Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Grandpa Wayne

This year has been rough.  It even started out rough! Within the first few months Jim's Grandpa, who is more like a second dad to both of us, was diagnosed with cancer. He was weak and unable to leave the house and finally Grandma Kay persuaded him to go to the doctor's. They did all kinds of tests and found he had bone cancer. We all took it hard! Jim and I debated if we should even mention anything to Kevin. We waited a few days before we finally told him. He took it hard, as we anticipated, but he wanted to do something for him so we all made him a Get Well Soon card. I thought we were just going to make one card but Kevin made his own. When I read it I bawled like a baby and so did Grandma Kay.




Jim and I were barely able to articulate how we felt and Kevin wrote it so beautifully ❤

Grandpa Wayne has had chemo, radiation, and surgery. The doctors found that his cancer originated in his prostate, so that was surgically removed before starting chemo. However, the cancer has migrated into his bones. The prognosis doesn't look good. The chemo and radiation will lengthen his life. Not cure him.

We have been to their house a few times to visit, or sometimes Kevin will go to help out with chores, and each time Grandpa was his usual self. He is very witty, sarcastic, likes to debate, loves hard work, and loves his family. Every time we see him he has a smile on his face. He's not getting around as well as he used to and he's a lot thinner and paler but his wit is still the same. During one of our visits he was comparing his arm to mine. I have a partial sleeve (tattoo) on my left arm and Grandpa has broken blood vessels from his chemo. He smiled, "Look I'm having work done on my arm too! I bet mine's more expensive!"

He's the sweetest old man I've ever known! I don't remember my dad's dad much. He died when I was 8 or so. My mom's dad was grumpy. I don't have a lot of happy memories of him... However, I met Jim's Grandpa shortly after we started dating. We took Kevin there to go swimming. He won their hearts right away with his good manners, his intelligence, and his cuteness too, of course.

Grandpa would get out his car collection for Kevin and let him play with them. That was something they both loved. Grandpa even had old cars that he'd show off at the local car shows in Deland. Jim drove Kevin around in one of them. Kevin loved it!

Jim's grandparents rent out houses now that they're retired. We helped them fix up one in Deland for us and then one in De Leon Springs. We've lived here for 6 years! They bought us the appliances, the carpet, Jim helped Grandpa with the wooden floors... They've really done a lot for us and we love them for it all!

Now Grandpa is done with chemo and radiation. We hear he isn't doing too well but I hope that he rebounds. We all love Grandpa Wayne and are so thankful for everything that he has done for us!

Grandpa Wayne and James;
James' 1st Thanksgiving 

Grandma Kay and Granpa Wayne;
June 2016

This blog is for you, Grandpa! We love you! We all want you to get better! ❤😘

Love,
Jim, Heather, Kevin, and James ❤

Monday, October 10, 2016

For My Cousin, Chloe

There aren't enough words to describe how much we miss you.  How much going through life sucks without you. It doesn't get easier. It's an ache, an empty hollow hole in our hearts that can never be fixed or made whole. Our lives were changed having known you.  I'm glad I got to know you for 8 years but I know we all wish it could've been until our lifetime was up, not yours.

I can only imagine the heart ache that your parents and those closest to you feel today.  I have two sons and without them I'd barely function.  Anyway, we all love and miss you something fierce, Chloe Elizabeth. Thinking of you, your mom, and Emma today.  We never stop thinking of you or stop missing you. We will forever be wishing you were here...

Love you, Chloe. Love, your cousins: Heather, Jim, Kevin and James

Monday, September 12, 2016

Celebrating 6 Years!

No one gets married and expects it to end in divorce.  We all think that it will last forever and I was no different. However, that's what happened with my ex and I. Now I'm happily married to my best friend and my soul mate. We just celebrated our sixth year anniversary! To look at where we are I often think about where we've been.

Jim and I were best friends in high school.  Each obsessed with Dragon Ball Z. He used to give me a ride home from school in a little blue Honda and we'd crank up the stereo and blast Metallica ❤

His family moved after our sophomore year to Deland and life went on so we lost touch. Then one day after my senior year we bumped into each other at Walmart, of all places. We dated for a bit but were too young and immature to make things work. Again we were separated. I married someone else and so did he.

He and I were separated when we found each other again. I wasn't looking for anything, just a friend but I found everything I had ever wanted in Jim. He was my light in the darkness and saved me from my pit of despair.

When he asked me to marry him I really thought we were going to be one of those lame couples that were engaged, but never married. Once my divorce was final I told Jim that I never wanted to get remarried. I thought my first marriage would be my only one, but I was wrong. I didn't want to get hurt again. However, Jim shows me every day that he's not my ex.

He calls me every day from work, he kisses me goodnight and good morning, he does whatever he can for our boys and I. He understands me better than any other guy I have ever been with and we always have fun dates.

I knew I had found a winner when Kevin adored him. Kids have always been a reliable source of when to trust someone or not. Kevin and Jim took to each other right away ❤ Now not only does Kevin love him but so does my family and friends ❤

How blessed I am to have Jim in my life ❤ I seriously didn't know how good my life would get when Jim and I started dating once again ❤ Thank you for choosing me,  Jim and for continually choosing me every day ❤ Thank you for the past 6 years and may we have 100 more 🍻 I love you forever and always! ❤

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Day 30 - Modern Technology

I'm grateful for modern technology. It helps us keep in contact with those who live far from us. Our kids will never know what is what like to send snail mail and praying that you never lose their address or vice versa. Or how about calling cards? I used to get one every Christmas so I could call Emma and Jenn in Pennsylvania. Or calling after 9pm when the rates went down. 😜

I remember my parents were so happy when the Gameboy came out. It was really useful on long car rides and/or airplanes. Their kids were quiet and wouldn't ask "are we there yet" a thousand times.

Also, it's because of modern technology that my friends from Okinawa were able to find me and keep in contact ☺ Plus I now have a car that syncs to my phone so I can play music through its speakers. My phone also has a GPS so I never have to get lost or call my hubby asking for directions.

