Sunday, September 28, 2008

"Stay at Home" Moms/Dads

5 years ago, when I was a big idiot, I asked my boss an un-thought out question. (not much has changed, unfortunately, I constantly: 1. Open mouth and 2. Insert foot) This is a chronic issue with me, this speaking before I think... In any case, his wife is one of those annoying combos of brilliant, beautiful and as gracious as can be. Lovely woman. Capable of anything, she even got straight A's I think all the way through schooling, kindergarten-college, except for one B, or something crazy like that. SO, in my stupidity, I thought, "if she is used to achieving, then clearly she would want to have a job, staying at home raising kids must be like, a temporary setback..." And I asked, "So, does she ever feel sad that she's not working?" I can remember his response as clear as day. At first I thought he was mad, but then I realized it was more an are-you-completely-clueless-Casey?! kind of response. He urged me never to voice that kind of question to a stay at home mom.

Well, I didn't. But I didn't understand why until now. Since many of our friends have begun having kids, I am watching them navigate the tricky waters of employment outside the house and paying for child care. I am realizing how most moms would give their right arm to be able to stay home with their babies during those first few formative years that they can never get back. Witnessing all of the "firsts": first smile, roll over, crawl, stand/walk, word, sentence, potty training (man, this is a big one!!), etc. It seems to rip their hearts out, to go to work, and entrust a stranger with protecting/stewarding their little ones. Our friends struggle to figure out how they can adjust their lifestyle/income so that one of them (usually the mom, though I know some awesome stay at home dads) can be home with the kid(s). Even if one can only work 1/2 time, that seems like a partial victory.

And wow, is staying at home ever work! For my friends that can stay home, the last thing I would call that is leisure, they're constantly doing stuff! Nursing and napping schedules stress me out, and I don't even have to do them! Add to that all the in-and-out of cars and stores and social dynamics with other kids, and teaching times (letters, colors, dumptrucks/race cars, toys and tantrums and laundry and snacks at home... Let alone the struggles added when parents take on adoption! Balancing structure and freedom, discipline and creativity, safety and adventure, it's enough to make me want to take a nap! AND parents don't even get to sleep as much as I do, OR have as much time to do WHATEVER I WANT ALL THE TIME.... Sacrifice. They know the meaning of sacrifice in a way that I definitely do not yet.

So I hereby repent for any of my idiotic thinking of 5 years ago, stay-at-home parents, you are amazing to me. Nothing short of an every day hero. You who invest in the character of your kids are making this world a better place one person at a time. Thank you.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Melancholy for what we leave behind...

In less than a week, our household belongings will be packed up and shipped out; we'll see them a month later. We'll be borrowing dishes/towels, etc. from a neighbor for our last 5 days and sleeping on the trusty Aerobed. It will be like camping. Except in our own house... Even with all the excitement of our imminent road trip and new home, we are feeling sad these days for what we'll leave behind. Other than the weather (which has been rough), living in WA the past 3 years has been such a gift.

We love our house, and the view of nearby mountains. To design the garden has been so life-giving for me. I am giving away pumpkins now, the last of our summer fruits. And we couldn't wish for better neighbors, they are so wonderful; we'll really miss the community here. I'm told that the street we're moving to in TX has monthly parties and great relationships too, so we're looking forward to that.

Last night we took a sentimental trip down memory lane, visiting multiple favorite places for the last time. The golden farmland of the Skagit Valley contrasted with the mountains that jut up from the sea, and the neighboring San Juan Islands makes for a breathtaking scene, especially in autumn, as the leaves begin to change to all shades of brilliance. I am a sucker for old barns (there's just something about them that I love) and as we drove down the beautiful Chuckanut Drive (a must-do if you're in these parts, car commercials are filmed on it b/c it's a cliff at the edge of the land, with shimmering sea beneath) one last time, we marveled at how gorgeous our home here is. We have islands and water (kayaking, fishing, whales) just to the west, and the North Cascade Mountain Range for awesome skiing/hiking just to the east of our fertile valley.

