Friday, December 30, 2011

You Tell Me

So you've heard about my favorite moments of 2011 this week. Now you share your favorite moments with me. If you have a blog leave a link, if you don't leave a comment and tell me what was your favorite part of 2011?

I thought this would be a fun way to get to know my readers and host a link party. I will read all the blogs that link and leave comments.

So let's hear it, what was your favorite moment of 2011?

Grab the code and put it on your blog post

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 in Review: Royal Wedding Mania

Everyone knows my true favorite day of 2011 but I had to share my other favorite non-personal day. The day of the Royal Wedding was amazing. The mania started the day Wills and Kate announced their wedding and built to a fever pitch the day of the wedding.

 I made fascinators with my friend Rachel and daughter Elizabeth while waiting for the wedding. We stayed up all night long snacking on some of the many gifts sent to me by friends around the world. YES, I got gifts for the Royal Wedding!Did you get gifts? That is how crazy things got for me.

 I was gifted a plate and mug, a Di ring reaction, a Big Ben clock, paper cups from Di and Charles wedding, two commemorative coins one from Di and Charles wedding and one from Wills and Kate's wedding. I was also gifted tea and cookies to eat during my party!

 We stayed up all night long and it was truly amazing. I was receiving texts and tweets from around the world. It was a worldwide party. Truly one of the best days of 2011.

 Here are some of my Royal Wedding blogs

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 in Pictures

A few months ago, Marty came to me and played this song from the Zac Brown Band "Free", he went on to explain that is how he feels now that he has been transplanted.

We were free of dialysis, constant phone calls from doctors and many of the burdens we had been facing. The first picture in the slideshow is pre-transplant since he lived 11 days on dialysis this year.

We were free as we will ever be and have the pictures to prove it.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

One of the Best Year's of My Life

2011 has flown by! Seems like just yesterday we were ringing in 2011. The end of last year wasn't a good time for me personally. I was tired, weary and worn out. In fact, I broke a tradition and didn't write a end of the year blog as I usually do. I was so overwhelmed with life it probably didn't cross my mind.

2011 will forever be remember as one of the best years of my life. It broke a five year long streak of bad years and was glorious. The first 10 days really weren't great but the next 355 were wonderful. I would say we really started living again on January 11th when Marty got the call. We had stopped living life way back in 2006 and really never could get our head above water.

This year we LIVED! We haven't stopped going since the minute Marty left the hospital and especially since we came home on February 14th. We started biking daily, reconnecting friendships, eating new things, making new friends and seeing new places.

The Packers won the Superbowl, We once again  traveled to the Amgen Tour of California, I saw my first love live in concert, I started swimming again, Elizabeth did a triathalon, Marty stopped taking insulin, Conner played water polo.

Our highlight as a family was traveling to Georgia, seeing new places, friends and family. It truly was a wonderful vacation and getaway for our family. The kids and I traveled to Yosemite will our good friends Heather,Kenny,Chris and Chloe.

I don't want to be redundant, harpy or annoying. It has to be said, the impact has been too powerful and it really has changed our life.

NONE of these things wouldn't have happened without the choice of a complete stranger. A parent or family member on the worst day of their life made a choice. They made the choice to donate the organs of their child,sibling, friend. They made a choice to give something to a complete stranger. How many of us could do that? I have to say it, because it completely overwhelms me. I carry that with me every single day. Every time I laugh, take a deep breath and look at my husband, I think of this choice. I don't think any amount of preparation would have prepared me for this. I'm constantly overwhelmed with gratitude.

Soon I will let you hear from Marty. I think he will be making a guest blog soon and tell you from his heart how he feels.

If you would like to look back at past years New Year's posts, here they are;





2010: It was bad. End of story.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Letter 2011

As long as we have been married and sent cards, I've written a Christmas letter. The last few years, I 've just posted the letter on the blog. I like having them all in one place. Here is the 2011 version:

D- is for donor. January 11 at 4:45 pm came the phone call we were waiting for. A donor that matched came available for Marty. Almost a month to the day that God had told Elizabeth the call would come. We rushed to Stanford scared, worried and excited. 8 am on January 12th Marty was transplanted with a new pancreas and kidney from a 18 year old donor.

Nothing could have prepared us for the changes and joy this would bring to our life. We are so thankful to all the people who prayed for us, waited with us, stood by and held our hand. This Christmas day pray for the donor family who will be missing their child. We are eternally grateful to them for giving the gift of life to our family.

O-Old. Conner is now 14 years old and in 8th grade. He played Water Polo this summer and loved it. He enjoys watching Cycling, going to pro-cycling races and riding his bike most of all. He is always making us laugh and a very handy young man. He can fix almost anything around the house and is a big help. We find it very hard to believe we are parents of a teenager who will be able to drive in two years. Makes us feel very old even though we are still very young.

N- Normal. We just love normal everyday life. I can never get tired of saying that life is boring, normal,mudane and slow. We don't miss the dialysis, worry, sadness, dark times at all. We enjoy each and every day Marty is well.

A-A new endeavor. I ( Julie) have recently started swimming with a local swimming club. This all started after meeting Janet Evans on Twitter. Her endeavor to return to the Olympics at 39 inspired me to get fit. I get up every morning workout after Marty leaves for work. In the evenings I go swim with  kids that are 12-15 years old. I have been enjoying being back in the water and working out.

I've also been working very hard on turning this blog into a job. Inspired by a friend who blogs for a living I have been trying to follow her plan to gain advertising. So far its a lot of hard work that I hope soon pays off. Now that life has changed I have several goals and plans for myself to accomplish. I feel as if life is a blank slate and I can do anything I want.

Another highlight was seeing my first favorite band Tears for Fears in concert on my birthday. I had waited 20 plus years to see them live. It was such a magical, happy moment.

T- Travel. Oh how we love that we can travel. We now understand why we couldn't travel before, we had to get to Stanford as quick as we could. We lived at Stanford for a month, then traveled once a week for a month, once every two weeks for a month, then once a month until August. In October we took our first family vacation in 7 years.

We traveled to Texas,Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Colorado. We had a great time seeing friends, family and new places none of us had ever been. It was so fun to be free with not a worry in the world. Marty's favorite part was the Georgia Aquarium, Elizabeth's favorite part was the Georgia Aquarium, Conner's favorite part was seeing Hincapie sports and World of Coke, Julie's favorite part was seeing her friends, Sarah,Kim, Melissa, Danielle and her family in Tennessee.

