Sunday, December 12, 2010

What I Will Miss About This House

Today when I was doing the dishes I noticed two little lizards playing on our sunny retaining wall  and it made me feel kind of sad and melancholy.  It reminded me of Nick and Josh's herping days, having the preschoolers get excited to see the lizards during recess and my little Claire chasing back and forth after the lizards  last year.  I started thinking about all the improvements we have made and  I decided to make a list about the  things I will truly miss about this house:

Lizards running and sunning on the back wall

My glorious, deep, stainless steel kitchen sink

My corian counter top

The downstairs bathroom with bronze fixtures and matching accessories and Texas stars

Our big soaking tub with the built in shampoo shelf (simple pleasures)

A perfect place to hang my pretty chime

Big wall grouping of family pictures downstairs

Hanging my quilts from the landing

Hanging my quilts on the walls with vaulted ceilings

from Craig - the nice wide driveway

Our old tree in the front yard that died

The "new" brick wall and back gate on the west side

People knowing this was our house and having old friends drop by

Our sliding glass door that no longer sticks
(and the pretty, ruffled , country curtain valences)

Knowing how to operate all the appliances

Our one-year-old A/C unit

Being close to shopping

Knowing my address and  phone number - I have had the same phone number for over 30 years. . .

Friends close by I can count on in a heartbeat

Ceiling fans in all the bedrooms and landing, especially my pretty master bedroom fan

The sweet memories of  raising our family the past 16 years, including 5 graduations, 3 1/2 missionary farewell's, 3  homecomings, 5 engagements, 5 weddings, and 8 grandchildren (and the news of #9 due in January 2011).

Then it took me a lot longer to think about the things I  will not miss at all.  The first three were easy but I've been thinking about it all day (both lists) while I pack.  Did I mention that packing is not such a fun way to celebrate the Christmas season?

The traffic due to the moronic, rude and thoughtless parents of Palm students-  twice a day - that gets worse every year.

Unfriendly neighbors

Barking, yipping dogs

Rusty old group mailbox and weird postal workers

Dopey garden window in kitchen - overrated and impossible to clean

Lack of cupboard space and drawers

Lack of overhead lighting

The aging green carpeting

The aging, chipped floor tile

Needing to paint

The drafty windows

Thursday, December 9, 2010


This post is old news but it is worth posting even this late.  This summer we discovered that Dylan and Claire had an amazing talent for jigsaw puzzles.  Dylan  has always loved puzzles, the harder the better.  He was acing the difficult preschool puzzles  I usually save for the end of the preschool year and then he moved on to 24-36 piece puzzles, and for his birthday in July he got some 50-65 piece puzzles. This summer in Idaho we tried the 100 piece puzzles, and with a little help he could do those as well. [and we discovered you can get them at the dollar store] This fall he spent a day with me and with a little bit of help the did a really hard 100 piece puzzle with tiny pieces.
His technique is so interesting.  Most of us do the outside border and then fill in the design.  But Dylan puts it together by looking at the design and working outward. Sometimes we have to help him group the pieces together for one section, but usually he pushes our hand away or takes it apart and redoes it on his own.
These are pictures from Idaho in August. I love it that Claire and Dylan are both the middle child in their families and they are both puzzle experts.  They can even outdo their older siblings, which doesn't always go over well!  Such cute kids --- all so different, with such different talents but each and everyone is wonderful!!!

Louisiana - round 1

Jamie had to have some medical work done last month so she flew me to Louisiana to help her with Kaylee and Blake.  Kaylee was so excited, she ran through  security before my plane had even landed.  A kind TSA agent escorted her back to Jamie, but by then Kaylee was freaked out.  So when I fianlly got there, Kaylee was not to sure whether it was okay to approach me. On the way home from the airport in Alexandria, we were delighted to find a Logan's Roadhouse, which Ben and Jamie discovered in Texas.  It was the perfect place to stop for lunch, and Kaylee loved being able to open the peanuts and throw the shells on the floor. Look at how cute Blake is with a part in his hair!  Kaylee was 4 in October and Blake is 20 months old.

