Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I'm Handy.. Finally!

Yes, after 6 years of marriage my wife now thinks I am "handy". She used to wonder if her dad or brothers could come over and fix something. I'd tell her I could do it but she'd just look at me incredulously (yes I spelled that right, I double checked).

Now, I'm handy. Well, at least she thinks I am.

We've only been in our new home for about a month now. I've installed a new toilet seat, changed the door knobs, installed shower racks, assembled a "library" and an entertainment center and fixed a broken water heater (albeit with the eventual help of a plumber... BUT I HAD IT WORKING! and I'm taking credit :P). There must be other things that I've done because now that I look at the list it doesn't look that impressive....

I raked 11 bags of leaves... does that count?

Admittedly I'm just happy I finally got to use my power drill. Does that mean I'm handy?

My longterm handy man project? Some day I want to build a yacht.

Now if only there was an ocean nearby..

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Our First Home

The traveler has no home but the road...
The wanderer nowhere to set his boots but the path ahead...

Though I have roads left to travel and paths still to take...

I am traveler no more, I no longer wander lost.

I have where to lay my head and hang my boots.


We bought our first home! After some paint and some trim, we'll be moving in!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Man Adventure: Sioux Falls To Salt Lake

Our time in our little house on the Prairie had come to an end. The moving truck was all packed. Carrie and Lydia? They'd flown on ahead to Salt Lake City. For Tyler, my dad and I it was time for our "Man Adventure".

And what an adventure it was. At the start of our journey, before even leaving Sioux Falls we had to take a detour to get a car trailer tire changed.

Finally on the road, it wasn't long until I broke out the DVD player for Tyler. He was excited. We had a lot of little presents all wrapped up for him. The deal was, if he was good, he got to open a new present every so often. His first one was a new DVD for him to watch.

So, with Tyler watching "Tyty's computer" I drove off, Sioux Falls and our little house on the prairie in our review mirror. There was a light rain, it seemed fitting for the bittersweet moment. One adventure was over a new one was about to begin but first, we had to get there and getting there was an adventure in and of itself. As I had told Tyler since the time I first accepted the job, it was our "Man Adventure".

Driving accross the plains you get a few hours out from Sioux Falls and there is nothing around for miles and miles... but more miles and miles. The endless fields have a simple beauty to them. No daunting mountains. No mysterious forests. What you see is what you get and what you see is seemingly endless wind swept prairie.

For most of the drive Tyler was happy... But the other half of the time it was an adventure... like fighting a fire breathing dragon and you're about to die is an adventure. I love the little man and his rather healthy set of lunges.

He just didn't understand and as long as I remembered that I kept my patience. He was leaving his home. He told me as much. "Dada you are being very naughty. We must go home. Dada, home is that way. Go that way." Yes, he was pointing straight behind him.

When we finally made it to the Air Force Base outside of Rapid City we hurry and unload some of our suitcases, put on a sweater and head off to Mt Rushmore (or Mountain Rushmore as Tyler called it). I realize I'm kind of lost, so a quick call to my buddy Austin and we're on track again.

As we're driving up the sun is setting and Tyler is getting tired. But we were on our man adventure. My dad has never seen Mountain Rushmore and so we were going. I'm not sure who was more excited to see those "Famous Faces" my dad, or Tyler.

We did the trail, the entire trail up and down the stairs.. Tyler says, "Dada carry me." So I did. What a work out. I felt bad that some of the exhibits were closed down but we got to take some pictures still (luckily).

My dad's favorite part, learning how they carved the presidents out of the mountain.

Tyler's favorite part, either being carried everywhere or the crazy elevator dance.. or the puppies.

Everyone passed out pretty quickly when we finally crawled into our beds. I would have slept like a rock but a three year old foot kept kicking me in the back.

Day 2 Tyler got to see "Mighty Machines" play in a sand box in the middle of... well nowhere really. He unwrapped more presents., got to hunt for the yellow moving truck (at first he was really worried when he couldn't see it) and watched his DVDs some more.

After driving for hours and hours he tells me, "Something's making my eyes close." I tell him just go ahead and rest your eyes. Next time I check in the mirror, he's out, a crayon grasped loosely in each hand.

