Sunday, May 26, 2013

Tribute to my Childhood home

As many of you saw on Facebook a few weeks ago, the home I grew up in caught fire and burned down. Although we no longer live there, I was shocked at the emotions I felt. It makes me sad to know that I can never drive past and show my kids where I grew up. The home sat on 2 acres of land, so someone will probably clear the trees, subdivide the land and build multiple homes there. I don't think I can ever go back, knowing that my home isn't there. The first few days after it burned, I was struggling to get over it.....then I met up with my family in El Paso for the weekend - it was like therapy for me to be with them.
Afterall, it was just a family is my home.

I wrote this little memory a few years ago about the house and thought I would share it... a tribute to the house that raised me.....

Seeing that we moved from the Clark’s Landing home in 1987, when I was only four years old, I don’t have many memories there. Almost every one of my childhood memories was in our Vale Spring home. The Tudor-style exterior of the house was so beautiful and unique to the houses around it. Instead of a front porch, the house had what we called, the “cave” where Muffin spent a lot of her time. The hand-carved front door was breathtaking; although only strangers came to the front door (everyone else knew the
back door was the main entrance). When we moved to the house, it didn’t have a garage. Dad designed an extra large two-car garage and promptly had it built. The back of the garage was always filled with dad’s treasures of old victrolas, pianos, bicycles and lawnmowers. Travis spent many summers fixing lawnmowers, go-carts, and 4-wheelers back in the garage.

Our Vale Spring house was situated on the most perfect plot of land in all of Oakton, Virginia.The house was at the end of a cul-de-sac so we had some great road to play on. Dad set up a basketball hoop and a street light so we could play in the evening. On the 4th of July Travis and Stanley set off fireworks on the cul-de-sac; Travis drove his go-cart up and down the street; and we had a good “practice road” where I learned to ride my bike. The hill in our front yard was great for sledding in the winters. The house’s chimney was perfect to practice hitting tennis balls and sometimes lacrosse balls (until one went stray and broke a window!) The windows were huge and Susan would use them to practice her cheerleading in the reflection. Our home was situated on two acres of land that was perfect for campouts, a tire swing, a zip wire, the clubhouse and a big deck for all of mom’s parties. Stan always took advantage of the peaceful woods where he would go bird watching.

I remember the day we moved into the Vale Spring house. Our whole family pulled into the driveway in our van that was hauling a trailer load of stuff. I remember going down to the basement and getting lost in all the rooms. The basement rooms had green or red outdoor carpeting and some rooms had paisley velvet wallpaper. Mom and dad did a lot of renovations in that house. In fact, the basement had a lot of phases during the seventeen years we lived there. One of the basement rooms was long and narrow with fake stained-glass windows. We all imagined that it must have been a chapel of some sort, but we used it as a toy room. Eventually, dad split the room to be his office and the other half was a kitchen. Since the basement was so big and we didn’t use all the space, mom and dad turned it into an apartment for BYU couples interning in D.C. Before the apartment though, we would roller skate all around the basement. I have a lot of really good memories in the Vale Spring basement. We had some fun parties in the game room playing arcades and pool; and watching movies in the family room.

Of all the rooms in Vale Spring, the kitchen was the social center of the house. Everyone would migrate to the kitchen, pull up a chair and hang out. The room was so busy that dad had to refinish the hardwood floors several times. Family prayer took place every night on the kitchen floor and we all had “assigned” spots to kneel. Muffin and/or Tiger Lily would join us in prayer, but they were usually more of a distraction. =) We baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies several nights a week (and popped popcorn on the other nights of the week!). Everything happened in the kitchen around our big Oak table. It was at the kitchen table that mom did her mending; dad shined shoes; we did our homework; we all played card games together; and read scriptures as a family.
The Vale Spring home will always have a special place in my heart. Maybe one day, we could all get together and buy it back.

Mom at the back door. (bc only strangers used the front door=)
Our game room in the basement.
Dad in the kitchen
We used to have stuffed animal picnics in the front yard
The backyard
A little piece of heaven. The woods that we played in behind the house.
One of my brothers jumping off the deck into the 3 feet of snow in the backyard

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Another Party???

Why, yes of course. Why wouldn't you have multiple parties for your birthday? You've got to stretch out the celebrations as long as possible.

The week after Miles' birthday, my parents flew to Austin and helped me drive to my Susan's house in El Paso, where we also met up with Stanley's family. Even better, Jason flew down after work for 2 days! My sister's house had 18 people there for the weekend - 8 adults & 10 kids....we really missed Travis' family though. =(

So, what would you do 1 week after your baby's birthday and you are together with all your family?? PAR-TAY, of course. The first night we celebrated Stanley's birthday with Steak & all the sides. During cake time, he announced that they are moving to North Carolina in June for a job offer at Pfeiffer University. Talk about exciting news!! Now, I've just got to convince Jason & his business partners to open their next pest branch on East coast...I'm working hard at it. The next night we celebrated Miles' birthday (again) Texan-style @ Rudy's BBQ. We all dressed up & enjoyed cupcakes at home afterwards.

Overall, the weekend was PERFECT and I enjoyed every minute with my family. The only thing that I would have changed would be the speeding tickets ($250 each!!!!) that Jason and I each got. (That's a whole other story and that cop was heartless.)

Miles' big birthday dinner at Rudy's BBQ



Arlo decorated the cupcakes with sprinkles =)

Josiah & Eliza enjoying some shelled peanuts

Cousins enjoying cupcakes  together =)
This was the typical meal setup for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Susan's house. Kids in the kitchen & adults in the dining room. (Miles had already gone to bed in this photo =(

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

I feel like this happens to me a LOT when I don't have a to-do list .