Fall in Southern California

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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.
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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.
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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.

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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?

Colorado!

Gorgeous Colorado:

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Even though we had a shorter distance to drive today, it felt like the longest.  We got up a bit later than usual, but otherwise, the first half of our day sped by.  It started with breathtaking views of the mountains and a hour or so stop in Vail.  I LOVE VAIL.  There seemed to be something for everyone: food, views, art, recreation, music, kiddo parks and fountains.  I wish we could’ve stayed all day!  There is not a cell in my body that wants to ski, but I totally want to go back to Vail to stay and explore in the summer.

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There are stunning hanging baskets and boxes just bursting with flowers all over the place!

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Pirate Park for Peter!

 

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IMG_1501That stream was COLD! But Peter kept wanting to put his toes in… IMG_1502 IMG_1503

As the towns became fewer and far between, I started to get a little restless.  So did Patrick, I think.  The scenery was ever-changing and interesting, but I’m a city gal, and I like to know there are people around.  We did stop at Grand Junction at a Chick-fil-a for a late lunch…

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Peter’s first kid’s meal! He’s a kid!

…but then it was a bit desolate-looking again.

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Our attempt at a family picture

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2nd attempt. Peter thinks it is hilarious to put his finger in his nostril.

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It’s hard to believe that we will reach our destination tomorrow.  Not just our destination, but our new home.  Please pray that we will find housing quickly in a place that we feel comfortable and safe in.  And that we can afford!  We are so grateful for the Lord’s protection on our journey and for this opportunity in California.  I imagine that the next several days will be exhausting and a bit stressful, but we are trusting in God’s provision & timing (though we hope it will be soon!).  I will certainly update here when I am able.

Final stop: California!

Illinois, Iowa, and more of my Dutch baby

We made it to Lincoln, Nebraska!  We left Holland yesterday morning and were able to attend our old church in Wheaton and spend time with friends from our college days.  My sweet friend Kaitlin and her new husband Patrick let us crash at their apartment after we had dinner together.  Reality started to set in after we pulled out of Wheaton this morning, traveling further West than I have ever been (besides our flight to visit St. Luke’s in May), venturing into unknown territory.  In the spirit of our journey, we are listening to a short book about Lewis and Clark.   We even made my grandparents watch a National Geographic special on the explorers the night before we left.  We’re dorks.

On the way through Iowa, we stopped in Des Moines for burgers and got to visit with another dear friends, Amedee, and her husband Douggie.  It was a short but special visit, and Amedee quickly became one of Peter’s favorite people when she gave him a bite of bacon.  Of course.  We weren’t able to attend their wedding in April, so it was especially sweet that we got to see them as they were traveling to the East coast, and we just happened to be passing in the middle at the same time.

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Peter snacking in front of the Capitol building in Des Moines

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After our horrendous night in Buffalo, the Country Inn & Suites that we are staying at this evening feels like a palace!!  Seriously.  It’s cozy and clean and no bugs were staring at me when I went to the bathroom.  AND!!!!  We received coupons for free drinks at the restaurant next door.  Yes, please.

To conclude this post, here is what you have all been waiting for: more pictures of my Dutch baby in Holland.  Many of them were taken at Windmill Island, where there were beautiful gardens and an awesome playground.  I also must say again that Peter has been so great on this long trip.  Patrick and I have been constantly amazed by his consistent sweet and happy personality.  He makes us laugh, and he’s actually made the car rides seem a lot shorter.  We love our little boy so much!

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first time in a pool!

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watering flowers at Windmill Island in Holland

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just…. amazing.

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Peter loves pickles, just like his Mama

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Tomorrow, we travel across Nebraska and through Denver, Colorado!

Peter & the Prehistoric Animals

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Several months ago, Patrick and Peter and I were driving in the car.  I don’t know where we were going, and it’s not important to the story.  The radio was on, and suddenly, I heard a voice say something like “Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live among the giants of the ice age?” Yes.  Yes, I have! Who are you, and why are you in my brain?!?!  And I turned up the radio.  When I heard the words “mammoths” and “mastodons” I almost peed my pants.  A traveling exhibit at the Boston Science Museum!  “We must go!!!” I shouted at Patrick, tears in my eyes.  I might be kidding about the tears, but my memories a bit foggy.  I wouldn’t put it past me.  But I was already day-dreaming of petting prehistoric beasts (or rather, models of prehistoric beasts), so I don’t remember.

*Side note:  I love ancient things.  And I love large animals.  And so, dinosaurs, mastodons, and mammoths are pretty much my favorite.  I went to a college that had a life-sized model of a mastodon in the center of campus.  And I went there because of the mastodon.  Again, kidding.  But only sort of.  If you know me at all, my emotions regarding the exhibit will not surprise you, but I thought I should explain a bit to everyone else.

We went to the exhibit last month with my parents, and it was pretty amazing.  It’s a traveling exhibit from the field museum, so check it out if it comes to your area!  It was very well done, and I didn’t want to leave.  My family had to wait for me outside the door while I lingered, wistfully staring up into the friendly face of a life-sized mastodon.  I sincerely hope that maybe there will be dinosaurs and mammoths in heaven, but I guess we’ll see.  How awesome would that be, though?!  Anyway, I’m supposed to be talking about my son!  Oh, my son.  He made his mama proud.  He loves dinosaurs.  He climbed right into that dinosaur footprint himself.  Ok, I put him there.  But he loved it.  He loves the ancient creatures!!  We are buds.  Two peas in a pod.  And that’s all I wanted to say.