Tuesday, December 30, 2008

We're back!

We went home to TX for Christmas! It was a really busy visit. We didn't get to spend enough time at home, but real life calls. We were soooo sad to leave everyone and come back to the snow and ice, but I probably got more sleep last night than I did the entire time at home!


We went to Round Rock for some dental work, six flags, Cheesecake Factory, looking at Christmas lights, shopping, church, watched movies, ate lots of junk and also lots of yummy food, and had lots of fun.
Christmas Day
Resting the day after Christmas
Chocolate B-day cake
Jack's B-day party
In the Christmas presents from Aunt Carrie
Sweet little cousins

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Somebody takes after his Dad...


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Poll

Thanks for those of you who voted in the poll. Sorry to keep bothering everyone with this stuff but it's just so important to talk about. Everyone picked either 10 or 17 countries that our military continues to maintain a presence. Your optimism is outdone only by our government's ceaseless spending and reckless foreign policy. The reality is that our military is currently in 130 countries. Any country we have ever been in for a war related reason (or practically any other reason for that matter) we have never left. We continue to operate military bases in peaceful ally nations where frankly we have no business being. Kind of shocking huh? No wonder our implicit federal budget deficit is over 53 trillion and growing at breakneck speed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This week in pictures

You really don't need to specify a week or a day for that matter, playing with trains is a constant.
Addie is getting to be very smiley. It's a lot of fun to talk to her and have her respond with something other than spit up.

Carrie, Colson and Griffin came over to play. It was really fun to have them here again. Jack LOVES his cousins.

We had a pretty decent snow storm over the weekend. Turns out that Jack really enjoys the snow.



This was Adeline right before we left for church.





Thursday, December 11, 2008

Run baby Run!

Does this look familiar?
video

You're thinking it does look familiar, but why? I'm sure if you have kids you've seen a run like that many times. But you might also be thinking of this...

You don't need to watch the whole video to get the idea.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On the way to Communism

Over recent months my mind has become increasingly troubled with the direction in which we are headed as a country, the wars we will have to fight and the future we are giving our children. I spend as much of my free time as I feel I am able in learning about what true liberty is and I regret to say that the report is horrifying. If the saying is true that “evil prevails when good men do nothing” then the good men are definitely doing nothing, and lots of it.

Some of you who will read this have likely already been turned off and will not finish reading this or simply just don’t care. This is not to say that what I specifically have to say is ground breaking, but taking a step back to see where we are as a supposed republic is paramount. I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about how to awaken people to a sense of patriotic awareness on this front. It is difficult, near impossible I would say to get the masses of Americans who have been blessed with so much to show even the slightest bit of interest in what is becoming of our nation. People will stand in lines for hours to get in to the latest Harry Potter movie or buy the newest version of the Wii but you would be hard pressed to get people to try and educate themselves about the gravity of our current political plight.

Recently I purchased a copy of the Communist Manifesto and have been reading it along with several other books outlining the essential fundamentals of liberty or, in the manifesto’s case, the antithesis of liberty. I feel both are important to understand.

The ten points of the Communist Manifesto are as follows:

Here are the 10 measures the proletariat will use to bring about the full realization of the communist utopian dream, once they have the political power:
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.


I hope someone is beginning to see what I’m talking about. We have, as a nation, fully embraced several of these communist doctrines and are in the process of adopting the rest. The greatest travesty of it all is that even if everyone were fully aware of this, and I feel that on some level most people recognize this, it would not be motivation enough to get off the couch and do anything about it.

In addition to this here is a piece of audio recently aired on the Glenn Beck show but it is the former Secretary of Agriculture (under Eisenhower) Ezra Taft Benson



“Unwise legislation, too often prompted by political expediency is periodically being enacted that seductively undermines man’s right of free agency, robs him of his rightful liberties, and makes him but a cog in the crushing wheel of regimentation which, if persisted in, will end in dictatorship.” David O. McKay

Monday, December 8, 2008

Family Time...Fun?!


