Monday, December 29, 2008

Our International Christmas

For Christmas, I got Los a new sound system for our house, a tattoo and a PUPPY!  More news on those changes to come...  But first, the food: for our first Christmas starting new traditions, we thought why not shoot for the moon?  We threw out any "traditional ham" idea.  We all assigned each other different countries to make dishes from- the only requirement being that you could not have ever made the dish before.  What could've been a risky disaster turned out amazingly!

Team Evans, 5 months away from expanding!

Team Y'all- 3 months away from becoming Team Yokers!
My food aversions include many proteins, luckily I was assigned India (an easy country for vegetarian dishes).  I made a veggie curry that was spicier than I'd hoped, but good and good for you.
Action shot from our kitchen
We had French Champagne, an amazing Brunello from Italy (thanks Bish!) and cheeses from Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and England...
Burly cleaned up on new treats from Santa...
Kiesha made a Russian Potato and Kielbasa recipe that we gobbled up, huge hit.  I also made a Kiwi Raita yogurt to assuage the spiciness of my dish.  Carlos made the main dish, a French chicken piperade- very good.  Dave made cranberries (we had to have them!) and an awesome Spanish Flan for dessert.  All in all, a great meal.  We had so much fun with team Y'all, who spent 4 nights at our house (although they only live at the beach, 25 minutes away!)  It was so fun to spend the days with them, exchange stockings and go to San Antonio the day after Christmas together.  Saturday we introduced them to Settlers, our fave game, finally we have people to play it with here!  And I made a Spanakopita and Tabbouleh for dinner, to continue our international theme.  Sunday they went to church with us and then they made us a great lunch.  Lots o food and fun and memories with our friends.  
Now we are sleepy, yet grateful for the mini-vacation in our own home.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Reflection on Mary

Funny how being pregnant makes me think about Jesus' mom at this Christmas-time than I ever have before... As a virgin, betrothed to Joseph, she must have been feeling like life was going pretty well, maybe just how she wanted it. Sure they might not have had much financial stability (as today's sage counselors advise us before getting married), but undoubtedly they had dreams and a plan for a future together.

Until an angel comes and 'ruins' everything. Besides scaring the crap out of her (presumably, as angels tended to do in Scripture), he also let her know that God had an agenda for her life that she didn't quite bargain for. It was going to include miracles and being a part of history unlike anyone else. A total honor, yet one that would also come with a lifetime of hardship. The immediate shame of being pregnant, when society may or may not believe that Joseph was the father, and all the rumors that would swirl around with that. Some people probably thinking she was crazy for trusting God was at the helm of her son's life, during the persecution and crucifixion he would later face. In all of this, she had to give up control, something hard for us to do. A pastor in Seattle calls raising children a 2-decade exercise in giving up control. True, but we at least hope they'll be safe. Mary couldn't even hope for that.

When she told the angel, "may it be as you've said," I have newfound respect for her, as she accepted all of the future joys and pains that awaited her for the rest of her lifetime.

But the part that really gets me is when it's time for her to go into labor. If I were birthing the savior of the world (which I'm not, but IF I was) I would AT LEAST expect to be put up in a 5-star hotel with room service for the few days surrounding the labor and delivery. I mean, it's the least God could do, right? I'm signing up for a lifetime of who knows what- can I at least be comfortable while giving birth?! Doesn't seem like to much to ask. They've traveled to Bethlehem, where Joseph's roots are. You would think that if the guy had family in the area, when there was no room "in the inn," some relative would've at least said, "come sleep on our pull-out couch" or something... Nothing. And what kind of town sees a massively pregnant woman, and doesn't offer to help her out?! What kind of people are these?

Mary must have felt really alone. And we are not meant to be alone. We are not designed to be alone. So the funny part of the story to me, is when these crazy-haired shepherds enter the picture. Totally random guys, who've been living with animals more than people, show up on the scene, not even sure what they're looking for; but trusting God will guide them. And they come to Mary, Joseph and Jesus. I'm gonna go on a wild hunch that they're not the community that Mary was hoping for to surround her after giving birth. When it is my turn, I want family and friends around me, not some weird dudes who've been herding cattle in West Texas. I'm just saying. Yet this is the community that God offers them. She could either feel alone, and sorry for herself, or embrace, yet again, the plan God has for her life, and the people God brings into her life.

