Michelle Diane Vardiman Fansler (1968-present)

Michelle Vardiman
High School Graduation 1986
18 years old





Occupation: Business

State: Illinois, Colorado, California, Idaho

# of Children: 2

Click on any photo to enlarge

April 2006
Michelle Fansler
38 years old
Admin Assistant at DA Davidson


Michelle Vardiman born
9 February 1968
Belleville, Illinois
Scott Air Force Base

1968 Michelle with parents,
Larry & Jeannette Vardiman

Michelle with Father, Larry and great grandmother, Mollie Harris Vardiman
(Wife of Miles)

"Grandma Lou"
Louise Carter Vardiman (Larry's Mom) with first grandchild, Michelle

1969 - Michelle 1 year old

Michelle discovered she loved hearing family stories when she was 17 years old visiting Grandma Santen and keeps on collecting genealogy records and stories whenever she can.

4 December 1969 baby sister, Kelly born

House in Fort Collins, Colorado
with Michelle's future son, Spencer Fansler, standing in front

1974 Michelle first day of
1st Grade at Heritage Christian School where Grandma Lou taught 7th grade

Belleville, Illinois (1968-1970)

Michelle was born 9 February 1968 and Kelly was born 4 December 1969 both at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois close to both Larry and Jeannette's families.

Fort Collins, Colorado (1970-1974, Kindergarten & 1st grade)

"I attended Kindergarten and half of first grade at Heritage Christian school in Fort Collins, Colorado. I remember walking upstairs during recess sometimes or after school to peek in the window of the door into the classroom where my grandmother, Frances Louise Carter Vardiman, taught 7th grade English. I called her Grandma Lou.  If I timed it right I would wait in the hall while the 7th graders left the classroom for their lunch break and I would go into my grandmother's classroom and ask her what she taught the "big kids" today. She taught me grammar and spelling rules that stick with me to this day and I believe are the reason I am such a good speller. My favorite rule that has helped me tremendously is:
"i" before "e" except after "c" or sounding like "a" as in neighbor and weigh."

My younger brother, Daniel, was born in  April 1974 in Fort Collins, Colorado the year we moved to Evergreen, Colorado.

House in Evergreen, Colorado

Guest house down the path from the main house. It had a wall size map of the world that Kelly and I used to love to study

Evergreen Lake where we ice skated in the winter

Evergreen, Colorado (1974-1977, 1st-3rd grades)

"We moved to the mountains in Evergreen, Colorado in November 1974 in the middle of my first grade year.  The living room had thick burnt orange shag carpet and the kitchen had avocado green appliances and green and yellow patterned carpet.  My parents had a royal purple cloth covered headboard.  Kelly and I had pink carpet in our room. Mom made macramé  hangers (3 strands of rope wrapped around each other to form a base with ropes that hung from the ceiling) for her plants and decoupaged (burning the edges of a picture and shallacking it to a piece of wood) for decore.  To this day when I think of the 70s I think of burnt orange and avocado green. "It was wild," according to my mom, Jeannette.
We lived on a 1 acre lot with huge pine trees with an outhouse in the back with newspaper cartoons covering the inside walls that were fun to read and motivated Kelly and me to use the outhouse while playing in the yard rather than go inside.  There was a circle of huge boulders to the side of the house perfect for playing house with my sister Kelly as each boulder represented household appliances in our imagination.  Beetles infested many of the pine trees in Evergreen while we were there and unfortunately the only way to save the healthy ones was to cut down a large portion of the infected trees.  I can tell when a pine tree is infested by beetles just by looking at them.  The pine needles at the top start to turn brown because of the beetles eating the sap from the inside so the sap can't reach the needles at the top. Dad spent many hours clearing our lot to save the healthy trees and although it opened up the land to more sunlight it didn't feel as woodsy after that. 

Dad, having been a farm boy, helped out our neighbors one time with killing their chickens by wringing the chicken's necks and chopping the heads off.  I remember mom kept us in the house so we wouldn't see the mess.  I peeked out the window and saw dead chicken bodies running around without heads in our backyard before they flopped over.  It was fascinating.  Then we all got to help pluck the feathers off the bodies and have one for dinner.

