Snow, Heroes and a Health Screening

This is a view of the freeway on a typical snowy day during the morning commute. However, there was nothing typical about our commute this morning. I mean, people were for the most part making intelligent decisions! People were driving a reasonable speed for a snowy morning, they were keeping a safe distance between cars and all in all, things were going very well! I couldn't have been happier with this morning's commute. Keep it up, Utah Valley drivers! And I'm very happy that it is snowing! We could really use the precipitation (I don't like the word moisture very much) and it's just not Christmas without a beautiful blanket of snow.

Volume 3 of my favorite show, Heroes, ended last night after only 13 episodes. While I'm disappointed with the length of this season--which can all be blamed on NBC's handling of the writers' strike and their pressuring of Heroes creator, Tim Kring to shorten up season 2--I was very impressed with the direction that the show has taken. Without giving anything away, the depth that they are giving to the relationship between the two main characters, Nathan and Peter Petrelli, is becoming very compelling. I really am looking forward to the next season, Heroes Volume 4: Fugitives. Until then, I'll keep going to for my fix.
Remember the movie, Gattaca? Well, in case you don't here is a synopsis of what the world of Gattaca is like: in the near future, nothing is left to chance. Parents don't have to worry about their children being born with defects, or not being smart enough, because they are engineered to be top-of-the-line. Because of this, all employers do DNA testing as a screening for employment, which means that as long as you have the right genes, you can get the job. This is starting to happen at my job. In order to qualify for the lowest cost of health benefits for 2009, I had to take part in a health screening. It only took ten minutes, and they say my employer will never see the results, but I can just see things getting more and more invasive and our lives becoming more and more controlled. On the plus side, though, the flabotomist that took my blood did a fabulous job. I didn't even feel a brief sting!
P.S. my finger is doing quite a bit better! I still have to tape it--and will for the next couple of weeks--but I'm already regaining some movement.

What a great day!

This has been a pretty eventful day! I was at work today when Chris called and told me he was on his way to the doctor. He ended up breaking his finger playing touch football at work. He's in pain, but he's fine. We went to the hospital this afternoon, and had an ultrasound of our baby! We are having a baby GIRL! I am so excited! I would have been happy either way, but a little girl will be so fun! She'll be able to have princess parties with all of her cousins. I just wanted to let you all know! It has been an exciting day for us! Have fun, and thanks for reading!

Lazy Blogging

I think I've had a rash of lazy posts lately, and this is one more of them. I saw this on SNL this weekend and thought it was hilarious! Kristin hasn't seen it yet since she was asleep beside me (cute, exhausted pregnant wife). Sometimes you've got to wonder about the sensationalist journalists like those on Dateline. In other news, we find out the gender of our baby tomorrow! We are so excited!

The Choke Award and the Unsportsmanship Award

The Academy of Choke Artists is pleased to present BYU #15 Max Hall with the Biggest Choke Award for the 2008 season. Hall threw 5 interceptions, had 6 passes swatted down, and who knows how many hurries. The Academy credits Hall with the Cougars' loss.
Up until the last Cougar offensive play of the first half, I really thought that BYU had a chance. They were standing up very well against Utah's offense and defense. It was a very competitive game! But once Max Hall was shaken up by that intercepted pass and personal foul, it was game over for the Cougars. Everyone else on the Cougars played a stellar game, even the secondary that has been plagued by injuries this season. BYU should have been keeping pace with Utah the whole game. It is unfortunate that Max Hall doesn't have the mental toughness to put a mistake behind him. He's shown it again and again this season, so I peg the loss mostly on him. Hopefully next season he'll be a stronger player mentally. He has great skill as a quarterback. Now he just needs to match it with an ability to shake off bad plays and show everyone that BYU is a BCS-caliber school. 
I can't wait to see my Cougars in action during their bowl game next month! I am predicting right now that they will go to the Armed Forces Bowl (the same bowl game that Utah went to last year).
The other award I would like to give out today goes to the Utes. We all know that there is a huge rivalry between Utah and BYU and that it is a heated one. But what happened when BYU was doing their ritual haka dance before the game was unacceptable.
The Cougars had just done their ritual haka war dance and Utes crossed over toward the other sideline for some words. Officials kept the confrontation to pointing and shouting and no players got close enough to each other to turn it physical.
That was the report this morning from USA Today. When I saw it happen, I was ticked! BYU does the haka in a very respectful way. They don't face their opponent when they do the dance. They just use it as a way to pump themselves up for the game. To see that Utah would try to pick a fight before the game had even begun was just low and classless, so I award them with the Unsportsmanship Award. Good job, Utes! You've really shown your true colors.

