Saturday, November 09, 2013
Friday, October 25, 2013
I think we're finally in a routine again after our "Chevy Chase Vacation!" Things are back to normal and I'm liking it!
The weather is slowly (and I mean slowly) changing over to fall. I'm ready for rain and the cold weather to arrive! I love the gold and red leaves, the cool crisp air and the closet filled with fall sweaters and leggings. I'm ready to make soups and stews, and to let a roast with veggies to slow cook in the oven again.
Although Facebook has caused many bloggers in my circle to stop blogging, I love being on Facebook. I've made so many connections with friends, even family members, that we normally only wrote to in Christmas cards each year. I've reconnected with many people from high school and my church youth group. I'm one of those people who love hearing about their lives and feeling that connection again. I may never see some of them in person as they're spread throughout the U.S., but Facebook lets you feel connected.
One problem with it is it makes me want to plan trips to go visit many of them. Last November I had the privilege of seeing my good college friend, Anita, in Newport Beach. We had a whole day to catch up, a very special time! Then we went to Yuma, AZ to see several good friends from high school. It was our Facebook connection that prompted those visits to happen.
Steve and I are going to San Diego in December to see our nephew, Jonathon, graduate from Marine Corp boot camp. We are so proud of him, he's wanted to join the Marines since he was little and he never lost his focus. I hear he's doing amazing at it, no surprise there!
In January, I'm back to San Diego for a Yuma Girls reunion with six good (dare I say, old) friends from high school. These were the girls I hung out with daily at school, and most of them were in my church youth group too. A couple of them even hung out in a graveyard with me one night after church, in our choir dresses. (Yes, that's a story unto itself.) We are spending three nights in San Diego doing absolutely nothing but catching up, I am looking forward to it so much!
In late May, we're flying to Nashville with Leslie and Fred (Steve's sister and hubby). We'll spend a day at a battlefield there, then drive to Sieverville to a Wyndham property we're staying at for the week. We'll be driving up to Kingsport for church and lunch to meet Steve's half sister, Faye, and her family for the first time! They found each other through Jamie's sister-in-law (Tricia), and we can't wait to talk in person! Then we'll head back to Sieverville for the week, agenda is TBA! Then back to Nashville to see the Grand Ol' Opry before heading home again. I think we're going to a BBQ place featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Take-Outs. Anyone know another "not to miss" place we should hit before we leave?
Somewhere in there I really have a desire to plan a week in Phoenix. I haven't been to visit my sister's and niece's families for a long time, we need some good quality time together. And while I'm there I have cousins that I've reconnected with on Facebook so I'd love to spend time with each of the getting caught up. These cousins were like siblings to us growing up, our mom's were twins so we spent lots of time together. Sad how life and distance pulled us all so far apart, but thankfully, Facebook has reconnected us again! I have a good friend in Phoenix too, so adding it all up I know I'd need a week to see everyone!
Now to find more vacation time at work to accommodate all of this planning!
In November Steve and I will be driving over to UCSF to consult with his oncologist. As most of you know, his cancer (Multiple Myeloma) moved from the "smoldering" stage to active cancer. He has no real symptoms other than some anemia, no pain, and no damage so far. His oncologist told us through the Nurse Practitioner "no treatment needed yet," but we are meeting with him to find out what this all means. Like, when does he need treatment? What are we watching for? We have many questions so we're hoping to come away with a better idea of the plan for the next year as we keep an eye on things.
Oh yes - the grandkids! Can't forget to say at least something about them, right? We are taking family pictures in Redding this Sunday so I will finally have a new blog header picture. The current picture is well over four years old!
All the kids are doing well, I won't take time to give an individual rundown. They are finished with track for the fall, and soccer is just about over with one game left. Then basketball will start, along with more soccer and baseball next spring. The older girls are living in a world of sleep-overs with friends so the (somewhat regular) Friday night sleep-overs at our house are slowly changing to include the younger two but not the older two as often. They're growing up and while I miss the days of them always coming over, it's fun to watch them form great friendships.
As you can see, life is busy but blessed in our world and we love the life and those that God has given us!
Posted by Jenni at 10:52 AM
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
UPDATE: After a few telephone calls, emails and a letter from our attorney (where I work), Carnival is honoring their 110% refund policy for us! Just wish we hadn't had to go to bat for it but we're happy they finally took care of things.
