April 27, 2013

Bean and Squash Dip or Chili

Yet You desired faithfulness even in the womb; You taught me wisdom in that secret place. Psalm 51:6

I love the imagery of this verse. God forming life in a woman's womb, and teaching the baby wisdom. Also, God's compassion for His people - His desire for us to be faithful, even though we are born sinful. God wants good for us, He wants us to find peace in being faithful to Him through prayer, humility, a gentle heart. So my hope for today is to remember that God loves me so, so much, and calls me to be faithful to Him. In my life, this means making my relationship with Jesus top priority over all (meaningless) things in this world. And to seek wisdom, to be more like Christ, and less like the stubborn, selfish, prideful sinner I really am.

Our powerful Lord desires faithfulness from us. Let Him teach you wisdom, let God guide you today. 

The other day I was a little low on vegetables, and our supply of cooked pinto beans was abundant and never ending (when is it ever ending?) so I decided to try a new dish. I also wanted to cook up some black beans since they are the tastiest bean known to the human race and had a hefty amount of cooked butternut squash on hand. What do you think I did with this situation? Well I gone and made a thick, half pureed-half chunky goodness bowl of chili! and then we ate it by the spoonful, (the cold, had-been-sitting-on-the-counter-cooling-since-we-already-had-a-bowl-for-dinner spoonful) and realized it tasted like a mighty good bean dip and wondered where the tortilla chips were. Oh my fancy pants. This is a good one.

Black Bean Chili n' Butternut Squash
adapted from raw on 10's recipe

You need:
1 large onion, chopped roughly
1-2 bell peppers, chopped
5 cups cooked beans (I used half black half pinto)
2 cups water
2 cups cubed butternut squash
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried cumin
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp salt
a shake or 4 of red pepper flakes

This is how:
Bake your squash. I cut mine in half long ways, remove seeds and bake face down at 400 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes, covering half way through to prevent a burnt squash. Once cool, cut into sloppy-looking cubes. Bring a fairly large pot to a medium heat and add a few tablespoons of water or veggie stock (to prevent sticking). Water-saute your onion, bell pepper, oregano, cumin, garlic, salt, pepper flakes and pepper for about 5 minutes. Add in about 3 cups of the cooked beans and the water. Let simmer and thicken up for about 10 minutes. If it gets too thick, add another cup of water. Once it is nice n' bubbly, most of the water gone but still a little remaining. Use a hand-blender to puree the entire soup - or, like I did, use a big spoon to transfer most of the soup to a high speed blender (we have Blendtec) and puree the business. Transfer back to the pot on low heat, stir in the remaining whole beans and butternut squash cubes and let it cook together for just 5 minutes or so.

Garnish with cilantro. Eat with your fingers

April 25, 2013

Roasted Tofu and Veggies with Black Rice

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! Psalms 51:1-2 (ESV)

We are all sinners. Take it, it's a fact and there is no need to deny it or feel defensive. I'm a sinner, you're a sinner, our parents and children and grandparents are all sinners. But the greatest gift of all is having a God that loves us enough to give us freedom from sin. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us so that we can be cleansed from all our sin. 

This verse is a beautiful prayer that I hope to someday memorize. It lifts me up and gives me hope. God's steadfast love, His abundant mercy that is able to blot out my transgressions - He takes them away completely and leaves me a clean slate! He washes us thoroughly, not sloppily or partially, but fully cleans us from our iniquity (immorality, injustice, wickedness, evil ways, sin) - all of it, gone. No questions asked. No if's, and's, or but's. No exceptions. Praise the Father for His amazing love!

I enjoy throwing copious amounts of vegetables and cubed tofu on a baking dish and into a very hot oven. I know a lot of the vegetables may die a little in their bright color, may lose a nutrient or twelve, may burn on the edges and cry out for life again... but honestly. It's hard to deny the intense flavor of a dish like this.

You need:
  • 12oz block of extra firm tofu (I use Sproutofu)
  • 3 cups broccoli
  • 3 large carrots
  • 2 zucchini
  • 1 bell pepper
  • balsamic vinegar
  • 2 dates
  • a splash of water
  • seeds to garnish
The way it's done:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Cube your tofu and dice up all your veggies
  3. Mash your dates in a bowl and add about 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, whisk together with a fork and add a few splashes of water to help. You're looking for a runny date-paste. Appetizing, I know. Pour this delightfulness atop your tofu and veggies and toss to coat. 
  4. Bake over parchment paper (or foil) on a baking sheet for about 15 minutes, flip things over and move 'em around, then bake for another 10 minutes or so, until everything is lookin' golden delicious.
  5. Sprinkle with raw sesame seeds (unhulled = keeps the calcium in!) and sunflower seeds. Also can be served with homemade tahini, but I didn't get that far. Seeds sprinkled all over worked just as well in the flavor department!

