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 Renée, 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 Renée, and Granny made these costumes

James's pillow mattress

Oliver's pillow mattress with Kalib on it


Kalib and buddy, James



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