Last Political Post, I Promise!

I just wanted everyone to know that I am fair in my political views, and although I am very passionate and decided in my political views, I can also look at the politicians that I disagree with and see them as human beings. I was very impressed with this video of Sarah Palin. I think that she speaks very honestly and openly in her home with CNN, and sheds the thick fascade that she wore during the election. I just wish that all politicians could speak honestly and without spin all the time.

Giant Candy

I was reading one of my favorite blogs,, when I noticed this advertisement.

Here's the description beneath the image:

GIANT Gummy Bears on a Stick are equal to 88 regular-sized gummy bears! These deliciously large gummies are handmade in the US.

GROSS! Why would anyone want a gummy bear that big?

The BYU Cougars are making the 45 minute trek from LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo to Rice-Eccels Stadium in Salt Lake this saturday to face The University of Utah's Running Utes. The Cougars head into this game with only one devastating loss against TCU and some injuries in the secondary, as well as a possibly injured Tight End, Dennis Pitta, whereas Utah heads into the game with an unblemished record and a healthy team. Us Cougar fans have faced tough odds and beat them before, and I have no reason to think that this year will be any different!

My ward in Lehi is one of the most mixed wards I've ever been in as far as allegiances are concerned in the BYU-Utah rivalry, so I'm expecting to hear some healthy banter and predictions right here in the comments of this post! Just remember that we all have to see each other on Sunday, and we do want the Spirit to be present, so let's keep things civil.
Everyone else, please post your predictions too (and just because I don't have to see you on Sunday doesn't mean you can be uncivil!).
My prediction? BYU will fall behind early, and at the half will be down 10-21. In the second half, BYU will lay it on thick, and after a key interception, they will set their sights on the win. After a final play touchdown, the Cougars will win 44-42. Book it!
Go Cougars!

Tilt-Shift Photography

This is so cool! A classmate showed me these images that looked like they were macros (extreme close ups) of little model towns. He then showed me time lapse photography of one of these models moving. The video below is of a beach scene. But here's the trick: they're not models. These are real people on a real beach! Tilt-shift uses a special lens that severely limits the depth of field of an image, making it look like the subject of the photo is a macro scene. Here is the Wikipedia entry on tilt-shift photography.

This next one is my favorite. I think it perfectly captures the feeling of toys, but these are real, life-sized boats on the open sea. Bathtub II from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

Culprit Discovered!

I knew that with the amount of people that have already told us face-to-face what they think we're having, that the results couldn't have been that lopsided. The culprit confessed last night via text message. I respect the culprit too much to out them publicly. If he/she wishes to comment on his/her escapades, he/she can do so here, but this is the last I shall speak of it. The culprit, after seeing that there were only four votes for girl, decided it would be funny to make girl reach 1000 votes, which would have really scared us and made us privatize our blog if it actually did reach over 1000 votes. But it was all in good fun. But the culprit did apologize for ruining the fun. That was not his/her intentions. It is now just a week until we go in for the ultrasound. We are so excited! This is like Christmas, only we're even more anxious! We're like children on Christmas Eve. Kristin's little belly is really starting to poke out (I'll post pictures soon). We really couldn't be happier right now. Life is good.

