Monthly Archives: January 2012

partial home tour

before i get too bogged down in “catching up” here… and before i start opening MORE boxes in this house to continue with my job of unpacking, let me give you a BRIEF and incomplete tour of our new (to us) home (a rental) here in Mesa.


We live in a gated community (you can see the gate from the master bathroom window) and there’s a great (and covered) childrens’ play area less than 2 blocks from our home along with the community pool. i have a feeling it won’t be long before we make good use of that pool. driving home from costco a little while ago, our Pathfinder’s thermometer read “91*!”


The houses are close together here (even closer than on Elm Street, I think!) but that’s pretty typical of newer construction. Additionally, all the houses in this development LOOK similar. it’s easy to get lost. here’s Sam standing in front of the house last Thursday when the kids and i got to see it for the first time:

(the windows you see on the upper level are Davey’s room, Sam’s closet window in the middle and Sam’s room window on the right).


When you walk in our front door, the living room is there on the right. The photo i took last night is too dark, so you’ll have to wait for that view. Attached to the living room is the dining rom:

we’re playing “musical furniture” from the last house to this house b/c we don’t have a designated office space in this home, so our office book shelves will be in the dining room.


Continuing on the 16″ tile path you’ll enter the kitchen/family room area. We’re choosing NOT to have a table (for eating) in here so the space feels larger. We LOVE the kitchen…. especially the island. The color of the cabinets is my favorite (more so than the blonde wood in our Elm Street house) but I probably wouldn’t choose the granite you see (a little too busy for my taste):

There is a pantry just to the left of the photo (you can’t see it). And we know our white fridge doesn’t look right in there, but we’re starting with it and we’ll upgrade (sooner rather than later) to the stainless steel fridge i’ve been dreaming about and the white one will go into the garage.


here’s the family room:

you can see the hodge podge of random chairs in this room. we need SOMETHING for tv viewing (our couches are in the living room). we’re talking about buying a smaller couch for this area and the chairs will get moved around to bedrooms and/or the loft.

the door on the left in the rear of the photo leads to the laundry room and then the garage. next to it is the downstairs 1/2 bath. and the door on the right side of the photo leads to the backyard:

it’s a small backyard. but there’s grass and there’s concrete, so the kids can ride their bikes, scooters and play for hours. the cinder block walls are the “fence” which also provide some privacy from neighbors.


as you go up the stairs from the family room/kitchen, you’ll find the loft to the left and the doorway to the master bedroom on the right. our master bedroom is HUGE, which is good b/c it will serve as bedroom, craft space AND office while we’re in this house.



i worked hard last night (and late – almost 1:30) to get the master bedroom closet mostly unpacked and organized. i’m still trying to find shoe racks so i can unpack our (my!) shoes:


the loft is currently FILLED with boxes that are labeled “office,” “bonus room,” and “craft space.” it will, eventually, be the kids’ play space. with the beautiful weather and sunshine, however, it’s been easy to send the kids out back and not worry about unpacking their toys (since there’s no place to put them!).


off the loft (you can see one door, the middle one, in the photo), you’ll find 3 bedrooms and a bathroom. from right to left it’s Davey, Sam, Alex and their bathroom.


Davey’s room is blue:


Sam’s room is pale yellow:

she scored a queen size bed, which means this is the GUEST room when we have visitors. we’re missing a piece of the bed frame, however, so the mattress and boxspring are on the floor.


i would also like to point out my idea to move the clothing bar down for the kids so they can still reach their hanging clothes (they don’t have dressers, so i can’t just fold everything and put it in drawers)….

these are the tension shower curtain rods from our home on Elm Street. we don’t need them here for the bathrooms, so Davey & Sam’s walk-in closets (aka:  their secret club houses) are the perfect home for them!


i don’t have a photo of alex’s room yet – she was napping when i took the photos yesterday.


here’s the kid and guest bath:


and for now, that is the end of the tour. enjoy…. i’m off to unpack some more boxes!

leaving… in a pathfinder… don’t know when we’ll be back again….

well, we’ll probably be back in july (or sometime this summer) but i got started with changing the words to the song and just kept typing!


tomorrow morning (monday, january 23, 2012) we pull out of grandpa & grandma’s driveway to begin our 3-day journey to mesa, arizona.


this past week has been a RIDICULOUS roller coaster ride complete with snow storms, a garage sale, record low temperatures, vomiting and/or feverish children, a head cold for me, selling our house (pending inspection & financing) and so much more! and i promise you, i will share the story with you. but not tonight. i HAVE, however, taken notes so you WILL get all the details (probably more than you want).


