Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mia Letter: 8 Months

Man. November was so busy that it feels like a blurry, distant memory! Mia just keeps getting more and more active and social. She continues to be this amazingly sweet, easy, observant, beautiful baby girl. She kills me with that face of hers. Just look at it. Can you even stand it?!

This month started off with a lot of new tricks like sitting up by ourselves, crawling (soldier), rocking on hands and knees, sitting in her new big-girl highchair and eating Puffs! Later in the month she figured out how to play "So Big" (which is soooooo cute) and she started pulling herself up to onto her knees in the crib by using the rails.

Poor Baby caught her first cold. Just a stopped up nose and some congestion. We tilted the crib mattress up a bit and set up her sweet elephant humidifier. She actually lets me aspirate her nose. Brody would go ballistic when the huge green "sucker" would get anywhere near him and become all-out combative if you tried to make a move toward the nose. Mia is so laid back. She doesn't enjoy it and she might even swat at it but for the most part she'll let me give 3-4 good sucks to each side before releasing her trademark squawk. It sounds like a zoo animal. Sometimes like the screaming monkeys and other times like a caged bird. She's so talented. For the most part, she didn't let the cold slow her down.

We experienced the excitement (horror) of the Tea Fires on the 13th. No thank you to ever wanting to do that again. And then Grandmama came back to us on the 22nd! We got to spend a whole week together and had a wonderful time. Mor Mor and Papa joined us on the 26th to celebrate Thanksgiving.It's always such a treat to have grandparents in town. Brody can't hardly
contain himself he's so excited to have a new audience - and one that will play 'talking cars' no less!! Mia doesn't know yet how blessed she is to have these wonderful people in her life. Her grandmothers and grandfathers love her so much. How awesome it is that she has such smart, fun, funny, YOUNG, talented, God-loving, people-loving role models in her life. I'm so excited to watch her relationships develop and grow with each of her grandparents individually. They each have had such full lives already and have so much to share and teach her. She is truly blessed to be surrounded by such amazing people who love her so profoundly.

As for December, Mia experienced her first Santa Barbara Christmas parade! We love going to the parades in town but find it extremely difficult with small children. This parade is great because we always find a good place to just sit and watch. She never fussed once - even tho it was an hour past her usual bedtime. It was a great time together enjoying the fun things our little town has to offer. And a great way to kick of Christmas in Santa Barbara!
December will be super busy and Mia already has a nasty cold :( Stay tuned for all the exciting details....
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Deal of the Week: Skullcandy

Today I picked up these bad boys for Brody. He's been needing a new pair of head phones for a while and these are perfect b/c they are lightweight, will fit around his giant skull and are SK8r cool, bro!

Regular $24.00.
I got them for $5.00 at the Staples clearance table.

Staples is one of my most favorite stores in the shopping world. I love all the little organizational thingies. But my first stop - every visit w/o fail - is the clearance table. It's hit or miss but I've picked up a lot of fun office supply goodies there for next to nothing.

$5.00 for ipod ready headphones...what a deal!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Deal of the Week: Kenmoore

I can't believe it's Tuesday (for 30 more minutes) and I forgot to tell you about our very awesome Deal of the Week!

First, I have a huge crush on Craig's List. I'm addicted. I used to be an every-dayer-twice-a-dayer but new baby and no money has helped slow my addiction to once every other day or so. THANKFULLY, my very sweet and very awesome and wonderfully patient boyfriend has been a little more diligent.

If you do not Craig's List regularly I am just sorry for you and all the money you're spending on things that you could get second-hand for much, much less. OR FREE! Which is the case with our new garage refrigerator!!!

Well, it's new to us. And did I mention IT. WAS. FREE!?! Yep. A local couple was redoing their kitchen and needed to get rid of the existing stuff. We've wanted a second fridge for years and now - just in time for the holidays - we have one. It's only been a few days but in those few days I think we've each declared our love for our new FREE fridge about 10 times each. Can you blame us?! It's a SECOND FRIDGE. IN OUR GARAGE!!! I'm so happy I could spit.

Thank you, Craig, for your wonderful list. Kisses.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Deal of the Week: Snapfish

This was a pretty good week at the Goodwill, I must say. I hit the 50% off sale and picked up a bunch of neat stuff for next year's Halloween festivities. OH! And I found the cutest Santa Claus Pototo Heads for only $1.50. NIB!

But the DOTW was from Snapfish who offered a free 8x11 album to all Oprah viewers. My SIL sent me the link just in time. $50 value for only $7 (shipping and handling). That is a deal! I'm going to make a book for Brody from this past summer of our time with family and friends in Texas, Colorado and Phoenix.

Since that opportunity for this free album has passed, I want to share another great deal with you - my faithful readers. The few...the bored... ;)

First, check out and look up the participating restaurants in your neighborhood. From this website you can buy $25 gift certificates for only $10. That's a good deal. But there's more...

Then, go to to see if she is offering an coupons. Sometimes, she offers 80% coupon codes which means you can get $25 worth of gift certs for only $2!!! No joke. Talk about great stocking stuffers. Check it out.

Santa Barbara Tea Fire

Last week Santa Barbara caught on fire again. It happens a couple of time a year. Earlier this year we had the Zaca fire. This one is known as the Tea Fire because it started near the Tea House in Montecito.

Brody and I were playing outside with Melina. It was a really warm night. I'm still not sure if the heat was from the fire or if it was the Santa Anas which were blowing thru but at about 5PM I remember asking remarking about what felt like a wall of hot air. At 5:30PM you could see the smoke. At 6pm you could see the flames above the homes on the Riviera.

Our entire neighborhood was in the street...with their adult beverages...enjoying the view. I on the other had was in full panic mode. One of our neighbors has lived in his home for over 30 years and remembered the last time this fire happened. He told us the fire reached the top of our street which only freaked me out more. By 7PM the flames were huge. Homes were clearly being engulfed, palm trees were popping and propane tanks were erupting with huge bangs.

We managed to get Mia and Brody in bed but I am pretty sure they could feel my panic vibes because both of them decided to go bananas. Brody was sacked out until he woke up suddenly and loudly screaming about shin pains. And Mia cried for an hour before deciding to finally give up. Meanwhile (and between shushing Mia) I was gathering all of our valuables.

Our valuables turned out to be mostly photos. Wedding photos, professional photos of the kids, scrapbooks and the boxes of snapshots taken over the past 7 years. And packing clothes for a couple of days. And all of Brody's Christmas presents! It took about an hour to completely pack up. I also felt completely compelled to clean the kitchen. I was NOT going to have my house burn down w/a messy kitchen! It was probably just an attempt at controlling something when I felt so completely out of control.