I love modern technology!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Day 28 & 29 - Music and Good Neighbors

I'm grateful for music: good, bad, and in between. I listen to everything, from bands that no one has ever heard of to country, rap, hip hop, pop, punk, alternative, and ska. I draw the line at techno and scremo.

My first concert was in 1995 or 1996 with my mom. We went to see Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. Tim McGraw has always been one of my favorite country singers. My favorite song that he sings is "Don't Take the Girl". My mom and I still sing it on road trips and sometimes my hubby and I sing it together as well.

I love songs because it's basically poetry, which I have always loved. I have a great memory and can usually memorize the words pretty quickly. Songs cheer you up when you're sad, can describe how you're feeling when you're having difficulty explaining them, and are fun to dance to. They can also make a long drive seem shorter and I love singing lullabies to my boys.

I'm so grateful for our new neighbors. We've had two families live in this house before but we never connected with either. Our new neighbors come over to play cards, we go over to each others house for food, help each other out in whatever way we can, and all of us get along. I love it! It's like living in Japan when our best friends lived across the street. Just makes every day more delightful ☺

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Day 27 - School

I'm thankful for school and for the teachers. I have always loved to learn, to read, and to study. When I was younger I thought of teachers as a glorified babysitter, but now that I'm older I know better.

I have seen the many hours that goes into it. Planning, grading papers, tests... Not to mention how she/he decorates her/his classroom and the fact that they don't make much money.

I'm just grateful for all of it. I love the experience, the learning, making new friends, meeting new people, and the books. Of course, the field trips are always fun too ☺

Not to mention teachers are great too because they have to deal with bratty kids and disrespectful parents. I'm really grateful for teachers! We've been really blessed as Kevin has had awesome teachers thus far and my sister is an amazing teacher too!

So thank you to all the teachers out there ❤

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Day 25 & 26 - My Dad and Being Home

We celebrated my dad's 65th birthday yesterday.  We celebrated it early as we were all together. My mom bought him an ice cream cake and red velvet cupcakes too. It was all delicious!

I praise my dad a lot, I know, but it is because he's awesome! He has always been a great dad! He always puts his needs and desires last. He loves my mom, his children, and his grandchildren. ❤

Lastly, our vacation was fun but it's nice to be home. To sleep in our own bed! Now it's back to reality, work and school. I hope everyone enjoyed their summer vacation. I know we did ☺

Happy Birthday, dad ❤

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Day 24 - Vacation

I'm grateful for vacation. It's all about spending time with loved ones and recharging your batteries. I love this vacation! Jim got time off of work, my parents came, my Granny, the kids, my aunt RenΓ©e, and aunt Ramona with her family.

It's a nice walk on the beach, a cool swim in the pool, relaxing in the hot tub, building castles in the sand, and jumping waves ❤ It's one of our favorite traditions! We've been coming to the beach since 2011. Sometimes Jim comes with us and sometimes he has to work. Luckily this year he was able to get the time off.

The cousins enjoy it too! There's poolside games and contests, not to mention staying up late with each other, and an endless amount of playtime. I'm glad they all get along so well and love each other's company ❤ Having memories that will last a lifetime.

Of course, it's great for the adults. Everyone gets away from work, chores, and gets to take a step back from their life and reflect. So thank goodness for vacations. Bringing families closer together, giving us time to reflect, a break from reality, and giving us memories that will last a lifetime ❤ I so don't want this time to end ❤

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Day 23 - Jon Gleason

Today marks his 30th birthday... So 12 years ago he was taken from us... It never gets easier. He was a great guy and a good friend. All he wanted to do was make the world a better place.

He was known for cheering up the sad, being the class clown, giving money to those that needed it, his love of music, and his love for animals. He taught himself Portuguese, how to play guitar, and he loved to play the piano as well.

I knew him and his family through church, Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He and his family were one of those that I looked forward to seeing every Sunday. Jon always had a smile on his face and always wanted to make those around him smile too. He was a very caring and sweet young man.

He was taken from us 12 years ago during what is now known as the Xbox murders. He wasn't 18 yet and had big dreams for the future. He wanted to vote and he wanted to work in the medical field. My heart is filled with sadness as he was not able to accomplish these goals. I'm saddened that his life came to an abrupt end at the hands of violence. I will never understand this heinous act or those four people who decided to break into the house and kill him and five others 😭

Jon was a dreamer and a giver. One of his favorite songs was John Lennon's "Imagine". He was known to befriend those who needed a friend, regardless of their social status, and give a voice to those who didn't have one, such as animals. Jon was a vegan.

Every day I'm grateful that I got the chance to know you, Jon. I wish your death wasn't so soon and that you didn't die the way you did... At the hands of violence. You had a beautiful life and accomplished more in your 17 years than most people... You also were and are loved by many. My thoughts are with you and your family this day. I'd like to think you're still watching us, still with us, and proud of your family and friends for their accomplishments. I wish your life had been longer so you could take it all in and rejoice with us; but also so that all of your dreams could have come true.

Thank you, Jon for the memories. I'm grateful for you. Every day. RIP.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Day 22 - My Nieces

I have four nieces and they're all amazing! I am just as grateful for them as I am my nephews. Again I see them as often as time allows.

The oldest is Kennedy. She just turned 15 and has her driver's permit! 😫 She will always hold a special place in my heart as I used to babysit her every day after high school. It was also because of her that I found I had a love for children and wanted to be a mother ❤ As she gets older she just gets more and more wonderful ❤ Her passion is dancing and she's a freaken genius at it! She has danced at schools in Florida and New York. She was Clara in The Nutcracker when she was a preteen and hopes to one day be a professional choreographer.

The next two nieces are sisters. They are 14 and 12. Although they are sisters they are very different! Alani is the oldest. She is more emotional and identifies herself as an emo. She loves boys and music.

Amina is the younger sister to Alani. She loves Nascar, music, and science. She's very smart and hopes to go to Harvard to become a doctor or something in the medical field.

