Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The famous Graham Christmas party!

Last Friday the Gosneys enjoyed the famous, world-renowned, completely awesome Graham Christmas Party. The Grahams are good friends and they have established a great tradition of hosting an adults-only Christmas party. Matt and Sharon celebrate their attendance at the party in two significant ways. First, they buy spiffy new Christmas sweaters (although Sharon refuses to buy one with snowmen or Santa Claus on it.) Next, they find some sort of tasty new treat to make and bring. The results of the sweater purchase can be seen here, along with a very pregnant and very ready to not be pregnant anymore Laura Hammontree in the background. The tasty treats were Cheese Straws and Mini-Cheesecakes. As both were un-abashed hits at the party the Gosneys have decided they are willing to share their recipes. Rest assured, they were glorious. (Recipes are at the bottom of the post.)

Another significant aspect of the Graham Christmas Party is the great and imaginative games that Cori Graham thinks up to keep everyone entertained. This year's major hit was a game in which a series of Christmas songs were written on slips of paper, and genres of music on seperate slips of paper. Each group drew from each pile and, with provided props, had to perform the song in the genre selected. Here several friends are performing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" in the style of High School Musical. The Gosneys did "Deck the Halls" in a country-music style that ended up being much more redneck hillbilly than country. Frightening to behold, but highly entertaining.

Hope everyone is well!

Cheese Straws

2 sheets (1 box) frozen puff pastry (such as Pepperidge Farm), defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
Flour, for dusting
1 extra-large egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup finely grated Gruyère cheese (or Aziago, which is what we used.)
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll out each sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured board until it is 10- by 12-inches. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the surface of the pastry. Sprinkle each sheet evenly with 1⁄4 cup of the Parmesan, 1⁄2 cup of the Gruyère, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the thyme, 1⁄2 teaspoon of the salt, and some pepper. With the rolling pin, lightly press the flavorings into the puff pastry. Cut each sheet crosswise with a floured knife or pizza wheel into 11 or 12 strips. Twist each strip and lay on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. (We also found that twisting the strips and then doubling them over and twisting again worked best. Otherwise they end up way too long.)

Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and puffed. Turn each straw and bake for another 2 minutes. Don't over bake or the cheese will burn. Cool and serve at room temperature.


1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. butter, melted
3 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 (21 oz.) can Wilderness filling or topping, any flavor,
chilled (we doubled the recipe and went half blueberry and half cherry.)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine crumbs, sugar, and
butter; press equal portions into bottoms 24 lightly
greased or paper cup lined muffin cups. In large bowl, beat
cheese until fluffy (muffin paper cups worked great.) Gradually beat in condensed milk until
smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Spoon mixture into
cups. Bake 20 minutes or until set. Cool. Chill. Top with
filling. Refrigerate. Makes about 2 dozen mini cheesecakes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving, Christmas Trees, and Sam Bradford

The Gosneys made their oft-traveled journey to Oklahoma to spend Thanksgiving with Matt's parents. The Gosney Thanksgiving Dinner generally consists of the traditional Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, etc, and this year was no exception. However, all of the main course fare is really just a precursor to the many varied and wonderful pies that are always made, drooled over, and eaten with absolute haste. The pie-to-person ratio for Thanksgiving is always a little embarassing. This year a chocolate cream, coconut cream, mixed berry, and pumpkin pie were the choices and Sharon deemed each to be successful (although she's not really a fan of coconut cream in general, citing "yucky texture" as the problem area.) Unfortunately the digital camera did not make the trip, so you will have to simply trust that it was an extremely successful Thanksgiving. Matt and Sharon even ventured out on Black Friday to do some shopping. Although both agreed that it was enjoyable, there is no question that mall pizza at 8:30 in the morning will play havoc on one's digestive system.

Saturday was the OU-OSU football game, with a trip to the Big 12 Championship riding on the outcome. Matt has never purchased a Sooner player's jersey before, however he did decide that OU's quarterback was in fact jersey-worthy. A quick view of the image here will show why. OU won, and now off to Kanas City and a chance to play for the national championship. Matt isn't sure what he enjoys most about this development, seeing OU do well or watching it come at the expense of Texas fans. Matt's new Sr. Vice-President is a die-hard Texas fan, so he has learned to temper his enthusiasm at the office. Best not to commit career suicide over football.

