Wednesday, November 24, 2010

giving thanks

This thanksgiving marks 7 years since David and I officially started dating, seven years since God brought a gift to me.  David is my balance, my support, my quiet in the storm.  In our struggles, while God taught us and molded us and shaped us, David stood by me, loved me, was strong for me.

I don't know if many would describe him as strong.  But he is so strong.  He is so patiently steadily strong.

This thanksgiving, I am thankful for him.

This thanksgiving is my second with my miracle Penelope.  With only one fallopian tube and two lost babies, God gave me my miracle.  She is funny.  She is beautiful with her big blue eyes and her expressive face.  She loves to read and observe the world around her.  She is a quiet and loving baby who blesses us with her life.

I don't know what my life would have been like with my two lost little ones, but I know that I love being a mommy for Penelope.

This thanksgiving I am thankful for her.

This thanksgiving marks my third without my mom.  I miss her.  I miss her vibrancy.  i miss her smile.  I miss her passion.  I miss seeing my dad's joy when they were together.  But I have my family here.  I have a peace that comes with working together, laughing together, cooking together.  I love my siblings, my dad, and my family.

I don't know how my mom would be doing had she survived, but I know that she has survived through her mark on each of us.

This thanksgiving, I am thankful for family and legacy.

This thanksgiving, I thank God for all of his blessings.  Those I see and those I do not.  I thank Him for the ways he works daily in my life, and I pray that he would open my eyes to His providence and love for me.

Friday, October 15, 2010


A box of faded photographs, newspaper
Clippings of friends long lost,
Letters never sent, cards never received,
Letters never answered.
College notes from 1953 all scribbled
On paper-thin paper, brittle with age,
And a napkin.  A napkin about Columbus
And his fourth trip back and his poverty stricken death.
A summer college report card of C.

I feel her emotional poverty.
I feel her restraint, her fear, her hesitation
And I know I have never known the real her
And I wonder if anyone has.
And I wonder if she has.

This woman that life has beat up;
This woman that no one really sees;
This uprooted woman who has left behind
Herself in piles of paper and forgotten keepsakes;
This woman who raised my mother
But from an uncontrolled distance,
And was alive at her funeral and present, but so far away;
This woman who is not old, just ask her;
This woman who could not put her finger
On a positive memory;
This woman is my grandmother.

I do not throw her away when I throw away her things.
I throw away her shadow and her heartbreak.
I  hope that in her newfound garden
She will flourish.  I hope but do not expect,
Because I know that while she is a beautiful flower,
She is forever broken inside.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


When I tell people I am a teacher, their usual first response is "wow!"  When I tell them I want to be a stay at home mom, their automatic response is, "well, at least you get the summers off."  While I couldn't agree more, it does bug me a bit.

I want to stay at home with my daughter.  I want to love her.  I want to raise her.  I want to be there when she needs discipline, when she doesn't feel good, when she is having a hard day.  I want to take care of cleaning the house, cooking dinner, managing our finances.  I want to "socialize" my daughter by setting up play dates with other children.  I want to explore everything she does and open the world to her so that she can learn.

I don't want her in daycare.  Or full time preschool.  Or in any kind of institution.  When the time comes for school, I am there, with her in tow.  At that time, I want to help the teacher... with parties, with prep, with field trips, with  (cough cough) grading.  I want my daughter, and any other children I have to know that they have back-up, that they can count on me.  I want to be able to consider fostering children, something I can't really do if I work outside the home.

I drives me crazy that there is such a fight against this.  It drives me crazy that women I know feel like it is somehow below them to care for their families.  It drives my crazy that moms out there are ashamed to say, "yes, I am a stay at home mom!"

I am blessed to be a teacher, to at least have periods of weeks with my daughter.  I am blessed to be able to go part time, for right now.  Although, that may end next year.  I am even blessed to have a group of family and friends who watch Penelope right now.  I just wish that our society would see the value of motherhood.  I wish they would stop trying to push mothers to leave their child in a daycare center, and I wish that there was some way, any way, that I could do this full time.