My youngest niece is Hayley. She just turned 10 in June. She has red hair and loves music and movies. She's really sweet and also loves animals. She loves coming to our house and playing with our cats; we have three. Her best friend is her cousin, Alyssa. Like the rest of my nieces she is very smart and sweet. She's also very shy and has a quiet voice.

Although my nieces are very different I love them all. Just the way they are. I hope they can all be comfortable in their differences and find their place in the world; and I hope they all know that they have an aunt who loves them a lot!

Hayley and Kennedy

Alani and her flute

Amina and Ethan at the beach

Monday, August 8, 2016

Day 20 & 21 - Crafty family members and my nephews

I am grateful for crafty and talented family members. My Granny has made me a quillow (half quilt, half pillow), a quilt for my first wedding, my wedding dress when I married Jim, and James's blessing outfit. Granny has also made Angela's wedding dress and Charlette's wedding dress too. Now my mom made the kids a pillow mattress to use on vacation and she recently made James's stocking out of Olaf material. She also made stockings for each one of her kids and grandkids for them to use at Christmas.

I love having homemade gifts. I think it makes the gift even more special keepsake.

Jim's grandma is crafty too and so are my aunts. My aunt Janet made James a tiny tab blanket when he was a baby. Jim's grandma made Jim a wall-hanging and Kevin a quilt a couple of Christmases back. When James was a baby Grandma Kay made James his own quilt as well.

I have all the gifts that my family has made for me and my family. I love and appreciate them all.

I am grateful for my nephews; all four of them. Two I don't see much but they're still adorable and fun. My other nephews, Kalib and Oliver I see as often as time allows. Oliver is usually busy with dance. He loves it and is very talented! Over the summer he got to go to New York for dance! He's awesome! He's hardworking, motivated, kind, and very awesome! I love him lots and lots!

Kalib I see on an almost daily basis. He lives close to us and he almost always stays the night with us, or we see him when we go to his house to go swimming. He and Kevin play well together, but because it's so often they can get on one another's nerves, like brothers sometimes do. He is sensitive but can come across as being mean. He loves being outdoors and playing sports. When he's playing a sport he's very dedicated and motivated as well.

In my opinion I have the best nephews an aunt could ever ask for! They're all very sweet, super smart, and very handsome! I love all four of them and wish I saw them more, but since I don't it makes our time together even more special ❤ I love that they love me enough to call and/or text me too ❤
James's Christmas stocking

My mom, Aunt RenΓ©e, and Granny made these costumes


James's pillow mattress

Oliver's pillow mattress with Kalib on it

Oliver

Kalib and buddy, James


Ethan

Eli

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Day 19 - The Beach

I'm very grateful for the beach. If you want to see beautiful scenery, swim, and maybe see some wildlife; the beach is a good place to do that.

This week is the time share at Silver Beach Club. I have family visiting from North Carolina and we're going to have a blast!

The beach is so therapeutic and a good way to recharge your batteries. ☺ So we'll be relaxing, enjoying the sun, the waves, the ocean view, each other's company, and long walks on the beach ❤

I have always loved nature. I loved camping as a kid, I've been fishing with my brothers, and I've been fishing with Kevin before too. I skied in Pennsylvania, hiked in Germany, and camped a lot in Okinawa, Germany, as well as Florida. It was always fun and relaxing. Now that I'm an adult with children of my own I'm glad we get the opportunity to do these things together ❤

I love the beach! Out of ask the things I did as a kid with my family, going to the beach has always been my favorite. Kevin has told me that this is his favorite time of the year as well. I just hope James loves it just as much too!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Day 18 - Disney

I love Disney and am so grateful that Walt Disney was the dreamer he was and that he had the motivation to create it. My family and I enjoy going to Disney. We have been to Disney World, Disney Land, and Tokyo Disney. All of them are fantastic!

My dad works at Disney part-time so that we can enjoy the benefits. We get discounts on Disney items, we've been to Disney numerous times, and Disney Quest. I have good memories associated with each of these things.

When I was a kid I enjoyed Disney movies and, of course, I still do. Now I have kids to watch it with ☺ My favorite princesses have always been Belle and Jasmine. I'm a dreamer and I love books like Belle; and I have always loved that Jasmine's companion was a tiger named Rajah, which only seemed fitting as she could be ferocious like one at times. I really love them all, however.

Each of the Disney movies are good if you want a fun family night and the songs are always fun to sing along with. I have Disney songs on my phone for the kids and I to sing along with in the car.

Once again, it's the simple things I'm grateful for. I have such great memories of hanging out with my family either going to Disney or Disney related places. Now that I'm older I'm keeping the tradition going with my own kids. I love them so much and love seeing their reactions when they meet their favorite character for the first time; or enjoy their first ride or firework's show.

I have really been blessed with a great family and memories; and that's all I want for my kids. Thank goodness we have dreamers like Walt Disney who was able to create a fun environment for families to create fun and wonderful memories together. ❤

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Day 16 & 17 - Timeshare and Scrubs

I know I didn't write anything yesterday. That's because yesterday was crazy! We had a dentist appointment and then the water pump to our fix broke... The boys and I stayed with my parents while Jim stayed home. Luckily it's fixed now and we have running water again! Yay!

I'm grateful for Timeshares because every year we get together and stay at a hotel on the beach. It's always fun and amazing! The kids enjoy it and the parents enjoy it! We get away from work, people who are stressing us out, and we all just enjoy one another's company! ❤

I love Scrubs as well because it's random, funny, and you also learn things by watching it. I used to watch Grey's Anatomy but refused to watch any recent episodes as they killed off one of my favorite characters. Scrubs is a TV show too but way less drama. It has a lot of random and funny moments. I love it! And I love that Jim does too, as well as Kevin.

This world has enough drama and we all learn at one time or another that life is not fair. It's nice to find joy, laughter, and happiness in the little things. I hope everyone has something that makes them smile and lifts their spirits. 😊

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Day 15 - Stability

I am very grateful for stability. My husband and I have lived in our home for 6 years. Before we moved in we helped Jim's grandparents put our home together. We got rid of the old appliances, put down new floors, and bought new appliances. It took a lot of work but when it was ready for us it was perfect!

