Monday, December 15, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes...

(Overheard yesterday in Junior Primary music time)

Brooke: Today we are talking about people in the scriptures who waited for Christmas. Anna was a woman who was waiting for the Christ child. If you were waiting for Jesus, where would you wait for him?

Children: Bethlehem! The stable! By the manger!

Brooke: I'll give you a hint. You boys will go there before you go on your missions, and when you girls want to get married you'll go there with your boyfriends.

Arabella: Brigham Young University!

A greater truth has rarely been spoken.

I miss Arizona today.

Just another day in the life of Nathan Jones.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Still, Still, Still.

Today is one of those beautiful snowy days where the flakes drift down without any biting wind or ice. It's that perfect powder that just settles on things and makes everything clean. So today I am in a festive mood, this being the first happy snow in about ten years. I don't know how long it will last, but for now I have Sarah McLachlan singing Christmas carols on and I am going to work on the Ward Christmas party and enjoy the gentle peace of the Earth at rest.

Monday, November 24, 2008

And the winners are...

Crazily enough, this is actually the calmest of the pictures that I have displaying the triumph that is our Twilight t-shirts. That's right, a round of applause to Melinda for her winning entry of "Be a Lover, Not a Biter" which caused many a head to turn when Jamica passed by in the concession stand. As you can also see, Brooke went with the saucy "Vamped Up", whereas I went a bit of a different direction with "Who the Forks is Bella?". An honorable mention to Lynn for "Bear... it's what's for dinner" which got a lot of laughs all around. We thought about wearing our shirts to church the next day, a la prom dresses, but in the end we decided against it as we would be too much of a distraction. When you're this hot and all...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Karine would be so proud.

As most of you all know, the most anticipated movie in Mormondom since "The Empire Strikes Back" (Dude, the Force is totally the priesthood!) is coming out this weekend. That's right, you fans of all things Stephenie Meyer, we're talking "Twilight" (Insert girly screams here). I still haven't figured out what makes a vampire hot - do you know what they do?!?- but the books are a fun read so I am in for the movie. My friend Brooke and I have decided to get into the spirit of it and embrace our inner dorks by making t-shirts for the movie, so I have been tasked with coming up with some funny sayings. Knowing the infinetly creative minds of my fellow dorks (aka family and friends) I would love any suggestions that you might have. I will be sure to post a picture of us in our finished projects. In the meantime, enjoy the movie, Karine, as I am certain that you are probably already camping out in front of the theater!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Apparently, some people take my blog quite seriously.

Is it over the top to call myself visionary?

Pentagon Clears Flying-Car Project for Takeoff
By Noah Shachtman November 13, 2008

Pentagon mad-science division Darpa is helping build thought-controlled robotic limbs, artificial pack mules, real-life laser guns and "kill-proof" soldiers. So it comes as no surprise, really, that the agency is now getting into the flying-car business, too.

Darpa hopes its "Personal Air Vehicle Technology" project, announced yesterday, will ultimately lead to a working prototype of a military-suitable flying car -- a two- or four-passenger vehicle that can "drive on roads" one minute and take off like a helicopter the next. The hybrid machine would be perfect for "urban scouting," casualty evacuation and commando-delivery missions, the agency believes.

Mix it up! Mix it up!

Okay, If you want to laugh for one minute and fifty-five seconds while learning something that will not only enrich your happiness but also the lives of your loved ones check this out. Make sure you tell your friends and leave a comment or two. Brooke - you so cra-zay!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ready or not...

I don't usually respond to tags (or is it that people don't tag me?) but this is for Lynn, the most Christian woman I know.

Eight Favorite TV Shows:

1. Arrested Development - Anyone who doesn't like this show should just stop reading right now because there is no hope for friendship between us.
2. The Office - If you don't know Michael Scott, you are Michael Scott.
3. 30 Rock - I nominate Alec Baldwin for the funniest man on television ever.
4. Project Runway/Top Chef - Same show, different medium. Both fierce.
5. Law and Order - The original will always be the best.
6. CBS Sunday Morning - They always do interesting stories on the news, culture, politics, etc.
7. Masterpiece Theater - The perfect way to end a Sunday.
8. Pardon the Interruption - I could listen to Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon all day, even when I don't know who the heck they are talking about.

Eight Things I Did Yesterday:

1. Laundry
2. Read the first 50 pages of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime". Thanks Brooke!
3. Looked at a bunch of jobs
4. Edited some writing
5. Made a goal to run
6. Decided to put off running
7. Checked up on my dad
8. Had the third great night of sleep in a row

Eight Things I Look Forward To:

1. Jet Packs
2. Flying Cars
3. Wearing metallic clothes
4. Eating food compressed into pellets
5. The day that chub is sexy again
6. The day that ghostly white skin is sexy again
7. The day that Obama makes all my dreams come true
8. Thanksgiving

Eight Favorite Restaurants:

1. Ego Thai
2. My Big Fat Greek Restaurant
3. Joe's Barbeque
4. The Compass
5. Wagamama
6. Duke's
7. The one on the top of the Westin Kauai
8. Room Service

Eight Things On My Wishlist*

*See "Eight Things I Look Forward To" but replace Thanksgiving with a Jaguar E-Type.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Happiness is...

1. A giraffe, a lady bug, a turkey, a dragonfly, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid waiting for their closeups.

2. Watching your family making fools of themselves just because you told them to.

3. Hearing everyone say "See you all in 2010!".

Thursday, November 6, 2008

No llores por mi, Argentina...

