Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Precious Baby Boys...

It's 7am and the house is quiet. I am wrapped in a blanket and reading a blog. Bentley is wrapped up too and sleeping in his bouncy seat next to my chair. He is so beautiful and peacefully looking when he sleeps. I don't think there are many things more pure in life than watching a little baby sleep... I am struck by God's precious gift to us through Jesus when I look at our baby son. Recently, I have known or heard of several families who have had great heartbreak in regards to their own babies. As a mom, my heart aches and breaks for parents like this because I can't comprehend it.

I just read a blog that I have recently been following. I don't know this family... the blog was sent to me by a friend, but I cry most everytime I read it. I cry because my heart aches for this family, especially after just having our own newborn son. Their 2 week old son, Samuel, is struggling to hang on to life as the parents are praying like neverbefore and sharing their faith with others. No one would ever dream of this situation for their child, but I hope that I would handle it like them... with an unending trust in God and His goodness. Please read about the Parkins family and pray for them.

Reading about Samuel and remembering all the recent pains of my friends, reminds me that Christ experienced the same heartbreak. He watched his son, Jesus, suffer and die in the most brutal way... and He did it willingly... for us.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our First Few Months in Oregon

I have to admit that I haven't published any videos of our family until now due to the fact that I couldn't figure out how to do it! Now that I have conquered my lack of knowledge of using YouTube, I can share what I've been working on. Since Harper's birth, I have tried putting together a "music video" (if you will) of milestones or of a hand full of months... I put this video together in order to record our first few months in Oregon (August through the beginning of November). I hope you enjoy seeing what we've been up to. But I must say, it's LONG... but there... you've been warned!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Treats

I've always said in regards to food, "everything in moderation". The same is true when it comes to all of the treats displayed in front of us over Thanksgiving and Christmas. I absolutely love the holidays. I love the smells and tastes, the music, the family get togethers, the cooking and baking... I could go on and on. For Thanksgiving this year, I decided I wanted to make a pumpkin dessert that wasn't the traditional pie. Don't mistake me, I love pumpkin pie! But there's something to be said for adventure. Besides, I knew our family get together would include several pies. If my dessert went awry, we'd have plenty of back up options.

For my recent birthday, I received a copy of the cookbook, "Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics" by Ina Garten. As soon as I saw the recipe for her "Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Cream", I knew that was my challenge... to make a rolled up cake! I had seen these cakes in the past and thought, "I'm not that good of a baker to make one of those... isn't that when you pay someone else to do it?". Well, with a little help from my sister and a couple of new half sheet pans, I found that these rolled up cakes are a facade... meaning that they appear to be much more difficult to make than they really are. I was delighted that our cake turned out beautifully and tasted even better!
When I knew that I'd be making such a "pretty" dessert for the adults, I decided I wanted to have something special for the kids to enjoy. I've had a few friends in the past who made chocolate and candy dipped pretzel rods at their parties, and I always loved them. So, it was an easy conclusion as to what to make for the kiddos. I bought two bags of pretzel rods (so many are already broken when you buy them), one package of chocolate chips, and used sprinkles and chopped honey roasted peanuts that my mom had on hand at her house. I melted the chocolate and began dipping and covering the pretzels. All I can say about these is that they are EASY. The kids loved them and even left a few for the adults to enjoy!
These desserts inspired me so much that I am planning on making my own version of this cake for Christmas... I'm thinking a chocolate roulade with citrus cream. I'll post pictures if it turns out.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Our Sweet Bentley

I cant believe it's been nearly two months since we brought Bentley home from the hospital... he is now 7 weeks old and we are loving getting to know our son! I feel like we are finally past that stage where you don't really know your baby and it often feels awkward. We finally know what all his different cries mean, that he prefers to be swaddled when he's tired and we can always count on a smile from him when we tickle his cheeks. At this point, Jeremy and I still consider Bentley to be a very mellow boy. He is often happy just hanging out in his bouncy seat, swing or in our arms without a peep. We are certainly glad he doesn't spend most of his day crying, since the nurses who helped delivered him informed us he was born with a 3-month-old cry... the boy is LOUD!

