Monday, December 31, 2007


Husband goes motorcycle riding on New Year's Eve and breaks his wrist/possibly a couple of fingers at approximately 2:00 p.m.

Wife won't let him go to the hospital until midnight since said deductible will start all over on 01/01/2008.

Bad wife?

You might be wondering how I know it's broke. Trust me ... it's broke.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas -

Christmas was great. I am currently sitting at a new laptop blogging away. Thanks to Gary I am a PROUD owner of this! It's a wide screen beauty ...
Here are a few of the fun things we were blessed with this year.

I cried as I turned each page of a photo album that Kacey made for me. It was incredible. It seemed like we cried a lot this Christmas, which is very unlike The Shakers!

Gary got a pizza stone and paddle so he can make us some wicked awesome pizza since the Whatcott's have us addicted.

Kacey got a portable DVD player and Photo Shop ... both of which she promptly returned and is putting the money towards her $2,000 camera! Go girl! My favorite gift of Kacey's was a letter from her friend Tyler who just left a few weeks ago to serve a mission in England. I got the letter while she was in New York and I saved it and put it in her stocking. She cried.

Keaton received my favorite gift of all time. We had a DVD made of some of his football highlights with still shots of his family and friends and amazing footage of their last game. It was extremely well done and brought people to tears.

Jake (our airplane & Lego fanatic) was delighted with a 1200 piece Lego Boeing 787 Dreamliner. He spent the next four days studying it, hovering over it and completing it!

Garrison was so excited to receive his first magic set in a shiny silver suitcase. He's quite the little magician.

Jake & Garrison are also having a lot of fun being Nerf Superheroes.

Of course, we had our Christmas breakfast at Grandma's house ... YUM! AND we had some great conversation with Matt. He is doing awesome. His zone (group) got permission to go to an all-night Catholic Mass. He said that they were in this huge standing-room-only cathedral and the Priest walked up to him and rubbed his chest and pronounced peace upon him. Yeah for peace! He loves all of the different experiences he is having and he loves gator! Last year, when it was time to hang up, we were a little sad. This year, there was no sadness. He is where he is supposed to be and he knows it. What a gift to be given the privilege of serving the Lord full time ... especially at Christmas. Only eight more months!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007 -

Well, Kacey made it home safe & sound. She had a fantastic time and was glad to be home. The Christmas shopping is done and everything is wrapped. We just got back from looking at the Temple Lights and watching the video presentation of Luke II. Everybody has already unwrapped their Christmas Eve gift and are now adorned in new pajamas. Keaton and his friend Kyle are playing Nintendo with Gary. Jake has tucked himself into bed, trying just TRYING to go to sleep early in hopes that Christmas morning will come sooner than later. Garrison is crawling around the base of the Christmas tree in his last ditch effort to guess what tomorrow will entail and Kacey is preparing her room for a sibling sleepover. It's almost time.

But I have to say, the thing we are all looking forward to the most, is that in just a few hours ... we'll be talking on the phone to Matt!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

First picture of NY -

I got this picture on my phone today. Tomorrow they are going to see Phantom of the Opera! They found tickets for $26.00 on Broadway! Today they took the train all over the place and they got their three day train ticket for about $30.00. She went with her good friend (since first grade) Lauren Abernethy, whose Aunt & Uncle happen to live on Long Island so their "hotel" is free. They're having the time of their lives on a pretty cheap budget ... and she is paying for everything herself. Do I sound proud?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Little girl in the Big City -

I guess some of you missed this post. She'll be back Friday and I am so excited for her! I just got her first text ...

"This is the greatest thing in the world."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

In less than twelve hours, I take Kacey to the airport.

New York or bust!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Winter in AZ -

Who says our leaves don't change colors?

This is my view from my front window. David helped me plant this tree as just a twig.

It's my favorite!

When we woke up this morning, it was 36 degrees outside. Three hours from us (in Flagstaff) it was 7 BELOW 0! We have two ski resorts now open just a few hours from us in opposite directions (if I felt so inclined to be pulled down another hill in a stretcher escorted by an ATV). I think I'll just enjoy looking at my tree.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

One down!

