Sunday, November 2, 2008

Me and Politics???

Okay, so I'm usually the last person to have anything to say politically, but on this issue, I find it hard not to feel passionate about my personal convictions.

Everyone's talking about how this issue is key in California right now. However, what's not getting a lot of attention is that it's on the ballot in 3 states this year (California, Arizona, and Florida). We had a special meeting in church a few weeks ago to talk about the implications of the proposition here in Arizona. Again, this weekend in our (regional) stake conference, we had Elder Ballard, Elder Cook, and Elder Packer reminding us of the church's stance on this political issue.

In 27 years of attending church, I have not once ever heard anything political endorsed within the walls of a church building, and yet, on this issue, our church is speaking up. Here are the reasons:

  • These propositions have nothing to do with the rights of same-sex partners (benefits, etc). They are measures to amend the state constitutions to include a formal and legal definition of marriage as being the union of a man and a woman.
  • 45 of the 50 states either have a constitutional amendment or a statute (as exists in Arizona) that defines marriage as such. This shows that the people as a whole still believe in the traditional nature of marriage.
  • In a few legal cases in states where the law exists as a statute rather than a part of the constitution, the state supreme courts have had the power to overrule that law and declare it as unconstitutional--this just happened in Connecticut a few weeks ago and, shy of supporting a proposition on their ballot to rewrite their constitution, there is nothing they can do in this election to defend the family. These propositions take that power away from the state judiciary or legislatures and give it to the people, to whom it belongs. These propositions let the people define marriage. If the people ever decide to repeal their law, that is their collective prerogative, and I pray that Heavenly Father helps us if that day ever comes.

So here in Arizona, church volunteers have been encouraging all members to be registered to vote and receive early ballots. Additionally, we've been instrumental in putting up signs, making calls at call centers, and applying some of our missionary zeal to discussing the issue with our friends, neighbors, and coworkers -- not to preach sin and repentance but to explain the intent of the proposition. And yes, that is a political sign you see in my front yard (I never thought that day would come)! It's actually sign number 2, as sign number 1 disappeared a few nights ago. We had ward volunteers delivering door hangers and in our neighborhood, the volunteer was apparently shadowed by someone taking down the fliers as they were being put up, probably the same guy who took my sign.

I've seen videos, read articles, and heard a lot of scary stories about basic parental and moral rights being challenged as consequences of legalized same-sex marriage. Parents have been denied prior knowledge of "diversity" lessons in public schools introducing children to families of all types. A bill in California calls a reference to a "father", "mother", "husband", or "wife" in a public school discriminatory. School bathrooms can be utilized by the opposite sex if that individual most associates "itself" (because I clearly can't "legally" use himself or herself) with the opposite gender. Textbooks would have to spend equal time discussing same-sex relationships or relations as any others. Churches could lose tax-exempt status if they refused to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies to be held in their places of worship. The list goes on.

It's a little scary as a father to think about the implications of public education and what morals are being legally taught these days. If my child's class can't hold birthday or "Christmas" parties because of the beliefs of religious minorities that may be in class, I can't imagine the school system not allowing parents to opt out of any moral / diversity / or sex-educational teaching that is taking place. Regardless of the world's education, the ultimate responsibility of teacher for our children lies with us as parents.

I know that there are a lot of good people out there who may not live with the same standards we embrace. God, however, will not change the standard. He laid it out clearly in a proclamation to the world a decade ago in which, almost as a prophetic warning, the Lord called upon "responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere" to promote measures to strengthen the family. Heavenly Father says, 'Hate the sin, love the sinner'. That was Christ's way and we should all emulate His example. But that does not mean that we should stand idly by and let the world around us define our morals and standards. Hence, in this case, the Lord does take a stand and has called us to actively support the legislation.

President Hinckley said, "No one need tell you that we are living in a very difficult season in the history of the world. Standards are dropping everywhere. Nothing seems to be sacred anymore... I do not know that things were worse in the times of Sodom and Gomorrah. … I think our Father must weep as He looks down upon His wayward sons and daughters."

