Dynamite! John Heder Wins LDS All-Star Survivor

Friday, December 22, 2006

Angie, Forrest, Amy, and Andrea - you guys rocked. Those were four of the most creative posts I have ever read. Each one of you made me chuckle as I read through your responses. I know several of you had to neglect work/family duties for extensive periods of time to post your responses, so thank you for having your priorities completely out of whack and dedicating valuable time to my blog.

Gladys Knight and John Heder tied with each receiving two first place votes. Three of the four postings had Gladys and John facing eachother in the finals, and John won in two of those three scenarios. I'll use that as the tie breaker and give John the title of sole Survivor, and winner of Survivor: LDS All-Stars.

Today's Challenge: Who Wins For "Best Survivor Posting?"
There were four outstandingly creative posts on this topic by Angie, Forrest, Amy, and Andrea. Instead of me arbitrarily selecting a winner, we will decide this in true Survivor fashion by casting secret ballots.

Vote for "Best Survivor Posting" by emailing me at goldgoat97@yahoo.com by Tuesday 12/26.
Any reader can cast a vote, even if they did not post a comment. The four participants can ask their friends, associates, relatives, or complete strangers to vote for them if they so desire and the person with the most points wins.

Each vote is worth 5 points. Those who posted the entries will receive 3 points toward your own total for casting a vote, but you cannot vote for your own entry. You can make alliances, post cryptic messages, say your grandmother is dead when she is really living in Florida, etc.

It's going to be an intersting night at camp. Now take your torches and head home.

Survivor: LDS All-Stars

Saturday, December 16, 2006

This weekend is the big 2-hr. Survivor season finale, which is one of the few t.v. programs that gets me excited every year. I am really pulling for Ozzie to win it all, though I am convinced that he is 1/3 man, 1/3 lemur, and 1/3 dolphin based on his performances in the challenges.

Whenever Latter-day Saints show up on reality programs I get a little bit anxious. As the narrator of Survivor, Amazing Race, etc. introduces all of the participants in the first episode and says, "...And then there is Nephi Jackson, a recluse Mormon cattle rancher from Kanab, Utah....." I start to fret, wring my hands, and think to myself, "oh, please, don't blow it, Nephi. You've got the whole world watching, just be normal, play it cool, and don't embarass the other twelve million of us." Sometimes it works out well, like with Neleah who almost won Survivor a few years ago. Sometimes it backfires, like with the drama queen from The Real World who got kicked out of BYU.

Anywho, as a tribute to Survivor and famous Mormons throught the world, I have simulated a full season of Survivor: LDS All-Stars. The remaining four finalists are:

1. John Heder - Star of Napoleon Dynamite. Has primarily been kept around camp because he uses the skills he learned during his Fishing Merit Badge to feed the team. He was also critical at keeping peace in the camp and diffused a tense arguement between Danny Ainge (Former NBA player and current Boston Celtics' GM) and Harry Reed (Democrat - Nevada, current Majority Whip) by saying in his Napoleon voice, "Gosh! Why can't you guys just shut up! This is retarded!" Everybody laughed, Danny and Harry hugged, and John's stock rose.

2. Gladys Knight - Legendary singer. Gladys has survived by being the mother figure to the rest of the group. Showing her southern hospitality, she is constantly making sure people are comfortable, have fresh water, and can cry on her shoulder when they miss their families. A touching moment was hearing her gently sing "Amazing Grace" as Kevin Rollins (CEO of Dell) lamented the recent 12% drop in Dell's stock price which cost him nearly half a billion dollars.

3. Rulon Gardner - Gold medalist in Greco Roman Wrestling who pulled off perhaps the most stunning upset in Olympic history by defeating Alexander Karelin of Russia. Affectionately called "Brother Bunyon" by the group, Rulon is the workhorse of the team. Always bringing back water, uprooting fruit trees trees, gathering firewood, etc. and he claims he's happy to do it. Tragedy struck when he "accidentally" stepped on Marie Osmond's leg on day 4, forcing Marie off of the show and into traction. Rulon's true self emerged as he confessed to the camera, "Marie was a bigger threat than a triple nelson. Rulon's here to win, and Rulon's got to do what Rulon's got to do".

4. Ken Jennings - Won 74 straight games of Jeopardy and pocketed over $3 million in earnings. Possibly the smartest man on the planet, Ken never blended with the rest of the group. On Day 1, Steve Young (Former NFL MVP) told the rest of the contestants, "We've got to get the walking encyclopedia out of here. He freaks me out, the way he just sits there and silently observes everything. You can just hear him thinking over there". Everybody agreed with Steve to get rid of Ken. Sensing he was on the chopping block, Ken orchestrated a massive arguement between Steve and Sherri Dew, which fractured the team and allowed him to slip by. Ken then found the immunity idol without even going to exile island (don't ask me to explain, the guy just figured it out, okay?) but had to play the idol when Kathleen Burton Clarke (Director of the Bureau of Land Management) organized enough votes against him.

There are two immunity challenges left:

1. Contestants need to eat 1/2 pound of live cockroaches, swim to pick up pieces to a puzzle, solve the puzzle, then build a fire to burn the rope and raise their flag.

2. Contestants are given a Church History quiz.

The jury will consist of:
-Danny Ainge
-Harry Reid
-Kathleen Burton Clarke
-Steve Young
-Marie Osmond
-Kevin Rollins
-Sherri Dew
-Jewel (Singer, allowed on the show though she has never been active)
-Orson Scott Card (My favorite author and fellow Greensboro, NC resident)
-Mitt Romney (Governor of Massachusetts)
-2 of the 4 remaining contestants who get voted off

Here is today's challenge:
Post answers to each of the three questions below:

1. Who wins the first immunity challenge and why/how?
2. Who wins the second immunity challege and why/how?
3. Who wins Survivor: LDS All-Stars and what shocking things take place that sway the votes of the jury?

Posts need to come in by Thursday 12/21 to be counted. The winner will get a special Jeff Probst-realted prize. Have fun!

The Sherwoods Shoot.....And They Score!

Monday, December 04, 2006

In the movie Hoosiers, Jimmy Chitwood goes absolutely nuts in a couple of the quick-edit sequences to condense a 32-minute high school basketball game into a seventy six second montage. Congratulations to Greg and Nicolle Sherwood for entering the zone and hitting nothing but net with their three nominations.

I still remember being a kid and watching the coach (Gene Hackman) design a play that uses Jimmy Chitwood (or "J-Chit" as he would now be called) as a decoy to free up one of his teammates to attempt the game-winning shot. All of the players stare off silently into the distance and then Jimmy says that manly line in his humble but confident tone, "I'll make it", which, of course, he does. That scene had such an impact on me as a boy that I even used it once when my little league basketball coach, Gary Norman, was designing our last second play. I looked him in the eye and said, "I'll make it", but I think my teammates rolled their eyes instead of smiled enthusiastically. Anyway, it was going to be my moment in time. I would become a legend. But, as often happens when destiny seems imminent, the ball was turned over before it even came to me. The Sherwood's other two quotes perfectly captured the essence of manly movie moments, so props to Greg and Nicolle.

Here are the other awards:

Runner-Up Award Winner: Forrest. Excellent nominations and the comment to mom about Stake Conference was a classic. Forrest could have won just as easily as the Sherwoods because he identified three truly manly moments. The Indiana Jones sequence that didn't even need words was particularly impressive. I gave the award to the Sherwoods because they nailed it with the Hoosiers reference. But should the Sherwoods have to relinquish the crown becasue of conduct unbecoming of recipients of this award, Forrest stands ready to assume the throne. So Forrest, just be patient for about three days and you'll be the new winner. Believe me, I know these Sherwoods pretty well.......

Bizarro World Award Winner: Angie. If the category were "Girliest Quotes Ever Muttered By She-Males" you definitely would have won. Unfortunately, we were looking for pretty much the polar opposite of nominations that led in with a quote on estrogen and finished with a reference to perfume. (But Ang, don't tell anybody this - I totally cried when Tom Cruise said "you..complete..me..." too! I thought I was the only one. Nice to know I have somebody with whom I can share my most intimate feelings. I will now go gargle peppermint Scope to combat the taste of vomit rising in my mouth....)

Goosebumps Award Winner: Andrea. Sure, Andrea has a decided advantage because she knows which movies I like and which quotes I use when I'm pretending that I can do more than six consecutive push-ups. "My name is Neo!" gave me goosebumps. If I could go back in time I would re-live the awkward day between being set apart as an Elder but waiting to enter the MTC. Each of those people who said, "Congratulations, Andrew!" would get a response of, "My name....is......Elder!" and then I'd fly away with my black suit coat fluttering in the wind.

The "I'm Glad I Live In North Carolina Award": Dave. I will not be surprised when one evening Katie Couric interrupts my regularly scheduled broadcast with a special report from Colorado. She will report that a group of scantily-clad, insconiderate Engineers have used robots and moon buggies to lead a bloody revolution in Denver. Good UHF reference, by the way. I actually watched bits and pieces of it two weeks ago when the college football game I was watching went to commercial. UHF was the Saturday afternoon matinee.

The "Proof that You Can Be Manly and Funny" Award: The Zents. Though not particularly manly, the "Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it" quote is classic. Jake, it's time to man up and use it on a student one day. And to answer your question, you are no longer the Presidents. A true President would not be worried about the reprecussions that could come from the principal for putting some students in their places. You've been impeached!

The "Trying Desperately to Prove Big Men Can Come in Little Packages" Award: Amy. The little guy on Princess Bride followed by a Kip quote? They are two of the non-manliest men in the world, though you did pull some good quotes from them. All you needed was some witty banter between Danny Devito, Billy Crystal, and Regis Philbin.

Manliest Movie Quotes

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sorry that it has been a while since the last post, but I'm in the middle of tithing settlement here.....

This week I have decided to let the Normal Mormon Husbands blog sprout some chest hair and bring up a subject that definietly has a Y chromosome in it somewhere. The topic is so manly, in fact, that the blog is actually beginning to grow some back and ear hair as well. So without further ado, let's open up the discussion on the Manliest Movie Quotes of all-time. Please submit up to three quotes of your own and the comment with the three best nominations will win the Manly Man award. I hope that all of my male readers come up with good recommendations since it would be embarassing for a married mother of several young children to walk away with this award.

I gave this about 45 seconds worth of thought and came up with my list of the ten manliest movie quotes of all-time, which are:

10. "For England, for home, and for the prize!" - Capt. Jack Aubrey, Master and Commander
9. "I play for the United States of America!" - Mike Eruzione, Miracle (about the US Hockey Team)
8. "It's only a flesh wound! Have at you!" - The knight on the losing end of the swordfight, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Classic.
7. "I know Kung Fu." - Neo, The Matrix (Cleanflix edited version, of course)
6. "Cut me, Mick" - Rocky Balboa, Rocky I
5. "My name is Indugo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." - Indugo Montoya, The Princess Bride
4. "If Coach stays, I play. If Coach goes, I go." - Jimmy Chitwood, Hoosiers
3. "Sweep the leg" - The Evil Sensei, Karate Kid
2. "If he dies, he dies" - Ivan Drago, Rocky II
1. "Wolverines!" - Patrick Swaze, Red Dawn

I remember as a teenager living with the fear that we would go to war with Russia. If you have never seen Red Dawn, it stars almost every young cool actor of the early nineties (Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Gray, Lea Thompson, and Charlie Sheen). When the US is suddenly invaded by a Cuban and Russian army, these high school students retreat to the woods and then singlehandedly topple the invasion. Their high school's mascot is the Wolverine, which they yell at very manly moments throughout the movie. I think my voice began to change the first time I yelled, "Wolverines" while pretending that my younger brother, two best friends, and I had become guerilla rebels who somehow saved the country with our .22's. This phrase was so moving to me that when Hunter High School was built and they asked for the incoming students to vote on the mascot, I voted for "Wolverines", which ended up being our mascot.

Best of luck racking your brains and coming up with something that can give the rest of us goosebumps.

All Hail President(s) Zent

Monday, November 20, 2006

The voting results are in and for the first time since Bill and Hillary we have a husband and wife co-presidential team in the White House. These results are final despite voting irregularities that took place in Oregon/Utah as Grandpa Hiatt was disenfranchised due to the move, so I'm sure this will go to the Supreme Court eventually. But until then, congratulations to Presidents Jake and Sandy Zent. The nomination of Mr. T as the SECDEF put you over the top. Here were some of the other notable nominations:

-Andrea: The Jolly Green Giant has always given freakishly tall people a certain amount of hope that we can live happy, fulfilled lives so thank you for nominating him. He would also be a good SECDEF since he could just step on rival armies a-la Godzilla and if the enemy was to blow off an appendage or something, he could just regrow it with some water and direct sunlight.

-Sherwoods: If you've ever seen the amount of mayonnaise that goes on my Cold Cut Combo at Subway, that is not normal either so I guess I can't get all huffy about your first comment (jerks!). Anyway, you had wonderful nominations until you isolated your German-American voters when discussing Mr. Burns and then angering them a second time by bringing up the Kaiser. Also, Groundskeeper Willie can't serve as Secretary of Agriculture because he is not a U.S.-born citizen. Rookies!

-Amy: You are always in contention to win any of these silly challenges and Bill Nye the Science Guy was my overall favorite nomination. You lost me with the Suze Orman quote, however, because if Enron, Worldcom, etc. taught us anything, it's that lies can actually create a whole lot of money. Even though the house of cards eventually crashes down, it could sustain itself at least long enough to get you re-elected.

-Angie: The comments about Forrest honestly made me laugh out loud. I'm sure that each of those of us in the Sweat family all got a chuckle out of the rest of them as well. I'll be honest with you, the odds were stacked against you coming into this Presidential race. You won the last contest among many cries of "Nepotism!" from other, more jaded readers. If you won two in a row after nominating only family members into your cabinet, all three of my non-family readers would revolt for good. Politics is an ugly game.

-Dave: You really scare me.

-Mom: You could really survive in politics with cutthroat comments like the one you made about Jay Leno. What happened? Did he make fun of people who have dozens of rooster-related items hanging up around their kitchens? I've been unaware of the Seagull Book & Tape and Desert Book broo-haw-haw but would only compare Sherri Dew to Janet Reno if her solution was to burn Seagull's corporate offices to the ground like she did with the Koresh compound or if she tried to deport their CEO like she did to Elian Gonzalez.

The 2006 Presidential Election

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wow. The Democrats now control the House and the Senate. Even though I am very politically conservative, I think this might be a good thing. For the past six years the Dems have had the luxury of just sitting back and saying, "Hey, don't blame us. The Republicans are in control of everything. All we can do is complain from the sidelines."

It reminds me of the Simpsons episode (before it crossed the line, of course) where Flanders coaches Bart's football team and Homer only shows up to the game to complain from the stands with taunting cheers of, "Flaaaaaaaaaannnnnnders! Flaaaaaaaaaannnnnnders!" Finally, Flanders climbs up the stands, gives Homer the clipboard, and walks away. Homer says something to the effect that he didn't want to coach, he just wanted to taunt the coach. Well, many of the playcalling duties now rest heavily upon the Democratic leadership that has been elected by a country that made it clear that it wanted a change in the political landscape. If only President Bush had access to the political equilavent of Nelson Muntz who could score socio-political touchdowns at will before being hauled off by Chief Wiggum......

In the wake of the election results Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is being replaced, which generates the topic of today's blog. If you were President of the United States, which three Cabinet positions below would you replace and with whom? The person with the most creative suggestions will be honorarily elected President of the United States inasmuch as this blog as authority to grant that title, which is none.

