Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Random Wednesday thoughts...

If you would have asked me about this current presidential election and told me that the final 4 contenders for the President spot were:
  • A woman
  • An old man
  • A mormon
  • A black man
I probably would think you had the makings for a beginning of a joke. Its nice to see our country has come this far that all four have a chance. Its too bad though that race, gender and religion are still an issue though for some people.

Why do I check things out from the city library? Yes, they tell me when the items are due back. Yes, I know. But for whatever reason, I don't ever return them on time. I wait until I get that letter in the mail where the library basically says 'quit trying to steal that old used paperback book and bring it back.' I do, but usually a week or two overdue. Now 25 cents a day is not much, but if you have 5 books and you turn them all in late by 2 weeks, it comes out to something like $45 (yes, I know that is an exaggeration, but it sure feels like it). Why don't I just buy the books?

Thank goodness for global warming, because if it wasn't happening, I would have about 25 feet of snow in my front yard. Thankfully, I only have about 12 feet.

Our next door neighbor is moving in...and its only been 20 months worth of remodeling. Welcome to our neighborhood. Watch out for the Jefferies, they are dangerous.

I, surprisingly enough, do not care that there has been a writers strike. Yes, I miss '30 Rock' episodes. Yes, I will miss 'Weeds' and 'Dexter', etc. if those shows are delayed. But can it really be a bad thing that there are not new episodes of 'What about Jim' and 'American Dad.'? I have no problem spending more time with my family, watching movies and reading books. Too bad they can't just erase 80% of the tv shows and just keep the good ones. As a sidenote--Dexter is coming to network tv/CBS. Don't ask me how they will make that work. Dexter is not for the faint of heart though the show is truly fabulous.

Carter was going to bed but he wanted me to go with him and lay down with him. I told him that I had to work to which he responded with: 'Daddy, you are so tired...your ears are so tired. Let your ears sleep.' Creative enough that I joined him because my ears were, in fact, very very tired.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Monday Reviews: 2 Books

Lewis and Clark; The Journey of the Corps of Discovery (historical nonfiction):

Story Summary in about 30 words: This is the story of Lewis and Clark--how it began with President Jefferson asking him to lead a group of men to discover the other side of the continent, their journeys across harsh terrain, their interaction with the Native Americans, their travels back home and how it changed America for good and for bad.

Rate of Interest: 27.2 pages per day (272 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: I really liked the discussions at the White House and how Lewis and Clark were commanded to take detailed notes of new animals, new plants, Native Americans, their journeys. It was interesting to see how little they knew of anything west of the Mississippi. It was interesting to note that Lewis and Clark were good guys trying to do a good thing and didn't want to disrupt the Native Americans or damage terrain that they crossed. It was more rugged and more difficult than they even imagined.

Worst Thing about the Book: In places it dragged in its story telling, and I would have liked to have read more of their interactions with the Native American tribes, but they did a good job overall.

Overall: It is well worth a read, especially for those that are interested in hearing how America learned of the west. This book is also available on audio or on video.

Cities by John Reader (historical nonfiction):

Story Summary in about 30 words: This book looks over how cities in ancient times and present times were built, maintained and often fell. The story goes from ancient 6,000 year old cities all the way to present day London. Plagues, food constraints, over population are all mentioned as stumbling blocks that all cities go thru.

Rate of Interest: 16.1pages per day (305 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: There are some real interesting data points throughout. It is estimated that in 50AD, Rome struggled to bring in enough food to feed its people. Over 6 million individual loads of grain were brought from the ports and dragged 50 miles through often difficult terrain to feed the Roman during one year. Other points of note to show the struggles of so many people in close quarters--the plague killed over 8 million people in India during an 18 year period in the early 1900s.

Worst Thing about the Book: The book often seemed a bit disjointed. The stories were interesting and informative but it bounced back and forth and it seemed that the author sometimes wasn't quite sure where he wanted to take the story.

