As we begin 2016, and I was in blogger hiatus for part of 2015 (and most of 2014…) I feel a review is in order. Our first full year as a family of six and everybody is doing well. It’s always entertaining around here!
Zachary Stephen, 14
Zach has become an AVID mountain biking enthusiast. He spends all his waking (and probably dreaming) hours either riding bikes, building trails and jumps or reading about bikes. We are so happy to have him interested in an outdoor sport that utilizes the nature around us as we live on 40 acres with dirt roads and fire trails. We are looking into some competitive biking groups for him and he is planning to start a team at Carmel High next year. He is in the eighth grade at Carmel Middle School and making a name for himself there. He placed second in the GeoBee (like the spelling bee but geography) and will go to the final round in January. He also got second place at the school science fair for physics. His granddaddy (who was a renowned cryogenic physicist) would be so proud!
Scarlet Rose, 11
For the most part 2015 is going to be remembered as the year of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) for Scarlet. At the beginning of the year she was in a cast for her plantar fasciitis. Little did we know then what was in store for us with that injury. She was diagnosed with CRPS in the middle of January, 2015 and now in January of 2016 we are still frequenting Stanford for treatments. Not that it held her back too much. We raced back from our first appointment at the Stanford Pediatric Pain Clinic in the rain and Friday Bay Area traffic so she could rock it at the school talent show. The whole room clapped along as she sang Miranda Lambert’s “Mamas Broken Heart”. How she was able to sing like that in those cowgirl boots knowing now what pain she was in is beyond me. Singing has turned out to be a great release of pain for her. According to her pain psychologist, Dr. Griffin and the gate theory, her brain sends pleasure signals versus pain signals when she sings. Needless to say there’s lots of singing in our house at all times, things could be worse! In addition to all of that she started middle school and is very much in her element there with lockers, changing classes and of course fashion. She’s part of the school chorus so gets to sing every day at school.
Frances Willow, 4
Frankie is in her last year of preschool at St. Dunstan’s. She is pretty popular there as she already has five husbands lined up. She says she would also like to marry Bobby Flay. She is a source of constant energy and entertainment. Zach has been keeping a list of funny things she says. He calls them “Frankisms”. It’s sure to be a bestseller one day. Here are a few highlights:
(Q) Why does the ice cream cone climb up the tree, if it’s the wrong tree? (A) Because he took the wrong path.
(Looking at the sun through the clouds) look at that small tiny moon that’s bringing light to us.
(On Thanksgiving) I’m thankful for God and the food and the beautiful world and stuffed animals and the trees.
Oh that Frankie!!
Alexis Paige, 1
This year has been a big year of growth for little Alex. She started the year as a tiny baby and ended it a walking giggling budding toddler. She loves all her people and pets and gives us the most precious toothy drooly smiles. She wakes up as happy as can be and loves to snuggle. She really is a mellow sweet soul. She’s done so well with all the traveling and transitions she’s accompanied us through. As long as she has her people all is well. That’s a pretty great way to be! Her favorite word is uh oh, as she repeatedly drops things for us to retrieve. She also says Mama, Dada, more and Bo Bo (which means brother).
The first part of the year was also busy with charity work. I was on the board of Voices For Children, CASA of Monterey County, and co-chair of our annual gala for the second year. Our theme was Mad Hatters Ball and much of the peninsula turned out in black tie and mad hat to raise money for the foster youth. It was a great success! But it was a LOT of work and something I found I didn’t have time for any longer with a baby and all the traveling to Stanford. Someday I’ll get back to charity work!
We completed a master bedroom remodel just in time for Alexis’s birth in September 2014 and finished off some final details for that plus a new kitchen in 2015! I’ve always loved cooking and pulled off some pretty impressive meals (if I do say so myself) in some very underwhelming kitchens over the years. When we moved here, our home came with a commercial Wolf range circa 1973 that nearly burned our house down because it wasn’t insulated and sitting directly next to our wood walls. For several years I used a countertop oven. It would only hold a quarter sheet pan so you can imagine how long a big batch of cookies would take to make. It’s very exciting to have a kitchen fit for a cook and designed by us to fit our family perfectly!! I’m working on a post with all the details but here’s a sneak peak.
And thanks to a flooded cellar we finally took the time to seal and panel this little room that is built into the hillside on our property. It is now a craft room so we have a space for all the little artsy bits. And messy projects stay contained in one space (away from the house). The kids can create til their hearts are content! Glitter and sticky glue everywhere = no problem! Here the girls decided to show their appreciation with a date night for mom and dad. They brought us appetizers, dinner and dessert and even made a playlist of our favorite songs! Awwww????????
We didn’t get a lot of vacations in due to Scarlet’s intense treatment schedules but we did manage to get to Alisal Ranch for a quick round up. We have so many fond memories from our multiple trips there and will continue to go as often as we can. The perfect family get away!
We also made it to North Star for a late snowboarding trip. Scarlet couldn’t board so Zach brought a friend. They had one great day and then Zach fell and broke his arm on his first run with a new snowboard. His second broken arm in a year (first one was from falling off his bike)! Guess this was also the year of medical bills!
Zach also had a special trip on his own with a friend Christian, who’s dad owns an amazing lodge in Alaska. Zach flew (partly alone) to Juneau and took a float plane to a remote island to join Christian and his dad at the Favorite Bay Lodge. He brought back 75lbs of halibut!! We’re still cooking fish!
Dan got to travel to some exotic locations installing magnetometers for our business. He was in China, Norway (twice), and Switzerland. I wish we could have joined him but this was not the year for family international travels. We do have some great Dale of Norway sweaters that he brought back however!
For my birthday Dan and the kids surprised me with a carrot cake (my favorite), thick filets (yum), champagne, a new cat (we couldn’t agree on one name so we call him Tom Peter Bruce) AND my very first car! They tracked down my 1966 Volvo 122s that I bought with my dad when I was 16. I was feeling nostalgic one day and a little teary over letting it go since I’ve lost my dad to cancer and we had such great memories working on it together. Well, careful what you wish for because that baby blue beauty is back! And in need of major repairs! I’m not sure I remember all the auto shop skills my dad taught me but it will be rewarding to get the car back in tip top shape so I can share it with our kids.
For the chickens we have two Easter Eggers, Amanda & Hosephina, two Buff Orpingtons, Henrietta and Crazy Mabel, two Rhode Island Reds, Penelope and Emma and two Black Sexlinks, Fluttershy and Cleo. We also have a male Welsh Harlequin duck named Mr. Drake and two female Pekin ducks, Beatrix Potter and Jemima Puddleduck. We have four Copper Marans coming in spring and will probably add a Rooster soon.
They provide constant entertainment and soon hopefully will give us a Mother Lode of eggs.
Next project is gardening. We have eight bare root hybrid tea roses from Griggs Nursery to plant. We’ve inherited several rose gardens with houses but never planted our own. The roses that came with this home had to come out when we did our remodel. I absolutely love roses (Scarlet’s middle name in fact) and making arrangements from roses and can not wait for these beauties to bloom. We also have some climbing roses coming to go on the rock walls. It will be a countryside paradise here come spring. We also hope to get some veggies growing. We have a small fall crop going on our green house now and look forward to expanding on that in the spring and living off the land.
2016 promises to be another adventure! We are busy as ever at our business so there will be lots of traveling ahead. Hopefully we can make some of the installations family trips. Best wishes to all for a happy new year and thank you if you read this entire thing! It’s fun to jot down all of these memories, I hope they are fun to read as well.