Tuesday, December 23, 2008

You Can Build It - We Can Help

I forgot to mention our exciting time at Home Depot during Alexa's blessing weekend.  Cassie being quite the entertainer, found out Home Depot was having a children's workshop and all the girls (plus Nick) loaded up the kiddos and headed to town.  

It was adorable to see each of them hard at work on building their little easels.  The parents were more confused on how to put them together than the kids were.  It made quite the entertainment for my Mom and I who were their audience as we occupied Preston and Alexa.  Everyone did a great job, got their own cute apron, and a pin for their accomplishment.  I highly recommend everyone join in on these fun and FREE events that Home Depot does.  I'll definitely be taking our little one there as soon as she can use a hammer.

Christmas Comes Early

Today was the day we got to peek at an early Christmas present.  John and I had our 2nd ultrasound - this one to tell us what we were having.  For the longest time I had been convinced it was a girl simply because my sisters and Mom had girls first.  However, within the last few weeks my confidence fell down to about a 60/40 split and I was thinking more and more of a boy being a possibility.  Obviously we would be THRILLED for either.  Our dream is to have at least one of each so whomever made their debut first would be just perfect.  The ultrasound and doctor's appointment went perfectly.  I was just as relieved to see a beating heart and a moving baby as I was to see it was a girl.  All her measurements were taken and she was perfect.  I haven't been lucky enough to feel her in my stomach yet, and I was paranoid that my tummy was still fairly small so I was definitely glad to put my worries to rest.  The tech did say she was quite a mover so hopefully within the next few weeks I'll be able to witness that first-hand.  We are still expecting her around May 17th and are excited to meet her!  John will now be outnumbered but he's not complaining.  He's excited to have "his girls".   Here are some pics of our ultrasound.  (Belly pics to come soon I promise!)

'Tis The Season

Yep, it's that time of year again!  Time to bust out our favorite Christmas movie of all time...

Have you seen it yet this year?  We got to enjoy it while we played dominoes with my Dad and Marchelle on their visit.  This movie was a long-time favorite for my side of the family long before I met John.  However, when I learned that their family were devoted fans as well, that fact alone could have convinced me to marry him right then and there.  It's such a great movie and the best parts are the quotes.  John got me the DVD last year for Christmas so now we can save money and not rent it every year at this time.  So, if you are a fan too, feel free to post with your favorite quote from the movie!  One of my favorites are....

G-pa:  "The little lights Clark.....they aren't twinkling!....This is it?"
Audrey:  "He worked really hard Grandpa."
G-pa:  "Yeah, well so do washing machines.

AND of course...

Clark:  "Aunt Bethany, can you say grace?"
G-ma:  "Grace?  Ah she died YEARS ago."
Uncle Lewis:  "They want you to say da BLESSING!"

Abuelo's Reunion

John and I got to spend a few days with my Dad and his wife Marchelle a few weeks ago.  This was their first visit to see us and we had to give them the grand tour of Arky.  Our "tour" always includes a dinner at our favorite restaurant Abuelo's and this visit wasn't any different.  Aside from the fact that we had a mini-reunion while we were there.  John and I have eaten there so many times it would be embarassing to give the exact number.  Each time we do, I always see this waiter that I swear looks just like my Dad.  (Yes, my dad does get mistaken as being mexican although it's not in our blood line at all - I swear).  Anyway, each time I point out the waiter John agrees with me on his resemblance to my father.  So, as luck would have it, guess who is working the night we take my Dad and Marchelle to dinner?  Yup!  My dad's "brother from another mother".  Once we show him his look-a-like he not so subtly keeps trying to stare at him each time he comes out.  Finally, John gets up enough courage to call the guy over and asks him for a picture.  I'm sure the guy thinks we are psychotic but he just laughs it off and smiles for the camera.  Such a good sport - just like my dad!! Hahaha.  So, what are your thoughts?  Granted there is a height difference and my Dad isn't smiling but c'mon - can you see it?

After our little reunion we got to finish our tour of Arky.  We toured the Walton 5&10, ate some delicious food at The Station and did some shopping at a flea market for Marchelle's rare find of Roseville Pottery.  We also had some time to reflect on memories from my childhood way back when.  When I was little we traveled to Bella Vista every year to sell sliced caramel apples at the Bella Vista Festival.  We spent YEARS doing this so I have vivid memories of child labor at an early age as I washed apples in the freezing cold, counted money back to customers, and my least favorite - handing out samples to complete strangers.  Did I mention I was a shy girl?  Anyway, in our rare time off, my siblings and I would play on the rock mountain and shop for Christmas presents for each other with our "paycheck".  It provided some great memories and they definitely came flooding back as I walked around the grounds with my Dad on his visit.

Our First Year

So, this post is a bit delayed by about a week but John and I reached a big milestone last Monday.  We celebrated the big 1st year anniversary!!  Yay us!  It was a great day and such a wonderful time to reflect back on our year together as husband and wife.  Everyone always says the first year is the hardest but if that were true then that must mean our marriage is going to be a cake-walk from here on out.  Honestly, it wasn't that hard at all.  There was lots of learning, adjusting, etc.  After all, the whole living with someone and spending 24/7 with was definitely a new thing to us so it's not snag-free but I wouldn't consider it hard at all.  I learned LOTS in our first year.  Mostly about myself and I have grown a TON within the last year.  I'm sure John would agree with me and say he's learned lots too.  Mostly we learned how we aren't perfect but we are perfect for each other.  I'm soooooo glad I made the decision to marry him and have never regretted it once.  I get excited looking toward our future and our little ones to come (first one this May!).  

We spent the day low-key since the big celebration will come Jan 2nd as we fly to the Hookie-lau.  John surprised me with flowers and even got to come home early and spend the rest of the afternoon with me.  Then we enjoyed a delicious dinner at the River Grille.  We were newbies to the famous restaurant but thanks to Sarah we were instructed on what the best food on the menu was.  And yes she was right - the steak was heavenly!!  Married life is great.  It took me awhile to get here but John was definitely worth the wait.  I'm a lucky, spoiled, blessed, girl!

