Category Archives: Family

This Weekend Officially Sucks!!! (Follow Up Edition)

Okay, so I mentioned yesterday how this weekend blows.  Well, it got a little bit worse, and a little more scary, last night.  As mentioned, Tammy started not feeling well Saturday morning.  She was just exhausted.  We canceled D’s birthday party and were upset about that.  Well it’s a good thing we did.

At 4pm, Tammy went from exhausted worse.  She began spending a lot of time in the bathroom.  By 9:30 we decided to call the University Hospital’s nurse-midwife emergency hotline.  They recommended that we get Tammy in and get her some fluids.

Tammy’s mom came over and watched D for us.  We were checked in by 10:30 and Tammy was running a fever of 100.94 F (38.3 C).  Within a few hours she was up to 102 F (38.9 C).  Around 2am she was admitted to the emergency short stay and her temp had come back down to 100.94 F (38.3 C).  She had received 3 bags of fluids before 3am and would have 4.5 in total before being released at 2pm today.

We’re home now and she’s resting.  Her stomach has settled and she’s been able to eat a little bit.  We’ll do our best to keep her hydrated.  Under normal circumstances this wouldn’t have been so scary but at 28 weeks pregnant, dehydration and a fever can be bad news for baby.  Boy #2 seems to be doing well and showed no signs of distress during our 15.5 hour stay at the hospital.


Posted by on May 9, 2010 in Family, Follow up, Life


This Weekend Officially Sucks!!!

So my three day weekend (Th, F, S) was going to be great.  I’d worked 10 of the last 11 days and things had been a little crazy when I left work so I was looking forward to some R&R.  Well, Thursday night at about 8:30 D decides to puke all over the kitchen floor.  Puking 3 more times and having two really nasty diapers before 4am meant that he was a pretty sick puppy.  Friday he seemed to ease up a little, no puking, no nasty diapers.  However, I wasn’t feeling well and was spending lots of time in the bathroom.

That brings us to today.  D wakes up and seems fine. I’m feeling better, though not 100% (stomach is still a little off) and Tammy is starting to feel sick.  We were supposed to have a family birthday party for D at 4 o’clock but we’ve decided to cancel it.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and I will have the honor of taking care of my sick wife until I have to go to work at 2pm.  Awesome!  This weekend officially sucks!!!

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Posted by on May 8, 2010 in Birthdays, Family, Life


My First Haircut

Well, my first time giving a haircut, that is.  The candidate was D, as he was long past due.  It doesn’t look too bad, actually, with the exception of that little cut above his right ear.  I’ve always heard that that’s the trickiest part of the head and now I know why….

Thanks for being my guinea pig, D-man!

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Posted by on April 12, 2010 in Family, Life


How the Process Works

I saw this article in the Salt Lake Tribune and thought it was a perfect example of A Public Peace Process: Sustained Dialogue to Transform Racial and Ethnic Conflicts and Sitting in the Fire: Large Group Transformation Using Conflict and Diversity.

Gay rights: Oakland LDS Stake tries to heal post-Prop 8 rifts

‘This is the church I know and love’

Updated: 02/05/2010 01:39:33 PM MST

Ted Fairchild, who is openly gay, has HIV and serves as a part-time LDS missionary in the Bay Area, left the love of his life to return to church activity. Linda Schweidel wondered why her bright, successful returned-missionary husband still was not ready for children after eight years of marriage. That’s when he broke down and told her he was gay.

Diane Oviatt held her sobbing gay son in a darkened kitchen as he poured out years of grief at the secret he had been carrying for 18 years and wondered how he would get to heaven without marrying.

These were among the anguished stories several Mormons shared during emotional church services Oakland LDS Stake held last summer to heal rifts caused by the faith’s activism in the Golden State on behalf of traditional marriage.

In June 2008, the LDS First Presidency asked all California Mormons to give their time and money to Proposition 8, a ballot measure striking down gay marriage. Many members did so with gusto, circulating petitions, raising money, sending e-mails to church lists and putting up lawn signs.

That left other Bay Area Mormons, particularly those with gay friends and relatives, feeling embattled and alienated. Some stepped away temporarily from church; others left for good. Those who remained often felt at odds with fellow believers.

