Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Recent Sam photos

This is the castle that Sam built (with some Daddy help). Sam inhabits it as king, along with his loyal subject, monkey.

Here it is from another angle.

Sam's thinking of starting a band. Do you think this look will fly with the boy band crowds out there?
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Recent Grace photos

Grace discovered her tongue one day. She seemed to have a good time with it.
Those eyes can get anything they want from Grace's daddy.
And, in one of the mess catastrophes of January, 2008, Grace got covered in paint. Luckily, her lips were protected by her pacifier as you can see in this photo. Also, please note the enormous quantity of hair she is getting.
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Christmas memories, 3

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Christmas memory 2

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Christmas memory 1

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Get political!

It will come as no suprise to any of my inlaws that I'm a Mitt Romney fan. While visiting Ohio over Christmas, I was known to disappear for chunks of time so I could double-check the latest news in the election coverage. I've even broken down and started blogging on NY for Mitt instead of being content with merely leaving comments on third party blogs and news sites.

There may be some who read this blog who are not convinced Romney is the best candidate for president. This can no longer be tolerated.

I don't want to overdo my enthusiasm by writing a lengthy post that perhaps nobody will read, so let me be brief. Politics is a treacherous game in which it's hard to tell who is "straight talking", who has integrity, who is the optimist, etc. You hear a lot of rhetoric, and most of it is bickering about who said what. There's some talk of who DID what, but it's usually done in terms so obfuscated with carefully edited information, it's hard to tell anything that way either. But, it is what it is, so I can hardly fault the candidates for doing what they do.

However, eventually the truth will come out if you pay attention. In the case of Mitt Romney, you get a highly capable, highly optimistic gentleman with a clear track record of successfully making good things happen. After getting a top notch education at Harvard, he made a fortune as a venture capitalist. He then turned to public service and turned around the scandal plagued 2002 Olympics and as Governor of Massachusetts passed the nation's first healthcare plan that would cover everyone in his state. It's hard to imagine how one could improve on a resume that includes success in so many areas, an ability to lead under so many different circumstances.

Unfortunately, these facts have taken a backseat to the game of politics. For whatever reason, lots of folks have taken to name calling. Among other things, Mitt's detractors label him as slick, phony, plastic, flip-flopper, attacker. He's also been taken to task for his mormonism and for his willingness to "do anything" to get elected. This is all baloney, but I'm not going to take the time to explain why (read the political blog linked above, if you want).

The point is, there's a big war between issues of substance and name calling in this election. Mitt has been losing so far. He's not losing the primary, mind you, he has more delegates than anyone. But he's losing the game of bridling in the media. They love the ridiculous, it seems, and they're milking the absurdities for all they're worth.

So, why do I bring this up? Because there's no better time to get involved. Romney can make a difference for our country, but only if he gets elected. Go to and volunteer some time or money today. It'll be good for you and your country.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A sunbeam stealing sunshine

Today was Sam's first day of primary. He is a new sunbeam at church, and there were several conversations and events today that are notable in terms of his surprising development.

On the way home from church Sam was feeling a bit hungry, and despite repeated assurances from Boss that we had no more food in the diaper bag, he kept asking her to find him something to eat. You can only take pestering so long, and Boss made the mistake of responding to something I was talking about when a shrill, "Hey! I asked you a question!" errupted from the backseat.

"Yes, Sam. What is your question?"

In an indigant voice Sam restated. "My question is: look again."

Upon further investigation there were no snacks in the diaper bag.
Once we got home, there were snacks a plenty. So many, in fact, that Sam dumped two boxes of crackers, a pan of brownies, and a box of wipes all over the playroom. This particular incident was reminiscent of other previous attacks in which the following ingredients have been used to terrorize his parents: vaseline, diaper cream, drawers of freshly cleaned and folded laundry, lotion on a laptop computer, air freshening spray, honey on the carpet, bags of oyster crackers, and I'm certain some that I've missed.

We cleaned up the mess right as the home teachers arrived. Sam didn't notice until one of them piped up and said, "Hi Sam." Sam looked over like a frightened dear and ran from the room shrieking.

And the final developmentally telling event of this first sunbeam day came just now before bed. Boss was singing the last lines of "You Are My Sunshine" to Grace when Sam interrupted: "Hey! I took your sunshine away."

