Sunday, March 27, 2011


Put Your IPod On Shuffle; First 10 Songs

First, I don't have an iPod.  I do have music on my phone, but no iPod.  I would LOVE an iPad though.  Honey, are you listening?  Maybe for Mother's Day?  I'm worth it, right?!

Anyway, I decided to change it up a little bit again today.  Instead of telling you the first 10 songs on my iPod/iPad, since I don't HAVE one, *coughing*, I thought I'd tell you *5* of my favorite songs, and why.  So here they are, in no particular order.

I've told you before about my Grandma.  She was AMAZING.  And this song is HER song.  It will always be her song.  I can't hear it without thinking of her.  And of course, I cry every time.  As a matter of fact, I cried just watching the video.  I'm so thankful that God gave her to me.  She taught me how to love unconditionally.  She taught me that there's more to a person than just what you see on the outside.  She taught me to make time for the people in your life that are important.  And most importantly.  She loved me.  For me.  Even with all of my flaws, she still loved me and thought I was beautiful. 

I remember the night we found out I was pregnant with Jason.  It was right around our 2nd anniversary.  His parents had taken us out to dinner for our anniversary.  We told his parents at dinner, and then we stopped by my parents on the way home.  After we told them and while I was on the way home, this song came on the radio.  It was the first time I'd ever heard it.  And I bawled like a baby.  It's a beautiful song, with beautiful lyrics, about a beautiful subject.  What's there NOT to like?

This song is originally for the show WICKED, I believe.  But I first heard it on GLEE and fell in love with it right away.  To me, it's about ignoring what others think and doing what's important to you.  It's about standing up for ME.  It's about worrying less about what YOU think, and more about what I think.  I don't mean that in a bad way.  Let me explain.  I've spent most of my life worrying about what people think of me.  Do they like me?  If not, why?  What did I do or say wrong?  But now, I'm starting to realize that it's okay if you don't like me.  Not everyone is going to.  And maybe, just maybe, it's YOU and not ME.  Just because you don't like me doesn't necessarily mean there's something wrong with ME.  Sometimes people click.  And sometimes they don't.  And that's okay.  But I need to stop second guessing everyone and everything.  I need to start accepting ME for ME. 

There's actually a funny story behind this one.  I first heard this in college while on a "retreat".  The day I got back I got a letter from my childhood best friend.  At the end of the letter she had written, "Friends Are Friends Forever, If The Lord's The Lord Of Them."  How appropriate?  Sometimes we have to say good bye to our friends.  But that doesn't mean they're no longer our friends.  Every friend we have during our lifetime shapes the person that we are today.

I've told you before that I don't go to church.  But that DOESN'T mean I don't believe in God.  I very much do.  He's helped me through some very trying times.  I think sometimes, we just have to let go.  Sometimes we just have to God take us through things.  As much as we'd like to, we can't control everything.  And that's not necessarily a bad thing.  My hardest times in life, I've just had to let go and have the faith that God would help me through it.  And so far?  He hasn't let me down!

Now it's your turn.  Are there any particular songs that are important to you?  If so, what are they and why are they important?

Saturday, March 26, 2011


You guys should know by now that I'm from Kentucky.  And I was raised a Kentucky fan.  I married a Louisville fan, but I will ALWAYS be a Kentucky fan.  Well guess what?  My Kentucky Wildcats are in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.  And I got to see the last game, even though we're in China.  We went to a bar here and watched it.  At 9:45 in the morning.  And yes, we had a few beers.  Guess what else?  I was the only UK fan in there.  But you know what?  I was also the only one that left there happy!  So I guess now I'll have to get up at 5:30 in the morning tomorrow morning to watch the game.  On the computer.  Not as great as being at home watching it, but at least I'll get to watch it.  And Dad?  If they win tomorrow and make it to the Final Four, I'll be tagging along with you to watch it.  Because watching UK games is always more fun when I'm watching them with you!  GO CATS!!!!


Something You've Learned

I'm 40 years old ya'll.  I'm too OLD to learn anything new!  And yet, new things just keep coming up.  But I think the greatest thing I've learned is that sometimes what seems like the worst thing possible, can actually be a good thing.  Now, before you think I'm getting all preachy, let me explain.  

Less than 2 years ago, we found out we were going to have to move.  TO CHINA!!!  Here's how it all went down.  We found out on a Monday that we were being transferred.  And guess what?  We were on vacation that week.  We arrived home the following Monday.  Exactly 4 weeks and 1 day later, we left for China.  In that 29 days we had to find a school in Shanghai for the kids.  Find a place to live.  PACK.  Get their transcripts from their school in Kentucky to send to China. Get all 3 of them Passports and Visas.  Get OUR Visas.  PACK.  Get the house ready to be empty for a year.  PACK.  You get the picture?  

And to say I went kicking and screaming would be an understatement.  You see, I'm VERY close to my family.  And I may only have a *few* friends, but the ones I do have are very special to me and I'm very close to them.  And the thought of leaving all of that behind?  Even though it was only for a year?  It broke my heart.  And it scared the sh*t out of me.  And I cried.  A LOT.  I cried before we left.  I cried on the plane.  I cried when we got here.  It's a wonder I had any tears left I did so much crying. 

