Saturday, April 30, 2011

March & April 2011

Here’s our current itinerary:
Now – June 7th : Rebecca & kids in Hanford
June 8th – June 13th : Visit to OC while Jeremy & Julie in OC
June 14th – June 23rd : Rebecca & kids in Hanford
June 24th – July 3rd : Last visit to OC

We’ll be having an open house good-bye party in the OC on Saturday June 25th. More info to come later.

July 3rd we’re leaving for Texas!!! Wow!!!

We’ll need any help we can get loading our moving truck on Saturday July 2nd and unloading our moving truck in Texas July 6th/7th.

Now on to updates:
We got my mom set up with a blog of her own to record her journey with cancer. It’s Some people had a bit of trouble leaving comments on it, so one of the posts is a tutorial explaining how to leave comments on her site if you’re interested. Otherwise, just email her directly at

The boys and I have been living in Hanford with my parents since the end of February. We’ve settled in and developed as much of a routine as we can. Ben wakes up early and Grandpa gets him cereal and turns on cartoons. Caleb and I wake up a little later. I get my protein shake and water my plants in the garden while Caleb gets his breakfast. The weather here has been changing back and forth from really hot to really cold. Many of my little lettuce sprouts haven’t survived. I have a few random seedlings that are making it though. Then I sit down to enjoy my coffee in my special coffee mug that Jon got for me on our anniversary trip. I really like having something to make my coffee time my own. Next I workout to my new Wii exercise regime, EA Sports Active 2. I’m on the beginner level and I’ve started with a 9 week program. It’s getting my heart rate up and I’m enjoying it. I’m glad that it gets me to break a sweat, which I don’t like doing, but I know is good for me. It has a heart rate monitor plus a motion sensor that I strap onto my left arm and my right leg, so it can make sure I have good form. It won’t let me move on until I’ve done the amount of repetitions I am supposed to do in the way it wants me to do them. It knows…

Next, I usually make lunch for this large household, but sometimes just for me and the boys. I’m trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our meals. After lunch, Ben naps and Caleb does his school work. I’ve picked knitting back up again and usually get a little knitting or reading time in while Ben naps. I packed all my craft stuff for Texas, so I had to go out and re-buy some knitting tools so I could make my Mom a hat she wanted. She already had the pattern in hopes that she would get a hat out of me one day. I finished that and now I’m working on a hat for myself. Dinner’s next on the agenda and no matter what I do, there are rarely leftovers. I keep trying to make bigger and bigger dinners to allow for leftovers, but it’s just not working. I’m trying to learn how to simplify the dinner process. I tend to put too much work into my dinners and create a big mess, which makes for more cleaning work. I’m getting a little better and I’m learning. I’m also not used to eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home every day. I’m used to having Jon bring dinner home sometimes, especially if my blood sugar gets low and I’m not feeling up to making dinner. Here, I’m learning how to get over myself and get over how I feel. It’s good for me. After dinner we have clean up time. Really, we have clean up time frequently throughout the day. We usually have to run the dishwasher 2-3 times a day to keep up with all the dishes for all these people.

Somewhere in the day the boys and Uncle David usually have some fun play time. I’m so thankful that the boys have my brother to engage them in that way. Grandpa’s index fingers start getting a little crazy sometimes and start chasing the boys around too. It used to be “the claw” that would chase them, but “the claw” has downgraded to “the fingers.” It’s hilarious. The boys shriek with delight when they see Grandpa get that mischievous look in his eye and his index fingers get the itch to chase some boys. The boys also get some energy out racing the various bikes, scooters, and twisty car around the racetrack in the back yard. Mom had the foresight to design her backyard with a sidewalk that goes all the way around the backyard in a big circle just for her grandkids. I’m also trying to get in the habit of taking a family walk around the neighborhood at dusk.

At bedtime, we call Jon on the phone and the boys each get a turn talking with him and telling him about their day. It’s really sweet listening to their conversations. Then we put Jon on speaker and he prays for us all. I’m thankful for this time of the day. It’s almost as if Jon is tucking them into bed, which was their usual routine before. I join them in the room for my bedtime a little later, once they’ve fallen asleep. I’ve tried to go to bed a few times when they were still awake, but each time was a disaster. So I’ve learned to wait until they fall asleep first.

Of course, all of this is dependent on Mom’s doctor schedules and Dad’s work schedule. Many of her doctor appointments and treatments are in Fresno, which is a 45 minute drive from Hanford. If Dad has to work, then the boys and I take her. We’ve gotten the boys some fun car games, stories, and music. I try to get them to look out the window and enjoy the scenery. There are so many cows, goats, horses, mini horses, rivers, trains, and crops that we pass. The crops look different every time we pass. Just a few weeks ago they were covered in blooms. Now they’re green and beginning to fruit. The perk with driving Mom to Fresno is that it’s almost a guarantee that I’ll get to eat something yummy and not have to cook. Super bonus! Plus I can usually stop by Costco and Trader Joes and stock up our groceries. There isn’t another Trader Joes anywhere closer. And there isn’t a Trader Joes in Texas at all!!!! I’m enjoying my Trader Joe’s food while I can. (For those non-Californians reading this, Trader Joes is a little grocery store with really yummy products that I love.)

