Saturday, December 22, 2007

Thankgoodness for updates....

So... we're bad at keeping up with this sometimes- but things around here have just been really busy!!! To give a bit of an update....

-Right after Thanksgiving (I know that turkey looked funny... but it saved me time!) I had my company party. It was held at the Grand America hotel in Salt Lake. If you've never been there- even to just walk around... it was very fancy. Jon picked me up from work and we headed over for "social hour"... it would've been more of a social hour if the people that I usually work with weren't still working. It was fun though. We ran into a few people I knew when dinner was about to be served. We were pretty much stalked by some waitresses and they pulled our chairs out for us and put napkins on our laps... I just hope that we didn't have to tip ;-) The food was delicious and we sat with a lot of my friends from work. After the food they were giving out prizes. We didn't win anything.. but it was free! We left as the dancing started.. people were getting pretty drunk. That was our cue to go home.

-The week after the party Jon had INTEX for school. For those of you who don't know- it's a week long project that is given Monday morning and is due by Friday afternoon of that week and a big presentation is done on Saturday. Every day the group he works with got together and worked from about 8am-11pm or later. We would always get together for dinner- all the wives would come over and spend time together and cook and then we'd either stay or leave depending on the time. They got the job done and they did a very good job (considering they had no idea what they had to do until Monday morning). They ended up getting a 92 on it! Not to mention PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) reps were there to watch all the presentations. They gave a lot of good remarks about the group's presentation.

-This week was Jon's finals and he did really well :-) Hurray!

For me, work has been.. well.. work. Nothing too exciting. I did win $250 from selling Showtime (a premium movie channel). That was pretty exciting. I just help people understand their billing and help them fix their equipment over the phone and I sell as much as I can. I can't tell you how much weight I've gained from working there. My eating habits haven't changed and I don't eat a lot of junk- I just sit all day and when I come home I'm just so exhausted. I don't walk to school anymore or walk around campus all day.. and my running habits have well.. let's just say I don't have a running habit anymore. :-S

For this reason, my sister and I are working on both losing weight to stay healthy. Wish us luck! She started a little earlier than me and she has done a great job thus far. Congrats, Shannon! Jon has set up a plan where when I hit "milestones" we get to celebrate in some way. Like for example, one of them is that I get a cookbook called "Deceptively Delicious". Not sure if you've looked at it- but it gives you tips on how to cook healthier. I know it sounds lame, but I have wanted to get it for a while.

Anyways, we hope that your holidays are safe and that you enjoy it. We miss you all and wish we could be celebrating with our families.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thanksgiving Happenins

Crystal's big break from work was given to her for Thanksgiving, not Christmas, so we decided to make to most of it that we could. We were unable to travel anywhere so we planned on enjoying our first thanksgiving as a family here (married family that is).

Before Thanksgiving itself a fellow family here in the ward took pity on our loneliness and invited us over to their house for thanksgiving dinner. One big thing we noticed is that it finally made it feel like the holiday when we went over there. They had 5 extended family over and 3 babies so it was quite the full house (they also live here in Villa Rose). Before we went over it was just Crystal and I. We slept in. We watched the parades. We lounged like on any holiday. Unfortunately it kinda felt like any old Saturday until suddenly we were at a full house of people, babies screaming, people going everywhere, and great smells abounding. We brought a pumpkin pie to add to the mix.

It was fantastic and helped make the holiday absolutely great. The one downside to the whole thing was that Crystal and I already bought all our foods to make our own little 2-person Thanksgiving before we were invited anywhere. We offered to bring any other foods to the dinner but they said to only bring a pie. That left a lot of food still at our house. So the day after Thanksgiving we decided to have our own Thanksgiving dinner on the 23rd. That's right, two Thanksgiving Dinners in two days...and then 2 weeks of turkey sandwitches for lunch. That's a lot of turkey.

The cool part about our turkey is that when we were shopping, we looked and each other and thought "Call it a hunch, but we don't need a 20 pound turkey for us". So we found these mini-sized turkeys where they remove some stuff and cut the turkey in half so that it's not as intense. Anywho, here it is in all it's glory:

And after Crystal gave it a good cookin'

Add some more fixins

And put it all together with eggnog - YUM!

After Thanksgiving we were then able to put up and decorate our Christmas tree. First we went and bought a few really cheap ornaments and here's Crystal bending paperclips for hooks

While she was working on that I was putting up lights

And here's the final product: Criddle Family Tree 2007

And last but not least, Merry Christmas from the Criddles!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Arkansas, here we come!!

Here is a good news update.

This week, Jon was offered an internship with Corporate Wal-Mart!!! He has until Feb. 4th to accept. I realize that this doesn't sound glamorous.. but living in Arkansas is a lot cheaper than living in say, California. Plus- we would get 10% off of everything. It's not Jon's first choice- but he at least has an offer and if other offers come- we'll have to make some decisions. I think Zak could give you better information about living there but... here are some pros about going to AR for the summer-

Pros about living in Arkansas:
*we would be in the NW corner
*we'd have a view of the Ozarks
*we'd be a lot closer to Houston and could visit at least once
*If offered a full time job (and if Jon took it) our kids would be guaranteed to be born with healthy accents and gaps in their front teeth.. okay, so that's not a pro.. but we think it's funny.
*Like I said above we'd be getting 10% off life :-) (c'mon, WalMart sells everything from toenail clippers to tv's.)
*High LDS population
*A mostly paid for furnished apt for the summer and traveling compensation.
*Jon would get to enhance his computer programming skills along with his accounting skills.
*It's paid!


