December 15, 2010


By his own admission, Dustin is a bit of a Scrooge.  He's one of those people that likes putting the Christmas tree up on December 24th and taking it down by noon Christmas day.

And then there's the issue of the radio stations playing Christmas music right after Halloween.

And then there's the complaints about how Christmas has become too commercialized.

And then there's the hum bug about how Christmas shouldn't always be about getting presents.

Ok, so I'm exaggerating things a bit.  Big emphasis on the word "bit."

I, on the other hand, love Christmastime, but over the years have gotten used to his less than jolly attitude.

This year, however, things have been different.

One day, while driving around and listening to the radio, Dustin said, "You know, I'm not going to let the Christmas music on the radio bother me this year.  I think I'll view it as "holiday music." This way, I won't get annoyed when I hear it before Thanksgiving."

Another day, he said, "Even though Christmas isn't all about getting presents, gifts are apart of Christmas.  While they shouldn't overshadow celebrating and remembering the birth of Jesus Christ, it's not a bad thing to get excited about opening presents on Christmas morning."

The sudden shift in attitude has been great, and I was really surprised to hear him be more upbeat about and more welcoming to the holiday season.

Why the sudden change in attitude?  That's simple.  Our daughter.  Having our Belle has reminded him of the magic of Christmas.  We have plans to make cookies and deliver them to our friends.  We watch at least one Christmas-ish movie or cartoon a day, just the three of us. We're starting new traditions and thinking of new ones all the time.  It's been great.

And, I couldn't ask for a better way to end the year and bring in the new one.

Merry Christmas everyone!

December 10, 2010


"In my day, seeing pictures of people's vacations was considered a punishment."
-Betty White's thoughts on Facebook, SNL Monologue

When Belle is napping, I tend to get on Facebook and waste time.  I read status updates, play Bejeweled and sometimes browse through other people's pictures.

The other day, I was looking at pictures posted by a girl I knew in junior high.  We weren't friends in junior high, so naturally it made sense that we were "friends" on Facebook.  After a minute or two of clicking from one picture to the next, I started to get envious of this girl's life.  It seemed so much more luxurious and interesting than my own and I guess I got a little jealous.  And that made me mad.  Why was I letting myself feel this way?  This girl was nothing to me.  I hadn't seen or talked to her in 15+ years.  The three years we were under the same roof for approximately 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, we never talked to each other.  If there was ever a person who could bring me down, this was definitely not the one.

I stopped looking at the pictures and went to my list of friends.  I scrolled through all the names and one by one, I started deleting people.  I deleted people that I had removed from my NewsFeed - people that I had removed from the feed because their comments annoyed me, so why be friends at all? - and so forth.  I ultimately deleted over 100 people.

Now as I glance at my list, I feel it is much more accurate.  They are people I know and have seen or talked to in the last decade.  They are family members, old roommates, close friends from school, etc.  They are people that I genuinely want to be in contact with and who I don't mind see the pictures I post of myself and family.

So, to you my readers, do you ever find yourself looking at photos on Facebook and getting envious?  Are you friends with people you really do like, or were you like me and just accepted (for the most part) and ol' request that came your way?


December 9, 2010


Apparently I have too much time on my hands because today I started to wonder why people I know and get along with so well don't like the same TV shows me.  This is true with my friend Karen.  She's a huge Lost fan and I couldn't care less about it.  I don't miss a single episode of 30 Rock and she can take it or leave it.

I decided to take some action by texting her and presenting this challenge:  we would each pick out a TV show for each other to watch.  We had to watch at least 5 consecutive episodes, preferably from the beginning of the series.  After we had completed our task, we'd report to each other and give feedback.  The ultimate goal is to see if we get hooked on our assigned show.

My pick for Karen:  USA's Psych.  

Karen's pick for me:  TNT's Leverage.  

We are both really excited.  I'm going to Netflix Leverage right away.

Before I tell you why I chose Psych, here is a little bit of background on the series for those of you who do not watch it.  First of all, it stars James Roday as Shawn Spencer and Dule Hill, Burton Guster "Gus" and thanks to IMDb, here is a good synopsis of the show:

"A novice sleuth (Roday) is hired by the police after he cons them into thinking he has psychic powers that help solve crimes. With this assistance of his reluctant best friend (Hill) the duo take on a series of complicated cases."

One of the main reasons why I like Psych is because it's not one of those Emmy winning or even nominating series that everyone loves.  Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with award winning shows, but sometimes you just have to root for the little guys.  

