Extending Our Happily Ever After

"We do! Now let's live healthy and fit!"


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Heading to Vegas, Baby!

We got up fairly early and my cousin, Leni, came over to say goodbye to us!  We were told that her and Sondra would be heading out to California the following week and would see us at my cousin, Rick’s home the following Sunday for our “welcome-back-home-to-California” Party! Yay!  So, it was just a see-you-later to her and a hug and goodbye to Natasha and the boys!  Boy, we sure had a great time with family!  Loved our time there!
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We headed on down to Vegas next!  RV drove VERY well!  Whew!  Also, we started to FINALLY experience those HIGH TEMPS we knew we were going to expect… The scenery was very beautiful… we drove past the Salton Sea and the Inyo Forest.  Experienced some crazy drivers heading into Vegas… Not quite sure what their hurry is… 2 lane highway, full of people, not sure how much further up they think they can get if they go around cars, but more power to them… Geez!
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We got in to Vegas, at the King’s Row RV Park later in the afternoon.  We were pretty tired… heat and driving does that to ya.  Ivan just wanted to rest, so Christopher and I went to a Walmart and picked up some water and not sure what else and then rested a bit more before we headed to the Silverton Casino to meet my dear friend, Samia, for dinner.  She and I had gone to high school together about 30 years ago!  
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We hadn’t seen each other for about 25 years!  It was soooo good to see her again!  Dinner was a Polynesian buffet and it was delicious!  We were all pretty tired, though, so we made plans to meet early the following morning to hike Red Rock Canyon and we called it a night.


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Twin Falls, Idaho… More than just potatoes!

We got to Twin Falls on Friday and are leaving this morning. My friend, Terrie, and her family live here. She and I met many years ago when my brother dated her. Things worked out perfectly, we say… Because her and I have become great friends from day one 🙂
When I find some old pics of us, I will edit them into the post here.
Anyway… Her family is from England. Actually her mother is. From Braintree. Which is actually where Ivan’s sister lived. Small world, isn’t it? We pulled into town, settled in to the 93 RV Park, when she can actually see from her back porch and then drove over for a full on English meal of roast beef, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and even spotted dick for dessert.

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Lots of wonderful conversation… Reminiscing between Terrie and I, new friendships made with Ivan and Christopher and her family. It was a great time! We also met the new family weed-eating goat. Just brought home that morning… So cute!

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Her daughter, Dani, reminded us that the movie Trainwreck with Amy Schumer was opening at the theatres and so since we all wanted to see it, we just headed to their nearest mall to see it. Fun!

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The next morning, we were served a wonderful breakfast by Terrie and then shown the sites by her daughter, Sami, and herself. We went to Balanced Rock… Wow! That was fun! We all hiked to the top and crawled all over rocks, but the climb down was SCARY!!! Yet, we all survived!

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Then it was off to Centennial Park… Views of their Perrine bridge and a waterfall there that you can walk behind.

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Then on to Shoshone Falls! So pretty, though we were told that the local farmers have already dipped into the water supply for their fields or the water level would be way higher!

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Then on to Derkey lake, then on to her mom and dad’s (Marion and Howard) for another lovely dinner! Amazing!

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Afterwards, we checked out snake river and the Evil Knievel failed jump site and Perrine bridge. Ending up seeing some base jumpers jump from bridge. Free entertainment right there!

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What an amazing time we have had here! They are like family to us!
Can’t wait to see them again!

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We had a bonus last night, too…
Remember our friends in Iowa? Remember Christopher’s friend Tyson… Six years old? He missed him and apparently wanted to talk to him, so last night, after dinner, Chris got a Facebook chat phone call from Tyson. How sweet was that? Making friends! Making memories! Love that!


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Three days in and around Custer State Park!

There is so much to do here! We have to come back to do it all! No complaints from us! When I was a kid, my dad took my brother and I on a cross country trip and I remember visiting Mt. Rushmore and thinking to myself, I would like to live here one day. Well, now that I am here again… I can see why I thought that. This area of the country is truly amazing. I honestly could picture myself living here. It is gorgeous! Clean air, hospitable people and the scenery is just breathtaking!
I haven’t done much planning on this trip, so when we were in the Badlands, I tried calling for a place to stay on the night of the 3rd and 4rth of July. What was I thinking??? It took us an hour to find something, and we finally found Jack’s Campers at exit 44 in Piedmont, SD on Hwy 90. They actually sell RVs, have a store and then have full hookups in the back for $17/night. So awesome! And we have an amazing view of the hills around us. We feel totally secure. We were able to get a third night as well.
Our first day, we drove to Sylvan Lake and did the one mile loop trail around it.