*We hear there is such a place called Toadsuck, Arkansas... no really.
*It's WalMart... it's not that prestigious in the business world. (Jon is really sheepish about it... but he will admit that he is excited that he got accepted)

Other places he's looking to apply to: Walt Disney Company for an IT Audit internship (bring on the mouse ears), USAA (an insurance company located in TX), KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young... to name a few.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

Last night we decided to carve pumpkins! It was snowing and we didn't feel like getting soaked in a corn maze. It was a lot of fun and I'm sure the pictures will show that :-) Oh yes- Jon did the pirate ship and I did the monster.

We decided it was time for aprons...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Comcast is now Big Brother....

I hope this story gives everyone a laugh.

I had a gentleman on the phone the other night at work and he was having problems getting his cable box working. He had a thick Asian accent and I could barely understand him- which can make things a little difficult when giving directions.

I started to ask him all the standard questions of "Is your box on?", "Have you checked all of your connections?" etc.... I sent a few signals to his box and still, nothing worked. I then asked him for a second time what he was seeing on his tv screen. This was his response:

"The tv is cloudy. I can't see anything. Wait! I can see myself!! What did you do!!??? Are you recording me!!???"

It then dawned on me that I would really have to ask him if his tv was actually on... something you shouldn't ever need to ask. I asked him to press the power button on his tv. As he did so I could hear the volume come on in the background and he was all excited and then said to me,

"I'm gone! What did you do? Did you stop recording me?"

I had to break it to him that he was seeing his reflection and that his tv just needed to be turned on and that we aren't recording him- the red light on his box is just the power light not a camera.

Things like this aren't always often at Comcast, but you do get a few a week that you really have to scratch your head and wonder. hehe.....

Anyways, nothing really new. We're looking forward to seeing Beth, Zak and Jak tomorrow or Sunday. We've been thinking about going to a corn maze but it may snow again and that would squash that plan. So, we're just going to post pone that one and probably carve a pumpkin this weekend!

Sunday, October 7, 2007

99.9% of all techincal problems are UE's

Since our last blog- our schedule has changed- hurray! Instead of waking up at 4am we now get up around 6:45am- much better. I work from 1pm-10pm. This company doesn't believe in a half hour lunch... Oh well. However, in the last 3 1/2 months I have realized that the only thing that is constant at my job is change. For example, my schedule is about to change again at the end of this month. I will have an 8:30am-5:30pm schedule (not bad at all!!) however, they told me not to get too comfortable with that schedule... or my desk. That's the part that makes my job less "robotic".

You have to know- I was told that I was going to be in sales, but I seemed to have found myself in billing and technical support. I can get my way around on computers alright- but when it comes to plugging cables into tv's and adding different equipment other than a dvd/vcr player- forget it. Our Bishop said it best when he said "It's like they have to get a urim and thummin when you're asking them how to work all the technical stuff." Hey, if any one knows where I can get one- that would be greatly appreciated. hehe... In training they gave us a 2hr crash course on all the equipment- but during those 2 hours, the trainers were only there for 15 minutes- they had an "emergency"- so I feel completely inadequate. If only I could I could fit Jon in my purse so he could help me...

On a funny note- I did get a call on Friday night that made me laugh all the way home. A gentleman was transfered to me from internet support- they told me he was having problems with his DVR (kind've like tivo). I told her to transfer him and I started to talk with him and I pulled up his account and was looking at all of his services while asking what things he was having problems with. As he was talking I was looking all over his account and I didn't see that he had a DVR at all. Not wanting this gentleman to feel sheepish- I struggled to tell him that he didn't have one and that the box he had was a regular receiver and the only special feature about it was that it was HD compatible. After I did so, he went completely silent. I was afraid that it was the calm before the storm (as what usually happens). However, after a bit of venting from his side he agreed with me after looking at his bill and hung up the phone with an immense amount of bitterness in his voice.

Sorry if this is a bit long- but I do want to give an update on what Jon has been up to. This past week we were invited to a "pre-interview" dinner reception at a five-star restaurant. The food was amazing. There was a lot of sea food- I mean, it is rare to get good sea food in Utah compared to living on the coast (that's why it's rated 5-stars!). Jon and I didn't recognize most of it- seeing as it was decorated to be deceiving. For example, there was "bread" that ended up being made entirely of cheese- Jon was excited about that one. Don't ask me what I ate for desert. All I know is that it had apples and cinnamon in it.

The next day, Jon had his interview with UHY Advisors- and accounting and consulting firm. They are based out of Houston and they also have offices all around the country including New York, Chicago, and Boston. Jon wants me to add that they are currently the 11th largest accounting firm in the nation. This interview was for a summer internship doing digital forensics and litigation and we hope to hear back from them by the end of this week. Jon is really excited and really hopes to get it, however, we'll have more opportunities to see what is available during winter semester- he's just getting a head start.

