Wednesday, January 18, 2017

1 Billion Pictures & An Earthquake

I have an iPhone dump for this post which is approximately 1 billion pictures.  If you can write nice short posts more often then you are good at things and should be praised at the city gates.  

So anyway, here is proof that I experienced an earthquake in December!  Around 4:00 am last month I was already awake for some reason or another and all of a sudden felt this jolt in the earth for roughly 2-3 seconds accompanied by a really loud booming sound.

I shook woke up Ryan fairly franticly and said, "What was that??  Did you feel that??  Wait, how did I just have to wake you up?"

I'm a sleep talker on regular nights so he tried to appease me and told me to go back to sleep.  The next morning I googled earthquakes in California and lo and behold this popped up!  A 3.9 magnitude earthquake.  I'm not crazy!  So now I can say I have experienced a real earthquake.

These are all pictures from December and early January so just a throw back re-cap:

At the SLO airport a flight attendant became obsessed with Gideon's red hair and dimples and promptly hand delivered him a plate of Christmas party goodies.   Also he met Santa at the airport which is ghetto enough in and of itself.

We got home to my parent's warm, cozy, festive house and started celebrating Christmas full swing!  I consumed mugs of Holiday Spice coffee and Gideon played with the tree.

Ryan giving my mom Mac lessons

We went to the Denver Zoo Lights and it was gorgeous!!  Gideon must have been cold because I can't say he enjoyed all of the festive splendor as much as we did

Afternoons before Christmas looked like cousin time, toy playing, present organizing, and yummy food consuming

Gideon's mood on Christmas Eve pretty much summed up in a picture! Tis the season!  He loved his new jammies and was probably just sad he couldn't wait up for Santa

Christmas morning he ignored all his gifts and played with wrapping paper

Look at that beautiful boy!  What a sweet gift under the tree

After Christmas we got back to real life and have been settling into a new routine with new Baby Boy here, work schedules, play groups, and fun outings.

On warm days we play chalk on our back patio

This boy is such a character!  Too much personality and silliness for his own britches

Daddy and Gideon went sledding during a huge blizzard!  We were pretty ghetto and used a cardboard box since we couldn't get out to buy a sled.  Gideon was obsessed

One thing that we never take for granted is how uniquely amazing our community is.  Our family, friends, and even people we have never met rallied behind us and lavished us with support.  We have had bags of formula and diapers delivered, donated clothing washed/folded, a meal train set up, gift cards sent, and more.  My mom donates her time generously to us to babysit often and gives us immense rest.  We even have had friends offer to go through Foster Care Relief training so they can keep Baby Boy.  WOW!!

Most moving, was one of Ryan's best friends spent an entire day fasting and praying for Baby Boy and I have to say that we really saw his sleep and physical comfort improve.  We are tremendously blessed. 

Friends loving on baby cakes

 Gideon has hit the most fun stage he has been in yet.  He is all about feeding himself, helping us cook or clean and being involved in everything we are doing.

We made buckwheat pancakes last Saturday and he did all the pouring and stirring!

Gideon spending time with Peyton and Josie.  His favorite thing in life is having friends over or even better, going to their house to explore new toys and spaces!

Mr. Isaac came to see us and his mama delivered me a decaf Flat White (favorite!) and our family an amazing healthy meal.  These two played hard for an hour!

Some days I'm so so tired and recovering from the new stage of life we are in.  And other days I can sit at this laptop with a cup of coffee and blog.  It's minute by minute.  I was talking to a friend yesterday and we both unanimously decided trying to parent/doing life without Jesus is a joke and we are total messes without him.  Amen.

God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
Psalm 46:1-2

Sunday, January 15, 2017

How Much Change Can We Sign Up For?

You guys.

What.  Is. Our.  Life.

