Saturday, February 6

A year

Somehow the blog became less important. I blame work for being so busy but also blame Facebook for trying to take over the online world. Despite taking almost an entire year off I thought we would try this again. So here is a year-long update to catch us up...

Emma turned 12 so we now have a Beehive

Emma participated in one regional and one state Honors Choirs

Jeff finished cardiology fellowship and accepted a faculty position at Cincinnati Children's Hospital

Karen and the girls spent an entire month in Utah over the summer

Emma started 7th grade so we now have a Middle School student (and she is doing great with the change)

Karen took the GRE and rocked it and is now enrolled in the Masters of Statistics program at the University of Cincinnati

Miia turned 8 and was baptized

We drove to Utah to visit for Christmas...57 hours in the night stranded at the Relax Inn in eastern Kansas because of an ice storm...great visits with our family and friends in Utah, Denver and Kansas City

Jeff crashed on a snowboard...right knee swelling and pain...orthopedist visit...MRI...medial meniscus tear...knee surgery

We will try to do a better job posting in 2010!!

Tuesday, February 3

$4000 and a weird dad

I figure that the purpose of posting anything on this blog is twofold, first to document great experiences that we have and second to entertain myself and you all who choose to visit this site every once in a while. Let me try to do both with two different stories.

To entertain...Last night I took the initiative to prepare a family home evening lesson on missionary work. Our ward and stake are focusing on missionary work the next couple months and we even had a special ward fast for missionary experiences this past Sunday. I thought that it would be a great time to talk to the girls about the blessings of missionary service and how they could share their testimonies with their friends. (I pause here to say that my girls are actually already very good at this. We picked up one of Mary's friends to go to church with us on Sunday and as she jumped into the backseat of the suburban Mary asked her, "are you Fasting today?" which led to a long discussion about how we fast because our parents force us to.)

So, in one of my recurrent hypomanic states I became very excited about inspiring and uplifting my girls with a lesson. I prepared to talk about Jonah and his missionary experiences in Ninevah. Then in a stroke of brilliance I decided to pull out my old missionary journals and read to my children some of my personal experiences. The Jonah story went well; how could you fail to inspire when talking about running away from your responsibilities, getting thrown from a ship, swallowed by a whale and then puked up in response to fervent prayer. I then pulled out my journals. I read about receiving my mission call, arriving in the MTC, flying to Alabama and then read the entry from the last night of my mission. They mostly paid attention; I only had to ask Mary once not to stand on her head on the couch. After I finished my story I closed my journals, told them how great I thought being a missionary was and asked them what they thought. They stared at me for a minute and then Emma said, "Daddy, why did you write like that? You sounded so weird." Of course I could not explain myself. To my girls I may not be inspiring but I am, and probably always will be, weird.

To inspire...Since we moved into our new home we have had problems with the kitchen sink. When we fill it with water to wash the dishes (we have no dishwasher that doesn't have a first and last name) it takes about a half and hour to drain. I have tried several remedies over the last few months including taking the pipes apart under the sink, buying a snake to clear any hair balls or food clots (in addition to not having a dishwasher we have no disposal), and pouring down the sink some expensive combination of nasty chemicals called "Liquid Fire" all to no avail.

Finally we got fed up with the situation and had someone much more handy than me come over and diagnose our problem. His solution, "call Roto-Rooter, they have a big snake and they can clean out the pipe for you." So we did. Roto-Rooter man came by the house, spent 3 hours (at $150 per hour) digging around our basement pipes only to tell us that he thought our pipe was probably broken somewhere 20+ feet away from our house and may need to be fixed. But he would have to have Roto-Rooter man #2 come by with a special camera to make the official diagnosis. The next day the special camera showed up and after another couple of hours with the big snake and the camera, #2 said that our pipe was probably broken (although he couldn't really see the break even with his fancy camera) and that he could be by the next day with a crew to tear up our yard and fix the problem. His estimate for the repair (if it was broken): $4000. Holy Hannah! We had no idea where we would get that kind of money. Luckily we could just go back to how things were with a real slow drain right? Nope, in all of the Roto-Rooting our drain had gone from slow to just about non-draining.

We thought. We prayed. We talked to friends. They prayed. We fasted and prayed some more. We called our Home Warranty company and they required a different company to come out and diagnose our problem. They would pay for up to $500 against plumbing expenses. At least it would be a bit less. Today they showed up at our house and we paid them our $50 co-pay. They spent about an hour in the basement with different equipment, walked upstairs and told Karen, "Well, I cleaned out your pipes, things should work better now." She turned on the kitchen faucet and ran the water for twenty minutes with no problem.