I still love our house and often think about when we first moved in. I was just starting to work as a Massage Therapist in Orlando and Jim was fairly new at his company as well. We were young and stressed, didn't have any furniture yet. One day after working long hours we just laid on our carpet side by side. We discussed our dreams for the future. It is one of my favorite memories with my husband!

I love where we live, our neighbors, and our neighborhood. We live close to our families so we can visit as often as we like. We live close enough to town that we can go out and get groceries but we don't live in the middle of town that we have problems with traffic.

Moving gets old. Not having enough money for bills gets old. Moving over four times in two years definitely gets old, so I am very grateful for stability. I know where we'll be living in 5 years and I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful for everything that my husband has done to provide for us. Our house is beautiful and full of furniture ❤ Jim's only wish is that we had a bigger TV.

I love you, Jim. Thank you for our beautiful home ❤

Monday, August 1, 2016

Day 14 - Jenn

I am grateful for my friend Jenn. She's been there for me through everything. Through my trauma filled childhood, my crazy brother, my divorce... She's always been just a phone call away.

I may have moved away after 6th grade but we've wrote each other, called each other, and emailed each other before MySpace and Facebook came out. Anytime, I needed to vent she's always been there for me.

Jenn is really like another sister to me. She's full of great advice, wisdom, and friendship that goes beyond her years. She's one of my favorite people! Life has thrown her some curveballs that should've knocked her down and kept her down, but she gets back up and becomes stronger than ever. I'm grateful to her for that.

She's always known what she's wanted to do with her life too. She is happily married, loves her job, and has a sweet nine year old son. Without Jenn and her friendship I wouldn't be who I am today.

Thank you, Jenn for everything! We may not see each other on a daily basis or live close by, but our friendship has never changed. I know I can always count on you in my time of need; and I hope you know I'm always here for you as well. ❤

"Good friends are like stars. You don't always see them, but you know they're always there."

"True friendship isn't about being inseparable, it's being separated and nothing changes".

I love you, Jenn ❤ Thank you for being awesome and for your friendship over the years! You mean the world to me ❤

Going to see Goldfinger in concert in 2001

Seeing Alice in Wonderland in 3D; 2010

Visiting PA in 2010


Visiting again in 2011
                 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Day 13 - Books

I'm so grateful for books! Of all kinds. I love to read! I love to write! I am so thankful for books!

In my younger years I liked to read Goosebumps by R.L. Stine. I owned a lot of them and my favorite one was The Ghost Next Door. I did read other books for school and found my first true favorite book: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.

Outside of school I started reading Stephen King, who became my favorite author. My favorite book by him is Lisey's Story. It's dark like all his other books but it's also a very sweet love story.

At the end of high school and the beginning of college I started reading the Harry Potter series. It still is one of my favorite series! The other is The Hunger Games and the Divergent series. I love them all!

Not too long ago I started reading Jodi Picoult books and now she's one of my favorite authors as well. All her stories are amazing and her characters are relatable, so when the book ends it's sad and you're left wanting more.

I love books! Often times the book is better than the movie so I always prefer to read the book first than to see the movie first.

As you can tell, I do a lot of writing too, but lately it has only been in my journal; aside from this blog. I used to write a lot in high school and in my early years of college. Mostly short stories and poems.

Books of all sizes and shapes, I love them all! They're good for the imagination, when you're stressed, and to learn new things, just to name a few. It's definitely one of my few favorite hobbies ☺ and yes, I'm a nerd and have the newest Harry Potter book: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Day 12 - Being an Air Force Brat

I am very glad for my experiences as an Air Force brat. I made some great friends, got to live over seas, and visit Europe. Living over seas is some of my favorite memories!

As I was growing up we moved around a lot. I was born in Kansas, moved to New York, then to Germany, and lastly to Japan. We lived in Germany for four years and Japan for two. After our second year in Japan my dad was forced to retire. They were making cuts in the Air Force and sadly my dad was one of those cut.

I loved living in Germany! My brothers and I rode our bikes through the woods by our house. In the backyard we had a playground and during the winters we got to play in the snow.

My favorite memories from Germany were setting up clogs around the Christmas Tree the night before Christmas to receive presents and candy. I also loved building snowmen with my brothers.

While living in Germany we got to visit England and France. We took a double decker bus and then a ferry. It was a lot of walking and a lot of trains... I really didn't appreciate it at the time because I was too immature.

I turned 8 while living in Japan and lived there until I was 10. I loved it! We lived on base in a gated community called Chibana. My brothers and I would watch animΓ© and record it with VCRs and videotapes. Mostly we watched Dragon Ball Z but every so often we'd branch out and watch others, one of them being Sailor Moon. We collected figures, trading cards, and pogs. Anything we could find that was DBZ related.

While living in Japan we got to visit Disneyland in Tokyo. It was amazing! I loved seeing the shows in Japanese! That's one of my favorite memories. My other favorite memories revolve around going to Okuma beach. A lot of times we'd go to the beach with our good friends who were also our neighbors.

I really wish Jim and I could afford to take our children over seas. I think they'd both love it and appreciate it! Not only is the scenery beautiful but I really loved learning about another country's culture.

My dream is to one day go back to Europe, Japan, and maybe one day Ireland or Greece. Hopefully we'll be able to bring the boys but if not then it'll be a romantic getaway 😊

Friday, July 29, 2016

Day 11 - My Life

As cheesy as it sounds I'm grateful for my life. I love being a mom, I love being a wife, I love my family and friends, and I love being me. There are times it's stressful, yes, but I know I wouldn't change it for the world.

I love watching my boys learn and grow ❤ It is both sad and wonderful at the same time. I love watching them grow into individuals with their own thoughts, their own likes, and dislikes. They're both so loving and in so many ways they're alike; and in so many ways they are different as well. But both beautiful. And I would not change one thing about them in a million years.