Other than that, Jon stays really busy with his school work (individual and group work). His group members are great guys and they get along really well. It's lucky to find a group that actually work together well.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Day in the Life of these Criddles

Sorry for the lack of postings, but now that school has started, things have gotten intense for our little family. Here's our usual schedule:

4:30 a.m. - BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP (you get the picture)
5 a.m. - Crystal leaves for work, Jonathan does his readings and works on homework not finished the night before
7:30 a.m. - Jon leaves for school
9:45 a.m. - Crystal has lunch break (no really, 9:45 - makes a late dinner real rough!)
12 p.m. - Jon comes homes from school and a group meeting with just enough time to change clothes and eat
12:40 p.m. - Jon goes to work
3:30 p.m. - Crystal gets home from work, collapses
5 p.m. - Jon gets home from work, revives wife
5:30 p.m. - Dinner (begin and end) and more school readings and homework for Jon and cleaning up after Jon for Crystal
7:30 p.m. - brush teeth and get in bed by 8pm
9 p.m. - hopefully asleep, but considering the sun is still shining through our bedroom window and we can still hear children playing right outside it, we're probably laying in bed, eyes wide open, definitely NOT sleeping

Welcome to our lives. Heaven forbid I want to take a shower or any other hygienic or enjoyable activity during the day. That's what Saturdays are for I guess. Hey, in England they only shower once a week, right?

Starting Monday, our schedule will again change...oh...dramatically. Crystal is supposed to change to the evening shift at her job that was originally to happen 1 month ago. This means, that within the period of 2 days, we need to completely change her sleep pattern so that she is able to stay wide awake until after 10pm so that she can drive home safely from Sandy. With the current schedule, Crystal is a zombie by 830.

Bon Voyage.

Anywho, we don't want to come across like we are complaining at all, I hope I did not write it that way. We just wanted to show off to the family how great our schedules are right now. Hopefully we will be able to start posting with a little more frequency especially because I have so much I need to spread among the family about my new life as an Isys-pawn. Until next time!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

"L is for the way you look at me..."

So... I decided to go crafty. I'm not very good at it- but i try. While Jon was playing a computer game with his buddy, Nate- I decided to have something to keep myself occupied :-) here is my masterpiece- enjoy!

It's supposed to be straight... oh well- it looks alright.
Jon says that he likes the "artistic crookedness".

Sunday, August 12, 2007


I am proud to say that I have completed 4/7weeks of training. In that time, 4 people have been "let go" from my group (kind've sad if you ask me...) and I have learned quite a bit about the company as a whole. I have also started to learn Comcast's computer system. It can be a bit confusing if you're not used to all the "codes", but it gets easier after a little while.

This week they got us on the phones. We hadn't had very much experience with the billing program or with the different sales or prices they have to offer at the moment, so we just had to put people on hold a lot and feel really sheepish about it. It was a good learning experience though. The only thing that stinks about putting people on hold is that the company times how long they're on hold and you could potentially lose any commissions you've made- bummer. I made a few sales and I'm starting to feel really good about answering questions about products and how to troubleshoot different things. At least my degree taught me how to "relate" to others better ;-).

The other thing that happened this week was that we finally got our schedules. All the schedules they had to offer weren't the prettiest, but we are at the bottom end after all. From all my test scores I am number one in the class and therefore- I got to pick from the schedules first. I will be working from 1pm-10pm MTWThF (first wk) then MTWTh-Sat. I at least get Sundays off! I'm just glad that I have a work schedule that'll match Jon's.

One more thing that i'll quickly mention is that- Comcast had a private company party at Boondocks yesterday. For those of you who aren't familliar with it- It's a mini golf place with go-karts, bumper boats, a climbing wall, arcade, batting cages...etc. The entire thing was free from 8am-7pm it included food, drinks and unlimited use of everything. Jon and I had a really good time! We showed up at around 1pm (after helping our friends move) and stayed for quite a while. It was worth it.

It may not be a glorious job- but, for all the free stuff they give out- it's worth it.

ps: our apt complex is ridiculous: comcast can't install cable or internet here... humph.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

American Idol Pt. 1

Another Summer hopeful has been achieved. On Tuesday night (7/31/07) , much to Leanna's jealousy, we attended the American Idols Live tour.

It. Was. Awesome.

We were very excited, and when we got there, the excitement did not ebb. Here's my excitement.

Yes, that's's the Oscar Mayer Weinermobile! Look at me beside myself with excitement. They were filming for future commercials where you sing into the camera and they record you to possibly be on TV later. There was a huge line though so I didn't want to wait for it. Plus the only incentive for singing is they enter you in some drawing. Not even a free hot dog.

We had pretty much the only setback at the very beginning when we got there. As you can tell from the weinermobile picture, we brought our camera. The only problem was that there was a big sign on the entry door saying no cameras allowed. Hanging my head, I returned to the car and safely stashed our sony. So unfortunately the pictures end here. Sorry.

After that everything was awesome. Once you get inside there was a ton more activities. Aside from the classic buy-our-stuff booths, they also had a few karaoke places and even one dancing place. Unfortunately again, though, long lines changed our minds from participating.

Being poor collegeish aged students, we did not purchase the close up expensive seats. We purchased the cheapest triple deck nosebleed money (or a lack thereof) could buy. Portal DDD or something like that. We went up to find our seats and at the top of the escalator we took there was a Delta Center employee to direct us. She saw that we were only two and asked if that was it. We said yes and she proceeded to ask us if we wanted closer seats. Of course! We love free stuff. The catch was we had to give her our tickets and she gave us new ones. The new ones put us on the side of the stage (it had wings that went out to each side that the singers would walk out on to sing) about 10 feet away. Way sweet. We were to perfect spot to get a great view of everything.

