Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Inside our House

I was talking to a friend yesterday and she told me to post some pictures. I wanted to wait until I had curtains up and things looking nicer. I decided just to pull the blankets that are on the windows right now and give you a little tour.

When you walk through the front door you come to our living room. Notice the really cool green couch. We just bought it off of Craigslist and got a sweet deal. It's never been used before, just for staging. Love Craigslist!


Here's a view from the other side.


Right next to the living room is the kitchen.


It's pretty small and needs some work like new flooring, cupboards and counter tops. There's this awkward empty space across from the refrigerator that we hope to fill with a counter top and cupboards.


Lots of fun improvements for this room in the future.


Then, you go down the hallway.


On the right is the kid's bathroom.


On the left is our office. If it looks packed, it is. I think in the next year or so, I will be going through any teaching things I have kept over the past few years and if I haven't used them, I'm going to donate them to teachers. Ben will be happy.


Then, you will see our laundry area. I'm not too fond of this area, but I think it beats having it in the garage where alot of washer and dryers are usually kept out here. This area is also in need of improvement. Ben already made me a couple of shelves with his new table saw. We need some more shelves and a door on the hole in the wall that I think is supposed to be the closet.


Right across from the laundry is CJ and Zoey's room. CJ loves it because she practically has her own room right now. She is in need of space from everyone right now. She's going through the "Everyone bugs me and I'm emotional" stage. Isn't that supposed to happen in a couple of years, not right now?


Next to their room is Mia and Xander's. They sure do have lots of adventures together. They both have great imaginations. I'm glad Ben suggested this set up. I wasn't ready to do it quite yet, but it has been really great. I'm excited to paint and decorate their room, I just don't know what is the best color to do with a boy/girl room (Andy? Suggestions?)


Across from their room is mine and Ben's (is that proper grammer Russ?). It has a bathroom with just a shower in it and a closet! Every single place we have lived in, Ben and I never have a proper closet. Most of them are the size of a coat closet. We could change in our closet if we wanted to. It's pretty deep.


So there you have it! We are excited to have Ben's parents and brother and sister who are coming to visit after Christmas. My brother also mentioned that he might come visit me next year. I'm so excited! Who knew all I needed was a house to get my siblings to come visit? Yay!

Ben's family, get ready for some adventures. I thought we could split up your visit as follows:

"Just like Joe and Andy" Day-We will paint wood things as creative as we can, while the boys do handy things around the house.

"Just like Russ and Betsy" Day-We will TP neighbors houses and put up signs on people's garages. Maybe we will climb up some poles and end up in the emergency room.

"Just like Hannah and Kendall" Day-We will go on a hike maybe around Mt. Diablo and/explore the park nearby and run up grassy hills.

"Just like Sarah and Scott" Day-We will go shopping around town and get the very best "after Christmas" deals.

"Just like Abby/Caleb" Day-We will find the cutest shoes in town and get ice cream at every shop we come across.

Sound like a plan? I thought so.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Just in case I missed anyone through email and Facebook, this ones for you!

In effort to save money, not trees, I won't be sending Christmas Cards this year. But know this, you are all worth more than the 74 cents (44 cents postage, 30 cents for the card) I would have paid to send it. Who can put a price on friendship?

Sing to "Let it Snow"

Oh the weather outside is raining
But really, who is complaining?
And in Concord there is no snow
Grass to mow! Grass to mow! Grass to mow!

It doesn’t get better than this year
And we’ve bought a house, let’s cheer
The kids are turned way up high

We discovered new places in Cali
How we loved Tilden Park and Monterey
We also went to Lake Chabot
And let’s not forget Half Moon Bay.

The littlest one, our Zoey
Born the fourth of July no jokey
Our four kids we love, don’t you know?
It shows! It shows! It shows!

