Sunday, May 31, 2009

Running and wisdom...

I decided that one of the reasons I like to write a blog is to expound on things that I might not otherwise write about. I like being able to look back at old entries and see what I was thinking back then.

Last night I went out for a run. I don't know why I wanted to run, I was actually pretty tired...I worked half a day at work, attended a wedding at the church, and then had done yard work until after the sun had gone to bed. After that, I went and made some copies and went to the grocery store with my wife. By the time I got home, it was nearly 11 pm. Instead of getting ready for bed, I undressed myself enough to go running (I say undressed because if you had any idea about how small my shorts were....I'll spare you any pictures here).

The moment my feet hit the pavement I knew why I was running. Sometimes things just feel so right. I started out running down a dark street with no signs of life on it. Most of the windows were dark and I felt like I was alone. Several points along the way I was by cars to honk at me and scare me, no people to look at me, no sun sapping me energy. It was just myself, the moon, and the pavement. The cool night air was fantastic! I closed my eyes and started counting every other step...1...2...3...4...I got up to 20 before realizing that I had almost run off the other side of the road. I didn't realize just how much my eyes help in running.

As I ran the stresses of my day just melted away. The sore back I had from yard work just loosened up, the stiff legs were gone. I tend to let my mind wander when I run, and come up with a lot of solutions that way. It's amazing how problems get solved when you take your conscious mind off of them. I finished my run, and was tempted to tack another few miles on because it felt so good. Times like these remind me why I run, and keep going back to it.

Running is sometimes the thing that takes the kinks out of my mental hose. Sometimes it is the thing that presents a huge challenge. There have been times when the next step seemed pretty tough, but taking a step beyond what you thought you could is amazing. I don't know if any of this makes sense, but I think that running makes me a better husband and father. If not for the mental health benefits, there are some just plain cardiovascular benefits I have been told. I love running, funny that it's taken me years to realize just how much I do. Running is the best.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Changes...and Mistakes

Well, it's been a while since I've made any entries on my blog. In my last post I mentioned that I might write about change being constant. It seems that when life gets comfortable and hasn't changed in a while, that is when you should look for change. Change can be uncomfortable, but it's really our best friend. Personally, I want to be a better person in the future than I am right now, I want to be experienced and well-rounded. None of those things can happen if I stay in a rut and don't change anything. I can't remember where I've heard it before, but the only difference between a rut and a grave is a few feet.

When last I commented on change, it was because I'd been in to visit my Stake President earlier in the week. He had extended the calling to serve in my ward's new bishopric as the second counselor. I was also experiencing some changes in my work environment. Where I had been on the same account for five and a half years, I was moving to a new account. These two changes both excited and scared me. The work change I wasn't too worried about, I figured I would get it under control with a little help from my friends (not any reference to the Beatles....just so you know). The change in my calling was a little bit more intimidating. In fact, when I first began serving in the bishopric it was the fourth calling I'd been in, in as many months. I was in the Elders quorum presidency, the assistant scoutmaster and deacons quorum adviser, and then the YM president.

On March 22 I was ordained a High Priest at the ripe old age of 28. Immediately after I attended the Draper Temple dedication, while waiting for it to start I started dozing, to which Nellie reminded me that I'd only been a HP for an hour and was not yet allowed to sleep in meetings. That made me laugh.

Since the changes have now settled a little, I feel like I can evaluate what has happened to me. To be honest, I really really love serving in the bishopric. I know many people who wouldn't admit that, but it's a wonderful calling. I'm grateful that I'm not the bishop, that is a job with a lot of blessings, but a lot of sacrifice also. I serve with two great men who are constantly teaching me, whether they realize it or not. I feel like I have gotten to see a lot of the very great things about the church and it's members. I feel like I have been granted opportunities to grow already, and I expect more growth as I accept more of a load on my shoulder. Life is great.

Now on to the mistakes portion of our entry:

Mistakes are funny things. If you are like me, you make a lot of them, again if you are like me, you probably aren't always able to laugh about them immediately. Let me tell you a tell of mistakes....count along with me if you will. About a month ago I sent my wife and kids down to Phoenix for my sister-in-law Katies wedding. Nellie, Scott and Eva flew down on Monday morning and I caught up with them flying in on Friday. Whenever Nellie is out of town I like to take on a project to keep myself out of trouble and I thought I would be able to take care of finishing the laundry room in that time span (mistake #1) The laundry room has these awful walnut colored cabinets straight out of the 70's, as well as some chipped up and missing tile (from a project I started before I realized it was stupid (mistake from the past, but still #2 if you're counting)) it also had an entire wall that was missing for the most part from when we moved in. Really, the laundry room was the last bastian of a lot of work to be done.

