Baby Makes Four

We have some really fun news to share. We're going to have a baby! We had our first ultrasound this morning and I am 9 weeks along. The "official" due date is December 31--so get ready for our New Year's baby! Maybe the first baby of 2009! Everything looked great on the ultrasound--there is only one baby, it's growing in the right spot, it's the right size, and we could see the heart just pumping away.

We have known for over a month now and have slowly been telling family (we got to tell Joe's mom in person when she visited a few weeks ago!) and close friends. I guess that this blog posting makes it fair "public" knowledge!

The above picture is Rowan's interpretation of our growing family. Joe is blue (with ears below his arms...unless that's supposed to be under-arm hair), Rowan is green (with a rather long arm and left fingers), and I am the red one with an alien looking creature on my chin (which I'm sure she intended to be the uterus). You can also see Rowan's attempt at spelling her name...she gets all the letters (W is upside down here)...and actually writes them in the correct sequence, she just hasn't caught on to the importance of letters being in a straight, left to right line!

I am really excited to do this pregnancy thing again. Rowan's pregnancy was a surprise, and while I had always looked forward to having children...it took some getting used to in the early weeks. With this one, I've wanted to be pregnant for awhile...so we feel especially grateful and celebrative about it. When we took a pregnancy test and found out we were pregnant with Rowan, Joe claims he had to hold down a "holy $@&#" because he knew it would be the wrong thing to say at that moment! With this positive pregnancy test, there was nothing but joy and happiness. Because I've done this once before, I'm trying to let go of any expectations or preconceived notions I may have about pregnancy, birth, and raising a child...and just let myself and my body experience this as it unfolds, in all its differences, beauty, and mystery. I almost kissed the nurse on the lips today when she said she was having trouble finding my uterus because of my abdominal muscles--I feel like I'm already starting to "show" and seems like my belly looks like it did at about 4 months with Rowan. Like I said, I'm letting go of any preconceived notions...

Praise God for the blessing of life!


Live Lightly Tour Take 2

In September, we got to meet Matt, Sara, and Bella Janssen and their Live Lightly Tour when we were still in Grand Rapids (blogged here). The Janssens have been touring the entire United States...went down the East coast, Florida, across the southern states and through Texas, to southern California and made it up to central California last week. They have been traveling in their veggie-oil powered RV and teaching people about sustainable living. You can read all about their journey (and see the stories through Sara's amazing photos) at their blog here.

We knew back in the fall that we'd probably meet up again when they got to California--who knew then all the experiences and life changes we would both have! We're no longer living in an RV...they are trying to decide what to do next after their tour is done. They went from a vegan diet to a raw diet...Matt lost 40 pounds!
Matt and Sara arrived last week Wed. afternoon...we talked, had a yummy raw dinner, visited with the roommates. Thursday we went to the Stockton Children's museum, then visited the building (what we call the training facility out at the Port of Stockton!). Rowan and Bella (who is 4) had a good time catching up, wearing princess clothes, and negotiating their dual type A personalities. Rowan and I took care of Bella on Thursday night so Matt and Sara could have a date night. A big bubble bath and the movie "Enchanted" later, and they were two happy campers. On Friday morning Sara made me a yummy green smoothie..which tastes infinitely better than it may look or sound...and the girls did a lot more playing. The Janssens left on Friday afternoon to visit some folks and do a demonstration on Saturday in Sacramento....then returned on Sunday night to spend a few more nights with us (and see Joe who had by now returned from Missouri) before continuing their journey. It was fun to have a playmate around for Rowan. On Monday I took the girls to Pixie Woods (forgot the memory card for the camera--duh!) and they had a fabulous time. Bella wanted to wear some of Rowan's clothes that day...and they are almost exactly the same size, their hair is the same color...and they wore outfits that almost matched each other, including hats. I realized at the park that people must have assumed they were twins.

The Janssens left on Tuesday afternoon to continue north. Wherever we land and wherever they land in the coming years, I'm sure our paths will cross again!

Click here to see some pictures of our time together.

Random Things

I wanted to post a few random photos and give a few random updates....so this is a catch-all post. Joe competed in a decathlon last week in Missouri, hoping to get the qualifier he needs for the Trials. Day 1 went okay, then Day 2 was delayed because of thunderstorms...and the weather never really cooperated...and ultimately it was impossible to get the score he needed after Day 2. So now he is going to compete at a meet in Texas on June 7-8. The pressure is definitely on!

Rowan and I had a great visit from my friend Edye and her daughter Ellyn last week. Edye is a good friend from college and it has been a huge blessing for me to have someone close-by (she lives in Sacramento) that I feel known by! Rowan loves to play with "Baby Ellyn" and luckily Ellyn is a sweet, agreeable child.I've been feeling stir-crazy lately because the weather has been so hot that we've barely gone outside. And I'm not familiar enough with the area yet to have regular outdoor places that I can fall back on....being a delta region, you actually have to seek out wooded areas. I know, I know...we're only a little over an hour from the mountains AND the ocean...but in reality, how often do we get to those places? I need to be outside..I mean REALLY outside, not just a neighborhood park or walk around the block....more than once a month. And I was feeling the lack of it. So we found a park 20 minutes away and took a long hike on Saturday. It was simple, but wonderful. To see just a few more photos of Ellyn and the hike, click here.


