"Your greatest contribution to the Kingdom of God may not be something you do, but someone you raise." ~Andy Stanley

September 30, 2007

Every family needs a 'rocket'

The other night, we watched Astronaut Farmer.

My favorite line:
"You are a good father. I couldn't even get my family to eat together. But you, you've got your family dreaming together. That's big stuff." ~Farmer's father in law

My hubby's favorite line was:
"Without the rocket, we are just a dysfunctional family." ~Farmer's wife

What we love about those lines is the reminder that when you have a dream or something to strive after together it makes you a closer family.

Our 'rocket' is a family worship band. And it is definitely taking awhile to get off the ground...
Thankfully, it isn't as expensive or as dangerous as say, launching into outer space. ; ) whew!
Does your family have a 'rocket?' I'd love to hear about it.

September 27, 2007

A remarkable man

We are studying Jamestown. We just read a great book called John Smith of Virgina.

Captain John Smith had some amazing adventures. (not counting all that happened to him in Jamestown)
What an incredible life. I mentioned to the kids that I think he was one of the most remarkable men in history.

Joy said: "I don't. I think Daddy is the most remarkable man in history." : )

How sweet is that?!


September 26, 2007

Wrapping up the vacation

Friday was our anniversary!
It turned out to be such a blessing that we couldn't afford our 'honeymoon hotel.'
We decided to be adventurous and try Price line.com since we had a small budget.
We heard that waiting til the last minute to make your offer, was the best way to go. We waited until a week before our date. We put in the amount we wanted to pay ($99) and the star rating we wanted it to have, which was 3. Three star hotels in that area are over $200.00 a night.

Guess what happened? They upgraded us (don't know why) to a 4 star and accepted our offer!
It turned out to a Hilton! It was beautiful! Right on the bay! (usually $260.00 a night)

We felt so blessed! We will definitely try Price line again the next time we have a reason to get a room.
We had a wonderful time.

Many thanks to my parents for keeping our kiddos. : )

The next day we had a family picnic at the park. And I think everyone we are related to in or out of the city came. While we were there they took a vote and decided we should move out there! ; ) ~We felt very loved!

We all had so much fun, we stayed the entire day...

It was great to see everyone, visit, eat and play Frisbee together. I didn't know I was married to such a Frisbee pro -with 'moves' no less! ha ha
Sunday morning we headed for home. ...Then the kids spent the next two days trying to convince us to move... I told them to take that up with Jesus. : )

We'd like to give a huge thanks to the L Family who gave us the plane tickets.

I hope our kids remember that all of this happened because they prayed that we could somehow go to CA this year. And then God made a way, where there wasn't a way.

And WHAT a way He made and WHAT a time we had.

Thank you, Lord.


September 24, 2007

Vacation part 5

This day turned out to be one of the kid's favorites!
My parents treated us to a ride on this! It's an amphibious vehicle!

We took off at Seaport Village and toured downtown San Diego and then we drove right down a boat ramp and into the water and the cruised around the harbor. -A very informative and fun tour.

One of the highlights of this day, was that we spent part of it with my Aunt! She flew out from AZ to visit with us. It was just wonderful to see her and catch up on her life. She is very special to me.

Then it was off to my brother's and sister in law's house. They live near the beach and they offered to teach us how to surf!
Now the big feature, besides being in CA and surfing, was that our family all loves Switchfoot. (except maybe me. I seem to be too old to catch all the words they are saying. I love the Newsboys and Third Day and David Crowder)

Well, the guys from Switchfoot are surfers from this area. One of their father's is a pastor and is building a new church building right in their neighborhood. (I know where my hubby and kiddos will want to worship on the next visit!) Switchfoot worships there! And the beach is just a couple of miles away and so the kids concluded that we were going to surf where Switchfoot surfs! And that made it even more cool! ; )
Todd was so sweet to give all the kids lessons. Here is Joy getting her lesson.

Nathan and Joy actually stood up on the board! Very exciting! Whenever they were 'up' our video camera was pointed in the wrong direction though...
My parents watched and my hubby's brother who was in town on business came along and did some boogie boarding. (I almost did but the water temp was making my body parts go numb!)

