Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas lights with music

This is what I want to do with Christmas lights on my house one of these years.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa Claus came to town!

Yesterday was our ward Christmas party and guess who came to visit? That's right, Mr. Claus! It was so much fun to see all the kids in the ward get so excited to see Santa. Here are a few pictures.

Santa waiting for the "signal" to come out and visit:


 Santa telling the kids the story about Christ's birth and how He is the "greatest gift of all":


 Santa visited with each and every child to give them a gift and a candy cane:



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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tagged II

Giselle's responses to the tag...

8 t.v. shows I enjoy watching:
1. The Office
2. The Amazing Race
3. Gossip Girl (my guilty pleasure)
4. The Biggest Loser
5. Survivor
6. Heroes
7. Project Runway (actually this goes higher up)
8. Reruns of the OC or Gilmore Girls

8 things that happened yesterday:
1. Enjoyed oatmeal for the first time - can't remember when I ate it last, but I didn't like it
2. Went to work
3. Went to Young Women's (I'm the personal progress leader)
4. Started an APA workshop to brush up on the new formatting for school
5. Drove to and from work with Noah and Celeste, meeting up with Nate for lunch, of course...
6. Colored a disney picture - it was so fun!
7. Surprised 2 people I've known for months by informing them I'm pregnant (duh)
8. Complained about back pain - like I do everyday :)

8 things I am looking forward to:
1. Being a Mommy and having my baby boy to stare at!
2. Starting school (next tuesday!)
3. Starting to work out again
4. Finishing school
5. Getting in shape after baby
6. Noah finishing flying
7. Going home for Christmas
8. Christmas Eve dinner and family time!

8 things I LOVE about fall:
1. Noah is wrong - Fall in phoenix is amazing because it's actually cool enough to be outside...but still warm of course. I haven't even pulled out a jacket yet! BUT, in other places, I like the leaves turning and taking a fall drive to see it.

8 things on my wish list:
1. A new gym pass
2. An exercise ball to sit on at work, or a back massager for my office chair (picture the chairs from tonight's Office episode)...
3. Gas to stay cheap
4. To find the perfect nanny/babysitter when I have to go back to work at 6 weeks :(
5. My hair to be long and pretty again and not damaged :(
6. To travel around the world
7. To end up back in Kamas teaching school and dance
8. To be a great Mom!!!!

Wow, the wish list wasn't hard! I could have continued past 8...guess I want a lot of things!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Our friend Reagan Powell tagged Giselle and I:
(These are Noah's responses)
8 t.v. shows I enjoy watching:
1. The Office
2. The Simpsons
3. The Amazing Race
4. Heroes
5. Survivor
6. Whale Wars
7. Locked Up Abroad
8. Anything on the History, Discovery or National Geographic Channel
8 things that happened yesterday:
1. Started a new job
2. Ate a sandwich
3. Sold a website
4. Talked on the phone
5. Ate krispy kreme! Boo ya!
6. Watched Heroes
7. Foresaw the future
8. Stopped time twice!
8 things I am looking forward to:
1. Being a daddy!
2. Being a daddy!
3. Being a daddy!
4. Flying a helicopter again!
5. Flying a helicopter again!
6. Christmas in Utah
7. Getting a new car (if mine dies)
8. Oh... did I mention becoming a dad!!
8 things I LOVE about fall:
1. There is no fall in AZ!
8 things on my wish list:
1. World Peace! Haha
2. To visit all 7 continents. Only 3 to go!
3. To fly a helicopter regularly.
4. To be the best dad I can be
5. Have superpowers
6. To travel around the world
7. I wish you a merry Christmas
8. I wish upon a star
8 people I tag:
1. Nik and Anissa
2. Anyone else who wants to be tagged

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Bunch of Turkeys

Thanksgiving this year was really fun! We had dinner at Nik and Anissa's house with their family and with Nate and Celeste. But dinner was jut a small part of our day...

We started off the morning with the Mesa Turkey Trot! Noah and Nik ran the 10k, Anissa and Robyn ran the 2 mile, and I ran the 1 mile...I definitely would have run the 2 mile, but I haven't been running at all since moving here...it was a good choice, as it was fun and not too hard.

Me finishing my fun run...
Robyn and Anissa en route...
Anissa crossing the finish line...
Robyn at the finish line...

The boys almost at the end of their 6 miles...
Nik and Noah crossing the finish line...
All the turkey trotters!
Thanks to Nik and Anissa and Nate and Celeste for being our family this year for Thanksgiving! We had amazing food and lots of fun together. Happy Thanksgiving everyone...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Time to test your hearing.