Fun Ruined

Well, someone had definitely found a way to manipulate the poll. In an hour, it jumped 50 votes for girl, and 0 votes for boy. So, if you want to make a guess, leave a comment or email one of us, because I have removed the poll at Kristin's request. But we still want to know what you guys think! So please comment!

A Case of Vote Early and Vote Often?

I seriously can't believe that over 200 people have viewed our blog, let alone voted in our poll. That's more than 50% of the friends I have on Facebook—which would account for 99% of those that could know about our blog. If you have voted more than once, fess up. We're just kind of shocked by the numbers and want to know if any of you are just trying to skew the numbers for your own pleasure.

Don't worry, we're not mad, just very surprised by the numbers, especially considering that by far, the majority of people that we've talked to in person have said we're having a boy. I guess we'll find out in a week!

Make Your Guess!

Kristin is going in for her ultrasound appointment on November 25. We want to make sure that everyone that wants to can get their guess in before we find out. I'm putting a poll up here in a moment, so please, put in your guess and leave a comment if you'd like!

Tagged...8 Things

Cool! I've never been tagged before. And, despite Kristin asking me to do the 4-4-4 that Andrea tagged her in, I am going to let her do that one, since I wasn't tagged in that one. However, I was specifically mentioned in this tag, so here we go.

The Office
The Amazing Race
(four more. . . seriously?)
America's Funniest Videos
Myth Busters (I don't see this one very often, but I like it a lot)
Law & Order (this always used to be on at mom and dad's)
And one guilty pleasure. . . Wizards of Waverly Place (forget all about this one, please).
Happy Sumo
PF Chang's
Fortune Cookie
McGrath's Fish House
Macaroni Grill (very fond memories)
I went to work
I got a flu shot and though I wasn't the first one there (I had the first time slot—there were about ten people per time slot) I was the first one to have my paper work filled out, so I got my shot and was out of there before anyone else
I drank a vanilla soy protein shake for both breakfast and lunch (this will play a roll in a later activity—ewww, not like that)
I convinced a sick co-worker that she needed to go home
I stayed at work an hour late dealing with one of the most frustrating clients I have
I watched Survivor and The Office with Kristin
I worked out using our new Wii Fit, and found that I had lost an additional 2.2 pounds since the day before (thanks in part to the soy protein shakes).
I finished the evening by playing Wii Music for way too long.
The Holidays
The end of the semester
My dad's 50th birthday party
Our baby's birth
Our baby's firsts (first smile, first laugh, first tooth, first crawl. . .)
Getting a job in my field
Reaching my goal weight
A house
A biweekly maid to do all the deep cleaning
More time with Kristin
My own website for my freelance work
Travel outside the US
That more people would adopt the attitude that "I may not agree with what you have to say, but I shall defend to the death your right to say it."—I just feel that I can't express myself and my values in Utah County without having daggers thrown at me a lot of the time. It would just be nice to have a discourse without resorting to over-simplifications and name-calling.
Live completely debt-free
Win a 5K race
RaeLynn White
Shannon Heath
Mikey and Karie Peterson
Mae Miller
Mike Painter
Devri Granados
Jackie Sarager
Ryan Goulding

For the past several months, I've had a little lump on my back that has gotten larger. For a couple months, Kristin has told me that I need to have it looked at, but between work and school, I don't have much time as it is, so I put it off. Last week, though, it started to become tender, so I thought I'd better go get it checked out. I went in for my appointment today, thinking that they might schedule a time to have it removed, but to my surprise, the physician's assistant told me that the cyst that I had could easily become infected, and that she would like to remove it right then. She had me lay down on the table, told me I'd feel a small poke, (I didn't) and then she started cutting. I didn't feel a thing! In just a couple minutes, she had me stitched up and on my way. So, it was no big deal! But I was a bit nervous during it, because usually, if someone is going to have surgery, they have a few days, weeks or months to prepare themselves for it. So, that's my crazy experience of the day.

