Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Leading up...

Here is a random post of events leading up to Christmas.
 First, meet Ashley...I mean Asher.  He is definitely not happy to be dressed in pink.  We're borrowing more warm jammies from a friend here that has a little girl.  Asher wanted me to tell you he is so embarrassed I posted this picture!
 We didn't have stockings this year and so I decided to go back to 1st grade.  I pulled out the construction paper, tape and scissors! It did the trick. 
 As a friend/neighbor gift we made homemade fudge. It was DELICIOUS! Thank you Pinterest.

 I love capturing Ryan enjoying my treats!
 Yes, I do know I look beautiful.  No need to leave a comment expressing how jealous you are of my greasy/wavy hair.
I had to capture this picture. Asher and Ryan were wrestling and laughing when all of a sudden Asher made a big sigh noise and then started sucking his thumb mid wrestling move. "Dad, I need a minute."
 His "My First Christmas" hat that is for a tiny newborn. Didn't quite fit. You get the idea!
And Asher has been crawling like a MAD MAN.  He crawls, pulls himself up onto everything and is loving to be tickled, wrestled, thrown and is even loving hide and go seek. Can't believe he is almost 8 months old. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Basketball & Article

Ryan had a great game last week! He had 29 points and got player #4 of the week. He is doing very well and we're really enjoying this season!  He has a game Christmas day and New Year's Eve! We're actually excited because one of them is against Ryan's old team here in Turkey and we miss all of the people! 

I got an email from the writer of a Basketball magazine.  He wanted to make sure I saw this article he wrote about Ryan two years ago.  Kind of random because it was a long time ago but I was happy he wrote me because I hadn't seen it! I wanted to make sure and post this to show our kids!