We are living in a day where there is no evil that was practiced in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah that is not practiced or widely accepted in our society. If you remember the story, Abraham asked the Lord to spare the city if he found 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, and even 10 righteous living with the wicked. And the Lord could not find even 10 who had not embraced the evils of that world. The difference today is that there are many more than 10 who have not accepted the standards of Gomorrah. When the people as a whole vote to define marriage differently or to embrace any other unrighteous standard we may be ripe for destruction. But until then, we should not allow the media or the judges or anyone other than the collective people as a whole tell us what we must accept as diversity and acceptable morals. Even if that day comes, we can still safeguard our families and fight "in memory of our God, our religion, and freedom, and our peace, our wives, and our children". God bless us as we strive to wave our Titles of Liberty high.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

New Additions to the Family

We've had several new additions to our family this month. The first of which is Amy's new dog Cougar (give you one guess as to who picked the name!). Mike had a friend at work who found a puppy in his front yard and could not find the owner to it. He's a single guy and didn't have enough time to give the puppy the attention he needs, so he asked if anyone was interested. While we weren't really looking for a dog, Mike got really excited about it and so we went for it. Happy early birthday to Amy.

Things we have learned about Cougar:

1) He's a big scaredy cat. He spent the first couple hours in our backyard hiding in the corner. He was especially scared of Amy because she would walk right at him. She quickly won him over by bringing him food from his bowl, across the yard, and feeding him out of her hand. They became fast friends, but he's still a scaredy cat. Any time a new person comes in the backyard, he puts his tail between his legs and wets himself.
2) He is definitely still a puppy. The guy who found him took him to the vet and they said that Cougar is about 11 weeks old. Sounds young, right? Yeah... he's a black lab, so they grow REALLY fast. He's already Amy's size. He likes to jump on her and pull on her clothes and chase her around. She's still learning how to play with him without getting scratched (not that he does it on purpose, of course. He's just playing).
3) Mike loves the dog a little more than Amy does. Don't get my wrong, Amy sits by the back window a lot of the day and talks to Cougar through the glass - we don't let her got out there by herself yet because she can't control him when he gets hyper and jumps on her. They definitely are buddies, but I think Mike does love him a little more. He often takes him for walks at night - sometimes as late as 10 or 11. Mike never had a dog growing up, so this is a new adventure for him.

Our next addition has since left us, but it was here temporarily. There was a G.A.I.N. event in Goodyear a couple weeks ago (I don't know what it stands for, but it's something run by the neighborhoods) over at the Goodyear park. I have to say - BEST CITY EVENT OF THE YEAR! While we enjoy the Halloween and Christmas festivals, this event had something the others did not - FREE FOOD! And let's face it, we're all about the free food. They had several people doing shows (local dance studios) and the neighborhoods each had a booth, but the best part was that they got local restaurants to come down and give out free samples. While the word "sample" is not very exciting, let me just say that we were STUFFED when we finished. There was more food there than we could possibly eat. And we tried! It was a lot of fun, complete with bouncers and sidewalk chalk for Amy.

They also had a raffle that you could get tickets for by visiting each of the community booths. Mike, being all about free stuff, took us to each booth and we each got a ticket to enter. Lo and behold, we won! Mike, me, and Lindsey Owen (poor Richard...) each got drawn for the raffle. Lindsey and I each won a carry-on suitcase with two bags inside of it. We told Mike he won the grand prize... it's very special... he likes to tell people "It's a major award" (name the movie!)... It was George. Yeah... while my mom thinks he's kinda cute, I have to admit, I was a little less than impressed. Mike and Richard thought it was HILARIOUS though. Mike took pictures of him so he could show the guys at work, who also thought it was hilarious. He sat in my front room for about 3 days and then he was sent to work with Mike to be passed around and finally ended up in the kitchen area holding candybars. At least he was put to work. So our new member of the family, George, has left home to find work.

