Thursday, November 27, 2008

Times of Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I have been thinking about assembling a List of things that I am thankful for and publishing it for some time now, but I would like to make some qualifications prior to everyone reading and acknowledging it. It (the list), by no means, is a comprehensive, or an all-inclusive list. It's just a list of things that have crossed my mind this Thanksgiving.
I am grateful to be alive and well today. I am thankful for the knowledge and witness of an all powerful and merciful God who sent his Only Begotten Son to conquer death and sin and establish a way for the imperfect (including myself) to become perfected to a point where there can be a mutual dwelling. So grateful I am for prayer. I have felt the power that comes from prayers offered on my behalf which not only have uplifted and inspired me, but have kept me safe and protected in times of peril and danger. Thank you to all who have offered thoughts and words of prayer in my behalf. Probably one of the things for which I am most thankful, and which occupies my thoughts and prayers daily is my beautiful and loving wife, Brittney. Lady, you are (I know that I have said this in other places, but it is absolutely true) the best thing that has ever happened to me. I thank God for you everyday of my life. Thank you for the Love, which you so freely give me, for the support and direction, which you unselfishly offer me, and the purpose which you provide for my life. You are the Best! Gratitude fills my heart for my children and the happiness they make me feel. I am so blessed am grateful to have parents who loved and provided for me and tried to teach me the right way to live. Thank you for your counsel, support and love. I am thankful that my sister Emily and her husband J live near my family and me. They are a blessing to us. I'm grateful for family and friends who care for me and look after my family while I am away. I am thankful to live in a free country and to have the opportunity to be educated and fulfill my dreams. I'm so thankful for those who sacrificed what they had so that this country could be what it is today. I am grateful for my partners at Conestoga OMS and for the great individuals they are. I feel very lucky to have great staff and assistants to work with as well. Thank you for letting me be a part of your lives and for dealing with my quirks. I am grateful for hot pecan pie and pralines and cream ice-cream (yum). Chase, Maco, Ainsley and Piper thanks for making me smile and giving me happiness that lasts forever. I love and miss you so. I am thankful for a wonderful relationship with my wife's parents. They have affected our lives (Britt's and mine) for good and have always been of great support. I am thankful for the ability to fish and be surrounded by the beauty of this great Earth. I'm grateful for my home and for the fact that it won't be long until I return to its comforting confines. I am thankful for the scriptures, the priesthood, the Holy Spirit and the instruction, the stewardship and the answers that they bring. I feel a great deal of gratitude to the Lord for giving me the opportunity in the past of working with Young Men in the Lancaster 3rd Ward. Thank you for enriching my life with your greatness. I am grateful for those who take time to validate my posts by leaving messages. I am even grateful for those who do not as well. I am thankful for Thanksgiving. Again, let me remind you that this is not an all-inclusive list, because there truly would not be enough room to express my gratitude for all things. I am thankful for YOU. Take Care, and be good!

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Can it be?  Can she really be 2 already?
Her Daddy's post was so touching and I can't really compete with the sentiment of that, but I can show him some of the highlights of the day.  I am so sad he is missing this time in which she changes so rapidly.  But he is right when he says she brings a smile to everyone's face. She is the most pleasant baby, fun and happy, social and caring.  She's certainly one of a kind and I am so glad to experience life with her.
Blowing out her two candles.  She blew them out all by herself.  I should have put three of them on because when you ask her how old she is she says - 3 old.  They're always in a hurry to grow up, aren't they?
We had lots of fun with party hats.!
Sometimes 2... do I look like a medieval princess or a bull?
The whole gang!
Em and J hosted dinner at their house.  It was great!  I had had an extremely busy weekend with a Primary Activity Day which included practice for our program on Saturday.  Saturday night I had shopping and a sharing time to prepare.  Sunday we woke early to get to church near 8 am to get ready for our performance.  It was AWESOME.  All the kids did so well, except Ainsley who would not say her part.  She and the Sunbeams.  Oh Well maybe next year.  She knew it by heart, said it everyday for me at home.
Anyway - after a busy weekend I was glad to go somewhere else for dinner.  I think the kids were too.
She got a beautiful card from her Daddy.  Chase read it to her and she listened to every word.  It got me all choked up.
She got some new piggy jammies.  I was surprised that she was so happy about them.  She said, "Oh NightyNight.  Pigs."  She wanted them unwrapped and tags off immediately.
Grandma Sharon and Grandpa Roy sent her a cute picnic set with a little radio.  She loved it!!
She also got a Mrs. Potato Head.  She had lots of fun putting purses, high heels and "crazy eyes" on her potato.
She also got some helium balloons which included Elmo.  I wished my video camera had been on when saw them.  She started bouncing them around like they were punching balloons and her hair was completely full of static but she had the biggest smile.