To begin, though, our great view was a little too much. The show was scheduled to start in about a half an hour when the crew members who do spotlights etc were climbing the rope ladders to get up to the crow's nest places. There was one who looked like Santa Claus and he was having a really hard time climbing up. He had a harness to protect him but his progress was still very slow. He got close to the top but really began to struggle. Then to everyone's horror he slipped and plummeted down. The entire audience gasped/screamed. He did a complete flip and fell half the distance before the harness caught him and seemingly gave him a bad case of whiplash. Atleast he was safe, though. The entire experience, understandingly enough, really shook him though as he clung to the ladder and would not move. Another guy without a harness climbed up to help and they had to end up lowering the crow's nest (it was suspended from the ceiling) to help him feel safe enough to get down. It actually even delayed the concert by about 30-45 minutes. We're just glad he was safe.

Then the concert started. Two security guards were standing (one on each wing) as the announcer says "we proudly present your american idols". I leaned over to Crystal as commented that I liked the hair of the one closest to us because it just looked out of place on his body. Then after the announcer said that, the security guards started walking towards the middle. That's why I realized it and leaned over and said the "goateed funny looking one is Blake". The audience was confused until suddenly Blake took off his hat, wig, costume, and goatee and they realized who it was and roared in cheering. Blake has a lot of family in Utah and apparently there were roughly 80 or so in the audience. We knew the section because we kept seeing his dad walking around everywhere.

Then the concert started. Here's what I thought:
  • Leanna won't like hearing this but...All of the Idols, INCLUDING Sanjaya, are way better in person than they are on TV. Yes, even Sanjaya was a really strong singer.
  • "You give love a bad name" by Blake is freaking awesome live and the crowd went nuts: Hands down best performance by a long shot
  • The best preformance of the night

To be continued.......

Sunday, July 29, 2007

My eight :-)

So, a little while ago, Beth "tagged" us and we've been slow to the taking. So, here it is :-) First, the rules of course- incase any of you lucky blog friends out there get picked... that means all of you because we don't have many blog friends.

Here are the rules:

A. Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves.

B. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed.

C. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. When I hiccup it is so severely violent that my whole body shakes. I only hiccup once- it's enough to scare the rest away... but when I have multiple... look out!

2. My nickname when I was growing up was, Little Crittle (think new last name).

3. Since my foot surgery last summer, I can make the "west-side" symbol with my toes.

4. If I could eat popsicles all day, I would. My favorite are the Fruit Bars with no sugar added.

5. I desperately need a step stool to carry around with me all day. At work, they gave me a little "locker" that is higher than I can reach on my tip-toes. That's the real reason I bring all my papers home.

6. I sing my heart out on the way to work. It is a 45min commute at 5am after all.

7. Wearing shoes around the house is a crime, not because I fear the carpet getting dirty, it's just because it's my way of saying I'm not at work anymore. If i don't take my shoes off, something is wrong.

8. One of the shows on TV that I really like to watch is, Take Home Chef- of which i'm kind've embarassed.

Well, there you have it. Here are the people we are tagging (Jon will do his eight soon)

Jeff and Venessa



Saturday, July 28, 2007

Great Advancements in Science

I seems that science has finally paid off for me. That's right, all the general advancements of the 20th (and now 21st!) centuries have all come together to create the ultimate in modern luxuries:

Personal Ice Cream!

That's right. I had heard about this place in Orem called Subzero Creamery that makes personal ice cream upon order. Now you might think, "Oh, but there are many places where you can order your own personal ice cream"

Not like this my friends and family. Not only do you just pick your flavor and mix-ins, but the ice cream is actually fresh. He mixes the liquid cream and then the flavors and mix-ins, and then the ice-cream maker walks over to a huge vat of liquid nitrogen and proceeds to flash freeze the crap out of your order. Within seconds and a huge cloud of....steam?...nitrogen smoke?...evaporation?...(whatever it is, I'm no chemist), your soupy mixture becomes fresh, completely frozen ice cream. It was delicious and super cheap for specialty ice cream.

The best part was that we had a coupon for two for the price of one. Add on to that where everything is 50 cents cheaper if you go before 9pm so it was about a quarter of the price of going to coldstone. Go us!

Also I have finished Harry Potter 7 and thought it was a great book. The ending was fantastic. Crystal hasn't finished it yet so I won't say much more, but I will say Jeff and I were similar in our thoughts beforehand.

That's a quick update from us. I hope everything is well, and Crystal will post about work soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What a week so far....

There isn't much to say about my new job. I just sit in one class room from 6am to 2pm with a lunch break from 11-12pm. All we've been really focusing on are qualities we should have to work in the role that we were hired for. For example, today we had to make posters about 5 different qualities... my group got the "problem solver". The tasks are tedious and I feel they could go more smoothly if we stayed on task. I am enjoying it though- it's fun. I just wish that there was more of a schedule that we went by. Oh well, it's alright.

One really good thing that I discovered this week is that my job is down the street from the Jordan River Temple. I never saw it until I got to work when it was really dark out and it just stuck out like a sore thumb. I got really excited and went exploring my first day when they gave us over an hour lunch break.

So, for the next 6 1/2 weeks I will be going to sleep at around 8:45-9pm and getting up at 4:00am and leaving the house at 5am and getting home at 2:40-3pm depending on traffic. It has been pretty busy and I am exhausted already! Heh, and all I do is sit all day... I'm starting to feel pathetic. ;-) Like Jon always says... "Go benefits!"

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Monday, July 16, 2007

Oh! So it's Chicago that is the windy city!

We spent the entire last weekend with our ward.

On Thursday I took off early from work and Crystal and I went to the temple for our ward temple night for the month. There's not too much more to say about that. It was great but rather crazy. You see, the following temples are all currently closed for repair and cleaning for the rest of the month: Salt Lake, Jordan River, and Provo. That means we all funneled into the Mount Timpanogos Temple. Knowing this, we planned ahead and left way early. Crystal and I got into the chapel a little over an hour before our intended session and we nearly did not get in when we planned.