Another reason why I like it is because it's actors, directors, creators, writers, etc., don't take themselves too seriously.  Their show is what it is and they enjoy making it regardless of huge recognition.  I especially learned this while watching a few episodes with commentary.  Everyone was laughing and having a good time.

While Psych's story lines aren't nail biting and usually predictable, they are full of great one liners.

And, of course, I love that Shawn and Gus aren't afraid to show a little emotion.  This clip is one of many when they demonstrate their high pitched screaming abilities.
(Sorry for the poor video quality.)

So, there you have it - one of many reasons why I like Psych.  If any of you would like to join in our little challenge, feel free!  Remember, watch 5 episodes and then give me your feedback!

December 8, 2010

Confession Wednesday: Favorite Christmas Traditions

Confession Wednesday Button

This is an easy confession for me.  All during my childhood years, my family and I would spent Christmas with my grandparents in Idaho Falls.  Every year, my grandma would put together a great Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve.  Besides my family, my grandma's sisters family came to the party too.  It wasn't a large crowd, but we still filled up the house.

The party always began in the basement.  We had hamloaf (like meatloaf only made with ground's hard to describe), sour cream potatoes, raspberry jello and little sandwiches.  The little sandwiches were always my favorite.  They weren't anything special, just a sandwich platter my grandpa ordered from a grocery store, but considering the fact that I only ever ate little sandwiches on Christmas Eve made them one of my favorite parts of Christmas.

After dinner, we all made our way  upstairs and had a Christmas program.  We sang songs, read from the Bible and my sister and I usually played a musical number on our violins.

Last, we did a fish pond.  This game is one that my grandpa put together.  He called it Grandma's Fish Pond.  He hung a sheet in front of a door frame and each of us took turns "fishing."  Our "fish" were always random, dollar store type things, but we all enjoyed it, even the adults.

At the end of the party, people went home and the kids went to bed trying so hard to fall asleep, but couldn't knowing Santa Claus was on his way.

As my grandparents aged, they were unable to host Christmas at their house.  So, my parents carried on the traditions at their house.  Things were never quite the same, but fortunately, I'll always have my memories of Christmas in Idaho Falls.

To this day, I insist on having little sandwiches every Christmas Eve.  No party is complete without them.

December 7, 2010


An innocent man is about to be executed.  Only a guilty man can save him.  Will the real killer step forward before it's too late?

Weeks ago, I entered a giveaway at my dear real-life friend Karen's blog.  The prize?  A hardcover copy of John Grisham's latest novel The Confession.  Like all blog giveaways, Karen provided her readers tons and ways to enter; however, I just entered once by posting the title of my favorite John Grisham book:  The Client.

After that, I didn't think too much of it.  I knew winning would be a long shot given I only entered once.

One evening, Karen sent me a text that said:  "Be sure to read my blog tomorrow."

The suspense was killing me. 

The next morning, I went to her blog and found out I was one of her giveaway winners.  Awesome.  My first giveaway win EVER!

When I got the book, I'll admit, I wasn't way excited to read it.  I had sort of lost interest in John Grisham  awhile ago when his novels stopped keeping my interest.  His early novels like A Time to Kill, Pelican Brief and The Client were exceptional.  But, as time went on his work began to bore me.  While they were well written, the plots didn't grab me.

With that in mind, when I started reading The Confession the bar was set pretty low.  I began reading, then read some more.  When I wasn't reading it, I wanted to be reading.  I couldn't wait for my daughter's nap time and bedtime because that meant I could read.  In a nutshell, I was hooked.  What a page turner!

I finished the novel in 3 days.  That may seem like a normal amount of time for some people, but I am a slow reader.  I always have been.  So finishing the book in just 3 days is a great indicator of how much I loved it.

There are three reasons why I loved this book so much:

First, the plot.  Nothing too complicated.  An innocent man is in jail.  Only a guilty man can save him.  Will the real killer step forward before it is too late.  Clean.  Cut.  Simple.

Second, the writing.  It was easy reading, but definitely not something written for "young readers."  Through the writing, I was able to connect with the characters.  I was able to picture them in my mind as I flipped from page to page.  They were described so well that (and this is totally true) when I wasn't reading I thought about the characters and wondered how they were doing.  And then I had to remind myself that they were not real people.

Another example of how alive this book was to me was when I was talking to my dad one day.  We were going over the latest headlines and whatnot.  Suddenly, I remembered this case I had heard about that was really interesting.  Just as I started to open my mouth, I caught myself and realized "the case" I was going to tell  him was all from the book.  I kept thinking all of this was real.  It was so weird to have to remind myself over and over again that it was only a book.