Hace diez anos ya que recibi mi llamamiento a servir como una missionara de La Iglesia de Jesucristo De Los Santos De Los Ultimos Dias a la gente de la provincia de Buenos Aires, Argentina. No puedo creer que el tiempo ha pasado tan rapido, pero alli esta. Ni un dia ha pasado sin pensar en el ano y medio que pase alla y las experiencias que tuve. Doy gracias a Dios cada dia por las lecciones que aprendi, la cultura que me abrazo, y especialment la gente que conoci. Conoci personas de Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Bolivia y todos lados de los Estados Unidos. Me ensenaban muchas cosas que llevo conmigo cada dia.
Trabaje con algunas de las mas mejoras mujeres en el mundo. Fue un honor a servir con ustedes.
Aprendi vivir de otro modo, y aprendi que puedo ser feliz aun en situaciones completamente distinctos de los que conozco.

Y me enamore con el campo de Argentina...

Te extrano mucho. Espero que nos encontremos otra vez.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Don't forget to get out and vote!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Eye of newt and toe of frog...

Nathan and I are headed up to Washington tomorrow for our biennial family reunion so I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Halloween.

Beware the terrifying Headless Horseman of the Wal-mart bike aisle!


Monday, October 27, 2008

When it rains it pours.

This weekend was one of those ones that I figured I just had to survive. I knew it was going to be crazy, but I didn't realize it would also end up being a lot of fun.

Nathan and I have been asked to serve as the activity leaders at our church. It has to be because they don't know us. I actually begged my friend Lindy (the queen of parties) to come up from Arizona to help out but apparently she was already booked. This Friday was our "Harvest Hoe Down!" and for as terrified as I was I think it turned out really well. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera but I think this photo gives you the idea.

Grab yo' pahtna fo' the Vuh-ginia Reel!

I had the amazing realization that if I want Nathan to dance with me I just need to turn on some square dancing music. To say he was excited is an understatement. We ended up having a blast and getting to know some really fun people in the process.

I also play the piano for the primary at church and this week was our annual Primary Program. I don't know why, but playing the piano in front of adults scares the heck out of me so I was up several times in the night worrying about it. Fortunately, I really can only think of one obvious mistake. However, it did happen in my very first introduction. Oh well, you've got to stay humble, I guess. Overall, though, I think the program went really well and the kids sounded great. After church we had a celebratory dinner with the McLays (Brooke is the chorister) that ended in typical fashion with discussion that lasted into the night.

I can tell that I was a little stressed about everything because I, who usually wake myself up by 6:30 at the latest, slept in until 10:00 this morning. It was glorious.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I am repelled and attracted all at the same time.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I guess I really shouldn't be so surprised.

This morning I woke up with a little rumbly in the tumbly. I went over what I ate yesterday, but nothing stands out. Hmm... let me see.

  1. Cocoa Puffs
  2. 1 lb. Sweet Pork Burrito with Mango Salsa that Nathan brought back from Denver for me
  3. Pizza
  4. Twizzlers
  5. Cookies
  6. Hot Tamales
  7. Doritos
  8. Chips and Salsa

I just can't imagine what it might had been.

By the way, I also shut all the meat of my forearm into an accordian door yesterday and I didn't cuss once!

Thought for the day

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For those of you following the Stephanie and Christian Nielson story...

And now for something completely different...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Number 32 on your scorecard, number 1 in your heart!

Thirty two is:

  1. The atomic number of germanium
  2. The freezing point of water at sea level in degrees Fahrenheit
  3. The fifth power of two
  4. The number of completed, numbered piano sonatas by Ludwig van Beethoven
  5. The winning car number of Ray Harroun in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 in 1911
  6. The number of teeth of a full set of teeth in an adult human, including wisdom teeth
  7. The number of national teams that have participated in each FIFA World Cup finals tournament since 1998.
  8. The jersey number 32 of: the Los Angeles Lakers' Magic Johnson, the Utah Jazz's Karl Malone, the Portland Trail Blazers' Bill Walton, the Philadelphia 76er's Billy Cunningham, the Boston Celtics' Kevin McHale, baseball pitchers Sandy Koufax and Steve Carlton, Cleveland Browns' running back Jim Brown, and Manchester United football player Carlos Tevez as well as Shaquille O'Neal and Richard Hamilton.
  9. The code for international direct dial phone calls to Belgium
  10. The age I turned on Saturday!

That's right, folks, it was my b-day on Saturday and I ended up having a lovely day. It started with my husband getting up early and whipping up some crepes for me (J'adore, mon amour), then watching Oklahoma cough it up to Texas (Go Longhorns!). After that Nathan and I headed to the church where we had an arts fest and I sat in on a class on writing and publishing. It was really informative and has already helped me come up with some new ideas for some stuff that I am working on - sorry Meg! When we got home it was time for BYU vs. New Mexico and we were lucky enough to have our new friends, the McLays and a couple of Wilcoxes come over to watch with us. There were disgusting amounts of popcorn, Hot Tamales, and Swedish Fish consumed so it was fantastic. After that we headed over to the McLays for dinner and homemade cupcakes which Brooke (my sistah from another mistah - not as good as brotha from a different mutha, but you get the idea!) had just whipped up. Rule number one, baked goods can never have too much butter! Heaven. Then it was time to get jiggy with a little Rock Band. After the kids had been put to bed the adults worshiped at the temple of Rock for a couple of hours. Best phrase from the evening - "Go to bed sweetie. Mommy has to play Blue Oyster Cult." It was a fantastic day - thank you everyone who was involved. Now the countdown has begun to my party next year, where at my fiesta Nathan will announce in the likeness of Jefe from "Three Amigos!" that "Today, she is... thirty-three years old!" Bring your maracas!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Time to gather at the Supernacle!

