Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Today is our 16th anniversary. Starting December 29, 1990 we've had 16 wedded years, 8 moves, 3 kids, 1 ferret, 1 bird, 1 dog, 1 cat, 1 hamster, countless trips and vacations, untold holidays and birthdays, a few bumps along the way, some sadness and goodbyes to people we love and through it all we have always had each other and always will. I wouldn't trade a minute of it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Coming Home

A beautiful sunset on Christmas Day in Houston. As much as I love traveling, I always love coming home.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas Eve

Well, our week here in Michigan is just about over and we're heading back to Texas tomorrow. We had a great visit with everyone and our usual chaotic, fun, loud, hectic Fuja family gathering on Saturday. There were 21 people in attendance and it was really great to see everyone.

The 3 Js are wondering if Santa is going to make a stop at Grandma's house or just leave any gifts for them back in Texas. We shall see. And tonight Jordan lost yet another tooth. Does the tooth fairy even work on Christmas Eve? Seems like there might be some conflict over air space.

I'll catch up more once we get back, but just wanted to wish everyone a happy, peaceful Christmas day spent with family and friends you love.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Cool weather...finally!

Of course, we had to travel for about 8 hours and 2,000 miles to get it. After a week of temps close to 80 in Texas, we arrived in Michigan where it was about 40. Loved it! But I know that after a week of cold weather I'll be happy to get back to the mild conditions at home.

To the Michigan boodles that read my blog...I'm sorry I didn't give you advance notice of my trip. I would have loved to get together with all of you again but with being out of town so much lately I just wasn't able to plan anything. Plus, I thought this week right before Christmas would be so crazy busy for everyone that I didn't want to impose. I'll definitely want to see you guys when I'm here next. In the meantime, I hope you guys have a wonderful Christmas.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Cruise in Review

We were in desperate need of a vacation so decided kind of at the last minute to go on a cruise out of Galveston. We've been wanting to try this since it is so close and we got a pretty good deal. So, here are the details.

ay 1 - Departure
Sunday, Dec. 3rd

It was a pretty chilly day (by southeast texas standards) when we boarded Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas at about 1:00 p.m. The ship was scheduled to depart at 5:00 p.m. The first thing we did was inspect our cabin. It was actually pretty spacious by ship standards. We had an oceanview Family Stateroom. It had a separate curtained off area with bunk beds and a closet; a pull-out sofa (more of a glorified futon) and a window in the main area; and a curtained off sleeping area with a king size bed, a closet, and a vanity. With all curtains, it got pretty dark in there. It was awesome when the kids slept until 9:00 a.m. some mornings. That is virtually unheard of! That alone was worth the price of the vacation!

The next thing we had to do was participate in the emergency drill. We had to don lifejackets and go on deck to our "muster station." Like I said it was very chilly and windy that day and we were out there for quite some time while everyone on the ship was counted.

After the drill, the ship departed. We got the kids signed up for the kid's club. We went to our dinner seating at 8:30. By this time, the seas were pretty rough in the gulf of mexico. I typically get seasick so I took some medicine as soon as I got on board. Before dinner even started though, Jackson said he wasn't feeling well. So he and I went back up to the room. Jim and Jordan finished out a nice dinner in the dining room.

Day 2 - At Sea
Monday, Dec. 4th

By far, the worst day of the cruise. The seas that day continued to be rough with 8 - 12 ft. swells. By the morning Jackson, Jensen and I were all sick. We spent the day in bed while Jim and Jordan explored the ship.

By the late afternoon, we were all feeling better. The kids all decided they wanted to go to the kid's club that night rather than have a late dinner in the dining room. That worked out great for them...and for us! I finally got to meet our tablemates--Ricardo and Nayra Rodriguez. They are a newlywed couple from Monterrey, Mexico. At first I wondered what the cruise line was thinking seating newlyweds with a family with 3 kids, but it ended up working out great. They were very funny and nice and very sweet to the kids when they ate with us. Ricardo celebrated his 30th birthday on the cruise. We bought them a bottle of wine one night to celebrate that and their wedding. On the last night they gave us very thoughtful gifts...a caribbean christmas ornament and a t-shirt from the ship. I had been meaning to get a Christmas ornament as a souvenir so it was perfect!

Day 3 - Key West
Tuesday, Dec. 5th

We weren't scheduled to arrive in Key West until 3:00 p.m. so that left a big chunk of the day on the ship. In the morning the girls wanted to go to the kids club and Jackson decided to play family bingo with Jim and I. Good thing he did too since he won $87!! He was soooo happy!

