Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Thought--The Natural Man

I was talking with a friend the other day about the "natural man" and what the term means to me. The concept was taught by a king in Ancient America who explained that “the natural man is an enemy to God”.

In my opinion, the “natural man” exists inside everyone to varying degrees. The “natural man” tendencies often present themselves as our first innate reaction to situations that occur in daily life. I believe the overarching challenge we’re all presented with in life is to overcome these “natural man” tendencies and change ourselves in such a way that we don’t respond as a “natural man”. Instead we become Godlike individuals who can control completely our own reaction (including our thoughts) in any situation and learn to love others unconditionally.

Some “natural man” tendencies include greed, selfishness, withholding deserved praise from others, “looking out for number one”, lust, anger, passive aggressive behavior, the desire to control others, idleness, being consumed with our outward appearance, conditional love, etc. The list could go on and on, but typically the "natural man" tendencies seem to result from attempting to satisfy our own needs without regard to the needs of those around us.

The Book of Mormon illustrates a story of an entire people in ancient America who were able to put aside their “natural man” tendencies and learn to control their actions in a Godlike manner. These people were originally an idle people who believed that whatever they did was right in the sight of God—including murder. Surely this bloodthirsty people, able to murder without a second thought, were likewise guilty of succumbing to all of the “natural man” tendencies listed above and many more.

Remarkably however, upon their conversion to Christianity, these people recognized the need to eliminate these “natural man” tendencies and made covenants with God to do so. At the close of their story, we are told that they had distinguished themselves from the other Christians because of their “zeal toward God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ…and they did look upon shedding the blood of their brethren with the greatest abhorrence…” Many in fact gave their lives because they refused to arm themselves even when their families were attacked by their enemies.

As this example illustrates, it is possible to exercise the faith necessary to put “off the natural man” and gain complete control over our thoughts and actions in all situations. Doing so requires a change of heart. The power to make these changes has been made available to each of us through the Atonement of Christ.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Breakfast with Tay

I didnt' work today. For various reasons.
Started the morning instead with my family.
Actually, started the day a little ahead of my family. Three of them take full advantage of every minute of beauty sleep (look at the results, how can I complain about that?) and Jayson's just lazy.

Thought I would clean the kitchen and living room before Jess got up. I made dinner last night and didn't get it all cleaned up. When Jess got home from shopping with Tay, I made her come downstairs and watch a movie with me. It took all the strength she had to watch the movie with me instead of deep cleaning the kitchen. She's like that. I'm not. In the story of Mary and Martha from the New Testament, she's a lot like Martha. I'm a lot not like Martha.

When Jess and Tay got up, Tay came down all ready for school and had breakfast with me. First grade is such a fun stage in life. She doesn't have a care in the world. Her biggest decision today was whether she wanted the school-provided cheese sandwich lunch or a mother-packed lunch from home. Every day Jess tries to talk her into eating school lunch. Every day Tayler chooses cold lunch from hope, usually a seve course meal packed with love. Today was no different. She opted for the Jessica special. Tough decision complete.

Let the fun begin. She told me about four jokes during breakfast--each one followed by her trademark giggle. What a happy girl.
Unfortunately, the carpool honked. Tay grabbed her backpack and headed for the door. "See you when I get home Daddy! I love you!"

I showed Rylee the DVD I picked out last night for her and Tay. "Hannah Montana and Mylee Cyrus in concert". Big mistake. Had to listen to Rylee performing "It's the Best of Both Worlds" all morning long into her plastic microphone. Completely off key. Blairing the few words she knows at the top of her lungs over, and over, and over. She can hardly wait till Tay comes home and the concert starts. She tried to talk us into an early showing sans Tay, but it was a no-go. Jess wouldn't budge. Good try Rylee. Her natural tendency is to look out for number one.

Just for fun Jess sent Jayson out to see me in a diaper and muscle shirt/wife-beater. Yep--It's a white trash breakfast at the Dunroes. Look for him in an upcoming episode of Cops being domestically abused by Rylee. Course, she'll probably cover her eyes and put herself in timeout before the cops arrive. Our little self-disciplinarian.