-Dept. of Agriculture
-Dept. of Commerce
-Dept. of Defense
-Dept. of Education
-Dept. of Labor
-Dept. of Justice

Here is my reorganized Cabinet:

Department of Labor: Russian Peasant Woman. According to HOTQA.com (Hot Answers for Pregnancy and Parenting) the record for the most children born to one woman is 69. This always accurate website claims that she had 27 pregnancies, giving birth to 16 pairs of twins, 7 triplets, and 4 quadruplets. The woman has been in labor so often that she should definitely get the cabinet appointment.

Department of Justice: Judge Judy. I was home sick on Wednesday and watched Judge Judy for the first time in years. I love how she judges the case based almost solely upon the summary of the case given by the narrator. I need decisive people surrounding me, and Judge Judy would be the woman for the job. It would also show my commitment to diversity by appointing a crotchety old woman.

Department of Defense: NEPHISTO. I would appoint a person with the screen name of NEPHISTO. This person is currently leading in www.the-battlefield.com's rankings for a strategy/political/military videogame called Civilizations III. Civ III combines all of the simulated military and political action that the SEC DEF would ever face. Sure, NEPHISTO is probably a pimply-faced fourteen-year-old boy living in Nebraska, but if Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, and Ender's Game have taught us anything it is that nerdy teens can save the world.

Okay, Presidential hopefuls, submit your cabinet changes by Friday 11/17. The best suggestions will have you elected President.

My Hagoth Nominees

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In my Zeniff-like overzealousness to rush to announce the winner of the Hagoth Award (again, props to Angie for her overall brilliance and Andrea for the Gilbert Gottfried contribution), I forgot to make my three nominations! An unforgiveable journalistic oversight. You can even feel free to judge my nominations on your own random scoring scale in your comments if you would like. This could be especially theraputic if you feel you were robbed by my ratings. So, here are the three curious things or people that just need to go away:

1. Terrell Owens. For those of us who follow the NFL, go to ESPN.com, or listen to
sports radio, the T.O. coverage is enough to drive you nuts. They should start an ESPN-6 station that is devoted to nothing but the Cowboy's loudmouth primadonna so that the rest of the sports news media can cover other important stories, like BYU football cracking the Top-25. Go Coogs!

2. The Nerd-Boy Scientitsts Who Stripped Pluto Of Its Planetary Status. As a kid, Pluto was my favorite planet because it was named after a Disney character and I could always remember that it was last in order in the solar system, unlike confusing planets like Neptune. Is Neptune the fifth planet? Seventh? Fourteenth? Does it have rings or a giant red spot? Or is it a goiter.....Anyway, you can't raise an entire generation of kids under the assumption that Pluto is a planet and then just pull the rug out from under them. Even if it doesn't technically qualify as a planet, shouldn't the scientists just have said, "Well, we are too far into this planet thing. Let's just let it slide"?

3. The WNBA. Since a surprisingly high number of the readers of Normal Mormon Husbands is female, please don't comment about this being a purely sexist nomination. In fact, unless you can name the team that won the WNBA championship last year, list the names of the best Guard, Forward, and Center in the league (without having to look anything up), and have watched an entire WNBA game, you cannot hack on me for nominating this awful league. The WNBA has got to go because it is a bad product, plain and simple. After ten years of consistenly declining attendance figures and a number of folded franchises, it's time for the NBA to pull the plug on this league that is more of a social/PR statement than anything else.

I have a great deal of respect for female athletes. My mom played powderpuff football. My wife and sister both lettered in multiple sports in high school. Andrea and I went to a lot of BYU womens' volleyball games and they were absolutely amazing athletes. I hope my daughter earns a full-ride sports scholarship one day. The annoying fact about the WNBA is that David Stern and the NBA brass keep the league afloat by subsidizing its losses with the NBA's profits. Let's not even mention the enormous amount of free advertising the WNBA gets on ABC and ESPN and still draws horrible ratings that continue to decline. The WNBA needs to follow the example of other failed sports leagues like the XFL, USBL, and CBA and go the way of Hagoth.

Holy Heck - Angie Wins!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Thanks to all of you for the excellent comments to the Hagoth Award challenge. There were several that made me laugh out loud, including Dave's snide remark to Tony. After putting all of the comments through a completely arbitrary rating system, the winner of the coveted Hagoth Award is Angela Hallstrom. You can now put this coveted award on your author's bio! Ang has won this wonderful Ethnic Polynesian MisCheif doll (pictured at left) which promises to "transport you to the lush rain forests of Polynesia where the sounds of cascading water falls and tropical birds flood the senses." According to Mormon doctrine, the Polynesians are descended from Hagoth, hence the Polysnesian inspired award.

It was the fake cussing that put Angie past Andrea, Tony, and Mom who all tied for second place. Now that we no longer live in Provo, which is perhaps the fake cussing capital of the universe, I have come to enjoy life without excessive use of words like "fetch".

Special recognition go to the following people for their posts:

1. Dad Sweat - Completely surprised that you would post in the first place, but then you came up big time with the Joke Stealer comment.
2. Andrea - Gilbert Gottfried was one of only two posts that scored a perfect 20. How is this guy still employed?
3. Mom - Madonna was the other perfect 20. I loved how there was no explanation needed, just the name.

You can click on the spreadsheet below to see comments and ratings for all of the entries and to see what place you took. Again, this is a very subjective, random scoring technique that took me all of three mintues to complete. Each entry was given 1 (low) to 10 (high) points for "curious" and "disappear". The more random or weird the comment, the higher the score on the curious scale. The more I felt that the person or thing need to be eliminated from existence, the higher the "disappear" score. If you think you got shafted, go ahead and leave a comment.


Saturday, November 04, 2006

Sometimes people just disappear. Sometimes things just vanish. They drop off the face of the earth, never to be heard from again. Give this topic some thought and your comments to this post could land you the coveted "Hagoth Award" which is explained below.

This week there has been an alarming number of both people and inanimate objects that have either announced that they are riding off into the sunset or had it thrust upon them by outside forces. This week's posting is to give out the "Hagoth Award" for things or people who fit the pattern that Hagoth established in the Book of Mormon. In Alma 63:5-8 we read that Hagoth built ships, sailed with people northward, then disappeared. Specifically we learn two things about Hagoth:

1. He was an exceedingly curious man ("curious" in this case is interpreted to mean...umm..how to say this delicately?.....ok-weird, strange, odd, Napoleon Dynamite-ish. When I meet Hagoth one day I will maintain that I always thought he must be creative, adventurous, and inquisitive, which is true. But for the purposes of this post, we are saying weird, ok?).
2. He was, "never heard of more."

In the past few days there have been a couple of Hagoth-like disappearances, either immediate or planned, that caught me completely off guard:

1. Mr. Eko from Lost - After the man survives two separate gunfights with drug dealers, a plane crash, a massive hatch implosion, and a viscious polar bear attack, I though he was indestructable. Unfortunately, he wasn't strong enough to withstand being slammed against the trees by a mysteriously powerful black smoggy cloud. Any drug-selling, homocidal, brother-betraying, lunatic-turned-Priest definitely qualifies as "curious". With his untimely death, he may never be heard from more.

2. Bob Barker. On Halloween Bob Barker announced that he is going to retire as the host of The Price is Right by saying, "I will be 83 years old on December 12 and I've decided to retire while I'm still young." Bob is definitely of a curious nature as he has actively surrounded himself with rabid, screaming, oddly-dressed people whom he consistently reminds to spay and neutre their animals. (Members of the Sweat/Huish clan who have been audience members are exempt from the rabid part of that description. You've been downgraded to "somewhat fanatical"). Happy trails, Bob.

3. The Ford Taurus. After 21 years as one of the best-selling sedans in the United States, Ford Motor company announced this week that it is discontinuing the Taurus. The Sweat family had a Taurus that got us around for several years when I was a teenager. The Taurus was such an upgrade from our Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme (which is beginning to sound more and more like a Taco Bell item.."Yeah, I'll have a nacho supreme, two bean burritos, two crunchy taco supremes, and a cutlass supreme, please.") that to me the Taurus was luxurious. It did curiously break down frequently, but it was a part of our family for years. Kind of like Tony.

4. The Pink Flamingo. The iconic, curious front yard decoration is dead at 49. The patent-holding manufactured, Union Products, announced that it will no longer produce the strange birds due to "increases in costs of electricity and plastic resin combined with loss of financing". I truly believe that their PR firm decided to use that softer explanation instead of the one that we are all thinking in our heads right now, which is, they are ugly, cheap, and likely to start Hatfield-McCoy relationships amongst neighbors once the appear in the lawn.

While these four things are going the way of Hagoth, we all have people or things that we wish would do us all the favor by doing the same. Please comment to this posting by listing the three people or things that you consider curious and wish that they would just disappear. The three best entries will be awarded the Hagoth Award. Have fun and try not to mourn too much over Bob Barker.

Cartoon Challenge - Results Show Part II

Monday, October 30, 2006

Okay, I can tell that I've hurt some feelings by not granting awards to everybody who commented on the cartoon challenge. It took about 29 hours and three nights of staying up until 3:35 a.m. to come up with those first three awards, but I've got to give my peeps what they want. So without further ado, here are the rest of the awards:

The "Cockroaches Can Live For A Week Without Thier Heads?" Award: Sandy. Every time I watch a PBS documentary on insects there is always a moment where the narrator says something wild like, "....and because of this survival mechanism, cockroaches can live for an entire week after losing their heads." and I think, "What!?" (the cockroach factiod is true, by the way. Here are a couple of websites that back it up Essortment.com and The Science Spot). I had one of those moments when Sandy informed me that there was a Saved By the Bell cartoon. Wait, what? There are animated versions of Zach, Screech, Mr. Belding, Kelly.....Sandy, I hope you're not too squeamish because you're the proud winner of a roach. If you need to get rid of him, do something other than decapitation.

The "Daniel Cabrera Oh-So-Close!" Award: Andrea. On September 28, 2006 Daniel Cabrera of the Baltimore Orioles took a no-hitter against the Yankees into the 9th inning before giving up a hit with just two batters left. After 25 stratight outs, he couldn't get the last two. Andrea came out of the gates very strong with the Smurfs and then scored major points with Space Ghost. I loved Space Ghost as a kid. You had the no-hitter going until you busted out The Snorks. Sorry, babe, but I've never heard of them and the intro on YouTube is...ummmm...weird to say the least.

The "Understanding the Origin of Hippies" Award: Barbara (Mom). We can all better understand Flower Power, Woodstock, Pet Rocks and how the entire decade of the 1960's came about by mom's choice of cartoons. What lesson does Yogi Bear teach? Nothing less than the virtues of being a lazy moocher who bums snacks off of other people. Heckle and Jeckyl? It's okay to sit around with friends doing nothing all day but being cynical and inhaling addiction forming substances. Fractured Fairy Tales? Cartoons (and therefore, life) do not need to have any common thread. Cartoons (and therefore, people) can peacefully exist on their own as free spirits who are independent and self-actualized, while still being part of a greater community. Kids watching this on a daily basis in the 1950's had no choice but to end up ushering in the 1960's. Thanks, mom, for clarifying this for me. How in the world did you ever end up as a Relief Society President after that upbringing?

The "Tom Cruise Jumping On Oprah's Couch" Award: Angie. When Tom Cruise jumped on Oprah's couch and proclaimed his love for Kat, the entire world did a double take at the TV and thought, "I am emabrrassed for Tom right now. He's really going to regret having done that once he sobers up". Every actor in the trifecta that Angie nominated - HR PufnStuff, Land of the Lost, and Kids Are People Too - must be thinking the same about their roles on these way, way, way out there shows. These parts probably don't show up too high on their resumes. The actors have got to be thinking, "I'm not proud of what I did in this show, but hey, I've got three kids and rent is due next week....."I've put an HR PufnStuff clip below just so everybody can appreciate the beauty of this little known television gem. It's also a Halloween themed clip, so enjoy your awards and Happy Halloween!

Cartoon Challenge - Results Show

Friday, October 27, 2006

Welcome to the Cartoon Challenge Results Show. That's right, results show. At Normal Mormon Husbands we don't just blurt out the winner, we build up to it a-la American Idol. Only on this blog you don't have to listen to Ryan Seachrest, which is definitely a positive. Excellent responses on the cartoon question. You should each be proud. Since there were so many good comments I have decided to grant winners of several different categories before revealing the grand prize winner.

Winner of the "LOST Episode Ending" Award: Greg and Nicolle Sherwood. I'm a faithful LOST watcher. When each episode ends I always think to myself, "Nooo! You can't end now! It's just getting good! Will we ever see Walt again? Is Sun carrying Jin's baby? Why did the whole island light up with the numbers reached zero? Please, just five more minutes, please!" This is what happened to Greg and Nicolle's post. They gave two excellent recommendations (Ducktales and Ghost Busters), but didn't include a third. I finished reading their post asking myself, "Is the third cartoon Scooby Doo? Underdog? Gem (she's truly outrageous)?" Unfortunately I'll never know.

Winner of the "No, But I Stayed In a Holiday Inn Express Last Night" Award: Dave. This award is a tribute to the commercials where a person speaks like a very authoritative doctor, for example, only to later confess that he's not really a doctor, but was smart enough to stay at a Holiday Inn Express. Unfortunately for good ol' Dave, he laid down the gauntlet when he said, "I consider myself a cartoon expert...." I was intrigued, nay, excited to see what my ultra-intelligent brother-in-law would come up with after that bold introduction. But when I saw the list included Bobby's World (which I've never seen) and Animaniacs (which was one of the first cartoons I ever labeled as "annoying" as a kid), Dave secured this lovely runner-up prize.

Grand Prize Winner: Amy. That's right, my little sister who thought she was a cat until she was nine years old pulled it out in the clutch. The Simpsons (which I'll address below), Alvin and the Chipmunks, and then she busted out Teen-Age Mutant Ninja Turtles. When I saw TMNT I thought, "I should have had that on my list". Way to go A-mix, you won yourself this beautiful picture of an Ab-Flex to tone your muscles as you watch endless hours of reruns on the Cartoon Network.

Strike Up The Simpsons Controversy:
The Simpsons was mentioned a couple of times among the best cartoons of all-time. I was really hoping for more Saturday morning-type cartoons instead of primetime shows like The Simpsons. But since they were brought up, here is my take on Homer, Marge, Moe, Apu, and the rest.

I still remember the first episode of The Simpsons that I saw as a junior high school student in 1989. I thought it was the funniest show I had ever seen, and it was until the late nineties. Some of the best fringe characters in the history of TV are on the show - Disco Stu, Snake, Comic Book Guy, Duff-Man.....I could quote line after line from the first few seasons, but in the late nineties The Simpsons completely jumped the shark. I stopped watching it five or six years ago.

Where the "old" Simpsons humor used to be slightly irreverent at times, the "new" episodes blatantly cross the line. The newer stuff tries to be too socially edgy as it repeatedly addresses politics, religion, and gender issues and portrays them in a light that I just don't agree with. The writers of the show made a conscious decision several years ago to take the show from the classic, dumb, well-written humor (Mr. Plow, Bart of Darkness, Homie the Clown, Talkin' Baseball) to controversial social issues that they try to wrap in a blanket of funniness, but it hasn't worked for years. If you look at the link below, viewers have rated all 350+ Simpsons episodes and 49 of the top 50 rated shows took place in Season 8 (1997) or earlier. The Simpsons are currently in Season 18, so only one episode in the last 10 years even cracks the top 50:

Top-50 Rated Simpsons Episodes

Over the past six years I've tried on two occasions to give the Simpsons another chance. They seriously let me down both times. One episode was flat out blasphemous while the other one featured Patti (or was it Selma?) coming out of the closet. I didn't finish watching either episode. Too bad they messed up perhaps the funniest show of all time.