This is really interesting! I expect everyone to post a comment! These tones will make you realize how your hearing gets worse as you get older. Test your hearing and see which tones you can still hear, then bring your kids into the room and ask them. I bet they'll hear the ones that adults can't! Which ones can you hear?

The scale goes like this:
50-59 year olds can hear 11Khz
40-50 can hear 11 & 12 KHz
30-39 you can hear from 11, 12, 13, and 14 KHz
18-24 can hear up to 16 KHz
18 and under can hear up to 18 KHz

11 KHz
12 KHz
13 KHz
14 KHz
15 KHz
16 KHz
17 KHz
18 KHz

Sometimes graffiti is not that bad!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Bump Update

24 Weeks - 16 to go!

Ugh, I can't believe I'm posting this. I will be so excited to post pictures when I have a big, nice, round bump! I feel like my bump is so poochy right now and awkward. It seems way way high, too, I think, for what I was expecting. But, I appreciated other's bump updates, and I know they're fun to see...enjoy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A tribute to John Williams

This is a cool video we found on youtube that is a tribute to John WIlliams by a guy singing a cappella to his themes. It's great!

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Our weekend in Pinetop, AZ

A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to go to Pinetop with our good friends Nate and Celeste for the weekend. We had a great time up there and here are a few of the pictures we were able to take in between the "exploring", "hiking" and just "relaxing".

Here is a view of the cabins where we stayed. We went hiking on one of the trails just behind the cabins.

Giselle was jumping around and playing on this bridge.

Nate and Celeste and Giselle and I

On our way back down the canyon we stopped to take a picture of the scenery.

I almost fell. Don't worry, it was only a couple thousand feet or so!

Someone help me please!

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What to expect in the next 3 weeks

What happens when you have someone who just finished working on a time-consuming project and is not scheduled to begin working again till Dec 1st + Likes to play on the computer and use programs like Photoshop? Answer = Posts like this!

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sad Lobster Night

*Please read the previous post as well as this one...it was so funny it made me cry!*

So, it's not a secret that I don't cook all that often. I like to think that when I do cook, it generally tastes pretty good, although I'm really not too gourmet or anything...

Well, my mom gave us these amazing cookbooks that have "Top Secret" recipes of yummy restaurant food. I know she made PF Chang's Mongolian Beef and Orange Peel Chicken the other night, and the Penne Rustica from Macaroni Grille is EXACT. So, I was VERY excited to try out some of these recipes. I love Red Lobster, and their biscuits are so good. I decided I was going to make the Red Lobster Clam Chowder and Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

Noah and I shopped together for groceries last night, and we picked everything out for the soup together. Tonight I made the clam chowder, and was so proud to show off my masterpiece.

Noah took one bite and said, "hmmm, ...(pause)... it tastes kind of clam-my." Needless to say, he decided not to partake any further. He's never not eaten anything I have ever made! He had never had Clam Chowder before, and thought that we were picking out crab last night (not sure what kind of clam soup I was making with crab?). Anyway, he's so cute...he feels so bad, but there is NO way he would make himself eat the clam chowder. He now knows for future reference that he doesn't like Clam Chowder, and to warn people ahead of time.

Looks pretty good doesn't it? I thought so. I added corn because I love corn in my chowder. Anyway, this is why it's Sad Lobster night instead of Red Lobster night. If anyone's hungry, come on over...I have a pot of Clam Chowder, and I'll be eating it all alone :(

Annoying Things To Do On An Elevator

I just had to post this! They made me laugh out loud. - Noah

Annoying Things To Do On An Elevator

1) CRACK open your briefcase or handbag, peer Inside and ask "Got enough air in there?"
2) STAND silent and motionless in the corner facing the wall without getting off.
3) WHEN arriving at your floor, grunt and strain to yank the doors open, then act as if you're embarrassed when they open themselves.
4) GREET everyone with a warm handshake and ask him or her to call you Admiral.
5) MEOW occasionally.
6) STARE At another passenger for a while. Then announce in horror: "You're one of THEM" - and back away slowly
7) SAY -DING at each floor.
8) SAY "I wonder what all these do?" And push all the red buttons.
9) MAKE explosion noises when anyone presses a button.
10) STARE, grinning at another passenger for a while, then announce: "I have new socks on."
11) WHEN the elevator is silent, look around and ask: "Is that your beeper?"
12) TRY to make personal calls on the emergency phone.
13) DRAW a little square on the floor with chalk and announce to the other passengers: "This is my personal space."
14) WHEN there's only one other person in the elevator, tap them on the shoulder, then pretend it wasn't you.
15) PUSH the buttons and pretend they give you a shock. Smile, and go back for more.
16) ASK if you can push the button for other people but push the wrong ones.
17) HOLD the doors open and say you're waiting for your friend. After a while, let the doors close and say "Hi Greg, How's your day been?"
18) DROP a pen and wail until someone reaches to help pick it up, then scream: "That's mine!"
19) BRING a camera and take pictures of everyone in the lift.
20) PRETEND you're a flight attendant and review emergency procedures and exits with the Passengers.
21) SWAT at flies that don't exist.
22) CALL out "Group hug" then enforce it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Finding Out...

