Wednesday, January 27, 2010


For Christmas, my dear friend Lauren Baker gave me TWO of the BEST presents EVER! The first present she gave me was a Snuggie! But this was NO ordinary Snuggie... this was a FRESNO STATE Snuggie! ( I will have to do another post soon about the SECOND gift she gave, you can just look forward to getting that soon)I have to admit when I saw these things on TV, I would LAUGH at how dumb they looked, and think to myself... " GET A BLANKET YOU IDIOT!" But since being able to TEST one of these beauties out on my own... I have learned that there is SO much more to a snuggie than what meets the eye!
IT HAS SLEEVES! I get to read my book without being cold! I get to change the TV channel with the remote without a draft! You all laugh at me now, but DON'T KNOCK IT TILL YOU TRY IT!

~ But on the other hand, I was doing some research and came across THIS ~ The Snuggle Suit...
Now, in a world of snuggies, the snuggle suit make perfect sense. Half fuzzy robe, half body suit, it's another freakish hybrid designed to keep us warm and comfy while simultaneously signaling to others that we've completely given up on ourselves. Would YOU wear a Snuggie Suit?? Just wondering . . .~

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Good Samaritian ~

So I gave a talk today in my new ward about The Parable of the Good Samaritan. I have always known about his parable, but was REALLY opened to deeper meaning recently...For those of you that have not heard the story, here is a summary... A Jewish man was traveling on a trip from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Levite walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.'


It really made me think about WHAT would I have done!? If the same situation happened to me now, would I stop to help? Would I pull over my car with two kids to help a stranger that most likely hated Mormons, and take them to a hospital? THEN would I offer to pay for their medical bills, and return to the hospital to check on them later?

Just something to think about. We are all trying to be like Jesus... RIGHT? So what does Jesus say at the end of this Parable... "Go and do likewise."

In my talk I also covered things WE can do to help those in need today. And I shared a story that made me realize it is not only the BIG things we do that help us to be like Jesus... it is the SMALL things too... Read this Story, and GO AND DO LIKEWISE ~

When I was quite young, my father had one of the first telephones in our neighborhood. I remember that the shiny receiver hung on the side of the box. I was too little to reach the telephone, but I used to listen with fascination when Mother would talk to it. Then I discovered that somewhere inside the wonderful device lived an amazing person. Her name was ‘Information, Please,’ and there was nothing she did not know. ‘Information, Please’ could supply anybody’s number and the correct time.
“I learned that if I stood on a stool, I could reach the telephone. I called ‘Information, Please’ for all sorts of things. I asked her for help with my geography, and she told me where Philadelphia was. She helped me with my arithmetic, too.
“Then there was the time that Petey, our pet canary, died. I called ‘Information, Please’ and told her the sad story. She listened and then said the usual things grown-ups say to soothe a child. But I was unconsoled. ‘Why is it that birds should sing so beautifully and bring joy to all families, only to end up as a heap of feathers, feet up, on the bottom of the cage?’ I asked.
“She must have sensed my deep concern, for she said quietly, ‘Paul, always remember that there are other worlds in which to sing.’ Somehow I felt better.
“All this took place in a small town near Seattle. Then we moved across the country to Boston. I missed my friend very much. ‘Information, Please’ belonged to that old wooden box back home, and I somehow never thought of trying to call her. The memories of those childhood conversations never really left me; often in moments of doubt and perplexity I would recall the serene sense of security I had then. I appreciated now how patient, understanding, and kind she was to have spent her time on a little boy.
“Later, when I went west to college, my plane made a stop in Seattle,” Paul continued. “I called ‘Information, Please,’ and when, miraculously, I heard that familiar voice, I said to her, ‘I wonder if you have any idea how much you meant to me during that time?’
“ ‘I wonder,’ she said, ‘if you know how much your calls meant to me. I never had any children, and I used to look forward to your calls.’ I told her how often I had thought of her over the years, and I asked if I could call her again when I came back west.
“ ‘Please do,’ she said. ‘Just ask for Sally.’
“Only three months later I was back in Seattle. A different voice answered, ‘Information,’ and I asked for Sally. ‘Are you a friend?’ the woman asked.
“ ‘Yes, a very old friend,’ I replied.
“ ‘Then I’m sorry to have to tell you. Sally has only been working part-time the last few years because she was ill. She died five weeks ago.’ But before I could hang up, she said, ‘Wait a minute. Did you say your name was Paul?’
“ ‘Yes,’ I responded.
“ ‘Well, Sally left a message for you. She wrote it down. Here it is—I’ll read it. Tell him I still say there are other worlds in which to sing. He’ll know what I mean.’
“I thanked her and hung up,” said Paul. “I did know what Sally meant.”
Sally, the telephone operator, and Paul, the boy—the man—were in reality good Samaritans to each other.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fresno Chaffee Zoo 2010 ~

