" I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure and wearing lipstick. I believe in pink. I believe that LOVING is the best calorie burner. I believe kissing. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." ~Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Instrument: Part 3

My father in law is the bishop in their ward. Sunday night after dinner Casey, his parents and I were in the front room talking when their was a knock at the door. Kendall looked out the window and saw a young teenage girl running away, he smiled. Pam opened the door and stuck to the door was a white envelope with the words "Bishop Van Wagoner" written on the front of it. Pam yelled "Thank You" to the unknown deliver and gave it to Kendall. We all just at there as he opened up the envelope and watched as he pulled about a dozen gift cards and a two page letter. At first he read it to himself. Then as tears starting streaming down his face we urged him to share with us. He was so touched he couldnt even read the letter aloud the 2nd time. So Pam read and we all teared up as she read to us a story about a family that USE to be in their ward. A family who 15 years ago this Christmas was going through some extreme hardships. They had a family member in the hospital whom the outcome didnt look well for and little ones that were going to go without Christmas that year. 15 years ago, the Sunday before Christmas there was a knock on their door. When they opened the door, they found a plain white envelope duct taped to the door. Inside there was $300 worth of gift cards to spend on their children that Christmas. You can imagine their surpise and gratitude.
The gift 'Bishop Van Wagoner' received that night was the same gift that young family received all those years ago. Except, there was 1 differance.
It wasnt for him.
The unknown family has made a tradition out of the gift they received 15 years ago. Now that their financial situation has changed, each year they tape a white envelope to the current bishop of that wards door the Sunday before Christmas, with $300 worth of gift cards for him to hand out to families in his ward that are in need that Christmas.
- Casey and I were in awe. We drove home that night wishing we were in a position to help someone that way. One of the neatest things about that tradition to us, was the fact that their young girl delivered that envelop and that she new EXACTLY what was in side. What a great example.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Instrument: Part 2

Casey and I had a great Sunday. One day, Ill get all of our festivities from October through Christmas on here - one day.
I always look forward to the Sunday before Christmas, lessons are always so amazing. Relief Society especially. There is a certain woman in our ward who I think is one of the most spiritual people I have ever met. No matter if she is giving a talk, a lesson, a thought or even the prayer...she always gets me crying. There is something very speical about her. She stood up to give the closing prayer in Relief Society and I couldnt help but think "guarentee I cry" (just because she is saying the prayer haha) oh no, she immediantly said, "I want to share a quick story if you all dont mind." She told us how a few days back she had talked to her mother and her sister on the phone and how both had asked if she was ready for Christmas. She wasnt. In fact she didnt have any presents for the kids yet. That night she decided to make a midnight run to Walmart to pick out a few things. Money is a little tight for them and she had a certain amount she was to spend. There was a gift that her son wanted to get for her daughter. She found it on sale...luckily. She waited in line for 30 minutes and when it was her turn the checker looked exhausted. Blood shot eyes and moving so slowly. She watched the items prices as they were scanned. They item from her son to her daughter went by and the price listed $20 instead of the sale price of $12 - she kindly informed the the checker "Im sorry, but I thought that item was on sale?" the checker looked up at her and replied "Do you still want it?" She sat there for a moment adding the items up in her head with the extra $8 now added trying to figure out if she was going to have enough money to get the couple of items she was purchasing. She couldnt help but think about the people behind her who were patiently waiting for their turn to be checked out. And then continued adding. The man behind her kindly took the gift and said "I will get that for her" She quickly turned and looked at him saying "no, its okay." He put his hand on her shoulder and stated "Let me get it for you. I've never had kids and I need the blessing for getting this for you."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A thought on being an instrument.

My step dad is in the hospital, he went in for an outpatient procedure on Tuesday and in the process, the procedure caused a 2 1/2 inch tear in his esohpagus. He is by far one of the strongest men I have ever known, it hurts to see him in pain. Sometimes I feel like my family cant catch a break. But in reality, dont we all feel like that? "If it's not one thing, it's another" is a statement I have heard so many say. But why is it that these "one things" or "another" things bring so much heart break to those we love and to those we dont know? Those who share my same faith can share that growing up and even now, that we were taught that the Lord will never give us anything that we cant handle. I do indeed believe this to be true. In those moments, I find that I am growing the very most. My most spiritual moments are when I am in a room by myself pouring my heart out in prayer. Its the tender mercies of the Lord that get us each through those dark and scary moments, I live for those tender mercies.
There are so many of you (myself included) who have been through so much this year, I think that each of us know that our challenges are not over and at times will be even more difficult than we could have ever imagined. Satan will bring you down if you let him! I hope you find, that in your darkest hour - a tender mercy will lift you and that you will let Him help you find the extra strength to go on.
In this season of Christmas and remembering its true meaning, let us remember this qoute:
“Disciples of Christ throughout all ages of the world have been distinguished by their compassion. … In the end, the number of prayers we say may contribute to our happiness, but the number of prayers we answer may be of even greater importance. Let us open our eyes and see the heavy hearts, notice the loneliness and despair; let us feel the silent prayers of others around us, and let us be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to answer those prayers”.
I hope that each of us wont get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas, and to really take the time to remember what it is really all about - I hope I can be an insturment and help to answer someone else's prayer.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I laid down in bed Saturday night and set my alarm for 9:00 the next morning, looked at the clock that stated 8:34 pm - I fell right asleep...good thing I set my alarm cause my eyes didnt open till it went off - 12 hours of sleep, thats a lot!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Aly Brynne Party