April 24, 2013

Lime, Orange, Collards

 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (NIV)

I find so much comfort in this verse. It makes me say, "ahh" a deep sigh of relief. When this world is constantly changing, the rules aren't what they were 20 years ago, and new anxieties pop up on a daily basis, it's awesome to know that my Savior does not change

Jesus always loves. He always will, always has. He did yesterday, He does today, He will tomorrow. He is always with us. Yesterday, today, tomorrow. He is always blessing us. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Enjoy this promise, and when the world throws you a handful of inconsistency, I pray you find hope in Hebrews 13:8. We have a consistent, never-changing God that loves us.

It's a new fact for me: smoothies are easier, tastier, and make my belly happier than any other breakfast. It's a good thing the heat is on its way to the great Northwest, otherwise I'd have to start wearing winter jackets in the house and mittens would often be found on my hands.

There are very little rules when it comes to smoothies. You can truly toss as many foods into a blender and have it work. Measuring isn't necessary in most cases and you always end up with a large quantity of vitamins, minerals and hydrating feel-goods in a jar.

People may stare. If you consume your smoothie in public, you will get asked questions by those around you. Depending on the color of the smoothie, you may receive strange looks as well. Be ready to give them the list of ingredients always because they will ask. Smile and re-assure the doubter that it tastes fabulous but also expect them to still look at you as if you're crazy. Expect this especially if your smoothie is green. Just keep smiling. Just keep slurping.

Lime, Orange, Collards

serves one.

  • the juice of 4 limes
  • 2 oranges, peeled
  • 4 big collard leaves
  • 2 cups water
  • handful of ice cubes
Do it this way:
     Blend them all, adding more water as needed. Makes two 34-oz jars, but mainly because of the large amount of water I add because I like this smoothie more like juice and less like thick craziness that can't make its way up my straw into my mouth. 

April 23, 2013

Mandarin Pineapple Smoothie

For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. John 13:15

Jesus is clear. He sets example (love one another, serve those in need, share the good news of God's redemption, do not be proud but be humble, reach out to the poor, love your enemy, forgive and forget) and we are called to do just the same as He has done. Let's memorize this verse, friends and family, and try to ask ourselves each time we are about to do something: is this what Christ Jesus would do?

Remember this? Yeah. It's as simple as that. Let's not stop asking ourselves that question.

Mandarin Pineapple Smoothie
serves one

So refreshing and so lime with pineapple!

2 cups pineapple
1 orange
4 mandarins 
3 collard leaves
the juice of 3 limes
1-2 cups water


Eat with 20 more mandarins. I date you. *Disclaimer: this is actually four, not 20.

April 22, 2013

Cilantro Pear Smoothie

But HE was wounded for our transgressions; HE was crushed for our iniquities; upon HIM was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with HIS stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on HIM the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53:5, 6 ESV)
So undeserving, so thankful. How is He such a compassionate God for the lost? It's clear, it's written in the simplest form: WE like sheep have gone ASTRAY; WE have TURNED - every one - to his own way.

We have decided not to believe in our Creator, to turn our backs on Him constantly and do everything for our own glory and pleasure. We ignore His existence, we deny His power, and we hate what He has let this world become.

And yet... The Lord has laid on JESUS the iniquity of us all. He hasn't punished us, cast us out of His presence or stopped loving us. Instead, He saw how much we need a Savior, a second chance, so He sent His Son to suffer the death that we should suffer.

By His blood on the cross, we are healed.

It's amazing. I am in awe of God's love for us all. My heart aches for those sheep that are still lost, and I pray that His message of salvation and grace is heard.

Cilantro Pear Smoothie!
serves one

Cilantro used to be my favorite. I would toss a huge handful atop a pot of chili beans before the 20-30 minute simmer and end up with a very flavorful bowl of goodness. Then recently I read about how good cilantro is for wiping out heavy metals from our bodies, and I was sold on the green leaf. The issue then came about that I stopped enjoying the flavor and almost felt a little grossed out by it. It's a strong smelling fella, I kid you not, and I'm sure you already know. I started mincing it and placing it on salads, made a pico de gallo with the leaves (with tomato, and serrano chili) and tried adding it to an avocado smoothie. Each time I felt like I was forcing myself to eat a gross vitamin. Le sigh.

