Vote For Us!

My husband Mark entered us in a contest on a whim a few weeks ago not really thinking we’d get very far, but now we have and we need some help to win $7500! Zions Bank contacted us letting us know we made it to the top 10 of their Home Improvement Challenge and we’re currently in second place. We are going crazy with excitement of the possibility of winning this money and redoing our bathroom, which is in need of some serious repairs and updating.

How you can help us win??!

-We need votes for our picture. Lots of votes! You can vote for our picture by following the link below. (Our picture is the one with the feet dangling through our bathroom ceiling).


-Vote everyday until May 31st.

What to expect when you vote.

Zions Bank is doing this contest through Facebook but you don’t have to be signed up for Facebook account to vote.
VOTING INSTRUCTIONS: Please note this initial verification process will only have to be completed once per email address.

1. Mobile devices are not supported for this voting process

2. Click “Vote for this entry” for the photo of your choice

3. Enter CAPTCHA verification

4. Enter email address in order to receive verification link

5. Check your email and click on the verify link (If you don’t see it in your inbox, be sure to check your junk/spam folder. The message will come from

6. This will take you back to the voting screen where you will be asked to vote for the photo again

7. Enter CAPTCHA verification one more time

8. Enter email address one more time

9. When your vote is submitted successfully, you will see a “Thank You” message

Other ways you could help!!!

-Tell your co-workers!

-Email the above link or a link to this blog post to your friends and family.

-Share the above link by copy and pasting it to your Facebook status.

-Share your thoughts of why you think we deserve this money on Zions Bank’s Facebook Wall. It won’t count as a vote, but it might get some attention to anyone who happens to visits Zions Bank Facebook page.

-If you have a Twitter account-Tweet it!

-Share it on your blog!

What you get in return?!

-Knowing that you helped us out so much and made our bathroom dreams come true!

-We will be forever in your debt (tempting no?)

Mark and I both thank you again for your help! Don’t forget you can vote once a day UNTIL MAY 31ST


Mark and Melanie

Help us win $7500!

Mark’s pride was really hurt when he stepped right through our bathroom ceiling! While trying to install a CAT5 in our house, he made a misstep and made a large hole in the ceiling. We kinda tried to patch it up but it’s more like a band aid over a gash! (ewe)

We also, okay it was me, left the sink running and it overflowed and the water damaged the floor underneath the linoluem making a bubble in the middle of the floor! The shower head leaks, when the shower is on it “screams” at you….to name a few of the things we want to fix.

To make a long story short we need a new bathroom so when we heard about Zions Bank’s Home Improvement Challenge we entered a photo and made it to the top 10! So excited!

The winner will get $7500 towards their renovations.

The photo with the most votes wins! So we need all the help we can get.

I actually really hate begging friends on facebook to do this. I hate to be a bug, but it really would help.

You can vote once a day, everyday until May 24th.

Just click this link below and it will take you where you need to go.

Click here to vote for us!

and then once there, click the text link “like this” to vote for our photo! Because Zions is doing their contest through their Facebook page sometimes it’s confusing when you see their “like” link, that likes their Zions Bank page, but just remember to click the link by our ‘feet dangling’ picture and you’ll be good to go!

We really appreciate everyone’s help and as a little incentive we will have a big party/bbq at our house if we win! Everyone is invited! Free Food!

Magnus’s Blessing Day

What a great day! We were very blessed to have family from out of town be there as well as some good friends. Mark gave a great blessing, Gus was a super cutie baby, barely fitting in his outfit. I got up and bore my testimony. The rest of the meeting was very spiritual. Afterwards we chatted with family and friends, then headed home to hurry and get ready for dinner.

Dinner was tastey, the kids ran around and we all got a chance to talk.

All the men who were in the circle are all great guys and great examples of spiritual men. It was such a blessing to have family and friends there in the circle. In attendance were both mine and Mark’s Dad’s, brother’s Troy, Ryan and Gary, friends Tommy Davis, Mike Nielsen, Jeremy Young (all guys that Mark served with in the Elders Quorum) and our very faithful ex-home teacher Tim Lloyd.

We love our little Gus Gus and we’re so happy to have in our family. He fits in perfectly to our family, such an easy baby, so smiley and happy. He loves his brothers and looks at them adoringly even if their rough housing with him. I love all my boys so much! Look how handsome they all are in their suits! Wow, what a lucky gal I am to have all boys!

