Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Luck Vegas Bowl

Luck is a funny thing. It is a sadistic god. Luck gives you its blessing and with the same hand back hands you into submission. My Father, In-Law William Albert The Fourth, was lucky enough to receive a phone call from William Albert the Third sometime last week that indicated we had a way into the Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl. We didn't have tickets, but Grandpa Given knows a guy (Marty, he's part of the event staff) who would sneak us in. Cool huh? While luck seemed to be smiling on us, being the bi-polar butcher that it is, it started to mess with us. While it normally takes about 15-20 mins to get through the Gorge, due to construction and a car accident, it took well over an hour to get through. The geniuses who are working on the Gorge decided that it would be a good idea to do some construction on a holiday weekend with a bowl game in Las Vegas. Idiots. Luckily, we had planned to get something to eat before the game and had left 3 hours earlier than the game. Once we got through the Gorge, it felt like free sailing from there. We were wrong. The delay had put us behind schedule, but right on time for rush hour. I am not saying that I agree with road rage, but after running into that I began to consider carrying a gun in the car as well. Luckily, our driver Donnel knew Vegas' ins and outs so we were able to find another route. Unfortunately, a couple thousand other people seem to know the same things. By the time we got near the stadium we only had half an hour before kick off. Unfortunately, we had to drop off this girl( Shalie's cousin Colby came with us and his friend is from Vegas and she hitched a ride with us. We didn't have a problem because we were going to be there so much earlier). Luckily Billy came up with a plan to have her mom come get her. We finally got there, parked, and ran to the stadium to get there before kick off. We had only one obstacle left; getting in. Last year, Billy, Donnel, Grampa Given, and I did the same thing, but it went much smoother. No problems. Unfortunately, there was an overzealous security guard. Luckily, Marty has some power and got us in. We made it! It was funny because as Marty ushered us illegal immagrants in, he ushered two other stow-aways off the field. Bad luck, I guess. The game itself was the same story. It seemed like BYU was going to lose, but just then Manumaleuna blocked the kick. Just our luck, I guess. Go cougs.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


So we had our first big storm. The winter time is when I really start to miss St. George. I think I complain to my husband all winter long, like it is his fault it's snowing. I would never admit this to him, but this day I enjoyed the snow. It looked so beautiful on all the trees and houses. It made me even more excited for the holidays. Ella and I had big plans this day to run some errands. As I looked outside I thought I better bundle her up good. She didn't quite know what to think of the wet cold stuff falling on her face, as you can tell by the picture. So after a long day of trudging through the snow caring a car seat , we were finally home. As I took Ella out of her seat I realized I might have bundled her up a little too much, because her back was all sweaty. Woops! Next time I think two or three layers should be enough. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Why the Y?

Late November brings so many great things. There is Thanksgiving that brings families to the table to eat and reacquaint themselves with one another. There is the chilly temperature that gives us(especially Shay) an excuse to snuggle for some warmth.

And, of course there is football; specifically rivalry week.

BYU and Utah had another barn-burner of a game with BYU coming out on top...again...for the second year in a row. Last year's game was the best game I have been to in a long time. Unfortunately, I had to work this year so all I could do is watch the scores refresh on my phone. Intense, but not the same. It will be another year of trash talking and over-confidence for Cougar fans. The best thing is that next year is the leap year so instead of 365 days, we get 366. Every day counts.

This rivalry has taken a strange turn, though, in my life. Why, you might ask? Because I am a student at the U. I have been at the U for the last year and a half. So why the Y?

I have always been a BYU fan. My mom went to the Y and has always cheered for the Cougs. Being that I am my mom's biggest fan, I became one of the Y's biggest fans. There was a time that I did cheer for the U, but it was a very short time. The first collegiate game I had ever attended was with my mom's friend. It was a Utah game. I liked them because my mom's friend liked them and she bought me whatever I wanted to eat. All I had to do was cheer for the U. Done. My mom of course brought me back to the blue by doing the same thing. Took me to a game and offered food. Done. I'm a Cougar now.

Cougar Loyalty. A big pet peeve I have is disinterested "fans". I'll admit that U fans can be outright obnoxious, unreasonable, belligerent, illiterate, and sloppy drunk, but, for the most part they are very loyal and supportive. BYU fans have been notorious for being fair-weather fans. I have never heard the Utes boo a quarter back for missing a pass and yet it's happened in Lavell Edwards one too many times. On more than one occasion, while nervous because it was the final drive of the 4th and we only had one shot, I have had to listen about so and so getting married to this guy, Plugs for relief society parties, and homework study groups. The worst, though, is fans leaving because we're down two touchdowns in the middle of the 3rd! ARE YOU SERIOUS? Show some faith, ya' lousy Mormons. I have to admit fans have gotten a bit better, but that's because the Cougs are doing well. We'll see what happens when things get rocky.

