Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Day! & Black Friday!

Nate's 1st Turkey!
Nate and I started Thanksgiving Day with breakfast for the family.....cinnamon rolls and milk. We all finished eating and then got dressed for our family Christmas pictures. After pictures, at about 10:30, Nate and I started the thanksgiving feast preparation.  We called Nate's parents on skype and talked to them for about an hour while we cooked dinner...Nate's mom was cooking her dinner too. It was really nice for Nate and I to be able to laugh and talk with his parents for a long time. Nate made a turkey....and then together we made a ham, hash-brown casserole, dressing, mash potatoes, gravy, green beans, sauted mushrooms, rolls, deviled eggs, apple pie and pumpkin pie. When we were still cooking, we also called my mom on skype. We talked to her as we finished up the food and put it all on the table.
"Tasting the food"

The Feast!

We set the table and we overwhelmed with how much food we had made for 4 people. We blessed the food and then went around the table saying what we were thankful for. It was a sweet meal just the four of us. Later in the afternoon, we invited a neighbor over with her boys, while he husband was at work. Then we spend the evening watching movies and chillin'. I also uploaded our christmas card pictures and order them from shutterfly. I hope to have them in about a week and then send them out to family and friends.

I had lots of mixed emotions all day on Thursday. I really enjoyed tackling the meal with Nate and having a good time in the kitchen. I feel we all made the best of our Thanksgiving without being back in Alabama with family. Don't get me wrong, we all would have rather been able to visit the family instead but sometimes that is not possible. Nate and I both had a couple of teary-eyed moments through-out the day but we tried to stay busy and not think about family too much.

I always go Black Friday Early shopping with my mom. Not this year..... I did not go shopping at all. We just don't have the money to spend on Christmas this year so there was no reason to get up early and shop. I did go to Maggiano's for my first shift -out of training-. It was a good shift. The mall was packed but the restaurant was not that busy. There were not any parking places and most people were to busy shopping to have a nice sit down dinner. I still enjoyed the shift and am ready to go back tomorrow.

I taped the Iron Bowl Game and came home and watched the game. It was a sad loss but one that Bama gave away. So congrats to the Auburn team.....

Thankful Thanksgiving is over and on to Christmas!
Already unpacked the Christmas jewelry and music. Decorating the house next week!

Funny things my kids said this week......

Cori was putting up the groceries and asked why we bought was herbs for the turkey.

Cori....Can I have ketchup with the turkey?

Joel - What is the Thanksgiving parade and why are we watching it? ~ I had to explain to the kids what normal families watch before the football games start.

Joel - We made a great dinner.... - Me - What? You helped make the pie on Wednesday night and have played video games all day....what did you help with?   Joel - eating the food.

Some Pictures that did NOT make the Christmas Card!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

2010 Christmas Card

Joy Sage Story Christmas 5x7 folded card
Shop for elegant Christmas photo cards.
View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Today's Answered Prayer ~ Heat!

We live in Sunny California, very close to the beach. When we moved into our place we were shocked to see that there was no A/C and no heat. When we asked the other people in the complex they explained to us that with the weather and the beach wind there was no need for the A/C and that you had a fireplace for the cooler nights in winter. By cooler I mean in the 40's.

We have noticed the evening and nights getting cooler in the living room area. Our bedroom stays really warm because we are surrounded on three sides. Nate and I were talking about getting a space heater for the living room to take the chill off in the evening and to help us stay warmer in the winter.  We did not need something big but even a space heater would cost money and then there is the added power usage to our bill.

Today while I was trying to figure out a space heater I remembered a neighbor telling us the fireplaces were gas just like the stoves. Our stove is not gas and our place has been remodeled so I assumed the fireplace had been changed too. The fireplace had had not been cleaned and had ashes and half burnt wood in it. So at dinner tonight I mentioned this to Nate and he checked it all out.

We DO have a gas burning fireplace and it WORKS! Thank you Lord for another answered pray, we had not uttered yet. It is not the prettiest fire....see picture but it heats the house quite well.....and our landlord pays the gas bill so we don't have any added expenses.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thankful Thanks!

