December 31, 2012

So...hypnobirthing... ?

this was my third christmas as a mom, and each of those three years i find myself reflecting more and more on mary's part of the story. there are ways that i identify with her, ways that i hope to identify with her someday, and even ways that i hope not to-- giving birth in a barn being one of the main ways.

first off, girlfriend is nine months pregnant and forced to travel about eighty miles on the back of the donkey. {ladies, let's all remember this is as great way to induce labor, should the situation arise.} in all of the storybook pictures, she's so unbelievably calm. i mean, i get that these are mainly children's storybooks, but still. tons of cows and rams leaning down to check out the baby? no big deal. oh, smelly, strange shepherds want to visit? come right on in. mary, i sure hope it was like that for you. that you felt peace and serenity, and the Jesus got a good latch right away.

however, that is not how i remember giving birth.

when i think back over cruz's labor and delivery, i remember two distinct emotions: the first was the desire to appear completely in control and relaxed. as if the nurses would chat about me back at their station. "did you see the woman in room 504? she's so calm and ready!" i wanted to seem like i was ready to be a mom. i wanted to be an easygoing patient. i wanted to be a kind and thoughtful wife. the second emotion raging beneath this calm exterior was a rising panic. i was not ready to be a mom. i was not ready to go through labor. i was not ready to walk into the hospital as two and leave as three... forever.

i was so tense during labor that i didn't progress until i forcibly relaxed curtesy of an epidural. i dealt with that anxiety by checking out emotionally, and the memories of the days that followed aren't filled with great memories, just memories of going through the motions.

i want something different for this baby. i want to rewrite the story.

i've been reading about different methods of deep relaxation during birth and have been particularly intrigued by the idea of hypnobirthing. two years ago i would have looked at hypnobirthing and given you a giiiiaaant eye-roll, but older wiser me knows that to stay relaxed during labor i need something more concrete and deeper than our ipod playlist and some breathing patterns that i never practiced.

a couple of times a week i steal away to our bedroom and put on my birth relaxation cd, and i have to tell you that i love it! after being so so sick with this pregnancy, i think it's helping me to let go and enjoy this little one and get excited for the days to come. relaxing and intentionally spending time thinking about how this baby is being formed reminds me to give glory to God and say YOU are forming all the delicate, inner parts of this child and thank you for choosing to knit this child together in my womb. this child is fearfully and wonderfully made. this is know full well. 

as much as i can, i want to prepare for this baby by being at peace, ready to welcome it to a home filled with incredible love.

December 21, 2012

let's go to the zoo

i am sometimes (often) at a loss for what to do with cruz between naptime and dinnertime. if we've spent the morning coloring, playing cars, going for a walk, errands, singing songs, i am tapped out by the time 4pm rolls around. i mean, anyone else? am i speaking anyone's language right now?

this summer i finally bit the bullet and bought us a zoo membership, and it's a total afternoon lifesaver. our local zoo is rather small, but it's a toddler paradise. because we have a membership, i don't mind if we only go for a hour (or less!). we can run around, play on the awesome playground, check out a couple of animals, and by the time we get home it's dinnertime.


when we arrived the other day it was cold and already growing dark. i swear we were the only people there! cruz ran up the hill and after a quick visit to the playground, started running in his favorite direction yelling, "lions! lions! lions!"

have mercy i love this kid. he has this boundless enthusiasm, this curiosity that drives him forward, and a passion for all his little loves (lions, trucks, trader joe's cereal bars) that just inspire me. i can't get enough of him. is this the cheesiest paragraph i've ever written? yes. but it's just all true. two year olds are my favorite.

when we visit the zoo at dusk, the lions are usually feeling frisky. on this particular afternoon chadwick and gingerbread were jumping up on the rocks, pacing around, and roaring. so. good.

we walk along the paths and cruz knows that he's allowed to pick up "one rock" or "one stick." obviously we brought our own cars along.

he watches the penguins. i watch the sunset.

God, thank you for making cool animals and sunsets and little boys.

December 19, 2012

new resolutions

when i came from london back in september, i was full of resolutions and new changes i wanted to make in my life. but then we were pregnant and hyperemesis had set in with a freaking vengeance, and soon i basically got out of bed once every two weeks. so there went my resolutions about walking more and visiting museums. remember my less-yoga-pants-more-real-outfits pledge? ha. HA. every few days, tovi would gently prod me out of bed, into the shower, and then i'd exchange one pair of sweats for another. 

i was laid low, friends. laid. low. 

it has been a seasoning of scaling back, of simplifying, and it certainly hasn't all been a negative. here are my new {improved} resolutions:

1. wear real outfits occasionally. as the next five and a half month go along, my yoga pants will feel more and more comfortable, but i need to somedays resist the urge and actually get dressed. but there's  going to be a lot of grace in this area. 