So my extremely talented little sister was invited to be part of another boutique, and many of you keep asking when I will be having her next party…so, its in South Jordan so I figured that was close enough. I hear there will be quite a few vendors there so there will be plenty of variety, but you will be BLOWN AWAY by Alyssa’s new line! It is GORGEOUS!!! For those of you who haven’t seen it, if you have ever seen ANY of my jewelry it is all Aly Brynne and handmade by her…Here is the invite I pulled together for her to send out to our family…

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Van Wagoner Halloween Party!

My sister n law Stacy holds the annual Van Wagoner Halloween Party at her house. I think I would venture to say, that this years costumes were by far the best...Thanks to Corey (he dressed as Hanana Montana) and looked absolutly wonderful! We had a delicious dinner and then games were to be played...The main event...Fear Factor...FREAKING SICK!!! The kids loved every minute of it...and the boys...well, Casey and Corey got way into the skits this year! HAHA! Here are some pictures for your enjoyment!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Annual Colley Brewhaha...

My mom throws a FABULOUS Colley “ Brewhaha” every year…my entire family always looks forward to it! The little ones get all dressed up and us big ones carve pumpkins and we usually have some pretty sweet lookin pumpkins by the end of the night! This year, a couple of us took the easy way out and did easier pumpkins, but they still all turned out super cute!
I love helping my mom "set up" for the party, we usually spend hours on the food and the "presentation" of the food...Its just one of those things that we LOVE doing...here is this years "Presentation"...

I seriously could not get the top off of my pumpkin...I was there to gut mine by myself as Casey was still at class at this point...so my brothers took charge and we thought it was hilaroius watching them!

Here are the pumpkins...Can you see my cute owl in the middle? HAHA...My favorites this year were Bryants (my brother) his is the middle top one of the scarwcrow (took forever) and my brother Bruces' - unfortunatly his is in the back left but states "NoBama" - it was HILARIOUS!!! (Sorry Obama lovers, but he DID NOT have my vote!)

Vincent and Vivian with Nana...so stinkin cute!

Have you seriously ever seen a cutter little boy? Love him...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Free food on Halloween

So most of you know that I am quite the exellent bargain shopper, hehe - I heard about 2 fast food deals that are happening on Halloween Night if anyone is interested...
1. Taco Bell - go in between 6 and 12pm and get a free Black Jack Taco!
2. Papa Murphy's - KIDS get a free mini kid size pizza when they come into Papa Murphy's on Halloween wearing their costume.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Last night I was informed…

Last night was the annual Van Wagoner Halloween party, my sister n law Alisha just had a baby about 3 weeks ago. Her name is Autumn and she is absolutely perfect. As I was holding her my cute niece Emma came up to me, caressing little Autumn’s head and looked me straight in the eyes and said “Rachelle, when are you going to have a baby?” “Rachelle, YOU NEED TO HAVE A BABY.” Alisha and I were quite entertained!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Casey named MVP! WHOO WHOO

Last Saturday was Casey’s soccer CHAMPIONSHIP game!!! I hate shootouts, and that is just how this game ended…The game was tied up 1-1 with like 30 minutes left in the game and neither team could finish the ball…the ONE goal that our team scored…was scored by Casey…he was the leading scorer this season for his team, oooohhhh I am so proud! HAHA!
Anyway they did indeed win in the shootout, and Casey was named MVP for the season so he got to take home the Championship trophy…the trophy is proudly being displayed on our fireplace mantle.
This is an awful picture...but atleast there is one right?