It is the week of Thanksgiving and time to be Thankful!
I want to take the time to list some of the things and people I am thankful for. We don't always take the time to be thankful for the things and people that God has placed in our life. 

  • My Saviour who is the reason I am here and the Salvation he has give Christians
  • Nate ~ he is the most awesome husband a wife could ask for
  • Cori ~ she is a great daughter that brings laughter and drama with her everywhere
  • Joel ~ is my little man, he is hyper and energetic and loves life and climbing trees
  • The Dogs ~ I am thankful for them most of the time, until I have to walk them for 15 mins in the cold. 
  • My parents ~ they are a great example of love and support for all their kids
  • My In-Laws ~ thank you for welcoming me into your family and loving me like a daughter....and raising an awesome Christian son who is a wonderful husband and father
  • Daniel, Christie and Dawn - we all have a love/hate relationship. Some days we all love each other and other days we hate each other but still stand by each other and support each other through so many different changes in our lives. I love all 3 of you. 
  • Leigh, Jason and David - congrats to all three of you for sticking with this wacky family and for loving my family
  • Jen and Carrie ~ you are both great sisters and I love you both. Thanks for loving me too.
  • Matt and Cliff ~ Thanks for being great brothers and fun to hang with. 
  • Lucas, Alex, David(eggroll) and Bryce ~ my 4 wonderful nephews...Being an aunt is great, spoil the kids and send them back to their mom's. When I hear the words, "Aunt Val" it just warms my heart. 
  • Grandparents on all sides ~ thanks for the legacy of strong Christian faith you have given all of us. 
  • Family ~ (all sides) ~ family is important and I love all of my family very much. Getting together and playing games, laughing and getting louder and louder is always fun. 
  • Friends and Facebook ~ I know it is weird to be thankful for facebook but it has made this past year so much easiler by staying in touch with family and friends through facebook. Keeping up with all my friends who are now all over the US, facebook has been a blessing. I don't always feel like I have moved quite so far away. 
So that takes care of the family and friends portion of the list. On to the material things that I am thankful for.These are in no particular order, just a few things I have to be thankful for. When you actually sit down and make a list, everything makes you thankful and the list can go on forever. Sometimes it is just nice to sit and count your blessings.
  • Football
  • Books
  • Internet
  • Tv
  • DVR's 
  • Food 
  • COKE
  • Sunshine
  • my contacts
  • camera and pictures to capture our memories

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Training Week

This past Monday I started at Maggiano's. It is an awesome restaurant and I am going to love working there. I was training with 2 other guys so there were only three people in the class. We had to learn every item on the menu and all the ingredients. I would get home from work at 4-4:30 and study till 11pm only taking time to eat with the family each night. It was a grueling set of tests and memorization. I passed all the tests and made it through training. I start serving on the Friday after Thanksgiving.....Black Friday!

We had to taste 23 food items every day. With only three of us to eat all this food, there was plenty to take home. Monday -Thursday night Maggiano's leftovers fed the family and also gave Nate something to eat for lunch. It was a great grocery bill week.

Wednesday at school Joel sand with some other kids for the grandparents. (see other post). Thursday night Cori had her concert at school. Friday night was "chill" night as I was exhausted from the week of training and Nate was going to be off on Saturday as well. We watched Harry Potter 6 in preparation for the 7th movie the next morning.

Saturday we all got up early to go see Harry Potter at 8:55am. I know is sounds crazy to go see a movie really early but the first showing of the day is 1/2 price which means I only paid $28 instead of $60. We would not have gone to the movie if we had to pay full price. It is just too expensive. The movie was AWESOME! No spoilers here but there was a scene that scared me so bad that I screamed out loud and Nate was laughing for 5 mins. Now I am reading the book again.

After the movie, we went to Target and got most of the stuff for Thanksgiving dinner. Nate is making a turkey for him and the kids and a ham for me. Then we will also have homemade mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, dressing, green beans and pumpkin pie for dessert.  Then home to take a nap, watch some football and rest all day.