We were invited last minute by some friends to go to the Zoo. We originally said we would pass because we had alot going on, but when I mentioned it to Matt, he thought we should go. Mainly because he has not been to the Zoo in the 6 years we have lived in Fresno, but also because we like to take the kids out of the house when we can! SO, we were excited about the invite; the only real worry I had was that we were speaking the next day in church at our new ward, and had not prepared our talks... after a little more justification on our part, we got the kids ready real quick and headed out the door! It is usually hard for me to do things like this on the fly, but I am learning to roll with life, it is more fun that way I have learned! Hailey really enjoyed going to the Zoo, she got to meet up with some friends, and have fun watching the animals!
These next few pictures CRACK me up because it is SO funny how our kids interact with each other. Here they are playing King of the Mountain I guess... Logan Harden the little boy in the brown is just minding his own business, but making sure he stays on the big rock, Kalos Cluff the little boy in the blue jacket just got up, and is getting ready to show his moves, my Hailey is LOVING being the center of attention, or at least she thinks she is, and ... Little Haley Harden is wishing she was up there... THEN
Kalos does this, which makes my Hailey give him the STANK eye, and Haley Harden have "all eye's on Kalos" while Logan still holds his ground on the rock...
And then the two 'Love Birds' look at us like "Did we do something to make you look?" The reason I say Love Birds, is because Hailey and Kalos love each other so much they hate each other. Remember when Hailey got kicked out of Nursery... it was because she threw a toy at Kalos! They are SOOOO getting married when they are older. Amber we should start planning the Wedding already!
This picture CRACKS me up too! The second Landon got out of the Stroller, he was GONE! It is like he is running and waving bye to us! LOL!
Matt took Hailey into the Petting Zoo. I made sure to steer clear of this place... it kinda grosses me out that people pet these dirty animals all day long... but I am trying to let my children live normal lives, so I let Matt take them into the poo infested dirt tank...
Hailey was our tour guide if you were wondering. She was ALL about reading this brochure about the zoo. She was like Dora the Explorer only it is a little white girl is a Zoo...
Good Navigation skills, she was testing to see what time of day it was by where the sun landed... lol haha!~
And this was the best family photo we got of the day! Matt and I are kinda smiling... Landon not so much, and Hailey is checking our the Flamingos behind us... Let me tell you WHY is looks like this... those birds STANK! I thought I might pass out! I was holding my breath the whole time we were by the flamingos... poor Landon does not know the hold your breath trick, and Hailey is wondering is it is the flamingos that stink or her... LOL!
Is it Ironic that these are my favorite animals?? They have been my whole life! I went to the Sacramento Zoo when I was a kid, and the first thing you saw when you walked in was the flamingos... I LOVED it! The Ironic part is that they are PINK my signature color, and they are birds... yet another sign I married the right guy! LOL!
We had a GREAT day, and we are glad we went to the zoo!! We will have to visit again with friends soon! ~

