Thursday, March 31, 2011

Man Cold

I failed to note yesterday, and was reminded by a comment, that I have nothing to complain about when sick. I usually don't have 4 kids hanging over me when I am sick.

Tiffany does not get a day off. Poor thing.

But just in case you were wondering, man colds are so much worse.

See this to understand...

Truth. Tiffany will attest to it.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Working From Home

I work from home, usually about 3 days a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

People always tell me how wonderful that would be, and it is. Tiffany can leave the kids behind while she runs an errand. I don't have the commute so I save two hours out of my day and Tiffany gets me that much more. I actually feel I can get some of the best work done when at home. I get bugged more often at work by some guy who wants to tell me about some painting his daughter did during church the week before. If I get bugged at home it is usually something I would want to be bugged about.

Some people thinking it would be nice to stay at home qualify that by saying they don't know if they could work with family at home. It would be too loud and crazy to get anything done.

We have learned over the course of a few years that yes, sometimes it can be loud and crazy. There are times that kids cannot practice the piano or bring friends over (unless they stay outside). But ultimately, this is of little concern and we generally make it work just right.

The real problem?

Sick days.

There are no more such things. If you are sick, you are expected to log into work, and, well, work. Have the flu and feel the need to head to the bathroom to release your innards? Too bad, you have to get on that call and send in that report. Feel like death and you are closing the company books? The company books must be closed before death takes over.

But, before I sound like a cry-baby over this, I know that part of this is just being a grown up. Many people are expected to go into the office when not feeling well. I am not. So it probably best not sound like I complain. There is just no such thing as a sick day.

So don't feel bad for me. I have it good. I know it. And Tiffany knows she has it good too.

We just have to make it work.



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sick - a modern day thought

Porter became sick while we were out in Colorado. This was back on Feb 17th. He is just getting over his cold/whatever. In the meantime, Logan got sick. He still has his cough. Then Tiffany became sick. She is just about better - though it lingers. A month and a half later, the trend continued with Dallin and Emma who were both up in bed with stomach flu like symptoms this last weekend. They too are generally over it. I thought I had escaped. But it finally caught me yesterday.

Sickness gives us a chance to slow down. A chance to review our life and to think. Tiffany and I often find us making decisions after we are sick because of this slowdown. I think we often find we get sick because we are going too fast.

Is life too fast? Is it too stressful? If so, are we the ones that created it so or are we just stuck in flow of modern day living?

Just the other day was I deep in thought concerning cars, planes, and trains. Progress symbols each. One hundred years ago, going to the store was a once a week - once a month kind of thing. Today, we can go often. And we do. We do more. We sleep less.

Gone are the days of kid sleepovers. Gone are the days of neighborhood football games. Gone are the days of meeting at the vacant lot to see who can jump their bike the highest or farthest.

It was a simpler time when I grew up. I think that is the same thing each generation says. Organized sports then aren't what they are today. If you wanted to play football, you just called up some friends and played. No teams. No practices. No winners. Just friends getting together.

I am not sure what the next generation stands to lose. But it would seem like we lost a lot in this last one. Progress, some say, is good. But it comes with a hefty price.

I think I am sick of it.

Or maybe I am just sick.

But I can't wait for the next generation IPhone to come out. I hear it is even going to have transport ability to take us more places faster than before.

How exciting progress is.



Monday, March 28, 2011

Family Recipe

Mom made it for us. We loved it.

I am not sure if she came up with the idea, if she had it as a kid, or what, but a little family secret recipe follows -

Jello Toast.

Take some bread, butter it, and sprinkle some Jell-o on top. Put it in the oven or toaster, or microwave, and voila! Jello Toast.

Like Cinnamon toast, but different.

Tiffany has always thought it funny and often cringes at it when I make it for the kids. But the kids love it, just like I did when I was their age.

(And still do. This is not just for kids.)

Don't be so closed minded and give it a try! You're gonna love it!



Friday, March 25, 2011

Now, for Something a Little Lighter

Porter turned 3 on Wednesday. He has been waiting since my birthday in February for his to come up. Every day or so for the last few weeks he would wake up and emphatically state that it was his birthday.

It came and Tiffany found him the best present ever.

A football costume.

As expected, he wears it all the time. Helmet and all. Well, not the shoulder pads, he didn't quite understand what those were.

I don't have a picture yet loaded, but will put one up soon.