Dad read Bible stories to Kelly and me at bedtime and we did family crafts together like making homemade candles or chokecherry jam from the tart chokecherries we harvested off the bushes in our yard.  The jam was smooth and delicious once we added lots of sugar. One of the things I loved about living in Colorado, especially in the mountains was the four distinct seasons and blue skies with puffy white clouds. 


I remember going for walks down the pine and aspen tree lined dirt roads with my Grandma Lou when she came to visit. She carried a book of Colorado flowers and pointed out the different flowers and told us their names. My favorites were Indian Paintbrush and the Colorado state flower, the Columbine.


The family we helped with their chickens had two girls about Kelly and my age and owned several horses. We rode the horses bareback a few times. Dad took me on a hike up the mountain behind that neighbor's house and we camped over night under the beautiful stars.  We cut pine branches and laid them down as padding for our sleeping bags.


In the fall when the aspen leaves turned a beautiful gold Kelly and I enjoyed riding bikes up and down the road and pretending the aspen trees were banks where we literally picked our pretend gold money off the trees.


My parents took Kelly and me snow sledding just down the road from our house on a fabulous hill. We had a wooden toboggan. We also went ice skating on Evergreen Lake.  There was a little wooden shack that sold hot chocolate that tasted so good after ice skating.


I remember my first day of school at the local public school, Wilmot Elementary. We arrived during the lunch break and I was eating a banana and had my mouth full when the kids all walked into the room from recess and I felt embarrassed. After that Kelly and I walked down the hill from our house to the bus stop and rode the bus to school. Sometimes I would hitch a ride on the back of a huge St. Bernard dog owned by the old man who lived on the corner by the bus stop. I ended up really liking my 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Torrison. It was the 1970s, the hippie era. She had a reading corner with bookshelves in a U shape and colored beads hanging down the entrance. She had a teepee in the classroom and a tank with tadpoles that we watched develop into frogs. She taught our class how to meditate. She had us quiet down, close our eyes and put our heads on our hands at our desks and visualize going deep into ourselves into a dark area then climbing stairs to a bedroom with everything we ever wanted. I think she was using this to quiet the class down. I remember being called to the Principal's office on my birthday and receiving a birthday swat with the soft padded side of the spanking stick covered in a bright red velvet. I think it even had gold tassles. The other side was the hard board used on naughty kids. I never experienced that side. We also had bandana day where we dressed in cowboy outfits and wore bandanas. That was a lot of fun and there was a "jail" where parents and kids could lock each other up in the gym. I don't know what they had to do or pay to get out. I think it was a fundraiser. I loved singing Western songs as a class like "Home on the Range", "America the Beautiful" and "The Cat Came Back the Very Next Day" with one of the 2nd or 3rd grade teachers who played a double bass also known as a string bass with a deep sound.


My youngest sister, Laura, was born in Denver, Colorado in September 1976 just a 30 minute drive from where we lived in Evergreen. Dad worked for the Bureau of Reclamation in Denver. When I asked my Dad how we ended up living in Evergreen he told me when he was flying in an airplane he looked down and saw a beautiful green valley in the mountains near Denver and decided it would be a great place to live. As an atmospheric scientist (meteorologist) he studied weather and Colorado was certainly a great place for weather.  One phrase by the locals was, "If you get sick of the weather just wait awhile it'll change."

Spiritual Life

Even as a child I could sense the spiritual warfare in Evergreen. My parents bought a house that had witchcraft paraphernalia on the walls. My parent's cleaned it all up and had our new pastor come over and pray over the house. It was kind of a spooky place to live as the people that lived in Evergreen were really into the hippie scene with long, unwashed hair, leather fringe vests and a little "out of it", I assume from drugs. One time a neighbor jumped in the back of our station wagon when mom was driving away from our house. He held a knife in his lap and I looked back from the front passenger seat of the car and thought the knife was pointed at my sister, Kelly. He asked to be let out at the stop sign down the road. Another time a lady grabbed my little brother from my mom's arms in a store and it didn't appear she was going to give him back.