Ran-Dumb Award: Best Cartoon Ever

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Now that we have wresteled with important issues such as global warming, liberal Hollywood, and the reasons that T-Rexes have such tiny arms, let's lighten it up a little by granting the Ran-Dumb award for the best cartoon ever. (You have to read that with the Comic Book Guy's voice in your head, "Best. Cartoon. Ever.") This week I will also be holding a contest to see who can comment with the three best cartoons that were left off my list below, so please comment. Who knows, you might be this weeks big winner.

I was born in 1974, so my frame of reference centers heavily upon the early-to-mid 1980's. By the time I was ordained a Deacon I had moved on to more mature things than childish cartoons, you know, like burning things with magnifying glasses and making boobie traps in the backyard. So without further ado, the best cartoons ever (you can click the hyperlinked cartoon names to see a quick Youtube clip):

The creators of Voltron were geniuses. They had five characters that each rode in these robotic, powerful panther-like vehicles that were awesome by themselves. But they didn't stop there, the five individuals could come together to form a giant, unstoppable mega-robot that wielded a 30-foot electric sword! I still remember being a kid and only having three of the five toy panther vehicles and never being able to fully assemble the megabot. One of the only regrets of my otherwise blissful childhood. Nonetheless, a great cartoon.

4. GI Joe
In the intro we learn that GI Joe's purpose is to, "Defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world." Not only was GI Joe a very cool cartoon, but it prepared us for life in two ways:

1) It coined the phrase, "Now you know, and knowing is half the battle" where at the end of each episode a public service announcement was given by a soldier with a grenade in one hand and an AK-47 in the other. My personal favorite is from Flint who wisely instructed kids who were yelling at their goalie for allowing the game-losing goal by saying, "Will yelling at Billy help?... Look, if you want to play your best you got to play like a team. Remember, you need teamwork to win, not arguments." If only Kobe Bryant had listened to Flint, the Lakers might be going on a six-peat right now.....

2) Get ready for a future that will be heavily impacted by terrorist organizations that want to rule the world. If only the Bush administration could somehow remind everybody in their in their 20's and 30's that our military is only doing what Sgt. Slaughter, Snake Eyes, Duke and the boys were doing years ago, his approval rating would go through the roof.

3. Thundercats
Definitely has the best intro of all-time. It gets my adrenaline going to hear the theme song and see all of the he-felines running around. I truly debated having Thundercats ranked as the number one cartoon of all time, and in many ways it is. No matter how good the show, however, you simply cannot get past the sniveling, whining, always frightened Snarf. He is the original Jar-Jar Binks who can single handedly kill an otherwise great show. I'm sure they put him in for "comic relief", but all we needed as kids were explosions and cool fight scenes. In this case, it cost them the Ran-Dumb award.

2. Transformers
Autobots. Decepticons. Optimus Prime. Cyberton. What else needs to be said? The storylines were nothing memorable, but I'll never forget the time I saw the Decepticon transform into a casette player/boom box and then two cassette tapes were ejected into the air and transformed into mini-Decepticons! Transformers within a transformer.....definietly more than meets the eye.

1. He-Man

And the winner of the Ran-Dumb award is He-Man! Not only is He-Man a classic hero, but Skeletor is hands-down the best cartoon villain in the history of television. I think He-Man also resonated with me because I was accustomed to the uber-muscular Arnold Friberg Book of Mormon paintings. He-Man looks similar to what I imagined Nephi would have looked like weilding the Sword of Laban. To take this one step further, could Battle Cat be the mysterious curelom or cumom referred to in Ether 9:19? It says they were "useful unto man", and what could be more useful than a magical, armored green and yellow tiger?

My favorite part of the He-Man intro is when he looks right into the camera and says, "...and I became He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe!" and then punches you right in the face! Bam! No warning. No reason. No remorse. He just rears back and cheapshots you! Is that really necessary if you are the most powerful man in the universe?

This weeks challenge:Now that you have read my list, please comment with your top 3 cartoons that were not included above. Whoever has the best selections and the best reasons for them will be crowned this weeks champion.

Global Warming - Guh?

Friday, October 20, 2006

I love the minor controversy the side comment about global warming has created. Let me clarify two things:

1. Rush Limbaugh - My car radio has not worked for a long, long time and I have not listened to Rush in ages. I listen almost exclusively to ESPN podcasts, which feature heavy doses of Keith Olberman. Keith started at ESPN and moved to MSNBC where he is one of the network's most outspoken liberal commentators. If anything, the main political voice that I hear these days is Keith Olberman, who can somehow blame the Kobe/Shaq breakup on the Republican-controlled House.

2. The GEICO Cavemen prove that global warming is a non-issue. Let me explain. There are brilliant scientists who can convincingly prove that the planet has either been cooling since 1979 or that it will explode like an egg in a microwave by 2015 unless we all start riding bicycles (that study was sponsored by Schwinn). They are all much more informed in this area than I am, so I don't believe either side. Honestly, I hope global temperatures rise by 10 degrees. Give me 85-degrees year 'round and I’m thrilled. I don't like being cold.

Now to tie this in to the GEICO Cavemen who would have suffered through an ice age that suddenly covered the entire planet. Here is a great quote from the BBC’s Science & Nature website:
“This Neanderthal stood no more than 1.65m (5' 4") tall, but he had a robust and powerful build - perfect for his Ice Age environment…The popular image of the Ice Age is a period of unremitting freezing conditions. But over nearly a million years, Europe has seen huge climate swings including warm as well as cold periods. For much of the last 200,000 years, when Neanderthals were alive, the climate was mild, sometimes even warmer than today's. But they did also have to live through periods of intense cold.”

In other words, the earth has shown us over the centuries that its temperature is going to wildly fluctuate, regardless of human involvement. The polar ice caps left behind from the global ice age melted away because of natural environmental changes, not because the Cavemen were irresponsibly cooking too many wildebeest over open flames. (Though had Al Gore been alive at the time, he may have contended this was the case). I realize that that we as an industrialized world burn a lot of junk into the atmosphere, but in my very unscientific opinion it's no big deal. In a couple of years, something else will take the place of global warming as the topic du-jour. Perhaps it will be how the corn grown for our ethanol-powered cars should be given to people who are starving to death in underdeveloped nations.

I can already picture the Sweat Family Reunion in 2065 and I will bring up the, “Remember when people thought global warming was going to kill us all?” question. We will all chuckle a bit, get into our hover cars, float to our dwelling pods, watch Survivor Season 78, laugh at another GEICO Caveman commercial, and then go to bed praying that the earth doesn’t explode like an egg in the microwave before the sun comes up.

Advertise on NMH! It Rocks. Seriously. It Rocks.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

How Can I Get My Ad on NMH?
Just email me at nmhusband@hotmail.com and I will give you my PayPal information. Then - BAM! - thousands of people will hear about your business.

Why Advertise on NMH?
Because thousands of people will see your ad. Normal Mormon Husbands has a large, loyal following consisting primarily of Latter-day Saints, parents and stay-at-home moms. Plus I would really like to buy a PlayStation 3 and a wireless router and your ad revenue would go toward fulfilling this dream.

How Much Traffic Does NMH Get?

Between May 2008 and June 2009 there were nearly 214,000 page views, or an average of about 16,500 per month. If you think I am a dirty rotten liar you can click on the Google Analytics report to the right to verify. (If you clicked the link to verify, I am deeply wounded! I would not jeopardize my eternal salvation over cost-effective web ads. Who do you think you are dealing with, anyway? Esau?)

Why Does The Cost of Advertising Change?
I run this blog for fun, not to get rich. I believe in the free market so if nobody is buying ad space for $30, for example, then I will lower it to $25. If nobody buys at $25, the cost of the ad will be lowered to $20, and so on, and so on.

Does Advertising on NMH Really Work?
Yes, it does. But don't just take my word for it. Here are a few testimonials of people who saw results from advertising on NMH:

"Advertising on NMH was an outstanding venue for our retail website, www.mybelvedere.com. Our NMH ad directly resulted increased sales revenue and the quality of referrals - pages per visit, bounce rate, average time on the site - was much better than any of our other more expensive advertising campaigns. Our NMH advertising experience was both easy and effective. Thanks NMH!"
-Jordan & Raelene Bradley
Owners, Belvedere Designs

"The Normal Mormon Husband has been simply amazing for our business, HusbandHero.com. His website has sent a continuous stream of people our way, which has resulted in consistent sign-ups for our service. We love to hear our friends say, 'We saw your business advertised on Normal Mormon Husband!' He is a well-known, talented blogger, and when he talks, people listen. Getting our ad up on his site has definitely paid off."
-April Perry
Director of Creative Development, HusbandHero.com

"We are extremely proud to team up with the NMH. Our business at Grahamtastic Stickers doubled within weeks, and his friendly demeanor made all of our interaction a real joy. We look forward to our joint success and growth in the future!"
-Graham Bradley
Grahamtastic Stickers

Manliest Movie Quotes

This week I have decided to let the Normal Mormon Husbands blog sprout some chest hair and bring up a subject that definietly has a Y chromosome in it somewhere. The topic is so manly, in fact, that the blog is actually beginning to grow some back and ear hair as well. So without further ado, let's open up the discussion on the Manliest Movie Quotes of all-time. Please submit up to three quotes of your own and the comment with the three best nominations will win the Manly Man award. I hope that all of my male readers come up with good recommendations since it would be embarassing for a married mother of several young children to walk away with this award.

I gave this about 45 seconds worth of thought and came up with my list of the ten manliest movie quotes of all-time, which are:

10. "For England, for home, and for the prize!" - Capt. Jack Aubrey, Master and Commander
9. "I play for the United States of America!" - Mike Eruzione, Miracle (about the US Hockey Team)
8. "It's only a flesh wound! Have at you!" - The knight on the losing end of the swordfight, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Classic.
7. "I know Kung Fu." - Neo, The Matrix (Cleanflix edited version, of course)
6. "Cut me, Mick" - Rocky Balboa, Rocky I
5. "My name is Indugo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." - Indugo Montoya, The Princess Bride
4. "If Coach stays, I play. If Coach goes, I go." - Jimmy Chitwood, Hoosiers
3. "Sweep the leg" - The Evil Sensei, Karate Kid
2. "If he dies, he dies" - Ivan Drago, Rocky II
1. "Wolverines!" - Patrick Swaze, Red Dawn

I remember as a teenager living with the fear that we would go to war with Russia. If you have never seen Red Dawn, it stars almost every young cool actor of the early nineties (Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell, Jennifer Gray, Lea Thompson, and Charlie Sheen). When the US is suddenly invaded by a Cuban and Russian army, these high school students retreat to the woods and then singlehandedly topple the invasion. Their high school's mascot is the Wolverine, which they yell at very manly moments throughout the movie. I think my voice began to change the first time I yelled, "Wolverines" while pretending that my younger brother, two best friends, and I had become guerilla rebels who somehow saved the country with our .22's. This phrase was so moving to me that when Hunter High School was built and they asked for the incoming students to vote on the mascot, I voted for "Wolverines", which ended up being our mascot.

Best of luck racking your brains and coming up with something that can give the rest of us goosebumps.

Introducing the "Ran-Dumb" Awards - Best Commercials of All-Time

Monday, October 16, 2006

This week I am introducing a new segment to the blog called the Ran-Dumb awards. This is a shamelessly contrived gimmick to increase readers of the blog, I'm man enough to admit that. Since kicking off the blog I've realized that it is hard to come up with new content based upon my daily or weekly activities. Most weeks it would sound something like this: "Participated on numerous conference calls and resolved multiple HR issues, spent most of Wednesday and Sunday in Bishopric. Watched Survivor, Lost, the Nine, and the Panthers game. Made the most out of Friday and Saturday with Andrea and the kids". In other words, my blog would be about as interesting as Al Gore discussing global warming (which, by the way, is a sham.)

My wife, Andrea, has a detailed blog that does a fantastic job updating everybody on the fun stuff the family does, I've decided to focus on random stuff. Hence, the Ran-Dumbs, where I will do random Top-5 lists and shamelessly beg people to comment on them.

Ran-Dumb award for the Best Commerical of All-Time:

(Click the hyperlink to view the Youtube video)

5. Sports Center - "New Kid" (ESPN)
Came out at the same time that the NBA was having waves of high schoolers declaring for the draft. For every Kevin Garnett, there was a Kwame Brown. This kid was Kwame. Great social commentary on the world of sports.

4. Terry Tate - Office Linebacker (Reebok)
Perhaps the HR Manager in me secretly wishes that I had a Terry Tate at my disposal every once in a while. Better remember to put the cover letter on the TPS report next time......

3. When I Grow Up - (Monster.com)
I'll never forget seeing this depressingly funny ad while watching the Super Bowl a couple of years back. You know a commercial is effective when it ranks up there in the "I remember where I was when I saw this" category. After watching this, it is hard to not ask yourself, "How did I get into my career again?"

2. Cavemen 1 and Cavement 2 - (Geico)
I love that Geico is gutsy enough to address how politically correct everybody must be all the time. You can't even take a pot-shot at cavemen these days. The Caveman 1 clip, which kicks off this series, catches you off guard with the off-camera commotion. I always chuckle in the Caveman 2 clip when one orders the very sophisticated entre of roast duck with mango salsa while the other just smirks condescendingly.

And the Ran-Dumb award for the Best Commercial of All-Time goes to.......

1. Cat Herders - (EDS)
The dramatic music, sweeping cinematic shots of the rugged terrain, and the perfectly casted actors make this more of a movie trailer than a commercial. When one Cat Herder looks at the other and says, "His face is just ripped to shreds, you know", how can't you laugh. Great writing and cinematography make this the funniest commercial of all-time.

So there you have it, the innagural Ran-Dumb award winner. Please comment on these commercials or any other funny ones that may have been left off the list.

Thoughts From General Priesthood

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Elder Eyring. Good talk about quorum unity and related some of his experiences from being a Deacon. It never ceases to amaze me when General Authorities who range from 60-95 years old can recall with crystal clarity their experiences as 12 year olds. How do they do this? I can't even remember what I did two weeks ago. Did the GA's think as 12-year-olds, "I'd better write this down because I may need to use it in General Conference in 63 years"?

D. Todd Christofferson.....Glad I'm not 26, single, working at Kinko's 16-hours a week and living in my parents basement. The George Costanza's of the Church probably squirmed a little when he made that reference.....His talk made me grateful that I have a good job, can provide for my family, and remind me that even though at times the responsibilities of life, church, work, etc. can get overwhelming, it is all part of our Father's plan to help us learn to rely on him and progress in life.

Stanley G. Ellis.
I had never thought about how harsh it really does sound to just take care of the talent you are given (cast to outer darkness) instead of adding to it. That really made me think about our responsibility to always be increasing in good works and knowledge. This was the one talk that impacted me the most.

This is a great opportunity for the Joseph Smith (prophet) vs. Joe Smith (1995 no. 1 overall NBA pick) comparison. The Prophet goes from uneducated, humble farmboy to the great prophet of the restoration. Never quits, never gives up, faithful to the end. Joe Smith goes from the wildly-talented number 1 overall pick in the NBA draft to an average role player who has averaged 12 pts. and 7 boards in his 10 year career. He's going to have a lot to account for given the $34 million contract he just completed.

President Faust. Despite sitting in a chair, you can tell he is very mentally alert and strong. He spoke on spiritual nutrition, again drawing from an experience as a young boy hauling salt licks to the cows. He said, "we would never eat spoiled food......" Which made me think, ummmmm, he didn't see what my roommates and I ate at Ricks College, particularly the Ramen noodles that may or may not have been fit for human consumption.

President Monson. Every time I hear one of his talks I think to myself, "Maybe I should go to the hospital and pay somebody a visit". He always seems to put the gospel in action.

