Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: Year in Review

As 2010 began, I knew it would be a huge year for us.  How huge, I had no idea.  I didn't have a strong feeling that things would be good or bad, just big.

I could never have imagined how big.

This year we:

-celebrated Grandma Great's 90th birthday
-had a party for Seth's 30th birthday
-endured months of grueling and unsuccessful fertility treatments
-became pregnant naturally after stopping treatment
-began a high school girls' ministry
-found out that our baby is a little girl
-hoped beyond hope that this would be the year for our SF Giants only to watch it actually happen
-celebrated Seth's award for being Employee of the Year
-welcomed new members to our extended family and reconnected with many who we lost touch with
-and welcomed many new additions courtesy of our dear friends (baby Evan, baby Emery, baby Ezekiel, and many others).
-Oh, and I turned 29.

Now, with all that said, we are eagerly looking forward to 2011.

I will be turning 30 and will be having my first child.  Those are huge in themselves, and I'm excited.

May the Lord be glorified in all things.  I pray blessings upon all of you!

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.(Romans 5:8)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Giving Homemade

This year, I am doing my best to give homemade gifts.  I think we can all agree that today's economy either encourages you to splurge and build up debt or reign things in.  Well, I definitely don't want to go in debt to give materialistic gifts.

Instead, I am trying to craft usable gifts, edible treats, and simple blessings.

I got the inspiration from a card received by a friend, flipping through some home magazines and surfing crafty websites.  I'm not including photos of the finished products because I don't know if the recipients will read this and I don't want to ruin the surprise.

I have always been taught that gifts that are personally made and are given with love are the most meaningful gifts.  It's such a blessing to receive something homemade.  Maybe I'm more sentimental because I'm now in my sixth month of pregnancy, but we have recently been digging out homemade gifts received from our grandmothers in our childhood to share with our baby.  We both have crocheted blankets from our grandmothers and I also have many homemade things from my mom.

Speaking of my mom, she is the most crafty and gifted creative person I know.  She can draw, paint, sew, make patterns, come up with a million projects using staples found in every home, and just plain make anything fun and/or tasty.  She wasn't scared to get messy doing projects with glue, paper, scissors, and dry beans or pasta.  We did finger-painting, papier mache, gardening, crocheting, sewing, cross-stitch, looming, baking, decorating, and the list goes on and on. She's the one who really taught me that making a gift can be so much more meaningful than buying the same thing.

So, we'll see.  I know a lot of love has gone in to these assembled gifts and I hope they're received as blessings.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Committed to Sing Off

I am now a huge fan of NBC's show "Sing Off."  Apparently, I missed the entire first season and I saw a cool ad for season two.  Knowing I would forget about it by the time it rolled around, I scheduled it to record on our DVR.

Boy am I glad I did!

I have always been a fan of a cappella music--just pure voices singing in harmony.  I think anyone who's ever been in a choir of some sort must love this music because you recognize how difficult it is to get it just right and also how marvelous it is when you do.

This show is far better than any American Idol show.  Here, the troupes sing completely free of background music--although you may not realize it.  They have to vocally reproduce any instrumentation that is normally in modern music.  Think drums, bass lines, winds--all being produced by voice instead of instruments.

Now, at first, it was just a fun show.  By the end I was COMMITTED.  Here's why:

I find that most of today's popular music (and musicians for that matter) focus on hypersexualization.  Songs abound dealing with illicit relationships, polygamy, hedonism, etc.  It's blase to focus on music with pure topics or to focus on music that praises our Lord--even if musically (arrangement, content, actual musical ability) are far superior.

On the Sing Off, out of the ten initial groups, you had two groups on opposite ends of the spectrum:  Pitch Slapped (a coed group from The Berklee School of Music) and Committed (an all male group who started singing worship and praise at church).

Pitch Slapped introduced themselves to America with an oversexualized choreographed performance of "Good Girls Go Bad."  Just the type of plastified and "do whatever you want" type of junk that is so prevalent nowadays.  These kids looked like a bunch of entitled young adults who party and believe they're superior to everyone else.  Their background story was filled with self-aggrandizement.  Talk about pride going before the fall!  They ended up being the first group eliminated by the judges--hallelujah!

Now, Committed was the last group to perform.  Based on the opening number, I wasn't sure what to expect from them.  I LOVED their background story.  They started in high school and sang at church and currently travel to perform praise and worship music for area congregations to bring glory to God.  The most remarkable thing: their genuine humility and modesty.  This group of six men dressed in black slacks, white dress shirts, ties, and red zip sweaters looked like they were poised to be anything but what the audience wanted.  I so desperately wanted to see them advance, if nothing else simply for their message of Christ to be shared week after week.  They wholly admitted that singing Top 40 was new for them and it was going to be an adjustment.

They began their number.  They sang Maroon 5's "This Love," and at first I couldn't even recognize the song.  My heart sank--but only for a split second.  All of a sudden they burst in to form.  They took the song, made it their own, and as I listened I heard the lyrics in a whole new light.  They made it sound like they were singing about being tempted.  See for yourself here.  Wow!  In no time, the crowd was up on their feet, swaying with the rhythm, and clapping along.  The place erupted when they finished--even other teams leapt to their feet to applaud them.  How did they respond?  Pointing heavenward.  Now THAT'S what music sounds like when the singers are filled with the Holy Spirit!  I kid you not--if they had an album out right now I would be first in line to buy it.  The judges were blown away.  I think everyone was.  I literally replayed their performance because it was THAT GOOD.

So, to close, I encourage you to watch the Sing Off.  More than that, pray that God would continue to bless these young men in Committed, that they would stick with Him, share His love, use the gifts He's given them, and shine for His glory.  I pray these young men will win and will have greater opportunities to spread the gospel and not be pressured by society to change or steer clear of faith-based music.  Dove music and Christian labels--be in touch with this group and sign them immediately!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Giant (s) Life So Far

I'm dedicating this blog post to my wife, who I love more than anything except God.  She has loved me more than any other person and has supported me and continued to be married to me despite my horrible sports affliction.  I originally was embarrassed after writing all of this, but my wife encouraged me to post it, so here you go..........

