Friday, December 11, 2009

Family Chaos

Thanksgiving weekend I was a complete slacker and forgot to pull out my camera for most of the weekend but I did get a few funny photos. This is a photo of Jordanne trying to watch a movie but both kids wanted to be on her lap and the cat refused to move out of the chair so they all shared.

Jocee and the two kids were staying at Dad's house while Jocee waited for the appearance of Cartr (yes, I spelled that correctly). Jocee and the kids shared Jordanne's room and Jordanne got the couch. Jocee was downstairs putting the bedding back on the bed and Jordanne was helping her. Jocee realized the box springs were off the frame a little bit so she lifted up the mattress and had Jordanne hold it while she adjusted the frame. This is what happens when we let Jordanne have control of anything.
Jocee thought Jordanne was holding up the mattress but the mattress fell and Jordanne couldn't get out. Of course, we wouldn't help her up until I had taken a picture.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving

In honor of Thanksgiving I thought I would post several things I am thankful for:
1- My husband
2- My health
3- My family (crazy as they all are)
4- My religion
5- My freedom
6- Technology that allows me to stay in contact with everyone through the various methods (i.e. Cell phone, internet, etc.)
7- Good road system that allows me to travel a long distance to be with friends and family
8- Food (and all the yummy calories I now need to work off)

I could go on and on but I don't want to bore you all. This year was different for me because it is the first year in the last five that I have not cooked/been responsible for the Thanksgiving dinner. Ever since Mom got sick with cancer the second time I have been in charge of the meal and this year I got to sit back, relax, and enjoy all the good food. It sure made the day less stressful but it did feel a little weird.

We spent the morning and the meal with Colby's family. I forgot to pull out my camera because I was too busy stuffing my face. Later we went to my family's house and played card games. I would like to say that I was smart and went to bed early since I knew I was getting up WAY too early to go shopping the next day but Jordanne and I stayed up talking until about 1:30 am and then we were up at 4:00 am to hit the sales. Needless to say, I am tired!

Editor's Addition: Photos. These were taken by my mom or sister.

Thanksgiving 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brandon Sanderson Book Signing

One of Colby's favorite authors is Brandon Sanderson, an LDS science fiction author (who I also like). Several months ago he released his book Warbreaker and did a book signing tour in Salt Lake City. Unfortunately, it was the same weekend as my ten year class reunion and Colby couldn't go. (Believe me, I got to hear ALL about how upset he was over missing Brandon to have to go to an event he didn't want to be at.) Brandon has since released a book he co-wrote with the late great Robert Jordan and was here in Phoenix for that book tour.

We went to the signing and there were a ton of people there. Those of you familiar with the scifi/fantasy genre, Robert Jordan wrote the Wheel of Time series and passed away before completing the series, Brandon was contracted to finish the series. We were able to listen to Brandon talk about getting contacted to write the books and he read a section from the book. He was very personable and surprisingly entertaining to listen to. As you can imagine, most scifi/fantasy writers are pretty hermit like and not entertaining to meet in person. Brandon was definetely not the norm. We really enjoyed the presentation and then waited in line for a little over an hour to get our books signed.
I highly recommend reading his books, very well done and witty! You can also find a review I wrote of Elantris at my website Novelreaction.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day

I just wanted to take a second and remember the reason for Veteran's Day. Some of my earliest memories are of Mom keeping us out of school so we could go to St. George and watch Grandpa McArthur march in the parades with the rest of the veterans. I was always so proud to see him in his uniform with all his medals across his chest. I also gained a greater appreciation for my freedoms from listening to his stories about being on the frontline during the European Campaign during WWII. I am also grateful for my McArthur ancestors who fought in the American Revolution.
Colby and I were lucky enough to be able to visit several of the memorials that are located in Washington DC. The above photo is the WWII Memorial located on the Mall of America. I was so glad that they finally have a memorial to recognize all the sacrifices made by those who fought in WWII.

