Monday, December 31, 2007

Reflections on 2007 ( only because I was having a good hair day)

The obligatory end of the year blog is at hand and I decided since today was a fabulous day for me to Vlog instead. Here you can listen to my ramblings on and not have to digest my terrible writing. I won't call it the best year but I will say it was much better than 06' which you can read about here

Here goes:

Some final thoughts on 2007 from Just Jules on Vimeo.

I forgot something

Happy 2008 from Just Jules on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Let's all breath a sigh of relief...Christmas is over

Christmas 2007 is now just a memory and I wonder if my kids will remember this one. I love thinking back on my Christmas memories and special gifts through the years but I don't remember all of them. So as a parent I now try to think what will they remember? Only time will tell that one.

My parent's both came for the weekend and we celebrated Saturday and Sunday night. My mom came Saturday evening and the kids opened their present's from her. Elizabeth got a HS musical shirt,Dance mat and a Hannah Montana doll all of which she was thrilled to recieve. Then Conner got a MP3 player that he has been waiting for a long time and replaced his home jobber. He had been using Marty's voice recorder for work to record songs on and then put earphone's into it and called it his "mp3". We have been laughing at this for months and knew he really needed a real one and of course we immediately had to put songs on it.

 Then my Dad came in about that time and I had my parent's open their birthday presents at the same time since I got them the same thing. I made them calendar's onShutterfly I really started out to make my Dad one and then it was so cute I made another for Mom. They loved them and my Mom cried when she opened her's and Dad was thrilled he would no longer forget a birthday. My Dad and I went to Wal-mart to get more wrapping paper for his gifts and the fog was so thick it was 1/4 of a mile visibility. We came home and wrapped his gifts and then just let the kids open them. He got Conner a helmet and kneepads and Elizabeth the cutest wicker trunks for her toys and a Hannah Montana cd.

The phone rang at three a.m. and I answered it because when the phone rings at three a.m that's what you do, right? It was Marty's work calling him to go to Fresno for a incident and he had to leave immediately. He was kinda mad that I answered the phone and he got dragged out of bed. The fog along the freeway was zero visibility all the way to Fresno and he really didn't know where he was going.

  Anyways, I took the kids to church because I had to teach Sunday School and that meant I should go to church also. My mom took the kids home and I stayed and taught Sunday School and then went to buy Tamales for lunch. We have adopted the tradition of eating Tamales somewhere along the way and Marty has been eating them his whole life. He was especially happy I found dessert Tamales this year and he got pineapple and raisin one's for the first time in year's. Marty finally got back home somewhere around three o'clock in the afternoon very tired and worn out. Then my Dad , Mom, Conner, Elizabeth and I drove out to Bravo Farms and we ordered dinner from Tahoe Joe's  it was so nice not to cook and the food was great. We ordered in because our tripto that restaurant didn't turn out so well.

My parent's both went home and we had Christmas eve to ourselves and just ate leftovers from the weekend. We watched "A Christmas Story" and slept under the tree as usual. The kids had cider and cookies and I just tried to clean up a little from the weekend.

 Yesterday, morning the kids and I waited until Marty came home from work to open presents together as a family. They loved everything we got them and they both had written us cards as a gift. I cried reading these cards because they both used their best writing and Conner had copied this touching poem about birds flying away. It reminded me that the kids are growing and someday they will fly away. I was also so happy to know they are learning from me and putting things I am teaching into practice.

  We all got alot of nice gifts for each other but I got a day of shopping to myself from them and a bottle of perfume that Marty had delivered from Sephora by calling my Mom to buy it. Marty went to sleep, then the kids and I played with all of their toys together. Conner and Elizabeth got Singstar for Playstation 2 and I am sooo addicted to the 80's version of the game. We played that most of the day before going to our friends house for dinner and then played it with Marty when we got home.

 Overall Christmas was a wonderful day and I got through it without dwelling on missing my Grandma's and Grandpa. Happy is a few pictures:

Saturday, December 22, 2007

To bless and be blessed

Last year our family adopted a less fortunate family at Christmas. We loved it so much this year we adopted two family's from a list at church. Our church gets the names from a school in our town that is in a financially disadvantaged area. We take the kids and buy the gifts which are mostly clothes and shoes. Then we take the gifts with a food basket and deliver them to the family. We had two spanish speaking families this year but we made it without a translator and got the gifts to them. It is amazing to see where these people live and how overjoyed they are at something so small. It is hard to leave and not feel thankful or want to go back and give them more. I think our kids should see how blessed they are and that life is hard out there in the world.

My dear friend sent me a package this week and kept calling to see if I got it. It came yesterday and I thought I better open it in case there is food in there. So I opened the package and there was a can of chili from a famous chili restaurant in her area that she always talks about. I opened the card and a check fell out from her mom for $245- and all of the sudden check, after check, after check fell out all from people we don't know. She set out to establish a medical fund for Marty and all of our trips to Stanford we expect to make. She did this because she wanted to bless our family not because we needed it but to be a blessing and bear some of the burden. I was bawling for about ten minutes and we immediately set down and wrote thank you notes to the whole list. How amazing that total strangers would want to do something for people they don't even know all the way across the country. We are very fortunate to have good insurance that covers 100% of transplant and all we have to pay is housing for 3 months, co-pays for medication and travel. Really nothing compared to so many people who have to foot the bill themselves or with little insurance help. But this is a good start to our plans to build a seperate fund for transplant that we planned on funding ourselves. We would feel badly fundraising because Marty has such a good job and good insurance. We plan on just paying for it ourselves just as another bill in life but this is something really special that I thought was so amazing and share worthy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I finally have time to sit down and blog after the craziness finally subsided. I got most of my Christmas cards out today and I did a little baking this afternoon. We have run here and run there, partied, sung carols, sat through a Christmas program and had a very interesting encounter.

Saturday, started the craziness with rehearsal for the kids Christmas musical which we could drop them off at and go shopping finally. We went and shopped and then ran back to pick the kids up to take them to a birthday party. We went and shopped some more while they attended the party. We dropped the gifts off at a friend's and then picked the kids up to go home. Our house was Old mother Hubbard's cupboard and we needed to grocery shop too!

Sunday, we went to church where I taught Sunday school and then I went to a lunch for a friend's birthday. Came home from lunch and took the kids to the final rehearsal for the program where I got wrangled in to making copies of the program. Came home got ready and went to the program to find everyone and there brother saving seats. I found a empty row in the back where I could set up the tripod to record the program. I invited my friend R to come and bring her daughter with her since she is 5 and would enjoy that sort of thing. We are sitting there chit chatting and all of the sudden R spots her daughter's biological mom three rows ahead of us. Her daughter was adopted out of foster care and knows she is adopted and has met the mom once. She was three days old when she got brought home from the hospital by R and her husband J so this woman is just the biol not the mom. Anways she knows R from visitation and so R decided to let her know she was there and said "hello". Come to find out the uncle and brother of R's daughter have been going to our church and I had no idea. So that was a very awkward stressful situation.

Monday, I hosted a ladies get together for our mission's group at my home for 12 women. Because we had been on the go the house got messy and I stayed up late on Sunday and rose early Monday to prepare. It turned out well and all enjoyed themselves. They left and one of them left something and had to come back and ended up staying a few hrs.

Tuesday, Marty had a promotional exam for Sergeant at work and I needed to help him prepare for that. He was very nervous and needed to memorize some stuff for the exam. He thinks it went well and we will find out in 4-6 weeks if he goes on to the Chiefs interview. I finally sat down after he left and addressed Christmas cards and envelopes to get in the mail.

Today, I mailed the cards and baked some cookies. On top of all this last week Marty got a cold, then I got a cold, Elizabeth had a cold and last night Conner ran fever and had flu like symptoms.

I finally got some time to come online and upload pics and videos from the weekend. I have the video up on my Flickr page but probably shouldn't post it here since it has other people's kids in it. Email me for the link to the Flickr page to see the video and I can't put that here since it has my last name in the title.