It is so special at this early stage of his life to feel incredibly connected to him as his mom. As is natural, it's been difficult for Jeremy to feel as close to each of our kids while they're newborns... mostly due to the fact that he's not the one feeding them and the rest of the time they sleep. Since Bentley has been much more alert and smiley as of the past weeks, I've been able to witness Jeremy's bond with him grow... and I do say... my boys are so cute together!
I feel incredibly blessed to have such a healthy and happy baby boy. I was just driving in my car today with the kids and as I glanced back at them I thought, "my dream has come true". When I was a little girl playing with her dolls, I always dreamed that someday I'd have a car with the back row filled with babies... that makes me smile.

Bentley is absolutely precious and has melted my heart to pieces. I can't wait to continue to watch his personality grow and help shape him into a young man of character who loves the Lord. I love you my sweet boy!
Harper has been eager to share her toys with her brother... it'll be just a bit longer until he can really play with you sweetie, but we appreciate the gesture!
Jeremy and his Dad (OoOo) with Bentley on Thanksgiving.
Getting some love and quality time from his Nana.
OoOo getting his quality time too!
Back at it... Me and my boy after our first "official" run together. Boy was it COLD!
Brother and sister... She just couldn't keep his attention.
We had a blast giving both our kids their first bath together... Harper is turning into quite the little helper with Bentley and we love it!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Homemade Granola

Yesterday was a treat. What I mean is that my two kids napped at the same time... for a long time. When you have a toddler and a newborn, you learn very quickly that this is a treat. Along with a few other things I had to get done, I decided to make homemade granola during that quiet time. Our family loves having yogurt and granola or oatmeal for breakfast on a regular basis. I have tried purchasing several different kinds of granola and have found a few we all really like, but recently I had the itch to make our own.

I started simply by trying out my Aunt Mary's recipe. I remember going over to her house when I was younger and her pulling the freshly made granola out of her oven. It looked and smelled wonderful! So, that's where I started... with the one from my childhood memory. It turned out just as I remembered (even though I forgot to add the oil) and was perfect for breakfast this morning.

Aunt Mary's Granola:

2 cups organic old fashioned oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 & 1/2 cups nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
1 tsp. salt
1 can Eagle Brand organic condensed milk
1/4 cup oil

*** Mix all and spread in a foil-lined pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Stir occasionally. Remove and add 1 & 1/2 cups dried fruit (preferably unsweetened raisins, cranberries, apricots, etc.).
When I spend time making something, I love to know the health benefits as to why I chose certain foods. Here are a few for this granola recipe:
  • I used organic condensed milk to be sure it is free of any unnecessary antibiotics and hormones (I use all organic dairy products for this reason).
  • I also used walnuts for their omega-3 fatty acids. Having a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce risk of heart disease and stroke and can also reduce symptoms of hypertension, depression, ADHD, joint pain, etc.
  • I also like how this recipe incorporates wheat germ. Wheat germ is full of health benefits such as: digestive health/cleansing (through fiber), antioxidant power to defend cells against free radical damage (Vitamin E), helps your body with the metabolism of food (Vitamin B5/pantothenic acid), helps in the formation of hormones and "good" cholesterol (Vitamin B5/pantothenic acid), helps the body break down proteins and make red blood cells (Vitamin B6/pyridoxine), helps in the creation of antibodies in the immune system (Vitamin B6/pyridoxine), helps to make DNA (Vitamin B9/folate/folic acid), helps maintain normal brain function and is a critical part of spinal fluid (Vitamin B9/folate/folic acid).
I've seen quite a few variations I'd like to try, but next time I think I'll try a recipe that substitutes honey and brown sugar for the organic condensed milk. I'd also like to try using a different nut, but still get the health benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids by adding ground flax seeds to it. My sister-in-law has also given me another challenge... to make an allergen-free granola - one that is gluten, dairy, nut, and egg-free. I'll keep you posted on how those turn out!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If Only we Knew What we are Eating...

My husband and I have been spending a lot of time in our car over the past few weekends as we have been driving around looking for a house to buy. This time-consuming process of checking out neighborhoods and areas in a city that is rather unfamiliar (when it comes to buying a home) can lead to a few extra meals out. One of those "on the go" meals led us to dine at a fast-food restaurant chain here in Oregon called Burgerville. It has made it's stamp as more of a "gourmet" fast-food burger joint, purchasing many of their products from local farmers and businesses in the area.

