A new Christmas tradition!

Last night we bundled all seven of us (Grammy, Papa, Mimi, Moira, Ian, Collin and me) into the van to go look at Christmas lights. We decided to hit Krispy Kreme on the way there for some doughnuts and coffee for the road, and got to see where the magic is made! Then we hit the road and headed for Windcrest, an area of San Antonio known for their Christmas lights. For most of us, it was our first time every seeing Windcrest's annual "Light Up" and it was definitely a sight. The neighborhood was strung with all sorts of lights and decorations, and we were one of the many cars slowly winding their way through the streets to see it all. We found out that this year is the 50th year of the Windcrest Light Up and we enjoyed seeing all of the contest winning houses that we could find! The kids had a lot of fun (and the adults too) but were definitely ready to get home and to bed when we were through. We had so much fun that I think this just may become a new family tradition for us!

Papa holding Ian up to see the doughnuts take their dunk in the fryer - yum!

This was Ian's first time experiencing Krispy Kreme and it's yummy goodness!

Moira's had them before, but in no way did she mind "experiencing" it again! :)

Grammy and Moira on the way to Windcrest to see the lights.

Check out the size of the wreath on their front door!!

Can you imagine what their electric bill must be like for the month of December?!

One of my favorites... simple, yet classy!

Merry Christmas!!!


Home is where the heart is...

We've been so busy enjoying our family, the holidays and being back in San Antonio, that I'm afraid I've gotten a bit lax in my posting! So, here's a little update. We finally found a rental house that we like and got the lease signed this week. It's a little one-story in the new section behind Westcreek (Vistas of Westcreek) with 3 bedrooms, a garden tub in the master bath and a nice big office for Collin and me to share. One of the best parts about it is that the owners were willing to give us a 9 month lease with month to month after that - that way if we decide to buy or build in the near future, we won't be locked into a 12 month or longer lease. (I can't tell you how much I'd like to have my own home to decorate for the holidays next year! This is the second year in a row that we've been in the middle of a move and without a house during Christmas!)

We'll get the keys to our new home on January 1st and hopefully have our household goods delivered that week. Our new contact information will be sent out to everyone soon, but here's a sneak peak at our house on Mexican Plum:

For those of you wondering about the job search, all is well. Most companies have slowed down or stopped looking at resumes for the holidays, but we imagine it will pick up again once Christmas is over. There are two GS (government) jobs that Collin has applied for in the last week, that look to be good prospects, so please say a prayer over those for us! There will be more on all of that after the holidays. Thank you for your continued prayers!


We're here!

It's been such a long time since I've posted because of the move and drive to San Antonio, but we're here now and getting all settled in! Our move and drive here went well and we're happy to be among family once again, especially as we're gearing up for the holidays. We've kept ourselves busy with visiting loved ones, searching for a rental house and enjoying the city. It's hard to believe how much this side of San Antonio has expanded since we last lived here! There's not a whole lot to report on the job search, since it appears that many people are slowing down for the holidays, but please continue to keep us in your prayers now that we're here, and we'll continue to try to post when we have news. Meanwhile, we have the rental house search to keep us busy. We miss you all in California and elsewhere, so be sure to keep in touch! Much love to you all!


La Purisma Mission

We decided to take a break from all the moving preparations and go down to La Purisma, a mission just outside of Lompoc. Tonight we have dinner plans with our good friends Paul and Diane, and their two kids to go to A.J Spurs together - and it'll probably be our last dinner with them before we leave. :( Here are some of the pictures we got at the mission today:


Another one bites the dust...

I know it's been a while since I've updated our blog, but we're really starting to get busy with our upcoming move! I can barely believe Thanksgiving is next week, let alone that our packers/movers will be showing up the Monday after that weekend! Lots to do!

I wanted to take a couple minutes to share some good news with y'all though. We wrote out our last and final check to the last school loan we had today! Woo hoo! We've been trying to knock out as much debt as we can before we move back home, so this is something we're joyful about... I wish we would've done it sooner! So, we have the rest of the van left to pay-off and a tiny bit of our last credit card and we'll be completely debt free. Thanks to Dave Ramsey for the plan to get debt free and inspiration to do it. Oh, and thanks to Annie & Travis for inspiring us too with their recent "debt-free" status!! :) Thanks for letting me share our excitement with you!


