Monday, May 23, 2011

that epic California road trip

At the end of March and early April this year, my mother and I ventured with the girls on an epic two-week road trip to California...

Dragons on the side of the road, predicted by Bentley.

Olive tasting.

Squeezing oranges.

Much needed days and days of sunshine.

Four generations.

Daddy surprising us and coming to Disneyland.

Meeting princesses.

Cherished time with all kinds of family and lifetime friends.

Wheelchair and stroller strolling at the local zoo.

Tricycle breaks at rest stops.

Bubbles, surprise purses, toot putty, squishy spiders, magnet games and color-magic stickers riding along with us on the window.

Gatsby's on Diner's Drive-ins and Dives.

Pea Soup Andersens.

Singing to sleep.

Solving handmade puzzles over and over again.

Finding roly polys and snail shells.

Off-the-beaten path necessary diaper stops.

Swimming in hotel hot tubs.

Bunking with all the girls.

and toot putty - the best dollar I ever spent.

...all memories that Bentley still talks about...

The infamous toot putty; a barrel of laughs.

Color-Magic stickers - I highly recommend these for a road trip!

Gatsby's on Diners Drive-ins and Dives. Bentley examines her burger sliders.

Diaper Detour.

To Great Nana, "You have a stroller too?"

First of many boo boos that day.

Cousin Olivia feeding her sister Charlie. Bentley and Olivia were bosom buddies while we were there.

Seeing Cinderella for the first time.

Grandpa Hall getting to hold granddaughter Emery for the first time.

Bentley and Nora playing in the dirt. We missed capturing their pool party in Max's dog bowl.

Four Generations.

Last stop of the road trip. "There's no place like home."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Flour Child

Bentley, likes to eat flour. Every time we bake, she puts fistfuls into her mouth when I am not looking. Not the sugar, but the flour.

my dirty little secret: I do not like to cook.

Now this poses a problem because I have a husband who is super blessed when I prepare dinner for our family. A little unknown fact is that I am not one of those wives that does this every night. Even when I have a husband who feels so loved by it. Cooking actually gives me anxiety. I will clean and scour our home into the ground, but to prepare a grocery list and cook, takes me a couple hours of emotional preparation. Plus, while I was single, I would have been completely content eating cereal for every meal whereas my husband prefers a much more diverse palette of dining options.

However, I recently realized two ways in which I can get myself to cook and actually enjoy it. One, I love hosting events! I absolutely love having people over with us in our home... and usually this involves a meal, so that means I cook (which I still don't enjoy the actual process of, but can do it with joy as I think about our guests that particular evening). Two, I went with my sister-in-law and friend Kathy to the PLU senior art exhibition a few weeks ago to support one of my former graphic design students who was now graduating college! Anyway, one of the pieces there was by a senior who had interviewed several international students for recipes from their hometowns, cooked, photographed and then complied these recipes and images into a beautifully designed cookbook. It made me think, Would I enjoy cooking if I then photographed the creation? The answer: yes.

So, the last couple of days, I have been photographing my meals. Nothing too fancy, but this is a gal who would be content eating a PB&J sandwich just like her daughter for weeks on end.

I hope that soon what motivates me to cook through my anxious emotions is realizing just how loved Drew feels when I have actually planned dinner... and... a dinner that includes meat. ha.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

B-E-N-T-L-E... Y?

I randomly asked Bentley yesterday if she wanted to learn how to write the letter "B". She said yes, so I taught her to draw a line and then add two circles to the side. And to my surprise, she did it! And then again and again! This morning, I asked her if she wanted to learn how to write her name. So as I wrote each letter, I showed her how I combined lines to make the letters in her name.

I love her two different "approaches" to the letter "E". She got a bit frustrated trying to make the "Y", so we will try again tomorrow. Still, a proud mama.

Monday, May 9, 2011

encore... by Bentley

The morning after our house concert, Bentley climbed onto the stage stool and proceeded to go through at least an 8-song playlist. I started videotaping.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

a glimpse of the Kingdom... the form of a neighborhood house concert.

Drew and I, along with our SOMA missional community family, hosted a house concert at our home for Cinco de Mayo this last week. With twinkling icicle lights both inside and out, as well as an oriental rug as a foundation for a myriad of instruments, we transformed our humble home into a intimate concert venue that night.

A few days before, Bentley and I walked around the neighborhood to invite our block of neighbors. God gave us favor that day with nice weather which gave us an opportunity to talk face-to-face with almost everyone and not just leave little flyers on their doorsteps.

I met the widow on the corner for the first time and was introduced to her through her caregiver, Lorena, who informed me she has Alzheimer's. We chatted for a moment and she confided that sometimes Mrs. M wanders. I assured her that if I ever saw her out and about without Lorena, I would help walk her back to her home.

I talked to one young guy, Jesse, who remembered us from when Drew invited him to our St. Patrick's Day neighborhood party. He had turned 21 that night and had other plans. I hoped he would come this time. I loved that he remembered that we like to celebrate.

Another household has long been considered the ostracized family on the block. Their home isn't necessarily up-kept, and their five home-schooled children who are now just entering into the public school system even self-admit to being socially awkward. Even still, several times, usually during days in the summer, I hear the oldest daughter playing her guitar and singing sweetly on the porch. It always makes me stop for a moment to listen. When we knocked on the door, three of the daughters and their mother answered and I invited them to bring their instruments and voices to the house concert. I hoped and prayed that moment that they would come.

The night of the party, several of the neighbors we already have good relationships with came to enjoy the festivities. But as Drew opened up the night with a Beatles cover of "Revolution," in walked the four sisters from across the street. Let the glimpse of the kingdom begin. It wasn't until they took hold of the microphones and the oldest played her guitar that their harmonies shocked even me. It was a divine moment. The youngest girl is about 12-years-old, and her oldest sister, about 20 and their voices combined confidently in a beautiful ballad. I kept thinking, "Lord! This is truly what your kingdom looks like." All of us in one room, neighbors, but unlikely friends, some with maracas, some with egg shakers, all in awe and singing along.

It made me think that Heaven might truly look like one big celebratory sing-a-long... And if God calls us to be like Christ to others and give people a glimpse of who He is through how we live and love each other, I hope our neighbors and friends saw God that night too.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

miss emery anne

A little bit about Miss Emery...

She in the 95th percentile, like her older sister, and currently in 3-6 month clothing. She is giggly and smiley, but reserves these emotions for only the absolutely funniest thing. Her coos and noises are in full throttle in the morning as she announces her own waking up at 6:30am. (She is an early bird, like mommy.) She will sometimes let out a loud squeal(s) at her discretion, for seemingly no particular reason. Her eyes follow her big sister around the room as Bentley dances and engages her.

We love our littlest Webster.

Monday, May 2, 2011


With a bout of sickness recently, as well as emotional ups and downs, our whole family needed some homemade chicken soup for our bodies... and hearts.

Even partaking in making such a dish, (the one and a half days it took to make this soup last fall with my aunt), just the making can be comforting; the aroma, the conversation, the patience in waiting, making it comforting and healing not just to eat, but to create.