Sunday, August 1, 2010


I have a picture of myself hanging on the wall.  Well, I guess there are quite a few of them.  But in the one I am thinking of in particular, I am about a year old, standing in front of my dad, my little hand stretched out in his big one, feeding a goat.

We went to the Orange County Fair today, and we took this picture.  Penny is about one, standing in front of her dad, her little hand stretched out in his big one, feeding a goat.

I love it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Little Cute Moments

"Can I have a kiss?" and she leans in, mouth open, and kisses me on the lips.

I am in the swimming pool, and she is pouring little shovel fulls of water over my head from a bucket on the side, laughing hysterically at each one.

"A baby kangaroo is called a joey." Bounce bounce bounce goes my knee.  Flap flap flap go her arms.

"Say more.  What do you want?  Tell me what you want."  "moe!"  And she claps with pride as she realizes that she said it, not signed it.

I wonder where she is, and peek around the corner.  There she is, waiting, looking, hoping I will see her at the bottom of the stairs.  As soon as I do, she squeals and high-tails it up as fast as possible in a very precarious game of tag.  Good thing the gate isn't open often.

We eat blue cheese.  Or brie.  Or pepper jack.  Or goat on crackers before dinner, and she wants some, and asks for more, and does a little dance when she gets it.

"Mampa!" "Niy niy niy." "Moe!" "burrrrr" she speaks, and we listen.

My little Penelope.  I love that girl.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

family. money. aging. children. preparation for the future. blech.

If there is anything that has been impressed in me more and more over the last few weeks, it is that when things are difficult, it is even more important to face them, to share them, to deal with them.  I have always felt that way.  Challenge has always stoked a fire in my gut, has always caused me to gain determination.  But I never, never want to put myself into a place where I limit my options.

I love my grandmother, but her stubbornness and embarrassment over her personal decisions have made it more difficult for everyone to deal with.

I will not hide myself from my family.  I will not hide my successes and failures.  I will not.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


David and I just had our first weekend away from Penelope.  Okay, Weekend might be a bit of a stretch-- it was actually just under 24 hours.  It was wonderful.  We stayed in a hotel, went to Cheesecake factory, and went to Glen Ivy; oh how I love that place.  Maybe I'll quit my job and just go there every day.

Yeah, go ahead, say it.  YEAH RIGHT!

Anyway, it was a blast.  We both could sleep with both ears closed instead of one listening for miss P.  I truly enjoyed being wife for a day, and having my husband for a day.

Of course, I missed my daughter.  Of course I missed seeing David taking care of her and playing with her, but I love my wonderful husband and cherish us, and am so grateful that there was someone (uncle Greg) willing to watch her overnight so we could just be two for a brief moment.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Looking Back

“Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds thy hands have made. I see the stars. I hear the rolling thunder, thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, my savior God to thee, How great thou art. How great thou art.”

These are words from my favorite hymn. It has been my favorite for as long as I can remember.
Three years ago, I almost died from a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. I had already been trying to have a baby for two years. I praised God that I still had my life. I worshipped him for his goodness. I mourned my loss. But God was good.

Two years and nine months ago, my uncle died tragically and unexpectedly. While swimming with his 15 year old daughter in lake Shasta in deep water, he had a heart attack and drowned. He was 49. I was shocked. I was saddened. I mourned with my family and I knew, God is good. God is great. Oh how great thou art.

Two and a half years ago, my husband, David, lost his job. I did not know then that he would still be looking for work today. I still do not know what the journey ahead is like. But I know that God is good. His timing is perfect. How great Thou art!

Two years and four months ago, exactly nine months after my ectopic pregnancy, I had another miscarriage. My heart was broken. I was broken. I sometimes felt without hope. But still I knew, God is good, and he is God. He loves me.

Two years and 3 months ago, my mother fell down the stairs at our house. A dresser landed on top of her.

She never got up, not really, again.

Two years and 2 months ago, my mom, at 48 years of age, passed away. I was sad. I was angry. I felt attacked. I felt empty. I felt a lot of things, but I knew that God is good.

“When sorrows like sea billows roll… it is well, it is well with my soul.”

