Friday, October 31, 2008

Welcome Home Elder!

Thursday night, Sam came home from his mission in England! I can't believe it has already been two years! We let the kids stay up late Wednesday night to make posters to welcome him home. They were so excited when we picked them up from school. They couldn't wait to see Sam and didn't complain even once about the long drive to the San Francisco airport!

Elder Schull, Austin, Lauren, and Jessica

Elder Sam Schull and Ashlyn

I wish I had captured more of his first minutes off the plane, but I had my hands full! ;-) I'm going to have to get copies from Danale and Mindy!

We hung out at the airport for ever! It was so exciting to see him that nobody wanted to leave! I think everyone had sore cheeks from smiling when we finally left.Sam, Steven, Ashlyn, Jason, Danale, Colton and Justin

Colton and Ashlyn

Welcome home Sam! We missed you!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ward Party

Saturday was our Ward Halloween Party.... it was also my mom's, sister's and my brother's Ward Halloween party. So, we crashed theirs! I feel kind of bad for ditching my ward, but the kids always look forward to "trunk or treating" with everyone! Here they are right before we left.

Lauren as a cheerleader, Jessica as a cat, Austin as a "motorcross guy",

and Ashlyn as a lady bug.

This kids had so much fun at the party! They had a cake walk, face painting, cookie decorating and that fishing game that every carnival seems to have. You know, where they throw the line over and "catch" some plastic toy that usually finds its way to your garbage can...

Grandpa (Bill Hurd) and Ashlyn

At the end of the night, the kids got to go "trunk or treating". If you haven't heard of it, trunk or treating is where our friends decorate their trunks or back of a truck or van with Halloween decor and park in the church parking lot. The kids go "trunk" to trunk and trick or treat. It is always fun to see what people come up with!

We had a good time. I can't believe it's almost Halloween!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Spa Party

Saturday, Kristi hosted a spa party at her house! What a brilliant idea! She had a licensed Esthetician performing 30 min Dermasweep exfoliation treatments and a Massage Therapist offering massages! What is better than hanging out with the girls and being pampered?

I loved the idea so much, I decided to host a party in a couple of weeks! Want to come? I can't wait!

Here are the ladies who took such good care of us

Kristie Finley, Massage Therapist & Lori Leist, Esthetician

(559) 940-2126 .... (559)392-0467

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yes on 8

I finally did it.

I put up a sign in my front yard. I know to many of you this was a no brainer, but I have been struggling for weeks!

As soon as I learn about Proposition 8 and the effects this will have on our children if it doesn't pass, I was completely in support of it. At church, we have been urged to support this in any way that we can. They had signs and bumper stickers we could pick up to display and show our support and raise awareness.

As soon as I thought about putting a sign in my front yard, I became a little troubled. Okay, a lot troubled. I couldn't stop thinking about it. My next door neighbors are a same sex couple. I wasn't sure how they would take it. Some people see this as a hate issue and I didn't want to offend them.

A few days went by and I received an email from someone saying a group was going to be going door to door to raise awareness of Proposition 8. I wasn't able to go, but once again, I felt troubled and this time even more guilty.

At church the next Sunday, my home teacher asked if I wanted him to put a bumper sticker on my car. I had quick flashes in my mind of pulling into the parking lot of my hair salon (my hair dresser is gay), and to Jessica's soccer practice (one of the little girls on her team was adopted by a same sex couple). I'm not really a bumper sticker person anyway, but I felt really guilty when I declined.

I know this is an important cause. Wasn't it enough if I just vote "Yes"? Do I have to offend my friends? Am I offending God by not putting a sign in my front yard? Will my one sign make a difference? Will my friends understand that I am just trying to protect my right to teach my children what I believe?

The answer came to me. I do support Proposition 8 and I need to stand up for what I believe. The sign is up in my front yard. I'm glad it is yellow and blue. It's kind of a happy sign and it makes me feel good to see it there.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Falling a Little Deeper

I've always marveled at the many sides of my husband.

There is the strong, protective, masculine, I have very tool under the sun, I know what they are all for and how to use them and can fix anything that needs fixing, side.

He really can fix anything! I've seen him work on cars,


bikes... He can fix the closet door that doesn't want to stay on track or the drawer to my desk that just gave up. He can fix my vacuum when it makes more of a mess than it was supposed to clean.

If it has wires, he can make it work. He put a timer on the kids bathroom light so it would turn off and scare them out of their hour long showers! He rewired the chandelier in the babies room so I don't have to run a cord down the wall. He set up my computer so I have two screens that work together! He drilled holes in my ceiling to wire his projector through the attic so I don't have to see the wires. the projector in our bedroom

He wired speakers through my whole house so I can play music while I clean. He wired the TV in the RV to run the the stereo speakers, put lights in my garage, hung new ceiling fans- should I keep going? This wiring list could be very long! I'll move on. I'm sure you get the point.

He is the first to jump out of bed in the middle of the night to check on the unknown sound. (Sometimes in the complete buff, much to my amusement!) The one who's eyes become more alert, and who's back straightens as he tightens his hold on my hand when he thinks there may be danger near by... I always feel safe when he is around.