We’ve had a wonderful year! Here are some highlights:

Ben receiving an Emmy for the student film he produced while at BYU.
Zoey being born a week late on the fourth of July at 10 1bs. 11 oz.
Family visiting
Disneyland with BYU friends
Discovering places in California
Mia starting Kindergarten
Xander being potty trained
CJ being in 5th grade at her 5th school
Valerie destroying/losing 2 cell phones
(I know exciting, but that's all I could think of)

We hope you have a very Merry Christmas

The Porters

P.S. After writing this, I woke up to snow. Just a little. Probably enough to make 1 snow ball, but snow nonetheless. I guess it snows in Concord. Should've done my homework.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Bodily Fluid Move and an Adventure


We moved to our new home two Saturdays ago. While Ben and the men moved the big stuff, Rochelle and I took the two cars packed with odds and ends up to our new house. In a two hour period, this happened:

Xander and I both peed off the side of the road (this is a story of its own), Mia threw up all over her clothes, and Zoey pooped up her back. Of course I didn't have an extra change of clothes for anyone because it was all packed away. Luckily, I had CJ's pajama bottoms which somehow didn't get packed and so I put it on Mia and tightened them with one of my hair things and she had her jacket that she used as a shirt. For Zoey, I used her jacket as her shirt too!

Later that day, Lora watched my kids at her in laws house where the kids swam and went in the jacuzzi. She later informed me that Xander peed on the wall and his friend Livy pooped all over!

All in all, everything worked out. Ben's friends from work, Emron and Jacob not only helped load our truck in Alameda, they came to unload in Concord. The 3 of them unloaded EVERYTHING! I love those boys! We ended up calling the people in our Concord ward and telling them that we didn't need any help.

I painted our living room the third day we were in our house. Ben wanted to hook the television and everything up and didn't want to move it again for me to paint, so I painted right away. How fun is painting! I can't wait to do the other rooms.

This past Saturday, my parents were in town on their way down to Arizona and we used them as babysitters so Ben and I could clean our old place. Six hours later we were done and exhausted. I have never cleaned so hard in my life! Ben went to the walk thru today and the owner said it look great! Thank goodness! We really wanted our security deposit back.

I cannot express how grateful we are to have our little home that is all ours. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways and has made so many things possible for us. Xander told me the second day we were in our house, " I yuv my new home!". Xander, I yuv it too! I also love being close to EVERYTHING! We are in a great location and there are so many things to explore.


Mia was watching Pippie Long Stocking and saw all of her adventures and said, "I love adventures, cept, Mom and Dad don't let me go on them." So on Sunday after church, Ben took all four kids on an "Adventure"(I've been pretty sick these days and he was giving me a break-Thanks Ben!).


We have this awesome park near us that has rolling hills and tons of land to just run on. There is also a little duck pond. The kids had fun climbing on the rocks and running through the trees.


I asked Mia later how her adventure was and she exclaimed, "It was awesome!"


I'm excited for all the adventures we will be having. Let the adventures begin!


Friday, November 20, 2009

My Edward

Some think he's hot. I don't.

I have my own Edward who will quote Shakespeare anytime I want. Who is willing to risk his life for me by stepping out into the sunlight and show his glittery body and reveal to everyone who he really is. I have my own Edward who only pretends to eat and whose voice I hear anytime I wreck my motorcycle or jump off a cliff.


Last night, Rachel and I went to my friend Jen's house for a "New Moon" party. We ate, chatted, made t-shirts, and tested our knowledge of the movie (which I failed miserably)

Rachel's husband is Jacob so she made a "Team Jacob" shirt. Others made "Team Edward" shirts, while I, made a "Team Ben" one. I do declare mine was the best!


All of us survived the 12:00 a.m. screening amidst the screaming of teenage girls throughout the movie every time Jacob appeared on the screen shirtless. The one time that Edward was able to show his stuff, it went sorta like this, "Ahhh, ewwwwwwww." After looking at a shirtless, very buff Jacob the whole movie, by the time Edward had his shirtless debut, it was nothing worth screaming for.

I on the other hand, have something worth screaming for everyday. I get to be married to Ben!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Good, The Bad, The Scary

The Good. . .
We are moving on Saturday to Concord if all goes well on Friday and we close on our house. Ben visited the new ward on Sunday with the girls and said that they were the nicest people.

We sold every big thing in our house that we needed to (washer, dryer, dishwasher, dining table).

I wore shorts today. I was pushing Zoey and Xander in the stroller to pick up Mia and I heard someone comment as I passed about me wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Her son was wearing a winter jacket, hat and boots. It was in the 60's and it felt hot to me! I remember when I moved here how I froze during the summer. Now I'm just like those Ricks College students that I made fun of that were from California and wore shorts in the winter when it was snowing.