I love being Mrs. James Panko! ❤ He loves me like no one ever has. He accepts me for who I am and I know that will never grow old! I love him with all my heart, my soul, my being! ❤ He is everything wonderful and selfless that I wish I could be ❤ πŸ’‹

I have a great big, wonderfully loud family ❤ We may fight and disagree at times but it never lasts. There really aren't any spoken apologies but quiet ones with loving  and understanding. We help each other, are there for each other, and comfort one another. As an individual unit we might be damaged but together we are a fierce team! And I know there is no one else I'd rather have beside me than my family and group of friends ❤ They are all wonderful and a huge blessing to me ❤

And as for me, I'm still learning and adjusting. I thought I'd be much better at things now but I'm not and I'm learning that that's okay. All our lives aren't perfect. They're filled with perfect moments, which can be found in good days and bad days. Today was a very good day. Thank you to my family and friends for being a part of my journey. I hope I am as much help as you are to me ❤

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Day 10 - My Mom

Today is my mom's birthday so it only seems fitting to talk about her. I am very grateful for my mom, every day.

Hearing about my mom growing up makes me think of my sister, Angela. They were both intelligent and did well in high school. They both did sports (my mom was on the swim team and Angela was a cheerleader). My mom always knew who she wanted to be, a mother. She stayed away from drugs for this reason and never let others sway her decision. She still doesn't.

She met my dad through mutual friends. My mom and dad had both broken up with someone and their friends said "hey, we know the  perfect person for you". My mom said she had just finished doing dishes and felt gross when her friends came in with a really cute guy, my dad. However, it wasn't happily ever after. My mom was 17 and my dad was 21. Their age was just a number to them, but my mom's parents were not thrilled about it so they broke up. My dad was sent to an Air Force Base in Alaska soon after but he and my mom stayed in touch via letters.

When my dad was back in California my mom was engaged to someone else, a Mormon missionary. However, upon seeing my dad my mom proposed to my dad and the rest is history πŸ˜‰

They have been married for 41 years, they have 4 kids, and 6 grandkids. I'm so thankful my mom chose my dad instead of the other guy. I'm thankful to her for being loud spoken and opinionated. My mom is a leader and I love that about her! She doesn't let other people bring her down or ruin her day. She's strong, she's confident, and is always there when we need her.

I'm very grateful for my mom! I know she will always be there for me if I ever need her. I love her stories, her unconditional love for my siblings and I, as well as her grandchildren, and I love that she loves to help other people.

Thank you, mom for being you ❤ We all love and appreciate you so much! Happy Birthday! I hope you truly enjoyed your day ❤πŸŽ‚

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Day 9 - Emma

I am thankful for my tween and her sound advice. I know I can talk to her about anything and everything; and often I find that I am not alone. She either feels the same way or has been there herself. It's great to have a friend with which you have a lot in common, not just hobbies, but feelings and emotions.

I really believe that Emma is my other soul mate. Nothing romantic but a piece of my soul that keeps me whole. She's been my best friend since I was 9 or 10, but we used to joke about being best friends before we were born too. We were supposed to be twins but our mothers (who are sisters) each wanted one more child, so we were split apart. That's where the nickname tween comes from.

Even though we are states apart, don't talk every day, and sometimes don't see each other for years, we stay in contact and are there for each other. She is one of my favorite people and I am so happy that she became a mother seven and a half months ago, it's been her dream since before I can remember. Probably since she was a kid and played house with the neighbors.

I love you, Emma. Thanks for being my tween ❤ My life wouldn't be the same without you.

Here we are as toddlers

When we were 9

I was 9, she was 10

As teenagers

Dressing up just because...

Summer fun

I believe we were both 19 here

We've had a lot of fun over the years and also much sadness, but we've remained best friends through it all. She's one of the toughest people I know. She's been through a lot and knocked down a lot but she always comes through the other side much stronger. She doesn't give herself nearly as much credit as she deserves.

I love you, Emma! Thanks for being my tween and for always listening to me as well as helping me in my time of need. I really don't think I would've made it this far without you. ❤

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day 8 - Western Medicine

Lately I have been worrying about the health of a few people that I love. Two of them are the same age I am but their health is  deteriorating, which breaks my heart. I am too far and too broke to help either of them.

So I guess today I am thankful for Western medicine and its ability to help and heal in a way that I can't. Without modern medicine I'm sure that neither of them would've lived this long; nor I for that matter.

I know there's much debate going on about vaccines and medication but the way I see it is that it's kept me alive and my children safe, as well as my ancestors. All I can do is have faith that my loved ones will be healed and find answers for their suffering.

I love you all and I'll always be here to talk or listen. Life isn't always fair, but I wish it was, so I'm thankful for modern medicine because it extends life and gives hope even in the most hopeless of circumstances.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Day 7 - Julius

I am dedicating this blog for one of my favorite people. Julius. He lived with Jim and I for a short while before moving to Oklahoma. He has always been one of my best friends. He's really more like a brother to me.

Growing up he lived in Orlando with his mom and when I was able to drive I'd drive out there and pick him up. I'd always say "I'm kidnapping you" before I went to get him. Many times he just hung out at my parent's house while I was working, or we'd see a movie, or sometimes we'd go to Disney with friends or family.

After my first divorce he was really concerned that I was moving too fast with Jim, but once they met it was really love at first sight for them as well 😜 They instantly became best friends and Jim was the one who'd drive to Orlando to pick him up. Jim suggested that he look for jobs near us and he could live with us; and as luck would have it he got a job at the Olive Garden in Orange City.

We all loved him living here! Whenever Jim didn't have to work the next day they'd stay up playing Halo online. Kevin and Julius clicked because Julius is funny and loves animΓ©! (And not to mention Taco Bell, which was Kevin's favorite restaurant at the time).