Kaylee was being so cute and silly while I unpacked.  I slept in her room and she slept on a blow up in Jamie's room.  It was fun to be in their world in DeRidder and see where they live and work and play.  DeRidder is just south of Fort Polk, a huge Army base in west central Louisiana.I got there on Saturday, November 6 and Jamie's surgery was on Monday morning.

Jamie's friend took her to the hospital early that morning, then later Blake and I took Kaylee to preschool and then we went to Wal-mart.  I thought there was team spirit in Texas and in Boise, but they have nothing compared to those LSU and Saints fans in Louisiana.  Every store in town had a huge section of LSU and Saints gear.  And there were flags, signs and stickers everywhere.  The Sunday paper had a four page spread on just the  LSU game, and that was the small town Alexandria newspaper.  Everyone was so warm and friendly, taking southern hospitality to a new level.  

The kids were angels for me, but they were so glad to see their mom later that night.  By the end of the week Jamie was feeling better and we did a little shopping and even found a darling  new quilt shop in Leesville, the next town over. 
It was rainy at the end of the week and Kaylee was thrilled to use her umbrella on the way to preschool.
 Jamie looks fabulous, but she is way too skinny!  Isn't Blake's spiky hair cute?  Blake LOVES trains and Woody, not necessarily in that order.  Whenever he sees or hears a train or sees a railroad track he says "choo- chooooo" in the sweetest little voice.  That boy stole my heart.

Jamie sent Ben decorations for his hooch [storage container converted into housing] and while we were shopping for things to send him, Kaylee just about jumped out of the cart in the aisle with the little trees and ornaments.  So of course I thought she should have one for her room, and she gladly picked out all the pink and purple ornaments. 
It turned out so cute and fits perfectly on top of her dresser.

The day before I left I needed to spoil them a little and I got Kaylee a Strawberry Shortcake and Blake a Thomas the Train that you shake and it goes and makes noise.  This was a busy trip with not much picture taking.  I will do better when we are there for round 2 at Christmas.  I was sure I would be strong and not cry when I left this time, then Kaylee started crying saying she didn't want me to go, and of course, I lost it!  I told her I had to go home and take care of Grampa so I could bring him back for Christmas.  Can't wait!

The Amazing Nicholas and His Lovely Assistant, Paige

 Nick had Paige help him do a "magic trick.--- Now you see her. . .
 Ala peanut butter sandwiches!
. . .  Now you don't!
She made it back!  But the best part of this magic trick was that Claire freaked out when Paige disappeared! Bless her little heart, she couldn't figure out what happened to her sister [who was just hiding behind the couch].  Even when we tried to show her how it was done, she wanted no part of Uncle Nick's hocus-pocus!  This was one of those - you had to be there - moments.  We could have made big bucks if we had Claire's expression on video.  And Paige was so tickled with herself for helping the very cool Uncle Nick - who can do cool tricks on the trampoline, too.  Good times!

Thanksgiving in Idaho

 I need to post these fun Thanksgiving pictures before it's next year. Packing up this house is so overwhelming and just no fun at all. It's dreadful.  The worst.  Especially since I get gyped out of Christmas.  It already doesn't even seem like Christmas and now the dopey weather  in the 70's doesn't help.   Sorry, I guess I needed to get that out of my system.  Did I say I hate packing?  It is such an enormous, endless task.  I go from being overwhelmed to depressed to feeling like I'm making progress.   

 Okay - back to Thanksgiving: The Idaho weather was so bad we had to delay our trip a day coming and going.  We ended up driving all the way to Provo the first day, then on Tues we left by 7:30 a.m. to be ahead of the storm.  Which worked until we hit southern Idaho, and the 84 West was brutal with almost zero visiablility, blowing snow and icy roads.  It was a white knuckle drive for a few hours.  I think I was more concerned about Josh and Krista who were close behind in their honda.  I felt safe in the truck, and Craig is a great driver, but the icy roads were awful.  We debated whether or not to get off and wait it out, but we ended up forging ahead and made it through just before the roads closed and arrived in Star a few hours later than planned.  We had such a fun week with our Idaho kids and it was so nice to also have Josh and Krista there from BYU.  On the way home that section of the freeway was closed and we had to take a detour up  through Pocatello.

