Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I couldn't imagine a more wonderful way to spend Christmas than playing on the beach with family. My dad and I even got to play catch. Happy birthday, Jesus.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Best Deal Ever

Last night we decided to get a Christmas tree. It's possible that we could have planned this out a bit better so that we could enjoy the tree for longer than two days. We drove past the tree lot in favor of a quick pozole dinner. As we cruised by the lot at 7:30 the lights were off and it was shut down. Because who is out buying a Christmas tree on the night of the 23rd? We are.
We ended up going to the pharmacy near our house and found a beautiful Douglas Fir with a stand marked down to $5. I think they may have paid us to take the tree. We had a good laugh as we hoisted the tree into the truck and decided this may be a new tradition - a $5 pharmacy tree the night before Christmas Eve.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011


Wyatt's been saying more funny things as he connects the dots in his little world. I find myself laughing nearly all the time and I much prefer laughing to crying. This morning he declared, "Santa drives a very unusual vehicle," and then told me all the details about the sled and the reindeer and the flying. I guess I can't disagree.
As we talk about Christmas and celebrating Jesus' birthday, he figured out that this may be an occasion for cake. This has exponentially increased interest in the season.
I gave in and we baked sugar cookies together this afternoon. After using "baking cookies" as a reward for over a week, I finally had to make good on my promise. We now have undecorated sugar cookies resting all over the kitchen counter and I suppose Garett will smile when he sees them. Maybe I can pawn off the decorating to Garett while I give a final tonight?
We are also learning how to think of others and not ourselves. This is a difficult concept for my 34 year old self and it's even more impossible for my 3 year old boy. One way we're practicing this is entering toy stores together and focusing on what might bring joy to our cousins rather than ourselves. It's sweet to see Wyatt's heart expand.
As I am tempted to pile up the calendar, I breathe deep and ask God for his peace during this notoriously busier time of year. Our families have given us the gift of "no gifts" this Christmas so this has relieved us of the constant focus on purchasing that thing that someone probably doesn't really need anyway. We get to share, instead, with those who probably need it more. For me, this is about using the resources and energy that God has blessed us with to do things that He cares about. I don't want to miss these opportunities.
Sometimes I compare myself with other families who do loads of crafty/homemaking things during this season. There is such beauty and creativity happening around the world but I find a way to make it about me. This turns the focus onto myself and what I do or don't do and how I may or may not be thwarting Wyatt's Christmas experience. It is ridiculous the thoughts that bounce around in my head and I am reminded of my deep need for a Savior.
Yes, a Savior. A Redeemer who rescues us from ourselves. I need that Savior more than ever.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Jalama Beach

Last week I had the joy of spending a night alone in a beautiful spot. Jalama Beach is a place I've been curious about so I reserved a tiny cabin perched out on the ocean and my parents graciously kept Wyatt for a sleepover. It's only an hour and a half drive and even that was peaceful just getting to be alone in the car. Jalama is, indeed, a special place, very remote and relatively untouched. The wind was intense but that did not prevent a very long walk on the beach.

This is content, relaxed me. I am noticing more and more how I need this time. It's time to be with God freely without a schedule and time to only care for myself. In these settings, I am more open with God and able to listen more intently. It reminds me how much I need Him and fuels a desire deep in my soul to know Him more. Proverbs 31:25 pressed into my heart deeper than before:

"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
She can laugh at the days to come."

I desire to laugh at the days to come rather than be driven by fear. I don't mean this in a head-in-the-sand kind of way. I am thinking about this as a lightness through life and a hope to live day by day and not borrow worry from tomorrow, next month or next year.

Friday, November 4, 2011


We celebrated Halloween for a full week and the candy has proven handy for bringing about good behavior through bribery. Wyatt was a "dangerous velociraptor" and tried to only use his hands for kindness while wearing his costume. We carved pumpkins and Garett took Wyatt around the neighborhood while I taught my class.

We've been having a lot of fun in the front yard lately. It's nice for Wyatt and Ruby to run wild and everything is better once Garett is home from work. Wyatt is on the back end of three and it is starting to show. He's more boy than before and I see more of Garett in him each day.