Nellie and I had been to a parade home several years ago, and saw this home that had bright candy-apple red cabinets in it. I thought it looked really sharp and so, I talked Janelle into letting me pursue this on our cabinets (mistake #3, I really should have listened when my wife was unsure). I spent some time picking out paint at Home Depot, afraid of getting something that was too red, and ended up looking like magenta, I picked out a color called Flame Red (mistake #4). On the chip it really looked like an orange, but I reasoned that across a larger area it would look just right red (#5). When they mixed the paint the small dot on the top of the can did nothing to make me feel any better about the color, but I proceeded (#6).

When I finally began spraying the cupboards with our paint gun, guess what? They really looked orange! Now I'm not talking some subdued tone, I'm talking Home Depot orange, or road sign orange...did you know nothing rhymes with orange? Instead of stopping, I continued (#7). (On the cupboards...long story short...Nellie had the great idea of rubbing a walnut stain on it and then off....darkened them up nicely, more burt-orange now and I actually like them...they seem to be growing on Nell).

On the other side of the room, I added sheetrock to the wall and then proceeded to mount an anchorless shelf above the washer and dryer (#8,9,'ll see). When I flew down to Phoenix, I had a half-finished laundry room. I'd laid the tile and it was fine, I'd fixed up the holes in the wall and it was paint ready, and the cupboards were finished for the most part. Now fast forward a month...

Yesterday, I moved the dryer in order to finish prepping the wall and to add a u bend in my drainage to the sewer. When I moved the dryer, I noticed mold growing in my new wall...just a little bit on the bottom. Concerned, I began cutting into my new wall. Along the way I nicked a wire that tripped the breaker and turned off my light (minor mistake...but #11 still). As I cut up into the wall...Nellie turned on the sink upstairs and I noticed more water dripping down. Finally I got up to where my shelf had been and guess what? I had drilled through it when I was hanging my shelve (#8) I'd also drilled not once, but twice through a pipe that carried exhaust upstairs and out the roof (#9 and 10). When I showed Nellie, she just laughed...and I laughed and then I got to work fixing it. Fortunately my father was willing to help me with my plumbing so a short trip to the harware store and everything is working just fine.

Before I get finished with my laundry room, I will probably find a way to make more mistakes, but the biggest mistake of all would be to get too serious. Life is funny, mistakes are goes on.

This is a long post, but that is what I've been up to...hope your life is great...I sure love mine!

right here? Oh that is mistake 8, 9, and 10

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Zoo

Last Saturday we took our two adorable kids to the zoo. We try to go the zoo every couple of months because it's free and fun. Okay, we have a pass, but it still feels free since you don't have to pay every time. As zoo days go, this was one of the best. The weather was fantastic, not too cold, but also not too hot--just really pleasant. There were enough people there that it didn't feel desolate, but not enough to make me feel crazy. The animals were active and about...the elephants were cruising around, the cougars and bears were both up and about. Even the giraffes were exciting! Scott and Eva both seemed interested in the animals which is an improvement. J. Scott generally wants to go right to the playground, while Eva hasn't previously seemed interested in the animals all that much.

In the end though, the train ride and the playground were still the highlight. Scott figured out how to hang on the the monkey rings by himself, and Eva conquered her fear of the slide. All in all, it was a really great day at the zoo. That's what we did last week...exciting huh?

Possible topic of next post? Change is constant....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Reptile Night!

Monday night we took our kids to the Bean Museum at BYU for family home evening. They were having a reptile show, and I thought it would be fun for us to go and find out more about our reptile friends. Nellie, who isn't really a fan of snakes told me she wouldn't sit within twenty-five feet of a snake, but she reluctantly agreed to go (At the museum they have an art show going on right now, and a couple of people we like a lot had had pieces in it, so that tipped the scales in my favor).

We got there just a few minutes before the show and got a padded bench on the front row which was nice because immediately after another 40-50 people showed up and many of them didn't get to sit down. The show was a lot of fun, our host was like the crocodile hunter, in fact I would label him Croc Hunter jr. He was really good at keeping the kids attention, and I actually learned quite a bit. First he brought out a tortoise and told us about the differences between turtles and tortoises. Next he brought out a large monitor lizard and reminded us that most animals are intimidated by humans. J Scott's favorite part was probably when Croc Hunter jr. told us that if a monitor was threatened enough he would rip you up and defecate in your wounds. Of course he didn't laugh until he asked me what the word meant and, being an honest dad, I told him. Eva was really cute and fascinated by the animals, but her highlight came when she wriggled from Nellie's lap and proceeded to back herself up into the lap of the girl sitting on the ground by us. It was really cute, it was also funny when a moment later she hypocritically shushed the girl with her little finger over her lips.

