Thursday, June 30, 2011

More Things I HEART!!

Since I know you all can't get enough of things that I love. Here are some more:

Zach Galifianakis- I just hear my mother-in-law saying, "Who's the guy with the beard?!" He is a comic genius! I first noticed Zach Galifianakis when he was on SNL and did an AMAZING job as host. I LOVED it. If you haven't seen it, look it up on YouTube, it's worth a couple laughs.

TOMS Shoes- I asked for a pair of these shoes for my birthday and I got them! They are so incredibly comfortable, a lot more than you would guess. They have arch support and come in a lot of different styles and colors. On top of that, for every pair that you buy, the company gives a pair of shoes to a child in a Third World Country. I find this incredible because the founder and owner of the company is only 33 years old and has been doing this for a number of years now. Check out more at:

The website- I really like the way that the site shares information with people in a simple, non-invasive way. I also appreciate the stories about being a Mormon. I have watched many of them and each one is inspiring and gives me the motivation to do better tomorrow than I did today. You can click on the tab on the right hand side that says, "I'm A Mormon" and go there to see more

Yard Sales- Since the hubby and I have been married, I have gone to yard sales. We've gotten a good portion of our baby stuff there and we've also gotten treasures for ourselves. This last weekend we did pretty well. We found an almost new bike for Ashlyn that she had actually "tried out" at Wal-Mart earlier that week, all we need is training wheels. We also got a little TV with a VHS player so that our kids can watch the classic Disney movies that I never saw :)

The game Loaded Questions- This is a great game for you to play to get to know people that you already know pretty well, even better. It always ends up quite amusing, especially when I play with Jame's family.

THE OFFICE- I CANNOT believe that I forgot this in the first go 'round. I am truly disappointed in myself! I have seen every, single episode of The Office, many of them more than five times. "Confict Resolution" is still my all-time favorite. If you don't know which one it is, it's the one where Michael sits down with Dwight and Jim and goes through all of the complaints in the "file in New York". It is a hilarious collection of pranks that Jim has pulled on Dwight. My ideal job would be to work in an office exactly like that!


The Froggy Pond in Powell- We finally crossed this off of our summer list of things to do. We made the trip earlier this week when the temperature got up to over 90 degrees. It was a nice break and we ended up staying there for over 2 hours. It was GREAT. We also had a picnic and spent time with my sister-in-law and her daughter.

Maxi Dresses- When the heat hits, I put on one of these babies. They are light weight and comfortable. I also feel like I look a little more put together and polished because I have a dress on. It's a nice change to the monotony of jeans and t-shirts.

Working Out- This has been a GREAT way for me to relieve some stress and get some energy when I need it. I'm grateful that Jame has supported me in spending this time to myself and he's also paying for it :) I enjoy feeling that even on days that I haven't really accomplished anything, I can go work out and feel a little accomplished. I also haven't been able to shed this baby weight as easily as I did the other two and so I have to put forth a little more effort.

And there you have it people, more stuff I HEART!! There will be a continuation of this series as I find more things that I HEART so stay tuned. And if you are able, please check out the TOMS website. It is truly inspiring what one person is able to do. The founder, Blake Mycoskie, shares his favorite quote on the site which comes from Ghandi, "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Check it out!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Happy Birthday to... My brother!!

Keeping in the tradition that I seem to have established here, I want to devote this particular post to my brother. Today, he turns 27 and I personally couldn't imagine my life without him. We have shared so many memories and experiences together and there he is one of my best friends and most trusted confidants.

Here are just a few of my favorite memories with Sean:

*I remember when we were little and we didn't want to go to bed, so we'd play this game to see who could get from their room to the kitchen without getting caught. Depending on the angle of dad's recliner and the TV this could prove nearly impossible. There was also that creak in the floor in the dining room that would give you away every time. We played this game for quite a while, until one of us would give up and actually go to bed.

*I remember when we were playing on the dirt road by the canal and it had been raining and you and one of your little friends decided that it would be a good idea to throw mud at us. The next day you were supposed to go golfing with me and dad and you found a pleasant little surprise in the toes of your new shoes. I can remember dad waiting for you and going in the house to check on you. When he came back he looked at me and said, "Really, applesauce?" and then started laughing. You had it coming to you.

*I remember you an another one of your friends giving me a snow bath so many times that I finally decided not to get up and just let you kick snow on me because I was grossly out numbered. The next day you woke up to snow being thrown in your faces. You were so mad at me and you went into the kitchen, grabbed the Dijon mustard out of the fridge and squirted it all over me. To this day, I cannot stand the smell of Dijon mustard!