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Then, we drove to Crazy Horse… The head is finished… The museum is quite impressive with lots of Indian artifacts.

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Outside, on the viewing terrace, you can see the replica of what the carving is supposed to look like, then the actual mountain carving.

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Chris and I took a bus up to get a closer look at the mountain.

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Then, we saw some sculptures outside the park. The gate was done by the family and is a representation of every living thing in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

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We then drove up to Mount Rushmore… Being the third of July, they were having a Fourth Celebration… A concert with an acapella group and then the Air Force Band. Also, they swore in about 34 new recruits into the armed forces… What a special ceremony for them… At the base of the monument!

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A lady sitting in front of us was using her binoculars to take photos with her cell phone and let me try, too… These were the results… It doesn’t take much to impress me!

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Then at night, they illuminated the faces!

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Driving through the park on day two… We tried to go to the Jewel Cave, but the tours were sold out… The wildlife loop was void of wildlife…  The Needles Hwy.  Was spectacular, however!

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That is all for now, we are sitting in a Starbucks posting this, getting ready to start our third day in the park… So enjoy the pics, more to follow…
Our next couple of days are not expecting to be much… We are feeling a bit better, but we are going to start to head west and we are told that there isn’t that much to see in the middle of Montana… So we are expecting to get to my cousin’s ranch on the 8th on the west side of Montana…
Thanks for following our journey!


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Iowan hospitality!

We are at the Nelson Park in Dow City, Iowa currently.

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Friends of ours that we have known via an online word game called Acrophobia for about 16 years now live near here. Ivan and I met playing that same word game. We pulled into their very small town of about 1,200 population yesterday (Dunlap, Iowa) and it was like stepping into the past. Stores shut down, due to it being Sunday. The nearest Wal-Mart is 18 miles away in Dennisen, Iowa.
Our friends, Veronica and Marty, invited us into their home after our travels… By the way… What a beautiful state Iowa is! The rolling hills are lovely! The wind turbines are mesmerizing, as well. And huge!

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Veronica made us a lovely fried chicken meal with mashed potatoes and gravy and sweet, locally grown corn. Delicious!

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I feel like she is part of my family, I have known her so long! We were offered to do our laundry, which was much appreciated! We talked till our eyes couldn’t stay open.
This morning, back at our campsite, we decided to take a quick morning walk to check out our surroundings. Found the prairie trail…

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We are going back to Veronica and Marty’s today to hang out and relax. She is inviting her children over to dinner tonight for a great meal and we will head to Sioux Falls, SD tomorrow.
Christopher and I woke up with sore throats this morning, but hope to stay on top of that. Ivan is still sick, so we are sure he is the one who graciously shared his sickness with us. Need to get meds on way up to SD tomorrow.
Having a great time here in the heartland of America!


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Stress is in this house…

Well, hard to keep a blog going when you are finalizing three lives in a state that you’ve called your home for over eleven years.
I moved to the East Coast over eighteen years ago when I discovered I was pregnant. My son’s father lived out here. Leaving my family in Southern California was one of the most difficult things I have ever done.
Now, my son graduates in a couple of weeks and my parents need me back home. So, we have been preparing for the past two years mentally, but only physically in the last seven months or so. It is exhausting!
To wrap things up is hard enough. To do it when your only child is graduating high school is insane.
Our stress levels are through the roof and we are all dealing with it in our own different ways. Arguments happen when they haven’t before, from all of us being on edge. Tears seem to be at the ready for me from time to time when I last expect them. Diets have been thrown out the window, when comfort eating seems to calm the soul. Headaches come a bit easier, so keep the Tylenol ready.
I am giving things away and selling things I have had forever for $1.
My child is young and even though he chose his own future, he is torn up with thoughts of leaving his childhood friends behind. There is nothing my husband or I can say that will ease this natural transition in life that all kids go through when they go from high school to college. He will understand in a year, he just doesn’t understand it now.
I have six work days left. I have left friends in other states before. I have many friends that I have kept in contact with, yet I know that it takes two… So, I know that I will lose friends with this move. It is part of life. It is the friends that keep in touch that were meant to be in your life. For that, I am grateful for my moves… It has given me that bit of eye-opening… True friendship is a wonderful thing!
I am excited about our journey across this beautiful country and can’t wait to reunite with my mother, father and brother.
If we can just get through these next few weeks!


