Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cuesta Preschool

Wyatt's teacher, Cindy, takes a lot of pictures of the kids throughout the day. She gave them to me this week and I was delighted to get a peek into all the fun he's been having.












These shots don't even include the day an enormous snake was brought into his classroom or the time he held a tiny white mouse. They also don't include field trips to various departments around campus like biology, physical education and theatre. They also don't capture the way he looks forward to going to school and said, "I love you, Cindy," to his teacher when he went to the bathroom on the potty for the first time at school.
I can't really put into words how thankful we are for his preschool experience this year. His teachers are consistently outstanding and they seem to find ways to make it easier to be a parent of a toddler. I had no idea that was even possible. Next semester I'll be teaching three classes and Wyatt will be graduating to three mornings a week. We can't wait!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

November

I took a Thai cooking class with a friend and learned how to make spring rolls and panang curry. I also made a few new friends.
Wyatt and I spent a long weekend in Portland while Garett went to Puerto Rico for work. It was another memorable weekend with good friends. Rebekah already covered the highlights here so I'll just add a few more:

- The bounce house in the garage where the kids must have spent at least 10 hours jumping.

- Leisurely shopping in Anthropologie and finding the perfect things for my niece. (Thank you, Ben, for being with the kids!)

- Amazing Rebekah-made meals and treats. (I do not know how she is able to make food with heavy whipping cream so frequently and stay so slim but kudos to my friend and her enviable metabolism.)

- Church at The Pearl with Suzy and Lukas followed by dim sum.

- Watching the late night Nevada football game on my phone in bed and almost waking up Wyatt with my cheers at the end of the game.
Wyatt and his classmates prepared lunch for their families and I got to spend a little time at Wyatt's preschool. He's in a big dress-up phase right now and wore this hat nearly the entire time I was there. Have I mentioned how much we love his preschool? Last week on a rainy day they put on rain coats and boots and scoured the campus for puddles to jump in. The week before they built a huge mobile for their class that involved pouring concrete into buckets, drilling holes into wood and a lot of painting. When I pick him up, he's in different clothes 90% of the time and his hair is often multi-colored because of the wonderfully messy time he's had all morning. I could not ask for more.
We painted pictures for our family for Thanksgiving and Wyatt experimented with watercolors.

A lot of cuddling takes place in our house. Wyatt now requests "family cuddle."

We spent Thanksgiving in Visalia with Garett's family and it was wonderful. I am so thankful for our relationships and especially the bond between Wyatt and his cousins Olivia and JT.
And, even though you can't tell from the above list, we've also had some tough things over the course of the month. They aren't usually the moments when I whip out my camera but they nonetheless are part of life.
My health is still a daily struggle and we're prayerfully considering various options to deal with it. I've struggled emotionally in addition to the physical battle and, at times, am too overwhelmed to engage much in life.
We continue learning how to parent a two year old boy mostly with trial and error (though I am trying not to emphasize the error) and a lot of prayer. Garett and my teamwork seems to wax and wane and Garett mentioned the other day that we are more regularly forgetting that we are, indeed, on the same team. Oh yes, same team.
As we focus on survival, loving well is more challenging than usual and, by the grace of God, we discover new opportunities to be stretched. How do I feel about these "opportunities"? On a good day, I lean into them and am moved deeply by God's love. Other days I run, feel cold, ignore and am angry. The pendulum swings back and forth and so goes life these days.
I am hopeful that this Advent season will bring a decreased focus on myself and my circumstances and an increased desire for our God who sustains, loves and redeems.



Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wyatt wore his Halloween costume nearly all week. The highlight was probably Friday. We got to see the garbage guys and go to Avila Barn with Wyatt's preschool class. He also liked the trick-or-treating but mostly due to the candy. The garbage can was a perfect "bucket" because once the candy was dropped in, he couldn't reach it. I don't think Garett planned it that way but it made the evening a lot easier.

These are few veggies I picked last night. They are all really small but still tasty and we continue to enjoy the garden. We're getting ready for a winter plant. Any ideas?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Preview

You cannot believe how much joy this costume brings to Wyatt. Garett may or may not have spent five days building this garbage can which is a replica of ours. He assures me that it will be a toy for years and years to come.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fro Yo


Wyatt loves frozen yogurt and Pinkberry is the best.


Friday, October 1, 2010

A Rough Week

"Mommy, you're my best friend."

These sweet words from my two year old boy could not have come at a better moment.

