Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's how you play the game...

... and the Cowboys played a horrible game Sunday. Of all of the games for them not to bring it, I don't know why it had to be this one. I am thinking that perhaps they felt sorry for the Redskins, or maybe they just wanted to give them some false hope for the remainder of the season? Whatever it was, it left me sorely disappointed. They are better than that! Sorry, but truth is that the Redskins in no way played an overly spectacular game... we just plain sucked!

I am just wondering, did any of our defense show up for the game? Because it looked like a bunch of high school kids out there in Cowboys jerseys up against the Reskins' line. The defense has been a weak spot all year having forced only two turnovers in four games I think??? Guys... you gotta pull it together.

And while we are talking about defense... how does NO-ONE notice that there are 12 men on the field? For as much money as the defensive coordinators are making, shouldn't they at least be able to count? And what about the actual players? Did they not notice that that someone else was on the field playing the exact same position as them? THEY WERE STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER for heavens sake!

Now I don't want the offense to not get some of this love, so let me just say; Tony, Tony, Tony... thank you Mr. Romo for throwing yet ANOTHER interception. It just wouldn't be a Cowboys game if you didn't do that! Dude, you have such potential... just STOP CHOKING!!!

And could someone please tell me the name of the ref that can't see a blatant face mask that literally happens five feet in front of him? How can you not call that? Either get some glasses or find another job!

The only thing that did amuse me was to see the Redskins after the game though. You would have thought they won the Superbowl! So typical of the Redskins. I guess when you are playing the Cowboys though, you have to consider it a big win... they are generally pretty awesome!

We refer to Redskins Fans as "fair-weather fans" in our house... because no one admits to liking them unless they are winning. Having lived on the border of Washington DC for most of my life, I have seen the so-called-fans ditch their team in their hour of most desperate need. I can guarantee that you fans will be crawling out of the closet to comment on this post though... :) However, you better get it in while you can, because I foresee your moment of glory being very short lived. The cockiness in me has to say that I think we will kick your butts on November 16th.

So all you fake Redskins fans... don't start celebrating quite yet. We will be back, and hopefully we'll actually have it together for our next game. And until then... I will be rooting for any team playing against you... starting with Philly this week. Now bring on your comments!!!! ;)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

One thing I absolutely LOVE about Utah during this season (I know, I love everything about Utah…), is the huge patches of sunflowers scattered randomly around the place. Driving to my house from the store I pass fields of barley with sunflowers growing all along the edge. When we walk up behind our neighborhood where they are doing construction, the hills there are COVERED in sunflowers. They are by the schools, by the churches, in people’s yards, along the side of the road… just about everywhere.

The reason I like sunflowers so much is because they are so bright and cheerful. Honestly, what is better than ribbons of bright yellow flowers to raise your spirits on a crappy day?

A few months ago on the way home from church Mike (Sr) and I were discussing a talk that had been given which had left us both with the impression that we needed to change our attitudes a bit… looking for the good in people instead of the bad, keeping our words constructive instead of criticizing, searching out the positive rather than the negative of things. We both had deep, profound feelings about this which we did not want to forget. (You know how easy it is to go to church and feel encouraged to do something, but then forget about it quickly by the next day.)

As we discussed how we felt right then and how we didn’t want to lose that feeling, we contemplated a symbol or word that we could use in the future to bring ourselves to remembrance of our desire to do better in this area. As we passed the fields of barley with the sunflowers strewn out along the side, it became very apparent what that symbol should be.

So the sunflower is our reminder to be more optimistic, more charitable in our attitudes towards people. Believe me when I say we have a REALLY long way to go, but we have a deal that any time one of us starts being negative or speaking badly of someone, we can just remind each other of our promise by simply saying “sunflowers”.

Since I know the season won’t last forever, and feet of snow will soon cover all traces of them, I had Mike take me out to snag some pictures before they are all gone...

Monday, September 22, 2008

The best things in life are free...

…well, at least according to my dear hubby they are. It is no secret that we are what we like to call in our house “a student family”, so frugality is obviously of the essence, but there are some things you are just resigned to paying for. Rent, light, electricity, water… they all cost money, nevertheless I’m at a general level of peace over it. My hubby, not so much. Ever since we have moved into this house where we actually had to start paying for this stuff, I swear he has become the utility police!