My love of baseball started as a small boy living in rural Northern California.  I remember my dad taking our family to Candlestick Park in San Francisco in the mid to late 80's.  I can't recall exactly the first game I went to, but I remember walking through that tunnel and seeing the green grass of what seemed like the most beautiful baseball diamond in the world.  Seeing the bright white home jerseys, the orange seats, smelling the hot dogs and hearing the crack of the bat from the players taking batting practice started a love affair with the game.  If you know anything about Candlestick Park, it was one of the ugliest, coldest, lousiest ballparks in all of baseball.  To me it was my Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, or Dodger Stadium.  To me is was glorious.  I used to beg my parents to take me to games, and fortunately I was able to go many.  Most of the one's I didn't go to I listened to on the radio.  I always had the radio tuned to KNBR 680, the flagship radio station of the Giants.  I would listen to the entire game in the back yard while mimicking each play described on the radio. I still remember pretending to be Will Clark, Chili Davis, Robbie Thompson, and Matt Williams.  I would throw pop-ups to myself and pretend to rob home runs from going over the fence, which led to many scraped up wrists from our wooden fence.  As much joy as I received from attending games and listening to them on the radio, the Giants always found a way to break my heart.  The first heartache I can remember was when they made the playoffs in 1987 and lost to the Cardinals in the NLCS.  They followed that up by making it to the World Series in 1989 only to get swept by their crosstown rival Oakland A's.  I still remember laying on the floor in our family room preparing to watch game 3 when the ground started to shake.  I  had never experienced an earthquake before, and at age 9 it freaked me out!!!  One moment the announcers were talking and the next--the live feed goes black and the ground is shaking like crazy!!  In 1993 the Giants won 103 games in one of the greatest seasons I can ever remember.  It was Barry Bonds' first year as a Giant (pre-steriods) and he didn't disappoint.  He won the MVP that year.  The Giants had two 20 game winners in Bill Swift and John Burkett, but they still managed to miss the playoffs by one lousy game!!!  The Braves made a trade for Fred McGriff at the trade deadline and squeaked past the Giants to take the division.  Oh yeah....and the lousy, no good, rotten, Dodgers beat the Giants on the last game of the season to knock them out.  This only furthered my profound dislike for the Dodgers and everything blue, which hasn't really changed to this day.  It would be 4 years until the Giants would make the playoffs again.  In 1997 the were surprising division winners, only to lose to the Wild Card Florida Marlins in the first round.  In 1998 they lost on the final game of the season to the Colorado Rockies on a Neifi Perez home run.  This forced a one game playoff with the Cubs, which, of course, they lost at Wrigley field.  In 2000, they moved out of their dump of a ballpark and into the finest in all of the major leagues, Pacific Bell Park.  They made the playoffs and faced off against the New York Mets.........and lost again!!!!!  In 2002 they finally made it back to the World Series.  They faced off against the Angels.  They looked poised to win their first Championship since moving to San Francisco--only 5 outs away in game six-- when the roof caved in and they choked it away, losing game 6 and 7.  Fortunately for me, I was in the middle of my senior year at college, working full-time and going to school full-time and was unable to get fully engrossed into the games.  While I still followed the action closely, I tried to deny that it ever happened, and that they ever lost.  I ignored all internet reports, newspaper articles, and sports TV and radio for months afterwards.  That tended to be how I dealt with the heartache as an adult.  However, I freely admit as a child I cried many a tear over my beloved Giants and their misfortunes.  My mom would say, "It's only a game, don't get so emotionally involved"  As much as I tried, I just couldn't though.  The Giants and the game of baseball had stirred up something inside of me that I could never quite explain, and still can't. These are a few quotes that I think explain it best. In the movie Field of Dreams, James Earl Jones' character Terence Mann, describes baseball this way........ 

"The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again."  -James Earl Jones, Field of Dreams-

"Every day is a new opportunity. You can build on yesterday's success or put its failures behind and start over again. That's the way life is, with a new game every day, and that's the way baseball is." -Bob Feller, Indians Hall of Fame Pitcher-


One of my favorite players growing up was Barry Bonds.  When the Giants first signed him I was 13 years old, and Barry still had a normal sized head and body for that matter.  In 1993 he won the MVP with the Giants.  In 1996 he became the second player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in one season.  In 1998 he watched a juiced Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa capture the hearts of America in a home run derby that lasted all season.  Bonds broke the single season home run record and nobody cared.  He broke the all time home run record and nobody cared.  He couldn't find a team to play for, and nobody cared.  I admit, I loved Barry Bonds the player.  I never admired Bonds the person, but I did marvel at what he could do on the field.  Practically every time he swung the bat, the ball was hit like a laser beam somewhere.  While it came to light he used steroids, it also came to light that many of the pitchers he faced used as well.  Players from all teams were exposed as to having used steroids.  I understand because of Barry's rude behavior towards teammates and reporters, and his eventual breaking of one of sports most hallowed records made him out to be one of the most despised figures in sports history.  But I think it is important to point out that he was one of hundreds of players who used performance enhancing drugs during the late 1990's and 2000's.  Sure he hit home runs while on the juice, but how many pitchers were on the juice who pitched to him?  Two for sure were Eric Gagne of the Dodgers and Roger Clemens of the Yankees/Astros.  But how many others who weren't caught do we not know about?  I think a lot of people tend to forget this.....
My expectations for the Giants 2010 season came like most every other season.  Hopefully we can finish above the Dodgers and maybe just maybe we can squeak into the playoffs.  I knew we had great pitching, but our hitting was one of the worst in baseball.  We had a two time Cy-Young champ in Lincecum, but the rest of the team was adequate, at best.  The season pretty much went to form until a young 23 year old lad named Buster was brought up to the team.  From that point forward, I think all Giants fans got a boost.  Young Buster Posey legitimized the Giants offense and they quickly threatened to take the division lead.  It looked like they would before the last day of the season, but this team wasn't tagged with the catch phrase "Giants baseball, Torture!" for nothing.  They made me agonizingly wait until the last day to clinch the division.  I honestly was so thrilled that they won the division, I didn't care less what they did in the playoffs.  I thought they had a shot to beat the Braves, but would get stomped by the powerful Phillies in the NLCS if they made it that far.  My wife and I were lucky enough to go to game one of the playoffs in San Francisco against Atlanta and see one, if not the best, amazing baseball game I've ever seen in person.  Tim Lincecum pitched a 14 strikeout shutout and At&T Park was rocking.  Still, although I was happy, I felt the World Series was a pipe dream.  They went on to play the Phillies and to my shock they beat Roy Halladay in game one of the NLCS.  The same Roy Halladay who threw a no hitter in his first start in the playoffs.  And Cody Ross hit two home runs!  A player they picked up on a waiver claim in September!  I tried not to let my mind wander to thoughts of, "Could this be the year, is this actually happening?"  One crazy thing happened after another and before you knew it they had knocked off arguably the best team in all of baseball and made it to the World Series!!!  I couldn't believe it then and still can't believe it now.  I couldn't believe it so much that I was too nervous to watch the games and recorded them all to watch them later so I would know the outcome.  Go ahead call me a wimp, but this poor guy's heart couldn't take it.  To me is was torture!  I don't think it was until they beat Cliff Lee in game one of the World Series when I finally let myself believe that it was going to happen.  The Giants were a juggernaut that just couldn't be stopped.  They didn't have the high priced players and never were the favorite against any team they played in the playoffs, but they had heart and were a true team.  When Nelson Cruz swung through the final pitch from Brian Wilson, I fell to my knees and wept like a little boy.  No joke, and no I'm not ashamed.  Something that I wanted so bad and that felt so far from reach had finally happened.  It will be season I will never forget, and one that I will cherish the rest of my life.  One of my first calls after the Giants won was to my dad.  With tears still in my eyes, I said, "Dad, they did it, I can't believe it, but they did it!"  I think both my dad and I were both transported back 25 or so years ago to when he brought me to my first game.  A moment shared by a father and son that will never be forgotten.  A few days later my wife and I traveled up to San Francisco for the parade.  Close to a million people partying in the streets of San Francisco.  What a year, and one that can never be topped.  I know that next year will be a tough one, because there really is no where to go but down, but the view from the top looks good right now, and I will enjoy it while it lasts!!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Best Chicken Salad Sandwich--EVER!

