Meet Me In St. Louis Part 1 (a tour of my city on Julia’s 15th birthday)

I’m BAaaaaaack!!!  Show of hands….  did anybody miss me?  Ah, no matter, I missed YOU enough for all of us!  lol  My life has been PACKED with so much excitement and activity and I don’t really know where a good place to begin!  I feel like I’ve crammed enough living for a year in these past couple of days.  Or close to it 🙂

So, you all know that last week was my baby girls 15th birthday, right?  I asked you guys for some ideas to help us celebrate in a special way.  You all had some fantastic ideas and we used some of them, so for that I thank you!  Carla suggested a photo shoot and a makeover.  These girls live their LIVES doing makeovers so we didn’t choose that but we DID have a blast doing photo shoots.  We spent the weekend touring the city of St. Louis and took over 500 shots.  By the end of the weekend I think the girls wanted to HURT my camera!  Maybe I over did it a little? Nah.  But they really did have fun and felt so special being the star of the show.  So Carla, THANK YOU!  The girls and I had a BLAST and more importantly, we made some memories that we won’t soon forget.

You know how I am about showing you too many pictures, right?  I do that because I’m proud AND I can’t decide which ones are the more important shots.  ALL of them are important to me.  Don’t worry though, I won’t show you all 500 of them!  lol  I’m going to do little segments, one day at a time.

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(I think Hannah was the one to smash the cupcakes… look at her evil face!  She wouldn’t admit it though)

We arrived at the Hilton with Julia’s birthday cupcakes NOT in one piece!  lol  One of the girls threw their luggage on top of the special cupcakes that I had made for the occasion!  ARGH!  NOT a good way to start the weekend.  These cupcakes were delicious and SO pretty before they got smashed.  There’s a place in a town near us called Sweet-T-Pies and they make the best cupcakes filled with any kind of filling you could dream of!  OMG!  They’re the most delicious little cakes any of us have ever tasted! Still divine even if they WERE smashed 🙂  Oh well, it’s the thought that counts, right?

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Once we got checked into our room, we made Julia hide in the bathroom so we could decorate for her.  Notice the little princess crown on her head?  Part of the deal was that she had to wear her birthday tiara everywhere we went so that the whole world would know that my princess was having a birthday!  Did she do it?  Nope.  She’s way too shy and doesn’t like unnecessary attention.  I’d say this was a weekend where the attention was NECESSARY!  lol

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Remember those expensive pretty little smashed cupcakes?  Yeah, as IF smashing them wasn’t enough, HANNAH (Julia’s bff) decided Julia should wear one too!  Silly girls 😉

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(Street car or trolley like the one used in Meet me in St. Louis.  Don’t mind the white cloud streaming into the pic.  It’s not a ghost… just the smoke from my cigarette cause I’m classy like that!  lol)

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Do any of you know the Judy Garland movie “Meet Me in St. Louis”?  Of course, being a St. Louis native, I grew up watching this classic and LOVE it still.  Every Christmas, it’s a family tradition at my house and we all sit down with popcorn and watch.  The song “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” was first sang by Judy Garland in this movie.  The whole movie was filmed in University City on the Delmar Loop.  It used to be known for it’s streetcars or “trolleys”.  Well here’s a street car just like the one featured in “Meet Me In St. Louis”.  I can’t get the “Trolley Song” out of my head now!  lol

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(I know this is too dark but I wanted to show you the neon sign for the Blueberry Hill restaurant)

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(Chuck Berry’s guitar and other music memorabilia)

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(Julia can’t decide which crappy food item to order)

The first stop of the night (besides shopping at one of the cool stores on the strip) was Blueberry Hill Restaurant.  You all know Chuck Berry, right?  He’s a St. Louis native who’s legendary for his guitar playing and song writing.  One of my favorites is “Roll Over Beethoven”…  Anyway, this is his restaurant.  It’s a landmark, for sure but if you ever come to St. Louis and decide to visit Blueberry Hill, don’t judge our cuisine based on what you find in this restaurant!  It’s pretty sucky.  Only go here for the atmosphere, the music and their toy collection.  As soon as we walked through the door, we were greeted by a young college kid who didn’t say hello, instead he barked, “All minors have to be outta here by 10:00 p.m.”.  As IF I was going to keep my kids there doing shots of tequila!  So, not only was the food bad but they weren’t even friendly.  Too bad cause I’m generally a really good tipper and I LOVE to write reviews!  lol The girls had fun and soaked in the music and atmosphere though.  THAT was the important thing 🙂

