Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Christmas eve tradition

The kids always sleep out in the living room. I took a video this year. I always want to remember times like these because I know someday they will be grown. Conner brought his radio out and a Beach Boys song was playing in the background. It really was sweet.

The haystack controversy

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas this year? We had a great Christmas. It was quiet with just the four of us staying home and enjoying each others company. One of our favorite things is baking all kinds of goodies to enjoy. This year we made six kinds of cookies to enjoy over the holidays.

A family favorite is haystacks. My Grandma Brown made them and Marty's Dad made them, they are Marty's absolute favorite. I really never eat them personally but Marty and the kids love them. They are the easiest cookie to make, all you do is melt butterscotch chips and pour them over chow mein noodles. Simple enough, watched Grandma do it a million times.

WRONG! Starting a couple of years ago, the chips started burning in the microwave. No matter what power or how short a cooking time, the chips would burn. So I switched to melting the chips in a double boiler, but still the wouldn't melt and tended to be chalky. My haystacks would crumble.

I found several recipes online and most of them called for peanut butter mixed in. I tried that and they crumbled. One year, my Dad came and told me to melt the peanut butter. WAH LA, success the chips melted and you couldn't taste the peanut butter. I would put the peanut butter in the double boiler and melt it, then melt the chips pouring the peanut butter slowly in.

I was talking to my cousin Sarah on the phone. Their haystacks crumbled and there was quite the difference of opinions on how to make them. One thing we all agree on is, Nestle must have changed their recipe within the last several years because the chips just won't melt. One aunt thinks you put parafin in, one aunt thinks butter, everyone else thinks just the butterscotch chips. This year even melting the peanut butter in the chips wouldn't melt. So I added some cooking oil and was successful. I guess my other cousin burned her chips and my cousin Sarah said their's crumbled.

I am going to forward this blog to Nestle customer service. We all want to know what happened. Here is a picture of my new placemats made by Elizabeth, my new dishes from Marty and the cookie in question.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010 Fun facts

It's that time of year again, time for our annual Christmas letter. Once again I am not sending out cards this year, I am trying to keep the stress level at a minimum and this was one thing that can be put off. So the Christmas letter is a Christmas blog once again.

This year we will give you some Timms family fun facts!

Fun fact: This is our 17th Christmas together

Fun fact: Marty and I got engaged on December 7th, 1994 and actually wanted to get married on December 7th, 1996 but changed our minds. I am glad we didn't do that now, we wouldn't have ever been able to have the great anniversary trips or nights out.

Fun fact: Almost all of our parent's birthdays are in December. My Dad on the 20th, My mom on the 24th and his dad's was the 31st. My Gramie also had a birthday on Christmas day.

Fun fact: this is our 14th Christmas married

Fun fact:  This is our 13th Christmas as parents

Fun fact: Conner was actually due December 17th but in true Conner fashion he was a month early. I am really glad for that now! He gets a birthday and Christmas instead of both smooshed together.

Fun fact: This is our 11th Christmas living in Visalia

Fun fact: This is our 10th Christmas as parents of a daughter

Fun fact from Elizabeth: "Daddy eats all the cookies before Christmas"

Fun fact: Marty and Conner's favorite Christmas song is "Little Drummer Boy". Marty loves it because his best Christmas memory is laying in his Dad's bed with the radio playing that song in the background.

Fun fact: Elizabeth's favorite Christmas song is "Joy to the world" and Julie can't pick just one

Fun fact: On Christmas eve starting at 8pm we will watch as much of the 24 hours of a Christmas Story marathon as we can.

Fun fact: We sleep out in the living room on Christmas eve.

Fun fact from Conner: " We play hide the pickle on Christmas day. Momma's grandma always did this and we do too."

Fun fact: our dog Max is celebrating his 9th Christmas with our family and those who know him, know this is a small miracle.

Fun fact: our dog Oscar is celebrating his 4th Christmas with our family and loving laying by the fire each night.

