Monday, December 22, 2008

Snowed In

Today I was having trouble driving on the main roads out of Federal Way. I decided that my bald tires just weren't up for the challenge of traversing solid ice at 6:00am, so I turned around in the middle of the street and came home. So here I am at home really bored, but enjoying my time with the family. I paid some bills, read a book, played a computer game, watched a movie, made everyone banana-nutmeg pancakes for breakfast and cleaned up a bit for Christmas. And all that before 2pm. Now there isn't much to do, so I thought I'd come update my blog. But nothing interesting has happened, except to say that my niece was discharged from the hospital, and that her recovery is going as well as can be expected.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Six Day Work Weeks Are Not Fun.

Today is Saturday. On any other normal week, this is my day off. It is the day I get to stay home and play with the kids and do stuff around the house. When I get to go out with my wife to dinner or something. But not the week before Christmas. This week, we throw all DOT rules and regs in the garbage and just get the packages delivered. This week I put in 65 to 70 hours (I lost track after about Thursday), which is well over what the government says is the limit. But someone has to deliver the Christmas presents, because Santa is too busy with his own stuff right now. Today I was delivering on Mercer Island. I took out about 60-ish stops and only got about half of them off of my truck. In case you didn't know, the northwest has been hit with a monster cold snap/snowstorm, at least for the northwest, and we have had sub-freezing temps since Wednesday night. So by now all of the snow has been compacted into one solid sheet of ice and no one here knows what to do when that happens. Anyway like I said, I was on Mercer Island which is probably one of the least traveled hilliest parts of the Seattle driving around trying not to slide off the roads and into other cars, people, houses, ect. I had chains on my tires and even the smallest hills were a challenge. I ended up doing a lot of walking to get my packages off. Unfortunately in the end I was only able to get about half of my deliveries done and freeze my feet at the same time. And I forgot my lunch.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Children's Hospital

Today I went to visit my niece at Children's Hospital in Seattle. The surgery has been scheduled for tomorrow afternoon (if I remember correctly) and should take a few hours. They were originally going to do it next Monday, because her blood pressure was pretty high, but I think that they finally realized that they were dealing with a 2.5 year old little girl who had never been to a hospital before and had all sorts of strange people poking and prodding, and on top of that, her parents were probably a little scared too. I imagine that all of these things made a minor contribution to elevated blood pressure levels. But now that she has been there for a while and gotten used to everything, surprisingly enough the blood pressure has dropped down to more normal levels so the surgery has been moved forward. It gives them a better shot at being out of the hospital before Christmas. But she seems mostly like her normal self. She seemed kind of grumpy today, I took some pictures of her with my cellphone camera and I only got frowny faces with one half smile. Maybe if I get a usb cord for my phone I will upload them.
Children's Hospital is a nice and friendly environment. If I had a child with problems, I would take him there. But you walk in there, and after a few minutes you want to leave. It is probably due to the fact that it is such a nice place, that you just think about being at home and so you just want to go home. They have murals on the walls, family lounges with small kitchenettes where you can put and prepare food you bring, playrooms and lots of toys for the kids... just about everything you could want. Except that it is not home.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Re: Important

So far this month there are quite a few things of importance to write about. We will see how far I get before I am interrupted. The first thing I would like to talk about is Wilms Tumor. One of my nieces was diagnosed with this type of cancer last week. It's a rare cancerous tumor that develops from immature kidney cells. It primarily develops in children from birth to about 6 or so. She is not quite three. She is at Children's Hospital now, she had a preliminary exam and they ran a bunch of tests to try and determine how far along the cancer was. The doctors figure that she has had the tumor for about a year, but that it is probably still encapsulated within the kidney tissue. That is good, in case you were wondering. It means that it likely has not spread to the surrounding tissue yet. They have her on a tentative surgery schedule for this next week, and they will remove the diseased kidney. One of my brothers also developed this same cancer when he was 6 months old, and the doctors removed his kidney as well. We are all very positive, all things considered. My father gave her a blessing the other night that had good things to say. They live out of town, and when they went to the hospital on Friday, if it was really bad they were going to schedule the surgery for that same day, or Saturday. But they determined that it was alright to wait for a little bit, so that is encouraging. The unfortunate part of putting off the surgery is that she is required to stay at the hospital until the surgery, and who wants to stay at the hospital for an undetermined amount of time. I know I don't. But she is a happy little girl, and I'm sure that their little family will make the best of it. On the bright side, I work in Seattle, and so I can go visit on my lunch breaks.
On a less serious not so distressing note, today we went and got our Christmas tree. We tried to get it last Saturday, but Rachel got out of work late (on her birthday) and the place was closed by the time we got there. It is a u-cut tree farm out in Hobart called Papa's Tree Farm. Kind of far from us, but it was fun. Racel doesn't like being cold, so cutting a tree down in the snow (it has snowed a little in the last day or two) was not the most fun for her, but I would like to make this a tradition. Anyway, we cut down a 7-foot Frasier Fir. It's a pretty nice looking tree, for a great price. I did make us look a little for it though. Rachel was going to choose the first tree she saw with a for sale sign on it so that she could get it over with and get out of the cold, but I wanted to make sure that we got a tree that we were both happy with. She ended up picking out the tree in the end. It is not a full and conical as the sheared trees that you get at the grocery stores, but that is fine by mee, cause it looks like a real tree that we went and cut down (since that is exactly what we did). I am very happy with it. Ok, I have been interrupted now. We put Noah's crib in here with the computer so that no one wakes him up by talking or whatever. So I have to get out now, since Rachel just out him down to sleep. Expect more tomorrow.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Day Before the First Day of December

