Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The South Fails to Rise Again

I love living in the South. Things are just a little different here, and Nate and I have found that we thoroughly enjoy learning and immersing ourselves in the culture. Culture lessons this weekend consisted of going to our very first Civil War Reenactment! For those of you who have never been to one, just picture that scene from Sweet Home Alabama. It was just like that.

They started the show off with a bang... literally. The Rebels shot a giant cannon right next to the crowd. Everyone gave a startled cry and then laughed at being caught off guard. After that the Union returned fire, and the battle was on. The cavalry charged, the infantry followed, the drummer boys drummed, the cannons fired, the wounded fell, but it seemed neither side would relent. (The cows in the back field certainly retreated though. I've never seen a group of fat cows book it like that. Poor things thought their day of doom had come. )

As the battle raged on and the outcome was still uncertain, I heard whisperings throughout the crowd of "Did we win....Does anyone know the actually story....Did we get 'um?" I wanted to answer, "If by 'we' you mean the United States (since that is your country), than yes, we won! If you mean the Confederate States, than no! I hate to break it to you, but they were defeated and no longer exist for you to affiliate yourself with." However, I chose not to share my thoughts on that, and by the end, I found myself rooting for the South. Hey, everyone else was doing it, and I found myself caught up in the excitement of the crowd. Plus we're just trying to adopt the local culture. In the end, the Yankees won the battle much to the disappointment of the spectators.

This is near the beginning of the battle. If you look closely, you can see the cows in the background. Unfortunately, you can't see them running in a picture.

Here is the Rebel retreat

Casualties of war

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Thanksgiving To Be Thankful For

The Feuz's braved the blizzards of Northern Utah and Wyoming to make the long drive out to Arkansas for Thanksgiving. At first, we were worried they wouldn't make it at all. When it became clear that they would, our next worry was they would get here too quickly. Our house was a mess, we didn't have any food, our grass needed mowed; we had a long to do list, and time was running out quickly. I called my mom around 2:00 on Wednesday to ask what time they would be here. According to my calculations, their ETA was 7:00. However, my mom said according to the GPS, they would pull into our driveway at 5:30. 5:30!?!?!?! How would we ever be ready by that time? Fortunately, Nate and I were both able to leave work early and get through our checklist. As I was sweeping the floor and pondering how they were making such good time, it hit me. They forgot to change the time on the GPS when they crossed into Central time! They assumed it would changed automatically like their cell phones. With a sigh of relief, I called my mom to tell her the good news for me and bad news for them. They really wouldn't arrive until 6:30. In the background, I heard Shane let out a cry of "Christmas is ruined!" (his favorite thing to say when something is amiss.) Nonetheless, they continued their journey and made it just in time for dinner.

Other than the two day drive, I think my family enjoyed their time in Arkansas. I know Nate and I were happy to have them. It felt like Christmas to us to be surrounded with our family. Events of the week included: eating a delicious Thanksgiving feast, watching football, shopping on Black Friday, touring the town, Wal-Mart hopping (we checked out 3 of the local ones), playing basketball at the Walton Life Fitness Center, attempting to play tennis, watching cheesy holiday movies, building a puzzle, walking on some nearby trails, and just spending time relaxing together. Our little house was at it's maximum capacity with Mom, Dad, Brianne, Shane, and Emily here, but it now feels a little empty with them gone. We're looking forward to their next visit. Easter?

My Dad started this puzzle while he was here. Nate was so proud of himself for finishing it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Kickin' It In The South

Nate and I have been making an effort lately to be more involved with the ward and community. One of our latest endeavors involved playing on a kickball team with my co-workers. We discovered that kickball down south is a little bit different than in Utah. When a team is at bat, they sit in the dugout and drink something in plastic cups that doesn't smell like Kool-Aid. When a team is in the outfield, they bring their cups with them. (Not my team, of course. We're health coaches.) As the night goes on, more and more balls that should have been caught are dropped, less kickers are actually making contact with the ball, and more wild throws to who knows where are seen. You'd think that being the only sober team in the league would give us an advantage. Sadly, I can't say we were the most athletically inclined team, and we had a problem with getting enough men to show up. However, we still split our wins and losses pretty equally.