Fun fact: Conner loves Christmas lights and every year decorates the bush in front of our house. We call it his "Christmas bush"

Fun fact: this is our first year EVER that we are all done shopping and all the gifts are wrapped before Christmas eve.

Fun fact: we bake lots of cookies and goodies this time of year. Marty and Conner's favorite are haystacks, Julie's favorite are buckeyes and Elizabeth loves decorated sugar cookies.


It has been a great year for our family. Conner is now a teenager, so hard to believe and something that makes us a bit verklempt. Elizabeth is now 10 and growing into quite the young lady. Marty is still working for the state and I am still staying home and homeschooling amongst other things.

We were able to make our triumphant return to Southern California after a two year hiatus. It was fun to be with our family and celebrate the wedding of Julie's cousin Marissa.

  We also got to see many old friends, many of whom we hadn't seen in 15 years plus. We also got to spend time with our good friend's the Jasso's and the Rytky's, our families have become friends over the last four years.

 It was nice to be back in our old hometowns. Our favorite highlight of one trip was taking the kids to every school we attended and showing them the landmarks of our youth.  Marty's favorite part was showing the kids his old home

Julie's favorite part was taking the kids to see where we were married at the Disneyland hotel. I must admit and this will shock nobody that I had a good cry, taking our kids to see the spot where it all began.

The kids highlight was being able to go to Disneyland with Grandma after a few years of not being able to go. They had a great time while we attended the wedding. We were able to go back to see World of Color as a family the next day.

Over all, it has been a long year for the Timms family. Full of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But through it all there has been much love, joy, faith and happiness. We are thankful for all of you, our friends who have supported us and been cheering us on along the way. We wish all of you a merry Christmas and a very Happy 2011.

Julie, Marty,Conner and Elizabeth

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Not our turn

Stanford called and the pancreas will go to the first offer. We are at complete peace with this and pretty much had felt this was the way things would go. It was great practice for the real thing and just what we needed. Our spirits are lifted, our confidence has returned, we know, he is next! What a shot in the arm, just what the doctor ordered.

  We now feel joy and complete happiness for the person whose life will change today. We all know, we have been praying for the donor and their family. It wasn't the right person and it wasn't God's appointed time. We were scheduled to go to our homeschool Christmas party yesterday. I was out running errands in the rainy mess. Several streets and even our freeway have been flooded. The party was out in the country and I felt unsafe driving there by myself. Marty was going to stay home with Conner who is sick. I called to cancel because I just had a feeling, I wasn't supposed to go. Twenty minutes later, the call came and I knew why. I had to text people, call people, make arrangments for the kids,. Larry and Joyce, the retired couple from church who are the primary for watching the kids cannot watch them. Larry is in ICU on a ventilator waiting for quad bypass surgery. My mom who is going to care for them long term has a houseful of company. My Dad has to work. But, our good friends Becky and Greg stepped up as well as our friend's Stacy and Jim. Then Rachel aka crazy Rachel offered to drive and pick them up for my parents. We called our friend Matt who has banking duties and put him on alert.

 It just wasn't quite settled, so we knew it wasn't time. Good news, my binder worked great( I have a binder with household information, medical releases and all the pertinent information to run our house) and we all got bags packed in record time. Everything went smoothly in that department. I feel like we are now truly ready for the call to come.

  The good thing to come from this is the overwhelming relief, joy and hope. We know they know our number, we know he is next in line, we felt lifted and supported yesterday. We are just joyful and at complete peace. We are glad to be home to care for Conner and have Christmas together.

 We know God is sovereign and at his appointed time, everything will fall into place. Thank you all for your support, we feel each one of you holding us up!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stanford called for real!

Last week, Elizabeth was playing Angry Birds on my phone. Marty and I were doing a exchange in our room. Elizabeth came in, pale, shaken and teary eyed. She said, " I was coming to give you the phone when I heared God say to me, " go tell your parents your Dad is going to get his call in a month." I heard him mommy, I really did."

I hugged her and told her we belived her. The look on her face said it all, she really heard that. We all prayed together and knew it might not happen.