E- Elizabeth is 11 years old and in the 6th grade. She competed in her first triathlon in May something she decided to do all on her own. I helped her train and she did great on the big day. We couldn't have been more proud of her. She also played tennis throughout the summer something she really enjoys doing. She loves to read books, hang out with her friends and baby our dog Oscar. She is a very creative young girl with a sharp wit. She comes up with the best one liners!

L- loving life. We are just living life to the fullest. Again, it may be repetitive, redunant and get old but I will NEVER stop enjoying saying it. We are trying new things, going new places and planning for the future. The minute Marty got sick our life changed. Suddenly we realized that in the past, we had let little things bother us and steal our joy. Now that Marty is well, we don't sweat the small stuff and just enjoy each day.

I-in March Marty and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary. We celebrated with a trip to Stanford for Marty's monthly check. We did go out to dinner and had Pinkberry for dessert though.

F- Family. We've been able to see our family more this year. We were able to see Marty's aunt Sheila for the first time in 5 years and meet her new husband Rick. We were able to travel down to Southern California just this month to see our family there. We've also had several visits from Marty's mom this year.

E- Every time we are happy, we remember that this is a gift from God and the kindness of a stranger. If you have never thought about being a organ donor we encourage to think about it. We cannot give back enough or say enough about how it has changed our life. We look forward to becoming ambassadors with Donate Life next year. We also encourage you to visit and register to become a donor.  We hope someday we can help another family like someone helped us.

We wish your family a very merry Christmas. This year our family will have a VERY merry Christmas celebrating the gift of Jesus, the gift of life and the gift of love.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Liebster Award

Yesterday I got a tweet from my friend Stacy from Finding the Purpose in the Pain. She had received this blogging award and shared it with me also.

I was really touched and even more excited to pass it on.

Here is what she says on her blog about the award "The Liebster award ("Liebster" is the German word for friend or love) originated in Germany. The aim of the award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 to 300 followers."

 To accept the award I am supposed to also honor 5 blogs (with less than 300 followers- and a couple just because I wanted to)

So please check out these blogs and help them grow!

C from ( What a beautiful story of a wife's love for her prodigal husband)

Bethany from ( What a great new friend made through Stacy. This girl is going places)

I just love Becky Jane from What a amazing lady. I am thinking of asking her to guest blog soon. She is so close to 300 followers. Maybe this will push her over!

I love this girl Felicia. She is a great commenter and even joined up for NaBloPoMo this year. Definitely a funny blogger with a witty sense of humor.

The next two are just for me personally. I love these ladies and they are synonymous with me and blogging. I  can't do something like this and not share it with them. They are my sisters of the heart, fellow Breakfast Club members and dear friends.

Of course, I think everyone should follow my friend Di from she is a crazy lady, a sister of my heart and one of the reasons I blog. She was one of the first blogs I read and I wouldn't be where I am today without her encouragement. I want to be her when I grow up.

That being said, THE reason I got into blogging and hands down the best blog I read. My dear friend and sister of the heart Andrea. She is the best writer I know, she is practically a inventor of blogging and always writes the most amazing posts. This blog wouldn't exsist without her. She will probably hate me for doing this but its a must read blog:

Thanks Stacy for such a nice honor and for being my long time friend.

 Here are the guidelines (I got from Finding Purpose in the Pain) for accepting the award:

 Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog. Post the award on your blog. Have fun and share the blessings! Save the Liebster image to your computer and upload it to your blog.  Anyways you get the idea! Just a fun way to introduce my readers to new blogs and encourage the above bloggers to keep writing and sharing. What are your favorite blogs?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Parenting Through Crisis

One question I frequently get asked is how did we guide the kids through Marty's illness? Now that things are better I can blog about this topic and share our advice.

We were honest from the very beginning. Elizabeth was 7 years old and Conner was 9 when Marty was diagnosed. We explained in terms they could understand. Their first fear was that he would die. Of course, we couldn't promise that wouldn't happen but explained we had to trust God for everything.

I remember spending a evening with them in my bed crying. It was tough for them to process at first and we did a lot of praying. As time went on they as well as we accepted the diagnosis. We adjusted to our new life and took it all in stride.

There were times they worried, when they did they came to us and we prayed together. I think hiding things would have compounded the issue. That way they knew nothing was being hidden and they didn't have to hide their feelings from us.

Constant dialogue and open communication is key. They went with us to appointments, helped with keeping dialysis supplies stocked and understood times when we had to go away.

Truthfully, the hardest part wasn't until the very end. When Marty was transplanted and they had to stay away from us for a month. That was the hardest part and the thing they struggled with the most. Thankfully we had many family members and trusted friends who were there for them during that time.

Prayer, honesty and open communication are key. Hiding and sheilding them would have only compounded issues. It was something God ordained in our lives and they had to learn at a young age to trust in him and walk through difficult times.

I hope this serves them well later in life. I think they both will handle tough times in stride and weather storms a bit easier. They've learned life lessons that most kids their age haven't. They are still just kids who love to be kids. They just understand how to deal with difficulty situations when they arise.

Maybe this will help others facing trials and tribulations. We did the best we could under pressure and the kids seem to have survived just fine. We directed them to our heavenly Father and taught them he is sovereign and in control.

"Train up a child in the way he should go and he will never depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

Monday, December 12, 2011

Just Jules Fitness Goals

So as everyone knows I've been working out recently. The main reason for working out is to improve my health and to do something for myself. I'm not doing it for anyone but me. I've been enjoying challenging myself and inspiring others to do the same.

I decided to set some goals for myself to focus on. One goal is to lose 50 pounds by August 12th which is the end of the Olympics. My workout out buddy Janet is trying to go to the Olympics and so I thought my goal would be to lose weight by that time.

I would also like to lose 70 pounds by the end of 2012. That will be one year from starting this challenge. Another goal is to compete in a triathlon by the end of 2012. I am going to search to find the perfect one for me. Since I already cycle and swim, I think that I can add running into my training and get ready to do a Tri event.

I hope this time next year, I can blog that I achieved these goals and set new goals for 2013.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Celebrating my 20,000 view!

I am a lover of numbers and stats. So it was a very exciting moment to hit 20,000 views on my blog tonight. Thankful to my readers who read along and share in our family's life. I thought 10,000 in June after five years was a big deal. So 10,000 in 6 months just blows my mind. Thanks everyone for reading along!

