Saturday, March 19, 2011

Reunited....after all this time!!!

A while back I did I did a post about a dear friend of mine Julie.
I told you all about our friendship/history and then announced that she was expecting her first child!

Well, last weekend I found out that she was coming to Sacramento to visit her parents (which live there now). 
We weren't sure if it was going to work because their visit would be short but we wanted to try to see each other.
Well.....I GOT TO SEE HER!!!!! 

It was the first time I have seen her in 3 1/2 years!!! It was SO good!! 

Ok, that last time I saw her was on her wedding day! I can't believe how we still look so much alike!!
I remember the night of her rehearsal I was standing talking to some people and her Dad came up behind me and put his arm around me and said "Hey Jewels, Do you...." I turned as he was talking and he said..."Oh, you aren't Julie!" :) 
We always did look like sisters and I think we still do! :) 

It was so nice that our husbands FINALLY got to meet!!!! 
It's so funny because we are so much a like and our husbands are so much alike! It didn't dawn on me till today. Julie and I will talk and talk and talk...non stop!! Our husbands, just sit and listen! haha! 
I guess that is a good thing! If the husband and wife both talk a lot...there would be some issues! :)

Oh, and I got to see her with her baby belly!!!! :) I was so excited about that! I have always loved baby bellies but since she is the first "close" friend to have one....well, let me just say...I would never ask anyone other than a close friend to touch their baby belly! I kept telling her, after I found out I would see her, I CAN'T WAIT to touch your belly!!! haha, It was only fair to give her warning!! :)
So, here is a pic with the belly!!! :) 
I love Julie's face...she has the opposite feeling about her belly! :) 

Plans are being made to make a trip to Oregon to see Jason and Julie again!
I'm so excited about that!
They are expecting their baby GIRL to arrive the first week of June!!! 
Her name will be....Alayna Joy Gardner! :) So sweet! 
I am hoping to go spend a few days with her a few weeks after the baby comes!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

It's HER day!!!!!!

It's March 15th!!
Do you know what that means?
To me, it means that a very dear friend of mine will be celebrating her 24th birthday today!!

Happy Birthday,
Nicole Elizabeth LaBate!!!!!!!
I so wish I could be with her to help celebrate her birthday but since I can't...
I just wanted to give her a shout out from my blog! :) 
Thanks for being a best friend Nicole, you have no idea how much you mean to me!!

Nicole and I...well how shall I say it?? We go WAY WAY back!! :)
Like we met right after I was the church nursery!!! :) It was special!! haha, well, I can't say I remember it exactly, but I'm sure it was special!!!! :)
We probably didn't like each other in the nursery...or maybe we did...
That was kind of how our younger years went. Some may call it a love/hate relationship.
Sometimes we LOVED each other and others...well, you get the point! :)

No, really, during our elementary days, we were buds!! Best buds!!! :)
The kind of friends that you made secret clubs with and told each other your deepest darkest secrets.
Because we all know that 4th graders have very deep and dark secrets!!! :)
And...we DID have a club...although I believe I am still supposed to keep the name of it a secret!!! :)
 There were only 3 members and still to this day NONE of us will tell you what went down in our 'club'!!
(most likely because we don't remember...but that's besides the point) :)

Anyway, moving on into Jr. high and high school is when our friendship wasn't very strong.
We were "friends" but not as close... I don't really remember much of our relationship but basically we just had our own group of friends and didn't do much 'hanging out' during these years.
I know we had some drama too but honestly can't remember much of that either!! But that is how all high school drama is..seems really important then but you can barely remember it a few years down the road!

College came and we still ran in different 'groups' drama during this time but just didn't really have a relationship. Until Nicole's senior year (she was a year ahead of me.)

Nicole was placed on my father's bus route (a ministry of our church that picks up children and brings them to Sunday School each week). I had the job of driving our mini van to the outskirts of our 'route' and bringing children to the bus. Nicole was chosen to be my partner and ride with me every Sunday morning and afternoon. This is when our relationship changed! I am so so glad it did!
We spent so many hours for the next (almost) 2 years riding in that van. We talked and talked and talked and laughed and laughed and just became SO close!! She went from being just a girl I grew up with to being my best friend! I will always always look back on that time and be so thankful that we had the opportunity to share that!

During my senior year, I got engaged and started the long process of preparing for the wedding!

Nicole, honestly was the friend that was always always there! Not that my other bridesmaids didn't care and do a ton to help too but because she was there as in literally, most of the others in my bridal party had all moved away by this time, she was involved in all of it. She just went above and beyond!!

She always listened to me talk and talk and talk and talk....I'm sure I was so annoying sometimes!!
You know, when I think back at that time, she was such a great example of a SELFLESS friend, which is what a true friend really is, because if you are selfish in a won't be a long lasting one.

Those of you that know her know this, but Nicole is single and isn't dating anyone and wasn't during that entire time of wedding planning. Yet she was just so genuinely excited for me and wanted to be completely involved in everything!! It would have been so easy for her to get maybe a little tired of all the wedding talk etc...but this is just NOT her. She is a great example of a giving, selfless person.
I'm so honored to be a close friend to her!

