Thursday, August 30, 2007

First Game ...

So much fun! What a great time we had tonight watching one heck of a football game. First of all, let me start off by noting that we broke another record today for most consecutive days of over 110 degrees. I think today was our 30th day - and it started off ridiculously hot on those bleachers ... but we wouldn't have missed it.

As you can see, Keaton is #54. He began with a few stretches ...
And then he was one of the four who walked out holding hands for the coin toss. I love that part!
Pretty soon they were playing their hearts out and Keaton started off his first game by recovering a fumble! He had his fair share of awesome tackles (I wish my camera could capture things more closely) and then the unthinkable happened ... it started to pour down rain! It was awesome. We were soaking wet and for a minute I felt like the hard core fans that you see huddled up in their blankets in the middle of a snow storm ... except we had no blankets and it didn't snow.

They won their first game 41 - 0! It was a great way to start the season.
Go Keaton and go Toro's!

First High School Football Game!

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S FINALLY HERE! Today, August 30, 2007 is finally here! Do you understand ... can you at least TRY to comprehend how long I have waited to have an athlete in High School? Matt wasn't into sports at all. Kacey played "Powder Puff" football one year and then they cancelled the program. Dang them. It's SO fun to watch your child showcase their talent. So here it is. Keaton's first High School football game. He has worked hard to get here and now has two starting positions ... both offense and defense! He is left guard (as opposed to the right guard, which is also a well-known deodorant) and middle linebacker. MY SON!

So it's 10:00 a.m., the game starts at 6:00 p.m., and I'm ready to go ... just sitting here waiting. This is so much fun!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


For those of you who haven't read the story below, scroll down and do that first. This is a follow-up! I can't believe what has happened since I blogged my scorpion story last night. I finished up my little story (Melanie, I'm so glad you could get a kick out of that), and I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed. Because of my little incident earlier, I scoped out the toiletal area very well before placing my hiney in another frightening situation. As soon as I sat down ... AGAIN! It was happening AGAIN! All of the sudden I saw the Mother Scorpion sitting in the corner probably plotting against the individual who murdered her baby. This one was huge. Although the smaller ones hurt more, the big ones don't feel great either. In fact, they've sent me to the ER before. AND THEY'RE JUST PLAIN CREEPY!
So the ritual begins again. I am AGAIN in a freaky predicament and now everyone is in bed. There is NO WAY I can kill this thing that I'm sure is ready to make a flying leap onto me. I begin yelling for Gary. GAAAARRYYY! GAAAARRYYYY! It's no use. Not only is the TV on in our room, but his snoring is louder than the TV. He's out! I have to make a decision and I have to act quickly. I hop off the toilet, pulling my pants up as I am doing the leap/run that I do when I'm afraid for my feet to touch the ground and I make it into the bedroom. "GARY IT'S ANOTHER ONE AND I JUST CAN'T DO IT!" My second hero of the evening hops up. "Another scorpion?" "Yes! By my toilet AGAIN!" He grabs his sandals and half asleep makes his way into the problem area. He grabs a shoe in his hand and then realizes that he doesn't have his glasses on and he can't see a thing. I hop off of the tub (where I was safely standing at a higher elevation) and I do the leap/run again into the nightstand to retrieve his glasses. Without missing a beat, he walks in and shows that thing who weighs 220 lbs. heavier ... dead. I thank him repeatedly for saving my life and I am completely freaked out! Twice in one evening = not a good evening!

Then Gary got out the black light (which illuminates a scorpion in the dark) and made sure that we were safe for the time being. I lay in bed trying to calm down and I finally fall asleep.

You won't believe this, but it's too crazy to make up. This morning, I get up, go into the bathroom ... you guessed it ... AGAIN! It was another baby!

This time the sandal was still nearby and I had had it! I screamed to myself as I squished that thing. So what in the heck is going on? Obviously the mother load left her posterity in my bathroom before she was murdered. I'm completely weirded out by the whole thing and it makes me want to never use the bathroom again! HOWEVER! We all prayed this morning for continued protection and to PLEASE let us see them before they see us. Three times I've been barefoot and sitting right next to a filthy family of scorpions and three times I've escaped a sting. I call it a miracle.