Oakland Stake President Dean Criddle, a respected lawyer and gentle leader, sensed the ripples of collective pain and wanted to reunite his flock, says Matt Marostica, bishop of the Berkeley Ward.

So Criddle and his counselors assembled quotes and speeches from LDS general authorities that stressed love and compassion for those with same-sex attraction. They then asked each of the 10 wards in the stake to hold a joint meeting of adult members during church services on either Aug. 30 or Sept. 6 to hand out the quotes and listen to personal stories from area members.

The response in Oviatt’s suburban Moraga, Calif., ward was electric, Oviatt says. “Everyone in the audience was weeping. Men came up to my husband, crying, and hugged him, saying, ‘We love you and we love your son.’ ”

A couple of the more ardent ballot supporters apologized to Oviatt for having Prop 8 signs on their lawns, saying, “We never knew.”

Several people told Berkeley’s bishop, Marostica, how much they appreciated the meetings, including one woman who said, “I am so glad we did this. This is the church I know and love.”

[s]Till they have faces » The authorities’ statements and church setting provided a comfort level to Mormons who rarely discuss homosexuality openly, except to condemn it as a social trend or satanic tool. By all accounts, though, it was the stories that were transforming.

One man, who outed himself from the pulpit during one of the meetings, talked about a life of being scorned, bullied and accused by other Mormons of bringing on the AIDS pandemic. Still, every week when he takes the sacrament bread and water, God’s voice whispers to him: “You belong here.”

It’s the same voice Fairchild has heard over and over since becoming active in the LDS Church as a 17-year-old in Pullman, Wash., in 1970.

He served a two-year mission in Mexico, earned a degree at Brigham Young University and married a woman because, he says, she was pretty and could play the piano. The couple had two daughters.

But Fairchild always knew he was gay and eventually couldn’t continue the lie. He fell for a man.

“It was the only time,” Fairchild says, “I have ever been physically, emotionally and spiritually in love.”

By 1986, he and his partner were diagnosed with HIV, which at the time was a death sentence. Elder Richard G. Scott — then an LDS Seventy, now an apostle — gave Fairchild a blessing in which he asked God to build a protective wall around his cells. In that moment, Fairchild believed he needed to live by Mormon standards. He broke up with his love and returned to the church.

“Once you’ve experienced the Holy Ghost,” he says, “there’s no other feeling like it.”

More than 20 years later, Fairchild is relatively healthy and at peace with his decision. He believes he was born gay and a child of a loving Heavenly Father, twin qualities that make him a more effective “worker in God’s kingdom.”

Letting go or holding fast » That doesn’t work for Oviatt’s son, Ross Oviatt, who has not been back to church.

He attended BYU for a few semesters, she says, but it was a “toxic environment.” The Prop 8 fallout — which continues in California with the ballot measure now before a judge – proved difficult for Ross as he tried to weather homophobic slurs and keep his secret. He misses his Mormon experience and friends, but the association is too painful.

It hasn’t been easy for the rest of the family, either.

“We had to re-examine our place in the church,” Oviatt says. “We are not leaving, but it’s hard to stay in a religion that does not embrace our child. If we had to choose between the two, we’d choose Ross.”

Some Mormons in the stake see only one choice: following church edicts.

“I am a faithful Latter-day Saint, happily married with children, striving to live up to my temple covenants, fulfill my calling, be a good father and all the other things which active members of the church try to do,” one man wrote to Criddle in between the two joint sessions. “According to your definition of homosexuality, I am also a homosexual. I have had strong attractions to men (and exclusively men) my whole life.”

But homosexuality is not his identity, just a temptation he refuses to act on, the writer said. He thought the stake should have included more emphasis on heterosexual marriage as the core of Mormon teachings.

Criddle shared the letter (without identification) in all the wards.

Coming back » In what she calls, the “dark days of Proposition 8,” Schweidel took a “leave of absence” from the church.

She didn’t know if she could return. But when Criddle and Marostica asked her to tell her story at one of the joint sessions, she readily accepted.

She has been attending and involved ever since.

“The special meeting made me want to be part of a positive change in the church,” she says. “I want to talk to people, to explain why I feel like I do, and help them try to understand.”

