Fall in Southern California


We have color!!  Such a happy, happy surprise!  The trees behind and in front of our apartment changed color in late September, and have only recently started loosing their leaves.   One of my sweet sisters-in-law sent us a box of “fall” from the East coast, which included the pumpkin window stickers.  Peter likes to smooch/lick them while he watches the cars go by.  And that last picture- I was on a walk with Peter the other day, and that palm tree just cracked me up.  Dude!  Your buddies are changing color!  Get with the program!

IMG_2246 IMG_2289One of the first things we did when we moved here was purchase a membership to Descanso Gardens, which is a lovely spot just a two minute drive (up-hill… that’s why we drive… don’t judge) from our apartment.  It is just GLORIOUS with trees and plants from all over the country.  We looove walking around there and go at least once a week.  A couple of weekends ago we visited for a fall festival with live music and pumpkins galore.IMG_0282 IMG_0283I must say, it is really nice to not have to bundle Peter up every time we go outside.  The two photos above were taken at a park on my birthday in late October.  My kid is in shorts.  Awesome.

But!  We also have days when it is necessary to wear a sweatshirt!  And light a pumpkin-spice scented candle!  And wrap yourself in a blanket!  Peter loves to climb up on the couch and be surrounded by his books and a “cozy blanket.”  Some of his favorite books right now are “Baby Dear” and “Biscuit,” but he will also sit through an entire Francis book, which makes me happy.

Peter loves to color, too.  He usually just wants us to color for him, though, and draw the moon.  He usually picks the orange crayon, so I guess he has a favorite color?
IMG_2387 IMG_2390 IMG_2406 IMG_2407 IMG_2418 IMG_2419More at Descanso, more fall leaves.  Peter’s running around a lot more, but he could stay forever staring at the fish in the koi pond in the Japanese garden.  Or at the bird observatory, gazing at turtles, ducks, and occasionally, the bachelor goose.  “Hi, goose,” Peter always says.  The goose is the only one Peter will greet directly.


A couple of months ago, we joined a CSA.  So, every Saturday morning we pick up box full of Peter’s weight in fruits and veggies that are grown in Southern California.  We never know what we’re going to get, and it’s like Christmas every Monday when I get the e-mail that tells us what what’s coming on Saturday.  Patrick and I usually g-chat eachother: “Honey!!!!  Cauliflower!!!!  And PICKLING CUCUMBERS!!!!”  We’re weird, whatever.  We have each other.  But, the best thing of all?  PERSIMMONS.  How did I live almost 28 years of my life without partaking of this sweet goodness that tastes like it came straight from the Garden of Eden????  Holy moley, these things are delicious.  I was chattering obnoxiously to someone from church about my love of persimmons the other day, and her 6-year-old daughter piped up “You should ask for persimmons for Christmas.”  I should.

There’s a small glimpse of our life this season- sorry for taking so long to post!   Tomorrow, we fly to Massachusetts for my brother’s wedding, which we are ecstatic about.  But we are flying with a walking kiddo for the first time… if you have any last minute advice, please share!!!  We have a borrowed DVD player, lots of snacks, books, crayons… anything else?


Graham Crackers

My little buddy likes to eat.  He’s very good at it, too.  Patrick and I are fully aware that this could change beyond our control at some point in his childhood, but for now, he eats what we eat, which is  just about everything.  And we’re really glad about that.  Peter does have favorites, though.  Cheese, for example.  If there is cheese in front of him with a whole bunch of other things, he will eat the cheese first.  And strawberries (“ba-bre-yays”).  And now that he hangs around with his little buddies at the playground, he has discovered another favorite: graham crackers.  He is really just like a duck begging for food at the park, toddling up to moms saying “kack-kack?” (an efficient word: both for “cracker” and “noise that a duck makes”) as if I never feed him.  Here’s Peter with a “borrowed” graham cracker:IMG_1670

And now, here’s Peter with an empty fist, with a look that means he will perish if that fist is without a cracker for another second:IMG_1671More than once in the past several weeks, I have been in a situation where I did not bring a snack for my child, and he has begged other people (sometimes strangers!) for snacks on the playground.  It is embarrassing.  And if I did bring something for him to eat, it was sooo not as delicious as graham crackers.  Alright, Bud!  I’ll give you graham crackers!  In fact, I’ll MAKE you graham crackers!

IMG_2053IMG_2055These are actually really easy to make, using ingredients you probably already have on hand.  I found the recipe on weelicious.com and made them earlier in the summer for s’mores, cutting the dough into not-so-perfect squares with a pizza cutter.  They were a big hit!  Even without 4 perfect sides, they did the trick.  Yummy and homemade.  I adapted the weelicious recipe just a tiny bit this time:  I had exactly half a cup of all-purpose flour, so I ended up using 2 cups of whole wheat flour.  Because of this, I think, I needed more water for the dough to stick together, so after putting in the called-for 1/4 cup of water, I added one tablespoon more at a time until the dough stopped sticking to the sides and formed a ball.  More whole wheat can’t be bad, right?IMG_2065

I used a cookie cutter for this batch because it was just easier.  I only have Christmas cookie cutters and hearts for Valentine’s Day, so hearts it was!  It’s a perfect size for Peter’s little mitts.  He loooves them, and so do his little friends.  Now I’m that mom with the homemade graham crackers, which makes me chuckle.  But for reals, these are easy.  Here’s the recipe again.  Enjoy!