Then I found the solution. BANANAS!

Again with the eating-same-food-groups-for-superb-digestion or at-least-something-better-than-my-crazy-digestion-now I am eating breakfasts of one or two types of fruit with greens. So this is my banana creation. I fancy. You fancy?

Go find and peel
5-7 bananas
3 medium collard leaves
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 cups water w/ice cubes


Call it breakfast. Side note: I also have had this same smoothie with parsley instead of cilantro, and with a few more collard leaves and zero cilantro. I try to just do one fruit and one green to keep the flavors simple and delicioooouuuusssss. My days of parsley + cilantro + spinach + kale + collards + cocoa powder = no more. That's expensive, yo! Keep it simple. Your blender will probably be happier, too.

April 21, 2013

Guacamole Lettuce Wrap with Garbanzos

If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. Galatians 5:25-26

I love the thought of walking by the Spirit. A constant source of strength, one we can depend on and not grow weary. A constant comfort, one that never leaves us and always satisfies. A protector, walking beside us, filling us to the brim with His goodness. Verse 26 hits a little harder, tugs on my heart and almost hits me in the face. Am I doing these things? Of course I am. I fall to one, if not all, of these things on a daily basis. It may be in small, or it may saturate my entire being some days. So I pray, and I pray hard: let me not become conceited, provoking or full of envy. Easier said than done, but prayer is the first step.

The beautiful thing is that if we strive to live and walk by the Spirit - conceit, provoking and envy won't be part of us. Our focus is directed completely away from ourselves and onto our Lord and His calling for us. Live by His Spirit, walk by His Spirit.

In love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (see Galatians 5:22-23)

Guacamole Lettuce Wrap with Garbanzos
This meal was so. so. good. There was creaminess involved. Crispy greens. Spicy salsa. Pop-in-your-mouth wonderful garbanzos. so. so. good.
Serves one.

1 cup cooked garbanzos
1/2 an avocado
1 zucchini
1/2 green bell pepper 
salsa, as much as you like
5 lettuce leaves, I used red leaf - the outer leaves are huge!

How to
Mash your avocado in a medium sized bowl, add the salsa and veggies and mix it up real good. Toss in your garbanzos and move 'em around to coat, but try not to crush them (or crush them, if that's your preference). Place spoonful after spoonful on a washed piece of green lettuce, and top with extra salsa. Consume. Have a napkin or four nearby. Share with loved ones. Eat it again tomorrow.

I ate mine with a plateful of cooked carrots and broccoli, as well as a kale salad with a walnut sunflower seed dressing. and it was well with my tummy. If this doesn't fill you up, just increase your vegetable volume until satisfied!

April 20, 2013

Sunflower Ricotta n Pesto Pizza

I'd like to take a moment to thank a very special blogger, Kathy. I have dabbled in dozens of her recipes and have yet to be disappointed. This certain recipe you're above to gaze upon has happened a few times in my life (count: about 4?) and I've made small changes each time. I believe we have a winner this time, friends. You see, the original recipe calls for cashews - but who doesn't feel like buying cashews all the time at $10/lb? 'Tis me, thy cheap one. So I use cashews' less-expensive cousin: the sunflower seed.

Brilliant?! My wallet thinks so!

Write this down.

pizza dough - make your own. mine is [3 cups whole wheat flour, 1 cup warm water, 1 Tbsp yeast, 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed and extra ground flax for sprinkling/to prevent sticking to pan].

pizza sauce - make your own. mine is Bionaturae organic tomato puree, seasoning, garlic and red pepper flakes *simmer* and apply on pizza dough.

sunflower seed ricotta
1 cup raw, soaked sunflower seeds
1 lemon's juice
1 garlic clove
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
pepper to taste


sunflower seed pesto
1 cup packed basil leaves
2 big kale leaves (or collards, spinach - 1 cup or so, torn)
1/2 lemon's juice
1 cup sunflower seeds
pepper to taste
water to blend


For the pizza instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Next, all I do is roll out the crust on some ground flaxseed on a big piece of parchment paper (instead of the counter), it's my version of cornmeal or flour sticking-prevention. Then I transfer the crust onto a hole-covered pizza pan. From there I apply an even amount of pizza sauce, then dollop on spoonfuls of the ricotta, then pesto. I sprinkle the bad boy with red pepper flakes and pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes, until golden edges are present all over that beauty. Serve with salad to fill you up joyfully. Or, you know, whatever your go-to pizza companion may be. Enjoy!