Blessed Day

We had the opportunity to travel to Camdenton a few weeks ago and share a special day with the latest arrival on the Bell side.  Alexa was blessed on December 7th and she did absolutely wonderful for her big day.  Granted her mother (Cassie) was a bit nervous and planning for disaster.  Whether it be a blowout all over a beautiful white dress or a crying fit through the blessing.  However, Alexa proved to her she was a big girl and had talent even at a month old.  She held in both, her tears and her poop.  Here is a pic from the big day.  Kyle did a great job at the blessing and we were all proud to be there and support such a special girl on a special day.  Welcome to the family Alexa!!

Along with the blessing day, we got to enjoy spending the week playing in Camdenton with everyone.  It was a crazy busy week that included swimming in the hotel pool, watching movies, shopping, and enjoying a barbecue at the LaBrue's home, and sharing lots of love with the nieces and nephew.  

Side note, I posted earlier about my special trip with Alexa just a week after she was born where I got lots of one-on-one time with the sweetie.  As promised her mother provided a picture of our special day.  This outfit was all my doing thanks to a quick game of dress up once I got there.  As you can see she is already looking up to me at such a young age!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Turkey Day

Silly me, once again forgot my camera and thus I've resorted to stealing pictures off of my sis-in-law's blog. She's an avid photographer so I can ALWAYS count on her to come through (unlike myself).


Turkey day this year was spent with John's family which meant we only had a 5 minute commute :D. Tom & Sarah were the most gracious and hospitable and talented hosts/hostesses I've ever seen. And they cook a mean bird to boot!! The holiday was just perfect. The food tasted & looked like it came from the Better Homes & Garden's magazine but the festivities were nice, low-key, and chaotic - just the way I like em. Sarah gave a perfect, tender, butter massage to our bird and I'm convinced it was the moisest I've ever had. The finale was a nice chocolate mousse cake that was sooooo delicious. One of these days, I plan on doing an apprenticeship in Sarah's kitchen. She loves to cook - and I love it when she does.

After dinner we enjoyed quite an interesting game of catchphrase and I think we actually started catching on by the time the game was over. It made for some good laughs...both with and at each other. Yes, Mama Jean interprets the game as charades so it gives us a good reason to switch gears and challenge ourselves. I don't remember who ended up winning, or if we even kept track of points, but a fun time was had by all.

All turkey week we also got to enjoy hanging out with the McKasson clan. Scott & Jenny were both lucky enough to visit Arky and be graced by our presence and coolness. We saw a TON o' movies and I think all of them were good - what are the chances? So, just a review for those who are considering paying good money to see any of the following:

Four Christmases - This I'd have to say was the best. At least the funniest if anything else. Vince Vaughn is hilarious and Reese Witherspoon can definitely hold her own. And just to mention a special cameo by Tim McGraw. I challenge you to see if you can pick him out.

Australia - This was WONDERFUL and very much a tear jerker. And was LONG (3 hours) but it went by fast. I loved every minute of it - it had a different type feel to the filming/movie but was amazing. I saw it with John and Jenny and I think I was the only one who managed to cry a bucket load of tears. Granted it could be contributed to pregnancy. Regardless, bring your kleenexes!!

Twilight - Ok, sorry folks, this one was stupid. Yes, I read the book and had an idea what the plot was before going. However, I wouldn't call myself a "devoted fan" of the series - regardless that had nothing to do with the fact the movie was cheesy beyond belief. Way too much was crammed into the movie, the acting was extremely cheesy, and I'm sorry but Edward did nothing for me. Carlisle could have done without those few extra pounds of baby powder on his face and the creepy "stare straight ahead in every scene" vampire - was well.....wierd....not mysterious. You could easily detect anyone within the vampire family as they had ghost white faces and a mysterious look on their face in every scene that just came across as stupid. Sorry folks....didn't love it and don't recommend it.

Adorable Alexa

(Alexa kicking back, hanging out, and shooting the breeze, during our visit)
Lucky me got to spend a good couple of days with little Alexa just a week after she was born. It was a great time for Cass to relax from her newfound motherhood, for me to spoil Alexa rotten, and for Kyle to get his manly bonding time elsewhere during my visit. Personally, I took it as some valuable M.I.T. (Mother In Training) time. Granted I only had two days to spend with the little family but maybe that means I graduated at the top of my lil imaginary class.

Little Alexa is a nice blend of both Kyle & Cassie's features. She's now 1 month old so I'm excited to see how she has filled out and chubbied-up. Our visit way-back-when was spent perusing the outlet malls (with little success) and then heading over to visit with Kyle's family before enjoying a dinner at Culver's. I'm not a die-hard fan of their "Butter Burger" like my sis-in-law Sarah but I do treat myself to my delicious "Cheese-Curds" anytime I can. I know, I know....how appetizing is the name "Cheese Curd"? Not very but neither is "Butter Burger" either. But, believe you me, they are delish and come highly recommended if you ever happen across the restaurant.

Later that night we got to kick back and watch T.V. and play with Alexa. Then it was all ears and excitement as we enjoyed a nice lazy morning the next day as we prepared for Alexa's first visit with her P.A.T. (Parents as Teachers). I was more attentive and learned much more than Alexa did seeing as she slept through the whole thing. But she aced it all with flying colors....and looked so cute and peaceful doing it. Now that takes talent (and she gets that from her mama, Cass). Afterwards we enjoyed a nice visit to the local farmer's market and bought some delicious fruit. Sadly, I had to leave that evening since John was missing me desperately (or so I like to think ;-). It was a great visit and we look forward to seeing her again this weekend as we head back for her blessing. More to come on that later.

Losing It

Hey devoted blog readers out there. Don't give up on me yet - I'm still here and still thinking about my need to post. Obviously that's as far as it has gotten sadly. But I'm baaacccckkkk!!! And I'm armed with TONS of activities/festivities to post about so enjoy the next several hundred postings!!

