Friday, May 30, 2008

Update on Brodi's dad

As many of you know, Brodi's dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Halloween. He has fought against all odds and undergone, so far, 6 months of chemotherapy, 3 months of radiation treatment and one of the most invasive and tough surgeries around, the Whipple Surgery (hospitalized for two weeks and bedrest for many weeks after that). And to report, he is in GREAT condition right now. We have a link to his website on the left of the page under 'The Ashton Clot' and you can read up on his progress. The doctor told him that he should consider himself a survivor now. His weight was down to around 100 pounds, but he has improved greatly and is now over 120 pounds and he is getting back into his active lifestyle of long daily walks, eating real food and even able to travel. He is a true fighter and it has been absolutely marvelous to see him improving every day.

He is a pediatrician and his clinic is raising money for the Huntsman Cancer Institute and doing it thru the LOtoJA race. If you are interested in donating to this cause, feel free to visit this site to learn more and to make a contribution:

Cancer sucks, but it is comforting to know that there are so many researchers and doctors working every day to find a way to stop and defeat this terrible disease.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Just like a Motel 6 only it was much bigger and much nicer

We are back from our trip to Southern California and we had a great time. Brodi and I have been to Disneyland too many times to count since we have been married. Seriously, I am not even going to try and count the number of times. All of the trips have been wonderful and it has always been nice to get a hotel room just outside of the park so that we are within a 5 minute walk to the park. This year was different. Brodi's parents friends let us use their vacation home in Dana Point.

You know that you will be staying at an exclusive place simply by being in Dana Point. But as you go thru the gates of this gated community and then have to go through a second round of gates to get to the place, you know that this place is a bit different from the 'Del Sol Motel' outside of Disneyland. The 3000+ square foot house sat on a hill overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island. It was basically a private beach for the community, but this house was one of about 20 homes with direct access down its stairs to the beach.

The house had wide open rooms. It had 5 bedrooms. It had 4 bathrooms. It was stocked with all necessary beach equipment (surf boards, body boards, beach toys, balls). Cable tv and cable internet (yes, it is a vacation but it is also NBA playoffs and the French Open). It had a terrific patio out back with a weber grill and a hot tub. There was a suburban we could use in the 2-car garage as well.

The hot tub on our back patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Yeah, that doesn't suck. Every day was spent walking down the stairs to the beach and playing and then coming back and spending some time warming up in the hot tub.

The beach was terrific and I was truly appreciated by all of the guests when I whipped out my appropriate speedo. Lets just say that I was a hit with all of the neighbors. At the beach, I quickly realized that if you volunteer to dig a hole for one of the kids, you are basically committing to dig a hole for all of the kids. So, the digging began. Beckham helped and though I love our little guy, he aint the best deep digger. After what seemed like hours, we finally got holes big enough to fit them all in...we then went to lunch and came back 3 hours later to dig them out. No, just a little joke.

I know you all can't wait for more pictures, so we will post them later this weekend. It was a great trip and it is good to get back.

Monday, May 26, 2008

the genius that is Carter

If you know Carter, you realize that his mind never stops working. He had a few comments in the past couple of days that deserve some recognition:

We were driving through Laguna Hills and Carter, out of the blue, asks us 'Do you know what is hot?' Now, that is an open question. I had many options running thru my mind: an oven on broil is hot, a farm in the middle of Pakistan during June is hot, hell with Satan fanning the flames of doom is hot. So many answers but surprisingly, none of those were what Carter was thinking. Finally, we asked him, 'What is hot Carter?' Carter responded, 'hot lava is hot.' Yep, that is correct. So, as Brodi and I pondered that, Carter followed up with another question: 'Do you know what is cold?' So obviously, a bunch of cold things ran thru my mind but Carter didn't wait for a response: 'Cold lava.' Uhm, well, I guess he was right.

I told Carter that he needed to go potty before we left for Disneyland. Carter stood there for about 30 seconds in front of the toilet and nothing had happened. And then Carter started finally going with a quick shout out of: 'Here comes PeePee power, here it comes.' And yes it did.