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Two weekends ago I spent a wonderful day with my little sister! We went shopping, went to the Rod works 'Girls night out' and then over to Roberts 'Girls night out'. We were on our way home, exhausted...when suddenly...this happened -
You know Roberts on 1300 E.? Well we were waiting in line to ‘exit’ the parking lot, and if you will , just for a second, picture the turnout there…there is HARDLY a downhill, in fact there isn’t one – there is a sewer that separates the parking lot and 1300 E. so there is barely a hill. Well Alyssa and I were chatting away when the lady in front of me starting pulling out to make a left hand turn, I took my foot of the brake and just starting costing about 3 inches down this ‘barely hill’ when all of a sudden, no cars are coming and the lady in front of me decides she doesn’t want to turn and slams on her brakes – I’ll be honest, this was my fault, I was too close to her bumper and I should have been paying better attention, but this is when I rolled into her car. Ya know, like a little tap? She gets out of her car and so do I as I frantically give Alyssa my phone and tell her to call Casey and have him bring my wallet as I didn’t have my license. She started crying, I felt horrible – the first accident Alyssa had ever been in is with me and I said the “S” word in front of her…an accident? You can hardly call it that, as me and the old lady get out of the car she immediately grabs her back and states “Oh my back, I broke my back!” All I can think is the “S” word again and “yeah freakin right! I barely touched you!” (oh, and the fact that I don’t have my license and even if I did, it expired 3 months ago) – WONDERFUL! Anyway, I turned on the charm, as this lady had to be in her late 80’s and I know how older people LOVE polite ‘younger’ folk…I won her love immediately…thank heavens!
Anyway, everyone on 1300 was honking at us as they past as the front of her car was out in the front lane, so I asked her to move her car back into the parking lot and we will exchange information over there…This is when she tells me “I don’t know how to put my car in reverse. Will you move it for me?” So I was in totally shock…moved my car, told her to get on the sidewalk, moved her car and then Alyssa and I helped her cross the road over to where I parked the car – she walked like an old person, come on, you know what I am talking about – WAY TO SLOW, anyway, as we are crossing the parking lot to where I pulled the cars a guy pulls up next to us and asks “Are you guys okay?” So nice of him…I sweetly told him we were, and stated that I hit her. The man looked at me with shock and horror in his eyes and that is when I realized what I had just said…”OH, I mean, I didn’t hit her, I hit her car and we are just helping her over to her car now!” He still looked super confused, and drove away. I took a mental picture of us practically carrying her over to her car, her barely being able to put one foot in front of the other and takin 10 minutes just to walk across 2 parking spots…yeah, I would have thought she got nailed by a car too. The damage on her car was a tiny scratch that did in fact take the paint off her bumper…now when I say small…look at your pinky fingernail (if they are short like mine) and divide it into fourths, ¼ of your finger nail is how much paint I took off of her 1998 mazda. She told me she wasn’t sure what to do, asked if we should call the cops or just exchange information…I opted to exchange information for the sake of not getting fined for 1. Not having my license on me and 2. For having an expired license – She was totally okay with that…after I called my father whom is a retired police officer – because in all reality, I too had no idea what to do as this was the first time ANYTHING like this has ever happened.
I put her back in the car and was squatting next to the front seat as I wrote down my information for her, and then tried to write down hers…She couldn’t remember her address or her phone number. She did know her name though, so that was good. WHATEVER? Should this lady even be driving? I think not! She told me her son would get in touch with me to get the car fixed, I was secretly hoping her would look at the scratch that you cant even notice unless someone pointed it out to you, and not even worry about it getting fixed. When all of a sudden, I hear fire trucks and ambulances up the road, I joking stated “Good thing those aren’t for us huh?” The old lady giggled and said “You would have to have hit me a lot harder than that for those!” 20 seconds later…they were indeed for us, I stood up from bending over next to her car to greet the 3 police men, the fire truck and the ambulance…I know I had a look of shock on my face as I knew my license was about to get suspended, all those men were frantically jumping out of their ‘work cars’ and were sprinting towards us, the police men came to me to get a statement when I immediately asked “Are you here for us?” That is when the officer said, yes, a man called in and told us that a pedestrian had been hit by a car and was knocked unconscious.” I had to giggle…just my luck. “No officer” … and then I told him what had really happened, he told the 2 of us that there was less than $50 damage on the car and that it was our choice to just exchange information or to file a police report I pretended like I didn’t really care, whatever the old lady wanted…I knew she would say we were fine with just exchanging as she had JUST TOLD ME that she was late for dinner at The Atria. In fact, that is just was she told the officer…Oh how I LOVE old people!
Anyway, we got our bill yesterday. Casey and I decided to just pay it out of pocket and not file a claim as we have a $500 deductible anyway. Yeah, Dent Master in Salt Lake charged us $492 to “fix the scratch on the back left of Peggy’s bumper” is what his message said. He then went on to tell us that he did take off $100 of labor…what a nice guy…however, Peggy’s son was suppose to get 2 quotes before he got it fixed…and that is JUST what Casey told Dent Master. So before Dent Master finished Casey called them and told them to stop as he has someone that would fix it for cheaper…the only had the bumper off…the guy asked for how much and Casey said “$375” Dent Master then said her would fix it for $370.22 – DEAL!
However, I think the whole thing is crazy and it makes me sick to my stomach that we have to pay that much over a TINY scratch, sure I would get my car fixed if it was mine…but seriously? A 1998 Mazda for an 87 year old driver that can’t remember her address or phone number and doesn’t know how to put her car in reverse…AWWWW
However #2, the whole incident turned out to be a huge blessing, not the accident itself obviously, but the fact that the cop didn’t ask to see my license, was a huge blessing in which I am extremely grateful.

Monday, October 12, 2009

For now.

