Thursday, December 31, 2009

Girls are great

I've been really trying to slow down and just enjoy life, (now that christmas is over...Man Santa creates stress). And I've really become fond of the little moments, like my girls giggling on the floor and rolling around in their new Christmas Pajamas...

or watching them snuggle up to dad for a story.

Normally we hurry home from the gym, but yesterday I let Macie walk too, and we all enjoyed the silence of the newly falling snow...Macie and Aleia listened to it crunch under their feet, and tasted the cool feathery flakes on their lips and faces, and as I looked up into their bright excited eyes, I found a moment of true happiness.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Ok, so my sister gave me flack for posting pictures on facebook where i'm not completely covered.

  • First of all, I have to say that it took a lot of guts to hit "post" on that.
  • Second of all, given the context of the note, (which she may not have read) I figure that a picture can speak louder than words. No one would take health advice from a fatty. They are just not credible!

And now motive: honestly? I've done weight watchers, I've tried Jessica Seinfields "Deceptively Delicious recipies, I've tried to encorporate a Medeteranean diet, I've tried a lot of things to be 'healthy". I've always excercized...ALWAYS. But this is the first time, where I learned exactly what to eat so I wouldn't have cravings. I know exactly how much food is enough,and I know how to adjust it for all of my family members specific needs.

Now, I don't feel guilty eating, or feeling full. I enjoy my food, and don't beat myself up over not making it to the gym. I don't exercize as hard, and I know that I'll be just fine! 90% of how we look is what we eat. I read all the tips on how to be healthy from magazines, and just smile because I'm allready doing all the things they say! It's all included in the Live the Life program. I never knew how to encorporate all the tips and ideas before. "eat more fish, eat some nuts, add citrus...etc etc etc." But now, it's just part of who I am.

Lastly, my heart hurts when I hear of people starting up diets and joining programs. Because unless we are taught how to eat to maintain horomone levels and insulin, we all will give in to "emotional eating". Kristi teaches all of those things. It just makes so much sense! So, I hope no one was offended by my unmodest pictures. I stand by my reasoning.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My "Live the Life" Experience

So, I don't normally publicize these kinds of things unless people ask. But this has been so life changing for me, I realy wan't everyone to try it out! I can't think of anything but good that can come from this, so I'm going to go out on a limb a little bit.

A few months ago I was frustrated because I was going to the gym religiously and ate healthy and wasn't getting the results I wanted. I found a program called Live the Life, iv'e been able to loose the weight, and keep it off. I'm so much happier! And I know that it's ok if I don't get my workout in. Live the life gives you 12 weeks of meal plans and workouts and tells you exactly what and how to eat, with the grocery list and everything. The workouts are simple enough to do at home. And not only does she teach you positive life changing habbits, but tells you exactly what is best to eat at fast food joints, or restaurants, and it realy is a lifestyle...not a yoyo diet.

I've been able to loose 13 pounds on Live the Life, and have continued the lifestyle for six months now. I honestly can't think of living any other way. Honestly I think the biggest change that I've made is a mental change. I'm a lot more positive in my mind. Not just with eating or working out, but with everything. I used to beat myself up over things, but now I can get over things a lot easier. I don't dwell on my mistakes as much, and I am a lot better at positive self talk.

Some other benefits have been :

  • I'm more confident in myself
  • my family is eating healthier
  • the girls really like the food.
  • I don't have to spend all day at the gym now, or plan my life around aerobics classes
  • I've even been able to cut grocery spending.
  • I usually spend around $60-65 a week on groceries for our family.
  • Matt's lost 20 pounds just from the diet part alone.
  • My mom just started too, she says she's lost 12 pounds the first 4 weeks, and I think the hardest part for her is eating all the food. Darn! ( I have no problem eating a lot of food):o)

I know a lot of people may be looking for a lifestyle change for the new year. So, if you are interested, check out Kristi's website, or I'd be happy to talk your ear off about it :o) So if you are interested, here are some links. Here's for Men: Here's for Women: and here's a little bit more about it:

Before After

Before After

Saturday, December 12, 2009



Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Coast Pictures

Pacific Beach

Grandpa was giving out rides to cute girls

A walk thanksgiving Morning around Leonards 'neighborhood'.