As I have gotten older I have come to absolutely love General Conference weekend. It is such a respite for the body and mind and allows me to reevaluate the things that I am doing well and those that I need to work on. This weekend was no different. I must say that I will probably always miss President Hinckley and the sweet humor that always accompanied his powerful messages, but I have seen a new and deeper gravitas rest with President Monson over the last few months that has enriched my love for him. The talks were wonderful and the Primary choir (of course!) touched my heart.

The thing that touched me the most, though, was the announcement of five new temples to be built. I was ecstatic to hear that Argentina is getting a second temple and immediately whipped out my mission journal to try and guess who would be in the new district and would be able to receive those blessings more readily. And Rome?!? Fantastic! What really got me, though, was the complete lack of surprise that I felt when President Monson announced that there would be new temples. When I was a little girl we could literally name off every single one, but now the number expands constantly. I say that the announcement came with no surprise, but that doesn't mean that I didn't feel a sense of wonder all the same. I am grateful to live in a time when there are so many possibilities and the ability to worship as we please is being extended to more and more people of all faiths. I look forward to the day when it is granted to all.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

When Hollywood gets it right.

Nathan is now officially competition-less.

When Hollywood gets it wrong.

Last night Nathan and I went to see a movie that just came out. We were excited since we hadn't been out to see a flick in awhile since the summer movie lineup died down. Now, I will not mention the name of the film, but I will say that we came out of it screaming "ENOUGH LABEOUF!". Is it me, or has Hollywood lost every ounce of creativity in the pursuit of a quick buck? How many sequels and remakes of old TV shows can they pump out before we all realize that they are playing a nasty trick on us? How many times can they steal plot lines and action sequences from classic films before we all start suing for copyright infringement? And seriously, what is up with the handheld camera? Are they trying to make us nauseous? Because it's working. I mean, when you can't even tell what is going on because the camera is jerking around so much it stops being artistic and starts being a crutch for poor staging. Fortunately, every once in awhile a bright spot appears and you realize that there is hope. Witness...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Six years and counting!

Love ya, babe!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

So this is what seasons look like!

Yesterday was cold and rainy, but this morning we woke up to see this:

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Sweet Surprise

Today I sat down at my computer when a loud chanting sound starting ringing through my office. Curious to find out what was going on I followed the noise outside and found this:

From one end of our street to the next, the students from the elementary school around the corner were holding up paper American flags that they had made and were chanting "U-S-A!" and encouraging passersby to honk their horns in support. I have to say, that gave me a good smile on the anniversary of a horrible day.

Thanks, kids.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Good Day, Sunshine!

Since moving to Colorado, Nathan and I have had to opportunity to do something in August that we have not done in six years - go outside! Yes, apparently in some parts of the country you don't have to die from sunstroke should you choose to run to the mailbox and back. It's fantastic. We have had to chuckle when our neighbors have complained about 90 degree weather. I mean, for pete's sake, 90 degrees is November weather in Arizona! Happy happy joy joy!

Last weekend we spent the morning at the Diversity Day celebration downtown where we got to see some children doing Mexican folk dances. I think Nathan was a bit disappointed since we just missed the youth group doing capoeira. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a Brazilian mix of martial arts and dance that Nathan is convinced he could master if given five minutes. Then we had a lovely lunch at the Poor Richard's cafe at one of their tables on the sidewalk. It was a great way to spend a morning. Then the rain clouds gathered and we hurried over to the Fine Arts Center to see the Picasso etchings exhibition. That evening we had gotten tickets to see the Colorado Springs Sky Sox play. They are a farm team for the Rockies and for $11 a ticket we sat right behind home plate. It was pretty much like a spring training game, complete with a major leaguer (Andruw Jones who is rehabbing from the Dodgers). Nathan had a great time with a player from the Las Vegas 51's named Hu. Yes, if you ever want to split your sides laughing, have Nathan perform his "Hu's on First, What's on Second" routine. Classic comedy taken to a new level.

This weekend, though, we embraced our new life in a big way. That's right, we went whitewater rafting! It's Mike's birthday this week, so he got a gang of us together and we headed off to spit in Death's eye.

Our Brave Adventurers

Needless to say, we had a great time. Nathan and I switched off sitting up front so we both got to take buckets of water straight into the face.

That's right, Sunshine Falls. BRING IT!!!

As you can see from these pictures, we had a great time. Of course, I couldn't walk straight for two days (I actually uttered the words "My hip!") and I really could have used a doughnut when I had to sit on the hard piano bench to play for primary on Sunday, but I would go back in a heartbeat.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

For those about to rock, we salute you.

Two weeks ago we fulfilled one of Nathan's greatest dreams by purchasing Rock Band for the Wii. Obviously, this makes us the coolest cos-uncle and cos-aunt to Caden who rocked it out last night. Let's just say that the B-52s never performed "Roam" with the same raw animal emotion that Caden poured into every note. He also has some pretty fly moves. I don't want to scare anyone, but people better be prepared to come up against him when he slaughters the competition at family reunion.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Come listen to a story 'bout a man named Jed...

I have always accepted the fact that I am just a little bit white trash. I mean, I was born in the South, I have lived in a trailer park, and I have a penchant for antlers used in furniture. Okay, the last one isn't exactly true, but if I ever do get into that there is a store at our local mall that specializes in just such pieces.

Mmmm... classy and antlery.