The wedding came and went and she has continued to be this kind of friend.
You know, when Julian and I came back from our honeymoon and I had a few days to say "goodbye" to all of those people that I love back home.
Honestly, besides my actual family, Nicole was my hardest goodbye! :(
I remember being sick to my stomach after saying goodbye to her. It was very very hard!

I'm so so so thankful for our friendship.
Basically, to sum it the last (almost 9 months), the 2000 miles apart hasn't done any "damage" to our friendship. For me, it's just shown me who and what a real friend is. The distance doesn't matter. We are still so so close! We talk all the time. I know she is always just a text or call or skype away!!

So, Nicole, on your birthday, I just wanted to say....
Thanks for being a true friend. Always honest with me, always ready to tell me straight what you think whether you think I'll like it or not, always giving of yourself, just a REAL friend!
Love you girl!
Happy 24th Birthday!!!
Hope your day is amazing and this year is even better!!! 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

I've just had a few things going on....

My life has been busy the last few weeks....which is my excuse for being the horrible blogger that I have been! It seems to have slowed back down to normal the last few days, which is usually when I start to feel guilty about neglecting my blog! :) So, here I am, back to posting!

Right after returning from my trip to Indiana our little school and church went through a rough time.
Actually, I think that it all started when I was away....
but one by one...people started to get sick.
I mean nasty sick! The worst kind of stomach flu! It was pretty crazy how fast and how much it spread!
Let's just respect for germs grew A LOT!
It was BAD...that is just the best word I can use to describe it!
I am pretty sure about 80% of our church members were sick with it at different times during the two weeks that it went around! Then it was in the school too...Five out of my thirteen little ones had it at some point, as well as many other students in other classes.... :(
Our principal (his entire fam except his wife), our school secretary, 3 out of the 4 elementary teachers and several spouses all got this nasty thing! :( I thought I had made it through without catching it but no such luck...I was one of the last people that did get it and I can definitely testify to it's nastiness!!
It seems to have cleared up though and no one else has gotten sick in the last week! Which is good!
So, we all learned some good lessons about cleanliness, washing hands, and disinfecting and that when you are sick...

Well, we all came from being sick and tried to regain our strength and start last week....
which just happened to be THE BUSIEST WEEK OF THE YEAR for our school!
Yeah, the sickness had bad timing!
Last Friday, March 4, was our annual Spring Academic Competition!
The whole school spends the entire day competing in many different areas!
Let me just say, this being my first year being apart of it.....I WAS IMPRESSED!
At the church I grew up in we did some competing against many other schools/church's at our Preaching Conference every year but NOTHING compared to this! Back home, we competed in speech and music mainly but here they compete in EVERYTHING!!

Math, Bible, History, Spelling, Speech (stories/preaching), Home Ec (cooking and sewing), Art..which includes a TON of things...Photography, Crafts, Needle Work, Painting, Drawing...then of course there was Music (solo's, groups, instruments, piano), and then there were physical things, like running (sprints and long distance) and Chess, Ping Pong and Basketball. Sounds a little overwhelming, huh?!
That's what I thought too...

It was a great day and a lot of fun!! Everyone was involved from 1st - 12th grade!! We spent the last several months getting ready for the different events and the kids were really excited about competing in their events!
My little ones, for speech, all memorized different poems and they did such a great job!! Some of them played the piano or chess and ping pong... and they all took the Academic test and were part of the spelling bee! What a great experience for each of the kids to get to participate in these events!
Let me just brag a minute and say... for being a small school....some of our kids/teens have some pretty amazing talent!!! Especially the older ones....our music department is pretty great!!!

Another great part of the day was the parents participation! Seriously, I love our parents! I feel like I say that every time I do a post about school but they never cease to amaze me!
Many parents came out and spent the entire day at the school helping in whatever way possible!
Honestly, without them there is no way we could have done everything!
They judged different events, helped watch the kids that weren't involved in anything, tallied all the judging forms and got the rewards all ready for the award ceremony, helped make and hand out the hot lunch, graded the test... and on and on and on! It was just really amazing how great they were/are!!!

So, after the super long school day, we all went home only to return that evening for a Choir/Band Concert done by the Jr. High and High school.

It was so beautiful! I love how classy P. Sutton makes these concerts!
They all dress in Black and White and they guys wear a Tuxedo shirt, cummerbund and bow tie!
They looked so sharp!

After the concert we had the Grand Prize Award Ceremony!

Then ended the day by auctioning off the Home Ec desserts that were entered into the competition!

A VERY VERY long day at Bethel Christian Academy but what a great time it was!!!

So, that wraps up all my excuses for not being the best blogger...oh wait, did I mention that I am also Co-Volleyball Coach and we are in the middle of our Volleyball Season right now?!? ... ok, I'm done making excuses.. :)
You will be hearing from me again soon!!
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