Halloween was a big deal there and I remember my 2nd grade teacher forcing me to crawl through the haunted house at our school that was in the hallway between our quad of four 2nd grade classrooms. Even though she forced me to go she couldn't force me to keep my eyes open. I peeked once and saw a witchy thing and a guy "sawing off" someone's leg with "blood" squirting everywhere.  I promptly closed my eyes again as I crawled through.

One time, my mom attended a conference in Denver and brought a lady into our home who was suicidal, I believe, and demon possessed. Kelly and I were in our bedroom having just been sent to bed when they arrived.  I remember hearing the woman scream this horrific bloodcurdling scream when the pastor from our church was praying for her.  I perceived the spiritual battle going on and heard our big golden Austrian Shephard dog named Snoopy howl right afterwards.  After that the dog was never quit right.  He broke his chain and chased cars at the front wheel and got run over three times.  My parents finally gave him to our vet to keep when we moved.  It was evident to me at 8-9 years old that the demons went into our dog.  Thankfully the woman chose to accept the Lord as her Savior and thanked mom years later for her help. 

As a result of all the exposure to the spiritual battle around me when our pastor from Conference Baptist Church shared the wonderful news that God the Creator of the world sent his son, Jesus Christ, to Earth to die for the sins of the world I realized at 9 years old that was for me!  I accepted Jesus as my Savior from the dark, evil oppression of sin and felt like a light turned on inside my soul.  We moved shortly after that to Auburn, CA where I was baptized by our new pastor.  I was so short I couldn't touch the baptismal floor and had to swim out to him."

House in Auburn, California
Lake of the Pines

1979 - Larry & Jeannette Vardiman Family
Kids Left to Right: Kelly, Daniel, Michelle, Laura (being held) at Combie Bible Church that met in the gym at Forest Lake Christian School. 

Michelle played basketball from 7th-10th grades
Girls played full court compared to her mom's half court days

1982 - Michelle won California State honors in speech meet

1982 - Larry & Jeannette Vardiman Family
Back Row: Larry, Kelly, Daniel, Laura
Front Row: Jeannette & Michelle

1982 - 8th Grade Valedictorian

Auburn, California (1977-1982, 4th-8th grades)

"Dad accepted a promotional transfer to Northern California to work as the Director for a cloud seeding project to help end a drought out there. I remember crying when we drove up to our new house because the grass was brown. That ended up being my favorite place to live because of the good friends I made at Forest Lake Christian school and unique lifestyle in a gated lake community. I really didn't want to leave when it was time to move again after my 8th grade year.


I rode a bus to the local public school for 4th grade while on a waiting list for the Christian school. Pleasant Ridge Elementary was doing a weird experiment with learning styles and attempted to try teaching math facts to 4th graders using kinesthetic learning but they didn't quite understand it yet. They had 4 classes in one big building with no walls. Each class sat in a corner and 4 teachers all talked at once. Each corner was a different math fact - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Then we would all stand up and move to the next corner for the next subject but we would still have to sit still while four teachers showed us flash cards. It definitely did not work and is NOT true hands on kinesthetic (movement based) learning. In fact, it made math confusing to me and all jumbled in my head. I ended up majoring in business and got good grades in math but I really had to work at it. I remember many times crying while my Dad tried to explain a mathematical concept to me in my high school years but I was getting messed up because he kept skipping the one or two basic steps that I didn't understand which was typically a multiplication or division error. I survived.

Kelly and I rode our bikes to Forest Lake Christian School where I attended for 5th-8th grades and loved it, especially my 7th and 8th grade years!  I played basketball and volleyball choosing sports over cheerleading and glad I did as I preferred to be in the game rather than watching from the sidelines. The school used Abeka curriculum which is traditionally home school curriculum as that is how the school started. I am so grateful for my education there as I believe  that school prepared me for college, especially my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Gearhart, who taught us how to do a proper research paper. I shocked myself when I won first place for the science fair with a research project on the height three different balls bounced: a golf ball, rubber bouncy ball and tennis ball, I think. My Dad helped me figure out my topic and taught me the basics of how to perform a scientifically accurate experiment. I created a tri-fold board showing my results. I thought some of the other kids subjects were much cooler but apparently mine was scientifically sound. My regular success in such a small school from speech meets (winning California State in costume monologue), grades (Valedictorian in 8th grade) and sports built up my self esteem tremendously, but I found it a bit difficult to adjust to being a "little fish in a big pond" when we moved to San Diego, California. I still managed to maintain excellent grades and was near the top of the class in high school which enabled me to get a college scholarship, but I wasn't fully prepared for the "dog eat dog" business world where it no longer mattered how smart one was or what grades one got in the past.