We went to dinner at our favorite restaurant in the Valley, Seeds. It's named after the seed company that was in the same building for over a century. Apparently we produce the country's largest amount of seeds for vegetables and flowers. I've taken a lot of people there over the years, it is so special. It has local, sustainable (organic produce, grass-fed beef, etc.) fare and shows off all there is to love about this county's bounty. We had local beer, wine, oysters and the amazing bacon, avocado burgers for one last time. The town it's in, La Conner, is impossibly charming! Right on the river and full of cute boutique shops. What a great place.

After sleeping in today, we're now going hiking here (Sauk Mountain) for the last time in the Cascades. Such goodness all around us, we will miss this place.

I pulled all these photos off Google, but isn't this place beautiful?!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Cilantro, Rosemary and Chives- oh my!

As the growing season in the Northwest begins to wane and I get ready to give as many herbs and plants away as I can, I thought I'd give ya'll two little recipes that have made veggies more fun for us:

Rosemary Butter (for our ubiquitous squash- we put it on grilled/broiled zucchini)
3T softened butter
1T finely chopped fresh rosemary
1t lemon juice
1/2t grated lemon peel
a handful of chives (or green onions if you have them) finely chopped
1/4t cayenne pepper

Awesome Vegetable/Cracker Dip
1 8 oz. package cream cheese
1 jar Major Grey mango chutney
a handful of finely chopped cilantro
1/2t curry powder


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's a Bird, It's Plane, nope, it's just my husband...

As if training for a marathon and doing his first triathlon this month wasn't enough, this weekend Los took on the Seattle Oyster Race, which is the "ultimate urban adventure race." He and his two best friends did it as a last hurrah of sorts before we move. They biked, ran, climbed, paddled, rollerbladed, and maybe some other stuff. It took them 7 HOURS to finish!!! Disgusting amount of exercise. Because Los had never rollerbladed before, and kept falling, he opted to run 8 extra miles instead (the rollerblading leg), so all in all he ran 17 miles (on top of cycling 25, etc.) Disgusting, I tell you; who does this for fun? Only strange people:) I say all this in jest because I am truly in awe of him! I'm pretty sure he's ready to do his first marathon, even if he's only trained 2 weeks for it.

So I am taking the big step and registering us for San Antonio's Rock and Roll (marathon and 1/2, respectively) RIGHT NOW! Pray for me:) You could pray for Los too, but let's be honest, does he need it? No. I do. He's a machine.

Monday, September 22, 2008

ROAD TRIP MUSIC- what do you like?!

Let's hear it, come one, come all! Our trip from Seattle to Texas in 2 weeks is 10 days long, which means we really need some new tunes- we can't listen to John Mayer the entire time... What are you listening to these days, or what do you love for car trips?! Please give us some ideas!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

What am I going to do with myself?

As of LAST NIGHT, I am OFFICIALLY DONE FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH SCHOOL!!!! (unless we go the Ph.D route in a few years)

I almost don't know what to do with myself. For the past 25 years of my life (read: QUARTER OF A CENTURY) I have been a student. No longer. I wrote 30 pages this week. I have massive carpal-tunnel and tendonitis in my left wrist and elbow. But I am done! Unbelievable. I have a list of like 30 things I want to do that I've been putting off, so I suppose I'll start chipping away at them until our move date in a few weeks. But so far, since I've been free, I have:

*Had an amazing (Jamie Oliver recipes I have to copy) dinner with friends Joey and Matt, who knew I could like beets so much?! They just moved to our neighborhood for Matt to be a yacht designer in Anacortes, and we like all the same games (Settlers and cards) and music and food; I am BUMMED they came right in time for us to leave!

*Gone to the world's best dog park: Magnuson in Seattle. I had never been there before and it is huge! We walked maybe a 1/2 mile or mile to the beach, where lots of dogs were swimming. Burly played around in the water with other dogs, but still isn't fired up to swim... we'll keep working on it. Afterwards, I took him to the expensive pet store to pick out some treats. I'm totally that kind of dog mom. It's funny, I can picture what I'll go through as a mom of children: as Burly was in the park, I wanted him to play nice, and make friends, and not be shy, and all this stuff... I can only imagine what anxiety or hopes I'll have when our kids go to pre-school and kindergarten!

