Weekend with TuTu

Ok, so we didn't spend the weekend with a ballerina's dress. Although it is on my "bucket list".

We DID spend our weekend with Kara's Mom/Caleb's grandma/My mother-in-law (you get the idea). As all grandparents know, they're supposed to be given names that a 2 year old will be able to say with ease. Since "my mom's mother" is hard to say and often would attract stares at the mall, Lani (Kara's mom) decided on "Tutu". It's the hawaiian name for grandma. Makes sense.

Last week, Kara and Caleb went with Jen Roth (our landlord and friend) and her kids to the public library for STORY TIME. Every Wednesday the library offers infants/toddlers a chance to hear a story and sing songs. Caleb had a blast.

Then on Friday, Kara & Caleb picked up Tutu at the Portland Airport. Caleb wanted to drive, but Kara said no. Daddy would have said yes. After a stop at Trader Joe's, lunch at Chicken Bar, they headed back home to pick Jeff up. The rest of the night was spent hanging out, watching a movie, and waiting for Joey & Krista (brother/sister-in-law of Jeff) to arrive. They were driving up for three reasons: (1) they enjoy being in pain, (2) they wanted to see us, well, actually Caleb, & (3) they were going to buy a Boxer puppy from a couple in Portland.

The next morning, Joey and Jeff got up to run 6 miles...for fun. No, actually it's part of our training regimen as we prepare for the half marathon in June. When Jeff had to run off to work, the whole crew headed up to Woodburn outlets for the afternoon. Joey split off from the crowd and met up with the dog owners for the switch. What a cute dog! They call him "Oskie". Don't ask. It's a football thing...you wouldn't understand.

Ally (our dog) was not sure about Oskie - given the fact that she is 4 years old and Oskie is 5 months old, and the fact that she's still in a cast. But she warmed up to him. Fun was had by all.

On Sunday, Joey & Krista went home to Redding with their new family member. Jeff led worship for the 9:30 Cedar Hall service and Kara/Tutu/Caleb attended. For the music, there was a mandolin, a violin, and my guitar. Amazing sound! IF you've never heard of or listened to Nickel Creek, go get their CD and listen to it over and over again. Then one more time. Then throw away all your other music cuz you'll never hear anything like that again.

After church we thought that Caleb might want a nap before we headed to the Gilbert House, (see earlier post) but he decided that a nap didn't sound fun. So we got him in the car and drove 5 minutes to our destination. By the time, we got there, he was (you guessed it) sawing logs in the back seat. But being the sensitive parents we are, we turned around and headed home so he could rest in peace. Ummm...NO! Daddy actually had a selfish moment and wanted him to be awake for this experience, so I woke him up from his beauty sleep and we proceeded to show Tutu what this place was all about. We were so excited because Tutu had just purchased a year long membership at the Gilbert House, which we knew we couldn't afford. Thanks Tutu. A good time was had by all. I'm not quite sure why Kara is making the face she is, but I think it had something to do with the dinosaur eggs underneath her!

Tutu and Kara had an opportunity later Sunday night to go out to a local restaurant named Bentley's for a nice grown-up dinner while Daddy did Papa Patrol. It was really good for both of them to be able to talk without being interrupted. Thanks for a great weekend Tutu...we love you.


One more thing...

I know that I already blogged today about the grandparents, but I wanted to let you all know how I (Jeff) am doing on my fitness goals.
I always thought runners were idiots. IDIOTS. Who runs for fun? Seriously. That's like watching Vin Diesel films just because he's muscular and can't act.

Alas, I have recently been challenged by my wife and co-workers to run a HALF-MARATHON. 13.1 miles. That's quite a bit of "K's". Running...all of it. For fun.

I've taken this challenge head on and am sticking to a training regimen that consists of adding more and more mileage to my runs til I'm running 10-11 miles before the race. The cool thing I talked to my brother Joey about running with me and he has agreed. Brown brothers, running, for fun.

Seriously though it's a huge milestone for me fitness wise and I'm excited about meeting this challenge head on. I'll keep you all posted.

Weekend with the Brown Grandparents...

This past weekend, Grandma & Grandpa Brown decided to spend the weekend at our new home in Salem, Oregon. It had been 3 weeks since we'd seen any family, much less anyone from Redding, so this was a much-needed break for us all.

On Saturday, we slept in (well, actually Kara and I slept in while the grandparents did their grandparent thing and woke up with Caleb at 6:30am) til about 8:00am. What a beautiful thing that is. We had forgotten how magical it is to sleep in past 7:00. We laid around all morning, playing with Caleb, laughing, catching everybody up on the latest in our lives. Then we took Gma & Gpa to "Pita Pit" (one of our new favorite Salem restaurants). While Jeff went off to work at Salem Alliance, the rest of them drove 20 minutes up I-5 to Woodburn to brave the crowds at the famous Woodburn Outlets. I later found out that only Grandma and Kara went because Grandpa decided to let the women go on without him (strange man) while he watched Caleb back at the house. We celebrated Mom's birthday later that night with a homemade Chocolate Cheesecake that Kara made.
On Sunday, since Jeff didn't have to be at church, everyone bundled up (because it was SNOWING on April 20) and headed out for Orchard Heights Winery for their Sunday brunch. They make omelettes, waffles, scrambles, burritos, & pastas fresh. Mmm. So good! Our good friend Dave Hastings (who Jeff interned under at Salem Alliance Church 6 years ago) works there on Sundays as a chef. He sang "Happy Birthday" to Grandma and gave her a box of chocolate covered macademia nuts. We came back, watched a movie, took a nap, and played a game of Sequence. Grandpa & Kara beat Jeff & Grandma 2 games to 1. Again, we watched a movie. I loved Sunday.
Today, we took Caleb to the Salem Riverfront Carousel. It's one of 2 handcarved carousels in the world. It's actually a marvel to look at and see all the beautifully carved horses, then ride it and bring back memories of your childhood. Caleb wasn't quite sure about the ride at first, but when he joined Jeff on his horse, he was ok. After the ride, Grandpa wanted to make sure that "baby Sam" (the name we've given our unnamed, ungendered baby) was supplied with the right amount of Red Robin steak fries. So we ate at Red Robin. A great ending to our refreshing time with Grandma & Grandpa Brown.