On Monday Matt and Sharon decorated the Christmas trees, while Auggie and Penny observed and ocassionally licked the ornaments. There are two trees that get decorated, one in the family room and one in the guest bedroom. Both look strikingly similar to the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, but with enough ornamentation it isn't too bad. The first tree pictured is the living room tree. You will notice some gaping holes and an angel that is very clearly too big for the tree. One day these issues will be fixed, but not this year. Matt and Sharon bought most of the ornaments in their first year of marriage as they burned through Pier One Gift Cards (wedding gifts.) Unfortunately the tree doesn't really fit the ornaments, but it does make for a more festive living room.

Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was wonderful!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Movie Surprise, Cake, and Football

Oh boy do we have more to report today! The Sharon birthday celebration continued on Saturday with Matt's gift (aside from looking the other way as wardrobe purchases continued unabated.) First, some back story. Sharon is a die-hard and dedicated fan of Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series of books. She has read them all and is madly and deeply in love with them. She discusses them with friends, buys them for birthday presents for the un-initiated, and generally is devoted to all things Twilight. Conveniently enough, the movie version of the first book opened in theaters on Sharon's birthday. This got Matt to thinking, how could Sharon's birthday be uniquely celebrated while incorporating the Twilight movie? So he made some phone calls and discovered that, for a reasonable fee, a screen at the local theater could be rented before the theater opened for a private screening.

Matt called Sharon's good friend Cori Graham as co-conspirator. Cori first floated the idea during a book club of church friends to see if there would be adequate support for such a surprise party. Needless to say, there was adequate support. So Matt began working with the theater to set everything up. With apologies to any who work in the movie theater industry, Matt's experience with the average Malco theater general manager was less than impressive. These are definitely not the corporate and civic leaders of tomorrow (although based on the previous election maybe they are.) Success was ensured through consistent harassment of theater management. Oftentimes phone call reminders of the reservation were met with complete surprise as if Matt had never spoken to an employee of the theater before, about anything, particularly a birthday party. But tenacity of purpose is a hallmark of Matt's.

Keeping such an event a secret is nearly impossible, and Matt was seriously nervous that eventually things would get back to Sharon. The excitement over the party wasn't just within church friends, word even got out to the local hairdresser. Sharon came home from the hairdresser on Friday and mentioned that, for some reason, the hairdresser knew who I was and had been talking about me. Matt hoped beyond hope that the hairdresser resisted the innate hairdresser urge to spill the beans; luckily the secret remained safe and Sharon remained unaware. Matt's boss even fielded a phone call from his wife saying "You'll never believe what Matt is doing for Sharon!" To which he replied, "I think that is supposed to be a secret." Her response; "I'd better go make some phone calls, then."

Sharon, Matt and Sharon's sister Cathy drove over to the theater bright and early on Saturday morning with Sharon unaware of the purpose of the trip. Sharon became even more confused as they pulled into the theater parking lot. Confusion reached a peak when she began recognizing familiar cars and faces in the parking lot. In the end, Sharon was thrilled as she got to watch a movie she was highly anticipating surrounded by great friends. Attached are a few photos from the event. And as a side note, the movie did not disappoint.

After the movie folks gathered at the Gosney house for cake and ice cream (and for the Twilight officionados, a detailed discussion of the critical elements of the movie -- such as how beautiful Edward was.) Sharon's favorite aspect of the cake and ice cream, aside from the actual cake and ice cream, was the addition of some of her favorite little kiddos. Sharon is a bit of the pied piper of three year olds, as can be seen from the photos. Kids just tend to follow her around, and Sharon loved that aspect of her birthday surprise.

Finally, Saturday evening was spent having dinner and watching football with Cathy as well as Jace and Karis Stapley. Jace and Karis are dear friends (Jace and Matt went to BYU together and were even roommates for a summer back in 2002.) Jace has taken a position with Wal-Mart working on Matt's team, so they are relocating here from Arizona. (Apologies to Jace and Karis if this was still a secret, but we're thinking the cat is out of the bag.) Matt and Sharon are very excited to have them move into the neighborhood, and Jace and Karis were properly initiated into hanging out with the Gosneys by attending their very first OU football-watching party. Here is photographic evidence of the Stapleys safely in NW Arkansas. One look on Matt's face will clearly demonstrate the outcome of the game. The observer will also note that Matt took no chances with the Stapleys accidently jinxing the game, thus appropriate clothing was provided.

