Wednesday, July 23, 2008

My Little Buddy is One!

Being raised as the only boy with four sisters took its toll. My parents finally had another boy when I was 15, but it seemed a little too late for me. I also grew up feeling a lot of pressure that there is not another son to carry on the Dunroe family name (at least not from this branch of the tree).

I was so excited when Jayson arrived. One year later, I can hardly believe it. He is the happiest little guy I have ever met. When he gets really excited, he flaps his arms and laughs really loud. This picture below captures him laughing, flapping, and walking towards me (quite the multi-tasker).

Happy Birthday Buddy! We are sure glad to have you in our family. Especially me. There has been quite an imbalance of estrogen and emotion in this little household. Thanks for balancing things out a bit. Can't wait till mom decides we can bring you home a little brother!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Who is Jim and why is he back?

So Jess has been talking a lot about some guy named Jim. I overheard her two days ago on the phone telling a friend.
Not sure if I should be worried or not. She says she has just started going to Jim's again?
When did she used to go to Jim's?
I don't remember her going to Jim's since we've been married.
Apparently she's gone over to Jim's two or three times in the past week.
Supposedly Jim makes her feel really good.
This Jim claims he's gonna help her lose weight. What guy says that to a girl? (I tell her she looks great just the way she is.)
The weirdest part is that last night she actually admitted to me how excited she is to be hanging out at Jim's on a regular basis again. She says she now has more energy and is a lot happier.

Maybe I need my own Jim.
Or maybe I should start spending more time at Ms. Pool's.
Haven't hung out with her much since high school.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Journey--Entry 1

Well, I'm making progress again.
I've been on a journey to lose weight for a number of years and have been very successful at losing weight. It's just keeping it off that's a challenge.

Of course, I have lost the same 20 or 30 pounds at least 20 times since I returned home from my mission, but I always gain it back (often with a little extra).

This time I am planning on a different outcome. So far, so good. I'm down 18 pounds since I started. I'm not quite ready to announce my actual weight on the blog, I think I'll wait until I;m closer to reaching my first milestone. Suffice it to say--this journey's gonna be long. My first milestone is 50 pounds. If I can do that, I can do the rest. So far, I'm down 18. 32 more to go. I'm trying to take it slow and steady--eat better, decrease my portions, and exercise at least once a day (sometimes twice).

I'm gonna hit that first milestone. Hopefully by the end of October--October 27th to be exact. The question is, what am I gonna do to celebrate when I get there? Eat?

Sunday Thought--First Day of School

Tonight we continued a tradition dating back to my early youth--Father's blessings on the night before school.

I remember the special Spirit that came each year as my father would lay his hands on each of our heads and bless us the night before school started. I was always anxious at the start of a new school year and the blessings were a great source of strength and peace for me. I am so thankful that he was always there for me.

Tonight I placed my hands on Tayler's head in preparation for first grade. I am so humbled to be her dad and so excited for all the learning and growth opportunities that will be hers this year. She has such a sweet spirit and I love her so much. It seems like only yesterday that she was heading out the door to preschool with a Dora backpack that was as big as she was. It was slightly less than a year ago that Tay and I headed out to her first day of Kindergarten. Parents came for the full two hours that first day and Jess was in the hospital with Jayson. Tay was so excited. I was close to tears. It's a lot tougher than I thought to watch your kids grow up.

Tonight Jess cried. Then Tayler cried. Rylee wasn't sure why all the tears were coming, but she climbed up on my lap and asked me why I wasn't crying. "Just saving it until later, Rylee, when everyone else is asleep". Just like my dad did I suppose.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Our Idiot Tooth Fairy

Riley is at the "copy big sister" stage of development. If Tayler does it, so will Rylee. If Tayler wants one, so does Rylee.
When Tayler approached me about a note for the Tooth Fairy, Rylee wasn't far behind. I had only begun writing Tayler's note when Rylee thrust a tattered piece of colored paper in front of me so I would write her one too. Tayler was concerned about the ramifications of Rylee's note, after all, Rylee hasn't lost a tooth yet. Would this be too much of a waste of time for the Tooth Fairy?
On Rylee's note we wrote, "Dear Tooth Fairy, I haven't yet lost any teeth, but I can't wait until I do. Love Rylee".
Problem was, the Tooth Fairy forgot to check for the note under Rylee's pillow.
It was there, waiting to be read. When Tay put her note under her pillow, Rylee did the same.
Thankfully, Jess cleared it all up in the morning so both girls were apparently satisfied.