But then, guess what?  After what seemed like a REALLY long time, I started to enjoy my time here.  We saw things we'd never have seen if we stayed home.  Ya'll I'm a Kentucky girl.  (Hence the ya'll thrown in there!)  And I'll ALWAYS be a Kentucky girl.  I have no dreams of life in the big city.  Louisville is my home.  It always will be.  So I don't plan on living anywhere else.  This was my opportunity to see new things, visit new places, meet new people, experience a new culture, and then after a year, go back home.  To MY home.  And plant my big fat butt there and feel good that I got out, but now I'm home.

And we had an AMAZING year.  We lived in Shanghai.  We traveled to Beijing, Hong Kong, and Xi'an.  We became closer as a family.  We spent more time together.  We did new things together.  We experienced a new culture.  Together.  We tried new foods.  Together.  We got to share our life with Ryan's Grandfather and my parents.  They never would have had the opportunity, or even the desire most likely, to travel to some place like China.  But because we were here, they were able to enjoy it with us.  And I think they DID enjoy it. 

So yeah, while I'm very glad to be home, I'm also very thankful that I learned a new lesson.  And I'm very grateful that I got to experience things most people only dream about.  And maybe, just maybe, the next time something seems like a REALLY bad thing, I'll look back on this and realize that it might end up being one of the best experiences of my life. 

What have YOU learned lately?

Friday, March 25, 2011


Favorite Quote

Today was supposed to be Favorite Movie, but that was already asked and answered early on, so I'm changing it up a bit.  I've decided to tell you my favorite quote.  I first heard this back when I was in high school, and it's stuck with me all these years.  (And believe me, I've been out of high school for MANY years)! 

Anyway.  You guys remember "The Facts Of Life"?  Well I used to love that show.  (Go ahead, get your laughs out now).  Towards the end of the show they were all grown up.  Jo met this guy at the community center she worked at.  And he thought he was going to die on his 30th birthday.  (I think all his male family members had done the same thing, or something like that).  So he was very carefree and didn't worry about getting hurt because he thought he wasn't going to live very long anyway.  And he was becoming a bad influence on some kid they knew.  Of course his birthday came and went and he was still alive.  So he was talking to the kid about enjoying life, no matter how long it lasts, and he told him


That quote really stuck with me.  And it still does.  Yeah, life sucks sometimes.  But sometimes. It doesn't.  Sometimes it's AWESOME.  But either way, you only get one life.  So why not make the best of it?  Why not enjoy it while you can?  Instead of spending all of your time thinking about what's WRONG with your life, why not enjoy and appreciate what's RIGHT with it?   Because you know what?  There are no do overs.  This is it.  Enjoy it.  Embrace it.  Live it to the fullest.  Do the things you want to do.  Enjoy the things you enjoy.  Don't worry so much about what other people think.  (Great advice Michelle.  Why don't you listen to yourself more often?!)  Because one day?  One day, it'll be gone.  And there's no going back.

There's another saying I heard that fits along the same lines.  Basically it's this:  When we die our tombstones will say 1970-?.  It's not the years on the end that matter.  It's the dash in between.  What does YOUR dash say about you?

Thursday, March 24, 2011


What's In Your Purse?

My purse is actually pretty clean right now because I cleaned it out before heading to Shanghai.  Right now in my purse I have lipstick, pain pills for my migraines, my wallet, camera, US cell phone and headphones (it has all of my music on it), a pen and small pad of paper.  Usually when I'm at home I carry a much larger purse, but here I'm carrying a smaller one.  The purse I'm carrying right now is THIS ONE.  Same pattern and everything.  I also have the Onyx Medallion that I like, but this one makes me think of Spring, and since I'm ready for the cold weather to disappear, I like this one.  Before we left I was carrying THIS ONE.  I like this one because it's big enough to fit my calendar in it, so that I always have it with me.  (Remember, I'm trying to be organized this year)!  ;)


Okay.  I read another article that got my blood boiling a little.  And you know how I am when I read something that ticks me off!  You can read that article HERE.  Take a few minutes to read it.  You need to in order to understand where this post is coming from.  Go ahead.  I'll wait.  *Jeopardy Theme*

Okay, now MY thoughts.  I think she's TOTALLY off base.  And I think she's doing a great disservice to marriage.  ". . .a joy almost every day to be married, to feel relief and gratitude, and if it isn't you're in the wrong marriage."  REALLY?  With the high divorce rate in today's society, why would you SAY something like that?  OUT LOUD?!  On purpose?  'Oh man, my marriage isn't like that, so I guess that means I'm in the wrong marriage and I should just get out.'  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!  

Now don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying marriage should be HARD.  But it's not easy either.  You have 2 different people, from 2 different backgrounds, with 2  different sets of life long experiences.  THEY ARE NOT THE SAME PERSON.  I remember my Mom telling me once that if you're in a relationship with someone, whether it's a friendship, dating, or marriage, and you never fight, then someone's not being honest.  Because you are 2 different people, and you are going to have 2 different opinions on things.  AND THAT'S OKAY.  It's what makes life interesting.  Can you imagine if we were all the same person and liked the same things and did the same things?  How boring would that be?

