Sunday, October 31, 2010

Houston, We Found an Alien.

The three happiest moments of Jeff's married life include: 1) getting married, 2) meeting Eli and 3) dressing up as an astronaut for Halloween. I had never seen Jeff quite as giddy as he was the night before the Excell Halloween Party assembling NASA badges, designing with duct tape and parading around the house in full costume.
We had fun at the Excell Halloween Party. Mary had the house all spooked out. The night included the usual Halloween festivities of Bingo, cake walk and fish pond. Eli LOVED his first Halloween!

(This is Tana's brother and his wife. They were Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf. Impressive!)

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Stories of Jeff Excell - Top 3

I distinctly remember being in my car with Kenz in the library parking lot when this story of Jeff Excell unfolded. Somehow Jeff's name had casually slipped its way into our conversation like it always did.

I started thinking about Jeff. I had recently met his younger brother, Bryan, at church. When I tried to pry Bryan for dirt on Jeff by asking him to tell me all the horror stories of their childhood (expecting something similar to my childhood full of headless Barbie dolls, slender fingers constantly making me aware of my chubby ones, and endless name calling), Bryan said, "Jeff is the nicest brother I could ever ask for. He actually let me borrow this sweater today."

Unheard of! I continued to pry, but Bryan could not think of one bad memory of his older brother. Wow.

I thought of how he was always at all three hours of church, and how he seemed to get a kick out of me and my roommates. I remembered how he made the library a new adventure every day and always made studying fun.

Suddenly these words escaped my mouth, "You know, Jeff Excell is probably one of my top ten favorite people... No, he's probably top five... Actually, I would say he'd even make the top three." Kenz laughed and agreed. Jeff Excell was (and is) such a kind, fun, overall great guy.

The rest of the way home I remember thinking, If Jeff Excell is one of my "top three," why do I not like him as more than just a friend?

And that is the pivotal moment when I realized I was in fact starting to like Jeff Excell as more than just a friend.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

What Happened in Vegas

I just got back from the Excell Girly Girl Weekend in Vegas. It was so much fun! Here we are leaving Friday morning:
Eli has been a little crabby over the last week. He's been funny about going down for his naps. By funny I mean he screams about 30 minutes before he falls asleep. I was nervous Eli would scream the majority of the trip. I was happy to see a happy baby (basically) the whole way to Vegas.
 We met up with Laura and took a tour bus to The Strip.
 Look what we have here -- a quiet, peaceful baby!
 We HAD to go to The Cheesecake Factory. Nothing says girls' weekend like delicious desserts. (Who's that sleeping all through lunch?)

As Eli began rustling towards the end of lunch, I started gathering everything for a speedy exit. Instead of screaming and throwing a fit, he woke up happy to be in Vegas with the girls.

Shopping without a husband to drag around? Sign me up! The last time I had been to a mall was for maternity clothes a year ago. I was so thrilled to be in a mall again.

 Oh, hi Eli. I barely noticed you there because you were being so good.
We soaked our shopped-out muscles in the hot tub. The pool was gigantic, and we had it all to ourselves the whole hour we were there.
We made matching t-shirts at the end of the night.
Then things got weird. But what else would you expect at 1:00 in the morning during a grown-up sleepover?
 After some indecision on where to go for breakfast/lunch on Saturday, I spotted one of my most favorite places to eat. It did not disappoint.
 Eli was hungry but politely let me finish my sandwich.
 Then we went shopping yet again. Dream come true! Tana and Laura got pedicures. It wouldn't be a girls' weekend without painted toenails.
 More dessert? You betcha!
It was a fun, relaxing weekend we all needed.
 And Eli was an absolute angel the whole time! I love this new tradition.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bread Winner

No, this has nothing to do with my new website. Or Jeff getting a job. This has everything to do with the most awesome bread we have ever tasted in our lives. I have a hard time finding this recipe online every time we make it, and we don't have a printer right now, and I'm too lazy to write down the recipe, so I am going to post it here. It's super cheap, super easy, super yummy and super addicting. We have made this bread about every other day for the past two weeks. Jeff and I each eat a loaf basically in a 24-hour period of time. Give it a try! It's pretty hard to mess up.


  • 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cups bread flour (I like to use 5 cups)


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
  2. Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
  3. Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.


Monday, October 18, 2010

Stories of Jeff Excell - Shooting at Hitler

I love dressing up for Halloween. I love coming up with fun, clever costumes. I have been Sonic the Hedgehog, a Doublemint Twin, and I have never been more proud of a costume idea than my sophomore year when Kenz and I were shooting stars.
It was the week before Halloween. We had our gigantic cardboard stars on, glitter on our lashes, and fully loaded Nerf guns. We sparkled right on over to the Halloween Institute activity where we met up with Tanner and his friends. One of these friends said he wanted to dress up as something scary. He chose Hitler. Some felt this was slightly inappropriate, but everyone agreed it was scary.

There was a catwalk set up for people to show off their costumes and win awards. When they began beckoning contestants for "scariest costume," Hitler made his move. He was determined to persuade the judging panel his costume was award worthy.

