Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Dr. Who Halloween


We've been trying the last 2 years to have some sort or "plan" regarding our Halloween costumes. It makes the chances of possibly finding parts of our costumes at D.I. much higher and it I plan on making something, gives me time to.
This year might be hard for us to top again. We L.O.V.E. Dr. Who in this house. N shouts his name and asks to watch the shows. She we picked it for our family theme. And lets just say it took every negotiating skill we had just to make sure N didn't live in that costume for almost 2 weeks. She was very happy to be the Tardis.




Todd was Dr.Who, I was his current companion, Amelia (Amy) Pond, N was his time machine, the Tardis, and V was suppose to be a small Dalek, Dr. Who's mortal enemy, but I couldn't get the costume finished in time so she's the missing duck from the duck pond in the episode where Dr. Who meets Amy.
Unfortunately it was raining this Halloween and N almost didn't get to go out, it made us wish our ward had done a trunk-or-treat, but she did get a short window where Todd took her out and one of the ladies from our ward, who we're pretty sure is British, recognized their costumes and she seemed surprised we knew about Dr. Who. All I have to say is Lady, he's taking over the world!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can, I can!

For those of you who knew me in High School, and more specifically when I was on the Track and Field team, you know I was NOT a runner. I did sports because they were fun, not because the coach had been scouting me out for my impressive mind blowing athletic abilities. But since having my time stretched between, husband, kids, house, church callings, and my own guilty pleasures, I don't have a lot of time to commute to and from the gym. The solution, running. I could hit the concrete right out side my front door and work on my cardiovascular. But could a girl, who never ran before and who had had two surgeries on the same knee really become a runner? Yes. Yes, she could.

So last year I invested in some nice running shoes. (Note: From personal experience, you can totally haggle at sports store.) But I immediately hit a road block. I was trying to start a running routine, and I was pregnant. Not the best combination. Needless to say those shoes didn't get used much. Until this summer. My in-laws like to participate in 5k's, 10k's, and some are starting half marathons. They were my idols (hope I don't go to hell for idolatry :S ). So with the Mesa, Arizona Turkey Trot coming up, my goal was to join the family in the run.

Todd and I laced up, tossed the girls in the double stroller and went for a run. I about died 1 mile in and Todd had to assault me with ridiculously bloated lines of encouragement to get me home. Needless to say I did not make the full 2 miles. We made plans to go again. But didn't. After about a month, I was having such a bad day and beating myself up for not keeping with the running and went out. And I did it! Almost, I had to take a small break but I did it.

After going out on my own and cranking the tunes from the i-pod my FIL passed on to us, I got my 2 miles to 21 mins. Major PB there. Then after about a month, my in-laws brought my SIL, Hills back to school. So Saturday morning, dad, Todd, Hills and I went for a run up the canyon. Todd went on ahead of Hills and I (dad having left us in the dust) and told us where to turn around. I made 5k with out stopping! Big thanks to Hills for letting me tag along with her. I was so going to be ready for that Thanksgiving 5k!

But it's not a 5k it's a 10k. Yeah, took me by surprise to. Well I had already blabbed about how I was going to run it, so I had to get there. In comes good ol' Google Maps. I found out how far it would be to run from the house and back to make the distance. And went for it last weekend. I made it to my turn around point and back to the house. 5.4 miles! Bam baby! Dang straight.

So here's my progress:
From the end of July to the end of August, 2 miles.
August 28th - October 9th, 3.2 miles.
Since then to now, 5.4 miles.

My goal now is to add on the last mile, then work on time. After Thanks giving, I'm thinking about adding more distance.

I needed a goal, something to want to do and my in-laws were that :D Love you all!

More N-isms


(This morning while I got her some of her Marshmallow cereal)
N: "Oh, thank you! I'm so happy. Happy day!"
(*N uses "happy day" in place of "birthday")

"Oh, such cute cheeks!"

Todd got N up from bed one morning and went downstairs to get breakfast started.
N: "Oh, no more happy day."
Todd: "But it's okay, because your birthday was a week and a half ago."
N: "Oh, ok."

N playing with her play kitchen set.
10:00 a.m.
N yelling from the top floor: "Dinner!"
no one coming
N: "DINNER!"
no one...
N: "DINNER! DINNER! Come up stairs!"
And if you try leaving that dinner table early, you're in for a bug surprise.

N turned 3!

.
..
...
She's three.
She's Three..
THREE...
When did this happen!?

It happened the beginning of October that's when it happened!
We really don't know that many kids N's age, but we invited them and many of our friends and family to come celebrate with us. N and her two friends got to run around with fairy wings. Todd and I got to chat and catch up with friends, which is the reason why I completely forgot to take pictures of the party, I was surrounded by great company!

Here is what we got on film though.


(This pictures bugs me to no ends because I didn't center the decorations!)

(The masses have asked, so I'll be posting the recipe for th 7 layered jello along with my notes and suggestions and step-by-step pictures! Just have to wait till after Todd's LAN party this weekend because that's when I'm making it next.)

