Archive for the ‘Pregnancy’ Category

Emilia Margaret is here!

January 30, 2014

Emilia arrived at 11:02 on January 23rd.  She weighed in at 7lbs8oz and was 20ish inches long.  Emilia’s entrance was after a very quick labor and dramatic delivery, but we all seem to be healthy and settling in now.  She is remarkably calm and very alert at times.

Basil and Macrina are in love.  We all are.

The last picture of Macrina’s babyhood:


63 minutes later:



I wish this picture hadn’t turned out so dark.  Macrina’s eyes nearly popped out of her head when she got to hold Emilia.:

Lately Basil has become more and more enthusiastic about just about everything in a loud 4yr old boy kind of way. But when he’s with Emilia the enthusiasm quiets into a sort of blissful state.  It’s delightful. Emilia did start fussing when Basil held her the first time and Macrina quickly reprimanded him, “Basil, kiss her head!!”:

And a family photo.  We’ll keep working on it.:

Of course this isn’t Emilia’s usual look, but it’s pretty funny.:

Home again:

We have a new router that’s speeding things up, so perhaps we’ll be back here more frequently.  But really, we’ll probably just be cuddling.


Total Lack of Internet Presence

September 19, 2013

We do still USE the internet.  And I haven’t actually deleted my facebook page, though I can’t access it from home.

But the exciting wonderful news hereabouts is that there’s a new Saathoff sister!  La plus petite soeur is due mid-late January and sittin’ pretty (swimming, I suppose) now at 22 weeks.

If you are our close personal friend and somehow see this post (having bothered to keep this blog on a reader even after google-reader ended?!?) you can email and we can share pictures on snapfish. There’s lots and lots of highly unorganized, unedited and un-captioned cuteness.

In far less exciting news (and probably equally un-surprising!), we’re trying our hand at a bit of homeschooling this year.  Basil is still only 4 and compulsory education doesn’t begin until 7 in MN.  But the wide-eyed looks when people hear he’s not in PreK apparently start now.  We’ve begun some more intentional learning and maybe, just oh so maybe, this space will be used to chronicle a bit of that.

But not in the winter.  God willing we’ll be back with triple cuteness explosion photos!








Our first photo as a family of five.  Basil wasn’t having it and Macrina insisted on carrying a cross.  They’re quite pleased about the new baby now.

Basil’s Little Sister!

October 31, 2011

The Saathoff (nuclear) family has increased to four terrestrial beings: Papa, Mama, Basil, and Macrina.

As I wrote in an email that went out earlier:

“Contractions began around 4:00am, we made it to the hospital at 6:50am, and the baby girl beat the doctor at 7:30am.

Macrina Brooke weighed 7lbs 6oz, 21 inches.  Very healthy and good at nursing.”

She is named for St Macrina the Younger, sister of St. Basil the Great, and both of her yiayias (Brooke).

– Here is the Life of Macrina, written by her brother, St. Gregory of Nyssa.
– Here is a dialogue written by St. Gregory between himself and Macrina concerning the soul and resurrection.
Here is a shorter version of her life.

Big brother is a big, big fan, as is everyone else.  Fr. Jonathan stopped by to give a blessing.  All local family have met her, as well.  We look forward to seeing the distant family!  Until then…



Three Trips for the Family

August 24, 2011

We have had three important trips recently that I’ll try to summarize below with some fun pictures.


First was our anniversary trip, delayed due to skin infection and state government closure.  I had originally planned for us to visit Lake Itasca, but I couldn’t be sure whether or not the park would be open because the state government had shut down.  Would it be open in time?  Well, I was interested in visiting an interesting spot along the Mississippi, and I figured if Minnesota was closed I should turn to Wisconsin.

I soon discovered a neat area called “Lake Pepin,” which is not really a lake at all.  It is the widest natural stretch of the Mississippi.  I set up the date as a mystery with only geocache coordinates along the way to lead us from stop to stop.

The visit took us along the Great River Road, which was gorgeous.  You could see the river intermittently along the drive, and every so often there were scenic overlook spots to get out of the car and enjoy the river.

The road often wound in between the river and huge bluffs.