I've been feeling pretty crappy the past week and a half. I think it's a combination of a nasty cold and a minor Behcets flare. Whatever it is, I've bailed out of more things than I can list and I struggle to get over the feeling that I'm a flake. There is a battle going on in my mind in addition to the one going on in my body. The battle is between believing what is true about who I am and feeling like what I do or don't do or what others think about me defines me. I lose this battle often and wind up feeling even worse.

On top of these deep issues of identity, I also feel bad about the kind of parent I am on these days. Today, for example, Wyatt and I did not leave the house. We watched gobs of PBS and a Curious George movie and only ventured outside to say hello to Fidel as he dumped our can into the garbage truck. We had smoothies for lunch and I let him hang out in his bed after nap for at least 30 minutes while I tried to peel myself out of my bed.

I don't want to feel guilty but still do. I want to be a mom taking my son on adventures, enjoying the beautiful day at the beach or climbing up a hill. I want to be doing fun projects together or even just eating ripe strawberries from our backyard. I want to not have the television on nearly all day and I hate the fight I know tomorrow will be as a result of Wyatt getting to watch so much today. I hate saying no to friends who want to get together because I can't imagine having a conversation and being a parent at the same time. And my house sorely needs a good, deep clean but I don't know when that will happen.

Tonight Garett stood over the mess of dishes in the sink and said, "I'm looking forward to you feeling better." What I heard was, "It's a disaster around here and we all pay a price when you're sick." Garett's not the kind of husband who needs a honey-do list in order to get things done around the house. He's the primary toilet cleaner, trash taker-outer and vacuumer so I don't think he's complaining when he says that. He's just acknowledging that it's hard on all of us when I'm sick and I couldn't agree more.

When Wyatt said, "Mommy, you're my best friend," tonight, my heart swelled and I tried to not assume he said that just because he got to watch TV all day.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Sweet Friendship

The other highlight of last weekend was spending three full days with my best friend, Kristin, who currently lives in Bridgewater, Virginia. We roomed together all four years at Wheaton and have been able to connect relatively frequently over the past 11 years since college in spite of always living at least two time zones apart. Since the last time we got together, we've both had children and she's now seven months pregnant with her second. I knew it was going to be good to be together but I didn't realize just how good.
One night we stayed up until 2:30am talking. I cannot remember anything of my own volition keeping me up that late in years but I had no regrets the following morning when I had to get up at 6. We shared the highs and lows of life and laughed a lot. We remembered our ridiculously boy-crazy college days and dreamed of days ahead when our kids know each other. We ate amazing food and did some leisurely shopping at Reston Town Center, the convenient location of the conference. We ate late night take-out in our room, watched The Food Network and read to our heart's content. I was reminded of the things that drew us together in college even though we're both (I think, I hope!) thoroughly different people than we were then. The changes have strengthened our friendship rather than distanced us and that is a gift that is not always the case.
Of course I spaced out and did not take one photo. I can't seem to get it together in the way of capturing memories but if I'd taken a picture, it would have been of us sitting at Big Bowl, leaning over the table to talk like we used to for hours in our college cafeteria, sharing life and encouraging one other. I could not get enough, hence the 2:30am bedtime.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dramatic But True

Awake. Alive. Renewed. When I think about the long weekend (Wednesday - Sunday) I spent in Washington DC at Peacemaker Ministries' forgiveness-themed annual conference, these are the words that come to my mind. I finally completed the certification process and was honored with a group on Friday night. As I walked on stage and heard our commissioning prayer, tears streamed down my cheeks and I felt alive.
Let me backtrack a bit. In 2004 I started working at Creative Mediation and discovered a passion for conflict resolution. In 2005 I began learning about biblical conciliation and went through several training sessions to develop skills in this area. I ended up meeting God in a new way and my understanding of the gospel and its implications expanded. God spoke to my mind and into the depths of my soul through 2 Corinthians 5 and I will never be the same. Serving the body of Christ by coming alongside those in conflict became a regular occurrence and I saw the gospel come to light in people, in relationships and within organizations. Literally, I discovered that a key element of my purpose on this planet was to serve in this way and my intention was to honor God with these gifts in all aspects of life. Practically, I started a Masters in Theology distance learning program and served frequently, cutting my work schedule down to part-time in order to make space for reconciliation.
Then I had Wyatt in March of 2008 and life changed. The "space" I had before was absorbed with a baby and all of the pressing concerns associated with one. Given the challenges of my health and the daily and nightly energy required to care for a little one, I barely survived the first 18 months. The things that were near and dear to me pre-Wyatt became distant and dried up. Or at least that's how it felt. I grieved the loss of life before Wyatt. When I think back to the things I've blogged about these past two and a half years, I can't help but notice the lack of reconciliation-themed posts. It was not a conscious choice to ignore my heart for reconciliation but it's clear that something changed in me during these years.
And, in a moment, I woke up. My gratitude to God who has reconciled me to himself flooded my consciousness and I tasted joy in who I believe he made me to be. I don't know what exactly this means in terms of my day to day existence but I do know that God is alive and well as the God of reconciliation and I desire again to be part of his work.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Montana de Oro

