Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Summertime Joy

I've come to realize that there's really very little that I enjoy about inland summers.

Growing up, I loooooved Summer.  I loved the beach days every Wednesday with our homeschool group,  I loved riding bikes with my siblings in our cul-de-sac, I loved looking for sea glass during low tide, and I loved the way to the ocean breeze carried in the scent of sun-ripened strawberries from the fields across the street from our house.

None of that exists inland, though.  There's no beach within an hour's drive, it's too stinkin' hot to enjoy any sort of activity outside, and even if strawberries did grow around here, I'd be too worried about the chemicals and smog and nastiness that would be polluting them to be able to eat them.

BUT...God gave me a little gift the other day when I was griping about the heat and missing my beloved Channel Islands.  Strawberries on sale---3lbs for $2!

I brought home a glorious box of them, washed them in the sink, and then ate just about every other one while I pared them up so that I could enjoy them in my lunches for the rest of the week.

Just pure yumminess!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jesse's First Father's Day

As soon as we found out that our little one is a girl, I knew just what I wanted to do for Jesse's first Father's Day!

Since we found out on a Thursday, Father's Day was also going to be our first opportunity to share our news with our church congregation.  Also, since ties are the stereotypical Father's Day gift, I knew I wanted to find a fun one for him!

My friend, Em, and I went shopping high and low for a pink tie.  It's really hard to find a pink one that comes across as masculine, but we did our best :-)

Then we went around and looked for a sweet little dress for Kayleigh to wear next Father's Day so that she can match her daddy.  It's so crazy to think that next year, we'll get to celebrate Father's Day with a 9 month old!

Needless to say, Jesse really enjoyed his gifts.  He had fun announcing his baby girl by wearing his pink tie at church...and how many 24 year old guys receive fluttery white baby girl dresses with a matching hat and bloomers?  Lol!

It's so much fun to think about next year!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Meet Little Miss Kayleigh Grace

Jesse and I have loved watching our little one grow.

From a tiny little peanut at 10 weeks...

To the sweet little profile we saw at 12 weeks.


Even though we were disappointed when our "Brubaby" didn't reveal a gender at our 20 week ultrasound, we kept waiting with excited anticipation for the day we would find out---whether that would be at another ultrasound, or on the baby's birthday.

At 26 weeks, we decided to go for a 4D ultrasound.  Since the 20 week ultrasound pics we got were pretty crummy (on top of extremely disappointing!) and we had been told that unless there was a concern, we wouldn't be authorized for another ultrasound through our doctor, we figured that it was a good opportunity to have a fun photo op with our little one---and if the baby was cooperative, the chance to find out whether we were having a boy or a girl.

A friend recommended a 4D ultrasound place in our area, and Jesse and I looked forward to our appointment.  What excitement!

Within 30 seconds of the ultrasound, the tech said, "Well, that's easy!  It's a girl!  100% girl.  100%"

After so much uncertainty, disappointment, and confusion at our last ultrasound, it was such a relief to hear that amount of confidence in her voice!

So we spent the next 20 minutes watching our little girl on the screen.

Even though she was cooperative and gave us a good "money shot"  ;-), she was still a bit camera shy and spent the entire time snuggling into the placenta and covering her face with her hands.

So even though we came home with 409 pictures on a CD, there are only a few where you can really see her face!


Look at those precious little chubby cheeks!

We love you, Kayleigh Grace!

Farewell, Feet!

I came upon a startling realization this morning.

I officially cannot see my toes anymore.

Somebody's getting in the way!

Hello, 27 week pregnant belly!

Goodbye, toes!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

Oh, be still, my heart.

This is almost too rich to handle.  Definitely not for the faint of heart.

(and, um, definitely not for the lactose-intolerant like me.  Thank God for Lactaid pills!)!  Ready to knock some socks off?

This recipe is super easy (and I partially winged it, so anyone can do it!)

