Wednesday, March 26, 2014

San Diego: Seven Days in the Sun

M and I went to sunny San Diego for a week to visit my sister and her family.  My parents flew out from Florida, so we got to see them too!

First stop: In n Out Burger.  M loved it and ate all his food, which rarely happens!  

On our first full day, we took the kids to this great kids place called Kid Venture.
A view of one of the play areas in Kid Venture.
  It is a big open place with lots of different play houses, including this giant fire truck with a ball pit inside and a slide.

Of course, my guy loved pushing the trucks around the best.

After picking my parents up from the airport, we walked around Seaport Village in downtown SD, rode the carousel and ate dinner overlooking the gorgeous bay.  It was a beautiful afternoon!

Walking Seaport Village - that is the Coronado Bridge in the background

Then, the stomach bug hit.  Ugh, I got it first, then my nephew, and then my mom.  That really slowed us down, but thankfully everyone was healthy by the time we had to fly home.

We did make it to the San Diego Zoo, Coronado and took a tour of my brother in law's ship, amidst all of our sickness.  Remember Andy Baldwin, from the Bachelor, "an officer, and a gentleman?"  Well, he is the doc on my BIL's ship.  So I am only two degrees of separation from the Bachelor!  (Which I loved to watch in college!)
Toddlers on a ship = disaster waiting to happen.  I was constantly saying "No Touch ANYTHING!"

My parents left on Monday, but M and I got to stay until Wednesday.  So my sister and I took the boys up to Point Loma, which was beautiful, but all the toddlers wanted to do was throw rocks and try to jump off of the cliffs (yikes!).  
Taking in the view from Point Loma

It was a great week despite the bug.  We got to enjoy some warm sunshine and M got lots of good playtime with his cousin.  He pitched a total fit on our last (two hour, completely full) flight home to Spokane.  Thank goodness it was his very last flight as a "lap child."  The Southwest attendants were so kind and so were the people sitting around us.  Naturally, he fell asleep in my arms on the descent and didn't wake up until we loaded him into D's truck.  Imagine his shock, surprise and happiness to see his Daddy staring at him!  Haha - best friends reunited! 

Thanks to my sister and her family for hosting us for the week, we love you guys!

Closing with a few more pics:
Gorgeous Bird of Paradise in my sister's backyard

Giraffes at the San Diego Zoo
Loving Silver Strand Beach - not too far from where D put in hours and hours of hard work!

Monday, March 24, 2014


Our little guy is TWO!!

M, Here's a little recap of the second year of your sweet little life:

Spring:  We celebrated your first birthday with Grammie D, Granddad, Aunt J & cousin E, special friends and your birthmom.  You were amazed when the waitresses sang "Happy Birthday" to you at Red Robin, and loved your balloons best of all.  In April you took your first trip to Wisconsin and loved playing with all of cousin Andrew's toys!  You loved being outside and playing at the park!  You started to walk in May, chasing Dad around the house with your arms out, "zombie-style."
Enjoying one of many mornings at the park.

Summer:  You spent the summer as a traveling pro: New Jersey, Florida, Montana and Minnesota.  You only really got upset when the hipster flying next to us pulled out her full-sized, fresh from the garden (dirt and all) carrot and munched on it without offering you a bite.  How dare she! =)  You loved swimming in Granny's pool, playing with your cousins and swimming at the beach and the lake.  You are an outdoors-boy for sure, and would rather be playing in the sand or pushing trucks than doing anything else.

Exhausted at the Princeton P-Rade

Fall: Grammie D came to visit us and you took her for a walk in the woods.  You were a little snow leopard for Halloween, and loved greeting our trick-or-treaters!  We keep taking our walks, even as the weather gets colder and make more trips to the Kroc Center to play in the indoor pool.  You love watching the garbage truck, and lucky for us, he makes two trips up and down our street!

Photo by our talented friend, Kimberly
 Winter:  The snow just adds to your outdoor fun.  You love to help Daddy shovel and call the snow "no".  We spent the coldest days playing in your tent in the living room and reading lots of stories.  Gaga and Papa came for Christmas, and then we spent New Year's with Grammie D, Granddad and all your aunts, uncles and cousins on my side of the family.  Unsurprisingly, your trucks and truck books were your favorite gifts, but you also love your cat piano!  You loved watching your big cousins roughhouse!  When we went to Florida, you wanted to have a slumber party in the hotel room and you loved throwing shells in Aunt C's pond.  We warmed up in San Diego and played in the sun, and you loved playing with cousin E's guitar.

Mouth agape, in awe of the capabilities of this little truck!

 Now Spring is here again and your Birthday makes March the most wonderful month of all.  The ladies at the Kroc made you a birthday crown and we took a special trip around the Winco parking lot just so you could have a closer look at the bulldozers. =)

Every day you wake up with a smile on your face and yelling a cheerful, "hi, Mommy, hi Daddy!" from your room.  Daddy and I race to greet you because you make every day a joyful one.  You are still a great sleeper (thank you, Lord!) and so far, you've only tried to climb out of the p&p once.  You give the best hugs and kisses!  We are so proud of your sweet "peese," (please) and "wank wu" (thank you).  We love you so much M and are so glad to see you enjoying your life.  Happy Birthday, sweet boy!
Point Loma

Monday, March 10, 2014

Book Review: Adopted for Life, by Russell Moore

I recently read Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches, by Russell Moore.