Melanie, no it's not just a house thing. Some people have them and some people don't. I'm just lucky!

Monday, August 27, 2007

The ONLY thing ...

I've lived in Arizona my whole life and I can honestly say that I think it's the greatest place on earth ... or at least in the country ... or at least in the West. I truly love it. There is, however, one thing that comes with this territory that has given me more than one story to write about.

First of all, I am going to get a tad bit personal. I was in the bathroom this evening, doing what everybody in the world does - but we don't talk about it. So I was just sitting there minding my own business. La la la, still minding my own business, la la la. Sometimes, when it seems that I'm going to be "minding my own business" for awhile, I enjoy multi-tasking. So I have this handy dandy Sudoku book that I use to exercise my brain and pass the time with that just sits on the floor by my feet next to my handy dandy toilet. Tonight was one of those times, la la la, minding my own business, working some Sudoku. You get the picture, I've been sitting there "minding my own business" now for a few minutes. THEN I SAW IT.
Yep. Nothing says Arizona like a scorpion. For those of you not from these parts, the smaller the scorpion, the more potent their poison; i.e. pain. This scorpion was smaller than my pinky nail! It was a baby. Do you understand how bad this thing could hurt!

Now remember, I'm in a bit of a predicament. The first rule of scorpions is that you NEVER let it out of your sight. If you take your eye off of it, you lose it. Now you might be wondering why I just didn't step on it. Well I don't ever wear shoes unless I'm going to church! So here I am, "minding my own business", no shoes on, and for the most part ... no pants either! I've been stung enough times to have a very healthy fear of these satanic pieces of evil, and I've also got a healthy set of lungs. So I start screaming for Gary, who by now knows my scorpion scream immediately. Well apparently, so do my kids. Gary is outside, Garrison however knows that there is a scorpion to be conquered. He comes running around the corner in the first pair of shoes he could grab ... Gary's size 11 sandals.

Without giving my situation a second thought he ran right to where my eyes were gazing and stepped, stomped, twirled and twisted the poison right out of that sucker. Garrison was my hero and he knew it. He kept Daddy's big shoes on for protection and in case of any further need as he walked confidently into the sunset.

So that's it, the ONLY thing I hate about Arizona. My Mom told me one time that she prayed to see the scorpions before they saw her and I've carried that tradition on and passed it to my kids. We do pray for this, and more often than not, it's a happy ending. Is it worth living in Arizona for? Ya.

Friday, August 24, 2007


I'd like to say that I can't believe it's already been a year ... but I can believe it. It goes by so fast when it's not your own child. Matt has officially been gone for one year now preaching the Gospel over in Florida. As we pray that the hurricanes will steer clear of him, he is hoping that he'll get to experience one. He will be baptizing a Hindu woman on September 2nd. This woman started out not even believing in Christ and now has a very strong testimony that she knows is true. Matt has been working hard and as you can see from these pictures, he is making it fun too. We love you, miss you and are very proud of you Elder Shaker!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Football Schedule!

Melanie, thank you for asking and here you go ...





Aug. 30



6:00 p.m.

Sep. 5



5:00 p.m.

Sep. 15




Sep. 19

Mtn Pointe


6:00 p.m.

Sep. 27



7:00 p.m.

Oct. 4



7:00 p.m.

Oct. 11



6:00 p.m.

Oct. 18



6:00 p.m.

Oct. 25

Red. Mtn.


6:00 p.m.

Go Keaton!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lots of firsts -

This month has been full of lots of firsts. Last week was Jake's first day in the 6th grade and Garrison's first day in the 5th grade.

We are lucky enough to have the bus stop right in front of our house with lots of little friends to enjoy the long (two mile) journey towards an education.

And they're off ...

It's also Keaton's first year in High School! He is a big sophomore now and playing J.V. football for his first time. He has been VERY hungry lately, so he eats a large helping of toasted scrambled egg sandwich with ketchup every morning.

And last (but she'll be the first one to tell you ... certainly NOT least), today was Kacey's first day of college ... officially anyway.

She took English 101 and 102 last year during her senior year so that's done. Then last week she went and took a test for her Spanish to see if she could test out of any of her college Spanish ... indeed she could! She passed off her entire first year! She got handed eight credits in Spanish without even stepping a foot onto a college campus. So she's into her second year of English and second year of Spanish before she even starts. She is pretty great.

