Wednesday, December 23, 2009

He Called Me Fat...

Seriously. He really did. This man was mad, so he got up in my face and told me to lose weight.

Who does that?

And of course, I am reminded about the conversation/email between Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail," where Meg Ryan discusses her inability to think of the right mean thing to say at the right time. I, also, never think of the right mean thing to say. Is this a blessing? I don't know. But at this moment, at this time, with this man's sneering and hateful face, I couldn't think of the most obvious and elementary retort.

"I'd rather be fat than ugly. At least I can go on a diet."

You may laugh, but sadly, it was amazingly applicable. All of my life I have waited to say something that silly in the face of anger...and I missed my chance.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Temple Square

Seeing the lights at Temple Square is something that my family has always tried to do. This is a tradition that I feel is worthy of being carried on, so we had already made plans to go see the lights when my family decided that we all needed to go see the lights together, and by together, I mean show up all together and then quickly get lost from one another in the crowds. That is exactly what happened. I stopped for just a few seconds to get a picture of the kids and I turned around to find that it was just Todd, the kids and I. No worries, though. We were able to take the lights at the pace we enjoyed without a lot of hassle.

And for my 2 readers who saw last year's Temple Square post, the kids were in much better spirits this time. In fact, they had been looking forward to going for the past couple of weeks after we had postponed our original plans due to frigid weather.

Here are a couple of the pictures I took. After having seen the bad focus on many of my shots, I vowed to remember to bring a tripod next year, which of course, I will forget, just like I do every year.

Of course, I had to toss the token random photo in, too. For anyone who saw the Blair Witch Project...this is scarily reminiscent. You just can't plan that kind of photo.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fat Kitty

I bring to you the bane of my existence.

He is just so blasted cute that I can't help but love him, but he sure is trouble; into everything and the loudest meowing cat I have ever met. AND he is constantly mewling for something, starting at 6 in the morning when he wants out of his bedroom, which is our bathroom.

And for the record, Fat Kitty is not really fat. He's just me.

*Please ignore the bad lighting of my guest bathroom.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Who DOES That?

Can I tell you how annoyed I am?

I have continued to search for jobs, which to be honest, really sucks in the age of the Internet. The large companies all post job openings on or, etc. Then you have to go to their personal website to fill out their application, on top of having a resume. When you click the submit button, your resume disappears into the swirling deep abyss of thousands of other contestants for the same job you just applied for.

The smaller, more local companies have started posting on sites like Craigslist. In fact, I have posted there for positions that Todd needs to fill at his office. It seems, however, that more than half of the postings for the entry level or just higher than entry level are scams. People who want you to sign up through some site that has an incessant amount of advertising or they ask you for a credit report in order to get your information. I have even seen one that asked me to fill out an application and fax it to them, under the guise of JetBlue. They were definitely NOT JetBlue, as they have you fill out all their applications on their own website (another one of the application abysses).

What I have to say about that is...SERIOUSLY? Seriously. People are preying on the poor people who don't even have jobs, and stealing their identities and credit information? That is ridiculous and pathetic. I am so frustrated with it, but what can a person do, besides be particularly careful? Plus, it means that you need to send out more than double the number of resumes and emails than you normally would. RIDICULOUS.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Halloween Costumes...belated that we are getting ready to put our Christmas decorations up and put our fall decorations away, we decided to finally get the pics of the kids in the costumes we made them.

Jessica was a bee, created by my mother and me. Kailey was Hermione (as she was just finishing the Harry Potter series), put together by me, and Austin, a football player created by Todd. Here are just a few of the shots that I took of the kids. Of course, I can't forget Alli, our neighbors little girl, who wanted to be a bee like Jessica. Very cute.

*As usual, click the pic and ignore that my coloring is always a little off when pics are posted. Truly, that is the bane of my existence.

Game Night

It has been a long time since I have had a game night with anyone but my or Todd's family. Last night, however, a bunch of the wives in my neighborhood got together to play games. Thanks Lisa.