We also saw the Korean War Memorial, which was incredible and really hit home because Grandpa Squire was a part of that military campaign.
We also visited Arlington National Cemetery. It was humbling to see all those who fought to keep our country free. We also saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I am so grateful for all those who have fought and continue to fight to ensure my freedoms. I am also grateful for all the families of those who fight and the sacrifices they make to ensure our freedoms. Finally, my thoughts and prayers go out to those who lost family members in the Fort Hood shooting last week.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Halloween

Colby and I attended our ward's Trunk or Treat as a way to support the ward (and to get rid of some of the candy I bought since Colby and I had been eating WAAYY too much of it ourselves, dang you Costco and your fabulously large bags of good candy!). All my attention has been on school lately so at the last minute I figured out to dress our car as a ghost. Unfortunately, that was the extent of my creativity so Colby and I went as ourselves to the party. I thought the car was cute and looking good until a van pulled up next to us and pulled out a strobe light and a fog machine, needless to say we were overshadowed.

On Halloween night we continued our yearly tradition of watching "Young Frankenstein", which is the best Halloween movie ever. We were visited by Riley and Erika and the two cute boys were dressed up as a fireman and a carpenter but I forgot to pull out my camera to get a picture. They were so cute! The following Monday I watched the boys for a couple of hours and Haydn wore his boots and fireman hat all day with his pjs. (He had informed me that it was a pj day and he didn't need to get dressed, how do you argue with that?!)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Things I have learned since moving to the desert


We have been living in the desert for a couple of months now and I thought I would share some of the things I have learned since moving here. In the desert they try to save the large cacti. When I first moved here I thought the braces we saw were because they had just planted the cactus and were trying to get them "take". Wrong, the large cacti are over a hundred years old and they are trying to save them. The holes in the top are from birds who make their homes in the cactus. I have been told that every foot equals ten years and each arm adds another ten years each.

Grass is seasonal. During the hot summer months everyone grows crab grass (as it is about the only thing that will grow) and when it cools down everyone tears the crab grass out and puts in nice grass for the winter spring. Very weird!

60 degrees is cold. When it cools down to the 60s everyone pulls out coats and starts complaining about how cold it is! It makes me laugh right now but I am sure by this time next year I will be just like them. :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mom Second Anniversary

video

It's hard to believe that it has been two years since Mom passed away. In some ways it seems longer than the two years and in others it seems like yesterday. I was looking through some family photos and thought about putting together another slide show but this one just seems to say it all, so I have posted it again.

It does get easier after the first year for most things, the holidays aren't as hard and new traditions replace old. It is amazing how life goes on. Thank goodness I know I will see her again, I don't know how people do it who don't have my understanding of the here-after.

There are moments when I will always miss her, regardless of how much time has passed.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

King of the House

A couple of years ago I got Colby a laptop stand as a gift. After I got my laptop, I commandeered it and Colby doesn't get to use it much. A couple of nights ago I came into the living room and realized that it has been taken over by the king of the house. If you look closely it is supported only by the one center section so some minutes later it tilted to the right and he fell off (too bad I had put away the camera away when it happened). I righted it and the next night he climbed on it again, again eventually tilting off to the side. Last night night he climbed on it and didn't tilt off, I guess it now belongs to him. In most households it is whomever controls the remote control but in our house it is the laptop stand. :)

Phoenix Zoo

For my birthday yesterday we finally made it to the Phoenix Zoo. The weather has finally cooled off and it was only 90 degrees (yes, I got sunburnt). The zoo is three times the size the one in Salt Lake City but not quite as nice. All the animal enclosures are outdoors with a large number of African animals (shocker, I know, since the climate is the same). It was nice to not have to deal with the urine smell the monkey and reptile houses had in Salt Lake City. They have several enclosures where different species of animals live, it was very

I was really impressed with the desert wolves (they have three) and the Gallapagos tortoises, they are HUGE!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Novel Reaction.com


As many of you know, I am a reader. By reader I mean someone who is constantly reading novels (I average three a week currently) and I own more books than most county libraries. (As those who helped us move can attest to.) While cataloging my books I started to think about clean romance novels, my favorite books, and how hard it can be to trust a romance novel when you don't know if the author is writing something clean or sexual. As I was mulling over this conundrum, my friend Susi came over to my house to borrow some books and commented on how she and her sister would really like a list of good authors from me that they could trust. This got me thinking further about who do you trust to recommend books and how what I might think is too graphic could be fine for someone else. Later that week my friend Michelle asked me to recommend an author that she could read as she had taken a book recommended by a librarian and found it to be more graphic than she really likes.

Me, being me, I thought how interesting it was that everyone should be having this same problem, who do you trust?! I started searching online for sources that I could recommend to them as I knew I was leaving and wouldn't be seeing them regularly anymore. To my surprise I found that there is one website out there that recommends clean romance novels. That's it, just one.