Here are the ladies event's



Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Now I can relax for six weeks as everything went well at Marty's appointment today. No change in Kidney function which is wonderful news. I couldn't ask for anything better for the holidays and now we can enjoy them knowing things are fine. I did have a tight chest today and I think it is just waiting that is the hard part. It is like living with a ticking time bomb that you never know when it is going to go off. I know it will all work out eventually and I am just so glad we didn't get bad news before the holiday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Clean the walls with buckets of soap..falalalala

I am preparing to host a ladies Christmas party next Monday for some women from church. I am cleaning walls, nooks, furniture, cupboards out with frenzy. I still need to get cards done I am hoping sometime this week if at all possible! We still need to shop and bake on top of that. I am just going to be happy with what get's done and the rest is what it is.

Marty has come down with a little cold and today is his monthly check up. We hope there is no change in Kidney function this month and that he stays the same. So it has been a stressful day and a half while waiting to see what will happen this month as usual.

I wanted to do a vlog instead but the camera is dead and on the charger but I hope to get one of those made soon. I thought it would be something new and different.

Time is short and so is this blog.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Tis' the season to be hectic

I love Christmas and always have but it seems the older I get the busier it gets. The next several weekends in a row we have something going on everyday and somedays two or three things. I want to slow down and enjoy every minute of these holidays and relax but I guess that isn't possible. I need to go clean the house to get it ready for the weekend but I have been feeling so run down all week. I guess it is just that time of the month and I am getting older and it seems to be more taxing the past few times. Anyways, I am glad we have no plans on Christmas eve or Christmas day this year and we can stay home and relax together. I need to bake,shop, and plan for the weekend before since that is when both parent's will come into town for a few days.

We have so many traditions and my kids look forward to them each year. One tradition is to celebrate the Dutch holiday of Sinterklaas on December 5th by giving little candies in their shoes and eating peppernoten. My mom started this tradition when we were young from her days of living in Holland. Then we bake cookies and decorate them every year and usually that is 10-15 different types of cookies. Marty started a tradition of sleeping by the fire on Christmas eve and watching a Christmas Story as a family. My Grandma started the tradition of hiding the Christmas pickle on the tree and whoever finds it wins a prize and the kids love that. Even the foods we eat on the holiday are tradition and we only eat certain foods at certain holidays. What are your tradtions? I love to hear what people do on the holidays.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Croc of shoes

I don't think even my closest friends know this about me. I have become obsessed with wearing Croc's the past year and wear them almost everyday now. I started out with a brown pair Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
I love them because they are so comfortable and light on your feet. I think they are cuter than most tennis shoes out there and I like that I can match them to my clothes. I was born pigeon toed and my feet turn in pretty noticeably and most shoes are so heavy on my feet. When I was younger I wore bars to sleep and my parent's bought me fitted mary jane's to wear but nothing helped. I often trip over my feet because I throw them in and am known to fall a lot. I even spent several years in special ed. P.E. to help my coordination skills. Anyways, these shoes work perfect for my feet because of the weight and since I have "Potato feet"( wide) as Marty calls them the shape works great.

I have taken these camping and used them as water socks in a river one time. They are so versatile and functional albiet they are kinda ugly. When they came out with a Mary Jane pair last year I flipped out and bought a black pair because they were so cute. I wore them to the mountains and encountered snow and they had great traction. Here is a pic of my cute Mary Jane's in the snow
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Well, a few months back when we took our annual train trip to San Francisco I wore my cute Mary Janes. They worked great on the whole trip and my feet never hurt once. On the way home crossing the train tracks to get back to the car my foot got caught. I managed to untangle the foot and salvage the shoe but a piece broke off in the process. It was the little gator snap on the side and so I decided to call Croc and see if I could get a replacement part. I called them and they sent out a whole envelope of snaps for FREE and told me if I needed anything else to call back. I thought I had the strap assembly and when the snaps came I realized that I lost them. So I finally remembered to call last week and the straps came in the mail today( once again replaced free of charge) and I am in Croc heaven once again. I know this is inane prattle but I just wanted to share my good experience and highly recommend you all go buy a pair. Fashion is great but comfort is everything!

field trip

We went on two field trips today with some other homeschool families. We took a tour of Carrows and they feed the kids a free breakfast and let them make their own pancakes and drinks. Then we drove out to Bravo farms a artisan cheese factory in Traver. They showed the kids how Cheddaring is a process not just a name, How some bacteria is good and how some cheese really smells bad. They showed us all the cheese aging and molding, the storeroom, the milk tanks and all of the stuff that goes into a cheese factory. Then they gave everybody cheese and ice cream at the end of the tour. My Dad loves this cheese and I bought him some Cabernet cheese. Overall a really nice break and fun for the kids to see some friends their own ages.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Stop the presses!

I just wanted to let Di know her Apple stock went up because this family helped contribute. Marty is the proud new owner of a iphone. I knew Di would be proud and couldn't resist the urge to share the news along with the news we may have to buy a new computer to go with that iphone. We bought this MAC refurbished from a company that specializes in refurbished MAC's for a very reasonable price. We wanted to see if we like the platform and if we could even operate the thing without screaming. It is so user friendly and very easy to use in fact I think it is much easier to use compared to a Windows operating system.

We found out a glitch last night though, We cannot download osx 10.4 or higher because our operating system is too old. So Marty couldn't register his phone through itunes and we had to drag out our Toshiba satellite to do the registration. That meant downloading itunes, quick time and a xp service pack. So finally at two am Marty was able to finally register the stinking phone and now is using it as I type. Hence the need for a new MAC to be able to use the iphone properly we need a new computer. Marty said for Christmas and I said after Christmas because I hate to spend that much for something we don't really need. The iphone itself is all they say it is and more!

On another note, I won a award at bowling last night...shock of shocks I bowled a 140 game a few weeks ago and I got a patch for that last night. What I do with a patch is beyond me but I am pretty proud to have done so well!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Final thoughts

I cannot believe it has already been a month since we started the blog a day challenge. It has gone so fast and I guess the old saying rings true this month. Time has flown and it has been fun( well, most days it has been fun, others have been more stressful). I am proud that all three of us made it through without missing a day and for three busy mom's there is something to be said for that. I feel that I have made two new friends this month and maybe some of my existing friends got to know me a little bit better.

Last week sometime Marty and I were talking and the challenge came up and of course he laughed at me. Then I told him about Di, Andrea and the blogs. He asked me if I talked about him in the blog and I told him "Yes, but you already knew that remember, that is why you don't read it in the first place." Then I told him about this blog where Andrea's husband called her "dirty hippie" and read him the blog where they tried to put up the tree. I told him about Di's Honeybaked ham blog on day in the store when he mentioned he wanted to get one for us.

I have had more than one friend talk to me this month about the blogs. One friend told me how much she was enjoying them, the other told me she is just not into the "blog thing" and another told me she felt like she was learning more about me. A big Thank you to Di for blogging about the idea in the first place and for encouraging me daily, Andrea gets thanks for encouragement too. Now I am left to wonder if I will still think I need to blog everyday and if I will need to break this habit or keep it going. Only time will tell..............................

Thursday, November 29, 2007

This blog has been brought to you by the letter P and the number 31

Since we are in the home stretch I thought sharing some of my new found tricks might be appropriate to share today. When I began this challenge I could not insert a link into the blog. Di helped me out with the first one but then I did some research on google and found this an easy way to make a link. Thanks Di, for reaching out and sharing your knowledge.

I borrowed Andrea's idea to use Vimeo for video. I found it was much easier to use than photobucket or tinypic and uploads very quickly. Thank you, Andrea for finding that gem and sharing with the rest of us.

I always use Photobucket to upload pictures to my site. I am amazed that it is a free service and they give you so much memory that I still have not hit my limit and I have tons of pics and graphics in there.

I am the first to admit that I am a horrible writer with terrible grammar and punctuation. Those two things never really have been my strong suit and I am admittedly self conscious of that fact. I can spell really well but my brain just does not comprehend how to use grammar and punctuation. So my new found tool is grammar check. I did not use this tool yesterday though and must go back to fix my mistakes. Thank you all for reading this despite my terrible grammar and punctuation.