All the while we're watching the local news realizing that hundreds of homes are being devastated just over the hill.
The smoke was becoming really thick. Our eyes were stinging and we were worrying about the kids being exposed to the smoke. Around 10:30PM the police SUV (which I've never seen before?) turned onto our street notifying residents of the evacuation orders. Well, that did it for us. You say "GO"; we go! Many of our neighbors were laughing it off but we weren't going to stick around with danger this close.

Earlier in the week Brody wanted to rent the Elmo Visits the Firehouse from the library. I knew he'd get bored quickly but we rented it. He watched it twice and we talked the whole time about "get out of the house", "stay low", etc. Of course this came to me the night of the fire. Did we watch that video together so he'd know what to do? Was my house going to burn down tonight? We had to leave.

Our precious friend's, Sharon and Jono, invited us to stay at their house so at 11PM we loaded up the kids and took off to Carpinteria. We ended up staying there for two nights even though our house/neighborhood was unharmed. The air was thick with smoke and the Santa Ana winds continued to make the still-burning fires a danger. We came home on Saturday and rested. Thankful for our safety and for good friends.

Our hearts are breaking for the many families who lost so much. For the Westmont students who left campus with none of their things and have nowhere to return. For Westmont faculty who lost their homes in a moment. Please remember these people and Westmont College in your prayers tonight.

The best way to help faculty is by sending gift cards (grocery stores, clothing stores, department stores, hardware stores, etc.) to:

Warren Rogers, Academic Dean
Faculty Fire Donation
955 La Paz Rd
Santa Barbara, CA 93108

For student donations:

Jane Higa, Dean of Students
Student Fire Donation
955 La Paz Rd
Santa Barbara, CA 93108
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Deal of the Week

The truth is I am not a fan of shopping. I never have been. I think it's a waste of time and I'm usually disappointed or stressed out and so the experience is not exciting for me.

What I LOVE - as you know - is a deal.

I'm starting a new weekly post. AGAIN? I know. But I love this idea and I love my deals so I should be able to stay on top of this commitment. And if I don't? Who cares? My four loyal readers will forgive me b/c they are my people and my people know to not have too high expectations of me ;)

That said.

This week, I found a brand-new-never-been-opened one of these at our local Goodwill (aka Little Target). I bought it for $15 and I found it listed online for $35! I'm so psyched! I had just been telling mom that I wanted to get Brody something like this for Christmas and not two days later did I find it. It was meant to be.

I also found a slew of Cars die-cast characters from Target that we somehow didn't already have - NIB (new in box) for only $1.99. They are regularly $3.50-$4.00 each! These will make great stocking stuffers for Brody and I picked up extra for his little buddy, Owen.

Go me!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Mia Letter: Seven months

The month that Mia woke up.
Until this past month, I really enjoyed bragging about what a great sleeper you are/were. Suddenly, you stopped being such a champ sleeper. Naps became harder, going to bed became a much longer process. Sleep became an issue. Now, in fairness to you, my sweet baby girl, you do still have your shining sleep moments. One time in this past month, Daddy took you to breakfast w/him and a friend. Rumor has it, you sat quietly in your stroller - chattering to yourself and looking pretty - till you decided to fall asleep. Daddy was able to enjoy his visit for 45 minute while you slept nearby. His friend remarked that none of his kids would ever have done this. So, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have: the facts of life. [I'll explain that reference when you're a little older...]

Besides the sleeping struggles you are still a perfect angel baby. You love to laugh and flirt and watch your brother be silly. You get a lot of attention for being so gosh-darn cute and I've learned to be more humble about it. Instead of 'Right??!" I can now say quasi-meekly, "Oh, thank you. That really means a lot to me." Because it does! You are so precious. I complain about the sleep thing but it never fails that when I go up to get you from one of your mini-naps...I can't help but pick you up, chew on your face, swing you around and sing happy songs about how much I love you. One look and I'm goofy all over again. What a good baby you are!

Let's see. October was a lot of fun! This month we did some very Fall-like things - in spite of our unseasonably warm weather. We went to the pumpkin patch with the Wolds and capture the requisite First Visit to the Pumpkin Patch photos. So precious. You started sitting up this month but hadn't really mastered it at the time of the photo-session. We remember your brother's first visit to the pumpkin patch vividly b/c it was the first time he clapped his hands. This made me panic because you, my darling, are not clapping. I realized with much guilt that we don't clap for you very much! You know, "Yeaaa, Mia" + clapping. So we've been practicing. He clapped on the 29th of October. At press, we're into November and there is no signs of clapping but I'm optimistic ;)

The day after the punk'n patch we went APPLE PICKEN! First time. Wasn't a mind blowing experience but it was fun b/c we were there with some of our favorite friends. You and Caleb Wold rode in the Bjorns while your older sibs ran around eating/throwing/picking/kicking rotten apples from the ground. You just liked being part of the action. And we loved you being there!

Halloween was so fun! Your brother was supposed to be a Dallas Cowboy football player. For the sake of record keeping I'll explain why. It's certainly not because we're dedicated Cowboy fans. Daddy is a Bronco's guy and Mommy couldn't not care less about football than she does micro-physics. Here's the short story. I bought some football cleats for Brody at Ross b/c (1) they were cheap and (2) I thought they were soccer cleats. Daddy thinks this is really funny but I think it's an easy mistake. Anyway, instead of taking them back we decided to use them for Halloween and wear the full football uniform + helmet that G'mama got him for Christmas last year. Well, logically, you HAD to be a Cowboy cheerleader, right?

I have to give a shout out to your grandmother here. She made THE cutest cheer uniform in the history of baby costumes. I think she could make money doing this. It was precious. She found pompons at the craft store and chopped them down to size, found the sneakers and added the blue puffs, and hand-created the skirt w/no measurements or anything. It was perfect. We downloaded the star from the Internet, printed it on transfer paper and presto-bamo: 1 Cowboy cheerleader costume. She went all out and then flew in for the occasion. I mean, really? Thank you, Grandmama. You outdid yourself once again. Thanks for the memories!

So on Halloween day, Brody got a little cold + fever so we weren't sure we'd be doing any door-knocking but 'round about 6:30pm he rallied; insisted on being Iron Man instead of a football player and we hit the streets. We only walked a couple of streets but this was his first real experience w/trick-or-treating and he got the hang of it quickly. Sweet Mimi was handed off between the 4 of us (Rah Rah joined the festivities) and we had a blast. It was just the most perfect Halloween yet.

