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[Comments] (5) when commandments conflict: Susie and I discussed at length yesterday the state of the economy. My brother was asked to take a 15% pay cut at his job, and is already needing assistance to make ends meet. We've also seen people in our ward have to move because they apparently bought more house than was prudent. Yet every week in church we are taught to be self-sufficient. The Mormon pioneers lived in "Deseret" meaning honeybee, meaning industry. We are constantly told to have a food storage, a savings account, to avoid most kinds of debt, etc.

Yet we are also commanded to multiply and replenish the earth. We have been "advised" (not commanded, as far as I am concerned) to be careful in delaying marriage and our child-bearing years.

So. How does one achieve self-sufficiency when one is encouraged to marry in his/her early twenties and have children before a career is started? Don't these two ideas conflict?

But that's my gospel, as I understand it. The great balancing act.

Other conundrums include:

1. Being advised to spend as much time with family, but also being given demanding church callings. Meeting after redundant meeting.

2. Being advised to sacrifice work progression for family, but still maintaining that self-sufficiency. I mean, how many times, realistically, can I tell the boss to do it himself so I can go home early, without getting canned?

3. Following the word of wisdom. I mean, this one's two-fold. Workout time is away from family, but is it not essential? And how can I stay fit when the state of UT is obsessed with ice cream?

4. Quality vs quantity. Mormons are commonly known for being "advised" (again, not commanded) to carefully consider not limiting family size. But we are also commanded to spent quality time with our children, and still make time for a spouse in there! How does that work, when one also works, serves as a Bishop, volunteers at the cannery once a month, attends the temple regularly, home teaches, etc?

Unfortunately for me, but fortunately for my family, I sacrifice sleep to have it all. I NEVER sleep past 8, and am normally up by 6:30. I try and workout and work late at night/early in the morning so that when Maggie wakes up I'm ready to play with her. I try and come home before 7 to spend time with her before bed, even if it means going back to work at 8 pm. But this solution doesn't work for everyone; even I can only handle it 6 months of the year I'm crazy busy.

I told my sister, who plans to work after she has kids, that this is the only way I've figured out to not feel guilty for neglecting my family and still meeting my obligations to the best of my ability. She cringed. But we do what me must, when commandments conflict.

[Comments] (2) two years happy: Maggie is very excited to be two, because she got a slide, a new dress, pink balloons, a big girl bed, and her entire room madeover (see Susie's picture blog for details).

I can't believe I have a two year-old. Time flies when you're that cute I suppose. Happy Birthday, little bug!

Yes!: happiness is a clean car on a bright, sunny Friday!

movers and shakers: As of January 1 of this year, six houses were for sale on our street alone. Now we are down to one. Five houses have sold in two months. As of January 1 of this year, we had zero flowers in our front yard. We now have 30 buds waiting to blossom. It's nice to see the changes warm weather can bring to a dilapidated housing market and a hibernating garden.

[Comments] (3) Deal or no deal: Yesterday I took a break from work to go car shopping. What an ordeal. Susie and I are apparently ultra-picky, because the car we want simply doesn't exist. So, we will most likely settle for the RAV4. It's a new 2009 with optional third row seating. Apparently people don't like optional third row seating in a crossover. People want third row seating in a gas guzzling tank, or in a minivan. But since I care about fuel efficiency, and am not forty, the RAV4 with the third row is our pick. Said third row will remain in its down position for many years to come, but since we are buying this car with the future in mind, and expect the car to last ten years, there you have it.

It was fun to test drive a car, and Maggie enjoyed riding in the golf cart to the car. She also enjoyed playing in the showcase cars. And, believe it or not, I had fun playing hard ball.

We decided how much we would pay, which was about $5K less than the dealer wanted. We never budged on price, and walked away. Then we came home and checked other dealers. Apparently the dealership wasn't lying, so we're going to go back this week and buy it for $3K less than they want. I figure, I hate playing these pricing games, but I won because I got them closer to my number than their number. It was less intimidating because I pretended I was on a game show and the salesman was Howie Mandel.

FYI to car dealers, showing me other cars in my price range is not the answer. I don't want a highlander, because it's too big, the third row seat is all one piece (in the fab RAV4, you can have one or both seats down), and the car had twice as many miles than I told them I would consider in a used car.

I've never had a new car before. I'm getting excited! May the pathfinder rest in peace. It scares me to drive it anymore.

[Comments] (2) smarty pants: Today I'm wearing a jersey-looking shirt with the number 13. I didn't play on any teams or anything in acquiring this shirt. Anyway, Maggie looked at me wearing it and said "One, three!" over and over again.

Eventually that got old. She looked up at me and said "Daddy, where did two go?" What a brilliant little bug.

[Comments] (7) quickie: Quick break before I go insane: worked until nearly 1 am, back to it by 9 this morning, with no end in sight. Well, end in sight, obviously, is April 15th. It seems like no end in sight.

Susie and I are expecting baby sprout on October 3, 2009. It is entirely possible sprout will not come until October 12, however, if history has anything to do with it. Maggie knows there is a baby in mommy's tummy, but we're not sure if she knows what that means.


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