Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in spirit, for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Matthew 5:3-12

Oh Lord,

Teach me to seek You and reveal yourself to me when I seek You.

For I cannot seek You unless You first teach me, nor find You unless You first reveal yourself to me.

Let me seek You in longing, and long for You in seeking.

Let me find You in love, and love You in finding.

~Saint Ambrose of Milan

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Name: Erin Yonke

Location: Aurora, IL

Info: I'm happily married to my husband and champion pro-life activist, Matt. I stay home with my three small boys; Ambrose (11/06), Peter (3/08), and Joseph (9/10).

Thursday, November 30, 2006


You know, it's overwhelming to think that in November of 2004, I was just barely 18 years old, having just graduated high school, I was not yet even engaged, living all alone in Freeport, Illinois--having just momentarily set foot outside my parent's door, attending beauty school, and crying myself to sleep and listening to Counting Crows 24/7. Not even two years later, I'm a married woman, a chrismated Eastern-rite Catholic, and holding the most beautiful little boy in my arms--my son.
It's amazing.
It's totally the best thing EVER.
It's absolutely terrifying.

oh baby!

So, I'm a week behind everyone else in making this announcement...partially because my blogging capacities have been limited to small windows throughout the day, but mostly because every time I try to write about this, my keyboard is in serious danger of being flooded:-)
I have a son!
Ambrose Levi Yonke entered the world at 2:50am on Thanksgiving day, after 26 long hours of completely unmedicated labor (mission accomplished!...and you all thought I'd wimp out.). Weighing in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces, 19 1/2 inches long...he is totally gorgeous and totally healthy.
Birth is an amazing thing--and it's amazing to think back to the moment I first knew I was pregnant, the first time I heard his heartbeat, the first time I felt him move... and to realize that it was him inside me all along...even though I'm just now getting to meet him.
He is so complete, so perfect. He looks just like Matt, and he has the FUZZIEST head of hair that I can't stay away from:-) Officially THE cutest baby EVER. (I'm allowed to say that.)
His name, after St. Ambrose of Milan (who converted St. Augustine), also means 'immortal' or 'divine'. Levi, meaning 'joined' (as Levi, Leah's third son 'joined' her to Jacob, who otherwise did not love her). In essense, "joined to the divine".
Life is beautiful.
I'm sure--completely sure--that time must have stopped the moment he was born. I wasn't expecting to feel so...MUCH. What an event! The minute that his tiny little body was placed in my arms is locked in my mind forever. I can still hear his first cries (or grunts, rather...), I can clearly see the look on Matt's face when I announced that we had a baby boy, and it plays back in my mind every time I marvel at his compact, yet perfectly constructed body. Life is such a miracle, such a gift. There is no other thing in the world that could so effectively and single-handedly instill such feelings of wonder, humility, joy, and fear...all the while causing you to fall more deeply in love than you have ever been.
And so we're praising God for our son. Matt's blog is full of pictures and links to more pictures...but, I can't resist...:-)
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Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Oh, this is probably one of my favorite pictures whole family, totally un-posed, looking at baby Ambrose:-) My aunt Theresa made them all matching t-shirts that have their respective "aunt" or "uncle" names on them.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I visited my midwife again today. The baby "measured" two centimeters smaller than last week, and now, once again, she's convinced that the baby's not growing and is concerned about placental function, blah blah blah. She acknowledged that this was partially because the baby's head is so low, but said she would have expected more growth than that accounted for.
Personally, I think the baby's doing fine. (Just watch, I'm going to whip out a 9-pounder and shock them all!) She (the midwife) is taking the day to think about it and talk it over with the other midwife in the office, but she said she thought she'd like to induce. Soon.
And I don't want that.
Not one little bit.
So, I'm praying that my little one decides to make his or her appearance before modern medicine decides to stuff me chock-full of animal-extracted birth hormones to get him or her out, that I can be peaceful and rest in the goodness of our Creator either way, and, most of all, for the safekeeping of this tiny little baby as he or she comes into the world. Pray for us.
4 days until my due date.

Monday, November 20, 2006

good food!

We love this recipe! I’ve been totally in love with spicy food lately. This serves 6-8 people, so when I make it I cut it in half. Definitely worth trying.

(Awesome) Chicken Peanut Curry

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken pieces, cut into 1 1/2 inch wide chunks or strips
1/2 cup flour
4 Tbsp curry powder (being the Irish girl that I am, I’m not picky about my curry powder…I just use red curry powder that was on sale at Jewel.)
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced.
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced.
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup peanut butter (I probably use more like ¾ of a cup, since I’m also in love with peanut butter, and because I like it kind of thick...)
1 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
8 green onions, chopped, greens included
1/3 cup each finely chopped mint and cilantro AND
2 limes cut into wedges (optional, but highly recommended.)

1 In a large ziplock bag, combine the flour, curry powder, salt and pepper. Shake well. Add the chicken pieces and shake to coat well.

2 Heat oil in a large saucepan on medium high heat. Add chicken pieces. Cook 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally to cook chicken evenly. Add the ginger, garlic, jalapenos and 1/2 cup of the chicken broth to the saucepan. Cook for 3 minutes, scraping the pan with a spatula and stirring to combine everything well.

3 Add the peanut butter, stirring quickly to incorporate it with the chicken. Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups of broth slowly, stirring continuously to maintain an even texture. Let simmer for at least 10 minutes (I like it best after simmering for an hour or so…). Right before serving, add the coriander and green onions. Salt to taste.