Today we missed out first family Thanksgiving.... My mom's family got together at my granddad's house with my aunt and uncle and a couple of cousins. I can't talk about Thanksgiving too much as this will be the first time we have ever missed a family holiday. I don't want to start crying while trying to finish my blog.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cori's Concert

Last night Cori was in her first school concert. The 6th grade music class sang two songs during the program and then the entire group sang together at the end of the program. Cori is on the front row in a white and brown dress. To the right of Cori is her new best friend, Chloe. She is a black dress. There was some drama involving the outfit to wear to the concert. The girls were asked to wear a dress or skirt or black pants. Cori only owns one dress but we had to find shoes. She picked out a pair of my white sandals with heels to wear. Cori did a great job at the concert, singing the songs, smiling and being Cori! (The video is in a separate post in order to get them all on my blog) 
Before the Concert ~ in the kitchen

Before ~ Close Up

Chloe and Cori 

Cori getting ready to sing

After the concert

Group Song

This is the last song of the concert. All singers (6th, 7th and 8th) sang this song together. Cori is behind the boy in the red shirt. You can see Cori as the guy sways back and forth.

Cori's Second Song

The second song that Cori's group sang.

Cori's First Song

This is the first Song that Cori's 6th grade classes sang. They only have music 2 periods a week and have only been in school for 12 weeks. So they only had the ability to practice for 6 weeks.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cori's New Hair

Cori has been letting her hair grow out since last Christmas. She is doing a great job of keeping it clean and brushed. She has now decided to start parting her hair on the side. She is getting a lot of compliments and it makes her look older. Here is a picture of the new hair.


Now that we live in the state of earthquakes, every time there is mention of an earthquake in the state of California, I get a phone call, facebook question, email etc... asking if we are okay and if we were anywhere neat the earthquake. The answer has always been no that was not near us or we did not feel the earthquake. Last week there was a small earthquake that Cori felt at school. She did not think it was a big deal until yesterday when the school did the earthquake drill.

Cori said that the ground started shaking and her chair started moving across the floor. As soon as it was over the teacher told the class that they had just had an earthquake. Cori thought it was a really cool experience.

Shutterfly Christmas Cards

I always try to do a Christmas card and picture each year. I have not always been successful in that venture. This year because we have moved so far away from friends and family, I am going to be getting some Shutterfly Christmas Cards. Here are a few of my favorites. You will have to check your mail for the one I actually pick.

Shutterfly 1
I like this card because it has one picture for me to place the entire family photo. It is also good for family and friends if they want to cut off the card part to keep on display all year long.

Shutterfly 2
This card gives a couple of options for pictures. I can use one for the entire family and then under the title I can use the 3 smaller ones for each kid and Nate and I.

Shutterfly 3
This card lets you put a personal letter down the right side. You will have the chance to tell all your friends and family about the year your family has had. The colors of this card are very festive and have the Christmas vibe on them.

I am getting really excited to take our family pictures over Thanksgiving and start getting ready for the Holiday Season. After the first of December start looking for your Christmas Card in the mail. Happy Holidays! Bloggers get 50 free holiday cards from Shutterfly… learn more: 

Joel's Song for School

Today Joel had Grandparents Day at school. Nate and I both had to work so we were not able to be there. Joel was okay with this and every understanding. Joel was one of five students that were picked to sing a solo at the program for today. He also took the time to stand in the kitchen and sing the song for the video camera. Here is Joel's song for Grandparents Day!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Paging Parents at Church

When I was younger and my sister and cousins would be in the nursery, an usher would come down the isle and slip you a piece of paper if there was a problem with your child. This was back in the day that the usher's wore suits, ushered people to their seats after church started, took up the offering, and stood at the back of the church for the entire service. When you went to pick up your kid from the nursery you just walked in and got your child.

When my kids were born, we were given a family number for when there was a problem in the nursery. There was a screen over one of the doors in the sanctuary and when your 3 digit number came on the screen you had to go to the nursery to take care of your kid.

Now, as I checked Joel, who is 9 and in the 4th grade, into the children's department at church, I was asked for my cell number so the teacher could "text me" during church if there was a problem.