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 ESV)

I have been crucified with Christ. My sins were on His shoulders that day, He died for our sake, and the moment He rose from the dead, we were all was given the gift of having a clean slate.

To be crucified with Christ means I die to the person I used to be, the person this world pulls at me to be. One who loves success, to boast in their actions, to feel loved and respected by all. My joy does not come from this world, but from my Lord and the salvation He has given me. Nothing that this world offers with satisfied my old self, it all left me empty and weak, on a constant hunt for something greater than what I could find. Then there is Jesus. Completely satisfying, fills me daily with the promises found in His holy book, holds my hand and guides my steps, has a place for me in eternity when this life is over, and loves me with a deep, rich love I can hardly comprehend!

I'll end with this, from Got Questions' website. It's so clear!

"Many Christians want to be obedient but continue to stumble in sin because they try to hang onto parts of the old self they think they are able to control. This is a self-defeating rationale that relies on the idea that man saves himself by his own works. The Bible teaches us that nothing a man does can save his soul, and salvation is only by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Through this gift of grace, man can be born again and given a new nature to replace the old sinful self. He must be born again if he is ever to see the kingdom of God (John 3:3), and if he is to be born again, his sinful nature must be crucified with Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit of God."

April 19, 2013

BBQ Seitan Casserole

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba! Father!" Galatians 4:6

I have really loved reading Galatians lately. I am following a plan from the ladies over at She Reads Truth on my phone's bible app, if anyone is interested! It's very uplifting, the tone of the writers is like listening to a friend, and it's easy to meditate on God's Word daily with this tool. I recommend it! 

This verse makes me feel special, and I hope it makes you feel the same. Paul is talking about how we have been adopted as sons (and daughters) of God. He is our Father - not just our King. He is both. We can run to Him when we are sad, we ask Him for advice and He gives the best, we sing praises to His name and can jump for joy in His presence. We share everything together, the ups and downs, the triumphs and trials. He is the perfect father figure we could ever imagine and He calls us to Him daily.

It makes me think of how I would feel as a parent if my child ignored me, pushed me aside, and even hated me. We are all God's children, He formed each and every one of us. And if we are deciding not to follow Him, for whatever reason, we are a child turning our back away from our Father. On this earth many people have good reason to leave their worldly father's presence and decide not to have him be a part of their life. but with God, He has done nothing but good to us and we have no reason to treat Him the way we (usually) do.

Run to your Father. He is always there with open arms.

BBQ Seitan Casserole
serves 4
inspired by Post Punk Kitchen
it's more like a stir fry thrown atop quinoa and plopped into a casserole dish, but no mind the details.

You need
2 cups of seitan-cubed, I make my own
2 cups broccoli florets
2 large zucchini
1 bell pepper
1/2 cup cabbage
1.5 cups cooked quinoa 

your favorite BBQ sauce or:
2 dates
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 tbsp almond butter
1 tbsp Liquid Aminos
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp mustard or dijon
1 serrano chili pepper
 *blend until creamy goodness appears

Do it this way
Dice all your vegetables about the same bite-sized pieces as your seitan. Throw everything in a big pan on medium heat with a splash or 3 of water or vegetable stock. Sautee for just a few minutes, then add your BBQ sauce. Mix and mix and let that baby cook! I then cover the pan and let it simmer until most of the sauce has been eaten by the vegetables and seitan. Grab your cooked quinoa (preferably not with your hands) and cover the bottom of the casserole dish. Add BBQ veg and seitan on top and mix a little with a spoon. EAT. or hey, you could bake it I s'pose, so it really seems like a casserole.

April 18, 2013

Eat with Gladness, Drink with Joy

 Recently we opened our bibles to Ecclesiastes in our Sunday morning class. I am going to be honest and say I don't know much about this book, I have never read but a small handful of verses from it, and I was never really drawn to read it in the past. We were encouraged by our pastor to take the time to read it from start to finish, so Eduardo and I decided to read a chapter a night. I have to start off by saying you should really go read this book because I am enjoying it so, so much. The author (Solomon) writes with such wisdom and realism that his message is made clear.