*I remember you and another one of your friends spraying a swear word on Grandma's wall in hairspray and then lighting it on fire. One night, mom was looking at the wall and saw what you had done. Grandma then made you and Matt paint the entire room, but you guys didn't get very far because you had only opened one of the small windows in the room and you were getting high on the fumes. As a result, you were also singing annoyingly loud, we could hear you down the street! So Grandma kicked you out and said she would finish it herself. I always wondered if you guys had planned it that way.

*I remember when we moved to Las Vegas and you were making fun of me because I had to go to school and you didn't. Little did you know that you would have to go to school during the HOT summer months and I wouldn't. Ha Ha!!!

*I remember moving to Texas and the first day that we were there we were a little confused about their lunch schedule and we ended up having lunch together at the back of the school around some scary people. After that, you were told that you were supposed to stay in your class for that half hour and I lost my lunch buddy :(

*I remember when a boy hurt my feelings and you and some of your friends cornered him in the choir hall and threatened his very existence. He stayed in the choir room for the rest of that lunch period. You were my little brother, taking care of me.

*I remember the same sort of instance happening again only this time on a much more traumatic scale, except this time you were far away and all I could do was get your advice and support from over the phone. However, when you did come back you scared the living daylights out of the guy and I haven't heard from him since.

*I remember one Thanksgiving Day in Texas when you and I were given the task of doing the dishes and we were messing around and you put a towel in your mouth. I wasn't thinking and I pulled the towel out an with it came the veneers that were on your teeth. You were SO mad at me. I tried to laugh it off, but when mom told you that the dentist couldn't get you in until the next week and that you would have to go to school for a day like that, I really felt bad.

*I remember when you and mom came to visit one Christmas and Jame and I announced that we were engaged. You and I laid in bed at Grandma Cyphers house, like we had so many times before that and we talked about our lives and our futures. You gave me so much support at that time, because I felt like the world was against me and Jame. You told me that as long as I was happy and that I felt like I was doing the right thing, that was all that mattered.

*I remember, just a few years ago, when you needed me for once. You were in despair and you didn't know what to do. I told you that you could come and stay with us in Laramie and I was surprised when you thought that it was a great idea. You aren't one for small towns anymore, so it caught me off guard. Fortunately, your life turned around and got so much better than you could have ever imagined, so you didn't have to suffer through the worst of Wyoming winters.

*Finally, I remember when you told me that you were going to propose to Jess. I can't tell you how excited I was for you and the only thing that I would change about it would be that I would be there to celebrate with you guys. I have always told you that you need to marry someone like mom and you FINALLY listened to me. I can see why you love her so much. She is a genuinely good person in a world where it is hard to find a person like that. She cares for you deeply and loves and respects you, she also wants the same things out of life that you do, she is smart and giving and all around perfect for you.

Sean, I am excited for your birthday and I wish that I could be there with you to celebrate another year. You once asked mom if you were and accident because some mean person told you that you were (you know who I'm talking about) Mom told you that you were a surprise. You were a surprise, the best surprise and one that I didn't even know that I wanted, but wouldn't know what to do if I didn't have. I hope that you have a Happy Birthday and always know that I love you very much!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Letter to My Daddy

I know that I'm a day late, but I think that it's better late than never right? Yesterday was a busy day for us and we spent most of the day at church and at the HawkInn playing games and hanging out so that the hubby could get some sleep. I did however call my dad and wish him a Happy Father's Day, but I was getting in to a no service zone and had to cut the conversation short. Here is what I would have liked to tell him:


You have ALWAYS been there for me. No matter what you have helped, advised and supported me. I am your little girl and I know that you would do anything for me. I have fond memories of our family together and many of them include you doing something entertaining and fun. There was the time that you and Uncle Pudge went fishing and neither one of you caught anything, but the dog did :) There were the times watching you play softball and for some reason you couldn't slide feet first, but you did know how to slide onto your tummy. There were the times that Grandma gave you Captain Crunch for Christmas and everyone could tell that you were genuinely grateful for the thought behind the gift as well as the gift itself. There were the summer water fights that we had and the time that we doused you with water after you came home from work and you were less than thrilled about it. There are so many memories that I have of spending time with you.

There are also the more difficult times that we faced as a family where you stepped up as the leader of our family and reassured all of us that everything was going to be okay. When we all grudgingly moved to Las Vegas, you kept us together and you would humor Sean and I when we played our trivia game with you and mom. Because of that move, I feel like we became closer as a family and although you may not have know it at the time, I relied on you to help me at this difficult time. When we moved again to Cibolo, we rarely saw you because you had to work so hard. When we did see you, you were usually grilling shrimp or teetering up the driveway after playing a little game with Sean and his friends, you know what I'm talking about :) You would also go golfing with Sean and come to as many of my swim meets as you could.

