Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

We all got dressed up this year for Halloween and went to our ward's Trunk-o-Treat. Todd helped take N around to get yummies. He would hold her hand, and she would walk up to someones trunk, smile BIG, and stick her hand in the pile of candy, taking one and placing it in her pumpkin pail. If she was told she could have two pieces of candy she would stick her hand in again and take one more piece, and then smile BIG once more for the candy giver. "It was so cute!" - Todd.
Here's a family picture of us :)

Todd was a Martial Artist, I was Sleeping Beauty (hey I got to wear my wedding jewelry again), and N was the cutest chic there!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


We finally got a clip of N walking, she's walked further and longer then this but, hey, we got something to show you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Shout out for Todd :)

When Todd and I were moving from our first apartment to the one we are in now we needed a kitchen table. We were watching for bargains, visiting D.I. often but still hadn't found anything to our liking. Then we visited a second hand store that use to be where Cherry Lane Keepsakes is now. There was a kitchen table with a leaf and 3 chairs. It was beat up and needed some major love and Todd wanted to be the one to give it to it. I wanted a complete table set....but after talking it over I let him go with the purchase. He sanded the table down and then school started and so did the snow. It stayed hidden under a table cloth for months! Now this last summer, Todd unveiled it, re-sanded it and we started to stain. 4 coats later and dealing with bubbling from the heat, we felt satisfied with the coloring. Time for the finish. Here's a PLUG for spray can Polyurethane - it's amazing, so easy to use, self leveling and quick to dry. I sprayed and sprayed to make sure there was a hearty level on it to protect it from ourselves and N. It dried, Todd assembled and now it's finished! (for the most part, we forgot bout the leaf in the closet :( But when we can and have the room and hopefully a protected place to work on it will match it to the table). We're very happy with how it turned out being our first refinishing project. And we are considering it again in the future. Isn't it pretty :)It's even better in person.

So this is a shout out to a wonderful hubby who convinced me to buy a table that turned out to be a great project and who spent hours sanding it and helping me to finish it on a deadline. We finished it Friday night, we needed it for N's first birthday the following day! Crazy.

N's First Birthday Party

We decided we could not, not have a first birthday party for N and feel good about ourselves, so we invited the neighbors, an old roommate of mine and her husband and little boy Thomas, Lydia and her husband Adam with their little boy, R, who has a crush on N, a co-worker of Todd's with his wife and of course the McNabb's. How could we have a birthday party and not have the little McNabb, N's BFF. When it came to cake time, we put N in her buster seat and lit her birthday candle.

I blew it out for her and pathetically it took me two breaths to extinguish that little flame, I hang my head in shame. But after the song, no more candle N didn't know what to do! So I took her right hand and plopped it onto the cake. Okay......Then I plopped her left hand onto the cake. She seemed to be getting the picture then. She didn't demolish it like how I had pictured it in my head. But stabbed it a few times with a spoon and disfigured about a 1/4 of the cake. Here's a clip of her after she "dug" into it and she seems to be enjoying it. (Notice the table is finished!)

After Cake we opened gifts, well I opened them for her and she played with the boxes. She enjoyed having her little friends with her to celebrate her birthday. Our apartment was at full capacity! (Not that that is difficult to do) But we had a lot of fun. Her are some pictures of N and her guests.
N and T
Say "hello!"
and Alice :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

"bonk" and wallpaper?

So N took a tumble yesterday. She was playing the piano and decided to get off by grabbing the unoccupied chair that was right next to the piano bench. She shifted her weight came off the piano bench fell to the floor with the chair landing on her. Traumatizing not just for her! Side note: I think this picture is too funny, the look on her face!

Also She has these cute PJ's that well, remind me of wallpaper. Which in turn made Todd and I think of Steve Martin in The Pink Panther I, where he's "sneaking" into the party near the end of the movie and is wearing that lovely, two sided, full body, spandex number to blend into the curtains. I think N could do the same thing. What do you think?
P.S. N walk half way across the living room today! Amazing. I think it was because I had a french fry in my mouth...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hard days

Some days are tougher than others. Some nights too. I keep asking myself what the best way to deal with them is. Sometimes I find the best way is to get it over with quickly. For days with a lot of small irritating problems, it's best to just get through them quick--like you were tearing off a bandaide. Don't look, don't think, just go quick and get it done.

Today was a day where the band-aide approach was useless for me. I was angry and upset for a good portion of today. That's not typical of me, I don't usually stay angry for very long. Eventually, though, I found the answer. I was angry at myself. Everytime I tried to redirect my anger outward--on a pillow or in a nasty letter--nothing would happen. Once I admitted that I was angry at myself, and acknowledged why I was angry--things started getting better.