Oh, I need to remember that you got a cold this month. Mild. Mostly sniffles and runny noses. We busted out the sweet cow humidifier and you cleared up w/a week or so. I'm so thankful that it wasn't worse! On the 3rd of Nov. you had your Six Month check up (we're a month behind) and you are still in the 90% for weight, my dear. LET 'EM GIGGLE! You're beautiful and perfect. You also got your flu shot. Can I just say that once again you were remarkable? You talked and smiled and behaved so marvelously the entire visit. You cried for the (6) shots in your legs but stopped right when they were over. I am so proud of you.

You love to eat but of course. You've had peas, butternut squash, zucc, carrots, yellow squash, prunes (yuck), bananas, apples, grapes, avocado and yogurt. All homemade I might add, thankyouverymuch Magic Bullet! You've also gotten mobile this month. It's not a crawl per se but more of a pull-scoot type thing. By the end of the month you were really moving! More on this next month, I'm sure. I'm so impressed by your genius.

Basically, it was a full month and I anticipate the coming months to be even busier and more exciting. Thanks to all the people who might read every word of this entry...we love you. And Mimi-kins. I love you, you little girlfriend. I can't wait to see you tomorrow.

Love, Mommy

[Note: I realize my paragraphs are not aligned...can't figure out how to fix it. grrrr.]

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Rock Obala

Yesterday, Kevin and I were talking politics again and out of nowhere Brody said, "Rock Obala". It got our attention immediately. "What did you say?". He told us he did a project today about him at school. Naturally we were curious.

Here is the project. How great is this? It doesn't matter that we disagree with Obama on pretty much all of his policies, this is a historical event. This is major. There were 14-something million MORE voters in this election than the last one. 14 MILLION. That's nuts.

I already journaled about the whole thing so Brody and Mia have some personal historical record of this election. And I'll probably make a scrapbook page out of this project.

Here's the deal. This country is renewed and it's 100% in thanks to this man. I whole-heartedly wish the outcome had gone differently. I truly, deeply, personally believe that our nation is in jeopardy and that Obama is not the man who will change that status. BUT I can not deny that he's a charismatic man. That he has been able to get people so excited is a testament to his leadership abilities. I will support our president. I will pray for our leader's safety everytime I pray for our nations safety.

By the way, did you know that Kenya has proclaimed a national holiday in honor of Obama's Presidential win? Very cool.

I love that Brody did an "Rock Obala" project and am proud to display it on our fridge. We've since taught him who the man is and Brody can tell you that he's the "...President of the United States of America". So smart!
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Friday, October 17, 2008

Survey Says: I'm Rude.

Well, according to Oprah I am pretty rude. I think I already knew this but thanks to Oprah and her little test, it's now official.

- I am chronically late
- I have gone thru the express lane at the grocery store with more than 10 items
- YES, I've texted during a movie!
- Yes, I've cut in front of people in line
- I don't remember ever stealing a parking spot but I wouldn't put it past myself even tho I absolutely hate these people.
- Gossiped? Of course.
- I have EVEN taken a coworkers refrigerator inventory! This is really I feel compelled to explain that it was drink from a 2 liter bottle of Coke. I have no idea who it belonged to.

Then the conversation turned interesting. How people are so insanely rude while dining at restaurants. Apparently it is still news to people that (1) servers make less than $4/hr [I only made $2.13] (2) 20% is a customary tip (3) servers will spit in your food if you piss them off.

I worked in the restaurant business for 12 years. It sucks. The pay is terrible. People are stupid. It's physically grueling. And the hours are miserable. But I'm not going to lie and tell you I hated it. I actually loved it - most of the time.

I like to laugh. And I happen to know that the funniest people in the world are in the restaurant business. You have to be funny...or the job will destroy. I have never laughed (or partied) harder than the years I waited tables.

But it's an abusive job. A job for masochists. And, if you do it long enough you just might snap and do pretty nasty things too! Of course, I never did any of these things. So, take note and remember that you never want to piss off your waiter. Or maybe you just might wanna stop going to restaurants at all anymore?

* I saw Dave drop a loogie in someone's drink and I know that he served it.
* I witnessed Ben expedite hours worth of food completely nude except for his apron. I'm positive this was against health code.
* I saw many people climb in and out of the ice making machine (shoes and all) which was then put into the drink station for distribution to guests.
* I've seen many a food hit the ground and be re-plated according to the 5 second rule.
* I've seen food sent back to the kitchen only to be put back on the grill/re-battered and re-fried/re heated and re-served to the guest. Oh yes.
* I've seen food eaten off of guests plates before it was served to the guest and afterward
* I've seen cooks/servers handle your food with their bare hands
* I've seen servers scratch themselves in gross places and then touch your plate, your drinks and your food
* And just don't use condiment bottles that have a broken seal. The contents are probably questionable.


~I'm not suggesting that you put up with nasty attitudes from waiters. Just that you might save your comments till after you're done eating.

~You should never eat meat that doesn't look or taste right. Just order a different dish or better yet - ask that your food be cooked longer. This is off-putting and will probably persuade the store to prepare a new dish.

~If you feel like you and your server are 'off' I suggest you get your drink refills from the bar IF the bar is not busy.

~Don't ask for a table change on a busy night. Just deal with the tiny table right next to the service door for one night. If it's a ghost town - ask to sit anywhere you like. Just understand that server sections are determined earlier in the evening and that there is a system in place. You might be unintentionally "slamming" a server and thereby really asking for poor service.

~Don't be afraid to remind a server that you'd like a glass of water (or whatever you asked for 10 minutes ago). Understand that they are dealing with 4-5 other tables at the same time and they forget things just as easily as you do.

~"Please" and "Thank you" go a long way. And eye contact, people. Make eye contact.

~It is perfectly acceptable to ask for your check. Personally, I think a server should be able to anticipate when the guest is done but if it seems like you've been waiting a long time - ask for it. In fact, we've started asking 10 minutes early to allow for the usual delays. Just keeps everyone on the same page.

~By the way, don't calculate your tip by doubling the tax. In some places, alcohol isn't taxed and is often the most expensive items on the ticket. Just go ahead and give 20% (for decent+ service, 15% for sub par service) of the total ticket amount.

I could go on and on but even I know when I've gone on too long. Man, I loved waiting tables. I have such great memories. Oh, the stories I could tell.

Final point. I think everyone should be required to work in a restaurant at some point in their life. They are the best training for understanding how to relate to truly horrible people. And also how to teach multitasking, crisis management, quick math practice, balance and coordination, people skills, interpersonal relations such as reading people, discernment, anticipating desires, etc. Honestly, once you've survived waiting tables, every other job will be a cake-walk. [Note: If you never waited tables, I've found motherhood to be a very similar work experience.]