Birthday cupcakes

And the birthday girl!


Thanks to all who came!
It was wonderful to share this day with you and for N to be with all of you at one time! We know she loves you.
She's making good use of ALL her birthday gifts! (Honestly she's loving all of them!)




Friday, September 24, 2010

It's out

Some of you may or may not know that I love music. I've done a lot with it over the years.

Well, I've reached a monumental step in my love of music--I submitted a demo tape. These are the three songs I put on it--let me know what you think in the comments. These were for a demo, and aren't professional quality recordings. I did my best with them, but there are still some noticeable deficiencies. These are free to download for the time being--hope you enjoy :)

This one is called "Disappear" I wrote it in highschool while suffering from insomnia late at night in my room on my keyboard.

This is called "Numb." It's about my battle with depression. I wrote this one two weeks ago.

This last one is my favorite--and many of you have heard it already. One More Night. It's the first love song I wrote for Dani when we were 17. She dumped me shortly after hearing this.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recent N-isms

1: I like to play with my kids and I'm very playful with them. So, when I was making N some Chocolate Milk, it was in her sippy and I was shaking it up. I made it into a little bit of a dance in front of N and started saying in rhythm, "shake shake shake."
N gave me a funny look, held her hand out in front of her in the "stop" position and said, "no no no, I don't shake."

2: N loves being a big sister. The newest development in this matter is that she's started trying to carry V around. She gets her in a full nelson lock and then squats until V's legs are just barely off the ground. It's very funny to see a near 3-year-old carry around a near 1-year-old

3: Again, when playing with N, we were doing the "superman" game, where I grab her arms, roll onto my back and then lift her into the air. Well, while she was in the air, she accidently let out a toot. Not a big deal, but she turned bright red, grabbed her bottom and said, "whoops."



Sunday, August 8, 2010

Family



I always wished I had come from a big family, but I didn't, so I developed this habit years ago of adopting people into my family.


This cute runaway is Missy. She's been my best friend since I started college. Ever since N learned her name it's, "Where's Aunt Missy?", "We go see Aunt Missy?", "Aunt MISSY!!!!!" all day long. Don't know what I'd do without my Missy.

This is Karen and Sid, my adopted parents in Idaho. I showed up for college in a state I had never been to, where I knew no one and they took me in :D I'm awful at calling, I'm like the son on a mission who never writes, but I love them and miss them terribly.

I worked with Jill in high school at the Tempe Public Library. She is such a sweet spirit, someone who you find yourself comfortable with right off the bat and someone you want to get a hug from because it makes you feel safe and special. Her and her husband, Jiggs, we're two people I would call while away at school to get advice about guys, to talk through problems I was having and to share exciting news. They are the Aunt and Uncle I was blessed with to find later in life.

Richard was Todd's first real friend. They met when they were six when Richard shared a piece of gum with him. Even after loosing contact with moves to others states and eventually another country they met back up in college and picked up right where they left off. With me and Kristine being added to the mix things are just more interesting. N instantly loved them and they've always been there for us. They also have excellent taste in board games!
















And the most recent additions to the family, whether they know it or not are the girls new uncles. Uncle Garrett and Uncle Spencer. Todd worked with Garrett on campus and when Todd started Game Night, when we still lived in the apartment, Spencer showed up with his brother and joined the group. The girls love them and I love watching how they interact with the girls. When Garrett is here, it's his lap and and no one else's N want's to be on, not even mommy's.

We love having all of you as "extended" family and to have your influences on our children. You're always welcomed here and you always have a place to stay if you find yourself in the area.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The house

I know many of you (mom) have been waiting for pictures of the house improvements (mostly painting) we've done, and I was going to post some pictures but the window guy just called and he's going to be over here tomorrow and Monday installing some new windows, so I decided to wait till those windows are in and retake the pictures. So wait just a few more days and then they will be up!

In other news there's a wasps nests on our deck and I think a gopher just made it's home under our carport. Great.

-Dani

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Farmville



So, Dani and I have taken to facebook games. I play one called castle age, and we both play farmville now. If you've ever played harvest moon, then farmville is just like that--only you play it with all your friends, and it has a lot more bugs.

Normally, this wouldn't be the kind of news that would make it to the blog--but there haven't been any recent posts, and farmville has been one of the most interesting things happening to us recently. The biggest draw-back to it is that you can't do everything in these games until you have a certain number of friends who play it with you. Dani is perfectly fine with this, for the most part--because she has a ton of friends who play it on facebook. I've added her friends as mine to kinda bum off on her popularity, but in the end I had to utilize my programming skills to manufacture a half-dozen facebook friends for me.

Anyway, if you want a relaxing and fun way to spend 10 minutes each day, check out farmville. If you like Lord of the Rings style games better, check out castle age and feel free to join us.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another N prayer

N: "Mommy can I have some water?"
Mommy: "After the prayer N."
Daddy: "Do you want to say the prayer N?"
N: "Yes. Dear Heavenly Father, can I please have some water?....."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

Sorry I haven't been around, but I know Todd's been taking good care of you.