I lost my cord to upload my pictures from my little camera – Im not quite sure how this has happened, but I am set on finding it this week as I have tons of pictures that I am dying to upload from it.
Anyway, I found a new spot to take pictures close to my house... I am totally obsessed with it…I thought I would share a couple. Isn’t this dog adorable?

Friday, October 9, 2009


Casey and I went to the REAL game on Wednesday night with some of our friends...When we got to our seats, another one of Caseys friends was sitting 2 rows in front of us. He was in charge of gathering up some fans to be the half time entertainment. Casey was a little hesitant at first - not me... I grabbed a consent flyer and quickly signed it (its not everyday you get to be part of something like that)...so away we went to particiapte in the halftime entertainment, it was actually pretty lame - but we got a picture on the field - did you see us?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I am such a sucker for Halloween and Christmas décor it is ridiculous! However, being the shopaholic that I am, I am pleased to announce that I only bought 2 new things for this Halloween season…I’m totally proud of myself can you tell? And, I absolutely LOVE the set up.
Anyway, I have reached that point here at my ripe age of 26, to not buy things I really don’t need and to not horde things away in boxes. Currently, my mother is cleaning out her attic – every time I see her (which is at least 3 times a week) I get a new box of things that is “supposedly” my things. However, many of the things she is giving to me to take are items she once filled her own home with, things that have meaning, things that belong at “Mom’s house” – how do you say no to those things? Hmmm…I did good on Sunday though…I went through 2 boxes and only kept about half of a box worth. Once again, I am proud of myself. Now all I see, are tons of memory filled boxes filling my unfinished basement and the thought of “what the crap am I going to do with all this stuff when we start finishing our basement?” is now filling my head. Wish me luck as I start de-cluttering my basement and garage I am sure to need it.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


My brake pad light came on in my car about a week ago - I hate spending money getting things fixed like that. We knew it was going to cost a couple hundred dollars and we werent looking forward to it. So Casey decided that he would fix them himself he went and bought the parts and a couple new tools to accompany him...after 2 hours in the garage, he put new brake pads and a sensor for my dash! All for $117...I am VERY impressed.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A different, but good night.

Last night was a good night. I had a soccer game in which my team won 10 – 0, pretty impressive right? Not really, I use to LOVE winning games by crushing my opponent (don’t get me wrong I am still one of the most competitive people you will ever meet) but last night was different. My team kept scoring and the other team was getting frustrated and in return began getting really aggressive, it made me feel bad. We are just playing for fun, sure its competitive, but still for fun. My team was having all sorts fun still, everyone on our team scored (its 6 vs 6). My heart ached for the other team as they started being cheap and yelling at their teammates…that isn’t fun for me anymore – which I think, is a really good thing. I scored, and when I score, its an automatic thing that Casey and I go to Café Rio that night for dinner, so that we did…I seriously am OBSESSED with their Queso…divine!
We came home, Casey played play station – I think it is quite entertaining listening to him get frustrated when he doesn’t win…HEHE…I set up my Halloween decorations! I love Halloween! I love Halloween thanks to my moms love for Halloween – it is such a fun holiday. I think it is sad that not many people actually have parties or anything anymore, it really is quite depressing …Oh well, I am having one and I am TOTALLY EXCITED about it, its seriously consuming my thoughts – its not good.
After I was done, we went in our bedroom and feel asleep to a movie, we were woken up by the crazy wind outside and Casey made an appearance outside moving our garbage can in his garments…cute! It was so loud, that neither one of us could fall asleep…we put in another movie at 2:30am and finished it! We both managed to get up when the alarm went off.
However, waking up to the RAIN is one of my most favorite things…I would choose to start my day with rain everyday if I could!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Witch Tutu

So my little sister and I are doing some boutiques over the next couple of months...so if you know anyone who is holding one, please let me know! In the mean time, I thought I would share some of the things I am making just in case any of you are interested!
First off my Halloween Witch Tutu - This one fits 18-24 months. And is for sale for $12. I also have one more that fits 12-18 months and a pink and brown for a newborn if anyone is interested. I can also do speical orders of any color you would like for $17.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Free "Udder Cover"

Hey ladies...so many of you know that I have recently became quite the bargain shopper and yesterday I ran into this amazing deal!!!...If you go to https://www.uddercovers.com/index.php and click on “Shop Now” you can choose 1 of 6 nursing covers – buy 1 at $32 and checkout. Enter promo code “Chatter” and you will get the nursing cover for free and then you only have to pay for shipping!!! So you get your $32 nursing cover for only $8.95 – great deal huh? So if you are interested go check it out, I read they are only giving a certain amount out and then the promo is OVER!!!
And if you are thinking “I can make one cheaper than that” you totally cant, just so you know. I made one for my sister-n-law Alisha with good quality fabric and used coupons and it still cost me about $16, so there you have it – KILLER DEAL!

Monday, September 14, 2009

3 Years!!!

Today Casey and I are celebrating our 3 year anniversary! I can't believe how much we have learned and grown with each other already. I couldn't have asked for a better husband or friend. So, in celebration of another great year...here are a couple of my favorite pictures from our wedding day...