President Hinckley. I am reading his biography by Sherri Dew right now and it makes me respect and admire him as an amazing man and wonderful prophet even more. My bets are that "Rise Up O Men of God" rises from obscurity to the #1 Men's Choir song of 2007. When the prophet counsels on the dangers of pornography and the importance of education for young men, we had better listen.

Obligated to Draft Mormons on Fantasy NFL Team?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

I love Fantasy NFL Football. Anybody who collected baseball cards as a kid and cares about how many rushing yards Clinton Portis rushes for in the year 2012 in Madden has no choice but to play Fantasy. Without fantasy, how could you obey the Word of Wisdom and soberly enjoy a Houston/Jacksonville stinkfest that ends 17-13?

I play with my friends from work in a Yahoo league (draft) and with my family in a Sporting News league (salary cap). Every year as I prepare for my annual Yahoo Draft I struggle with three questions. My draft should happen this weekend, and here is what I wrestle with:

1. How will my 1st round pick suffer a season-ending injury by week 3? Will it be an ACL? Fractured vertabrae? Sports hernia? Concussion? Nasty turf-toe/athletes foot combo? (On a related note - Ahaman Green, you killed me last year, jerk!)
2. How do I always end up drafting ninth in a ten team league? After the top four RB's (LJ, S. Alexander, LT, Tiki) and perhaps Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, who cares if you draft seventh or seventieth? Look out Lamont Jordan, here I come. Ugh.
3. Do I have an obligation to draft Mormons on to my team?

The answer to question 3 in my opinon is, "No".......with a but. Yes it's nice to put a member on the roster, but usually only via free agency and if the matchup is right. If you can pull it off, you can call your team the "Stormin' Mormons" and then use it as a way to tell your co-workers that Rob Morris, who decapated a WR going over the middle, is an RM just like you. Not only does it open doors to sharing the gospel, but Brother Morris just picked you up 11 points with his 9 solo and 2 assisted tackles. This is pre-2005, of course. Unfortunately fro Rob there are no points for goatee lenght.

According to the wildly inaccurate Google search that I did for "Mormons in the NFL", here are some of the better options for this years' team, if you are so inclined:

1. Todd Heap - TE - Ravens. 75 receptions for 855 years and 7 TD's in 2005. In a league desperate for quality TE's he's one of the best. Arizona State alum did not serve a mission but should have another big year.
2. Kevin Curtis - WR - Rams. 60 receptions for 801 yards and 6 TD's in 2005. Utah State graduate who served a mission to London. Keeps getting better every year and could eclipse 1,000 yards this year.
3. Doug Jolley - TE - Buccaneers. 29 receptions, 324 yards and 1 TD (yawn). BYU grad and RM who should fit in better in Tampa Bay given the defences in the NFC South. Chris Simms will need to get off a lot of short, quick releases.
4. Every Polynesian TE in the NFL who is good for 12 catches for 125 yards per year.
5. Donovan McNabb - Just have a gut feeling that this is the year he finally goes to Sacrament Meeting with Andy Reid and Chad Lewis and gets converted.

Todd Heap is about the only legitiamte LDS
option for Fantasy Football this year

Are there any other famous LDS NFL players that I don't know about? Please post any thoughts about the upcoming fanstasy season, how your draft went, what excuses you are preparing when you finish 4-10 this year and don't make the playoffs, heartbreaks from last year, etc. Does anybody want to put together and post an all-time Mormon Fanstasy team for discussion's sake?

We're Normal. We're Mormon. We're Husbands.

Welcome to Normal Mormon Husbands. My wife has recently created her own blog and has begun posting on the blogs of several of our BYU friends who we have not seen in years. She keeps a great blog of our happy little family, as do the families of our friends who now live all over the US. As I've been exposed to these blogs I have noticed a few things:

1. They are mainly about the daily challenges of motherhood (and it's hard for husbands to identify with feeling the baby drop or hilarious lactation-related experiences)
2. They are almost always written by the wife (unless the male likes to end his sentences with phrases like, ".....and it was so much fun!!" or "cute!!", "cutie-pie!!", "cutie!!", "cuteness!!" or any other derivation of the word "cute" ending with double exclamation points)
3. Smiley faces are definitely in :-)
4. Topics such as scrapbooking and playgroups are placed higher on the totem pole than sports (real or fantasy), careers, politics or othe things that that normal guys talk about.

This is in no way a shot against our wives. They are awesome. I'm grateful my wife stays in touch with all of our friends, because I probably would have lost contact with everybody the day we packed up our $1,200 of earthly posessions into a U-Haul and left Provo. It is enjoyable for me to scan the blogs that our wives have created, but guys, this one's for us.

Have fun with it. But please, use exclamation points with care, avoid the word "cute", and you are banned for life if a smiley face appears. :-)

Dear Diary: Quick Daily NMH Updates

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sun 9/13/09 - With the NMW out of town, I got off scott free at church by taking care of my two older kids instead of going to church early for leadership meetings. I didn't (well, couldn't, really) stay for any after church meetings either because of the kids, so today I felt like a regular church member. Wow. I think I could get used to this...

Sat 9/12/09
- What a day! The NMW is still in AZ with our 1-yr-old, but the two older kids and I were hoppin' today. First, the kids had a primary activity at 10:00 at the church. We went straight from that to my work party, a cook out (aka "a barbecue") at a really cool park with mini golf, a train, merry-go-round, etc. We then rushed home, changed into our church clothes, and drove 1-hour to a wedding for a ward member. We got home after the kids' bedtime and we all slept well that evening.

Fri 9/11/09
- Took the two older kids to McDonalds for dinner and exercise. They exercised by running, climbing, screaming, and leaping so much that they probably burned off all of the calories from the Happy meals. I exercised my right to sit down and read a book in the Playland. The calories from my Big Mac with extra sauce were safe for the eveing.

Thurs 9/10/09
- The NMW and our 1-yr-old flew to AZ today for her brother's wedding. I tip my hat to her for flying across the country with a squirmy toddler. The older two kids and I watched a movie and then I let my son stay up late to watch some of the Steelers-Titans game to kick off the NFL season. My son is in my fantasy football league and had two players in tonight's game, so it was a cool father-son bonding moment over football and fantasy geekiness. Good times.

Wed 9/9/09
- I got to participate a little in my son's Cub Scout meeting tonight by getting roped into the Simon Says tournament. It was his second time attending scouts and it is so cool to see him at the church on Wednesday nights. I can't believe how fast he is growing up. He could get his Bobcat next week as long as we memorize one more thing. The Cub Scout Law, I think? Or slogan? Motto? Secret combination key words? I can't remember.

Tues 9/8/09
- Our 5-yr-old daughter started gymnastics tonight so I stayed home with our 8-yr-old and our 1-yr-old. Our 1-yr-old daughter basically hates me right now. I think I traumatized her in the bathtub a few nights ago when she swallowed water when I washed her hair. Since then my name has changed from, "Dah-dah!" to "No!No!No!", which is what she yells every time I come near her. We need to fix our relationship somehow. Maybe a Chocolate Milk Summit to clear the air?

Mon 9/7/09 - Labor Day! No work! We went back to Wet 'N Wild with our friends for the final time this season and stayed for most of the day despite cold temperatures and a lot of cloud cover. After the water park we met up with 20+ people from our ward for a cook out (aka "barbecue" out west.) We have so many friends in the mid-20's to mid-30's demographic in our ward. We are very blessed to have so many good friends at church. Great day today.

Sun 9/6/09 - Deleted this day from memory. Not good.

Sat 9/5/09 - One of the best days ever! Went to a co-worker's house with the NMW to watch #20 BYU destroy #3 Oklahoma! Sure, the final was only 14-13, but BYU's defense destroyed OU's offense. When OU's 54-yard FG missed at the end of the game, there was much jumping, shouting, hugging, and words that sound like cuss words but aren't (e.g. "holy fetch!", "oh my heck!", etc.) Before the game the family went to Wet 'N Wild. The water park shuts down for good after Labor Day, so we're getting our money's worth with our season passes. I won a miniature Duke football after throwing a football through a target, much to the delight of my family who was rooting me on. The ego boost was worth the $2.

Fri 9/4/09 - Our 2nd cousin from Asheville came to town tonight with her three small kids. We stayed up late eating junk, corralling six kids ages 8 and younger, and ultimately playing Settlers of Catan. While they live 3 hours away, they are our only family in the area and we are so glad to have gotten to know them out here. I'm still bitter about Settlers, though. I built on the "8" and it almost never got rolled. Grrrrr!

Thurs 9/3/09 - Had the NMH fantasy football league draft tonight. I got MJD, Reggie Wayne, Aaron Rodgers and Tony Gonzales as a few of my better players. The NMW is in the league and it was a hoot watching her draft. She would get so stressed over every pick you would have thought she was trying to disarm a bomb as the seconds ticked down to :00. Can't wait for another year of fantasy football!

Sun 8/30/09 - Wed 9/2/09 - Work is stressful. Church calling is demanding. Kids not cooperating. Very, very sleepy.

Sat 8/29/09
- Sister Beck delivered the goods. She gave us a very interactive Q&A-type format leadership training session. The principle she focused on that most impacted me was that of personal stewardship and how we can and should reach out to those for whom we are responsible. Very, very cool and together woman. She really inspired me to serve more diligently. We then went to a park in Asheville for family pictures, which is tough with three squirmy kids, but we managed.

Fri 8/28/09
- Sister Julie Beck, General Relief Society President, is hosting a multi-stake conference in Asheville, NC tomorrow. I was invited to the leadership meeting in the morning and all of the sisters were invited to an afternoon general session. We have relatives on the NMW's side who are LDS and live in Asheville, which is 3 hrs. away, so we drove up and spent tonight with them. Between the two families we have six kids ages eight and younger, so it's crazy but fun when we hang out. Looking forward to Sis. Beck tomorrow.

Thurs 8/27/09 - The NMW went to book club tonight so I had all three kids to myself. I decided to slip into "Father of the Year" mode by telling the kids I'd take them to McDonalds for hot fudge sundaes if they cleaned their rooms before 7:00 p.m. By the time I finished saying the word, "...m", they had already turbo cleaned everything. We had a fun little drive to Mickey D's drive through and shared some fun times around the table as we ate ice cream and just chilled - literally and figuratively - for a few minutes.

Wed 8/26/09 - He shoots...and he scores! Okay, I didn't play great, but my back pain and kidney stone issues had calmed down enough that I could play basketball at the church again. We have a really good group of guys to play with - a couple of ex-high school players, some good overall athletes, and one former college player. Going home with sore legs after playing hoops all night is a feeling I've missed terribly over the past year with my back problems. Man, I love to be sore again!

Tues 8/25/09 - I drive the kids to school in the morning and with today being the first day of school I escorted my daughter to her Kindergarten class. She looked so big and so small at the same time. She is going to love school, but the full-day schedule they have in NC is going to wear her out. She told me today about her "new friends!" she has already made. My son has two or three friends from last year in his class and had a good day as well. Phew. One day down and no behavioral or homework issues yet. We just take it one day at a time around here.

Mon 8/24/09
- Last day of summer for the two oldest kids. Our son will start 3rd grade and our daughter will begin Kindergarten. As we were reviewing the names of some of the kids in their school we saw a child named Voltron. Seriously. Voltron! How cool is that? Their son is the Defender of the Universe for crying out loud. I hope my kids get on his good side.

Sun 8/23/09 - Today was an "Invite a Friend" Sunday at church. I invited a co-worker but she was unable to come. But hey, we are successful member missionaries when we invite, so I did my part. I spoke in sacrament meetings about the apostasy and restoration. There were a pretty large number of investigators and it was pretty powerful to share my testimony of the gospel while knowing that several people in the audience were hearing these doctrines for the first time. I hope at least a few seeds were planted and they end up growing better than our stubborn squash plants this year.

Sat 8/22/09 - Tonight the NMW and I hosted our second annual "So You Know You Can't Dance" party. A bunch of our friends and their kids came over some a night full of snacks, laughing and silly dances. The NMW and I did an interpretive dance about the Twilight movie. I danced the role of Edward while the NMW was Bella. My favorite moment was re-enacting the meadow scene and I unbuttoned my shirt to reveal a sparkly underneath that glittered in the light. Good times.

Fri 8/21/09 - I met the fam at our kid's elementary school after work. My son will start 3rd grade and our daughter will start kindergarten next Tuesday. I'm so excited for my daughter. Kindergarten is such a big step forward in life. As we toured the halls of the school with her tonight, she just seemed to be so small in that huge school. She's ready though, and I'm excited for her. A little nervous, too, but excited.

Thurs 8/20/09 - I'm exhausted tonight. This week was one of those weeks where I had church meetings Tues-Wed-Thurs evenings. It's tiring some times to work a full day, shove a quick dinner down my mouth, then head off for another couple of hours of church duties and meetings. I stopped at Sheetz on the way home from the stake center to get a 5th Avenue and Slurpee for me and a Peanut Butter Twix for the NMW to relax with after a long, busy week.

Wed 8/19/09 - The NMW went to Wal-Mart by herself tonight while I put the kids to bed. When she came home she told me about getting blatantly hit on by a guy in the Wal-Mart parking lot. He immediately backed off when he learned she was married. Can anybody else think of a less romantic setting than a Wal-Mart parking lot on a Wednesday night? A funeral? A slaughterhouse floor? Anywhere near Rosie O'Donnell?

Tues 8/18/09
- Now that I'm almost completely recovered from surgery my appetite is coming back strong. We had Papa John's pizza for dinner tonight and I had three big pieces. Not bad after eating almost nothing but fruit for a week due to nausea. I think I might put back on the 11 pounds I lost last week.

Mon 8/17/09 - The fam got free tickets to go with friends to see our local minor league baseball team. It was a perfect late-summer evening for baseball - temp in the '80's, overcast, not too humid, etc. I'm still fatigued after the kidney stone surgery, but it felt great to finally be back to work and getting outdoors.

Sun 8/16/09 - Felt good enough to attend sacrament meeting then came straight home. Spent much of the day on the couch or floor again as the pain is still more than I had anticipated. The theme for sac mtg was "Managing Adversity", which is very relevant for the NMW and me right now. Still somewhat nauseous and have little appetite. On the plus side I've lost almost ten pounds!

Sat 8/15/09 - Why do I always underestimate how difficult it is to recover from surgery? Today has been pretty miserable. I spent much of the day on the couch watching Tiger Woods play in the PGA Championship. My right ureter is still in pain. The area the tubes were shoved up is killing. It feels like I'm urinating a flame thrower. Rough day. I was hoping I'd feel much better than I do. Not a good omen.

Fri 8/14/09 - Had surgery to remove a 4.8 mm kidney stone in my right ureter today. The procedure went just fine, but I had serious complications in post-op recovery. What was supposed to be a 30-45 min stay turned into nearly 4 hrs as the doctors and nurses dealt with my falling heart rate and spiking blood pressure. Me puking everywhere and having a searing migraine headache didn't help, either. But I survived and am now kidney stone free!

Thurs 8/13/09 - Saw the urologist yesterday and he will need to go in and forcibly remove Lenny, my kidney stone, in a very personal, invasive procedure scheduled for tomorrow. While the extraction process will be uncomfortable, I am very relieved to know the constant week-long pain is about to end. Sometimes trials pass on their own. Other times you need a complete stranger to ram medical equipment up your body and take care of it for you. There's a lesson in there somewhere, I think.