So here are the pictures everyone has been waiting for:
 Renee, who is finally looking pregnant at the 7 month mark
Right profile. . .
. . .  Left profile
The happy parents to be.  Miss Skye Rogers is due to arrive the end of January.  Craig keeps telling Nick to get lots of sleep!

The girls have grown up since I was there in August.
 Paige will be 6 in a few weeks.  She wanted me to take a picture of her with her princess barbie collection as she posed differently with each doll.  I'll just post one, although I have to say they are all adorable.  Here she is with her new Rapunzel.  Rebecca and I took all three girls to see the new movie" Tangled" the day before Thanksgiving, and they all loved it.  Reese was even good. Later that night Craig and I went to see the new Harry Potter movie with Nick, Renee, Josh and Krista. 
Of course, the darling Clairey Beary wanted to pose for a picture, too.  She has changed almost as much as Reese. She is getting so grown up and so smart. She knows tons of letters and is speaking so clearly now.  She loves to do whatever Paige does.  I have never seen children sit and color for so long and so well.  They both inherited their parents artistic genes. 
Reese is 19 months old already.  She is a baby doll lover and always wants you to help her wrap up her doll in a blanket.  It is her favorite thing to do.  Well, maybe her 2nd favorite because Rebecca is her very favorite.  Saying Reese is a mama's girl is the understatement of the year.  We all spent the week trying to win her over.
Reese's 3rd favorite thing to so is have stories read to her.  Aunt Krista was the first person to win her over!
Josh giving Mark moral support while he mashes the potatoes.
 Sadly, this is the only group picture I took.  I was not a very responsible photographer this trip. 
 It was so fun to be with Nick and Renee. We spent Saturday with them and went out to lunch, shopping for baby quilt fabric (they have some killer quilt shops) and watched a movie and hung out at their house. 
Our newlyweds have made it to 6 months already!  Krista is so excited about graduating in April.  We met for lunch after we survived the drive in the blizzard on our way up

. Grampa finally won Reese over the day before we left!
On Saturday they put up their Christmas Tree.  Paige wanted to point out the ornament she made last year in Preschool. It was fun to see Rebecca's childhood ornaments that were passed on to her when she got married.
Paige calls their little nativity  set "The Little Lord 'Tivity".  So that's what Clarie calls it. They had so much fun playing with it.  Thank you Fisher-Price

Friday, December 3, 2010


One of my very favorite Christmas songs is "Let It Be Christmas" by Alan Jackson (#1 on my playlist, bottom right on the sidebar). It has special meaning to our family because Josh likes to sing the first line in a big, booming voice. It always  makes me miss him --- just like it does to watch the movie ELF or see the Egg Nog in the grocery store. Sorry, Josh, I was just having a moment. That is not the point of this post. . . .
Years ago  I  struggled with how to teach my children the true meaning of Christmas and still have fun with Santa.  Then I discovered this wonderful figurine, titled "The Kneeling Santa". Along with it I found an article that tied it all together for me:

     "In Clement Moore's poem, 'The Night Before Christmas', St. Nick gives solely out of love and wants nothing in return.
     In the Charlie Brown story the Christmas tree is meager and lopsided until love makes it glow.
     And unselfish, Rudolph guides Santa and his sleigh through deep fog with his loving beacon of light.
     Even the mean old Grinch learns that it was love, not the gifts he had stolen, that brought joy to the folks of Whoville."

During this time I also attended a Holiday Seminar at Victoria Community Church in Riverside, where Emily Barnes spoke about having a Christ-Centered Christmas.  That was a life-changing day for me!  She shared lots of ideas on how to incorporate nativities and other reminders of the Saviour in all our Christmas decorating and celebrating.  One comment she made was that "the minute your friends and family walk up to your door, let them know what Christmas means to you".  Since then I have added many nativity sets to my collection, especially ones my children could play with and enjoy.  I selected Christmas cards and even stamps that reflected my feelings that Christmas was about the birth of Jesus Christ.  Today there are so many great choices to help teach about the true meaning of Christmas from ornaments to puppets and toys to advent calendars.  And I will be forever grateful to Emilie Barnes for introducing me to the Christmas music of Amy Grant, who quickly became one of my all time favorites. 