Apparently I am becoming more so. If you look outside our windows you see that the perimeter of our apartment complex is surrounded by a rather formidable gate. Perfect for keeping intruders out and that sense of safety in, right? WRONG!!! You see, the fence has proven to be a barrier to those who want to walk across the street to get to Walgreens and don't want to bother walking the 50 yards to the gate and they just won't stand for this. So it began with two of the bars simply being pried apart, however this only allowed for the most svelte of vandals to get through. It did, though, make some comical moments for me as I watched people whose mass was not as malleable as they thought try to push and pull themselves through. Not to be deterred, eventually one bar was completely removed from the fence. It looked fantastic. One day the management company came out and fixed the fence and straightened the bent bars. The next day was pure joy to me as I watched one after another of my neighbors walk up to the fence, look at it with pure confusion, and then pace back and forth in front of it, literally scratching their heads with befuddlement. Heaven. This weekend, though, when I got home I saw that necessity is truly the mother of invention.

Two bars removed, one bent, and the pièce de résistance - the shopping cart. I see now why our apartments are listed as luxury living!

And now, a phrase I never thought I would hear...

Nathan (watching the floor exercises of the women's gymnastics all-around final last night): I SWEAR THAT IF THEY GIVE SHAWN JOHNSON ANYTHING LESS THAN A 15.4 I AM KICKING SOME BUTT!

Yeah, it got intense.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Whew! What a week!

This week has been jam-packed, so I hope you won't all mind a bit of a longer post. I promise to keep it as (t)witty as possible.

1. On Thursday I flew over to Utah to visit the family and see Simon before he heads back to EAC. It was a really great trip. I hadn't seen my sister in far too long and Shane in even longer. I also got to hang with two of my favorite little boys in the world - Henry and Ethan. To win over their affection (oh yes, I will use bribery if necessary) I got them a few little things. One of them was this onesie for Ethan. I was unsure as to the size to get because - well, he has what we call a "weight issue". I mean, check out these thighs!

He was originally wearing pants, but the moment his mom left the room we stripped him down and made sure that his thighs were recorded for posterity and embarrassement with women in his future dating life. They are FANTASTIC!!! If only someone would feel the same way when my thighs get dimpled and puckered. Don't you just love the belt?

With Hank, it took a trip to the park to win him over. It didn't matter that it started to rain, he was one with the swing.

He also mysteriously became my best friend when I was pounding the fun-sized Snickers. I love a man who knows what he wants!

Another great treat this weekend was that my Aunt Lynn, Uncle Steve, and Cousin Brian (along with his lovely girlfriend Alicia) were in town so I got to see Brian before he enters the MTC to serve (this is true) Mandarin speaking in Paris, France. If anyone was going to get this call it would definetly be Brian. He is going to be great.

The reason we had all come together this weekend was to hear Simon give his homecoming talk. He did a wonderful job and I am so proud of him. It was also great to sing with him and Megan in the ward choir that my dad conducts. It took me back...

2. Megan says that if you want to see a cross-section of America, hang out in a gas station for awhile. I think she is on to something. Yesterday, though, I found another place to go for the same experience. I volunteered at the Marian House, a Catholic Charitites soup kitchen downtown. I went with one woman and four young women from my church and worked for about six hours. The first two hours were spent in preperation. We were in charge of making the sandwiches. Now, you have to understand that almost all of the food there is donated so you just have to make do with what you've got. This means that we got to know all the weird meat that has been injected with things that have no business being injected into meat, like olive loaf. Then when the kitchen opened I was in charge of taking the dishes from people who were done and scraping off all the food before giving it to the dishwashers. You wouldn't think this would be a tough job, but thank goodness I had an apron on because the food was flying! I also came to know a slop bucket quite intimately, something I never expected. I was insanely busy for about four hours, but it was a wonderful day. It was the most interesting combination of people - all ages, races, and apparent social circumstances. It seems that they have created a real family there where they are all rooting for each other. It was a great thing to see.

3. The other night I met the newest member of our family, Beckett Beagley.

Though technically he is my first cousin once removed, Mike has decided that Nate and I are his cosuncle and his cosaunt. He is the sweetest little thing and his family seems to be over the moon that he is finally here. So are we!

4. If the goal in golf is to score below par, why do we say when something is bad that it is sub-par?

Monday, August 4, 2008

Not a hard habit to break...

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I have been working on getting more physically fit recently. I was in a really good groove, eating well and working out 4-5 times a week. Then we moved to Colorado and that went out the window. I can only blame altitude for so much. I can't use the excuse that I am waiting for the next "Biggest Loser" to inspire me again, and I can't direct all my anger at friends like these. I just have to admit that I am lazy. So last night I put a playlist together and swore that I would not do anything else with my day until I worked out. I am pleased to say that I made it through the workout without collapsing despite the fact that our gym has no air conditioner. I also have to say that I dig the mix I put together which is what I have now put on my jukebox here. So I was wondering, what is everyone's power song - the one that really gets you going? I would love to know so I could put together another playlist of songs for future workouts and possibly for this blog. Let me know and I will see what I can do.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lions and tigers and bears... oh my!

I have to tell you, Nathan and I are really enjoying Colorado Springs. The weather is great, the scenery is beautiful, and the people are friendly. However, the last few days have made me question whether it is smart to be here without having a tranquilizer gun handy at all times.

On Saturday, we headed up to Denver to explore a little bit. Denver has officially entered itself on my list of cool cities. The downtown has retained all the old buildings and it is very pedestrian friendly. There are parks and funky shops and a pretty chill attitude that I love. The South Platte River runs through the west side of town near the football stadium, basketball arena, and amusement park. We found a spot to cool our feet off in the water and watch people innertubing and kayaking down the little stretch of rapids that curves around to a dammed off section where kids could jump in and swim.Just up from there is the Denver Aquarium where we spent a few hours. I was pretty impressed with the setup there. They have a great variety of fish, sea turtles, sharks, etc., etc. (to be said like Yul Brenner), but then you turn this corner and BLAM! There are three Sumatran tigers only inches away from you licking their chops.

