Wednesday, December 25, 2013

2013 Holiday Newsletter

It's that time again, time for the annual holiday newsletter from the Hall family. 2013 was a very busy year for all of us.

Bryan continues to work for Verizon. This year he experienced some company reorganization that resulted in a job change and relocation to Lake Mary, Florida. The house in Nashville sold very quickly and after a little hotel living Bryan and Laura are settled in Heathrow, Florida. Thankfully Laura's job allows her to work remotely, and also occasionally takes her back to the home office in Nashville.

 Laura and Bryan celebrated their 30th anniversary, and also Laura's 5 year cancer free status with a relaxing trip to Key West.

Josh and Chassi stay very busy with Anna (10), Morgan (8) and Emri (6). To say this is one busy household would be an understatement. Chassi somehow keeps everyone fed, clothed, chauffeured and healthy while providing childcare in her home. She also helped a good friend with a homebirth and played nursemaid for the first 24 hours for mom and baby. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, crafts and running.

Josh continues with Vetter electric as a career, but stays very busy with lots of after work activities with the family. This spring Josh participated in the Spartan Death Race in Pittsfield, Vermont. He completed 68 hours of running, hiking, moving rocks up and down a mountain, 250 consecutive burpees, chopping wood and doing obstacles. When he hit his wall, he was crawling through a cave an had begun hallucinating. Josh discovered this is what happens to a body when you go 68 hours full force with no rest or sleep.

Anna and Morgan trained and completed their first triathlon this year, along with their cousin Michael. Anna also played softball, was in the school play, and ran her first 5K with her dad by her side. Morgan is the family gymnast and will be moving to the advanced team this winter. Morgan enjoys reading, helping her mom with the kids and continues to have a great eye for fashion. Emri started kindergarten this year and has adjusted very well. She enjoys singing, dancing and anything else that requires lots of energy.

Jenni continues her job as a nanny to Charlee and Delta Hodges (JT and Kasey are the parents). She spends her daytime hours with swim lessons, potty training and playing princess. Jenni accompanied the family with a trip to see JT play at the Grand Ole Opry this year, as well as a trip to Toronto for his filming of a holiday movie. In her spare time, Jenni loves baking, traveling, shopping, music and friends.

Laura and Jenni represented the family by attending the Hendon family reunion in Sacramento this summer. They also fit in a side trip to San Francisco and Wine Country for some precious Mom/Daughter time and shopping.

As a family, we have taken advantage of Florida life with a trip to the beach and Disney!

Our wish for you is health, happiness and lots of hugs from those you love! 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Dr. Wagstrom

Time again for my yearly check up with Dr. Wagstrom my plastic surgeon. Luckily I was in town for work, and called and they could fit me in. I am trying to keep my Nashville doctors and just make appointments when I am in town.

Dr. Wagstrom examined me and said my implants are doing well and to keep taking my vitamin E every day. I am clear to not see her for another year, unless something comes up.

Thank God for good check ups!

Thanksgiving in Asheville

It was the longest 8 days EVER! We packed up and headed to Asheville, NC to meet baby Anzel and celebrate Thanksgiving with the Thomas/Williams/Hall/Moore/Hancock families. Lisa and Chadd were very brave and invited 20+ of us to their house to celebrate Thanksgiving and to meet their new baby.
Jenni organized Thanksgiving dinner and everyone pitched in and helped out. It was a wonderful day full of love and laughter.

Thank you Lisa, Chadd and Anzel. We are thankful for you!

Anzel Thomas Moore

On November 20th I was working in El Paso I got a text from Lisa saying her water had broken. It sure was hard to go to work so many miles away from my baby sister that day. Luckily she has an awesome husband, mother-in law and father in-law that kept me up to date on what was going on. After some harrowing moments with delivery (emergency C-section with a few complications) Anzel Thomas Moore made his debut! Lisa and Chadd were instantly in love, as were the rest of us. Welcome Anzel to our big, loud, loving family!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

30 year High School Reunion

Has it really been 30 years since we graduated from High School?

We advertised on Facebook and invited any classmates that attended Chester County High School with the class of 83' to come celebrate with us. The reunion was held at Miss Ollie's in Jackson, TN. There was a definite 80s theme, and we had a really good turnout- over 70 people.

Stacy, our class president is still taking care of our class, even after 30 years. Stacy did a great job of organizing the reunion. John McCaskill led us in a wonderful prayer to kick off the evening. We then spent many hours reconnecting, eating delicious food and enjoying music that spanned the 80s-today. We paused mid way through the night to honor those classmates who served in the military, and also to remember those classmates in prayer who are no longer with us. Michael Phelps led such a heart-felt prayer, I wish I could recreate his words for my blog.

