Archive for the ‘Vacation’ Category

Books, Trips, and Pics

Sophia’s been loving the Little Critter books lately. We checked out a couple of them from the library: I Just Forgot and When I Get Bigger. She relates to each of them a lot because a.) she forgets to do a lot of things we ask her to and b.) she talks often of how she is bigger and is constantly getting bigger every day. Well, on the back of one of these books are pictures of the covers of many of the other Little Critter books. One of them really got her attention. The picture showed Little Critter staring into a mirror; his reflection a “scary” version of himself. Sophia honed right in on it, “What’s that one called, Mom?” “What a Bad Dream,” I told her. Her eyes showed some definite fear, but she said, “Can we get that one from the library, Mom?” I told her I didn’t know if the library had it, but that we could check. “Could we go check right now?” she asked. I told her that now wasn’t the best time because Jolie was sleeping, but she disappeared momentarily and returned to say, “Okay, I checked on Jolie, Mom, and she’s doing good. We can run to the library really quick, okay?” No, not okay.

We did end up going to the library yesterday evening. Sophia marched right up to the desk and asked the volunteer if the library had “the bad dream book”. I clarified what she was trying to say, and he looked and reported that it was not in the system. “Hmmm…” she said, “I guess we’ll have to order it then.”

I love to see and hear her mind at work. I love finding out who she is more and more each day. It makes the never ending laundry and dishes and messy house worth it. (Although I might not say the same thing after a sleepless night and two cranky kids following me around the house.)

Jolie changes more and more each day. Something that I love about her recently is that she gives hugs – really great hugs – and kisses. I push the girls around town in a single jogging stroller with Jolie in the seat part and Sophia in the feet part. Jolie leans forward, smashes her face into a pile of curls, and hugs Sophia tight. Sophia lets her know how sweet she is by saying, “Aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh, Jolie. Nice hugs.”

We’ve been back from our big trip for a while now, but since then Jolie and I took another trip South to go to my grandpa’s funeral in the Bay Area. We stayed with cousins and got to see lots of family. We’re still thinking about our big trip a lot though, and feel so blessed to have been able to visit so many friends and family.

At our friends Lindell and Jim’s house in Eagle River.

Bathtime with Auntie Mariza.

Our first date in a long time: a tour of El Capitan Cave.

Berry picking up near Coffman Cove.

Family picture at the Russian River.

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So, the reason we went down to L.A. last week: a wedding. We found out at the end of March/beginning of April that Isaac’s cousin (who also happens to be one of my very best girlfriends) was to be married. With Grandma’s help, we made arrangements for me and Sophia to travel South to wish her and her soon-to-be husband a life filled with love, in person. The week was packed full of different events: from the bridal shower, to the rehearsal, to the wedding itself. We never found ourselves without some sort of event to get ready for, even if it was just dinner out with family.

The wedding day arrived and turned out to be the hottest day of our stay there! Although I never saw an actual thermometer that day, I heard it reached way into the 80s. But, as I heard many others say that day, better that than rain.

Corie was a beautiful bride, and Justin a handsome groom. Together, they took on each obstacle with such grace. I remember at one point noticing that Justin, in his dark Army Uniform, didn’t even break a sweat. While I, on the other hand, red-faced, didn’t venture far from the shade and when I did it was to offer Sophia some more water. Another thing that impressed me so much was seeing the two of them, with heads bowed, asking a blessing for their meal amidst all the wedding reception chaos.

At the bridal shower, Grammy prayed the most beautiful prayer over Corie. I don’t remember her exact wording, but I recall her requesting that Jesus build a hedge of thorns around their relationship with Him in their marriage, so that if they ever begin to stray from His guidance, that they couldn’t go far without realizing where they really needed to be. Ever since I heard those words I’ve been praying for the same in my own marriage – that the Lord would love me and my husband enough to keep us on the right path, whatever the cost.

It was a gorgeous wedding; I’m glad we got to be there.

(The first, third, and fifth pictures shown above were taken by Charif.)