As he was practicing his catwalk, the rest of the group was devising a plan to help ease the awkwardness that would fall upon the gym as Hitler walked the runway. In no time, his name was announced and he was strutting his Hitler stuff. He got to the end of the catwalk and waited for something. An applause? No. Boos? Not at an institute event. Nerf bullets? Yes. Kenz and I swooped in to provide Hitler with  comic relief as we exhausted all our bullets on him the moment he stepped within range.

Laughter and smiles replaced the horror and shock. Hitler made his exit.

We had already shown off our costumes, so I wasn't too concerned about my Nerf bullets being swallowed up in the costumed crowd. I didn't mind sparing a few bullets to save our friend from being the center of all institute awkwardness that night. (That's saying something, because institute is known for its awkwardness.) Hitler returned and finally expressed to us that maybe Hitler wasn't the best costume choice. Especially because he didn't win the award...Satan did.

We wandered through the crowd to see if we could find any more people we knew before we left to eat dinner. Within minutes of our crowd weaving, we found perhaps just who we were looking for -- a costumeless Jeff Excell holding six Nerf bullets.
"I picked these up for you," He said as he handed them over.
I was caught completely off guard. I had barely given those bullets a second thought after I shot them at the unawarded scariest costume.

A few words were exchanged, but our group pulled us away because they were getting hungry. We weren't about to upset certain members of our group, so we said goodbye to Jeff.

We made it to the restaurant. The institute dance was comfortable compared to the feeling of walking into "The Pizza Factory" with Hitler when it wasn't officially Halloween. We should have also devised a plan for easing that awkwardness. Despite my unease about walking in with an inappropriately dressed friend, I did find comfort in the fact that I had a fully-loaded gun.

**I just got permission from my friend who was dressed as Hitler to link to his blog where he also happens to have a post about this night...with a picture. Go to his Halloween post by clicking HERE.**

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Eli's Stats

Eli had a checkup today. Our regular doctor was out of town so we had a different doctor look at him.
We made it all the way through the appointment without any mention of Eli's flat head. I wasn't going to say anything about it if the doctor didn't notice, but as he was leaving, I had to see what his opinion was on Eli's head shape. He took a look at it and said, "If you hadn't have said anything, I would have never noticed. I think it looks just fine. It should round out as soon as he starts sitting up. I've seen much worse." YAY!

Hearing Eli's head is rounding out may have been one of the happiest moments of my life. My hard work has been rewarded. Let's just hope our real doctor is as optimistic about the long-term shape of Eli's head.
Here are his stats:
Weight - 16 pounds 5 ounces (69%)
Height - 26 inches (78%)
Head - 17 inches (50%)
And finally, you guys had to have seen this one coming:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Actual Stories of Jeff Excell - The Hitchhiker

I know it has been quite awhile since Sarah has posted this particular story about our dating life. But I just could not let this one go without a few corrections. If you would like a refresher on her story you can click here.

During college I was not overly excited about the whole "family home evening" scene. You practically had to twist my arm to get me to go to these socially awkward events. In fact, anything that had to do with forcing the singles to mingle I steered clear of. But, on occasion I would attend if there were good reasons. On this particular Monday night I had a very good reason to attend.

It was true, I had been casually seeing a girl in the ward (referred to as "Kami" in the previous version of the story). And yes, this girl did happen to be at family home evening that night. But she was not the reason I broke tradition and ventured to the church on this cold fall night. See, there was another girl in the ward. A girl who I was becoming more and more interested in. Sarah Thomas from North Salt Lake had taken me completely by surprise in the previous weeks. She had dazzled me with her looks and backed it up with wit and humor. And to top it off there was just something about her that I couldn't explain. Although I was unaware at the time, Sarah Thomas was the reason I went to family home evening that night.

As I was sitting at a table talking to fellow single ward members I saw this girl walk in wearing a purple shirt. To my surprise I was oddly excited to see it was Sarah Thomas walking in the door. Lately, this had been happened quite a bit. I would get excited every time I would see Sarah Thomas. I would always shrug this feeling off thinking that I was perfectly content with the current girl situation. On this night I would realize that those feelings of excitement meant that I liked Sarah Thomas more than just a friend. As her roommate and she walked in they immediately came and sat by me. We talked for a bit and I got the impression that they weren't planning on staying long. I found myself conjuring up some plan in my mind to spend more time with Sarah Thomas. While we were talking by the snack table she mentioned she had to go to the library to do some homework. Bingo! There it was. I could go to the library and talk to Sarah Thomas. I said goodbye to Sarah Thomas and her purple shirt knowing that we would meet again that night.

This is where Sarah's and my stories begin to differ. I actually did have an assignment that I had to do. Yes, I could have easily done it at home and probably would have had Sarah not gone to the library. I saw this as an opportunity to one, get my assignment done and two, find more out about this Sarah Thomas. So off I went to the library. As I walked in I immediately began to look around, hoping my trek to to library wasn't in vain. It wasn't. There was Sarah Thomas with an empty computer right next to her.