Monday, August 25, 2008

So I was introduced to a website the other day that is really quite disturbing. It's called It's a site for catlovers. Catlovers with cameras. Catlovers who put things on their cats and take pictures. Catlovers who put things on their cats, take pictures, and then post them online for other cat lovers to view whenever they're feeling blue. One of my coworkers, a catlover, goes to this site whenever she is feeling down. Then she attaches "cute" kitty pictures to emails when she corresponds with her coworkers.

The pictures are bizarre. I saw a cat with a pancake on it's head. I saw a cat with a helmet (complete with ear holes) made out of an orange peel. I saw a cat with a plate of half-eaten food placed on the cat's side while the cat was sleeping. Truly remarkable. Not the cats, but the people who take the pictures. Better yet, those who go view them.

What's better than the pictures though are the "fun" little captions.

Picture a cat, wearing a small apron, with various kitchen utencils in each pocket, and an oven mitt on each hand (er, paw). The caption above reads (you're probably supposed to read it aloud in a little "Kitty" voice)....."If I have to make one more cupcake I'm gonna scream".
True enough, the cat does, in fact, look annoyed. Downright ticked off in fact. Maybe he's been forced, by a mentally abusive cat owner, to make one too many cupcakes. Or maybe, just maybe, he feels completely stupid wearing that darn apron with the tiny rolling pin and wooden spoon!

Or another...

A gray and white cat with an unsolved Rubix cube sitting on it's back. The caption reads, "Peanut is stumped".
Oh the hilarity.
The cat, once again, looks bugged. But, I pause to think. Is it because the Rubix cube is too hard to solve? Is it because the Rubix cube is on the cat's back and prevents him from sleeping 23 and a half hours a day? Is it because the cat knows very well how to solve the puzzle but lacks the opposable thumbs necessary to manipulate the cube? Or is it because he's tired of being called Peanut?

Or, the sleeping orange cat who seems completely unaware of the little black paper top hat that is balancing carefully on his head. 'nuff said. No need to even mention the caption. Oh, why not? "That's one classy top-hat, if I do say so myself". I get the feeling this one should be read with a tried and true adult male cat voice with a touch of "Foghorn-Leghorn".

I wish I had thought of this twelve years ago. I would have had the perfect picture. In fact, I could have done multiple pictures with our family cat Cookie.

I came driving up to my parents house one afternoon and two of my sisters were on the driveway looking very disturbed. When I got out of the car, they motioned for me to come over to them. "We think something's wrong with Cookie", one of them said, with obvious cat-lover emotion welling up inside. "We've been calling him and whistling for him, but he won't come". Well that was not like friendly Cookie to not respond when my sister Sherra would vibrate her tongue off the roof of her mouth in a high pitched shrill. When I looked in the back of the garage, I saw Cookie stretched out on the garage floor, with his eyes open and his mouth wide open, and one front paw in the air. He was obviously stiff as a board.
"Something might be wrong with Cookie" I informed them.

Now, if I'd had a digital camera and incredible forethought, I could have taken about fifty pictures right then and there.
Caption 1: "That antifreeze sure tasted good!"
Caption 2: (with Cookie placed in tight leather cat suit holding a whip in his front paws) "Halle Berry's got nothing on this Catwoman! Rawr!"
Caption 3: (with a little brown hamster sitting on Cookie's head) "Jerry finally got the better of Tom"

Sorry if I offended any catlovers with my story. You're right, it would have been terribly rude and insensitive for me to do something like that to poor Cookie...

Would've been way more respectful to pose him for those pictures while he was still alive. Too bad I didn't. Could've made Jordan's (who sits a few cubicles away from my office) day.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Calling off the Dogs--I mean Dolphins

Associated Press

Clearfield, Utah -- The Clearfield Blue Dolphins had their first game yesterday with their rookie coach. By Saturday morning at 10 am there was nothing left to do but play the game. Hours of game tape had been analyzed, weaknesses assessed, and strategies developed and rehearsed. Uniforms and schedules had been delivered Tuesday night and post-game snacks purchased. Grape Capri Suns had been chilled and transported to the field. It was show time.