Apologies for a very long post! Things are going well here as you can see. Matt and Sharon are taking Cathy to the airport today, and then down to Oklahoma on Wednesday for Thanksgiving with Matt's family. If there is no posting until after Thursday, Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Sharon!!

Sharon is 30 years old today! Or, perhaps a better way to put it is this is the first anniversary of her 29th birthday. She is a beautiful, wonderful person and Matt considers himself extremely fortunate and blessed to have her as his companion. As a senior missionary couple used to refer to each other in Matt's mission, Sharon is his "Eternal Passport."

Matt proved his love to Sharon by lying to her for the past several weeks about various activities that were designed to block off Sharon's calendar. Sharon was told that a big important dinner would be occurring on Wednesday evening with Matt's bosses' boss, so a few visiting teaching appointments were re-scheduled to accomedate. Then Sharon was invited to a day-long Franklin Covey class on Thursday. Both the dinner and the class were not real, however. Instead Matt picked Sharon up from work on Wednesday, went by Sonic (Dr. Pepper with extra ice is Sharon's drink of choice) and drove two hours to Tulsa. Sharon gave lots of puzzled looks and tried to figure out why dinner wasn't actually happening and what the plan was instead. Matt and Sharon drove to the airport with Sharon still unsure of what was occuring. It wasn't until they walked into baggage claim where Sharon's sister Cathy was waiting for them that Sharon realized her birthday surprise. (The picture is of Sharon and Cathy at the airport.) Cathy is here visiting for several days and those two are having a lot of fun hitting all of the important shopping venues. Yesterday was not spent in a Franklin Covey class but instead at the mall, Matt had arranged with Sharon's boss for a vacation day on Thursday.

As you can see, Cathy got to meet our dogs -- including Auggie. Auggie didn't know what to think about a new addition to the home, and spent most of Thursday hiding behind Sharon and occassionally barking at Cathy. But by Thursday evening he'd decided she was okay to have around and even cuddle with. Of course, cuddling with Auggie can be an overwhelming experience as Cathy is finding out in the picture. He either likes her or is trying to get her off "his" sofa, one of the two. Either way, you haven't really visited the Gosney's until you've had a Mastiff lay on you.

Happy Birthday again to sweet, wonderful Sharon!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

D.I.Y. Gosney Strikes Again

The Do-It-Yourselfing continues over at the Gosney household has we have been emboldened by last week's successes. This week, light fixtures! But first, some back story.

The time is 2005. Sharon has just purchased her first home and is in love with everything about it, except the battleship gray paint in every room. She decides to take a week off work and, with the help of her roommate, paints every square inch of the house -- including the master bath. In the master bath are some hideous light fixtures which must come down and so she asks for the help of a friend in removing them. Unfortunately the hideous light fixtures were poorly installed and large gaping holes are revealed behind the fixtures. Sharon vows to find some better fixtures and have them installed as soon as she finishes painting. By the time she makes it to painting the master bath, however, she is exhausted and quite possibly impaired from the effects of huffing house paint for a solid week. Therefore, she only manages one scraggly coat of paint before calling the project complete.

Fast-forward to 2006. Matt and Sharon have began dating. Many promises of home-improvement tasks are made by Matt in an effort to look impressive, including the repair of the light fixtures. After marriage these promises are promptly forgotten.

Fast-forward to mid-2008. Matt and Sharon have, in fact, repainted several of the rooms in the home already and at last tackle the master bath. They repaint the master bath, this time with the appropriate two coats of paint, and say that perhaps this is the year they will finally address the giant holes in the wall that are so large some creature could easily crawl through. Probably right as Matt gets out of the shower.

Fast-forward to Friday. Matt and Sharon visit Lowes to look at light fixtures again. This is an activity they have done in the past to make themselves feel like they might actually address the bathroom issue. Unlike previous visits, however, they actually purchase light fixtures. Matt is convinced the correct approach is to hire an electrician to install these new fixtures. Sharon asks the teen-age cashier how hard they are to install to which the cashier replies that she installed some herself for her grandmother and that they were quite easy. The take-home message, of course, is that a teen-age girl is more handy than Matt.