It took me a while to get into this book, but overall, I liked it and I do recommend it for anyone considering adoption.  It's a good one to add to your home library of adoption resources, and good to share with your relatives if you are an adoptive family.  Moore discusses adoption on earth through the lens of God's adoption of us as Christians.

My favorite take-away from this book: "adoption is a past-tense verb" and your child's adoption shouldn't be "the key defining characteristic of your child."  I agree completely, and this is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately - I like to share about our adoption because I want more people to think about it as an option, but I don't want my sweetie to think that it defines who he is.  The author provides some good ideas for how to respond when people want to talk all about all the details of the process of your adoption.

A major focus in this book is about how churches can foster a culture that is open and supportive of adoption.  He makes a point about how great it would be if wedding ceremonies incorporated prayers for children of the union, whether they come through birth or adoption.  I loved this part, and I would love to see more churches talk about adoption here on Earth just as God's adoption of us.

While I didn't just devour this book, I'm glad I read it and it has made me think more about international adoption in particular.  

Have you read this book?  Is international adoption a part of your life?  If so, I would love to hear about it!

Friday, March 7, 2014

7 Quick Takes

 1. My training plan for the Coeur d'Alene Half Marathon has started! Whoop, whoop! Time to get after it! I am using a Jenny Hatfield training plan and doing most of my runs on my own, for now. This seems to work best with our family schedule for now, and hopefully as it gets warmer I can convince D to join me and push the stroller for me!
D spent last week in Chicago finishing up a leadership program that he has been participating in through his job. We missed him terribly, but I can't complain because a one week trip was nothing back in our Navy days, when he was gone more times than not. M was SOOOOO thrilled when he came home though!
Am I the only person who misses the Olympics already?! The Winter Olympics are so different from the Summer Olympics because of all the epic crashes. You know I love skiing, so the downhill races are my favorite but this year I got a kick out of all of the slopestyle personalities!
We had our home study visit/interview this week to update our homestudy. Once the report is complete, it will be good for a year before we have to update it again. The women who we work with for our homestudies have such warm, kind personalities, they really make you feel at ease. So if you know anyone who is considering adoption and looking for adoptive parents, please feel free to contact me!

I hosted a baby shower for my friend last Saturday, and I picked up these flowers to decorate the house.  Aren't they pretty?  I just love beautiful flowers.  The large roses are very similar to the roses that were used in the bouquets and arrangements at our wedding.

My birthday was this week!  It was really great to hear from many wonderful friends and family, made me feel really special.  My sister sent me this cool spiralizer that I can't wait to try out!  Will let you know how it works.

This cool dude is picking up TONS of new words every day!  His new words today are: knife, butter, cut, door, diaper and bucket!  I was shocked to hear him say all of these this morning, but super proud!

Have a great weekend!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lent 2014: Walking with Jesus in the Desert

Do you observe Lent?  My earliest memories of observing the Lenten season date back to middle school.  I gave up soda and couldn't understand why I had such a bad headache for the first few days!  Ever since then, I have tried to observe Lent and see it as a reminder to focus on growing in holiness and faithfulness in anticipation of the Easter resurrection.

A new friend mentioned that she explains Lent to her kids by emphasizing that Jesus was in the desert for 40 days and he was tempted there.  And Lent is our own 40 day period of time when we are walking in the desert with Jesus, facing all of the temptations that try to lead us away from Jesus.  And I don't know about you, but I have a lot of those temptations!  Even as I have been thinking about preparing for Lent, and what I will give up/what I will take on, I find myself becoming susceptible to thinking, "oh, I am going to do X, Y, and Z and I will be so holy!"  But truly, X, Y, Z are not about holiness, but about my earthly goals - losing weight, becoming a faster runner, etc.

So, since Lent is marked by "fasting, prayer and almsgiving," I am going to keep it simple and try to focus on simple, specific things so that I can focus on growing closer to Jesus.  

We will abstain from meat on Fridays and observe the fasts on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

Fasting: I will give up my beloved soda (I'm looking at you, Diet Coke.)

Prayer: I will get up 30 minutes early for a dedicated prayer and Bible study time. 

Almsgiving: I'll do a small version of 40 days, 40 bags, which you can read about here and here.  My plan will come in a separate post.

While our toddler is not old enough to fully understand this liturgical season, he is certainly aware of what we do and of our routines - for example, he knows that we either hold hands or make "prayer hands" when we say the blessing before meals, and he can say "Amen" at the end of prayers.  We lit our Advent candles at dinner during Advent, and by the end of that season, he knew that was part of the routine.  I am hoping that building these habits now will lead to a lifetime of faith.  Of course, you never know and I know I can't control everything, but it doesn't hurt to try.

Here's what we will be doing as a family to mark this season:

For prayer, I am planning to try out a prayer chain like this one to build an additional daily prayer into our routine.  We will also add a special Bible story time in addition to our pre-nap and pre-bedtime stories.  (We like to read around here!).  I won't be asking my toddler to fast, and together we will talk about buying food for the food pantry, but I think the main focus for this year with an almost-two year old will be prayer and Jesus.  Please pray for me, and I will pray that we will all have a holy Lent that leads us all closer to Jesus!