what's judah?

here is judah's halloween costume...deconstructed (well, pre-constructed, technically). these are all the elements (in no particular order or groupings) that will be required to make his fantastic costume (plus a little hot glue, thread, and velcro). can you guess what he's going to be? if i've already told you, you can't play, sorry.
a white (ignore the writing and the gray) sleep n play and white hat

.an old coral colored shirt of mine and a roll of white masking tape

a square throw pillow folded in half and a 2-foot length of dark green fabric
he is going to be so cute, you'll just want to eat him right up!


ladies night

any time i put together a somewhat cogent thought outside of the blog, say, in an email, i think, "oh, i should reuse that on the blog...free post!" true lazyassed resourcefulness. well, one of my BF's, natalie, asked me and some other awesome (professional minister) gals about "women's ministry" and what we think its role it and how it has impacted us. allow me to paste my thoughts and an obscene number of lady photos (not obscene lady photos, big difference) here and pass it off like i planned to blog about it all along:

natty, middle, the allstar girl-reacher herself, with her BFF of life, abby, who i have a lady-crush on

hmmmm, scrum. i am out of my (ministerial, if not menstrual) element here and entirely humbled and intimidated by all the phenom vag-pastors on this list that i feel like i couldn't add anything. that said, here comes some mental 'rhea.

becky and ansley, professionally ministrating to women since 2005

angie stryker, my greatest she-minister of all time and 2 of her biggest fansciples

i used to vomit at the idea of women's ministry. in fact, i am ashamed to admit, whenever i get a postcard from our church inviting me to a women's ministry event, i literally shudder, trash it, and wipe my hand on my pants to get the estrogerms off. i was dry-heaving when our church showed a beth moore promotional video one sunday that had me convinced that i was supposed to rise up and harness the kingdom of heaven for myself and womankind using only my fallopian tubes (to be fair though, i've heard she great).

during my 9 months of professional ministry with 3 of my favorite freshie girls post-baptism

me and more freshie girls ready to take on the boys in flamingo football

the funny thing is, i have grudgingly realized that i am most fulfilled, complete, at ease and recharged after times with just ladies that on the front end i had to drag myself into. strangely, the deeper my relationships with males have gotten starting with when i was a teenager (from being friends with them, to dating them, to marrying one of them and now pushing one straight through my perineum) the deeper my understanding has become that, SHIT!, these creatures are NOT like me in some very fundamental ways. the very fact that jesse was made to complement and compete me in a way that i could never do myself means that there are inevitably some areas of my heart that he just will never be able to share with me in ways that i need. i think this is by design. my sharing these areas with other chicks makes it easier for him to do his job for me. when these portions of my heart get exercised by ladies in my life, he doesn't have to do double the work to compensate for the atrophied parts he was never really supposed to fulfill in the first place.

if only they could all live in the guest bedroom

my amazing older cousins, my first girl community...since 1982

i used to think that the idea of making a ministry just for chicks was just too easy, a cop out, a contrived idea that was made redundant by the fact that "ministry" is 50% women to begin with. for example, i have a hard time with the idea of an athlete minister because you are defining these people and attempting to reach them on a level of their identity that is fleeting and meaningless in a kingdom sense. but i guess that's the very reason that women's ministry is important. because cradle to grave, inside and out, we are female and this is an intrinsic part of who jesus made us to be and that needs to be nurtured by men AND by women at different times and in different ways i think.


my awesome sister and mother in law. you cant do better for a second family than these ladies.

duh, my mommy.

like ansley said, getting chicks away from dudes is so cruc. its so much easier to be a bitch to another girl when there's a dude around, but something happens when there aren't any Y chrom's stinking up the place. our cavewoman "seduce-or-your-uterus-will-turn-to-ashes-and-blow-away" sense of competition goes away and we get to discover that just like a sausage-fest for boys, there is something of a sisterhood to be found in just being around your own gender. i love what ansley and angie said about it definitely not having to be cliched chick things that happen during ladies times. in fact, i think that's what we rebel most about concerning the idea of chick ministry, the idea that we are going to have to act like and do stereotypical chick things and cant be our supercool selves (esp for the chicks on this email). barf. i think some of the most fun ladies times i've had that have ministered to me (in and out of formal ministries) are when i am with just chicks doing things that aren't typically girly: grilling, camping, sports, drinking, smoking cigars, cussing, sex-talk. but in these settings i am even more able to connect on girly emotional levels and complain and discuss being a wife/mom/daughter/woman and all the issues, blessings, pressures and expectations that come along with those roles.