Fast-forward one last time to Saturday. Matt, feeling brave due to last week's blinds success and not wanting to be found less capable than a Hannah Montana fan, dutifully reads the instructions on how to install light fixtures while also ensuring that his life insurance policy is paid to date. Miraculously, after one emergency visit to the hardware store (electrical tape) and no curse words uttered, Matt and Sharon managed to install the light fixtures (and they work!) Matt feels this is a good time to retire from the D.I.Y. scene, going out on top.

Hope everyone is well!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

New Background! New blinds!

It's new stuff all around on the Gosney blog. Sharon is slowly becoming more and more interested in this blogging thing and has even ventured out to comment on other people's blogs. This is a fairly major step in her life, so everyone please be supportive as she embraces this new lifestyle of communicating with other people. Sharon decided we needed a new background to the blog and, thanks to sister-in-law Shonnee, we were introduced to the cool website that has free backgrounds. Free is a good price, so here it is! Ta-dah! Gosney Blog 2.0.

Yesterday we decided that if anyone ever were to stay at our house in our guest room we'd cause them extreme trauma from the fact that there are no blinds on our windows. Now, we're not saying that our neighbors are peeping toms, but still some privacy would probably be appreciated. The challenge, of course, is the fact that Matt is not exactly the most "handy" person in the world. He scores extremely low on the "Norm Abram" scale. However, he still managed to figure out how to install shades in the bedroom without destroying the shades, or the bedroom, or himself. This is a cause for celebration in the Gosney household, as other such projects have not been as successful.

Otherwise, not much to report this week. Another successful Pack Meeting was held, with more singing on the part of Cubmaster Gosney. Saturday was spent Christmas shopping and watching another University of Oklahoma victory. There is a significant compromise in the Gosney household. Matt agrees to watch Grey's Anatomy with his wife and Sharon agrees to watch OU football games with her husband. Each is reluctant to admit that they've begun to enjoy watching each other's shows, but deep down that is most likley true.
Have a great week!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Baby blessing

After a really fun day spent doing homework (Matt) and working on month-end close for Wal-Mart (Sharon) we got an invitation to go down to Fayetteville with Dave and Cori Graham. The original plan was to make it down to Dickson Street and catch a band that was playing at a local club, until we found out that the band didn't even go on until 10:30 at night. Back when we were all young, single, and dumb that would've been just fine. But given the fact that we usually go to bed at about 8:30, we decided we'd have to find alternative entertainment. Luckily we were parked right next to one of our favorite seafood places down here (The Powerhouse, excellent fried shrimp says Sharon) so that became the new plan. We followed up our extremely exciting night with a dual family weekly shopping trip to Wal-Mart. Watch out, when the Gosneys and the Grahams hit the town, things are going to get crazy.

We had to actually make sure we got to bed at a decent time because we actually made a one day, there and back trip to Oklahoma to participate in the baby blessing of our niece Lucy. Lucy is Will and Lauri's second, and she is one very sweet baby (the sour look on her face in this picture not withstanding.) She is pretty much the exact opposite to her older brother Talmage (we call him TAG, for Talmage Andrew Gosney.) Tag can be a bit, uhm, spirited. But he's also smart as a whip and absolutely adorable. Tag's demonstration of how an empty bag of goldfish can be used as a telescope while being held by Grandma Gosney can be seen below. Clearly he has lots in common with his Uncle Matt. Maybe not the smart and adorable, but at least the orneryness. Evidently Matt wasn't always a joy to be around when he was 2 1/2 either. Anyway, Tag has taken quite a liking to his Uncle Matt and tends to stick like glue whenever we are around. There was quite the emotional goodbye where Tag had to be reassured that we'd be visiting again for Thanksgiving. It's nice to be loved. Photographic evidence of the 2 1/2 year old meltdown can be seen in the last picture. And yes, Matt does not look good in the extreme close-up. But it only seems fair given that Matt made Sharon take a close-up of the new braces.

So we had quite the long day of driving, but it was completely worth it. It was fun to see a lot of family and have lots of kids crawling all over us during church. Actually, that is Sharon's regular experience working in the nursery, but Matt quite enjoyed himself. We're glad to be able to participate in those kinds of events and to live close enough to at least one set of family to visit somewhat regularly. So now we're gearing up for this week, where Sharon goes in for two more teeth to be extracted. The transformation to toothless Arkansas Hillbilly is nearly complete. Matt is thinking of taking up the banjo just so he can better fit in with his wife.

