About Me

I am a  mother to six amazing children, wife to a marvelous husband, daughter to loving parents, and sister to four wonderful siblings. My oldest daughter passed away in April of 2012, just before she turned 13. My oldest son has a congenital heart defect and had open heart surgery in 2005 at two weeks old. I believe our experiences in life can shape us into being our best selves if we let them and trust in God. It’s a continuing journey. I am in no way perfect, but I hope that I am a better person today than I was yesterday and that I will be better tomorrow than I am today.

 I love writing (I have 3 completed novels that I am currently querying/editing and more ideas brewing), hiking, and music (I teach and play piano and french horn).

I have been blogging for about six years now, and recently with little consistency, but I am renewing efforts and hope to blog every Monday, Wednesday and Friday – so look for fresh posts then.

Thanks for coming!

If you want to know more about my zany existence you can keep reading below

I have never done a 100 things about me post, but I decided it might be fun to do and put on my about page, so here goes:

1.  I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

2. I love to write! I have completed one middle grade book, and 2 YA novels.  While I’d like to be published some day, it’s not what drives me. I love the process of writing, there’s nothing quite like the thrill of bringing my imagination to life.

3. I am the youngest of 5 children.

4. When people asked my parents how many children they had they would say, “2 girls, 2 boys, and Julia.”

5. It always made me feel important because I was the only one they named.

6. I have 6 children – three girls (Elizabeth, Dorothy, Emily) and three boys (Jacob, James, Robert) – in that order.

7. My oldest son, Jacob, was born with a heart defect – TGA (Transposition of the Great Arteries)

8. I am a stay at home mom.

9. I am a piano teacher.

10. I have played the piano since I was about 4 or 5 years old.

11. I play the French Horn too (and organ and trombone)

12. My nickname all through my childhood was “J” – which my initials spelled too (JAE) – It is still my main nickname in my family, most of my nephews and nieces call me “Aunt J”

13. When I married my husband my initials changed to JAW – at the time Paul was preparing for dental school and we thought it was very funny.

14. I met my husband in the French horn section in band at Ricks College.

15. I married him one month before I turned 23.

16. I was born on July 19 – I was early – which was a huge surprise to my mom.

17. My fifth child was early too – kind of a fun coincidence. 🙂

18. 4 of my 6 children were water births – one of those was born at home.

19. I served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile – I was in the Chile Antofagasta mission.

20.  I cut off part of my big toe on my left foot with the lawn mower when I was a senior in highschool.

21. Yes, I was wearing shoes.

22. Because it still hurt to walk normally, I attended my highschool graduation with a cane.

23. I have never broken a bone.

24. I must have hard bones because I am a major tomboy and have fallen numerous times from trees – or maybe just jumped.

25. I grew up on a small hobby farm in Pennsylvania.

26. I used to jump out of our hayloft window into the well limed manure pile.

27.  I had short hair as a kid and was commonly mistaken as a boy.

28. I love thunderstorms.

29. I love lightening bugs.

30. My mom made us a teepee when we were kids. We used lightening bugs in jars as lamps when we slept in it.

31. When we slept in it my sisters would tell me scary stories so I would get scared and go back inside.

32. Maybe that is why I was such a pesky little sister – it was retaliation. 🙂

33. I used to play rafter tag with my siblings on the rafters of our corn crib.

34. I love frogs, snakes, and lizards.

35. My favorite animal as a kid was the raccoon.

36. I don’t really have a favorite color – they are all pretty, but if forced to choose I will choose green or purple.

37.  I can sew.

38. I love to read.

39. I like to scrapbook.

40. I got rammed by one of our sheep once – it was funny, but knocked the wind out of me.

41. My brother, Paul, hit me in the head with a baseball bat once – he had a habbit of throwing the bat after hitting the ball.

42. He also jumped on my jaw once – it was an accident… sort of.

43. My brother Kimball was swinging me around the living room when my hand collided with a cactus.

44. I tried not to squirm too much as he pulled out every spine from my hand.

45. Cough syrup makes me nauseous.

46.  I hate brussel sprouts and okra.

47. When I was in high school I was dubbed Goofy.

48. It was mostly because I was a klutz and had a habit of doing rather stupid things.

49. I got blood poisoning in my leg when I was in high school.

50. Luckily my mom got it taken care of without having to take me to the hospital.

51. One of the reasons I am a klutz is because I have weak ankles – I could be walking down a sidewalk and it would turn and I would totally biff it.