The one thing we did have going for us was STYLE!

Last year my team decided to wear costumes because they didn't have enough players with just the employees; they needed to disguises underage players. Everyone in the league thought it was fantastic, so this year a Pageantry Bowl was created for the best dressed teams. Naturally, ours was included and we played for the Tiara of Awesomeness. And while we were obviously the more awesome team, the other team did win the game and the Tiara. We're looking forward to claiming it next year!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Laurel is Finishing Crafts?

Ladies and gentlemen, I have an important announcement: I have finished not one, not two, but three crafts! For those of you who know me well, you know that I never finish crafts. I just don't have the patience for it. By the time I figure out how I want to do something, I'm already tired of the craft and I never finish it. And I'm not really exaggerating here; just ask my mother how many unfinished crafts she's seen from me.

Perhaps there is a change for me. That change comes in the form of my mother in law, Lisa. Lisa is the exact opposite when it comes to crafts. She is so creative and is always making some cute decoration or card. When she was in town a few weeks ago, she brought some craft items for me and Alyssa. I'll be honest and say I was quite worried Lisa would discover that her son married the most uncreative and uncrafty girl in the world. (Which is true, I just didn't want her to know!) Well, I'm proud to say that I finished ALL the craft projects she brought. I sewed a table runner, decorated a Halloween jar, and made a cute picture frame. Granted, it did take me two days to finish what would take a normal person less than 2 hours to finish. Here are some pictures to prove I finished. (I figured most of you wouldn't believe it without some picture documentation)

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Shepherds go to the Mule Festival

We finally had company last weekend! The prize for being our first visitors goes to Nate's parents, Stan and Lisa. We were so excited to have them come, and we definitely enjoyed the entire weekend. We decided we needed to entertain them true Arkansas style, so we took them to the local mule jumping competition! Yes, you read that correctly, mule jumping competition. (Like I said, true Arkansas style entertainment.)

So the cool thing about mules is they have incredible back leg strength. This competition shows off that strength. They can jump really high from a standing position, unlike horses who have to get a running start. The jumping competition is like limbo only in reverse. The bar is raised not lowered each round. The mule who can clear the highest height wins. I believe the winning mule jumped over a bar that was 51 inches high! Pretty impressive considering the mule itself was probably only 51 inches tall. The best part of the competition was watching the trainers try to convince the mule that it should jump over this bar. Some of the mules just danced around it, some dug in their back heels and refused to move, one ran away, and some just plain walked though the bar and knocked it over.

Other events at the mule jumping competition included barrel racing (not very exciting because most of the mules didn't want to go fast, yet entertaining because it was funny to see the rider try to force the stubborn mule to go around a barrel), safe tree climbing (yes, there is a proper way to climb a tree), hog calling (unfortunately, we missed this part of the day, but I'm sure we would have enjoyed it)and an old car show. All in all it was a great event to take Stan and Lisa to. Hopefully they enjoyed it as much as Nate and I did. We loved having guests and hope to have more soon. We promise we'll show you a good Arkansas time too!

I couldn't get our video to work but this is one from the same festival I found on youtube from a different year.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

What Is It With Men and Fire?

Why do all men love fire? From the time they are little boys, they are taught not to play with fire, so what do they do? Play with fire, of course. The cavemen discovered fire thousands of years ago, but there is something inherent inside every man that demands that he too discover fire. And so it is with my husband.

Nate’s latest project around our house has been building a fire pit in our backyard. (Our backyard is shaded by a small forest so it's basically dead.) Nate claims the only reason he wanted to build the fire pit was so I didn’t have to roast my marshmallows over the stove anymore. Very sweet of him, but not the whole truth. I know that his true motives lie somewhere closer to his innate fascination with fire.