It was a ton of fun and I missed the days when my friends and I would get together all the time. I will be so glad when Marie finally gets back to Utah after having finished her residency and we can have more frequent game nights.

We should also get the neighborhood wives together more often, too.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dead Duck


Which of my neighbors ran over one of the clique of ducks that loves to walk across the street from one field to another? I saw his limp body being picked at by rodents on the road this morning and it made me feel sad, as I had waited patiently for him to cross the road, just the other night.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Which also happens to be the third anniversary of my brother's death. I don't have any pics of him on this computer, which makes me even more think that I haven't even had this computer long enough to have his picture on it. I downloaded one from facebook, so it isn't the best quality.

I miss you everyday, Andrew. You were my best friend, my protector, my shoulder to cry on and the only one better at getting into mischief than I was. I miss running errands with you and harassing you early in the morning to get you out of bed to come play with me, the late night chats on the loft and hugs, even though I said I didn't want them. I miss the family trips where you and I were the ones goofing off, going for motorcycle rides with your trying to scare me, just hanging out and playing games. I especially miss watching all of the cheesy made-for-tv Christmas movies with you. I can't believe that we watched "Eloise at Christmas" when we were in our mid-twenties. How nerdy were we?

I still sometimes cry in the shower when I remember that you're gone...for now. Until we meet again.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Birthday Present

I guess we watch way too much "Project Runway," because this is what Todd wanted. I searched and searched for a good beginner machine. My mom was actually the one who found this one for me. Her present to him was sewing lessons.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Todd's Birthday

Since the time that I met Todd, he has told me that he isn't into the whole holiday thing and that birthdays don't really matter to him. AND since the beginning, I have told him that they DO matter to me. Heck, I even celebrate my half birthday (next Thursday), although he refuses to celebrate it with me.

What I have learned through my own experience is that nobody truly dislikes the holidays. What they don't like, is being let down by them.

I first realized how true this was on Halloween. Todd was actually excited about some of the decorations we did this year and has already started planning his modifications and elaborations for next year. I saw it again yesterday, on his birthday.

I have been sick for the past week with the H1N1 flu and it has gone into viral pneumonia. There's really not much I can do about it besides take it easy and drink a lot of fluids, but originally I had quite the fever and was contagious. This made it a risk for me to follow through on any of my plans that I had made for Todd's birthday. Thankfully, my sister and some great friends helped with taking balloons and candy to his work and following through with his surprise "Friday the 13th Birthday" party.

It all turned out well, thanks to them, although I wasn't there to see it. I do know that he didn't get home from playing games until the wee hours of the morning, so I am sure he had a blast. I was amused, however, when Todd came home from work and was like, "Wait, where's my present? Isn't there going to be a party?"

So, like I said, nobody truly dislikes the holidays as long as they know that they won't be let down. And, Mom, if we give him enough time, he may even come to like desserts.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Inner Beauty

Can I tell you that I will never again buy a Cover Girl makeup product? The reason why, you ask? As part of an ad for an ageless cream base their spokesperson, Ellen Degeneres, makes the statement that "inner beauty is important, but not as important as outer beauty."

Am I just not getting the ad? Or are they REALLY and SERIOUSLY putting that out there. That's fantastic. *please note the very obvious sarcasm*

AND to top it all off, their spokesperson is Ellen, who I cannot stand. I can't support her or Cover Girl's and her message. It makes me sick. Looking your best on the outside is very important, but inner beauty is far more important.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday, Austin

Yesterday was Austin's birthday, which amazingly fell on one of our visitation days. It is not often that we have the kids on their birthdays, even when we are scheduled to have them. So even though part of our weekend got traded away, we were excited to have Austin on the day. He and Todd went to the Nickelcade (owned by Becky Muir-now-Bradford's family) and spent some time there and then back to my parents' house for presents and cake.

It was hard to get Austin to give me any ideas for presents, so I kept telling him that I was going to buy him underpants for his birthday if he didn't give me any ideas. So (I think I'm so funny), we wrapped some new underwear and gave them to him first, while keeping the other gifts hidden. Don't worry, we were quick enough to get him his other gifts so that he wasn't devastated, but it sure was funny when he opened that first gift.

