Thursday, December 5, 2013


About a month ago I signed up for a service called Grateful160. It's a daily reminder sent to your email or as a text message that just asks you what you are grateful for. Then, each week it sends you a review of those things.

It only takes a few seconds each day to do it and it's fun to look back on. You can sign up by clicking on this link. Here is my compilation from the last few weeks.

Saturday (10/26)

10:59 PM
I'm grateful for college football and a wife who loves going to the games with me. It's really fun to have a night out with our little family on a nice fall evening and that BYU football is really getting it together.

Tuesday (10/29)

11:50 AM
I forgot to mention this yesterday, but I am so grateful for the power of the priesthood. I got a blessing Sunday night and it was so great to be reminded again to have a bigger perspective than just my next interview and job opportunity.

I'm also so grateful for fantasy sports and friends that are fun to draft and play those games with. Just love it.

Wednesday (10/30)

09:24 AM
I am really grateful that I got the interview with Chevron, and even just knowing that it was a more selective process up front. I thought it was open to the whole world, so I didn't think anything of it when I was selected to be among the interviewees. I like that my odds are better, but it makes me feel better overall about the amount of interest that I am able to garner from employers in this process. It helps me to feel more optimistic about my chances of finding something going forward. And I think the interview went well, regardless if I get the job or not. I appreciated how straightforward their process is.

Thursday (10/31)

11:49 AM
I am so grateful for Jane. She had a really rough night last night and so she had a terrible time sleeping, but it was so sweet the way she would calm down so quickly when I picked her up and the way she fell asleep with me on the couch. It's amazing to me the amount of happiness she brings into my life. There are very few people or things that I do that make me feel so full with love and gratitude as Jane does for me.

Last Friday (11/01)

01:10 PM
I am really grateful for Halloween. It is such a fun holiday and I love how kids and adults can both get excited about it, dress up and be silly together. We went to a ward activity yesterday and it was fun to get good reactions from ward people and see people in a different context.

I also wanted to say how grateful I am for Jane. She is just the sweetest little girl. I think I said this yesterday, but I'm just always feeling it with her.

Saturday (11/02)

11:24 AM
I am grateful for a wife who loves to go bowling. And she did awesome by the way, 27 weeks pregnant and all. She's the love of my life. I have so much fun with her.

Sunday (11/03)

12:46 PM
I'm grateful to be doing work that is at least mostly engaging. I'm at a point with my thesis where I can really start pushing through it and get it done, and I think it'll be a really interesting exercise. I'm excited to see what comes of it, and to have it out of the way. While I may not love all of my classes or what I'm doing, there are at least bits and pieces here and there that I really am so interested in and I hope that I can continue that kind of work going forward.

Monday (11/04)

11:11 AM
I'm really grateful for good friends. Yesterday we had the Morris family come over for dinner and they've become some really good friends of ours. They are just so down to earth and easy to talk to. I really appreciate their friendship and it's so nice to be able to relate with them because of how close Mariah and Jane are in age.

Tuesday (11/05)

12:59 PM
I am grateful for Jane. She is just so sweet. It's always a highlight in my day to come home and see her and see her put her arms up for me. I love how much she wants to hang out with me when I'm around and play with me and do things together. I didn't really know before what was so great about having a little girl, but now I get it. I hope we have more and I couldn't love that little girl more than I do. She lights up my life.

Wednesday (11/06)

08:38 AM
I am so grateful that I have a best friend. I got to talk to Dave last night and it was just nice to hear about his time in Hawaii and what that vacation is like. It's so nice to have someone that you can be so connected to at such a deep level.

Thursday (11/07)

08:33 AM
I am so grateful to be friends with Marshall and Yetta. They are such great people. I got the opportunity yesterday to help Marshall move some cabinets and sometimes I forget just how fun it is to talk to Marshall. He's very thoughtful and asks interesting questions. He's just a really great guy and I'm glad to know him.

I'm also grateful for the times when I go to check in on Jane at night and she hears me and gets up for me to pick her up. I don't know how long she's been doing it, but when she's ready to sleep she cuddle right in and tuck her arms and hands in between her legs as she leans on your shoulder. I just love it. I love how cuddly she is, but it's not ever in a needy way. She just likes to cuddle. She's the sweetest little thing.

Last Friday (11/08)

03:03 PM
I'm grateful to finally feel like this thesis is going to wrap up. I finished up (I think, at least) my data analysis and nothing really came of the findings, but I'm just glad that I see some light at the end of this. I feel like it's going to finish up, and may be a little last minute, but I'm just excited for it to wrap up and be done. The experience will be valuable and I do appreciate that, but I'm excited to just be able to move on to something else different. I'll be glad to get this albatross off my neck.

Saturday (11/09)

09:25 AM
I'm really grateful for my MBA program because of the great people I get to associate with. I love being around these people and hearing about the neat things that they're involved in. It's inspiring to hear what they're doing and makes me want to be a better person and do more with my life as well. I just love it.

Sunday (11/10)

09:49 AM
Even when the day turns out all wrong, my wife is still so great to be around. Nothing worked out for us yesterday. Our babysitter fell through, we couldn't get anything done at our house, and the construction guys were in our kitchen all day long, but we came home, played games, and everything was fine. I was a little sour, but it helps so much when your partner is just so willing to make the best of any situation. I love my wife and I am so grateful for her.

Monday (11/11)

09:06 AM
I am grateful to have such an inspired bishop. Yesterday I gave a talk on the power of invitations, and the speaker who followed after me seemed to be the perfect person to give his talk, and then bishop gave his. I was just so impressed with the whole meeting and it was very apparent how inspired he was to choose the speakers that he did. Bishop Nelson himself is such a capable person and I am constantly impressed by his insight and his clarity in delivering his messages. I'm grateful that he is my leader because he is so easy to follow.

Tuesday (11/12)

08:56 AM
I'm grateful for the example of my wife. She's so diligent with everything she does. She just seems to have a constant motor with getting things done and it makes me want to be a better husband to her as a result.

Wednesday (11/13)

09:25 AM
I am so grateful for a healthy body and for exercise. I can't believe how much I love running, how good it makes me feel, and just what a release it is for me. I went out yesterday for the first time since my half marathon and it was such a nice feeling being out there and running. I only went for three, but it just felt wonderful.

Thursday (11/14)

09:23 AM
I'm grateful for naps. Sometimes you just really need one and I love that I have a wife that can be sensitive to that and let me catch some quick zzz's while Jane is hovering around me.

Last Friday (11/15)

12:24 PM
I am really grateful for the opportunities that are available through the MBA program. I know that I haven't been able to fully appreciate and reap the benefits yet since I'm still looking for a full time job following graduation, but I know that there are great things still out there and I feel really fortunate for what will be coming our way because I know it'll be great.

Saturday (11/16)

10:07 AM
I'm grateful for the work that I am doing. I got to go to a plant and while the actual work I was doing, it is neat to think about the different ways that I can be involved in helping to improve the things around me. It makes me realize how much I can contribute to the world if I am just willing to make some effort to do so. I got some good feedback from Dr. Brown today about my thesis and I'm excited to be wrapping that up in the next few weeks, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to launch into some new projects that will be interesting to me. It's a great time in my life.

Sunday (11/17)

09:34 AM
I am grateful for my sweet wife. She is so accommodating when it comes to letting me get what I need to do for school and makes sure that she takes care of everything that she needs to so that I don't have to have any concerns about our home life. She takes care of all of my needs and that of the family's. She's just wonderful.

Monday (11/18)

10:13 AM
I am grateful for the ward that we are in. Every so often I start to think that maybe there is something that I don't like about this or that in the ward, but then there occurs something in church that changes my thinking and  helps me to see something new. I'm really grateful to be here.

