Archive for the ‘Mowry Family’ Tag

2016: It’s A Wonderful Year   2 comments

The year began with an intense need: the dust had to go. As production had ramped up in the garage woodshop, the sawdust was now a real problem. In the air. On me. Importantly, in the house. We either had to embrace a more, uh, rustic lifestyle, or we needed to fix it.

So we did.

The biggest tool upgrade I’ve ever done was the result. We installed a new dust collection system to help corral the by-product of all of the cutting boards that I was creating. That story became the most read blog post of the year … and was, more importantly, a very real upgrade in our living conditions. I was no longer breathing as much dust, and Velda was no longer having to remove as much dust from our home every single day. Thankfully, I had help from the Building Inspector & the Engineer. See the pictures and read the story, here and here.

30-mbosWith the equipment in place, I got busy in the shop. I began to make Magic Bottle Openers in earnest, and they proved to be the runaway best-selling product for me in 2016: I sold over 200 of them! It seems that many people know a beer drinker that needs a little magic in their life.

Booth 4 - SoapsWhile I was making magic in the shop, the Lady was busy with her own new idea. This was the year of soap.

Making soap is science. Caustic chemicals are involved, and exothermic reactions result. Velda became obsessed with soap early this year, and started stockpiling. That’s good, as when she makes her cold process soap, it has to sit on the shelf for 4 – 6 weeks to cure before it can be sold. That necessitated a soap drying rack in addition to the 6 molds (and counting) that I have made her.

The results speak for themselves!

All of our machinations in the Mrs M world were just a side show for this year’s main event: the arrival of Camdyn Grace on April 1. Payton got her little sister!

Christopher Mowry Family

Alley holding Camdyn, Christopher & Payton

Velda got to spend some quality time as Grandmother with both granddaughters before returning to our out-of-control hobby, AKA Mrs M’s Handmade. Mrs M # 2 got a pass for this year, as she needed to attend to Camdyn. Velda & I hit the spring events with gusto, using her new purpose-built display to incorporate the introduction of soap. The business bought a trailer to haul the goods, and we ended up doing 10 events in the second quarter. Results far exceeded our expectations. And, as much as we enjoy doing Mrs M’s, it was great to relax a bit through the summer.

And by relaxing, I mean we made more product.

Mowry, Payton, Jul 2016, rocking chairWe finally got to keep an important appointment in July, and got photographs made of Payton sitting in our family’s little rocking chair – a chair first purchased by Payton’s Great Great Great Grandmother Boring as a Christmas present 121 years ago today. That story was told here, A Family Heirloom.

There were no big work changes in the family this year. Christopher continues helping to manage Castaic Lake & Pyramid Lake for the LA County Parks & Rec department. He supervises cashiers, boat inspectors, and a vast recreation area. Following Camdyn’s birth, Alley returned to her job with the city of Palmdale processing building permits & such.

Brianna is in her 3rd year of teaching at Sierra Vista Junior High. She now has 2 choir classes (!) as well as English classes. She eagerly anticipates completing her Masters in Education in 2017, and being done with life as a student … at least for a while! Michael continues with Crane Aerospace & Electronics and continues to marvel at how truly large bureaucracies function.

Lauren is now the assistant manager at Sunshine Daycare, and continues to work closely with the kindergartners there. She loves the kids … here’s a story she shared just a few days ago:

Today I was asked if Santa was real by a first grade boy. In response, I asked him if he believed. He said yes, but that another boy doesn’t. I told him that some people believe and some people don’t and just because some people don’t, that doesn’t mean Santa isn’t real. If he believes, that’s all that matters. Then, I asked the boy who I was told doesn’t believe why he doesn’t believe. He looked at me stumped and explained that he just has no idea how Santa could possibly get to all the kids in one night. Before I could even speak, another boy butted in with “THATS WHAT CHRISTMAS MAGIC IS, ITS REAL!!”

I love working with kids.

Indeed!

Eric continues to manage the family business and decorate his house with Lauren’s help. Their latest addition is a new kitten, named Pivo – which means beer in Slovak – that they brought home just yesterday.

Velda has now been with Kaiser for 15 years, but has transitioned away from her nursing home responsibilities into more of a community-based primary care role. She runs clinics at several area assisted living facilities, and has more than 150 patients that she provides care for in their homes. Is she busy? You bet. She often explains to Mrs. M’s customers the reason she makes soap and lotions: “I have yet to give someone lotion and make them cry!” Not so in her “real job,” where many need to be led through their aging or end of life crisis, and tears are common.

