Merry Christmas 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Stringing Christmas Lights

stringing Christmas lights

Bullock Family Christmas Card 2012


One hundred Christmas cards are in the mail, but I couldn’t send them to everyone. So instead, I’m posting it online for all my readers to see. Don’t you feel lucky?

I failed to write a Christmas letter to go along with our cards, so I’ll give a little update on what our family has been up to this year.

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Our family moved from Midvale to Lehi, Utah, this year, which was a fairly easy move after the 4 cross-country moves we made between 2006-2009.

Taylor is in his 5th year as a first officer pilot for an east coast-based regional airline. He’s been based in Memphis this year, and commuting to and from Salt Lake City can be tough at times. There is a FedEx base in Memphis, and pilots are able to jumpseat on the FedEx planes, so he often “FedExes himself” to work. When he’s not in the air or waiting around an airport, he likes to keep tabs on all the recent movies, TV shows, and video games, and is trying to reteach himself how to play the guitar.

20121211-095814.jpgRosie has been growing up faster than we can keep up with. She is turning into an amazing and eclectic young lady in so many ways. Rosie is in 6th grade and turned 12 years old in September. She loves being a Beehive in Young Womens, and is enjoying the countdown to being an official teenager. This summer, she was in Murray Community Arts’ production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” and has a strong interest in theater (just like her mom). She got to see stage productions of “Les Miserables” and “Wicked” this year, and has the soundtracks on heavy rotation on her iPod. Her number one obsession right now is Doctor Who, which her Pinterest account will attest to.

20121211-095745.jpgMy year has been focused on regaining my health. I opted to have weight loss surgery as a tool to get my weight under control. So far this year, I have lost over 120 pounds, and I intend to keep working hard to lose the rest of my excess weight. Professionally, I am working as the social media manager for DegreeSearch.org, and am on the board of Social Media Club of Salt Lake City. My leisure time often revolves around blogging and social media events, and my trips this year included Charlotte, NC for Type A Parent Conference, New York City for BlogHer, and Atlanta for the Obesity Help weight loss conference. I’ve had a lot of success with my blogs this year, including some appearances on TV and mentions in the newspaper.

20121211-095657.jpgThe highlight of our year as a family was our trip to England in October. The three of us met up with our friend Clint, and we had a fab adventure together. We spent 4 days in London, seeing the sights, sampling the culture, taking lots of pictures, and meeting up with old friends.

Next, we rented a car and drove north to spend some time out of the city. We spent a day in Liverpool, a day in the Lake District, and ended our time in England in Manchester. When standby flights were full out of Manchester, we found out that we could get back to the US in business class on standby the next day from Dublin, so we hopped an Aer Lingus flight to Ireland for a day. We only got to spend a few hours in the city of Dublin, but it was fun to experience a little of the land of my heritage.

We would like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year in 2013. Cheers!

Wordless Wednesday: Santa’s Little Helper and Rosie the Red-Nosed Reindeer

nicole and rosie by Justin Hackworth

Wordless Wednesday: Growing Up Too Fast

Rosie Bullock

Not too long ago, she was just a little girl. Now Rosie is a young lady.

A Day Long Awaited

Countless prayers uttered over days, months, and years.

Many questions discussed, pondered, and researched.

A room full of people who love and support you, and desire your greatest happiness.

Dayna, Nathan, and Natalie…I love you so much.

Congratulations on your baptism.

Catching Up

Is it September already?!?

Thanks to all who wished me well in my recovery of pneumonia. I’m doing much better, and I’m almost back to normal. Just don’t mind me when I break out into spontaneous coughing fits.

I took two trips to California in August. I attended my twin nieces’ first birthday party, spent some time on the beach in Ventura County, reconnected with friends, relaxed, spent time with family, and ate some really great food. No trip to California is complete without visiting some of my favorites…El Torito, Jack in the Box, La Tolteca, BJ’s Pizzeria, Legends Diner, and smoothies from Juice it Up.