We have a few huge updates mainly in this order:

A decision to resign from the California job and staying on contract/remote
Moving back to Colorado from California (3 moves in  year people)
Becoming a foster placement for a newborn
Gideon breaking his foot
Starting a new job

Proceed with caution because our life is a little bit chaotic, stressful, blessed, and full....

If I could describe the last four weeks it would be WHIRLWIND.  We have had as insane few weeks that are a mix of relief, crushing disappointment, stress, gratitude, and a few bewildering times we look at each other and just go, "Thanks for staying married to me"

Ok onto a ridiculously long update...

#1 Ryan's job update/moving back:

Over the last 2 months it was becoming increasingly clear to us that the new job we took in California was not a good fit for our family.  The mission of the organization and Ryan's coworkers were kind and genuine, but we couldn't reconcile a few things in order to make it work.

Ethiopia (where we were meant to ultimately move to) is an increasingly unstable country and while Ryan was there in September he was just miles away from rioting, civilian murders, and political unrest.  There was NO way we could move our family to such danger and have Ryan complete the amount of travel and time away from us that the job required.  

Many conversations clarified for us that if an international move was off the table, then we needed a stateside job that would continue to match our values as a family. Stay on successfully at HQ would have required significantly more travel than Ryan wants in a job, so with all this in front of us, it was obvious that California was not a good longterm fit and we needed to act wisely and set ourselves and the organization up for success. 

With heavy hearts, Ryan used his 90-day review to submit his resignation and transparently sharing where we were at with his supervisors.  He has stayed on as a contract employee remote from CO which is amazing!

 We packed up our apartment and headed back to Colorado to try again; thankful for what we learned and motivated to dive head first into whatever God has for us here.  We were disappointed but we feel hopeful we can still be intentional with international missions in other ways and be open to other ministries and possibilities as they open up to us.

If you ever feel like you failed, just talk to us and we'll give you a pep talk that you'll be OK and God is sovereign.  Even when it's a little confusing :)

Gideon the flight attendent, "Hello good sirs and madams...may I fetch you a drink?"

3 airports, 2 planes, 1 delay, running through LAX to make my flight, and all solo with a toddler!

#2 Foster Placement

I can't dive into a ton of detail on the blog mainly because of confidentiality reasons but you might see a new precious little human popping up in our pictures more often that would require some explanation :)

Gideon calls him The Bee

Several days after arriving home from CA, our entire family received a call about a little guy in the NICU who needed a safe home to land in once he was released.  Ryan and I had already discussed at great length foster care so this was not a new mission for us.  Through a ton of organization and help from other family members, Baby Boy was released to us December 28th weighing roughly the same size as a mini-watermelon.

We are navigating our way through the foster care system now but a unique circumstance is what brought this peanut to us and gave us the final push to really get certified.  Did you know there are 400,000 foster kids in the US?

Anyone who can open their home up, should!  These peanuts need love.

So anyway, we adore this kid.  We are so exhausted by this kid.  Our weeks look like pediatrician appointments, visitations, court dates, casework visits, paperwork, and more.  We are honored to be his safe home for the foreseeable future.  I really can't share more about him in order to protect the privacy of his bio parents but please pray for him daily!

P.S.  We moved into our new apartment December 26th, rushed to unpack and clean up for the caseworker visit, Gideon broke his foot on December 27th and spent the evening at Children's Hospital, and then Baby Boy stormed our life with newborn scent and snuggles the morning of December 28th.

Seriously, our life.

Sweetest boy had ever nurse swooning in that place.  What a stud!

He of course picked blue for his cast.  He originally picked pink but I told him to pray about that and we settled on blue

#3 New Job

While Ryan works from home, I have been tremendously and utterly blessed to FINALLY start work as a full time RN.  I'm a pediatric RN in home health (giving that another go with a much better agency!) for a mid-acuity patient who is the sweetest squish you'll ever meet.

My schedule is three 12-hour days shifts and every minute of those shifts is filled with something new: a treatment, a medication, a GT feed, an assessment, looking up side effects, making sure my nursing diagnosis is correct.