I continue with Smarts Broadcast Systems as Director of Marketing; I’ve now been there 5 years. One of my favorite things to do with them is interview broadcasters; those interviews publish in the Small Market Radio Newsletter as well as on our website. You can read those interviews, here.

Today, we are blessed to be with all of our kids at Christopher & Alley’s house. It just doesn’t get much better than that.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. May the holiday spirit stay with you throughout a wonderful 2017!

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2015: It’s A Wonderful Year

2014: It’s A Wonderful Year

2013: It’s A Wonderful Year

2012: It’s A Wonderful Year

Posted December 25, 2016 by henrymowry in Living Life

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2015: It’s A Wonderful Year   3 comments

Bane 2015

Prepared for a full day of fun in this shop.

This is the year that we pushed the envelope.

Who knew there was an envelope, much less one that we needed to push?

Last year, Mrs M’s did 23 different events. This year, our push resulted in doing 44 events on 65 days. We traveled north to Livermore, west to Goleta, east to San Dimas, and south … well, we didn’t go very far south. Maybe next year.

Family Room 2015In order to feed the monster that Mrs M’s became, we had to make product. A lot of product. We learned to make things after work. The Mrs M’s learned to do quadruple batches. If we could do it more efficiently, we learned to do it.

It’s a hobby, you see.

We do it for fun. Honest, we’re having fun!

The fact that we’re so frequently asked to explain the why behind Mrs M’s must mean that we’ve taken a step into the unusual. Who in their right might would redecorate their family room with drop cloths and cutting boards? Who would get up at 5am just to go to an event on a Saturday? Sleeping in on weekends is only a distant memory at this point.

And we call it fun.

Meanwhile, the family continued to grow. Payton continued her dance classes, and learned a lot. As you can see, she’s now learned to mug for the camera!

Payton 2015

Christopher had the big professional news this year. He still works for the LA County Parks department, but he moved parks, from the Placerita Natural Area, to Castaic Lake. He went from being in charge of animals and plants to supervising cashiers, boaters and lifeguards.

Alley continues with the city of Palmdale, but she had the big personal news of the year: Granddaughter # 2 is on the way, and is expected to arrive in late March. Or early April. She’ll let us know. Because that’s what babies do.

Michael continues with Crane Aerospace & Electronics, and Brianna continues in her 2nd year of teaching at Sierra Vista Junior High here in Santa Clarita. Brianna also began work on her Masters in Education, so she’s keeping up the in the race to be the most degreed person in their home.

Because it's all about the bling.

Because it’s all about the bling.

Speaking of races, Michael & Brianna both completed 2 racing milestones this year. They completed their first full marathon (the Walt Disney World Marathon, of course) as well as the Disneyland Half Marathon. That completed Disney’s “Coast to Coast Challenge,” meaning they got another medal.

Because it’s all about the bling.

In addition, the Disneyland Half they completed was their 10th annual; they’ve completed each of those races. Lauren has run many of them, as well, and it all started with those 3, joined by Velda and I, running the first Disneyland Half sponsored by Kaiser, Velda’s employer. Ten years have just flown by….

Lauren & Eric celebrated their 8th anniversary this year: all three of our kids began dating their sweethearts when they were 16.

Speaking of family, we were ecstatic to learn that our cousin Claire had been accepted to UCLA, and would be living in Westwood for the next 4 years. She’s having fun as a Bruin, as any college freshman would, and stretching her horizons at the same time.

Her family visiting regularly is a great bonus, too!

Claire wanted a break from studying one weekend, so she came to play vendor with Little Girl & I at a Mrs M’s event. Claire became the Intern and she even sold stuff, so I know she’s got skills.

This blog is now 3-1/2 years old, and I’ve been a daily blogger for a couple of years now. Lots of thoughts have been shared, and the number of readers continues to grow. A new blog series launched this year, The Board Chronicles, which traces our experiences at each of the vendor events we do. Non-vendors are now reading them to see what craziness we’re up to, which is both rewarding and totally unexpected.

I’m glad you enjoy watching our family from afar, and hope that you have a very Merry Christmas.

Here’s to a GREAT 2016 as well!

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2014: It’s A Wonderful Year

2013: It’s A Wonderful Year

2012: It’s A Wonderful Year

 

Posted December 25, 2015 by henrymowry in Living Life

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2014: It’s A Wonderful Year   3 comments

Mrs. M and Mrs. M, before they opened on their first day. Smiles on faces, and that is a very good thing!