After discussing my findings with Colby and thinking about it further I decided to create a website where people can go for recommendations that have a rating attached that is clear and precise regarding the sexuality of a novel. Of course, it is always a good idea to start a large project while you are trying to move and start law school. ;) So, today I am unveiling my website...drum roll please... NovelReaction.com .

Please forgive me as I continue to work on it to make it better but at least we are up and running. Also, as a way to support my reading habit, if you are going to purchase a book I have recommended I would really appreciate it if you did so through one of the links on the website.

I am also open to suggestions for authors or books to read. I am going to be posting contemporary authors and authors that are older who are clean. Hopefully, I will be adding a new book at least every other week so check back often as it will be constantly updated.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Funhouse

Last weekend Colby's sister Lachelle, sister-in-law Kim, and Kim's sister Ashley came and visited us for the weekend. Lachelle wanted to go to a mission farewell and Kim, brilliant woman that she is, figured out that P!nk was in concert, so us girls got tickets and went. It was an incredible concert including flying people, ballet and string quartets. I have to admit that I felt a little out of place by not having any pink in my hair. P!nk sings everything live, which always impresses me more than having a pre-recorded concert. I also really enjoy her encorporation of traditional musical instruments such as a cello and string bass with electric guitar and upbeat song. It was nice to have them visit us and to be forced to take a break from school.

It was great to have Kim visit and go shopping with her again. While living in Salt Lake, Kim and I used to leave the boys home and go shopping on the weekends. I have missed that, having good girl chats while perusing cute clothes. (In case you are wondering, I found a great suit for $40.00 so it was a succesful trip from my point of view ;) ).

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jillian Homecoming

Somehow, when I wasn't watching, Jillian started growing up. We drove to St. George this weekend so I could help her get ready. She looked fabulous!
She was super excited to go! Her date wasn't as excited when D.J. and Matt met him at the door with pistols in their waistbands and threats. Needless to say, she was home on time.

The dance was at Ford and one of the managers had to be there the whole time so Dad was a chaperon at her first dance. I know, scary thought!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September 11th

On Labor Day, I pried Colby from the room that has become his cave and we went to the Firefighters Museum. It was fabulous! They have machines dating from 1700s that have been restored by the museum founder. In addition, there was a great tribute to the firefighters who lost their lives on September 11th. It was very fitting that we saw the memorial the week of the anniversary of such a travesty.
Yesterday, I had the unique opportunity to hear an attorney who represented 8 victims of the 9-11 attack in getting money for the victims. All his work was pro-bono, meaning he didn't get paid. Over 1,000 attorneys nationwide, in parts of Canada and in Mexico donated their time to represent victims free of charge. The fund was set up as a way to assist those who were injured in the rescue and recovery act. The stories were incredibly moving.

This is the remains of a statute that stood at the base of the Two Towers prior to their falling, this is what remains. It is an Art Deco representation of Atlas with the world on his shoulders. It seems very fitting that the world cracked after the towers fell. Colby and I saw it when we were in New York in 2005.

I am sure you are like me, and remember exactly where you were when you found out and how you spent the day (glued to the TV like me). Let us never forget the horrific events that occurred, changing our world forever and the men and women who worked so hard and lost so much!

Rag Rug

I recently learned how to make rag rugs. This is a craft I have been wanting to learn for some time as it is a great use of fabric remnants. You connected the fabric pieces together and, using the largest crochet hook I have ever seen, crochet the rags together. The cream fabric was a set of sheets that were worn out and I had been keeping to use in a project of some sort. I think it turned out well and I now have a cushy rug placed in front of my kitchen sink.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Resolutions Revisited