Now, we live far apart and Sean and I have grown up and soon we will both have families of our own. One thing will remain the same though, we will always need our Daddy. You have taught me so much and I am so grateful that God chose to put me in your family. You are always logical when I am more emotional and you help me to see every angle of the picture. You have taught me the value of hard work because let's face it you and mom are two of the hardest working people that I know. You have also taught me about confidence and how far the combination of good self confidence and hard work can get you. Most of all, you have taught me about unconditional love. It didn't matter if we talked back, went to jail, made mistakes. We knew that there was nothing that we could do that would make you love us less. I appreciate the fact that you told us that frequently. I also appreciate that you tell me that you are proud of me and that you love me often. Those are things that as your daughter, I need to hear. I hope that I can continue to make you proud. I just want you to know that I love you unconditionally and that I am proud of you and I am proud to be your daughter.



Sunday, June 12, 2011

A More Healthy Me

If you haven't watched Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, you NEED to. I watched all of last season and it was amazingly eye opening. This season started off with quite the episode of shock value. One of the first things that they discussed was how "hamburgers" are made in our country. If you don't know, it's pretty disturbing and you need to find out. I also watched Food Inc. recently and it really educated me as to how the food industry really works in our country. Again, if you haven't watched that movie, I would encourage you to do so.

Jamie Oliver's whole goal is to make America more healthy and he targets our children because they are the future of our nation's health. I completely agree with his methods and his view points. I also feel that as a parent, I have to be a positive example to my children for healthy eating. Things are a lot different now than they were when I was young. My mother always cooked, every night. We didn't have a McDonald's in our town until I was in middle school. We didn't have the convenience of fast food. Now, I don't think twice about picking up a quick dinner for my kids so that I don't have to cook because I'm too tired. I just looked at a recent bank statement and over $60 in the past two weeks have been spent by my husband and myself on convenience foods. So, I am challenging myself to become more healthy.

My kids are actually pretty good eaters. They LOVE green vegetables. Breckin ate 2 whole peppers at his uncle's house the other day! They also ate a bunch of asparagus the other night, by themselves. This is a habit that I want to continue to encourage. I also want them to be more open to trying different foods and I want to be able to provide them with more home cooked meals during the next few weeks.

Finally, I want them to be able to become more active during the day. Right now, it's been unseasonably rainy and cold here in Wyoming and so we haven't been able to go outside and play as much as we would have liked too. We also have concerns about Ashlyn's allergies acting up and affecting her. So, for the rest of this month I want to be able to allow them to be able to have more opportunities to be more active. I know that next month they will have soccer for a half hour, twice a week, but right now they need to do something. I also feel that I could use the cardiovascular activity. So, I want to be able to try to go swimming every week day for the rest of the summer. This is an activity that doesn't put a lot of stress on my body and that I enjoy and I am comfortable with. All in all, for my kids, I want to be a more healthy me. I want to be a good example to them of positive eating habits and how much fun activity can be. I want to instill these good habits in them before they learn how to play video games and sit in front of the TV all day as so many kids now do. When I was young, we never got to sit around and do nothing. My parents kicked us out of the house to play EVERYDAY! I have to say that, although I wished that I could have just "hung out" at home, I'm glad that they made me get some fresh air in my lungs because it helped me enjoy my life!

Source for pic:'s_Food_Revolution

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


With what seems like summer FINALLY upon us here in Wyoming, I've been thinking about some of my favorite summer memories from my childhood. You know the saying, "We might not have it all together, but together we have it all" that is the opitomy of my family. Our summers consisted of organized chaos. We ran from one place to another and my broter and I were constantly being kicked out of our house, away from the TV and into the sunshine. I have to say that looking back on it I LOVED it and I'm so grateful that I had parents that MADE me play! The husband always says that I have the most vivid memories of my childhood and here are some of my favorites:

*We spent a good part of our time at the baseball/softball fields during the summer. My dad ran softball tournaments and we were volunteered to clean up the garbage and sweep the rocks off of the sidewalk, but we never got to work in the concession stand which is where we really wanted to be. Anyway, after one particularly hot tournament weekend we were cleaning up with some help from some of my parents' friends and my uncle and cousins and some other kids and we broke out into an all out, no hold bar water fight. There was water EVERYWHERE!! Finally, everything came to a screeching hault when my brother came up and told my mom that one of the "adult" men had given him a swirly in the softball bathrooms no less. To this day we don't know if it's true because my brother hasn't told us. I think that it's because my mom reemed this guy like I have never seen before. I have never seen her so mad, so if it's a lie she's going to feel really bad. I think that maybe my brother is just sparing her the guilt :)

*My cousins would stay with my uncle for the summer and we would play together almost every day. One night we had a sleep over in my uncle's backyard in a fort that he had made for us. My youngest cousin fell asleep before the rest of us and so my brother and my male cousin we'll call him Patt, decided that for punishment she needed to have rocks stuffed in her nose. Thankfully there wasn't any serious damage done except that she was really made at them for doing it to her and at my female cousin and I for laughing about it and not stopping it. There were a lot of nights like that :)

*We had, in my opinion, the best yard around. It was green and soft and well taken care of, I should know, my dad made us do it. Anyway, we were able to reap the rewards of our hard work by having sleepovers in the yard and on the trampoline with our friends. There was always a whole lot of laughing and very little sleeping going on. In the morning, when it got warm enough we would take all of the sleeping bags and pillows off of the trampoline and put a sprinkler underneath it and start jumping on it. That was the best birthday present I ever asked for!!