I hope I haven't ruined your appetites for eating out. The truth is, a little spit can't really hurt you. But to be on the safe side, play nice in restaurants. The kids running the place might be funny but they're really just in it for the money. ;)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Chicken Fried Goodness

So, I'm not the worlds best cook but, as Kevin says, I've gotten a lot better! :) This would hurt my feelings except that it's totally true.

I remember when my mom tried to teach me to cook. She actually instated a you-cook-one-meal-a-week rule which I think only lasted 2-3 times. Not because I wasn't good at it but b/c I think it ended up being more work for her than for me. Or I just stopped doing it? You'd really have to ask her.

When I lived on my own I didn't practice much cooking either. Mostly microwave meals or noodles (with butter and garlic salt..yum yum!) or frozen pizzas (hello Totino's!). I can't imagine a scenario where I'd serve Totino's to my family now. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

I've just realized how very much I enjoy the process of creating a meal. From creating the grocery list to putting the last dirty dish on the rack. I do hate putting away clean dishes but that's another subject.

I am still no Master Chef. You wont find tearing the pages from Gourmet magazine - unless it's a simple one. And I won't spend $30 on mushrooms only to be used for a sauce. But I do enjoy a complicated recipe. I get a great sense of accomplishment when I can put something on the table that even remotely resembles the picture. And even greater when people say, "Wow. This is good."

How can you make meals every night? Well, as I've bragged before, I have the luxury of being married to the greatest man on earth. One who is usually done with work and ready to take on Bubba duties by 5pm every day. This hour of kitchen time is like therapy for me. And then he does the bath and usually the bed time routine so I have another 1/2 hour of alone time for clean up. This is when I might listen to a podcast or some fun music. I honestly look forward to this time.

This week, I made chicken fried steak (a la Rachael Ray) with gravy. I've never made either in my life. The gravy was soooo good. Does anyone remember that Momma Hulsey used to serve gravy with every single meal? How awesome is that?! The asparagus is a regular side dish 'round here. Made to taste like french fried yumminess thanks to lots of EVOO and salt. Brody loves them! I wont say that my CFS came anywhere close to that of Cracker Barrel but it was decent. I'll try again in three months when we've worked off the gravy. I also made pot roast for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I didn't care for it as a kid and found that I'm still not a big fan. But I made it and it actually tasted exactly as I expected it to so I consider it a success. Plus, Kevin liked it!

I get a fun FREE magazine by Kraft called Food & Family. It's full of easy simple recipes! And they send weekly emails. When you're in a pinch, Rachael Ray magazine online is a wonderful tool. Check out the No Joke Artichoke burgers (thanks, Lita for introducing us to these!). And don't forget that shelf of recipe books you have laying around. Just last week I made a recipe out of my Fruit of the Spirit cookbook (thank you, LABC Tuesday Night Bible Study Group 2001!) which was a heart attack in a casserole dish but quite tasty indeed.

I'm always interested in new family favs or good resources. Anyone have an easy recipe to share?!

P.S. I don't know Beverly Hepler is but I have to thank her from the bottom of my sweet tooth for sharing her Pineapple Cheese Bake recipe in aforementioned FOS Cookbook.

P.S.S The other night I became completely obsessed with these two blogs: Lunch in a Box and Wendolonia. They have both devoted the majority of their blog to detailing the lunches they pack for their preschoolers using Bento boxes. I probably spent an hour looking at their creations wishing that they were my kid's mom instead of me. My poor baby took hotdog lunchables to school every day this week! Anyway, it got me thinking...

How fun would it be to do a weeks worth of posts on what we make our families for dinner? Including photo, recipe (or link) and reviews? If you're in, respond in the comments. You'll have to have a Flckr acct or a blog to be able to share. It'll be like we're all gathering for dinner at each others house!

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Friday, October 10, 2008

Mia Letter: Six Months

Oh, Sister. What a great month! You are getting so big so fast. I feel like we just brought you home from the hospital last week and here you are SIX MONTHS OLD! How can that be?

I have to admit that you, My Sweet, have made me a fan of babies. I love your Bubba sooooo much. I loved him at six months every bit as much as I love you. The difference is that I was so overwhelmed and exhausted with him that I didn't have the presence of mind (body and soul) to realize what fun it was to have a baby around! I was eager for every developmental milestone for the simple fact that it would relieve me of a duty. I couldn't wait for him to sit up on his own. To say words. To crawl. To walk! I have beautiful memories of holding, play, rocking him but I also remember the dark moodiness that surrounded me in that first year. I regret that I was altered and wish I had known somehow that it didn't have to be so hard!

All that to say that I just simply adore your babiness. Your little rolly polliness! I love cuddling you in the early morning. I love carrying you around (for short're heavy, girl!). I love playing peek-a-boo with you. I love watching you watch your brother and Daddy wrestle with bated excitement. I love your new 'pat pat' game where you smack your hand down on anything in front of you. I love your throat-ripping skreetches and wide mouthed smiles. I love your drooly face and the fact that you can almost fit your whole fist in your mouth. I even love changing your diapers and cleaning your room! You are just a total joy and I want to really, really, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for being here and for letting me love you.

Now, the big question we get all the time: WHERE DID SHE GET THOSE BLUE EYES? At 6 months you still have bright blue eyes and they are constantly the subject of conversation. Here is the easy answer:

B will stand for Brown eyes which are a Dominant gene. Then b will stand for non-brown eyes which is a recessive gene.

Daddy's Mom [Mor Mor] has the bluest of blue eyes. Her genotype is bb.

Mommy's Dad [Papa Joe] has gorgeous green/hazel eyes. His genotype is also bb.

Since Daddy and Mommy both have brown eyes our genotypes have to be Bb. This is because we both have brown eyes which means we have the dominant brown gene (B). But since we both have one non-brown eyed parent, we also are both carries of the recessive gene (b). Our Punnett squares would look like this:

This means that we had a 25% chance of having a child with double recessive alleles which could only ever be a non-brown eyed gene. It also means that your eyes will probably never be brown. They may not stay as blue as they are (I meet people every week who tell me that their child had blue eyes till they were X many months old). But they will probably never be brown. Maybe you'll keep your sparkly blue eyes? Maybe they'll turn a beautiful hazel color? Whatever color they are - they will be beautiful.

High School Biology lesson for the day - complete.