However, Julius only wanted to live with us for a short amount of time. He set up goals, called apartments, and eventually came up with November to be moved out and on his own. Jim and I miss him, of course, as he was the comic relief in the house and at times was the mediator between Jim and I; however, we are grateful that we were able to help him out in his time if need.

Now Julius is living back in Florida and we were glad that he got to spend Jim's birthday with us, even if I do suck at video games. 😜 Oh, well. We'll be seeing him soon as we're all going to a concert together in a few weeks! Eek! So excited!

So this day I'm grateful for Julius! One of my favorite people who can always make me smile and who can always bring me back to the reality of things. I love you, Jules ❤ Happy 30th Birthday!! ❤

The only picture I have of you where you're smiling!

Day 6 - Photographs

Today I am grateful for pictures. I love taking pictures of my family and loved ones. Yesterday I was looking at my parent's old photo albums. It was nice seeing pictures of my parent's beautiful wedding and old pictures from my childhood. I love taking pictures, and putting them into albums, so that one day my children can look back and hopefully see that they had a good childhood and wonderful parents ☺

My parent's wedding day;
May 30,1975

Mine and Jim's wedding day; Sept. 4, 2010

I hope Jim and I will be as lucky as my parents; to have many years together and many more holidays and birthdays to celebrate ❤

In closing I want to share lyrics from "Photograph" by Ed Sheeran.

"We keep this love in a photograph,
We made these memories for ourselves,
Where our hearts are never closing,
Hearts are never broken,
Times forever frozen still"

I'm thankful for pictures ❤ Pictures are  beautiful memories and stories. Something for us to hold onto as we get older and our memories start fading. It's a good way for us to look back and see how much we've changed, or our children, or even our house. I'm thankful for all these memories.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Day 5 - Living close to family

Today I dedicate this blog to living close to my family. They are all wonderful and I love them so much! Living close means that we're able to help each other out as well as hang out as often as time allows.

I'm also very fortunate because we all get along and love going to places together. Whether it be to Disney, the beach, out to dinner, or just having a day hanging out at my parent's house to swim in their pool. I'm so blessed!

I love that we all get along too. I love being with my family. I love that my sons get along with their cousins and play well together; and I love seeing my nephews and nieces all on a weekly basis. My family contains some of my favorite people. I'm thankful for each and every one of them ❤

Cousins at Dinosaur World

Celebrating Hayley's birthday

Hanging out at Disney Springs

The 3 amigos

Playing games under Granny's table

Friday, July 22, 2016

Day 4 - James

My 4th day of being grateful is dedicated to my youngest miracle. He brings so much joy and love to our little family.

His arrival was heavily anticipated since Jim and I got married, but it took years and months of patience and faith before I finally got pregnant. I was on provera and clomid for ten months before I got pregnant! I even had blood work done to see if I was ovulating and when the tests came back negative I sank into despair. Ten months and no baby, the doctors told us that they could no longer help us; that we'd have to go to a specialist. However, two weeks later I took a pregnancy test and to our surprise it was positive! Jim and I were elated!

Jim loves Kevin as his own but he has always wanted to have a child of his own; and James is Jim's mini me. Not only does James look exactly like his dad's baby pictures but he definitely has his personality too!

He has no fear of heights, he loves water, he loves the cats (one of his first words was Luna; Kevin's cat), he loves learning, and is very smart as well as very loving. He is the other piece of my heart!

I love hearing him playing with his older brother, giggling, singing along to the radio, and his mispronunciation of words. All the things that make him James ❤

He is the youngest grandchild on my parent's side and he is always asking to see his grandma, Kalib, and Hayley. (Yeah, we go over there a lot). I'm very family oriented and I love that James is too. He loves spending time with his family! Whether it be playing games, swimming, going for a walk, or watching a movie. He's a very sweet little boy and I'm so grateful I'm his mom! He brightens up my dark days and I know that Jim feels the same way! I really love watching them fall asleep snuggled together and playing together ❤

We all love you, James! Thanks for being a part of our family ❤ You and your brother are everything to us ❤

Again I hope this reminds you, everyone, that children are a blessing. A wonderful miracle! And I'm so grateful for both of mine ❤ They each have taught me so much about parenting and patience. I would be lost without my miracles!

He's our water baby ❤

He loves being with the big kids

Loves his big brother ❤

Loves swimming ❤

Sleeping with Luna and Cloud

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Day 3 - My Hubby ❤

I'm grateful for my husband ❤ He works hard so that I can stay home with our boys ❤ Sometimes, more often than not, he works 6 days a week.

He is selfless to a fault. Always willing to help out his fellow coworkers, family, and friends. He's helped both families with car problems, he installed a light fixture in my sister's house, he helped repair my parents oven, and he helped lay down wooden floors at my sister's house as well.

I love my husband because he is beyond patient and sensitive with me, as well as our children. He gives us his time, he consoles us in our time of need. He never puts us down, only builds us up.

He helps with homework, with meltdowns, with projects, he helps around the house, and is very handy when our appliances are broken or being troublesome.

I'm grateful for my husband because he is my best friend. We hardly ever argue and if we do it's resolved in the same day. He listens to what I say and what I don't say. Sometimes he knows my thoughts and feelings before I have time to express them.

His love is the purest love I've ever known. He loves our children and he loves me. No matter how crazy I can be he's always on my side. He calls me just because, he holds my hand, and enjoys watching shows with me. It's really the little things I love about him.

I love that he thinks of me throughout the day, he worries about me and his children, he calls throughout the day, he's funny, he's quirky, and mine ❤

I don't know how I got so lucky ❤ When I'm feeling sorry for myself I tell him "I don't know how you put up with me", to which he replies "I don't; I love you". Our children and I are so blessed to have him in our lives! He understands, he doesn't judge, and I know I can count on him to be there for us, always.

He was my best friend in high school, but now he is much more than that! He is the father of our children, he's a great example to our kids, giving them an example of what a man and father should be. He's my lover, the smile I wear as I think of him, he calms my mind, and soothes my soul. He's a great example of what a husband should be!