Kacey has completed her first semester of college
with some pretty amazing grades!
Only seven more to go ... and then she's allowed to get married!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Spontaneity -

Just when I thought I'd be sitting at home tonight. My friend/boss invites me to sit on the 10th row from the floor at a Phoenix Suns vs. Miami Heat game.

Let me think about it. Ummmmm ... YES!

For those of you who were wondering how poor Jen from "The Bachelor" is doing.

It appears that she is recovering just fine.

It was a fun night, but the Heat WAY outplayed the Suns.

Thanks Anna Marie!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Best Day Ever -

My birthday was a hit! It all started before I even woke up. Sometime during the night, this was placed on my front window by my church Relief Society sisters.

This was followed by pastries arriving at my door at 7:30 a.m. from my Visiting Teachers from my church!

This was followed by a doctor's appointment, errand running and getting ready for the biggest event of all ... the McKinnon Family Christmas Party. Thanks to everyone who came and helped my day turn out so great.

Here are a few of the pictures of our fun night...

Yes, his beard is real.
Yes, he is the REAL one!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Happy Birthday to ME!

Monday is my birthday! I'll be 29 ... again!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

No TV Week -

Saturday night, Gary was having a chat with two of Kacey's boyfriends (boys who are friends) that were at our house. Gary learned that one of the boys' family rule is no TV during the week. For some reason, this lit a fire under Gary and he announced his fantastic idea the following morning ...
One week of NO TV!

Now let me explain something. Our TV is NEVER OFF! Some people prefer the sound of oceanic waves crashing on the beach or a strong breeze whipping in the wind as their "white noise". We ... just listen to whatever is on the ole' telly. And the biggest addict is ... Gary!

To Gary, the TV is a distraction. It helps him turn his mind off of the events of the day. It does such a fine job, that he can't fall asleep without it. So my first thought was "ya right." But I thought it was a fun idea and I would be completely supportive of this goal.

Jake and Garrison barely gave this challenge a second thought. It wasn't their favorite idea, but they would survive. Kacey and Keaton on the other hand, immediately collapsed at the thought of it all and exclaimed that they would surely not survive this ordeal.

Well, this was Sunday morning and it is now Tuesday evening! Our house has been so peaceful and although I don't expect the kids to admit it ... they're having fun.

Here are some highlights of our first day without TV ... shortly after the shock wore off.

Now here's the question. Is it "bad" that we've replaced TV with Poker?

Friday, November 23, 2007

The PERFECT holiday!

Sometime before I was born, my favorite tradition was set in stone. Thanksgiving at Grandma McKinnon's house ...

There are very few things that I love more than Thanksgiving. We gather with family ... and we eat! Can it get any simpler than that ... yet so divine?!

This year we had the opportunity to have two consecutive Thanksgiving feasts! First, at Grandma's and second at Vince & Carol ... the other Shaker's! It was all amazing.


I spent time with over sixty people yesterday, yet two little quotes from the day just can't escape this post.

Little Miss Reilly - "My shirt is annoying."

Tiffany - "Am I laughing a bit much?"

It was a great day and I can't wait until next year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Happy Birthday to my man -

Forty-four years ago, my man was born! The mold was definitely broken shortly thereafter. Although he would never comment on any blog of any kind, I happen to know that he does read this one. So ... Happy Birthday honey!

I also happen to know that there are lots of people out there with fun stories involving Gary. Feel free to share your favorites for this occasion!

OK, I'll start! It was our first date, when he told me that he had found the girl he wanted to marry. Yes, I said first date! Definitely one of my favorite stories and favorite events.

Now you go -

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Energizer ... Jackrabbit

The first thing that drew me to Gary, was his ENERGY! The man is on-the-go all the time. He requires very little sleep and he doesn't seem to waste a single minute of his day. His work ethic is something I can only hope will be passed on to my boys ... and my girl.

