Thursday, December 06, 2012

Bringing up Bébé Book Review

Just finished what I thought was a super-interesting read. I finally got to my turn in line at the library, so here goes!

Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French ParentingBringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think people who are all upset and think Druckerman is another fawning Francophile have actually not read her words. That said...

I very much enjoyed this book from a sociological perspective. The French are different from us. They have different ways of parenting, for better or for worse, that we can learn from, just as in any culture different from ours. It is actually very interesting and refreshing to realize the myriad ways that we raise our children that just seem "correct" that are actually simply cultural.

I personally think my child and I will benefit from the paradigm shift from "modifying behavior" and "punishment" ideas, to the "education" thought process that Druckerman shares. When you think about the fact that you are simply giving your child an education in how to live life and be a functioning person in society, it takes a lot of the anger out of discipline. I feel, as the author professed to be, more calm when I think about parenting and correction this way.

The way you raise your children is very, very personal, and people make different choices all the time. It just can't hurt to have a more global, informed perspective, in my view! I enjoyed this book for what it was, a study on French parenting...NOT a universal guidebook on parenting.

View all my reviews

Monday, December 03, 2012

Keeping Up

I've lived in quite a few places in my life. One year of elementary school, I moved schools five times. FIVE. In one year.

Luckily, by the grace of God, and not my oddly awkward people skills, I tended to make friends and acquaintances fairly easily. Maybe it was a coping mechanism so that I could just be a chameleon and blend in. Although that is kinda hard to do when you are the redheaded, freckled perpetual new girl.

Lakewood (CA), Long Beach (CA), Sydney (Aus.), Denver (CO). These are the places I have called my home, among others. These are places that hold a spot in my heart. But more than that, people reside in these places that I loved dearly, and now in addition to loving them, by virtue of distance, I get to miss them terribly, too.

Making friends might have been easy, but now keeping up with my beloved friends who are scattered all over the globe is quite the task. Thank God for Facebook, I don't care what anyone says to the contrary!

Now that I am a wife and mother and church-planter and ministry partner, keeping up with friends sometimes seems to fall by the wayside. I've got a best friend who lives an hour away whose due date is today. I miss her! I've got a fantastic sister in Christ who also lives an hour away and is pregnant and enjoying the wonders of the second trimester...less nausea, starting to show, and starting to pick out names! I miss her. I've got a best friend in Australia who just had her second little one and is about to spend a week away from her husband. I miss her. I've got friends who have recently moved away, family who live multiple states away, friends 10,000 miles away across oceans...the modern world allows for so much free movement that it is difficult to follow where everyone is or where they are going. But I do miss them.

My friends, far and wide, you are in my heart, my thoughts and when you come to mind, my prayers. We may not get to talk every day or even every week. BUT. You are all a part of my life, and I love you!

And many more... xoxo

Saturday, December 01, 2012


For most folks, the word advent is a strange one. Perhaps, if you scored well on the verbal portion of your SATs, you know that it means the beginning or start of something. Maybe, if you are a Christmas junkie, you know it because it describes the type of calendar you can buy that has little doors filled with chocolate for each day of December counting down to Christmas day.

For those of us residing in the Christian tradition, Advent means a season of waiting, not unlike Lent. We await and eagerly anticipate the arrival of the Messiah, the birth of the King of Kings in a dirty little manger. Sure, it happened 2,000 years ago, but we celebrate the event every year to remind ourselves of the coming of our Savior.

Advent is more than just waiting for the day we get to open our presents and eat yummy food with our family. It is the anticipation of celebration of the start of something altogether different: the seeming insanity of the incarnation, God becoming flesh in the form of a tiny, helpless child.

It begins today. It is the advent of Advent. And so, I wait...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

No Fail.

I read this blog post that my friend Katie shared from the Pregnant Chicken this morning and it made me smile. It's entitled Why You're Never Failing as a Mother, and it gives a lot of great insight into previous generations and how they reared children.

I've missed a few days here and there in my quest to blog every day in the month of November. I haven't beat myself up about it or tried to double post to make up for it or anything crazy like that. I just thought it would be fun to get going on this blog again and share some fun times and record memories of me and my family. And I think I have accomplished that.

However, I DO recognize that mommy blogging, baby book-keeping, Pinterest manifesting and gourmet baby food-making are all relatively modern concepts in parenting. As the Pregnant Chicken notes, it is only in our generation that parenting has been referred to as a skill. In generations past, sure you had six kids and no washing machine or dishwasher, but you could also just tell them all to go outside and run around with the neighbor kids all day and watch out for each other and that was a perfectly acceptable way to get your housework done. I'm not going to be able to do that in our downtown child would be playing with drunk homeless men and that's just not cool.