That may work in Berkeley, but how about Bountiful?

Schweidel is hopeful. There are two kinds of Mormons, she says, quoting a friend: those who know gay people and those who don’t know they know gay people.

The task, she says, is to move more members from the second to the first category.

“If my mom in Orem had gay neighbors next door, I know she would love them,” Schweidel says. “The Mormons I have spoken to make an effort to understand. They totally get it.”

This gives you an idea of what I was trying to convey in my post Unpacking Things.  This is how the process works.


Where’s the Scotchgard?

The boy has been getting ready to potty train for the last month or so.  He notifies us every time he needs to go, but gets stage fright when sitting on the potty (he also doesn’t seem to like the potty much).  Today, we bought him some big boy pants, and he’s peed in them twice without warning.  Oh well, this is how it goes…

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Posted by on February 2, 2010 in Family, Life


Cast Iron Cooking

My family has a love affair with cast iron.  Well, I should say my father has a love affair with cast iron.  It all started when Dad was taken to a Dutch Oven cook-off and they placed (2nd or 3rd I can’t remember).  The prize was a 12″ oven.  Dad was told to go home and practice. 

And practice he did.  We eat out of dutch ovens quite often, especially when we’re camping.  Dad’s even done an entire Thanksgiving Dinner (including the turkey) in dutch ovens.

(Side Note:  When living in Wichita, Kansas, Dad participated in Bel Aire Days annual dutch oven cook-off and even chaired the event one year.  After being featured in the Wichita Eagle, Dad was contacted by the owner or a local hardware store and invited to put on cooking demonstrations once or twice a year.  Dad, along with friend Richard Smith, became pseudo-celebrities as news crews eventually heard about the demos and came out to cover it.)

Now some 8 or 9 ovens later, as well as several griddles and skillets, Dad’s love of cast iron is being passed on.  I was given a 12″ oven (item #L12CO3) as a gift several years ago and have used it while camping.  For Christmas 2007 I was given a Lodge cast iron skillet (item #L9OG3). 

As chance would have it, I was given the impromptu task of helping with our Ward Pioneer Day celebration last year.  When asked if anyone had any dutch oven experience, I raised my hand and was asked to cook the 12 or 13 cobblers that we had for desert.  Having never attempted a job that large before, I panicked and called Dad.  He was able to walk me through it and things worked out fine.

Fast forward to our Ward’s 2009 4th of July breakfast.  I was asked to head the cooking – for around 200 people.  I called in the reinforcements (Dad) and he came down to help.  Breakfast consisted of an Egg and Ham Casserole, Mountain Potatoes, and pull-aparts.   When we were finished I could feel myself catching the bug.  I wanted to do more dutch oven cooking!

I got my chance two weeks later at our Ward’s Pioneer Day dinner on the 24th of July.  After the success of the breakfast, I was asked to spearhead the dinner.  This time, Dad would not be able to help and I got my chance to put on a dinner, followed by desert.  Tammy and I smoked 15lbs of pork butt at home, which then was shredded and went into both a deep and a regular 12″.  Add that to Mountain Potatoes (potato, onion, cheese, bacon, etc) and some salads (which weren’t made in dutch ovens).  We had a great dinner.  Followed by cobblers (since they’re easy and feed large groups). 

Recently, I broke out the skillet.  Its 10″ diameter is perfect for crepes (which my wife loves) and is perfect for eggs, pancakes, and anything else that is benefited from a non-stick surface.  I love this thing!!!

The only deterrent that I have to cooking more in my dutch oven is that our apartment complex doesn’t not allow the use of charcoal. 

I highly recommend cast iron cooking.  If you haven’t done it, it’s not difficult.  Each new oven comes with instructions and recipes are abundant on the interwebs.  You may have heard that anything you can do in a regular oven can be done in a dutch oven.  That is true.  We’ve done pizza, quiche, breads, and anything else you can name.  I am by no means an expert, but if you have questions or would like some of our family’s favorite recipes, drop me an email.


Posted by on December 21, 2009 in Family, Special Interest


Hope and Change

To learn what President Obama’s Safe School Czar wants to teach your children, click here.  Warning, it WILL make you sick to your stomach but you should know what The One could be putting in the hands of your children.  By the way, you’re not getting any of this from the MSM.