Hi everyone! Well, it was apparent to us as people guessed what we were having that no one really had a good idea. I didn't feel like I knew, and every person we asked was unsure. You could even see from the poll we put on the blog that it was about even on guesses... Well, now you know. Our new blue blog is in celebration of our baby


due March 10th.

It was very clear in the ultrasound that we were having a cute little boy (although Noah and I decided it was unnecessary to post THAT picture) , and we were pleased to find out that everything looks good. No signs of Down Syndrome, Cleft Palate, Hernias in the abdomen, heart problems, or anything else. It's definitely going to take me some time to prepare myself to be a boy mom...I've only ever imagined myself raising girls. However, I take comfort knowing how much easier it will be to find a girl partner for my boy than finding a boy to dance with my little girl...just one of many perks :)

I was hoping that they would move my due date up, since he pushed me back 2 weeks at my original appointment, but according to measurements, my due date is not budging even one day! This baby is right on track, and he looks pretty darn cute already... don't you think?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Visitors from Utah and a Bump Update

Well, we got a much appreciated visit from my parents and Rob last week... We were so happy to have them here and to be able to accommodate them in our house. I was hoping it would be the perfect temperature (around 80-85 degrees), but the heat snuck in on us, and we spend Saturday sweating it out in the 100 degree weather! Thank you thank you for coming to visit...it was amazing to have you here and we hope you had a good time!

Downtown Mesa at the Wild West Festival

Noah has wanted to be an American Indian ever since he was a kid. Dances with Wolves is still one of his favorite movies!

Very cool hats were just a few of the old western clothing items you could buy at the festival. The lady did tell me she would make me a special pregnancy corset that has support for your belly!

For those of you who wanted a belly update picture...here you go! Noah always thinks it looks like I'm just arching my back and pushing my stomach out when we take these pictures, but I promise I just have a sway back. I am neither pushing out nor holding in this belly! By the way, tomorrow I am 20 weeks, and on Thursday we have our mid-pregnancy ultrasound. We'll let you guys know what we're having, so be watching for an update on Thursday night!!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

The low down...

So I thought it would be nice to update everyone on my status with the flight school and my plans for flying helicopters. As some of you may or may not know here are a few things that have happened since I started flying helicopters in June of last year:

About 7 months into my training at Silver State Helicopters up in Utah, the school went under overnight and closed its doors nationwide to almost 2000 students and instructors. This drastically affected my training since I had a large school loan already paid to the school. I suddenly found myself stuck with no access to my flight funds but with plenty of flying left to finish up.

I researched other good schools throughout the country and decided to come down to AZ and continue my flight training here in Chandler. This was a good decision because Quantum Helicopters is a great school and I was able to move on and get my instrument rating added to my pilot license. Unfortunately, with my school loan still locked in the legal battle that is still ongoing with Silver State (former school) I have not been able to secure another loan to help me finish my training. I had enough reserve funds to fly for another 5 months down here but that was not enough time to get my commercial license (which allows me to fly professionally and get a job) nor get my flight instructor rating (which would allow me to teach). Faced with this situation I have been forced to temporarily suspend my flying.

To make matters worse, the economy has taken a turn for the worse regarding lending and loans. Giselle and I decided that to be able to finish my training we will have to proceed without the use of any more loans. With us both working full time jobs and saving everything possible along the way, we hope that I will be able to begin flying within the year. Any additional freelance work would also add to that savings, helping to speed the process. I have decided to try to get a job with one of the local police departments because this would give me some great law enforcement experience that would come in handy in the future since so many helicopter jobs interface with law enforcement. Plus Mesa has a police helicopter and their pilots are only hired from within so at least as a police officer I could one day be a candidate to fly the police helicopter. I have also submitted my resume for the University of Phoenix in the meantime since I don't know how long the process could take to get into a police department, and it would be a great full-time alternative if the police route does not work out.