Not really all that excited about being a UTE. When I moved back to Salt Lake to go to the U, I was already married. I haven't joined any Frats or clubs. I don't go to any Ute pep rallies or activities. I just go to school there. I'll admit that it is quite difficult to hate the Utes anymore. I am always checking to see if they win and hope they do well. I just can't cheer against the Cougars when it comes to Rivalry week.

Things may change when I graduate, but only time will tell. For now, I am just going to get ready to talk a lot of trash to my UTE Fan co-workers. 17-10 all day with a little bit of 33-31. Go Cougs.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Today is supposed to be the day that we look back on the fruits that have been reaped from the yearly harvest and offer up our gratitude to God. I actually took the time to sit and think about for what it is I am grateful. I have been given much this year:

10: Wake up call. Life comes at you real fast. Becoming a daddy has definitely forced me to prioritize my life decisions and in turn helped me begin to gain the qualities and standards that I had been lacking.

9: Something to say. I feel like I have become more at peace with who I am and what I believe. On most issues in any situation, I use to really sit-the-fence and play it passive. I feel that I am comfortable enough with my own personal principles and beliefs to really take a stand for what I believe.

8: Hunger for knowledge. I have probably grown more in this past year intellectually than ever before. I have been exposed to some really great books and ideas. While I don't agree with the majority of what is being said, I have learned a great deal and want more.

7: A gut check. Do I really want it? I have some pretty lofty goals and I have had to face this question constantly. Do I really want it? Anything seems ideal when you leave out the work involved. Society seems hell-bent on finding the easy way out. Is there an American Idol for changing the world? Do I really want it? Yes. Yes, I do.

6:Humility. For those who don't know, I am a Mixed Martial Arts Fighter or in layman's terms a "cage fighter". I am still at the amateur level, but I've had 8 fights so far. I lost my last fight in June because I didn't take the fight seriously. I wasn't prepared and I ended up in the hospital with some stitches, a sore head, and a bruised ego. Be prepared. Always.

5: Work. Through all my trials I have learned as long as I keep moving, they can't keep me down.

4: Hope. How do the bills get paid? I don't know; I work at Jimmy John's(913 E. Ft. Union BLVD subs so fast you'll freak). How am I an English Major? Me doesn't know. How did I end up with Shalie? You got me. If I took the pessimistic side, I don't think I'd get anything done. Things are never smooth, but they always seem to work out when there's hope.

3: Judge righteously. I feel like I hear the term "don't judge" all the time. I feel that "not judging" someone causes separation. I feel as human beings we need to make the effort to understand each other. We can't do that if we segregate ourselves by being so passive. Taking the time to hear people out and being respectful of their views will give a much deeper understanding than merely not judging them and leaving them be. We make judgments about everyone regardless if we want to admit it or not. We just need to take the time to make the right ones.

2: An appreciation for parents. I never realized how much my mother sacrificed for Me and my sisters. I wish I were a better son. Love is all my mom has ever given and with little in return. You're my hero, mom. I can't mention parents' help without mentioning my in-laws. Ol' Willard and Sammy have supported us from the get go. I can't explain their love any better than a fierce sincerity. I love you guys.

1. Shalie and Ella. God gave David Courage. He gave Solomon wisdom. He gave the world a savior. He gave me my family. Shay keeps me in line while Ella spreads sunshine. Of the many things I have received; the best was a Given: Shalie Given.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

4 Months!

Three posts in one day, I know it may seem like I am a little post happy, but I had a lot of catching up to do. Yesterday was Ella's 4 month check-up. Ella weighed in at 14 lbs 12 oz and is 25.3 in long. For starting out at 5 lbs 6 oz, she has come a long way! She is above average in both height and weight. Along with the measurements came the shots :( which made for quite a long day, but she is back to her cheery self today THANK GOODNESS!

The Twins Baptism

Sita was lucky enough to baptize his beautiful twin nieces on November 3rd. He loves his nieces so much, and was so grateful they asked him to preform the baptism. One of them was very excited while the other was a little more timid, but in the end they both did a great job. We are so proud of them and their decision to be baptized. We love you Veti and Terrina!

