Thursday, December 17, 2009

Attempt at craftiness

We might have been a little ambitious in our first attempt at craftiness but I should probably tell you that this one little stocking took us all night to make, and by us I mean both Jeff and I because if I had tried to do it myself it would have taken twice, if not three times, as long to do. Maybe perfectionists (on the verge of OCD) aren't meant to be crafty. I'm the one sitting there rereading the instructions a million times and cutting exactly on the line and wanting my stitches to be perfectly straight (which is dang hard to do by the way, especially on that crown part, as you can tell). And Jeff's sitting there saying just do it! He's the one who doesn't even pin the fabric together or read the instructions while I'm saying wait, wait, wait! And of course it turns out just fine. Yes, my husband can cook AND sew. He's very handy and multi-talented really. I won't tell you how long it took just to figure out that dang bobbin (thank you YouTube). Even though it took us forever to do, I think it turned out pretty good for a first attempt at being crafty, and we didn't even have to take anything apart or redo anything (I probably would have if was just me doing it).

Needless to say, we haven't really touched the sewing machine since. I got the idea from our friend Erin's blog (who is crafty). Here's the tutorial if you'd like to try it, just don't tell me how long it takes you to complete. We left off a couple things as you can see, but if I can barely sew in a straight line do you really expect me to know how to applique (or do it in less than a matter of hours)? I didn't think so. Maybe I should try something easier next time, something that only involves sewing in straight lines.

As a side note, you might be wondering why we chose UT fabric as neither of us attend UT. Well, we made this one for our nut of a dog cause the University of Tennessee's mascot looks like her, although she'd rather eat it than anything else (trust me, she already tried). UT's mascot is a Bluetick Coonhound and Riley is a Treeing Walker Coonhound, pretty close though.

Friday, December 4, 2009


As Thanksgiving has come and gone I, like many others, have reflected on the things that I am most thankful and grateful for. I try to keep a running list in my head of my blessings at all times and I try to remember that I have it pretty dang good compared to many others, but for some reason it’s so much easier to think of the things you don’t like or don’t have. It’s so easy to forget how blessed we really are as we live in this materialistic world where self-esteem and self-worth are dependent on worldly possessions.

This is a short list of a few of the things that I’m most grateful for in my life right now:

I’m grateful for the almost 4 years Jeff and I have had together, just the two of us, even though it’s not what we had planned. Come what may and love it, right? (Easier said than done in some instances, unfortunately.) Who knows if, when or how we will have children, but for now it’s just Jeff and I and our crazy dog trying to figure life out.

I am grateful to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and for the knowledge that I have that I am a child of God and that He knows me and loves me. I’m also grateful for the atonement of Jesus Christ and what that means for me personally.

I am grateful to have a family who loves me and supports me, has provided me with more than I could ever need or want growing up, has taught me how to be a good person and who has given me opportunities to see the world. I’m also grateful for a second family who has welcomed me with open arms as a second daughter.

I am grateful for the simple necessities that we take for granted every day: clean water to drink, running water, electricity, food to eat, a place to live, heat and air conditioning, clothes, shoes, etc.

I am grateful to be citizen of a country that believes in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I am grateful for a job that helps me to provide the necessities stated above.

I am grateful for my education and parents who taught me the importance of education.

I am grateful for a husband who loves me and treats me well and wants the best for us and our future. I’m grateful for all that he does to support me and to provide for us. I’m grateful that we can laugh together and that we can enjoy life together.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

in case you were wondering...

what we've been up to, I've decided to update you. And if you haven't been wondering what we've been up to, well then why the heck are you reading this blog?

Okay, does this look like it says EFF to anyone else? helloo, there is a J in there. And p.s., if you don't think that's a cute picture then something's not right with you. seriously.

Jeff is working hard as usual. He's not only taking his athletic admin classes but also taking some public health classes as well. Why, you ask? Because Jeff has decided to become an uber master and get a second master's degree in public health. Why, you ask? Because he's awesome like that. On top of his full load of classes, Jeff has his graduate assistantship with the women's basketball team helping with marketing and getting fans out to the games (which we all know is a difficult task for women's basketball, let's be honest). And since the season hasn't started yet, even though he's working on getting prepared for the season, they have him working at the soccer games doing the scoreboard and announcing. AND on top of that he's babysitting kids in a study hall two nights a week AND mentoring a couple of student athletes. I know what you're thinking, what a stud. Yes, I know.