We each ordered a typical meal consisting of a burger, fries and drink. I looked forward to every bite as we had sufficiently let ourselves get hungry. As I checked the contents of our bag, I pulled out the receipt and was surprised to see more than just a monetary total listed on it. Our receipt had the nutritional values of each item we ordered on it!

My first reaction was to the caloric and fat totals. There were far more calories and fat grams than I would normally eat in a single meal... the thrill of each bite diminished slightly. Then... I reminded myself that I don't eat like this everyday. It's ok to enjoy such things in moderation.

My next reaction was one of excitement that the nutrition facts are at the fingertips of consumers! Awareness of one's choices is the first step towards healthier decisions in the future. Having the numbers stare back at me from my receipt made me think twice about my portion control and about how often I should be eating a meal like that... not in an obsessive way, but in a way that educates me about what I want to be putting in my body. Have you seen other restaurants take this approach when it comes to publishing their nutrition facts?

On that note, check out this article on healthier fast-food places to dine. One of the criteria to make the list is precisely this. You'll be shocked at number 8!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Welcome Bentley David Swift!

On October 14th we welcomed Bentley David Swift into our family! I know, I know... it's been a month since then, but I can honestly say we have been BUSY (adjusting to 2 kids, living with our family who also just had their 2nd baby and actively looking for a house to buy!). Bentley weighed 9lbs. 6oz and was 21 inches long... all of which received a gasp from everyone in the delivery room (especially by me!).Our little (or should I say big) guy wouldn't come out on his own, so we chose to induce - which made me extremely nervous since I know not all of them go well. Thank you to all of our friends and family for your prayers because we definitely felt God's presence throughout the entire process. I was especially thankful for God's guidance to the right doctor, as the move made us switch at 7 months along... she was outstanding!Since bringing him home we are loving getting to know our son. He is a very mellow and content baby, but has a set of lungs when he does cry. When he is awake he is very alert and that's often when I think he looks like me when I was a baby. We are thankful that he is a great eater and sleeper too! I think having 2 toddlers and another newborn in the house have helped him sleep through LOTS of noise.Harper has adjusted pretty well to having a little brother. She knew mommy had a baby in her tummy, but she wasn't quite prepared to have to share her mama and dada. When she visited him in the hospital, she acted quite stunned and overwhelmed. Since then, however, she is increasingly loving towards him. She often wants to hug or kiss him, hold him, help change his diaper and thinks he MUST always want his "paci" since she does (this often means her trying to cram it in to his mouth with toddler force). I love how she will squeal and laugh with excitement whenever he makes any movement or noise. I know they will be the best of buddies when they get old enough to play together and that warms my heart.

Here are a few pictures of what we've been up to since his arrival...
Bentley's first ride in the carseat leaving the hospital... I'm sorry sweet boy for the pink wings... hopefully you won't hold it against us later in life ;)
Our first family picture as the 4 of us!
The first time Harper got to hold Bentley... she found it extremely entertaining that he has all the same facial features as her... a nose, a mouth, 2 eyes, etc.
Mimi and Auntie Kara talking to Bentley while he was awake.
His first bath was successful with no tears!
We had a great first family outing to the pumpkin patch on Sauvie Island. Both sides of our families joined us and braved the cold weather.
Nana (with Bentley) and OoOo (with Jensen) holding the boy cousins... so precious!
Harper on Halloween being the perfect pumpkin fairy. Mimi gave Harper her first bite of candy and boy oh boy... it was a hit!
Me and my boy!
The Stude's flew all the way up here and braved the cold, wet weather just to meet Bentley. We had a fantastic time with them and soaked up the much needed love from friends.
Harper loved having Auntie Jordan and Uncle Josh visit... they are GREAT playmates!
Just the girls... Harper was having SO much fun playing with J & J that she was upset to have to stop for a quick picture. And... our little man at 4 weeks old!

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Little Less Sugar Please!