With all that said: I will be testing next week and the week after that for a few of the police departments down here to see if I can start working and saving up for my return to the skies. I will keep the blog updated with what happens but at least now you will all know what's going on and why I am going through the process of trying to become a police officer. All these choices are part of the main plan of flying helicopters as my career. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

a MOTHER of a sale!

For all of you who wanted to see my belly, here you go! Just kidding... I had to sport this towel so I could try on all my new maternity clothes! Robbin told Billie Jo who told me about an amazing clearance sale + extra savings at oldnavy.com, and I got a little carried away. I really wouldn't have spent that much, but Noah encouraged my bad behavior! I got so many clothes, it is crazy... I DEFINITELY did my part adding to the McNeil girls' maternity pile. Just thought I'd give you a preview :)

The spoils!

Here's what my belly actually does look like (or did a couple weeks ago - I feel like it's grown a lot recently). I haven't actually gained any weight in the last month (which means I'm actually balanced out to an ideal weight gain so far since I was chub-wub in trimester 1 :)

I have the mid-pregnancy ultrasound in 3 weeks, so Noah will come with me. We are definitely excited to find out what we are having, and we'll let you all know as soon as we can!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

New Presidential Candidate... It's someone you know!


I don't know if you guys have heard this recently, it's been all over the news. There's an effort to elect an unknown random person as President... and it's someone we know! Watch this online video about the surprising new nominee (you won't believe it):


Jot back a note to let me know what you think!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Workin' 9 to 5...

So...the most exciting new thing happening in my life is starting work! I was officially hired at the University of Phoenix as an Academic Counselor, and I can happily say that I am loving my training. I really like the corporate world...it's kind of fun to pull into a big parking garage, join the herd of people dressed up all nice carrying their lunches, and use my little security card to badge into the new, nice building where I work. Besides that, I am a chronic nerd, so sitting in a classroom for 8 hours a day learning about boring computer systems and University policy is actually quite enjoyable for me! On top of it all, I cultivated a love for the smell of coffee when I worked at the Gateway, and pregnancy has multiplied that...I get to waft in the fumes of the coffee that surrounds me every morning and periodically throughout the day (especially on friday afternoons when people are trying to stay focused). It is heaven...

To top it all off, I got to buy some new clothes, and I got my first paycheck today!Oh how I love being busy and working hard...
Tomorrow I start doing observations of Academic Counselors currently on the floor (those who are working as AC's) for 4 hours a day then 4 hours of classroom, and Friday I take my final training exam. I do one more week of observations and classroom and then hit the training floor Counseling and contacting my real life students! After 3 weeks of on-the-job training, that's it! I'm a full blown Academic Counselor responsible for helping people graduate with their degrees from college!!!! Isn't that crazy? Definitely a grown up job...wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

6 Quirks

6 quirks about myself.
Here are the rules:

* Link the person who tagged you
* List 6 of your quirks
* Tag 6 other bloggers by linking them
* List the rules on your blog

Josh tagged me.

My 6 quirks are:

• I have a habit of answering my phone in a funny voice for some of my close friends and family and it's a different voice for each one (yoda, high pitch spanish squeak, etc) The problem is that when I'm somewhere like a client meeting with several strangers in the room and one of those people call me, I can't answer in my normal voice and that's how they know that I'm not alone or in a place where I can talk openly.

• I eat oreos by placing the entire cookie in my mouth and then drinking enough milk to soften the cookie and swallow it. Giselle taught me this. Thanks babe!

• What can I say... I have a thing for cereal! I like to eat rather large servings of cereal in big bowls multiple times a day. I feel like if I don't have cereal the day just isn't complete. I like every kind of cereal out there and I make sure that when we buy cereal we rotate through the brands and flavors. I like the healthy and the non-healthy. You can name almost any brand of cereal and I can assure you it has a special place in my heart.

• I also have a weakness for tech gadgets and software. I like to have the latest tech toys and I usually just own it just long enough to play with it and then sell it so I don't suffer buyers remorse. I should be gadget critic! I collect software... I have all the main titles for both mac and pc and I continually keep my collection updated with the best of the best.

• I am very adventurous and explorative. I would spend the rest of my life traveling and exploring the world if I could. My goal is to visit all 7 continents at some point of my life. I only have 3 left!