Milestones. Gosh. You started eating cereal this month. That's been fun. I tried a bottle just a couple of weeks ago (of water) and you suck some but you mostly chew the nipple. After you ate peas a couple of times, you got a bit stopped up. My friend suggested I add EVOO to the mix and that actually worked! Poor baby. Yes, I do make your baby food thanks to my wonderful Magic Bullet blender. Love it. You've done really well with your G Diapers. No major accidents although I will admit that sometimes a poop diaper is a thrity minute ordeal. That's kind of a pain but I sleep better at night knowing that your poop diaper has been flushed down the toilet where it belongs rather than sitting in a landfill waiting to never decompose.

One of my most favorite things is watching you interact with your Bubba. You watch him like he's magical. You burst out into spontaneous laughter when he just enters the room. I've always loved that he's so gentle with you and that he's never once appeared jealous or bitter about a new little person in our home. He smiles with us when you do new tricks. And you should see him at pre-school. When one of us has to bring you to the school for Brody's drop-off or pick-up, he literally stands guard. He will stand between you and anyone that tries come within a foot of you. Then he'll say, "I'll be your hero, Sissy." I love your relationship already! I am so excited to watch it develop. And it's developing so quickly already. And not always for the better. Just today you tried to launch out of my arms to grab a toy he was playing with. He shouted, "NO SISSY! Not in your mouth!". You are so fortunate to have a big brother, Sis. I hope you're each others best friends.

Oh! We put your feet in the water (at the beach) for the first time this month. Just like your brother - you hated it. It was really sweet.

Love you,
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bargain Hunter

I love a bargain. I love a sale. I am a sucker for a garage sale. Basically...I'm cheap and proud of it!

I just recently found two cow humidifiers at our local Goodwill for only $8.00 each! Brand new!! This is such a score. I've wanted one of these cute cool-air humidifiers for a couple of years now but have never been willing to fork over the $40 when I could get an ugly one for $20. See? Cheap.

Last year I found a Kirkland pre-light Christmas tree (regular $200) for only $40 at our down-the-street Salvation Army. It could not have been more than a couple of years old. Still in the box. Excellent condition. I was thrilled! The middle section is problematic but we dealt with it. That same trip I got Brody a full drum set for only $50 - regular $150-$200. I could go on and on. Very little makes me

I am an every-dayer on Craig's List. Sometimes twice a day. Both of our computers came from Craig and plenty of kid stuff. In a small town, Craig and his list are the best!

My girlfriend Julie A. (who still doesn't have a blog of her own for me to point you to) just sent me a link for Rest assured, no one is stealing babies. It's a 'deal of the day' site and even tho I just signed up 10 minutes ago - I'm literally giddy in anticipation of my first deal opportunity! If you like a deal, check 'em out.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mia Taggie!

Look at this adorable gift from Summer! She made one for Brody when he was a little Bubba too. Summer's sewing skills are enviable! She's super creative and a perfectionist so you can always expect greatness. Now that she has two kids in school I'm hoping to see more fabulous creations from her! Oh, and she sent the chicest little paci holder. Mia SweetPea-ya has all the fashionable accessories now. Go Mia...Go Mia...

Thanks, Zoomie. I love you!
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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pinocchio Lies!

Ok. WHAT is up with these classic Disney movies? They are so freaky and scary! I remember Kevin and I were very nervous about showing Brody Bambi earlier this year because we both remembered how sad it was. After watching it, we both thought it was rather tame. I mean, after watching Simba's Daddy get trampled by wild wildebeest (p.s. funny word) in The Lion King, Bambi was, well, almost boring. And definitely that King deer his Daddy...why doesn't Bambi's mom tell him...does this mean that Bambi's little girlfriend was also fathered by the King? I don't know. It weirds me out.

But NOTHING prepared me for Pinocchio. We checked it out at the library (yea library!!) and I thought, "Oh, this'll be fun. A lesson on not telling lies." I'll tell you what...the Howdee-Do-Dee Yippy Skippy Happy Wooden-Boy-Turns-Real Boy flick is the true liar here, my friends. THANKFULLY, I decided to watch it with him just in case. Could this movie be more inappropriate for kids? Maybe only if they added a sex scene.

First there is the issue of all the smoking and drinking by & around children. Then the kidnapping. Then the issue of the bad man who is stealing "stupid" (the forbidden word) little boys. Then the issue of said 'stupid little boys' turning in JACKASSES. Which they insist on saying not once (maybe it'll slip past him) but twice ('Mommy? What's a jackass?" "They said donkey, silly."). Thank you very much, Mr. Disney.

Needless to say, I got more lesson opportunities than I bargained for out of the little Jiminy Cricket flick. I felt like I was talking throughout the entire film!

"Don't drink"
"Smoking kills"
"Never go with strangers"
"Don' lie"
"That boy is naughty. His mommy should spank him for acting that way"
"Stay away from whales!"
"Don't ever wear over-all shorts. They're sissy"

How did I not remember these details? This simple fact is what puts my mind to rest. It can't be too damaging if I didn't remember the horrors it contained. Can it?

Brody called me an idiot the other day - which is Disney's most favorite word. Especially in the oldies. Cruella can't finish a sentence w/o peppering it with an 'idiot' or two. Jeez! I'm not sure what word is more appropriate but idiot seems harsh. Am I over the top here? Does the rest of America not care if their kids run around calling people (teachers, friends, friends mothers, stray dogs and cats) idiots?

When he called me 'idiot' I asked him what he said? He said idiot again. Understand, he said it as tho he was saying 'you with the hair on your head'. It wasn't hateful. There was no malice. He was just...trying it on for size. So I asked him to look me in the eyes. "You will never call Mommy that name again. You will never call anyone that name again. It's ugly and mean and not ok to say. Do you understand me?". "Uh-huh" he stammered. Obviously taken aback by my seriousness. "Yes, ma'am?" I hammered. "Yes, ma'am." Kiss and hugs and life goes on.

So, our little boy is getting bigger. More than ever we have to protect his little ears & little eyes. Pinocchio, the little freak, is going straight back to the library with a big thumbs-down from me!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

My Favorite Season

I do love Fall.

I especially love Fall in Santa Barbara.

But this is not the season I'm referring to.

It's TV Season, people. And I'm so excited!!!!!

I'm astounded that some people don't know what TV Season is? These are the same people that don't really understand syndication. You will only see new episodes of Desperate Housewives on ABC. Period. Sometimes you'll see DH on a station like Lifetime but rest assured - they are reruns. And when you find The Office on back to back at 11PM - these are always w/o exception reruns. Ok? Same page? Ok. TV Season is when all our favorite shows come back to us with brand new episodes. Ooooh, I love it!