I have been feeling alone some of the time I've been in TX. Especially today, on Christmas, even as a 29 year old, it is weird to be away from family for the first time. Things look different than I thought it should, or am used to. It would be easy to feel alone in this. But the truth is, we are not alone. We have good friends in Kiesha, Dave and the Richerson's nearby. We have a new church that has embraced us, and people from there who asked us to come over on Christmas. Life may look really different than what we have known, but like Mary, we are doing our best to receive what God has given us in this blessed season. I pray the same for all of you. God puts people in each of our lives; maybe not the people we expect or would choose ourselves, but we don't have to be alone. The human heart was meant to be in community, so embrace those around you, or reach out to someone who may feel alone today.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Serving up some Christmas Joy!!!

This is the best story ever. Ever. And it is so cool to have been a small part of it.

Towne Family

Sweet Little Ben

A week ago, Carin Towne wrote on their Caring Bridge blog about 3 year old Ben's desire to "serve (a tennis ball) just like Roger Federer." If you have not yet read their blog, do it right now. You will never forget it in your life.

So anyway, compelled by the desire to bring joy (albeit limited) to this family, I wrote Roger's mom and his US agent an email. I told them Ben's story and attached their blog. Why not, right?! Ben's body is ravished with cancer, and his days are limited. He has already suffered more than any human should have to, in his short life. Then my brilliant friend Shannon also cast her net wide and found a friend of a friend (of a friend, you know how that goes) who knew Tiger Woods, and another that had been on the tennis circuit as a pro years back and could call the head of Nike Tennis.

Long shot, right? NOPE!! Less than a week later, little Ben Towne got a couple surprises in the mail and on the phone today and yesterday... I can't tell you how happy that makes my heart. Read his mom's account to hear the story; it is so sweet in the midst of their pain which is anything but that. I am so grateful for all the strings that were pulled to reach Roger, James Blake and Andy Roddick within a week. Their willingness to reach out to Ben makes me even more of a tennis fan! I was partially disappointed, because I was literally praying that Roger would get on a plane in Switzerland, leave his vacation, to come to Seattle and visit Ben. Ben is MORE than worth it. And that hasn't happened (yet). But I'm still overjoyed in the joy that Ben felt being contacted by those 3 guys. Now I'm starting to pray for FREE 2009 US Open tickets for his parents. They want to go in honor of Ben. They have suffered the worst pain imaginable the past year, and are hanging in there by the grace of God. The most riveting sentence in their recent blog is his mom saying she wishes Ben's life could be saved by the love that has been shown to him this past year. So if you haven't been til this point, start praying: who's with me!!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The "Spouses Club"

So there's this thing in the military called the Spouses Club. I'd heard frightening things before joining the military about how catty and gossipy these women could be, even though my rare encounters with wives in our first squadron were quite the contrary. Granted, I only did like two things with them in three years, but I'm a big fan of Shannon and Beth, so I imagine everyone else was as cool as you two! I never participated regularly in WA, since grad. school commitments and previous friends were readily available. But since I only have one official friend here (whom I had to import from WA, mind you), I decided to take the plunge, as it were.

Today I went to my first Spouses Club function, which included a cookie exchange, painting of an airplane ornament, making gift tags, etc. It feels awkward to interview 30 women to be potential friends, so I'm glad there were activities to keep my hands busy while I tested the waters with various unsuspecting victims. Little do they know that I've spent more time watching seasons of Alias on my computer than talking with actual human new friends:)

But I am pleased to report that there is hope for me, after all. Everyone I connected with was pretty nice and I even gave my phone number out twice. It feels awkward to say that, like I'm looking for a date or something:) But in some ways, the feeling is kind of the same. "Hey you're cool, I'm cool, let's hang out..." I talked to two gals who'd also just arrived this fall. It seems weird to interview women, but this is the thought that goes through my head often times, "you're neat, but oh you're leaving this spring? Then I'm not going to invest in you as much." The two gals I gave my number to will live here the same 3 years as us; and fortuitously, both live pretty close by. One is even in my neighborhood, she and her hubby just got back from Japan. The other is due a week before me, and is a Christian. That was encouraging to hear, since I have no clue what the heck I'll be doing as a mom. Apparently they have play dates for squadron babies through 4 year olds weekly, as well as a book club, bunko nights, and monthly events like today, or wine tasting nights.