In order to build the fire pit, we first had to collect some big rocks. We rode our bikes to a wooded area in search of such rocks. We filled our backpacks with the rocks (and by our backpacks, I really mean Nate’s backpack. I already struggle with the whole uphill biking business. I didn’t need a bag of rocks weighting me down.) and took them home to begin construction of our fire pit. Nate built a boy scout worthy pit and we had our first fire tonight. We didn’t check with our landlord or the city before we had our bonfire…hope it’s ok!

Friday, September 24, 2010

...If You Can't Tell, Why Should We?

Before we moved, Nate told me there was a place out in Arkansas that was just like my beloved Creamery on 9th, but I refused to believe him. I was sure that no where could compare. Well, I’m here to tell you that I was wrong!

I have substituted The Creamery on 9th with Braum’s on Walton! Braum’s is very similar to the Creamery. There is a restaurant portion with burgers, fries, and of course, a delicious array of ice cream. And then there is a grocery portion. There is even a little produce section that reminds me of my very own produce section back at the Creamery when I was the produce manager. It’s a little smaller, but similar enough to make me feel right at home.

The milk is so thick and creamy. I feel guilty drinking my skim milk because it is so creamy there is no way it is actually skim! Nate loves the thickness of his 2% but that didn’t stop him from trying to sneak a gallon of whole milk into our cart this week. I guess “extra” creamy is just not as good as “way too much fat” creamy. I caught him and made him put it back. The chocolate milk was on sale though so we did get a half gallon. When we got home, Nate poured himself a glass, and next thing I know, I hear him whopping and hollering. I went over to see what all the fuss was about. It looked like he had a melted frosty in his cup; apparently the chocolate milk was made with whole milk! Since he couldn’t get the regular whole milk, Nate accidentally tricked me into getting him whole chocolate milk. It looked disgustingly thick to me, but Nate was grinning ear to ear as he drank it. We will not be purchasing that chocolate milk again.

Other than the chocolate milk (I don’t even feel right calling it milk- the chocolate cream) incident, we have loved all our experiences with Braum’s. The first time I stepped into the store, I felt like I had a piece of home with me.

We conducted a little experiment: which one is the melted frosty and which one is the whole chocolate milk? If you can't tell, why should we?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Do You Know You're Lucky?

Many of you who read this blog live in Utah. Do you know what you have? I didn't fully appreciate the value of living in Utah until we moved to Arkansas. There is no such thing as classifieds or anything like unto it out here! Sure they have craigslist but that does not even begin to compare to KSL. If you have never purchased anything on KSL, I urge you to check it out ASAP. You are in for a real treat! You can buy anything from the KSL classifieds. For example: Brianne bought a dining room table and chairs, Kyle and Shara bought a rocking chair, my mom bought a fancy camera, my dad bought a truck, I bought a cell phone, Nate and I won free engagement pictures, my cousin bought her wedding dress, Shane bought Jazz you can see, my family loves KSL! You get great stuff for a fraction of the price. Since there is no KSL here, Nate and I have had to resort to other methods of acquiring worldly possessions. We've been able to gather new items through scavenging neighborhood garage sales, making new friends who want to give us their stuff, paying full price at the store (only as a last resort!), or inheriting Bryson and Alyssa's old stuff. Our latest attainment is an office desk! We had a room designated as out "office" but no desk, so it wasn't really a legitimate office until today! Nate found the desk through a flyer posted on the board at his work. Nate drove a hard bargain and talked the guy down quite a bit on price. We got a great deal, and I was able to feel ALMOST like I was using KSL again!

Other than KSL, we really miss having the temple just down the road. Or for that matter having five temples just down the road! Our temple is in Oklahoma City. It's about a four hour drive plus we have to pay about $19.00 in tolls! (Luckily, we split it with Bryson and Alyssa.) It is a VERY small temple; smaller than any temple I've ever been in. But size or distance makes no difference. The blessings are the same and we are grateful that we are able to go.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Our first home!

In my very first blog post, I promised pictures of our house would be coming soon. Well, soon is relative. For those of you who have been anxiously awaiting the pictures, the time has finally come! We were able to get an amazing deal on our house. We're renting a three bedroom, two bathroom, two car garage home for the price of an average apartment. We feel very blessed.