Also, I'm so grateful for the blessings that become available because of obeying the commandment to pay tithing. I recently read Elder Bednar's talk from last conference. He touches on some points that I think we are directly experiencing, but I realized in the last few days that I have been wanting less much more these days, and that is such a huge blessing when times are tight. A lot of times that is a struggle for me - wanting more - and so I become a bigger consumer, but this last year or so has changed me and that has been tremendous for being much more content with everything that I have in my l ife. It's a tremendous blessing.

Tuesday (11/19)

08:34 AM
I am thankful to get a good night's rest. I got two hours the previous night because I was up late working on my thesis. There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel though as I'l' be sending out a draft this evening and scheduling my defense for two weeks from today. I'm also so grateful for Dr. Brown. I love how positive he is and always so encouraging, even if he can sometimes be a little unrealistic sometimes.

Wednesday (11/20)

09:23 AM
I am so grateful for productivity. I love the feeling of being engaged in your work and learning new things and the struggle that comes from trying to learn, then learning it, and then really making it work. I love that. I had a good evening last night between sending off my thesis to my committee, and then writing up a case for my Quality class - one that I don't feel comfortable in, but worked at nonetheless. It's great. I just love it.

Thursday (11/21)

09:14 AM
I am grateful to just have a nice quiet evening with my wife at home. I love coming home to see Jane and she gets all excited and walks up to me and holds her arms out. I love just catching up on our shows with Amy. It's fun to laugh and just veg with her. She's so easy to be around and I love our lives together.

Today (11/22)

08:17 AM
I am so grateful for Jane. It makes me feel so awesome how much she loves me. If I am at all in the house she comes to me, holds her arms out, waits for me to pick her up, or takes my fingers and walks around the house with me. I ended up holding her for nearly 40 minutes when I went in her room last night and accidentally woke her up. I just love her so much and she makes me feel so good.

Saturday (11/23)

12:38 AM
I know I say this all of the time, but I am so grateful for Jane. She lights up my life. I was telling Amy the other day about how much I want to write about what a dream Jane is because I feel like we end every day of her whole life up to this point talking about how much we love Jane, about how easy she is to take care of, how sweet she is, and just what a happy and wonderful little baby we have. Not a day goes by that I don't think often about how much joy she brings into my life. I love her more than anything.

Sunday (11/24)

12:40 AM
I am so grateful for a healthy body. I have been busy lately so I have been cutting out exercise as a result, so when the workouts do come I end up feeling so good afterward and think repeatedly to myself about how much I love being active and taking care of my body. I am so grateful to be able to move and do different things. I am so grateful for what a stress reliever that is for me and how much it improves my mood.

Monday (11/25)

10:23 AM
I am so grateful for Scott and Elisha. We haven't seen them nearly enough since we've been back from the summer, but every time we do see them, I come away thinking how grateful I am for Amy's family as whole, but especially for Scott and Elisha. I just admire them so much as people and as parents. They exemplify so much then kind of parent that I'd like to be and I'm just always so impressed with the way they handle themselves and the kind of philosophy that they adopt for how they live their lives. They're just so great and I see so much in them that I'd like to emulate in my own life.

Tuesday (11/26)

09:09 AM
I am so grateful for Thanksgiving week as it relates to school. Things are wrapping up really nicely and I love where this holiday falls in the semester and how it proceeds Christmas by so little. It's a good thing to be reminded of the things that you're grateful for.

Wednesday (11/27)

09:47 AM
I am so grateful for the home teaching program in the church. I was just encouraging my families to read their scriptures regularly, &nbsp_place_holder;to rededicate themselves, and it really surprised me how much they all needed that prodding. And these are very active people. It just made me realize how much everyone needs that reminding. And I also felt how important it is to be sitting on both sides of the home teaching conversation. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

International You Day

One of my favorite punk bands growing up was No Use For a Name. They were a part of the Fat Wreck Chords music label, which is a pretty close knit community. The front man, Tony Sly, was known within their circles as being one of the better songwriters and just about everyone's favorite song is International You Day, a song that he wrote for his wife.

Last July Tony died in his sleep, next to his wife. He also has two daughters. The outpouring of grief was touching and recently the Fat Wreck Chords community assembled to put together a tribute album of his band's songs. I bought it and I kind of love it.

I mean, I still prefer most of the originals, but it's cool to hear your favorite band cover a song from another band you love, or to hear what Bad Religion does with one of their songs. It's all pretty neat.

What really touched me, and very unexpectedly so, was that they included a version that Tony had done of International You Day. It's toned down from the original and very sentimental. But what really got me was the last few lines of the song. Following are the lyrics of the last verse:

I'm coming home today
to wipe the tears right from your eyes
I'm totally enamored by your life
nothing that I've done
has ever been for one

But without you
my life is incomplete
my days are absolutely gray
and so I'll try
let your heart know for sure
that I have so much more to tell you
every single day

My life is incomplete
my rights are absolutely gone
so wake me up
before you leave today
something I need to say
cause they'll be nothing when you're gone.

Take a listen for yourself. I'm pretty sure that the cheering at the end is dubbed in, but it's just how I'd expected a bunch of hardened 40 year old punk rockers to pay tribute to their lost friend. It really kind of got to me this morning. I just loved it.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Jane, My Heart

Jane is so fun lately.

She's walking all the time now, except for when I chase after her and she walks until she falls down and then crawls away as quickly as she can to mom.

She's very naturally playful. I love it. One of her things lately is when I start putting on shoes to head out, she'll come over and grab one of my shoes and run away from me. It's so fun.

While she can walk just fine on her own, she still loves having me walk around with her holding her hands. Part of it is so that she can go faster, but I think it's mostly so she can keep me playing with her as long as she can.

She's always cuddly in the mornings. And even at night. I can usually get her to settle into the crook of my arm on the couch and watch TV with me.

She still loves Fantastic Mr. Fox. She fetches it out of the DVD collection and as soon as it is on she is in a total trance. She'll pause in whatever position she is in and lock in for a solid 20 minutes or so. It's crazy, because she doesn't have that response to anything else. She'll watch anything for a little while, but she never locks in like that.

Jane is very naturally obedient. It's so nice because you can tell her yes or no to things and she's really good at following with most things. Even with things like wiping her nose when its runny, which she hates, you can usually reason with her pretty easily and she will turn over and let you wipe it.

She doesn't do any performing though. And she isn't very verbal at all. I'm excited for her to start using her little voice.

She's a one nap baby, taking one killer 2-3 hour in the afternoon. And she's a dream when it comes to sleeping. She goes down easy and wakes up at 7:30 or so.

I just hope that Peter doesn't rock her world too much, but I can't imagine that it will. She's got such a sweet and mild temperament.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Hardest Part

This job search thing has been a very humbling experience, although I actually had a harder time with it last year. It might have been because I was hearing a lot more no's, but I think having the experience under my belt from last year, I know things work out, and I think I don't have the same expectations that I did a year ago.

I read an article this morning about how being forced to wait has very positive effects: do better at school, get better jobs, more rewarding and stable social relationships, among others.

I had a flyback with Citi a couple of weeks ago and I finally got some real feedback from one of the people who interviewed me. From what I understood, I think I didn't get the job because of the very last line on my resume that says "passion for the tech industry..." which gave them some questions about my long term commitment to the company. It was a stupid oversight that I'm sure I will never make again.

It's an interesting process, but I can attest to the fact that it has really made me think a lot more about where I'd like to be, what skill-sets I'd like to develop, and the ways in which I'd like to make my mark. I''m reaching out in ways to people that I'm sure I wouldn't have before because I've been forced to think about how I can market myself and the long-term contributions I'd like to be able to make. I am reading more articles about analytics and thinking about ways I can further refine that skill-set. I reached out to an old bishop here at BYU to ask him about program evaluation and how I can become more competent in that area. It's forced me to open up more and I can already see the value in being made to wait.