I thought I'd get a last post in before November was over. I seem to have less and less time to do this nowadays. We just came home from my mom's house for our third Thanksgiving Dinner. This was the Real Thanksgiving, in my opinion. Everything homemade, and all of it good (except for brussels sprouts). Let me check if I wrote about Thanksgiving last year... yep I did. Chinese food at my moms house on the day of, then turkey at the in-laws, and then Thanksgiving on Sunday, because that's the day when the most people can get together. This year I decided to smoke the turkey at the in-laws house. It turned out real nice. I finally found a brand of charcoal that works well consistently. It's a brand that I found at Lowe's: Cowboy Charcoal. It's a lump hardwood charcoal, not a briquette, which is full of crap that is not wood. It's a little more expensive per pound, but I like the quality much better than anything else I have tried so far. So the turkey at my wifes parents house turned out really good. And the Chinese food at my moms was really good again this year too, except that we didn't have hot and sour soup. I have a friend at work whose parents own a Chinese restaurant someplace not close by, and he said that they have the best hot and sour soup ever. He bragged about it so much that I asked him to bring me some, and to give me the recipe. He said that he would, but I still haven't seen (or tasted) anything yet. I'm going to have to find a really good recipe for next year.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What I've Learned About Work

Weekends are great. Mostly because I didn't have to wake up at 4:30am to get ready to go to work. I also get to see my family. Working all day long all week long is tough. I spend about 12-13 hours just at work, not including the 45 minute drive to get there and back. I get up and it's dark, I go home and it's dark. But the good thing about working is that I can pay the bills. And I think that is a lot more than many people can say these days. I am grateful for a job that gives me a certain security. Fedex has made it a point over the years to never lay anyone off. While we might get less hours when times get tough, we will still have an income, and still have medical and dental benefits. Even though I don't particularly enjoy my job (I find it tedious and stressful) it is a job that pays a living wage, and I find that I can live a fairly comfortable life. I will never get rich as a result of delivering packages, but I don't really think that anyone who works for someone else ever does. And I am pretty sure that I am not very interested in running my own business. I don't think that is for me. I don't want to end up here forever, but I am ok with it for now.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Last Day

Today is officially the last day I am a stay at home dad. For those that don't know, I took three weeks off from work to be at home while Rachel got acclimated to her new part time work schedule, and to see that Noah got a little older before we start taking him over to my moms house. Rachel will only be working on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The rest of the week, she will be at home with them. I don't think I will have to work many Saturdays, so hopefully it will only be two days that the kids will be at my moms house.
Being at home with the kids is interesting. There isn't much time to do anything that I want to do. I end up spending a lot of time playing with blocks or reading books or stuff like that. Ammon is starting to talk (for real) and that makes things a little more interesting, in that he can at least answer questions about things he wants to do instead of me having to guess all the time. Noah has gotten to the point where he is sleeping through the night and takes a nap about the same time of the day as Ammon does, so that is the time to get the laundry done, or write in my blog. Today I chose to do the blog. It really has been great being here at home with the kids. Partly because starting on Monday, I will not be seeing them very much. It depends on my new work schedule. I'm not quite sure what it is going to be but I do know that it is all day long. We'll see if I'm cut out for 12 hour days.

Friday, October 17, 2008

TGIF... What does that mean anyway?

So I have almost completed my first full week as a stay-at-home dad. It has been kind of crazy so far, and I have come to realize just how much discipline it takes to be on top of everything. And I only have two kids. I have to remember to feed them, and change their diapers. I have to bathe them and get them dressed. I have to entertain them and make sure they don't get into trouble. It's amazing how little time I have to get any housework done, or anything other than watch the boys and make sure that they don't die. For instance, Ammon has figured out how to open the dishwasher. There were steak knives in the lower part of the dishwasher where you put the silverware, and of course Ammon doesn't grab a spoon, he pulls out the knives. Luckily he was apprehended by the dad police before he got too far with them, but I have to remember that he is getting bigger now, and can do more stuff. And then Noah who is a helpless baby is the main focus of Ammon's interests right now. We have to be extra careful that Ammon is gentle enough and soft enough. He has tried to use Noah as a stepping stool, or a landing platform. He likes to make sure that Noah is warm, so he is constantly trying to cover(smother) him with blankets. He like to do this thing where he bangs his forehead against yours, and Noah's head is just as good as any other. We just have to be very careful. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

RE: No Subject

Today in church we blessed Noah. I was worried that we were going to have too many people in our group to all be up on our chapel's little stand at once, but another family went before us and they had like twice as many people, so I wasn't worried anymore. It was me, the bishop, my dad, Rachel's dad, two of my uncles, three of my brothers (it would have been four, but one went to BlizzCon), and a friend. And Noah. Once we were all mashed together up there I started sweating 'cause it was so hot in such cramped quarters, and I was worried that we were going to start a fire. Fortunately we didn't, and the burning smell was just the result of the new boiler being turned on for the first time. But is was a good blessing. Unfortunately we didn't have anyone out in the foyer this time typing it out as the blessing was given. We did with Ammon, my older brother's wife types really fast, but they didn't bring their computer this time I guess. Of course, I didn't even remember to ask her about it until I was on my way up to the stand...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday Morning