Day Three is all about the trains (there certainly wasn't anything else to look like). We spotted probably a dozen trains making their way across Wyoming. There's some really pretty parts of Wyoming... but what we drove through wasn't it.

We also spotted some smart cars. Tyler LOVES smart cars. At Tyler's insistence we stopped a couple of times so he could stretch his legs (and wouldn't drive me crazy).

When we caught up with my dad again we stopped at a McDonalds. Tyler played with his toy.

As we finally arrived in Salt Lake City I was exhausted but had so much fun with Tyty and my dad.

There's a lot about a move that can be frustrating. Don't believe me? Try and back up a long truck just perfect to attach it to a 2 inch hitch for a trailer.

Sometimes the difference between an adventure and a nightmare... is as simple as enjoying the ride.

(Tyler STILL loves to hear bed time stories about his Man Adventure)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What Makes A Great Story: Fablehaven

Have you read the Fablehaven series? I have. I'd recommend them to anybody. That Brandon guy, he's a pretty creative fellow. They aren't just good books, they're great stories.

The writing itself sometimes threw me. On occasion I found myself saying "who talks that way? Who says that?" But the storytelling was grand.

Mull breathes life into his characters through their personalities, which in turn drives the story forward. ("Seth, don't do that.")

But the shining star of the series is not the characters it's the world which happens to be OUR world only made a million times more awesome all with the help of milk (It does the body and EYES good, apparently).

Step by step we enter a world that dwells under a blanket of reality in our own. I found the discoveries rich and entertaining. While the characters and conflict kept my attention, it was the discovery of this fantastical world that kept me turning pages and like in the Harry Potter or Percy Jackson series, we discover right along with the main character/s.

So what made this story great was the setting itself. By starting with a canvas of the familiar world and painting on the colors of imagination, Mull created a wonderful piece of art. It's not a new way of doing thing, no, mythologies have been doing it for millenia. But Mull does it very well.

My challenge is to bring that sense of discovery to my own story without the foundation of a familiar world. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

?????? Words

When the year started I had hoped that I'd be able to finish writing my first book by the end of year. Now? I'm not sure if I'll be done by the end of next year but I think the story will be infinitely better for it.

I'm learning that as fun as it is to just sit down and write, tell a story, bring a character to life, it is the big picture that moves everything forward and holds the story with it. For me putting together the plot has been a bit like figuring out a million piece jigsaw puzzle. Now what's exciting is I've figured out what I want, where I'm going and how I'm using each piece of that puzzle to create the finished picture. I'll probably have to re-write and remove quite a bit of what I've already written now.

There's some people that say readers can look too far in to foreshadowing, symbolism and any other deeper purpose to parts of a story. I respectfully disagree. Ultimately writing and in its purist form, story telling, is a form of communication. And the story teller isn't just sharing a story, the story teller is sharing a part of himself and that always has a deeper purpose.

I find that there are little bits and pieces of me in every part of the story that I'm weaving. Even though it is a story that I'm making up and purely fictional, ultimately it is my story.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My Mission: 10 Years Ago

(Blogger formatting hates me, forget captions!)
Ten years ago tomorrow I entered the MTC. I knew next to nothing of what I was getting in to. I only knew that I would spend the next two years going where the Lord wanted me to go, doing what the Lord wanted me to do. For me that meant California and speaking Spanish but first, nine weeks in Provo at the MTC.
My parents took me into the MTC's main building where we were sent to a large meeting room. Some vindictive official played a movie whose entire purpose was to remind the bright eyed, eager young men and women just how much they were going to miss their families and the poor heartbroken parents how much they were going to miss their sons and daughters. My parents were sobbing by the time it was over and it was time to say goodbye. They later told me they got in their car, drove to a parking lot and wept until the tears wouldn't come.
Keep in mind that at no point during my mission was I more than a 10 hour drive from home. I kept the key to my house on my key chain to remind me that I could go home anytime I wanted. But I was where I wanted to be. I just didn't know what was going on. I laugh at myself thinking about it now.
I somehow grabbed all my suitcases, found my dorm room, my companion, the other missionaries from my district and settled in for the night but not before saying my prayers and reading my scriptures. Lights out, 10:30PM.

