Sun Dec 08 2013 22:02 ring out wild bells:
Last week I was fortunate enough to have a 5-day Thanksgiving holiday, which inevitably meant I worked 2 hours a day rather than 14. Nothing beats trying to review a Chinese tax provision with a belly full of tryptophan.
Then Sunday night I took a red eye to Florida. The hotel, weather, and ambiance were very nice, and I actually slept well on the flight. The bummer was going from 50 degree weather to 80 degree weather and back again apparently reduced my defenses and now I'm sick. And I got to work those fun 14 hours days in Florida to boot. But it sure looked nice outside.
The 3-hour time change is, of course, no friend of mine either. I'm beginning now to see the immense benefit India has by being all in one time zone, even if it means they are 30 minutes off the rest of the world.
With three kids, a spouse, a demanding job, and a plethora of hobbies, I find myself constantly chasing time. I pine for the days when I wanted time to move forward. I suppose I'll see those days again in my twilight years. Until then, I merely hold on.
Fri Nov 15 2013 20:39 the way we were:
Recent life highlights include:
1. Maggie fasting for Grandpa (she is suddenly interested in fasting).
2. Watching the original Star Wars series with the kids.
3. Getting extremely irritated with my career.
4. Learning more about birds than I really care to, because Maggie is into birds.
5. Trying to identify all the seed pods on different trees in our neighborhood, again because Maggie is interested.
6. Having Dalton shanghai all my evening constitutionals with Sienna into play dates at the park in the dark (daddy I want to go on your walk quickly turns into playing at the park, because every direction we could possibly walk in, there is a park!)
7. The Primary Program. I'm glad it's over.
8. Halloween. Our neighborhood does it right! I've never seen such a concentration of homes totally into Halloween! And the best part is, being on the corner, no one comes to our house so we can all go out as a family (dressed as Wreck It Ralph. Plus an owl).
9. Enjoying a wide range of weather. Some days are sunny and 80 (in November) and some days are foggy and 65. Love them both!
10. Watching my kids grow. In particular, Sienna. She loves the stairs.
Tue Sep 17 2013 21:02:
It doesn't matter how many times we sing "Child's Prayer" in Primary, I still get teary eyed. Which is not good, since I'm the one playing the piano.
Sat Aug 31 2013 23:16 party of five:
It's so much fun watching my little family become less little, both in population and in age. We spent a wonderful day together, and all brought home a piece of the sun from Legoland as proof. My arms are slightly burned; Susie, her chest; Maggie and Sienna, their faces. Dalton may have escaped safe but since we wore him out and he fell asleep in the car on the way home, a full examination is still pending.
The drive to Legoland is about an hour, which is not ideal, but it's a beautiful drive along the coast.
Tue Jul 09 2013 12:18 i love my kids:
I have some very sweet kids. I got up to bear my testimony on Sunday but someone beat me to it so I sat and the stand waiting my turn to speak. Dalton came running up and wanted to bear his testimony as well. Usually for little kids that want to do this, they just say what their parent whispers in their ear. I don't really like that. So instead Dalton recited the third article of faith, which he has memorized (has has memorized the first 5): "We believe that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel."
Since it was fast sunday, I fasted asking for help with my oh so fun medical issues. I broke my fast after church and was praying by my bedside. Maggie came in a few minutes later and said she saw me praying so she went to her room and prayed as well. When I asked what she prayed for, she said for me to feel better. So sweet.
Maggie has passed off all 13 articles of faith, the first in the junior primary to do so.
Not a day goes by that Maggie doesn't impress me with her skills (she is an excellent artist in particular), Dalton doesn't make me laugh with something he says, and Sienna doesn't melt my heart with her smile. She's my evening walking companion on my daily constitutional and I think she enjoys these jaunts as much as I enjoy them. I love my kids!
Mon Apr 02 2012 19:03:
Friday Susie and I went and saw The Hunger Games. I was surprised to see a preview for The Host, which could be good (good book at least) and for Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, which is destined to be as good as it sounds I suppose.
Although the beginning of the movie was quite jumpy and bothersome they otherwise did a very good job.
Saturday we again worked in the yard until the trash can was full. Maggie and Dalton love working in the yard and Maggie kept insisting I should do more of this kind of work and less of my normal kinds of work. I prefer the desk job, however, to weed-pulling.
After that the wind blew non-stop but we still took the kids to the park, as it was otherwise a very nice day. The temperature came close to 80 degrees. Maggie and Dalton particularly enjoyed watching kids at the skate park. Then Sunday we woke up to snow and 45 degree weather. Typical spring in UT.