Lynn is still typing away and sitting in front of the computer for 32 hours a week. 32 hours, you ask? Yes, you read that right. Lynn cut down on her hours because she was getting to the point where she was about to march right over to the hospital, track down the doctors that seem to think it's okay to talk likethisandmumbleandwhisperandchewgumatthesametime while trying to pronounce words like esophagogastroduodenoscopy and give them a piece of her mind. It's not a pharnix, it's a pharynx. It's not a larnix, it's a larynx. It's not a sontometer, it's a centimeter. And iller and prescriptionally are NOT words!! Gosh, I wish I had the chutzpah (yes, I just said chutzpah) to do that. But we all know that wasn't going to happen, so I cut back on my hours for my sanity...and Jeff's. Lynn has also decided to apply to nursing school yet again in February. Let's face it people, if she doesn't get in this time she might as well take at as a hint that it's just not meant to be. So stay tuned for that one. She has also decided to try and become crafty and finally figured out how to thread her sewing machine this morning! We'll see how that goes. ha!

Well, now that you're updated with our lives I'm sure you feel that your day is complete. Stay tuned because this might all change tomorrow.

p.s. in case you were wondering about Riley Jo, she's as crazy as ever. we got a membership to the dog park and she is in dog heaven...if only there were paper towels, peanut butter and cardboard there, she'd never want to come home.

POST EDIT: Jeff informed me that I forgot to mention that he is also applying to get a business certificate (which is basically the core classes for an he really is an uber master) and also gives baseball lessons on the side. I can't even keep up with all the stuff this guy does. Holy moly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Our bribery worked!

What do you do when Aunt Cheryl and Mama Hiestand come to visit you in Johnson City, Tennessee?

Just about everything touristy/fun you can think of to do in a two-hour radius. Umm, and we might have gained a few el bees (that's pounds if you didn't get my attempt at being clever... you know, lbs...nevermind) in the process. Well, we had to show them all the good places to eat too! And even though we wished for a miraculous overnight change of the trees into their full fall glory, it never happened. Maybe when they visit us next year :). Oh, and we made a couple of trips to Walmart...and then a couple more.

Family picture. These first two pictures are pictures taken from pictures hence the not so good quality.

Scenic overlook on the way to Asheville, NC.

The Biltmore Estate built by George Vanderbilt before he was even married. I guess he didn't want to start out with an apartment. Beautiful but overpriced. My favorite part was the swimming pool in the basement.

Dollywood! Where do I go for the Dolly boob job? We payed enough to get in here!

Dolly's tour bus. I'm surprised her and her boobs fit in this thing.

I think I might frame this one.

Riley is pooped. She loved having visitors. Cheryl gave her a middle name so we can now properly reprimand her. RILEY JO YOU STOP EATING PAPER TOWELS RIGHT NOW!

Apple Festival in Erwin, TN. If you have no teeth how are you supposed to eat apples?

Aw. Riley loved having two air mattresses set up so she could look out the windows and lounge...and jump on people to wake them up in the morning (she likes to aim right for your head).

Okay, who's up next for their visit? You know you want to.

Thanks for coming to see us!!!
Ya'll come back now, y'hear!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

finding hope

*Scroll down to the bottom of the page to turn off the music so you can listen to this amazing message. This is just what I needed today.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Jeff and I like to eat...a lot (not in the sense that we like to stuff ourselves, but we enjoy get the idea). Usually we like to eat healthily, but sometimes you just have to eat the really good stuff and we all know the really good stuff is not so good for you. Just don't eat the really good stuff before you attempt to run 8 kilometers (see post below about 8k).