Then we all went to Todd and Cindy's for dinner. Cindy made one of my favorites... Refried bean soup. I just had to have the recipe four years ago when I visited and I've been making it ever since. Here it is:

Refried Bean Soup

2 tsp. olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 clove minced garlic

1 can chicken broth

1 can Mexican style stewed tomatoes

1 can each black beans and red (or whatever you have on hand)

1 can refried beans

1/4 t. cumin

Heat oil in Dutch oven over med. heat. Add onion. Raise heat to med. high and cook until tender. Add garlic, broth and tomatoes. Raise heat to high and add drained beans. Add refried beans and cumin. Stir well and allow soup to come to a boil. Reduce heat to low and stir occasionally 5-7 minutes. (you can also add green peppers but I never do)

Serving it with Quesadillas is a must and if avocados aren't $1.33 where you live, (boo hoo! They are where I live!) then serve them with GUACAMOLE too. YUM!

We had 'death by chocolate' in the form of my surprise Birthday Cake. And Joy informed them that anything for me needed Reese peanut butter cups on it. An added bonus. : )

The 8 cousins had such fun together giggling and quoting movies. We wish that we all lived closer! That night I also had the chance see A who was my flower girl 16 years ago! And she's a beautiful young lady with 3 adorable children of her own now. It was such a blessing to see her after all these years. Cindy's girls (my nieces) wore the dress her mother made A for my wedding. When they outgrew it, Cindy mailed it to me for Joy to wear, which was really special. Then we brought it back to A that night so that her little girls can wear it someday! : )

I promise to wrap up these vacation posts tomorrow!


September 21, 2007

Vacation part 4

We spent Wednesday at the San Diego Zoo! We had so much fun with my parents and my sister.
Dad and Jen made great tour guides. My hubby and I really enjoyed not having to figure out the park and how to see everything in one day and where to go next. They had it all figured it out.
It was great!
We found this guy alone in the corner of the petting zoo. Doesn't he look like he's in time out?

The Mir cats were a big hit. And so were the polar bears! My hubby (and hero) noticed a family that needed help pushing a man in a wheel chair up this steep hill and so off he went taking Zach and Nathan with him. It was quite a hill. This woman was so grateful, she just kept saying "Thank you Jesus" all the way up the hill behind them. : )
Our all time favorite animals were the PANDAS!!!!!!!

Isn't he the cutest thing ever?! They are on loan to the zoo from China. We were able to view the new baby on the Panda Cam TV. Cute as could be! We had to whisper, lest we disturb them. San Diegans are crazy about their pandas, for good reason. : )

I tried my first fish taco. They are good! And I don't even like seafood. I guess that goes to show that anything is good with GUACAMOLE on it. ha ha I should add fish tacos to my list of things that we don't have in FL!

The seal show was slightly familiar, I don't think it has changed in the last 25 yrs. : )
But it was still fun to watch. My sister left before the show because she and her friend were having us all over for dinner after our day at the zoo and she wanted to get things ready.

As we were heading out of the zoo we found out they were having a clearance sale (Yahoo!) and so the kids got zoo t-shirts for about $2.50 a piece! What fun! We also bought a sweatshirt to take home to Carlos. It's still WAY to early to wear sweatshirts yet in FL.

Then we went to my sister's house and relaxed.

The kids got a second wind of energy from somewhere (I wish I had that much) and went exploring in the canyon behind the house. They came back covered in sticky weeds but they were all smiles because they had picked flowers for N and J to thank them for the two free zoo tickets they'd blessed us with. Those new t-shirts sure came in handy after we picked all the weeds from their hair.

My sister is such a great hostess!

We had a really nice evening. We made some new friends and had a wonderful meal (and lots of GUCAMOLE) and listened to LIVE music. What a treat! (thank you, N!)


September 19, 2007

Vacation part 3

On Tuesday we went to Balboa Park.
I love the architecture. The park was built for one of the World's Fairs back in the 20's. (I think it was)

The Dead Sea Scrolls were actually on exhibit in one of the museums.

I got a kick out of Joy asking:
"Are all those people in line to see Dead Sea squirrels?" ; )

When we were kids, my dad used to take us on Sunday drives to Balboa Park after church. We used to climb this really huge, old tree and he always bought us ice cream cones afterwards. So, that was our goal. Eating ice cream right before lunch is not a usual occurrence that's for sure. Unfortunately, that dear tree is 90 something years old now and has a big fence around it. We tried to get ice cream cones next and they said they weren't available! : (
We went to a playground for another nice picnic and then we headed back to find that the ice cream machine was in full swing. Hurray!
Then we drove over Coronado bridge which is beautiful. And I (not my kids) somehow spilled my ice cream all down my shirt! My mom teased me and I laughed so hard, I could hardly breathe.
We drove around Coronado and Point Loma and then headed home.