Instead of trying to write down what we have read so far (we are only on chapter 5) I am going to share the notes we took on Sunday, spoken by our pastor and a few other people in the class. It's a great summarization of Ecclesiastes and I hope it touches your heart like it did mine.

This is one person's testimony: there are ups and downs just like there are in our own lives. It's a dangerous book to read in small parts, you should read the whole book. Otherwise, if you're discouraged you may only find yourself even more discouraged by reading specific verses, "...I looked on all the works my hands had done... on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun." (2:11). Likewise, if you are full of hope you can either be uplifted from a verse, or brought down to sadness, "[God] has made everything beautiful in its time..." (3:11) or, "All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless." (2:23)

God gives us good things. If we have good, it is from God. God gives us the ability to enjoy it. We can have everything and not be happy- for happiness comes from God alone. 

"then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it." 8:17   ----> God's mystery. His sovereignty (power). I cannot figure life out, I cannot figure this or that situation out. How long, Lord? How long will this go on for? I do not know. I need to trust Him.

Ecclesiastes is realism. It isn't a pessimistic (although it seems to be at times) or an optimistic book. "It is meaningless, enjoy life - God is in control!" As believers, we can be sure that God approves of what we do. God loves us, we can be joyful- "eat with gladness, drink with a joyful heart.'

Christianity isn't good advice, "I can't figure this out, what do I do?" someone may ask a follower of Christ. Response, "I can't figure it out, either, but I know Who is in control (God) and I trust Him." We need to be confident that God approves of us and He is in control. Take risks: for God is in control. No need to be worrisome or fearful.

Sometimes life goes well for you, sometimes life goes terribly wrong (whether you know Christ as your Savior or not). "You said You loved me, why did You bring me here? You're sovereign, fix it!" My thoughts quickly find themselves on a friend and their on-going struggles... take God's wisdom as a gift. "The wise man's face is brightened." (8:1) meaning there are still battles and pain, but you can take them in a positive manner. 

Be courageous, be calm, serene, trust in God's power and the ability for us, as followers of Christ Jesus, to have peace no matter what

I can't figure life out.
I can't figure God out.
but... "eat joyfully, drink happily..."
because Christ died and rose again
and I am saved.

I am so thankful to the Lord, our God for this message. I pray that it would reach and touch each person that reads it, specifically the friend on my heart at this time. May their life completely turn around for the good. How I ache, my hope had dwindled with them, but I am reminded to trust my loving God and His plans for their life. I ask Him to take away their struggles, their battles, their past that hinders their present. Above all, may God's will be done in their life.

Now go read Ecclesiastes and be blessed!

April 17, 2013

Orange n' Berries Smoothie

My little children, for whom I am in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you! Galatians 4:19

This verse really hit me. Maybe because I gave birth. Maybe I know what type of anguish it entails. Maybe Paul really hit the mark when he made this statement. Paul's heart for this group of people was unmistakably compassionate. He longed for them to know Christ as their personal Lord and Savior. The pain in him was compared to giving birth - and if you have done this, even if you haven't, you know that there is pain involved. So it hit me...

Do I feel this way about those that do not yet know Jesus as their King? How much does my heart ache when I think about the lost sheep that ignore Him? I feel like this blog is an outlet God has guided me to be consistent with, so that I could share a little bit of my faith and plant some seeds. Reading about how Paul felt about the unsaved reminded me of how important it is to share the good news, to be a friend to all and to shine for our God - so that the whole world may hear and know the promise of Salvation.

for whom I am in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.

Orange n' Berries Smoothie
serves one.
I have been switching things up in the smoothie department. I decided to stop adding vegetables to these guys, except greens, and focus on the same fruit groups in one jar. Example: bananas and figs, dates, or prunes = sweet fruits. Apple, pear and kiwi = sub-acid fruits. This time: pineapple, orange and berries ~ the acid fruits. Let's do this

You need
1 1/2 cups pineapple
2 oranges
1/2 cup frozen berries
2 lemon's juices
1 handful spinach, optional
1-2 cups water

Do this
Throw everything in the blender, berries and spinach last since they won't help the blending process much if they are the first thing touching the blade, and add more (or less) water depending on the consistency you like. I like to start with a cup or so, then pour the smoothie in jars and add water to the jars from there.

This is so good. I serve this smoothie with a couple oranges, mandarins, or more diced pineapple and call it lunch. So much tropical flavor in my mouth!

