Friday, January 20, 2017

We're Moving, again

But this time it is just down the street and into a house of our very own.  We are so incredibly excited for this house.  We fell in love with it from the very second we walked in.  It just felt right.  This is the place where we want to live forever.  It's a place where the kids can grow-up and where they can bring their own children home to visit.   It is in a fantastic neighborhood.  (We are SO excited to finally be living on a side street and not a main thoroughfare.) One of Lauren's best friends just lives a few streets over and in 3 years they can walk to high school since it is close by.  There is also an elementary school just around the corner where the girls can play basketball or play on the playground.  There is also a park next to the school with a playground as well.  There are bathrooms, water fountains, pavilions, wide open grassy fields, nature trails, and a baseball field too so they have  plenty of space to play and have fun!

The house was built in 1999 and the original owners lived there until 2 years ago when they were transferred back home to Korea.  They rented the house for 2 years until this past August when the renters left and the owners decided to put the house on the market.  James and I were shocked that nobody had snatched this house up already.  Since there is nobody currently living in the house we hope to be able to get everything finished up so we can move in as soon as possible. So without further ado, here are some pictures of our new home:

Front view of our new home
461 Higgins St

Front walkway (You can't see it bet there is a nice bench behind the front column)
Front Entrance and living room
Formal Dining room 
Kitchen and family room

Kitchen with gas stove and pull-out drawers (the kids
are excited for the ice maker on the front of the fridge--we've never had one before)

family room with gas fireplace
James' office (off the family room)
Downstairs bathroom next to James's office

Laundry Room across from the bathroom and next to garage door
 The tile floor leads into James' office  and in the middle of the picture you can see a
doorway--or bright spot where the set of kitchen stairs lead up to the middle platform to join the staircase
Lauren and Katelyn think the best part about the stairs is that there is a secret place to play under the stairs. As you can see, the stairs are very long so they have a lot of room to play under these stairs.

Master bedroom (just to the right at the top of the stairs)
Master bathroom with soaking tub (not jetted), shower, and double vanity

one of the his and her walk-in closets (I'm so excited for my very own walk-in closet!!!)
View from Master bedroom down hallway to other rooms.  On the left there are 2 bedrooms with a bathroom in the middle.  There is a linen/hall closet at the end of the hall, and on the right side next to the linen closet is another bedroom.
Upstairs bathroom

Our backyard with pool.  At the top is a spa that spills into the pool to heat the pool
(In this picture you can see our nice table and chairs we got with the house)
Also good to note is that we don't have any backyard neighbors! (there is a road behind
us, but it is not very noisy)

Along the tallest blue tiles there are 3 waterfalls we can turn on
(at the bottom of the picture is a nice shallow seating area. If you look
closely you can see a black circle, this is where you can put in a pool umbrella--just
perfect for lounging or reading) 

At the far end of the right side of the picture is a swinging bench
Lauren and Katelyn already love it.  At the top left there are
2 lounge chairs and a small table.  There is also a small lemon tree!

We are so in love with this house and are so excited to call it home.  We feel like everything has come together for us so perfectly and we are so very happy.  It would make us even happier to be able to play host to any friends and family who would like to come visit us!!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The rains came down and the floods came up

Or that's at least how it is feeling living in Folsom right now.   I have NEVER seen rain like this before, and apparently the residents of Folsom haven't either, at least not for a very long time.  It's funny how James and I always tend to bring bad weather wherever we go.  It happens almost every time we travel, we always hear what "unusual" weather they are having.

The funniest thing to me is that James asked as soon as he arrived here in August how often it rained in the winter and the answer was "it doesn't" However, after some rainy days in October, more rainy days in November, and LOTS of rainy days in December, people started really being shocked at how much rain we were receiving. Now that it is January and it's almost been constant rain day-in and day-out, it has been record breaking amounts of rain.

I was driving home and I heard on the radio that Sacramento has received so much rain that they are having to open the levees to let water out!  This hasn't happened in the past 10 years!   In fact, we just set a new 30 year record,  "Sacramento's wettest water year, the winter of 1982 and 1983, saw more than 32 inches of rain by Jan. 8, and as of last night the current total is 36.3 inches."  I think Sacramento should be thanking the Gilbride family for moving here, we have saved them from the decade long drought. :)  Ha ha ha ha    

Even though we have been receiving so much rain, it hasn't been very cold. We are still in the 50's and on the rare occasion the sun can break through, it is very nice outside.  We haven't even been turning on our heat inside our apartment.  Although, we get a LOT of condensation on our windows.  So much so that I have to clean the windows every.single.morning because there will be a pool of water on the windowsill  and if it doesn't get cleaned off it will become mold.  (Yes, I know this from experience. It is no fun cleaning black molded window casings).  

