Friday, December 13, 2013

The house

The house is coming along amazingly well. The plumbers and the air-conditioner and electricians all started today. It's about two weeks away from the combination inspection where the house will be closed up. Windows go in Monday the fireplace went in today and it is moving along at a rate that should be able to put us in by mid March or the beginning of April. I'm praying for mid-March. This process is a lot of fun but it also is extremely taxing with the ridiculous amounts of decisions you have to make immediately. We do a pretty good job making decisions because Kevin and I are not overly picky but it is a lot of stress. Furthermore, Kevin is doing all of the electrical with his dad and a few friends so that adds another stress level. Kevin is doing quite a few of the steps along the way for us to save money. 

This whole house thing came out of being so upside down on our current home. As we've moved along in the project it is been so clear that this is Gods plan for our life and every way with regards to the new house. Every door has swung open and every door on our old house has been slammed shut. We will be able to put renters in our current house and hope that in a few years we should be at value or even above value and then be able to sell. We feel extremely grateful that this whole process has been able to happen but this home is really not a dream home or at home that we are thinking of every single detail at all. This home is a functional home that does not have a ridiculous bells and whistles rather it is a home to be lived in that will nurture our family. Downstairs literally has no walls. It is one huge giant room that will be a functional living space. Not one inch of the house is unusable. There is no room that is a showpiece or a masterpiece at all. It is 100% usable. People keep referring to our home as a dream home or a masterpiece and Kevin then I laugh every time that happens because it's so far from what this really is. This was a wonderful opportunity to be able to build a home that will suit our family well that we can do it for a modest budget. To build a home in California is cheaper then to buy a home therefore we took advantage of the fact that we were able to build. The issue with California is the land. It is extremely expensive to buy land in California and it is extremely difficult to find land in California. We got extremely lucky - i.e. the first door that swung open- and that allowed us to buy the land at a significantly undervalue price. The land has a water easement on the property which deters some but for us it made it more valuable and it also made it about $100,000 under value and it actually wasn't even for sale. All the factors that went into us finding the land were extremely God in every way! It wasn't for sale -it was a price we actually had the money for and it was extremely undervalue. Those factors in California just don't happen, therefore we jump on it and felt like God was telling us to do it - so we did and we are exceedingly thankful!!!!

I am going to post pictures right now that I took today of the house but it's going to be really difficult to understand the parts of it until I can get home and explain each picture. I'm posting on my phone right now so I will not be able to explain the pictures until I get home. I'll try to do that right away.

 I'm going to continually update the blog with pictures of the progress. It's fun to watch every day that change so I will try to share it as well

Front of house by sign

Actually taken yesterday or day before

View from master bedroom. Every window has an Absolutly amazing view!!

View from other side of master- without the haze you could see the valley

Stairs go into mud room or into great room. Both stairs end up on landing. Can I express how excited I am to have a mud room!!!

Great room. Fireplace went in today. Bookshelves and windows on each side of fireplace. Big blank wall
Next to fireplace will have 3 large 6 foot windows so we don't block the view. We changed that this week so they will cut the windows next week. They already ordered them. 

View out French doors by dining room area (the section separated into 3) and the front door is the other hole. 

Front door and stairs. There will be a bathroom and closet tucked in there 

View towards kitchen and sun room ( I guess a breakfast room- not sure what to call it)

Two sets of French doors looking out the back of the house towards what will
Eventually be the pool

Looking towards kitchen breakfast area

View from dining room area French doors over across court yard to casita (detached bedroom and bathroom that will Function as an office for cornerstone)

Back wall is part kitchen and part of sun room 

Same view

View down stairs into great room 

View up stairs from landing


Saturday, November 23, 2013


Even though I've been away from the blog for a long time not a lot has changed in regards to the hockey season. It's still many games every weekend and while we enjoy it it does dominate quite a bit of our time. Here are some pics from the game today. Owen also had a game but we had to divide and conquer so Kevin took him to his game and I took Ethan to his game in Anaheim. Ethan's team is doing phenomenal! They are in first place in the league and are just so much fun to watch! Owens team is doing really well also. Because so much of our time is split between the two teams I don't get nearly as many opportunities to watch Owen play as I do Ethan but I still completely enjoy every second of it! The girls also enjoy going to games and always take the fun stuff to play with while were there. They also get to see their grandparents often attending the game so that's always an extra bonus with them.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Oh my sweet Em!

I love my Fridays! I do not work on Fridays so I have time to just chill with Emery and she is such a delightful kid! She is fun happy and there's never a dull moment. She rarely throws fits unless prompted by her siblings and is just a happy kid! We are off to target to get some necessities and she is just as happy and cheerful as can be. Absolutely love it!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Ummm... 6 Months???