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Update – it’s been a while… a long while. Lots to say!

There is so very much going on on my end.

As for my weight. Since my last post (where I was about 40 lbs up from my gain of my main loss with the 17 Day Diet). I’ve lost over 20 lbs. I’m now sitting at 245. I’ve mostly gotten to this point from juicing.

Over a year ago, I watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead with Joe Cross on Netflix and remember thinking, good for Joe Cross, that’s something I could never do, nor would I want to do it. Well, times changed. I still love the 17 Day Diet and it taught me a LOT about food. However, I just wasn’t able to focus. Neither was Ivan. If he wanted to eat, then so did I. The weight just kept creeping up and there was NO WAY I was going to gain all this weight back! So, looking at that documentary again, I was in a different mental state. I was more prepared for the juicing this time and so after watching the documentary, I left the house and went to WalMart and bought a juicer. I jumped in with both feet and now, it’s my 17th day and I’m down 19 lbs (I had lost some weight before this).

As for my goals with weight and the juicing… I’ve been keeping a record of it. I started at 263.8, I’m today at 245. I was 225.5 at my lowest from the 17 Day Diet and my first goal is to get under THAT number. Second goal is to get under 200 lbs. I’d like to get there by August and have a huge feeling that I may get there a LOT sooner than that. The doctor suggests I get to 165, but I was thinking 180 as my official goal weight, but when I get under 200, then I’ll re-access my weight and then from there, I’ll just eat healthy (not all day juice) and hike, walk, etc… and check that out and see what happens with that goal. I love the juicing, though, so I doubt that I’ll stray too far from that. I feel better, I think the nutrients are amazing and my skin feels so good, I have great energy, plus, the juices are quite filling, so after drinking them, I don’t quite feel the need to eat everything else under the sun.

Now, other news is that my son (brainiac that he is) has been accepted to six, YES SIX!!! colleges!!! USciences (with Scholarship), LeMoyne (with Scholarship), Lycoming (with Scholarship), University of Pittsburgh, UC San Diego and University of Washington (with Scholarship). We are still waiting on answers from UC Berkeley, USC and Carnegie Mellon. No declines as of yet. (but those last three are the BIG HITTERS)… it’s been crazy around here and he’s so far picking Pitt. Senior Night picture came in, too and I thought it turned out great, so I ordered it.

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Other news… My husband, Ivan, finished his CDL training and got his certificate a couple of weeks ago and is looking for a job currently. We feel that he’ll be working within a few weeks.

Even MORE news… and this news is getting us closer to our HUGE move Westward to California this fall… we BOUGHT our new Class A 1998 Damon Intruder 352 this past Thursday. WOOHOO! Things are getting pretty REAL around here!

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This is us IN IT!

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As for my businesses… I’m still doing Azuli Skye jewelry. I love it and I’ve booked my flight and room for this year’s conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. I am now in leadership and have a wonderful team of three amazing ladies. Hope to see them grow and have teams of their own and that I get even more on my team! I just really enjoy being with this amazing jewelry company. It’s just a growing company and to be in on the ground floor is so brilliant. (pic shows me wearing our gorgeous jewelry). This is also showing me growing out my hair, which is also what I’m doing this year, so the longer hair is a new thing, too.

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Another new venture that just started for me is selling Younique, which is the company that sells the 3D Fiber Lash Mascara. I only wanted to buy it, but it works so fantastically well, that everyone wanted some, so I saw it as a way of helping me (along with my jewelry business) help out my family when I get out to California, which is truly what I’ve been wanting to do. So, I am now selling mascara. Who knew? This is a pic of me with my new “makeup face”. I’m actually even doing well with that, too and in under 2 months, I’ve already promoted to the next level, already.