The Dolphins are a rag-tag gang of five- and six-year-old soccer stars who arrived on the field with ribbons in their hair and the sweet nectar of competition coursing through their veins. Two of them are in their rookie season.
Hannah was shy and had a hard time leaving her mom. The other Dolphins had to be sent over to coax her out on the field.
Alexis (Lexy), also in her first year, was quiet and resolute. Very obedient and willing to do what was asked.
The other three played together last season. They had nerves of steel. There wasn't anything in the Clearfield Commission U-6 AYSO soccer league these wiley competitors hadn't seen before.

Isabelle (Belle) quieted the Purple Princess crowd 5 seconds into the game when she drove down the field and punched it in. Then she added another. (Moments later the Purple Princesses coach caught site of the earings Belle was wearing. That little showboat must have been trying to slide the bling past them all--probably knowingly--against league rules. Lucky they let her off with a warning. Next time she's sure to get carded.)
Rozlyn (Roz) added a couple more to the score. Coaxed on by her exhuberant dad, she celebrated with a handstand at midfield. Nearly cost them an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
First quarter ended 4-0.
The Purple Princesses snuck one by to start the second. Momentary lapse in concentration by the Dolphins. During the post-game interview, the coach took full responsibility of what he termed, "a lack of coaching preparation". He added, "it won't happen again".

Tayler (Tay) dashed the Purple Princesses new found hopes by nailing in three goals in the second.
Roz and Belle punished them in the third quarter and Tay and Roz finished them off in the fourth. Even the rookie Hannah finished a breakaway with a shot that narrowly missed (wide right). She also bounced back from a shoulder contusion that required a spur of the moment substitution and a little TLC from mom. Her teammates rallied around her. It was clear the overly aggressive Roz was sent in to punish the other team for knocking her new friend to the ground (she also appeared slightly annoyed to have to enter the game during her rest--and snack--period. But she reluctantly entered the game chewing a mouth full of cheddar cheese fish. Moments later she was begging for a drink.)

The rookie coach had a hard time calling off the dogs. He would send them back to play defense, but they would soon forget (or get bored) and take the ball down and score. It was difficult to hold back these fierce competitors without breaking their spirits. There was purple blood in the water and the dolphins could taste it. They had quite a day.

There was no Gatorade on the sideline, so someone (probably Jess) annoyingly shot the coach with a stream from a water bottle as the final whistle blew.
Final score was anywhere from 10, 11 (or maybe even 12) to 1.

Photo 1: The fire in their eyes was evident during the pre-game practice.

Photo 2: This little dolphin had a hard time following instructions from her new "soccer teacher", but ended up making her coach very proud in the end.

Post-game wrap up: Jess made me toss my twenty-year old pillow (see yesterday's post). Didn't sleep so well last night (might have had something to do with the dust mite nightmares). Hope it gets better from here. Also, Rylee informed her dad this morning that she will soon be big enough to play soccer and then her dad will be her coach "just like for Tayler". Oh dear. Look what we've started.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Pillow Talk

So, for the thousandth time in our seven year marriage, Jess hid my pillow last night when I got up to get a drink. Fun game - unless you're really tired.

The conversation that ensued resulted in another reminder of her irritation with my pillow. For some reason, I have to use a really firm pillow (Jess calls it a cinder block). She's bought me several "firm" pillows over the years, and we have amassed quite a collection. But to her dismay, none of them can replace the cinder block. I really struggle at times falling asleep in hotel rooms when we travel...Unless I bring the block.

In my household, I fit right in. Afterall, Rylee and Jayson have to take their blankets with them when we travel (Tayler used to back when she was five). I understand Jess used to fall asleep as a teenager rubbing her face with the corner of her childhood blanket (sorry Babe, I felt compelled to disclose).

I really have tried to move on and find a replacement but so far, nothing comes close. What can I say, I've always been a man of commitment.