I've been rather busy lately and still haven't managed to juggle and balance the work load this new house requires. Don't get me wrong, I'm so very, very happy N has more room to run around, but that also means her toys are EVERY. WHERE. Oh well, not too much longer before she's more responsible at containing her messes and then returning each room to it's proper condition...right...?

Any who. My mom comes in 2 weeks! 2 weeks! and then my dad will show up for the 4th of July weekend.
:D BIG smiles :D
Mom says she's going to help me paint and hang pictures, plus there is plenty of gardening work to be done. Needless to say I'm going to be so grateful for her help. She's awesome! They both are. When my dad was here, he hung a ceiling light/fan in our top living room and it saved our butts when the A/C didn't come on. And he helped with yard work and some electrical too. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Todd and I are so thankful for the help they've given and are planning, and N loves the playground Papa built. She's plays on it more when he's around and she can "summon" him to push her.

Ex. 1) "Papa, papa!
" Yes ma'am."

Ex. 2) "Papa, papa!"
Me) "N, I can push you."
N) "Um..." (looks at papa then me then papa again.) "PAPA!"

Love it.

I also confess I've been wrapped up in reading. A LOT of reading... So far I've read 47 books this year. Most are YA Fiction, some classics, Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn Trilogy (LOVE IT!) and a little of this and that. I've already got some books waiting for me at the library and more on my hold list just inching their way to my hold number in the queue. When I get my sewing/craft corner up I'll have to learn how to balance these two loves of mine. I'll worry about that in about 4 months...

Todd's been busy with work and house projects, and Summer term is about to start next week. He's starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of his release from BYU. I just have to do what I can to keep him going. He's doing great and he'll feel so much better when he graduates. Then we'll see what happens. He's got some great ideas for some projects he wants to start and I know having the time to work on them will be a blessing for him, for us.

Well, I've got some other events to catch you up on so I'll be back soon.

Hugs!
Dani

Thursday, June 3, 2010

random joke for June

How many ADHD kids does it take to screw in a lightbulb?




HAY LET'S RIDE BIKES!!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wee Vee Wonder

Just now, V was sitting on the couch and I asked her, "can I have a hug?"

She just kinda looked at me blankly, so I went up to her and gave her a hug. I then said, "I'm always in favor of wee-Vee hugs."

At this V, the cute little five-month-old, sat up so she was right against me, and clumsily moved her arm around until it rested on the back of my shoulder, and then nuzzled me with her face. What a wonderful baby!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Room 2 Done!

We've finished our bedroom. It took two coats of paint, new carpet, and a complete re-do of all the closets, but we got it done. In case anyone is interested: There were 3 coaxial cable-TV jacks in this room--and Dani and I have agreed that we will never have cable-TV. After a lot of putty and paint, this room looks good.
This is Todd's closet in the background--as organized by Dani. This shot is taken from the master-bathroom doorway.
Here we have our scripture study area on the left of this picture, with all our scriptures and study aides on a bookshelf. This, I'm happy to say, gets used daily :D

For those of you who know Dani really well, this next picture is a dream come true! I bought her closet-maid organizing shelfing and she went to town on it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Room 1 Done! (Almost)

Here are pictures of the Living room almost 100% completed. I still need to paint the accent wall (I'll do that with my mom when she's here) and I have pictures to hang still. We'll get blinds hung once we replace the windows later this summer and then it will be done. It's a MAJOR improvement from what we started with and are loving the space!

Here is the link to the blog post that has pictures of the house before the previous owner moved out. After she moved and we cleaned up major amounts of dog hair, we replaced the carpet and painted the walls. What do you think?





And special thanks to my Father-in-law who gave us the idea on how we should set up the entertainment center.



Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Illegal Immigration

I'm making this post so that people know that, somewhere out there, there's a solution to a political problem that we face in the U.S. every day. I hope someone in power gets a chance to consider this--because I really feel like this could be an economically viable solution, and result in peaceful and long-lasting change.

I'm talking about Illegal Immigration.

Honestly, I don't care about Illegal Immigration either way--some are a boon and some are a tax to our society. I really just don't know enough to make a judgement call either way, and I'm not sure we, collectively, have the information needed to make a distinct decision that would be in the universal interest of everyone involved with this issue. We could argue about it for years and still probably never gain decisive and unbiased data.

One thing that I do know for sure--we should really revamp our foreign policy regarding Mexico. Studies have effectively demonstrated that the most lasting changes on foreign soil are those that were perpetuated and endorsed by the general population. Most people in Mexico agree that they need to do something about corruption in their government, and about general working conditions across the board, but feel powerless to do so. I gained this information from interviewing and talking with a number of my friends who were born in Mexico. If we looked beyond our own borders and discovered ways to empower the citizens of Mexico to peacefully bring about those changes, then the problems involved with illegal immigration would be greatly alleviated.