4 Serve with rice. Top each serving with fresh cilantro and mint. Squeeze a little lime juice over it as well.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

my new resolve.

So, I've scratched my to-do list, and have moved on to making a list of things to do in my last few weeks of not being a parent, and taking full advantage of the line, "I'm allowed to do this because I'm nine months pregnant."

Things that I've been doing:

--Sleeping in! (I'm generally not a late sleeper, but I've been up for 3-4 hour stretches each night for the last week or so...maybe it's some kind of preparation for the many more sleepless nights to come?)

--Not cooking. Now, I love to cook, but have had about zero energy or motivation to do it this week, and I decided that this is probably one of the last times I'll be able to really, guiltlessly justify frozen pizza for dinner. That, and we've eaten take-out. (Though it's hard for me to enjoy take-out-- it's so expensive and therefore crushes my soul a little bit because I make a mental tally of how much less I would have paid to make that very same dish at home, and then spend the rest of the night feeling guilty.)

--Bubble baths. Our new house has a whirlpool tub, and I've made good use of it. (With clary sage oil, just in case it'll start labor...*sigh*)

--Walking the mall. I admit, part of this motivation is the desire to start some contractions, not to mention that my back doesn't hurt as much when I'm on my feet. BUT, I love the mall, even though I never buy anything...but it's a total waste of time, so I did that twice this week.

--The Nonfat, Decaf, PEPPERMINT MOCHA FROM STARBUCKS!!! (WITH whipped cream.) It's just the best thing ever. It trumps the white chocolate mocha. I've had two of them this week...mmm:-)

Things on the agenda for next week:

--Going to the chiropractor on Monday. Yay! Sounds like such an old-person thing to do...but I'll bet I'll feel a million times better afterwards:-)

--Having lunch with Sarah on Wednesday--whom I haven't seen in many months. Oh, speaking of Sarah...she apparently recorded a CD, and you can listen to it here.

--Oh yea, and Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 16, 2006


A friend of my family had a baby a few weeks ago at 32 weeks. The baby only lived for six hours. If given the opportunity, that woman would give anything to still be pregnant right now. And if someone told her that she'd have to be pregnant for THREE YEARS, she wouldn't even blink an eye if it meant her baby would still be here.
So, in light of that, I can handle a few more weeks with a healthy baby kicking and bruising every organ in my body.
On the flip side, I often find myself wondering if I'm really pregnant at all, or if I've just been getting really fat and cranky for the last nine months and wondering what I will do when the doctor finally breaks the news that there's no baby and I've gotten my hopes up for nothing. I realize it might be a little extreme, but it crosses my mind from time to time.

I think that someone spends alot of time concocting "home remedies for labor induction" purely to keep pregnant women busy for the last month of pregnancy. The most recent one I saw was this: 4 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar in 1/2 a cup of hot water. Drink quickly. Now really, what is this supposed to do? Give the baby a sugar buzz??

The midwife informed me that the average length of a first, or a pregnancy that's taken place more than five years following your previous pregnancy is 274 days, which is nearly two weeks longer than the 266 they predict your due date by. I'm waving goodbye to November. I'm setting a new due date for myself. December 10. Please do not call me and ask, "if anything is happening" until then, unless you have a labor-inducing miracle for me, or a donut.

As of Tuesday, 3cm dilated. 70% effaced. Baby's head is totally engaged. (in fact, she mentioned something about most babies not getting this deep until delivery...its not nearly as comfortable as you think it is.) Lost the plug. What does that mean? Nothing. It means that maybe I'll have a baby someday. Could be tomorrow. Could be Christmas. Remember the new due date.

Don't call us, we'll call you.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Today I noticed that on the bottom of the metal soap dish in our shower there is a tiny sticker that reads: "NOT FOR FOOD USE. MAY POISON FOOD. USE FOR SOAP ONLY." I guess it's not that big of a deal...but a poisonous soap dish? That's a little disturbing. So, if you ever shower at our house, please don't eat the soap. And please don't put your ham sandwich in the dish, either.

still. pregnant.


Two weeks ago, my midwife told me that I was 2 cm dilated, the baby's head was very, very low, and I was about 25% effaced. I'm going back tomorrow...and with any luck, they'll say, "oh look, the baby's already halfway out!"...what are the odds?

There's still 12 days till my actual due date.

In the meantime, I have made myself an enormous to-do list. There are several drawbacks to this list. 1) I have already spent the last week and a half cleaning my house top to bottom...obsessively. There's not much else to do, except repeat things that I've already done, and really wacky things like alphabetizing the medicine cabinet. (No, really. I did this.) And 2) I find that I often have to remind myself that the baby's arrival is totally irrelevent to my list. No matter how many things I get done today, it will not make the baby come any faster or slower than if I'd just sat around all day.
On the plus side, my house is probably cleaner and more organized than it has ever been and probably ever will be again.

Now, if I could just get my hands on a labor-inducing milkshake and donut...that would be great.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

two things.

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Bailey's Chocolate Mint Irish Cream now exists...and if there's anything better than Irish Cream itself, I bet it's CHOCOLATE MINT IRISH CREAM!!!!!!! Oh yes. I cannot wait.

Also, The Decemberists put out a new record recently, The Crane Wife 3. And if there's anything better than chocolate mint irish cream, this is probably it.