Learning Spanish was hard for me. I don't suppose learning a new language is a particularly easy chore for anyone. Sure it's easier for some people but it still is a lot of hard work, a lot of study, memorization and practice. For me speaking came easier. I figured out the grammar fairly well I suppose, for a Gringo. I could conjugate my verbs with the best of them. But put me in a room and ask me to understand what someone else was saying and you'd get an eager 19 year old looking like a deer staring at headlights.

I always felt like the knowledge was there, like I had the ability but the best way I can describe it, I was a pressure cooker and there was this heavy lid that I just couldn't throw off. If I could I'd understand.

One night, a couple of weeks in, I get the prompting to read the Book of Mormon in Spanish. Not necessarily out loud but just to read it. So I figure that it would take my about 15-20 pages a day to get through the 642 pages, you see, I wanted to read it in the MTC before getting shipped out to Sacramento.
It was hard but I loved the progress. At first I would only pick up words here and there. Then I started looking up some of the words and it expanded my vocabulary. Still it wasn't until pagina (that means page) 627 while reading Moroni 4:3 that I understood what I was reading.
It would be months before I felt I understood what anyone was saying to me. In fact my first night with my new companion in Stockton, CA we went to dinner and someone asked me, De donde vienes? Where do you come from? I had no idea. I mean, I know where I came from, I just didn't know what this nice lady with the good tasting food was saying. After about five times of me asking Que? and the hermana (sister) repeating the question my companion finally bailed me out and said, "Where do you come from" Oh, the light bulb comes on. "Soy de Chandler Arizona." I was pathetic, sure but not hopeless.

About six months from the day I started my mission that lid came off. I could not only speak, I could understand. Sure there were words here and there that I hadn't been exposed to yet and would eventually learn but I could speak and I could understand. It wasn't just a miracle, it was the blessing of the Gift of Tongues and the Gift of Interpretation of Tongues.
During my mission I met with mutli-millionaires, poor illegal immigrants, drug addicts, newlyweds, doctors and mechanics. I was spit upon, egged and there were multiple times when the Spirit whispered to me to run away, get out, drive away and turn now. The Lord protected me in very dangerous situations. (I heard a number of gunshots while going to my first appointment and then someone was stabbed just a couple of doors down from where I was at). Through it all I saw how the Truth changes lives. God changes lives.
I'd like to think that I helped at least one person in some small way. I never kept a tally of the people that I taught who were baptized, I just tried to remember all of their names. Still if my mission didn't succeed in helping anyone in California change for the better, it helped me. My mission changed my life forever. It was the most difficult thing I've ever done and that hardship impacted my soul and I came to know God as I have never known him before.

I am far from perfect. And I don't know everything. But what I do know is this, God loves His children and He wants us to return home to Him.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Videos From Summer 2010

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Tyler's birthday celebration

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Lydia gives everyone snuggle time.

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Uncle Matthew takes Tyler for a "spin".

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tyler Opens Presents

Tyler's 1st day






He's much happier now, 3 years later ...

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A couple of weeks after the fact ... I finally post the video but Tyler sure had fun on his birthday (June 4th). I think it helped him to have a special day so he didn't get upset about Lydia's June 1st arrival.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lydia's First Day

We sure wish all of the family in Arizona, Utah, California and Arkansas could have been here to share the day with us and our little angel Lydia but since you can't, watch the video and feel like you did.

After all of the hardships we went through to get here, what a little miracle!

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EDIT

I've changed the music now that I've been home and have more access to music software.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tyler Helps Carrie, Tyson Experiments

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Recently we bought a Kodak Zi8, it's like a Flip Cam only it's Kodak. Anyway, this is my first experiment shooting, editing and publishing the video from it. Couple of glitches but it worked overall.

Tyler "helped" Carrie make dessert, a trifle that tasted REALLY good. Tyler was so proud!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Answering Questions At Sioux Falls Christian

On May 6 I had the opportunity to speak to a class of seniors graduating from Sioux Falls Christian High School. I was told I would have 45 minutes and was to talk about the Church.