During the summer, we took a weekend trip up North to Pinetop, AZ. During that trip, we went to the movies and we discovered the best small town secret. They served candied pecans at the movies! They were warm, delicious and so much better than popcorn. We talked about them the whole drive home ... and the next day, this is what I found in the kitchen.

He got on the Internet,
found the recipe
and then made them over and over until they were perfect!

Oh dang those were good!

That's ONE of the differences between he an I. I would have talked for years about how great those things were. I would have craved them. I might have even driven for four hours to get them again, but I probably wouldn't have made them.

I LOVE how much Gary can get done in a day ... really quite impressive.

This is a quick rundown of his weekend.

Thursday - went to his fourth Science Camp with Garrison and cooked all of the meals for the entire fifth grade.
Friday - got home from Science Camp at about 2:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., he went to the Scout Camporee with Jake where he cooked for an entire battalion of boys and got home at about 11:00 p.m.
Saturday - after we got home from Jake's football game, he took four of our kids, three of their friends, one cousin and another father up to the lake, where they still are tonight.

As I sit here in my quiet house, all alone and relaxed at my computer, I think to myself least I married energy! I think that's as close as I'll get to having it myself.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Post Office -

Standing in line at the Post Office today, I became irritated. I'm not sure why I was so easily irritated, but I'm a woman with a hormone patch which may or may not always keep me level and I reserve the right to accept what I'm feeling. I was irritatted!

First of all, with the constant hike of stamp prices, why can't we get more than one representative working the counter? It was a great idea to construct seven different register spots to occupy seven different employees, but apparently it was a waste of our .41 cents a stamp.

So as about twenty of us stood in line waiting for our turn with the lone man in blue, I couldn't help but hear the conversation taking place next to me as I tried really hard to speed up the line with my telepathic powers and my stinky attitude.

Two older ladies, one from Wisconsin and one from Michigan, became immediate friends as they lamented about the weather outside. "Oh I'm so sick of this hot weather! I just can't stand it anymore!" The conversation continued and eventually took a detour as they discussed their illnesses.

Now lets all understand something. The high today will be about 89 degrees and the low 59. So I say now, what I chose not to say at the USPS ... ARE YOU KIDDING ME? This is perfect weather! I realize that it is much cooler in other places around the country, but this ... is the Valley of the SUN ... not cheese (get it? Wisconsin). There are a million reasons that I love living here, but that's not what this is about. Here's the deal. Every winter, we are smothered by little old men and little old ladies from Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wisconsin, etc. who all come here to escape winters from hell.

They come here because they can't stand the cold. Then they arrive here and nearly kill us all by turning left from the far right lane in their Buicks ... and they complain about our weather?

I wish that I had the nerve to politely ask them to return to where they came from every time this happens.

Maybe I'm just jealous that I can't go live in Oregon every summer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The rest of the story ...

So you want to know what happened eh? Well it was really quite unremarkable. I found out he was coming over, so I went to the gym and stayed there until he was gone. Like I said ... I turned back into a 15 year old girl.

HOWEVER, he definitely knew who I was and he and Gary had a nice conversation about my big glasses from my former life. If my first love and my last love become BFF, I will be getting a lot of gym time ... deep sigh.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Love -

So - everybody remembers their first love, right? I mean we all have the unforgotten elementary age crushes where we shared our favorite pencils and maybe even our milk, but I'm talking about our first REAL (possibly misinterpreted) LOVE. Well I do!

The other day, long story short, I heard my husband on the phone with my first real love! I hadn't heard his name or seen him in years (mostly because he was serving a prison sentence ... no joke - I know how to pick 'em). I stood there until Gary hung up the phone and then asked about the name I had just heard. When he verified who he was talking to, and then told me that he was on his way over to our house ... guess what I did and I have way too many witnesses to vouch for this! I ran screaming down the hall!