Well, it's pretty quiet around the house this morning. Rachel had a work event that she had to attend at 11:ooam and wasn't going to get done with it until about 1:30pm. That's about when I have to get going to work, and she wasn't going to get home in time, so she had to take the kids to my mom's house. So I've had all morning to myself. It's been weird, having a quiet house all to myself. You'd think I would be getting a lot of stuff done since we are still trying to get the house ready to sell, but no... I slept. And it was great.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Here At Work

I am on a break right now at work. They called me in early today to help get the entire reload setup, since the lady who normally does it is gone today, and I'm really the only other person who is not a manager that knows how to do it. And since I came in early, it means I will be working over the hours allowed without taking a break, so here I am, bored out of my mind, taking a break, typing on my blog at work. Did you see how many commas I used in that sentence? And the kicker is, I got it done in the same time that she usually does, so they really didn't have to call me in early. But the pm boss plans for the worst, and hopes for the best. Anyway, I ony have a half an hour break, so it really isn't enough time to go do anything. I've got my music on, and am wishing I had brought my laptop, instead of using these dumb computers they have here at work. They are from the 1980s I am pretty sure.

The Economy and the Stock Market

I was listening to the news today on my non-hd radio. All I heard was, "Economy, Stock Market, Banking, Oh my!" Here's my take on the whole thing. And this coming from someone who knows at least one thing about all that stuff: it sure doesn't help when politics gets involved in hyping up the problems inherent in the system. I know that most of these politicians know that the stock market , and indeed most of our economy is based on consumer confidence. If people "think" the economy is going to take a dip, it will. If people "think" the economy is doing just fine, then they have no problem spending money and keeping the whole thing rolling along smoothly. But when stupid politicians get involved in scaring the American public with garbage like "Oh no! This is the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression!" you just have to stop and think to yourself, "Self, why are the politicians doing this? Are they in the game to really help me? Or are they in it to help themselves?" One can only conclude the latter. I mean give me a break! This is nothing like the Great Depression! Unemployment is at 6.something percent. Most people who know anything about economics will tell you that 6.something percent is great. Even necessary. It means that there are people available to hire, and that the economy, and businesses have some room to grow. If unemployment gets much lower, we will HAVE to let all the illegal immigrants stay, just so that there are more people to hire!
While I know that there are some people who are suffering as a result of the housing market and the recent drops in the stock market, the vast majority of Americans will not be adversely affected to any great degree, as long as consumer confidence remains solid. That is where the politicians can do their best work: reassuring the American public that things are going to be fine, that the economy will resolve it's issues as it has in the past, and that we don't need to be running around like chickens with our heads cut off, screaming,"The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" Of course if we were chickens, we wouldn't be screaming anything, especially not in English, and most especially if our heads had been cut off.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday Night (AKA Saturday Morning...)

So the trend continues. Here I am, up at the crack of dawn and I finally find time to post. No new pics yet, mostly because I'm too lazy right now to go get my camera and upload them. Let's see- so today at work I officially applied for the full time swing driver position; or in other words, I have just sold my soul to the devil. Now Fedex really owns me. No longer can I hide behind the excuse,"Sorry, but I am part time, and I don't want to do that." You see at Fedex, part timers can opt to not work anything beyond their schedule. If I don't want to do anything extra, like make any extra deliveries or run late shuttles to the airport, as a part time employee, I can just say no. But no longer. It is a necessary step (read EVIL) that I have to take on my road to management. So hopefully I don't have to do it for too long. Maybe a year or so. And since this is a swing driver position, it means that I could be thrown on any route at any time, without any warning even if I have no idea how the route is structured. I just have to find a way to "Git'er Done!" And the hours are not going to be very pleasant either: 6:30am to 7:00pm, probably with a 2 hour lunch break somewhere in the middle. That's the thing I am not looking forward to, is being gone ALL DAY LONG. I'm sure Rachel is not thrilled about it either. But it won't be forever, and honestly, with the money I'll be making as a full time swing driver, Rachel wouldn't have to work at the bank anymore, but I think she wants to anyway just in case. Also to get out of the house and to have some real adult interaction during the week. She'll be working Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and I'll be home most Saturdays, so we will only have to worry about getting the kids to my parents house two days a week instead of four.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

No Sleep

See what time I am posting? DO YOU SEE WHAT TIME IT IS? This is crazy, I'm not getting any sleep these days. Noah has decided that the hours of midnight to 3am are his "awake and crying" hours. And once Noah starts crying, Ammon wakes up and starts crying too. And before you ask, no they are not sleeping in the same room. In fact they are not doing much sleeping, period. I think last night I got 3 solid hours, and tonight I am on par for about four. And then I have to go to work and drive big trucks in small streets in Seattle. Oh, there's Noah, TTFN.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Noah Has Arrived!!!

Today we brought Noah home from the hospital. He is SO SMALL! Ammon hasn't gotten home yet from my mom's house, so we are anxious to see how he reacts to having someone else to compete with for our attention...