My husband and I are both coffee LOVERS... this means that there is no time of day that we would turn a cup down. This is especially true now that we have a newborn in the house. We join countless other tired parents who rely on coffee to get them through the day. However, I would be lying to say that this affection for coffee began with parenthood. No, I admit that we have both been drinking coffee like addicts for years. Over those years of cup after cup, latte after latte, we have tried to make our drink choices a little healthier.
When my husband and I order a drink from someplace like Starbucks, we always order it with nonfat milk in order to watch our saturated fat intake. I have also always tried to order a tall or small drink since I don't want to be drinking my calories or wasting them on so called "empty nutrition". We also have tried to watch our sugar intake in our coffee drinks. We are well aware that as Americans, we consume an embarrassing amount of sugar each year (contributing to many deep-rooted problems like obesity and diabetes). In any sweet drink we order, we aways ask them to use half the amount of syrup that they normally do. For example, one of our favorite drinks at Starbucks is a "tall, nonfat, caramel macchiato". This drink contains 23 grams of sugar (12 grams coming from the milk), but when we ask them to cut the syrup amounts in half it reduces it by about 6 grams of sugar. It may not seem like a lot, but when you start adding up all those lattes and mochas you consume month after month, it adds up quickly. Others may think that their drink just wouldn't taste as good without all the sweetness. I would argue that , yes, it may take adjusting, but half the sugar is sweet enough - we just have to bring our taste buds down off the sugar high they're so used to. I challenge you... next time you order your favorite coffee drink, just ask for a little less sugar please!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Healthy Snacking

Four weeks ago, my husband and I returned home from the hospital after welcoming our second child into our family. Prior to going into labor, I had been spending some time thinking about what constitutes a healthy snack. Now that I'm done being pregnant and looking to get back into shape, I'm focused on making smart decisions about what I eat and getting some good exercise.

When discussing the topic of snacks with others, I often hear concerns that if they eat a snack between meals, this will inevitably lead to weight gain. This concern is valid... if you don't make wise, nutrient-rich choices and watch your portion control. Otherwise, healthy snacks can contribute to getting all the essential vitamins and minerals, as well as helping ward off being overly-hungry walking into your next meal... (this = a disaster waiting to happen).

I found a few helpful resources when looking into this topic. One of my favorite websites is the American Dietetic Association website at It was there that I found a great pdf handout called "Smart Snacking for Adults and Teens". Another fun website I love for recipe ideas and mini articles is Martha Stewart's Whole Living website where I found this article. A friend of mine recommended Eating Well magazine and it was on their website that I've found some great recipes like this one!

I love getting new ideas and inspirations so I am curious... what is your favorite healthy snack?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Juice Question

I have often stated in the past that one of my goals as a wife and mother is to find the best ways to healthfully nourish my family. There are some topics I found my stance on a while ago, but many I have to research, struggle with, and eventually answer for myself. As our little girl has gotten older and entered the toddler stage, I have had to settle the question (for our family), "Do I give her juice like so many parents do?"

When Harper was about 5 months old she showed a true "love" for drinking plain water. We were thrilled that she would guzzle it down without question, but wondered if it would last as she got older. Thankfully we cultivated her love for water, the trend has continued, and it has not been a battle. We have given her the occasional sips of orange juice from our glasses when we're out at restaurants for breakfast, but not much more than that. Many might argue that without juice their child may not be getting the vitamins they need. For us, this has simply been answered by the fact that our daughter has been excellent at eating her fruits and vegetables (another area that may be more of a battle for other families). I have settled on the fact that I'd rather my kids eat whole fruits and vegetables than drink them. After all, in comparison, fruit juice can have more sugar per serving and is less filling than whole fruit.
I recognize that this scenario may not the case for many families. Your child may not like plain water or eat their fruits and veggies the way you wish they would. If that is the case, I encourage parents to consider two things: 1) to buy 100% fruit juice when purchased, and 2) to be mindful about the portions/amounts of 100% juice your kids are consuming per day. In coming to some of these conclusions for my own family, I found a few websites helpful. The American Dietetic Association has a helpful handout on "The Role of 100% Juice in a Healthy Diet" where they reinforce the idea that, "while most fruit servings should come from whole fruits, a portion of the daily fruit intake can be from 100 percent fruit juice". This page is the website for the Juice Products Association, so read it with a "grain of salt" remembering they have a bias, however it does have some good reading on the subject. I also really liked this page for its reinforcement on balance and consumption of whole foods. I encourage you to explore these ideas and to make the best decision for your family. For our family, this means trying to stay as close to whole foods and the least amount of processing as possible. What will it be for you?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Harper, 21months... and About to be a Big Sister!