For example, I go downstairs the other morning with the kids to make breakfast. Soon the house is filled with the aroma of fresh fried donuts, so naturally Mike (Sr) is drawn downstairs. (This is the guy who eats about a dozen donuts a day when we are on vacation.) But when he comes into the kitchen, all he can think about is the fact that we have a LIGHT on. (Oh the horror.) He promptly turns off the light, opens the blinds, and says “look sweetie, it’s free light”. Never mind that I am standing there in a robe looking like I stuck my finger in a light socket for all people passing by to see. Just as long as we get free light! If this happens to you on a VERY regular basis, then you definitely live in the Collins household.

Or how about when the house starts to feel a little warm? A normal person would just switch on the air conditioning for a few moments to cool the house down right? Not in our house! ANY time I have the AC on, Mike will come in, turn off the AC, open up the windows and say “Look love, it’s free air”. I know it is free air, but it is also air that is severely tainted with the stench of the Great Salt Lake and while that may be a smell that doesn’t bother you, dear hubby, I get enough of that from you without the windows being opened!

Now I have to admit that there are some times when his implementation of the “free” things in life can be quite endearing. For instance, it was particularly romantic the other morning when he stopped and picked a couple of sunflowers for me from off the side of the road on his way home from seminary. That is the kind of free that I can truly appreciate. I can also appreciate our weekly date to CafĂ© Rio which results in getting a “free meal” every few weeks, (because of their frequent diner card), or a “free desert” coupon printed off a restaurants website!

So I suppose those are the things I need to focus on next time I am cooking in the dark with the smell of the Great Salt Lake wafting across my face. I am telling you right now though; I will draw the line when he starts rationing the hot shower water!!! :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Love makes the world go 'round...

Today I had to clean out one of my desk drawers at work because it was so stuffed full on napkins that I could barely close it. Why would I have a drawer full of nothing but napkins you ask? Well my sweet husband started fixing me lunch for work a couple of months ago (since I leave at 5:45am and I am ALWAYS running late). Previously I had just been grabbing a cup-o-noodles to take with me, but after an extended period of eating them, just the thought of them was making me nauseous.

So he started packing me a bag every morning with a lunch, some water bottles, granola bars and you guessed it… napkins. Now I have to tell you that these are no ordinary napkins. THESE napkins always have a personalized message from him written in pen, sharpie, highlighter... whatever he can find! Sometimes they have a cute “Love ya” with a big heart. Other times they say “have a great day” with a smiley face. One time he even sent me a pear to eat with “We make a great pear” attached to it. (Can you say awwwwwwwwww?)

Now whereas the aforementioned napkins are beyond sweet, there have also been some really comical (and extremely corny) messages that don’t just put a smile on my face… they seriously crack me up and while he is probably gonna kill me for this, I have decided that they definitely need to be shared, so here is a small sampling:
  • “Your dad must have been an alien, because you are out of this world.”

  • “Are you a parking ticket? ‘Cause you got FINE written all over you.”

  • “You are like milk, you do my body good.”

  • “I hope you know CPR, because you are taking my breath away.”

  • “You must be in a band, because you rock my world.”

  • “Is there a fireman around, because you are smokin’.”

  • “Is your nickname TNT, because you are ‘da bomb.”

  • “Is that the sun coming up, or is that just you lighting up my world.”

  • "Is your last name Gillette, because you’re the best a man can get.”

  • “If there was a candy bar named after you, it would be called “Petralicious”

  • “If you were wine, I would be an alcoholic”

  • "If looks could kill, you would be a weapon of mass destruction”

  • “Did you get pulled over by the cops this morning, because it must be illegal to look that good.”

I love you sweetie. Thanks for brightening up my mornings. :)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Grin and bear it...

Our spontaneous excursion to Murray Park on
Saturday developed into an impromptu photo op...
...posted especially for Nana's.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Babbling brooks are noisy...

…and so are adolescent children.

One of the things I absolutely LOVE about living in a house is the fact that there are three wonderful, completely separate levels. When we first moved in, Mike and I felt like we had literally died and gone to heaven. Gone were the days of trying to co-exist in a small, one level apartment with two quickly growing children. Suddenly we had more space than we knew what to do with and the peace… oh, the peace!

Let me clarify a little further. My kids are somewhat social beings, (we don’t know where they got that from, because we are pretty much hobbits), but they love to have their friends over. (If I could claim every kid I have fed a meal to this past year on my taxes, let’s just say we would be in super shape!) When we lived in our apartment that pretty much meant that Mike & I had to hide out in our bedroom when they had friends over since there was really no other place to go, but now we have this fabulous creation called a BASEMENT. The basement is where the big screen and video systems live. The basement is where my kids go when they have friends over… leaving Mike and I two liberating levels of space to exist in while they have their fun. (Life is good.)