Sunday night we got home from Maple Valley with my sister in law Tasha at about 11:00pm. Rachel went to bed about as soon a we got home, but Tasha and I sat up talking for a while afterwards. Rachel got us both up at about 1am Monday morning and said that it was time to get ready to go to the hospital, and so we didn't get much sleep. We called the midwives that Rachel has been seeing and they said to wait for a while before going to the hospital until the contractions were more regular and stronger. My mom got to our house at about 3am and when she arrived, I went back to sleep. They all got me up to go to the hospital at about 4am and we got there at 4:30. Real big contractions started at about 6:30 and Noah arrived at 7:54 am Monday morning. He arrived in good health, which is a blessing. He came out with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, but it ended up not being a problem. He also came out face down, which is normal, and also a surprise since he was face up when we got to the hospital. The contractions must have moved him around, I suppose. He came out at 6lbs 5oz and 19.5 inches long. Not a very big baby, by Alldredge standards, but he had ten fingers and ten toes (five to each appendage), and everything else in the right places.
He kind of looks like a little old man.

Anyway, we are very excited to finally have him here in our home after nine months of waiting. Also, just so you know, we decided to name him Noah Benjamin Alldredge.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Time for another post

I have deemed that it is once again time to grace the internet with another blog post. This time I am feeling political. We have a primary election coming up here in Washington state in a week or so, and I just got my absentee ballot in the mail. We have come up with yet another way to make things interesting in this state when it comes to the election process. In the last election, I had to declare my party preference (Republican) in order to vote, and then I had to only vote for the party I declared. I never thought that that was a fair way of doing things, because what if, on some remote, unlikely, improbable chance there happened to be a guy on the OTHER SIDE that I thought was a better candidate? I wouldn't have been able to vote for that person! It just didn't seem very fair. On the other hand, it did prevent the OTHER SIDE from coming over to our side and racking up a lot of votes for a person who couldn't win. Which I think we tried to do a while ago to the OTHER SIDE, and it back-fired in our faces (i.e. Maria Cant(think)well)... Anyway, this year they have come up with another way to make things interesting. I got my ballot and opened it up and read that I could vote for whomever I wanted! Hooray! But then as I read further, I saw that we have what is called a "top two" primary. This means that the top two vote getters from the primary will advance on into the general election. That means that we could potentially have two candidates from the OTHER SIDE in the general election, and no one from our side to vote for. I think that I will enjoy seeing how this will play out. PS, just so you know, I voted for Dino Rossi. Again. Lets hope that he doesn't have the job stolen from him like last year. All you OTHER SIDErs in King County, just remember that the Primary election is on August 20th and the General election this year is on November 5th. Don't forget to VOTE!!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

You know what?

This blog entry is not going to be very informative, at least not in the sense that I will be relaying any useful information. Mostly tonight I will be babbling I think. I don't really have a specific subject right now, I just felt the need to get on the computer and write. I think that writing is very therapeutic for me. I enjoy the opportunity to express myself and perhaps even discover something new about myself in the process of blogging. So tonight it's all about me. I guess I'll start with work. I'm starting to get bored. I need a new challenge, but FedEx is making it pretty hard right now to climb the ladder, so to speak. Right now I am a swing driver, which means that I fill in for other people when they call in sick, or are on vacation. This is a pretty good job, in the sense that it pays well and that it keeps you doing a different route every day. But it gets to the point where you know the ins and the outs of each route and the challenge is lost. So a while ago I decided to start looking at applying for a management position. I found out that in order to be a manager at FedEx, I need to attend training classes. These classes are taught by other managers, on their own time, and on our own time too. So you can tell how excited most of them would be to spend a Saturday teaching other people how to compete for the jobs that they might want to apply for themselves. Anyway, out of the list of classes, I have been to one. It's like pulling teeth just to get any information out of these guys. But I will keep pressing on, because I'm stubborn like that.
Then there is life at home. Life at home is great, for the most part. I got into trouble a few nights ago, because I was staying up too late for my own good. The problem is that at night , after Ammon and Rachel have gone to bed, is the only time I have for myself. If you look at the timestamps on most of these postings (this one included) they mostly occur around midnight. It's the only time when there is real peace and quiet in the house. But I understand Rachel's concerns, so we made a deal: I have up to one hour after she goes to bed to do what I want to do on the computer. Then I have to turn it off and come to bed. That's a fair deal I think, and it's not like I'm up every night... I just happen to be a night owl, and don't necessarily get tired at 10pm like Rachel does. For most of my life, I have been in bed late, like around 12-1am. It's just how I grew up. On my mission, it was really hard for me to go to bed and have lights out by 10:30... I never really got used to it, but after working hard every day in the hot hot sun, it felt good to lay down and rest. I didn't necessarily fall asleep, but I did rest.
Then there is the problem of picking out a middle name for Noah. I not a real big fan of the names on Rachel's side, and Rachel isn't a huge fan of the names on my side either. Not that there is much to choose from on my side. John, William, and David, three names between my dad, and my grandfathers. About half as many as one might expect. I think that Alexander and James are our current acceptable choices now, but we are not enthusiastic about either of them, not at all like we were for Ammon. Oh well, the name will come to us eventually.
You know what? I think that's it for now. I've satisfied my blogging bug for now. Bye Bye.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My 10 Year High School Reunion