Nursing is my passion and I'm so thankful to do this 3 days per week for now.  Plus what other job lets you be full time at 3 days?  A gift we need right now!


The long silence on this blog was us trying to get our head above water.  So much changed so quickly.  New things were handed to us, we released old expectations, and ultimately we look at each new aspect and are thankful that our identity is rooted in Christ and not in any other aspect of our being.

So more blog posts will hopefully be rolling in as we get our routine set up and a handle on everything!

Please feel free to come over anytime to visit and witness the explosion of laundry that is our life now with two little boys

I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.

Job 42:2

Monday, December 19, 2016

Gideon 16 Month Update

Age: 16 months!  This tiny man has the most developed sense of humor, climbing and moving skills (definitely a future athlete!), and loves to give everyone kisses.  His absolute favorite things include Christmas lights, balls, chocolate donuts, climbing stairs, and time with his tiny friends.  Gideon is such a little boy these days and it's so fun.  Parenting this peanut has catalyzed revealing our JUNK as humans and parents but he refines us in good new ways daily and is our absolute delight in life.

Weight: 24 lbs

Length: 31.5 inches

Sizes (diapers, onesies):  Size 4 diapers, 18month-2T clothes.  He's right around the 50th percentile for both height and weight.  Size 4-5 shoe.

Eyes:  Blue

Hair: He had his first little hair cut!  It was getting to the point where the back ringlets were just ratty and looking not so cute anymore.  So I trimmed over his ears and the back of his neck.  He looked so fresh and like such a little boy.  It's still red, still curly, and still an absolute attention grabber no matter where we go.

Sleeping:  Gideon is still an overall solid sleeper.  The biggest change is that he's been letting Daddy put him down for his naps on the weekend.  He has a pre-nap snack and then goes back with a sippy cup of coconut/almond milk.  They snuggle and Gideon goes down quietly which is so nice.  It's a really nice break for me.

He sleeps from about about 7:30 pm to 7:00 am at night and just transitioned to that awkward stage of needing 1 nap so his nighttime sleep is better, but so not mentally prepared for the blood bath that is a toddler without his second nap! AHH!  He naps around 12:00 pm during the day.

Eating: The newest aspect regarding his eating is that he's 100% dairy free (just like Ryan!).  Over the last few months he has been unreasonably fussy.  We've been at a loss and no matter what we tried, how his needs were met, or what time of day it was...he was just generally unhappy.  He had his moments of smiling but he just seemed more "off" that he should have been.  We called it the 70/30.  He was unhappy 70% of the time and happy mayyyyybe 30%.  It was hard.

All that to say, we know dairy makes Ryan very, very sick.  And we had actually been giving Gideon a little more dairy at a time the last few months.  Whole milk in a sippy cup, whole milk yogurt with breakfast etc.  As a last resort, we finally decided to drop all dairy on the prediction that his guts might be like his Daddy's and within 72 hours a miracle occurred!!  Gideon's fussiness was completely gone.  The bags under his eyes disappeared. He became less clumsy and more vocal.  He smiles and laughs.  His runny nose is gone.  WOW!!  Another separate post about all that soon but we are so so thankful.

Favorite foods: Crackers, clementines, pineapple, squeeze pouches, raisin toast, apple cake, baked beans, chicken, donuts, Chipotle bowls, guacamole, peanut butter/banana smoothies, bacon, turkey wraps, and of course nursing about 3 times per day

Milestones/Words:  He has an increasing vocabulary by the minute!  Blue, Bear, Ball, Book, Wow, Ho-Ho-Ho, Mama, Dada, What, Kitty (working on that one).  He also has 11 teeth.

He's walking!  He took his first steps at 15.5 months and started zooming off shortly before this post. He climbs on everything, drinks from a cup independently, feeds himself with a spoon, sits to "read" a book, dances when he hears music, answers the telephone, and is attached to his two favorite stuffed lovies.  