Nana's Visit

Joe's mom, or Nana to Rowan, came to visit for the long weekend. We picked her up in Sacramento on Thursday and I returned her to the airport this morning.

We spent some time in Sacramento on Thursday afternoon, then went out to dinner in Stockton at one of our favorite places, CoCoRo. On Friday Rowan and I showed her around Stockton, went to the Children's Museum, and visited the training facility out at the Port.

On Saturday I had to shoot a wedding about an hour away and Joe attended the Modesto Relays. So Nana and Rowan spent the whole day together...a pleasure for both. I had a long day of shooting (gone from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm!) and Joe had a long day at the track...so we were very thankful for Joe's mom being here and taking over childcare! It's such a blessing to leave you child with someone you not only trust entirely, but also know are going to have a mutually good time!

It was especially nice to have family here for Mother's Day. We went to church, ate a quick lunch, then spent the afternoon at this fabulous park in Stockton called Pixie Woods. It was a perfect, sunny, 75 degree day. We ate a yummy lasagna dinner (my favorite) and enjoyed most of Cars on a roommates' Blue Ray player. Not a bad day!

Monday we did a little shopping (Nana treated Rowan to a new swimsuit and some new hats), then Joe and I got to have a date and go out to dinner! That's always a special treat!

Nana made a really beautiful dress for Rowan...pretty blue fabric, twirly skirt like Rowan adores. I love the dress, and so did Rowan. Problem is, Rowan has become hyper-sensitive to how things feel...and while she loved the dress, the way it tied in the back bothered her. Fortunately, Nana got to see over the weekend how sensitive Rowan is to clothing, shoes, socks, and stuff on her hair. Hence the hats. She used to wear ponytails, then decided they didn't feel right. So then it's been barrettes...but lately she is protesting those, too. Her hair gets a bit wild with nothing to hold it back...so every morning I've been giving her a choice: barrettes or a hat. She's been going with the hat most days. Socks are always a hassle in the morning--the seam has to fit just right over her toes or she freaks out. I have about 1o pairs of shoes for her (because I keep trying to find ones that will work)..but she'll only wear 2. I made her try on the swimming suits before we bought one, because I'm learning. She picked one out that she clearly loved (pink with yellow flowers, my girly girl)....but when it was on, she didn't like it. She was conflicted in the dressing room, and summed it up quite well: "I really like this bathing suit, but it just doesn't feel right."

Nana took the dress home with her and is going to alter the back to see if it will suit Rowan's comfort. I can't wait for her to wear it...and I'll post a picture then!

To see more photos of the weekend, click here.


Asparagus Festival

The Asparagus Festival is a huge celebration in Stockton every April. The 3 day event attracts around 100,000 people from all over California. In addition to lots of food made with asparagus, music, vendors, art, a farmer's market, and street performers, this year they also held a street vault competition. They basically set up a pole vault runway and pit right in the middle of a city street and have a really fun, energetic competition where spectators can get really close to the action. The festival was actually on April 25-27, but it took me awhile to blog about it. Joe didn't jump because he was trying to recover from his hammy injury, but we were there each of the three days (it was HOT!)...and had a lot of fun not only watching all the great vaulting, but also exploring the rest of the festival. I love community events like this. I love people watching and seeing all the sights.

One of the main attractions at the festival is the deep fried asparagus. I tried some...and it was unbelievably good. I don't think I've ever seen such thick asparagus. As it turns out, the United Way in Stockton is in charge of the fried asparagus...it's one of their main fund-raisers every year. We have gotten to know the director of the UW, Andy Procop. He has been a big supporter of Tri-Valley Athletics and helped us with several fund-raisers. He knew that our cars run on veggie oil, plus Tye converted his truck to veggie, and another vaulter named Tommy is in the process of converting his vehicle to veggie. Andy told us that they used close to 1,500 gallons of veggie oil over the 3 day festival to fry all the asparagus...and that we could have it! Wow! Talk about the Mother Lode of veggie oil. Tommy has a 1,000 gallon container (pictured) plus we brought a few 275 gallon containers...and ended up with about 1,300 gallons when all was said and done. Joe and I have really had enough oil...never struggled to find it when we needed it. We'll probably use a little of the Asparagus Festival oil, but leave most of it for Tye and Tommy as they start their veggie oil journies. Yeah for deep-fried asparagus!