This week I found this wonderful little blog on facebook, [through being friends with SugarDoodle.  They have the cutest links and ideas.]  SugarDoodle is truly my favorite facebook friend.  I love my new nativity button! It links you to a daily Christ-centered quote about Christmas.  So, this year, this blog background is as close as this home will come to decorating for Christmas.  After being gone for a week to Idaho for Thanksgiving, we will be in Louisiana for a week during Christmas, and then we move  the day after we get home.  Even I, who adores all things Christmas and believes you can never have enough ornaments or even trees from which to hang said ornaments from --- cannot figure out a way to justify decorating  or putting up a tree this year whilst packing up our home of 16 years.  When I saw this blog background, it made me smile and filled heart. Simple pleasures.  And I love the way the nativity blog button is the first thing you see next to the tree.


Let it be Christmas, everywhere
In the hearts of all people both near and afar
Christmas everywhere
Feel the love of the season wherever you are
On the small country roads lined with green mistletoe
Big city streets where a thousand lights glow

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere 
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere

Let it be Christmas everywhere
With the gold and the silver, the green and the red
Christmas everywhere
In the smiles of all children asleep in their beds
In the eyes of young babies their first fallen snow
Elderlys' memories that never grow old

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere 
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere

Let it be Christmas everywhere
In the songs that we sing and the gifts that we bring
Christmas everywhere
In what this day means and what we believe
From the sandy white beaches where blue water rolls
Snow covered mountains and valleys below

Let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let every heart sing let every bell ring
The story of hope and joy and peace
And let it be Christmas everywhere
Let heavenly music fill the air
Let anger and fear and hate disappear
Let there be love that lasts through the year
And let it be Christmas
Christmas everywhere 

Christmas everywhere

Christmas everywhere

Thursday, December 2, 2010


It's true --- we are moving from our home of 16 years and the city we have lived in for 30 years.  We have loved our town of Moreno Valley.  We feel so blessed that our children were raised here, in the Valley View Ward and educated at Armada, Cloverdale, and North Ridge Elementary Schools ---Mt. View and Palm Middle Schools --- and Valley View High School.

It is a daunting yet exciting time as we look to the next chapter in our lives.  As Craig looks forward to retirement in a few years, we realized that now would be a good time to downsize and to begin to make some changes.  Due to the sad state of the real estate market, we knew that selling our house would be a dilemma.  We swallowed our pride and put it up for sale, knowing it would be a short sale (meaning that the value of our home is less than the mortgage).  So in order to deal with that we felt that sooner would be better than later so here we are.  It is all official and our escrow will close on December 30. Gulp. YES - IN 28 DAYS WE ARE MOVING. 

We will be renting a home in Lake Elsinore, just a few houses down from Melissa.  She assured us this would be okay, and we are excited about the possibilities.  Due to the move I felt it only fair to cancel preschool this year.  I was surprised and truly caught off guard by how much I missed it, so I am looking forward to holding preschool again next fall in a new area.

With our baby getting married in June, and our nest being truly empty for the first time in 35 years, it has been a time of adjustment for me - which I admit has not always been my finest hour.  Although I welcome the adventure that is ahead of us, I miss our full house and all the joy and purpose that brought into my life.  In addition to those changes, this year our family spread out to Utah, Idaho, Louisiana and Afghanistan.  I am so grateful for free cell phone minutes, e-mail, Skype  and the post office to bridge those miles --- and help us watch our children and grandchildren grow as well as being able to spoil them long distance.

If I have been distant, I am sorry.  But now you know why.  It has been a weird, emotional time that has been difficult to deal with let alone discuss. So, ready or not, here we go. . .