One of the non-geocache stops was to picnic atop a bluff in a park area.  I thought it would be a quick walk from the parking area, but we ended up walking for about 20 minutes through a grassy and wooded area.

Finally we emerged onto a clearing atop the bluff.

See a beautiful image of the bluff here.

Elizabeth set out the blanket, and we had a picnic, watching the barges float by.

After that we visited a historical museum in the town of Pepin, the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder, as well as a replica cabin near to the area where her family lived.

We also stopped in little Stockholm, WI, where there was an event called Dog Days.  We were just curious to drive by, but while driving by we saw these blue bikes.  Around the Twin Cities there is a program called Nice Ride, where you can rent a bicycle for a short period and return it to any kiosk around the cities for a fee.  Here there was an absolutely free bike sharing program.  It is one of the advantages of small town living – you don’t worry nearly as much about theft.

(click the picture to zoom in and read the tags on each bike)

I had plans for us to visit the Tiffany wildlife area, but we were too exhausted to do more exploring.  We returned home along the beautiful Great River Road.


A few days after our trip to Wisconsin, we were on our way out of the house when Basil decided he would take his own trip.  Very confidently he took the back stairs by himself, but he had a misstep and tripped over his head on the way down.  His mother reports that he was more upset about a fallen tupperware than his own head.  Oh well!



It took about a week to all heal up.


The last trip we took was another wonderful trip to Wisconsin.  We’ve had a lot of positive experiences in that state recently – and it’s not due simply to their famous bratwursts, cheese, and beer (triple threat, oh my!).

We had a family vacation with our friends from Chicago.
We shared a cabin with John and Lila, Basil’s Godparents, and their daughter Dorothy:

And our friends, Mark and Claire, Basil’s first-ever baby sitters.  Claire was one of Basil’s most frequent (and favorite) visitors  during his first year of life.

It was great to see Dorothy a little more grown up.  Basil was super excited to meet her.  We think this bodes well for his younger sibling.

Many hugs and kisses were exchanged.

The location was called Historic Liberty Lodge.  It turned out to be built after our own home, but it was covered from floor to ceiling with patriotic decorations.  Here is just a sampling:


They provided a row boat along the dock for the lake, horseshoes, croquet, bicycles, a gas grill, a bonfire pit, patio furniture, and acorns aplenty.  Basil’s favorite part, aside from Dorothy, was making “acorn pie” for the squirrels.

We spent lots of time talking about raising children, the prevalence of disposable plastics in society, future vocations, and church.  We really had a wonderful time and would love to make it a regular gathering.



Family Biking and Workcycles Fr8

August 3, 2011

When I lived in Chicago I had one nice and one junky bike consecutively stolen.  After that I forgot about having a bike for a while.  When we moved to Minneapolis I started thinking about riding a Vespa about for a nice, economical form of transportation.  I abandoned that idea because of snow, cost, and health (safety) factors Elizabeth kept reminding me about.  Around that time I started looking at bicycles, and one style in particular caught my eye.

I started looking specifically at Dutch bikes because I wanted a bicycle that was above anything else practical – heavy duty, indestructible in all weather, a workhorse, and comfortable.  I found several websites with specific information on these bikes: here, here, and here.  Also, I read extremely intriguing information about biking in general in the Netherlands – see here.

Well, we ended up just getting a couple of bicycles from used shops around Minneapolis.  Mine was an older Raleigh, but not old enough to have rod brakes (not actually desirable, it turns out) or a more upright position.  It has a horribly uncomfortable seat and after riding it for a while my shoulders begin to hurt from being hunched over.  My pants regularly get caught by the chain and stained with grease.

We both wanted to cycle with our son, Basil, so we ended up getting a used Burley trailer.  Basil hated it at first but eventually started liking it.  It was not too difficult to ride with, but it almost seemed like he wasn’t along for the ride.  He might fall asleep without me knowing it because he was so far behind.  If I wanted to point something out I would need to dangerously turn around and shout it.  It was impossible to have a conversation, so I would often just cycle as if he wasn’t there at all.

Then my mother purchased us a wonderful child seat for bicycles.

Basil loved it, and it was so much better to ride with him between my arms.  I could ask him for a kiss and he could just tip his head up and give me one.  We could talk about whatever we were seeing or going to see.  It was a little bit uncomfortable on the bike, however.  My knees hit the seat if I didn’t splay them out a bit.  And there wasn’t enough space between my seat and his if I needed to step off the seat for a moment.

