Thursday, March 10, 2022

When Snow Falls in San Diego

[disclaimer: it has been almost 5 years since I've written a blog. A new intro is probably due since we've doubled the amount of kids and dogs we have, but for now, here goes it]

It started with a text at 5:16am from my sister to my mom and me. "We got snow!!" She just moved to an area a little further from us (20 minutes instead of 5, so I realize that is nothing to many). An area that was promised periodic snow. And she promised me she would tell me whenever it fell so we could come see.

It was a school morning and no one was yet awake. But it's snow, I thought. And we don't get snow. So an hour later, from my cozy spot on my couch, I texted her to ask if we could come see before school. She responded with "I'll start a fire!" My mom joined in and within minutes, we were up and prepping to drive to the snow. 

I searched for snow clothes. Thin gloves, tennis shoes, sweat pants and rain jackets. Those will do. Threw it all in the car and went to wake up my girls. "Wanna go see snow at Auntie's house?" I said to my sleeping beauties. "Yes!" they cried, jumping out of bed. (they don't do this ever). 

We grabbed backpacks and beanies, water bottles and blankets. I pulled the baby out of a deep sleep and we loaded up in the minivan. My twins (age 7.5), Hannah (age 3.5), Erin (age 12 months), and our four dogs. Emma, Baker, and our new golden retriever puppies. "Everyone buckled?" "Yep!" they yelled in chorus. And we were on our way. 

My phone dinged. "I'm making breakfast!" Yes. Thank you, sister! We forgot that part. 

12 minutes into our drive we spotted snow. You would have thought it was Christmas in that car. And getting off the freeway.... oh the joy! I handed my phone to Rachel and told her to take some pictures. 

Everyone unloaded as we got there and my sister welcomed us all with coffee and coffee cake and orange juice and a cozy fire. The girls ran to play (even before jackets were zipped requiring them to stop and start again, which was so-not-fun-Mom!) and I stood and watched them with my bundled baby (blanket not my own) and my sister. My mom arrived soon after with her puppies and we laughed and snapped photos and videos and chatted. In between answering questions and yelling to be careful and helping stuck puppies and saving fallen kids. 

We watched as the snow went from a fresh white blanket to a muddy footprint-stricken playing field. Somehow it still was just as pretty, if not more so. 

Rachel slid down the hill with the pups. 

Maddie built the cutest little snowman I've ever seen. 

Hannah walked around in awe. 

Erin snuggled up. 

I decided to let the girls be late to school so they could play a little longer. "You're the best mom," the receptionist said to me when I called to tell them. I texted their teacher to tell her and she responded with, "Jealous!! I should have sent a cooler to send some with them!" Fortunately, there was an unused cooler in my sister's patio, so we loaded it up with snow and the twins practiced carrying it together. 

An hour later, after bodies were warmed, bellies were filled, sister photos were taken and hearts were happy, we piled back in the car and headed to school. Soon after I dropped them off, I received a text from their teacher with pictures of them playing in the snow at school. 

Not all moments are beautiful. I don't always feel grateful. But this day - this morning - was one to be grateful for. 

Grateful for texts at all hours. Doors that are always open and welcome me and all my crazy with no questions asked. Warm fires and snow and coffee cake and coffee mate french vanilla creamer. My sister and my mom living close by. But not just close in proximity, but in heart. Kids that get excited. Laughter. Puppies seeing snow for the first time. Caution and eagerness. Gracious teachers and school staff. Minivans that fit everyone and everything. Help. Love. Joy. Peace. Family. 

And always always, grateful for the Creator who made it all. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Life Hacks: Meal Delivery

The dreaded 1600 hour. The hour when I must figure out what to make for dinner

This is something I am a bit ashamed to say I have never gotten good at in our 9.5 years of marriage. So lately, especially with me working two jobs, one full time from home with two little ones, this results in us picking something up. Which is neither cheap nor healthy. Nor a good example for my daughters, who started to think dinner comes from a store/restaurant/eatery, not a kitchen. "what we gonna pick up for dinner mom?"

Enter Hello Fresh. My dear friend Lindsey turned me on to this idea of paying someone to bring meal items to my house, and I cook the preportioned ingredients to form a meal. This seemed too easy, cheating, too good to be true. J and I have talked about it for almost two years off and on, but never actually pulled the trigger (J uses this phrase a lot - as I write it, I'm wondering if maybe it's not best to write those words, but ah well) on ordering. Then we went to our neighbors' house a few weeks back and started talking about this meal planning thing. They've been getting meals from Hello Fresh for a long time and sold us on it as they busted out these rad recipe cards and talked about all the portioned ingredients and how easy it is.

So, with nothing to lose (and no cancellation fee) we ordered our first week's meals, which came last week.

oh. my. goodness.

For the first time in forever (you can sing that like Anna would, it's ok), I haven't been stressed about dinner. I don't have to worry about what to make for dinner and what to buy at the store. We pick our three meals from our seven options or whatever each week (different options each week!) and they bring three meals at a time on Mondays. (I will say, the presentation could be slightly better. But the fact that I can throw all the scraps in the bag and toss it at the end of the meal is pretty cool, so I'm ok with brown bags.)