Steve and I just got back from vacation in Florida. Absolutely nothing went as planned and we had a few "extra events" happen along the way. Just so we can look back and laugh at this down the road, I'm blogging our Chevy Chase Vacation. You couldn't make up something like this if you tried! If you're reading, I hope you have a coffee next to you because this story may be my longest yet!
Many months ago we booked a cruise out of Mexico with Carnival, our first cruise with this cruise line. Then I happened to find amazing flights from San Franciso to Orlando so we switched our cruise to the Bahamas as I sail better on the eastern coast waters than our choppier west coast waters. Excited to cruise again, we headed out of San Francisco to Orlando!
We arrived at Port Canaveral and made our way through the check-in and then entered the cruise ship. We couldn't see it well as we drove into the port as two other ships stood in the way but as we walked toward the ship, I could see it was pretty small. But no worries, we were sure everything was amazing on board. After all, we're now seasoned cruisers going on our 6th cruise and all ships are amazing! Right?
As we entered the atrium, I looked at Steve and said, "Is this the main atrium??" He said, "Yep, I believe it is." Uh.Oh. Not a good start. It was tiny, crowded and smelled very stale. We were used to big, airy and and amazing atriums when entering the ship. Off to one side was a guy about 19 that was shouting out rap music and telling us, "Come on everyone, let's get it going!" Steve told me later he saw a place selling t-shirst that said "Booze Cruise." Again...Uh.Oh.
The staterooms were not ready for anyone yet as luggage was just beginning to arrive to the rooms, so we headed to the top deck to have lunch at the buffet. Again, on previous cruises we always found a spacious dining room, smiling staff, with abundant carving stations, fresh salads and fruits, and several types of hot food areas. What we found was a tiny dining room with a limited salad bar, a few lukewarm Italian dishes and a deli. Comparing notes after we got our food to the table, we both wondered about the staff. They weren't smiling and friendly, very unusual for staff and officers on previous cruises. We both got a few things to eat but soon realized it was mostly inedible so we moved on to walk around the ship and see the hangout places.
The first thing we saw was the top-deck swimming pool. It was about the size of a normal backyard swimming pool. There were lounges and chairs all over the little area but we assumed there would be other pools (usually there are three per ship on previous cruises) so we were okay with that at this point. As we entered the adult spa area, we found it to be the size of a large normal-sized living room in a house. It had two small spas and a scattering of chairs and loungers. It also smelled like cigarette smoke.
We then moved on, walking through the two bar lounges, which also reeked of cigarette smoke, and walked to the other end of the ship. Finally it sunk in. There were no side decks on this ship where we could relax and read on loungers. There was no second, or third, pool area. And there were no other places to kick back and relax on this cruise that weren't small and filled with the cigarette smoke smell. Did I mention they said 2,600 people were on board this ship? Other than their staterooms, where in the world were all these people going to spend five days while sailing?
At this point, Steve and I finally said to each other what we had been privately thinking: this was not where we wanted to spend five nights, nor what we wanted to do with our vacation. This was a first for us, wanting off a cruise ship before we even set sail!
Just before our vacation, Steve had read on a news site that Carnival had a new policy that said, “If you’re unhappy with your cruise, you can get a 110% refund within the first 24 hours onboard.” As we were now an hour and a half into being onboard the ship, we went to the guest services desk and requested to invoke the right to a full refund, and to not take the cruise.
Posted by Jenni at 8:07 AM
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
I wasn't sure I'd post to this blog again, but since I still want to finish printing my blog before shutting it down I decided to do at least one more. I don't think anyone checks the blog anymore, but I'll have my thoughts down on paper for the future.
Life has been as busy as usual, a few trips here and there in the last year. In November, 2012, I was in Newport Beach with Steve on business and then we took off from there for vacation. While in Newport Beach I was able to visit with my good friend, Anita, from my (short) days at Biola. It had been many years since we'd seen each other so we had lots of catching up to do. Then we visited Yuma AZ where I saw several high school friends and their spouses. It was so fun catching up on many years gone by, and it prompted the idea for a mini reunion with 7 of us "girls" for January, 2014, in San Diego. We are going to spend 3 nights doing whatever we want - which may include a whole lot of talking, eating, more talking, and more eating. :)
Steve and I leave on a cruise to the Bahamas at the end of this month. We are ready for a little get-away so it can't come too soon. We also have a trip scheduled to Sieverville, TN in June, 2014, with Steve's sister and her husband, Leslie and Fred. We'll all be meeting Steve's half-sister for the first time after finding her a couple of years ago. She is 20+ years older than we are and is still a Professor at a college in Kingsport. We'll spend the rest of the week in Sieverville at a Wyndham property, enjoying whatever TN has to offer new tourists like the four of us.