Seriously cant believe it has been 6 months since I have posted. I am a terrible blogger and honestly, 5 kids has kept me from doing a lot of relaxing which is usually when I blog. I post on facebook here and there but just forget to do more than that-- so sorry! I will do my best to catch up today.

Since my last post in May so many things have happened-- I don't even know where to start. I think I will start with Finley since I have had so many people ask me how she is doing. (BTW, all pics are IPhone pics so they are terrible-- sorry!)

My sweet Fin :) She is now in Kindergarten and loving it. She is still our super sweet child and just goes with the flow-- I love that about her. As many remember, Finley was born with Spina Bifida and was completely continent since we got her at age 3 years 2 months. She started to have symptoms of tethered cord (spinal cord being stretched causing loss of function) in January. We immediately took her to ER and they admitted her and did 9 hour emergency tethered cord surgery the next day. The surgery rendered Fin incontinent but the doctors thought her function would return since she was experiencing spinal shock. Over the last several months, her bowel function has returned to about 80%. She still has some issues and will have accidents here and there but for the most part, her bowels have returned. Her bladder function has not quite returned. She can empty about 30% of her bladder but that is about it. To empty the remaining contents of her bladder we catheterize her 4 times a day. We cath her in the morning, the nurse at school caths her at 1pm and then we do it again when she gets home from school and right before bed. We have been praying her bladder function would return but at clinic in August they said she is probably as good as it will ever be which basically means, she will be cath dependant for the rest of her life. I was very sad about this but Fin doesn't really care. She is totally chill about it and does not mind it at all. The hard part is that she use to be completely continent like any other kid before her tethered cord and after she lost function. It is a hard reality but she is fine and my mom was always cath dependant so Fin and my mom have this cute connection. Furthermore, the nurse who caths her at school is a good church friend of ours and she loves Finley to death so it is a great scenario. Next summer we are going to work on teaching Fin to cath herself so she can become independent in that area. Other than that, Fin is doing AMAZING and learning soooo much!! She is involved in Awana's at church and Daisys. She just celebrated her 6th birthday on October 12!

 First Day of School

Fin jumping off the diving board this summer on our vacation at Hume Lake Christian Camps


Next is Ethan. He is a sophomore and had his 15th birthday on August 25th. He started at a new school this year-- Upland High School. We are moving to a new city-- Upland-- in the spring and we offered the boys to attend their home public schools and they both wanted to leave the Christian school and start at Upland Schools-- so we did. The girls already were at Upland Schools (actually they attend the home school where our new house will be and we didn't even know that when we placed them there last year) so it was a natural to put all the kids in their home schools. So Ethan is at Upland High and really loves it. He has many church friends who also attend the same school so he had a great friend group to begin with. He is also playing ice hockey still and is on the Bishop Amat High School Team through the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League which is a big league around here.  Currently, his team is number one in the league which is HUGE!!! They won a recent tournament and we are so proud of the team they have become. Ethan is a phenomenal defense man. He is really amazing and has great potential. If he can keep his grades up I can see the possibility of scholarships in his future. I am not one of those moms who think their kids are perfect-- heck no not me-- but Ethan is pretty darn good at hockey and has a great future in the game (like college level). He also just got his braces off this past week so he is loving the braces free smile-- he says girls like it too :) He also had a summer job as a prep cook at Union on Yale which is the restaurant my brother is the exec chef at. My dad paid his salary but Ethan did a wonderful job and will be hired back next summer as an employee. He also was able to save a big chunk towards his car when he gets his license.

 Braces Free
 Tournament Champs!!!

Ethan and his team mates-- this is the rink in Anaheim where they have games and where the Ducks practice-- we often see the Duck players there.
 Working the pizza station-- acting like a dork
With his boss-- my brother and my dad who paid his salary all summer-- thanks dad! Ive always thought Ethan looks like my brother Brad-- don't you think?
Owen is doing well as well. He started at Pioneer Junior High as an 8th grader this year and has made lots of good friends. He is doing ok in school but could be doing better. If you recall, 8th grade is a hard year in this house. That is when we pulled Ethan from school and put him on independent study and made him do hard labor at the farm. It was the perfect thing for Ethan- although he hated it- but it taught him a great lesson. Owen is no where near there but he is not putting good effort in-- but we are working on it. He is also playing ice hockey on a club team and will be on the same team as Ethan next year as a freshman. He too is an amazing hockey player. He is a defense man just like his brother and he is extremely good. I cant wait to see him on Ethan's team next year. He is very talented. I honestly don't have many pics of Owen. He always seems to avoid the camera so I only have a couple.
Owen and Christian at Ethan's game. Owen plays for the California Wave
First day of school for the boys in front of my friend Kim's house.
Mia is great! She is ridiculously smart and is like a sponge in school. EVERY SINGLE DAY she comes home and tells us things we seriously didn't know. She is so much smarter than I am it is crazy. She has been asking for me to test her IQ (I test IQ's all day-- its my job) for months so I finally did and lets just say-- scary smart!! School is Mia's thing. She just gets it and is really good at it. She loves homework (wrong-- I know)  and school just clicks for her. Its nice to have a kid like that. She is also still an extremely independent spicy girl. She is known to throw her fair share of tantrums (ok fair share= daily) but she is getting better with age. She is involved in Awana's and Brownies and wants to rejoin gymnastics. We will see-- life is full of hockey right now and not much more time to add other activities. She just celebrated her 7th birthday and lost her two front teeth which are already almost in.
 First day of school- first grade
 Jumping off the diving board at Hume this summer
 First Day of School
 Lost both her front teeth the same day