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

CRUISE 2010 ~ warning LONG post ~

There are not many things I am able to LOOK FORWARD TOO... but this Cruise has been almost OUT OF REACH for SO long it is crazy to think it has come and gone already! We were SO excited for this trip because it was our FIRST trip without kids since we had kids, AND our FIRST CRUISE with our dear friends Brent and Amalia Cutts.
Ever since Matt and I became friends with the Cutts, we KNEW we would be life long friends. Our husbands are VERY alike, and enjoy the same things. We get season tickets for the Fresno State Football Games with them, and attend other events together. We often say that it is hard to have friends that we BOTH enjoy. It is great to have true friends that are there for everything and anything. Well, we have been talking about going on a CRUISE with them since we meet like 5 years ago. The boys decided that it was just something we needed to do, and booked it seconds after Amalia and I gave our approval. Matt found a GREAT deal, and we decided to take advantage of it! (Matt is always finding deals, I think he was glad that this time I said "Let's DO IT!"
It is hard for us to get away for two reasons... Number One HAILEY ~ and Number Two LANDON ~We have left Hailey with family overnight previously, but never for a week! My family was more than ready to help us out! My mom and siblings came to Fresno to pick up the kids after we celebrated Landon's First Birthday. As they drove off with the kids in the car, I was sobbing in Matt's arms. I thought I was going to be LOST without them. After I got more used to the fact that they were not around... I started ENJOYING it! We were able to call to talk to them before we left, and that was a big help. Landon would jibber jab with us, and Hailey would say "I love you" then run off to play. We are VERY thankful my family was willing to watch the kids for us, and even more thankful that we did not have to worry about them while we were on vacation.
The first day started out great. We carpooled with the Cutts to Long Beach where the Carnival Cruises depart from. Matt and I have cruised on Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise Lines previously and they depart from a different place. Brent and Amalia also have only cruised with Royal Caribbean, so this was a new experience for all of us. It was a nice smooth process. We waited a short while to get our room cards, but we were on the ship very fast. Usually the first thing we do upon getting on the ship is head straight for the Buffet. THIS time, we headed straight to the SPA. Matt loves to research things on the Internet, and has been researching inside things about this cruise for a few weeks. One of the things he found out was that the spa uses "models" for most of the treatments the first day to give tours. After he told me about this, I was SO excited! I made sure that was the first place we went to. Amalia and I walked up to the Spa Front Desk and asked if they had any rooms for models, and to our surprise they had 4! Amalia and I took a little while deciding on what we wanted to do, and SHOULD have done what our husbands did! I did a Facial. I thought it would be the best treatment for me because after being done with breastfeeding, my body is getting back to "normal" and I am getting my usual skin problems. It was very nice, and relaxing, glad we did it for sure! I am down for ANYTHING that is FREE!! Here I am getting my Facial and Scalp Massage from my new friend Abigale. She was from England, but she had a really good American and Australian Accent. She was GREAT!
Here is Matt MAXIN' and RELAXIN' I think after hearing what he was able to get, I wish I would have gotten his free treatment! He got the FULL BODY Seaweed Wrap. He said he was warm and relaxed and really felt great after.Here is Amalia getting her Cellulite Treatment. She THOUGHT this was what she wanted to do, but after hearing about our husbands experience, she wishes she would have opted for a different treatment ~ now we know for next time!And here is Brent enjoying the other facial. It was so funny at dinner because he kept saying "My face is SO smooth!" It was great that we all got to enjoy a little bit of Free Fun! It was worth the two hours we had to spend relaxing in the spa.
Amalia and I were both a little under the weather, but after eating a little bit we felt better. The dinner was WONDERFUL! Every night I made sure to eat whatever I wanted without worrying about how much weight I was going to gain. I ate two to three appetizers, two entrees and two desserts every night! It was heaven~
Here is Matt and I after enjoying our First Dinner! I think Brent is really enjoying his Smooth Face in this picture more than the food we ate! :)We decided to explore the ship after dinner. I ran into an "old boyfriend" and when I say that I use the term Boyfriend as "I WISH"... I love Justin Timberlake...
The girls were tired from the long day, and we headed back to the room for some much needed sleep! When I got back to the room THIS is what I saw... So Fitting for us BIRDS! ~
The next day we were headed to Catalina, CA. This was Matt and my first time in Catalina. It is a sweet little place, and we now know that we can visit it VERY easily from Long Beach! I think it only takes a short boat trip to access, but our cruise ship circled the island making it a longer trip... no complaints here! We got up semi early and headed to the Dinning Room for breakfast. I had Egg's Benedict EVERY morning! I ate a big breakfast every day too! LOVE my food! Matt and I walked around the ship before we "tendered" out to the island. Matt posing with Catalina Island in the background.
Here we all are in our Tender Boat heading to Catalina Island ~ Don't we look SO excited!?Matt and I enjoying a pretty scene. You can't really see, but there was a cave behind us that we climbed up into... Too bad we were not there on Sunday... we could have attended church on the Island!Resting after a little shopping ~I loved the stairs here, I had to get a picture!Kissing by the fountain! There were LOTS of cute little spots on the Island for Photo Opts!Here we all are with the Boat behind us! This photo made me realize I might want to go on a diet when I get home... LOL!Old School Phone Booths, and there was even a dial tone!YUMMMYYY!! Dessert Island had LOTS of yummy looking stuff... here we are taking DOWN a little of what they had to offer!This picture is PRICELESS! After we got back on the boat, the boys headed to the Trivia Games to win some trophies (aka Ship on a Stick). Amalia and I headed to the top deck of the boat for some gossip-reading-sleeping time out on the balcony in the sun. The boys came to show us their trophy, and get us to help them with the next Trivia. Good thing we went... because then they were able to pose with their winnings!That night for dinner I ate ALOT! I tried Lobster with everyone else in the dinning room, and it was VERY good! We took a quick picture between getting our dinner so we did not have to buy one that the ship took... Amalia did a good job taking the picture. After dinner we went to the show, then DANCING! They had a DISCO theme, and we all TRIED to dress for it! We danced the night away, and I had a blast. I broke out in my own solo dance for everyone, and even used a pole nicely placed by our "resting bench" I think everyone watching enjoyed it! Too bad our camera was not enjoying the Club. It was called the REX, and it was really cool. When we explored the ship we called it the Cougar Room because it was Leopard, Cougar, Zebra, and Giraffe skin themed. We took a break to get some Hot Cocoa and look out as we sailed, the Cutts went back to their room, and we danced a little longer. My feet were hurting, and I was tired so we headed in for the night. We were welcomed to our room by this little guy...The ADORABLE bulldog! YET another IRONIC animal we received! (Fresno state bulldogs in case you did not catch that one)
The Next Day we were going to Ensenada. I think they wanted to make sure everyone knew that was in Mexico. This was the flag they had as we were walking into town. Amalia took a picture by it, but it just does not do it justice for HOW BIG this sucker was!
And because we made it to Mexico, I figured I better find the Devil and make him a deal... he was VERY welcoming to Amalia and I.Any Napoleon Dynamite Fans out there?? Oh yeah, the license plate says LAFONDA, and they are driving it in Mexico! I know it is a California Plate, but this was TOO good!Cute Little Cafe in Ensenada. It looked really cleaned up from the last time we were here!On our way back I LOVED how the ship looked, and decided it would be a good time to take a picture. That night the food was great! I had Steak and Chicken, here is Matt taking a picture of us while I was eating dinner...We explored the ship a little more, and enjoyed sailing off looking back at the city lights...After getting MORE hot cocoa we headed in for the night and we were welcomed by this guy... not sure what I think he is yet... still trying to decide... he kinda looks like a Ninja Turtle to me.
The Next day was a Full Day on the Ship, and it was SOOOO FUN! First thing we did was hit up the hidden Deck to see the beautiful ocean view. We woke up early so we could hit up the dinning room for Breakfast as well! After a GRAND breakfast we went to a Towel Folding Event. We wanted to be able to fold the towels for the kids when we got home. Can you tell we made Elephants??We headed to the pool deck for an Ice Sculpture Carving Event. The guy carved two Love Birds kissing on top of a heart. It was VERY neat to watch! But what was EVEN BETTER TO WATCH was Matt WIN the HAIRY MEN CHEST COMPETITION!! As you can see the other men were MUCH "hairier" than Matt, but he put on the best show!The boys won yet another Trivia Game the day before, so with Matt winning the Hairy Man Chest Competition that made FOUR Ships on a Stick! They were SOOOO stoked!
Please See Video for a LITTLE glimpse of what we were able to see. Sorry about the constant moving... I was enjoying the show rather than paying attention to videotaping I should have been doing! In the words of Matthew Bird . . . "You are WELCOME!"

