Thursday, March 28, 2013

My Spot

My wife thinks I'm autistic.  She had me take a test online.  The test totally said I'm not autistic, I just have a few autistic tendencies.

One of those tendencies is that I like some things a certain way.  I get used to a certain uniformity in my life.  I  can handle a lot of chaos as long as my constants remain constant.

Here is one of the constants that really should remain constant.

My Spot
This can really be divided into sub categories.

First and foremost is my spot in front of my computer at our house.  This is where I sit.  I can see the TV from there, I can play on my computer.  All is well in my spot.  Every once in a while, Robyn feels the need to use my computer.  I usually stand next to the chair and whimper until she moves.  If she doesn't move, I resort to twitter.  Like this tweet:  "I bought my wife 2 computers and she is still using mine."  Not that anyone on social media can make her move, but at least I feel better when I'm sharing my pain.

The second spot is my spot on the couch.  I only need my spot when we're watching movies.  So Robyn should appreciate that I'm not as bad as Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory.  In fact, I appreciate that Robyn watching Sheldon has made her more tolerant of some of my OCD tendencies.

The last spot is my spot at the dinner table.  My spot at our own dinner table is undisputed.  However, we often go to Sunday dinner at my Mom's house.  I have a spot there as well.  Recently,  we were spending Sunday night with Robyn's family and a family member sent me this amusing picture:
Aside from the fact that Mellen is smoking, my Dad is so hungry and Delta is growling, in the corner you can see that Zack is in my spot.  Naturally, I sent him a text.

Aren't you so proud of me?  I didn't even ask him to move.  That is love.

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Skinniest My Wife Has Ever Seen Me

This morning I stepped on the scale and had a happy moment.  The little viewport said 270 pounds.  That is an important number for 2 reasons.  The first is that the last time I started dieting was in 2011.  I lost about 20 pounds and got down to 271, then I had a relapse and remembered how much I like eating more than I like exercising.

But this means I have officially surpassed the success of my previous attempt.

The second reason is that 270 is lower than my weight was on my wedding day.  That means, I have officially erased the last 4 years of weight gain.  In addition, I am now the skinniest my wife has ever seen me.

Look how cute I was back then

Lest you be confused, I will state plainly that 270 means I'm still a large individual.  I still have a long way to go.  So Robyn and I decided to come up with an incentive program to help us (but mostly me) motivate ourselves to continue striving to be more healthy.

We have a portion of our budget that we use for saving up for toys for both of us.  We decided that account will be the official motivation account.  We both had to devote some of our personal fun money to that account as a buy in for our new motivational program.

The above paragraph is a long way of saying that I don't get Google Glasses until I get down to 250 pounds.  It should be noted that my goal for this year was 250 pounds anyway.  Since Google has said that they will be releasing this fantastic gadget by the end of the year,  I thought it would be a fitting motivator.

Fun fact:  The act of losing weight coupled with the act of buying Google Glasses will make my hair grow back.
I'm hoping that when I buy the glasses, they will allow me to keep my own eyes and not force me to steal someone else's eyes like I did with the badly photoshopped picture above.

There are other goals and rewards set up to help me continue to make progress beyond that point.  But I will write more about those when they are closer.  For now, let's all just get excited for the geek with the super awesome wearable computer on his face, who weighs 20 pounds less than the geek who is writing this blog post right now.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Truly Awesome: Peanut Butter Eggs

Easter is in about a week and a half.  There is a miracle that occurs every year around Easter time.  This is not to be confused with the miracle that we are celebrating at Easter time.  This is more along the lines of one of those things I really like that I call a miracle, to make it more dramatic.  I'm glad we cleared that up.

But let me be clear, this is the best miracle that will happen this year.  (It's important to read the "let me be clear" part of that sentence in your best Obama voice, since that's his favorite phrase.  Go ahead and do it now.  I'll wait.)  (Although, if Google glasses come out this year, I may change my mind and decide they are the year's best miracle.)  (Yes, that was two parentheticals and this is the third.  Deal with it.)

