Sunday, November 22, 2015


Rita came to me on Halloween of 2000. She was a scared little puppy, hungry and full of fleas. My roommate, Jessi, wanted to name her Little Spooker.  We didn't have any dog food for her so we gave her some Doritos and she gobbled them up. We thought Dorita would be a good name, and then the name "Rita" popped into my head and became the perfect choice. Rita kept me up most of the first night that we had her, crying and carrying on.  The next day, I gave her a flea treatment and she moved into my room. She became my constant companion and went everywhere with me. Even while I went to class in the evenings for the teacher ed program, she would stay with my sister in the dorms. She was fiercely protective of me and would bark or growl at strangers if they got too close to us. Upon meeting Phil, he was the first stranger she approved of and didn't bark at. She soon earned the nick name "Queen of the World" for her strong and mighty presence and fierce attitude. We often joked that the back step was her throne.

Rita was my friend through thick and thin and greeted me with complete joy each and everyday. She couldn't wait for the boys to go to bed at night so she could hop up and snuggle with me in the couch. She loved to burrow in our blankets and curl up right against my stomach with a little sigh as she finally found the right position. 

The last few years with Rita have been hard. Her health started to decline. Her eyes slowly clouded over with cataracts and her hearing left her. She became mostly silent and stopped her howling greetings when I would come home.  She would only bark when her majesty wanted to be let in or out. Her most difficult ailment was congestive heart failure. She became more and more lethargic. 

On August 8, 2015, my Rita Baby passed away and I said goodbye to one of my best friends. I miss her everyday but I am so thankful of the years that we spent together. 

"Founding Day" October 31, 2000 - August 8, 2015

House Rennovations

The second that we got the keys to our house, I could not wait to get going on the house projects. Immediately we met with a painter and a contractor. I had only 4 weeks until I had to start working again at school! We had the whole house painted and gave the kitchen a complete facelift. I felt absolutely giddy with the results. 

I spent many hours reprinting this craigslist entertainment center...

And this bookcase too.

The quilt on this sofa is such a favorite. I so enjoyed making this at my grandma's this summer.

I still can't believe this house is ours. I sometimes feel like I need to pinch myself. 

I also have enjoyed having a mantle to decorate seasonally.

About a week after we moved in to our house, I had to say one of my hardest good byes. 

Busy Year

Last year, I went back to work full time. The boys were both in school and it seemed like the right time. Phil and I also wanted to move closer to all our friends and to church and felt that we had outgrown our house. We started doing some repairs in January last year, then listed our house in March. Our realtor prayed over our home once we listed it, which gave Phil and I some reassurance about the whole process.  Within three days, we had accepted an offer on our home. We hadn't found anything that we wanted to buy, so we were faced with the reality of living in my grandma's house on the farm and putting all our things into storage. 

During our escrow period, we took an amazing trip to Hawaii with my family to celebrate my parents 40th wedding anniversary. 

My mom had arranged for us to get leis as soon as we arrived at the airport. 

Getting to our resort in Hawaii on Maui was breathtaking. I couldn't get over how gorgeous the resort was and the ocean was so blue. I have never stayed anywhere as amazing as our resort. The boys had a POG on the first night after we arrived. Ryan decided he was going to have one POG at each meal for a total of 21 POGs for the entire trip. He made it to 20 and got sick of it. 

Phil and I went to the Old Lahaina luau one night while we were there. We really enjoyed it. We even ran into another couple from Bakersfield while we were there. Small world! 

My favorite pastime on the trip was snorkeling. We swam with turtles and amazing, colorful fish. I felt like I was in a giant aquarium. The warm water made swimming so enjoyable. I think I'm spoiled for life now. 

One thing that was on my Hawaii bucket list was to drink out of a coconut. It was not as good as I wanted it to be, but at least I did it. Something else I enjoyed about Hawaii was the fact that I could go anywhere in a swimsuit and cover up and it was never considered inappropriate. What a life! 

We also celebrated my mom's birthday while we were there. Jack drew this picture for her birthday gift. After having a piƱa colada with her birthday dinner, we saw the parrot man selling parrot pictures on the street. My mom indulged the boys and took this picture. 

This trip to paradise was a an amazing break in the craziness of moving out of our house. When we got home, we had one week left to move everything out of our house and move to my grandma's. That week was one of the more exhausting weeks in my life. 

It was so strange to say goodbye to our home.

Moving to the farm was so fun but also so strange to live without any of our things. The boys spent copious amounts of time exploring outside and would go so far into the orchards that I had to buy them walkie talkies so I didn't lose them. 

We also had the privilege of living next to my cousins for the summer, which was great fun for all of us. The boys and their cousins would wake up and ride bikes to each other's houses, while Kelly and Katie and I would spend our time talking and enjoying each other's company. I had to impose an 8am rule where no one could visit until that time each day. 

After living at Grandma's for a few months, we found our house. (Please forgive the quality of the photos. They were from the listing.) Even though there were changes I wanted to make to the home, I could see my vision for the space, and best of all, Phil could too. After a rocky escrow period, we were finally owners of a home!