Ella's First Halloween

Let me just start out by saying I know this post is long overdue. But I need to post it for the record. Well I didn't think Ella's first Halloween was all that bad until I looked at these pictures. It's as if she is thinking, what's so cool about me wearing a pumpkin suit. I thought she looked pretty cute. We started out our day by going over to Aunt Nikki's. We were right in the middle of moving so Nikki was kind enough to dress up as a cat and take her to visit her Auntie Great (her Great Aunt Athena) at work. She got a few treats from the girls at the office that her Mom seemed to eat right up :) Later that night we went over to Grandma Philipoom's to visit Ella's cousins. The last picture is of Ella and her cousin Shane. It is my favorite picture. Two little chubby babies in furry costumes, it can't get any cuter. Ella was a pooped little pumpkin by the time we got home.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm Digital

Thanks to my mother-in-law, I received two brand new video games about a week ago. I am not a "gamer" so I don't have any of the newer systems, just the good ol' X-Box. Am I that old that the X-Box is now vintage? Anyway, the games were NBA Live 2007 and Fight Night: Round 3. On the former, I am happy to say that the Jazz are doing well and are undefeated so far in their first season. It is because of the later, however, that I am making this post. Shay has come to hate video games because they take up "her" time. What I have come to discover, however, is that "her" time is really an excuse she made up to complain to me so that I can not enjoy playing video games. I really am conservative with my game playing. Really. Back to the game. Luckily, Fight Night: Round 3 provides us both with entertainment. The game allows you to create your own boxer and it is very detailed. You can adjust the eyes, nose, skull, jaw, cheek bones, body type, etc. Shay was having more fun watching me create a digital me than I do playing the game. So here is my boxer, let me know if you think he looks like me.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

My Little Helper

I had such a fun weekend! My little sister Maggie came to visit. She is such a good auntie to Ella . She watched Ella while I showered and got ready. It was so nice to have the extra help for the weekend. Maggie is always so fun and entertaining. I just wanted to tell her thanks! She is such a sweetheart!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

#1 Granny!

Okay I know two posts in one day is a little much, but it has been a while. I think my mom qualifies as the best granny ever, and not to mention the cutest! My mom HATES getting her picture taken so these were the only two I could find. I feel so bad because we live four hours apart and it breaks my mom's heart that she can't see her only grandbaby every day. There have been plenty of times my mom has called me crying because she misses Ella (funny how she doesn't mention me). Everytime those two see eachother they are on cloud nine. My mom has helped me so much since I have had the baby, and I wanted to thank her. There is no way I could have done it without her. Every time she comes to visit she takes care of Ella, cleans my house, and feeds my husband (which is not an easy task). She is always there day or night when I need someone to talk to, or have any questions. Thanks you so much for EVERYTHING mom! We love you and miss you!

Two Years!

So during this blog drout on October 8th Sita and I celebrated our Second anniversary! We celebrated with a traditional date, dinner and a movie. My sister was kind enogh to babysit and took these pictures before we left. These were taken at her house so don't ask what that guy is doing in the background. I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank Sita for two wonderful years! Sita works so hard to provide for our little family. I feel so lucky to have such a great husband. He keeps me laughing and helps to remind me what is most important in life. Thanks for everything Sita. I LOVE YOU!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Way I Am

Have you guys seen that Old Navy Commercial with that addicting little ditty about sweaters? Shalie pointed it out to me and now I can't get the song out of my head when I see anything Old Navy. I feel like one of Pavlov's dogs with the exception that I only salivate at the sound of this indie-mocha-late jingle. I guess Shay has a way of doing that to me. When ever she has me listen to something or notice it, regardless if I like it or not, I can't get it out of my head. She has me so well conditioned. It might sound like she has me rapped around her finger, but that isn't how it works. For example, when Shay says, "Sita, will you get such and such from the store?" I have been conditioned to forget the moment I get there what she wanted and buy whatever I see that is interesting. Sometimes she will say, "Stop doing that." This is answered with more of whatever I am supposed to be stopping. There are many things that are to her advantage though. There are times when all Shay has to do is merely give her evil- yet beautiful- look and I will stop or start whatever it is she wants me to do. Other times she won't do anything at all or, more specifically, one thing and I will do whatever she wants. I guess that's how marriage works; learning how to respond at the right time to the right things with hopefully the right answer, yet being forgiving and helpful when you're wrong. Take a listen to this song and see if you like it. It seems to be stuck in my head like my wife is in my that the right answer, honey?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Daddy's Little Lamb

