Monday, August 31, 2009

Livin' Large in the Big Rig!

           So here we are, back in the desert. And, it is very hot here. Conveniently, it was quite hot in Pasadena right before we moved and there were fires surrounding the area and layering it in smoke. So, that helped me to only get a little teary as we drove out of town. It was very sad for us to leave California as it had really felt like our home now. It feels like it was just yesterday that we were moving to Pasadena with a 9 month old embarking on what we called "The California Experiment," and here we are moving back to AZ with two 2 1/2  year olds two years later. It definitely feels like an end of an era. We made some spectacular friends (resulting in teary goodbyes last week!), went to nearly every kid-friendly L.A. attraction, spent countless days at the beach, and grew tremendously as a family. Now, we are ready to open a new chapter - and it was fun to start it by seeing some good friends and spending some wonderful time with family this weekend here in AZ.

Here are some notables from our arrival:

- The kids are in grandparent-attention heaven. Enough said.

- I didn't realize that since we had been living in apartments for most of their lives my kids didn't know what a garage door looked or sounded like. Thus, the first time we put it down they adorably ran in fear. B is still not too sure about it.

- T kept saying "I wanna go back to my house, Pasadena!" for the first couple of days but that seems to have subsided. B more understands that this is our new place and appreciates her room :)

- They also hadn't experienced a monsoon, so last night when the thunder and lightening started T was pretty terrified (and subsequently snuggly!)

- T has slept two nights in his big boy bed! The first night he was up once and last night not at all! Miracle? It just may be. We were excited for the kids to have their own rooms to hopefully promote better sleep. What has been exciting though is that J and I have our own room together again without a little boy between us. Here's hoping it keeps on like this.

- We are happy to be in AZ since it means that J can more effectively do his job at LIA. There is some very exciting stuff going on with their organization, and I am so proud of his hard work!
In fact, they were just featured in Relevant magazine! Click here to check it out and go to page 26!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Taking Time To Pick Up Rocks

Since a couple of months ago I had watched the movie, "The Secret Life of Bees" and thoroughly enjoyed it, when I heard a friend had liked another book written by the author I wanted to check it out. In the book, "God's Joyful Surprise," Sue Monk Kidd describes her own personal spiritual journey. I decided to read the book while we were on our trip in Oregon (love those nap drives and early bedtimes!)

It ended up being timely as one of the things she addressed was realizing how focused she had become on tasks and busyness. She realized that she spent so much time hurrying her children along, until she discovered the holiness in taking the time with everyday things.

I spend a whole lot of my time trying to cajole two non-compliant little people into complying with what I think we should do. Granted I am often insisting on non-negotiable items like teeth brushing and holding hands when you cross the street. (In fact, T has started saying, "No, mom, we HAVE to" about everything. Apparently, that is my extremely compelling universal reasoning for things.) But, this week I realized that there are plenty of other times that I am just trying to hurry us along to the next activity. So, I spent the rest of the week trying not to say hurry up to the kids at all, and it ended up being good (though it was not always easy!) 

For example, I really wanted to take the kids down to the beach during our free time before the main session. The kids, however, wanted to stoop down on the drive and pick-up rocks. Lots of rocks. And they wanted to hold them all and have me hold them. Some were named, some were pets, and all were special. So, we just took our time with the rocks rather than the ocean, and that time turned out to be just as fun for them if not more. And, it was a great learning experience (mostly for me). 

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


J was asked to speak at a high school retreat at Wi-Ne-Ma Christian Camp on the coast of Oregon, and we were so excited when they were more than happy to have our whole family come! After flying into Portland (which is even more beautiful and green than we expected) we stopped off at the most amazing bookstore, Powell's Books. It is literally the size of a city block and carries almost every used and new book you could possibly want. J and I had to drag ourselves out of a store for a change. After "book heaven" we headed out to the coast, where we spent the rest of our week. 