I have three times as much counter space in the kitchen as I did in the Villa!

The blue couch is the "homeward bound couch" mentioned in the last post. The recliner came from Nate's cousins Landon and Julie. Nate's roommate gave him the t.v. because he didn't want to move it. The book shelf and table were left by our landlord. We're great at collecting furniture!

Thanks Grandpa Feuz for making us our dining room table! My mom told us growing up that if we learned to play the piano, someday she would give us one. I didn't know she was serious until she gave this piano to me for a wedding gift!

Our bedroom was a little messy, so I tried to avoid getting the floor in the picture. Haha! Nate's mom gave me the bedset for a shower gift. It was the exact colors we wanted.

Here is our lovely guest room. The couch has a hide-a-bed. Doesn't it look inviting? This was also left by our landlord. Or if you would prefer, we have an air mattress. Come visit us!!! My Grandpa made me the cedar chest for my high school graduation.

This room will eventually be our office once we get a computer desk. The chair also came from Landon and Julie. It is so comfy! We bought the book shelf at a garage sale for less than $10.

Here is the master bath. We found a shower curtain that matches our bedspead! As you can see, my shoe habit is a little out of control...

What a cute deck! I wish we had a porch swing. That's pretty much it for our house. (Well, I didn't take a picture of the other bathroom or our washer and dryer. Oh well.) We love living here. I promise it looks even cuter in person, so plan your next vacation to Bentonville, Arkansas!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The tale of the job, the redneck jamboree, and the homeward bound couch

Much has happened in the Shepherd household since the defeat of the ants. Our first big news is I finally found something to do to fill my day besides watching Gilmore Girls and reading cookbooks. (Not that I didn’t love that, but apparently there was a rumor floating around that I was becoming a bum!) It’s called a job! I am working for a health behavior change organization down in Fayetteville . I feel like quite the adult now that I am a commuter. (30 minute drive) Eventually I’ll be working as a personal health coach. I’ll help participants lose weight, manage chronic diseases, quit smoking, etc. I won’t start that until October. In the meantime, I am an engagement specialist. Sounds impressive but really just means the annoying girl who calls your home 45 times. The companies we’re partnered with provide me with a list of their employees covered under insurance, and I get to call them and tell them they are unhealthy and should enroll in our program. I’m kind of like a salesperson except I’m not selling anything. The program is free for participants because their employers pay us. I mostly talk to answering machines all day, but yesterday I talked to a woman we have been trying to reach since 2008. Not only did I talk to her, but I enrolled her! Quite the accomplishment. The amazing thing is she had no idea who we were. Really? You didn’t hear the 38 messages we’ve left you over the last two years?

Second, Nate found his new favorite form of entertainment: demolition derby/redneck spotting! We decided to check out the local hot spots so we went down to the rodeo grounds in Springdale for the demolition derby. First thing we noticed was the rule seemed to be shirts and teeth are not required, however, beer is. I liked watching the crowd. Nate liked watching the cars start on fire. He’s already looking for another derby to go to. He’ll need to grow out his facial hair a bit to fit in better next time.

Finally, we found a couch on our doorstep. Some friends of ours in the ward offered to give us one of their old couches. Neither of us had a way to transport it so it’s been waiting for us in their garage for the last month. The other day, we opened the door and there she be! Just sitting there waiting to be brought into our home and loved. We’re not really sure when it got there or how it got there. It found its way home somehow and we love it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Have you seen a carpenter ant? How about 500 or so of them crawling around your house? No? That could easily be remedied if you lived in Arkansas. Shortly after we moved in, we found ourselves in a plague of carpenter ants. These aren't regular ants either. We're talking sumo wrestler ants! We found some pest killer in the garage that our landlord had left us, but in reading the label, we were disappointed to find that it killed every kind of ant known to man EXCEPT carpenter ants. It soon became a battle of Nate vs. the ants. He bought some new killer and here is a picture of the results.