The other night, Ella started getting fussy so I picked her up out of her swing. As I picked up my little darling, I noticed her shirt was soaked with spit up. I took it off and let her roam free in her diaper. Clothing seems to be more of a restriction than anything else to little Ms. Ripley. Ella took some deep sighs of relief and satisfaction as she laid on the floor while I tried not to be too girly about how giddy it made me to hear these sweet tones. Ella suddenly gave a little shiver and I decided to get her a onesie. When I tried to pull it over her head, I noticed that it wasn't going to fit. Then it hit me. My little girl is growing up or at least she is getting bigger. I have only been a father for two months now and time hasn't really seemed to be doing anything but stand still. Ella was just a little thing that never needed new clothes because she didn't seem to be growing. Due to the long nights, it seems more like the past two months were more like one really long day. The only reason to take any notice of time was to know when to feed. I guess what I'm getting at is that time with family, specifically my two favorite girls, is timeless. Families really are forever or at least they are in my world. At first I got way ahead of my self and started thinking about how fast she is growing and how soon she'll be walking and talking. It kind of escalated into thoughts of her first day of school, her first date, all the boys I would have to screen and possibly knock out. Finally, I came to my senses and remembered that I need to enjoy these little moments.
Also, while I was having this epiphany, I noticed that Ella looked like a little lamb. What really helped the lamb effect is that when she got made about the onesie being stuck on her head, her cry kind of sounded like a baaaahhh. My baby is so cute. Shalie thinks I'm rude for putting up this picture. She says it's torture. I say it's timeless.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Date Night!

Sita and I had our first night out alone since Ella was born, thanks to my sister Nikki. I had her take a couple of pictures before we left. It felt so good to shower and get ready for a night out on the town. It is a rare occurance now, so I thought we better take some pictures. We started our night out by going to Christopher's Steak House. I am pretty picky about my food, and I must say it was amazing. We then went to the Gateway and made our way over to the Chocolate Factory for some ice cream. We ended our night with a movie. We went and saw Bourne Ultimatum. I am not really a movie fan, but I really enjoyed it. I had so much fun spending some one on one time with my hubby, I think he was feeling neglected :). It might sound crazy, but on our way home I started to get butterflies, because I was so excited to see my baby. I just couldn't stop smiling. Sita thought I was crazy, but I actually missed her.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

These are a few of her favorite things....

I wanted to post some more pictures of Ella. So these are a few of her favorite things. She loves her bath time. After every bath I give her a little massage with her baby lotion, and she thinks she's in heaven. Ella loves it when her daddy gets home from work or school and they get to visit about their days. She likes to go for walks down to her Aunt Nikki's. She also likes to take naps and make cute poses. Ella loves to have her little piggies painted. And last, but not least Ella loves to fall asleep in her swing.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Ella's Blessing Day

Here are a couple of pictures from Ella's blessing on Sunday September 2nd. Sita gave her a beautiful blessing. I am so grateful to have such a wonderful husband. It was so fun to have most of our family there. I was so glad that my Grandma Houston could make it. My Mom and Grandma helped me a lot with Ella over the weekend, it was nice to have a little break.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Are you a blog stalker?

This whole world of Blogging is quite new to me and Shalie...well, technically I am greener than Shay. Shalie was the instigator of our desire to create a blog for the family. You see Shay ( she'll probably kill me when she reads this) was very familiar with the Blog scene, yet, she herself did not have a blog. She would, how do I put this, follow or observe people's blogs persistently almost out of obsession. In other words; she was stalking. Apparently, she is not the only one. She was introduced into her guilty little secret by other blog stalkers. It's kind of a community of people who want to know what's going on in other people's lives. Not that it matters, but the majority of them are women. I found that typical...I mean interesting. I merely dismissed it and thought it was a phase she was going through, but, alas, it was one of the few mistakes I rarely make. I found this out when we ran into a group of friends that are part of the stalking community. They started spouting out statistics about such-and-such's child and so-and-so's new hair cut. Bewildered by the amount of time they all had invested into their stealthy pursuit, I wondered how many people partake in this obsession. So for any brave souls who would like to use this moment to share their addiction, please let us know. I will volunteer the first one, "Hi, my name is Shalie and I'm a blog stalker........that felt so good!" Thank you for sharing Shay.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Can you spoil a newborn?