2. don't keep secrets. my pregnancy was like the world's worst kept secret. my friend sarah and i went out for drinks one night. she ordered a glass of wine and i ordered a hot chocolate. i didn't have the energy to make up an excuse, so when my mug was set in front of me, i looked at her and admitted, "well, i'm pregnant." one day as tovi valiantly managed everything in our family, he finally said to me, "we need to tell people so that we can get some help." he was so right and i'm so glad we did. our friends were more than generous with the meals they brought and the times they took cruz off our hands. 

3. get writing. i have missed writing and blogging like crazy. trying to make this more of a priority.

4. relax. poor cruz barely ever went to the park or had a playdate during my first trimester and he's fine. i haven't cracked open my copy of what to expect and the baby is going to be fine. cruz has now watched an unbelievable amount of television and he's fine. we've only eaten food that comes in packages and it's not how i want to cook, but we're fine. fine. 

get dressed occasionally. ask for help. do the things you're passionate about. relax your expectations. is that good news to anyone else?

December 11, 2012

10 on 10

i decided to try the ten on ten challenge yesterday where you take ten pictures on the tenth day of the month, and live to tell the tale. ok, just kidding. it helps you discover the beauty in the everyday and answers the age-old question, "what do i do all day?"


6:35am. my sweet husband gets up far before the break of day. sometimes i go back to sleep, but sometimes i roll over and catch up on twitter   do my devotions. 

7:07am. it's time to get cruz out of bed because he has daycare at 8. usually he's up and playing in his bed by now, but this morning i walk into to find this:

7:20am. don't judge us. we're eating waffles and peanut butter pretzels for breakfast. i may be feeling better but i'm still pregnant. there is no real cooking happening around here.

8:42am. i love mondays. cruz is at daycare for the morning and i have the house to myself. being alone at home is a special kind of awesome. i am incredibly productive on mondays. work is getting done. laundry is started between phone calls. the house is spic and span. there's nothing like it. 

12:25pm. you know it was a good day at school if you have to strip down the moment you walk in the door.

1:30pm. cruz goes down for a "nap" (he sings in his bed for an hour and a half until i march in, change his diaper, make him cry because i put him back in bed, and then eventually cries himself to sleep). as my wise friend anna says, "singing is not restful for mama. only sleeping is restful." i finish up some work and eat one hundred of these:

ok! you're right! this is only seven pictures! i forgot to take them for the rest of the day. you missed out on pictures of our dinner (orange chicken-- pregnant, remember?), of a man sitting alone at starbucks knitting (bold move, sir), christmas joy overload at pier one, and a MOPS planning sesh with my friend krista (our holiday party is going to be uh-mazing!!). maybe next time. 

hope your day was filled with everyday beauty. 

December 5, 2012

what {we} wore on wednesday

it is sooooo time for a wednesday post, don't you think?
(this is a really good one)

my cruz-man has been recovering from a cold, so i was excited to wake up to a sunny baby this morning.

cruz was very impressed with the syncronicity of wearing fire truck jams while holding his fire truck and reading about fire trucks. 
we aim to please around here.

it was sunny and warm today for the first time in what feels like forever but in reality has been about five days. time to take advantage of the sun!
love that this guy helps with yard work!

well... i told you this was going to be a good post...
cruz, are you ready?
show em' what you got!

aaaannnndd that's why it's been quiet around these parts. without going into too many details in this post, between you and me, i've had a touch of the kate middletons if you get what i'm saying. 

i'm happy to be back and thrilled for this precious little one that will be joining us in early june. 

so what's your average mama wearing in her second trimester these days?
stripes, of course!
and my sweet new necklace from lady lee & drew jones that i won from my friend laura over at lb's goodspoon. love. it. the necklace is baby friendly (non-tox, durable, etc), and i can attest to that because thirty seconds after i opened the package, cruz had stolen it and let his lion wear it. hm. 

this one's for all you bump-watchers.

and for all you christmas lovers.

happy wednesday!

December 4, 2012


Lemon, you may be witnessing history here. Making it through a full twenty four hours without a single misstep is called "Reaganing." The only other people who've ever done it: Lee Iacocca, Jack Welch, and -- no judement -- Saddam Hussein. So, what have you got for me? ~ Jack Donaghy {30 Rock}

It was one of those dream days. You know the type. Well, not the walk on the beach and sip a glass of wine type, although usually that is my dream day. I mean the type when no pile or laundry of length of to-do list can stop you. You are the queen of your domain and problems just better watch out.