The first step would be "de-throning" Carlos Slim and breaking up his monopoly on the telecom industry in Mexico. He was granted that monopoly because he was friends with the President of Mexico, and has utilized it to become the wealthiest man in the world (yes, he has surpassed Bill Gates in net-worth). He overcharges for his services, and anyone who wants to use the internet south of Arizona (this includes nations south of Mexico), have to pay him a premium to do so.

The next would be helping them implement labor unions so that the individual worker can start standing up and saying that they will not work in life-threatening and continuously miserable conditions with absolutely no hope of ever getting a raise or an increase in benefits.

We have the economic power to enforce these changes in their government. We can--much to the temporary dismay of a vast majority of people--firewall off Mexico from doing any kind of e-commerce with the US until Carlos' monopoly is broken up into individual companies. The foreign pressure outside of the US alone would ensure that this is done swiftly. We can ban imports from Mexico (yes, this would hurt us a bit, but we're retooling our economy now anyway, so why not just add another item on the to-do list?) from any non-unionized company, or rather, any company that doesn't clearly demonstrate competent working conditions.

These are simple things for us that would cost the US a few hundred million to implement. I'd wager it'd be about as hiring 10,000 employees and funding anti-immigration projects for a year. In the end, items from Mexico cost a little bit more, but we pay for that when we choose to buy pens, and dice, and little plastic toys--rather than when we need medical care, or adequate facilities to educate our children.

I know it's a complicated issue--and I don't think it can be solved overnight, but I do know that if we make Mexico better for Mexicans, then the US will be a better place for all US Citizens. We can't lift our neighbors, without lifting ourselves.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tired 2

So, yeah, we're still exhausted trying to get this house up and running the way we're expecting. Here's the list of stuff we've done since the previous one:

  • Took out all the drywall anchors in the bedrooms (there were about 20 of them)
  • Fixed all the holes in the walls and closets upstairs
  • Fixed most of the damaged corners on the walls
  • Prepared half of all the upstairs walls for painting by scraping off deformities, sanding down uneven parts, and removing old curtain hardware
  • Painted the living room
  • Took out a stump with my bare hands -- yeah, it was tough, only 4 more to go
  • Bought playground equipment (that stuff weighs about 800lbs, and was fun to haul all by myself)
  • Tore out all the carpet in the lower living room (major props to Richard Low for helping me there)
  • Finished chipping down the concrete, and put the door in
  • Hauled the carpet to the dump (that was an adventure)
  • I joined a research group analyzing magnetic domains in ferromagnetic materials (in lay-mans terms, I'm trying to find a way to retrieve data off a hard drive that's been wiped by a magnet)
  • Finished the first stage of a project at work--only two more to go
  • Unpacked everything for the kitchen and cleaned it--putting it in a fully functional order
  • Hosted a LAN party with about 9 guys in the unfinished lower basement (we played games from about 7:30PM to about 5:00 AM, it was a blast)
  • Discovered "Dominion," a really awesome card game, and became instantly addicted to it (again, major props to Richard and Kristine Low, they're simply amazing people all the way around)
In short, Dani and I are having a lot of fun, and go to bed exhausted every night. The house has its first living area nearly completed, and it looks beautiful. All we have left is to replace the windows in the upper living room and it will be exactly the way we want it.

Next up: Entry room, hallway, and kitchen -- ought to be fun ^.^

Monday, May 3, 2010

Internet, Dani, and LAN

Dani wants to apologize to everyone. She has been without internet access for about two weeks now. In her own words, "This is the longest I've been without internet since I first had internet access, ya know, the sixth grade."

She will get caught up with everyone as soon as it is installed.

I am particularly perturbed by our lack of internet access myself, since this new house is wired with cat5E cables already! I was told it would take a day or two, last week, and they're just sending a technician out today. I would've fixed it myself by now--but I can't find the fiber optic gateway at my house.

Their tardiness led to extreme embarrassment and inconvenience for me. I had a LAN party (computer gaming party) on Friday night, and it was very embarrassing to tell the people coming that there wasn't any internet access. It led to multiple problems--but we had a fun time anyway.

So, veracity networks customer service continues to disappoint me--as it always has. If it weren't for the fact that they provide internet speeds up to 20x faster than what comcast is capable of doing (on a good day), I wouldn't mess with them at all.

Dani should be online today or tomorrow, and she'll get caught up with all of you then. To those who want pictures of our new house--we really can't provide them yet, as much of it is still torn apart with a bunch of boxes sitting in random places. We probably won't want to sport pictures of this place for another month.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tired

N has started one of the cutest little bits of drama. When she sees Dani or me tired, she throws herself on the ground, tosses her arms as wide out as she can and says, "I'm tired."