Last week we had Burrata and Lemon Zest Ravioli

Kiwi salsa and Steak Fajitas

and creamy dill chicken.

This week, so far we have had Lemon Shrimp Risotto

and Crispy Cheddar Frisco Cheeseburgers. 

And Friday night we have New York Strip Steak with truffle potatoes and green beens. 

Let's take a minute to acknowledge that I am not a food photographer, so I don't even think these pictures look appetizing, and I ate the food. But seriously, 1. they all were really good, and 2. we made them!

Dinner has become fun! I'm sure this isn't a forever thing, but so far it's been the same cost or cheaper, and we are eating at home three times a week, and eating different types of foods and they have all been surprisingly good! And I can say I made dinner. Because I did. Someone else just helped me figure out what to make and delivered the ingredients to my door. 

SO thankful for whoever thought up this brilliant idea of food delivery. It feels like cheating, but I don't care. I am totally sold. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

On Waking Up and Benches and Neighbors

For a long time, I've felt like I have nothing meaningful to say. No deep thoughts. My thoughts consist primarily of things such as: when did Maddie fall asleep, did Rachel take a nap yesterday, how many cases do I have for work today, what time is it, oh it's lunch time, what should I make for lunch, my kids are crazy, I need to play with them, they are so cute, ahh girls stop hitting, and the ever famous WHAT'S FOR DINNER. Deep thoughts, I know. The what's for dinner post is for another day. But a couple weeks ago, I decided I have to beat my kids out of bed if I ever wanna have time to have a thought beyond the basic needs of life. Which is tricky, since they currently sleep with us and Rachel basically lays on top of me and wakes up the second I move. But, I've been managing about 65-70% of the time to sneak out before she's up. I've been walking my dogs (which is what you should do every day if you have dogs, just FYI... my poor puppies), and then sitting on our new deck looking at our sweet yard (which I just love and is also another post) with my bible and coffee. Trying to limit it to those things. So I've had some actual thoughts, I think, in these moments, but never wanted to grab the computer to write. Because, what a hassle, and besides, I don't actually like to write all that much.... but that is besides the point. 

Anyway, yesterday morning I was walking down our street with Emma and Baker and came upon a bench. It's almost directly across the street from my house, so it's not new to me, but I've never sat down on it. Just a lonely bench engraved with the words 

"Rest in the shade"

So, for the first time in two years, I sat down. And there's a little journal and pen (and kids' book too, which I loved) stuck in the armrest of this little bench, so I pulled it out and started reading. It's Journal #3, and in the front someone wrote a note about this being the third journal and how the others have been filled up by neighbors and people just passing through and how we all can bond through this bench. And then I read through other entries. One girl was just passing through and was headed to Kansas for a new job next week, another few people commented they also just for the first time stopped and love this idea. A man named Mark commented a few times to those posts "come back, write again, stop and rest again." One girl, Laura, mentioned how she is depressed and often wants to kill herself and this bench and the hope in this journal keeps her going. 

I wondered what I could add to such a little book. Most entries were just saying hi, but there was depth to some, and Laura's in particular, that struck me. She trusted this little book and the people reading it. I prayed for Laura and jotted a little note about it being my first time stopping also, and then I wrote 2 Timothy 1:7 

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 

I don't know why that verse, and I don't wanna be that person who throws scripture out there in the first interaction like I know it all and turns people away, but I also know that God is real, and powerful, and he conquers fear. And sometimes, well, usually, well, most always, the word of God is living and active, and more powerful than any words I can speak. And I dunno, I felt like the journal needed the name of Jesus in it. I hope Laura comes back, and I hope Jesus speaks to her and she hears his voice. I hope she knows she doesn't have to be afraid and she is not alone. 

I'm so thankful that I have absolute Hope in Jesus Christ, the living God. God is real, and alive, He is Love and Truth and Peace, and He is the ultimate authority. One day, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11). I believe that. I just want to be bolder about that truth.

I'm so thankful for strangers, and how something like a bench and a journal can bring people together and somehow, I feel like I know Laura and Mark and the girl in Kansas, even though I don't. I'm thankful that some neighbor at some point decided to pay for a bench on the sidewalk. I'm thankful that bench is on my street. I'm thankful I stopped for 5 minutes. I have to remember that stopping for five minutes often has much greater reward than I would have thought. 