Man, how the times and technology has changed. I also had to show a card in order to pick him up from class. What happened to just letting the kids go find their parents. This would be SO much easier on the parents and teachers. Then the teachers don't get mad when it takes 10mins to every class, show your card and pick up each kid then go to the next part of the building (or the building next door) to get the next kid.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Slow Week, NOT!

I have posted about a couple of different things this week but here is the last week in a nut shell. 

Saturday ~ Sad day for the football team, loosing to LSU. Then I went to work and one of the regular bar guests (who is a Huge LSU Fan) came in to give me a hard time about my team. Roll Tide! I took it well and he got a few laughs. There were a few other guests at the other end of the bar who got involved in the ragging on me. It was kind of fun, (not the losing part) but Cali people just don't do football the way the SEC does and so it was nice to spend a few minutes with some SEC fans and discuss some football. 

Sunday ~ worked all morning, Nate was sick and stayed home with the kids. Came home and talked to my mom and Lucas on skype. He is already getting so big. I asked him to say "Roll Tide" and he said he couldn't say that. Then mom asked for a "war eagle" and he told her no too. Lucas got in trouble for something while I was talking to them and my mom threatened to put him in time out, he looked around the room and said "you don't have any corners for me to stand in" 

Monday ~ it was back to work and school for everyone. Joel came home from school and asked me about thanksgiving in a couple of weeks. 
Joel - are we going to have pumpkin pie, 
Me - yes. 
Joel - apple pie, 
Me - yes, 
Joel - cinnamon apples
Me - why, and no because I don't know how to make those
Joel - just take the apples you make for the pie and leave off the crust
Me - Joel you don't understand I don't make the pie, I buy it from the store and just bake it
Me - Ask Dad about thanksgiving food, that is his department, I would be happy sitting in the movie theater watching Harry Potter and eating popcorn

Tuesday ~ Nate finally passed a kidney stone (see earlier post) and he instantly felt better. I am glad to have the normal not sick Nate around the house. 

Wednesday ~ worked in the morning and then took the kids to turn in their money for recycling. They each got $15 which I was impressed with. Then I got the call to start my new job on Monday. Nate and I stayed home and watched "Grown Up"s which is a very funny movie for adults to watch. Not appropriate for kids. Nate told me that he planned to cook all the food for Thanksgiving. (YEA!) and he would get a list together so he could make all the foods the kids wanted. Good for Nate, he also knows that the only way he will get turkey is if he cooks it himself. 

Today and tomorrow the kids are out of school for Veteran's Day. Then they go to school for a week, then out for a week for Thanksgiving. The month of November is flying by. Have a great weekend ALL!

Got the Call!

The first of November, I was offered the job of server at Maggiano's Restaurant. Nate and I were both so excited for this new job. He would be working for the gaming studio and I would be working at this fine dining restaurant. Things were looking up. Well it is 2 weeks later and just last night I got the call to start at Maggiano's. They asked me to start on Monday the 15th. I immediately called King's restaurant to talk to the manager and give a 1 weeks notice. I know that 2 weeks is preferred but I did not have much of a choice. I could wait the 2 weeks and not get this better job or I can give a week and then start on Monday at this better restaurant. So that is what I am doing. I go into King's tomorrow night with the written notice and work the entire weekend. I hope that they let me work these last 3 shifts. They may decide to send me on my way without working out a notice. That is okay, I will do what I have to do to support my family. King's still is not giving me enough shifts and the business is not picking up even being 2 weeks away from Thanksgiving. As an added bonus, with me starting at Maggiano's then Nate will get to stop working 2 jobs and just focus on the one job and his school work.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thanks to My Veterans!

Tomorrow is Veterans Day and I want to take the time to say Thank You to All the Veterans in my family. 

Thomas Edward (my Mom's Granddad) served in the British Army during World War II. He never liked to kill people so he would aim at the soldiers butt's. This was they did not die and it took more manpower to help the soldiers get better. 

Jim Barrs (my Mom's Dad) served in the Army in the early 50's 

Ken Nivens (my Dad's Dad) served from September 1955 to August 1958 in the Army (the ASA -- Army Security Agency). He was stationed in Japan just after getting married. My Dad was born while he was in Japan. Once he came home from Japan, he was stationed at Ft. Bragg, NC until being discharged. 