Overall I think it was a super fun birthday.  The only thing that would have been better was if her Daddy could have been here too.

Happy Birthday Little One

Little One, it now has been two wonderful years since you officially came into my life. I am so sorry that life has now made it so that I have not physically been there for two of your three birthdays during that time. Every time I see you I have a special feeling in my heart and it always makes me smile. You have the talent of making me laugh and filling my life with happiness. As you eat cake and ice cream today I want you to know that your Daddy is thinking of you and hoping you feel great and that you feel all the love I have for you. I can't believe you are already two years old. Growing up to fast you are. I look forward to being reunited with you soon and having some special time together, reading books, playing with toys, running around the house and of I hope that our journey through this life never has us apart again for your birthday when you are a child. You are so precious and you really complete our family. I wish you the happiest Birthday! I love and miss you so much, Piper. You are such a fantastic baby (little girl)! See you soon, little one.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Gobble Gobble

Daniel received his Thanksgiving pillowcase.  It took 2 weeks to get there which was the longest it has taken so far.  (His quilt arrived in 4 days.)  I think it's just nice to have a change of scenery and it shows him how time is passing.  Pumpkins have turned to Turkeys.

"Ba'gobble gobble"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sweetest Guy Ever!!

My husband is so thoughtful and sweet.  Monday morning I drove my parents to the airport so they could begin their 2 year mission in Africa.  We left the house at 4:20 AM.  The day before had been very emotional as we hosted a little goodbye dinner for family.  As each person left and I watched the goodbye emotions, I also got choked up.  

Anway - back to my sweet husband.  He knew Monday was going to be a tough and emotional day for me.  Monday afternoon I was just about to lay down for a nap and a knock came to the door.  I peeked around the corner but didn't answer it.  I didn't feel up to company.  I peeked around again trying to see who it was.  I finally saw an outline of an older woman I didn't recognize.  I thought it was the Jehovah's Witnesses because they like to stop by and give me literature.  They know I am always nice to them.  After the second knock I said, "What the heck?" and opened to the door and to my very pleasantly surprised face saw these beautiful flowers is this gorgeous blue vase from my dear husband with the sweetest card.

Thank you Daniel.  I love you so much!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I have so many Halloween pictures that I have been dreading this post.  But now that it's mid November already (unbelievable) I think Daniel has waited long enough to see the kids in their cute outfits.
Here's Chase as an authentic soldier.  His helmet, goggles, and holster are all of Daniels gear from last tour that they have since upgraded and issued new.  His uniform was a Christmas gift in 2006 complete with stitched name badges.  We were lucky that still fit, probably the last year though.
MacGregor was a clone trooper.  He got this voice changer helmet for his birthday last summer.  Even though the costume came with a plastic mask, he insisted on wearing this oversized head.  It was very hard for him to see as he was walking up and down peoples' porches.  He kind of looks like a dwarf with this on but whatever makes him happy.  He loves posing.
Everyone knows how I feel about Halloween costumes.  (I really don't have the energy for them and I hate spending a lot money on something they will only wear once.)  So Ainsley's costume this year was a total blessing.  We found it in my sister Brinn's closet in my parents house when my mom was packing up before the move.  Thanks Brinn, hope you don't mind.  The costume was adult size so I had to hem the skirt.  I just hand tacked the bottom of the skirt to the elastic waist band basically divided the skirt in half.  Then we added the turtle neck and I think she turned out to be a Beautiful Cleopatra.  And since it was adult size we can keep adjusting the dress to different sizes.  Do you think Ainsley would be OK being Cleopatra for the next 7 years?
And here's our LITTLE LAMBY.  She was Lamby last year but since I did buy her costume from a catalog, I made sure it was big enough for at least 2 years.  (You have to get your money's worth.)  I think she actually looked cuter this year in it than last.
They are all so cooperative.  It was impossible to get a decent picture!