The kids had a quick swim and then we headed an hour north, to visit our dear, special friend S.
He is the one I mentioned here that led my hubby to the Lord.
It was really special to introduce our kids to him. It really blessed me that they were able to sit in on one of his Bible studies. I loved hearing him pray again. I can't tell you how many hours I spent listening to him share the Word as a teenager. He means a great deal to us and it was very special to see him again after 16 yrs.
Then we drove back to San Diego.

Here's a quick list of things they have in CA that we don't:

Carpool lanes (what a blessing those are in major traffic!)

20 lane freeways

TVs at the gas pump (my hubby watched the news while filling up! amazing!)
Two story Wal*Marts with escalators for the carts!!! (major attraction to our kids!)

Black sand

~Becky : )

September 18, 2007

Vacation fun part 2

It was such a special week that the Lord blessed us with, that I'm going to do a post about each day and post a few of the 220 pictures we took. : )

So, here we go...
On Monday, we all woke up around 4:00 or 5:00 am. That whole internal clock thing. We were still on FL time. We didn't actually get up till around 6:00 or so. And to us, that felt like really sleeping in.
My hubby and kiddos had an early morning swim and played volleyball in the pool while my dad and I watched and visited.
Then we packed our lunches and headed off for a big fun day of sightseeing.
Our first stop was Mission Beach. My kiddos found out how very chilly the Pacific Ocean is!
We stumbled upon the coolest place that had simulated waves in a pool. Surfers would take turns riding these perfect waves. It was really fun to watch. Once in awhile they wiped out and that made it even more fun. It made us even more excited about our upcoming surfing lessons.

Then we were off to beautiful La Jolla.
The boys got so excited when we passed a Lamborghini car dealership and then a Rolls Royce one and then a Ferrari one.... We had to drive by those twice.
We had a great time at the Cove looking at the sea lions and picnicking. It was a gorgeous day! We had a couple sea lion pups swim up near the sea wall where we were standing. Were they ever cute! Carlos suggested we retake a photo of this one and add our children to it. So, we tried to stand in the same spot or so we thought. Our kiddos weren't too enthused about standing next to us
as we were smooching on the beach. ; )
What was really bizarre was the fact that there was a woman on that rock that jets out over the water and she looked like she was worshipping the sun or something. She was out there in a bathing suit making all kinds of worshipful hand motions to it. Strange! We tried to wait her out but whatever she was doing was taking a long time. Then my dad had the bright idea of aiming his shot in such a way that our heads blocked the view of her in the camera! yay!

Then we went to a little gift shop that is built over an underground cave! We paid to enter the cave and go down 145 steps to the bottom which opened out to the ocean! We were all breathing heavy after that.

The next stop was Mt. Soladad. Have you heard of that controversy? There was an atheist who is now deceased, but he spent 20 yrs. or so trying to have the cross taken off the mountain. (it's a war memorial) Its so beautiful up there. I'm so thankful he didn't succeed! You can see all of San Diego up there. It's an incredible view. My hubby had the idea to take our picture in "the shadow of the cross." Which we all thought was so cool, because that's how we want to live our lives.... Amen!My sister works at the La Jolla Playhouse and we stopped by and were treated to a wonderful tour of the different stages. We learned about how things work back stage and watched some people building sets etc... Really neat!

You'd think that would be enough for one day, but I wanted to squeeze in one more thing! Not my best idea.

We tried to do our favorite Torrey Pines nature walk. But, after 16 yrs. things had changed and the parking lot was now a golf course. We used to be able to park our car and walk a mile and come to the edge of the some cliffs and look down on the ocean...and it was so beautiful, especially at sunset. (but that meant high tailing it to your car before it got dark and you couldn't see the trail anymore) Taking the trail didn't work out, but I'd say we walked for a good couple of miles if not more and ended up coming down a huge hill to the beach. Not as cool, but still nice. My dear hubby picked us up in the car so that we wouldn't have to walk back up the HILL. He was my hero!!!
All that in one day. Whew!
Thankfully, we weren't quite that busy everyday!~ Almost but not quite. : )

Vacation fun

There's so much to tell that I don't know where to start. But I think I'll start by talking about the food! ; )
I think San Diego has the best Mexican food. And oh, how we miss it. The only place that almost compares to it here, doesn't serve GUACAMOLE and it's so very sad.