Overall: If you are interested in ancient civilizations or you are just fascinated by large cities, it is a good read. If neither are of particular interest to you, well then, you could skip it.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mormon President, Gordon B. Hinckley, has died

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints President, Gordon B. Hinckley, passed away tonight. He was loved and he will be missed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The near perfect diet solution: Tab and PopTarts

Now, I know what you are thinking--the 'near perfect' diet, why wouldn't Tab and PopTarts be the perfect diet? Well, simply because PopTarts are too addictive. You can't stop at 2, or 4, or 6 and then the calorie intake is just out of control and even though Tab has zero calories, your caloric intake is too high. So, if you can control your obsession with poptarts and only eat 4-6 in a day and supplement it with nature's juice, Tab, then it is the absolute perfect diet.

TAB--Yes, I know, this drink may take some time to get use to it. But seriously, this is a fabulous drink. Not only has it been around for decades, but it keeps on going strong. I had not seen a TAB in years until about 5 years ago back in DC when my brother and I went shopping and there was a 12-pack sitting there. We picked it up and I have not looked back since. I have a feeling that the TAB cans still on the shelf may have in fact been there for the past 15 matter, it is as tasty and refreshing as ever. Yes, TAB may be slowly eating away at my stomach lining, but I have no doubt that TAB is keeping me youthful and 'healthy.' Some people say that TAB tastes like paint thinner--to be honest, I have no idea, I have not tasted paint thinner so its a good thing that I found TAB first.

Brown Sugar PopTarts: Seriously, I am addicted. Donuts used to be my downfall, but that is no longer the case. These poptarts are a terrific breakfast, mid-day snack or a terrific compliment to any dinner. I don't care much for any of the other flavored poptarts, but I can down the brown sugar ones like it is going out of style. Important note--I am not a fan of toasting which is good so that I don't have to waste time cooking them with a toaster, I can just grab them out of the box and eat them. Brodi does not appreciate me throwing poptarts at the kids whenever they get healthy. I have checked the nutrional content of poptarts and they are pretty impressive: 10% of iron and Vitamin A!!!! It also contains 1% of your needed calcium. Add one poptart with a glass of milk and you are at about 41% of needed daily calcium, thanks in no small part to PopTarts.

TAB with Brown Sugar Poptarts may not be the perfect diet, but it just may be the ultimate breakfast. It does not get better than that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Buff, not in the buff, from all of the shoveling

Monday was quite a snowstorm. I woke up to notice about 6 inches of snow on the ground and you could tell that it was not going to stop anytime soon. So, I put on my muscle T-shirt and strolled outside to do a little shoveling. The day ended with 11 inches of snow. This seems to have been the winter of some major storms.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Review: 1 book

This has been a relatively slow week in reading as I finished this one book...but I am in the middle of two others so there will be several reviews next Monday.

An Accidental American by Alex Carr (fiction thriller):

Story Summary in about 30 words: The story focuses on Nicole Blake, a world class forger who is just out of jail, and she is summoned by a US agent to help find a former boyfriend who is a suspected terrorist. She finds out that there is much more at play here and she is a target.

Rate of Interest: 26.7 pages per day (220 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: The international flair is nice. The story bounces around from Beirut to the French countryside to Lisbon. The plot focuses on the today but the background, going back 20 years, is essential to find out Blake's importance in the bigger scheme of it all.

Worst Thing about the Book: The stories intertwine a little too often and some minor plots are left by the wayside. It seemed that the author wanted to wrap things up quicker than she probably should have...

Overall: It is pretty good. It is not a long book so if you are looking for a solid read over a couple of days, it can fill that void.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Flashback Sunday has been interrupted

Flashback Sunday has been put on hold for a week for some good news. Brodi's dad, Dennis, has been fighting thru pancreatic cancer over the past couple of months. He was diagnosed on Halloween and he has been under chemotherapy and radiation treatment since then. As you know, pancreatic cancer is one of the 'real bad' cancers but there is hope as Dennis' was caught relatively early. It has been a brutal couple of months that has seen Dennis lose 35 pounds (down to 115 pounds). The good news though? Dennis visited with his surgeon on Friday and was given word that the tumor has shrunk some and they would be able to perform the whipple surgery in early February. This is fabulous news and exciting. Anyway, we have his website linked on the left ( so you are welcome to go in and check it out to see his progress. Keep him in your prayers. This quick explanation is nowhere near as interesting as the detail given on their website, so please visit it. We are excited to get him healthy soon and back to spending quality time with family and working back at his pediatric practice. The picture on the left is Dennis, Joan with Brodi and her sister Erin on the first day of chemotherapy and radiation.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Happy Birthday Sam! I am so lucky to have you! I am sure that even with extensive searching, I may find someone who could grow a fuller beard, and I may find someone who gets MAN-icures, but I will never find someone who makes me laugh every day, and shares the housework, and shares the kid work, and never complains. No one else would put up with me like you do! And even though you make me watch stupid videos, and you won’t buy anything unless you can find a kick-*&%% deal, and you order our toothpaste through the mail, and you use my computer all the time because yours requires your own finger print identification system… what was I saying? Oh yeah, these are just ways you make my life exciting and spontaneous.