Forgotten Legends Series: Ryan Toolson

In the latest installment in his "Forgotten Legends" interview series CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with Ryan Toolson, the greatest player in Utah Valley history. After his time at Utah Valley, Toolson left as the school's all-time leader in points, assists, three-pointers made and free throw percentage just to name a few categories. Toolson is now playing professionally in Turkey.
Jon Teitel: In 2003 at Gilbert (AZ) High you were named Arizona Player of the Year. Why did you choose to go to Utah Valley?
Ryan Toolson: In high school I was not highly recruited because I did not go to many AAU tournaments until the summer before my senior year. I had a few good schools interested in me after that but I chose to sign before my senior season started. UVU felt like a good choice because I thought coach Dick Hunsaker could help me progress the most. UVU was just transferring from a JC to a D-1 program, and it was in a great area where there are a lot of members of my faith.
JT: You served an LDS church mission to Guatemala City. What role does your faith play in your life, and what lessons did you learn from your mission?
RT: The LDS faith means everything to me. It has helped me become the man I am today and teaches great principles that every family should want to have in their own lives. On my mission I grew from being a boy to being a man; that was the time in my life where they "cut the umbilical cord" (so to speak) from my parents. In the two years I spent in Guatemala I only spoke with my family twice a year: once on Christmas Day and once on Mother's Day. I wrote home via email once a week but other than that I did not have a lot of contact with anybody from home. The quote that describes my mission perfectly is, "Pray as though everything depends on God; work as though everything depended on you." My family was not there to help me through my problems so it helped me rely on the man upstairs.
JT: In 2007 you led the nation in free throw shooting with 97% (96-of-99). Did you feel like you were going to make every free throw you took that season, and do you still remember the three you missed?
RT: When it comes to shooting I am a very confident person. Every time I shoot I think the ball is going in. I guess I always thought that is how you should think if you want to be good, and that is the approach I also take when it comes to free throws. For me missed free throws haunt me more than missed buzzer-beaters because you should not miss free throws. During a game there are so many things that can impede you from getting a good shot or prevent you from even getting a shot off, but during a free throw you have ten seconds to shoot a wide-open shot right in front of the hoop. I do remember the three I missed. I missed the front-end of a 1-and-1 in a game at Southern Utah, and then I actually missed two in a row in a game at South Dakota State. The two in a row were actually the second of two free throws followed by the front-end of a 1-and-1 later in the game.
JT: In 2008 you led the nation in free throw shooting for the second straight year (95.1%) and were named Division I Independent Player of the Year. What did it mean to you to win such an outstanding individual honor?
RT: Winning the Player of the Year award did not really mean a whole lot other than the fact that I played on a good team. You are not a good player unless you have other good players around you.
JT: After the 2008 season you got married. What was it like to be married while still in college, and do you think it had any effect on your game?
RT: Getting married in college was the greatest decision I ever made. I found the girl of my dreams and knew that she was the one for me so there was no point in wasting time. Being married also helped my game. No more parties until 2 AM or staying up late with your buddies doing who-knows-what! I had time to focus on my studies, basketball, and her, and that is the way I wanted it.
JT: In 2009 you had 12 rebounds and scored a school-record/NCAA season-high 63 points in 60 minutes in a quadruple-overtime win at Chicago State (the tenth-highest total in NCAA history). How did you have any energy left for each successive overtime period, and how has that one game changed your life?
RT: I finally got the respect that I thought I deserved after the CSU game. Pro scouts knew that I was pretty good but I needed a performance like that to catch their attention and help them realize that I could play at the next level. I was playing on pure adrenaline in the overtime periods because after every play I thought to myself that I was finished and could not go up and down the court one more time. Somehow we managed to win it and it felt amazing.
JT: In 2009 you led the nation in free throw shooting for the third straight season (92.7%), and you finished your career ranked second all-time in NCAA history in career free throw shooting (93.9%). How were you able to maintain your focus over your entire career, and what is your secret for free throw shooting?
RT: For me free throws are more mental than anything else. I remember arguing with my uncle Danny Ainge about why big guys cannot make free throws and why the average free throw percentage in the NBA is so low. He tried to tell me that it is like putting in golf...but I think he used this example because he knew that I sucked at golf! My counter-argument was that the putting greens on every course are different and even the same green can be different in the morning vs. the evening, which basically makes for a hard putt every time. A free throw is the only thing that has not changed in basketball. Three-point lines have changed a few times, along with the length and width of the court from college to the NBA, but the free throw line has never changed. The floor is flat, the hoop is 10-feet high/15-feet away from you with nobody guarding you, and you have 10 seconds to put it in. If I missed a putt I could say that the grass was too wet or dry, or sloped too much, or whatever. There are no excuses for missing a free throw.
JT: You graduated as the all-time leading scorer in school history, and you also hold the school record for career assists. Did you realize at the time how prolific a player you were, and how were you able to balance your scoring with your passing?
RT: During my junior and senior years all the attention was on me. I was double-teamed coming off screens every time or just had a box-and-one on me the whole game. Due to that happening so much I was able to free up a lot of my teammates for easy shots. However, being a shooting guard I never thought that I would set the assist record.
JT: You went overseas to play in Turkey, where you currently lead your team in scoring and made your first All-Star game. What have you learned from this experience, and how does it compare to college basketball?
RT: Right now I am on a very young team that relies on their foreign players (like me) a lot. I guess that I just came to the right situation during my rookie year and it has helped me make a good transition to the European style. The difference from college to the pros is the athleticism of the players and the speed of the game: here you get up and down the floor a lot faster than in America. They love shooters too. They even want their centers to be able to shoot well which makes the need for teamwork on both offense and defense an absolute necessity.
JT: Your family has a very impressive athletic lineage. Your cousin Andy played for the Utah Jazz, and your uncle Danny is the only person to be a high school First Team All-American in football, basketball, and baseball. Is it a coincidence that you have such an athletic family, or do you credit at least some of your success to genetics?
RT: My lineage is not as strong as everybody thinks. I am not actually related to Danny by blood; he just married my dad's sister Michelle when he was at BYU. Everybody thinks that we are related because we are both shooters and we look alike, but that is where it ends. My dad's side of the family has Andy but my mom's side of the family is mostly cowboys, so I am leaning more towards coincidence and a little bit of a competitive drive.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


When we went to meet Santa a couple of weeks ago he gave Asher bubbles.  Way to go Santa because Asher has LOVED the bubbles.  We've been throwing the bubbles in the bottom of the stroller and when we walk outside we're sure to let some loose.  Asher is starting to understand how to "POP" them.  