“You give and take away. You give and take away. Still my heart will say, blessed be your name.”

One year and nine months ago, we decided to move in with my dad. Financially, we needed it. Emotionally, he needed it. Has it been perfect? No. But God is good.

One year ago, my daughter was born. My sweet sweet Penelope. With a fire in her belly, with a stubborn determination to do all, to conquer all, with a love for learning, with a pensive stare, she is my sweet sweet gift from God. He is so good.

My brother is in prison for drug use related crimes. It saddens me. But I pray that God will work through this. God is so good.

I do not know what the future holds. What hills? What valleys? What deserts? What oasis will there be? It does not matter because I know, so deeply, that God is good, that His timing is perfect, that because of His love, “it is well with my soul.”

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Food blog!

I love cooking, always have. So I started a food blog. Here it is! It might include summaries of yummy meals, new ingredients I am cooking with that are exciting to me, even recipes (gasp!)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Conflicting Emotions

It's not logical.
It makes no sense whatsoever.
And really, ninety-nine percent of me is beyond ecstatic.

After so much prayer, and so much waiting, and so much hoping, David got a job.

I am going to miss him.
I am going to miss seeing the hours of time he has with Penelope. I am going to miss having him home when I come home from work. For a bit, it is going to be kinda tough to adjust in a lot of ways.

Grown up emotions are never simple or easy or straight forward.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Love wraps around me when I walk through the door and see my daughter's eyes light up with happiness. Love is the way my husband gently speaks to me in the morning when the monster that is me needs to get out of bed. Love is an open mouth slobbery baby kiss. Love peeks out from the dishes and the laundry so willingly done. Love is in a caress. It is in a giggle. It is in laughter. Love grows stronger with each trial, more patient with each moment, more constant with each mistake. Love is the way I remember a smile of a loved one lost. Love plays with a tickle or a tease. Love is in a teardrop over something, anything mourned together. Love is in the trust of holding my daughter as she learns to walk. Love is in a dream held side by side. Love is in the good times and the bad times, and the times when we don't know which way is up and which is down. Love is the memory of a mistake forgiven. Love is in the way I listen when I want to be on my own way. Love speaks from every moment together, and every moment apart. Love is real. Love is here. Love is now.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I know I should not be thrilled about this. I know that this starts a long period of chasing, that is frankly, going to take a lot of energy. But, anyway, I am a first time mom after all, so, drumroll please...

Penelope took her first step today!


Life was stressful when Penelope was born. There were people around who shouldn't have been, and although I hope I handled it well, I know that it did create more stress in me than I could see. She could see it though.

Penelope was a smiley newborn. She smiled early and she smiled often. But rarely did she giggle. As tension eased over the last few months though, she has started to giggle and laugh much more. I love watching her giggle. I love finding the humor in the little things with her. I love acting silly. I love echoing her giggles and laughs. This afternoon, while I sat on the front lawn with her, watching her play with dried leaves, watching her tear them into little bitty pieces with her "brute" strength, she leaned over, looked at a piece on the blanket, and giggled. Now I don't know what was funny, nor will I ever, but I sat there with her for the next minute or so giggling and laughing, laughing and giggling. Then she gave me a baby kiss.

I love her giggles. I am so glad that life for her has come to a place where she can be a baby, a carefree, unconcerned, light-hearted, clapping and giggling baby. And I am so glad that I can giggle with her.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Just some fun videos.

We have been going outside on the front lawn to enjoy the weather. This is a couple of videos from a few of those afternoons. They are mostly for Annie and Nathan up in Portland, but feel free to enjoy them too!

Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

No regrets

I didn't set out on the homeowner's journey ever in my wild dreams thinking that it would turn out like this. I saw our purchase as one of risk-- buying a house always is. I knew we might lose value in the house. I knew that our budget would be stretched thin at times. I knew all of that. I didn't know that David would become unemployed for so long. I didn't know that my mom would die. I didn't know that my world would be turned upside down by emergency surgery and two miscarriages in less than a year. I didn't know that our whole country's home market would crash like it did. A dip... yeah, a big dip, maybe; one like this... who knew?