Prison Break has already started and I'm embarrassed to say that both new episodes are still sitting in my DVR unwatched. I don't know? There is something about a second baby, for me, that has made me need 'down time' so much less. Or maybe it's that my 'down time' is different than it used to be? Used to, for every single nap and after Brody was down for the night - I'd head directly to the couch, grab my computer (because I can't just sit there - have to multi-task) and turn on the TV to catch up on all my recorded shows. I have many. I do. Now, when Mia and Brody are both down...I don't know what I'm doing but it's not watching recorded TV. Sometimes I'll play The View (which I do have a commitment to) but it's usually background noise and I end up fast forwarding thru most. Where was I? What is my point?

There are several shows I'm especially looking forward to this year:


LOST of course

Eli Stone

Amazing Race (love it!)

Ghost Whisperer


Prison Break

The Office


The following will make the DVR list but are not as heavily anticipated:

Desperate Housewives

Brothers & Sisters

Boston Legal

Pushing Daisies

Cold Case


Shows (new and returning) I'll check out and decide to keep/toss:

90210 (hello? I just have to...)

The Fringe (can't pass up a J.J. Abrams creation)

Kath and Kim

Lipstick Jungle

and Cashmere Mafia


My Own Worst Enemy (it's Christian Slater, come on)

Now I'll ask for a time of silence for the show I am most sad to see is not returning in this 2008 line up:


It was good. And really, really funny and I'm very bummed. We laughed out loud at least once every single episode. Even Cara! And she knows funny. If you didn't catch it and don't believe me that it was that funny and have too much time on your can check it out here. Oh, Marmaduke. You will be missed. Farewell.

Therefore, at the top of my New Shows to Watch list is Do Not Disturb which is not only directed by Jason Batement but the stars of the show are Niecy Nash and Jerry O'Connell. As you know, I'm a big Niecy fan and I consider Jason and Jerry two of the funniest on TV.

What shows are you excited about?

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Green Baby Is Not A Goblin

Ok. I made the leap. Several months ago I posted that my girlfriend Julie was going to use cloth diapers with her newborn baby girl who is a week younger than Mia. That prompted me to research the options and found the G Diapers website. I was fascinated but too hesitant to commit. Now that Mia is a little older we decided to give the G Diapers a try.

I'd read mixed reviews on the G Diapers and noticed that the complainers were all the people going from the classic cloth diapers to the G Diapers (which describe themselves as a "hybrid") but those going from disposables to G Diapers seemed to be very pleased. Also, according to their website 50 million disposable diapers enter the landfill every day, where they sit for up to 500 years. That is just more than I can handle. Especially considering that we were in the practice of wrapping poop diapers in plastic grocery bags!!! There is also a freaky great video that shows the decomposition of a leading chlorine-free diaper, a disposable diaper and a G Diaper insert. You've got to see it to believe it. It's an investment, I know. But I feel like if I can cut down my impact on the ever growing poop filled landfills (you flush poop G Diapers down the toilet and can flush, toss or compost the pee-pee ones!!) then I can rest a bit easier. Besides, I also read that some people use cloth diapers as inserts in the pants. I could always try that. Plus, I've got a sleeve of disposables left. I'll let you know how it goes!

BONUS: I bot our G Diapers on For 10% off your first order use the coupon code: CHRY3121

I also bought a bottle of California Baby®Non-Burning & Calming™Diaper Area Wash (only $7.95 from versus $11.50 from California Baby's website). We're going to try using this instead of baby wipes. The point is to avoid alcohol and fragrance. I just read this article on which recommended holding baby under a running faucet at every baby change. Uh...I'm not really about all that. I can't really figure out the mechanics, am not down for the poop-in-the-sink scenario, plus then there's the whole wasting water issue. My girl Julie uses Booty Cubes which she loves.

At Mia's 4 month check-up, the doctor noticed that she has a vaginal adhesion. "Nothing to be concerned about", she said. "Just glob on the Vaseline and it should take care of itself." Vaseline is 100% petroleum jelly which is thought to be a carinogen because of the way it is manufactured. It coats the skin like plastic so it cannot breath. I don't want that on Mia's arm skin much less up her...area! That lead me to Alba's Un-Petroleum Multipurpose Jelly. I had to go to 4 local stores before finally finding it at Lazy Acres Market (our local Whole Foods-like store). While there I also found a ton of other great non-toxic baby products like this Rainbow Kids hand sanitizer.

Presently, I'm not as concerned with what I put on my skin but I'm highly concerned about what I put on their skin.

And as Christians, if we're not concerned about protecting 'our' planet - which we all know is not and never will be ours - then we are nothing short of hypocritical. In his book Serve God, Save the Planet, Dr. J Matthew Sleeth says,
As all those who consider themselves people of faith grow in their understanding that God holds us accountable for care of his creation, we will begin to see positive changes on an unprecedented scale.”
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Good Reads

[1] My girlfriend Heather Richter has started a blog and since I'm a HUGE fan of Miss Heather, I thought I'd do a little advertising. I was blessed to meet Heather a few years ago thru our home group. She and I 'clicked' immediately which I think is more about her than me. I'm pretty sure she's good at 'clicking' if you know what I mean. Well, I realized very quickly that pretty much everything she says is like this golden nugget of wisdom. Mother of 4. Living the life of a missionary. Wonderful loving wife. Full-out lover of Jesus. I contemplated purchasing a small voice recording device and covertly taping all our convos but then she up and left me. Sort of. God answered their prayers to move to Ohio (from Santa Barbara to Ohio...I know. But they were literally over joyed!) to actively work & serve through Athletes in Action.

Point. Heather has finally started her own blog! Before they left I was begging her to blog or create a women's newsletter or something. She's the kind of person you want to be best friends with and the sort of quite leader who speaks loudest thru her actions. I encourage everyone to bookmark her blog Moments of Clarity for some good reads.

[2] Guess what? There is at least one other Mia Sturm in this world! Not only that but she lives in California. Not only that but her Mommy and Daddy are believers! Their faith has been such a beautiful example of how we, as Christians, should be every day. Unlike most of us, the Bakersfield Sturms have a big reason to lean on the person of God and rest in His peace. Little Mia was born with pretty serious conditions that they were completely unaware of and totally unprepared for. I spent one night reading every post from the past 10 months and am truly encouraged by them. "God is so good!". What might make weaker people (faithless people) break has made this family so strong. They're beautiful and I hope we can meet one day and introduce our little Mia's to each other! Check them out at Snooky Great for regular prayer request and updates.