*My dad thinks that he is the king of the grill, and he is pretty good. However, he should not be left unattended because he could hurt himself. One incident that occurred that I will never forget and he will NEVER live down happened on a warm summer night when he, my brother and I were sitting around the grill waiting for dinner to be ready. We were sitting in some green, plastic chairs doing impressions of cartoons and people. My dad started doing the Tazmanian Devil and just as soon as he really got going the chair gave out from all of the excitement and he landed on the ground. I remember laughing about that for nearly and hour and reliving it in our impressions. It was great!

*I remember that as soon as it got warm enough I knew that my grandma would have playhouse all ready for me. It was a little trailer that her parents had used when she was little and it only had one little room and a small space you had to have a stepstool to reach to get into a bed. I would clean that playhouse until it shined and then I would arrange all of the little furniture that she had for me just the way I wanted it. One year she even let me have some of the marigolds that she would grow in her garden to put around a tree that was next to my playhouse. I loved that place. I could play in there for hours and I didn't even need my brother to keep me company.

There are so many other memories to share, but there just isn't enough room or time. I have to say that although I loved school, I LOVED summer. I'm so grateful for the amazing memories that I have of time with my family and my friends. I hope that my kids will have memories that are just as good!

Friday, June 3, 2011

I'm Like a Fish in Water

This was actually quite a challenge for me. After having three kids, I've noticed that my body doesn't bounce back the way that it once did. It is more of a challenge to me to get myself back into shape when I'm functioning on about 5 hours of sleep. There is also my evil sweet tooth that has been running rampant today. There's a children's book about a sweet tooth that I can definitely relate to. However, even though I'm not feeling particularly beautiful on the outside right now. I do know what it means to be an all around beautiful person.

For me, swimming really began when I was in eighth grade and I was initially going to try diving because my best friend was doing it and I didn't want to feel left out. The head coach advised me otherwise because I had such an athletic build. He wanted me to try swimming and on top of that he wanted me to do long distance swimming. I tried it and I actually liked it, even though during my first 500 meter race I thought that I was going to die! Hey, I had never swam 20 consecutive laps in my life! I survived though and I was asked to come back and join the high school team the next year. I told the coach that I would think about it, and in the end, with the insistence of my parents I joined. I would wake up at 6 am every morning to make it practice at 6:30. We would swim until about 7:30 and then I would put in a full day of school. After school I put in another 2 hour practice. I guess I was just a glutton for punishment, but it got me to the State swimming championships when I was a freshman.

After the season was over, my world was rocked by a move to Las Vegas. The first thought that entered my mind was that I didn't want to leave my coach. He believed in me like no other person in my life had besides my parents. He challenged me and he helped me to build my confidence. I didn't want to leave him, but I did and in the end so many opportunities were open to me. When we moved to Las Vegas I got to have another swim season and I was also able to be exposed to some really great swimming experiences. I competed against top swimmers in the state and I was able to hold my own. I was also the only person on my team to make it to the Regional Championships. Then we moved to a little town outside of San Antonio, Texas and I was challenged again.

If you don't know, sports in Texas are taken very seriously. Many professional athletes are home grown in Texas, it's just a way of life. When I joined the swim team there, it was relatively new and there were very few of us. We had to make sacrifices to find times and places to practice and if we really wanted to be serious about it we had to find these things on our own. My parents were able to find me a great program where I felt challenged and my competitive edge really developed because I was training with the COMPETITION. By law, Samuel Clemens High School HATED Judson High School and here I was making friends with the enemy. It was really a great experience and I was once again able to make the Regional Championships within our division. It was great.

So why did I share these stories with you? It's because to me, beauty is strength and confidence in who you are. The place that I feel the most beautiful is in a swimming pool while I'm swimming laps. I can feel the strength in my legs and arms propelling me forward. I can feel my lungs expanding and then releasing in a rhythm that is all my own. I feel confident when I am able to see the muscles that are building as a result of my hard work. I also feel confident when I know that I've put in a good workout doing a sport that I love and that I am really good at. I hope that one day my own children can learn the satisfaction of hard work paying of and the rewards of success and sportsmanship. Now, I think I hear the pool calling me :)