Celebrate Veteran’s Day with a Mommy with Twins

Ever feel like your arms are full with baby…full of love and full of things to do?  Well, my dear friend Leeana Tankersley (pictured with me above) knows that feeling well with energetic twins that will be turning 2 soon.

Leeana is a Navy wife and she has written an amazing book called Found Art:  Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places. In honor of Veteran’s Day, I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Found Art:

The war has asked an impossible amount from so many. It has asked us to relinquish husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers. It has asked us to sit and listen to the many voices who comment so knowingly on a life they have never experienced. It has asked us to come to terms with the costs associated with such an enormous cause, and for some, it has been an inestimable cost. Beyond all other burdens, the war has left us with the inordinate task of grieving the death of our youth. This is the most unnatural and incomprehensible grief to bear.

Where is God in such loss? Where is God while the world is splitting at the seams? I have shaken my fist at him a time or two and asked him what he could possibly be thinking.

I have watched young widows grieve, and such tragedy is just about the worst thing to witness in this world. I have seen soldiers, sailors, and Marines weep bitterly for the loss of their brothers and sisters in combat. I have shared a sidewalk with a young uniformed boy one week and read about his death the next I have sat in the stabbing fear of possible loss myself. But I have never stopped believing that God was there. I cannot perfectly reconcile the horrible injustice in this world with the love of God. I don’t have the right answer to such a dilemma that would, once and for all, quiet such questions.

Here’s what I do know: Despite their grief, I have watched young widows survive. Despite their anger, I have watched soldiers heal with time. Despite my fear, I trust again. These are the places where I see God. We are able to go on—not in the ways we might have if this war would have never happened, but we are able to love again and trust again and believe again and breathe again. That is God, for I know I am incapable of these mighty efforts on my own.

I have so few answers when it comes to the theology of war. Most days, I just feel full of sadness and then rage. I hate that our world is so terribly messed up, and it seems as though the innocent and the young are constantly paying the price. In the face of the world’s cruelties—and they are plenty and varied and ever upsetting—I will choose to hate the injustice. I will choose to look for God, even if he is hiding in the smallest fold or the slightest crease, because I know in the very deepest parts of me, undoubtedly, he is there.

The following excerpt was taken from Found Art: Discovering Beauty in Foreign Places (Zondervan) by Leeana Tankersley. Leeana is a Navy SEAL wife, and her book chronicles the year she and her husband lived in the Middle East during the war in Iraq. Follow Leeana at www.gypsyink.com.

Pumpkin Station with Baby Lucy

We had a great time at the local pumpkin station.  Lucy went on her first train ride – she seemed to like it :)

Camping in Kings Canyon National Park

Here’s my husband and the giant Grant Tree in the sequoias.  Walking through the groves was so beautiful.  We got there before the tourist bus which was a treat.  Kings Canyon National Park is a 6.5 hour drive from our house.  We left at about 3:30 am to beat the Los Angeles traffic.  The kids were so excited to be driving in the middle of the night surrounded by their pillows and blankets.  It was truly one of the highlights of the trip to have them giddy with excitement!

Camping is a great way to have an active and cheap vacation.  And the views don’t get much better!  Thankfully we stayed in a cabin which is my idea of roughing it (walking to the bathroom in the middle of the night in bear country).  We hiked around the Grant Groves, took a trail that was 9 miles round trip (we only made it 4 miles which is what I predicted), and walked up this steep staircase on Moro Rock for a spectacular view.  As you can see, this is not a hike if your kids are prone to wonder off!

One of the unexpected blessings was having a romantic time with my husband.  I didn’t really expect this since we were traveling with our kids and with dear family friends who have 4 kids.  But James and I held hands, whispered in each other ears, and kissed.  It was wonderful.  I left Kings Canyon with great memories, beautiful pictures, and a very grateful heart.

Our First Camping Trip

Did you grow up camping?

For me, the answer is definitely no.  My first camping trip EVER was when James and I were first married in 1999.  Let’s just say I cried a lot.  I’ve matured and toughened up a bit since then (thanks you dear), so I embarked on our first ever camping trip with the kids (ages 3 and 5) with a smile on my face.

The bad part: The mosquitoes were having a convention and we were the honored guests.  Our tent is pretty small (see above).  Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night is really a nuisance.

The good part: The kids had a blast.  We camped with friends and it was great to catch up.  Smores.  Fun hikes.