Memorable outings:  As a family we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium a few weeks ago.  It has to be on of the nicest and largest aquariums in the country.  The tanks are millions of gallons large and the exhibits are so intricate.  Gideon got a kick out of the jellyfish, enormous tanks full of sharks, and the kid's water play area.  Another sweet outing was bundling him up in the stroller and walking to our favorite neighborhood.  Much to our delight, many houses had put up Christmas lights and lawn decorations which resulted in endless "WOW!"'s from Gideon

Favorite toys/activities:  He loves to walk, color with markers, go to open gym, play at the park, build up block towers, and can spend almost 20 uninterrupted minutes with Daddy playing tools.  He enjoys chasing balls and balloons, reading, doing the dishes in the kitchen sink and tinkering safely with any and all electrical appliances

Nicknames:   Lou Lee, Lou, Little Love, Giddy Con Queso (from daddy), Giddy Lou Who (from Aunt Linny), Giddy Puff (from Aunt Linny), Giddy Face (from Maggie), Giddy Pantz (from Maggie)
The usuals...Giddy Bear, Giddy Up, Gid, Giddy, Itty Giddy Titty Monster with the tiny hiney, G (from Uncle Clint), Mister, Man Cub

Funny moments: During bath the other day I heard an eruption of combined laughter from Ryan and Gideon in the bathroom.  I mean, both of them cracking up!  Ryan had put some water in his mouth and then spit it out like a fountain and Gideon just thought that was the best thing he had ever seen!!  Gideon's sweet laughter got Ryan going and then on and on and on they laughed... :)

Looking forward to:  I think that Christmas with Gideon will be absolutely magical this year.  He loves the lights and decorations.  A christmas tree of any shape or size captures his attention for minutes on end.  He is so curious and I think that between the delicious food, discovering the textures or wrapping paper and ripping it off, new toys, and fun with family, this kid will be a big fan of Christmas.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Quiet Time/Devotions for 15 month old

First, I have to tell you a story about an insanely generous woman we just met from Craigslist.  We were selling our dining room table since the one we is pretty worn out and I wanted to replace it with a larger farmhouse table I could refinish.

The woman, her husband and granddaughter came to pick up the table and she was just exuding with kindness and joy from the minute she walked in the door.  She doted on Gideon and complimented him on his red hair, of course :)

When it came time for her to pay me she asked me to remind her how much the item was.  I am such a dork and couldn't remember...maybe $40 or 50?  I had it priced low I thought and had many other items listed at the moment so couldn't remember.

She pressed me to pull up the ad and I actually had it listed for $99 HA!  She said even that price was too low for the table and handed me over $200 cash.

After a lot of protesting and begging her to not pay DOUBLE the asking price...she declared she was the most stubborn person in the room, it was Christmas time, and she had a good week so wanted to pass along the blessing.

What??  We were so warmed by her generosity and kindness.  Who does that?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

Galatians 5:22
On to devotionals...

Lately I've been feeling convicted and excited to use a more intentional chunk of time with Gideon to shepherd his tiny heart towards knowing Jesus.

How sweet he is playing quietly with baby Jesus and reading his Bible (keep scrolling, people)

Ryan and I have prayed over and for him every day of his life.  We read his Jesus Storybook Bible (a worthy investment, promise!!) and talk to him even now about a relationship with Jesus and how our sin is the reason Jesus went to the cross.

Now that he is becoming more active and interested, I want to at least TRY to have a set apart daily quiet time/lesson for him.

I've felt a little lost to know how to do that but we have been sent some good tools and I think we have something for this season figured out!

Real life!  He got sad that I couldn't find the sheep

After breakfast we have been setting aside about 15 minutes for a "quiet time"...

Some days Gideon and I just sing our memory verses from the Seeds of Courage CD I'm OBSESSED with!  Just ask Ryan, I sing our memory verses to him and he is mega impressed with how catchy the tunes are.