Tomorrow is the day and I can't wait to post all that I have learned, read and saw this past month. It has been a ball and I feel my blog has come a long way in just one month.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Just one of those days

I really was thinking I wouldn't have anything to blog about today. Guess what, Murphy's law happened and I have something to blog about.

We started school this morning on a good foot and all was well. I was thinking about taking a picture of Elizabeth because I was going to show you the get-up she was wearing today. She loves to dress herself in all kinds of stuff at once and today was no exception. She went to read her book in her bed like everyday and she jumped off and hit the trundle just right falling to the ground. She started crying and I picked her up and dusted her off and sent her back to her desk. When she sat down she started crying "My foot is's bleeeeeeeding" Oi vey! So I ran and grabbed band-aid and antiseptic wipe to clean it off. I got back upstairs and looked at her toe to see it was gushing blood all over and bleeding pretty badly. I cleaned it off and put the bandage on the top of her toe only to notice that it was still bleeding. I pulled her toes apart and sure enough a big gaping hole between her toes. So I called the Dr who directed me to Urgent Care and I left Marty watching Conner doing his work. We got there and waited and waited and waited some more finally she was seen after 1 1/2 and they glued her wound together.

We leave the Urgent Care ready to go home only to find I have locked my keys in the car. I called the cell company where I have roadside assistance because I couldn't remember the number. They finally directed me around and I got the roadside company. Good thing they have to get somebody out in 15 minutes or less and things were quickly resolved!

I got home and Marty has a strange bruise on his leg that he is worrying over now. As I am trying to talk with him about that the dog starts making the puking noise. I direct him to the door only for him to puke right before he gets there and I now have another mess to clean up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I can pretend I don't have work to do

I really should be working but feel this blog welling inside me and need to get it out. I expected posting about my likes and dislikes today but it will be more random thoughts than anything.

I am ashamed to admit this to the sleepless mother's but....I stayed until two a.m. reading a book when I could have been sleeping. How soon we forget!

It is cold here and I finally turned on the heater night because my hands were blue. It is sooo cold I still have not gotten out of my PJ's yet. I need to get dressed before Marty gets home today.

Things that bug me:

When people treat other people poorly. When someone thinks more highly of themselves than others. Whatever happened to living by the Golden Rule? I always want to Do Unto Others and it is hard when people are mean,ugly, rude, disingenuous, and down right hurtful. It's hard to always be kind, to put others ahead of yourself. Nobody is perfect and we cannot think we are either.

Being late, you want to see me twitch? Make me late and I will shutdown and start twitching.

Lying. The truth may hurt but lies hurt more and do more damage than good.

Spammers, they make my life difficult most days and I wonder why they all come from Russia?

( I really am a people person.....really people I am.)

When I ruin perfectly good new clothes doing housework or cooking. I am so messy and never can keep stain free even if my life depended on it. My childhood nickname was Messy Moose for crying out loud.

Parents who let their children behave badly and feed into it. Do you really thinking giving in will help in the long run? I understand kids being kids and behaving badly. Just allowing it is another thing.

People who take credit for things others have done.

My biggest pet peeve is : People who judge books by their cover. I do not care who you are, what you have done, how much money you have, I only care if you are a good person. I also never judge somebody with someone's else's opinion of them because I want to take the time to see who you are.

My likes:

My faith is my number one important thing to me. MPG stands for Mom Pursuing God.

My husband who still makes me weak in knees after 13 yrs. and is such a strong person. I have learned so much about myself through him and he is really a person I look up to.( now 15 years, through the valley and back and I still feel the same)

My kids who make me laugh everyday and encourage me to be a better person.

Family means a lot to me even if I do not see them everyday.

Women who encourage other women in life. I am so thankful for the many wonderful women I am surrounded by in life and online. They encourage me to be a better person, mother, wife, friend and family member. They teach me things, share their struggles, pain, and joy. This started with my grandmother's and has trickled down to the many wonderful people I call my friend.

Being true to myself and not trying to fit in any mold laid before me. I do not want to live someone else's life I want to live my own life with my own path.

I think that sums things up and I feel better having said it. I just have been holding a lot in lately trying to be strong and I am sure some of this is stress induced. I feel a lot of peace but I am human, and stress gets to all of us at one time or another. I think that about eats up my venting quota for the next month or so.

P.S. I just spoke with the financial coordinator at Stanford and she said the insurance is trying to completely re-direct us somewhere else grrrrr! They are working with the insurance to resolve the problem and they are hopeful for resolution.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Just another crazy monday

I just got off the phone with the transplant coordinator at Stanford. Marty has been listed for transplant for kidney only at the moment. He needs to see the pancreatic transplant surgeon to determine if he is qualified for a pancreas transplant. We got a letter from our insurance denying that visit and they are trying to work with the insurance right now. Please pray that the insurance will approve the visit and that the surgeon will deem him a canidate for pancreas transplant. I am not worried because I know God is in control of this situation.

~I hate whiny children! Mine are whining about flu shots that I want to get them and they don't even know when they are getting them. Plus it is the first day back to school after several days off and they are being slow about doing their work.

~ Why am I always doing dishes? I think they are breeding in the sink.

~My email friends are wondering where I disappeared to and why I am not emailing. I had to explain the blog a day challenge to them and now they are reading all the blogs.

~We are going to the Candy cane lane parade tonight and I must find all the hats and gloves. Why are gloves always disappearing?

~ I burned my thumb making turkey taquitos on Saturday. It hurt like a *$@(@)_$@ but is feeling better today.

~ I am thinking about making turkey soup this afternoon.

I could go on and on but then I risk sounding whiny myself. I am going to make a post of pet peeves pretty soon!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Trouble with Conner

I know I talk all the time about my crazy son and my many experiences with him. Di asked if I could tell her the bad things a boy could do with his mommy's heels the other day. Andrea keeps telling us all these stories about her son, that reminds me somewhat of Conner at that age. I know we are not bad parent's and these things could happen to anyone. We never left him alone and still had to do daily chores. So this is the back story:

To start things off Conner came a full month early. He was due December 17th and ended being born November 14th instead, I really should have known then. He never cried even at birth and would only grunt when he needed something. But he never really did like to sleep and we would end putting him between us to sleep so that we could sleep.

When he was about six mos. old I bought him an exersaucer to stand in. This one part kept coming off it and I was very upset thinking it was cheaply made. Now looking back I realize he was taking it apart and that is how it was coming off. I should have known then.

He started crawling and so we needed to baby proof the house and my Granmother's house where he stayed while we were at work. One day I came home from work, and she was really upset Conner broke the baby lock off her cabinet breaking the door handle off with it. He was about nine mos. old at the time and in that same month he ran away from me after bath and hit the toilet requiring stitches. On my 22nd birthday he was standing at the coffee table and hit his mouth busting in his first teeth.

When he was about 18 mos. old we found that he could work this kind of child lock
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucketso we switched to the kind that is in the drawer or cupboards that require you to push down. He was able to work those shortly there after. So we kept all the dangerous stuff up high so he could not reach it and thankfully he never was a climber.

One morning when Conner was about 20-months old I was making toast in the kitchen and he was watching TV in the living room with Marty. I heard a loud pop and the power went out throughout the house and all I heard was Conner say " Hot, Mommy that was hot" and I turned the corner to see him standing at the light socket with a black hand. He had figured out how to remove the safety covers and found a staple to put in the socket. By putting the staple in the socket he completed the circuit blowing our power out all the way to the main. We took him to the Dr. and she assured us he was fine and no damage was done. Later that night I was putting him to bed, and he told me " Mommy, I saw Jesus in the light socket" and I cried and laughed at the same time and said " Yeah, you saw Jesus and you almost killed yourself"

In the same time period I was doing dishes and was loading the dishwasher. I put the soap in and set it on the counter while finishing up the dishes. I heard around the corner Conner start to vomit and turned to run and noticed the soap was gone. He had eaten it and spilled it all over our couch. It caused him to vomit immediately and I called poison control and was directed to give him milk. They decide because he vomited no further treatment was necessary and I started doing dishes after he went to bed or only if Marty could watch him. Two weeks later he got a small mini bottle of Tresor and drank some poison control told me that might give him a buzz and nothing more.

