Wednesday, September 23, 2009

More pics of Caedmon

Caedmon (and I) have been enjoying all of his cool new toys that he got for his birthday. Here's a few snapshots of him having fun!

Caedmon's "Grandma Marcy" gave him a bike for his
birthday! Andy & I picked out the "Cars" bike, but it was
too small. So, we took Caedmon back to the store and he
chose a "Diego" bike.

It looks like Toys-R-Us exploded in our living room!
Here Caedmon is playing with his new dump truck from
Nico, his train set from Renan, and his dinosaurs from
Lily & Cailyn.

Did someone call for a doctor?

Caedmon LOVES his finger paint from CC & Pops!
I love that the paint is clear and only changes color on
that special paper.

Caedmon got two new puzzles from Mimi & Papa.
Not sure why he wore his helmet all day that day.

These adorable rain boots are from Uncle Teve
& Aunt LaLa. It is difficult to convince him to
wear anything BUT these shoes now!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Birthday Pictures!

Caedmon had a very happy, and seemingly, never-ending 3rd birthday! We had a small party for him the Saturday before his birthday (only invited 4 friends because I didn't want it to be overwhelming for him). The pictures below are of that party. But the celebration did not end there. His actual birthday was last Tuesday so we spread out his presents over several days. Since all of our family lives out of town, Caedmon received presents in the mail all last week. Every time we went to the mailbox he asked if there was another present for him...and there usually was!

Birthday parties are intended to make the birthday child so happy. I was really pleased that Caedmon seemed to have a great time at his party!

Borrowed a few toys from "Bay Kids"!
(Perks of being a pastor's kids, I guess.)

Sharing goldfish with Daddy.

Pinata time!

Caedmon got some awesome presents.
3 years old is such a fun age.

Elmo cupcakes in honor of our Sesame Street theme.

It only took 3 tries to blow out 3 candles.

Everyone in anxiously awaiting those cupcakes!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday, Caedmon!

"Birth" day

1st birthday
2nd birthday
3rd birthday
Dear Caedmon,
Three years ago today you entered the world and my life was forever changed. I had never experienced love the way I did when I first held you in my arms. I had never loved someone incapable of loving me back. No one had ever been completely dependent upon me for their survival. I'd never had a relationship that was give-and-give instead of give-and-take.

Through you I have become aware of, not only how great my capacity is to love, but also how ugly and selfish I can be. God is using you, a child, to develop character in me. Patience, perseverance, selflessness, and generosity. Thank you for these gifts.

You are the most fascinating person I've ever met. There has never been another person about whom I wanted to know every detail. I've taken more pictures of you in your brief three years than of any other person.  I wonder what you think. I try to imagine what your life will hold. I want to write down every memory we make so that I never forget them.

I love how you come barreling down the hall each morning with your messy hair and Thomas the Train pajamas. As you climb into my arms and rub the sleep from your eyes, you melt my heart. Over and over again. No matter how bad you'd been the day before, it seems my "mercies are new every morning".

I have no idea what God has in store for your life. You may or may not be a straight 'A' student. You may or may not be coordinated and love sports. You may or may not love music, or art, or a million other things. But, honestly, all of those things are of secondary importance to me. My prayer for you is that you would have an undivided heart...that loving Jesus would be your passion in life and everything else would fall in place underneath that. Because if you get that right, you'll want to honor your parents, you'll want to know God's will for your life, you'll want to work diligently at whatever you do. But if you get that wrong, then nothing else matters.

So today you are three. And this year will be full of finger painting, trips to the zoo, learning the alphabet, playing with trains, and riding your bike. You will "help" me in the kitchen, accompany me to the grocery store, and insist on pouring the laundry detergent into the washer by yourself. I will make countless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, clean up countless messes, and read countless bedtime stories. You are my little buddy. We live life together.

A glance at one day of our lives may seem rather mundane to an outside perspective. But I know something they may not...I know I am building a legacy, shaping character, and training a wise warrior. I know that one day your life will impact hundreds of thousands of lives. My investment in you will reap a harvest that will far out-weigh any sacrifice I have made.

Words could never express how thankful I am to get to be your mom. You are God's gift to me and I will raise you to give your life back the Him.

I love you, precious boy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I Love Date Night!

Top 5 Reasons I Love Date Night:

5. I don't have to plan dinner.
4. I don't have to cook dinner.
3. I don't have to clean up from dinner.
2. I don't have to cut anyone else's food into bite-sized pieces.
1. It's my one time a week that I know I get Andy's undivided attention and he gets mine. We are bound to connect, have great conversation, and remember why we fell in love in the first place.