But maybe now's the time.
Because last night Jess reminded me about dustmites. I have heard that a large portion of an old mattress is composed largely of dust mites. It hadn't really occured to me that my pillow may be a habitat for them as well.

My Google request returned the following:
"Beds are a prime habitat (where 1/3 of life occurs). A typical used mattress may have anywhere from 100,000 to 10 million mites inside. (Ten percent of the weight of a two year old pillow can be composed of dead mites and their droppings.)"

Ten percent of a two-year-old pillow? Mites? Their DROPPINGS? Ten percent? I wonder what the percentage is for a 20-plus-year-old pillow that weighs about four times as much as any "firm" pillows you can by in the store--and a good bit more lumpy too? A pillow I believe used to be white, but now, even after a good bleaching, is at best a dull gray.
Nice. Comfy.

So last night it dawned on me, "It might be time to graduate to another pillow."
I set the block aside and rested my head on the new pillow.
My head sunk down into the pillow. It was kinda firm. Kinda soft. Maybe this is what it's really supposed to be like. Maybe the pillow is supposed to give a little and let your head settle in. Maybe it is supposed to conform slightly around your head. Maybe I could get used to this...

Maybe not.
I lasted about 23 seconds.
Tossed the new pillow onto the floor and grabbed the block. Sweet taste of Heaven.
I was out cold in minutes.

I'm gonna need some help. Maybe a 12-step program.
On second thought, 'do the mites really look that bad?' If you blur your eyes a bit, they kinda look like a very small turtle.

I have a feeling ol' reliable is about to get tossed by Jess. So here's a picture of my pillow without the pillowcases. Keep in mind the couch is tan.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Olympic Dreams

I was awakened last night abruptly about 1 am due to severe lower intestinal discomfort that required immediate attention.

However severe the discomfort, it paled in comparison to the annoyance I felt when I realized I wasn't really competing in the gold medal match in co-ed (apparently, since I was in board shorts instead of a tiny bikini) beach vollyball in Beijing with my teammate Misty May. I was playing out of my mind too. The gold medal was ours for sure.

Interesting, with my love of swiming, that I wasn't anchoring Michael Phelps in the 4 x 100 freestyle relay against the French instead. After all, I am clutch.

Maybe it's better though. My intense lower intestinal discomfort in the middle of a crucial olympic relay leg may have muddied the water a bit for Michael Phelps and his quest for the record 8 gold medals.

Wardrobe Malfunctions

Don't worry, put your TiVo remotes down. No Janet Jackson-Justin Timberlake impersonation going on here. Just noticed a recent trend of malfunctions in my wardrobe at work.


Went to the gym before work. Trying to start the day with a metabolic boost.
Only one problem. Packed up all my work clothes--Salmon-colored shirt, matching tie (best I can tell), brown/tan slacks, belt, patterned brown socks, FORGOT MY DRESS SHOES.

Nice. The gym isn't right next door. And I didn't feel like losing another 20 minutes so early in the morning (plus there was a huge negative emotion associated with going back home, then retracing the path I had already taken back towards work last time I forgot my dress shoes). Yep. Embarrassed to say, this wasn't the first time this has happened to me.

So I proceeded to work accessorized (I don't think shoes are really an accessory, but I wanted so badly to use that word and I don't own a purse, man-bag, jewelry, or scarf) with my nice red Pearl Izumi running shoes. They look great--when you're wearing shorts, white socks and a T-shirt (or wife-beater if you're "that guy"). For the record--with a dress shirt, tie and slacks the red Pearl Izumis don't look quite as nice. I felt like the "keymaster" all day (you know, the character in the first Ghostbusters played by Rick Moranis with his highwater slacks and sneakers). Either that, or the night manager at a Wendy's or sporting goods store (minus the short-sleeve dress shirt).

Needless to say, "nice shoes" comments were tossed my direction all day. Thanks co-workers (and boss) for pointing it out to anyone who didn't notice on their own.

Wardrobe-related Highlight of the Workday: Taking a suit coat from a much smaller-framed co-worker (who had a job interview) and performing my version of Tommy-Boy's "fat guy in a little coat". The highlight wasn't my impersonation, it was Spencer looking at me strangely for 20 seconds and then suddenly realizing the suit jacket was his.