Thursday, March 24, 2011

West Davis Corridor - Part 4 - My Opinion (if you care)

First and foremost, I wish we could do away with the highway. I stated some reasons earlier, but that would be my honest wish. Keep our city the way it is. But, it will continue to grow. That growth will take away some of the things I love about Syracuse. But I think we have an option today to keep at least some of an identity with the advent of a highway coming through.

UDOT has laid a ground work of what is feasible. They have taken into consideration costs of the road as well as impacts to all people. They have already stated (as told to us by the city administrator) that a Bluff Rd alignment has too many impacts to work. They have identified option C, which runs west of 3000 W, crossing Antelope West of the Arts Academy and continuing north along the Bluff.

If they take the Bluff Route which many of the farmers want, it will impact hundreds of homes, taking value from residents as noise and visual pollution, will impact many residents who live along that road. In addition to those that live on Bluff, you will also impact those who use the trails and parks. This will add to the number impacted if this route is taken.

Further out west is a bit of an unknown. UDOT has not done the studies necessary to consider them fully. I fear that the wetlands will be too large to overcome the other alignments. I think these options do the best to mitigate impact on the city. The biggest problem is interchange location - which would be on the very outskirts of the city and right along the Great Salt Lake edge. There would be no sales tax to recoup from this location and the traffic patterns, I would suggest, would shift south to an interchange on the south end of town, which is being considered. Though I am not against this entirely, an entrance or exit to the city closer to the city center will make the rest of our roads much more manageable as the smaller collector roads would see increased traffic to the south. This would impact 1000W, 2000W, greatly, and the southern end of Bluff Rd slightly. But since we wouldn't see pass thru traffic from other cities, the volume would be mitigated somewhat.

This location would also impact how and where it connects up with West Point City. Not a big concern, generally as the city views it, but regionally, UDOT has to consider how the road worms in and around the region.

Going out west would also limit, to the max, the impact a road would have on farmers and residents combined. Though these impacts alone do not a decision make.

Overall, at this point, as much as I think the west options are best as far as making less impacts, I think UDOT's option C stands as the best option for the future of the city. It allows the road to impact little to residents, and the city can further reduce that impact by adding in a commercial/office district, to come to along either side of the highway from Gentile Rd through and Past Antelope (though the geography make it work best to the south of Antelope Dr.). This mitigates the impacts on residents, increases the value of the farmers land (location, location, location - important to any business, right off the highway is often the best location for any office) as office space generally creates higher values than residential.

Traffic flow would work much better, using UDOT roads to carry most of the traffic in and around the city rather than our local roads which we struggle with keeping in good repair as it is.

Putting it along this alignment also lessens the impact to the school (vs. the Bluff alignment) as there is more space to put a highway interchange west of it than east. You also wouldn't have a lot of historical homes that would need to be demolished. Though, on all accounts, I would rather have no interchange near the school - another reason going west would work better.

Keep the park and trail system free from highways. Make it the central feature of why people would want to live in the city. Multiple parks all connected together with a trail system is very unique. Other cities have similar offerings, not many, but even they do not do the justice that Syracuse has put together.

By keeping the highway off of Bluff, you keep brightest spot of Syracuse a central feature of why people would want to move to, and live in, our great city. With multiple parks connected together with the trail system is unique and the majority of it would remain highway free. This would add to the Bluff Rd. eco-system that is already in place and have it remain a vibrant place for families and individuals to be active and give them a place to get out doors.

This option C has the future written on it. It provides us with transportation options that will be needed as the city continues to grow, but with options to allow businesses to come in and fulfil future job growth that will be required for the populous.

Option C will impact people. It will impact farmers. It will impact the city. I know and understand the impact. I don't like impact. But based on my (knowingly) biased opinion, I think this is the best option for the city, and for UDOT, and the taxpayers of Utah.

Change is hard. To whomever this road impacts, my heart goes out to you. If me, I will grieve. If you, I too will grieve. There is no winner here.

For those that don't like my opinion, share me yours. And tell me why I am wrong in my considerations.

Let's discuss not fight.

Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.
~Arnold Bennett

West Davis Corridor - Part 3 - Items To Consider

Let us be wise. Let us not go by total impact the highway has today. Let us also consider impact tomorrow and beyond. Where can we put this road that will be and do the best good? Take out the emotions. Take out the heartache. And consider the following:

Those who are impacted today, will they be impacted tomorrow? Homes generally stick around. Farms are often swallowed up by developments. Especially ones within city boundaries. Put a highway next to a home. That home will stay. It usually has no choice (north side of Antelope drive between 1000 and 2000 W is prime example) to turn into something different. Put a highway next to open space, and opportunities abound.