So, I don't feel a failure as a blogger or as a mother. My home is acceptable in decor and cleanliness. My husband seems happy and rarely complains. My son is bright, well-fed, social and happy. I recognize also that this isn't because of me and all that I have accomplished. I am loved and blessed by a great God. No matter what happens, He's got us. Ultimately, I can't fail.

 "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,for those who are called according to his purpose...What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be[i] against us?" - Romans 8:28, 31 ESV

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vicarious Consuming

It's really hard to be a parent at Christmas.
I don't really want a lot of stuff for myself. I'm pretty happy and content, actually.
It is this strange urge I have to buy my child the coolest toys, that I of course would have loved to have myself at his age.
Why does my mild snubbing of consumer culture get completely pushed to the side when it comes to shopping for my child?!
Such a strange phenomenon.
Especially when my kid is happy reading the trillions of books he already has, playing with the boxes that stuff comes in, stacking cans of food from the pantry, and running around outside.
Also, wearing plastic dollar store buckets on his head and twirling around in circles until he falls down.
Oh, my heart...

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Today I got to play a worship set with my buddy Erin. She's very cool: she sings and plays the djembe (and a mean shaker egg)! We got to practice all week and harmonize and praise the Lord together for the rest of the congregation. It was awesome.

Then, I got to have lunch with some downtown friends. Since it was so chilly and damp, I wasn't the only one thinking it was time for some PHO! So we got together at San Pedro Square Market with five our lunch-lovin' friends and watched a little football and shared some laughs.

Tonight, we were able to have dinner with some intrepid friends of ours who are currently traveling the globe. My husband was the one to perform their wedding ceremony this past August on top of a mountain in Colorado. The couple have been home for less than a month since then!! Crazy kids. But I'm so glad we caught them on their way around. Tom and Beth are awesome together, and I cannot wait to meet their precious babies...whenever they decide to make some! I do know that they are both great with my baby, and he managed to sit still (somewhat) for nearly two hours while we visited, with minimal fussy outbursts.

A few days ago I commented how hard it is to make friends as adults. Now I'm looking around and thinking...hmm...I still manage to have a bunch of people whom I love and who at least tolerate my presence. (har har). That's the grace of God, right there. 

Love you guys!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Little Things vs Small Stuff

"It's the little things..."
"Don't sweat the small stuff!"

I find this juxtaposition a little funny! We're supposed to look around, pay attention and be ever grateful for the "little things" that make life worth living. Then again, we're told not to sweat the "small stuff", and apparently, it's all small stuff.

Don't get me wrong, I understand the difference.

The little things are exactly what make everyday, mundane life so special: my son learning to make car noises with his toys or learning to spin around and make himself dizzy; my husband making breakfast for us every weekend; small kisses throughout the day from both him and my baby boy; church family; great California weather; the atmosphere of the impending holiday season. Little things.

Small stuff is just that: stuff. Will this "thing" that seems so big and stressful to me in this moment matter to anyone in 5 years? 10 years? At any point down the road? Probably not. So I shouldn't sweat this stuff and make a big deal out of things that really don't matter.

The interesting part is differentiating between what little things really will matter, and what the small stuff is there to teach me. That is the game of life, I suppose.

For the moment, I am simply thankful. Grateful for the little boy sleeping in the living room of our little one bedroom Victorian walk-up. Contented with the sound of my husband typing away nearby on his sermon for tomorrow. Smiling at the thought that I (God willing) get to rise tomorrow and worship my Creator another day.

Little things. Small stuff.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Pics

We knew we were going to Monterey. We knew were eating at the Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa. We knew it would be a buffet.

We did NOT know we would get our own private waterfront room with fireplace and two waiters waiting on us. Magic. So thankful.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


This is a catch-up post since I again missed a day. Trying to do this at holiday time is hard!

Last night we had a sort of "Friendsgiving", as I have heard it called. We got to host and hang out with our lovely friends and eat tacos made by my loving hubs and drink strawberry basil margaritas lovingly stirred by yours truly! So much love. We laughed and cried. Okay, it was just me crying at some YouTube video because I was laughing so hard my eyes started to burn a little!

I am so thankful for friends. It's really difficult and kind of awkward to make friends as an adult, and being a pastor and pastor's wife sort of adds to the awkward element in some ways. So the fact that we have folks to call friends and to have in our house and who see us in our pajamas and wrangling our kid and with dirty kitchen is nice. My heart is full.

Before any of that happened yesterday evening, though, the babe and I went out on the town and I caught a few snaps.

Every year, Christmas in the Park comes to San Jose, along with (somewhat inexplicably) a bunch of carnival rides that used to reside at Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Calvin thought he would really love to ride the rides, and tried to break into one. Apparently he managed to open one of the entrance doors that hadn't been properly zip-tied closed...he was pretty mad at me for thwarting his plan. Oops.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Missed another day! D'oh! My computer lives on our desk in our room, and last night we had friends over for Monday Night Football. Therefore, since we only have one bedroom in our apartment, the baby slept in our room, and I wasn't able to get my hands on the computer to write a blog.