I hear people say all the time, "We can't afford to go out on dates." But the truth is, you can't afford to NOT go out on dates. The health of your marriage depends on it!

What do you like to do to connect with your spouse?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I AM trustworthy!

I use the words "trustworthy" and "responsible" quite often when explaining to Caedmon the type of behavior I'd like for him to exhibit. Those may seem like big words to use with a not-quite-3-year-old, but let me assure you he fully understands what they mean.

The other day Caedmon was trying to convince me to let him drink out of a cup without a lid. I hardly ever let Caedmon do this because he is currently in a phase where he loves to dump everything out. If someone makes the mistake of leaving a cup of water, or a half-drunk soda can, or a bottle of gaterade around our house, Caedmon WILL find it and he WILL dump it out. To him the thrill of dumping it out must offset the discomfort of the spanking he receives, because he continues to do it over and over again.

But, back to Caedmon trying to convince me to let him have a "big boy cup"...He said, "Mommy, I AM trustworthy. I use two hands."

Hmmm...always wanting to believe the best, I said "OK" and handed him the cup of water. As I handed it to him I added, "But I want you to stay in the kitchen with it. Don't go out in the living room."

Well, Caedmon didn't like that at all and momentarily lost his mind and all self-control as he chucked the cup full of water across the kitchen. How's that for trustworthy behavior?!

One more story about building (or in our case losing!) trust...

Caedmon no longer wants assistance in using the potty. He's quite adament that I stay clear of the bathroom while he's in there. (Hey, that makes me think maybe I could start being adament that HE stays clear of the bathroom while I'M in there!) So, I want to encourage that autonomy and independence that he's developing, but when your trustworthy meter constantly reads red, it's difficult to ever take your eyes off of him.

The other day he was supposedly going to the potty. But when I went in to check on him I realized that he had just eaten an entire tube of toothpaste! (I guess there are worse things he could eat in the bathroom.) Luckily it was the kids' floride free kind so it's not dangerous to swallow, but it was literally an entire tube as I had just put it in there two days prior. So, for now, we are just brushing Caedmon's teeth with water while we talk about trustworthy behavior!

How many two year olds do you know scream full volume, "MOMMY, I AM TRUSTWORTHY!!!"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The God Who Sees

My times are in Your hands;
I know Your Word is true.
You've always got a plan
So I can trust in You.

To me the plan seems blurry;
My faith's tossed like a wave.
But Your faithfulness gives me hope,
Through You I can be brave.

You are the God who sees
     You see every tear I cry
You are the God who hears
     Every time I ask You, "Why?"

Although my heart is aching
I know Your promises are true.
As I stand here in Your presence
I can't help but worship You.

No weeping You can't turn to joy.
No pain deeper than Your grace.
So I'm running to Your arms,
I collapse in Your embrace.

As You hold me close to You
You whisper truth into my heart.
You breathe life into my brokenness
And all my fears fall apart.

You are the God who sees
     You see every tear I cry.
You are the God who hears
     Every time I ask You, "Why?"

You are the God who knows
    You know the purpose through the pain
You are the God who moves
     In Your power You will reign

I lay my disappointment at Your feet
You gently lift up my head.
I remember all You've done for me
And I take up Your joy instead.

I trust in You.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Breakfast of Champions

My favorite meal of the day during this P90X nutrition plan is definitely breakfast. The recipe below is for Pear and Granola Muffins, which are really yummy but a little denser than a regular muffin. More the texture of a cookie or bread than a muffin. But good, none the less.

Pear and Granola Muffins

3/4 cup canned pear nectar
2 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon peel, grated
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup low-fat granola
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups pear, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Whisk together first five ingredients in large bowl to blend.
3. Stir both flours ad sugar in medium bowl until no sugar lumps remain.
4. Mix in granola, baking powder, nuteg, and salt. Add pear; toss to coat. Stir flour mixture into egg mixture until blended (batter will be thick). Divide among 10 prepared muffin cups.
5. Bake until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean (about 20 minutes). Transfer muffins to rack and cool.

Unfortunately you're only supposed to eat 1 muffin (whereas I would normally eat 3). But you also get to eat 8 oz. of nonfat yogurt and 1 cup of sliced strawberries.