Ever since Ella has been born she has been held, I think she has been laid down a total of five times. Every night after I get her to sleep I go to lay her down in her crib, and it never fails she wakes up and starts crying. I need some advice. She will sleep for hours in my arms, but not in her crib. Just look at her cute little face, I can't stand to just let her cry. My husband thinks she is just spoiled, but I always thought you couldn't spoil a newborn. I have been sleeping with her in the recliner at night, and am not getting much sleep. I don't care if you are a mother or not, if you have any advice I would love to hear it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Reuinons and Departures

Time with loved ones always seems too short; especially when that time ends so abruptly. Last week Shalie got the idea that maybe she and Ella would take a trip down to St. George for a week and a half. Shay's cousin Lex would be getting married the next weekend (today) and I could come down the next weekend and pick them up. Little did I know how sad and lonely I would be. No little cries or funny noises for daddy. No waking up in the morning to my beautiful wife's kisses. I didn't really want to hang out with my single friends because they wanted to do "single-people" things, but I didn't want to hang out with married friends because it reminded me that I was alone. Even worse...we don't even have cable so no ESPN or comedy central to cheer me up. The time definitely made me appreciate my girls that much more. Needless to say it was a happy day when I got to head down to the St. Geezy. I was just outside of Beaver with hopes of happy hugs and sweet kisses of reunion when I received a voicemail from Shay. Her voice not only had a sound of urgency, but it was obvious she had been crying. My heart dropped and I sat on it while I waited for service to call her back (I hate sprint). Unfortunatley, our time on earth with Grampa Clark Houston had run out and he was called back to his father's side just an hour or so earlier. Time really does seem so short sometimes. I feel like I was robbed. I might be the one to know Grampa Clark the least being that I am married into the Houston family and we have had only a few encounters and was looking forward to many more, but I'll have to wait. Grampa Clark had a way with people(I'm sure that will come in handy up there) that made him so endearing. Among his hundreds of children, grandchildren, and great grand children, he never forgot my name. He knew my interests and made it a point to talk about them when he saw me. I'll never forget his great sense of humor and loving nature. My favorite story that he tells ends with the punchline, " If I wasn't in my Sunday best, I would have taken ya." Well here's to you Grampa Clark; we love you and miss you. Keep a seat warm for us up there.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Finally some pictures of our Princess!

Ms. Ella Ripley

We took a picture of her next to a loaf of bread to show how tiny she is.

Big Papa Sita and his baby girl

Ella is just like her mommy...very sleepy.

Sleepy face.
Still Sleeping.
Finally! Here are a couple pictues of our little Ella. I am not sure how to do a picture collage yet so this will have to do for now. Ella was born on July 18th at around 1:30 pm. She weighed in at a hefty 5 lb. 12 oz. and was 19 in. long. Everyone was shocked that she was so tiny, because her dad is well...... not so tiny. We took a picture of her next to a loaf of bread to show how tiny she is. We can't decide who she looks like, we just know that she is the cutest thing we've ever seen!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Harry Potter is my guilty pleasure (Sita)

So I come home on July 21st. It is my third day as a father and, while I am extremely excited to be a father, I can't wait until my copy of the 7th and final book of the Potter series arrives. While most would probably be pondering the trials and responsibilities of first-time fatherhood, I wanted to know whether or not a fictional wizard would be killed in the search for magical objects to save the magical world. Now as sad as that may sound ; it kind of gets worse. I received the book on Saturday afternoon and I finished the book Sunday night. While I took the moments to kiss my daughter and tell her I love her, the rest of the time was dedicated to the book. I won't drop any spoilers, but I will say that I was right about Snape. To make matters worse, I dragged my wife to the midnight preview of Harry Potter 5 O.O.T.P. We didn't dress up or anything, but I did kind of feel like my mom had dropped us off at the theater. I also couldn't help feeling that all of the other people there weren't exactly the cool kids at school.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Pictures on the way...

The most annoying thing to see, or rather not see, is no pictures. Of course we want to hear about your life and cute kids and how they walked from one side of the room to the other and stared at the wall while looking so adorable, but the big draw is generally at least one picture. Sorry for the poor quality of the picture of our daughter (to the 3 people who look at this Blog) it was taken on Sita's phone which is, for lack of a better word, "ghetto." Our current camera that we own has pictures ranging from Oct. of 2005 to present day. It's kind of like looking into a time machine except it only shows you 25 days out the last 2 years of life. Since Ella arrived, we have managed to take more than generally common of us and we will post them once we figure out how to work this computer stuff. They are adorable and not just the ones of Sita, but the baby's are way cute too....oh and Shay's are way cute too. So anyway they are on their way for all 3 of you to see and anyone else who happens to fall upon this little Blog.