Why Blog?

Who is this???



It’s me…taken one month before I got married. It was crazy hair day at the elementary school where I taught 4th grade. Yes, I have wire hangers in my hair, no it didn’t hurt, and yes I have very long hair. :)


I love this picture. It was Amy at her prime, having fun, enjoying the kids I taught and living life to its fullest. I smile every time I see it. Not that I am having a horrible in time in life now. It’s just changed some – I’ve been redefined.


I’m a mom.

I have mentioned before that my husband, Brandon, is a youth pastor. He took that position six months after we had been married. I then became a youth pastor’s wife. We LOVE young people. We hope to be youth pastors forever, if God wills. We are so fulfilled when working with teens- we feel at our best when surrounded in a youth service with several hundred students – encouraging them, worshipping God with them, and simply enjoying their company. Nothing is better in our opinions.


But lately, something has been frustrating me. You see, I’ve got these two precious kiddos, and they seem to have a mind of their own. Which means, I rarely get to attend an entire youth or Sunday morning services anymore, thanks to their loud shenanigans which put me in the hallway most of the service. I miss youth staff meetings on Sundays thanks to the ever important nap time. And I have to cancel my small group more than I would like thanks to random colds and sniffles that seem to infiltrate our home on a monthly basis. I find myself very annoyed by all of this. Even though I KNOW my kids are my ministry right now, I often feel useless, un-productive and more than anything – I feel out of touch.


In steps my blog.


I have always loved to write. I probably have way too much to say, but for some reason writing about my life, my struggles, my excitements…it brings me so much joy. I feel peaceful. I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s really therapeutic. In my blog I’m honest, brutally so. What you see is what you get with me. I’m not afraid to show you my hurts and fears, and even my spiritual battles. Yes, I’m a pastor’s wife, but no, I am not perfect. I am far from it. And I will be the first person to be honest about that.


But this weekend, I have been examining myself, my lifestyle and my hobbies. I want to be a godly woman. I want to be that Proverbs 31 and Titus 2:3-5 woman. In other words…I want to be a pastor’s wife that honors her husband and doesn’t say things {in the real world or the virtual world} that embarrass him or our family.


Sooo…..


Over the past couple of days I have spent quite a bit of time in prayer over this subject, wondering if I should continue with my blog as is, continue with less content or information about my family, or set my blog to private so only a select few people can read it.


But as I prayed, I thought of something. I have received about a half a dozen emails/phone calls from other moms who have thanked me for my honesty and have told me that they are “addicted” to my blog {they all used the same word, which is funny}. I realized then that God has placed this medium in my lap for a reason. At this point in my life, I may not be able to do as much as I would like with our young people, but I could write about my experiences with my children, who are my current ministry. I could be honest and share my struggles. I could maybe, through those struggles, help someone else. In a small way, this blog could be part of my ministry right now. I LOVE that!


So I have come to conclusions that, although I may in the future set my blog to private {where invited members only can read}, I will continue to write. I know that it is thought that minister’s wives should be quiet and inward, more private- but that’s not me, never has been. I am {at least I believe I am! :)} a godly woman, but I am honest about my life, and I hope if you can show me a little grace if you feel I should do otherwise.


As I stated here, my original intent for this blog was to keep a record of history for my kids. And it will still be that. But now, thanks to this epiphany I had the last couple of days, I will not be afraid to be honest about my life and struggles in hopes of helping someone else.

I am very interested in your thoughts on this…


And in closing, I will NOT apologize for the length haha. My friend SoShawna says I need to stop doing that. So I will. And she needs to update her blog, by the way. :)


xoxo

Five Years…

On Friday, November 6, Brandon and I have been married five years.

And what a wonderful five years they have been. Here we are goofing off with our wedding party. We had such a great time that day…

…And we haven’t stopped laughing since!

To celebrate our five year milestone, Brandon went all out. Really, he did. I was so surprised and blown away. He has been saving for months to take us to Carmel-By-The-Sea for an evening and a day of pampering. It was UNBELIEVABLE. I have no other words to describe it.