His sister came along and he did really well with her. He never tried to help with her or harm her in any way. He was thrilled to be a big brother and I am glad his curiosity never included her. About this same time my mom bought him a little table and chairs to sit and have a place of his own. BAD idea! Those chairs were never used for good ever and helped him earn another set of stitches.

Marty would care for him during the day and nap time was a particularly bad time for things. One day he did get up from nap and painted my bedroom wall purple and climbed to the top of my armoire and put a butter knife in the ceiling. One night I went to give him a bath and noticed his butt was black. I asked him "What is that" and he said " I made myself look like a clown" I asked "What did you use" and he pointed to my make up drawer and said " That in there" and I found my mascara in the drawer open. Good thing I had not used it and was able to throw it away.

He took all his toys apart and never really played with things the way they should be used. He really loved to get into his daddy's tool's and use those. We locked them and tried to hide them the best we could but somehow they would always disappear. He loved to dig in the dirt outback and especially under a huge tree that we had out there. One morning he told me " I had a dream last night the aliensence came to get me" He used to call ambulance "aliensence" and I laughed at him. It was my first day staying at home full time with him, and we went took him out back to play for a little while. He climbed to the top of his little table to grab a tree vine and said " Look, at what I can do" as I ran over there he kicked the table out from under him and swung out. He fell, hit the ground and landed in the little hole he had been digging. He looked up at me and passed out cold. I ran and called 911 and the ambulance came to get him and take him to the hospital. He got a really bad concussion out of that one and the "aliensence" did come to get him.

During this time I felt like I was going to have a nervous break down.I could not let that kid out of my sight and it was hard to control him and care for his baby sister. I felt like a horrible mother and Conner was getting a bad reputation with our friends. He was the kindest, polite, well behaved( except for these things) little boy but I could not keep his curiosity at bay. I got injured one day while we were hosing down the front porch and sweeping the water off. He took the broom he was using and started hitting the front window. I ran to grab it and slipped hitting my head on the ground and for about two years had a really messed up neck.

He has outgrown a lot of this and really does much better. The biggest incident was last summer when he almost drowned and you can read about that here

Just today I was cleaning up dishes after church and he was awfully quiet. I called him and he said he was upstairs working on something. I told him to come see downstairs then he he peeked his face over the banister I witnessed this
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He used markers to create Vikings war paint to so he could watch the game with his dad. Marty was out and when he came home I pulled him in the house trying to stay calm. I called Conner down and started laughing. Sometimes all you can do is laugh and get up, dust yourself off and try again.

I am so glad we have survived all of these things.I am thankful for my son, his itellegence,humor and the laughter it has brought. When he was little I spent a lot of time crying over these things and it has taken a long time to be able to laugh. I accept him for who he is and love him all that much more. I can say these times passed by so quickly and one day he just outgrew most of it. He still has his moments but for the most part he is one great boy!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Deck the halls

Conner went into the garage this morning and single handedly came out with all our decorations. Well, Elizabeth helped too and she said " Conner and I used team work and our guns" So we are now decked out for Christmas in our house minus a few little things. I think this is the earliest we have put decorations up in 12 Christmases together and it is a little odd to me. I just finished hanging garland off the banister and it looks really pretty, I like having a pre-lit tree that I only have to add C-9 lights to because it used to take me four days to light the tree. Elizabeth is decorating the tree and I have been behaving myself not re-arranging the ornaments. When she goes to bed tonight I will move them around...I know I have issues. I really have enjoyed these last few days of doing nothing. We have relaxed and spent quality a bit of family time together. I am making turkey taquitos for dinner tonight. I am heading back to relaxing now that I have fulfilled my blogging commitment.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas is coming

I am ready for the holidays to begin this year. Last year I dreaded Christmas all year long because I knew it would mark a year my grandma had gotten sick and the first Christmas without her and grandpa. You can read more about that Annus horribilis here. Grandma loved Christmas and everything about it reminds me of her and the traditions she taught us. My grandpa would sit and sing us songs at the little table in the kitchen usually a Gene Autry tune. My other Grandma had a birthday on Christmas and I already missed her. Last year everytime I heard a Christmas song I would cry even "Here comes Santa Claus" made me cry. This year I am ready to move on with life and accept the fact they won't be back. I sat last night and made a all Christmas playlist for the blog and I am ready to begin preparing for the holidays. My favorite holiday tune is hard to pic but I am well known for loving "Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses. I am ready to make more memories and enjoy the season with my family.

Here are a few pics of holidays past:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

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We are staying home today and I have been cooking up a storm. I made cranberry relish, Waldorf salad, green jello salad and started the stuffing. Today I am cooking stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots and rutabaga's and pea salad. I usually bake the turkey this year is different my friend's husband offered to fry the turkey for us. We usually go to their house but Marty wanted to stay home this year. We might go visit a couple of friends but will have the dinner at home and eat pie for dessert later. I am debating on whether to make an apple cake or not since I do not like pie but it depends on how ambitious I feel. We are getting ready to watch the Macy's parade a tradition I have had all my life.

I give thanks for my husband, my children, my husband's job, our home, my parent's, our family and friends.

What are you thankful for? What are your traditions? Let me know.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Home is where the school is

I really never pictured myself a homeschooling and actually never had heard of homeschooling before moving to Central CA. I grew up in an area where everyone I knew went to school public or private. So when we moved here and met the A family we thought they were strange since they were homeschooling their 11yr old and 12 yr old. At first felt sorry for them until I started to see all the benefits and became very interested. The first book I read was Charlotte Mason considered one founder of home education in England. I was fascinated by using "living books" and nature walks. Marty was very impressed with what this family was doing and asked me to consider homeschooling our children. Conner was two at the time and some ways off from school so I had a few years to learn and gather information.

Conner was a very bright, extremely oral, active, intelligent four yr old normal in every way. I left him to be babysat by a friend one day on coming home I was asked by the mom "does he know his colors"? and I said "Yes, I have been teaching them to him since he was 2" she said "because I kept showing him which cup was his. Then telling him it was this color and he could not ever find it" We started quizzing him on his colors and found out he was color blind and did not know them at all. I was shocked but a lot of men are color blind ( I think Marty is but he will not admit to that). Since he was four I decided he needed to write his name and precede to start teaching him. He wrote it backwards which at that age is common and thought there was nothing to worry about. We started school that August and the first day I started teaching letter sounds and letter's. He could not get them and I should have really been alarmed when Elizabeth age two was repeating them after the first week and Conner could not tell me. We decided to stop school until age six which is the legal age a child in CA needs to begin school. We focused on science, history, reading aloud whole books, nature and memorizing verses, poems and rhymes.

After four yrs Conner finally began to read and write. He had been tested for learning disabilities and diagnosed as a dyslexic with a processing disorder. In a nutshell he knows the information and has a very high I.Q. but cannot process written words in a way you and I would. At age ten he is reading at a third grade level in the fourth grade which is good and has a very high comprehension rate when he does read. He excels in science, memorization, math, history and handwriting. By keeping him home I have been able to give him time, patience and one on one teaching. I think we have saved him much heartache and self esteem problems.

Elizabeth really has been the biggest benefactor from homeschooling. Because I taught the same thing's to Conner for four yrs straight she already knew them when she hit school age. She is in second grade working on a 3-4 grade level in most subjects. She can read almost anything and I would assess her reading level at 8th or 9th grade level. She is very driven and self directed. She does struggle in handwriting but most of you who know me IRL know I have terrible handwriting. She enjoys crafting and making things out of paper.I am really excited at the possibilities this opens for her. One that I think will happen is college at a young age. I am talking in her teen years and this was one thing that drew us to homeschooling in the first place.