J. Scott got to help hold a huge snake skin, and after that Nellie had to take Eva for a walk for some reason. We got to see a couple of snakes and I learned that many of the fears we hold about snakes are based on myths. Croc Hunter jr. tried to demonstrate a snake chasing him, but snakes don't chase people. He also told us that in areas of America where they have rattlesnake roundups and kill a bunch of snakes are areas that have the highest incidences of hantavirus. Apparently it messes up an ecosystem if you take away animals that eat disease-spreading mice.

After the presentation was over, both Eva and J. Scott got to pet the snakes and the monitor lizard. J. Scott was fascinated by the feel of the snake and kept going back to touch it. Nellie was close enough to snap some shots. Eva's favorite was the monitor, because the monitor kept spitting out it's forked tongue and touching her hand with it. She giggled and didn't seemed the least bit frightened.

On the way home, we talked about animals and the blessings they are to us. We talked about how they gave us food, materials for clothing, and I forgot to talk about the fertilizer they provide us with! It was a lot of fun, I think we'll do the rest of the museum soon.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Normalcy=Boring? Maybe Not

I love my life. If you've read this blog for very long I think that's clear. I have a great life and have been blessed to have a wonderful wife and two kids who amaze me! Despite that, sometimes I feel like I have a boring life. Not that I am bored by it, but that it's not exciting to talk to people about.

You know the situation: you run into an old buddy or relative and they ask "what have you been up to?" My answer usually consists of "oh, I'm married and have two kids and I work and...(nothing too out of the ordinary goes here)." At times I feel like my life has been too predictable and vanilla. But guess what? I love vanilla! My life is awesome because it's free from a lot of drama. I know a lot of people who thrive on drama. It seems that if no one is upset with them, or if they aren't furious with someone that life isn't worth living.

For example...what did I do this week? I worked...a lot, went to the Draper Temple open house, and ChuckaRama, I installed a ceiling fan and helped my wife just a little bit. I made my first ever calzone and figured out that my vacuum has been broken for a while and I didn't realize it soon enough. Now, that could all add up to boring. For me? I love it. I love life.

It comes back to a principle that first started to make sense to me when I was on my mission. I began to realize that a life isn't made up of dramatic big moments, life is an accumulation of little things. So when I wrestle with Scott for fifteen minutes, that is a small deposit made in the bank of being the dad I want to be. When I take the time to do the dishes, or turn off a basketball game to talk to my wife, that is a deposit in the bank of being the husband I want to be. All around me there are opportunities to put deposits into the bank of being who I want to be. It is rare that there are huge deposits put into any bank...but over time, being consistent...that is where the growth takes place.

Understanding that my life doesn't have to be one dramatic step after another reassures me that I really am living the life that I want. I hope when all is said and done, that those around me that I love can see the big picture of my life. It often isn't until you stand on top of the mountain that you really understand how far each little step after another has brought you.

Does my life seem pretty normal? I'll admit it does. Is my life boring? Absolutely not.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Wii Sick

When I was eight years old, my Grandma Connie gave my family a Nintendo gaming system. We had Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt and that was it. I remember playing non-stop, or as often as I could skirt my parental supervision and plop myself down at the controls.

Fast forward twenty years, and Nellie and I buy a Nintendo Wii for Scott. We thought it was a nice change from the traditional systems, we liked that the Wii required physical movements and could be a good workout. We (and by we, I mean me) naively thought that playing a little bit every day would be a fun diversion for our family. Since I can't really enjoy playing more than a half hour at a time, Scott couldn't or wouldn't play for that long. So I thought...

Scott would probably play the Wii full time if he could, and to all those parents who are laughing at me, I was wrong okay? I admit it. It has gotten to the point that I hate the Wii, or at least what it stands for. Scott only plays half an hour typically, but he talks about it the rest of the time. I could be talking with him about anything, and there is always a logical segway into the Wii. In particular he likes the female characters like Princess Peach (he says it's because they are cute...I don't know if I should worry) and Daisy. Somedays I think if I have to hear about the Wii characters one more time, I might try embedding the Wii into the wall. The worst part is that he becomes emotional when his Wii time is finished. Now, he doesn't break out into a tantrum, but rather has a sad, somber face where he seems to be holding back a wall of tears. This is the real problem, the moping and mourning when he is away from the Wii.

On the bright side, Scott has something that he really loves, something we can take away from him if necessary. That is an effective punishment really. The true downside is that my little boy is far better behaved when he does get the Wii taken away. On Sunday, we had a talk and explained to him that if he couldn't handle himself better, the Wii would take a permanent vacation.

I'm interested to know: how does everyone else deal with their kids obsessions? How do you keep at a healthy level?