I wasn't sure where to start. What do I tell high schoolers? What questions will they ask? Of all of the Gospel, what do I teach them in that amount of time? I had a lot of questions, few answers and so I prayed.

At first I thought I would tell them spiritual experiences ... teenagers like stories right? But filling the time with stories didn't feel right. What did feel right was talking to them about the love of God and the power of revelation. I talked about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon and I had a plan.

I began by briefly introducing myself, telling them that I am a journalist by trade not a preacher. I shared my testimony of the Savior. I told them I know God sent his Son to die for us, because He loves us. When I quoted the scripture "Eli eli lama sabactani" they ALL listened. Not just the pay attention kind of listen but the listen when the Spirit is bearing witness to our spirits that THIS is the word of God, THIS is the Truth.

I quoted to them, but the comforter, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things and bring all things unto your rememberance whatsoever I have said unto you. I told them I know that because God loves us so much and He knows this is a confusing world that He gave us a way to know the Truth. Not just some of the Truth, but the Truth of all things. I talked about the pattern to receiving revelation, the way we can find out for ourselves God's will. 1) Study 2) Remember - Truth and feelings 3) Meditate 4) Ask, in the name of Christ, with faith, nothing doubting 5) Receive. I then quoted James 1:5, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and it shall be given him.

I told them because God loves us, He is not a God of confusion. He is a God of clarity. Joseph Smith during the early 1800s was only 14 when he was searching out a Church. He was confused by how one group would teach and interpret the scripture one way while a different group would teach the same scripture differently. He read James 1:5, he decided to find out for himself. One morning in the Spring of 1820 he went to a nearby grove of trees, prayed and God the Father and Jesus Christ appeared to him. They answered his question, none of the churches were right. As a result of that and other revelations he was called as a prophet and the true church, the Church of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth. But we don't have to believe blindly. No. We never have to believe blindly and just rely upon what they say; what our parents say; what our teachers say; what our friends say. We can know for ourselves. How? Because God will tell us in our mind and in our heart.

I read to them about beware false prophets in sheep's clothing and recognizing the difference by their fruits. I said the Book of Mormon is one of Joseph Smith's fruits. I quoted them Moroni 10:3-5 and told them that I decided to find out for myself. I was 12. After having read the Book of Mormon I locked the door to my room, knelt down and prayed. AND I RECEIVED AN ANSWER! There were no angels or visions, but in my heart I felt the joy, the peace, the comfort the rightness of it and I knew it to be true. Because everything that is good comes from God and there is nothing that is good that doesn't come from God.

I wrapped up my comments by telling them that if they remember nothing else from today. That I understand, I was in high school. We some times tune out or just don't remember because we're busy. I told them, you remember this! That I know that God loves you. He knows each of you by name. He knows your trials, your successes, what you are struggling with, what you need to repent of. He knows you and no matter what you have done, He loves you. Because He loves you He has promised not to leave you comfortless. We don't have to be confused. If we seek for the Truth from the Source of Truth, we will find it. I promised them in the name of Christ, because He Himself has promised them that through the power of the Holy Spirit they can know the Truth of all things. God hears and answers prayers. He answered mine, he will answer yours.
I opened it up for questions.

I was asked how we can profess the Book of Mormon to be true when the Bible clearly states not to add to or take away from this book. I read the verse he was referring to in Revelation, taught about what the word Bible means, a collection of books. I taught them how it was formed, hundreds of years after the last book in it was written, hundreds of years after Christ. I declared that John wrote epistles after Revelation and yet they are in the Bible. I mentioned they could find a similar verse in Deut 4:2 and that if we were to interpret it that way we would have to cut a large portion out of the Bible. Yet what those verses mean is that we do not add to or take away from God's Truth. We accept Truth and teach it as it is, not how we interpret it to be but how the Lord interprets it to be.

I was asked about the purpose of life. I said life is a test, the goal is to attain joy, and return and live with Heavenly Father.

I was aksed how we pass the test. I said we seek out the truth and live it. That includes having Faith, repenting, getting baptized and receiving the Holy Ghost.