Our hotel, La Playa, is the only hotel off Ocean Ave that overlooks the ocean. He got us the best room that had ocean views. Just stunning. Then he ordered us 5 star meals that were served to our room and treated me to spa treatments on Saturday morning. He also gave me a little box engraved with our names and 5 year anniversary on it, with a clock and picture of us inside {5 years is wood and clocks gifts, FYI :) }.

The only bummer about the whole trip was :

Yes, that’s our beautiful girl Evelyn, who had to come with us or else stay at home and starve. And that’s pretty much where she planted herself most of the time since she refused to sleep through the night in a strange place. UGH. But other than that little bump in the road, the trip was fantastic.
Here we are in front of our hotel. This isn’t a great picture of us- we look a little plumped thanks to all the food we had been eating. And we were also very frustrated a very loud and obnoxious man who parked his Lexus right in front as we were taking this picture. Who cares if he turned out to be city counsel member?
Views from our window… I actually watched a wedding ceremony take place in the courtyard, which I was so excited about…it lasted 5 minutes, no joke. How in the world does a wedding last five minutes?? Anway, our view…
Us in the lobby. The hotel was orginially a mansion built by Christopher Jorgensen for his bride, the daughter of the Ghirardelli’s. The details were so beautiful! I love this picture. Only wish Jake was there, then I could have used it for Christmas cards…

Me and my girl. Must frame this one…

One very cool part about our trip was this house. This is the vacation home of my dad’s business partner, Al Landi, a very good family friend, who was also present at our wedding. My parents spent their honeymoon at this home.

If you have never been to Carmel, this candy shop epitomizes it. So quaint and storybook-ish. Brandon here chowing down on his ice cream.

We missed our little man! We brought him home a ginerbread man, complete with eyeballs, frosting pants and m&m buttons. He LOVED it. Here he is bitting off the arm, which he thought was so cool.

I love you, Babe! Thanks for such a beautiful anniversary. Looking forward to many, many more years together.

xoxo

Crazy Weekend…AGAIN?!?

Well, I guess I have another confession to make:

Our weekends are crazy. Insane. Really, really out of control.

Today, as I was sitting down to think of a title for this post, I realized I refer to our weekends as “crazy” on a weekly basis. But you know what? It’s the truth! The thought kept going through my mind…how in the world do we pack so much in two or three measly little days?? It’s amazing! When we were newly married with no kids, I remember spending all day Saturday in our PJ’s just doing nothing, eating, sleeping, reading, just hanging out. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the last weekend we were able to do that. :(

I would really love to know, am I the only person who feels like their weekends are constantly full?

ANYWAY, we are definitely a busy family!  This weekend, on top of Halloween on Saturday, the kids and I drove to Santa Rosa to be at Heidi’s baby shower on Sunday afternoon. It was so fun to be there and help prepare Heidi for baby Jude’s arrival. While Evy and I were at the shower, Jake went to Chuckie Cheese with Chad, Joshua, Emma Love, Uncle Kris, Gilbert Thompson, and Mikey. Jake came back saying the following:

“My dad is a mouse and my mom is a duck.” Thanks to Uncle Kris snapping a pic on his phone, apparently this is what he meant:

Too funny!

Here’s a couple of pictures from the shower….It was so hot and we were packed in a house with 60 people, so excuse our very tired appearance, but I LOVE Evy in these pictures!

Mindy on the left, her twins Isabella and Sophia {they are 4 months older than Evy}, me and Evelyn, and Heidi.

Me and my girl

My mom and Evy

We spent the night at Mumsy and Gramps on Sunday. This is Jake on my bedroom porch Monday morning. Aren’t the leaves in the Wine Country beautiful at this time of year?

And we were able to spend a few minutes with my sister and her kids on Monday. Here is Jake with cousin Brookie on the rope swing at my sisters. He’s wearing part of his Halloween costume which he hasn’t taken off for days, bless his heart.