We do have one more addition to our family, and if you made it this far... here's the payoff. We're having a baby! Woo hoo! It's been a long year of hoping and waiting, but we're proud to announce we will have a new baby joining our family come June. The initial dute date we were given was June 10th, but we're going in again on Tuesday to see an ultrasound tech, but it should be within a day or two of the 10th I think. Amy is as excited as any 2-year old, only-child can be. However, she LOVES babies (the Owens had their baby this week and she talks about "baby cawey" (Kylee) all the time), so we think she'll like having a sibling.
As far as I go, I'm doing pretty good. I'm not anywhere as sick as I was with Amy (I lost 10 pounds in a week or two by being sick with Amy). I am still nauceous in the morning and early afternoon, but not to the point of actually being sick too often. As long as I take it easy, it's tolerable. The nice thing is that it wears off by the late afternoon / early evening, so I can still go out and have fun in the evenings because I'm not sick! That's been really nice.

Anyway, that's our news! This last picture is for my mom and sisters, because we looked like this every night growing up! Now it's Amy's turn.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Garage Sales and New Closets

Well, Amy just keeps growing up. I don't know how to stop her; she doesn't seem to want to be my little baby anymore. In anticipation of this defiance, we have been in search of a toddler bed lately. We decided one Saturday a couple of weeks ago that we would try to hit some garage sales in our search, as craigslist wasn't turning up much in our neighborhood. To our surprise and joy, it turned out that the Saturday we went that Estrella Mountain Ranch was having their community garage sale - about 1 in every 5 houses was having one! So we drove the neighborhoods and found a new bike for Mike, a new Disney sing-along song movie for Amy,a crouquet set,... and near the end of our morning, there it was! Just as we were about to give up, we found the perfect toddler bed! Amy LOVES it, and she has even asked us to put her to bed a night or two. Advantage: She can get up in the morning instead of peeing her diaper, meaning she wakes up dry! Disadvantage: She can get up in the morning, and she does... at 6:30 in the morning. I think she's always gotten up that early, but she's always been content to stay in her bed and play and talk to herself until we came in to get her - basically, she spoiled us. Now that she can get up, she toddles herself into our room saying, "Mom! Mom! Some Milk?" Notice it's "Mom," not "Dad." Mike has been a good sport and let me sleep in some mornings, but if he doesn't get out of bed and take her into the front room for some breakfast or cartoons, she refuses to cuddle with him in the bed because she wants me, which is both sweet and a bit annoying some mornings. Oh well... I guess we can officially say she's completely potty trained before the age of 2 (she turns 2 in a couple weeks)! The only other problem we've had with the bed is her habit of occasionally falling out of it. I need to get some sort of railing for her because she is definitely her mother's child, meaning she rolls all over the place, including onto the floor.

The other happenings around our home are the new shelves. The closets in the office and Amy's room are those lame, single plastic shelves across the top. I wanted some wooden ones with several shelves across one side and some long shelves across the top because the closets are really tall. Mike and Richard spent a whole day cutting, measuring, painting, and installing some wooden shelves for me, including 3 small shelves across the top that fit my food storage cans PERFECTLY! Thanks Richard for all your help! Thanks Mike for dealing with my ever-changing mind. The next step is to do something similar in Amy's closet. Hooray for a husband who likes to learn new skills!

Friday, October 10, 2008


I am currently obsessed with this website, Today she posted this amazing deal (I also got this Visine deal) where you get free cleaning supplies! Here's how I did:

Retail Price: $55.92 (this includes sales tax)

Manufacturer's Coupons: $29.00

Walgreens Coupon: $4.00

Walgreen's Rebate: $22.00

Total Money Spent: $0.92. Actually, because I chose to get my rebate on a gift card instead of in check form, I'm getting 10% more back, so I'll get $24.20 back, meaning I made $1.28 buying cleaning supplies!


