May 30, 2009

Summer Reading Program

Today was the "Grand Opening" of Provo City Library's Summer Reading Program. Since their would be limited supplies of t-shirts we decided to get there right at 9:00 am. Well, we almost got there at 9:00 am but we were there in time to get each boy their own t-shirt and to sign them up for the summer reading program.

This year the program is a time-based, try to be consistent with daily reading, program. So you set your own goal for reading each day, Monday through Saturday, and keep track of it on your special reading program chart. If you reach your goal then you get special prizes through out the summer.

Michelle and I both signed up for the adult reading program. Their rules are much stricter. First, you don't get the t-shirt until you have read at least 3 books. Second, the books have to be at least 100 pages. Third, you have to complete a book review to prove that you read the book in the first place. The nice thing about the adult program is that each week that you do read a book you get entered into a drawing to win a weekly prize. If you complete your 3 books (or more) you get added into the grand prize drawing (for a Wii system).

I'm excited about the program but I just need to find time to read the books. Michelle seems pretty confident that she'll get her 3 books read and that she'll be able to help the boys get their programs done too.

Angels & Demons

Michelle and I finally got to go on a date! Sometimes it seems so tough to find someone who is willing to watch 4 charming little boys on a Friday or Saturday night. But when we do find someone with such charm and charisma we take full advantage of it. Tonight we went to see the new movie "Angels and Demons." I have read two of Dan Brown's books and I have enjoyed them. Angels and Demons was the first book I read and The Da Vinci Code was the second book. I loved The Davinci Code so I wanted to watch Angels and Demons as well.

The movie was a fairly good representation of the book. I'll admit, I haven't read the book in several years but the movie followed the book as I remember it (mostly). The story begins with the death of the Catholic Pope and the abduction of the 4 Preferiti (the Cardinals mostly likely to succeed as the next Pope). Robert Langdon, an American symbologist, is sought out to help decipher the cryptic message describing the sinister plot to kill the Cardinals and destroy the Catholic Church leadership.

Robert Langdon quickly flies to Rome and immediately begins to decipher the message and find the clues that lead him to the 4 churches where the Cardinals are executed. The path leads Robert Langdon to the killer and in a dramatic ending, Robert foils the plots and the church leaders are spared.

While the action was great the executions were gruesome. So I don't anticipate seeing this video in my personal collection. The symbol below was supposed to appear in the movie (in my opinion) but it didn't so I included it here. I think this symbol is just too cool too be left out.

May 29, 2009

David's Kindergarten Memories 2008-2009

David officially finished his last day of Kindergarten today and is proud to announce that he is now a 1st Grader. He has already met his teacher for next year, practiced eating lunch in the cafeteria and is preparing himself for a full day of school (instead of just a half-day). To celebrate the school had their "May Pole" Dance Festival this morning. Unfortunately, I wasn't the only eager parent there and so I was unable to get any quality pictures of his performance.

As a parting gift, Mrs. Porter gave David (and the other kids in class) a "My Kindergarten Memories" book that has pictures of them through out the school year at various activities and situations. It was a very nice thing for David's teacher to do. Before the book got destroyed we scanned in each page so we could keep it long-term. Below are the pictures in a slide show.

While David doesn't appear in this picture I am pleased to announce that Wasatch Elementary School raised our country's colors each morning with the national anthem and the pledge of allegiance.

This picture was the only picture that actually turned out. Of course it is of the final pose of the dance.

I did manage to get about 30 seconds of the "Jell-O" dance. While it's not high quality it is fun to see these kids working hard to show what they have learned. David is in the very back of the group so you'll have to over-look at the great children in front of him.

May 27, 2009

SpiderWeb Marketing

I just stumbled across an amazing opportunity. It's called the SpiderWeb Marketing system. This system is a way to create "viral" marketing, getting people to tell people who tell people about you and your website, product (to sell), etc. The amazing part about it is that you can actually make money generating these leads for yourself!

I found this system while investigating ways to market and advertise on the Internet. After all, this economy hasn't been the greatest and the real estate market has made headlines with a lot of bad news. However, those of us still in the real estate game know that this is the best time to buy real estate in years. With falling prices and record low interest rates there may not be a better time to buy in your lifetime. So I'm trying to find as many buyers who would be interested in a home and recognize today's opportunity. In my search for better marketing methods I stumbled onto this SpiderWeb Marketing system that will market on autopilot!