They were absolutely beautiful and completely bored with all of us, thankfully. I did have to chuckle at the woman behind me who was telling her little baby "Look at the kitty cat, sweetie. He says 'Meeeeeow'." Yes, yes, set this child up for almost certain death, why don't you. He might also purr a bit after PICKING YOUR BONES CLEAN!

You might have seen on the news that there is apparently an African lion roaming the hills around the Springs. Or... it could be a big dog. It seems that the media here (as all media tends to do) is just giving the finger to the idea that the simplest explanation is probably the correct one. I'm thinking Sparky dug a hole under the fence and thought to explore a bit, but I'm probably wrong. It's much more likely that a non-native predator from a different hemisphere thought he would just take in the sights and sounds of our lovely hamlet and get a good stretch of the legs. It makes perfect sense.

Lastly, a bear broke into the local Circuit City. According to the Denver news "Authorities said the young adult black bear had become spooked after setting off an alarm at a nearby Fazoli's restaurant." Hey, we've all been there. We're sitting there enjoying our chicken parmesan when the guy comes around to bring us fresh, hot breadsticks and we lose all control of our bodily funtions. I feel the bear's pain. Sometimes Nathan is so worked up that the only thing to do is to take him to Circuit City to check out the deals on the bargain table up front. He gets very serious at that table. The bear was showing rational consumer behavior. In this tough economy, it pays to bargain shop.

Monday, July 7, 2008


This is something I wrote October 26, 2005. It has come to have even greater meaning over the last month.

I hope my readers will not mind if I wax a bit sentimental today. Usually when I think of a hero I have to do research to find out the details of his or her life because I am not intimately connected with my subject. Today is different in that I have known my hero since the day of his birth. He is my little brother.

I am the oldest of four children who happen to be about as good of friends as it is possible for siblings to be. If you were to dissect us, though, there would be a clear division between the oldest three and the youngest. The older three of us have pretty much had an easy ride through life. We have all excelled at school, extracurricular activities, relationships and employment without having to work too hard. For my youngest brother, however, things have been very different.

Simon was born with several challenges. He was deaf in one ear, had a deviated septum, learning disabilities and ADHD. My parents were told that he would require multiple surgeries and have difficulties learning for the rest of his life. It was a scary outlook but one that my parents accepted and devoted themselves to.

As soon as it was possible, Simon starting seeing specialists. He had to train his eyes and brain to function together and this required hours of repetitive exercises. Not only did he do them day in and day out, but he did them with a sense of humor that I envy.

When he started school, Simon struggled as had been expected but his determination and tenacity kept him going. Instead of being held back a year, he spent his summers with tutors working to catch up with the other kids in his class. As hard as he worked, though, it was never enough and eventually he was placed in learning disabled classes.

Instead of feeling down by the situation, Simon thrived. He had amazing teachers that helped him realize that life holds the same opportunities for him that it does for the other students at his school. It was not uncommon that my family would discuss a celebrity and Simon would say, “Did you know he's LD?”. It was said with a sense of pride as if to say “See? We can make it too!”. His attitude is always a reminder that I have no excuse for laziness.

When the No Child Left Behind law was put into effect and our state required passing a standardized test in order to graduate, we were all concerned. The vast majority of students without learning problems had failed this test and the only provision given for LD students was that they would be given extra time. Time was not what Simon needed. He needed to be able understand what was on the page.

Yet again, Simon amazed us. He went to work with a fury and got tutored on each section. He spent hours every evening teaching his brain to think like a standardized test. He ran drills and practiced like a madman. When the day of the exam came, I am sure we all said a prayer for him. He was more confident than we were.

To make a long story short, Simon passed. Now when I hear news stories about state legislators trying to get the test revoked as not enough students are passing I feel a surge of pride. Simon did it. Simon always does it. This year, his senior year, his counselor shared with him that he was now going to be integrated into all regular learning classes. My little brother has overcome the system.

As I type this, I am crying. Simon is the hardest working person I know. He is also one of the most sensitive, funny, and talented people I know. He deserves every good thing that comes his way. When he goes off to college next year to study to be a teacher I will miss him so much. But as much as I will miss him, I wait with anticipation to see what my hero will overcome next.

Simon, as you overcome this latest challenge in your life I want you to know that I know you are bigger and stronger than it is. You are one of my favorite people and I am one of your biggest fans. I love you.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The thrill of victory, the agony of defeat...

I love even-numbered years. Why? Because I am an Olympic Games junkie. That's right, I love pretty much everything about it. From the overly-schmaltzy opening ceremonies to the medal counts in the paper every morning to the Lifetime television-esque segments describing how this athlete made it to the games despite being born to a crack-dealing prostitute with one leg and a lazy eye in the back seat of a Geo Prism in the middle of war-torn South Central Domini-Serbi-Babwe. I eat that junk up for breakfast. That's why it is so fantastic that I have a cousin who works at the Olympic Training Center and can get us tickets to the exhibition games. So on Friday night Nathan and I headed over to the Center to watch #4 USA take on #1 Brazil in Women's Volleyball. We had been to college games before, but this took it to a whole new level. These athletes were literally the best of the best -finely tuned machines who are at the peak of their physical condition or, as I like to call them, my peers. These girls were flipping amazing. Power, speed, agility. It was absolutely incredible and the US came out on top at the end of the evening. I was watching these girls and wondered what it must be like to know with absolute certainty that you are among the best in the world at something. That must be incredible. I was also so grateful to be living in a time when women are allowed these opportunities. I know we still have some bounds to leap, but I have to admit to feeling pretty lucky to be around when I am. The other thing I took away from the evening was a great quote on the wall. There are a bunch of plaques on the wall with inspirational thoughts, one of which came from the great female athlete Louisa May Alcott. "Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them and try to follow them." That's why she kicked butt on the shot put in the 1864 games.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back on track...

