Saturday, August 31, 2013


Did you know we used to drive a Saturn Ion?  Yup, we did!  Here is the last picture of it before picking up our mini-van in 2011, a few months before Anderson was born.  Why am I posting a hot car pic today? Because it is Holly's birthday!  And someday, when we are are rich, I'll by her an even newer one, well, if the song proves true anyway.  (We'll see how her real birthday went when we get back into town.)

Friday, August 30, 2013


Without question, one of the best child-rearing decisions we ever made was to cloth diaper.  Not only has it saved us a lot of money, but it also just makes diapering more fun.  We enjoy collecting the different designs and styles.  Case in point: notice the black diaper with white writing in the right corner of the diaper mosaic above.  That one is called "Albert" and it was my pick!  We are going out of town and will need to switch to disposables for a few days to help out our parents (who are not cloth diaper fans.)  Holly and I always feel weird doing that because we feel like we are putting newspaper on Anderson's bottom.  Fortunately, we will be back by Labor Day and able to use the cloth diapers once again!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Flowers for Mom

Parker and Carter finally got out of the house yesterday.  While Anderson took a nap, I loaded the boys in the trusty wagon and pulled them up the hill to the park.  They had fun dividing their time between the swings (where I pushed them higher and higher on request) and the splash park.  On the swings, they like it when they get pushed so high that they "wiggle."  In the splash park, they road on my shoulders seeing how many times that could walk under the falling water. (Parker made it to 109.) On the way back, Carter picked flowers for mom, something he always does on his way home from the park. Two yellow and and a lavender once, as you can see below. We then had Pad Thai for dinner, which mom and dad enjoyed, but the boys didn't particularly enjoy.

Carter's Flowers 4 Mom
We will be going out of town soon, so I will be robo-posting again.  We have lots of Labor Day weekend stuff to accomplish.  See ya in a few days!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Anders, Anders, Anders

Oh Anderson, you looked so easy and peaceful two years ago!  Now you stomp, stomp, stomp around the house making such a ruckus.  Yesterday for dinner, Holly prepared chicken gyros.  I grilled the chicken (the easy, relaxing part) and she prepped the rest.  The boys enjoyed it, even Anderson, but Anderson also spilled his water twice, insisted on standing on his chair instead of sitting, and when he saw he was out of ice cubes in his water, went fishing with his fist in my glass for some, which he plunk, plunk, plunk, dropped in his own glass.  Anders, you were certainly more peaceful to deal with in the photo above, but we still love you.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lazy Day

We enjoyed a lazy day yesterday.  It rained lightly most of they day.  The boys relaxed, and I hobbled around on my sore knee I earned from the 50K.  We did some little chores around the house but generally kept it low key.  We had family night with "fancy" grilled cheese sandwiches like they had at the reception.  Holly cooked them with provolone, tomatoes, petso, and fresh mushrooms for me and Parker.  (Parker said he enjoyed the mushrooms because he couldn't even taste them.)  Afterwards, we had a short FHE lesson and went out for Coldstones Creamery Ice Cream.  Carter chose cotton candy with gummy bears, Parker selected mint ice cream with chocolate chips, and Anderson had birthday cake ice cream with a Reese's peanut butter cup.  Anderson gobbled his right up, but Parker and Carter took longer because they were being so silly with each other.  I picked out two big ice creams for Holly and me to eat after the boys were in bed.  We both had chocolate birthday cake ice cream with almonds, but Holly added waffle cone pieces while I went with Oreos.  Then we relaxed and watched TV together while the boys slept. upstairs.  Yup, a lazy day.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Band of Brothers

When we went camping last week, my friend John-Mike was Parker's captain during water wars.  They shot water balloon launchers at the opposing "enemy" of mom and Uncle Jon.  Parker loved it!  In fact, Parker loved it almost too much!  When we went back to water wars the next day, John-Mike couldn't come because he was at work.  Parker cried and cried because he only wanted to play if John-Mike was there with him.  It was sweet.

Parker and Ja-Mike get their game faces on for
water wars during the tail end of summer 2013

We also went to the wedding reception of one of Holly's college friends yesterday.  It was a fantastic picnic outside by Conesus Lake.  There was plenty of food...including a grilled cheese bar!  I had never seen one of these before, but it quickly became my new best friend.  The boys played on the playground, we ate grilled cheese with exotic fillings and cheeses, listened to a live band, colored pictures for the guest book, and generally had a great time.  (I say generally because Anderson wanted to run around and it was hard for Holly and I to chase him.  Holly is pregnant and my knees were shot from the race yesterday.)

Holly and the new bride

Holly made the below coasters for a wedding gift.  She found out all the places the couple had been.  Then, she bought a road map book and cut out the locations and attached them to coasters.  It came out swell.  She is super creative with these kind of things.