Hope everyone is well!

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Cow and the Ghost

Our church group did a "trunk or treat" for all of the kids this evening, so we figured it was a great time to dress up our dogs and let them meet everybody. Our poor dogs. To be honest, I always made fun of people who dress up their dogs. I mean really, it's pretty goofy. But they just looked so good. Auggie went as a cow, as you can see, which we thought was appropriate. Penny was a ghost. Auggie was definitely the star. We were mugged by little kids who didn't care about getting candy, they were so interested in Auggie. Of course, Auggie was cool with the attention. I think he dug the costume, too. We probably would've done something other than a cow, but your XXL dog costumes are a somewhat limited selection.

We also always carve a few pumpkins, so this was this year's version. We found a really cool website,, where we downloaded several templates. It is sort of a shame that this much work only lasts a few hours, but it was fun nevertheless. I recommend clicking on the picture, it looks better bigger. The one on the left is a witch and an apple. The one on the right is a skeleton climbing out of the pumpkin.

Sharon survived the first round of tooth extraction, if only barely. We're definitely not looking forward to getting the other two pulled on Monday, because now she knows exactly what to expect. All I have to say is, thank goodness for vicodin. For her, not me.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


Sharon got her braces yesterday, she's thrilled as you can imagine. We figured we'd better snap a picture now because she goes to get teeth pulled this afternoon and Monday, so she's not going to be feeling so hot. Once she has healed up from that they'll put the wire on the braces. Unfortunately all of this has occurred just in time for her to not be able to eat Snickers for Halloween. Now that is pretty sad. But I think she's mourning the loss of Doritos the most.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Steeples and Halloween Cookies

I mentioned in a previous post that a new chapel is being built right down the street from our house. They just put the steeple on this past week, so we're pretty excited about that. They also put shingles on the roof, so it's actually really starting to look like a church instead of just a big building. We drive past it regularly so we can see the progress and dream of the day when It will only take 3 minutes to get to church instead of 20. Of course we are grateful we only have to drive 20 minutes. But still, when we have to go back to the 9 a.m. to noon schedule those extra few minutes of sleep will be wonderful!

Once a month the Cub Scout committee meets over at our house, and a lot of the committee members have little kids that they can't leave at home. So Sharon, who is a saint and will go directly to heaven after this life is over, watches the kiddos while we meet in the sunroom. This week she got to entertain Bella Williams, Brady McKesson, and Aiden, Abbott, Anna, and Adeline Patterson! All of these kids are completely cute, and Sharon teaches Bella, Brady and Anna in the nursery. So those three were very excited to get to come see Sister Gosney! The oldest two were fairly content to just sit back and watch Night at the Museum. Of course when you come over to the Gosney's you have to have a treat, so we made Halloween cookies from our super-famous Cookie Monster Cookie Dough. There is no greater recepie for cookie dough than Cookie Monster Cookie Dough. I orginally came across it when I was a little kid. It was in a Sesame Street book I had when I was little. So, if you are so inclined, here is the famous Cookie Monster Cookie Dough recepie, complete with Cookie Monster's instructions. We use some very cool ghost, black cat, pumpkin, and bat cookie cutters and some black, orange or white frosting to top 'em off. But that isn't absolutely necessary. :-)

Cookie Monster Cookie Dough

3/4 c. softened butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt

Put the butter into a bowl; measure and pour sugar over the butter. Squish the butter and sugar together with a fork or pastry blender until totally blended. Gently break open each egg, and pour each into mixture in bowl. Measure and add vanilla; blend mixture with fork again. Measure and add flour to the mixture in bowl. Measure and add baking powder and salt, and springkle each over the top of the flour in the bowl. Mix it allllll together with the fork, or with very clean hands! Chill the dough for at least an hour. On floured surface, roll dough 1/4" thick and cut into shapes. Ordinary-sized cookies bake at 400 degrees F for 6-8 minutes.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Back from OKC

We just got back from a quick trip to OKC for our monthly trip to the temple and to visit family. Twice a year the members of our church here in NW Arkansas all take a day off of work and go to the temple, and that was what happened last Friday. It's actually really fun to just spend all day there, very peaceful and fun to see everybody that you know. So we really enjoyed that. If you aren't Mormon we really recommend taking a look at It's a nice website that answers a lot of questions about our faith, so that it won't seem "quite" so odd that we go to the temple once a month!