It has been awhile since I have posted but I am certain you will all appreciate the craziness of moving. It has been an insane couple of weeks. We realized that since we found out that we were coming to "The Springs" life has been moving at a frantic pace. I had about a week and a half to pack up, a couple of days driving, three days of looking at apartments, moving day and then setting everything up. Needless to say, we are very happy that life is getting somewhat back to normal. And in the rare few moments that I have scratched my head in despair, wondering why the heck we live our life this way, I turn my head a little to look out my window and see this.

Pike's Peak is literally the purple mountain majesty that "America the Beautiful" was inspired by and, as if that isn't enough to make my red, white, and blue blood pulse through my veins a little faster, I also have the other great symbol of freedom and democracy to gaze upon - the Walgreens.

Nathan is very excited about his new job and the people he is working with. They welcomed him on his first day with the respect and deference that comes with his new position - by tin-foiling his desk.

As you will notice, it came complete with a picture of his beloved sovereign and Amy Winehouse, both great examples of British-ness. A little different that his reception in India. Yes, I think he will get along just fine. . Last night we went to watch the UOP softball team play. It was great to meet his co-workers and to see how quickly he has fit in (not that I was really concerned).

We've been having a great time with Mike, Steph, and Paul. The other night we made stuffed hamburgers (as good as they sound), played Sequence, and polished the evening off with Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake. Could life be any better? We are so excited about our life here and how it is shaping out. Though we already miss Arizona, I think this is going to work out beautifully.

P.S. Hope you like the music, Lynn!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Where the eagles fly, from the mountain high...

Just a quick note to let everyone know that we have arrived in Colorado Springs without incident - if you consider Nathan attempting a u-turn with a gigantic moving truck pulling a car and then rolling over an industrial sized garbage can "without incident". It was a nice trip except for the times when I was white-knuckling it watching the truck slow down to 35 mph chugging up the hills. I considered getting out and pushing but Nathan thought it would be less than effective. As if we didn't feel a warm enough welcome from Mike and Stephanie, who are so graciously putting up with us for a bit, President Bush and the Thunderbirds were also in town today to make sure we felt right at home. Apparently it worked out well because they were able to kill two birds with one stone by appearing at the Air Force Academy graduation as well. Now that is what I call great planning. The last two days Nathan and I have been looking at apartments all over town. My brain has turned to mush and all of the floor plans look the same to me. They have all melted into one mass that I will now refer to as "The Nothing". Fortunately, in the midst of all the stuccoed mazes, glimpses of the beautiful Front Range remind us of how excited we are to be here and how much we are looking forward to showing you all around when you visit. As soon as we get in a place I will make sure to post some pictures so you all can see our lovely mountain home.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Many thanks...

Thanks, Mom, for letting me come and hang out with you the last few days. I am so excited about the wonderful things happening in your life and the joy that you seem to have reclaimed. It's a good thing to see.

Thanks, Dad, for working so hard for your family. We love you very much.

Thanks, Derek and Emily, for creating this...

None of the pictures I took could even compare. He is a wonderful addition to our family. No one else can throw up down the inside of my shirt with as much aplomb as little Ethan... and LIVE!

Thanks, Elder McLaughlin, for decided that you will figure out how to make your mission the best. We have all been there and you are in our prayers.

Thanks, Nathan, for knowing how important my family is to me. Also, thanks for working so hard and for keeping the big picture in mind. I am so proud of you.

Thanks, Arizona, for being a wonderful surprise to me. We didn't get along very well at the beginning, but I will truly miss you now that it is time to go.

And last of all, thanks, University of Phoenix Colorado Springs, for seeing how incredible my husband is and offering him a job there. We are looking forward to getting to know your town and my cousins better. I think we are going to be good friends very soon...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Le Roi est mort.

  1. Today should be a day of national mourning. A true hero, one who has changed the face of our country, has fallen and I will be dressing in black for the next year. "Irvine Robbins, who as co-founder of Baskin-Robbins brought Rocky Road, Pralines ’n Cream and other exotic ice cream concoctions to every corner of America, has died at age 90." I owe this man so much for the hundreds of hours of pure enjoyment and fifteen extra pounds of gadunk gadunk that I now carry as a tribute to one man's genius. I will be organizing a 31 gun salute today.

  2. The other day Nathan had to tell a woman who is in training that she would have to leave the class and rejoin the next because she had missed three days due to illness. He was trying to be as kind as possible because this effectively meant that she was going to be without a paycheck for another month so he first asked her how she was doing. She explained to him that she was sorry that she had missed but after her recent battle with cancer when she had to have a shunt put in and the doctor accidentally nicked her lung, causing it to collapse, she has a propensity to lung issues - in this case pneumonia. As you can imagine, Nathan felt GREAT after hearing that. Yeah, Nathan is the guy who fired the cancer patient. Nice. He prefers to call her a "CANCER SURVIVOR, BETH! A CANCER SUR-VI-VOR!" My suggestion to him was to say, "Well, this is not going to be the worst news you've ever gotten!". I am on the hunt for some homeless children or recent widows whose dream he can crush as well.

  3. Try humming the theme song to Star Wars and then immediately jump into the Superman theme song. Good luck! It seriously took me two days to do it. I think that John Williams was paid for the same song twice.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Let's Get Physical!