Other days I read a short story to Gid out of my Bible making big hand motions to up the excitement factor and we draw what we talked about on our big coloring pad.

Since it's Christmas time I pulled out his Fisher Price nativity set and we read the story of Jesus' birth while we play with the toys.  That is usually a big win!

It just depends on the day but these are a few short activities that work for us.

He got bored and we played workshop and tools

My dear friend Beth has developed really neat resources that we are starting to use that focus on integrating your faith into your everyday life at home.  Check out this link for them.

A friend just sent over this kid friendly Advent devotional if you need one!

Another important resource has been the The Mother of Boys Society (MOB).   The women who run this website base the ministry on Deuteronomy 6:5, "we believe God has called us to help raise up a generation of men who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength."

Um, yes!  That is exactly what I want my mama mission to be.  MOB had a prayer challenge I went through earlier this month and many other articles and ideas on the website.

So those are a few ideas that we're using since he's just 15 months old but I'm excited to keep growing and expanding our time to love on him intentionally and raise him to be a man who loves the Lord. 

 It's the most important work I'll ever be a part of.

If you have other ideas and things that have worked...please share!

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

Psalm 27:14

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

1000 Gifts in November 921-1000+

It's the final day of our 1000 gifts in November challenge!!  And we made it 1000 gifts plus a few more!

This was so good for our hearts and came at a really important season in life for us.  I'm grateful we logged the endless blessings in our lives, discussed them together, and took the time to make sure our hearts were grateful to the Lord.

Here are a few pictures from November also since I haven't been as good about really updating here this month...

On Thanksgiving we spent the day with several of Ryan's co-workers and their families.  Gideon took two steps and then had a huge audience of "big kids" to keep him entertained the rest of the evening.  He was a happy guy!

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.  It was right on the ocean and truly a beautiful place.  It took 2.5 hours to get there but was worth the drive.  They have a 1.2 million gallon tank full of sharks, fish, turtles and more.  Ryan and Gideon were pointing at the 28 foot tall aquarium window holding the Kelp Forest

This little peanut enjoyed all the sights so much and seemed to be especially intrigued by the jelly fish exhibit

There was even a kid's area for water play and some other interactive spots to touch sea creatures

 Other random activities include going to open gym, the library, meeting daddy for lunch and playdates with his sweet friend Shep.  Also Gid is definitely in a stage of loving particular stuffed animals.  This is his Blue Blue and Mr. Fluffernutter who we also call "Professor" ha!

1000 Gifts in November
921. LifeNet training healthcare workers in DR Congo
922.  Fundraisers
923.  Giving away money
924.  Winter citrus candle
925.  Fresh sliced cucumbers
926.  Flashlights on our walk
927.  Bundling up Giddy Lou
928.  Long warm baths with the heater on
929.  Ryan getting a 4 day weekend
930.  Fresh fruit
931.  Chestnut Praline lattes
932.  Encouraging videos
933.  Missional Women
934.  Discipleship
935.  Living on mission
936.  Train sets for the boys
937.  The words Gideon knows--"Wow!"
938.  Smell of a peeled clementine
939.  Road trips
940.  Sitting in tension and pressure
941.  Growth and fruit
942. Prayer
943.  Wisdom
944. Compassion kiddos
945. IJM
946.  Horizons
947.  Tree of Life
948.  Sozo
949.  Mercy House
950.  Denver Rescue Mission
951.  Save Our Youth
952.  LifeNet
953.  Goldendoodles
954.  Our days being ordered
955.  Bacon and veggie scrambles for dinner
956.  Cloth diapers
957.  Whipping cream
958.  Homemade caramel sauce
959. James 1:27
960.  Downsizing and purging
961.  Foster care
962.  Adoption
963.  Strength
964.  Faithfulness
965.  Having days off for holidays
966.  Thanksgiving
967.  Christmas Eve
968.  Christmas Day
969.  Snapping picturs with the three of us
970.  Door locks
971.  Porch lights
972.  Aquarium day outings