In the meantime, I am losing it. Not my mind, as some may be quick to agree with, but my stinkin blog page. Just when I thought, "Now is about the time I should get on and post" - then SHAZAM- all my layouts have been erased right along with my favorite blog links. So, after MUCH editing/re-posting I think we've restored them all. However, I had a few choice words to mutter to the makers of blog-land as I re-typed every stinkin friggin link I could remember. So, if you don't see yourself on the right side of my page - hit me up with a comment! Hopefully I haven't forgotten anyone out there. Has anyone else had these same troubles with their blog? Maybe we should start a therapy group - I'll volunteer myself as President!! Grrrrrrr.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

One Word....Hilarious!

So John and I were perusing through channels and found a hilarious show on Comedy Central.  This is the show "Chocolate News" and I laughed hysterically at this clip.   Keep in mind, this is also the channel that has the wonderful Colbert Report.  Enjoy the clip if you have a few minutes...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fright Night Festivities

I'm convinced there are certain holidays that aren't very fun unless there are kids around. Ok, technically that would be ALL holidays right? Anyway, Halloween is definitely one of those. John and I decided since it was just the two of us, we would borrow someone else's kids and eek out some holiday fun. Sarah and Tom were the lucky ones. We headed over to their house Friday night and got to see all the cuties in their scary/adorable costumes before they hit the neighborhood for their goodies. My favorite was cute little Bryce who was dressed as a ghost. Complete with the white face paint and baby powdered hair. Yes, I was the lucky one that got to hold him while he got doused in the powder. It was worth it. He just sat there staring at all of us while we covered him in goo. John and I stayed behind and handed out candy while they all went in search of candy. I'm sure we all could have saved each other some time just by dumping our candy into their bags but oh well. It's all about the experience right?

After the kiddos came back and sorted through their loot, John and Sarah and I were off to laugh fear in the face by going to the local Haunted House. The line was forever long and I was banished to the curb thanks to all the chain smokers in front and behind us. I was a rather pitiful sight from what I hear. Well, most haunted houses make me laugh more than scream but this was definitely an exception to the norm. After finally getting to the front (only a mere 1 1/2 hours!!) we calculated who would stand where and hold who's hand etc. Then we ventured onto a bus with blacked-out windows and seats facing backwards. Creepy enough on it's own!! We watched a clip from "I Am Legend" (great movie!!) and the bus screeched and cornered on two wheels while a dummy monster jumped at us with each screech of the brakes. I had even seen the movie before but it was still pretty scary and very creative. After that they dropped us off at the actual haunted house and we wandered through some pretty cool props and monsters. My theory was assume everything will jump out at you....when it does cower and keep repeating..."by law they can't touch me...by law they can't touch me.." Hahaha...it worked pretty well and it turns out we survived after all. It was great fun and we were exhausted. Next year we'll finally have a little one to dress up and take pictures of! :D

Hibachi With The Mishies

John and I have been promising the missionaries we'd take them out to Shogun's for a hibachi style dinner for the past month. And they've definitely been counting down to it. I accidentally got their hopes up when I told them it was scheduled a week earlier than it actually was. But alas, last Monday the big dinner day arrived and they were excited. I was too considering I didn't know we even had a hibachi restaurant in these parts, nor had I been to one in quite a long time.

It was a fun time and I think we loved it as much as they did. Everyone but me dined on some sushi (yuck) and enjoyed the delicious food. Our waiter/chef was very good and put on quite the show. I stuck with my anti-seafood protest and enjoyed a nice dinner of chicken and steak. Of course now, I think I can blame my lack of seafood eating on being pregnant. Granted, I don't think the nurse said NO seafood but I'll pretend like she did. Anyway, we all walked away stuffed and it was well worth the time and moolah when one of the mishies mentioned this was the best dinner he had so far on his entire mission! Yeah....it was definitely worth it if we get that title! Here's a pic of the festivities (not ours...someone else's) I stole the pic from the internet but I swear our flame was just as big as theirs was so I'm pretending like it's ours.

A Bouncing Baby Girl

I bet you thought we were making an announcement of what we were having eh? Actually, no. We don't find that out until Christmas time but no worries - we'll not be keeping it a secret. Stay tuned for that news.

However, this post is devoted to our newest arrival on the Bell side. Baby Alexa joined the family (finally!) on October 28th at 12:04 pm. I'm sure she was wanting to hold out to Halloween but her mother was definitely anxious to have her out as soon as possible considering she was a week overdue. So after a very easy labor (I hope I get as lucky) Alexa joined Kyle and Cassandra and turned the newlywed couple into a family of three. She is adorable, or so I hear. I hope to get to visit her in person tomorrow. Cass promises me that I will be visiting with no other competition from the family so I'll be taking advantage of some heavy duty Alexa bonding time. I'll be sure to post more pictures from our visit later. But in the meantime, here is one to tide you over! Congrats Kyle & Cassie!!

Our Visit With Chuck

Catching up....So it's been awhile since I've posted to the blog and we have had a TON of stuff going on lately so now I get to catch everyone up. A few weeks ago, we were lucky enough to head to KC for a meeting w/John's work. Ok, technically I don't think he'd consider himself "lucky" to be heading to the particular meeting but I was definitely excited. Anytime he heads to the home office for a meeting, I gladly tag along and take advantage of the opportunity to hang out with my brother and sister and their families (i.e. my adorable nieces and nephew). So, we headed up the night before and after dropping John off at his meeting, I booked it to my sis-in-law Colton's house only to wake them all up from a sleepy night. Lazy Bums!!! In their defense, apparently it was a late night before so they were catching up. Well after patiently waiting for Cora and Kayley to wake up, I got to visit with my Dad for a bit. As coincidence would have it, more of my family was going to be in town due to different errands/schedules. Not only did I get to see my adorable neices and their parents, I got to hang out with my lil bro Quentin and my Dad while they were working on a car. Talk about bringing back memories!!