And then he reminds me that he is, indeed, three.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


First my title was Best.Birthday.Ever but there was my 20th birthday during college when my parents and grandparents got together and sent me a huge gift package filled with things like a digital camera, clothes, shoes and work-out gear. They sent 20 individually wrapped gifts and I felt very known and loved.
But this birthday was amazing from start to finish. I woke up to Wyatt at my bedside at 7:55 (his latest in quite some time) talking about a present in his trash can. I didn't think that a gift was in my future since Garett has been working so much. I didn't think a card was in my future. Garett found time to pick something up at the gallery with the special jewelry and wrote a sweet card. Then I took a walk up our hill with a good friend and our boys and dogs ran and ran and ran. It was a clear, warm morning with hardly a hint of wind. My heart was full. A pizza party at Wyatt's school came next and this could have been a downer (What, you don't think spending a birthday in a room full of three year olds sounds like fun?) but it wasn't. I got to know a few of the parents and Wyatt did not completely freak out when we left. I met a few friends from church for a bible study in the afternoon and one brought tasty cupcakes. Yum. Wyatt and I rushed home to find our aunt and uncle who stopped by for a spontaneous visit and my Uncle Sandy concocted one of his famous margaritas for me. We had a small bite to eat together and then Garett and I went out by ourselves to Novo for appetizers, drinks and dessert. We talked as we sat at my favorite table under the oak tree and sipped our delicious drinks. The money that came in a few envelopes in the mail earlier that day helped us feel a little less stressed about the bill than usual. I got several kind calls from dear friends and family near and far and it was good to hear the voices of so many that I love. I would have been a happy girl with just one of these special events but the sum total made it over-the-top.
We spent the weekend camping at Kirk Creek with clear skies and temperatures in the 80's. Wyatt didn't want to come home and I may have opted to stay a few more days if there were showers at the campground. We spent a lot of time at the beach and slept from about 8 until 7 each night. Now that I mention it, I'm not entirely sure why I don't feel more rested. I feel full after good time with my boys.
We explored several potential kayak fishing spots for Garett because we're headed back to Big Sur in a few weeks.
Mug of hot cocoa as big as his head? Check.
Our watch dog who did not alert us to the raccoons in our camp.
This is the most focus I've seen in Wyatt in a long time.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


We spent Monday on the beach in Cayucos enjoying the warm weather and the free day. Wyatt's exuberance at the beach brings me great joy. I'm thankful for my boys and Ruby.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The World Wide Wrestling Federation Would Be Proud

It's been a long month around here. As I start this post I see that I've started but not completed four blog posts this month. This is a picture of life at this moment - a lot of starting but not a lot of completing.

May I vent? Wyatt is pushing harder and harder and I continue to find new ways to be his mom. This has included a lot more reading on the subject and firmer boundaries that come quicker than before. It has also included picking him up at 10am from preschool for hitting another child after discovering that the child being hit has been afraid to go to school. It has included bites, hits, and head butts. (In fact, one unfinished blog post was entitled this.) We are also experiencing spitting, "I hate you's", and 6am gallon of ice cream eating (and, no, it wasn't me). There has been a lot more praying, which I suppose is a bright spot in the whole thing.

To summarize, he is a full blown three year old and I desire to be the parent that God has created me to be. While I often don't know exactly what that looks like, I am trusting that my desire to honor God and experience his grace and love through it will sustain. My mom sent me a link this week that I feel compelled to pass along. I am very thankful to have a mom that does not pressure me to have a perfect child but rather encourages me to listen to and talk with God as I walk through it.

I much prefer "children who are reluctant to change" to "strong-willed child" but either are apt. Coming to terms with this reality has been painful but honest. Recognizing the whole person that Wyatt is has given me the freedom to parent him in some different ways than before. Instead of feeling beat down and discouraged that he requires so much of me right now, I want to celebrate who he is and continue embracing my role as his mom.

Garett has been working quite a bit but we've been trying to go to various Happy Hour's around town when the mood strikes. Guiseppe's and The Neon Carrot were a delight (even if we were the only ones there with a three year old) and I appreciate that Garett is usually up for my whims (and doesn't mind the lack of planned dinner.) The highlight of (the end of) summer was joining the Elk's Lodge. We've swam, swam, swam for the past month and enjoyed every bit of it. We also built a lego structure to the ceiling. It's a robot, in case you can't tell. Another simple pleasure is a Peach Basil Smoothie made with late season Fairtime peaches. Yum.

The Neon Carrot

The Elk's Lodge

Tallest Lego Creation Ever

I'm voting for less head butts but at least I know Wyatt will have a promising career in the WWWF.