The experience has been trying, for sure, but at the same time I think it has forced me to be more serious and I think that delayed gratification has been important for me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Game Changer

It's weird how something major in your life can happen, and while you're waiting for it to happen you can know so little about it and wonder so much, but then soon after it happens, it feels like it's always been that way the whole time. It felt that way with going into the mission field, coming back from serving a mission, getting married, and most recently with having Jane.

I remember wondering so much about what it would be like to have a kid - to not be able to go to movies freely anymore, or to doing a round of 9 with Amy for FHE, or any of the other things that are easy to do when you don't have kids. (Incidentally, shouldn't there be a word for married people without children? MWOC? Maybe I'll just use that.)

Every so often Amy and I will get out on a date night and all of sudden it comes back how easy it is to be MWOC. You get in and out of a car without having to pick anything else up. You walk into a restaurant and don't have to pick up a high chair. Heck, you walk in and don't even have to worry about what it is that your kid is going to eat for a meal. You can walk into a movie theater and hold hands and it makes sense and doesn't feel forced. That's how it feels, by the way, when you try and hold hands with your spouse and you're also carrying a baby, or pushing a stroller, or holding onto whatever else. It just doesn't make sense to do that, let alone to do the whole door opening thing at the car.

It's so refreshing and nice to have those date nights because it is so easy to just focus on the one that you're with. It becomes such an important thing to do.

And it's during these times that makes me realize how much purpose having Jane brings into my life. I don't just live for myself. Things start to change somewhat when you get married because you can see the impact with immediacy of what your actions and decisions do to the other person, but with a child, it becomes so much bigger. Amy can take care of herself at the restaurant, but Jane doesn't eat if I/we don't think of her. Jane doesn't survive from today through tomorrow if her needs aren't one of the first things that I think of in the day.

That's how it felt a few weeks ago when Amy and I went out. It's not that you can't have meaning when you don't have kids, but having your own family thrusts meaning full force to the very front and center of everything that you do. It is easily one of the most challenging things that I've ever confronted, not because the task of changing diapers, getting food, or anything else you do with babies is difficult, but because it is so constant. And then those needs grow in importance over time.

The nice thing is how rewarding it is. Jane is such a vibrant source of happiness for me. I wonder all the time what it is that filled up my life before this and I really don't know. I guess I just never had any idea then.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I'm a Rambling Man

Really we're a rambling family. I think I already mentioned how much we drove this past summer somewhere on here, but I had a flight to New York a couple weeks ago for a flyback with Citi (don't worry, I didn't get it) and that meant that I ended up touching down in my 20 state THIS YEAR. Since January. Isn't that crazy? Highlighted in red is every state that we spent at least some amount of time in since January.

It's been an amazing year for us as a family. It's so crazy to me when I lay it all out like that on a map. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lonely Dad

It's funny, but I was going to post last week about how important social interactions class. Being that I have spent a few to several years of schooling studying social psychology and am now taking a class in the program called Teams and Work Groups, I was going to talk about how important social interactions are. How they increase life expectancy, decrease depression, have a salubrious effect on all of these health outcomes that outdoes not-smoking, exercising regularly, and even eating healthy, among other things. (Mind you, this effect has only been demonstrated for actual social interactions, and nothing media based. We often pretend like that's a legitimate outlet, but it's not.)

In the week and half that we had been home when I was going to write that post, we had gone to a barbecue with three other couples from the MBA program, been invited to dinner twice in our new ward, visited Scott and Elisha, hung out with a few other couples, and I was in school, teaching a bowling class, sitting down with every other student/friend in the program that I could whenever I had a free minute, and I was just loving it.

And then my wife and now 1-year old went out of town.

I have been able to exercise consistently for the first time in months, catch up on things that had to get done, oversee our house and make sure everything is getting completed, and I just feel so empty. I don't sleep well.

Normally, when Amy is home, I have the easiest time falling asleep, but now, even on days when I'm feeling tired and should be ready to go to bed, it takes me an hour or more to really fall asleep. I will doze in and out, but if I'm down for bed at midnight, it's often like 1:30 AM before I'm actually asleep. It's interesting the ways you get affected by things.

I can't even begin to explain the amount of joy that comes from being a father and husband. My knees get weak when I can come home and I know that Jane has heard me walk in and to see her turn around and start crawling quickly for just melts me right into the ground. I love it.

To be honest, sometimes it's hard juggling the balance of wanting to spend my evening with Amy and connect with her and while also feeling like I need to get things done. But after having the last 5 or 6 days to myself doing whatever I feel like, all I want is for them to come home.

It's amazing the way love can develop. It becomes this deep and abiding feeling that matures and swells, occupying every piece of you out to the tips of your fingers and toes. I find it crazy and wonderful that I get to experience this as my marriage draws out and my kid, now kids, grow and physically lengthen.

This is my jam lately. Listening to it almost broke me down yesterday.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Time to Disconnect

The bowling scene kills me. The idea is well executed and so true.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Now That Summer Is Almost Over

So much happened this past summer. We went to Michigan. I worked for Ford. We drove over 15,000 miles in less than a four month period which included stops in Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Toronto, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, and California.

Then, during one of those fateful trips, a hinge on my laptop got broken. Turns out it is not a laptop that can be covered by warranty repair places and could not be salvaged, so a few weeks and about $500 later, I have a new laptop. Not great.

But with this new laptop I hope to finish my thesis (fingers crossed), edit the over 1,000 video clips I collected from over this summer, and search for a job for next year, and blog much about everything going on in our lives and that went on recently.!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Jane over time

Jane at birth.

At one month.

2 months.

3 months.

4 months.

5 months.

6 months.

7 months.

8 months.

9 months.

10 months.

Don't you just love her?

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Can't Nobody Hold Us Down

Finally, a different kind of post, although I'm sure the five of you out there love hearing about Jane.

Something that Amy and I were determined to not have happen was to be a couple that stopped doing things just because they have kids. We've had some other good models to blaze trails for us, so we really wanted to make sure that we kept ourselves moving.

A lot of our ability to do that is just having such an awesome baby in Jane, but I have to think that part of it is just giving Jane every opportunity to adapt and learn to roll with things as we go and try and keep up with our adventures. I know that there are some people that would say that is selfish of us, but I think kids are really resilient and if we can give them a chance, they can get really good at adapting to whatever is thrown at them, provided that we still try and be sensitive to their needs and they know that while we might always be on the go, they can always know they'll find stability in their parents.

This year has been kind of amazing for us. Jane was born on September 12 of last year. Since then we've been to California twice, Vancouver, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arizona, Las Vegas, and driven across the country through Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana to finally arrive and live in Michigan for the summer. Since we've been in Michigan we have been to Toronto, Cleveland/Kirtland, Pittsburgh, Western Michigan (Holland and Grand Rapids), and Northern Michigan (Mackinac Island).

Just last week I was talking to my brother and telling him that we don't get to as many movies as we'd like, but we feel like we still do a lot. He kind of gave me a hard time about how I had supposedly commented on how funny I thought it was that he and his wife don't get out more. I took exception to that. We may not get to the movies as much, only because we don't have the army of available babysitters that we had in Utah, but this week alone we went to a Tigers game, Barenaked Ladies concert, and we are out of town for the third weekend in a row.

As I write, Jane is comfortably sleeping in her pack and play at the foot of the bed. Of the things that I value most in people, two of them are just being able to have fun and being able to roll with things. By September 12, 2014, I think Jane will be well on her way to figuring those things out.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Jane @ 10 months(!)