Here's a picture of what I purchased! Everyone must go stock up now! Even if these aren't things you normally use, you can either give them a try, or put them in a cute basket and call it a wedding gift!
I left them on the floor where I took the picture and walked away for a minute, and Amy felt it was her job to line them up on the table! How funny!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Random Stuff

So my husband is absolutely beside himself because BYU men's basketball is coming to UofP Stadium this December (the 20th) to play in a tournament against ASU. So, naturally, we're going. If anyone else is interested in going, let us know. We're probably going to buy tickets this week. We're just getting the cheapseats, which after all the ridiculous fees they tack on turn out to be about $25.

Also, is anyone else super excited for the office to start? Mike and I have finally caught up and this will be the first season we're actually up to date on! If anyone wants to get together and watch, let me know!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Catching Up

Life's been going on around here, so I decided it was time to catch up. It's hard when you forget for a couple weeks to remember everything you wanted to write, but I guess I'll do my best. I find it's easiest to remember what I did by going through my camera and looking at the pictures there. We've gotten pretty good about always having it in my purse so that we can whip it out at any time.

First of all, here is the next phase of Mike's BBQing. I've seen on the Food Network (one of my many obsessions) that they always do beer can chicken - which means you stick the can of beer up the chicken's rear and smoke it. This supposedly made it really nice and moist. Well, in Mike's handy dandy BBQ book, it had this same technique, but it had a side note that said you could use cola or root beer. Before I go on, just to clarify, I realize that the alcohol in any beer would be cooked out in the smoking process and that using wines and such in cooking is not abnormal. In fact, every time I eat at an italian restaurant they are probably cooking with it. I have a phobia of it though, hence my hesitation. Maybe some day I will overcome it, until then, I guess there's no problem with using non-alcoholic beverages. Mike did want to go with the root BEER so that it was closer to the original, in name at least. He used the same rub that he used on the delicious ribs and it turned out AMAZING! It was super moist and tender. Amy had about 4 servings of it, along with a whole ear of corn and a ton of watermelon. If we are ever worried about her eating enough food, we will just have to make her this again.
Another recent fun experience I got to have was going to the CKC scrapbooking convention with my mom. We went last year and I'm still trying to finish that project (boo me - it's hard when it takes so long to get everything out and put it all away; I need to make a craft corner in my room or office so that I can just leave it out). This year we did smaller projects that were SUPER high-speed, but very interesting and fun. We did a canvas project, which is used for home decor; we didn't LOVE this one, but it was definitely a different technique and kinda cool. We also did a page for scrapbooking children - I didn't notice it was super "kiddie" though, so it was really just a two-page spread. My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE was the halloween book we made. I loved it the most, not only because I'm a halloween FREAK, but also because it was different than just a page. My mom makes a lot of cute little books that she sets out with pictures in, and I have a couple I'm working on. They let you finish a complete project instead of constantly working towards one scrapbook. I really like it.
Let's see... I guess to catch up on Amy, she will be 2 in about a month and a half, which is ridiculously crazy to me. The potty training is still continuing. She has gotten really good about telling me when she needs to go #2, but doesn't always remember to ask to go #1, but will do so if I ask her or just set her on the potty. My mom really hates the pictures of kids sitting on toilets, but I had to post this one. I figured it was okay because she was concealed completely. This is what Amy does when she has to go #2. She hides inside the curtain while she grunts and groans, then pops out when she's done and says "all done!". It's such a funny little thing that she just has always done, so I thought I'd better document it.
Amy has also gotten into some trouble today because she decided to color on my walls. Now, while this is annoying and takes a bit to clean up, it's not unbearable on most walls. However, we still have the stupid flat paint on all our walls in the entry way and front room, which is where she decided to color of course. So even though I can remove the crayon marks, not there's smear marks because that's just what flat paint does. I guess now I'm more motivated to paint my house like I've wanted to for a long time.
Speaking of painting, Amy let me paint her toes today. I decided to do mine, even though I want to go to the nail salon and get "halloweeny" toes at the beginning of October. My 4th of July toes were just not working for me anymore, so I pulled out the nail polish and Amy thought it was cool. I had tried to do this once when she was a little little baby, but she kicked too much. She actually held still really well and I made sure to blow on them before letting her loose. Every once and a while now she stops, looks at her toes, and says "pretty toes."
This weekend my mom went on a cruise (hooray mom!) with my grandma, so Mike and I decided to cook dinner for my dad and sister. We did the root beer chicken again, with corn on the cob, salad, and rolls. It was yum yum good! Jessie, my littlest sister, agreed to watch Amy afterwards and Mike and I headed over to Gilbert High School where Rob Gardner (one of Mike's favorite composers) was doing a free concert. If you look in the July posts, you'll see Mike's tribute to pioneers - this is the same guy. This concert, however, was a tribute to WWII veterens. It goes through the major battles, showing video, accompanied by the orchestra, with narraters and singers telling stories based off of letters written by soldiers, some who survived and some who didn't. It was really nice and we were glad we got the opportunity to go.
I guess to wrap up this post, I will share what our FHE was tonight. With Amy being so young, it's hard to do a lesson, but we try to take some time to play together as a family, so we went to the nearby park (has anybody else noticed that most of the parks in the neighborhoods do not have lights on the playground areas? How dumb is that?!). We were the only ones there, so we got to climb around and slide with Amy without looking too strange. When we came back, I glanced at the calendar and noticed that today is the first day of autumn. Mike misses the changing of the leaves down here, so I decided it would be fun to make our own autumn leaves. We have a bag of real ones that Mike's mom had sent us in past years (thanks mom!) that we used as templates. Amy liked using the markers and stayed on the papers really well (we watched her much more closely after this morning's crayon fiasco). We had fun and now our front room is full of fall colors.