So for the first time in our married life we had living with noisy kids down to a science. If they were in the basement, we stayed on the main or upper level. If they were on the upper level, we could go to the basement and watch a movie. With all that space, I never thought I would ever be bothered by my noisy adolescents again! (Hah!)

However, anyone who knows DeAnna knows she has a serious set of lungs on her! She does have an amazing voice. What you may not know though, is that she sings CONSTANTLY. (I was ESPECIALLY pleased that when my mum and dad left on their mission, my mum gave her a karaoke machine that had astonishingly loud speakers.) The one saving grace was that she was confined to where that karaoke machine was plugged in. Though we pretty much owned stock in ear plugs while living in our little apartment, things changed for the better once we moved here. If she was singing in her room, I could go down to the main level or basement and completely escape her strident practicing! (Ah, the genius of it all!)

But then one day my world came crashing around me when she purchased… (drum roll please)... a cordless microphone. Oh I tried to talk her out of it… I used the best arguments such as “DeAnna, those things are crap! The corded ones always work better”, and “Oh my heavens… you don’t want to waste $20 of your hard earned money on THAT!” not to mention “Imagine how much you will have to spend on batteries. They don’t last forever you know!” But my clever strategies were to no avail. She purchased the microphone, and my serenity has been forever lost. (Lucky me!) It doesn’t matter what level I am on… she blasts the speakers to the fullest and comes to serenade me… mostly Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus stuff, but she isn’t too fussy.

So now I am fortunate enough to know EVERY Miley Cyrus Song that has ever been put on a disk. While I have heard some of them a few too many times, I am almost ashamed to say that there are a few I like… and one actually got me thinking the other day. It is called “7 things” and in the song she names 7 things she hates about her guy, and then 7 things she likes… which got me thinking about things I like and hate. So here is the list I came up with… 7 things I hate and 7 things I love… not necessarily in that order.

  1. I LOVE the Twilight Series of books. But then, who doesn’t? If you don’t love them, you haven’t read them. (I have read the whole series at least 5 times through… maybe more… and if anyone is wondering, I was pulling for Edward!)
  2. I HATE soggy cereal. Uck! In my opinion there is nothing grosser. (It is because of sogginess that I really don’t eat cereal, but on the rare occasions that I do, I just pour a few tablespoons of milk over it then quickly drink it off before eating the cereal in record time.)
  3. I LOVE my chi. (Thank you my dear hubby for buying me this time saving, worth every dime hair straightener… when you have to be at work around 6am each morning, every second counts.)
  4. I HATE Dove deodorant. (See my Sept. 5th post.)
  5. I LOVE and HATE football season. I love watching the games and I love football food. However, I hate when the Cowboys lose and I have a grumpy husband for the rest of the week. (Current score tonight, 31-30 Dallas, but the Eagles are about to score.)
  6. (See #5)
  7. I LOVE Wendy’s new Strawberry Frosty Shakes. They are amazingly delicious.
  8. I HATE that they charge $3.19 for one… it’s a shake people, not a T-bone steak.
  9. I LOVE Aussie Instant Freeze hair spray. Yes, ladies of my youth… I no longer use Aqua Net… although there is a commemorative can in my bathroom just to make me laugh.
  10. I HATE people who drive while talking on a cell phone. Contrary to your beliefs, you are not good at multitasking. Please, put down your phone and DRIVE.
  11. I LOVE flip-flops. (But that’s a whole other post…)
  12. I HATE wasting money… especially on things like library fines or full price groceries… it bugs me if I feel like money I worked dang hard for was flushed down the toilet!
  13. I LOVE blogging. It is so therapeutic.
  14. I HATE cordless microphones (Just kidding DeAnna :))

So now I am tagging seven people to blog their 7 things they HATE & 7 things they LOVE… (but no people allowed… we already know you love your husband and your kids and your mom… be a little creative people.)

I tag Ruthanne, Jenna, DeAnna, Marybeth, Tammy, Denise and Annie. (I think they are probably the only 7 people that ever read my blog anyway!)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Appearances can be deceiving...

I absolutely LOVE taking photographs. I have about 14 gigs of photos on my computer from the past few years, (and that does not include the boxes of photographs collected from before the digital camera era started.) One of my favorite things to do is to sit back in my chair at the computer with my feet propped up and reminisce while watching random slide shows of photos from the past. (Ah, the sweet memories of when my kids were little angels.)