Seth thinks I'm bonkers over how much I love this sandwich.  Regardless, if you've ever seen the show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on the Food Network, this would be my nomination for the sandwich category.

This is the Chicken Salad Sandwich from Olde Tyme Pastries in Turlock, CA.

Even though their sister company in Modesto (Village Baking Company) makes the same sandwich, it tastes better from Olde Tyme Pastries.  Believe me, I know.

So what makes this sandwich so special?

Let's begin with the bread.  You get your choice of fresh baked bread, but my preference is Dutch Crunch.  Not many bakeries carry this fine bread, but they should!  For a foodie, you will appreciate that it has both a moist and soft inner crumb, but it also has a light crunch on the exterior.  Originally, it was made in the Netherlands and was called Tiger Bread because of the pattern of the crumb top (I didn't know that before--just looked it up).  I used to eat this bread all the time at my uncle's deli in Redwood City (Otto's Deli) where my affinity for it was well established.  Trust me--it's wonderful!

Next, the chicken salad.  This chicken is not dredged in mayo, but is not lacking either.  I'm not a huge fan of mayo, so that says a lot!  It has a perfect blend of salt, pepper, and pimentos.  Plus, the chicken is shredded so finely that it's only a few steps up from paste.  So the texture is smooth and free of any fat or gristle.  I've had chicken salad that's been cubed, cut in strips, and shredded, but each one always has chunks of fat or pieces of chewy, gristly cartilage left in there that justs turns me off.  This one?  Never.

The sandwich comes topped with fresh slices of tomato, leaves of romaine lettuce with the ribs removed, sprouts (I didn't get them this time), and more mayo if you request (I don't).  They keep it simple, which is perfect.

The sandwich always comes with a fresh dill pickle spear and usually one fresh baked cookie of the day.  Since it's around the holidays, I was given not one, but two mini cupcakes: one white cake with vanilla frosting and sprinkles and one chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and sprinkles.

Their lunch menu is only served Monday through Friday from 11am to 3pm.  I started getting this sandwich about ten years ago while I was going to college just down the road.  It's been my favorite since day one.  Sadly, it had been a couple years since I had this sandwich because when we visited family in the area, we usually got in town just after 3pm on a Friday and left in the early morning on Mondays.  So, whenever I get a chance I make PLANS to get this sandwich.  This time, Seth and I had lunch there on the Friday after Thanksgiving and then I bought one to go and ate it later for dinner.

Absolute bliss.

So, if you're ever in the Turlock area during Olde Tyme Pastries' lunch hours, I highly encourage you to get this sandwich.  It doesn't hurt that the same lady who's made my sandwiches all these years is still there serving up greatness with a smile.  It's guaranteed delish!

Oh, and ANY baked good at either Olde Tyme Pastries or Village Baking Company is a sure winner.  Some of our favorites are chocolate covered cookie dough, chocolate mice, snickerdoodle cookies, raspberry pockets, chocolate napoleons, and apple nests (ask for it warmed with butter on top--yumm).  No matter what you get, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

November Weather

I love the changing seasons.  I love it when holiday time hits, the weather calms to a chilly 65 degrees or lower, it's time to pull out the flannel sheets, hot chocolate and apple cider, and cuddle up with your loved ones.

I don't love this SoCal weather schizophrenia.

Already we've bounced back and forth from chilly and dreary rains, being curled up in layers of blankets and snuggled in front of the fireplace, to 97-100 degree days without a cloud in sight.  This has been going on from week to week since mid-October.


It's cooler this week (THANK YOU JESUS!) but I'm nowhere near placing any bets that it will stay this way.  All this flippity-flopping makes for a ripe cold and flu season.  People are pumping the heat to buzzing the AC, slurping down ice cold drinks to sipping piping hot lattes, cozying up in jackets and scarves to strolling in shorts and tank tops.  Geez!

Please let the weather stay mild from here on out.  Pretty, pretty please?

Monday, November 1, 2010

It's a GIANTs year!

After so much SF Giants fans kept encouraging each other: DON'T STOP BELIEVING, even when the LIGHTS go down on the city.  As hitter after hitter grew to FEAR THE BEARD, got struck down by SHOTGUN CAIN, were shutdown by a ROOKIE BUM(garner), and learned all too well about THE FRANCHISE, we stood strong.  As pitchers discovered ROSS IS BOSS even when he SMILES, what PAT THE BAT could do, the double-power of SANCHITO, the shadow of ANDREs THE GIANT, and saw some of KUNG FU PANDA'S moves, we inched forward, clawing and digging our way on.  The HUFFINATOR kept swingin' and we saw BUSTER move.  Uuuuuu-RIBE kept us on our toes and RENTY brought us home.  We were the underdogs all the way--just as we like it.  Waving RALLY RAGS and RALLY THONGS, we knew our boys could do it.