7th Birthday cake
Emery is doing GREAT!! She is such a delight. Happy, sweet, independent, spirited, strong willed but overall a super fun kid with an awesome personality!! Kev stays home with her this year and she will start preschool next school year. She is involved in nursery at church and tags along to all her siblings events. She is a smart little cookie. Her speech is coming along but I am contemplating doing a referral for a speech eval soon. She is not horribly delayed but her expressive is lower than I would expect it to be. Her receptive is awesome but expressive is my concern. I think I will refer her after the first of the year. We will see. She also is totally able to potty in the toilet but kev and I are too lazy to be consistent (5th kid-- what the heck) so we need to work on that but she regularly goes in the toilet-- both pee and poo- when I'm at home. We need to try better to be consistent with potty training.

We went to Hume Lake Christian Camps this summer and rented a house for the week and it was amazing! What a wonderful environment to be in. Uplifting in every way-- safe- fun- lots for kids to do- relaxing-- just AWESOME!!! My parents and nephews came for 4 days and Owen took his friend Joel from work and now school. Great time!!! Ethan joined up with a local church from our area and participated in the high school camp quite a bit. He even won a few competitions-- he loved every minute of it!!

We have lots going on right now. First off I expanded my private practice this summer and now have five employees at three different schools doing reading and math therapy. Its an amazing program and we are doing a lot of good for kids with disabilities and those who desire enrichment. It has been so gratifying to watch these kids grow in such a short time. All my therapists are awesome and are so well trained and are amazing at what they do. I am so thankful for each of them and their unique skills. My sister Cassie also is working for me doing reading and math therapy as well as educational therapy (with high functioning autism spectrum kids) as well as doing psychoeducational testing. She is such an asset and I honestly could not run my private practice without her.
The other huge thing going on for us is that we are building  house! We have been wanting to move about 15 miles west of us and have always admired a part of Upland that is kind of a mountain-ish area. It is called San Antonio Heights and it is a county area tucked up in the foothills of Upland. What we love it the eclectic mix of multi-million dollar homes mixed with little cabins. Its pretty cool with amazing mountain and city views. We found a half-acre piece of land that backs up to a revene that was significantly under priced (like a ton under) simply because of a water easement that ran down the side of the property. For many it would be a deterrent because you cant build on top of the easement but for us, we just designed the house around it and no one will ever know the easement is there. It is at the end of a coldesac and on one side of us will be 1 acre of citrus trees and on the other side will be a massive 11,000sqft house (construction will start in Feb or March) and that is it. Super cool little street with great views! Anyway, we are doing this because our other house is not a good investment right now. We worked Dave Ramsey's program so hard to get everything on track financially and it sickens us that we are so upside down on our house. We love our house-- especially our yard- but felt it was not a smart financial decision to stay there. We decided to jump on the increase in the market in this area and since we got a great deal on the land we decided to build which is way cheaper than buying an already built house in our area. We are going to put renters into our house until it comes back up to value and then sell. So we are building and it is moving along. We are anticipating moving in by April 1st. PRAYING!!! They are pouring the foundation today and by the end of next week framing should begin. ITS SO MUCH FUN!!!! It is literally up the street from where the girls go to school so I check on the progress of the house daily. Here are some pictures:


Kev is doing a lot of steps on the house himself to keep the cost of the build low. He is doing the electrical, a lot of the rock work, the flooring and a few more things as well. Its going to save us a lot of money but it is a lot of work. He is also doing a lot of farming at Amy's Farm-- about 2-3 times a week and he takes Emery to play down there when he works. She loves hanging out with all the cousins and other kids at the farm and there is a ton for her to do-- she loves it-- and so does Kev-- it is his happy place.

I think that is about it for an update. Sorry it took me 6 months to get this update but I will try to be better!

Here are some recent family pics as well.

Christmas card pic