Halloween was a Friday this year and the kids actually had off school.  We spent the day at Cherry Crest Adventure Farm.  It was AWESOME - and it will be a post all on its own.  Coming soon I hope.  We plan on making Cherry Crest an annual event.  

We got home from the farm around 6:15 pm, threw in some frozen pizzas, got everyone ready and walked our street (of which only about 1/3 of the people were home or had candy sitting on their porch).  It was OK by me.  Because we don't get many kids on the street, most people give out several candy bars or a full size one.  The kids certainly got enough candy and I didn't have to walk all night long.  It was perfect.  We came back from trick-or-treating, ate dinner then took the boys to a Halloween party.  We then settled in and watched our new favorite series, "Crusoe" the pirate show on NBC.  It was a perfect Halloween...really.

We also had a "trunk-or-treat" at our ward building two days before Halloween.  I honestly think the kids had more fun there.  The youth did games in the gym.  Here is Ainsley catching something great on her fish pole.  They also had one of those hidden bowls full of eye balls (grapes), a brain (mold of elbow macaroni) and intestines (spaghetti noodles).  Ainsley would NOT even go near it!!  It was so funny.
Shaving a balloon.  I was a little horrified that they were letting the kids play with razors with real blades.  I mean they were holding very slippery balloons - Ainsley did not pop hers.  I was making her be too careful.
The boys were in heaven hanging out with their friends.  They have such good friends in this ward.  Good Kids!!
With Aaron M.
With Taylor R. (as Legolas the Elf but he wouldn't wear his blond wig)
With Carter H., Nick E. and Brady B.
Ainsley even found a few friends - OK it was just Aunt Emmy and Uncle J.  It's so fun to see them at ward activities.
With our good witch friend - Rachel P.

OK here's the funniest thing about that night - It was supposed to have been outside and people were supposed to have decorated their trunks.  We had a real cold spell so it ended up being inside.  I had not decorated our house this year because our boxes were still pretty mixed up since we finished the basement.  I happened to find the Halloween box earlier in the day so I grabbed the whole box and brought it with us.  Every classroom was already taken by the time we got there so we ended up in the big primary room.  We just haphazardly put the decorations up on the podium - no rhyme or reason.  Here's Dad pretending he was giving a primary talk amongst the all the decorations that remind us of the day of the dead.  Nice Huh?
Dad stayed and passed out candy and I took the girls around to all the upstairs rooms and activities - (We have a weird building layout - the primary room and nurseries are downstairs, but all the other classrooms, the gym, RS room and chapel are upstairs.) When I came back at the end of the night my dad said someone had come down and given him this:
(I don't think anyone else had any decorations.)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Days in the Desert

My wonderful wife instructed me to include more pictures and to show some of my friends in the pictures. My boys have petitioned for some pictures of some of the aircraft that I see, so as to make all happy I will include a few photos for everyone's personal enjoyment.
In this picture I am sitting next to Will Smith who is an ER doc and sitting next to him is Mark Passamonti who is an Internal Medicine doc. Mark and I met in September in Atlanta and have kept in touch since that time. He is somewhere near Baghdad now and we only communicate via email. He's a great guy and is a lot of fun to be around. Will works in Jackson Wyoming and is an outdoor enthusiast. He has heard of my friend and colleague Dr. Scott Larsen, of Larsen Family Dentistry, but does not know him personally. The next photo is of one of our biking adventures.
With me are a dentist, general surgeon and an ER doc. Our friend the internal medicine doc was taking the picture. We are standing in front of the wadi which is the source of much of the wildlife in the area (snakes, lizards, hyenas, jackals, rodents, birds, etc...).
You will notice a picture of camels as you scan this post. The camels are from Kuwait and the picture was taken through the window of a moving bus. So in all reality, it came out pretty well. We saw these fine specimens after we had fired our weapons and were on our way back to the base for breakfast.

The next few photos are of downed aircraft. The first is a Russian MIG and has my friends HP (General Surgeon) and DS (Internal Medicine) standing near the plane but not close enough to be in any danger.