*Now I'm at Starbucks in University Village, while Los is cycling for a few hours with some buddies. I LOVE people watching here. There are two sweet ladies in their 70s right across from me. I hope my friends and I do that when we're their age. There's lots of cute families crawling all over the place here too. It's fall here, the leaves are beautiful, and I'm enjoying wearing a down coat, knowing I won't be able to do so in TX. I'll miss cold weather clothes a lot! I love seasons, and I can feel myself starting to miss everything that I have loved about the northwest the past decade. I watched the Motorcycle Diaries for the first time this week (good movie)(Flory's, thought of you!!) and the main character said a quote I wish I could remember verbatim. They were on a boat between Argentina and Chile and he said something about having simultaneous melancholy for what he was leaving behind, and anticipation of what he was heading toward. That pretty much sums up how I feel. Seattle is such a gorgeous place (Corpus is so ugly in comparison) and I will miss all the wonderful people here. Yet I am excited for the new season of life right around the corner. I am excited to live on the golf course (LOW MAINTENANCE!) and go to the beach a lot, and wear tank tops whenever I want, and to work, and to have a baby eventually... Lots of stuff will be great in this new season.

But first, I'm just going to soak in the feeling of accomplishment that 5 years of graduate work is done. I love Jesus more, and have grown so much in this process. I am truly grateful.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Our So-Called Life: Whirlwind Edition

So the winds of change are a-blowin' with hurricane force! Here are updates:

#1- OUR HOUSE SOLD! Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!! In this horrible buyers market, we were really nervous (read: I was really nervous) that I'd be stuck here until winter, with Los having to go ahead of me to TX. The market here has 10 months SOLID of inventory, our agent said she's only selling 3 houses a month!!! Compare this to 2005, when we bought: she closed on a house every other day! She said she took no days off, didn't vacation that year at all, and buyers were running around like mad. The day Los found our house, he was the first of 3 or 4 offers on the FIRST DAY it was on the market! Crazy... NOW the average house is taking 6 months to sell, and those are good houses, not crappy ones...

So the fact that our beautiful home took LESS than a month to get TWO offers, and for us to settle on a buyer and contract is nothing short of a providential miracle! I am oh so grateful, as it makes our move to TX right on time (as we thought out months ago), which NEVER happens! Our next door neighbors have been Geo-bacheloring from VA for 4 months so far with no end in sight, b/c getting out of their house is tricky, our other next door neighbors have put their house on the market TWICE in 3 years, with no luck, and are relocating to CA. Los' brother's house has been on the market in Seattle for 5 months while he's been in NY, and dropped $80,000 and still no offers, another friend's home just took 11 months to sell, so... WOW. I feel really blessed that this worked out so perfectly for us! We didn't make money, as we'd hoped to, but our peace of mind is priceless, as we don't know if we'll ever return to the northwest, and selling just made sense. Is my relief palpable to you?!

#2- WE GOT THE GOLF COURSE HOUSE IN TX! The link I posted this past month was to a slideshow of our fave house in TX (gorgeous custom home on the course: 3 bed/2 bath and amazing features everywhere- like the built-in 48 bottle wine cooler and gargantuan master closet, all of our clothes could fit in 1/6 of it!) We are so excited the owners picked us, when the realtor showed us around, it was by far our fave! We'll have wonderful neighbors (they gather once a month for wine/hors d'ouerves) and it's super safe/peaceful/gated community). After living near I-5 (I am such a light sleeper) I can't WAIT for our home to be somewhere SO QUIET!

So all this means...
#3- WE MOVE TO TX IN 3 WEEKS FROM TODAY! I can hardly believe it, even as I type this! It went from such ambiguity (will our house ever sell?) to GAME ON! So we're having a GOING AWAY PARTY THIS WEEKEND if you want to come? We'll be in Seattle trying to connect with people, and for Los' next race; and at home next weekend, when I may sky-dive with friends. The following weekend we have Kendall's wedding and then I'm going up to Canada to see JJ/Lisa and volunteer at Passion's World Tour stop in Vancouver. That will be fun, even though it means I won't sleep at our own home the last 2 nights we're in it. I'll drive back from Canada Tuesday morn and then we'll be off!