I hurried over to her and sat down before anyone else could steal my seat. I could tell by the expression on her face that she was a little surprised, but also excited that I had sat next to her. She inquired as to why I was at the library. I told her that I did have an assignment I needed to finish (which I did) but I neglected to tell her that I also came to see her (I didn't want to sound like a creeper). I then began my (very short) assignment. It didn't take long to finish (more like 30 minutes rather than the 5 Sarah claimed) and I asked Sarah how long she was going to take. She said she had only started so she wasn't sure. I began to check my email (no YouTube or Facebook) and take my daily dose of After about 20 minutes (Sarah has now had over an hour to do her homework so I didn't feel bad about distracting her) I asked if she was done yet, because I needed a ride to me car. It had been snowing that night and I didn't want to walk the three (not two) blocks to my car. Yes I had ulterior motives to talk to Sarah Thomas, but my primary objective was a ride to my car. So after hardly any convincing at all Sarah Thomas and I were walking out of the library to her Rav 4.

What happened next, in my opinion, was a defining moment in our future relationship. I'm not sure the exact words that were spoken in the short ride to my car, but it was during that time I realized that I liked Sarah Thomas. All the feelings of excitement when I saw her and going out of my way to talk to her had finally made sense to me. I was falling for this blonde-haired girl from North Salt Lake and I was getting the vibe that she was falling for me. As she dropped me off and I watched the Rav 4 drive out of sight, I knew there was something special about this girl and I couldn't wait for our next encounter.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Stories of Jeff Excell - The Phantom of the Library

It quickly became tradition to immediately look for Jeff as soon as we walked into Jeff's second home - the library. One day Kenz and I were in a hurry to finish our creative writing assignments, so our initial scan for Jeff was not as thorough as usual. We sat down at two computers and went to work in a wild frenzy.

Kenz finished her assignment faster than she expected, so she started talking to me. She stood up and casually looked around, "Hmmm... that's weird. I wonder where Jeff Excell is today." I broke away from my homework to glance around the library, "Yeah. I don't know."

Kenz leaned over to get something out of her backpack. Sitting right behind her, suddenly revealed, was Jeff Excell. My eyes bugged out of socket. I gasped in amazement and shock. Jeff had seemingly appeared out of no where. I was tempted to check the floors and ceilings for trap doors, but I resisted the urge.

"Jeff Excell! Oh my goodness. We were just talking about you," Kenz said.
"I know. I heard," the Phantom of the Library responded, "What's this, Sarah?"

I had been working on the dumbest assignment of my college career. I had to write an act from a play. Draft after draft, I could not prevent it from being even cheesier than an episode of Full House. I was not proud of my work. My embarrassment reflexes snatched my play from Jeff's reach the moment his attention was drawn to it.

"That's nothing. I hate that I had to do that assignment. Don't look at it."
"You should let me read it. Is it a play?"

After much debate, the world's worst play snippet entered the Phantom's hands. He let me know he would read it and have it back to me later. My red face and I left the library and went to class. Jeff stayed in the library and scribbled out my play's love-struck characters' names and replaced them with Sarah and Tanner (name has been changed, I was dating him at the time). There was a side boy who liked "Sarah," but she didn't like him back. The Phantom renamed that character Jeff.

I think the Phantom knew the side boy usually ends up with the girl... if the cheesy play is ever finished.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Four Months Already?!?

Eli has officially been with us for four months!

My favorite part of the day is when Eli wakes up in the morning. He sporadically screams until one of us goes in to greet him. When he sees us, he gives us the biggest grin and flails his arms because he's so excited. It's precious.
My dad should start liking Eli pretty soon. His personality is developing more and more every day. Today I put Eli in the Bumbo with about four toys on his lap. I was cleaning the house and didn't hear much from him. I went to check on him and he had thrown all his toys off to his right. He was staring at the toys in deep thought. I kept cleaning. Then I turned around and saw this:
He's never really made an effort to scoot towards things he's interested in before today, and I didn't even think he could lean over like that in the Bumbo. I was such a proud mother.

In other Eli personality news: over the last month he has loved sleeping with something up against his face. 

Over the last week or so, it has evolved to refusing to sleep unless a blanket is covering his face. (I do move the blanket after he falls asleep.) What a crazy little boy we have! I'm excited to see his personality develop even more, and I'm super excited to find out how much he weighs when we take him to the doctor next week.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Introducing Proofred

Okay folks. Here goes nothing. A couple nights ago I was talking to Jeff about how I want to do something productive in my down time. I have been in search of a solid hobby basically since I was born. I think I may have found it. I have spent all day working on a new blog. I know I am going to get teased by family members for it, but that's a risk I'm willing to take. I wanted a way to keep up with my writing/somewhat creative talent so Proofred evolved. 

You guys need to be my guinea pigs. I believe most of the people who read my blog are pretty set on their writing and have cute headers. However, if you want me to make a header for you, you don't even have to use it. Just let me know what you want on it and I can get started on my proofreading magic.

CLICK HERE to see my new website.

Wish me and Proofred luck!