We have legal representation if we are ever approached by social services or the school district. You can read more about that hereHSLDA . I use an eclectic approach to school and there are so many ways and places to get information. One favorite supplier isRainbow resource. We use Math U see for math which is a concrete approach to abstract concepts, AVKO spelling and handwriting for dyslexics, Bob Jones history, Answers in Genesis science, Pathway readers for reading, Comprehensive Curriculum books for grade level concepts in english, reading, spelling and math. I am part of a homeschool email loop in my county. We take sign language with a group of other home schooled children from our area. The group has once a month play day, skate day and park day gatherings for the kids to socialize and maintain friendships. We also belong with a group of families that make up a ISP or a private school as we are called by the state. They help us maintain our paperwork and documents for the state.

The biggest argument we ever hear from people is that our kids should be socialized. I am sorry school is to learn and I am not going to send my child there to make friends. My kids are extremely well adjusted, socially fine in all areas and both have many friends. .Since my husband doesn't work a 9-5 job this enables us to have the family time whenever. We also benefited from being able to travel with our school when we had death's in the family and my mom needed care. We now will benefit when Marty has his transplant and the kids can come with us.

Bottom line, this works for our family.I am not one to tell people they are wrong for sending their kids to school.I know many people who I think should never homeschool. I am not going to look down on anyone for their choices in education and I like to be given the same courtesy. We get a lot of flack over this from a lot of people and are constantly having to defend our stance. I think public, private and homeschool all have drawbacks and flaws in the way they work. It just comes down to what works for you and how long it works for you. We might not always home educate our children it is just what is best for this stage in life. I have no regrets now and am very happy with the way things are going for us.

Quick facts about our school:

We school M-F
School hours are 9-1
We don't take breaks
PE is conducted after school
School is 180 days a year
We have a schoolroom in our home
SAT testing is optional until age 12

here is what the kids say:

Untitled from Just Jules on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sad to admit

I don't know the address for my own blog. My friend just had to tell me my own address! That is sad and hilarious all at the same time. Thanks Mel , What would I do without you? Sorry Roxie and Maaike. You all know I have had a lot on my mind lately and it is so strange to be forgetful. I never forget anything and can tell you what I was wearing on any given day in 1994.

We had a friend we saw last week die suddenly yesterday. It was a friend's husband who had massive heart attack. Life is short and cherish everyday. I am glad the kids got to see him last week and we had a nice visit with him and his wife. They are a couple from our church who retired and hit the road. They told us they loved our kids and thought of them as grandchildren. Very sad for Debbie the wife and for her children.

I am trying to school the best I can this week but it seems futile. Alot of school's around here are off and people want to hang out and get together. We are going to the new sports park now and will veg a little.

Still haven't heard back from Stanford and that is weighing heavily on my mind. When is long enough to wait before calling? I don't want to be a pest. So I have decided to wait until next week since they told us it might be a two week wait anyways.

Monday, November 19, 2007

What's her name?

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I think I talk so much about Conner I should post about Elizabeth today. I don't want anyone to think I am playing favorites and not talking about her. I don't have a favorite at all but she is such a good girl I don't have as many funny stories about her.

Elizabeth was born the way she is and I don't foresee that changing. When she came out crying I never knew she wouldn't stop crying. She like certain things done the same way from birth and she is a creature of habit. When she was born she liked to be wrapped tight and put in her carseat to sleep. Marty was determined to not have another kid in the bed and he did most of the work. I worked during the day and he cared for her and then worked at night and looking back we did a good job. She would nurse solely and refused a bottle for 8 hrs. straight everyday. She would be screaming by the time I got done with work and Marty would meet me there to nurse. Stubborn as a mule from the get go and that still has not changed in the least bit.

She is named after my grandma Brown and Marty's grandma. Two very strong,stubborn, and driven women so we should have thought more about that one. Conner couldn't say Elizabeth and he called her " Little bit" and it stuck. Then when we found out she had a 'tude Marty started calling her BA ( Bad attitude) after Mr.T on the A-team. Then somehow "Little bit" became Bibbeth. We rarely call her Elizabeth and she has a bunch of nicknames: Poohnkey, snooky, stinky, the bibbeth, the bibbeth, Beth, bibbeth and her newest nickname from Marty is "Snookadorfulus". She will answer to just about anything but don't call her Liz!

She loves to read book's and play pretend most everyday. She is a excellent reader and just started reading the book Conner came out of this past week. She is very studious and does well at anything she puts her mind too. She can be very funny and silly at times. Playing stuffed animals is high priority for her and she has a zillion of them. She likes to play mommy and family. She plays pretend almost all day long and you never know what she is going to come out pretending. I told her today " I wonder how many animals you will have when you grow up?" she said " A bunch'. She plans on becoming a vet, mom and nurse someday.

She is the baby and can be very spoiled by all of us. Conner and I are the worst at this with her and she knows it. I try so hard to be strict with her but it is hard to do. Conner did so many bad things that it was easy to be strict with him. She really doesn't do bad things but she acts bad and that is harder to break. In many ways I feel like I am watching my sister Carrie when I look at her. My parent's often comment " We don't know how you ended up with your sister's daughter!" it is that uncanny. Carrie is the baby in our family and I often treated her the same way that Elizabeth gets treated by Conner.

I am so glad to have a daughter and she is a precious gift from God. I am so thankful to be able to experience having both a son and a daughter. I look forward to when she is older and having a good relationship with her.

For Maaike,Melissa and Roxie

Here is the video's you girls were asking for and thank you for being wonderful friends!

Conner opening presents from Just Jules on Vimeo.

Conner part Duex from Just Jules on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

If this is what you are thinking

Go read Di's bloghere because I know it is what you are all thinking already. Thanks for the laugh Di!

Another long, busy day.

I woke up at 6 am on a Saturday. How is that wrong in so many ways? I don't even get up that early on weekdays let alone a Saturday. My Dad wanted us to meet him for breakfast at his favorite spot in our town. He had worked in Sacramento all week and was driving home. He wanted to give Conner his birthday present and treat him to something special. We had a nice breakfast with both of my parent's and then parted ways. My Dad bought Conner a sander which he asked for and it is a really nice one. My parent's are suckers and buy the craziest things for my kids but my dad is especially weak when it comes to Conner and tools. At least he had a talk with him and told him to not sand down my dining room table!

Then we took the kids to bowling and then to pick up Conner's cake at Savemart. We went home and my Mom took Conner to buy her gift for him. She bought him a Red Rider bb I said my parent's are suckers! She told him to not shoot anything except can's and boxes and only under his Dad's supervision. I am sure between a sander and a bb gun I will have lots of posting material for the future.

My Dad called and I thought he was calling to tell me he was home. He sounded really upset and he quietly said " I really like that slide show you made for Conner." and I ask him are you crying and he said" Yes, that was just so special and you played my favorite song and ..." his voice breaks and he is crying. It was so emotional and wonderful, a special moment never to be forgotten. I had forgotten he was away all week and had not seen the show yet.

We watched movies and hung out on the couch most of the afternoon. It was nice to take a break and relax together as a family. I just put my very choked up girl back to bed and wonder how sick she will be this winter.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Busy day

All day I have been stressing thinking I was going to fail the challenge! I made it..phew....

I got up early after being up all night with a coughing girl. Elizabeth has had night time coughing in the winter since she was a baby. She has inhalers for it now but her throat gets irritated and she coughs and it upsets her. So we slept in a little this morning and got up and finished school for the week.

Then I scrambled and busted my pahtootie to clean the house up for company. My mom is in town to celebrate Conner's birthday and I wanted to be able to visit with her. Mission accomplished and I love the smell of a scrubbed and vacuumed spotless house.

We went to lunch and then to the mall to Build a bear workshop. My mom is a sucker for that stuff and bought both kids new animals. Elizabeth loves stuffed animals more than she likes dolls and has several well loved ones. She got the new Clarice reindeer. Conner made a bear and dressed him in camo and named him " The Man"

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Then I got a call from Marty that he had brought home a set of keys from work and needed to go back. I rushed home so we could drive him there because he had been up almost 24hrs. So we drove to his work which is a long drive and decided to go straight to bowling from there. I am home and throughly exhausted but I wanted to blog. Warped sense of priorities at the moment.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I hate to say "I told you so"

Two months ago we bought a new fridge for the first time in 11 yrs. We got one as a wedding present from my father in law and it lasted until after we got rid of it. We had a Kenmore and in the 11 yrs we had it not one single problem EVER! We didn't need a new fridge but decided to buy one before the other one went out.

