Saturday, August 29, 2009


I will admit...

... I have been keeping a secret. 20 years in the making... let me share a little story with you...

Several months after graduating from high school and starting Jr. College at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, I thought I was being "rebellious"... and I moved out of the house with 2 of my girlfriends, Latrese and Susan Mitchell. Both were friends of mine from the dance program at Saddleback and Susan and I moved into Latrese's 2 bedroom apartment... we figured a simple way to split the "amenities"... I got a room to myself, Latrice got the parking spot and... actually, I can't remember what Susan got... but it all worked out GREAT for awhile!

Jump forward a few months when I became pregnant by my very first and high school sweetheart... Tom Howard... I was SOOOOOO morning sick that I had to quit my job and move back home... I lost 25 pounds in the first 2 months of the pregnancy and was almost hospitalized because I couldn't even keep water or ice chips down. Tom and I were married about 4 months into the pregnancy and, of course, my roommates were there!I lost touch with my roommates, but I had several boxes of photo albums and memorabilia that belonged to Susan when she moved home to Texas to be with her family. I kept those boxes with me for YEARS and every time that we moved, we moved Susan's boxes, too.
I looked for Susan... she had become a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader when she moved back home (oh, did I forget to mention how beautiful and TALENTED my friend was...?) I couldn't find her... I searched phone numbers... I couldn't find her... every few years, as technology improved, I would search again... no luck. I joined Facebook and looked for her there, and of course couldn't find her.

Almost 20 years passed and I had just gone through another round of searching for Susan when I got the strangest email on Facebook... someone emailed me asking if I ever lived in Mission Viejo or went to Saddleback College... I had NO idea who this person was, so I said, "Yes... Do I know you?" This person went on to say that her daughter was about to turn 40 and that she was throwing a HUGE surprise party for her... that she had been going through her daughter's old "stuff" and found a wedding invitation from me... long story short... IT WAS SUSAN she was talking about... and although that wedding she went to ended in divorce, it was STILL ME and I HAD FINALLY FOUND SUSAN!!!
I was invited to this GRAND party for Susan... which is happening as I type this, but due to circumstances, I couldn't make it... instead, I created a special mini album for Susan and sent it to be revealed at the party tonight... I CAN HARDLY WAIT to finally touch bases with my long lost roommate... one of the most special and happy people you will ever know... although I haven't known her for almost 20 years... I know I can make that statement and it will still hold true!
I hope that you enjoy these pictures of the album that I sent as a surprise for Susan... HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY SWEET AND BEAUTIFUL FRIEND!!! I CAN'T wait to talk to you and catch up! WOOOO HOOOOO!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

First Day of Kindergarten...

... and Anna did GREAT! We arrived at the school early along with friend, Payton.... took the required first day of school pictures... with Daddy, big sister Jessica, and her new Tinkerbell backpack. I was surprised that this time, I didn't cry. I have been very reflective in the past few days, but I realized that Anna is ready, she is confident, she is happy... and I am good with that. Jeff, on the other hand, teared up just a bit... he is such a CUTE DADDY!!! :-) Make it a GREAT day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Featured Artist on GCD Studios Blog...

HOW IN THE HECK DID I MISS THIS!? I was a Featured Artist on the GCD Blog... here is the link... Amazing how time can just get away from us... off to take Anna to her first day of Kindergarten... (sob!)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Kindergarten Tea...

... I can't believe the time has come... for... little... Anna... Banana... to... start... Kindergarten. Every parent goes through the same feelings when they watch their "baby" go to school... nervous stomach... fierce love (the "nobody better hurt MY baby" Mama bear feeling)... the pride that your child is standing on their own... and the pulling of the "umbilical cord" as it stretches when your child gives you the final hug, gets in line, goes into class, and the door closes...

Today was the Kindergarten Tea... an opportunity for the parents and their student to see the campus, the playground, meet their teacher and see their classroom. We were fortunate to get Anna transferred into what we consider the best elementary school in town with one of her friends, Payton. We already joke that these two are DARLING together (and his parents are pretty great, too!) So, this was their first school pic together... Anna was sooooo nervous and wanted to go home... until Payton arrived... then everything was alright and now she CAN'T WAIT for school to start! Now if I can just control the tears on Monday... and if Jeff doesn't pass out... I think he is taking this harder than I am... (have I told you how CUTE my husband is...?)
... oh, and Anna dressed herself today... sooooooo cute! :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Summer of CRAZY...Cool Breeze Century, Santa Clara Expo, Mary and the kids...

No... I did not fall into a dark hole, spiraling out of control, to land in a crazy land with disappearing cats and mad queens... it is just summer at the Locher house and I am sooooo thankful that school is back so I can take a breather! I haven't slept in my own bed in the past 4 weeks... not that I'm complaining, because we have had a BLAST, but the past month has been a series of packing, FUN, unpacking, laundry, re-packing, FUN... times 4! I already told you about our Anniversary overnight at the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe... and there are a ton of pictures from our Disneyland trip.