Looking on the Bright Side

Seeing what has been happening with the economy lately has been unnerving and a little scary. Because of the turmoil and uncertainty in the world around us, I was greatly looking forward to General Conference this past weekend. One theme that I heard repeated several times was the theme of enjoying the journey and finding joy in the little things of life. If our economic struggles continue and worsen, that will be more important than ever, because there may not be as much money to go around, so we'll have to do without our entertainment money, which will mean more time making our own fun as families and friends, which means more memories, more laughter and more joy and happiness. Whoever said "I want money" was very fundamentally screwed up. I want to talk about some of the simple things that I enjoyed this weekend.

  • Watching Josie do her excited dance.
  • Helping Josie brush her teeth even though it was really hard. It was just so funny!
  • Spending Friday evening with Matt and the girls while Kristin slept on the Love Sac at the Higley's.
  • Talking with my dad and Kevin after Priesthood Session.
  • Making breakfast on Sunday morning with Kristin for Richard Low's birthday.
  • Playing Settlers of Catan with Kristin, Richard and Kristine (and not just because I won for the first time ever!)
  • Participating in my cousin, Brian's baby, Hannah's, blessing.
  • Spending time with Brian, Kambree, Willie and Amanda after everyone else had left.

Sometimes, it's good as was repeated so many times during conference to remember how blessed we are. There are so many simple things that go on in our lives that we can be thankful for. Now, if I could just remember to take pictures...


I went to my 12 week appointment today, and met the doctor. He's such a nice guy. We also got to hear our baby's heartbeat! It was so exciting! It made this whole thing so real to us! The nurse said we have a stubborn baby already. She would put the doppler in one spot, and we could hear it really well, and then the next second it would be gone. The baby kept moving! Hopefully we'll have a really active baby! I just want to say how blessed I am to have the husband I have! Chris is so good to me. He really takes care of all of my needs, and it's been happening ever since we started dating! He's the best! Chris, you rock! I promise to get on here and write more. I'm still trying to get into this blog thing, but I'll try to do better! Thank you all for reading this!

Fun with PhotoShop and Photo Booth

My cousin Rae Lynn always has these really cool collages on her blog. I decided that I would make one of my own. Of course, it had to showcase my silliness. Enjoy!

From the Kalai Concert

This is Benton Paul performing At the Bottom.

This entry has nothing to do with me or Kristin or the baby. But in reality, it has everything to do with all of us. This morning, the House voted down the proposed $700 billion bailout to help rescue our embattled financial system. This is going to be a bad thing for all of us. The main reason why we study history is to learn from it. If you recall back high school U.S. History, there was a big chunk of time spent on the Great Depression. Everything that has been happening on Wall Street over the past couple of weeks is eerily similar to what happened on Wall Street back in 1929. I thought that we had learned a lot about the decisios that led to the Great Depression and had inacted measures to keep it from repeating. But, nearly eight years ago, when George W. Bush took office, he and Congress immediately set about deregulating Wall Street. We have been building up to this melt-down ever since then. George W. Bush and several key leaders from Congress had a plan in place that, while difficult to swollow, would have kept us from slipping into a worldwide depression. But the House of Representatives voted it down by 12 votes this morning, sending the Dow into a dive. As of writing this, the Dow is down 505.53 points.
I don't mean to sound all doom and gloom, but I just want to stress how serious this is for all of us. If this goes un-fixed, many people will lose their jobs, prices of necessities will go way up, and lots of people close to us will probably lose their homes because banks won't be able to take late payments or the inability to pay because of job loss or whatever. So, I am imploring (good word, eh?) Congress to reconsider their decision and pass this bill that will give us some breathing room. We don't have time to delay this.
Each of you have the power to prevent this from happening to future generations, and even the power to turn this around. Vote! Now I know that Kristin is going to roll her eyes at this post, but I just feel so passionately that every citizen of this country get out and vote for who you believe in, and who shares your values. If everyone does this, the shared values of Americans will be represented, and not the values of corporate greed and corruption.