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Never talk about politics, religion, or...pregnancy decisions??? - a rant

Okay, okay, so not really because of course we talk about faith, how that impacts our world view, including politics, etc.  However, I had no idea how staunchly opinionated people can be about pregnancy and the choices you make regarding your own.

I'm kinda fed up with it, to be honest.

I feel like I have to justify the choices that we are making regarding our baby.  I get questioned about whether we want to find out the sex or not, hospital birth or home birth, to breastfeed or use formula, cloth diapering versus disposables, natural birth or epidural/other drugs.  Then, when I answer, I am oftentimes met with sarcasm or a laundry list of reasons why my choice is just "not realistic" or in some way makes me less of a parent.  I mean, come on!  How will finding out whether my baby is a boy or a girl going to make me less of a parent?

Just so that you're clear, I want to find out the sex of my baby for a few reasons.  Not that I have to justify this, but because some people have had no problem telling expectant couples that the "best" parents are willing to wait (which I find condescending...especially when it comes from people who have not become parents yet or have no desire to ever have children) and that they must not love their child as much.  One reason we'd like to know: I am my mom's only child and the suspense is killing her.  She has waited for the past (almost) ten years of my married life to become a grandmother and I know that she is chomping at the bit to buy gender specific things for her first grandbaby.  Plus, her health is not the best.  Reason #2: our last surviving grandparent (Seth's grandma) is 90 and would love to pray more specifically over this baby.  We want to bless her and allow her the chance to be praying for little girl or boy G-O. Another reason: because the bare truth of the matter is that we have no guarantee that this pregnancy will have a happy ending.  I know that sounds macabre, but based on family history and from the experience of friends, late miscarriage and stillbirth happen.  If it should be in God's plan for us to experience this, we would like to dignify our child with a name rather than always wondering.  Goodness, just this last month one of my friends told me her mom miscarried in her 6th month.  Considering it's taken us so long to become pregnant in the first place and our doctors told us that women with PCOS have a 50% risk of miscarriage throughout pregnancy, we are thankful for each and every day God gives us with this precious baby.  We don't expect a sad story, but we know this is God's child and He has a plan for it.  So, please, before you think we're just not patient or loving enough to wait until the birth of our child to find out, know that we both deeply love this child already regardless of whether it's a boy or a girl, and we will be surprised either during an ultrasound sooner or a couple months later--so what's the difference?  Besides being able to begin talking to our child by name before it's here, that is.

Now, we are still researching and deciding if we want to birth in a hospital, birthing center, or at home.  What we do know is that we want a natural, drug-free birth.  Of course, we know there may be complications that take that decision from our hands, but in our ideal situation we want a natural childbirth.  What upsets me with this is when other women and men literally laugh in my face when I tell them that and then try to talk me out of it.  I was once told, "well, okay--if you want to feel what it's like to shove a bowling ball out of your butt, feel free!"

Wow.  Really?

My mom was able to birth me without pain medication.  Several of my friends have done it.  And I have a high pain tolerance.  Heck, I was still playing pick-up basketball games at a local park with the guys when my appendix was ruptured.  I've had doctors compliment me on my pain tolerance.  I've even had a deep tissue massage therapist compliment me on my tolerance of pain by telling me that most of her clients cry early in the appointment, but she was able to use all her strength on me.  So, no, this is not a flippant decision that just sounds nice to me.  I genuinely want to try to have a natural birth and trust that my body can do what God created it to be able to do.  And you know what else?  I don't think any less of any woman who chooses to get an epidural or other pain treatment for her labor.  I trust that each woman knows her body well enough to make the best decision for herself and her baby.  So, please respect my decision as well.

Since I'm sharing our ideal choices already, I hope to breastfeed and we plan to use cloth diapers and make our own baby food.  Again, these are our ideal choices.  I didn't eat jarred baby food and I'd love for my baby to have that same experience.  We'll be eating healthy, so I'll just puree what we're eating.  And I hope to be able to breastfeed.  Of course, if my baby is allergic, we'll have to switch to a formula.  We plan to use disposables for the first month or so while we settle in to a routine with our baby and try to get any sleep we can, but once our baby is around 10 lbs, we want to use cloth diapers because it's gentler on a baby's skin and helps them to potty train earlier.  Plus, they're reusable, eco-friendly, and more cost effective over time.

It all boils down to this: why do people automatically assume that pregnant women are incapable of making informed decisions about their own bodies and about their babies?  Why is there this societal divide between working moms and stay-at-home moms, medicine-supported births and natural births, and a host of other options?  Why is there so much pride involved with this life process and wanting to be "right"?  Is one woman better than another for having a specific birth?  Is one parent better than another for waiting until birth to learn the sex of the baby versus one who finds out a couple months earlier?  Why aren't we instead celebrating the miracle of life?  Why not focus on God's craftsmanship instead of the various journeys that still result in a baby or babies?

Okay, so that's my rant.  Take it or leave it.  I just hope it starts a discussion or at least inspires some thought.  Maybe a little softening of the heart.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.~ Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Okay, so I'm 15 weeks pregnant as of today and both of us keep getting asked if I've had any crazy cravings yet.  Honestly, I don't think so.  Talking with some of my friends, they've craved things like lemonade, snickers, red meat, ice cream, pickles, etc.

Me???  Nothing special.

This is where my hubby and I differ.  What he calls a craving has so far been for me a once-in-a-while, this-food-sounds-least-likely-to-be-thrown-up-while-still-providing-the-baby-with-some-nutrients-it-needs food.  It's not that I really have a taste for something.  It just sounds like I might stand a chance of keeping it down.

For example, so far this baby detests fruit.  Every fruit I've eaten (apples, melons, berries...) has come up within 30 minutes.  Still, I know this baby needs fruit.  So, last week, with it finally feeling more like autumn and the holiday season, I figured, "Well, maybe a piece of fruit pie will stick."  My husband considers this a craving.  I requested that he pick up a razzleberry pie from Marie Callendar's since all pies are on sale this month, but I also gave him the freedom to get pumpkin, apple, blueberry, etc.  So he proceeds to tell other guys that I had a "craving" for a specific pie.  Not really.  I love this or just about any fruit pie whether or not I'm pregnant and I haven't desired to have it regularly.  Heck, it's been days and we still haven't finished the pie yet.  I just figured it was worth giving a shot to see if I can somehow get some fruit to the baby.  And guess what?  It hasn't come back up yet.  AND I haven't been possessive over the pie.  We each have a piece together.  Just like we used to.