In closing, last week I ordered the following from Canton Box Company. I was so excited. I had seen a larger print in the SF Shabby Chic store last year and wanted one so badly, but the price tag was just too high. Brandon complained over and over about spending the money on this one, and he is right- it was overpriced for a computer printout, but I just LOVE the quote. Here it is in my kitchen:

I placed right next to my “reminder that I can’t ask if I’m fat” lady and the beautiful plate my mom got me last time she was in Paris. It really sums up my life, I think. No matter how crazy and hectic my weekends get…gotta keep calm…and carry on!

xoxo

Halloween 2009 and Dinner in a Pumpkin

Sorry, this is going to be a long one! There were so many cute pictures of my kiddos, I had the hardest time weeding them out. SOOOO….Here are a few pictures of our Halloween Day. :)…

This year, Jake wanted to be a Knight, so getting his costume together was a BIG BIG deal. We found an Armor of God costume at the Christian Book Store and then Grandma made the tunic {In like 1 hr, so amazing!}.

Eveyln wore cousin Maddie’s costume from last year, which was a flower. The Evelyn rose is my favorite rose ever, so we called Evy “The Evelyn Rose”. Here are a few pictures of Evy’s first Halloween, and Jake’s fabulous costume.

Here he is getting dressed. One happy and excited boy…

And here he is doing his best knight impersonation…fighting on the left and riding his horse on the right.

And here’s Evy dressed up and waiting to go, watching all the action. Oh I just love her, my little miss smilely.

The knight and his princesses. Ava and Alayna Yandris on the left, and his cousin, Madison on the right. Typical boy, so not interested! Notice the very cool candy pouch that Grandma made to go with his costume.

Here we are at the family festival {on left}. Tried very, very hard to get a cousin picture, but no luck. We did a little better after the festival when we came home for pumpkin pie.

Brother and sister. The winning picture of the night. I adore these two, they make my life so happy.

Now on to “Dinner in a Pumpkin”, my mom’s special Halloween treat…..

The pictures below are of Saturday morning, cutting open our pumpkin for our dinner. Kids totally engrossed in the first picture, somewhat interested in the second, not really sure what’s going on and completely disgusted in the third. Couldn’t even get Jake to help clean it out, ha! Oh well.

Here’s the finish product. I realize it doesn’t look that great, but it actually tastes delicious and it is so much  fun to make! Grandpa {in his work clothes} loves it! The pumpkin cooks through, so when you serve it, you scoop big chunks of the pumpkin off the sides to mix in with the filling. Pair it with crusty garlic french bread- sooo yummy and such great memories!

Dinner in a Pumpkin

1 lb ground beef
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 onion, chopped
1 C. uncooked rice
4 Tb butter
1 tea. salt {add more to taste}
1/2 tea. pepper {add more to taste}
1/4 tea. crushed thyme
1 can of tomatoes, with liquid {I prefer chopped}
2 small cans of beef broth
1/2 C- 1 C. grated cheddar cheese

1 pumpkin, seeded and cleaned. {My pumpkin measured 12″ from top to bottom, not including stem}

Preheat oven to 350. Cook onions and garlic in butter on med heat until translucent. Add beef, cook until brown. Add rice and remaining ingredients, except cheese. Cook mixture over med – med/high heat until rice is done. Season with extra salt and pepper if needed. Pour mixture into cleaned pumpkin. Use tin foil for top {you will not cook the pumpkin top}. Cook for 1 1/2 hrs. Sprinkle cheese on top of mixture last 10 mins of cooking. Pumpkin should be soft, fork should prick easily through meat of pumpkin when tested.

I hope you enjoy this recipe and are able to use it with your own families! I have many memories of this dish as a child, I will never forget the first time my mom made it, I was dressed as a cheerleader! :)

Hope you had a safe and blessed weekend! xoxo