It was said more than once during the evening, that we grew up with some of the best people in the world and that statement is true. Maybe it's because we are all small town people at heart, or maybe it was special town, but my classmates have lots of heart and soul and I am always honored to spend time with them.   

I should have stopped and taken more pictures, but I was having too much fun! Amber grabbed my phone at one point and snapped these. Hopefully our professional photographer got photos of everyone there.


Henderson weekend

I traveled back to Henderson to meet Amber and celebrate my Dad’s 78th birthday, and also to attend our 30th high school reunion. Lisa and Chadd were also in town to celebrate her 20th high school reunion. It was so great to see her and Chadd. Lisa is growing and glowing with my nephew that's due in November. Please join me in praying for a smooth and healthy delivery for my baby sister. Oh, and she'll be having the baby in an actual maternity ward not a Moo-Ternity Ward.

My Dad is doing well, he has developed some hip issues from arthritis but he swims several times a week and this helps his joints I'm sure. Dad, like his father before him, loves to work in his garden. He has wonderful blackberry bushes, strawberry plants and melons.   

Exploring our new surroundings

This is what I think of when I hear Cocoa Beach!
Bryan's been doing a good job of getting me out of the house on the weekends. We have explored Cocoa Beach, New Smyrna Beach and of course Disney World.

Cocoa Beach

Magic Kingdom
New Smyrna Beach


Jenni's job and a trip to the Opry

I kind of feel like these two little girls are part of my family too. This is Charlee Joy and Delta Faye, the precious little girls that Jenni nannies for. The Hodges (JT and Kasey) have welcomed Jenni in to their extended family and we are so thankful that she has them all in her life.

Here's a adorable picture of CJ at the Opry. Jenni went with Kasey to take the girls to see their Daddy play. What an awesome memory for a little girl!


I love getting pictures from home, but it breaks my heart that I can't be there for all these exciting events.

Anna Belle ran her first 5K.

While she was running, Morgan and Emri got their faces painted. I love these beautiful smiles!


Finally our own place

On August the 30th our apartment was finally ready and we moved in. We now live in the Pure Living Apartment Community. We figured if we are going to live in an apartment, find one we will enjoy. Pure Living is gated, has a nice gym and pool and it's also about 4 blocks from Verizon. Bryan's commute takes 2 minutes, which is nice because he can come home for lunch most days.

Most of our belongings arrived unharmed. Although the Trans-America pyramid didn't fare too well. We've had this in our living room since Josh made it in 7th grade.

We have all the boxes unpacked and it's starting to feel a little more like home.

Now to find some friends...

Florida bound

Time to clean out my drafts folder again and get this blog caught up.

On August 16th, Bryan and I packed up the car and headed to Florida. We checked in to the Hampton Inn in Lake Mary to begin our new life in Florida. Bryan started at the new Verizon Financial Services Operations center on Monday the 19th. Since I work remotely I spent a lot of time sitting on the hotel bed doing conference calls and webex meetings. Sound fun? Hotel life is not as glamorous as some people think.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Kindergarten knowledge

Me: What did you learn on your first day of kindergarten?
Emri: The Chicken Dance

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Last night in Nashville...for a little while

The last night in Nashville was very hard. We had dinner with the kids and grand-girls at Cool Springs Brewery, which is one of our favorite pizza places.

Emri's rule - pretty smiles only if you get to do silly faces too!

Then we spent the night at Jenni's condo and headed out after breakfast with her at the Perch.

We will miss these smiling faces, but I have feeling there will be lots of phone calls, visits and skypes for the next year or so.


Joyce suggested we have a going away party at our favorite Mexican restaurant La Terazza. What she didn't tell me was that it was also a birthday party for me.

I have awesome friends!

We celebrated Joyce's birthday at The Chef and I just a couple of weeks earlier!

Going Away Parties

We had several going away parties. It sure is hard to leave such wonderful friends, but they promised to visit!

Kayne Prime

We've been planning to celebrate our 30th anniversary with a trip to Kayne Prime since June 30th. With selling, packing, moving out, etc.. we just kept putting it off one more week.

We finally decided we just had to go before we left town, so we picked a Sunday night and headed downtown. Kayne Prime is located in the Gulch area and it has a beautiful view of Union Station and the Nashville skyline.

We dined on lobster deviled eggs, homemade bacon w/maple cotton candy, wagyu filet mignon, crème corn brulee  and potato aligot. For dessert they brought us a candle on a plate and chocolate marscapone gelato.