But enough excuses!

Besides Monday Night Football last night (GO NINERS!), Calvin and I had a meet and greet with some prospective customers. A group of moms in Palo Alto are looking for someone to come and teach a music class to their toddlers and I e-mailed them last week to sort of "apply". I've worked at Gymboree in the past, teaching music to toddlers. I've sung professionally in a band. I've taught private music lessons. I have a toddler of my own now. I am fairly qualified to do what they are asking!

So we went to meet this group of moms and kids and they were so delightful. I taught a truncated version of a class and the kids seemed to love it. Calvin got to come along with me and have class, which he thought was just great. Possibly not that different from our average afternoon at home, but it is good for him to be with other kiddos his own age.

Anyway, some extra money, socialization, and MUSIC!! Always music. And bubbles.

I am pretty sure that they have all agreed to the price I set and we are now just trying to coordinate schedules. But I think I got the gig! Yay.

Here are some snaps I took of the babe as we were half an hour early to our meet and greet.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

La Nueva Vida

"You don't need a better life! You need a new one!" - Jason Helveston

I heard a great sermon today! I laughed, I cried, I was (hopefully) changed for the better. I was reminded that I don't need a better life. The Bible teaches that I was dead in my old life. You can't make a dead body better, so it is useless to try and fix up the "old me". I don't need a better life. I don't need my "best life now", or "the secret", or even an "Aha! moment". I needed a new LIFE! And I've got new life in Christ. I won't re-preach the sermon, don't worry, but this is a real thing going on in my life, and since the blog is called "The Daily Christian", you can't be too surprised!

Anyway, although I am constantly humbled and reminded what a horrible sinner I am, I am very grateful for good friends, a wonderful church body, and our great, great God.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Just Another Day in Paradise

A true Saturday off seems to be just what the doctor ordered for this family.

We got to eat lunch out on the town (I had a coupon...I know, we are ballers...). Calvin was complimented by a total stranger for eating all the healthy stuff and veggies on his plate. Proud mama right here!

Then, a little shopping around. We visited the pet store so the baby could run around and look at animals for awhile. He seemed rather attracted to the fish, mostly.

Bought a few gifts for the upcoming holidays, including a 17 lb turkey for one of the families at Kids Club that Dwell Christian Church is participating in at Grant Elementary. Hope they know how to cook that giant thing...

Now, both of my boys are taking an afternoon snooze while I chat to some friends and contemplate my next snack. 

It was a good day...and it isn't even over yet! 


I'm feeling very thankful this evening for many things: friends, yarn, family, music, candy, wine, husbands, babies, and LEGO! Yes, Legos and blocks are really big now at our house, even if it is just Chris and I who are most interested in building with them, while Calvin is more interested in knocking stuff down.

I think at this point in time Lego reveals much about the personality of each person in our house. Obviously, Calvin is in Destructo-Baby phase, so he likes knocking things down. Chris, the engineer, spends his time building sensible, symmetrical structures, and the occasional Star Wars character.

Meanwhile, I myself am into creating zany, Suess-like buildings that would make no sense or have any real use in normal life. 

Then again, sometimes my Type A personality shines through and I just have to categorize everything by color. Just because. Although, they are still in interesting shapes instead of just stacks...

Anyway, enough about Legos. 

Calvin got a visit from his great grandparents today, and although he was initially tentative (he hasn't seen them in four months...and when you're 16 months old, that's a long time!), he warmed very quickly and was soon reaching for Nana and dancing with Grandpa. Too fun. So thankful my grandparents can be a part of my son's life! What a blessing is family. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Little Baby

My sister just had her third baby this morning via C-section at a mere 33 weeks into her pregnancy. Little Davis Ryan Burge is only 4 lbs, but both baby and mama seem to be doing well.

It was pretty scary for me to think about my nephew being born so early...I thought about tubes and incubators and the NICU and him not being able to breast feed or see his mama right away after being born, and my heart just cracked a little. And all I could do from several states over was pray and check my phone obsessively until I went to bed.

Life is so precious and so fragile. But the God I serve is so big, so in control, so sovereign over everything that it is actually tough for me to worry these days. What a gift. I know it will be alright in the end. If it isn't alright, it isn't the end!

So I continue to pray for Davis and leave him and his mama right where they belong: in the hands of our heavenly Father.

Welcome to the world, little one. I know the outside is bright, cold and loud. But trust me, everything is going to be alright.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Maybe this is the mid-month slump...or maybe I just had a nice, normal, unremarkable day? 