His response (about 20 seconds later than I'd hoped): "Is that my jacket?" (It just dawned on me. Might he have actually thought it was mine?)
Me: "yep"
Him: "OK. Now I'm just waiting to hear a tearing sound".

Thankfully I didn't complete the impersonation or I'd have had to buy a new suit for someone.

Wardrobe malfunction #2: Flying home from Boise a month or so ago on a Monday morning. Being picked up at the airport by a coworker and being taken straight to work. Belt buckle detaches itself from my belt at the Boise airport security line. Hiking my pants up and holding them with one hand the entire walk through two airports (one of them from the farthest point on the tarmac), and the stroll to my office (and every time I had to get up and sit down on the plane) in order to avoid terrified shrieks, awkward glances, and indecent exposure charges. Fortunately MacGyver here was able to round up some wire in my office (not sure why I had it) and jimmy-rig my belt so it would work for one work day.

MacGyver Side note: I failed however to fashion an explosive device out of a stick of chewing gum, an empty white-out bottle, a dry-erase marker, and an Intermountain Healthcare-branded hacky-sack.

Wardrobe malfunction #3: Two days after the belt incident, I realized during a trip to the restroom that my fly was open, even though the zipper was up. The darn zipper broke. I had to hold a folder in front of my nether-region and go from cubicle to cubicle quietly begging for safety pins. Thanks co-workers for not laughing too loudly and for having safety pins at your desk. Also thanks for the tip about putting the pants inside out before you pin the crotch shut so people can't see the safety pin. It worked much better the second go-round after your timely advice.

Interesting how many more times than normal you have to go number one in a day when you've safety pinned your pants crotch shut with five safety pins. Thank goodness for stalls in the men's room.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jens Nielsen Family Reunion

When you think of a family reunion, do you have the same thoughts as me???? ......

Relaxing at a park under the shade of an enormous maple. Eating original recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob, and Aunt Edna's homeade brownies. Reminiscing about old times with grandpa and grandma. Overhearing the gleeful giggles of nieces, nephews and younger cousins competing in potato-sack races. The occasional clink of a ringer, (or thud of a horse-shoe in the sand), as Uncle Jack passes on the family tradition of tossing horse-shoes to the rising generation. Catching up on the comings and goings of a multitude of cousins who seem as excited about your life as you are theirs?

Well, wouldn't that be nice...

The Jens Nielsen family reunion is nothing like this (and never has been as far as I'm concerned)--except for the KFC.
Each year in August, we make the long pilgrimage to the same park in Riverton. We even use the exact same terrace at the park. True the drive is only about an hour, but it seems like an eternity. It's amazing how time seems to stand still when you know your entire evening is going to be sucked down the drain and you don't have the power to bring it back.

My dad has one sister, who has one daughter. Their two families, and my hearing impaired grandmother who is rapidly losing the battle of senility (bless her heart), are the only people we know at the reunion. She might even be the only survivor from Jens Nielsen's immediate family. And we only chit chat with them for a few minutes. I actually don't know anybody else at the entire reunion. In fact, I wouldn't recognize any of them if I ran into them today and the reunion was only a week ago. For all I know, they could've been complete strangers who were playing at the park and happened to wander over for free lemonade and a good time.

So all my siblings (who live about 15 minutes from each other) head down to this park in Riverton to hang out together. Except for Brother-in-law Trent whose prayers were answered this year when his family offered to take him waterskiing (coincidently I'm sure) on the same day as the Nielsen reunion. That sucker. His parting words to my sister were, "I'll try to make it back in time for dinner." Yeah right. We'll save you some chicken just in case--the drumstick nobody wants. Well that's nice. We promised our kids Asha and Ty would be there for them to play with, but they went with Trent. All I could do was shake my head in amazement and ask, "Sherra, why on earth didn't you go with them?"