There’s no one else I’d rather travel the world with than you. You made Europe feel like home. If it weren’t for you being able to decipher the Eurail trail codes, we would have been lost forever. Despite being a homebody, you are amazingly adventurous.

Sure, you’d rather eat frozen meatballs than anything I cook. That just proves your incredible taste! And yes, you like to drink “Tab”, and you wear your older brother’s hand-me-downs. From his high school years. (striped Rugby shirts, anyone?) But I like a man who parties like it’s 1987!

As a dad, you are the ultimate. The boys look forward to your weekly donut runs. I don’t think they’ve ever had a vegetable that you have served, but there is definitely a place for a never-ending sugar supplier. Whenever I get mad at you for singing, Carter’s there to defend your right to shatter glass.

You are extremely loyal, as evidenced by sticking with me. You love all of the right sports teams. And as my husband, you are indispensable. You are constantly following me around, picking up my dirty clothes, and my empty diet coke cans. You order my very specific shampoo from E-Bay with only a few complaints. You never point out my weaknesses (except to tell me how incredibly impatient I am). Even when I am secretly trying to pick a fight, you are never duped. You’ll flat out say, “Bro, if you want to fight, just tell me.” Your calm manner always diffuses any hot situation.

And even though every road trip starts with us turning around after the first fifteen minutes because you're sure you've left the stove on/lights on/garage open/rugby shirt at home, I wouldn't have it any other way. You are absolutely unique, and I’m so happy you were born!

Love, your wife.

Happy, Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday to Me, Happy Birthday Sssaaaammmm, Happy Birthday to Me.

Yes, it is my birthday. Yes, I am 34 years old. I am over a third of century old. I have been thinking about all of the many things that I wanted to have accomplished by the time that I reached 34 and here is the list with whether or not I have succeeded.

1. Be the sexiest 34-year old metrosexual in town. Seriously, I don't think its even close, Accomplished
2. Be one of the best Pakistani farmers in the world. Accomplished.
3. Be a terrific 'the forbidden' lambada dancer: Accomplished
4. to only live in Idaho for less than a year. Kinda accomplished because though we were in Blackfoot for less than a year, it felt like 3 years.
5. Star in my own soap opera on network television: Sadly, not accomplished, though not for lack of trying.
6. Be a professional poker player and compete on ESPN. Sadly, not accomplished though I do play a mean hand of UNO and Rook.
7. Be a snappy dresser. Definitely accomplished. My style may not be current, but it is pretty hip for 1988.
8. Have 11 kids.
Thankfully not accomplished. I would have been in the funny farm if that happened.
9. Be able to do 9 situps in a row.
Accomplished easily, I can usually pump out 10+ a day (as long as I am not sick or tired or too full from eating)
10. Not wearing dentures, using a hearing aid or not being blind from old age. All Accomplished, though I have shrunk in my height.
11. Grow a total awesome beard in a day or two. Not accomplished. Don't get me wrong, I can grow an awesome beard, it just takes me about 1 or 2 months.

And before you all rush out to get me gifts, please just get something that is very expensive.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesday's Thoughts

I love Blockbuster Online. I pay $8 a month and that gives me 3 mail in rentals a month...I take in that mail in rental when I am done and I get a free movie to check out from the store. They also send me an email coupon for 1 more free movie. So, 7 movies for $8 a month. Now, if I just rented and 'watched' 7 movies a month...

Freeway construction on I-80 keeps things interesting. You haven't lived until you have about 2 inches of space going down your lane with Semi-trucks on both side of you...and its windy...and its snowing...and its a bit icy. Yes, I drive a truck. Yes, I will lose if those semis decide they like my lane better. 2 years and counting until I-80 is done.