So, not to toot my own horn, but it was an awesome day.
Tasks were accomplished!
Grocery shopping was perfectly timed with daycare pick up!
Dinner was made during nap time!
Emails were sent and answered!

It was in this aura of smug accomplishment that Cruz and I set off for our evening walk to check out the Christmas lights in our neighborhood. He has made the connection that Christmas = decorations and he has loved looking at all the pretty lights on our street. It was such a fun, sweet moment, walking around the neighborhood as the twilight grew darker, and more and more lights came on. We walked through the playground on the way back to our house; Cruz stopped and asked the fateful question that turned the day on its head: Carry you?

I picked him up as I stepped off the curb into the street.

His little foot kicked against my sweatshirt pocket.

My iphone flew out.

Landed on the street.

Slid down an embankment and like it knew where it was going, dove straight into the storm drain.

Oh hell no. Not today, world. Any other day you can give me disaster but I'm not taking it right now. And forgive me because I never thought I'd say this, but I am Reaganing today.  I should have panicked, but didn't. Yes, my expensive phone was presumably sitting at the bottom of a flooded cesspool, but I sensed that the entire day hinged on this moment. Time to rise to the challenge.

We ran home. Cruz was crying, "Mommy's phone! Mommy's phone!" which only added to the drama of the moment. I dropped him off with Tovi, armed myself with the Maglite and kitchen tongs and went out to destroy me some storm drain.

It wasn't as deep as I'd feared, but I couldn't see my phone anywhere, and I wanted to get it quickly as every few minutes new water would rush through the bottom. I ran back home and grabbed Tovi's phone, hoping that by hearing my ringtone, I'd be able to pinpoint its location (note: I was very, very careful not to drop this one). Bingo. Most days are normal, but somedays my genius surprises me.

Score one for team skinny girl arms; Reader, I got that phone back. I shed my dignity, legs sticking straight out into the street with my upper body halfway down a storm drain, as the good people of my neighborhood drove home from work. Who knows what kind of diseases and vermin live down there, but nothing could survive the heavy Lysol job I gave me and my phone when we got back home.

Total victory. Reaganed.

December 2, 2012

today while you were napping

today while you were napping on this dark, rainy sunday, i ate lunch. salad: spinach, shredded cheddar, honey mustard dressing, and your leftover mickey mouse-shaped chicken nuggets. 

i told your dad about our rainy day adventure: how i let you dig in the mud and you kept yelling, "more dirt!" i told him about the "big kids" we met, how they let you play with their motorcycle racers, and how their older sister made me a friendship bracelet. he thought it was funny that we came home and stripped down as soon as we stepped inside. we were soooo muddy!

buddy, while you were napping, i did something totally slothful and luxurious. please don't follow my example until you are a parent and can convince yourself that you deserve a moment like this. it was sunday. it was rainy. i crawled into bed with the ipad, watched two episodes of the hills, and ate a donut. i'm already jealous of myself.

i've done what feels like ten loads of laundry and right now while you're sleeping, i'm finally finishing up the last load. it's taken all day, but every single sheet, towel, and blanket in the house is fresh and clean. the only feeling in the world better than getting into clean sheets is getting into clean sheets and eating a donut.

you kept napping, so i cooked up the noodles and pork we're having for dinner. i mixed up the peanut sauce and was reminded that i could drink this straight from the mixer. i can't wait until dinner time!

it's still raining, you're still napping, and it's so dark out that i've turned on the christmas lights. 

wake up soon, baby. i miss you. 