Sister Visit!

IMG_0238My very lovely little sister came to visit us this past weekend.  She left eaaaarly Monday morning and I am sad.  But when Beth left the car, nobody boo-hooed harder than poor Peter.  We had such a sweet time together!  It was a nice mix of doing tourist-y things and just enjoying her company.  Patrick and Peter even let us get away so Bethie and I could go wedding dress shopping- she is newly engaged!  She left her fiance to see us!  She’s the best!   And she will be a gorgeous bride.  Here’s what we did:

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Laguna Beach!  We went to Crystal Cove at Laguna on Friday morning.  We had fun exploring the tide pools and hiking along the shore, but the waves were a little rough, so we had to keep a close eye on the babe.  And, well.  You already know my feelings about the baby and the beach.  Luckily, Auntie helped deal with the sandy toddler this time!  Peter just loooooves the beach.  As we were leaving, we saw dolphins leaping about just 20 feet from shore!  So cool.  Annnd we stopped at Chick-fil-a for lunch on the way home. Successful lunch=successful day.  That’s my philosophy.


IMG_1933 IMG_1939 IMG_1950 IMG_1968IMG_0026 IMG_0027 IMG_0241We went to the Getty Museum on Saturday, which is FREE.  Every day!  You do have to pay for parking, but it is so worth it.  It’s huge and beautiful and has amazing views of LA.  Honestly, we mostly chased after Peter outside and in the gardens and enjoyed the views, but we did manage to go through one art exhibit and it was wonderful.  I think we could go back again and again and see something new each time.  Loved it.  And we got to ride a tram!  Peter just seemed a little stunned, but I think one day he’ll enjoy that part.

After the museum ride, we got lunch at In-N-Out Burger.  Now, we had been saving this lunch for a special occasion, such as a sister visiting.  People had been telling us during our whole journey to California that we HAD to go to In-N-Out.  Ok!  The verdict?  It was good, for a fast food burger.  Sorry?!  That’s all I can say about it.  I DID appreciate that they have me extra pickles, and that it was stuffed with fresh lettuce and tomato.  And I also appreciated that it comes with a nice little half sleeve, so you don’t get your hands all greasy.  But still?  It was a fast food burger.  Poor Peter had a banana and a few fries that we threw at him like a seagull.  He seemed pretty happy about it.

Peter almost immediately fell asleep after lunch, so we took the opportunity to drive around and witness Beverly Hills from the safety of our car.  Oh.  My.  Word.  The people who live in Beverly Hills?  And shop in really expensive stores?  And have plastic surgery on their faces?  Why, they actually exist!  Like, the stereotypical people that one might see on TV.  They’re real.  Bethany and Patrick just laughed at me as I stared gawking out the window saying: “These people…. are real?!?!”  It was a very educational experience.

IMG_1993 IMG_2008 IMG_2028 IMG_2032 IMG_1875And we went to the park, ate frozen yogurt and baked treats in our little downtown area, and read a lot of books.  It was a full and happy weekend.  Sisters are the best.  And so are Aunties!  Peter is lucky to have 5 pretty awesome ones.  We miss you, Beth!  Thank you for visiting us.

Settling In

Last time we moved, Peter was just over 2 months old, and I didn’t think we’d be living in our apartment very long.  It took me foreeeeeever to unpack.  The lingering boxes just added to the uneasy feeling of “unsettled-ness” that we dealt with this past year while we lived in Ipswich, Massachusetts.  In retrospect, I wish we had lived more fully there, investing more in the community and the aesthetics of our apartment.  But we live and learn, right?  Unpacking with a toddler this time has been frustrating, but it also makes me way more motivated to get it DONE.  We’re certainly not done yet, but we’re two weeks in, and from where I sit, I can only see 3 unpacked boxes.  That’s not too bad!

Goodbye, POD!!


The mountain view from our apartment:IMG_0174

Our kitchen is small and lacks counter space.  IKEA to the rescue!
IMG_0181 IMG_0184And here are pictures of the aforementioned toddler.  He’s so helpful.

“This cupboard needs baby-proofing, Mom!”IMG_0186

“Let’s open this box, Mom!”

“Mom!  I found more space in the cabinet!”
IMG_0199He’s such a cheese-ball.  I promise to post pictures when things look more presentable.  We’re finally at the hanging-stuff-on-the-wall and distributing knick-knacks stage!

From Sea to Shining Sea!