How much will the road cost? Tax payer monies have to be on the table for consideration. With the government (local, state, and federal - all three) already in dire straights and no light to the future, cost must be on the table. Our kids are already burdened with our debt. Grandchildren too. Probably great grandchildren and beyond. Adding more debt now needs to have caution considered greatly. Also, as this is a regional highway, not a city route, will UDOT and the state consider our needs over the rest of the region? Cost will play a direct roll in how roads connect up with different cities.

What is the end result? Do we just want an intersection? Do we want the space around the highway blighted? Add a highway next to homes and you will see rentals go up and values go down. What home owner wants to end up next to a highway? We could, however, leverage the highway for good. Put it down a corridor free of homes and plan it around businesses or commercial properties and the highway becomes your friend. Access and visibility are key in successful businesses.

Safety and logic must go into this now to work in the future. Trying to get over I-15 on Antelope drive? You have lights every 100 yards in one place. Traffic flow is worthless. Bad traffic flow generally means bad location for business (even worse for residents). This is the same at Hill Field Road in Layton. Or West entrance to the Air Force Base in Clearfield. When you have that many cars, what is pedestrian usage like? Non-existent. Because who wants to battle life and limb over a car? Let alone a hundred more.

Economics. Some say we need it. Some say we don't. We need it to keep taxes down if we add the amenities that residents want. Want a park? And have it kept up? Costs money. Want better roads or roads that are will taken care of? Need money. Or do we? So what if it takes 20 years to get our parks in place. We don't need to be built out now (though some people think we should have it all now). The fact that the road is going to take away people from our current economic corridors is true. We won't get as many people driving through Syracuse. Some people aren't sure that is all that bad. Walmart, however, will be a destination spot. So is Smiths. They anchor their respective corners. People don't go there just when they drive through to Antelope Island. They don't stop only on the way home from work. As more residents continue to come to Syracuse, those areas will continue to thrive. But we must consider the economic options to where the highway crosses our arterial roads. Will we have the room to design space that works well for businesses? Will it work with creating commercial spaces that will impact our bottom line, yet mitigating impacts on residents? Questions we must ask.

Regional transportation. We must remember what we are doing. This highway is for regional transportation, not for the simple good of our city. We must consider the broader picture and understand the needs of the state and the surrounding communities if we want to make a real impact on their decision. We don’t get to make this decision, just suggestions and information. If we consider items too far out of our control, we have no control at all.

Other considerations.

Open Space/additional parks. Residents want parks. They don't like to pay for them, but they want them. We already have a lot of space along the Bluff. Adding a road on Bluff takes these away. You won't have the system that is very unique to Syracuse - parks connected together by a trail system - close to the city center - accessible to many - many amenities already. A real asset to the city.
Traffic patterns. Where are people going and coming from? How will it change with a new highway? Will the roads be able to handle the traffic? Will they go in a direction that creates flow or will it create traffic jams?

Future Developments. The city has stated that at full build out – meaning at full capacity when all lands are used for building, we will be close to 35,000 residents. That is another 10-12,000 more people. What amenities will we need at that point? There has been much talk among many residents in wanting a swimming complex. If we want to continue to pull in the current demographic in the city, we will need office space and light industrial buildings to secure jobs for people. This must be taken into consideration as a highway goes in. Where will it be? How will the traffic work? Where do we want residents? How will these new developments gain access to the system?

Utilities. When it comes to water usage, water rights, canals, sewage, I admit to having little understanding. I know water flows downhill. I know that it can be piped, but these will need to be considered along with power, phone and other utilities.

Ad Hoc – There will be other issues that will arise. We need to consider these as well as all other issues that are about. Historic homes, historic farms, all must be considered and weighed before decisions can be made.
We need to consider these, and probably a few other impacts that aren’t here. My hope is that the City and UDOT will take all of this into consideration. As well as other residents who are considering our good city.