A funny Conner story

It's been a long time, I rarely blog Conner stories anymore. He's growing older and still just as fun but I don't want him to get mad at me for oversharing. I know everyone loves a good Conner story

We were driving to Southern California last weekend, I was driving and Marty was reading our mail. We had gotten a Roger's Jewelers ad in the mail. Jokingly Marty says "You're getting a Pandora bracelet for Christmas. I know you've always wanted one."

No offense but they aren't my cup of tea. So I said, " I don't like the Pandora!"

Conner pipes up from the backseat, " You don't like Pandora? I LOVE Pandora."

Marty and I both say, " Buddy, you don't know what we are talking about!"

He replies, " Do I need to whip out my tablet?? I have lots of stations and listen to it all the time."

Elizabeth, Marty and I were hysterical. He totally didn't get we weren't talking about the music streaming site. Marty handed him the ad and said, " read this, you will figure it out."

Oh Conner! Always a source of a good laugh.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Check out my guest blog on Swanky Baby

Once again this week I did a guest blog for I wrote about making Christmas cookies which is a family tradition that has been passed down. I also wrote about how I put a educational spin on it in the past.

Swanky Baby is a great blog for mother's of young children, she posts the latest news in child rearing, baby fashion, toys, advice. All geared toward parents of babies and toddlers.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Need Prayer?

The last couple of days I have felt a heavy burden on my heart to have a prayer request blog. This time last year, I could only pray for my husband and our family. His health was in bad shape and a donor was desperately needed. So many prayed and lifted up our family.

This year, our life is pure joy and happiness. I praise God daily for the gift he gave our family and spend more time in that part of prayer.

Lately, I have had a couple of friends enter the hospital, one getting a heavy diagnosis and the other getting surprising news. I have been praying for the donor family, my friend Janeen who lost her husband the day Marty had surgery, my friend Fanette who lost her mom yesterday and my dear friend who said "goodbye" to her grandmother.

As I spent time praying this morning, I felt that I should open it up to others. After my morning workout, I do my devotions and pray before taking a short nap. I would love to add you to that list. You don't have to leave your name, my anonymous comments are enabled and God knows who you are. Just tell me pray or what to pray for and I will.

Giving back feels great and I love to lift my friends up before the Lord. I know so many have done it for me time and time again.

Phillipians4: 4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Julie The Fish Designs

A couple of months ago, my friend Viviana asked me if I was the Julie in my town that made these cute custom necklaces? She is from Ohio so that surprised me that she asked. She had bought a gift for her cousin as a baby gift and thought she did a great job.

Of course, I am not that Julie! I am so not crafty at all!

When I needed a special gift for my cousin's baby shower I looked her up. She has a great store on Etsy with all kinds of custom stamped keepsakes. Of course, I had put things off until the last minute and missed the deadline for ordering before I needed it.

She rushed the order for me finishing it well before I needed it. She allowed me to pick it up locally instead of shipping it. It came in the cutest bag, wrapped in tissue and in a darling gift box. It was very well packaged and a great value.

Julie was so friendly, gave great customer service and provided a excellent product. My cousin loved the gift and I hope she wears it often. I most definitely will be shopping with Julie again and hope that all of you do also. She did such a great job that I told her I would most definitely write a blog promoting her business. It's hard to find great customer service these days and when you do, you should talk about it!

Julie's Etsy store :
Julie's blog:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Two Things I Never Thought I Would Do!

Swim with Janet Evans and put a picture of myself in a bathing suit up on this blog! Today I did both!

Last year while visiting my Dad in the OC, I read a story in the Register about Janet Evans making a comeback for the 2012 Olympics. I thought that was so cool and didn't think much more about it. Growing up in Orange County during her Olympic reign she was the hometown hero. I was a swimming for our high school and of course she was a inspiration. It was great news to hear she was going for it.

 During our Atlanta vacation in October, I told the kids the story her passing the torch to Mohammed Ali as we passed the Olympic Park. The kids didn't know who she was but I showed them a video because it was a goosebump moment in Olympic history.

Recently a twitter friend Melissa was tweeting about her love for swimming. We both are pro cycling fans and the season was over, she warned us she would be tweeting about swimming...A LOT. I said that was fine that I didn't follow swimming but used to swim myself. Then I said, " How is Janet Evans doing with her comeback?" and she promptly tweeted that I should follow her and included her twitter handle. I was floored when Janet tweeted back to us.

We had a few back and forth exchanges which led to me telling her " Us OC girls gotta stick together" and she invited me to swim with her. I told her I didn't live there anymore but maybe someday would take her up on that.

As I wrote before, she inspired me to start working out and doing something for myself. She has encouraged me and I like to encourage her. We both rise early for different reasons. Her early rising and working out has led to me working out instead of going back to bed. She is my workout buddy in the mornings!

So this weekend when I mentioned I was in So.Cal for a family function Melissa immediately tweeted Janet and I to ask if we were going to swim together. My first instinct was "NO! I am not ready for getting in a bathing suit in public." Melissa got Janet in on the tweeting and before you knew it, I agreed.

I didn't plan on swimming so I had to buy a new Speedo,borrowed towels and a backpack from my Dad. My cousins Alex and Randon swim so I borrowed a cap and googles from them. I actually was able to wear a Stanford cap that I had bought them while there for Marty's transplant.

I was nervous about the whole thing until I met Janet, she put me right at ease. I cannot tell you enough about how lovely,humble and graceful she is. It was one of those moments in life when you know that you were meant to know someone. She is my kind of gal and I just absolutely fell in love with her personality today. I think I made a new friend today.

 I had nothing to be nervous about at all! What a wonderful feeling to swim like that after 15 years of swimming for fun. It was the best workout that I have had in years. It felt so good to be in the water it was like the spark was re-ignited. Janet told me to get out whenever I wanted. I swam in the lane next to her and watched her pass me over and over. I enjoyed swimming next to her. What a great motivator! I swam for about a hour not sure the exact distance because I wasn't paying attention. Then I got out and watched her swim.

I am so glad that I listened, so thankful for this opportunity. Something I never in a million years would have thought I would do. I am actually sad I can't do it again tomorrow! I am on a mission to start a Master's club in my area now. I've been wanting to join one for years and was unable to. Then when I finally could there isn't one in the area anymore.

Today was one of those days when I realized my life is back in motion. My close friend Gaby said " You look so happy" in the picture and I told her " I am happy, I finally have my life back". Last year when everyone said this would be our year, I didn't believe them. Now you can all say " I told you so!"