I made this to celebrate Jesse and my 3rd wedding anniversary.  It was a big hit :-)

Ready?  Here we go!


♥1 1/2 c. (about 18) finely crushed creme-filled chocolate cookies
♥2 tbsp. butter, melted
♥4 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
♥1 1/4 c. sugar
♥3 eggs
♥1 c. sour cream
♥1 tsp. vanilla
♥1/3 c. seedless raspberry preserves
♥12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate pieces (you will melt 6oz at a time)
♥1 pint raspberries

Preheat your oven to 325* and set your cream cheese out to soften.  While this is going on, get started on your chocolate cookie-crumb crust.
Count out 23 oreos and put 18 of them in a ziplock bag.  The rest are for you :-)

Take a rolling pin and flatten the life out of those cookies.  Add 2 T of  melted butter to the crumbs, and mix well.

Pour the crumbs into a greased springform 9in diameter pan.

Use a fork or the bottom of a drinking glass to press the crumbs firmly to the bottom of the pan.  You really want them packed in there so that your crust doesn't crumble when you try to make the first cut!

Now, get started on the cheesecake filling.

Combine 3 of the cream cheese packages with the sugar and mix until it's nice and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time, and then the sour cream and vanilla (I had to snap a picture of the top of my Daisy sour cream, because it reminded me of our first anniversary ♥)

Pour the filling into the pan, and get started on the good stuff.

In a double boiler (I just layered a small pot on top of a larger pot of boiling water), melt 6 ounces of chocolate and mix it into the remaining package of cream cheese.  Add the raspberry preserves, and enjoy the rich, chocolatey goodness that fills your kitchen.  Once it's thoroughly mixed, drop the chocolate cream cheese batter by the spoonful on top of the plain cream cheese batter.

Stick that sucker in the oven and put your timer for one hour and twenty minutes.  It will be the longest of your life :-)

When you take it out, gently loosen the sides and let it cool.

Time to work on the chocolate glaze!

Back to the double boiler.  The recipe I was using said to mix the melted chocolate with 1/4 cup of whipping cream.  It didn't work when I tried (maybe you'll have more success), so I mixed the melted chocolate with another 1/3 cup of raspberry preserves.  I liked adding the extra berry flavor to the top, and it made it pretty and smelled delicious.  Quickly, before the chocolate cools, drizzle it over the top of the cheesecake.

Now you can add raspberries to the top, some whipped cream if you're so inclined, and sit back, relax, and enjoy!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

When Things Don't Make Sense

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18

On Thursday night, Dalia called me to let me know that our coworker from our days of teaching preschool together in Irvine was killed earlier that day.  Her husband came and found her during her lunch break, and shot her to death.  Our worlds are reeling.  Miss Alejandra was a sweet, compassionate, vibrant woman.  She loved going on nature walks with the kids, and teaching them above and beyond what we were required to teach.  Parents loved her because their three year olds came home saying things like, "Miss Alejandra told me today that the sun is made out of hydrogen and helium!"

The preschool that Dalia, Emilie, Stephanie and I worked at years ago was closed yesterday out of respect for the teachers and families.  The four of us couldn't go because of our current jobs, but I wish we could have joined our former coworkers as they laid flowers at the site and gathered together for comfort.

(this picture was shared on a private facebook page for families of the preschool--I didn't take it)

What do you say when tragedy like this happens?  My heart goes out to the director and teachers as they deal with how to explain this to the preschoolers who will be asking about their teacher on Monday.

Please keep Alejandra's family in your prayers as they deal with the grief of losing their daughter and sister, and pray for the protection of the hearts of her three young stepchildren who will be facing a different life now that their dad is in prison for murder.  Please keep the preschool in your prayers, too, that God will bring comfort to all who miss her.

There isn't a way to make sense out of any of this.  I'm not trying.  I'm just asking God to cover many hearts in His peace.

I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.