I can't believe this little girl is only a couple months away from a year. How does that happen?

Jane is just so amazing. Honestly. I think it was only last month that I was saying that Jane was kind of leery of strangers, men in particular. Well that went away just about as quick as it came. The other day some strange man picked her up while Amy had her at the pool and started splashing and playing with her and Jane couldn't have cared less. She just was happy to play in the water. And she courts interaction from strangers everywhere we go. She makes eye contact with anyone that talks to us, like waiters, and waits for them to notice her and she'll smile and make noises. That's another thing.

You can just tell she's understanding her voice and that it is the means to communicate with people. Probably my favorite thing that she does lately is when she's crawling around the apartment looking for me, she'll pause at the spot she sees me and makes her call which is something like, "ah!" And then I chirp back to her and she comes a crawling all smiling and giggly. She's really just so happy all of the time. For as much as we take her and do stuff - and we do a TON of stuff - she just rolls with everything. She can be totally tired and now she's just getting really good at falling asleep anywhere. Last night we went to an outdoor concert and even with the noise and the crowd (we were on the grass on the periphery), she just got really still in Amy's arms and fell asleep. Then I took her the rest of the show and she didn’t even stir while she laid on my chest. (Of course we’re the only bad parents there who had a baby in the first place, but that’s not the point.) 

She crawls with ease and stands every chance she gets. It’s really so fun and it feels like it’s just a matter of time before she just figures it out, although it felt that way with crawling and then it ended up taking her a couple months longer  than we would have guessed, but we’ll see. 

She still only has her bottom teeth. I’m excited for the other ones to pop in and fill out her mouth, but I still love just seeing those two little toofers on the bottom. 

She eats everything, but the fun part is seeing how she reacts to different foods. Amy gave her a lemon slice the other day and I was expecting more of a reaction from her, but she only seemed surprised by it initially, and then she wanted to hold it and ended up just licking it. That’s totally her mom coming out with that move. 

The best was her trying ice cream for the first time last week. We were at PNC Park in Pittsburgh just melting from the humidity so we decided to get a treat. She put her whole mouth on it, not really getting how to eat it at first. By the end, though, she started using her tongue and kept making her excited noises to let us know she wasn’t done. 

Jane is also pretty good with a sippy cup now. It took a little while, but she’s figured it out pretty well. Holding it upright is a still tricky for her when it gets low, but otherwise she’s got it mostly figured out. 

Jane is just so amazing. The two best things about her are just how happy she is and how she rolls with everything. She is so much like her mom that way and it honestly just makes life so easy for us. I could not feel more lucky to call her my own. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Jane @ 9 months

So this is a week and change over due. I've been working most nights lately on my thesis. It's actually moving along. Shhh. Don't tell anyone, but I might actually finish it.

Jane at 9 months. She crawls. She army crawled for like two days and then all of a sudden she just figured it out. She's so independent now. I know it seems silly to say, but it feels like it. She's able to get where she wants to go, mostly. It's fun to watch her go for things or find her toys. She always takes a direct route too. She never goes around things, like it's not even an option. For example, our table in our nook has these wooden beams that are low and would obstruct a lesser baby, but not Jane. After a week or so, she figured out how to get herself over that little obstacle. She also likes crawling over my chest when I lay down. She goes face first, and sometimes she takes a hard spill, but she's getting better at protecting herself.

She claps now. A lot. It's so cute because she does it whenever she's happy or excited. She claps a lot. She's got two cute little bottom teeth, but her top ones haven't popped yet even though it feels like it's been awhile since the second of those bottom ones came out. That'll come up soon, I'm sure.

She tries to stand up against everything. Amy tells me that when she does the laundry now and brings the basket back, Jane just loves crawling into the basket and then pulling out all of the clothes.

She gets super excited for food, like verging on tears, especially in the mornings.

When I come home and she's just sitting in the living room, she puts down whatever she's playing with and crawls right over to me. It melts my heart. And when I pick her up she goes in for a hug, spreading her arms over me and putting her head on my chest.

She's also very wary of men lately. She just doesn't seem to like men. Any really, except for me.

It's indescribable what she makes me feel. Now when I hear single or newly married people talk about having kids in a way that isn't glowing, I mentally shake my head in disappointment for them. You have no idea what real joy is. Like it says in the temple, joy in your posterity. That's where it comes from. Joy comes from holding my petite little girl in my arms as she's falling asleep or when she squeals and kicks her legs out of excitement when I look back at her in the car.

I saw a video the other day with Louis CK, probably the top stand-up comic at the moment. He talks a lot about being a parent in his routines, although he's pretty vulgar a lot of the time. He said, "what the he** is an adult without kids? What's the point?" I loved it. I love being a dad. I love my little Jane at 9 months.

You can see the clip here, if you'd like. It's clean.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Orleans...Finally.

Okay, forever ago we went to Mississippi to visit Greg and Laura. Amy blogged about it here. Well, I finally got around to producing the video. There are a lot of things I don't love about it, but it's done. So here it is.

Look out world!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wedding Season

Before it gets too far distant, I should probably put together some thoughts about the wedding that I just attended for Annalee and Paul.

I went to California this past weekend and left my wife and child all by their lonesome. I felt bad that they couldn't come, but it just didn't work out. In any case, off I went. It was a 36 hour trip about 2000 miles across the country, but important for me to be there so I went.

I realized tonight that this was probably the last sealing that would take me out to California for the foreseeable future. All of the people that are in California that I feel close enough to to travel for are now married. There's nothing really important about that, but just kind of interesting to me. Annalee is the last of the Reid kids to get married. The sealer made note of that, and I have to think as a parent, that really does bear some significance. From now on, the only things that really matter to Greg and Joyce as far as their kids are concerned are that they remain true and faithful to their covenants and that they get (more) grandkids who grow up in the gospel.

It's really a neat thing for every child in a family to be married in the temple, and there are six of them no less. It's also a neat thing for me to be so close to that family that I actually attended every one of those sealings. I don't know that many people have that kind of closeness and opportunity with people that they feel close to, and I feel really privileged that that is the case for me. I love the Reids so much, and of all of the girls I know, Annalee is probably the closest thing I have to a sister, so that's kind of neat.

The wedding was great. One of my favorite things about sealings is the time in the waiting room when you enter in and you see who else is there in attendance and have conversations with old friends that you haven't seen in years. It's just neat how weddings bring people together like that. And probably the best part about weddings is that they are always so happy. It's such a joyous occasion.

At this point in my life it also causes me a lot of reflection about my own wedding day and the feelings I had that day.

I didn't get many pics, but I got at least I got this one.
As far as Tweeter's wedding, it seemed like everything really came off well. Putting these together is such a labor of love because it's so exhausting for everyone involved. So much work goes into picking out every little detail, and then of course, there is the part I dread most about these things - the clean-up.

These kinds of events always separate people into two categories. The low-lifes and the saints. Some people will just naturally pitch in and help out and close things up. They are the ones who put chairs away in church at the end of the meeting, clean up your kitchen when you've invited them over for dinner, and just make life run more smoothly.

Then there are the ones who just sit there and do absolutely nothing while everyone else is working to get home as quickly as they can. These are the low-lifes.

While I guess I'm a part of the group who helps, it's probably a strike against me that I can only look over at the low-lifes and resent them the whole time, wondering how they can watch other people do all of this work while they stand idly by. Honestly, does anyone really like cleaning these things up? But you just go ahead and do it because many hands make light work, right? Some people just never get that though. It's probably one of my biggest pet peeves in the whole world.

It was such a short trip, but just so much fun to be there with so many people that I love so much. And it's so great to feel the spirit of the temple and to feel the spirit testify to the sacredness of that particular ordinance. I just love it.