Other days are just simply overwhelming. Most the people I know have a large portion of these. I find, for me anyway, the best answer is to rack up rewards. It's a naturally unhealthy condition of human beings to want everything now, and to pay later. Fortunately, this attitude can work in your favor during those days that you're overwhelmed. Figure out what is required of you each day, and make a small reward that you can redeem later for each day you reach that. After that, find a good days work, and make the reward larger.

In my case, I enjoy playing MMO RPG games. I really enjoy them. To help myself maximize my enjoyment of them, I made the time I play those my reward. Everyday that I work more than ten hours, I get to add ten minutes onto my weekly allotment, and I get to add 40 minutes for each hour after ten that I work in a day. Last monday, I had a ton that I needed to get done, and ended up putting in a 15-hour day. Boy, Saturday was fun. I still had more things to do, but it definately helped me take away the feeling of being overwhelmed--knowing that I had already done more than I was comfortable doing.

Maybe that's the real key to it--just creating your own measuring stick for how your day went. You don't need to live up to your boss' expectation, or your parents or teachers, just learn to live up to yours. If it's not good enough for them--explain yourself, and tell them what your limits are. Amazingly enough, teachers, employers, and parents are human too. I'm amazed at how lenient my professors can be when I tell them that I put in three 12 hour days in a week. If you can do that--then you can always have decent days, and a large number of good ones too. Also, the biggest advantage to being your own judge is that if you find yourself having a crappy day, or particularly angry, there's a good chance that you're angry with yourself. From there, it's a simple matter of discovering why you're angry, and forgiving yourself for it.


N took 7 whole steps by herself today with no assistance of any kind! She's on her way! Now we just need to get her on camera...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

12 month check up

N had her 12 month check up recently. She is in the 30% for head circumference, 90% for height and 10% for weight. So the doctor is having us come in at 15 months so he can check her weight. She looks fine! Granted she's only gained 1/3 of a pound since her 9 month check up, she's great. And from what I have heard she's just like the Duke side and just like the Millecam side. Anyways...

Thursday, October 2, 2008

1 Year Old!

N turned 1! Todd and I still can't fathom that one year has past since N joined our little family. We're having a Birthday Party for her the Saturday following Conference weekend, so we'll have more to post on celebrations then but I wanted to take the time to see where N is now.

After being on Earth for a year N has started...
To help feed herself with a spoon during breakfast,

Has started to take her first steps as of Monday Sept 22. Has learn how to climb onto the couch and got herself into the tub yesterday with much less grace...She's also taking an interest in music,

She says "mama" and "dada" and is learning how to imitate animal sounds. She squeaks and squawks and loves to laugh. She loves animals and always wants to pet the stray kittens that live in the lot next door. The park is one of her favorite places to go, and thinking about it by the time she could go down the slides by herself there will be snow :(

N also bends her knees to "dance" when there is music! I love it!

Life matters

I fought depression for several years of my life. Until you change the fundamental way you life--depression is the natural state of life.

My depression started when I was about 12. Actually, it was probably the worst at 12 years old. Before that, I probably could've been classified as having some social disorder. When other kids would play at recess, I would go to the corner of the playground, sit between two trees, and stare out at all the other children playing.

I wasn't much like them. They cared more for games and fun--and I cared more for understanding and observation. By the time fourth grade rolled around, I was already tinkering with the ideas of General Relativity and time dilation. I had a rudimentary understanding of the roll that gravity played in altering the flow of time, and I kept coming up with theories (I was 8 years old, thank you) regarding time travel. I never resolved what I'd do if I ever did have that ability, interestingly enough.

Anyway, the depression hit me hardest when I was twelve and went into Junior High School. I really only had one or two friends in elementary school, and my best friend had moved across the country about two months before Junior High started. I remember the first day getting to the cafeteria and looking around for a familiar face, or for a place that a lone-person could sit with others like himself. I found nothing but a small end of a table with empty seats. I sat there, and spent 45 minutes just staring around the room.

I guess nothing really had changed--except now the children seemed to "play" by talking to each other. On that day--I decided that I wanted to play with the other children. I made it a point to sit next to or with a different group of people each day for nearly a month. I meant some very interesting people--including one friend that I still stay in contact with on a regular basis.

I never really fit in, though. What I wanted to talk about was a little more than beyond the interests of my peers. I found some who would listen--but not intently--and even fewer who would respond. Not surprisingly, I learned to talk about what interested them--rather than myself.