Sarsaparilla Skirt & Vest GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

How cute is this? It makes me think of halloween costumes - and I LOVE HALLOWEEN! Hooray for October!
Sarsaparilla Skirt & Vest GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Grosgrain: Sleepytime Bear Nightgown GIVEAWAY!!!!

This is a cool site with awesome giveaways. Check it out! She makes cute old-fashionedy clothes.
Grosgrain: Sleepytime Bear Nightgown GIVEAWAY!!!!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Rise and Shout!

As anyone who has driven past our house this weekend can tell you because of the flag waving on top of our house, it is BYU Football Season! The first game was Saturday and Mike was giddy. First of all, last year we only got half of the games because the other half were on the MTN, a station that Arizona didn't pick up. This year, however, DirecTV picked up the MTN so we think we should get all the games! Anyway, the Owens and Beckers came over, Amy donned her BYU cheerleader outfit (which fits her perfectly this year), and out came the nacho cheese. In case you were wondering and didn't already know, BYU beat Northern Iowa 38-17. If you're a fan without the MTN, give us a call and you can be on our short list for the next game!

Getting ready for the big game - notice the cougar on the table.
Mike taught Amy to "Ra Ra... Ra Ra Ra... Go Cougars!"

Cheerleading Tricks!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


For Father's Day, I got Mike a book on grilling because he had mentioned before that he wanted to learn to grill more and better. Well, he has taken the challenge to heart. He has decided to barbecue every other Sunday and it has been DELICIOUS! A couple weeks ago he made pork tenderloin with this amazing garlic, cilantro, lime juice, and other stuff sauce and marinade and topped it with grilled onions. SO GOOD! I wasn't sure he'd be able to keep up with this deliciousness, but then today... HOLY COW! He SMOKED pork spareribs with a homemade rub and a homemade bbq sauce. It was so good that we ate WAY too much, but it was hard to walk away from. So, if you're dying for some good barbecue, try to invite yourself over 2 Sundays from now for some mm, mm, good cooking. Thanks Mike!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

August Birthdays

Since half of my family has a birthday in the month of August, I decided to lump them all into one post and send out a shout-out to all the August birthdays.