West Davis Corridor - Part 2 - A Look From the 30,000 Foot Level

Forty years down the road, there won't be much discussion about the highway. There won't be anything able to be done about it. By then, the location will have already been decided, construction will have stopped, and open space around it and the city will have filled in. Homes will be revalued. People will have moved away and others will have moved in. Farmers will sell. The impact will be great to anybody around it. And then, after this has all been done, it will be decided that it is to be widened or possibly that another entrance/exit should be added. And the discussion will continue.

But today, we are not considering that. We are not considering that far down the path. And why should we? Most of any of us that live in the area, we will be 70 or 80 by then. Another couple of generations and technology later will come in and decide the fate going forward.

Today we are only considering the impacts of the people here today. The residents. The farmers. The businesses. And others.

My suggestion is to say no to the road. Don't let it come through our city. Most of us came here knowing that if we commuted to Salt Lake or elsewhere, that there was going to be a drive and with that time. I work in Draper. About as far as anybody. Let me take the consequence of my actions. Let me worry about getting to I-15, let me worry about the time it takes out of my day.

I don't want growth. I want the farmland. I like going out and sitting in my front yard and hearing the cows moo. I like going out at night and looking up to the stars. I can see them. They are bright. Almost too bright as I consider how close I am to the big cities. But because of where Syracuse is located, I get to see that.
But then I remember, I came here because of cheap land and a good rural feel. I also liked having my shopping close and schools nearby. Land was cheap because it was available. We, along with West Layton and a very little bit of Kaysville, have about all the remaining space to build out in Davis county, closest to Salt Lake. West Point, north of us has some space. And they will fill in about the same rate we will.

Do we have to build out? No. Absolutely not. But I think the snowball effect has already begun. A long time ago at that. Syracuse was a farming community. Even 10 years ago it could still be considered thus. Only the western half remains, and even therein are spotty developments here and there. Once the first farmer sold to developers, the inevitable happened. Homes came in and the next farmer decided to sell. Maybe it was because of the money he saw his neighbor received. Maybe it was because he didn't like to deal with residential neighbors. Maybe it was that he was too old and didn't have any family or buyer that wanted to continue to farm it. In any case he sold. And then more people like the rural feel that Syracuse was, and demand created higher land prices as well as added population. As each new residence is built, there becomes a greater reason for the next farmer to sell. Then comes the need for additional services brought on by additional population. Police presence is in greater need because there are more people. Because more people means more crime. More shopping is requested by the residents. So commercial space is zoned and then developed. Who sells? The farmer, because Walmart or Smiths is willing to pay the price, and for their own reasons, selling seams more important than farming the acreage. And since the big box store comes in, more people consider Syracuse as a place to live. And then they demand parks. And trails. And open space. All of which takes land (and money). Land that, generally speaking, is owned by the farmers. And, generally, it is the farmers selling to allow this all to happen. We are now in a position that a highway needs to come through. Maybe not ten years ago. But because of the changes happening to the city, a highway is now considered a need.

But who wants it? The residents do. The farmers don’t, what do they need it for? They were doing just fine before. So do we have enough clout as a city and as a people to stop it? No. Unfortunately, I think the road is inevitable.

That road will come. And people will come with it. The snowball effect will continue. It is not finished. Farmers will continue to sell their lands. You can look at the city and its history and you can tell that the farmers on the edges of residential developments are the ones most likely to sell. In the next ten years, highway or no highway, most of my open space across the street will fill in with more homes. It has only halted for a little while as the economic downturn continues to correct the economy. But people continue to have babies. Those babies grow up and need a job and a space to live. More homes will be needed and my open space that I don't own or have rights to will move on to a different use.

There may be a few hard-nosed farmers/land owners who don't want to sell. It is their heritage. It is their livelihood. And kudos to them. I hope they stay. But truth is sometimes hard. Syracuse is Syracuse because farmers continue to sell.

Forty years down the road I really don't know where we will be. But based on the history that is proven all across the country - our city will be swallowed up by residents.

But before we simply say that is sad, or that this shouldn’t happen, consider that we as a society continue to push for more high tech – high paying jobs. Those jobs are generally in the city. And for workers to work in the city, they need to live close enough to it to get to their job. Syracuse is far away from Salt Lake City. But from the geographical nature that the Wasatch Front is, it can generally only grow North and South. So people who want to work in the Wasatch Front, or work in the bigger cities, need to find affordable homes to do so. So the lands that are open closest to the cities get taken first. As they are used up, land farther, and farther away start to become prime real estate for housing. Syracuse is now, and has been, one of these cities. Farm land is being sold and developed. I understand another development has requested to meet with the planning commission to receive site plan approval. This progress, as it has been described by some, continues today in our town.