The photo where you see Man, is a downed US jet. I was told that you can tell it is a US jet because the flags are cut out of the tails on US aircraft. I know its very difficult to see, but trust me that there are holes where the flags once were.

I want everyone who lives and breathes in the US to take three minutes and ponder on the fortunate circumstances in which you find yourself. You are able to choose much of your own destiny and have rights that hardly ever get infringed upon. The US is the best country in all the world, and even if your candidate did not win the election you still had the opportunity to have your voice heard. Do what you can to be a better citizen in your community and reach out to your neighbors and offer a helping hand. Do your part to continue this Country's great legacy. Choose the right and remember that in keeping the commandments there is safety and peace.

Saturday, November 08, 2008


This girl is Trouble with a Capital T!!!!

Markers and Lipstick are her vice.

These pictures were taken this summer.  My good friend lives across the street from her neighborhood playground.  We were sitting in the grass in her yard.  The girls were playing at the playground just across the street.  Piper was sitting for the longest time on the sidewalk with her back to us playing with something.  I thought she was digging in the mulch.  Ainsley needed to go the bathroom and I didn't want to leave Piper outside by herself so I walked across the street and this is what I found:
Someone had left a little girl's purse (probably a 7 or 8 yr old's) on the sidewalk.  Inside were little containers full of play makeup.  The thick waxy kind that doesn't wash off easily with water.

This next picture was taken just after Dan left.  Ainsley had been watching TV in my room.  Piper went in to join her.  I must have been doing something in the basement because Ainsley came running frantically to find me.  She told me that Piper put lipstick on her face.  It was all over her face, hands and my carpet.  Luckily our can of 'SpotShot' got it out pretty well.  The lipstick was trashed and Piper has been banned from my room and my bathroom except for certain punishment occasions - **see further down the post.
We do not allow markers down anymore.  We keep them in containers that are immediately put up after use.  This was a few weeks ago - before we had the marker rule.  Ainsley is always drawing and therefore leaving her markers/crayons/colored pencils unattended.  Piper is always borrowing them to draw on her self or the walls or the freshly painted french doors or her big brother's homework (that they should be putting away when they are finished but alas they often leave it on the kitchen table).
We were getting ready to go somewhere when I found her like this.  She had been wearing a skirt or shorts.  We quickly found pants to hide this mess.  Didn't want the public to know what a bad mother I was. - (this has happened many times - I only managed to get it on film a few)
And here is our latest.  I told Daniel that I will never exercise again.  I hardly ever do - I don't really enjoy it but I had 30 mins before dinner the other night and of that 30 min.,  15 of them had not been spoken for.  So Ainsley was drawing with the strict instruction to clean up after herself, Piper had been whiny so I put her in front of Elmo in the living room, MacGregor was practicing the piano, and Chase doing homework.  I ran down to the basement for 15 mins on the eliptical before I had to make a salad for dinner.  A few mins later, MacGregor joined me.  I told him that maybe he wanted to bring down the baby - he said no, she was watching Elmo.  A few mins later after that Ainsley came down the stairs looking for someone to play candy land.  MacGregor agreed to play.  I never even thought of asking Ainlsey if she had cleaned up.  I finished on the eliptical - my mom had just walked thru the door from being gone all day - she came down to the basement.  My dad had been working on his computer, he walked down the basement steps with a smirk on his face.  I thought he had overheard me telling a funny story about him to my mother but then he rounded the corner with THIS:
I was going to crop this picture but I think my face is important.  I am so tired of this girl and her colored face/body.   She is my extreme child.  She is an extremely good sleeper.  Goes down without a fight.  Loves her bed - requires no complicated routine.  Put her in bed, cover her up, turn off the light, shut the door.  We never hear a peep.  But when she's awake -  watch out world.  You need to have your eyes on her at all times.

My mom ended up making the salad and I took Piper to my bathroom and put her in the shower.  She DOES NOT enjoy the shower.  I scrubbed and scrubbed the washable (haha) marker from her face and hands.  The face came off reasonably well - just left a pale shadow.  The hands were still quite dark.  It is fading but it still offers us a constant reminder to keep the markers high.

So Daniel - I think I'm done exercising - it just isn't worth it!