This past weekend four of my good friends came up for a visit. It was wonderful! It felt like I had parts of home with me in Monterey. Their visit came at the right time. I've been longing for home and for the people there. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to sit on my bed and talk for hours with the girls while the boys played video games;). I hadn't had a deep conversation like I did this past weekend in months... I loved it! I didn't want to say goodbye but it was comforting to know that I'll be seeing them all in a month. I wish that when I did come down for Thanksgiving I could just stay there in Southern California. I will have to make do with a week!
Sometimes I wish my adjustment to Monterey would go much quicker. I wish I wouldn't get as homesick as I do. I always thought I was the type of person that could just get up and move anywhere without any problem. I'm learning that I'm not. I am having such a hard time being apart from my family and my friends. I hate too that Riley is growing up so fast and everyone is missing out on it.
I am grateful though for the people we have met, for the friends I've made. I'm grateful for Leif's job. I'm grateful for Skype so we are able to see our families and friends. I'm trying to remember that God brought us here for a reason. Some days its easier to remember while others, like when I really want to drive over and see my mom, its not. God is good though. Always.
Leif and I both thought it was going to be a boy because we wanted a girl so badly. We're happy though! I'm looking forward to actually being able to buy the boy clothes I always look at when we go shopping for Riley. I think Riley will enjoy having a little brother! And having a girl and a boy should prove to be exciting!
and for her silly giggles and laughs. I'm thankful for her constant good mood, despite having molars coming in. I'm thankful for how excited she gets about going out to the store or outside period. I'm thankful for her hugs and kisses that she gives me out of the blue. I'm thankful for the way her face lights up whenever she sees daddy. I'm thankful for her happy squeals in the morning when we let her join us in bed. I'm so thankful for being blessed with such a happy baby that finds joy in everything.
I'm 20 weeks with baby #2, almost 21. I've made it halfway! And since I'm not going the full 40 weeks with this pregnancy, then I'm a little past halfway. Its definitely going faster this time around... Part of me likes that but part of me wishes things would slow down a bit so I could enjoy this pregnancy the way I did when I was pregnant with Riley. Its just hard when you have a 10month old running about. Keeps you busy, which is good on most days:)
This coming Monday we are going to be finding out the sex of this baby... We're hoping for another girl. We're also debating wither or not we should share the news right away or keep people in suspense! We have a few days to decide... You'll know the verdict come Monday afternoon. Pray that all is well with this baby!
Oh and this picture is especially for the grandparents, great grandparents, aunts, uncles, great aunts and great uncles:
I am doing a giveaway from CSNbaby.com. I had actually never heard of them until recently, but I'm glad that I did. They have everything, from nursery decor to baby gear. I like that they sell so many of my favorite brands like Kolcraft, Valco Baby, Melissa and Doug and Dwell Studios. If its a baby brand, they sell it.
The toy I'll be giving away is the Chomp and Clack Alligator Wooden Push Toy by Melissa & Doug. Push toys are always fun, even if you're past the stage of learning how to walk. Melissa & Doug make great toys and I'm thrilled that CSNbaby.com sells a lot of their stuff!
All you have to do to enter the giveaway: is be sure you’re a follower and then leave a comment letting me know that you are!
For a second entry; tweet the giveaway with the following narrative and then leave a second comment letting me know you did:
We're about a month away from Riley's first birthday. Its hard to believe that a year has almost gone by already. I'm sad its gone by so fast, but I'm so excited for the coming years. I already love the toddler stage (not the tantrums so much...). I think its because I'm now able to communicate with Riley a lot better than when she was younger. I love that when I ask her not to do something she understands. Most of the time she obeys thankfully:) I like watching her come up with words and hand motions for different things. Its fun to read her a book now because she gets excited to turn the pages and point things out to me. And she's funny. I think I'm always laughing at something she's done.
I've been going through photos of Riley from the last few months and its amazing to see her change so much within a short time period. Sometimes I look at her and wonder where my baby went... I don't always recognize the big girl who goes to the pantry herself when she's ready for a snack. or leads me to Leif when I ask her where daddy is. How did we get here?