We also got a chance to see my niece Rachel, her husband Jason, and their three kids. As you can see from the slide show, they are all adorable. Sharon is particularly fond of Journey, the little girl. She is a cutie! And yeah, we sorta like this slideshow program better than the other one. Highly recommended.

Hope everyone is well!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Slideshow of our house

Braces and Dumplings

The first big news of the week is that Sharon is getting braces on her teeth! She is currently enjoying the fun that is having spacers in her mouth. She can't chew on anything harder than Cream of Wheat right now, so she's having a pretty miserable time. She is at least to the point that they don't hurt all the time, but she'll be glad when the spacers are out and the braces are on. We're looking at two solid years, and she'll have to have four teeth extracted as we go along. But it won't hurt for her to bite down when this is all over, and that is the ultimate goal. Thank goodness for insurance!

We had some friends from work over for dinner last night, the Barkers. They're always a lot of fun and their two kids, Destiny and Rylynn, are just as cute as anything. In the picture Rylynn is the one with the big huge cheesey grin and Destiny is trying to hide behind her spoon. When they left Destiny suggested that maybe one day we could have breakfast or lunch together. We thought that was a pretty good idea! They were quite pleased with just looking at our big dogs through the safety of a sliding glass door, but every few minutes we'd have to get up from the table so they could say hi to them. They have the best manners, always saying yes sir, no sir and yes ma'am no ma'am. A pretty good parenting job by their parents, because those two are full of energy. We did chicken and dumplings on the hope that Sharon would be able to eat at least some of it. She could eat everything but the carrots, so I figured that was a success. And yes, in case you are curious, that is Nehi Peach soda that Sharon and I are drinking. Hey, when in Arkansas ...

I'm going to attempt to put in a slide-show that shows different pictures of our house. We've had some requests to see what it looks like. Sharon bought the house a year before we got married and painted the entire enterior. It was kind of a battleship gray beforehand, and that wasn't going to work. Sharon recommends making sure windows are open if your'e going to repaint your entire house, as the fumes can do funny things to your head. Over the course of the two years we've been married we've repainted the master bedroom, both guest bedrooms, and both bathrooms. We both love the gold in the hallway and that deep pretty red in the kitchen that spills over just a bit into the living room. It's a great location, with a brand new elementary school on the same street as us, just about a mile down the road. In between us and the new school our church is building a new chapel. So from a location standpoint, we're doing pretty good! If you examine the pictures too closely you'll notice the ocassional damage to a wall or a door jam caused by a Mastiff going through a puppy/chewing phase. Luckily now the only phase he is going through is a laying around and doing nothing phase, which should last him for the rest of his life. We much prefer this phase. And yes, you may notice that there are covers on our sofa that are never there when people come over. Let's just say that a Mastiff produces a lot of drool, and nasty things tend to hide in his jowls and fall out whenever he lays down for any leangth of time. I found I had to shampoo the furniture a lot less once we adopted a "total coverage system" for the furniture when the dogs are hanging out with us. And it assures you, gentle reader, that you won't be sitting in dog drool when you come to visit the Gosneys. Everybody wins.

Monday, October 13, 2008


Just a real quick note. Stacey Morrison works in the nursery with Sharon at church and she invited us out to her horse barn this evening to see her barn and help brush out her horses. Oh my, it was amazing. Stacey is a dressage instructor and owns and boards several beautiful horses. Take a look at her website, she's got a gallery with some beautiful photos of her barn.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

We're back and we're not spam!

Well, the good people here at "blogger" sent me a nice e-mail this past Monday stating that our blog was suspected of being spam (a log that is set up just to get advertising, like those junk e-mails you get) and that if I wanted that changed I would need to fill out a form assuring them I was not a spammer and that, if I did, they'd free my blog up two days later. Well I filled out the form and just six short days later they have my blog unlocked. Wait, they said two days. Oh well.