I love my husband.  I really do.  But I can honestly tell you that we go through stages where I don't like him very much.  And I know he feels the same way.  But that's a part of marriage.  But we also go through stages where we KNOW how lucky we are to have each other.  It's part of living with someone every day.  It's not easy raising kids either.  Does that mean I should just walk away from them?  Shouldn't raising kids be "a joy everyday"?  Again, I love my kids.  But it's not easy.  And it's not always a joy.  But does that mean I should just walk away from them?  NOT IN A MILLION YEARS.  So why would you say the same thing about being married?  Shouldn't we have the same love and respect for our spouses that we do for our children?  I don't get it.  Marriage is hard enough without having someone tell you that you are in a crappy marriage because you have to "work" at it.  

What right do you have to tell me how my marriage should or shouldn't be?  How do you know I'm not happy?  I have a husband that works hard.  He ADORES our children.  He's a great father.  He's USUALLY, (*winking*) a good husband.  He loves me.  He loves our kids.  He loves me even though I'm not a super model.  He loves me even though we don't like any of the same music.  He loves me even though we don't even like the same teams. (Go CATS)!  We come from TOTALLY different backgrounds.  So yeah, we're different.  And yeah, sometimes we have to work at it.  But sometimes we don't.  Sometimes we just "get" each other.  Sometimes it feels like we just met and are still infatuated with each other.  Other times it feels like we've been together forever and we're comfortable and enjoy each others' company.  Sometimes we're each others' best friend.
But is it always easy?  No.  Is it sometimes?  Sure.  But not always.  Do I think we should get a divorce because it's NOT easy?  REALLY?  I'm not a child.  Those idealistic views don't exist anymore.  Because I've experienced life.  I know life isn't always wine and roses.  Sometimes life sucks.  And sometimes it's amazing.  But ALWAYS it's worth it.  And I will tell my kids the same thing.  But I will NEVER tell them that if they have to "work" at it, then they are in the wrong marriage.  I want them to know that yeah, sometimes it is hard.  But you know what?  NOT being together?  That would be SO much harder.

If you are in a marriage and you are unhappy all of the time, please know that I am not saying you should stay in that marriage if it's unhealthy for you.  Sometimes, marriage doesn't work.  I get that.  But that's not what this article was about, and I am referring to that article. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Favorite Picture Of Yourself All Time.  Why?

I honestly don't think I have a picture that I like.  I'm sure there are a few from when I was a child.  I remember seeing one of me and my grandma for my First Communion.  And you all know how I feel about her.  So that's a great picture that I remember.  There are also a couple of cute pictures of my brother and I when we were kids.  But other than that, I don't like any of my pictures.  Sucks, huh?!

Monday, March 21, 2011



I have a lot of different names.  Some of them probably shouldn't be repeated here!  :)

My dad used to call me Little Bits.  He actually still does sometimes, although now it's typically just Bits.  He calls Sarah Beth Little Bits, and it makes me smile every time.  

My best friend when I was younger used to call me 'Chelle.  She still does, although we don't talk much anymore.  But my best friend from high school, she still calls me that.  

My college roommate starting calling me Mich.  That one pretty much stuck.  She and her husband still call me that; not sure the last time either one of them called me Michelle.  That's why I started signing everything Mich.  (Pronounced Meesh).  

Then of course there's Mommy, Mom, Shelly.  I'm sure there are quite a few others out there, but Mommy will ALWAYS be my favorite!


This post is a day late because I was traveling all day yesterday.

Something You Miss

It took me about 1/2 a second to come up with this one!  Most of you know that we lived in China for a year.  I've talked about that a lot.  But one thing you may not know is that while we lived there we had someone that worked for us, 40 hours a week, cleaning, cooking, doing laundry, babysitting.  The best part?  It only cost us about $300 USD a month.  Needless to say, I got very spoiled by that.  I miss that EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  

So, if you're in the market for a full time job, and you will work for $300 a month, please let me know!  :)

Saturday, March 19, 2011

DAY 18 - MEXICAN . . .

Favorite Place To Eat

I LOVE Mexican.  I could pretty much eat Mexican food every day of the week.  In China, Mexican restaurants were EXTREMELY hard to find.  And I missed it.  But I cooked Mexican at home a lot, because we all like it.  One of my favorite Mexican restaurants used to be On The Border, but they closed it while we were gone.  They've since opened a new place called Chuey's, and it's really good.  But Tumbleweed will probably always be my favorite.  My kids love it there too, especially Andrew.  They get to pick where they want to go to dinner for their birthday, and he always picks Tumbleweed. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Something You're Looking Forward To

Most of you know that we lived in China last year.  Ryan has to go back occasionally for work.  Next week is one of those times.  This time, I'm going with him.  A lot of my friends are still there, so I'm looking forward to visiting with them and catching up.  Oh, and shopping and massages, of course!