Steve and I just got back from his 2-year bone marrow biopsy follow-up, but this time the news was not as good as we had expected. His MM has "jumped the barrier" of "smouldering," straight into full-on MM so we were told by the Nurse Practitioner that it was time for chemo treatment. He feels great, very normal with no symptoms, so it caught us by surprise. BUT...about two weeks later, his doctor at UCSF looked his results over and said no chemo yet. Praising God for the answer to many prayers on his behalf!! Per his doctor, since Steve is feeling great, has no pain or symptoms, and is living a healthy lifestyle, chemo isn't called for yet. So we're staying in "trusting God for the outcome" mode and working on just moving along in our lives.
As usual I must do an update on my amazing grandbabies - who are mostly no longer babies, but I can still call them that - right??
Emily: I can't believe she's in 6th grade and turning 11 in December. She's at U-Prep for her first year so it's a year of adjustment but U-Prep goes through high school so she should be there for awhile. No more recess and she changes classes all day. She's in concert band (flute), on the Cross-Country Team, and I've loved listening to her plan things about school with her friend, Tessa. They've discussed whether it's important to apply make-up for school (it's not, just ask their mom's), what clothes to wear, and what to get involved in at school. How did we reach this pre-teen age so fast?? She's grown up so much lately, and it will be another eye-blink and she'll be off with friends more than we'll see her. The right of passage to the teen years. She's still sweet and caring, full of things to talk about, and I love her so much! She's in the Jr. High youth group at church and went camping with them on the coast. I can see the rope holding her back loosening up bit by bit, has to happen but it's bittersweet.
Allyson: Ally is in 2nd grade this year. She is still a Soccer Queen! She would spend all her time at sleep-over's at her friends' houses or having them over to her house if she could get away with it. She's very independent, already does her own hair, can clean the rest of the house with the best of them and could probably bake and cook on her own with a little more instruction. She's got a funny sense of humor, and has recently gotten her own FB account with family members so she's become quite the little communicator on email. She's recently become a gluten-free girl to see if it solves some allergy issues and, so far, it has! She got her own room in the house awhile ago and is loving having her own space. She's fairly tall for her age so she seems closer to Emily's age to me than Rylee's so I have to remember sometimes - she's only 7! She has very distinct taste in clothing and loves to shop for her clothes. She's one of those kids who's just fun to take places, she enjoys just about everything from sports to movies to shopping. Love this girl to pieces!
Rylee: Ry is still Little Miss Spitfire with a side of Total Sweetness. She's still all girl when it comes to wearing only skirts and leggings with sparkly shirts. She loves music and I can always count on Rylee and Ally to sing in the car with me as we're driving along. She can disarm you with her sweet logic at any moment. She's a bit picky about eating, especially any meats, so recently my her mom had this conversation with her after reminding her that she wasn't to say she didn't like something at the dinner table (yet again): "Well...my self likes it but my tongue doesn't like it. So when I say I don't like something, it's my tongue saying it but my self actually likes it." Ha! She's still our huggy, lovey girl, always telling me how special I am, that "I'm the best," etc. Funny girl! She is in 1st grade this year and just had her 6th birthday, but she's still an itty-bitty blondie girl. Her smile and her dimples make it hard to discipline her for sure! I love every little inch of this girl!
So that completes the update on these amazing kids! We have much to look forward to in our lives and one thing God has shown me in the last few years is to enjoy TODAY. God will take care of our tomorrows. I realize how blessed I am to have a wonderful family, and to have them all live close enough that we have a front row seat for the show! I don't take it lightly and thank God everyday for this blessing!
Posted by Jenni at 10:09 AM
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Posted by Jenni at 8:06 PM
Thursday, May 10, 2012
She had no real expectations except she knew she wanted to have her crab dinner at Red Lobster. I asked her what she wanted to do after dinner and I expected her to tell me she wanted to go shopping, or feed the ducks, or go to a movie, or...who knows, after all, this IS Rylee. But when I asked her what she wanted to do after dinner she looked at me like I'd lost my mind and said, "Go home and go to bed!" Haha! That would be one easy and cheap date for me! I asked her if she wanted to go shopping for a little something special, maybe buy a new movie to watch and spend the night at my house?? She said, "OH! YES! I DO!" That girl lives in the moment I guess!