It was a very busy week at our house! We started out Monday morning with a sick Auggie dog. Auggie is the big one. Let me tell you, there is nothing at all pleasant about having a sick mastiff. I won't go into details, just imagine some of the things that dogs do when they are sick, then imagine multiplying the amount by about 10. So Monday morning was spent cleaning the dog's room, cleaning the dog, and making an emergency run to the vet to find out what was wrong and how to fix it. Poor Auggie had what is called "skipworm," which is actually a relatively common parasite that dogs pick up just by sniffing around outside. We were somewhat comforted in hearing that it wasn't anything we did or could have done. So Auggie got some medicine and the vet suggested we could actually treat both he and Penny every few months just preventatively. Needless to say, after our Monday experience we think that's a pretty good idea.

Monday evening through Wednesday evening I had a meeting of sorts at one of the coolest places I've ever been, Greystone Estate. Here at Wal-Mart we're trying to put together a program to train incoming executives about the Wal-Mart culture and what it takes to be successful. For those of you unfamiliar with Wal-Mart, there is definitely a unique culture here. Some things that external individuals might consider okay to do, like asking your secretary to pick up your dry cleaning or using foul language in a meeting or letting a vendor pay for your dinner, will get you into huge trouble here. So some executives struggle and even a few leave after a few months because they can't adjust. Anyway, the goal is to create a training program to help that transition. So we've partered with the Soderquist Center, which is a pretty cool organization affiliated with John Brown University, to help put together a program.

Now the really cool thing about this program, like I mentioned, was where it was held. About seven years ago Don Soderquist, he of the Soderquist Center, bought this massive mansion out here in NW Arkansas. And I do mean massive. It's 16,000 square feet and complete luxury. Don is actually an old Wal-Mart guy, he was formerly the COO of Wal-Mart and really one of the key guys in Wal-Mart's history, so he and his wife found it was just too big and audacious for them to live there. So they gave it to John Brown University to use as a place for conferences and workshops. And it is impressive. Unfortunately my camera battery died and I wasn't able to get any pictures. But here is one that shows the front entrace. Believe me, this picture does not do the place justice. It is just gorgeous. The guy who built it bought a limestone quarry specificially so he could have matching stone for the entire house (thus the name Greystone.) He had three stone masons working full time for three years to build it. There is an amazing view of Beaver Lake and the estate sits on 100 acres. Needless to say, it was a pretty nice place to have a conference. The highlight was the last night, where we were able to invite our spouses or significant others to come up for dinner. It was a beautiful night so we were able to eat out on the patio. We'd sat down to eat and Don Soderquist and his wife asked if they could join us. It was a great chance to get to know one of the legends of Wal-Mart. He's really just an extremely kind man, extremely religious. When he found out Sharon and I were Mormon he must've talked for 20 minutes about how impressed he was with the Church and with the Mormons he's known and met. So that was nice! I guess he used to sit on the board of the Albertston's Center for Retail at BYU and when he was done they presented him with a book of his personal family history. He said it was the best thing any organization has ever given him and he made copies for all of his children. Anyway, it was a pretty cool evening.

We had some great new friends from church over on Friday and we enjoyed Greek night! The weather is still holding up here so we were able to eat in the Sunroom. (Here's a picture of the Sunroom without any stuff in it. I'll work on getting the battery re-charged so I don't have to use old pictures!) Dinner consisted of flaming cheese (!), greek salad, a veggie tray, grilled kebabs, and grilled lamb. One thing is for sure, you won't go home hungry if you visit the Gosney's. We had these little homemade doughnuts (I can't remember what they were called) and Greek wedding cookies for dessert. And then we passed out from a food-induced coma.