We are just days away, maybe even hours away, from welcoming Harper's little brother! As I try to remain patient and find ways to pass the waiting time, I thought it appropriate to document what Harper's been up to these days.
We are continually amazed by Harper's spirit. She is so full of life and spunk - rarely lacking a smile and an infectious laugh. Jeremy and I often catch ourselves looking at each other saying, "where did this little girl come from? We do not deserve her ;)" These days she is ALL about being independent and trying things out for herself. She also has continued to be our "easy-going, go with the flow" type of child. Thank goodness since our life has been outlined by change over the past months!
Harper has also been chatting up a storm! Often with words we know and understand and other times... she speaks to us in what sounds like full sentences... but we have NO idea what she is saying and is convinced of.
Some of our Favorite Words and Phrases:
  • Harper's first 2-word phrase was discovered while I let her play in the driver's seat of my car. She was playing with all the buttons and said, "Wow, Cool!"
  • Whenever we ask Harper if she would like to do or have something, she responds with "do!" (meaning "I do" instead of "yes").
Mommy: "Harper, do you want to go outside?"
Harper: "Do!"
Mommy: "Do you need help getting your shoes on?"
Harper: "Do!"
Mommy: "Should we blow bubbles together?"
Harper: "Do!"
  • We also love the way Harper tells us she loves us each night before bed:
Daddy: "Say 'I'..."
Harper: "I"
Daddy: "Say 'love'..."
Harper: "You!" (she says it in a singing tone)
  • One of her first clear(er) phrases came the other morning when Daddy took Harper's paci out of her mouth so he could give her a kiss and say good morning... she responded in a sleepy, waking up tone "give me paci". Ummm... ok.
Things she Loves:
  • Being outside! (all the time if she could)
  • Dancing ANYtime music comes on!
  • Taking her shoes off (a true Southern California girl)
  • Feeding the cow at Mimi and Pappy's house
  • Elmo, Cookie Monster and Grover
  • Fruits, vegetables, yogurt and meat
  • Jumping, climbing or anything physically active
  • The color orange
  • Playing at her water table with her cousin Claire
  • Smelling any and all flowers
  • Playing at the park - especially swinging
  • Her baby stroller
  • She would never admit it... but she loves her sleep
Things she Doesn't Like:
  • Having her hair brushed
  • Seeing anything/anyone get hurt
  • Bugs

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quinoa - the Mispronounced Grain Option

As a wife and mother trying to cook healthfully for my family... I have sometimes found myself at a loss as to what to serve for dinner. In the past, I would put our weekly menu together and find myself tired of the same whole-grain choices: brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, etc. When I went through my dietetics program, I was introduced to a vast array of foods in our cooking courses. One of the things introduced to me for the first time was quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). This single grain has given my cooking a boost for several reasons.

I consider quinoa a powerhouse grain in that it has more to offer nutritionally than others. It is higher in protein (7g per serving) than other grains and is considered a complete protein, providing all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa cooks faster than other grains and is a good source of fiber (3g per serving), magnesium, iron, folate and phosphorous. I love that it can be fairly versatile, being able to be used in place of rice, pasta or other grains and is great as a hot cereal or as a salad or side dish. Quinoa is also becoming more and more available at regular grocery stores. So next time you're trying to think of a side dish or a grain option for your meal... check out quinoa and see why it's become a staple in my kitchen.

Try one of my favorite quinoa recipes that I found in a Cooking Light magazine:
Quinoa Salad with Peaches
(makes 4 servings)

***To cook the quinoa:
Bring 1 and 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Fluff and cool quinoa slightly.

***For the salad stir in:
1/4 cup minced red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 & 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 & 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 sliced ripe peach

Chill salad, serve and enjoy!