Casey was so gentle when he preciously placed our divine cake in my mouth...and me? Well I couldn't wait to smear it all over his face!

I totally gave him a bloddy nose - rude right? It was hilarious though...and he TOTALLY got me back...

We seriously had blue and white frosting all over us, his tux, my dress and obviously our faces - it was hilarious - and made for a great tasting kiss!

I love you honey!!!

Heres to another year...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dreaming of this...

Casey has had our laptop at work all week, so I haven't had a chance to upload anymore of our pictures...which believe me, there are still a ton of posts to come. But I can't wait to show you my valences I made for our master bathroom, cause all I have had on my mind sense then is this...

Isn't that fabric so stinkin cute? All I want to do is create and design! I picked out some adorable fabric over the weekend and cant wait to show you my new creations I am going to sell! Who knew I would LOVE sewing so much?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Need a loan?

Not from me by all means, however I do wish I could give you one...But Casey can!
Casey is now a loan officer! So if you need to be pre-approved, need a purchase loan or are looking to refinance give Casey a call or email him!
Toll Free: 866-825-6261 ext:490 and his email is cvanwagoner@ffgpartners.com

Friday, September 4, 2009

Core Synergistics

All I have to say, is that I have been running and working out (including 15 minutes on the stair stepper)for a week now (yes, I did take some workout time off)and it only took 57 minutes of this:

to get me sore in ALL THE RIGHT PLACES!
Just sitting here in my chair bouncing my leg up and down is enough for me to feel the 'perfect' burn in my thighs and butt... that, is reason enough for me to continue on to the next workout tonight!!! - LOVE IT!
Yes, I am starting P90X for the second time as of yesterday...If you are looking for a good workout, you should try it!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Whats funny, is that I graduated 6 years ago and one of my most favorite things to do, is anticipate Tuesday and Thursday Alta girls soccer games! Its like a little life satisfaction that comes in small dosages for me and only lasts 3 months, but it makes me happy. I love watching Coach Mitchell ‘coach’ and see the amount of respect he gets from the girls, I love watching him give them a little hug as they come off the field for giving it their “all” no matter if they did good or bad. There is a special bond there and the memories those girls are making, will last forever. Call me LAME (cause I know I am) but I secretly wish I was a soccer coach and loved every minute on that field!!! Just so ya know, Alta is currently ranked 1st in their region - they have won all 6 games and have the #1 wanted senior recruit in the contry playing up top...its highly entertaining. So if you need something "free" to do on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon, you should go to a game...They are on track to winning their 4th consecutive state title.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Charity Event Tomorrow Afternoon!

Ever thought of helping someone a little less fortunate out? Well now is your chance. One of my co-workers best friends wife (did you get that?) Julie Neff, a 33-year old mother of two (ages 4 and 8 months), was recently diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. She was told that the cancer had spread to her spine and ovaries and that there would be no cure, giving her approximately two years to live.
There are few treatment options available and her family needs a miracle in order to save her life. Julie wants nothing more than to raise her beautiful children and grow old with her husband. She is determined to overcome this life-and-death struggle, but she needs your help. Julie is currently undergoing treatment that has left her tired and frail, and the medical bills are staggering. Together we can help her combat this terrible disease and give her peace of mind while she fights for her life.
To meet her financial needs we are raising money in order to provide her with the treatment that she requires.
A fundraiser will be held on August 29, 2009 in Riverton, UT. There will be a raffle, games, food and more. The more people attend, the more money we can raise to help this young family.
August 29, 2009 from 10 AM to 5 pm
Dr. Roi Hardy Park (12400 S 1200 W)
Riverton, UT

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The Colley family reunion was held in Florida this year and my Aunt Renee’s house. We had tons of fun seeing our family, and it had been years since I had seen some of my cousins! Casey was once again missed on this vacation…he did summer school and couldn’t miss…promise Ill take you on a fabulous vacation when you are done honey!!!
We were meeting up in Jacksonville but decided to fly in a couple days early so we could hit up one of the parks. We met up with My Aunt Sonya’s family (my aunt Sonya passed away 1 year and a half ago from pancreatic cancer) as neither Ashley or Adam had been to Florida, we learned that they had never been on a rollercoaster and literally feared them…so we went to Sea World, and had the time of our lives!!! We got there 20 minutes before the Park even opened and were literally the last ones to leave the park! It was so fun…and HOT…and not once did we not have a smile on our faces! We really went to EVERY ‘show’ the park offered, and even saw Shamu twice – they had a rad “Shamu Rocks” show at night with fireworks, it seriously was amazing! As much as I am in love with Shamu, I could never dive into the tank with him…scary!

