Friday, December 14, 2012

Merry Christmas!

So now is the time of year where I review what we did and set goals for next year. I just-can't-believe-it-is-here! Am I really writing a year review? Seriously, where has the year gone?

I quickly looked through past posts and in January I posted pictures of houses in the bay area that were in this little town called Brentwood. Fast forward four months later and we purchased one of those homes.
April through October Kiel slept on his cousin Amy's couch in L.A. while I spread out on our giant California King at our new home. We missed him terribly and kept very busy. I took the kids camping for their first time, we saw Nana and Papa in Oregon and did a lot of day trips! Kiel would see us once a month and in August he spent six weeks with us and then went back for four more weeks until he came home for good!

2 years
2 and half years
In May we celebrated Bruce's second birthday at our new home. I can't believe how much he has changed. Two is sooo much younger than two and a half. He even looks a lot younger. Where did the baby fat go? Bruce talks so much and is using his imagination. His favorite color is yellow and right now his favorite movie is The Polar Express. That can change monthly though. Bruce is very social and loves having play dates with other kids. The older you are the more he admires you! He continues to bless our lives daily and there isn't a day that goes by that we are so grateful for the opportunity to be his Earthly parents.

In August Rhyan turned one! We had a party for her at our house too! Rhyan started walking at 13 months and hasn't slowed down since! She now runs, especially for food and also for revenge ;) She can now hold her own when brother tries to take a toy and her special defense weapon is her teeth...Eeek! This does not make things fun for me. Rhyan is genuinely a happy girl but when she's not she makes it well known. Ear piercing scream anyone? Rhyan loves to snuggle and is not shy of strangers. She likes to be held, read to, sung to and rocked. Her favorite song is twinkle little star and she can do the hand movements. Her favorite place is OUTSIDE, unfortunately our kids have become very independent lately since they have each other and have no problem opening the front door to play out front. Luckily I have a latch on the top and am thankful for the reminder I got a few weeks ago to ALWAYS have it locked! Rhyan is in the 97th percentile for height, weight and head circumference. We're so grateful that she is a healthy and well adjusted 16 month old. She is so generous with her kisses and her hugs, I could hold this girl all day if Bruce would let me!

Kiel moved back in October and it was like we never lived apart. The kids got back into their original routine and love having their daddy back home. Kiel commutes to work with a few friends that also live in Brentwood. Kiel likes his office in Dublin and enjoys the people he works with. He also likes the people he pulls over a lot better as well. Kiel works really hard for his family and we are so grateful for him. While he's not at work he's been helping me do projects around the house and enjoying family time. Kiel also likes to go shooting and is looking forward to future hunting trips.

In October I also celebrated my 32nd birthday with some girlfriends in Napa. It was a much needed break after mothering the kids without my husband for four weeks. Single motherhood is no joke and I realize I was never technically single during this transition I did and do have an overwhelming appreciation for my husband and even greater appreciation when he is by my side. Simply put, he makes me a better mother or rather allows me to be.

In November we had Kiel's sisters Lisa and Shelley (including her tribe) my mom and of course George down and up for Thanksgiving. Bruce had so much fun playing with his cousins and I had fun hosting thirty people for my very first Thanksgiving dinner. And of course I have no pictures to share. (Can I get a big boohoo?) Anyway after Thanksgiving dinner was done I got ready for my big black "Friday" shopping. I left the house at 6:30pm and didn't get back until 6am the next day! I went with my mom and Frances. We had a ton of fun, will never do Walmart again and Home Depot, as long as you have $.99 cent poinsettias I will always be a black friday customer! Here I am after two hours at walmart waiting in line for my $99.00 T.V. I was so tired of standing I climbed into my shopping cart and my nice mother pushed me the whole way. Two hours later we were finally out of there! Oh it was Awful! But home depot made it all worth it and we did get our t.v.!

December is going just as fast as it has come this year. We decorated the house the day after Thanksgiving and are excited for Christmas to come. As we reflect this time of year we are grateful for our Savior, Jesus Christ and His sacrifice that we may have eternal life. We are grateful for our children and the blessings they bring to our lives. We are grateful for each other and our commitment to each other. We wish you all a Merry Christmas and many blessings in the new year!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Mantle makeover and the $75 challenge!