All of these firsts make me think back to all of the firsts that I've completed and I have to say that they're doing it much better than I did. YES!

Friday, August 17, 2007

High School Musical 2 ... finally!

Please tell me that I'm not the only mature adult who just oooohed and aaaaahed over High School Musical 2! I loved the first one, but I just kept waiting for them to kiss ... finally! Keaton and I used to watch High School Musical every night before we went to bed. Matt had all the lyrics memorized and Kacey could recite the entire movie. We LOVE High School Musical!

There were parties going on all over town tonight to welcome in the next phase of this piece of entertainment. Keaton was at his friend Jacom's house, we were all hanging here and Garrison even got invited to a H.S.M. party at the Soelberg's.

If you read my blog in the older posts where I got tagged, you'll remember that another one of my favorite movies was/is Dirty Dancing. I couldn't help but notice the similarities of the two shows. Summertime, friends working at the rich Country Club, music, dancing, singing ... right down to the starlet walking down the aisle to get up on stage for the big musical finale with her fantastically cute boyfriend. Troy Bolton and Johnny Castle are equally as gifted as fine ... actors!

I love a good movie. For a couple of hours, a great flick can take you away and help you totally forget your own little reality. I would LOVE to hear from other H.S.M. fans, but even if you haven't quite grasped the true beauty of this movie, please share your favorites with me!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Raw Meat!

This is my nephew Mason holding up a huge slab of raw meat - London Broil to be exact. Gary has been one of THE best jerky makers for many years throughout the land and recently he offered to make it for my brothers if they just bought their own meat. So Danny and Timmy both came by last week with about fifteen pounds a piece! Timmy lucked out and brought his by when Gary was gone, but Danny showed up just in time to learn the tricks of the trade and to share it with his boys.

The first thing you have to do, is put on matching plumbing shirts (they're used to getting lots of nasty spills on them already). Now we're going to season this raw meat, lay it on a rack to dehydrate it ... and then eat it?

Now I've been a jerky eater pert near my whole life (yes, I just said pert near as if to sound like the wise old woman from over the hill that eats a lot of jerky). I've actually paid good money for decent jerky. But now that I've seen it made, it leaves me wondering yet again. Not only have I been a jerky eater pert near my whole life, but I've also always ordered my meat well done. So, I'm wondering ... at what point does jerky even get done at all? We're eating meat that has just been dried? I know the dehydrator puts out a little heat, but I also know it doesn't sizzle. Why do I do this? Why do I watch how things are made and then inevitably have to mark one more thing off of my list of items I will eat? Who thought of this crazy thing called jerky and why is it called jerky? There are lots of things I don't know, but it seems that when I find them out, it leaves me wishing I hadn't asked in the first place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Trip up North

I realize that these pictures are not going to do justice, but they're all I've got. Last weekend, Gary and I were invited to go stay with our friends (the Standages) at their condo in Pinetop. We were gone for just a little over 24 hours, and it rejuvenated me like I'd been gone all week. It was so nice to get away and the weather was soooooooo much better!

At the time that this picture was taken, we were sitting outside under a canopy at a restaurant in Greer, AZ and it was raining all around us! It was 70 degrees and I was actually chilly. Words cannot describe how nice it was, so just use your imaginations.

This picture isn't great of us, but believe me when I say ... we were smiling. A big thank you to Kacey for growing up to be such a dependable and responsible young lady that we can now leave her in charge of my most valuable possessions and know that she's got it handled. Life is good.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Deep Scramble

Jake & Garrison were having a cook-off last week, each of them competing for the title of best scrambled eggs. As they cooked away, each in their own pan, keeping their methods top secret and hidden from each other, I heard Garrison share one of his techniques with Jake ... "You see Jake, I don't FORCE my eggs to chop - I ASK them". There's something deep in there!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Our Season -

For as long as I can remember, the Monsoon Season has been THE best season in the Valley of the Sun. Around this time of the year, we hit about 50% humidity and due to combinations of which I'm not very educated about ... we get rain! With any luck, we get great rain along with lightning, thunder, high winds and a lot of it. It seems to come through and clean the entire state. Everything smells so amazing and our favorite thing to do is hop in the car and drive around in the rain looking at tree branches that couldn't take the wind. Well the Monsoon is here! We got some awesome rain this week, and Kacey, Jake & Garrison didn't waste anytime indoors.