I picked her up and we headed to Red Lobster. In the lobby we stopped to check out the lobster tank. There was one really big one trying to "cuddle" up to another lobster. Rylee told me, "Those lobsters are in looovvve!" LOL! We got our dinner on the table she asked the server for more to drink. When the server brought her more lemonade, she told the server, "You're really, really nice, you know that?" ;)
This is where I did her interview with the same questions the other kids answered. So for memory sake, here are her answers:
(You have to turn your kid's menu into a hat before you leave, right?)
Just before we left the restaurant, I said, "So...where do you want to shop for something fun?" She chose Target so we drove just across the road to Target. As we got into the parking lot, Rylee asked me, "Why are we here?" Ummm, didn't you just say like 2 minutes ago you wanted to go to Target? She says, "Oh yeah," and starts giggling.
We were about 20 feet inside the front door of the store and she found her special thing in the dollar section. She picked it up, said this is what I want and her name is Squishy. Here's Squishy:
Now, am I wrong, or does this look like a dog toy? I guess she had the same thought because while we were in Target shopping she asked me if Squishy was a dog toy. I told her I sure hoped it wasn't! I kept saying, are you sure that's what you want? We can go look in the toy department to see what else you might like. She said, "Okay, but I'm keeping Squishy." And so she did. I can't complain, it cost a whole $2.50 and it made her smile. See?
(Okay, that's kind of a scary smile, but that's what I got when I told her to smile if she loved her new Squishy.)
She picked out Lion King II for her new movie and we headed home. She wanted popcorn with butter for her snack so I got the popper out for the evening's entertainment. She thinks watching the corn pop is better than Disneyland! (Well, not really, but close.)
She went to bed with her movie and movie snack, and of course with Squishy right by her side, and konked out for the night as soon as her movie was done.
An easy-peasy and fun date night with just me and Rylee. Oh yeah, and Squishy too.
Posted by Jenni at 6:23 PM
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
I may not love the heat that summer brings, but there are many things about summertime that I do enjoy. Here are my Top 10 Summertime Favorites:
I love that after I get off work during the week, it's still light for hours afterward. It's like having half of a Saturday to go do things before it's dark!
I love the summer vegetables and fruits...watermelon, summer squash, strawberries and more!
Here in NorCal, you can make a picnic or grab Subway, throw it in a cooler and head to the lake for the day, or just an evening. We have some beautiful mountain beaches about 15 minutes from here (Whiskeytown), and a really nice higher mountain lake (Siskiyou) about an hour from here.
I love having the kids playing on their bikes or in the backyard until dark, reminds me of the days when I was rollerskating with friends and playing hide-and-seek in the neighborhood, sometimes until 11:00 p.m., with our parents and the neighbors sitting in the front yards in lawn chairs, sipping iced tea. (You just don't see neighbors doing that anymore, so sad. Helllooo cable TV and internet!)
It's swim suit time! Now, normally putting on a swim suit is more scary than exciting, but when you're hanging out at the lake with the family or going out on the kayak, it's worth it!
Bike Season! Need I say more? While it's hot hot hot outside right after work, it's still the season when I can can get back on my bike! But in our part of the state, you can time it so you go a little later when it's cooling down into the 80's, or even better, go on Saturday morning around 7:00 a.m. - it's beautiful then, especially along the Sacramento River.
It's light both when you wake up and when you get off work, I feel so much more energetic that way! In NoCal, it's light until 9:30 (at least) at peak time.
Summer always brings two words to mind - SUMMER VACATIONS!! Funny enough, since our kids are grown and we don't have to work around school schedules, we rarely vacation in the summer anymore. Even so, summertime always makes me start thinking about vacation and I have visions of Disneyland, cruises, a cabin in the mountains...
Summer brings sleeveless shirts, capris, sundresses and....yes...FLIP FLOPS!! While I wear my flip flops from about April (if it's not still cold and rainy) through October, I really miss them in the fall and winter!
Summer colors...flowers...shady trees...green grass...vegetable gardens. I love having our shady front and back trees with full leaves, new flowers and veggies planted, and green green grass. It's no wonder green is my favorite color, I find it peaceful and soothing!
So...there's my Top 10 Things Summertime Favorites that make me smile! What are your favorites?
Posted by Jenni at 7:20 PM