Just after Christmas we noticed that our ceiling was wet and then dripped. Being on a bottom floor apartment makes you wonder if the upstairs neighbors are flooding, or at least have leaky pipes. After talking with maintenance and having them cut a hole into our ceiling it was discovered that the pipes are experiencing so much condensation that it is causing our ceiling to drip. (Also, because we have been having so much rain our living room wall is growing wet spots.  Again, after talking to maintenance, the roof apparently is leaking).  It has been an adventure in dealing with water everywhere. We are however, still very grateful that it is only water and not snow that we would have to deal with if we were still living in Utah.  (Although I do miss shoveling the driveway after a night of massive snow and hearing how "silent" everything is.  I miss the mornings that dawn bright and sunny and where the trees are covered in beautiful glistening snow.  I also miss seeing how excited the kids get when they have enough snow to rush right out and play in.)  I do not miss, however, driving in the snow and seeing cars that have slid off the roads, or being stuck in traffic due to the snow, and worst of all not being able to see where you are driving because of the snow.  I am grateful that if I do want to experience snow, I am only about 20 minutes away.  It is nice knowing it is still close by.  

Today we experienced a nice break in the rain and the sun came out.  So I rushed outside to enjoy the sun and fresh air. It was heavenly to be out in the sun. I walked to our little Willow Springs Reservoir and sat on a moss covered rock and watched the ducks swim and listened to the birds and crickets chirping.  It felt just like spring and made my little heart so happy.  It's amazing what some sun can do for a body!

Here are a few fun pictures of Folsom in the winter:

Just after Christmas we enjoyed some time out on our trail

This pond is covered in green algae.  Even though the trees are bare, there are so many green vines and bushes

I LOVED how bright green the grass is

There is moss everywhere!  LOVE seeing it on the trees

Very green grass and mossy trees

My moss covered rock where I watched the ducks

Stay tuned for more excited adventures coming up!!!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Letting Go

Last night, our Christmas tree arrived and I had to set it up and decorate it right then and there and I LOVED every single second of it.  You see, when we moved from our Riverton home a year and a half ago, the tree wouldn't fit into our 2 totes and last Christmas we were on vacation the entire month of December and didn't need a tree.  However, this Christmas we will be home and needing, or should I say, wanting a Christmas tree.

I was watching a Christmas movie yesterday that resonated with me, the girl said she loved Christmas because it wasn't an event it was a process.  I couldn't agree more. To me Christmas day and opening presents is just the smallest part of Christmas. What I love most are all the traditions and activities leading up to Christmas Day. It's listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas movies, making Christmas treats with my girls and delivering them to the the neighbors, it's driving around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights, it's buying toys/clothes for those in need, and most importantly it's about spending time with family.

To me decorating the Christmas tree is as much about decorating it as it is about walking down memory lane.  As you put on each decoration it has a story to tell of how it came to be and why it's hanging on the tree.  Even though there are very few Christmas decorations that were able to fit into one of my totes, I am grateful for the ones that did. I still have clay ornaments the girls and I have made and colored together, I have ornaments they made in preschool that have cute young pictures of them, I have ornaments that were given to us by friends, and I have ornaments that belonged to James when he was just a boy. And just this year, (since we would need some more ornaments to cover the tree) I purchased a set because they reminded me of ornaments we had to leave behind.  And that got me thinking about the title of this post, "Letting Go"

I remember as a young girl reading the Bible story of when Lot leaves Jerusalem and his wife is told that if she turns back to look at the city, she will be turned into a pillar of salt.  And as Lot and his wife left the city, she did indeed turn around to look back at the city and was turned into a pillar of salt.  I remember thinking that seemed pretty harsh. I couldn't understand why it mattered to God so much that she looked back at her home.  It must be hard to leave family and friends, the place where you raised your children, and a place you loved.  Why couldn't she look back at it?  Why was God being so mean? As I grew older, I had people try and explain that looking back and longing to be back were different and that it mattered where her heart was, was her heart with her husband and moving forward or was her heart back in a corrupt city.  I have thought a lot about this story over the years, especially as changes come my way.   I have thought often about Lot's wife since moving from my home of 10 years; the place where I brought my children home from the hospital and raised them from babies, the place where I had some great friends, and a place I loved.

As a wife and a Mom I now understand the great importance of letting go of the past and putting your whole heart and soul into the now and the future. Looking back and longing to be back can be dangerous things to our happiness and to our growth as a person.  I can see why Lot's wife was turned into a pillar of salt--metaphorically unmoving and useless.  By always looking back and longing to go back it will keep us from moving forward and being useful and becoming our ultimate selves.