We went to Oregon for Thanksgiving. Yea! Something to blog about! It was truly awesome. My favorite part was going to the beach. (Yes, we were frozen solid afterwards). It was a drive-on beach, so Matt got drive our car on there. He loved that. I loved playing in the tidepools and caves (the tide was out) and picking up sand dollars on the beach. Afterwards we went to a coffee shop and got hot chocolates. I think that was Aleia's favorite part. :o) We also spent lots and lots of time with Matts family, which was SOOOOO nice. We loved visiting Oregon...the lush green, the morning fog, It was really beautiful.

I can't get any pictures up right now. Hopefully some to come.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fall is here!

We took a trip up the canyon. Sorry for the lack of updates. I'm just not on the computer much anymore. There is too much life to live! (away from the computer). I'm sure some of you with small children know what I mean. Man they keep us busy!

Monday, June 29, 2009

The Price of penned while I was serving in Iraq

As we move into the week in which we will celebrate our country's independence, I dug up a document I wrote five years ago while I was serving in Iraq. It was written on Memorial Day, but I believe it's message is certainly applicable to a celebration of our independence. Many of you that know me, know that I am a Christian, and you will find obvious references to that faith toward the end of the document. I have not changed a single word of this document; it is in it's pure, original form exactly as I wrote it, and I make no apology for its content.

My purpose in posting this document is not to begin a debate on any of its content, but simply to share a piece of myself with the rest of you that you probably haven't ever seen. When I wrote this document, it was originally shared only with family members. This week, I am opening it up to the rest of you and wearing some of my feelings on my sleeve. So, without further rambling, I hope you enjoy it, and that you appreciate your freedom as much as I do.

The Price of Freedom

On Memorial Day in May of 2004 it finally hit me what it means to be free. I didn’t go to any ceremonies or hear any long speeches. I didn’t visit a grave site or mourn over lost relatives. I didn’t even think about my own grandfather’s service in the Vietnam War as I had done in previous years. Instead, I thought of fallen comrades as I suited up with body armor, ammunition for my M16, and did a final check of all my gear. I spent the day driving and doing recon in downtown Baghdad. I was in the middle of a war zone, and today it felt different. The gas pedal of my bulky Humvee was pressed solidly to the floor as we aggressively navigated a road where two Americans had died the day before. There would be no looking back, but an intense scanning of the road ahead would reveal several possible threats. My brain worked in overdrive trying to assess the intentions of every civilian we passed, my eyes never stayed in one spot for longer than five seconds. The handling limitations of a very heavy Humvee were painfully apparent as I swerved around unyielding drivers. I heard mortars explode nearby as we rested at our first stop. I thought of the many nights I’ve tried to sleep but was awakened by mortars impacting as close as 500 meters away. As our patrolling continued, we drove over sections of road that had been blasted by IED’s (Improvised Explosive Device; AKA, a bomb). I remembered seeing Humvees torn to shreds and burning that had been hit by those IED’s. I remembered being caught between two of these IED’s a mere two weeks earlier. I had picked up a piece of shrapnel that skidded across the road and landed by my foot as I stood outside of my Humvee pointing my M16 at every rooftop and window with any sign of movement. Worse yet, I remembered many of my fellow soldiers who had not been as lucky as I; soldiers who were killed performing the daunting duty that was before them. I couldn’t forget Lieutenant Vega, who was killed as a result of a Humvee accident. I thought of my First Sergeant who was shot and blown up when US forces first invaded Iraq, and who is now back to serve another year in this war. He just found out that his wife (who is also in the army) will be coming next year, just a few weeks before he will finally return home after nearly two and a half years of solid war. There are many who have offered unsung and unrecognized sacrifices. We know so little of those who have given so much.