52. Because of this I learned to have a good sense of humor and to laugh at myself – a lot. 🙂

53.  In college I bruised cartilage in my ankle and was on crutches from the end of January to the beginning of March – crutches in Rexburg, Idaho in the middle of winter is NOT fun.

54.  I didn’t get my drives license until a month after I turned 20 – not because I was scared to drive or anything, that just was the way it worked out.

55. I painted my toe nails for the first time when I was 27 years old.  (maybe that shows just how much of a tomboy I am)

56. I’ve been to Japan.

57. I love to hike.

58. I went on my first 10 mile hike when I was 7 years old.

59. I went on my first backpacking trip with the young women in our stake when I was 15 or 16.

60. The Stake President went with us (along with numerous other leaders) and I nailed him where it counts with a snowball.

61. I liked to turn food green when I was in high school. Once for a picnic I made green egg salad sandwiches, green snickerdoodles, and green lemonade.

62. I still dye food fun colors sometimes – the kids really like it.

63.  I climbed Mt. Fuji in the middle of the night so I could see the sunrise – it was amazing.

64. My favorite flower is the Black eyed Susan – though I love all flowers.

65. I have been to all but 2 or 3 of the connected United States (still haven’t made it to Alaska or Hawaii).

66. My favorite nickname my Mom gave me was Juliana Hossen-pheffer Jingle-heimer Schmidt.

67.  Paul and I were married in the Portland Oregon Temple.

68. All but our oldest and youngest children were born in Oregon.

69. Our oldest was born in Utah and our youngest was born in Ohio.

70. When we got married we exchanged rings in the atrium – beside the lobby of the temple.

71. I couldn’t get the ring on his finger so he had to do it himself.

72. I still get nervous in the dark – I think I can blame the movie “Gremlins” for this because it terrified me as a kid.

73. I am horribly scared of spiders.

74. I bite my nails – it annoys me and I would like to stop.

75. Paul and my “song” is “Jupiter” by Gustav Holst – we played it together the term we met in college, before I left on my mission.

76. People thought it was really weird that we had a classical song, so we chose a secondary song “You’re My Inspiration” by Chicago.

77. I love to dance – by myself, with my kids, with my husband – and especially in the kitchen.

78. I love to make of corny lyrics to songs I know that go along with whatever I am doing at the moment.

79. I love to tease and be teased – nicely of course.

80.  I am usually a positive person – hey, every one has their moments 🙂

81. I used to read with a flashlight under my covers when I was supposed to be sleeping.

82. Somehow my Dad always knew and would stomp on the floor (his room was above mine) telling me to turn it off and go to sleep.

83.  My favorite ice cream is Bryer’s Mint Chocolate chip.

84. It is my favorite because it was my Dad’s – he would get it out after we went to bed and I would often go up because I “couldn’t sleep” and he would let me sit on his lap and feed me a spoon or two before sending me back to bed.

85. My mom taught me to play the piano, and do most everything else I do – she taught me to believe in myself.

86. I really dislike doing dishes.

87. I dislike doing laundry even more.

88. I like to goof off with my kids.

89. I like to dance in the sprinklers or under a hose with them.

90. I have always loved the water and swimming.

91.  We burned our trash in a burn pile when I was a kid.

92. My brothers and I loved throwing old aerosol cans in it and then running for cover as they exploded.

93. I love the ocean – especially swimming in it.

94. Someday I want to go to Europe.

95. Negativism bothers me.

96. I look forward to ‘dating’ my husband every week.

97. We do fun corny stuff together.

98. One of our favorite things to do is people watch – we make up entire conversations for them.  It gets pretty hilarious.

99.  I am usually willing to do stupid things for a quarter – such as lay in the middle of the road, or do jumping jacks in a parking garage entrance – I earned a lot of quarters from my Mom.

100. I love my life.

14 responses to “About Me

  1. Hi Julia,
    Thanks for leaving a message on my blog. I have seen your name at Jenny HaHa’s blog and probably a couple of other blogs too.

