Friday, July 17, 2009

San Antonio

It's taken me awhile to post about our trip to San Antonio (since we have been back for two weeks now), but here it is... finally.

First of all, we had such a blast. Sea World was so much! This was the first time for all of us except John and already we can't wait to go back. We didn't really ride any rides, we just swam alot and went to a bunch of shows. Oh, and fed dolphins and sea lions. Feeding the dolphins was definitely Margaret's favorite part (aside from swimming). She loved seeing them so close up and she even got to touch one. Steven's favorite part was seeing Shamu, but I also think he loved riding all of the kiddie rides with Daddy. I really loved the Viva show with the dolphins and acrobats and of course anything that involved getting wet. Seeing the Alamo was fun, but I was so shocked with how small it was. Growing up learning about what took place there, I guess I just expected it to be much bigger. The riverwalk was alot of fun too, but it would be nice if there were signs somewhere letting you know that it's not really stroller-friendly. What could have been a very pleasant stroll turned into a stressful workout; but I did enjoy dinner and the boat tour. All in all, I loved our vacation and I was a little sad to come back to real life. It was fun to be together so much just having a good time. Can't wait to do it again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Walking Contradiction

I love music.

I love just about all styles of music aside from Rap, R&B and twangy country. And when I say that I LOVE all other styles of music, I don't just mean that I'll listen to it if nothing else is on, but I really, truly, passionately (or "truly, madly, deeply" in the words of Savage Garden) LOVE each style for what they are and what they have to offer me, as a listener.

I was thinking about this during my run this morning and came to the conclusion that I, my friends, am a walking contradiction. In my previous post, I spent a long time rationalizing why movies should be made of tougher stuff to be considered great, particularly when it comes to character and morality. However, I don't hold these same high standards for myself when it comes to music. I really love heavy, heavy music.

There it is. I said it.

Linkin Park

The list goes on... and on. But I have to say that of all of the heavy music that I like 311 and Incubus are my favorites. Why? Because when they came out, what they were doing was new and different and fresh. Not just straight rock but alt-rock meets hip-hop meets rap meets ska meets raggae meets funk. Gotta love it!

However, we all know that heavy music isn't always paired with moral messages (unless you're listening to Christian Rock, which I do on occassion to try and get my fix without the negative lyrics.) Does this stop me from listening to this type of music? On occassion, and definitely if my kids are around. Does this stop me from LOVING this type of music? No. Absolutely not.

Let me know if you feel this way too, but I am really MOVED by music. In a way that nothing else can move me. And I find it much easier for male singers to move me than female ones. There are only a handful of female pop singers that I actually like (not all from this era) and all are because they move me and speak to me. I don't know, I guess when I hear a woman sing, I really want her voice to be beautiful because of the types of emotions that I want to experience when I hear a woman sing. A man, however, is a totally different ballgame. Sure, I like it when men have beautiful voices too (my husband has a beautiful voice), but there is just something about a man with a gravely singing voice.

I think I got a little off-topic so I'll just end it with this: apparently it's easier to entertain me with music than it is with film.

Friday, June 19, 2009


I think that I've earned the title of movie snob among the ladies that I serve with in Young Women's. I don't always go crazy over the same movies that they do (Twilight) and of many that are deemed great movies by most people, it seems I'm the only one that has anything negative to say about them (Seven Pounds.) I have to admit that the art of a movie can only take it so far, as well as the acting, plot, etc. Yes, I want to be moved emotionally or intellectually challenged; drawn into a love story or sitting on the edge of my seat; heck, I don't even mind being totally confused at the end of the movie. But, for me personally, it's hard to justify the greatness of a movie without taking into account the subject matter. That's probably the clencher for me, right there.

For instance, Seven Pounds was an excellent movie. It was well-made with very insightful camera shots and lighting. The acting was superb and I even cried in the end. But I have two major problems with the movie: first, it was rather predictable and, second: when you strip it down to the bones, it's just a movie striving to glorify suicide. Granted, I have NO IDEA how I would react in a similar situation, but come on guys - suicide is suicide no matter how many people you save or help along the way. You can disagree with me all you want, but I think that if you sit back and think about it long enough from a religious standpoint, in the end the guy made a poor choice. Noble, yes. Sacrificial, yes. Damning, yes. Killing yourself intentionally to save someone else is simply not the same thing as jumping in front of a bullet to save a comrad in arms. A soldier who takes a bullet for a friend isn't the one holding the gun. Enough said.

To illustrate the kinds of movies that I deem great, I want to talk about a movie that John and I watched last night. Has anyone else out there seen Fireproof? It's made by the same guys that did Facing the Giants. Fireproof was a superb movie (and not just because it was about firefighters, whom hold a special place in my heart.) Yes, the acting was a little cheesy at times, the quality might have been sub-par, and the focus on the cross might have made me a little uncomfortable, but I would still rate this as an excellent movie for several reasons. First of all, it's about a disfunctional marriage on the brink of divorce, something that many people can relate to. Secondly, and this is a biggie for me, this movie doesn't shy away from talking about religious matters in any way whatsoever. It's a religious movie that takes religion seriously and it's not afraid to openly discuss God and Christ and our relationship with them. And of course, I thought the storyline was great. Those are things that I look for in a good movie. It doesn't have to be a happy movie or have a happy ending for me to like it, but it should have some sort of moral spine to it, for sure.

