Expecting a new addition!

We are eagerly awaiting a new member to our household as my due date approaches!! Our midwives came for a homevisit a couple weeks ago and now the time is just around the corner! I’ve been busy the past two weeks shopping for some last minute things on my birth list, sewing those last few projects, putting up curtains in my room and getting stuff washed and ready for the big day. Now that I’m ready, I’m realizing I need to spend this last week or so being with my boys, giving my husband a little extra attention, relaxing and being content in the moment- waiting for God’s perfect time. I always find as the day of birth draws near, I draw nearer to God. I need Him all the time, I just don’t realize it sometimes because I like to be strong. I like to take care of myself. However, He makes me weak. He makes me needy. He takes care of me so much better than I can take care of myself. This past year has made me need Him more than ever and I’ve gotten to see Him take care of me time and time again! He’s a good Father and I’m glad He makes me weak. I’m glad because then the strength I have is all His! His strength can work in me.

Oh, and this was neat! For this birth David and I went to a couple childbirth classes. One of the nights each of the couples were asked to draw a picture of what they saw when they think about their upcoming birth. I’m not an artist and to top it off, we had to draw it with our non-dominant hand. We had to draw it and not look at each other’s pictures. What was neat is when we were done and exchanged pictures David and I had both felt the same word- “Surrounded”. Which is kinda strange, seeing as this birth will be our first birth so far away from friends, family and familiarity. I just feel closely surrounded by God right now though so I guess it shouldn’t be strange.

Here are a few pictures of what we’ve been getting ready….

Boy or Girl? Surprises are fun though inclination leans towards- boy.

The boy’s picked out the boy receiving blanket fabric, can’t you tell? Monsters!!

Changing table

The cloth diaper drawer

A little bit of pink, a little bit of blue...

And so… any day now. We’ve already joined the Due Dates and Beyond club! Just waiting, which isn’t so hard when you still feel great and you stay busy!



Answered Prayers!

God gave us a wonderful new house in the 11th hour! It was so worth it to believe, He knows just what we need and when we need it. So, the story of our house…

Our circular driveway

Things were starting to look rough- no house, our lease ending, Stephen and Aya headed out to cram in with us (the only tough part there was the being pregnant and sharing 1 bathroom with 11 people) and my mommy nesting instincts starting to brew with no thought of where my nest is.🙂 I was doing really good til right before Stephen and Aya got here. I told myself ‘ Mary rode a donkey til she went into labor and what about her nesting instincts?? The Son of Man had no place to lay His head and here I am worried about where I’m going to lay mine in the future and I actually Have a place right now. I was sure God was going to pull through! Then, my puny human brain started to think that He forgot about us. Maybe He doesn’t want us out here, that’s fine, let’s go home. I was just ready for something to happen and it was the 11th hour and seemed like all was quiet. Only the fact that David was still solid and confident that God had something in the works for us helped me.

Then, Bang! Stephen and Aya pull up Sunday afternoon! We were so happy to see their faces and they were happy to be off the road. David got a call Sunday evening from Jan to see if we wanted to come see the house Monday morning. They were here only a couple of hours and we had a house to go see. However, my pea-sized brain just saw it as “the beginning of house search with them”. We had been on house search since Ingathering, and we saw this certain house a week earlier. So, Monday morning we piled in the vehicles and went to see the house. We were there maybe 10 min and the guys were talking about the lease and when we could move in! We drove home, ate lunch, then the guys went and signed the lease! I was in shock. It was the 12th hour it felt like but right then- here He was!
Tuesday and Wednesday Aya helped me pack up my little house and meanwhile Stephen went to his interview and got the job!  Thursday morning the guys took a couple loads over to the house while Katie and Tim came and helped Aya and I with the remaining packing… moving things and taking apart the Big stuff. Aya and I went shopping for a couple necessities and picked up some pizzas for dinner while the guys were putting beds up and unloading.  By Thursday evening Rick joined us all at our new house and we all ate dinner together. It was late, boxes were piled everywhere and we were all pretty tired but man, it was a Good day!
So, we live in a 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom house with a good-size livingroom and dining room and plenty of space for everyone to come over! Plus, we were given a trampoline (net, pads and all in good condition), an above ground swimming pool that the babies can’t get into, a cement pad area with a basketball hoop and a fooseball table for the garage!! Oh, and it has a circular driveway out front! One of my friends said she was praying for that and a porch swing. So, now we’re just waiting for the porch swing.🙂
Ayala and I are having a great time schooling the kids together. We’ve had our issues trying to figure out how to do that effectively with 5 schooling children, 2 teachers, different grade levels and 2 toddlers. We are finding our way though and it’s much smoother now and we’re learning how to flex together and it really has been nice to tag team school some and have a girl-friend to school alongside of. Not to mention, cooking or cleaning alongside of!!
God is good and I’m blessed that He chose me!
Well, here are some promised pictures of our new house….