Answered prayers

Some of you may remember my post from the 2nd of October about my dear friend, Gloria, from my Tuesday morning bible study. She was diagnosed with cancer, this time ovarian, for the second time this year, and had to undergo 2 rounds of chemotherapy. So, I wanted to share my praise with you all... Gloria told us at our bible study that she's finished her chemo and the cancer is gone! Praise God!! They're still carefully watching and waiting to see if it will return, but her Doctor told her that she has the lowest post-chemo levels he's ever seen and it's looking good. So, thank you to all that have prayed for her - and praise be to God, The Healer, for his mercy and love!


Beach Pictures

We went out to the beach today to get some family pictures for our Christmas cards. As usual, we ended up with just okay posed pictures (partly due to grumpy kids), but the candid pictures of us playing on the beach at the end were too cute! Here are a couple shots from the day:


Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween! We had a lot of fun out trick-or-treating this year, as the kids were both very into it. Here's a few pics from our evening:

Moira as "Silvermist" - one of Tinkerbell's fairy friends from the upcoming Disney Fairies movie

Ian was Diego (the animal rescuer) this year and had a lot of fun with his nifty "rescue pack"

Our two trick-or-treaters ready to start the night!

Making our way around the neighborhood with Diane, Kindra (ghost) and Ben (Batman)

We had perfect Halloween weather this year, as the fog started to roll in just around sunset! Talk about setting the right mood!

The kids counting their loot after a hard night's work, with the puppy watching very carefully!


A quick update

I just wanted to give a quick update on the job situation with Frost & Sullivan. John got back to us to let us know that the Analyst position in Aerospace & Defense is still a possibility, but it's hit a bit of a snag. I guess the hiring manager is trying to decide whether he wants to hire another Air Force guy into a team of all prior Air Force, or if he'd like to try to get some representation from other branches of the military (Army, Navy, etc). That's delayed the time frame a little for now.

The good thing about it is that John took Collin's resume to their Human Resources person, and she suggested he take it to Jon in the Technical Insights division, because he's looking for a few people. So, John took it to him, Jon looked it over and said Collin's resume looked really good. He asked what our time frame is and how soon Collin would be available, since the position is open right now. He told John to please tell Collin he'd be calling him in the next couple weeks (by the end of the month) to discuss the opportunity with him. This position is for an Analyst in the Technical Insights division, which Collin is really interested in. One day he could be researching SATCOM systems and the next day it could be heart monitors... and for those of you that know Collin well, you know that would be PERFECT for him! He's so smart and always interested in the way things work and will get these urges to go research the way things work, just because he wants to know. :)

Please be in prayer over this opportunity for us! We decided yesterday to try to move our separation date up to the 12th of January, which after 6 weeks of terminal leave, would put us in San Antonio around the 3rd of December. It's a bit of a risk, as there's no guarantee we'll have a job by then, but we're just at the point where we need to be in San Antonio soon, and we can't do as much from here. It means forfeiting about a week and a half of pay, but we think in the long run it'll be worth it. We're very excited to get home and start making a life for ourselves there! We know God is in control of this whole thing, and we're so thankful that He is. Thank you for all of your prayers, support and encouraging notes and e-mails - God blessed us so with such wonderful family and friends!

Silly kids...

Here are just a few fun pics of the kids from this last week that I thought I'd share! (Thanks to Janessa for taking them and sending them to me.)
Here's Ian out to lunch with the girls (Mommy & Janessa) enjoying his spring roll! Janessa just couldn't believe that he was eat Thai food!
(I think Ian's face says "What? It's still food, right? Then I'll eat it!")

Moira being "beautiful" for the camera in Mommy's new scarf from Iraq that Mommy's best friend sent for her birthday! (Thank you Aunt Dara, we love it!)

Here's Ian finally getting to wear Moira's poncho in the car, preceding a bit of a hissy fit after being told he's a boy and boys don't wear pink ponchos! ;)


A "hot" iron in the fire...

Well, as much as I'm trying to keep from obsessing over the job search, I figure it's about time to update y'all (I'm getting back into Texan mode, can you tell?) since we have some news, and lots of you have started asking about it again.