I was asked if we have to get baptized to go to Heaven. I said yes.

I was asked about the people who don't get the chance to get baptized. I taught that in our temples we perform that ordinance or sacrament for the dead and that this gives everyone the opportunity to accept or reject God's teachings. Again this teaches us about how much the Lord loves His children.

I was asked what happens to us when we die if we aren't baptized. I said that the spirits of all men whether they be good or evil are taken straight home to that God which gave them life. I said we are then, according to our deeds, either able to enter into a state of paradise or a state of waiting. There if we haven't had the opportunity to learn the Truth in this life, we will have the opportunity in the next.

I was asked if that was pergatory. I said no, not in the sense that most people understand pergatory. We call it spirit prison.

I was asked where the spirit world is. I answered that the spirit world is here on earth, that we cannot always perceive these spirits but they are there. Whatever state we are in is where we will feel most comfortable.

I was asked if we believe Joseph Smith spoke for God. I said Joseph Smith was a prophet and like all prophets he taught God's word. But we don't have to believe what he taught or what any other prophet teaches blindly. Becauase The Lord loves us, we each have an opportunity to find out for ourselves that what the prophets teach is true or not. We don't believe blindly, we seek out light and try to spread it to others.

I was asked that what if we seek the Truth and never find the Book of Mormon. I said the Book of Mormon is not the Gospel, it is another witness of Christ and his mission. But if we seek Truth in this life and never find the Truths contained in the Book of Mormon then we will have that opportunity after we die. The Book of Mormon is true so if we seek Truth we will recognize it when we read it.

The teacher said there is a lot of archeological evidence supporting what is taught in the Bible but it is not-existent for the Book of Mormon. I mentioned how there is an institute called FARMS that has discovered some evidences. The teacher refuted that. I said that the Book of Mormon was written in the Americas and the last I knew there was an estimated 90+ percent of ruins left uncovered in Central America. He said it must still be a red flag right in front of our face. I said ultimately whatever may have happened anciently to those physical evidences, buried, destroyed by other civilizations, or just undiscovered; the Book of Mormon is a spiritual gift and so it is by the Spirit of God that we must seek its proof. Sure consider the archeoligical evidences out there or the lack of them but it is the Spirit that we can rely upon to teach us the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and God's gospel. God is the ultimate Source of Truth and if we seek Him out, He will answer.

It was a lot of fun and I felt the Spirit there. I saw in the eyes of the students that they felt the Spirit too. I love it when the note passing stops, the bored looks go away and I can see the Spirit bearing witness to their spirits that these things are true. Light fills their eyes and mine and peace fills our hearts. Each and every lesson that is my favorite moment of teachings. I am no more convincing than the next man but the Spirit, now that, that is how we can know nothing doubting.

Friday, April 30, 2010

50,616

I've gotten into a routine of writing a couple of pages only to think about it and delte it from my story. That's slowing down my progress but at least the progress I am making is solid. I am officially to the really fun part.

The characters now are kind of off on their own. They are defining moments when we are forced to go out on our own, make our own choices and live with the consequences. That's when we find out who we really are. What we really want. Gone are the reins of guidance and control from beloved mentors. Now it's our chance to succeed or fail. To race on wild and free.

It's sad that so often when faced with such opportunities that we get distracted by what lays on the side of the road. The treasures; the promise of adventure, of a thrill or glory. Maybe it's that the adventurers begin with no clear purpose and so are ever wandering but never arriving. So they constantly do but never accomplish and what they do accomplish has no meaning. These are the wanderers.

Or maybe our goals are so overreaching that all forms of meaningful relationships fade into obscurity under the oppressive shadow of the task. The goal becomes a monster that swallows everything of value in our lives. These are the exiles.
Then there are those heroes who care. The heroes who go forward not because duty demands it but because they hope to rid the world of darkness. Not only do they seek light but they spread it wherever their quest takes them. They remain fixed to their goals but are not consumed by them. These are the lightbringers.