I look forward to working out and meeting my goals for myself. I am also looking forward to seeing Janet accomplish her goals also. I can't wait to watch the Olympics this summer and cheer her on. Thanks Janet for being who you are and encouraging me, it really means the world to me!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest blogger: Aida Brassington author of Between Seasons

Last fall, a Twitter friend of mine asked me to be a pre-reader for her new novel. I was thrilled to be asked and enjoyed the experience. At first, I was nervous because I generally don't read mysteries or ghost stories....ever. I fell in love with this story and the main character Patrick. Today I am pleased to have the author Aida as a guest blogger.  Be sure to go buy and read this book for yourself  details are included at the end of her post. 

The first really important musical moment in my life was when I was five years old. This dates me quite a bit, but my mom gave me Shaun Cassidy’s album (yes, on vinyl) for Christmas, and I played the crap out of that thing on a tiny cornflower blue record player. I was in love with Shaun Cassidy. To this day I can tell you exactly what the album cover looked like and sing every word to every song.

When it comes to music, it’s usually a part of the big moments in everyone’s life: first crush, first love, marriage, funerals. It also figured prominently in my novel, Between Seasons – both the writing of it and in my main character’s life.

Patrick Boyle, the main character, dies in 1970 at the age of nineteen. I don’t know many nineteen year olds who don’t really love music, and Patrick is no exception. As a way of setting Patrick’s character, choosing the music he listened to was critical – what he liked defined him. Now, Patrick is guy who dug The Doors and the Rolling Stones and The Guess Who. He would have been a much different character had he preferred Tom Jones, Elvis, Neil Diamond, or The Zombies, you know?

It doesn’t spoil the plot to tell you that Patrick becomes a ghost in his parents’ house, and he spends forty years alone in that house. How would you pass the time in this kind of a situation? In Patrick’s case, he reads the books he’s hidden throughout the house, and he sings – the music he knows is comforting. It’s one of the things he misses the most: being able to listen to music.

Who can blame him? I’d go crazy if I couldn’t sing in the car or block out other people on the subway or bus with the help of my mp3 player.

Obviously, music is peppered throughout Between Seasons, but I listened to music – the same music Patrick loved – while writing the novel. The really exciting part of that is I was able to include more contemporary music, too, since Sara Oswald – the woman who moves into Patrick’s house in 2010 – also loves music.

So what songs are on the Between Seasons playlist? “Through Glass” by Stone Sour captures a lot about the way Patrick feels throughout the novel. “Touch Me” by The Doors is on the list, which is sort of a funny shout out to the fact that Patrick is a ghost. Poe’s song “Haunted” is on there, as is music by the Stones, Pink Floyd, and Bob Dylan. More contemporary choices are Counting Crows, The Postal Service (“This Place is a Prison”), and Eminem. And when you get to a scene in the novel that references Clarence Carter’s “Slip Away,” do yourself a favor and look it up on YouTube or Spotify or something – listen to it while you’re reading the scene. I heave out a dreamy little sigh just thinking about that song and that scene.

What about you? Do you listen to music while you read or write? If you write, do you use musical preferences to help you define a character?

You can purchase Between Seasons at Amazon or Barnes and Noble, and you can find Aida on Goodreads,Twitter , and her website

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Four Years of NaBloPoMo in the Books.

The last day of NaBloPoMo year four. Seems like just yesterday I was starting out and a month of post seemed daunting. As the years have gone on and I have established the habit of blogging this task has gotten easier.

This month marks my sixth bloggiversary. This blog has seen me through some very happy times and the darkest of times. I have laughed,loved, made new friends,grieved, despaired, struggled and grown as a person. My kids were five and seven when I started this blog and they have grown so much. This has become a book about their childhood and the story of our family. I actually will find Elizabeth on here reading through labels sometimes. She really likes to read the Conner stories.

So many changes have taken place in the last six months. My traffic has gone through the roof and the blog is evolving and changing. It's a exciting year for me personally and a joyous year for our family also.

Thank you to my long time readers for taking the journey with me. Thank you to Di at Baja Bound for starting the NaBloPoMo crazy. To Andrea for starting me off blogging. Thanks to this year's blogging group, Darci,  DanBethany and Felicia for joining in the fun.

This year has been a wonderful year to look back and reflect on where life has taken me. I am thankful that it has been pure joy to blog a day this time. Looking forward to next year already.

Wordless Wednesday: Midnight Mooey Trailer

Brought to you by Elizabeth aka My Daughter

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Time Machine Tuesday: The Post Of The Year

The last time machine Tuesday of NaBloPomo 2011, so it is fitting to share the post of the year. I think we all waited so long for this post and I shook as I typed it. It was the last post on that side of transplant and I am glad for it! I was sitting on a little cot in a pre-op room at Stanford as I wrote it. At that point we weren't convinced Marty was really going to get the transplant at that point!

 So here it is:

 There is a post that goes along with it. If you have not heard this story, you must read this post!!! You will miss out on a blessing if you don't: 

What do you think of the new changes to the blog? I love hearing feedback and would love to know what you think.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Amazon Cyber Monday deals

Lot's of great deals for Cyber Monday on Amazon. Here's a link for you to use to find great deals

Shop Amazon's Toys - Black Friday and Cyber Monday Deals Week

Why is it?

That people feel the need to judge homeschoolers? I am not the kind of homeschooler who worries about what other people are doing with their kids. I never tell anyone how they should educate their children or ask them why they do what they do for education.

I know that this goes both ways and their are some homeschoolers out there that feel this is the only way to school. As a parent who has worked, I understand that not everyone can homeschool. Nor does everyone want to homeschool. What you chose to do with your child is fine by me. It's not my place to judge.

So don't judge me for my choice to homeschool. We have reasons why homeschooling is better for our family and it works. It's the way God has called us to educate our children and is good for us. We have always prayed for God to show us the way with our kids education.

Personally, I don't think there is one right way and I think it is a matter of preference. I know that homeschooling isn't a common choice and there are many misconceptions. Again, ask me and I will share with you. I find that educating yourself on something before making a judgement is really a key to helping yourself not look ignorant.

The same goes for us homeschoolers, we can't judge other families who don't homeschool. I know one friend has felt judged by homeschoolers for not homeschooling. That's not fair to those who don't homeschool and it makes homeschoolers look bad.

All I am saying is don't judge someone else for choices they make with their children's education!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ask me or Tell me

As I have mentioned many times before, I am blessed in the friend department. I've got a friendship for every season and reason. The past few years, I haven't had much time to be a really good friend to my friends since life was overwhelming. I still managed to be there when I could and try as hard as I could.

