Saturday, June 30, 2012

Cousin Birthday Series: Happy Birthday Jamie

Jamie, Julie and Carrie
My cousin Jamie is my fifth cousin on my Dad's side. I remember the day she was born, just a tiny peanut of a thing. Here's a picture of me holding her as a baby

Jamie is one of my "J" cousins. We probably have been called by each others names a million times in our lives. She was a Brown girl just like me and often people thought she was one of my sisters because we resembled each other.
Jamie and Jessie move to Arizona slumber party. Top left to bottom left: Rissa, Jessie, Julie,Brianne,Carrie, Sarah, Jillie,Caiti,Jamie, Andy

Jamie and her family moved away when I was about ten. Some of my favorite memories are going to see them in Lake Havusa,AZ on family road trips. We loved going to visit our cousins and have giant sleepovers.

The most amazing thing about Jamie is that my daughter Elizabeth bears a uncanny resemblence to Jamie. We were visiting Jamie in Tennessee this fall and her husband kept staring at this picture astonished at how much E and Jamie look alike.

Elizabeth age three

Jamie age three

Pretty uncanny isn't it? Even Elizabeth cant believe how much they look alike.
Elizabeth age 11
Jamie around 12

  This year they finally got to meet for the first time when we went to Tennessee to see Jamie and her family. It was fun to see them together.

Jamie and I hadn't seen each other in seven years and it was nice to finally be together again. I look forward to seeing her more when we move to Georgia in the fall.

She's now a wife and mother of two cute young boys one of whom looks just like her when she was little.

Jamie, sorry this is late. I hope you had a great birthday and I am so thankful to call you cousin. Love, Julie

Lacey, Jamie, Julie and Jessie together in Tennessee. Brown Girls for life!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Just Jules Confessions: I was a Child Clown

I know what you're all thinking....."We already know that!" but do you really know? I don't think you do know at all. I may be a silly,crazy, odd lady but I really was a child clown. I had a clown name, costume and even was a member of a clown troupe.

During the summer of 1986 Disneyland put on a event called Circus Fantasy while my sister Kim was working there. Our family went to Disneyland quite often during that event to enjoy the world class circus acts. My sister Carrie and I particularly enjoyed the clown face painting.

Age 10, Circus Fantasy 1986. I was going through a bad hair phase

Via my sister's job at Disneyland our family was introduced to a man named Diego "Veekay" Barqinero. Veekay was a professional clown who was working at Disneyland and clowning on the side. He invited my sister to do a couple of clown gigs with him which ended up with her joining his clown troupe.

Somehow along the way Diego invited me to join them in their clown troupe to do parades. Every Saturday morning for the better part of two years, I woke up and painted my face, put on a wig and marched in parades with Diego and his clown troupe. My clown name was Punky the clown and I enjoyed hiding behind the make up and goofing around. I loved when we went to parades and won trophies, often because I was the youngest they would me take them home. I even marched in the famed Hollywood Christmas Parade one Christmas. 

Left to Right, Kim as a clown, Carrie, Mom, Me as Punky the clown, Veekay, My Dad and Christopher circa 1987

Through the group I had a professionally made costume and even shopped at Under The Big Top, a boutique in Placentia just for clowns! It was serious business. I look back with fond memories on those Saturday mornings driving off with Diego to a new adventure. I remember picking up a couple of young girls with Cystic Fibrosis who enjoyed the escape as much as I did. Diego was truly a nice man with good intentions and I feel lucky to have had this experience.

I hit my tween years and grew embarrassed by my clowning. I outgrew my costume, lost touch with Veekay and buried my clown past. In fact, I think less than a quarter of the people in my life know about my clowning days since I never speak of it. A few months ago my mom handed me a envelope of pictures and in it were these gems from those days. Immediately I knew that it was time to share my past as a clown and give you all a smile since that is what clowns do!

A few years ago I exchanged a few emails and Christmas cards with Diego. He went on to spend many years traveling with Circus Vargas and making quite the name for himself. As I was researching this blog I even found a IMDB page for him. Glad to know he has done well and found success. 