i’m not sad to leave Lynden behind. i’ve had a wonderful 12 and a half years of life here. but i’m ready for the next adventure. in NO way does this minimize the friends and family we are leaving behind. THOSE PEOPLE – YOU! – will be missed. a lot. and i do regret leaving you behind. and i will miss Lynden. i’ve loved my life here. but as a family of five we are looking forward to this opportunity.


thank you for your IMMENSE patience with my sporadic posts of late. i’m pretty sure that you’ll soon feel SWAMPED with photos and blog posts. and i know that the grandparents and nana will greatly appreciate that! please keep us in your prayers as we drive.

packing day

today is packing day. despite the several inches of snow on the ground (photo on my FB page). i will dig out the kids’ snow clothes so they can enjoy snow ONE. LAST. TIME. and i WILL let davey play in it even though he threw up at 4am and again at 8:15am. i will also let alex play in it (for a short time) even though she threw up at 10pm and has a gnarly head cold with LOTS of snot (i hate that word but what other word can i use there?).


today i will do laundry (especially sheets) and i will pack some suitcases and a few toys for our trip to arizona in our vehicle. today we will move in with dave’s parents. today my home will become a house full of packed boxes and past memories. today i may cry. a lot. or perhaps not at all. today will be weird. heck, this whole week will be weird.



catch all

this post is a photo-less catch all.


last friday night (9th) was girls’ night out. nine of us (sara, missy, carrilee, barb, karla, megan, lisa, stacy and i) went to downtown Bellingham to enjoy dinner at D’Anna’s – some of the BEST homemade pasta/Italian food (foccacia bread…. mmmmmm!) i’ve ever eaten. with dave going “gluten free” over a year ago, it’s been a LONG time since i’ve eaten there. many thanks to my friends for making the evening fun. after dinner, we returned to sara’s house (shelly joined us!) where we ate treats, toured her new-to-her & gorgeous home, and enjoyed just being together talking, laughing, brainstorming and more.


the next day was a FABULOUS day with my dear friend julie. we visited a LOT of antique/vintage stores in downtown snohomish, ate a DELICIOUS meal at Fred’s Ale House (possibly the BEST french dip i’ve ever eaten?!), visited the “new” Hobby Lobby in lynnwood (can you say SWOON?!) and simply enjoyed being together for a day of shopping, talking, eating, talking, sharing, talking and more. we don’t need to be reminded, however, that it was COOOOOOOLD!!!  :)


on sunday (11th), we enjoyed lunch with dave’s parents at The Rusty Wagon. probably our last meal there for years to come. LOVE the breakfasts and hot sandwiches at that place. love even more that we were there with dave’s parents. we’ll miss seeing them so regularly.


this past friday night (13th) was our Open House Going Away party at carrilee’s house. LOTs of food (brisket, baked beans, cheese, cupcakes, ice cream and more), friends and memories. many, MANY thanks to one of my best friends of all time, carrilee, for putting together an amazing party. i will truly be at a loss without her living just a few miles away. she is the sister i never had and she loves me and treats me the same even though she DOES have a real-life sister. and i’ll have to blog later about the AMAZING birthday present she gave me that night. she made me cry. yep. it’s true.


yesterday (saturday the 14th) was our garage sale. we had hoped to sell off quite a bit of stuff. thankfully, craigslist has been our FRIEND for the past few weeks. we’ve sold several hundred dollars of things via craigslist. our garage sale was mildly successful, but i have AMAZING friends here. karla told me to box up the kids’ clothing (it was already priced and hung!) and store it in carrilee’s basement (she’s totally on board!) and they’ll sell it at the garage sale this coming summer. it’s over $300 (garage sale pricing) of kids’ clothing. good clothing. SO thankful for my friends to be willing to do this for me.


and today was our last day at grace. my church home for over 12 years. the first church i ever chose on my own. my facebook status today sums up my experience at Grace Baptist Fellowship: “is thankful for the church where i’ve worshipped for the past 12+ years. i’m thankful for the pastors, staff and lay people who teach sunday school, work in the nursery, “run” the women’s ministries and more. i’m thankful for the people who have come along side me over the years – when i was single and now that i’m married with a family of my own. you have all been such a blessing in my life. God gave you to me as a gift. and i will be forever grateful. and i will miss you. a lot.”


it wasn’t hard to be there today. it wasn’t hard to say “see ya later” to friends and mentors. it IS hard, however, as i think about that church. that body of believers. i grew up under their kind words, prayers, open homes, hugs, teaching, love and more. there will be another hole in my heart that will be hard to fill.