Taylor is FINALLY done with school. He successfully completed the algebra course that’s kept him from his diploma for much too long. He’s sent for his transcripts and applied for graduation from Utah Valley University’s Global Aviation program. He won’t be able to walk for commencement until spring, but he’s very relieved to say he’s done with school before his 30th birthday (which is in 3 weeks). To celebrate, he was able to bust open his new XBOX 360. We purchased it months ago on a killer sale, and he faithfully kept the box sealed until he passed his final. Next week he’s going on a hiking trip to Yosemite with his cousins, a desire he’s had for many years. And did I mention that he turns 30 this month?

Rosie started 3rd grade two weeks ago. She likes her new school and rides her bike almost every day. She turns 9 next week and is obsessed with her birthday. I don’t think we’ll do much of a party for her this year, but that hasn’t kept her from obsessing about it for the last 8 months.

Overall, I’m doing better than I have for the past few months. I’ve struggled through a “major depressive episode” that has been an experience unlike I’ve ever had. I’m working with a great counselor and getting regulated on some meds. I’m still living life day to day, but I’m feeling more hope. I’m back into the job search, but it’s been frustrating to see the lack of opportunities and low pay scale(especially in Utah County) I’m pretty sure I want to stick with administrative positions in healthcare…but I wouldn’t mind a change either. I miss the security of earning a regular paycheck and helping provide for the family.

As odd as this may sound…I’ve been missing Michigan. I was unhappy for much of the time we lived there, but recently I’ve been thinking about the friends I made there and how beautiful it was last fall. There’s been rumors about displacements within Taylor’s company which might move him back to Detroit, or possibly Memphis. It would be a good thing because he’s flown so few hours on reserve this year in Atlanta. If he’s ever going to upgrade to captain…he needs to be flying a more intense schedule. We’re sad that we’re living apart, but there’s a sense of stability I’m feeling in Spanish Fork that makes me wonder if we’re supposed to stick around here for a while. It breaks my heart that Rosie’s already on her 4th school in 3rd grade. Unfortunately, that means that Taylor and I will have to live apart for an undetermined amount of time. It’s not preferable, but we’re making it work.

Recent guilty pleasures: chocolate-covered cinnamon bears, Dooce, Hulu, melon Hi-Chew, Diet Dr. Pepper, and Connie and Carla. Oh, and I made the BEST batch of my banana bread ever this week. I want more…mmmmm!!

Post 499: MIA?, Portland Trip, and non-revving nightmare

Thank you to all those who checked up on me to see if I was okay. “A week without blogging? Are you seriously ill?”, several people asked. No..I’m not ill – just in need of a break from the rigors of creativity and daily blogging.

The Portland trip was exciting and exhausting. Rosie and I flew in Friday night and stayed in Tualatin with the Grahams, a family that my family has known for decades. Saturday was fun, start to finish. I had breakfast with Coral, a middle school friend, at Rose’s in West Linn. We had the cinnamon roll french toast (to DIE for) and got caught up on all we’ve missed in the last 12 years. Next, we drove back to Tualatin by way of the Wanker’s Corner general store (where we got drinks and snacks.) Our original purpose for going to Portland was to attend a wedding reception for Rosie’s cousin…but we didn’t realize we’d put the wrong date down until after we got their gift. We met Carisa, an elementary school friend, for drinks at Starbucks. She’s getting married this year, and it was fun to hear all about her fiance.

For lunch, we went to Newport Bay Restaurant with my aunt Laurie and cousin Christi. We hadn’t seen each other in 7 years at Grandpa Gene’s funeral, so it was lovely to have some family time with relatives I rarely get to see. We did a little shopping around Washington Square Mall, then I followed Laurie over to Auntie Dona and Uncle Bob’s house. Their daughter Margi found out I was over and she immediately joined us. We caught up and reminisced for the afternoon. Aterwards, I dropped by my cousin Jillian’s apartment. Her husband just graduated medical school, and they’re off to Colorado at the end of the month for Ben’s pathology residency. They gave us a McCormick and Schmick’s gift card, so we had a free super-fresh seafood dinner there after pics at the Portland Temple. We arrived back at the Grahams’ around 9, visited until my eyelids could no longer stay open, and set my alarm for 3:40 am.