I wanted a Kenmore since we had no problems with the other one. We went to Sears and looked around and found one we both liked. Marty says " Let's go check out Lowe's" and so we did. We found a Fridgedaire there that was similar to the Kenmore the only difference was the buttons on the dispenser were electronic. The diffrence was it wasn't a Kenmore and it was 80 dollars more. The one at Sears was $80- less, 10% off and Free delivery. The one at Lowe's was $80 more plus we had to pay shipping then get a rebate for $65-. I am cheap! I wanted the Kenmore for less money *PERIOD* but DH wanted to not cheap out and buy the one with electric buttons. So we did and they delivered it the next day and set it up and told us we would have ice within 24 hrs. We never have had a ice maker or water dispenser before and waited 48hrs with no ice. I called Fridgedaire and they told me they would send someone out. So I scheduled a appointment with the appliance repair company for my 1 day old new fridge. The next day I waited for a call or someone to show up for 5 hrs. to no avail. Then I called the company and they proceeded to tell me I was not on the schedule. I came unglued and started calling Lowe's ( btw, somewhere my Dad a professional floor installer told me "never" to shop) and raising h@@. So they checked stock and decided to replace my new fridge with another new fridge. They came out the next day and we got ice after a few hrs after having to have the store manager come check out the bad installation. Fridge works fine now and I admit it is nice to have a new fridge.

Fast forward to yesterday morning- I am trying to fill the coffee tank with purified water from the fridge and water starts spraying out everywhere. I check the dispenser with a cup and it runs down the front all over the floor and is coming out of the housing unit by the light. I AM FURIOUS! I hate to say " I told you so" but " I told you so" a three month old fridge with a defect. I called the repair company and they will be out today. I cannot tell you how unsettling this is to me and I am going to go ahead and pay for a extended warranty now. I usually don't buy those on most items because I read not to but I am going to now.

Folks, the moral of this story is BUY A KENMORE and don't shop at Lowe's. If you are a man reading this story please learn to listen to your wife because she knows best.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy 10th birthday Conner

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with a 1/2 hr to spare

Rushing to get the slideshow done for Conner!

You know what bugs me? Women who let their husbands tell them how to vote. I have a couple friends who do this and it really bugs me. I really think you should read and think for yourself. Find your own voice and use it!

People that correct the way you address them during a conversation! That really bugs me too! I had this happen the other day and it really bugged me. I addressed the person but didn't say "good morning" and they decided to correct me PITA!

If you can't already tell it has been one of those days and I am ready to go to bed.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The whole Bean

Since Christmas is coming and some of you may be looking for gifts. I would like to recommend "The Whole Bean" the complete 14 episode collection. I got this as a birthday gift and have gotten much enjoyment out of it. The biggest thing is my kids even like it and it is fairly suitable for young kids. Only one episode so far has been objectionable and that was for semi-nudity. Today we were watching the Pet show and fair upstairs in Elizabeth's room and she looked over and said " Mommy, you are almost crying"

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Here is the part that made me cry:

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My other two boys

We have two other family members in our family. They can be heard in the video below and I will now formal introduce you to them.

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Max cito burrito- We adopted Max from the pound in April of 2001. He stuck out to me in the kennels and I asked to see him closer. We were looking for a Dachshund and he was marked dachshund/ lab mix( yes, you read that correctly). He seemed very sweet natured and we took him home. On the paper hanging from the clipboard it was marked he was found at large and that should have been a huge red flag. HE LOVES TO RUN AWAY! He sees that front door open and BAM! he is gone in a flash. He can run across four lanes of traffic like nobody's business. He also knows how to push doors open with his nose including the door into the garage. He has been very good with the kids, a good guard dog, companion and very smart. BUT, he is neurotic and needs prozac most of the time. He refuses to sit on anything but carpet and if you try to make him sit anywhere but he piddles. If you look at him the wrong way he piddles! He thinks he is human for the most part and I liken him to Felix Unger. He prefers Marty to any of us and sees him in the morning and goes nuts. He lays his head on Marty's chest in the morning when he goes to bed.

Here is a pic of Cito doing his famous sit pretty ( which he can do for a really long time)
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Oscar "The Do"- The kids went to a presentation at the Learning Center and learned about the SPCA. We saw a Doxie named LuLu that was a rescue dog. Talking with her owner we found out you could put your name in for a certain breed at the pound. Elizabeth had been wanting a dog that would sleep with her and since Max prefers adult human's to kid human's we decided to try adoption again. We put our name on the list and got a call last September to come see a male doxie mix. We found Oscar very happy to see us. He seemed very sweet and just so happy to see us and followed us along the kennel as we looked. He is the best dog! so sweet and happy all the time.He is not neurotic and his name fits the half of the odd couple. Max was not very happy to get a new friend and often resents us bringing this 'thing' into his life. Oscar loves attention and wants all of the attention to himself. He likes to play and so far has no bad habits that I know. He is happy go lucky and reminds me of the little dog on Toy Story. The other day we were talking about "The do" and how he is not very smart. Marty told me Oscar doesn't use that part of his brain and relies only on his good looks. Later I said something about using his brain and Elizabeth said " He doesn't use that function"

Here is a pic of him doing his famous "Stop,Drop and Roll'
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dinner at home

We were eating a quick dinner before bowling, Elizabeth was anticipating going to a sleepover and Conner was being well Conner. Two things to listen for Elizabeth saying birthday " birthday day" it is so funny. Then Conner says "Daddy" about every other word in a conversation with Marty. Also you will see he will tell you he is 01 instead of 10!

Sorry in advance for the talking while chewing!

PS you have to go pause the music player at the bottom of the page.

A dinner at our house from Just Jules on Vimeo.

Friday, November 9, 2007

10 yrs and a bit of melancholy

I am almost the mother of a 10yr. old. and that is causing much melancholy on my part. I was crying to Marty this morning about how big Conner is getting and it is so hard to remember him being a baby. I miss those days now but then when I was tired and sleep deprived I wished them away. I couldn't wait for him to walk, talk, sleep through the night and be a little person. He has grown up so fast and it is even getting hard to remember all of his bad years. The ages 2-5 were very difficult years with him. He was so active and full of energy and a huge challenge to deal with at times. He wasn't mean, didn't bite, didn't hit but he just got into things, was rambunctious and curious. All not bad things in themselves but with two working parents it could be a challenge.

Now I find myself thinking only three years until he is a teenager. He personally wants to be a teenager NOW but I now am wanting him to stay little. So funny how things change and roles reverse as the years go on. My goal now is to prepare him for college, prepare as much as we can for facing teen yrs and do lots of praying.

I am working on creating a slide show of the first ten yrs. for him. I think it is more for me than anything to help me look back and take perspective of all that has passed since it went so fast. I better stop or else I will be a crying mess!


I am thinking about going back to school. I would like to do this online or by testing out through a accelerated learning program.I am still not 100% sure of how this will all work out. I read a book about accelerated distance learning. It seems to give much food for thought. I gave up school to be a wife and mother and now faced with the fact of my husbands health I need to have a back up plan. I am leaning two ways teaching or nursing followed by becoming a midwife. I enjoyed my time working in Labor and Delivery and think I would like to continue in this area. The math is daunting to me and mainly fear is holding me back. I am thinking now is not the time but if not now when?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


No, I am not talking about our vicar. That is how Conner says bicker and now his sister has followed suit.

Our kids are really good friends and have always been. We have been very lucky to never experience much sibling rivalry around our house. Until now things have been good. All of the sudden we have a lot of bickering and fighting.

 Elizabeth is the baby of this family and we will all admit to spoiling her rotten. Conner is the biggest culprit of giving her whatever she wants and now that has come to haunt him.