[3] So after reading about Kristy's obsession with Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series, I decided to check them out. I bought it the night before we left for our Phx/Denver/Phx trip and ended up reading the first three on that trip! Then, was excited to find the fourth book on the 7-Day read shelf at our local library {btw, I adore the library. We go at least once a week. One of my favorite "by myself activity treats" is to spend time in the library w/the kids. If you haven't been in a while I suggest you do!}! Gobbled it up in 8 days (goodbye $.50). I really enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who needs a break from reality. Note: it involves vampires. If that trips you out, I understand but's a fun read. Youth fiction. Warning: Since all 4 books are already published you can read them in rapid-fire. The problem with this is that after doing so, I became totally invested. I find myself actually missing the characters.

Anyway, thanks again, Kristy! Whatcha readen now?

[4] I recently subscribed to Christian Stay at Home Moms {CHSAHM} changing the world one diaper at a time. It's a really fun site with a topics from Activities for Kids to Product Reviews. I especially like the Mom Blog directory. There are a lot of directories out there but this one is specifically for Christian moms.

[5] Important. If you use iGoogle (or have a Gmail account) I want to recommend Google's Reader application. Kristy posted about it last year some time and I jumped on board that band wagon immediately! Reader lets you 'watch' all your fav blogs. When someone posts, they show up in Reader where you can read the post or click to the actual blog (if you want to comment). I used to spend several minutes checking each of my regular blogs in excited anticipation...only to see they still hadn't posted anything. Such a let down! Now, I click my Reader tab and can see in an instant who has new posts! Such a good thing. Google: Google Reader

[6] Just completed Gorgeously Green (thank you, public library). I've wanted to read this for a while but never wanted to fork over $17 to own it! "green" is checking out books at the library?! Anyway, the trouble with reading this book is that now I'm equipped with all this knowledge and thereby compelled to act...and, unfortunately for those who don't care, also compelled to share. Ugh! Stay tuned for my life updates.

[7] Last point on the reading tip. I'm starting Jane Eyre tonight. Tired of my favorite books being from the Teen Fiction section. Thought I'd try out a classic. If you wanna blog-book club with me, leave a comment!

Happy Readings, my homies.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Mia Letter: 5 Months


You are so precious.

When your Bubba was your age, I found myself constantly wishing for more. Always having to remind myself , "He's going to get bigger soon so you better enjoy THIS moment in time." My love, you are growing too fast. You just came home and now you're like this big 5 month old girl. Like...really big. 17lbs big. Ok, you're huge.

I love every single fold, Baby Girl. Every dimple. Every last bit of chub on your little Dough-Girl body.
This month has been such a blast. You have developed so much! You learned to roll over front-to-back on August 15th and then from back-to-front on the 17th! We were at Mor Mor and Papa's house is Phoenix so you got to really show off for the masses. We were very proud. We traveled with Daddy's family to Denver again in August for GG's memorial service. It was a Johnson Family Reunion! You were a perfect angel on the plane to Denver - your Mor Mor held you the entire way so let's just say, this was Mommy's favorite flight so far! What a treat.

After Denver we spent the week at Mor Mor & Papa's house and got to play with your cousins Malena & Briella and Nicole & Gregory! We had so much fun swimming, rolling-around, playing and watching the Olympics on Papa's big, huge TV. It was a great week. We're all looking forward to the holidays when we'll all be together again.

You were terrific on the 7 hour drive home. It was amazing. Unfortunately, we came home to a house full of fleas. Bowen Road (our cat) became flea-infested and so did our beautiful little home. We spent two nights back home but not IN our home. True to form, you were a champ. Much more so than your Mommy and Daddy who were VERY unhappy. Terminex came, fleas gone, life is good.

You get a little 'off' when we travel but usually w/in a couple of days you're back to your brilliant sleep schedule. You're pretty consistently sleeping from 7-7:30PM to 6AM and then till about 7:30-8AM. Nap comes about two hours later. It's so funny that Bubba's naps were always a source of frustration for me when he was your age. I do get stressed sometimes when you don't sleep well but most of the time I just pick you up and go about our day till you get to the point that you might sleep again.

Oh my goodness, you love to laugh. Even in the midst of unhappy (or fake unhappy) cries you will stop abruptly to smile at someone. You flirt with just about anyone who makes eye contact with you. It's absolutely precious and I want to eat the flesh of your cheeks right of your chubby face! And blow bubbles with it. It's that good. People are always remarking on how happy you are. "What a happy baby!". You are, Sweetie. Such a happy baby. Thank you for your wide, up & down smiles and throaty chuckles. We even love your 20-second-at-a-time-ear-piercing-throat-shredding bird squawks. So great!

Other milestones this month include: finding your toes...once. For the most part, you're not super flexible. I think it's cuz there's too much belly. You make a cute breathless grunt every time we bend your toes toward your face. Don't think it's comfortable for you. Um, you fake cough, which is hysterical (to us). You have really mastered the art of reaching & grabbing which we all know is a very important cognotive skill. We couldn't be more proud.

Finally, you had your 4 month check up last week (9/4/08). So, almost 5 months, actually. You were amazing. You didn't make a peep (besides cute cooing) the whole time until the shots. 6 shots, to be clear. The tears dried up immediately. You're amazing. Anyway, here are your stats:
Height: 25" {50%}
Weight: 17.4lb {90%}

Head Circumference: 16.5" {55%}

Love you, Piggy!

Next month: cereal! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mr. Funny

Can you see Brody? Always the comedian :))
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Monday, August 25, 2008


Left to Right: Malena M., Nicole J. holding Briella M., Gregory J. holding Mianna Sturm, and Brody Sturm. Does Brody look like the adopted cousin? The gorgeous, brown, adopted cousin? :)
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mia Letter: 4 Month

More photos to follow...
Oh, Mia. You are such a Sweet Pea. Mia Sweet Pee-ya. This month has been so very busy. We visit friends and family in Texas for two weeks in June, we celebrated the 4th of July with friends in Santa Barbara, went to a Fiesta event, enjoyed a visit from the Wolds and traveled to San Diego, Phoenix and Denver again for GG's funeral. Your 3rd month is a bit of a blur, if I'm being honest. [You actually turned 4 months just before the trip to Denver]

The top photo was taken at one of the Concert in the Park events in Santa Barbara. It looks over-cast outside but it's not really. You are such an easy baby - still. When we drag you to outdoor events like this you just go with the flow. You don't mind be passed around but you are very vocal when you're done being passed around!

