Monday, August 30, 2010


This summer, I have been touched by many amazing stories. Here are 3 that have really reminded me of what is really important and changed my life.

Home Extreme Makeover came to Pocatello to help a family on 8th Avenue. This is an amazing story --- I just wish that as a community, we could have done this without something like Home Extreme Makeover to pull everyone together.

Their story and full press release:

Pocatello, ID August 18, 2010-The EMHE team is starting their latest build off on a high note in Pocatello, Idaho. The Marshall-Spreiers are a family of breakouts with a passion for singing and a true love of the performing arts. A single mother of nine, Jane Marshall braved a courageous battle with breast cancer 2 years ago. During her recovery, a faulty dryer vent resulted in a fire that ravaged the family home. The house was left uninhabitable and Jane was forced to use her insurance money to seek out alternative living arrangements. Now the money has run out and they are doing everything they can to stay positive despite half the family living in a one-bedroom cottage and the other half living in friend's motor home.

When Jane discovered she had cancer, the eight children living at the broken down home became warriors in their own right. Her 18-year-old son stepped up to the plate and challenged himself to hold his family together. At the time, Noah realized he would need to put his education on hold until his mother finished out her treatments. Sophie (18), Ruth Anne (17), Daniel (15), Elizabeth (14), Elijah (12), Isabelle (9), and Kate (9) have all had to grow up at fast, but they still remain positive and strive to achieve their dreams. Even during these difficult times, Jane tries to lead by example. She encourages the children to laugh, play and not give up on life. As a family they also celebrate the human spirit by finding ways to give back to the community (anonymously).

The Marshall-Spreiers family's luck is about to change, and they are finally getting something they deserve. On August 18th, the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Team arrived to fine tune their living arrangements. The shell of their burned out 2,000 square foot home is about to be demolished so they can enjoy their love of music that binds them together. In just seven days, the family will be able to begin a whole new composition.

The Marshall-Spreiers will go on vacation to Key West, while "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" team leader Ty Pennington, designers Jillian Harris, Paul DiMeo and Ed Sanders, local builder Rockwell Development, and community volunteers rebuild the structure. The location address is: 243 South 8th Ave. Pocatello, ID 83201

ABC's Emmy-winning hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition will be selecting one of five families in Southeast Idaho to be featured on it's award winning show that helps change the lives of families and inspires remarkable community support. Each week, the show renovates the entire home of a deserving family, traveling across the country.

Their house:


Starting from the foundation:

Up we go:

Windows donated by Franklin Building Co.

Say what? Already?

Bricking anyone?

And siding. Yes, it's BLUE!

Working in the rain:

The driveway:

Don't forget the fence:

Finishing touches:


The reveal:

One more highlight. 8 full ride scholarships ... 1 for each child!

I guess that my opinion about the world is changing, as it should. What is really important? When we know of those around us who are lonely, suffering, or in need, do we need to be asked to give of ourselves and provide service?

I heard about the story of Preslee in July. She fell in a canal and was life flighted to PCMC. Her story is on this blog on the right hand side here. Their story is truly amazing and really puts everything into perspective. Here is a small excerpt from her blog:

For all of you who have lost a child, or who will in the future, I'm not going to pretend it isn't the most painful and difficult thing I've ever experienced. I've always wanted to be a mother, and have loved every single moment. To all the mom's out there I think you're simply amazing. I don't think we realize how much time we give up, and how much we love doing what we do for our children. To revert back to only having myself and Patrick to think about is difficult. It's painful to wake up each morning to silence and not hearing Preslee call out "mama." I miss the long stroller walks and reading her books. I miss the tender moments I had with her saying her nightly prayers right before bed. I even miss the tantrums thrown in public. :) I miss everything about that little girl. Again, it's so difficult to go back being consumed with myself, and not focused on Preslee.