If I didn't know better, I would wonder if maybe I'm in a hunger game. Given how the gamemaker can play with the weather and all that.
(2) Mon Mar 26 2012 08:41 Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey:
There's nothing so tragic as seeing a family pulled apart by something as simple as a pack of wolves.
Or maybe Facebook.
Sat Mar 24 2012 17:46 turn turn turn:
I really love spring. The sun setting around 7:30, the warmer weather, the ability to run outside, and oh the Vitamin D. The one downside to all of this is yard work. After leaving our yards in the hands of another for two years, what can I say, it's a disaster. She claims she didn't know the difference between our plants and weeds, and maybe that's true, but I think I'd rather be known as hating yard work than being simply that ignorant.
So today we hit Home Depot to buy some new trowels and yard lights, filled the garbage can full of leaves and weeds and stopped only when it was overflowing, I helped a neighbor move, and took the kids to the park. I can't get enough of the outdoors right now.
Mon Mar 19 2012 17:13 the world according to Miss Maggie:
Things she made note of during our trip to Moab this weekend:
1. "Christopher Robbin is kind of a girl."
2. A top my shoulders, hiking back to the car from Landscape Arch "Go make something!" I thought she was talking to me, but she was talking to the wind, telling it to go make Arches and to leave us poor humans alone.
3. We left at 7 am Sat morning, with the kids sleepy-eyed and in their jammies. But first Susie put green dye in the toilet and told Maggie a leprechaun used the lew. Maggie was not happy and started crying. They she cried in the car because "We can't find Arches in ours pajamas" she told us. She had a rough morning.
4. "We might hurry before we get wet!" I might add we could see the rain clouds heading our way, blotting out blue skies and sunshine as they came, from miles and miles away. And Maggie was worried. Extremely worried. We saw 2 arches and climbed up to the top of double arch before the rains made it to us. And we had on rain jackets. And we had an umbrella with us. We were prepared but she still could not help worrying. She's such an OCD nut sometimes. I think it's the future CPA in her.
5. Telling another kids her red rock qualifications at Sand Dune Arch "It's ok for me to climb here. I just had a birthday so I'm five now."
6. Upon becoming a Jr Ranger "This is my Digi-medal, Dalton, not yours!" (Special Agent Oso reference).
Other hilarious happenings not involving Maggie include:
1. A roadside java stand at Dead Horse Point called The Pony Espresso.
2. Our hotel brochure, giving free spanish lessons, telling us that "La Quinta Inn" is spanish for "free high speed internet."
3. People constantly telling us how we are their hero because we are toting two children through a national park. At first it's flattering but really it's silly. It's not like we're bungee jumping off the arches or cave-spelunking or deep see diving. We're just hiking.
Sat Mar 10 2012 20:17 The curse of a middle child:
Today Susie, my sister and I were discussing the flawed social aspects of the lds church. I told her about my experience being a Sam in the church. For those not in the know, the Book of Mormon begins with the story of Lehi and his four children Laman, Lemuel, Nephi, and Sam. The two eldest are trouble makers while Sam, the middle child, appears to be a good person but who is often pushed aside in the story, is often forgotten next to the prized youngest child, Nephi.
I feel the same way at church. I am Sam. Sam I am. As such I often feel forgotten in the church. The church often focuses its energies on promoting the Nephis and on saving the Lamans and Lemuels. Meanwhile the Sams of the world struggle to find meaning in their callings, get assigned the unglamorous home teaching assignments, rarely get home taught themselves, and struggle to even maintain friendship in the church at all. The only two times I was ever treated like a Nephi was on my mission and in India.
It sometimes makes me want to give up. But I have not just yet, though the justification to do so grows over time. But what about Sam anyway. I would love to hear more about his story though most in the church would probably find it dull compared to the Captain Moroni stories we love to regale. Since the Church is a family of sorts I suppose a certain level of siing rivalry amongst ourselves is to be expected. Still it would be nice to go to church and feel wanted and have a friend.
(1) Sat Mar 10 2012 19:59 Pushing daisies:
Spring came to Utah today. To celebrate we breakfasted in style with all you can eat french toast from kneaders. All I could eat, however, is three pieces.
We also hit the park. Things I overheard Maggie tell other kids at the park include "wait for me, I am nice" and "I have three names. My first name is Maggie my middle name is Margaret Susan and my last name are sissy."
I was actually surprised by her friendliness and willingness to approach other kids at the park. She is socializing quite well. I guess I was wrong in telling people in India she is shy; she really just did not like Indians it would seem.