Nauvoo, Illinois

Sunday, May 5

It’s getting too far out for me to remember this in as much detail as I would like. Nauvoo was the centerpiece in this road trip and it lived up to every one of our expectations. 

While the weather was cold, windy, and rainy the two days before we arrived in Nauvoo, we arrived to perfect weather. We woke up and went to the Fort Madison branch in Iowa before going back to our hotel and heading into Nauvoo for the day. We got over to Nauvoo and the skies were just perfect. Hardly anyone was in town for the entire time that we were there. It was just perfect.

It’s amazing to me to think about the history of this place and how for anyone not associated with the church, Nauvoo, Illinois isn’t even a blip on their radars. They have no idea what it means to us as a people, and in the grand scheme of things, it is such a place of great importance in the history of the kingdom of God. I thought often about the blessings that the local people, not just the saints, lost in driving the Church from out of this area. Today it’s a totally insignificant little city that sits on the banks of the Mississippi. While some might debate about how important Salt Lake City is to the entire world, I can assure you that the blessings of urbanization, growth, and prosperity that are had in Utah are definitely not present to any degree in Nauvoo today.

We took pictures and walked around the temple. The edifice is just gorgeous. For the me, the only temples that really blow me away that I’ve seen in person are San Diego, Manti, and Salt Lake. Nauvoo probably supercedes all of those for me now. It would have been nice to go inside the building and actually perform ordinance work, but we came on a Sunday and left on a Monday, while also having an 8 month old baby so it just wasn’t going to happen this trip for us.

The highlight of the Sunday was visiting Carthage jail. As you can imagine, Carthage is just a tiny little town. It would bear no significance otherwise if it weren’t for its notorious connection in being the martyr site for the Prophet Joseph Smith.

The prison itself consists of only 3, maybe 4 rooms. It has been restored to resemble what it did in 1844. There is a distinct kind of spirit about the place that you can’t really sense anywhere else. Amy mentions in her post about this day thinking about this idea of whether the spirit is actually present, whether others can feel it, or if it holds significance and feels that way only because we’re members of the church. Obviously, I don’t know, but I tend to believe that the spirit can only attest to that kind of truth for someone open to its influence.

That evening we went out to eat at some bar and grill restaurant that turned out to be pretty good. Jane did much better that next day as we visited Nauvoo again. This time we stopped into the buildings and listened to the senior missionaries share with us the stories of those buildings and their part in contributing to the Nauvoo community. They were really all so sweet to talk to. You could just tell they had been starving for someone to visit with and tell their stories to.

The best part of the morning was walking down the Trail of Hope that has placards inscribed with journal entries of some of the pioneers who were forced to leave their homes and start new lives by trekking west. It was so sad to read. All of it makes me wonder about a lot of things. It’s kind of hard to put into words now.
Visiting Nauvoo was really powerful to me. This trip has been really neat for me just because I have never had the opportunity to go and visit any of these church history sites, besides what’s available in Utah. It’s incredible to walk in that city and think about how those trees were witness to all of those trials and difficulties that the saints faced. You can actually walk the ground and look across the river to the other side where these people looked and think about what a bleak future that must have been in their minds, even if they were looking with an eye of faith. There had to be many moments of doubt. There had to be so much fear about what lay ahead for them, particularly as they were being forced out in the dead of winter to a frontier part of the America that was wild and mostly unknown to anyone.

I just totally fell in love with Nauvoo. I would love to revisit it someday with my own family, anyone who is close to me. Being there made me excited to learn more about church history. Even though it’s not exactly my family that has passed through their, it was so exciting to me to think that my wife’s forbearers had a place in Nauvoo. It all becomes so real and that’s where I think the real value lies in being able to visit these kinds of places and stand in the places of such importance.

I am so grateful to be a member of The Church. I know it is the true church of Christ and our Father. I am grateful for the history of the saints and the sacrifices that they made so that I could benefit from their faithfulness 150 years later when I would be able to partake of the blessings of the gospel myself.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Jane @ 8 months

I know you'll never believe this, but Jane just keeps on getting more fun. She's getting more and more interactive. She just gets games more. She gets when you're being playful, and if you're kind of coming after her, she'll turn and bury herself into the arms of whoever is holding her. She's so darling.

Her second tooth started coming in and that has just started some sleeping issues recently, but otherwise she is just awesome. The traveling kind of messed her up too, but she's normalizing since we haven't stuck her in her car seat for hours at a time and not changing rooms and locations every night.

Tonight we gave her some Tylenol and she started kind of crying and moaning as soon as I put her down for bed, but calmed down when she realized that I was staying to hang out with her. It was the cutest thing. She'd just kind of roll over and change positions, reach her hand up to touch my face, and I just rubbed her back until she fell asleep a few minutes later.

Probably the sweetest thing ever, though, was on our road trip over to Michigan. There would be times when we didn't have too much left in our car ride, but she had woken up or was just plain getting tired of being in her car seat, and if one of us could reach back and hold her hand, she would calm down immediately, set her head off to one side, and just fall asleep, reaching up her one little hand to hold one of ours.

She constantly melts my heart. I was not a person who just filled with love the second she came into my life, but my heart is brimful and overflowing whenever I think about her now. She's just such a happy little baby. I love my sweet little Jane.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Omaha, Somewhere in middle America

Saturday, May 4

The highlight of this stop would be in the morning as were able to stop into Winter Quarters to see the visitor center there. I thought there would be more to the area. The visitor’s center was nice, and there is the cemetery adjacent that also includes the temple right there. It’s a nice little area, but we got saddled with a cold, windy, rainy day. I think I would have liked the visitor’s center more if we would have been able to look around by ourselves.

A sister missionary accompanied us, and while she was great, she was also just such an awkward person. Amy wanted me to take a picture of her pulling a handcart, and so I asked the sister (who had also just mentioned that of all things about home she misses, who she misses most are her nieces and nephews) to hold Jane while I took the picture. So I go to hand her Jane, the sister holds her hands outstretched and holds Jane away from her, just holding her up by her armpits, but then settles Jane on her knee while standing. I don’t know if that paints enough of a picture, but it was clear she had never held a baby before. The best part, though, was that she stayed in view of the picture and I just didn’t have the heart to tell her to get out. It was funny.

The best part of this stop for me was that there just happened to be a display of Liz Lemon Swindle’s artwork on display in the basement(No joke, it is actually Liz Lemon. Funny, huh?). I am one to appreciate art, but I’ve never really been touched emotionally the way I was when I saw her work. On display were about two dozen pieces of paintings from the bible about the Savior. The artist has an amazing ability to capture emotion and just seeing those pictures really made me reflect on the Lord and his mission. It was very impressive. What a talent to be able to be able to visualize so clearly the Savior and then translate that to a canvas. That kind of perfect communication of thoughts and feelings is very rare. (I'll sprinkle my favorite pieces throughout this post.)

Afterward, we dropped by a restaurant featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. It was pretty amazing.
We spent the rest of the day driving through Iowa to our next stop in Nauvoo. We have one friend who lived in Iowa for a time, and she just loved it, but outside of her, I had never really known much about Iowa. Iowa is a beautiful state. It has been pretty wet for us today, but we went and found a covered bridge, drove the countryside a bit, and stopped for dinner in Ottumwa. We had the funniest experience there.
We stopped at a place called the Canteen Lunch and we parked in a parking garage and walked around the back of the building to the front. As we walked in, the 6 or 7 people in the diner turned and looked at us. The lady who would eventually serve us just eyeballed us the whole time and asked us what we wanted. Another lady was scooping up what had to be the grossest ground beef I had ever seen. Amy asked for a burger. The lady asked what she would have on it, and as Amy started to say lettuce, tomato...she interrupts with, "Ketchup, Mustard, or Pickle." Amy paused before trying to politely decline their service and we just ended up walking away. I had never been in an establishment that was so unwelcoming. I couldn't stop laughing about it later. Our entrance reminds me of the scene in Pee Wee's Big Adventure when Pee Wee gets to the diner and says, "Large Marge sent me." So weird.