On Sunday after church we tried to take some family pictures for our Christmas cards. It wasn't the best experience we've ever had. I love this picture because it pretty much sums up the whole experience. I'm having a good time, Jack has had it, Addie is sleeping, and Eric is trying his hardest to look like he's having fun.

Mmm, Mmm, Good!

A few days ago, Evanston had a Lighted Parade. I was excited because I thought Jack would really like it. So we bundled up the little ones and headed out.


This is Addie in her little outfit that is supposed to fit babies up to 3 months old. You probably can't tell, but her legs don't even make it half way down. I guess that's good news because it will probably fit her longer than 3 months.


The newspaper said the parade was from 6-7. When we got there we realized what they meant to say was 6-6:15. We missed all of it, but I did manage catch a glimpse of a pretty awesome tractor covered in Christmas lights. So the lighted parade has made it on our list of things to make sure we do next year since we missed them this time around. We still wanted to do something Christmasy (I realize that's not a word) so we went home, started a fire, and had hot chocolate. This was Jack's first mug of the chocolate goodness. He loved it! So much so that he threw a fit when he drank it all and found out he wasn't getting a refill.



I love how when your plans are unexpectedly changed you still manage to have a good time. Tantrum or no, we had fun!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Common Sense

One of my absolute favorite things about living where we do is common sense almost always prevails. I love that, especially these days where things seem to be so confused and turned around. Along those lines, here's a story:

One day I was at Staples (one of my favorite places to feed my office supply addiction) and I was perusing the pen isle when I saw it. It was the perfect solution to all my work related pen problems. It was the NASA pen that can write upside down, in freezing temperatures, through grease and dirt and underwater. This was perfect for when I'm outside in the winter trying to write some notes about a house and its snowing or raining or I get hit with a ball of grease dropped from an airplane. This pen has been very good to me over the past few years and I often brag about it when I get the chance.

Well, one day last winter I was measuring a house and writing on my file folder with my NASA pen, and it was snowing. The homeowner was helping me measure (for some reason people always think I need help measuring, but in reality it's a thousand times easier when I measure solo) and he asked about the ink in my pen freezing. I took the opportunity to tell him all about my precious pen and how it is superior to all other pens in the case of snow storm writing. I told him all about how it can write in virtually any condition. I'm sure I went on in some detail and at length about my pen.

This gentleman was the prototypical Wyoming man. He had a deep, gruff voice and his words were few and thought out before they left his mouth. He asked if he could see my pen, and I gladly handed it to him. He examined it for a short time and asked if I wouldn't mind telling him how much I paid for it. I told him and he grunted out a "hmm" and handed it back to me. I suspected there was more to that response and asked him what he thought. He replied: "Well, I would have just used a pencil."

Needless to say, I don't brag about my NASA pen so much anymore.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Go Go Go

video

We recorded this a while ago and re-watched it last night and it just struck us as really funny.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Some Random Pictures

This place is in the Uintas. I thought it a little ironic to have a nudist ranch in a place where you will freeze to death 9 months out of the year and every evening if you're not wearing clothes and lots of them.



Just like in the movie Cars, they moved the highway and it died.

Ill advised mullet. I only wish my cell phone camera had better resolution...apologies.

Monday, December 1, 2008

He is almost 2

Jack has always been really good about not getting in to what we ask him to leave alone. With that said, he is beginning to find out how to tear things apart when he's left alone or we have our backs turned.
video

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Things I have learned

My job often has me traveling to neighboring towns and the nature of Wyoming is very few people spread way out. So often these trips will take 10 or 12 hours give or take a few. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not travel alone. I always have my good friend Dr. Pepper riding shotgun and filling my bladder repeatedly throughout the day. Well, one thing leads to another and I find myself going to the bathroom more often than I would were I just at the office or at home and because I'm out and about I have to use bathrooms other than my own. I'm a guy and Wyoming is sparsely populated so #1 usually isn't much more than a brief stop along side the highway at a ranch exit or something. #2 does cause problems here and there though. I have had some experiences that have given me wisdom that I would like to pass on. To anyone that may find this offensive, hi, my name is Eric, we may not have met.