Having said all of that, I wanted to challenge myself to come up with a list of 30 movies that I deem great, just so you guys will know that there really are several movies out there that I love!

1. Harry Potter (all, but especially 1,2 and 5)
2. The Lord of the Rings (wonderful "good vs. evil" story)
3. Star Wars (the originals - hokey but ultimately good)
4. Willow
5. The Fugitive
6. Unbreakable
7. Superman I (the original)
8. Superman Returns (even though they took out "Freedom, Justice and the American Way")
9. Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version)
10. Emma
11. Much Ado About Nothing
12. The Twelfth Night, or What You Will
13. Fireproof
14. Dan in Real Life
15. E.T.
16. Beauty and the Beast
17. Sleeping Beauty (and most classic Disney movies)
18. Toy Story (and most Disney/Pixar movies)
19. Batman (the original)
20. Batman Returns
21. South Pacific
22. The Sound of Music
23. My Fair Lady
24. The Others
25. Father of the Bride
26. Ever After
27. Saints and Soldiers
28. A League of Their Own
29. Swing Kids
30. Rudy

See, there are plenty of movies that I love! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Girls Camp 2009

Well, I survived girls camp and I have to tell ya, I had a blast! I had my doubts once I got a good look at the inside of our cabins, but the rest of the camp grounds were so amazing that our nasty bunks were soon forgotten... until bedtime. I had so much fun getting to know the girls better and spending time with them; there's just something about spending a week together that brings you closer. I especially feel that way about the three other leaders that I was there with... you gals rock!!! Can't wait to do it again next year! If you'd like to see some pics, then go here.

Oh, and the song that I have playing in the background is my new fave. It's titled "Emma" and it's all about Emma Smith and her life. One of the most spiritual experiences that I had at camp was when this song was played behind scenes of the "Emma Smith: My Story" movie... very touching. Especially in the last few seconds of the song which says "I bet your heart breaks when some people still say somewhere down the line you lost your faith. How much can one heart take?" That line really got to me because I've always been one of those people who felt that way. I was wondering why we were focusing on Emma Smith as a woman of light when she eventually strayed from the truth. This song combined with the very stirring images that were shown has brought about a complete change of heart in me. I love you, Emma Smith; I'm sure the angels did stand in reverence as you prayed.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Little Hero

I know that a new post from me has been a long time coming, but believe me when I say that I've tried. Let me just blame it on our internet and be done with it.

Steven turned 4 last month and we celebrated a few weeks ago with an AWESOME superhero party. The kids got to come dressed up as superheros then we played some fun games in the backyard. Steven was, of course, Batman for the party and he looked so cute... oh, I mean, he looked so TOUGH and SUPERHERO-Y. I think he really enjoyed his day. Thanks to everyone who came and made it so special for him.

The Superman invitations that I made

"Pass the Kryptonite" relay race

He looks so heroic with his cape blowing in the wind!

"Capture the Super Villians!" - Villian #1
(Emily, you look soooo evil!)

"Capture the Super Villians!" - Villian #2 and #3

Tie up those villians!

The cake - Thanks Michelle!

The cupcakes - Thanks again, Michelle!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

It's Been a Great Week

It all started with an awesome Stake Conference in which Pres. Uchtdorf urged us to read and study the Preach My Gospel manual. I've heard that many times before, but for some reason I felt a really strong impression to follow his counsel this time. I started Sunday afternoon and have continued through the week, journaling as I go and really taking every sentence to heart. I'm not very far into the manual, but I've already had so many answers and insights that it's really been amazing. My testimony has certainly been strengthened in that I know that the leaders of the church give us the things that we need to hear in order to improve our lives and draw closer to the Lord. Both President Uchtdorf and Elder Cook gave amazing talks that struck many chords with me and have increased my desire to do good.

This week was also great because the kids and I got to go to the Dallas Children's Museum for the first time. And while there were definitely way too many people there and I almost lost Steven at one point, it was a neat experience. They absolutely LOVED the dinosaur dig and the water table. It was a great place to have fun and learn at the same time.