ALSO, Jenny made a fabulous cake. It totally looked like a real baseball cap. The brim was made of fondant (that part was me) and Jenny used her round cake pan to create the rest. It turned out very cute.

Next up is Todd's birthday weekend this weekend. The only pro about the kids' weekend being partially traded, is that it means that we get them this Sunday, for Todd's celebration. I'm not certain of the last time that the kids were allowed to come to Todd's birthday, so we're stoked that they get to be involved this year...stay tuned find out what great present we got him.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Harry Potter and the Cause

During the first part of the Harry Potter craze, and just before the first movie came out, I was oblivious. I remembered Keeley's dad telling us that we should read the books, but I never took the initiative.

Because I worked at the movie theater during the first release, it was a BIG deal. I borrowed the first four books from a coworker and read them in about a week. They were quite good, and I was finally understanding what all the hype was about. So I have stayed up with the additional movie and book releases.

Recently, Kailey started getting really into HP and so has been reading all of the books. She is currently at the end of number 5, just in time for the sixth movie to be released. She has also been rewatching all of the other movies (we have most of them on DVD) so I knew that she would be really excited to go see the movie at the theater (we are cheap and waited for it to hit the dollar theater, which we will NOT be doing with New Moon).

I have to admit, that number six was not my favorite of the book series. Maybe it was because my roommate, who admittedly never liked me (something I never understood given that we actually hung out quite a lot), was my reading companion for that book, or maybe because it just seemed to drag on and on. Anyway, I wasn't stoked for the movie, but felt I needed to see the series out and wanted to see it with Kailey, who would appreciate it.

So here's what I took from it:
I MISS having a real purpose in life. Funny that this would be my main take on the movie, which I did end up enjoying. I now remember that I had that same inclusive feeling when I read the books. Like I was really involved.

It made me think, though. This past year has been one of the few times in my life where I haven't really been working toward a cause, or some event in my life. Yes, I have been job hunting and working on getting my insurance license, but this was a very solitary quest for me and I just don't feel a part of anything bigger than myself (not including my marriage/family, of course).

For instance, take HP and his friends, they are involved. Involved in school, in being social at school, in saving the world, whatever. But as I was watching the movie, I just had that longing feeling; wishing that I had somewhere or something like that. Even with doing the insurance thing, it still leaves me at home. By myself. Forcing myself to move forward.

Soooo...I am looking for a cause. Let me know if you have any ideas. I'm open to anything. Well, within reason.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Daisy Tag

Apparently, we are easily entertained in my home. The kids found that it is amusing to tie a strip of fabric to Daisy's collar and let it trail behind her. After only a few minutes of time, the kitten will find the strip of fabric and chase Daisy around the house, grabbing at the lime green strip of satin. (Don't ask why I ever bought lime green satin.)

Of course, Daisy is to mellow and somewhat oblivious, so when the kitty is able to get his claws into the fabric, she just keeps doing what she was doing...dragging the kitty behind her.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


OK, seriously? How cute is Mack?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Thanks, Meagen!

Lately my friend, Meagen, and I have been commiserating together about our unemployed status' and sending job links and leads to each other. I was glad when she received a call back for an interview from my lead and I am soooo excited that I received a call to set up an interview with the job lead from Meagen.

It definitely boosts the spirits after so many resumes having gone out without much of a nibble. I don't know if anything will come of it (the job market sure is tough right now), but it will be nice to get out there, again.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

A Few Quotes...

From the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. I personally, have never really been excited about fantasy/sci-fi books, however I do find that I enjoy the philosophical side of several of the series I have read recently. Another series I enjoyed was the Incantations of Immortals series by Piers Anthony.

AND of course we all know how much I LOVE quotes, so here are a few quotes I found particularly poignant:

"Charity, if you have the means, is a personal choice, but charity which is expected or compelled is simply a polite word for slavery."

"The sun has already set on the days we made those choices. We must concentrate on what we can do tomorrow; we can't relive yesterday."