Then there is that incredibly smart and capable side that I admire so much.

Hanging on my office wall are several certificates and diplomas that he worked hard to achieve: a degree in finance, a masters in business, law school, state bar certificate and now, his brokers license. I am in awe of his hard work and dedication. He loves to learn! He loves the history channel, the "How It's Made" and "Mythbusters" shows. He is like a sponge for knowledge.

He can answer any question the kids have. "How do they make the bridges over the water?" "Where does the rain come from?" "What is gravity anyway?" "What makes that rocket fly?" I often laugh at the random knowledge he has in his head. He can answer all the question that I have. "How is it that when I talk into a cell phone in the US, someone in Italy can hear me? I know the words to that answer, but I don't get how that works." Somehow, he always knows the answers. He has an amazing ability to explain things in a way that makes it really easy to understand.

There is the side of him that is still just a big kid! He loves to play! He is always looking at "toys" online. He loves to ride his motorcycle,

spend the day out on the lake,

play sports with the kids and with his friends.

He loves comedy and often has to pause the TV to finish laughing! He has the best sense of humor!

I could go on forever, but tonight, it was the gentle father in him that had my attention.

Jason and Ashlyn October 2007

I was downstairs and I thought I heard Ashlyn crying. I had put her to sleep about 20 minutes earlier. I picked up the video baby monitor to see if she was okay. A grin spread across my face as I saw Jason's strong hand reach down to pat her back. I watched and listened as he whispered, "Papa's here... it's okay... Papa's here" as he stroked her hair and back. Time seemed to stand still around me and I was drawn in to the tenderness in his voice. Her cry turned into a complaint, and then contentment as she felt herself surrounded by his love. After a few minutes, I heard her protest as he started to leave. His gentle voice soothed and quieted her again. After a small rustling noise, I saw him place his shirt next to her in the crib and sneak out.

I didn't think it was possible, but in that moment, I fell even deeper in love.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Jason!

Saturday night, we went out with our friends to celebrate Jason's birthday. We have the best friends! They are so good to us and they are so fun to hang out with!

We went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner...
Then, Matt and Margaret gave us tickets to the Fresno State Football game!Mike, Jason and Matt
We had great seats! In fact, Aaron caught a ball that was overthrown by the quarterback! He accidentally knocked over his son, Tyler, and a bunch of food that someone was just sitting down with! It was pretty exciting! At church yesterday, several people said they saw us on TV! Did you see us?Tyler and Aaron
Tara and Jason

Margaret, Tara and Jodie

Top: Kyle, Kale, Angie and Jason. Bottom: Margaret, Tara and Jodie

Of course, by then end of the game, we shuffled seats so the girls could hang out and talk! We had a great night!

Happy Birthday Jason! I love you!

School Carnival

Friday was our school carnival. I always look forward to going because the kids get so excited about it. This year, the kids are older and more responsible, so we were able to let them go to the various activities without having to all stay together. They loved the freedom of being able to run around with their friends.

Jason and I chatted with our friends and wandered around the booths. My parents came with Jen's kids (Jen and Jeff were still in Germany). It is always nice to spend time with them.Jason and Ashlyn danced to the music in the quad area.

Ashlyn loves music! It was a fun night and it finally felt like fall!

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Last weekend, Stephen got everyone together in Monterrey for a family reunion . Family is so important to me. I loved getting to know Stephen's kids better and strengthening the relationships we already had.We stayed at Asilomar Conference Center. Stephen said Ronna used to love to go there. As soon as we checked in, we could see why. The rooms were cute and old fashioned with wooden floors and old pictures. Ashlyn thought it was great to be in the same room with everyone, but we couldn't get her to sleep! She was up long after the other kids were asleep.Jason finally took her out to the RV to sleep so she wouldn't keep everyone up. (Justin and Danale were in the room to our left and Linda and Angie were in the room to our right.)

On Saturday, we all went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The kids had so much fun playing together!

I love the relationship that Ashlyn and Austin have. He is so sweet with her. Here she is looking out the window with Austin on the other side looking in.
Later, he saw Colton watching the birds and brought Ashlyn over to watch too. To see more really cute pictures of Colton, go to and look in the Asilomar folder.

Linda, Angie, Danale, and Colton

On Saturday night, we went down to the beach. I love being near the ocean! I love the smell, the sound of the roaring waves, the cold wind on my cheeks... I wish I could explain the feeling it gives me, but I've never been very good at describing my feelings. I'll try because it is a big part of me. When I am that close to God's creations, it quiets my inner soul. I feel a deep sense of peace and steadiness. I feel still and reflective. Grateful for all I have and reassured that He is aware of me.
As I looked around in what little moon light there was, I thought of Ronna. I know she loved the ocean too. I could almost feel her watching us. Linda looks so much like Ronna. She is one of the sweetest people I know. As she was fussing over Ashlyn, I was so grateful for the love she has for her. It made me miss Ronna so much. I know how much she loved Ashlyn and would have loved to have been there with us. I was sad for Ashlyn. She will grow up without the physical presents of her Grandma's love. I feel like Linda carries her sister's love for our family. It brought tears to my eyes and I had to turn my face to the wind to quickly dry them.