I am blessed constantly by my daughter. I know people say this all the time, but its true: When you have a child you learn a lot. And I know Leif and I have learned a few things in our first year of parenthood. Hopefully Riley has too? God is so good to have given us Riley and for giving us the opportunity to be parents to her and this next baby. I feel so blessed!
Every other Friday I get together with my friends and we have breakfast. We call it Breakfast Club. I started calling Breakfast Club because I used to meet up with friends at Biola and get breakfast every Friday morning. Its funny that here in Monterey we have Breakfast Club on Fridays too:)
This morning was our second breakfast and I wanted to bring hashbrowns. I didn't want to bring just plain ones, although those are good too. So I searched for a recipe and found a few. Its really simple and you don't even need to follow a recipe really. I was a bit nervous no one would like it but everyone enjoyed it!
1 stick of melted butter
1-2 pound bag of hashbrowns thawed
1 can of cream of chicken or mushroom soup
8oz container of sour cream
10 oz of shredded cheese
Either half or one whole chopped onion
Directions: ::Oven should be set to 350 and you should use a 9x13 casserole dish::
Grease casserole dish
Mix hashbrowns and melted butter
Mix in onions, sour cream, soup and cheese
Scoop into dish, sprinkle extra cheese, salt and pepper (or any seasonings you like, I used Lawrys)
Bake for 45minutes-1 hour
*I didn't use the whole container of sour cream, and I didn't use all of the soup. I just used most of it and judged from eyesight. Its really up to you how much you'd like to use. :)
I am thankful for the friends that I've made here in Monterey. I am thankful for the safe deliveries of two babies this past weekend. I am thankful for phone calls from close friends. I am thankful for friends that make bad days better. I am thankful for my husband never forgetting the 15th of every month. I am thankful for more than 8 hours of sleep every night. I am thankful for discussions that make me think. I am thankful for the flowers my husband brought me.
When Leif and I first started dating and we'd go out people would stare. I noticed and sometimes it made me uncomfortable. When I was pregnant people would really stare, and from time to time I got a disapproving glance. Now when we go out as a family people still stare, especially at Riley. Once people see Leif and I together, they make an effort to see what our child looks like. The other day when we were at the aquarium, a family that was behind us got in front of us, and kept looking back to see Riley.
The whole black-white interracial dating/marriage isn't new, in fact its become a lot more common over the last few years. It still surprises some people though. And when there's a child in the picture then you tend to hear this phrase often: "Biracial children are the most beautiful". I think my baby is beautiful, but not because she's half white and half black. When my friends found out I was pregnant, I constantly heard "Your baby has to be beautiful because you're black and Leif is white". I hated when people would say that. I'd always cringe. Couldn't my child be beautiful simply because she was mine?
Another thing people like to point out is the fact that my child will have "soft" hair compared to mine. I've had people stop me a lot in the store to comment on Riley, and point out how cute her curls are. And every once in awhile someone will let me know that my child is lucky to have hair that isn't nappy like mine. While they don't use the exact word nappy, they hint at it. Really, what's wrong with "nappy" hair? If my child had it, would it make her less beautiful? (Oh black hair, I must save that for another post).
In our house race doesn't matter, we're simply a family. Once we leave our house though it seems to matter a bit more. I want my daughter to know that she's beautiful because God made her, like He's made everyone. Not because of Leif being white, or me being black.
...then you might enjoy this:) I stumbled across this one the blog Happiness Is... and I loved it so much I wanted to share. I'm not a tea drinker but my husband is. When I saw this I immedietly showed him. He loved it. And I wish I drank tea just so I could use these teabags.
Nathalia Ponomareva, an artist from Russia, designed the tea bags to expand into birds (very oragami like) when seeped in water. Brilliant! I tried to find more information about the designer, but no such luck. All the links google gave me were to blogs raving about this tea bag design:)
I'm really struggling with the idea of staying at home with my children for the next few years before they go off to school. I've loved the time I've had with Riley so far, but I miss working and being involved with social justice groups. With another baby on the way I'm having an even harder time with staying at home. I think some women love being at home with their children and could never imagine working with a family. I'm not that woman. Part of me wants to be that person though, because I feel a little guilty. I'm blessed to be able to stay at home with Riley, I know this.