I cannot say enough about the service or the food, both were divine! If you have any special occasion to celebrate and you are in Nashville - head down to M Street and visit Kayne Prime. Of course Virago and Tavern are two of my favorites and well. 

Thank you to our good friends the Martinos for making sure we had a cozy table and a awesome meal to celebrate 30 years of marriage!

We love you Eric and Katherine!

Hotel Life

Hotel living isn't as glamorous as they make it sound in books and movies. We aren't used to living out of suitcases in one or two rooms.

While I was out working

View from clinic exam room

While I was in Utah for work, Verizon sent the movers over and Bryan oversaw the packing of our household. Thank goodness I stayed busy, otherwise I would have been worried sick about strangers packing up all my favorite possessions.

I was traveling with two co-workers who love to explore like I do, so that helped tremendously. I trained during the day and then enjoyed the late Utah sunsets with hiking, exploring and ski lift rides in the beautiful Timpanogos mountains. The people of Utah and Timpanogos hospital were wonderful hosts and great with directions and ideas. I even got to visit the Sundance resort, which was about 25 minutes from where we were working. A visit to Sundance has been on my bucket list for several years and it was just as beautiful as I imagined. I loved shopping at the general store and dining at the Owl Bar. If you ever find yourself at Sundance, get the beef sliders. They use local beef and it was hands down the best burger I've ever had!

Sundance gives ski lift rides in the evenings during full moons, thankfully we were there the right week and got to take a beautiful ride in the moonlight above the trees.

Now I just have to figure out how to get my whole family there, they would LOVE it!

Sold the house

Wow- that was fast!

My fabulous cousin John Hendon sold our house. Originally he was going to come over on Wednesday and take photos and fill out the listing paperwork with us. Then on Saturday he called and said he was taking a lady to look at new construction at the subdivision next to ours and wanted to stop by with her the next day. We were in the midst of cleaning out closets so we shoved everything back in and said sure, why not!

Long story short, she loved our house and put an offer on it. Verizon came and packed us up on the 23rd and put our stuff in storage and we closed on July 25th and became houseless. My head is still spinning!

If you need a realtor - call John!

Hendon Family Reunion in Sacramento

My mom's family has a reunion every couple of years and this one was held by her cousins John, Nancy and Stefini. John lives in Sacramento, so it was decided that they would host the reunion at his house.

My mother was a big believer in family and family gatherings and I know she would have been thrilled that Jenni and I attended. The Hendon clan is a happy, loud and loving family. Even though most of these are my 2nd and 3rd cousins we all know each other, and keep up with family happenings. I didn't realize this wasn't the norm in most families until I was older.

Jenni and Jewel picking limes
John, Tori and Xiao Xiao opened up their beautiful home to about 40 cousins and a grand time was had by all!

San Francisco with Jenni

Jenni and I decided to take a Mom-Daughter trip to San Francisco and then finish it off with a trip to Sacramento to our family reunion.

Jenni has been with us to San Francisco several times, but not since she was an adult. We had a great time visiting lots of the places we went when she was smaller and added a few more. I introduced her to Chinatown shopping, we went vintage shopping in the Haight and she introduced me to some cool places she had found on Urbanspoon. I even drank coffee each morning with her. For those who know me, this was BIG. Coke zero is what's usually in my coffee mug each morning.

We took a little detour on our way to Sacramento through wine country and stopped off at the Dry Creek General Store for a little nourishment. I was trying to get her picture with the locals, but they made me sit down and be in the photo too!

What a wonderful trip we had - I love hanging out with you Jen!

The Death Race

My son did it, he did the Spartan Death Race. The kookiest race I've ever heard of. I was on pins and needles the whole time he was racing and until I heard his voice after he finished. Well, he didn't "officially" finish, but in my book he was definitely a finisher. He stopped at hour 68. That's 68 hours straight of running, swimming, chopping wood and obstacles.

What is the Death Race you ask? Here's my summary, there's no set course, no set finish line, the rules change constantly and it pushes you to every limit you have. When Josh called me afterwards he said "Hey Ma, I heard you were worried about me. I'm ok, my arms are pretty cut up from the barbwire and my feet are trashed, but it was AMAZING!"

I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's exhausting to be the mother of Josh Hall, but I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Josh was born with an over abundance of energy and it was a challenge to for him as a child to sit still for very long at all. If you know Josh, you'll know that is still the case. If Josh is sitting still then he's asleep. Otherwise he is moving in some way.

Here's some links that tell about the Death Race Adventure.  - Josh's facebook group for play by play during the race. There's a recap that his friend Echo wrote in the Notes section. - a great article by a finisher