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(I love neon signs and city streets at night)

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(the Tivoli lobby where we spent most of our time waiting for the couple to stop their love making inside the theater…  it was beautiful though *NOT the love making* …  I felt like we were transported back to the year 1924 when this place was new)

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(the ceiling of the Tivoli… LOVE the decor of these old city buildings)

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(my girls were a little bored and didn’t know when it would be appropriate to enter the theater room where the couple was making out… they didn’t want to interrupt)

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The big event of our first night was to catch a midnight showing of “A Place Beyond The Pines” with Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper.  I couldn’t WAIT to show the girls the Landmark Tivoli theater!  This was a theater that made it”s debut in 1924 and it was known for it’s luxury.  For the day, The Tivoli was considered one of the most luxurious theaters in the USA.  It went through a period of decline in the early 90’s and eventually shut down.  The owners of Blueberry Hill renovated it in the mid 90’s and restored it to it’s original state.  However, it would appear to be going through another period of decline.  First of all, I should tell you that the Tivoli is THE place to go if you want to catch an “artsy” film.  Granted, “A Place Beyond The Pines” is NOT an artsy film (the girls HAD to see this one because they’re all in major LOVE with Ryan Gosling, and REALLY…. who could blame them?).  That being said, you’d think that a theater known for their showings of the “artsy film genre” would be a clean and well kept theater.  Or at least I would think that to be true.  Well…  it was clean in the lobby.  The room where we watched the movie had sticky floors and the seats were worn and appeared to have been new in the ’90’s, when it was last renovated.  Upon walking through the door, we were a little shocked to find a college couple doing some pretty HEAVY “petting” and making out!  The girls felt uncomfortable to have interrupted this lovely couple.  Soooo… we had to wait in the lobby until the movie started.  You all know me and MY big mouth!  I suggested LOUDLY that they get a room, which only seemed to embarrass my girls further!  lol  I’ve said this several times before… SUCKS TO BE MY KID!  lol  However, the couple didn’t take me up on my suggestion.  All in all, it was fun to stay out late and watch a midnight movie.  What was scary?  Walking the streets of Delmar after the bars closed down.  We were followed by a man who appeared to be way TOO interested in my girls.  I invited him to let me know what his intentions were.  He didn’t appear to want to mess with “Mama Bear”.  GOOD for him.  He, apparently wasn’t TOO drunk to miss the evil gleam in my eye 😉

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And this is how our night ended!  2 of the crazy girls crashed just as soon as we got back to our room!  I wanted to sit up and talk but THEY were tired and wouldn’t humor me!  lol

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Versatile Blogger Award!

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Come on now, you know you guys have been missing my most interesting blogging awards!  It’s been over a week, I think, since I’ve bombarded you all with not so cool facts about myself hasn’t it?  Well, because I love you guys and I don’t want you to have to wait a second longer to read ALL about ME, I’m going to be sharing a few more awards with you all 🙂  Thank you Olivia, for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award!  Actually, I joke a lot about these awards but I am always humbled and honored that anyone would include me in their list of other cool blogs.  I really DO appreciate the love and I’m always happy to pass along the love.  If you guys haven’t already discovered how awesome Olivia is, you’ve GOT to check out her writing!  She’s one of the most interesting people I’ve encountered on WP.  Here’s what she says about herself:

Olivia Stocum

If you’re reading this, then you’re wondering who I am. So here you go.

I live in New York state with my husband, three children, and our Jack Russell Terror. Oh, sorry, I meant Terrier. I’m a Celtic musician and love folk rhythms. Growing up, I rode horses and shot a bow, and generally lived in my own little world where I had adventures with Robin Hood.