So, I told him about the book instead and told him he had to read it.  :)

Last, the language.  I'm not a huge fan of tons of language in books.  I don't like reading the "F" word over and over again like in The Devil Wears Prada.  I don't like novels that are too graphic like I heard The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is.  It ruins it for me.  Call me crazy.  The language was perfect and details about the crime are tame.  Definitely PG-13 material.

If any of you are interested in a good read, pick up The Confession and give it a try.  You won't be disappointed!


"Never say never!"
-Good advice

I don't know where the saying "never say never" came from, but it really is good advice, especially if you don't want to look stupid for doing something you said you'd never do!

Here are two examples of when I never should've said never.

First, the mini van.  Everyone seems to have vans in Utah.  Wherever you go, there is always a plethora of vans on the road, in a driveway or in a parking lot.  Even my parents had a van.  Vans are everywhere!

When I got married, a little over five years ago, Dustin and I made the decision to never own a van.  We didn't like the look of the van, the stereotype that people that own vans have like a billion children and so forth.

Then, we bought Sammie, our Cocker Spaniel.

Then, we decided to keep Tod, the stray dog that wouldn't leave our porch and whose owners we could not find.

Then, our daughter Belle was born.

Throw in living hours away from both of our families; hence, a lot of time spent in the car just to visit family.

Combine all these things and the car we had just wasn't cutting it in terms of space and comfort.

So, we decided to look for a bigger car, keeping in mind we were NOT going to get a van.

Test drive after test drive after a dozen test drivers later, we finally agreed to check out a van.  As soon as I got into the car I KNEW it was the right vehicle for our family.   Not only did it have room for 7 people, it was so spacious.  All of our luggage would easily fit, the dogs would have plenty of room to lay down, and so much more.

We bought the van and have really been pleased with it ever since.  

Never say never!

Second, DVD players in cars.

You know how when you're not a parent you still seem to think you know what other parents should or should not be doing with their own children?  You see a mom letting her kid run around in a store and think, "My child will never do that!"  You walk around judging parents left and right as if you were the only person in the world that ever thought about discipline techniques.

Before my daughter was born, and whenever I was on the freeway or doing some city driving, I constantly saw cars that had DVDs in them.  In all my ignorance, I swore, when I had children, there would never be a DVD player in the car.  "My kids will be not be addicted to TV," I thought.  "I'll be able to entertain my children so much better than any old DVD player!"

Well, never, lasted less than 2 years.

After listening to Belle scream in the car for hours (i.e., 4 hour trip to WY Thanksgiving 2009 = 4 hours of screaming) and enduring other tantrums whether we were in the car for an hour or just 5 minutes, Dustin and I finally caved and got a portable DVD player.  We have a great setup.  I hold the main player with all the controls (because I have to have easy access to the rewind button when Belle decides she wants to watch the same clip over and over again) while the other screen is on the headrest of Dustin's seat - perfect for Belle to watch all of her fun movies.

(Try listening to that 44 seconds of video 10 times in a row.  Fun stuff!)

So, from now on, I'm going to withhold saying never as often as I can.  I can't say I'll never say never again, but you never know.  :)


December 1, 2010

oh, TLC!

"I thought you'd be some place were U.S. law can't touch you like Bali or Utah."
-Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock

Have we all heard about TLC's latest show Sister Wives?  I suppose having shows about little people and incredibly fertile families (19 kids, seriously?) got boring, so they had to throw in a show about polygamists to keep the public's interest.

While I've only see bits and pieces of Sister Wives, I will say the show really bothers me.  For one, I am a LDS (Mormon) and one of the greatest misconceptions about the LDS church is that we all practice polygamy.  Granted, that was the case many years ago, but as of 1890 the practice ceased and it has been that way ever since.

The other reason Sister Wives bothers me is because it takes place in Utah.  I was born and raised and currently live in Utah.  So, now this show, in my opinion, sheds a bad light on Utah.  I mean, these people are clearly violating civil law, and yet here they are, going about their daily routines on camera as if it is all normal and legal.  Oh, and let's throw in a paycheck while we're at it.

Apparently, there has been some talk about an investigation, but in terms of Kody and his four wives ever being prosecuted for breaking the law is highly unlikely. This is especially true when you consider that the children don't appear to be abused, specifically sexual abuse, which is too often the case with other polygamist families.

As for me, when it comes to this Kody guy, he's wrapping this lifestyle up in a nice little package labeled religion when all it really boils down to is having his cake and eating it too.

In the end, so long as viewers know that this lifestyle is not the norm in Utah and that the LDS church does not practice polygamy, I'm happy!

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