Now you know about my secret life as a clown just another facet in the amazing life I have been blessed to lead. People often ask, "How do these things happen to you?" I really have no clue but I do know that I am greatly blessed.

A/N Diego has a couple of websites. You should check them out:

Friday, June 22, 2012

doTerra Essential Oils product review

A few weeks ago, I offered my blog to my friends to guest blog or promote something. My friend Sandi asked me to tell you about her new business venture doTERRA Essential oils. She met me at Costco and gave me a few samples to try.

We loved the Deep Blue Rub. As a swimmer and cyclist, I have suffered many a muscle strain. Marty's back had been hurting him and so we tried the rub and found success. It really helped his back ache disappear and gave him the relief he had sought. In fact, this same rub was what hooked my friend Sandi on the products in the first place. She had been lifting her father in law's wheelchair in and out of the trunk of her car. She applied this rub and found relief.

She also had been using the oils for her TMJ pain. I have long suffered from TMJ and wanted to try the oils for my jaw. This Deep Blue Rub gave me relief that I didn't think was possible. Great way to treat a side effect of TMJ and find relief. We also used the oils to help Elizabeth find relief from her asthma and quiet a cough Marty had been suffering.

I had recently been reading about all natural cleaning methods and using essential oils in vinegar to clean. As I  browsed the website I saw they offer many all natural cleaning solutions.

Stop by Sandi's website and check out all the products for yourself. So many of us suffer from things that can be helped by all natural relief and we never try it. I really was amazed by these products and think you will be too.

Sandi's webpage

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Gabs!

When this year began, I knew one thing for sure....I was going to write a birthday blog for Gaby! One of my oldest friends who hasn't gotten a turn to have our story shared. So here is a long overdue Happy birthday to  my Gabs.

When I was 9 years old we moved into a apartment complex down the street from my future high school. I had several friends in the neighborhood to play with and loved living there. One friend Mai, lived upstairs across from a family of little girls. I remember they would watch us out the window but never came out to play, they weren't allowed. Fast forward to Jr. high and one of them was in my class, Gaby and I rode the bus together but weren't really friends.

Freshman year of high school Gaby and her sister Robertha were in my French class. Bert and I became fast friends and started hanging around together. Slowly but surely Gaby and I became friends and started hanging out during lunch and walking home from school together. By my Sophomore year Gaby was my best friend who I did everything with and that continued throughout our high school years.

Prom junior year 1993

URA dork trio

We went through a lot together during those years. Difficult family situations, boy troubles, school troubles, friend troubles you name it, we went through it. We often would try to solve the issue while walking to and from school each day. By that time we lived in the same neighborhood once again and were walking buddies. We also added a third friend to our "dork" trio our junior year and spent a lot of time with our buddy Liviu aka Lee. The three of us had the best senior year together, lots of fun laughs and jokes were shared.

Gabby, Heather, Lenice and I June 1994

Gaby and I having a laugh on my 18th birthday
After high school everyone went there own way except for Gabs, our buddy Liviu, Lenice, and I. We went to college together and still spent a lot of time together.We still lived around the corner from each other and drove to school together most days. She was the first person I called when Marty asked me to marry him she even helped me pick my wedding dress and veil. She was there with us on the altar the day we were married supporting us as we started our life together.
Jeni and Gaby on our wedding day

When Conner was born, the day he was born we actually stood Gaby up! We had planned to go to our school homecoming game that night but Conner had other plans! When we came home from the hospital, the first person to come visit was Gaby. She has long been a friend to the entire T family and a important part of our lives. Even my extended family loves Gaby especially my Aunt Maggie adores her.

We moved away and left Gaby behind, time and distance separated us physically but our bond has never been broken. Through the years we have talked on the phone until Myspace came along and later Facebook. We didn't see each other from 99-04, Gaby was handed a life altering diagnosis that year and I went to spend her birthday with her and see her in a difficult time. Once again we were separated by distance until 10' and we got to see each other again. Hopefully we can see each other again soon and start trying to make it a at least yearly habit.