I have placed in a number of writing contests with my fiction and I even won first place once. (That may never happen again!) I am currently working on two series. One is set in 1600’s Scotland and the other is a paranormal romance. I expect to release my first novel July 2013.

Tìoraidh an-dràsta (bye for now)”

Here are the rules for accepting The Versatile Blogger Award:

1) Add The Versatile Blogger award photo on a blog post
2) Thank the person who presented you with the award and link back to him or her in your post
3) Share seven things about yourself
4) Pass the award along to 15 bloggers you’ve recently discovered. Contact the chosen bloggers to let them know about the award.

Here are my 7 self absorbed facts all about me.  I’ll try to add pictures so you won’t be so bored 🙂

1.  When I was little, I used to pretend that I was a beautiful singer/movie star (usually Dolly Parton or some other singer with big hair and lots of pretty make up).  Who ever was on the radio singing passionate love songs that would make people cry.  I would imagine that everyone was hearing ME on the radio and that they all loved me.  I was the most famous person in the world!  lol  I think I did this to escape the reality of my abusive family.

2.  My bff’s 20 year old son is VERY likely to become a professional baseball player.  His pitching is OFF THE WALL fast and accurate and I sure wish I knew more about baseball so I could tell you about how much potential he has!  lol  The point is that on April 30, he’s going to go show off his stuff to the major leagues.  It’s pretty much a done deal that he’ll get signed (this is me VISUALIZING positive stuff for him because I know he can do it!).  PLEASE, positive thoughts and prayers for him?  It’s been his dream since he was a very little boy and now it’s our dream for him too.

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(remember his name cause you heard it here first!  Bryar Langley 🙂

3.  I used to sneak home every stray animal that I could find.  The last time I did this, I was 17 and found a white German Shepherd.  I named him Joey and loved to go to the park and play ball with him.  One day I came home from school and found that my mom had taken him to the pound because she couldn’t afford to buy dog food for him.  I hated her for this and cried for months over that dog.  I don’t know why I couldn’t understand.  She couldn’t afford to feed us, let alone a dog.  I just wish she would have told me… but I would have had a melt down and made her life miserable.

(this isn’t Joey but it’s one that looks like him)

4.  I’m a believer in the paranormal and supernatural.  I believe that there’s just so much out there that our human minds are not able to comprehend or understand.  I think it’s CRAZY that some people are so egotistic that they believe in only what THEIR eyes can see.  I believe that God can speak to you in dreams.  Oh and while we’re on THAT subject, I love the Long Island Medium and yes I believe she’s the real deal.

5.  During the Spring and Summer, I treat myself to a pedicure every 2 weeks.  I think everyone woman who sports a pair of flip flops SHOULD pay attention to how pretty their toes are.  lol

 6.  And while we’re on the subject of “feet”…  although feet generally make me grossed out, I can NOT resist baby feet!  I absolutely adore chubby little baby toes 🙂

7.  One of the suckiest things about having this ulcer disease is that I can’t drink alcohol at all for fear of extreme pain and potential bleeding.  I used to LOVE Long Island Ice Tea and I really wish that every once in a while I could have one (like right now).

Here’s where I’m going to probably break the rules.  I’ll try to name 15 bloggers more recently discovered but 15 is a big number and if I don’t really know your blog, how am I going to know how versatile you are?  Basically, I’m just going to bring you 15 cool blogs so here goes:

1.  Beth at http://1flashychick.wordpress.com/ (My bff is starting her own blog and here’s my shameless plug!)

2.  Justin at http://justingawel.com/

3.  http://overstandpodcast.wordpress.com/

4.  Ms Red Pen at http://msredpen.wordpress.com/  (someone I’ve loved since the days of Vox!)

5.  Shaun at http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/ (cause I’m always going to shout out to Shaun!)

6.  Sue at http://scvincent.com/

7.  Laura at http://lauradgumm.wordpress.com/

8.  Champ or Will at http://technoteamblog.wordpress.com/

9.  Dave at http://barclaydave.wordpress.com/

10.  http://soletusknow.wordpress.com/

11.  http://projectfirestarter.wordpress.com/

12.  Carla at http://randomthoughtsofatwentysomething.wordpress.com/

13.  Amy at http://nellieanddot.wordpress.com/

14.  Sarah at http://andthisiswhyiwilldiealonesurroundedbycats.wordpress.com/

15.  Steven at http://justafterwords.com/

Okay… have you left me yet?  Hope not!  I tried to bring you all a variety of different types of blogs so a lot of thought really DID go into this!  lol  As always, this is a no pressure award.  Take it or leave it but know that I appreciate ALL of you and look forward to these days when I can spread the love around 😉  If you don’t have time to do this, I won’t be offended.  Hey, you can always save these awards for the days when you’re having trouble thinking of something new to blog about!

Peace out my fine fellow bloggers!

 

Happy Heart Birthday Grandaddy!

Happy Heart Birthday Grandaddy!.

Many of you already know that I’m being considered as a possible recipient for a complete intestine transplant.  Please read about someone who received the gift of life in the form of a young girls heart… and everything he’s been doing to pay back and honor that gift!  SO inspiring!

2 awards in one? Beautiful blogger AND Inspiring Blogger :-)

My day started out screaming the news of the deaths of not one, but TWO people.  NOT a cheery way to start the day.  Many tears were shed and WAY too much time spent on the phone.

It ended SO much better than the way it began, proving that behind every cloud, the sun is still shining 🙂  Thanks Shaun for brightening my day!  Shaun is my Scottish friend who writes on a blog named “Praying for one day”.  He’s full of hope and love and the fight of the Scottish!  He loves to debate…  if you’re up for a good debate or up to just be enlightened, like I have been reading his blog, please go check him out!

Here’s what I love about Praying for one day (This is taken straight from his blog):

“We live in an world full of love, but also we are fed violence through the media. A world that is more connected through technology, but less connected than ever as people.

We don’t interact, and the world has become a corporate machine, where money  rules over the heart.

One person at a time, one blog at a time, one conversation at a time, we CAN change our world”

Shaun

Now you see why I like him, right?  Sooooo, he nominated me for the Beautiful Blogger Award AND the Most Inspiring Blogger Award.  Wow.  This is JUST the medicine that the doctor ordered after the day I’ve had.  Again and ALWAYS humbled, I feel unworthy but grateful.

I’m going to take this one at a time.

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In order to accept these awards, I have to post and follow the rules.

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 7-15 bloggers for this award.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back.

Here are the 7 facts about myself, once again.  lmbo  By now, you know that I ALWAYS try to list 7 things I haven’t already told you.  This is getting difficult but bear with me and I’ll TRY to be as interesting as possible.

1.  My paternal grandfather, who died when my father was 3, was a personal friend of President Harry S. Truman.  A middle-aged Caucasian male wearing a dark business suit and wireframe glasses is depicted smilingly pensively at the camera in a black-and-white photo.

2.  My paternal great grandfather, grandfather and great aunts were all prominent educators and were published.  I’m sad that they were all dead long before I was born.

3.  My oldest daughter is following in their footsteps as she became an educator last year.  She’s working on her masters now.

4.  I LOVE reading and have always taught my children that if you read, it doesn’t matter if you have money because you can pick up a book and travel to worlds you may never see in “real” life.

5.  My favorite author is Taylor Caldwell.

6.  When I was little, I used to pretend that I was a famous singer who everyone loved and adored. lol

7.  I used to show and breed Alaskan Malamutes.  I was VERY successful and made it all the way to #5 breeder in the USA during the 90’s.  I miss it very much.

Now I will nominate 7 lucky bloggers!

1.  Judy (judylesko)  She blogs about everything from HERSELF to the most beautiful photography and will keep you laughing!  She is INDEED beautiful!  lol

2.  Taylor will SHOCK and surprise you.  Did I mention SHOCK?  lol  But SO brutal and honest.

3.  Iliana, my new Romanian friend who gives me a chuckle AND is sweet and beautiful 🙂

4.  Andrew  Another Romanian friend who brings me BEAUTIFUL pictures of his country

5.  http://3rdculturechildren.com/about/  My friend from Bolivia.  VERY interesting life and SUCH beautiful photos.