After looking at some of the Dutch bikes for about a year, we decided to get one.  I chose a bicycle maker in Amsterdam who is actually an American expat, named Henry.  His business is called Workcycles.  I ended up buying the bicycle from Adeline Adeline, one of only six U.S. dealers.

I started looking at the Omafiets but ended up leaning toward the more unique Fr8 design because it better fit the above mentioned qualities, whereas the Omafiets was heavy on a nice but unnecessary aesthetic styling.

I should like to give a more thorough review later, but here are some pictures of how it’s working out so far.

With and without child seat:

Extremely wide, thick tires (Schwalbe Fat Franks):

Brooks leather saddle:

Chain case:

Double-wide milk crate (thrift store) with cutout for child seat:

Setting Basil in:

Strapping on the “yellow hat”:

Enjoying the ride:



Admittedly, I still look goofy – but less so!  And Basil really has fun in his seat.

He is such a big boy.


Mama is also a big mama.  Doing well, here she is at 24 weeks!


A Joke!

June 17, 2011

It has been awhile since I posted here.  (Eric may think that’s a bit understated.)  But I’ve decided to make a blog post in honor of Basil making his first joke.  When we’re reading a book about animals, or sometimes when he’s playing with stuffed animals he labels all of them “mon-KEY!”.  When we say he’s silly and tell him the real names he continues with “mon-KEY” until he’s laughing too hard to go on.  This is a very funny joke!

Besides joking Basil has been having lots of fun outside now that summer is truly here.  Here are some photos of a morning at the beach:

There has been indoor fun as well.   One afternoon I stopped dinner prep to check on Basil as usual.  I figured he was watching the elementary school down the block dismiss (a favorite pastime).  Instead, I found him in a box!

Upon interview, the box turned out to be a “bo” on the “wa”.  While he may not have the ending of words down, Basil knows better than to sail alone.  The cat went along for the cruise:

But appears to have been dumped in the “wa”.  Oh well.

The corner of the hammock is visible in these pictures, so I might as well display it in all its glory.  Eric knows how to bargain at a garage sale and he haggled us a very nice spot to rest.

Basil has also recently enjoyed a couple visits to the zoo.  He has been caught at home enlightening the animal kingdom with fine literature.

Today Eric celebrates his last day of school for the year.  He will begin St. Kate’s training full time on Monday, but being a student promises to be much less daunting so it will still qualify as quite a “break”.

Little Patriot is flipping around nicely.  Our doctor’s appointments are weekly now and so far so good with no cervical changes since the surgery!  Tuesday will be 20 weeks, so we’re getting nearer and nearer to when things went downhill with Basil’s gestation, but we’re already in a better place to catch things early and rest as needed.  We’ll get another look at LP next week.


Pascha 2011

April 24, 2011

Christ is Risen!

What a week it has been.

Just before the Paschal vigil began, Fr. Jonathan announced to the church that Elizabeth and I are expecting another child and requested everyone’s prayers for health and safety during the pregnancy.  The complication from last time is already rearing its head.


We no longer have a “baby Basil” but a “big brother Basil” who can already point out the new baby and is more eager to give kisses there than to either of  his parents!  We have been calling the baby “Little Patriot” or “LP” and laughing every time because it sounds so goofy (like a Colbert Report joke), but we are considering taking a name from a North American saint (or one who is “blessed”) and it’s better than calling the baby “it” or “they” since we don’t know the sex.

It has been a busy week with at least one service each day.  In addition, on Thursday evening I went shopping for our Pascha basket.  Friday night I baked a whole-wheat sandwich loaf to eat with cheeses and sausage stuff, as well as two identical Greek Pascha breads (known as Lambropsomo or Tsoureki).

One Pascha bread was to be for breaking the fast early Pascha morning with the church and the other for the Pascha day feast with family.  Two changes to that plan:
1) Basil ate a significant amount of the whole-wheat sandwich bread on Saturday, so I quickly made two loaves of brioche out of AP flour – the first time I’ve baked without using home-milled flour since we got the mill!  The breads came out of the oven just as we were walking out the door (11:20pm).  They were incredibly buttery rich, and we only got through about half of one, but I’m glad I made them.