My parents were founding members of Combie Bible Church and became good friends with the pastor, Dan, and his wife, Linda. Dan and Dad loved backpacking and took the youth group on yearly backpacking trips. In junior high we went on a week long backpacking trip to Glacier lake. I remember some of the boys put dried cow patties and rocks in my Dad's backpack and it was really weighing him down. When he finally stopped for a snack break he discovered their prank! He was a good sport and just tossed them out of his pack with a grin. Dan and Dad had a "ghost story" they liked to tell around the campfire at night called "Ma Bradley". Either Dad or Dan would tell the story of this huge butch woman who ripped people's arms out of their sockets and the other one would hide in the woods and at a key moment come tromping out snarling and making all the girls scream! I remember the first time my Dad was telling the story and Dan came out of the woods. I screamed and jumped past the fire into my Dad's lap! Another time I told the story of Goldilocks and the three bears while my Dad sat behind me and did the hand motions for me as if they were my arms. It was funny, especially when he made a curvy figure for Goldilocks and I turned beat red! I have fond memories of those camping days and love being in touch with several of my junior high friends through Facebook today. After we moved to San Diego, California my Dad brought me back to Auburn one summer to go on the week long high school Royal Gorge Backpacking trip so I could reconnect with those friends."

1986 - My first car, 
Toyota Corona that I bought for $800 with no reverse
in front of our house in Santee, CA
My parents lived there
20 years

Michelle, college grad in 1990 with B.S. in Business Administration

1990 - Michelle and Grandma Lou
I bought this 1982 Mazda RX-7 as a celebration for graduating from college and paid it off in two years.


San Diego, California (1982-2004, 9th grade-College, Career and Started Family)

"My Dad had always wanted to be a college professor but felt it was important to have real work experience first because his favorite college professors that he always felt were the best had real world experience they could talk about. It was finally time to make his dream a reality. We moved to San Diego, California in the summer of 1982 after my 8th grade graduation. Dad taught upper math and science courses like physics at Christian Heritage College (CHC) which was associated with Shadow Mountain Baptist Church pastored by Dr. David Jeremiah. Both the college and the church have changed names but they are still the same facilities in El Cajon, CA.

High School

I attended Christian High School on the upper campus of CHC for two years for 9th-10th grades until my parents were concerned I was becoming disillusioned by the rich kids claiming to be from Christian families but behaving inappropriately in my judgmental opinion. It was the best thing for me to go to the public high school because I no longer expected the other kids to act in a certain way. I graduated from Santana High School in 1986, 9th in a class of several hundred.


Straight on to college where my Dad worked as the Academic Dean by then and Mom as the college nurse. It was a very sheltered environment with only a few hundred college students but I loved it. It reminded me very much of my Forest Lake roots. I was able to live on campus for the first three years with a roommate then moved off campus my senior year in an apartment with roommates. I came out of college with no debt as I had a Cal-grant from my good grades, a scholarship from my parent's working there and I worked part-time at a photo booth where I could also study between customers to pay for books and incidentals. I graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1990 with my B.S. degree in Business Administration.