All in all we had TONS of fun and took a lunch outing to visit our good friend Chuck E. Cheese. Ashlyn has just recently been introduced to the grand mouse and this being her second visit, she was rather anxious to see him again. I was lucky enough to sit next to her crammed in the back of the van. All the way there she was beaming and cheesing over getting to see Chuck again. I'd have to say she was the most excited one in the car. Once we trampled out of the vehicle she was rearin to make her way to the dancing Chuck on the stage. The place was rather dead so it felt like we had our own exclusive reservation. The food was a little better than I remembered (but not much!) What was worth it all was running around with the kiddos and playing all the games. A fun time was had by all. Ashlyn would run and throw her token in a game before we even knew what it did, then she'd get bored with it after two seconds, and me being my frugal self would finish out the games and get our money's worth. Kayley loved riding the horse and even took a turn on the helicopter with me. Cora preferred to just play with a token and Preston was happy with whatever ride we sat him on. It was a great visit to KC and I was plum exhausted for our drive back to Arky. Here are some pics of our fun day!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Big Debut

Well it's official now!  Here is a pic of Baby Hufford at 10 weeks.  Our first ultrasound was today and everything went extremely smooth.  Granted it took me twice as long to figure out where the baby was on the screen.  John actually figured it out before the doctor could show us.  Yes, coincidentally, he was always quick to get those crazy "hidden image" pictures while I would struggle for days and finally give up hope.  Now the skills pay off I suppose.  Be assured though, with his and the doc's help, I was finally able to figure out where the baby was.  For those who are still struggling to make heads or tails of it - the head is on the upper right hand corner and is facing downward toward the bottom of the pic.  Still only 4 centimeters but definitely in there and definitely just one!! :D  The baby was very obedient.  Held still while the photos were taken and then decided to get it's wiggles out afterwards.  It was adorable to see the little hands and feet just moving all over the place.  This pregnancy thing is finally starting to sink in!  Finally, I get to visualize and enjoy something besides just being sick.  

Anyway, consider this an announcement to those who have yet to hear.....and for those who know...yes you can officially spread the word if you'd like.  We look forward to meeting our little one this May 17th!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Busy Day At The Office

This is the pic I woke up to as I checked my email this morning.  John's busy day at the office.  He left at 5:30 this morning for a fishing trip!  Yes, work related....but I'm still not sure how.  He's not much of a fan of fishing (although it's hard to tell by this pic of him beaming with his catch!).  But I was quite impressed....and very grateful I was safe at home away from all things fishy.  I have fish-phobia.  I don't touch them or eat them and they don't touch or eat me....it's a mutual agreement I've entered into with the fish population.  Granted they DID accidentally bump into me when I was snorkeling in Cozumel once!  And yes, I freaked as a result.  They got the hint.

Anyway, I thought I should post so those in blog-land know how demanding and stressful John's job actually is!  Lol....ok normally they do actually do stuff in the actual office I promise (or at least that's what he tells me??  Thankfully this lake has a "catch & release" policy so no this will not be our dinner for tonight!  Phew.

My Quirky Self

I've been tagged by my wonderful sis-in-law Sarah! 

Here are the rules: "MY UNSPECTACULAR QUIRKS"
1.Link to the person who tagged you
2.Mention the rules on your blog
3.Tell 6 unspectacular quirks about you
4.Tag 6 following 
bloggers by linking to them
5.Leave a comment on each of the tagged 
blogger's blogs letting them know they've been tagged.

So here we go...the quirks...
1. I am OBSESSED with staying hydrated. No, not the type of "water-drinking" hydration.  More so the the lotion and chapstick kind.  I may have mentioned this in an earlier post.  I MUST and I mean MUST have lotion and chapstick on my way to wherever.  I keep both in my car.  I first apply the chapstick as I drive (not the safest procedure I'm aware) and then move onto the lotion application on my hands.  I may have gotten quirky trait from a family vacation to Disney World.  My hands were dry and irritated and I kept rubbing them together.  Apparently enough to annoy my dad.  However, he wouldn't allow me to get lotion at the gas station (yes he's VERY thrifty) but my Mom snuck in and bought it anyway for me.  So now, ever since I suppose, I liberally apply lotion as much as I want with no repercussions from anyone!!  Thanks for watchin my back Mom!!
2. I have a tendency to coin nicknames to family members. And surprisingly my family actually adopts their use as well!  For example, Mom = Mooma (no not to be intended as bovine-related), Michelle=Polly Pocket (ok that one may have been Quentin's doing but it was funny seeing as she's the family runt ;-), Nick=Nickopopolous (no reason really), Quentin=Quentoni, Cassandra, Cassie = Cass (just plan old Cass, I guess the name Cassie was still too long for my liking) and of course Kayley=Punkin or Punky (not b/c of Punky Brewster but b/c she's been my "punkin" since birth. 
3. I love to do laundry but HATE to put it away. Something about the process of throwing in dirty things and having them come out clean.  It's refreshing....and maybe a bit OCD??  However, the joy stops after they come out of the dryer.  I'm NOTORIOUS for leaving them nicely folded on the coffee table in the living room....for DAYS at a time!!  I'm not sure why I quit at this step.  It's sad when you have to come out to the living room to dress yourself in the morning.  I'm currently in the process of trying to convince myself it's just as fun to put them away.....it's a long process......just ask John.
4. I eat before I go to church potlucks too.  Just like my sis-in-law Sarah.  I'm too picky of an eater to just start dishing up mysterious casseroles w/o knowing what's in them.  My fears don't reside too much in the "germ aspect" (although some of it is that) it's more a fear of unknown ingredients and not having everything cooked thoroughly.  I've had too many mishaps to just let this one go....sorry folks.  I eat before I come and push the potluck food around on my plate when I get there.   
5. I lock my car doors when I drive at night.  This quirk is thanks to my wonderful grandpa.  I used to visit them most every weekend when I was in college.  It was a mere 3 hour drive one-way.  But everytime I got ready to head home and say my goodbyes, he would always request I keep my doors locked while I drove.  Not sure why, maybe there would be bums on the corners that were tempted to jump in for a free ride when I drove by??  Either way it kinda made sense to me but I did it more as a favor for him.  He's long since gone but there's not a moment that passes, that when I lock my doors, I don't think of him.  It's a nice memory.
6. I am a "shower after you bathe" type person. Maybe this is more common than I think??  I consider baths for the purposes of relaxing only.  Rarely ever do I actually shampoo and soap up in the bath tub.  I think it's just nasty to do that while sitting in your own dirty water.  So, after relaxing, I promptly head to the shower where the cleaning can commence.  That water simply passes you over and goes down the drain, unlike the nasty bath water that lingers while you wash.  Yuck.