He gave it back a few minutes later.

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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Three L's part II

It turns out it's been so long since Gertrude and I have been in the same place at the same time that I had to go digging for photos in the attic instead of the hard drive. I'm glad I did, though, because my treasure hunt turned up some great finds. Like these, from a (nearly) professional modeling shoot held in my bedroom in Arkansas in 1993.

These snapshots prompt many questions: Where's B? Where's my skirt? How is it that none of us received million-dollar modeling deals? And how come even when we're dressing ourselves up and taking photos for the specific purpose of being silly, Gertrude still manages to look glamorous and chic? Must be the genes. . . . No, wait a minute. We have the same genes, practically. That can't be right.

Here's one from Frogmorton Family Reunion the next summer. Obviously, space was at a premium. Personal space did not exist.

In this photo, Gertie has just told me something very scary. Something like "you will still be wearing that sweatshirt on a regular basis in fourteen years." Could it be true? Absolutely. By sheer coincidence, I'm wearing right this moment as I type.

Let's move ahead to our college days, shall we? Did I mention we were roommates freshman year? Good times. Good times.

Can you believe how small these dorm rooms are? Can you believe I thought our decor so stylish that it belonged in a dorm room decorating magazine or something?

Here's Gertrude all dolled up for the Helaman Halls Christmas Invitational. While her date complimented her on her collar corsage, he later confided to me that it made dancing with her a little bit itchy.

These are some of my favorite photos ever. They're from 2001, I think. We decided to hike up to Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon. We didn't get very far, though, on account of the snow.

So we had plenty of time to make Charlie's Snow Angels.

And pose for the camera. Clearly, Gertrude is too sexy for her sippy cup.

Here's Gertrude giving directions. I don't think B's convinced that Gertie knows where she's going.

But she did. They were going to South Jordan. To play Barbies.

And so, in summary: Gertrude is nice and nice looking. And lots of fun to have around. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

That's three L's!

I tend to set goals twice a year: around my birthday (the end of September) and at New Years. Both events are new beginnings of a sort--a chance to look back at a year at a time and evaluate where I've been and where I'm going. It works out pretty well for me because New Years comes just a few months after my birthday, just in time to reinforce the goals I'm not living up to. It's my backup new beginning. (When you're as lazy as I am it's always a good idea to have a backup.) No pressure or anything, just time to really get on the ball.

I was thinking about my goal-setting habits the other day, and I realized that my cousin, Gertrude Schlollum*, whose birthday is New Years Day, must feel doubly pressured to get on the ball each January 1st. She's got no backup holiday; I mean, who ever heard of St. Patrick's Day resolutions? Of course, Gertrude probably doesn't need that extra celebratory reminder to get on the ball. She's already one of the most on-the-ball people I know.

Gertrude is a woman of many talents. She's always been a great example to me that people don't have to be just one thing. She's an artist, an athlete, and an entrepreneur; a mother, a comedian, and a volunteer. She's refined yet hip, cool yet approachable, and as kind and gracious as human beings come. And she works hard. She sets a goal for herself and does whatever it takes to make it happen -- even when it isn't glamorous. Like when we were in college and she worked in the cafeteria dish room. She had to get up early, she missed mealtimes with friends, and the work was gross, but she wore that hairnet with style and a smile. And when she was done with the dishes, she studied. While most freshmen were out losing scholarships (myself included) she was earning them.

But don't just take my word for it. Coach and I knew a couple in Iowa who happened to serve in the same mission at the same time as Gertrude. They'd never been in the same area (they were in Lithuania, she was in Estonia), but Gertrude's work ethic was legendary. They told me missionaries in the mission called her "Sister Contact," because she was so good at opening her mouth to talk to people everywhere she went. No one else met and connected with as many people as she did.

And I think that sums Gertrude up pretty well. As hard as she works and as smart as she is, she still knows how to connect with people. I consider myself ridiculously blessed to be a lifelong connectee.

It's been too long since Gertrude and I have had a chance to stay up late and tell secrets. And way too long since our last bigwheel adventure. But despite the years and miles, I know that if geography allowed it, we could sit down and laugh the night away. And I don't think we'd even notice that we aren't 18 anymore.

Happy Birthday Gertrude! I love you!

*Names have been changed.