Monday, February 22, 2010

42,598

A little bit of a set back I suppose. The scene that I wrote last time I decided didn't really fit my characters but I really liked the scene. So I figured out how to make it work and advance the plot line in the process. It took me a while to figure it out but I'm happy with it. There is a fine amount of planning in creativity, that's for sure.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

40,852

Yep, I've written more than 2K words in a week. I'll probably write a little more even before I go to sleep tonight. I also have another 10K words that I've written about events in the book that I just haven't gotten to in the story yet.

I feel like I know the characters well enough now that I just put them in a setting and then see what happens.

This week I also discovered a wealth of information out there on the blogosphere for the aspiring writer. I find it admirable that published authors and dreamers like me who want to be published are so helpful in dispensing their wisdom in blogs.

After reading through some of the tips other writers have shared, I've now recruited Carrie to read what I've written. She sad she'd only read what I've read to her. Fair enough. Between me reading to her, her reading and my writing I'm really moving on this work in progress.

Carrie's great at feedback, tells me things like "this character is too perfect, no one's going to be able to relate". I can, I joke before fixing it. I love the honest feedback. I wish there was a way for more people to give me feedback. "You look at pacing" "You check out the characters" sort of the divide and conquer method.

Just thinking about the wealth of published books out there that aren't very well done and thinking about all the submissions editors must receive, makes me glad I'm not an editor.

Enjoy the week, hopefully I'm a few more scenes into my journey by this time next week.

Oh, personally I think Tolkein has Frodo completely beat when it comes to epic journeys.

Monday, January 25, 2010

38,277 Words

For the past few years I have been slowly writing a story. I have started, re-worked and edited only to begin again anew probably a half a dozen times. It was always okay, alright, good even, I just felt like, like the characters haven't been satisfied with the way I told their story. Their story that they are allowing me to tell. This time I feel like I have it right and I am 38,277 words into the tale. That's 67 pages single spaced. Sometimes I have to work and dig at it, most of the time it just flows.

I'd love to get it published some day and am fairly confident it is good enough to be but ultimately getting published is not my goal. Finishing the story is. Having something of my own that I can read to Tyler, to my daughter and to my wife. I'm up because I couldn't sleep and as I write this post, well into the quest of mine, I wonder whose journey was more epic Frodo's or Tolkein's?

Thursday, January 21, 2010


You won't see my face on television, but you can hear my words everyday.

You may see me in the grocery store and never know you watch my work night after night.

To you, I have no race, no gender, no age yet my work is both timely and timeless.

I stand as the gatekeeper for much of what you learn about the events around you and my words help shape what you know about the world, influence what you talk about and impact the way you live your life.

You may praise my work, but I won't be thanked.

You may hate my work, but you'll only change the channel.

Hundreds, thousands, millions may see the culmination of what I do each and every day, but I have no adoring fans, no cheering stadiums, no red carpet celebrations.

I am a professor of life, constantly learning, constantly teaching, constantly publishing.

I write and edit a book of information every day so two people can read it and countless others can hear it.

I will warn, I will inform, I will inspire.

Without me, a television just becomes a bunch of wires and lights in a box.

I produce your local news.




The following was sent to me via email and taken from a facebook post, thus inspiring my post:

You don't know me, but you've both cussed and praised my work.
You have no idea who I am, but you've listened to what I have to say every day.
There have been many before me, and there will be many more after I leave.
We don't get recognized, we won't be thanked, and we'll never hear how big of an impact our job has on you.
Some of us are working towards something bigger, a few of us however are where we want to be, and take more joy and pride in the fact that we help tell everyone what's happening than anyone can imagine.
You don't have to thank me, you don't have to know me, all I ask of you is that you continue to get your information from me.
I am the producer of your local news.
I help inform the public in times of need, in times of danger, and in good times.
I only wish to continue doing what I'm doing so that you may stay informed.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Frozen North: Winter Wonderland

We have a great view out our living room window. Trees covered thick with leaves during the Summer, blanketed in snow during the winter.