This was partially due to me just wanting to take a nap on a Sunday afternoon while N wanted to play with me--but it has flared up recently as a result of all the house-work we've been doing. Since last week, here's what my family has done (in chronological order, major thanks to my parents and sister for their help on Saturday):
  1. Scrubbed down the entire house
  2. Bought two doors to replace existing exterior doors
  3. Painted several areas of the house
  4. Tore out all the wood panel on the second floor
  5. Tore out some parts of the second floor that were mold-farms
  6. Tore out the bar
  7. Broke the sledge hammer we used to tear this stuff out
  8. Studied for and took a 300-level math final
  9. Did about two weeks worth of programming at work
  10. Had the carpets replaced
  11. Emptied our storage unit
  12. Moved
  13. Went out for birthday dinner at Bombay house with my parents
  14. Had the utilities put in our name
  15. Cleaned the kitchen
  16. Loaded up all the debris from the second floor and hauled it to the dump
  17. Helped move Hillary out of her apartment and stored some of her stuff in our garage
  18. Cleaned again (still trying to get rid of all the dog hair)
  19. Chiseled concrete down by about 1/8th an inch (2/8ths left to go before the door will fit)
  20. Started changing the locks
  21. Had the plumbing fixed in the laundry room
  22. Had the previous owner finally pick up the last of their stuff
  23. Returned one of the replacement doors because we found out that we'd need a custom-order one
  24. Unpacked nearly all of the kitchen boxes
  25. Reassembled furniture
  26. unpacked some books
  27. Cleaned some more
  28. Went to church
  29. Unpacked the girls' rooms
  30. Found all of our bathroom essentials
  31. Had a crown replaced on one of Dani's teeth
  32. Finished a project at work (that I really started on about April 14th)
Today, I'll hook up stuff in the laundry room, finish tearing out the concrete, hang another door, and tear out the carpet on the second level, and Dani will be unpacking and organizing. In all honesty, she probably has it rougher than I do--because she's been working at all this while taking care of two kids! What a woman!

In the words of N, "I'm tired!"

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Closed!

We closed on the house yesterday! Dani and I are now homeowners! Feel free to congratulate us in the comments, if you're so inclined.

We went into the bank at 3:00. The title agent ran a little late due to a discrepancy between two of our documents (the approval letter for the short-sale said they'd paid 3500, when the contract specified they would pay 4500--we knew about this and had budgeted for 3500). Once we told him that we were fine with the 3500, things got rolling. I felt so bad for a girl named Teresa at the bank. She was responsible for a single crucial document, and three people were closing at the same time. We sat in the room waiting for her to finally get to ours for about 20 minutes.

Anyway, money changed hands, papers were signed, and Dani and I signed a certain percentage of our income over to the bank for the next thirty years. After we had closed, we went over to the house. The previous owner has still not finished moving out, and we understood this. Dani and I went over there with several grocery bags to comb the back yard. We filled three of them with dog crap.

N was happy as a clam running around the back yard. V enjoyed the sun, and Dani and I made plans for today. We also were pleasantly surprised to find out that we have a pear tree, a yellow apple tree, a red apple tree, an apricot, and seven plum trees. Well, the plum trees, according to the neighbor, had always produced sporadically, and were always messy. So, today, I rented a chainsaw from home depot and took out five of them (each 20+ ft tall). I'm covered in scrapes and stuff right now, and very very tired. Anyway, we cleared them out to make room for a proper garden and play ground equipment. Tuesday we'll be renting a wood-shredder and convert all the small limbs and things into mulch for the play-ground area.

So, we're already hard at work on home improvements, and we're hoping to move in on Thursday.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Wee Vee Cheerleader

As most dads know, babies are great toys. In my case, I use a very high voice and speak for them while making them dance.

Well, I was making Vi dance just now, and started her off into a cheer:

"Mommy, mommy! She's our gal! If she can't do it. . ." and I stopped struggling to find a word that rhymed with gal
"Daddy will!" -Dani

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gaseous Girlie

I have to put this down somewhere--the annuls of history simply would not be complete without mentioning this.

V is a baby, and she has gas. Typically, with strictly breast-fed babies, their gas and their poo doesn't really smell that bad. We were not so lucky with V. That little 12-pounder can clear a room. It's really foul.

The reason I mention this, is because on Sunday she was particularly bad. Dani was holding her, and she was letting out some flatulence. Well, the last one she let out practically shook the walls. I did not think it was humanly possible to produce that much sound with that small of a bottom. Dani and I looked at each other and both felt a little uncomfortable. When the smell disseminated into the air, we had to change rooms.

Goodness--I swear this girl could've beat out her uncles when they were teenagers.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Engrish


if you've never been to engrish.com, you should check it out.

Here's another great joke/conversation that I found:

haha
sheep--> my mom got this knife at some asian store
sheep--> I was gonna use it to make myself some food
sheep--> but instead, I'm gonna frame it and keep it for ever in the wrapper
tick> ?
sheep--> it says on it "Warning: keep out of children"
tick> lol


To follow up on that, check out this awesome bit from engrish:


This is the Abraham/Isaac edition

Monday, April 5, 2010

Paperworking

As far as we can tell, all the paperwork is in for the house, and we'll be closing sometime this week.
Dani and I are so very very excited. In an effort to get ready for this monumental event, I'm trying to finish off all my homework for the rest this semester. Luckily, that amounts to about 6 assignments. If I can crank out two per day, then I'll be in good shape. Boy, I'm so ready for the semester to be over.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

random joke

I was reading on bash.org, a great (and somewhat vulgar) way to waste time. I cried when I read this joke (it has been edited slightly for politeness).