(1) Fri Mar 09 2012 11:13 5 years ago:
I was exhausted. But happy. The same applies today.
Happy Birthday to the Maggie!
(1) Fri Feb 24 2012 08:50 great expectations:
Busy season is now more than halfway over. Winter is now more than halfway over. The sun is shining, the work flow is steadying, and life is re-gaining some important balance. For now.
I LOVE my new car. And I LOVE my new iPhone. And they LOVE each other. Not only can my car place/receive calls on behalf of my iPhone, but I have now synced the two in other ways. For example, my iPhone has the scriptures, latest conference talks, and the yearly lesson manual uploaded. If I get in my car, I can pick a topic, push play, turn on my car stereo, and voila, I'm listening to the Prophet in the car. On my phone. In the 21st century. What an amazing discovery! Much like the invention of the wheel, fire, etc, this is a life-changing event for me.
I'm still travelling quite a bit for work. I TRY to only go to Irvine every other week but this week required an impromptu two-day jaunt down. Susie said that Dalton cried when she told him I was on an airplane, which is how we describe these trips to the kids. I miss him too, the little guy. The travel has become onerous and the only solution to the problem requires us to move to Irvine. Which we have committed to do come July, in between school years for Maggie. It's a catch 22. It's a much improved work environment for me there, and I love the weather and all the fun stuff to do, but it is expensive and it does mean leaving family behind. But overall I like the idea of raising a family outside Utah, and overall I like the idea of liking my job, which I do down there, so I guess there you have it. In the meantime, we are trying to enjoy the Beehive State until the last.
(2) Wed Feb 15 2012 17:55 thanks for the Medicare:
I got on a plane Tuesday morning, although I have not been feeling great lately. While we were landing, my ear started really hurting. After the hurt stopped, I realized I couldn't hear out of it. Scary, right?
So after I landed I rented a car and used my iPhone to find a nearby urgent care that takes United. Not too bad. Waited about an hour, all the time freaking out at my lack of hearing. Turns out I have two ear infections, the worst this doctor had ever seen as an adult. I am not normally prone to such things but they are contagious and Maggie has had five this year so go figure, right? He gave me an Rx for antibiotics as well as for some steroids, which supposedly would help my inner tube to stop swelling, allowing me to hear again. Off to CVS!
I think CVS could tell I was not in good shape because they were super quick with filling the Rx for me. The steroids taste nasty and the Penicillin is as big as a horse pill. On top of that, I had to take 8 pills yesterday, 7 today, etc until the steroids are gone then continue the Amoxicilin until it runs out. This morning I awoke to being able to hear again, though it's still a little fuzzy. All day yesterday was indeed trippy.
I'm a little nervous to get back on a plane tomorrow night but at least I get to sit in first class going home!
Being on a work trip is a Catch 22 when sick. I miss having someone take care of me but my hotel is really nice and is also void of two noisy kids and all that entails.
I slept for 13 hours last night and am still tired but doing ok. You just don't appreciate things until you have to do without. I now really appreciate my hearing. And just to keep from jinxing myself, I also really appreciate my eyesight, use of four limbs, sense of taste, ability to talk, and the hair on my head (although methinks that ship has already sailed).
Fri Feb 10 2012 21:28 afternoon romp:
Today I left work at 4 because it was 60 degrees outside! I came home and played soccer in the backyard with the kids, then Dalton and I went for a walk. I could handle more UT winters like this.
Now I'm paying the price, as it's back to work at 9:30 pm. But it was nice to get some sun, and some Vitamin D.
(1) Tue Feb 07 2012 16:12 Can you hear me now?:
After seeing multiple people gabbing on the phone while driving today, I set up my hands free blue tooth so now I can answer my phone on my steering wheel while driving! Yay for technology allowing us to be more responsible!
Mon Jan 30 2012 22:58 The fast lane:
I got to fly first class today. No security line, priority boarding, free breakfast, and a big comfy seat just for me! Too bad the return flight is back to coach for me.
(1) Sun Jan 29 2012 16:23 little miss popular:
Today I realized I haven't checked the kid's gmail accounts in years. Logged into Dalton's easily enough, just a bunch of mail from ING about his college fund.
Maggie's was another issue. I thought I signed her up as Margaret but couldn't log in. Apparently I set her up as Maggie and finally figured out the password and got in. Maggie had mail from all sorts of people, mostly people from Maine giving updates on really old relatives in rest homes. You would think when you don't get a reply in two years you would check the address you are using. But no. This lady also likes forwards.