Our probable itinerary is as follows:
Tuesday 10/7- Lake Oswego, OR: playing with the Bishop's and buying stuff where there's no sales tax (can I say Apple store, with my 10% student/military discount?! Boo yah...)
Wednesday 10/8- Redwoods National Forest, CA
Thursday 10/9- Napa, CA and playing with the Flory's
Friday 10/10- Berkeley (maybe?) or Central Coast (SLO/ my parents' house in Los Osos)
Saturday 10/11- Fresno for my mom's 60th bday, woo hoo! Also FSU football tailgating and game with fam, fun!
Sunday 10/12-Flagstaff, AZ (or maybe Vegas, but probs not)
Monday 10/13- GRAND CANYON: we've never been, can't wait to hike around!
Tuesday 10/14- Santa Fe, NM (one of US' coolest, most unique cities, love it!)
Wednesay 10/15- Dallas and Austin, TX (we heart Austin, it's so awesome)
Thursday 10/16- shop and look at furniture (since we're selling ours on Craigslist for the most part)
Friday 10/17- arrive at the beach and new home. We're staying with some friends on the Island for 2 weeks until we can move into our new fab house on 11/2!

Many pics to come in the month to follow! Stay tuned to the life and times of the Evans adventures:)

Someone Call Up Ol' Guinness!!! We've got a Record for his Book!!

The Skagit Valley soil is like crack for plants. I mean, stuff grows like nuts here, it's ridiculous. On top of that, we put about 18 yards of compost (2 dump trucks worth) in our backyard, so it's like crack with extra vitamins:) In two years, my garden has gone from nothing to 3,000 sq. ft. of packed space with 400 things growing madly and passionately! Last week I was picking squash when I saw the World's Biggest Zucchini. This thing is bigger than some of our pumpkins!

I tried various techniques to capture the magnitude of this behemoth.

Not quite getting it yet. Burly was afraid of it.

It was bigger than my leg bone.

Almost as long as our dishwasher and look how it dwarfs the Santoku knife. CRAZY I tell you, put us in the record book!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Summer o' Bridesmaids

Since our wedding was on my mind... (clickHERE to see Joel's famous photos) I think this summer I set a record of seeing all of my bridesmaids! This is impressive, since they live in 4 different states! The seven gals (plus Mallory, my I-wish-I-could-adopt-her-as-a-little-sister junior bridesmaid) are all women I treasure for different reasons, and for what they add to my life. It is interesting to think that in just 3 short years: 6 babies have been born to them (Jackson, Riese, Judah and Elise, Ainsley and Audrey), 1 has gotten engaged, 4 have moved across the country or world, 5 have bought/renovated a house or condo; and remarkably ALL of them have found a career they like. Big life investments!! I am so grateful that this year has provided us the opportunity to see them all in WA, CA, FL, and SC. I also got to see Hanna, who read scripture in our wedding in LA this August. She is so special to me, and she got married on Los' birthday! She just went to Hawai'i for her honeymoon.

Come to think of it, Los has seen almost all his wedding party too! This summer Ian and his wife and their new son came up here to the Rasar's Guemes Island cabin. We spent a night in July with them and the Zentler's, something that I hope becomes a tradition. We also got to see the Worley's (Jay was a groomsman and wrote/performed a song for us, and their daughter was a flowergirl) in D.C. this year. AND, very exciting news, JR, who was a groomsman (his daughter Mackenzie was a flowergirl) is being restationed (from Japan) in Texas this fall. So we'll be neighbors with them and their now 4 children (they're adopting 2 boys from Poland). Dave, who Los wanted to have as a groomsman, but was stationed in Spain, will also be our new neighbor in TX, so we are looking forward to the new season with them. I guess my brother (SAD) is the only member of our wedding party that we haven't seen this year! Hopefully in the future he will be more a part of our life. It is a bit challenging for now, since he lives in the Netherlands and is shortly moving to Australia!