Fast forward to this afternoon. Marty and I were doing a exchange when the phone rang. It was Stanford asking to speak to him. They were asking about insurance, if he has been sick, we just assumed they were doing their check in. The lady spoke to me and stated, "you understand this is a offer, he is on standby. We have two others ahead of him but if they dont pass their criteria he is next." We will know in 24hrs if this is our turn. If not, it was great practice.

We have called, texted, blogged and set everything up for the kids care. We are ready to go if need be.

If you remember in October, my friend from Georgia saying a call would come in 48 to 72 hours. Then in 72 hours my friend Michelle called crying saying God told her everything was in place. Then my friend in Maryland said December 15th, the next day is when Elizabeth came crying. We know God is working and we are hopeful the end is near.
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Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hustle and Bustle

Ahh, the holidays there is nothing like them. If you are a faithful blog reader, you will know that I love the holidays and the traditions they hold. My family loves Christmas and I grew up with super festivities every year and many traditions to pass on. My kids now thirteen and ten are sticklers and remind me what is a must have tradition.

We added the stocking exchange but skipped the town Christmas parade. Instead, we went to the historic Fox Theater and watched our favorite Christmas movie "A Christmas Story" on the big screen. We had so much fun listening to the organ prelude which harkened back to the days when going to the movies was a big deal. We laughed and recited our favorite lines in the appropriate places.  Definitely a great memory.

Friday my mom came for a short visit to celebrate Christmas with my little family. We took the kids down the street to a nursing home which has put up millions of lights. This used to be a nursing home with a bad reputation in our town. It was bought over the summer and we have been watching them build gardens throughout the summer. To our surprise after Thanksgiving lights started to go up, everyday we pass by and more and more lights would appear. They offered a open house this weekend complete with Santa falling from the night sky ( this was canceled due to rain, but Santa was going to be parachuting.) So we took my two year old great nephew to view the lights and we very impressed.

 What a great service to the elderly and their family, also to the neighbors who get to drive by each day. There is nothing like this in our community and we were very impressed. They had a barn with live goats and nativity. A house with Santa and Mrs.Claus, snow machines going, a gingerbread house, painted streets and so much more.

Then last night we attended a Christmas musical at our good friend's church. We have two sets of friends who attended church with us years ago and now go to the same church. It was great to see their kids singing, one friend running a puppet show, her daughters acting in a skit. One friend played drums and shared his emotional testimony of losing his sister. It was really a wonderful night and great to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus birth.

We ate soup and tamales, watched old movies. It has been a great week before Christmas. One last party to attend tomorrow and then we will settle in and enjoy the holiday very quietly. It is the perfect year to try new things and to skip out on some things. We needed a change this Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010


 I got this in a email from my friend Traci after my last blog. It really moved me and I thought it should be passed along, since many of us are going through trials. Traci is a hero of mine, one of my sisters of the heart and a true inspiration. Her son Josh has Duchenne's Muscular Dystrophy and she is a full time caregiver for him, a homeschooling mom to her other two sons. When she speaks, I listen because she has dealt with things I could never deal with, doing so very honorably and courageously.

The Secret Place

From My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
February 14, 2005

“What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light; and what ye hear
in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.”  Matthew 10:27

At times God puts us through the discipline of darkness to teach us to heed Him.  Song birds are taught to sing in the dark, and we are put into the shadow of God’s hand until we learn to hear Him.  “What I tell you in darkness”—watch where God puts you into darkness, and when you are there keep your mouth shut.  Are you in the dark just now in your circumstances, or in your life with God?  Then remain quiet.  If you open your mouth in the dark, you will talk in the wrong mood: darkness is the time to listen.  Don’t talk to other people about it; don’t read books to find out the reason of the darkness, but listen and heed.  If you talk to other people, you cannot hear what God is saying.  When you are in the dark, listen, and God will give you a very precious message for someone else when you get into the light.
After every time of darkness there comes a mixture of delight and humiliation (if there is delight only, I question whether we have heard God at all), delight I hearing God speak, but chiefly humiliation—What a long time I was in hearing that!  How slow I have been in understanding that!  And yet God has been saying it all these days and weeks. Now He gives you the gift of humiliation which brings the softness of heart that will always listen to God now.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

just one more thing

We got a call yesterday. Marty didn't pass his dialysis clearance, meaning he is getting adequate dialysis. So now we have to add another treatment or more fluid. For now, we will go to five treatments a day until we can get bigger bags of fluid.