Business Career

My first career was in Human Resources for Kelly Temporary Services, in-house, for three years testing, hiring, placing temporaries on assignments and also firing them as needed. One time I had to fire a guy because his body odor got into the paint and his smell was on the walls! Gross! I seemed to have a knack for negotiating a good deal to make a good profit for Kelly Services but also get more customers over the phone so I was promoted to sales supervisor where I went out on sales calls. I wasn't as good in person and found the constant rejection difficult. After a month I was pulled back into the office because of a misunderstanding. It was all office politics and I learned the hard way that even if my intentions are good and I am doing the very best job I can they can still be misunderstood by others and used against me. I had worked from home one morning for four hours solid making calls over the phone because I was able to get past the gatekeepers on the phone easier than in person and had made appointments for the afternoon. I was so proud of myself for finally figuring out a system that could work for me to get in to see decision makers but when I walked into the branch office at noon for some paperwork the East County Branch manager called the manager in the main San Diego office and told her I was only working half a day. Even though I explained it was not acceptable as they expected me to be pounding the pavement 8 hours a day doing cold calls. Ugghhh! I was glad to be given my own branch office in South County, Chula Vista where I didn't have co-workers to deal with. I utilized the time between appointments and walk-ins of temporaries to go through all the training booklets for typing and computer programs Kelly Services offered like Word Perfect 3.0 and Excel getting my computer skills fine tuned and typing speed above 95 words per minute.

Over the years I have worked as an administrative assistant for Investment and Insurance Advisors for a couple different companies, as an office manager for three years at our church, taught myself web design and have fallen back to that whenever I have needed to be a full-time stay-at-home mom because I can do it from home, and as a marketing assistant for the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce.  I'm thinking about going into teaching next as I loved home schooling our boys and find the educational environment so rewarding since that is where I excelled.  I love learning so I hope I will love teaching."

Victor and Michelle dating went on Dependants Cruise
24 May 1991

Vic's console in CIC during
Persian Gulf War 1991

Michelle, Victor and his mom, Francie Fansler
1st West Pac Homecoming 25 November 1991

Met my Husband

"Two years into my business career I met my future husband, Victor Fansler, through a college/career "sing thing", a youth group activity after church where we sang praise songs at someone's house. Another Victor had driven me to the "sing thing" but his car was blocked in when I was ready to leave so I caught a ride with Victor Fansler back to the church where my cute red sports car was parked. I didn't think I would ever see Victor again so I waved good bye thinking, "Have a nice life" because he was leaving in a month for his first 6 month deployment. He was persistent however and knew my first name and where I worked so he called me the next day and asked me out. We couldn't work it out because I worked days and he worked evenings so we hung up. He showed up at my work on Friday in the middle of the day and treated me for lunch at an Italian restaurant down the road but we had to go in my car because his car was packed all the way up to the passenger seat. Then he drove away to take his car and belongings to his mother's house in Fresno, CA and attend the family archery tournament they had every year. He called me a couple weeks later and asked me to pick him up at the train station at the end of the month which I did with welcome back balloons. We dated every day for a week and I went on the Dependant's Cruise for a whole day out to sea where I met his mother and got sea sick for several hours and had to get some medicine from the corpsman. Victor tracked me down and showed me where he would be working in the CIC (Combat Information Systems).  I started snapping pictures of him at his console where he was being trained to shoot Tomahawk Missiles for the Persian Gulf War, it was spring 1991, and I was told the area was classified and pictures are not allowed!  I was surprised they didn't rip the film out of my camera so I have one photo of Vic at the console and thankfully the flash blanked out the screen."

Victor & Michelle Fansler Wedding 29 Feb 1992
with Parents
Larry & Jeannette Vardiman
Roy & Francie Fansler

Mic's Family at Victor & Michelle's Wedding
29 February 1992

Left to right: David, Billie (Larry's siblings), Daniel, Jeannette, Victor, Michelle, Larry, Laura, Frank Carter (Grandma Lou's brother), Darlene (Jeannette's sister), Mert & her daughter, Megan (cousins)
Seated: Louise & John Robinson (Michelle's Grandparents)
Michelle's sister, Kelly, was stationed in Germany with USAF so couldn't come