"Fate does not always seek our consent."

"Wrong doing must be punished. If not, it will proliferate until anarchy wears the robes of tolerance and understanding."

"Love is a passion for life shared with another person. You fall in love with a person who you think is wonderful. It's your deepest appreciation of the value of that individual, and that individual is a reflection of what you value most in life. Love, for sound reasons, can be one of life's greatest rewards."

"We reap a reward merely in the act of helping others. We never know how, or if, that reward will come back to us. Helping is the reward; none other is needed nor better."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Mission Reunion Fall 2009

Just thought I'd post this in case you didn't get the memo.

Dear Missionaries:

We will be holding a Reunion on Friday, October 2, 2009 in Orem, Utah. We don't have everyone's email address so would you please inform anyone that you are in contact with who does not appear on the list. We know that you are busy with your lives and families. We just thought that we would see what kind of interest there was for holding a reunion six years after we started ours in North Carolina. Would you please email us and let us know if you plan to be in attendance? [Leave a comment if you need the email address]

If you are unable to attend we would love to have a picture of you, your spouse and any children if they have blessed your lives. If you don't have any pictures just write a short note and update us on what is happening in your life. We would love to hear from everyone.

We will start at 7:00pm and end when everyone leaves. We will meet in the Church building located at [comment for address] Orem on Friday, October 2, 2009. We look forward to seeing you or hearing from you soon.

Love, Pres. and Sister Noel

Friday, September 18, 2009


This past week we picked up the kids for our regular Monday evening and we brought the dog with us. Of course both the kids and the dog got really excited when they saw each other and they ran around the lawn playing for a few minutes.

Afterward, Jessica came up to me and asked, "Does Daisy know that we live in Lehi and that we don't just visit her?"

I told her that I'm pretty certain she does.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Critics Decry Obama's 'Indoctrination' Plan for Students

By Joshua Rhett Miller

A suggested lesson plan that calls on school kids to write letters to themselves about what they can do to help President Obama is troubling some education experts, who say it establishes the president as a "superintendent in chief" and may indoctrinate children to support him politically.

But the White House says the speech is merely "designed to encourage kids to stay in school."

Obama will deliver a national address directly to students on Tuesday, which will be the first day of classes for many children across the country. The address, to be broadcast live on the White House's Web site, was announced in a letter to school principals last week by Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Obama intends to "challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning," Duncan wrote. Obama will also call for a "shared responsibility" among students, parents and educators to maximize learning potential.

"The goal of the speech and the lesson plans is to challenge students to work hard in school, to not drop out and to meet short-term goals like behaving in class, doing their homework and goals that parents and teachers alike can agree are noble," Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman, told "This isn't a policy speech. This is a speech designed to encourage kids to stay in school."

But in advance of the address, the Department of Education has offered educators "classroom activities" to coincide with Obama's message.

Students in grades pre-K-6, for example, are encouraged to "write letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president. These would be collected and redistributed at an appropriate later date by the teacher to make students accountable to their goals."

Teachers are also given guidance to tell students to "build background knowledge about the president of the United States by reading books about presidents and Barack Obama."

During the speech, "teachers can ask students to write down key ideas or phrases that are important or personally meaningful."

For grades 7-12, the Department of Education suggests teachers prepare by excerpting quotes from Obama's speeches on education for their students to contemplate -- and ask as questions such as "Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us? How will he challenge us?"

Activities suggested for after the speech include asking students "what resonated with you from President Obama's speech? What lines/phrase do you remember?"

Obama announced his intention to deliver the address to students during an interview with Damon Weaver, a middle school student from Florida who gained a following of his own last year on the campaign trail for his interviews of high-profile figures.

The Department of Education is using the president's address to kick off a video contest titled, "I Am What I Learn," in which students are invited to submit videos of up to two minutes on the importance of education in achieving their dreams.

Obama's critics say the lesson plans and the president's calls for a "supportive community" are troubling on many levels.

"In general, I don't think there's a problem if the president uses the bully pulpit to tell kids to work hard, study hard and things like that. But there are some troubling hints in this, both educationally and politically," said Neal McCluskey, associate director of Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom.