Nice job, Hol!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Green Lakes 50K

Well I did it!  I finished the Green Lakes Ultra Marathon yesterday afternoon with a time of 6 hours and 14 minutes.  It was a 50K race consisting of 4 7.8 mile loops.  I had been a little anxious about the race because I haven't been training nearly as much as I would have liked.

The gear all laid out the night before; I carried 
some of the stuff with me and left the rest as a 
drop bag at the start/finish area for the loops.

I was particularly happy because I was able to score a personal best for the 50K distance.  Back in October, I ran the Can Lake 50K in 6 hours and 21 minutes, so I was able to shave some time off this time around!

Ultra-running is such a transcendental experience; I really want to take the time some entry and fully describe the event and the thoughts running through my head.  Unfortunately, that time is not now with kids making a ruckus right now before bedtime.  So for now, I'll just toss up the before and after pics and call it a post.

5:30 A.M.  Before the race

31 miles later that afternoon

*Lap times:  (I was finisher number 56 out of 98)
Loop 1:      1:27:20     1:27:20
Loop 2:      1:26:59      2:54:18
Loop 3:      1:36:00      4:30 :18
Loop 4:      1:44:26      6:14:44

Friday, August 23, 2013

get some peace.

1 of Mommy's favorite memories while camping:

Parker wanted to have a little rest (the day was exhaustively fun).

P: "Mom, do you have a notebook and a pencil? I want to get some peace."
I was thoroughly confused and told him I didn't have one. (What did that mean, anyway?!)
He then asked for a book or scriptures.
Grandma had a little New Testament. Score.
Parker went into the bunk in the RV and drew the curtain closed.
"I'm getting some peace"

Sure thing, Parker. :))

Side note: I've come to the conclusion that "peace" means peace and quiet.

Love that kid.
The bunks look pretty much identical to this.
The boys have been known to watch movies for their quiet time when camping alone with G&G Miller on those little DVD players in the bunks.

Now, go get your peace! 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Boys with the Bears

Did I mention that one of the best parts of camping was getting to meet Yogi and Boo-Boo bear?  Twice a day there is a wagon ride where the boys get to sing songs with the bears while they ride through the campground.  Parker and Carter convinced the famous duo to pose with them for a post wagon pic!

Parker and Carter can be a little shy with such large anthromorphic wildlife.  They usually sit a little bit away from them on the wagon ride, but you can tell the boys like them.  Good to see them making new friends!

Chess Camping

Here is the chess game I played with John-Mike by the campfire.  I won.

The Chess Game

Back from Camping Again!

We are back from camping!  The most difficult thing about blogging about it is trying to decide what to post and share.  It's tough to think about things, right Anderson?

As you can see, Anderson is a big thinker too!  He always seems to be thinking about what kind of mischief he can get into, and this camping trip was no different.  He ran around the campground always needing an adult to supervise him.  But...since we were celebrating his birthday, he got away with it.  He turns two this Saturday, so we had a little party early at the campground complete with a cake!

Well, actually it's not a cake, as you can see.  That would be too messy and complicated.  Instead, we had animal crackers (one of Anderson's favorite snacks) with birthday cake dip (a delicious recipe Holly learned about several months ago.) After some help with blowing out the candles, Anderson loved it!

Anderson has certainly grown up since his last time at the camp ground.  If you recall, last time he wanted nothing to do with the big bouncy pillow.  This time, since he knew he was turning two and had to man up and be a big boy, he started to be brave.  He first made his way carefully up the edge...

Then he stood carefully with an adult nearby...(in this case with our pal John-Mike who camped with us for two of the days)

And before you knew it, he was bouncing like the big boys!  Great job And!

Of course there were other kids doing things while camping.  You know, people like this guy...

Parker and Carter kept it real and got to do some big boy things that Anderson didn't get to do.  One of those things was mining for rocks.  Parker and Carter each got a bag of sand and they had to sift it out in a fountain to find the gemstones.  They got to do this activity each day and earned a rather big rock collection.

The only hiccup was that one day Parker discovered there was a hole in his plastic bag holding his gemstones while he was walking back to the campsite.  He was devastated.  So I walked back the way we came and found some of the missing rocks.  He then picked out a polished gemstone from the camp store with his brother to make up for the ones we couldn't find.

So yes, we did fun camping things including birthday parties, bouncing pillows, and gemstone mining.  However, some things remain the same even when you are out camping with all the beautiful natural world around you.

As you can see, the little electronic gizmos are still a distraction sometimes!  To combat this, we tried to keep them busy, including taking them up to the arcade.  I know, I know, that is just a room full of electronic gizmos too, but these were old school gizmos.  It's good for them to be exposed to a little history.