The Kalai/Benton Paul Concert

What a fun evening! We all met up for dinner (Kevin and his date, Jenny Hansen, Kevin's roommate, McKay and his date, Amy, Richard, Kristin and I—Kristine wasn't able to come, unfortunately), which consisted of pizza and drinks, yum! After dinner we piled back into the cars and drove up to the Waterfall Amphitheater at Thanksgiving Point. It's an absolutely beautiful place to have a concert. Benton put on a great show, and his voice sounded great. He's going places, mark my words. Kevin always jokes that he'll always be able to say that Benton Paul opened for him, which is true. Nice little claim to fame to have.
Kalai later took the stage, and didn't waste any time. He started out withOn My Mind, probably his most well known song. He played a really energetic set, complete with the usual bluesy jam sessions that are always great to listen to. He kept us entertained with his humor, telling jokes in between any song.
To make things even better, they hadfree unlimited hot cocoa! Richard and I kept trekking up to the top of the amphitheater to fill our cups. It was great fun and we left the concert full and warm.
Kristine then met up with us and we watched Stranger Than Fiction at our condo across the freeway. All in all, it was a really good night.

I Believe Congratulations are in Order!

On Saturday, my best friend in the whole-wide world(apart from my beautiful, sweet, wonderful wife), Richard Low, called and I could tell that he was happy. I was pretty sure I knew what he was so happy about, but I let him share it without interrupting. He told me that he had just gotten engaged to his awesome girlfriend, Kristine Kirkeiner. I don't know the date yet. Hopefully I can get Richard to add a comment and tell me when they're tying the knot.

Kristin and I have had a great time hanging out with Richard and Kristine since they came down to BYU. Richard and I are childhood friends, and though we haven't lived near each other very much since about 1996 (I think), we've remained close. Richard was out at BYU after I returned from serving a two-year mission in California, and we had a great time catching up and going on more double dates than I can count. After he returned home to Indiana to prepare for his own two-year missionary experience, he started dating Kristine. She was in between semesters at BYU-Idaho, and continued to go to school there during Richard's mission. Just before he got home, Kristine put in a request to transfer to BYU in Provo, and it ended up working out! Kristin and I couldn't be happier for them. Congratulations, you two!

Come Enjoy a Great Concert

Next Friday (September 26th) at Thanksgiving Point, Kalai is playing with the very talented Benton Paul; a local musician who Kristin and I became acquainted with at a show he performed at Tahitian Noni. Our friends Mikey and Karie Peterson invited us to go, and we sure were glad we did. Benton's music is very original and can go from poppy to soulful. He puts a lot of emotion into his music, and you can tell he loves to perform. If you want an evening of good, mellow music; if you want to just lie next to your special someone and sip some hot cocoa; if you want to discover some great musicians that you may not be familiar with, then this is the concert for you. Kristin and I are going with my brother Kevin and a date; as well as my best buddy Richard Low and his girlfriend, Kristine Kirkeiner. We're planning on having a blast! We hope to be able to share this experience with more of you! To get the best price, go get your tickets at the Thanksgiving Point box office!

Feeling Truly Blessed

A couple days ago, the "Maintenance Required" light came on in our car and stayed on. This didn't worry me too much because the car felt like it was running fine, but I wanted to go in and get the car checked out soon to prevent any bigger problems. Money has been on my mind a lot more recently because we have a baby on the way, and from what I've heard, they aren't cheap! That's why I took the car to AAMCO because they offer a free computer diagnostic. Well, they were quickly able to tell me that it was a simple service reminder, but while they were at it, they checked the transmission fluid, which was filthy, and gunk was building up on the transmission magnet which helps keep the transmission clean. So I agreed to have the transmission fluid flushed and replaced. I walked out of there only 20 minutes later, feeling relieved and blessed. It wasn't very expensive, and if I keep on top of the transmission, having it serviced every year, this car will last us a long time. The car is paid for, so keeping it running well will provide us with a lot of value, which will mean that we can provide even more for our little one on the way. Life is good.