This last weekend I attended my first high school reunion, and let me just say, it was "Great!" Ok, it wasn't horrible, but it definitely was not great. Just so you know, I went to Tahoma High School in Maple Valley where I grew up. I graduated in 1998, and we had a pretty big graduating class. I want to say that if any of the people who planned it ever read this I don't begrudge you for my not having a great time. Unfortunately, being a fairly "by the book" Mormon, I don't consume alcohol, don't smoke, and don't have much fun when I'm placed in situations where people do that stuff to excess. I guess I will never understand the draw of getting drunk, losing your inhibitions, being an idiot and then not being able to remember most of it the next day AND having a big headache after the "buzz" wears off. That and none of my close high school friends were there. But that is ok, since I see most of them on a semi-regular basis anyway. I did notice (just like anyone else who has gone to a high school reunion) that there are three groups of people. The first group consist of people who haven't grown up at all since high school. The only difference is that they can now drink legally. Then there are the people who look at that first group and wish they could go back to that life. They may have gotten married/real jobs/mortgage (see RESPONSIBILITY) but don't appreciate what they have. And then there are the adults in the third group. They are the ones who have started families, finished (or are mostly finished) with college, out in the real world having a good time being adults. They don't long for the "glory days" of high school. They are glad to be moving on to new challenges, to bigger and better (and ultimately more rewarding) things.
And to be completely honest, it takes a high school reunion to put things like that into perspective. I can comfortably and happily say that I fit nicely into the third group.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back Rubs

As Rachel gets closer and closer (and bigger and bigger) to the due date, she get more and more uncomfortable. It doesn't matter what position she is in either. Standing, sitting, in the bed, in the car, it just doesn't matter. So almost every night I am asked to give back rubs. Tonight it was a back rub and a head massage. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, I just feel sorry for her. She has been going to a masseuse at least once a month, and that seems to help for about three or four days. I'm just glad my insurance covers all of that. As I think about the part about being uncomfortable, I remember that we went swimming this last weekend, and she did say that she was comfortable when she was sitting in the inner tube floatee thing. She said that maybe we should buy one and out it in our room so she could sleep on that instead. It was one that had two squirt guns built in to it. It was pretty neat, I'll have to find out the brand and name. But I guess a $20 swim toy is better for her than our Tempur-Pedic mattress... Maybe we should have gotten a waterbed instead. I hate those things... Water beds I mean, not water toys or my mattress.

Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July Weekend

This 4th of July was pretty awesome. Last week I went to Lowe's and bought myself a smoker. They had it listed in two spots for two prices, and when I asked about the price difference, they said that the higher price was the real price. Of course. But I got it at the lower price... about 20% lower. So that was cool. I also went to Costco and got a few racks of pork back ribs. I didn't realize that they take the membrane off for you before they package it, so I think I spent about 10 minutes trying to get the non-existent membrane off before the BBQ. But now I know, and knowing is half the battle. I think that I will always get my ribs from Costco now. Plus they were cheap. So on the 4th, I went over to my mom's house with my cousin David. We brought the smoker and my grill box and the 7 racks of ribs and 4 lbs of pork tenderloin that I was going to cook. I prepared the ribs in three different ways, and then put all but one rack on my smoker. I just couldn't fit the last one, so it had to go on the gas grill. No smoke for that rack. But I smoked them for about four hours.... Awesome! Then we went to the Indian Reservation to buy our $300 worth of fireworks. I only buy the artillery shells and big cakes anymore. But David convinced me that we should get some smaller stuff too, and I'm glad we did. Got some party poppers and pop its and sparklers for the little kids, and some bottle rockets and roman candles for the bigger kids. I just can't compete with those neighbors. Not when they own their own fireworks stand. They always 1 up me (or 2 or 3 up). But we had a lot of fun.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Trip to Idaho

Yesterday my family and I left to visit my brother in Idaho. We left at about 10:00pm and drove through the night. The total travel time is about 12 hrs, what with all the rest stops and fueling stops and traffic stops... yeah I got pulled over by an Idaho State Patrol officer about 15 minutes away from my brother's house. I was trying to catch up to my dad who had rocketed away from our two car caravan a little while earlier. The cop got me at 85 in a 75, so only 10 over. It could have been worse, since a little earlier I had been up to 90+. Anyway, the guy came out of no where and came flying up the freeway behind me. As soon as
I saw the flashing lights in the distance behind me, I knew that he'd got me, so I started to pull over. I had just caught up to my dad too, (who incidentally sped off and left me to the sharks), which was extra frustrating. Anyway, the cop was nice, I was nice (Rachel wondered why, and I was like, "The guy is just doing his job... give him a break") and I drove away with a $75 speeding ticket. Pretty cheap if you ask me. So here we are at my brother's house, and I'll let you know how that goes.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Where does the Time go?

Does anyone know? Because I sure don't have a clue. My last post was something like a month ago, and I didn't even realize it....
Right now Ammon and I are eating breakfast. He is eating his very healthy breakfast of OJ, Eggo waffles, pear-flavored applesauce, and string cheese. He just like variety I suppose. The only problem is that whenever I'm not looking, he starts to dump his juice out of the sippy cup all over his tray and it makes such a big mess... I on the other hand am eating Cookie Crisp cereal. It is also a healthy breakfast, because it tastes like chocolate chip cookies... and it is fortified with at least a thousand vitamins, so you know it's good for you.
Now Ammon is throwing his breakfast on the floor (as he usually does when he is done) so I have to get him out before he makes too big a mess!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Christmas in May

