Summer Break, sort of

Dear reader,

We realized today that, between us, we will be legitimately busy this summer. We therefore won’t have the time to visit you on here quite as often as we have been. Discussing it amongst ourselves, we’ve determined to post once a week, on Mondays. If we find ourselves full of vim and vigor, and just bursting to post, you may find an extra on a Wednesday or Friday, but we can only promise Mondays. We plan to return to our regularly scheduled programming in September.

In the meantime, here’s a picture of a flower from the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

Botanical Garden 1


Giving Tours

Dear Erin,

Ugh! I mean, what fun! I hope you can get it repaired and don’t have to buy a whole new oven. But this must be a quick fix because your family and the high schoolers must not be deprived of cupcakes. Cupcakes are a necessity of life.

So Mom and Dad are here, but I’m pretty sure you knew that. Mom’s been here a little over a week, and we spent a few days seeing some of the sights.

The redwoods, in Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.


Santa Cruz:


That’s the boardwalk in the background. Admittedly, it was a warm day, but the people in the water are still crazy.

San Juan Bautista, where you and I went last year.

The flower, the one not on a cactus, is called a passion flower, and it has a long, involved rationale for exactly how it’s representative of Christ’s life, ministry, passion and death, and resurrection. Seems a bit overwrought to me, but it’s an impressive flower, and the over-complication is consistent with its showiness.

And San Francisco.


This is the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. We’re going back today with Dad, to see some other gardens. Mom and I kept getting stuck behind a tour guide. We would deliberately choose a path going in the opposite direction from him, and we would still end up running into him and his group. I was amused, though, by hearing him point out a statue that had been a gift from a children’s group in Japan. After telling its origin and purpose, he dropped off the prepared script by revealing that whenever the City received something it didn’t know what to do with, and if it looked even remotely Asian, they sent it over to the Japanese Tea Garden.

Dad came very late Thursday night, and he’s been kept quite busy ever since then. Friday, he and I spent the afternoon turning the backyard from this:

into this:

Saturday was our open house, and in nearly 14 years of marriage we’ve never had such a full house. So it was a busy week last week. And I know you’ll be having a busy week this week, but I’m sure it will be both lots of fun and spiritually amazing. I can’t wait to hear about it.

Broken. Or Breaking. Take your pick.

Dear Kristen,

I love the office!  It looks perfect for getting things done; and its red, which is the most important thing, really.

You know how things (very general, I know) come with directions?  Like furniture, toys, etc.?  I’m sure even your red paint came with directions.  Well, I’ve found that some of these are redundant and/or unnecessary. For example, why do you need a specific direction to put the cover to a toy’s batteries back where you found it?  Isn’t that common sense?  It seems a waste of typing to me, though I’m sure there is probably someone out there who needed the reminder.  Heck!  I’ve probably needed the reminder on occasion.

There’s a direction in cooking that I ignore 87% of the time.

Direction: Preheat oven to such and such degrees.

Why do I need to do that?  Logically, I know why the cooking experts say to do this, but for what I stick in the oven 87% of the time, its really not all that necessary.  What’s the other 13%, you ask? Cupcakes.  I ALWAYS preheat for cupcakes.  And bread.

But for the most part, the amount of time it takes to preheat ≠ the 2-5 minutes I will add on to something cooking when I don’t follow this direction.  So, see?  Time saved! (And probably a little energy, too.  I’m so green.)

So this week, I stuck something in the oven without letting it preheat.  Duh. Nothing special, just some refrigerated crescents.  They take 10 minutes to bake.  Put them in, set timer, walk away.  Timer goes off.  Not done.  Set timer for customary extra 2 minutes.  Timer goes off. Still not done.  Actually, they’re not even close to being done.  Odd.  Repeat process.

Repeat again.

25 minutes total have passed.  Still. Not. Done.

Look at oven and frown.  Shake my fist in anger.  Have an epiphany.  This is not “user error” where I should have just followed directions.  This is straight up oven error.  Malfunction, glitch, breakdown, whatever.  The oven is breaking.  More specifically, the coil on the bottom of the oven is breaking.



Well, just when you think you’ve finally finished the kitchen, the kitchen says, “Nope, I need a new ‘do.’  And by ‘do,’ I mean oven.  Get on that already, Erin.”


Dear Erin,

Hey, “belated” is better than “skipped,” which is what I did last week! Your daughter is hilarious. It’s so fun what she’s starting to be able to do. I can’t wait to see her in a couple of months.

Mom and I are having a good time seeing the sights, and I’ll post about that next week. But I’m very excited about something else she’s helped me with: finishing the office! Do you want to see the progress?

1. This should look familiar.


It’s the corner of two of the walls in the office, up at the ceiling. You can see the three colors we had to cover.

2. This is how the room looked beforehand, looking through the doorway inside.


3. This is after three coats of paint + primer, which is what it took to make the high contrast between the blue and the white disappear. My good friend Jenny helped me enormously, but the painting still took about two and a half days.

office2Nice color, though, right?

4. Charles and I moved the other important furniture in.


There are four bookcases, and they fit perfectly! Yay!

5. Moving the books in.


6. And more books.


7. And finally, cleaning off the desk.


And it’s done! So now I have no excuse not to work. Which is not to say that I will not start looking around for some new ones… But I’m so happy with my red office, with all the books and my lovely desk. It’s just perfect.


Dear Kristen,

I got through most of the day yesterday before I realized I hadn’t posted!  Oh, geez.  And by that time I was too tied up with other things to stop and do so.  Sorry!!

Did I tell you some of the Munchkin’s newest forays into the toddler-world? Her vocabulary is ever increasing, though her articulation…..?  Let’s just say that “frog” needs some work. But her favorite phrase is, “What’s that?”  It’s my constant companion during the day.  Well, that and, “Oh, no!”  Matt is trying to teach her, “Oh, Mom,” with a little bit of sass, which makes me laugh.

We’ve given her a chore – feeding the dog.  She thinks its AWESOME and gets really worried if she spills some of the food on the floor, missing the bowl.  She tries to pick them up and put them back in the bowl before Gibbs finishes.

So I’ve compiled the top 10 new Munchkin quirks:

  1. Trying to eat what’s on my plate, not hers, though its the same thing.
  2. Only drinking water from a regular cup with a straw.
  3. Refusing to get out of bed until she’s read about four books (sounds like someone else I know).
  4. Asking to “dance” which means I dance and she watches.  (She doesn’t dance and I feel a little foolish.)
  5. Referring to trains as “trucks,” or trying to.
  6. Drawing on herself with magic markers, preferring red which makes it look like she’s bleeding.
  7. Occasionally saying, “Oh, no!” when she’s filled up a diaper….occasionally is a start!
  8. Carrying around the inside bucket of her training potty (clean, promise) and dipping it into Gibbs’ water bowl.
  9. Thinking that if people are laughing around her, she has caused it and must therefore laugh her loud fake laugh to get them to laugh more.
  10. Bouncing – on the couch and falling off or while walking and looking more like someone imitating a turkey in the process.