So I'm encouraged that I won't be alone here, after all. Los and I have enjoyed how peaceful it is down here (e.g. not much to do, so lots of time to hang out); and I'm excited to start expanding our circle of friends and to get to know some of these women who've lived everywhere in the country and who've had similar experiences to us. It is nice for the human heart to know it is not alone.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mariage and Divorce: Holding on to Hope

There was some song in the 90s that had the lyrics "Joy and Pain, Sunshine and Rain" (I think they included a "pump it up, pump it up!" if you recall). That's where I am this week. Two special friends just got engaged and are glowing, couldn't be happier to spend their lives together. They asked us to stand up in their wedding with them, we could not be more honored to do that, and we're thrilled to walk alongside them, and they us, for this season of life in S. Texas and whatever future seasons we may have near them.

There's some scripture about sharing in the joys of some and the sorrows of others. Simultaneously, as one couple of friends is joining, another couple of our friends are contemplating ending their marriage, and for them my heart is wrenched. I wish I could say that this is the first time I've known people my age to get divorced, but that's far from the truth, even in my 20s. I'm a product of divorce too, so I know the damage it causes kids intimately. It devastates me that over half of today's marriages end in divorce. I'm not saying that in every circumstance it should be avoided, but how flippantly people can treat something so destructive is the dangerous part.

For Christians, marriage is a covenant relationship, not just a contract that you enter into for a time, to get out when the going gets tough; yet that's how we often treat it. We promise "for better and worse." God's covenant faithfulness to us never ends, yet our commitment to each other is all too often thrown out the window in favor of self-preservation, a natural (but not always Biblical) instinct. The problem with the promise we make in our weddings is, that when we say the words for better or worse, we never imagine that WORSE will come. All we can imagine is the BETTER. Maybe we theoretically believe that worse could come, but the form of it always takes us by surprise. Maybe we are devastated. Maybe we are betrayed. Some mix of pain and anger consumes us, and trust is lost; even worse, hope is lost. And that is deadly.

Comparison is never helpful, but I know that Los and I haven't had as easy of a marriage as some, nor as hard of a marriage as others, so I can't imagine the pain some of my friends have felt or currently feel, as they wade through the muck and mire that was once their hope and dreams. I don't know how their situation will end. All I know is that I watched their mouths utter the words for better or worse, and that makes me feel responsible to lift them up in their pain and fight for their marriage, for reconciliation. For redemption, for resurrection from death to life. We don't have to rest on our own strength, God's word promises to make us new creations, if we'll let God transform us (through God's word, yeah, but also through counseling, and good community.) I believe that if their hearts would be soft and repentant, and if they could extend the grace (that God extends to us first!!) they have received to their partner, who badly needs it; then hope is not lost. It is right to feel betrayed and wronged when you have been, absolutely, you deserve something/someone better, absolutely. But that doesn't mean that can't be with the spouse you have promised forever to. Maybe I am wrong not to validate the desire for divorce in this circumstance, but unless their pride and self-preservation proves me otherwise, I'm going to hold on to this hope, that God will do a new thing in their lives, and rebuild what has been shattered. Please join me from afar, in prayer, for my friends in Seattle.

I've been listening to a song by my favorite artist, David Crowder, a lot. The lyrics are a lot of my prayer, that God is with us from the beginning til the end and can meet us in the midst our pain/wounds and repair what has been destroyed in our hearts. May we all be made new. Enjoy.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

pain (Los' first blog)

If you are not familiar with ben towne and his cancer, case and i urge you to make some time and read about his life. the following is a link to his blog.. find it here.

For any parent who has ever loved their kid, or any person who has ever loved anyone for that matter, this story will wrench your heart.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks for our Baby!

So... we're pregnant! Surprise:) Baby Evans will be showing up in the beginning of June. Today begins week 14, and I was hesitant to talk about it before we were in the clear. I was 10 weeks before I found out. Funny story, I'll write it out later. And this week Los got to meet the baby, who WAVED at us, putting it's tiny hand right up to the sonogram wand. Pretty cool.