The Bad. . .
Our Yard Sale Saturday was the worst one we have ever had. Ben sold things for a dollar or less. After a couple hours of making a few bucks, we decided to make it a FREE yard sale. That's when the people started to come.

I'm not looking forward to the big clean up after we move out of this place. Moving is so stressful and alot of work. I can't wait to plant my feet in one spot for awhile!

The Scary. . .

Xander still thinks it's Halloween. I bought this mask after Halloween for 50 cents. What a deal!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Meet Moaning Myrtle who was actually quite pleasant. She didn't moan nearly as much as I thought she would. Still in love with Harry Potter and Brandon.
This cheerleader couldn't stop doing cartwheels. She even did a cartwheel across the stage during the costume parade as they announced her name. Of course her cartwheel was followed by huge applause.
Samuri Xander was so fierce. All the Asian ladies couldn't stop commenting how cute he was. Indeed, I believe he broke many hearts while trick or treating.
Holy Cow! It's Zoey. She loves milk and now it shows!

Where oh, where do I begin? Let's start with the Fall Festival at the school. One word sums it up for me. . .CHAOS! Ben worked late that night so I took all of the kids by myself to this mad house of craziness. It was actually really great. They had lots of activities for the kids.

Then off to Webster Street our kids went to start the festivities. Playing games, winning prizes, jumping in the jump house and getting candy even before it was dark. Thanks to Ben who took the kids so I could have a little break.

PUMPKIN PIZZA anyone? I think Ben started a new tradition. It was dang good and so realistic.

We went trick or treating down Bay street. This is a very popular street to go down because everyone decorates for Halloween. Ben took 50 million pictures so he could get some ideas for next year. One of the most exciting things for Ben about getting a house is having enough room to decorate for Halloween. I'm glad our soon to be house could accomadate Ben's needs.

Then off to Pixar for some good ol'costume fun. This year we met Ben for lunch and got to see their Halloween program. People performed and strutted their stuff across the stage. All of them hoping to capture the prizes. This is the kids posing with one of Kevin's babies from "Up". Yeah, pretty amazing huh? She makes her own costumes every year and blows everyone away.

Usually at Pixar they have trick or treating after Halloween but this year they did something different. They had the kids show off their costumes, did a skit, a Thriller dance performance, and a who can make the best mummy out of toliet paper contest. Topped off with Car Toons in the theatre. Different but still fun.

We also got the chance to visit with Grandma and Grandpa Porter up in Auburn. They had come for Daniel's wedding. We visited with Ben's aunt and uncle and cousins.

Lisa made the girls these cute bouquets with the extra flowers from the wedding. The girls loved them!

So, in October they usually have Red Ribbon week. Last week, Mia got a red ribbon to help remind her to say "no" to drugs. Today she had me put it on her and yelled, " I DON'T EAT DRUGS!" So funny.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween Caroling


Dashing through the streets
In our costumes bright-hooray!
To each house we go
Laughing all the way.
Halloween is here,
Making spirits bright
What fun it is to trick-or treat
And sing pumpkin carols tonight!
Oh, Pumpkin bells! Pumpkin bells!
Ringing loud and clear,
Oh what fun Great Pumpkin brings
When Halloween is here!

Some people go Christmas caroling; we go Halloween caroling. How does one go Halloween Caroling you ask? Oh, I will tell you my friend.

STEP ONE: Make Halloween Cookies. Use pink rolling pins. It's the only way to guarantee that your cookies will turn out.


Decorate them. Make a huge mess while doing it. Or if you are like Xander, lick and eat the decorations before you put them on your cookie.


STEP TWO: Be a little crazy. Dress up. Put on a crazy wig.


Choose some lucky people. Sing to them great carols of Halloween. Sing out of tune. Or if you are like Mia. Don't sing at all. Just turn around and show your huge butt because, really, that's the first thing any person wants to see when they open the door.


Can't really tell how big Mia's butt is? Here's a better picture.


STEP FOUR: Take a picture. Why? Capture this moment on camera. Save it. Show your daughter's husbands and your son's wife someday.