So overall, I give our camping trip to Palomar Mountain, CA a thumbs up.  Oh by the way, we left baby Lucy home with my parents which I think was a stroke of genius.  She was safe from the bugs, and I didn’t have to pack the kitchen sink.

Camping is a great memory maker for families.  And the way I look at it, hiking cancels out eating smores.

Back from Our Virginia Vacation

Hello friends!   We have returned from a week of vacation in beautiful, HOT Smithfield Virginia where my in-laws live.  My husband is the baby of 4 kids, so it’s quite a reunion when we all get together.

Here in San Diego, I’m wearing long sleeves and pants (it’s cool) but there…phew, we melted into a puddle!  It was the first time I ever saw baby Lucy sweat.  She had the rosiest cheeks and beads of sweat all over her face.  But being the trooper she is, she smiled through the whole thing.

We spent a lot of time in the swimming pool.  Lucy enjoyed her first swim and was styling – so cute!

I ate not-so-good…ice cream was a treat of choice in the heat.  My sis-in-laws homemade fudge-like brownies were incredible and my mom-in-laws blueberry cobbler – delicious!  Yes, I know this is a losing weight after baby blog, but these are some of the pleasures in life to indulge in (once in a while).

The good news is that I didn’t gain one pound.  I fully attribute it to the heat.  All the sweating paid off perhaps!

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

Our family had a great day beginning with church.  My husband talked to the youth group about taking risks for God, beginning with a story of caving in college and the faith it took to push off a rock he was clinging to in order to get to higher ground.  Does that sound familiar?  A lot of parenting is pushing off into the unknown isn’t it?

He did a great job speaking and then I got to substitute teach my daughter’s 3 year class which was a blast.  The kids were super cute.

This afternoon, we did burgers, salad, brownies and ice cream to celebrate dad’s day.  My kids painted ceramic cars as gifts (which they want to keep for themselves!).

Three cheers for dads!  Thank you to my sweetheart for making our home strong and fun!

Happy Easter!

HAPPY EASTER FROM MY LITTLE CHICK LUCY!

I was very happy when I asked my 5 year old, “What is Easter all about?” 

He didn’t say it was about candy.

He didn’t say it was about bunnies. 

He answered that Easter was about Jesus dying on the cross for our sins.  That it was about Jesus rising from the dead.  I’m glad he understands that Easter is a celebration of God’s love for us.  May the love of God fill your homes today!  

And remember…eat that Easter candy in moderation :)

Happy Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day today, but we’ve had lots of treats leading up to it already.  My son got lots of candy at school.  I let him choose a piece (he picked a lollipop) and then put the rest away.  Hopefully he’ll forget about it in time! 

Yesterday we went to 2 birthday parties.  The party for the one-year-old had homemade lemon cake with vanilla frosting (yes, it was good!).  The other party was for a 50-year-old and had a chocolate mousse cake with chocolate and white chocolate shavings on top (yes, that piece was good too!). 

Today we’re going out to Indian food with my family and tonight we’re taking the kids to a new ice cream parlour.  So much for losing weight this weekend!  I’m going to try my best to have small portions of everything :)

With all this partying, I’ll need to do some damage control next week.  Can you relate? 

Here’s an article about what to do with all that Valentine’s Day chocolate if you got some (I asked my husband not to buy me chocolate since you can see by my post, I’m not deprived this weekend!). 

Love to you and your family!  God loves you and so do I!

It’s Not too Late – Start Losing Weight January 1st!

Okay, you’ve eaten your Christmas dinner, maybe more pie than you should have, and your pants are feeling (super) tight. 

It’s time to get it together in January.  I’d love to help you for 31 days straight to get in the right frame of mind for losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle. 

After all, most Americans will make a New Years resolution to eat healthy and exercise in 2010, but how many will actually succeed? 

Do you want to be among the success stories?

If so, I know you’ll love my audio course Losing Weight After Baby: 31 Days to a New You.  Just listen 5 minutes a day in the month of January to get the results you want.  Learn more now.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and your family!  Our baby is usually very happy for pictures, but not for the Christmas photo.  Oh well – this is more realistic right?  :)

One starry night in Bethlehem, the light of the world came to earth, clothed in the beauty of a baby.  What a treasure!  What a strange and wonderful way for God to come to us.  Jesus came in human skin so that we could know Him.  May His love and peace fill your home today.

I’ll be journaling about my weight loss after baby #3 more after Christmas.  Suffice it to say, I’d be losing weight a lot faster if there was no such thing as chocolate. 

Merry Christmas!  Joy to the world!

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