Three men who were lost in the forest were captured by
cannibals. The cannibal king told the prisoners that they could
live if they pass a trial. The first step of the trial was to go
to the forest and get ten pieces of the same kind of fruit. So
all three men went separate ways to gather fruits.

The first one came back and said to the king, "I brought ten
apples."

The king then explained the trial to him. "You have to
shove the fruits up your butt without any expression on your
face or you'll be eaten."

The first apple went in... but on the second one he winced out
in pain, so he was killed.

The second one arrived and showed the king ten berries. When the
king explained the trial to him he thought to himself that this
should be easy. 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8... and on the
ninth berry he burst out in laughter and was killed.

The first guy and the second guy met in heaven. The first one
asked, "Why did you laugh? You almost got away with it" The
second one replied, "I couldn't help it, I saw the third guy
coming with pineapples."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moving



Well, it's finally time. Dani and I are leaving this apartment. We've really enjoyed our time living here--we've been here for almost three years (2 years and 9 months, to be precise). We've had a lot of wonderful neighbors here, and some not-so-wonderful neighbors (Stogey's Smoke Shop and Ozz, namely). We've had a lot of fun in this ward. N and V were born here.

Unfortunately, our apartment has grown very cramped with two kids. We have to move furnature around every night to comfortably sleep everyone. V sleeps in our bedroom until we go to sleep--at which time we shift our living room around a bit and roll her out to sleep near the book-cases.

Right after we got home from Arizona this last Christmas, we realized that we wouldn't be able to stay comfortable for the next year or so while I finished school, and we started looking for a house to buy. This new job has been very good for us financially, and we've been saving up for this since I started working there.

Well, when we did our taxes, our return brought us to exactly where we needed to be to get a down payment on a home. We looked and looked, and found a number that had a lot of potential. Long story short, we found one.



Incidently, the google street view is one of the best pictures we have of the exterior. The house is 2600 sq ft, was built in 1980, has five bedrooms and three baths. It's currently occupied--this house was a short-sale. Here's the upstairs living room:
We really feel like we found the diamond in the rough. There are quite a few smaller jobs that need to be done on this house, but it is, overall, in great condition.
It has a huge backyard for N to run around in. we'll be planting a garden this Spring and I'll be making plans to build a swing set for the girls. Here's a pretty good shot of the south-half of the yard:
Here's the kitchen, it's really quite spacious, but some of the appliances need updating. Dani and I are planning on putting in a new stove and dishwasher.
This is the room that I'll probably spend a lot of time in, the downstairs basement. This house is already wired with cat 5e (computer network/internet jacks in the walls), and is good to go for fiber optic internet access. I'm very excited to get a 60mbps dedicated line to my office.

I don't know what we'll do with the bar. . .that door leads to the hot-tub outside (we're hoping we can get it working). I just see it as desk space, honestly, and a good item for entertaining guests.

Did I mention that this house has two kitchens? The basement one only lacks a stove. Actually, if we finish the last room in the basement to be a bathroom--then the basement could be a nice renter's apartment. We plan on doing that as quickly as we're able to. It will take a while, as we need to redo all the bedrooms too. In case you can't tell how ugly they are from this picture, let me point out that these walls are wood-paneled, not drywalled. I'm gonna have a "bedroom vs crowbar" day after we close on this room.



So, there's a quick whirl-wind tour of our soon-to-be dwelling. We're very excited to be moving up in the world here. I'm excited for the heated workshop attached to the garage, and N is very excited for the back yard. Dani is just happy to give V her own room, so she can have the chance to catch a breather when she's particularly fussy.

We'll be moved in by the end of April, and we'll close in the next two or three weeks.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pronunciation

N: Mom can I have a tot tard?
Me: Don't you mean a Hot Dog?
N: Yeah! A Tot Tard!

Friday, March 12, 2010

When N Calls

N got hold of her mother's phone today, and called me while I was on the bus.

N: Daddy?
Me: Yes sweet heart?
N: Is dis daddy?
Me: Yes, sweet heart. What can I do for you?
N: Can I get something to eat?

I almost busted up laughing.
Me: You might want to ask your mother, since I'm not there.
N: Um, okay, bye!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

N says

Picture: Todd at his desk with N on his lap
Todd: "She's feeding me her crackers."
Dani: "Guess she thinks daddy's too skinny."
N: "Yeah! He's ski-ee!" And pops another cracker in his mouth.


Picture: N on the couch looking out the window and Dani on her desk chair researching kitchen appliances.
N: "Cuh-we-go outside?"
Dani: "You need a yard to run around in. We need a house."
N: "Yeah! Et's get a hows!"