While I'm looking forward to it, I'm also starting to get a little antsy.  We will be gone for 12 days, and we're not taking the kids.  It's just Ryan and I.  The kids will be staying with my parents.  For 12 days.  I've never been away from them that long.  12 days.  That's a long time.  Did I mention it's 12 days?

But yes, I am looking forward to it.  It'll be fun spending time with my friends.  Getting massages.  Going shopping.  Seeing the sites.  So yeah, I'm looking forward to it.  I'm just a little nervous about it being so long.  I hope they don't forget me.  I hope they don't get too homesick.  I hope *I* don't get too homesick.  

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Hi, my name is Michelle.  And I'm a Mom.  I LOVE being a Mom.  But if I'm being honest, it scares the holy hell out of me.  (Sorry, I gave up cussing for Lent, but since I TYPED that instead of SAYING it, I'm hoping it doesn't count)!  :)

My oldest is now 11; soon to be 12.  He's in 6th grade.  And he just had his first girlfriend a couple of weeks ago.  Now he's on girlfriend number 2.  No, he's not a "player", I just think this is all new to him and he's still trying to figure it out himself.  His first girlfriend was a neighbor that he was friends with first.  That didn't last long.  After they started "dating", they stopped talking to each other!  It was actually quite comical.  Anyway, his new girlfriend is someone at school.  At least he THINKS she's his girlfriend.  He said she's hugged him 8 times, (yes, he's obviously been counting), and his friends and her friends say they're "dating."  Keep in mind.  He's 11.  And in 6th grade.  And he only sees her in school.  My friend calls it a "business hours only" relationship.  And I'm okay with that.  Plus, I'm thinking based on how long the first one lasted, this one probably won't last too long either. 

But the point is, this is all new to me.  He's my oldest.  So I'm just now starting to experience these things.  And the first girlfriend freaked me out pretty bad.  Not because I don't like her.  I actually ADORE her, and her mom is a very good friend of mine.  But it freaked me out because it was all new to me, and I honestly didn't know what to expect and what was going to happen next.  Now I know that they last about 2-4 weeks at this age.  This time, I didn't freak out too much.  Plus, with her being at school, it's not like he will see her any other time.  I asked him what "going out" meant, and where he thought they were "going."  His response?  I don't know.  So yeah, I'm a little less stressed about this girlfriend than I was about the first one.

But this is just the beginning.  I know things are going to get more complicated and be more difficult to deal with.  So how do I handle these situations?  What do I do?  Do I freak out?  Do I pretend like it's no big deal?  I DON'T KNOW!!!  Enter Operation: Parent.  They came and talked to us during one of our PTA meetings.  This is their Mission Statement:  "Supportive Parents Involved In Raising Incredible Teens"  Their flier says:  Operation: PARENT is on a mission to educate, encourage and engage parents of teenagers!  We are dedicated to parents who need a little help and encouragement to stay connected to their teen during the challenging middle and high school years.

It started with one mother.  She has 5 kids.  And she felt like she was missing the boat and not doing the things she should be doing.  So she went and talked to her high school principal, and it just evolved and took flight from there.  In Oldham County.  And now they're bringing it to Jefferson County and they are also in Florida. 

And now we are bringing it to our middle school.  Another parent and I are taking the class starting next month, and then in the next school year we will start facilitating the classes.  I'm very excited about it.  I don't know what to do.  Like I said, this is all new to me.  I'm looking forward to interacting with other parents and finding out that maybe I'm not such a bad parent after all.  Maybe I AM making the right decisions and doing the right things for my kids.  There are so many issues out there now that kids have to deal with, that we never did.  How do we handle those situations?  What do we do if and when they come up?  I'm hoping Operation: Parent can help with that. 

One thing I do know for sure - I LOVE my kids.  And I want to do what's best for them.  And maybe that's not the same thing you would do.  But that's okay.  Because we are different.  Our KIDS are different.  But I want my kids to know that I am here for them.  I want them to know they can come and talk to me about anything and everything.  I might not always agree with them, but I still want them to be able to share with me.  And I want to not freak out about every little thing that happens.  Because it's going to happen.  Like or not.  So I need to know how to react when it does.  And I need to be aware of what "it" might be.  

Why can't they just stay 3 forever?!


Dream House

You'd think being in Real Estate, I would know exactly what I want in my dream house.  But honestly, I'm happy where we are, so I guess it's really never been an issue.  But now that I'm thinking about it, I definitely have some ideas.  ;)

First of all, because I'm lazy as all get out, I'd want a very large ranch style house.  A ranch, because I'm lazy and don't want to have to walk up and down the stairs.  

I would want 5 bedrooms. NO, I'm not planning on having another child, I would just like to have a bedroom for all of us, plus an office for me.  When we bought this house, we didn't have Sarah, so I had an office.  Then she came along, SURPRISE!, and my office became her bedroom.  So yeah, I'd like to have an extra room for my office.  

I'd want a large kitchen, maybe even bigger than what we have now, with lots and lots of cabinet space and drawers.  I never seem to have enough places to put things.  (Of course that could be because I'm the most unorganized person you'll ever meet)!