My brother Bruce, my little sister Alyssa and I did ride the rides Sea World had to offer though…and we were not disappointed AT ALL! They were tons of fun…we did however, finally convience Adam (who is 13) to ride the last ride of the night with us…The poor things was horrified and I honestly thought he was going to cry (or puke) as we sat on the coaster with our feet dangling making our way to the top…But he survived and Uncle Joe just had to buy the $25 dollar picture of the 4 of us as Adam face was in pure shock, freaking hilarious! Good times were had!
The next morning we packed our stuff up and headed up to Jacksonville where the true fun would start…The last 2 years this family had spent our times together attending Aunt Sonya’s and Grandpa’s funerals, so this time, it was nice to see each other in “high spirits” if you know what I mean.
We really didn’t need to spend much money on this vacation as Aunt Renee has a great setup at her house…18 people stayed in her house and the 6 in our family stayed in a hotel down the street, she has a swimming pool in her backyard and then they have 200 yard dock/walkway that takes you out to the Intercoastal Waterway where you could fish…the site from her back patio is breath taking. Here is a picture I took of Alyssa on the dock, just so you can image!

Hours were had in the pool and roasting mallows next to it, to the point where Adams toe started bleeding from rubbing across the bottom of the pool too much…haha!

The boys and Bruce and Zea enjoyed a day long deep sea fishing trip and caught 3 nights worth of dinner for us! I had to skip out on this activity as I found my deep fear for the dark open ocean while in Cancun early this year…no thanks!
We also went to the coolest bar EVER…yes, I did say bar…look at the place – you order appetizers and drinks and play virtual golf! Every single person had fun here as Marks family are HUGE golfers! Guess who won? Yep, my parents!!!

This is by far my favorite picture as this is where most of us "cousins" spent our time...

This is where we would fish in the early morning, but when the tide went down as waterway was left empty with pure mud (obviously) where we are standing, there were hundreds and hundreds of little crabs everywhere! They kept us so entertained! Sorry you pure animal lovers...but we would pick the crab up and throw as hard as we could into the mud and just sit there and wait for it to make its way back up - it was hilarious! Mean right? No...they could get out, they were just stick at first! My older brother Bruce thought it would be "So funny" to jump into the mud, we swayed him otherwise and told him to just try one leg first to make sure he would be able to get out...(that is him doing this in the picture)and sure enough, he could harldy get his leg out as it suction-cuped him!
I unfortunately got diaper rash on my face while there – not really, but that is what it felt like! I got dermatitis on my face, neck and chest the day after we went to Sea World. Dermatitis is caused by intense exposure to extreme heat and humidity for a long period of time – do you think 13 hours in 109 degree + humidity weather counts? I think so – Dermatitis is often confused with Heat Rash and is much worse than heat rash – great! It looked like I had tiny blisters all over my face and I itched like CRAZY!!! It was awful and made for a ‘no-tanning’ week for me, but that’s okay, I still had fun – I still had it when I got home though, the dermatologist promptly knew what it was and told me it can take between 2 and 4 weeks for it to heal – bummer! And sure enough…3 weeks later, it was gone! Other than having diaper rash on the face, we had an amazing time and learned a lot about my family – want in on a little secret? I am the canasta queen, and NEVER play scrabble with my family, they will waste you!

Monday, August 24, 2009


While my grandparents were in town, my dad and I took them on a little weekend trip to Yellowstone. I haven’t been there in quite a few years, so it was fun to go again. The drive there and back was even entertaining as your scenery is all pastors or crops – my grandparents loved every second of the view.
As we entered Yellowstone, not even 5 minutes in, we saw this HUGE nest and Bald Eagle! It was beautiful, I gained a love for this animal from my other Grandpa who passed away not too long ago and I couldn’t help of think of how excited he would have been to see it. He would have been so proud that I spotted it and hurried out to get a picture (don’t you think Carrie?).
We drove the lower loop of Yellowstone so they could see “Old Faithful” - Papa wasn’t too impressed with Old Faithful, as we were told it should last between 3 and 5 minutes, and it only lasted about 30 seconds…hahaha! Too funny! Grandma however, just absolutely enjoys seeing new things and doesn’t care if it is lame or not, what a good reminder!

The scenery was so beautiful and felt so good to just drive with the windows down and enjoy it! We pulled over in just about every pull-out possible just to “look” and we were always grateful for doing it, not once were we disappointed!

My favorite scenic stop was this…

It made me homesick for Casey, but this lake was stunning and I all I wanted to do was JUMP IN!
When I was doing some research on Yellowstone, trying to find some fun and different things to do, I found that right outside the entrance to Yellowstone and just 2 blocks from our hotel was The Grizzly and Wolf Discover Center – sweet buddy! This place was awesome! And if you have older kids, I highly recommend it! The switch the bears out twice a day and every evening before they switch in the new ones, the get a group of about 20 kids and let them go into the bears ‘cage’ and hide their food. Then they let the bears out and we all get to watch them try to find their food. I seriously sat there and watched for about a hour and could have stayed longer. Then they have an exhibit inside with stuffed bears and it tells you the story of each one. It is kind of sad but so interesting! You need to go!