STEP FIVE: Choose a "butt" for next year. The "butt" was such a huge hit, CJ has called it for next year and I guess Xander is the year after. Thanks Mia! Who knew trying on your Dad's clothes could lead us to such a wonderful tradition that we can enjoy year after year after year.


Friday, October 23, 2009

It's a Miracle!

It's a MIRACLE! We are going to be homeowners in CALIFORNIA! I really didn't think that this would be possible. It's like a dream come true. Ben laughed when I suggested we try to get on a game show and see if we could win a million dollars so we could buy a house in California. He thought I was kidding but I was being serious. . .

Earlier this year, a friend from church bought a house in Concord. She had told me that house prices in the area were alot more affordable than in Alameda and I thought, "Wouldn't it be cool if we could afford one of those?" I didn't want to pursue anything because I was about to have a baby in a couple of months and that was all I could think of at the time.

I never stopped thinking about it and after Zoey was born, I decided to see if it would be a possibility for us. We got pre-qualified and used the same realtor as my friend. Then the house hunting began. After awhile we thought all we could afford were junk houses. In our price range it was very competitive. All the good houses that showed well, instantly got offers. Most offers were way above asking price.

Then about a month ago we looked at a house in a great neighborhood. It was in a cul de sac and had a great big backyard and a garage (yay!). We decided to put an offer on it. Later we found that it had 2 other offers and that ours wasn't accepted. In fact, our realtor told us we were "Number 3" meaning we were the lowest offer. We were SO sad!

Then two weeks after all of that, the house came back on the market and our realtor called us as soon as he found out. Ben and I put another offer on it, this time offering more (as much as we could, which I thought wasn't much). We were the first offer in this time and we heard there was at least another coming in and possibly one more after that.

I didn't want to get my hopes shattered again, so I tried not to think about it. We prayed and felt good about our decision and our offer. A few days later, our realtor emailed and said we received a counter offer which really wasn't a counter offer it was just the bank (the house is a foreclosure) stating things in their terms and adding disclosures. We hired an attorney (boy they make the bucks!) to look over the documents before we signed them. We signed them and sent them back and then just had to wait. . .

Three days later our realtor called and told us that we were under contract. We just finished the inspections today and if things go as planned we will be closing November 24 which just happens to be 2 days before Thanksgiving. I don't know what it is with us, but we like to buy houses around holidays. With our townhouse, we closed on Christmas day!

So here is our house. . .


We've never had one of these before. . .


Or one of these all to ourselves. . .


It's also got one of these. . .

The Lord has truly been mindful of our needs. Everything has gone so smoothly from Day1. It almost seemed too good to be true. Things just worked out in the end. We just feel so blessed that we are able to get this house and feel grateful for support from family.

Our kids are excited! Poor CJ is in 5th grade and will be moving to her 5th school. I'm a little worried about Mia because she struggles with new surroundings, but I'm sure she will make lots of new friends. Xander's clueless, but I'm sure he will do fine.

What's first on my list when we move in? Letting my kids scream,run, jump, and dance all through the house! It's going to be a party and you're all invited!

Friday, October 16, 2009


P.S. It's long. I got carried away.

The Girls. . .

MIA is in gymnastics and practices cartwheels wherever she can go. She loves doing "skin the cat" on the high bars. She is a very sensitive girl with a high set of lungs. Mia screams when she's mad. Mia screams when she is happy. Mia just screams. She is well liked in her class. I was volunteering this week in her class, and watched as she set up the listening center for the other 3 people in her group. As the kids came to the table each one shouted, "I want to sit by Mia!" They were fighting over who would get to sit by her. I told Ben later about the incident and how Mia was popular and he shoosed me instantly whispering, "Mia doesn't want to be popular. She told me that the other day." Today, she had a playdate with her friend Hannah. She told me after her friend left that Hannah said her Mom was stupid. I told her that wasn't very nice. Mia then said, "But you're perfect!" My week hasn't been the best and I haven't felt like the best Mom either. That totally melted my heart!