Looking from the kitchen into the dining room with the living room beyond

Living room with sliding door to back yard to the left and boy's and Aya's bedroom off to the right.

Aya and Stephen's room

The boy's room

Girl's room

Long hallway leading to office and our room and bathroom. The pantry, laundry room and boy's bathroom is right off of the hallway.

When you walk in the front door the kitchen is directly to your left or you can go straight to the hall way and take a left to the dining room or a right towards my room. You can also get to the dining room once you walk thru the kitchen.

Boy's bathroom! River Loves the elephants!

My room. Has sliding glass door that goes into the back yard. River likes the direct access to check and make sure I'm still 'there'.

My new quilt and the dragonflies that remind us to Believe!

The corner that awaits our new little family member!

The basketball court that is right outside the sliding door in the living room.

Standing by the pool looking at back of the house

Standing at edge of basketball court looking into the backyard.

So grateful for our trampoline!!!

Grateful hearts

Very grateful for this past year. I was thinking today of all that has happened this past year. Our move to California, getting this cozy little house, meeting new people, enrolling the boys in the Charter school, lots of people came to visit, our trips to the Village and this new baby on the way. Wow! There’s more I’m sure that I’m forgetting to mention.

This time last year we drove up to Auburn, Ca to have Thanksgiving dinner with the Pavao family. It was such a blessing (not to mention the fun!) to have them out here. I never would have made it without having them here our first 2 months. God was very gentle with me. I remember it being so hard. My first year celebrating Thanksgiving and Christmas without family and lots of friends. The first in 10 years of marriage. I told David last year that it felt like I finally grew up, got married and moved away and I didn’t like it at all! So, having the Pavaos really made that hard thing a lot easier.

This year the apples are is season at Apple Hill, we went and picked Manderin oranges in Auburn, the boys are raking big leaf piles, my tiny pink flowers in my front bed have returned and my memories of our outings with Shammah, Hannah and the kids waft through the air like pumpkin pie (though I think they like cherry best:). God is good, all the time!

Today as I worked on making dinner I just felt grateful from the depths of my being. The boys were all in the backyard playing soccer with 5 of the neighbor kids. Loud shouts and laughter could be heard by all the neighbors I’m sure. Then, they were off! All bikes and scooters drug out of the garage. It was fun to hear them tell their friends, “You can ride my bike and I’ll ride the scooter”.  This Thanksgiving no family will be here with us, yet it all feels right. We miss home and would Love it if family or friends were here but I’m very grateful for what God has given us. This year we have made friends, we have awesome neighbors and there is no lack! So, we are making food for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and might find a few homeless to share it with, who knows. I’m sure David will blog about it.🙂 It’s not stressful at all, food will be eaten when it is ready and then sometime in the evening we are going to go to a friends house for yummy hot drinks!

We are also very grateful and anxiously awaiting Stephen and Ayala and family moving here with us in January! Glad we have Thanksgiving, a wedding, Christmas and moving to a new house to keep us busy til then.

Anyway, the main reason I wanted to post was to put up a few recent pictures so you could see what we’ve been up to. A picture is worth a thousand words, so Enjoy!

Our thankful tree

A few fall decorations in our 'drive thru' window.

River likes to read!

Or, be read to... Yes, Tristan Is actually reading!

He also Loves to draw! "Mommy, I wanna pencil"? is a most frequently asked question.

A man I am most grateful to have as my friend, my husband and the father of my boys!

Monthly Menu Plan

It’s late here and I know this is a boring post but I had a couple requests for it. So, here it its.

I wrote a menu theme for the dinners for each night, then for each week I changed up what we were having a little. Once I did the themes, coming up with the menu was easy.


Mon- Beef/Mexican

Tue- Chicken meal

Wed- Italian night

Thur- Soup/Crockpot

Fri- Salad and bread

Sat- Fish/Breakfast dinner/Leftovers

Sun- Casserole/ or a Bar- like baked potato bar, or burrito bar (we do a potluck at our Sunday gatherings so I usually do something to feed a crowd and then we just eat leftovers for dinner.