Through it all I have learned to have a lot of faith in God''s plan. I have learned... I have come to actually KNOW, that his timing is perfect. Sure, I "knew" it before, but I KNOW it now.We tried so hard to do the right thing. We tried so hard to pay the debt we had incurred. We tried so hard to make ends meet however we could. But it didn't work. Sometimes our best human efforts are just not enough.

And I am sorry to the people or the bank behind our mortgage. And I am sorry to my neighbors who invested in me. And I am sorry about the massive inconvenience to friends who this touches. I hope that our actions have eased the difficulty as much as possible. I just don't know what to say. Our frail human actions just often aren't enough.

So there it is. Today when I got the call that our short sale had been approved, I was elated-- and relieved-- and hopeful for the relief-- and sad that my current homeowner's dream was finally ending-- and nervous that it won't go through.

So many emotions. I had to write them down, get them out. Why is it there aren't simple emotions anymore? Why must they be a whirlwind?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

So, what's the plan?

David applied for another job. David had another interview. David didn't get the job.

I know God has a plan. After the last few year, I had better know that God has a plan. I have seen it again and again. I have seen how His timing is perfect. I have seen over and over how He knows what is coming, and I do not. I have seen how He cushions my fall. I know that God's plan is so much more perfect than my most desperate desires ever are.

I have to admit though. I struggle right now with wondering whether my total reliance on him is that, complete and utter broken reliance, or if I have gotten a kind of attitude in my heart, "okay God, whatever you want." I don't want it to be that at all. Ever ever ever. But it can be hard in my human sinfulness to be prayerfully, honestly broken and reliant. But I have to be, because I can't do it without him.

I want David to get a job. I want him to get one now. For our family, for his self esteem, for his feeling of "usefullness." Even though having him home is AMAZING and I love knowing that Penny is with us, her parents, a lot, I want him to get work. But I want him to get the right job, in the right timing, in God's perfect timing. Who knows what I don't? God does.

Monday, February 15, 2010

I sewed last night and tonight. Maybe to procrastinate, but also because it is fun, I made Penelope a couple of things. I made her this sleep sack out of two old receiving blankets... it should work well as the weather gets warmer:

I also made her this skirt out of some pretty fabric I found while shopping for the real project I am supposed to be working on:

It also has a bow in the back and some fun stitching detail.

Now off to do what I am really supposed to be doing, making a cover for the wheelchair lift in the auditorium of the school our church meets at... LOTS of black fabric!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My imagist poem

Parking lot of puddles
Cracked asphalt torn
A boiled egg shell peeled
Rivulets of water

Umbrella shakes a shower
Adding to the rain

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Big Game

I won the final super bowl pool yesterday, thus reinforcing David's theory that the person who cares the least has the best chance of winning. Yay for ten dollars!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


When a baby is born in the family, going out gets more complicated, but it is still possible. David and I talk about it all the time. As responsible parents, we want to make sure that Penelope sleeps comfortably and well at home when she is supposed to; sleep is so important to development. But, life doesn't stop, and at least this time, we are lucky enough to have a baby that is okay being up a bit past her bedtime, and is still young enough to fall asleep other places.

Last night we hung out with friends, and Penny slept in a pack and Play until we went home at 11:00. What a great baby! Then tonight, we went out for dinner because David's birthday is tomorrow. We went early, we had a great time, and then Penelope rode home with her grandparents, while we stayed out for an extra half hour or so.

We got home to this:

She melts my heart.

I don't mind that life changes. I don't mind taking care of her, or often putting her first. I still like my time with my husband or my friends, and I always will. Becoming a mother shouldn't steal away your identity. It should change something inside of you, and it does, but it doesn't mean you have to leave yourself behind. Becoming responsible for a whole someone's entire life is heavy, a great responsibility and an honor. I love being a mom.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Another One Down

Another semester is over. I can't believe I am already half-way done with my sixth year of teaching! Time passes by so quickly.