In any case, we feel blessed to have such good friends everywhere we go. This season has been sweet in WA, and we are glad we got married at the beginning of our life here. Now on to new adventures and expanding our family in TX we will go, taking these memories with us!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Our Third (First) Anniversary!

Three years ago yesterday, Los said, "I do, do you?" And I said, "I DO!" But the next two September 10ths, the Navy took him half-way around the world to the Middle East... I coped, going to Cali and eating sushi/getting a massage/being with fam and friends... but they were anti-climactic days at best.

Not so yesterday! We enjoyed the beautiful weather (beginning of fall, leaves are changing color, woo hoo!) by driving up to Bellingham (the most gorgeous part of I-5) to spend the evening. Los surprised me by taking me to the fabulous Chrysalis Hotel and Spa for a few hours. It turns out a slice of heaven can be purchased for a couple hundred dollars! We basked in the sun on the deck, watching people drink wine or kayak in the bay as the sun sank toward the San Juan Islands.

Then we entered the spa, for the most recent highlight of my life. We were ushered into our respective locker rooms; and any residual worry that wasn't eradicated on the deck dripped out of my pores and down the drain in the heavenly steam room. Then we wrapped ourselves in luxurious robes and went to the relaxation room. We chose from six awesome types of tea, sipped and sank into the chairs that had a view of flora and a waterfall. Then eventually we were escorted to our room and given the most amazing massages. Los had never had one before, and after his triathlon (plus swimming a mile and running an hour on top of that), his body really soaked up every last heavenly touch. I usually critique my therapist mentally the whole time and can't fully relax (since I want to be a LMP in another lifetime); but boy did I ever relax last night. My therapist did some things no one has ever done before, and I now have a long list of other types of massage I want to try: Thai, Stone, Shiatsu, et al. No more Swedish for a while! It was like a dream that kept getting sweeter and sweeter. After more tea and more steam, I rinsed with their great local and organic products (I am a sucker for high-end #1-groceries and #2- bath products) and then floated out of there as if on a cloud.

We couldn't have enjoyed our time there more, and we HIGHLY recommend it to anyone in WA. They had a good wine bar and restaurant on the water as well, but since we are moving away so soon, we wanted to visit our favorite pizza place La Fiamma one last time.

For any vegetarian pizza- eaters, I have never found a pizza as amazing as their Major Grigio. They use Major Grey mango chutney as the spread, then pile on curried veggies and cheese, and top it with Thai spicy sauce, Sriracha. It's unbelievable. Maybe that combo sound unappetizing in writing (I was skeptical before I tried it the first time!) but it will change your life. I feel like if you're going to go out to pizza, it has to be something way better than what Papa Murphy's could give you to take home and bake... Los ordered a Potato Chicken pizza, which again sounds weird: garlic mashed potato spread with rosemary potatoes and grilled chicken on top, laced with balsamic on top; but it is sooo good (and mellow, to complement the spicy other one). We only go there maybe 3 times a year, but I will miss it, can you tell? They have my favorite Rosemary Lemonade too (which is a rip-off from The Herb Farm, which is the northwest's best restaurant- consistently ranked nationally and globally too; you can eat there if you have $200/person?!) La Fiamma offers it for $2.50, a little easier on the ol' pocket book; and they serve some awesome beers from local breweries.

It was so fun to have a special evening and reflect with Los on where three years has brought us- there's definitely been some bumps on the road, but overall the ride has been a glorious one. We met when we were 22, we're now 29- life as we know it is about to change radically. We are leaving our comfort zone of the west coast, I am leaving my comfort zone of academia, and hopefully we'll be leaving our comfort zone of singlehood, heading toward parenthood at some point soon. Much change is afoot; and we couldn't imagine a better partner to face it all and journey through life with. My step-grandparents have been married 63 years, we look forward to growing old together as they have. It just keeps getting better and better and we are grateful.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Elephants, Donkeys- Everyone Poops.