If my siblings are like me, the sole reason they go each year is to prevent a guilt trip from my dad (Tom). (The notable exception is Shane, my younger brother who couldn't care less what Tom thinks but noticed a couple of years ago that a couple of the Nielsen-related clan were attractive young women in their late teens or early twenties. What hasn't actually occured to him--at least I hope it hasn't--is that even though we don't know any of them, WE ARE FREAKIN RELATED!!!!) Tom rarely gets excited about any family outing--at least not with my mom's side of the family. But for some reason he gets real stoked about his Grandpa Jens Nielsen's family reunion. He pretends he knows some of the people there. But he never really introduces us to any of them. I believe it's cause he thinks we'll find out they don't really know who he is.

Of course, there is the awkward moment every year when Tom or Aunt Carol have to stand up and introduce us to everyone not looking up from their dinner. Seriously, nobody even looks up; everyone keeps right on eating. Except for me. That's usually when I have to run to the Yukon to get "something". This year I managed to need my baseball and glove right at the moment when the awkward introductions were approaching our table. Didn't even occur to anyone that nobody else had a glove. Nothing like playing catch with yourself at the Jens Nielsen family reunion. Jess didn't even realize I was gone. She was busy pretending to feed Jayson without looking up.

This year was even more fun. We got to help out. I actually have to give Aunt Carol credit for making this the best reunion in years. She put in a ton of work, but still felt obligated to follow the same format we've followed for years. Eat in your own family unit. Awkward introductions. Games for the kids. (Our game was easy. Jess is brilliant. We just dumped a bunch of candy and small toys all over the grass and called it a treasure hunt. It was over in 1 1/2 minutes. Kids were happy. So were we.) The grand finale--The annual door prize giveaway.

This is where Aunt Carol pulled way ahead from her predecessors. Everyone there seemed to love the door prizes. I lost my ticket and thus forfeited my door-prize eligibility. I never even went up to the table to see what was there. I just believe Jess's testimony that this year the prizes were better. My older sister Shelly was sure her number wouldn't get called. She had a gut instinct. So she went up to the front and monitored Tom (over his shoulder) as he read the tickets. Sure enough, hers was the only number not called. Supposedly. My hunch is it was called at one of the moments when she was standing up there not paying attention. She did dig through the pile of called tickets and still couldn't find it. Poor thing. She actually likes the prizes every year. Would've been a shame if her brother (or someone) pulled her matching ticket stub from the drawing before it started. Definitely would've been a shame.

My collection of door prizes from the past: a hand knitted afgan (not sure if I spelled this right.) A plastic tissue box holder decorated with pink and green yarn, coconut-scented Suave shampoo, and a tin filled with hard-tack candy. In years past, it hasn't really mattered if my number was drawn first or last, the prizes all typically seem more suited for women. Probably cause they're usually made by women, for women.

The door-prize giveaway came early this year, thanks to the pouring rain that cut the kids games short--in fact, ours was the last game prior to the rain. I asked Tom if Jens Nielsen would want us to continue in spite of the rain and dangerously close lightning. I was disappointed to find out Jens would have wanted things to continue--at least according to Tom.

Carol's only mistake--allowing Tom to MC. His humor attempts were ill-fated. At times he would overhear conversation from my siblings at our table and respond or comment about it through the microphone for everyone else's listening pleasure. Nice. Good thing most people just kept eating and didn't seem to hear him.

The positives: The food was good. So was the snowcone. Our game finished quickly. Kids seemed to have fun. Trent had a good time waterskiing. Nobody got hit in the face with the baseball bat my sister brought for the pinata. It ended earlier than normal (at least for us). Tom's stint as reunion MC is over. Carol can rest for another 5 or 6 years (she did waaaay more work pulling it together than Tom--which I guess is to be expected).

The best positive: I made a formal announcement to Tom that this would be the last Jens Nielsen family reunion my little family would attend (and I blamed it on Jess--because he likes her way more than he does me and won't hold a grudge towards her). Nothing like one full year of advanced notice. My guess is Jens Nielsen would've respected that.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Best Big Sister Ever

Last night when I got home from work, Jess was still suffering from a 48 hour migraine. After dinner I tried to get her to go upstairs to take a hot bath. Jess is convinced a hot bath will cure anything (probably even cancer). So I knew this is what she needed.