I know I'm being cheesy and mushy but it's hard not to be when you talk about true love. He brings out the best in me and I like to think I bring out the best in him as well. I never really truly understood what real love was until he came along and we followed our hearts.

I love you, dear husband! Thanks for giving us a chance all those years ago! It's hard to think that in just a few months we'll be celebrating our 6th year anniversary! I feel so blessed to be your wife and the mother of your children! You're someone I am proud to be with, someone I am never embarrassed to be with, and always someone fun to hang out with ❤

Thank you so much for being you! I appreciate your understanding, your patience, and that you love me for who I am and never trying to change me. ❤ I love you, hubby ❤ I hope we have many years together and much to celebrate through the years πŸ’‹ You are everything to me and our boys πŸ’‹

Kevin says, "You are a great dad! Even though sometimes I get frustrated with you."  Whenever you call James always wants to talk to you to tell you he loves you and to give you a kiss. That's because you're an awesome dad πŸ˜‰ The three of us are so lucky to have you in our lives! We love you, Jim Bob ❤πŸ’‹

So to the readers I hope that you have someone who loves you unconditionally and selflessly. Someone to be thankful for who brightens up your bad days and makes your good days even better by just being there. Love is a wonderful thing! When it's true it heals, it understands, it's patient, and never condemns. It brings out the best you that you can be and brings joy to your life. I never realized how lost I was until I found you, Jim ❤ Thank you for being the light in the darkness ❤πŸ’‹

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day 2 - Kevin

I am thankful for my oldest son. He is my mini me. He's careful, he's loving, he's smart, funny, and kind. He's all the best traits of my ex and I combined ❤ He makes me proud each and every day. I am so thankful that he's my son.

I know I keep saying that he transformed me into a better person and it's true. I was miserable before him. I was a cutter, I had no self esteem, and my life was a big self pity fest. However, the moment that I held him I knew that he needed me forever and would love me unconditionally so it made me want to change. I didn't want to be the miserable person I was. I wanted to change myself for my son. Who knew that my anchor would be so small?

I'm not saying he's perfect because no one is but he's the best kid a mom could ask for; both my boys are, in my completely biased opinion. Kevin is caring and sensitive, always has been. My earliest memories of him talking were when I had the stomach flu and he said "I'm sorry you hurt". Then on his first day of VPK he asked me if my heart was going to him because his was going to miss me. Yeah, you can bet that tugged on my heart strings. ❤

He also loves to make people feel better, whether it be with a hug, kind words, or a joke. He loves making up his own jokes. One of them was "what did a pencil learn at his karate class? His signature move." The newest one is "what's the difference between a boy snowman and a girl snowman? Snow balls". Yep, that's my son.

He has always been smart too. He recognized letters when he was 3 and could spell by the time he was 4. Jim's grandparents got him a surprise a "c-a-r"; to which Kevin exclaimed, "You got me a car!" So much for spelling it out and keeping it a secret!

He is my heart's song, one of the three pieces that makes up my heart. I want the best for him and will do everything I can so that he has a fun childhood and has everything he needs/wants so that he is happy, feels safe and loved. He is without a doubt one of my favorite people ❤

In closing I'm going to share the thing from Facebook that you ask your kids to answer about you. I did this a year ago and even now when I'm feeling blue I reread it and it always makes me smile. I love you, Kevin. I hope this post makes everyone smile and reminds them just how special and wonderful their child/children are.

Kevin age 10

1. What is something Mom always says to you?
Feed your cats

2. What makes Mom happy?
When I hug her.

3. What makes Mom sad?
Thinking of me or James alone.

4. How does your mom make you laugh?
Her attitude of awesomeness.

5. What was your mom like as a child?
I don't know

6. How old is your mom?
29.

7. How tall is your mom?
Taller than me... For now.

8. What is her favorite thing to do?
Being with me, James, Jim, Luna, and Garfield

9. What does your mom do when you're not around?
Watch TV

10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
It'll be for awesomeness.

11. What is your mom really good at?
Laughing.

12. What is your mom not very good at?
Video games

13. What does your mom do for a job?
Take care of James

14.What is your mom's favorite food?
Chicken

15.What makes you proud of your mom?
When she cooks stroganoff

16. If your mom were a character, who would she be?
Phoebe

17. What do you and your mom do together?
Play

18. How are you and your mom the same?
We love each other

19. How are you and your mom different?
She looks after James and I really don't want to.

20. How do you know your mom loves you?
Because of her smile.

21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
You like that you two have things in common

22. Where is your mom's favorite place to go?
Wherever I am.

23. How old was your mom when you were born?
18. No! 20.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day 1 - The Big Bang Theory

In a world where there's much to be depressed and stressed about, there is also much to be happy and thankful for. My hubby and I have started watching The Big Bang Theory and we love it! It makes a lot of references to Star Trek, which I don't know anything about aside from the main characters are Spock and James T. Kirk, however, the show also has funny, quirky, lovable, and relatable characters. So I've decided that every day for a month I'd share something that makes me happy. Today it's The Big Bang Theory and the lyrics that Howard sings to Bernadette.

If I didn't have you life would be blue,
I'd be Doctor Who without the Tardis,
A candle without a wick,
A Watson without a Crick,
I'd be one of my outfits without a dick-ey,
I'd be cheese without the Mac,
[Steve] Jobs without the Wozniak,
I'd be solving exponential equations that use bases not found on your calculator,
Making it much harder to crack.

I'd be an atom without a bomb,
A dot without the com,
And I'd probably still live with my mom,
(All echo: and he'd probably still live with his mom)

Ever since I met you you turned my world around,
You've supported all my dreams and all my hopes,
You're like Uranium-235 and I'm Uranium-238,
Almost inseparable isotopes.