The Season is Upon Us

The Thanksgiving weekend isn’t over for a few more hours but the Holiday Season is fully upon us.  I’ve had a great week off and am looking forward to getting back to school tomorrow and finishing the last three weeks of my undergraduate degree.

Normally around this time I would have taken the time to sit back and reflect on the blessings that have been mine this year.  Yet, I’ve had so many opportunities to do so that it would seem forced to set aside a special day.  So let’s recap the last year: 

School Blessings

December 4, 2008 I lost my job for the second time that year.  I had been working full-time and going to school part-time since Summer 2006 and had projected a Summer 2010 graduation as long as I could maintain 9 credits each semester, three semesters a year.  However, Tammy and I decided that, with the state of the economy in January 2009, it would be wise for me to focus all of my energy on school and graduate sooner so that my school schedule would not be an obstacle in my finding employment (as it had been thus far).  Thus began my 2009 education blitz, completing 43.5 credits in three semesters: 12 in Spring, 15 in Summer, and 16.5 this Fall.

Family Blessings

I’ve had more time to spend with my family, especially my son.  Born in May 2007, D has always been his mother son.  In fact, he really didn’t like me at all for the first nine or so months of his life.  I could hold him if Tammy was in the room, but as soon as he discovered that she was gone, it was kicking, punching, screaming, and crying until she came back and held him.  Even as he started to warm to me, the situation didn’t really seem to improve much.  I was usually gone from early in the morning until late at night, night classes being the only classes that I could take because of work.  On nights that I didn’t have class I was home, but usually huddled over my homework.  My absence strained my relationship with my son because I didn’t understand his attempts to communicate with me (as babies do) and my attempts usually left both of us frustrated.  My lack of employment has been a huge blessing in that it has allowed me to spend more time with D and our relationships have changed dramatically in the last year.

My family has been blessed with good health this year.  As we’re uninsured (except for the boy, thanks be given to CHIP) and have not had the finances to survive a major medical event, this has been a major blessing!

Financial Blessings

On top of student loans, which thankfully will not be excessive when I graduate, I’ve been able to participate in a state tuition assistance program that assists displaced workers to receive additional education in order to improve their employment opportunities.  And since University students are not generally admitted to the program it is an even bigger blessing.  This has allowed us to use more of our student loans for living expenses. I was able to find temporary employment with the U.S. Census Bureau during the spring.  The majority of the work fell during the break between Spring and Summer semesters and took some strain off of our student loan funds. 

Our car is in good order.  Our bills are manageable.  We have all been healthy.  We almost lost our apartment when the owner filed bankruptcy, but miraculously they didn’t lose any of their real estate in the bankruptcy.  Also, our extended family cannot be overlooked.  They have stepped in countless times and surprised us with diapers or clothes for D, food, and even money when things got really tight.  We could not be where we are without them. 

One final blessing that cannot go unmentioned – my wife.  She has been my rock since the day we were married.  She has primarily managed our finances so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it (and because I SUCK when it comes to money).  Tammy has found ways to cut our grocery bills down to almost nothing, with out sacrificing food, in ways that I never thought possible.  She deserves all credit for the intellectual growth and development of our son and I give it fully.  I keep saying that I don’t deserve her and that some day she’ll realize that.  Yet, in her usual way, she reassures me of the opposite.  I hope to be able to prove her right. 

Tis the season, they say, to be grateful for the blessings that we have.  I’ve been thankful every day for the last year and will continue to be so. 


Posted by on November 29, 2009 in Family, Follow up, Holiday, Life, Money


The Little Things

This morning I was awakened by a very, very excited little boy.  D was grasping the edge of my bed, jumping up and down, “Daddy, Daddy.  Come on!  Nummy nummy pancakes!!!”  Just another reminder that it’s the little things that make life special. 

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Posted by on October 2, 2009 in Family, Life


A National Crisis

My wife points out that cesarean rates rose another 2% in 2007, bringing the total percentage of children born via c-section to 31.8%. Please, read this!