“accountability” group

these women, Amy, Lea, Julie and Dee:

will be missed. i’ve been a part of their scrapbooking circle for a little over a year. they meet every other friday to get together to scrapbook. or sew. or quilt. or fold laundry. or sort papers. or any variety of other random things. the “fold laundry” bit is not an exaggeration, though there is a rule. you can only work on laundry if group is at your house that day (we rotate houses). sometime in the last year, Lea renamed it “accountability group,” because although we don’t do a Bible study together, we do hold each other accountable for our actions and lives. that said, i felt extra special b/c all these women attend the same church. and i was the outsider. and i NEVER felt like it. never. not once.


and i will miss them. i will miss watching my kids play with Katie (Dee’s youngest) and Elise (Julie’s youngest) and Joey (Lea’s youngest). i will miss having friends who LIKE to craft. especially scrapbooking and sewing. i will miss these women who have prayed for me (and my kids). have rejoiced with me in good times and really cared for me through the tough times.


so to Amy, Lea, Julie and Dee, i will miss you. a lot. and perhaps every once in awhile i can join accountability group via skype. but i do have one question – would you let me fold laundry while talking to you on skype?!

baileys and ice cream

unfortunately for those of you who read the post title (“baileys and ice cream”) this post is NOT about alcohol. bummer, i know. it’s actually BETTER than that. it’s about our friends, the baileys, who up and moved across the country last august. they moved from lynden where both justin & brandi were raised. where (almost) brandi’s entire family still lives. where justin’s parents and brother live. and yet the moved. to south carolina. they followed God’s call on their lives. and he made the transition as easy as possible for them. that’s not to say there weren’t tears. that’s not to say there aren’t days they wish they were back here. but they are where He wants them. they are walking in His will for their lives. and He is right there beside them, helping them transition, make friends, get grounded in a Bible-preaching church. and we were blessed enough to have an ice cream date with 4 of the 5 baileys while they were “home” for Christmas.


justin & dave:

their dads were friends in college. and seminary. and they have been working together (senior pastor & associate pastor) at our church for the past 18(ish) years. fun facts? their moms were pregnant at the same time and these boys have birthdays that are EXACTLY one month apart (july 28 and august 28). they were “friends” from birth through age 6 months and then they became friends (by choice, not force) when dave’s family moved to Lynden when the boys were in 9th grade.


the baileys have 3 kids…. Emma (6), Jaden (4), Jett (1). Jaden didn’t want to find/put on his socks or shoes so he stayed home with grandma. i was a little bummed about that b/c i wanted to see jaden & davey together… their birthdays are about 2 months apart (july and september). but davey and samantha had FUN with emma:

[normally i wouldn't allow "ring around the rosy" at a restaurant, even if it's "just Dairy Queen," but i let go. they were having fun. they weren't being too loud. and instead of "falling down" they all "jumped up" or something equally creative.]


sorry brandi, this is the best photo i got of jett and at least you’re smiling in it!


i am so thankful for friends who MAKE TIME for us in the midst of holiday craziness.

a decade…

i’ve known tom, dave’s youngest brother, for over a decade. okay, so YES, i’ve known his entire family for over a decade, but it’s different with tom. when i met tom, he was in junior high. he was this pre-teen who hadn’t yet his his growth spurt. he was in marching band and he played a lot of video/computer games. he was interested in music and computers.


and today, tom… Uncle Tom… turns 23! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

[tom returned to college in chicago - he's a Moody Bible Institute - on saturday. we had a family dinner at a vietnamese restaurant in bellingham last wednesday. it was my first time. i ordered Pho. it was pretty tasty. but this photo was of tom's dinner. he may have ordered Pho.]


he is now a world traveler. a college student. an uncle. a pretty great uncle, in fact. a brother-in-law x3! he hit his growth spurt and he’s now quite TALL. he’s still really interested in music. not so much into computers. he still plays a lot of video games (when he can make the time for it) but he’s also very people-oriented. i’ve watched him grow from a child into a young man. he’s pretty darn cool and i consider myself pretty lucky to have him as my “baby brother.”


so tom, thanks for putting up with me for all these years. thanks for loving me. thanks for loving my kids (your nieces and nephew). thanks for being the kind, caring, GODLY young man you are. i look forward to seeing what God does in you and through you this year.