As I researched this system a little more I found out that there is a business opportunity as well. Did I mention that the entire system is free with online tutorials to help you set up the marketing system? Amazing! Since there are 2 major opportunities here and since I just discovered this system I thought I would seek some feedback from you.

Please take a minute to check out my new marketing website and then let me know what you think. My website is I appreciate your perspective and look forward to your comments.

Do you have your own world-wide-web yet?

Choosing Happiness

On Choosing Happiness. What's your choice? by Jeffrey Gitomer

After is a self-defeating word. It robs you of the present, and resigns you to wait without taking any action.

You convince yourself that life will be better after something: After you get a new job, after you get a better job, after you get more money, after you get out of debt, after the economy rebounds, after your stocks go back up, after you get that big order.

You convince yourself that life will be better after an event: After you get married, after you have a baby, after you get a new house, after you take a vacation, after you come back from vacation, after summer is over, or some other action-procrastinating “after.”

Are you frustrated that the kids aren't old enough, and believe you'll be more content after they’re in high school or out of high school? Are you frustrated that you have teenagers to deal with? You will certainly be happy after they’re out of that stage. Certainly you’ll be happier after they’re in college, or is it out of college?

You tell yourself that your life will be more complete when your spouse gets his or her act together, when you get a nicer car, a new house, a raise in pay, a new boss, or worse, after you retire.

The truth is, the fact is, the reality is, there's no better time to be happy than right now.

If not now, when? After the economy gets better?

You may not be able to wait that long.

Your life will always be filled with challenges, barriers, and disappointments. It's best to admit this to yourself and decide to be happy anyway. Alfred Souza said, “For a long, long time it had seemed to me that I was about to begin real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”

There is no way to happiness.

Happiness is the way.

There is no after to happiness

Happiness is now.

Here’s the answer: It’s inside your head FIRST and everyplace else second. Happiness is a treasure. Your (missed) opportunity is to treasure every moment that you have.

Stop waiting until you finish school, until you go back to school, until you lose ten pounds, until you gain ten pounds, until you have kids, until after you quit smoking, until your kids leave the house, until you start work, until you retire, until you get married, until you get divorced, until Friday night, until Sunday morning, until you get your new car or home, until your car or home is paid off, until spring, until summer, until fall, until winter, until the first or the fifteenth, until your song comes on, until you've had a drink, until you've sobered up, until you win the lottery, or until the cows come home to decide that there is no better time than right now to be happy.

And treasure the happiness of now more because you share it with someone special enough to invest your time in...

Happiness is:

Not a sale or a commission.

Not an economy or a budget.

Not a yes or a no.

Not a game winning hit or a last second touchdown.

Happiness is a way of life that is inside you at all times. It helps you get over the tough times, and helps you celebrate the special times.

Seems pretty simple to define on paper, but real difficult to manifest when the chips are down. My experience has taught me the difference between resign and resolve. You can resign yourself to what is, and hope or wait for a better day. Or you can resolve that you are a positive person who finds the good, the positive, the happiness, the smile, and especially the opportunity in everything.

Happiness is now, not a goal or a destination.

It’s not an after, it’s a before.

And it’s up to you. All you have to do is: decide.

May 26, 2009

David's Home Art Gallery

David has been hard at work this year in Kindergarten. Part of his schooling has been learning about and doing various art projects. We were able to view the artwork of the entire elementary school a few weeks ago. But obviously, with so many art projects only a few samples of the art work could be put on display for any student. So David's teacher sent his artwork home and suggested that we set up an "Art Gallery" to display his work. So here it is...

Self Portrait (Crayon)A maskSelf Portrait (cut and paste)Santa ClauseElephantPlaying SoccerThe Seasons (Spring)The Seasons (Summer)The Seasons (Fall)The Seasons (Winter)

These art projects were inspired by some of the great artists but I couldn't tell you which artists. I just wanted to capture this great art before his exhibit is rotated into permanent storage.