Our brand new traditional home is covered with this light honey colored wood that screams 1990!

The rooms that got hit with this tragedy the most was the family/kitchen combo.

I decided to do what any house wife would do, I went to Home Depot with my husband and helped him pick out all the materials he would need for his new project!

We decided on white because its clean and will go nicely with the wall color we are going to choose, but more on that later.

So do you want to know how to redo your mantle? Pictures are posted at the end.


1. Wash mantle well with a damp paper towel and let dry.

2. Lightly sand

3. Repeat step 1

3a. Tape off all areas around mantel

4. Prime and let dry and then add a second coat. And then let dry for 24 hours

5. Now paint, do two coats minimum

6. Let dry and then decorate as desired!

Here's pictures! The entertainment unit is next.

Now my $75 challenge! This whole project cost me $75 bucks but I'm willing to see how far this $75 will take me. So the mantle is finished I'm hoping I can also paint the entertainment unit, crown molding, trim, and my stairway.

I'll let you know how far I get!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Emergency preparedness- stuff they don't have on the list!

My friend Sunni just got power back on today after hurricane Sandy hit last week. She was out of power for eight days and though she was prepared I asked her about the things she wished she had and here is what she said:

Well you should get a generator since you have a house. The very first thing they sold out of was that-on the fri before the storm even hit.

The next things that sold out were extra gas cans - needed for the generator as well as to fill your cars. She also added later to make sure you have a full tank of gas and a full gas can. She used her car a lot to charge her cell phone. Which reminded me to get a car charger for my phone since I don't have one.

Next is D batteries and big flashlights-you never realize how truly dark it is until it happens.

Next would be a kerosene heater-you can burn kerosene indoors but not propane due to CO2.

Wet wipes can be used in lieu of baths - so a big big box. Wet wipes are now made with antimicrobial for hands only - perfect for kitchen and bathrooms.

And I can't say enough about water: Once the power goes-you can't count on the safety of any water but bottled after the lights go. And u need water to brush teeth, wash off apples, make milk with dry powdered milk...To rinse out pans from cooking-all need clean water.

Oh-and bed bath and beyond sells the cheapest box of battery powered candles. I would get those, much safer than the flame ones.

Once the hurricane hit it was impossible to go anywhere. So be prepared to be stuck where you are. Nothing worked except my gas, so if you have a gas stove that's great!

Basically camping supplies are really helpful. Waterproof matches incase you flood and need to start your stove for heat or to cook.

Of course this is not a complete list of what you need during an emergency, this is just the stuff I don't really see on lists. But I might have just missed it. This is my goal for the year 2013, have an emergency preparedness plan and a special place in my house for all of our emergency supplies! I hope you to are encouraged if you don't already have something.

Thanks Sunni so much for our thoughts! We are so happy you are safe!


Kiel, Mel, Bruce and rhyan!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Future projects!

I'm totally stoked on a few design elements I want to add to our house! First we are going to paint our stairway black and white. The main beams and banister will be black and the spindles plus the bottom base will be white! Sounds odd? Don't worry, it will look amazing!

Next, a kitchen make over! Check out my inspiration photos below! I better get to sanding!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mini make over on a budget

The loft has been an empty space for awhile. I couldn't decide what I wanted. I liked the idea of a relaxing place to read and the kids to do artwork. But artwork is messy so I thought a mini library for all would be great instead.

I need to add book shelves and I would like two tiny chairs for the kids but for right now this is what I have to work with.

This make over cost me $40

Round rug, - $30 (a gift from my sister)
Couch w/ottoman - $15 (garage sale)
Tree - $9.99 (sale at michaels)
Soda tray - $14.99 (world market also on sale)

I love reading books here while Bruce is supposed to be going to bed. It keeps him in his room and gives me relaxing time!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Rhyan's Walking!

I can't believe I haven't posted this but Rhyan took her first steps the day before Kiel left to go back to L.A. After staying with us for 6 weeks. I think it was on September 17th. Since then she has really improved and chooses to walk instead of crawl 95% of the time.