Ok, then I defined how it would look for the month of November so here is my personal menu…

Week 1

Mon- Stirfry

Tue-Chicken tortillia soup

Wed- Pizza and salad

Thur- Clam chowder- homemade

Fri- Apple, onion, feta salad w/ bread

Sat- Breakfast dinner – bacon, eggs, asparagus and hot apple cider

Sun- Baked Potato bar

Week 2

Mon- Beef bourguignon

Tue- Chicken fingers and sweet potato fries

Wed- Spaghetti over zuchinni

Thur- Zuppa Tuscana

Fri- Grilled chicken salad

Sat- Fish tacos

Sun- Burrito Bar

Week 3

Mon- Stew

Tue- Chicken cordon bleu

Wed- Pizza

Thur- Chicken and wild rice soup

Fri- 3 cheese salad

Sat- Cream cheese patties with rice and veggie (yes, a Hartle meal every once in a while won’t hurt)

Sun- Presto Pasta bake

Week 4

Mon- Taco salad

Tue- Sticky coconut chicken with rice

Wed- Quinoa lasagna

Thur- Irish Potato soup

Fri- Asian chicken salad

Sat- Fish, rice and steamed veggies

Sun- Chicken and yellow rice

That’s mostly it. I do grab extra veggies to have on hand for side dishes. And I know what you’re thinking ” Why fish/ breakfast/ leftover night???” Well, first of all any of those are easy, fast ideas for your ‘I’ve been gone all day Saturday and I still have to go home and feed everybody’ thought. And, you can have fish in the freezer and not use it if you need to eat up the leftovers, or… everyone usually has stuff on hand for a breakfast dinner.

Oh and I have a basic outline for breakfast and lunch ideas that I switch up a little week to week.


Scrambled eggs and fruit

Oatmeal/ hot cereal

French toast/Pancake or anything of that nature

Fried eggs/egg sandwiches

Green smoothies with toast or muffins

Cereal day!!

Granola and yogurt

Nicer egg day- breakfast burritos, casserole or omelets



Tuna/Salmon melts

Stir fry with leftover rice and veggies

Tomato soup with grilled cheese

PB & J’s or Pb and honey and banana sandwiches

Snack lunch- cheese, veggies, rice cakes, pepperoni, fruit, popcorn or whatever I have on hand.

Lunchmeat sandwiches- grilled with spinach is yummy!

Enjoy! We’re having pizza tomorrow night. Sounds good but beware when you make your menu not too make too many extravagant ( I mean long preparation time) meals. Hope this helps on a ‘late night before shopping, I have no ideas for meals’ night.

Summer is over but the sunshine is not…

It’s been awhile since I posted. Hmm..

So, July was hot but not nearly as hot as it was in TN. My sister Abby came for a week the beginning of July and that was a complete Blast!!! We went to the beach and the river of course. We laughed and we cried. We cooked and we cleaned. Altogether we just had a great time being with her and Nate and the kids!

Then, I got sick. The kind that last til you’re about 12-14 weeks along and you have a little baby pooch making your shirts stick out. So the rest of July we didn’t do much more than fill the little pool in the back yard and lay around the house.

Oh, I completely forgot!! I was blessed with the chance to fly back to TN to be there for my oldest brother’s 40 birthday party. Another brother of mine was also there and I hadn’t seen either brother in years. That was a very nice time excluding feeling sick some in the evenings.

I also got to help a midwife friend with a birth. I had not done a birth for almost a year and as a midwife it was great to be able just to go to one. (I know, that’s weird to miss going to births). Just helping and not having the responsibility of it was also very different but relaxing.

So August is here and with it came ‘back to school’. We started back on the 15th and also had 2 birthdays in the family the same week. Was a little bit crazy. School has been fun so far. We have new and different curriculum and some new and different challenges thrown in the mix. Tristan started Kindergarten so keeping River occupied has been, err, fun? The first week was the hardest and we are still finding our way so things are getting better. Tristan plays with him some of the time (his schooling takes an hour at the most). Still, River would rather that mom could pay 100% attention to him all morning. Let’s just hope he doesn’t gain too much weight for his age because food is about the only thing that will keep him occupied when Tristan can’t play.🙂

I am 14 weeks pregnant. It’s going to be a boy or a girl.🙂 Not sure if we want to know yet which is fine since we can’t tell what it is yet anyway. We found some great midwives and feel like God is making a way for us to have them help with the birth. We just did a consult with them. I’m about to set  up my first prenatal. It was fun to meet with them and they went out of their way to see how they could help us. God is good.

Larry and Charlotte and kids are here to spend a week with us. This has been great so far and we are on our first day. The boys so enjoy having other children here, they don’t care how old they are. Tristan loves Evan and Ronan and Kathrine play great. Maybe by the end of their time here River will have learned how to share… with Sean! We stayed up late last night just talking our heads off. Seemed like we were trying to catch up as fast as we could in just a few hours. Today we laid low, went to a ladies breakfast, let the kids play with my cake decorating tips and use up the leftover frosting for art. Then the guys washed the vans with the kids and all involved got wet. Now it’s nap time so we ‘catch up’ on sleep before our weekly get-together tonight.