And there is no reason to believe that an economic hiccup (blow up, whatever) will stop this progress from happening.

It will. And I don’t feel I am prophesying. This same issue has been documented all around the state, nation, and world.

West Davis Corridor - Part 1 - Situation and Arguments and Current Status

So last February UDOT came out with 3 options for the highway that is planned to come out to West Davis County. They were far west of our home. However, the Mayor and City Council are considering making a concerted effort to retrain UDOT's eyes on Bluff Rd, our road.

The first meeting the City Council had in March was attended by many individuals who is being impacted by the alternatives put forth by UDOT. Not many others attended, because those of us that liked it, didn't feel like we needed to attend.

So the city did some research and came up with additional alignments that would put the highway back along Bluff Rd, crossing Antelope Dr next to Bluff.

Tuesday night at the council meeting again and with it came, essentially, two groups. Those who want to put the route down bluff road and those who don't. About three hours of comments came from the public (to which, based on the response by the council members later, I am not sure they were even considering them – but I digress).

The argument for putting the highway down Bluff Rd
-It was already planned there.
-Don't take our farms - leave the farms and the heritage alone
-Don't impact the wetlands
-Economics - the further east the road is, the more we will be able to capture more retail/commercial space.

The arguments made for keeping the highway away from Bluff Rd
-The plan was 10 years ago when there was 9000 residents. 10 years later we have 24,000 residents and many of those are along Bluff or west - which weren't there before. Let's look to see if that still makes the most sense.
-Don't split the city into an East side and a West side
-Farms won't last. You build a highway and land prices in the area will go up (higher demand due to more accessibility to people who would like to move out here), more pressure will be to put the farms up for sale any ways. Don't impact those who won't be here.
-Don't impact the school or the kids. There is a school where one of the major intersections will be. Impacting the school and/or the school children, including safety.
-Don't impact the wetlands (there are wetlands along Bluff as there are all across the city.
-Impact a fewer amount of people. A road down bluff impacts a greater number of people.
-Cost - it will cost UDOT millions more going down Bluff than it would to go to another option. This is mostly due to the location of the school, but according to UDOT this would require moving Bluff road alignment, taking out homes - some of which are historical, and mitigating the school impact, which could mean moving it altogether.

And the list goes on further for both sides.

And here is the kicker. I don't think the council generally considered any of the comments that night. In fairness, there was a lot of messages on both sides and taking one side or the other would be difficult. Though I cannot be sure, it would seem that they really haven’t studied the issue out in their own minds, or are simply considering the heated exchanges rather than the words used. There was much said about this or that, but they weren’t using any method to come to a conclusion. They (the council members) didn’t have any criteria they were using to consider what was best. They wanted to 'study' it out a little more, which, again in fairness, they received information from UDOT earlier in the day that said an intersection at Bluff and Antelope Dr. is just about prohibitive because of all the major impacts. This was news to them (and news to the citizens) and they wanted to be able to understand it more.

In the end, the decision was made that they would put forward to UDOT that the City of Syracuse was for an alignment called C3 – an alignment that the City Staff put together as an option to follow UDOT’s path C, but change it slightly to come back to Bluff Rd and cross Antelope along the Bluff alignment.

My only concern is that they gave no reason other than that is what they were leaning towards. A very loose foundation to stand on.

West Davis Corridor - A Four Part Series - Summary of Posts

I am posting four parts, in quick succession, concerning the West Davis Corridor that is proposed to be put out somewhere out west of our home.

For those that aren't interested, sorry. But this concerns and impacts our family heavily.

I post four different parts so that you can feel free to read them all, or just the ones that interest you. I wrote them all at once, but knowing some (many) people don't want to read 6 pages of opinion, I split it up so you can read what you want.

Part 1 - Situation and arguments for and against changes to UDOT's plan.

Part 2 - View of the situation at the 30,000 foot level - Looking at not just today, but what is the continuing outlook for the area in question using past history as a guide.

Part 3 - Items that need to be considered

Part 4 - My opinion (if you weren't able to figure it out in the other parts) and summary as to why.
NOTE: My opinions are mine and as a concerned husband and father, and trying to do what I think is best for my family first and foremost. Being part of the city and involved since I moved here, I also find that I am concerned for the future of the city.