The Friday and Saturday of the weekend we were on a ward campout. We had planned to go to Black Hawk campground (I don't know if I spelled that right), but apparently a recent string of vicious bear attacks there greatly worried our bishop and his wife. Two days before the campout we received phone calls saying that the location of the campout was being moved to Woodland Hills (small city on the mountain). Apparently our bishop has his house on the mountain and owns a good portion of land that we could camp on. Turns out the Bishop's intuition (inspiration?) was correct because a bear was sighted wandering around Black Hawk on Thursday so the campground was closed for the weekend anyways.

True to form we showed up early and we, along with the 3 or 4 other on-time/early couples, fought for one of the few spots of flat ground to pitch our tent on(we were on a mountain after all). Don't worry, we were not greedy or pushy. Everyone single early/on-time couple had the perfect spot they wanted. The late stragglers though had to find open ground in the woods around the bishop's house. We had a great night and turned in ready for blissful slumber.

That was when we experienced what it must be like in Chicago for it to be dubbed the windy city. At roughly 1 in the morning we were startled awake by a shaking tent. The wind was ripping through the trees and pushing our tent to and fro. We were well-staked and stayed put, but that didn't stop the wind from causing our rain fly to flap on the sides, making slapping noises, and the sides of our tent to bulge in from the gale.

The interesting part was how with the wind roaring and us just laying in our tent how alone you felt. We couldn't hear any other couples and initially wondered if they all fled into the house for shelter from the rainless tempest. I got up and went outside to check the stakes and rain fly just in case and saw a completely different world. We were definitely not alone. At the time that I went outside to check on my tent, almost every husband of every tent that I could see was also doing the same thing, so we were definitely not alone in our suffering.

Luckily, we survived the night. In fact, our little on-sale-$20 tent performed absolutely perfectly in the maelstrom. We stayed perfectly staked in the ground and not a single latch or hook on our tent came undone throughout the hurricane. Way to go Criddles!

There was one couple who had about a 12 person tent (they said they never wanted to buy another tent after having a family), but their shelter was so huge that it acted like a sail in the wind and they were picked up by gusts and slid all over the side of the mountain, stakes and all. They only moved 5-10 feet, but when you're in a huge tent that is sliding around I'm sure it seems like more.

All in all we had a great time camping, though we may rethink camping on a mountain in the near future.

One last note, we were by far the fastest couple in pitching our tent because of the practice we had a couple nights before. Most of the other couples were reading directions as they went on confused and others just skipped the directions and experimented on their own. Let's hear it for preplanning.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Living Room Campout

Here is our living room right now:

We are going on a ward campout this weekend and needed a tent. We've been watching tent prices at big 5 (my favorite sporting goods store EVER!!!) and got this beauty on Tuesday. It is a 3 person tent, 7 X 7 feet, and Crystal can almost stand up straight inside. We got it on sale for a whopping $19.99 (reg $50).

Now we didn't want to use it for the first time at the campout and look like fools as we take it out of the original package:
"Okay now take the smaller pole out and insert end 'B' into the slot on side...uh...'R'...or something...the picture of this part kinda looks like a duck, is that supposed to be our tent?!!?"
"What small pole? There's only one pole. How can there BE a smaller pole if there's only one pole?!?!"
"Uhh...lemme study these directions more closely."
It didn't go like that at all, but we just didn't want to risk it. So we decided to set it up in our living room to make sure we could do it just fine. It went perfectly without a hitch. We're just expert...uhh...tent pitchers.

With rain cover:

Without rain cover:

After setting up our little tent we realized that you simply cannot set up a tent and not use it. Thus began our plan for our living room campout. The tent was conviently open towards the television (roughing it!) and we got our sleeping bags and pillows and settled in for the night. We had a great time and are really excited for our upcoming campout. Especially because the grass will be far softer than our carpet. Our bony backs need a vacation now.

Color Me Mine

Last week for date night, we decided to go to Color Me Mine. For those of you who don't know, it's a shop/studio where you can pick out already made pottery items from cups to frogs. You then pick out your paint and go to town. When you're done, you leave your items there for about 4 days and they are cooked... I know the word for the process, but I can't think of it at the moment- I'm sure you all know what I'm talking about. It's a family business and they have different music artists come every Friday night to perform. You can reserve a table and you pay a "studio fee" + the cost of your item. Saturdays is a 2 for 1 studio fee + the items.

Anyways, we went on Friday and the owner gave us the Saturday cost- which was very nice of him. These are our creations. :-)

This is my bowl.. I know, a real masterpiece!
It's cute, I promise.

This is Jon's plate. His colors didn't turn out how he thought
they would be, but the design is cool.

This was a really fun date and when we got to pick up our things 4 days later, it was exciting to see the outcome. It's a perfect idea for those who aren't married or engaged. It's a guarantee for a return date!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This Ring was Made for Breakin'

As Crystal has previously described, my tungsten ring broke. It is one of the hardest metals which makes it scratch proof. The only problem is that because the metal is so hard, it is also completely unmalleable and very brittle. That means a little too much weight and you now have two rings.

The day it broke Crystal and I went to buy a new one. My plan was to buy the cheapest type, which is titanium. Usually they run between $90 and $150. I found one and was ready to say "okay" when the salesman said "Hold on a second, lemme check something".