After lunch the kids wanted to swim even though it was still pretty chilly. However, they had drained the pool due to the rough weather (they use sea water for the pools, did you know that?) so all that was available were the hot tubs.

Once we docked in Key West, we departed for our excursion to Ripley's Believe It or Not museum. This is something I never care to do again. Jordan and Jackson both say they liked it but Jensen was mostly just scared of all the weird stuff. After the museum we walked around and did a little souvenir shopping. This was all Jackson cared about in any port we were in. He always wanted to make sure that we were going to have time for souvenir shopping.

We took the kids back to the ship for dinner and the late night kid's club. Jim and I went back into Key West and had a really great dinner at a restaurant called Mangoe's on Duval Street. It was a nice get-away for us.

Day 4 - At Sea
Wednesday, Dec. 6th

We left Key West around midnight on our way to Grand Cayman. We had this day at sea and the weather finally started to warm up. We spent this day very leisurely...totally on vacation. The kids went to the kids club for a while and Jim and I went to pool. After lunch, we kind of all hung out by the pool. Jackson joined a "sexy legs" contest by the pool and ended up winning a medal! He was in his glory!

Jackson ended up coming to dinner with us that night while the girls went to the kids' club. He entertained the table with his goofiness.

Day 5 - Grand Cayman
Thursday, Dec. 7th

This was a great day! The weather was beautiful when we docked in Grand Cayman. We had planned to just go to the beach for the day. We went to Seven Mile beach and played in the beautiful sand and water for several hours. We had lunch at a beachside hotel then got in the requisite souvenir shopping before heading back to the ship.

I tortured the kids a little by trying to get a potential Christmas card photo. I made Jackson try to build a snowman out of sand. This proved to be virtually impossible, but at least it kept him busy for a while.

Back on the ship for dinner it was one of our formal dining nights. None of the kids wanted to come to dinner with us, but I made them dress up anyway in order to get a family picture taken. Every night, they had photographers taking portraits with different cheesy backgrounds and I was determined to get one of the 5 of us together. We ended up getting a decent one and I happily sent the 3 Js off to the kids' club while Jim and I enjoyed a nice dinner all dressed up.

Day 6 - Cozumel
Friday, Dec. 8th

I was most looking forward to this day the whole trip. We had decided that we would do "swim with the dolphins" excursion and I was so excited. The day we were in Cozumel, the weather wasn't that great. It was overcast and windy. We went to a national park called Chakanaab. It had all been virtually rebuilt in the past 2 years since hurricane Wilma. They had a beautiful dolphin habitat. We were able to get in the water standing on a platform in water about chest high. Jensen really didn't want to do it, but we made her get in the water. She loves animals and I really thought she would love being so up close with the dolphins. However, she was terrified and screamed to get out. I think the main problem was how rough the water was. Since she wanted to get out, one of us had to get out with her and Jim volunteered. Next to go was Jackson. He tried to stick it out, but was just too cold in the rough water. He did manage to get one kiss from the dolphin before he got out. That left just Jordan and I in the water. I know I loved the whole experience and I think Jordan did too. She was a trooper and I hope she remembers that experience for a lifetime.

Once our time with the dolphins was over and we had spent a small fortune on the photos and dvd, we had to make our way into town for souvenir shopping and lunch. We ate at Carlos and Charlies. It was loud and fun and we all enjoyed it. We sort of separated to conquer all the souvenir shops and Jackson and I got back to the ship on the last tender.

That's one thing that I didn't really like about Grand Cayman or Cozumel. Our ship couldn't pull into an actual dock due to the shallowness of the water but instead had to anchor a ways off shore. We had to take a small boat into the island. This was a really slow process and meant that you couldn't just come and go off the ship as you pleased. I'll definitely look into this more if we take another cruise.

Day 7 - At Sea
Saturday, Dec. 9th

This was our last day on the ship. The weather started to get rougher as we entered the gulf of mexico and I was worried that we would get sick again, but we held tough. We played bingo again the last day but didn't have any luck. Both Jackson and Jordan had made friends on the ship with a brother and sister from Round Rock, TX. We had arranged to have lunch with their family that day. After lunch the kids wanted to climb the rock roll on the top deck of the ship. I spent a big chunk of the afternoon packing up all our stuff!

We all ate dinner together in the dining room that night although the kids really wanted to go to the kid's club.