We spent Sunday morning at the beach. It was such a beautiful day! The kids played chicken with the waves... Shared more tender moments...I saw a quote on Heidi's blog that I have thought about quite a bit and have felt in my own life. It came back to me as I saw Skyler sitting alone on the beach watching the waves and looking very peaceful.Sometimes God calms the storm. Sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.
We saw a sea lion on the shore...It looked like it may be injured, but of course we thought it was really cool and all wanted our picture taken with it.It was so fun to hang out on the beach with everyone.

We are looking forward to our next reunion!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Tagged Again!

I was tagged by my friend Lindsay. I know I just posted a long "get to know me" post, but this one made me think a little more.

3 Joys:
1. My husband Jason. I love being married to a man who is my partner, my friend and still acts like my boyfriend!

2. Being a mom to my kids. I love my kids! They are each so different and wonderful.
3. Feeling loved!

3 Fears:

1. Sometimes I am afraid of being in a horrible situation and not being able to protect all of my kids.

2. Dying before I'm old and wrinkled.

3. hmmm. I'm not afraid of much else...

3 Obsessions:

1. Preserving memories- Scrapbooking, Blogging, Heritage Books. Here is a link to a book that I just started. I only have a few pages done so you'll have to check back later to see the final project.

I'm also working on a Life Story of Jason's mom, Ronna Skarda. If anyone has pictures or stories they would like to submit, send them to I'll post a link when I finish it.

2. My ipod that works with my running shoes!

3. Late night snacks that I can't seem to give up! (keeping my ipod and running shoes one step higher on my list.)

3 Surprising Facts:

1. I'm studying to get my Real Estate License

2. I love to ride quads!

3. I volunteered with LDS Family Services for several years.

8 Things I am passionate about:

1. Relationships

2. Family

3. Traditions

4. The great out doors

5. Friends
6. Social work

7. Marriage
8. My kids

8 Words or Phrases I say often:

1. Seriously? This is usually said with wrinkled brow and a bit of a defeated/irritated but not surprised tone. Most commonly heard when I walk into a room of creative chaos or upon finding a child not doing whatever it was I asked them to do.

2. Is your homework done? This one is said at least 4-6 times an evening. ( I have 3 school aged children who are easily distracted.)

3. I love you. Probably the most commonly used phrase in my vocabulary. It's used often when I say goodbye to the kids as they jump out of the car, every morning to Jason before he leaves for work, almost always as we are getting off the phone during the day, a million times to my sweet baby who keeps me company during the day, to my kids randomly during the day or before bed, occasionally to my friends who are there for me over and over again, occasionally to my family who really should hear it more often, to my assistant who makes my life manageable and adores my baby!

4. Hurry! Sadly, this is also high on the list. No matter how well I think I planned out my time, the kids seem to get slower and slower as it gets closer to the time to leave for school or soccer or church.

5. What happened? To Ashlyn after emptying one of my cupboards,

to loud, unseen noises down stairs, to the crying child, to the angry child...

6. Can you babysit at... This one is usually in the form of a text message on Friday or Saturday night to my favorite babysitter Riley. 7& 8. I got stuck, so I just asked Austin to tell me a few things I say a lot. He said that I say, "Do your homework, get in the shower and did you put on deodorant?" Haha! I love that kid!

8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die:

1. Take a photography class

2. Run a marathon

3. Lean to play the piano

4. Learn to speak Spanish

5. Travel the world

6. Go on a church mission

7. Learn how to decorate beautiful cakes

8. Get back into my skinny jeans!

I know it only asked for 8, but I have a very long list! Don't worry, I'll stop at 10.

9. Decorate an entire room all at once- furniture, rugs, wall decor, curtains, etc. ( I always decorate one piece at a time or as my budget allows. By the time the room is done, I'm ready for a change.

10. Learn how to sing. I'm a rock star in my car, but when I sing at church, I afraid it is actually disrespectful because I am so off tune! :-)

8 Things I Pray For:

1. Good health

2. The safety of my family

3. For peace and comfort

4. To love those who have hurt me

5. Forgiveness

6. To understand things I don't

7. Direction in raising my children

8. For my friends and family

8 Things I've Learned:

1. Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

2. Failing to forgive someone is failing to accept the atonement.

3. Holding a grudge only hurts the person who is holding it.

4. There isn't always a tomorrow.

5. The biggest mistake a person can make is not learning from it.

6. Happiness comes from within.

7. We are all unique, but we all have a story that makes us who we are. We all have heart ache, fears, and trials that lurk behind the smiles we wear.

8. There is something to love in everyone. Find it and your life will be better because of it.

8 People I Tag:

Janelle, Alisa, Jen, Danale, Terri, Heidi, Devon and Lisa Marie! ;-)