Psalm 27:13-14

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


With as busy as we all are these days, it's a rare occasion that all four of us get together for a picture anymore.

But I love that even though we're 24, 22, 20, and 18, you can still expect some silliness in our pictures.

Can you guess who is pinching who?  :-)

The progression of facial expressions cracks me up!

Yes...not the most beautiful pictures we've ever taken...but it makes me laugh!
I love them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Lavender Festival

One of my favorite events of the year was this past weekend: the Lavender Festival!

If you know me well, you know that I loooove lavender.  I love the way it smells, I love the way that it blows in the breeze, I love its heavenly purpleness.  My mother-in-love introduced us to the Lavender Festival three years ago, and now it's something I look forward to every June.

It's such a fun, relaxing way to spend an afternoon.

Jesse and I enjoyed their lavender latte and lavender lemonade, we strolled through fields and fields of lavender with Momma B, and loved every minute of our day there.

It's amazing to learn about how many different varieties of lavender there see some old favorites, and find some new ones.  I love Hidcote, French, and Melissa, and added Sarah to my list of favorites this year.

It was soothing to walk through the fragrant fields and admire local artists who had set up for the afternoon to paint the beautiful scenery that surrounded them.

Jesse and I also took the opportunity to get some fun maternity pictures...25 weeks along!  Thanks, Momma B, for taking these photos!  (and thanks to Paris who showed me how to do collages!  ♥)

Jesse bought me some culinary lavender, which I am thrilled about.  I grew it last year, but I don't have any this year, and with the move coming up, I don't want to plant any and then have to leave it behind.  But I AM excited to get to bake with it again, and I'll look forward to getting to share some of my favorite lavender recipes with you!

Our 3rd Wedding Anniversary

Our 3rd wedding anniversary was wonderful.  Because Jesse didn't get home until late on the 8th, we moved most of our celebration over to the next night---but we did have a wonderful time together on the actual day!

While I prepared for my work day, Jesse prepared a scrumptious breakfast for us to celebrate our anniversary.

We enjoyed sitting and eating together (usually I grab a bagel and eat it on my drive) and reminiscing about our wedding day and our first and second anniversaries.


When I got home from work, I made a chocolate raspberry truffle cheesecake (yes, I've promised the just hasn't happened yet!) but it was still in the oven when Jesse got home (taking pictures of every step really lengthens the process!)

Thankfully, my sweet former co-teacher, Anne, had surprised me that morning with a gift bag she recommended I put in the fridge.  When I peeked inside, I saw that she had bought a personal sized tiramisu and fruit tart for Jesse and me for our anniversary.  How thoughtful is she?!?  We enjoyed those very much on our anniversary night while we watched our wedding video.


On Thursday night, Jesse told me to put on a nice dress so that he could take me to a surprise dinner location.  He took me to the Pomona Valley Mining Company, which has a special place in my heart because it was where my parents went on their first date nearly 30 years ago.

I was so surprised!  Whenever we drive past it, I point it out to him and say, "Have I ever told you that that's where my parents went on their first date?"

I guess I've said it many times :-)

I was so touched that he thought to take me there.  It was a very special evening!


We enjoyed a lovely night where we didn't have to worry about anything at all.  We sat by the window overlooking the land below (it's high up on a hill) and enjoying the sights and just sharing peaceful time together.  And amazing food.  Lots of amazing food!

We ended the night with a chocolate souffle.  Yum!

Thank You, God, for the 3 most amazing years of my life.

Thank You for providing us with an opportunity for special celebration even though we aren't taking a roadtrip together to celebrate this year.  Thank You for bringing us together, and for giving us so much to look forward to in the years ahead!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Still Reveling...A Week Ago Today

I'm still glowing from the surprise I came home to last Friday.

