left to my own devices

On Saturday Ashley left for Baltimore on a well-deserved vacation. She's visiting her sister and enjoying being "auntie" to her two beautiful nieces.

You know what they say, "when the cat is away the mice will play." In my case - that means a trip to the grocery store without fear of reproval!

Not that Ashley monitors my diet at all. Nor does she stifle me from expressing myself creatively via my love of food. But since she's gone for a week, my trip to the grocery store took on a whole new meaning. I could get whatever I want. The prospect was almost too good to be true.

It reminds me of those "sweepstakes" Kids R Us used to advertise... something to the effect of "five minutes to grab any and all toys you can get to the check out." Five minutes, alone in a toy store. I think they advertised that on the television or it was a grand prize for Double Dare - and every time I heard the commercial the concept completely captivated me. I've never really felt like I had that strong of an imagination, but in those moments I know I was completely incapacitated in a greed-coma. Paralyzed with thoughts of rabidly throwing toys into the cart like a junky in pursuit of their next fix.

Anyways, I've always liked the idea of being left to your own devices, as I've blogged on the topic before.

So here is a report of the aftermath:
A gallon of Tropicana Orange Juice
Two pints of chocolate milk
Bag of salt & vinegar chips
Packet of van de camps hoagie rolls
Gallon of Moose tracks ice cream
Deli cut turkey
Sliced medium cheddar cheese
Frozen Pizzas (haven't bought these in like four years, no joke)
An individual slice of "Louisiana crunch" pudding cake.

All in all, not too bad right? Some of those things I probably wouldn't buy under Ashley's supervision. Frozen pizzas, nope. The hoagie buns, no way - she'd find better ones. Two chocolate milks - forget about it. Just one. Again, not that Ashley is the food getstapo, it's just the "editing" influence your spouse has on your consumer habits. I mean, that's why they are called "your better half" right?

Left to your own devices - what kind of stuff would you buy in a ravenous frenzy of self indulgence?



Yesterday we found out that we were having a boy. Well, 85%. So I don't know if that means we are having an 85% boy, 15% girl, or the chances are 85% that we are having a boy - but I'll take either!

Just kidding - the ultra sound was pretty cool. The point where our doctor got the definitive shot was amazing. It was like we were looking at him from underneath - we could see his little butt-cheeks and then EUREKA... the "money shot."

This past summer - Ashley and I went back to Denver for my family reunion. It was really fun, as we got to see all of my siblings, and new babies. One part sticks out with me in particular - hanging out with my nephew Isaiah. Isaiah is 3 and has tons of boy energy.

Summer was a pretty big blockbuster for little boys. The Hulk, IronMan, Batman... lots of macho stuff for kids to enjoy. As Isaiah and I ruff-housed, Isaiah really enjoyed pretending to be the Hulk and "smashing" things. I think I recall Ashley saying, "wow, he's really turned into a little boy."

Ashley's family has been abundantly blessed with little girls. Ashley's two older sisters have five girls between them. Ashley's family is a family of four girls... and one boy. The boy being the baby of the bunch. This environment has made Ashley very comfortable at the prospects of raising girls.

Enter stage left - "our little lemon," as I've been calling him. Ever since Ashley told me that he is about the size of a lemon - lemon just seemed like a nice thing to call him.

Our little lemon - breaking windows, bones, flicking boogers, laughing at fart jokes, smashing things - it's all very exciting. Not that Ashley isn't excited - but maybe she's just a little nervous that she won't have as much immediately in common with our little lemon. But then I reminded her - that she was a tomboy when she was little, and that her mom & brother always has a special relationship.

I once read an article in GQ that discussed how great fatherhood was, because it was an opportunity to "relive your childhood." I think having a boy will allow Ashley to revist all of her tomboy ancestry. She was once a very ardent dinosaur student. I'm excited to be a little league coach, to go on camping/biking trips... and as a tribute to my dad - mow the lawn together.

Ashley is going to be a great mother, to boys and girls because she is so much fun, loves adventures, has a great sense of humor, and is a natural nurturer.