Our day at the Gilbert House...

Kara and I took Caleb to the A.C. Gilbert House. It's a children's museum that is spread over 3 houses and a huge jungle gym/discovery area. The House is a big attraction for Salem-ites as well as people all over Oregon. We spent some time in the "Bubble Room" which really kept Caleb mesmorized (even though he cried when we blew bubbles for the first time this Easter). He loved the "Human Body" room where there is a ball room in the shape of the stomach. Caleb and I went in and spent some quality time discussing the digestive tract, as all fathers and sons do from time to time. I thought it was fitting that Caleb decided to spit up his lunch while we were inside the stomach...kinda ironic. Then we moved into the toddler room where Caleb looked at himself in the mirror for about 30 minutes. Can you blame him ? (please see post on April 13). Daddy and Caleb also went down the curly slide (his first slide experience). A great time was had by all. Of course we included some pictures for you all...


"The Office" office party

The Strike is over! We are free! Gone are the shackles of annoying reruns! Throw off your burden of boring primetime!

That's right. "The Office" is back. Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam, Phyllis, Stanley, Andy, Angela, Oscar, Kevin, Toby, Creed, and the beautiful Jan Livingston.

For those of you who do not watch Thursday night TV, this will bore you. So go do something else, like buy the entire DVD collection of the first three seasons.

Last night, Kara and I (Caleb was being watched by our landlords, the Roths) drove down the street to our friend's house about 8:30 for the preshow party. Complete with beverages, lil' smokies, & mini corn dogs, we got down with our bad selvs all the way up to 8:59. Shh, shh. It's starting!

Though we were disappointed that we didn't get to see much of many Office characters, we were still deeply satisfied (Thanksgiving meal satisfied) with where our beloved show took us. Though we unanimously decided that a half hour was too painful a teaser after the 40 years wandering the desert of unknown primetime TV. Could it have hurt them to feed us for another 30 minutes?

Regardless, the flag still flies. And we say, "O beautiful, for spacious cubicles, for Dunder-Mifflin's back!"


We survived our first week!

A little over a week, and we are still pressing on. This whole moving thing has been super-stressful (a little less stressful than having a loved one pass away) amidst the packing, boxes, driving, switching bills over to a new address, making sure we didn't forget important stuff (like our 8-month old son), not to mention trying to transfer the feel of "home" we had in Redding to a smaller home in Salem. Check back soon for pics of our new place (Kara has done an amazing job).

Kara had a couple hard days last week. We knew it would be difficult moving to a new place, but forgot that Kara was moving from involvement in ministry/great friendships/stable home to NOTHING. Literally, she had nothing. There are a couple of women from Salem Alliance that have reached out to her and spent some time with her last week, but it's not the same. Any of you who have moved know what I'm talking about.

Every day it gets better. Every day we meet new people or see another side of the city of Salem and we are encouraged. Every day our roots here in Salem begin to spread and grow deeper. One day, we will look back and remember these first months as we chuckle about how hard it was. But for now, we have to work a little harder at chuckling. For now, we press on.


My first day at work...

I woke up to the sight of my son, Caleb, crawling across the bed towards me. He buried his head underneath me, almost as if he was trying to gain leverage in order to push me off the bed. Cuddling is a new thing with him, and we love it. Sometimes, he mistakes "head-butting" with cuddling, but either way, we welcome it.

Tying up my running shoes, strapping on my ipod, & grabbing my dog's leash (with my dog attached to the end of it), I set out for my morning run. I knew that I would need this. It's amazing how much energy I gain from expending it.

My wife prayed for me while at the same time feeding my son his breakfast of apples/blueberries. Caleb has not learned prayer etiquette yet, especially when food is at stake, but we spent a moment praying for each other. For me, she prayed for strength, excitement, and we thanked God for getting us to this place. For Kara, I prayed for patience as she makes our house a home and for Caleb to get over his little cough.

Orientation with Kyra (H.R.). Signing papers never felt so good. Man, it's good to be here.

I arrived at my office to see 30 individual brownies laid out on my desk. A sign above read "Welcome Brownie". An additional sign read "your keys are below" with an arrow pointing to the brownies. Apparently, Logan and the rest of the staff thought it would be humorous to bake my new keys into three random brownies. My task was to search all the brownies and find them. Humorous. Again, I knew I was in the right place.

Worship Leader meeting with Logan and Laura. Dreaming. Brainstorming. Talking about the future. This is amazing. To have two other people that love worship as much as I do and to bounce ideas off of each other is unlike anything I could explain. It's my dream job.

Lunch with the worship department at The Ram.

I set up my office and was given a crash course on the church network

My wife met me at the church door and we walked home together. I could get used to this.

All in all, an amazing first day at my new job. God has led our lives to this point and we are grabbing it with both arms. I love this place. I love this job. I love this time in my life.