Back in Texas

The next morning we docked in Galveston early and had to be out of our cabins by 8:00 a.m. We were actually allowed to depart the ship around 9:30 and by the time we got our luggage, went through customs, and got our car it was about 11:00 by the time we were on the road headed to Kingwood. All in all, it was a pretty successful family vacation that had a little something for everyone.

And an added bonus of the whole thing was that compared to the cabin on the ship, our 2 bedroom apartment actually looked spacious when we returned!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


It has been 3 weeks since I've posted here!!! I know I'm not the best blogger, but I'm not usually that bad. It's really just a testament to how busy we are. My last post was on Nov. 19th. On Nov. 20th we went to NC to visit my dad and Dyann for Thanksgiving. We had a great visit and got to see Denise and her new boyfriend as well. We didn't have the best weather so we did some indoor activities like see a movie (Happy Feet) and went bowling (that was fun!). On the last day Jim and the kids finally got to play a little golf.

After we returned, we had a week to get ready to go on our cruise. This meant I had to find swim suits and summer clothing and flip flops for all of us since most of our summer stuff (well, the kids' at least) was kind of trashed from the summer. Got us all packed and we headed out on Dec. 3. I'll write another post with the details of the cruise and some pics. It was a great break and boy did we need it! We got back this past Sunday on Dec. 10th.

This week I am doing some power Christmas shopping since I need to have it all completed by Sunday, Dec. 18th because on Monday we are leaving for Michigan! I was out Christmas shopping until 11:45 p.m. last night. Never done that before. Couldn't believe how many young kids were at wal-mart with their parents at 11:00 at night. Got a good chunk of the shopping done. Also, gotta get us all packed.

And, today is December 12th and I've actually remembered ahead of time to have my camera with me today for my 12 on the 12th.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


37. Ever been to Africa ? No, but it's on the list. This answer should be "yes" and it's on the list to go again.

Jim read my answers to the questions below and reminded me that I actually have been to Africa. We went to Egypt once when we were living in Europe. I guess when I read the question I was thinking like African Safari Africa which I still really want to do some day.

Don't know if anyone cares but...


Michigan lost. It was a good game but not the outcome we had wanted. We still might end up playing Ohio State for the National Championship if USC doesn't do well in their last 2 home games. Go Blue!

Saturday, November 18, 2006


This is what we're doing today

Watching football! The University of Michigan vs. Ohio State University. Number 1 and Number 2. It's a big game. Hopefully it'll go to the good guys.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

If you're reading this consider yourself tagged

I've never posted one of these on my blog before so I thought I'd do it now...since I enjoyed reading Shannon's and Krystn's so much:

1. What time did you get up this morning? 5:30. I know, it's crazy.
2. Diamonds or Pearls? Diamonds all the way.
3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? Flicka and it was awesome!
4. What is your favorite TV show? Amazing Race.
5. What did you have for breakfast? About 3 cups of coffee and 2 fudge stripe cookies.
6. What is your middle name? Marie.
7. What is your favorite cuisine? Italian or a good steak (is that a cuisine?)
8. What foods do you dislike? Chinese
9. Your favorite potato chip? Sour Cream and Onion. I always have a bag going. I'm eating some right now as a matter of fact.
10. What is your favorite CD at the moment? CD? What's that? My current favorite song is Rockstar by Nickleback...I think I'll listen to it right now.
11. What kind of car do you drive? Big, fat Suburban.
12. Favorite Sandwich? I don't eat that many sandwiches but I'll say the New Yorker from Jason's Deli.
13. What characteristics do you despise? Mean-ness
14. What are your favorite clothes? Anything that makes me look and feel usually consists of some form of high heeled shoe though.
15. If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would itbe? the South Pacific
16. What color are your eyes? grey-ish.
17. Favorite brand of clothing?Currently...Ann Taylor Loft...mainly becuase it's convenient.
18. Where would you want to retire? Ocean front somewhere...maybe South Carolina.
19. Favorite time of day? After 8:00 p.m...bedtime for the 3 Js.
20. Where were you born? Detroit, MI.
21. What is your favorite sport to watch? Hmmmm....I guess if I have to give an answer I'll say college football or gymnastics (when Jordan is competing).
22. Who do you think will not send this back? n/a .
23. Person you expect to send it back first? see above
24. Pepsi or Coke? Coke. Diet.
25. Cats or Dogs? Dogs for sure.
26. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Night owl.
27. Pedicure or manicure? Manicures I do out of necessity; pedicures out of pleasure.
28. Do you prefer funny or mushy cards? I like them both.
29. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with everyone? New and exciting? No.
30. What did you want to be when you were little? I don't really remember, but I'm sure vet was in there at some point as well as teacher.
31. What do you have in your trunk right now? I don't have a trunk, but in the cargo area of the suburban I have 2 folding chairs, a basket full of books for the sfe bookclub that I need to take to Kinko's to get copies made of the covers for posters, a tile that I'm supposed to see if it matches the tile around our pool that we need to replace only I keep forgetting to do it, my tennis bag, and I'm sure at least one bag of something that needs to be returned.
32. What is your best childhood memory? All the horseback riding I did.
33. What are the different jobs you have had in your life? All manner of dishwasher, busboy, and waitress; retail; various jobs in marketing once I started my "career."
34. Favorite Holiday? Does my birthday count? If not, I'll say Thanksgiving. Not all the stress of gift buying but all the comraderie of family and friends and tons of good food.
35. What is your favorite dessert? I love the idea of dessert, but 99% of the time I'm too full from dinner to have it. If I had to pick I'd say something like tiramisu.
36. Favorite Summer getaway? The beach. And I don't mean Galveston. I'm talking Destin, Fl or maybe Gulf Shores, Al.
37. Ever been to Africa ? No, but it's on the list.
38. Glasses or Contacts? Contacts since I was about 13.
39. Ever been toilet papering? No.
40. Been in a car accident? Yes.
41. Favorite day of the week? Friday.
42. Favorite restaurant? Gibson's steakhouse in Chicago...had one of the best meals I can remember there.
43. Favorite flower? Tulips.
44. Favorite movies? Sliding Doors.
45. Favorite Pastime? Photography. Used to be scrapbooking but haven't done that lately...really want to get back to it.
46. Favorite ice cream? Baskin Robbins mint chocolate chip.
47. Favorite fast food restaurant? Sonic, mainly for the drinks...styrofoam cups and tons of crushed ice.
48. How many times did you fail your drivers test? None.
49. From whom did you get your last email? Had to go look. Another 4th grade room mom at Shadow Forest. Before that it was Jim...he's out of town.
50. Sandals or tennis shoes? Sandals, definitely.
51. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? DSW.
52. If the speed limit is 60 what is the fastest you will drive? 65.
53. Bedtime? If Jim is in town we go to bed around 11:00. If he's traveling I tend to stay up until about 12:00.
54. Who are you most curious about their responses to this? Everyone. I'm nosey.
55. Last person you went to dinner with? My girlfriends, the Fab 5.
56. What are you listening to right now? Jay Leno and the Borat guy on the tv.
57. What is your favorite color? Yellow.
58. How may tattoos do you have? None.
59. How many people are you sending this Email to? No one, but if you're reading this consider yourself tagged.
60. What time did you finish this email? Well, it's not an email but it's 11:47 p.m.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Another Week Gone By...

Man, I wish I could get the hang of blogging more regularly. I'm really enjoying Ali E.'s blog lately. I get her e-zine and it reminds me to check her blog. She's one busy woman and she blogs all the time. How does she do it? There was a quote on her blog last week that I wanted to post here. I didn't get to it and it's gone now, but it was basically about how to get up and live your life each day in a more positive fashion. I need that reminder right now. This week, in addition to the fact that her husband is running for office, she wrote about stamping and linked a very cool web site...catslife press. Loved some of their stamps.

Speaking of running for office, today is election day. Jim and I are definitely the odd men out here in Texas but we did our part anyway. This year I voted straight democratic ticket. I've never done that before. Usually try to sort through and vote based on my preference for each individual. This year, I just can't take the hypocrisy and ignorance any more and am looking for sweeping change. Not that any of the guys (or girls) I voted for will be better but one can always hope.

The biggest thing that happened in our lives last week was halloween. As halloweens go it was a good one. I'm not a fan of the holiday; never have been, even as a kid. I just don't like scary things or costumes or even candy that much. But my kids love it so I try.

Jackson and Jordan had their costume parade at school first thing at 8:15. Then, Jensen had to be at school at 8:45 and her little parade was scheduled for 9:00. Getting three kids dressed in a costume in time for school stresses me out. I mean, getting them dressed in regular attire is stressful enough.