One Rylee side note:
Apparently, I must "march" off to work each day. When Rylee imitates me, she puts my work ID badge around her neck and states in her deepest voice, "I go to work. I go to work" (while she marches--high stepping--around the kitchen). She laughs as she marches around the table--especially when I try to catch her.
Strange thing is, from my perspective, it feels like I drag out of here each day. Ne'er do I remember anything close to "marching" off to work.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Tooth Fairy

Well Tayler lost her first tooth while we were in Boise a week and a half ago. The tooth had been dead (and gray) for weeks. I attempted on two occasions to pull it out, but Tayler is pain averse. When it finally fell out Tayler was ecstatic. She hasn't yet put it under her pillow because she wants to keep it.

We finally came up with a solution. We would write a note for the Tooth Fairy explaining how we wanted to keep the tooth, but still wanted money for it. So last night I wrote out the note. We only had a small piece of paper and if Tayler wrote the note in "almost first grader" font (which you can find at the very bottom of the font drop-down menu in most Microsoft products) we would need a whole page, and a bigger pillow. Tayler asked me to leave some room at the bottom for a picture. She drew a picture of the Tooth Fairy. The Fairy is carrying a bag of teeth (makes sense to me). She also added "I love you". Must feel good to be the Tooth Fairy.

Just as we were finishing the letter, Tayler asked me if I had ever written a similar note to the Tooth Fairy. I lied. "Oh yes, I wanted to keep my first tooth too". Tayler was reassured. Turns out, with five year olds, lying can sometimes be the best policy. As I reflected upon that lie, I remembered I have lied about the Tooth Fairy before.

As a 7 year old boy living in Germany, I stole (I still prefer to think of it as "borrowed") a $20 mark bill out of my mom's purse. I felt incredibly guilty for taking this unapproved loan and decided the best way to solve the problem was to buy my mom something with it. I might have been a lying little crook, but I was still incredibly generous, a "Robin Hood" complex I guess. So I went to this little German gift shop on the corner and purchased a porcelain horse for my mom. (Of course I kept the change. After all, I was a very generous son who deserved a little extra.) I was so excited to give it to her that it didn't even occur to me she might be suspicious as to the source of funding for the purchase.

Sure enough, she thanked me and then immediately asked where I got the money. Thank goodness I was quick on my feet. I grasped for the only source of money I could think of that couldn't be verified or traced and had absolutely no tie to my parents whatsoever, "the Tooth Fairy left it for me". Nice. Solid. Undisputable alibi. (Granted, this was about forty times the going rate for a tooth when I was seven, but hey, maybe the Tooth Fairy really liked me--how would my parents know the difference???)

So I guess I'm still a liar. About the Tooth Fairy anyway. At least I'm not a crook anymore (Just don't tell Jess I "borrowed" a dollar out of her purse last night. I have a tooth to pay for that I don't even get to keep.)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sunday Thought--Happily Ever After

Yesterday I had a great spiritual experience. I was invited by a couple I have home taught for more than three years to come to the Temple to watch them be sealed to their new little girl Peyton. They had tried to get pregnant unsuccessfully for years and then one night, about six months ago, their prayers were answered when they received a foster daughter. They officially adopted her a week or so ago.

The Spirit was really strong during the sealing. Peyton looked like a little angel in her white dress and white bow. I teared up. I couldn't help it. I was reminded of the importance of families and how those relationships can, and should, endure eternally.

On my mission I spoke with people of all faiths about family relationships and never talked to one who really believed family relationships were supposed to end at death. No matter what their church's official doctrine on the subject, they believed in their heart of hearts that marriages and family relationships were intended to last forever. That's how eternal truth works. It "rings true". How sad would it be if the people who provide us with the most joy and happiness on earth were not with us on the other side, or if we had a different relationship to them on the other side?

A vital step in an eternal family is the joining of the family unit by someone holding authority (granted only from God) to do so. Christ taught this to Peter, his chief apostle, "I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven". I believe that six days later, on the Mount of Transfiguration, the translated Elijah delivered those "keys" to Peter. A marriage performed by Peter didn't need to end with the words, "Till death do you part". He now had the power to seal the marriage in heaven.

I believe this "sealing" power has once again restored to the earth.

It is my understanding that since the time of Passover, Jewish tradition has a place set at the Paschal feast for Elijah, and at a certain point in the feast, the door is opened to admit Elijah as a forerunner of the Messiah who was to deliver Israel from bondage.