*On a side note. I was watching her friend Hannah write her name in class and I told her that she was doing it backwards (she was going right to left). Hannah replied, "It doesn't matter, it's the same either way!" That was so funny. I then told her that her name was a palindrome. She was clueless, but it felt like the intelligent thing to say since I knew what it was thanks to my sis in law Hannah who taught me that word years ago. By the way, my kids have friends with the same names as their extended family members: Addie, Sam, Livy, Hannah. . . they think it is so cool.

CJ is growing up so fast and is already asking me for more clothes! Where does she get this from? She loves her glasses and tells me that she feels smarter when she wears them. She is in the much coveted Science Club which meets after school on Thursday. They only take 20 students and last year CJ turned in her permission form too late. This year, we made sure we turned it in as early as we could. Ben and I find ourselves saying the words, "I love having a 10 year old!" all the time. CJ is such a big help even though I know she gets tired of helping. The other day she said as she emptied the dishwasher, "I can't wait until I am a Mom and I won't have to do any chores." I explained to her that she will have to do even more chores when she is a Mom. I think it is funny how kids think life is so much better when they are an adult. I remember thinking that too. I keep telling her to enjoy being a kid. CJ picks up when I am having a bad day. She is very observant. She said to me on one of those bad days, "I only want to have 3 kids." Her numbers keep dwindling as she watches me struggle. One day she'll be down to only 1 kid and it will be all my fault!

ZOEY is still the perfect baby even though I can't get her to get back into her nighttime sleeping schedule. Since our trip back from Michigan she goes to bed earlier and wakes up at 4:00a.m. instead of 7:00 a.m. How can I complain? She still sleeps 8 hours at a time. I'm blessed. She giggles and laughs and smiles all the time. She is the most tolerant baby. She gets poked and prodded all day long by Mia and Xander. She endures loud screams and tantrums while she is sleeping. She loves to talk and can grab onto toys. She also loves sticking her hand in her mouth. She also has the yummiest baby rolls on her legs. They are so cute! I love baby chub!

The Boy. . .

is my man! Xander's favorite movie lately is "Sky High". He'll watch it wearing his superman outfit. He also loves to play with Mia. Mia loves to play school with Xander and Xander loves being bossed around by Mia. Today he told me to bring Zoey in to watch him go potty so "she will know how to do it." He loves it when I read books to him and when I am done, he'll read it back to me (of course, Xander style). He does this really cute thing with his hands that I have no idea where he got it from. He makes a triangle and shouts, "Look a triangle." He loves looking at anything that has to do with Halloween. We will be on a walk and he'll point out the houses and stores that have Halloween decorations up. Reminds me of someone I know.

The Kids. . .


Monday, October 12, 2009

Toy Story 3 Trailer

Check out the Toy Story 3 trailer. Ben did the hair for most of the kids in the daycare, shaded a few of the toys, and shaded young Andy's clothes. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Xander and the Dentist

Last week Xander went to the dentist for the first time. I was worried that he would give the dentist or me a hard time. Little did I know, that the night before Mia sat him down and told him what to expect.

When they called his name, I fully expected to have to go in with him. Instead, he walked right up to the door, not even glancing back at me and went inside all by himself. The dentist couldn't stop telling me how impressed she was of him and how great he did . She said that kids his age usually have a harder time. He amazed me!

So this week, I had to have some work done and took Xander with me. The dentist is a really nice woman who is baby hungry and loves my kids so she said it would be fine to bring him while they worked on me. She told me that they have plenty of babysitters. I packed Xander a bag and some snacks and left him in the waiting room while the receptionist and other workers kept an eye on him.

I thought for sure he would be back by me in no time, but nope. Not a sound. He had so much fun with the ladies that he didn't even need me! Xander and Mia are alike in a lot of ways and I have been afraid that Xander would be like Mia and have a hard time with new situations and become clingy.

Once again he amazed me. I came out and he asked me, "You have fun back there?" I told him he was such a good boy and he says, "Thank you." As we were leaving I told him to tell the workers "Thank you" for watching you. He turns to a customer sitting behind him and says, "Thank you."

By this time, I can tell that all the women can't get enough of Xander and judging by the smiles on their faces, I could've left him there all day and they wouldn't have minded. They tell him to come back in and get a treasure box prize. This is what he chose.


He tells me as he puts it on, "I so funny!" What a hoot! I just love this boy!