One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Are You Prepared?

Huh, are you? Can you possibly be prepared for how cute Julia is? Get ready, cause here come some photos.

This picture was taken during the Main Street Parade. Even with roseola Julia is adorable.

On our first night in Anaheim we went to the shops in Downtown Disney. We placed golden Minnie Mouse ears on Julia, and she hammed it up for the camera by chewing on her pacifier.

Julia soon became tired, however, seeing as it was after 9 pm. Not even the excitement of having Dumbo ears placed on her head could bring a smile. Still, her weary and forlorn look is adorable.

Friday, April 28, 2006

The Dark Side of Disney

Disneyland is supposed to be the happiest place on earth, right? Then why, o why, did my siblings demonstrate such deplorable behavior? Luckily, I captured it on film (or digital bits).

My siblings took the twins on the Teacup Ride. See my brother's evil look? You can see that he is the primary cup turner. He spun them so fast that even nearby teacup riders were vomiting.

And see this? We hadn't been in Disneyland more than a few hours when my sisters got tired of pushing Julia in the stroller. They made her crawl for the remainder of the day! The poor baby rubbed holes in three pairs of pants in her effort to keep up with us.

This was the worst one. We had just gotten on the boat to enter Storybook Land, when Shannon maliciously threatened to feed Kate to Monstro the whale (not pictured). Kate began crying, but before I could intercede, my sister Kelly stepped in and threatened to throw her over board if she didn't quiet down.

It isn't fair that my siblings are taking vengeance on my daughters for all of the horrors that I put them through. We may have to flee the country. Is Tennessee a foreign country?

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Audiences with Royalty

Let's jump right into the meat of our Disneyland trip. The highlight for our girls was meeting the princesses. It is quite an ordeal trying to meet all of them. According to Disney cast members, these princesses are 'sovereign', and are therefore free to come and go as they please. This means that you have to keep a constant look out, and jump in line or join their entourage as soon as they appear.

They have guard/escorts who accompany them as they slum it up with us paupers. These guards are there to keep the unruly masses at bay, in line, and peaceable. They also make sure that the princess keeps the line going. We got to chat with the guard for Sleeping Beauty. He had a real hard time cutting the line off and turning folks away. Get this: he said that he has been screamed and yelled at (no surprise, given what we saw), but he has also been punched and even tossed into the moat surrounding the castle! Crazy.

Here is the first princess the girls got to meet:

Belle is Kate's favorite princess. Look at how fascinated they are with her dress.

The next stop was Cinderella. They were absolutely thrilled with her. She was very engaging and friendly.

Snow White came next. She is the only princess who has her own place - by her wishing well. Once again, the girls were thrilled.

Last but not least: Sleeping Beauty (Aurora). She is Genna's favorite. This actress was a true professional.

In fact, she was so good, she didn't even blink an eye when Genna felt her dress (look at where Genna's hand is).

Once again, I was very impressed by Disneyland. They put on a great show. It was so fun watching our girls' reactions. They truly believed they were meeting the princesses. I hope they don't come to hate us for perpetuating the charade. But we'll keep it up as long as possible.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Back from Disneyland

Bad blogger! Naughty blogger! 4 days without a post!

We just got back from Disneyland yesterday. We had an awesome time. I am still working on downloading and sorting through our myriad photos, so those will be shortly forthcoming. In the meantime, here are some highlights / noteworthy items:

1) It was so much fun to spend time with my family. The whole clan was there - my parents and all of my siblings. We hope to make this a tradition. It will only get better as the girls grow up.

2) We were in the park on Sunday and Monday. Sunday was sold out! At capacity! In fact, by lunchtime they wouldn't let anyone into Disneyland who already hadn't been there in the morning! Monday was much tamer, and all of the lines shorter.

3) The twins got to meet all of the princesses: Snowwhite, Cinderella, Belle, and Sleeping Beauty. They were absolutely thrilled. It was adorable. We have pictures. Stay tuned.

4) Kate got a Belle dress and Genna a Sleeping Beauty dress. They are official Disney products - the real deal. Once again, pictures will be forthcoming.