I know that there are differences in opinion from others and if not careful, can ignite heated arguments. My intent is not to incite anger, rather, to incite a discussion. I know many of the people on both sides of the issue at hand. I respect and admire many, if not most of them, and the others, I just don't know them that well. My opinion may go against their wishes, and for that, I don't apologize, but will always remain friendly no matter the outcome - my hand will be outstretched always.

No matter the decision, somebody will be impacted greatly. To which I wish there were a better way.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

While I Was Away

I stopped posting mostly while we were working on getting the house ready to sell. But in that time, I took the kids who were off track (Dallin goes to the different school, so he was left out) to Colorado to have some time with Nana and Papa and a day on the slopes.

This was Logan's first day of skiing. He picked it right up an loves it. Porter, who was hanging out with Nana or Papa (as they swapped duties in babysitting and skiing with Emma) had a blast watching us ski and I decided to take him down the last couple of runs for the day. He loved it.

Some pics from the trip.

On the way home, we opted to leave a day early and try to outrun the storm. It beat us, and it probably would have been best to stay an extra day. I-80 was fine until Rock Springs when the heavens opened up (at about 6 in the evening) and snow started piling up. The road was closed after Little America, there was a 25 car pile-up that they were working on. Deciding to risk it, I and my 3 kids hopped back in the car to continue our journey. About 30 miles out from Evanston, we came upon one huge line of semi trucks. I just guessed, based on what I could see, somewhere between 800 to 1000 semi truck just parked on the side of the road. They were all waiting for the road to open up. I was stuck. I couldn't go forward, and there was no where for me to turn back. I did have cell service, so I did talk to Tiffany as well as my parents for information - isn't technology great. Having no idea how long we would be there, I said a prayer, along with the kids, that we would be safe on that cold and snowy evening, preparing mentally to stay the night in the middle of Wyoming (or at least in Southwestern side of Wyoming), on a cold (the temperature reading from the car said 22 degrees) and snowy night.

After waiting for about an hour, all the semis started their engines and started moving. I went to talk to one of them, and they said that the road was opening. This was a lucky break, Emma decided that she now needed to use the bathroom about 10 minutes earlier. I opted to find a way to get her to go outside the car, but she wouldn't hear it. I just wasn't prepared for this issue. It took another half hour from there to actually get moving, but then the trek had just begun. There was a 7 mile valley we had to get through. Steep going down, steeper going up. The roads were packed snow, with snow heavily coming down. Add to that 800 semis all around you and it was a white knuckled drive. All with a young girl doing her best to not have an accident. We got to Evanston and Tiffany had called and told me that there was no way I was taking her babies the rest of the way and she made reservations in a hotel in Evanston. As we slid into the hotel parking lot, I was grateful she did. The news reports were saying we would be there for the next two days. Emma ran into the bathroom and she was happy we were staying as well.

The next morning, I opted to give the roads a try. It was a little crazy in spots, but the roads were generally wet with a few slushy spots. A little crazy coming out of Parley's canyon and into Salt Lake City, but we had made it.

I would have been fine if I was by myself. But with three pieces of precious cargo in the back, it upped the ante a ton.

But sometimes the best things in life come in hardships. We are glad we took the opportunity to go to Colorado. The whole experience will be remembered for a long time to come.


Glad to be back, the kids remember the experience and mostly thought it was fun.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Changing Weather - A Lesson in Haiku

those darn clouds

cloudy Sky
cloudy mind
a grizzly life

wake up look out
lay back down
stay away

turn frown into joy
what is this
what is come

warm my face
warm my soul
the heart doth leap

oh joy
wonderment and awe
hello sun

love you sun

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Teach a Child the Way They Should Go... And Hope They Don't Fall Off That Path

Children need models more than they need critics.
~Joseph Joubert

I came home the other day and Tiffany told me a story about Emma.

She was playing with her friends, like four or five of them, when one girl told a little lie, that she was grounded from playing with friends (and then proceeded to essentially invite all but one of the friends to come with her to her house). Another one of these friends then turned to Emma and said that she did not like this girl (the one being abandoned) and that Emma shouldn’t either.

Emma found herself in a dilemma. The dilemma you are asked theoretically in Sunday School and always think never really happens. But there she was, in the middle of it.

Now, before I move on. Part of this situation I am sure is due to the nature of the individuals, but mainly, it’s just girls being girls. I saw them all playing again a day or two after this happened.