I'm Not Sleeping...I'm Thinking

This morning I heard the pitter-patter of little feet but I was hoping to sleep all the way until my opportunity clock sounded. Since there wasn't any loud noises I wasn't too concerned and dozed back to sleep. That around 6:00 am. When I finally got out of bed at 6:30 am I found David lying on the couch with a couch cushion on his head. I commented, "you bed is more comfortable for sleeping than the couch," as I walked by. David, from under the cushion said, "I'm not sleeping Dad, I'm thinking." Well it's tough to argue with that logic, even at 6:30 in the morning.

Well, it wasn't to long after that when the rest of the family began waking up. So as I gathered the children together for scripture reading I discovered that David was deep in though. In fact, the thinking was so deep that he could not be roused for our family scripture reading and testimonies.

May 25, 2009

FHE Around the Campfire

Tonight we had a quiet evening around the campfire. At least that was the idea when the logs were placed in the fire pit. But the boys don't really do "quiet" if they don't have to. So our FHE was all we could do to keep the boys focused for a few short minutes. I'm sure that the marshmallows/s'mores for treats after FHE helped to keep the boys attention.

Each boy was able to show Grandma Jones that they could say their own testimony. Then we recited "The Family: A Proclamation To The World" or at least the first half that we have memorized so far. We had a very short discussion about baptism (because David gets to give a talk in primary next week about baptism). And that was the length of their attention span. As soon as we said the closing prayer the boys were off to play.

David had a blast throwing the frisbee and playing soccer with Aunt Cheyenne. Aleky thought it was great to hack everyone to pieces with the foam swords. Michael and Donovan played with random toys, roasted lots of marshmallows and tried to jump into the soccer game. Finally they resorted to throwing frisbees over the fence so they would "have" to go get them from the neighbors yard.

In the end, the boys managed to stay up an extra hour playing and eating marshmallows. They loved it. Now that the kids are in bed it is finally time to relax!

May 24, 2009

A Battle of Wits

When you're the littest guy on the battle field there is only one thing you can do. You have to use your wits, be smarter than the other guys. The battle of wits has begun. It ends when...only one brother is standing.

Outnumbered 3 to 1, Aleky settles on a simple strategy to take out his brothers...First, take out the easiest opponent. With one brother down the odds are a little more even...A finally, VICTORY! He has successfully defeated his brothers. The battle of wits has ended.

Catching up on my blogging

Now that we have church in the afternoon (1:00-4:00 pm) we have time in the morning that we need to fill with Sunday activities. It seems to me that writing in my journal (a.k.a. blogging) would fall into the category of appropriate Sunday activities. So today I am catching up on my partially completed blog entries. We'll see just how far I make it. But with entries still dating back to the end of last year I've got to start somewhere...

May 23, 2009

Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler Back Yard Party

For some reason I didn't realize that Monday was Memorial Day, a national holiday, until just a few days ago. So we didn't plan any cool trips or vacations. As Michelle and I discussed some options for this weekend we decided to see if any of our friends would also be here for the holiday. As it turned out there were a few friends that would still be in town; so we invited them over for a fire, dutch oven peach cobbler and some time to visit.

As it turned out the Cates, Andersons, Bunkers, Gibbons and Simmons were able to stop by and visit with us and share the peach cobbler. Even though the day was over-cast the rain didn't come until after we had finished visiting and had cleared all of the chairs and tables from the patio.

As we anticipated the number of friends who would be there Michelle prepared 2 peach cobblers. As it turned out, the first cobbler was enough to give everyone their first serving. The second cobbler was there for everyone to have seconds. Not everyone was up to a second serving so I get to have more peach cobbler this week.

As we watched the kids play we realized that he had 10 little boys running around the yard, having a great time playing with each other. 10 boys and no little girls! There were 4 Joneses, 2 Bunkers, 2 Andersons, 1 Cates and 1 Gibbons.

(Aleky engages in mortal combat)(While Aleky is fighting the boys are scrambling all over the playset)(The boys go jeepin)
It was an enjoyable evening with good food and friends. Of course our boys were up way past their bedtimes. By the time the boys had their baths and were ready for bed it was shortly before 10 pm! But they had a blast! And we did too.