I wish I could post videos from my phone on here;( so here's a cute picture of the day she walked to grandpa. And a funny on of Bruce who decided to put his nighttime underwear on his head.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Conference weekend!

I thoroughly enjoyed conference weekend! Conference is my absolute favorite and I loved all of the talks! Most seemed to be themed around having a stronger relationship the Christ and our Father in Heaven, something I could always work on.

Friday I packed up the kids and stayed in San Francisco at Beth's Mansion! She lives in a beautiful neighborhood in an absolutely gorgeous house. We ate dinner, put the kids to bed and then talked until two in the morning. It was great! The kids slept in till 7 and we had breakfast and the went on a walk in her neighborhood. I didn't realize how much I missed San Francisco until that moment. This was the first time I had been since Kiel and I moved back to the Bay Area and the first time the kids had ever been. After we watched the morning session of conference while Bruce watched The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and Rhyan took a nap. After conference we went to the best sandwich place ever downtown, Ike's, and we found free parking as well. Then we drove to twin peaks and climbed up a giant hill so we could watch the blue angels during fleet week. Afterwards I drove to Clayton and met up with my sister Michelle and took the kids to the Clayton Octoberfest. Bruce and rhyan both love rides. After a busy, fun packed and exhausting day the kids passed out on the ride home and slept until Sunday morning.

We headed to my aunts in the morning to watch conference, eat a ton of food and let the kids play with all of their cousins. They had a blast. After an awesome dinner we went home and Bruce and rhyan fell asleep again, waking up in the a.m. for another busy day. I think tomorrow I'm going to stay home!

I'm making me a home here, people!

For the past two weeks I have been consumed with a huge sewing project and a chair re-do! I have never sewed in my life but with much help I think the project was a huge success! Here is my brand new chair!

Friday, August 31, 2012


I've been slowly trying to get our house together. The front room has been a chore to say the least.

It's an odd shaped room plus it has a multiple of uses, we weren't sure exactly what it should be. For the past four months it's been our storage place for a haugepauge of furniture I've scored for free. The other day I finally arranged it so it actually looks somewhat functional. Now I am no where near done but at least it doesn't look like a halfway house anymore;)

Before, in betweens and after

Monday, August 20, 2012

And the Saga continues...Part 2

Our next stop was Sacramento for a whole week! Kiel spent a week at the police academy in West Sacramento and my cousin Lisa was nice enough to me and the kids stay at her house so they could see their dad everyday. Lisa also has a little girl Bruce's age and a little boy who just turned 4. Bruce loved playing with Leilah and Danny. Danny was also in the process of potty training so whenever Danny needed a potty break Bruce would want one too. I think this started the process of potty training but more on that later. At Lisa's house Bruce swam in their pool, played with all their toys and jumped in this jump house. We also got to know her kids better and I absolutely fell in love with this little girl! She is sooooo cute!

But most importantly we saw DADDY! We were so happy to see him everyday and we toured the police academy. It was a lot of fun!

Oregon Trip

When we got back from Sacramento, Kiel came home for one night and then headed back to L.A. and we took off to Oregon. I planned a trip with Frances and my sister Katie and all of our kids to go see Nana and Papa. Our kids had so much fun playing at Nana and Papa's house. Papa gave tractor rides, we went to wild life safari and the kids enjoyed Umpqua River. But mostly they enjoyed playing with the goats and each other at Nana and Papa's house.

Ashton and Papa on the tractor

Yellow squash
My parents have a beautiful garden and we got to enjoy the fruits of their labor all week long! I thought this yellow squash was just a beautiful color! They also have blackberry bushes all over their property.
The left side of their garden

The right side of their garden
Momma deer and two babies eating in their front yard

 We went to the Roseburg history museum. They had a covered wagon, train, all sorts of animals. It was a touch museum so the kids really enjoyed it. Rhyan liked riding on the bobcat. Bruce was asleep when we got there and slept the whole way through. He woke up when we were ready to leave so we decided to go through one more time for him. It was a lot of fun.
Nana and Rhyan

Bruce asleep

Bruce and look with the stuffed bear

Bruce and the mountain lion

Bruce and luke in the indian tent

Luke and Bruce playing dress up
They also had a fake school house at the bottom of the building and things for the kids to play dress up with. It was an awesome museum! Outside they had an old battle ship that the kids really enjoyed.