Many stories will now ensue... After the Thanksgiving food coma wears off. We had an amazing T-day here in Houston, with some LOVELY people and a 34-lb. turkey! And today we're joining the madness, going shopping. I know that's dumb, but come on, we're in Houston, which is so awesome, it's not like we're in CC where there are no good shops. So we feel like we kind of have to do it:) Wish us luck.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Marriage and God's Timing: Remembering our Stories

Two of my favorite people got engaged yesterday, Dave (a Navy pilot that Los did ROTC with) and Kiesha (my friend from college). We introduced them to each other (score another one for the Yenta-esque matchmaker in me), after I had told Kiesh about Dave for years. Their story is as sweet and powerful and redemptive as can be. The proposal story is hers to tell, but was beautiful and perfect. It was a total surprise to Kiesha, and on a day where she could be surrounded by her best friend, family and lots of loved ones. Hearing their story on the phone, and relaying it to Los, I started crying, and cried on and off the next few hours, as I was in awe of the power of God's covenant faithfulness to them in knitting them together in his perfect timing. They're 29, and for a long time, she was concerned that it wasn't God's plan for her to get married, even though it was the desire of her heart. Kiesha is so loving, giving and joyful to everyone else in her life; and was one of my friends that I wondered, "what's the hold up God? She's awesome, can't you just hurry up and make it happen for her?" I have a few other friends like that too, where I confuse my idea of timing with God's, and forget to have patience and trust in God's better judgment. Do you ever do this? I know I'm not alone in this mistake.

Hearing the result of their patience and trust in God was a good reminder for me to revisit areas where I feel anxious or aggravated instead of God's peace that surpasses understanding. Listening to their story also reminded me to remember my own story. Too often, lots of married people get bogged down with the massive to-do lists and bills and hurts and bitterness and unknowns and chores (maybe you don't, but I do) and we forget the magic and romance of what God did when we courted and married our spouse. I know that love isn't only a feeling, it's a verb, a decision, etc. But it's also a feeling! And I never want to lose the memory of or appreciation for the romance side of love. The day Carlos proposed to me in France, as I've said, is the best day of my life. Hearing Dave and Kiesha's proposal story prompts me to recall our own story more, so I can treat Los the say he deserves to be treated (the BEST!), rather than like just the guy who I wish would take out the trash or clean the dishes:) I'm not saying I'm a bad wife, but who among us does not have room for improvement? So there's my invitation to you who read this, and could stand to put your spouse (or a friend/family member) before yourself this week.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Meet my new best friend Mac

Book, that is... It is exquisite, if I do say so myself.

We picked it up in San Antonio, before the half marathon, which Los ended up doing in my place. I still feel funky, and had a trusted friend advise against that much exertion. Los was amazing as always, without training, getting a 1:40:01! That's like a 7:30 split, he's unbelievable to me. The winner, Brian Sell, placed 3rd in Beijing's Olympics. I love watching people who are made to run doing what they naturally excel in. I cry every marathon I go to, because of the passion, drama and victory. Especially the parapalegic (sp?) athletes always move me, doing the whole race with just arms, or prosthetic legs, it's remarkable. I even saw a guy with a broken arm running (arm in sling). Intense.

We had a great time in San Antonio and were proud of our other 3 friends who completed the half. Now Los is trying to see if someone will sell him a bib for the Houston Marathon. We'll see... Meanwhile, I'm going to play with my new toy. Happy early Christmas to me:)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Drama Drama Drama

Long time, no blog. So, every time I've tried to write, my browser has shut down. I don't know if we have some kind of random virus, but other applications (iTunes, Word, Excel) have also been shutting down intermittently, and I can't even download Firefox, so I don't know what's up with our computer. I'm taking it to the Genius Bar in San Antonio tomorrow. We're going there for the 1/2 Marathon that I'm supposedly walking on Sunday... We'll see about that! The good news is my mom said she'd buy me a new MacBook for an early Christmas gift, thanks mom!!! That's a huge relief to our financial woes. That's about the only good news I have to share today, everything else from the past week has been rough, to say the least.