Now I must tag...
2. Colton
3. Cass
4. Dana
5. Nik
6. Shaylyn

Thursday, October 9, 2008

A Day In The Life

This is the start of a reoccuring post. I entertained this idea yesterday and thought what better way to recount my many many MANY memories of my childhood. Most of my memories will be funny/hilarious/embarassing as I retell of our white trash roots. But I'll throw in few "warm fuzzy" moments too. Not only is this a way for me to get sympathy (and free therapy) for the pain/embarassment my parents put us through all of our lives, but it's a way to make up for all those non-journaling years (ok probably 93% of my life). So here goes numero uno....enjoy!!

Technically this one involved my Grandpa Bell, not my father (who I thank for most of these embarassing memories....but it is his Dad and as you'll learn...the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree).

So, I remember spending MOST of my childhood days on my Grandma and Grandpa's farm. He was a cattle farmer and had TONS of land that made prime locations for tree houses, and all kinds of kid games. This specific story happened when I was maybe 16 years old. It was a typical family gathering at their house. Adults inside being loud and kids outside being crazy. I wandered through both before I found myself outside and noticed a gaggle of my little cousins (and siblings) gathered around the cattle guard poking it with a few sticks. I wandered over and became a silent observer to find out what they were doing.

They explained that there was a turtle stuck in the bottom of it and they were trying to save it's life. I looked down and sure enough it was a pretty good size turtle. I sat and watched while they tried effortlessly to help it with their tiny little sticks. My cousin Jake is quite the animal lover so he was extremely devoted to helping this turtle escape. Welp, before too long my loving grandfather came out with his shotgun, inquired as to what was going on, and told the kids to move back. Yup....you guessed it, he promptly pointed the shotgun through the cattle guard and blew that little turtle away, in front of all the cousins who were watching stunned. He walked away and muttered something about saving it's life for them.

Part of me sat in shock and pity for the cousins who spent most of their day trying to save the turtle and part of me just threw my head back and laughed hysterically at watching my grandpa come out and blow it away after hours of rescue attempts by small, animal loving children.

My grandpa is/was a great man but he was also hilarious and stubborn. Case in point: he tried to convince my Grandma that he was going to drive a car (that was broken and could only be driven in reverse) to a nearby shop in a nearby town to get it fixed. How was he going to get it there? He was going to drive backwards all the way there! Every one tried talking him out of it to no avail. However, my grandma finally came up with the solution. "Rex if you do that you'll get a horrible kink in your neck" So there it was...that simple fact alone convinced him it wasn't a good idea. He was an interesting sort. I love him and miss him so much.

One Year Ago

Well technically it's about 1 year and 3 days ago, but whose counting? (besides me ;-). I wanted to post this on Monday, October 6th but I forgot. I have been kinda lax on posting about big memories/dates but please know that I always remember them....just nothing beyond that for the most part.

So what was 1 year and 3 days ago? The day my life turned upside down.....in a good way!! October 6th 2007 was the day I moved from COMO to Arky and got a purty ring to boot! I became an arkansa'an and an engaged woman on the same day. The makings of anyone's dream come true right?

John came up the day prior with his truck and trailer. It was my last day at my job and all my stuff was in boxes waiting for his arrival. It didn't take long to load up, and start a little "treasure hunt" on our way. However, I was a bit slow with guessing/figuring out the clever clues he gave. In my defense my brain was in "moving mode" and once I'm in a zone I can't seem to focus on anything else. Without giving too many details and thus turning this into an extremely LONG post, I'll just say John was very clever and spent TONS of time creating a little treasure hunt of sorts. It started in COMO and ended in Arky where I found the treasure. My beautiful ring. Honestly, it seems like forever ago (again...in a good way)! He's the most thoughtful guy and I'm lucky to call him mine.

The day I saw John's picture for the first time (yes we met online - but in a very non creepy/crazy type of way) I avoided it like the plague. Merely for the fact that I had a distinct feeling that this guy would "take me out of my comfort zone". Now that I sit back and remember this I laugh because through the course of our journey (1 year 5 mos to date) I have definitely seen this thought come to fruition.....a million times over. From dating long distance, to letting down my guard, to falling in love, to moving to a completely new state, to becoming a real estate agent, etc. I've never traveled sooooo far out of my comfort zone!! But it's been a great experience and one I've needed to travel for a long time. I've grown so much I hardly recognize myself anymore. Through all of the changes/growth life has been great to me. Here's to many more years of happiness and fun!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Oh We're Going To The Hookie-Lau

::Insert hula waving hands here::

Welp...it's official! Now I can officially start getting excited. Yesterday we took the plunge and bought our tickets to the Hookie-Lau (also known as Hawaii). Let the starvation diets commence!

We grew tired of "talking" about the dream vacation and decided to finalize the dates/schedules and future fun. Granted the fun isn't scheduled to happen until January 2nd but it's not that far away to keep from holding back the excitement. This is going to be our 1st anniversary celebration (even though our anniversary is on Dec 15th). Who wants to travel during Christmas anyway? Why not start the New Year's right.....in a completely different state!

So, for those who have visited the Hookie-Lau and have recommendations....please share. For those who have not visited...please be jealous. Hahaha. I'll try to remember to bring home a granule of sand for each of you just to show you the love.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Tag!! You're It!