Serving size is ~1 cup. Calories: 196; Fat: 7.1g (sat 0.9g); Sodium: 245mg

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Understanding the Nutrition Facts Label

The concept may seem basic to most, but I've been surprised and reminded recently that many people simply don't know how to interpret the Nutrition Facts Label on food items. In light of our country's state of health (particularly in regards to obesity) I believe this is a crucial concept to educate not only ourselves about, but also our friends and family members.
Here's a quick highlight of the nutrition facts label and what's most important to know:
  • Start by checking out the serving size and how many total servings are in the container of food you are about to enjoy. So often we don't check this and wind up eating more than we should have.
  • Next, look at the "calories" and "calories from fat". This number is per ONE serving. If you eat 2 servings, then you must multiply the calories by 2. As a general reminder, try to keep the "calories from fat" to less than 50% of the calories.
  • Look then, at the columns "total fat", "cholesterol" and "sodium". These are the nutrients you want to limit. If you are comparing items, choose the one with the lowest number in each of these categories.
  • Alternatively, the next columns to look at are the nutrients you want to get enough of, such as "vitamin A", "vitamin C", "calcium" and "iron". Again, if you are comparing items, choose the one with the highest number in each of these categories.
  • The "footnote" is the section that follows, however it does not appear on all foods if the package is too small to include it. It is important to note that the footnote is the SAME on ALL labels and does not change from product to product. The purpose is to show nutrient daily values that are generally recommended for most Americans. This changes according to the number of calories a person eats in a given day.
  • Lastly, it is important to look at the "% daily values" (which are based on a 2,000 calorie diet) to give you a gage of whether or not a food is high or low in a certain nutrient. As a quick guideline to %DV: 5% or less is low; while 20% or more is high. Take special note that there are NO %DV's for trans fats, protein or sugars in a product.
For a more complete guide to the nutrition facts label, click here and for another great article on how to read food labels, click here! For those with families, there is a great resource for teaching your kids about it on this website. Education starts with yourself, so take a moment to do a little reading on how you can better understand what you're putting into your body!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

San Diego Reflections

It has now been almost 3 weeks since the Swift family made the big move up to Portland, Oregon. I can honestly say it's been a complete whirlwind of transition and change. Even though we've already had a few (to be expected) emotional ups and downs, we know and are trusting that God is good and He is with us - paving a new way of life for us up here.
Even though just removed, I am overwhelmed when I reflect on our experience in San Diego. God has been so faithful to us, teaching and molding us through our time and relationships there.
We were surrounded by so many relationships that touched our hearts, helped us grow, and stood by us through many of life's changes: the Studes, the Jungs, the Heinrichs, the Meshots, the Lehmans, the Yates, the Jacksons (plural), all of my growth group ladies, our Rock Bible study group, and countless others who we don't forget.
So much of our history was knit together in San Diego, around these dear friends. It's the place where we both went to school, we spent most of our dating years, met and groomed lifelong friends, grew together from newlyweds into a (more) mature marriage, had our first baby and made countless "young family" memories with our daughter. Most importantly, it's where Jeremy and I both feel God has worked on our hearts and tried to grow us the most so far. Yes, San Diego holds so much that is precious to our hearts.
In light of all the blessings that came out of our time there... Jeremy and I have grown more and more to desire what God wants for us. I don't want to over-spiritualize our decision to move up here, but we do feel God's hand of peace over us that this is what's right for us, for now.
We are already soaking up the sweet aroma of having family so close to us... We are enjoying conversations, experiences and many meals that don't have to be packed into a single weekend - leaving us more exhausted than anything else. We have so many hopes for stronger relationships and more memories with our parents and siblings, finding a church we can grown in and give back to, new experiences with cold weather sports and being open to new friendships that God will bring our way.
Right now is just the hard part... we still feel the aching of not having our friends near by and of not having our family "normal" and all the things we miss... yet, we are in a place of waiting and looking forward with anticipation for God to reveal new directions for us.
Thanks to Katie Eaton and the book she gave me, I am quickly learning a simple lesson: to not compare our new circumstances with our old ones. To let our past as a family in San Diego just be... sweet, sweet memories; and let our future together in the Northwest just come...
Thank you to all of our family and friends who have supported us, loved us and walked with us through this chapter of change. You have left us with a sweet taste of what Christ's love for us really encompasses...

~ Much love, Jeremy, Audi, Harper and baby boy Swift