Friday, August 21, 2009

"I think I could be a Mormon"

I remember the day I entered the MTC (just over 5 years ago, sheesh, that is crazy) and being so excited to go and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who may or may have not ever heard of it before. I cried saying goodbye to my sweet family as I walked through the "Missionarie Here" door, and the departed through the "Families Exit Here" door - I didnt have a doubt in my mind that I was doing the right thing, but boy was I going to miss them! 2 minutes later, I walked out the doors to go find my room and guess who I saw? My Casey! My fears quickly faded and he had to quickly remind me that I couldnt hug him! BUMMER! Anyway, its nice to see a familiar face at a moment like that. I walked in and met my "companion" where I quickly learned that I was got to have 2 while in the MTC - I loved these girls, and learned so much from them - Later we met our District whom would all be leaving to Texas with us and that same day, ond Elder shared with us that he was the only 'member' in his family...another missionary said "How did that happen? How come you haven't converted them yet?" I chimed in and said "It's not as easy as you think, sharing your beliefs with your family." The dear Elder who was the only member, quickly agreed with me while the questioning Elder gave me a huge look of dissatisfaction and disgust.
I will never forget that conversation. And for those of you who were born into the convenant, that may be hard for you to believe. But each of us are put here under different circumstances and I truly beileve that one of my tests was to 'teach' what I can by example and faith to my non-member family and pray that one day, they too will see the "light".
Now, my mom was baptized when she was 16 with her mom and dad who asked a missionary (Govenor Levitt) to come to their Bible Study group to help them with some questions about the Bible. He and his companion came, and soon enough - a deep admiration came for this missionary. Soon enough, the entire bible study group was converted along with my mom.
My dad never did get baptized, he doesnt really believe in organized religion, and I respect that. His parents, Papa and Grandma Shirley have gone between the Baptist congregation and Luthern congregation, stayed put for the duration of the preachers stay and then found a new one. The only time they had been in a LDS church, was when I was baptized.
They came to visit last month!

It was SO good to see them, I love hugging my PAPA, it is so sincere. I love his eye and hand wrinkles that show years and years of hard work out in the pasture and field - It makes me smile just thinking of him. I suggested that we go down to Temple square as it was my Grandma's first visit to Utah and she said "I would love to see the Temple" - So we went, we walked around the Visitors Center, took a picture in front of the Temple and I answered questions as they asked, (I am not one to give more information than is necessary, nor do I push anything upon anyone) - They asked wonderful questions about what goes on in side of the Temple, why did Joseph Smith and Brigahm Young not like each other at first, ect - I loved answering their questions. It made more sense to them as we had spent the day before touring the Oquirrah Mountain Temple. I cup was filled as they asked and then pondered...I cant wait to send them the beautiful picture I took of them holding hands at the reflecting pool with the Temple in the background and explaining the symbolism to them! What a great evening that was!
I didnt know what they really thought at the end of the day, until we were driving home from Yellowstone and my Grandma started asking me about my mission, I told her wonderful stories, good ones and bad ones...At the end of the conversation, she said she was going to look up at home to see where the closest "Mormon Church" was to her and go check it out - So I had to tell her that our church isnt the same as the ones that she has, and explained the order or events and how we have different speakers each week, she thought that was very neat. I continued to tell her about Relief Society and how much I love it and what goes on in there - She ended the conversation with "I think I would really like Relief Society, I think I could be a Mormon!" My heart was so full, and my eyes filled with tears. I put my hand on her knee and said "So do I." Next year Casey and I are going down to Nacadoches Texas, where we will attend church with them...I cant wait to see what happens!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

HELP!!! Be a Sponsor!!!

My darling little sister made the Volleyball team at Hillcrest High School and we need your help! I know things are tight for everyone right now, but if you know ANYONE that would be willing to help, please let them know!
Each player has the task of obtaining at least 2 player/team sponsorships for the 2009-2010 Volleyball team. The sponsorship fee is $300 and includes a banner (ir it is a company sponsorship) of your company that will be on display in the Hillcrest gym during the ENTIRE school year. Please let us know if you are interested or if you know of someone who may; we only have till Sunday! The donation can be paid via check (payable to Hillcrest High School) and Alyssa and I will be happy to stop by and pick it up!
There is also a 5 question form that you need to fill out (one of which asking how you want your business displayed) and other simple questions. Please call me at 801-953-8761 if you are interested!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Birthday Fun.

