Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Yes, I'm aware that Thanksgiving just passed and I'm still posting about Halloween... I'm still playing catch up...

Just a few quick pics. Here is our busy Bee before preschool. Can you tell she is saying "buzzzzz"? :-)

Ashlyn, the bee, Lauren, the 50's girl, Jessica, the nerd and Austin with a basketball Jersey...

Austin decided about a half an hour before we left that he was still young enough to dress up for Halloween.
Halloween fell on a Sunday this year, so the kids settled for "trunk or treat"ing at my parent's ward party (which happens to also be my sister's ward). Jen rocked the 70's costume!I love Jessica's self confidence!! I love it that Jessica dressed up like a nerd and was totally okay with looking like one! Haha! She is such a funny girl.

Jessica, Kylie and Brynne

Ashlyn with fellow bee, Kate Rozier

Jen and Ashlyn
Austin spent his evening in a cupcake war with this cute girl...

Tess Austin, armed and ready. He didn't do any trunk or treating, but I'm pretty sure his night was just as sweet. :-)

After the kids got all the candy they could carry and Austin and Tess ran out of cupcakes, we headed over to Aaron and Haley's for their annual Halloween party. Jeremy and Talli were still in town and we were happy to be able to spend one last night them before they headed back home.

Heather, Talli and Tara (Me)

Jessica gettin' fresh with the skeleton

Jeff and Jeremy doing what we love to do the most- just chillin'

Tiffany is always looking picture perfect.

The fabulous four!Haley, Jen, Talli and Me
I think I have more pictures of me with these three girls than I do of me with my family! They are just some of my very favorite people and my best friends.Our other halvesThe whole gang and Peyton
It was a fun night. We didn't dress up this year. We had lots of funny costume ideas, but we weren't too sure they would fly at our ward party. (The front runner was a pregnant nun and a priest.) Next year...

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Poulsen's Came Back!

Too bad it was just for a visit! Ahh.. we miss them so much, so we will take what we can get.
Jeremy and Talli
Love these two!
We got all the girls together and went to lunch to celebrate Talli's birthday.
I seriously miss this girl so much!Jen, Haley and Tiffany
(I have such beautiful friends!!)

Our kids were bummed that Jeremy and Talli couldn't bring their kids on this trip, but they went to all of our kids Friday sports games and took a few pictures while they were in town to send back to their kids in South Dakota.The guys spent an afternoon golfing. All of the wives love how happy our husbands are spending time together, so Jen went out on the course to capture their time together. I know it sounds a little gay, but it's not everyday that you find friends that you just love and that get you. We are all so lucky to have each other. Jason, Jeff, Jeremy and Aaron(I love that grin!)
We went out to dinner and lunch a few times and tried to squeeze as much time as we could out of their time here visiting.Jason and Tara, Jeremy and Talli, Aaron and Haley and Misty and Jen
(I hate this picture of me, but I love the memory it's tied to.)(Iphone pictures from Doghouse Grill- Yum!)

Hanging out at Josh and Tiffany's
Haley is seriously gorgeous! What a babe!
It felt good to have our little "family" all back together again.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Baby Bump!

4 months
5 monthsIt's a girl!
Another girl. The kids were home from school the day I had my ultrasound. I called them as soon as we were done and Jessica answered the phone. I told her it was a girl and as soon as she shouted it out to the other kids with excitement, she blurted, "Can we name her Paige?"

I hadn't even thought about names yet. I was so torn on what I thought the baby was going to be. I always thought I had another boy, so when I first got pregnant, I thought it was a boy. Then, I started getting really sick and I started breaking out. Both of those things point to it being a girl. The first time I heard her heart beat in the doctor's office, I new that it was fast, which also indicates that it's a girl, but I couldn't wrap my head around the idea.

We started thinking about names and thumbing through baby name books shortly after we found out she really was a girl. Paige kept ending up in our "like" pile. We were all sitting around one night discussing names and what the middle name would be, etc. I kind of thought we shouldn't give her a middle name so she could keep her last name when she got married. The Rickards name ends with Jason. There isn't anyone else on his side of the family to pass it on. Jessica piped up once again with, "What about Hope? Paige Hope Rickards? It's kind of cute?"

I like it. I think Hope is very appropriate for this baby since we didn't know if it would even be possible to have her. I think it would be kind of fun if she was named by her big sister too. So, we are "trying it on". Her name may change before she gets here, but for now, she is baby Paige. I can't wait to meet her!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our Summer Fling

So here's an update on what's been going on behind the "events" in our lives. In September, we made the tough decision to move back home. I just looked back and realized that I never posted about our move in the first place other than just that we moved. So, here's the story:

Last May, we were helping some friends sell their home. In the beginning when things were a little slow, they wondered what the rental market would be like, if they decided to rent out their house instead of selling it. So, we looked into it while we were over at their house one evening.

Jason came across this house that looked really cool. (2 acres, a movie theater, work out room, pool, hot tub, park- all the goodies.) We thought it would be fun to go see it- just for fun. We left the big kids in charge and went to check it out with our friends.

When we pulled up, Jason and I recognized it right away. We had driven by it several years before when it was for sale. I remember sitting outside the gate and us talking about how fun it would be to live in a place like that someday. (This picture doesn't do it justice, but I never took a good picture of the front of the house. I pulled this off of the MLS)

We met the owner and really liked him. He was our age and a super nice guy. The home was older but, it had been remodeled a few years ago. Unfortunately, the owner had to move for his job and had been renting the house out and waiting for the market to turn around so he could sell it.