First of all, let me tell you that this was my boyfriend when I was 15 years old! Let me do the math for you ... 26 years ago! Since him I've actually attained a life ... a good life! YET when I heard that he would be coming over, I turned into a 15 year old girl again.

Let me assure everyone that I am so happy with the man I am spending my life with and I would never EVER want to go back ... so what is it that literally throws us back 26 years at the sound of a name, or a smell ... or a song. Oh those songs!

If you want a good laugh ... and I KNOW you do ... here is the song that tore my heart out 26 years ago - along with the ex-con who shall be known as my first love - but not my last.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Halloween is one of my most favorite days of all time. We get to dress up and pretend that we are the character of our choice. The weather is amazing. Family and friends gather together and hang out eating candy. Does it get any better than that? Well yes, actually it does! Because my husband makes it a full meal deal! Tonight we had a packed driveway and we went through over 200 hot dogs ... I love this holiday!

Our Halloween celebration began early, the first week of October to be exact. During conference, the kids made all kinds of spooky decorations for our front yard and we hung them from trees and placed them in pots.

Then I got to go to a Pumpkin Patch with my Webelos (since I am one fantastic Webelo Leader, even though the sun completely took my face out.)

Pretty soon it was time to carve the ole' pumpkins, which Gary handles beautifully!

And then ... it's time! Time to wheel the grill out onto the driveway. Time to welcome family, friends and lots of strangers over for hot dogs and candy. Time to view the costumes that have transformed a seemingly normal neighborhood into a Fun Freak Fest!

Friday, October 26, 2007


This morning I woke up smiling. At 5:00 a.m., my eyes flew open and I realized that I was still smiling from the event that took place the evening before. Football season is officially over for the JV team, but what happened last night will remain in our minds forever!

Although it's been a rough season, we had one more game to play against Red Mountain. We knew they were good and it was going to be a challenge. But we were up for the challenge, and we played hard.

We were neck and neck the whole game. We got the first touchdown, followed by their first touchdown. It went like this for four quarters, never having more than a seven point spread. So it all came down to the last few minutes and then seconds of the game. Red Mountain was one touchdown ahead, and we were ONE FOOT from making the tie game ... and we fumbled the ball! For a second, the boys were filled with despair and then they rallied together and got the ball back with less than a minute remaining ... Red Mountain still leading. With seconds to go, we did it ... we got the touchdown, and now the choice had to be made. If they went for the extra point, it would be a tie game. BUT if we attempted the two point conversion, AND MADE IT, then we'd win the game. AAAAAaaaaahhhhh! We were not in this game to tie. We went for the two point conversion AND WE GOT IT! We were now one point ahead and Red Mountain had about 30 seconds to do something. They rallied back like they had all night, and with 1.5 seconds in the game, they attempted a field goal ... AND MISSED!

WE BEAT RED MOUNTAIN, which gave us the tie for first place in our region. To say that the crowd went wild would be an understatement. It was the most joy those bleachers have seen in a long time. The boys needed to end this season with something positive, and this was it. Keaton and his team began practicing at the end of the last school year! They work their entire bodies into the ground for over six months. Every single Saturday at 5:00 a.m., practices six days a week, Toro Camp, two-a-days in 110 degree heat, injury after injury ... they keep coming back. Is it worth it?

Toro Camp $300.00
Bandaids $ 5.00
Ridiculous amounts of Gatorade $100.00
Friendships formed and
work ethic achieved Priceless

After the game was over, my little boys ran right over to Keaton and stood by the huddle listening to the High School coaches words and watching big boys cry. When the celebrating on the field was over, Jake walked right into the locker room with the team.

I'm so proud of the example these boys set! In the middle of Toro Camp, when they were resting in the gym, I looked around and saw several boys laying down reading their scriptures. They are a great group of kids and should be very proud of their behavior - on and off the field.

This team consisted of three deaf boys. I don't know why I am so amazed by that. I guess because they can't hear! A few of the boys are the highest ranked academically in their class! Several of them are already Eagle Scouts and many more are working towards that goal.

It's far more than football. Look at these faces ...