Otherwise Iowa has these beautiful stretches of green rolling hills with scattered barns that have been neglected for years, occasional car lots selling cars from all decades, and lonely solitary churches with a dozen or so headstones immediately adjacent to them. At one point Amy and I were both reminded of Sankt Steven's in Switzerland. This country really is so diverse thinking of the drive between California-Las Vegas-Arizona-Utah and now this. It's really captivating. If it weren't so wet and we weren't pressed to get our baby out of the car, there would have been many more photography stops.

We are staying at the cozy Knight's Inn just outside of Nauvoo tonight. It's exactly what you'd expect of a $55 a night kind of hotel. Jane is sleeping peacefully, but actually had a 102 temperature tonight. We gave her some Tylenol and it has done its job and she got back to her cute little excited-to-be-out-of-her-seat-self. Tomorrow is Nauvoo.

Onward to Cheyenne!

The next several posts will just be journal entries about our road trip. Proceed at your own risk!

Thursday, May 2
We ended up getting out a day later than we had originally planned because the weather was a little ugly leaving Utah and getting into Cheyenne, Wyoming. We left on a good day – nice temperatures, clear skies, and all of us were feeling good.

The few people we talked to that had been to Cheyenne didn’t have much good to say about it. What we had looked up about the city also seemed consistent with their judgments, but still, we were exciting for our cross country trek. The landscape was mostly pretty boring, but we still really enjoyed it because it was all new to us. I had never been out that direction and Amy hadn’t travelled that way either, so we took it all in. Snow was still very much present, and as we arrived in Cheyenne, the city was very much still in winter.
The first thing we wanted to see were the painted cowboy boot statues around town since that was all we had really heard about Cheyenne. That determination of ours ended up taking us over to downtown Cheyenne near the train museum. We took some pictures and video and then decided to pop into the Wrangler store just because the building looked kind of interesting and it was someplace warm.

The store turned out to be amazing and really turned us onto Cheyenne. It was filled with cowboy-ware; big expensive belt buckles, a huge display of cowboy/cowgirl boots and even little cowpolk boots, and other such things. The highlight of the store was talking to one of the workers. He was the perfect representation of a modern day cowboy stereotype. He had the cowboy drawl, showed us the residual damage of an injury he sustained while participating in a rodeo, and topped off with his ghost stories about the local area. We just loved him. He was the exact right person to talk to if you wanted a fledgling interest to grow into a full-blown one for Cheyenne. On his recommendation we ended up heading over to Pioneer Park and saw the stadium that served as the site where Lane Frost (of the movie 8 seconds) died in the arena and where a statue was dedicated to him. He also suggested we head over to try some bison meat and see the “Big Boy” locomotive that is on display.

The best obviously was his telling about the ghost of Tom Horn that haunts the Wrangler store because that building was formerly the holding area where condemned prisoners spent their last days and hours. Additionally, the bride ghost also walked those halls and our cowboy salesman shared with us that he had observed some of the paranormal activity he had seen. If we had any doubt, then his brother with the sixth sense had verified it with him one time when he wanted to see what kind of spirits resided in that building. I just loved that guy.

My favorite thing about Cheyenne is that it really is such frontier territory. Apparently with the execution of Tom Horn, that served as the end marker of the frontier days in the West and the United States, but the town still has such a great heritage of cowboy culture that it hangs onto, most obviously with the boots around town, but also in the annual rodeo that had made its annual appearance in July, since 1897. Cheyenne was great and I’d loved to pass through again someday. Definitely the last two weeks of July to hit up that rodeo.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Cruisin...the USA! (playlist)

Now that the semester is over, I'm going to try and be more regular with my blogposts on here. Hopefully that holds up. It also might turn more journal-ly, which has been kind of the direction it has gone anyway.

First order of business, road trip playlist. We ended up covering more than 1900 miles this first part of summer, meaning more than 29 hours in the car together. Wow, when you put it like that, I can't believe we weren't more tired of driving than we were.

I ended up assembling a pretty comprehensive playlist for the trip. If you're really interested, then you should jump on Spotify, find my profile, and then listen to the list there, but if you just want an idea of where to start, then take a gander below.

The playlist covers a wide range of songs, so it doesn't cater to everyone's taste, but it definitely skews classic rock. As it turns out a lot of music is about journeys, self-discovery, finding/reaching a destination, etc. Driving as a metaphor is a great vehicle (see!) for coming up with decent lyrics.

Without further ado, and in no particular order:
(Listed by Artist, Track, (Parenthetical remarks are mine))

  • Incubus - Drive, Wish you were here
  • Janis Joplin - Mercedez Benz
  • Coldplay - Speed of sound
  • Billy Ocean - Get out of my dreams/Get into my car
  • Rollings Stones - Start me up, Gimme shelter
  • Johnny Cash - I've been everywhere
  • Depeche Mode - Route 66 (or many other artists cover this one)
  • John Denver - Country roads (Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies do a punk cover of this that I grew up on and love), Rocky mountain high
  • Ram Jam - Black betty
  • Roy Orbison - I drove all night
  • Tom Cochrane - Life is a highway (or the more popular Rascall Flatts version)
  • Roxette - Joyride (Amy loves this one)
  • Golden Earring - Radar Love (I love this one. I think it's so cool, especially the intro.)
  • Eagles - Life in the fast lane, Hotel California, Take it easy, Peaceful easy feeling (definitely my fave road trip band.)
  • Canned Heat - On the road again
  • Wiz Khalifa - No Sleep
  • Middle Class Rut - Are you on your way
  • R Kelly - Ignition (because it's obviously about driving, right? And Hip Hop/R&B is short on this list)
  • Pantera - Walk (probably too hard for most people, but this was a favorite in 9th grade)
  • Willie Nelson - On the road again (different from above)
  • ELO - Mr. Blue Sky (Mayer Hawthorne has a great cover of this)
  • Don McClean - American Pie (just feels right for crossing the country)
  • U2 - Elevation, Still haven't found what I'm looking for, Where the streets have no name
  • Free - All right now
  • RHCP - Road trippin' (I love this one right now, cool, subtle jam)
  • Bruce Springsteen - Born to run
  • The Cars - Drive (one of my all time favorites), Let the good times roll
  • Stealers Wheel - Stuck in the middle (LOVE)
  • Beach boys - I get around, Good vibrations (I rediscovered how good these guys were as I put this together.)
  • Smokey Robinson - Cruisin' (Huey Lewis and Gwynneth Paltrow have a good cover.)
  • Tracy Chapman - Fast car (Boyce Avenue has a really cool cover too.)
  • The Allman Brothers - Ramblin Man
  • Gary Numan - Cars (gotta love quirky 80s tracks)
  • Chuck Berry - No particular place to go
  • Ray Charles - Hit the road Jack
  • Supertramp - Take the long way home
  • Elton John - Goodbye yellow brick road, Tiny Dancer (this one probably because of an awesome scene from Almost Famous, and it's my favorite Elton John song)
  • Jimi Hendrix - Crosstown Traffic
  • Arcade Fire - Keep the car running (great)
  • Kavinsky - Nightcall (from the Drive soundtrack, has a great 80s electric feel)
  • Dire Straits - Sultans of swing
  • Eve 6 - Open road song
  • Heart - These dreams (not sure why)
  • Bill Withers - Lovely day
  • Daft Punk - Around the world
  • Curtis Mayfield - Move on up
  • Dave Matthews' - Where are you going
  • Blues Traveler - Run around
  • Steve Miller - Jet airliner (I know, it's not driving, but it's still traveling), The Joker (because, yes)
  • Temper Trap - Sweet disposition (felt right)
  • Neil Young - Long may you run
  • Edward Sharpe and...- Home
  • Christopher Cross - Ride like the wind
  • Beastie Boys - Slow ride
  • Beatles - Ticket to ride, Long and winding road
  • James Taylor - Country road
  • Boyz II Men - End of the road
  • Mason Jennings - Lonely road
  • AC/DC - Highway to hell
  • Pennywise - Unknown road (favorite punk song in my teenage angst filled days)
  • Black Keys - Have love/will travel
Phew. There you go. I threw in some others, but that should be at least 5 hours of driving. Here's a taste of one.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Watching Her Learn

I know Amy has mentioned it on her blog, but Jane is just the cutest when she eats food. She's a very clean eater. When it's time to eat Jane will hold her hands out, never touch the food with her hands, open her mouth and make excited noises and kick her feet. That's her food reaction.