The country we fight to protect decays with pride and selfishness, and yet every day I am responsible for the safety of four other people besides myself. There are those that will never hold a gun, and mine is locked and loaded for at least 8 hours a day. Others say that war is a deadly thing that causes many deaths, but still I will not hesitate to put two bullets through the skull of anyone jeopardizing my life or the lives of my countrymen. Every day I pray and make peace with my God because of the great strain that the task of war can cause a man.

Those who have never fought for their freedom, those who have never fought in a war, and those who have never fought for anything they believed in will never understand the sacrifices made by those who have. Even the fiercest of war critics must hush in the presence of one who has fought in a war, because that man fought for the freedom that allows the critic his free speech. Many who enjoy freedom have never paid the price for it, so how could they possibly understand the cost? The price of freedom is not a tag that can be readily read by everyone. It never goes on sale or gets marked down. The forces of evil that cause us to fight for our God-given right of agency do not flinch in the face of war or death. Those that fight for freedom are aware that the cost may include their life. Though we may grieve their passing, their deaths are landmarks of courage and inspiration. The good Lord comforts us in the deaths of our righteous comrades as follows: “…the Lord suffereth the righteous to be slain that his justice and judgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God.” (Alma 60:13) The Lord Almighty and our Great God be thanked for his infinite wisdom and righteous judgment. 1 Peter 4:8 teaches that “charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” Charity is none other than the pure love of Christ, and we also learn from John that “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” There is great hope indeed for those who have lain down their lives for the freedom of others.

May the graces of Christ reach to those who have lost a relative or friend to the cause of war. What is the cause of war? The cause of war has always been and should always be the defense of freedom and righteousness. There is no consoling word that can fill the hole left by the loss of a loved one, but I can still say thank you. Thank you, because I am still alive and enjoying freedom because of what those brave men and women have done. I would give my life for the comrades to my left and right, and they would do the same for me. Only God knows why my life has not been taken, but I am grateful for every day that is granted to me. That is why I say thank you. Memorial Day of 2004 will never be forgotten, and Memorial Day for me will never be the same. Freedom means much more to me than being free. Freedom is made up of the courage of thousands of men and women who have died defending it. Freedom is looking at your family and knowing that you would die to protect them. Freedom is not hesitating to stand up to the forces of evil that would rob us of agency and happiness. Freedom is being able to breath clean air every day having measured yourself as a man, and not been found wanting. For some though, freedom is just a gift, given by those who have spilled sweat and blood on countless battlefields. May we never forget or under appreciate that gift, and may we never forget He who has made us eternally free from the enemies of our souls, even Jesus the Christ.

-SGT Matt Downing
Memorial Day 2004

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Someone likes my keys

On Thursday I was at the gym in an aerobics class, and wen't to leave, but couldn't find my keys anywhere. Someone took them! I waited for a half hour for someone to bring them back, realizing they weren't their keys, but to no avail. So we had to walk home and pop out a screen window to get in the house. (Aleia thought that was a lot of fun). We went back the next evening and someone had returned them. So, I think that is some random incident, right? It happened to me once four years ago, but someone else had the same car I have, and it was an honest mistake. (This key ring only had house keys on it and the gym tags.) So then Monday, I'm at a different gym, different class, and GUESS what happens?
My keys are missing again!!! I couldn't believe it. I dumped out my diaper bag three times, scoured the gym, and stayed again for an extra half hour. (The keys were different looking this time too.) So then I had to use a gym phone to call Matt (my phone was in my car). And he came to rescue us. Lame. Really Lame. Quit taking my keys! Matt drove back and checked today, and sure enough, they were returned by someone. How can you not notice that you have the wrong keys? I dunno. I don't get it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Our little Courtyard