Picute: V swinging in her swing.
N: "Is a goo baby!"

Wii My Fitness Coach

So, Dani and I wanted to buy the Wii fit for a long time now. We just saw the balance board and the training exercises as so cool. Well, long story short, it still hasn't happened, and the deadline for it has past. Dani and I started looking for alternatives to in-home fitness. We tried Julian Michaels for a bit, but it made me sick to my stomach every time I did one of her workouts. We tried Tae-bo with Billy Banks for a while too, but it just moved so fast that Dani and I could hardly keep up.

I knew, from advertisements and what not, that Wii Fit was not the first workout or in-home fitness program for the Wii, I just couldn't remember the name of the first one I saw. Julian Michaels has her wii game, and there are a number of other newer ones, but I wanted to find that older one.

Today, almost by accident, I found it on gamestop.com. It's call My Fitness Coach, by Ubisoft. It doesn't require anything but a wii to use, but can make use of an aerobics platform, hand weights, heart monitor, and exercise ball if you have them. They have 480 work-outs on file, and they start you off with a comprehensive health exam. They test cadio vascular, upper body, lower body, and flexibility. Based on your initial test results, they give you a recommended workout. In my case, it recommended upper body strength--something I've always been lacking in.

Well, I just bought it today, but already it's way better than any workout DVD I've ever used. It covers all the core health and fitness fundamentals--target heart zones, workout lengths, different types of resistance, endurance, and overall muscle strength. Sadly, Ubisoft put out a second My Fitness Coach and it totally tanked because they replaced the 3D trainer with workout video clips, so there probably won't be a third by them.

What it lacks is the intuition and experimental aspects of personal training. The trainer cheers at you and encourages you to keep going--and it does help, because she does it when you start slowing down, or when the workout is starting to get hard.

So, if you don't have the $100 extra for Wii Fit, $17 for My Fitness Coach will get you just as good a workout, and you won't need any extra equipment either. If you can't afford a personal trainer and a gym membership, well, this is probably the next best thing.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Violent Video Games

This is a subject that is very close-to-home for me. First off, I play violent video games. I play them often. I've been told that I'm really pretty good at them, and I have a knack for it. I am a gamer, and I don't feel like I need to apologize for that.

I read a report on a study among 130,000 people that concluded that violent video games increase the frequency of aggressive thoughts, and decrease pro-social behavior in everyone, regardless of age, sex, or culture. I'm inclined to believe it's true, even without seeing the data. Psychology is a "soft science," but it is a science and not an art.

The reason why I believe it's true is because I believe that we always absorb what we're around. Even if we try to avoid it, and even if we can completely transcend a situation, all you really are doing is slow the rate of absorption.

That being said, I don't believe violent video games are going away. They are entertaining. They are a great way to release frustration--even if not the most socially-healthy release. In many cases, violent video games are purely used as a social catalyst--like a movie, but usually simulate conversation.

Sadly, some people who play these games argue that it doesn't affect them. In reality, they are lying to themselves. You can't be given information, in any form, and not be influenced by it. The effects might be small--even unnoticable--but it is ignorance to say they aren't there.

I know that violent video games affect me, I know how much they affect me. I think the important thing when playing violent video games is that you counter those negative effects with positive ones. So long as you have positive social outlets outside of video games, you can have positive influences negate the negative influences that video games some times have.

It's like TV, or going to the movies, or just about any popular form of entertainment. There will be bad influences on you. Just make sure you have good influences outweighing the bad. Go outside, run, play a sport, go to a party, read a book, and doing things to keep your character and interests well rounded will negate the negative effects of violent video games.

One last point I'd like to make: watch yourself. Put yourself in the same real-life situation as the character. If you were in the middle of the battlefield being shot at, would you really care about how many times you shot enemy soldiers in the head? Make sure you still feel remorse when playing a game. Make sure you recognize, consciously, that if this were real you'd handle it in a human manner. If you can't do that while playing a game, and you're getting so into it that you lose sight of reality, then that game is bad and you shouldn't play it anymore.

So, I don't think I'm going to stop playing Crysis, or Team Fortress 2, or Halo, or any game like that, but I do recognize that I could stand more positive influences in my life, since I have noticed a decline in my own "pro-social" behavior.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Home Shopping, and Networks

Dani and I have taken our intent to buy a home to a new level. We've been touring homes in central Utah county (from Provo up to Pleasant Grove).

As of this morning, we had one picked out. It had pretty much everything we were looking for, and we felt it was a little overpriced but were willing to pay it because it seemed like it would require very little fixing to make it exactly what we wanted.

Boy, that was wrong. I went through with the home inspector today, and that really opened my eyes. Just about everything that could be done wrong with the electrical systems was. The Inspector pointed out at least a dozen building code violations in the wiring.

Building code aside, some of the stuff in this place was just plain dangerous. They had exposed wiring touching insulation in the attic at multiple places. It was the newspaper-based insulation in the attic too. Yeah--the whole attic was essentially a well made camp fire with a lighter sitting right in the kindling. All that takes is a single jolt of power when you turn on your lights to set your roof on fire within minutes!