A great time of reading the Bible this morning...after an embarrassingly long hiatus from that practice. 

A wonderful time of visiting with a lovely friend...after an embarrassingly long time of not seeing her. 

A music teaching job interview/audition, a trip to the library for story time, continuing knitting a sweater for charity while watching TV episodes on my laptop after I put the baby to bed, and now catching up with my husband after he had a 12 hour day away from home. 

Then there's the profound words, no photos to prove anything. 

Slump...or maybe just life being lived? I dunno. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Ode to Mama

This is my shout out to my mama-san on her birthday. She's such a beautiful lady, inside and out.
She had me fairly young, so we've spent our lives together...

...and we all knew the day would come when people would start mistaking us for sisters...

...even though she is old enough to be my baby's Yaya!

So blessed. I love you mama! It's been a great ride and here's hoping for many more years. 


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Thank you.

I want to say today that yes, I DO know that Veteran's Day means so much more than a giant 50% off  sale at Savers every year. This year, I just want to say thank you to those men and women who have fought and returned home, and to those still serving in our military.

The topic of veterans hits me anew this year, as I have been praying for Airman Bryce Powers, the son of a lady who used to attend Dwell Christian Church back when it was Willow Glen Baptist Church. Her son was in a very bad car wreck in Japan and is still in a semi-comatose state. I've been following her updates as she bares her heart in relation to her precious son, who is only 20 years old. I look at my own son with new eyes and hug him tighter every night.

It might be a cliche, but freedom isn't free. No matter what you think about the military, foreign wars, or any Presidential administration, it doesn't change the fact that there are individuals who put aside their own comfort and safety every day for the sake of millions of people they've never even met. That's more than I can say for myself, anyway!

So, thank you veterans! I'm so glad you made it home.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like...

CHRISTMAS!! But maybe that isn't politically correct. Or maybe you just aren't ready for it yet.
But's that time of year again. I know I can't be the only one who is already thinking of gifts and shopping deals and trying to get a head start on things.

I've already gotten gifts for my mom, mama-in-law, all the sisters (3), all their kids (4), and one of my grandmas. They are an amalgamation of homemade gifts, self-designed gifts, and store bought stuff. I really like to get most of my shopping done early so when December actually comes, I can focus on the season of Advent and the true meaning of the holy day we celebrate on the 25th. No cluttering my mind with shopping lists and horrible, death-defying mall trips!

There is something that I did want to share with any faithful, frugal readers I may have on this blog, and that is this: ArtsCow. You can thank me later. Or hate me forever because you'll never, ever stop ordering things. I'll even give you an amazing coupon code right now, ready? It's for 25% off site-wide and free shipping WORLDWIDE!! (They are based in Hong Kong, I think...) Just enter coupon code: 25OFFTHINGS. It expires 11/26, so hurry on in. They're not even paying me to say any of this...I just really like their stuff and it seems like there is just something for everyone!

Anyway, enough of the stuff-mongering. I'll be quiet about Christmas now until Thanksgiving is over, at least.

On a different note, my baby turned 16 months old today. *sniffle*

Friday, November 09, 2012

Yes, I Can!

So when I was nine months pregnant and publicly moaning and groaning about just being done already, I heard all these people talking about "savoring your last moments alone". A friend of mine even told me, "You'll never get to pee in peace again!" I thought she was exaggerating, I really did. ''

Then, I had a kid of my own. Now I know that the bathroom thing is all too true. Apparently I am not allowed to be out of my child's sight for more than three seconds at a time without him having a small panic attack in the form of loud cries and tears. To top it all off, our bathroom door in our apartment doesn't close properly, so I literally have to stick my foot out to block the door if I don't want small, uninvited guests to intrude on what really should be alone time!

I find myself saying, "You know what? Mommy is allowed to pee in peace! I am allowed to have two minutes to myself!"

Which makes me laugh when I hear myself defiantly declaring this to a 16 month old child.

But it got me thinking of what other concessions I make for myself to stay sane. I hope I'm not the only one who believes that Mommy is allowed to do some or all of the following on a fairly regular basis:

- eat an extra helping of dinner because I'm technically still breastfeeding!
- add spiced rum to my apple cider as "dessert"!
- have an extra cup of half-caf coffee in the middle of the afternoon to keep from falling asleep while playing with baby toys on the floor!
- take a shower at least every two days (okay, maybe make that three)!
- to forsake chores once in awhile and instead watch Netflix while my baby is napping!
- to eat all of his Halloween candy...he's too young for it anyway!
- put him to bed 15 minutes early because I'm just all done, and I can!
and yes, even to pee by myself. Or at least with the door closed while my baby screams on the other side.

Yes, I can!

And I can love my baby like crazy through all the madness of my day.

Yes. I can!