#1 if you are going to pee along side the highway, make sure that there is not a frontage road you are facing when offloading.

#2 if you find yourself forced to drop a deuce in a port-a-john this is a very helpful tip. Create a landing pad with the toilet paper to prevent back splash, keep in mind that this is usually single ply so feel free to use as much as makes you comfortable, trust me, it's way better than the alternative.

#3 If you have a choice between a men's room, ladie's room and a family room always pick family room.

#4 if you are going to use the bathroom in a vacant house, make sure the water is turned on.

#5 if you are going to use the bathroom in a vacant house make sure you lock every door possible before someone could find you ill prepared to greet them while copping a squat.

#6 if you are going to use the bathroom at a vacant house where you know the water has been shut off, and against your better judgement you decide to go ahead and relieve yourself outside, behind a shed or something, you know, where no one can see you....make sure no one can see you. Especially an unsuspecting homeowner or neighbor.

#7 in my rather extensive experience in this field of study the order of preferred places to go is as follows: public government building (libraries are great), office buildings, higher end grocery stores or big box stores (if its before 12noon), vacant residences (provided they are equipped to meet you needs, water, tp, doors to lock, etc.), outside, port-a-john, gas station.

#8 I find it quite useful to always have wet ones on hand. You never know what you might run in to. Alongside those, some disinfectant wipes.

#9 If you are ever forced to go in an open container, make absolutely sure you have a means whereby to dispose of said container immediately. Take a tip from the truckers and huck that thing out the window if you have to (i know you all have seen those pee jugs alongside the highway) don't worry a nice scout troop or some inmates or someone will get it later.

I guess that's it for now. I'll be sure to pay attention and let you know if there is any other bits of knowledge I should pass along in the future. Hope this is helpful to someone someday.

If you have a tip for me, please share. I'm always looking for the latest and greatest.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The kiddos


Jack and Addie were playing together the other day and this is what it looked like. Jack was putting stickers on Addie to make her pretty, probably cause he always sees his mom putting stuff in her "hair".

Jack also missed his nap the other day and zonked out on the couch which was surprising because it was in the middle of a rousing episode of the Backyardigans.

video

Friday, November 21, 2008

Really?

There are some things that no matter how hard you try, I just don't think you can convince me that it's art. This is one of those things. I don't think that it's worthy of the wood its carved in to, much less to be the focal point of the entry way. This is the first thing you see when you enter this house. Although I did like how these people staggered the plaques to give the wall some vertical movement.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Jamey Johnson

I don't know how many people really like country music. I listen to country a lot. You've heard the reasons why before. Anyhow, I think this is the best song on the country radio these days. I love it. The good man's name is Jamey Johnson and for anyone still looking for a Christmas gift for me, I wouldn't hate it if I got this fella's cd.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Addie Smiles

Addie smiles now. Not just the gassy kind, the real deal...and it's cute.

video

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Manifesto

I fear the greatest of all atrocities is playing out before our very eyes. That is the government is slowly but surely stripping us of our rights, liberties and ultimately of our happiness. What was once a prosperous republic founded on true principles has become a confused and floundering near-socialist nation uncertain of its future but certain that change is necessary. I might add that this was a similar political climate in which the people of Germany gave power and rights that were theirs to a ruthless tyrant bent on oppression and undisputed rule.

We are at a crossroads and I fear that what once upon a time were the good intentions of our elected political officials have become untrue and unfounded principles that sell what is good for the silent majority to quiet an outspoken minority.

It is overwhelming to have witnessed in my short life the rapid decay of a great many of the true principles whereon this country was founded. Principles over which blood was spilt and the lives of too many liberty loving people were laid upon the altars of freedom.