6.  Lola  and again, her food is ALMOST as beautiful as she is!

7.  Sweet Tea and Fried Chicken  she’s lovely and funny.

And now for my Most Inspiring Blogger Award:

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Here are the rules:

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Thank and link back to the person who nominated you.
3. State 7 things about yourself.
4. Nominate 7-15 bloggers for this award.
5. Notify those bloggers of the nomination by linking to one of their specific posts so that they get notified by ping back.

So once again my 7 not so interesting, at this point, facts about myself:

1.  I’m a very spiritual person.

2.  1 own 2 old cats named Noel and Stewart.

3.  My basement is very cluttered and needs to be cleaned.  Any volunteers?

4.  When I was little, I used to cry when I’d see even a fish die.  VERY sensitive toward animals but I could handle seeing people die on TV.  Does that mean I was ALWAYS a sicko?  lol

5.  My very best friend has been like a sister to me since we were in 5th grade (35 years).

6.  I do most of my very BEST reading in the bath tub.

7.  My maternal grandfather tried to teach me French (his first language) but I couldn’t learn it because I couldn’t understand him.

Now I will nominate 7 more inspiring bloggers!

1.  http://apronhead.wordpress.com/  I keep nominating her because she truly IS probably the most inspiring of all bloggers.  WHAT a lady!

2.  Tammy   She’s a loving person who is also an animal lover.  She’s rescued many pets.

3.  http://ourcloudlounge.com/about-me/  You have GOT to check out this young photographer from Maryland.

4.  Coco  She’s just too cool to put into words

5.  Lady or not   She’ll having so hard you’ll pee!

6.  Dan the man  you want to know about a movie?  this is the place to go.

7.  Eyes wide open  Great reminders and SO insightful and spiritual

Thanks once again for allowing me to share with you some of my favorite people and all about my crazy life!  lol

Women at Work – My article in Newspaper

Women at Work – My article in Newspaper.

I know it’s late and ALMOST not International Women’s Day any longer BUT I just ran across this article written by a Middle Eastern woman who is a freelance writer.  Her article was just published in a very prominent magazine called Gulf Times.  Please take the time to read Sakshi Vashist’s good news about how life in the workplace (and at home) has improved for some Middle Eastern women.  I’m encouraged by the progress!

Thanks for keeping us updated, Sakshi!

The Versatile Blogger Award… Yay I won!

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Lucas nominated me for the Versatile Blogger award!  I’m SO honored to be nominated by one of the most loving and inspiring people I’ve had the pleasure of talking to since joining WordPress.  Lucas is fighting his way back to health.  He was almost paralyzed from a spinal chord injury he sustained while playing basketball and he’s teaching himself to walk and move again.  If you guys haven’t discovered Lucas yet, you HAVE to go check him out.  He has the most positive attitude of anyone I’ve known in such a condition.  He’s a fighter AND a lover and so encouraging.  Love you Lucas!

For this award, I’m supposed to name 7 interesting facts about myself.  I’ll try to mention things I haven’t already said before, which will be hard, so bare with me!  lol

  1. In my late 20’s, I battled (and won) anorexia.
  2. I have a spare bedroom that I’m trying to turn into a library.
  3. I have NO patience.
  4. I hate the sound of the letter “p”.
  5. I’ve had so many blood transfusions that I’ve lost count.
  6. When I was little, I wished my name would have been “Renee’ or Maria”.
  7. One of my very favorite movies is “The Sound of Music”.

Now, I have to nominate 15 people and this is the hardest part.  SO many people I follow are versatile and interesting.  I wonder if we can nominate people who’ve already been nominated?

Prego and the Loon  (my so called fairy tale uncensored)  All I can say is WOW.  Check her out.

Lola Rugula  (A new friend who is pretty dang awesome AND she’s a food hoarder just like me!  lol)

Ottoman Dandy (the most VERSATILE of fashion!)

