Friday, March 31, 2006

Spring Cleaning

The past two years it has seemed to happen that we get back from our anniversary trip and find that things have crowded our lives. It's interesting that our anniversary is the first day of Spring. It's kind of like a second New Year's Day for us, a chance to start over. Last year weeds invaded our landscaping beds and yard and we had to come home and attack them. This year it was the clutter inside our house, mostly mail and papers. I woke up this morning really wanting to clean things out and get things in order.

It's interesting too that I've also really felt a need to clean out my heart this week. Last weekend I went on a Women's Retreat with our church and it really impacted my life. Our speaker, Jill Hooper, the wife of one of our pastors at Intown, was incredible. She was so vulnerable about her life and her struggles and how she came to find joy even through pain and suffering. I really feel like I have a renewed sense of purpose and I am finally experiencing real joy like I haven't experienced in a long time. It was such an encouraging weekend for me. I think the thing I walked away with is that it's not about what I need to do differently, but how I need to think differently. It's so simple, but it was so big for me.

It's kind of like taking God with me throughout my day (that sounds cheesy, but I can't think of a better way to put it). One thing Jill said that really impacted me is that Satan's lie to us is that we have to spend an hour or more praying and reading the bible to spend time with God. In reality it's doing what we can to get in the word throughout the day (meditating on one scripture and putting it all through our house or reading just one Psalm a day) and thanking God as we go about our day. It really changes my attitude as I go about doing things that seem insignificant, like emptying the dishwasher. I know God is glorified through everything I do if I do it for him. I want to listen to Jill's talks again and again to really soak it all in because I know God really spoke through her that weekend. They are supposed to be up on Intown's website soon.

The warmer weather this week has been so great too. I'm really looking forward to this weekend. Springing forward it so exciting. I love the extra hours of daylight and YIPPEE that starting in 2007 it will be extended to March-November instead of April-October. We are hoping to continue to clean out our house and work on our endless projects...painting and remodeling our downstairs bathroom. Here's to Spring!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

San Francisco

Allen and I had a great time in San Francisco. We got there on Sunday afternoon (March 19) and it was a beautiful day. This picture is one of us on the Marin County side of the bay and behind us is the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. On Sunday, we left Everett with my sister and her 3 kids and we drove from San Jose North to San Francisco. We first drove through the Golden Gate Park and over the bridge and then went to Muir Woods, which is a Redwood Forest. We then drove up to the point in this picture, looking out over the bay. It was beautiful!

We left there, driving through the Presidio, to our hotel, The King George. It's a great little hotel in the Union Square area. We checked in and then headed to dinner at a Mexican Tapas restaurant. It was a fun day! The next day (Our Anniversary-March 20), we walked around in the rain to Fisherman's Wharf, Coit Tower, and Ghirradeli Square. We also visited the Cable Car Museum and China Town. It cleared up during the afternoon and we drove back to San Jose along the coast. We even went down to a beach in Half Moon Bay and dipped our hands into the Pacific Ocean. It was freezing!

We've had such a great time here and we're sad to leave. California is such a beautiful place and it's amazing all there is to see and do here. We're really going to miss my sister and her family. The kids are all so cute and are changing and growing up so quickly. We've got to gear up for our long flight home and changing back to our time zone. Here goes!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

California Trip

We are here in sunny and chilly California. We have had such a wonderful time so far. Little E did amazing on the flight over. He slept completely through his first take off and landing. He was a little worn out on the second flight after our layover in Dallas, but we couldn't have asked for a better day of traveling across the country with a teething 7 month old! The first day we were here we went for a walk around my sister (Katie) & brother-in-law's (Brian's) neighborhood where they live in Mountian View, CA. We went to their local park then came back for dinner. Allen and I were pretty exhausted.

Thursday we went on a drive to look at the neighboring town of Palo Alto and we got to take a tour of Google with one of the members of Grace Presbyterian Church, where my brother-in-law is now an associate pastor. All of the tech industries here are pretty amazing. Allen fits in well! My wonderful sister hired a babysitter for us that night and we went to an awesome Spanish tapas restaurant in downtown Mountain View. The wine and food were so delicious and the atmosphere was really cool.

Friday we went to Monterey, along the coast, to the Monterey Aquarium. It was a really nice aquarium, right on the ocean. Then we took a drive down the coast to the Carmel area, which is where the picture above was taken. It was so amazingly beautiful. We ate dinner at a small Italian restaurant in Carmel. We were all pretty exhausted by then and all 4 kids fell asleep on the drive back to Mountain View.

Today my nephew (Nick) has his first baseball game. My brother-in-law is the assistant coach. We are going to have a little more of a relaxing day today. We will go to church tomorrow morning and then Allen and I will head to San Francisco by ourselves for two days to celebrate our 2 year anniversary.

Despite the fact that Everett and I both came down with colds the day we left, it's been a great trip so far!!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Young Couples Service Project

Today we volunteered at the Clarkston Community Center in their community garden doing some landscaping and gardening. It was a beautiful day and a lot of fun. Everett even came along and enjoyed being outside and watching everyone work. We're so thankful to have such a great group from our church where we can be involved. It was a really great day. There are other fun pictures on flickr of the day. Enjoy!

Spring is almost here!

Everett was 7 months old on March 9, 2006. He's had some major milestones since 6 months. The week of February 27, he really began to sit up on his own. It's so much fun to have him be able to sit up and reach for toys around him. He's getting a little more independent every day.

Then on March 6, I noticed his first tooth coming in. I could feel it but not really see it, mainly because he will not open his mouth or move his tounge. It's his bottom left tooth. It's taking it's time coming in, but it's definitely there. It hasn't seemed to affect him too much, but it's funny that his first teething session is coming right as we're about to travel to California.

We leave on Wednesday to travel to San Jose to visit my sister and her husband and 3 kids. We can't wait to see them all. We are going to be with them in the San Jose area until Sunday and then Allen and I are going to head into San Francisco for a few days to celebrate our 2nd anniversary, which is March 20! It seems to me that we've been married more than just 2 years. It's definitely been a great time together. We return from San Jose on March 21. We're really praying that Everett will do well on the flights and that we'll all be able to somewhat adjust to the time change while we're there.

The warmer weather we've had lately has really lifted my spirits and I'm just feeling wonderful. Everett has gotten so big that he's grown out of all of his winter clothes. Some of them I can't even snap. I've been going to consignment sales like crazy to get him ready for spring. He has the cutest spring/summer outfits now and I can't wait to try them all out. I took the picture above on his 7 month birthday. He's in the double stroller with Grace, the little girl I babysit for twice a week. It was a beautiful day!

Having this trip to look forward to has really be fun too. I'm also going to a Women's Retreat with our church to Amicalola Falls the last weekend in March. I'm really looking forward to it. Allen's softball games start Tuesday and into Spring we go...