One thing about me, I am a open book. You can ask me anything and I will answer honestly. Not much in my life that is off limits. There are a few things that I never talk about that I think should remain private but pretty much anything else is open for discussion.

Doesn't mean we always like what people ask us or that its always appropriate but that we should be transparent and share. It gives others the opportunity to give honest feedback when needed. I am thankful for friends who are honest when need be. Last week I had a friend tell me something that I needed to hear and I was thankful. It was well received because it was well meant.

Sometimes we can use our mouths in less than edifying ways and be a discouragement rather than a encouragement. Sometimes we don't stop and think before we speak. There is nothing worse than someone cutting you down or making a off hand remark that is hurtful. I really try to think before I speak and even pray about it. I have friends who are private and don't like to share things, I am never one to push sometimes to my detriment.  It seems to be the way of the world these days for people to cut others down or be rude for no apparent reason. I strive to always take the high road. I heard a great saying today, " It's easy to take the high road but sometimes there are boulders along way."

I love when a friend takes these things and uses them to encourage. I've been encouraged by a particular friend a couple of times this week and it has really meant a lot. Especially when you're used to being the encourager and cheerleader. It's nice to have that in return.

This post is more a stream of consciousness post. Just my ramblings and thoughts, sharing what I have learned about friendship and what I like about it. Also, a way for me to share that I am always open for conversation, you can ask me anything and tell me something. This isn't cryptic, its not directed at one person, and has nothing to do with anybody. Just Jules being Jules,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Wishes Come True

Every year, I save the Christmas cards from the year before. I put them in the decorations bin and look at them again the next year. I even have some that are 10 years old. The purpose usually is to see how much friends children have grown throughout the years.

This year, as we hauled out the holly a very unusual thing happened. It was like I was viewing those Christmas cards for the very first time. Last year, things weren't good in our home. Marty wasn't doing very well and his health was rapidly declining. We almost were beginning to wonder if he would make it to transplant without further complications.

We spent most of last December holed up in our house waiting for the call. Our friends were great and their words of encouragement were so nice. At that point, after so many years of hearing " next year will be your year." it was almost as if those words just went in one ear and out the other. December 20th last year, we  got the first call which turned out to be a false alarm.

This year, on the other side of transplant, I was truly able to enjoy the cards for the first time. I had so much fun texting friends yesterday telling them their wishes, prayers and hopes came true. So many had said 2011 would be our year and it truly has been!

My card hoarding paid off and I truly was blessed to read the good wishes again. This year, I can't wait to send our Christmas cards out and hope they will be a blessing to those who supported and prayed for us.

Thanksgiving feast.

This is for my Brits! A lot of them asked for pictures of Thanksgiving dinner.

I cooked all of this by myself. The kids helped chop and stir.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful Thursday: ABC's of Thanks

Finding Joy | The ABC's of Thanks

I saw this blog hop and thought it fit my Thankful Thursday post theme great and was perfect for Thanksgiving!

A- Thankful for our Almighty God

B- Thankful for the beautiful view outside my backyard

C- Thankful for my son Conner who brings so much joy to our family.

D- Thankful for my Dad who is one of my best friends and a wonderful Grandpa. Praying his health continues to improve this year.

E-Thankful for my beautiful daughter Elizabeth who is smart, fiesty and funny. I wish I was witty like her.

F- Friends! I am blessed to have hundreds of friends all over the world. I know no matter where I go, I am never alone. Thankful for the friends who have stood by us thick and thin.

G- We are thankful to the donor family who gave Marty the gift of life. Today we pray for them as they celebrate their first Thanksgiving without their child. Please join us in praying.

H-Thankful for happiness. We had four years with mixed happiness. Now we have pure joy all the time. I am also thankful to be able to homeschool my kids.

I- I am thankful for my family. Aunts, Uncles and cousins. They bring me joy and are always there when I need them.

J-Jesus. He gave his life so that I may live eternally. His grace and mercy get me through the day.

K- Kindness still lives in the world today and I am thankful for all those who have been kind during our times of need.

L- Love that fills my life is what makes me thankful. Laughter that brings me joy. I love to laugh and have fun.

M- Marty, who works so hard for this family in sickness and in health. He is a true gentleman who lives out his wedding vows daily. He is a great Dad too!

O- Organ donation. Changed our life in ways we never expected. Thankful for those who make the selfless choice to be a donor.

P- My Mom who is a great grand "parent" and takes the kids on fun adventures. Also, my team the Packers who are bringing me lots of joy!

R- Rest and refreshment. It's been nice to have a break from hard things in life.

S- Sisters of the heart who have filled a void and healed my heart. Giving me peace from the pain and shame.

T- Time to enjoy the things in life. Also my Twitter friends who bring me new friendship and fun.

U- Understanding, there's not enough of it in this world.

V-the variety of life!

W- Welcoming friends who have welcomed us into their homes this year. Our friends Dave, Stacey, Ashley and Arya who hosted me during our stay at Stanford and our friend Sarah who welcomed us on our trip to Georgia.

X- Exciting adventures looming on the horizon.

Y- You my blog reader who encourages me, comments and shares our joy.

Z- Zeal. I am a person who likes to live with zeal. Whether its my beloved Packers or Pro- Cycling. I like to do everything 100 percent!

Have a blessed day with your families!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Vote for Oscar in the Tiny Prints Holiday Contest

A few months ago, I took a silly picture of our dog Oscar. Everyone told me to enter it in a contest and so I did. Tiny Prints Holiday Card Contest.

Please vote for Oscar

Time Machine Tuesday: Have you ever wondered?

Have you ever wondered what MPG stands for?? I tell you in this post from my very first year of NaBloPoMo. It's obvious I was having a bad day that day but I spoke the truth and I stand by what I said. I really still feel that way today.

My friend Darci wrote a similar post the other day and it reminded me of this post. So I went digging into the way back machine and found it.

One reason I do TT is for me. I like to go back, re-tag and edit old posts. My writing has come a long way from the beginning of this blog.

So here it is:

Now your curiosity can be satisfied!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Just a little cold

I have a cold. It's not the end of the world but it isn't fun. I tried to go for a run today thinking I was better and that ended with disastrous results. So here I am on the couch, wrapped in a blanket trying to rest some more.

I remember the first time I got sick right after I had Conner. I was feeling sorry for myself and called my Grandma. She told me, " It doesn't matter if your sick, your a mom now and you have to just deal with it."

She was right. When your a mom and your sick, the world keeps on turning and you have to just grin and bear it. I was trying to do that today after several days of being sick but that didn't go so well.