Nate found where they were sneaking into our house and sprayed it down with ant poison. We soon found at least 100 of them dead on the floor. Nate swept them up and proudly took a picture to document his victory! I still find a couple of lone ants here and there, but for the most part they have retreated, and we have reclaimed our home. Nate: 1 Ants: 0. What an impressive husband!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Good & Bad of Our First Camping Trip

We went camping this weekend at Lake Degray with Bryson and Alyssa. Here are a few of the highlights.

Good idea: Plan a camping trip 4.5 hours away solely for the purpose of running in a 5k called The Dam Night Run
Bad idea: Forget to train for said run

Good idea: Use gift cards from our wedding to buy an air mattress so as to avoid sleeping on the hard ground
Bad idea: Try to save money by buying the cheap batteries that don’t work so we can’t blow up our new air mattress

Good idea: Spend the day playing in the water and lounging on the sand
Bad idea: Spend the day in the sun getting dehydrated and then try to run a race

Good idea: Cook gourmet food while camping. Who says you have to just eat hot dogs when you’re eating in the wilderness?
Bad idea: Eat too much gourmet food and then try to run a race

Good idea: Take a rotating fan to go in the tent and keep us cool at night
Bad idea: Go camping when its 100 degrees and 80% humidity and only take one fan for the tent

Good idea: Camp at a campground with flushable toilets
Bad idea: Forget to make sure there is actually toilet paper in the stalls

Good idea: Stop and check out Hot Springs,the number one tourist destination in Arkansas
Bad idea: See the number one tourist destination in Arkansas after being here for three weeks. Now what are we going to see?

All in all we had a good time camping and running the Dam Night Run. We are thinking of making it an annual event just so we can get the t-shirt from the race…

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The LONG Journey- Hence, the long blog post

Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, ARKANSAS! If Nate and I were a package that you were tracking for delivery, this would be the route you would have followed over the last few weeks; and it was all ground delivery too. No flying, only driving. Google maps and I estimate that we drove at least 3,318, yes that’s right, 3,318 miles throughout the course of this “little” jaunt of ours.
June 26th was officially decreed the best day ever! It is anticipated that the events which transpired that day, namely our wedding, will forever alter the course of history. (That is, at least for us.) We were sealed in the Logan Temple by Grandpa Smith. Everyone there said it was such a miracle. (Not only that Nate finally got married, but that Grandpa Smith was healthy enough to perform the ceremony seeing as he had undergone brain surgery only weeks before.) It was a beautiful day, and we were immensely grateful for the love and support of all our family and friends.
There was another reception planned in Washington five days after our wedding, so we knew we’d have to honeymoon somewhere along the way between Utah and Washington. It was a tough decision between Burley, Idaho and the Oregon Coast but in the end, Oregon won out. In all seriousness, I’ve always wanted to go to the Oregon Coast, so I was quite pleased with our decision. We stayed in Cannon Beach and Astoria. We had surprisingly perfect weather the entire trip. We went to the beach, ate ice cream at the cheese factory, flew airplanes off the Astoria Column, rode a trolley, saw the house from the Goonies, and had a grand time.
We had some chill time with Nate’s family in Auburn and then with mine in Logan. We LOVE our families! Next, we went to Spanish Fork for Grandpa Smith’s funeral. He was one of the kindest, most considerate men I have ever known and he will surely be missed by so many. Then, Kyle and Shara had their baby so we went back to Logan to meet our first niece! She is absolutely adorable! I just knew that she was going to come early because she wanted to meet us before we disappeared into the abyss that Arkansas is. Thanks for making an early entrance Suzan!
The rest of the journey went something like this: Stopped in Wyoming to say goodbye to my brother Shane and Grandpa and Grandma Anderson; Spent the night in my hometown of Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Showed off all the sites to Nate including Discount Fireworks, the high school, Wal-Mart, and the Wonderful House which is the best Chinese restaurant; Drove and drove and drove some more; And then……. We finally arrived at our new home in Bentonville, Arkansas!
And so ends the long journey. Stay tuned for pictures of the house and updates from our life. I promise the coming posts will not be quite so long so I hope this ridiculously lengthy post did not turn you off from future readings of the Nate and Laurel blog.