Carter wandered into our bedroom at 5am this morning. I told him that it was way, way too early for him to be awake. Carter let me know that 'All the tired is gone out of my body Daddy. The Tired is all gone.' I tried to find the tired, but it did seem to have left the building.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Carter, soccer star

Carter scored his first goal of the year on Saturday. It has been nice to see him decide that sitting down on the ground picking grass is not always quite as fun as running around kicking a black and white ball as hard as you can.

Carter was into this game and took a pass from his teammate Dustin and booted it hard at the goal...right when the ball crossed the line, Carter turned around looking very happy, but I have to admit, I wasn't there to celebrate with him--Right when the ball went in, I ripped off my shirt, tied it around my head and sprinted down the field where I slid on my knees in front of the boisterous crowd screaming 'GGGGGOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLL!' I then did 2 back handsprings and tackled Carter to the ground.

My second season coaching ended in a tough 3-3 tie. Though we do not keep track because these are 5-year olds, my coaching skill showed through leading our team, The Bumble Bees, to a 2-3-2 record.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Church callings

I have had a chance to analyze my church callings since I have been married. For the most part, my church callings have been short-lived since we have moved so much (some think we have moved so much because of my church callings, but that is a whole other argument). Brodi and I have lived in 9 wards in our less than 10 years of marriage. Anyway, here are the callings:

Ward 1: Nursery--Seriously, c'mon. Newly-marrieds should never be put in this position. Most newlyweds don't want kids right away, let alone spending two hours with some strangers' kids. So, we spent our first 6 months getting to know nobody and wanting to hold off on having kids until we were well past 40 years old. Rule #1 to every Bishop--If you are inspired to put in a newlywed couple into nursery, check on that inspiration again.

Ward 2: Elders Quorum Instructor--This was in Blackfoot, Idaho so I was probably disliked for being a Utah mormon from the beginning, but I liked this calling. I teach from manuals, add in some personal flair, a hint of false doctrine and I am set.

Ward 3: Young Mens Presidency. I think it is a requirement that if you are in a family ward with few apartments in the boundaries, all 20-30 year olds should be put in the young mens presidency. Enjoyed it. Good kids and fun.

Ward 4: Primary. Brodi and I team-taught and we had great kids. In fact, we saw one of the girls in our class 5 years later and she totally remembered us and said how much she liked us as teachers. I think it had to do with the candy we brought, the movies we watched and the totally awesome way we handled ourselves as teachers. Or maybe, the girl was simply lying to us to make us feel better.

Ward 5: Young Mens Presidency. This was in London and we had 2-3 young men. It was OK, but it was pretty fabulous to have our bishop say to us in church 'We have a hell of a lot of work to do here.' This ward did win the 'coolest name for a ward/building' for us though with the name 'WhiteChapel Ward.' Our church was in the area where Jack the Ripper claimed his victims.

Ward 6: Young Mens Presidency. This was in Virginia. I got to work with some cool guys and we had some great kids. I was shocked at how time consuming this calling was. During one stretch, we had activities on 8 of 11 straight weekends--campouts, firesides, scout activities, etc. It was a little nuts. This was also the first time that I traded a calling with another guy in the Presidency. He was in charge of 'Duty to God' and I was in charge of being an assistant in scouting. As many of you know, scouting is not my forte, to put it lightly. We traded and let the bishop know...he told us: 'Cool, thanks for letting me know.'

Ward 7: No calling. This was in Denver. We were only there for 3 months so the bishop gave us no calling but told us to be active in the ward. OK, we can do that. Though it did take us a month to even attend our ward (1st week we went to the church but it was being renovated and it directed us to another chapel. We got there and church was over. 2nd week we went to church to find out it was stake conference. 3rd week--We were out of town. 4th week--we found it and enjoyed it only to leave early because Carter was sick). No doubt we made a great impression on the ward during our stay there...hopefully, they have handled us moving away from the ward, well.

Ward 8: Young Mens Teacher/Advisor. I taught class once a month but was not expected to go to the weekly activities unless I wanted. Pretty laid back calling.