Busy, And Stuff…

So, you’ve noticed how posting has been sporradic, at best, recently.  Well, let me fill you in on what has been going on.  Now that Spring Break is over, school has kicked into high gear with preparation for final exams and papers.  I started my job with the Census Bureau two weeks ago and, though only prep work is happening right now, things will get really crazy when I start training Listers at the end of the week.

I’m all registered for the Summer 2009 semester.  15 credit hours  (two of which are intensive, read short.  One of those being only two weeks long) Will keep me plenty busy from May 15 – August 5.  
We’re still getting over colds.  At least one person in our house has been sick since the beginning of February, with only a short break in the middle.  This cold and flu season has been murder on us.  
Oh, I almost forgot.  I need your help.  I have a 10-15 page paper due in one of my classes and I’m having the darndest time coming up with a topic.  For this paper we have been asked to

…take a position on a specific or narrow issue within the broad topic of conflict and resolution, and to argue for that position…

… it is very importatnt that you identify a narrow and focused position… (e.g., do resolutions to interpersonal conflicts, such as apologies, funciton as well at the collective level?).

I absolutely love, read hate, it when professors do this.  “Pick a topic, any topic within the scope of this class, and write on it.  Oh, by the way, the paper is worth 50% of your grade so don’t screw it up!”  And yes, this paper is worth 50% of my grade for this class.  

So, what suggestions have you?  Conflict and resolution, on the individual or group level.  
Here are the suggestions that I put forward (and no, my brain was not working because the subject is soooooo broad)
Q. The role of fear in offense vs defense.  We know, or believe to know, the role of fear in defense, as it appears to be a tool for inciting people to action (fight or flight).  But maybe I could look at it from the other side, how fear makes people act offensively.  However, the more I think about it, the closer that those two positions sound to being extremely similar.
A. (Professors written response)  I think you could consider writing a paper about fear and its role at multiple points in conflict. There is a [sic] literature on the physiological aspects of fear (and how close they are to the physiological aspects of anger) – look for work by Robert Levenson and his colleagues; there is almost certainly research on how threats (and the fear they presumably induce) are connected to the initiation of conflict – a topic we’ve discussed in class, and which might also be linked up to the collective level phenomena of pre-emptive strikes.
Q. In regard to international problem solving, many believe that multi-lateral discussion is the best method to use when reaching agreements.  Does multi-lateral pressure in international negotiations exhibit the same behavior as peer pressure among teenagers?
A.  This is harder to guide you on; particularly the analogy issue. For example, multi-lateral discussion may be valued for a variety of reasons, including the representation of multiple standpoints on an issue, and the engagement of the relevant vested interests. I’m not sure that the phenomenon of peer pressure has those elements – perhaps most especially the first one. If, on the other hand, you’re asking whether group dynamics  might have overlap in those two very distinct contexts – sure… the sense that groups are vulnerable to particular kinds of dynamics in their deliberations and discussions (but for teens, peer pressure also unfolds in many ways that are not ‘located’ in the discussion space, but in other places).
Any ideas will be helpful.
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Posted by on March 29, 2009 in Blogging, Family, School


Family Picnic

If my family picnics could be this fun!

Thanks for the email Brittiney!


Quick Note

I just got off the phone with my brother who is a farmer, rancher, and mechanic.  He brought up an interesting distinction that I hadn’t made previously: Alternative Fuels vs. Green Fuels.  Apparently it’s more common in the agricultural world than on the interwebz or the MSM.

Green Fuel/Energy: Wind, Solar, Geothermal, etc.
Alternative Fuel: Ethanol, Bio-Diesel, etc.  
The only difference between Alternative Fuels and Fossil Fuels is a few thousand years.  He points out that we should be proud of scientist for figuring out how to “speed up the process of turning plant material into fuel that we can use in combustion engines” but it should stop there.  Alternative fuels give off almost the same amount of emissions as fossil fuels, but consume a ton of fossil fuel energy in their production.  
He was also able to show me that the economy first started to shake when the .gov first began subsidizing corn for ethanol production.  Corn prices shot up almost 300%.  Next thing you know $700 cows are selling for $150 and there’s economic melt down.  However, now that agricultural markets are stabilizing, so will the rest of the market.  Apparently this is a common trend and it always begins and ends with agriculture – it’s the first to shake and the first to settle.
It made sense on the phone and I will not question his expertise – this is how he makes his living!
His advice?  Now that agricultural markets are back to normal (or even a little below) the economy will begin to straighten out in about 3-4 months.  Restock your food storage as much as possible before the Obamessiah begins pushing his energy policy and using his magic alchemy to turn ragweed into gasoline.
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Posted by on February 7, 2009 in Family, Food, Local, Random, Tech