 We feel very battered and bruised this week. One more thing to add to the growing list of things happening unfavorably. It is tough when you are doing everything they tell you and still feeling badly. This could be the reason for some of his other issues but he just feels discouraged and down.

Please pray for us during this time. We are weary and frayed around the edges. We just want this to all be over and move on.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The answer is not now

We got a form letter of sorts from UC Davis in the mail on Saturday. Their decision is to not list Marty at this time. The reasoning? he needs to lose 15 pounds, have 100 percent compliance with his hemo dialysis regimen and good lab values.

Wait, back up......hemo dialysis? he doesn't even do hemo dialysis! He does peritoneal dialysis and every treatment daily.

This is just what we needed, the door being shut. Obviously, we already knew UC Davis wasn't going to be a fit for us when we left there. This just sealed the deal.

The didn't even know the wait time for Kidney/Pancreas and seemed unwilling to do that transplant.

So we are waiting and sticking with Stanford. Our trip to Davis did show me what a better fit Stanford is and how their patient treatment is bar none.

Marty is scared this will cause problems with Stanford. I intend to call them this week and check in......again, asking if their is ANYTHING we need to know or can do. Marty was very discouraged, he is starting to feel like he may never get this transplant and it is tough watching his health get worse while waiting.

All we can do is pray and know that God's timing is perfect timing.

Friday, December 10, 2010

New tradition

We have many traditions at Christmas, sometimes almost too many to keep up with at times. This year Marty came up with a new tradition, a stocking exchange. Now that the kids are older stockings aren't the same and Marty and I never buy anything for ourselves.

  So we drew names, went to the dollar tree and spent a set amount of money. It was fun and the secret keeping around here has hit a new high which adds to the fun. The kids loved being able to participate and everyone already agrees this is a keeper.

I will let you know how it turns out!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Did you know?

You can sign up and get my posts straight to your email. Up in the right hand corner it says "Subscribe By Email" click on the link and enter your email address. Never miss a blog again!

I guess nobody enjoys the silence!

You love me, you really do! ( my best Sally Fields impression), I guess everyone loves the chatty Julie and when I get quiet they know, something is off. I am okay ;)

Yes, I have been a bit down and discouraged lately. Marty recently had a new problem crop up that is a bit scary to us. We just wonder, how much more? Why us? Can't we have a break now? Just seems like more and more is going wrong and the transplant just doesn't seem to be coming fast enough. We are really hanging on by a thread.

On top of that, life is just really busy. For the first time in my adult life, I have done all of my shopping and have everything wrapped. Doing laundry everyday this week because my washer was leaking last week. Teaching school. Plus, Marty is home from work right now and we are all four home all the time, which translates...........my house is messy!

I recently met a new woman in our church. She told me she wanted me to help with women's events, she didn't know me but every time she sees me, I am smiling and happy even in the hard stuff. So, even though I am quiet, I am still smiling and happy.

Thanks for loving me and worrying about me. It really means the world to me to know, people really do care!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The end of NaBloPoMo 2010

This month has flown by, seems like just yesterday it was starting and now it is finished. This was a different year of NaBlo for me, the first time both parents and Marty read along.  It was fun having them cheer me on with my blogging and encouraging me to blog.  In fact, this month was my highest rated month ever on my blog tracker, I had over 1121 hits on my blog this month. WOW! That many people read this thing?

Congrats to Di who made it through another year, we both missed Andrea this year. My friend Sam did a great job posting, her first time ever participating. It is fun when your friends blog along and encourage you to blog.

I am glad to not have to blog tomorrow, I am sure all of you are glad also. I still have several fresh blogs in my head and am sure my hiatus won't be too long!

Thanks for reading and supporting me!