My friend Melinda loves me and because she does I'm doing this tag for her. Enjoy hearing about how old I am!!

FIVES: Five answers to each question:

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
-Living in Provo, UT
-Attending UVSC
-Living in a glam apartment w/3 other complete strangers.
-Working one of many telemarketing jobs
-Waiting patiently for a date (the beginning of many years of waiting).

2. What are 5 thing on my to do list today?
(Well since today is technically over...)

-Meet the water peeps at the Duplex to turn on the water (pointless).
-Attend Bryce's Princess b-day party
-Do floor duty at work
-More cleaning/working at the duplex

3. What are my 5 favorite snacks?
-French Fries

-Granola Bars
-2% Chocolate Milk

4. What 5 things would I do if I was a millionaire?
-Travel the world.
-Buy a BMW
-Keep it a secret from everyone I know
-Secretly donate to people/charities
-Buy a monkey

5. 5 places I have lived.
Springfield, MO
Willard, MO
Provo, UT
Columbia, MO
Centerton, AR

6. 5 jobs I've had.
-Taco Bell
-Walmart (for a week! It was horrible!)
-Real Estate Agent

7. 5 people tagged by me. (but only if you want to...)

No Worries - We Are Still Alive!!

So, I've been reminded by a few fellow bloggers that I'm a bit behind on my posting. I sat and wondered exactly why I haven't been posting but then realized..... One must do something exciting BEFORE posting!! Aha! And sadly, we are not currently do anything blog-worthy. Our free time has been devoted to remodeling a duplex for the last three weeks. Trust me, you'll be grateful I've spared you the details of these ever-constant outings. They aren't fun. Well technically the first 30 minutes of this project could have been considered "fun" but it quickly changed after that. Thus the reason for no blog posts.

So, in case you are still curious as to what we've been up to......

1. Ripping up and removing nasty stinky dirty carpet. Technically I let John do the honors while I watched. That was enough for me.
2. Up to our necks in paint (literally and figuratively). I've learned why they have professionals do this stuff and trust me, I'll be saving my pennies so they can do it for us next time.
3. Patching, sanding, texturing walls.
4. Driving back an forth and back and forth. I miss the days of coming home after work and vegging :( That was my favorite part of the day!
5. Cleaning, scouring, nasty germs and dirt (and we still aren't done with this one yet).

Bad news - it's not fun. Good news - we are almost done!! So I promise more blogging/posts in the future!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

I Eat Because I'm Faht and I'm Faht Because I Eat!

I'm sure this quote came from a movie - but like most movie quotes it definitely pertains to my current lifestyle. John and I say it all the time then we laugh then we get depressed and cry.  Okay maybe I'm kidding on the crying part - but that's where the kidding stops.  When we were dating and "skipping through the daisies" in love, we both were very good about working out and actually both made a TON of progress toward our goal weight.  Swearing all the way that we would NOT be "that couple" that gains all their weight back after they marry.  Sad to say, we are they.  

Well not entirely so - neither of us crept back up to our original weight - but let's just say we aren't far away.  So, enough of the talk: The diet will start tomorrow - let's pig out tonight and prepare for it!!  None of this being weak for each other.  None of this laying around stuffing our face at 11:00 at night in front of the TV.  I'm a new woman - er I will be one starting tomorrow (hehe).  

So what have I done to get started?  I've decided to resume my nightly "running is fun-see!!" mindset and also begin the online weight-watchers.  After all, one must learn to control their points (er calories) for the rest of their life eh?  So why not start now.  Nothing worth it is ever easy.  (Yes, I'm in the motivational quotes part of the diet plan right now-just bear with me).  

Thankfully, John has helped me resist the urge to "pig out tonight" in preparation for my sabbatical from food tomorrow.  It's not fun - I can tell this even early on.  Putting it simply - eating is fun - I enjoy it - I've pretty much revolved my life around food.  This isn't normal folks - and I wanna be normal!!  

So, tell me how you do it - what are your tips, techniques, etc.  Come one and come all - help me on this quest!!  I'll be using the blog as a measurement of where I am and how far away I have to go.  No, don't get excited, I won't be stating any actual #'s or numbers on here.  I love ya but not enough to tell you how much I weigh.  I'll just let you know how many pounds I lose - every once in awhile.  Don't worry - my blog won't turn into a replica of the weight watcher's blog - but since it's all about me - and this is the new me - I'll talk about it every once in a while.

Not only am I ready to be thin(ner) but our other motivation is Hawaii this January for our one-year anniversary.  After all, who wants to vacation in Hawaii and be mistaken for a beached whale?  Not me!!

Today is the start of a brand-new me.  Sniff sniff - I'll sure miss the yummy food. :(

Follow The Leader

Yes, I'm the leader - and you ...... should follow me! :D  

Sarah and I were blog-talking last night - and found a cool new feature on blogs.  You can now "follow" someone's blog - well at least proudly proclaim yourself as a follower of their blog.  How do you do this you ask?  Well if you absolutely canNOT live without my random rambling blog posts - and consider yourself an avid fan and follower of my insightful words (yes, all of you out there should be nodding your head) you can just click on the right hand side of my blog and choose to be loud and proud in proclaiming your undying devotion to my blog!!  It's about time you all came out into the open eh?  I know there are at least more than TWO of you out there!  It's time to show your faces!!

Ok, in all honestly, pretty pretty please proclaim yourself a follower - just so it looks like I have friends.  I can pay you later - mail a check, clean your house, ANYTHING!!  I just want to see your smiling faces each time I log into my blog and know I'm doing all of this for YOU - my PEEPS!!  

So, if you love me, you know what to do!!  (If you still don't know what to do, I'll happily step you through it!!)

Partay In Da House!!