Last night we were playing games with some friends. I had decided to have a dessert soda (Amy thinks it's weird that I call it that) and was sipping on a bottle of Mexican Coca Cola that the Mitchells always kept in stock for us. I happened to be holding Jane at the time - and to anyone else this is such a small thing - and I noticed that she kept watching me pick up the bottle and lift it to my lips. After a couple times of doing this, I picked up the bottle a few more times even when it was empty just to see if she really was tracking what I was doing, which she was. 

Just out of curiosity to see her reaction if I handed her the bottle, I picked it up and brought it to her. That's when she gave her food reaction. Instead of reaching for the bottle like she would anything else, she gave her food reaction knowing that there was something for consumption, not for play. It was just the neatest thing in the world for me to notice her do that. It made me so excited to watch her and realize that through her observation, she was learning what kinds of things we eat and how we take them in. I'm sure that is only among the first of many times I'll see those kinds of things, but I just loved it.
I almost felt bad that I didn't give her any. I can't start her that young, right?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Jane @ 7 months

Yeah, I'm a little behind on a lot of things. I'm hoping this writing (even if it's totally unrelated) will get me going with my studying this morning.

Jane is so fun right now. I think I probably always say that, but I really mean it. She's becoming more mobile. She's not crawling or scooting yet, but she's lunging, rolling, and wiggling her way to where she wants to go.

Just recently she started some more signs of stranger anxiety. It mostly has to do with when we are in groups of people that she's not familiar with and someone else takes her. I don't love that, but otherwise if it's just us and some friends, she's really good. She makes it easy for us to go out because even if it's passed her bed time, if we are hanging out with other people she is still really good and doesn't even cry at all. She's so easy on us.

She just started teething last week. We wouldn't have known it if Amy hadn't actually felt the tooth in her bottom gums, but if we wouldn't have found that out we would've realized something was up when she decided to stay up from 3am-6am the other night. Not awesome, but even still, as soon as she's with someone she's just happy as can be.

And that's probably the greatest thing about her. She's just happy pretty much all of the time. She has such a sweet little cry and really only whines if she's tired and alone.

The cutest thing in the world is that she's figured out how to play peek-a-boo. She'll take things and cover her face and wait for someone to play with her. She's just the sweetest thing in the whole world.

This is funny to me, but she likes when I whistle in her face. She's just funny with anything blowing/covering/near her face. It kind of makes her nervous and she'll giggle.

This is one of my favorite pictures in the whole world of her. Caption contest for this photo, go!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Love What I'm Doing

I'm feeling really good these days. There are at least a few times each week, and sometimes multiple times in a day when I actually think to myself, "I'm so glad I'm in the MBA program."

I feel so lucky to be apart of this program for so many reasons, and I count it as such a big blessing that I feel so content with exactly where I'm at in my life. Unfortunately, I feel like that is always kind of a fleeting feeling, you know? Maybe you're better than I am, but so often I feel like I'm looking to see what's over the next hill for what's ahead, not realizing that maybe where I'm currently at is a pretty great place to be.

I absolutely love the content of my program. I feel so lucky when it comes to that because I know so many people in graduate school who just hate the work they do in school (i.e. almost everyone I know that has or is attending law school). I was in my managerial accounting class today and we were looking at balance sheets trying to figure out what was wrong with the business and I just loved it. I couldn't have been more satisfied with what I was doing at that moment. And I don't even like accounting stuff. The professor is just awesome and the questions were so interesting. I loved it.

I love the people in my program. I'm so pleased with the friends I've made and the people that I'm learning so much from all of the time.

And I love the opportunities coming out of my program. I just got my specific assignment last Friday for this Ford this summer. I'll be working on some change management initiatives and revamping their onboarding for salaried new hires. Neat, right?

This summer we started laying out each of our weekends. The week we'll be coming back we will attend the JT/Jay-Z concert in Chicago on July 19th, then we'll go to the St. Louis game on Tuesday, Kansas City Royals game on Wednesday, and Colorado Rockies game on Thursday, or maybe Friday. Amazing, right? I can't believe all of that works out that way.

It's just nice to be so happy where you are, and where you will be. I don't think there's a better feeling.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Isn't that a great shot? I didn't take any video over the weekend, so I'll just go ahead and update on this trip. We cruised down last Thursday and came back on Sunday, so we really only had 2 days to be in Phoenix. And on top of that, somehow the 70-80 degree sunny skies departed for those two days and gave us clouds, rain, thunder, and even some hail. Can you believe that?

Our original intent in going down was to go for spring training. I've always wanted to go, but just never made it happen, and this year felt as good as any to get down there. Amy's brother is living down there, had an extra bedroom, we only have one child, and I can mostly take Fridays off and take off early on Thursdays, so everything just felt right to make it happen.

  • Tacos at American Taco Shop
  • The burger I had at Joe's Farm Grill, featured on Dinerss, Drive-ins, and Dives.
  • Skittles bowling
  • Seeing the Angels and Albert Pujols hit a home run
  • Pal-ing around Phoenix with Mike
Really, just hanging out with Mike, Amy's brother. He's so fun and I relate to him so well, so I have a really easy time being around him (which is true of all of Amy's family, but especially so with Mike). He was an awesome host and his roommate let us crash in his bed for our whole stay. I'm always amazed at how gracious people can be, even to complete strangers. And really, doing these kinds of trips and going to see someone in their digs and have them (or him) show us around is always so great. I can't say enough about how important I think that is for investing in relationships. It's such a fun way to do it, too. I'm so glad I'm married to someone who thinks it should be a priority too.

Jane at 6 months

I just think she has the sweetest little face in the whole world. I don't think there are many differences between this month and last. I'm pretty sure she's growing, but I know she's still a runt. The biggest thing, probably, is that she can roll from front to back and back to front. She doesn't do it very much, but she does it with ease, and always seems to wait until we're not there watching her.

My favorite thing about Jane lately is when she is in the baby bjorn riding forward. She just loves it. It's funny to hear her giggle and just wiggles so much when she's in it. This last weekend when we were coming back from Phoenix we stopped at the Hoover Dam for a quick break and so I strapped her in the bjorn. One person commented to us about how happy she was in that thing.

She's such a good traveler. It was funny over the weekend because someone asked us if this was her first road trip. No, actually, she's been on three big ones already (California twice and now Arizona, with St. George and Vegas next weekend) and two plane trips (Vancouver and Mississippi). What can I say? The girl gets around. Sometimes when we're out and about she's kind of out of sorts with her sleep schedule, but always seems to adjust pretty easily wherever she is.