Ridgewood has the best bbq around. It's pretty much a glorified trailer tucked into the hillside on the side of the road. You know the 'no soup for you' episode of Seinfeld (of course you do), well this place comes with its own grouchy lady that takes your name and tells you not to ask her how long the wait is (we've been tempted to see what she would do if we did ask--No bbq for you!) and then throws your menus on the table. This just adds to the experience. Let's just say that this place is a little bit of food heaven on earth (if they have grouchy ladies that take your name down in food heaven that is). It's probably a good thing that Ridgewood isn't closer to our house or we'd be there weekly and then we'd be fat. for sure.

So the reason I tell you all this is to make your mouths water so you'll want to come visit us in lovely scenic, bbq-loving TN. I mean, I would go to UT just for some Cafe Rio and La Casita (it's in Springville. Go now!), so I would assume you'd come visit us just to try some authentic bbq. We assume that since our trips are based around food, yours should be too. (Sorry it was closed when you visited Leslie!) Trust me, you will go home happy. Plus you get to see us so what's not to love...the best bbq ever AND the company of Jeff and Lynn. What are you waiting for?

Best blue cheese dressing you will ever have...and yes, it comes with crackers

The smokers

I warned him it was going on the blog.

Windy country road and no where to park.

It's never not packed. There's always a wait. p.s. I like how the lady in blue is smiling for the camera.

This is Jeff and Lance on their phones telling you to come visit us!! Now!

Monday, August 24, 2009


Why can't life just be one long vacation? I'm always telling Jeff let's go here, let's go there and he just looks at me and says, you want to go everywhere! Yeah well, I guess I have the travel gene (thanks mom and dad!). Maybe when we're rich :).

Last weekend we headed down to Miami for a change of scenery and had a great time.

Day 1:

  • Best Taco Bell Jeff's ever had (and he would know). You didn't know that Taco Bell could be different from city to city, did you? I guess they know how to make those refried beans in Miami.

  • Air boat ride in Everglades National Park. We thought maybe we'd see a crocodile or two but had no idea they would come up right next to the boat, which was a little too close for comfort but definitely an experience.

  • Jeff locked the keys in the car (I'm surprised I haven't done this...yet).

  • Ate some really good authentic Mexican food.
(you can enlarge the collages by clicking on them)

  • Oh, and of course we went to a Marlin's game. You didn't think we'd go on vacation during baseball season and not go to a game did you?

Day 2:

  • We headed out to Key Largo and took a boat ride out to a reef for some snorkeling. The water was crystal-clear blue but we were both a little disappointed with the reef and the fish but it was fun nonetheless.

Day 3:

  • We hit up south beach and spent the day in the warm ocean and worked on our tans (or our burns...either way, we got some color).

  • We often watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network which is on late at night when I get off work and it always makes us really hungry. While we were in Miami, we took the opportunity to check out two places featured on the show and both were really good! As you can tell, our trips focus around being touristy and eating good food!

  • Our flight the next day left out of West Palm Beach so we headed up there and checked out their awesome downtown area.

This is what our puppy looked like when we got back. She had her own vacation while we were gone where she just played and played and crashed when we picked her up. We thought she was depressed at first cause she looked so sad but it turns out she was just pooped.

p.s. We saved ourselves a lot of stress by getting a GPS with our rental car. Garmin saved our sanity. I highly recommend them for places you are unfamiliar with.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Family: It's about love

I can't believe it's been over a month since we were in California. This year is flying by.

Maybe I should've titled this post three funerals and a wedding because that's been our year so far.

Unfortunately our trip to California was not for pleasure. Jeff's cousin, Bobby, passed away and we went to attend the funeral. I only met Bobby once but whenever anyone would mention his name I would automatically think of his smile that seemed to light up a room [which incidentally is what first attracted me to Jeff...I guess great smiles run in the family]. Apparently this sentiment was shared by many as his smile was mentioned many times throughout the weekend. Bobby will be greatly missed by so many. As you can see in one of the pictures below, the hall where the memorial was held was packed and many people had to squeeze in to find a place to stand since there weren't enough seats.

I know I've said this in my other posts about the funerals we've been to this year but, although we felt deep sadness for losing Bobby so unexpectedly, we enjoyed the time we spent being surrounded by family. Because isn't that what life is all about? People may come and go from our lives but our family will always be there. And how lucky am I to have not just one but two amazing families?