Wed 8/12/09 - What's up with my weight during this now six-day kidney stone adventure? I have hardly eaten anything solid during the last five days because of nausea and vomited a bunch of times. Some fruit, a few bites of pasta, and a bowl of ramen noodles is it. Everything else has been liquid. I thought I'd lose a ton of weight, but I've actually gained three pounds! I think the reason is that I'm drinking so many fluids that I'm retaining water weight, but I was hoping to at least lose a few pounds toward getting back to my basketball playing weight (under 210 lbs - but hey, I'm 6'6"), but no such luck.

Tues 8/11/09
- I've been urinating through a screen since Friday to try to catch Lenny, my kidney stone, when he finally passes. Every bathroom visit makes me feel like a contestant on the old Let's Make a Deal show. I enter the bathroom hopeful for a grand prize (Lenny), but end up going home with the gag gift (a wet, funny-smelling urine strainer.) Every time I leave the bathroom the NMW should play this song.

Mon 8/10/09 - Stayed home from work due to the kidney stone and the side effects of the meds I'm on. The last three days have been rough and I needed a reason to laugh. As I emerged from my bedroom this morning, my 14-month-old daughter rambled over to me, grabbed my sweatpants by at the knees, and completely pantsed me. Clear down to the ankles. Hilarious way to start another long, painful day.

Sun 8/09/09 - Skipped church and spent most of the day in my bedroom in a drug-induced fog. My favorite kidney stone comment thus far came from my mom when she said, "This too shall pass." Nicely played, mom. Nicely played. I did manage to eat some three cheese pasta bake and cauliflower for dinner - my first real food in nearly 72 hours.

Sat 8/08/09 - Spent nearly the entire day in my bedroom trying to not puke (which I only did once today - halleluja.) The pain meds are helping minimize the pain. The nausea is driving me crazy, though, and I did not eat anything for 48 straight hours. I should pass the stone in 2-3 days and will be heavily medicated (and lazy) until I do. Ugh. I'm never 100% healthy. What's next? Swine flu? Rabies? Vampire bite?

Fri 8/07/09 - Woke up this morning with severe pains in my abdominal region. My doctor found a lot of blood in my urine and sent me to the ER to be tested for kidney stones or an appendix problem. After several hours at the ER and looking like a tortured man going into labor, they found a big ol' kidney stone. After I was discharged I vomited most of the day then returned at night to the ER upon adice from the nurse. They kept me there until after 2:00 a.m. to get me pain meds, anti-nausea meds, and IV fluids. This is going to be terrible.

Thurs 8/06/09 - I'm glad Jeanine won SYTYCD. I was pulling for her. It's funny how by the end of the season I think I'm a dance know-it-all. I literally know nothing about dance, but keep finding myself saying things like, "I didn't like her lines" or "they didn't connect as a couple." It's a fun show to watch and discuss with the NMW.

Wed 8/05/09
- Yes! I was finally able to play some real basketball tonight! It was the first time in a year and a half that I was able to play full-contact hoops due primarily to my lower back problems. A recent ankle sprain didn't help either. It felt so good to run, sweat, grunt, bump bodies, box out, block shots, knock people down/get knocked down, and just plain old compete. My legs got rubbery pretty quickly, but I didn't care. I am hoping this can be a Wednesday night weekly tradition with my church buddies who are all good enough to make the games fun, but level-headed enough to not end up throwing punches. Good balance between stiff competition and friendly enjoyment.

Tues 8/04/09 - The NMW went to a photography Enrichment class tonight so I had all three kids to myself. After getting the infant to sleep I cuddled up with the two older kids to finish the second half of The Neverend Story DVD. They were supposed to go to bed at 8:30 because of some...how shall we say this?...conflicts we had during the day. But once I got snuggled up with my 5-yr-old daughter, I fell asleep. They ended up staying up later than they should have because dear old dad fell asleep at 8:15. Who am I, Morty Seinfeld?

Mon 8/03/09 - Over the weekend we went to the employee store of a friend of ours who works for a large apparel company. The deals were incredible ($8 polo shirts, $5 hats, and $11 watch, etc.), so I stocked up. One of the items that caught my eye was a black Harley Davidson hat with silver font displaying the "Live Free or Die" state slogan of New Hampshire. I liked it, so I bought it, though the NMW still does not see me as a "Harley Guy." Me neither. I just liked the hat. Not a mid-life crisis. Or at least I don't think it is...

Sun 8/02/09 - Got to visit our friends in the hospital as they welcomed their new baby girl into the world yesterday. We brought some celebratory balloons as well as a spur-of-the-moment gift bag consisting of the best candy we had available in the house (no, this did not count as an ox in the mire) and latex balloons. Unfortunately, the nurses did not allow us to bring in the balloons due to potential latex allergies. Whatever. We then went down the road to another hospital to visit an older ward member who is battling a severe leg infection. Our hands are officially sanitized after visiting two hospitals today.

Sat 8/01/09 - I encountered perhaps the widest swings of emotion of my life this evening. First, we went to a wedding reception for a ward member after her temple sealing this morning. While we were at the reception one of my best friends called to tell me his wife will be going into labor any minute. Then, while still at the reception, a ward member called to tell me that their young adult son who lives in another state was tragically killed this evening. The joy of the reception, the excitement/worry of a baby delivery, and the shock of an unexpected, tragic passing has left me drained. I'm glad we have already begun our monthly fast. I need the strength.

Fri 7/31/09 - Date night consisted of tennis w/the NMW. It had rained earlier in the day and while the tennis was fun (I won 6-1, 6-3), the sky was spectacular. First, a thick, colorful rainbow appeared. The sky then divided into half being black, ominous, and flickering with lightening. The other half of the sky was bright orange as the sun was setting. Fun date, very cool setting.

Thu 7/30/09 - Yes! Ade got voted off So You Think You Can Dance? Call me petty, but I just never liked the whole "pick in the hair" gimmick. I hope Brandon and Kayla make the finals, with Kayla winning it all. The NMW and I talked about my anti-male dancer bias, but when I think of a "dancer" I can only picture thin, lithe, females gliding through the air. Male dancers are like WNBA players to me - sure they're good, but I just can't watch them.

Wed 7/29/09 - Kept thinking today was Monday after having two vacation days to start the week. Plowed through a pile of email and voice mail at work then went to church meetings. We were finally able to get out and do some visits instead of just planning and fire fighting. Spent our last night together with the NMW's mom before she heads back to UT. She was a saint for watching the kids during our getaway and it's been great seeing her.

Tue 7/28/09 - Woke up in our great B&B in the Smokey Mtns and had big, sausage-filled breakfast. The NMW and I drove the Blue Ridge Parkway then took a long walk though the NC Arboretum. The past two days celebrating our 12th Anniversary have been wonderful. Hard to go back to the real world.

Mon 7/27/09 - The Biltmore House was unreal. The seven-story dining room was unbelievable. The tapestries, artwork, gargoyles, and expansive room after expansive room seemed to be taken from a fairy tale. The farm, ripe with plump fruits and veggies, inspired me to have a ginormous garden someday. The Vanderbilts knew how to live. Tonight we are staying in a quaint B&B outside of Asheville. Wonderful anniversary thus far.

Sun 7/26/09 - Left after church with the NMW for our 2-day getaway to Asheville to celebrate our 12th Anniversary. My MIL is watching the kids, marking the first time in nearly two years we have been childless. After an enjoyable 3-hr. drive we stayed at a relative's empty house while they were out of town. Tomorrow, Biltmore!

Sat 7/25/09 - Drove an hour to meet a co-worker who is giving us two free tickets to the Biltmore House. At $50 per ticket, the drive was well worth it. Partied with the fam at Chuck E. Cheese's in Winston-Salem then went to Wet 'N Wild and experienced Dr. Van Dark's Terror Ride w/the NMB. We are taking advantage of the summer while we can.

Fri 7/24/09 - The NMW and her mom went out of the town, so I went on a walk with the three kids. My wife and mother-in-law got home after the kids were in bed, so the three of us watched a movie. I fell asleep about fifteen minutes into it and so did my M-I-L, so I guess we'll finish it tomorrow.

Thurs 7/23/09 - My day at work consisted of a 5-hr. mediation to close out a 6-year-old worker's comp claim followed by resolving an issue in the plant that resulted in an employee termination. Ugh.

Wed 7/22/09 - Had to drive 2 hours to one of my plants for work today to lay off a member of my HR staff. Difficult day. But on a good note, the family got back from the road trip tonight! Hooray!

Tues 7/21/09 - Since the NMW is returning tomorrow night, I spent most of my evening cleaning the house and finishing the "Honey Do" list, including changing a light fixture that was harder than I originally thought it would be. After 45 minutes of sweating, grunting, and "holy crud!-ing", I finally got it installed. When I was done I gave a triumphant, "Yeeahh Boy!" right in its face.

Mon 7/20/09 - Spent most of this Monday handling so many sticky employee relations issues that I fee like I need a shower. With as much time as I spend on the phone with our Legal department, I should have just become a corporate attorney. Ended up with a migraine at 8:30 p.m. Turned off all the lights in the house at 9:00, popped in The Planet Earth DVD, and fell asleep on the couch after about twelve seconds. David Attenborough's voice is my best sleeping pill - an he's non-prescription!

Sun 7/19/09 - Still home alone and got invited to have dinner with friends tonight, which meant I ate food that did not come from a microwave or a fast food window for the first time in nearly a week. Both the husband and wife in this family are funny and talkative and we have a lot in common. They are the type of people I could have hung out with until 3:00 a.m. back in the college days. But they have a toddler and an infant, so I was gone by 8:00. You know, the whole "bedtime" thing...

Sat 7/18/09
- Slept in until almost noon! Zoinks! That's what happens when you've worked 22 of the past 48 hours and there are no early-riser kids to wake you up. Trimmed the hedges and worked in the garden where I counted 90 tomatoes, 1 cucumber, 1 itsy-bitsy squash, 4 jalapenos, and some frustrating bell peppers that refuse to grow. My hands still smell like tomoato plants and dirt. Love it.

Fri 7/17/09 - After another 11-hr. day at work (6:20-5:20 due to plant meetings), I actually got some exercise for a change. I severely sprained my ankle a month ago but it finally feels good enough to exercise. After working in the garden for a bit I went on a 1-hour jog/walk. I'm in terrible physical shape due to my back and ankle, so it felt great got finally break a sweat, get my heart rate up, and feel my lungs burn. Ended the day soaking my sore legs in the hot tub. Great evening.

Thu 7/16/09
Ugh! When I left work yesterday we were planning to have plant meetings today, which start at 6:30 a.m. to catch 3rd shift. Since I am on the leadership team I need to be at each meeting so I woke up at 5:30, left by 6:00 and learned that I did not read a late email moving the meetings to Friday. I was so behind yesterday when I left work that I didn't see the email. Now I'm tired and cranky and need to get up at 5:30 again tomorrow morning.

Wed 7/15/09 - It was tough to go straight from work to church leadership meetings tonight because work was...how shall I put this?.....stinkalicious. Just one of those days with difficult projects, people, and pressure. Thank heaven for Taco Bell and peanutbutter & chocolate ice cream to put a smile on my face.

Tues 7/14/09
I was brave and invited the Elders over for dinner tonight. It was good to have their company while the fam is out west and I'm alone in NC, but I can't remember the last time I cooked for company. Pressure was on. The menu consisted of grilled chicken breast, mashed potatoes, and frozen veggies, and I pulled it off! Dessert was ice cream. Good evening with two good Elders.

Mon 7/13/09 - Nothing like returning to work after taking a week's vacation. I am proud of myself for not even checking my Blackberry one time to monitor my email. This made for a very fun, relaxing vacation, but I paid the price today as I tried to get out from under my mountain of unread email and getting up to speed on the HR zaniness that took place last week in my absence. I need another vacation after today...

Sun 7/12/09
Back home - alone - as the Normal Mormon family stays out West for another week and a half. Good sacrament meeting about temples. Good stake general priesthood meeting about "Rescue". Then my friends invited me over to their house for a barbecue hamburger/Italian sausage dinner. That was great! It's nice to have good friends. Especially ones with covet-worthy propane grills.

Sat 7/11/09
Long flight back home to NC after eight days of relaxing vacation bliss back home in Utah. In my mind this vacation was never going to end. Voicemails would never need to be checked. Emails would never be opened. PEC would conduct itself. And money would somehow magically keep appearing in my bank account to finance the eternal vacation. Then - POOF! - I'm flying out of SLC back to reality. Oh well, I won the on-board Jeopardy touch-display trivia game against the rest of the passengers on my flight. "Yes, Alex, I'll take boasting for $1,000..."

Fri 7/10/09
The NMH returned home from Disneyland yesterday so we decided to go back up to Little Cottonwood Canyon with flashlights to explore the cave. This cave is a huge, deep tunnel that goes straight into the mountain for several hundred feet. It is high enough for me to stand up straight without hitting my oversized noggin. The NMW, NMB, and our 5-yr-old daughter had a good time spelunking and even saw water flowing from inside the rock wall. Did Moses do some smiting here or something?

Thurs 7/09/09
Went to downtown SLC to visit Temple Square today with the NMW and the girls (the NMB is still at Disneyland.) The NMW and I had also planned to do family file ordinance work at the Draper Temple but had to call that off at the last minute. While we've been in Utah we went to the Oquirrh Hills Temple open house, visited the Jordan River Temple, and toured Temple Square. Throw in Draper and there are four temples within 30 minutes of my parents' house. You can hardly turn around without bumping into a temple around here!

Wed 7/08/09
We made it safely to BYU today and enjoyed the very cool Bean Museum. We also bought our favorite chocolate covered gummi bears from the Wilk and loaded up on cheap "Y" t-shirts since we never see them in NC. We finished the evening having dessert at my bro's house and picking up a beautiful painting I commissioned him to do for the NMW's birthday. It is an original oil painting inspired by this Hubble telescope image. It reminds us of creation and God's existence, but it is also beautiful art and we cannot wait to frame it and hang it up at home. You can visit AnthonySweat.com to see more of my bro's awesome artwork.

Tues 7/07/09
The 8-yr-old NMB is at Disneyland with the NMW's parents, so the rest of the fam was planning our annual trip to walk around BYU today. As we headed up Point of the Mountain on I-15 we got nailed by large, sharp, mangled scrap metal debris all over the freeway. I ran over a big chunk of it while going 70+ MPH and completely blew out a tire. I pulled over and went through the odd process of changing a tire on a minivan, which involved lowering the tire from inside the van, fishing out the tire with a hook, and releasing it from a cable. So instead of BYU we ended up getting a new tire from Sam's Club. Hooray!

Mon 7/06/09
Went up Little Cottonwood Canyon with the family and my parents for some KFC for dinner. The canyons of Utah are stunning. We ate at the same spot we used to go to frequently as kids, and it was neat to show the canyon off to my children. There is a deep cave that is particularly cool, and my son and I got to explore it. He's already excited to come back next year, but this time we will bring flashlights.

Sun 7/05/09 - Spent the 4th of July (yesterday) at my sister's house lighting fireworks and having a good time. My mom said to me, "The older I get, the more patriotic I become." I feel the same way. I love the United States of America and consider it a blessing and privilege to live here. This is the most noble, most generous country in the history of the modern world and has had a greater impact for the good of humanity than any other. America is exceptional, and I feel no need to apologize for believing this.

Sat 7/04/09
- Very special day as I baptized my son in Utah surrounded by family. It was one of the most sacred, happy moments of my life to baptize and confirm him. He is so smart, funny, and full of potential. He has learned a lot about the gospel and baptism and was truly excited to follow the Savior's example today. Surrounding him with a family full of Melchezedek priesthood for the confirmation was special as well and made me grateful for the good men who have taught me throughout my life.