Remembering 9/11

It was weird to look up at my last blog post and see that the date was September 11, and realize that up to that point yesterday, I had not really even thought about the tragic events that occurred seven years ago. I think that everyone will vividly remember where they were and what they were doing when the towers were hit. I was sitting in the living room of my apartment in Ephraim, UT (home of Snow College) watching the Wonder Years, when my mom called and told me to turn to the news. I did and was at first confused about what I was seeing, and then suddenly shocked and numb when the footage of the second tower being hit was shown. I didn't go to school at all that day, but remained in my apartment watching the historic events unfold. My dad was in Philadelphia, PA on business that week, and I remember wanting to get a hold of him so desperately to know if he was okay, even though I knew he was out of harms way. It took until late that night before he was finally able to contact me. As I get ready to become a father, I have been thinking of how much my dad must have wanted to have me on the phone to let me know he was okay; how much he must have wished he could give me a big hug and tell me everything would be okay. Had I been in his shoes, 2,000 miles away from my family, that is exactly what I would have desired. Whereas at the time, in my selfish 18 year old state, I may have wanted to make sure he was okay, but I wasn't aching to be with my family as I know I would if it were to happen all over again. I'm very grateful to have Kristin, and have this little one on the way. Kristin commented this morning that she thought her tummy is feeling harder. She's "developing her shell" as she puts it. It's so exciting to experience each change, and having sat last night to reflect upon the terrible events that took place on September 11, 2001, it makes what is happening now in our lives seem so much sweeter.


You may or may not have heard of the LDS Church's User Experience Group, northtemple, but I have decided that it is my destiny to work for them. Something that Kristin loves about the idea is it will keep our family in Utah. Some of the things I love about the idea of working for them are as follows:
  • northtemple only hires LDS members, so I would be working with people that share my values.
  • northtemple designers go to the temple together once a week. Where else can you do that with your co-workers?!
  • Improving the layout, function and usability of any software/website would be rewarding, but being able to do so for my Church would be really cool.

I just contacted northtemple today, and was really surprised to get a response back within twenty minutes. John from northtemple told me the following:

We often discuss interaction design as containing 3 major components: 1) Business Analysis, the ability to understand, organize, and work within business processes and constraints. 2) Graphic/Interface Design, the designer needs to understand visual design principles, typography, layout, color, aesthetics, etc. 3) Programming, the designer needs to know how to put all of these together using the tools of the trade (HTML/CSS/Javscript).

The area of emphasis that I've been studying has probably had more to do with the business analysis portion of interaction design, but I am laying a foundation of all the things he mentioned as I trek through my classes. It is great to learn that I am basically on track to being a viable candidate for working for the Church at northtemple. It will keep my family planted in Utah, close to family and in a community where we would be happy to raise our children.

Don't worry, more baby news will follow!

My very first blog post!

Last night there was a girls night out with my mom's side of the family (grandma, aunts, sisters, my mom, and a cousin!). Anyway we went and saw Mamma Mia the sing-along version. The movie isn't that great, but the sing-along was fun! Haha! After the movie we went and got shakes. My sis Andrea helped me become the center of attention, which I hated. That was when I told everyone there that I'm pregnant! It was like a wave of Woohoos. It was pretty funny. This morning Chris decided we should tell everyone else. So here we are. I am feeling pretty good most of the time. I have good days and bad days though. It's a packaged deal though, and it's worth it for the end result. I'm 9 1/2 weeks along. I'm due on April 11th. Thank you all for your congratulations and support! We'll definitely keep you posted!

The Intake Appointment

Today was Kristin's first appointment with the OBGYN. It basically consisted of collecting medical histories, answering questions and doing some blood work. Kristin hasn't had the best experiences with needles, so she was understandably nervous. But she handled it like a pro! We'll find out soon how much we owe (I had no idea how expensive it is!) and what Kristin's blood type is. Luckily, I'm O-, so regardless of what her blood type is, she won't have to get shots. The reason that I waited to post this is it took us a couple days to decide we wanted to announce Kristin's pregnancy. But this is it! We are officially announcing that we are expecting a baby!