Also an email from Aunt Ashley inviting Maggie to a Mary Kay party. And to submit her entry to some Fall Newsletter. Sigh. I better keep up on their accounts more frequently. At least I check their college funds more frequently.
(2) Fri Jan 27 2012 15:19 Calling Dr. Justin Call:
Poor Maggie. She doesn't want to turn five. She doesn't want to grow up either. She basically has a Peter Pan complex. Except she's afraid of Peter Pan. So she also has Peter-Pan-phobia. That's a lot of disorders for such a little girl.
I'm coming home tonight (for two days)!
(2) Tue Jan 24 2012 16:21 0.9 miles:
In Irvine since Saturday the 14th. Will be here until I don't know when. Came down with the family but they left yesterday.
I'm staying about a mile from the office in an extended stay. The kitchen is nice because I don't have to eat out every meal but the clientele is unfortunate. I did not rent a car since we drove down but now I am carless in the automotive city. I walk to work (it's just a straight shot down the same street) and I am enjoying the exercise. Except on the rainy days, that is.
I'm working a lot so staying out of trouble but last night I had nothing to do while the laundry was doing it's thing, so I watched the FL debate. I wonder if I am the only Mormon that can't really relate to Romney. He seems like a nice enough guy; but he also seems out of touch. And he seems to contradict himself a lot. Looking at the pot of GOP hopefuls, I'm thinking the incumbent should do just fine, regardless of his approval rating.
Disneyland was a lot of fun with the kids on the weekend. Dalton loves Autopia, which he calls racing. He also loves Small World, Dumbo, and any train or boat ride. Maggie had her first experiences on Star Tours, Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Soarin Over California, and the Hollywood Tower of Terror. She didn't care for Space Mountain or Tower of Terror, but she also didn't cry. She throws bigger fits about avoiding Peter Pan than those rides. She still thinks it's a scary ride, the little nut. She liked Splash Mountain with me but not Susie because she got soaking wet. Come to think of it, she liked most rides better with me.
We actually saw Peter Pan in person on the way to Star Tours, so of course I teased her about it. She closed her eyes until he was out of sight.
Star Tours is all new-fangled now. Each ride is different! It's a lot better than it used to be, back when I was so sick of it I stopped riding it.
The new Little Mermaid ride is fine for a kid's ride. Dalton really likes it a lot more than Maggie. Cars land will open this summer.
Just enjoying the sunshine today otherwise. Did I mention it's 70 degrees today?
Thu Jan 12 2012 09:17 control geeks:
Accountants are such control freaks.
I'm in Chicago mentoring the future of the profession this week. My co-instructor, from the University of Kentucky, wrote the textbook I used at BYU!
The weather here was mild until today. It's snowing. Less than an inch outside thus far, with less than eight inches total expected by tomorrow. To me, no big deal.
To my colleagues, however, boy are they worried about getting home tomorrow night. Never mind Chicago is a city prepared for snow, never mind an inch of snow is really not a big deal, never mind it has not turned to ice yet, never mind tomorrow is still too far away to predict what will happen, they are all extremely worried about spending the weekend stuck here.
I'm not at all worried about the snow. I think India really mellowed me.
(2) Tue Jan 03 2012 23:10 the year wrung in:
Poor Dalton is so sick. He just lays there, the poor thing, and wakes himself up with fits of coughing. I hope he feels better soon.
On the road again. Trying a new place to stay; the jury is still out. I guess if I'm honest with myself it's nicer than where I lived for 11 months in India...is that good enough though? I guess I've found my new go-to litmus test for everything in life.
I'm sad Christmas is over. It's a nice time of year. January, on the other hand, is normally NOT a nice time of the year. The older I get, the more I realize that Christmas can have a profound affect on a person; especially when one did Christmas the unconventional way the year before. But I'm also learning that each Christmas season hits me in different ways. This season I didn't care so much to watch Christmas shows; I didn't even crack open a few of them. But I did listen to more Christmas music and I did celebrate it more with the kids.
The older I get the tougher life gets and the more things like Christmas help make life fun. My kids make life a lot of fun, when I'm not worried about them getting sick or hurt or they aren't whining or complaining or costing me lots of money in diapers. I used to think it was holding onto the good moments that mattered, but now that I see how infrequent they come, I think it's finding the good in the tough times that really matter. Which is hard to do.