    I am weeping as I am reading the story about your little Jacob. I’m only about 1/2 way through. I will need to come back to it since I have some things I need to take care of before I go to bed. Maybe I should have clicked on the short version? lol

    I have seen many miracles in my daughter’s life and love to read about other miracles too. You are so open and honest about your feelings and mention freely about the priesthood and church in your life. I really enjoy your writing style too. You should write a book about your experience with Jacob… or maybe you already are? 😉

    Sometimes I am reluctant to mention the church stuff… especially the priesthood blessings. I need to think on this and pray about what I should share. I know Jessica has a special mission in this life and it’s my job to help her as best as I can. (job wasn’t the right word but neither were duty or obligation… those words make it sound like a dreaded thing… a burden to care for her but it’s not… it’s a privilege) I don’t want to come across as pushing my beliefs onto other people but I guess if they don’t want to read it, they can close the window, right? lol. I’m not a religious fanatic and I do struggle with my doubts from time to time, but I do have a very strong testimony and have been witness to some amazing miracles. There have been times when our ward has really been supportive – even when family seemed to turn away – and other times I have felt so alone. Sometimes family members have been right there willing to help and to lend a shoulder and other times when it’s been too much for them to handle and they either disappear or cause hurt feelings. It’s tough having a chronically and terminally ill child for 18 years who also has developmental delays and has been at death’s door too many times to count. But we keep going and going and going…. *insert picture of the energizer bunny here* 😉

    You are welcome to put Jessica’s story on your blog under Heart Kids. Would you want to post the JENSENLAND link? http://www.angelfire.com/oh4/jensenland/
    I am considering making a new blog all about her health history, etc. I keep having trouble with angelfire, it’s kind of inconvenient to update and the guestbook acts up from time to time. (I can’t even access the guestbook tonight.) Oh well, for now that’s what I have as far as her first 18 years of her life (the angelfire link). I have been posting updates on my blog about her as well as other stuff.

    Well, this message turned out much longer than I expected but I am soooo glad that you contacted me! I would love to get to know you better. Feel free to email me at fancydancy@cox.net. Do you belong to the online support group through tchin called pdheart? Just curious… they have been a great source of support to me.

    Hope to talk to you soon!
    I saw the snow pictures of your hubby and the kids. I LOVE THEM! Jacob is soooooo cute! He reminds me of the little boy in “A Christmas Story” who couldn’t even put his arms down because his mom bundled him up too tight. hehe

  2. Gloria Hopkins

    Hi there! I saw your blog on today’s fastest growing list (I’m there too today!) and popped over to check it out.

    I love it! And, feel for Jacob’s story. I have a friend who’s nephew recently had open-heart story. He is a photographer and took some very touching photographs. He was allowed into the operating room. No baby should ever have to go through something like that.

    I hope that little Jacob and you, as well. Thanks for a fun, inspiring and thoughtful blog.


  3. Gloria Hopkins

    Geez, several of the words dropped out of my paragraph. Hope you made sense out of it!

  4. Hi Julia,

    Just wanted to say hello, and thank you for your friendly comments on my page. Always nice to hear from you! It’s also fun to see your photos. They are very nice. Your family is adorable. Are you the photographer? And the written word is excellent! I can tell you love to read. We seem to have a lot in common.

    How is Jacob? Our Johannes has a new surgery in a months time. There is some worry on his part, so we talk about it a lot. But I have a feeling it will go well – with God’s help.

    Oh… and you had a baby, right? Congratulations! Hope you get to sleep at night 🙂

    Take care!

  5. I would like you to meet my grandson, Gabriel. He is an HLHS baby. He just turned one on the 24th of Jan. and celebrated life after one year of receiving his new heart on the 7th of Feb. We have been blessed beyond measure with this child. He is a loving spirit, joyful and boisterous. I look at him and realize just how blessed I have been. I appreciate your talents and willingness to share them with all of us.

    Take care and thank you.


  6. Kim


    I came across your website when looking at links to the LearnAboutCHD.blogspot.com site I created. Thanks for including a cross-link and for putting up the logos on your site! Your blog is fun and inspiring – I look forward to following it!

    The photographs are beautiful, too! I don’t know how you manage 5 sets of fingers and toes…you’re one busy gal.