2) We barely cut into one of the Pascha breads at the early morning feast.  This happened last year, too.  I made a traditional bread, but nobody wants to eat that!  People are more interested in meats, cheeses, and beer than fruity bread.  Next year I won’t make the mistake of baking two loaves of something people don’t want to eat, regardless of how traditional it is or how good it tastes.

After the Saturday morning service, Basil took a good nap and happily went to bed at around 8:00pm.  We woke him up at 11:15pm to go to the Pascha vigil.  He was on my chest in the carrier through most of the service, but he did not fall back to sleep once (last year he slept through the entire thing until the breakfast feast).  He was mostly in a good mood all evening until right around 3:00am, so we decided it would be a good time to leave.  When we got home he once again happily went to sleep saying, “Bed? Bed?”  This morning he woke me up at 7:30am and let me half-sleep on the futon while he played for a couple more hours.  We’ll see how the nap and sleep go today!



One cute toddler who hasn’t gotten enough sleep.

First time cracking eggs!

“Christ is risen from the dead
Trampling down death by death
And upon those in the tombs
Bestowing life!” – Paschal Troparion


Basil Pictures!

July 5, 2009

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40 Weeks and Fully Fermented

June 30, 2009

Today is Little Cap’s due date. So far he doesn’t seem any more interested in coming out than he has in previous days. Eric made another number, and I’m hoping this is the last photo of our number wall:

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It is amazing that he’s made it this far and we are very thankful. However, I’m not too surprised. At 36 weeks our midwife said, “Ah, lots of our cerclage patients go overdue. Mark my words.” (Or something similarly predictive.)

We started the day with celebratory chocolate chip pancakes, but I guess a sugar rush isn’t what will propel him out.


Then we traveled to Gordon Food Services Marketplace (GFS) and got 50 pounds of flour. I think GFS is great fun. The actual store is quite small, nothing like a Sam’s Club or Costco. But everything on the shelves is BIG. Have you ever wanted a gallon of soy sauce or red wine vinegar? Your own artificial popcorn flavor? Or ten pounds of potato salad in an over-sized milk carton? Yeah, me neither. But it sure is cool to look at. And the flour is a great deal. After Little Cap is born we won’t have to leave the house; we can just sit around eating bread all day!

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Eric has started another loaf of bread and is carefully documenting the process. Unless things start now and move quickly, it seems bloggyland will receive a Saathoff Sourdough Saga before baby pictures.

We are increasingly eager. Thankfully, the edge has been taken off of the waiting a bit by the completion of the sauerkraut project! We moved the kraut-to-be from the big green bucket to smaller jars when the apartment started smelling a bit too ripe. At that point it was still tangy cabbage and not really sour yet. However, upon the most recent tasting, Eric has declared it sauerkraut and has been snacking away. The oddities of pregnancy have left me uninterested in tasting it so far, but it does smell good and it sure looks right:


While at GFS a large party pack of Johnsonville Brats called to us from a refrigerated case. This means we now have 18 brats, three jars of homemade sauerkraut and a new loaf of sourdough on the way. I am very eager to meet our son. But, if he and my uterus want to wait until the bread is done and the brats are cooked before contracting and eliminating my appetite… I’m going to be okay with that.


39 Weeks and Just Waiting

June 26, 2009


On Tuesday it was 39 weeks, and my parents were in town, so my mother added to our wall of numbers with this shiny, ribbony 39. My folks were in town from Saturday to Wednesday morning, and we had a lot of fun. We went to the Garfield Park Conservatory among other things, which is a very nice place to see exotic plants.

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Still, they were hoping to come and see their new grandson, but he has yet to arrive. Elizabeth has experienced a few contractions and some general crampy-ness, but nothing that has lead to labor, obviously. The due date is quickly approaching, and we have two different bags packed – one for during labor and the other for after. Due date is Tuesday, June 30, but maybe he’ll be a July baby. My brother was born on July 4th.

Despite the heat, I have been baking happily since school ended. Here are a couple of teasers. I hope to give a full description of Saathoff Sourdough in the near future. Though, I’d rather just give you baby pictures.

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