5) It has been 15 years since my last visit. I was thoroughly impressed at the improvements. You really get the sense that Disneyland spares no expense (heck, they charge enough). The Main Street Parade was fantastic. The Beauty and the Beast float stopped in front of us, so the girls got to see Beast bust a few moves. The Phantasmic / Fireworks night show is incredible. The fireworks are better (though shorter) than any 4th of July I have ever seen. They project scenes from Fantasia and Dumbo on water mist over the lake - awesome.

6) Our girls did remarkably well, despite having no naps and staying out til 11 on some nights. Poor Julia, though. Just as we arrived at the hotel, she began to cry. That was when we noticed her fever. The fussing and fevering persisted the entire trip. It wasn't until this morning that her fever officially broke and we were able to properly diagnose her: she has roseola! Poor thing.

7) The combination of Disneyland, California Adventures, and Downtown Disney makes for a real experience. You would have to spend a good 5 days there to see all of it.

That is only a partial list. Once again, stay tuned.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Alternative methods ...

Buppa H feels my pain. He has had to use the same contraption to stretch his neck. He suggested that maybe I should up the weight from a ten pound water bag to a cinder block - to really get my neck stretched ...

... this has got me thinking ...

I could tie a rope to a high tree branch and have the other end wrapped around my neck. I'll be sitting on a horse. Once the rope is in place, someone could slap the horse's rear, causing it to bold and leaving me hanging in mid air.

Or, I could construct a wooden platform, including a high horizontal beam. I will tie a rope around this beam, with the other end wrapped around my neck, and then I will stand on a trap door on the platform. Someone can release the trap door, and I will be left hanging in mid air.

In both scenarios, I will have to be blindfolded because I am afraid of heights. I'll try one of them out this weekend. I don't have a horse, but a friend of ours has several emu. That should work.

Darth Justin

They say laughter is the best medicine, and Dr. Ian has just perscribed some. My neck pain has already subsided thanks to the new Darth Vader chamber in which I am now performing my cervical traction. The austere and sci-fi setting is a but discordant with my pj's and book, but it works, no?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

My Own Private Walden

Several months ago I got a speeding ticket. What hurts is that I absolutely wasn't speeding. My indignation was such that I even contested it in court, though to no avail. This injustice has cost me a $128 fine, a morning in court, $24 for traffic school administration, $16.95 for actual traffic school, and the time spent online to do the traffic school.

... bitterness and rancor setting in ...

Last night almost killed me. I was finishing up with traffic school when it came to the point that I had to pony up the $24 to the county for the traffic school administration. I was impressed when I found out that I could pay online. I began entering the details when I noticed an asterisk indicating that there would be a 'convenience charge' for the online payment. Guess how much this 'convenience' was going to cost me? $13!

A $13 charge to process my $24 fee? WHAT? This was for an online payment! It's all automated! That isn't a convenience charge, that is extortion. Has the county taken some pages from the Mob handbook? Care to sell me some fire insurance, too, Guido?

Today I spent over 20 minutes on hold to talk to a live person with the county traffic division. She was very pleasant and recommended that I simply mail the check in. There is no charge for that. I can't express how wrong this is! They would charge me 13 bucks to use their automated, electronic, human-less system, yet require no extra charge to have one of their staff sort my mail, open my letter, process my check, and forward it to the bank! COME ON PEOPLE!

That's it. I am going to follow in the footsteps of Henry David Thoreau and retreat to my own Walden Lake (my bedroom), and evade/challenge the government from there. I know it is futile, but there is dignity in it, right?

Oh well. Soon, it will all be behind me. Okay, I feel better now. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Traction Action

My physical therapist set me up with a cervical traction device designed to stretch my neck out in hopes of getting rid of my herniated disc. Here is a picture of pathetic me.

See the water bag between my knees? It is filled with 10 lbs of water, which provides the counter weight to pull on the harness strapped around my head. I do it twice a day, for 10 minutes. At least it gives me some reading time. My daughters don't quite get it. And no, that isn't underwear my head - that is the harness.