1. We moved into our beautiful new home, and promptly found there to be NO REFRIGERATOR! Um, what? The owners moving out conveniently forgot to disclose that in their contract... Luckily we have a 'beer fridge' aka mini fridge that we were able to use while we scrambled to go buy a new one. We were incensed, and when Los diplomatically confronted the lady about reimbursing us for the expense, or providing a new one, she basically said, "nope, screw you." She also took the fire extinguisher and the shower rod from the guest bath. Really? Who does that? So, we didn't start off on the right foot, per se. And it was pretty funny that as soon as we pulled up to the house with Burly (his first time seeing it), he got out and started puking all over the place. There was my sign.

2. Then Los left, and went to Houston for the week, for a class. Burly and I supervised the movers the next day, who revealed that multiple pieces of our furniture had been broken from the move. Great. So I have that to deal with. Also, they forgot to set up the washer/dryer all the way, so the first time I turned it on, water flooded the utility room. AUGH! Good thing we have fancy Italian tile that was easy enough to sop up.

3. And maybe worst, is when I got my car, which had been shipped across the country, there was shattered glass across the entire back! I'm still finding glass. The back window was bashed in, and replaced, but the driver won't admit to it! So we're super frustrated about that situation. And we don't know whether anything was stolen or not, but insurance doesn't seem to want to help us, since the window was replaced...

4. In my first week living here, I saw an albino gecko (way too close, on my front porch) and Los said he saw a (1 foot long, but still) SNAKE in our driveway... So that puts me on edge every time I go outside. A little different than Seattle.

Despite all our drama, some good stuff has happened. I went to Houston for 2 nights, and had a great time there. I'm realizing that if I want to succeed in living the "slow" beach life here for 3 years, I just have to know I can drive to culture elsewhere. I got my hair chopped off (shortest ever) in Houston, which was a treat. And our house is slowly being put together and is very livable. Kiesha told us that the Vienna Boys' Choir was in town, so we saw them Tuesday, and they were amazing as always. Los finally started work (after an awesome month off) yesterday, and we're headed north tomorrow morning, so things are a-movin. With all that's been happening the past month, I'm not what you would call trained for this 1/2 marathon, though; so Sunday should be interesting... Talk with you soon (hopefully)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Result

Even without a tv, I kept up with internet coverage as well as possible. Right now I feel:
1. Curious/nervous/hopeful about what the Obama time in office will be like.
2. Wishing that my Republican friends could all have the class that McCain did in his concession. Right now I feel like another Civil War could break out among people I know, alone! It is sad that we are more often the Divided States than the United States.
3. Grateful that my hope is in Christ, not a politician.

However, for some perspective, I borrowed this from Jeremy Cowart; this isPretty cool.

Where I've been...

Thanks to those of you that have called and emailed while I've been in my depressed/lonely/miserable/complaining/no fun state.  I think I'm growing, which is the good news.  It's just too bad that you can't grow without growing pains.  I've been spending more time than usual reading Scripture, which is a funny thing.  Why do we cry out to God more earnestly when in pain?  I've been reading Exodus (which in Greek is literally The Way Out, or the Road Out), which is what I've been looking for...
God does not just save us from sin, death and Satan, but God saves us from ourselves.  That's a truth I've needed to be reminded of, as I've been quite 'self'-focused the past few weeks, saying "woe is me."  The silly Israelites hadn't been out of captivity for a whole week when they started idealizing the past and saying, "wasn't it better when we were back in Egypt?"  It's embarrassing how much I relate to them, knowing that God offers me freedom today, but turning instead to the past, and turning inward, and missing the point.
In Exodus 15 God makes bitter water sweet, and I am praying that God will make the bitter parts of me sweet.  I've been complaining a lot, and rather than learning from  it, I sound like a broken record.  I think there's a valid time and place for complaints, but to turn into a broken record of habitual grumbling, as the Israelites did is not a pattern I want in my life.  Scripture says God is our healer, so I am asking God to make me new.  I'm certainly not there yet, but I'm at least aware of my need for growth.
What about you all?  Have you seen habits like this in your lives? How do you get out of ruts?


In my attempt to get back on the blogging horse, I'm responding to the tag from Kate to post:
Seven Quirky Things about myself and Three things I like about myself.
1. When I am really tired, I start scratching my head, without being aware of it.  I didn't think this was weird until my hairstylist asked in a very confidential voice if I'd been beaten or "fell down the stairs" because of the scrapes she saw on my scalp.  Gross.