Right after Disneyland, I got on a plane headed for Santa Clara to teach at the Scrapbook Expo. It was a GREAT show with lots of fun students!!! I taught my very first child... Maria and her mom took the "Today Mini Album" class and she did GREAT! I also taught my first students from another country... the picture here is of my Japanese students... WHO FLEW IN FROM JAPAN FOR THE EXPO, spent one day in San Fransisco, and then FLEW HOME! They were so sweet and although there was a bit of a language barrier, we all made it through with smiles and giggles!
THEN, there are Shirley and Brandi... yes, I officially have scrap STALKERS! LOL! :-) I met Shirley and Brandi at the San Diego Expo several months ago. They are HUGE Rusty Pickle fans, they adore Lance, and are a lot of fun! Imagine my surprise when they showed up in my classes... IN SANTA CLARA... and then Shirley pulled out my teaching schedule for the Ontario show in October and asked me which of my classes she should take! It is a small world... while sitting and having dinner together before our flight home (yes, we were even on the same plane going home), we discovered that Shirley and I have a 20-year old connection in the property management industry!!! (Thanks again for dinner, Shirley! It's my turn in Ontario!) And, yes... I just found out that they have signed up for several of my Ontario classes and have also registered to be my "Teacher's Pet" (assistant)! LOVE you guys! :-)
After Expo, it was time to get serious about my metric century. The day after I flew home, Jeff and I got up early and rode for 39 miles... my longest road ride prior to this was 18 miles, and it was only 6 days until I was going to ride 65 miles! But before I could get packed and ready to go up to the Lot for the ride, Chris started school... on his 17th birthday... and Mary and the kids came down for an "end of summer" sleepover... that turned into a 2-day sleepover. We had A TON of fun swimming at Nicola's house, going to the beach, playing with Abby, the boys playing video games together (Matthew just LOVES to spend time with big cousin Chris) and just spending time together!
Finally, off to Ojai to meet up with Kyle, who came up for the weekend to watch Anna and Abby during the race... down to Dave and Mari's (at Cal State Channel Islands) for the carbo loading pre-ride dinner... hooking up with Dan (since he was staying with us at The Lot, too)... and then... THE RIDE! IT... WAS... AWESOME! Yes, it was hard. Yes, it was fun. Yes, it was a bit scary, too. But I finished the ride, I DIDN'T CRASH (woooo hoooo!) and I am already training to ride a FULL CENTURY (100 miles) hopefully around the start of the year! It was so great that Dave, Dan and Jeff rode with me and asked me to join them on a full century! After the ride, we hosted everyone for our annual BBQ at The Lot. Of course, Jeff had to pull out Granddaddy's tractor and trailer and take the kids on rides around the property... the 3rd generation to treat the kids to this tradition! It was a WONDERFUL weekend!!!
Finally, as we headed home, one week to go before Anna starts Kindergarten... a few weeks home to power through our backyard re-construction... the start of football season and Booster and Grad Nite fundraising... Jessica called. Things were going downhill fast in Texas and she needed to move home... NOW! Jess moved out of our house about 15 months ago... and... well... she is back. Things are going very well so far... we a lot of talking and figuring out to do... but she is home... and she can't stop telling Jeff how much she loves him... :-)

Life can be crazy... but someday, I know we are going to miss these busy, crazy, hectic days with our kids... Life is good!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Disneyland - Part 2 of 2...

...a WONDERFUL vacation! Here are a few more pictures... Jeff and Anna in front of the Castle and the fountain in Toon Town... cute ANNA with her new Disney glasses and hat... ME wearing the cute Disney hat... and Jeff and Nicola... waiting in line for our last ride of the weekend... We will be heading back in September when the temperature is cooler and the lines are smaller!!!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Disneyland 2009 - Part 1 of 2...

WOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO! We are SOOOOO blessed that each year Jeff attends a convention at the Disneyland Hotel and his company pays for his room so we can crash and enjoy the resort while Jeff is working... and he can join us and play when he is done! This year, the first night of our special weekend was Nicola's 18th birthday, so Chris and Nicola came up and enjoyed the pool and resort with Anna and me while Jeff was working. We had dinner at the Rain Forest Cafe for the kids' birthday and then they drove to Mission Viejo to spend the night with Mom and Dad while we stayed at the Disneyland Resort... (SERIOUSLY... it was a one room hotel space... NOT appropriate for us to stay with Nicola...)... they joined us the next morning...... when we moved into a 2 bedroom, 2 bath suite a few blocks from Disneyland... more appropriate... a room for the girls and one for the boys...
... here are the first pics of our vacation... playing at the Disneyland Hotel pool, getting ready and running into Disneyland and us getting in line for our first BIG RIDE... THE MATTERHORN... more posted tomorrow... :-)