PARTICIPANTS with a table of of our own, handing out New York Cheesecake (we thought it'd be easier than apple pie).

More thoughts on my foreignness later....but, do me a favor in the meantime, would you?  Hug a foreigner today.  After the initial awkwardness,  it will probably mean a lot.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


In January, Colby and I started going to a Framhaldskoli.  Basically in Iceland,  Grunnskoli is the "elementary school" where you attend from ages 6-16 (Haley starts that in September).  After that, your compulsory education is over, but there are Framhaldskolis you can choose to attend that continue your education (KIND OF comparable to technical colleges).  Okay, so we go to a Framhaldskoli to learn Icelandic and are in class with 16 year olds and 17 year olds.  It has been like reverting back to high-school.  I walk past the smoking ring every morning on my way inside the building, teenagers sleeping in the back of the classroom with their IPODS, and most days the teacher has to break up kids in our class who are talking during the lesson. So, yes, I'm back in high-school, but this time I'm pregnant.  I feel like I'm straight out of a scene in JUNO every day walking down the crowded hallways.  A couple of weeks ago I was checking out a new class and walked into a classroom of new students.  A couple of girls pointed at me and started whispering to each other.  It became even more humorous when a girl from my class told me she thought I was 18.  So, not only am I the foreign kid at school, but now I'm the teenage pregnancy gossip.