Friday, September 16, 2011


This afternoon Wyatt woke up from a long rest asking to make chocolate cupcakes. I obliged and we carefully added each ingredient together. As we stirred Wyatt said, "Mommy, I'm being really patient. I'm patient when we're making cupcakes because I do not want to get a consequence." Maybe we are on to something? I can hear myself now. "Let's pretend we're making cupcakes..."
This was last weekend when Wyatt got a cheetah face painting at the Italian street painting festival at the Mission downtown. He still loves wild and mysterious animals. And he continues to be a wild and mysterious animal.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Fish That Will Not Be Named

A few weeks ago Garett caught an enormous, 47 inch, 32 pound fish. I would love to tell you all about it but it's super top secret and Garett might banish me from all things boat related if I give away his fishing spot. I will tell you that it was amazing eating and that I don't think I've ever seen Garett quite so proud and beaming. To top it off, my Midwestern foodie friend, Jenni, was able to shower Garett with interest in his moment of glory. About 45 pictures were taken and Garett still lights up like a Christmas tree when I pull out the pictures on my phone.

While I'm spotlighting Garett, I'd like to mention something else that is especially pleasant about him. I'm back to teaching. The first several weeks are always a mix of joy in getting back to what I love and exhaustion in all of the administrative details that pile up at the beginning of the semester. I am teaching on Monday and Tuesday nights from 7 - 10, in addition to my usual Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Last night as I headed to my Tuesday night class, I felt bad leaving Garett and Wyatt with no prospect of dinner in sight. Not to say that I am the usual dinner-preparer in our home, it's typically a team effort. But I knew Wyatt was tired after his day at preschool with no nap and I also knew that the fridge was nearly entirely empty. Sorry, honey.

But Garett is creative and committed to feeding Wyatt and himself well. He put together a fantastic pasta meal that I came home to enjoy after late class last night. Here's what I found: Whole grain fusilli pasta with asparagus, red and yellow tomatoes (from our garden), banana squash (from a friend's garden), chopped walnuts and a dash of olive oil and fresh herbs with shredded Asiago cheese on top. Delicious. I felt so cared for to come home to this tasty meal.
Here's Garett in his fishing glory.

A few friends visited in early August and the time together was beyond expectation. We played, rested, ate well and connected. To have time together without our kids was a great, great gift.

And I finally got to go paddleboarding again. My first attempt was in Santa Barbara in July and my balance was less than stellar to say the least. I could not stand on the board for more than about 5 seconds without crashing into the open ocean with flailing arms and legs just hoping to catch the board. It was not a pretty sight. This experience was easy and pleasant. The board was enormous. I don't think I could have tipped it over if I tried. Garett and Wyatt cheered me on from the side.

It's difficult for me to describe what it is about being on or in water that fills my soul but it does. Maybe it's the bit of adventure that I need? Or maybe it's experiencing close-up the beauty of God's creation? Or maybe it's using different muscles? Or maybe it's being all by myself in the quiet of the sea? All I know is that it is important and I intend to make time for it even when life feels full.

Saturday, September 3, 2011


This week Wyatt started calling me mom instead of mommy and I can honestly say it is the first moment that I've been sad to see him growing up. I feel like all of the sudden I have a teenager on my hands when I hear the long, drawn out, two syllable, "Ma-ahm." Where did my three year old go and will he return?

Then he pees all over his clothes and needs my help to wipe his bottom. Oh, there he is.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gobs of Fish

We celebrated Garett's fishing success today with delicious fish tacos. I think he brought home about 15 fish, including a 31'' lingcod. I love being married to a fisherman. I also love that I don't have to be the fish cleaner in the family.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Headaches and Hyenas

I woke up with a migraine today. Garett was out on the ocean fishing and I am phone-less. I emailed a friend and asked her to bring Wyatt to church so that I could take some medicine and lay in a dark room. She kindly picked him up and even took him to the park after church. Thank you, Holly!
After he got home, we curled up on the couch together watching Nature on PBS. He said, "Mommy, I'm sad when you get migraines." I immediately figured it was because I don't play with him much when I'm feeling crummy. I asked him why and he replied, "I like you a lot, Mommy, and I don't like it when you don't feel good."
I'm thankful to see my sweet three year old developing empathy even though I wish there was another way to learn.
I'm also noticing a bit of wisdom. Wyatt was telling me about a girl at school and said, "She's really wild like an African hyena." Great description, my boy. Yes, some girls are wild. I'd advise you to keep your distance.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wyatt's BFF

Wyatt's been taking swim lessons the past couple of weeks. It's shocking that he's made it every day considering that we've signed him up the past two years and he never attended even one lesson. Sunk costs, I tell you, they get me every time.
Here's Wyatt and his BFF Xander. They go to preschool together and have been kindred spirits since the first day of school.
Today Wyatt took the obligatory first jump off the diving board on the last day of swim lessons. Pretty cool.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Somewhat Nostalgic