Last week, through "coincidental" means, we got a lead on a possible job for Collin. My dad teaches a couple computer courses at Northwest Vista College and has an older student, John, that had been absent from the last few classes. When my dad asked him what was going on, he explained that he's been really busy with work. That lead to a discussion where my dad found out he works in the aerospace defense division of a consulting/market research company called Frost & Sullivan. Dad, as a gee-wiz, asked him if there were any job openings, and told him a bit about our situation. According to my dad, John's eyes lit up when he heard that Collin was a Space & Missile guy and said he'd been interested in getting Collin's resume. So, John e-mailed us with his contact info, we sent off Collin's resume and cover letter to him, and they had a good hour+ long conversation last Thursday on the phone. John told Collin he looked like a good candidate for the Analyst position and then he hand-delivered Collin's resume to his boss for us on Tuesday. According to John, he expects we should hear from his boss by the end of next week, so we're now trying to wait patiently and hoping for the call. This looks like it could be a very good opportunity and Collin would be great at this particular position, so we're feeling cautiously optimistic.

Now that I've caught you up, I sincerely ask for your prayers over this job opportunity. As I've said, it seems to us like this could be "it" but we don't know what God has in store for us. I would ask (so boldly) that you pray this would be the job God's been planning for us all along, that I'll be patient and wait on God's timing, and that God will continue to give us His peace. We know God is in control, that He has a plan for us and that He'll continue to be ever faithful! Thank you for your prayers for us, loved ones, we count each and every one of you as blessings in our lives!

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7


Birthday Weekend

Thank you so much to all of you that remembered my birthday today! I'm sitting at home enjoying a relaxing day with Collin and my kiddos home - it's quite convenient to have your birthday fall on a federal holiday!

We've had a great weekend, starting with our day at the Avocado Festival in Carpinteria on Saturday, and finally getting to go to the drive-in movie theater last night! We took quite a few pictures to document the weekend, so of course I'll be sharing those with you!

There were so many funny things to do with avocados at the festival! Everything from arts and crafts with avocados to vendor booths to avocado growing contests...

...and of course, it wouldn't be the Avocado Festival without lots and lots and LOTS of guacamole!!! Yum! (Wish you could've been here Mom Wilhite!)

Can you believe there's such a thing as avocado ice cream?! How was it, you ask?

Ian's face says it all - quite yummy! It was very creamy and a touch sweet, but I did have an overwhelming desire to finish it off with some tortilla chips! ;)

Our little family at the drive-in!
My boys snuggling up in the crisp autumn air, watching "The Game Plan"

My sweet little girl asleep in her carseat on the way home!

It's been a wonderful weekend so far, and I'm going to go enjoy the rest of my birthday with my family! Much love to you all!



I haven't written in a few days because I've been working away on a project for a dear friend in my Tuesday morning bible study. Gloria is one of the wonderful Christian women that God has brought into my life recently. She was diagnosed with Ovarian cancer a little over a year ago and while it went into remission, it's now come back, and so she's started another round of chemotherapy.
God has put her on my heart so much over the last couple weeks, that I really felt God's pull to "do" something. I found some information online about a prayer shawl ministry, and knew that that was it. I started this shawl for her in prayer, knit it while praying for her and said a final prayer over it and her once it was complete. My bible study group and I had the joy of giving it to her today before we started, along with a handmade card that we all signed.
Written in the card was this: "May God's grace be upon this shawl...warming, comforting, enfolding and embracing. May this mantle be a safe haven... a sacred place of security and well-being... sustaining and embracing in good times as well as difficult ones. May the one who receives this shawl be cradled in hope, kept in joy, graced with peace, and wrapped in love. Blessed Be!" My prayer is that God will heal this loving child of His, and give her many more years to bless others as she's blessed me.
If you'd like more information on prayer shawl ministries, you can visit: http://www.shawlministry.com/.