• I have a courtesy laugh that I tend to insert at almost any pause or moment of silence in a conversation or after little comments or jokes by others. I hadn't noticed this till it was recently pointed out to me. I guess it's so ingraned in me that it's just natural for me now and doesn't seem fake to me. I'm trying to at least catch myself so that I know when I'm doing it. If I've ever given you my courtesy laugh and you thought it was just that, "a courtesy laugh", rest assured that it was not. It was a genuin chuckle that sounds like a courtesy laugh! Haha

I now tag: Earl, Allen, Max, Tim, Rick, and Nik
I expect your wives to help you or to write them for you if you refuse... they'll tell it how it is!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

No pain no gain!!

I've been playing on 2 indoor soccer teams and our Saturday team just finished the league tournament in first place! We showed up to the semi final on Saturday morning and had just enough players but not any substitutes. In indoor soccer, you get tired easily since the game never really stops so if you dont have any substitutes you get to run a lot! I sprained my ankle a few weeks back playing a game on my Thursday team so it's been pretty hard to play well since I have to wear an ankle wrap and a brace over the wrap. Anyway... long story short: We knew that if we won the morning game we would go on to the final that night for first place. I hurt my ankle again during the game (which we won) and had to show up that night to play again. Since I was limping and hopping around during the game, I wasn't doing the team much good. I couldn't just sit out because we desperatly needed all the players we could get so that we could have one person to rotate in and out so everyone could get a short break. So the second half we were up a few goals and I decided to be brave and play "goalie" and let our goalie play since he could run kick without hobbling. I was so scared to play goalie since I've never done it but we still did pretty good and I managed to do good enough for us to not loose! In the end we won 6-2 and took first place in the league!! We got a trophy and shirts and I limped home and iced my ankle for the rest of the night!

Monday, August 25, 2008

What do you do when Mexico is only 2.5 hours away?

Noah had to work in Tucson last week, and we decided that I should go with him, we could stay over, and head down to Nogales, Mexico the next day before heading back. It was a lot of fun, and here are some of the things we did while we were there.
This is the San Xavier del Bac Mission near Tucson, AZ. It was built by the Jesuits in 1692, and is beautiful. It was crazy to be driving along the freeway in the middle of the desert and see this amazing structure sitting right in the middle of an Indian Reservation. It looks like it was transported straight from Europe to the south of Arizona. There is work being done on it right now, as you can see, to restore it. Some of the people working on it are from the same team that did the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
A closer view of the exterior of the building.

Some of the interior of the building.

The courtyard outside the building.
We also went to explore a place called Colossal Cave outside of Tucson. It is a dormant cave, but very cool to explore. It was the same type of cave as Minnetonka that I saw when I was at Bear Lake, but the caverns were much much smaller and it was more like walking through narrow hallways of formations.

Noah and I entering the park where the cave is...

The entrance to the actual cave, which smelled AWFUL. I had to not breathe through my nose almost halfway through the cave, because the guana (bat poop) smelled the place up. The entrance was especially stinky because they said may other animals also used that part of the cave...gross.

This is about the size of all the pathways through the cave. It was really neat because at time you had to bend down or scooch (is that really a word) sideways around a formation...because it was a dormant cave, it didn't matter if you touched the formations, so it made exploring fun.

An shot inside the cave. Sadly, there was a lot of destruction to the small formations before the cave became protected land and the work began to excavate parts of it.
Finally, Mexico! I have always loved Mexico, and of course Noah gets all giddy being there, too. While Noah insisted we find somewhere to eat where the locals would actually hang out and we did explore downtown Nogales, my favorite part of the visit was being right across the border where all the tourist-y stuff is. I love a good flea market, whether you actually need anything or not. So after eating at a very clean and nice food court at a big mall, I made Noah turn around and go back to the tourist end of town. He enjoyed the flea market as much as I did, and we scoped out some things we might want to get on our next trip down there with my parents in October!

The wall...this wall is all that separates the two countries. It is very thin and you can look through it in lots of parts. There are even holes big enough to hand stuff back and forth. It's amazing to look at the houses on each side of the wall. It is crazy the difference between the two sides.

This is the US/Mexico border from the Mexican side. These crosses are for some of the many people who have died on their journey for a better life.
Last quick story...when we arrived at our hotel in Tucson, it was 92 degrees in our room! We cranked the AC and left for a few hours. By the time we went to sleep, it was a perfect 72. Noah wanted to leave the AC on because he loves sleeping in a cold room. Well, I felt like I was camping all night. I kept trying to cover my head and snuggle into Noah as tightly as possible. When we woke up in the morning, it was 59 degrees! The AC wasn't on auto, but in the ON position. We were freezing!!!!! Noah definitely got his wish!