I realize that there are probably a hundred explanations for the sequence of plumbing events that occurred over the past week. I felt strongly today however, that the reason things occurred as they did was that we have a loving Father in Heaven who knows us, cares about our every day lives, even about our plumbing, and who offers to us his tender mercies in so many ways to remind us of his love. Prayer and fasting are true and powerful principles.

Sunday, January 4

Road Trip

If 2009 continues as it started it is going to be a great year. Last night we returned home from a road trip to New Orleans where we watched the underrated University of Utah football team roll all over the mighty Crimson Tide of Alabama. Here are a few snipits from our trip.

We loaded the red suburban on New Years Day with several faithful Utah fans, filled the 44 gallon tank, and headed off for New Orleans. A few of our good friends agreed to keep our girls for the days we were gone. The first day we drove to Birmingham and stayed in a hotel there. We enjoyed Rootbeer floats while we watched the last half of the Orange Bowl and saw Cincinnati sputter their chances of a BCS game win away. The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and experienced some true southern hospitality as one of the hotel workers brought us out her homemade lemon pound cake to top off our dining experience. Bryce had already gone back to the room to get the leftover ice cream.

We then left Birmingham for the second leg of the trip to New Orleans. An hour outside of Birmingham we felt compelled to stop in Tuscaloosa to visit the campus of the famed University of Alabama. We stood in awe in front of Bryant Denny Stadium where there were monuments to all of the past Alabama coaches who had led their teams to national championships. There was even a spot for the next coach to accomplish this feat.

We arrived in New Orleans mid-afternoon on game day. We walked about two blocks down Bourbon Street before running away from that madness. We then found Cafe Du Monde and had ourselves some beignets and a great little restaurant where we could eat catfish sandwiches and cajun jambalya. Eventually we made our way to the Louisiana Superdome where we watched our University of Utah Runnin' Utes completely dismantle the Crimson Tide. It was beautiful.

The drive back was filled with hours and hours of reading news stories and reader comments about the game, the unfairness of the BCS system and the call for the Utes to share at least part of the national championship this year.

Friday, October 31

Two hungry girls

Last night we had a one-year-old birthday party for Edie and her two friends, Tabitha and Seth. Karen made a beautiful 3 layer chocolate cake for the birthday kids and we put them on the table to let them eat. All three were hesitant at first to touch the cake. Seth was even a bit scared (perhaps less of the cake than of the crowd who was chanting "go, go, go"). Finally the babies started exploring the cake. Well, at least two of them anyway. Seth was very proper and with a spoon started digging out chocolate chunks. Tabitha sat and watched curiously. Edie picked the chocolate chips off the top and then, without further ado, opened her mouth and took a big bite out of the top of the cake. . .

The first bite brought cheers from the crowd and was followed by several more just like it. It wasn't long before Edie was covered from ear to ear with chocolate cake and frosting. . .

As a couple of interesting afterthoughts: Tabitha finally did get some cake. She was just smart enough to wait until everyone else left and she then slowly, daintily, ate to her hearts content. The adults were all standing in the kitchen laughing about Edie's behavior and wondering where she learned to eat cake with such passion. It was just then that we turned back to the table and got the answer to our question.... . .

Tuesday, September 16

Extreme Daddy Daughter Dating

Usually when someone from the Coast Guard tells you it is too dangerous to go boating you should listen. That is what we were told when we got to the shore of Lake Superior for our kayaking adventure to the Apostle Islands. Five of us went; three of us had never been on a kayak before; one of us was wheelchair bound; and the Coast Guard said the 4 foot waves were too big to be safe. But we had driven over 12 hours in the last day to get to the shore so we could boat to Oak Island and camp for a few days. So we decided to venture into the water to see how bad things were. If they were too dangerous we would turn back. Too dangerous? Again, three of us had never been in a kayak and really wouldn't know "too dangerous" unless we capsized our boats. Happily we paddled along in 4 foot waves for the next 4 miles/2 hours and made it too our campsite. Fortunately the waves and wind were going in our direction and if we would have turned back it would have taken us many more hours to get back to the car. We were safe and only later did the only experienced boater in the group tell us that he hadn't been that worried about capsizing in a long time. Ignorance is bliss I guess.

My friend John invited me on a camping/kayak trip to northern Wisconsin several months ago. I told him I would go and later invited Emma to go with us as well. Emma took a few days off school and we boated, camped and hiked. It really was a wonderful experience to be with Emma and to spend a few days in one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The only thing that would have made it better is if I would have had my other girls (especially Karen) with me as well.

Thursday, August 28


We went camping with some friends on the Little Miami River last weekend. We cooked with the Dutch Oven, made s'mores and the girls and I went canoing on the river. It was fun to be outdoors.