Fri Dec 30 2011 22:16 hot and cold:
Today got up to 59 degrees! Unfortunately there was a cold breeze and no sun but it was warm enough to don gloves, scarves, hats, and hit the park. I drove us to Draper Park but parked about 1/3 mile away and we walked along the trail to the park. Incidentally, the house we parked next to houses ostriches, a zebra, sheep, and horses. Now the two latter are quite common in Draper, but the former not so much. Heck, the zoo doesn't even have a zebra! No clue if it's an illegal zebra or not, but I'm willing to argue for amnesty, as it doesn't appear to be collecting Social Security.
The park was fun. A lot of slides, and we tried out Dalton's new basketball on the court there. I've definitely played worse ball in my days. The kids didn't want to leave.
The park was packed so we weren't the only ones trying to shake off cabin fever, but I was amazed how many parents think a coat is sufficient when really gloves and a hat are necessary still. 59 degrees or not, it is winter still. One girl told me she wished she had her scarf but I still didn't give her mine. Tomorrow is supposed to start acting like winter again but the last two days have been nice.
Mon Dec 26 2011 22:07 easy come, easy go:
So. I don't think I've had such a pile from Santa since I was a kid. This year I got two new suits and ties (old one, 8 years old, died right before India and I didn't want a new one to get ruined in India), an iPhone (Blackberry died on Dec 23 and the Verizon guy told me not to bother with a new one since Blackberry is fighting a losing battle), a new camera (the old one also got put on life support in India), and new clothes and things for the house, because they either got ruined in India, got left in India, or just needed updating after our 18-month Asian trek. I guess it was all just building up for the perfect Black Friday extravaganza.
Couple all this with the new car purchase in November and I am ready to not spend any more money for a very very very long time. We saw a Buddha filled with billions of dollars of shredded US money at Ripley's in Bangalore. I could use that pot right about now.
Sun Dec 25 2011 22:49 another Christmas in the trenches:
The Christmas Eve party had all the great food this year with half of the sing-along time, given that it was Saturday night and church comes early. We got home and put kids to bed around 8:30 and played Santa and watched a show and went to bed at 10:30. I set an alarm for 7:30 this morning and boy did we need it. We were all sleepyheads.
I should mention that during this trip I introduced Leonard to Rankin Bass "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer" due to a retired Macy's Santa turned comedian's suggestion, and also to "A Christmas Story" and "A Muppet Christmas Carol." The latter two are my favorite Christmas shows and Leonard seemed to enjoy them. He and Susie have been discussing if their childhood was lacking not growing up with these shows. Perhaps.
Back to Christmas. Santa was kind enough to leave a coloring book, some treats, and a new tie out for us on the kitchen table while we hurried to get to church by 9 am for the festivities. It was a packed house which I think surprised most people. But if you don't go to church on Christmas, what's the point really? So we went. Maggie sang with the Primary which really upset Dalton. He just sat there on my lap whining like a puppy dog left out in the cold. I guess he later decided he'd had enough with being left out because, before Susie or I could do anything, he marched right up on the stage and stood there while a teenage girl sang "O Holy Night." I didn't know what to do. He doesn't do stuff like this; he's not one of those kids.
I decided going up to get him would just disrupt the musical number so I let Dalton be. I decided if he started jumping off chairs I would go get him. Halfway through the song he decided he was done singing and he came down on his own and went to the wrong pew after pew until he found us. At first I thought he went to the wrong pew on purpose to play with the Bartons.
We already know Dalton hates being left out of pre-school and I guess this was his defiant move.
I told Maggie she would get an extra present from Santa if she would wear the blue Chinese dress we bought her in Hong Kong and she finally agreed to wear the dress I love but she hates. The people in front as well as behind our pew complimented her as did Jodi at the family party. She looks so beautiful in it but that girl also has her own defiance.
Back at home we changed clothes and went to see what Santa brought us. Dalton got some cars and a racetrack for them and Maggie got dinosaurs and a dinosaur play mat for them to live on, complete with a volcano and waterfall for the pleiosaurs. They both got a DVD and some candy and socks in their stockings as well as a soccer ball for Maggie.
We let the kids play for an hour then moved upstairs to open the gifts under the tree, though truth be told I think the kids were content to play with their Santa gifts all day long. The tree brought a football and basketball for Dalton and a stuffed Stegosaurus for Maggie. The kids also got a really awesome log cabin lego set that we spent hours putting together.
We hit Grandma and Grandpa's for dinner and more presents. We played a White Elephant gift and, Maggie, unhappy with hers declared '"I got a rock" which of course set the cute-o-meter off the charts and had us all ROFL at her proper reference to the Charlie Brown Halloween episode.
Christmas is now over, and it was the best ever. I'm excited to have some new toys in the house and to settle down and enjoy a hopefully lazy rest of the year.