It was while I was watching one such slide show a few weeks ago that a thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I am not a good photographer! (In fact, I am actually pretty dang horrible.) My pictures are boring. I have no creativity when it comes to subjects, angles, posing, lighting, backgrounds… I just plop the person in the middle of the frame and take the picture with no thought as to the surroundings.

It’s not that I think my pictures aren’t worth keeping… they serve the purpose; I just think I can do better. If this is what my posterity is going to be looking at, surely I could be a little more imaginative and attempt to give the pictures some additional life.

Take this picture of my mom and dad for example. They look so cute together, but what was I thinking when I took the pic? (I wasn’t! That was the problem!) I didn’t even notice that my dad was right in front of Jenna’s huge clock, subsequently making it look like he had an afro on his head.

After analyzing several folders of pictures, (and seeing how much help I needed), I decided to participate in a free online photography class offered by HP… nothing fancy… just four VERY basic units that required reading and learning, practicing and then taking a three question quiz at the end of each unit.

What a blast I have had! Now, I am not claiming to be a photography pro, (so don’t be analyzing all my future photographs…), but I have had my eyes opened up to a lot of things that I have just never thought of!

For example… most of us know there is more than just an “auto” mode on our camera, but do we know what any of the other settings are? (Or even better yet, do we dare to use them?) Check out these pics I took on “macro” mode, and see if you can guess what the last two are. (Quality of all pictures has been HUGELY compressed for web page use.)

I then started playing around with abstract photos with a sepia color setting. Here is a self portrait that I kind of liked…

After learning about lighting, I was at Jenna’s house and saw this… I just had to grab my camera. I think the way the natural light comes through the window and hits Rylie is pretty cool!

Anyway, if your pictures suffer from “I-can’t-shoot-crap” disorder like mine do, then maybe you would like to check out this class that can help unlock your mind a little:


Current "just-for-me-time" project: Fun with Picasa (free download) & then maybe Photoshop! :)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Times change and we with them...

We are exactly 3 months away to the day...
only 12 weeks...
I think we might make it. :)

MySpace Countdowns

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Winning isn't everything...

...it's the only thing! (At least, so far!)


That was the score at the end of Mike's football game today against Hunter. Earlier in the week rumour had spread that Hunter had some of the biggest boys in the league which left Mike and his team mates a little anxious. Even when we got there and sized up the competition, I have to confess...they did look AND sound pretty tough warming up! But the Copper Hills Grizzlies made a statement right from the first-half kickoff when they perfectly executed an onside kick and subsequently ran the ball in for a touchdown on the very next play. (Did I just say that? I think I am learning way too much about football. Either that, or you are all laughing at me because I have the lingo all wrong!) :)

The offense remained absolutely composed while using a combination of both running and passing plays to complete the downs. They spent much of the game on the field due to excellent strategy and superb coverage by the defensive line who barely allowed any first downs for the opposing team the entire game, consequently maintaining good field position for the offense.

I NEVER thought I would EVER be one of those mothers who stood on the sidelines jumping up and down during a game, but I have to say it is most exhilarating to see these boys pumping each other up and playing their hearts out. (I absolutely LOVE to see them jump and smash their chests into each other after a good play... it is awesome.)

That being said, I still cannot hold a candle to "Sous-Coach" who remains notorious for his thunderous sideline encouragement. I have to admit it was a little cute when one of the boys came up to me and told me that Mike (SR) is their "team dad". (It was also extremely funny that this time the coaches and team moms put him in charge of the powerade... I swear they are just trying to keep him as busy as possible during the games.)

In the end, the Grizzlies determination and positive attitude won out. (I will say one thing about Hunter though, they did have a lot of fancy hand/thigh clapping routines and chants.) The Grizzlies have yet to allow a team to put points on the scoreboard, and while we know that won't last forever, it is for now a colossal driving factor for them. Still, they have Alta and Bingham coming up within the next couple of weeks who are know as "farming leagues" since all the boys there apparently play practically from birth. It will be interesting to see what happens... I know the coaches will be running some tough practices this week.

Nevertheless, win or lose boys, we will all be there cheering for you on the sidelines. (Granted, some of us MUCH louder than others!)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Everybody is wise AFTER the event...

I have a very sensitive nose... especially when it comes to body odor. (To be frank, it makes me gag.) I am extremely picky about deodorant and have always pretty much just used Secret because hey, it works! (There are plenty of deodorants that work SOME of the time, but Secret has never let me down) ...not to mention there are a plethora of scents to choose from so I don't always have to smell the same.