Mrs. M and Mrs. M, before they opened on their first day. Smiles on faces, and that is a very good thing!

This was a year of new beginnings.

Mrs. M’s Handmade, which began last year, really got going early in 2014. Alley filled out the paperwork and got a California reseller’s permit, and the business officially began on 2/1/14. Our first event was the Santa Clarita Street Fair in March (read about that here) … and total sales for that weekend were $420. Expenses we won’t talk about, but, believe me, no profit was made! Humble beginnings, indeed.

Aunt SisIn the midst of preparing for that launch, we had an all-too-rare visit from any member of our Midwest family … Aunt Sis was in the house!

In April, we entered a new phase of life: the empty nest. Little Girl escaped to her own apartment, and hasn’t looked back. It seems increasingly difficult to get the whole family together for dinner … and we all live within a few miles of each other! In any event, Little Girl has left the nest and is doing wonderful on her own.

Ventura Beach, July 2014

Ventura Beach, July 2014

Which is exactly right.

July found us on Ventura Beach, enjoying the Pacific and Miss P. Great times … and for a family living in SoCal, only Lauren really takes advantage of the beach being an hour away!

Christopher and Alley completed their transition out of their condo and into their wonderful new home in July. They now live about 40 miles from us, in Lancaster, CA.

Speaking of new homes, Eric also purchased a home this year, in Castaic, CA (where Michael and Brianna also live). He’s currently doing extensive renovations and anticipates moving into his home … well, when the renovations are done. This year, right, Eric?

October brought us another all-too-rare visit from family, with Tony and Claire Hubert visiting on Claire’s west coast college tour. We’re all holding our breath until she confirms that she’s going to be a UCLA Bruin. No pressure, Claire!

Here's the Mrs. M's at our first double booth at the big craft fair at Saugus High, where all 3 kids graduated. Quite a different look from their first booth, yes?

Here’s the Mrs. M’s at our first double booth at the big craft fair at Saugus High, where all 3 kids graduated. Quite a different look from their first booth, yes?

Mrs. M’s Handmade had a great first year (the website is here, and the Facebook page is here). From our humble beginnings in March, we ended up being a part of 23 different craft fairs (!) over the 10 months we were active. Sales for both Mrs M’s lotion products and Mr M’s cutting boards and cheese boards exceeded our expectations … so we’re committed to continuing into 2015. As a wise man once told me, “Be careful what you wish for!”

Here’s the family’s professional round-up:

I started the year with 2 clients, but the relationship with the second ended just in time for my sanity to endure. I continue on as the DOM for Smarts Broadcast Systems. I interview broadcasters for their blog (here), and have become proficient in social media for them.

Not that the children would ever agree with that assessment, of course.

I did an unusually small amount of travel this year, going to 2 radio industry conventions. I was in Las Vegas in April for the NAB, and then in Oregon in September for their broadcaster convention.

Velda continues with Kaiser Continuing Care. She’s begun a new program with regular visits to her patients in assisted living facilities, in anticipation of transitioning entirely out of her skilled nursing facility position by next April.

Christopher continues at Placerita Nature Center, a part of the LA County park system. Alley continues her position with the city of Palmdale.

Mrs. Mowry at the podium

Mrs. Mowry at the podium

Michael continues with Crane Aerospace & Electronics in Burbank. He and Brianna are in the midst of training for their first full marathon (that’s 26.2 miles), which will happen at Disneyworld in January. Why are they doing it? For the flashy medals, of course!

Brianna had the big job news, winning a full time position at Sierra Vista Junior High in Canyon Country. She teaches English, English for English Language Learners, and one Choir class. She directed her first junior high concert in December; my favorite photo from that event is to the right.

Lauren is now in charge of kindergarteners at her Sunshine Daycare; she also won a full time position this year.

Eric is currently juggling his real job with the other real job of supervising contractors working on his house. It never ends, Eric!

And the best photo of the year is, again, of Payton (as if there’s any doubt!). The backstory to this photo: Payton was not yet 2, and had a complete terrible 2 meltdown. Alley took her outside to calm down, and she came back inside with flowers in her hair and an angelic smile.

Merry Christmas, everyone. It’s been a wonderful year, and here’s to an even better 2015 for you and yours.

Payton, March 2014.

Payton, March 2014.

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2013: It’s A Wonderful Year

2012: It’s A Wonderful Year

Posted December 25, 2014 by henrymowry in Living Life

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