Time to blog about my new favorite past time!!  UFC!!  For those who are unaware - it stands for Ultimate Fighting Championship.  I never knew how much I loved watching people bloody each other until I married John and was inducted into the UFC Fight Night parties.  I quickly learned that our house is the host of this monthly fight night due to our hi-def TV.  I'm sure there is some skill found in these fights - I'm sure of it - but more often than not it just seems like a blood bath.  Honestly, I enjoy UFC night because it's a good excuse to get together and eat and laugh with each other.  I've found I have a weak stomach for things such as blood and punching and near death moments.  (I can't even look when people get shot in movies - it's just too much).  But, for the sake of the party, I have learned to stomach a little of the event - and allow myself to hide my face when it gets real nasty.  

So, last night was our UFC night and it was one of the best ones we had in a long time.  No, not because the fights were very intense and graphic (at least not in my opinion - even though I'm sure the others would say yes) but I enjoyed it more simply because we got to relax with old friends and EAT - one of my favorite things to do!!  And not just eat anything - we got to dig in on some Cincinnati Skyline Chili (yes I'm hooked to this too thanks to John).  It was good food and good fun......er and good fighting.  Here are a few pics of the fun we had as we reenacted what we saw on TV.

Sarah, going for John's jugular using the "Rear Naked Choke" - yes you are supposed to be 
clothed when you do this - not sure where it gets it's name.

John and Brad duking it out in a good ole-fashioned wrestling match - wherein they 
wore themselves out after only a short 15 seconds.

And me taking John down in the guillotine.  Yes, they had to instruct 
me on how to hold the pose - see how naive and soft hearted I am?  
These things just don't come naturally to me ;-)

Monday, September 1, 2008

Feeling The Love

I've been tagged and as a result....I'm feeling the love.  In all honesty, I do love when people tag me on things like this (thanks Nik!).  It gives me time to talk about my favorite subject...... Me!!!  So, now, according to the law of the tag, I must respond. Enjoy getting to know me bettah....I know I do!!!  ;-)

Two names you go by:
1. Shanaynay
2. Shanabell
Two things you are wearing right now:
1. Shirt
2. Jeans

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1. Movie popcorn in all it's buttered glory - coming soon in the next few hours hopefully :D
2. Dr. Pepper (my long lost friend - once again..sniff sniff...let's move on mmkkay?)

Two people who will most likely send this back
1 Colton - because she does EVERYTHING I say!! ;-)
2 Michelle - because she needs to learn to do everything I say....and update her blog!  Two birds w/one stone eh?

Two things you did last night:
1. Drove forever and ever and ever coming back from Branson.
2. Slept like a log on the most comfortable bed ever - my own :D

Two things you ate today
1. Pancakes at Village Inn w/my Sis-in-law Sarah and her cutie kids.
2. Movie Popcorn - coming soon so I'm counting it :D

Two People you just spoke with:
1. John
2. Sarah

Two things you're doing tomorrow:
1. Meeting an Inspector for a home inspection.
2. Meeting an Inspector for a termite inspection.   Woohoo!!!  (sarcasm noted ;-)

Two longest car rides:
1. From Branson to Arky last night in the pitch blackness of night with windy pretzel roads, a crappy map, and my husband following on the moto.  I spent 99% of the time frazzled with worries over all the above.

2. From Utah to Missouri by myself with all my belongings crammed into my lil car.  Driving across the country all by my lonesome, with all my belongings, belting out the music.  Rather liberating - I encourage everyone to have at least one of these life moments before you die.

Two favorite beverages:

1 Dr. Pepper - sniff sniff - no longer in my life but will always be my one and only love.
2. Country Time Lemonade - I see to have developed quite the addiction to this in order to numb myself from missing my DP.

Tag to anyone who wants to feel the LOVE!!  And anyone who is a frequent visitor of my blog!!  So that means maybe 3 people??  Hehehe.  

Laboring At The Lake

Our Labor Day weekend was spent laboring at the Lake.  Table Rock Lake - In Branson.  We were lucky enough to score the condo's for the weekend so we had yet another Bell reunion over the weekend.  The first day/night were spent with the Walker's and the Bell's and my mom and very pregnant sister.  We wandered around Branson Landing, and enjoyed a dinner at Joe's "Crab" shack - eating what else?  Chicken!!  Our family isn't diverse in food of the aquatic nature.  And by "not diverse", I mean - we don't let it even touch our lips.  The only seafood diversity comes from my brother-in-law Kendall.  He's the one digging into the crab, shrimp, and lobster, while we all happily dip our chicken strips.  I blame it on my mother of course ;-).  The most exotic fish we got all through our growing up years were fish sticks.  And yes, I drowned mine in ketchup to get rid of the "fishy" taste.  

Our second day was spent lounging around and being lazy.  Some impromptu shopping, some napping, and some dinner at one of the biggest grease joints on the strip (yes, we regret this later).  And then we are off to enjoy a cultured evening at Noah: The Musical.  Michelle, Kendall, my mother, and John and I were rather excited for this opportunity.  Of course the internet has rave reviews and we talk ourselves into forking over the moolah.  Only to walk away severely disappointed.   The stage props were impressive, the acting was overly cheesy, although they had good singing voices, and alas at the end, Jesus comes out looking like Liberache, adorned in his diamonds and glitter and asking all of us to be saved.  It was definitely a scare you into submission type of church event.  Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against church and Jesus.  I think he and it should be in much more of our lives, but the booming voice of the narrator frightening all of us to run the other way, was a bit overboard in my opinion.  So, those who have seen it and liked it - good for you.  Those who haven't - don't.  I've decided I won't see anything less than Broadway type plays from now on.  Much more professional and entertaining.  This.....was neither.  But all in all, it was a nice little getaway with a few of the fam.