In my quest to drop a few lbs and get healthier, I have been going to the gym 3-4 times a week and eating healthier. Apparently the experts are right and it actually works! I am usually on the treadmill, rocking out on my ipod which gives me time to observe the other people who come in there. It seems that it is pretty much the same group of people everyday who have their own quirks and strange habits. Witness...

The Comrades - There are three middle-aged Eastern Europeans who come in the evenings. You can tell them not by the fact that they don't speak any English but by their dress. The first is a grey-haired man who tucks his t-shirt into his sweat pants and accessorizes with a large gold medallion that I am pretty sure Captain Jack is looking for to return to the mystical Incan chest. The other man wears shorts that would not need to be removed for a proctology exam (when he is not is his Speedos strutting out to the pool). Then there is the woman who was on the treadmill last night in a long sleeved shirt, a sweater over her shoulders, long pants, and high heels. If I ever had doubts about the evil of communism before, they are put to rest now.

The "Best of Intentions" Gang - Every once in awhile a guy will come in -and I do mean guy - who is wearing a sleeveless shirt, has a couple of tats, and is wearing a hat on backwards. He will have a jug of water and sweatbands on his forearms and will check himself out in the mirror for a few minutes before selecting the first machine that will have the honor of toning his muscles. He sits down, tests the weight, and then does two reps. I don't mean two sets, I mean reps. Then he will stop and just stare at his feet for about ten minutes before getting up, going to another machine and starting the process over again. He will do this three times, take a big drink as if he has done something, and leave having never broken a sweat. Here's my thought, if you aren't going to exercise why pretend that you are? Don't tease your basketball shorts and cutoff t-shirt that you got from your fraternity pool party into thinking you will actually allow them to fulfill their destiny. That ain't cool.

Her - When I go to the gym in the morning there is this really nice girl who usually is there as well. She is cute and fit, she always says hello and complimented me on my hair when I got it cut. I hate her. Let me explain why. We are always on the treadmills next to each other. If you were to look at the two of us together you would see that there is a huge contrast. As I said, she is cute and fit whereas I look like a sweaty sun burnt puffer fish. In the midst of her running she has the AUDACITY to answer phone calls and hold ten minute long conversations without slowing her pace at all. This is where I generally envision the scene from "Independence Day" where the alien holds the guy from Star Trek up to the window and says "DIE!!!". I sincerely hope that envy has no caloric value.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry...

A lot has happened this week and I kept thinking that I should blog about it but I have been lazy. So, I will break it down to make this all the more palatable. Much of it involves TV. Shut up.

Last week - "The Office" returned and the world heaved a collective sigh of relief. We also had a great Ward party/bar-b-que where Nathan and I were in charge of three-legged races, gunny sack races, and making sure everyone had a good time. Nathan also made quite the showing at the egg toss where the inside of his hat ended up filled with slimy yolks that only came out after two times through the washer machine!

Monday - We had some friends over to watch "Hot Rod" and eat pazookis. Nathan and I have taken it upon ourselves to convert the world to one of the funniest, most ridiculous movies ever.

Tuesday - Who doesn't think that "The Biggest Loser" finale is one of the greatest achievements in the marvelous spectacle that is American media? I am going to miss the show for the reason that it is midway through it each week that I get that guilty feeling, change into my gym clothes, and get my rear in gear (it's a lower gear, but it definetly requires shifting!)

Wednesday - I babysat my neighbor's 14-month-old for three and a half hours so she and her husband could go to the temple. As I told Megan this morning, babysitting is a lot easier if it is Hank and I have a bag of M&Ms on hand! The little girl was great though and by the end of it she was playing with my hair and eating my chapstick. A good time was had by all.

Oh, and "Top Chef" was on. Food porn.

Thursday - There is another couple that lives in our apartment complex that we have befriended. They are very young and very newlywed, but cute as can be. They called last night to ask us if we wanted to play volleyball. I don't know if you all know how I feel about volleyball, but I LOVE it. I will pretty much play it anywhere with anyone. As it turns out, they had gotten enough friends to play on one side against a team of pilots who also live in the complex. So the game was touted as "The Mormons vs. The Pilots" and we kicked butt. Nathan came out of it with a big. bloody raspberry on his knee and I had my Lou Ferrigno moment.

What do you think? The similarities are astounding.

Everything was going really well until I went to lunge for a ball. I was wearing a brand new shirt that was made of a lighter material as I had not thought to change. In my very athletic prowess I dove for the ball and heard a pop that I couldn't really understand. It wasn't until I got home later and was changing into a t-shirt that I realized I had literrally ripped the shirt across my shoulders. I could not be contained! So now I, like David Banner, am doomed to wander the planet alone. It is the price I must pay for my overexposure to gamma radiation.

Also, I completed a job that was four years in the making.

That's right, Beagley women, I finally completed my memory board from Family Reunion 2004. It took me long enough, but I think it was worth it. It's hard to see here, but it is a green and brown striped material that matches my bedroom. I also used upholstery nails instead of buttons. I really like the way it turned out. It took me awhile, but I consider myself the Michaelangelo of memory boards, and no one complained that he worked slowly.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

A la Rick Astley...

Thanks Ryan!

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's a cruel (cruel) cruel summer.

Now I am depressed...

I saw that it will hit 90 degrees this week, and it made me do this...

Monday, April 7, 2008

There's a glitch in the Matrix.