Fridays are [supposed to be] Jesse's day off [in case you didn't pick it up, it rarely actually happens :-)]

I usually leave him with a light Honey-Do list of things to keep him busy---I spend all of my "days off" at church with him, so it's only fair to give him the things I don't have time to do because of it, right?  :-)

After "clean bathroom" and "fold laundry on bed," I wrote "Dinner on you?"  He loves being able to pick out a frozen pizza or try a new Pastaroni.  And I knew I'd be hungry after work and hadn't had a chance to put a thought into dinner.

He nearly knocked my socks off, though, when I entered the house to the smell of fresh cilantro, garlic, onions, fresh-squeezed lime, and fish.

My Jesse?!?!?

Oh yes, my Jesse.

My Jesse took the time to look up a Grilled Tilapia Tacos recipe that he found through his friend/fellow youth pastor Phil's website.  He went to the store and picked up all of the ingredients, marinated the tilapia, and had the grill going when I got home.  *Melt*

This is the sight I came home to:


Such yummy amazingness.

Girls, get your guy to bring out the grill and wow you with this recipe.  Phil's recipe for salsa is really great, too, so give it a try!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

1,095 Days of Being His Wife

Three years ago today, Jesse and I were dancing the sunset away.  Blissful, exhilarated to be husband and wife, and excited for the days ahead.

What a wonderful three years it has been!

Jesse is currently leading his jr. high youth group, and I opted out of making the hour long trafficky drive to go to Pastor's Bible study tonight to stay home and make chocolate raspberry cheesecake instead (recipe to come!) and wait for my handsome husband of three years to come home for a night of wedding video-watching, cheesecake eating, candles, and Martinelli's (we'll save our wedding champagne for a year that I'm not pregnant!)

After work today, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up the things I would need for cheesecake.  When I put everything on the conveyor belt, the guy at the register asked how my day was going.

"Pretty well," I smiled, "It's my 3rd wedding anniversary, and I'm heading home to make cheesecake to surprise my husband when he gets home from work."

"Wow, three years," He smiled back and leaned in, "So, has it been everything you imagined?"

"Even more wonderful!" I said as he handed me the receipt.

I thought about it on my way home.

Was it everything you imagined?

When Jesse and I were freshly engaged, we looked forward to things in married life like serving God side-by-side in a congregation, dinners together in our own home, and not having to say "goodnight" at the doorstep anymore.

I certainly didn't imagine the way that my heart would skip a beat when I heard his engine in the driveway, or the way that smelling his fresh cologne in the mornings would send a flutter through me.  I didn't anticipate a husband who would take joy in preparing breakfasts for me while I got ready for work, or that he would get so excited about my homemade meals.  I never imagined the pain of losing a family member---and the comfort that Jesse would be to me during that time.  I didn't think about days when I would be so tired that I would just need a good cry, or how lovingly he would carry me to bed after I fell asleep in his arms on the couch.  I didn't imagine getting upset when he was late coming home at night from church--or the way that I would melt into his hugs the moment he opened the door.  I didn't imagine that a guy could feel like a radiator during the summer---but that even in the sticky heat, I wouldn't be able to sleep anymore without being wrapped in his arms.  I looked forward to becoming parents with him, but I never imagined how lovingly he would care for me during my pregnancy---the trips to the hospital when I was so sick that I needed to be rehydrated with IVs, the hours he spent holding my hair back for me as I got sick again and again, his loving coaxing to get me to try to eat something.  I never imagined the thrill of feeling our baby kick under Jesse's hand, or the way the belly-kisses Jesse gives our Little One before he leaves would melt my heart.

I imagined wonderful things when I anticipated marrying Jesse.

But in the last three years, if I've learned anything, I've learned that love only deepens, new ways of loving arise, and the days ahead only look more exciting.




Saturday, June 4, 2011

Too Old ;-)

Last night after dinner, Jesse and I were talking about his upcoming youth group event: seeing Pirates of the Caribbean 4 at the El Capitan and then hiking up to the Hollywood sign.  I'm bummed that I can't go, since they're doing it next Friday as an official kick-off to summer, and I have to work.