It was really easy to get her to stop trying to clean up after dinner and go take a bath. After I hog-tied her, carried her up the stairs over my shoulder like a 110 pound bag of flour and barricaded the bathroom door, I believe she took a bath (the girls at least reported that she was in there with a book).

I decided I should mow the lawn or my OCD wife would try to do it today while I'm at work. I asked Tayler if she would keep Rylee and Jayson busy playing in the yard while I mowed the lawn. She agreed. However, I was only halfway done with the front yard when I noticed little Jayson wandering towards me. Alone. Tayler and Rylee were nowhere to be found. So I stopped mowing, picked him up, and waited for Tayler to remember she left him alone. I also couldn't help but think 'she's got to be the worst baby sitter in the world.'

She came out of the house a minute later and didn't have time to say a word before I questioned where she was and how on earth she could leave Jayson alone. What if I hadn't seen or heard him over the mower and he wandered out in the street? She looked down at the ground and then explained that Rylee had fallen, cut open her knee and was crying and bleeding. So she hurried and helped her into the house so Mom could take care of her and thought Jayson would be OK since I was out in the yard too. "I thought I better help Rylee, Daddy".

Good one Sean. I backtracked faster than bulldog who thought he'd sniff a porcupine. "Tayler, you did the right thing. Thank you for helping Rylee". She played with Jayson until I was finished with the yard and then took him inside. When I came in, she was sitting with him on the couch with her arm around him watching a cartoon. "Tayler, you did a good job baby sitting. Thank you, Sweetheart."
"Except for when I left Jayson and went inside with Rylee."
"Nope. You knew I was in the yard with him. You did the right thing. You are the best big sister to Rylee and Jayson"

I asked her to run upstairs and get on her PJs. As she handed Jayson over to me, he leaned back towards her and opened his mouth. (Yep. He has a preference for open mouth kisses. Look out ladies. This little Dunroe boy likes to cuddle.) He kissed her right by her mouth. Even he knows what a good big sister he's got.

Tayler got a little embarrassed. "Daddy, sometimes Jayson tries to kiss me on the lips".

Me: "He's a little silly. I guess he thinks he needs to practice."

(Quizzical look from Tayler.)

Me: "Nevermind. Will you get Jayson's jammies too. And a diaper. And a throw-up bowl for Dad?"

Clarifying note: I have a very sensitive gag reflex. When the diapers are really messy, I often gag, and gag, and gag. Nothing more than that. Just gagging. Saturday as Tayler watched me change a severly messy diaper I gagged. "Do you want me to go get you a bowl Daddy?"
'Not a bad idea Tay'.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Smash This! French Guy

I doubt any of the two people who read my blog care much about swimming, but tonight the Americans won the greatest relay in history.
The French came into the 4 x 100 freestyle relay heavily favored to win. Their anchor is the current world-record holder and grade-A trash-talker Alain (surnamed something French). He promised his relay team would "smash the Americans". On paper, the French were heavy favorites. In Michael Phelps quest to beat Mark Spitz's olympic record for gold medals, this was predicted to be the toughest conquest.
Phelps led off with an American record time but the French passed the next two American swimmers and held a half-body length lead heading into the final leg. The problem was the US anchor, Jason Leizak had to try to catch the current world record holder Alain "trash-talking" (French last name). Impossible. Especially after Alain extended the lead to a full body length heading into the turn.
However, Leizak did the unthinkable. He caught Alain in the last 10 meters and touched him out at the wall. Leizak swam the fastest 100 meter relay split in history. The Americans destroyed their own world record and beat the French by .07 seconds. So long Frenchies! The Americans celebrated the unbelievable win. The French stood silent in dazed disbelief (then promptly surrendered).
It really was something to behold. Amazing!

Sunday Thought -- Holiness to the Lord

After a wedding reception at the Lion House on Friday night, we took a stroll by the fountains and saw the temple just after sunset.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Child's Prayer and Father's Wisdom

Tonight Jess and I were reflecting on a classic child prayer from a few weeks back.