Any mom of boys have some tips out there? First things first... how to change diapers without getting pee in the face.


we finally got our piece of the pie....

After a tumultuous, drama filled house-hunt - we have finally found our little urban oasis.

When I lived in England - it seemed like people where moving all the time. This was problematic as we tried to make appointments with them, for example:
Me - can we come by and see you guys next week?
Them - Nope, canna do next week, I'm movin' house
Me - Oh really - where are you moving?
Them - up the street two houses.
Me - (speechless)

People in England move all the time. At least, a lot of the people I met. And they move really short distances. Up the street, over a block, down two roads. It is really amusing, and also quite charming that families stay so close together, and the strength of communities are forged by decades of familial territoriality.

So after two years of scoffing at the notion of the British Style of moving.... we are doing it ourselves.

We are moving one mile south of where we currently live - in a fortuitous twist of fate. We are really happy to be staying in this side of town, close to Ashley's work, close to grocery stores, and still far enough away for me to get a great ride downtown.

We'll be moving in October 20th. If you are in the area, need exercise, and would like some free pizza - come lend a hand. No one will be turned away.


"the best two years..."

After many LDS missionaries return home they confess, "that was the best two years of my life." The picture on the left is me and one of my best friends, Philip Bond in Preston England. We were attending the open house of the Preston England Temple in May of 1998.

I wouldn't trade my mission for anything. It was a remarkable time and I'm honored that I was able to serve my church and represent my beliefs. I learned a lot about work, life, and what I want out of it.

Two years is an interesting period of time. October marks my two year anniversary as a bicycle commuter. I can honestly say - it has been the best commuting years of my life. As I was riding home tonight, I thought about what I might say. I thought about a funny line from the movie Fever Pitch. The line comes at a seminal moment in the movie, where one of Jimmy Fallon's students (he's a teacher) says to him, All these years you've loved the Red Sox, but can you honestly say that the Red Sox have ever loved you back?

The sage-like wisdom from his pupil helps Jimmy's character decide to give up his valued seats at a Red Sox game, and pursue his love for Drew Barrymore's character. I really love that part of the movie - because it makes me think about the reciprocity needed in love.

People love their cars... but do their cars ever love them back? For the most part, cars are money pits that take, and take, and take. They don't give anything back. I know that cars are a necessary part of life and they provide safe and comfortable means of transportation for many. But lets face it - they pollute, cost a lot of money, break down... not to mention the hassle of traffic, insurance, and the host of other headaches that come from car-concerns.

On the other hand - the last two years of bicycle-commuting have been so rewarding. I've become so familiar with my city. I'm recognized by school crossing guards. I have interesting conversations with strangers. I get almost two hours of exercise every day. I don't put any harmful materials into our atmosphere. My fuel is free, and the most expensive maintenance on my bicycle has been new tires ($39.00 each).

This isn't to say that bicycle riding is free. Of course there are costs - but for two tanks of gas I can covered my entire bicycle maintenance budget over the past two years.

I know you have kids, I know you have errands that are far away. I understand. I'm not saying that bicycles are for everyone, all of the time. But they are for some people, a lot of the time. My full time job is to make it easier for people to get to places by bike... and I absolutely love my job.

In other two year increments...

Ashley and I have been married for almost two years... and these years have been the best of my life.
Ashley and I - Easter, 2006

Ashley and I met in Washington D.C.... and our time together has been remarkable. Whether it was blizzards, jungle-chicken bus escapades, or rendezvous in the mountains because we couldn't bear to be apart - my life is exponentially more fulfilling, exciting, and happy with Ashley in it. I love her a lot.

Just North of Leadville, Colorado

One thing I know for sure about my life with Ashley - it will never be dull. She loves adventure like a fat kid loves cake... or Angela Lansbury loves a mystery. I'm more cautious and hesitant by nature, but Ashley always helps me get a better glimpse of what is around the corner. Thanks honey.

So - I'm looking forward to these next two years... who knows what they the stork
will bring. Whatever it is I know it will be amazing.