Besides, the gizmos paid off!  As you can see, each of the boys won a ball from a crane game, and it only took two dollars!  It was fifty cents a play and they let mom move the crane while they pushed the button.  The only mess up was the first one where Carter got over-excited and hit the button right at the get go and got nothing.  After that example, where they learned that failure in the crane game can be very real and very devastating, they listened to mom as to when exactly to hit the button.

Of course its not always all fun...people got into little fights and tantrums, as this picture represents.  Sometimes people just don't want to be part of the group.  Parker was upset at times over not being able to buy a cops and robbers toy at the camp store, Carter was bummed about not being pushed high enough in the swing, and Anderson, well, he can be moody with anything.  But all in all it was a wonderful trip!

There are lots of little side stories and photos to show which I am sure will percolate into the blog over the next few days.  (Such as my chess game with John-Mike where I did beat him this time around with the Ruy Lopez.)  But these stories are for another day.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Spring Break 2012

Last robo-post...we are coming home from camping today.  Here is a photo from Spring Break 2012.  It was great because my folks were out of town so we got to stay in their house where we could be closer to fun things to do.  Here, I hang out with the boys at the Strong Museum of Play.  As you can see, they were growing like weeds back then!

This was a great spring break.  I remember it started with watching General Conference where we feasted of Chinese take-out with my parents on Saturday between sessions.  My parents also watched our boys the night before so Holly and I could go out to eat at Cheesecake Factory, a favorite restaurant of ours. Afterwards, we walked to Barnes and Nobel and I got two chess books for cheap (they were used) on the Scotch and Alekhine openings.  Many nights that spring break I ran through those openings on the kitchen table.  That was a great week.

Now, hopefully we are back and have more enjoyable memories to report!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Philippine Photos

Still out camping...another robo-post.  But it's an important one.  See, when I served my mission to the Philippines, technology was just on the edge of making digital cameras ubiquitous.  While all my later companions had one, I was like my earlier companions and had to load actual film.  This means I had to physically get my pictures developed (which I sometimes forgot to do before I lost the roll of film) or if I did get them developed, I often gave them away to the people who wanted to remember me.

The pictures that did make it home got stuffed into boxes and gradually got kinda got lost.  I've got no computer files of them.  So when one of my mission friends posts a picture of me on facebook, I be sure to save a copy and share it one the blog.  I'd like my sons to be able to see images from my mission.  So, here are two Philippine mission pictures courtesy of my companion Elder Satorre.

Me and a member family in Mabitac, Quezon, Philippines in 2003

Myself and Elder Satorre on a bus in 2003.  
We were on our way with the zone leader 
and his companion for a baptismal interview.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Cookies in a Park

Since we are out camping (which is awesome!) I am robo-posting (that means I constructed these beforehand and scheduled them to be published while we are away.  I thought it would be good time toss up some pictures I like a give some stories behind them.  Like the one below...

 One spring day, before Anderson was born, we woke up and I took off work so Holly and I could spend a day with the boys.  We ended up going to the zoo, cruised around a newly renovated mall, got big pitas for lunch, and some huge, gooey, cookies.  We found a random park using the GPS and enjoyed a picnic with the boys.  As you can see, they loved the park, but the cookies they loved best!

This days stands out in my memory because so much of it happened on a whim; we just grabbed the boys and went!  I love days like that!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Out Camping

Holly and I will be out camping this week.  It will be super great since my best friend, John-Mike, will be with us for some of the trip as well.  I'm looking forward to several campfire chess games with him, like we did last year when he came camping with us.  Pictures of the trip will soon follow.  For now, you'll have to settle for one from last year.

Midnight chess at the campground circa summer 2012*

*John-Mike did pretty well that past camping trip, stomping me the majority of games.  I hope to trounce him this time around, this time hopefully with the Ruy Lopex Exchange Variation

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Mini Road Trip

Holly took Parker and Carter on a road trip yesterday.  They drove 40 minutes to Target where they could pick out a present for Anderson's fast approaching birthday.  They picked out a sleeping bag for Anderson.  They could get him a green one, an orange and red one with flowers, or a grey plaid one.

Anderson's hot new bag!
McDonald's Loot
They ended up picking out the grey plaid one because of the color and, they said, "because it has a bag just like ours!"  (A carrying bag, they mean.) Afterwards, the boys got McDonald's for lunch, something that always makes them happy.  Parker got a grilled cheese happy meal, a chancy order since its not on the menu and sometimes when we order it the restaurant gets confused and messes it up, such as adding meat to it or some other such nonsense.  I can not count how many times we have trucked back into a McDonald's to rectify a grilled cheese.  Fortunately, no obstacles for Parker's grilled cheese addiction today!