How fitting it is than on April 3, 1836, while Jews around the world opened their doors for Elijah, he actually appeared. But he didn't appear at a passover feast, instead he appeared in the House of the Lord. It was on this day that Elijah the prophet appeared to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery in the Lord's Temple at Kirtland Ohio and restored the keys of the sealing power of the priesthood. His intent was to allow husbands to be sealed to wives, and children to their parents; allowing for treasured family relationships to endure forever. I felt the effects of that power stronger than ever on October 27th, 2001. And I felt it again yesterday.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


After I got Jayson up and changed his diaper and his clothes, he was sitting on my lap laughing. Rylee climbed up (after we pushed her down three or four times) and joined us. She grabbed Jayson's earlobe and said she was "be-tending to pierce his ear". He laughed. I didn't.
Then I asked her if she wanted to pierce her ears. "For be-tend" she stated.
I prodded her a little for fun, "Should we go right now to the mall and pierce your ears?"
With a serious look on her face, which we are lucky if we see from this clown once a day, she replied "No Daddy. Only for be-tend, not for be-real".

My (Much) Better Half Is Back

Yeah--Jess and the kids came home last night!!! They have been in Idaho at Jess' sister's (Jenny) house. I flew home early Monday morning and they stayed until last night. I have really missed Jess and am so glad to have her home.

The greeting I received from each of my kids re-emphasized the importance of each relationship in my life:

She shyly came down the stairs to the basement (where I had been watching SportCenter) with a card she had made with a picture of us playing soccer. The soccer ball is purple, both of us have blue hair, and a green sun is in the upper left corner. Above the picture she had written the following: "You rae my best Dad. I (heart) U". On the back is written "Dad I love you".
She immediately told me of a surprise she had for me. I told Jess I would unload the Yukon and I had a bubble bath ready for her so she could recover from the five hour drive with the three Crazy's.
Taylor went to help me, anxious to show me her surprise. Boy was I surprised. She had bought a crown-shaped jewelry box at the dollar store. She was so excited to show me. But I could tell by the look on her face that the surprise was about to get better. She pulled out three pairs of earings and held them up for me to see. With a twinkle in her eyes she exclaimed, "Mom bought me these earings at Ross. Aren't you just sooo excited?" I sure was.
Twenty steps later as she was entering the house through the garage door she turned and asked, "Don't you think I should go put them on?"
Absolutely. I should have thought of that myself.
Five steps later, the rule-abiding, always obedient Taylor turned again and asked, "Are you sure it's been six weeks?" The lady at the ear piercing had said six weeks, and Taylor intends to wait exactly six weeks.

He couldn't stop laughing. His four new top teeth are halfway in and very noticeable as he laughs. Jess had him show me how he could walk. He stumbles forward, stops, turns around, starts walking faster and faster until he topples over. Then he bear-crawls in a circle--around and around and around, laughing the entire time. Looks like someone's glad to be home.

The first one down the stairs to meet me in the basement. She jumps to me and wraps her arms and legs around me in a huge bear hug. "Hi Daddy! We been in Boise at Jenny's!"
Thanks Rylee. I wondered where you guys have been all week. Now I know.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pilates Snob

So I went to my second Pilates class last night.
It was twice as hard as the first one I went to two weeks ago. Almost nothing we did was the same as last time. I have a feeling I might be real sore today.

Last time I noticed there were several people in class that brought their own mats to class. I figured they were either disgusted by the thought of laying down where countless others have been sweating, or they are part of an elitist group of empowered new-age fitness gurus that I refer to simply as "Pilates snobs".

Well, guess who joined the club. That's right, last night I brought my own mat to class. I didn't buy the mat specifically for Pilates, I actually bought it so I could practice sit-ups at home when I was in Boot Camp several months ago. I must have been using it so much that Jess hid it under the bed--which was where I found it last night as I was putting something away (believe it or not--Jess has approved "under-the-bed" as an appropriate storage place for a few of my items).
My mat even has a little handle strap, with a loop at each end (to keep it rolled up in a nice little roll), for convenient transport to and from class.

Bringing my mat to class filled me with a new sense of confidence in my Pilates abilities. I was, however, able to set that confidence aside during class time--particularly when I found myself to be less coordinated now than I was two weeks ago. But I discovered as I rolled up my mat at the end of class, tucked it into the loops, put the strap over my shoulder and slipped on my flip-flops (another sign that you are a hard-core Pilates disciple--wearing flip-flops to the gym), the arrogance came rushing back.