2. The happiest moment of my life was when Carlos said, "I love you" for the first time and asked me to be his wife.  I was so taken aback by hearing those words for the first time that I started sobbing and laughing uncontrollably (it was like every emotion coming out at once).  I collapsed on to the floor and totally forgot to answer him.

3. I used to judge people that had small dogs and babied them, dressed them, etc.  Now I am that girl.

4. I have studied 7 languages in my lifetime to some extent, and I wish I was fluent in multiple languages (like people from most countries).

5. My parents and brother have brown hair and brown eyes, I was born with blond hair and blue eyes.  Milkman child?

6. I have very selective OCD.  Everything in my closet is arranged by style of clothing and shades of the rainbow.  I unload dishes, and rearrange my spices and pantry for fun.  Conversely, I can live quite contentedly with piles of stuff and chaos all around me.  As long as my few things are in order.

7. I floss one tooth every day multiple times a day, and determine that my life is getting out of control when I haven't had time to file my nails recently. 

3 things I like:
1. I have had size 10 feet since I was in 4th grade, and was the tallest kid/girl in the class until middle school.

2. I am left-handed and right-brained.

3. I don't affiliate with a political party and place my hope in Christ rather than the American government.

I tag: Annie (to momentarily take your mind off Ben); Shannon; Becky A. and Becky R.; Maggie; Joey and mom.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Awkward Change

I never finished posts about our trip across the country.  My goal is to do that today, but so far I have been in a funk, no kidding, since we crossed the Texas border line.  Reality set in that we weren't just on an epic 3,000 mile roadtrip.  No, no, we were moving to this new foreign land that quite frankly has nothing on the west coast in terms of beauty.  I grew up right by the Sierras and Yosemite, then in college moved to a place that is gorgeous with water and mountains (albeit rainy) daily.  Moving to a land of hot, dusty brown flat terrain is less than ideal.  My heart sunk as this reality set in, and I felt deep within me the need to cry it out.  Like full on sob, grieving what I lose (not only natural beauty, but deep friendships and closeness to at least one set of family) in moving here.  I have tried on multiple occasions the past week to cry, but tears won't come, so thus far I just feel stuck in sadness, loneliness and depression.

Needless to say, it's been a brutal transition, and that's not easy for me to admit or write about.  I want to be the positive adventure gal that is fired up about everything.  Instead I feel like the Psalmist lamenting in misery to God.  I have been sleeping a lot, and emotionally down when I'm awake.  I'm trying to make choices to exercise (walking the beach, etc. which is pretty cool) and eat well, and to reframe life.  I don't want to stay stuck in my self-induced pity party.  But at least for my first week here, that's where I've been.

Life is just going to look very different here.  Slow.  Which feels unfamiliar after the past 3 years of graduate school and traveling like crazy, and having tons of people to spend quality time with.  I have felt purposeless here, which is an awful feeling.  And untrue- we aren't purposeful because of what we can check off of our to-do lists.  We are purposeful because God delights in us and chooses to make himself known through us.

I think this second week will look better than the first.  There are still so many question marks...  the economy going down took away my potential job as a hospital chaplain, so now I've been interviewing at churches here.  There are some interesting options, but nowhere that's the obvious fit.  We get our new house and all our stuff back this Sunday/next Monday, which will be a treat, to have our own space, after living in other people's space out of suitcases for the past month.  I will meet with an infertility doc to talk about our options to become parents, and slowly some of our question marks will be erased.  

In all of this, I am grateful for Los, who's been such a servant to me, and an encourager when I've felt constantly down.  I love him so much for knowing exactly how to be my best friend and strong when I feel massively weak.  I know that God will do a new thing in our lives individually and as a couple in this new season, so here's to having no idea what the future looks like!  Please pray for me:)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Santa Fe

You know you're in Santa Fe when you see peppers drying everywhere!
The nation's oldest Christian church
and the nation's oldest house!  You can see straw in the wall, and those doors are so short!
Not a bad view for a pee stop:)
Yet another makeshift bed...

Grand Canyon

We had a good day traveling to the Grand Canyon and back from cute Flagstaff, AZ.  We probably won't go to the canyon again, but it was nice to hike a few miles there and see people from everywhere in the world!
These 20+ Dutch bikers were all wearing clogs!  Awesomeness. 
Wildlife right below us:)
Hot Dog.