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So, yep, that’s me all caught up with my blog…

My son graduates in June. GULP! Sooooo soon! He starts college in August or September (depending on where he’s going) and we’ll start our trip to California then. So, we’ll be out in California by the end of the year and I’m SO very excited about it! WE are!

Updated! Hope my next update comes sooner! 😉 Prod me on facebook or here.


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This year and where we are headed…

This is the big year for us.  The year we head west.  So much has happened for us in the past six months…

Ivan is now training for his CDL License and the training should finish in about 7 weeks and then he should be looking to be hired with a trucking company.  We are hoping for a “on the road” company so that he can get paid pretty well.  We will see.  It will be quite an adjustment for us, as we are sort of glued at the hip.  We are always together.  However, we met online and we are both great with technology and this might be a revisit to our past where we are communicating through technology again.  It will be interesting.  We will see how it goes.  A means to an end, though… he and I are real good about things like that.

Christopher is doing amazingly well in his Senior Year.  He has put applications in at 9 different colleges/Universities for next fall and already is four for four for acceptances.  He’s had acceptances from Pitt, LeMoyne (with scholarship), Lycoming (with scholarship) and University of Sciences (with scholarship).  We are waiting to hear from USC, Carnegie Mellon, Berkeley, University of Washington and UC San Diego.  We probably won’t hear anything til the spring now.  Pitt is leading the pack.  He fell in love with Pittsburgh when he attended Carnegie Mellon for the PGSS (Pennsylvania Governor’s School of Sciences) last summer.

Chris was also placed third chair (for Baritone Horn) for the PMEA District 9 Band Concert, which will take place next week.  We are quite proud of him.  He’s been keeping quite busy with the Crystal Band, which has just wrapped up their Christmas Season of concerts. There will be many senior activities coming up for us to attend before his graduation in June.

His senior portrait that we picked for the yearbook is this… which I took myself.  I opted to take the portraits myself to save some money for us.

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We are going to start the downsizing next week pretty aggressively.  We must.  We’ll be looking at purchasing our RV around graduation time and there won’t be much room for anything, so operation DOWNSIZE is upon us.  Such a huge task and not one I’m looking forward to.  But, it must be done and I am looking forward to being DONE with it.

As for my parents (the reason for all of this)… Around Thanksgiving, my mother did not sound well.  I had made two phone calls where she just was NOT connecting with me over the phone.  She wasn’t able to get her words out, which has never happened before and it was very upsetting to me.  The first phone call, I was somehow able to offer her words and she was like “Yes” so I am still connected to her, but to hear her not be able to express what she wanted to say really was quite unsettling.  Our second phone call, that was actually ON Thanksgiving and we just weren’t connecting at all.  She was talking over me and so we weren’t sure if she just wasn’t waiting to hear me or couldn’t hear me, or what it was, but again, no real connection was made.  Since then, though, our phone calls have been better.  She has been talking to me as usual… knows our names, talks as she always has… these are never huge, thought filled conversations, they haven’t been… just basic things, like the weather and how are you, stuff like that.  The need I feel to get out there, though, is stronger than ever.  It’s a huge weight.

I’m starting to get rid of some of my anxiety over many things this year… things are starting to lift.  You’d think the closer I got, the worse I’d feel… but at the beginning of Christopher’s senior year, it was horrible.  Christopher was feeling it, I was feeling it.  I was crying almost daily.  I think that his acceptance (the first one) was a huge weight off his shoulders and when he felt better, then I started to feel better.  Leaving my son is no little thing.  It’s been weighing on my mind for years now… and yet, I knew it was coming.  I felt in my heart that he was an East Coast kid and that I was always going to go back to my parents to care for them.  I was taking this all too literally… I left my parents 18 yrs ago when I got pregnant to raise my son nearer his father and now I’m leaving my son to care for my parents.  When I need to just let go of the guilt.  That is hard!  You’ve NO IDEA!  My son is going to college.  I’ll always be there for him.  He is ready now to make his mark in this world.  He’s already achieved so much and I’m so very proud of him.  I know he’ll be fine and he do great, no matter where he goes.  I want to be there for my parents, I miss them so much.  I don’t feel obligated, I feel privileged! I am who I am in this world because of them.

Anyway, that is my update on this New Year’s day.