Yesterday, we went out to visit our parents. My sister-in-law Tara was at her parents house, and she had been cleaning her room in her apartment. As she was straightening up, she looked under her bed and to her astonishment, found two boxes that she had either been looking for and couldn't find (because of the mess and all) or had forgotten about till she saw them. They were Christmas presents for Rachel and her sister, Tasha. Since Rachel's family had been in Utah (and/or California) during Christmas this last year, she hadn't gotten around to giving them to us. So Rachel and Tasha both got a pair of rubber boots. Rachel's were pink with white polka dots, and Tasha's were a brown plaid color. Both pairs were very stylish. And now that the rainiest part of the year is over, they will both get to save the boots, all shiny and new, until next year! Oh, and I got store credit from The Home Depot for $34.12 or something like that. She had taken some stuff back to the store and had only gotten in-store credit, so she gave that to me. Maybe I can use that to help pay for the new carpet that we are putting in...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ammon Likes to Help Out

So we have been getting the house all cleaned up and organized, trying to get it ready to sell. There is a lot more work than I thought there would be. Also, since we have to get about half of our stuff out of the house before we can start showing it, we need to find a storage unit to put it all in. Getting all of our stuff ready to store has been interesting. I have to find all the boxes we are going to use at work. So none of them are the same size, which will make stacking them in a storage unit interesting. But my skills from stacking cans (not food cans, but the large metal containers at work we put packages in for transport on the airplane) will definitely come in handy. Also, it looks like we are going to get a storage unit that is 10'x15', so that will be yet another challenge, trying to pack up a whole house into such a small space. But I was told that the ceilings are really high... But back to the real reason for my post, Ammon. He has started to help around the house. Like for instance, he wanted to help fold socks:So he climbed right into the sock drawer and proceeded to throw out all of the socks onto the floor, which was such a big help. He has also started to wander around with the dust mop and "dust" things, which means that he just waves the dust mop around and hits things and knocks stuff over. He has also dusted the toilet, another thing that I just hadn't gotten around to doing yet. But Ammon saw a need and went to fulfill it. He also like to help with putting the dishes away, mostly by closing whatever cupboard or drawer that you have opened, even if you are not done putting stuff away. He's a real big fan of doors and drawers. Then he has also found a way to help when we are moping or sweeping the floor: he grabs the handle and pushes and pulls it all over the place, which of course knocks the dirt we had previously swept up all over the place. I love having a son that's so helpful...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Another Trip to Florida...

A few weeks ago, Rachel and I went on yet another fabulous trip. We seem to be doing a fair bit of traveling these days, this year especially. This last time we went to Orlando Florida. Since Rachel has done so well at USBank the last few years, we have gotten to go to quite a few places, at the bank's expense. It's a tough life I know. Anyway, Florida. So we went and stayed at the J.W. Marriott Resort. It's a pretty nice hotel, but not the nicest one the bank has put us up in. That honor was won by the Westin Hotel in Whistler BC. But I can't complain about the Marriott either. We were on the 17th floor or something like that and had a great view from our balcony.
Here is some video, and in case you don't have speakers to hear the video commentary, the last part of me looking out the window and pointing is me trying to explain how the hotel created a swimming pool with a river that has a current in it that you can swim against, without an elevation change. Which means that you can basically go around in circles in the pool/river without having to climb out or up. It's done with large jets strategically placed along the river and in the pools. It must cost a fortune to run it all. I thought it was great. You can see that the room was pretty nice in the video too. The morning I got there (Rachel had come in the night before) we went to EPCOT Center. If you don't know, EPCOT is Disney's attempt at re-creating cultures from around the world. I think that there are like 12 different countries that they have represented. Each country's pavilion has unique buildings in that country's style, authentic food, and people from the represented countries work in those areas. So for instance, in the Norway Pavilion had Norwegians working there, because we heard some of the tourists come up and start talking to the employees in Norwegian. Same in the China Pavilion. Then you can visit Morocco, France, the U.K., Mexico, Germany, Italy, Japan, colonial USA, and Canada. Ok so that's 11. There are a few rides there, but the lines are SOOOOOOO LOOOOOONNNNGGGG!!! I went on the GM Test Track ride and waited about 30 minutes for a three minute ride that wasn't all that exciting. The Mission: Space ride was pretty good. 45 min for that ride, but you got to pilot a space craft to Mars and it really felt like you were doing it. You get into this little pod and there is a heads up display and a joystick and buttons to push. The pod is attached to a giant centrifuge and it pivots up, down, left right and goes forwards and back. It's a pretty good effect, and even a little disorienting as you go from blasting off, to weightlessness in outerspace to twists and turns piloting through a debris field and then through a winding canyon before coming to a stop. I'd do it again, but I would get a FastPass first (a FastPass holds your place in line without you actually having to be there).
Then that night we went to the Marvel Superhero Island. I didn't take my camera for some reason, so I don't have any photos. But it was crazy awesome. The Bank rented the entire park for our exclusive use. They served a buffet dinner in the streets between rides. And it was gourmet food, too. Pan crusted snapper, beef tenderloin, some weird chicken dish that I didn't want to try, lots of food. But the best part was the rides. They kept the three best rides open for us. That meant no lines, no waiting. You went to the ride, got on the ride, rode the ride, got off the ride, and went right back around and got on again. The Incredible Hulk roller coaster was AWESOME! You get on and start moving up the first big hill, where they've got you chained and you move slowly upwards. But then you notice that at the top of the hill, before you start down the other side, there is a twist. And you wonder how you are going to make the twist going at this slow speed. About that time, you are slammed back into your seat as your car is shot forward and up the rest of the hill. And then you start screaming. That roller coaster was the best coaster I have ever been on. Period. Not the longest, or the highest but definitely the best. The most action, twists and turns and loops and upside down and nonstop action till you are brought to a quick, almost jerky stop where you get off and run around to the other side to do it all over again. I rode more than a few times. Then there is the Spiderman ride. Not quite the same as the Hulk, but just as fun. Rachel was able to ride on this one. This one is like you're inside one of the Spiderman comic books. You play the part of a photographer, and your job is to get Spiderman on film, doing what he does best. But it all goes horribly wrong when you encounter Doc Oc, Venom, the Hobgoblin and other Spiderman villains engaged in a plot to take control of the city, or world or whatever. They all attack you in turn and Spiderman comes to save your butt each time. But what really makes this ride cool is that it's all in 3-D. At the beginning, before you get on the ride, you grab your 3-D glasses. Then as the ride starts, Spiderman comes and explains whats going to happen. He swings out and lands on the front to the car you are in, and it looks like he is really there, two feet in front of you. The Hobgoblin throws his pumpkin bombs at you, and as they explode around you, you feel the heat as the car is equipped with a device that blows really hot air in your face. Some water gets splashed around during a part, and you get a little wet. Then you fall from the top of a building and it really feels like you are falling and Spiderman saves you at the last minute. It was great. I rode that ride more than the Hulk. The third ride was one of those rides that take you up in the air, and then let you drop. Not all that exciting, and it made me a little sick after eating so much. I only went on that one once. But the night as a whole was AWESOME!
The next day was a free day and so Rachel and I went down to the pool and ad a good time floating around the pool and relaxing in the sun. I got a little sunburnt, but not bad. That night was a big awards dinner hosted by the bank, and Rachel received her award for being an awesome banker, and of course I messed up the shot of her getting the award. I've done it every year. This year I even practiced... The next day we came home. In the Orlando airport the is a NASA store that I visited. It was kind of a whirlwind trip, but it was a lot of fun.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Spending Money