Before P90X I had gotten into a bad habit of just eating a bowl of cereal each morning. I like cereal A LOT and it's so easy. But this nutrition plan has really forced me to mix it up and it's given me some good ideas about healthy options for breakfast. Hope you enjoy the muffins!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Life and Joy

The commandments of the Lord are right,
bringing joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are clear,
giving insight for living.
Psalm 19:8 (NLT)

I've been writing this post in my head for several days because I want to be so careful that it doesn't come across as judgmental, self-righteous, or legalistic. With that said, here I go...

I am amazed by the number of followers of Christ I know who do not spend time alone with God on a regular basis. They love God. They want to honor God with their lives. They enjoy going to church and maybe even Bible studies. But they do not set aside time to read God's word and pray on a daily basis. They may want to, even enjoy it when they make the extra effort. But it just somehow doesn't make it to the top of their priority list.

I'm not judging these people and saying that their lack of time alone with God is "sinful". I just know what my time alone with God means to me, and I wish everyone could experience it. It's like finding a really great restaurant and then wanting all of your friends to check it out. You can't help but rave about the things you're most excited about. Your excitement becomes contagious and others decide that they simply must find out what all the hype is about. That is how I want people to feel when I talk about my time alone with God. They've just got to experience it for themselves!

I've been to a few conferences for pastors/pastors' wives. Inevitably the topic of "time alone with God" comes up. It's a discipline and struggle for most people to be consistent. But I am always so disappointed in the way the panel answers the question. Here's how it typically goes:

"I really struggle having a consistent time alone with God each day. What helpful hints or suggestions do you have?"

"Do you have children?"

"Yes. A 1 year old and a 3 year old."

"Well, that's a tough stage. You have to understand that there are seasons to life and you're not always going to find the time to sit down with your Bible for an hour a day. Some seasons your time alone with God may be listening to worship music while you take a shower."

Awww...that feels better, right? Let's not challenge anyone to step it up because we might make them feel guilty. I promise you, I've heard people answer this question the same way on multiple occasions.

Here's my perspective: God's word is LIFE to me. Not just a breath of fresh air. Not just a little encouragement when I'm feeling down. Life. I cannot imagine going through the various trials I've experienced without standing on His promises.  There is nothing more important that I do each day than to hear from Him through His word.

I understand there are "seasons" in life. For example, when Caedmon was first born, the only two things I got done most days besides caring for him was taking a shower and spending time alone with God...and even that was a stretch. When I was in my first year of teaching school, I was working 12 hour days and helping Andy plant a church in my "free time". I fell asleep many mornings with my Bible on my lap, but I would still get up in time to have a few minutes with the Lord. My last semester of college I was student teaching and still lived in the dorms my roommate. In order to get in some time with the Lord I would need to get up at 5 AM and sit under the light of a small desk lamp so I wouldn't disturb anyone.

I kinda worked backwards through three different seasons of my life, but the point is: EVERY SEASON IS BUSY. You can always find an excuse. It does take commitment and sacrifice. Some days you don't feel like doing it. But every day that you open that Word, you have the chance to hear from the Almighty God of the Universe! And His words go down deep into your soul. They transform your heart and your character over time. And when those storms and trials come, they are the anchor that holds you steady.

So I want to challenge you today to stop making excuses and start making it a priority. Not because you have to or you feel guilty if you don't. But because you understand that God's Word is LIFE to you. And in His presence is fullness of JOY! 

Friday, September 4, 2009

Island Pork Tenderloin Salad Recipe

This is one of my favorite P90X recipes. It may seem slightly complicated because it's three recipes, but it's really quite simple to make and most of the ingredients are easy to keep on hand. We had it last night for dinner and Andy said, "I really think you could sell this salad at a restaurant!" Too bad I didn't invent it. Let me know if you try it!

Island Pork Tenderloin

16 oz pork tenderloin, lean
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 tablespoon fresh garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Stir together salt, pepper, cumin, chile powder, and cinnamon; then coat pork with spice rub.
3. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over moderately high heat and brown pork, turning, about 4 minutes.
4. Stir together brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and pat on top of tenderloin. Place pork in a roasting pan and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. (Mine took a little longer. I highly recommend using a meat thermometer to make sure it comes out at just the right temperature (160 degrees for pork). That way it's not too raw and not too dry. Perfecto!)

Island Pork Tenderloin Salad

(If you are about my size you would be considered "Level 1" in P90X terms. If you are Andy's size you would be "Level 2". I will put the specific amounts for each level next to each ingredient Level 1= L1, Level 2= L2.)

