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[Comments] (2) 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 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.

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.

[Comments] (2) 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?

[Comments] (2) 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)!

[Comments] (1) 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.

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.

[Comments] (1) 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!

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.

[Comments] (2) 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).

[Comments] (1) 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.

[Comments] (1) 5 years ago: I was exhausted. But happy. The same applies today.

Happy Birthday to the Maggie!

[Comments] (1) 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.

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.

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.

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.

[Comments] (2) 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.

: 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.

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