Victor and Michelle Fansler newlyweds at La Jolla Beach, CA 29 Feb 1992


Victor and I wrote letters prolifically during his first West Pac (stands for Western Pacific). We dated for a month after he returned from his 6 month deployment. He proposed in December 1991 and we were married on leap day 29 February 1992 based on when the ship was in port briefly as the ship was doing "work ups" (going out to sea for 1-4 weeks at a time) to prepare for the next West Pac. We had known each other 10 months from the time we met to the time we married. I would recommend a longer time of dating as we didn't really know each other that well and after two years we started having problems getting along. It took us several years of counseling to work out how to get along with each other. Thankfully we figured it out and continue to give each other grace which I imagine all couples have to do in some areas. 
I flew out to visit Victor at several ports during his 2nd West Pac from Hawaii to Singapore and Hong Kong. It was wonderful and we have some great memories like watching the sunrise bundled up in a blanket at the top of Mt. Haleakala, going on an audio driving tour to the seven pools on the island of Maui,  to feeding monkeys while they climbed all over and above us in a zoo in Singapore.

April 1994 Homecoming from 6 week Drug Pac, Michelle expecting Spencer


July 1995 Homecoming from third
West Pac  with wife, Michelle and
Son, Spencer  - 7 months old

July 1995 Homecoming with
wife - Michelle, son - Spencer and
in-laws - Larry & Jeannette Vardiman

1998 - Carter crawled across the floor to see Daddy's computer. Vic was taking MCSE & CCA classes through the Navy to become a certified Information Technology Specialist

December 2000 - Fansler Family
Spencer (6), Victor, Michelle and Carter (3)
The boys are 2 1/2 years apart

2001 - Rancho Bernardo Apartment after Vic got out of the Navy
Spencer and Carter



"We miscarried in January 1994 at 12 weeks on our first attempt of starting a family. We were trying to time it so Victor could be home for the birth so we tried again right away. Spencer was born 20 December 1994. Victor was flown by helicopter from the ship, which was 100 miles off the California coast, to make it in time for Spencer's birth. Spencer came three weeks early as a double footling breech requiring an emergency caesarean section.  Spencer had several medical complications and still does to this day. He started out with bi-lateral club feet and came home in casts which required two surgeries his first year, one we went through while Victor was on his third West Pac. Spencer had weekly cast changes for 5 months and different special shoes and inserts over the years. Spencer had another club foot  surgery when he was 14 years old.  We are very grateful that he can walk. He tires easily when his feet become painful after a lot of walking so he has a handicap placard so he doesn't have to walk so far.  Victor left for his third West Pac when Spencer was 6 weeks old and returned in July 1995. It took a year for Victor and Spencer to reconnect because of that long absence.   When he was little Spencer was really into fire trucks as we had a mail slot in our front door in our home in Santee which was right at his eye level.  We lived across the street from a fire station and Spencer could peek out the mail slot to watch the fire truck go by. He is extremely smart and is fascinated with anything to do with robotics now.

Thankfully Victor was transferred to shore command next, still stationed in San Diego, so there was no problem with him being home for Carter's home birth!  That birth went great and Carter was very punctual arriving on his due date 13 July 1997 first thing in the morning, barely waiting for the midwife to arrive. When Carter was three years old he was knocked over by a bigger kid and fell and hit the back of his head on the concrete causing a concussion. It shorted out his vision center and he was blind for 20 minutes. When his vision finally came back it came back double but we didn't know it until he was about 5 years old and able to verbalize, "Huh, that's funny, 2 TVs." I got him back into the specialist's office and they had him wear prism glasses during his kindergarten year. When he was little he was really into Thomas the train. I found a great deal in the "Pennysaver" for a used Thomas the train set from a family who lived in the extremely rich area of San Diego.  I bought their whole box of trains and tracks and the table for $100 and since the trains have a life time warranty I was able to trade all the old, dog chewed trains for brand new ones at no cost!  Carter ended up with over $1,000 worth of brand new Thomas the Train engines for his third birthday! Carter has a more dramatic/artistic flair and seems to lean toward graphic design."