We've seen every Pirates together (I think?  Maybe not the first?  Lol, what was my life like before I met him in 2005?!) at a theater, and the thought of him going without me made us both sad.  We tried to think of a night that we could go together before next Friday, but realized that there is not a SINGLE night between now and then that we don't have plans!

So we did something crazy.  We grabbed snacks, camping chairs, and a pile of blankets, and drove out to the local drive-in movie theater for a double showing of X-Men and Pirates.

Oh my.  I'm too old for such spontaneity these days!  But, we realized last night that our days of being able to be spontaneous will be pretty limited after our little one we went for it.

We had a wonderful time cuddling under blankets while watching the movies under a waning moon with the back of our station wagon open so that we could hear the audio from the movie.  (I didn't quite make it all the way through both movies, but I woke up from time to time with a squeeze from my Handsome Man's hand.)

It was after 2am by the time that we got home.  I forgot to factor in that a double feature starting at 8:30 would go pretty late if both movies were over 2 hours long!  Oops!  We'll probably be pretty tired today, but I'm thankful that we got that opportunity to do something spontaneous, spend time together, and not miss out on a tradition that we enjoy.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Precious Moment

It's been a busy few days!  I've been at church until after 10 the last two happy that there are no plans for this evening and that Jesse and I can rest up before our busy weekend!  Tomorrow, we are going to the high school graduation of several of our HS youth group seniors, and then we are driving straight up to my parents' house to see my youngest sister direct and perform in the play, The Dining Room.  Last night was their opening night, and from what I've heard, I can't wait to see it even MORE!  Laura graduates from high school on Sunday.  I'm so proud of her!  It's going to be a busy, busy weekend.  But wonderful, too, and I'm excited!

This morning, I posted on our baby blog, so check out my most recent Letters to Our Little One post right here.  (And check out the one Jesse wrote about feeling the baby kick, too.  It makes me cry :-) )

Blessings on your FRIDAY!!!


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Feeling Good

I'm cheating.  Currently, it's 6:24pm on June 1st, but I'm scheduling this post to go up tomorrow morning.  I figure, I have 6 minutes til Pastor's Bible study on 1st Peter begins, and I should post now while I have time.  How pathetic would it be not to have a post up in the morning after saying how excited I was about my new schedule and ending with "See you tomorrow!"  ???

Today was a blur.  I have a new coworker, a new schedule, and new students.  Things may not go smoothly until next week, but that's ok.  God's hand was in all of the changes, and as much as I'll miss my sweet coworker, Anne, I'm very thankful that my new coworker, Caroline, is very nice, too.  Things are good.

I also had my 3 Month Evaluation at work today.  Sounds official, doesn't it?  It was, and it went very well.  I was thankful for all of the positive remarks my employer had, and being told that I'm appreciated there was pretty great, too.  As much as I feel like a fish out of water there sometimes (I have a lot to tell you!) I'm thankful that they don't feel that way :-)

As soon as I clocked out this afternoon, I drove to church and helped Jesse prepare dinner for 30 kids.  He and I won't get a homecooked meal together til Monday, but at least our jr. high youth group kids were happy today.

I'm hiding out in his office right now...good thing Bible Study never actually begins on time!  I'm enjoying some much-needed peace and quiet.  After 8 hours of Pre-Kinders, and an hour of 6-8th graders, I need it.  Now I'm off to adult Bible study with Pastor, and then two hours of College and Career Bible Study.  Wednesdays are full!

But I had to tell you how happy it made me to come in and check my blog and see that five of you had commented on my last post!  So, Kelly, Bonnie, Megan, Stacey, and Paris, thanks for brightening my day!  I love it when this blog is interactive, and I'm so thankful for each of you and the friendships we have made--whether in real life, or only through the internet!  You made me smile, and I hope God blesses you each with a lovely day today!