gtvb, my beloved community, even though i tried to fight that loving feeling sometimes. (that's a 21st birthday cake of krispy creme before practice...10/2/2003)

i HIGHLY recommend reading the red tent (an awesome book about the wives of jacob...i know it sounds like a snoozefestorama, but its AMAZING). um orgasmo. i first heard of it from angie and have read it about 10 times since then and have forced it upon many a lady as a gift to rave reviews. but i love how angie said that that's what we are creating with these women-only times. i never thought of it like that. that makes it even more vagical to me, that this is something that women have done for thousands of years-- taken time and set themselves apart from men for some mutual benefit.

10th grade sleepover. i was a late bloomer, hadn't even been in the red tent yet (red fleece, grey hat, second row far right, dear lord).

sorry for the ramblage. i got excited. i think this email thread has turned me into a lesbian. damn yall.

...more BFF ladies that have made me a better wife, mother, friend, daughter, and jesus lover.

hess, my long time BFF

the BEST friendvestments you could make. two little von dutchwomen

matching scarves make for great lady times...so do taco nights!

the ocho ladies plus the cuat (me and danielle)

tami, my mentor at ccf who really taught me a lot about ladies and that you shouldnt fight loving them (due with her 3rd, miracle of a child any day now!) and yes thats a painting of me and my brother in the background in our school uniforms. this is my inheritance. my mom is unique.

tiff, my four month gestationally advanced mommy buddy

my original BFF, amy huff. 3rd grade to 7th grade strong. then seattle stole her.

so the moral of the story is go out and get your ladytimes on. its potentially cheesy and cliched, but we all need it.


what happens in Oz...

our AMAZING niece, sophie, turned 4 on sunday. as always, to get in to her party you have to dress up in a costume. this year's theme: Wizard of Oz. jesse and i are cheap and lazy and didn't really want to have to buy a costume or exert over 10 seconds of brainpower creating our own. so we decided to lame out and dress up in all yellow and all red and be the yellow brick road and the ruby slipper. we were going to just put judah in overalls and have him be a farmhand on dorothy's farm, but i got inspiration 20 minutes before the party for and crafted a costume for the little guy.
who am i? ...

... lollipop guild!

we have tons of old clothes that were given to us by several sweet families at church, and some of them we never used, so i decided to sacrifice them to the cause of a crafty costume. so with some old clothes, new clothes, a pair of scissors and some of jesse's hair wax we had our munchkin in less than 5 minutes!

pretty excited about his first styling product. if his hair is anything like daddy's, he'd better get used to it.


birthday dorothy with her "baby cousin" (who is looking HUGE next to her all of a sudden). she asked me two weeks ago, "is he growed up yet?" and "can he walk yet?" she cant wait for him to chase her around and lock the door on her (her words)


good witch gLINDA and one of her royal subjects


dorothy jr, niece bella, playing "trot trot to boston: yellow brick road edition" (with the lolli-prop of another guild member, jackies mom and dad)


we told dorothy she had to wear her big ruby slipper to authenticate jesse's costume. she rolled her eyes and said, "i can't believe i'm doing this" hahahaha, is she turning 4 or 13?


one thing i learned, if you cop out and wear a lame metaphorical costume, be prepared to pay the price.

follow the yellow brick road

follow, follow, follow, follow....

off she goes!

halfway through the party our friends, jay and abby, showed up as another couple with limited costume money and unlimited imagination. she was in all green as the emerald city and he was in all yellow like me but had actually drawn bricks on his t-shirt. that's commitment. but my shirt was waffle-texture anyway so those were my bricks. i was glad to make our yellow brick road a 2-lane highway.