When people see you they immediately comment on how pretty you are. Usually mentioning your beautiful blue eyes. Then they ask how old you are and immediately comment on how BIG you are for your age! I think you're perfect, my princess. Your chubby legs make me want to clap my hands together and jump up and down. Your double chin is the tastiest treat I've ever tasted. Your belly rolls are sweeter than sugar. You are a little doll baby.

You are an excellent traveler.

You are 4 months old and have flown on 10 planes already. Three trips - some w/multiple planes. Every time, you are amazing. You sleep mostly and that is the best I can hope for. On our Texas trip you and I flew separately from Daddy and Bubba. You had a full blow-out both going and returning. The kind of poop that runs up your back. You should have seen me changing your diaper in the tiny airplane bathrooms. It wasn't pretty. But we got thru it together! On the flight to Denver last week, your Mor Mor held you the entire flight which was a huge blessing for both of us!

On the looooong drive to San Diego and then to Phoenix, you were a champ. We stopped every 3 hours(ish) for a break but you hardly complained the entire drive.

Your G.G. went to be with Jesus on July 27th, 2008. Mommy and Daddy's 6th anniversary. We are so thankful that you were able to meet her before she left us. She absolutely adored you, Sweet Mia. Daddy says that GG was the first person you really smiled at other than him or me. She was a darling woman who leaves behind a great legacy. We can't wait to tell you more about her and your Grandpa Bob.

The only other highlight of the past month is your 3 month photo (which was actually almost 4 months). They are brilliant! I can't wait to get them and share them with the rest of the family. You pretty baby girl.

This month you got to meet your Papa Joe, your Gus & Gal, your Uncle Ro, Sue Sue, Aunt Banana and almost all our best Texas friends. You also met Doc Roc, the Wold family and several other of Daddy's 'Dude' friends while in San Diego. You are a popular little girl! I'm so excited to see what the next month has in store for us all.

Love you,

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Monday, August 04, 2008


When Brody saw this picture he said, "Awwe. Look at my tiny little hat."

THIS, my friends, is a funny kid.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Shack

I finally finished reading The Shack last night. At 1AM.

I started reading it a couple of weeks ago while in Texas at Dana's and at Tessa's but had to leave before I finished the book. Kevin bought it and completed it on the trip home and then left it on the plane! I refused to buy another copy anywhere else other than Costco b/c they have it for only $9. So, we bought it this past weekend and I read the second half of the book last night.

There is a lot of hype about this book and I get it. Really incredible and tragic story that had me completely engrossed. It was full of thought provoking and insightful material. And I was completely satisfied with the ending. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. Kevin and I are actually going to read it again together and try to digest some of the heavy stuff that is easy to skim over the first time around. I had to stop reading a couple of times and really dwell on what I was reading. I'm not going to reveal the book but the part about forgiveness really rocked me.

I found it odd that Satan, demons and spiritual warfare were never discussed. Especially when angels appear. Biblically they are always at battle yet the book never brings it up. Also not so sure I want to see the movie that the author seems to really want to make. I feel like it might clash with the images in my head. And I can't imagine it being as powerful as reading the book? But I'm sure there will be a movie and hopefully it will answer a lot of questions for those who do not have anything to believe in.

Definitely recommend the book. Look forward to reading it again!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Evidence of Age

7:30PM - Nurse Mia
7:45 PM - End nursing session
7:55PM - Notice the cute ear imprint on my arm from aforementioned nursing session
8:00 - 8:30PM - Grocery shop
8:45PM - Notice that the ear imprint is STILL neatly embossed on my arm - an hour after nursing!
8:46PM - Google 'loss of skin elasticity'....only to find that my initial diagonsis is accurate:


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Long Time, No Blog!

If you've been missing us it's because we've been in Tejas! We spent two weeks in the Land of 200 Degrees and had an absolute blast - in spite of the sweat circles. We flew into Austin where we were able to borrow my very awesome Aunt & Uncle's car for our entire trip. This saved us hundred's of dollars. Such a huge blessing! After landing, waiting for K&B's plane (yes, we weren't able to fly together), collecting all 24 of our bags, shuttling to the auto park and watching Kevin have a near hysterical breakdown trying to install our two car seats into Gus & Gal's car in the sweltering Texas heat - we were off!

The Sellars family graciously gave us their home for the first part of our trip while they were at Family Camp. This was such a HUGE gift to our family. We had plenty of room for everyone (even Mom was able to stay with us) and Brody was able to enjoy a literal toy wonderland!

They returned on Saturday and we spent the next two days and nights just playing our faces off! Check out this photo of the entire crew. Left to right: Brody, Eli, Ezra, Mia, Ean, and Ella Bella. Dana and Scott have an amazing team of babies. We so enjoyed spending time with all of them and especially enjoyed visiting their church on Sunday.

On Monday, we moved into Arlington to spend the night with the McCook Fambily. Oh, my gosh. I love this family. Tessa, as always, was an incredible hostess. I have to mention the incredible mini-burgers she served. Um. Delicious. Sophie and Landry were precious with Brody. I think he caught himself a little crush in miss Sophia! And why the heck wouldn't he? Look at this baby girl!!During our first week in Texas we had so much fun seeing so many friends. We enjoyed a full & super fun day with the Mangrem's, a really fun morning with Julie and Landon, and a wonderful visit with our sweet Sue Sue. We also had enjoyed an awesome lunch date with Uncle Roland! Dinner dates with Whitney & Chad and Nooch & Stephanie. Listen, we were VERY busy and it was great!

After a week in the Metroplex, we packed up and returned to Austin for a few days with Papa Joe. This was the first time Papa Joe had met with Mimi so it was a sweet time. We also got to celebrate Dad's birthday! We absolutely love Gus & Gal's property in Liberty Hill. It is the most rustic yet chic place imaginable. We felt like we were at a resort and on a farm at the same time! Their property line ends in the middle of the river in their back yard and this year there was water. We had so much fun. Gus & Gal [Great Aunt Al & Great Uncle Steve] returned on Thursday and we had the pleasure of hanging out with them and Dad that evening.

On Friday, Summer and Kids came all the way from San Antonio for a playdate in Austin! It was so much fun to connect with Zoomie again and see her gorgeous babies. I can't believe we're all growed up with kids and stuff. So nuts!

This trip was so much fun. We all really enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. I love my friends so much. Being able to play with them was such a blast. I love that Kevin gets along with my friends so well. I love that my family is so gracious and wonderful. I love that so many of us has little ones who will be able to grow up together. Even tho we don't live down the street from each other our kids will always know each other and celebrate each other's successes in life.

Thank you to all of you for making time for us, room for us, and giving us so much love! I miss you all already! Posted by Picasa