2008 in Review

I know that this post may be considered “late” by some, but this is my review not yours. Let’s take it month by month:

January – Began my second to last semester at SLCC.
February – Lost my job with Beneficial Financial Group.
March – Got a job with Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.
April – Turned 27.
May – The boy turned 1; Spring Semester ended.
June – Began last semester at SLCC.
July – Family Reunion.
August – Graduated from SLCC with an Associate of Arts – English; Began my first Semester at the University of Utah; Fantasy Football draft.
September – Nothing of Consequence.
October – Tammy turned 25; I got skunked on the deer hunt.
November – Saw lots of family during Thanksgiving.
December – Lost my job with PRMI; Finished the Fall Semester; Finished the Fantasy Football season 4-12; Had a great Christmas!

Yeah, I’m sure that there was some other stuff that happened in world, politics, guns, etc., but I’ve covered all of the important things here.

It is interesting how being laid off can affect you. There is plenty of work to be had in the world and that is not a major concern for me. What has been interesting is the blessing that being laid off was for me at this time.

A blessing, you ask? How can that be? Well, you have to look at priorities and what truly makes you happy in life. My family makes me truly happy. From August 25 when the Fall semester started, until December 4 when I was laid off, I wasn’t seeing my family all that much. I was usually up at 6:00 AM or so while my family slept and would be gone until 6:00 or 7:00 PM. We usually put the boy to bed at about 8:30 so I was only getting to spend about an hour or so with him because there was homework to be done, etc.

The same went for Tammy, I was not able to spend a lot of time with her and what little time we did have was after 10:00 when we were both exhausted and ready for bed.

Of course a job is needed for income and whatnot. And with the Spring semester starting next week I hope that I’m able to find work soon. But I have enjoyed being home and spending so much time with my family, especially during the holidays. I know my son so much better now and Tammy and I have been able to spend quality time together and not just the half awake “how was your day” time.

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Posted by on January 6, 2009 in Family, Life


New Year's Day Range Time

I called my brother late Wednesday and said that we finally needed to get together for a range day, so we planned it for Thursday, New Year’s Day. I packed up my XD45, Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag, and my Winchester Model 70 (post ’64 model) in 7mm Rem. Mag, plenty of ammunition for each and headed to Nephi. For those of you not from Utah, and even some that are, it’s pronounced “knee-fi.” It’s about an hour and a half south of me so it was a nice relaxing drive.

Once on the range we decided to mercilessly butcher paper like there was no tomorrow. Shane brought his XD45, Sig P245, Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag, S&W Model 66, and a rifle (I believe a Remington) chambered in 7mm Rem. Mag.

We practiced rapid fire, self defense drills, and even had some failure drills from some ammo that my brother’d loaded. Then out came the Super Blackhawks and a couple of games of roulette. Now, before you get worried let me explain. In our family, playing roulette with a revolver chambered for a magnum cartridge means that you load 4 or 5 chambers with the “special” round for that caliber (.38 Special/ .44 Special) then the remaining chambers with the magnum round (.357 Magnum/ .44 Magnum), spin the cylinder, shut it, and test for recoil anticipation. Those who have fliers or are all over the paper are worried that “this one might be the magnum.” It really is a fun game. You should try it.

Once we were finished with the hand guns we broke out our rifles to try out some new rounds my brother’d loaded to use on coyotes. You’re typical 139 grain 7mm bullet will travel about 3,100 ft/s. These had been chronographed at just over 3,300 ft/s. At 100 yds these Hornady 139 gr interlocks were shooting about 2-3 inches high (the 200 yd range was in use or we’d have been over there). I think they’ll work really well on coyotes.

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Posted by on January 2, 2009 in Family, Guns, Holiday, Tech

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