Monday, January 19, 2009

MCIF Moment

Life isn't made up of huge chunks. Really, it's made up of moments that become hours which become days, weeks, months and years. It's easy to see where time goes, and it's funny to think about what happens if you lose track of those moments. There certainly have been moments where I wasn't living in the present, where I lived for what was next. I think being a father helps you to not take any time for granted.

Life seems to get pretty full, and if you've invited me to hang out with you lately you'll agree. With my work, my family, my friends and my calling I end up running place to place, until I crash at night. In the midst of all of life's activities, sometimes I have what I will call MCIF moments. (My Cup is Full) On Sunday, my wife had to get the kids up and get them ready because I got to take my young men to the developmental center in American Fork for church. When I finished, sacrament meeting was just starting, so instead of the nap, I went to help with the kids.

When I walked in and sat down, Nellie looked happy to see me, but when both of my kids climbed onto my lap, I felt such love. I help both of them, each on one leg and pushed pause on the life button. I love moments where you realize just how blessed you really are. My kids love me, and I love them so much. It's hard to believe how much you can love such stinkers. Did I mention how great a mother Nellie is? She's great. Anyway, look out for those moments...they are all over, if you let them be.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Happy me...

Wednesday was my birthday, for those of you keeping score at home...I am now 28. That doesn't sound remarkable on the surface, but as my mother pointed out, if you round by fives, I am closer to thirty now than I am to twenty-five. Bring it on. It probably has to do with the industry that I work in, or the people I know, but I think that age is irrelevant. I know 40-somethings who are waiting to die, and octogenarians who are planning for the next thirty years. I might get more wise as I get older, but if I manage to keep motivated and moving, I don't expect I will grow "old" too fast.

My birthday was fantastically ordinary. I like it when people don't know it's your birthday as they tend to treat you like you deserve to be treated. Mother nature and I conspired to get my car stuck in the snow right outside of my driveway before I could really get my day started. (Truth is, I should have been a better shoveler...) Luckily, I was rescued by my princess in 4-wheel drive. Nellie reorganized her day to take me to she's great!

At lunch my friend Randy treated me to lunch and we talked about life. I really like Randy, he is pretty selfless and is a good example of what a friend should be. I should be a better friend. After our lunch, he helped me to get my car out of the snow, and he and I chipped away at my driveway. What a nice guy! We also got to watch some Office on the television. Man, that show is great, Great, GREAT!!!

After work, I got to open my presents from Nellie. She was able to make my birthday special. She made me an awesome from-scratch carrot cake. Sitting down at the table with my beautiful wife, Scott and Eva singing happy birthday was without doubt the best part of the day. (okay, Eva didn't sing, but she did try to touch the flame on the candles) I loved it, and then I got to go hang out with the priests and teachers.

Nellie and I have jokingly discussed moving the celebration of my birthday further from Christmas, to something like March 7. I am actually thinking this is a good idea. To be honest, I'm not terribly sentimental about the actual day, truthfully I am just angry I didn't think about this sooner. When I was a kid, birthday parties were tough in the winter, imagine if I'd had a June birthday! Anyway, if you actually read down this far, if you would give me some feedback...what say you about changing the day you celebrate a birthday? I mean, it wouldn't be the first time....see: Christmas.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Guest Entry...Starring Spencer Perkins

Right now, I am at a family party with my big brother Trevor. He was very impressed by my blogging skills. He told me he wanted me to spice up his blog. He said and I quote "My blog is mild, but I want it to be caliente." I broke the news to him that even with my interesting, quippy remarks it won't be any hotter than a medium. He didn't take the news as well as I thought he would. He wept for 10 to 15 minutes. After he has calmed down, he knelt down, kissed my hand, and asked me with all the diligence he could muster for me to write the best blog ever for him. So I am.
Our family is very loud and we are very insulting towards each other. If anybody comes wearing an ugly shirt, with a slight body odor, or a bad hair cut. They are going to hear about it, all night. They will hear about it, until the problem is solved. They are belittled and tortured. For example, we have a sister named Emily who is on a mission in Tokyo, Japan. We don't miss her. We are incredibly happy she went on a mission, one sentence can describe our joy. "Best Christmas Ever!"
So here we are at our family party, and as usual, Trevor (the oldest brother, who is supposed to be superior) is in the corner, crying, because we are making fun of the Cougars losing their bowl game to an unranked team, from Arizona. Anyways to cut this short, so you'll read it to the end. Our family is very rude to each other. We make each other feel bad about themselves. Either it's their complexion, shoe size, bad hair cut, or the most common one, receding hairlines.
Anyways, Peace.

Editors Note: This entry is true in a sad way. Spencer apologizes for grammatical errors and said "I've lived in Payson for nine years." Like that's any consolation.

The picture is Spencer's halloween costume. He is an ipod commercial.