Two Things

I got this survey from two friends (Annie & Krissy) and thought I'd post my response here instead of e-mailing it back, just for fun! :)

Two Names You Go By:
1. Mommy (kids)
2. Sweetie (Collin)

Two Things You Are Wearing Right Now:
1. flip flops
2. ponytail

Two Things You Would Want (or have) in a relationship:
1. someone to laugh with
2. a "forever" commitment

Two things you like to do:
1. stamp/scrapbook
2. knit/crochet

Two Things You Want Very Badly At The Moment:
1. for Collin to get a job...
2. ...for that job to be in San Antonio

Two things you did last night:
1. made dinner for my family
2. continued knitting a prayer shawl for a friend

Two things you ate today:
1. Mexican Tortilla Soup
2. Craisins
Two people you Last Talked To:
1. Collin
2. Diane

Two Things You're doing tomorrow:
1. grocery shopping
2. going to the drive-in with my family

Two longest car rides:
1. Great Falls, MT to San Antonio, TX
2. San Antonio, TX to Vandenberg AFB, CA

Two Favorite Holidays
1. Halloween
2. Christmas

Two Favorite Beverages
1. Cherry Vanilla Diet Dr. Pepper
2. Chai Tea Latte

Two jobs I have had in my life:
1. Database Administrator
2. Temporary Personnel Coordinator/Career Placement Coordinator

Two movies I would watch over and over
1. Princess Bride (and I have!)
2. 13 Going On 30

Two places I have lived:
1. Berlin, Germany
2. Crete, Greece

Two Favorite Foods:
1. Greek/Mediteranean
2. Tex-Mex
Two places I'd rather be right now:
1. San Antonio
2. On a Disney Cruise with all of my family!
There, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and just in case you haven't gotten your daily dose of cuteness, here's a couple of pics of Ian before and after his haircut today:

Waiting for his haircut... and doing the cha-cha?!

Riding the carousel at the dollar store as his "treat" for being so good during the haircut!


What plans?

I intended to have more interesting things to write about this weekend, with plans to go to a BBQ this afternoon and the drive-in theatre tonight - but alas, Ian has come down with the flu. I thought we were free and clear, since it was over a week ago that Moira came down with what's looking like the same bug, but I guess not. So, no fun weekend plans for us. We'll be staying home, taking care of a sick kiddo. I don't mind too very much though, it's sometimes nice to have a restful weekend at home, and I have many projects I need to work on around here - including finishing up several swaps I've been working on. Here's a taste:

This is my "February" page for the calendar swap I'm in. I made 13 of these in all.

Here's a view of the calendar "candy" I made to go with it.

Perhaps if I'm feeling very productive (or Ian's feeling better) I'll post more on our weekend later! Enjoy your weekend, all you readers in the blogosphere! :)


Salt & Light

Our Church just started a new 8-week study entitled Salt & Light by Jerry Sheveland. I noticed a few Sundays ago that the Women's Ministry was planning a study based around this book on Tuesday mornings, and that childcare would be provided for those that need it. "Really?!" was my first thought. In my 4+ years of being a mother, never have I had the opportunity to join in a women's bible study because childcare was always an issue - and here, provided for me, was the opportunity and arrangements, made for me, to be able to participate. I couldn't ignore God telling me "this is your opportunity, I made this available for you!" So I signed up, and I'm sitting here after the second meeting with my small group feeling wonderfully blessed! God is so good - He knew I needed Christian women right now in my life and He answered that prayer with 7 Godly women with whom to study His Word and fellowship. I must admit I wasn't sure how I'd fit-in with this group of women, as the youngest of them is 46, but I've been so blessed by this group of women! I'm just marveling in God's awesome provision for His children, and count myself blessed to be considered one of His! I just wanted to write and share my joy with you all. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
"Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things..." -- Psalm 103: 1-5



I absolutely love this little town about 30 minutes away from where we live. It's a Danish settlement that's kept it's heritage and has some awesome little shops and restaurants that you could spend a week exploring! We decided to head out there late this morning to do a little early Christmas shopping and had as great time, as usual. You feel like you're stepping out of California and into a little danish town in the old world. Here are some pics from our day...
Here's Moira stopping to make a wish at the fountain. Guess what she wished for. She said, with all the seriousness that a 4 year old can muster, "I wish we could go to Texas!" Us too, kiddo... us too.
Moira enjoying the "Solvang Restaurant"

Isn't this hilarious? Ian insisted on trying the mustard on his french fries - and can you believe he liked it? What a brave little boy!

My other "little boy" was not brave enough to try the mustard, but he did try a new beer from Copenhagen, Denmark.

Are vikings supposed to be this cute?

We're trying to enjoy every bit of California before it's time to go, and today was a good start. Next weekend is "Danish Days" in Solvang, so we may just end up back there again soon! And, I'm sure many more pics will follow here! :)