Sunday, January 24, 2010

Back at Joshua Tree

We made another trip to the desert today. How my Jarod loves to climb :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

J Tree Pictures

More pictures from J Tree. Enjoy!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Joshua Tree

A Saturday morning sunrise greeted a packed-out Jetta eastbound on the 10 towards Palm Springs and "Other Desert Cities", as according to our exit options. We drove through a wind farm, where thousands of windmills were harvesting wind energy, and into the sleepy town of JTree just waking up.

Joshua Tree National Park looks kind of like a foreign planet. It's a bare desert scattered with piles of boulders on gravely sand and poked with scantily leaved joshua trees. We found a free site in Jumbo Rocks and set up camp. Jarod and Luke headed for Intersection Rock for a full day of climbing. I read in the tent and kept a wary eye on Taiga, who is now an overprotective watchdog. I visited with other fellow campsite dwellers, who hailed from Vancouver to Peru to San Diego and relaxed the day away. At dusk, we headed out of the park for water. At the park exit we found a 25 cent spicket for 50 seconds of blasting water. Lids off and containers ready, we got our 6 gallons of water and 3 pairs of soaked pants, all in under a minute. Dinner was at climber-hangout Santana's. Mexican was tasty, but the Asian girl sitting behind us was much more appealing to Luke than his burrito. Between accents, language barriers, and hand gestures, the guys concluded that she was probably a deaf Japanese women on vacation for a few months... and that her name was either Addi or Alli.. verdict is still out. We retired early, only to wake up at least 6 times throughout the nite. The first one was to Taiga charging out of the tent, ferociously barking, hair raised and straight up mad. Coyotes were midnight snacking on her left overs. We called her off, but throughout the night, she was on guard duty and growling at every little crack and creak outside. In between her growling fits, there was a baby in the tent nextdoor who cried most of the night. At 6am, the crying baby started up again and was only interrupted by Keenan's father saying, "Keenan, Keenan. Really, Keenan? Keenan, stop it! Keenan, quit. Please quit, Keenan." At 7:30am, we could no longer push out Keenan's crying and Taiga's growling, thus began Sunday morning.

Sunday was a chilly day with warm sunshine. The guys climbed and I sat at the base of the routes, watching Taiga and reading. At one point, I could see 4 coyotes scattered in the desert howling and yelping and screeching to each other. Taiga looked perturbed. In the afternoon, the temperature was rapidly dropping and the storm clouds started rolling in. We had heard that So Cal was in for a five day rainy season. We debated back and forth and forth and back about 15 times as whether to stay and wait it out or go. We decided to pack up and go. At the sun set and the last sleeping bag was stuffed into the trunk, the rain started dropping.. And dropping.. and dropping. We left the park to the steady dripping of rain on the windshield.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Anthony's

This is another GREAT couple we have met out here through Talbot. A few nights ago we went to their house for some great dinner and a riveting game of Settlers of Catan. (side note: I won!) But it is just so nice to be able to connect with others who are on the same page. The same page of husbands who spend most of their time reading, sugar momma wives, budgets down to the nickel and dime, and being uprooted from our families to live in the great land of Los Angeles to support our men and their dreams. But it's through that commonality that relationships are built, stressful things laughed over and our lives strengthened. Thanks Anne and Patrick for being there to walk through this journey together with us. Looking forward to more years to come!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Day at The Beach... In January

Jarod & Brooke

Evan, Lani & Baby Rosa (due in a few weeks!)

Taiga & Margo
This past Sunday, our good friends (Evan, Lani, Baby Rosa & Margo) met us for a picnic at Huntington Beach after church. It was a great day of sun, good healthy food, walks on the beach, and the dogs having a blast running around crazy. We are so thankful for our close friends here in southern California.

Friday, January 8, 2010

January Book Club!

Last nite was sweet medicine for my sad, little soul. Two of my good friends from Talbot Wives Club came over for our monthly book club chat. Our book was The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett... and boy, did we critique it to the ground :) It didn't stand a chance. Ha. The final verdict on the book: a cumulative 4.5 out of 10. We felt enriched regarding our knowledge of the dark ages and enjoyed the historical accuracy. However, we could have done without the never ending backstabbing & lust scenes.. and we agreed that this book has far more references to human anatomy than we ever were in need of knowing.

But what a refreshing evening. It was so freeing to laugh and laugh and laugh with these girls. Thank you, Lord, for such good friends made so quickly out here.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I will be honest to say that I've been a bit touchy and out of sorts since we have arrived back in Southern California. Not to justify myself, but Jarod's been cranky and mildly put out as well. While having this month off from classes, he has been carrying the weight of homemaker tasks, and there's just nothing simple or easy about it. Running errands, buying groceries, carrying groceries through gates and stairs and parking garages, navigating through the city of closed roads and traffic puts one's nerves on edge. I was welcomed back from Christmas Break with a 14 hour work day on Monday.. 8 hours of Drug Intervention at Lassalette Middle School and 6 hours of folding and refolding clothes at Old Navy. I was exhausted at the end of the day and Jarod tried to cheer me up with a RedBox Rental. It was my first time to watch "Forrest Gump". I cried. A lot. It didn't really cheer me up at all. Then today, at Sparks Middle School, I had a near breakdown with 3 of my students (and no, it wasn't the kids who were breaking down, it was me). Jarod picked me up from work with In-N-Out, our 3:30pm dinner. On the drive home, we both had realized our 4 days of negativity was descending into a downward spiral. So, we made a list of all the great things about living in LA. After about 4 minutes of contemplative silence, our list began:
1)no sales tax on food
4)plans are never hindered by weather
5)the beach is 15 mi away
6)$13 pedicures
7)we share a hobby of biking now
8)we have made some really good friends in a very short amount of time
and 9)we live in the same state as the climbing mecca of the world, Yosemite.
Surprisingly, this little positive list has uplifted our spirits. Jarod went to RockCity tonite to climb and I am finishing my book club December read. And I made my mom's Blonde Brownies. Baking always helps me to feel settled somewhere, especially when baking a tried and true and sentimental recipe.

Although now I don't feel as miserable as I had been feeling, I am still a little ho-hum to hear that quiet Branson is having it's 3rd snow day and to think of how at this time last week, I was enjoying coffee by the fireplace with my parents, watching the peaceful snowfall ... and that now I'm back and it's 75 and sunny and sticky and crowded and cramped and overrunning with people and cars and smoggy and dirty and lonely and ugh.. I wanna go home. What's on my list again?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Back in Cali

What a fabulous trip home to the midwest. I cant describe how wonderful it was to be with my family for two whole weeks! Here are highlights from the trip:

-28 hours nonstop driving from LA to Springfield, MO
-Silver Dollar City Christmas Lights!
-FIVE different family Christmases :)
-a day in the woods in Arkansas
-a WHITE Christmas!!
-Apple Pie Concrete from Andy's
-making Mii's at Aimee's
-coffee by the fireplace with Mom & Dad
-Bourne Trilogy with Wescott's
-posing for pictures with EVERYONE in Jingle Jammies
-Nerf dart war with safety goggles
-listening to Zach's stories from the AirForce
-meeting Baby Ada & Baby Zeda & Baby Davey for the first time
-a fabulous robe from my sweet mom-in-law
-"Deal or NoEL Deal"
-Jarod using Judy's Vitamix for the first time
-Taiga making snow angels
-hitting a coyote and denting our car somewhere in between Oklahoma City & Amarillo

I am so thankful for that trip home. I miss you all!