This is our backyard! The rain gave us a whole layer of water on top of our lawn. Everyone's grass looks so nice and green right now ... and we get to turn our sprinklers off!

A little bit of splashing and a whole lot of fun is what the Monsoons are all about. This is really my favorite season of the whole year. I would love to hear what everybody's favorite seasons are, but most of all I hope that whatever that season may be, you make the most of it before it passes.

Friday, August 3, 2007

I’ve been tagged – and I’m actually excited! Woo hoo!

Four jobs I’ve had ~

  • Secretary at the City of Mesa
  • Manager of Kara Chocolate store … alas it was too good to be true.
  • Balloon Lady at Highland Elementary Schoolpro bono of course.
  • Co-Owner of Shaker Fruit of My Loins

Four movies I can watch over and over again ~

  • Return to Me
  • A Knight’s Tale (anything Heath Ledger- pre Broke Back Mountain)
  • Dirty Dancing (I know. I’m laughing at myself.)
  • High School Musical (Again. Laughing at myself.)

Four favorite TV shows ~

  • Survivor
  • So You Think You Can Dance (because I can’t)
  • Top Chef (because I’m not)
  • Everybody Loves Raymond

Four favorite hobbies ~

  • Kayaking
  • Rappelling
  • Watching football
  • Dating Gary

Four places I have lived ~

  • Mesa
  • Mesa
  • A brief mistake in Texas
  • Aaaaahhh … Mesa

Four places I have been on vacation ~

  • Hawaii – kayaking down a river in Kauaii (I still can’t believe it).
  • Las Vegas – just me, Gary and Barry!
  • San Francisco – me and Gary on a trolley!
  • Virginia – standing proud at Kristi’s graduation

Four favorite dishes/food ~

  • Steak at Ah So – because they cut it up in perfect little bite sized pieces and it comes with so much more than that!
  • Mattas or pretty much any Mexican food
  • Grandma’s fudge
  • Mooney’s won tons … ok my mouth just watered!

Four websites I visit daily ~

  • Friends and family blogs
  • My bank account – just in case someone accidentally makes a deposit.
  • Google Earth – to pretend I can see Matt tracting.
  • – to escape reality.

Four places I’d rather be right now ~

  • Back on the beach
  • Watching Keaton sac a quarterback
  • Visiting with Matt
  • On a date with Gary
  • OR Visiting with Matt and Gary while we watch Keaton play football on the beach!

Four people I am tagging! This was so fun!

  • I’m going to stop the fun here. Everyone I know has either already been tagged (hence MY excitedness to be tagged) or they will completely ignore my tag, which will in turn give me a complex that I’ve just recently gotten rid of. Farewell, and thanks Melissa!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Gus Robert McKinnon

Gus Robert McKinnon
6-22-07 - 8-1-07

Our family is devastated as we mourn the loss of our little Gus.
As we know God's plan is a great one,
we now realize how great Gus was too.
Robby & Melanie - you are wonderful parents now and forever.

Hmmmm -

This sign is posted in Overgaard, AZ at a Baptist Church near my parent's home. Each time I drive past it, one of my eyebrows rises higher than the other and I begin to wonder. It's a very complicated sign if we analyze it. First of all, obviously this spot (which is not very close to the church entrance) is a highly coveted spot. Members of this congregation must arrive pretty early in the morning to try to claim temporary ownership. But who is really eligible for such an honor. Obviously it is for handicapped parking. It's good that they offer ONE of these. However, the handicapped person would have to move rather quickly to beat out the Single Parent With Children. This title kept me wondering the longest. Wouldn't a single parent without children just be ... single? And what if you are a handicap or a single parent with children, but you are also visiting? Could this be the best possible situation offering you two options of parking OR are you only allowed to park in the visitor area if you are visiting? One of these days, I'd like to park in this grand spot without any of my children and sprint around my car just to see what happens.