I'd want a large great room, larger than what we have now, with built in surround sound.  I'd also want a separate living room and dining room.  I know they won't be used very often, but it would still be nice to have them. 

I'd also want a full walk-out basement, finished of course, with one room for the kids playroom, and a large entertainment area that would hold a pool table and also leave room for a large media center with a big screen TV and surround sound.

I'd want an inground pool in the large backyard for the kids to go swimming.  A large deck with a hot tub.

I'd want a 3-4 car garage, because everyone knows that a 2 car garage doesn't really hold 2 cars.  I want a garage large enough to hold both of our cars, plus all of our other junk that we have in the garage.

Oh, and if I was rich enough to have a house like this, I'd of course have a maid to take care of it! 

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Bible Verse

You all know by now that I'm not a church goer, sorry Mom and Dad, but I DO believe in God, and I do have a bible verse that always makes me feel better when I read it.  I actually have two favorite verses.  They've been my favorites for as long as I can remember, and both of them were used in our wedding.  

1 Corinthians 13


 1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 910 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

A Time for Everything
 1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace. 

I can't tell you why they're my favorites, because I really don't know.  I just know that they make me smile when I read or hear them, and they are the ones I always search for when I open a bible.

Do YOU have any favorites?  If so, what are they, and why?

Monday, March 14, 2011


A Picture Of You Last Year - How Have You Changed?
This picture was taken last year while we were living in China.  This is my friend Sonia.  She was my lifeline while we were living there.  Her family lived in the same building as us, on the 7th floor.  We used to have coffee, lunch, beer, or just hang out, at least 2 or 3 times a week.

The biggest way I've changed is that I'm not living in China anymore!  ;)  Other than that, I don't know that I've really changed that much.  My LIFE has changed, because we were in a different country last year, but I'm not really sure that I'VE changed.  I still look the same.  I still talk the same.  I still have the same friends and family.  

I do think maybe my attitude about things has changed a little though.  Writing on the blog has helped a lot with that.  Since I've been writing on here, I find that I'm more honest about things than I have been in a long time; maybe ever. Even though I know that people I know may be reading it, I don't worry too much about that anymore.  I feel like, if they don't like what they read, then they can just stop reading!

Other than that, I'm probably still very much the same person that I was last year.  BORING!  ;)



I wrote about my goals earlier in the year.  You can read that HERE.  I haven't updated them in awhile though, so I guess now is as good of a time as any!  

To Lose Weight:  I'm still at the same 11 lbs.  But to be honest, I haven't really been working on it either.  I get frustrated and stop paying messing with it.  We are leaving for China on Sunday and will be gone for 2 weeks. I'm not even going to worry about it until we get back.  Maybe taking a break from it will help for awhile.

To Be More Organized:  I've been taking my calendar with me everywhere.  And I like having it with me to help keep up with everything I need to do.  It makes it nice to be able to look over the calendar and know what I have coming up for the following week and month.

To Write More:  I'm obviously doing better with this one since I've pretty much been writing everyday!

To Do Better In My Business:  I've been working more.  I just had service desk this morning.  I've also been showing houses a lot.  I wrote 2 contracts last week, and they both got accepted.  They should close while we're in China.  I have a 31 party scheduled for the end of April.  I will work on scheduling a few more when I get back from China.

So that's my update.  A day late.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Something You Don't Leave The House Without

This is my cell phone.  And I LOVE it.  And I won't leave the house without it.  And if I DO leave the house without it?  I go back to get it of course!  How did we survive before cell phones?  I was probably 26 or so before I got my first cell phone, and now I feel lost whenever I don't have it with me. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

30 DAY BLOG CHALLENGE - DAY 11 . . . .

Favorite TV Shows

As I've said before, I LOVE TV.  I watch it a lot.  I can't stand not to have noise in the background, so I always have the TV on.  Most of the types of shows I like are crime shows, but there are a few others that I watch just for fun.  These are some of my favorite shows:

- Criminal Minds
- Glee
- NCIS/NCIS Los Angeles
- CSI (All of them)
- The Mentalist

I watch other shows, but those are my favorites.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Something You're Afraid Of

This one's easy.  My biggest fear is that something will happen to my kids.  And that scares the CRAP out of me.  There was a death at my son's school over Christmas break.  She was only 8 years old, and she was in the same grade as Andrew.  She was on the way to her grandmother's when she and her parents were hit by a drunk driver.  How heartbreaking!  As a parent, you just assume that your kids will outlive you.  However, I've known way too many parents that have lost a child.  And I can't even imagine the heartbreak that must cause.  

You try the best you can to protect them, but unfortunately you can't protect them from everything.  No matter how hard you try.  

So yeah, I'm afraid of spiders, and scary movies, and haunted houses, and roller coasters, and lots of other things.  But none of those other things scare me NEARLY as much as the thought of something happening to my kids. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


A Favorite Picture Of Your Best Friend

I told you before I only have a few close friends.  And honestly, the older I get, the more I'm okay with that.  Because the friends I have are TRUE friends.  I can talk to them about things I can't talk to others about.  That's what a TRUE friend is.  I have one very close friend that I've only been friends with for less than a year.  But she "gets" me.  (Poor thing).  