That’s all for now. Will post some pics later…

Life is good!

We had a wonderful month of June! My youngest sister Ashley came to stay with us. We kept busy going to the river, parks, San Francisco and shopping! The weather has been very nice, some hot days but mostly just perfect ones. We ate fresh cucumbers, snap peas and green beans from the garden. Herbs are drying in my kitchen and balls of all shapes and sizes occupy our backyard. The boys are growing like weeds and have completely enjoyed having the month of June- school free!!! Reading and outdoor play have been the greatest occupations lately. We took a break from writing letters home but are ready to start up again because we miss getting letters in the mail!🙂

Tristan was found in the garage yesterday jumping off of high objects holding his umbrella.🙂 “It really carries me mom”, he exclaims! So, my sword fighting knight now holds yet another ambition- to become like Mary Poppins!!! You should hear him as he goes about the house singing, “I’m practically perfect in every way”! Hmm… I think our ideas on that are slightly differing Tristan.🙂

River has decided that 3 boys in our family is quite enough so he’s taken it upon himself to become the family pet. Some days he’s the dog and others, he’s our kitten. The other morning when he woke up at 6am (yes, he’s decided since I won’t nurse him anymore his revenge would be to get up early and stay up!)  I carried him into the kitchen trying to find out what he was pointing to and wanting. He led me to the back door and barked like a dog that wants to go out! He really sounds like one too! He barks at every dog at the park and people turn and smile as my dog barks at theirs. The kitten noise is a fairly new idea.  Eeeoww, eeoww is his response to “what does a cow say?”, what does a horse say?” etc…   He does make some effort at the English language occasionally. For instance he Loves balloons in the grocery store and has finally decided that pointing is not enough for mom. “Loon, loon, loon” is louder and gets moms attention much better!  Ball, dath (bath) and mom are his other English words. He used to say dad but I think he threw that one out of his vocabulary. Too much to remember.🙂

Things are going good here. It feels like God has some changes just around the corner for us. We are eagerly waiting on Him to see what He wants to do. In the meantime we are praying and believing. Currently we are waiting for Him to provide us with just the right van! Ours is quickly deteriorating. We’ve looked quite a bit over the past month but nothing yet. It will be neat to see what God does. Keep us in your prayers. We continue to keep all of you in our hearts and prayers also.

Now the dog is awake from his nap and wants food as usual. So, I’m off, back to Life!….

God is good! All the time!

Tonight I am so tired but so completely grateful to God! We had a family of 10 come for lunch today. A homeschooling family that lives 5 minutes away. I had met the mother through a homeschool group meeting that I went to. The other day I went to her house, pulled her out on the porch and said, ‘Ok, what would you do as  a young mom, with kids and you moved to where you really didn’t have any family or friends that you knew that could babysit for you?’ She laughed and we sat on her porch for about 30 minutes talking about life and kids and such. I told her that I didn’t know how to go about finding dependable teenagers that I liked and had a relationship with except to find some and start! So, I invited their whole family over for lunch. So, that was today and it went very well. The dad couldn’t come because of work. But they have good kids and I think next week I am going to have her two teenagers over to hang out with David and I. We are finding our way, little by little. No, that’s not exactly true. God is being faithful to lead us, one day at a time and that is all we need I find.

Tonight we had a couple and their four kids over for dinner also. That is why I am a little tired. (Spent the day in my kitchen) I met this mom at a boy’s park day that I take the boys to twice a month (when we can). Their four kids are each about our boys age except they have a girl Ronan’s age (poor Ronan)🙂. There was something I really liked about her, the mom (Hannah) when I met her. We exchanged phone numbers and then, bam! Sickness and busyness hit and 2 months went by and I never called her to invite her over like I wanted to. Then, she noticed me at a boy’s park day last week and we talked some more. I was leaving for dental appointments and she had just arrived so I didn’t get to invite her once again!😦  Two days later, I took the boys on  a field trip and there she was again! I watched her kids for a few minutes so she could go pay the parking meter and I thought, ‘God did this for me, I can’t miss another opportunity again’. So, I invited her and her family and that is who we had for dinner tonight!

We had a great time. Her husband could actually talk more than mine (which is a feat! I joked with her at the end and suggested she go put the kids to bed and then come back to pick him up)! They are lonely and starving for fellowship. It turns out that they just quit going to the church they were going to for several reasons. So, we’ll see. I just think it’s neat how God is putting people in our path and even when I miss what He wants  me to do the first time He keeps throwing them back in my path.🙂 We ended up loaning them our Missions Dilemma Dvd and our ‘Raising Respectful Children in a disrespectful world’ book. So, pray for us and those we continue to cross paths with.