November 30, 2012


happy rainy friday!
i thought we could end the week with a little round up of what we've been up to and what we're looking forward to next week. 
 we took this picture while visiting my dad's office at seattle pacific university over thanksgiving week. i love this picture of cruz stomping in puddles because he seems to be saying, "so... what is this wet stuff on the ground...?" also, is it just me or he is looking like a four year old in this picture? baby come back!
 i often substitute at my old job, which i love to do. it's fun to see everyone, keep my skills sharp, and leave without any of the stress! win-win-win. this week i went in for a few hours and purposely left the house early so that i'd have a few quick minutes in the parking lot to catch up on my devotions. 
this is one of my most favorite pictures of the week, ok or ever. it was the elusive moment when you can provide (for free!) exactly what feeds your child's passion. and yes, my child's passion is garbage trucks and i love it. i gave myself great-parenting-high-fives for the next 24 hours. cruz is still talking about our trip to the recycling plant!
 our wedding caterer, rincon catering, is the best. BEST. they were great at the wedding and made me the meal of my dreams. they were amazing on our one year anniversary when tovi surprised me by having them recreate our wedding feast. and they are the best every year when they hand deliver a box of homemade brownies and cookies to our doorstep. we've been married for six years. how long will we stay on the christmas cookie box list? i hope it's forever. 
i've been finishing up a thanksgiving devotional over the last two weeks. i think after reading more than fourteen scriptures with the phrase "give thanks to the Lord for He is good!" i am starting to get it through my little hard heart that i should give thanks to the Lord. at all times. in all circumstances. like when times are hard or finances are tricky or when i just run out of things to make for dinner. when things are great and the baby sleeps well and everything seems to work perfectly. give thanks to the Lord.
so one of my favorite things this fall has been leading MOPS at our church. like, i love it. i want to marry it. being in the position to serve and speak good news to seventy plus women who are passionate about parenting (and um, passionate about keeping it totally real) is my jam. took this little selfie this morning to remind everyone to bring their own mug to our meeting this morning. 

here's what 's up for us over the next few days:
+ putting up the christmas tree
+ taking family pictures
+ obsessively pouring over pinterest for family picture outfit inspiration
+ doing a huge amount of laundry so that our clothes will actually be clean for family pictures

happy friday!

November 28, 2012

so this is love.

parenting takes you down some weird roads.
you may find yourself heating up frozen chicken nuggets in the microwave despite swearing once that your child would never eat such a thing.
you may find yourself subjected to the absolute travesty that is mickey mouse clubhouse.

and sometimes you find yourself spending the afternoon at the local recycling plant.

because this is love. 
my friend audrey had a tour scheduled with her playgroup and invited cruz and i to tag along. we stood on a platform overlooking the facility (aka, toddler paradise), and gazed at big machines for about 45 minutes. on the ride home, cruz couldn't stop exclaiming, "excavator! dump truck! bulldozer!"
the look of pure joy. 
 thanks for inviting us along, miss z!
 as we were walking out of the facility, we discovered the garbage truck repair shop.

November 26, 2012

advent time is here again

{updated to include some of my favorite advent resources}

most years i try to milk the fall season for as long as possible, but this year felt a little different. practically the minute we got home from thanksgiving with my parents in seattle, i (ok, tovi) hauled out the christmas boxes and we started turning our home into a winter wonderland (ok, as wintry as possible in southern california). 

as i've moved through the house adding a candle here or a stocking there, one song keeps playing in my head.
// let every heart prepare Him room //
so what does that look like in the day-to-day? 
how am i preparing room in my heart for Christ this season?

do you ever feel like this? like you are so familiar with the story of the nativity that it's easy to gloss over the wonder and the miracle?
i forget to imagine the faith of mary, nine months pregnant and bouncing towards bethlehem on the back of a camel.
i forget to imagine the terror of the shepherds confronted with the heavenly host (i mean, right?).
i settle for a pandora holiday station that mixes in carols with jessica simpson hits and forget that the wise men traveled for years to find the messiah. 

and don't get me wrong because i looooove some christmas music, and hot cider, and christmas sparkle, but i want to prepare room in my heart.  i want to sneak downstairs early in the morning to spend time with the Lord, sitting by the Christmas tree asking Him to fill me with the wonder and the terror and the miracle of the season. in every day, i want to make room in my heart for what God would do with us in this season.

favorite advent resources:
+ daily devotional book: watch for the light [various authors] 
+ daily devotional book: preparing for jesus [walter wangerin jr]
+ the jesus storybook bible devotionals for advent [i'll be doing this with cruz]

September 26, 2012

what {we} wore on wednesday

like the rest of the civilized world, tovi and i love downton abbey. 
we love it and we are often confounded by it. if you were to watch it with us, you would hear comments like, "his whole job is to brush dandruff off lord grantham's coat! omg." or, "would you care to come to dinner? naturally you'll have brought a tuxedo with you." you know, really profound stuff. and i guess a lot of stuff about their clothes. 

i bring this up because i am trying to wear more real outfits and it is feeling like a stretch.
i think i need a valet.

obviously i don't casually wear black dresses around the home. had an early breakfast meeting. later, i covered up snot stains on the shoulders with a scarf. functional and fashionable!

this little guy has been majorly under the weather. still in pajamas when i dropped him off with his grandparents.