That's right, it's deja vu all over again. Just like last year, I have made it all this way through my bracket leading for the most part. However, my win could be ripped from me in one fail swoop if Kansas wins tonight. I would then be forced to cede to a victorious Shane whose beloved Jayhawks would have been crowned the champions. I have to say, Shane, that if I have to lose there is no one I would rather lose to than you. You deserve it purely based on your loyalty to a team that has disappointed you time and time again. Therefore, good luck sir and may the best bracket win.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wait until you see Nathan jump on Oprah's couch!

So I have been thinking of cutting my hair for awhile as it is warming up and doing your hair when it is 120 degrees is no picnic. The other morning Nathan was watching me run the clamp of fire (AKA my straightener) through my hair and said "You have got to cut your hair. It takes way too much time." It was all the validation I needed. So I headed to the bookstore to pick up some magazines and called my good friend, Jen. She was in the same mindset so we went to her stylist and handed over our inspiration pics with shaking hands. Mine was of Katie Holmes. Let's face it, the girl looks good and I think my outcome was great.

It seriously took me maybe five minutes to style and I think it is so cute! Jen left the salon looking like a serious little hot pregnant mama. What can I say? We're bringing sexy back.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Gentlemen, start your engines!

On Thursday, I introduced Nathan to the great American tradition of the Pinewood Derby. He had some preconceived notions of what it would be like, namely he thought it was a soap box derby. While this would be infinitely more exciting than what actually happens, it was still an enjoyable evening. Nathan started off with his normally incredulous face, but after studying the merits of each car and discussing the mechanics of a winning carved block of wood on wheels he was drawing up plans in his head and designing his perfect garage to take State. He has already decided that two cars will be made for each tournament - one prototype to act as control and the final product. Here's hoping we never have sons!

In the end, it was one of my wolf's that brought the certificate with the 100 Grand candy bar taped to it proclaiming he was the winner. I have had few prouder moments.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Welcome to the world, baby boy!

My newest boyfriend, Ethan McLaughlin, joined the family today. Elton John was right about that circle of life thing. It's pretty cool.

Congratulations, Derek and Emily!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Serious questions for a serious time.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Good enough...for you" or a horrible, horrible mistake.

‘Goonies’ Sequel An ‘Absolute Certainty,’ Says Astin

Back in August, the “Goonies” rumor mill went into overdrive when Corey Feldman revealed to MTV News that talks had resumed for a possible animated sequel to the classic 80s flick. Now his co-star Sean Astin has weighed in, exclaiming that as far as he’s concerned, “Goonies 2” is an “absolute certainty.”
“The writing’s on the wall when they’re releasing the [”Goonies”] DVD in such numbers,” enthused the fan-favorite actor, who garnered acclaim in such films as “Rudy” and “The Lord of the Rings” and is now appearing in the baseball epic “The Final Season.”
According to Feldman, numerous plotlines are floating around, with his favorite involving the children of the original Goonies embarking on an adventure of their own. That idea’s a home run for Astin, who says the real-life growth of the actors should factor heavily into a “Goonies 2.”
“Steven [Spielberg] and Dick [Donner] and all the powers that be … they really feel like the thing that made the movie strong was that it was about kids, so they really want to make the next movie about kids…the next generation of Goonies. And they’ve had a hard time tackling that.”
Like Feldman, Astin sees the passing of the torch concept to be a logical progression for the franchise. “I have three children,” he said, “and Corey’s got a kid now [too]. So as we now all have kids who are coming into the age that we were when we made the movie, it’s more likely to me that they’ll figure out how to design a story that will satisfy the older audience in terms of connecting with the original 1985 Goonies, and then [also] create this new thing.”
While Astin admits it’ll be difficult to recapture the magic, he’s confident that the “creative lightning” will strike that allows the project to move forward. “I remain as open-minded and willing to participate as I have ever been,” he declared.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

God Bless Youtube.

Would someone explain to me why I think this is the funniest commercial I have seen in years? I seriously belly laugh every time I see it.

Not only can you look up great commercials on Youtube, you can introduce your English husband to every American kid's dream that was a child in the 80's.

Stacey was so Fergalicious!
I know this post is totally random, but enjoy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Do you believe in improbabilities?

March should not be a difficult month. We have a couple of family birthdays, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and (in Arizona) the weather is absolutely gorgeous. But then it happens. Like clockwork, I get an email with a link that leads me to this...

This is a hard day. It means that March Madness and almost certain humiliation are just around the corner. I should preface this by saying that until I receive my bracket I have almost zero interest in college basketball. All of my sporting attention is directed towards sending good vibes to my beloved Phoenix Suns. Once that bracket arrives, though, I am like Eisenhower plotting the invasion of Normandy - complete with sand charts and aerial maps. I listen to sports radio and look up the experts advice for some little clue or insight that will give me some kind of leg up. As yet, my planning has proven unsuccessful. Last year was the closest I came, only losing to Nathan in the second to last game. Curse you, Hoyas! I have filled out my bracket for this year and it looks pretty dull, to tell the truth. Not too many loops thrown in there. As for my prediction...


(please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, etc.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ode To My Masseuse

(Nathan got me a spa day for Christmas and I finally got to use it. In celebration I wrote this little ditty.)

Oh, my masseuse.
How do I count the ways?
Under cover of a dimly lit room
and an expertly tucked sheet,
You see the wide expanse of my broad, white, buttocks
not as a dimpled wasteland
But as a canvass on which to ply your art.
Baste me like a
Christmas Goose
And bake me for 60 minutes
Under the dulcet tones of
a pan pipe accompanied by crashing waves.
Make me forget that I am in a
J.C. Pennys.
Send me instead to Sweden, Shiatsu-land, warm towel-land
And let me die
as greasy as a pig in a rodeo.

Thank-you Nathan!