Wi-ne-ma is a gorgeous camp nestled between a forest-surrounded lake and the beach. We had a rustic little cabin where we all shared a double bed, but luckily we didn't spend too much time in there. The kids adored being around the high school kids (and we adored their help!) There was a playground, swings, tetherball, and basketball hoops in the middle of camp. 

We also got to try tons of new things like canoeing, swimming in a lake, catching little guppies in our hands, going on a water slide, high school worship times, wading in little pools on the beach, and getting covered in dirt from head to toe. One of my favorite random activities was the cheese factory, but that will be a post in itself. I love a good random adventure and must do it justice.

And another bonus was that because we flew into Portland, I got to see my dear friend Sarah twice that week! (And, we may have made a stop at Roloff farms - I know you TLC fans know what I'm talkin' about!)

Our week was exhausting for sure with a whole lot of "kid wrangling" (I may or may not have fallen asleep while parked in a lot after driving the kids around for a nap drive!) But, being able to do a little ministry with J was totally worth it. And, having people cook for you and do the dishes for a week was a nice little bonus. We loved meeting such great people, and J did a wonderful job of exposing the kids to God's heart for the poor. It was a great reminder for me, too, to see the trials people are facing in Africa with fresh eyes, and to long to get involved anew.

Airplane Anarchy

Okay, so this Oregon trip's airplane adventures were mild compared to our midwest and Florida trips for J's work last year. Taking two 2 1/2 year olds on a flight is significantly easier than two 1 1/2 year olds, though not painless (and it costs twice as much!) We had plenty of fights about who got to sit where, but once we bribed calmness with giant Mickey Mouse Lollipops we had a bit of peace. Lots of stickers, juice, and books later, I was thinking we must be getting close. Nope. It had only been 1 of the 2 hours on our flight. 

At this point T was done sitting down. He squirmed about the plane managing to touch his lollipop to nearly every surface (seatbacks, armrests, tray tables, and so on....) and then returning it to is mouth numerous times (it makes me nauseous thinking about it). Until he discovered how fun it was to hang out under the seat, where you would normally place a carry-on piece of luggage. But he was quiet. Then, J convinced him that if he pushed the button on his arm rest, he would make the plane land, which amazingly kept him seated during the remainder of the landing. B kept thanking us for the airplane ride - she had thoroughly enjoyed it. We landed in Portland and by the time we made it to baggage, T had a bit of a diaper blow-out and our week long adventure had begun :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

San Diego Fun...

I am happy to report that our second and third trips of the summer were much more fun than the first! We spent the first week in August at a house on Mission Beach with my parents and brother. They so kindly planned to have the invasion of the toddlers on their "restful" vacation, and we were so thankful! 

We had a wonderful time on the beach all week building sand castles, playing with Grandpa, Didi, and Uncle RyRy (they loved running him around!), eating ice cream cones, and spending as much time as possible in the ocean (the kids couldn't get enough of jumping waves!). 

T was especially fond of hunting for sand dollars with Didi. In fact he wouldn't let her stop! B loved when grandpa played his "futair" (read: guitar) for them and lounged in the sand with them! 

We spent Wednesday at Legoland - the perfect toddler theme park - where the kids got to ride in trains, planes, helicopters, and fire trucks. We were so sad to leave SD, but we were very excited that soon we will get to see Grandpa, Didi, and Ryry all of the time! 

We left on Saturday morning, came home, packed up our stuff, and were off to Oregon at 5 a.m. Sunday morning for our next adventure. More to come about that in the next posts...  

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seven Years!

2 kids
4 degrees
2 states
4 residences
8 jobs
7 cars
countless laughs, fights, great talks, and kisses later...will mark 7 years of marriage for us! The fact that we have been married this long seems pretty unbelievable to me! I feel so blessed to have shared this big adventure thus far with J, and I am very excited for all that is to come. I sure love that man! We took a beach front walk last night (sans children!) to go and get frozen yogurt together - that is a happy anniversary!