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Monday, July 27, 2009


Our little puppy is not so little anymore

This used to be her favorite spot until she realized she didn't fit anymore!

She likes to air out

(the bowl in the background is covering up a cable that comes through the floor so she doesn't chew on it...we don't usually leave bowls on the floor)

She got a bee sting and her lip was huge! How sad is that face! It didn't really seem to phase her though.

She's a little crazy but we love her!

Monday, July 13, 2009

crazy is right

This is what we did on Saturday. An 8k. Why? I'm still not sure and my legs definitely never want to do another one. Let me just say that I am NOT a runner. I haven't run for a few weeks and when I do it's not for very long and I can't go very long without walking. I've never enjoyed running but Jeff has taken it up and well, it's supposed to be so good for you, yadda yadda, so awhile ago I decided I'd try to take it up. Well, my progress has been mediocre at best. I just can't seem to push myself to get any better. Or maybe I'm just a wimp...okay, I'm definitely a wimp. I've always thought that people who ran long distances had to have a screw or two loose. Why in the world would you want to run for hours on end? Do you hate yourself? But people really seem to enjoy it so I thought maybe I could force myself to enjoy it too.

You may be asking yourself, then why the heck did you run an 8k if you hate running? Well, let me first say that I'm using the term 'run' very loosely. And secondly, I think I might have a few screws loose myself. Jeff and Lance convinced me to give it a try....and we got a t-shirt (I was going to say free t-shirt but with what we paid to enter the race, it definitely was not free. And no, I cannot believe that I actually paid to run.). They convinced me that I'd have more confidence after crossing the finish line after "running" 8 kilometers (p.s. why do they measure these races in kilometers? We don't use the metric system here, remember?). If you can run for ten minutes, you can run for an hour is what they told me. Well, I knew I was gullible but jeez, you might as well tattoo 'idiot' on my forehead cause that's the biggest lie I've ever heard. For some odd reason I felt that if I didn't do it I would regret it. They say it's the world's fastest 8k cause it's mostly downhill but I think that's a lie too. Cause I'm pretty sure only the last .5k was downhill.

Well, maybe I do feel a sense of accomplishment for finishing the race even though I didn't run the whole way. When I did run it was at a snail's pace (there was an old guy power walking -- in fairly short shorts I might add -- that was going faster than me). However, I think I lost a little bit of self-esteem as 7-year-olds passed me, 70-year-olds passed me, guys in really short shorts passed me (is this really necessary people, really?) big people, little name it, they passed me. Am I the least fit person in this area of fried food and heart disease? Jeff had to remind me that mostly people who have been running for awhile are crazy enough to sign up for an 8k and that made me feel a little better. Oh, you mean I'm the only idiot who can barely run for 10 minutes straight that signed up to run 5 miles? I probably would have passed out on the side of the road if it weren't for Jeff who decided to give up a decent finishing time and run with me and encourage me the whole way (and to make sure I wasn't kidnapped by any rednecks along the way).

So anyway, I made it. I'm alive even though I can barely walk. I think I'm glad I did it. I'm not sure if I'll ever get the hang of this whole running thing.

But, if you've learned anything from my experience it should be

1. Just because you were born in Kenya does NOT mean you can run like the wind, or run at all for that matter. No matter how much you wish it were true.

2. Do not, I repeat, do NOT listen to Jeff and Lance when they try to convince you to do something that seems even the slightest bit ridiculous (even though I can now say I "ran" in an 8k).

3. And don't eat barbecue six hours before you run. Not. A. Good. Idea.

Monday, June 8, 2009


My sister, Leslie, made made the 11-hour trip from Jacksonville, IL to wonderful Johnson City, TN with a two year old and a large dog (small horse) by herself...because she loves us. We had a great time. The dogs had a great time. We wish we lived closer!

Ready to bike the Creeper Trail

Do we look alike?


And sad. Don't worry it only lasted a few seconds.

Throwing rocks in the river was the best part for Anika

Thanks for coming to visit us!