Ward 9: Nursery/Cub Committee Chairman/Elders Quorum Presidency. No question about it, Nursery is the greatest calling ever. Yes, it stinks when you are young and newly married...but after that, it rocks. You get treats, you play on the floor with kids and little cars/toys, etc. and you get to sing songs. It is awesome! Cub scouts was OK...I worked with my BFF Renan which was totally awesome though ...Elders Quorum is pretty cool, good group of guys and has been pretty good. I try to keep my ranting and raving to 'Just DO Better!' to all the guys at a minimum though in elders quorum.

So, as you can see, my High level Church Leadership track is right on line.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Things on my brain right now

My allergies are in full, full effect. My eyes are constantly watering and let me tell you, it can be a bit embarrassing when we go to a movie or hear a somewhat sad story and my eyes are watering. I am becoming known as a very sensitive man as tears well up in my eyes. I also have a very attractive eye infection. With my nose running, my eyes filled with tears and goop...lets just say that I am lucky that I am married because otherwise, I am not exactly a sight to behold.

I have an apple tree in our front yard. I hate apple trees. The problem with them is that they grow apples. The apples stay in the tree too long and then they fall on the ground in the dead of winter and I am cleaning up mush on our driveway and snow covered lawn. Good times. They are very pretty in bloom though in the Spring. Too bad they become very ugly in the Fall.

How much fun is it to watch the Jazz play right now? The days of Stockton and Malone were terrific...but this current team is always so much fun to watch. Brodi and I are glued to the chairs watching this team play. With this team, they can give up a huge 20 point lead in a quarter or they can do a terrific comeback against any team. With AK flying around on defense, DWill leading the offense and Booz getting it going downlow and Okur bombing from the outside, it is fun to watch.

Our internet was down for a night last week. We quickly learned how addicted we are to our computers. I half expected us to just start wandering around our neighborhood in a daze hoping to pick up some kind of wifi connection from one of our neighbors. Alas, they all have protected networks. I can't believe they don't trust their own neighbors!

I do not think that I could imagine a movie that I would like to watch less than 'Speed Racer.' The cartoon was barely passable...the movie looks like someone who was high on crack cocaine and decided to put his thoughts down on paper. It looks brutal and would probably cause me to go in to a seizure with all of the colors, loud noises and cars racing in endless circle after endless circle.

Disneyland is coming up soon and I don't know who is more excited--the kids or Brodi.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Several Happy Mothers Day wishes

Happy Mothers Day to Brodi! I can't say enough about her...she has a wonderful heart and is an absolute fabulous mom to our two little boys. When they get hurt, they go to her. When they need someone to be with, they go to her. She is always there for them and they have a wonderful bond. Being a mom is heartbreaking, heartwarming, frustrating, terrifying and exhilarating and she handles all those emotions and continues to give our kids all the love and the support they need. Thanks for putting up with me and for being such a great woman.

Happy Mothers Day to my own mom who has put up with me all her life and helped me be the person that I am today.

Happy Mothers Day to my mother in law Joan. She raised two wonderful girls and I am lucky to have married Brodi and to be a part of the Ashton family.

And Happy Mothers Day to my three sisters and three sisters-in-law. All have great families and do a great job with their kids (29 terrific nieces and nephews between them all).

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Graphs tell the story

This is a very good and informative website that gives you graphs of some interesting stats ( site was referenced by Cary at

Everyone loves '24' and this chart helps you understand your eventual role, if you are a character on it, on the show

funny graphs

Now, Meatloaf is a singing legend and many people wonder what he will do based on his famous song 'I will do anything for love, but I won't do that'...this graph helps clear it up.

song chart memes

Shaking Hips Shakira gives you some answers.

"If I had a billion dollars, I would buy you a house"

What would you do with a billion dollars? Would you buy your very own island somewhere at sea? Would you buy 1 million poptarts and several million bottles of diet coke? Would you pay off your student loans? Would you buy your own private island with a private airplane along with season tickets to University of Utah games? Lots and lots of ideas.

Mukesh Ambani in India decided to drop all of that money into his very own home. Yes, 1 home. Yes, $1 billion. Obviously, this aint no ordinary home. Let me put that in perspective...Mr. Ambani obviously will simply buy this and build this home with the money that he has in his ashtray (his net worth is estimated at over $43 billion) but lets say that Mr. Ambani decided to go to his local mortgage guy and take out a conventional $1 billion loan over 30 years. His monthly payments would clock in at $6.6 million a month. That does not include insurance or property taxes.