Ron VanZile (My Birth Father) served from June 1971 until his death in April 1978 in the United States Air Force. Ron served in the Philippines, Montgomery, AL (where he met and married my mom) and lastly in Tampa, FL (where I was born). 
Ron joined to fight in the Vietnam War but due to his great skills in radar and communications they sent him to the Philippines instead. 

David Everett (brother-in-law) served 6 years state side in the United States Air Force

Jason Moore (brother-in-law) serves in the United States Air Force. He is currently stationed at the Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. He has been serving since 2002. 

These are just a few of the many people who serve in the Military Forces that defend our great nation. Thank you all for your hard work, dedication and willingness to fight for a Country that you love. I can not thank you enough for the sacrifice you and your families have done for the citizens of this great nation. 

~ Kidney Stones ~ (Not Mine)

In November of 2005, Nate had a kidney stone. This was a 3 week long process of Dr's and Hospitals and ER's with no insurance and lots of prayers. It started out as what we thought was a UTI and then found out it was kidney stones. We had been at a family Thanksgiving Dinner when Nate had to be taken to the ER and spent the night in the hospital for the kidney stones. A week later Nate had to have surgery to have them removed.

So last Tuesday morning when Nate woke up with lower back pain, and the start of a UTI, I got scared. All the pain and stress and hospitals came screaming back to me. I took medicine and cranberry juice up to Nate at work. On the way I started praying for Nate. Not the please help him feel better prayers but the I need a miraculous healing Now kind of prayers. Over the course of the next week, Nate's pains came and went. Some days he would feel better and we thought he was getting better and then the next day the pain was back. He drank so much cranberry juice, cranberry pills, water, and that still didn't work. So yesterday morning Nate decided to call a clinic in the area and go to the Dr. Still praying he would be better I said okay. About 11am I got a text from Nate, "I just passed a freaking Kidney Stone!" Relief washed over me. Nate "I have the stone and already feel better" So last night I took a picture of the kidney stone and by this morning Nate is eating real food and drinking anything but cranberry juice and water! Thank you Lord that Nate is better and that we did not have to go through the ER, Dr's and Hospitals again!
Nate's Kidney Stone

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Beach Edict

I went to the beach today. Yes, I know it is November but the weather was great. It was Sunny and about 90 degree's on the beach and about 105 further inland. Nate was at work and the kids are school, so instead of sit around the house, I packed up the books and cokes and hit the beach. I was about to enjoy about 3 hours of bliss on the beach. I took a bunch of pictures (200) of the waves, surfers, beach, ..etc. This was the first time in Cali and one of the few times ever, that I have been able to go to the beach by myself.

The waves were very calming and the water was cool and refreshing. Don't get me wrong, I don't actually get in the ocean. I have seen Jaws enough times to know better, when I can't see the bottom of the ocean. I remember going to the beach each summer with my family and my granddad teaching me to swim in the pool by my uncle Joe's condo and going to Uncle Raymond's house he rented every summer. As a kid I thought he owned the house and was super rich with all 6 kids and 2 houses. I would swim in the ocean with no fear of anything, get out on a float and ride the waves. The adult men would always go out with the kids and I never understood why my mom and aunts never would swim in the ocean with us. NOW I know, they were the smart ones. Now I am too. Nate will get in the ocean and do all the fun stuff with the kids while I am content to watch from my beach chair.

As for Beach Edict
~ When there are only 15 people on the entire beach, don't sit right next to someone else with your screaming kid. I left my kids at home, and want to read my book in peace. There are 50 feet all around me you could have chosen to sit, why me?

~ Teach your kids to NOT kick sand, I know it is hard but at least let them to stop when you see them kicking sand on other people and Laughing about it.

~ Do not change clothes on the beach, that is what the bathroom is for. (The Nude Beach is south into San Diego)

~ You are free to make out on the beach ( I have) but do not lay in the water and sand and be all X-rated for all the world to see. This couple today was like they were in a video and got all gross and people started leaving because of them. I was to far away to say something, or I would have.