This weekend I was able to finally finish one of my UFOs (Unfinished Objects)! Hooray! This tablecloth was originally started by my Grandmother McArthur and she finished about half of it. She passed away when I was about fifteen so let's just say I have had this in my project pile for awhile. As I was thinking about how excited I was to finally finish a UFO I started to think about my New Years' Resolutions. I am always really good about setting them but, I have to admit, I usually forget them by about February so I decided now is a good time to review how I am doing.
Here they are:
  1. Not kill my husband (the never ending battle) :)
  2. Lose weight (my goal is a size six, I am almost there)
  3. Finish some UFOs (hopefully by this time next year I will be ahead)
  4. Be a better budgeter (I really like to go shopping)
  5. Focus on spending more time with my husband (I have a tendency, a bad one, to schedule him last into my schedule when I should be putting him first)
So far:
  1. I have not killed Colby
  2. I have not lost any weight but I have not gained any and I am one week into the P90X program (let's just say every muscle in my body has hurt for the last week)
  3. I have one UFO done and one almost completed (hopefully finished by next weekend)
  4. I am a better budgeter since I have quit my job and we are living on a much smaller income, it is amazing what necessity will do for the learning curve ;)
  5. I spend a lot of time with Colby now because he works from home and I am home studying more (and I don't have the huge group of friends and events I had in SLC to take me away)
I would have to say over all I am not doing too bad but I am resolved to work a little harder on some of them so I can have a good report come New Years next year.

Friday, August 28, 2009

New Home Foibles

One fun (or not so fun) aspect of moving into a new home is adjusting to all its foibles. Our house is great for the most part but for the first three weeks we had a problem with the power in the back room that we are using as Colby's office. For those of you who don't know, we have been blessed to have Colby be able to telecommute from Phoenix, keeping the same job he had in Salt Lake City. This means that having the computer up and running is vital. We discovered that if we have the computer on in the room and the printer, it would cause a brown-out in the room and shut the computer down. This was a major problem for me with school going. Our temporary solution to the problem, while we waited for the landlord to come take a look at it, was to run an extension cord from the printer to another room in the house. The problem has now been resolved but it was funny to see for the first couple of weeks.

Poor Smokey Joe is having a hard time adjusting to the heat. Our living room is carpeted (our last house was hardwood floor) and he has not been happy with it, as a result he has taken over the bottom shelf of the bookcase in my living room and I haven't been able to convince myself make him stop. So my bookcase looks funny with all the other shelves completely full and the bottom left empty.

Jojo really struggled when we first got down here, he is getting old (he is now 17 years old) and doesn't handle change well anymore. About two weeks after we moved in I opened the blinds in the livingroom so he could look out by sitting on the back of the futon. This was the first time he had looked outside since we moved. He took one look out the window, looked at me in panic, meowed and then ran to spend the rest of the day under the bed. He's doing better now and tries to get outside to roll in the dirt everytime a door opens.

My laundry room is a room that was added onto the house later and is not insulated or air conditioned, this means that in this heat the tempature is about 100 degrees (without me running the machines). I have to keep reminding myself that I can't leave any food in it (even though it is right off the kitchen and would be very convenient for my Costco shopping), it is too hot and even canned goods will go bad in that heat. Oh well, at least I won't have to worry about scraping snow and ice off my car when winter comes.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Star Wars

Last weekend Colby and I watched the boys so Riley and Erika could go out for their anniversary. Haydn, as those who know him are aware, is a HUGE Star Wars fan. The boys love it when Colby comes over because he plays light sabers with them.

At one point I looked over and Taite was laying down on the ground, dead from the fight, Colby had one arm up his sleeve, having "lost it in the fight" and Haydn was jumping up and down attacking Colby. Luckily, I am not expected to play and just get to cheer on whoever happens to be winning. (I have to admit, I usually can't tell who is winning but that doesn't stop me from cheering everyone on.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Eighth Anniversary

Today Colby and I celebrated our eighth anniversary. Hard to believe it was eight years ago today that I married my sweetheart.

There have been good times and trying times but he has always been there beside me (or behind me because I am dragging him to something he doesn't want to go to). ;)

Jillian kindly pointed out that Colby and I have been married for half her life. Nothing like a sister to make you feel old. :) It's been a great trip so far. I was going to post a wonderful slide show and music about my hubby but since I have done that the last couple of years I decided to just post some photos of the two of us instead.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

And Here We Are. A posting by the Editor.

We made it to Phoenix. We are here. The Eagle has landed, etc. Jessica is busy unpacking, making me move furniture, and worrying about law school so I am taking one more task off her shoulders and providing you, our Audience, with a brief update.

We did not get any photos of packing up the SLC house due to the failure of the truck rental company (okay, to be fair, the real fail belongs to the previous renter of the truck) and the resultant bad feelings. The reservation for the all-too-small 24' truck was for 0900 MDT Friday, 31 July 2009. We did not get the truck until 1400 MDT. Let's see, 14 - 9 = 5. Five hours wasted. Five hours we could have been loading the truck. We could have been on the road by 1400 MDT. Needless to say, there were some very angry customers. However, we do thank the members of the ward--you know who you are--who showed up to assist us, even if we couldn't find much for you to do.