Day 3 had us laboring at the lake.  Or maybe that was just me?  It was definitely fun mind you.  But does anyone besides me notice how much work it takes to enjoy it?  Especially with 4 kids under the age of three.  Lugging all the gear, setting up the gear, bathing the kids in sunscreen, hobbling over the razor edge rocks down to the lake with two kids in your arms (WITH lifejackets) and wincing in pain on each step.  I can now say I know what it feels like to walk on glass!!  The kids were adorable though so it was all worth it.  Even though they couldn't quite decide if they wanted in or out of the water.  We got to play on the seadoo, eat some lunch, and relax in the sun.  Preston pooped all up and down his body, and on Grandma - neither seemed phased through all of it.  Cora had a tendency to fall asleep the minute she floated in the water, Ashlyn was a bit timid of the water and fighting a cold but enjoyed being accidentally submerged by her father.  She literally came up cheesing and smiling since we were all trying to make it a "happy moment" and divert her from the tears.  And Kayley was a chatterbug as always telling us all about Ariel and Jasmine and asking what each of us were talking about, eating, etc.  She's quite the curious little one and it is adorable.  

Needless to say, after three days of spoiling the babies and swimming and sleeping on uncomfortable beds, and enjoying a great grilled steak, John and I were pooped and ready to head for home Sunday night.  Nothing like a vacation to relax and tire you out all at the same time.  A great time was had by all!!

Headin' Back to Ma Roots

So technically we tapped into our family roots a few weekends ago.  But since we've been booked busy since then, I haven't had the chance to blog about it.  However, this is not to insinuate that it wasn't a hilarious weekend full of laughter I'll have you know.

As you devoted readers of my blog may know by now, my sister-in-law Sarah excels at coming up with exciting and rather random sources of entertainment for all of us.  It's definitely not the typical "dinner and movie" night either.  She was the creator of our Derby Girl outings.  And still hot on the trail, she instigated our Demolition Night Out, with our full blown white-trash look.  We were all a bit surprised (and concerned) at how easy it was to duplicate the look.

We started the evening by meeting at Sarah and Tom's and getting decked out in blue eyeshadow, hairspray, big hair, and rub-on tattoos.  Already I was aching from all the laughter and pointing at each other and the night hadn't even begun yet.  Once we were decked out we loaded up and headed to the Sizzler for dinner.  I know, I know, what better place to dine on such an evening.  Surprisingly they didn't realize that we were intentionally decked out in our garb - I think we blended in with their regular customers.  All both of 'em.  Yes, we were about 4 people in a restaurant of 10 (including the servers).  The food was entertaining to say the least.  Hardly delicious but definitely entertaining.  Then we headed onward to the grand finale, a night at the Demolition Derby!!  This was only my 2nd visit (last year John and I went while we were dating - it was true love the moment I stepped past the gates, hand-in-hand with him...sigh).  Anyway, I digress.  We arrived at the derby this time and were welcomed rather warmly to our peeps and the smell of white trash in the air (most likely our hairspray coated hair I'm sure).  Then we sat and enjoyed watching cars crash into each other for the next two hours.  It wasn't quite as chaotic as last year's Derby.  They seemed to play a bit too nice for my taste.  But there were a few cars sitting on top of other cars, while some lost their axle's, and others chased each other around the ring.  One of the best parts of the event is when we all pray toward the American Flag hoisted up high in the air on nothing else but a boom lift.  What a way to start such an interesting evening.  We always like to people watch most of all.  We found your typical odd balls but the most interesting was when we met Rosco the Raccoon.  Apparently this was his second time frequenting the Demo Derby as well.  Here are some hilarious pictures depicting our hilarious evening.

John and I all geared up and ready to go!!  Yes, those are rub-on tattoos on his arm, and yes it is the full sheet square.  Very realistic eh?

Sarah helping me achieve "the look".  Apparently I had failed miserably on my own.

Fine dining at it's best.  John is paying his respects with the hat over his heart.

Sarah & Tom chowing down.  Sarah's t-shirt says: "Princess" with the excessive amount of hearts n arrows.  Tom's says: "Who's Your Daddy" will the Pepsi hat completing the look.

John's sleeveless shirt with his hat with built in bottle opener.  And my ratted hair and blue eyeshadow with an Eeyore shirt saying: "Mood Swings in 5 Seconds".  

And alas, the most interesting sighting of the night.  Roscoe the Raccoon with his devoted owner.  Sharing kisses and picking at each other's ears and eating candy.  They were definitely the pair.  

Monday, August 25, 2008

Birthday Boy

Well John is now settling comfortably in his 30's. He turned the big 3-2 last Friday. Everything I had planned went off successfully and luckily he was only aware of 2 out of 6 surprises. I'm getting better at this!!! :D John has a history of "happening upon" christmas gifts, valentine gifts, and birthday gifts. He either reads through the wrapping paper, or simply walks into rooms and closets he's never even bothered with before. He swears it's unintentional and frankly I do believe him - but really - what are the chances? I can't surprise that guy to save my life. So, now I just tell him to stay out of the specific room or quit looking at the bank/cc statements until his birthday is over. That works for the most part - unless of course he "forgets" again.  

The day started off with a little treasure hunt of sorts. He hunted around the house for his wrapped gifts one at a time. He got some great Chicago Bears stuff (one of his fav teams) and a gun magazine (for the gun he got a few months ago) and some Skyline Chili mix so we can continue making the chili he grew up with in Cincinnati. That stuff is hard to come by - by the way. And then last of all, he got surprised with the whole day off. We were intending to hit a bucket and shoot the gun and other fun stuff - but then ended up running around putting in offers and meeting with lenders on a duplex we hope to buy. He convinced me that doing that was just as fun as anything he could think of. I believed him - because I had fun doing it too!! :D Then of course we wrapped up the night with a surprise family dinner at Abuelo's (his favorite). And sadly, yes he caught on to this surprise too - but it was my own silly fault. Anyway, it was a great time to spend with family/friends and celebrate my best friend/husband's birthday. Yesterday he got his favorite meal cooked for him and blew out the candles on his ice cream birthday cake YUM!!! It was a great birthday full of great fun. It's so fun growing old with John and knowing I get to spend the rest of my life doing so. He is truly a wonderful husband and great support to me. I'm lucky to have him. He was definitely worth the wait - and it was a LONG wait!!! ;-) Here are a few pics from our dinner out.

Sarah & Tom
Mama Jean & Papa Joe
Me and the Birthday Boy
Brad & Dana
Mark, Maren, and Laney