Wrapping it up

Staying up late to watch the last game of the (not so great, but still love baseball) season.

Whazzup Egypt?

We've been studying ancient Egypt. So of course we had to wear tattoos of Queen Neffertiti and the Sphynx and whatnot. San Diego is the most tattooed city I have ever lived in, so no one bats an eye when our kids show up to the mummy exhibit at the Museum of Man with about 6 each.Joe couldn't quite get the arm positioning right....and Olivia looks like she is beat boxing.

Reflecting on reflections

Last year, on our 6 year anniversary, I wrote some reflections in our journal (that's right, another journal - a marriage one). A couple of weeks ago, on our 7 year anniversary, I reread those reflections - encouraged. The Lord is still at work.

- I am learning the radical necessity of actual, expressed repentance and forgiveness.

- I have loved watching him mature in ministry and am excited for the decades ahead of continuing to watch and be a part of that growth.

- I have learned to listen when he prays - that is where I learn what his struggles and joys are.

- I love his initiative and proactivity as a father. (As I was writing this he was at home with ALL THREE and Greta was about a month old.)

- I love the fact that the importance of family was modeled to him by his parents. We rarely (if ever) feel neglected - even in his busiest times.

- I do love (and tolerate) Mike's cheese ball sense of humor - mostly because he thinks he is so funny.

- I am learning that when he is tuned out (i.e. doesn't answer, asks the same question multiple time) he is usually mentally consumed with a certain responsibility and I am better off praying for him than nagging him and getting frustrated.

- I have learned to love that Mike is willing to take us into the unknown places God is calling and that he expects and needs me to participate in the journey. On the one hand it is quite empowering to be appreciated and have my gifts recognized and needed. On the other hand it is overwhelming to realize that we can't do it without each other. In other words, I can't just depend on him to do it or make things happen. The process is dependent on me as well.

-I love how his energy and teaching of the children motivates me.

- I have learned about gracious submission to the structures and authorities God puts in place over us.

- I have learned the importance of COMMUNICATION - clear and often. Especially of my own emotions, frustrations, expectations. Not communicated, all of these lead almost inevitably to argument.

- I have loved the bonus of marriage that is his support and encouragement of my gifts and interests and hobbies. I am never ridiculed for failed or silly attempts and cheered on when I don't think I am quite up for the task.

And finally, a thought or two from Wendell:

What I am learning to give you is my death to set you free of me, and me from myself into the dark and the new light.
Like the water of a deep stream, love is always too much.
We did not make it. Though we drink it till we burst.
We cannot have it all, or want it all. In its abundance it survives our thirst.
In the evening we come down to the shore to drink our fill, and sleep, while it flows through the regions of the dark.
It does not hold us, except we keep returning to its rich waters thirsty.
We enter, willing to die, into the commonwealth of its joy.
Wendell Berry

I love it when...

...this kid shows up for breakfast.Note both leotards...when you just can't decide which one to wear.

The Help

She unloads the whole silverware basket. Even with a napkin on her head. (Thank you Joseph.)

Selective memory

I forgot about this stage.


While Mike's family was here, we had a chance to run into the mountains for a couple nights. All we did was read and walk and eat and sleep. That's it, really. So nice. This was a view of the peaks above our little cabin.
Poor Greta was fighting a virus...which actually worked in our favor because she didn't mind sleeping and walking (being pushed or carried) around the whole time.
Stellar's Jay. First time I saw one of these, I thought for sure it was a woodpecker...a blue one! I was so excited. Duh.
Actual woodpecker. Acorn woodpecker...and yes, those are all their holes. They hide acorns (obviously) in them for food later.
Not sure what this is.
Even though you can't hear it, still sounds peaceful doesn't it?

Midwest comes West

This picture is getting crowded! Used to, Mike and I were in it...now it takes both of us to get everyone looking in the same direction. This one is pretty good I think. Thanks for coming out!

Neighbor love

Why we love our neighborhood: Because people who (may be tempted to think they) have better things to do, get out of their cars and sit on our sidewalk with our kids at the end of their day before going inside.

Glimpse of the future?

I have never lived in a city were so many people have "yard people." Nobody does their own yard here. We would gladly take care of ours - we like gardening - except that our landlord dropped a couple grand landscaping the front yard before we moved in and we didn't want to risk killing it...not being familiar with west coast plants you understand. So we just take care of the back. You've seen our giant pumpkin.

Last week Frank and Irma's "yard people" were doing their thing and I hear our trash can being drug down the driveway. I look out and Olivia (clad in an old bridesmaid dress, thank you Cora!!) and Joseph are sweeping up the sidewalk ahead of the man with the blower....into a pile...and into a dust pan...and into the trash! So thorough. If we stick around California, who knows, maybe they'll start their own business.

The arsenal

Guns. Lego guns. Everyone is making them; everyone is shooting them - though they have been forbidden from aiming them at each other. He's never even seen a shoot 'em up show. I don't even think he knows much about hunting. This trait is falling heavily on the nature side of nature/nurture.


There are so many things beginning to surprise me in parenthood. I felt so prepared for the baby stage - having babysat itty bitties since I was about 13 I guess. I owe so many families huge thank you's for the time I got to spend with them and their babies. I was not nervous (so much) or frightened by those little, floppy, fussy babies when they were born into our little family. Everything, for the most part, felt very much they way it was supposed to be.

But now I am heading into uncharted territory. Willful hearts. Feisty attitudes. Oh, the emotions (and honestly, we are talking more about Joseph here with the emotions). You recognize your own sin struggles, previously so neatly tucked away in denial or distraction, as you tenderly try to help your kids navigate the same sins. It's constant. No auto-pilot. They aren't perfect and neither are we and that makes the process a tad messy...and long. But so worth the persistence.

Budding friendships have been another fun, new arena for us. I mean the kind of friend that you run back and forth across the street with. The kind that walks into your house with out knocking. The kind that gives you his old bike, no strings attached because you just learned to ride (on said bike) and now he has a riding buddy. The kind who doesn't dismiss the kid brother and who can always get a smile out of the baby sister. Not all childhood friendships come this easily. The kind where you trust the parents to keep your kid to the same standards you would when they are at their house. The kind that feeds them good stuff for snacks. The kind that doesn't flip out when they spill their drink, twice. We're thankful.
Mean game of UNO.

Since you couldn't watch in person...