Now, in the early weeks of pregnancy, I couldn't stomach anything.  The only things I could hold down with any success were blueberry or banana nut muffins or things made with potatoes (mashed, hash browns, etc).  Now, this too I do not consider a craving.  THIS I considered desperation.  These were the only things that remained in my stomach reliably so I ate them just about all day, each day.  Again, I figured at least there were some bits of fresh fruit and nuts or root veggies in them...tons of sugar, but I think you get my drift.  They were starchy...and starches have a better chance of staying in a whirly-whirl tummy.

This has been hard.


If you know me, you know that I LOVE FOOD.

For the last several weeks...I DETEST FOOD.  No fun.

I feel like I'm finally getting to a place where I can eat somewhat regularly again.  So don't fret, even though it has been a struggle I have been eating my veggies and meats and dairies throughout.  I'm simply saying that despite my best efforts most of them never stayed down.  I kept at it regardless.

Now, back to my definition of cravings versus my husband's.  Last week, my precious hubby was lamenting over how long it's been since we've had Mexican food.  Believe you me, it's been a long time.  It's normally a staple in our home.  He begged me to return to our little taco shop as soon as I was able to handle it.

Flash to this last Sunday.

We were sitting in church when I became pretty nauseous because it had been several hours since I had eaten breakfast and baby was yelling for food.  I actually felt pretty brave, so I leaned over and asked if we could get burritos at said taco shop after church.  He said yes.
He may call this a craving, too.  I call it pleasing the hubster while also trying to get some decent grub to our little bun in the oven.  I managed to eat and KEEP DOWN a fish burrito made with grilled white fish, lettuce, tomato, avocado, fresh salsa, beans, and rice.  Hallelujah!  Oh, Mexican food, how I've missed thee.  That burrito tasted sooooo gooooood!  It has been over three and a half months since this mouth savored any fresh salsa because it was just plain too risky to attempt.  I felt pretty proud of myself.  It helped that this was a healthy and light burrito--not one dripping with fat or grease.
So, now, I might call this a craving.  Maybe.  Only maybe.  This was one of the first meals that made me feel somewhat normal again and I can't wait to have another one because of it.  It made me feel human again--not possessed by some alien trying to take over my body.  Plus, it was jam-packed with things that are great for baby, healthy for mommy, and pleasing to daddy.  It didn't hurt that it actually tasted great.  It had flavor by-golly!  After months of bland and boring food, this was a triumph!

Is this really a craving?  I dunno.  From the moms I've talked to, this doesn't seem like it.  Maybe my body isn't lacking any nutrients.  I mean, I'd been taking prenatal vitamins for MONTHS before getting preggers and I always ate a diversity of proteins, dairies, grains, vegetables, and fruits.

From what I can tell, cravings are distinct and consistent...something you want often and with regularity.  I haven't had that yet.  I may want something on a whim, but again it's usually because we're out, I see it, and it sounds like it has a great chance of actually being fully digested.

So, chime in.  Am I having cravings?  Or am I simply surviving and trying to get this little one to thrive?  Did you or your wife have any cravings?  What were they?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Baby's first travels

We had the great pleasure of traveling up north to visit with family this last weekend.  It was my first trip out of the area since being pregnant and it was a quick trip.  We drove up on Thursday morning and headed back home on Saturday.  Things went pretty well on the first half of the trip, but the drive back home was not.  We made it home just in time for me to be sick.  Yuck.

Anyhow, we were able to travel up because some dear friends of ours gifted us with two tickets to the first National League Division Series game between the Atlanta Braves and our San Francisco Giants.  We could NOT pass that up.  Neither of us had ever been to a playoff game before and it was a great game to take my little bitty belly for baby's first trip to AT & T Park.  Our Giants played a fantastic game!  Tim Lincecum pitched a complete game shutout and our boys won by a score of 1-0.
You can't tell in the picture, but our little sign says, "Baby's first game is a postseason game!  Go Giants!  10-7-10."

The next day, we had a chance to reminisce.  Ten years ago this month, Seth proposed to me in Half Moon Bay.  Growing up, my family and I used to go to Pastorino's Farms when it was set up as a pumpkin patch.  The day Seth proposed we started at that pumpkin patch.  We then went horseback riding on the beach and he proposed later that afternoon on the beach.  Since we were already in the area, we decided to visit those memorable places again.

That's about how big our little baby is right now.  So it's appropriate to call it our "little pumpkin."

Here's the beach where Seth proposed.

We visited with family in the evening.  My mom was so happy to finally see "the bump" in person!  I wish I would have captured that in pictures, but I just enjoyed the moment with her.

Alas, it was time to head back home because we were both scheduled to teach at church on Sunday morning.  On the way back we had the chance to visit with some friends of ours in Morgan Hill.  We had a lovely time catching up and our little baby even received it's first gifts!

Thank you to the entire Richter family for these precious treasures!  We can't wait until our baby arrives and gets to play with this book and we are already writing away in our new journal.

We have to admit, it was bittersweet to head back down to LA.  We love, Love, LOVE the Bay Area.  Perhaps someday we'll get back there.  Until then, we definitely made some precious memories during this whirlwind visit.

"I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." (Romans 1:11-12)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

LIFE CHANGING NEWS--To GOD be the glory!

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying:
       “ Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
      Before you were born I sanctified you;
(Jeremiah 1:4-5a, NKJV)

Some of you know and some of you are finding out for the first time that Seth and I have been trying to start a family for quite some time.  We have been married for over nine years and have not conceived.  I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) in November of 2009.  Apparently, I have had this condition all of my life, but no doctor ever gave me a proper diagnosis.  Basically, I don't ovulate on a regular basis.  In fact, my cycles have always wildly varied, being completely unpredictable.  I might have a regular cycle for a couple months then not have one for eight or nine months, have two in one month, then skip four months, etc.  Basically there's no discernable pattern for my fertility and ovulation.

Beginning in January of 2010, we started fertility treatments.  Each cycle, the treatments became more intense and much more invasive.  I had to have daily intramuscular injections (with a 2 inch needle) in addition to a variety of meds.  It didn't work.  At times our doctor would tell us that there was no hope for us without treatment.  Then he told us that they would only do six rounds of treatment before they figured there must be something else wrong with me that they cannot help and that I would be on my own.