 She has taken to hitting and throwing things at him and this is not okay. We have had anger management 101 around here and she has the Brown family temper for sure. Throw that in with a stubborn streak a mile wide and we have issues.

Her complaint against Conner is that he bosses her around and tattle's on her. She tells me " I never tattle on him ever,ever,ever!!!!!!!" ( you must re-read that line whining) So I have been trying to tame the temper and teach conflict resolution. UGHHHH!

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A/N editing this four years later and nothing has changed. 1/9/2013 Six years and counting....the teen years have set it

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Good news

Marty has been accepted for dual transplant and will be listed as soon as one lab comes back! YAY! This is the best news we have had in a long time.

Today is the day

The transplant team meets together today at Stanford to decide whether to accept,defer or decline Marty. Please pray that they accept him.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Just another Manic Monday

I hit the wall running yesterday. I think all of the going and running finally did me in and I just crashed. We have been doing so much lately I have had no time to rest. I watched the Amazing Race with the kids last night and then crawled into bed at 9 p.m. after putting them to bed. I felt like I slept in today since we fell back and have done okay. I got my monthly friend today and now really feel like crap. I am sure I will feel better tomorrow! Elizabeth whined her way through school today and was very difficult. School is very easy for her but she doesn't like to apply herself in the area of handwriting. Conner did really well but is going 1000 miles a hr. as usual and I am on the slow bus today.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

How Dooce saved Conner's life

As mentioned previously here we got new floor tiles. Previously to that we had the world's worst carpet that was here when we moved in this house. My dad was able to get us a good deal on carpet tile ( free) from a job he worked on. So we put it down and I love it because it is so clean and new.

Anyways I thought it was cute but not fashionable in the least bit. Then I read this blog onDooce I was blown away that I might be fashionable with my new carpet. I quickly noted her tip about baby wipes and went out and bought a box. The next day I was cleaning upstairs and I hear some banging going on downstairs. I come over the railing to see Conner taking apart the ladder to the pool in the middle of the living room. I told him to get it off the carpet and as I say this I see rust water drain out all over the carpet tiles...."noooooooo" in slow motion. I run and grab my newly purchased baby wipes and guess what??? it worked. The next day I come home from a meeting and Conner has polished Marty's work boots on the new carpet and left behind black marks. I used the wipes and it came right up! I then proceeded to sit Conner down and tell him that he is never to do anything on the carpet EVER! If he needs to work on something go out into the garage and do it. He is just a very busy boy and still is at 10. He is a big helper and so kind,friendly and loving. He just gets into the biggest scrapes since he was able to move. I can watch him 24 hrs a day and something still happens. He has outgrown this to some extent and mostly is doing good and means well.

Thank goodness for Dooce!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

It's all in the list

I am going with on a vacation withDi. Anybody want to join us? Can I suggest England? We are taking a much needed break! I wish!

About two months ago Marty and I were grocery shopping. I was trying to figure out some meals in the store and he said to me " Maybe you should make a list and figure this out before we come to the store?" I could have pushed the cart and him and left at that moment. You figure it out!

Anyways, the next day I dragged every cookbook out and made a menu and a list. I have a very good memory and truthfully am not a list maker because I can remember everything without looking at the list. Begrudgingly I made a list and did my thing..... I really liked it and have to admit dinners were a breeze the next week. I was looking for a template to make a permanent list and came across this websiteGrocery list

What a hoot to read people's lists and see what random items people buy. I have been leaving my list in the cart every time I go and so far have not found a list to turn in. I have to admit that when we found out Marty would have to eat a low sodium, low potassium, low phosphorus diet menu planning was a lifesaver. I have been getting recipes from a dialysis website and making them every night. They are actually pretty good! I was hoping I would lose some weight but no cigar. I do like knowing what I am buying and things have been going a lot smoother.

For those of you who don't like to cook you should look into Dream Dinners as a solution. I did this for a few months last year and everything we got was very tasty and you only go once a month and make really great meals to freeze. Because of the new diet in our home I can't go anymore but highly recommend this company.

Happy shopping!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Six degrees of blogeration

I am going to jump on the bandwagon and try to blog everyday in November. You can read more about that here

I started reading blogs about 4 yrs. ago first it was just a friends blog and then it became complete strangers blogs. At first it is a little wierd and at times you feel almost like a voyeur reading about someone you don't know. I am sure it is wierd not only for you but for them also. Putting your stuff out in front of millions of complete strangers can be unsettling to say the least. Then you get used to it and really don't notice as much. I started a blog on blog-city a few years ago but just couldn't keep up with it. Then I went back to blogging on myspace and it took off with it's own readership. Now I have been blogging for 3yrs. and have a archive to back it up. Now I have official become addicted to blogging and using it as a way to share emotions or stories that I might not share in person.

As much as I am addicted to blogging there is a even bigger addiction behind that. I love to read blogs and have many I read on a regular basis. Most of them are on myspace and I subscribe to them so everytime a blog is written it comes to my inbox to read. My favorite is Curt Smith of the band Tears for Fears since he has a way with words and his personality really comes through. I read some of my girlfriends from high school's blogs and hear about their daily lives.

My favorite blogs are of three people I don't know IRL at all. Andrea's blog is my first blog that I started reading on a regular basis. I will now out myself as to how I became a reader of her blog. I grew up in the same town as her and my whole entire family still lives there minus me. I had a childhood best friend Christena Pinkerton who I have always stayed in contact with since well forever. Her grandma used to babysit for my sister and I and Christena was being raised by her. When my parents divorced I would go stay every weekend with my Dad at his house in Whittier. Christena went to school with Andrea and once invited my Dad and I to go see Andrea at her job. So we went picked up Andrea's dad and took Christena to see Andrea at her job and I met her, her dad and mom. It was great fun but I never met her again or heard about her from Christena after high school. So flash forward a bazillion years and I wonder what happened to Andrea and some how I came across her blog. I can't remember how but I do remember it was a blog on Cat and The custard cup one of my most favorite restaurant's growing up. It is a great story of her family and how they became a family. I identify with many themes in her life wife, mother, giving up a career, just being in our 30's, being a anglophile. Somedays it is like reading the story of my life with different cast of characters. I love her candor and humor and now the words PITA and asshat have become a regular in my vocabulary. In the end it is not about someone from the past but who that person is now . Sometimes my life still crosses path with her's in degrees of separation. Her brother handled my grandparents estate when they died a few years ago. I now work alongside her friend C leading a bible study on her site for her. It is a small world after-all !

Then when she had kids and couldn't blog daily I started to read the blog's on her blog roll. I quickly added Dooce and Di's blog to my regular reading. Di is another mom, wife and daughter who was going through the loss of her father the same time I lost my two grandparents. I love reading Dooce and her acerbic wit and fabulous style. She saved Conner's life a few weeks ago but that is yet another blog in itself. This is a long one but I always wanted a way to share my interest in blogging and my little story of how I became to be a blog reader.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Jack Sparrow

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Snow Queen
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Cute Kids
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Cat pumpkin ( Elizabeth's)
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Doxie pumpkin ( Conner's)
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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The miracle at Stanford

I think this is the best day since May when we first found out Marty's kidneys were failing. We drove to Stanford a 475 mile round trip from our home. Our first choice was St.Vincent's in Long Beach since our family all lives in that area. We got a call from Stanford that we were referred there instead. We weren't happy but we were desperate to get the ball rolling on transplantation before he has to go on Dialysis.

We drove up Friday the 26th for a teaching session and he was definitely the healthiest in the room besides being one of the youngest people. He did some routine blood work, chest x-ray and ekg that day and we learned what this next appointment would entail. We had talked and decided I would be screened to be a donor for him first before the others who offered.

Today, the second trip to meet with the transplant team:

We were told to expect to be there all day. They put us in a little exam room and the team one by one came in to speak with us. First the coordinator took a health history and told him he is o+ blood type which means a 7 yr. wait for a deceased donor. Good news is I am also o+ blood type and that was encouraging. She asks him if he is interested in a kidney/ pancreas transplant as he is a type 1 diabetic. He says "Yes, that was our first choice but we were told the wait was much longer and we would rather go the living donor route." she proceeds to explain that our Dr. hear in Visalia has told us wrong and the wait time is actually shorter for K/P transplant. SHOCK and then pure elation!