We woke up, packed our bags, and went out to our rental car. Once inside, we realized that things were missing…my Blackberry and Ipod chargers, some papers and food items. It didn’t look like the car had been broken into, so I’m guessing the rental car’s alarm clicker wasn’t working. Luckily the chargers can be replaced. We drove to the airport, grabbed some breakfast, dropped off the car, and waited through a horrid security line at PDX. I complained over the 40 minute wait…but little did I know the non-revving disaster I was about to encounter.

We tried for the 6:00 am ATL flight – we were part of the 9 that didn’t make it on. Then we tried for the SLC flight – denied again. Tried for a MSP NWA flight – nope. Tried for another ATL and SLC flight – was told our best option was to get an ID-90 pass from Horizon, fly to Seattle, and get a SEA-ATL non-stop flight. We waited till we didn’t get on another MSP flight, went out of security, purchased the passes, walked across the airport again to Horizon’s gates, where the gate agent said our luck was pretty bleak to get on a SEA flight standby. So we went back across the airport to try for the last SLC flight – denied again. Finally, we made it on a MSP flight at the last second, and we had to check our bags. Once we were in Minneapolis, we were too late to make it on any outgoing flights. Taylor Priceline’d an “airport hotel” that didn’t have a shuttle and was nowhere near the airport. We paid so much in cab fare that we could have gotten a really nice hotel. We got about 5 hours sleep before the 3:30 am alarm woke us up, the cab took us back to the airport, and we were crossing our fingers for the 5:15 am ATL flight. We were top of the list, made it on, and were able to sit together. We touched down in ATL just before 9:00 am – which meant I was late for work.

It was a bittersweet trip: wonderful visits and horrible trip home. Was it worth it? I say yes cautiously : this experience has put the fear of the flight Gods back into me. I don’t think I’m going to tempt fate like this again when flight loads aren’t wide open. The next time I fly will be on a confirmed positive space ticket.

Parental Pics

When I went to SLC back in Jaunary, my family took this picture together. We haven’t had a family picture of the 6 of us in years…and my dad just emailed me a bunch of recent pics. My mom has been telling me on the phone how much weight she’s lost…but I didn’t realize she’d look so different!

This picture of my dad makes me laugh…because he’s SO not a beard man!

And here’s my mom. Can you believe how much different she looks in just the last two months?

My mom has dealt with chronic pain which has left her bedridden for much of the last decade. Lately, she has recently been feeling healthy and strong, and I’m so proud of the efforts she’s making to live her life and be happy!
What do you think?

22 Hours in Utah


On Friday night, I’d decided not to come to SLC because the flight loads were yucky and I needed to take it easy to recover from bronchitis. My mom called to guilt-trip me about it, but I told her my mind was made up. But I woke up at 3:30 am and started IMing my sister Mary. She had driven 4 hours down from college for the weekend and really wanted to see me. I checked the flight loads for the morning flights, and they were quite positive. Taylor was on a high speed to Pittsburgh, and would be on another one to Dayton the next night. I dragged Rosie out of bed, packed up our overnight bags (couldn’t find the camera because of all the moving mess), and drove to the airport.

There were 55 open seats on the flight, and all 55 people on standby got on (the plane was totally full) Rosie was across the aisle from a nice girl a bit older than her, also the child of a pilot. They chatted through much of the flight, which helped the 4 hours go by. We arrived in SLC at 10:30, and my sister’s friend Melina picked us up. We made a few necessary stops (Sunflower Market, Seagull Book, Downeast Basics, etc), had lunch with Melina, Mary and her roommate Katie, and went down to my parents beautiful new home in Lehi.

My friends Esther and Emily both visited, and the three of us went up to South Towne Mall to do some shopping. I came back for my mom’s 51st birthday party. Dad made teriyaki chicken, I made my famous Better than Sex Cake, and all the family was together for a few hours, sans Taylor 🙁 Since I’d been up since 3 am EST, I was totally dead tired by 11 pm MST. Mary will be taking me to the airport at 6:30 am, and I’ll be back in ATL around 2:00 pm..as long as flight loads cooperate. Wish me luck!