As cold as it is, I try and get out and play in the snow with Tyler at least for a few minutes.
Tyler all bundled up. He's more down than dude at this point. Every time I get him ready to play in the snow I think "Good thing he's not potty trained yet". Why? Can you imagine getting him all layered and then hearing, "I need to go potty Daddy".
No, that's not the two-year-old out there jumping around in the snow. It's the little kid trapped inside his Daddy's body. The only thing better than playing in the snow with Tyler, is playing in the snow with Tyler and pretending you're a kid again. As you can see, I have a very vivid imagination. Too bad the snow was too dry to make a snowman.
The second major snow fall. In case you are wondering, no, that's not a wrapping paper roll stuck into the snow. That's Opa's (Grandpa Hillier) snowgauge made from a wrapping paper roll stuck into the snow. Tyler and I set out to dig out a fort.
He's a good helper, though I had a strange feeling he was just trying to make a snowman out of his Daddy.
So no snowman, but I did make a snow angel. But then I got stuck because the snow was so deep. Tyler thought that was really funny.

How anyone can smile so widely in such cold weather is beyond me, but Tyler wants to stay out and play long after I've turned into a popsicle.
As I write this, it's snowing again and I can't wait to go dig out our fort again and get burried in the snow by Tyler once more.

Visitors On The Northern Plains

Since Carrie's been so sick during her pregnancy (she's feeling much but not completely better now) we've had a lot of family come visit us to help take care of her and take care of Tyler. Not only has it been an incredible blessing, but it's been a lot of fun to see everyone and for Tyler to get to know his family better, here in our little house (ie apartment) on the prairie.


We got to celebrate Grandma Hillier's (Laurie's, Mom's) birthday with her. Tyler wanted to use his pumpkin to wrap the present. I added the tissue paper. I'm still not sure who enjoys watching Caillou (PBS kids programming) more, Tyler or his Grandma ...


Grandma Joyce (Mom, Joyce) was adventurous, she'd take Tyler on walks. One day Tyler talked her into going down the big hill, to the river and the park. The hard part is coming back when you have to go back UP the hill. All in all, probably close to a mile walk. She didn't take the stroler. (Pioneer children sang as they walked and walked and walked and walked and walked and ...)

Tyler wouldn't wear his Superman PJs until his Uncle Matthew showed up wearing a Superman shirt. I think the most frequent sound I heard while Matthew was here was "weeEEEEE". Either from Tyler or his super hero Uncle.
"This one's Tyler's" the little bounder would say as he popped a cookie in his mouth. Tyler loves cooking, I think it goes back to when I would cook while Carrie worked and had to strap Tyler in the baby bjorn to do it. He loves baking even more, especially baking with "Aunt Be-anne" also know to some people as Brianne. Tyler also learned how to say, and Brianne learned how much she says "Darn it". Ha ha ha.
Tyler's Opa (Pops, Dad), who Tyler says has "lots and lots of fuzzies on his head", made sure Tyler had some cars and trains to play with. Usually it's Tyler who asks for "more story" at night but I have my suspicions that his Opa wanted more rocking time too.
Uncle Justin and Aunt Michelle braved sub-zero temperatures to visit. In case you can't see, there's a flowing river behind them. Okay maybe it and the waterfall are frozen solid ... They snuck out for a quick picture before diving back into the warmth. Tyler made forts, destroyed lego towers and tipped over his aunt and uncle with enthusiasm only a 2-year-old could muster.
Lisa also came to visit but I spaced it and didn't take any pics (Lisa, send me some and I'll edit this post). "Lisa mere" (Tyler speech for "Lisa come here".
Thank you everyone for giving up vacation time, holidays in your comfy homes, frequent flier miles, etc and braving the South Dakota weather. You did it all just so you could come out and deal with tantrums (sorry I'll do better next time, I promise ;) ), hospital/doctors visits, middle of the night wake up cries, early morning wake up cries, cooking, cleaning ... I could go on and on. The truth is that we needed help and were blessed beyond measure. You are all our angels. I was thinking about it and realized that we have either visited or been visited by family at least once a month since June. Tyler probably thinks everyone lives just a couple of streets away, not a couple of states away. Wether you helped by taking a turn out here, by praying for us or in any other of the numerous ways we've been helped, I thank you on behalf of my little family.