My last round of treatment was in May 2010.  It, too, was unsuccessful.  However, because of the strength of the medication, my ovaries became greatly enlarged and I began showing symptoms of ovarian torsion.  My secondary doctor was gravely concerned that I might lose one or both ovaries and if they ruptured, it could result in death.  Thankfully, I did not lose either ovary.  I had a lot of pain, but praise God...I'm still here.

Throughout this journey it has been an emotional roller coaster to say the least.  We've had highs and we've had the deepest of lows.  I learned that the most comforting thing anyone can say to someone going through this is, "I don't know what to say, but I'm praying for you."  The truth is that sometimes God does not give you the desires of your heart--sometimes He changes your desires.  God is hope, but sometimes what we desire is not what He desires.

We never lost hope.  We clung to God above all and searched Him deeply because we wanted His will.  And if it was His will for us not to have children, we would be okay with that.  If He wanted us to adopt, wonderful!  We just wanted to know what His will was and to be obedient to it.  We've been through enough with Him to know that His will really is perfect and better than ours.


He definitely revealed His will in a most surprising way.

We are now pregnant.

Without any medical assistance.

God has blessed us beyond our expectations.  We have a single pregnancy with an estimated due date of April 13, 2011.  As of today, we are 12 weeks, 6 days along and the baby is perfectly healthy, growing on target, and has a strong heartbeat.

We always knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that if we became pregnant with or without medical assistance that it was only because of God.

People have told us that God blessed us with this child when we stopped medication so that we'd know it was Him.  But, we always knew that it would have to be Him.  Medicine can fertilize an egg, but can't make it stick.  They can't force something that God has not ordained.

Clearly, this was God's timing.

We have prayed all along that God would be glorified through this.  He is the one who brings the increase.  God alone knows each of us better than we know ourselves and knew each of us before we were even in our mothers' wombs.  And He knows this precious blessing.

This is His child.

We are humbled and honored to be considered worthy to be his or her parents--stewards here on earth.

I admit--this pregnancy has been rough, really rough. My immunity is at an all time low.  I've had migraines, days-long headaches, vomiting, dry heaves, food poisoning, a major case of gastroenteritis which landed me in the ER hooked up to an IV, and have had severe food and smell aversions.  I've had a difficult time sleeping, resorting to sleeping on the couch and floor to avoid any movements that could send me running to the bathroom.

STILL, it is all worth it and I count it a blessing.  Thank you O God my Father!

Now, for the pictures.

This is our first ultrasound scan, done on August 20th.

Here is our second scan from September 8th.

And here is today's scan.  It's hard to make out in the picture, but the baby is curled up in the fetal position and looks like a regular baby.  It's about the size of a small peach right now.

O Lord, we stand in utter awe of You.  We are totally humbled and surrendered to You.  We do not deserve this blessing, but we are ever thankful that You esteemed us enough to entrust this child to us.  We commit this child to You and continue to ask for Your wisdom and discernment as we enter this new chapter in our lives.  Bless You, Father.  Thank you Jesus.  We pray in Jesus' glorious name.  Amen.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just so you know...

We haven't forgotten about this blog.  In fact, an awful lot has been going on in our lives (involving family and ministry) that we'd love to update you on, but the timing hasn't been right.

We're working on that.

And we hope to have a better update to explain it all this week.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


It's been SEVERAL months since I've really updated this blog.  To catch you up to speed, this is what we've been up to in a nutshell. Between May and today we've:

-Moved to a neighboring city (packed and then unpacked)
-Spent an incredible weekend with family celebrating Grandma's 90th birthday
-Met family members for the first time (Hello, Wendy from England!)
-Celebrated my hubby's 30th birthday
-Taken a retreat in Newport Beach
-Had many, many, many meetings at church
-Launched a HS girls' ministry
-Spent HOURS painting and decorating rooms at church for the ministry launch
-Volunteered with the Family Promise ministry which serves displaced families
-AND, by the grace of God, I was hired to be a part-time teacher at a private school

So, even though it's been quiet here on the blog, it certainly hasn't been quiet in our lives.  If that's what God's orchestrated so far this year, I'm very excited to see what the rest of the year holds!

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today, my AWESOME HUSBAND turns 30!  Happy birthday, Honey!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Temporary hiatus

We're in the process of moving to be closer to our home church.  We're there pretty often and it makes no sense to live in a neighboring city.  With that said, we have been pretty bad at posting anything new on here as of late.  Why?  Packing.

We have been occupying ourselves with packing, sorting, and selling--getting rid of excess and doing our best to recycle things through exchanges, free pick-ups, and craigslist.

In my youth, my family had a tendency to hoard because we had so little money.  Now that I'm grown, I don't find the need to hang on to so many things.  Of course there are some items of sentimental value that I treasure and hope to someday pass down to future generations of our family, but, let's be honest...most things are just taking up space and are going unused.

So, we've been purging.  We've been getting down to the nitty-gritty and asking ourselves if we really love these things or simply the things they've represented to us--like tangible pieces of a lost loved one, perhaps?  Some things we've hung on to merely because friends or family gave them to us.  But if they're not serving a purpose and don't make our home really feel like a home, why keep them?

It's been kind of freeing to let go of stuff.  So, we'll see how it goes.  And when we're all moved and settled, I'll do my best to be on here more often.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yikes! Late Photo Friday

My bad...better late than never, right?

I'm thinking about Mother's Day and this seemed like a great picture to get me in the right mind set.  Aren't my parents cute?

Friday, April 23, 2010

April Showers...let's jump to flowers!

As is our normal Friday ritual--here are several photos for your enjoyment.

I particularly like the bee poised on this flower.
Even with the shadow and accent color in this, I had to include it because this weekend's Beth Moore simulcast on insecurity is featuring daisies at our host site.  Why?  Because God loves me, He loves me more, God loves me, He loves me more...
Reminders from childhood. :)
Lovely beach blossoms in Santa Barbara.
Isn't this flower amazing?
Even completely submerged, this flower is beautiful.

Spring is springing!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Photo Day--Grandpa Jacobson

This is a photo of Seth's grandfather.  I never had the chance to meet Grandpa Jacobson and I heartily wish that I had.  I love hearing Seth and his family members share stories about him.  I especially love seeing the twinkle in Grandma's eye as she speaks of her love.