The miracle I'm referring to is the miracle of the Peanut Butter Egg.

Look at that precious little miracle

To understand this miracle, you first need to understand that Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are among the world's most delicious treats.  (Almost up there with bacon.)

After understanding that first eternal truth, next you need to understand the miracle of the peanut butter ratio. I have no empirical data to back this up, but I'm convinced that the shape of the peanut butter egg allows a higher peanut butter to chocolate ratio.  In fact, I'm convinced the egg has more peanut butter than any other Reese's product and they've perfected the optimal ratio, making it even more delicious than its cup shaped cousin.

Look at all that Peanut Butter.  That's the magic of the egg.
Unfortunately, this year I'm trying to lose weight.  (The above picture is from a previous year's indulgence in the deliciousness.)  I've decided I'm only allowed to have a few of them on Easter Sunday.  But that will make the small indulgence even more enjoyable.  I will cherish every second.

I recommend that if you have one Easter treat, make it a peanut butter egg.  They are, in fact, truly awesome.  I mean look at the happiness they bring.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Pi Day 2013 Observed

Every March there comes an important holiday.  This holiday is a special day where geeks everywhere can gorge themselves and feel intellectual while doing so.  It is a celebration of homophones, of ratios, and baked treats.

Of course, the day I refer to is Pi Day.  Since pi is approximately 3.14, that makes March 14th (3/14) an excellent day to celebrate.  However, the key to the celebration is the delicious food that happens to share a pronunciation with everyone's favorite ratio.  That delicious food is pie.

This year, we were attending an adoption chat night on the actual Pi day.  So we decided to observe pi day on Saturday.

Robyn got these festive flyers from one of her coworkers.  They helped make our celebration even more awesome.

She also set things up to make everything aesthetically pleasing.  I've been celebrating pi day longer than I've known Robyn, but she definitely improved the look of the event.

She even made pizza pie as an appetizer before all of the other pies arrived.
Of course, after people started coming, we ate pie, and of course the pies were judged and awarded.

First place received a 15 dollar gift card so they could buy pie.
Second placed got some baking supplies so they could make pie
Third place got a protractor, a ruler and a notebook so they could calculate pi.

Top right: first place, caramel pear pie.  Top left: second place key lime pie.  Bottom left; third place apple pie.  All were delicious
Robyn labelled my cup so no one would steal it.  I'm a QT Pi.
After all the pie, we hung out and had a good time.  We did important things like grill my friend Kayli about her love life.  We tried to convince Dann to wager money on his lazer tag skills and I even made a baby cry. (I was trying to congratulate him on his table clearing skills.  He wasn't happy about it.)

The most important thing that occurred was budding romance.
These two are not dating, but they assured me that feeding each other pie was very romantic.

After half of the people had left, we remembered that it might be fun to get a picture.  So here are half of the people that were in attendance.
If you came and you're offended that you didn't make it into the picture.  Feel free to come by our house for a photo op with me and Robyn.

I'd say it was another successful geek holiday.  Now who's excited for Star Wars Day?  (May the 4th be with you.)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Things I Have Said to Sunbeams

Have you ever noticed that you find yourself saying the strangest things when talking to children?  About a year ago, I realized I had said some really abnormal things to our primary children.

I wish I had started sooner, because this list didn't get very long.  But I just noticed that it was sitting as a draft and since we teach 12 year olds now, instead of 3 year olds, I don't plan to add as many strange things to this list.  (Although, sometimes with 12 year olds, it can get even more strange.)