~ They make bathing suits in ALL sizes, please find one in yours!

~ Everyone is required to wear a bathing suit, this is not your 9 year olds bath tub!

~ The birds will eat your food, even out of your hand so watch out!

A Good Pair of Jeans!

Every Person should have a good pair of jeans. 
I have quite a few "good" pairs of jeans. Since turning 18, I have fallen in love with jeans (pants in general). I defiantly own more pants and jeans than any other type of clothing.....well not shoes. Growing up in a house where, wearing pants was not allowed , may have sent me closer to the "dark side" but I am not laying blame. I was given my first pair of jeans when I graduated high school by my friend Michelle. I still have those same jeans and they are in my "bum jeans" collection. Yes, I have collections of jeans. I have my pairs of "fat" jeans for the extra baggy days where I just want to be a relaxed and hang loose. Then we have the skinny jeans, low rider jeans, my bum collection, the extra nice jeans for church and dressier occasions, and lastly the jeans Nate does not let me wear out of the house because they have way to many holes. 

There is something great about slipping your legs into a great pair of jeans. 

I do own a couple of dresses and a few skirts for those special occasions where they are required. I am not knocking wearing dresses or skirts. They are nice and some people love to wear them. Some for comfort, some for feminine looks, some for coolness on a hot day, they just are not my style. I can admire and appreciate a beautiful dress, but when the thought of actually putting the dress on comes to mind, I get chills and sick to my stomach. My Mom should be very pleased that I wore a wedding "dress" on my wedding day. 

If I have put on a dress for your special occasion, know that is was with great Love and sacrifice that I stepped out of my comfort zone for you! 

Whether you are a jeans or dress kinda girl, every Lady needs a good pair of jeans! 

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Weekend!


Joel had a Halloween Parade at his school Friday morning. He dressed up as Snake Eye's from G. I. Joe. Joel's school had a huge parade around the blacktop (playground). The weather was a nice 70 degrees when the parade started and only took about an hour for all the grades and classes to show off their costumes. 

Nate and I both had to work at different times so the kids had the day to play and watch tv. They both watched a bunch of different Halloween themed movies. Joel loves the movie Gremlins! 

On the big day, I woke up not feeling very well. I pulled out Joel's legos and sat on the floor with Nate and tried to put together a couple of pieces for a car. Lego's are a lot harder when they are not just out of the package. I took nap to help me feel better and Nate headed off to work. One of the neighbor's brought us a pumpkin to carve. The three of us took turns carving the pumpkin and placing it on the patio rail. 
Before the Carving

Cori getting messy

Joel's turn

Adding the Vomit 

~ After ~
After the carving, the kids got dressed up and ready to go trick-or-treating! Cori dressed up as a Witch, complete with broom and Joel was Snake Eyes from G. I. Joe. We went out with Sean and Taylor, who are friends next door. After all the trick-or-treating, Joel went around to the people in the complex. A guy gave him a dollar and a couple of the older ladies bought candy just because they knew Joel would be coming by. He has won the people in the complex over with his jokes, actions, and climbing tree ability. 

Cori read her 1st Christy Miller Book

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to read! I want to pass my love of reading to my children, in the same way Nate wants to pass on his skill and love of video games. My favorite author wrote my favorite teenage series, The Christy Miller books. My copy of this book is the original cover that looks nothing like something a teenager would read now. So every time I show the book to Cori and try to get her interested she looks at the cover and says NO Thank you!.

Cori got in trouble last Monday and part of her punishment was to take the time to read this first book. It took her 2 days of playing around before she started to read it, another day to read it and then she was hooked. She has read the 2nd book and is into the 3rd book in just a week's time.

For anyone who has not read this series, Christy Miller leaves her home town in Wisconsin to move just south of Newport Beach, CA. The 2nd book picks up with her move and then how she adjusted to living in Southern California. Christy's rich Aunt and Uncle live in a house on the beach in Newport. I am so grateful that Cori is reading something in the Christian Fiction genre and not just Harry Potter and Twilight.

This is the closest cover I could find to mine, only I don't have the pink circle with the # of copies in print. 

This is what the cover looks like now