Thursday, January 27, 2011

hey, hey. our new nest.

well, it's official. the last 2 days of waiting for the sellers to accept our offer have seemed like weeks (clearly patience is something i need to work on). this morning they made a counter offer, and this evening we gladly accepted! weird. this is really happening. we are humbled by the blessings and circumstances that have allowed us to purchase this home. we will be praying that everything moves along as needed, and quickly! we are currently set to close on march 21. eep!

the house is on 2 acres and is zoned for agricultural. in fact, we are allowed to build another dwelling for our workers to live in...if you know, we wanted to start a papaya plantation or something. but really, we are very excited about all the great stuff we can grow with a 12 month growing season. we are gearing up for country living at it's finest. on a clear day we can see the ocean and both mauna loa and mauna kea. we will be about 20 min to a grocery store...or to pretty much anything for that matter. it's bound to be new adventure for us, but we are really pretty much looking forward to it.

so, i recommend you book your stay with thelen's know, for best availability.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

whatcha got cooking?

um, yum. this slow cook mongolian beef is oh so easy, and bursting with flavor. i serve it with brown rice, and everyone seems to gobble it up. this is one of the easiest things i make. i even cook the rice when i start the slow cooker, then everything is just ready and waiting when hungry tummies come a' growling.

Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef


  • 1 pound flank steak, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 large green onions, sliced diagonally into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce


  1. Place flank steak and cornstarch into a resealable plastic bag. Shake the bag to evenly coat the flank steak with the cornstarch. Allow to steak rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir steak until evenly browned, 2 to 4 minutes. Place onion, garlic, flank steak, green onions, soy sauce, water, brown sugar, ginger, and hoisin sauce in a slow cooker. Cook on Low setting for about 4 hours.

a couple notes: this is for 4 servings. if you have more that 3 hungry people, i would double the recipe. also, the flank steak cooks rather quick and can get kinda mushy if you over cook, i would check in around 3- 3.5 hours and turn your slow cooker to warm till you are ready to eat. enjoy!

Monday, January 17, 2011

wes, meet thirty. thirty...wes

okay, now that wes and thirty have officially met they have 10 years to get to know each other. i wonder what those 10 years will have to offer? it's pretty exciting to think about. then again, i have another year and half before i meet yeah. i guess i have no room to talk.

i do however think i married a pretty amazing guy. besides bringing sanity and practical insight into my life, i would like to give him a shout out for everything he has achieved in a modest 30 years.

learning to walk is no easy task...go you!

not only is he a wonderful big brother, but he can pull off spandex like a rock star.

a ski career that started young, and lasted through college.
um, can't you see a champion forming? duh.

okay...huge gap here. but my pictures are limited
of his life before me, (double duh).
in 2004 wes graduated from the university of neveda, reno
with a double major in geology and geophysics.

next up: graduate school at the university of washington.

in 2005 he made me his wife (after just 4 years of dating).
it was well worth the wait.

a couple summers spent doing research in russia.
that research would eventually turn into a very long thesis paper.

the birth of his beautiful son.

5 years of grad school and 6 short weeks
after welcoming coen, he defended his PhD!
we celebrated at a giants vs mariners game with his parents.

a post doc position with the usgs cascade volcano observatory!

surviving the first chaotic year of parenthood!

more importantly, surviving 5 chaotic years of being married to me!
(please note: this was halloween. marriage has not turned wes into a greaser.)

and the cherry on top...less that a month before he met the big 3-0,
a new job as the seismic network manager at the
usgs hawaiian volcano observatory! go wes!

his birthday celebration was shared with good friends
while we were up north welcoming baby beckett.
we ate some delish pizza, enjoyed some home brew and
indulged in decadent cupcakes.
next month i am taking him on an overnight get-away
with several of our closest friends.
my life would be a mess without him. no joke.

go wes, 30 looks good on you!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

hello, beckett kol!

we have anxiously been awaiting the arrival of a very special person and on thursday i got the call, it was go time. since experiencing childbirth myself i can't hold back tears when i know someone is about to meet their little bundle for the first time. this time around it was my bestie's turn, and i was a sobbing mess. we set up camp in the waiting room, paced back and forth in the hall, and prayed our hearts out, all. night. long.

on friday, january 7 at 7:15 am matt and cortney welcomed beckett kol pennebaker into the world. weighing in at a whooping 8 pounds 4 ounces and a perfect 22 inches long. he is amazing!

i was blessed to share this event with matt, cortney & their families. everyone is head over heals for beckett. i mean, you would be a monster if you weren't.

i am eager to watch our sons grow up together. to see what they have to teach each other. beckett seems sooo little now, but in a couple years he and coen will be running around causing all kinds of havoc. beautiful, beautiful havoc that is.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

whatcha got cooking?

after an overindulgent eating spree the last few weeks, i am more than eager to get back to the grind. i have never craved a home cooked meal so much in my life. even the thought of ordering my food at a restaurant makes me feel sick. the chaos of the past month has been quite entertaining, yet has done nothing for our eating habits. so here i am putting my apron back on and the knife is back on the chopping block. for now.

last night i made chicken fajitas. always a favorite. every time i make these wes and i talk about them all. night. long. they are as good as any i have ever ordered from a restaurant. so there.

Pollo Fajitas


  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 dash hot pepper sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced


  1. In a medium bowl, combine Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, soy sauce, chili powder, garlic and hot pepper sauce. Place chicken in sauce, and turn once to coat. Marinate for 30 minutes at room temperature, or cover and refrigerate for several hours.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add chicken strips to the pan, and saute for 5 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper, and saute another 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

really big (island) news!

i married a volcano seismologist. that's not something many people can say, or understand. i mean what does that even mean? usually when people ask me what wes dose, they get all hung up on the seismologist part. "a volcano what? therapist?" (seriously, i got that response once). here's a quick lesson:

1. volcano n: a fissure in the earth's crust (or in the surface of some other planet) through which molten lava and gases erupt

2. seismology n : the branch of geology that studies earthquakes

therefore, 1+2= WES! pretty cool i think. it only took him 10 years of higher education. not to mention the last 6 weeks before he defended his thesis we were learning all the chaotic joys of parenthood. whew, that was rough. well worth it though, to be called dr. wes.

so what's the big news? clearly none of this is information is new. in fact, last february we relocated for a post-doc opportunity that would give us 2-5 years of "stability" while we raised coen. we were ready to plant roots, get comfy and settle in for a while. you know, relax.

well the jokes on us. clearly. on friday wes accepted a permanent position with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) on the Big Island of Hawaii. gulp.

our decision to accept this position did not come lightly. when the offer was first brought to the table, we packed up with a few days notice and headed over to check things out. it was a crazy 4 days that i am not sure really ever happened (such a blur). professionally speaking, this position is an amazing opportunity for wes. real, active, volcanoes....LAVA. i mean, really? it doesn't get any better than that. but we had to dig deeper and make sure it could be a good fit for our family. we did our research, we know the pros and the cons. we are excited, and we are scared. we are saddened to be so far away from family, but eager for all the visitors. mostly, we know that Gods plan is so so much bigger than ours, and trusting Him in this decision has provided total peace in both of us. so here we go. let the crazy journey begin. come march, we will reside on the big island. aloha!