  7. Kim


    It’s Kim again (http://learnaboutchd.blogspot.com), and I just had to post one more message…for some reason, my blog comments were turned “off” and I never got notices that I
    had received comments! And here I’d thought no one cared except those that emailed…

    I finally got the settings straight, and plowed into the comments and found you had posted some. Small world… I really appreciate your comments, and I’m very sorry I didn’t see them to reply in a timely manner. I LOVED your 7s lists – thanks so much for participating!!!

    My daughter, Sadie, has TGA. My personal blog (should you wish to read about her/us) is vtkthies.blogspot.com.

    Thanks again for the comments and support! I’m sorry I only now discovered it all.

    Kim (learnaboutchd@gmail.com)

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. I have four kids and my youngest Gabriel was born with TGA, VSD which was a complete shock to us. You are one busy Mommy with five. I’m not sure if we’ll have anymore.

    I hope this is not too personal. Was it hard for you to decide to have another baby after Jacob?


  9. Christine

    I was browsing the internet and came across your blog. I was pleased to see you have 5 children all doing well. My oldest son Spencer has HLHS he’s 8 1/2 years old. He has had four open-heart surgeries, a pacemaker, and many heart caths, but is doing very well. His first two surgeries were also at Emmanuel Hospital in Portland. Then we had three more boys who are all healthy without any heart defects. Then I found out I was pregnant with our first girl and at 32 weeks found out she had TGA. I delivered at OHSU on Feb.12th. We were pretty excited to have our first girl, Alaina, but anxious to be able to get to take her home. Since we had been through this before, we knew the only way to be able to take her home was to have surgery. Compared to our son’s surgeries this was going to be a piece of cake. But of course as parents we still worried. Three days old she went into surgery. Unfortunately, during surgery the surgeon ran into complications while removing excess tissue on her mitral valve and tried to repair it a couple times, but told us she probably wouldn’t survive. She died late that night which was three weeks ago, Feb.15th.

    I am also LDS and am so grateful for knowing that I can still be her mother. But it’s still hard because I don’t have my little girl here with me now. Being in the ICU many times and hearing other families crying and mourning over their children, I always felt so bad for them and was so glad that it wasn’t us, little did I know it would be.

    I’ve always thought our son Spencer was a miracle, but even more so now that we lost one of our children with a more minor defect. I could go on forever, but I’ll stop, I just needed to connect with someone who may understand a little bit of what I’ve been through.

    Thanks for your blog!

  10. Michele

    Hi Julia,
    I was doing a search for my favorite lullaby from childhood that my grandmother used to sing. I can’t find anyone who’s ever heard of it and wondered if she might have made it up. My search brought me to your webpage but didn’t reveal anymore info about the song. It’s the “Rock-a-bye don’t you cry, we will go see grammy…” lullaby. Do you happen to know the origin of this song? I know her parents were from Canada but she was raised in upstate NY (as was I). Thanks!
    Michele Ryan

  11. I have been following your blog for awhile – long before I blogged on my own, and anon of course. I really enjoy your writing and have a question I would like to ask you – if you could email me please. Or go to my blog to see what it’s about. Thanks

  12. Limebird Writers has nominated YOU for a Versatile Bloggers Award. Congratulations! – http://limebirduk.wordpress.com/2011/12/15/limebird-writers-are-versatile-bloggers-huzzah/

  13. limebirdkate

    Hey Goofy, I nominated you for the Versatile Bloggers Award. http://limebirduk.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/versatile-blogger-award/
    I know that you already received one from Limebird about a month ago, but this is a specific one from little ol’ Limebirdkate. So, don’t worry about having to follow through with it, I just wanted to let you know and also take the opportunity to talk you up because your site is so much fun, albeit flawed. 😉


  14. Didi Lawson

    Hi, Julia:

    Read your 100 things about you and laughed. We have one thing in common: I also read books with a flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping. At first, of course, I read with the help of my bedside lamp, and whenever I heard the stairs creak and knew my mother was approaching, I quickly turned off the light, hid the book under the bed covers and pretended to be asleep. She wised up, though, after a while and touched the light bulb – a dead giveaway. That’s when I switched to the flash light.

    You’re one talented lady! Keep up the good work.

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