April 16, 2013

Easter 2013

These photos are for my loving, sweet, gentle, goofy, fun, blessed, smiling, joking, sleeping (?) family! Remember when it was almost May and I just posted these? teehee. Disclaimer: not everyone that was present Easter Sunday is pictured below. I wasn't very camera-happy or free-to-use-camera-at-all-times that day, which is also why there are zero food pictures which is so not me!

Introduction photo: my brother and his soon-to-be-bride!

We dined on my mom's vegan lasagna (1,000 vegetables, wheat and rice noodles, tofu ricotta), Costco ham, mixed fruit salad, kale salad, lentils and squash, and coconut chocolate (vegan) peanut butter cups, as well as a whipped egg lemon tart. Santi slept and ate blueberries. Whew, what a beautiful day to celebrate Christ's resurrection!

my papa
my (mommy's) aunt, we call her our aunt, too!
Uncle Ryan (my brother) and his nephew!

practicing his standing skillz.
bluuuuueberries! notice my seriousness and caution since I am wearing a white shirt!

Matthew 28:1-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He has risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay. Then go quickly and tell His disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him.' Now I have told you."

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," He said. They came to Him, clasped His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

April 15, 2013

Boston: Comfort in the Lord

My heart aches for the tragedy that happened in Boston today. I find hope, comfort, and see the light in this dark world, in God's Word alone. Pray, hard. The sadness, this heavy load upon our shoulders, deep sorrow, confusion, we can give to our Father in Heaven to carry for us. What man meant for evil God will make for good. We have to trust this. 

We have to trust in HIM

The steadfast  
love of the Lord 
never ceases;
His mercies  
never come to an end;
they are new 
every morning;
great is  
Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

April 13, 2013

Santiago James: 7 Months!

"I'm seven months old, I'm seveeeennn monnthhhsss oooooldddddddddd" "Tengo siete meses, tengooooo sieteeeee messseeeeeessss!!!" Song written and recorded by Santiago James Carrillo.

He's a singer! He's a clapper! He's a reader, a writer, an eater, a dancer. Well, sort of.

He likes to sing, this is truth. He just recently (within the past day or two) started to throw out some "L" sounds when he talks. That's right, "la laaaaa" has escaped our baby's mouth in delightful harmony. Could it be from all the singing I belt out on a daily basis? Maybe it's caused by the fact that Pandora Radio is constantly playing music in the background of our home? Of this we are not sure, all we know is that I sing to entertain and distract this guy, and he seems to be catching on.

He eats so, so much food. You know when you read into giving babies solids, and they mention something along the lines of "food = fun" until 1 year of age? Well, I think this is a bunch of looney business. Santiago is acting like solid food, adult food, big-boy food, anything-that's-not-breast-milk-even-though-that's-still-his-favorite is necessary for consumption or he will surely not feel joy in his heart. Serious. I will cut into an apple before bedtime, and he will quack and coo and boo and raawwwrrr until I give him some. Of course, I'm not keen on seeing if he can handle a piece of raw apple, so I give him a piece of banana instead. But if I deny him of his right to munch while I am munching, oh boy will he tell me how against that decision he is! So, to fill his need of his, we constantly feed him. teehee.

He has tasted and has approved of:
steamed broccoli
steamed carrots
cooked zucchini
baked acorn squash
sweet potato fries
romaine lettuce
cooked apple
mandarin orange
smoothies that have 20 ingredients

He has experienced diaper rash once, after a piece of orange, but other than that it is as if he has eaten solids from the day he greeted this world. No allergies thus far, thank You Lord!  

He nap and sleeps trains! I think I might make this a post in its own - you know, in 3 years when we finally get the hang of it and there is some consistency in his sleep patterns. For now I will say we are doing a very modified version of Cry It Out (CIO) where we have a naptime and nighttime routine, lie him in his crib awake but sleepy, leave the room and re-enter (after 1 minute) if he is crying like madness. We then soothe, without picking him up, for 60 seconds, then leave the room again. Continue as needed. Pick up only when he is going absolutely may-day and needs an embrace - but you call the shots. Is he really crying? If you pick him up will he only have false hope that you will not put him back down again? What type of crying is he belting out right now? "I need you" "This is a dumb idea" "Sleeping is for babies" "I am so tired" "I want to eat" "I have a poopy/wet diaper" "I want a banana" "I think playing with my feet is a better idea than this one" etc. We are exactly one week into it, seeing progress but still making a few changes here and there. I'm not reading any books, or going off of any specific training found on the internet. We're just doin' what works for us and I recommend everyone int the entire world do that, too. End.