I also have a friend that I've known since we were 13.  We're both 40 now, so we've been friends for 27 years.  How crazy is that?!  She's Sarah Beth's Godmother.  Unfortunately, I don't have many pictures of her.  It seems the older we get, the more we take pictures of our kids, and not each other.  But this picture was taken when another friend of ours was moving back to her hometown.   The 3 of us were pretty close, and we had one last "Girls Night Out" before she left.  This was taken on that day.  It's still one of my favorite pictures.

I'm on the left, Kim is in the middle, and my best friend Laura is on the right.


I told you about the fight between 2 people I love very much.  Well it's only gotten worse.  And I keep letting it bother me.  I keep worrying about it and letting it keep me up at night.  But it's time that I stop.  I think they're both wrong.  But neither one will admit it.  I also think they're both right.  But again, neither one will admit that the other one might be right.  How can that be the case you ask?  How can they both be wrong AND right at the same time?  Easy.  There's always 3 sides to every story.  There's my side, your side, and the  whole truth.  Unfortunately, the truth is often clouded by our judgment and we can't see through our own hurt and anger.

I could tell you WHY A acted a certain way.  I could tell you that it's because she  was protecting her children and her family.  But that doesn't matter.  I could tell you why B acted a certain way.  I could tell you that it's because she was protecting HER family.  But again, it doesn't matter.  Because the hurt and anger is so deep that it'll probably never go away.  And that sucks.  For all of us.  

It sucks for me that I've lost someone I thought I was close to because the feud is more important than me.  It sucks for A and B because they're both so angry they're saying and doing things that they would never say or do to anyone else.  It sucks for C because she feels like she's caught in the middle and she doesn't want to hurt or upset either one of them, even though it's tearing her up inside. 

So it's time I TRY to stop worrying about it.  It's time I wash my hands of it.  It's time I realize that yeah, I'm not that important after all and that it's not my fight to fight.  It's time I start focusing on the things I CAN change, and ACCEPT the things I cannot change.  It may not give me Serenity, but it may give me back a little bit of SANITY.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I taped this during one of Jason's Circus practices. This is part of his routine.


A place you've traveled to.

Well this one's easy!  China, of course!  We lived there for 1 year, in Shanghai, but we also visited Hong Kong, Beijing, and Xi'an while we were living there.  Of all the places we visited, Hong Kong was my favorite.  It's on an island, and the view is spectacular.  But the most "breathtaking" thing I think we saw were the Terracotta Warriors in Xi'an.  And the Great Wall was awesome too.  How many people get to say they've seen all of those places?

The World Financial Center and The Jinmao Tower in Shanghai.  The World Financial Center is currently the tallest building in Shanghai, and the 2nd or 3rd tallest in the world.  We have been up both of them.  The view is spectacular.
This is a common sight around town.  You get used to it after awhile!
The view from The Bund.  In Shanghai.  By the Financial District.  We lived on one side of the water, Pudong.  The other, where the Bund is, is Puxi.  (pronounced pooshee).
This is the "birds nest" in Beijing.  It was seen a lot during the Olympics.
In order to get up to the Great Wall, you ride on a ski lift.  We went in the Fall. This was our view on the way up.  Talk about GORGEOUS!
Ryan and Jason were in front of Andrew, Sarah and I.  Don't they look thrilled?!
All of us standing on The Great Wall of China.  How cool is that?!
The Famous Great Wall.  
On the way back down you could either ride the ski lift or you could take this little go cart.  Ryan and the boys took the go cart on the way down, Sarah and I took the ski lift.
This is from the Harbor in Hong Kong.  The water was so beautiful.
This is Victoria Peak.  It's very high up and you stand there and watch the sunset on the harbor. Talk about an amazing view! 
 Sarah sure liked it up there!
The beautiful sunset.
This is the view after the sunset.  All of the buildings turn their lights on.
The pictures don't even do this place justice.  It's one of those things you have to see to believe.  It really takes your breath away when you walk in and you see THOUSANDS of these Terracotta Warriors lined up.  Absolutely amazing.  SO glad we went to see it.
Jason and Andrew

Monday, March 7, 2011


Favorite Movies:

1. The Sound Of Music
2. Star Wars - 4, 5, and 6 of course, because they have Harrison Ford in them!
3. 27 Dresses
4. The Wedding Date
5. The Parent Trap - The Original

Sunday, March 6, 2011


This is an easy one!  I'm supposed to post a picture of something that makes me happy.  So here goes:
Nothing makes me happier than seeing my kids happy. 


A Song To Match Your Mood

This was supposed to have been posted yesterday, but I had a hard time finding a song.  I kept going through all of my songs and I couldn't come up with anything that seemed to fit.  Then, as soon as I woke up this morning, it hit me which song I needed to post.  (We've been gone all day and just walked in the door, so I'm just now posting it). 