We had dinner plans with our homeschool group and I canceled after the incident. Best to stay home and rest up so that I can cook Thanksgiving dinner. Good news is our old dog Max enjoyed the run and was rather upset that I ended it abruptly. He had to be dragged in the house!

As sands through the hourglass so our the Days Of Our Lives...................

*a/n I never actually have watched Days Of Our Lives

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Around The Table

Thanksgiving is coming up fast. I love getting up early, putting the Turkey in, watching the Macy's parade while the Turkey cooks.

This year we are staying home and having company. We have three extra at our table besides my family of four. This is good news for me because I always cook way too much. Growing up in a big family, learning to cook from my Grandma's and aunts, I only know how to cook for 20!

We are having Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots and rutabegas, Jello salad, Waldorf salad, gravy, cranberry relish( homemade), and rolls.

Most of those foods we only eat once a year and I cannot imagine leaving something out! Thank goodness we will have company to help.

One of my favorite sayings is "Around the table memories are made". Grandma had a huge table which we played under, sat and chatted at, at many a meal, played games and enjoyed life. I am thankful to be able to carry on that tradition in my own home.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Is the lady of the house home?

A salesman came to the door this morning and asked if the lady of the house was home? SCORE! If I wasn't sick and in my pajamas, I would have bought anything he was peddling.

The things we love after we turn 35!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Getting fit weekly report

So my first week of really trying to get fit went well. I got up early every morning and worked out instead of going back to bed. I've been using resistance bands to strengthen my arms, legs and core. I have been sore but the good kind of sore, so I know that I am doing something right.

I'm doing a half and hour in the morning and plan on adding riding in the afternoons. Every afternoon this week has been busy so far. We are going on a long ride tomorrow morning though.

Portion control is another biggie. I've been measuring all my food and eating only the recommended serving size. So far I haven't been hungry at all. Drinking water has been a big issue in the past for me but I find myself actually craving it now. In the morning's I have been drinking water before coffee!

I am looking foward to the payoff in the future!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful Thursday

It's Thursday and that leads to Thankful Thursday. I have so many blessings to count and never quite know where to begin. Maybe one giant Thankful Thursday today. More like a stream of consciousness.

I am thankful for my hard working husband who works long hours and sacrifices for me to stay home and homeschool the kids.

Thankful for my two great kids who have big hearts and are very well behaved.

Thankful for my Dad getting better and on the path to wellness

Thankful my Mom has had good health the past few years.

Thankful for my Aunts and Uncles who are always there for me

Thankful for my cousins who have always been more than just cousins. Thankful we have wonderful memories of growing up together and are still close as adults.

Thankful for my wonderful friends who are always there in my time of need and beyond. People who go above and beyond for me.

Thankful for the family who gave the ultimate gift of love to a stranger. Who in their time of need thought of someone else and gave a gift they may never realize the impact of.

Thankful those who encourage me spiritually and help me grow in my faith.

Thankful to have wants and not needs. ( I borrowed that one from someone on Facebook, thought it was great)

Thankful for my faithful blog readers. Thanks for encouraging me to write and have a hobby, you make writing fun and exciting. It has been a wonderful year for the blog and I am really grateful to those who have been helping me take it to the next level.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Love Your Rivals

Check out my guest blog on Swanky Baby

I was asked to do a guest blog on Swanky Baby for the holidays. I chose to write on Advent calendars and what a fun thing they are for young children. If you have a young child you should follow Swanky Baby, she blogs about great baby items, tips and parenting hot topics.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Time Machine Tuesday: When my kids were little

I saw this post recommended by Linkwithin and watched this video last night. I didn't realize how grown up my kids were until watching this video. Elizabeth was so little and Conner was Conner as always. I hope you enjoy watching this as much as I did.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy 14th birthday Conner

Today is my oldest child Conner's birthday. I don't think that words could express how proud we are of Conner. He brings joy to everyone around him and is a happy go lucky guy!

He helps me out around the house and can fix virtually anything! He does all of the handiwork around our house and is a jack of all trades just like his Grandpa. This year he started changing car tires and making sure our bikes stay in running order.

A heart of gold that would do anything for anyone. He is a very giving and loving person who truly likes to do for others. He often goes to a elderly lady's house at our church and helps her with tasks.

We have fun riding our bikes together, talking about pro cycling together and just chatting about life in general. He loves to talk just like his momma. His Dad and him enjoy watching football and different tv shows together.

He definitely brings joy and happiness to our lives! To know him is to love him.

Happy 14th birthday Conner!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Life is so good we forgot!

In a true sign of the change in our lives, November 8th came and went with out notice. In fact, it took me a full five days to remember. What does that mean?

November 8th was the day Marty was listed for transplant. This was what November 8th looked like last year. It was a really tough time in our lives and things only got worse the next month.

Things are going so well now. I think this is a big sign that we have put all of that behind us and are only looking forward!

Today we all can celebrate the gift of life together! Last year, I said hopefully we would be celebrating and today we are.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

How I was motivated by Twitter to get fit.

Last summer I made a decision to start a Twitter account to follow Professional Cycling. I started adding random strangers and met some really nice people right off the bat. People who told me who to follow and welcomed me to the community. I met some not so nice people but overall the experience has been positive. The impact of the experience was something I never dreamed would happen.

It has been a very interesting learning experience talking to complete strangers. I have met some wonderful people and it has been a whole new world for me. It's very diverse far different from the usual box I live in and it has been challenging.

The biggest challenge has been the motivation to get fit. Talking to Professional athletes, amateur athletes, world class triathletes makes you very fitness conscious.  I've met people who picked up a bike and started riding, losing weight and getting fit along the way. I am not a cyclist and never have claimed to be. Through this Twitter I have started riding daily. Talking to people who are fit and eat well motivates you to do the same thing. I'm even contemplating joining a group of them for RAGBRAI next summer.

This week, I had the opportunity to tweet with Olympic swimmer Janet Evans. She is 39 and making a comeback this year hoping to make the Olympic team. She gets up at 5 am to swim everyday and has motivated me with her story. I get up at 4:30 am everyday and go back to bed, I could stay up and exercise. I used to swim in HS and would love to join a Master's team but there isn't one in my area.  Last week she told me I should come swim with her, that was extremely exciting and nervewracking at the same time. I hope to be able to take her up on that offer someday.

