Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our Trip Home, Thoughts on Houston, and a Must-See Movie

Our trip home:

Luke, Grammy and I returned home form our visit to Houston last Thursday afternoon. We had an interesting trip back including an eventful layover in Albequerque. First the plane needed a tire change as the ground crew discovered a "gouge" in one tire. Next, while we were taxiing out, a hail/ice storm moved in and iced over the wings (and gave us all a little fright!). Then, ground crews were dispatched with anti-freeze to de-ice the plane. Finally, after the storm blew over, we took off and had a lovely flight into San Diego. I will not complain about our delays- safety is most important. I am grateful that we were not in the air when the ice storm hit also. God was watching out for us this Thanksgiving! Luke was an angel too. He is such a happy traveler!

On Houston:

The obvious downsides to living in Houston are the weather and the distance from family and friends. While we were there, the weather was absolutely perfect, but I do not imagine the same can be said for the steamy summer months.

The pros of Houston life include affordable housing, lots of industry with less traffic and smog than Southern CA, closeness to some family, general character of the locals, and the benefits of living in a conservative state. Housing is very affordable and you can choose where to live for the most part. Houston also has a very strong economy with many jobs right now. They have not suffered as much from the economic slow down as evidenced by a slight 3% decrease in home prices and a strong job market. Houston is home to Nathan's sister Bethany and her family, who we have always wanted to live near. People in Houston were much more family-friendly in general than the average Southern Californian and hold values more closely in line with our own.

Middlemarch:
Over the holiday weekend, we watched a great BBC mini-series based on the novel Middlemarch by George Eliot. It is entertaining and has great thoughts on marriage. I am putting it on my Christmas list!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Smile Baby

Okay, so I've been holding back. Awhile ago I got an iPhone and it's just so darn easy to snap a few photos of the cute little guy when he's on the changing table, in the Baby Bjorn, etc. But I haven't posted any of these (although I think Katie's posted a couple). So now I'm posting them. Click on the image below to view them all.

By the way, one of the cool things about the iPhone is that it tags the pictures you take with your current location. You'll see the album also shows where the pictures were taken on a map. Pretty cool.

Baby Pictures Catch-up

Monday, November 24, 2008

Luke, is that you?







No, it is cousin Clara at about the same age. They are obviously related!

Baby Lukey in Texas






Luke was a trooper on the plane ride to Texas- he did not cry once! The young men sitting behind us eyed us skeptically as we boarded the plane, but as we were getting off, they remarked that he was the best baby they had ever flown with. Much of Luke's happy trip was due to the fact that the plane was only half full and he was able to lay out between Grammy and I.





When we arrived in Houston, we were greeted by Uncle Evan, Aunt Bethany, and Clara Lee. Luke has really enjoyed Clara. He is especially fond of watching her dance around and play. Clara also loves talking to Luke and there have been several conversations between them. They mostly go something like this:






Clara: "Hi Baby Lukey!"



Luke: "Agoo!!!" or a loud Squeal



Clara: "Agoo!!!" or a loud Squeal (to show that she could speak his language)






Also, Clara is teaching Luke how to be a big boy. If he is fussy, she will tell him, "There's no need to cry Baby Lukey, there is nothing to be sad about." She teaches him politeness too, directing him to say please and thank you. Luke has not quite caught onto these new words yet, but I suppose it is never too early to start.






(Just a note: Clara is the only person allowed to call Luke, Lukey. Baby Luke is acceptable, as well as other cute nicknames.)






I have included some pictures of the traveling baby and his new friends. Also, see a video and more pictures at Bethany's blog www.bevany.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Away We Go!


This morning Luke and I said goodbye to Daddy as he headed off to work knowing that we will not see him again for a week. This afternoon, accompanied by Grammy, we will be flying to Texas to see the Getz family.

We had such a lovely morning today. Baby woke up at 6am, which is now about his usual, and joined Nathan and I in our bed for some cuddles. He really likes waking up to Mommy and Daddy staring at him from both sides. Mommy and Daddy like it because he is so very cute and at his freshest in the morning. He kicks and squeals and smiles at us, and we wish him good morning and smile at him in return. These are the most perfect moments of the day.

So, Daddy- we will miss you bunches! Bethany, Evan and Clara- we are so excited to see you tonight!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Persimmons- Yum!


Here is a lovely fall recipe for persimmon cookies. I have "healthified" it a bit from a recipe from allrecipes.com.

  • 3 ripe persimmons, pureed
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
Mix the wet ingredients and sugar first, then add the dry.