My first worry was "Used-Car Salesman tactics!!" Then I remembered that I was at Wilson's which is nicely respectable. He came back with a similar looking Tungsten ring and said that with the discount, the tungsten one is actually cheaper for me. I had forgotten that if you buy a woman's engagement ring there, you get 40% off your first men's band from there, except for titanium. I didn't buy my original ring from there so it still counted as our first men's band, only 7 months late. So with the discount I spent less for the Tungsten one (apparently the price for Tungsten has dropped mucho recently).

Tonight we picked up my new bling and here is a picture. Forgive the darkness, I couldn't get a brighter looking picture. Just use your imaginations.

Now for the title:
What really sold me on buying tungsten again, aside from the fact that I love tungsten for its unscratchiness, was their warranty. For the rest of my life, as long as I remember where I got my ring from and can look them up on the internet, I can feel safe about my ring. If it ever breaks again, needs to be resized, or just even gets a scratch on it, all I have to do is give it back to them and they will replace it for free for the rest of my life. That means I really don't have to stress about protecting my ring all the time. If anything happens, Wilson pays, not me.

We love good deals in our family, and I just couldn't pass this one up. As the saying goes, "tungstens are forever!"...or was that diamonds?

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Tungsten IS breakable....

Really fast. Jon just called me from work telling me that he fell at the Ellsworth building (he wasn't hurt at all). He caught his fall with his hand and his wedding ring (made out of tungsten- the metal that never breaks or scratches) broke in half! It didn't have a scratch on it, which is impressive, but he was really nervous to call me, hehe. I'm just glad he's not hurt. :-) No matter what dad said during our wedding toast about our marriage being eternal because of the type of ring Jon has, it's not true- we could be wearing twisty ties and still have an eternal marriage. :-) Jon, don't worry about it. We'll figure something out. Love you.

Our busy 4th

We got up on at 6am and got ready to go to Kiwanis park for our race. We decided to park at my old complex (Sparks) to avoid the massive traffic. We jogged to the park and got in the starting line. After the mayor showed up, the gun shot and we were off. It really wasn't that bad. It was only a mile- but there were a lot of little kids running with their parents and they would randomly stop in front of you and you had to dodge 'em. It was just on the edge of the park that we ran and then at the end we funneled in with 5k runners at the finish. We ran through the shoot together- and we don't know our times. It looked like they were only timing the 5 and 10k runners (who could blame them for not posting a time for the mile run? hehe). Anyways, it was really fun though. We got free shirts and even medals- we must be cool. We grabbed some oranges and water and headed back to the car after cooling down.

We came home to find all the streets closed because of the parade. We watched it for a little while and we figured that it wasn't worth it to watch the whole thing. Then we relaxed for a few hours. George came over to visit (Jon's friend from home). He was really coming over to show off a truck he borrows from his roommate. I would have to say that Shane would be blown away by this one. It was huge, and even though George is tall, he looks puny next to it.

At 1:45pm we headed over to Nate and Jess's house to get ready to go tubing down the Provo River. We headed out after loading the car with bbq stuff. The people we talked to told us that they were located up in the canyon right after Bridal Veil falls. We got to the lot and there was a big shack and a little shack. The little shack had no one there, just a few tubes. The bigger shack looked a little more not sketchy... if that makes sense. We paid and after a half hour we got on a school bus and they drove us to where we were going to start. We got there and they were handing out tubes and Jon and I happened to be the last in line and instead of getting a tube equipped with handles and a donut hole with a bottom to it- we got these plastic white donut tubes with noting to grip or hold on to. The current was really strong and the water was FREEZING!!! Jon got caught in the current faster than the rest of us and shot down quite a ways. It was my turn and i shot down and my tube kept gravitating towards the trees on the side of the river and couldn't do much to get out of there. Finally, Nate and Jess got to me and pushed me out and I held on to their handles. Needless to say- this was NO lazy river!! We had to watch for rock and random stumps and try to stay away from the sides so we didn't get caught in branches. There was one time that Jon fell out of his tube- don't worry we had life jackets, and he had a tough time getting back on. Jon and I finally met up and we were holding onto each other because our tubes were so crappy. We then tried to paddle with our sandals to keep away from the sides. That didn't really work. I went flying into a tree trunk and my tube flipped over and Jon caught my life jacket so I didn't float away. After getting back on my tube it became a little easier for a bit until Nate and Jess got to us. It was really fun, but i'm not sure I'll be doing that any time soon! Not to mention my arms, back and chest are super sore from "paddling". It was fun though.

Then we headed over the Nuns Park and got out Nate's UFO grill and had some burgers and corn on the cob. Yum! Later we tried to find fireworks. We walked up to the Y parkinglot and we could see a few, but the view wasn't the best- so we drove to campus and we enjoyed the fireworks that were put on by the Stadium of Fire show. Then we went home and went to bed... talk about a full day!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Reasons Why Wives Are So Important

Exactly one year ago I got down on one knee and asked Crystal Sansoucie to marry me. It was the best choice I ever made to marry her. In honor of one wonderful year since, I decided to write a post giving a couple reasons, using pictures of course, of why wives are so important in the lives of men. Here is exhibit one:

I have been in DIRE need of a haircut. If life were completely up to us men, we would probably look like slobs all the time, not because it's what we want, but because we just don't always think of hygiene first.

Notice that I can cover half of my ears with hair.

And I have no idea what I was doing in this picture

And after

That's right, Crystal had had enough of my nasty ways. We used our new haircutting bib and now it looks far better. Reason one why wifes are so important, they keep us men looking civilized.