I hate that I'm not making a difference and that most of my conversations through out the day revolve around babies, and their latest accomplishments. I'm tired of the only productive thing I've done all day is clean the bathroom and wash the dishes. I love making dinner for my husband and having a clean home for him to come home too. I just feel like there's so much more for me to be doing. I'm getting restless being at home everyday, all day. We go out and do things, the park, play dates, errands here and there. So much more to life... So much more going on outside of my bubble.
I've been thinking about this a lot because I've been trying to get myself involved with social justice groups and such. I've learned that being at home with Riley makes it hard for me to go out and do these things. I always wanted to work for a non-profit organization and I still want to do that. Badly. There are so many things close to my heart that I want to be helping with, spreading awareness about. Its hard though, because of my decision to stay at home.
For now I'm trying to figure out ways to be involved from home. I love being a mother and a wife, but that's not all I am.
I'm thankful for cold mornings that require blankets.
I'm thankful for Trader Joes Mac and Cheese. I'm thankful for quiet time with God. I'm thankful for lazy days spend in pajamas. I'm thankful for a clean home. I'm thankful for prayers that have been and will be answered. I'm thankful for Hulu. I'm thankful for lunch times with Riley. I'm thankful for seeing another day.
And thanks for the book suggestions! I'm going to let you know when I read them!
Leif suggested the other day that we start reading together a few nights a week. We had tried to do this last year before Riley was born but it didn't happen. This time around though its happening! And I'm loving it. Its weird it didn't happen sooner since we are both big readers and brought lots of books into our marriage:) Nothing better than sitting on the couch with your husband, under blankets, reading Macbeth and eating snacks. Its my favorite when we pause for a minute to repeat a section or quote a line. Its so relaxing and such a good way to spend time together. I'm also taking part of my time during the day to read Leif's books... Quiet time is always nice.
What are you currently reading? And what books do you suggest?
Leif and I are still trying to find a church. We've visited a few, but so far none of them have felt like home. Its not even that the churches haven't been good churches, they have. They just don't seem to fit us, our family and our needs. Instead of focusing on the bad aspects of the church, Leif and I have been trying to point out the good in each church. I've learned that too many times I am quick to judge a church and its people, always finding the negative. No church is perfect, there are always things to work on. Just because it doesn't work for you, doesn't mean it doesn't work for another person.
I have been enjoying the visits to the churches. I love watching everyone worship Jesus. That's the one thing that's been the same in every church we've gone to. The love and reverence for God. The passion and desire to know Him more. Its beautiful really... Its a reminder of how heaven will be. Glorious.
I've been praying about church and my need to be part of one. God is constantly reminding me that He has a 'home' for us. He will lead us there. I'm just so impatient and I want to be lead there right now! I want Riley to grow up in church with a church family. I think its so important for our family and our relationship with Jesus and each other. I've almost come to the point where I want to give up the search, but my need for more of Him and guidance through the Word, has made me want to keep trying. I know that God has a place for us. We just need to allow Him to take us there.
Please take sometime to visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website. There you can find out more information on breast cancer, ways to donate, and volunteer. The more you know, the better you can be prepared and able to share with others.
I am grateful for the ocean and the reminder of God's beauty whenever I see it. I am grateful for phone calls from friends telling me that they wish I was there with them. I am grateful for emails from my mother. I am grateful for conversations with my mother in law. I am grateful for the hugs and kisses I get from my baby. I am grateful for the strength God has been giving me everyday. I am grateful for tomorrow, and the next day, and so forth... I am grateful for time alone with my husband. I am grateful for the patience I've been learning. I am grateful for tall trees.
We like to take photos, listen to lots and lots of music, watch movies and go antique shopping. We recycle and so should you. Leif collects shoes and records, and Margaret collects the fortunes that come in fortune cookies. Riley doesn't bother with collecting, she's too busy being an explorer. Beck is the lover of the family unless you take away his favorite toy or don't feed him hotdogs fast enough. We dance in our car and sing duets. We enjoy reading about design and fashion. We plan on starting a band when we're older, and becoming artists.