Since Tayler pierced her ears, Rylee has repeatedly told us that she's not going to get her ears pierced. She's also realized that she can easily hurt Tayler's feelings by telling her that she doesn't like her anymore. So she says that a lot. A few weeks ago Tayler was talking about how she was excited to get baptized when she turns eight. In typical defiance, and to frustrate her OCD older sister, Rylee informed Tayler that she was not getting her ears pierced and "not getting baptized".

That night as Jess and Tayler knelt in prayer, Tayler sincerely pleaded with the Lord, "please help Rylee to accept the gospel and be baptized". (The way Rylee has been acting towards her lately, I would have expected the prayer to be, "Please help Rylee to stop being such a snotty little brat").

Last night Tayler came into my room crying because Rylee was being mean to her and telling her that she didn't like her anymore. I asked Tayler if she really thought Rylee didn't like her. She didn't really seem to have an answer. I tried another wise Fatherly tactic, "Don't worry about it. She doesn't mean it. If you act like it doesn't bother you she'll stop doing it." (My originality as a father is quite astounding. My kids are soooo lucky I can come up with such brilliant, thought-provoking anectdotes?) Tayler went away, slightly disappointed, I'm sure, that I didn't have more to offer. As Tayler returned to the bathroom where she had previously been verbally insulted by her three-year-old sister, I heard Rylee calmly ask, "What Daddy say Tayler?" (She wasn't the slightest bit worried that she might be in trouble. Merely curious as to what I had to offer.)

Tayler's answer demonstrated the deep impact my words of wisdom often have on her life. "I don't know."

Another Tayler classic: One night before bed Tayler and I read some scripture stories and she asked me a question about a church-related topic. I explained the gospel principle to her, and shared with her my feelings about it. After I finished, she looked at me for a moment longer and then added, "Daddy, you say those things in the name of Jesus Christ amen". Apparently, Tayler recognizes a testimony when she hears one and apparently has been listening a bit in sacrament meeting as she colors pictures for Jess and I.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Back to Work

Well, the Dunroe family is back from Utah's Dixie.
We spent a week baking in the sun and swimming in a very cool pool. We had absolutely no agenda and so we just relaxed. It was awesome. I love my family. We had such a great time together. The girls were sad to come home.
We also got to see our good friends the Millers. Sure miss not having them a block away.
I was supposed to work on my project for school but only worked on it for an hour and a half. Sweet! I barely feel guilty. Well, I guess I do now, but I didn't then.
I worked out every day for 2-3 hours and only lost two pounds. But I'm trying hard not to be discouraged.
Had to work again yesterday. I was a little rusty at it after a week off.
But developing health insurance products is a lot like riding a bike...

For the first time.
Without training wheels.
With no helmet, no knee or elbow pads.
Wearing shorts.
With a dad that's too slow to keep up once you take off.
On an asphalt parking lot with a plethora of sharp little rocks.
It's a good time.
The best part is, my scabs should be healed just in time for another ride on Monday morning.

...And if my collar bone still hurts like mad this time next Friday, my dad may take me to the Instacare for an x-ray. After all, why pay the $25 copay if it might get better on it's own?

Random insurance thought:
Shortly after my mission, I played tackle football with a bunch of guys on Thanksgiving day. I broke my arm in half. My friends took me to the nearest hospital. My dad met me in the ER with my University of Utah Student Insurance plan info in his hands. The nurse figured out it was broken when she asked me to move it (the fact that I told her I heard it crack wasn't enough of a clue, she had to move it and make the bone stick out for herself), so they were waiting for an orthopedic surgeon to come in to treat me. I was a little dizzy from the Demerol drip they gave me to dull the pain. My dad didn't say much when he got there. After a few minutes he looked up from the insurance papers and said, "If we leave right now, and drive up to University hospital, you might save a couple hundred dollars".

Who could blame him? University Hospital was only a half hour away (and the Demerol was making me dizzy).