But Emma’s response made me a proud papa. No, she didn’t tell the girls to behave, and get along. She didn’t tell the girls off and present, perhaps, a more Christ-like way of handling the situation. She also didn’t simply just disagree and go play with this friend who was becoming a short-term outcast.

She went to talk to her mom. She wanted some advice from her mother as to what she should do.

That’s it. I don’t care how the rest of this played out. The fact that she went to Tiffany in a time where she was either confused, or unsure of how to respond, was a blessed event in my life.

Tiffany and I have always hoped that this would happen. Of course we want our kids to make good decisions on their own. But, we also know what it is like to navigate those early years. The moral compass isn’t fully developed or understood. The desire for acceptance is large. The need to avoid embarrassment weighs heavy on these our young people. And so we hope and desire that our children will trust us enough to talk to us when they think something is amiss and they don’t know what to do about it.

She is only 8. There is a lot of time between now and the end of adolescence. There will, no doubt and unfortunately, be times that not all decisions will lead her to her mother for help. But if she trusts her mother enough to turn to her now, there is hope that she will do the same thing when she is 16 or 18 and has a question that only a mother can answer.

Or maybe even, heaven forbid, her father.

But even at a young age she knows, Mama always knows best.



Thursday, March 17, 2011


At least that's what I would have thought of myself 10 years ago.

Tiffany and I signed up to run the Red Rock Relay down in Moab this coming May. It's good to be running again.

I began to run, not because I liked it, but because I need to.

I had this health kick about 3 years ago that made me decide to get serious and lose some weight. So I started running. And running. And more running. It was working. The weight was coming off. I kind of liked that. Then I got sick. The sickness stayed for 2 months and then I got plantar fasciitis - a strain in the foot causing me to try to stay off it while it healed.

So I stopped for a while - which turned into a while longer, which turned into a long while.

I recall sitting on the football field in High School stretching, watching all the cross country folk run around. I always wondered to myself, 'What was the point. Fools, all of them.' We (footballers) would laugh at them, and then we would line up and smack each other for hours on end. Who were the fools then?

So now 15 years later - I laugh at myself and call myself sick. Not as in cool as the kids say these days, but sick as I used it in my day (am I really old enough to say that?) - in a silly, what are you thinking, you are crazy, sort of way.

But that's what happens when you have four kids. You get sick, become crazy, and find any reason to get out of the house to allow you some time to cool down, expend energy, and have time to think. It also alleviates the stress.

And now I wished I had started running 10 years ago. I kind of like it now.

Seriously, I am way sick.



Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Update on Tiffany

Since this blog all started for Tiffany, let me take a second to update you all on Tiffany.

She went to the Doctor in February as a checkup. The blood tests came back with no news, though reported her platelet count to continue to be up - good news, as the low platelet count was the reason for all the concern in the first place. The Doctor told her not to come back until April, suggesting that he is feeling confident that doing tests every month is going to do nothing but enrich his wallet and deplete ours. Unless some other symptom(s) shows up, he will watch her every two or three months, and may decide to change that as needed at each appointment.

She feels fine, and is fine, and we continue to give gratitude to the Heavens for this blessing in our life.

I went to renew my temple recommend the other day, and in my interview with the Stake Presidency member, who knew generally the situation we were going through, asked how things were going. I suggested, as I do with everyone, that the prayers and faith of many people have caused a miracle in our life, that she was just fine, and we are living a generally normal life (if there is such a thing).

He then commented about a friend he has going through something similar, who, in an opportunity most today don't have, was asked by Elder Bednar (of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the LDS Church) if he had faith NOT to be healed.

In essence, he is asking, do you have faith, even if He does not heal you?

So I pose this question, does the foundation of your faith create an expectation to be healed? Do you pray in such a way that you demand and expect miracles?

I did. And sometimes still do.

I figured if you want a blessing, faith means you have to believe it is going to happen. And in some ways it does. You have to believe that prayer works. You have to believe that priesthood blessings work. If you didn't, you wouldn't do them.

But I think the foundation of faith required is not the expectation of good things to come, rather, it is simply a true and honest belief in the Savior of the world (stop and consider that for a moment), that he is truly able and willing to save us, and that He knows better than we do what we need.

And so sometimes I have heard, 'Tiffany was healed - she isn't going through what many others are and have had to, doesn't so and so have enough faith to be healed?'

