Monday, April 27, 2009

Another Class Down!

Eric had another appraisal class, so off we went! This time, it was in Arcadia, CA. This was only a 2 day class, so we weren't gone too long, but we still managed to have some fun. The kids and I went to the arboretum the first day. The interesting thing about this particular arboretum is that they have wild peacocks running around. I thought it was pretty cool until I read a sign explaining that these are wild birds so we should use caution around them. That kind of made me nervous, but in the end they were fine. One of the birds got too close to Jack and he freaked out. I felt bad for him, but he forgot about it really fast and was excited again every time he saw a new one. They were everywhere. Sadly, I forgot to bring the camera so no pictures. We did, however, get some pictures when we went to Old Pasadena and the Farmer's Market. Both were really fun. Old Pasadena had lots of fun shops and places to eat. We had dinner at a place called The Kitchen. We had the best pizza!

We didn't get to experience too much of the Farmer's Market because it was an hour away from our hotel and we couldn't go until Eric got done with his test. So, we didn't have a whole lot of time before it was obvious that the kids needed to get back. The parts we did see were really fun. Jack, of course, loved the little trolley that ran through the market, and live bands always make things more interesting. There were a bunch of little kids dancing to the music. The atmosphere was so family friendly. We love that kind of stuff!

As we were leaving we thought, since we were in Hollywood, we should try to get a picture of the sign. We never did find it, but we did find lots of other things that we thought were fun. Kodak Theater, Grauman's Theater, Capitol Records, Hollywood and Vine, Beverly Hills, and TONS of really interesting people!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Go Mavs!

I love watching Jack watch Eric watch basketball. As previously posted, Eric is a true blue Mavs fan. That means that even though they haven't been awesome lately he stills cheers for them. The other night they actually had a good game, vintage Mavs. Eric was getting pretty excited and animated. Jack thought it was the coolest. He got up and started imitating everything Eric did and said. There were lots of fist pumps and cheers. Its another reminder to us that little eyes (and ears) are watching everything we do.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Happy Tax Day

There are a lot of upset people out there. Maybe you're one of them. There are literally hundreds of protests going on today (tax day) for people to show their discontent with the government, increased taxes, and especially federal spending and bailouts...I'm sure you've heard.

Does it matter? I mean we are going to pay our taxes right? Most of us are in fact afraid of men with guns. Most of us have already paid the piper - in fact we have it withheld from our checks so we never even feel the sting of paying taxes.

The withholding makes it difficult for a true tax revolt. The government already has our money.

So is the solution to clean house come election time? I used to think it was, but if you take a step back and look at the last 80 or so years the trend is in the same direction, no matter who the president is or who controls the house and senate or how many truth bearing legislators there are out there.

Don't get me wrong, of course we should try and get the best possible candidate in office. The one who will actually uphold the constitution and not just make a mockery of the oath of office.

I guess I should get to the point. There have been a dozen or more states asserting their 10th Amendment right to nullify any unconstitutional act performed by the federal government. In other words if a federal law is passed and a particular state does not like the law, constitutionally speaking they do not have to enforce it. In fact all states retain the right to secede from the Union as they wish.

It wasn't until Lincoln that seceding from the Union turned in to a bloodbath and since then everyone has been too afraid to try. But this is what the 10th Amendment resolutions are essentially saying.

In fact several states had, in effect seceded several times prior to the Civil War without any killing done to reunite the Union. It was always the intent of the founders to keep the power closest to the people and keep executives weak. Afterall they had just fought a war against an iron-fisted dictator, why make provisions for another?

Most of the power was to be held at the state level, not the federal level. The majority of federal power was to be held in the House of Representatives (the branch closest to the people), not the Senate or in the hands of the President.

If the people of a state don't like the federal laws being passed they should at a minimum not enforce the laws and potentially secede. Secession is not a bad thing, it is yet another check built in to the system. But as with so many of the checks and balances they have been removed or ignored to the point where we think it sounds strange when they come up. (Like how Article 2 Section 1 of the Constitution says the vice president should be the person with the 2nd greatest number of votes, not determined by presidential appointment).

This is one of the more doable solutions I have heard lately because surely, if one state had the moxy to even threat to secede there would be others to follow which would likely wake up federal politicians or give power back to the states.

Afterall whenever a government becomes destructive to the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, "it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundation on such priciples, and organizing powers in such forms, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience has shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security." - Declaration of Independence

Here is a great article about all of this.

Monday, April 13, 2009

When family comes to town ...

... Sarah and I kind of go MIA for a while, hence the lack of posting and commenting across ye olde interweb lately. Sorry about that guys. We stayed pretty busy over the past week though and it was so much fun to have some family in town. I have written and deleted about 4 posts so far about the past week and have concluded that you probably don't need/want a play by play so I'll just kind of run off a few things.

We did a half marathon last Saturday. The weather could have been better but we all finished without spilling our bowels (as far as I know), Congrats everyone. I think we all hope to do more and next time there will be some training involved before we tie on the race number and embark.

We went to the Sunday Morning session of General Conference and were so privileged to hear from God's living oracles. Being present in the conference center is something else, I never get tired of going. Even with all the hassle of getting through the crowds, the protesters and firming up a solid exit strategy, there is just a special spirit about being present there.
Sunday was also my birthday and we had a little shindig back at Grandma's house to celebrate. Thanks all for the gifts and the thoughts.

After that we were kind of able to just hang out and relax. Grandma pumped us completely full of awesome meals (ps. we will be featured on the Biggest Loser: Family Edition next season...look for us!) Dad and I went shooting one afternoon for a few hours and went through several hundred rounds of ammo, but that is always a good time.

The ladies organized a little Easter egg hunt in Grandma Great's basement for Jack which was a ton of fun. He caught on very quickly to the idea of finding the eggs, but not so much with the whole chewing and swallowing of the candy. He is quite proficient at shoving it all in his mouth though.

Sorry this isn't a more comprehensive post but thanks so much to Grandma, the Roper clan, Marsha, the Millers, and the fam for everything. We love you guys and look forward to the next time.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


A lot of you probably read my sister Amber's blog along with this one. She recently posted about her favorite band U2. Let it be said here that this is in no way a rebuttal to her post, but something that I have wanted to post for a while.

A gift/curse I was born with was an ability to quickly form an opinion and a mouth that often runs faster than my brain. I am certain that I have offended many and I'm not necessarily sorry that some have made the choice to be offended but I do apologize for my lack of tact and overbearance at times.

With that said...

U2 is responsible for some of the most important music of our time. For me it is like a parable, sometimes its just a good melody and you can nonchalantly sing some of the lyrics while at other times you can get way emotional with the song and try to imagine the scenes they are describing. Over the past decade or so I think they have failed to live up to themselves. Sometimes you get a song that is okay or a set of lyrics that I really like but seldom if ever both anymore. Hence the love loss with present day U2. I also have a hard time with the amount of hype that often precedes an album and when singles finally start to peel off and get radio play I find myself changing the station more times than not.

Anyway here's to the U2 of yesteryear and when their music made me feel something besides annoyance.