We took a walk and tried to find tide pools at Montana de Oro this morning. Wyatt's pretty lucky to have a friend who likes to get dirty and run around as much as he does.
As Wyatt and Abby pulled the large piece of seaweed down the beach, Wyatt chanted, "Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork," and I am certain he learned that at preschool.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

We love Terrace Hill (and the Petersons)

Last night we ventured up the quick little path to Terrace Hill and enjoyed a beautiful evening hilltop. Here are the boys:
I love how this tiny hike is right around the corner from our house and am especially thankful that I can climb up it relatively easily even on days when my knees and ankles are aching. The night was capped with fish tacos with fish Garett caught on Sunday on his first ocean fishing trip with the boat. On our way down the hill Wyatt asked if Huck could come over to play which pleasantly turned into dinner. We continue to be thankful for good friends who are up for spontaneous activities and meals.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Clean(er) Teeth and a Hike

Wyatt took his first trip to the dentist last week and we were all very impressed with the whole thing. From televisions everywhere showing cartoons, to movies about monkeys getting their teeth cleaned, to the tiger colored cleaning tool that "growled" while it cleaned, to the treasure chest of toys explored at the end, the entire experience was remarkable.Wyatt took his first hike longer hike on Monday. We checked out Johnson Ranch, a leisurely two and a half mile trail, and I think Wyatt walked at least a mile and a half of it. He actually ran for most of that and said that he's a "trail runner". A few people on the trail commented on how brave we were bringing a two year old on this hike but really we just didn't know how long it was. Ignorance is bliss and a nice hike.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Best Sandwich Ever

My folks gave us a good panini maker for Christmas last year and sandwiches have not been the same. While I was pregnant I developed an intense dislike for cold meat and the panini maker is a nice solution when all that sounds good is a sandwich. Here's the combo:

- Start with a nice crusty bread. I've been enjoying fresh Pugliese, which is a rustic bread from the south of Italy.

- A very thin slice of prosciutto. I prefer the Beretta prosciutto from Trader Joe's for its nice cost/quality ratio.

- Fresh Purple Mission figs sliced down the middle and flattened a bit. I load the sandwich with these because they are amazing with a little heat.

- A little crumbled Roquefort cheese on both sides of the fig.

That's it. The next time I make this I may add a little course ground mustard but it didn't really need it. The combination of flavors is exquisite and my mouth is watering a bit as I type. I wish I had a nice photo to go along with this post but it really didn't cross my mind to photograph until it was long gone.

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Big Sur Wonder

We were invited by the Petersons for a weekend of camping in Big Sur and I am not sure it could have been more fun. The beauty of Big Sur takes my breath away and makes me feel lighter on my feet and in my heart. It's also refreshing to spend quality time with good friends. Here are a few shots that capture the spirit of the trip.



After we got home Wyatt said, "Mommy, I wish we had a Vanagon."
.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thank you, God, for Garbage Trucks and Cheez-Its

Wyatt's been venturing into the wondrous world of prayer and keeping a straight face can be difficult. I love that he's beginning to talk to God. Here's today's prayer before our lunch together:

Thank you, God, for making equipment. (Usually he goes through a list of every piece of equipment he knows like backhoes, excavators, dump trucks, skid steers, tractor scrapers, cranes, fire trucks, garbage trucks, etc.)
Thank you, God, for making green beans and guitars and garbage trucks and boxes. (I thought he must have learned the art of alliteration during his first week of preschool but then he threw in boxes.)
Thank you, God, for making Fidel and Humberto. (Fidel and Humberto pick up our grey trash can on Fridays between 10 and 11am and Wyatt adores them.)
Thank you, God, for Grandpa and Grandma and Jesus. (I had to check in afterwards on whether he said Jesus or Cheez-Its. Last night he corrected me when I said, "Yes, thank you for Jesus," and he said, "No, Mommy, Cheez-Its.)
Amen

It's interesting how the things we are thankful for evolve over the years. Hearing Wyatt's unedited prayer encourages me to do a little less editing when I talk with God. I'm also reminded of the gift of knowing the source of all that is good and the joy that comes through expressing gratitude to our maker.