And my answer will always be, I don't know.

Because I don't.

But to those that struggle through life's turmoils. Hang in there. We had a glimpse of the despair that comes with bad news. We know how that feels. We know how that hurts.

But we do know that no matter the situation, our Father in Heaven knows what we need, and will give us what we need though yet allowing us to learn different lessons in this mortal journey we call life.

We believed this before any good news came.

We would still believe it today even if the outcome were different.

Do you?



Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Our House, Is A Very, Very, Very Fine House

We like our house. We love our neighbors. Our location is great - easy access to center of town, yet has a rural feel. But as stated before, we need something a little bigger for the growing family (6 people in 3 bedroom house is fine when they are young, gets a little more tricky as they grow older). Here are pics of the home. If you know of any body that might be interested, send them our way. Initial price = $171,200.

3 beds, 2 baths
2 car garage
1800 total sq ft
Central Heat/AC
Split level home - basement 80% complete
Hardwood Kitchen floor. Tiled bathroom/entryway

Access to running trail right in front of home. Multiple parks in either direction from there.
City-owned, maintained green space behind us. A great place for the kids to run and play.

Send people our way. We are selling by owner - we will give it a try this way first. Savings for us as well as those that buy the house this way (we did it once before this way and it worked out great).



Monday, March 14, 2011

Remember the Tsunami

What a tragedy of immense proportions. The images are burned in my minds eye, watching the powerful waters just take down buildings and towns, watching cars pile together like the kids Hot Wheels in a bathtub. Seeing the rescuers out trying to save those who weren't able to make it to safety. A most trying time for many.

So many peoples lives changed forever. There are many lives that are no longer. My heart and prayers go out to Japan as a country, and to the people, as they clean up this mess for years to come. I also hope that additional tragedy is not meted out by the power plants. Our prayers go out for them.

Yet, as to how many people could have been killed, kudos to the people of Japan in putting in a system that saved tens of thousands of lives. A warning system set up allowed many people to get to higher ground before the nightmare started to arrive 20-30 minutes after the quake. However, there were many people who either did not hear the warnings, were not able or prepared to abide the warnings, or (shudder) they opted to disregard the warnings and take their chances.

I wonder how often I hear the warning signs. There are signs all around us, many of which, I believe, are like those warning sirens that blasted the coastal cities of Japan. These sirens are of a different nature, the kind that cause us to stop and think if what we are doing in life is right, or if they are in the right place. The other night, I came to bed after Tiffany was asleep (I think I came to bed after playing ball at night). I woke her slightly as I crawled into bed. She turned to me, and in a daze, she said - 'Hey, I will pray for you'.

She doesn't remember it. Which has actually caused me to consider it a little more than I would have otherwise. Is there something I am doing wrong? Is there a choice coming up that will make me need the help? Is this a warning sign of things to come? I don't know. Which makes me wonder that much more - am I hearing the sirens blare, am I unprepared to understand what they mean, or am I simply ignoring them all together.

To those in Japan, we will continue to pray for you.

And for me. I will remember the Tsunami. It comes hard. It comes fast. And those that are prepared, shall not fear.


and also that you and I might live so that we may be a rescuer.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

Our Home is Up For Sale

May your home always be too small to hold all of your friends.
~Author Unknown

It has been a long time since last post, I admit, but Tiffany and I decided to focus on getting our home ready. And finally, yesterday, we got it up for sale.

I know, I know. One of my goals was to add on to the house - it was too small for all our friends (as well as all the kids). We liked the neighborhood, we like schools, but we were enticed by the relative good deals that are out there. We won't get as much for our home, but we should be able to purchase something that meets our needs at a better price than if we were to add on. That is the simple fact we are going on.

We know that with the market slump that we are in, and the market being flooded with foreclosures and short sales, we may not be able to sell. But, we feel like at least we should try. If it doesn't sell, we aren't out much, we will add on, and we are happy with that course as well.

Essentially we are putting our course in the hands of the Lord. Our intent is still to stay close, but we will see what that really means once we sell our home (assuming it eventually sells). If there is a home in the area that is perfect for us, great. If not, we may have some hard decisions to make.

In any case, I am back.

I had many people tell me they missed my posts. I can't imagine why, but in many ways, I have missed posting. It's been like an open journal, allowing me to consider life, and the great lessons learned therein.

So, here we go again.