All that to say, I think I'll stop again sometime and check in on my friends in the journal. Maybe I'll bring Maddie and Rachel and they can read the kids book together. Or maybe we can pray for Laura together. I dunno. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

On Writing

It's been almost exactly a year since I've blogged. It's not that I haven't had anything to say... it's just that I've decided to prioritize life a little differently this past year. I love this blog and I love writing (well, actually I do not love writing... but I love being able to look back on writing.... so I think I should write, even if it's not my favorite! ha) remembering life and focusing in on individual moments in time. I like instagram because it's like a picture blog, but i don't have to write something profound with it. Mostly, I haven't been here because, well, the few moments I have without my lovely little people at my heels are spent frantically cleaning and cooking and organizing our new home and working and who knows what else I do, and by the time I have a moment that I think, 'this is the perfect time to blog!', someone is waking up... and trying to teach toddlers that it's ok for mommy to be on the laptop but not them... not a battle worth it at this point... AH well, this is not even what I came here to write!! Also, I just heard my daughter's door open and here comes Maddie.... who will soon be followed by Rachie :) Well.... I'll be back later..... :) I'll leave you with these beauties at the park a month or two ago.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Bridge to Walmart

You might be a Walmart shopper when:

 - your kid takes bites out of the pool noodles in your cart and makes this adorable face while doing so, so you say, eh if it makes her happy...

 - your other kid opens the package of forks you're buying and puts them in her mouth, and you just throw the packaging on the counter like it ain't no thing when you buy them

 - you follow the lady with the price stickers through the kids' clothes and scramble to grab everything she is marking down to $1.00 {seriously, bathing suits and jammies for $1?! we'll take two of each!}

 - your kid takes bites out of the apple you just put in the cart to buy

 - you get crazy excited when the kiddie pool you came in to buy is marked down from $8 to $5

 - you begin telling your life story to the checker at Target in response to a comment she makes about items you're purchasing only to find she isn't listening and your story isn't really making sense and you think, I sound like a crazy person

 - you're wearing sweatpants and a ponytail pushing your cart with one hand while one kid sits in the cart emptying your diaper bag and the other cries on your hip

 - you realize you are THAT person that used to make you cringe... you are one of the people of Walmart... and turns out, the people of Walmart are just ordinary people trying to do life slightly cheaper {and wiser}

I can't believe it. At this stage in my life, Walmart may just be the best place for me.

Next thing you know, I'll be driving a minivan. {just kidding!!}

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Saturday, May 9, 2015

For Rachel and Madelyn

My beautiful girls,

I've had the incredible blessing of being your mommy for over a year now. 
Tomorrow is our second Mother's Day together, and my heart is so so thankful.

Thankful for every single day I've had with you.
Thankful for your laughs, and your little fingers, and your hearts.
Thankful for mealtimes, and snuggle sessions, and your little voices that say more and more each day.
Thankful to be the one to pick you up every morning, and the one to lay you down every night.
Thankful for the twinkle in your eyes every time you learn or discover something new.
Thankful for every single one of your kisses and hugs.
Thankful for the honor of being your mommy. 

Madelyn Joy and Rachel Claire, you have humbled me and taught me so much.
I am so very thankful that God allowed me to be the one you call 'mom.'

I found this song which speaks my heart to you.
I love you, my precious daughters.



Good night
Looks like we made it through the day
The moon sighs
And I know that we're okay

Sleep tight
I love to watch you drift away
I would come with you but on my knees I'll stay

Good night
Five little fingers holding mine
Take flight
Into your dreams and lullabies

There's nothing more that I can do
But just fall more in love with you
And ask the angel armies to stand by
When I leave the room

I'm gonna fail you
I already have
Ten thousand times
I will fall down flat

You'll have a seat in the front row
Of everything I don't know
And all I'm trying to be
You'll see

Good night
There will be storms that we come through
In time
We will slay dragons me and you

I'll always wanna hold you tight
Keep you safe with all my might
So I will leave Jesus next to you
When I leave the room

And you will run ahead
As if you know the way
And I will pray more
Then one should have to pray

There will be words we can't take back
Silences too
And I'll be on my knees
You'll see

One night
When I am old and unsteady
You'll want me to fight
But I'll tell you that I'm ready

When there's nothing left to do
I will still be loving you
Then you'll fold your fingers into mine
And I will let Jesus hold you tight
When I leave the room

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Flower Fields

I'e been wanting to visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields with my girls this season, and was reminded of them when I went to a friend's baby shower down the street from them this past weekend. The fields close on Mother's Day this coming weekend, so Mom and I took advantage of her day off 
(and her anniversary today! Happy anniversary Mom and Steve!!)
to take the girls today!

I took some pictures of the girls, which are mostly side profiles since it's set up so you cant get in front of them unless they face away from the flowers (and come on, they're one. They wanna touch the flowers. Don't tell the flower people we touched them!). But I of course with my completely unbiased opinion ;) think they are so cute, so I'll share them with you too. Just because it's fun and I can!

Thanks, Grandma, for joining us! And thanks, Grammy, for the adorable outfits!

This girl was miss independent!
Maddie: there's a man sitting on that bench...
...I don't want that man to sit on that bench by me!
my precious Rachel Claire
typical photo attempt these days!
Pointing at the airplane
my precious Madelyn Joy
Rachel: let me show you, sissy. You just pull the petals off like this. No it's ok, that's what we're supposed to do.
I'll have this headband off in three, two, one!
'I wanna walk!!' This girl is non-stop these days, walking about 50% of the time. (!!)
typical life with two busy one year olds!
kissing the bird from afar
watching the doves (or some variety of birds!)