The Coup De Grace with this house, however, was the ventilation systems. They were done completely wrong! They let some of the vent pipes dip down--and it had caused a Carbon Monoxide backdraft! So, essentially, if we had used hot water in that house, we could've been killed.

Despite all this, we felt like it could all be fixed. So, we withdrew our offer, and told him we were still interested, but that we'd only buy it at a slightly inflated market price (rather than the largely inflated market price he was asking). Long story short, we still offered him well above what the home is worth, and he wouldn't talk to us. I don't know what the housing market is going to do, but I do wager it'll take a significant hit when the 8000 tax stimulus passes its deadline. So, we've moved on.

I'm not that picky with the home we'd live in. All I want is a safe environment, a fiber-optic line ran to my house, a place for my computers, and four bedrooms so our growing family can fit comfortably. Really, is a LAN too much to ask for? I've wanted one since I was a kid. Now that I have the beginnings of one, I'm starting to realize that I don't have friends to populate one should I build it. Oh well, maybe I can get a calling in young mens? Maybe I should just get a new hobby, and only do computer networking for my job.

In retrospect, I'm glad we withdrew our offer. If we're still looking in six months, then I might revisit that house and see if the price has come down to a fair market value. If it hasn't, then, oh well, the guy who tried to flip it can pay the mortgage on it.

In the mean time, some new prospects have opened up, and I'm really quite excited about them. I hope it lasts long enough. I really hate shopping, so we'll see how long I last.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

N Speaks

Just now, this morning, N was fascinated by what I was doing on my computer--for about three seconds, and then walked off. Before she was out of range I called out, as I often do, "I love you."

For the first time ever, clear as day, N responded, "I love you too"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Center of Attention

This clip speaks for itself. I was teaching N how to play with little sister:



video

If you can't watch it here, then http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LN5Izh73qPI

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our Second First Date

So, Dani and I don't get out much. We try, but it always takes such careful planning to find a babysitter and to prep the house for our absence by providing food and other needs of life for our kids--you parents know what I'm talking about. Even just thinking about all the planning that needs to go into a date is sometimes exhausting.

Two days ago, both Dani and I were going absolutely stir-crazy. N was whining about every little thing, V wouldn't stop crying for more than five seconds to catch her breath, and both Dani and I were so tired that we wanted to go to sleep about three hours before we actually were able to. At one point we both came very close to saying, "I can't take this right now, I'm going for a walk, I'll be back when I'm ready." Of course, when both parents are at that point, you're in a bad situation.

So, yesterday, I still was kinda "snapped," and took some quiet reflective time to focus on just one thing I really wanted that I could do today. The thought hit me rather quickly, "I want to fall in love with Dani again."

I'm still very much in love with my wife--but the whole process of meeting and courtship has a lot of thrill to it. So, I asked Dani out on a spur-of-the-moment second "First date." Where we'd both pretend that it was a first date, and that we were free to talk about anything. The goal was to get to know each other again, and hope that it led to a second date :).

J. Buck was kind enough to watch Mulan with our kids for an hour in a half, and I took Dani to Olive Garden. The "First date" mentality started as soon as we were out the door.

While we already knew most of the things we talked about (how many siblings we have, and hobbies and interests) it was nice to get a fresh perspective on it. Dani said that she learned a number of new things about me, and I found it to be much more enjoyable than our more recent dates.

It was fun, feigning shyness, trying to avoid physical contact due to the typical awkwardness associated with a first date. I definately think that our next date will be a "Second Second date." It felt a little silly at first, but turned out to be a lot of fun.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Twelve days of Steam-mas

We'll have a proper Christmas post here as soon as I get all the pictures sorted out and find a way to make it interesting.

In the mean time, today marked the end of what I am now calling the Twelve days of "Steam-mas"

Steam is a program that lets you buy and download computer games without having to worry about CDs or registration keys or updates or anything like that. The nice thing about Steam is that most the games are about $5-$15 cheaper than they would be in the store, and you can put them on just about any computer anywhere.

During the Holidays, Steam offers some amazing deals on games. The worst deals for Steam games are about 25% off, and the best are about 80% off. To commemorate the great deals I got, I wrote a jingle, sung to the "Twelve days of Christmas"

It goes like this:

On the first day of Steam-deals, Valve Inc gave to me:
A really awesome RPG

On the second day of Steam-deals, Valve Inc gave to me:
Teee--am Fortress 2
And a really awesome RPG

(since you know the tune, I'll just write the new stuff now)
Three expansion packs
Ci-vil-i-za-tion 4
Criiiiii-sis Warhammer!
Tom Clancy's Rain-bow six
Ransom of Seven Ships
Section 8 by Timegate
9th Company
Garry's mod (version 10)
Eleven Indie fan-hits
Twelve games under Twelve bucks


That was for the one gamer who reads this blog.

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....