I love where we live!!! No, we're not in our very own house with a spot for a garden, and a room for each girl. No, we aren't even in Matt's parents house still, enjoying our own space. In fact, when it comes to space, this is probably the least space we've had in a long time. But that's almost the beauty of it. Our little appartment has been one of the greatest blessings in disguise we could have asked for. Tucked away from the bustling world around us, we were blessed to find an appartment with a little courtyard. And every day, we go outside to play in that courtyard and meet up with 8 other little kid friends and neighbors. It is so great. Aleia & Macie love their friends, and they love them. Everyone watches out for eachother, and plays together, and I'd have to say it's been the greatest blessing in the world. I don't have pictures of today, but 5 families today all had a pizza picnic for dinner. It was so fun! Stuff like that happens all the time. I can't even begin to describe my feelings of grattitude that of all places in the world we could be right now, that we are here. I love this place.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


My favorite Easter tradition is filling baskets and then giving them to the people we home teach and visit teach. It has been different people every year, and it's a fun way to get in the spirit of the season. So, there is the four baskets all filled! We had a lot of fun delivering them later that day too. Here's the easter egg hunt at grandma's.
Hey, it's almost like halloween!
Ava and Macie
Coloring hard boiled eggs

Happy Easter to all!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Hooray for Sunshine!

I am just so happy that we have been able to be outside I don't know what else to say! Life is wonderful when we get to be outside!!!!

Aleia playing with one of her favorite boys, Garret, and Delaina. (We were throwing bread into the water. Not really feeding any ducks, but they were out there)


Curly Hair Blues

Notice the grimace on Aleia's face.

What is that frown all about? We'll I convinced Aleia to do her hair curly today instead of straight. Look at how perfect those curls are! Isn't that beautiful hair?

I'm just hoping when she gets bigger she'll realize how beautiful it is... and that being different really is good! :o) (I still don't get it. Why do all you curly haired girls straighten those beautiful locks?)

Disney on Ice

We were privledged to go to Disney on Ice with some of our family. It was a lot of fun to be there amidst so many princesses.

Aleia chose Sleeping Beauty as her princess of choice for the ocasion.

We took the train into town, which Aleia loved. And it sure saved on trying to find a parking spot. Overall, it was a great Saturday. Beautiful weather, and some of the most fun we've had in a while.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Aleia playing in the back yard on one of Darren's toys

Dinner in the only diner in Pecos Texas

'Hangin out' with Grandma Marjean, Amanda, Aleia and Darren

Horses and Tractors at the Worlds Greatest Horseman Competition in San Angelo Texas.
Yee haw!

Texas Travels

I went with the girls and Matt's mom and Bruce down to Texas for two weeks! It was fun to be there, but I don't think I'd want to do the three day drive any time soon. In spite of the drive, my girls behaved remarkably in the car. And we all had fun with the cousins, Matt and Amanda. The weather there was so great! Every day we were there it got warmer and warmer, until it reached about 76 degrees. Yess!!! It was so nice. We had a nice snow storm to bring us back to reality when we got home. Sigh. Matt was on a business trip when we came home, and we all reunited yesterday. I was sure happy to be with my hubby again!

While we were gone, Matt studied for the CPA. He's taking part 4 tomorrow! Go Matt! Then, our lives will be free of study stress. That will be SOOOOO nice.
I should have some pictures and stories about the trip soon!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Christmas Pleasures

Christmas this year was spent with both families! We were so happy to have Leonard and Amy make the treaturous drive from Oregon. We played a lot. So much that I forgot to take pictures, I was having too much fun. Jon and Sarah brought their family out for Christmas too, and we loved being with both families. I'm sad everyone had to go back home. I think family is the best part of Christmas memories. We love you all!

Macie is still a bit wobbly with sitting up, but this is her with her first 'pet'. A doggie that walks and barks. She loves it!
A family gift this year was a massage chair (a vibrating one) the girls really like it too!

Mostly we just loved being together!

Aleia got a cool new train set, that we can put a cover on and it turns into a table. Genius! The only problem is she needs some people to play with! Come over and play with us!

Simple Pleasures

My girls remind me everyday of the simple pleasures in life. Such as how good clothes feel right as they come out of the dryer, or how fun a basket is to play in.