I met with a neuro-surgeon on Monday. He showed me my MRI and how my herniated disc is so large that it is actually pressing on the spinal cord itself. Luckily, though, he said that 90% of patients with my diagnosis will have the hernia get reasborbed within a few months (6 on the outside). Wish me luck.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Baby Wombat

I stole these pictures from Cute Overload (my arch rival - check out my other site at Ugly Overload). This is a baby wombat. I'm surprised that none of my children have turned out looking more like this. Maybe next time.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Thanks for Sharing, Heathen Child

For the past several weeks, our Japanese student, Ryo, has been meeting with the missionaries. It has been a wonderful time, made all the more special by the Lord's timing in bringing a Japanese sister missionary to Davis to teach him. Though he has moved back to Williams to finish out his work program, we have picked him up and brought him back each weekend. On Saturday, I baptized him.

Part of what made Saturday's events to memorable were the antics of my heathen child, Genna, throughout the day.

First: Everyone had gathered together in the Relief Society room for the baptism. Sister Semba (the Japanese sister), was in the middle of giving a talk about baptism. In the midst of her sharing her testimony, Genna comes skipping to the front of the room and in front of the sister to reach Annie. In a loud, sing-song voice, she said, "Mommy, I have to go poo-poo!" Thanks for sharing, Genna.

Second: After I led Ryo to the baptismal font, all of the small children were brought forward so they could get a good look. I baptized Ryo, and just as I brought him back out of the water, Genna said, "I don't want to take a bath!" Thanks for sharing, Genna.

Third: After the baptism, my mom joined us for dinner back at our place. Mom was talking about one of her fellow nurses, and how she was Mormon and a convert. Genna had been listening the whole time, and piped in, "I not a convert! Kate's a convert!" - as though it were some sort of derogatory term. Why accuse Kate of it? Anyway, thanks for sharing, Genna.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Not So Innocent

This is to warn all of you parents of small children. Easter isn't so benign.

Friday, April 14, 2006

In My Pants

Yesterday was a very busy day for us. Annie and Becky (her cousin) went skiing at Donner Ski Ranch in the morning, and then Annie, her parents, and I headed to Oakland to attend a Temple session with my Grandpa.

Quick plug for California - there aren't many places where you can spend the first half of the day skiing in perfect powder and then spend the evening jacketless at the ocean.

When all was said and done, we didn't get back home until 11:30 at night, where my mom and sister were babysitting our girls. My mom had a story to tell about Kate.

They had just gotten the girls into their cribs, when Kate announced that she had to go poop (yes, she can distinguish between number 1 and number 2 - I apologize for the rudeness). My mom, knowing that Kate had just done that deed, responded saying, "You can go poop in the morning - in the toilet. Maybe you just have to toot" (our polite reference to flatulating).
After a few seconds, Kate proceeded to toot, much to the delight of the now laughing Genna. Kate then said, "I went poop a little in my pants." That got everyone laughing - and nervous.
My mom felt over Kate's pajama bottoms for an offending lump, and found none. Oh how lovely kids are.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


My buddy Ian sent me this link. Click on it, and let me know what you think about this alternative 'flavor" to my site.

Fake Mom

This lady - and her husband - faked being pregnant with sextuplets in an effort to leech off the generosity of others to pay their bills. Take a look at this photo of the fake mom:

Now, what expectant mother carrying 6 babies could ever sleep comfortably on her back? Wasn't that clue enough? Evidently, they were found out after a month had gone by following the 'births', and no records or details could be provided by the 'parents.'

These people, the Everson's, are the worst sort of folk, but they are thankfully dumb. I can see faking a pregnancy with twins, but why did they have to do 6? Such tangled webs ...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Triple Jogger

With the arrival of Julia, Annie has found it difficult to get out of the house without an automobile. Three small kids can be a challenge to take on a walk. After much research and deliberation (and a lot of approval from her sisters and mom - always eager to spend our money :) ), Annie decided to purchase a triple jogger.

It arrived last weekend, and I assembled it while Annie was out. The girls loved it and sat in it for over half an hour - strapped in. Annie is now able to go on long walks, get errands done, and just get out of the house more. Quite a change in lifestyle. It seems to be of pretty good quality and this brand comes highly recommended. The only problem is that it is too wide to fit down the walkway to our front door.

I tried to talk Annie into buying a quadruple jogger, with one compartment big enough for me, but she wouldn't hear it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


It has been just over two years since we moved into our house, and the new carpeting we had installed didn't hold up. Floors-2-Go came out and inspected their product, and they determined that the carpet they installed was from a bad batch. To their credit, they agreed to hook us up with brand-spanking new carpet, free of charge.