It's definitely changed my life for the better and I am enjoying my new found motivation. I had so much on my plate until this year, I never had time for "me". I put my family and others first, now I will do the same but take time for myself. I hope to start journaling my journey on this blog and letting you know my progress.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 a day to reflect and remember

In the U.S. this day is Veterans Day and we remember those who served. I know so many veterans and I am so thankful for their service to our country. I know in the UK and other European countries this day is to remember those who served in WWI and WWII.

I read a moving piece this morning about WWI Veterans and how they have all passed away and now it is up to future generations to read about them and remember them. There is a movement to find pictures of them so they will have a face for this and future generations.

My grandfathers served in WWII and I always think of them on this day. I really never knew my mom's father and never was able to hear his stories from the war. My Grandpa Brownie left us wonderful pictures, letters and stories from the war. He made it real to our family.

As always, most of all today I think of Jimmy. My cousin actually my second cousin who gave his life for this country. It was a isolated incident in the Persian Gulf and easily forgotten. I have a self imposed mission of making sure he isn't forgotten. This year, my Mom gave me a collection of letters and items that were saved by my Uncle and Grandma. I asked for them after my Uncle's death since I am trying to keep his memory alive.

This letter was written May 6,1987 from Jimmy to my Gramie. It was delivered May 14,1987 three short days before Jimmy was killed. His last letter home.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thankful Thursday explaining Wordless Wednesday

My faithful blog reader Melissa asked me to explain my Wordless Wednesday. I had so many curious people asking about yesterday's post, I thought it would be nice to explain.

That bench is on the Huntington Beach pier in Huntington Beach,Ca. On December 7,1994 my boyfriend took me out on a date for dinner. After dinner he took me to the pier and we walked, after walking a bit he said we should sit down on that bench. He took a card out of his jacket and handed it to me, I thought it was odd since it wasn't my birthday or any special occasion.

I read the card and when I looked up, he was down on one knee with a ring and the end of the card had asked me to marry him. I said yes and that was the beginning of forever. We were really young, only 18 years old but we knew then it was God's plan for us to marry.

I remember the scary task of telling our parents and promising them we would wait two years to get married. Of course, we thought we knew it all back then and we really didn't.  We ended up moving up the date after his grandma died and we knew his Dad didn't have much time left on this earth. We married 16 months later at the ages of 19 and 20, I am so thankful we did. His Dad passed away 10 months later and we had time to be newlyweds for a moment.

We lived so much in that time period, not only being engaged and newlyweds but burying his grandmother and father who raised him. We lived what my parents didn't live until their 50's and most of our friends still haven't lived that part of life.

Originally we wanted to wait five years to have children, after his father passed away Marty didn't want to wait any longer. His only dream was for his father to meet his grandchildren and that never happened. Conner was born 10 months after his Dad passed away. We are both thankful and happy we didn't wait to have a child. It wouldn't be until four years ago we saw God's purpose in having our children young.

When Marty got sick, we saw God's plan in us marrying and having children young. We were so thankful to have been married 11 years and have that strong foundation under us. Our children were 11 and 9 years old, which helped immensely with explaining what was going on and having them be part of his sickness.

I am thankful that last week, Marty was well enough so we could go to Southern California to care for my Dad. One afternoon, we gave Grandpa a break and I drove the kids to Huntington Beach. The weather was gorgeous and the beach was so close, we had to go. As we were walking on the pier, I saw the bench and showed them where our family really began. What a special moment, they now have seen where we got engaged and where we got married.

Just a simple bench on a pier holds so much history and meaning.

A/N here is the bench where it all began

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Time Machine Tuesday: Vacations, meetups and more

My good friend Melissa commented last week that she loves Time Machine Tuesdays during NaBloPoMo. She started reading my blog during that time.

 So the first time machine will take us back to when Melissa came to visit me in California.I cried reading this post, we haven't been able to see each other since and now she a the mother of two. I should go visit her in Houston. I miss you Mel!

When Melissa was here she went with me for my first meetup with Di and Andrea. I still feel exactly the same about them both. I may add that Felicity still has the cutest personality, I had coffee with her and her mommy last week. Now after so many years,  I know Andrea is another sister separated at birth.

My vacation with my blogging, bible study friend Stacy. She needs to come visit again. I really should go see her. Sidenote, I noticed the comments and it has another time machine moment, Andrea's first comment on my blog.

That was a fun travel back in the time machine. Some wonderful ladies who are all a very important part of my life. Stacy and I have been friends the longest, Melissa has been a wonderful pen pal for so many years and I don't know what I would do without Andrea and Di.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Not me Monday

Someone stayed in her PJ's all day today, not me.

Someone stayed in bed until 1pm today, not me.

Someone finally took a shower at 7:45 pm, not me.

Someone changed back into PJ's, not me.

Someone wore herself out, that someone was me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

There's no place like home and other reflections

I left my Southern California hometown and headed to my Central California home. No matter how long I am away or how long I have lived here, Whittier will always be my home. Doesn't mean I want to live there just means I love to go visit.

Since September 24th I have seen almost every member of my family. Aunts, Cousins,Nephews, Nieces, Parents,and both siblings. I've only missed seeing one aunt, one uncle, one cousin and two nephews. That really blows my mind. In fact, I have seen one entire side of the family and all of those cousins!

I praise God for his faithfullness. He answered prayers about my Dad's health and did it at the perfect time. I could leave Marty, I was missing home and now Dad is on the right track to wellness.

The kids and I have been out of the house for 16 days in the last month. We had a few more vacation adventures in Southern California.

We got to see a couple of our closest friends. It's nice to have good friends who are supportive.

It took me five stops to leave town and say goodbye. Nice to be so loved and missed.

 I came home and Marty had framed a picture that I blogged on Wednesday of the kids. He fixed the color and enlarged it, it looks stunning on my mantle.

Glad to be home with a full heart. Now to get back on track here at home and at church. It's always something. Life is good and my Packers are 8-0!

Saturday adventure

I asked my Dad if he wanted to get out of the house and take the kids to Hollywood with me today. He wasn't feeling up to it but told us to go. So I took the kids and let them pick where they wanted to go. Each kid picked a couple of locations and I stopped for them. They have been so good all week and I thought they deserved a treat. Of course, I told them it had to be free since we just took a huge vacation.

Conner wanted to go to the La Brea Tar Pits and the Fantasy Factory. Elizabeth wanted to go to Nickelodeon and Mann's Graumann. Unfortunately, Mann's was having a event and we couldn't stop. I took her to see Warner Brothers instead. We made the obligatory stop at the Hollywood sign.