Bake 12-15 minutes at 375of

Laughing Video

Here is the promised laughing video. It is not the best example, but Luke seems to know when I am trying to get something on video. He thinks, "Mommy, this laugh is only for you. No publicizing!" :)


video

Monday, November 17, 2008

First Laugh

Today Luke laughed for the first time. After dinner, Nathan and I were playing with Luke in our bedroom. Nathan was shaking a little caterpillar toy around and smiling at him, when a huge laugh burst forth. I tried to capture him laughing on video, and will post that later. :)

He is definitely developing his verbal skills faster than his motor skills. I have been trying to help him roll around a bit, but there are no indications that he will be rolling over soon. Though, thats not to say that he won' surprise us. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

FOCA

You may notice the new ad on the right side of my blog. The "Freedom of Choice Act," (FOCA) is a piece of pro-abortion legislation which Senator Obama has promised Planned Parenthood would be the first thing he would sign as President. This would eradicate state and federal laws that the majority of Americans support, such as:
  • Bans on Partial Birth Abortion
  • Requirements that women be given information about the risks of getting an abortion
  • Only licensed physicians can perform abortions
  • Parents must be informed and give consent to their minor daughter's abortion
FOCA would erase these laws and prevent states from enacting similar protective measures in the future.

If you click on the ad you can read more about it, see a tape of Obama making the promise at a campaign rally, and sign the petition if you choose.

Thanks to Kelly who made me aware of the petition.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Snoring

One of Luke's habits is to take a short nap after dinner. Here he is:

video

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Prayer

Luke and I pray this as part of our morning prayer routine. It is so calming that I thought I would post it. It was composed by St. Philaret of Moscow.

"O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace, help me in all things to rely upon your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by you. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering or embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray. And you, yourself, pray in me. Amen."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

With the Thumb and a "B"

Luke is discovering his hands and now likes to hold onto something- hence the "B" (blanket)

video

Aetna paid up

I got the check for Luke's birth today. There are only a few more charges in dispute, but the bulk of our insurance payment came through. Yay!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Frugal Friday Find- Azure Farms

I thought it might be fun to write about some of the deals that I have found.

Today's find is Azure Farms. They are an Oregon based company that sells all sorts of grocery items (fresh, frozen, non-perishable) grown on their own farm and items from natural food companies. They carry Pacific Foods, Garden of Eatin', Amy's, Barbara's, and other organic food companies for very reasonable prices.There is a catalog online, or you can request a free one in print. You order the items online or by mail, and then they are shipped down (for free) to a local designated drop point. I drove to Irvine to pick up my order. Their web address is www.azurestandard.com. To see the pricing, you have to give them an email address and sign in.

Some examples of deals I got this month:
Jonagold Apples- $.50 a lb
Organic onions- $.50 a lb
Blackberries 10lbs for $14
Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato soup (32oz) for $2.25
Garden of Eatin' Organic Whole Wheat Tortilla's $1.10 for 10

Really, there are some amazing deals on high quality food. Right now, I am smelling a whole wheat bread loaf in the bread machine with the mix from their website.

Thanks to Bethany Jean and Kathy for alerting me to this great company.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Talking with Daddy

There were just too many fun videos today. I had to post this one too. Luke is getting such a vocabulary!

video

Volume

videoThis video demonstrates Luke's incredible volume. He has begun making little squeals and shrieks while watching the mobile to show his delight.

A Mixed Bag (political comments- feel free to skip)

So, in my opinion, the elections were a mixed bag. On the National scene, I will say little. In my opinion, that we voted for a man who voted to stop a ban on partial birth abortion, and voted to let an infant born alive after an abortion die, is sad.

California in particular gave me some hope last night and brought some disappointments. First, the hope: in this great liberal state of ours, we passed a law protecting marriage. I didn't think it would pass honestly, but the polls are in. This was most important to me as I am first and foremost a social conservative and believe that the moral decline in our country is directly linked to the breakdown of the family unit. When the individual American family fails, the country fails. My hope is that if California can pass a law like this, maybe we can pass a law to prevent infanticide as well.

The disappointment came from the passage economic propositions. We passed nearly all bond measures that will dramatically increase spending. Don't get me wrong, I would love a high speed rail system, but not in a time when our state's credit is in jeopardy and we are already spending into deficit. I would be bankrupt if I spent money the way this state does. But, whatever, we need more services! We need more projects! Where will the money come from?- who knows.

Monday, November 3, 2008

10 weeks!







Looking back, I can hardly believe that we have already had Luke for 10 weeks! On one hand it seems that we have always had him now, and on the other, it seems that he just arrived and turned our world upside down (in a good way).

This week has been the week of gab. Luke can say several different sounds and if you talk to him, he will try to talk at the same pitch. He also makes noise for each activity that he does. When waking up, he makes stretching noises, and when he is tired, he makes loud sighing noises. He also seems to talk with his body- with movement and big smiles. It is so precious!

Speaking of precious, here are some of our latest pictures. There is one talking to mommy and one talking to Grammy (who we visited this past weekend). Some were taken with Nathan's phone and are a little blurry.