Saturday Sharon went to the temple with her friend Charlotte and I stayed home and watched OU lose to Texas and did homework. Needless to say, I had a less-fun day. I also attended Wal-Mart's monthly Saturday Morning Meeting (we have it once a month and it is mandatory unless you can't make it, and if you can't you have to work some other Saturday to make it up.) It's actually not all bad, there are usually celebs in attendence. This one was absolutely crazy, though. Paula Deen was there, and she is as insane as she appears on the Food Network. Actually moreso. She had an obsession with attempting to kiss Lee Scott, our CEO. Lee wasn't keen on the idea. He said that as soon as he did, his wife would get about 100 e-mails from people in the audience ratting him out. But she was un-detered. Anyway, you can see why she is successful, she's got quite the personality. The other big guest was Harrison Ford. And he is just as cool in person as he is in the movies. I try not to get too geeked up over seeing some of these celebs, but Harrison Ford is Indiana Jones AND Han Solo. I'm sorry, but it just does not get cooler than that. He's about as laid back as Paula Deen is frenetic. The highlight was him taking questions from the audience. Lots of people bring their kids to the Saturday Morning Meeting, and we had little boys dressed up like Indiana Jones all over the place. One kid asked him why he punched the bad guys. Harrison's reseponse was, "It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it." Then Paula Deen showed up at the end and tried to kiss him, as well. He also declined.

So that was the week! This next week promises to be much less eventful. Hope everyone is well!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Conference was a winner

General Conference was great, as usual, although to be completely honest we both missed a bit of that Sunday Afternoon session due to an unavoidable nap. But really, isn't that the point of General Conference - to watch most of Conference and also work in much needed Sunday naps? Saturday was mostly spent working on homework for me, and Sharon did some reading. She's found that since I've started work on the doctorate she has a LOT more time to read. So, if you have any suggestions on good books, Sharon is open.

Friday night we went to a bonfire with some friends from church. And when I mean bonfire, I mean bonfire. Take a look at the picture to the right.

Josh had a full head of hair before he lit that thing. Alright, not really, but the flame had to go about 30 feet in the air. It's important to understand, we don't have a whole lot else going on in Northwest Arkansas. So you sorta have to invent your own fun.

Hope everyone is well!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pack Meeting and the Debate

Yesterday was Cub Scout Pack Meeting. I'm the Cubmaster, so that's sorta my gig. Sharon digs the uniform, though, so it's not all bad. And I get to lead the Cubs in great songs like "Alice the Camel," "Lord Baden Powell," and "On Top of Spaghetti." They're particularly fond of "Alice the Camel." Anyway, they all seemed to be pretty happy about the Pack Meeting and we gave out a lot of awards. My definition of a successful Pack Meeting is if none of the Cubs cry, everybody likes the treats, and we're done in an hour.

We had to hustle back last night, of course, because Sharon was keenly interested in watching the Palin - Biden debate. Of course our opinion is fairly significantly biased, but we thought Sarah Palin did a heck of a job. I don't know if it will be enough to overcome all the momentum that Barack has, but you just never know. Oh well, Mitt in 2012.

We're excited for General Conference this weekend! It is sorta nice to be able to just turn on the tv twice a year and go to church in your living room. Sharon and I have been on a pretty serious health kick since the first of the year. We exercise usually six days a week and we are extremely careful with what we eat. Except for on the weekend. Weekends are a free-for-all. It actually works out very well, because whatever craving we have we can always say, "it'll wait until Saturday." So needless to say we plan for Saturdays and Sundays. Broiled cheese in some form or fashion is usually involved. Anyway, we try to make General Conference weekend extra special. Lots of fun stuff to munch on. I'll have to get back on and give you a run-down of the menu.

Hope all is well with everyone!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hello all!

Our friends Karis and Jace suggested that starting a blog would be a good idea, given that so many of our friends and family are so far away. So here we go, Matt and Sharon go on-line!

We just got back from Washington, D.C. on Saturday. I had a conference with the Ken Blanchard Company (the guy who wrote The One Minute Manager and about a million other leadership books) so I just stayed over for a couple of extra days and Sharon flew out to meet me on Thursday. We had the opportunity to stay with Ernest and Judy Istook, the parents of my friend and old college roommate Butch. So we got to catch up with them for a while, as well. I've known the Istooks since Butch and I were in Sunbeams 30 years ago, so there was plenty to discuss.

D.C. was wonderful. We were able to take in a session at the temple, and the rain held off as we did our sight-seeing. The Museum of American History was closed for renovations, so that was sort of a bummer, but we got to see plenty. I think we both enjoyed seeing the dinosaur bones at the Museum of Natural History the most, as you can see from the photo.

Sharon also enjoyed sharing the view from the Lincoln Memorial, along with some random Chinese guy.

And, of course, Auggie and Penny were glad to see us when we picked them up from the kennel.

We'll try to keep the updates fairly regular! Hope everything is well with everyone.