Holly took the video below this morning. You have to turn up the volume to hear Wyatt's shrieking.


video

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Yipee!

Today Wyatt and I both had our first day of school. As I've been explaining to him, he goes to school with kids and his teacher, Cindy, and I teach the grown-ups in another class. He's attending the Cuesta College Children's Center that is right on campus and conveniently located next to the building where I teach. I could not be more impressed with all of it and am very grateful that he gets to be part of the school.
We had a meeting last week where Wyatt got to check out the classroom and meet his teacher. He's been talking about her non-stop since. He also likes to talk about Mo the bunny who lives in the play yard. This morning he woke up at 6:30 asking if today was the day for school. I was encouraged to set aside an extra 30 minutes to stay with him on his first day to help with the adjustment. I wasn't expecting it to be too big of a deal but Wyatt has been warning me saying, "Wyatt might cry, Mommy," when we talk about school. Thanks for the heads up.
So, we get to the door of his classroom and he says, "Bye, Mommy," and waves me away. I have to go in with him to set his lunch down and help him wash his hands but he's leaning in for a goodbye kiss and hug almost immediately.
As I see friends who are parents post on Facebook about how sad it is to drop their kids off at school, I can't help but wonder if I'm the only parent who is absolutely thrilled to be in this new stage. There is no part of me that is sad or longing to go back in time. I am simply thankful that he's becoming more and more of himself and that I get to be part of that process. Seeing him walk into that classroom with a bright smile, knowing that his curiosity will be enhanced and his social skills will be developed is pretty much all this mom needed today. Thank you, God, for the gift that is preschool.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wyatt's First (Real?) Dream

So, Wyatt's probably had gobs of dreams but this is the first one that sounds legit. Usually I ask him in the morning or after a nap if he's had any dreams and every time he says that he dreamed about dump trucks and skid steers. Every time. You can see why I'm not so sure.
Today I heard him wake up from his nap and talk to himself for about 15 minutes. I finally came in and he began telling me a very detailed story. There was a little bit of fear and wonder in his voice and on his face. He said that he was stuck in a dumpster and a garbage truck came and dumped him into the garbage truck. It was filled with lots of very gross things like poop. Finally a guy came and got him out.
He seemed genuinely thankful to be in his cozy bed and almost like he was trying to figure out what had happened. I love his sense of amazement at something like dreaming that I completely take for granted. And I'm not surprised a bit that it was a garbage truck that made the cut.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Best Weekend Ever?

I don't know where to begin describing last weekend. I dislike gushy and generally roll my eyes when people go on and on about their fabulous life. It brings out the cynic in me. In spite of being thrilled when my friends and family are happy and healthy, I think I just prefer to relate through reality filled with highs and lows instead of the only and always sunny. However, as I write, my cheeks ache from smiling so much and my heart is brimming with life. Be forewarned: I'm about to gush.
We had some good friends in town for a couple of days and it was a treat. One might think that four adults and three kids in our modest two bedroom and two bathroom abode would make for a challenging visit but it was the absolute opposite. The kids enjoyed each another, we ate good food and did a lot of laughing. The best part of the weekend was taking the boat on its maiden voyage.
I didn't grow up boating but my dad bought a ski boat when I was in college and I got hooked. It's been several years since I've been out on the water but as soon as the wind was in my hair it came right back to me. The rush of zooming across the lake with the warm sun in my face took me back to Garett and my dating days when we used to ski all summer. We found a little cove at Lopez Lake and swam to our heart's content. Wyatt and Ava jumped off the boat with wild abandon and all was right in my little corner of the world.
We took the boat out again Sunday evening with just the three of us and Wyatt caught his first fish. I don't think Garett could have been more proud. While they fished, I curled up in the cozy cuddy and read.
The beautiful thing is that the lake is just 20 minutes from our house. We can go up after work for just an hour or two or spend a night or two "camping" in the boat. There are three other lake options within about an hour and I foresee hours and hours of joy in our future.
Wyatt caught his first fish but he's not so sure about it. Perhaps it's the size? This fish thankfully made it back into the lake in one piece.
My beautiful friend and her equally beautiful little one.
Wyatt likes to drive the boat.
Think they are related?
The cozy cuddy in the front of the boat.
The prince slaying the dragon for the princess. We are still remembering Ava fondly when we find little bits of sparkle dust from her Belle dress that I think she'd sleep in if she could.
He's totally checking her out. Eyes up, Wyatt, eyes up.
Trying on butterfly wings in a kid's retail store.