When Jon joins us on the weekends we’re busy finding places in the Central Valley to explore. I’m usually wiped out by the time Jon has to head back to Orange County to work. It feels like I’m living two lives; my week day life and my weekend life. It’s kind of weird and throws me off a bit. Thank goodness it’s temporary. On Jon’s last visit, we sat down to figure out our moving dates and to-do list. We realized we were running out of time. We had to change Jon’s visiting schedule from every weekend to every other weekend. We’ll all miss each other, but we know that it’s what we need to do. The Lord is leading us, and in all our scheduling and planning we’ve been keeping this verse from the Lord first and foremost:

“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” –Proverbs 16:9

We got the letter that Jon has been accepted into Blinn College. We still have a bit more to do to get Jon completely signed up for schooling, but getting accepted is a great start. We’re almost done getting Caleb & Ben’s enrollment paper work done for homeschooling through CHEP (Community Home Education Program of Orange County) for the next school year. I’m so thankful that I’ll get to continue to use familiar curriculum for at least one more year. Caleb will be in 5th grade next year and Ben will be starting kindergarten.

Mid March Jon & I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We weren’t able to be together on the actual day, and I found that day was a really challenging one for me. I was really sad. I decided that it’s okay to be sad sometimes. I went on about my day and let the sadness sit with me. That evening I got an email from Jon. He wished me a “weirdest happy 10th anniversary ever.” So true.

Jon joined us the day after our actual anniversary. We took the kids out and tried to explore nature, but all the nature parks we discovered were closed until the winter season was completely over at the end of March. So we just drove around and looked at the orchards, fields, and farm animals. We ended up in downtown Hanford and found a really yummy pizza place. We had a sweetly happy time. We were thrilled watching the pizza guys putting on a show tossing the pizza dough. The restaurant even had my favorite pear cider on tap, plus the pizza was super delicious. Yum! What a fun family afternoon. That evening, my parents watched the kids so we could have a little date. We explored the nearby town of Visalia. It’s a bit bigger than Hanford. We watched a movie and then found a brewery a short walk from the theater. We had more yummy food and a sampler of all their handcrafted beers and sodas. I really enjoyed the handcrafted sodas. Double yum! It was a relief to have such a perfectly relaxing day with my kids and husband. I needed it.

The following weekend the kids and I drove down to Orange County so the kids could celebrate their best friends’ birthdays and Jon and I could get away for a proper 10th anniversary celebration. We stayed with our dear friends Juan and Tracy for a night. And bonus…our other dear friends just moved in next door to Juan and Tracy, so we got to see lots of Don and Amber too! So now Ben’s best friend Coen lives next door to Caleb’s best friend Sam. It’s a perfect arrangement. And some of our other dear friends Jared and Claudine just happened to be over at Don and Amber’s house, so we had a great night visiting!

Jon and I headed to Laguna Beach Saturday morning while the bounce house was being tested out by all the kids. I’m really glad I got to see the kids having fun with their friends since Jon and I weren’t going to be able to be at the parties ourselves. Sam’s birthday party was that afternoon and Coen’s birthday party was the next day. I’m so thankful for the Flores family for watching our kids so we could get away. Thanks Juan and Tracy!

Jon and I had a perfect romantic weekend in Laguna! And I mean perfect! We lucked out by getting the last ocean view hotel room with Jacuzzi tub at our hotel. Thank you Lord. My favorite was falling asleep listening to the rhythmic roar of the ocean next to my hubby. I really treasured my time with Jon because it’s a gift, and it’s sparse in my life right now. We walked around a ton and explored so many places we’ve never been to in Laguna, even though we’ve been there so many times. We especially enjoyed our night out at Tabu Grill; a friendly, fancy, and eclectic restaurant. It was absolutely the best meal we’ve ever had in our lives. And that is saying something because we’ve been fortunate to have eaten in a lot of gourmet restaurants over our many years in Orange County. That’s something that I’ll miss when we move. We found a little locals only kind of dive restaurant for breakfast; The Penguin café. It was so nonchalant and tasty that we had to go back for breakfast the next day too. Strolling around one afternoon we stumbled upon an art fair. I loved the pottery and Jon let me pick a beautiful handmade glazed mug and vase as mementos of our wonderful 10th anniversary weekend. I couldn’t have asked for two more perfect days.

As we drove back towards our kids and friends, we stopped off at Studio Suzan, a local jeweler who makes really distinctive and unique jewelry. Jon’s gift to me was to let me pick out something special to commemorate our 10th anniversary. Having never been before, I was a little overwhelmed in the show room with figuring out what I liked and what I liked the most. But they were so nice and helpful. I’ve never done anything like that before. It was so fun! I got a gorgeous pearl bracelet with an antique Roman coin on it and pearl earrings. The extra fun part is that you can purchase more pieces from Suzan and most everything links together to create multiple ways of wearing your jewelry. Eventually my beautiful bracelet can become a necklace. I felt loved and indulged in. That’s a good feeling.