As I hang up these sweet Christmas decorations and reminders of the past I am touched by the sweet experiences I have been so fortunate to have.  I am so grateful to have been a stay-at-home mother to two beautiful sweet children who I got to decorate Christmas decorations with; but I am also excited for today for being able to put up a tree and put up some new decorations to represent this years Christmas; and I am also excited for the all the Christmas ornaments I have yet to collect and place on my Christmas tree in the years to come.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Live in Thanksgiving Daily

I LOVE the last three months of the year.  I love Fall with the turning of the leaves, the crispness in the air, and the wearing of warm clothes. I love seeing the kids get all dressed up for Halloween and going out with their friends to Trick-or-treat. Then I love the focus of being grateful for everything that we have for most of the month and concluding it by eating a delicious Thanksgiving meal with family, and finally I LOVE Christmastime with the sweet songs, magical lights, and all the many fun and special traditions celebrated together as families.

Fall in Folsom has been fun to watch. By Halloween only a few of the trees had leaves changing colors and the air was still quite warm.  As the November days kept progressing we received more and more rain and all of the grasses completely greened up.  It was almost like having two seasons in one--rainy spring days with the grass turning green and warm fall days with color-changing leaves.  It's crazy watching the hills turn green when my brain says that according to the calendar the grass should be dead and the snow should be starting to fall.

With Thanksgiving we were thankful for an ENTIRE week off from school. We've never gotten an entire week off during Thanksgiving, but it was a great opportunity for us to get to take an extended vacation and enjoy driving down California's coast.  We were able to leave early and enjoy making multiple day stops along the way.  We stopped in Monterey and enjoyed a day at the beach, we stopped in San Simeon and toured Hearst Castle before arriving in Palm Springs to spend Thanksgiving with Grandma Gilbride and Nicole, Ron, Tyler and Landon.  It was great getting to spend a couple of days with them reminiscing, visiting, and catching-up.  We played games, went swimming, and the kids had sleep-overs in front of the old tv watching Classic VHS Movies.

The day after Thanksgiving our family and Nicole's family spent the next 2 days at Disneyland. It was the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit there with family at the Happiest Place on Earth. We had some great times and loved every second with family. We were so sad to see our times together come to such an abrupt end. We are looking forward to the time when we can see them again.

We are also looking forward to the Christmas season and enjoying Christmas at home.  It's been 3 years since we've been home for Christmas and it will be nice to decorate a tree, make holiday treats, and drive around the neighborhood looking at Christmas lights.

Life is going well and we are enjoying this wonderful time of year. We hope each of you and your families are safe and well and enjoy all the rest that 2016 has to offer.

Some pictures to highlight the last month:
Lauren as Elizabeth Swan from Pirates of the Caribbean

Katelyn as a vampire

Enjoyed our day at the Beach in Monterey

collecting shells

Hearst Castle

Thanksgiving Dinner at Grandma Gilbrides

Grandma with her grandkids and great grandkids


The second day it rained--a lot so we all wore matching rain ponchos

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

"Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day"

And I truly believe this.  Some days are filled with problems, loneliness, or sadness, but there is something good that can be found in  (sometimes you just have to look harder and be more creative to find it)  But honestly, we've had a lot of good days.  

The past two weeks we've been enjoying a mix of sunny beautiful weather and rainy gray weather.  Two weekends ago we stayed home so we could go to James' boss' surprise 40th birthday party.  It was fun to meet co-workers and spouses.  And since we had a weekend at home, we decided to cook our own lobsters.   James and Katelyn went to an Asian market where we could get some nice live lobsters, artichokes, potatoes, and Jack fruit.  We had fun doing our own lobster bake.  (The girls weren't so keen on lobster tail and think they will stick to crab legs)

Lauren getting the Jack Fruit ready. It was pretty yummy

Cooking our yummy friends

Our feast is complete!  Get cracking!

Katelyn's school class field trip finally arrived last Wednesday. She has been looking forward to this day since the day she started school here.  Her class was divided up into different "towns" and Katelyn was able to be in the same town with a lot of her friends so that was even more exciting.  Their town was called Rough and Ready.   Katelyn got to ride the school bus about an hour away to a city called Coloma, where the Gold Rush of 1849, is still reenacted. She got to dress in flannel so she could feel more like a gold miner. She learned about Levi Strauss and how Levi's came to be.  She got to go on nature hikes, learn about Native Americans, and pan for gold.  (Katelyn found 18 flakes of gold which she proudly tells to everyone she meets.)  They had campfires, danced the hoe-down, and slept in cabins (complete with bunkbeds and a bathroom with a shower).  They were fed 3 yummy meals a day, learned about the environment, and earned beads for passing off requirements.  She had a great time and can't wait to go back next year for a more advanced experience. 