Fri 7/03/09 - The NMB turned 8 today and we celebrated by going to Boondocks with his 2 siblings and 9 cousins and assortment of 2 grandparents and 6 aunts/uncles. The oldest of the 11 kids is 12 years old. The NMB loves NASCAR (his Southern heritage, I guess) and his face lit up when he drove the go karts. He passed every other kid on the track and came back beaming to me with a, "I TOTALLY beat everybody!" We played Laser Tag and the men took turns punching a bag that tells you how hard you hit. (My bro-in-law won, dang it!)

Thurs 7/02/09 - Flew from NC back home to Utah for vacation. My flight took me from NC to the Cincinnati, OH, which is actually in Kentucky. Then I had to ride a shuttle to the "B" gates. The shuttle stopped at a spot for the A1-A39 gates, but the driver told me you take that ramp to the "B" gates. Let's see? Cincinnati is really Kentucky? The "B" gates are in the "A" gate? What's next? Salt Lake is really Boise and my family is really a den of hungry badgers? Confusing.

Wed 7/01/09 - I officially "harvested" the first two tomatoes from our garden today. Last week a cucumber and jalapeno pepper were also plucked and eaten. Gardening has unexpectedly turned into one of my favorite hobbies. I had to re-stake several of the tomato plants yesterday and didn't want to wash the sharp tomato plant smell mixed with dirt off my hands. Darn hygiene! It always spoils the fun.

Tues 6/30/09
- Woke up at 4:30 a.m. to catch my early flight from California back home to NC. I don't know what it is about Cali, but I love visiting here. The weather was perfect, the palm trees were beautiful, Lakers fans were plentiful, the smog was absolutely majestic...okay, I guess there are some downsides to Cali. The last couple of plants I inherited to oversee were in small, remote towns, so it's exciting to have a reason to head to L.A. instead of just rural America.

Mon 6/29/09 - Spent the day in our 75-person California plant. Nearly every employee is either Chinese or Vietnamese. I need to practice the proper pronunciation of Asian names so I can stop embarrassing myself when saying, "Cheung" vs. "Chiang" vs. "Cheng", etc. Ate a quick dinner at In-N-Out Burger and - sorry guys - but it's not as great as you all said in in response to my fast food post last year. The burger was just a burger, even "animal style", and the chocolate shake wasn't cold or creamy. Disappointed in In-N-Out. Big Mac's are better.

Sun 6/28/09 - Took the long flight from NC to Ontario, CA to visit a plant I was given HR responsibility for about two months ago. Two weeks ago the HR Manager at the plan told me she is going to retire, forcing me to quickly restructure the department in preparation for her departure. This will be my first visit to this plant - and definitely not my last as I look to hire a new HR person. (But hey, it's not all bad - California, baby!)

Sat 6/29/09 -
Spent the day in our 75-person California plant. Nearly every employee is either Chinese or Vietnamese. I need to practice the proper pronunciation of Asian names so I can stop emabrassing myself when saying, "Cheung" vs. "Chiang" vs. "Cheng", etc. Ate a quick dinner at In-N-Out Burger and - sorry guys - but it's not as great as you all said in in response to my fast food post last year. The burger was just a burger, even "animal style", and the chocolate shake wasn't cold or creamy. Disappointed in In-N-Out. Bic Mac's are better.

Sun 6/28/09 - Took the long flight from NC to Ontario, CA to visit a plant I was given HR responsibility for about two months ago. Two weeks ago the HR Manager at the plan told me she is going to retire, forcing me to quickly restructure the department in preparation for her departure. This will be my first visit to this plant - and definitely not my last as I look to hire a new HR person. (But hey, it's not all bad - California, baby!)

Sat 6/25/09 -
Busy church day. 9:30 - Leave to go to the church to meet for our youth temple trip. 10:00 - Leave for Raleigh from the church with a call full of youth. 11:30 - Host 14 youth for lunch at Wendy's. 1:00 - Baptisms, including 4 family file names from my wife's side of the family. 2:30 - Leave temple for LDS bookstore. 3:00 - Leave bookstore for home with car full of youth. 4:30 - Arrive at church to drop off youth, stay at church for baptism. 5:00 - Conduct baptismal service for two male converts - a father and son. 6:00 - Go home. Phew! Lost of blessings...but phew!

Fri 6/24/09 - Michael Jackson passed away. I will never forget where I was the first time I saw the Thriller video. It blew my mind. I was eight years old when it was released in 1983 and was sitting on the "blue blanket" in our living room when I watched it. MTV was still in its infancy and it was the only time in my life that a music video completely electrified me. I then spent the rest of the night perfecting my moon walk and being terrified that zombies were under my bed.

Thurs 6/23/09
- Shaq to Cleveland? It sounds good on paper, but I just don't see the Big Diesel giving the Cavs what they need to win a title. In full disclosure, I am a huge Shaq fan. Shaq Daddy has been my favorite NBA player for more than a decade, so it's hard for me to be objective. But the fact is that Shaq is old, always reports to camp out of shape, he can't stay healthy, can't guard the pick and roll, and is a liability down the stretch in close games because of his horrendous free throws. Don't be surprised if he misses the first 25 games, plays his way into shape by the All-Star break, then either clogs the lane for LeBron or kills them on high pick and rolls for the rest of the year. But if it works, I'd give my left arm to see a Shaq-Kobe Finals next year.

Wed 6/22/09
- Sad night tonight. After my weekly Wednesday church leadership meetings I went over to the home of a family in our ward that is moving next Monday. When we moved into the ward in 2003 the five kids ranged from about 8 to 15 years old, so I have watched them grow up. The two oldest are now in college and the three younger kids are active in the youth program, and my calling lets me spend a lot of time with them. They have been raised by a faithful single mother and this decision was not easy for her. I will miss this family dearly and wish them the best in their new life.

Tues 6/21/09 -
A reader of my blog pointed out to me that when you Google "Shawn Bradley" that my Bradley post shows up as the fifth overall result, right behind little-known sites like wikipedia, nba.com, basketball-reference.com, and ESPN.com. Click here to see for yourself. And the funny thing is I wrote the Shawn Bradley post for my own amusement and thought it would be one of the least read columns I have ever written. Then, thanks to the Bill Simmons Tweet, it got over 11,000 views in one week. Crazy.

Mon 6/20/09 -
Tonight we babysat for friends of ours who have a newborn and a toddler. Throw in our three offspring and we had five kids under the age of eight roaming and/or screaming about the house most of the evening. It is nice to be able to occasionally swap babysitting with friends since the weekly babysitter bill can get pretty expensive. And on the plus side, our friends brought us back some Cold Stone as a "thank you." Mmmmm.....Cold Stone......

Sun 6/19/09 - Very nice Father's Day today. My early morning church leadership meetings were canceled so I was able to sleep in a little for a Sunday and go to church with the family.
The kids sang Father's Day songs with the Primary in sacrament meeting and made me cute little cards. My gift from the family was a very cool Lakers 2009 NBA Champions hat that will get a lot of use this summer. Our friends invited us to dinner at their place and had a good time eating, talking, laughing and playing a little badminton.

Sat 6/18/09 -
My wife rocks! I got a call from her at work yesterday instructing me to meet the family at a local campground instead of going home. As part of my Father's Day weekend she surprised me by setting up a camp site so that we could hang out and roast some goodies over a fire. The fam went home at dusk and I stayed behind to have a nice, relaxing evening alone in the woods, something I've been yearning to do for quite a while now. Awesome night!

Fri 6/17/09
- Citgo has started an billboard ad campaign that promotes the company "Loyal" and "Local." Ha! That's like O.J. Simpson trying to re-brand himself as "Family Oriented" and "Non-Violent." Come on, Citgo, we're on to you. We know you are a subsidiary of PDVSA, Venezuela's stat-owned oil company. By "state-owned", you are controlled by Hugo Chavez himself! Do us a favor and be honest. How about a billboard that reads, "Every time you buy Citgo gas you are directly giving money to a crazy dictator who HATES the U.S.....but we have great Slurpees!" Sure, most oil comes from countries that hate us, but the Citgo billboards are patronizing.

Thurs 6/16/09 - Had a very nice, relaxing 2-hour drive to my company's Lenoir, NC plant today. Solo mini-road trips like this give me a little time to just be alone with my thoughts and sort things out. There are a number of major staffing issues at work that I am working on, and it's nice to get some quiet time to just think through my options. I guess I wasn't totally alone though since I had my 40-oz Slurpee keeping me company most of the drive.

Mon 6/15/09
- The NMW was in charge of the FHE activity and took me and the two older kids outside at dusk to catch fireflys. It was so fun to see them excitedly running around the front yard in their pajamas (NMW excluded, of course) and getting all giddy when we would catch a firefly. We then took the insect-powered lanterns into the bathroom and watched them light up. Fun memory.

Sun 6/14/09
- Today the NMW and I celebrated our 12th anniversary. In our wonderful life together we have had three kids, five cars, five apartments, two houses and countless great memories together. There are some nights when we are just chillin' in the hot tub and we talk about how we never thought life would be this good. I love you, NMW, for filling my life with laughs, hope, excitement, wonder, fun, support, confidence, and happiness. If there were a kazbah around, you would definitely rock it.

Sat 6/13/09 -
The NMB had two baseball games in a round robin tournament. His team was 1-4 coming in. They got waxed in their first game, but won their second game 8-3. In the win the NMB went 2-2 with a single, a double, and two runs scored. It was a little hard to enjoy the games because our family was MELTING in the heat during the second game, which also conflicted with our 12-month-old daughters nap time. It may have been easier to babysit a rabid mongoose than her at times.

Fri 6/12/09 -
Our 12th anniversary is this Sunday (6/14) so the NMW got a babysitter and we celebrated tonight. We went to the Greensboro Grasshoppers game and could not have asked for a better night for baseball. We then went to a great fondue place called The Melting Pot for dessert - the S'mores plate. We dipped everything from strawberries and bananas to Rice Crispy treats and pound cake into a liquid S'mores mixture. Great stuff! The NMW got the anniversary gift for the both of us - a 3-day, 2-night getaway to the Biltmore (Vanderbelt's ginormous home) in Asheville, NC when her mom comes to visit this summer. Can't wait!

Thurs 6/11/09 - Derek Fisher, I love you, man. Your game-tying 3-pointer with 4.6 seconds left saved Game 4 of the NBA Finals for the Lakers. Your 3-pointer with 31 seconds left in OT won the game. The smile you gave after hitting the last big three was priceless. My smile at home was just as big as I watched by Lakers go up 3-1 on Orlando and move to within one more victory of the NBA title.

Wed 6/10/09
- Worked from home today (emails, conference calls, playing Madden, etc.) to rest my foot and see my doctor. He is concerned that I may have fractured the bottom of my fibula and is referring me out to an ortho specialist. My ankle is tender and swollen but I feel better today than I thought I would. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm eating ice cream between conference calls. Mmmmm...injuries are delicious.

Tues 6/9/09
- I blew out my right ankle tonight. My on-going back issues (herniated L5/S1) have improved to the point where my doctor told me to do light cardio three times a week. So a couple of nights a week I go in the backyard to shoot hoops, dribble, do layups, etc. and work up a good sweat. But tonight I was doing a layup drill, came down awkwardly, and completely rolled my right ankle. I thought I had snapped my foot in half. The pain was intense. Fortunately it looks like it is only a sprain.

Sat 6/6/09 -
HOLY COW! Bill Simmons from ESPN not only read my Shawn Bradley post, he Twittered about it! Simmons is probably the most famous sports writer in the United States (evidenced by his 150,000 Twitter followers) and is undoubtedly the star of ESPN.com. I have been a big fan of Bill Simmons since he joined ESPN in 2001. In his Twitter about my Bradley post, Bill Simmons said "Nicely done" and linked to my post. The next 24 hours resulted in roughly 10,000 page views of my blog and a number of compliments about my writing style. Hey, I'm smart enough to recognize 15 minutes of fame when it comes, so I'm just going to enjoy the ride.

Fri 6/5/09 -
A wonderful ward member agreed to watch the kids tonight so that the NMW and I could go to the Raleigh temple tonight as part of her extended birthday weekend. The drive down was full of fun conversation, laughter, Red Vines, BBQ Pringles and flavored water. After a very peaceful session we went to Chili's and ate nothing but appetizers (wings for me, 3-item combo for NMW). We even bumped into three of our good friends at the temple. Great date night.

Thurs 6/4/09
- Happy Birthday, NMW! We had a little celebration at home with a few games and a pinata. We then went to dinner at her favorite Mexican restaurant and came home for cheesecake dessert. After getting the kids to bed we watched SYTYCD and then saw the Lakers obliterate the Magic in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. What a fun night! NMW, I love you for making life so much fun. Your optimism and happiness is infectious and lifts me up. Your parenting skills, patience, and ability to organize our home (finances, bills, yard work, etc.) are remarkable. Love you, babe!

Wed 6/3/09 - Last night at mutual I was asked to present a gift and say a few words to our three graduating Laurels. My church calling has allowed me to work with these young women for the past five years, so I've been close to them since they were 12 years old. It is amazing to see how smart, focused, spiritual, funny and grounded these three young women are. I caught a glimpse of how rewarding it must be as a parent to see your teen-aged children make good decisions and remain close to the Lord. What a cool feeling that must be.

Tues 6/2/09 -
The 7-yr-old NMB had a baseball game tonight. His team had a hard time getting on base so he only got up to bat one time. But in his only at bat he ripped a stand-up double into left-center that rolled to the fence. The NMB scored two batters later and ended up being the team's only run. We lost 7-1 but the coach gave the NMB the game ball with a little inscription and the date on it for his good hit. Way to go, NMB!

Mon 6/1/09 - I wresteled in the front room with my two older kids tonight for the first time in a long time. My back is still in pain but I am getting progressively better and felt good enough to get our WWE thing on. We always come up with crazy wrestling names when we go at it. My 5-yr-old daughter was Power Princess, my son was The Evil Destoyer and I was Captain Bottom Smacker. Good time. Let's get ready to ruuuuuuuuummmmmmble!

Sun 5/31/09
- Our little girl took her first steps yesterday at our ward cook out. She has been standing up really well for the past couple of weeks but has been hesitant to walk. Several times each day we will look at her with anticipation and say, "It looks like she's gonna take a step...." followed by a disappointed "Aaaaahhhhh" as she would gently plop herself back down. She was actually playing on the jungle gym at the park and just got caught up in the excitement and took two little steps. Next trick? Poppin' and lockin' so that she can get on SYTYCD.

Sat 5/30/09 - Whirlwind day. Late Morning - Had 1st birthday party at home for our little girl and watched her gorge herself on cake frosting (not cake, just frosting. Not looking forward to changing that diaper...) Early Afternoon - The NMB's baseball game. He went 0-2 but reached on a fielder's choice and scored his team's first run. Late Afternoon - Ward cook out ("barbecue" for you Utahns) which was lots of fun. Evening - Tennis date with the NMW. Phew!

Fri 5/29/09
- Tonight was my 5-year-old daughter's pre-ballet dance recital. She looked like a little princess dressed up in her tutu. Part of her dance routine was with the dads, so I got to pick her up, twirl her around, and waltz with her. I was about six inches taller than any of the other dads on the stage and my daughter was a head taller than her classmates. When I lifted her she was up so high that she probably could have changed a light bulb on the ceiling. She was beautiful. I hope she keeps dancing. She loves it. Either dancing...or play of BYU's women's basketball team. I'd be fine with either one.

Thurs 5/28/09
- Happy 1st birthday to my little girl! I can't believe that it was one year ago that we went to the hospital to welcome you into our family. Here are a few of my favorite things about you: The way you say "dah-dah!" when you see me; good-night kisses; the way your lotion smells after your bath; peek-a-boo at the dinner table; the way you burrow your head into my chest when you get shy; big smiles; curly hair; how much you love birds and being outdoors. I can't imagine my life without you, little one. Happy birthday!