So here are some of the strange things I said to our 3 year old primary children in our last year of teaching them:

  • "Don't suck on your knees"
  • "You need to walk with your eyes open"
  • "Don't sit on your play doh"
  • "Watch out for the walls" - This one was a warning that they often repeated to each other.
  • "You need to walk forward"
  • "You are not a tiger"
  • "You need to keep your clothes on"
Now that we teach the 12 year olds, the most interesting thing we say is "put away your electronics during the prayer."  They are very similar to the 3 year olds in many ways.  Both classes are like herding cats.  But at least the 12 year olds don't suck on their knees, they keep their clothes on and they are fully aware they are not wild animals.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Capture Torture

Recently I was at a big family dinner with several of Robyn's siblings and other family members.  We had finished partaking of various delicious food items and were discussing important things like wicked witches, aliens and dragons.

My eight year old niece came into the kitchen, took my hand and informed me that she had a very important game for us to play.  I followed her into the living room and asked her what we were going to play.  "Capture, torture" was the reply.

Any game that has the word 'torture' in it, is not usually one I would select to play.  But, I thought, perhaps it was just a poorly named game.  So I asked her how we play.  The rules are simple: "You try to capture me and after you capture me, you torture me."  I suppose the game actually has the perfect title.

If I'm going to play a role, I need some back story.  I talked to her a little bit and she helped flesh out my character.  I was to be a troll sleeping in a cave.  My niece and nephew were exploring the cave and they come along and wake me up.  Upon waking, I capture them and torture them.  I'm motivated by my desire to sleep, but also by my love of torturing children.

Often when I play with these two, the game starts out with me sleeping.  That originated from the fact that a sleeping monster is very similar to a sleeping Jeff, so it's a pretty easy role to play.  I can usually lay on the couch and emit an occasional growl, which is sufficient to send them running in gleeful terror.  Then I get to sleep another 15 minutes or so while they develop the courage to creep back into my lair.

Apparently, that strategy was not to my niece's liking this time.  After a few minutes, she let me know in no uncertain terms that there was way too much sleeping and not nearly enough capturing and torturing.

I had to up my game.  I can't let the word get around that I sleep too much when I should be torturing.  (Have you heard about Jeff?  He hardly ever captures or tortures.  I hear he sleeps nearly twice as much as he tortures!  How embarrassing!)

So I turned it up.  I busted out some serious capturing.  That's the easy part.  

The hard part is the torturing.  I'm not too familiar with torture.  I'm sure there are many strategies out there, but it's just not a subject I've studied.  I decided to try eating the children.  I mean, getting eaten alive sounds pretty unpleasant to me.  

I quickly learned I was wrong about that assumption.  After pretending to eat my niece's arms, followed by her legs, she told me, "Eating is boring.  Do a different kind of torture."

I considered water-boarding.  I wasn't sure how well that would go over with her parents.

Next I tried tickling.  That was also unacceptable.  "No eating.  No tickling.  Try sitting on us, or trapping us with your arms."  She is pretty picky for someone who requested torture.

Finally, I discovered something that worked for all of us.  I held her up in the air and she would squirm until she could get out of my grip and fall to the couch.  

I'm not sure if that form of torture would be sufficient to get terrorists to talk, but apparently it's the ideal torture for an 8 year old girl.
"I'll tell you everything.  Just don't make me squirm until I fall on the couch."

Here are the important life lessons I learned from playing "capture, torture"
1.  Torture is awesome.  Kids love it.
2.  Sleeping is not an activity that trolls should spend much time doing.
3.  If you are a sleeping troll, eating people is hardly a deterrent from being bothered.
4.  There's a right way and a wrong way to torture.  Doing it wrong is embarrassing.

I hope you all can learn these important lessons without making the mistakes I made.

P.S.  This is a non-political piece.  I don't want to hear your thoughts on torturing terrorists.  If you have thoughts about torturing little girls, those thoughts are welcome.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Your Favorite Posts of 2012

I like numbers.  They make me happy.  So I thought I'd examine the number of views that were associated with all of my posts last year.  I figure that's how you all voted for your favorite post.