This is my sister Summer. She turned 18 on the 6th! She's officially an adult. She graduated from high school this year and will be heading up to BYU-Idaho in a couple weeks. We are so excited for her and have been trying to help her out and get her ready. She's a fun-loving girl and we are going to miss her when she's gone this fall.

Lisa turned 23 on the 19th. She is the sister just younger than me, which means when she gets older I get even older. Yuck. Lisa is a new 2nd grade teacher at Fulton Elementary School in Chandler. We are so proud of everything she's done this year - graduating, getting a job, etc. Love you sister!

My mom turned 44 (wink, wink) on the 20th. I got to meet up with her the day after her birthday and take her out to lunch to Red Robin. I love my mom SO much. She is truly one of my best friends and I know that I can always turn to her whenever I have a problem or have exciting news or just need a friend. Thanks mom, and happy birthday!

This is the baby, Jessica. Okay, so not so much a baby anymore, since she will turn 15 on the 27th. Hard to believe she's so old. Jessica is a lot of fun and Amy loves her probably more than any of her other aunts. She's always such a good babysitter for Amy. She is also a swimmer and swims on the Gilbert High Swim Team. Good luck this year Jess! Love ya!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Such a Big Girl!

Amy is getting to be such a big girl! She will be 1-3/4 tomorrow! Anyway, her hair is finally long enough to do more than pigtails to it, so here's the day she let me braid her hair. Unfortunately, it only looks like this for about 5 minutes before she starts rolling around on the floor and messes it up, so for those of you who see her at church, just look at this picture and imagine this is what she looked like on the way to church before she messed it up.

Also, we are starting the adventure of potty training! Yikes! Yesterday was day 1, and it went pretty well. The score was 2 points to the potty, 1/2 point to the carpet, and 1/2 point to the bathtub. I thought that was pretty good for the first day. Today, the carpet is 1-0 on the potty, but after a day and a half of not pooping (she's been holding it in), she decided she finally needed to go and she sat on her potty all by herself and went! Hooray! She was promptly rewarded with a sucker. Here's hoping today continues to be good!

Family Fun

This has been a fun week for us. On Monday, for FHE, we decided to take Amy over to the splashpad at the Goodyear Park. She likes to put her hands in, but hasn't been willing to run through the water yet. That's why we bring her dad! Mike took her hand and ran with her through the water. She was soaked, but was cracking up and did it a couple more times. Afterwards, we went out for an ice cream cone - Amy's first! She LOVED it! We pulled the whole top part off into a cup because it was dripping like crazy, but she didn't care. Her new thing is "hold it," meaning she wants to hold it. That made the ice cream cone perfect. She looks so big!
Later in the week, Amy was wandering the house. She likes to climb up on our bed and jump around, and she found a bowl of popcorn on the bedside table. This is how I found her - feet on the wall and the bowl of popcorn in hand.
My sister Calli and her two kids, Taylor and Keaton, were in town this week too, so we decided to have a girls day/night. Amy and I went over in the morning and went swimming at my moms. In the afternoon my mom and I made t-shirt dressed for Taylor and Amy! It was so fun and easy, and I want to make another one so I can practice and get better, so if anyone wants to get together and make some, let me know! They're so 80's, so we had to put the fat headbands and Amy's hair is in a side ponytail. What cute girls! Taylor really likes when she and Amy match, so this was fun for them.
That night we went to dinner (yum, yum... Gecko Grill). Then we went to the movies... Mamma Mia! We had seen the play, so we were excited to see the movie. While we thought Meryl Streep was too old to play that role, the music is so fun that we had a blast. Too much, in fact, because the ladies behind us kept ssshing us. Oh well. If they were having fun, they wouldn't mind. Thanks mom and sisters for a fun night! We don't get to have these very often because Calli lives in Missouri and Summer is going to college in the fall!