but they’re not 16 yet!

i thought i was safe. i thought there were YEARS and YEARS before i had to turn into the stressed-out-mom of a driver.


i was wrong.


the kids’ good friends, Henry, Jorja and Albert received a FABULOUS gift from santa this year….


turned out that jorja was the “worst driver” (at least while we were in the front yard). but then davey drove into a tree (at a ridiculously slow speed) driving from the back yard to the front yard so maybe he should get the “worst driver” award? surprisingly, sam wasn’t all that interested in driving. she preferred to sit and ride along. maybe there’s hope yet.


and i know this photo is blurry, but i love the feel of movement along with the leaves blowing in the wind….

(that’s jorja)


what kid wouldn’t want a house made out of candy? i know i would have. as far as i’m concerned, hansel and gretel were LUCKY to get lost in the woods and find that witch’s house. my sweet tooth ached every time i heard that story. heck, even THINKING about it right now makes me salivate. it really does.


so as part of our Christmas season, we decorated a gingerbread house. this year, i’m VERY THANKFUL for the pre-assembled gingerbread house kits at costco. no frustration trying to keep walls upright as you add the roof…. but all the FUN of candy and icing and decorating!


i love this photo of dave and davey’s hands busy working on the house:


and davey’s pretty happy to be working on it. (i THINK that’s a hot chocolate mustache on his upper lip… but i could be wrong)


and here they are, with their finished masterpiece:


and strangely enough, the house looks pretty much the same now, a month later. they only ate a little bit of the candy as the month wore on. (don’t worry, though, they DEFINITELY have sweet teeth like their mommy. i’m just pretty good at monitoring and limiting what sweets they enjoy each day)!

our first sugar cookies

i’m one of those weird people that (until this Christmas) had never made sugar cookies in my adult life. i’m sure i made them a few times when i was a kid, but since i’m a chocolate chip cookie aholic, i never bothered to learn the art of sugar cookies. but something kept telling me “this is the year.” so armed with a sugar cookie packaged mix (yes, i cheated – quite proudly, i might add) AND a gluten free packaged cookie mix, i set about making a LOT of sugar cookies one evening. i even got a little “creative” by adding cocoa powder to the GF cookie mix. in hindsight, i should’ve only added it to HALF of the mix, but what’s done is done. a few days later, we REMEMBERED the cookies and the two older kids and i got busy decorating. i strapped alex into her booster chair so she could watch (and eventually eat several NON-frosted GF cookies).


i let davey and samantha decorate the regular sugar cookies and i attempted to tackle the GF ones. JUST IN TIME, i remembered that i needed to separate all of the frosting colors into two batches: one for regular and one for GF. see, once the knife is used to spread frosting (should i be calling it icing?) on the regular cookie, you can NOT dip that same knife back into the frosting to use on a GF cookie. OR if you use a separate knife on the GF cookies, you still can’t have “double dipped” a knife that touched a regular cookie into the same frosting dish. does that make sense? basically, you need to avoid getting any REGULAR crumbs into the frosting so you can still use it on the GF cookies (yes, some people are so gluten intolerant/allergic that even ONE CRUMB can cause significant health issues). but i digress.


here’s our frosting containers we used for the REGULAR cookies:


and here’s the frosting “container” we used for the GF cookies:


since i had to help the kids (a lot) with frosting their cookies, i washed my hands a LOT (after touching the regular cookies i had to wash my hands before i could pick up a GF cookie). thinking about cookie making in the future: we’ll probably make regular cookies one day and GF another day – it’ll just be easier.


samantha really enjoyed the process.

samantha’s favorite part was eating the “extra” sprinkles from the cookie sheet!


davey did really well and while some cookies were EXTREMELY heavy (and gloppy) on the frosting, he was able to frost several of his cookies on his own.


alex simply enjoyed eating SEVERAL of the cocoa-powder-added GF cookies:


these were some of the cookies i decorated. you’ll see i eventually got a little bit smarter and i pulled out plastic sandwich bags and cut a little hole in the corner to make decorating a little easier…


dave was home from work early enough that he was able to join in on the fun, too:

(please note, dave decorated WAY more than those two cookies but for unknown reasons, i do not have a photo of his cookie collection).


and there you have it. our first attempt at making and decorating sugar cookies. it WAS fun. i look forward to next year’s sugar cookie adventure now that i’ve learned a few tips and tricks!