To see a bunch more photos of the asparagus festival (lots of pole vaulting!) click here


Claremont Details and Photos

Here are a few random details about the week in L.A:

-on Tuesday (we left Wed), we got the truck back! We had been going around and around with the mechanic because there was a bent push rod, they wanted to replace the WHOLE engine ($5-6,000)...we talked to lots of people, decided to have them just change the push rod and see what happened. They made a big deal of saying there were no guarantees, the truck might not go, etc. We picked it up, it seemed to be running fine, but we weren't sure it would make it to LA. So we decided to take the truck AND the mercedes down to LA...figured that it would be a good way to test out the truck....with the security of another vehicle just in case. We figured that with 2 semi-reliable cars, surely at least ONE would get us there! And you better believe we signed up with AAA before we left, too! We made it there and back in both cars. Incidentally, we filled both cars before we left and never had to put veggie oil in either car the whole trip...almost 6 hours there and back. Crazy!
-Joe used to compete with a guy named Chad Smith. He was a really good decathlete...scored 8133. He retired several years back...and now works as the strength and conditioning coach for the LA Kings. He and Joe have remained good friends...and Chad decided to come out of retirement and do the decathlon with Joe just for fun! He ended up pulling a muscle during the long jump...but he toughed out the shot and high jump, then called it. He hung around and helped Joe catch marks and offered his knowledgeable eye throughout both days of the decathlon. It was awesome to have him around for the whole competition!

-my good friend from Jonesboro, Kim Shumpert, and her husband Brad, were in Malibu last weekend to present at a conference at Pepperdine. They drove out to Claremont for the second part of Day 1, then treated us to dinner before they had to head back to Malibu for an evening session. Kim is my boss at Paces, who I still write grants for/with. Kim and I are also kindred spirits! It was so much fun to see them!

-Another dear friend, Jenny, lives in LA with her husband Mick. Jenny cooked us a delicious brunch (sticky buns, bacon, quiche, fruit!) on Sunday morning and we enjoyed visiting with them. They are having their first child at the end of June, so it was especially fun to see Jenny pregnant! Mick and Jenny are both super creative and always provide engaging conversation. My only regret is that I forgot to take a single photo at their house.

-After brunch, we went to the beach in Santa Monica. It wasn't super warm, but it was sunny...and there is just something about the beach that calms my spirit. We had a relaxing evening Sunday night, then drove back up to Stockton today.

-Joe still has to figure out a plan for his next meet. There is a "last chance" decathlon in Texas during the first part of June...so basically he has to decide whether to just do that one, or try to squeeze another one in during May (there are not many to chose from). We'll let you know!

To see a bunch of photos of the meet (and a few other misc weekend pics) click here.


Claremont Decathlon Day 2

To see a complete list of results, click here.

The good news: Joe's body held together and he was able to finish the entire decathlon without injury!

The results:
110 Hurdles: 15.12 s 835 points
Discus: 43.91 or 144'1" 744 points
Pole Vault: 4.80 or 15'9" 849 points
Javelin: 57.64 or 189'1" 702 points
1500 meters: 5:19 452 points

Total after Day 2: 7356

The bummer news: Joe will have to do another decathlon to get a qualifier for the Trials. We thought that the B standard, 7600 points, would be good enough for the Trials...but when we looked at the status of entries last night, we saw that it would take a significantly higher score..like at least 7750. You may have noticed that the 1500 was pretty slow...or at least that the point total was low for that event, and you'd be right. Joe is quite capable of running 4:40 or below in the 1500...but going into that event, we had already calculated that it would be virtually impossible for him to get a high enough score (7750) to qualify for the Trials....so he basically just jogged the 1500 to finish the meet (I wish I could "jog" a mile in 5 minutes!)

So now the task is to remain healthy and to find another meet! Joe definitely got a picture of what he still needs to work on, and what things are coming along. I have a bunch of photos to download and look at...hopefully I'll post some of those soon.

We'll keep you posted!


Claremont Decathlon Day 1

To see a full list of results, click here.

Here are Joe's marks:
100 meters: 11.43 s 767 points
Long Jump: 6.55 m or 21'6" 709 points
Shot Put: 13.13 m or 43'1" 675 points
High Jump: 2.01 m or 6'7" 813 points
400 meters: 50.09 s 810 points

Total Day 1: 3,774 points

Day 2 events are the 110 hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin, and the 1500. To get the "B" qualifier for the Trials, Joe needs a total score of 7,600 points.

I'll maybe post some more details and photos later (after showers, Rowan to bed, etc!) just wanted to get the results up as quick as I could!

Link to Videos

Click here to see several videos done by the Modesto Bee with interviews with Tri-Valley athletes and Dan. The Modesto Relays are a big meet coming up next weekend...Joe won't be competing there, but several athletes from the group are. Modesto is only 30 minutes south of Stockton. These videos will give you a sense of the building....and the people Joe is around all the time!

We're in L.A. and Joe is getting ready to compete today at 1:00 PM at Claremont College. It's a small meet, really nice track, really great weather. I'll post later tonight with the outcome of Day 1!