We’ve lived in our apartment for 2 weeks now.  I only just started making calls to friends this past week- I thought I would be emotionally… fragile, I guess?  I thought it would make me really sad.  I think that’s part of why I haven’t updated the blog in a while, too.  I keep waiting for it all to hit me- the fact that we moved across the country, leaving our friends and family behind.  That we won’t have a “real” fall or snow this winter.  That we no longer have loads of free babysitting!  But we’re enjoying our apartment, our town, the gorgeous weather (the weather really is SO GLORIOUS!).   And I think that maybe we’re just fine!  It feels like home.

One of the perks of Patrick’s new job is that he has Fridays off.  So last Friday, we officially completed our coast to coast trip by dipping our toes in the Pacific Ocean.

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After a nice long morning nap for Peter, we quickly ate lunch before heading to Zuma Beach in Malibu.  The water was surprisingly cold, but Peter LOVED it.  The boy shrieked with glee every time a wave reached his chubby legs.  Patrick also enjoyed introducing Peter to the beach.  I can personally enjoy the beach.  Personally, like, by myself.  Or with adults.  Beach with a baby?  The verdict is still out.  I mean, yes, it is delightful to watch Peter discovering things for the first time.  But sand+water+baby=dirty, sandy baby.  When I changed his diaper later (like, much later, after the swimsuit had been taken off and a new diaper had been put on already), an entire beach-ful of sand came pouring out.  And you know, chubby babies have folds and crevices where things can hide.  Things like sand!  I’ll get over it.  I must, because we live in California, and Peter likes the beach.  The things we do for our children!  I’m (mostly) kidding.


Praise the Lord- we have a home!!

We actually received a call on Monday night saying that we were not the chosen applicants for the apartment.  When Patrick answered the phone, we were in the car, and Patrick pulled over as I cried and he beat the steering wheel a couple of times.  We were super sad.  But then, the apartment manager called us 40 minutes later to say the person it was offered to didn’t want it!!  Buuuut there was still another person in the running.  So we waited another 24 hours, and I was not feeling hopeful.  We called more apartments and set up appointments to look at them, rather grumpily (on my part… Patrick is generally more optimistic about stuff like this).  And then!  At 6 o’clock we got a call that we were the CHOSEN ONES!!

I have to say, this apartment isn’t a palace or anything.  The kitchen is small with very little counter space, there is no dishwasher.  There is no outdoor space of our own, and we still have coin-operated laundry.  I mean, it’s still an apartment.   Even after they offered it to us, part of me still reaallllly wanted to see “that other one advertised- it might be better!”  But in my heart of hearts, I know this is where we are supposed to be.  Patrick feels that way too.  So many people were praying about it, and we just felt blessed walking into it for the first time.  And after almost not getting it…. well.  It’s ours.  It’s in a great location, and it has what we need for a price that’s way lower than it should be.  Our POD will be delivered tomorrow, and we move in on Friday.  Thank you, Lord!  We’re so happy to be home.

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There are a lot of awesome parks nearby, but Peter’s favorite part is always the wood chips.

A wee update

Hello!  We arrived in California, La Canada specifically, on Thursday evening.  An elderly couple has graciously welcomed us into their home until we find an apartment of our own.  Ted & Carol have been so lovely and hospitable, feeding us and loving on our kiddo, but we are anxious to be cooking in our own space and sleeping in our own bed.  Actually, tonight we will find out if we are chosen for an apartment in what we think is an ideal spot.  It’s clean and cozy, much less expensive than other 2-bedroom apartments we have seen, within walking distance to cute shops & restaurants, a farmer’s market, and a grassy park & playground.  We want to live there!!!  If you are the praying kind, please pray that we get this apartment.  We are so ready to unpack and settle in.

Meanwhile, we have really enjoyed being here.  It was wonderful to worship with our new church family yesterday, and it warmed my heart to see Peter being welcomed and loved already by this congregation.  Almost as soon as we arrived, people were taking Peter by the hand and walking him around.  Two teenagers were on their knees talking to him and letting him hold their sunglasses & bracelets.  We are so thankful!  And besides our dear hosts, two other families have already has us over for meals.  One of those families had  taken us around on Friday to different neighborhoods (with their 2 and 6-year-old) to look for apartments, and had even called places on our behalf before we arrived.  On Saturday, when we told them about the apartment we were hoping to get, they actually left their uneaten Chipotle burritos at home, packed up their hungry kids, and drove over to see it with us.  Again, THEY LEFT THEIR BURRITOS.  Amazing folks, I tell you.

So again, we are not settled yet, but we are being well taken care of.  Before we left Massachusetts, our dear friends from Church of the Cross prayed that God would provide a special community for us, and specifically little friends for our little Peter.  And God has provided these things!  I miss my friends in Massachusetts terribly, and shed some tears this weekend thinking of them.  But, you know?  It is a pretty wonderful thing to have friends that you love so much.  Even though it surely makes my heart ache to be so far away.


Ah, the consistency of Starbucks!

Coming soon:  A bakery review!!!  Woohoo!!