Well the last time I was at Walmart, my eyes wandered over to the Dove deodorant. Now I have seen a TON of commercials for Dove products. I remembered specifically that at one time, they issued a 5-day challenge promising softer, smoother, more moisturized skin under your arms if you used their product, so I figured, what they heck? I have a coupon... I will give it a try. I picked one of the powder scents and took it home to live on my bathroom counter (with all the other beauty products I have been suckered into buying).

Wednesday night was our Young Women's activity night for our ward and we had decided to play dodge ball with the Young Men. Within minutes of playing, I got a whiff of something unpleasant, and immediately recognized that smell. Who the heck was it? I tried to move around to different areas, but it seemed that no matter where I went, the smell followed me. I was suddenly both enlightened and horrified. Was it ME???? Had Dove let me down?

The answer folks is simply, YES! (Dang you Dove!!!) What was a YW Leader to do? It was not like I could just take off and go home to fix the problem. I ran to the bathroom and washed under my arms with soap and water on a few occasions throughout the game, but this was a very short term solution each time. Over all, it was a long, painful night full of self consciousness and insecurity. (Thank you Dove! I don't have enough of THAT already.)

So what are the morals of this story?
  • If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.
  • When it comes to body odor, taking chances with large groups of people you are going to socialize with frequently in the future is probably unwise.
  • Breath mints don't mask the smell of sweat, no matter how many you eat.
  • Always keep a spare deodorant or SOME kind of body spray in your car. (And no, a sour tide pen won't cut it.)
  • Above all, DON'T USE DOVE because who the heck cares if your underarms are softer, smoother and more moisturized, if you STINK!

I give Dove a NEGATIVE five daisies. It's back to my trusty Secret for me and I ain't switching again!

Monday, September 1, 2008

There is no accounting for taste...

Have you ever seen "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" with Guy Fieri on Food Network? He travels all over the country visiting "classic greasy spoon spots." We watched an episode the other day where he happened to be in Utah at a cool-looking burger joint called "The Burger Bar." They not only boast the best burgers, (of course, doesn't everyone?) but also some of the biggest burgers... one guy finished off an 8-patty burger in just minutes. (Gross!)

Anyway, to say Mike (Sr) was enthralled with the place would be an understatement, so we decided to travel up to Roy and try out this so called burger heaven. (Thankfully, it was only 10 minutes away from Mum and Dad, so we could drop in and say hello and not just be travelling an hour to get a burger!)

First impressions... there was a crowd, but the food smelled decent. It was literally a roadside bar, so there were no tables or chairs to eat at... however, they did have a few stone benches you could sit on to wait for your order which was subsequently eaten in your car.

At first sight, it looked like a pretty good deal. A "Big Ben" burger and fries was only about $5, but then you had to buy a drink (if you didn't want to choke on your meal), which ran it about $6.50 per person. (Still not too bad of a deal.) After about a twenty minute wait, we retrieved our food and went to the car to evaluate the merchandise.

We all agreed that the patty itself was nothing to write home about. It was a patty. Nothing more, nothing less. It wasn't seasoned in any special way... it was just... there.

DeAnna and I had asked for a burgers with everything. We were a little disappointed to see that there was no cheese, tomato or onion on our burgers... (these ingredients pretty much make the burger for me. If they ain't there, it ain't a good burger.) It turns out if you want tomato on your burger it is 50c per tomato slice... (SAY WHAT???? With the size of the burger, I would estimate it would have taken at least three slices to cover the patty.) "The Works" according to the burger bar is fry sauce, lettuce, and pickles. (Basically a big mac minus the cheese and onions.)

Mike Sr & Jr like their burgers plain, with just mustard and ketchup. They were pretty stingy on the ketchup much to Mike Sr's dismay, but when he went to get some from the counter, they wanted to charge 75c PER PACKAGE. For ketchup??? Who does that??? They will give you ten tubs of fry sauce free, but they want to charge you for ketchup! Well, that pretty much ticked him off and he sat and ate his burger dry just "out of principle"... in disgust.

The fries were "double-fried" which meant nice and crispy... good texture, no flavor.

So all in all, the burger bar was not all it was hyped up to be in our opinion. Definitely not worth going out of your way for. Basically it boils down to pretty bland food drenched in fry sauce at OK prices... if you can do without toppings! We only give The Burger Bar two out of five daisies.

(Next time, we will just go to Fudd's. We are NEVER disappointed there... and guess what? It has all you can eat ketchup!)

**And to our good friend CH, (you know who you are!)... STOP READING! BLOGS ARE FOR GIRLS ;)**