Family picture minus Kiel


Fran and Me with our kids, Katie wasn't there yet

Ashton and Bruce
At wild life safari in petting zoo section

She has a stroller with a snack tray and cup holders but nothing beats this thing!
Bruce loved pushing her around!
The cousins hanging out on reptile bridge! Luke, Ashton, Gerry, Bruce and Micky

On our way home my sister got a speeding ticket but other than that it was a smooth ride. It was nice to visit family and hangout with my sisters! My mom watched all of the kids for a couple hours while we hit the antique shops. Oregon has great antique shops. I didn't buy anything but I wanted too!

What's next?

After traveling for what seemed to be a month I decided to lay low for about 3 days and have another go at potty training Bruce. I tried potty training him at 22 months but after day 2 he wouldn't sit on the potty anymore. This time I had limited distractions and just worked with him for 4 days straight. We got rid of diapers and he wore big boy underpants while he was awake. I got a ton of potty treats and stickers to encourage him every time he went on the potty. It took him about 4 days to get the concept and he still has accidents but he is doing very well. He wears pullups during nap and bedtime. I just don't think he's ready to be night trained yet. On average, it takes about three months for them to be fully trained and our home life has been a little different lately. When daddy came home August 6th I noticed more potty accidents for about a week. But I was persistent and still put him in underwear and he is back on track now. I was nervous taking him outside the house but he goes potty everytime and has only had two accidents outside our home. We are so proud of him!

Bruce in his underroos!
underroo butt shot!
 Rhyan Turned 1!

Then Rhyan turned one! I still can't believe it! We celebrated a couple of times. On her actual birthday we went to small world park in Pittsburg and rode the rides. It is a really cute park and super cheap! We are going again with Kiel next week.
 Here is Rhyan on her birthday crawling like a big girl! I let her open one present and then saved the rest until her daddy got here. Bruce had fun helping her and of course he claimed all of her presents as [his].
Rhyan is 20.5 lbs and 29 inches tall. She is in the 65th percentile except for her head which is in the 90th percentile. She says "Hi, Mama, Dada, Oooo for Omi, more, quack quack and dog." She cruises all over the place and loves going up and down the stairs. She has 9 teeth and is working on getting three more. She loves to dance and likes to be thrown up in the air. Her favorite toys are her magic kitchen and princess cell phone. She absolutely loves water and her daddy! We absolutely love Rhyan! Here is how we celebrated...

small world park with Aunt Fran riding the carousel!

Her favorite thing to do!

Opening one present on her birthday, she got a walker from grandma
Her pretty sunday dress!

Her first cake!

That following Sunday we had family dinner at our house and also celebrated Rhyan's birthday with cake and ice cream. I made her a cake using greek yogurt and cake mix, no oil and no eggs. It turned out pretty good! And I think she really liked it! Basically it was something on pinterest I wanted to try and how could I disappoint a one year old that hasn't had cake before?

On August 6th I picked Kiel up from the airport and that following Saturday we had a birthday party for Rhyan at our house. I decorated everything in pink. The theme was "you are my sunshine" because she is always a happy girl!
I decorated the dining room with pink plastic table cloth and wrapping paper, a birthday sign, flowers and balloons.

I served pink lemonade in mason jars and made jalepeno crab dip, calscetta and fruit cups in waffle cones. Kiel barbecued tri tip and chicken and we served with a spinach salad.
The birthday girl!
Bruce and sydney sharing pink lemonade
The birthday girl being sung too
Pink lemonade, the jars had labels that said "sweet pink lemonade"
The spread
The dessert table
Fruit cups in a waffle cone

 Rhyan opening gifts! She made out like a bandit. She got a magic kitchen from nana and papa, a Dr.s kit, shopping cart with fake food, a walker and clothes. Bruce LOVES all of her toys!
 Our third attempt for a group picture. Preston, Avril, Sophie, Sydney, Madison, Rhyan and Bruce. Overall I think Rhyan was a happy girl! And check out the last picture of Bruce and Rhyan, twins!