I've been having a hard time the last couple of days because my "baby" has a "girlfriend."  Keep in mind, he's 11, so I use the term girlfriend loosely, but I'm still not ready for the fact that HE thinks he's ready for a girlfriend.  So when I woke up this morning, I thought of this song, and I think it's definitely appropriate.  It's a song I've always loved, from the moment I heard it.  But now that my kids are getting older, it's really starting to hit home with me even more. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011


I haven't gone to bed yet, so technically this still counts as day 4!  ;)

Day 4 :  Your Parents

My parents are AWESOME!!! 

My Mom is Eileen.  She has been in Real Estate since I was about 8 years old.  She's an AMAZING Realtor.  Probably the best you'll ever meet.  While I was growing up she was doing it all on her own and she was a Top Producer for many, many years.  She's still very good at it, but now her major priority is her grand kids!  She brought me into Real Estate and we worked together for a few years.  Then I went to a different company.  We started working together again, including my dad, about 10 years ago, and it's worked out really well for all of us.

She's a wonderful friend, the BEST Mom and Grandma, and she loves her family very, very much.  There is nothing she wouldn't do for my brother and I.  And now that she has grand kids, there's nothing she wouldn't do for them.  She's always been there for me, and she's always stood up for me.  She's always let me know that I'm perfect just the way I am and even though there are a lot of things about me that I would change, she still loves me.  I would like to think she's taught me how to be a good Mom to my kids.  I hope when I grow up, my kids love and respect me as much as I love and respect MY mom.
My dad is Mike - Michael.  I was named after him.  My dad worked at Sears while I was growing up.  He retired the year I got married.  That's when he started working with my mom in real estate.  We've all been working together for about 10 years now.  My dad always says he's the assistant!  ;)

My dad is the best dad in the world.  He's funny.  He LOVES University of Kentucky Basketball.  Like, he's OBSESSED with it!  He won't show houses on UK basketball days.  Those days are left up to me.  And while I'm a UK fan too, I don't have the same obsession, so that's okay with me.  He's amazing with my kids, and of course they adore him.  And just like my mom, there's nothing he wouldn't do for us or the kids.  One thing I've never doubted, is that I KNOW my dad loves me.  I've always known that, and I've never questioned it. 

Don't you wish you were lucky enough to have parents like mine?!?!?!  ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Your First Love

I honestly don't remember my first love.  I'm 40 years old people, that was a LONG time ago!  Plus, I wasn't the most popular kid in school, so it wasn't like I had boys knocking down my door!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


First, I understand that you volunteered and I didn't.  I get that.  Good for you.  I don't know enough about basketball to play, much less coach, so I didn't volunteer.  

That being said, if you are NOT going to coach the WHOLE team, then don't bother coaching.  Leave it up to someone else.  Thanks to your "awesome" coaching, I now have a child who thinks he's the worst player on the team and he's the reason the team loses pretty much every game.  So yeah, thanks for that!  *thumbs up*  AWESOME coaching!

This is a YMCA league, not AAU or Club, which means that they are there to LEARN.  So TEACH them.  They are 8 and 9 years old.  They have a thirst for knowledge that isn't always going to be there as they get older.  Show them what they're doing wrong, but PRAISE them for the things they're doing right!  The kids that already know how to play, and are good at it, let them help you teach the other kids that are just learning.  Instead of only playing and practicing with the 4-5 team members that are good, put them all in there and let them learn from each other.  Practice is supposed to be for the whole team.  It's not to make the ones that are good, better, while the others sit on the sideline and watch.  That's not really much of a practice for them, is it?!

Another thing, if you're going to give a "game ball" or "game bracelet" or whatever you're going to give, don't you think you should make sure EVERYONE on the team gets it at least ONCE, before someone else gets it THREE TIMES?????  Do you know how heartbreaking it is as a parent to see your child get so upset after a game, a game in which he got a couple of rebounds and got fouled while shooting, because he thought he might get it this time?  Do you know what he was the most upset about?  That the person that DID get it, had already had it twice.  And you know what?  I DON'T BLAME HIM!  Way to build them up and make them feel good about themselves!  Awesome coaching job!

I realize my child is not an athlete.  I get that.  Unfortunately for him, he takes after his mother.  But if you're not going to TEACH him, then please don't sign up to coach.  He already has self esteem issues as it is.  Thanks SO much, for making him even MORE self conscious. 

He will no longer be playing anymore basketball.  EVER.  Also, if and when we sign up for another sport at the Y, I will MOST DEFINITELY make sure that you are NOT his coach. I do not want you anywhere near my child tearing him down and making him feel bad about himself.  Life is hard enough as it is.  Adults are supposed to build children up, NOT tear them down.