His billion dollar home probably looks a bit different than your home, no offense of course. Here are some of the things that go into a billion dollar home:

  • 1 car garage...just kidding.
  • 60 stories in height...yes, you heard right, it will go up in to the air six hundred feet. But, there will only be 27 floors so that means that the ceilings will all be 15-25 feet high on all floors.
  • Six of those floors will be dedicated to parking. Parking spaces for only 168 cars. And I feel the same way, how can you only have 168 cars park there? Where will all of the guests ever park?
  • 400,000 square feet. That is not a misprint. It makes those 10,000 squarefoot homes in SLC look like a decent sized bathroom comparatively in size.
  • One of the floors will be a Movie/TV floor where it will sit 50 people, most likely in stadium seating, to watch shows.
  • One of the floors will have a swimming pool, a spa and a health club with all gym equipment needed.
  • There will be two guest apartments on one of the floors.
  • 9 elevators in the 'home.'
  • The top 4 floors will be set aside for actual family living--2 parents, 1 grandparent and 3 kids.
  • A helipad on the roof which gives room for 3 helicopters. I can't tell you how nice it would be to have an extra 2 helicopters available in case one of them is getting worked on.
I feel bad though because they will only have 600 people on staff to help keep it clean and running smoothly. I also feel bad for all of the would you like to try and keep up with the Joneses, errr, Ambanis? All of this leaves me slightly depressed and amused.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A visit to an allergist has left us a bit nuts

Friday was the day that Beckham finally was able to go in and see the allergist. He has been miserable over the past 2 months. Sneezing, wheezing, coughing, red eyes, runny noise...he has truly become our little walking disaster. He looks just like a complete mess.

The allergist scraped and poked his skin to get a diagnosis. This is not a pleasant experience for him or for Brodi who tried to calm him as the doctor worked him over. To make a long story short, he has an allergy. He has a nut allergy. Oh crap. What does this mean? Well, it means that anything that has any kind of nut in it is a BIG NO-NO for him. Serious enough that he we will always have to have an Epi-Pen with us which we would have to use if he ever has an allergic reaction. There are 4 allergies that can prove fatal if you are allergic: bee stings, nuts, shell fix, lucky us, Beckham has one of them.

So, this weekend we spent, as Brodi calls it, 'de-nutting' our house. Peanuts, gone. M&Ms, gone (if you check out the back of the packages, they may contain nuts which means, we can't have them around). Many things that you wouldn't think have nuts in them, do have nuts in them. I took out the big box of 'Grape Nuts' cereal, but funny enough, they don't have any nuts in them. Who woulda thunk that? Rest easy though, Pop Tarts are nut free. Yipee for all of us!

As Brodi and I talked about our two kids, we realized that they have had more than their share of health issues. Here is a quick rundown on both of them:

Carter, currently 5 years old

  • Performed a near perfect swan dive off the couch and hit his face on the coffee table cutting open his face right below his eye: 4 stitches
  • Pulled down an end table (shouldn't they secure those things with anchors or something) in church and bruised his entire face and bloodied his nose (picture on left)
  • Had a fence gate swing back and clip him right below his eye: 4 stitches
  • Nearly had the tip of his finger cut off by a closing door, lovingly shut by his brother Beckham: 11 stitches
  • Broke his collar bone playing with his cousins (and yes, he lost that wrestling match): 1 broken collar bone
  • Had a seizure at Disneyworld and spent the night in a hospital there, Celebration Hospital (which may be the coolest hospital name in the country).

Beckham, currently 2 years old

  • Nut allergy
  • Had RSV and spent two weeks in the hospital three weeks after he was born (cute picture at left)
  • Has severe allergies in the spring (thanks to his hay fever allergic dad)
  • May possibly have asthma (thanks to his lovely asthma stricken mom)
  • Has already had strep throat several times in his short two years
  • He has excema

Good times, but we can't complain much because these are things we can prevent and treat...we are very lucky to have these two cute little 'disasters.'