I couldn't have imagined how good my life would get,
From the moment that I met you, Bernadette

If I didn't have you life would be dreary,
I'd be string theory without any string,
I'd be a binary code without a one,
A cathode ray tube without an electron gun,
I'd be 'Firefly', 'Buffy', and 'Avengers' without Joss Whedon,
I'd speak a lot more Klingon
[Speaks Klingon]
All: And he'd definitely still live with his mom

Ever since I met you you've turned my world around,
You're my best friend and my lover,
We're like changing electric and magnetic fields;
You can't have one without the other

I couldn't have imagined how good my life would get,
From the moment that I met you, Bernadette

All: Oh, we couldn't have imagined how good our lives would get,
From the moment that we met you, Bernadette

I chose this show because it's one that Jim and I enjoy to watch together and I love the song because I'm a hopeless romantic. I hope that everyone has something that makes them laugh in this crazy, chaotic, wonderful world ❤

Bernadette's song in case you want to watch Howard sing to Bernadette, here's the link ;)

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Happy Belated Birthday

I know I'm way late writing something for my husband's birthday, but I told myself I wouldn't write anything. We celebrated with family and friends, adults only, because the kids went to Hayley's birthday party. We watched Deadpool, played old NES games and his new X-Men game, had birthday cake, and then launched fireworks. It really was a lot of fun! Much more than I expected.

I really didn't get him anything for his birthday. I felt bad but I did get him a few gifts for Father's Day. Jim really appreciates the thought but doesn't need presents to know I love him. He knows this as we express it freely daily, weekly, and whenever we can.

He calls on his way home to tell me, to talk about our days, and to say "I love you". We say it before going to sleep and when we wake up in the morning. I am very touchy feely and I love that he is too. He never pushes me off or gets annoyed. He just pulls me closer to him and welcomes it.

We talk about anything and everything. He knows of my past, all aspects of it, and how I come with baggage but he not only accepts it, he tries his best to understand it, and be there for me.

There's not enough words to express how grateful I am for my husband, my best friend, my soulmate. He is everything to me and infinitely more. So I decided to break my promise to myself and write a blog for my husband to remind him how much he means to me. How happy I am to have him in my life! To have him sleep by my side at night and raise our children together! He is everything and more that I have ever looked for in a husband! I love you, Jim ❤ You and the boys are the pieces to my heart! Thank you for being you and for never giving up on me! For always fighting for us and for wanting to be the father of our kids ❤ I love you so much!

I heard a quote from A Walk to Remember that came from the bible and I want to share it with you; "Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes." Call me a hopeless romantic but when I heard this quote I thought of us. We don't put one another down, we build each other up, we comfort one another, and if the other makes a mistake we try to understand instead of ridicule. Our love really is one from a fairy tale. You are everything I love and proud of ❤ Thank you for being mine ❤ I hope we have many more years together and many more birthdays and holidays to celebrate together! ❤ I love you, Jim ❤

Happy 33rd Birthday, hubby ❤

My cousin, Julius ❤

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy Belated Father's Day

I know I'm late but I want to say Happy Father's Day to my two favorite dads! They are everything to me!

"Dadda" was my first word, my first love, and forever the yardstick I measured my future boyfriends against. See I always knew my dad's love was unconditional and I loved how he talked to my siblings and I. He treated us all like we were his favorite, he still does. He never forgets a birthday, an anniversary, and never misses a recital or a baptism. He baptized each of my siblings, including myself, he baptized all his grandchildren, except Kevin; and he has always managed to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. He does what's needed to make his children and grandchildren safe. In a world where morals and standards are disappearing I'm grateful for Ronald Erwin Fish. He has taught me everything that I needed to know to look for in a respectable husband and I'm grateful for that as well as his unconditional love, support, talks, prayers, and late ice cream runs; and breakfast runs after my blood work at Lab Corp.

Jim, the first day I met you I was in awe at how easy it was to talk to you. Usually I'm socially awkward and I don't make friends easily because no one can follow my train of thought but our trains have always been on the same track. You have never talked down to me or made me feel anything less than perfect. After 7 years of being together you still make me feel very loved and like I'm the luckiest woman in the world. You still read my mind, we finish each others sentences, and long for the end of the day when we're all home together; when we can watch movies, play games, and just enjoy each other's company.

I love you for everything that you are and for everything that you do for our boys. I appreciate your hard work so that we can have food on our table, pay bills, and live in a nice house. I appreciate you so much and so does Kevin and James. You have always been there for them! Whether it be paying for something, taking us to Disney, making dinner, seeing Kevin through a meltdown, or surprising Kevin at his Spring Performance! I know he loves and appreciates you too! Thank you for your unconditional love and support for not only me but also my son! I know it hasn't always been easy but I want you to know that we appreciate you and we love you more than we could ever put into words. You are the best thing that has ever happened to me and I'm so grateful to be your wife! I hope you had a great Father's Day! And I hope you did too, Daddo! I love you both very much!

His Father's Day shirt

Such a daddy's boy ❤

Matching shirts ❤

My dad with his youngest
grandson
My parents when my dad retired in '94

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Goodbye Elementary Years

I'm feeling a little nostalgic today. Kevin graduates from elementary school and will be going to middle school in the Fall. I've seen him really come out of his shell these past few years and make new friends as he became more comfortable with who he is ❤ I love this boy so much ❤ He makes me proud each and every day ❤ I really hope these next seven years go a lot slower ❤ I love you, Kevo ❤ I hope you love Middle School and it's everything you wish it to be ❤

First day of Kindergarten

Last day of Kindergarten with his
teacher, Mrs. Brown

First day of First grade

Kevin and Oliver; Snoopy and Charlie
Brown; Winter performance

Graduated from 2nd grade

Kevin's LegoLand field trip; 3rd grade

The Scarecrow and Tin Man in their
3rd grade Wizard of Oz performance

At the end of 3rd grade

First day of 4th grade
His project on our favorite professional dancer

First day of 5th grade

Ski instructor for Winter
Performance

Kevin and Nick after Spring
Performance

5th grade Science Fair

Kevin with Ms. Drager

Nathan, Zane, and Kevin;
5th grade field trip to Sea World
Last day of 5th grade

So goodbye elementary school years... At least until James starts Kindergarten in two years.