Once we had the truck in our possession we wasted no time loading it. The two of us, my brother and his wife, and Jillian did the bulk of the loading in four hours. The Elders Quorum president and his wife showed up at just the right time to help us load our deep freeze full of meat and our washer and dryer. I was afraid my brother and I wouldn't be able to handle the freezer by ourselves, especially after busting our butts to get everything else loaded. The EQ president's timing was impecable, thank you.

Some time between 1800 and 1900 MDT we finally got on the road and headed south to St. George. I was by myself in the truck with Jessica and Jillian following in Excursion. The truck was governed at 70 MPH so the drive wasn't spectaculary fast, particularly when it could barely manage going up the mountain passes at 30 MPH. We finally arrived in St. George at 0100 MDT Saturday. We. Were. Tired.

And we slept.

Sometime around 1000 MDT Saturday (maybe later), we finally got our vehicles gassed up, volunteers from St. George loaded (we picked up my dad, Jordanne, and the strong man Matt to help out in Phoenix), and headed south. We arrived in Phoenix at 1800 MST (1900 MDT for you folks who need the conversion) and to the house at around 1840 MST. Yes, that's about nine hours of driving. Stewie showed up as well as Riley, Erika, and their two boys to help us unload the truck. With everyone's help we had the bulk of our junk unloaded and piled haphazardly in the house, behind the house, and some left in the truck for the next day. We. Were. Tired.

And we slept.

We finished unloading everything and got started organizing it all on Sunday. Monday morning we thanked everyone who came down from St. George and bid them farewell. Now it is Wednesday; most of the boxes are unpacked, furniture is where it will be for a while, and life is starting to settle down again.

The new chapter in our life has officially begun.

Now, some photos of the house that my dad took (we haven't taken any yet).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Dad and Tia's Wedding

Colby and I traveled down to St. George and then out to Orderville to participate in Dad and Tia's wedding. The reception and the ceremony were held at the park, we were panicking at about 4:00 PM while the rain came down. Brejden, you can see in the background, had no concerns and enjoyed it. Luckily, the rain stopped and it turned into a beautiful evening.

Tons of people helped out and assisted with, but, as usual, Kay and Sheri were incredible. Kay, with help from Andee, made seven salads and cut up tons of fresh fruit. Sheri made two cakes, one for Dad and one for Tia.
Tia's cake was gorgeous, Sheri never ceases to amaze me. Dad's cake, as you can see, was very inspired.
Sheri did it as a surprise, and boy were they! Dad and Tia were both pleased and tickled. The paint job on the side, courtesy of Dacia, matches Dad's boat perfectly.
The ceremony itself was beautiful. All of us children walked down the aisle first, Mily was a flower girl with Jaycee's help.
Brejden was the ring bearer and Josh, Tia's son, walked her down the aisle.

They wrote their own vows, which I know caused Dad a lot of stress. They were beautiful and the entire ceremony was perfect.
Dad, surprisingly, was nice during the cake cutting and feeding. (I think it was the thought of being cut-off before the Honeymoon had even started that kept him well behaved.)

The motley crew has gotten larger. Tia gained five children, two sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. Dad gained four children and a mother-in-law. This is the whole crew (sans Dad and Tia). Best Wishes to both!

Rock Band Party

For the last five years I have been lucky enough to be involved with the Young Women's Program in our Ward. As a final hurrah, we held a Rock Band Party at my house. The girls were amazed at my incredible drumming skills and my inability to carry a tune in a bucket. Lucky for them, being raised in the family that I have, I have no inhibitions and belt out the songs at the top of my voice.

It also happened to be Sarah's birthday so we had a fabulous cake, made by Emlyn, to go along with our pizza and festivities.

Fourth of July

For the Fourth of July, we held a final dutch oven event before we moved to Phoenix. We had friends over and enjoyed Colby's fabulous ribs, so tender they fall apart.
Colby, forgoing his usual smirk for the camera, decided to pose for the camera. He claims he was posing like I do for the camera but I deny that I ever do such a thing....

It is hard to leave behind all the friends and traditions we have created since we moved up here.