Next up is funnier to me. My old shoes were falling apart. While we were in Houston, Mom and Dad noticed and very graciously bought me a new pair from Kohls. Then when we got back to Utah I noticed my work boots were falling apart. So I thought, "why not?" and replaced those boots with my old worn out shoes. Being non-boots and seeing as I've worked in construction sites all summer, this is how they looked yesterday.


If you can't tell, the shoelace broke and now I've been tying the normal spot to where the broken lace comes through at the bottom of the shoe. Crystal, after laughing uproariously at me when she first saw how I put my shoe back together once it broke at work, would have no more of it.


Big 5 Sporting Goods was having a big holiday shoe sale so we went down there yesterday to find me some cheap work boots. We found these puppies which normally go for around 50 dollars for 12 bucks. Good deal!


Reason number 2 why wives are so important: They keep our clothes up to date. If it wasn't for wives, we men would still be in loin cloths.

I just wanted to post my two cents on a couple ways Crystal has made my life so much better. I love you, Crystal.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I thought the 4th was on Wednesday...

So, for the past few days the city has been putting up collapsible bleachers around. the streets. I figured it was for the 4th and the parade. Then today, people were putting tents all over center street and University Ave (downtown Provo). Jon and I were on our way to pick up our race registrations for the 4th and we passed a family who were well equipped to "rough it". Meaning, they had a 25" tv, a grill, probably a portable shower in the back, maybe even a spa... seeing as the "mom" was in a bathrobe and hair in a towel (no really, she was). They even had 2 LoveSaks! We figured out that the Freedom Days Fest is going on- now seeing that Center St. is closed down for a bunch of tents and things like that. I've seen it before, I've just never lived close enough to it. So, we're probably going to walk down tonight to see what's going on.

So, maybe you're wondering, "race? what race?" No worries, it's nothing big and Jon will still have his knees attached by the end of it. It's the Freedom One-Mile Fun Run. The mileage feels pathetic remembering how much I used to run for my long runs on Saturdays a few summers ago (20 mi!). However, we get those cool RFID chips that we can tie on our shoes so it will time us accurately- even if we start at the end of the pack! Since my foot surgery last year, I have had such a hard time starting up running again. I was out of commission for over 6 months. I have definitely gained my fair share of weight, not to mention while I'm trying to fatten Jon up (that'll be a long time before his metabolism catches up to his daily caloric in-take :-) ) Oh well. Some day!

PS: Grandma Howe.... I saw on our site meter that you were online on our site after midnight the other night, what were you doing up that early or should I say late? ;-)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Who knew milk was so important?

Being poor college students, we cannot currently afford to be very lavish in our food spending. That means a lot of pasta roni, soups, and salads for us. To break the monotonity, though, we aim to try and make one new special meal about every two weeks. We want to do it once a week, but so far just have not. We received some great cook books from Shane's family (thanks again) that are a bunch of 5 ingredient recipes, crock-pot magic, and bisquick recipes.

The bisquick one has been the least used so far so for tonight we chose from its pages. We cooked Mexican Corn and Bean Cakes and will tell y'all about that because the rest of our lives are boring. We thought it would give us something else good to write about on here plus if anyone thinks it looks good, then ask and we'll happily provide the recipe. On with the grub!

First off, I will explain today's title: who knew milk was so important? We started off mixing the bisquick, corn meal, and egg whites to make the pancake things. We mixed it all together and the batter did not look so pretty. You know there's a problem when the recipe says "pour batter into skillet" and we were stuck with dry crumbly dough. Not much pouring here.

"Maybe it just looks gross now," we thought. So we started cooking it up and these are the beauties that came out:

Nice, huh?

I could not for the life of me figure out how it was supposed to be moist with only 3 egg whites for liquid. Then, on closer inspection, we realized that we were supposed to add a cup of milk. Whoops.

We remade the recipe and here are the new and improved pancake-things:

I promise there is also more to the recipe than just pancakes. It is almost like a pancake sloppy joe sorta. Each serving uses two pancakes, one on bottom, then spread with refried beans, topped with another pancake, and then capped with a chunky salsa, corn, and cheese mixture. Here is the final product:

All told we enjoyed it very much. My only complaint was that the pancakes were slightly on the dry side (I'm used to drowing my pancakes in more syrup than cake!). We corrected that by pouring a little Ketchup on it and voila. Overall I give them a 7.5 out of 10.

But life lessons are so much more than just eating a good meal. Shoot, now we know just how important milk is and have some good duck-food at the same time.

This is up there with that one time about a month ago that I almost set the oven on fire. I walked into the kitchen to check on my cookings and realized that I couldn't see the kitchen window 10 feet away from me through the smoke. I believe the conversation went something like this:

" we have a smoke detector?"
"Yeah, why do you ask?"
" reason...on an unrelated note where is it?"

Then I rushed off to unplug the battery. Don't worry, she very quickly realized what was going on. The food was perfectly fine and tasted great, some dripped onto the bottom of the oven though and smoked out our apartment. For a while it made our apartment smell like we smoked two packs a day. We just prayed that no ward members would come by and visit during that time.

Praise the heavens for Febreeze! Spray on, freshness-lovers, spray on!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What happens in Vegas

I guess I will break the common terrible jingle that you hear about Vegas by talking about our experience instead of letting it stay there.

First off, a picture! Here we are at the bridge outside the New York New York. After being in REAL New York, I must admit they did a fantastic job reinventing the feel of it.