Wed 5/27/09
- I was driving in my car during lunch and my AM talk radio programs were all on commercial so I flipped the radio to the FM dial. I normally have the FM dial to NPR (which I listen to with a HUGE grain of salt), but the NMW drove the car yesterday and had the FM set to - gasp! - a music station. I never listen to music on the radio in my car. But the funniest thing happened. The second I turned on the FM music station, Guns 'N Roses "Paradise City" started to play. I don't know what came over me, but I had a childhood flashback and forgot how hard that song just plain old rocks! So I turned up the volume all the way and jammed out to GNR. The only things I was missing were a lighter and a mullet.

Tues 5/26/09
- The 7-yr-old NMB had a baseball game tonight and he did well. He went 1-2 hitting and threw out two base runners while playing in the infield. My instruction to him when he hits is, "Knees bent. Bat back. Step into it!" Sometimes I feel like the evil Cobra Kai sensei in Karati Kid who makes his students repeat, "Strike first! Strike hard! No mercy sir!" But if I was half as effective, my son's team would not have lost 11-4 tonight. No mercy!

Mon 5/25/09
- Today is Memorial Day. Thank you to all of you brave men and women who serve to protect our freedoms, and to your families for their sacrifices while you are far from home. We took advantage of the day off by driving to Charlotte for a visit to Chuck-E-Cheese's and the Concord Mills Mall. At Chuck-E-Cheese's I played the Deal Or No Deal game and ended up winning the 80-ticket jackpot. Later I set the new record on Pop-a-Shot and also won the grand prize jackpot on Skee Ball. I know the first thing you think is "Steroid Cheater!" when you see amazing athletic feats like this, but I roll completely natural!

Sun 5/24/09
- The 15-yr-old convert was confirmed today and I got to stand in the circle. After his confirmation he gave a brief talk in sacrament meeting and you would have thought that he was born in the church. What a great young man! One of the young men who is close friends with the young man who was baptized also spoke in sacrament meeting to share his feelings on seeing his friend baptized. It was a moving meeting. I'm so excited for what this baptism means for our entire youth program!

Sat 5/23/09
- A really good 15-yr-old young man has been attending church and mutual with us for about a year. Some of the young men in our ward go to school with him and invited him to come to church. At first his visits were purely social, but then he started to feel the Spirit and knew the church was true. He was baptized today. His baptismal service was great - a lot of support from the ward. This young man has a good head on his shoulders and is a true convert. His conversion has also been a testimony strengthening opportunity for all of our youth and his baptism brought our whole ward together.

Fri 5/22/09
- Spring in North Carolina is more beautiful than a Kobe Bryant clutch 3-pointer. Today we enjoyed the ideal temperatures by ordering a pizza and having a little dinner picnic at the park. Our girls loved the swings while I played football with the Normal Mormon Boy. The Red Vines for dessert were a hit as well.

Thurs 5/21/09 -
After being gone for work for three nights I was able to fly home from Sayre, PA this morning. Due to cost containment measures I have not really traveled this year for work, which has been a welcome change. When I go to Sayre I fly into the Elmira, NY airport, which has a total of two gates. The drive from Elmira to Sayre is about 20 miles and it is beautiful this time of year. Many of the green, rolling hills remind me of the Hill Cumorah and contribute to a peaceful drive. It was peaceful until I stumbled upon the Laura Ingraham radio show, that is.

Wed 5/20/09
- While it was frustrating to watch the Lakers get pushed to seven games by a completely undermanned Rockets team, the worst part of the series was watching Shane Battier face guarding Kobe. When I played competitive basketball we called face guarding a "chump" or a "sissy" move. But the ABC announcers praised Battier for doing it. Tonight I saw more face guarding in the Cavs-Magic Game 1. Ugh. Just as the Lakers dispatched the Rockets, the NBA needs to crack down on face-guarding girly-men.

Tues 5/19/09 - Kris Allen, I hope you win American Idol. I could see myself listening to your music over the next couple of years. Your low-key, accoustic performance are exactly my style. Sure, Adam Lambert oozes star power like nobody in the history of Idol, but he's just too over-the-top Broadway for me. Adam has been more entertaining to watch, but I could see myself buying a couple of accoustic Chris Allen songs, so he gets my vote.

Mon 5/18/09 - When I take a cramped flight for work, shouldn't I get a discount because the airline offers no seats that accomodate my 6'6" legs? Hey, if the airlines are going to charge obese people for two seats, shouldn't they give people like me a discount for giving me a tiny, miserable seat?

Sun 5/17/09 -
This was Stake Conference weekend and Elder Walter Gonzales of the Presidency of the 70 was our visiting G.A. The theme of the conference was "Rescue." We were taught some very simple, practical doctrines to first rescue ourselves and then be an instrument in the hands of the Lord to help rescue others. Elder Gonzales showed a lot of faith, hope, optimism and gratitude for the gospel as he taught. At one point he said, "People in the U.S. are worried about the economic downturn right now. Brothers, everything will be okay. Believe me. I'm from South America and we have economic downturns every five years, and things always turn out okay. At this point I have a Ph.D. in economic downturns, so you can trust what I say." Between the temple yesterday and Stake Conference, I am on a spiritual high right now.

Sat 5/16/09 - FINALLY! The NMW and I were finally able to go to the temple together. Going to a temple session in Raleigh takes a good 5-6 hours with travel, so it is hard to do with a nursing child. We went with about 12 of our ward members to be present with our friend, Ben, to receive his endowment. Ben was baptized in Dec. '07 and seeing his total conversion to the gospel has been inspiring and rewarding. Sitting in the temple with our ward family to see our friend receive his temple blessings was a true blessing.

Fri 5/15/09 - I fell asleep on the couch while snuggled up with the NMW watching the Planet Earth DVD's. I don't know what it is about David Attenborough's voice, but he knocks me out every time we watch those DVD's.

Thurs 5/14/09
- I did two things today that I have not done in over a decade. 1) Jogged. 2) Attacked a medium-sized dog. I absolutely loathe jogging, but my doctor recommended I do more cardio while I'm rehabbing my back. On a whim, I went on a jog for perhaps the first time in my adult life. During my jog I had to confront one of my worst fears - being attacked by a dog. As I was jogging this decent sized dog came running right at me while barking and bearing his teeth. I had the "flight or fight" moment, and I chose to fight! I made myself as big as possible (which at 6'6" is not hard to do) and charged straight for the dog, getting ready to kick it with my size 12's if necessary. I think I freaked the dog out because it stopped dead in its tracks about ten feet from me, then turned around and ran away as fast as it could. Boo ya!

Wed 5/13/09
- I fell asleep on the couch for the last half hour of the Lost season finale. That sums up my view of this entire waste of a time-travel season. Zzzzz......

Tues 5/12/09
- Our 2nd grade son had his school music program tonight. Half of the children were dressed as dogs and the other as cats. He was a dog and did a great job singing his songs and doing his speaking part, floppy dog ears and all. The theme of the program was to teach children that even cats and dogs can get along if they have an open mind and get to know each other. While this is a great message for kids, I just kept thinking, "Dude! Dogs! Just go over there and beat the crud out of those sass-mouth cats! I mean, you're dogs for crying out loud! You don't need to take that from those powerless cats!" Maybe this mentality is why I ended up getting an MBA instead of teaching elementary school.

Mon 5/11/09 - FHE was fun tonight. We started off with a rousing version of "Do As I'm Doing", which got the kids so hyper we had to sing "I Am A Child of God" to settle them down. Our 5-year-old daughter shared a lesson from The Friend on being nice to others. We played hide 'n seek and the NMW had the best hiding spot of the evening when she hid behind a partially opened shower curtain. Dessert was a choice between red velvet cake, ice cream sandwiches or a fudgesicle. Nothing too memorable, just a spiritual but fun bonding moment as a family.

Sun 5/10/09
- Today was Mother's Day. Early-morning church leadership meetings were canceled so I got to make the NMW pancakes for breakfast. Unfortunately our 7-year-old son woke up sick and could not go to church. I had to be at church for my calling, so the NMW got stuck at home with our sick son, our 11-month-old, and our 6-year-old nephew we are babysitting. So much for a stress-free Mother's Day. She requested a garden salad and baked potato for dinner (sweet, easy cooking!) and red velvet cake for dessert. The kids made her cards and I gave her a massage/pedicure at a local day spa. I love you, NMW!

Sat 5/09/09 - I got my hands dirty and grimy today and I feel like a real man for once. My manliness got kicked off by extending our garden and adding 200 pounds of top soil. I got to use a shovel and relocate worms with my bare hands and everything! I then installed a ceiling fan in my son's room since the warm summer months are approaching. This allowed me to bust out my cordless drill, connect electrical wires, and wipe sweat from my brow with the bottom of my t-shirt. The testosterone is flowing so much in the aftermat that I feel like I should grow a beard or go watch a tractor pull or something.

Fri 5/08/09 - I made an Arby's run for dinner tonight. We have our routine down on the 5 for $5.55, so we can normally get by on about $12 at Arby's. But when I went through the drive-thru there were no 5 for $5.55 signs and I was told that the promotion had ended. I placed my order at the regular menu item price and it came to $18! After pondering my options I decided to quickly pull up to the window and tell him to cancel my order. I then drove down the street to Wendy's and got dinner for $12. Is that what it means to "live providently?"

Thurs 5/07/09 - I feel so bad for my wife. She never, ever gets sick. But for the last two days she has been under the weather. To make matters worse, our five-year-old daughter has pink eye and our eleven-month-old has a slight fever. I've had to pick up the slack a little bit around the house, which explains how our toddler ended up eating potting soil from one of our indoor house plants today. Get well, soon, hon. We all need you....and so do the plants.

Wed 5/06/09
- I have almost given up completely on Lost. The whole time travel concept drives me crazier than Hurley when he's off the island and not taking his meds. When time travel gets introduced there are no consequences to people's actions because somebody can always go back in time and change what happened. Why should I care about who lives, who dies, who gets swine flu, etc. when it can just be undone next week? The finale had better get everybody back to the present time or I'm not coming back next season. Unless, of course, the writers go back in time and scrap the whole time travel plot.

Tues 5/05/09
- Today is my dad's 60th birthday. I really wish I could have been in Utah to celebrate with him, my mom, siblings, nieces and nephews. I've blogged before about how great my dad is. For his gift this year I got him a ginormous Utah Jazz mug to keep him company as he watches sports on his big screen in the man cave. I always look forward to chillin' with dad in the man cave during trips home to Utah. Happy birthday, dad! And feliz cinco de mayo, too!

Mon 5/04/09
- Yesterday was the birthday for my best friend since childhood. We have not really lived close to each other since high school, but I always call him and he always calls me on our birthdays. While I have a decent number of friends, I don't really have a lot of life-long buddies. In fact, I am still only close with two of my friends from my younger years. Facebook has been a great resource keeping in touch with all of my friends back home in Utah, but there is nothing like the annual phone calls with my BFF from when we wore Underoos and built forts in the back yard.

Sun 5/03/09
- The NMW and I fasted together today for a family that is going through some major trials right now. Fasting for other people makes it so much easier to about it with the right attitude. When the hunger pangs hit, you just envision the people you are fasting for and feel good knowing that your sacrifice and prayers will bless them in some small way. Knowing that you are fasting to bless other people makes it easier to ignore the Barbecue Pringles and Girl Scout Samoa Cookie ice cream in the freezer. (The ice cream was quickly consumed after the fast, however.)

Sat 5/02/09
- We made the five hour drive back home from Myrtle Beach today. I always look forward to long road trips with the NMW. It gives us a good time to just talk about serious things to silly things - like what we would do with a million dollars. We drove right through the area that was devastated by wildfires a few weeks ago, and much of it was still smoldering. We had to make a bathroom stop and stumbled into a quaint little ice cream shop in the middle of nowhere. We were able to play some pool, eat great ice cream, and even got undercharged by about $5 on our order. I argued a little with the cashier that we owed her more money, but she insisted that she was right. So hey, I tried.

Fri 5/01/09
- The beach was beautiful today, though it is hard for me to watch all three kids at the same time while the NMW is in class. The beach is a dangerous place! Our 11-month-old daughter is constantly eating sand, my 5-year-old daughter can't swim, and my 7-year-old son keeps going too far out into the waves for comfort with his boogie board. I'm on high alert. I vow that I will go home with the same number of kids that I arrived here with.

Thurs 4/30/09
- Aaaahhh! I took today and tomorrow as vacation days from work. The NMW has to take continuing ed classes to keep her dental hygiene license, so she signed up for some marathon classes Thurs-Sat. The classes are in Myrtle Beach, SC, and since we already paid for her hotel we decided to make a family vacation out of it. Good times.

Wed 4/29/09
- I had been overseeing Human Resources for six plants in the Southeast and East coast. Today I was asked to pick up oversight for an additional plant in California that my company acquired last year. I am looking forward to a new challenge and it is somewhat reassuring to be asked to do more when everybody is jittery about their jobs. The downside? Flying from NC to CA as a 6'6" lug with a herniated disc in his lower back. I wonder if they will let me lie down in the aisle?

Tues 4/28/09
- I am now claiming to be an official 6'6" after a recent conversation with a smart, trusted, basketball-savvy friend. Over the past few years I have told people who ask me how tall I am that, "I'm a little over six-five", but was hesitant to claim the big six-six. I was reluctant to add the additional inch because I always chuckle when guys try to inflate their height and profess to be 6'1", for example, when they are really only 5'11". I don't want to be one of those guys, but it's time to tell the world - I am SIX-SIX. And believe me, it's not easy being tall as you can find out here in one of my all-time favorite NMH posts.

Mon 4/27/09
- We went to Moe's for dinner tonight. No, not Moe's Tavern, Moe's the burrito place. There was a special for a burrito, chips and drink meal for $5.55. The kids love it when we get meal deals because it means they don't have to drink water with their dinner. We almost always get water when we eat out, so having a cup full of Sprite gets the kids pretty giddy. We try to "live providently" by avoiding the extra $1.39 per person to get a beverage. Plus, if The Waterboy didn't teach us anything else, we know that water is good for us...and football is the devil.

Sun 4/26/09
- Attended Fannie Feaster's funeral today. She was a convert to the church and we will miss her dearly. Her family requested that their Baptist church handle the funeral services. It was my first Baptist funeral service in a predominantly black congregation (probably 7 white and 200 African Americans in attendance.) Baptists and Mormons share many similar views of the resurrection and finding peace and comfort in the Lord. The main difference is the volume with which we discuss/sing about those doctrines. My 5-year-old daughter told me at the end that she was, "almost deaf" because of the drums, organ and microphone volume. In all, our Baptist friends were very kind and welcoming to us as we paid our final respects to Sis. Feaster and I am grateful for the experience we had today.

Sat 4/25/09
- Another great day. At 7:30 a.m. I was at the church for our Area Day of Service. After some donuts and milk it was off to the Children's Museum to volunteer on their 10th anniversary celebration. My wife and I rotated watching/playing with our kids and helping with a game from 9:30-12:30. After that we came home and the kids splashed around the hot tub while I shot hoops in the back yard. Then the NMW and I had our weekly date night. We left the kids with the babysitter, did a quick K-Mart run, played tennis, then ended with cold, refreshing drinks at Sonic. Good times!

Fri 4/24/09
- Great day today. After a productive Friday at work I returned home to learn that my 7-year-old son earned his fifth consecutive "green card" for good behavior at school. My daughter just turned five last week and still had birthday money burning a hole in her pocket, so we loaded the kids into the minivan and went down to Target. We bought two of the $1.50 drink/popcorn combos, bought a small celebratory gift for our son and helped our daughter buy another Polly Pockets with her birthday cash. We then had fried rice for dinner and ate on the patio just to enjoy the warm Spring weather. After the kids went to bed the NMW and I ended the night relaxing in the hot tub. The only way the day could have been better is if the Lakers were up 3-o on the Jazz instead of 2-1 after Kobe's 5 for 147 shooting performance night last night. Oh well, there must be opposition in all things, I guess.