We had a fun adventure together!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Vacation day 4: World of Coke and Georgia Aquarium

When planning our vacation, I asked my southern friends on Twitter where to go and what to do in Georgia. Two things we heard over and over, World of Coke and The Georgia Aquarium.  We actually heard the most about the GA aquarium. I guess it is the largest in the country.

So on Thursday we headed to downtown Atlanta and Pemberton Place. The World of Coke and Aquarium are on the same property. You can buy a city pass to go to both plus CNN for about 70 dollars. We chose to buy tickets to the Aquarium and Six Flags, we got both for $55.00 and that was considerably less than admission to both seperately.

The Aquarium was stunning. Our favorite exhibit was the whale shark tank. The Whale Sharks are 25- 30 feet long and they have three in this tank. Several large sharks, Manta Rays, and thousands of fish. They have a moving carpet through a tunnel and then a viewing room that is mesmerizing. We sat for about 45 minutes and just watched the fish swim by.

After the aquarium, we walked over to World of Coke. Our goal was to go to the tasting room and taste the Coke from around the world. We watched a little movie, went on their 4-D ride, walked through the history exhibit which features ads and machines from the past. We sat in the theater and watched old ads which was a lot of fun. Finally we found the tasting room, 64 flavors of Coke from around the world. Most were good until we got to the Europe section. One flavor from Italy is called Beverly, it tastes like chugging Robitussin. Really gross and the worst experience. Overall, it was a fun little experience and they give you a souvenir bottle of Coke to take home.

After the World of Coke, we drove to Macon to see our high school friend Lenice. It was great to meet her family and have dinner with them. Her girls are just darling and I enjoyed chatting with them. It was one of those things, nothing has changed but time. We just picked up where we left off all those years ago.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thankful Thursday

I have so much to be thankful for and I think this will be a permanent blog feature after NaBloPoMo goes away.

This week, I am most thankful that I could come care for my Dad. I am thankful that Marty is well enough for me to leave him. This is the first time in five years that I have been away from him. So glad he is doing well and I am so grateful that God healed him.

Also, thankful that he works hard enough for me to stay home and be free to come and go at a moments notice. Homeschooling gives me the freedom to travel and school on the go, so I am thankful that we have stuck with homeschooling through thick and thin.

Really thankful to get good news today about my Dad's health. He is on the road to recovery and the prognosis is good. Glad things are still manageable and not much worse. It's been good to help him get back on track and get some things done with him this week. We have enjoyed our time together.

Most of all, I am thankful for my faith in Jesus Christ which gives me the strength to face tough challenges in life. My faith has kept me afloat and centered during trying times. Truly with Christ all things are possible.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo link up

If you are blogging each day in November, share your link so we can read along and encourage each other. This will be a great accountability tool and a way to gain new readers. Simply sign up and join the fun. Share your link here on my site and then go join over on the NaBloPoMo site

NaBloPoMo 2011

 Di is blogging:
Bethany is blogging:

November 1st, day one

My poor blog has been neglected. I have tons of work to do on this thing and no time to do it. I am in L.A. to help my Dad for a week. I have spotty internet so this should be a challenge getting my blogs in on time. Blogging from my phone is usually a option but my internet on that isn't working so great either.

This year Time Machine Tuesdays will be back, along with Wordless Wednesdays and Thankful Thursdays.  I can always use suggestions, what should I blog about? any one have any good prompts or topics they would like me to cover? I'm open to suggestions.

We are doing school while here, visiting with family and close friends. The kids got to go Trick or Treating with their older cousin Alex last night. They had a great time in a neighborhood that is really done up. I guess some houses had lines for candy!  We also got to see my niece and nephew for a few minutes. We had a meetup with our good friend Andrea and her family while they were Trick or Treating.

Today we are helping my Dad do a few projects around his house. Conner is painting a wall as we speak. Being here without Marty is a big deal. This is the first time in five years that we have been away from him and able to leave. It's a sign that life is good.

Can't wait to write all of November's blogs. It is one of my favorite things in life! Happy 4th NaBloPoMo to Di over at Baja Bound and Andrea in spirit.

It's that time of year again!

November has become synonymous with one thing in my life:

NaBloPoMo 2011

About four years ago, my friend Di asked me if I wanted to join her blogging every day in November. At first, I was apprehensive. How could I come up with something every day? It was tough but it was fun. We would watch each other's blogs making sure the other posted. Our friend  Andrea also would blog along and we all had such fun.

It now has become a yearly tradition. It's not November unless it is NaBloPoMo time. Those blogs are treasures and such a time machine. I love going back and reading my old blogs. Things have come a long way since then.

I will be doing some theme days again, finish writing about our vacation and sharing lots of fun pictures and posts. Wanna join in the fun? I always do a shout out to those blogging everyday in November. Be sure to let me know if you are.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vacation day three; Cracker Barrel, Kim and waterfalls

One of the reasons for this trip was to go see our friend Kim. We had planned to meet up in Pigeon Forge this summer before the whole biopsy fiasco. We promised to come see her as soon as we could. We decided to meet halfway in Greenville, S.C.

I remember going to Cracker Barrel when I was younger but haven't been in years. We don't have them in California. Since it is one of Kim's favorite places, we decided to go there with her. Then we both had heard about Falls Park in downtown Greenville.

We had a great lunch together

Then we headed to the beautiful Falls Park

As we were walking down by the falls. We saw a cyclist go by that looked a lot like one of our favorite pro cyclists George Hincapie. He lives in Greenville and it could have very well been him. Conner saw his face and is certain it was him. He has met him before and would know.

As that happened, we saw a bubble tea store. Kim and Sarah always hear Marty and I going on about bubble tea and we all went in and had some together. It was such a cool moment to be able to share something we love with them.

Then we took Conner to see George Hincapie's sportswear design company. They have a small storefront in Greenville. We got to see some great jersey's that were from George's long career. Conner was in heaven and it was worth the trip.

The worst part of the day was saying goodbye to our friend Kim. We already can't wait to go to Dollywood with her someday.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Vacation day two; a picnic and a reunion

On the second day of vacation, the time change caught up with us.  So we ended up sleeping most of the day away. We met up with our friend Sarah for a picnic lunch at the park by the lake.

Later that evening, we had a opportunity to meet up with our high school friend Melissa and her husband Matt. We ate at a Southern restaurant The Flying Biscuit. It was fun to catch up with Melissa and get to know Matt. We hadn't seen her since we graduated in 1994. It was so nice to hang out and meet up so far away from our home state. She hasn't changed one bit over the years and is such a refreshing person to be around.