First Home in Santee, CA

Military Housing

1992 Ford Chateau Class C 29 foot RV we owned from 2002-2007


Click here to see our 2003 RV trip across half the U.S. for a family reunion


We bought our first home in April 1994 in Santee, California (East County of San Diego) at 9343 Carlton Hills Blvd in April 1994. We lived there for four years. After Spencer was born I worked from home for a year making appointments for the insurance/investment broker I worked for with USAA then when he decided to move on I stayed home as a full time mom taking care of Spencer's medical needs.  Spencer's first memory is of a bike falling down on the back porch and a water bottle popping off the bike. He thought it was the bike's muscle. Carter was born in that home but has no memories there as we moved into military housing when he was two. Living on enlisted Navy income only ($1,400 per month) was not feasible as our mortgage was $1,175 per month, leaving only $225 per month to live on for everything else.  So we sold the house in a short sale which means if we ever want to use a military loan (FHA) again we would have to pay back the $10,000 we went negative for the realtor fees.  We moved into military housing for the last year of Vic's military career. 

1999-2000   After Victor got out of the Navy to become a civilian, working on computers, we lived in an apartment in Rancho Bernardo for a year while Spencer attended kindergarten at the local public elementary school. 

2000-2001  Then we moved into my parent's house in Santee for a year and bought an RV to get away one weekend a month for family time.  I home schooled Spencer for first grade using a variety of curriculum and taught him how to read. He became an excellent reader and is typically 4-5 years ahead of his peers in his reading level.

2001-2004   I went to work full-time as the Office Manager at Magnolia Wesleyan Church and we rented a condo a mile from my parent's in Santee where we lived for another couple years.  Spencer attended 2nd grade at a local Christian school but it was condemned the next year because of mold.  When Spencer was treated for mold, years later from a chiropractor, he had green stuff come out of his ears!  Carter attended Kindergarten and first grade at the Christian school attached to the church where I worked so I was able to eat lunch with Carter.  I home schooled Spencer through the local public school for his third and fourth grade years.  Spencer used a storage room in the back of the office where he did his classes online and I checked on him periodically.

2004              We lived in our RV at Santee Lakes for 8 months in order to save $1,000 per month in housing costs in order to move to Idaho for a lower cost of living and country lifestyle. We moved up Thanksgiving week in 2004 and I home schooled both boys through the spring of 2005.  We went through the first winter without Victor as he was still working for SAIC in San Diego.  He joined us in February 2005 and God provided jobs at just the right time.

Fall 2004 in La Jolla, CA days before moving to
North Idaho

Spencer (9), Michelle (36), Victor (37), Carter (7)

November 2004 Our home in North Idaho

December 2009
Larry and Jeannette Vardiman Family

By Family Group starting on Left side: Laura holding son ,Noah, with her husband, Tim, behind her.
Dad and Mom: Larry (sitting) with Jeannette behind him and Kelly next to Mom.
My family to the right of Dad with Victor and Spencer behind me and Carter in front of me.
Right side: Daniel holding son, Ian, with wife, Kriston

Why Idaho?

We believe God led us to North Idaho as a combination of events opened the way.  The first being a phone call I made in 2002 to a junior high friend I played basketball with at Forest Lake.  I was discussing the high cost of living in San Diego and she said, "Come up here, we have a lot of families who live on one income up here!"  In January 2004 my boss, the pastor of Magnolia Wesleyan Church, asked me if I knew anyone he could interview for the music minister position that was opening up.  I instantly thought of twin brothers who played guitars and had beautiful voices that graduated from the music department from Christian Heritage College.  I searched for them on the internet and found their father who owned a bed and breakfast in the same area my junior high friend lived in.  I contacted him and he got me in touch with his boys but neither one were interested in the music minister's position.  However, after talking with their Dad I found out he ran a relocation service to help Christian families get out of the rat race in California in order to move to North Idaho.  We arranged a weekend trip to celebrate our 12th anniversary and he charged us 50% of his going rate for his relocation service.  He hooked us up with a banker and realtor and by the end of the weekend we put a refundable deposit down on a 1/4 acre lot with building plans chosen for a house to be built by the housing development contractor.  We flew back home at the end of the weekend and said, "What did we just do?"  The building plans went forward, the house began to be built, the loan went through and Thanksgiving time came with a house to move into but no job for Victor.  So we packed up and in faith moved to North Idaho. 

