Semi-normal. Semi-formal.

Doug, Provider Man

The moment I met him came with a shock when he introduced himself as, “Tom Tuttle from Tehachapi,” and proceeded to head-butt me way too hard. You’d think with moves like that I’d fall for him right away, but it took five years. In the meantime, he bought an electric-blue truck, taught me how to surf, and proposed on snowmobiles. We married in ’94, complete with a butt bow, Ray-Bans, and a little poof in my sleeves.

His Sundays consist of serious naps, watching football, and any form of sugar. He bikes and runs and misses legit tacos in Baja. But he doesn’t miss being called Doog-lass. He’s entrepreneurial, a fierce provider, and has a manic commitment to leftovers. Works for me.

Micah, The Bearded Techie

Born in SoCal suburbia and raised in the Baja countryside, this white boy loves dirt.

After flipping a dune buggy at age nine, he added motorcycle to his resumé and downshifted out the gate. I had a deep appreciation for the vehicle with a roll bar, but apparently it didn’t go fast enough. Plus, it’s pretty cool to drive into middle school on a moto.

At twelve he learned to maneuver a car and started playing the ukulele. Lessons vacillated between awesome and horrible, but we had a deal: three years of one instrument that required reading music so it couldn’t be drums. He fulfilled his desire to hit things by playing in the school marching band, leading parades down our dinky main street between skinny stray dogs and steamy horse poop.

He fulfills his technology bent by working for a video production company, majoring in Cinema Media Arts in college, and shooting videos with his drone. He also got his FAA license, so now we all know where drones aren’t allowed to fly.

When we were about to move away from the only culture he ever remembered, he stood over six feet tall with strawberry blonde hair, pale skin, and freckles. And still played the ukulele.

In Mexico.

As if we didn’t stand out enough.

Brock, Captain Chill

It takes a lot to ruffle this guy’s feathers. He first rode a motorcycle when he turned seven, plays the ukulele, and grew up fascinated with robots. He’d still like to invent one to do his chores and bring him tacos.

He moved to Baja eight months along in my belly and holds over a dozen years of legit Spanish behind that white forehead. When we moved back to the States, he was a true foreigner. Everything from mobile classrooms and U.S. History facts to English grammar, drop-off lanes, and unnecessary grass leaves him asking why.

He’s now a lacrosse guy and dog whisperer, with a knack for tech shortcuts, tacos, music, and teaching me everything he thinks I need to know about my phone. Also, he would like Chick-fil-A to be open on Sundays.

Mali, Jovie & Chance

If you’re not a dog lover, skip this part. It’s okay—I’m not a cat lover. I mean I like them, I just can’t eat a whole one myself.

These pups grew up with our boys, lived a free-range life in another country, and broke our hearts when they died.

Mali: the brindle boxer who could jump over the lab. She was a little loco, loved to cuddle, and could probably beat Usain Bolt–if she could run in a straight line.

Jovie: the yellow lab who always looked desperate for food and love. She acted her age (teen), begging for attention and getting in trouble on the regular.

Chance: the black lab who became the Eeyore of the group. This old man became the slowest, most mellow dog ever. Until a stray anything walked by–then it was game on.

They were 100% outside dogs who spent a decade in Baja, barked at innocent horses, de-feathered chickens, snuck out at night to scavenge for scraps, and slept through entering burglars. 

The new house that came with an ugly pink garage.

A Week with The Fam

We skipped Wednesday church in Mexico to engage in family game night. Our jam-packed game cabinet held dozens of cards, spoons, boards, chips, and dice, but we preferred games that didn’t require a battery and took less than an hour to play. Monopoly rarely won.

We found out that playing Jenga with Spanish speakers is pretty easy. Scrabble is not.

Weekend pancakes usually include walnuts, coconut oil, and chia seeds. The guys are fine with those but frequently ask for some insane amount of chocolate chips.

Sunday rest was never an option. After church and lunch, we hunkered down for 30 minutes of quiet. No talking or the time started over.

I always wished they would’ve talked.

In promoting qualities of the Sabbath, Sunday is also a day of no work, no chores. Dishes start to pile, rooms become messy, and nobody cares. Took a while to get used to, but now I look forward to the only day I let myself read, nap, and play… without guilt or a timer. You should try it. It’ll change your life.

Our family has issues, but we’re in it for keeps. We disappoint, argue, misunderstand, and frustrate. But we also play, listen, apologize, and above all… love. Our goal is to keep Jesus the center of our home, and we know He intentionally gave us each other. Period.