Name sake.

Both of our other boys were named after an ancestor. Wellington after his Great Grandfather and Hilyard after his Great-Great Grandfather. We really wanted to follow this pattern of turning to genealogy for a baby name but this time, we had to go WAY back!

Magnus was named after a Scottish ancestor who was born in Orkney, Scotland, about 1746. That’s seven Greats! There is more work to be done because we’re not sure when he died. Magnus Garrioch was married to a Margaret Millar and they had 5 kids. Like Wellington and Hilyard, Magnus’s name was also found on Mark’s Mom’s side of the family.

Orkney, Scotland

We searched in both my side and Mark’s. We even went back as far as Adam and Eve on some lines in my family and after a HUGE list of names, we got it down to a few of our favorites. A few hours after Magnus was born we decided on his name.

His middle name, Scott, is after his Uncle Scotty, Mark’s older brother. And Bannatyne is a Scottish surname found on Mark’s Dad’s side of the family. It is also found in other family members first and middle names closer to his generation.

I get a lot of people asking what his nickname is…It’s all sorts of things, Gus, Gussy, fussy Gussy, Guster, Magster, and yes I’ve called him Maggy a few times. But we mostly use Gussy. Hilyard can only really say “Gu-Sssss”.

Another big boy!

Magnus Scott Bannatyne was born February 6, 2012 at 10:24 a.m. We knew that we would be induced a week early because our other two boys were so big. The night before the induction date we got a unexpected late night call telling us that Dr. Horsley wanted us to come earlier. Normally you call Labor and Delievery at 6 a.m. the morning of the induction to see when they could get you in. But instead of calling he just wanted us to come in at 5 a.m. Wow! It was early but we didn’t mind because we were VERY excited to get this baby here. I slept for about 2 or 3 hours that night. I was very excited and couldn’t sleep but I also wanted to make sure and get up and take a shower before we went in.

Mammy came over at o’dark thirty to sleep on the couch and take care of the kids. And we were on our way! I was anxious but not as much as I was with Hilyard and Wellington. Mark teased and joked around with me to lighten the mood (who invited him anyway? :) )

They started me on the potossin about 5:40 a.m. I was already dilated to a 4 then. Mark and I spent the next couple of hours talking, playing on our iphones. Mark read and I watched shows.

They checked on me periodically. At 9 a.m. they broke my water then my contractions got really bad. I knew it was time to get an epidural after that because I dreaded each and every contraction. I was still a 4 when I had the epidural but for the next hour after the epidural I was feeling happier and even feel asleep for a few minutes.

It was a good thing I got some rest too because the next thing I knew she checked me and I was a 10 and she said it was time to have a baby. I was shocked that I went from a 4 to a 10 in an hour. I couldn’t believe that it was time to have a baby! As they scrambled around setting up I jokingly said “I’m not ready!” Mark stood up by me. He was very excited and facebooked that it was time to push!

Everything was ready and everyone was in place. Dr. Horsley came in and suited up. I pushed once and he said I was a great pusher. I pushed one or two more times and the Dr. and Mark said they could see hair. The next push Dr. Horsley said he had chubby cheeks. They kept telling me I was doing really good and I told them I didn’t feel like I was doing anything! The Dr. jokingly said, “Oh, your doing something!” He said it was a good thing I had an epidural or else I’d be saying “Bleep, Bleep, Dr. Horsley” (it was funny because he is a Stake President) he made me laugh and then he said I could just laugh him out if I wanted. I pushed probably three or four more times and he was out. It’s always an amazing feeling once you finally see your baby! The Dr. asked me how much I thought he weighed. I said “maybe 8 something”? The Dr. said “oh, I think he’s a lot bigger than that!” We were all shocked that our week early baby was 9 lbs. 7 oz. and 20 inches long! Crazy! I was so surprised.

He was perfect. He was crying loud while Dr. Horsley stitched me up. After Magnus was all cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket Mark brought him over to me so I could see him. He was so beautiful! I couldn’t hold him right away because Dr. Horsley was still working on me plus I was shaking so bad I was afraid I was too weak and shakey to hold him.

We were so happy he was here! He was perfect! We spent the rest of the day visiting with family. Carrie, my mom and dad came. So did Mark’s sister Heidi and Mammy, who brought the boys to meet their new brother. They both held and loved their new brother. They sat with me on my hospital bed, ate snacks and watched cartoons.