It didn't take long before I felt like I had a very good grasp of my peers. I knew what they feared, what they loved, what they avoided, idolized, believed, and thought--but I never felt like anyone cared about any of that for me. That's probably why I was so depressed. Within a month, I knew hundreds of people, but only two or three even knew my name.

In my neighborhood, things weren't much different. I had learned--as a boy--that my greatest hope for friendship was in the adult population. Many of my friends, as a teenager, were fathers. They would talk with me on my level, and there were many who were kind enough to not talk down to me and to listen to what I had to say. I still had many childish quirks and beliefs, and they helped me with that--but when you're a child, it rarely occurs to you that friendship goes beyond who you talk to in the hallways.

To add to this--I was not a particularly large or strong person--I still am nothing above average. Without a group of people to associate with, or spend time with, and with a naturally quiet disposition, I became a target for teenage malice. This was a cause of great sorrow to me. I think what hurt most was knowing exactly why they were hitting me, and why they wanted to see me break. Some came from broken homes with uncaring parents--and a smaller kid at school was the only release they had for their frustrations at home. Some wanted to prove that they were better than me, mostly so they could feel secure that they were getting more attention than me. Most, however, merely did it because others were, and they didn't want to risk being singled out.

Whatever their reasons, it made me sad. Not that I was the target, necessarily, but the reason for me being targeted. I didn't know as much then as I did now--and that was one question I couldn't get my mind around--why me? The universal answer to that question is: It's not about you, it's about what's doing it to you.

Here's how do answer that question in practice: Why did this earthquake destroy my home? Answer: It's not about you, it's about helping other people get over this tragedy. It's about understanding the damage, the loss, and the pain, and fixing each one in turn.

I didn't really get that until about half way through the school. My first approach to applying this answer was only marginally successful. I saw the bullies and the pain that they caused as the problem. The solution--keep them from causing pain, or stop them all together. You'd be surprised how many people will back down from a fight--even if they're taller and stronger than you. Almost all of it is about intimidation--and I showed them that I didn't care if I got hurt--so long as they shut-up.

I rather quickly took on the roll of a defender for many people. I realized that there were other people who suffered under these bullies. I would stand up for them--I would silence their mockery, or redirect it to myself. This brought me some relief from my depression. In honesty, though, had it not been for the many months of me being mocked, I doubt many of those kids would've known my name--many of them didn't.

I caused myself a lot more pain than I realize. I had become so accustomed to no one taking an interest in me--that I simply assumed that was the way the world was. Interestingly enough--a young woman did take an interest in me. From my understanding, she developed a bit of a crush towards me. In my state of mind, I was completely oblivious to it. It wasn't until one of her immature friends told me about it--with her standing right next to me--that I even considered it to be a possibility. About two or three weeks after that occurred, I finally realized that it was possible that someone could show any measure of interest in me--but still couldn't convince myself that it happened.

People do care about you. Strangers care about you--even if they never know your name. Sometimes, simply giving a smile to a complete stranger is enough to change the course of someone's life. I know relationships that started that way. I have both heard of people, and been the person, who realized that life was worth living because of one kind word. You are loved. You are needed. I may not know you--but you have my love, and my interest.

There is, within us, a divine spark. All of us are born with it. This is the spark that makes us silently pray that we will never have to witness a violent death. This is the spark that makes our hearts fall when we hear the sorrows of others. Most of us have nourished this spark until it has become a small flame that warms our souls. You don't want to see someone brutalized, because somewhere within you at some level, you love them. You say high to a stranger because you have that spark and hope that you'll get a friend out of that contact.

Most of our entertainment today seeks to quell that spark. This is natural--after all, a flame can be very dangerous. We're afraid of being hurt. It's part of the kindling of this flame--not wanting to be hurt ourselves, but some people focus so much on the fear that it incapacitates them. So many people have such a fear of this flame that they seek to extinguish it at the first sign. This is often as unreasonable as never driving a car because of the fire inside the engine.

The real answer to this problem is as follows: we need to channel our desire to love. Unchanneled love leads to heart ache. Once you learn to accept all love given to you with gratitude and graciousness--then you have the capacity to handle any heart break. Periodically renewing that gratitude is the key to it. As for the love you give--make sure it is always in a non-threatening expression. Sexual interaction is most often considered threatening--unless you're married, of course. Start every relationship as if it'll be a life-long friendship, but recognize that you may only see them for a few more minutes. Be happy and grateful for the few minutes you had with them--and never focus on the time you didn't have together.