Hi, my name is Sean and I'm a Pilates Snob. If you ever need to borrow a mat for Pilates or Yoga, I have one in the back of my car. That's right. Pilates. Anywhere, anytime. Bring it on.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday Thought--The Three Foot Stone

I came across an article written by an Ethan Bronner (of the New York Times News Service) today while browsing through The Idaho Statesman. The article talked about a three foot stone that was discovered over ten years ago near the Dead Sea in Jordan, but only recently studied by scholars. Instead of engravings, the tablet was written on with ink, in two columns similar to the Torah. It contains 87 lines of Hebrew, but the stone is broken in places and some of the ink has faded. Experts don’t seem to doubt its authenticity (although the results of chemical tests to determine authenticity are still to be published) and are dating the text back to the first Century B.C.

The article stated, “much of the text, a vision of the apocalypse transmitted by the angel Gabriel, draws on the Old Testament, especially the prophets Daniel, Zechariah and Haggai. The expression ‘Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel’ appears many times, as does the name Jerusalem”.

The text that is stirring biblical and archaeological circles (according to the article) is the part that “may speak of a messiah who will rise from the dead after three days.” The article points out that this would suggest “that the story of his [Christ’s] death and resurrection was not unique but part of a recognized Jewish tradition at the time.” Daniel Boyarin, a professor of Talmudic culture at Cal Berkeley, reportedly speculates, “some Christians will find it shocking—a challenge to the uniqueness of their theology”. My guess is that some Jews may challenge the authenticity or themselves be just as shocked as some of the Christians Dr. Boyarin referenced. Some will likely ascribe the messianic prophesy as the strange beliefs of some Dead Sea cult rather than accept that Jewish tradition may indeed have actually contained prophesies of a Messiah who would do exactly what most Christians purport Christ to have done.

Mormons will likely just yawn (in a ‘nothing new here’ sort of way). Or like most readers, skip the article entirely since it mentions “Dead Sea Scroll” in the subtitle.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

My Bodyguard

Last weekend we were invited to a birthday party for my nephew, Connor. We were told to prepare for cake and ice cream and a water party. The kids played in a pool as the adults sat on the patio solving the world’s problems. At some point during the evening, Jessica flashed a green light to Connor, who doused my back with his super-soaker squirt gun. I immediately decided to spread the love, so I grabbed the nearest assault weapon—a pump action water rifle—and sprayed my 20 year-old brother (who’s going on 13). Apparently the small stream of water was more than Shane could handle. He lost his temper and jumped up to chase me.

I hadn’t planned an escape route and I needed time to re-charge the weapon. I turned and attempted to run away from my assailant, but found my pathway blocked by some plastic patio chairs—some with occupants, some without—and a large plastic car the girls had parked in an ill-fated location. My only option was to turn around and face the music. But just as I was turning around, Shane shoved me in the back. Caught off guard, I tried to keep my balance, but ended up knocking over a plastic chair. I partially re-gained my balance, but began toppling towards the plastic car. As I fell, I contorted my body in a manner that allowed me to narrowly avoid a collision with the car (OK, so that may sound a little more graceful than it actually was—but hey, it’s my blog). I ended up sprawled out, face-down on the lawn.

When a 300-plus pound man is shoved off a patio, goes flying through the air, attempts a 180 in an effort to avoid serious injury to himself and other people’s property, and lands in a belly-flop on the back lawn—nobody says a word…“Crickets”. The family—including my attacker—was in shock. It’s not something you’re lucky enough to see everyday.

My first instinct was revenge. I envisioned the sweet pleasure of jumping up and chasing him down (as in countless family-friendly battles of the past) tackling him on the lawn, and beating him senseless (well, at least his upper arm). But suddenly it dawned on me. I’m a grown up. I’m 34 years old. I have three kids—two of which are old enough to model my behaviors. So I just lay there, allowing the fumes to cool, and realizing the whole thing was probably my fault anyway since I provoked him with the water gun. (Actually, in hindsight, I’ve since reasoned that the birthday boy may be to blame since his initial actions introduced the idea of spraying Shane into my head. Or maybe the blame lies squarely on Jessica’s shoulders for sanctioning Connor’s juvenile delinquency.)

While the family sat in stunned silence, there was one small three-year-old who wasn’t going to take Shane’s actions lying down.
My little Rylee-pot-pie came to my rescue. Like a three foot pile of fury, she went after her Uncle Shane.
According to witnesses, the vengeful contortion of her face reflected a determined resolve, ‘Don’t you hurt my daddy!’
So Rylee-pot-David took on Goliath. Undaunted. Unrelenting. She gave him everything she had...

She ran up and kicked him in the shins.
Six or seven times.
She gave him everything her bare little feet could muster.
Our common enemy stood there dumbfounded.
Fortunately (and rather surprisingly) he was thoughtful enough not to shove her to the ground next to me.