Donovan had another rough night

Last night Donovan was having a really rough night. Even before he went to bed he was not acting like himself. He was quite lethargic and didn't want to do anything and he was quite annoyed if you asked him to do anything (like get ready for bed and brush his teeth). His breathing was becoming labored and he developed a slight temperature. We did our best to treat his symptoms and make him as comfortable as possible before putting him to bed.

Well, I'm sure it (the medicine) helped but Donovan was still awake every few hours screaming and crying for mommy. We gave him a couple more breathing treatments through the night and took him to the doctor first thing in the morning. Of course, he seemed to be feeling much better by the time he went to see the doctor.

The doctor seemed to feel that the bug was a virus and there isn't much we can do except to treat the symptoms and wait for his body to take care of itself. The bright side of the story is that he actually wanted to go see the doctor. And he got to bring home a couple of little prizes too!

May 19, 2009

Road Construction

It has become necessary to repair 900 East in several sections, including a section of road directly in front of our house. The boys thought this was a very interesting change from the normal day to day routine and spent quite a bit of time examining the workers and learning the process.

As fascinating as it was, I don't think any of them are ready to leave home and join a road crew. But it did provide some entertainment value and kept them occupied (but only for a little while).

May 18, 2009

Sleeping On The Job

Michael is trying so hard to be a big boy like his brothers. One of those rites of passage is not having to take a nap during the afternoon. While he does good on some days, there are other days when a nap was probably a good idea. Today was one of those days...too much day at the end of the energy.

Oquirrh Mountian Temple Open House

The Oquirrh Mountain Temple open house will be made available to the public starting Monday, May 4, 2009.  The open house actually begins Monday, June 1, 2009 through August 1, 2009.  Anyone can get tickets to attend by calling the reservation call center at 1-800-521-5105 or (801) 240-7645 or visit online at  Don't wait to see this beautiful temple.

This temple will be dedicated on August 21-23, 2009 (9 dedicatory sessions will be held).  The temple opens for ordinances on Tuesday, August 25, 2009.

May 12, 2009

We're Gonna Have A Baby!

Well, it's official. Michelle had a positive pregnancy test today. I'm pretty excited but Michelle is something close to ecstatic! She has been secretly trying to get pregnant since the beginning of the year; she wanted to surprise me on Father's Day (in June) with an ultrasound of a baby girl. Now we're hoping that we'll be able to surprise everyone with the ultra-sound by Pioneer Day in July (that's still pretty early for an ultra-sound to identify the gender).

Michelle has informed me that since she is going to be carrying the baby for 9 months that she gets to decide when we will announce the pregnancy to the world, or at least our friends and family. Our current projected due date is January 14, 2010.

The timing is ironic because we just discovered that Alexis and Autumn (my sisters) and Heather (my cousin) are all pregnant as well. Alexis and Heather are due around mid-November (when Michelle wanted to be due) and I'm not sure when Autumn is due but probably around the same time. I guess it is the season to be having kids!

May 10, 2009

Dutch Oven Dinner

We had a fun little dinner last night. Richard Anderson has some culinary genius somewhere in his genes and he was willing to share that gift with us. So he came over and cooked us some dutch oven chili and cornbread. Michelle wanted to contribute to the taste bud bonanza and made a dutch oven peach cobbler. To make a complete meal we invited the Johnsons to bring a salad and drink. (Now we just need some good firewood that is more burn than smoke!)

The Andersons brought over some chips and salsa for an appetizer. My boys loved the chips but they just weren't into the salsa. However, little Eleanor loved the salsa but wasn't into the chips. These kids certainly complement each other.

It was a beautiful day, wonderful food, and great friends. What more could you ask for? The boys thought it was great to have a fire and to be able to play in the back yard while we were out there too. But when it comes to food, well they aren't the best eaters on the planet. None of the boys ate their dinner. So what do you do when it's time to serve dessert? We caved in to the peer pressure and let the boys have dessert too.

May 2, 2009

New Popcorn Popper

A small tragedy caused us the loss of our popcorn air popper. It was a sad day in our lives. But we are learning to adapt to the trials of life and the challenges that are sent to us. So we resorted to the old fashion oil popper. The boys thought it was great to watch the kernels pop and fill up the popper.

After the popcorn was all popped we sat down to watch the Swan Princess. The boys have decided that it is one of their favorite movies.