I really do like my job, and while I would love to be able to stay home and be a full time mommy, I am happy with what I do for now, and thankful that I am able to be part time. I love working with 16 and 17 year olds. I love watching them learn. I enjoy having conversations with them, seeing the proverbial light-bulb light up. I get so excited as I see them working hard, figuring things out, and maturing socially in and out of class.

Are there frustrations? Sure there are, just like with any job. Are there times when I could go on about it for hours? Yep. But all in all, I like teaching. I like knowing that I am a capable professional with a college degree who has chosen, yes chosen, to dedicate my career to the thousands of students that will pass through my door. And am I perfect? Far from it. Do I make mistakes? You bet I do. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I could have done something differently, or changed an interaction with a student, or approached a topic in a more exciting way. But I do the best I can, and despite the mistakes that I know I make, I earnestly hope that I am inspiring, encouraging, and intriguing the minds of my students much more often.

I love teaching. I don't know how long I will do it. I don't know if I will teach until retirement, or move on to something else later. I don't know what the future holds; but for now I know that what I am doing fits. I know that I too am inspired by my students, by my hard working colleagues, and by my passion for literature, grammar(yes, passion for grammar) and learning. I hope, I truly hope, that some day, more people will realize that there are more good teachers than bad, that more of us work hard than don't, and that teaching is an honorable position, not a last resort.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I just spent my evening with the incoming girls of my society (sorority for all of you non-Whittier folk). It just doesn't get old. Every time I do it, I am reminded of the importance of girlfriends in my life.

Girlfriends make our lives richer. They share memories of laughter and tears, of good times and bad, of births and deaths, of ups and downs. They know our deepest secrets, and because of that, they are able to relate to us in a way no one else can.

I am so thankful for my girlfriends. I am so thankful for each one of you... for all the wonderful things about you that make me laugh, and make me crazy. I am so thankful that I can count on you to be a listening ear, and that I can be that for you too. Thank you for everything you are, because it means a lot.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

"3rd" babyfoods

I love cooking. I love my daughter. So I guess it goes to figure, I should love cooking for my daughter. But we all know how it goes, the day flies by, and convenience is, well, convenient. So today, since she was sick, and since church is good at messing up naps, I chose to stay home so she could sleep. I cleaned up the kitchen and then made a great batch of baby food for her that even I would eat (seriously, it was GOOD!) It is easier now too, because she can handle so much more texture and has moved on, in some cases, to those almost rancid "3rd foods" in the jar. I thought I'd share what I did, especially because it turned out so well...

one half chicken breast cut into medium chunks
2 leftover canned artichoke hearts
1/3 ish cup of frozen chopped spinach
1/2 roasted red bell pepper
a bit of salt
a sprinkle of garlic powder
a splash of apple juice for sweetness

I seared the chicken, threw in the veggies, added about a cup of water and simmered it for about 10 minutes. I threw it in the food processor, pulsed it a few times... and viola, awesome, nutritious and delicious baby food. This time I mixed in some rice cereal... but either way! Yum!

Growing Growing Growing... Gone!

Miss Penelope is growing so fast! Every day there is a new trick, a new something she has learned to do. She never ceases to blow me away. She has no discovered that cabinets open and close. She is practicing consonants in whispers, and when she thinks she has them down, she adds them to her babble... which of course means nothing, but is fun nonetheless. "My poo," "mamamamamamama," "pop," "mob," may not be real words, but they are sure fun to hear anyway. The little scamp is also trying to balance without holding on to anything! I mean geez louise, doesn't she realize that she is only eight and a half months old? Nope! I guess she inherited the "myself" gene; I think David and I are going to be in for quite a ride with this one!

I love watching David with her too. He is sooooo good with her. Both Penelope and I are so blessed. I never in my wildest dreams would imagine the amazing husband I would end up loving. He plays with her, feeds her, gets up with her, dresses her, bathes her... and the list goes on and on. I know this might be morbid, but I know that if he was ever her only parents, she would be so well cared for. I love him so much. He has a heart of gold. His kindness is overwhelming, his patience is deep, his devotion to those he loves is beautiful, and I must mention that his sense of humor makes me belly laugh quite often.

I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful family. It is worth the world.