Thurs 4/23/09
- I got sick at work today. Right in the middle of doing a phone interview with a candidate for a Director-level role my head started pounding and I nearly barfed twice. Being the loyal HR person that I am I sucked it up, turned off the lights in my office, laid down on the floor, and gutted out the next 40 minutes to finish the interview. As soon as the interview ended (with no puking, fortunately) I went home, slept for five hours, watched Judge Joe Brown, Judge Judy, Judge Alex, ate jello and drank Gatorade. My awesome wife took the kids to the park while my migraine passed. So thanks, hon, for creating a quite place to recuperate and for providing me with nummy nummy jello.

Wed 4/22/09
- Since today is Earth Day (sorry, I always snicker at stuff like that) I just want to mention two earth-related successes in my life. First, I planted grass seed in some of the dead spots in my lawn and it is actually growing! Nobody is more surprised about this than I am. It's like I have a dozen chia pets in my yard. Second, our family planted a little garden this week. I never thought that I would enjoy gardening, but I do. I can't wait to eat the fruits of my labors and feel all self-reliant and proud.

Tuesday 4/21/09
- Adam Lambert of American Idol - you have officially converted me. I disliked you from day one because you were way too theatrical and over-the-top for my taste. But over the past few weeks I have found myself excited for your performances and then being completely blown with your songs. Anoop and Lil - it's time for you to go. Now. Seriously.

Monday 4/20/09
- I learned that a sister in my ward passed away unexpectedly over the weekend. She and I spent a fair amount of time with each other because of my calling and I knew her trials and challenges very well. She was converted to the church a few years ago and her knowledge of the gospel supported her through many of her trials. She and I spoke over the phone on Wednesday 4/14 and she thanked me for being there for her during a difficult time in her life. She sounded happy and hopeful. I am so grateful that she called. While her unexpected passing saddens me, what a blessing it is to know that through Jesus Christ's atonement that will be resurrected and that life does not end with death. I will miss you, my friend.

Sunday 4/19/09
- We left the Marriott on Saturday and drove to Maryland to spend the night with our BYU friends, the Boungiovannis. They have four boys between the ages of two and seven, and the Normal Mormon Boy had a riot with them. The NMW and I stayed up until 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning just talking with our friends. We then went to sacrament meeting and hit the road for home. Our 10-month-old daughter was as cooperative as a hungry badger strapped in a car seat for the last hour of the drive, but overall the drive home was fine. I loved getting away for a few days. Tomorrow - back to reality.

Saturday 4/18/09
- We went with the Peos to the DC Smithsonian National Zoo. The traffic was out of control. We were stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Connecticut Avenue for over an hour. The closest parking spot to the zoo was almost in New Jersey. Once in the zoo we were delighted to see an infant ape clinging to its mother as she sauntered around the enclosure. But the coolest moment was watching a massive giant panda snap a large piece of bamboo with its jaws then rip it apart with its claws. Impressive.

Friday 4/17/09
- Instead of fighting the traffic in downtown DC we decided to ride the train into the city. What a fiasco! In the end I almost got arrested by the transit authority. Instead of purchasing four individual tickets for my family I just bought one ticket and put $20 on it. I got through the turnstile just fine then ran the ticket through for my daughter, who couldn't get through. So I just lifted her over the turnstile. The same thing happened with my son. The NMW went through a special area for strollers and infants. When I told the Metro employee that I had problems with my ticket and had to lift the kids over the turnstile, the Metro employee got very belligerent. "That's called turnstile hopping and it's against the law!", she repeated more than once. Look, lady, I paid for the rides. It's not my fault you don't have signs specifying that cards can only be used once! Sheesh!

Thursday 4/16/09
- Took today off as a vacation day so that we could hit the road for Washington, DC! Our great friends the Peos recently moved from California to New York so we decided to each make the 5-6 hour drive and meet in DC for a little getaway. When we travel we normally stay in cheap, dirty, smelly Priceline motels, but this time we stayed at the Marriott. When we walked into the room my daughter inhaled deeply and remarked, "Hey, it doesn't stink in here!" We got to DC before the Peos so we went to the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument tonight. I love the history and feel of DC. Walking up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is always a powerful, almost reverent, moment.

Wednesday 4/15/09
- Had a low key birthday party for my 5-year-old daughter. She chose to go to the SciWorks science museum while I was at work. I then met up with the family for dinner at McDonald's (again, her choice) and then a night cap by watching Bolt on DVD. I have always wanted my daughter to remain an imaginative, loving, helpful four year old forever, so this birthday is kind of a hard one for me to celebrate. But, hey, she had a great day, which is all you want as a parent.

Tuesday 4/14/09
- Today I had to drive to one of the plants where I oversee human resources which is located about two hours from home. In all honesty, I enjoy the solitude of just driving for four hours all by myself. Sometimes I listen to my podcasts from ESPN, This American Life or current politics. After enough from the iPod I will turn everything off and just think about whatever comes to mind - family, job, church calling, life in general. Then, after I get bored of myself, I will sing along to my iPod as if I were an American Idol contestant. Maybe I should have been a long-haul trucker...

Monday 4/13/09
- We are heeding the counsel of the prophet and planting a small garden in the backyard. I'm such a gardening novice that I had to call Home Depot to ask them the difference between top soil and potting soil. Let's just say it's going to take a lot of faith, prayer, work and luck to get anything out of our garden this year.

Sunday 4/12/09
- I was asked to be a special guest teacher in Relief Society today for Easter Sunday. Since I could choose the topic I focused on several of the questions asked in Matthew 26 - To what purpose is this waste (oil)?, What will ye give me and I will deliver him unto you? Lord, is it I? Could ye not watch with me one hour? And, ultimately, Father why hast thou forsaken me? and Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, for he is risen! I learned a great deal from preparing this lesson and spending an hour with the good sisters of my ward.

Saturday 4/11/09
- We took the kids to a community Easter egg hunt and it was a disaster! Due to muddy grounds they moved the event indoors into a basketball gym where 4,000 kids were going to wrestle over about 400 eggs. We decided to hightail it out of there before our kids got trampled. We ended up doing an egg hunt in our backyard and buying some seedlings from the Farmer's Market - cucumber, peppers, tomatoes, and squash to plant out back.

Friday 4/10/09
- What a morning! Today is a company-paid holiday for Good Friday so now job to worry about. My awesome wife let me sleep in - until 10:00! I can't remember the last time I slept that long without the assistance of hydrocodone. Not only did she let me sleep in, but the NMW also gave me breakfast in bed consisting of two McDonalds ham and egg McMuffins! I then spent the morning planting grass seed in areas of our front lawn in the areas that died in the drought two years ago. It was the first time in about a year that my back has felt good enough to let me get all dirty, sweaty, grimy and manly. Great day!

Thurs 4/09/09
- The Normal Mormon Wife took a well-deserved break and headed out for Girl's Night Out, so I was home with all three kids. With the weather getting warmer, I busted out the little propane hibachi and grilled some hot dogs. At one point I simply referred to them as "dogs" and my 4-year-old daughter got a horrified look on her face, pointed to her dinner, and said, "Are these things made out of dead dogs?!" Ummm...hopefully not. Not likely. Well, maybe. Alright, probably. But - mmmmm! - those were some good eats!

Wed 4/08/09
- Tonight at church the youth had combined activity and had a number of challenges they had to complete as part of a race. One of the activities was that the youth had to make me laugh. Two of the teams made me laugh with bodily function jokes. The other team had one of its members try to tell me the whole, "So the prophet is in a limo that gets pulled over...." joke. After about two minutes the young man completely forgot where the joke was going, which was funnier than the joke itself. Needless to say, he made me laugh. And he didn't even have to reference taking a #2. His team deserved extra points.

Tue 4/07/09
- In honor of March Madness and Stake basketball drawing to a close, I present to you Jim Rome's take on "Pick-up Guy." There is Old Guy, Black Hole, Serious Guy, and The Jerk. I am definitely "Serious Guy", all the way down to knowing my stats at any moment of the game. Romie should pay me a royalty for his video montage, however, because I did a post about the different types of Church ball players last year and I think he boosted some of my ideas.

Mon 4/06/09
- With UNC running away with the NCAA title this year my worst March Madness bracket will finally be killed. Man, my picks were horrible this year! (Thanks a lot, stupid Memphis, BC, and Syracuse! A pox be upon ye!) Last year I ended up in the 99th percentile for Yahoo March Madness leagues. This year? Pending the official result of the UNC-Mich. St. game, I am currently in 35th of 38 teams in the NMH league that I set up. Even though this year stunk, I can't wait until next year!

Sun 4/05/09
- My favorite quote from General Conference came from Pres. Monson: "There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us. My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith." Hopefully, through faith, our collective future will be so bright that we gotta wear shades. (I'm assuming you're doin' all right, gettin' good grades...)

Sat 4/04/09 -
Really enjoyed General Conference today. Elder Hales talk about provident living, avoiding debt, and controlling our wants was great. Either that or else I tend to remember the first talk of conference because the kids aren't going nuts yet. I was also relieved to see Pres. Uchdorf and Pres. Monson make small mistakes while conducting. Pres. Uchdorf forgot to announce the audit and statistical reports while Pres. Monson essentially made everybody sustain Elder Neal Anderson twice by using some confusing wording. Knowing that even they make mistakes conducting makes me feel better about the time when I was conducting Ward Conference and forgot to turn the time over to the High Counselor to sustain the general and local authorities. We ended up doing the sustainings after the sacrament.

Fri 4/03/09
- This is what I overheard the 4-year-old Normal Mormon Daughter say tonight as she looked up at the stars: "Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight...I wish that a real unicorn will show up at my house and I can ride him to school every day." She was so honest, sincere and hopeful that I bet she'll be disappointed when Uni the Unicorn (that's the name she normally gives her unicorns) doesn't show up in the morning. I know I say this too often, but I honestly wish she could stay four years old forever.

Thurs 4/02/09
- One of my general duties around the house is to get the kids in the bath, which I did tonight. This responsibility often ends with me having to endure one of my biggest pet peeves - WET SOCKS! Tonight I ended up stepping into a big puddle the NMB left on the bathroom floor and soaked my socks. Maybe from now on I'll just tell the kids to scrub themselves down from head to toe with antibacterial wipes instead of taking baths. That way my socks will stay dry and my kids will have a gentle lemon fragrance in addition to being clean.

Wed 4/01/09 - The only person who tried to trick me on April Fool's was my 4-year-old daughter. After much conspiratorial whispering back and forth with my wife, my daughter said, "Dad, ask me what color of card (for behavior) I got at school today." I asked her and she immediately said, "A 'red card'. April Fools! My teacher said I could trick you today!" She laughed and giggled at her cleverness, and so did I. Nice one, sweetie.

Tues 3/31/09 - I got a new boss at work today and she will be based out of Framingham, Mass. We spoke over the phone and had a pleasant conversation. She will be my fourth boss in three years, so I know the "break in the new boss" routine pretty well. After watching The Office last week I have reminded myself to 1) Not wear a tuxedo to work, and 2) Avoid telling my new boss that my job is "made up." Thanks for the career advice, Jim Halpert.

Mon 3/30/09
- Today was a Teacher Work Day so I took a vacation day from work and went with the family to the NC Zoo. One cool moment was having a large gorilla try to punch the Normal Mormon Boy in the face through the glass. Later, outside the elephant exhibit, the kids had a great time playing with a dung beetle sculpture. The dung beetles had make a large ball of..umm..dung and the kids kept yelling, "Look! I'm touching poo!" It was one of the few instances in which they could use the words "dung" or "poo" in public and not get chastised by their parents, so they ran with it as long as they could.

Sun 3/29/09
- Today was fast Sunday. The NMW and I fasted together for a special purpose, so it was a meaningful day. About 17 hours into the fast it become nearly impossible for me to stop thinking about my PF Changs Beef Sichuan leftovers waiting for me in the fridge. No, not waiting for me. Mocking me! I swear I could hear the beef taunting me from afar, "Neener, neener, neener! I'm delicious, you're starving, and you can't eat me! Loser!" When I broke my fast it was with my PF Changs leftovers. Mmmmm....What a perfect way to end a long fast.

Sat 3/28/09
- My wife's BFF is in town from Kansas and we always have a great time with her. Last night we got a babysitter and went out to dinner. We went to a local Asian restaurant and as we explained what was on the menu we kept saying, "...so it tastes kind of like PF Chang's, but it's not quite as good..." After a few of those conversations we got up, told our server we were leaving, and drove across town to PF Changs. Totally worth it! I love that place. I can still taste a little bit of the spice from the Beef Sichuan in my mouth and have leftovers waiting for me in the fridge. Good times.

Fri 3/27/09 - After consulting with the NMW, I told the Normal Mormon Boy the truth about the Tooth Fairy, Santa, the Easter Bunny, etc. His response was, "I knew it!" He did not seem disappointed nor did it appear that the world as he knew it came crashing down on his head. I was much more depressed when I learned Magic Johnson was HIV positive than the NMB was yesterday. I hate to sound like a nostalgic old man, but it is both sad and exciting to see my kids growing up so fast.

Thurs 3/26/09
- The 7-year-old Normal Mormon Boy has lost both of his top two front teeth within the last week. I think you could drive a Smart car between the gap in his mouth. As I drove him to school this morning he started to sing, "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth." He is at the point in life where is is 90% sure that the Tooth Fairy is make believe, but he holds out on the 10% belief that she's real just in case. Maybe tonight I'll put a note from an angry Tooth Fairy under his pillow instead of $2. That'll learn him!

Wed 3/25/09
- There is no way Allison Iraheta on American Idol is only 16. She has way too much confidence, power, and stage presence for only being a newly-minted Laurel. The girl is amazing. She's the LeBron James of the singing world. And right now, she's my favorite to win AI.

Tues 3/24/09
- I had to miss American Idol tonight so that Pres. Obama could stand before the nation and remind us that, "Being...uhhh...President....ummm....is....ya know....hard?" Is there an number I can call to vote for that to never happen again? I would have rather endured another week of Tatiana Del Toro than no Idol at all.

Mon 3/23/09
- I am pretty sure that Aetna stands for "Aggressively Evade Those Nagging Accounts." The Normal Mormon Family must be classified as a "nagging account." We are currently disputing THREE separate rejection notices from Aetna for from three different health care providers - our kids' dentist, my chiropractor and my physical therapist. In two of the cases Aetna conveniently "never received" the referrals from our PCP's (even though they were sent) and repeatedly denied payments in excess of $3,500. Funny, Aetna never manages to lose a payment that gets sent to them. What a pain.

Sun 3/22/09
- Ended the day hot tubbing with the NMW after the kids went to bed. We never thought that we would be "hot tub people" since I don't have thick, curly chest hair, wear gold chains or use cheap cologne. But the previous owners of our house had a nice hot tub that we inherited and we love it. It's the prefect way to just relax, block out the world and have some uninterrupted time to talk and laugh together.

Sat 3/21/09
- Time for me to cowboy up, strap it on, give 110%, and take it like a man! Either that or run away screaming like a little girl who went to "The Institute of Terror" a year or two too early over Halloween. The Normal Mormon Wife is taking an all-day continuing education class today so I have the three kids to myself from 7:30a.m-6:00 p.m. Breakfast was a success. The 10-month-old baby girl only puked up her peach yogurt once on me. Wish me luck.