cruz thinks that the dr.'s office is a playdate. today was one of the only days i've gone and not run into a friend. good thing too because this was one of the only happy moments he had at the appointment. (but dr. iris worked her magic and he's feeling much better tonight)

is this shirt starting to get a little snug? cruz doesn't like to have his belly show (so modest), and he was tugging it down all afternoon. here we are out for a casual walk and some "car on the yellow bump" watching. 

on our way home from the walk, tovi called from the westmont soccer game to ask if we would meet him for dinner at china palace (aka china pavilion aka only my favorite restaurant of all time). yes! new outfit! i wish you could see my ankle boots in this picture. i bought them for london but never wore them because they would have felt like death on my feet. 

and that was our wednesday! xoxo. 

September 23, 2012

london resolutions

we're back from a tremendous week in london. it was a good thing we left the baby behind with my parents, because otherwise i would have been tempted to chuck my plane ticket and stay. for.e.ver.
i get so energized and inspired by city life (ok, city vacation life + perfect weather + no responsibilities), and on the plane ride home, i wrote down a couple of "london resolutions" that i hope to share here as they unfold, just to keep me a little accountable.

one of my first resolutions sounds super silly and vain,  but here it is: wear more real outfits, less yoga pants. 
the whole trip i felt so confident and pulled together, somewhat the opposite of how i feel at home. i'd like to keep that feeling. i was so excited that i started writing this post as an all-outfit post... which turned out, in fact, to be super silly and vain of me. so... outfits with pictures and narration of our trip! take it away!

if flying with a toddler can be hell, flying without a toddler is heaven. never have ten hours on a plane flown by with such bliss. we watched episodes of parks and rec, movies, someone brought us food and then cleared it away. i recommend international travel highly. 

for the first few days of our trip, we stayed at a little boutique hotel called no. ten manchester. here we are about to hit the town, about two hours after landing. not a moment to waste!

we wandered and discovered st christopher's place a few blocks from where we were staying. st cp (as i'm going to call it) is a gorgeous couple of blocks of restaurants spilling over onto sidewalks and alleyways. it was a packed friday night, and i just sat at our table thinking, "yesss. we are here."

the next morning we found a branch of our favorite cafe from our last trip within a few blocks of the hotel. one giant plate of eggs benedict and one latte later, we were ready for a walk through regent's park. we seriously could not have asked for better weather-- sunny and warm. 
after our walk, it was time to go to craven cottage for the highlight of tovi's year-- fulham!!

the lads won three-nil (oooo, i am sooooooo english). celebrations all around! meat pies for everyone! over breakfast, tovi had drawn the starting lineup for me, so i felt impressed with myself for knowing all their names. we had a seriously good time. 

another delight of traveling without a toddler is that we could linger and walk and explore the city without a care for anyone's bedtime. after the game, tovi said, "let's go to covent garden for dinner!" so we did.

After dinner we had ice cream at the icecreamist, and i can't believe we didn't take a picture of this-- they serve a flavor made from breastmilk. "human breastmilk," the man specified in answer to my question. i will just leave it at that. 

the next morning was hyde park:


and harrods:

larger than life. 

and harry:

straight up dream come true.

on monday we packed our bags, and headed across town to stay with tovi's aunt and uncle. lucky for us, they work at salvation army international headquarters, right between st. paul's cathedral and the tate modern. 

but after a second round of eggs benedict, naturally.

all were amazing and inspiring. more resolutions: walk more. visit more museums. get around inspiring things. learn how to cook eggs benedict. 

we started the next morning with a walk through crystal palace park which hosts one of the world's first "purpose-built dinosaur exhibits." (crap! we've accidentally built another dinosaur exhibit!) this next picture is evidence that our aunt and uncle have a prestigious address and that i definitely still wore my yoga pants. old habits die hard.

we took the train back into london to visit borough market, the churchill war cabinets, walk about one million extra blocks by accident, and then see wicked!

on our last day, we went to the london eye (so touristy and yet so amazing), saw parliament, big ben, shopped at topshop (we'll all be wearing burgundy this fall, apparently), ate cookies on the street, and then saw the leonardo da vinci "anatomist" exhibit at the queen's gallery in buckingham palace. 

but first, one of my favorite outfits of the trip:

we ended the trip with such a highlight-- a long, lingering, and delicious dinner with tio popi and tia deise. it was such a fun blessing to stay with them. 

sniff, sniff. back to the airport in my best olsen twin travel chic.

i miss that grand old city. here's to london 2015!

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