I am an Independent, definitely not making any political statement, just copying a shirt my friend Shannon has. However, for those of you have have yet to see this funny Jon Stewart clip on Sarah Palin, click
here. It is not so much about her, as it is making fun of how the media slants things and contradicts itself. Both conservative and liberal media do this, and Comedy Central did a good job poking fun at both sides in their coverage of the conventions. I have been considering the differences between Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton this past week, and reading about her life. I am both attracted to her and very concerned about her; not sure what to think. I'm not sure if it's just my age, thus finally paying attention to the presidential race, or if it is these candidates in particular; but I'm finding this to certainly be an interesting election year! I both like and dislike aspects about both parties, and wish there were a way for them to fuse; but that will never happen. So we shall see, but this is certainly an election for the history books!

Kids Say the Funniest Things!

If you need a laugh, READ THIS from our friends in South Carolina! Their 2.5 year old Elise is awesome...

Monday, September 8, 2008

My Iron Man- the Birthday Boy

I have the world's best husband. Today is his birthday, and we are once again the same age. This is my favorite half of the year, until I sneak ahead of him in March.

Yesterday Los completed his first triathlon, Escape from the Rock in Mercer Island. I have been to more marathons/races than I can count, but THIS was exhilarating. Los is one of those people that people like me like to hate, naturally gifted at almost everything physical. For example: the first 1/2 Marathon he ever ran, he trained maybe two weeks for... and he finished it in an hour and a half! Who does that?! Now he's training for his first marathon, and he's hoping to get a 3:10, to qualify for Boston Marathon. ON HIS FIRST TRY. Again, who does that? He does.

So yesterday, he was kind of nervous going in to his first Tri. No need to be, as he placed 77th of 700+ contestants. When we left over an hour after he finished, people were still finishing! Even with entering the water at the back of his swimming heat and having really slow transition times (the winner took less than 5 seconds to get off his bike and put on his shoes!!!), Los finished in 1:10! That's 16 miles in 70 minutes= amazing! He was running sub-7 minute miles and said he wasn't even trying hard, who says that?! He's gonna shoot to break an hour next time= crazy! And his eventual goal is to do the Kona Ironman (the "Superbowl" of Triathlons) in Hawai'i- which is a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and 26.2 mile marathon! Just typing that exhausts me:) I just found out that a guy in the Navy invented the Ironman, as a competition for Navy Seals to see who was the fittest athlete alive. It has grown in the past 3 decades into an international competition, pretty awesome. After yesterday, I'm hooked!

We were so excited all day yesterday and today, talking about his race, and looking forward to the San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon that we're going to do. It feels good for me to have a goal of completing the half (some friends of ours are doing it also) and he has wanted to complete a full for a while now. It's 9 weeks away, I think, and we're fired up! I joined an online trainer that has been really helpful for me, and have been dragging Burly along on all my training. I am not exaggerating when I say dragging, on today's 40- minute jaunt, he tried to/laid down in the shade approximately 10 times! We are both going to get more fit in this season:)

Tonight, Los and I went down the street to the brand new LuLu Lemon outlet (the only one in the States!! It has all their awesome clothing for less money, awesome!) to buy some sweet athletic gear. Motivated by our victories and aspirations, we then promptly went to Wendy's, and got Frosty's and fries. Oh well, you win some, you lose some:)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Reaping the Harvest

More to come on our trip to the south (I just uploaded lots o pics) but when we got back, I was overwhelmed at the bounty in our garden. Mind you, I was gone 3 weeks of August, which is my excuse for not having looked after things more closely. In any case, we now have 50 pumpkins, all kinds of tomatoes, berries, squash, cabbage and lettuce. My bell pepper and artichoke plants died, may they RIP, and somehow, a lot of my onions disappeared? Do rabbits eat onions? That's neither here, nor there at this point, as I was overwhelmed just trying to tame my zucchini monstrosity. The whole neighborhood now has some, and I wanted to share this great recipe with you all:

Blueberry Zucchini Bread (I make 2 large loaves per batch, and they're delectable!)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup vegetable oil
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups white sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 pint fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease 4 mini-loaf pans.
In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar. Fold in the zucchini. Beat in the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer to the prepared mini-loaf pans.
Bake 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife inserted in the center of a loaf comes out clean. Cool 20 minutes in pans, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

*I used whole wheat flour, added way more zucchini than called for, and baked the 2 large pans for 1 hr 20min. You can add a coffee cake/streusel-esque topping to them if you want, as well. If you have lots o squash and summer berries like we do, give it a try, you won't be sorry:)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Rock and Roll

WHAT did I just get myself into... Oh boy...