But not free from pain and effort.

We had to spend the entire evening yesterday moving everything out of our living room and play room. At this very moment, this is how our kitchen looks:

Contents include our entertainment center, a 68-gallon fish tank (700 lbs of water, equipment, and slippery fish), a studio piano, tables, chairs, floor lamps, etc. Other portions of our house are temporarily housing a buffet, bookshelves, a play kitchen, a changing table, and all sorts of odds and ends. We are so dreading the day when we actually have to move.

My family was indispensable in getting the moving done. My herniated neck disc doesn't allow for much heaving lifting (though I still over did it) or much bending to unwire electronics. Plus, the girls had to be contained through the whole process. Thanks mom, dad, and Jared!

Today the carpet guys come in to get the work done. Hopefully this new batch will outlive its warranty. We shall see.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Neck Saga Continues ...

In the tradition of an Icelandic saga, so goes my neck pain ordeal - it is interminable and hard to understand.

I just got back from the doctors, with my MRI results and my what-to-do-next list in hand. Sadly, my neck pain isn't being caused by having a Wolverine-style adamantine neck (probably for the best, should I ever have to face Magneto again). Neither is it caused by an evil twin sprouting from my spine. Rather, the radiologist identified the cause as a "very large herniated disc, in the C5-6 region, posterior lateral." YA! The hernia itself hurts, plus it is pinching nerves. A double-blast of fun - with no known cause.

This is how I was sleeping about a week ago: propped up on 5 pillows, slightly to the side, and with my neck brace on. Happily, I have improved to the point where I can sleep comfortably with only one pillow - though gone are the days when I could sleep on my stomach.

What does all of this mean? I will stay on the steroids until this cycle runs out, and I will continue with the ibuprofen for another month. In the mean time, I have been referred to the neuro-surgical and physical therapy departments. The neuro-surgeon will consult with me on my lack of options, and the therapist is going to hook me up with a 'cervical traction' machine. I am afraid it will be very much like Buppa H's medieval torture device. But hey, anything to avoid surgery - which will most likely be at the top of the list for the neuro-surgeon.

The good news is that I do seem to be improving. When the doctor did some testing on me, he noted that I still have the grip strength of a silverback gorilla and the reflexes of a mongoose (his diagnosis, not mine).

Annie came with me to my appointment. She is very supportive. She noticed that when I get nervous, I get 'real nerdy' (her words) - as evidenced by the many jokes I was cracking to my doctors (such as referring to my condition as 'neck-o-riffic.'). Oh well. I was just glad she was there.

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I was tagged by stina to do this a while ago. I have been remiss in responding to her challenge. Here it is:

4 Jobs I've had:
1. Nuggeteer
2. Purchaser - remember those sweet days at JK, Alan?
3. Operations Coordinator
4. Collections Coordinator (Guido)

4 movies I can watch over and over:
1. Master & Commander
2. The Princess Bride
3. Batman Begins4
. The Three Amigos

4 Places I've lived:
1. Los Angeles, CA
2. Concord, CA
3. Davis, CA
4. My house, CA

4 Places I Want to Live:
1. Maui
2. San Diego, CA
3. Italy
4. Not Tennessee

4 TV shows I love:
1. Lost
2. CSI: Miami
3. The Office
4. My Name Is Earl

4 Highly Regarded TV shows I've never watched a minute of:
1. The Sopranos
2. West Wing
3. Sex and the City
4. Big Love

4 Places I've Vacationed:
1. Italy2. Baja Mexico
3. Waterton / Glacier Parks
4. Multiple Cross Country Trips

4 Places I Wish I Could Vacation:
1. Western Europe
2. Revolutionary / Civil War sites
3. Galapagos Islands
4. Israel

4 Favorite Dishes:
1. Pizza
2. 31 Flavors Ice Cream
3. Cheeseburgers
4. Italian anything

4 Sites I Visit Daily:
1. Google
2. Blogger :)
3. Friends Blogs
4. Netvibes (stay tuned for my freatured feature on this one)

4 Places I'd Rather Be Right Now:
1. With my family
2. Sleeping - anywhere
3. Road trip - probably mutually exclusive with my first option
4. Hawaii

4 Bloggers I'm Tagging:
1. Uncle Chrissy? is it time to start blogging? ...
2. Philbio - you know who you are, even if you don't
3. Jared - because of option 4 -
4. I won't subject anyone else to this - it is getting too close to myspace for me. I am doing this only because stina challenged me. :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Twin Photos

Here are some more pictures Annie took of the twins. They are getting so big! They don't look their age. What am I going to do. Keep them, I guess.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Annie's Photography

Annie has tried her hand at photography and shown her genius. Behold Kate, Genna, and Julia (in that order). Pretty clever with the black backdrop, the Easter dresses, the black and white, and the smiles, eh? Of course, it helps having adorable subject matter.