I worked in a call-center environment quite a few years ago, and I had contact with a man named Mike Pell. Mike Pell had been through hell. He was alone. He was in constant physical pain. He needed some relief, and medication was useless to him at this point. I stood up to my supervisor in order to stay on the line with him and hear him out. I've been lonely, I know what its like to go for months without a single person looking at you, and I know that we all need a listening ear at times.

These are the first few real answers to depression. Your natural state is to talk about your problems, rather than listen to others. You quench your flame when you do that. Most people want to think about themselves, and how to solve their problems. While pondering over solutions to issues you face is a healthy exercise, you should budget the time spent doing so. Focusing on problems keeps us from seeing the other things in our lives.

Lastly, and this is the most practical advise I could offer to anyone suffering from depression, watch the media you expose yourself to. Some of the most heralded and popular songs of our day focus on loss, pain, and misery. Here's an example: I love Lord of the Rings. I think it's well written, imaginative, and entertaining. J.R. Tolkien, however, wrote much of it after being a soldier in World War 1. He will seek to teach you that things can never be as they once were, before the conflict, and that you'll always be scarred from the difficult experiences you were called to go through. This is untrue, and if you don't believe that--then you might as well concede that exposure to that doctrine is not conducive to a happy lifestyle. Listen to the lyrics in songs, pay attention to movies and what they're trying to teach you. Consciously reject what doesn't teach you to be happy, and accept those things that do.

Well, it's 2AM, and I'm starting to get tired. Good night everyone, and feel free to ask me anything you want to.

My blog

Well, everyone else I know has entered the blog-o-sphere, so I might as well. The only time I really have to reflect on things and post about myself is well after my family has gone to bed. The result is my happy insomnia blog!

I currently suffer from insomnia. This wasn't always the case with me. I use to enjoy it. Even staying up until 2 am and being at marching band at 6:30AM didn't really bother me in high school. I read a lot. I was too curious for sleep. There was always one other piece of technology to investigate, one other philosopher to study and read about, one more game to play, one more thought to nibble on.

Not anymore. I'm full of thinking now--quantum physics and differential equation problems can do that to a mind. There are no more games to play: out-smarting a computer doesn't engage my mind, and I don't have the time to spend to compete with loser 15-year-olds with 2.0 GPAs. I don't care to study and learn any more--my curiosity has all but run out.

Why can't I sleep then? I used to think it was just a matter of calming my mind enough to slip away--but my mind is as calm as a morning breeze. I've seen it all, mentally speaking. My mind has stretched to the greatest heights of man, and seen the bottom of the darkest pits. There is no where left to go that will be new to me, it seems.
To avoid the risk of sounding arrogant--I'd like to borrow something that one of my friends said many years ago. She was asking me some rather difficult questions about the direction that her life was taking. I gave some advice, but before I really offered a solution I asked her, "Why do you always come to me for these kinds of things? Why do you just assume that I know the answer?"

"You do! Really, though, since the 6th grade, you've always had the right answer. I think you really do have all the answers."
Well, I'd like the set the record straight now: I don't have all the answers, but I have run out of questions, or know where to find the answer. People don't always agree with the answer, but it doesn't change the validity of things. I can be wrong, and often am--my physics professors can attest to that fact, but this doesn't happen often. I simply have no more questions left to answer for myself. I've covered all the big ones: What is the meaning of life? Why am I here? Will the Brady bunch ever be popular again? What are the implications of having a large abundance of an oddly shaped bi-polar molecule permeate every aspect of our lives?

I simply have run out of questions.

I don't know why I suffer from insomnia. I have a very happy and comfortable life. I have a wonderful wife, and the cutest little girl you might ever see. They both love me, and smile as soon as they see me. Sometimes I can quiet my brain, sometimes I can't--but sleep doesn't seem to come anyway. I'm not scared of anything--even death doesn't bother me anymore. I don't hold grudges, and I don't have a problem letting difficulties and problems of the past go. Why can't I sleep then?

I'm really quite content with life--I just can't sleep. I've tried herbal teas, relaxation techniques, self-hypnosis techniques, routines, staying away from my bed during the day, but nothing seems to really motivate me to sleep. I'm going to see a doctor tomorrow about it, but I wonder how much good it'll do.

So, that's why I'm here. I'm gonna spend the extra time in my unusually long days just talking. Feel free to listen, or ask. I welcome new questions, enjoy answering old questions, and I love a challenge.



Why I'm (still) a Mormon

I don't expect much more to ever be posted on this blog, and I'm largely just posting this to share it with some particular friends....