We have been spending way too much money lately. I don't know exactly where it's all going either. Not that we're in trouble or anything, but it's really time to cut back for a while. For instance, we went to Orlando last week and stayed at the Marriott Resort. We went to Disney World and to Epcot Center. That was all free, but what DID cost us a bunch of money was the new laptop computer I bought so we could watch movies on the airplane and use the internet while we were there. I bought a HP Pavilion dv6875se. Look it up, it's pretty awesome. Not the most expensive computer I could have gotten, but for around $1000, it's got everything I think I will need in a laptop for a long time (read: three or four months). Then we are spending all this money to fix up the house to get it ready to sell. New paint, I bought a ladder for $150 so I could paint the house, lawn care products to get rid of weeds and moss, new plants for the front and back (because the ones I have right now are not good enough according to the Realtor), new carpet for the whole house (another $1000 or so)... The list goes on. Then there are the new tires for Rachel's Sonata and the air compressor (with 6 important air tools included) I bought. Not that I'm really unhappy about the things we have purchased, it's just I'm not used to spending all that money in such a short period of time. That's a good thing, right?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Getting Ready To Sell

This month we are getting ready to sell the house. We would like to put it on the market towards the middle-to-end-of May. I have a lot of little things to do here inside the house, like some painting and cleaning. The real estate agent came over on Wednesday and gave me a big long list of stuff to do. Also, I am supposed to figure out how to wire a light into the ceiling fan, because apparently there is not enough light in our family room for her taste. I don't know if that is going to be possible, and where would I put the switch? I don't know either... I also have to clean out the garage. She asked me what my plans for the bug were and I told her that it is staying right where it was until the day I move out of the house (unless I got it running before then, but that is unlikely). I think she got the idea because she didn't say another word about it. But Rachel has to tone down all of the knick-knacky junk that is all over the house. I think it is time for a yard sale! We don't actually have a lot of extra space in this house, but we are supposed to make it look like we do. We'll see how that works out. Oh, and the first thing the realtor said when she walked in was "We are going to have new carpet put in, right? This carpet is old and matted down, and it's finished." I said yes, but Rachel didn't want to commit to anything, because she didn't want to spend a lot of extra money. At least that was until my mom reminded her that she had second thoughts about the house before we bought it... BECAUSE of the carpet. So now it's not such a bad thing.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pics of my new son Noah

Here are the scans of the pictures from the ultrasound. That sentence was a mouthful. Anyway, here they are. The first one is proof (for those that know how to read them) that it is a boy. The second is a picture of his profile, and the last of is a picture of his foot.

We also got some video of it. I see in the menu bar that I can add video, I wonder how long it will take to upload, seeing as how the video is like 30MB... I guess I can always let it run overnight.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

We Are Having Another Boy!