London Bridge Is Falling Down, Falling Down, Falling Down...

Wanna hear a funny story I forgot about til last week?  So, back into the 60s, I think, the London Bridge was falling down.  So somebody put it on the equivalent of eBay, and an oil millionaire idiot in the States bought it for millions of dollars.  They moved it to AZ, and it's now an attraction at Lake Havasu.
The only problem was that when it was assembled, the Americans realized it wasn't London's beautiful and famed Tower Bridge, which we saw this summer.
But instead, a boring looking cement bridge.
Oops.  Our boat tourguide in London got a lot of laughs out of this story, whereas we Americans slumped a little bit lower in our seats:)
Burly wasn't impressed.  This is how he spent much of our drive, out for the count.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Our weekend in FresYES

We had a good time in Fresno with my parents, timing the trip to coincide with my mom's 60th birthday.  We saw a chick flick with her and she puggy-sat while we went to the FSU game the next day.
It was our first tailgate together, Los joining a long-standing tradition in my fam.  Dad made famous tri-tip and there was lots of other good stuff.  Thousands of people tailgate and the band of the week was ( the terrible, one-hit wonder) Smashmouth.
The guys were downing a huge bottle of tequila, I stayed away from that!
At some point my dad had to literally grab the bottle away from my husband, which I captured on film to shame him later (j/k)
It was great to catch up with cousins Jon-Michael and Jo Ann!
Of course the game was fun too, though it got super cold (strange for fall in CA)
We all ended up bundled up

The next day we went to church as a fam and hung out at my dad's with lots of family, as though it was a holiday.  Monday morning we made a pitstop at Jamba Juice and Whole Foods and then hit the road for Arizona.  We'll miss my familia, since we are likely staying in TX (first time away from fam for a holiday) this winter.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Back back to Cali Cali

So my anal need to be chronologically accurate fights with my laziness in blogging amidst all kinds of life change. We are NOW IN TX! I feel crazy about it (highs/lows/disbelief/sadness/hope, crazy) But I'll write about that soon. First, I'd like to highlight some of the fun parts of our week and a half journey that spanned about 3,500 miles.

Our first stop in the homestate was with the beloved Flory's.  They took us wine tasting in the relaxed, beautiful Russian River Valley.  I had zero concept of how huge the wine regions in CA are, and I was really glad we went to some peaceful places like Lynmar, as opposed to the more pretentious and commercial places I've been in Napa in year's past. Leave it to the Flory's to always find the best places:) They also took us to a great restaurant and Burly loved playing with Peet, though you might not believe that from these 3 pictures.

We admire and respect the Flory's for multiple reasons, and always enjoy conversation with them as they are responsible stewards of the lives and gifts God has given them. Plus they are fun, smart, interesting, we hadn't been at their house 5 minutes when we started talking about politics and religion. Gotta love people who cut the crap and wrestle with the hard stuff! Joel wants Los to run for President of the US. What do ya'll think?

They also told us about this great, private first-growth Redwood tree grove that we visited near the ocean.
It was near sunset and majestic, all of those trees hundreds of years old.
I made my husband be a giant tree-hugger, his wingspan is 6'1" and it would've taken 5 of him to go around this tree.
Los trying to toss Burly to the top of the trees...
We heart California, and miss it like crazy. Coming up next, time with my fam.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Cross Country Trip Begins!

Saying goodbye to Los' parents- we'll miss you!
Seize the Day!  At the Grand Canyon today we saw the CA license plate with the same thing!
It had to rain on us in WA one last time for good measure:)
We'll miss the verdant Northwest
This almost naked (diaper only) girl in Portland cracked us up... 

The Pearl District in PDX is so cool!

We had a fab dinner (such good wine) at Piazza Italia, we highly recommend it!
Los was stoked to go to the Garden for the Blazers game, it was super exciting, I admit!
Wouldn't life be better if we all had people like this to stretch us out every day?!

We stayed at the Bishop's lovely home on a canal to Lake Oswego, very cool! 
Burly Evans v. Bear Bishop with the supervision of Tony Bishop
Los subbing in for Ian (who was in Alaska on business) with cutie Julian
We love you guys!  Grateful for you!
Sorry Puggy, back in the crate you go, for 9 days of good old-fashioned road-trippin...