One Ticked Off And Upset Mother


Day 2:  Meaning Behind Your Blog Name

This is probably the easiest one on the list!  As most of you know, we lived out of the country for a year.  We lived in Shanghai, China.  The title of my blog, Bruner Family Travels, is because it was a chronicle of our lives as we lived in China.  We wanted our family and friends here at home to see pictures and hear about about the things we were doing while we were gone.  Mostly, it was just to let everyone know that we were alive and well, even though we were on the other side of the world!  Honestly, I never thought I'd continue it when we got back.  If I had, I would have come up with a cooler name!  ;)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Okay, so starting on Day 1.  I'm supposed to upload a recent picture of myself.  After taking about 30 pictures that were AWFUL, I decided to go with my work picture.  It's only about 2 years old, and I look pretty much the same.  The funny thing?  I even have on the same shirt today!  So here's my picture:
Not sure there ARE 15 interesting facts, but here goes: 

I lived out of the country for one year with my husband and 3 children.  We were transferred to Shanghai, China for his job.  The boys went to an International School.  We saw many things we'd never have had the opportunity to see or explore if we hadn't moved there for a year.  That's actually the reason I started this blog.  To keep everyone here at home up to date with our lives in China.

My grandma has always been one of my favorite people.  Even though she's been in Heaven for 12+ years, she CONTINUES to be one of my favorite people.  My oldest, Jason THOMAS is named after her.  Thomas was her maiden name.

My family and I have always been very close.  I still talk to my parents pretty much every day, and even did while we were living in China.  They "inherit" my children if anything happens to us.  I would like to think they did a pretty good raising my brother and I, so I know my kids will be in good hands.  I have 1 brother that is a year younger than me.  He is Godfather to all 3 of my children, and he "inherits" them if anything happens to us and my parents.  Hear that Scott?  NOT that I WANT anything to happen, but if it does, I know they will be in good hands with him also.  He loves them dearly, and they adore them.  They are so lucky to have such a wonderful uncle that makes them feel so special.

I've known my best friend since we were freshmen in high school.  I HATED high school.  I tell her all of the time that she's the best thing that came out of high school for me.  She is also Sarah Beth's Godmother.

My other closest friend I've been friends with since my sophomore year of college.  She lives 1 1/2 hours away, but we still text and talk often, and we see each other at least 3 or 4 times a year.  She was my saving grace while I was in China.  Whenever I would get really homesick, she seemed to "sense" it, and she would send me a message or we would chat on Facebook, even though it was really late for her and she just wanted to be in bed!  She talked me through many tough times.  I'm not sure I even told her how much it meant to me.  In case I didn't, Thanks Sandy.  YOU ROCK!

I've had the same favorite actor since I was about 10 or 11.  Anyone that knows me well knows that my favorite actor is, was, and always will be Harrison Ford.

I've had the same favorite movie since I was about 5 or 6.  The Sound Of Music.  LOVE that movie.  Watch it every time it comes on TV, even though I've seen it a GAZILLION times!

I "collect" butterflies.  At my Grandma's funeral the priest talked about how much she liked butterflies.  From that point on, it sort of became my "thing".  I have butterfly rings, earrings, hair barrettes, my bedroom and 2 of our bathrooms are butterflies.  You get the picture.  It reminds me of her and makes me feel closer to her.  So if you're ever in doubt about what to get me, you can never go wrong with something with butterflies on it.  Oh, and of course a brand new Honda Odyssey.  In case you should happen to win the lottery and just feel like spreading the wealth!

Not sure that it's interesting, but I am probably the most unorganized person you will ever meet in your life.  I TRY to be organized, but at this point I feel like, if it hasn't happened by now, it's probably not ever going to happen!

I have a degree in Psychology with a minor in Sociology.  I say all of the time that it's the most useless degree imaginable, but I think I use it everyday, with my family and friends as well as with my jobs, so I guess it's not THAT useless.

One place I've ALWAYS wanted to go is Australia.  Since I was about 8 or 9.  I doubt I'll ever get there, but then I never thought I'd live in China either, so I guess it's still possible!

I'm a TV ADDICT!  I can't stand silence so I always have something on in the background.  My favorite shows are Criminal Minds, NCIS, CSI and Law And Order.  And of course, GLEE!  I even watch all the reruns.  I'll watch a rerun of Criminal Minds or Law and Order before I'll have the TV off and not have any noise in the background. 

I'm a GLEEK!  For those of you that don't know what that is, it means that I love the show Glee.  I watch it every week.  I started watching it in China.  I love all of the songs.  That's pretty much the only thing I ever listen to in the car, besides talk radio.  I also let my kids watch it., but only with ME.  We've watched every single episode together, except for the Christmas episode.  That's a whole other story!  We've had some AMAZING conversations after some of the episodes.  For those of you that watch it, think Madonna, Blame It On The Alcohol, and Grilled Cheesus, just to name a few!  ;)

I'm ADDICTED to diet Coke.  Just ask anyone that knows me.  I always have a diet Coke in my hand or somewhere close by.  I probably drink a 2 liter a day of diet Coke.  And fountain diet Coke is MUCH better than out of a can or a bottle.  I drink WAY too many of them, but I can't help it.  It's my drug of choice, and I think I could do much worse.

I've discovered a lot about myself since I started keeping this blog.  What first started as a description of our journey out of the country, has turned into a journey of me discovering the things I like and dislike the most, both about myself and of society in general.