We had some business meetings down at our ranch in Central Utah. We had very good meetings and a great steak dinner. Some of the group went out pheasant hunting. I didn't go but when they all got back, I asked if they had a nice time 'Peasant hunting.' Yes, a new ranch activity--round up people off the streets and then set them loose on the ranch grands. Good times for all. I quickly corrected myself and said 'Pheasant hunting, you know, birds' but everyone was already laughing.

For as much bad press as Pakistan gets, it is a fabulous country and we have loved working there and I have no hesitation of going back soon.

I found 6 pounds of extra weight on my body after all the heavy eating this holiday season. I was hoping it just stayed lost. Just curious as to if any of you would like my 6-pounds? I can ship it to you if you would like.

I have seen a couple of movies over the past few weeks: Juno and No Country for Old Men. These two movies could not have been more different and it would have been difficult for either one to be more entertaining. 'No Country' is dark and brutal and compelling. I left not sure exactly what I thought of the flick. This is the latest Coen thriller and it leaves you thinking about it for weeks afterward. No music, no laughter...just a feeling that things were not going to end well.

Juno on the other hand was surprisingly upbeat considering the material. For those of you concerned, it handles teen pregnancy very well. The lead actress is remarkable and extremely likable. The soundtrack is great and all the characters do a nice job in their roles. Be ready for a bunch of pop culture references. Also, nice to see Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner in a movie together.

I taught elders quorum this past Sunday. I liked it. I don't know if those in the class liked it. I did not teach false doctrine which is always a plus. I also did not talk about Kolob which was another plus.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Reviews: 3 Books

So, we have started up a new year and here are the books that I have read, with reviews on each, to kick off the new year:

Standing for Something by Gordon B. Hinckley (nonfiction church):

Story Summary in about 30 words: This current LDS President discusses how we can improve our lives and our country through living moral lives. He focuses on 10 virtues that will "heal our hearts and homes."

Rate of Interest in book: 21.1 pages per day (211 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: Pres. Hinckley's way of speaking is clear and simple on what we need to do to be better people. Its direct and he has a way of making you feel like a friend that he is just talking to.

Worst Thing about the Book: Yeah, how am I supposed to answer this question, huh? I would have liked it to go more in depth and I would have enjoyed more focus on the church but I can understand why he did neither in this book as it really is just a call to doing better for all people with little focus on the mormon church.

Overall: It is a good read just for the many stories that Pres. Hinckley tells. The opening by Mike Wallace is terrific as he talks about his relationship with Pres. Hinckley and about his personality and qualifications to discuss this subject.

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child (fiction thriller):

Story Summary in about 30 words: Lead character Jack Reacher is a former military special investigator now on his own. He finds out that 4 (out of 8) of his former friends were brutally murdered. You do not mess with the Special investigators and Reacher wants answers.

Rate of Interest: 68.5 pages per day (411 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: The Jack Reacher character is always entertaining. He is brutally tough and his sense of morals are on his terms and he stops at nothing until he feels things have been righted. It was also good to see some of his past 'teammates' and to see Reacher's respect of them and his interaction with them.

Worst Thing about the Book: The conclusion to the novel seemed a bit rushed as did the lack of alarms being run at the government level to what could have been a catastrophe to America.

Overall: Very entertaining and worth the read especially if you need a book for an airplane or to stay up in the night.

Speak of the Devil by Richard Hawke (fiction thriller):

Story Summary in about 30 words: Thanksgiving Parade in NYC ends in 5 people being gunned down. A PI, Fritz Malone, tracks the shooter down at the parade but soon learns that not all is as it appears to be and he is thrown into police and government conspiracies in getting answers.

Rate of Interest: 33.3 pages per day (400 total pages)

Best Thing about the Book: Good progression and interesting storyline that pushed thru for the first 300 pages.

Worst Thing about the Book: The last 75 pages. It went from entertaining and exciting to farfetched and disjointed. The wrap of the story and the conclusion left a lot to be desired.

Overall: Like I said, a good read for 70% of it but the last 30% of the book left a bad taste in my mouth. It is not worth a read, unless you put the book down after 300 pages and walk away.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

There is a difference, you know...

Carter was not feeling too well the other day and had a case of the diarrhea. He had to make a couple of mad dashes to the toilet to take care of business. Brodi asked him if he was feeling alright and he replied: "I feel OK mommy, its my pooper that hurts." I guess we need to be more specific in what we ask: 'So Carter, how is your pooper today?'