I treasure this picture of him.  Isn't he handsome?  His features make me think of Bing Crosby and I can just picture him sweeping Grandma off her feet as a young lady.  I so look forward to meeting him someday in Heaven.  I'm sure he'll regale us with stories of the farm, of the war, and of California before it became so industrialized and urban (at least around here).

Friday, April 9, 2010

Photo Friday--Evan Vang, revisited

I finally got my chance to meet Baby Evan.  He is so incredibly precious and I have absolutely fallen in love with him.  I am such a proud auntie!
I mean, just look at the little guy.  He is just so cute and he has such a great little personality.  I just adore his dimples.  He tends to smile as he's falling asleep, which completely melts my heart.
And snuggling with him is the BEST.  It was so difficult for me to leave.  I cannot wait to see him again.  No doubt he will be bigger the next time I see him.  He was changing so much from day to day while I was there.  Oh I wish he'd stay this way much longer.  Time surely does fly, but I am so blessed to be a part of his life.  What a gift!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Some Perspective

I heard of this book from a friend.  The author's concept captures material wealth by taking pictures of families with all of their material possessions in their front yard.  The picture shows the exterior of their home, all the people living in that home, and all the possessions stored in that home.  I became super curious and spent about 30 minutes on the internet searching for this book to check it out.  I found it.

It's called Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel.  (I checked this copy out from the library.)

I was most struck by the poorest family represented in the book.  They are the Getu Family of Ethiopia.  The nation of Ethiopia is ranked 180 out of the 183 United Nations for per capita wealth and 183 out of 183 for number of physicians per person.  The average family in Ethiopia earns $123 per year, per capita.  That was in 1994, when the average U.S. family earned $22,356 per year, per capita and ranked 9th in U.N. affluence.  Ethiopians spend nearly 50% of their annual income on food alone...and still go hungry most days.  This is their "material" picture:

This family, despite all the harsh circumstances under which they live, are happy and loving.  The photographer recounted how they were the most generous people he'd met--sharing their food even when it meant they would go without themselves.  Seven people live in their household, protected from the elements by gathered animal dung that they hand form into a paste to stick against the straw walls of their home.  They have two tin cans that the family shares as drinking cups.  They use an empty, plastic motor oil can to store their water.  They work between 80-120 hours per week just trying to survive.  They don't have running water, plumbing, gas, or electric.  In fact, when the book showcases bathrooms from around the world, when they show a picture for Ethiopia, it's simply a cluster of trees in a field.  No joke.

When asked what the family would want if they could ask for anything they said:  more animals, a 2nd set of clothes, better seed stock, farm implements, and peace in area and in the world.

Wow.  They asked for a second set of clothes and world peace.  They asked for tools and work necessities just to survive.

I have it so easy in comparison to this family and many other people in the world.  When I get down because I don't have as much money as I would like, or the new outfit I would like because I "have nothing to wear" even though my closet and dresser are bursting at the seams, or I'm tired of the place I'm living or the job I do or don't have, I just need to look at pictures and stories like this to be completely humbled and reminded of how blessed I am.

Ponder this:  when the Getus were asked how they find solace amidst their circumstances and the political upheaval in their country, it was explained that their faith gave them comfort.  They are Orthodox Ethiopian Christians.  (See picture below.)

They live in such poverty and with such difficulty, yet they are probably happier than most of us here who have our needs met.  No, we may not have our WANTS met, but our NEEDS usually are.

Peter Menzel has several other books that I'm hoping to check out soon.  They have the same concept as this one but instead of material possessions focus on foods the family eats and the lives of mothers.  Very intriguing.

This inspires me to live so much more simply and to be thankful for everything I have--even things I don't.

Keeping all of this in mind, what is it you would want if you could ask for anything?

...You just might already have it.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He is risen indeed!

Happy Easter.  Thank you, Jesus!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Good Friday (Photo)

16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. 19This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." ~ John 3:16-21

Thursday, April 1, 2010

10 Things You May Not Know About Me

So on the heels of Shirliza's post, here's mine:

1. I had eye surgery when I was 3 years old due to a muscle defect in my eye.  I've worn glasses ever since.
2. I've never broken a bone in my body, despite numerous falls, crashes, and random clumsiness.  (that's me knocking on wood)
3. I love classical music.  Turn on the music close my eyes and I'm gone.
4. I've developed a bad fascination with neck ties.  Can't go in a department store without looking at them.  I usually don't buy, but love to look.
5. I eat baby carrots after most every meal, if they're available.  Yes, after breakfast and dessert too.  They seriously help clean your teeth.
6. I hold a BA degree in Organization Communications with a minor in Journalism from Cal State Stanislaus
7.  Had the following animals growing up........pigs, chickens, horses, cows, sheep, donkeys, and the occasional dog and cat too.
8. Favorite Cartoon of all time.......Ducktales!
9. Do not enjoy sleeping past 8AM.
10. Give me a cat, you can keep your dogs.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

10 Things You May Not Know...

...about me.  Okay, I got this off the LPM blog.  Beth Moore got it from an airline magazine and thought it was a neat idea.  I have to say that I agree.

I'll give my answers, but I sincerely hope that you will share yours with me, too!  What better way to get to know my already great friends?  So, here goes:

1. I once had a blurb printed about me in Women's Health Magazine.  It was several years ago and this is probably the first time many of you are finding out about it...
2. I have a mixed ethnicity that includes American, Native American, Dutch, German, Nicaraguan, Mayan, and Italian, although I most identify with American culture based on my upbringing.
3. My favorite movie is The Labyrinth with David Bowie.  As a kid I watched it a million times.  I even have the soundtrack.
4. My mood and the seasons dictate my taste in clothing, accessories, and home decor.  I can be athletic, trendy, contemporary, classic, formal, casual, plain, bold, feminine, boyish, and everything in between.
5. I don't make the bed every day.
6. I can't stand black licorice, anise, fennel, or anything else that tastes or smells like black licorice.  Makes me gag just thinking about it.
7. Even though I'm a great student I doubt my talents and abilities ALL THE TIME.  I struggle to believe I could teach anyone anything or be an expert at something.
8. I used to play pick-up basketball games with a bunch of guys in college and would surprise newcomers with my outside shot.
9. I love of scarves and hats.  They're pretty much my favorite accessories ever.
10. I heart paper, pens, and lists, like colored index cards and colored pens.  Dunno why...just always liked them.