Here goes nothing!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

5 States in One Week... you know, the usual.

Well team, thanks for all the prayers going into the past crazy week of our lives. Everything went smashingly! Of course, there was the one time when I got our flight time from IAH-JAX incorrect in my brain (which I use as my PDA). The Houston gate agent said there was no way we'd make our flight; but we sprinted/sweated (as quickly as one can sprint while carrying luggage anyway) across that gargantuan space and arrived at E-13 with moments to spare. Then we grossed some locals out by wiping away all our sweat (back sweat included) while trying to catch our breath. Whatever.

Other than that, the trip was great. I'm pretty sure I did decently on my exams. Then we had a good lunch with the Zentlers and dinner with the E-R's before we flew south. In Corpus Christi we connected with some people for lunch (from what may be our new church) and found a couple houses we love, that are fabulous and super affordable. We had great time with Kiesha and Dave in TX. We can't wait to spend 2 years with them down there. You should check out her blog, she's been writing some funny things about TX; I'm sure I'll have similar culture shock when we get there.

Once we made our flight to JAX, we relaxed in the company of great friends. I'll have to put pics up, but first we spent time with the Flynt family. They are inspirational to us as parents and as a couple. We played with their cute kids Gavin and Sophie and then enjoyed a good meal and wine as grown-ups. I got to read Sophie (and later the Moseley's daughter Elise) books before she went to bed; that was a definite highlight of the trip for me. I always cherished that time when I was a kid, and then in college as a nanny. It is fun to do it for our friends' kids now, and it is one of the things I know I'll love about being a parent some day.

From the Flynt's, we went to a couple beaches we love in Jax/Ponte Vedra, that was a happy few hours. Los went running and I built a fortress in the sand. Then we joined the lovely Pendleton Clan for dinner and wonderful conversation. Their baby Judah remains our fave little man, and he's just as cute as I remembered him from 6 months ago when they moved away from us. The next night we had steak dinner with the Pound's and Reifers' (the pastor who married us and my Jax host parents whom we love); we talked about religion and politics and all the good stuff.

Next we buzzed through Georgia en route to South Carolina. We stopped in Savannah to pick up Erika, who'd flown in from Denver to join us. We celebrated her 30th birthday (the first of my close friends to reach this milestone!) and had good conversations about seasons in life. I have now been in 10 states with her, I think more than any other friend? (p.s. I rank friends by how many states I've been in with you, though my ranking has no bearing on our friendship)

After getting massively lost on one of SC's many state route 17's, we finally made it to the Moseley's at about 3am. Good thing I was still kind of on west coast time! Besides, what would a road trip be, if you didn't get lost at least once:) We hadn't seen them since our wedding (they lived in Japan 2 years, good excuse!) and we had a fabulous weekend with them, meeting their sweet girls and hugging our beloved Gus, their chocolate Lab. We decided that if they won't give him to us, we're going to have to get a Lab ourselves, because he is the best dog on earth other than Burly. Friday we got to tour the amazing plantation I linked to below, photos of that to come will show how impressive it is. Saturday we walked all over historic Charleston, which was really special for me (to see where my fam came to the States) and Los (we went to the birthplace of his fraternity). It's a fascinating mix of gorgeous architecture, preppy college students, Confederate history, great Low Country food, and cute boutique shopping.

Sunday morning we went to explore Savannah some (Los and I have been multiple times, but E had not), and then trekked back to Jax to fly westward. We were grateful that we missed both Tropical Storm Faye and Hurricane Gustav en route. All in all, a wonderful trip, I'll post pics as soon as I can find our camera battery charger!