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Flashback Sunday and Beckham's Birthday: COMBINED!

Beckham had his birthday this past Thursday and he turned 2 years old. Crazy. It seems like just a few weeks ago, this little crazy kid joined our world. Brodi and I were not sure if we were going to have another kid and we finally decided to have one more and it was the best move we have made...little Beckham has changed our lives and will continue to do so.

His first birthday party was basically Beckham sitting down and stuffing his face with frosting and cake and as you can see, he made the most of it. It has been a blast watching him over the past year as he learned to walk, babble and learn to play with his parents, his brother and his friends.

We celebrated his second birthday with some parties at our house with Brodi's family and our friends, the Jefferies. The next day we took the Beckham party machine over to Sam's parent's house. Donuts, brownies and all of the necessary food items were there in full force. Beckham managed to eat half of his Banbury Cross donut by just eating around the edges. He didn't quite understand what he was celebrating but he enjoyed good food, new toys and everyone hanging out and partying like it was 1969.

Now for a little background on this little boy: Beckham was born on January 3, 2006. Everything seemed to be fine for a couple of weeks and then he picked up a cold. Some good friends of ours, Brad and Raina, had a little boy that struggled to breathe after developing a cold as a newborn. He was rushed to the hospital, where they determined he had RSV. RSV is basically a very bad cold in kids, but in new babies, it can be deadly. Their little lung passages are so easily blocked. So when Becks got a bad cold at three weeks old, we watched him carefully. We had him attached to a little machine that monitored his oxygen levels. Anything above 90 percent is normal. He hung on for a little while, and then his levels dipped to below seventy. We rushed him up to Primary Children's, where he stayed for two weeks, hooked up to machines, looking very small and very uncomfortable. There is very little that the doctors can do except to make sure that he is hooked up to oxygen, and occasionally clear his passages with an NP tube and suction. We were able to finally bring him home but we still had to keep him hooked up with oxygen at home. Not a lot of fun, but we got him thru it.

Beckham is our little, as Brodi likes to call him, our mischievous little gnome. His little mind is always working and trying to figure out how to cause trouble. He knows what buttons to push to get his brother all bothered, but he always seems to do it in a cute way.

Beckham has many loves and some of them are:

  • He loves to flush the toilet (he has yet to break it, BONUS for us)
  • He loves to turn the lights on and off. (his nursery leaders love this quality in him)
  • He loves eat dino nuggets.
  • He loves YoGabbaGabba on Nickelodeon (that show is not safe for adults)
  • He loves to draw and paint. (thankfully he usually does it on the paper, but if he is feeling extra creative, doors are a good alternative option for him)
  • He loves slides, especially the one in the front yard.
  • He loves to watch his older brother play with the DS Lite system. (watch and annoy his bro at the same time)
  • He loves his preschool, especially his teacher Miss Vaunda.
  • He loves his booty (blanket) and he can't imagine life without it. (fwiw, we can't imagine what would happen if he lost it either)
  • He loves his milk. (Winder Dairy is like gold to him)
  • He loves baths and loves to pour water on himself.

He is a good little boy and we can't imagine life without him. Happy Birthday Becks.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Carter Party

Carter celebrated a ragin' birthday party at the Little Gym. Carter had a bunch of his neighborhood friends as well as a couple of his Washington DC friends who are now Salt Lake-ites, Cami and Drew.

The cool thing about the place is they basically play some games and then they get to spend the rest of the time running around and playing on little gym equipment. The two girls that ran the show were terrific and helped all of the kids enjoy their time.

Carter finally got the courage to walk across the beam and you can see him as he flies off the beam. Very talented and after he did it one time, it was difficult to get him off of it.

The kids sat in a circle and played some games with their 'teachers'

Grandpa Frank and Carter got to hang out on his birthday.

This is Beckham just having a good time. Beckham was in his element of just running around and playing with all of the older kids. He loved watching to see what they did and then he loved going out and doing his own thing. It was a lot of fun.

Though these pictures are of Carter's party from 2 weeks ago, today is Beckham's Birthday. On Sunday, I will post some pictures of his party. Happy Birthday to 'Becks!"