Wyatt and I trekked to the Mid-State Fair this afternoon. The deep fried smell coupled with screeching, careening roller coasters brought back memories of going to the Stanislaus County Fair growing up. The last time I remember being there was 1994 but I must have gone multiple times every August from about 1984 on. My bangs were usually high, my neon baggy t-shirt had rolled up sleeves and my super cool jean shorts were likely acid washed. It was an annual negotiation with my parents - who I went with, where and what time I was dropped off and picked up, how much money (if any) I was given. They were appropriately concerned given my overly boy-crazy nature. And, let's be honest, the best guys are met at the fair.
I also love the thrill of a roller coaster. These were my pre-motion sickness glory days. The Gravitron rocked my world and I liked to go on the Zipper over and over and over until I ran out of tickets. It wasn't just about the boys. Well, it was usually about the boys but the roller coasters were a pleasant deterrent to scoring phone numbers. Once I even had a little kiss on the Zipper. This was a very lasting relationship that started in line for the Zipper and ended as the ride came to a halt. Oh, the good ol' days at the fair.
I don't really enjoy crowds these days and my body has acclimated to year round temperatures of 70 degrees so I have had no desire to go to the sweaty, crowded fair. Until Wyatt. It's funny how things change. I looked at the daily calendar online and found "Mutton Bustin" - a sheep-riding competition for 3 - 7 year olds under 60 lbs. Garett made me pinky swear I wouldn't sign Wyatt up.
We had a good time this afternoon. Wyatt got to go on many rides and I went on a few with him. One was a spinning dragon. We went on this right after eating giant ice cream cones and it was all I could do to keep it together. We also visited The Reptile House and saw crazy snakes and even an alligator. We left before Wyatt really got into his groove but I could only handle a few hours.
I'll have you know that I was not tempted in the slightest tease my bangs, nor did I obtain the phone numbers of any cute boys. My three year old son on my arm and the relentless sweat beading on my forehead may have had something to do with it. Man, I'm old.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Carrot Coma

The good thing is that he loves pulling up carrots and eating them immediately.

The bad thing is that he needed a nap by 9am this morning but this picture was taken at 5pm when he finally crashed. It was a long day that included a 45 minute sob-fest thanks to not having the right spoon for breakfast.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lake Wishon

We spent the weekend camping with friends at Lake Wishon, nestled in the Western Sierra. It was a long drive, especially because Wyatt started asking after we'd been driving about ten minutes, "How many more minutes until we are there?" every minute or so. Our time at the lake was nice and Wyatt and Garett took a few nature walks that included multiple scorpion, termite, and centipede sightings. I was hooked on a hilarious book shared by a friend so I missed the nature walks.
Wyatt loves putting things up to his face when he sees me holding the camera. I am trying to embrace this stage.
We found a little snake at the lake and Wyatt carried it around with him looking for the perfect spot to throw it back into the lake.

My favorite part of camping is soaking in the beauty of God's creation. I also happen to love sleeping outdoors and sitting around a campfire. It's so much work getting things together for a camp trip but it's nearly always worth it. Wyatt absolutely loves all of it and that also helps make it even more enjoyable.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Backyard Tastiness

The garden is in full bloom and we are enjoying it quite a bit. We planted nine tomato plants (six varietals), three different types of lettuce, arugula, brussel sprouts, carrots, onions, zucchini, broccoli, potatoes, and 72 strawberry plants. Yes, 72. We have about five ripe strawberries every day. Part of the fun this year is Wyatt's interest in the process. Last year he mostly dug up the plants and tore off unripened veggies but this year he helps us water and weed and, most importantly, eat. We're still working on a love of lettuce but twice daily salads are our summer treat. Here's Wyatt "helping" with the garden early on in his boots and undies.
Our first carrots.
Red potatoes that we thought we finished but actually weren't.
And our treasured babysitter, Rachel, who graduated from Cal Poly in June. She has been spending time with Wyatt since he was about a month old. She used to come over for about two hours so that I could take a long, uninterrupted nap when I was so tired I could hardly remember my name. Wyatt fell in love with her immediately and they've had adventures since. Across two towns, three houses, countless meals and rests and bedtimes and puzzles and forts and songs, she's faithfully cared for Wyatt and our lives are better because of her. Plus she taught him some serious booty shaking and body rolling dance skills.

Friday, June 17, 2011

A Few More

These are pictures from our time with family in Genova. It was meaningful being together in spite of the language barrier. Wyatt made a friend named Simone and discovered they share a mutual love of construction equipment.

This first picture is in honor of Father's Day. I am honored to have a partner like Garett and can't imagine life without him. A few of my favorite things about him today include:

- His green thumb
- The way he plays hard with Wyatt
- His abounding creativity
- The way he laughs in the movie theatre like he's the only one there
- His kind words
- His tough questions
- The way he serves without hesitation