Once upon a time in recent past an honest and hard working individual would be rewarded for his ingenuity and efficiency. How rapidly we have come to the point where such traits are punished. Individuals and ultimately companies and corporations are punished with unrighteous taxation burdens, lawsuits and the like for having provided us with the goods and services we have demanded and in which they, as being free market participants, have fulfilled. As if to say “How dare you! How dare you provide us with goods, services, jobs, benefits and economy. How dare you find financial success in providing us the things we have, as a free market demanded, let’s get ‘em boys.”

I, as an individual do not have a right to what you have earned. Unlawfully taking what you have is commonly referred to as stealing. The vice our federal government has so subtly placed on us is commonly called taxation. Frederic Bastiat called this “legal plunder”. He defines this as follows: “When a portion of wealth is transferred from the person who owns it—without his consent and without compensation, and whether by force or by fraud—to anyone who does not own it, then I say that property is violated; that an act of plunder is committed.”

We have allowed the government to create laws to take what you have even at gunpoint. Only then to redistribute this property to themselves or others who have not earned it. I say to those who have not earned it because generally speaking those who have earned property do not desire property that was plundered from other hard working individuals.

Promises are and will surely continue to be made to offer you and me security and safety from an uncertain future. “They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety” as stated by Benjamin Franklin.

Our federal government has grown to sizes never before conceived in the hearts of freedom loving individuals but rather in the hearts of socialists, communists, dictators and tyrants. I dare say that those who died in the Revolutionary War for the cause of an independent and free country would not recognize the bastardized political system we would be led to believe is the world’s most powerful “democracy”.

If they were willing to dump tea in to a bay, revolt against England and ultimately die for freedom from reckless taxation on some basic goods than what would they do if they suffered the tax burden we are currently under? More specifically income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, taxes on capital gains, death taxes, gasoline tax, marriage license tax, social security tax, vehicle tax, workers compensation tax, unemployment tax, school tax, etc. All of which have been enacted within the past 100 years and the list is sure to grow far longer and more onerous.

Ask yourself the following questions: What service does the government provide you in return for these seemingly countless tax dollars? What good or service does the government provide that would not be provided in a more beneficial, efficient and affordable manner in the private sector? What do you believe the government does well? Do you want the government in charge of more aspects of your life?

If you were to go in to a restaurant and wait 1 hour before you were seated, another hour before your order was taken, yet another hour before your food was given to you and in the end your food was rotten and grossly overpriced. Would you ever give your patronage to that establishment again? Surely you would not. You give money in return for a good or service provided in a reasonable and efficient manner. If your general expectations are not met you avoid interaction with them again and instead give your hard earned dollars to an establishment willing to meet or even exceed your needs. Yet in the very same instance we tolerate such behavior from our government. Not only this but we, the voting citizens of our nation, continue to give this government more and more power with every election cycle. Power to take more and give less. We contribute money in the form of taxes to our government in exchange for a good or service and we are continually disappointed with the outcome. When will this end? When will we come to the end of our tolerance for such continual mistreatment and misallocation of resources?

I write this not as a result of any singular political outcome or any scenario experienced with our government on a local level. I write this simply to point out how far we have come or how far we have fallen from the true principles upon which our nation was founded and to awaken the minds of those locked in a trance of apathy and procrastination searching for someone else to save them. Let us not fear the challenges of an imminent and uncertain future and sell our God given rights, liberties and freedoms in exchange for a false sense of security and safety provided by a political machine founded on false principles.

I do not fear the threats currently promulgated by enemies not of this country. I fear greatly however those citizens of this country who choose to not exercise their rights but instead give them away to seekers of power and authority offering within their seemingly arbitrary platitudes an ever growing government and further encroachment on our freedom. Let us remember the statement by Adolf Hitler “Make the lie big, make it simple, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.” To me this is representative in political officials promising us jobs, security and economic prosperity and in the very same breath vowing to destroy the very free market corporations that provide employment and drive economies. It could not be more evident to me that the government and its officials want to increase our dependence on it and reduce our ability to act for ourselves and receive the consequences WE have earned for better or worse.