I know that it's not entirely fair since January posts have had much longer than December posts to acquire views.  But you should know that the lowest views for the year was My Moment in (10% of) the Sun which was in June and only had 38 views, (apparently you guys hate solar eclipses).  So there were plenty of posts after that one that did just fine.  Plus, I waited all the way until March to give the December guys a chance to shine.

Without further ado, here are the top ten most viewed posts of 2012.

1.  Truly Awesome: Face Juggler (2052 views)
Everybody loves iphone apps that make good looking pictures atrocious.

2.  The Arm Folding Evangelist  (1964 views)
Sunbeam stories are always crowd favorites.  Who doesn't want to read about little girls that dance through church and preach about folded arms?

3.  The Time the Wind Blew my Wife's Clothes Off  (1551 views)
This one may have gotten a bump from google searches by people looking for something a little different.  But it's a great story.  I've even gotten permission from my wife to laugh about it.

4.  An open letter to I15 Construction Workers (1026 views)
I have great gladness that the construction has finally ended.

5.  Hawaii in Pictures  (416 views)
Who doesn't love Hawaii?

6.  Why My Coworkers Smell Like Hot Sauce  (388 views)
It's important to shower condiments on your coworkers.  That's how I roll.

7.  Road to Hana Part 2: The Pipiwai Trail and beyond  (360 views)
You should hike the Pipiwai trail.  It was worth the massive blister I got.

8.  Fun Facts About Hawaii  (238 views)
More Hawaii.  I'm noticing a theme.

9.  Bad Guys Eat Garbage  (212 views)
Primary kids always share such insightful things.

10. The Road to Hana  (207 views)
You guys really like to read about Hawaii.

There you have it.  The top ten are primarily about Hawaii, but there's some goodness from Primary Kids, some awkward moments, and just a dash of ranting.  You guys probably don't care about the numbers as much as I do.  But I find them fascinating, and since it's my blog, you got to partake.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Help us Start our Family

Robyn and I have a little announcement.  For the past 6 months or so we have been going through the process of getting ourselves approved for an adoption.  I haven't mentioned it on this blog.  I didn't know exactly when it would happen, so it was easier to write about other things.  I may go back and tell that story, but today I'm asking for your help.

This past weekend our case worker let us know that we have been approved for an adoption.  They put our adoption profile on their site and we are now eligible to be chosen by birth parents for the blessing of taking one of Heavenly Father's children into our home.

Here's where we need your help.  We have made this a matter of much prayer and fasting.  We strongly believe that it is the Lord's will that we begin our family in this way.  However, we need help getting the word out.   Please share this post or just our adoption profile (or both, if you like).  Please share them on Facebook.  Please tweet them.  Please blog them.  Please pin them.  Please send them by text message, carrier pigeon, sky writing, smoke signal, message in a bottle or any other method you can imagine.  (Notice they are listed in order of effectiveness.  We would prefer a Facebook share over a message in a bottle.  But we'll take what we can get.)

You never know who in your life might be contemplating the difficult decision of adoption.  So please help us get the word out to as many people as possible.  It may be someone you know.  It may be a friend of yours that sees this and thinks of someone they know.  The more eyes we can get in front of, the better chances we have.

Unfortunately, I can't offer you anything tangible in return for helping us.  I can just say that life is a miracle.  Adoption has 2 different miracles involved.  There is the miracle that is inherent in every birth, and there is the miracle that connects us with the birth mother who will change our family forever.  I offer you the opportunity to be a part of a double miracle.

Aren't we just too cute to not share?

If you know someone who is interested, here are some links to get to know us better.  (Note: The first 3 are just different parts of our adoption profile at
1. Our letter
2. Our photo album
3. Our Getting to Know Us section
4. Our Family Blog (A blog Robyn started with the specific purpose of being a place where prospective birth mothers could get to know us better.)

Thank you so much for helping us!  We are so excited to bring a little one into our home.  We also look forward to making a birth family part of our extended family.

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