Vic's Career

Once we were settled Victor flew back to San Diego to stay at my parent's house and keep working at SAIC and told his boss Monday morning that he had just left his family in North Idaho.  His boss said, "Is that a good thing?"  Victor clarified our intention for Victor to move up once he found a job. The boss let him stay on as long as he could but finally gave Victor notice  in February that he had to let him go so he could move on with hiring a replacement.  Victor surprised me by showing up for Valentine's Day with a two week severance package.  The timing was fascinating as he had a phone interview that Friday and they wanted a face to face interview with Victor on Monday and Victor was able to say, "Sure, I'm available."  He got the job and started working Wednesday.  The job only lasted three months as the company went bankrupt and we had difficulty getting his last paycheck and our faith was really stretched.  Once again timing was fascinating as he received a phone call from Silverwood Theme Park on his drive home from being laid off asking if he was still available. Silverwood hired him as low man on the totem pole of the IT department with three guys. The two guys above him both quit and he was promoted to the manager position before he even started working!  Although the hours were excessive, especially in the summers, we were able to feel more settled with Victor finally home!

Mic's Career and the boys education

I also went to work full time and we put the boys in a private Christian school, Classical Christian Academy, for the first two years that I believed was as close to my experience at Forest Lake as possible.  Unfortunately, 1 1/2 years later both boys' teachers came to me in the same time frame and expressed concerns over the boys.  After several months we discovered Carter was still having his double vision as well as epileptic seizures and Spencer wasn't developing socially like the other 6th graders and received a diagnosis of a developmental delay called Asperger's Syndrome.  I transferred from my full-time career as a marketing assistant for the Coeur d'Alene Chamber to a part-time admin assistant for DA Davidson, an investment firm.  The stress of handling paperwork for multimillion dollar deals on the stock exchange and trying to figure out what both our boys medical issues were was too much.  I finally quit and came home full-time to take care of our boys medical needs. 

I thought it would only take a year but it took three years before Carter received a clean bill of health and was able to go back to school.  I home schooled the boys during those three years through the public school's online program.  Carter went to the public middle school for one quarter then transferred to Classical Christian Academy for his 7th grade year where I substituted as needed. He did 8th grade at the public middle school and plans on going to the public high school.

Online homeschooling works well for Spencer.  It may take him an extra year to graduate but because he is also so intelligent academically we put him in some local college classes to get dual credit for high school and college and skip some of the high school drama and let him just focus on learning, which he loves to do.


In August 2009 Victor was laid off as Silverwood was getting rid of several middle managers.  He was unemployed for four months but because we had taken a Dave Ramsey Financial Peace class at our church the year before we were prepared with an emergency fund and knew how to live on a budget.  We made it for two months then I went on a 6 week temporary assignment for Kelly Services while Vic stayed home with the boys and kept looking for work while collecting unemployment.  We began to think he needed to start his own computer business and made a website and started running ads in the paper but only had a couple friends hire him for one day jobs.  Vic received a job offer with our city's police department in the two man IT team.  He was hired and started working in November 2009 and I was able to come back home.  We finally have a more normal lifestyle since Victor no longer has to work the excessive hours. 

We continue to give God the credit for how He orchestrated our move to North Idaho.  We still don't fully understand why He moved us here but I am able to be a full-time stay at home mom, our boys have both received wonderful medical care  as many of the best doctors moved up here for the better lifestyle as well and we teach Dave Ramsey Financial Peace classes at our Bible church, New Life, to help others learn how to live on a budget like we learned how to do. I coached robotics teams for three years to help Spencer learn teamwork and be able to pursue his interest in robotics.

In September 2011 we discovered a lump and I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I went through surgery and 6 months of chemotherapy. My hair is growing back and I just have a few procedures to finish. I hope to work on my teaching credential starting fall 2012.

I continue to work on genealogy research whenever I can and maintain this website with my Uncle David's regular infusion of documents that he uncovers. If you want to share your story or provide a document please email me at michelle@fansler.us

Written by Michelle Vardiman Fansler 4 July 2010, updated 13 June 2012

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