Don’t worry…I am still catching up on our July festivities. We also celebrated my 26th birthday!!! I never have been scared of growing old or getting wrinkles that just add to my life story. But for some reason, “26” just isnt the same as “25” – I feel like I am actually growing up (yes, it did take me this long to figure it out). But I feel like I look in the mirror all too often now and try to see if any new wrinkles have shown up around my eyes…seriously, what is wrong with me? Casey thinks I am crazy, I think I just need to get over it and get back to my “wrinkles add charchter and add to my life story” feelings…hmmm we’ll see. However, besides the fact that I actually notice my ‘smile’ wrinkles now – whats the big deal about getting old? I recently wrote in my jornal about (now this is just how I feel), if I don’t have any regrets about what I do today, another day older shouldn’t have an impact on me. Do you agree? I honestly think that is true…Live today and a new adventure will begin tomorrow. I am so blessed for the many AMAZING things that I have already got to do and experience. The heartbreaks that have happened within my family has only made us closer and more aware of the love we have for each other. I cant wait for Casey and I to start having kids and share our grand adventures with them! I hope they think they are as “Grand” as we do!
Well, like the past 2 years, my work summer party fell on the same night as my birthday…some may get annoyed with this, but I actually enjoy it. I love and respect so many in my company that spending that evening with them made it even better. This year we went to Clarks Planatarium. We ate dinner, mingled and enjoyed one of the shows…cant remember what it was called, but we had tons of fun…especially wearing these:

Anyway, I came home before the party and was welcomed with this beatuiful bouqet of flowers...Casey always gets beautiful ones!

The next morning Casey made me a small breakfast in bed (although he does this every Sunday anyway) and later in the afternoon we headed out to Tucanos - our little family ritual for birthdays! So delicious!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dauber Larder

So we moved into our home a little over a year ago now, and when we bought it, construction on it wasnt complete. So we got to go "blue tape" anything on the house that we wanted them to fix...I had noticed from day 1 that in our entryway to our front door that there was some stucco that appeared as if it had not been smoothed out - I didnt think much about it, in fact, I forgot to even mention it to get fixed...Well, a year later...(this happened in July) I was out watering my plants and while doing so, I thought about this uneven piece of stucco and how I wished our ladder wasnt being borrowed so I could go up and chip it off or something. Anyway, I went into the entryway and noticed that this 'little piece of uneven stucco' was now about 3 times it was the last time I got a real good look at it...what the???

So, I went and got Casey to get his opinion on this abnormal growth on our home. (Keep in mind that we didnt have our ladder) - he got the garage broom and started poking at the "stucco" to see if it would just fall off - Hmmm...the front of the bottom half chipped right off, and to my dismay, dozens and dozens of these little black things started falling out of "THE GROWTH" - Casey very calmly but frantically began brushing them off of him as he was standing right under it when he busted it open - "What it is it?" I very worriedly asked him. "Umm, nothing dont worry about it - why dont you just go finish packing the car and Ill finish this up" was his reply. (we were on our way to go camping) - "Casey, what is it?!?" I asked him again, obviously knowing that he didnt want to tell me..."They are all dead spiders he said!"
Pardon my language, but WHAT THE HELL???
I was absolutly disgusted. I hate spiders and have to this day, not seen one inside our home (thankfully). So naturally I got all freaked out, wondering what in the crap was collecting dead spiders and putting them in this fake stucco thing above my door. In my mind I was thinking it was going to be some nasty ace BIG spider, but really had no idea. Freaking SICK!!! Anyway, like I mentioned above, we were on our way to go camping with some friends and didnt have time to do much more. So Casey got the bug spray and sprayed the crap out of the entry-way and hosed off all the dozens of mini spiders off the porch before we left.

Anyway...of course I did my home work when we returned and guess what it really was?
A DAUBER LAUDER...do you know what that is, or have you even ever heard of that? Yeah, thats what I thought!
But guess what? It really isnt as nasty as you think it is...I was actually pleasently surprised to find out that I have a dear friend wasp (A known fact, that this type of wasp is a friendly wasp) that I have named "Nectar".
Nectar, you see is a mud dauber lauder. Nectar is a female and she is known to construct a mud nest, then she goes in search of spiders to fill the chambers of her mud nest with. Flower spiders tend to compose the majority of her prey. She stings those disgusting spiders that I hate SO BAD! and paralyze it - she doesnt kill the spider out right BC then it will start to rot right away. Instead, she just paralyzes the spider, which keeps them FRESH. Then, she carries it to the nest where depending on the size of the spider, she will place up to 2 dozen of them in each of chambers (there are about 20 champbers in each nest)and then she'll lay an egg on them, cap the tube off with more mud and start stocking the next tube. The egg hatches and the baby wasp eats the paralyzed spiders as it grows. Then, come around fall, it pupates and waits for spring, at which time in finishes, pops out of the nest and goes and finds its mother. - Kind of interesting huh?
***I have mixed feelings about my new friend Nectar. I still have half of her nest above my door...dont worry, its empty. I was hoping she would come back and lay her next egg there, but it has been a month now, and I havent seen her.
Its gross that I had a collection of paralyzed spiders above my entryway to my house, but at the same time, Nectar killed dozens and dozens and dozens of spiders for me and has kept me happy in my spider free home and quite frankly - I have only maybe seen a couple spiders on the out skirts of my home thanks to her. Oh well...I guess the remains of her hard work where she was hoping to 'birth' her children will have to come down now. (So dont worry)!
Thanks Nectar for your hard work and I am sorry to distroy the home you worked so hard to build to shelter your little ones.