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Looking back on last week, I’d say we had a pretty great Christmas. Isaac’s whole (immediate) family made it up to N. California to celebrate Christ’s birth at his sister’s house. It was a comforable 30 degrees almost the entire time we were there, and we even got some snow on the day after Christmas! We were the first to show up, so Sophia got some individualized time with two of “the cousins” (we’ll call them Emonee and Yon-Yon to protect their true identities). Yon-Yon was Sophia’s superhero the whole time (notice how she’s staring at him in the picture at right), and you’d have thought that Emonee was her very own daughter the way she loved her and wanted to take care of her. No matter how many times Emonee tried to rip Sophia’s hair out from the root (Sophia apparently has some great hair for that), Sophia recovered with as much love or more for Emonee than before – but perhaps with a little more attention to Emonee’s little grabbers. After a couple of days, the other cousins Deet and Tallgirl showed up and made things even more exciting. I can only imagine the friendships that will evolve between the cousins throughout the years…

The family celebrated Christmas on the 26th, so on Christmas Day Isaac and I took advantage of our spare time and took a 6 hour roadtrip out West to see some countryside. It was beautiful. The weather was perfect and we took a different route back and drove on a very narrow country road where we saw deer and wild turkeys. It was certainly one of our favorite dates yet.

Sophia’s grandpa, or Pop-Pop, as we call him, dressed as Santa and surprised the kids with a visit and some stockings. Sophia enjoyed getting the stocking, but didn’t want to get too close to that weird bearded fellow. The day ended perfectly with a wonderful dinner lovingly prepared by Grandma. We are so happy and indeed blessed to have had the chance to share Christmas with family.

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Ding, Dong, Ditch

She couldn’t help but add to the mystery.

I don’t want to brag, and I’m not going to say that I have the best behaved child in the world, but she was pretty darn cooperative during our Winchester Mystery House Mansion Tour in San Jose, CA. With the most perfect of timing, she called out, “Oh, WOW!”, to the beautiful stained glass windows and gorgeous views of the courtyard from the very top of the house. She sat comfortably in either Papa’s, Mama’s, Oma’s, or Papa Pete’s arms the entire time. AND, she even gave our tour guide a great big hug and said “Dae do” (thank you) at the end of the tour. What a sweetie.

She and I have been sick the past few days (as have others in the family, I’ve heard) so our nights have been somewhat short of serene. A couple of nights ago she cried and cried with a horrible stuffed-up nose until both Papa and I got up and sat with her on the couch. It’s all kind of a haze to me (thank you Theraflu), but I do remember one particular instance when I was holding Sophia on my lap, with all 3 (thank you Gloria) of her blankets wrapped around us, her Papa singing and playing guitar ever so softly, she said, in the sincerest voice I’ve ever heard, “Dae do, Mommy”. Is there anything better than that in the whole world?

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More on Monterey


and now.

It’s hard to believe that two years ago I was not far from giving birth to our beautiful baby girl. That’s right – if you can’t seem to find her in that first picture, it’s because she was snug in her mommy’s tummy.

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Before we went on this trip down South, I started to wonder why we’d never taken Sophia to an aquarium before. There’s a very nice one in Seward – we’d just never taken the 500 hundred mile drive to see it. (Maybe that’s a reason in itself!) After taking her to the one in Monterey, I’m glad we waited. She seemed to be the right age to enjoy herself and not get too worn out through the whole 5 hour excursion.

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Marina Dunes

She seemed to like the water a little too much.

We had an awesome time visiting my mom and her husband when we were down in the Bay Area before Christmas. Being only 100 yards or so from the beach made it easy for us to plan our daily walks by the water. Sophia loved it. We had to really watch her because she would get running and we’d almost get the impression that she planned to dive right in – or get really, really wet and cold, to say the least.

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Full Lives

Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. … whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it the full.” John 10:7,9-10

Knowing Jesus means having a full life, certainly. If, we take advantage of the opportunity. In my life I see having Jesus as finally having love – being truly loved for who I am, and being able to love others through Him. To think of all the opportunities we each have every day to show our love – to show Jesus’ love. Personally, I can think of many opportunities I have to reach out to people in Jesus’ name. Most of those chances are blown away with the wind as I’m contemplating whether I should take the chance or not. This verse reminds me that I shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to someone. It just might make this life that much fuller.

I’m reminded of my brother-in-law Fred, who seems never to miss such an opportunity. He, his wife Charif, my husband, and I traveled to Costa Rica together a few years ago on a “double honeymoon”. We stayed in a small town on the Caribbean Coast for a week in a house we rented right on the beach. The people we met were so lively, and friendly, and helpful. Fred wanted to give something back to those who had helped us have such a unique and awesome trip, so he invited everyone over for a party. We served spaghetti, and laughed, and talked… But first, Fred prayed for the meal and for our fellowship together. Being newly saved, I remember this making a huge impact on me. Even though some (probably most) of the people at the party that night had little if any knowledge of, let alone faith in, Jesus, Fred was willing to share Him with the group.

Today, I am encouraged to experience the fullness that Christ gives us, and take that chance to reach out in His name.

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