But my sweet family made tons of GUACAMOLE in honor of our visit!!!
We had it all the time! My nieces made it, my mom made it and my sister made me the biggest bowl of it I'd ever seen! (we are talking about 12 avocados!!!) Ahh! It was too fun!
Twice, I had the chance to eat one of my favorite meals -rolled tacos with of course, lots of GUACAMOLE!! I was so excited I had to take a picture...

We were also treated to some wonderful Greek food by our dear friends and I'll tell about them later.

On Sunday we had a fun family get together after church. And more Mexican food! My mom made her Mexican Delight which is one of our family's favorites. She used to make when we were kids and we had a bunch of people over. It's great for a crowd! Be sure to serve this with lots of GUACAMOLE like she does. It's so good!

My mom's Mexican Delight

(we usually double or even quadruple this since we only make it for large groups)

1 lb. ground beef
1 onion chopped
8 oz tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
3 empty tomato paste cans of water
2 T. sugar
2 ground garlic cloves
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. salt

Brown the ground beef and onions in a large pot. Then add the other ingredients and cook for 40 min. Then add one cup of cooked rice.

Serve over Frito's

Serve with grated cheese, chopped onions, tomatoes, lettuce, olives, salsa, sour cream and GUACAMOLE!


September 17, 2007

Hello, humidity! We didn't miss you at all!

We're back!

And we had the BEST time ever!!! And it is my birthday! (29 again!-teasing!)

We made so many wonderful memories!

I just want to thank all of our dear family members who made it such a special week for us! Our kids went to bed last night talking about wanting to move to CA. : )

We loved being with you all! We feel so blessed to have you in our lives!

And I loved celebrating my birthday early, with you!

I'll have lots of fun things to share later in the week!

September 7, 2007

Off we go!

The house is put back together.
The new kitchen is looking lived in.
We are all packed and ready to go.....
Vacation here we come!

September 5, 2007

The kitchen is done! Yay!!!

Carlos finished it last night!

May God bless and repay our dear friend for his incredible gift and labor of love. (big emphasis on 'labor') : )
We are just blown away!

"This is the Lord's doing and it's marvelous in our eyes."
Ps. 118:22

September 4, 2007

This week

We've all been asking 'When is this kitchen going to be done?!'

My hubby's new answer yesterday was pretty creative!
He said "Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, but my Father only." : )

But, its close. Really close. And I hope to post some pictures before we leave but if not, then I will when we return.

Until then, I've got a house to put back together after 3 months of remodeling. (that we thought would take 3 weeks!)

I need to help Andrew study for the next phase of his Ranger of the Year competition. This will be for Ranger of the Year of our section in FL.

And I need to figure out how to pack light. Which I've never done before. : )

In case I don't get to post this before we go, I want to say:

I am so blessed to be doing life with this wonderful man.And celebrating 16 special years.



September 3, 2007

This is better!

Much, much better!

My hubby decided the 'Barney nightmare' had to go. ; )


The too happy kitchen!

How come those colors on the paint decks never look the same as the real thing???

The boys are freaking out that we are going to live and eat in a kitchen the same color as Joy's bedroom. Not that we don't like Joy's bedroom, it's just very purple and pink.

We thought we needed an accent color to make this pretty window stand out.

But, I think we need to tone it down a bit.

Joy says "it's not that terrifying."

I'll let you know how it turns out! : )


September 2, 2007

California here we come part 2

The other day I mentioned that our 16th wedding anniversary is coming up and it just happens to fall during our upcoming trip to CA.

When we realized that, we started saving up and planning to spend that night in the same hotel that we honeymooned in.

Because that would be so romantic!

But, we've changed our minds....

We'd rather use the money to do fun things with our kids on the trip. (It's beastly expensive to stay there now and not all the reviews I read were good)

And so, we are going to do something much cheaper and surely more daring and definitely not as romantic. We are going to place a bid on Priceline.com. Has anyone tried that? This will be our first time. You put in the location you want to stay, the star rating you want it to have and the amount you want to pay. If they take your offer, you get charged right away and then they tell you where you are staying. Sounds adventurous! We'll see how it goes....

I have no doubt that we will have a fun and romantic time anywhere we stay.

If we are feeling sentimental then....

We may drive by our honeymoon hotel....

We may even go inside and ride the glass elevator and look at the view of the city....

We may walk past our room and reminisce about the last time we were there...

And when we leave, we will be really glad that this time we are driving a rental car. Because it really is embarrassing to have a valet have to jump start your car before bringing it back to you. ; )

Bless his heart! I hope we gave him a good tip!

This picture was taken after the wedding as a joke, but it proved to be prophetic! Too funny!