Okay, so that's my off-the-cuff list.  There's much more I could add, and maybe I will in the future.  But now...NOW you need to share your lists.  What are some things I might not know about you?  Leave me a comment list.  I can't wait to hear from you!  Oh, and Seth, you should do this post, too. :)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tacos Azteca--The Original

We had the pleasure of spending time with some friends of ours who have a mutual love for good food.  It happened to come up in conversation that none of us had found a great, authentic Mexican taqueria in our city.  I realized that we've sort of half-heartedly looked in the years we've been here.

That won't cut it anymore.

With that thought weighing on my mind, I decided to press on and do some research.  I did what any modern girl would do: I googled taquerias on the iPhone.

Within minutes I found several reviews for a little place called Tacos Azteca (the original--not to be confused with the place on Colorado bearing the same moniker).  Tonight, I convinced Seth to go with me and try it out.

We ordered carne asada, pastor, and carnitas tacos--with everything.  Our bebidas included a Mandarin Jarrito and an Horchata. Total damage?  $11.55 for two large drinks and 6 tacos.  Awesome!  (And the drinks were the most expensive at $2.00 and $1.75, respectively.)

The tacos were flavorful and the service was quick.  I enjoyed the pastor tacos the best, but I look forward to trying the chicken in the future.

I think we just found a nice little gem of a place.  We already have plans to return to sample their burritos and combo meals.  They serve tortas, quesadillas, burritos, tacos (including fish), and even offer delivery for orders of $25 and up and catering for special events.  Sweet!

So, if you're interested in visiting Tacos Azteca, here are the deets you should know:

-they accept Visa and MasterCard
-street parking is the only parking available
-don't keep the salsa for more than 10 days, and even then only in the refrigerator (random...but they actually have a sign stating this next to their window because the salsa is ALL NATURAL)
-don't expect a five star dining experience, but do expect yummy and authentic grub
-tacos with everything on it mean your choice of meat, chopped onion and cilantro with a decently spicy salsa, a wedge of lime and sliced radishes on the side

I hope you try it out...if you're in the area, of course.  If you do, let me know what you think.  In the meantime, we'll keep searching for other little holes-in-the walls.  And let us know if there's one you would recommend, too.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Evan Vang

I want to introduce you to the newest addition to our "extended" family.  He was born on 3-25 at 8 lbs. 14 oz.  (He was two weeks late.)

Congratulations, Vang Family!!!

Yep, that's perfect for our Photo Friday.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Nope, not talking about the home.  I'm talking about me.  Time to clear out the muck and get out of the doldrums (inactivity, that is).  Winter hibernation is over--especially in Southern California--and it's time to get out!

Albeit, before spring had actually sprung, last Friday I had the pleasure of getting out in the sunshine with a couple friends for a walk.  It was lovely.  I guess I hadn't realized how ready I was to get back outdoors after all of the rain and cold.  Again, of course, this is SoCal, so it never really got that bad.  However, read the old post on rain indoors and I think you'll understand that it was a rough season for US.

So now, I am eager to get out to the beach, go on hikes, bust out the bikes, and just get out.  I hope to see you out there, too!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Photo Friday-Philippe's

Just another night out on the town.  You can still get a cheap coffee and great food at this LA establishment.  If you're ever in the area, it's a great place to go for comfort food and pie.  We were introduced to this place by a nice young man we know, aged 82!  (Thanks, Paul!)  If you want to go there, click here to view their website.

  My, my...we look sultry when we're eating, don't we???

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I love coffee!  I was RAISED on coffee.  No joke.  Ever heard of Mexican Coffee?  (No, not the alcoholic version...)

In the Hispanic culture, parents will warm milk and add a lot of sugar and a little coffee to it for their children.  In my case, my dad gently warmed milk in a saucepan, added a small spoonful of instant coffee, and then stirred in a couple teaspoons of regular sugar before pouring it into a Mickey Mouse mug for me to drink.  It made me feel like a BIG kid to have my own coffee with my parents.  You may agree or disagree with this practice, but it's what I grew up with.

My taste and love for coffee has grown over the years.  I started off loving super-sugary concoctions from places like Starbucks.  You know, things like a White Chocolate Mocha with extra Whipped Cream or a Caramel Macchiato.  Nowadays, I savor simple cups of Italian Roast brew with skim or 1% milk--no sugar added!  I even enjoy Cappuccinos and Lattes sans sweetener.  Yum!

My latest love affair with coffee:  Decaf Italian Roast.

If you're anything like me, you like a smooth, flavorful, dark roast coffee but you don't like being kept up at night due to caffeine anytime after 4pm.  The answer is the whole bean, decaffeinated Italian Roast from Trader Joe's.  This unassuming can of bliss is usually stocked on the bottom shelf of their coffee section with a glaring orange lid to signal that this will not give you a caffeine buzz (if that's what you're fiending for)--which I am NOT.  For me, this is a perfect union: dark roast, zero caf.

So, try it.  I'm savoring a cup as I type.  Good stuff.  Now, to return to my library book reading.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Library Love

I enjoy reading.  My local library is great and I visit it often.  In fact, I plan to go later today.  I can check out travel books, cookbooks, novels, informational texts, and just about anything else my heart desires.  And I have.

I have memories of trips to the library with my mom when I was very young.  I participated in the reading logs for stickers and the like.  We would often check out 10-12 books and I couldn't wait to race home and read them all.  I often did.  Within hours of being home.  As soon as we'd walk in the door I would settle on the couch and begin delving into the pages of these new, temporary treasures of mine.

So, if you haven't been to your local library in awhile, or you just plain don't know where your library is, look it up and go.  Bust out your dusty library card and borrow to your little heart's content.  Best part is it's free.

And in this economy, who doesn't love some free recreation?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Photo Friday is ORANGE Friday!

Spring Training is well under way and, as such, it is time to honor the team we love:  the San Francisco Giants.  Here are a few pics from our many years as Giants fans together.

Seth posing with our dear Lou Seal.

One game, three balls.  One hit me during BP, Seth caught one, and an employee gave me another one.  It was a good game.

Couldn't ask for a more beautiful skyline, Coke bottle and all.

With my love at our home park.  AT & T Park definitely has a piece of our hearts.

When Bonds hit #700, we were there.  Absolutely beautiful.

It was a crazy-fun atmosphere.  Talk about being electric!

A match made in heaven.

Here's to many more years in black and orange with my main man.

May 2010 be our year.  GO GIANTS!!!