Thanks Rylee. You’re my hero.

Mental Note: Always good to know who’s got your back.

As for Tayler: “Sweetheart—It’s OK to come out of your hiding place...It’s been 6 days..."

"Don’t worry, Uncle Shane won’t do that to Daddy ever again (at least Daddy won’t be dumb enough to turn his back on him again. Also... sorry you had to learn at such a young age that daddy isn’t invincible. But just remember, I can still fix anything that breaks (or at least run and buy a new one without you knowing). And I’m still the best looking and most charismatic boy you know (and better be until you turn at least 21).”

"Gone in a Flash" Drive

So, my flash drive died last night.
Just stopped working.
Had a lot of files on that thing that weren't backed up.
Including my final project for my Masters degree.
Good thinking on my part not backing it up regularly.
Looks like I'm starting from scratch again--on several things.
Kind of a downer.
The "Mister Rogers" side of me says that the bright side of this mishap is that I can try to do a better job on my project this time around.
The "Mister Rogers" side of me is also betting that I'm one "neighbor" whose learned a valuable lesson about backing up portable memory.

Side note: that "Mister Rogers" side of me can be a real pain in the rear at times like this.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rylee's "Special" Place

Rylee has a special place she goes whenever she's in trouble or feels embarrassed. It's a simple escape. She covers both eyes with her hands. It must allow her to momentarily escape from an awkward situation. She has only been going there the past few weeks, but it's becoming a more and more frequent hiding place.

On Saturday morning I watched her poke Jayson in the eye. He started crying so she immediately put herself in "time out" on the love seat in the living room. You've got to hand it to her for being "self-disciplined". When I went into the living room to talk to her about it, she put both hands up over her eyes and didn't respond to my questions. "Um...I can still see you Rylee".
At some point during sacrament meeting, Jessica had to take Jayson out. Rylee followed thirty seconds later, but knew she shouldn't be. So she picked up one of Jayson's toys and used it to help cover both eyes. She sheepishly walked up the aisle and towards the front side door of the chapel with both hands--and Jayson's greenish, pink, noisy, floppy butterfly toy--covering her eyes. "Don't worry Rylee. None of the 300 people seated in back of you can see what you're doing".

At first I thought Rylee's special place was a strange behavior. I now choose to find it charming. I also sorta envy her. How many times in my life could I have benefited from being able to cover my eyes with my hands to remove embarrassment or accountability? I'm going to learn a lesson from Rylee. Next time one of the following uncomfortable or awkward situations presents itself, I'm going to cover my eyes, put on an innocent smile, and sit there quietly, acting like nothing is happening.

1) At work--"Sean, have you finished that project I mentioned in passing a few months ago (and haven't asked about since)? I need it right now."
2) (In front of a large group of people, with Rylee poking me in the belly) "Daddy, are you pregnant?"
3) "Dad, Jayson won't give me my Pink PollyPocket car!!!" (Jayson, please play with the dumptruck instead. Please?)

4) "Brother Dunroe, can we come by in twenty minutes to hometeach your family?" (Request made on the last day of the month)
5) "Sean. You better help your daughter." (Suggestion from a chuckling brother-in-law as Rylee has suddenly decided she needs to go to the bathroom and is slowly shuffling across the crowded waiting area of the Olive Garden with her shorts and underwear down around her ankles)
6) "Hey, look Honey! When you put this pink bow in his hair, he looks just like Tayler did as a baby."
7) "Raise your hands if you can make yourself available to help the Johnson's move. They're the family moving into the third floor apartment on 4th street."
8) "Dad, do you know who ate my cupcake I was saving on the kitchen counter?" (tears welling up in Tayler's big blue eyes)
9) "Great. Another blowout! Tayler, will you take Jayson into dad and have him change his diaper?"
10) Or three minutes later...."Daddy, why are you gagging?"
11) "Dad, Bethany's throwing up!!!" (warning provided as the neighbor girl runs towards me, across our living room carpet, hand over her mouth in a feable attempt to catch the mess, and I'm the only adult in the house)
12) "Um Dad. When mommy took Jayson out, Rylee pulled down her skirt (and underwear) during Sacrament meeting. Twice"
13) "Who tracked in the mud from the garden? ARGHHH...I just barely mopped the floor!"
14) "...Now raise your hands if you can take the 12 hour shift at the Ogden Cannery starting at 4 am on Tuesday"
15) "Do these pants make my butt look big? Seriously. Tell me the truth."
16) "Sweetheart, I cannot believe you posted that on your blog!!!"