 I was so tempted to buy this little rocking horse for Asher but then remembered I have to get everything home at the end of the season.  Bummer. It was adorable.
Asher watching his favorite show "Yo Gabba Gabba" and sucking his thumb.

Birthday Celebration

A couple weeks ago we were able to find a night to celebrate my Birthday!  We went to one of my favorite restaurants here called Paprica and then we did something I've been wanting to do forever now...

 Asher enjoying his applesauce at dinner.
 Porcini fettucini, greek salad and a margherita pizza. Hit the spot!

 What I have been wanting to do FOREVER is do a blind taste test.  What ice cream is better, McDonald's or Burger King?  We had to do the test! We tested Hot Fudge Sundaes and Chocolate Milkshakes.  It was so much fun! Now we have been doing blind taste tests with everything! Juices, chocolate bars and gum!  Try it! 

 What won you ask? McDonald's sundae AND McDonald's shake TAKES THE CAKE! 

Ryan even put a candle in my half eaten sundae. 
Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Not a whole lot...

There isn't a whole lot going on over here! Asher has been really sick with a virus and Ryan is out of town.  I thought I would do a small recap...
A few weeks ago I hosted our Branch FHE.  I decided it would be fun to do something with Christmas in mind.  We made paper chains and combined it with somewhat of an advent calendar.  With the help of my sister Kim we came up with this fun idea!  Everyone made a countdown and on each chain they put an activity for that day.  Some of mine included get a peppermint hot chocolate, listen to Christmas music, make a gingerbread house, put up a tree, take a walk along the water, write a friend an email and watch a Christmas movie!  We've done an activity each day this month!  After we made our paper chains we turned on Elf and I made homemade crepes with nutella, bananas and fresh raspberry whipped cream.  Yum! 

Joel and Robert

 Showing off our chain!

Asher has discovered a new trick.  Two weeks ago he began pulling himself up in his crib.  This is really cute but also terribly annoying because he doesn't know how to get back down.  He starts off playing, giggling and screeching and then it turns into screaming and crying.  He can't get down and so he feels stuck.  I go in to put him down and he immediately stands back up.  This has turned into a vicious cycle and has pretty much ruined Asher's great sleeping schedule.  I now realize how amazing it was having him lay right down and go to sleep!  I do have to say that it's incredibly cute having him reach up and grab for me when I walk in the room!

We partially completed one of our Christmas tasks.  We found gingerbread houses at Ikea!  So great! We built them one night and then we were going to decorate them the next day so it could set. BIG mistake.  It was raining the night we put them together and we woke up in the morning to a pile of gingerbread.  The whole house got so soft it fell apart.  So, we never got to the best part but it was still fun just building!


Thursday, December 8, 2011


Today we went to a Children's Christmas Party over at the Swiss Hotel.  It was such a fun morning.  Asher was able to meet Santa and he made some new friends.  They had cookies, pizza, hot chocolate, cupcakes and presents for each child.  I enjoyed Asher's food and he enjoyed a Christmas cookie! Asher's gift from Santa was a huge tube of bubbles! It was great to meet more foreign moms living here in Izmir and also learn that there are some people here that celebrate Christmas! YAY! 
Asher and Jackson

 Asher loved the ornaments
 Asher and Alysse from Germany.  She's adorable!
 Asher and Santa.  Asher tried to tug on his beard and I couldn't help but laugh at the very homemade Santa outfit.  At least it was a great attempt and the kids didn't even notice!  The funny part was how all of the children started screaming and crying when Santa came skipping in yelling "HO HO HO!" 

 On the right is Pinar.  She is the one that put this entire party together! She did a great job!

 Most of the group. It's impossible to get a decent group photo with a bunch of kids!

 Asher was obsessed with his bubbles and loved to watch this little boy suck on his pizza.
 Jen just moved here from the States! YAY!
 Catching the ferry to go home.
My other friend Pinar (I met today!) and her daughter Leva and then Addie! 
It was a great day and I was so happy to attend my first party all for Asher! Merry Christmas from a place that was 60 degrees and sunshine today!
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