L1- 1/2;  L2- 3/4 orange, peeled and cut
L1- 2 cups;  L2- 3 cups salad greens
L1- 1/2; L2- 3/4 red bell pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
L1- 1 tablespoon; L2- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
L1- 6 oz; L2- 8 oz. Island Pork Tenderloing
L1- 2 tablespoon; L2- 3 tablespoons Cumin Vinaigrette

1. Peel and cut oranges crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices and set aside.
2. Toss salad greens bell pepper and raisins in a large bowl.
3. Prepare the dressing.
4. Mound salad mixture on a large plate. Arrange pork and orange slices on top and drizzle with dressing.

Cumin Vinaigrette (serves 2)

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Whisk together until emulsified.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bring It!

Andy and I are now officially halfway through with P90X. Today is our 46th day of the 90 day intensive fitness program. For anyone who is unfamiliar with it, it is literally beating your flesh into submission every day! Most days Andy and I get up a little after 5 AM to start our workout, which is anywhere from one hour to an hour and a half depending on the workout. The most difficult part is how relentless it is...You're supposed to do it 6 days a week, so there really is no let up. I'm determined to stick with it to the end and I've not missed a day yet.

Some days I love it. Some days I hate it. But I'm always glad we're doing it.

There's also a nutrition plan that you're supposed to go by. Though Andy and I are not sticking to the nutrition plan 100%, we're doing our best and I'm cooking a lot of new foods that we'd never tried before. Some of the recipes are really good. I'm going to post a couple of my favorite. (Hope that's not illegal!)

You're supposed to take pictures of yourself before you start the program and then at 30 days, 60 days, and 90 days. I was so excited to get to 30 days and take the pictures. I just knew that I was going to look like a completely different person. Much to my dismay, when I put the pictures side by side, there was no visible difference! LOL. Oh well, I'm only half way through.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


We really enjoyed getting to spend time with some dear friends this past month. One of my roommates from college, Kendall, and her husband, David, came out for a long weekend. Because our staff team all originally met during college, our whole staff knew Kendall. Below is a picture of us all crammed in The Counter, the best burger restaurant in the Silicon Valley.
Another super fun visit was with Kim, one of my best friends from our time in Texas. We had a really busy weekend when she was here because we had 40 people in town from a mission team to help with an event at which South Bay was serving. Typical for Kim's character, she just jumped right in and served wherever she was needed.

Kim is my "fun-friend" and I always laugh a ton when I'm with her. Here we are tearing up a huge bowl of pho with some Thai iced-tea. Mmmmm... She also took me shopping and helped me take the plunge into the world of skinny jeans.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Permanent Means "It Doesn't Come Out!"

One Monday morning a couple weeks ago Caedmon was having some "room time" and I was working on my grocery list. I could hear him playing happily back in his room, so enjoyed a few uninterrupted minutes to get something done without going to check on him. That was mistake #1.

Mistake #2 was that I left the door to Andy's home office (directly across from Caedmon's room) unlocked. We leave that door locked 95% of the time because of some unfortunate messes that have been made in the past featuring a wide variety of office supplies. But for whatever reason, this day, the door was unlocked.

Mistake #3 was that a Sharpie marker had somehow made it down low enough to be within Caedmon's reach. I thought I had all those things hidden way up high, but one particular HOT PINK one had escaped my notice. Caedmon noticed.

When I finally went back to check on him, this is what I found:

It was all over his face, arms, and legs, and his clothes had to be thrown out. But my much larger problem was the Picasso Caedmon left on the walls and carpet. I spent the next 5 HOURS cleaning. I used everything you can imagine to clean those spots. Evidently I am not the first mom to have this happen because there were plenty of suggestions on Google when I searched "how to get Sharpie out of carpet".

Carpet cleaner, hand sanitizer, windex, toothpaste, finger nail polish remover, oxi clean, Mr. Clean's Magic Erasers... You name it, I tried it. Midway through the clean up I took Caedmon to Target for more cleaning supplies. I didn't bother cleaning him so he looked like a Native American streaked with war paint ready for battle.

While I cleaned I made Caedmon sit in his bed for time-out. He could see me from across the hallway and kept saying over and over in a cheerful voice, "Mommy, are you happy? Are you REALLY happy?" Ummm, no.

You can still see the spot but I was pleased with how much I got out. Here's the finished product:

That night, Andy took Caedmon after dinner so I could have a some time to myself. A little while later there was a knock at the door. I opened it to find Caedmon standing there with a big bouquet of flowers. He said, "Here, Mommy. These will make you feel better!"

And they did.