He has a high chair! He was initially using the BebePod, which I recommend 100% for all parents since it really encouraged him to learn how to sit up by himself. We had it on the floor for play time for the first few weeks (don't ask me how old he was when we first strapped him in, I has no memory...) and then we attached it to a dining room chair. He sat with us for a bit, but wasn't interested in our food until around 5 months, so we just placed toys in front of him. Then he put every single toy in his mouth, then he watched us eat very intensively, then then then we fed him our food.

It is very practical for a transition-to-high-chair type of apparatus, but once them thighs reach a certain thickness, your child will no longer fit in this chair! On comes his first high chair. We purchased ANTILOP for like $3 from Ikea, so don't spend $50 on any other fancy chair 'cause it just don't matter. We love it because it is super easy to clean up (no weird dips or spots where food can hide) and it has a fancy-pants modern design that fits our styleeee. Also, it could have cost $3, but it really was $20. So affordable and so jolly. He likes it, we like it, hooray!

He likes to stand a lot a lot. His favorite "I'm playing" position used to be sitting up. If he was in our arms and fussy, he would prefer to sit down on his own. If he was standing in his Exersaucer and not lovin' it, he would smile once you took him out and sat him on the carpet. If he was playing cowboy on your knee and bouncing up and down and fussed, you would have yourself a calm babe once you sat him down. He. wanted. to. sit. it. was. so. awesome. his. mind. was. fascinated. And thennnnnn.... I believe my mom was the first one to do it, she stood him up on the couch and let him lean with his hands on the edge (where your back leans against - I'm bad at explaining couches...) and wiggle. He grinned and goofed and was full of glee! Now, I stand him up on the carpet and put his hands on the wall, the couch, outside on the deck he grabs the bars that prevent him from falling 20 feet to the ground, etc. Even at church if he is fussy sitting on our laps, he will last a full 4 minutes more without fuss if we stand him up on our lap and let him hold our hands. When he is done going potty on his Baby Bjorn Potty, he laughs and smiles at me once I say "listo?" or "all done?" because he knows I am going to help him stand up. Cutie Patoo.

Tummy time is his least favorite, but you wouldn't know that for the first 50 seconds of him in tummy-mode! We (try to) lie him on his belly (somewhat) often to encourage rolling over but I think he has caught on to our schemes and has decided that crying and rubbing his face on the carpet is a better idea. Also, he knows this is a sure-fire way to get us to roll him onto his back in "safe pilot" mode, thus not forcing him to roll from tummy to back ever again. Oh, Santi pants. I s'pose your parents, your grandparents, your friends and family just have to enjoy this not-so-mobile stage of your life and be thankful we don't have to buy baby gates yet.

He likes the great outdoors! Actually, whenever we put him in his stroller and go for a walk he tends to put on Mr. Grumpy-Face and glare at everything that passes by. Yet, when we are in the comfort of our own home, and not strapped into some weird seat on wheels, he contemplates life in a very profound, wise way. He does this by staring out the window, beyond the houses, beyond the street lights, beyond the trees even. This boy is staring into the clouds, I tell you. He sees beautiful things that we never take the time to enjoy. And he is fascinated.

That, or he likes to stare at the table on our neighbor's back deck.

It's a blessing to have him in our life. Every day I am amazed at the little being God formed with His own hands, the same hands that formed this world in 6 days, the same hands that can move mountains, wipe tears away, guide the lost. Our prayer as parents is to guide little Santi boy in the way our incredible Lord asks, to love on him unconditionally like Christ loves each and every one of us, and to teach Him about the gift of eternal life. It's a little too early to sit him down and hope that he'll understand the gospel, but we trust that he'll pick up on the little things as he grows (praying before mealtime, meditating on God's word together, singing praises all day long - well, that's mainly me, I won't force him to be a gospel singer if the boy can't belt a tune with joy!). Baby steps, my friends. Cute, squishy, soft, ticklish baby steps.

We love you Santi! 
um... When can we meet your sibling(s)?

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness; 
come before Him with joyful songs. 
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is He who made us, and we are His;
    we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
    and His courts with praise;
    give thanks to Him and praise His name. 
For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;
    His faithfulness continues through all generations.

Psalm 100.