Maybe we can take our photos at home instead of the studio? You be the judge.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Drop And Give Me Twenty!

I'm having Julia do push ups for a two reasons:

First: With three kids, discipline in the house is lacking. With two kidlets, parents can engage in man-to-man defense to contain them. With three, though, we are on zone defense. These push ups are meant to instill discipline in our near 10-month-old.
Second: She will need the strength to fend off Genna's daily maulings.

Actually, Julia began doing this spontaneously. This is her pre-crawl position. She can now bring her feet completely under her, in imitation of Mowgli of Jungle Book fame.

She is now crawling, though she prefers the lesser 'army crawl' (hauling herself forward by using her arms only). Her increased mobility has totally changed our parenting. She no longer stays in one place, but will soon disappear from view if left unattended for 30 seconds (usually to go chew some unmentionable).

We are now cleaning and vacuuming more, and we have had to rearrange our household so the twins' books and choking items (yes, we let them play with garotte wire, plastic bags, and larynx-sized marbles - they're fun!) aren't accessible to her.

Having little kids requires constant adjustment to your parenting and to your home's layout. They are always developing and growing, and becoming increasingly capable of destruction. I might start having the twins do push ups. One push up for every zombie-moan from Genna and one push up for every screech/slap combination from Kate. That might do the trick.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Since ibuprophen, steroids, Vicodin, Flexoral, chiropractic adjustments, cervical pillows, ultrasound therapy, cold laser therapy, biofreeze, and electrode therapy have all failed to give me a reprieve from my neck pain, my doctor set up an MRI for me today.

The MRI machine reminded me at first of a Spanish Inquisition torture device I had seen once. I was laid out on a table and then rolled into a very tight-fitting tube - my shoulders touched both sides, and the top was less than six inches from my nose (claustrophobia alert - Kelly). The only changes they would have had to make it a true torture device would have been to strap me down, tip the tube by 30 degrees (head first), and then slowly add water til I drowned or confessed (I would have confessed).

It was actually quite pleasant. It was 15 minutes of having to lay absolutely still in a narrow tube, but I actually fell asleep - which isn't a good thing; I twitch as I am falling asleep. Since MRI stands for 'magnetic resonance image', I had to leave all metal objects in a locker, save for my wedding ring. As each image was taken of my neck, my ring would rattle, shake, knock, and thump in time with the MRI cameras. At first I thought that was kind of romantic. It reminded me of my wife. But then as sleep began to descend upon me, the inner dork came out. I began to imagine that my ring had a life of its own, like the One Ring from the Lord of the Rings. This got be laughing, which I had to fight to stay still.

I should have the results of the MRI in a few days. I hope that whatever the problem is, it is something dramatic but easily fixed. Maybe my neck pain is being caused by an old shrapnel shard from when I fought in the French Foreign Legion. Or maybe I was the subject of a secret Canadian government experiment, and I have an adamantine neck. Or maybe I have one of those undeveloped twins that my body absorbed while yet in the womb, and it is now fighting to take control. I want the cause to be a good story, not just a compressed disc. Wish me luck.

Monday, April 03, 2006


Look at me, being all benevolent and 'giving back' to the internet. I get so much free stuff and entertainment on the web, that I like to take some time occassionally to highlight the good stuff.

My main way of tracking traffic to my sites (yes, I'm watching you) is through a service offered FOR FREE by tracksy.

It is quite easy to use and sign up. Try it out. I know you'll like it.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Exactly Right

This comic reminded me of our girls' antics last night. We were at UCD attending our students' graduation ceremony, and the girls had some running space. They literally spent five minutes running circles around each other and laughing. So much energy.