He said he would be willing to rent it to us for a little less than our current mortgage if we would sign a three year lease. We thought about it, brought the kids back, etc and decided to go for it. He was having some construction done on the garage and the other "out buildings" that was supposed to be done "in a few weeks", so we wouldn't have access to the garage until it was done.
We decided to see if we could qualify for any of the mortgage modifications so it would be easier to rent out our home. (not the right time to sell our home either.) We kept our garage stuff in the garage at our home and moved out to the new house a few weeks later.

We spent weeks painting and getting the new house set up so it felt like home. The previous renters left a lot to be repaired and kept up. We trimmed trees, replaced sprinklers, ordered an oven door (that took over a month to come in) and replaced countless light bulbs, but it started to feel like home.

It wasn't long before we learned that if something seems to good to be true, it usually is. The construction kept getting pushed out and nothing was built up to code and kept having to be redone to pass inspections. I didn't like the girls out in the pool during the day while we had a small army of construction workers out there. I kept hoping that each week would be the last week I would feel like I needed to keep my blinds closed or put on a bra to take out the garbage in the morning. I wasn't unusual for me to walk out to my car to leave to run errands and pass a couple of men eating their lunch or taking a nap under my willow tree.

A couple of weeks, turned into months and we kept finding more things wrong with the house. Mostly leaks, but I new that would mean the workers would be there even longer and would be moving to right outside my bedroom window and inside my living room! The thought drove me bonkers! I really wanted my own space and was ready for everything to be fixed and working and be totally moved in.

We had the bee issue, had it taken care of only to have them return a few weeks later like something out of a horror movie!

So, we had it taken care of again, but were told it would be an issue every year until someone came out and took the chimney totally apart, cleaned it out and rebuilt it. Grrr. More construction.

Before school started, I found out that the house wasn't in the school zones that we thought and that Austin would actually be going to a different junior high. I looked into transfers and the bus system and found out that if I wanted to keep them in their schools (which are way better than the schools in the new zone), I would have to drive them in everyday. It's only about a 15-18 minute drive, but with the staggering schedules, I would be in the car all day. One of my kids is out of school at 2:45, one at 3:00, one at 3:15 and one with after school sports until 4:20. I might as well paint my car yellow and stencil TAXI on the side.

We had been in the new house for almost 2 months when we got our first utility bill. $4000. No joke. It was for 2 months, but still!!!!!! Jason started looking into ways to reduce our monthly bill, but I was over the house by then. I was newly pregnant and school would be starting soon and I missed our old ward at church. The house was driving me crazy and not worth the extra expense. Jason loved the idea of the garage that was finally, almost done and all the fun stuff about the house.

We spent some time thinking about our options. We loved the property, but ultimately decided that the best thing for our family would be to move back home. The owner of the home graciously let us out of our lease. He offered us a reduced rate while the rest of the construction was being done and offered to split the utility meters to offset our PG&E bill. It made us stop and think, but we felt like going home was the right thing for our family. We just weren't sure what to expect with this pregnancy and thought it would be best to be close to school and to our family. We stopped by the old house just to see if we still felt the same way being there. On the front porch was a letter of acceptance for a loan modification!

So, we packed up once again and said goodbye to our Summer Fling. Goodbye, to our fun house with the gated entrance and security cameras. Goodbye to the movie theater and popcorn machine. Goodbye to the park and the pool and the hot tub (that never quite worked). Goodbye to the fire pit and the playroom over the garage. Goodbye. We had so many fun memories, but it was time to go home.

We moved the second week of September. If you look back at our September, you will see how crazy was. It's November now and I just barely feel moved back in. The kids had gotten used to having their own rooms and we had gotten rid of and gained some furniture in the move, so we had to figure out where things go again. With a new baby on the way, we had to figure out where we were going to put the baby. We decided the best option was to build a new room, so we did.
At the top of the stairs to the left of the room, we put in another one. It was part of the master bedroom (the retreat) but we never used it except to collect junk.

I didn't take any pictures of the construction, but this is what the top of my stairs looks like now. Jason asked if I thought it would be too crazy to have construction while we were moving. I told him we should do it while I was still used to it or it might not happen. I actually didn't mind having Vicente (the guy who built the room) around. He is a nice guy and did a great job.

The room is bare and I haven't set up the crib yet, but that will happen right after Thanksgiving.
So hopefully that explains why I've been so behind on updating this blog!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Carving Pumpkins

Carving pumpkins has never been one of my favorite things to do, yet, I couldn't imagine Halloween coming and going without being a part of that tradition. So, to make the event a little more enjoyable, we invite the McCauley's over to join us.

After Jason cut off the top of Ashlyn's pumpkin, she reached her hand in, as instructed, to pull out the "guts". This picture captured her first and only attempt at cleaning out her pumpkin.
She was not a fan of the slime. She must be my daughter. :-)

Maryn and Tyler worked on a huge pumpkin together. I think the look on her face says it all! Haha!

I love Jessica's grimace and Austin look of, "eeww yuck" as he empties the seeds into the bowl.

Ashlyn watched closely as Jason carved out a "nice face" on her pumpkin.

Tyler, Haley and Clara


Ashlyn loved the end result!

Happy Halloween!