I have to say they did look cute. Jackson wanted to be a scary, evil vampire but ended up looking more like Eddie Munster. Jordan didn't want to wear most of her Hermione costume and decided as the evening wore on the she was a "business woman" instead. And Jensen was Snow White...just one of many princess choices she had in her repertoire.

We had our usual block party on Misty River Trail. My sil, Cindi, hosts a similar function in her neighborhood and calls it "halloweenie roast." I just love that and that's what we're going to call ours from now on! I love our neighborhood and was glad that we could be there for the has such a communal feeling with everyone walking around talking to everyone. Maybe I like halloween after all.

Friday, October 27, 2006

In the past week...

this is what we've done:

Jordan had her last gymnastics meet of the season. Jim went this time since I was originally supposed to be going to Easterby's Edibles that day to make meals. I didn't end up getting to do that since Jensen was sick. This is the only meet that Jim has gotten to go to and I think he enjoyed it. It was fun for me to look at the pictures he took instead of the other way around. Jordan did well improving a few of her scores. Now it's just more practice until next season. She'll continue to practice 8 hours a week almost every goes up to 9 hours in the compete in just 5 meets. Seems kind of crazy to me but she loves it so I guess we'll continue to let her do it.

Went to the Texas Renaissance Festival on Sunday and took two of the kids' friends...Austin and Kristina. Please remind me not to do this again. The kids do have fun...especially the boys with all the knights and jousting, etc. But the costumes that some people wear who attend these types of festivals are just risque. Plus, some of the people are dressed in really scary costumes and Jensen was afraid of several of them that we saw. Plus, it's ridiculously expensive and it's an hour and a half drive each way. I don't think I need many more reasons than that for not going again.

Jensen had her first preschool field trip. It was to the fire station. She wasn't really all that interested though in the fire engines or squirting the water out of the hose like most of the other kids. The other girl in the picture with the hoses (Grace) is so into it and Jensen looks completely indifferent. This fire station we go to for field trips has a cool "smoke" room. It's a room that's filled with furniture like a living room and they can pump non toxic smoke into it. The kids and parents practice the "fall and crawl" to get out of the room. Very cool learning experience although a little scary for the kids. A little scary for me to given our experience of actually being in a fire. We were so lucky to get out of our house when we did becuase you really can't see at all when the room is filled with smoke.

Jensen also got bit by another girl at school this week. This is the first time any of our kids has been bitten by another kid. It didn't break the skin but you could very clearly see the little circle of teeth marks on her arm. Her and the other girl were both trying to see something through a window and were pushing each other to get a better view when the other girl just leaned down and bit Jensen! I think Jensen was pretty shocked. I really hope that doesn't happen again.

Had craft night with the girls where we embellished t-shirts using hot-fix crystals. Really cool and fun technique. I made a halloween theme shirt. Maybe I'll take a pic of it and post.

Today the kids had no school so I tried my best to fill up their time. We went to the Mudpie Co., along with half of Kingwood, to paint pottery. The kids have been bugging me to go. Jackson's had his eye on this big dragon head to paint for months since Jordan went to a party there and we went to pick her up. The kids each painted something and I started on gifts for the teachers. Thanks to Heather I've got tons of gift ideas for people. I hope to get back to finish my project next week.

I've been feeling more despondent lately about our housing situation. It appears we won't be in our house until well after the new year I'm sure. We've started legal action against our contractor and that seems to really drag things out. He's stopped all work on the house so...we're faced with another holiday season not in our own home. I really miss my house and all the space and comfort we had. I miss my neighborhood, not just for myself but for the kids. They really can't play outside here and they don't have their friends around them. I try to keep them connected with our street and we really are over there all the time, but it's just not the same. I think I've been pretty upbeat and positive for the most part about our situation but, frankly, I'm just tired of it. I want my house back.

And that's been my week.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

We're going on a cruise

If ever a family needed a vacation it is us. We decided since they have cruise ships that depart right out of Galveston that we'd try one. So, on Dec. 3rd we'll be doing this . If you have a family of 5 or more it's actually not that easy to find a cruise since most ship cabins only accommodate up to 4 people. Royal Caribbean has a cabin called a Family Stateroom that sleeps up to 6 so we should be good. Besides, Royal Caribbean uses that Iggy Pop song in their ads so they can't be all bad. We're going to Key West, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel...all places I've never been so I'm excited.

The campout

It sounded like a great building, first aid, knot tieing, recon missions, fort building, campfire stories, not much sleep, hiking. Whew.