This next one is for Leanna...that is unless she isn't a huge fan of Egyptian stuff anymore, in the which case, she can just ignore the next few, or deal with them. Here we are with a giant statue. I'm trying to look like the statue, but apparently I didn't do so well at letting Crystal know that was the plan because here I am trying to look rigid and statue-like and she is just looking beautiful instead. You can't win 'em all.

Also, while we're on the Egyptian theme, there were these really ugly goat horse things next to the big statues. Plus I don't think many people have met Nate and Jess before so here's a picture of them. Can you tell Nate's in the military?

Oh right, I'm supposed to be talking about Vegas, not just showing pictures. Crystal did a fantastic job at telling most of it so I'll see what I can add.

I'm supposed to mention the food part of it. Everyone who reads this is well aware of my obsession with eating delicious food. It will come as no surprise, then that I absolutely loved the food part of Vegas. Super quality super cheap buffets everywhere. If you know when you want to eat too, you can get even cheaper. There were places offering steak and lobster buffets for 8 dollars each as long as your willing to eat between 9 and 11pm at night. We decided to go to the Excalibur for lunch. Mainly because that's where we were when we were hungry. I can describe the buffet as incredasweet with all the options I could want. I ate everything from a Mexican taco to orange chicken and italian sausage. They even had roast beast and all the salads you could imagine.

Then I found the desert bar.

We started out by bringing just about one of everything over to our table. We all tried them and found out what we each liked best. Then we went back and I got multiples of everything I liked. That means three more carrot cakes, some eclairs, brownies, and cookies. Not to mention the ice cream. In all likely hood, I ate my cost (and Crystal's!) many many times over. After our delicious meal we had to wait around for another 10 minutes or so for everything to settle before we moved on.

One more Vegas comment is that it forced me to walk properly. Being rather tall, I learned in New Jersey that I have to watch the ground when I walk. It has a nasty habit of jumping out at me and tripping me up if I am not constantly on my guard. Kinda causes disasters when you're trying to keep street cred in the ghetto otherwise no you get no teaching. I continue my down-trodden way of walking today. Well, in Vegas, we very quickly learned NOT to look down at the ground when walking on the strip. I kept my eyes up thinking that would be better. You all know that didn't last long at all. So I spent the rest of the time looking straight forward or at Crystal. Never fear though, I've resumed my awkward gait now that we're home.

Now for one more picture. We had to go for the classic picture of Las Vegas. You can't even make us out in this picture, so this one is more for the scenery. Notice the strategic positioning of the camera so as not to include the giant video display directly across from "Vegas Vick".

Monday, June 25, 2007

We made 40 bucks in Vegas...

This weekend we went to Vegas with our friends, Nate and Jess. Nate is from Vegas- so we were fortunate to be able to stay at his parent's house for free- meaning: this trip was going to be pretty cheap.

We left at around 6pm on Friday- seeing as both Jess and I got off of work a little after 5pm. We packed our bags and of course our "goodies" and we were on our way. After stuffing our faces and a pit stop later we arrived at around midnight. The glow of Las Vegas was amazing. It definitely lived up to the hype of the "city of lights". We realize that most of you have already been at least once- so this is no news to you- but we thought it was cool.

Anyways, after driving down the strip to see all the lights we went to Nate's parent's house- dropped our stuff in the rooms, brushed our teeth and flopped into bed and before we knew it- we were up again. We left the house around 10am and it was already 90 degrees! We decided that we would hop from casino to casino so we could cool off and get waters.

We started off at the Belagio and headed down the strip from there. The themes in the buildings were amazing. We hit the Luxar, excalibar, NYNY, Paris, Mirage, tahition, treasure island, MGM Grande (which is where we got $40), caesar's palace... You have to remember though, I am 4'11". I was with people who were about 6' tall (or taller)- meaning- when they sped up just a bit- I'm running along side of them... no really. It was quite embarassing- usually when we were crossing an intersection. It's alright though- I got more exercise, right? I guess it'a a good thing I was jogging a bit- I never had problems with the sketchy people on the sidewalk trying to hand out "things".

Before I bore you- I will explain how we got $40- and we weren't even gambling! When we walked into the MGM a guy hounded us with free tickets and we took them not really knowing what they were. We had to go watch a show for a half hour and then rate it. We figured that we had been walking long enough- so sitting in the AC would do us some good. We got our tickets checked by this lady and we sat down in a room and watched the most boring show in the entire world. It was a new Saturday Early Morning show in NY- I like the news and things like this- but this was horrible. I fell asleep! Afterwards we had to fill out a survey about the show and what we thought. Then we were told that we were eligible to get $20 ea. We went to another room with a crazy lady and sat at computers and she treated us like we were 4yrs old. It was the 4 of us along with a few old people. the survey was all about how we felt about people keeping track of what we watch on TV and what we do on the internet. At the end, Jon walked by when I was about to finish and he pointed at my screen and the lady almost ran him down because she thought he was answering something for me. Then she commented on how we were from BYU and how she had this friend who went there and got married, dropped out and has like 6 kids. She was gloating in glory that she was 30, single with no kids and having the time of her life- so she said. This left us feeling a little awkward... but she handed us envelopes- each with $20 cash! So all in all- we only spent $40 for our whole trip. :-)

I will let Jon write about other stuff that we did including the buffet- because we all know how much he loves food, I'm still not sure where he puts it all. We made it home safe Sunday evening and we had a blast.

Here are some photos.

This is us pretending we got to go to disney land... close enough. :-)

And of course... the Ocean 11 picture... almost. :-)