Well I'm back. Not sure anybody cares but for what it's worth I thought I would try this again!
Lots has happened since my last post! We're no longer in CA but now reside in KS (Fort Riley), my eldest son has started shaving(!), my eldest daughter will be 18 next month and I'm still trying to figure out where to put everything in our new house!
After a 6 month saga of moving - lots and lots of cheap older houses that need lots of work, greedy people who want more than their house is worth, nothing to rent that's affordable, etc it's nice to have a home! Now if I could just figure out where to put things......