Yet another reason why this week has been good is because I actually stuck to my commitment to work out 4 days this week. I've been trying to increase from 3 to 5 workouts for awhile and it just hasn't been happening. So I set a goal to work out 4 times and I achieved it! I've started a running program for beginners (I've always hated running) that should allow me to work up slowly to being able to run 3 miles in two months time. I tried it for the first time on Friday and, while my mind was telling me that I hated it, my body sure felt great all day. I also had an AMAZING upper body workout on Thursday with my sister involving pyramid training (I LOVE weights) and man am I sore!!! Still!!! But at the same time, I feel stronger already and my body just feels good. "It hurts so good!" The weight loss is going great; I'm approaching the 25 lb. mark, so that's definitely something to be happy about. I just have to share this because I find it really interesting. John and I broke down tonight and got burgers and fries for dinner from Mooyah Burgers. They were great, but I'm feeling so sick. I've been eating SO healthy for the last few months that I could just feel the grease going down and sitting in my stomach. I know it sounds gross, but I just find it amazing that I'm that in tune with my body now. Who'da thunk!?!

Wednesday was another great day. I worked on Young Women stuff from 4:00 until I had to leave for mutual that night and had a great "Getting to Know You" night with my Beehives. I've been praying to be able to develop stronger relationships with the girls in my class (they all have very "unique" personalities that can make it hard) alot lately and I feel like Wednesday was a great step in the right direction. I also had the opportunity to teach a class on integrity this afternoon for a Personal Progress Roundtable and I really enjoyed preparing for it. The value experiences that I chose to teach involved ALOT of scripture study and it was inspiring to read about all of these characters in the scriptures who demonstrated unwavering integrity in the face of temptation (i.e. Esther, Daniel, Paul, Joseph Smith, etc.) The class went over really well and I was able to meet girls from other wards in our stake.

...A great week...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Birthday to Our Little Funnyface

My baby is all grown up. Okay, so that's a major exaggeration, but I really can't believe that she's actually 2! I seem to be saying this more and more the older I get, but time really does fly by too quickly.

We celebrated Margaret's birthday with family parties on Saturday and Sunday evening. True to form, she was an absolute ham as soon as she realized that she was the focus. Our little funnyface was the life of the party!

Since Monday was Margaret's actual birthday, John and I took her to the park while Steven was at school. It was really nice to have some alone time with her and I know that she enjoyed having both of us all to herself. And to finish her birthday off with a bang, we had a special Family Home Evening lesson celebrating Margaret! John and I talked about her birth while we showed pictures of her in my tummy and of her as a newborn. Then we shared some funny stories about her or funny sayings from the last year. After that we talked about how she is very forgiving and loving, just like Heavenly Father and Jesus. But I think Margaret's favorite part was the slideshow that I put together for her on the computer with pictures of her over the past year. She was so excited to see the little baby, but especially excited when she saw pictures of Mommy, Daddy or Steven. What a sweetie.

We love you, Margaret. Happy 2nd Birthday!

Monday, January 26, 2009

For Lack of Anything Better to Say

I've been getting a few snyde remarks about not posting anything new to my blog in awhile, so I'm just gonna go for it, even if it's not that interesting.

John and I started doing Weight Watchers together last week (though I unofficially started at the beginning of the month.) His goal is to lose 5 pounds and let's just say that after the first week, he's .5 lb away from his goal (if only that could be me.) Since the beginning of the month I've lost almost 10 pounds! (Only 45 more to go until I hit goal.) Of course, my goal weight of 160 is something that I haven't weighed since I was like 12 years old (I jest not.) I didn't even weigh that little in college when I was working out several times a day everyday for rowing and karate. Needless to say, I'm a little apprehensive about reaching my goal, but I'm dedicated, so we'll see how it goes... I'll keep you posted.

Over the Christmas holiday (on Christmas Day, actually) I rolled my ankle pretty badly while playing laser tag with my brother and brother-in-law in the dark outside. (NOTE: Chad wanted me to add that he and Stewart were kicking mine and Patrick's rears. Oh, and Chad was also the first one on the scene to rescue me after I flew into a fence while falling down.) Though I've been treating it pretty well, my ankle has been really slow to heal. Last week was the first time I wore heels to church and it was very painful; I'm sure people were wondering why I was walking so funny. This morning was the first time that I've tried to exercise since Christmas and it was definitely not a pleasant experience. Every so often I'll turn my leg just so and then fall to the floor from the excruciating pain. You'd think it would be healed after a month, but I guess not. Sheesh! It's very inconvenient.

I finally finished putting together our Shutterfly calendar, and in the process came across some really great photos of the kids. The both got pretty big gifts this year, especially from grandma and grandpa. These are pictures of them enjoying those gifts. Aren't they so cute!?!

Steven REALLY loves his new bike!

"Do I look handsome, Mommy?"

"Ride 'em cowboy!"

"Ahhhh, I love the feel of the wind in my hair."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy Anniversary, My Love

To the most wonderful man that I ever could have married:

Thank you for six wonderful years and many more to come.

Thank you for being the greatest husband in the world.

Thank you for your friendship and companionship.

Thank you for your strong testimony and leadership in our home.

Thank you for our two beautiful children and the wonderful father that you are.
Thank you for all of the joy, laughter and fun over the years.

And thank you for loving me so completely;

I love you.