After Matt won that competition, he was an automatic Celebrity. He really enjoyed the attention, and it was alot of fun to watch. I am STILL laughing to this day about what he did! After he won, they had some of the staff teach him some new moves. After a few easy things, they started popping, and they were VERY shocked to see this BIG WHITE BOY break it down and battle them. It was GREAT! After everything was over, this little chinese boy walked up to Matt with his mom and asked to get a picture with Matt. CLASSIC! ~! The boys forced us to attend yet another Trivia with them where we all won medals... they boys wore their medals to dinner, and Amalia and I just wore our smiles!

It was a PERFECT end to a perfect day! I had my usual dinner ~ Stuffed myself yet again, and walked out of the Dinning Room a very satisfied person!This picture makes me laugh! Check out Amalia's Facial Expression! HAHA! And the redneck guy behind Brent! The boys ALSO brought their Ships on a Stick to dinner with them...We really enjoyed ourselves, and we are SO glad we did it!But NOT so glad about this... does anyone else get a "food baby" like I do? I am REALLY pushing out my tummy in this picture, but I look like I could be like 5 months prego! HAHA!And at the end of the night it was a little froggie that welcomed us to bed! NICE! ~I slept like a baby, and we woke up early again and got breakfast quick, and got ready to head out to DRY LAND. It was SO nice to be home. Don't get me wrong I REALLY Loved the Cruise, but it was SO nice to get home! It was a GREAT vacation, one that we will HAVE to do again! Anyone up to join us next time? We can promise a GREAT time! We will be going every five years! Save up your pennies! It is SO worth it! ~