We just got back from the doctor a few minutes ago and I am pretty excited! We found out this morning that we are having another boy! We are going to name him Noah something. Well not Noah Something, but Noah and we don't know what the middle name is gonna be yet. If you have any suggestions you can post them as comments. We got video done at the doctors office of the ultrasound so maybe I'll post post it here or as a link to Youtube so everyone can see. I thought about getting a 3-d picture done, and they even offer a 4-d video (that's a video of the 3-d image, time being the fourth dimension) but that was pretty expensive, and we will have the real thing here soon enough. So, I just wanted to post this little tidbit and get it written down. Just for your FYI.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cruise to the Bahamas

Last week Rachel and I took a cruise to the Bahamas. It was our first time ever on a cruise and we didn't know quite what to expect. We were worried about the size of the room, and how much we were going to have to spend on food and blah blah blah. I think that a cruise is has got to be the most self-contained vacation you could possibly have. We had a great time. The food is cooked and prices are included in the cruise ticket price. You could probably gain 10lbs if you aren't careful, cause there is "free" food 24-7. The only extras you pay for are gambling and alcohol, and since Rachel and I don't participate in those activities we didn't end up spending a bunch of extra money. We traveled on the Carnival Fascination. Carnival may not be the nicest, most luxurious cruise line, but is probably the most fun, at least according to some of the cruise aficionados I met on board. There are live shows to see, comedy acts to see, and Rachel's all time favorite: Karaoke Night. We flew to Florida on Thursday night, left Miami Friday, arrived in Nassau, Bahamas on Saturday and got back to Miami on Monday. We went swimming in the warmest clearest bluest ocean water I have ever personally seen, went to a massive resort called Atlantis on Paradise Island, and spent an afternoon walking through the aquariums and pools they have, saw the Michael Jackson Suite (the most expensive hotel suite in the world at $25,000 a night with a four night minimum booking. It's the "bridge" between the two buildings), frolicked in the ocean, listened to some crazy tour guides and just had a great time overall. I would definitely do it again. Not stay at Atlantis (cause I'm not rich) but go on a cruise. Or go to the Bahamas again. There isn't much to do there except go to the beach or to the resorts. I was a little surprised at that. The capital city didn't have a movie theater or fancy restaurants. It was mostly about tourists buying trinkets. There were some pretty aggressive ones too. They would come up to you and put stuff in your hand saying it was free and then ask for a "donation." When my donation wasn't large enough, they took their "free" stuff back, called me cheap and walked away in a huff. It reminded me of the Markets in Mexico where I served my mission.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Last Week in Recap

Last week was my birthday. I turned 28 on the 24th. According to my older brother, who also had a birthday last week, only two more years till I'm officially "dead." He just turned 29, and now has less than a year left till he hits the "big 3-0." Of course we have been saying stuff like that since we were teenagers. Once we hit 20, we're not teenagers anymore, and now, once we hit 30, we are no longer in our prime, and we are supposed to grow up and get responsible and stuff like that. But for me, I have a wife and a one year old son and another baby on the way, I own my own home and do my own laundry and dishes and pay my own bills and stuff, so I guess I'm already pretty responsible. But enough of that...
Last week like I said, I turned 28. I was also on vacation from work the whole week, and you'll never guess what we did. Go ahead, try. If you guessed anything fun, you'd be wrong. We were all sick last week and didn't do anything. I have bronchitis that has mostly cleared up with antibiotics, Ammon had an ear infection and was also on antibiotics and pain meds, and Rachel had a sinus infection, but she has been really bad about taking her medicine. She is worried about the pregnancy. I guess I understand, because this one has been more difficult for her. This time around, she has been more tired and nauseated. With Ammon, it was more energizing than anything else. Anyway, we watched a lot of movies last week 'cause we didn't really leave the house unless we had to. We have a rather large movie collection, since I would rather buy the movie and watch it whenever I want, than see it in the theater once for the same price. We probably have 100 or so, give or take. For my birthday, one of my younger brothers gave me Gremlins. I remember being scared by that movie when I was young, but it only has a PG rating. Now it's like, "Oh you can see the strings that they used to make the puppets move!" And the acting was pretty unbelievable. Not in a good way either. It was pretty funny to remember watching it so many years ago, excited and scared at the same time, only to laugh and poke fun at the animatronics and bad acting now that I'm older. But I find that life is sort of like that too. Not with the animatronics and bad acting, but as I grow up, it's interesting to see the changes in what I think is important, or exciting and worthwhile. I guess maturity will do that to a person...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year

It's the new year. 2008. The year where we will see which party gains control of the White House. I am very interested in politics, but I try to keep my politics to myself. I tend to be conservative and Republican, in that order. I say that because lately many of the Republicans that are in office have not been acting in accordance with the conservative principles that I hold near and dear. Small government, lower taxes, national security and capitalism. It's kind of like when that new Superman came out and the writers said "Truth, Justice...and all that other stuff," instead of the "and the American Way." Fairly disappointing. I hope that whichever Rep candidate will fight for my beliefs. If Ron Paul wasn't so isolationist and didn't have two first names and no last name I might consider him. But his foreign policy is loony. Rudy Guillani is really much too liberal on social issues for my taste. Mike Huckaby... I don't know. Taxes and criminals make me think twice about him. I wish that Duncan Hunter had more than a snowball's chance in... well you know. I think I'd vote for him in a second. But he's not a "top tier" candidate so I'd probably just waste my vote. No, I'm gonna have to choose Mitt Romney. I don't think I agree with everything he has done in his political career, but he has had great success both as a governor, and in the private sector. He has "executive" experience, something that many of the other front runners, both Democrat and Republican, do not have. I wish that he had not flip-flopped on his abortion stance, but I think that of the candidates most likely to win the nomination, Mitt Romney is the one that I can most identify with, politically. I'll vote Republican no matter who the nominee is, don't get me wrong, cause even the worst candidate in my estimation would be a thousand times better than any current Democratic nut job. Anyway, what a way to start the new year, huh?