Among the concerns, McCluskey said, is the notion that students who do not support Obama or his educational policies will begin the school year "behind the eight ball," or somehow academically trailing their peers.

"It essentially tries to force kids to say the president and the presidency is inspiring, and that's very problematic," McCluskey said. "It's very concerning that you would do that."

Parents of public school students would also have to pay for that "indoctrination," regardless of their political background, he said.

"That's the fundamental problem. They could easily be funding the indoctrination of their children."

Meanwhile, Patti Kinney, a former teacher and middle school principal with 33 years of teaching experience, said she found nothing wrong with the lesson plans.

"They're designed as a menu, so it doesn't mean you have to do everything," said Kinney, associate director for middle level services at the National Association of Secondary School Principals. "You have to pick and choose which will work best for your class."

Kinney said suggestions like asking students to recall "other historic moments" when the president spoke to the nation and to hone their listening skills by taking notes during the address are useful.

"You're asking them to listen to particular things and to take notes," she said. "That's a good teaching strategy to help students develop their listening skills."

Asked if she was troubled by the suggestion that students write letters "about what they can do to help the president," Kinney said she would have reworked that sentence.

"I would have probably reworded that to say goals the president is suggesting," Kinney said. "But again, you call upon teacher expertise to do what's appropriate with their students ... I did not see anything that I saw as problematic."

Frederick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, said the suggested lesson plans cross the line between instruction and advocacy.

"I don't think it's appropriate for teachers to ask students to help promote the president's preferred school reforms and policies," Hess said. "It very much starts to set up the president as a superintendent in chief."

Amid the debate on the federal government's level of involvement on issues like health care and others, Hess said, "There's a lot of people" on both sides of the political spectrum who will rightfully be concerned with the president's call to action.

"It shows exactly what the problem is," he said. "This is going to open the door to all kinds of concerns."

After reading the Department of Education lesson plans for the speech, McCluskey said he noticed several passages that should set off "alarm bells," including language that attempts to "glorify President Obama" in the minds of young students.

"It could be a blatantly political move," he said. "Nobody knows for sure, but it gives that impression."

McCluskey also noted that the lesson plans for young students contain suggestions to write letters to themselves on how they can help the president, but that suggestion is not in the lesson plan for middle and high schoolers -- perhaps due to the likelihood of increased political ties at that age.

"You don't want to see this coming from the president," McCluskey said. "You don't want to see this coming from the federal government."

This article also fails to mention that usually the school boards are made aware of any sort of address meant for school children to be reviewed and discussed regarding whether they want to participate. This protocol was completely disregarded, with letters being sent directly to schools. It is really scary to me, because lately there are so many speeches that have propaganda mingled with good intentions and truths. How hard is it for children to recognize what is truth and what is political agenda?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Kailey and Jessica Turn 12!

The girls are now officially turning 12! Their birthday is actually on Tuesday, but we had our little party for them this past weekend. I was pretty excited about their cakes. My sister and I decided that our desire for great cakes on our birthdays stems from our mom always making a special cake on our own birthdays. Cakes are an important part of birthdays.

I actually started looking for cakes a couple months ago and then discussed them with my sis. I knew I would have more time to make them, as opposed to last year's forced rush...don't even get me started on that one... are the cakes that I made for the girls. And by made, I mean Jenny did the majority of the work, I did a little bit of fondant and icing, held a crying baby and made some mac and cheese for my nephews. I think they turned out great!

Kailey's cake is Twilight themed because of her Twilight obsession and Jessica's is just fun and girly, just like Jessica.

Thanks to everyone who came for cake and ice cream. It really means a lot to the girls and helps them feel at home in Lehi. That and two cakes is too much to eat...even for me.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thomas Jefferson

A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned - this is the sum of good government.

~Thomas Jefferson~

Thanks, Ron, for this quote. I think it's great.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Here are a few from an engagement shoot...for some reason my camera's lens is struggling and most shots were super soft focus. Good thing that is the look I was kind of going for...