I am so thankful I married Jon. He is perfect for me. So much has happened in our lives in the last 10 years of marriage. Wow! God has grown us up so much in those 10 years. And now we’re starting such a new adventure together. I can’t even imagine what our lives will look like in the next 10 years. And I’m so glad about that. I’m glad we can have adventures together and thrive; that we can enjoy life and the world around us. I’m glad we’re teaching our kids that by example.

The next three weeks were very eventful for Jon and very uneventful for me and the boys. Jeremy, Jon’s brother came to Orange County. He gathered his band, which included Jon on the bass, and they played shows all over the OC for the first weekend/week. Then they flew to Washington State to play a conference and play at a handful of churches. Jon really enjoyed having so much time with his brother, a couple close college friends, and his cousin Aaron. Jon loves playing music. He’s told me that he has an easier time connecting with the Lord when he’s playing music and specifically his brother’s worship music. They were playing music from Jeremy’s latest release “Glory Tumbles Out,” a beautiful worship album. Check him out at One highlight was the night Jon, Jeremy, and the band played at our alma mater, Vanguard University of Southern California, for the Lobbypalooza Reunion Show. It was broadcast live online, so all of us here in Hanford got to watch. It was so fun! I got to see two other friends, Eric Kennedy and Andy Struck, also perform, plus some friends in the audience. The camera cut Jon out from view for most of their set, so the kids and I watched with anticipation for glimpses of Jon playing. It was so fun!

Not much happened here in Hanford for the three weeks Jon was away. One night my brother took me and the kids out to dinner at a very authentic Mexican restaurant. They were out of all meat except head and tongue that evening. It was a cash only place and we didn’t have any cash, so we had to leave. David was still set on going back to treat us to the experience of lengua tostadas with him: Lengua=tongue. Caleb and I weren’t fans of the idea, but I decided we would be brave and give it a try. Caleb wasn’t fond of my idea. So we got cash, went back, and tried it. Ben obliviously ate his and Caleb obediently ate his one parentally required bite. He looked green the whole time we were in the restaurant. He couldn’t even enjoy his orange Mexican soda until we were back home eating our knock off Albertos carne asada tacos we picked up for second dinner. I surprisingly thought that my lengua tostada was okay. I probably wouldn’t choose lengua again on my own, but it really tasted okay, especially chopped up like it was. Caleb was so overwhelmed with the whole experience that he purposely excluded mentioning our culinary adventure to Jon in our evening phone call. He just wanted to put it all behind him. Oh my sweet, and slightly traumatized, son. I love you.

Another night my brother decided to try to make tiramisu from scratch. It tasted so delicious! Turns out mascarpone cheese is really expensive, but oh so delicious. The downside to serving a dessert with caffeinated coffee in it to small children after dinner is a loooonnnng night with no sleep for a little bouncing Ben and a very tired mama.

Caleb developed an interest in my knitting and asked me if I would teach him. How great is that! We got him his own yarn and needles and he went to it. He was a quicker study than any adult I’ve ever taught, and I’ve taught a lot of people. He really notices when he makes a mistake, which is really hard to do when you’re new to knitting. I get to help him correct his mistakes because he catches them immediately. His scarf looks great.

After his 3 weeks away, the first weekend that Jon came up was packed full of family fun. We went to a park along the Kings River. The boys climbed trees and we all soaked our feet in the ice cold river. The next day we explored Bravo Farms. They make a variety of cheeses, have tastings of their cheeses, have the tallest tree house I’ve ever seen, have an assortment of animals you can feed, have an ice cream shop, and lots of random diverse decor all over. We started climbing the tree house, but after we got about a floor and a half up, Caleb decided it was too risky and that we should go back down. I sooo agreed with him from the moment I set my foot inside, but didn’t want to say anything, because I didn’t want to pass any fear along to the kids. The stair steps were all wonky and uneven. I just didn’t feel safe. Apparently neither did Caleb. Ben’s favorite was feeding the animals. He loved it so much. We did it over and over and over again. He was so cute though and he really enjoyed himself. Bravo Farms did have a tasty burrito in their café made with their own chipotle cheese. We shared the burrito to save room to try the sandwiches from the guy who turned his truck into a smoke house and sells super tasty BBQ from the roadside. Random, random, random…but fun.

We celebrated Easter with a spontaneous trip exploring Yosemite. Jon and the kids had never been before and I haven’t been since I was a child. I’m really glad we got a trip in before we moved away. We enjoyed the scenic rolling green hill country spotted with happy cows that we passed as we drove on our way. The scene changed very dramatically once we entered Yosemite. It was breathtaking. John Muir called Yosemite “nature’s cathedral.” We completely agreed and we felt so appreciative of the indescribable beauty given to us by our amazing Creator. We were thankful that we could remember the Lord’s sacrifice for our sins and His glorious resurrection in such a spiritually moving place.

I finished my month off burning a lot of calories working in the garage. One way I’ve found that I can help out at my parent’s home has been to help them go through rooms, cabinets, etc. to clean things out and organize what’s left. So we ended our month with a very productive garage sale and a nice, clean, organized home.