I was so exhausted and wanted to be asleep. The first night wasn’t too bad, just normal sleeplessness. After Mark got a few hours of sleep I woke him up and traded with him. Mark also changed his bum for the first few times. What a great Daddy!

At least I had room service breakfast to look forward to. It took us a while to get checked out of the hospital. Magnus was cleared to go by 10 a.m. We were told Dr. Horsley didn’t do his rounds till lunch time. So we decided to go ahead and order lunch while we were waiting. After lunch, they said it would be longer. We were very anxious to leave so finally someone called Dr. Horsley for us, it was a good thing too because he said he wasn’t coming in till 5 p.m. that day. He is awesome and he released us over the phone.

We feel so blessed that Magnus is here and he’s healthy. He is a very easy baby so far. He wants to eat like all the time! He’s already waking up only once maybe twice a night. He’s strong, loves being cuddled, and is patient with his brothers holding him.

Make-A-Mix Hot Chocolate

Last night…
Welly: ” I want some hot chocolate”
Me: “Sorry Welly, we don’t have any”
Welly: “Just look in a recipe book and make some”

He got me there.

Here is a really easy and tasty recipe for homemade hot chocolate. This is from the Make-A-Mix cookbook. There is a large quantity recipe that you can store in a large ziplock bag or in a container. Just as long as its air tight it will keep for A LONG TIME. Then there is a mini mix recipe that makes about two large glasses of hot chocolate. This is handy so you can try it out and see if you like it.

4 1/2 cups regular powdered milk or 9 cups of instant powdered milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa

2 TBSP regular powdered milk or 1/4 cup instant powdered milk
1/2 tsp. cocoa
1 tsp. sugar

To make Hot Chocolate:
Combine in a quart jar, cover and shake hard, or mix on low in a blender:
1/3 cup Hot cocoa mix made with REGULAR POWDERED MILK, or
2/3 cup Hot cocoa mix made with INSTANT POWDERED MILK
1 cup hottest tap water

We of course added marshmallows to ours after we added the hot water. Enjoy!

P.S. I made a BIG batch of this one year to serve to our Primary at a cold weather activity we had. It was way good!

One hot soon-to-be Audioprosthologist.

Super proud to have such a hard working husband. He has the best work ethic of anyone I know. I’m also proud of him that he takes the initiative and is wanting to be better at what he does. This next year he’ll be working hard to add the title Audioprosthologist to his lab coat.

I know, what is that? From what I understand he will be learning advanced skills in fitting hearing aids. It’s supposed to be a really good course and he’s excited because it’s only offered in Utah every couple of years. It also means one weekend a month, for a year, Mark will be in Salt Lake. His classes start in January and we’re planning on joining him on the weekends he’s in Salt Lake as soon as we can, when the new baby is a bit older (baby is due in February). Hate to be apart!

I know he’ll be great at it! He’s great at anything he does. Basically he’s awesome. :)

Making time for each other.

Between lack of time, finances, and babysitters. It can be hard to go on a date, so we’ve started having dinner dates at home. We’ve done it three or four times now.

Basically we feed the kids first. It’s usually mac and cheese, something easy and quick or random leftovers I throw on their school trays. Then after they’re done eating Mark or I take turns making a fun dinner just for us.

This last dinner Mark made was an amazing, fancy steak stroganoff. It was probably the most tasty thing I’ve had in a long time (recipe to come later). He brought home flowers and Martinelles. We put on a table cloth, put out candles and dim the lights.

We’ve also used Sautes for Two from Stouffers before. They are WAY tasty and easy to make. Our favorite is steak gorgonzola. Put it with some garlic or pesto bread, a fancy drink and don’t forget dessert! We’ve had cheesecake before, doughnuts (fancy!) and lemon merienge pie.

While we’re eating our dinner, we turn on a movie for the boys. It’s pretty cute, they try to come in an sit at the table with us or sneak food. We try to shoo them away but by the time were eating dessert we give in and let them come in and have dessert with us. One time Welly came in and hanging out by the counter said, “I’m just going to watch you eat”. It was funny.

We have two of those Sautes for Two in the freezer and I want to try making beef Wellington sometime for us. I also really want to try to make some chocolate souffles sometime too.

I love our dinner dates and I love our time together. I love treating Mark and “US” to something special. It doesn’t take a lot of money or planning, but it means a lot and goes a long way for your marriage.