Parker was extra excited because he ended up getting two bags of apple slices in his happy meal.  (I guess that makes up for all the messed up grilled cheeses over the years.)  He decided to be a bit goofy and dipped his apple slices in both ketchup and ranch dressing.

Parker gets creative!
He liked it!  He said it "tastes like tomato sauce!" He was so proud of his creativity that he asked mom to take a video of it on her phone. I guess he could afford to experiment with his apple slices since he had those extra ones to spare.

Carter got a six piece chicken nugget happy meal and had no problems (or culinary experiments) with his meal.

After eating their happy meals, they explored the different games this particular McDonald's offered them.  They played on some titling pinball contraptions and tried to be nice and take turns. Generally, Holly reported, they were well behaved at the McDonald's.

Game time!
After the boys finished their lunches and games, they went to visit one of Parker's old speech teachers.  Parker made so much progress working with her when he was in Pre-K.  He was also terribly shy and she was really able to get Parker to open up and work with her.  All of that work paid off and Parker had an excellent Kindergarten experience the next year because of her.  It takes so many fine folks to raise a child, and Liz was definitely one of them!

On one more note, Parker spied a seagull in one of the parking lots during their road trip.  Parker liked it so much (he does not yet realize seagulls are basically rats with wings) that he gave it a name: Sneakers.  You, know because he was sneaky and hiding his leg. (Parker was really worried the seagull was hurt, which is why he was paying attention to it in the first place.  Parker, you tender soul you!)

Parker and Carter with Liz, Parker's Pre-K speech teacher.


Finally, earlier today Parker and Carter finished off the experience
 by making birthday cards for their present to Anderson.

Great work guys! 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Green Beans are Cool

Yesterday, we had hot dogs and green beans for dinner.  The boys scarfed down their hot dogs and tried to leave the table, but we made them stick it out to finish their green beans.  Parker did it quickly and left the table, but Carter and Anderson needed some motivation.

Carter and Anderson circa 2011, a year and a half before they discovered green beans are cool.

So I brought out the dish of green beans from the kitchen and started eating them right out of the serving bowl with my hands, like they were some hip potato chip or something.  Once they saw dad eating the green beans all casually, they instantly liked them!  Anderson ended up eating half of the serving bowl and Carter gobbled his up while bragging about how good they were.  Sometimes kids just need a dad to make something mundane seem awesome.

We also got a picture of our latest addition earlier this week!  I'm sure this one will think green beans are great too.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beautiful Blueberries

I cooked breakfast sandwiches for dinner last night.  Parker ate two.  Carter ate one.  Anderson mangled one, eating all of the ham and some of the egg, and then he wanted something more.  So I gave him some blueberries.  Anderson loves blueberries.  He almost ate an entire pint (again), and I kept refilling his bowl.  As always, he always says 'cheese 'for the camera.

Afterwards, Anderson went up to bed and Parker and Carter and I played kickball in the backyard.  Holly later brought pizza home from Pizza Hut, and we let Parker and Carter have some while they watched a little bit of Big Brother with us.  The weather was cool and autumn like.  A pleasant evening.

Blast from the Past

I found this old missionary picture of me from the Philippines.  I am the bottom right fella sitting like some guru on a mountain.  It's hard to believe this was almost ten years ago.  What is even stranger is to think I didn't even know Holly yet or any of my sons.  The picture was taken in Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines.  It was my last area, and since I see my last companion in the picture in the top left corner, Elder Fifita of Tonga, it must have been my last six weeks.  What a fantastic time in my life!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Kickball in the Rain

Yesterday, I went outside to play with the boys.  We started a game of kickball, one of their favorite games to play outside.  Unfortunately, it started raining.  I was all set to head inside, but the boys wanted to keep playing in the rain.  After mom gave them permission, I watched from the doorway.

Parker attempts to get Cater out while Carter runs past third base.  (Third base is supposed to be by the bush, but whatever, they have rather liberal rules.)

Carter makes it home!

Carter found a deflated ball and put it on his head as a hat...

...and would run the bases trying to keep it balanced on his head!

After the kickball game, the boys came inside.  I cooked a pizza.  They boys ate it happily in front of the television while watching an episode of Phineas and Ferb.  Later in the day, we all watched The Lion King together.

Later in the afternoon, Anderson ending up taking off his dirty diaper.  Parker, Carter, Mom, and I hunted around the house for it.  I finally found it in the playroom and cleaned up the mess.  The moral of the story is to make sure you change Anderson's diaper or else he will go ahead and change it himself.  There is always a good life lesson to learn from Anderson!

Holly has an ultrasound appointment today.  She is measuring really big and Holly and I are a little nervous and hope that everything it okay.  She could just be carrying big just because or it could signify some complications.  It could also signify there is an previously unknown twin in there, which I would be thrilled about, but that is unlikely.  So we are keeping mommy and the new baby in our prayers today.