Saturday, January 31, 2009

Horse people

we're not, but our good friend Heath allowed us to pretend for the afternoon. He recently got a fun new job working with horses, and we had a wonderful time today hanging out with the Heath and his son Drake, learning about the animals and their own quirky personalities, and of course getting thoroughly caked with dust. Even our ever-cautious Alyssa hopped on with a huge grin, though she wasn't too sure about the grooming - I love the photo below where she's standing as far away from the animal as possible while still obeying Daddy's encouragement to brush. Reagan, who is very hot and cold about animals had a "hot" day and ate it up. Parker... well, I think could live in the barn!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A little confused

Though "winter" has finally come to Southern California in the form of a little rain, our unseasonably warm weather over the past few weeks has led to some confusion amongst our plants. This poor pear tree seems to think it's spring!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Before and after, part 3

Let me know if you guys get tired of these things, or if you're just as voyeuristic as I am. Posting pics here actually does provide a little motivation for me to actually finish my home decorating projects. I'm getting there! 8 months after moving in I still have 3 bedrooms to paint and my bathroom... well, my bathroom is a disgrace. For months now it's been mostly-painted, which is far worse than un-painted in my book. The walls are a soft gold, which I like, but the corners, around the doors, around the ceilings, around the tub and around the shower are still builder-basic white. The rolling part of painting is just so easy, fast and fun. The cutting in... not so much. So I have a feeling that I'll be spending a lot more late nights painting when Danny returns to Malawi in April. Funny how I get so much more done when he's out of town! But without further ado, my complete-enough-for-now family room and kitchen - "before" on the left, "after" on the right, in case (sadly) it's not obvious:

(wish I had a better "before" for you... the chairs are in the same spot)
Not too much different here I guess - paint, cabinet hardware, new faucet...

But this right here is my favorite part of our home: the view of my favorite boy playing outside the kitchen window.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

So much cooler online

Have you heard the Brad Paisley song? It makes me laugh every time... but then it got me thinking: am I cooler online? Not that I'm all that cool here, but I wonder if my blog is really an accurate reflection of who I am. The photos really are us. The stories of our life are ours. The ideas are mine. But I don't post the really unflattering pictures. I don't tell all of our less-than-fun or funny stories. My ideas probably aren't as original as I'd like to believe. I try to balance the rosy picture we'd all like to paint of our lives with transparency about things that I'm struggling with. But I know that I fail. I just wonder about the overall impression I give to those who don't know me in real life. There are bloggers I know personally who are the same here as they are at church, at school, or over dinner. I know others whose blogs seem completely disconnected from their reality (or at least my perception of it). And some who are so much more interesting and engaging in real life than they are on their blog. I've had the opportunity to meet a few people online first, and then connect in real life. I've been suprised to find that I didn't click at all with one I thought would be my new BFF, and throughly enjoyed others I didn't expect to have much in common with. I have a number of bloggy friends I would love to meet outside of the confines of text and photos but I wonder if it would be as fun as I expect. Strange new world here isn't it? What about you? Are you cooler online?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sleeping cuties

Well, not exactly sleeping yet, but settling down in our jammies with a little popcorn and Planet Earth.
The boy who seems to think that we purchased this bunk for the stuffed members of our family. Each night Parker dilligently prepares beds for each of his favorite animals, simulateously refusing to allow me to tuck him in for fear of disturbing their little dens. I usually find him scrunched up into a corner as far away from any critter-filled covers as possible. And yes, that is a pink floral comforter. We have a girl room and a boy room in our house, and Parker and Alyssa have proven to be much better roommates thus far than Reagan and Alyssa.
Our baby girl in a big boy bed! She's been sleeping well in a real bed for several months now... maybe someday soon she'll graduate to a girly one. That is if Parker will let her. The world's cutest kitty. My parents took Alyssa to Disneyland all by herself on Wednesday and she came home looking like this. She also went to school the next morning looking like this, and probably would still be sporting face paint if not for the bath I insisted she take last night.
Danny's a pretty cute sleeper too, but I'll spare you the photo I took just to prove how much he really does intrude onto my side each night. You'll have to take my word for it.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A piece of my heart looks like this:

I spent a semester in Israel in college (an experience I still intend to reflect on here someday), returned for another 3 weeks shortly before Danny and I got engaged/married, and is the one place I long to travel to with Dan. Nostalgia and good memories are wrapped up in the place for me. But more than that, Israel is the Promised Land. It is the setting for all the stories I love the most. The background for my favorite Book. And the homeland of my Savior. It's a remarkable blend of ancient and new, a far cry from our "old" cities, like Boston, or even the history and architecture of Europe. The people themselves are fascinating, and the story of their survival through millennia, and through the modern establishment of their country is nothing short of miraculous.

So my heart breaks a little when I hear, again, of Israel's struggle to defend themselves against those determined to remove them from the face of the earth. Then it breaks a little more when I hear our media elevate terrorists to the same moral ground, with the same rights and expectation of sympathy as those who have carefully targeted those terrorists. Naturally no one wants to see civilian casualties in any war, but when even Palestinian leaders admit that it's often impossible to distinguish militant from civilian, how can one blame the terror-fighters? Why not blame the terrorists? The ones who continue to shell innocent Israeli citizens -- indeed targeting civilians. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones in the current manifestation of the conflict (forgive my politicing here), but can we give Israel a little break? Don't fall for the media's oft-unbalanced presentation of what's going on. Remember that the Jews are, as always, fighting for their lives.

Monday, January 05, 2009

NOT Reagan

Ask this girl what her name is and she'll promptly reply "Thi Ho Thao Van." Her Vietnamese name, loud and clear. Granted it's not in quite the right order, but that's probably a function of the fact that we're still not 100% sure what the correct order is (almost every official document has it listed differently, and the Vietnamese do last-middle-first). I don't know why this development has come about - we don't call her Thao Van except when she's in trouble (as in "Reagan Thao-Van T~, stop that right now!"), but I think it's pretty cute. And her pronounciation is probably better than ours!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

So you like my book?

It seems that I'm not the only one impressed with my mother's handiwork. I've received so many e-mails and comments asking about how she did it that I thought I'd post it here. (Prepare to be bored if you're not a blogger...).
Her first step in what sounds like a very labor-intensive process was to turn each post into a Word document. She then tried printing it at home, but found that her printer didn't yield the best results. So, she took it on CD to Kinko's where they printed it with a laser printer and cut it to the appropriate size. Then she mailed the printed text to Smith Printing, a publishing company she found online, for binding. According to my mom they were very nice to work with and apparently could have printed it as well. There are other sites out there that help you self-publish (Blurb is the one I'm a little bit familiar with) but they don't interact with Blogger or Wordpress anymore. Blurb books seem to look more like a digital scrapbook than a bound book, but perhaps would be a quicker process, even just using their manual input function. Through it all, the book turned out beautifully - though I think only a mom would invest that much time, effort and money into publishing writing of this quality. Just reinforces my conviction that I have best mother around!