Ready and excited to start her field-trip

Katelyn was able to go to her first birthday party in California.  She had a great time and actually won some great prizes.  They had a "Guess how many M&M's" jar and Katelyn won that contest and got to keep all 1,083 M&M's, the container, and she even got a prize for winning.   She also won at Pin the Tail on the Donkey, and a few other games.  She had a great time and got to spend more time with friends from school.

Katelyn and her prizes

We decided it was time for us to explore Old Town Sacramento so we spent a few hours walking around. It really is such a cute place.  The buildings look just like a real old western town, there are some fun River boats and some great trains.  Our favorite spot was probably the candy shop, where we were able to browse through barrels and barrels of all kinds of candies. We even got a few samples!

Looking at the paddle on the river boat

On a personal note, I absolutely love the nature trails here and being able to run, bike, or walk on them everyday. I have been able to discover so many great trails and have even been able to find where some of them connect.  It's always so exciting to me when that happens.  I don't think I will ever tire of the amazingly lush landscape.  There are so many trees and plants and I can't believe how many shades of green there are right next to each other.   I can't help sharing a few photos of these places I love:

The trail behind our apartment.  I LOVE the red tree.  Fall is here!

On our way to the birthday party I saw this "rainbow of trees"

A beautiful sunny day. Found this beautiful view on a new trail

Love running next to the stream and hearing it's music

Love this wooden winding bridge 

The trees grow over the trails

Thursday, October 13, 2016

"Life's always better at the beach"

This past weekend we took a little road trip up to Santa Cruz for a weekend at the beach!  It was perfect!  (Little did we know that it's climate is just like San Francisco, it's coldest month is June and it's warmest month is January.  Granted that can be the difference of only 10 degrees, but it was a wonderfully warm day for us to be at the beach in October.)

We arrived at sunset and took a walk out onto the pier and had a nice seafood dinner.  We ordered clams as an appetizer and the girls really had fun trying them.

We loved our clams and clam chowder
Our hotel room was really cute and just across the street from the beach. We had some great lounge chairs just outside our door where we had an amazing view of the pier, the beach, and the ocean. We could hear the waves crashing against the shore, and there were sea lions near the pier we could hear as well.  It was perfect!

The view from our room

We had a great time playing on the beach. The kids spent all day playing in the sand, running into the water, and trying to body surf.  It's always the best watching Lauren and Katelyn laughing and playing together. It was a fabulous day!!  Here are a few pictures:

Digging in the sand

The water was still really cold

We LOVE the beach!

Have to build sandcastles on the shore

Our friends the Sea Lions

On the pier, overlooking the boardwalk

On our way home the next morning we stopped for donuts.  I had a crumb topped bear claw.  I'd never had one before and it was so yummy!!!  Then we stopped at a little place called the Mystery Spot where gravity is supposed to be different.  It was fun to stand at a 17 degree angle and to struggle to walk.  The girls had a blast and even volunteered and were chosen to help with some of the demonstrations.   Here are a few more pictures.

It really looks like a bear claw---and SO yummy!

The craziest cabin EVER

Trying to stand up straight without leaning

Trying to lean as forward as possible without falling

I have a high school friend who currently lives in Nevada who was coming into California and asked to stop by to see me.  We met up for lunch at a diner on the Historic downtown street and then walked on some nature trails and crossed the Historic Truss Bridge.   It was so fun to see my friend! It had been 17 years since we've seen each other, but it felt just like old times.   I also enjoyed the trails so much that I had to go back and keep exploring further.  Here are even more pictures:
My friend Kim and I on the Historic Truss Bridge

The sign is awesome, it reads, "$5 fine for driving over this bridge faster than a walk.  $25 fine for driving more than 20 head of horses, 50 head of cattle, or 200 sheep, hogs, or goats over this bridge at one time"
Love this bridge (It's Folsom's most recognized landmark)

Beautiful tree lined trails. I love how the trees often make a canopy over the trail

This looked a little bit like what I'd imagine the Savanah to look like. I love the diversity of trees and landscape that can be found all around Folsom. 

I think all of our family can agree that we come to love living in Folsom more each day.  It has been an amazing place to be.  We love the city itself and all it has to offer, as well as how close we are to so many different places that are so diverse.  We still plan on discovering more of our surroundings so stay tuned for our next adventure.