{ Leaving Home }

Moving day finally arrived, and though I was completely ready for it moving wise, emotional I was not prepared. We moved last weekend, and then had the beginning of this week to finish things up. It was good. I needed a few extra days in the house-to say good-bye and to be there by myself when the kids were at school to shed a few more tears alone.

This move has been so hard, much harder than I ever anticipated. At times I am not exactly sure why, I know that bigger and better things are to come. I guess it’s this in between stage that we are experiencing. It’s leaving the only place some of my kids have even known as home, and the only place all of my kids will remember as our 1st house. There are so many memories wrapped up here, at times it’s feels like if you leave the house, the memories get left behind too. That’s hard. I want to hold onto those special experiences forever…and I can-it’s just getting to that point emotionally that takes time.

The other reason that it has been a little bit difficult is watching my kids struggle a bit. They are sad to leave their friends, and the house that was here for every little thing in their life. Learning to ride bikes, lost teeth, first steps.. they all happened here. I wanted to make sure that my kids felt closure of some sort in leaving. We have been slowly preparing them for the big day by talking about it, expressing our feelings of happiness and sadness, and taking some time to help each other out when it’s just plain tough. We took a family home evening a few weeks ago to jot down some answers to some questions:

What is your favorite room in the house?

What is your best memory in this house?

What will you miss most?

If you could say one word to describe this house what would it be?

I have since lost that sheet of paper, so hopefully I can find it in the move and update their answers. What I remember most is when I asked about the one word to describe the house and Brooke said, “A good life”, then went on to say, “I mean, I am seven, and this house is seven, it’s like we are friends because we are the same age, and you know it’s been good. I’ve just had a good life here.” It was very sweet, and we all wholeheartedly agreed. It has been a very good life here.

_DSC8591 blog

Our last family home evening here we went to the house after school, and had a special good bye. We took one last family picture and pictures of all the kids, and then sat down on our family room floor one last time for a lesson. The kids took out their journals, each went to a different spot in the room, and we helped them write letters to the house. There were many tears shed, and fierce hugs given to each other as we said goodbye to our little house.

Here are a few of the kids letters:

Feb. 21, 2011

Dear House,

I am going to miss you. you have a big backyard. I am going to miss you so so much. You protected us from any bad thing.

Love, Erika Starbuck

Erika at house edited blog Erika 6 Years

Dear 7 year old house,

Thank you for keeping us safe and holding all our things, thank you, for keeping these walls so we’ll be safe as well. Thank you for standing up strong so then we won’t be harmed by the thing that will harm us. Thank you for being a good friend to me because I’m 7 years old and so are you. Thank you.

Sincerely, Brooke

PS I like you as a friend and I love you so so much.

Brooke at 1st house blog Brooke 7 Years

Austin and Brianna’s journal entries were too personal for them to share, but brought tears to our eyes. It was one of those moments when you realize as a parent that they get it. Years of teaching have made their way into their hearts, and I know they know the importance of home and family. And that is what we will take with us as we leave this house.

Austin at 1st house blog Austin 10 Years

Brianna at 1st house blogBrianna 12 Years

Abby at 1st house blog

Abby 4 Years

Scott two year old picture smile blogScott 2 Years

Ryan at 1st house blog

Ryan 4 Months

Brianna and Austin at 1st house blog

Three girls at 1st house blog

The one thing I couldn’t bear to have taken down yet, was the large picture of the Savior that hung above the fireplace. It set the whole tone for the house, and I just wasn’t ready to take that down yet. The kids said their last good-byes-running through the empty house touching and kissing all the walls one last time, and Aaron and I finally took down our picture of Christ. We loaded it in the car to take to our next home where it will hang and remind us daily why we are doing all of this anyways. This house has been our home and the heart of our activities and fun, but it’s the Savior that remains at the center of our family and lives.

Good-bye house. We love you.


{ Baby Talk }

Since Ryan has been born, Erika and Brooke have had these fun little “talk” sessions with Ryan. They are usually in the car while we are driving or at home after school while he is in his bouncy seat. This was one that I overheard Brooke having with him the other day.

“So,today we are going to talk about things that are hard to do. Do you have things that are hard to do? Like say you are sitting here and you drop your binkie down, now that would be something hard. You might be crying and you can’t reach it. That would be difficult. But, we would just help you and work through it.”

She was as serious as could be, and he just sat there looking at her just as serious with a nice intent look on his face.Erika holding Ryan blog

Erika, kept Ryan company in the car on a drive home from church tonight, and here is the little conversation they had.

“Ryan, now I am going to tell you, that if you want to be happy, you just have to do right things. So, if you want to be happy you just need to listen to mommy and daddy, and just do what they say. You have to keep the commandments, and just do the right thing. That will make you be happy. Okay?”

Those are just the little pep talks I need my girls to give…Obey your mom and dad! All together now..”Obey, your mom and dad” Love it!


{ Consumer Reports: Excersaucer Gets Rave Reviews From 3 Month Old }

Associated Press/Starbuck Office February 15 Even reviews from our smallest customers are brought to our attention and passed on to you the consumer for evaluation. Here is our latest from a 3 month old who lives near the Starbuck office in Georgia. He writes:

I wanted to let you know my latest review of the “round-saucer-O-fun” commonly know to others as the Exersaucer-so named I am assuming for the amount of exercise time a young baby as myself could gain from such a toy. My overall rating would be a high 4 stars. There is so much to this toy, and I would have giving it 5 starts, but as you will read there are some concerns I have with this product. Here is my in depth review.

Color: Definitely a plus for this product. It really had me hooked. Literally, I couldn’t keep my eyes off of this thing. The bright reds, yellows, and blues were absolutely captivating for a child even as young as myself. There were times my mom was worried I wouldn’t even blink, the colors were that alluring. Good job Evenflow company, you have that color thing down.

Ryan drool blog

Toys: The selection of toys offered on this particular model were a plus. This little round push button thingy was top notch. Even a hand eye coordination novice as myself was able to figure it out with minor assistance from an older sibling. Those squeaky sounds it puts out are the BOMB!

Ryan in standing toy 2 blog

Ease of Use: Though some toys were easy to figure out, I will admit that there were some that left me at a loss for words.

Ryan in standing toy blog

I tried as best I could to figure it out. 

Ryan looking at toy blog

I even stared it down. Nothing.

Ryan staring at toy blog

Hmm, that’s weird, a toy that doesn’t do anything. Very interesting. I’ll have to think on that one. I concluded that the ambiguity of it was just too much for a baby toy, and thus the loss in the five star rating. Sorry, Evenflow, but us Starbuck’s we’re all about stars you know, we gotta be careful how we give ‘em out. We can’t just be handin’ out stars for non essential added toys now can we.

Ryan deep thinking blog

Exercise Factor: This one definitely got my thighs burning. Those plump little legs of mine were jumping all around. It was enough to make me want to eat every two hours instead of three! The great cardio workout was not lost on me with this one. It kept me alert, awake, and always shaking.

Ryan excited in exersaucer blog Overall: At the end of the day I would say that this toy makes me happy. I giggle, I smile..

Ryan smiling blog

..I might even jump for joy it’s so fun because that’s just the kind of guy I am. Happy go lucky.