Gaby and I 2010

Over the last year, Marty and I have watched Gaby find happiness personally. We both have enjoyed seeing her posts on Facebook and seeing her really live life! We've never met her boyfriend but we both already adore him because of the joy we see in Gabs. It's been so uplifting to witness even from afar.

Thanks for being a faithful, supportive friend for over 20 years. Truly a friendship for a lifetime, here is wishing you a blessed year with much happiness and joy. I may never say often enough but I love you dearly and am thankful for you. Happy birthday Gabs!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Sarah!

A few months ago, I decided that I will write each cousin a blog for their birthday this year. I decided to start with my cousin Sarah. In our group of 14 cousins she is number four in birth order after myself,Carrie and Brianne. She is my Dad's sister Patty's oldest daughter and one of my best friends in the entire world.

Carrie, Baby Sarah and myself. I think I asked Aunt Patty to name her Cookie Monster.
Growing up Sarah was the quiet, good one. She always was good, never getting into trouble or causing trouble. She was always the quiet one unless we were doing something bad and then she refused to go along with our hair brained ideas. Sarah was and always had been the "good one" of the bunch. She was a excellent student who has met every goal she ever set for herself and beyond.

Right to left, Sarah,Brianne, and Julie on Grandpa's lap. Truly my all time favorite picture.

Sarah has always been there for me. We share a common bond of one of the worst, most scary experiences of our life that only we can really understand together. Growing up, we spent a lot of time together and at one point even lived together. We grew up spending most weekends and weekdays during the summer at our grandparents house. We truly had a unique bond as cousins growing up. We spent almost as much time together as we did with our siblings.

Christmas morning at Sarah's house

As we have grown into adult women, our bond is the strongest it has ever been. She is one of my best friends in the entire world. She has been a sister, friend, aunt and supporter to my family. She is always there for me when I need her and truly one of the best people I know. We can cry together, be each others confidant, supporter, and friend. She has let me cry on her shoulder many times and is usually on of the first people I call in my times of need.

Sarah and I on the day of Rissa's wedding
Marty isn't close to many people and so that is what makes his adoration for Sarah so big. He adores my cousin Sarah and is always asking me about her. They get along so well because they are both quiet people who observe the outside world in a unique way. When Marty was sick, Sarah made many trips to see our family and was truly our saving grace. She brought family to us when we couldn't get to them. We will always be forever grateful for the support she gave us in our time of need. She drove seven hours two ways to bring our kids to us at Stanford!

My kids adore her and she is really the aunt they have never had. She is more than just a cousin to them and they love her dearly.

Left to right; Sarah, Conner, B-Annie, Elizabeth 2010

She is a amazing teacher with a amazing career in a highly specialized field. I can only imagine the huge impact she makes on her students life by teaching them to speak after cochlear implant surgery.  I know she has made a difference in the world.

My hope and prayer for her is that she finds a wonderful, deserving man to share her life with someday. Anyone would be lucky to have her for a wife someday! I know it will happen and I cant wait for that for her.

I could go on and on about Sarah. My life has been blessed by her and I am so thankful to have her in my life. Wishing you the best of birthdays and the best year ever!

After giving Grandma a makeover!

Sarah with Marty and Brianne 2010

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Secret Mothers' Club

It's a club no mother wants to belong to but many do in secret silence. It's not spoken of, most people don't know and nobody remembers except the mother and a few people. A mother never forgets and never stops thinking "What if?" and "How come?"

In June of 1999, I became a member of this secret society. We moved to Visalia in January of 1999 to start a new chapter in our lives. We both were unemployed and looking for work when I got pregnant unexpectedly. We were scared, excited and nervous all at the same time. We hadn't really talked about having more kids at that point, Conner was only 16 months old and quite a handful already.

My sister Kim had also gotten pregnant, making it twice in a row we were pregnant at the same time. She was so upset that I was pregnant again also. She thought I was trying to steal her spotlight once again. This wasn't the case at all.