p.s. jake and jackie's neighbor took this pic and his fly was down the entire time. jay and i had a front row seat to the open barn door. (abby is not actually 7 feet tall, she was just wanting to be faithful to the movie poster and have the road lead to her looming in the distance)
our brother and sister in law do such an amazing job of making family traditions magical. sophie and bella's mom, jackie, is my real life NieNie inspiration for turning the craziness of everyday life with young kids into opportunities for wonder and joy. you just have to meet the girls to know that jake and jackie are doing something right.
every birthday they make/show a slide show for the girls with pics of the last year and fun music. we are TOTALLY stealing that idea for judah. imagine how fun that would be to watch at your graduation party or the night before your wedding...all those years of memories. a bunch of the pics in this year's video were from a family trip that most of the dukes took to missisippi to drop off jesse's sister erin at college and have a lake vacation week too. judah was too young to pull off the 8 hour car ride (and we had JUST bought the new car and it was the week before i went back too work) so we were so sad to miss out. at the party, as we were watching the video the pictures from the lake trip came up and sophie walked over to me and said, "why did you didn't be there?" it was the cutest, most endearing thing ever. after that sweet question, i would TOTALLY brave the drive and all its conditions to enjoy our precious niece and the rest of our wonderful dukes fam if i could do it over again.

judah's wonderful cousins, aunt and uncle (jake is jesse's older brother FYI)

he represents the lollipop guild
where's my lollipop? put it in my hand.
we love you sophie! happy birthday



i am waiting to get a few more photos from a friend for today's intended post, so in it's place here's some recent cuteness that i cant really fit into blog posts of their own.
first time in a real high chair. but the second time, we got cocky and didnt watch him carefully enough and he slammed his head on the table...oops maybe we pushed that milestone too soon

toes, succulent toes. he had been stretching to eat these for weeks and finally caught up to his prey

LOVES his office. thanks great aunt marilyn!

busy in his office in his camo onesie and ice-fishing hat

mr. busy hands in effect big time. (i thought that was a doggie attached by his green tail with a curious brown anus puff, but jesse assures me its just a bunny with a brown tail attached by a green strap)

loving nakie bath time. washcloth censored (and thats just a fold in the rag there. he's not built like a pencil downtown, you pervs)

happy halloween, fuzzball

he sits up by himself. by hand is there for the inevitable lean/fall, but he can go for about 20 seconds without a topple

sorry for a lack of wit or creativity on my part, but i could do posts like this every day! i cant even stand his cuteness and i love him so so so so much. ok, mushiness complete.


happy hunting

i was in favorite blog stalker lena's wedding to mr. elliot hunt 2 months and one day ago. i painted (all of) my toenails red that day. look how far their marriage has come.

i took this last night, 10/22, so these are actual 2 month anniversary toenails-- to the day

happy first 2 months! and here's to many, many, more months and years together to come, symbolically marked by inches and yards of my toenails growing out and being neglected.

p.s. marisa, i wish you were here so i could put these feet on your face and you could get super freaked out because of your podaphobia. *jazz hands* monorail!

dont tell daddy

when i am getting ready in the bathroom judah likes to sit in his bumbo and hang out. but we seriously need to get some real toys in there for him to play with. something tells me the bug won't be happy about these pictures when he's older (and i KNOW jesse isn't happy about them right now). i didn't even intend to capture this moment on camera, but he was being so stinking cute that i couldn't resist...even if he does pass out from embarrassment at his rehearsal dinner slide show in 2034.


another bday meal: duluth edition

i feel like i have been talking about my birthday dinners for about a month now. anyway this is probably the last one. we went up to my parents house last weekend so my mom could cook me a belated birthday meal. their wiener dog, Guinness (aka serial humper of my teddy bear), had back surgery right before my birthday so i was denied an out to eat celebration so that his medical bills could be paid. luckily my mom is a stupid good cook. we had a blast relaxing watching football, vigorously hiking with my dad (a biker wiped out right in front of us...hilarious!), and chowing down on my mom's organic bonanza. and of course judah loved his time with his north-bound grandparents.

g-ma feeding the bug. she picked it up like it hadn't been 23 years since she last did it.

my dad really gets in to the character

judah in his new hat that cost more money than most of my clothes (more than my clothes in this pic for SURE). i am not allowed back in baby gap unsupervised

the spread. lamb chops (my mom NAILED the cooking of this perennial top chef pitfall protein), SEEDuction rolls, wild rice, spinach, asparagus. SOOOOOO good

blowing out the wooden centerpiece for my bday. candle and dump cake dont mix and thats what was for dessert.

pantsless ice fisherman