Tuttacronaca  (Cool news from Italy and all over)

Prinsesa  (this girl is FUNNY, a recluse but funny and someone I want to know more about!)

AndrBov  (I’m in AWE of this photography… you will be too!)

Bex Houghagen   (The Savvy Senorita is the most versatile of versatile bloggers)

Evelina Galli  (and all around cool person and a self proclaimed fashion addict)

Michael / My Life Afterglow  (You’ve got to see the world through HIS eyes)

Mama (mama’s Empty Nest)  Her writing is just so beautiful..  get lost in it the way I did 🙂

Shaun – Praying for one day, (find out what’s going on in Scotland and listen to him on Youtube!)

The Lazy Susan  (some of the most unique and delicious recipes)

Jill Reini Days  (she lifts me up and is just so insightful….  you won’t meet anyone else like her!)

Ilona Fried  (a la cart spirit)   WOw!  What a writer!

Pianolearner  (I love reading about music!)

So these are my people.  I don’t want you to feel obligated to do this but I’d sure love to read more about you!  If you decide to participate in this award, here are the rules.

1.  Place a copy of the award on your blog

2.  Link back to the person who nominated you and thank them (in my case you really don’t have to thank me)

3.  list 7 interesting facts about you and try not to say something you’ve already said

4.  nominate 15 other blogs

5 notify those people that you’ve nominated

Have fun and congratulations!

Most Inspiring Blogger Award!

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I feel SO unworthy, yet appreciative 🙂  Carissa, who writes on ramblingsofabipolarwoman, nominated me.  You should TOTALLY go check her out.  Why?  Because she’s honest and doesn’t beat around the bush.  She writes about things that would shock most people and you might raise your eyebrows because she’s an open book.  Hers is the only kind of blog I actually enjoy following because I don’t feel like she’s lying to me or sugar coating anything.  Her feelings are real and I’ve learned from them.  I’m actually mad that I wasn’t the one who nominated her!  lol  I’m new to blogging though so I wouldn’t have known how to do it anyway.

Here are the rules:  I’m supposed to post a pic of the award (which I did) and link back to the person who nominated me (check).

Now I have to share 8 facts about myself:

  1. My name is really Michelle
  2. I love the water.  I love the sound of rushing water or the sound of a creek babbling.  I love to be anywhere near the water during the summer or winter.
  3. I was born on April 10, 1966 (3’oclock), Easter Day and my dad said I was the “rottenist egg” he ever received from the Easter Bunny!  lol
  4. My brother was born on April 10 (3’oclock) 1967.  I believe he was my twin who forgot to be born a year earlier with me.  Weird about the date and time, eh?
  5. I became a mom, the first time, at the age of 17.
  6. I graduated from HS 9 1/2 mos pregnant.
  7. I LOVE to travel and see new things.
  8. I have been diagnosed with a terminal condition 8 years ago and have survived anyone’s predictions….  however, the grim reaper won’t stop trying to come for me and I need an intestinal transplant to keep living.  

Next:  I’m going nominate some people for The Most Inspiring Blogger Award.  When I nominate you, you will do the same as me and go through the steps.  I can’t wait to read all the facts about you!

http://parkgang.wordpress.com/

http://simpletombornhigh.com/author/thomasmaxwell12/

http://theme.wordpress.com/credits/patinspire.org/

http://courtingmadness.wordpress.com/

http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/2013/02/13/happy-clicking-my-biggest-baddest-bucket-list/

http://ladyornot.com/

http://passionatechristianmarriage.wordpress.com/

http://5kidswdisabilities.com/

http://floodedroses.wordpress.com/

http://aboutthechildrenblog.com/

http://lifeasaculinarygirl.wordpress.com/

http://parentingandstuff.wordpress.com/

http://attemptsindomesticity.com/

So, stop by these awesome blogs and share with us what you like 🙂  The people I nominated need to nominate the bloggers they’re inspired by and then notify those people with a link back to their page.  Be sure and display the blogger award on your page so everyone knows how awesome you are!  lol  I have SO many more people who inspire me, but in the interest of time, I’ll stop here.