973. Ginger candies
974. Undeserved grace from the Lord
975. Undeserved grace from Carly
976. Carpooling
977. Challenging emails from friends
978. Neuro floor
979. Wife’s BSN
980. Challenging weeks that ultimately set my family and I up for better health
981. Selling the corolla
982. Warm vest
983. Wife’s craving for something crunchy!
984. Making fun of the new Gilmore Girls with my wife
985. Tests in life that root my identity in the Lord
986. Clean clothes
987. A kind lady from craigslist
988. Meeting Jake and learning about his policy academy goals
989. Gideon’s 1.5 steps over the weekend
990. Gideon drinking water by himself from a big cup… because that’s what big boys do
991. Pens that don’t smear on my left hand as I write
992. Magnifying Jesus like a telescope
993. Shrimp gumbo
994. Honey nut cheerios
995. United decisions with my wife
996. Restful thanksgiving weekends
997. Supportive family and friends
998. Comfortable couches
999. Hot water
1000. Peppermint tea
1001. Working appliances
1002. Craigslist macbook pro
1003. CEI
1004. Jonathan Spencer
1005. Colorado School of Mines
1006. KAUST
1007. Healing Waters
1008. Lifewater
1009. Math
1010. Mrs. Kissler (high school calculus teacher)
1011. New and free haircut (thanks wife)
1012. Stress management

Monday, November 28, 2016

1000 Gifts in November 876-920

I just realized I never posted our apartment picture tour!  I took these awhile ago but might as well throw them up on this thankful post.   The only rooms I didn't include are the master bedroom and bathroom because they are nothing exciting right now.

 I'm so grateful for affordable, clean, safe housing here in California!  There is a park near by we walk to often, a cute neighborhood we do our nightly walk in, and just about every store we could want just a short drive away. 

We are almost done with our 1000 gifts in November.  I saw this quote from Ann Voskamp today and I think it's so beautiful and true...

"The real gift of gratitude is that the THE MORE GRATEFUL YOU BECOME is the more you realize God is present."

1000 Gifts in November
876.  Board games with a friend
877.  Banana, cocoa, peanut butter, almond milk smoothie
878.  Kissing Gideon’s head in the carrier and watching him giggle
879.  Honey
880. Bees that make the honey that I love so much
881.  Trust the Lord with a lot of things
882.  A charged battery on my kindle
883.  My wife’s cooking
884.  Kind note and gift card from Cle babe
885.  The feeling when all bills are paid
886.  Gummy worms / bears – my wife’s first pregnancy craving
887.  Pulling into work right on time
888.  Carly and Gideon coming to work for lunch
889.   Pandora music
890.  Instrumental praise station on Pandora
891.  Meghan Trainor station on Pandora 
892.  Chess
893.  Stratego
894. Children making us better
895. My wife’s strength
896.  All the hundreds of things my wife does to serve her boys
897.  Setting goals and vocalizing ambitions
898. Reinforced family values
899.  Safe drinking water
900.  A place to use the restroom with dignity

901. Appetizer lunches
902.  The availability in my schedule to watch 3 sweet boys
903.  Tuesdays
904.  Christmas stories
905.  Ibuprofen and being to afford it
906.  Unbelievable safety and luxury in the USA
907.  Praying for Aleppo
908.  The nurses and doctors serving in Aleppo
909.  The White Helmets
910.  Access to safe, funded hospitals should we ever require them
911.  BLS and ACLS certifications
912.  Writing a grocery list
913.  Wipes and diapers
914.  Email
915.  Gluten free lavender cake mix
916.  Armed forces
917.  Congressional representatives we can write to
918.  Looking up recipes
919.  Nap time phone calls with so many women I love and cherish
920.  Pineapple clementine spinach smoothies
921.  Sunshine and vitamin D


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