We meet with the social worker next and she mainly calms my husbands fears about being able to continue working and keeping his job. He is a Police officer and has worked very hard to get there on top of being our sole provider. Plus being only 31 yrs old he needs to work and has been told this by many physicians. She assured him that he would only need to take FMLA leave and she has never heard of termination because of kidney failure. That was very helpful as he has been struggling with this. She asked if he was under any stress from anything...DUH, hello my kidneys are failing and I am 31 with two small children and a wife! Then she asked him what he did to cope with stress... He told her " I like to buy things" and I started laughing insanely because it is the truth. He loves TV's, Bass guitars and anything electronic..we aren't talking cheap.

The transplant Nephrologist comes in and speaks with us next and what she tells us makes me cry. She tells Marty the same thing he has been told all day. He is very healthy for being a type 1 diabetic and is a good candidate for transplantation. She also recommends a K/P transplant instead of Dialysis. His age and health are a big factor in this decision and work to his advantage. She then proceeds to tell us the bay area has a very low percentage of Type 1 diabetics and because the list is seperate the wait is only 1 yr or less for K/P tranplant. I being to feel like I will come unglued and burst at any moment...the elation is beyond measure. IT is a miracle!

They took a blood sample to measure his c-peptides to confirm that he is type 1 diabetic and then they will present his case to the transplant team next week. I was ruled out as a donor for now because apparently I am extremely obese on the BMI scale and this was sucky news for me. Since they are recommending K/P transplant anyways it didn't matter. K/P transplant organs only come from cadaver donors. That's a whole nother blog and discussion.

Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts today. We felt them and were lifted up by them.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Happy birthday Gramps

You are missed more and more each day. It hardly seems like two without you and I can still hear you singing this song:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Fall around our house

It has been awhile since I have had the chance to sit down and blog. We have been so busy that I hardly sit down anymore.

School~ is going the best ever. Conner has made so much progress and is picking up the pace. While he still struggles it is far lesser occurrence than before. All the years of patiently waiting and re-teaching have paid off two fold. Elizabeth is extremely advanced and is learning on her brother's level. So we have two fourth graders in a lot of ways. I am able to teach them from the same curriculum and it is beneficial to both.

Bowling~ The kids started bowling in a league. Elizabeth is on a bumpers team with a three yr. old boy who is a doll. They are the number 1 team in the league right now and she is 1st in the standings for girls. Conner is bowling without bumpers and is making progress. It is a lot harder and he is holding his own. Marty has been bowling in a league again and now I have joined him. I am not good and really have a lot of respect for Conner who does better than me most days.

Sign language~ We are taking a sign language class this semester. It is a homeschool class taught by a lady from the deaf and hard of hearing center. Conner has wanted to learn sign since he has a deaf friend and we need to take the class alongside of him. He is really good at it since he is a visual learner. Elizabeth has picked it up quite well and I am muddling through. Those of you who know me well know that I am very uncoordinated and this takes coordination. It is a challenge!

Floors~ My dad surprised us a few weeks ago and put new floors in our living room and dining area. They are beautiful and we are enjoying them.

Marty~ He is doing well and still feeling good. He has been taking Procrit which has given him more energy these days. We are traveling to Stanford twice this month to learn more about transplantation. Everyone seems to think he is a good candidate and we hope to find success with a transplant. We have a positive outlook for the future and are just trying to live one day at a time.

Conner's haircut~ Marty took Conner to the Barber and asked for a crew cut. Whatever this ladies idea was it isn't a crew cut and he is all but bald. We keep kissing his head and telling him that he has less hair than when he was born. Later we found out she asked him if he liked it short and he told her yes. Poor guy!

Overall, we are happily busy and joyful around here in this house. Life is good :)

Here is the kids with our new floors and Conner with his haircut:Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I love this..My day in 2minutes and 55 seconds

My auntie Mags sent this to me and I think it describes my day around home perfectly:

Friday, September 7, 2007


I need to stop to write everything down before I forget.

We have been very busy the past month doing a lot of different things. We started our home-school back up again in August and things couldn't be better. The kids both have made huge progress and just amaze me at their achievements. Conner is really making huge leaps with his reading and that makes life so much easier. Elizabeth is such a good student and we struggle more with attitude from her than anything. We are studying Astronomy and really have been enjoying learning about the heavens and the earth.

This will be the first time I share this publicly and it is unnerving to do so. We found out in May that Marty has Chronic Renal failure. His kidneys are failing and he will need dialysis and a transplant. It has been quite a shock to us as we had no clue this was happening. His previous Dr. dropped the ball and never told us. He felt he needed to change Dr.'s and we found out in two days. This is a lot of information to process and go through. I feel a peace about it and know it will all work out. Marty is struggling with this and is not ready to speak about it yet. So if you know him and read this talk to me not him if he wants to talk about it he will. We just received a call from Stanford and will be going up there soon to find out more about a kidney/pancreas transplant. We have wanted to be referred to LA for transplant so we could be near our families during the surgery and recovery. We heard the outcomes at Stanford are better but we still wanted LA so we could be near family. When Stanford called we took the hint that maybe that is where we are supposed to go even if it is incovienent. I will be writing my updates on here for everyone as promised. Marty doesn't read this since sometimes it's about him and he doesn't like to read about himself.

Okay, now for some light hearted talk. The kids start bowling league tomorrow and then we are going camping for my birthday and then Marty and I are going on a secret getaway that he has planned for us. YAY! he says he should be good for about 5 yrs. after this surprise...."Yeah Right"

I will leave you with two kid stories:

We went out to eat with my Dad last weekend at a Steakhouse. Elizabeth ordered ribs and when they came it looked like something off the Flintstones they were huge for a child's plate. Conner looks at her and in all seriousness says " Hey sis, you can take those home and clean the meat off and keep the bone in your room." ????? What???? I thought he was going to say " give them to the dogs" but I should have known it was Conner and it would be something random. What a kid~!

So now a Elizabeth story: The next day my Dad wanted to buy me a birthday present and I wanted binoculars so we went to Wal-Mart since it is close. On the way into the store I hear a hissing sound and realize it is our car. The tire picked something up in the parking lot and we had to buy a new tire. Thank goodness that we were at Wal-Mart and could get one so easily. We had to wait two hrs. and were trapped in Wal-Mart for two hours. So we went and looked around and looked around some more. As we were walking out of the electronics dept. I am suddenly hit in the head with one of these Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
in the head. I looked over at a group of teenagers with the death glare. I refrained from saying anything but I heard the guilty party say " I didn't mean to hit her..but it was funny" all of the sudden out of the corner of my eye I see...Elizabeth reeling back and a mad look on her face and she is poised like this
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and she kicked the ball hard right at the girl. I don't condone payback or a eye for a eye but in that moment I laughed and was so proud of her for sticking up for her Momma! I guess the older girl got really upset when she was outdone by a 7yr. old.

Friday, August 31, 2007

10 years

A beautiful young girl
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A mother
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My favorite Diana photo of all time( I almost cried last night when I saw it)
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I even re-created the pose on my own wedding day.
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She will always remain forever young and beautiful.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I am so excited a new Mr.Bean movie comes out today. I love Mr.Bean and have been a fan for many years. We are going to see the new movie this afternoon as a family and I have been introducing my kids to world of Mr.Bean the past few weeks. Here is a little clip of my favorite all time Mr.Bean sketch:

I am going to update you on all the goings on around here very soon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I just lost a whole blog and now must start again.............

We went on vacation last week mainly we stayed home and made lots of day trips around CA. My dear friend Stacy came from Ohio to visit and we were able to show her many parts of CA. We had a great time and miss her dearly now that she is gone back home. Here are a few pics
Stacy and I
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My family
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A giant sequoia the largest living thing on earth
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