She's not great at naps, but great at sleeping. Although when she did figure out how to roll over from front to back, she would wake herself up in the night and not know how to go back to sleep. That was kind of rough for about a week, but she's good now. And in spite of our preference for her to go to sleep later so we can stay out and party more, she's been getting down to bed around 8ish, but she still sleeps in until about 8, so we can't complain at all.

Her awareness of people is also a little more obvious, especially strangers. We ended up going out to see a movie last week and we left her with a friend, but she cried the whole time we were away. I felt bad for that friend, but what can you do? Mom and dad have to get out on their own at some point, right?

We just love Jane. I just love Jane. I wasn't a person who just felt flush with newfound love when she was born, but it has been something that has built up since then. Just thinking about her lights me up. I can't believe it. It's such a unique kind of love to be a parent, different than anything I've ever known. And silly sometimes too. You wouldn't believe how proud I felt when she finally started rolling over and made it look so easy, like, "come on, dad, you really didn't think I was up to it?"

I love her more than I can say. We just feel so lucky to have her.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Social Media and Going Viral

I kind of love the latest internet videos that go viral and it escalates and the whole world starts uploading their own versions of the latest craze.

Just two weeks ago it was the Harlem Shake:

And lately it's been this:

Social media is such an interesting thing to me. There are all these ways in which people can connect with each other. A year ago it was just taking pictures on your phone and the ease with which different fads spread like planking. And now with how easy it is to do videos, you have these kinds of things that pop up.

I really kind of love it. At least for the five minutes that it's popular.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Technology Traps

(I feel like I'm complaining in my head all the time about not wanting to blog anymore, but then something comes up and makes me feel like I should still be persistent about it. Anyway, this is a sidenote to Lisa because your blog actually makes me want to stay consistent about recording thoughts just because I love reading about yours and all of the little details you include.)
A friend of mine posted recently about going 100 days without technology. It was kind of interesting to me because I often feel the tugs and pulls of technology beckoning me. I put off getting a smartphone until just a year ago because I knew that I would be a prisoner to it once I did have one. And don't get me wrong, I do love having it, but I think there is a lot of value in simplicity. I kind of dig camping because of the absence of being always connected. I think I just kind of dislike that I feel it divide my attention when I know that I should be prioritizing the people I'm actually present with, if that makes sense. 

Technology is just one of those things though - use in moderation, always. In most ways, our world is still so immature in knowing how to navigate technology (and when I say technology, I may actually more specifically mean connectivity). We bungle it a lot of times, but I think people are getting better about it. In 5 years, do you think we'll really need all of the pre-movie disclaimers about turning off cell phones and not even taking it out while the movie is playing? I think that kind of thing will be so second nature that the idea of ever even having to tell someone that they shouldn't take out their phone during a movie will seem ridiculous.

There are so many great things to being always connected that I really do love, however. I love Instagram. I love seeing my friends and their kids on there. I should probably be better at posting more regularly, but that's probably my favorite social media platform right now. I love FB for hearing about the random people that I know who I may not always be really close to, but still like hearing what they're up to anyway. And I also think the occasional friend poll that happens, proclamations of glad tidings, or rants about trivial things are also kind of fun. I think in most cases, I actually wish the people that I like most were more regular about updating their social networks. It really does decrease the feeling of distance.

Then there are all of the neat things that the Church is doing online. There are so many videos and great messages getting spread abroad that I think are so important. In my own life, it's been really neat engaging in my own family history and reaching out to some people that I have found that have actually done some of my family work. None of them have replied back, but I think it's just a matter of time. I used to think that I was the only person in my family who was a member of the Church, but because of technology I've realized that I'm actually not. Cool, huh?

Again, it's just one of those things. There are some terrible things that can happen - true - but used properly, technology can really be a great thing.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On Having Kids

Amy and I loved being married without kids. I'd say that our first year of marriage we did pretty well at traveling  and doing fun stuff. We loved going to the movies whenever we wanted, seeing pretty much everything in the theater. We really enjoyed being able to go golfing together. Fox Hollow is the course just a few blocks from our place and for $20 each, we could do a round of nine with a cart and it was pretty fantastic. That was a frequent FHE activity for us during the summers. We just loved all of that stuff.

But we just love having Jane. I find myself coming home earlier than I probably should a lot of nights because I just want to see my girls. We are not as unattached as we once were, but having her is also the greatest thing that could have ever happened to us. There just isn't enough time in the day for the amount of thanks we'd like to give in our prayers because we have her in our lives.

I bring this all up because the other day we go to go snowboarding and we just loved it. We'd still like to figure out how we can go at least a few more times. On our first lift ride up the mountain we sat with a guy who lives part time in Utah. I asked him if he'd been snowboarding much this season and he said he'd only been about 15 times so far this year.

15 times.

He also told us that he's been married for 15 years and he and his wife don't have kids, but they do manage to get to the mountain probably 100 times each season. Or at least his wife does, but I'm sure he's not far behind. He then started kind of giving me a hard time (at least I interpreted it that way) about not coming up more than I do. I should be up at least so frequently that it would justify getting a season pass.

It just made me laugh. There's no way I would ever feel good about going that often with Jane. And I don't regret it one single bit. I wish that I could go enough that I could actually improve and not just feel like I'm maintaining my ability. I love being out on the mountain. I think carving up a mountain and bursting through powder is one of the best things in the whole world. I honestly feel that.

But having Jane has given me so much purpose. Not that you can't have purpose without having your own children - but just in my own limited perspective and experience - nothing has ever made me feel so full as being a husband and father.

I miss a lot of things about my previous life. I miss seeing more movies. I miss just being able to leave and do whatever we wanted without having to plan ahead on what Jane needs.

But I just love her so much.

And let's be honest: Jane is probably the easiest baby in the whole world. I don't know what we'll do when we have a real baby who actually demands more from us, but until then, I'll count my lucky stars that I have Jane as my daughter and Amy as my wife.

Jane is Growing Up - 5 Months

5 months

I just love this little girl. I’ll only retrace the last 6 or so weeks. At this point there are a lot of developmental milestones from one week to the next. When we were driving to the airport from Vancouver to Seattle I would set her pacifier on her stomach as she sat in the carseat. That was the first time I really noticed her attempting to intentionally grab at something, however clumsy those attempts were. Since then she pretty much grabs everything. Now when I’m changing her diaper she’ll grab on my arm with both of her little hands. I kind of love it.

Like a lot.

So she’s been good this last month with grabbing things and putting pretty much everything up to her mouth. She loves bottles especially and also phones. Something that Amy mentioned last night is that it has suddenly dawned on Jane what her bottles actually represent – food. Whenever the bottle was in sight, Jane would cry for it and Amy actually had to put it away so that she wouldn’t keep crying out for it.

Jane can be occupied for a good length of time just holding and playing with her toys, going as long as 2 hours by herself just sitting and playing. And it can be just one toy, too. She doesn’t need much to be occupied. She also makes this really cute noise that we have kind of dubbed her concentrating noise, which is pretty much just a one-syllable low baby growl.

Although I think she has the core strength to roll herself over, she has no interest in that yet. Hasn’t even really attempted to do so. She’s a little slow developing in that respect.

Over this past weekend, she seemed to figure out that moving her jaw open and closed changes the types of sound that her mouth can make. Earlier last month Jane was copying her mom whenever she would stick her tongue out. She’s becoming a much more social being. She responds playfully when I grab at her belly or dive in to kind of bite at her. It’s so adorable. 

She also just started eating solids. Well, one solid, and only semi-solid at that. Rice Cereal. She was still pushing it out with her tongue the first few times, but now she gets it. And she also has been a little bit better at being able to stay sitting up. She can't do it on her own, but once she gets there, she can hold it for a few seconds. It's pretty cool.

That’s our little girl at five months.