We need change from our current political climate. Perhaps “change” is not as correct as saying we need to return to the fundamentals which made the United States of America the world’s most powerful and influential nation. I am a patriot and I believe that this nation was founded under God’s watchful eye and his ever merciful and benevolent guidance. I believe we have ceased to lend our ears to the inspirations of God and instead have given platforms to groups and individuals seeking their own special interests at the cost of our freedom and the greater good.

Samuel Adams said: “A general dissolution of principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy. While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but when once they lose their virtue then will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader."

Let us be seekers of truth, protectors of freedom and agents unto ourselves. “We should not give in to evils, but proceed ever more boldly against them.” (book six of Virgil's Aeneid)

D-town King

I don't know if there's anyone left in the world that doesn't already know that Eric is a Mavs fan, but if you haven't heard...he is. Its been hard to be a Mavs fan the last few years with all the disappointing/ridiculous losses. Sadly, this year looks to be more of the same. Even so, Eric will remain a 'real' Mavs fan 4 life. Our plan has always been to get back to TX one day so we can be close to family. We talked about the Austin area, but Eric recently informed me that we have to live close to Dallas so that he can make use of the season tickets that we will inevitably have. Lucky for him, I like the idea of being close to home.

Anyway, in the spirit of the NBA season starting (kind of a while ago now) I thought I would share a little ditty from the D-town King. He is a 6 year old rapper from Dallas. He wrote a song for the Mavs. It doesn't really ring true, but its pretty good anyway. I'm stealing this clip from a post of Taryn and Brady's a while back. Thanks guys for introducing us to Bentley Green.

Monday, November 10, 2008

30 Rock

I wasn't really a 30 rock fan, but I think its growing on me. On the last episode Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) explained how she gets out of jury duty by dressing up as Princess Leia. Its probably funnier if you see more of the episode, but this will have to do.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It is finished

It is finally done. Many of you who frequent this blog have likely heard about the "8th St" house. Well this is it and it's all done. This is where a good portion of my nights, all my weekends and holidays have gone for the past 11 months. It has been a good deal and truthfully it would have been done 2 months ago if it weren't for a certain plumber. Anyhow I know I've posted the "before" pictures previously but it's usually more fun if you can see the old and new side by side. In every case the pictures are of the same area of the house but maybe from a slightly different angle.




































It's difficult to see in the new picture but the bathroom is 2' wider and has a closet area not shown.




















when I got in to the framing of the kitchen I found that most of it was arbitrary so out it went. turns out there was about a 20' vault that was hidden so we opened it all up and now it has a lot of cubic space. also it was in the exterior kitchen walls that I found some newspapers from the early 1880's. There was also a full Ogden Examiner Sunday paper in one spot of the kitchen floor used to shim it up.















The house was not trashed like this, well it was, but there wasn't literal garbage on the floors. I just got ahead of myself with the demo before I got the camera out. You put a sledge in my hand and things happen, I can't help it.


































This is just a bedroom. The house must have been remodeled in the 60's or something when the mid-century modern windows were the cool thing to do. We made them big...again.















This shows how the kitchen and dining area were 3 separate rooms and are now 1 big room.

This was essentially a closed porch which we closed even more and made it usable footage. We also did this with what used to be the front porch, we changed it to an entry.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Because I thought you should know

A couple of random pictures I've taken over the past few months. A lot of the time I feel like people don't believe the stories I tell but pictures don't lie. I just wish I was quicker with the camera most of the time.





What is more effective than using a rake or your hands to remove leaves from you yard...a vacuum. I was hurrying so she wouldn't see me take this picture, so it turned out a bit blurry.




Sometimes the view from the office isn't so good.


Reverse campaigning.