We were excited to have another baby. We told our family and friends. I immediately was sick like I was with Conner and all the normal signs of pregnancy. As three months approached, that sickness started to go away. I thought "Wow, it really does go away! People weren't lying" since I had been sick the entire nine months including post delivery with Conner.

One afternoon, I was getting ready to go to work at my fairly new job. It was June, I was twelve weeks pregnant and feeling pretty good.  I noticed that I had some light bleeding and thought it was odd. I had never spotted with Conner but knew that was normal for some pregnancies. So I went to work anxious but trying to not worry. I was working and things started getting worse, I started bleeding quite heavily and knew something was wrong.

I was sent home and Marty took me to the E.R. where we waited. They came in and listened for a heartbeat which couldn't be found. I was twelve weeks and so that maybe meant nothing. They did a exam and told me, " Your cervix is closed. So this could go either way" and sent me home.

The next morning I went to the Ob Gyn, still unsure of what was really happening. There they told me I was indeed having a miscarriage and I would lose the baby. I won't tell you what my sister said to me when they told me that. Really a painful memory and moment in my life.

I never saw my baby, I never even had a ultrasound picture to look at. This was back in the day you had to wait until twenty weeks to have a ultrasound. I don't have any reminders that our baby lived except my memories.

I knew it happened, I never thought it would happen to me. I remember calling my boss Jodi since she had miscarried several times. Her pain had never made sense to me until that moment and we suddenly shared a silent bond. People came out of the woodwork to share their stories and I found out that so many people silently share this pain.

This is one of those memories that I have really tucked away. I don't remember the exact date it happened which with my special memory tells you something. I know it happened in June and with a lot of prayer and support God carried me through. I do never forget that our baby was due January 1, 2000 and would be twelve years old now.

Two months later, I got pregnant with Elizabeth. We wanted another baby and were so anxious the entire time I was pregnant with her. We truly enjoyed each moment of that pregnancy and were so overjoyed when she was born. We truly knew how precious life was and that it could slip away in a instant.

Five years later, my friend Yvonne had a miscarriage. When she did, I truly for the very first time grieved my own loss along with hers. We bonded over our loss during a perinatal grief training class at work. I never fully understood perinatal loss until taking that class.

It's a silent grief that is often hidden, it is a grief that has no grave or marker to remind in many cases. A very dear friend of mine and blog reader lost a baby this year and became part of the club. Her loss and our conversations about my own loss prompted me to write this blog. I mentioned this blog as part of my blogging plans for this month to Marty. He simply said,  " I have never forgotten." as I ran the idea by him. A reminder that even Dad's are a part of this secret club that nobody wants to belong to.

I thought it would be a good way to remember baby Dorie, a name I had always planned on naming my daughter. We actually had never named the baby but recently when I mentioned C and E to someone, they asked "What happened to D?" jokingly, not knowing. I decided that Dorie would be the name of our middle child since I had named Elizabeth after my grandmother and not used the name.

I never saw my baby, I never held my baby but I never forget my baby.

Just a way for me to remember even though I often chose to forget because it is too painful to remember. A way to have a marker of sorts for baby D and to share the life that was short. I know someday, I will see my baby for the first time. Until then, I remember and wait along with countless other mothers who are in this silent society that none of us wanted to join.

Baby Dorie
March 1999- June 1999

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Interview on Coffee With Canines

Last month I received a email in my inbox that at first I assumed was a misdirected email. It said,  "Coffee with Jules and her canines" and I almost didn't read it. Turns out Marshal had read my blog and knew I had a couple of dogs. He writes a great blog where he interviews dog owners over coffee with their dogs.

What a great premise! Pet owners love to talk about their pets. I especially love to talk about Max and Oscar, so I jumped right in and said "YES!"

Today the interview has been published and I am thrilled to tell you where to read it. Head on over to and read all about Max and Oscar.

Thanks for the opportunity Marshal!