President Thomas S. Monson, stated: “I believe the Savior is telling us that unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives. Those who live only for themselves eventually shrivel up and figuratively lose their lives, while those who lose themselves in service to others grow and flourish—and in effect save their lives.” That's what being a mother is, it's service. That's why it brings so much joy. So tonight, when you've had a long day and your kids are on your nerves, realize how much different you would be without them.

When I read and followed the story of Preslee and her mom and dad, I have been finding myself taking it all in, practicing patience more often, and really thinking about how my life would be different. My children are my life and my joy. And though I cannot express that in words as beautifully as they have, I love being a mom. This story capivates me and encourages me to do better everyday day.

Ashley and Preslee:

After finding that story, I heard from a friend about another similar story that happened about 2 years ago in Park City. Her story is found here. This is a website that she has created for those that are grieving. It's a very touching story as well. One more link
is an article that she was interviewed for in July of this year.

I'm sharing these thoughts today to let you know how grateful I am for the experiences of life and the knowledge that families can be together forever. To be able to give service to the neighbors down the street, acquaintances, and most importantly, my family. Have a wonderful day giving service!!!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Kate has been blessed to have found a best friend. Her name is Maddy. Kate and Maddy love each other SO MUCH (as Kate would say). She asks to play with Maddy everyday. Usually, in the morning it goes something like this:

Kate opens her eyelids. "Mom, can I go to Maddy's house?"
Me: "I'm not sure honey."
Kate: "Please mommy. You call her mom .... OKAY?"

It is so much fun to have a special friend. Maddy asked her to go swimming, and Mom and Dad agreed. I guess it's true that you get more lax with every child.



Best friends

Friday, August 27, 2010


Each year, our children get to go to the Chubbuck Days Parade, our local parade, with our Service Club. It's always the 2nd Saturday of August and is kind of a reward for our service club children!!!

This year, the theme to the float was 'rockin' to the beat of service.'

Here are a few pictures this year:



Kate and mom

Our service club friends:


This month was full of baseball, doctor appointments (surprise), and regular work. Here are some of the highlights.

Sunsations had a big open house July 8th. Our events are always fun and crazy because of the specials which are one night only. It was such a fun night to get to visit with clients, visit with all of the girls I work with, etc. Here are a few pictures from that night. (Thanks Kati!)

Glitter tattoo station.

Rachel being crazy. My back is turned.

Tasha deciding on which tattoo to get.

Our group shot.

My calling, which is the best in the world, was fun this month. We put on a Stake Activity Day which we called "Ponytails and Purses". The girls came that morning (we had 92 girls) and picked up their drawstring backpack. We had a sister from our stake, Sister Shelby Williams, did an introduction to talk about how we are all different and that's okay! She did a beautiful musical number and talked. The girls, including Faith, loved it!

Then we broke off into the different stations (8 in total) which were: friendship group, fitness plan and jump rope group, fun outdoor games with popsicles, bread making and sacrament, quilting and articles of faith, babysitting group, CTR necklace making, table manners and cupcake decorating. We had the girls bring a sack lunch as well.

We had received awesome feedback and plan to do it again next summer.

Kate went to get her pictures taken. These turned out adorable. If I can get them to upload, I will do it here. Otherwise, take this link for Kate and this one for Jordan.

Service club was the family event, which was a very fun dinner at the park. Afterwards, we played games.

On Tuesday, July 27th, we went to SLC to go to a doctor's appointment for Kate. We LOVE Dr. Finlayson! He checked Kate and she looked beautifully healthly. Then I asked if he could check Faith really fast. He agreed about the size of her tonsils and we are going to do one last recheck on Kate before winter, and at the same time, we will check Faith a little closer. YEAH!

FINALLY, Sara and I took Anya to Peter Pan at ISU theater for a birthday surprise. Thank you Tyler! It was supposed to be Cats, but it was changed to Peter Pan. It was such a fun production, but it was 3 hours!!! Glad that we didn't have any children with us. We didn't take any pictures, but here are a few I found online.